Monthly Archives: October 2011

all of a sudden humming

texas street
all of a sudden humming
with the ocean swell movements of
costumed kids
(bees. screams. the mario brothers. a cupcake. the queen of hearts.)
sweep up and down the sidewalks
while we scoop out
from a glass bowl
fair trade chocolate
organic lollipops
spicy ginger chews

_______

kate
you are here
wearing a fall-leaf covered mask or
silk or
a day-of-the-dead skull painted on
always you ride in on autumn air
maple leaf as skateboard
always you knew the significance of this
thin-veiled time
tonight i leave you a lollipop
chocolate
and a cache of images of every costumed character i crossed paths with tonight

_______

the wonder of a holiday that involves walking door to door
bringing people out into the streets
dissolving isolation breaking
down front door barriers
who knew san diego could ever feel like a
hillside village

_______

today i asked gertrude stein to meet me
in the boxing ring or on the dance floor
in a two-page response to an excerpt of her
Patriarchal Poetry

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dear thirty-six (loveletter/incantation)

thank you for crossing the bridge
to meet me
at midnight
arrival in candlelight
stars pinpricked into deepblue
miniature army in tow
of those who have passed in the last year
and those who have passed before that
kate and minna and akilah and janina
to name a few
arranged in a shape that rhymes with the bridge shape
some kind of crescent
or parenthese
a curve
ready to receive me
to sing

it is difficult to decipher
whether i am inhabiting you
or the other way around

the first yoga breaths
ocean in our throats
waves rolling in and out around the room
a celebration
of you
and when the instructor
throws in a few thriller moves
after goddess pose
talks about connecting with our kid selves
and then later sings for us
while playing the harmonium
i lay limbsweating thinking – not supposed to be thinking –
about gratitude
for the pile up of each past year arriving at now

the sun climbed for you today
slid its way across sky
heating the air to somewhere near 80 degrees
36 year old body in shorts and tshirt
at 10am
on october 30th
palm trees confirming

for you
lorri and i fill a bag with grapes, pomegranate, persimmon, pink ladies
for you
mint lime juice
for you
an overpriced but delicious raw sandwich
for you
bean and spinach empanadas too
for you
a tiny succulent that costs one dollar and thirty five cents
to be placed in the window sill in a teacup
with the string of pearls and the living stones

the sharpness in my throat/lungs
while pedaling back up the canyon
so that we could take in the free pipe organ concert
at two pm
was worth it
and the fact that the sound of the bagpipes
pulled me away
(pipe organ vs. bagpipes, bagpipes win)
was also worth it
and the colors of the kilts and socks
was even more worth it

i probably could have cashed in on you
10 percent off some spa
or
buy one meal get one free but
i was quite content
handing over the full price
three dollars
to ride the kid train in balboa park
to laugh with the 70? year old couple in front of me
one of whom said
it’s just a bunch of kids on this train
referring to himself
and maybe me
one of whom i joked with
and i thought i was going to be the oldest one on this train

thank you
for providing the excuse for people
to reflect light
back to me
because sometimes a lighthouse
can forget
its brightness

for us
the bellows of an accordion
expandingcontracting with possibilities
a scrap of corduroy houndstooth
the way you collapse down into yourself
the handshake of potential

because of you, i ask kaya
how to say happy birthday in polish
to which she replies sto lat
because of you
kaya turns on the oven
and won’t tell me why
because of you
kaya and alex are at my door
with a warm pumpkin cake and a falling over candle
because of you
i slice open a pomegranate

thank you for presenting me with
the hermit

the empress

and the high priestess

thank you for promising/gifting me this
triple trump

that you allowed me today to
find the joy
the power
of being alone
while at the same time
witnessing
this self
as a conduit
(brilliance and light of every human i am connected to
rushing through me)

that the moss and pinecones would clap today
to the ripping of a new page
clear eyes
full heart
and the cheer to carry on
as it has been pointed out
you rhyme with twix
and if nothing else
that has got to be a good sign

three thousand cheers to you,
thirty six
i am  honored
to be your
collaborator

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maiden pierogi voyage

1. caveat:
a locked car parked downtown on j-street
shit-show:
why group activities in san diego never seem smooth/easy

