The Whole Process

The Whole Process

The whole process is a mess. It shames them
into spendthrift days alone with pretty
papers and dictionaries. They’ll never
change the world with it. They know that. O
How many times they have been told. O how
futile. How destined to live in poverty
with the monster under the pillow
of their restful dreams. O they know.

You don’t have to tell them. Nobody eats it
but them. They have heard it’s a dead fart. Yes
-the successful others told them to write
greeting cards or to become a Spanish teacher
or go back to school for nursing. They were asked
how they would make a living and they always said
they didn’t know but were alive. And that’s
the problem. They are happy in short spells

when the world shuts up and allows them the freedom
to speak. Some have taken up telltale
strips of ribbon to convince people they stopped.
That they are looking for a job, “Really, yes,
some good leads, any day now” they say.
But they are collections of little white
infractions of selfish behavior. They can’t halt and need help.
Even when they are at the beach, with their child

by their side, racing the august wind and four
foot waves, and seagull floats on lake
superior and lover reads in the shade,
there is nowhere they’d rather be. Still
they are writing poems on mental scarps of paper.
It’s their mother’s fault. She raised them wrong.
When they wrote a poem she would say, “That’s nice,
how lovely, keep at it.” They trusted her-

that there was a place for them in craved stones.
They didn’t know that Shakespeare was dead or
Dickenson mad, or Emerson a liar.
They were a poor mother’s kid and nobody
told them poor kids don’t grow up to write poetry
but instead go to work for rich people
cleaning their dirt, or join the army.
They should have guessed by their mother’s laborious

man hands. The way she’d say they were lucky.
She never had nothing, just one skirt and one
blouse she wore everyday. That they should be
thankful for their four pants and five shirts.
Their grandmother’s slender legs, and knobby
knuckles, egg on her face, always talkin’
how her own mother worked so hard, never
yelled, and how on Christmas they would get an

orange and a new cup should have flashed some
critical thought on their lack of a lot but they just felt
lucky to have a toy to hold in their soft hands.
Their grandfather drove milk-trucks in snow and grow
corn in the afternoon hours. Enlisted
in world war two and had an alcoholic
step-father beat him who his mother never left.
That kind patience should have made them question

art. They thought their brothers studied numbers
and picked rocks for candy bars and the love
of hard work, not survival. They were no
president’s son and no ivy league daughter
setting up herself for the duties of marrying power.
They should have tried to snag a lover of wealth.
But they were stupid. Pretended love was all they needed.
Blame their father and his irresponsibility.

His desire to wander, his love of a good
story and the way his voice changed when he
talked with strangers, adjusting to their slang and infliction.
Blame their Father’s father, a door to door
preacher man, who used words to save the souls
of poor and told knock-knock jokes to them on
walks to the store. They should have cursed
the supporters and the morals of the hard work

Amerikan dream. Should have told them “I
am a slave to the dollar, don’t deceive me.”
Now it’s too late. It became the only
thing they could do and still sleep at night.
To make matters worst, they thought what they
were doing was holy. Now they are
sorry they didn’t study chemistry
with a bigger calculator or worked at an

automobile factory. Or cleaned white
houses on the hill or cut down trees in
the back forty. Or laid concrete for the new
wal-mart, or taught kindergartners not to
eat paper. Could have been a secretary
for a butt doctor or captain of the last
fishing boat on the great lakes. A sales clerk
at a department store jolly at a lipstick

counter, or a librarian dusting classics
while mouthing the words of Wolf.
Could have been a mechanic at an oil change spot
A painter with a brush and a loud radio,
a dancer in a strip-joint where old lonely
men stare at pear shaped butts or horse slaughter
after the races are won and over. But
they decided at seven that they

would be a writer. Now they are poor.
The cycle of poverty and poetry
hangs on human linage like the extra
fat kisses on their ribs. They have turned to sin.
Tell the kids that poetry kills infants,
damns young idealist to hell and makes lunatics
out of the gifted. That advertising

would be better. Tell them to become a
cop or janitor or any other
uphill occupation always needed
and supported. Like you said, “nobody pays
a poet.” Celts have died out, and poesy is a dead
start. A little poem will get them nowhere.
A longer one will make enemies. They
can’t be what you want. So don’t blame them.

Just read their poems. Nobody told
them what they would sacrifice for coupling
sound and silence into clean water.
Frozen, and expended, they twisted fires on
pages, spouted fountains and memory
into stanzas. First loves and oak trees into
war protest endings. Baked tears and shame
into heroes songs and birds into spaceships.

