Sunday, December 23, 2012

Welcome to The Family

-After Cesar Vallejo’s “Black Stone Lying on a White Stone” 

A summer’s day like any other day.

It was warm

and innocent and

the Sun’s arms hung

like golden ribbons

off the tree branches.

 

And then I died. 

My insides turned outside

and the creases of my fingers

swelled up with somber sweat

and the beads ran down

my lifeless hands. 

A final escape attempt.

 

Suddenly, I believed

in a reality that had not

existed before. Wretched

thoughts, creatures of habit.

An unbreakable spell.

 

Yes, I died that golden day,

which turned to amber afternoon

to a violent violet evening.

 

And the crickets chimed

their bells in a steady rhythm,

the night alive and breathing

—warm with life—

and all I could do was

stand cold, crying. 

Sound Interpretations

-After Eugenio Montale’s “L’Anguilla” 

Angela, shrill, a siren

day many any

the glacial little Baltic

sure genuine honestly,

many, honestly, and any

a fool, me,

how risky and profound,

such a ten anniversary

dear ammo in ammo and

pointy acapella acapella,

assorted, hear me,

simply you and yet

through, simply you

yell coarsely, yell magically,

fill and though

tragically delve in the

finicky, see you’re no

soon you look you saw a

die, casting

gray ascending, eulogy’s can

be so imposing downward

mortal, fussy, hey, declining

able, all see

I need no

all and come on, I hear the

Angel, yeah, torture,

fruit, fresh and more, and tear and a

day solo I don’t see

but trios, oh, I discreetly, rush, see me

prying at me, recline, you

know though, a paradise see

defecting, dazzling;

the animal, very stay lurking feet and

a dove only more days absurd and a desolate

zone, the scent wheeling a day

each day astute, and comically won and you don’t pray

incarcerated near me

on, go, step, leap, go;

your ears, brave, gems

a melody, can you be okay in costume? No, and to you

I see, a day, brilliantly intact, a mess, oh, finally

Indelibly so low, immerse me

To you I go, put you on,

I dare love, so yell, yeah? 

I Remember

-After Joe Brainard 

I remember the smell of Mohonk Mountain House:

Oakey and earthy and thick and rich.

Mahogany and collected brown dust.

Charcoal soot from the fireplaces

and the permeating smell of pine

in between every grain in the wood.

 

I remember when my first dog—Maggie—died.

It was cold and the house felt haunted

and dark even though all the lights were on.

I remember watching in awe at my Dad crying

inconsolably into his hands. Choking on his tears,

completely unable to breathe, unable to speak.

Never have I seen someone cry like that before.

 

I remember the last day of sleepaway camp.

And I remember my first kiss:

Jesse and I had been dating for a week.

We hadn’t slept, and I felt gritty and grimy

and the early morning dew caked coldly

on the back of my neck

behind my greasy hair. 

I remember that his lips felt rubbery

and his barely protruding tongue

was uncomfortably moist inside my stale mouth.

I remember feeling too nervous to look him in the eye,

so instead I looked beyond him at a red suitcase.

 

I remember when my grandfather died in a car accident. It was the middle of the night when we found out. I was 13, and I shared a bottle of wine with my mother, because somebody had to.

 

I remember the moment

that finally convinced my mother

to let me be prescribed accutane:

We were in our parked car,

and I had the prom issue of Seventeen Magazine

open on my lap. The cover girl

was wearing a sparkly yellow prom dress.

Through the tears I said I was terrified

I couldn’t go to my prom

because long sleeved prom dresses didn’t exist

to hide the bumps and scars all over my body.

I remember going to a therapist I didn’t like.

Her office was all one stained, beige color.

I do not remember ever going back.

 

I remember the day my best friend got into college.

I remember wearing pajamas, and shrieking

with excitement.

Off to Northwestern for Betsy!

 

I remember my cousin Zack frequenting our house during his first year of college.

I remember how pale he looked and how dejected he seemed.

I remember not knowing what “being stoned” was or what it even looked like.

 

I remember that time I lost my virginity – weird.

 

I remember seriously wondering whether or not I was going to survive that February night of my freshman year at college, lost on a highway somewhere in Northeast DC. I remember praying.

 

I remember feeling the coldest I have ever felt in my entire life:

Nighttime right before dawn. January, 2009.

I remember putting on a dirty trash bag to try and block the wind.

But Barack Obama was now our President, so it was worth it.

 

I remember my guitar teacher handing me a sheet of the pentatonic scales.

I remember thinking this will be impossible to memorize.

I remember him telling me it was possible to memorize.

I remember the day I finally got it. 

For Home

-After William Carlos Williams 

Coyotes howl up

towards

the silver moon

gazing

down, the northbound

train

whistle echoing far

away. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nature Drunk

The bees can’t fly home;

too much harvested pollen.

 

The grass can’t blow straight,

each strand wobbles merrily.

 

The horny toads

croak out of key.

 

The moon snorts and chuckles,

stardust still sprinkled about his cheeks.

 

Deers dance and

Mantis pray

for all those happily lost.

 

An owl hoots, then hiccups.

Old Man Coyote Howls.

 

The Mockingbird sits smugly

on the cooked branch

of a silent Dogwood

that can’t stand straight,

swaying.

