poems

28 October 2014

#24: Joe's Jacket

Often a star / was waiting for you to notice it
—Rilke

'You stroke / my hand with your thumb & / I black out'
A bat gets into the house, shrieks

'Hello mi tiger cat lemon bar
paloma sin patas. I don't know why
I feel the need to be mean to you
now that we live together'

I feel lonely with you & awful w/o you:
the mirror is a wall or hole

I miss you when you're in front of me
doing other things
when I hide in retaliation you do not
come looking

you press your closed fingers
to my chest & paw & purr into
the hole of my ear when you see I need these

(...req. "just as it is and just what happens" kind of close)

#23: Comparative Lit

I didn't expect to miss the languages
began cheating by taking interest
in Swedish grammar & in Italian

triggered by that an insight
via Neruda's explico algunas cosas
long-term pleasures,

long-term pains back at the fore
& a German friend read ausgesetzt
auf den Bergen des Herzens at a party

I slept through rain
a naked angel lies on my Rilke cover
his brow's down & a bolt of cloth leaks
from his groin, fern green
& printed with darker swirls

I'm out of practice
& want to get back on the boat
& push off & live somewhere else

26 October 2014

#22: Not sure

     Does taste make any sense?
Oatmeal stout, chocolate coffee

     (What's love)'s relationship to possession?
Parallel or like a helix
hideous
God ought to intervene
but that's the greatest owner

     To shame?
Inverse. Cleaner and clearer
than repulsion, since that can swing.

     It's discerned, but is it a shift?
Yes you slumped under an archway
bound to disastrous unfeeling

     Would there be a trigger warning?
Those come strictly retroactive

     Is it my choice?
Nudity is
touching
is your choice

     Is it always too late?
Power is usually vulnerable




24 October 2014

#21: Sibyl

     Can I call you today?
Somehow worse than in person
you call when
we're both in bad places
sick in bed or other verge
I only pick up if I need it
we beg of each other for an hour & disconnect
man in my front room doesn't understand
we talked about you, she says hi
we're code

     Are you free in about 10 minutes?
It's late where I am
skittish
brisk
I might not be able to stop talking if you let me start

     Are you liking it?
Of course there is always pleasure
in oneself & in new places though
the thirst is a shame

     Are people nice?


     Do people party?
If you can call it that. They don't
commit the way we took
our part of Oakland
fuchsia liqueur & soda
Nat Sherman
both pulled slowly from above
in a wired room like a cage
lording over     preened

23 October 2014

#20: F153 & 154

     Take where? take how? take why?
Can one fully possess?
Not unless you make you an animal

     Who am I to make fun of them?
Guard up     bit down     blister
rough eye    sunk lip      hunkered
tease til exempt

     Which of us can deny the other?
I don't no no not like get this question away from me
Glad you're alone anyway

     Do I die completely?
On the other side of the wall a boy reads
large parts of a legal text
v.a.v. 'Yerma' aloud & watch me
fall asleep (not translating tragedy)

     What does it mean to possess?
Come & he'll show you

21 October 2014

#19: more from 'Language'

     How / Motherfucker can I sing a sad song / When I remember Zion?
Jack gets it right it won't do to be pitiful
gardens of one of those LA yoga cults
then a sprouted almond green juice
& catching miles of gentle break

     How can I / sing my Lord's song in a strange land?
Taking video of the last sunset
coral blaze bleeding out green ocean
sky bruising eastern half of Encinitas
transparent moon dismal til midnight
I'll miss you when I'm gone

     "Where are you going, pretty maid?"
Marine Street Beach best known for womping
I go to watch w/ agua de jamaica
ranking bodysurfers after school
I (really) wasn't pretty or a maid

     Or was it once a mountain?
The sand of the beach at the foot of the reserve
was. Bluff & cliff erode & deposit
& shelves form & slide out
I took confession here & stayed clammed up

     Was it true?
I don't understand the question
I was pretty young but I meant it
I mean you sent me music

#18: questions from 'Language' (J.S.)

