"There's not much doubt in any of our minds that no complete idea springs fully formed from our brow,
needing only a handshake and a signature on the contract to send it off into the world to make twenty-five billion dollars.
The germ of the idea grows slowly..." - Walt Kelly

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Degrees to keep us

The final post of National Poetry Month...this has been an incredible test, and although I'm finishing it late, I'm proud to be finishing it at all. And crazily enough, I'm already looking forward to next April.

My poem of impact for Prompt #30: Celebrating Poetry is this one by Nikki Magennis, whose writing I'm very happy to have discovered over the last month.

In a decade of sin,
it's unspeakably perfect.
We've managed
to nail down our outcomes,
patch the cracks
in our armor
and build our monuments
sideways - a test
of fortitude
and architectural
The brushes that now swirl,
on our canvas,
blend blood and green ink,
spread ugly brown
over Paris,
over Appomattox,
over Versailles.
Our past
is unrecognizable as fact;
we've satisfied our
and all that's left is to hope
that we'll be pleased with the results.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Tame Impala, Desire Be Desire Go

Friday, April 29, 2011


Almost there.
Prompt #29: Free Day!

Some glowing orb
Poisons my sky,
Twists my intentions
And bleeds my thoughts.

Halfway to home
The eagle rests,
Tests the ropes and laughs
Before our fall.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Eminem & Royce Da 5'9, Fast Lane

Thursday, April 28, 2011

When the new brass tiptoes

Interesting task, this one.
Prompt #28: Roundel

When the new brass tiptoes, the other soldier dies,
Too many times they've gone to deliver the rose,
A harrowing gift delivered with earnest lies,
  When the new brass tiptoes.

Bullets ride the air between a man and his foes,
Despite his courage and to his great surprise,
Only the quiet ticking of his heartbeat slows.

Between the battlefield and home it's hope that fries,
Baked in the sudden sun above the final blows.
Alone the dead will rest in the bloodied night skies
  When the new brass tiptoes.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Brandon Boyd, All Ears Avow!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pains of glass

Thank goodness for long bus rides, or I don't think I'd get any writing done anymore.
Prompt #27: Still Life

What can this hold?
Heated sand
pressed to shape,
a barrier
to what lies
or without.
Build it walls
to hold it,
and bury that
which you'd like
to keep out
or forget.
Depending on
your angle,
it can hold
just about anything.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Fleet Foxes, Sim Sala Bim

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Move along

Prompt #26: Quiet Windows

In the outpouring of craggy rock,
bone spurs from the mountainside,
few things are visible
but the aging face of time,
the shavings of an empire,
the unnatural halt of geology
and the quieter sides
of our nature,
far from the discordant horns
bleating wrong notes
to snapped branches
and the downturned veins
of new leaves,
brighter green
than any child's mind,
'til they turn to the sky in death,
weak pleas for sustenance
met only by shivering derision.
"Quite right,"
we nod in agreement.
"Nothing to see here."

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Foo Fighters, White Limo

Monday, April 25, 2011

The curious case of the upright pack animals

Prompt #25: Memes

Our phenomenon is empty,
but oh,
how it fills so much.

Our phenomenon is quiet,
but oh,
how it speaks so loud.

Our phenomenon is incorrect,
but oh,
how much weight it carries.

Our phenomenon is imperfect,
but oh,
how we've made it gold.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Paul Simon, Rewrite

Sunday, April 24, 2011

We could

Off prompt...oh well.

We could bury our faces in laughter,
but it needn't be anything
only a momentary respite
from a world they call
cold or hard or evil,
and we simply call empty.

We could stand an egg on its end
on a day other than the
a dead sun our signal
that we'd finally seen
the impossible, or at least
the very difficult.

We could ride in a gray limousine
for no reason other than our
dress in our finest and
stare out the rear window,
watch the aging roads
fall out from under us.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Roots, The Fire

Saturday, April 23, 2011

They're really more afraid of you

HAIKUS! Slightly off-prompt haikus, but whatever.
Prompt #23: Dual Voices

It is a heavy,
itchy hand that rests upon
her starch-white shoulder.

His is a heavy,
fishy breath that falls upon
the back of her neck.

