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Poems Are Happening


April being National Poetry Month… But I’m not tripping. Wasn’t even intending to attempt a 2014 poem a day for 30 days challenge…

But its happening anyway.

The last poem I posted, A Small White Bottle, triggered a shower of poems and writing over the last several days. A pleasant surprise. I re-wrote S.W.B. which is to say after a couple of days I sat in my apartment and read it aloud to myself. I then promptly took Elmore Leonard’s advice that if it sounded like writing, cut it. My tongue stumbled over all the lines that sounded like poetry (which is to say they sounded inauthentic or forced). I liked them, separately, even as I immediately scratched them out. I’ll try to rally them into their own separate poem and see what that yields

So– it looks like my body is encouraging me to write a poem a day. And beginning this month I’m co-leading my first, public writing workshop at the local library… I may not post a poem a day since my goal is to get some poems published before the year is over. Some journals apparently frown at printing a poem that was “previously published on your blog”. Fair enough. But I’ll still try to blog more often about the process or drafts I’m not excited about.

In show of good faith, the poem below happened today. Its weird. I fllipped through one of the stray journals I carry around and pulled out some random freewritten sentences I liked. The title was found scribbled amongst doodles and a shopping list. As I retyped them, they kind of assembled into their own logic. Curious… Writing it in Second Person felt appropriate, but I dunno. Will be interesting to see what changes this poem goes through as it matures.


The Night You Came Home From The Bar And Cried jcagney

The kitchen walls haven’t forgiven you. The notes squeezed out of your throat sounded like a saxophone thrown from the roof of a burning cathedral

Who let the dogma of loneliness out? When did your own touch stop having any effect?

Your mirror more dependable than God And just as silent… You are not beautiful You are the disproportionately smooth green leaves we keep staring at waiting for something beautiful to happen

Save your logarithm of excuses. I’d rather hear you talk in your sleep about how teenage jesus used to annoy farmers

Don’t tell me about my legacy of thighs while I kiss your knuckles just to be embraced by the ground

Half your neighbors and the hand-holding lovers On this street quite possibly hadn’t been born when it first dawned that you had no friends.

You were leaving a bar after trivia night and the ground was scarred from rain. Or maybe the zombie fountain across the street sprayed death water until the sky hailed mournfully, Stop!

…Or maybe it was just you, your shirt wet with tears not rain, or booze. You’ll sleep hard enough tonight to forget the bad porn on your kitchen computer And how you held yourself and cussed like you needed an exorcism.

A hole can only be defined by its edges. I’m not talking about your heart. You press the rim of your skin until it leaks liquid nitrogen. The tinnitus in your ears? Sweet nothings. Ignore them. They’re arias of lost spirits, their skull tongues fluent with dead songs.

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