Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Decision

The boiling water,
fresh from the whistle,
splashes onto
the black, glass
stove-top,
and I wonder
if I need to slow down,
possibly read a book,
or just stare
into the cool evening
waiting for dusk
to whisper into my ear.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Tea

The teabag bleeds into
the hot water,
slowly oozing its nectar,
like a deep, red wound,
red river (split in two),
darkening{becoming pungent.
Hot blood in my coffee cup,
just below boiling point.
Who has wounded you?
Are the ripe, red strawberries
in my cereal your brethren?
Bobbing up and down,
the blood continues
without cries of pain
or shock.
I feel sadistic,
watching my tea bleed,
waiting to drink from its cup
as though ritualistically sacrificing
the adored lamb, waiting for its mystic
blood to collect in some holy, tin cup.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Waiting for Inspiration

I find myself waiting for inspiration.  I journal each day, sometimes at the end of the day, recounting the details from the time I awoke, to when my pen hit the paper.  I am detailing these banalities hoping something poetic will arise from the ink.  If I go back through my journals, I can find an archaeological phrase or poem that I can post to my blog.  I flip through pages and am reminded that many of my days sound the same.  Perhaps this is why the days seem to blend together.  


Still I write.


I believe that it is important to write through writer’s block.  I think that with any work, there will be plateaus and times when you don’t want to continue.  If I repeat the motions, go through the movements, I may not have a book of collected poems or pearls of wisdom, but I will have written every day.  I will have written my life; documented it for my children’s children and all of the nameless, faceless Internet readers.


Still I write.


I received a few more rejection letters last week.  I should clarify that they were emails, not letters.  People don’t write letters anymore.  One of the emails was an obvious form rejection letter; the other one was more personal.  I appreciate the personal letdown, but sometimes the form rejection is easier to accept: like when you carefully insert a wrinkled and torn dollar bill into the vending machine and it is immediately spat out again.  There is no tiptoeing around the issue.  The bill was rejected.  So I try again and again and again and again until I get my damn candy bar.


Still I write.


The personal email feels more like a breakup than and rejection.  It is like they really wanted to accept my poems, but they just couldn’t: don’t worry, you will find someone out there who is perfect for you; not me, but someone out there is perfect for you.  So, I feel wounded, but not angry because they wanted me, but the universe said no.  I think prefer the quick dollar-bill rejection instead.


Well, here I am write a short blog post that is part journal confessional, part insightful essay.  I think I need a few hundred more words before I am allowed to classify this as an essay.  In the meantime, I will read my daily emailed poem, try and get through Alexander Hamilton’s biography and Beowulf’s saga, and go to work each day to change the world.  


I make dents in the universe.I thrive on inspiring others to greatness.I love questioning the status quo.I am a shaper.I create cultures that release the creativity and originality in others.I am an independent thinker; nonconforming and rebellious.I ask lots of questions.I push the boundaries of what's possible.

Still I write.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Father-stuff

Am I filled
with the same father-stuff:
coarse and cold
and hard?
If so,
let me rip
my seams,
tear out my insides,
drain all my blood
onto the floor,
until I am but
a shell.
Let me find some new father-stuff:
white, wispy, soft, solid
warm and close.


Will I love
my child
the way he loved me:
distant, cold and course,
task-oriented?
When I become
a father (my father?)
please let me
find some new father-stuff.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hands

I look for chores to busy my hands,
inherited from Marie, my German grandmother.
She barely sat down for 76 years.  She would clean
and cook and wash and cut the grass.

Except when Frida would come over.  Two German
sisters: sitting over coffee, chatting in German, smiling
at their grandchildren as I meandered in and out of the kitchen;
until one day I was old enough to sit with them.

I told them I was studying German.  They asked me
to speak, clicking their tongues as I twisted and curled my
tongue.  They tsked at my hochdeutsch.  Their own speech
born out of the Depression, WWII, cleaning the bank, raising children

who didn't want to stay in Laurel, MT.  Their language,
the words they used, had so much more substance.
My textbook talk was highfalutin, stuck in meaningless
conversations about Claudia and Hans ordering coffee after school.

Marie and Frida talked, spoke their truths and then stood
up from the linoleum kitchen table to wash the dishes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Still I Write

I will continue writing
until the lines run out;
then I will grab another journal:
more lines
more words

This is not a goodbye;
(so cliche, I know)
just a see you soon

Still I write
And still I write
Bowed head and lowered eyes
weakened by my soulful cries

But still, I write.

Monday, September 18, 2017

At the Grave of my Family: Father and 2 Brothers

This is the longest that I've spent with them,
lined up beneath the earth, side by side:
a united family.
This is the closest I've been to them,
all three so near, but 10 feet beneath my feet.
They all felt, at one time or another, that I was
better than them; put me on an invisible
pedestal high above them.
Now I'm above them.  I'm left alone
even though we've been estranged for decades.
I am alone.   It is quite here;
we haven't spoken in years.

