Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Five Sentences

Underline the word you would most like to take on a date and stiff the bill with (prime rib, champagne, roller skate rentals, auto damage). A hero needs a degree of expertise to kill the three-headed platypus in Australia. I could develop that photograph, but what would your mother think? The air raids continued until we no could longer hear our consonants and vowels, those curvy and prickly things in our voices that summoned the police and revealed deaths in whispers (although the bodies don't mind if we shout). Sixteen skulls lined up from this point to that point really makes one think about mortality, fate, and what person would ever do something so odd just to make a point, when the evidence is all around us, our co-worker coughing from his future pneumonia, our politicians bragging about "targeting" enemies, our families waving at us from their misty shores.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

We Are Very Small

Compared to the elephant we're very tiny, like two-inch green aliens exiting a space ship and meeting barbarian giants. The elephant doesn't understand its power; it carries our packs and jars; mice freeze it up; its trunk grabs peanuts when it should twist off heads. We shouldn't tell it, because the president keeps this secret underneath his oval desk, along with a button he's been aching to push. The greeting card industry would have to stop making fun of pachyderms, putting words in their mouths about the old forgetting things. The world would be remade -- stronger elevators, stiffer walkways, different houses, other tools. A new god with tusks and a trumpet for stampedes of angels. A graveyard where it's forbidden to seek ivory among the bones. If that flying saucer does land, we should keep our size advantage in mind. When they whip out their laser guns all we'll have to do is kick them like soda cans we smash down gutters. Should have persuaded the elephant to your cause, we'll think. They'll wash away down the storm drain. The lights of their vessel will stop flashing.

Favorite Movies

Tagged by Sandra, here are my favorite movies (as of this date). These are all films I'd have to watch if somehow I ran across it on a TV station. It's weird that Sandra and I both have The Last Unicorn as one of our favorite movies -- I put it as a reference in one of my poems. I still get weepy at several scenes of the movie, such as when the hero pushes back the bull to save the last unicorn. Maltilda I must watch if I see it on a station -- there's a scene where she's using her powers to move around dishes and stuff that always gets to me. I always laugh at Rat Race and Sixteen Candles has a lot of sentimental value (being an 80s kids). Stranger than Fiction is a new one for me -- I just love the concept and the execution. Very moving. Donnie Darko, of course, is genius, as is Revenge of the Nerds :) Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure Blue Velvet The Last Unicorn/The Hobbit Rat Race Matilda Breaking the Waves American Splendor Donnie Darko Sixteen Candles Indiana Jones Revenge of the Nerds Stranger than Fiction

Monday, February 12, 2007


It's what's wanted before death, but after the birth has finished with its meal, sat down to rest and look at what the stork's cooked up in hell's kitchen. Girls named after it deny they can say anything but love as they take off emerald clothes, smoke French cigarettes. A city enforces it absence, vomits up its remains, a full skeleton with feathers, unable to fly out of the beast's belly. Students read about it in history class, unable to fully believe it'll happen for them: the first time a train doesn't run on time, the second they don't agree with what the TV says, the third infantry division of life they march in, heading toward rising seas, disappearing lands.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

This Sums It Up

Work by Donald Illich At work tepid coffee, stale danish, stolen breath hardly worth it.

School Days

Here's a poem that I wrote as an undergraduate in Wayne Dodd's class at Ohio University in 1992. He liked it somewhat, and I've tried to get it published many times without success. So, here it is, an early example of my first real poetry. School Days Remember that school smell of bus exhaust and sour milk, new notebooks and fresh paper, clothes spiced with summer perfume, fall leaves dying and dogs on long chains barking, maybe laughing? Remember that school smell of new chalk on silver trays, old textbooks given out, football odors in dirty locker rooms, fresh cut grass not killed, not yet?

Something That Fails

An antique Model T found in a barn. Locusts with broken wings, sprayed by pesticide. An apology to your assault victim, who still has a brick embedded in his head. A face cream that's supposed to make you young and beautiful. Damaged baby doll knocked around in mailed crate. Nuclear fission experiments by angelic toddlers. A rope you bought cheap from the last suicide. Three beans you threw out your window expecting stalks to erupt toward giants. Flu vs. your shot. A man attempting to whistle his lover out the door. Bird calls in a museum. Gerrymandering a state into 16 edible pieces. Wind tunnels at the fashion show. Germs vs. soap. Skin vs. lips and tongues. Denial vs. acceptance and hope. Promises on a birthday card. A mother's reassurance, as you lay in bed, just like a grave.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Are you serious? we asked after we finished a series of questions about his health. He said his heart never felt better, but we could see it was a Valentine poked by a bleeding arrow. He said his lungs breathed properly, but we could hear the wheezing from across the State. He said his feet never disobeyed him, but we had tracked his sleepwalking steps into strangers' homes. He said his nose smelled everything he wanted, but we sprayed pepper in his face and he didn't sneeze. He said his eyes looked at the world, but we knew he'd been blind to the truth from birth. He said his brain his never failed him, but we could see the word "empty" glowing between his ears. He told us he was serious, that his body operated like a machine, one without spare parts, one without illusions, one that understood this would be the last time it lived.

Monday, February 05, 2007


I shave my windows. They've been growing a beard, obscuring my vision of the hairy gardens. No one has told them that their panes are patchy, that their frames are overgrown. A bottle of Windex wouldn't work, so I took out my electric razor, which hummed contentedly in my hands, said, "Don't worry, be happy." When I could see the fuzz trees blooming, dropping their hairball fruit, that's when I knew I'd killed Abraham Lincoln glass forever. I could hide jump out to the lawn with my murder weapon in my hand, search for more heirs to cut, more presidential locks to chop off. My house promised it would never tell; its crew cut shingles and straight, neat lines told me all I needed to know about what a home is, how it stands for you even when you've tried to make some of it go away.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


People are free here. You can pick them up at the store without having an angry cashier scan their bar codes. You can toss them in your cart with the caviar and antique silverware and no one cares. You can even trade them with your friends, like baseball cards which contain within their bodies stats of loving averages, hate percentages. I'm not saying you should pick one up, just that you should think about collecting a few. The price of human life is bound to rise someday.