Hers is a twitch-quick,
sudden movement to the rack
where her shotgun waits.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Rilo Kiley, With Arms Outstretched

Friday, April 22, 2011

River drive

More catch-up: this is from a poem I wrote on the train to NYC my first day of work last June. I've tried to rehabilitate it a few times, with help, but I couldn't seem to make it work. So, perfect opportunity here.
Prompt #22: Recycle, Reuse, Rewrite

Out blares a tenor signal, clear as the rainwater
pooling in the streets. So follow it,
take the road to its nearest end point.
Around the corner, tattered shoes hang from a power line,
leaking usefulness. Watch as the wind blows,
knocks their peeling heels together:
A quiet wish for a way home, screamed across the ruin.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Morning Benders, Stitches

Thursday, April 21, 2011

To you, and your apprehension:

Playing catch-up...again.
Prompt #21: Sharing the Love

On a deserted highway,
find the cleanest ditch,
leave your bags
and head South.
New things there,
new promises and
new life.
Someone may come upon
that same highway,
empty with dust
and carrion.
Someone may open your bags,
hear the scratching
of the zipper and
lay eyes on
your most cherished,
your most missed
from back home.
And if you're lucky,
which you are,
you needn't worry:
We'll bring your things
right back to you.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Dodos, Don't Try And Hide It (of course if it has Neko Case on it, I'm listening to it)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The bottle

Technically it's not April anymore, but you can't tell because I scheduled this post for April 20th! Man, I got you good on that one...
Prompt #20: Personify

I'm just a whore
and nothing less,
a place to rest their
warm hands.
No love
in that grasp,
the sticky,
fermented moisture
of breath
falling irregularly
as they undress me,
take what they need
and go.
Loud gulps
of temporary
echo loud and
down the halls.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Black Keys, Tighten Up

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One up, one down

Only one "lightbulb moment" here, but it's really the only one I still wonder about.
Prompt #19: Lightbulbs

In my head
it all made so much more sense,
no dangerous tread
and certainly no false pretense.
Affection bred
in earnest, and with no expense,
but here instead,
alone, and no new promise since.
It's easy dread
can turn behavior rather dense,
and easily said:
one more mistake without defense.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Talib Kweli, Broken Glass

Monday, April 18, 2011

Incessant and torturous, and incessant

So close to writing a haiku for this one, because I don't think I've ever seriously written a haiku before. But this popped up instead:
Prompt #18: NaPoWriMo

Lightly tanned
shoulders, alone
in the dark -
and by choice,
so no worries.

Observe the soft stroke of the zealots, marvel at their singing range, gaze longingly upon their wild and varied color palettes, interior decorators.

There's so much
to be seen in
a light turn
of the lips,
red with love.

Black and white nonsense words, break them down into syllables so maybe, yes, maybe, stylized happiness can be yours once again.

In this photo
of something
horrible, many
still find
loud beauty.

But under your capital U-cloak, a proud university regrets its decision to promote its fledgling students so soon, so green, so envious.

We are an
early blade of
Midwest grass,
strung up
by the wrists.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Grizzly Bear, All We Ask

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Yeah, about that...

Poetry Month, Day 17:
I've been totally useless so far today, so now I must attempt to undo that (off prompt, again, and slightly ridiculous):

Eyes on target
spider shoes
climb for ceiling
Bad idea.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Shins, Fighting In A Sack

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Streaking bravery

Poetry Month, Day 16:
I tried, but couldn't get anything out of today's prompt, so I just wrote something off the cuff instead:

A look into our eyes: there's no comprehension, but we'll ape it - levy
          our fears into tax breaks and deliver on blind promises to men
          who have seen too much. Those men will raise glasses, then
          shovels, and take what was yours, bury it deep. Cold dirt and a
          rock will be your only reminder years from now.

Imagine it as a chess match, clacking victory that prances across
          laminated wood. Wouldn't it be easier if there were a warning
          track, something to keep us from straying too close to the edges,
          something to scrape the cataracts clean? That way you'll know:
          coffins keep promises far better than any human ever could.

If it must end this way, at least let it end with some certainty. Try to
          spoon out all the makings of a time bomb, but don't get tangled in
          the rainbowed wiring - it's a sensation you get that you know
          should be something like anguish, when really, that feathery
          feeling in your muscles signifies relief.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Portugal. The Man, Children

Friday, April 15, 2011

Only a half-truth

As we reach the halfway point of this epicness that is National Poetry Month, I want to share links for some other folks who have been working on this journey, as well. And so, I present to you:
Mr. Leonard Wilson and Mr. Zach Ayres.

Now, on with the poetry.
Prompt #15: Kinetic Wordplay

We died and they swept us under the rug,
no heartbeats to heat the floorboards
and no leaking tendrils of wire
scratching at the humming wood.
They cashed out, slips to the front desk,
threw down a few bills at the bar
for a shot of blossoming warmth,
twisted hair to spark waning friction,
and tethered their kinetic nervousness
to the nearest horse and buggy;
all a scheme to make it out
without the need for another sip.
We embolden ourselves at the last,
and then, knee-deep in cloud,
we're expected to believe that finally,
our thirst for bliss is quenched.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Tame Impala, Half Full Glass of Wine

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What a life

Well, at least I got this one done within a day of the post. And, I'm back on pace now, so win for me.
Prompt #14: Poem in Your Pocket

Dark ivy climbs my walls,
But it does me no good
As a method of escaping
My own rumbling blackness.

