Monday, May 11, 2015

Tuesday Tidbits 12 MAY 05




MUSIC LESSONS

My stuffed panda,
nicknamed Pythagoras,
sang to me until I was ten.
Then I heard the bike sprocket
of logic rip up
the pants leg of his song.
The logic of adolescence
is the long blue ache
for adulthood.
I blew adolescence
like bubbles from a trumpet's bell.
From my Middle School hallway,
music class beckoned.
Pythagoras sang music
as a sacred form of math,
neon numbers raised to the highest power.
All my school trumpet desired
was to be carried home
to our housing project
in a case with a velvet lining,
a conical mute.
Why do clouds get to play with
such vast velvet Blues in the background?
The mute desired to teach me
how to moan in public,
but I took up the trumpet
as a budding oral essayist.
Or to replace what Pythagoras sang.
My mouth became a bed
for the mute to dream in.
I did not dream of god
the way I dreamt that
minor chords wore hard hats
with tiny beaming lights.
I still recall the whole notes
of my eyeballs
filling with blinding light,
a bright blare
not unlike a horn,
whose body became
a balm for my adolescent fingers,
even when they couldn't
bear such brassiness.
And Miles above —
clouds were hoarse whispers
galloping from god's muted mouth.
I knew the needles of a pine
and the needles of a phonograph
could both sew song into spinning air
but didn't make the same scents.
There was scented oil
glistening the trumpet's valves.
Inside its coiled body,
a half note curling towards the open bell,
wet, rhythmic breath
buzzing into the late afternoon
with the lilt of eyeballs filling with light.
Why do we say "late afternoon"
like it showed up drunk and disheveled
hours after it was due?
Or worse, as if it recently died?
Logicians think death
has no logic, but
the logic of death
is the long blue ache for life.
My boy T claims
the truest thing about music is this:
a poem can be a useful essay,
but an essay is a useless ass poem.
I know breath collects inside a horn
the way dew collects on curling leaves.
But who collects the shavings
of quarter notes that curl
around a trumpeter's feet?
I wasn't old enough to shave,
not even seconds off the time
it took to sprint for the schoolbus.
I left my school trumpet
on the bus several times,
but it never held it against me.
Maybe I only took up
the trumpet so I could hold
Latricia Taylor against me
and collect her curling breath
in the bowl of my collar bone.
Miles above, clouds were hoarse whispers,
curling fog from god's frozen nostrils.
After I got my front tooth knocked out
I tried to play the trumpet,
but my band teacher claimed it
impossible as a one armed man
playing a violin.
I can still read the notes curling
across sheet music as easily as a grocery list,
but never learned to play by ear.
Like a man who can read French newspapers
but not comprehend the frank whispers
of the woman he desires.
Desire is a housing project
in a former French City
famous for its trumpet players.
I've truly never lived in that city,
but since my first tryst with the trumpet
the long blue logic is this;
we're all born and razed
in our red brick projects of Desire.

And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)

Friday, May 08, 2015

Friday Follies 8 MAY 15

One of the things I did during April was revisit some older poems that I wasn't happy with. There were a couple that I really thought improved and these are two of them. 

Ode To Full Lips
(for Miss Prissy)

Horizontal half-moons
silken as cinematic whispers,
last night heard my tongue
pray for that sacred space
between you.
We worship
your red's exquisite sheen
for how easily it exceeds
the Two of Heart's glossy finish.
You know it aint good sense
that makes us imagine
your fat bottom gleaming.
Months ago,
I dreamt you as sliced halves
of fruit beneath glass,
above teeth white
as an apple's bare flesh.
But now I'm shoplifting Chapstick,
brushing rich gloss
across a canvas
stretched like skinny jeans
after a midnight binge,
bewitched by what
surrounds your mouth's
satin machine.
You've been chapped
by cold, salt and sunlight.
But a single flick
from the scarlet felt
of a wandering tongue,
can supple all again.
And when are our
busses scheduled?
I want to ride
your double-decked
lushness deep into
the tunnel of your doubt,
then string bright sighs
along its dark ceiling.
You need no MAC,
Max Factor, or Clinique.
Peck. Peck. Peck.
Now that I've kissed
the blues for you,
come close
and hum
your cinnamon song. 

