May 28, 2010

zombie girl tries sitting at the back of the bus







For some reason, that day, she decided to play
Truth or Dare. She dared.

She leaned over to kiss the blondish boy
and she did encounter

soft, like she thought she would but there wasn’t
any movement as she expected.

She opened her eyes onto her first real penis.
The other kids had had

to prop the boy against the back of the seat
so the zombie girl would be properly

aimed at his crotch. Did she think of crying?
Of throwing up?

What she did was crawl under the seat, swerving
to her right to reach the aisle

before she stood up and walked, without looking back,
to her normal seat at the front of the bus.


jessie carty (Portsmouth, VA, 1975)

May 27, 2010

distrust







I distrust foundations, think tanks, non-profits, NGOs, the church
-- in all the wild and colorful forms it has adopted in this scornful nation of faith//
I distrust the Federal Government, its multiple agencies like tentacles, the police state we live in and the Library of Congress//
I distrust the media, televised singing contests, public transportation and the notion of a collective us, happily marketed as one nation under God, indivisible, the unfulfilled promise of liberty and justice for all//
I distrust the Internet as a means of better understanding and better communication, corporate slogans, retirement homes, hedge funds and Wall Street//
I distrust pop music, big-hair heavy metal and alt-country, Monday Night Football, discount coupons and free popsicles//
I distrust digital photography, fashion magazines, smartphones, iPhones, iPods and iPads//
I distrust my neighbors, their born-again christianity, their new car and beautiful kids, their financial struggle and capability to project themselves into a future of neverending debt but still happy they'll manage to send their offspring to college, just like their parents, and their grandparents who actually didn't go to college and were in so many ways blissed by ignorance//
I distrust the easy way out, no future nihilism, I distrust those who, upon questioning, can only say they sold out to the man//
I distrust the paranoid conspiracy theories abounding, about how it's all said and done, the notion of this world as theatre, people as puppets, and some string-pulling entity above all//
I distrust the convenience of convenience stores, hot water bottles and people who dress up in super hero costumes for comic conventions//
I distrust the power of the mind, the hope for a better tomorrow and, as I type,
I distrust to nausea my very own verses


dan kraut (Cincinnati, OH, 1981)

May 25, 2010

a greasy summer morning







Getting off when it was too late
Was the easiest part
An emergency exit never before opened
The boiling cauldron of misery

Hear an echoeing siren
Incendiary vowels coming
Out through your nostrils
Golden weasels, electric blue heat

Contact paper for wet endings
The beards in glue and please:
Fleet must return home
I must return home

The pavement was lava
The sweating needles through my temples
The dripping distilled alcohol
The rain grease drops over my head

There is no glory after a roudy night
A path stolen from the golden arches
Tell me what is true in you -- for reals
Tell me what is and maybe we can work something out


bernard wilson (Chicago, IL, 1976)

May 18, 2010

our bed







our bed is a contradiction
you say it’s loud like cotton balls
if that’s not enough under a muffling comforter
the dip brings us together, how I like it
you see a hole that chases dreams away
I don’t feel the dip, just you in my arms
my soft pillow of breathing warmth
keeping me alive, snug while I slumber


victor kondratas (New York, NY, 1981)

May 17, 2010

a passing storm







1000 suns bend upon the sparkle of your eye, and swallow whole the river
of life bursting from singing sails. Windswept tears sway before the storm
starts its moaning, while the gleaming tides take flight in search of refuge
from our decadent carnage. The skies begin to boil in their acid-splitting
cries, melting through each and every person that I've been, till the wells
that feed my veins gargle in gasping rage. But now rising, floating, sailing on
the breath of dreams through violet seas of exploding stars; lost in
archipelagos long since swallowed by the deep; reaching across rainbows into
the eyes of children begging them to tell of their secrets.
Crying Life! Singing Light! Dancing to the rhythmic Destruction!
And it's here I shall sail, till our dreams have stopped breathing, till
the tides have fallen and the sails have torn, till once again the storm
has passed.


alex gale (Durham, NH, 1988)

May 16, 2010

American Poetry 101: Emily Dickinson







"I started Early -- Took my Dog --
And visited the Sea --
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me --"

Poem 520, excerpt


"I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us--don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know"

Poem 260, excerpt


Emily Dickinson (Amherst, MA, 1830-1886)



* * *

"The one power Dickinson trusted was the power of language, which she loved (...) By her own account she experienced an acute physical reaction to words, a euphoric shock. I know exactly what she meant, because her poetry has that effect. Ambush is its strategy. It knocks the breath out of you and leaves you giddy, like a nanosecond-long roller coaster ride."

Holland Cotter, excerpt from ‘My Hero, the Outlaw of Amherst’, published in the Arts Section, The New York Times, May 16, 2010


* * *


"Had I a mighty gun
I think I'd shoot the human race
And then to glory run!"

