Category Archives: Poetry

Synonyms for Sensitive, after Shira Erlichman.

So I took this class, RAPT Attention, with this amazing woman Shira Erlichman, who had became one of my favorite poets a little over 2 years ago when she read in the berkshires. She signed my book with this message of acknowledging my true self, which had been a hot topic earlier that day for me, and continues to be. On our 5th of 6 classes my homework was to write down synonyms for weight. Long story short, I never finished the writing. In class I wrote 50 synonyms for vulnerability. Together we chose the words that jumped out at us, resonated in some way, or even just looked good next to each other. Before I knew it Shira had restructured me on paper. There I was, fully exposed, honored, feeling seen and met. This time by myself. It’s hard to call this my work, my poem, because it was her process that help me see me on that page. Honestly it will be hard to own my writing from here on out. She has become such a wonderful part of the process, guiding me through motion and self care, in my practice as a writer, and simply as a person. I am grateful to know her and have her voice present, no matter where I go.

All this to say, I submitted “Synonyms for Sensitive, after Shira Erlichman” to Quiet Lightning to be printed in the special National Poetry Slam edition of Sparkle + Blink, and out of however many submissions I am 1 of 11 writers (so it seems) to be selected!! There will be a Literary Mix Tape reading on August 9th at the Courtyard Marriott Oakland.

What a way to start my journey! I feel true joy to have spent this time with Shira, and will be taking more classes in the future. So much love for her!

p.s. – This is not even the testimonial for the class. This is just all my love for one of the most beautiful, and inspirational humans I have ever met. Y’all should take one of her classes.

So here it is.

Synonyms for Sensitive, after Shira Erlichman.

exposed, open,

this-is-me,

raw, tender,

alone, sticky, enormous,

sweaty,

but-this-is-me, over share,

permission, boundaries,

burden,

blessing untamed,

weight,

rain storm lover,

squishy, sore, dirty windows,

willingness, present,

distant, me.


Voicemailpoems.org

So a while back at the NorthBeast regional up in New Hampshire I read a poem into my phone on stage, and everyone felt like I was experimenting on them, because I was. . .  This is why.

Check out all the other amazing poems at http://www.voicemailpoems.com
It is a dear friend, John Mortara’s project, and I’m super excited to be a part of it as well as among so many amazing poets.


Do I have to wait another week just to see you?

Dear, *sigh*

 

Have I mentioned how big of a fool I am? I’ve already forgotten

your name, and I wish I hadn’t forgotten your name, because I want

to tell you how beautiful you look when you wear your

vulnerability like a sunset, all transparent and toxic, and if I have

to ask your name again, I’ll have to wait to tell you, because I think

things like that are scary, and I don’t want to scare anyone, I just

want to love them. Have I mentioned how much of a mess I am,

how beautiful you look, how grateful I am to reach for this,

because I can’t and don’t have you, and for some reason that means

I’m able to write about it, like ex’s and the long time deceased.

 

I asked you your name then told you to have a nice night, as if to

say thanks but this conversation is over, and I didn’t want it to be

over, I just wanted you to have a good night, you make my heart

beat faster, I think about what your head feels like resting on it, and

whether or not you like holding hands, or if kisses from you taste

like rem sleep?

 

I write old stories like storms, my voice is a warning siren, but my

arms are the prayers for relief. I’m sick of apologizing in advance,

so I won’t. What’s your name again? Has anyone ever told you,

you look like a sunset?


Train of Thought (edited spring 2014)

Tonight while punk/noise bands played in the room, I free wrote. My train of thought felt broken, disrupted by the erratic nature of the bands, and the harshness of the transitions. I had no idea at the time I was writing anything coherent or that even followed a theme. It is what it is. What I’ve written lately is not ready for the world(or maybe just a pair of eyes), so I owe this blog something. In my teachings I call it the “Junk”, or the words that are in the way. Whatever happens, happens; it’s an exercise. Often it’s the truth that we sugarcoat later in refined poetry, the raw form or thought. So this is me raw, unknowingly.
2/1/14

__

My dreams tell me otherwise. I give thanks
for love and years long embrace, manifesting
our arms to do as designed. Planets working
in alignment with the rhythms of thanks, holy
the absent thought.