If these stems ever planted,
I'd climb them, so surely,
Turn myself inside-out
Just for a chance at sunlight.

My omnipresent, shining silver,
Road signs to relevance
For all those elder statesman;
Reminders of the unobtainable.

What I'd love for you to do
Is take hold of my deepest fear,
Like you did so long ago,
And reveal your loss of wealth.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Fleet Foxes, English House

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


This one came to me on the bus ride home. Yes, I'm still behind, but I'll get to those other two in due time. Promise.
Prompt #13: Adjective-less

The cry that rang out,
bird figured,
was the volume
to wake a bear from hibernation,
of course it roused him
from his slumber.
Bird ran and pressed his ear
to the door,
skin melded with wood,
to hear the ruckus.
Two voices:
neither in a tone
he would welcome.
"The way you treat us!"
she cried.
"Cut the accusations,"
he replied. "Consider,
my work, my stress.
Consider the sources."
She was silent.
Bird opened the door
so he could see without being seen,
saw Mother, tears and sighs,
what was she remembering?
"We could handle it before,"
she recalled. "What changed?"
They stared at each other,
and bird knew a feeling
hadn't felt before,
and it made him shiver
and weep.
Mother and Father
knew just as he did,
and their gazes twitched,
eyes at the scope,
to the door
bird hid behind.
"Time to fly."

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Way Out

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Hardest part of this one? Finding a geological form that doesn't totally suck. No, scratch that, figuring out what my favorite song is.
Prompt #12: Triad

In the first blades of sunlight,
my awareness droops,
heavy, burdened
with information it won't need
twelve hours from now,
but it holds on just the same -
curiosity must be sated,
and like a child's first taste
of cinnamon's sweet grains,
once will be all it takes.

From the aesthetic melody
that fills my early hearing,
I can sense certain similarities -
coy to my realization -
to gliding through porous
sandstone monuments: deep,
stately, flawed, as if
I'm floating down a river,
troubles at my back,
discoveries playfully ahead.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Foo Fighters, Best of You

Monday, April 11, 2011

That fucking leftist news media

Playing catch-up, part four:
Prompt #11: PostSecret
So it's not quite a narrative like they say in the prompt, but whatever.

How many little secrets
can we glean?

In a hushed tone,
like we bear in a room of echoes,
tired voices sing sins
and remind themselves
that like all good things,
this trove of deeply woven
will eventually go public.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The New Pornographers, Use It

Sunday, April 10, 2011

From inside great thunderstorms

Playing catch-up, part three:
Prompt #10: Mad Libs
(I'm using the Walid Bitar poem)

From inside great thunderstorms(don’t call them friend)
hearing is smaller than usual,
as are the words that force it. Inside great thunderstorms,
unlike arguments, are not catapults
and the people grasp enough
to lie to (at least the mistake isn’t small),
have no temper or fingerprints when they sit beside
their falsity and don health, pretending
to be an empty glass in a cold climate. The scenery
sharpens like a papercut in my ear.
It brews itself, and I hear of this
a harsh curve you can color with the whites
and marbles of fireplaces back home, bred otherwise
invisible as the price of empathy.
An enemy, too, is invisible; why are
you feeding it at your rose, growing
it into discomfort?
Leave it alone; throw me a little to
the sky; people shave their heads
into animosity here; I
remain (on the outside) nonplussed.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Circa Survive, Always Getting What You Want

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Playing catch-up, part two (this one was difficult, and I definitely think it shows):
Prompt #09: Metonymy

While you hold on to that dream,
see if you have room for these:

One day, we'll hope to be kings,
do kingly things,
make queens of beautiful women,
drop the coveted iron fist
on the backs of our detractors,
and hope the axe
isn't as sharp as it looks.

One day, we'll hope to be famous,
live in opulence
and make all of this for so little.
But careful,
too much stock can be placed
in the subtle twist of a good time
before the flashes scream.

