Tuesday, May 17, 2011


you saboteurs

this is the poem

in which i finally convince you

that i am worthy.

i will drop a name here,

a reference that will convince you,

or convince you by the fact that you don’t get the reference.

someone older than you could possibly know.

someone newer than you would have bothered to introduce yourself to.

someone too obscure.

someone so obvious you never would have thought of them.

apparently a poem

can simply be made

by a list of giants,

or events,

or medical terminology.






that proves my disregard for form.

it will be my attention to every detail.

it will always be my service or my disregard

that makes me

what i am or what i am not

and never

simply saying what i mean.

what has happened to the

brick and mortar word?

granted it gets me here,

and enables to me to say this little thing

but no

one can contest what leaps and bounds

came by the discovery of fire

but there is still the little matter

of arson.

-Joshua Rizer

Wednesday, May 11, 2011



after Kathy Acker & William Carlos Williams

If I had a clit,

I would probably pierce it.

Hell, I would probably pierce it twice,

one for the button and one for the hood,

the metal pearls beating against each other,

with a Morse Code not known since Eden.

I would buy a vintage motorcycle,

a big one, like a Triumph Thunderbird

& ride it around town all day,

in all kinds of weather,

even the most violent,

guaranteeing lightening orgasms,

thunderous satisfaction.

If I had a clit,

I would share it with everyone.

It would feel good to me.

It would feel good

to me. It would feel

good to me.

-David Smith

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Alan Dugan Telling Me I Have A Problem With Time

He reads my latest attempt at a poem
and is silent for a long time, until it feels
like that night we waited for Apollo,
my mother wandering in and out of her bedroom, asking,
Haven't they landed yet? At last
Dugan throws it on the table and says,
This reads like a cheap detective novel
and I've got nothing to say about it. It sits,
naked and white, with everyone's eyes
running over it. The week before
he'd said I had a problem with time,
that in my poems everything
kept happening at once. In 1969,
the voice of Mission Control
told a man named Buzz
that there was a bunch of guys turning blue
down here on Earth, and now I can understand
it was with anticipation, not sickness. Next,
Dugan says, Let's move on. The attempted poem
was about butterflies and my recurring desire
to return to a place I've never been.
It was inspired by reading this
in a National Geographic: monarchs
stream northward from winter roosts in Mexico,
laying their eggs atop milkweed
to foster new generations along the way.
With the old monarchs gone (I took this line as the title)
and all ties to the past ostensibly cut
the unimaginable happens--butterflies
that have never been to that plateau in Mexico
roost there the next winter. . . .I saw this
as a metaphor for a childhood I never had,
until Dugan pointed out
that metaphor has been dead for a hundred years.
A woman, new to the workshop, leans
behind his back and whispers, I like it,
but the silence is seamless, as deep
as outer space. That night in 1969
I could turn my head from the television and see
the moon
filling the one pane over the bed completely
as we waited for Neil Armstrong
to leave his footprints all over it.

-Nick Flynn

Monday, May 9, 2011


Ode to the Little “r”

Little propeller
working between
the two fields of my a's,
making my name
a small boat
that leaves the port
of old San Juan
or Ponce,
with my grandfather,
Miguel, on a boat,
or in an airplane,
with a hundred or so
others, leaving the island
for work, cities,
in winters that would break
their bones, make old,
old men out of all of them,
factory workers, domino
players, little islands themselves
who would eat & be eaten by Chicago,
New York, the wars
they fought without
being able to vote for
the president. Little propeller
of their names: Francisco,
Reymundo, Arelis, Margarita,
HernĂ¡n, Roberto, Reina.
Little propeller of our names
delivering the cargo of blood
to the streets of Holyoke,
Brooklyn, New London,
Ojai, where the teacher says,
“Say your name?” sweetly,
& the beautiful propeller
working between
the two fields of my a's
& the teacher saying, “Oh!
You mean, ‘Are-Raw-Sell-Lease.’”
Or “Robe-Bert-Toe”
or “Marred-Guh-Reetuh, like
the drink!” & the “r”
sounding like a balloon
deflating in the room, sad
& sagging. I am hurt.
It is as if I handed her
all my familiar trees & flowers,
every drawing of the family map
& boats & airplanes & cuatros
& coquis, & she used her English
to make an axe & tried to chop
them down. But, “r,” little propeller
of my name, small & beautiful monster
changing shapes, you win. You fly
around the room, little bee, upsetting
the teacher & making all of Class-310A laugh,
you fly over the yard, in our mouths,
as our bodies make airplanes over the grass,
you, little propeller, are taking over the city,
you are the sound of cars racing, the sound
of bicycle spokes fitted with playing cards
to make it sound like we are going fast,
this is our ode to you, little “r,” little
machine of our names, simple
as a heart, just working, always,
there when we go to the grocery,
there in the songs
we sing in our sleep.

-Aracelis Girmay