G-d damn. What is it about you that makes me
forget all the motions I should be taking? It’s
that smile erasing pain, the attitude in the
looks of playful judgment.

What’s your name, have I seen you before?  Could
I pry through your thoughts non-evasively, the way
this caused in-coherent thoughts? What’s your name?
Can I be your buddy system? Does the fractures
in our pasts cause callused hearts to bleed
the way they’re suppose to? Have you seen
my mind, wind soaked eyes curl the phrases around
the distance between us, is it yours to
manipulate, am I in this room as always
the question outspoken in loud places without
escape? Talking to you is the clot in
my terminally winded wholly hearted, my lungs
filled with tea and words like, forever overwhelming,
vulnerable, absent minded, love and alone.

Holy the random smiles as you walk by, loving me,
I’m confused___ And without judgment.
I wish to snuggle on words and cats, Mamma Jamma rolls
in the dark, lit by the universe rooms, and boxes
of blankets and galoshes, tights you ripped and
forgotten, smiles I still can’t shake, could
you just stop and say ‘I love you’. It’s okay.
I’m adjusting to this connection of disconnected passers
by, in love with the moments in which we
just give these whole stories safe passage to cleansing
sinks, washed with soft soaps and harsh
moments of written verse. My arms miss
hugs, the kind you’d save just for me, where
our days would melt away and this breath out
existed. I’m missing those moments, your loving
legs tangled, ice cream lips sticky with promises
and sleepy sex, moans in motion, hold me in
forevers, and bed hog four legged stinkers
content to watch and hammock the covers
between us, the windows open to
allow your heart to leave, you took
the chance and left. I’m sorry I could
not let you do so gracefully, my heart is healthy around
you, in you, so the apologies mean shit
in email, and the cats save my life daily,
the guilt is overwhelming
my voice no longer comforts, not that I
have your number anymore, anyway.
Where’d you go? My fingertips need the
skin of your hips, curled crease of
your bum at night when I’d go searching through
covers, the soothing life of your ass
in hand, strange, but it’s where my
comfort lived, g-d damn!

 


Sunflower Sutra by Allen Ginsberg

So last night I competed in the Dead Poets Slam in Northampton as Ginsberg. In order to read Sunflower Sutra in a slam format(3:00 minutes, which I still went over), I had to do some serious black out editing(albeit as graceful as I could) and conjunctive word deleting, of one of my favorite poems. So, here is the full version, in all is perfect beautiful sunflower existence! I should mention Anne Sexton still kicked my butt.

Sunflower Sutra

I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and
sat down under the huge shade of a Southern
Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the
box house hills and cry.
Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron
pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts
of the soul, bleak and blue and sad-eyed,
surrounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of
machinery.
The oily water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun
sank on top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that
stream, no hermit in those mounts, just ourselves
rheumy-eyed and hungover like old bums
on the riverbank, tired and wily.
Look at the Sunflower, he said, there was a dead gray
shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting
dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust–
–I rushed up enchanted–it was my first sunflower,
memories of Blake–my visions–Harlem
and Hells of the Eastern rivers, bridges clanking Joes
Greasy Sandwiches, dead baby carriages, black
treadless tires forgotten and unretreaded, the
poem of the riverbank, condoms & pots, steel
knives, nothing stainless, only the dank muck
and the razor-sharp artifacts passing into the
past–
and the gray Sunflower poised against the sunset,
crackly bleak and dusty with the smut and smog
and smoke of olden locomotives in its eye–
corolla of bleary spikes pushed down and broken like
a battered crown, seeds fallen out of its face,
soon-to-be-toothless mouth of sunny air, sunrays
obliterated on its hairy head like a dried
wire spiderweb,
leaves stuck out like arms out of the stem, gestures
from the sawdust root, broke pieces of plaster
fallen out of the black twigs, a dead fly in its ear,
Unholy battered old thing you were, my sunflower O
my soul, I loved you then!
The grime was no man’s grime but death and human
locomotives,
all that dress of dust, that veil of darkened railroad
skin, that smog of cheek, that eyelid of black
mis’ry, that sooty hand or phallus or protuberance
of artificial worse-than-dirt–industrial–
modern–all that civilization spotting your
crazy golden crown–
and those blear thoughts of death and dusty loveless
eyes and ends and withered roots below, in the
home-pile of sand and sawdust, rubber dollar
bills, skin of machinery, the guts and innards
of the weeping coughing car, the empty lonely
tincans with their rusty tongues alack, what
more could I name, the smoked ashes of some
cock cigar, the cunts of wheelbarrows and the
milky breasts of cars, wornout asses out of chairs
& sphincters of dynamos–all these
entangled in your mummied roots–and you there
standing before me in the sunset, all your glory
in your form!
A perfect beauty of a sunflower! a perfect excellent
lovely sunflower existence! a sweet natural eye
to the new hip moon, woke up alive and excited
grasping in the sunset shadow sunrise golden
monthly breeze!
How many flies buzzed round you innocent of your
grime, while you cursed the heavens of the
railroad and your flower soul?
Poor dead flower? when did you forget you were a
flower? when did you look at your skin and
decide you were an impotent dirty old locomotive?
the ghost of a locomotive? the specter and
shade of a once powerful mad American locomotive?
You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a
sunflower!
And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me
not!
So I grabbed up the skeleton thick sunflower and stuck
it at my side like a scepter,
and deliver my sermon to my soul, and Jack’s soul
too, and anyone who’ll listen,
–We’re not our skin of grime, we’re not our dread
bleak dusty imageless locomotive, we’re all
beautiful golden sunflowers inside, we’re blessed
by our own seed & golden hairy naked
accomplishment-bodies growing into mad black
formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our
eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive
riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening
sitdown vision.