Honey into fingertips and books into blank
explosions of Sunday afternoons. As lovers
they spooned soup and gruel. Gave jars of hope
to anyone with ears to hear and made houses
for the isolated. Surrounded by hugs and hands
they made their lives into imaginary
bars on windows. On tours with notebooks
they rattled until their raspy voices cut the right

pitch on coffee tables and tabloids they mastered
strangers’ faces and mother’s death they turned
into a rose bush growing in a made up
childhood backyard. Before the letters could be
sent they pressed them in Zen cookbooks, and saucy
flower suppers. They made beds out of old
poetasters who they believed were free
and poor with nothing to lose, like themselves

they thought as they crushed their egos into egg
sandwiches and grilled cheese weekends.
They made wine out of cobwebs and urine.
Always working to change the world for the next line.
Damning themselves when they were weak and tired.
O how they tried, and thought they’d win
a sailboat and a piece of Amerika.
Never realized they would die

to light a wick on the heads of their children.
How their children would follow them in their slow
destruction. Wouldn’t have pressed their soles into
bread and jam or spent their weekends writing
scones and chocolate cakes into elegies.
They would have went to work in the factory
if they had known the dandelions
they planted into leather chairs would be

plucked and burnt. If they could have tasted
the bitterness of old age and weak stomachs
they wouldn’t have forced down hot-peppers or ginger
tea fingered by doubt and despair. If they
really thought what they were doing wouldn’t make a difference
they would have kept it to themselves
like they had wanted all along. To sing
in the rain and not in shelter of the shops.

O someone should have told them when they were
young. Poetry isn’t an option, although it’s fun.

2007

Paranoia Schizophrenia or A Song

On his left forearm there is a cross,
a spaceship, and an infinity symbol.

He scars with a rusty putty knife, tells
his little girl, “I cut myself for God.”

His arm is buttered popcorn.

She looks down at her hands, blonde
bangs in eyes, says, “I don’t cut myself.”

Her father has robots in his backpack.
She has an empty lunch bag and the leftover wire.

Her voice is gonna have to be enough and break
the insanity of her father’s inflictions.

Earth is hard. She will have to step soft to
kill father’s lies and stand plucked in song

A Poem For Theo at Dead River

theo talks about city land
i fade in and out the conversation

i’m thinking poetry
slight, dirty hand
touch wet
waft. tare.
sand
he says it sucks, and
people hate poetry

they like pornos better
i say
he laughs, and asks if i know
why
i tell him yeah, soft and shaken

its written for poets
it doesn’t appeal to the
common person
jinx i think

i drink some more coffee

its lost to the professors
and the not haves
i say.

theo can recite w.c.w
but he doesn’t know
jack shit about poetry

he thinks it should rhyme
have even meter.

that was fun he said

he doesn’t think words
are
sounds, pictures,
hues, lovers
he doesn’t hear language breathe
nor taste the salt of
the inadequate symbols
expressed in hopes to
preach the gospel
to the lost disciples
trying support the revolution

tryin to support the evolution
he told me that he would make statues,
paintings. all sorts of shit
and he loves coffee
so he is lucky

i tell him i am building a
life

he sees ignorance
ego
youth

poverty
hope

so thats why i am here.

in the window.

i am trying to prove to theo that
poetry is a live
in his ribs, and bones
that behind his lips,
in the roots of his teeth
in his hair particles

he only sees a man

i laugh.

he asks me if i am good
i tell him i am best
compared to who?
i don’t think he believes me
i don’t think i believe me
if i keep saying it maybe
i will feel the pressure
and a light will come on
like puberty

theo says he used to like
taking pictures of
naked young women

now i like a middle aged
naked-woman
he says

i smile. i think of kate
and short comments
grey hair, soft skin
all poets are lunatics
laughing
i told her she is
right
you can’t deny truth
like that

but i don’t care
do you

she must have spent some time
with young poet before
must have begged
her acceptance
praise, and clap
clap, clap

don’t clap

think.

or maybe
she gets
sick of their
endless expansion
scribbling on napkins
and shower curtains

their constant search
for truth
enlightenment
its exhausting
to see a dog chase

and never leave his front
yard

the shadow of his house
always blocking

i try to act like i
don’t think i am
better because i love
poetry
and if i had a dead river
i would let
the poets come
and crazy up the place

there would be drums
and guitars
clanking spoons
and we would have to call
the place ‘river.
alive river?

