Wed Dec 28, 2011, 9:41 PM
Yep, is for this great artist
Alexander the GreatThis sea's arms are not enough alone,
spread wide and wider, spanning out
beyond my reach, to that western
edge where men go to their ends. I,
left the familiar world in my left hand,
not old nor bold enough to challenge
the killing sea I know, am quiet, pensive.
Met by red earth, led by bright star, the child
Apollo rising bright and red, alive, each day
I wake, pensive, quiet. To find that place,
the spring of life from which Apollo leaps,
that is my goal. Guided by the free
right hand, I will charge east, ever on
until I find that eternal ocean, the counter
to this infinite sea of end belonging
to my father, his forefathers, and the dying
world in my left hand. I shall become
the red sun child, always bright, alive.
Obligatory Bird PoemThis poem is about birds or perhaps
about flying as this is what bird poems
come to and I have not written a bird
poem yet. It is a sparrow at first, small
cold and self-conscious, pecking at bread
crumbs on streets which may well be snow
covered with how they are not recognizable
and this is like standing at Gare de l'Est
watching transit and transit go by and by
and not knowing what even one sign
might say. Trains are less fun when you're
watching them go, and this is no longer
a bird poem, which is why I don't write
I am not in transit the way a bird is, and watching
birds in transit is intrusive, the way watching
people on trains is intrusive. Everyone
on a train is lost until they arrive, even when
they know where they are going and how
they are getting there; until they arrive
can they guarantee that they'll get there? This
is what being a bird is like, going everywhere
without knowing anywhere, one unexpected
turn away from running headlong into a mirror
3 in the AfternoonHappiness is when the door clicks shut
at 3 in the afternoon and sunlight
stalks in uninvited through the blinds,
making a sepia mess of the room, and you
are waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting
in the sunken sofa cushion like a lost
nickel looking to be found. The truth is
you found me, standing just inside
the doorway like a stray animal brought
home for the first time, imbalanced
ragged and confused. I stumbled on myself
that first time, making more contact
with the floor, tables and walls than I
did with you. In some respects, that
hasn't changed. I trip on my feet,
walk into walls and door frames still,
but every now and then I bump into you
and remember what makes this home, what
makes you home.
Sun WukongI am rock-heavy, quiet, half-
minded, world-strong. The sun bursts
with my light, not the other way round.
This sky's my breath, this earth
my monkey fist. Past that, feet, my
feet, become what they scrape, and that
in turn becomes mine. The stars
pale to my fire-eyes, my golden sight,
I can strong-arm the cosmos. You won't
change these things, same as a five-pillar
cage could not. Mountains can't hold me
past five hundred years, and I'll play
tricks, even after. This adventure
makes us, not you, not me. Today, I am
rock-heavy, quiet, world-strong, and
empty, and this is defined through you.
Outcast DreamsAnd it happens quite by accident: a wayward
thought slips out a lobe and drifts, and
then it belongs to someone else, that dream
with no name or tag. From there it will
battering ram into anyone's head, take
one look around, decide it's too tidy,
then casually destroy everything inside.
These dreams are the trouble that the news
should be reporting. "Late Night Breaking News:
Drunk Man With Gun Invades, Takes Peace of Mind
Hostage." The ensuing shootout leaves the drunkard
and sleep dead, peace injured, and one unharmed,
traumatized survivor, that unlucky anyone.
Though it gives the waking person trauma, consider
the one whose head the thought came from. Once
sleeping, there is nothing, once awake there is nothing
but a young thought that falls out of its mind
and finds a way outside. Alone, this one is left confused,
a rock sinking to the bottom of a lake, and it happens
quite by accident.
The Day You Drowned- to Oswaldo, my first friend
I could hear the ocean that morning, some
thirty miles from the coast, in that way
the waves always break down without anyone
around to see the waves break down
and it made no sense that I would wake
to the sound of the waves breaking down that
morning, but there I was, awake, ocean
in my ears, and alone. I learned what happened
much later, bike tire treading water at our
park, a sign hung in the rain. You were
alone, skirting, dancing with the shore
the way you always would, the way you always did
until then, when the ocean danced with you
and led you onward, your favorite music with
your favorite partner leading you on, foam
stepping forward, you stepping back. When
the false step happened, the ocean cradled you
because you were its favorite partner
and it never wanted to lose you, to be left
alone. You, being gracious, went along.
