September 30, 2008

oh well

Plastered by the yellow gaze
She looked annoyed, disgrace
How is it when you falter?
I don't know, she said
Good Lord, and the singing
was all around, prayers for our dead ones
It was time to go and she called it quits,
Knew well they were both in it together
No more
Now you long and love is torn
Nothing you can do to fix this mess we are in
Dear, I beg your pardon?
There's nothing you can do to fix it
Forgive me if I'm not
As damn perfect as you are
The air stood still and I could feel
A heart bit, the one for the zero
Is it me leaving or you going?
Well, it doesn't fell at all bad.
Are you leaving?
The head aches.
Nobody remembers what happened.
There is no justice.
I parked my car outside, walked for some minutes three minutes.
I wish my head exploded now.
I wish I could sleep three hours.
Oh well.
It goes without saying
And it goes off; you dwell
In panic, sterilised
I'm not here for the prize
I'm only taking a break

nicole davis (Seattle, WA, 1990)

September 29, 2008

steal and conceal

lit the long cigarette again, your pillow is
an overused ashtray; split
my mind in two, the easy tremble
of a wish unfulfilled

the heart is a lonely hunter with nra membership

rumble hits the floor,
the lightweight champion,
shouting from a crowd, the roads not taken
because of the roadworks not the indecision
(robert frost is in my freezer)
time to wonder

spend and cut the flesh
spill the syrup
smell the blood and sell
your organs on ebay
bid for bits of me
bid for bites of life
bid for time lost
which is lost for good

why don't you go recherche yourself?

you feel hungry
and you are so scared
repeat with me
you are hungry
and scared: how bizarre

catch me on tape, the glitter, shining motorcycles
and your platinum credit cards
paying for unused dreams
celebrities in jeopardy
the monopoly of glamour
the kid outside the window

no hollywood dreams, no airplane food,
no gas stalkers, no clonazepam honeymoon,
no taxicabs, no anger, no vibrating dildos,
no kettle, no time, no more time, no guantanamo bay,
no downpayment, no anaphora

repeat with me
you are hungry
and scared
how bizarre

alvin ehrlich (Austin, TX, 1980)

September 26, 2008

eye candy

Look again for you just missed a zillion
Bursts of fishered eyes,
A million miles and counting
Broken, blinking, unsurpassed

Livid jets of neon paint, eye candy
Leaning over lackluster weather
In this early Fall eager to make us
Trip like her with no elegance

Because elegance was lost
But the war was won
And that's what ultimately
Matters, you see?

You need more gas for
Blind aesthetics so you don't blink
And curb your ethics
Over the odds of loosing

And I'm sure you'll get an entry
On Wikipedia while you last
Your wishes are commands
Not heard by anyone, or maybe we do

Pretending we don't care
Truth is nobody cares anymore
'Cause someone must be paying our bills,
The never ending mortgage of this world

Still we have the jets
Criss-crossing the sky above
But not that much
For the fuel surcharge

Celebrate again we should
With profit lust and while the APLs blast,
Some gay porn would make me happy
Since the real intercourse is lame

Do they know imma ne'er-do-well?
Have they smelled my armpits expel
The fragrance, stinking flowers they repel
Until they choke and die

Giant screens for that matter won't make
You nor them healthier and live longer
Asking over Twitter once again the same old question:
Will it blend?

uriel zeminsky (New York, NY, 1983)

a real advance in american poetry

"No matter what final verdict is passed on them, these poets represent a real advance in the dull world of contemporary American poetry. The mere fact that they are interesting to read puts them almost in a class by themselves, and their commitment to modernism gives them a relation to the other important art of the century that is not very widely shared in a poetry scene that since 1945 has become more and more provincial each year."

stephen koch on The New York School of Poets, an excerpt from The New York School of Poets: The Serious at Play, an article published in The New York Times, February 11, 1968

Further reading:

A Brief Guide to the New York School (

The Artists & Poets of the New York School (

Rebels (The National Portrait Gallery)

Stephen Koch interviewed by Derek Alger (Pif Magazine)

