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Regular Poem: Ditch It

29 Jan

“Ditch the poetry blog,”
she says.
“Record an album of country-western covers of selections from The Messiah instead.”

“Ditch the vampire novel,”
she says.
“Write the gothic horror romance featuring the necrophilia we all deserve instead.”

They’re both
both right and wrong.

I trust them and don’t.

I write for myself,
whoever myself is at that moment.

And sometimes they like it,
and sometimes they don’t;

sometimes they suggest.

I like the feedback,
the attention,
the knowing
that they know.

But still
I will write what I write.
And I will like it
whether they suggest or not.

The trope of selling one’s soul
is so strange to me.

A soul is given.

There is no capitalistic transaction
in my experience.

There is no cost and benefit analysis.

One sins

is embarrassed later
is shamed later

A lot of anxiety is there
in the remembering.

One walks in the flesh.

One walks and walks
limping one moment,
speeding the next.

How does one sell what has already been given away?

I’m the class slut.
I desire men with good triceps,
women who dress like repressed morticians.
I satisfy myself haphazardly.

I am vocal,

I’m the class slut
who in real life
gets laid very intermittently
and remains


If only someone would drag their fingers through my hair.
If only someone would–

I often think and don’t think.

Ditch this, ditch that.

One walks in the flesh.

One walks,
glides, runs;
as much as I want to be pious–

the Holy Spirit walks, glides, runs.

And yet here I am.

I want so much.
I remember so much.
And yet there is so little here.

Ditch this, ditch that.

I don’t know what I love.
I don’t know what loves me.

It ought to be easier.

But ought is ought
not should.

I ought to ditch a lot of things.
And I should
ditch more.


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

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

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

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

and ain’t that a kick in the head

a tragic hero
is by definition
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
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

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


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?”
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


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

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]

[list redacted]

[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.


Regular Poem: Nevermore

30 Nov

it’s common enough
common is uncommon

what one sees daily
still holds

no solid definition

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

but the description


there is no understanding

but i understand
and you understand

the understanding is



ds al fine
round and round and done

a tag


the pain of it
one to ten
ten to one

food and fury


ds al coda


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

coda tag eight bars and out


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


quoth the raven

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

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
organically sun and shower frost and fever

i’m not trying to sweat in rayon

but here i am
in rayon

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
i’ve been
than usual

it’s a personal essence

tapping into
a different


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)


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
you want my silence
and my

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

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