poems

09 February 2014

#7: The Damp

Matt for my birthday got me this big beautiful thing of Jack Daniel's
Maintenance in the lobby cleaned a red chandelier by standing on a ladder

Guests checked out of the hotel in the morning
Guests checked into the hotel in the afternoon

Clients were misinformed about routing
Clients were made to pay all charges for their stays (room, tax, and incidentals)

A famous dancer staying on a top-floor suite ordered breakfast Thursday
He soaks in the bathtub in one of three top-floor suites

Matt for his birthday met me in the Castro for dancing
We leaned over bars for well tequila and booths for song requests

Rain came to stay and stayed and fell on hotels
Patrons of the hotel put their hoods up against the rain

"Drought-rattled California welcomes weekend storm"

05 February 2014

#6: Conceptual Desk/Bookshelf Poem

Lana Turner^, Nietzsche, DYLAN THOMAS, Cole Swensen/David St. John*, Paul Hoover*, Don Marquis, HEJINIAN, O'BRIEN, juliana spahr, Niedecker, RILKE, NIETZSCHE, Ovid,
Ashbery, Ashbery, Barthes, Barthes, BENJAMIN, Crane, C.S. GISCOMBE, Goethe, Hammarskjold, HASS, HASS, Henry James, Komunyakaa, Komunyakaa, FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA, Farid Matuk, McCarthy, Ernst Meister, Mixed Blood^, Mullen, Niedecker, Notley, O'BRIEN, O'BRIEN, Palmer, Poetry 1962^, Poetry 2013^, Rilke, RILKE, Mood*/RILKE, Don Miguel Ruiz, SPICER, Swensen, Szybist, Woolf, Zukofsky, Zukofsky,
Tolle, LERNER, ASHBERY


^ magazines
* editors

#5: Nonpoem

Discretion today may be the better part of valor
along with listening to music from other cultures
along with going there's no otherness, ideally
finding a second bout of caffeine stressful to the body
but going on ahead, since work is a long many hours
receiving information about a package's receipt and a
forthcoming paper (asking for edits), having bad
sex dreams (Rosemary's Baby bad), and abuse dreams
that take place in dog parks, having dropped off
obsessing about the potential for failures in my preferred
field (the field of acceptance being dry and narrow)
a new crack in an old device's screen saying hi
as messages light it up ("thank you for the gift,"
"can I send you the draft")
and I imagine the sheer effort of applying
makeup or to schools and having already done
the latter ignore the former, even though it's preferred
and I've been told to have a face on at work
was going to assign myself ten love poems yesterday
after reading a few hard ones from dead writers
and I tried starting one "I have given myself
this assignment" but that was as far as it went
instead of commiserating solo discretion today
will sub for valor

01 February 2014

#4: Saturday Walks

I will waste, obsessed
with recording that though it should be a heartening enterprise
everything around looks so nice it becomes obligation

there is no one to set the pace for today
except you, walking ahead or
at regular speed, where I might have stopped ten times
in one block to get a shot or to try for a good shot.
Of what a third party may ask.
Lines is probably an honest response in trees

architecture and sky formations and the
intersections of these and those made by colors.
Sacred hobbies: eating, breathing,
hobby of the sacred: creation.
eat at the core of all these, either as in
Love’s sense of bread or what animals
might slob under the table
with which subtlety a brother aligns himself
when he says, “You are my friend.”

Somewhere downstairs the exercise machine
resets, and out of doors crime rises to match
other countries. There is a hair
on an undiscoverable surface that will always annoy,
like rough breathing that is undeserved
after opening the door whereupon light busts in at odd angles.

“New Orleans is competitive,” says the
head of the table. “I think the Lakers
have given up. Hovering at the bottom.”

Japan, unlike China. Jefe keeps reading stats
and his one son says “Papa, you’re on dope” and the
other says “How can you say that a team
is a flash in the pan?”
“With a literary mind,” he says, scoring,
“you should be able to imagine how that works here.”

Now everybody is miffed, at least the sons: one whose clean read of the season has been
ignored, and the son whose chosen field now has a divot. El jefe
eats and turns the page, big with sighing.

Mama went for a walk by herself around
the neighborhood, the hills good for knees.
We reposition ourselves by a front window
and I imagine it, looking outside, Mama
somewhere on a hill meandering. I wonder how
purposeless and purposeful she feels

I imagine composing an article that matches cars to cities:
top ten makes for San Francisco and New York. It would look like
pre-existing articles that rank places’ bikability
or pedestrian-friendliness, but would get to
name names like Subaru, Fiat,
Volvo, Volkswagen, and would come with specific
photos of these cars in their best cities,
instead of stock photos of bike lanes or walkways
along skylines

a sunburnt kid passing is 14, or 17, or twenty
in a mural all the women wear long braids
and all the men colorful pants. Mama returns and
does not remove her sunglasses for a minute. Then
comes the hiss as carbonation breaches the Diet Coke.
Mama y Papa go together to the store

because that is how they love each other
(how unlike my parents—isolated fish
finning around past each other in one amicable tank).
Another walker drops down the hill
I watch her pink velour and hoop earrings
with an elbow hooked into the leg of my beloved.

Child games of exactitude and patience:
Shoot the Moon, Snafu
this flow representing a mode I hate myself and all my formless content in
observable data lacking in a catty contemporary way epiphanic
aggressions or morals smarmy in its pleasure with itself:
black Labrador wagging on red front step not blankly but somewhat
idiotically; since I never meant
this poem to be concerned with idiocy
such notice cedes slack wobbly failure—return—
Here I sit in the window. I observe
the tree and the shadow of the trees,
one successful and one not. I venture
criticism is creative partially and academia arty,
fictional or fictive, i.e. “formal” and “figurative” are descriptors of
intellectual thinking, so it’s not stifling of for example
my friend who reads reviews of books of poetry before and during
work on poems which he claims is because he “doesn’t know
what to do next so need[s] a little breath.”

“many occasions as a symbol does when the heart is full and risks no speech”
there Joe’s Jacket can tell you why I have had trouble lately
being the last eight months easily if not thirteen if you don’t count
which I can’t because it malingers undone “The Recent Pasts”
“It’s funny that we have eyelids but not earlids” Yaul says
he who wreaks the Apollonian in me

vaguely I hear blue sirens
“you must hate me for showing you my body”
Yaul says and a woman in hijab passes

slowly outside up the hill with both covered hands bracing her back
I realize my feet must have fallen asleep underneath me
It is 2:12 “make a wish” Yaul

says “Las naranjas” from Texas wait in a crate in the car to be unloaded by him
though again look I don’t like feeling obliged
to give that last issue of sentiment or situation that Romantic asks to
self-perpetuate and live its numb life of particulars and people caring
about them out. I actually wanted to sign off on a poem

that stops without feeling the need for that industriousness or that industry.