September 25, 2008

harsh words from letdown parents

going back home was a long delayed matter
because I had nothing to bring back,
as in no news, no stories to tell,
no girlfriend and no money

and then it had been long enough,
the truth was known
and so that was the news:
the news is there are no news

no stories to tell,
and I haven't seen Amy
in a very long time now,
no money whatsoever

years ago, out of who knows what stupid
angry unclear reasons
I set this riot loose inside
and my grips I can tell no more

this moody and grim person I become,
a loner, barely going out
I sit in front of the tv
no questions asked

so going for the long delayed task
I was exposing what was left
of my alcohol drenched guts
and my stench was all over the road

when they opened the door and looked at me with pity
but then it was just sheer shame
my mother cried

you wasted your education
you wasted your life
is this how you show gratitude
to this family?

no mom, I don't have a girlfriend
and I wouldn't have asked you to wire cash, dad,
if I had a real job; it's just me here, at home,

there was no welcome dinner
but I stayed for the night
mom sat with me at the table
for breakfast the next day

the cold autumn breeze smelled like pancakes
and I had shaved and felt I had never left
mom gave me a kiss and poured some coffee
the kitchen door was open

maybe I hadn't woke up yet
there was something glowing outside
I sat and felt at peace
toast was burning

and still, there she was standing with lost eyes
early that sunday morning
isn't it sad, she said, have you read the paper?
and I was delighted to look at her into the eyes again

there is no welcome dinner for the son defeated
but mom will always
give you breakfast
and a kiss, I thought

I ruled out staying
not out of pride
because I lost all of it years ago
out of who knows what stupid angry reasons

it didn't work out the way I wanted
it just didn't
so spare the harsh words
you could tell right from the start

I was not the brilliant child you always wanted
I'm still trying to come to terms with myself
and you always knew
I was not the kind of child you wanted

ron kenan (Colchester, VT, 1972)

young american poets, the facebook group

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Young American Poets

September 24, 2008

cereals in the morning

an empty bowl, medium size,
the golden tokens crackling, taking over,
tsunami soy milk (she's vegan)
now the job's done

can you do this every single day
for the rest of your life
out of something that is not

we're out of orange juice
i complain
well you didn't want to do groceries
she replies

and we sit down
start our little daily routine
and when i look into her eyes
she just makes me feel so happy

tom s. legrand (Portland, OR, 1976)

September 23, 2008

vixen under california sun

sing the summer above, the frail encounter
of roasted beef and a blonde cheerleader
over inflatable raft floating adrift
this is california

sing to me being the impromptu DP
fighting my boner to do the task
clearing the mind
if is at all possible

i take my shirt off while the stand-ins
awkwardly pose and raft overturns
it's so hot you wish them well
the blonde cheerleader is now naked

so here comes the stud
someone inside has kept him
still, his manhood, and oily his skin,
sound, lights, ok, we are rolling

sing, love the weather, love
the shine of her skin and love work
above all, drawing on the lust of millions
over the net, hidden in sordid peepholes

you could say it's all a setup
and bring your barthes inspired analysis
the sontag infused anger, the gonzo eye,
you could say so many things but this, too, is america

the poetry in motion of repeated penetration
despite whatever is fake in this frame, and the vixen
with the off-screen shyness taking it all and
then she's steaming not from the high california sun

sing the summer above and sing
'cause you are alive and the pool
reflecting the sky, the tripods, the script girl
and there is water, enough to wrap you; water

john b. reynolds (San Diego, CA, 1976)

September 22, 2008

real freedom

"The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing."

david foster wallace (Ithaca, NY, 1962-Claremont, CA, 2008), excerpt from a transcription found at of the 2005 Kenyon College Commencement Address, Gambier, OH, May 21, 2005

Further reading:

David Foster Wallace, Influential Writer, Dies at 46 (The New York Times)

The Salon Interview: David Foster Wallace (Salon)

David Foster Wallace at The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, Rolling Stone, Playboy

Note: An adapted version of the same commencement speech was printed in the Books section of The Wall Street Journal

September 19, 2008

poem #34

fast talk, cigars, a scotch,
three laundry lists, a broken egg,
a pint of red beer

next east-bound train is my train
rolling thrill, swollen anger
over rails, the steel,

come over, sit and rain,
pray again, sit,
come on over, hang on,
should i begin?

scarce is scared and it could be all over
templates, forms and backorders
white pain over pure thought
the pus

we heard the knocking
and there was no accident waiting
no frills, no perks and maybe your mistakes
are all accounted to me now, but how?

