When you sit down to write a poem
it mostly happens. I believe that anyone can do it.
Writing poems is easy, depending on the poems
you write and the audience you write to.
If you were a press and your goal was to make money
off of poems, then your audience would be donors.
I assume they are harder to write to than bloggers.
I guess an idea that blew my mind is
publishers would have competitions
and offer cash prizes and then after they rejected you
they would send out emails about
how they need your money. I never got that.
People asking for donations after they rejected your work,
as if the words you wrote lacked the luster
and the importance of the words of others.
I suppose certain grant writers get more money
for certain words, certain editors need salaries,
and certain ideas hit closer to home.
I mean, I am a father, a husband; I am white and male
(but none of that matters; but identity is chic now);
I have tried hard as any to get to where I am.
I would say I am a poet but by most accounts
and the emails I get, that means I am a failed poet.
I don’t make rent or pay bills off of my work,
it pays in smiles and a sort of pride
that only you and I would understand.
What I do is safe as a handrail on icy stairs.
What I do is very, very, very easy
because doing something you love shouldn’t be hard.
What I do isn’t exactly defined, thankfully;
in a scene you have to either be or not
or just keep going until someone notices you
and either says “shit” or “genius” or “you are that poet”
and that really depends on the time of year
and who you are close friends with,
and what kind of poem you read at the open mic, and how.
So, I have noticed, when you sit down and write a poem
it usually happens, and you can do it,
though I would say most are worried about perfection,
how other people feel about their ideas,
and would hide their art because
it might lack meaning, identity, or a soapbox purpose,
absolutely defined by others in a social vaccuum.
But we will never know. And that is why I wrote this poem
precisely for you. I find it a huge success.
Writing mostly happens, or I guess it doesn’t.
Easy as mom’s Facebook post or Trump’s tweets.
Easy as pressing keys and not marketing.
it is 6 degrees in frogtown, mn,
i am inside sick watching cspan
and a baby sleep in his rock
& play, wife in the kitchen watching
a cracked screen. my face is full
of snot, head full of congestion, watching
talking heads tell me about “fake news”
and debates and their influences.
(easy, i could take their words for it
they probably don’t care about mine.)
someone wears a bandaid on his cheek;
the president wants a deep dive
investigation; and the red hot chili
peppers had a forgotten album in 2004, says reddit.
i wonder about where i was at that time,
i don’t know how that all factors
into everything, but mostly i care
about what is right here, around me.
wooden floors and naked feet–pallid,
lemon sinks to the bottom of my mug
as a blue whale in the south pacific,
muddy water coffee waits on a tablecloth,
plastic snug on the windows, electrical heaters
and baby toys. a coat hangs slack
like yesterday. i know how hillary
felt when she fell into that van,
now i’m with her. now i am sick.
now i am achy as a lab skeleton cold.
O’ fatty bacon ends
and dirty dishes, and
sunlight on the
blue kitchen floor.
here we talk aloud
about running the
nation as if it’s
even a possibility.
i like the way flesh
smells in the air,
when the cast iron
is heating its oils.
outside a bell chimes
in soft March winds,
the sound: my relatives,
the sound sustains.
it was eaten all up
the while, the same.
it was good, and
i took Sunday full.
and i would write
about real, jokingly.
and i would listen
to podcasts, hopefully.
child of the week,
but nothing to do,
monday is gone.
Tuesday is here.
and we go at
in the week
we pretend it’s
it’s really not.
the real deal,
the very second.
alive, here it is.
next day taken away.
To my astonishment
there was none—
people were content
with old formulas
and bad news.
The “best poet I know”
It was a real treat.
I can sleep a lot, a lot easier.
Entering new worlds to escape another
I woke up from a dream in a lonely bed.
Real life sat next to it on the nightstand,
in the early stretches, in “slept like a rock”
preparation for what’s to come. Today
was like any other, though different—shall
we double: it is shit and it is great. I would
cite Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, but
they are dead. I would cite Anton Chigurh,
but he is nowhere to be found. “They are.
It is.” Those statements defining the
day, the morning, the thrown pillows, drool
stained, and crumpled blankets with their cat
hair, are your shell, your cocoon exited.
They rest there, waiting for another moment
to bring adventure, where you fall into the
fold and escape this life to REM, to where
monsters and mistresses await, where gold
and garbage stay; past loved ones welcoming
you in boats, and in jest. That to this, this
to that. Don’t become unwrapped for awoken
reality hits full on hard. There fellow man
meets to never actually meet. We relate,
but never truly. Reaching for the water on
the dusty dresser top, cat at my feet, shades
drawn, another day to walk to the kitchen,
open the fridge, to make breakfast, marks
and tracks, to make me. I enter this world
from another. I wonder, do we ever actually
sleep? And then I wake from this dream.
A wavy reflection at the Dunn Bros. storefront up Como
left me marveling at open beauty,
left me a helplessly stumbling fool,
left short words of: I am not from around here,
left a lady in a little black dress with a thick accent saying,
“Cheers!” and walking on.
Inside I palmed a hot cup of coffee
with new found direction,
“thanks man”, I said, as I dropped a buck into his tip jar,
after he had scrolled his iphone for the address of our location.
I went outside again, to help.
Gray skies had left her gone as I stood puzzled in the space
of thick fonted glass at a doorway threshold.
I thought of how useless I was to a foreigner as my liquid cooled.
How American of me,
I am not from around here, but just down the road.