How I Forgot to Write Poetry

I don’t know

what words mean

too tired to write poems.

 

You work!

Work is easy,

hardly matters.

 

Don’t remember words

noticing

length of lines.

 

Notice shapes in fire,

cannot smell smoke

genetic disposition

e-n-e in the ear.

 

Danish: slowgna,

maybe Swedish

“ta-shaka-de-seka.”

English: sandspurs

in my mouth.

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The Challenge

Poem, home, cardboard box.

Miami, nights aren’t too cold

Though a few February nights

air nears freezing

as do I.

 

A dirty blanket

flecked with waste, vomit,

spilled food, dirt,

grease from the ground

sturdy box

mashed in places,

corrugation collapsed,

torn and blackened smears.

 

Words, roof, heavy paper,

not enough, as with all,

they are all.

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Cottonmouth Boy

Hershey kiss tattoos

up both arms,

eats cowboy bread,

hums a bar of

Red River Valley

before losing the tune,

 

then says “red lights

are just lights

that used to be yellow.”

 

He has no bars

around his mouth

only around his brain.

 

Green-cot-night

-fan-pulls-mugginess

in the room

on cricketback.

 

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Fetch the Pig

No, we are not

eating it today

take a dollar

pay Mrs Jones

for her corn it ate.

 

Drive him home

and fix the fence

fetch the pig

and make

him secure.

 

As anyone who has been reading much of my poetry lately knows, I have spent a great deal of time and effort over the past three years letting the concepts I have learned through my ModPo experiences infuse my poetry. This is an interesting (for me, at least), throw back to when I wrote poems for that moment, not with any thought to what the poem might mean. It almost seems like cheating. I hope you will respond in a positive or negative way to this abberation.

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On Bourbon, Again

Hear about Fat Billy?

What?

Caught a ball of snakes.

Where? Was HE drinking?

Not on bourbon.

 

What was he doing?

Trying to get somewhere

bumped into them, rattle snakes

say it scared him, bad,

say they was all gray,

first thing he thought:

elephant trunks,

ball of Republicans down here drowned in the shit they made.

I know that’s right! You mean cottonmouths?

Rattlers don’t like water.

 

They were DEAD

 

Why you reckon they gray? And rattlesnakes?

Fat Billy reckons they were trapped under a porch.

What’d he do with them?

Ate’em. I told him they might be poison. You know what he said? Ever thing else is. You know, he’s right.

 

They got six on

Danziger bridge

last night

Black?

Yeah…

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A Stone for your Journey

I struck a stone, a foot down where there should only be sand.

I will dig it out, no matter how large. I began to wonder, about stories of my childhood, Holiness preachers declaring God buried dinosaur bones to confuse the wicked, buried then down in that 6000-year-old earth. I think of God, a young boy, or a girl…. While her mother sews a magical garden of leaves, (Mother of God) this little god-child, this merry trickster crafts dinosaur bones, not bones, there were no dinosaurs, only a prank.

She buried them in soft sand of young Rocky Mountains. She named them that, Rocky Mountains. She liked the way it sounded. I like it, too. She swept her hands together like Micky Mouse in Sorcerer’s Apprentice and piled slabs of rock over them, her mother called, she forgot about them, then she was old, and had a long flowing beard, for who is to say an old woman, being god can’t have a long beard? By then, she had so much wisdom she had little room for memories.

You know this time, when she gave birth to her twins, Adam and Eve, the ones she told the story about the rib, the apple the snake and all those tales!

What she was thinking when she buried large flat stones in the fields of the New England farmers. Did she say, someday, they will dig these out and make lovely fences? Did she think of people all pretty on horses, a mess of beagles chasing some fox to its bloody red end? Did she like fox hunting? One might think so. Maybe she was more into steeple chases, with occasional broken bones and horses to be put down, no intent to kill. Unless she read Dick Francis, man loved to kill.

I will dig it out and take it to heaven and exchange it one day for a crown, no that isn’t right. Is this stone an emblem of suffering and shame? Will she look at it and smile and tell me about being a little girl in Alabama making mud pies with baby Jesus. I will stop her and say, but aren’t you his mother? I mean father, aren’t you God the Father? She will throw her old, old head back and laugh and laugh. Well no, remember my twins? Adam and Eve? Yes, but Jesus has always been my baby brother. Well except for that time he wanted to be a girl. She looks at some point far away and says softly “Lady Baby Jesus” and I stand there astounded, almost agog. “Oh, yes”, she will continue.

I will take this rock to Heaven. Maybe it is like the rock, like one of the rocks they built the theater out of, up north where dad fell through the floor. He was working on the wooden stage. He fell though, smashed his kidney, but got better later, until old when he had kidney stones. It made him think of stones on the outside the theater. Rockville Maryland, but it was a long time ago, I think he said Rockville because of stones. I could ask God when I get there, but her memory, oy vey.

Is God a Jew? No, really? Or a Muslim? Hard to imagine God a Holiness preacher, sweating, black suit, unairconditioned tabernacle, later, a fancy mega church, fat, smooth fingers, no sweat now, fake patting his dry brow. I am sweating. I will dig out the stone.

Three parts John Ashbery and one leftover bit from Rae Armantrout, like a morning biscuit shoved back in the oven, wrapped in a dish towel to be eaten later and now is later.

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Two for Ms Armantrout

After listening to a Poemtalk that featured Rae Armantrout’s The Way, I was moved to write the first poem in a rather intellectual response to her wonder poem, then, pretty much as these things happen, the second poem came to me while making coffee and toast and taking a shower. I hope she isn’t horrified, if she ever reads these.

 

Do You Have the Jesus-bug Inside?

 

Jesus is the Way

Jesus is away

“Away with Him!”

Jesus Aweigh

Poor dead Jesus

slips over the rail

But Jesus walks

and the tiny

Jesus-bug

spreads Jesus wings

 

And flies into

the heavens

no pew cards

no cue cards

no trees

where Jesus-bugs

sit and sing

no Jesus-bugs

there.

 

 

Jerusalem Butter

 

Went down to Jerusalemtown

to get some butter

Mary and Joseph

had taken it all

down to Egyptland

‘cause Pharaoh’s acoming

looking for firstborndead.

 

They say

Jesus is coming

coming real soon

with butter, bread loaves,

fishes, too.

 

I’m sitting here

Jerusalemtown

waiting for Jesus

and a breadloaf

perfectly brown,

butter, too.

 

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