Tuesday, May 17, 2011

a greeting for the visitor:

Below is a small collection of poems I've been working on for the last few months, some for a bit more than that. All have been taken from my senior thesis, which I am (blessedly) in the final stages of completing.

To this point I've not published any of my poetry online, so this blog is an attempt to provide online access to some of what I've been working on.

Frankly, with the ease of using this whole get-up, I'm considering continuing to use this as a forum for some of my poems. After paying absurdly high postage rates to send out manilla envelopes full of drafts, the idea of a free digital forum is growing on me pretty quickly. Consequently, I'll plan on posting more poems within the next week or so, with more to come after the madness of finals, thesis, and graduation wanes.

In closing, thank you for taking a moment to check out my poems! I'm honored by your time and attention. Please feel free to leave comments, ask questions, offer advice. None of these are sacred, so if you've got any proposals for revision, please offer them with impunity. Additionally, if you write and want an extra set of eyes for whatever you're working on, send it my way.

Be well,



43 Year Old Man Considers Re-creating a Missed Camp Experience

Looking under couch cushions;
picking through the junk drawer;
fishing deep into the
bottom of a duffel bag
to find change for
a cab ride to the
Morrison Bridge on a
cold November morning; knowing
that at some point

austere will give way to
dreary and that, coupled
with your friend’s diagnosis
and fourteen months of creative stasis
will cement the realization
you never jumped from
high up into water
as a young boy and
today could be
your opportunity.


Mid September, Months Removed
for Brenden

And I remember summer evenings
we had both returned from work.
My uniform, jeans and hard hat.
Your flour-covered apron.
We’d shake the rust off muscles
and sit in plastic chairs. Our drinks left wet rings
on the folding table. Gin and tonic.
Whiskey ginger. Those evenings

mosquitoes flocked to warm skin –
necks, forearms, calves. We repelled them
with directed plumes of smoke
from hand-rolled cigarettes.
Chicken breasts defrosted in a bowl.
Water began boiling on the stove.
Dinner was waiting, but we

talked about bicycle maintenance,
the versatility of romaine, your engagement
to Mallery as the water boiled down
to almost nothing. In the kitchen
we’d dance a waltz of cheese grater, cutting board,
seasoning and spatulas.

We’d eat. Chicken Caesar, chopped
tomatoes from the farmer’s market,
bread you’d brought from the bakery.

Sitting across from your wry half smile.
Looking over your shoulder
at Lucy wrestling a stick into submission.
Forgetting you will one day move your life
to a studio overlooking a school in Portland
and I will still be in this kitchen, uncertain
of whether to lead or follow,
wondering how to use romaine.



Years later I’m cleaning the garage
and Spanish Songs is playing.

The waltz has risen in the bridge
and we are dancing at Katie’s

wedding; the elegance of your dress
and the shift of the first halting steps

giving way to the ease of established pattern.
Or, we are baking Christmas cookies,

push-step-step stepping across
the tile in your dough-flecked apron.

Sometimes we need to drop
the all-purpose cleaner and dirty rag

to hear the rhythms of familiar steps
waltzing across the garage floor

as we raise arms and clasp
hands with the tangible imagined.


Building Rome

This morning I woke early, put coffee on, lit a cigarette.
The smoke made me want to pour whiskey
in my coffee, and the whiskey reminded me of
Raymond Carver, who thought, some mornings,
about Empire.
So I thought about Rome,
that great decadent monolith
blessed by capricious gods and watered with blood,
Romulus and Remus under the Mediterranean sun,
sweat like olive oil
on their shoulders and forearms.
One on Palatine, another on Aventine,
as they built walls using single bricks.
I remembered Rome wasn’t built in a day,
which made me think about July workouts
in my old high school gym – they were brutal –
Somewhere between toil and self-abuse.
There was a sixteen year old kid with me.
He was Remus. Or I was Remus.
I’m not sure. One shot, two shots, three shots –
sprints. I would look at him, tell him
We’re building Rome. What?
And we would shoot some more.


Real Estate
                to Jamie

My Bible stories are hazy and I don't
remember the generals of Gettysburg,
but I can recite Collins' Aristotle by
memory and she doesn’t need to remind
me of her mother’s birthday.

Facts slide around like butter
on a hot plate, effortlessly moving
to the periphery of memory
to accommodate the request for a tall,
nonfat, double soy, vanilla latte
or the reminder that her mother turns
fifty-seven on March 23rd.

There is only so much acreage
inside our heads.
Eventually Collins will glide to a corner,
making room for two or three sets of nine
digit numbers and we won't do anything
special on the 23rd of March.

Then, all I will remember of right now
is reading in her apartment, the dryer
tumbling my socks and shorts while
she works on lesson plans in the kitchen.
That, and the giant oak
in the corner of my grandparent's lawn,
rising over the block
like a sylvan Hiroshima.


Carrot Musings

                “But who knows what else is going on deep in the soul of a carrot?”
                                Michael Pollan

Not much, really, if I may speak for my ilk.
Tuesday, focused on growing. And Monday.
The day before that I considered my friends
and their relationships with you  humans.

My neighbors, the potatoes, are doing well.
Their family in England has been writing
constantly for them to come visit. Apparently,
it’s a very good time to be a potato over there.

The tomatoes have it best, though we don’t see
them around right now. Yesterday our landlord
pined for the tomato while talking
to her mother – called it vivacious.

Us carrots have heard pleasant and hearty,
but never that. Vigorous, once,
which was nice. I suppose it’s just that
vivacity isn’t in our nature –
though we try earnestly. This, I think,
is really the best one can do.



A girl once asked me
if I wanted to bone
a gloriously unsexy
overture. I considered
momentarily, then
offered a benign
no thanks, a response practiced
through interaction
with men selling
knockoff sunglasses
on the street corner.

She was certainly pretty,
but using bone to
describe it –
all that skin;
the soft expanse of
mouth and the hardness
of teeth; hands and
hair everywhere – was
not the verb I wanted
to remember it by.  And,
grinning drunkenly,
I knew I would have.


There is a hierarchy to things

says the cute girl
to her beautiful friend.
The five-nine boy looks at
his six-five friend
on the first day of practice.

A groom, his best man.
A bride, her maid of honor.

Ali showed Foreman.
Each night an actor
will play Lear while lesser men
do a turn as his daughter’s husbands.

Victorian gentlemen displayed their calves.
Southern matriarchs wear hats to church,
fanning themselves while mhmm-ing
the poverty of the wicked.

Only certain drawings are
stuck to the door with magnets.

When I have children,
I will buy a massive refrigerator
with the world’s largest door
and every crayon or watercolor
masterpiece will be on it.


Simple Extravagances

Black coffee in a yellow mug.
Hot oatmeal in a bowl.
Brown sugar and green apple slices.
I believe in the gospel of unambitious moments.

The feet-sucking-in-mud sounds my spoon
makes as it moves through oatmeal. The warm
hum of the dryer performing its job upstairs
and the muffled thud of feet hitting the floorboards.

A sudden gush of water
flows through pipe arteries ensconced
by insulation and drywall, which,
sorry to say, displays the scuffs and dings
of bicycles pushed hurriedly out
from the garage and living room to the street
on which they will carry their riders to class,
a friend’s house, soccer practice, jobs at the
golf course, hospital, elementary school.

I believe in a slug of water from a mason jar
before I head out the door.

test #1

cool. cool cool cool.