Sellfoss, Take 2

April 5, 2011

SELLFOSS II

From Iceland

Her back is turned to the lens
While her hair–
damp from the dew–
is lifted from her shoulders
by Iceland’s March bluster.
Meanwhile the mist of the falls coats
her eyelash
and the bit of her nose
that remains unobstructed,
even as she faces away from me.

And fleeting the edge
of the frame, a phantom—
she is my Vermeer,
pearl earrings and all,
coming and going at the same time,
and even now
I’m unsure of which it was.

Behind her, a watery curtain,
pounding unwaveringly on the pond
below it, which is nothing if not
innocent, is cradled by
a rock face, a mossy carpet,
and a stairway that leads
to either the summit
or to the edge.
When we reach it
she finally turns
so that I can see her eyes,
and she murmurs: “Everything beyond here
belongs to the gulls”.

A Little Spring Fever

February 17, 2011

I LIKE MY STRAWBERRIES A LITTLE BITTER

and I like Salted Hot Chocolate.
I like yogurt pretzels,
fried Oreos and fried bananas, and
cherubs with horns.

I like treating hangovers with orange juice and a cigarette,
treating a chemical imbalance with chemicals, and
treating a cold with Sudafed, Robitussin, and leftover antibiotics.

I like my vodka with a little caviar.
I like pepper on everything, and salt on nothing.
I like Anne Sexton and Charles Baudelaire.
I like unscented soap.

I like a summer breeze, Indian summers,
wearing black on a sunny day, and
watching the shadows cast through the blinds as
the sun goes down.

I like taking pictures of trash on the street.
The stripper taking care of 3 fatherless children.
The gay soldier.
The man who murders his wife’s killer.
Junkies and their sweet tooth.

And I like 95th and Park’s corner bum,
the doorman who’s also the drug dealer,
and the heroin addict who lives in apartment 4C.

I like the clown fish that lives amidst the
protection of the sea anemone.
I welcome the tape worm and the ear wig.

I like kinky sex, fucking in all the fun positions, and when
pretty girls wear dark nail polish.

I love the lovers who can’t make it work,
who know their time is limited, who love each other no less,
and who abandon each other.

I also like the cranked up purse snatcher
on his third probation and the alcoholic cop
chasing him down,
paid for in full by you.
I like that it’s easier to own a gun than
buy health insurance, that
it’s easier for a gay man to join the army than
marry the man he loves.

I’d like to thank the NRA, the Christian Right, and the Confederacy.

I like unaccounted-for nuclear warheads,
shell-shocked veterans without Medicaid, and
the Private who comes home to his new baby with one less leg.

I like religions that are worth more than large corporations,
that protect perverted clergymen, deny the fruits of Science, and promote
monotheistic Gods with a masochistic agenda.

I like Democracy with Fascist overtones.

I like walking with blisters on my heals, eating with a burnt tongue,
smoking with bronchitis, and digging the dirt out from under my nails.
I like sleeping without dreaming, Tequila breath, and
getting shocked when I flip a light.

And sometimes I stare directly at the moon,
filling up with the itch of Spring’s pollen,
dissonant music and a healthy bit of nonsense.

Apple-Picking

October 9, 2010

APPLE-PICKING

We went apple-picking one day
last fall
at a farm straight out of
a watercolor
in about as rural Upstate New York
as we could find.
I suppose it’s good I can remember the orchard
since I can’t ever go back.

 

You must have been wrapped up in at least ten layers.

 

Your torso birthing
a small animal
beneath your pea-coat.

 

The tendonitis in your hip kept acting up that day
Of all the days!
Walking around an orchard
with you slumped over my shoulder
boosting you up to pick
“The good ones”
you called them.

 

I don’t know how you could tell
But I never asked questions.
Perhaps I should have.

 

That day had more apples than
hours in it.

 

After the picking was finished we
ate apple cider donuts and
drank warm apple cider,
slice upon slice
of warm apple pie with
vanilla bean ice cream.

 

Your prerequisite for the eating of warm apple pie.
You were always a purist.

 

And just before the day’s end
as the apple trees
devoured the sun’s final ray

 

we walked down to the little sheep’s pen
at the bottom of a hill
in a lonely corner of the farm
as if it had been hidden
just for us.

 

And I took the picture I’m now holding.
Where you’re leaning back, soaking in the day’s remaining warmth,
tilting your chin up and
about to lift off-
had I not been holding you down-
so that the remaining sun
illuminates every freckle
on your face,
and the red lipstick
that only you wore.

 

You’re breathtaking in this picture
on that day. This one
I won’t burn
with the others.

 

 

 

 

 

Gogyohka Anti-Love Poetry

September 5, 2010

I know, I know. You’re thinking: “You haven’t posted anything for a month, and we get 5 lines!?” I do apologize, my loyal readers. But, sometimes life just has a way of overtaking you. This poem would seem to memorialize that sentiment, in fact. Enjoy.


 

Irony

 

The $2 Christmas bracelet
You gave to me read:
“Serva me, serva bote.”
And I suppose you forgot
What I(t) meant.

Today I am posting a collaboration that is quite some time in the making. Richard North of the Arts Web Show and I decided, about a month ago, to work to create a collaborative poem where we alternate verses. We picked an obscure theme (apples and pears) and, basically, said “ready, go!”. I think the result is a testimony to the way poetry can be an organic art: the poem we ended up with very much took a form of its own that we had not planned when we started, and I think you will see this from reading it.

 

Before moving on, I’d just like to say a few words about Richard. Since beginning my blog several months ago, I have come to find many other intriguing blogs of poetry and creative art that are doing much of the same thing, myself included. Richard, with the Arts Web Show, in a way, is distinct among this group of blogs. I find much of his work fresh and inventive in all the ways I look for in a talented creative mind that is “worth the time”, and he is just that. His blog is truly worth the visit, you can check it out here.

 

Ok, enough exposition. Here is the poem we came out with: the black verses are mine, the red verses are Richard. Enjoy.

 

Apples and Pears

Apples and pears, the doctor does say.
What do you want them for?
I need money to survive these harsh days
Don’t contribute to my downfall

 

Nutrients and vigor is what you claim.
What evidence have you
That they shall keep me away?
A pesky couplet i’ll put an end to!

Oh doctor is see.
How very silly of me,
To listen to health fanatics,
Who infest my T.V

Well let’s not heave ourselves overboard
Health is my sport.
Pill popping and consultations,
Are my expert retort.

Hmm, but what use is sport,
If you get hit by a bus?
Or fall off a cliff edge,
By a winds fateful gust.

You seem to forget.
The examination is set.
My fee many hundreds
I’ll take cash or check.

    This poem has been taken down temporarily while it is being considered for publication.  Please bare with me, loyal readers!


The Man Who’s Trying To Kill Me With A Shotgun

 

Figure that haunts me from
The sleepiest crevices of my bed,
I say unto you—
Leave me be!

 

Wandering across my dream mesas,
Dashing about. Zero escape.
Every bunker, the corners where I
Seek refuge
He’s there, jabbing that
Sawed-off shotgun into my ugly mug.
Clairvoyant claws burrow beneath
Me:
Pulling each, one-by-one
Tearing flesh and
Blood, and
Staring down that lighted barrel.

 

Hammer down, trigger finger poised and
Threatening escape.
Why does he not unleash the blast?
End it?
I demand an answer!
          Silence…
Scamper again, sprint a
Desperate search for cover.

Come about to stumble upon
That which I
Knew would be there:

 

The cloaked silhouette
With his death-weapon.

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