100 Poems I Wrote in April (or True Stories. or My New Profession) Part 2 of 3

May 14, 2013

to continue my preamble to this large project, I want to mention that anything copied into wordpress from a word document automatically becomes double spaced and I have no intention of going through these and correcting all of them.  If you would like these poems without the awkward spacing, I will gladly sell you the book when it exists:


[man asks me for a poem for his 30th anniversary with his wife.  Only tells me that he knew for sure that he wanted to spend his life with her the first time he laid eyes on her.]

If it were so simple as only needing

to find

a pair of eyes

as beautiful as yours

there might be more men

as lucky as I am.

The true search is for something far more rare:

the you that you are

when you are in the dark

compels me as well.  Praise the sweet

mystery that draws me to you

and let the years lift away

light like the plum blossom petals

picked by a brief March breeze.

36. Avoidance

When I want to hide from myself

I slide

to the underside of my own

tongue.  I find there

the words I’ve kept caught

in my miasmic morning breath.

Under the crust

of the moderately avoidable verbage

I find the words

I have tried the hardest to hide.

This does not ease my avoidance

but it makes real the memories

of the last time I tried to run.

37. Candles, trees, flowers and rainbows.

[two sisters, 4 and 6 years old, ask me if I can write them a poem about two things (presumably so both could ask for one thing each).  I tell them that I’m so good at poems, I could even write a poem about five things.  They decide together that 5 is too many things, and they say they would like a poem about candles, trees, flowers, and rainbows.]

It could be like this:

a fairy shindig with pollen passing,

tea lights on the backs of dragonflies

swinging like faint music between

the bark of the redwoods under a

sunshower mist that’s burst into color.

It could be like this:

He was in love, and he has hiked with

her through the weeds with a picnic.

Some romance can be planned: the

candles and the flowers, but the soft

shower on the canopy and the rainbow

that followed were a gift

from a different hand.

It could be like this:

I have been given all these things

and more to hold in my mind and my

imagination is no simple thing.  What

can I imagine today?  A post office

run by dragons?  A dance those fairies do

when they fall in love?  All of this

my mind is good for.

38. indecisive

[“so what would you two gals like a poem about?”  “…   …    …uh…I’m really indecisive.” “would you like a poem about that?”  “uh…yeah.  sure.  I’m like really indecisive”)

I know that Plato gets me:

the wise man only knows

that he knows nothing

at all.  This is true

also for me

at an ice cream shop


or browsing Netflix


or looking for a boyfriend


I know that I do not know what I want:

look how wise I am.

[after she walked away with her poem, I realized that the woman with her may have been her partner.  which I felt could have made the poem read somewhat offensively.]


[a woman with has tattooed a picture of Marilyn Monroe as a topless mermaid on her arm expresses shock that she hasn’t met me yet.  She asks me for a poem about anything I want to write about.  I press her to provide a topic.  She insists on providing none.]

I bumped into a Monromermaid

in an amphibious supermarket

she was all scales and smoldering sex

appeal, as usual.

I see her there

all the time

making eyes at any man

buying a lobster.

She may find herself iconic,

but I always find her

and her tail

a little out of their element

and often shopping for “dry goods.”

40. Going Down

to slope in a negative algebra

is a misuse of both

language and mathematics.

Everything that “goes downhill” gets

“deep” and “brings me down”

shares the blame.

It is also,

I would say


an exiting of light

from the day’s ambition

a hunger that is only

the eating internal

a force of air

pushing not down

but out.  I am taking

the truth to be found in these directions

I am learning as a leaf

caught in the expelling air.

41. Scars

[third poem of mine to make someone cry]

This is the tissue our body masses

to cover locations of hurt.

Here is the reminder we are

given of the times we did not know well

how sharp the knife or how needed

the stitches were.  Here it amasses:

The voice of a tautological body

the kind teacher of it is

with its patient slow mending

saying, “you will

heal.  You will heal

from this too.”

42.  She Hulk Goes to the Grocery Store

[a young woman asks for a poem about female super heroes, because she is interested in portrayals of feminine strength.]

The household goods section

has lots of gender pronouns

that could be a problem.

The clerks have gotten

used to it.  Put up a sign:

“Don’t murder over spilt milk”

The cashier sounds a little more

sincere when she says:

“have a nice day” with subtext.

The butcher goes about

his job slowly without quick movement

a smile as big as his knives.

When she gets home from the store

and crawls into a weary bed

she holds her man with

a tenderness:

the true purpose of her strength.

43. Ezra’s bad rap follows him to Santa Cruz

I was, myself once

in a station of the metro:

I didn’t see shit.  No petals

no wet black anything.

I left that station

pretty quickly

and somehow

felt a little

more fascist.


[woman asks me for a poem about the future.  In chatting she mentions she has a six year old daughter who is part of why she thinks so much about the future.]

If I were to tell you we pass slowly

through our moments

that we move viscous

in time, would it come as a comfort?

Knowing that those who are cherished

and young are syrup in this state

and there will be much done

before they are just faces to be

placed in a frame to be adored or at least

available for adoring.

