Tag Archives: #whitetrashprobz

Regular Poem: Guys and …?

6 Apr

she says
we don’t call grown men
boys
so we shouldn’t call
grown women
girls
and her argument is sound
and my feminist hackles
are rising with hers
growing in the same field
fertilized by the same
patriarchy
but before i can elizabeth cady stanton
myself into a frenzy
i realize

i do call grown men boys
but more often
dudes
or most often
guys

because man is too weighty for many
dudes
i encounter

i try then to think of analogous terms
for females
and they’re mostly
ladies
to me
but sometimes
women
or
girls
hardly ever chicks
once in a while
gals

“this girl i know”
might be someone my age or younger
“this gal i know”
indeterminate, but sticks in the back of my mouth, i probably owe her money
“this lady i know”
someone awesome: probably
outspoken with a thousand brooches and can pull off gauchos or
a homicide lieutenant or
plays piano like a dream
“this woman i know”
that’s so clinical
dripping with disdain

“this boy i know”
could be anybody, probably cute
“this dude i know”
could be anybody, probably stupid
“this guy i know”
could be anybody, neutral
“this man i know”
sounds dirty to me
like i’m stealing somebody’s husband

now let’s play with modifiers and modes,
connotations and maybe some annotations

“good girl”
she teaches sunday school, bakes
cupcakes for the fire department, does
the Right Thing
any age lawful good
“bad girl”
smokes, drinks, carouses, sasses
red lipstick and stilettos
any age chaotic neutral
“good woman”
a good girl but even more noble
and self-sacrificing
makes your teeth ache and your heart clench
(i know one and i don’t know
whether i want to hug her straight to death
embrace her so tightly and then kill us both with my longsword
tristan and isolde style
or
stare lovingly at her
until she catches me
and then rib her about something
so she knows i’m still me
instead of the drooling sycophant
i become when i think too much
about how wonderful she is)
“bad woman” and “bad lady”
femme fatale, lurking
in black and white tableaus
ready for murder and seduction and fraud
“good gal”
fun to party with, straight shooter
maybe a western sharpshooter in fact

“good boy”
see good girl
“bad boy”
see bad girl
“good man”
probably a dad or a deacon or both
“bad man”
see bad woman
“good guy”
generic male who is generally conscientious,
listens and talks thoughtfully,
tries
“bad guy”
opposite of good guy, also manipulative
maybe sinister
“good dude”
like a good guy but kind of dumb
“bad dude”
like a bad guy but kind of dumb

maybe all
these connotations
are colored by my own
internalized mysogyny
but
i don’t see
on the silver screen of my mind
a girl
as excusively a child
and therefore
devalue the women i call girls
because i myself am a girl
to myself
in a lot of contexts
and sometimes a woman
w
o
m
a
n
sometimes a lady
sometimes a gal
and sometimes a lot of other words
i try not to use
because i don’t philosophically agree
with gendered insults

but i also don’t
see boy
as exclusively a child
and a lot of other people don’t
either

maybe i listen to too much county western music
where everybody’s
the boys around here
and good old boys

far be it from me
to suggest
country western music
is anywhere near as progessive
as this lady thinks everything
ought to be

(“this lady”
someone respectable but to be disagreed with)

and also far be it from me
to suggest
everyone
shares my dialect
and singular sensibilities

and there’s the crux
of the problem

when that guy says girl in reference to a grown woman
he probably means something different
and thinks something different
than that man who says girl in reference to a grown woman
who means something different
than that lady who says girl in reference to a grown woman

so we’re back
to her argument
that we ought not do it
but we’re also back to my argument
of individual responsibility
and we’re back to the perennial argument
about language

and how it evolves
and influences

i’d like to do a study
of the usage of girl
in other languages

but i’m too much of a dude

Regular Poem: The Day They Sell That Sailboat

3 Apr

The day they sell that sailboat
I’m gone.

I’m missing all my turns and heading
straight south until the road ends and then
taking another road

driving and driving
until I’m out of gas and then
just running
until I’m out
of air.

I’m collapsing in a field
five blocks from
my abandoned vehicle
and lying there
exhausted
until

I have the energy
to scream

and scream until
I don’t have the energy.

The day they sell that sailboat
I’m out.

I’m knocking over a convenience store
fleeing in a stolen Cutlass
Thelma and Louise-ing it
through the Southwest.

The day they sell that sailboat
I’m off.

