Saturday, April 30, 2016

New Poem up on "Drunks in a Midnight Choir"

... which is a stellar site and you should go there and read everyone's stuff.

There... there is NO bad stuff there... at. all.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The End of Things #12/30

(Another song which our Author seems to be channeling Early Black Sabbath, maybe Dio. Then again, maybe Uriah Heep, so let's keep things in perspective, eh? Odd, me'thinks)

Lights are falling.
Heaven's come undone.
End of the universe,
or maybe just this one.
Either way, unsteady legs
knocked out from under us.
Turn off the radio,
I need someone else

that agrees with me.
Endings, beginnings, both
had little to do with this,
we just ran out of rope
when we got down to the end of our coping skills.
No need to hang ourselves,
just let go of everything.
Turn off the radio in case
the sirens start to sing.

Bloody skies overhead.
Beautiful, fiery red.
Apocalyptic myth.
But all I can think of
is your goodbye kiss
to all of this...

We can watch the falling,
cities into wreckage, ruined.
We can wave at horsemen
joking "How you four doin'?"
We could enjoy little deaths
waiting for the big one.
We could swallow Jesus,
and wait for Him to come.

Bloody skies overhead.
Beautiful, fiery red.
Apocalyptics predict.
But all I can think of
is your goodbye kiss
out of all of this...

Heaven is unraveling,
you can wear it like a wreath
The universe is being consumed
out from underneath,
and from the inside out.
entropy at the end of things.
If we could find a whole radio
we could hear the angels sing
goodbye to everything

Bloody skies overhead.
Beautiful, fiery bright
In the end, unworthy
of Apocalyptic hype.
Still, the only place
I want to feel safe
is your goodbye kiss
to all of this...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Real Life Story: Trying to Be an Ally #11/30

Pardon the formatting. I cut/pasted this from a FB post I made that seem to resonate with a lot of people, shared many times. I share it here, again, not to be the hero of the piece, but merely to show how easy it is to try and be an ally to POC (and not just appoint yourself the title) and also, just how mundane and common systemic racism really is.

"So, earlier today, a group of young black women (teens maybe?) knocked on my door and said "Hi, we're a group of kids that have rented out the space next door. We're going to have a party and wanted to say we might get a little loud if that's ok. We won't be here later than midnight."
Very appreciated. I've lived here for over two years and no-one has ever, ever politely informed me (or anyone) of their presence beforehand. And they were hardly that loud, even when groups of them were hanging outside. There have been heavy rock shows there that were much louder, with drinking outside (and bottles left on the lawn of my building) and none of them ever went around, introducing themselves to local residents as a courtesy.

I'm surprised later (and probably shouldn't have been, after all these kids were CLEARLY GWY&B-ing* (Gathering While Young & Black) all over the place they rented legally), when I see police cars show up. I see the young woman outside, talking to two cops who were acting as if they'd never seen the Mediator before. "Do you have permission to be here? You seem kind of young to sign a rental agreement. Is this an abandoned building? Is there electricity and running water in there?" You could tell he was kind of playing with her and/or trying to get her to blurt out enough info so he could have cause to shut the party down. He looked like he'd put in some years in the police force, so his claim that "I thought this place was abandoned" was pretty suspect as, The Mediator Stage is rented out nearly every night and a few times during the week (Also available for function rentals and I hear it's cheap. Guy who owns it is a nice guy. So... shout out to The Mediator Stage (who were not there and had nothing to do with this story, save renting the hall to the people.)
So, I go outside and say, "Officers, these fine youth actually went door-to-door earlier today, politely informing us of their party. This building is rented out frequently for a number of uses, among them open mic nights and a regular Sunday morning worship group. This is actually a Unitarian Congregation, and they are registered, as is the building, with the Unitarian Universalist Association, in Boston, MA."
Afterwards, I gave the woman my name and number and told her to call me if she needed a witness to that interaction, or if the police arrived again.
Later, when the night was over and youth were waiting for their rides, I heard some of them yelling at others "Get off those steps! You don't know those people!" so I went down and told them I lived there, and they were welcome to wait there, out of the rain. I understood their caution, but I was stating they were welcome to wait there, and if anyone asked, they could knock on the door, I'd be up for a while.
All this is not about me being the hero. I'm saying that it took so little to see something not right was about to happen and no real effort to help, and when I took the cops' attention away from her and other organizers (and where their line of questioning might be going) it was nice to be able to use a little of my white privilege to confound the system. Organic Judo, whatever.
But do you see America, how easy it is to be ok with each other?
So easy, a crippled old white dude can do it.

