Friday, April 24, 2015

five minute poem with carl swart

It's a thing unlike most other things
by which I mean a thing like everything else.

To this, my dear, you are beholden.

Nonspecificity is a virtue; don't ever say what you mean.
I dislike, in a semi-not-so-random order, the following:

poetry, broccoli, mushrooms (except the fun kind), sad
small hearts on the parched yellow ground,

cornmeal, old bananas, powerful hankerings, & most
things that begin with the letter G.

Get this, though, mon frere, you are not my brother
because I also dislike families. Can't get too
frantic here because the finches are flitting

too far out back, converging on the framboise.

I sing a canticle of sixpence & a pocket full
of Canadian currency & a tiny man with a shifty eye.

I would really like to love you, but well,
don't worry. I won't try.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

FOD Walkdown

There's garbage everywhere & we
must protect it from the intake

in our dungaree pants & khaki
polyesters & these obnoxious
cephalopod-like helmets.

That's not a metaphor but should be.
We have no time to be figurative.
The past approaches, honed in on our tendons.


Back for a limited time! It's me.

On some horizon, the heart makes
a series of tactically sound left
turns, so, you know,
a circumnavigation of a slow
but yearning apathy.

These airplanes make me itchy
& the tarmac is a placeholder

not just for a hundred thousand tons
of metal but for all these dots,

these points on a line we call
people. You've rendered my life

in two dimensions & neither one
flatters my figure. I see a washer

on the ground, I pick it up.

Into my pocket for good luck.

Empty Nest

This house & all the things in it.

Do I repeat myself? Very well, then,
I repeat myself. I am small. I contain platitudes.

Before the detritus is wiped off the tablecloth,
before we're elbows-deep in a preponderance
of potting soil, to stop & reflect on what

this trash means is a necessary balm against
what fades. Archie wrote the "great spiritual poem"
of our time

& I hover over dumpsters looking for a perfect
crime to take home & care for as my own.


This house, quite obviously, needs renewal
but I am no carpenter. Jets overhead
can't see us in the slate-pathed backyard

with its birdhouses & curios & withering
tulips. Sometimes I feel I'm in Cordoba
but I have no idea what that means.

Having gotten by. Having made a mask.
Having spotted eagles chasing ospreys.
Having retired to the concrete stoop.


The derivative of nothing is still nothing.
& every line I write is still a bird.

A Model Year

The mourning doves, in morning, come
to wake the frozen yard with low white sighs.

Later come the wrens and finches, the towhee
with his pylon-colored breast.


The cusp of winter, edge of spring
does not so much unsettle as derail.

Each boxcar brightly painted
is an emblem of departure.

We need these markers or makers
the way someones need things.


In the fall, we'll throw trinkets in the river.
Forget and want: the water always finds us.