THE COLTRANE IN YOU
( for Terrance )

Wonders
if riffs you only dream
redeem what
you can't seem to play,
even if every note
could be token.
Fears even if
those notes were to reign,
some umbrellas might
remain unopened.
Supposes what
Faith means
is melody
forever moistening
a mouthpiece,
filling even the fifths
in the next bar.
What you pray
and couldn’t pray for
rooted in the same
earthy chord,
always entwining.
Say the embouchure
of Desire beckons
from a double bed
in a bitter suite
you seem to enter
on a hemp rope
of incense smoke
you barely remember,
in a lavish hotel
where you can never
check Inn.
Doesn't every
untangling tongue
wish to probe
the pouty mouth
of Imagination?
But what notes
the cursive smoke
now rites,
blew all ayes.
Say a naked triad
tempts the rhythm.
An organ swells.
The key motif is
all things in modulation,
let us therefore
praise the pious piano,
then change the lock,
to change the key.
What is this Acknowledgement
but a mere opening riff
curling like
the mysteries of
a quarter moon?
The audience phases,
fully dressed, observant
of the sabbath of Resolution
through half-full glasses.
A brass scepter,
your sax sanctifies
the fingered strings
of the upright bass
as unholy sticks cross,
but the cymbals
have the sound of cymbals
that are unseen.
Still the audience
witnesses and testifies.
You squeak,
and they find
in chorus-like fashion
along the back wall
a groove in unison,
E pluribus unum.
Filling all four chambers,
exposed brick walls
the color of kaolin,
the definition of diastole.
Smoke rises
in systolic Pursuance
of forms, spilled
spirits pooling
in mirrors.
A surprised door opens
and eyes widen.
Psalm, says the sax,
because the chairs
are full of ears
opened earnestly,
craving serenity.
Nimbus, nimbus
says the notation:
but can even
the nimblest fingers find
that cumulus chord?
Notes float
and conflate with
what was whispered
and almost wholly writ:
no redemption
but these digressions
on the downbeat
raining, raining . . .


And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

NaPoMo 30 for Thirty 2015


Well, it's that time of year again wherein your intrepid hero writes one poem for each day of National Poetry Month and hopes 2 or 3 of them are worth keeping. As in year's past they will mostly be haiku, Senryu and other short forms, although not necessarily. Also, as before I'll be updating this post throughout the month. You should feel free to leave your own haiku in the Comments. So here we go . . .


