sew a wick into a book spine

1. cop helicopter
carving grooves into the blue + cloud sky
out my window
circling back

2. you can call me roughrider
anytime

3. every shuttlebus boarding these days
i cannot help but think of a zipper
coming together
as the crowd eventually funnels down to two lines
merging at the door

4. shadows of pigeons lined along the arm of a stoplight
at the intersection of washington and dove

5. LANGUAGE WORLD
store sign
all capital white letters
perched on secondstorey roof
i remember
the store in minneapolis that charley used to work at
only their sign was in neon instead of flat white
SEX WORLD

6. honey in a tiny glass jar
was it from holland or sweden?

7. she used the words
slew and bevvy
in the same sentence
she must be
channeling joolie

8. discussing
the difference between
permission and foreclosure

9. sew a wick into a book spine
and sell it with a box of matches

10. the january we froze
trying to hold class in a room
colder than the air outside

11. never apologize from the stage
she says
unless you’ve set someone on fire
and in that case
say
‘how can i help you?

12. sticker on shuttlebus windowlever:
watermelon.
contains cannabis.
for medical use only.

digital rupture

1. plastic chair
office-carpeted
colors of a bowling alley
feet don’t reach

2. front yard #1:
cosmos patch in bloom
front yard #2:
white gravel as landscaping

3. this is kindof an artificial situation
he says
and references
putting pressure on a poem
pushing hard on its multicultural edge
a situation where i have to act like i know
what is going on

4. ralph waldo emerson said
we are all quotations

5. and once
there was the widow ching
a female pirate
in command
of over 1,500 ships

6. he says
but most miracles are
very bad

7. no food or drink allowed
in this room
if any of us
could have anything
wouldn’t it be to feel
just a little bit freer?

8. for 10 minutes
we break through
the digital rupture
me: stationed at the shuttle stop
you: in pipe-laying bootcamp

leggo my ego

 

1. our clocks no longer tick
but they still keep track of time
rae tosses out

like bread crust
to parkducks
pondfloating

2. just past the
tuesday campus farmers market
and before the frozen yogurt store
a kid
handcuffed behind his back
maybe 20 years old
a cop on either side

3. i want to pull the cops in for questioning
and tell the kid
who doesn’t look particularly humiliated anyway
that it’s going to be alright
that even though those guys are the ones
with the guns strapped to their belts
his power
his posture
is still his

4. art
is not
comfort food
babette tells us

5. you have to be selfless
with your art
she also tells us

and i scribble this phrase
for the second time this week:
leggo my ego
(which i discover
after googlesearching
is also a dead milkmen song)

6. we meet here
under the sky as blanket
stars as stitches not sewn through yet

7. he offers this phrase:
aggressively casual
while photographers
like the seagulls around us
flock with sunset-set cameras

8. he shows me
the score for
perfection factory
explaining
how the percussionists
paint the belltree as the piece goes on
which means
it arrives
at a more fixed scale
by the end of the piece
(later
i realize
i forgot to tell him
how much i loved
his choices of titles)

9. after the images
of  a chop saw
and walk behind saw
you say
and we will set our manholes
on either end of the run

 

step out from behind the podium

1. in the dream
the crosswalk is packed with people
stepping into it
cars slowing ahead and to the right
but to the left
a maroon something (sedan? sports car?)
picking up high speed as (he?)
barrels
redrovers
ploughs
through a line of people

one of them airborn
in maroon man’s wake

i expected decapitation
or hips and legs going this way
while torso goes that
in fact
in his airbornness
i thought i saw him
split in two

but when he lands
spine against curb
he leans himself up on elbows
cranes his neck around like ‘wha?’
not a bit of blood
on his face

i run to him
streetside
honeyvowels slipping out my mouth
soothing
a coo
encouraging him
to lie back down
and breathe

kneeling
i take his huge hand in mine
like a leaf pressed to dry
between two pages of a dictionary

i’m right here
i tell him
i’m right here with you

2. in waking life:
pedestrian
in crosswalk
flinches
as i roll up
on bike

3. in front of the projection screen
you remind us
that after james byrd junior
was dragged for several miles
still conscious
when his body
slipped off to one side
and into a culvert
where he was decapitated

4. again
i am here
i am right here with you

5. executing a job talk, douglas kearney style:
step out from behind the podium
swear
dare to refer to sex (as in fucking, not as in gender) and race
explain some of your poems exposing the latticework of theory behind them
get on the floor
to demonstrate the difference of what it looks like
to be pulled by a chain from the back bumper of a car
on your stomach
and on your back
and stand up again
as if you didn’t just dare to inhabit your body
perform poems that require yelling and spitting and then acknowledge these poems as yelling and spitting poems without ever apologizing for yelling and spitting
then
read hurricane katrina haikus that don’t require your yelling and spitting because the text itself already does so
demonstrate ‘a run’ (like in gospel music) not just by talking about it, but by singing it
allow your voice to take us to that lifted spiritual church place
and then
go back to getting to your point about ‘a run’ and how it operates on the page as if you didn’t just resurrect some part of us from the academic dead
name it struggle
quote other writers
as well as hip hop musicians
use your body
one shoulder up
the other one
eventually following
to demonstrate the blue note
and then, just in case we didn’t get it,
go in there again and do something holy with your voice to further explain the blueness of a note
tell us a word
that sounds like hukufi
which comes from black culture
and is used to encapsulate the idea that
the amount of sweat you put into something is directly related to the amount of spirit existant in it
at some point
say
this is a stunt
call this talk an exchange
demonstrate a breakdancing freeze

down
on the floor
again
when the ipod music doesn’t work
don’t even blink
just sing the parts of the songs
you were trying to refer to
hook us back in with another spitting yelling poem at the hour mark
when you feel our attention
go slack
acknowledge the person walking out early with a
thank you so much for coming
gesture this gratitude with your hands and open face
when a suited white guy (who is only a husband of faculty at the school you are interviewing at and therefore not actively involved in the process) interrupts you to ask a question about preoccupation between poetry and kitsch, respond with a ohhhhh yeeeeeeah spark of interest at digging into the meat of theis query and respond with references to hiphop/musicoligists (your world against his) and metonymics and also toss back without bite is kitsch an aberration or a reflection?

6. i don’t even know
how it came up
but i tell the class how
upon entering these rooms
i feel like i have to check my body at the door
which launches us
into discussion
of the place of body
relationality
in our writing

the answer depends on the kind of death you’re talking about

1. hillcrest farmer’s market
sun soaked
taste of sprouted corn seed
sweet like wheatgrass
earthy like straw

2. your face
wedged into carpet
boots
sticking out of the closet

3. i remember
the versatility
of doorknobs

4. when you ask if i’ve had people
who are close to me die
that answer depends
on the kind of death you’re talking about

5. portland-sounding trainwhistle
in san diego
cutting through cool night air
just another astral hi-five

fingers like fork tines

1. saturday morning of
secret alleyways
fellowbiker and dogwalker hellos

2. almost sugarsick
the irony
of a go around question
about our favorite desserts
and how we like to eat them

3. i went through this
while the cottoncandy blue-bellied cagedwellers preened

4. hair
in bike breeze
soft
on
sleeveless tee bare shoulder

5. fingers
like fork tines
lifting up layers
of compost and earth

6. thank goodness
for march
because the alley
one east of arnold
with the pink peppercorn trees
has been calling out your name

7. satellites
send your voice
through the cheese shredder

8. i handwrite
and hold up a sign that reads
technical difficulties
difficulties

9. layering our voices
like tiramisu
splice and paste
the janina audio files remix