Sunday, March 29, 2009

MY FIRST GREAT CONFESSION

Amy asks a good question. Where do writers come up with this kind of crap? Well, that's an excellent question. I believe my brain is responsible for producing most of it, although I do have an unruly left lung. :) Seriously, I'm wondering tonight where authors get their weirdest ideas. Do you just let it come to you in time? Or do you search for it until you're exhausted?
Both methods can work. But tonight I'm just letting my brain wander, so I guess this odd little scene about confession is coming to me more like water through a leaky roof. It's just there. And I happen to have a bucket to catch it.

p.s. Ignore the elipses. This blog format doesn't allow indentation.


MY FIRST GREAT CONFESSION

do you see the devil now?
.....yes father he’s set up on the altar
what is he doing?
.....he’s reading something father I’d say it’s a hymnal but no he’s holding it up for me it’s a picture book
where did he get a picture book?

.....he says he stole it from the cry room father
and how does he like it?

.....he says he’s had cabbage soup that’s gone down better father he says he once read a book about how to set a stone on fire sir and he liked it very much
when did he read that?
.....when he was small father
can he set a stone on fire now?
.....father not unless you pay him
what does he want?

.....he says he needs a virgin’s thigh bone father
why on earth does he need that?

.....he says he needs something to pick his teeth father
do you know what a virgin is boy?
.....the queen of england father
who told you that?
.....my mother did father she’s waiting outside and wants to know if you can bless me sir

do you think I ought to bless you?
.....I think you ought father
why is that?
.....because father the devil shakes his head no

Saturday, March 21, 2009

HISTORY OF MAN

This is a revision of a poem I started about a year ago, and has yet to actually work. But I'm reading some of Russell Edson's poetry right now so I thought I'd give it a go in a new format.


HISTORY OF MAN

a green speck in the sea sprouts two pink fins and unfurls a tail. the other specks make way, wishing they could wish to react. the changeling swims toward shore. the tail splits in two and a lump forms between the fins, the head, eyes like fried eggs and a crooked oyster mouth.

it steps from the water and proclaims itself a he. he raises his arms for emphasis but loses his balance; he falls hard. he is quick to pick himself up, smack the sand from his skin, glance side to side and sweat his first sweat.

a monkey wearing a dark suit has been waiting for him, holding a broom in one hand and a book in the other. the book is open at the middle.

and so it begins, the monkey says, holding up the book to show a picture of a man face down in the sand. the new man understands and starts cussing. he says he had a feeling he was bound to fuck up history.

the monkey snaps the book shut and slips it into his jacket pocket. yes, he says, we’ve known this for some time.

what should I do? the man asks.

the monkey says, support your local zoo.

but what is a zoo? the man’s large eyes are full of tears.

it is where we keep all the broken clocks, the monkey replies, but he has lost his patience and walks away from the man. he uses the broom to brush away his footprints.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

CASE OF THE HALF-POET

Happy Green Beer Day to you all! (Oh, yes, and isn't there a saint associated with today's festivities as well?) I woke up this morning with a couple lame-duck ideas waddling around in my head, and just as I was about to resign myself to Revision Duty, I got an idea. You tell me if it worked. Here's the product. (Now, onto those pesky revisions...)



CASE OF THE HALF-POET


unfortunately in my line of work
I come across a great many poets,
most of them narcissists
or photographers in their spare time
who might not stand out much
on their own but have a peculiar way
of glorifying the slums of depression
and the jailhouses of suicide
simply by tracing their footsteps
and letting the ink dry where it will.
they’re a dull lot but to befriend a poet
is to keep one’s best interests at heart.
they are the homing beacons of good wine
and treasure seekers until death;
they may be selfish but they are
beyond easy to follow.
you understand now why the case
of the half-poet was particularly attractive
to me from the beginning.
she walked into lucifer’s pub
like she’d been born there,
dotted with faux-pearl buttons
curls of smoke tangled in her hair
and before her first glass of bordeaux
was even half empty she placed
one bejeweled hand over her heart
and said that she quite enjoys
happiness stacked year upon year
and if she were forced to overhear
one more time the loneliness of childhood
she would give up her pens altogether.
I almost dropped my scotch
and demanded she produce some free verse
at once, which she did.
something about turquoise and the deutschmark.
from that point on I gave it to her straight.
lady, I said as lucifer brought me our check,
I am at your service.
tell me where to find this happiness
and you will never know ambiguity again.

Monday, March 9, 2009

BACK FROM FINLAND WITH A NEW POEM

Hey, have I ever thanked you all for reading my poems? Some of you I get to hear from in person and you give me your comments; I really appreciate knowing how a poem makes you react. Many thanks to those who post their comments here.

It's been a while since I've put any poems up, so I hope y'all are still curious. Tom and I just got back yesterday from our trip to Finland, and I decided this morning (after frantically cleaning, restocking, and organizing my house) that I would take some time to revise a poem I wrote while I was gone. Actually, it's the ONLY poem I wrote while I was gone. Ach, schade! I'll get back into a groove soon enough, I hope. Once the jetlag wears off. :)

There's actually a poem I wrote just before I left that I haven't posted...I'm still giving thought to how I feel about posting poems before submitting them to magazines for publication consideration. I mean, I know I'm not some super-hot, in-demand, pulitzer-hauling, cigarette-and-beret, knock-em-out-like-a-machine poet or anything, but it's a good point...how much can we share if we want to send out totally clean submissions? Hm. So far, I'm leaning more toward posting the majority of my work here anyway because it's all so rough and unrevised. By the time it gets sent anywhere it's had some reconstructive work that renders it...different? in some way? Anyway, this poem, it's called Death of a Stray Cat and I think it might be worth at least five cents because Mr. Marvin Bell (super-hot, in-demand poet) says I should "send it out and get a big, fat check for it." Anyone of you who would like to read it, please contact me and I'll send it along. As if you don't have busy lives to live already! Which brings me back to my original point...thank you all for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it.

Here's that poem I wrote. Hope you're all well!


THE MOTH

we’re ice fishing on the pyhajarvi
where there’s just enough room for a campfire
on the little island in the center of the lake.
heikki and I are talking about americans
and he’s complaining that they all say hello the same way.
my finnish isn’t spot on
but I disagree with him wholeheartedly.
only women have one way of saying hello.
heikki says he’s too cold to argue
but I can feel my toes again now the fire’s going.
he starts opening and closing his hands
until we both notice a silver moth
burrowing up out of the snow between us.
it’s a struggle that puts the size of snowflakes
in perspective
but the moth makes it out of the tunnel he’s dug
and shakes his wings a bit,
leaves a circle of grey dust on the ice
before lifting off and bobbing around our heads.
ah shit, heikki says, he thinks it’s spring!
it’s our fire warming the ground, I add.
sure enough the moth drops
and starts bouncing around the flames
just inches away from the heart of it.
the heat pushes him away at first.
fire’s a kind killer, I think out loud.
heikki just frowns and watches the moth.
it’s near two minutes before the flames
stop pushing and lick him up wings first.