Some informalities

i cannt remembr the lst thng
i rote i am w/ out a jurnl
i hve only my brane whch
is aslep i cud thnk only of
thngs i wnt i wnt a type-
writr there r kullers i wnt
here r books in frnt of me i wnt

**

behind the couch gets messy due to __________.
the bird lands on a disastrous wing and …
(the rest is fill in the void)

**

in a dream i asked u if u were reddy
for me? and your were speechless
i do not know what happens much
afterward you are susceptible to
a neck bite?? i am cradling ur pony
tail i find a watermelon that is
wet and supple in early summer (duh)
i remember another dream where a
girl penetrated the flesh which
i may have seen on youtube
with her elegant finger & such

My great-grandmother lived into her late 90s

In my late great-grandmother’s building on Bathgate Avenue in the Bronx

about a block from my old Catholic elementary school
the stairs creaked like a rocker on the front porch
they had resonance as if empty crates walked upon.
A skunky amalgam of boiled cabbage and potatoes
still in their dusty, cratered skins always permeated
the air as I climbed to the third floor for a visit.
They were the smells of death and aging
but still I knew they were not emanating from my
great-grandmother’s since she was from Sicily (died in her late 90s)
and cooked accordingly. Besides, she did mostly baking:
Those cookies she’d make by the batch, we had named
them “rocks,” crafted with a thick chocolate glaze stiffened
to a shell, and the inside with nuts and dried fruits
and all the warmth and texture of the earth.
They had a shelf life of almost forever

Outdoor urbanite

eco-poetry oh is
that what it is called
earlier a twig did snap
beneath my sneaker

i followed 2 old ladies
to learn a new park loop
stretched to the periphery
out by montessouri street

for once i walked well past
the squeaky pedestrian bridge
and along the chalky drainage basin
near the drought-stricken ball field

it was so new to me
i took photos of the RV park
someone’s yard with a lot of junk
just over the concrete barrier wall

***

a pressed dandelion was found
inside the hardcover contemporary
American poetry anthology edited by
A. Poulin Jr. and Michael Waters

***

I studied Richard McGuire’s
sequential drawings —
a flamingo a sunrise
a wind-battered tree
bird cages and a butterfly
and bee on a runway;
an abandoned bike on a
route in the inner city
without a front tire.

A list of not necessarily related items

— let’s do something after we die
— stevia + devil’s claw (in my friend’s designer tea)
— neo-fancy (neo-funny?)
— sugar ever after
— corner anatomy (eager anatomy?)
— let’s go to the radiance convenience store
— the taxonomy of life
— what she liked about him wouldn’t come to any public good
Cliche comparisons
(pick the one that does not fit the sequence)
— soft as cotton
— hungry like a wolf
— dog tired
— pretty in pink
— tough as nails
— cute as a button
— dry as a bone

Flowers/empty aurora

The wind-plucked flowers fell from the buckeye trees one by one, parachuting onto the lawn, drifting like petals when they’re wished upon. Like mini-bells tinted in pink champagne, they lay showered along the front steps by the dozens as if tossed after the exchange of vows.

***

I do not hear voices in the distance. I do not smell earth or burning charcoal. It is summer the way it never was — empty aurora, the universe being anatomically off. And too bad about Orion.

Dead moth elegy

The moth has stopped flying.
The moth has landed
permanently by the fallen
soda can, smushed condom
box, mangled pizza crust.
Did it hit a bus?
O, to bear it dignity.
The moth has vivid stripes
like grill marks, front leg
gone, a lilting forewing
torn like paper, and guts.
The moth is resting
not like a car wreck
bushed in a junkyard
but more like spry
enuf to be fed to the world.

