Tuesday, August 25, 2009
No more etcetera, only ephemera of catalogs
locked to brims. We wear our weighty sweater-vests to hide
the donut-shape. Out front, vendors
print placards thick to keep others from knowing
the name of your shrink. Here: take the luff, fill it with wind. Here:
take blue and roll it into snakes and O-shapes
until the rims of your fingernails wear, (mine
are bitten raw to rims and tire). Every raspberry wears a wig,
thin hairs that line up by name to impale
beggars. They ask the alphabet for words.
At rise, a gust from an open window winnows
digits from the alarm clock. Meanwhile,
the neighbor pulls a board of ash
as gently from its cord as you would scrape
a new egg from a nest – those three white wriggling worms
sitting bright in the dust of a dream, they are
new as crime. Just below a molding silt stone
(stuck moss-wise to its fast gray flesh) I find
the gristly nest of some subterranean spider.
luff, raspberry, impale, winnow, scrape
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Bits of gin label salamander in a Chinese screen,
minding their British sides.
I shouldn’t exist, or be alive.
I fight humor in my shot glass, my bitter pail.
I’m half corpse, complaint-filled,
divorcing emptiness shaped by a chilled rasp.
I make a living in alcoholic forgetting.
Body poured in pale swigs,
inescapable but not whimpering.
from Guest Poet #1: Andrew Demcak
Click here to read the first revision of "Drinking Song"
Click here to read the first draft of "Drinking Song"
Friday, January 23, 2009
Broccoli florettes drain to yellow, jaundiced
by their long separation from the earth.
The refrigerator kicks out a new batch of ice
with a single percussive interjection.
We stopped talking back when we discarded all the lettuces.
I ask how long this is going to last. You don't reply.
We cinch off what's beyond ripe.
Winged ants emerge from under
the shoe molding, move in unison along
the grain of floorboards before smearing
like ink. They shadow a presence we'll never see.
This is no way to manage an infestation.
What finds its way in never makes it back out,
not without poisons and glue pads.
We set up a kiddie pool in the middle of the room.
We wade, you in flippers, me in goulashes.
We barter: no for yes, yes for maybe.
We roll maybes in our mouths like grapes.
I tell you I threw out my wedding dress.
You tell me you didn't really lose your ring.
The water grows colder and colder.
Light shoulders its way through the window.
We forget why we hauled in the pool in the first place.
We wonder what's for dinner.
The kitchen table flaunts its bare legs,
lustrous as the skin of an eggplant.
My hands were once smooth.
Your face is harder than wood.
We ladle polysyllabic words into the air:
respectable, insoluble, unexchangeable.
You tell me you thought we had a deal.
You've always been a bargain shopper.
We paint the walls with stale arguments.
Designer fixtures wash us in light,
diminish imperfections. We agree
to rise tomorrow like bread, to nourish.
We high five. We smack each other on the ass
and move back into far corners to where
we belong, our distance between us
thick and hard as an overgrown stalk.
from Guest Poet #2: Dana Guthrie Martin
Click here to read the first draft of "Everything Loosens in the Kitchen."
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Wake slowly—bedroom window light shines slant with vertigo,
your arm half-bared touches its
square pool of sun.
Pull a shirt and trousers like the closet’s
loose teeth, its savage, dark maw—
Put them on.
Bathe—prepare breakfast—breathe air
stale with your own sterile scent—
descend the stairway like a cloud—
Attend your job. Stroll from door to door,
form words. White noise like a fan’s
rushing whirr says
everything you might imply. The day looms with its pendulum sun
swung slow back toward night. The hours
mete out as ground glass—
At sunset, draw blinds. Your body
streaked with night takes on more weight—
Sensible meal: choose salad;
skip dessert. Be strong. Be strong.
There’s no harm in looking good even when
no one’s looking
Click here to read Charles's first draft.
From the fingertips of Charles Jensen:
My strategy for revision was to cull a form from the original piece, was was irregular. I also wanted to work toward more word economy and take out needless conjunctions and prepositions as I could. This poem needs more silence--more caesura--and it needed to be "harder." That said, I worked toward iambic meter but allowed some abrupt disruptions of it. I wanted the images to be more stark.
I don't know. I think it's still not done.
Normally I would not revise a poem this quickly. In my process work generally sits around a few months before I take a knife to it. I need to grow apart from it. But perhaps the austerity of this poem, its narrative distance ("you") makes it easier to work with.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Everything Loosens in the Kitchen
Broccoli florettes are jaundiced by their separation from the earth. The refrigerator kicks out a new batch of ice, a percussive interjection. We stopped talking long ago. "How long we are going to be here," I ask. You don't reply.
Winged ants emerge from gaps, move in unison along the grain of the floorboards before spreading, circling and backtracking. They smear like ink. They are the shadow of something we'll never see. No way to manage our infested lives. What finds its way in never makes it back out.
We set up a pool in the middle of the room. We wade, you in flippers, me in goulashes. We barter: no for yes, yes for maybe. I tell you I threw out my wedding dress three years ago. You tell me you didn't really lose your ring. We trade footwear. We hug. The water grows colder and colder.
The dining room table flaunts its legs suggestively, lustrous as the skin of an eggplant. The backs of my hands were once smooth. Your face never relaxes anymore. We ladle hopeful words into the air: respectable, insoluble, inexchangeable. "I thought we had a deal," you say.
The walls are pigmented with old arguments. Fixtures wash our faces in light, diminish our imperfections. Tomorrow, we agree to rise like bread. To nourish. We high five, though the game was lost long ago. We move off to the far corners of the house.
broccoli, respectable, diminish, infested, wade
Sunday, December 7, 2008
bits of gin label salamander in
a Chinese screen minding their British sides.
I shouldn’t exist, or be alive. I fight
humor in my shot glass, my bitter pail.
I’m half corpse, complaint-filled, divorcing
emptiness shaped by a chilled rasp.
I make a living in alcoholic
forgetting. Body poured in pale swigs,
inescapable, but not whimpering.
from Guest Poet #1: Andrew Demcak
Click here to read Andrew's first draft.