Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cleopatra - beloved by her father

Behold. Cleopatra.
The richest woman in the world holds a deadly asp
to her bare nipple.
Ouch! Touche!
She had searched the Egyptian dynasty for the
perfect poison to give Anthony - the Playboy.
She used subjugated subjects for her trials.
Some lived, some died . like you and me.
So Cleopatra came to milk the asp for its venom
that would be Anthony's last
She stood atop a block of petrified wood
outside of Ephesus where she and Anthony after they wed
honeymooned in the past.
Paul spoke in the amphitheatre
other worldly things
instead of
the asp that then struck Cleopatra dead.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Falling Swan

“Falling Swan”

The river bucks its bed, rising erect

upon its flowing fork. What is a swan

that’s not a river? Rocks, flows, plucks, drops, drifts

all wriggling in in the temporal delight

of gravity defiance. Strings take flight!

As when waves break into misty insects,

the whole seems to split suddenly and fall

back into a familiar bed, but then,

the reclined body hovers, suspended,

beyond angelic midair river swan.

[This is based on a still from a video clip, viewable here:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

blue boy

the painter gave me my brother's face
i was always running in the woods
scruffian mudflap
knee scowl tree tromp

why they gussied me up
and the painter stole sky for my cloth
i'll never know

i was a force of nature
not this delicate aristocrat
they stole my unborn brother's face
shined me beyond recognition
and made me into a boy
stole the sky and moved all the dirt to the back
what kind of picture is that?

Monday, April 18, 2011

This week's prompt: Ekphrasis (4/18-4/24)

Ekphrasis is the dramatic description
of a visual artwork in the medium of words.

This week, choose a work of art as a starting point. Then write a poem
to respond, describe, deepen, reflect, explore, react, explain, transcend...

If possible, post the image with your poem (using the insert image function—
the button in the toolbar that looks like a tiny landscape painting), or post a link to the image
in your comments or as part of your post.

The work pictured here is by Donald Tarahonich.

Keywords: poem, ekphrasis, your name.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

ethical lacunae: worldwish

in the phone conversation
she speaks of liking silences
[when the person we're supposed to be helping
and haven't
is flummoxed to find euphemisms
for their disappointment]

"liking" here means
savoring someone's discomfiture--
which is something
that is ethically co

last night i watched the new star trek
on hd - first time watching on that type of machine -
and i knew i was lost forever to the bright
deep beauty
on the other side of the wall
where it is still possible to be gallant, just,
and make a difference

i will walk through, doubtless

is this better than liking terse walls of silences,
to prefer

the deeper worldwish
in the heart of me
is for right-here-breath,

the notsilent silence of tidal windtreebreathing
the notsilent peace of skin-in-earth

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Plan 2 - a short story in progress

Plan 2 – a short story in progress

Plan 2 heard its rice burn whine just before the motorcycle pulled up near where he sat. The operator was a guy wearing a blue neck kerchief and a helmet with blue and red x-rays on either side. He was mustacheless with a blond goatee. His blond hair came out from behind his gray helmet. He was wearing red high tops with green laces. The bike was an imported Panda VI chrome and red. The guy backed the bike into the curb. Plan 2 came over and got on back.
“Where to?” the guy asked
Santa Cruz dude”.
“That’s in California man.”
“I know. Let’s stop at Tulane first”.

“Who ya gonna call” read the banner flying from a wooden two-story Tulane student apartment building. Across the street from it an answer on another white banner with black dripping oily ink

. 1-800-BLOWOUT Their toll-free number provides a clue

As the cycle slowed then stopped Plan 2 hopped off and went around the back of the blowout banner building. The wooden steps to the second floor were red-paint flecked and slippery from too hot sun. At the top there was no one visible through the glass window of the door. Plan 2 felt the door knob turn under his hand and he strode in. He went down the hall to number 23 and did a light three rap knock. Tuh tuh pause tuhng. A blond girl wearing apr├Ęs ski boots with fake fur over blue jeans and a levi blouse tied at the waist answered. She smiled and said “That was fast”. Plan 2 reached in his pocket and handed her a white envelope. She reached into her jean’s pocket and pulled out a silver money clip and counted off 3 twenties. Plan 2 looked up from her bare belly button took the cash and said “ See ya”.