it could really be over when you heard those words,
when you saw their backs
and had the spirits, drank some more while getting ready,
fast, steady, the curves curving downwards
making it all a spiral

don't be afraid and let them in

the monkeys have arrived

victor chapman (Chicago, IL, 1982)

be the poet of erectile dysfunction

"Trust me on this one. Americans don’t want to know how to die. They want to know how to lose weight. How to get rich. How to sustain that erection! Be the poet of erectile dysfunction, and you might just be the poet who can afford to pick up the check. You’ll start living so well that you won’t care how you die."

michael lewis (New Orleans, LA, 1960), an excerpt from the article How To Make a Killing from Poetry: A Six Point Plan of Attack, originally printed in Poetry, volume 186, number 4, july 2005

September 17, 2008

long gone

i had this great idea for the first verse
of this sure hit poem for the masses; i had this
great idea, last night
but then it was long gone

i am prone
to this forgetful behavior
irresponsible versification
one time too many, one time after another

poetry for the masses is
none of poetry's business
for there is a sure hit for every gazillion misses
the unwritten suffering of the poet

the nerve to keep defying the blank pages
to spill the ink, the blood, drooling saliva
over dreams drenched in sweat and alcohol
the fever of the verse uncanned, raw, urgent

so painful, every word so painful,
the poet dies a little bit
in every verse
his ideas are long gone

the writer is blocked
the poet is dead

i had this great idea for the last verse too,
of this sure hit poem for all classes; i had this
great idea, just a moment ago
but then it was long gone

jackson earl (Wichita, KS, 1971)

September 16, 2008


a friend of mine just got back from south america
he told me there you can get
a blowjob for two dollars
not from some malnourished aborigine
but from a cute, educated, young girl

i can’t remember now which country it was
but anyway, i say we take over them
and have them brush our shafts
while singing the star-spangled banner

o! say can you see
that all these is for free
but then somebody
has to pay for it
can you see?

rob giuliani (Boston, MA, 1976)

September 15, 2008

up for grabs

the future is up for grabas
said my friend erik neumann
erik is not a cardiologist
actually he dropped out of med-school
but he made an awful lof of money with the internet
and sometimes that gives him the right
whose future?
what's up?
there's no such thing as a free lunch
what is the future?
what's up?
it don't make any sense talking about the future
the uncertainties of life
to people who think they shaped their own
the future is not up for grabs
because time, that you can never grab
time flows and spills
and the future, so elusive
has a stubborn tendency to turn into the past
flowing and spilling, elusive - we're never there

marisa everly (Memphis, TN, 1979)

September 14, 2008

you call these people your friends

late at night you wonder, watch tv, do dishes, and again ponder and measure accomplishments, not many of them you must admit, while you knew right from the start you had to compete alone; at the reunion party you find yourself lost, and again you wonder: who are these people, anyway? making an effort to stay sober, you find comfort before it's over in these two girls you met at a seedy pub once; they remember you, the girls, and they laugh about the sheer coincidence, they laugh, and yet you wonder: why did i come here in the first place; the beats pound your chest, another scoth with soda and now you digress, you find everyone so attractive and well dressed, your outfit so outdated it hurts, shame on you, shame and laughter, the silent laughter, the poor guy thought of these people that you call your friends but they are no more; the toilet is crowded but nobody's peeing actually, you wait, you walk, and try to dance, you are sweating and now you just may have caught a cold, sneezing, and you can smell the sickening odor of your sneeze, tiny drops, stale and frozen floating in the air, the beat, the smoke, a girl, and your arm accidentally scans her chest, up and down, and of course you get aroused, now the bottles are getting empty, now you wonder why did they invite you here, why did you accept the invitation in the first place; you wanted to be here and, for at least one night, belong, but belonging is never a one-night stand, and you ponder the ups and downs of everything, of that girl's chest, the ups and downs that make your crotch tickle. do you understand now that love is theft, that promises are burnt, and that people ultimately change; the games you played, the respect you deserve, the money you don't have, the façade you built for yourself, the eagerness, the need for recognition, the mishaps, the mistakes, all in all, time doing the eroding, you doing the enduring, aging in this cage called life, surrounded by strangers who look like mobsters; and you call these people your friends

mark drever (Philadelphia, PA, 1974)

September 13, 2008

death of a young american poet

David Foster Wallace was found dead in his California home on Friday. He was the author of The Broom of the System (1987), Girl With Curious Hair (1989), A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (1997) and Infinite Jest (1996). In his writing he captured the contradictions and absurdities of present day America, ultimately unveiling a nation obsessed with wealth and pleasure. "If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough. It's the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly", he said once. He was not preaching. He just noticed something may be not quite right in America. "Among people my age, even those who belong to a well-off class who has never suffered any type of discrimination, there's a feeling of discomfort, a profound disconnection and sadness", he said.

