It is lazy to call this fatigue
or exhaustion. It is evil
to call this resignation or
surrender. I don’t have the right
to surrender or resign.
By being ill and tired
I am doing evil. Smaller evil, maybe,
than others do; nevertheless
my exquisite miniature wrongs
enable Evils larger than mine
by geometric measures of scale
and so I am part of them.
I can tell myself every lie
in the big book of denial
about this, justify
a greed for self care
until I am exhausted
from that alone; in the end
nor self-coddling will matter
when everything begins to burn;
all fingers will point at me,
the lazy demon,
as I burn twice, and I will howl
not from pain alone,
but in agreement
with your disgust.
Category Archives: uncategorized
It is lazy to call this fatigue
On a Friday night
I have a date with
a bundle of weed
and all my insecurity
because in the afternoon
I was bound by frail family
to their service
and in the morning I felt
every twinge of my chronic diseases
I need to get back to the doctor
but I can’t make myself go
because of what they might tell me
and I can’t let my family go
because of what they might call me
while we’re at it
I am only surreptitiously fighting the beasts
who are owning the world right now
I ought to buy a gun
to kill a fascist
but I know
my hands make me a terrible shot
unless the gun is pressed
against my head
I do the research
addresses and hatreds
but who is going to care
among my gentle friends
who are sure that love will conquer all
once they are bulldozed
into the poisoned earth
I need to seize the guitar
the way I used to hold my pen
before I stopped writing poems
in favor of playing guitars
with these broken hands
full of dead nerves that hate me
as I have grown to hate so much
all I want is one good touch
all I want to love is one good person
but instead I fear the voice inside saying
fuck black brown white
center left and right
and the rest of the world
(the dolphins too)
and all the love the great unknown holds tight
instead of letting it flow
I want to hold my guitar
and play it loud
drown out the butchers
claiming my dying ears
for their own
singing me hemorrhage songs
drawing me into their arms
I’m tired of you if you think this is
remotely a good poem
remotely a prayer
can’t see this is a wound opening with a hiss
once cherished blood
(yours and mine) flowing out
on a Friday night
you ought to
thank God for this guitar
in my hands
which is not at all a gun
I pick a leaf off my windshield
in a parking lot far from home.
It does not look like a tree there
I can recall, nor any I can see now;
it must have fallen to the glass
somewhere along my way here
and now it is far from home,
as am I. I toss it to the ground
where it will soon rot and join
the soil, its foreign voice adding
to the patter of this place and
who knows what will happen
as a result; I will have played
in that a small part, a carrier’s part,
my own role near-unconscious,
soon forgotten by me in spite of
this poem and unknown to all others
in spite of this poem that itself
might soon fall and rot and disappear
into the earth, there to make
something happen none of us
can currently foresee. Without much hope,
I daydream the potential here
in this parking lot too far from home.
I don’t get over it
no matter what it is. It
invariably looms over
me like some sheer
cliff for more or less time
and sticks in my memory
I’ll likely be the same
(more or less) afterward
but shall be more defined
by having gone through it,
whatever it is. In the past
it’s been many different things;
some were steeper
and sharper and cut me
to form more starkly.
Whatever it is or will be
I will expect pain,
will expect to be modified:
to be made into something
meant to be left behind
as it stalks off towering
into my past —
something to be cast off.
I won’t have a chance to get over it
because it will be gone
before I can even try.
Very pleased to note that Radius, an excellent online journal, has nominated my poem “The Patriarchy Apologizes” for a 2018 Pushcart Prize.
You can read the nomination essay and link to the nomination poems here.
Thanks to the editorial staff at Radius for the honor.
punk morning hair.
Skin minutely flaky;
thanks, Type 2.
Eyes still baggy
in spite of sleep.
The damn bifocals,
the damn need for them.
Mirror, mirror: I begin to see
how I will end
some years from now,
although maybe I will have
fewer than I hope
to have. I will go
waving some sign
in the midst of slow
burned myself down
on one more night,
one more long night,
half blind yet
still seeking clarity.
I put myself
in this place
and will not likely
ever be content with it,
but while I’m here
I will look ahead.
I chose this,
now and then
consciously, now and then
intention; I will
own the place
I am in and the place
where I’m going,
refuse to comb
before I step into
the next world.
Just a trivial note to all: I recently pointed this blog to a domain that doesn’t indicate it’s on WordPress.com.
No reason, really; just an option that became available and I said “why not?”
It is now at “http://radioactiveart.blog” for those of you who notice such things. I don’t think it requires you to change any bookmarks you might have as the old domain works as well.
I told you it was a trivial note.
When I look at the television
and say out loud, “you’re a
fucking moron,” I don’t mean it
There’s no one here,
for one thing. Just the flat screen
and the flat face of the flat-out
fucking moron, as I’ve labeled him.
I know labeling is wrong but somehow
I need this. I need to stare into
that reddish bloat and call him
something or other, just to keep myself
off the blade.
I don’t know his actual IQ
of course, for another thing — he’s not
smart, I suspect, more cunning, more
versed in sneaky, better at bulling his way
through the day than at figuring things out.