I track the buyer
and seduce and abandon him
take that sailboat sailing
somewhere it’s never sailed before.
Forwarding address:
catch us if you can.

The day they sell that sailboat
I’m done.

I’m done with that fantasy
anyway.
Too bad.
Babe would’ve loved that sailboat.

Regular Poem: if i die young

7 Feb

if i die young
don’t bother
with the satin and roses
just set me up with
one of those
$599 cremations
they advertise on billboards on the highway
put my ashes
in a cigar box
and my dad will place it
lovingly on his tv stand
right next to the ashes of his dog
who died quietly at 17
right on the living room floor
just gasped and died
and probably whispered
the rest is silence
in his dog language

i will have of course said
what is done cannot be undone to bed to bed to bed
or hopefully
father into thy hands i commend my spirit
but either way
it will have been finished

(i would prefer
of course
to have my body donated
give my myopic eyes
to some sap worse off than me
they’re pretty
at least
but mostly useless
[i won’t draw too many parallels
until maybe when i do
later in this poem]
my heart and lungs and kidneys and liver
ought to be all right
not great perhaps
but better than nothing
what other transplants do they even do
skin for burn victims maybe
i’ve got a lot of scars
and i sunburn easily
but like i said
better than nothing
and the leftovers
to a medical school
or something
pump that stuff in my veins
to keep them from collapsing as
scalpels pierce and peruse them
most of the bodies they get
for things like that
are old
nothing’s wrong with an old body
but variety is nice

anyway
i just don’t think my dad
would abide that
he’d want me next to oscar
so i can watch ncis with him
on tuesdays

of course there are also
other people
who might lobby hard
for an embalming
put me in a blazer with a brooch
red lipstick
so they can see the wax sculpture
that might’ve been
if i’d gotten famous

but dad would be bankrolling the thing
probably
so cigar box
it is)

someone please
finish my vampire novel
pretend
i had an outline to follow
and praise my genius
(and don’t you even dare
add a romantic subplot)

remember that genius
and forget my faults
forget
like most of my life

and remember only
that i was faithful
dutiful
beautiful
clever

forget
i was
a gossip and a drunk
almost totally worthless

use my credit union savings
to pay off my convertible and credit cards
write a terse obit
that makes me sound glamorous and eccentric

depending on circumstances
the cops might be involved
and uncover some weird stuff
(nothing too weird
probably
but you know
don’t be alarmed if they do)
but forget that too
just

remember
the best
version of me
and imagine it all
in that cigar box
which is like
exactly the size
for the best parts of me

Regular Poem: Just How Many Garages Does a Girl Need?

4 Feb

well you see
the one is attached to the house
and it’s a two-car number
packed with ancient mechanical devices
and tools and dead appliances
weird old-timey chemicals
a bag of birdfeed from that time i had a cockatiel for a few months
home to a heavy bag
and a crummy radio leftover from a former roommate
a vindictive former housecat

and the other
is detached
also two-car
but much larger
to accommodate an RV
that it no longer accommodates
but don’t worry
there’s plenty in there
still
extra tables and chairs
file cabinets and abandoned projects
three badminton sets two bicycles two hammocks
shelves and shelves and boxes and boxes
a metal detector
a cabinet record player that doesn’t play records but collects dust and plays am radio just fine
oh and also two cars

and of course a shed
a yard isn’t
a yard
without a shed
with at least three defunct mowers
and some antique cedar mulch

my concern is
how many cats
and other creatures
have taken up residence
in the detached garage
since my ex-cat escaped
the attached garage
and darted around my property for a few days
and showed her face in the detached garage long enough
for me to take pity on her
and move her food and water dishes out there
only for her to
zip in the back door of my house
as if she owned the place
and demand food at her spot
on top of the dryer
which is close enough to
the attached garage
for me to have thrown her back in
the attached garage
knowing she probably wouldn’t escape again
because she was probably already pregnant
enough to satisfy her?

i ought to move that cat food
i ought to
do a lot of things

raze it
salt the earth
change my name
skip town

“why yes
miss doe
this houseboat comes fully furnished
with third-hand furniture in dark neutral colors
the record player doesn’t play records
but it picks up am radio swell
and a houseboat isn’t
a houseboat
without wood paneling”

i unclench my fists and look
at my real estate agent
in my new town
and the words slip out

“but what about the garage situation”

she checks her clipboard

“could i interest you
in a storage unit”

i should’ve
practiced but i didn’t
so i say
on instict

“like a fresh one
with nobody else’s stuff
in it already”

she sees
my accidental sneer of
disbelief

“that’s the idea
miss doe”

deal breaker
or
deal maker
i can’t discern

Regular Poem: that kind of everything

15 Nov

Started working on this poem about a month ago when my dad had to be hospitalized for drinking himself half to death. It doesn’t exactly feel finished although he’s out of rehab and doing well now. 

