February 24, 2006

Poem Considers Sustainability

Traffic. Traffic and food. Money and language. And bowels.

It is all about waste, Poem says, gesturing
toward somewhere else.

Poem is a dangerous
retention. Cities without air. Something
needs to give.

The word ‘plum’ is about
where it’s from. Poem asks
a grocer, receives little or no information,
opens the next book.

A cleansing, Poem hears his friend say.
A cleansing, Poem thinks and forgets
his wallet, the store’s location, the shape
of arugula, why he can’t be far from
the truth or its proxy . . .

A cleansing, Poem remembers what he needed
and writes about syntax and
walks to give it to his friend.

February 20, 2006

Poem in the Overcode

Poem is a good boy, disturbs
the flow of pedestrians as little
as possible, mixes oil-based paint in
prescribed ways, eats the fictional
food groups, redeems his air
miles, watches hockey, thinks
about mutual funds, international
security, gets hopped up on
caffeine and sugar, has a full
medicine cabinet, frets over
fuel prices, submits regularly
to established magazines, finds
unique ways to create
vivid description and surprising
but comforting comparisons, breaks
the line right where it should, hears
screams at night, has a mellifluous
reading voice, is suspicious of
postmodern pomposity, dreams of the city
falling apart, demons
fouling the internet, resists discussing
the trivialities of language indeterminacy,
knows where he is going, tries
to get there on a straight straight overpass

February 19, 2006

Poem Undoes Himself

As a self-awareness, he fails;
as an act, the audience
shuffles into an auditorium, half-empty.
They sit far apart to concentrate.
The oratory is brief, concise,
filled to the brim with something
akin to order. Failing voice,
near the end, Poem
takes a drink of water, wakes up.

He thinks about socio-environmental violence
and hypens, and
blacks out.

Poem grew up secure in knowing
that the critical mind was like
a good small engine and
similes too.

As his head hits the podium
a word still exists.

February 14, 2006

Page Loading . . .

. . . hook-up, and you were there too
waiting; knowledge is that unreliable
season or illness, control
then becomes myth
although a useful one, the net’s
working hum jacks into rooms

we rush to fix it

once, i am sure, we sat staring
at the same image at the same moment—
a kind of 21st Century tenderness that
synergy and words
falter accordingly . . .

it’s that state of constant looking
that syringes our lives, solders our
agility to look away, ways
that redirect

sluice out into open spaces . . .

and still,
loading . . .

various nations die online;
some imaginations do that, corroded
and privatized, the world is harvested
out from under, muted in

click click i thought the words would
establish themselves
without puppet dictators

me and my naïve mac

light is not all the same quantity
or price; even it betrays the flesh

crashes aren’t nature-loving, aren’t
used to being
more than occasionally
a cleansing

and so we sit
late at night
waiting . . .

spun truths, the either/or of pixels,
that is where my heart may have been lost

not a fantastical heart but
beating like in a deep sleep: slowing, slowing, slowing . . .

February 5, 2006

Poem in the City

Poem came to the city looking for Justice.
He found Fame instead.

The bars are filled with other Poems, ordinary
verses all just trying to find their way, some
with jobs, others looking for a pick-up
line and a sucker to pay the bill. He plays
solitaire in the corner with his eyes
lowered. There is no place to go. The pressure
to conform refills his glass. He sips
carefully, nursing, waits for something to happen.

Poem tips small as he leaves, notices
the sound of change against the glass table-top,
the tension between the two lovers at the next table,
idiosyncrasies of light and the uncertain time of day.
Poem’s vision of the whole thing is troubled.
This is what Poem does best.

This is not his City; he has
come from the Outside, notices the sound of transition:
his arrival and their stasis—the street dissolves
into the Poem. This is
what Poem does best.

Poem begins wandering, a search that is not
linear nor circular despite everything he has been taught. Stories
fill dumpsters and landfills. Fame follows him, dependent
and whining—Fame can’t sustain himself. Stories can’t
sustain themselves.

He is still there, Poem, poking
down alleys, knocking on back
doors, begging for another hit.

Now, he is a product of the City. Still
he dreams of outside, that place where
Poems aren’t poems and that thing
he’s surely forgotten is found.