Monthly Archives: July 2010

when pie pans are extinct

1. after the day begins
with one sun salutation
and two neti pots
the day begins again
with a salted caramel truffle
from the walk-in

2. delivery man
hauls two fiftypound bags of potatoes
at once
over one shoulder
tells me it’s nothing
for those who work in the warehouse

3. paulie wonders if we are sore at him
for coming in so late
and i wonder
if he’s still drunk
from the night before
while i slice russet  potato after russet potato
through the wall-mounted
french-fry slicer

4. can you feel my love buzz
rob plays that nirvana album
that will always make me think
of joolie and i
basketballing
and suburban street dancing
on the edge
of summer to be
seventeen years ago

5. a bouquet
kraft-paper wrapped
in water in the walk in
something maroonyellow
something whiterose
my name misspelled
with a y instead of an ie
just as it has been misspelled
all these four plus years
the note reads
seriously, thank you for everything
one might say too little too late
of the whole situation
i leave the bouquet where i found it

6. a.m. relays the message for me
from the kitchen counter
reporting my dirty hands
and elbow deep in
mango
banana
strawberry
plus cashews, pecans and dates

7. pressing nut crust
into speckled blue aluminum
when pie pans are extinct

8. with shelly and steve in the back seat
shannon talks about
the trifecta
of dimsum
also known as
the trilogy of misery

9. just before the sun turns sky to sherbet
we eat at the picnic table
set with tablecloth and fabric napkins
salmon
massaged kale salad
asparagus
corn on the cob
we speculate
about all the ‘burrys on the east coast
and whether or not
bill murray
is from
millburry

10. a catalogue of last times
including
the last time
i sing along to daphna’s
i’m the luckiest guy
on the lower east side

11. she brings me rose tea
chapters
and jasmine mint rose in a tulip cup
she brings me a face that is a million faces
depending on how the light falls
and what color her eyes are
and how deep i dive

Leave a comment

Filed under poems, poetry, writing

seven million years of you unraveling around me

1. the day has two beginnings
one
at 5:40am
in a bed
on holland street
my arms around a bear named rocky
and you
stepping into workclothes
moving quietly
around me
two
in a bed
on dekum street
my arms around a stuffed heart of patchwork and crossstitching
and a clock that tells me
i should have gotten up
an hour or two ago

2. dreams:
tuesday runs to the corner store
to buy (fake)gold keychains
(four for the four of us)
the corner store does engraving
so each is engraved with a nickname
or a tender moment
for me she buys some ostrich feathers
wrapped in cellophane
and writes her engraving in sharpie on the clear plastic
i want to savor the text
so i wait until later to read it
i wake up
unknowing

3. ipod on shuffle
this song comes on
which seems appropriate
at this precipice
of one month from now
( 31 days
or about four and a half weeks
or 744 hours
or 44,640 minutes)
when i will be headed south
and you know
i will be looking back

4. wind at my back
six miles south
i am a streak of light
a superhero pressed against time
a blur
dodging pedestrians
bikers
construction workers
in my patron saint of messengers
dress
made of white
and three stripes

5. corinne and i
trade scarves
at the landing
my light blue polka dots
for her navy diagonal stripes

6. corinne brings me black tea with ice and a lemon wedge
just before we press ourselves
to the white railing
to wave up to floor 25 of the mirabella
where tyler, mark and neil wave down

7. after the photo shoot
but before the public face slaps
you introduce me
to one of four michaels
your supervisor
whom i ask
in the cockiest way possible
to get someone to work for you on august 14th
while we cruise north
over the superfund waters
of the willamette river

8. i put the water on to boil
an invitation
to a soup feast for four

9. i wish today
had 8 million days in it
so i could spend seven million
with you



1 Comment

Filed under poems, poetry, writing

meet us at the laundry line

1. filling two coolers
with the contents of our freezer
we toss the mystery meat
and line the counters with condiments
out with the old
and in
with the new
a.m. and i
on fridge detail
while ryder
empties out the washer

