Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

E.E. Cummings

Posted: February 7, 2017 in Poetry
Tags: ,

I don’t think that I’ll age well.
I was counting on poetry
to keep me young
like some kind of island or some shit
that gives the mind
a much needed respite… but look at Cummings:
never worked a straight job;
traveled to Europe frequently;
given a generous allowance;
had someone else father his child;
and among his friends were the likes
of W.C. and Ezra.

In many ways a
Lucky
Lucky man.

Yet then again,
even he didn’t age well.

Became frail in old age
hateful of Hollywood
jews
critical of welfare
conveniently
forgetting
his own
benefactors.

But then again
the army did put him
in a detention center.

His wife kept their
daughter
from him.

She didn’t even
know that E.E. was her dad
until she tried to
seduce him.

Perhaps my only hope lies
in the fact
that there’s no poetry in me

and perhaps that
isn’t such a bad thing
for even poems
tend to be nailed to a cross
and hang like
a piece of half-cooked bacon

and are ultimately
easily forgettable….

Even the good ones.

* Originally posted on Citizens for Decent Literature, July 13, 2013

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A Letter to Franz Kafka

Posted: December 20, 2015 in Poetry

I’m not going to say that it wasn’t
A fucked up thing for Gregor Samsa
To suddenly wake up as a cockroach
But I still say that it would’ve been
Even more traumatic for a cockroach
To suddenly wake up as a human

Sure his fiancé left him
Sure he lost his job
Sure his family was happy when he was dead
But it was good that he found out who’s who
And that all is conditional

The roach knows what’s what
That existence is
A delicate balance of
Cooperation and competition
That sentiments
Do you about as much good
As a busted leg

And it knows better
To stay away
That the light of lies
Can’t penetrate the darkness
Under the refrigerator
That the stink
And corruption of
Institutions
Can’t find it
In the walls
That the roach motel
Or death by suffocating poison
Sure the hell beats
Consciousness that cripples

Once the roach becomes man
Where does it hide?
Two legs aren’t as good as six
And it isn’t used to being
Such a big target

* Originally published in Deuce Coupe, March 24, 2010

Barely the Minority?

Posted: December 16, 2015 in Poetry

They’ll watch tv like blind dogs…
Buy lottery tickets
Listen to the same old songs
And bitch about taxes under
The compulsion of stingy despair and piss
Away their coins in slot machines
As they piss themselves
Bitter
Yet enjoying their bitterness.
Hopeless
Yet functioning despite their hopelessness.
Absurd
Yet unaware of their absurdity.
Deranged
Yet seeing dignity and entitlement in it.
Ignorant
Yet proud of their ignorance…
Finding comfort
In the certitude
That only half-ass religion and
Patriotism can bring…. On Sundays
It gets them a 25 percent discount
Off of the privilege
Of a personal relationship
With the savior.
On some days it’s something
That they don’t even think about.
And on other days, it’s the only
Thing that sustains them
As they patiently wait
For their compensation at the end of days.
This isn’t a town somewhere.
This isn’t a city somewhere.
These are a multitude of lonely enclaves
Of humanity
Barely the minority
Yet
A cheap
And a reliable source of
Renewable destruction
For everyone and everything else.

* originally published in Haggard and Halloo, August 31, 2009

Hamid from Egypt

Posted: December 12, 2015 in Poetry

In the back stockroom
Of the downtown Safeway,
I worked with an old man named Hamid.
He was a PhD in history who
Was forced to flee
His own country.

We weren’t alone.
There were the cockroaches,
And the mice, and some gnats.

And there were lines
And lines of
Destitutes.

Of homeless people
With forsaken brows
And furled beards.

Of bag ladies
Without illusion, hope
Or femininity.

Of trendy yuppies
Who were overpaid
And smug.

Of gutter punks
Dirty, stinking,
And unapologetic
Or hip kids
Posing
As gutter punks.

Of party-time college boys
Looking to drink,
Fuck and spawn.

Me and Hamid saw it all.
The working types. The artsy types.
The hippie types. The average types.
The druggie types.

We put the cans in large
Plastic bags. The bottles were a bit
More difficult, because they came in different
Shapes and sizes. We sorted and stacked
Them on pallet boards
Like slaves
Building a pyramid.

* Originally posted on Haggard and Halloo July 12, 2009

Insect Freedom

Posted: November 18, 2015 in Poetry

When Joe Cloyd
Woke up
One morning

He found
Himself
Transformed

Into a
Cockroach

He didn’t panic
He didn’t despair

He looked
To his right
To his wife
Who was
Sleeping
And slowly
Scuttled
Out of bed

He then went
In his
Daughter’s room
To look in
On her
But the crib
Was too high

But he could
Smell her
And she was
Doing fine

So he headed
For the
Front door
And was never
Seen again

When it hit
The papers
He was
Talked about
By old women
Who never
Even knew
Him

The old women
Despised him
For turning
Into a
Cockroach
Because they had
Nothing better
To talk
About

That
Joe Cloyd is
Slime, I
Don’t care what
Anyone says,
Declared one of
The old women
At the bingo hall

Yah, turning into
A cockroach is
No excuse, another
Interjected,
My sweet Bill
Turned into a
Cockroach years
Ago and we’ve
Been happy ever
Since

But their
Cockroach husbands
Who were at home
Understood

* Originally posted on Clutching at Straws February 17, 2010

Shut the door and come in

Posted: March 20, 2014 in Poetry

Life is a series of doors
that you open once and then close forever.

No wonder all these old people
are bitter—envious and hateful of youth.

No wonder they suck on the flag
with their hand over their heart
and their finger up their ass.

It’s hard to imagine that all these old people
were young once, but they were—

these timid haters of children—

so dried up that not even viagra-laced veal
with a side
of cealus caesar salad
can make their pricks

burn again.

I like that you paint. I like that you’re not one
of them. I like that you like the sound of me
playing the bass

that thumps out color
(I do my best)
as we try
to make up our own key.

* Originally published in Citizens for Decent Literature #4, September 22, 2012

on humid days your skin gets slippery like
the stink and spider webs hanging from the shed door
as you take out the garbage
so that the bears and raccoons don’t shred it
to bits let them have it let them have it
let them have it the bits the whole thing
that’s what I say and if it were up to me it would be so
evolution or no
they’d probably do better than us
except for all the nuclear reactors
just one more thing
insuring that the whole evolution thing goes kaput

and on these HUMAN days where your skin is greased up
in lotion and chicken guts the stink of methane and car exhaust
weighing down your lungs
that it makes you want to join a cult
and wait for the world to end
because if you can’t beat them
you might as well swallow them
while in other news romney 2.0 in a debate with obama
shot death rays out of his eyes and sizzled clinton’s pecker
like dick van dyke dicking don draper

to america he pleads blink blink
I just want to
get you working again
blink blink

well who the hell wants to work
we want our markets to be free BUT we ALSO want
to protect our white women and our white constitution
commented the republican zeitgeist
with a sinister chuck chuck chuckle