 

An army of ants

march back to their Queen,

each with an oversized 

bundle from 

this bountiful night.

 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Paradigm Shift

It is time.

(Across the universe…)

across the FUCKING universe

I sit alone—alone

why? I know where I 

want to be, won’t be, what I want

to do, to be, I think…

I want to scream, internally.

And then throw something

—ANYTHING—onto a canvas

into a wall

onto my body

SOMETHING

Pierce me, tattoo me, shave me, share me

scar me

for the story. 

Make my head spin, in 

a beautiful fucking disaster.

I can feel my nerves

((my hands are shaking as I write this))

shocking and prickling 

tingling—off the ends of my finger tips.

Shock the page. Punch a wall, 

dare to call it ART, SOMETHING

(Nothing’s gonna change my world…)

I want to pierce my left eyebrow,

get a tattoo of The Grateful Dead lightning bolt

right below my left

breast.

And I want dreadlocks. 

And then I want to shave them off.

And then dye my hair bright blue. Or purple.

I’m only young once.

LOOK AT ME

Please? My insides are screaming, 

my outsides are shaking

my heart is angry with my mind.

(Jai Guru Deva. Om?)

At least I feel alive.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My Kind of Blues

Car windows rushing past, looking

up and seeing the sky and trees

blur together.

The sun adds tint and the clouds add dimension.

A transcendental palette.

 

Sunday morning. Winter.

Bagels and eggs and my

brother blasting something foul from the television.

 

My dad makes a fire in the

living room and he and my

mom sit in their

pajamas reading the

newspaper.

My dad flicks his stereo on. It hums, hums, soothing.

 

Saturday morning. Spring or summer.

Screen’s are lifted open and outwards

and freshly cut grass.

I hear my dad strumming his guitar out on the patio

outside my window.

My dog and cat listen to him tentatively, 

the turtles, too.

And my mother is in the garden.

 

First day of school, after some cold, cozy break.

It’s dark and early. I struggle to pull my jeans

on. I can feel the denim constrict and loosen

reluctantly.

 

It’s nighttime. The sky is navy and I am nervous for

that feeling again. I can feel it—it’s coming.

Too much to do, too little time. Not enough sunlight.

Never enough sunlight. This is never a good thing for me.

Where’d I put my lightbox?

 

 A light drop. My right ear picks up a wind-up, snap, and plop

of a something heavy into the stream.

My brother complaining until he finally catches one.

Although he’d never admit it, the only reason he ever catches

a fish is because my

dad tied the hook and cast out correctly.

Maybe he’s getting better now. Perhaps.

Brassiness and saltiness dance up and down my senses.

 

I look up

 

and the trees are talking amongst themselves,

every now and then glancing upwards

towards the sky.

(Somewhere in Between), Just Before

A raindrop about to land,

the second time it freezes just before it

hits, crashes, bursts open, explodes, floods,

gray and blue mirrors.

 

The ground glowing,

vibrantly asleep right before

day trades with night,

and golden ribbons start to weave through the weeds.

 

 

Inhale, the last breath,

muscles constrict and tighten,

lungs fill up, ready,

right before that

dive in head first,

or perhaps a cannonball.

 

 

The moment,

right before sleep,

when the dream of the night

comes on in waves, slowly,

with the current.

In it rolls, out it goes.

 

 

A snowcapped wave, right before it breaks.

A silver cloud, right before the rain.

Open up:

 

 

 

Floating. 

Up and Out and On and Gone

Wake up, stand up, sit up,

straight up.

Straight up!

It’s time to get up!

up and out and into

everything.

 

New and fresh and clean and bright

and fresh and clean and bright

and clean and bright

and bright

and

 

away from the darkness and depths

to start anew;

again, again!

 

Pulsing pumping primping prickling

alive alive alive alive—

senses spark and shiver and shake

wake up! Stand up, sit up

straight up.

 

Straight up? Straight up!

Smacked up! Smacked awake!

(Hey! I got smacked today!)

 

 

going                   going                                      going                             going 

 

          going                                going                                going

 

going                             going                                      going                               going

 

                                             going                                                        going

going

 

gone. 

The Janitor

There is a janitor down at the Lincoln Memorial

who mops the dirt off the white marble steps.

It’s cherry blossom season and

tourists clad in neon matching shirts and

name tags run up

the steps to see Ole’ Abe.

Right after he’s done once,

he turns around and

there it is—more dirt.

Back and forth and back and forth

never faltering, never frustrated.

He pauses for

wide-eyed visitors to

take snapshots of themselves

amidst all the monuments.

White marble, white marble.

Never in the picture, he is sure he

remains invisible. And continues

to clean off that brown from that white.

An old stranger,

wearing a khaki hat with long

white hair

walks down Lincoln’s steps and

shakes the janitor’s hand.

They exchange smiles, then

go their separate ways.

I was leaning against one milky pillar,

without any rest. Replacing sleep with

“a medium iced coffee with milk and two splendas.”

In fear of arrest for smothering those who kept me awake

for the entire night prior, I rose

and walked down to Old Reliable and

sat down to let the tourists glance at my dismal appearance.

The springtime sun warmed my body and the

illuminescent marble attempted to

cool my nerves.

Then I saw him:

Without impatience, lacking hostility, all pervading and persistent.

Back to work, an infinite work,

just keep on going.