Posts tagged ‘words’

July 12, 2017

the logic of selling books at a public library

i never got it
while tutoring at hamline/midway
the evening crew
would ready the chairs
get the event set up
and talk
and put cookies out
and put coffee out
and the sun would drain away
in the winter void
and people would come in
and wait and watch
like stand men or trees
and listen
and i would read books with my student
at a round table with a sign
and talk words
and say this and that
and this is what that means
and i would get done
and bundle up for the walk down Minnehaha Ave W
to my warm home and wife and son
and wonder to myself
how could a person
possibly sell a book at a public library
full of books
that any person
could check out for free
with proof of residency
or a driver’s license,
a piece of mail with your address on it.
and that is why i love libraries
on negative 30 degree ice
walking home in wet boots
thinking wow, the sales poets are very bold
or just not that smart
or just i don’t know.
it’s not bad,
i don’t care,
it’s just interesting…

May 21, 2017

auspicious believers (so i cant. so i wont.)

we can never know or understand relateable language no matter the familiarity in whatever function we choose to fancy.  interpretations involve smells and times and deaths and climes and thoughts that no longer exist; bygone dusts could tell better stories, persuade better truths.

i reach for douglass and derrida, and they ask me not to in their words, but i don’t know or understand the meaning.  they say our nostrils could not handle the 1800s and we use words from that season in ways we couldnt image.

tell me its wrong young scholar, fad intellectualists, your precise wisdom is your precise debt.  trapped in a box.  chained.  shackled.  nailed in.  it won’t be the last time.  mind askewed biased abused.  never knowing language; i teach it too.  want to understand study the single meaning for a life and pull it out timid.

i beg you to caution your wits safety.  close and zip your loose lips.  stick a sock in it, save those ships.  there is no exact exactly.  here is a free lesson.  don’t get me started on labels.  sad fools pretend to command it just as you see and read.  ask them about affect or effect, their there theyre, its and its.  sound familiar?

its not, never will be, never has been, never was.  concomitant, concocted, intermingled, fluid, assumptions that others have brains.  and they work well.  when they spin wheels in voids tending to spires metals and idols just past their eyes, telling you what you are with these same words so sure they arent wrong.  try not to laugh.  so right, believe.

so i cant.  so i wont.  every single word.

May 5, 2017

a timed view at 814 S. 12th

my early eyes cut to
the open window at our landing
a pink and orange rising
on some neighbor’s siding wall,
outside quiet,
unobtrusively unannounced,
where grass shakes as strips of paper
leaves stand still as burning effigies
and time waits for a moment.
all life is here and now
the release–of breath of soul of whatever…
and somehow moving on
is less of a chore for this than
sudden death, than surgery, than worry–
and it lingers all the more
touching you softly where it hurts
grabbing you lightly away from your words.
i beg to take a photo of it
that captures such brilliance
but i would only my waste time
with that greedy thought,
and miss the meaning just passed.

April 5, 2017

social sensitivities

here i see social sensitivities
so let’s stretch
his hands out and ride the 16
to the 67 to wind in the face and more wait…

or really cry about
something that won’t happen, ever.
like justices being served in prison terms;
like i won a million dollars.
and the crux of the biscuit is:

we know jason isbell personally,
sort of through someone else, a best friend,
through someone else, a wife,
through someone else, a bandmate
and probably not.

Bourdain said it right tho…
right there on the tv
with Bill Murray over Budweiser
or whisky or wine or food or jagermeister…

all because of a tee shirt
all because of a wet cough

and some sort of talk about needed monies.
but that’s truly a redundancy.

seeing pretty houses and i might buy mine own
all from the comfort of this overpriced rental,
on my living room couch,
just sitting next to you.

March 28, 2017

how to be a thoughtful globalist in the wake of fake intellectuals

this would make me empassioned, or
impassioned.  i am passionate about this something…
that’s how i get
when neo-globalists
who’ve never left the states
try to fix
other people’s problems
with
their English language exclusively.
the irony of westernization; fixed only by itself. YOU SEE?
and that is what they call backwards and selfish.
tho, there will be no stories of this on the news.
because just get out there and disrupt because.
and they should
call those who
think locally “nationalists” too.
a bunch of loud fools.
you know, somethings don’t translate.
you know, people might have different opinions.
this is how language works.
so when they/you designate
their/your ideas, ideations, and ideologies
as such, i just smh in realtime.
so silly, so stupid, so same.
that is why i am a where-ever-i-am-at-ist,
because i am right there,
i can attempt to understand
what i see and experience around me,
for me, for truth, for better.
maybe even for you…
but honestly, not for you (i don’t care)
or the tv (forget tv), i won’t facebook livestream it
or create a clever sign that
gets thrown away next day in some ironic carbon footprint
(that you too should actually hate)
after the post and the filter and the likes–fretter fakes.
and that is what i am passionate about,
or empassioned about, or impassioned about,
all that is around me
because i can touch it tangible,
as they said, i can feel the real,
i can set the clock next to the bed.
and there is something about language and labels.

January 3, 2017

free as i freeze (habit and time)

wake up to routine,
OK Google, play morning jazz.
watch people kiss at the
drop off spot.
it’s cold, there is ice–messages, go outside…
tie shoes and salt the walk.
change diapees of all sorts.
my son makes more art
than the lot in the books
than the lot on the poster
than the lot at the press
than me, and yes, i wrote that
and it’s exclusive to your publication
and i won’t send it
to anyone else, i promise.
no more surprises.
she asks me why i don’t wear
a jacket in 9 degree weather
to fill up the gas tank
so the fuel line doesn’t freeze overnight,
i don’t want to be restricted.
i want to not be cramped.
i just want to make ends meet
even if they have no interest
in meeting and becoming friends
and they just try to avoid
that moment, which i have set out so boldly
to make a reality, on my account.
wake up to routine,
OK Google, bring me a beer.
and deconstruct structure–
wood, screws, metal, shelves, etc.
they tell me i look nice in a blazer.
into packs cramped.
trying to be more free as i freeze
if you would just let me,
it only takes habit and a moment.

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 25, 2016

holiday cheers!

i guess well here’s
a christmas story,
the presents were piled
’round the tree,
in my heavy coffee mug
i substituted
pumpkin spiced liqueur
for bailey’s irish creme.
and i say happy holiday!
cheers, cheers cheers!

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.

July 26, 2016

on hearing Bernie Sanders sell out at the dnc

“Any objective observer will conclude that — based on her ideas and her leadership — Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. (…) I am proud to stand with her tonight.” -Bernie Sanders

american politics
is warmly affectionate,

it lovingly showcases
the american double standard

that you can
publicly be a hypocrite

and that’s all right,
as long

as you are a rich hypocrite
and you are a winning hypocrite
and you are ok with being a hypocrite.

also, that your party
is, what others feel, right,

and that your money
can pay for others to speak for you,

and that you make it
to the very top regardless.

who is all in on who?