[1]

it’s that kind of night

i haven’t looked for the moon
i’ve been too busy
on earth
i wonder if
it’s as big and looming
as i feel it should be
(i learn later it was a
new moon
not even present
sent in its absentee ballot
or maybe abstained)

i want to
shoot my gun in the air and
scream
fuck a stranger
get in a fight
swim in the wine dark sea
until i’m so tired
i can’t make it back to shore
just bob on sleepily
until a fishing boat reels me in
and when they ask me to explain myself
say i’m a mermaid and
refuse to discuss the matter further

“don’t ask me hank why
do you drink”
he sings
and i sing too
i always sing too

the air is smoke
no oxygen left nothing left to even burn 
and my body itches
as my mind
screams
screams
screams

if you were a bettin’ person
you could put money on
my doing push ups

it’s what i do when i get fucked up
it’s dick measuring
(measuring against no one)
it’s stress relieving
(not working)
it’s
me
(but barely)
and i could do hundreds
and feel the ache in my first rib
the one my chiropractor put back
in place last week

the pain of it reminds me
and makes me forget
it
screams
screams

“why must you live
all the songs
that you wrote”
he sings and
i sing too
i always sing too

it’s choking
(i’ve choked before
but never as much as i’d liked
to see someone’s eyes bulge and
scream)

the lady
who takes his information
is foreign
indeterminately British
and i wish i were anywhere but
here
on this phone with
this lady
four eyes boring into me
(the other two eyes dim with drink and dehydration
staring into Hank Jr. songs
in a whiskey abyss)
regardless they all
want me to say
the right thing
11am
she says they can admit him
i’ll probably have to call in
tomorrow
and i’m glad
(though later when
i do
i don’t remember
how
and i’m still
glad)

i’ve done 80
push ups
good ones
butt down
nose to ground
and still
he doesn’t think
i can haul his 125 pound carcass
to the bathroom

he smells
like a dead man
and i smell
like a
scream
all cigarettes and beer and vanilla

and i don’t
scream
but i want to

[2]

it’s that kind of evening

full of
blessed nothing
possibility
cursed nothing
impossibility
improbability
probability

alone
with plenty of garages to clean
and not enough people to kiss
too many beers to drink
not enough willpower not to
too many songs to sing
too many couches to lie on
too many novels to write
too many thoughts
too many feelings
enough of it all
too much of not enough
everything happens all the time
too fast
and never
enough

[3]

it’s that kind of morning

all red lipstick and rage
quiet and held in the shoulders and neck and jaw
and that rib that’s out again
along with a few others

is she a chiropractor or a priest
i pay her for flagellation
my cranials plead for penance
she absolves my joints and listens
and i want to cry in her arms
but she’s not someone i hire to do
that
she just adjusts my sacrum
and tells me she doesn’t know what to say
i say there’s nothing
to say

it’s time
for emotional outbursts
in diners
stares from old couples
as my eyes well up
with old hollywood tears
i’m pretty when i cry

torch songs over coffee and pancakes
and a convertible top that sticks midway

[4]

it’s that kind of afternoon

too windy
there are funner ways
to get lipstick all over your face
but what would i know about that
all i know
is a glitchy convertible
and surreal sad songs on the radio
drowning
drowning
in harp over electric guitar over
physical restraints at work

my body
lunges into them
hoping to make my mind forget
for just a sec
just one sec
but my mind
sings anyway
it always sings anyway

“’cause i was filled with poison
and blessed with beauty and rage”
i wonder if he’d be into her
under the right circumstances

too much coffee
too much music igniting it
and i’m doing butterflies
with no tap lessons

[5]

it’s that kind of night

again

he’s sober but not exactly with it
i’m sober but dog tired

and i’m daydreaming about applying
hydrocortisone to my incipient stress rash
and skipping town

