Coercive Diplomacy

The leash follows your explorations
I keep my thumb on the button
I’ll bag your shit
For my neighbors

You feel free and safe

We limp along
Two bullets at the bar
Patriots under duress
Hollywood guilt
Outside the body

Boys find their purpose
Playing guns like guitars
Piece of wood
A Samari sword

At what age can I start judging?
To save a life
How big do I have to be?
How important
To me

The earth of my skin

Has been through so much
Frozen and thawed frozen and thawed
I am starting to nap
The next ice storm sends my body into hibernation
The birds need so much
They eat fast
Leave their broken shells beneath the feeder
So much time looking for the ones that dropped
Winter has no time to mourn
No time to consider gender or spirit
There is one sun for every winter

Deep State

Early buds
En route en route

Working with greatness
Requires great patience
Your bones must be hollow to fly
Something bigger than all of this
Like hunting the rarest of all things
Willing to take our lashes
Bunker down in wet socks
Peek through the cracks
Cup our fingers over our mouths
And blow on them for warmth
We hear breathing

Padded mallots bring us closer
To the truth than our original protocal

Something deeper
Than the mutual deceptions
The body rises and falls
with the breath.
We are the breath
The easy speakers
We translate the barks and the chirps
The undersides of leaves

Dog Catcher Heart 

Upon waiting for the apology text
I witness Starbucks
After school revolution

A clean soft lighted place
Escape from the car faces

I read about Eilen Myles
And her Dog Father

I could never walk
My ghost so easily

Never easy for me to see
Who held the leash

Like a job I wait
Transporting myself
To the office in mind

Highway stress
Leaky ceiling drips

Evesdropping on alley crackheads
NPR clouds softening the light

I’m in love, I’m alone
I work in my home

I’m in love with a
Dog catcher heart

For My Sister and Prince

Sticking to the floor in the seventh grade
I knew nothing about spirit 
A plan inspired by mistakes

Sister you were there for me
Even when you weren’t 

You lent me your crocodiles 
And hammer swinging horsemen

To fight the echoes in the hallway 
The padded dicks that 
Slammed gainst the lockers 

Peroxide future 
Earrings and feathers 
I drank the purple passion

Lied to the college girl
Followed the code 
I made up as I went along 
And did all my best work in basements 

Digest the orphan

The remaining hairs
Continue to grow
And will need to be cut
By someone

Make a simple thing difficult
A separate bag for each item 

Washing preservatives

Timers and alarms
Notes and instructions

Proof of a worked life 

To digest the orphan
Who has traveled
So far to meet you 

Do not worry father
I will be there to cut your hair 

The way I cut the grass

No smell of garlic
But with a gentile hand 

More gentile than you are accustomed to 

Night walking

It’s so easy to give a
child a thankless gift 

Walking the pitted pavement
On a warm summer evening 

Holding court
beneath the

Nippled street lamp
Squirting light

Into the sobbing
Mouth of darkness 

Sunburned back
Cut weeds 

Arrows tattooed in concrete
Magic words
Sprayed across walls 

The sky rips open soft
Glowing brainless matter
Putting me as close
As I am permitted 

If I could share
This bliss of isolation 

That’s how much
I love you 

Rocking chair 

 Tickling the light.
in the  now
spare bed room 

Rocking chair
I am free of your wooden bars 

Half shut Venetian blinds
It’s a jungle in here 

Rich soil covers the floor
Snot on the walls

Heads on the night stand
Lions in the corner

Tripping over old toys

Distant train
It’s time for me
To hear you again 

This is easy for me 

  This is easy for me 

Forgotten to the core

Without the love, it’s just coffee

The research is the living

The corner of my mouth 

Well marked exits 

The words are peaceful times 

New tables made to look old 

Morning bagels served on a piece of wood 

Excessive validation 

Pacing the garage 

Step by step 


Like rain 

Poetry Break

Happy New Year! One year ago today, January 1, 2015, I started this Blog with the idea that it would serve as some kind of archive for my recently rekindled interest in writing poems. The first poem I wrote was called:

We can do better

It’s a new day.
Tomorrow is a mother
new day and next day
soon will be over
Seems like
is the time

I’m not saying you’re wrong
I’m just saying I disagree.

Live at Budokon

Pop Up on the back porch alone
Ice sickles hanging
From my balls

Excited like
Holding in my pee

Cheap Trick

Often people cry when I sing

With people that we love

We can do better
We can love more freely
We can Dance head first

We can make friends out of strangers
Heaters and fans

We take the Cure
With Bread

Often it’s best not to
meet the people
You think are cool

Every voice belongs to me
Not not caring
Not dying is my inspiration

Loneliness is such a sad affair
So try not to

Blue ray

Play key to continue

We can do better
Or not
So we do

I had the ambitious idea of creating a new poem every day for a year.  Within, two months, I pretty much failed at that goal. But the byproduct of my attempt has exposed me to a different way of writing that I’d never really understood before. I’ll try to explain.

It had been a long time since I’d felt like writing poems. The first self motivated form of creative writing I ever did was a poem. I was in the 9th grade. It was a poem about the end or the world via nuclear war. The second thing I ever wrote was a punk rock song about patricide entitled: Oh Daddy.  

I studied English in collage with an emphasis in creative writing and I wrote some poetry but mostly I wrote short fiction.  As you might gather, writing was alway kind of an intensive process for me. I imagined poetry to be the most intense form for writing. But I think I was still a little too insecure to dedicate too much of my energy to writing poetry then. I needed the larger amount of validation that comes with writing good sentences.

When I wrote poetry in college, it was my belief that every line and syllable needed to be labored over. I was constantly revising my poems, forever searching for that precise combination of characters to convey what ever deeply important and revelatory idea I had at the time. I simply thought that this was what writing poetry was supposed to be. My thought was that since poetry was the most minimal form of word based art, one must mine every letter and punctuation for it’s full symbolic potential.  As opposed to what one does in prose, where the sentence is more the focus, in poetry it was about the letter, the mark, and where it appears on the page. 

I thought of it as the difference between abstract painting and realism. In my mind, like the abstract painter, the poet caries a heavier burden because the larger population will forever be judging her against the slightly more easily assessed talent of say a novelist or realist painter. A child can splatter some paint on a canvass or write a sentence about a red wheelbarrow. My thought was that what makes these artistic forms as valid as great bricks of human culture like the Sistine Chapel or War and Peace had to do with the amount mental energy exerted in the process of making them. This was how I could justify in my own mind a Rothko to be as important as a Rembrandt,  or a  William Carlos Williams poem as important as one of Shakespeare’s plays. For some reason the later never really came close to speaking to me as powerfully and deeply as the the former. A Michelangelo statue could never blow my mind like a DeKooning painting.  Homer could never move me like a T.S. Eliot poem.

I guess you could say I had little interest in studying the source. Perhaps I was just too dumb or lazy or too self centered to allow myself to appreciate art that I could never possibly perceive myself capable of creating. And though this was the kind of art that spoke to me, I was haunted by demons that told me that my preferences for modernism and minimalism were just an excuse for my own insecurity and laziness. So, I had to compensate for this by self inflicting the proper amount of discernment and self doubt before I could call any piece “finished.” 

I embraced the role of the tortured artist and for the most part it served me well throughout my later teens and early twenties. I had created a fair amount of stuff the I might have called art.  But I see now that there was very little out side of some noises I produced on an electric guitar that I felt truly proud of.

In 2014 Nan and I had come up with the idea of including a short poetry break, accompanied by an improvised dance, as part of our live Schwervon! shows. The motivation for the idea was two fold.

(to be continued)