So, I don’t really write poetry, but every now and then something comes out of me, a thought or an idea, which somehow seems best suited for blank verse, which is all I really do in the end. I mean, I do other stuff that rhymes and everything, but you really don’t want to read it. Anyway, for those of you who enjoy seeing what it’s like when I step beyond my natural element- as every artist (and lover, for that matter) should do now and then- I humbly submit: some poems.
A message to other poets
Please stop impersonating
William Carlos Williams
It was only funny the first time
Believe you me.
Long night mid-monsoon season
It’s been a while, I know,
But we’re in the final countdown
Of the end of an age.
Bits of salmon are stuck in my teeth
My eyes remembering lightning
Over dark, dark roads in the foothills
A stupid Police song stuck in my head.
I have no plans for Saturday.
Some important phone calls have not been returned.
“Animals emerge in Arizona rain,”
Drone the birds outside my door.
Every step you take.
Every move you make.
Every smile you fake.
Something, something, la la la.
Stars are peering through the clouds
And the wind moans with dead cowboys
Splitting kegs with actors, singing
“Time will pass soon enough.”
Mark of Cain
The last girl I kissed
Is laughing at me now.
She wants me to know
That this is how it felt-
All the things that happen to me
And all the things that don’t:
The martyrdom denied me
Drying on my Phaedra face;
The journey I don’t take
Getting slick and frisky
With the first and last
Worst lover of the year;
Things turning hopeless
Like potatoes being peeled
Like the color of dry
Or the sound of one hand lying
Saying it knows how to touch you
Without breaking anything.
Wolfe At The SFMOMA
You kiss me somewhere between
The portrait of two boys bathing
And a photo of three open graves;
At the time, we’re sitting down,
And our conversation has been clever-
Everyone knows we’re art savvy
And stupidly in love.
I look at you and think:
No one paints eyes like your eyes
Or can sculpt your shoulders
And I’ll never be able to write about this-
I am that happy.
You smile and kiss me again.
“I don’t get it,”
I say at some point
And you assume I mean the art.
Your wings assure me,
“It’s crappy and I love you.”
Our feet go echoing down the stairs
Past some good art, past some bad
Some silence, some conversation
Comfortable even at the coat check;
Your Frodo Lives hoodie, my old backpack,
These moments when we were princes.
Beatrice and Dante
At the end of the fourth age of man
Sometime after the shit touched down
There was nothing left but you,
Me, and that Billy Joel musical
Everyone just can’t stop talking about;
The world spoke Japanese
And as usual, we weren’t fluent;
Rat tails came back into style
On men and children and rats;
And everyone thought Hollywood
Made objective documentaries;
And you kept saying to me,
“Something good will come of this.”
And you kept saying to me,
“I promise you’ll come around.”
And I kept thinking,
“One step farther.
“One step more and I’m home.”
Map out the epic of my youth
If you will
Upon these tempting, empty pages
That cannot help but ask
To be written and re-written upon
With heartfelt cry and Hamlet heavy anguish
Wrapped into words too dry
To be adequate packaging
And metaphors so cliché they lose their meaning
Dwindling into pop culture references
Adrift in a shallow sea too earnest for irony
All rhymes and wordplay and unfinished song
And thoughts cut down in the spring.
I really am so much better at writing plays.