Posts tagged ‘usa’

January 20, 2017

reflection: january 20th, 2017

when Facebook is stealing our faces
and phones are stealing our minds
we can find ourselves together in protest
or we can ask for help, and stand in line

December 30, 2016

english majors are the smartest people in the world

i love it when a colleague
tells me that English majors
are the smartest people
in the world. to me, it makes sense,
everyone, everywhere has to eventually
read and write and on and on–
i aver any language major is smart,
but especially if you want to
be a writer and write about your
life, it is wise. tho i suppose if you
want to make money and eat
you had better study finance,
because even dilettantes
can write Moby-Dicks, and even
heartbroken bums can write supreme poems,
and even the most crossed-jaded can
write an eloquent essay of purpose sometimes.
so if you want to stay full and paid and happy
and moderately sound safe sane,
you had better study some finance.
there is smart English logic for you.

December 23, 2016

what to expect when you sit down to write a poem

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.

December 16, 2016

proud to be an american

i very much suppose that
i am proud to be an american,
the individual kind especially,
the kind that isn’t
like the group-think kind
that group-thinks
about big things nationally,
and maybe seldom locally,
unless it’s an opportune time,
like election season or media season,
not askew sharply by
what you think i should “know” and do,
and that others don’t,
even if our freedom of speech
can be very costly and
the weather is more potent
than the law or protesters, and
people want to change
the rules after the buzzer blows
and i can’t think
of anywhere else i would
rather be, maybe–besides
green ireland, with my wife and son,
because, i am very proud
to be an american for
we always get back up together
and we always have some sort of hope.

December 13, 2016

i guess i am afraid too…

i think of our fast time
when and where the fear
holds us tight, when
we tell everyone
how afraid we
are about everything
and anything, everywhere,
so vocally, so knowingly,
and how our ways only
will most likely change that fear.
then i think
about a class that
i took a few weeks back,
one of self-defense, surely,
when and where the
instructor told us all
to not be afraid
of the dark, or not
defend ourselves if we are
and we find ourselves in it.
i mean, it seems so easy,
but the basement can
be really scary, the dark alley
can be truly terrifying,
the misunderstood politician
can seem as the devil incarnate.
and then i remember
looking to outside St Paul,
out on the cold streets,
crusted in white hard snow,
alight with daybreak,
that cold that is out there
in the sun is more
dangerous to us–30 minutes and
you are dead, and that
the summer clothes hanging
in my gloomy basement are
only as scary as i make
them myself, they blow in the wind,
they touch me like shadows,
they do what i tell them
to do in my head. this is what i fear:
the irrational fear of others.
so, i guess i am afraid too…

December 10, 2016

cold as cold as cold and cspan

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.

November 17, 2016

there are no part-timers in a capitalistic world.

true activism is
very important,
especially to
the career activist,
because
even if there
isn’t a problem yet
there is still
rent to pay.

and perhaps always
some imagination
to make.

November 12, 2016

what is art?

last night i picked up a Bukowski again and
read something from his THE CONTINUAL CONDITION

then i thought in the parking lot
after the lady behind me bought my lottery tickets
and dark coffee because
the guy behind the counter
in the unwashed and untucked shirts
didn’t know if they accepted credit cards
or not and the line grew,
and no more money came from my pants,

what is art?

rat is art
tar is art
tra is art

i guess anyway you look
at it, those letters are art.

and the lady in line said: take it, no just take it.
and threw $2 on the counter.
she had a gallon of 2% milk and was serious.

like any-thing is any-thing
else.

perhaps decomposition of a loved one
since the year 2014 is art,
like pumping milk from a cow is art.

or maybe since the year 4201 is art.

i don’t know.
don’t i know.

i watched from the car
as breastfeeding went down in the lot
i didn’t want to be followed,
what a major calamity of sorts.

the gas station lights could
sense my growing shame and
how my patience was lost
in staring at walls or looking
for a cd that wasn’t scratched,
hoping for B.I.G..

crystalline frost formed on the vehicles
near the front lawn.
and i am happy they were there.

we rolled up late, an hour of stationary
before we got back on the road
and i tried to dodge deer
where brown and red smears said they died.

like the leaves piled and decomposing
they are tra, or rat, or tar

or art.

whatever you call it it is that.
like those bleeding hearts couldn’t take a loss.
like losing the lottery in america.
like driving at night with desert eyes.
like coming in late without an excuse.
like not needing one, but you do.
like knowing before others and pretending to not.
like apologizing for everyone like you for guilt, your guilt.
like feeling sorry that you don’t.
like telling people to move on in your shoes.

i suppose

maybe that’s why we all drink coffee
and tell our friends what we think.

and one day the sun won’t spin,
so bring a few extra layers,
everyone will be there.

November 10, 2016

as they say: the end is nigh, (so smile)

apparently our world
is crumbling to
the ballot scattered ground,
over clear democratic process;
i might understand that:
you win some, you lose some,
(the electoral college decides),
you comfort and console some,
you congratulate and celebrate.
or ~300 in St Paul may protest.
or a sheer silence thickens.
or Chuck Todd gets sad.
i don’t know, ask CNN how to feel.
standing, watching from low,
at a distance, there is nothing
to do, but observe the fray,
it doesn’t really matter…
like most, i am lost for words.
time to breathe in and smile.
we all made it through Bush anyway.
america will most likely move on.

November 6, 2016

making it ok

perhaps, in a country where we have made it
commonplace acceptable
to meticulously disrupt and replace
those in far-off scapes

at the push of cold button–now, also
we find it ok to explain which might
or could happen so dire to us
while something right in front

of our very eyes happens.  Imagine that,
we the people see the foreshadowed future
as more imposing, more real than our present
which stalks about us, which tells us

to be concerned for. think of that day
that hasn’t happened yet, and be worried.