I am the last on, penned with a name
that I had to grow in to;
A name that I pass along to my own children,
without strings attached to each letter,
each false memory, family lore that dictated
my behavior.  I.  am.  here.
staring at my name chiseled three times
into granite stones:

Here lies               Here lies               Here lies

I give my sons this name, Germanic and complete:
a name without lies;
The lies they told me, themselves,
the police.

Here lies the end of an era,
a fictional family made up of non-existent birthdays
Christmas cheer, Easter egg hunts, Holy Communion.
I have laid these lies to rest.

I turn around, take my sons' hands and
go home.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

I'm emotional.  I drank too much wine and ate too much lamb curry.  Cat Stevens brings a single tear to my eye -- for the dad I never had, but always wanted.  Cher closes my throat, chokes me up -- for a mother, whom I miss so much it hurts.  I often wonder if I'd feel so depressed as often as I do if she were here.  She would annoy me for sure, but she might keep me in check.  I'm tired and sad and have a stomach ache, probably diarrhea tomorrow.  Tonight, I'll just puke out my feelings onto this page, scratching at the paper and the floor.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Marie

I think of food and her strong calves and
her flipping around in my dad's slippers
five sizes too big.

I think of her beautiful German accent on my answering machine. 

I think of her simplicity and her cleanliness. 

I think of her immaculate house with clean sheets. 

I think of the washcloths she made; her inability to sit still. 

I would wake up to a silent house, smelling 
seiza panna kuche.

I think of her smell; how hard she worked;
of her kitchen, surrounding me with food—always. 

I think of her soft voice. 

I think of how much she loved. 

I think of her little feet. I think of Laurel, MT. 

I think of her laugh: it was great, like a chuckle. 

I think of her drinking coffee with Aunt Frida. 

I think of how she would sneak sweets, even though she wasn’t supposed to, and the face she would make: like a little kid knowingly doing something wrong. 

I think of the amazing adversity she lived through. 

I think of how she would take out her teeth before bed. 

I think about how she was always concerned about her family. 

I think of how she never complained about anything, ever.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Door Slams

Something brushed up against my leg as I finished listening to a poem being read by a NY poet about feeling small in a universe filled with suns and moons and Mars.  And so I am here.  I am left to dig up images buried beneath the soft silt below the ocean: God help me.  I'm trying to paint with words, not numbers; trying to be a devious craftsman, but sometimes all I have is red wine and ten minutes alone with my pen.

A door slams.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Shanti, Santhi or Shanth

Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
But there is no water.

There is no water, but I drink
whiskey instead.

Giving.
Compassion.
Control.

I must sacrifice these to the Gods
to by greater self; but I
fail.
I struggle.  I take.  I judge.  I indulge.

And yet, I go on and
improve myself daily.

Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina  
How can I purify myself from
past indiscretions, vices, sins, apples I have eaten?

Quando fiam uti chelidon
Let me love tomorrow!
And be loved in return.

Sitting before the fire
not cold enough to warrant one,
I am torn:
vice and virtue
Place du Carrosel and home.

There is water.  There is love.
And so I drink.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

In Memory of John Ashbery

John Ashbery died today:
on one of the hottest September days we've had in years.
I've never read any of your poems
until today.

I guess I can blame many things:
graduating high school when Wakefulness was published.
I was the opposite of woke.
But, I read today.

I was seven when that snow fell near Lake Ontario
and you ran through thistles one moment
and across a sheet of ice the next.
I read today.

I was a new father when you wrote They Knew What They Wanted.
And while you were watching Turner Classic Movies
I was watching Little House on the Prairie
in between feedings, wondering how Pa managed it all.
I read today.

So, what am I, the reader, to make of this?
The rest is only drama; the noise which distracts us
from our inner poetry.
Some days I wish for a breezeway;
others, I try and slow
to see my banalities with fresh eyes.
The days go by and I go with them.
But today?

Today I read.

Friday, September 01, 2017

On Body Positivity

I promise her all the free sex
she can get if she just
loves her body: intuitively believe
you deserve my touch--any touch

We're in our upper thirties for Christ sake!
We're supposed to be enjoying ourselves.
There is that word again:
supposed:
generally assumed or believed to be the case, but not necessarily so.
Assumptions hurt.  Pause.  Think.
Or don't think
(this is harder than I thought).

She rolls her eyes and suppresses
a wince (she knows how difficult this will be).  I promise again.
As much as you want!
All you can want!  And more.
  1. Reject your old mentality
  2. Honor your hunger; your body
  3. Respect your body
I want to skip to #s 3-7 and
go straight to #8: respect your body;
expressing the angry spleen.
Now, come to bed, please.