2. hottest point in the day
we desert-climb
salt rising to skin surface
sun rinsing color out of everything
and i am thinking of immigrants
heading steady by foot towards border
this two hour trek just a fraction of theirs

3. at 1,593 feet
the highest point in san diego city limits
glitter is traffic
green is imported
satellite towers decorating the peak
how different this peak would feel
i think
if everybody left offerings
while placing a sliver of glitter-rock
on a boulder at the highest point

4. tromping down
kaya and i practice
scandalous snippets
for the listening enjoyment of passers by
both of us hand to stomach laughing
most of the bleached-out descent

5. this video
picks me up and sets me back down
in a new place that resembles the old place perfectly
but the light is softer
possibility is easier to pluck out of the air
things shine just a bit more
forgiveness is in the sky
the palm trees
the expensive houses
(which i practice walking past
without desiring them
without thinking of who has and who doesn’t
without the sense of scraping for
signifiers of security
which is all they really are)
chest cracked open a few centimeters further

6. perhaps we could construct a pneumatic tube
between here and there
and the maiden voyage
(which is a questionable term)
could feature one of those pierogies
traveling 900 miles south
still steaming by the time it arrives

7. thirty six
slipping through the midnight gates to greet me while i
press from lunge to plank to downward dog
kate’s photo in and out of flickering candle light

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pendulum of power

stepping out into pre-halloween night
five gold stars blazing in the flight path
hard to tell but looks like the magic of paper lanterns
flame heat lifting them from ground

________

i wore sequins under my skirt
just in case the opportunity for a costume-change
presented itself

________


 

how i held signs like this
(in a figurative way)
for tahrir square
and now
to almost tumble backwards over myself
witnessing the pendulum power

________

marcus the washing machine
stops me on the pathway
redirects me away from failure

________

shelby at the shuttle stop
the longest incense stick i’ve ever seen
in her hands
how long you thing it’ll take for that to burn
i ask

________

 

 

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forgive me morning

1. we wake to mattress springs in our backs
our guts
in a room that always looks like night

2. mija
she calls to shannon from the heat a shining silver grill
to ask whether or not cheese
in the factory line omelette

3. in a land of free donuts
it is difficult not to take one
like chewing on a sweet sponge i steep orange tea
its heat a plea
forgive me throat
forgive me stomach
forgive me morning

4. familiar foil sequinhearts
spilling in a celebration envelope

5. like taffy
we stretch our goodbyes
so that we hug at least twice
and then i come running back to the passat
plaster myself to its door
shout out i’m a belieber
before bypassing vending machines to the platform

6. something sweet in the irvine train station air
barely a breeze and something sugary
almost jasmine
almost plumeria
hanging there in the
70 degree sun

7. like a film
foreign
the quiet
tracing the time it takes
a white-haired man
to ride the elevator up two flights
walk the green bridge across two tracks
and ride down on the other side
so i may hand-off his left-behind books

8. let me read you
says platform-waiting man while i read his accent
as some-place undiscernable
you can try
i tell him
holding out my cursived arm
while he asks if it’s emmerson

9. discovery:
the rat-nibbled pomegranite that went uneaten
in canvas gray bag

10. the invisible helicopters! familiar from last summer
and a video document
lifting off along the 1-5 and i’m trying to find that reststop
with the blue tiled bathroom and ice-cream vending machine
we discovered before we made our final descent into san diego

11. in the hour and a half ride
too many military/navy/war systems bases/headquarters
to count

12. woman at solana beach station
wind lifting her brownred hair
stands under 4 car sign
lit cigarette in right hand
aplha bitch in gold
across black tshirt
tan-armed and tiger-print backpack

13. alice notley says:
it’s possible that my biggest oact of disobedience has consistently,
since i was an adolescent, been against the idea that all truth comes from books
and
as i wrote ‘disobedience’ i discovered i could’t go along, with government or governments, with radicals and certainly not with conservatives or centrists, with radical poetics and certainly not with other poetics, with other women’s feminisms, with any fucking thing at all
and
i have a sense that there has been language from the beginnign, that it isn’t fundamentally an invention. these are contradictory positions but positions are just words. i don’t believe that the best poems are just words, i think they’re the same as reality; i tend to think reality is poetry, adn tht it isn’t words. but words are one way to get at reality/poetry, what we’re in all the time. i think words are among us and everywhere else, mingling, fusing with, backign off from us and everything else.

