Tag Archives: writing

Regular Poem: I Met Her Accidentally in St. Paul, Minnesota

10 Apr

what’s so great about tallahassee
every tv show has an episode named after it
as far as neat state capital names go
it’s good
probably top five honestly
but still
doesn’t really compare to a lot of really great non-state capitals
it might be one of those things where it’s become just a
thing that everybody does
some running joke
like taking a left turn at albuquerque
but albuquerque is a better name
it’s understandable

no city name is at its peak comedy for me without the state with it though
so therefore
anything in oklahoma gets a leg up in my book
i also love a dakota
it’s about the k in the middle
which is the same appeal as albuquerque
i think alaska’s k comes too late
but if you put it with another k
fairbanks alaska
nah i was wrong
that’s stately rather than good running-joke material
contrast that with say
ponca city oklahoma
sioux falls south dakota
pine bluff arkansas
boxborough masachusetts

my exception to the
is if it’s an unincorporated area
because then you’re obligated to say unincoporated
and that’s funny in itself
so anything you put in front of it is just icing
of course some are better than others
smileyberg unincorporated
is the gold standard

parrishes and townships serve a similar function
but only on a case by case basis
they can be classed up too much by what precedes them
to get the carte blanche
that unincorporated does

Regular Poem: White Trash Gothic

2 Apr

if i were a bronte
or maybe just somebody
who once shared a train compartment with flannery o’connor
i might do it better

have a few better descriptions
more succinct lines of ominous dialogue

instead of just this
jumbled narrative
that feels like
the world’s longest hangover
but like a whiskey hangover
all not unpleasant heat in the chest and infuriating pulsing in the eyeballs
the scratch of too many cigarettes
in the wet chasm of a throat
unused to speaking
to anyone but ghosts

one must wonder
what are the differences between conspiracy
poor planning
bad choices
obscene coincidence
familial curse
divine providence?

one must wonder
if there are
they’re worth noting

i’m a romantic maybe
a shelley romantic
don’t buy me teddy bears
take me to a cemetery and whisper
in my ear about mutability

and that’s where we find our heroine
in a cemetery
whispering words of mutability
into her own ears

this audiobook is almost over
to be replaced by another
forgotten as soon
as the librarian reshelves it
images might remain
but do they belong
to this
or an audiobook from eight years ago?

our heroine exits
enters a new scene
whispers different mutable things to herself

what’s the best meal you ever ate?
what’s the best kiss you ever had?

i’ve had too many
i didn’t catlogue them
enjoyed them in the moment
and the moment isn’t now

the moment now
is conspiracy
poor planning
bad choices
obscene coincidence
familial curse
divine providence

the now moment
is a hangover waiting to happen
an audiobook half finished
little stupid steaks pan fried in butter
a kiss with too much teeth
a cemetery with one visitor
who didn’t even bring flowers

Regular Poem: Thursday and Friday Take Too Long

2 Mar

by the time
slumps into existence
emerges from the shadows
its fangs poorly concealed in the full moon light
strikes a match and lets it burn between its fingers
so long as to make you
beg for it to
light its cigarette already and be done with it
but friday smirks and waits
another millisecond
just to show you
you’ve been waiting
and it will make you wait

yes by the time
slips an icy hand
around your wrist
and urges you along a dark alley

i’m not fit for the public
too wound up
too loud
too rough
too overstimulated
too understimulated
too lonely
too much

and i just explode into the day
the weekly supernova i am doesn’t
have the patience for shadows
or subtlty
and i can feel the vibrations

behind my eyeballs mostly
but also others’ vibrations
their fight or flight or freeze responses triggered
(i expect and suspect
different responses than i get

i expect
i suspect disdain incredulity

i don’t know
who am i to them
when my face is not in their face
and i’m too
in the moment
to contemplate
until much later
when i second guess all the crazy stuff
that was flung into the interstellar medium)

and everyone laughs with me
cackling unhinged
maybe everyone explodes into friday
we’re all our own massive stars
just itching and pulsating
for our chance to
contribute to the creation of new stars
with our dramatic demise

i don’t write poetry because
i particularly enjoy it
i write poetry because
i don’t

keep a diary
see friends
practice good coping strategies

i write poetry to inflict things on myself
to pick scabs
to poke bruises and ask where’d that come from

fridays are good for that sort of thing
starting with a bang ending with a whimper
all the modernist self-loathing you could ask for
but dressed up for 20gr8teen
in clothes bought from a dying chain store
and cheap lipstick

i shut down the fantasies
i shut down the plans
i shut down
restart me monday

but that will be fuzzy
like an old tv that has to warm up
its cathode ray tube
or like searching through static
on a radio

i hum and squeak
and then explode

Regular Poem: nothing to say

9 Apr

i don’t even have
anything to say about it

it’s all clawing its way out
violent and heaving
vomitting ideas and sounds
the dog of me
returning and returning
to that vomit

the metaphors
are condensation on a glass
the similes
like a magician’s scarves
seemingly infinite

but i’m just broke and broken
pissed off and pissed on

daydreaming about destruction
and escape
fights i can win
minds i can lose
skins i can shed
towns i can skip

no specifics just blurs
through streaked mascara
and streaks of blurred lipstick
my hair leaves
as i drive away
with my top down

Regular Poem: Polish

29 Apr

I had one of those
rock tumbler
polisher operations
when I was a kid–

you put some sand or whatever
in it and turn it on
and many hours or days go by
or however long
and then the
rocks are shiny.

