Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Power Poetry, unPedantic 

Two women, cup washers at Starbucks
discuss the patriarchy and the progress of
equal rights; they talk about Washington D.C. 
and Hollywood.  

“Cup washers? Is that what he said?”
“Who’s writing this poem? Leave him alone!”
“But there’s no cup washing at Starbucks.”
“What did I tell you?”

Blanche has blue hair
this week
Mabel has red hair 
forever; out of a bottle,
the color called: Frivolous Fawn

But this conversation is not
frivolous. The OPEN/CLOSED sign 
on the front door is twisted
CLOSED facing out, but will twist 
around in 15 minutes. So, quickly
they get to the point.

“I’ll say this for Hollywood,” Blanche revs up
“more social change is coming from there than 
that lame damn Washington!”

“I agree,” Mabel purrs her engine alongside Blanche, 
“I couldn’t believe they had that Ellen
woman in charge of the Oscars last night. A woman,
and a gay one, too!”

“Yeah!” Blanche’s voice takes off from a high branch, 
“and how many more centuries before that might happen 
in Washington?” 

“Those Washington fuckers!” yells Mabel, 
her voice bouncing across the room and off the OPEN 
side of the sign; the manager of Starbucks 
looks at Mabel, then at his watch.

“Hey, that’s a little rough, easy Mabel,” calms Blanche. 

“Well look: why are we even talking about all this 
with only 13 minutes until we open?” asks Mabel.

“Because this poet, out there in his car with his laptop 
waiting for us to open, wants a poem about it, 
but anecdotal style, not direct and obvious, 
and certainly not unpoetically rough like you just were.”

“So we’re his anecdote, are we?” 

“Yes, and we have to give this back to him now, 
for his casual, lifelike, non-pedantic delicacy.”

“Oh for Christ’s sake, and there - another man - ok! 
Are they in charge of everything?”

“Shhh, Mabel ... let him work.” 

The two women leave off with their cup washing, they 
become reflective and interior, each inside their own thoughts, 
and a coffee-colored light casts a pallor over the coffee parlor, 
and ... 

“Ok Mabel, never mind, let’s take it back ... now, 
what were you saying about those Washington fuckers?”

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Change is more exciting 
than cheap thrills 

Writing that down, he turned off the porno

the Facebook, the phone and 
the President of the United States.

It became still in the house,

like an art gallery at midnight.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Politics & Religion Drones On and On

I am 9 years old picking okra with my Grandmother 

she shows me how
I hear dumdumdum there’s something thin in the sky 
sounds like DUMDUMDUM 

oh! it’s night there’s fire and smoke 
my Grandmother screams stops she is in pieces 
all over the field her head 
still smiling up at me 
by my foot.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Ma eternity 

Everyone was standing there. 
The doctor, some nurses, a mother -
and her son, in bed. 

It was almost time to go; the papers had been signed. 

The son looked all around the artless room 
and toward the window 
trying to take it all, or something in.   

The nurse he had liked the most, the charge nurse, 

about the age of his mother but her hair dyed 
the color of halloween candy corn, 
touched his hand, and asked: 

“How do you feel?” Her eyes touched his, like always. 

“I feel like I’m about to miss something,” he said. 
“You always have, why not now?” said his mother, laughing.

Then he watched the ceiling begin to shrivel. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Three Years Sober One Night 

Chester watched seven movies in a row 

trying to get sleepy, but nothing. No sleep.

He walks into the kitchen, candles all around 
trying to coax cozy, but nothing.

He puts on the teapot for a cup of Sleepytime Tea full 
of nothing but chamomile, or almost nothing. 

Now it’s 3:30 a.m. The teapot starts blowing! 

Turning on no lights at all, 
Chester aims a flashlight 
under a red tea cup 
shining the beam up as he pours the hot water down in 
steam flowering up yellow all around in the light 
rising like smoke from an Indian campfire 
in the seventies of a century or two ago. 

This stops Chester. 

“Man, what an effect!” he says, hearing campfire drums 

and wind blowing in the trees, a stream trickling through 
in the dark. 

This is one of those things that makes life worthwhile!”  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Liberal and the Tramp 

The foggy air here looks like a grey wool blanket 
left in a refrigerator all night.
Through that air the darker grey profile of a tramp 

holding a blanket like it was air. 

Car to the red light, tramp to the car, window hums down. 

“Spare change?”
“No, but going forward, I suggest Southern California Homeless Resource and Outreach Consortium Macrame & Bead ... I wouldn’t feel comfortable simply handing you cash.” 

Pregnant pause between the tramp and the car window. 

“Well, going backwards, to my sleeping bag and my low hanging tree limb - because I haven’t got a computer - goodbye!” 

Car through the green light, tramp to the bag, appropriate wins again. 

Somebody knobs on the car radio show to: 
“Winter Wines and Summer Sauces, 101.” 
And somebody else lays out his ripped-off 12 Rolos 

like chess pieces, 
to cover the next 12 hours, until dark.