One day, we'll stop dreaming,
and realize that we've already
got it pretty damn good.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Eagles, New Kid In Town (still great, 30 years after they started)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Try permanent press instead

Playing catch-up, part one:
Prompt #08: Hope

It's a million weights per minute,
each heavier than the last
and creased with new wrinkles.
In the minute of their fall,
it would seem only appropriate
to question a life's work
and wonder if the recollections we tacked
to the peppered-brown corkboard
are worth more than the pile of ashes
they'll produce when they burn.
When we tumble dry at the end,
flailing dust mites,
some kind of beauty,
some kind of hope,
some kind of stamp
I might leave behind,
my only hope
is that static cling
proves more powerful than lost memories.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Coheed & Cambria, Time Consumer

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Doomed to repeat it

Bus post! Please forgive the absence of links until I get to a real computer.
Prompt #07: Wrong Hands

How slight a movement,
and then it all can just


Watch the shine,
but careful,
a misled path
is difficult
to self-correct.

If not now,
Patterns lie beautiful,
prostrate before us,
too easy to step over
and abandon.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Paul Simon, Late in the Evening

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Defiant bloom

I started in one direction, and then ended up going in a completely different one...sometimes there is just too much going on online.
Prompt #06: Flora

One quiet tremor.
Two, rising now.
A third, and,
Horns, hard-nosed and
ominous, trail in
to a slight curvature
of wood-grained blindness,
but in triumph
the result is seated,
most fragile,
upon living earth.
the arms curl up,
but just the edges,
bladed allure -
and fragrance,
a tiny,
almost petulant scent,
as if to say,
"I've endured your worst,
and here at last,
I will bring back
your best."

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Michael Giacchino, After the Drop

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Remember when...

Going the slightly humorous route for this one -
Prompt #05: Strange Little Drawing

Back when life was the same color
as the milk when you're done with a bowl of Lucky Charms:
Perhaps red.
Or was it green?

Back when we never questioned
why in the world cereal turned milk gray,
and the ants on the patio
formed tiny dotted lines
we wished we could follow,
and the pool float's refusal
to stay fully inflated
was the worst of our summer worries,

we could live.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Dutchess & The Duke, Mary

Monday, April 4, 2011

Thin line

Today's prompt: Prompt #04: Book + Picture. I chose William Stafford's The Rescued Year, and picked out "still," "heroic deed" and "thunderous."

When I was angry.
When the air in my room was uncomfortably still.
When not even the large memories
of more prosperous times
could calm the horrid bubbling.
Like polka dots of light
arranged in performance
of some heroic deed,

we waited - glass and Mylar,
like it could keep out
the thunderous growl of emptiness.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Nas, Life's A Bitch

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A wavering note

It's that time again: Day three!
Prompt #03: Voicing

In the first dramatic slant of sound,
we hear it all:

A flash of instability, tingling fear
and the sweat of anticipation,
sliding town the inside turn
to a tickling shudder.
If it is to be this way,
we can at least allow the subtle strings
to carry desires outward,
a dancing melody of sex drive
and lowered expectations -
because, really,
who's looking for all the right pieces?
In our voicing, a rising chorus,
it is made plain:
no longer shall we flutter eyelashes
at passing scenes of beauty.
Lock lips at home,
actions shucked of inhibition,
and let crystalline reflections
lend a slight incline to your step,
and keep the brine taste,
bred orange in the seaside homestead,
to remind you of your winning formula.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
John Lennon, Working Class Hero

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The wronged one

I just barely made it for day one yesterday, so this is me being proactive:
Prompt #02: Unwritten Desire

Behind my eyelids is where I keep
all those things I meant to say
in that days-brief moment
before my mind was made up,
whether or not my heart believed it.
Crossing thoughts are apt to crash,
leave debris strewn across shocked acreage,
but no disaster was more fitting
than a fit of second-guessing
spurred by some dull, sad dedication.

There's a classic saying for this
that no one really means when they recite,
a way of showing what's wrong with me
with as little detail as possible;
acknowledgment hurts more than the wounds.
All I know is a decision I regret,
a choice I'd like to crush and remake,
a speckled blue holdover of two years
that hung around just long enough
to see me burn alive one final time.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Incubus, Punch Drunk

Friday, April 1, 2011


It's day one of the Poem-A-Day Challenge:
Prompt #01: No Narrative

It's hard to imagine an emptier
vessel, something that once
contained so much of you,

all of you, stood up and
straightened out, thrones lifted
on your shoulders for everyday kings.

To what end is our labor?
A lonely buckle prescribes no
relief, but sucks dry what it can.

So let the pieces walk on their own -
intervention is no more than sick foreplay,
gleaming yellow tongues wagging in misuse.

Level with me: It was your intention
all along, wasn't it? To leave ghosts
in the fibers, and carry out my solid ground?

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
TV on the Radio, Staring at the Sun