Friday, July 1, 2016

Poetries #7

In my excitement last month to start posting poems again, I forgot about three that I'd written on my phone.  Having this ruined my carefully cultivated chronology, I must resolve to carry on amid this tumbled heap of scattered words.

So the first three poems are a little bit older, the first from February and the other two from March.  They are fairly solid (for me) and thus I am sure I did not leave them out intentionally.  I would never want to deprive you, after all.  The following twelve are of fresher vintage, starting in late May and continuing through to the present.  Once again, the backlog is defeated!

My usual obsessions remain obsessed upon, sex and depression, all that good stuff.  Poison Control hits kind of hard (to the extent that it isn't just maudlin) in the direction of abuse and self-loathing, and Hung Over, Body Scanned is sort of in the same vein.  As usual, I blather on at the end with commentary.

Luna, Rising Sweetly

Luna, rising sweetly -
a section from a circle,
arching eighty five
degrees, clad in silk
and silver, all composed
of warm, selenic light;
gathered in repose,
posessing grace and awful
power over all
of me, of night and morning,
waning never, even
as the sun completes
its circuit of the Earth;
I am hour, she
is day - twenty four
times I'd live and die
to let her shine, in darkness
or in one degree
of blinding, glorious dawn.

The Firmament

In this total sphere of darkness
I can feel my head expanding,
feel my teeth expand against
my teeth; they sound like blunted chalk,
and all around, within this hollow
firmament of shape and silence,
my eyes can turn from left to left
and see the shadows of my soul.

Black, invisible upon
the starless dome of sky, they seethe
and bubble in an unmistakable
prelude to a renaissance,
anticipating narrow dreams,
and filling them with shade and ether.

A Rare Confession

Bless me, pop, for I have sinned
against your pomp and pieties,
satisfied my lust across
the altar of your vanities,
and all that I have reaped from that
are squawling improprieties
who crawl across the kitchen floor
and toddle through their nurseries.
And pop, I must confess, at times
I've contemplated surgeries,
but I enjoy my sins too much
to disrespect my ovaries.

Sweaty Sunday

Gently ill, the ghosts are resting uncomfortably,
like tea and chocolate at the back of my throat.

And Heather is in there, as clear as she sleeps
in the book of my mind, her eyes and her skin
like tea and chocolate woven together, delicate.

The cat is inside, circling in place, holding the groove,
holding the bitterness down like milk and honey.


Green, the sound of mandolins
and soft, the scent of cinnamon -
alas the taste of pale ale
puts a chill between my lungs
and sets me with a phantom trail.

Dead, the swallow still returns
until, at last, the mission burns;
but where have gone the mandolins,
and where have gone the calling birds,
who sing as sweet as cinnamon?

Bright as golden pale ale,
orange blazes, smoking trails
where stones and silken feathers burn,
sifting through the ashen trees
until the calling birds return.

I remember mandolins,
recall the scent of cinnamon
and fire from the pale ale,
green with life beneath the trees
and wet with dew along the trails,
nourishing the calling birds.


Out of the walls
and up from the floor
the enemy comes,
the sentinels spawn -
unlimited parts
with unlimited power,
the factory builds them
from morning 'til dawn,
attaching their armor
with lasers and rivets,
mechanical beasts
with nuclear brawn -
and hate in their grey
little clockwork hearts,
wroth with the living
until they are gone.

Poison Control

Stop hitting yourself, I whined, and hit myself again,
and again, until I stopped; because I had forgotten,
In all the long distraction of hitting myself, the reason
why I had begun.

                                        And looking in the glass
I saw a cheek as red as a peeling, sunburnt child,
sobbing while his older brother sneered
stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself to his older,
wiser self in a dungy glass.

                                        I saw another cheek
without as many blisters, pink as innocence
in the months after its irrevocable loss.
And I remembered, and I hated this, the lack
of brutal symmetry, and started up again -
stopped hitting yourself, I urged, when at last it feels right.

Ash Swale

"Ash Swale", almost a river,
a toponym that seems to augur
a dryer, more defeated future
from a gentle morning'summer.

Red Spot

The oceans of Jupiter,
sleeping beneath
the ancient typhoon -
after all of this time,
the calescent gales
are barely considered
a real disruption.
They ripple and rage
across infinite seas,
they generate surges
of shimmering hydrogen;
they storm, and they pass,
and the infinite seas
have returned to placidity.

The Same Old Bad Lover's Song

I crept out of your window like a guilty spider
and noisily shuttled down to your garden,
my hand full of seeds, but with no real intention
of planting them in your irrigated soil;
I only wanted a chance to enjoy a snack
in the cool of a sunflower garden, without being
expected to give back, or to stay awake until dawn.

The dirt on my hands clung to my blue shirt,
it smeared the threads with brown and cream particles,
wet with worms from under the flowers' salty roots.
I did the smearing, because the dirt tasted
better on packaged sunflower seeds.

You watered the garden flowers at dawn,
so I dreamed of powerful monsoon rains
And woke, with mud in my teeth and my socks,
after several minutes of the gentlest assault,
coupled with curses of deep, abiding regret
from the sweetness of your heart and your soil.

Odysseus at the Last Gasp

Weep your tears with sympathy
for my corrupt integrity -
the grisly, corpse-like separations,
skin discarded through abrasions,
teeth and feet from gum and bone
disjointed, foamy hair-clumps blown
in salted mats along the shore,
mingled with Ulysses' gore.

Have mercy on the castaway -
a sheet of grass, a bed of clay,
before my courage falls to pieces
and my haggard frame releases
me, like berries from the vine
to putrefaction, past their prime.