     What is final?
Oblivion? Because interminable?
or needs final mean terminable
like 'I don't think about it anymore'
like you waited for me to get on the bus
& watched me go
& at the next function we were civil

     What's your house?
Sun and Jupiter in Lion (proud & uncompromising).
Moon in Fish (reactive & weepy). Rising Goat (ambition).
Mars & Venus in Virgin (odi/amo, utter care).
Nothing came in Twins (they're
sinister for that, illegible, arcane)

     Do you love me?
I often have strong feelings
like a tuning fork or spooked animal
shuddering out of its skin around a wood
that's Moon in Fish for you

     Do the flowers change as I touch your skin?
Of course not, but you were talking the whole time
& I was getting what I was after
& mesmerized

     Where is the poet?
Fled from SF to middle America
one after the other incommunicado

#17: 6th 'Ultimate Bungalow' (of which there are 6), 2307 Piedmont

     Is it over quickly?
Oh, so, so, so quickly.
That's de rerum natura. Claro. Iced tea
dripping on a pink patio, Hockney blue
ocean in the rearview, aridity,
sickness of 'memory/desire'

     What are your assumptions?
M never let me buy my own food
we never went to the movies
never defined any terms
did assert a lust when chance acquainted

     Not this, what then?
I wasn't expecting anything
M burst a valve offstage
I waited in a dark wood-paneled room
M either vomiting or preparing to strike
our heads hit the floor semi-erotically

     Which kinds of knowledge are coterminous?
K thought M had unwieldy physical presence
M thought K would be easy
K thought M preferred silence or foreign language
M thought if not K then N or S or D
K saw a secret diary of M when he was on the roof smoking
revealed how ruined he was last summer
that he had been reading L'├ętranger & Vallejo

     If not now, when?
That was one argument against resistance
I thought I liked it
The other was maliced tenderness
manifest in 'I got drunk because
I was nervous to see you, comere'

fragment

That time your dad screamed from the front room
TIMMY THE KID PITCHED A NO-HITTER!
we were downstairs fucking around
your brother launched into chanting

#16: 'And when our throat gets dry / ... / If you're a viper.'

4 questions from The Day of the Locust

     [Those men were complete strangers] Know what I mean?
I liked strangers when I was younger
they hardly use anything against you
i.e. ignorance in your favor
i.e. 'nothing to lose'
& such learning curve to ascend

     Who you laughing at?
M for his faith in his macho
myself for the misunderstanding of that come-on
In DotL as elsewhere dancing preludes sex

     But perhaps you would prefer a liqeuer, M—?
Honestly it was noble work trying to make W jealous
he was ignoble it was a public service
to unhand & disarm him
ergo enter M caveat being his misogyny
matched W's
mortal error
'original coil'

     [He must have been crazy.] What kind of fun is that?
M believed he deserved the attention
for being handsome
he got drunk it was revolting (gin)
why he left Miami for California was unclear
maybe excommunication
or some slicker coil

they don't teach consent in schools
did you rly think it was gonna happen with that terrible painting gazing down at me

#15: "The boys in Havana love Tony's wife..."

Four questions from The Day of the Locust & one from Frank O'Hara

     How much is it?
$3 at a cafe or free with rent
if it is fresh coffee, looseleaf tea, or breakfast
of toast or yogurt
$30 for an evening with Faye Greener

     Why don't you go home?
Because I believe I can do good work here
not yet maybe only partially so far
stalling or stalled? maybe
don't want to talk about it
anyway I'm tense look
how the veins shimmer

     Won't you have some coffee?
I got you to stay that time for tea
you were too drunk to stand
I should have fed you bread
or let you sleep on the couch
instead of keeping you awake
& sending you back across town
that might have brought things
to an earlier head
that mightn't have been as good

     I seem to be defying fate, or am I avoiding it?
Avoiding it definitely
Hollywood in the 1930s
'Paris in the time of the arcades'
Berkeley in my nascent postadolescence
@ the very early start of a sharp notion of myself
paying $7 for a beet & ginger juice

     Why go on the turf?
Fuck, maybe she'd like it.
It is very important to feel like wresting power
by dominating male desire, to finger
(still partial) measures of control—
to have you and you and him by the throats
& decide to let you live. Since mercy kills.