Poem 118, excerpt


Emily Dickinson (Amherst, MA, 1830-1886)



Further reading:

Emily Dickinson (Poets.org)

Emily Dickinson (Poetry Foundation)

Project Gutenberg: Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson. The Complete Poems (Bartleby.com)

Times Topics: Emily Dickinson (The New York Times)

Emily Dickinson (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Second Debut of Emily Dickinson (Virginia Quarterly Review)

Emily Dickinson Museum

Dickinson Electronic Archives

Emily Dickinson: The Poetry of Flowers (The New York Botanical Garden)

May 12, 2010

a few broken verses on the thin
moral grounds you stand on







Hitchin’ a ride with a demon inside
Pulling the lever and letting it all out
Have you ever been comfortable, baby
You said we’d reap the benefits together

No prophets and no promised land
Let alone fat research grants
I'll vomit if I hear the words
Endowment for the Arts

You said awful things about me
So we could reap together the profits
Parking lots and minimum wage
That's what I call moral turpitude


amanda santorini (Portland, ME, 1981)

May 11, 2010

love of commodore 64







Before Blogger
There was Blagger
Boulder Dash
Arkanoid
Entombed
Aztec Challenge

Giana and Maria
better known as
The Great Giana Sisters
Flip & Flop
Oil's Well
Super Pipeline

A whole universe
My entire childhood
In less than 64 kilobytes


thom peabody (Los Angeles, CA, 1976)

May 10, 2010

hepatic maelström







You say you're driving thru the Santa Fe mountains
While the nauseating memories of a deep throat accent
Invade your visual field and ears
Westbound traffic follow ramp, yield,
Last exit before bridge ahead

It's been too many years burning miles neglected
And I've followed you from a distance
Moving around for the sake of forgiveness
Apologies that quite never made the cut

Last exit before bridge, roadworks,
Detours, U-turns in the middle of the night
Suspicious calls and empty smiles
Last exit lost and I'd be better off
Just jumping off the bridge
A road not taken

I hear you hauling a bed, bad memories
And a worth seeing record collection
Out in the fields there's bad reception
You're driving thru deep forests,
Across the big damp nation
An escape to the nearest coast
Thru hostile reminders

Neon light binge
Eyes wide open staring at the road
The black scarred road leading you
Further and farther
Across rivers and bridges
Your true last exit to complete redemption

On the phone, of course, there's bad reception
Hepatic Maelström from the abuse at Arby's
Greasy chocolate from the creepy gas station
Vodka bottles loosing traction in the back seat
It seems we're driving our exact opposite ways

Across rivers and bridges
Thru mountains and salt beds
A growing black bile tide indeed
My very own inner Maelström
While you swiftly cruise thru the mountains
And skip for good that last exit
before the bridge ahead


andrew miller (Virginia Beach, VA, 1974)

May 4, 2010

Rae Armantrout, 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry







Rae Armantrout (Vallejo, CA, 1947), author of ten books of poetry and a professor of writing at the University of California, San Diego, won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Versed, published by Wesleyan University Press.

The Pulitzer citation calls the book, which dwells on war and cancer themes, "striking for its wit and linguistic inventiveness, offering poems that are often little thought-bombs detonating in the mind long after the first reading."

Influenced by the likes of William Carlos Williams and Emily Dickinson, Armantrout is one of the founding members of the West Coast group of Language poets.

Finalists in the poetry category also included Tryst, by Angie Estes (Oberlin College Press) and Inseminating the Elephant, by Lucia Perillo (Copper Canyon Press).

* * *

"People who want to write should read. If they want to write poetry, they should find a poet who speaks to them, and they should read everything by that poet. And then they should find another one who speaks to them and they should read everything by that poet. I don't think people do that enough these days, somehow."

rae armantrout as quoted in a transcript from the Art Beat blog at PBS.org


Further reading:

Conversation: Pulitzer Prize Winner in Poetry, Rae Armantrout (PBS)

The 2010 Pulitzer Prize Winners. Poetry (Pulitzer.org)

Where Every Eye's a Guard. Rae Armantrout's poetry of suspicion, by Stephen Burt (Boston Review)

‘Versed’ by Rae Armantrout: California Poet, National Recognition (Paper Cuts, NY Times)

Versed, by Rae Armantrout, Wesleyan University Press, 2009 (UPNE.com)

Rae Armantrout at the Poetry Foundation, Poets.org, Electronic Poetry Center at SUNY Buffalo, UCSD Literature Department, The New Yorker

Audio

Rae Armantrout at PennSound

Video

Video from the 2009 National Book Awards Finalist Reading

Rae Armantrout reading from her Pulitzer Prize winning book Versed (92ndStreetY channel at YouTube)