because we all want to believe/thirty four, the year of momentum

there is really only one thing you need to know about today
and it is the color
of moss
bleached sea green
hanging from skeleton trees off the highway
against slate blue skies
on the drive home

then there’s also the part about the tuk tuk steamboat
putt-putting along the perimeter
of breitenbush spiral tubs
great birthday spectacle
naked strangers
cheering the tiny tin boat on
unwilling to leave
because we all want to believe in it

and there’s something about how we take turns
taking the 10 pound barbell
to the geode
ripping holes in old socks and hankies
destroying cinderblocks
splitting stones

were you there too
you would have seen/heard
shannon and i
holding out our arms
around corners
of the four-mile forest river hike
white sky fabric ripped open
whoosh of pretend airplane noises
pushed out our mouths

and the great housemate clothing swap
where we dress as each other
for halloween
laughing so goddamn hard
at new versions of ourselves
we’re not sure if the costumes
are for anyone but us

and i haven’t even mentioned
lola in the tux
pink ruffles
perfect mix of gentleman and cupcake
singing happy birthday
and handing over
brown paper wrapped collective gift
i’m agape
and wishing for rain tomorrow

thirty four
the year
of momentum
carried on the back
of a pony
nested in glitter
thirty four
the year of tin boat journies
thirty four
the year of a heart so full
it just keeps rolling in
like salted ocean waves

the body a dream transcribed across state lines

it begins today

i am planting seeds
and landing
on autumn soils of
san diego
ann arbor

grow little darlings

leaves with sentences
for veins

as stems
capillaries and arteries
as roots

the body a dream
across state lines
and submitted
for a $50 fee

the verbage
a practice
drawing boards, grindstones and callouses

post script:
i think it is hilarious
that the tags section
is nearly as many words
as the writing itself.

archive of ephemera

tonight a writer/artist gave a speech
i stole his language
to bring back to you:

the robinhood of the avant garde
only instead of giving to one
it gives to all

subversive and select economy
loophole of copyright
archive of ephemera

all my writing is appropriated
everything is free
my dated rhetoric
taking us
to the summer of love

idealogy and practice
of radical distribution

fuck you
this is reserved for poetry
so leave me alone

we’re in the midst of a revolution
so large
we don’t even recognize it

they’re patroling
they’re vigilant
and they will screw you

and now for something completely different:

you were lucky
to have had
these fingers
passenger pigeon essays
hand-made lanterns casting glow into rainwet dark
honesty that began in berkely
this fist
chestgut ripped open
determination and boxing gloves
heat, blueprints, 12 year old boys worthy of documentation
falling apart barn dreams

me and a whole army agree
truth grenades
hooked to our beltloops

hands are the only tool for this

begins and ends
with baking biscuits
this has never occurred
in my shameful 3 year history
of work that has never served me
at unnameable restaurant
(usually one batch
is enough)

this is what happens sometimes
when i bake biscuits:

hands glopped
with gluey dough

i think of josef
my grandpa

the bakery owner
the squeezebox player
the one who always laughed
(the good one)
the one who died too soon
the one who used the belt

i think about how some things
have not changed
in 40 years
like bare hands
digging deep
into stainless steel
shine of light
throwing itself off curved bowls

like wooden rolling pin
and dusting table
white with flour
before rolling dough out

it’s about consistency
somewhere between
shapeless with wet
and crumbling

fist curled around
pastry cutter
slicing margarine into flour
pea-sized crumbles
knuckles tight
arms flexed

some things
have not changed
like flour plus salt plus baking powder
margarine cut
milk mixed in
hands are the only tool
for this

some things like 350 degrees farenheit
25 minutes
aluminum tray
four rows of five
five rows of four
timer buzzer

this is how josef and i talk
across time
a tin can telephone line
the living
to the dead

a pen in one hand, a knife in the other

in the form of
fallen leaves
blessings tossed
into open books

smyrc grand reopening
four queer writers
lined up
pushing through
all the discouragement
we’ve ever inherited…

i know what it feels like
to hold a pen in one hand
and a knife in the other

i know what it feels like
to come apart
to carry a canyon inside me
to collect keys
and yellowed photos
with people in them
who were never my family

i know what it feels like
to try writing poems
without using the words
i or me

the word gratitude
is not big enough
for arms held out so wide
they hold
a city block
of my pain

i know what it feels like
the exhaustion
the repetition
of feeling family-less
looking long into the future
where nothing is guaranteed
wanting to know
what death will look like
without inheritors of my name
holding my hand
or watching my eyes go empty
or burning sage
into the air
around my still body
leaving the window open
so my spirit has
a place to go out

workhorses of winter

1. which one are you ?
the brown one
in the back
on the left
black mane
white spill of milk on forehead

2. hotel pans
on cart
roasted carrots
olive oil
we each sneak salty pieces
while walking past