I could never be the kind of person
certain kinds of people want to be,
to keenly wrap their hands around his leather,
run their fingers down his golden spine;
but I possess a certain quality
of stiff resilience to the kind of weather
certain kinds of people find attractive,
though it simmers them in skin and sweat.

If you could reach a hand across my brow
when I am fresh from swimming briskly through
the morning, you could find me firm and ready,
cool and steady, just as certain kinds
of people strive entire lives to be,
if you should chance to find me in my dreams.

The Author Discovers the Watermelon Margarita

O Tequila,
wait a,
wait a minute,
Tequila, how'd you,
how'd you
get so fine,

Hung Over, Body Scanned

Reaching out for health,
I reach with many thousands
of small, invisible hands
and eyes of mindfulness,
across the furthest reaches
of my body, of
my skin and teeth and hair.

I start from good advice
among my toes, advancing
to the fingertips
I spread apart, above
my head, across my bed,
experience the reach of
raw sensations through
the flesh that thrums between.

I reach inside my chest
and count my heartbeats,
try to time them, try
to synchronize my lungs
with them, to hear the blood
that reaches to my pale
extremities and back.

Further, caress my face,
the skin between the hairs
along my scalp, the hair
across my thighs, my arms
and genitals, before
the goose bumps rise.

A vast expanse of stomach
reaches up, and down,
and deep within its core
it rages with metabolism,
fierce machinery
of acid, wine and strife.

A sour taste between
my gums, a pinch behind
my head that reaches down
my shoulders, bends my spine
and weighs upon my ass -
I reach for these, my dear
sensations, to believe
in poison, to believe
in blood, survival in
extremis and despair.

Turtle Doves

Turtle doves squabble
on bright slopes of dusty hills -
scorched in long shadows.
Luna is a sweet little love poem, I think, for no one in particular.  Its form is pretty simple, an unbroken chain of three foot lines, something I just sort of fall into when I try to do something stream-of-consciousness like.

The Firmament doesn't rhyme, but it's pretty obviously modeled on a Petrarchan sonnet form, with the crucial distinction that its lines are four feet rather than five.  I was just trying to get my anxiety out on paper, so I guess I wasn't really thinking about form.  I certainly didn't know it was going to be fourteen lines when I started.

Amongst my writings, it rarely gets sillier than A Rare Confession.  It's a very pure case of rhyming getting totally out of control, until it forces something resembling a cracked narrative out of what was once merely an idle scribbling.  The cavalier narrator of the poem does not seem to be aware of less extreme forms of birth control, or maybe she's just really really Catholic.  I don't have all the answers here.

I'm looking at Sweaty Sunday again, and I'm really not sure I can explain to you what I thought was going on with the rhythm.  I can tell you that it is sort of a still-life, based on several elements to be found in my living room as I lay panting in the heat one afternoon.  Heather is a character in the Ursula K. Le Guin novel The Lathe of Heaven, and that's probably the only reference worth explaining.

Greensounds is a similar sort of still-life, heavily influenced by musings on California's fires and swallows and, by a tangential connection, the R.E.M. album Green.  It is a little awkward in spots, working with those repeating words, but I like it.

Sentinels is a little slight, and was inspired by an evening playing the video game X-Men Legends.  The rhythm is very particular (I was going for an "industrial" feel), hopefully evoking the tension of facing off against an endless army of killer robots.  If not, well, move along to the next one then.

Oh god, Poison Control.  I was going for profundity, which led me directly to melodrama, but hopefully the point comes across.  Structurally I was interested in doing something with longer lines (six feet here) without relying on rhymes.  It's not autobiographical or anything, but it does reflect a kind of obsessiveness in my personality.

There is an "Ash Swale" sign on my drive to work, which prompted me to look up the definition of "swale".  This led to brief musings on landscapes and climate change.  There's not much more to Ash Swale.

I like Red Spot, mainly because it taught me another fine vocabulary word, "calescent".  The image of a wave of liquid hydrogen isn't bad either, don't you think?  I mixed in some short feet with long ones, very intentionally I assure you.

If The Same Old Bad Lover's Song is anything, it's a free verse metaphor for a self-centered onanist who doesn't know how good he has it.  Well, it might also be an absolute mess.  You decide, gentle reader.

I was actually reading The Odyssey, specifically the part where Odysseus lands on the shore of the Phaiakians' island, when I wrote Odysseus at the Last Gasp.  It's another Petrarchan pseudo-sonnet, with a closer claim to authenticity than The Firmament because it rhymes.  I use the name "Ulysses" in the body of the poem itself for metrical reasons, as "Odysseus" just doesn't fit.

Cool is a full-fledged pentameter sonnet at last, though it eschews rhyming for the bolder choice of, well, not rhyming.  It's also basically a dirty joke ("stiff resilience" indeed), which I trust you won't judge me too harshly for.  All the cool kids are writing poems about erections.  For god's sake, look at Shakespeare.

Next up are two alcohol-soaked poems.  Margarita is just some drunken babbling about the miracle of fruit juice and sugar mixed with harsh tequila.  Hung Over is, obviously, a little more serious.  I found myself severely hung over after a night out drinking beer with my cousins (not margaritas, they didn't do me any harm).  I tried to manage my pain and suffering with a mindfulness technique, the body scan.  The results were mixed, much like this poem.  It's also another of those three-foot-per-line rambles I love so well.

I always feel silly writing haiku, but Turtle Doves is a fine one, if you ask me.  Like all good haiku, it was directly inspired by an observation of nature. 

No comments:

Post a Comment