And what can be said for seeing

time as  a torrential,

a pouring of hours

a deluge of days?  How

can it be that whole years can be

summarized in phrases:

“I was young, too busy with beauty.”

“just wasting time in Charlotte

focused on a career.”

Both are true, and have the same word

scribbled in the margins:


45.    for Mr.  R**** 4** C******* M****** Ave.  Box #***** Monterey CA 93944

[as I pack up my cart and head home, a man approaches me with two female friends.  He tells me that they just had an intervention about his Gay Porn addiction instead of driving to San Francisco.  He asks me if I can write a poem about it.  After telling him that I’m about to pack up for the day, I tell him I could mail him the poem.  He accepts, and dictates his address to me.  I was never really sure if the porn addiction story was true or just an inside joke among friends, but I wrote him this poem anyway]


in general

I have to say, do nothing

for me.  Although

I have to admit, they did

recently make their way

onto my list

of top two favorite genitals.  But still:

all of the flaccid flopping

and wrinkled testicular vestibules

lack something beneath: a pulsing of

(and you can find this in porn)

blood and a willful ecstasy of thrusting

heavily breathed preludes into a pearled trickle

(all this can be found in porn)

and beneath all of it:

a way of looking

(with which,  if I could tell you how it is

to be found, we could stop all of

this madness) into adoring eyes

and saying: “Yes, lover, yes.”


[a woman asks me for a poem for her husband.  When I ask what she likes about him, she is without words for a while and then says that she loves him completely, that they built their house together and raised two children there.]

There is more to a house

than walls.  Layers

and layers

of paint are not the only

accumulation of this living

room over the years.

There is also this:

a paintbrush

passed from one palm into another or

one hand pressed lovingly into another

or many small hands growing

up into large hands and the years

pass by (they are not like paint:

they do not try

to cover where they have been).

47.  Lost

[a 16 year old girl and her father stop at my cart.  The father tells the daughter to ask for a poem, she requests “a poem for her lost generation.”  I ask her if she thinks her generation is lost.  “Yes.” she says.]

I put JFK in a time machine

and took him on a roadtrip.

We went all over America.

He spent most of his time

either chasing women, or galvanizing

the nation’s youth.  Success on all counts.

I couldn’t understand how

he gathered people around him,

and I couldn’t understand

his accent.  I tossed him

my iPhone, somewhere in Iowa, and said,

“here Johnny, put on some music.”

and just like that

he was as lost as the rest of us.


[a man roughly my age asks me for a poem about anything I’d like to write about.  When I ask him to help me out by telling me something he enjoys to do, he says he enjoys playing music on “strange instruments” with his friends while “just bullshitting”]

The bass

is a doom clap

it doubles back

lays down its own

buzz shake

sound.  This I knew already

but then I found

honey dripping

in a clarinet to swing strong

on the downbeat:

this dubstep symphony gone high drive

a prevailing piano: a home

of hidden hammers.

I hear all this

just bullshitting

with my friends.

49.  Lovely

[a guy who looks to be in the ballpark of 15 years old asks me for a poem for a girl he enjoys spending time with.  When I ask him if it’s romantic his friends all laugh.  When I ask him what he likes about her he says that he enjoys reading Neruda together and that she is lovely.]

I have been trying to speak with Pablo

about all these lovely things he sees:

onions and socks pulling odes

from this man,

breaking him

into a song somewhere public,

taking him from a body

to somewhere sublime.

There are so many ways

to be lovely:

to be an onion that is the most onion,

a sock, the most sock;

there is a way one can have of being

that gives the rest of us solace,

lets us breathe deep and say: this.

This much at least I know is true.


[a woman who just got out of a long relationship and has been enjoying freedom and sewing and her newly bought (post-breakup) turntable asks me for a poem]

It may go without saying

that the sky has always been secure.

It might also be true

that the blue wonder does not need

any additional noise

to be made below it.  When I am

free to take my limbs

to any desirable destination

when I am held more buoyant

by a more saline time              the sky can deal with it:

watch me run a stitch

through joyous fabric,

watch me rotate

with this turntable.  This is the work

one does when finding

their own anthem.

51.  Humor

I know

within humor there is always tragedy,

but that which is comic

happens to you

but that same falling piano

landing on me

is tragic.

I know a coyote

who knew all about this:

where there is humor

there is always uncontrollable

desire: to eat that bird,

to survive this piano

to travel this treacherous

life without breaking

the short

distance between wails

and laughter.

52. First Base

[a ten year old boy asks me if I can write a poem about baseball, tells me that he plays first base]

What kind of blue the sky may be

at this small moment

I have no time for.

It serves as little

but a backdrop for

this infield fly.

What shade exactly

that grass is displaying

in the space between

the pitcher’s mound

and the dugout is

only there to be chewed

beneath my cleats.

there are no colors in this moment

when all I’m doing

is playing first.

53.  Let us be honest:

if we are honest

there have been tears

there has been

weeping, there has been sobbing.