The ocean was in my ears this morning. I hope
you're still dancing in the ocean's arms.
Creating and Recreating a SelfIt's a simple thing, like cats
in so many boxes. Truth is, we can't
cope with open spaces, vacant air,
so we fill them with ourselves, dwelling
only on the best or worst, little
parcels filling rows and rows of quiet.
We make our selves foreign, ship them
off to remote places in a strange array
of envelopes and guiltsome needing
stamps, others needing stamping out
many get sent to Bermuda, on purpose,
the rest just get lost along the way.
Some others get returned to sender
and stared atlike a leftover battery
from a pack of 24, where it seemed
certain they were taken in even amounts
kept, "to be safe, just in case", but never
used, a remnant from a non-returning
past. That one is something foreign, sent
back from Guatemala, set beside the window,
filling up an unexpected space. It's
a simple thing, like cats in so many boxes.
The water, and everything-to Virginia
The river needed you, pockets stone-heavy
and gray as cloud as you walked, sailing,
to the lighthouse. You were Rhoda
in her paper boats, fleet sinking one
by one by one by one by one more until
tempest-stressed, you sank, slipping
timid through the rocks, toes rooted
beneath the water, beneath the earth--
to that space, where everything is linked
to everything else and everything
before and everything after, and every
moment is a trick of the light captured
only in that moment alone, and to be nothing
is to be everything and everyone, and that
moment's end is the end of a person
and, consequently, the world itself--and you
immersed yourself in its current,
ears brimming with the pulse
of the monster further down the river,
the monster stomping on the beach
where the river opened to the beast,
and you drowned. The river continued
through night and on, to that place
where sky and ocean are reflections
of one another, where there is no line
dividing them, where gray meets gr
AdamI, first feeling this sunken heat, first
scraping this grain desert, first
sitting under verdant walls, I
first touching these rooted crags, first
tripping in the mountain's gloam, first
reaching this brackish fountain, I
first holding the ocean, first
drinking its salt poison, first
sinking to my knees, I
first trying to understand, I
first trying to speak
Little EarthquakesThis is sunrise on Ninth Street
and it is skipping stones
toward the 22 freeway as if
the other side were a lake
waiting to be rippled by duck
trails, one by one by one. This
is morning, slow rumbling sun
skimming off rooftop and rooftop
as it leaps through Little Saigon,
as it leaps toward the ocean, and we
stumble toward the sun, then toward
the closet door to push it closed,
to shut up the creaking hinge
and go elsewhere, not the stairwell
with our neighbors, not the ocean
sun-like, but to bed, to push
the tremors to silence, stillness,
as though the earth were just that
angry closet door with its screw
hole slightly stripped and all
it needed was noticing and knowing
someday it would get fixed.
A Drunk Man...A Drunk Man Reads French Poetry for Open Mic Night
A-ahem! Good evening open mic night, are you
ready to rock? I will now read you, no
shut up, Arthur, I can hear you talking
back there! Sorry. I will now read a poem
by, uh...what the f...Arthur, what is this?
A poem by, uh, the guillotine of Apollo.
Anyway, here goes, so shut up and quit laughing.
Moon, I'm half fluent, less lucid, or demonic,
urges and verges long since past, slurring
the stars, or, well, I figure they're bells.
Ya see, everything's lighter after drinks (only
had three, thanks) and voices are loud as sky tombs--
see, told ya moonlight's a mile long pole of light--
and sometimes they find a third voice and go on adventures.
God, I'm tired, and it's dark--what was I saying, Arthur?
What? I can't hear you over these lights, deca-decad, uh...
pretty sweet. The lights, they're pretty sweet, like a rose
trapped in an air vent, or something.
I really hope you all got a kick out of that, because
I sure as hell won't r
We inhale ashes, the skyWe inhale ashes, the sky
sinking around us as the earth drinks
deep from clouds. Eve is afraid
the sun has been eaten, and that
we will be eaten by the falling sky
so we retreat to caves as cumulus
teeth clench slowly, saliva dripping
into our view one drop at a time.