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Heaven of Starfish and Coffee #10/30

"I think when anyone dies now, we just say Rest w/Prince bc...Prince"
                                                                                        - Rachel Wiley
There are deaths that merely cease
a life, and there are deaths that change
the whole shape and cloth of living.

I wonder was the word genius easy to wear;
it would have to be, right? So many
people throwing it over your shoulders.

But you knew it is better to be naked &
those shoulders of yours smoldered molten
as you guitared, the way u sing, everything

you held in your hands given exact magic
you wanted it to become. Your mystery? Magic.
Every instrument quicksilver blessed;

how your throat caressed every sexy part; 
your heart was orchestra, your vision rocked
in every purple shade of praise and fire.

The first time I heard your music, I didn’t
know what to fall in love with first, I was
too busy shedding tight hetero-normal,

and dancing like a Kinsey 3. I don’t know
there’s another artist that was something
to everybody and everybody got something

My friend said your passing should redefine
the afterlife, and now, when someone we love
dies, we should say “Rest with Prince, bc…

Prince.” I agree. We can say “Dearly beloved”
we can say “Electric Word: Life” we can say
“They’ve gone to a better place, a place

of Starfish and coffee, of maple syrup and Jam…”

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Eulogy #9/30

(In-class assignment: suffer through writing a villanelle...)

In the end, everything comes back to us.
No one wants their end to come this way,
ashes to ashes, mortal dust to dust.

Hypothetical God, in Thee we trust.
We pray this life is not a false charade.
In the end, everything comes back to us:

prodigal sons, bad pennies, dangerous
chances we worried would turn out this way:
ashes to ashes, mortal dust to dust

in the wind, scattered by sudden gusts
and false summer calms that mask hurricanes.
In the end, everything returns to us

as if we placed good intentions in a trust.
Now the terrible dividends are paid:
ashes to ashes, mortal dust to dust.

Life is a wheel; Karma, is a wheel. Trust
all things will be balanced; all debts get paid
in the end. Everything comes back to us--
ashes to mortal ashes, dust to dust.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

All Points Bulletin #7/30

(in-class exercise: the Simile)

Calling all those concerned,
be on lookout for a suspect
in several criminal complaints.
The culprit identified as “Life”
is described as “something
as empty as mystery; green
as a bird’s dream; personal
as blood; regular as midnight;
reluctant as a swollen cloud;
nervous as bad dreams caught

peeking; smooth as silence;
quick as already; as certain
as sure; pretty as a possibility;
as lonely as mercy; willing
to do anything imaginable
as one drowning should, slicker
than owl shit; desperate as
a second youth; crying like
November; pale as pale as pale as...

Should you see Life, please,
be cautious as blood-letting;
careful as cats; and quiet
as real rain. Be as certain
as heartbeats; call for help
like wind changing direction,
then be as gone as last
night, when you were not
able to even voice similes;

it was like…like…like…

Luscious #8/30

(Class assignment: alliteration; word given to me - luscious)

Like almost all words, it is rooted in Latin;
delicere, meaning, to entice by attraction
or charm; its mouth-feel, liquid like satin;
a warm lullaby, a promise of satisfaction

for the senses; loving, lazy mouthfuls
of umami and cream. Litanies lifting
luscious languidly, lingering; doubtful
there is a better reason for our existing

than moments lost to lust and laughter,
and layered cakes of chocolate. Look,
let Luscious! be our call to action. After
sifting lore and legend from every book,

Mastering the Art of French Cooking
or Karma Sutra, both are lush tomes
of all the Luscious we are looking

to learn, so we can really cook at home

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Prayer for Imposter Syndrome (#6/30)

It's the back-of-the-head voice that says, "Congratulations! fooled them again, you fraud." after anything good.
The surety that the only thing close to commendable
is our illusionary juggling skills, keeping so many pieces
of utter shit we call "anything" from falling to full failure.

We are the things that lie to us most, more than mirrors
and the way they hiss...hideous; more than happenstance;
even when we win we are sure we are not worthy of Good.
Things. We feel the need for caveat as much as confession,
but we can never apologize for ourselves enough.