Birds, eggs & other journal notes

Mourning Doves:
  • Their brains register the task of parenting
  • Together they build a sloppy nest
  • The eggs are laid — typically two
  • After the eggs hatch, the father and mother alike feed their nestlings with milk
  • They eventually offer plant seeds from their beaks (mourning doves eat mostly seeds)
  • The hatchlings grow strong and go on to sing more distinctively than most other birds
  • Their calls evoke a few simple woodwind notes
  • Ancient woodwinds were used to mimic animal calls
  • The Northern Paiute word for wind instrument is te-mo’-yaga-ke-no
Misc:
  • Rock doves, like drunks, walk precariously close to moving car tires
  • Great-tailed grackles — house guests behaving badly
  • A Northern mockingbird — inexhaustible in his spry April song
  • Darwin acquired various types of pigeons, breeding them to help him build evidence for his theory of natural selection, which he would present in On the Origin of Species
  • He became uncharacteristically smitten with his pigeons, science writer Courtney Humphries stated in her book Superdove: How the Pigeon Took Manhattan … and the World

When it’s nightfall

When it’s nightfall, the old ladies with sunglasses will be gone and the birds will have simmered down. The air will grow sweeter with the trees, and out come the stars, poking through the sky — a block of cobalt fading into indigo then charcoal.

Darkness — loud music and headlights as far as passing cars go. Not knowing who was entering the park. Echoing voices, who was laughing in whatever group and about what. What was being smoked near the gazebo, in the children’s park and in the public lot.

And her: she pushed her seat back and turned her flashlight on, looked in her bag for her compact then pulled her sneakers off, switching to stilettos. Heading for the darkened clubhouse, she heard the bottom notes on a radio, the speakers shuddering.

Boom-boom, the music went. Then clapping of hands cutting through screeches of women. The thunderous voices of men — one of them yelling. Another car pulling in; a small pack of pigeons parting then sidling up by the tires, cooing for sustenance.

Rant of a queer witch

Why is there only a good witch and a bad witch in The Wizard of Oz?
Why not a not-so-good witch and a not-so bad witch?
Or a sometimes-fair and sometimes-not witch?
A maybe-so witch?
A you-never-know-what-she-has-up-her-sleeve witch?
A middle-of-the-road witch?
A little-bit-of-this and a little-bit-of-that witch?
A she’s-having-a-bad-day-so-you’d-better-watch-out witch?
This is why I call myself an intuitive witch:
I respond to my environment.
In nature there are no species that do not branch off
into sometimes innumerable breeds.
So what is it with these binaries?
Speaking of witch (W-I-T-C-H),
why wasn’t the wizard a drag queen?

2 great-tailed grackles

Illustration by Laszlo Layton.

Lately I’ve become quite the nature aficionado, specifically regarding the flora & fauna in my community. The other day I spotted 2 great-tailed grackles trading courtship calls from polar opposite ends of a Washoe pine. I thought it quite amusing since these are raucous birds with shrill cries, obscenely long beaks for their body size & all-around abrupt behavior. Yet here was this would-be couple acting like reticent teenagers at a high school prom, having eyes for each other from across the gym floor, wondering if they’d be able to share a dance before the final song.

Swedish Fish

Photo by Las Vegas poet/editor/literary critic Heather Lang.
I kicked my candy habit several years ago (except chocolate, of course), but I fell off the wagon yesterday due to a visually enticing candy buffet at an art/poetry event where I read some of my poetry and did live art. Some of the treats were vintage, like SweeTarts and those cute boxes of candy cigarettes. Who could resist such novelty? Not me: I flipped open a pack of Lucky Lights and indulged while chatting with a fellow poet and this woman from a local magazine.

In case you’ve never tasted them, the cigarettes are pure sugar (no duh) with a hint of winter mint. They have a blotch of red at the tip to make them appear lit. Ha. After a few of those, I dove into a plastic shot glass full of Swedish Fish, which used to be one of my biggest candy vices. I could no longer hold conversation at that point because I kept on popping them into my mouth. I mean, chewing them is no easy feat. The image of dogs comes to mind when they’re given Gummy Bears, Jujubes or sometimes peanut butter.

“Pardon me while I eat some Swedish Fish,” I wanted to say to the people I was with. And maybe even, “Look away if you wish.” You know, rhyming it, just to keep it in the spirit of the event.