Saturday, February 27, 2010

To the Spawning

I got the idea for this poem from a sketch that Carlos is working on. The poem would describe the aftermath of said sketch.

We found him over at O’Hare
running up the down escalator
wearing a gigantic salmon suit.

When we took off the headpiece
the guy was sweating like a bear
in the desert, and he was wailing.

Hours later, we got it on the radio—
there actually was another salmon,
waiting around at the wrong terminal.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I was stuck in California!

Last Tuesday, Carrie, Carlos, and I flew out to do a show at UC Santa Cruz, and return flights to Boston got canceled because of snow, so Carlos and I were in Santa Cruz until last Friday night. Carrie went to L.A. to celebrate her birthday.

Meanwhile, I spent my birthday gallavanting around Santa Cruz with Carlos. We had sandwiches with avocados in them, and we went on a hike through the redwoods where we visited the Wishing Tree and the Climbing Tree and a tree that had fallen, and we walked along the wharf and looked down on the shut-down amusement park, and then we went to the Saturn Diner and I had another sandwich with avocado and a soymilkshake. It was a wonderful birthday--perhaps the best birthday that ever ended with sleeping in an airport--but the whole time I really missed the East Coast.

So I wrote my love poem to Boston. It was bound to happen. Here it is, out of my system:

Dear City of Perpetual Hibernation

In Santa Cruz, they eat citrus off of trees and sleep
wherever they fall. They think 40 is cold and grow
up to be sandalwood teapots. We will always be
too fat for Los Angeles. In Denver you could spend
your whole life chewing moss off of one mountain.

________I left a carton of blueberries in the fridge.
Leave just a handful for me.

_________________________New York has a whole
lot of mouth and a great deal on some slightly used
electronics. I’d rather eat stale falafel out by Inman
than give them the satisfaction of their all-night cafés.
I’d rather get jilted and stuck in your hoof-worn paths
at 2 in the morning than pace their 24-hour Lite-Brite.

I filled my flask with the cabinet, Boston, please
don’t yell.

__________Nobody understands wind in Georgia.
I couldn’t tell you where they keep the salt in West
Palm Beach and I told you I’m sorry for ever living
in Connecticut, though the shiny junk hanging from
your left ear was made in New Haven. Boston, when
I get home I won’t make you talk about the surgery
you convinced me you were going to need. We can
stain the whole carpet with cheap scotch to clarify
that the old stains were never there. We can get all
hysterical and warm and not admit to a damn thing
in the morning. Your trains won’t budge for the sun
but you made me out of apologies for being tardy.
I’m awful sorry. Your face doesn’t scrunch up at all
when you cry. I never know what to say, so let’s just
get this out over the phone:

______________________You were right. As always.
If I could sprout spikes from my back and turn away
from the rest of the world, I would do it.

of all places, couldn’t get through its head where
my grumpiness came from. That’s it for America.
That’s it for any but your briny ass.

___________________________________So sit down.
Let me share what’s been keeping me busy all week.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Day I Was an Arcade Machine

Here's a poem that I'm happy with, but which might not make the final cut of the manuscript I'm putting together. Inspired by a short story by Geoffrey Forsyth.

This happened to me on exactly the wrong day:
I lost my voice, and every time I tried to speak,
brass coins would flop out of my mouth. Engaging
customers was more hellish than usual. Making
their change at the register was all but impossible.
People kept bringing back their ice cream—they
had heard how filthy money was supposed to be
and they feared for their health. I kept turning to
Bob hoping he'd send me home, but Bob was too
busy tuning the yogurt machines to be bothered.
And of course I couldn't ask him. I need this job.
I was virtually unemployable as it was, and now
I spoke in a foreign currency. These coins had
the face of a woman with cropped hair on one
side and some kind of marsupial looking down
at its empty chest on the other. I picked one up
and started to wonder, what if everyone started
doing this, like a sort of very lucrative pandemic.
If we all spoke in the same coins, I imagined,
inflation would kill us.