NEW: poetry and essays archive

NEW: poetry and essays archive

Dear friends, subscribers, and people who take offense at my Guns n’ Roses references,

I wanted to point out that the new poetry and essays archive is now available on this site. It doesn’t contain all of my poetry and essays. Just the stuff that I like most.

Yeah, yeah, it’s presumptuous to self-publish poetry. With rare exceptions, it’s presumptuous to force one’s poetry on the world at all.

Of course I also sometimes think that all writing, both good and bad, is presumptuous to an extent. In in the meantime, I keep hearing from you about how much you like the stuff I publish here and have made the archive with that in mind.

By the way, a long time ago, when I was still a high school student, I noticed that the Norton Anthology of Poetry we used in English classes included the work of Bob Dylan. Norton was ahead of its time with this one. His inclusion, which forced me hard to think about the definition of poetry, in a way prepared me for his Nobel Prize (a lot of the writers I know seemed very surprised when he won, which in turn surprised me).

It also made me think about how genre and mediums and methods of delivery overlap in this world that we live in. In that sense, poetry isn’t something that has to be born on the page. Sometimes, in fact, a poem has to travel a certain path in order to be recognized as such. I think that’s curious and wonderful.

The world being what it is right now, curiosity and wonder should be multiplied. I’m trying to do my part, in whatever small, confused, confusing way that is available to me. Good luck with doing yours.

Tornado of Shrieking Demon Heads (The Calm the Fuck Down Song)

Tornado of Shrieking Demon Heads (The Calm the Fuck Down Song)

Calm the fuck down, bitch
Calm the fuck down
Get it together or get out of town
Oh you crave a crisis
Just to feel important
You’re jerking off again
To a tornado
Of shrieking demon heads
And other fucked-up shit
Bitch, calm the fuck down
Jump in a lake
Sink to the bottom
And listen to the sound
Of nothing and everything
Of water worshipping rock
No one acknowledging you
Or measuring your cock.

Nothing in nature or in the stars
Cares for your shit, bitch
So calm the fuck down.

I wrote this song a while ago for a musician friend and it feels especially appropriate to post it today, in light of everything

My love could have been a Thomas

My love could have been a Thomas

My love could have been a Thomas
From Trinity or from St. John’s
We could have had our choicest fights
By the fire at the Anglesea Arms
My love could have been a cliff at Exmouth
Or grimalkin’s stone third eye
My love could have lain like fog
On the sea at Lady Chapel Isle
My love could have fed me poppies
Drunk my milk and fallen fast
Slept for centuries and awoken
Hugged tight by electric glass
My love could have been upright
Tipper of hats and payer of taxes
Veins as wide as Roman roads
And a fool’s blameless conscience
Boil the blood and pull the rhubarb
Bring the flags down in the suburbs
My love could have loved the land
But my love loves me instead.

Stripes

Stripes

I didn’t notice tears making their escape down my cheeks
Until you caught them with your tongue
Raised yourself up and said, “What?”
Your eyes were sea glass in the gathering dark.
I didn’t love, but the evenings went down too fast and made me drunk
And you were the right height, your face was proportional,
A chestnut-brown smell I could almost taste, and the things you said so blunt
That my face got warm and my mouth formed a “What the hell.”
Back then I believed anything anyone said about me
Whether they said I was a poet or a whore
I was better off listening to the voice inside my head
Even if all it said was “More, more.”
Where are you now, with the stripes across your chest like days
Darkness after light after darkness after light
Are your bones weeping collagen in an unmarked grave
Did you meet a woman who treats you right.
Men like you do the dirty work of forcing themselves on history
The muscle of your hearts knotted and hard, but still you do as you are told
If your voice could be here now, what would it say through me
I mean besides that dark sound from within your throat
Deep where no light can go, quickening breath, a smile creeping into your voice
Like sunrise creeps across floorboards now in other bedrooms
What would you say if you were here?
What would you do if you could choose?
I hope you are happy as I am happy and I hope
That you can forgive me for the way I strung up these words
Like lights that will not shine bright enough or true, poetry must be another lie
Though as far as lies go, it’s still prettier than most.

P.S. This post originally featured a cropped version of Magritte’s An Act of Violence in the header. Due to STUPID CENSORSHIP ISSUES I updated the header to Magritte’s The Lovers. Here’s An Act of Violence below: 
Continue reading “Stripes”