Allen Ginsberg

Berkeley, 1955

SONY DSC


UNTITLED – Dream Catcher + Walking Alongside Ada Monroe

I wrote these between Thanksgiving and Christmas, knowing almost immediately that they were meant to be joined. I have not found a title as of yet(other than for the individual parts), but if something comes to mind while you are reading, please feel free to let me know what you think. Thanks for your support.

UNTITLED

1. Dream Catcher
Is my notebook considered ephemera, when its
pages paper thin rip when pressed for information
conclusions in appreciation, though your work
is never done. Next you must rush home to
give thanks, sing praise in lack of punctuation
sitting here waiting, I wish my heart spoke
louder, spoke soft enough to hear yours beating
in run-on sentences and middle school notes.
There’s a smile on my face when I hear cat toys
jingle from rooms in which I am not, so I stalk around corners,
peeking to see my playful children with paws, remembering
the shuffle footed dance you played in our kitchen, MommaGrace
took off like lightning and I light up like the warmest
summer day when I think of you, windows open, I think
of your laughter, that smile that healed me, and the touch
that steadied my heart, along with my breathing.
Willing lines can still bring a smile to your face(I’m sure of it), no matter the distance,
it was you who taught me love and laughter. You were my first smile.

2. Walking Alongside Ada Monroe
I found comfort in knowing that these
lines don’t mean shit, or at least
they are not meant to. We see each
other through train of thought,
there was a poem about a train I hopped
but I can’t remember which one;
I wish I could. I miss you. You’re
the kind of beautiful I see when
I look out into the ocean, vast
and only fractionally understood, it’s
not for lack of effort, I get it.
I know the covers over your
eyes exist to tell me “It’s hard,
I want you to understand, be
PG13” on top of the sheets, waiting
whenever you need a laugh,
or cry, or strip naked all day tangle,
dream catchers I swore
I left in Hogwarts. Did you hear,
they’re tearing it down? My beard
as long as wizards, though I am
only this cold mountain, rooted and young.
This is going nowhere, or precisely where
it should, where the plot demands, and I’ve lost my script.


BEAUTIFULLY OUT OF TUNE PIANO

You are a BEAUTIFULLY OUT OF TUNE PIANO
And I wish I knew you__
Where your heart goes when
love whispers, if you pull at
the bed sheets when if I loved
between your thoughts, if I
exist in this room?

