Interrobang*

Hey mountain!?
       I see you looking all good up there,
       reaching for the sky,
       all trying to be infinite.

Hey mountain!?
       I like the way you flirt with the clouds
       like they owe you something
              (mmm yeah you a cock-tease, huh mountain).

Hey mountain!?
       You make me want to invent a .99 cent app
       that lets me lop off the top of your head
       to play etch-a-sketch with your vegetation.

You make me want to sing Wander Vogel songs, mountain.

Hey mountain!?
       You look like a serious speech
       I am afraid to interrupt.
       You look like a conversation
       I meant to have like eight years ago
              (you can be a pain in the ass, mountain).
       I see you all smug and splendorous–
       trying to make me feel small, mountain
              (mmm yeah you a pretentious mountain).

Hey mountain!?
       Don’t think I don’t see you curl up into yourself
       when no one’s watching.
              (you look like sleeping dinosaurs, yo.)

Hey mountain!?
       Your summit looks like a halo
       shaped like a Frisbee, and I am not catching
       what you’re not throwing down.

Hey mountain!?
       I like the way you stare down
       the measly limits of gravity—
       like some kind of punctuation
              (yeah you a poetry-junky, mountain).

Hey mountain!?
       I want to open an art gallery in your deepest, darkest forest,
       and I want to decorate its walls with smart-phones,
       their screens all set to pictures of the Himalayas
       and of Mt. Everest, and of other more impressive mountains!?

Hey mountain!?
       I love the way you let yourself go
              (mmm yeah you an eroding mountain).

You make me want to erode too, mountain.
You make me want to stand on your chest until you apologize, mountain.
              (Until I prove you wrong.)

*Interrobang: the form of punctuation that marries an exclamation point with a question mark, often used with some combination of mock-surprise and/or rhetorical misunderstanding

(This is not to be confused with what happens when you interrupt someone while they are having sex with you to ask them a question – ‘Why are you having sex with me?’ for instance. Although this usage is perhaps a more phonetically accurate definition of the term).

Someone Else’s Esophagus, I

        after the Slam Poet Jon Sands

(who taught me ‘how to skank’ aka how to write poems)

 

if my life were a poem it would be called This is Not About Me.

it would be a heroic couplet, unrhymed,

in someone else’s notepad.

 

each time my mind would sit still, your body would applaud.

there would not be a dark place in my

soul that is only brightened by someone else’s

Chula sauce;

 

pablo neruda would read my words;

when you fail to pay attention to

whatever you are trying to read or pay attention to,

me or pablo neruda would slip underneath your skin

and paint pictures of poets

in neutral colors

 

(grey and blue would be not be permitted)

 

fun would be an escalator transferring my throat both ways.

i would not need stitches

 

(if my life were a poem, i would have enough stitches already).

 

i would write a line that would make someone else stop reading.

 

someone else would have introduced me to great poets like jon sands,

patrick rossal and kevin devaney

a lot earlier on, before they were poets,

when they were just great, and could have

been someone else’s uncle or

nephew or dad;

 

they would not yet have learned how to skank

for my amusement, or for someone

else’s notepad.

 

the letter S that fills each page of my notepad from 2010

would not stand for the days that i was Silent,

for some Song i didn’t sing,

but for the Secrets that burned against the walls of my throat

and for the Skank who never found them.

 

if my life were a poem,

i would be a chula sauce in someone else’s

burrito; i would drown myself to spare

a stranger’s tongue.

 

my secrets would be a dance named after

everything i do in my kitchen:


a discolored refrigerator-

 

the graveyard of cows,

 

fear and loathing of the

     lost wedges

of cheese.

 

(it is altogether possible i would not own a kitchen

if my life were a poem).

 

and if i saw one more picknicker in Wonderland Park lugging

his tupper ware to a plot of grass that was not his,

i would not need to prove or diss or disprove anything.

 

my mind would shrivel up as i squint at the sun.

my body would become

a concentration camp if or when

you speak to me again.

 

the letter S in my journal would stand for

Someplace where there are no billboards,

where the smiles of strangers don’t

belong to strangers at all, they belong to you,

before you became someone else’s bill-board or

burrito or chula sauce, or just someone else’s.

 

the letter S in my notepad would stand for

Someone else’s esophagas, for the

stars in arkansas that look like

ink from a pen that refuses to dry,

for the smile of a stranger in texas or for

some part of the sky that is Some place always orange

and a bill-board that always asks me how long

until i believe in eternity again

and why don’t i trust myself anymore when

i go to a bar and neil young starts bending the guitar

like a car can bend around a telephone pole

and there isn’t a seat in the house

that doesn’t look like the rubber clown

suit who has swallowed his own blubbery

nose or tongue.

 

if my life were a poem,

the letter S in my journal would stop apologizing;

 

it would speak to spare someone else’s esophagus,

it would stand for all the syllables

in Tomorrow, it would stand for your silent applause,

 

it would stand for something,

it would start tomorrow.

 

it would be Some place not a poem,

Some place where to learn to skank does

not mean to learn to swallow.

god’s odor is pestilential

Aside

Fugue i.

Some nights I forget the kind of person I am, and I spend hours ransacking subway cars and metro stations looking for pieces of myself to put back together again.

Fugue ii

Logos = terror and a tendency toward narrative.

Fugue iii.

then I remember that I’m the kind of person who forgets the kind of person he is. the backward tragedy of unplanned encounters.

Fugue iv.

the priest’s name was Sogol.

he helped us climb backwards

over the mountain that could only be seen at sunset

and then, only at a certain angle.

Fugue #v.

this city sees books as a curse

and the city is right.

there are too many,

and if these notes someday evolve, become a collection,

it will be against my best wishes, for i never wished to pin butterflies against the wall

i only ever wished to imitate housecats addicted to their own affinities,

to set down the chronology of the heart.

the tragic beauty of unplanned encounters.

the charge that reaches the lowest urchins

who walk the streets among us.

mayakovsky’s anguished mares.

the irreducible laughter of unplanned encounters:

the only chronology that matters.

Fugue #VI.

can you remember the last time you laughed

to yourself while jogging,,

reading a book outloud?

the city is always one step ahead of us,

and here we are, we want it all,

running to catch up with it.

….

apocalyptic theory #

I visited the Sex Exhibition at Bergamont Station.

A giant robot greeted me in chicken feathers. It was maybe seven feet tall.

I knew straight away we would all be governed by creatures like this one sometime in the next fifty years.

Very likely less.

It nodded in my direction as I entered the gallery.

But didn’t say a word.

apocalyptic theory #

A bird visited my window tonight.

it chirped pleadingly in my direction.

Sorry, I don’t speak bird. I said.

But the bird left before I could finish. And I knew I would be never be anything but a child,

talking to myself in a great inexorable sandbox, loud and useless in the march of time and wind and chirping birds.

I never found out what the bird was trying to say or if it was even speaking to me in the first place.