#14: Earlier

This morning I am small & not scary
at all

Yesterday I felt scary these often
dovetail

We toured the Folger in DC in March
our tour

of Library of Congress got snowed out
bummer

I lost an earring back in the National
Gallery

coat check. My computer died & I lost
the photos

from that trip and all previous.
This

tied anchor to the summer, which was rough
enough

with separation, a cross-country move,
an aunt

stonily urging marriage at the half
at the La Jolla Symphony

14 October 2014

#13: My Dante

Rain is a good analogy because of its liminal visibility. It is difficult to isolate visually and it can render its surround less clear. The way to check rain density is not to look into the sky which is blank but down at the surface of a puddle or pond and mark characteristics or tendencies from there.
I sit for an hour in a hip-opener, like a frog. This can be good for your back as it is a release, that is if your front is strong enough. I want to say happily, 'mine is!' and vaunt across that dancehall. The rain continues and takes the leaves out from the trees and pastes the street with them. There are always modifications to poses so do not be deterred. It is not a competition. Observe climate and occupy the dancehall. Turn back into a woman. This ought to have you feeling good.

12 October 2014

#12: preference

being held by the throat
being held down
holding down
taking direction
orchestration
last night at a bar
with friends debating
biting

11 October 2014

#11: California Bay Laurel

("Ask variously and often: Can you blame them?")

Mount Tamalpais 'is the result of uplift,
buckling, and folding of the NA plate.'
It's mostly serpentine which goes in
for jewelry as 'false jade.'
I climb Mt Tam with some people I like
but do not know well. A naturalist shows us
how to memorize every next 50 feet
and walk with lifted eyes.
He wears a chestnut braid and Giants cap.
The surrounding redwoods stand dark and cool
from fog seeped-in and hung like moss.
Lunch is whole fruit in an ocean-facing valley.
California laurels spread by rooting in other things
and spice the paths and also go by
pepperwood, spicebush,
cinnamon bush, peppernut tree,
headache tree, mountain laurel,
Balm of Heaven. It smells like camphor,
it's basically myrtle. It hosts the pathogen that kills oaks.

#10: Grizzly Peak

with Mt Diablo in the distance:
the last time we think a grizzly killed a man

was 1865 in Strawberry Canyon.
This was also the last reported sighting.
AKA 'silvertips.'

The biggest bear found in California was killed in Valley Center also in the 1860s.
Last summer we drove out to tour a public lavender farm,
got lost, argued, found the fields, were made serene.

'Grizzly' because the golden and grey tips of its hairs.
Golden poppy, golden bears. Tan splashing children.
Skin cancer, breast implants, exploitation of migrant work.

Students jump Strawberry Creek's narrow parts to get to class.
It rarely rains so the creek rarely swells.

#9: Headline

WILD CARD: Oakland Actively Goes
Out Of Its Way To Break Your Heart

On the train back in from SF
you speed beneath the bay

emerging after 3.6 miles
at just sunrise the cars burn

pear yellow dust light
commuters read and sleep

folded legs in uniform
most get off at 12th Street

you tunnel through part of
the Pacific Coast Range

the light sifting in settles
in your small ear and curls of hair

04 October 2014

Capricorn Rising

With this Ascendant, you come across as serious, cold, disciplined, patient, focused, thoughtful, ambitious, indomitable, cautious, lucid, persistent, provident, steady, introverted, stern, wilful, hard-working, responsible, persevering, honest, realistic, loyal, reserved, resolute, moralistic, quiet, rigorous, attached and reliable. But you may also be curt, withdrawn, calculating, petty, cruel, unpleasant, ruthless, selfish, dull, rigid, slow or sceptical.