Regular Poem: stupid

17 Feb

i’m not a stupid woman
but i do things stupidly
i make bad pancakes
and worse decisions
take stupid routes to stupid places

i’m not a stupid woman
i just buy stupid things
money leaps from my hands
i’m a burning building
and money is the people trapped
in the penthouse
choosing to end it quickly

i’m not a stupid woman
i just play one on tv
the pilot was filmed
is perpetually being filmed
and has yet been picked up
by a network
the test audience didn’t get it
it read too much like a
psychological experiment
not enough like a
compelling narrative

i’m not a stupid woman
but i could’ve fooled you
i could’ve fooled me
but at least
i don’t tell myself
the same kinds of lies
anymore

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Regular Poem: Dusty Rose Isn’t Dramatic Enough

31 Jan

i’m a woman of
incidental carbohydrates
and accidental reputations
the same face but a thousand
facets
each as genuinely lovely
yet disingenuous
as the fake diamonds
weighing down a butterfly brooch’s
wiry wings
frozen in a tableau of false flight
attached to a cheap but well-groomed lapel
pretending to be
alive and glamorous

rage is an identity
as much as emotion
it’s much easier
to wear it
like lipstick
be known for it
coral garden
is my favorite shade currently
and it’s just the flush of pink
my cheeks go
when i’m on an ultimately nonthreatening and restrained
characteristic
rant

it’s me
that’s the me
i am
known to be

it’s much easier to wear that
than to access the visceral
live the visceral
wipe off the coral garden to reveal
the gaping bloody maw beneath

it’s not a fun rage
satisfied with flipping hypothetical tables
burning down hypothetical buildings
laughing with crazy fury as someone punches me in the teeth
and i shake the sweat from my hair and grin back and hiss
try it harder coward
even as i’m shifting my weight for a counterattack

it’s not a fun crazy rage
just mad relentless recklessness
such an agreeable portrait of me
strong and ready and unhinged and smiling into the sun as
my wings melt but i flap obstinately anyway

it’s a sane rage tinged with
melancholy and stagnation
that gets so tedious so fast
that to preserve my own life
twists itself into maudlin
self-loathing and then
apathy

turn it off
put it on
take it out
in increments
ration it
or
dump it
a steady stream of it
is poisonous
i’ve spent the last few years
building up an immunity

coral garden
topical rant
comically kicks a chair over
rights self and continues day

it’s me
that’s the me
i am
known to be

bare skin
cyclical intrusive thoughts
critically analyzes feelings
rights self and continues day

it’s me
that’s the me
i am
to myself

Regular Poem: Blue Moon

30 Jan

tomorrow
is a full moon
a blue moon
a blood moon
a supermoon
a moon a moon
the same and different
the sane and insane
gertrude stein could do it better

tomorrow
i dress for you
and you don’t know
or maybe you do
surely you might

surely you might
but i don’t spend my time
thinking about that
i’m too selfish
or not selfish enough

i dress for you
a different you
than the first you
pronouns are wonky and ambiguous
that way
you inspire me
and i identify with you
and i want to touch you

oh shit that’s both yous
but different ways

first you
it’s physical chemical pheromonal
insinctual obsessive
ridiculous illogical
corner you
in the butterfly house at the botanical gardens
seduce you seduce you
incite you entice you

second you
it’s metaphysical intellectual
instinctual obsessive
corner you
tell you tell you
connect

your mind to my mind my mind to your mind
meld
meld
meld

what could i learn from that
what would i not want to learn from that
caressing your brain
a third you
now

third you
if my mind and your mind
melded
would we hate each other
surely you might
hate me
i could never hate you
you’d try not to hate me
compartmentalize
save me
from myself

the three yous
are the maiden mother crone
but i can’t sort them
the three yous
are the different same full moons
and i can’t sort them

i can’t sort them
i can’t sort
at all anymore

i know
there is
you
and
you
and
you

and
me

and

tomorrow is a full moon
again

Regular Poem: The GCBRO Extends Its Deepest Sympathies

14 Dec

don’t worry

i don’t need
anybody to love me
or a baby to scold
or a job that treats me like a human
or even just an alcoholic old gruff racist sentimental dad to hang out with and be perpetually frustrated by

i just need
some cool ass guns
and a little bourbon

i don’t need peace of mind
or anything better to do

just full garages
and a little petty cash

just a hastily bought tuxedo
and second hand memories
and a ton of fantasies
about being a completely different person

just anger and grief
and ghosts and guilt

don’t worry

***

babe

how do you like your new roommates?

you thought it was just going to be you
and that piano
forever?

fat chance, sweetheart

when you’re with a woman such as i
you’ve got to learn to expect these things
roll with the blind lurching punches
ready to jump up and punch back
or just take it
i usually just take it
old iron jaw
they call me
old bozo the clown bop bag

***

don’t worry

i’m definitely not
talking to my tuxedo again

don’t worry

my tuxedo that i did not name babe
is not
the closest thing
i’ve had to a romantic relationship
in years