She and I watch the clear spit
fall faster, more beads breaking
on ground and leaves. Between each
drop is a small gap in time, pauses
followed by moments and pauses
and moments and pauses and
moments we think of escape
before another drop, another
moment. We are too afraid
to leave. "He is crying."
The words come from her, weighted
by cold and mist. It is a statement,
a truth. Water lacking salt, his tears
remind us of the differences.
Discovery of the Grand Treei. Grazioso: The monkey goes.
I have found a tree, a tree
as tall as that mountain, a tree
as hard as earth, a tree
as large as life itself!
It's nothing but a tree
but trees paint the sky
with that green, that peculiar green
that leaps across my sight
now it's here, now it's there and
then it is there, then it is here
there it is, my tree, the tree
that reaches past the sky, well past
the diving birds and - there!
My family goes wandering, and I
should follow them with my news,
the suddenness of this new tree,
of this new life, of this
but then it's nothing but a tree, I
really shouldn't care, it's only just a tree
but then, it's something new, oh yes, it's
something grand, this large rocky tree
with this tree, unusual, unusual
it's different, metal branches, slivered leaves
doesn't feel a single bit like any tree
I've ever touched, not a single tree
feels anything like this one here does now
no, not a one, but -
I can't help but feel lik
The FugitiveThe wind, and the wind, and the wind
whirring here and there and back as
shoes click morse code to the ground,
tumult, and tumult, and tumult again.
He flees because he knows the truth.
It's the same motion paced to the same space
in a different location each time, frantic
then wary, then frantic again.
He flees because he knows what is safe.
There is no blood trail to him, no path
to follow to catch him, the fugitive, guilty
of running away, only of running away.
He flees because it is his hope.
The clicks turn to stamping, as it begins
to snow. He has only the river to clear,
sloshing slowly from one bank to another.
He fears he cannot tell the truth.
The wind, and the wind, and the wind
pushing him downstream with the water,
shoes slipping in the muddy water
from tumult, and tumult again.
The fugitive flees because the truth
cannot be told from inside of a box.
Desert SandcastlesThere's dead skin on my feet from my walks
in the dunes that I'm peeling off and eating fleck
by fleck, one cell at a time. This
calloused surface is you, potholes of rotting
flesh and air pockets stripped and replaced
with fresh creases and lines that will become
rotting flesh and air pockets. Old layers
replaced by the usual victims, you'll be
scraped away tomorrow, and I go about my business.
Somewhere outside a song is playing, gramophonic
static skipping every seven beats:
a hiccup there as it, stumbling, dances
hiccup and then I try to match
it hiccup--I'm standing at the window,
hiccup-lilting, hiccup-jilting, shaking off
these peeling toes along the creaking wooden floor.
A sparrow joins me hiccup-skipping, balanced
on my windowsill as rumbling, Pork Pie Mingus
drifts down the hill among some spindly
dying leaves. And we watch the moon,
the bird for Prez and me for you
as the sparrow whistles the tune.
Tomorrow's floorboards will be fixed,
tonight's disposed posthumous, auburn
Un SospiroNight falls twice, one to vault
the chair, two to toe, tango.
Lovers fault feet of others,
shameless. Love lacks fault,
right? So it was the fault of
San Andreas, then, leading
earthquakes to footfalls stepping
on other footfalls. Imagine, then,
how the feet must feel! (Poor saps,
they'll get the rhythm, or else
find themselves lacking partners.)
Keep eyes on your own feet, your
partner is Jupiter, who has
sixty-three moons and
a nasty streak. Dance
with him, greet him kindly,
avoid his wife. It's a cycle, falling
in love and into space; if one moon
catches you, then count yourself lucky.
If an earthquake splits your sky, please
question how. Even more important than
asking how, please wonder why.
Gravity's defined based on where
you fall, not how, and the sky
a path bursting from a sigh.
Bastard SestinaI find myself saying the same word
over and over and over again, bastard,
bastard, bastard, bastard. In a word,
I am that sort of person, a bastard.
I'm the quiet sort that whispers a word
that crawls just under skin, like a bastard.
I was raised without a father, I'm a bastard,
that's the definition of the word.
Really, there isn't any better word,
though no one will ever call me bastard,
thinking they'll "offend the poor bastard".