Bouncing off
every riot shield
Waxing gibbous moon

Riot police
an unbroken line of 
overhead geese

Nightfall
The solo sound of a
tear gas canister

Heat lightning-
The flash of her tongue
On my nipple

A single blossom
amongst shining leaves
Her bare shoulder

Her eyelashes
A rise and fall just
before the beach

Her new lipstick
His barely sipped glass
Of Cabernet

Spring Rain
Keeping both of us awake
wet spot

Half moon
The sudden sharpness
Of her nails

Bumble bee
Its unsettling buzz
tattoo gun

Her lashes
The only things
I shadow

Staff meeting
I now become Chairman
of the bored

Poker game
After we shake
The strength of his hand

Sudden downpour
Praying it still seals
Cheap Condom

Jazz
Even the silences
Are cool

New 
afro

day
In 
the 
life 
of

Dandelions

Old piano
One by one
My teeth desert me

Learning about the bamboo
from the bamboo
Baby panda

Spring sprinkle
The gutters fill with
Cherry blossoms 

Puff of smoke
The Four Twenty Express 
embarks

Material Sacrifice
My son teethes on
the black knight

Pacifier
I hum the theme from
Jeopardy

Rap video
The thick legs of
the TV stand

Sauerkraut 
The aftertaste of 
Sixth Grade German

Smoke above
the volcano on Fogo
Grandfather's glare

First of April
The wind rolls a butt
around the tray

Bathroom mirror
All this new gray
almost time to die

Starbucks
An old navy veteran
reads Melville 

Birthmark
Have you always had that
Question Mark

Elevator
I say seventeen
she eyes my feet

Poker game
A Russian guy tables
his AK

Busted Brackets
A Cardinal hops to
a higher branch

Blood moon
The red speck dotting
her eye

Blood Moon
The traffic light refuses
to change

Blood Moon
the rising sound
of a siren

Her hand
Learning when to hold it
when to fold it

Low tide
Footprints filling with
starshine
 
goose tracks
in a muddy field
Ancient cuneiform

This piece of mine
My Republican cousin 
loves homophones

Low tide
The beach too has a
receding hairline

IV
The nurse searches your arm
in vain

Purple
Crayons on the wall
bruises

Winter sun
Ducking to avoid the glare
Jaywalker 

Schizophrenic 
Beams of sunshine converse with
rain drops

Fireflies
lighting up her face
freckles

Serena fires
A two handed backhand
glance

Full moon 
Our infant son's eyes 
refuse to close 

Morning fog
last night's wine clouds 
the tongue

Welcome Mat
just inside the door
Her tongue

Learning
about the pine from
The Coach

Two queens 
alongside the board
Chess Widows

Contemplating
A Queen Sacrifice
call from the wife

Big Bluff
The bettor tells his girlfriend 
only one more hand

Pawn to King four
My opponent opens
his paper bag

Call to prayer
The stopped bus hisses
Kneels

My last line
written in blood
Paper cut

Low Tide
The ocean also gets
Morning Breath

Good buy
She said after reviewing
my purchase

Kanye West
Swaying a Boardwalk speaker
hot wind

Red horizon
Pigeon feathers flutter
from a hawk's beak

Drug dealer's name
Dripping down a brick wall
Fresh snow

Sunday afternoon
At the poker table
I lose my religion

Casino exit
My shadow keeps moving
further ahead

Evening sunset
A bridge rivet flooded
with rust

Swearing to God
The presiding judge
bangs his knee

Full moon
The silent O of 
the pistol's muzzle

Back alley
A rat laps rain
from an eggshell

Morning fog
A Prius creeps up
on little cat's feet

Calvary Baptist
All the shrubs and trees
in their Easter outfits

April sunrise
A single drop of blood
on a light blue tile

Swearing to God
The presiding judge
bangs his knee

Evening sunset
A bridge rivet surrounded
by rust

Full moon
The silent O of 
the pistol's muzzle

Summer heat
Pigeon feathers flutter
from a hawk's beak

Driftwood 
strewn about the beach
Sunbather's legs

Three little girls
Twirling in pink tutus
Cherry Blossoms

Up late
buzzsaws cutting into
the silence

Too many
Students who missed
the syllabus

The gardener
switches her radio
to Al Green

Not New York's finest
that gardenia in her hair
Strange Fruit on her lips

With a quick-blown kiss
she high heels her way into
the Etheridge night

April morning
A male Cardinal lands
on fleek

Up late
buzzsaws cutting away
the silence

Prison workshop
The killer tries to erase
his mistake

Lorton Prison
The length of a sentence
of its echo

The kick
in her curried shrimp
in her belly

Diner waitress
The arches in her eyebrows
in her feet

Memorial Day
The flag on her fingernails
on her mantelpiece 

Half moon
beneath her eye
Blue black

Sugar Sphinx
my mother loses her
Sweet tooth

April night
A man handling a snake
In the sky

April morning  
lilac petals land
undead

And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)



Friday, March 27, 2015

FRIDAY FOLLIES 27 MAR 15

I will definitely be doing a poem a day this year for National Poetry Month (NaPoMo) and will add an extra twist this year. Be sure to check out the April 2015 issue of POETRY magazine, there's a lot of strong work there from the forthcoming Breakbeat Poets anthology. Having said that, here's a poem or two . . .

Morning fog
The smell of coffee
lifting

Waddling in
V shaped tracks
flock of geese 

To and fro
in this Sandy wind-
Stop Sign

Lynchburg Virginia-
The body of a black boy
under a white sheet

Vernal Equinox-
Half the eggs spill
the carton

Vernal Equinox-
Her glass eye 
half full

Poker game
The winner stacks up
his lies

Casino
So many happy sounds
from the machines

In the bushes
The smell of beer
before and after

Hand on chin
The Portrait watches Zoe
puzzle



And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)




Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Follies 20 MAR 15

Black Byrd
swinging in the dead of night
Take those broken wings . . .

Mississippi rain
Half nod of a Byrd
hanging from a tree



EXCERPTS FROM "THIRTEEN WAYS OF HANGING A BLACK BYRD"

ONE

Among twenty rainy trees,   
The only hanging thing   
Was the body of the black Byrd.

THREE

The black Byrd swung in the winter wind.   
It was the Final Act of the pendulum. 

FOUR

The rope and the tree
Are one.   
The rope and the tree and the black Byrd   
Are one.

FIVE

I do not know which to infer,   
A body of shadows   
Or a body of light,   
The black Byrd hanging   
Or just before.

SIX

Raindrops fill the window   
With savage reflections.
The body of the black Byrd
Crosses it, to and fro.
The moon
outlines
An inexplicable cause.

THIRTEEN 

It was midnight all day.   
It was raining   
And it was going to reign.   
The black Byrd swung
In the locust-limbs.

And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tuesday Tidbits 17 MAR 15



My heart is battered. 
What kind of oil is best 
to fry it in?

Evening sun
Unrolling the Prayer Rug
A ghazal

Mouse in the bathtub
Suddenly
I can dance

Fourteenth of March
Today's Pi is not
fattening

Winter wind
Halfway across the lot
tears 

Snowy field-
One by one the crunch
of geese

There once was a Coxswain named Borringe, 
who openly inspected his sporange, when surprised by his Skipper,  
it got caught in his zipper, 
turning him six shades of orange.






Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Tuesday Tidbits 20 Feb 15



Equinox-
The saxophonist's head
half-cocked

Scimitar moon-
Silently counting
the scars

Up all night
around and around the house
Winter Wind

Polar Vortex-
The subzero whiteness of
the toilet seat. 

Snow drifts-
Marshmallows in one
side of the mug

Snowy field
Crossing to the other
side of the tracks

And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)