Tuesday, January 09, 2007

saturday night regulars

it's Saturday night again at the library

I am coughing up words; he is baking a symphony
(at least that's what it smells like)

A dim murmur is buried beneath the florescent dashes
As the library hums with one million sentences
written in someone else's tongue
Along with 2,000 half-sung ditties
and 2 or 3 original but unintelligible thoughts

I am pounding words now
trying to wring meaning
from a typewriter stuck on the s key

It flits past in a shiny aquamarine school --
brilliant fishy creatures, taunting me to bite them.
They are poison.
Others, dull, care only to escape the hook,
to keep life in a salty drawer.
These are above all my prey

On the same floor, a man's hands flutter and tap,
his eyes never leaving notes on a page
He paces, claps, whispers la la la
I am coughing up words again
and he is baking up a symphony

We disturb
then propel
finally fertilize
the pursuits of one / the dreams of the other

Friday, December 01, 2006

Monday, August 21, 2006

the city shuts its graffitied eyelids with a shudder, and sleeps the fitful sleep of one who is watched
this near the sun, there are no blinds thick enough, no curtains dark enough, to block the morning light

but for now, the streetlights that do work
illuminate men wearing bags, carrying bags, untieing and hoisting multitudes of plastic bags
their cats sit ladylike awaiting a turn at the heap

shadows under bridges hint of human forms
sidewalks trampled during the day are off limits
country people lurking in the dark
in a city they where they cannot sleep

I can't sleep either
you won't do what I want you to do
and I won't want what you want me to

Andean city, city 8,000 feet closer to the stars
facades only a mother could love
where the ironwork is delicate like her idolized hands
spared by the hands of a thousand wanderers
settling briefly to clean your sleepy homes
homes made by other women, homes not their own

Saturday, August 19, 2006

how did your grandparents engage the world? was it art, poetry, wood? was it fishing in waters long since dried up? did they rock silently back and forth or tilt full blown, loud, brash? were they fixers, of men, of faucets? did they sweep stoops or just sit on them to watch sunsets peeking past crumbling midrise apartments? were they volunteers or conscripts? did they cook ambitious and disatrous meals with multiple courses, then leaves the dishes for the morning, or did they keep a maid to make them thick sandwiches on crusty bread? how did they address one another, do you know?

or is it lost, dust under the bed you once jumped on
dust in the basements where you were sent to play,
dust on the piano keys,
dust on your grandfather's hand when he reached for a hammer, said here
this is how you hold it
use its weight
do not test your strength on the wood
but use the nail to write your intention deep
dust gathered slow and unwilling
from the dirt waiting to be tossed
too late, too late
into the grave earth

Thursday, August 17, 2006

National Envy

Rose thorns grown shallow in clumped dirt
bleeding hands full of pluck
greedy hands taking ten times what ours carry

at the national university
guerrilla graffiti adorns white slabs that only shelter
and Che gloats over us all

(when introduced, I say, I’m an imperialist yanqui – and where are you from?
oh, they say, disappointed, you’re not French.)

it’s dusk again
windows thrust open to greet the night blooms
sensual caballo blossoms open to pique the coming gloom
and national envy seeps in

Thursday, August 03, 2006

No one is speaking my language
I’m talking talking talking to myself
No one is speaking my language
I listen but no words come out

No one is speaking my language
My language of stars and pink skies and blue nights
There’s a knock and I answer but wordless we just stare
The door closes, a point, a shard of colored glass
Because no one is speaking my language
And no one can

I could sit at this window forever
In my foreign interior land
In this country not so different from my own
My feelings just the same
My language just the same
Only different music pulses
Only different sizes to try on
The sounds are different but with the same no meaning days

No one here speaks my language
is better than
No one understands me
even though
we speak the same language

Here I can feel melancholy and blame it on the sky
Here I am the same
It’s only outside that’s constant change

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


the intention like an apple held to tempt, before there were eyes like these
an idea blocking the passage of the world
endless ecstasy endless agony endless is our hope endless the spin

the apple grows with each caramel refined, and we call progress
by its righteous name
greed for movement, aquiring need

the apple sits, waits, lies
it is endlessly round, and red
stares back with our own gleam - why we gave it the world's weight too
the glinted sinking stone
our of joy, and our fear
that which we pretend not to taste

apple, the good doctor, the medicine before time, and after
Our time

Can the endless end, the soulless fill with soul, the breathless breathe?
can a new question come, unannounced, to await our knowing's growing?

Applesauce, cider, the thing or the marmelade
a fountain of nonsense leading back inside
up the tree and down the mountain to a lake
which neither you, nor I, can or will escape