Your smiles aren’t mine. They
tire of my ever belly aching
silence that steals the
air between us, I’m suffocating.
Holy the hours with which I would spend
within your kiss, the Sage Francis
lyric supporting the razor,
I’m in love with the thought of
falling in love, with all of your
neglected places, your hands tremble
as my lack of ligaments shoulder
shutter the pressed smiles
I will from your lips, and
the salted oceans that would inevitably fall
down your cheek when I break
your heart, someday. The apologies in
advance mean shit; my warnings
def on broken rec, on broken
records, on the shelf where I’d keep the
fractions of your heart left behind,
the slivers I’ll pull from my skin,
the hair pins sucked up by the vacuum
remind me, to keep my mouth shut.

I left a YES[ ], NO[ ], Maybe[ ],
and you checked the box I
forgot to pencil in.
Your silence is heard.
I appreciate the eyes you left,
or maybe just for the moments
where I felt like a boy again.


LOVE IMPARTS

LOVE IMPARTS

1. Light Breezes
I could barely breathe, though your laughter
warmed me to tears and holy shit you just
walked in the room. I don’t know if you’ve moved
on, if it’s she that now makes you happy,
assumptions of/in friendship, 20 years
outstanding physiological judgment
passed, communication one sided, on both sides.
I’m scared I have left your heart.

This use to be easy for us, you my tomato
my calm winter snowfall kept beneath my blankets.
I miss us. I still love you. How do I
honor that? How do I come down from that
mountain overwhelming, filled with love
and not cry in your arms the way I’m supposed to?
How if you’re within distance of my fingertips
do I not reach out to hold you?

We’re still breathing . . . so love me.

2. The Bunny’s Name is Paco!
The way I am. . .
What was I thinking about? The way
the cats come and go like train of
thought, sunk nestled on my shoulder
the remembrance of you, the love
they give me in loving memory of my
sorrow, like shut up and be, DAD,
presents from snail mailed lovers, elephants
journaling our embrace from miles apart,
the sun in red light, farm districts,
the comfort to tell me your loss,
and spoon feed me your soul, and my tomato,
I gave it to you, my heart, all of me,
Dominican winds from the west, pulling
me to the mountains in suspenders,
the potted plants as thanks, Buddhist prayer flags
kept in the right place, Tetris woven
into the headlights of oncoming traffic,
the apology I lacked in tears, because
all I wanted was your breath on the
back of my neck, dark figure in the
doorway, the bunny reminded me I
don’t know my weight in words, and
I don’t know your breath in verse, so
here’s mine. Love on top of love,
stitched with love, filled with love,
called love, in love, for love, and
all yours. I honor the place in you
which is of love, and light, and
peace, those smiles, that came straight
from your heart. You showed me, me,
healed, full, of garden fresh tea, me, in
love, ohh the love, like a little boy,
thank you.


35.8333333 BREATHS

35.8333333 BREATHS

      (Title Note: 35.8333333 breaths is approximately how many you will take while at rest listening to this poem.)

It takes approximately 6 seconds to breathe in, and to breathe out.
Which means every 3 seconds we have the opportunity to start over.
Exhale all of our fears, our pain, our heartache,
to show love to all of that hurt, then let it go.

You, hold onto pain like a child clutches its mother
in a room full of strangers, and I, want to teach you
all I know about breathing, about the meditation between breaths,
about your skin the way I would imagine comfort feeling,
and you, in a room full of friends, unprovoked and brilliant, clutch my hand
as tears roll down your cheek. So we walk, talk all night,
while thinking of kissing where those tears fell, because I remember that feeling,
but your lips locked my vision as they parted,
your breath interrupted, the taste of moonlight
as it formed dew on my mustache, and your laughter,
maybe soon I’ll be visible.

I apologize, for the things I can’t control,
for the love I can’t heal, and for the complication
in my arms, the way they hold you the way
they’re designed to, the way I wanted to.
And I apologize that I am not perfect, that I can see pain first,
that I am often shy and will allow you to run away
without telling you, you are beautiful. My brain
stutters without reason or semblance of speed.
I can’t always give you the comfort you need,
due to my need for comfort, and that’s okay,
because each day we take approximately 28,800 breaths,
that’s 10,512,000 chances a year to choose to smile,
and imagine a better place, breathe each other in,
and breathe all of this out. So cheer up, I promise
it gets better. If you need proof, the sun is rising,
your friends are holding you, your bed is made,
and we all just smiled, because you did.