Regular Poem: Symbolism

4 Jan

a symbol a motif a theme
does the english teacher insist or is it real

what is real

a symbol a motif a theme
represents something else
is repeated multiple times
is what it’s all about

a symbol a motif a theme

anaphora perfect rhyme eye rhyme consonance assonance enjambment

is what it’s all about

it’s all about
whatever it’s about
close and far and here and there and

wherefore art thou

(why are you)

why shoudln’t i be

a rose by any other name

yes
roses smell sweet
rose hips taste ok too
they’re soft and palatable

but the rose bush itself

a symbol is only as good as
what it represents

in print it’s different
recognizable

but in person

in person
it’s up to memory
which is so fallible
and malleable
prone to whatever seems best at the time or circumstance

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Regular Poem: Ambiguously Tragic

27 Dec

they call it hubris
in the greek tragedies
and in other tragedies too

the hero is too proud
the hero shakes a fist at a god
a god breaks that fist and the hero too

but a tragedy is not
by definition
a bunch of bullshit that happens to someone
a cycle of neverending bullshit
so much bullshit
even the insects are surfeited and bored of it

a classical tragedy
necessitates a doomed hero
someone who falls
from a position of power and honor

and hubris isn’t just cockiness
it afflicts heroes not douchebags
it’s the thinking you know
thinking you’re good and right
thinking it won’t happen to you
because you won’t let it
feeling not so much superior as
super

and ain’t that a kick in the head

a tragic hero
is by definition
super
and yet knowing that and acting upon it
is so often the fatal flaw
that precipitates
the tragedy
that lends its adjectival form
to the hero
who is not a regular hero
but one fated to lose

most games are losing games
if you play long enough

is that the pessimist in me talking
or the tragic hero
[discussion of dramatic irony redacted]

am i a hero at all
tragic or otherwise

i know good and well
i’m the villain
in someone else’s story

but who am i in my own

in a good tragedy
the hero is her own worst enemy
i’m not sure
how committed i am to the genre

let’s have a comedy instead
(classically technically those end in marriage
so that’s probably out)

let’s have gothic horror instead
(ghosts and arson and madwomen in attics
i can abide those more easily)

let’s have pastoral poetry
let’s have medieval romance
let’s have screwball comedy
let’s have absurdist drama
let’s have magical realism

still there are protagonists and antagonists

protagonize isn’t a recognized word
but i know how to antagonize
only too well

and even when i don’t mean to
i do anyway

the tragic hero is a hero
in his own story
but he’s just a dick
in somebody else’s

jocasta this is your life
the ’50s tv announcer says to her
she fucked her own son and then took her own life
he’s a tragic hero and she’s
collateral damage

lady macbeth this is your life
the ’50s tv announcer says to her
she manipulated her husband into murder and then took her own life
he’s a tragic hero and she’s
collateral damage

there’s the genre i want to embrace
i’ll be a ’50s game show panelist
i don’t know who the guest is
i ask questions
and am so charmed by the responses
i investigate
i deduce
i delight in

i am an obscure broadway star
wearing a blindfold
asking yes/no questions
being glib and glamorous and charismatic
there is no other pressure
in this black and white dream

but it’s not black and white
and it’s not a dream

it’s surreal
definitely
but also so real real real

real and unreal
real and hyperreal

the figures dancing behind my eyes
don’t know which is which

i know what i know
i can testify to only my own testimony
(two women equals one man
i try not to get riled up)

i can testify to only
what i know
which is increasingly less

i may not be a tragic hero
but in some cases i’m tragic
and in some cases a hero

but always
there’s that hubris

a tragic hero has hubris
i have hubris

does it logically follow
sat act a million years ago

and ain’t that a kick in the head

hubris
logic
puzzles
if then if then

there are so many puzzles
and so many solutions

i’m not smart enough
i’m not tragic enough
but i’m proud enough

they call it hubris
in the greek tragedies

Regular Poem: Terse

19 Dec

it’s probably because
i’m actually

verbose

multitudinous and superfluous and loquacious and garrulous

in actual conversations

in actual life
to her definitely but
even to myself

i talk so much
(“are you afraid of silence, mrs. peacock?”
“yes.
what?! no! why?!”)

i talk so much
to myself

i talk so much
to people i like

i talk
because i can’t not

but when someone questions opposes
i don’t

my face talks
for me

i know enough
not to speak
but my not speaking
is speaking too

(my words may be terse
but my face is

verbose

multitudinous and superfluous and loquacious and garrulous)

“you can always tell when
al is thinking;
each thought plays across her face”

i’ve never been good at hiding
never had an incentive worthy enough to expend the energy

except when i have
and i hid from something that needn’t really have been hidden from

i mentioned i had been terse

perhaps i had
perhaps she liked that explanation
perhaps i had liked that she liked that
in my
verbose but terse
way

Regular Poem: Double 0 License Renewal

7 Dec

To: [Redacted]
From: Human Resources
Re: License Renewals

Compose Email

Good afternoon!

First of all congratualtions to [redacted] on winning the betting pool regarding the date of [redacted]’s [redacted]!

More exciting chances to teambuild and [redacted] to come!

