Sunday, September 27, 2009
D. A. Powell
he had a girlfriend on the side. he had a boyfriend on the side
he had too many sides: back- front- and be-, the problem was: he’d hide
and in my mind, the darkest runnings: don’t think I didn’t suspect
the mysterious calls from portland. the hickey upon his pec
the cum towel he never laundered had become crusty and shrunk
he drank to function but didn’t function: instead he was a drunk
I pity the woman who marries this straight boy who likes to cheat
who’s a bomb in the sack for anyone—unless it’s not his mate
still, I pray he is safe, and not always dreaming of my casket
like a crappy hired mourner, carrying his own little wilting basket
for Donald Haines Eason, the last
D. A. Powell is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Chronic (Graywolf, 2009). He is co-author, with David Trinidad, of By Myself: An Autobiography (Turtle Point Press, 2009). Powell has published recent poems in New England Review, Barrow Street, Tin House and A Public Space. He teaches in the English Department at University of San Francisco.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
The island is a graph in which this exists:
you are sitting
are you sitting?
you are standing
are you standing?
you are reading
you must be reading
because you read
as the poem does
it wields a nasty frond
or has never known
this tender shoot it grows
Ocean begets its image in its own turns
how it circles out from the start & cuts off –
how it begins an ending like a wave would.
All the parts are in shadow
complete with unseen gears
that fall across the face
outside of compliance
always peeing where the others have peed.
We have a century! We have a history! Suddenly
even the present is revisable.
Subscription cards fall out of your mouth
like retold stories we snore through
but in this case they were never told
so this is a big fiction
with first fruit
breathing toward intent –
really letting the moment unfurl it
until the ripened object
takes the shape of something
there is no copy of
immediately the thing sounded
& I busied myself with my glasses.
Writing poems for the republican squid
I was nasty in a nice way
same as my enabling neighbors.
Here at last was the imagined but never realized place
leaping into real life
I lost my first fraction of sight in math class
2 years after I watched a load of dripping laundry get pulled
mid-cycle from the machine
William Blake: Do you still have my eyeglasses?
Nobody: No, I traded them. do you have any tobacco?
William Blake: No, I traded it.
Nobody: For what?
William Blake: I’m not telling.
William Blake: Thief.
The boy had gone missing but the dog remained
digging up relations we never saw die
until the only habit that remained was kunst –
perhaps it survived to revise past tendencies
always kunst in the dream
kunst in the dinner
kunst in the tent
when we arrived there were 74 cigarettes
& now there is one
but we still haven’t decided
on who will be chief
we soon discover voting
decides nothing at all
but the toy of voting can be just as pleasing
as a seashell
There was nothing wrong with anything, but you could not place yourself anywhere
The jungle minutely vibrated
with strains of destroyed music
under palms of a formal math
you are always in a car before me
turning to the left
In our liver perhaps we knew
we were being watched
by a world of terrified animals
but we often forgot that ache
& loved each other.
I think I see a polar bear. No. It’s a white rock.
Perhaps I knew in advance
that the dead thing would die
because I dreamed it died
before it did
& told the dead thing so.
He tried to act unaffected
but I saw his skin betray his theater.
Way after the fact I became pleased with my decision.
I didn’t mind falling behind
a Winnebago on the freeway.
I barfed silently as if on stilts –
as if it was not a good island.
The pilot said nothing to the contrary.
The pilot has the best manners
because, duh! He’s the pilot. Or he was.
When birds fly through the jungle
all at once the many ventricles
sputter out –
that we were stranded outside of the greater sadness
that we took up canteens
& masked, made a go at survival.
Unsure our legs weren’t broke
unsure our brains thumped right
unsure our brains registered anything
against the blue screen.
Catherine Meng lives in Berkeley, CA. Her first collection of poems, Tonight's the Night, was published in 2007 by Apostrophe Books.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Brett Fletcher Lauer
A FIFTH MEMORY
Let's not speak of ravens, keyholes at twilight, subjects
immediate to observation appearing partly as a doctrine
of chance. It is unlike me to dispute what is grand.
A cloud field can herald distress, command numbers
to fragment, but the rainfall lacked compulsion, how
birds listed as unclean were birds of prey, not a model
for conduct. Every day began with trust; segments
fitted together like small bodies of animals and plants.
Arriving home a touch positioned your face upright
regardless of industrious wind. Restore me to that
then, however streaked with gloom, however riddled
through with worm and sorrow. Part of the problem
was mandatory participation, the other your radiant
neck from certain sadness, half-feelings in August,
or the will to walk many-sided. Restore me to a prior
arena beyond where this letter fills a hand mildly. There
exists no such thing as three beginnings. Earlier gestures
were vague in declaring intention, and what the echo
from the cliff responds with is a general void, minor
modifications in mood like English weather. Restore
the song its bird, bird its egg, egg to concept. This world
mirrored a wonder formerly praised until we discovered
the structure of horror in all inventions. I anticipated
otherwise, the arrangement of light on a woodland stream
to dazzle; a red fox paused on a hilltop to restore
a condition decayed. What could determine the next
question? What answer could halt the mind and its written
description from an eternity grazing on itself? What answer
could relinquish such control or once more bury it
in a hole with anything else the animals might claim?
NO NEW INFORMATION
When I hang in the air
it will be by popular
demand. There is
a contingency of people
who think loving me
is wrong. I made this
for them. I care deeply
about our republic
but I’m unsure what
to do next. I’m lonely.
Duh. Even I can learn
to endure, but can
no longer speak
for us. Your anxiety
is noted. There is
something radically wrong
in the letter I left
or else Scandinavian.
I feel my apartment
getting dirty. I make
a cup of tea. It is
Later, I’m going
to haunt everything
in this room.
Brett Fletcher Lauer is the Managing Director of the Poetry Society of America and a Poetry Editor at A Public Space. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Tin House, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn.
Sunday, September 06, 2009
I am not of this world
And when I tell you that
You do not believe me
And force me to do things
I don’t want to do
What do I want to do?
I want to become a poem
Poem poem you went tunneling out of me
The sound of z
No one believed the monstrosity
Of my birth
No one believed the monstrosity
Of my death
Instead they treated me
As the kind of human
We all esteem
A demon mask, the moon
And butter, a proposition
All of me
Burning as bright as a bird
A demon wife to dark night
A demon wife
I was to the dark night