Read by Elliott batTzedek @ the Women Write Resistance reading at Split This Rock 2014
Insomnia you bitch always with Regret
and Remorse those hot slutty twins
on speed dial. O how, Insomnia, you make
a porno of when sleep and wake meet, make
the glistening joy of their kiss obscene and
cheap See Sleep and Awake Fucking your
$1.99 download one of millions of tit-
les brilliant in their starched efficiency.
Insomnia, the canned moan of your too-
ready bliss when you press your want
against me roll me onto my belly
to wake and write this ode to you.
(with thanks to Gerald Stern for the first two lines. And also the word “dam.” And the endless stream of song lyrics. And letting the sleeping dog lie. Hell – thanks to Gerald Stern for all it, and all of poetry)
Now obsess on the wet kiss,
now obsess on the red knife,
slicing the cucumber cool-cool-cumber
Now obsess on your sliced bliss
now obsess on your green life
and laugh ha-ha though the day be raw
Now obsess on ancient trysts
now obsess on supposed strife
cry me a river and I’ll dam it to hell
Now obsess on not obsessing
now obsess on letting sleeping dogs
lie and rise and fly to their home, faraway home
Out of the cradle, endlessly rocking
comes the sea the sea
the mystery the deep the wild the universe’s
child O sea O source O return
the sea that has given and the sea that will take away
From waters above and waters below a split
a spit of earth then lungs then legs
Out of the sea, endlessly changing
all water, ever, just a rearranging of rain
and river and broad ocean wide
all water, ever, eternal bride with carbon
groom make single cell then ZOOM
giganotosaurus, virus then ZOOM great whales
Out of the atoms, endlessly combining
Out of the seeds, endlessly trying
to reach more sun than other seeds
make more food to store then die to
rise again, O insistent cycles in the face of which
there is no death no final just round again and round
energy to matter, matter to energy, grow and eat,
secrete and rot, out of rot another bloom
Out of the dying, always more dying
and always living in between O
insistent genes O eternal
crap shoot O malformalities that breed
evolutionary wonders O the trillions of billions
of heart beats heart beats heart beats that have beat
upon this spit of earth, in its skies and in its Mother
Sea O oceans O seas O birthing beds of all that is
O endlessly rock, O endlessly cradle the hearts
that beat the sap that rises the seeds that burst
the stone that stays the air that blows the water
that was our first cradle that is home to everything
that can ever be known
Cheering for Consent
from a great late night conversation with my coworker Grace Gordon, who is working on a presentation for a conference on Radical Consent. After that conversation, I dreamed of writing cheers for consent…
She didn’t say yes?
Then it’s rape!
Too afraid to say no?
Then it’s rape!
Too drunk to say yes?
Then it’s rape!
it’s the only true way to be SEXY!
At a party high and drunk
now she says Rape – who’d a thunk?
Well, you claim, she didn’t say no.
But if she couldn’t say yes off to jail you go!
3/30 April ’14
April 3, 2014 at 9:31am
(a collaborative poem by me and google)
young people working together
young people reject dairy products
young people interested in electronics
young people today is better than young people before
young people children and the elderly in urban poverty in Ghana
young people’s guide to the orchestra
young people’s heroes
young people having fun on the beach
young people reject urban poverty products
young people guide the heroes on the beach
young people today working in elderly
young people is better together
young people’s elderly heroes
young people’s children having dairy
young people’s orchestra guide to electronics
let’s write it on human skin
Her scars I don’t
love I worship
my gods my maps my cruel
universe draws me in close
enough to stab slow so slow
epicenter of the gods of my own
Not pink-fade on knee from
first bike hitting tree not
dime-dimple of TB not
hairless strip from oven rack burn
not missing bit of finger pad taken by edge
of glass in broken pane
Gravity well black hole dark
matter what’s the matter? god
particle time portal Big
This year I’m joining the Big Poetry Giveaway organized by Kelli Russell Agodon over at Book of Kells Poetry Giveaway 2014. What a marvelous idea she had five years ago to spread the poetry love around! I’m giving away 3 books. To enter to win, post a comment saying which book/books you’d love to receive, and at the end of National Poetry Month I’ll choose a winner for each book by some manner of random drawing.
My 3 books, beloved for different reasons, are:
A Wreath for Emmett Till, an astounding cycle of poems by Marilyn Nelson. In a royal crown of sonnets, she reflects on the life and death of Emmett Till, the difficulty of finding language for this kind of grief, and the on going nature of violence and remembrance. Because this was released as a Young Adult book, waaaaaaayyy too many poets I love don’t know the work.
Legs Tipped with Small Claws, a 2012 chapbook from Joan Larkin in which insects and jazz and brittle sharp writing combine to be a huge delight in a small book. Joan gave me an autographed copy, so I’m passing on one I bought.
Another amazing little book that few folks seem to know, a 1954 book Langston Hughes wrote for children about the nature of rhythm in the world. I've found it so invaluable that I buy used copies whenever I come across them. To you, Dear Poetry Lover, I'm willing to pass along one of these!
Again, to enter, post a comment saying which book/books you'd like to be in the running for. Easy!
2/30 April ’14
April 2, 2014 at 7:45pm
let’s build a monster trap.
you get the shovel, and I’ll
find the thinnest story you ever used
to get me to take you back,
and I will lay it over the skylight.
let’s leave a map nailed to the tree.
let’s write it on human skin.
let’s put a big juicy X next to the spot
you once told me I’d look better
without a mustache.
when we find it, squirming
within our reach, its tentacles and fur
and hands with too many fingers reaching up
through the vapor,
it’s my problem, now.
My life as theoretical math or:
on the un-inevitability of linear time
There is a kind of grown-up
I will never be. I know I’m not
alone in this but still – my god,
I’m 51 and
what the fuck? I still
avoid bills I have the money
to pay I neither answer my
phone nor check my voice
mail – I don’t want to know who
needs what I haven’t
attention to give. Holy hell,
self-centered and self-righteous
barely mellowed as I aged and I
can make a mess and walk away,
near to believing it was not me.
Maybe age does not accumulate for
my subspecies maybe time can not-be
linear maybe 51 means I am 1
and 5 and 15 all at the same time, next
year 2 and 5 and 25, every ten years I
am zero every 11 years at least by god I am