The following personnel’s certifications have expired and must report to HR offices before [redacted] to sign up for renewals.
When you sign up, remember to keep in mind the length and labor-intensivity of the courses.

First Aid/CPR:
[list redacted]

Hand-to-hand Combat:
[list redacted]

Parkour:
[list redacted]

Seduction:
[list redacted]

Cheekiness during Torture:
[list redacted]

Unrepentant Murder:
[list redacted]

If you’ve found your name
among any of these lists,
please sign up
for the required recertifications,

but also remember
your name is nothing.
You are but a number
in service
to Queen and Country.

Best,
[redacted]

Regular Poem: Nevermore

30 Nov

it’s common enough
but
common is uncommon

sometimes
what one sees daily
still holds

no solid definition

one sees hears a word
and the word is solid with meaning

but the description

lacks

there is no understanding

but i understand
and you understand

the understanding is

tacit

xxx

ds al fine
round and round and done

a tag

xxx

the pain of it
one to ten
ten to one

food and fury

xxx

ds al coda

xxx

she’s a good girl thinking bad things
i’m a bad girl thinking bad things
with her

coda tag eight bars and out

xxx

i don’t know the meaning
of a lot of words
i see and hear

but i see them and hear them
so often
that i pretend

xxx

quoth the raven
nevermore

is a raven just
a black bird

or more

Regular Poem: Sweating in Rayon

16 Nov

i’m not trying to sweat in rayon

something about it and me
doesn’t blend well

a fabricated fabric
a sweet sweat
hot and gross

and yet
here i am
in rayon
sweating

at least i’m not
an old testament prophet
(an old mantra)
at least i’m not
any character in wuthering heights
(a new mantra)
at least i’m not
(an infinite mantra)

comparing is decomposing
a fallen leaf on the wet ground
waiting to be
annihilated
organically sun and shower frost and fever

i’m not trying to sweat in rayon

but here i am
in rayon
sweating

she doubles over at my vaudeville joke
she does a spit take at my regular observance

i understand i’ve been funny
(i always make myself laugh)
but i don’t get
how
i’ve been
funnier
than usual

it’s a personal essence

tapping into
palpating
a different
specific
succinct
personal

essence

whatever whoever
i am
smells bad
in rayon

to me at least

but he compliments
and she laughs
and she

tells and tells

(it’s more and too much)
(it’s more
than i’m used to)

usually

i’m talking and talking
but now
i’m listening and listening
contorting my face into a listening face
plastic athletic

(i would do push ups for you
you would enjoy them
clap and fawn over them but
that’s not
what you want
now
you want my silence
and my
listening
face)

it’s more and less than you’ve ever told me

i listen and tell
and you
tell and listen

you hardly sweat at all
and i

i hate to sweat in rayon

Regular Poem: As Soon as Things Seem Good

17 Oct

if only
i were a painter

if only
i were a person
who luxuriated in detail

if only
i could detail that detail

***

i walk in
you recognize my step or my huff
you turn
your face brightens

this is where i wish
i were a painter

there are happy crinkles at your eyes
there is alacrity there too
shoulders and arms all welcoming noodles
al dente
throw it against a wall
watch it stick

“i haven’t seen you in a while”

your chair scoots and slides
closer and closer
your body language
open open open
talk listen talk listen
hello hello

(we bullshitted ad nauseum one week and two days ago
saw each other in passing five days ago)

you’ve been keeping track
in your way
and i’ve been keeping track
in mine

***

“i have nothing to say
there are no thoughts in my brain”
i say earlier in the day
and it’s true
i’m clear
but
wanting

and as you look at me
expecting
al dente
to the tooth
i’m still
blank
so blank
full of nothing

we talk
to produce something
something to fill a very specific void
a square peg a round hole
grinding on each side
talking and talking
now in the parking lot two hours later
a triangular peg a triangular hole
perfect
architecturally sound

we are one side
two sides
three sides

two legs good
three sides best

***

he says
i have a gift
she says
i’m too smart for this place
i say
what we have in common is our mutual penchant for

riling ourselves up
subjecting ourselves
to things
and ideas
so opposed to our values
that we
get mad

philosophically morally ethically
theologically

***

i’m not a good girl

when i pass a person i hate
i think the worst thoughts
(although i may not voice them)

(“he
‘s skulking around to take over proceedings
bastard asshole get fucked”)

i confess
“i think bad things of people”
each in turn offers a person
i don’t think bad things of
as an appendix addendum
people i respect admire and then

“you surely don’t think bad things of [redacted]” someone says
“it’s a different kind of terrible that i think of her” i say

everyone shudders

***

i can’t stand your earnest face

this is not what we are

i come to you
weary and wary

we talk and talk
like each other
indulge each other

you are not
supposed to believe in me so
advise me
think me

a real person

we are supposed
to accept each other

as the fantastical creatures we should be

but here you are seeing the real me
and here i am seeing the real you

and neither of us should like it but we do anyway

and as soon as we do thus
as soon as we do thus
as soon as he says
as soon as she says

the other shoe must drop

***

i will be proved unworthy

i am as fake as i am real

an equilibrium
so inequitable
i might snap

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