And to disgrace the perfectly good word
“fucking” by using it in tandem
with my other words, by intensifying
my disdain for his cretin soul
through the colloquial use
of that beautiful, hothouse, slick-making
I choose instead to
stare into the screen
while muttering nonsense syllables.
I’m a person with better things to do
and better uses for my voice. I shall keep silent,
sharpen all the knives in the house,
dig trenches, stock up on books
soon to be banned, call every vulnerable
soul I know and invite them to build a fortress,
learn the rules of dirty pool, develop codes,
fight as needed, take it to the enemy,
become as valiant as drama majors
on an empty stage waiting for the house lights
to go down and the stage lights to come up —
that’s how I play the game in my head,
and how I shame the game with the incantation,
once again. “You’re a fucking moron.”
Staring into the screen, wishing I believed
in magic words, keeping myself
off the blade tonight.
Inside the seed of this second
is the tree of the entire day.
It begins to grow
when you open your eyes.
It bends as you do,
breaks if you do.
As you fall asleep
it is cut down and made into
furniture in the house
you go to in dreams.
It holds the dream clothes,
the dream pages of diaries,
dream plans upon dream plans scribbled
on dream paper.
Tomorrow, you’ll awake
and all this forest will be lost
but inside the seed of that second
waits the tree of a new day.
I am trying to explain the delicacy
of our private language
to a sparrow,
hoping the drab bird
will understand enough
to translate it
and let it pour
outside our window.
I hope it will mean something.
I hope it will succeed
in bringing what we say
into fuller being.
I hope nature draws it in,
holds it close, passes it back.
I want to hear it in the rain.
I want you to hear it
in the rain and wind.
I want what we whisper
to one another
to become a shout
Make it a battle cry,
rally chant, holy song,
Love, you know:
what we say in secret
to each other
could carry the world
if they could
You want too much,
I’ve been told. Eagle
dancing in my back pocket,
turtle face peeking from within
my coat, a mist in my eyes
that insinuated itself there
from a pond in deep woods.
You accuse me, say I want a life
like that, a life made of
all that was eaten and spit out
before I was even born, before
I could even understand. You say
I could have born in a time when
it was commonly part
of all who were born here,
but I wasn’t. You accuse me,
say I want to go back there as if all
that’s happened could be erased;
you accuse me again and again
and I respond that of course I know
better, that we can’t go back
and I know erasing all that would mean
erasing me, as I am some
of what’s happened since,
and then I stop and look
at that, and think of how
it would shift the world
if I were to be erased
and I say that I need to study
on this one a bit more
before I can fully respond, even though
I am clear about how I’m leaning
and if I disappear after speaking,
so be it.
I’ve decided to cut way back on my poetry writing and posting for the next month.
It’s important, I think, to lie fallow now and then and recharge. As it is, I’ve posted an average of one poem a day on the blog since 2010, so taking a bit of time away from it all doesn’t seem too outrageous an idea in the pursuit of better poetry.
This decision is also prompted by a really, REALLY busy work schedule for my business in April, including a fair amount of travel to handle multiple sessions for one client. I’m taking next week off for vacation and then plunging into the mess.
I hope my hiatus will not drive you away, especially those of you who are new readers. Plenty of poems here to read!
Thanks, and see you soon,
There is a delicacy to the question
of how we are going to move forward
from this moment — at least for those who see it
as yet another vagary of politics, a moment
up for firm but cordial discussion.
For me the delicacy of the question
is drowned by the blood
from those being butchered
to feed both sides,
and how it pools ever deeper.
The ones who think it’s time
to find common ground and strive
for mutual goals are terrified
that someone might choose instead
to point out the red footprints
they’re leaving behind
on their way to the conference table;
to say that the words in their mouths
form the echoes of death sentences;
to say that agreeing to disagree
is equivalent to agreeing
to sharpen swords and load the guns
of the butchers. For me,
the moment for fear
of plain talk is long past.
Nothing in this moment
is delicate. Look at how the blood
runs. Look at how we hunker down,
hollow-faced, pretending. There is
nothing to be said. Now’s a time
for something that is not talk.
I don’t even want to give it a word
because it doesn’t demand expression.
Talking, we save for listeners. Listening
is a delicate art. This is not the time for it.
strong attractor, such memory
of how little I cared for consequence
in their presence. I was young
and loathed myself except when
I exalted myself, and I had no balance
between. Stormcharger, super-attractor,
strong bringer of past to present, memory
of what I gained and tossed; nonsense,
these things – storm attractor, superbringer,
strong charger – are words only, things
I mastered long ago, things I made up
for the purpose of raising the dead
from the tombs within me. I was young once.
I killed that youth six times over. I am old now,
still ready to kill that youth, superstorm, charge attractor,
strength brought to bear upon how sick I am
with nostalgia and regret for how I let myself go
and how often in recreation of those forces
I let myself go feebly into their streams again.
I hit my Meaningless Goal for the year and beat last year’s posted poem total by 1.
328 poems posted for the year.
I’ll try and get to 330 by New Year’s Eve, but I think I’m taking a few days off for the holidays.
Enjoy your holidays, and thank you for reading.