too much?

there’s others
they come and go

you can see desire
in their hands.

the way they are bent, slightly
shaking around the coffee cup

dry, and worn smooth

i asked theo to show me
how to roast beans
he would rather tell me
how to do it, but once he starts
talking, you can tell he is a man
who knows more about coffee
than i know about poetry
what he does, hardly nobody cares
we say stuff like this is the best coffee
in town.
but its meaningless
because me and theo know
not everyone wants the best
but i do
and theo is thinking about it

so i sit in his window
i would rather
listen to him ramble on about coffee
some more
i could really learn something
so i go have beer and
try to forget his doubt
.
i like beer

i get drunk after one

so what
the wind picks up, i look back at
the lake just to make sure she’s still
there
and blue
and i have to walk there
and put my feet in
and make sure she’s still
cold.
clap. clap
good job lake

for one second i
feel like i am special
i feel united
and at peace
i feel strong
and in control
even if it is forgotten after
my coffee cup is broken
for a moment i made history
as a poem in the window

trying to teach theo
he’s poetry

Two Boys Cry

Dad does not toss around with his two sons.
Matt and Sam throw the football at tan siding.
Dad never put money into an account
for his sons’ college education.

They’ll get by on their own, like he did.

Dad works at a foundry. 12 hours a day, 12 days on a
concrete slab, in a iron dust assembly line
Dad grinds 100 pound parts and is paid for piece work.

He has the rooted body of a windswept pine.

Matt, the eldest, is 11, and a fierce disciplinarian.
He’s afraid at the beach when the water hits
his knees, and makes Sam go in first.
Sam throws seaweed. Matt bunches in his face.
Dad sleeps in the warm sun at the kitchen table,
his black snot, damp and moving.
Dad is a gamer. A clean face father,
brown hair with slices of grey, tv eyes,
car radio, a flannel shirt cover,
blood calloused hands. Not a good cooker.
Sam is six and buds hunger. Matt will make cheese sandwiches.

The boys are violently happy. No one tells them its bed time.
No one sings about disgusting lovers and petal adventures.
And even if they weren’t, what could they do?
They can’t go to mother, say, ‘where are you’
She’s dead. And dad, dad’s too tired to wake-up.

Their battle cry is something else.

Claque For The Dripping Faucet Minds The Slices Of Bread

i guess if you knew where this story was going you wouldn’t continue listening. you’d say something about this being a clay shay of claptrap
but since you don’t know where this is going
or what i would have you feel you continue in this twisted jargon game

do you remember learning about string theory and the gigantic brain that we are in that has been named half heartedly

when two slices of the bread hit together solar systems are created
like the first step into an idea with the clash of the second idea a theory is formed the same way a woman makes a lung while sipping tomato juice there is not much different in the way the woman’s mother made her mother’s grave dress out of the knitted table cloth that lightened the old oak table that was forgotten in the last move to the room where on Saturdays an old man dressed up as clown comes and sings ballads that remind the woman how hard it was to make it to the urine drenched chair that she sits hunched forward on the chair, which was once connected to the table, which is an idea that was talked about while eating toast and jam like a jam and toe fused in symbols means the same as growing old and the same as giving birth in small rooms that smell of bread and solar systems where the table and chair and the new ideas with the two slices of bread met jam and toes and her birth

the circle of ideology is a scary thing to see unfold for the first time. the second time it is life changing pleasantry

today, thankfully i woke early washed dishes picked up discarded papers that wore houses with eyes monsters who gave candy grey hair wrapped around pennies i scrubbed on my hands and knees with a coarse brush and later before bed had sex with my husband

he told me it had a been a good day, and i smiled back a repeated idea

today i was careful to focus on what i was doing slowly banished thoughts about long narrow passages that lead to more bulging tremor passages that lead back to wrinkled diminutive passages the red pepper sauce on the green plate. the crunched up collage of falling leaves with glitter dirt the tightness of long strands of hair on youth penny dates 1997, 1984, 1976 the grain of wood under soapy purifying reflection the tongue licking up spine into the mouth of the salt block dream

let me make it clear that there was
no where i wanted to go
no new idea i needed to meet
no twisted game i wanted to end.

the simple sound of water dripping out of the faucet was enough to
make every minute not turning it off a claque repeating positions.

by now you realize this is going nowhere new
nothing shocking nothing flippant and attention grabbing
no new way to feel insignificant want
you will have to learn to feel the simple inner empty space in your today by yourself

that is why i recommend you stop reading clay shay claptrap sorry for exhausted efforts and remember guessing twisted games that you don’t want to end and despite large

imaginations logics theories your solar voyages
are not much different than the solar systems’ endings which by now you must know
are the same as the bindings which lead back to the beginnings of why you continued listening to this twaddle that you felt would fill you with some-things.