Going back to his literary legacy is the best tribute we can pay him. The infinite jest lives on.

Further reading:

Novelist David Foster Wallace found dead (AP)

Postmodern Writer Is Found Dead at Home (The New York Times)

The Howling Fantods

September 12, 2008

the strength of american poetry

"The strength of American poetry depends on the fact that hardly anybody notices it. To emerging poets, eager for an audience, this marginality may seem frustrating, but it is the source of their freedom."

james longenbach, excerpt from Writing in the Margins, a review published in the Sunday Book Review, The New York Times, July 22, 2007

Further reading:

James Longenbach at The New Yorker, Slate, The University of Chicago Press

September 11, 2008

jesus, the certified electrician

How many a Jesus do you need to change a lightbulb?
How many of them? How much do you pay for the job?
'Cause Jesus, you know, he's supposed to be one damn fine expert
In the illumination business, a certified electrician

So let me ask you again
How many a Jesus do you need to change a lightbulb?
How much do you pay?
Minimum wage?

He works long hours, this Jesus guy
He changes the lightbulb
But he doesn't quite like what he gets
The minimum wage, the long hours he spent

And in the end you realize
You need so many a Jesus you don't stop to count
This is no lunchtime joke, no wisecracking
Enlightenment, surplus value, lightbulb mass production

The cost-efficient methods of a well-oiled machine
Enlightenment, illumination, minimum wage?
How many a Jesus do you need to change a light bulb?
How many of them?

eduardo ruiz (Washington, DC, 1986)

September 10, 2008


stepping stones, the muddy waters
of a dirty pond; two leaping frogs
under a golden sky,

no, you don't remember
the treachery of that soggy incident,
you don't, you won't, you can't recall
how you forced inside
the bodily fluids, the excrements,
ravaging every cavity

a leaping frog nailed to the ground,
a cutting board; the flesh,

screams are silenced
since you don't recall
the awful treachery
forcing the pain inside,
the soul, hollowed; the scream,

belinda murphy (Richmond, VA, 1979)

September 9, 2008

only this

darkness rode a blue flame into my heart
and i burst on to the horizon of imagination
no more sorrow, no more joy
only this

i came to you once in a dream
to ride that brilliant stallion to death
but we came upon tomorrow... and now there is
only this

bring me your red illusions
while vengeance breaks my peace
i work in shadows, sweating blood... yet there is
only this

i draw upon the board
and see a manifestation of light
but it is only a lonely ribbon of hope
only this

d.c. massey (Albuquerque, NM, 1972)

September 8, 2008

the runner-up

You gave your best and it was not good enough
Yet you tried again, and tried hard

Facing rejection with no rejoice
You stand up once more

Atlas had it no easier
Like him you carry a World

A World that is all yours
And you hear the laughter from the top

You fail and you fall,
Blind with no cane, frail,

Pluck the schmuck, slam dunk him into the trashcan,
Yes; thrashed, slashed, crushed, slowly becoming

Detritus, debris; no word games but
Rubbish, Bullshit and stinking Manure; crap

The second Buzz Aldrin of this one and only Life,
Always in second place; the nominee, the runner-up

That's me

peter hsu (Los Angeles, CA, 1971)

September 5, 2008

Glück receives Wallace Stevens Award

Louise Glück (New York, NY, 1943) has been selected as the recipient of the 2008 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. Since its inception in 1994, the award is given annually to "recognize outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry". The prize bears the name of Wallace Stevens (Reading, PA, 1879-Hartford, CT, 1955), considered one of the major American poets of the 20th century.

Brigit Pegeen Kelly (Palo Alto, CA, 1951) was named recipient of the Academy Fellowship, given since 1946 in memory of James Ingram Merrill.