Plan 2 dialed on his phone that 1-800 BLOWOUT number and was directed to a menu where he pressed 2 for Clean-up opportunities. It reminded him of the options courts gave for weekend service. One time he even got credit for volunteering time at an art center doing screen printing. He had liked that. There had been women and paints and cool machinery. Now he got another 504 area code number to follow up through. He called and finally got a live person who said he had to complete a phone interview to proceed any further. Cool. He said he was ready.

1-800 Blowout Survey

“Can you fish?”
“Can you operate a portable P.C.?”
“Are you allergic to any chemicals?”
“Can you swim?”
“Do you have a car?”
“Do you have a driver’s license?”

& that was it. Leave your cell phone number & an email address.

Plan 2 tugged his hat down low dialed his cell again & punched Lisa’s #.
“Man, I just did the 1-800-Blowout survey.”
“They want to know if you can fish.”
“Anyone can fish.”
“I can’t.”
“I told them I can.”
“You better watch out. They will send you to clean up one of the alligator swamps.”
“They might. Well, wish me luck Lisa.”
“Good luck.”
“See you later.”
“After a while.”
Plan 2 snapped his cell shut like it was an alligator’s jaws.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


What is your true nature, it asks me,
Part lover, part Zen teacher,
slapping the back of my hand
Til I awaken
You want mountain? Easy--
Sling me across the landscape
like the body of a voluptuous
sleeping grandmother
a voluptuous, sleeping
or a river
calling one fickle moment after next--
go on, just try to step into me twice

I could claim my calm pool and my drop
rapids and my many many eddies
But that’s too easy
because really what lies at the bottom
of each breath

is the line of ants doing the bunny-hop
along the edge of my bathtub,
and you know what we are all asking,
what you are already thinking—

Why do ants carry their dead?

this tiny army of pumped-up amazons
hoist their fallen sisters onto their backs
and carry this mystery with each body,
as they spill into the hole at the edge of the caulking

..they carry them back and devour them to absorb their memories

...they are delivered to the great ant graveyard
and laid to rest where their sisters,
like weeping elephants, will visit
season after season, to graze their antennae
against the beloved and hollow exoskeletons

..that when they tap each other as they pass
on opposite commutes, they’re playing
an endless game of telephone,
so when the deceased are dismantled
like old motherboards
the punchline data is finally retrieved,
the fruit of a million messages
passed a million times.

I sit for 20 days in silence,
every moment a wrestling match
with god, and a hope
to emerge with my life purpose,
or at least a better sense of humor.
Instead, I emerge from the cave
with only this:
and the oracle I consult
heaves up a thousand pages of Darwin
and a thousand more, asking the same question

I know the answer is there, but I prefer,
I think, to end my days not knowing,
but imagining,

every time I ask, that long line
of the humble and mighty sisters
carries me back to the colony
where everything,
sublime and grotesque,
is happening at once

Monday, April 4, 2011

This Week's Prompt: Playing Telephone

During this time of Mercury retrograde, this week's prompt relates to the telephone. Write a poem where the lines play telephone with each other, or where the poem is sparked by a line from a telephone conversation. Modern riff: text or tweet sparks the verse.

Alternately, on a Star Trek riff, how can poetry be like telephone conversations with the past or future, or with some other part of ourselves? What would you want your Star Trek communicator to look like and function as? -- Or what would your character's signature line be, rather than "Beam me up, Scotty"?

Bonus: a Star Trek Communicator sound - this one with music

Post keyword labels: telephone, poem, [poet's moniker]

Sunday, April 3, 2011

every question

only north facing shadow pockets still cradle snow now
hope's eager trembling made flesh
looks like daffodils plump emerald leaves
only 2 inches high when it snowed again
and again
now at 4 inches they have decided to make a run for it
their elongated swelling explains how
crumpled yellow satin, bunched and morphing,
is gathering everything it has to fling itself
(how opening is like a leap and a freefall)
and uncurl into this decidedly uncertain world.
it is the answer, the same answer everywhere
to almost every question i ask.
the river, slamming our april fools snow down into the valley,
guttural cooing to and fro,
the tree hidden bard owls repeat it.
teenagers strut in sudden april tee shirts,
they know too.
spring hopes eternal.
and the world answers every question i pose
straight from the senses of babes
now now now now now.

Drum Solo - My Icon

Saturday, April 2, 2011

box harp

rattletrap luster of the box
from penney's, sunrise peach, bent-ended
with the rubber bands arrayed
in longwise plinths

i am in the strumming fingers
of this gimcrack lyre
the music rising as air castles
from this fount of pling

2 april '2011