Raw Yellow Chicken Scabs

I ate a piece of raw chicken on
accident. I didn’t see all those yellow

scabs. The last time I took a piss
was a couple of minutes ago.

May I have the blue sweater you’re sitting
on? It smells like two kinds of farts in here. I need to walk

more. The inner parts of my thighs shift when
my backside twitches. I hate this diner

we always go to. The coffee taste like
stale almonds. I noticed a pile of

guts on the sidewalk on my way back from
the doctor. It looked like noodles and oatmeal

with French salad dressing. I would have stepped
in it if hadn’t been for the seagull

staring at me. He kept saying he was
lonely and it caused me to look down.

Leaders of U.S.A -resign if your stupid

First let me be clear. I am an independent. I do not believe that Democrats or Republicans have the best interest of U.S.A in mind when they act or else they are stupid. They can’t all be that stupid so I assume that they hate U.S.A and the people. If not the right thing would be done and we wouldn’t have all the political lies.

If you elect me I’ll make Santa bring you a Porsche. They might as well say that because they play the fence and realize that we will buy their B.S. President, Senators, House of Representatives, I call to you to prove that you have the people in mind. We have elected you and we demand that you act in the best interest of us all, without sacrificing the least of us.

This is my call. You can pretend I am stupid, but I see through your bullshit. and so do many other Americans. You have spent trillions of dollars on war and the money, where the hell has it gone? You have tortured innocents. and you have lied your way to war, so your rich supporters could make even more money, while the American people are suffering and poor and sick. You take our blue-collar youth and use them in your plots of greed. We know this, the evidence is in.

We are a hopeful, idealistic, and forgiving people. We are loyal and willing to fight. You leaders have made horrible, stupid choices. Why? If you are so stupid, why don’t you hire a 12 year old, or college freshman to lead you. If you are so stupid, and really don’t know what do, resign, Say. “I’m stupid, and can’t do the job” We will at least be able to respect you for your self-awareness, for honesty and loyalty to us, the people.
I know there are complicated issues, but you are the ones given the responsibility to wade through the greed and power struggle to bring prosperity to our nation. If you can’t do that, why would we want you in office? Why? Do you think your good looks inspire us? Come on. So just so you know, we are not stupid. We are patient and we know it takes time. But your time has come to an end. It is now time to tell us the truth. we will not stand by and let you spend our wealth so your buddies can stuff even more of our money in their and your already over stuffed pockets. You bring shame on us President. Stop playing stupid or be prepared to face our picket signs. We are not loyal to men who abuse us President. We have no loyalty to you as a man. We have given you our best and you have misused our resources. Are you that stupid? Really, resign. If you are that incapable of handling the job, resign, make way for someone who is capable, and there are many.
All the people are not stupid. Yes, there are many stupid people, but there are also many smart people. And guess what, the smart people are telling the stupid people, and they are learning, they are capable of learning, of freeing themselves from ignorance. You are stupid, and are not capable. You have proven that. So resign. Go back to your tower. Go back to riding in your golf cart, and leave the politics to someone who can do the job. Resign, you’re dumb. Evil is stupid. Destroying innocent lives is stupid. War for war’s sake is stupid. That’s what you have given us. And Congress, I expect more from you. You are  spending too much money. Yeah. on war. without results

You have sat by, and allowed this idiot to control our nation, without stopping him when you knew what he was doing was stupid. why? are you scared? how does an angry mob of citizens make you feel? How does the let down of today’s youth make you feel? Go ahead ask. They think our government is a joke and it is your fault. Resign

Or start standing up for U.S.A and her people. We want you to spend our money on what is needed, we want you to set priorities, like we have to in our budgets. Health and income is our greatest concern. we have to be healthy to work so we can buy what our business and families need. Our families and employees need shelter, food, clean air and water, education. Everything depends on health.
Right now, most U.S citizens are trying to maintain health, provide shelter, clothes and food for their families.  Stop playing games with us.  We did not vote you into office so you could get rich. Resign or do your job