Here is to the wounded, here is to survivors, to those
weeping over broken mirrors, a finger's edge from falling.
Here is to the ugly ducklings, and swans of every possible
color; to flaws that blossom from mirror shards, and weeds
that are amazing for the way they feed us medicinal

gifts. Here is to the lonely, may you be met. To the broken,
may you see  through that illusion. To the isolated, you live
in a time of instant communication, you don't have to be alone.
To those who never before dared whisper "I am beautiful"
to their reflections 'til they used a mirror they built themselves

Friday, April 8, 2016

Summer SAD Sonnet #5/30

(This was a class assignment to unleash yet another sonnet on an unsuspecting world. I guess Shakespeare didn't make enough, or something. Summer SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a rare sub-group of the rare sub-group of people who suffer seasonal depression due to lack of sunlight. Which makes Summer SAD especially ironic because the main thing prescribed to those afflicted in the Winter is getting sun (whether real, or ultraviolet light therapy). For Summer SAD the prognosis/treatment is pretty much "Don't leave your house until night, or rainy days, or maybe October.")

If I compared thee to a Summer's day,
it means I do all I can to avoid
long exposure, which will wear me away,
leaving me exhausted, hot an annoyed.

You are like the merry crowds at the beach:
a too-loud, terrifying pale thing
that smells of coconut; gaudy, bleached;
picking sand from the awful lunches they bring.

Yes, I compare thee to a day of Summer,
(the Winter of my Discontent). Diagnosed
with Summer SAD, Summer is a bummer;
I stay in, air-conditioned, curtains closed.

To paraphrase these three quatrains' intent:
You're like Summer. That's not a compliment.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Vertebrates (#4/30)

It runs in the family. So goes the legend
about all vertebrates. Maybe it was steel
resolve that evolved to become this gift,
maybe we all just had a stick up our asses
that eventually grew these arms and legs,

or front legs and rear legs; or wings and legs
or many fins because fish can't seem to agree
on shit, with anybody. You see why our family
can't seem to unify, despite all our shared,
and closeted skeletons? Exoskeletons mean

not having to say, "I am soft and touchable."
But we wear all our vulnerabilities outside.
Our cowardly bones chatter, "You got this,
I'm right here, inside you. Got your back,
face!" There is a reason fish are not birds,

reptiles are not mammals, and amphibians
just want the privilege of not choosing to
be defined by one element or another. This
family: phylum chordata, united in bone,
we disagree about almost everything else.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Die By Your Pleasure 30/30 #3

(An Erasure Poem, using lyrics to The Smith's "There is a Light That Never Goes Out")

out tonight
there's music people
who are
driving in your car
I never
I haven't

Take me
because I want to
and I want to see
your car
please don't drop me
it's not my home
it's their welcome

And if a double
by your side
both of us
by the pleasure

Take me
take me anywhere
care I
in the dark,
my chance
gripped me
I just

Tonight, I don't
I don't, I don't
never never
because I haven't

double crashes
by your side
both of us
die by the pleasure
die by the pleasure

there is light
it never goes

Absences 30/30 #2

With the weather clearly gone
off its meds, traded half-hours
of snow squall, then sunshine,
snow again. It's hard enough

when crazy is just in my head,
I don't need it quick-translated
into Barometer. Cheap-ass sky
couldn't cough up a rainbow.

Wouldn't change anything,
really, but we crazy people,
we may not look for them,
but we sure feel it when

they're not there. We read into
the absence of things, chase
paragons we think will heal
us; we are sensitive people

underfire from our own sense
sensitivity. This is a loud world,
you hear it through the walls
where I live, which is inside

my head. It is loud, then snow
is falling in my head, covering
sound the way snow does,
cooling off raging feedback,

letting night fall in my head.
Shush of snow, brings sleep
where the absence of things
is very much the whole point.

A Janitor Write A Eulogy for "Richard Cory" 30/30 #1

(In class assignment: riff on famous "Richard Cory" poem
by Edwin  Arlington  Robinson)

After Mr. Cory famously blew out his brains,
He was duly eulogized into immortality.
But the guy who has to scrub out the stains,
Repaint the living room? That would be me.

I'm truly ecstatic he was a man of acclaim--
He was a gentleman, from sole to crown--
He certainly was gifted with a lot of brains.
You notice these things as you hose down

That small part of his kingdom where he fled,
And failed, and saw no avenue of escaping
His fate. So he wedded a gun to his head.
May his tortured soul find some safe haven,

And all. Still there's this earthly mess to erase,
And I mean no disrespect to anyone involved,
But it was weeks before we got this case;
Some of these stains won't be so easily solved.