2. we re-live
caterpillar (the sock-ish monkey)’s dance moves
laughing all the way through
and i ask a.m.
if she’s ever done any modern dance
in her day

3. home
let me come home
home is wherever i am with you

a.m.’s summer anthem song
riding the airwaves out back porch door
to meet us
at the laundry line

4. a blog tutorial session
in exchange for farewell extravaganza feedback
around the back yard table
under a sun that has finally pushed away
coolgray clouds

5. quinoa and tahini
green garden beans
with onion
squash
garlic
and a salad on the side
plus mystery iced tea
which may
or may not
have caffeine

6. five p.m.
bright summersun sweating
i walk in
to order peppermint tea
iced
and a chocolate chip cookie
anticipation cool in my bones

7. she moves the fabric
past my wrist
joking about my superhero band
before tapping the needle into it

8. a sea of seven needles
across the arc of my belly
re-calibrating armor
and breath
while goosebumps bloom
at my collarbones
and wash down
the length of me

9. the one
with beige flaking paint
and two chimneys
plus a lemon wedge
and orange wedge
for windows
that one is ours

10. blueberry juice
and backyard dirt
under short nails
my hands are coming home

11. from a balcony
and a blue room
the luxury
of watching the sun lower itself into horizon
tangerine gold turning ruby red grapefruit
til the sky is nothing
but powder
with papercut trees
pressed against it
this is where i want to press pause
this is the moment i want to spend
the next week in
your mouth on my knee
my arms
wrapped around your sleepsad waking
my hands
tilting black text white page
into dusklight

12. the scarf
the queen anne’s lace
the school-bound photo from 1924
comeplete with a high heel note
impossible kindness
thoughtfulness
warmth
to behold
a parchment paper moonful of gratitude
for you
zelda

13. dream deep and sweet
the healing is on its way

1 Comment

Filed under poems, poetry, writing

dead man’s float

headed north on the 205
then east on the 14
towards clear cold washougal river
we discover
four out of our five fathers
are vietnam vets

two purple hearts
for sustaining wounds in battle
one legally blind
from shrapnel in the eyes
without promise of improved vision
after the surgeon stitched the cornea incorrectly
one with shrapnel in his hips
his body transporting pieces of what exploded
forty-some years ago

one silver star
the exact story
is never spoken
but carried in flesh
another kind of shrapnel

one special forces green beret
where it is said
the most mindfuck things went down
but
when it comes to such atrocities
how can we begin to quantify
the damage
trauma
terror
that carves full-bodied fathers
into shells
leaving the meat behind
in someone else’s jungle
someone else’s rice field
someone else’s village
there, the war is called
the american war

two drafted
two enlisted
one of whom did so
to escape his abusive father
he still agrees
it was the best choice

one worked in construction
erecting barracks
rebuilding bombed villages
photos
of black-haired kids
eating white rice from wide bowls
a metal film canister
filled with vietnamese coins
a story
of how the sun
burned his body so bad he blistered
and a story
of a river bridge for jumpoff swimming
the surprise of a body
floating by

i have asked
veitnamese or american
but i have never asked
clothed or flesh
bloated or newly dead
face down or up

i have never asked
who was there
to collect i.d. tags
fingerprints
teeth
anything
that might give this watery man
a name
a ritual
a mother with grief for blood


4 Comments

Filed under poems, poetry, writing

an offering to cracked soil

1. morning
ariel and i shake hands hello
introducing ourselves in the kitchen
both in our underwear
both in search of water

2. i bring water
to the kale and chard
an offering
to cracked soil

3. dapple dandy pluot
for breakfast
dripping
down my morning hand
with a name like that
i wonder
must we really come up with one of our own?

