Thursday, April 27, 2017

how often we say

we’ve had ten thousand
conversations, you and I,
and still you refuse to change.

are these whispers or prayers?
how often we say flesh.
how often we say spirit.

the arguments keep piling up,
the excuses forming walls.
accusations are flung from the towers.

we need more watchmen on the walls.
hand them trumpets and torches,
let them hail strangers and guard the gates.

we have invited guests carelessly.
i have no idea whose side they’re on.
something sniffs around your door.

i tell you the room is haunted.
you tell me you speak with ghosts.
i no longer recognize these voices.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

soap opera

let me tell you about the gods.
with their petty jealousies.
their sense of entitlement.
their utter disdain.

or not. so easily swayed,
and frail despite their power.
all that scheming –
the soap opera of divinity.

*

1.
so you slayed the lion,
its skin now a shield.
then they kept you
outside the gates.

2.
you entered a cave
with sword and torch.
you gathered the blood,
saved it for a rainy day.

3.
you kept moving;
you ran for a year.
how long will a man run
to find forgiveness?

4.
you were assigned a task,
so you met with a friend
to plan and drink wine.
then killed your friend. maybe.

5.
you found yourself deep in shit.
you asked for a tithe,
your efforts and time.
the courts were kind.

6.
be careful when planning to kill something.
determine to whom it is sacred.
try standing your ground and scaring it away first.
make as much noise as you can.

7.
you wrestled it to the ground,
rendered it unconscious.
so much wasted meat.
and still rejected.

8.
your unnatural appetites.
every breath like flame.
you fill your belly,
your kisses bridled.

9.
you thought it was all going so well.
you fought hard and long for every attention.
she was ready to give you her belt.
i think that’s a metaphor.

10.
how much you labour!
and that labour so often fruitless.
or tedious. you defeat your enemies.
you use so many poisoned arrows.

11.
you have grown tired of apples.
they are arbitrary symbols.
too easily shaped to other uses.
yet you still yearn for the garden.

12.
you knew you required more preparation;
you were not ready. death visits us all:
hierophants, initiates, contemplatives.
you hold it or it holds you.

*

you sought guidance
from the gods
and received a jest.

when I told you that
every labour is a gift,
you hid your face.

over and over,
it was never enough.
until it was. until you
confronted them with death.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

until its burden has been exhausted

until its burden has been exhausted.
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until its burden has been exhausted.
until its burden has been exhausted.
until its burden has been exhausted.
until its burden has been exhausted.

Monday, April 24, 2017

it matters where

it matters where you put words
on the page. it matters when

you put words on the page.
how much breathing

room a word needs.
how much space.

it matters where you put words.
how you speak them. it matters

how they make a home
in the skin. on the tongue.

with murmur and whisper,
entreaty and shouting and song.

some words are seeds,
others are hammers.

some are dry as sand, or
wet as kisses.

all these things matter.
this is how you make a mark.

this is how you write
a poem. or begin one.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

what that means

perhaps it’s time
to reinvent myself.
like putting on new siding.
to make it look better.
i don’t know what that means.
i just want to feel better.
i don’t know what that means.

i don’t know what that means –
i just want to feel better.
i don’t know what that means:
to make it look better.
like putting on new siding
to reinvent myself.
perhaps it’s time.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

cartography

the parchment is always larger
than you’d expect.

not like vellum.

i write the world
and its edges.

like an icon.
except that it always changes.

it is good to remember that.

the root of carta means to scrape.
every day i rewrite the world.

i create shorelines
and make things up as i go.

i recite the names.

i establish boundaries
address the matter of scale.

wonder at what point
distance becomes exile.

every mark i make
is only to bring me home.

Friday, April 21, 2017

sometimes

sometimes people
use language
to hide language.

sometimes words
don’t tell the story.

sometimes you
can only tell a lie.

sometimes your wounds
are only your wounds.

sometimes you should
get tired of your excuses.

sometimes it takes
all of my strength.

sometimes all
i can do is hold
my hands open.

sometimes that
is the only way
to know the truth.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

that time when theory

that time when theory was more interesting than poetry

an expectant hush settles over the room / the poets are about to read

 
/ the frisson of recognition / rejection as recognition / poetry and restraint theory / poetry as territory / stop explaining the poem / immersed in language / guided by engagement / breeding fragments / poetics meets critical writing / transgressive resurrections / the material word / intersectional entreaties / the failure of intent / how we choose what survives / what is different and still ordinary / people fit together in ways we would never expect / rejection of the subjective mode / the subject of experience / traversing the landscape of meaning / "i have feelings too" / let me take my place in the choir / discover new trajectories / the question of community / the vagaries of taste / sometimes it takes me hundreds of hours /

beauty still exists

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

spaces

this is a poem about

                                absence.

this is how the space between lines

                                                      creates space.

space makes the poem

                                   longer, and

(hopefully)

                  deeper.

i miss you.
do you miss me?

    i miss you.

this is how you learn absence

                                             by missing.

this is how you learn abstinence

                                                 with longing

the breath

                  measured,

sometimes caught

                            in the throat,

stretched out

                     on the page.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

silence

there’s so much of it

(God’s silence
your silence
my silence
what you say
what you don’t
what i say
what i don’t
what we say
what we don’t)


or so little

*
 

after he says i love you
after the applause has ended, and you’re sitting alone in your room
after the confession of indiscretions
after your heroes are gone
after the towers came down
after words spoken in anger
after too many drinks
after the war
after she says i love you
after a job well done
after many tearful entreaties
after the recognition that you’re wrong
after regret takes hold of you and you wonder if there’s a way to go back
after the sharing of a secret
after you realize that your friendship is over

after the lights go down
after it’s not you, it’s me
after the birth of your first child
after the discovery of a betrayal
after the news that your oma passed away at 102
after the gift of a confession
after you didn’t see that coming
after the bad news
after the good news

Monday, April 17, 2017

bright monday, 2017

so now what?

we gather together
in the midst of confusion

and whispers of joy

all those rumours
in the midst of confusion

we find comfort in the gathering of voices

there will always be questions
in the midst of confusion

do we whisper         fear or hope?

when he appears
there are fewer questions

and an explosion of joy

in the midst of confusion
the whispering gathering

joy