What crawls under my skin is not a word.
No, what crawls under my skin isn't a word
but images. "Images, the poor bastard!"
Sunset's gleaned in the eyes of this bastard,
harpooned each night like many a word
on the blunt and grimy point of a bastard
sword still sharper than each word.
See, the pretense isn't from the word
but from its background, so a word
that's seen a lifespan like bastard
knows that even good nights for a bastard
mean climbing in windows when the word
is given. "Coast is clear, you bastard."
Don't mistake me. Although I am a bastard
.Lined with weeds, this ground
will lead me to Tripoli, or else Tobago
or the chair on the back porch
where grandma's been resting for weeks
and weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks and
the gramophone is on and broken, catch
that on your way to the yard. Try
not to wake her, either, and don't slip
on an apple once you're outside, that's how
she broke her hip in the first place.
The garden reminds me of you when the tree
was small and sprouting like an awkward teen
and you'd take apples from the older tree,
those small and withered ones, and string
them from the new branches until it grew
slant and sideways. You were those apples,
wrinkled and grown before you had a chance
to grow and wrinkle, and even now you are
next to an apple hanging below the tree
staring at the open gate and wondering
if it's too late to fall outside.
HephaestusFrom your sunset-crest of a cavern comes
a clanking, metal on metal on fire clanking,
wrenching the small world from sleep
one ringing swing at a time. This volcano
clap scrapes down the mountain,
one crippling step to another to another
to another set of ears, a cut time samba
cutting through the floor, growing solid
and steady. An eventual ladykiller, this
beat will send some Daphne or Callisto
running for the river. Fault not
the blade, but the wielder. The hammer
beats the time and red lightning hums
the tune 'til night and blacksmith
fade to embers to wait for Apollo's news.
The day has swallowed uslibation bearers drunk
on wind and sunlight and
this darkness unsettles
as mirror light beguiles
in the sky as ants and
one false sun burns cold
in our eyes and blinds
the sky to tears of
blurred sand white
and we are dizzy with
grief for our loss of
the morning, star in
ocean depth and air
reflected in our chests
hollow like this sky
and we might sleep to
avoid our own fault
this sky without close
light without day with
outside and this touch
and this strange sensation
discomfort lack of want
and should that sky
return we shall embrace
lovers under an impossible
sign of mercy
The world is exhalingThe world is exhaling
and my eyebrows are ants treading
through patches of leafskin
fragmenting from the veins
as I gather the pressured air
close the atmosphere and breathe
in the space between
Sanctuary Bringing homework to absent nerds wasn’t Will Oxman’s style. He had a reputation to keep. But despite his complaints and arguments against the biology teacher that he and Thornton Wilson shared, he couldn’t deny that he lived the closest. Following that failed conversation, Will decided to accidentally forget to stop by Thornton’s house. He let slip at lunch that he was going to accidentally forget, and was met with approval and a small sense of reassurance. The Ox, as he was known to the football team, wasn’t a delivery boy for a nerd.
Four hours later, Will stood—somewhat awkwardly—outside the Wilson house, fist hovering between his chest and the large wooden door. He’d mentioned the homework over dinner, at which point his mother stared him down.
Torumaru and the Bullies Somewhere outside the window, the ocean rushed along the coast, waves breaking as fishing boats cut between them, creating new crests on the water in the push to reach the fish. Seafoam scattered in the air, a flash of white among the marine layer, before dissolving in the in between, not quite water, not quite sky. On the other side of the window, in a small room of a small home in Urayasu, Torumaru rolled over and fell out of his bed. Stunned into awareness, he stood up and jerked his head about, blearily taking in his room. His gray eyes rested on his own reflection, and he noticed his black hair hanging in a mess just above his eyebrows as he tried to make sense of the gold tint his face seemed to have. He squinted and frowned until he registered his own name; the wall he stared at held a small, engraved golden plaque which read: “Congratulations to the new Judo Club Captain, Torumaru Kamimura”. On reading t
The Wrong ThingOn the way home from work, he pushed a child into the street as a car passed. When questioned as to why he did it, he replied, "no one did anything good today. It's like they needed a reason. So I gave them someone to help and a reason why."