14. walking east on broadway towards union
man i’ve never met and i
cross sun paths asks how i am
good, how are you doing?
i’ve seen better days
by now in our opposite direction motion we are talking to each other over our shoulders
hang in there
i call out
and after 4 steps he calls back
something about how my smile
lifted his spirit today

15. what greets me:
i had a really good date this morning
and
10pm dinner

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metal on metal / armful after armful

1. tall ship in the harbor i want
to know her name feel
the rough of her ropes in my palms wood
smoothed deck waxed under my knees

2. it’s a beautiful california wednesday morning for a trainride
man at snack counter sings over the intercom
several verses and choruses piped into all 8 cars

3. striated blond/gold sand/earth mottled
through the warps of the rectangle window

4. trackway canyon carved how do
these sandwalls keep from falling in

5. pebbles pressed in on either side while
metal on metal sings

6. oh! look chris!  a dervish!
the woman in front of me talks towards window to
mini tornado lifting up dust
oh yeah. it’s from a lawn mower.
chris replies
oh, robbie, this is delicious!
dervish-spotter wondrous over plastic-
wrapped cheese on a paper plate
robbie, clicking through camera photos:
is that a boy or a girl!?
woman #1: sheee’s a lezzzbian

7. the elf/hobbit house, amerisized
the waves that roll into corona del mar
lift and crash in one unbroken line
as if someone set a tripwire
cove edge to cove edge
shiz and i count at least 4 wetsuited swimmers
pulling armful after armful of salted water
sun ladeling itself into horizoncloud we watch
for the green burst

8. night-driving past the free chapel, orange county california
something like car dealership/bank turned church
not far from the water fountain that glows
purple to blue to green to orange to red
i couldn’t live in a town
i think to myself
whose one of three main streets is named jamboree

9. overchlorinated pool to ourselves
we throw our voices into the water
weezer songs

10. as long as we have the light-up look-out elevators
we might as well ride them to the 10th floor and back
surveying wilted fronds ends to confirm
the palm trees
the koi stream
the spade-leafed plants
are alive

11. intention: all things towards no regret
the balance of yes and gut-trusting

12. intention: salt water
to get in

13. intention: everything towards possibility, momentum, hope
future as open and opportunity and adventure

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the language river

1. for frankie
who grew up in wisconsin
he says
clicking through images of lorine niedecker
and her cabin/home on blackhawk island

2. looking for the poem
in the nylon tubes with arms
(inflated and flailing in fanned air)
as we pass several of them
shuttling north on the i-5

3. granger quotes fanny howe on writing:
people have faces and remember
there’s a sky

4. logjams and traffic accidents he calls them
on page twelve
lexical density telling us what’s in the box

5. through you there’s a dirty river running
he says
it’s the language river
and then describes the racist sexist normative language
we inherit and tap into without even realizing

6. i’m afraid zukofsky just got put through the ringer
davidson says
in a classroom emptied (as if shaken out) of students

7. flower lady chalked on an otherwise blank sign
at an unbusy corner
no flower
no lady

8. overheard in room 214, center hall, 12:35pm
footnotes really do it for me

9. for oakland
whose riot-geared cops
slashed tents
to rouse sleepers
to rattle dreams

zip-tied wrists and
surrounded oscar grant plaza in planted macho stances
before the sun rose over
shin guards
billy clubs
tear gas explosions 
riot shields

gas masks
broke in on the encampment’s quiet hours
from decolonized zone to free-state to police state in
sixty seconds


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