Further reading:

Former US poet laureate receives $100,000 prize (AP)

Poetry Award for Glück (The New York Times)

More on Louise Glück

Brigit Pegeen Kelly at Google Book Search

young poets are alive and well

Back in May, when we came up with the idea for this blog, we thought it would be just like so many other projects of ours, developing in a sequence that boils down to three basic stages: startup excitement-stagnation-abandonment. Truth be told, it all happened over a couple of sixpacks one cool spring night at Daniel's rooftop. That day we also flirted with relaunching our old high school fanzine (we omit the name here to avoid being ashamed of ourselves), putting together a Poetry for Pets business, renting a mechanical rodeo bull for a poetry tour (we would recite while riding the bull).

After three months online we find it hard to believe this project is still alive and well, growing more ambitious. As cheesy as it may sound, this was fueled by the positive response and encouraging feedback. And it wouldn't have been possible without the collaboration of all the young poets out there that have submitted their work, nor without the support of fellow poet-bloggers (you know who you are!).

So this rare post just wants to acknowledge everyone who has helped us make YAPs what it is today... and to anounce that, by popular demand, we will add a new sister site called Young British Poets. Still under construction while we finish up gathering texts, it will be edited by our friend Kevin Bacon (yes, just like the well-known actor). Kevin is a poet and musician based in London, and he will help us collect and review materials for this new site. He runs the underground poetry fanzine Thamesick and plays the accordion with the balkan-pop group Dead Slobodans.

Again, thank you all very much.


The Young American Poets team

September 3, 2008

the raw cabin

late that night and after
a good three days hike
we got to the cabin,
it was dark

you forgot your flashlight
i thought i hadn't brought mine
but i might
a fight ensues

you see footprints where i see paws
you see scratches where i see claws
you disguise your fears
i hide my awe

this lost cabin is the end of it all
lost in the forest
lost and raw
who has pulled the shortest straw?

right when you expect the slasher movie outcome
nothing happens, we are blank
and desperate
it's so cold outside

you hear accusations
and silly voices
get a grip
cut the nonsense

a cabin is the end
lost in the forest
painfully stark

terrence benz (Boulder, CO, 1990)

September 2, 2008

dad came home

dad came home
he never does during golf season
so i guess something must be wrong
but he smiles
looks happy as ever
his membership at Augusta
was cancelled without warning, he tells me
and he laughs dryly, asks me if I want
to join him for lunch; something must be
really wrong

mom is abroad
in Switzerland i think
she couldn't get a room at the same spa her girlfriends were staying
but she managed to book something a few miles away
just to be there, couldn't afford not to
she texted me before she left; that's the thing
with these overseas pamper parties
you need to play along
you have to be there

my credit card got rejected
when i ordered my klonopin
is everything okay, dad?
he smiled
looking happy as ever
and only now i can see all of his smiles
are in fact the cracks all over the façade
of this sumptuous life of ours

dad came home
and the whole world seems to be falling apart
but we play along
we have to

emily thompson (New York, NY, 1990)

poetry about food fights

"When I was a kid, I was not crazy about poetry. I had a teacher who, in retrospect, I realize didn't care for poetry herself. The syllabus said she had to recite a poem for her captives once a week, kind of the literary equivalent of liver. I wanted to hear poetry about kids like myself, about food fights in the cafeteria..."

jack prelutsky (Brooklyn, NY, 1940), as quoted in a transcript from the Poetry Series featured in PBS's NewsHour, originally aired May 11, 2007. The NewsHour Poetry Series is funded by the Poetry Foundation

Further reading:

Jack Prelutsky's website

Biography at

Author Spotlight at Random House

September 1, 2008

dog days

the air was stew: hot, thick, oily.
my spirit stymied; i was boiling
in my own juices.
i need a bathing suit
and a free pool pass

my old trunks rendered unsuitable,
to say the least,
my pride abashed
after the shortlived stint

so i peddle and paddle
up and down mount pleasant
to face the ultimate horror
of the thrift shop

all else looks pale in comparison,
heat advisory, asbestos warning,
terror alert: orange; this soul, dry;
i got the trunks

now i only need a free pass
but i am told i have to be somehow disabled
to get one;
this is not my winning streak

it don't help to be adrift
in the dog days of summer,
stranded, lost and dry;
i may be loosing it now

so i peddle and paddle again
and finally make it,
a crowded pool,
the ultimate relief, a splash

one skinny girl smiles, i smile;
my trunks don't fit very well, i'm exhausted happy.
there is hope, is there any?
a splash

daniel bennett (Washington, DC, 1979)

young poets wanted

write poetry?
short stories?

then yap!

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Young American Poets
New Poetry from America's New Poets