***

we really did
bury him in a cigar box
i thought it had been a joke
when i had suggested it for myself

but then there it was
so perfect

his last words were

and one more thing

spoiler alert
there wasn’t
one more thing

there were eight rounds of cpr
and then a few hours of surgery
and then many hours of tremors and seizures

until he quietly gave up the ghost
none of us there to see it

it’s like
he wanted me to see it
and no one else
i should’ve told them to stop the cpr
he was probably mad at me for that
and that whole day and a half after
was a guilt trip
punishment

one time when i was a kid
i got in a fight at school
and his punishment for me
was a two week grounding
from all my favorite stuff
and i thought it was bullshit
because that kid i smacked
deserved it
and i’ve always been great
at justifying my poor decisions

and anyway
i talked him into
an appeal

he got a bunch of his cop friends together
to be a review board
we both presented our cases
they sided with me
and my sentence was reduced to time served
plus like three days

it was very us
extra
they call it these days
so extra

he was the most extra
and i guess i’m my father’s daughter

and hanging on to the barest definition of life
by the skin of his dentures
to watch me suffer
to watch us all suffer
for 36 hours

seems like a thing he would do

***

don’t worry

i cut myself opening a condolence card
and then the content of it
was the sweetest one i’d received

but i’m not bleeding anymore

don’t worry

i really am contemplating
using my inheritance
to buy a houseboat
start a new life as someone
who wears a shoulder holster with a .357 magnum in it every day

don’t worry

***

babe

maybe i’ll take you out tomorrow

maybe i say tomorrow too much

maybe there’s never a today for either of us
just bleary yesterdays and tomorrows that are never
the tomorrows we want them to be

***

don’t worry

i’ll find someone else
who’ll spend three hours driving around looking for a stupid truck with a matte black diy paint job
and homemade plywood topper

i’ll find someone else
who’ll tour cemeteries with me
get kicked out of casinos and Chinese buffets with me

i’ll find someone else
who’ll accidentally find dead serious bigfoot websites
while searching for the county code book
(counties don’t have codes
they have ordinances)

i’ll find someone else
to confess to
and to have confess to me

i’ll find someone else
who can make me laugh and cry and rage and love and hate and think and think and think

don’t worry

Regular Poem: Stiff-Necked

20 Nov

It is a stiff-necked people.

I always liked the phrase
but never quite understood it.

Until my own neck became stiff
my muscles tense
pulling my ribs out of alignment.

I had always imagined the Isrealites
gazing unchangingly
at their molten idol–
just being jerks,
focused on whatever
was in front of them.

But I get it
now.

They weren’t stiff-necked just because of that.
It was the accumulation
that made them that way.
They carried their stress in their shoulders
their trapezia, their rhomboids.

They were stiff-necked
metaphorically
stubborn and proud
but probably also
literally
after years of wandering and waiting.

You delivered me from bondage in Egypt
just to murder me in the wilderness.

I’ve seen the manna,
the magical, the miraculous.

And yet here I am
begging for a golden calf.

It is a stiff-necked people.

It is a stiff-necked me.

I need a massage.
And to repent.

Regular Poem: It’s Always Rosebushes

3 Oct

my stance on rosebushes
(to recap: fuck them;
they’re the worst)

is well-documented

consider then
my chagrin
horror even

discovering
and contemplating

that i am one
damn it

my pastor’s sermon sunday
(and you see now it’s
tuesday
and i’m still thinking about it;
one or both of us
is at least doing
some t h i n g
right)

was about change growth
sanctification
(if you want to be like that
and he didn’t say the word
and i didn’t think it—
till just now)

to paraphrase

heat affects us all
(common grace, common tribulation)
and the way we respond
shows our heart
our root

are we inhabiting the parched places of the wilderness
or are we
as a tree planted by the waters

do men gather grapes of thorns
or thistles of figs

he went on to say
people don’t plant
thorny things
thorny things
spring up
from sin
from that heart of the old man
who hangs around
wolf whisting
scoffing

but of course
people do plant rose bushes
pretty flowers ugly thorns
vines and vines and vines
horrible and intricate and beautiful

the roots are long and sturdy
difficult to disrupt
you dig and dig
and sweat and sweat

and from that root
comes great and terrible
alike

you deadhead
you prune

and still
it’s both flowers and thorns
and still
a hearty rosebush
is the only discernible t h i n g

i ought not
have these thorns
i ought to be a mum or pansy

but here i am
this rosebush

heart divided
heat and rain encouraging
both flower and thorn

Regular Poem: Throwing a Rug Over It

18 Sep

i’ve been throwing a rug over it
for years
literally years
all the chances to fix it
fell through
all the windfalls
burned up in emergency vet bills
all the months i could’ve saved
i went to the casino instead

i’ve been avoiding it for months
keeping a quart of oil in my trunk
to slosh accidentally onto my
black patent leather pumps already late to church

i’ve been using a different mirror for weeks
the light fixture barely worked in the first place
half of it crapped out years ago
but an electrician would take one look
at my hobbled together ’50s diy circuitry
and give me a million dollar estimate
and i’d rather use a different mirror
and go to the casino

i make my bed
i sort my mail
i floss my teeth
i pick out my clothes for tomorrow the night before

easy
small
ritual
order
agency

if the train moves forward
always forward
always on the rails
always the same direction
all the cars go too

if the ship is sinking but can limp home
you throw stuff out
barebones
keep the sails up
prayer and fasting prayer and fasting

ignore tolerate hope
grin bear it
longsuffering forebearing

agency
order
ritual
small
easy

i run the dishwasher
i make my lunch for tomorrow
i vacuum
i keep fresh flowers on the dining room table
i set my alarm

and i don’t wake up the next morning
a different person in a different house in a different life

i know because
there’s that rug over that ruined parquet
there’s that change engine oil light
there’s that lightswitch that switches on nothing
and
there are those clothes i picked out that lunch i packed that same
face in that alternate mirror

time and money slip through fingers
dreams and ambitions slip just as easily
one foot in the grave the other
on a banana peel

so i’ve been throwing a rug over it
for years

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