Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fat Man

"Don't want to be a fat man," sings Ian Scott Anderson, lead singer of Jethro Tull.
I can't pretend nothing's changed for me after losing forty pounds.

Fat Man

There's a fat man inside me
A homebody, who craves
Attention, loves loud parties,
Writes sad poetry because he's
Lonely; I'm being brave
Right now for him, doing
Things he always wanted to do.
One of the beautiful people
Or at least one more average
Than the rest. I have a
Love / hate relationship with
Me. A rocky tumultuous
Compromise between
Who I am and who I
Used to be.

Walt Whitman

So today's exercise (inspired by Walt Whitman's birthday yesterday) was to respond to his poem asking us to justify him. Well him and poetry. Or something like that. Anyway it was Tom's idea.

Walt Whitman

Dear uncle Walt
I am lost in Baltimore on this
Beautiful day-after-your-birthday.
I have lost my sense of why
We create and share poetry,
Why we humiliate ourselves
On a regular basis, scribble
Words on long sheets of paper,
Stand up to reveal to each other
Those thoughts so private they would never,
Should never, otherwise be examined,
Why we congregate in out of the way corners
To demonstrate conclusively, consecutively,
That poetry will not, can not, draw more
Than a very few to hear it for a couple hours;

Walt Whitman, is our answer in
The rapid staccato of rap and slam?
Are they your true successors and we
An unwanted genetic remnant, a spur,
A tailbone, a dead end sign, a
Bridge to nowhere?

Where are your proud descendants?
Where the strong men and women
Who stand for the cleanest, straightest
Lines, who reach beyond convention
For truth, who stand in the fire
And sing poetry?

Walt, you are our mirror today.
We must work harder than we
Ever have before to justify the
Shoulders we stand on.
And on your unshakable platform
We can prepare and plan to build
A trapeze, a trampoline, another level,
A new world.


I was sitting there with my five dollar fruit smoothie and Jodie was eating sushi and Alice came in and said, "You people are so decadent." So this is entirely her fault.


We are so
Decadent. Smoking-black-tar-heroin-
Decadent. Wearing-endangered-species-for-
AC-on decadent. Trust
Funds are what we mean by
Sustainable living. Conservation
Is not a concept we believe in.
Values are for other people.
Sometimes I wake up in the
Morning, eat my bird-of-paradise-poached-
Giraffe-scrapple, while watching
Bloomberg, of course, and I think
I love my lifestyle. You
Should try it sometime.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


At this time I feel I must remind those in the audience that the author does not equal the protagonist of a poem, if there seems to be one. First person perspective is always an illusion.


I'm coming off a love-high
Now, reeling on the rollercoaster
Joys and miseries coming both at once,
Blowing me around in the air -

It's the next day, there's a new
Eye to look in, look through for
Reflections, refracted patterns.
Sometimes you're all dolls, it's
All a game to me. Paper
Carnival, colors whirl like
pinwheels as I wander.


Probably the best of what I wrote tonight. A reply to Mike Monroe's "The Day Sisyphus Quit."

Envy Sisyphus

What slow delight it must be
To have a task, an
Overpowering desire, compelling
One to move, day after day
After night after night,
Driven by outside force
Or one's own will.
Reaching the top
Is empty hell - you should
Envy him. He has a job to do.
He does it well.

Give Me a Break

Written earlier tonight.

Give Me a Break

You may think to yourself some,
Listening to me read or talk,
Man, that's enough, bring on the next one!

Well hell, how do you think I feel?
Don't you think I'd like
To kick this guy right
In the ass, out of the bar,
Tell him to go home, sleep it off in the car.

Sadly I live with him -
His name's on the lease,
Hard to get rid of.

This is a rare chance for
Him to get out, get some air.
Give him a break, let him stand there
For a minute; you can hear
The creak as his sides expand
Just a bit.

Cowboy Poetry: Never Done Nothing

Well this is my first (and probably only) attempt at cowboy poetry.

Never Done Nothing

I've never done nothing that my spirit couldn't kill
If you starve your conscience slowly you can get along quite well.

You see before he does it to you you got to do the other fellow
Cause he thinks that what he's dealin' with's an ordinary man
But to him I'll be as careless as a devil out of hell.

You folks pretend you're somethin' better but I know it's all a sham:
God knows there's nothin' colder than a banker that you owe
Yeah they call it civilization but what it means is empty hands.

You can cry out loud for mercy but it's somethin' they don't know
It's enough to make you burn and shout and curse out God and moan
And that's the long and short of why I walk a killer's road.

Ode to He that Sits Behind my Seat

Obviously from a recent trip on an airplane.

Ode to He that Sits Behind my Seat

My dear sir, I regret I seem
To be the cause of your troubles;
If I could I'd reassure you
But I can't be damned to tell you
The seat is broken.
It won't stay upright.
But then again, I have every right
To lean as I please.
I'm of two minds about it;
So you can stew - push as you will -
I'll just ignore you.

Storing up Inspiration

Another one from the Powwow rain date.

Storing up Inspiration

I said well, we're not writing today
And tom said time to store up inspiration!
I've had ten years of it (I thought but didn't say)
a lesser man would have drowned in it
bent his back and broken in it
the kind of inspiration that makes you
Bite off your arm to escape it -

But hey, there are all kinds of inspiration
I guess.

Alice the Goddess

It's been a weird few weeks... took me a while to get back on it. I've had some of these written for a while but couldn't find the time to polish 'em up.

Alice the Goddess

Alice the goddess
twirls in her dance,
dares us to catch her,
accepting the earth,
circles the crowd
threads the scene together -
and then
Robin lost a necklace
Alice found it.
I said
Alice, make a miracle happen.
There are no miracles, she said.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


There's a thread of sense
Just out of reach -
If I could grasp it
I could unravel it, make us separate from what
Has separated us.

Supreme Leader

(Result of a writing exercise in which we thought about what our first decree would be if we became leader of the world. Kind of silly, I guess.
Speaking of which, can you guess which word I had to look up?)

Supreme Leader

As the world's first united leader,
All powerful mighty high plenipotentiary,
Prepare yourselves, people of the world,
To receive my first decree:

All currency will be replaced with
Pictures of me.

A unit of this currency will be
Called the Awesome, or Awe for short.
(Debasing, defacing, destroying this currency
Will make one eligible for the highest penalty -
Take great care in actually using it!)

The value of a good or service
Will henceforward be determined by me
Depending on how Awesome I think it to be.

Of course, I'm a busy leader (the busiest!)
And in this task I'll require some assistance.
All hipsters assemble; I'll judge your value first,
And those I declare are dressed best (or worst)
Will become the first High Judges of Fashion in history
(the rest, unfortunately, will die in obscurity).

These incorruptible arbiters
Of truth, beauty, and how Awesome things are
Will roam the land, at my command,
Judging your works, near and far.

No longer will you wonder
If you're getting what you're worth -
From now on, by supreme decree
You will get just what you deserve.

Can't Sleep

Luckily I worked on a few poems today (polished them up).

Here's the first - we're starting with the saddest one, I guess. Sorry 'bout that.


Every move is artificial, every gesture
Learned from film, glass eyes set in
Plastic skin.
Recorded speeches to sound realistic,
Practiced signals to move, and bend,
Adjust the head, and look as if it
Understands. But it doesn't - and never will.
Knock, shout, scream, yell
There's no one here.