4. counting down
in the dishpit
where black mold grows on the frp
(fiber reinforced plastic) walls
and the grease trap smells like barf

5. patty griffin‘s voice
brings on
a full body sadness
that starts in my collarbones
travels through the orbs of my shoulders
and runs down into the points of my elbows

6. marea says
i should have a going away party at work
just like someone else did
and aaron covered all the alcohol
no way in hell
i tell her
while stacking ceramic coffee cups
i hate this place

7. for the bluffs
i buy
cherries
a mango
a mint chocolate ice cream sandwich
and kale carrot salad
the nature of ice cream
insists
that it be eaten
first

8. you
are on your path

i tell chane
while the first stages of sunset
wash his face
in orange glow

9. the clouds
a white hook swirl
curling into
orangegold horizon
the moon
wrapped in gauze
on the ride home
this night
was meant
for riding bikes

10. p.s.
i’m encountering a severe streak of longing
i wanna get next to you

11. i read how in northeast missouri
the tomatoes are coming on
with eggplant and okra
not too far behind
i remember
what naked pond dips
at this time of year
felt like
in the humidity
ten years ago

Leave a comment

Filed under poems, poetry, writing

breakfast all day portland

1. three am
the email arrives
buzzing
about the heat advisory

2. we laugh
in the kitchen
at several different interpretations
of what putting water onto boil
means
for some
it is about
measures of safety
for others
it is about
brewing coffee in a french press

3. leaning
over the edge
head first
you give another meaning
to yogic
inversions

4. five pm
she types this phrase
into google search:
breakfast all day portland

5. heels in three parts:
yesterday, it began with a version of saddle shoes
in size 6 1/2
today
fakesnakeskin
and
silver
if i had to run
in any of these
i’d break my ankle

6. in the miniature forest
the birch is close enough
to knock on
during our check-in / staredown

7. in a backyard converted schoolbus
a listening party
thrown by macon
in one piece
she  follows the story
of lela anderson
fastest sardine canner
in the u.s.
(we’re talking contest winner)
during the shutdown
of the last sardine cannery
in the u.s.
and how
at age 78
after working at that factory
for over 40
she still
gets up at 4:30 am
thinking she must
go in
for work

8. virginia from argentina
and i
talk about tattoos
house painting
and origins
her face soft
her voice high

9. mykhiel from russia
and i
don’t talk all night
but when we do
we find out
that one of us
has just graduated
with an mfa
in poetry
and one of us
is about to embark
a million lights of excitement
go off in my eyes

10. heatwave in russia
i cannot get over
the great clash
of these two words
jammed against each other
in the same sentence

11. a midday heatstruck photo shoot
taking pictures of strangers
with
and without
a rainbow colored pinwheel

Leave a comment

Filed under poems, poetry, writing

it would take at least three armspans

1. the first bit of blood
resembles
the texture and color
of a sweetcold
red-skinned
pluot

2. dialing phone numbers
from my home office
(the bed)
before my feet even touch the ground

3. a sprig
of sideyard mint
afloat
in a mason jar
of clearcold water

4. yoga
in backporch sun
every stretch killing me
and i lean
deeper
into it

5.pincushion
fabric
elastic
thread
brown craft paper
zigzag stitch rhythm
a mad love affair
with my sewing machine

6. i whisk
almond butter
coconut milk
sri racha hot sauce
pressed garlic
salt
lime juice
and cilantro
while shannon
slices sweet potatoes
broccoli
cabbage
carrots
mushrooms
and somehow
when i wrap myself around her
at the kitchen counter
i realize
it might have been all
we’ve ever
needed

7. sublime night air
wrapping itself around us
like baby blankets
we each
liberate a redwhite dahlia
on the walk home

8. i reach
around a tree
so magnificent
it would take
at least three of my armspans
to wind around it
completely
and it is not just this tree in this moment
it is the air
how we move through it with ease
as if summer
might finally be here
and the moon
throwing down light
and the leafed out shadows
shifting
in the wind
on blacktop
and the fact that
this is a portland street
and shannon and i are walking down it
arm in arm
and at this point
it’s impossible to pretend
that we have any more time
than the four-week countdown til departure

9. shannon
(plutonic domestic partner in crime)
in the back porch xmas light glow
taking notes
on the big bang
and the little bang

10. what happens
if you attach a pick-up
to your stairs,
will it sound
like falling?

Leave a comment

Filed under poems, poetry, writing