I think
I used it
and was dissatisfied
with the paltry luster
and it’s probably long dead
in one garage or another.

I was thinking about it today
and wishing
for some apparatus
that would do the same
to poetry–

throw a poem
in an electric-powered shaker
to round off the rough edges
to make the individual words
gleam and sparkle
break off the ragged surface similes
sand down the craggy metaphors
crush it all together
crash it all together
rub off the exterior
to see the colors and patterns beneath
and at the end it’s all
not dull and boring and better left in the driveway.

But then
I was thinking
about how the rock tumbler operation
I had as a kid
didn’t do me right–
the rocks I took out of it
were still pretty much
just rocks
not gemstones
all of a sudden–
a problem of expectations
confusion about required actions.

So it necessarily follows
that a similar machine
but for poems
might leave me
might leave the poem
even lamer
than before.

I’d leave them in the driveway
but I’ve unfortunately
always had an affinity
for useless trinkets.

Regular Poem: Confessional Poetry

26 Apr

To read someone else’s confessional
poetry, the kind that’s personal and raw,
is so intimate

as to be almost uncomfortable, at times. As if
you’re peeping in their window,
watching them undress
and staring openly at their scars.

Or like you’re walking into the ladies room,
and a woman is crying at the vanity,
and she suddenly tells you
everything about her failed marriage in
strangled sobbing snippets.

But to read your own
confessional personal intimate
poetry from a new place in life
is even more intimate and certainly
more bizarre, especially when you realize

you are the woman in the ladies room.

But I suppose
we all take turns
being the woman in the ladies room–
that brave, vulnerable creature reaching out to
anyone with a kind face and
a handkerchief,
talking to hear herself talk,
crying to hear herself cry.

Regular Poem: Why I Don’t Write Sonnets

18 Apr

stress and non stress syllables
stress me out
iambs and trochees and dactyls and pyrrhics
spondees are all right i guess
but really
if i wanted to count
i’d write mathematical formulas
i’m a hypocrite of course
pedantic as the next pedant
prescriptive as the next prescript
or perhaps
prosaic as the next prose
or more likely
lazy as the next laze

Regular Poem: Forget Your Way to the Top

28 Mar

I come back
to a poem
I’d abandoned–
put aside
as my thoughts simmered
or maybe just
forgot themselves–
and I realize

it doesn’t need
the editing
I had been saving it for.

After a week
or a month
or even several months,
I’d been thinking
or having trouble thinking
is irrelevant
and what is
what is
and what should be,
and I like it,
and it tastes
and it’s over,
and it’s complete,
and I go on.

If only
were like this.
I come back
to an old hatred
I’d abandoned–
and the return is accidental–

and there are some
similarities like
I can’t remember
what exactly
I was thinking
when I was previously thinking–
if what I had been doing
could be called thinking–
and now the
shards don’t fit,
disjointed and limping.

But it’s not
over, complete,
and I don’t like
the taste of it,
and I don’t go on.

I sit in it,
a cold bath,
the filmy residue of bubbles
clinging to my flesh,
and I’m blindly
feeling for the plug
so I can drain the tub.

And then it’s over
until the next time it’s not over.

Or a job application.
You send it
into electronic darkness,
and if only you could
forget about it
until the day you go back to it,
and you realize
you have the job
and a new life,
and you’re Rip Van Winkle except
well-adjusted and not decrepit and confused.

Or maybe a puppy.
You have it and hate it;
it’s untrained and wailing and terrible.
And you leave it in a cage and come back to
an adult dog who
doesn’t chew up cords and knows
how to sit pretty.

But there’s something in a poem
that requires, desires
independance, distance,
new old eyes,
a forgetful heart.

A forgetful heart would be
beneficial for
old stupid hatred,
but it can’t raise a dog.

Regular Poem: So Many

13 Apr

There are so many
to write poems about
and so many words
to write them with.
So many colors
and ideas.
So many reasons
to not lie in bed until one.
It’s a sad wonder
we don’t all wake up
with the sun
and marvel
all day.

Regular Poem: Joke’s on You, Pirate

4 Apr

I used to
write a lot of rage poems,
songs of sadness, doleful odes of melacholia.

And I was feeling this way again
the other day:
romantically gloomy–like a glamorously depressed
Gothic heroine on a foggy moor,
filled with two parts self-loathing,
one part psychologically revealing nightmares,
one part staunch determination to prove myself–
and had even scheduled a time
to cry in the shower about it,

but I couldn’t
reach into that place
that heart broken open
like a treasure chest
some pirate has bashed the lock on
to reveal
gold doubloons made of tears and regret.

I stood staring
at the raided treasure chest,
lamenting the pirate who had absconded
with all my words.

I had followed the treasure map so well
and had found the cave
where the booty should be,
yet instead of forlorn rubies and blue diamonds,
it was empty,
barely echoing still with
fleeting peels of angry cursing
and a far-off flintlock’s woeful last shot.

And I couldn’t even find the energy
to be mad about it.

And I realized
I had been following the map
by muscle memory, autopilot.
The pirate had taken something
I hadn’t ever wanted in the first place.

Book 'Em, Jan O

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