3. this is the motion
moving forward
setting aside days
at the library/office/studio
counting down weeks
it is not solitude
but it is solo
on strong arms
into possibility
piling up
like wisconsin snow
behind the rumble
and orange lights
of plows
the workhorses
of winter

this is
the millionth adolescence
and certainly not
the last

4. attempting to identify
the source of slyness
in this smile
when i talk about
another 5hour sleep night
in lola’s kitchen
split peas that have joined
the slow food movement
onfire in fall colors
10pm dinner

5. tonight
lombard looks like a runway
spilling flat wide before us
black asphalt
glitter in the distance

time traveling
from a room-sized record collection
and movies on vhs

6. one week from now
the number thirty four
head held high

7. delayed shout out
to my comrades
in the crusade
of the ripped open hearts
image of hands at chest
pulling flesh back
face turned sunward

the smallest offering

my spine
a faultline

tectonic plates

how violent
must we get?

we move outside of time
through dust-thick air
after our city has settled
into a silence so wide and deep
you could take your shoes off
and wade into it

for the smallest offering
of sound
a breath
a cry
a shifting under ripped concrete slabs

from rubble
the limbs
have got the angles
all wrong

we are only capable
of these
heroic moments
the trauma and adrenaline
offer us momentum

where is she
where is my babygirl

i am aware
of the distance
my own country

if paper moves slow
this gut
this heart
this ribcage
are reams of it
making their way back
page by page
at the mercy
of a postage stamp

and a moment brought to you by lavender bubble tea

mainlining sugar
in both liquid and chewable forms
riding the shakes
5 miles home

resurrecting poetry

1. all the places
this body aches
not because it is old
but it is 5-hours-of-sleep-a-night tired

2. resurrecting
not that it ever died
but thinking about
casting a net
that brings in the gray headed and the youth
that welcomes cowboys
that says
we love you all
you’ve got three mintues

3. mirth is my middle name

4. smell of chicken cooking for days

cowering. not in fear, but in ferocity

1. a marathon of laughs
this is some therapy shit
this is the reason
most folks mistake me
as ten years younger
than my age
this is what gets us through
over and over
this is what gets us through

2. woke up
with germany
missed trains
stations that are part-cathedral
part new york subway
and part disassembled roller coaster track
black is the pervasive color of metal
waiting and waiting on that 23
joolie jumps on
while i try to tell her with arms and voice
that its the wrong one
doors close between us
no cell phones
don’t speak the language
i ride out into the country

3. why
is there only
one word
for tears
when there are so many words for
hurt ache pain sting bruise burn
because i want to talk about
but call them saltwater
i want to reinvent them
just like i want to take love back from hallmark
and give it a make0ver
rearrange the letters
turn it into something that blooms
something that rests
like hand painted eggs in homemeade nests
i want to make it one of those words
that doesn’t rhyme
i want to reach into her mouth
and extract it like a tooth
i want to pull it on
like a boxing glove
sweating and toweled and mouth-guarded in the corner
not in fear
but in ferocity
i want you to feel it
under my skin
when i flex
i want
to return it
so that it may never
be sold

4. talk about heartbreak
i have decided
i will never be able to read
the sunday new york times
without crying
at least once
today it was for inmates
dying in u.s. prisons
like people on the outside die
at the end of their lives:
allen jacobs
at 50
liver shutdown
eddie jones
‘multiple causes’
and at least there are hospices in there
and inmates volunteering
to be the family
loved ones
the last breath
a held hand

and today it was for
mexican, honduran, salvadoran, ecuadorean, brazilian, chilean, peruvian, central american migrants
traveling to el norte
and the new trend
of kidnappings
stealing numbers of u.s. contacts
scribbled on paper
tucked in shoes
hidden pockets
curled fists
for ransom
from $1,500-$10,000
kidnappers assaulting, then photographing
kidnappers sometimes in cahoots with mexican police
kidnappers dumping bodies off at the river
kidnappers raping female migrants
[and i still can’t believe
there is a word for this
language being the thing that says
‘yes, this really does exist’]

night/morning of two million dreams, including:

1. an email
from the nine of bones
hey, so, how about those details?

2. two nicoles
in the garden
a blanket of alyssum and cilantro

3. a new version of the wizard of oz
library dvd
milo taking smart theory notes
mom saying we must return it soon

4. paging through
sears catalogue

5. clutching rope
i climbed
swinging over city
avoiding bus
pretty sure
i’ll clear the trees and telephone lines

6. quick visit
to mom’s apartment
whose door i have a problem locating every time
from her window
i see
a new condo development
pyramid shaped
viewing windows into every unit
it’s 8am
people are on their treadmills
just like in the advertisement
guy who lives in the top unit
has the most money

7. oh, the downpour
a waking dream interlude
the gift
of 3am awake
for this moment
of glorious intensity

8. the hawking of  busted dreams
and how you appear
in every pop song