There have been many kinds of tears:

this is how I’ve known it to be.

There is a graceful day

coming.  If you are lucky,

maybe this day of grace has already passed.

Over a glass of beer I met my mother

when I was 22.  If there were tears

after that, they were different.

54.  Roadtrip

No one ever warned me

about the really important

things one must bring

on a roadtrip

nor could they.

How strange it would be

for anyone to say:

bring grace and compassion

and make sure that you pack

more love than you think you will need

for the person with whom you will travel

through this period of time.


There are many actions in life

that are more difficult

than walking:


reading the arch of a ball which is

paraphrased physics,

displacement in air.


finding the correct words, which is

telepathy via typography when

you see what I’m writing.


Water finding its way into a crack

in the pavement growing colder

until it freezes and pushes apart

something that seemed solid

which is

like loving you.

56.  just about 2/3rds of a sonnet

When purple leaves the vine it’s not to die

but to be beyond sight a season more

the geese can sing this song more true than I

of a returning color’s true allure.

I miss no color like wisteria,

which is a texture and a shape as well

my memory’s lies may count a plethora

and will a falsehood (for a smile) sell.

But this at least I do believe is true:

there is rebirth in me, in geese, in you.

57. poem for a smile

[a bald man on a bike stops and asks me for a poem because he wants something to make him smile]

listen here you cheese weasel

you mumbling muskrat

you pantsless giraffe

life is going to turn

the volume down

so you can see

all the hilarious things that are happening

A bigot bulbous as a beachball

cursing at a ballgame on a screen

working his fat wet lips inches

from an image of a skin tight running

ass.  This happens every day.

Turn down the volume.

What strange animals you will see.

What strange soft animals we all are

at times.

58.  Relationships

[a woman asks me for a poem about “human relationships”  as she walks away she adds that she’s always felt on the outside of most human relationships.]

You could

blame the iphone

for the way these cradled rectangles are held does direct

the faces away from the crowd even in the crowd.  You

could blame faces

turning away from books

on ironically titled social media.

I have never had this

flatscreen firsthand

to tell me in pokes, tweets, likes, and apps

how people relate.  I prefer to close

my eyes, conversations waft past me:

the merits of dresses, destinations

for dinner.  A thin man with a thin

silver tie leans to the ear

of the woman he walks with, and whispers

“I love you dearly.”  And this helps

heighten the state in which people relate.

59. String Instruments

[two friends come up to me, one asks for a poem about bees.  the other says that she wants a poem about bees as well.  I cheated on both of these, they’re both poems I have written before.  Why have I written so many poems about bees?]

there are bees hidden in the harp

they are warmed

and drowned

in a case

of cello.

The fiddle is its own

hive but

unlike the violin

you can spill beer on a fiddle.

all this buzzing produced

by these string instruments.

Their honey overwhelms my ears.

also # 59] Said one Honeybee to the Other

“I wouldn’t fuck you for all the honey in the hive

it would be strange to have that much sweetness

when I have your eyes

which I can see sweeten at the sight of me and

your legs

like beautifully kneecapped diabetic comas

just waiting to happen

and your lips

I do not have

because we’re bees.

But as for the rest of it:

I was built for these pollens.

I will fill the whole of this dome

this crescent of ozone

with such viscous sweetness.”  You must listen in the early

spring before the air grows thick.

60.  For Vittorio from his own heart

[a woman asks for a poem about her 1 year old son, she says that she wishes that he will have a strong heart that will lead him in the right direction]

Like you, I began

quite small

but beating.

There was a time

not too long ago

when you were sleeping:

your mother held you

and cradled your torso

in her ear to hear

my sound.  There is no simple way to say this:

the only thing more difficult

and important in this life

than listening to your own heart

is to make yourself still enough

to listen to someone else’s.

61. A brief lesson on Fountains and Love

[a couple asks me for a poem for their 21 year old son.  When I ask them to describe him they say that he is “gregarious” and “good with the ladies.”  I didn’t see any trouble relating, and gave him parts of a poem that I had written before that I thought would be appropriate.]

I have been told that the true measure

of a man

is his ability to give himself away.

I try to let myself be

like the water

you can find

in a fountain.

If I am not overflowing

I have very little

to offer.  The more water

a fountain gives out the more water

returns to the fountain.  This too is true for love.


My opinion of watermelons, age 12

It is a shame to have

to swallow so much sweetness

just to get a few seeds

to spit at my brother.

My opinion of watermelons, age 25.

In post-grad poverty

and invited to a potluck BBQ:

wonderful wonderful watermelon.

My opinion of watermelons, age 4.


63.] burrito

Tell me what kind of glory exists

that couldn’t be improved by cheese

melted inside of a flour tortilla.

If food wasn’t made to be sautéed

in spices various, and rolled into burritos

then why did god give us hands?

Muse, sing to me of guacamole;

slather overzealous spices in sour cream.

My Elysium is a never ending

salsa bar

where both

hot and mild

are bottomless

and the chips

never run out.


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