(this kid at work
hates me
it takes him a while to
remember
sometimes
but when he does
it’s two hour tantrums, 65 self injurious behaviors, 22 headbutts
it’s this
scream
as if i’m an actual axe-wielding madwoman
someone
should record it and use it
in horror films
he could pay his tuition with the profits that would make
and instead of begrudging him
every time
i just think
what it would be like
to make that noise
with that intensity
every time i was upset
about real problems
instead of someone doing their job
politely telling me to wash my arm
and then i think
that problem
to him
is just as stressful
for whatever reason
as mine are to me
but anyway
point is
i’m envious
i can’t make that noise
and headbutt everything
i detest and want to postpone indefinitely)

it’s that kind of night
that i want to fall into my bed
and sleep in my clothes
(i’ve never done that before
what does it feel like
to be the sloppy person
who does that
i would ask one
but he would just give
excuses
rather than answers)

excuses
rather than answers
and that rash is getting worse

[6]

it’s that kind of night

rain and rash
cramps and costumes
small talk and big eating

it’s hard
not to sing along
to a song you know the words to
you can try to hate it
and even succeed
but there you are
singing anyway
always singing anyway

[7]

it’s that kind of night

it’s always nights
when the sun sets so early
and you’re inside all day
so you try to soak in
some kind of phantom sunshine
it’s not there
but you are
outside
where it’s crisp and night sounds and neutral smells

no one
has lit a bonfire tonight
and no flowers are blooming
it’s just
you and the night
and two lines of a song
cascading

a glitter and glint
of porch light on a puddle
and chunky little clouds
covering up the stars
(what constellations are even
out?
i always accuse everything of being orion
and remember i’m always wrong about that
and retract that
and accuse everything of being sagittarius)

and everything is
nothing
so lifeless and lackadaisical
and the rash is on its way out
and i almost miss it

[8]

it’s that kind of morning

why feel good

when you can go about
every inane daily event
out of duty and ritual
hating everything
or ar least feeling unsatisfied
and then drink
hating yourself the whole time
and wake up the next morning
hungover
and hating yourself even more than the night before
and do it all over again
in a stagnant depressing cycle

why feel good

when you can lift up
prayers that would be answered for other people
but not for you

(that’s why he’s sober now
i think in my pathetic rage
my prayers are selfish and stupid and unlistened to
[or perhaps the answer is just always no]
but i’m good at recruiting worthier holier people)

it comforts me
that all the people god chose to bless
in the old testament
were dicks

(it angered me when i first realized the pattern
but then god revealed it to me
that all of us are dicks
and it sunk in
more than it had before)

i’ll take my esau blessing
(do you have only one blessing
not even another little one lying around in the back shed)
for now

but at least there’s
hope
i’ll be one of the chosen dicks
one day

Regular Poem: It’s a Good Thing

8 Oct

it’s a good thing
i work out every day
or
i wouldn’t have the physical strength
it’s a good thing
i work the job i do
or
i wouldn’t have the stamina
it’s a good thing i’m a christian
or
i wouldn’t have the patience
it’s a good
thing
it’s
a good thing

“i’m going to tell you
something
i haven’t told anybody
i haven’t told you
i might cry”

and he starts in
with a story i’ve heard
a million times
the same way
even

“she was the love
of my life
what happened
what happened”

it’s a good thing
there’s beer
it’s a good thing
i’m me and
not someone else

i haven’t heard
it
in years
but it comes back to me
muscle memory
and always the beer
and tears

(i think later of
the dead blackbird
in my driveway that morning
omens
portents
of drunk old men
fallen
in the bathroom)

and he starts in
but he cuts out
and then it’s just stories

“we just had revolvers then”
“what the hell was that guy’s name”
all the same old same old
with red teary bleary eyes

and i’m there and not
it’s a good thing
i love him
it’s a good thing
i prayed beforehand
it’s a good thing
i show up
every time
it’s
a good lot of things

Regular Poem: Special Occasions

22 Mar

Saving special things
for special occasions
is all good and well and
special,
but as I thawed the last
tender, grass-fed sirloins
a previous roommate
had blessedly abandoned
in my deep freeze
and prepared to pan fry
them in gratuitous butter
at 11 pm on just a regular old night,
I thought to myself,

What’s more special than surviving

countless double shifts,
a power outage,
a denied promotion,
attacks and ripped blouses and lost buttons and bites and bruises and backaches?

What’s more special than
not having cried over things one can’t change
and should’ve forgotten by now anyway?

What’s more special than craving
good red meat and bad cholesterol?

What’s more special than living life
to whatever degree of success one can manage?

Every day is a new, same day,
another day of drudgery in paradise,
one more step up on a down escalator,
so excuse me for living.

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