Today I’m sitting around procrastinating and playing with my son Eli. Outside, it’s raining - it’s going to rain all weekend, looks like - and I’m feeling a little punch drunk because I haven’t been sleeping enough this week. Still, I’m feeling pretty good, because I’ve put a lot into my novel this week, and after this week’s done, we’ll have the weekend ahead of us, followed by a week dominated by school and DragonCon. More on that when it arrives.
The weather and Eli’s sweet little voice are making me feel poetic. So no sharp words today. No angst or pointed discussion. At least not here and not yet.
Instead, I’ll share a couple of poems with you.
The first one is a poem I got published when I was in Grad School at NYU. It appeared in a little student journal called New Ink. I don’t think it was that good, but it’s kind of pretty, and has a couple of good lines in it. The version which appears here is edited slightly from the version which appeared in the magazine - I wanted to improve the poem, and since it IS mine, I can.
and raised eyebrows
Balloons and spiced tea
Why don’t you sit across from me?
I lean back into my reject velvet purple shiny armchair
Chinese food stains all over my de facto bib
I found it (the armchair) alongside you my dear
Next to the trash bin, in the freezing cold
Took it inside
And you followed me, sniffling
Right after that, the world did a little jiggidy-jig
And I was reaching for something on my right with my left hand
and cigarette curly smoke
Candle wax and organ chords
Why don’t you relax and share some words?
I sip my fat free aspartame vanilla coffee
Watch you twitch and cough adroitly
And I wonder what follows this –
Bowl of nuts and scratchy ska albums
Despite the severity of weather
Despite the new tilt of the world
At least my hands are warm.
This next one is actually full of sharp words, so I apologize for suggesting there wouldn’t be any. Still, sharp words or not, this poem is actually a love poem of sorts to my brother, written to let him know that we didn’t have to compete with each other anymore…. We don’t, and we’re better people for it. This one appeared in the Spring 2000 Issue of The Spoon River Poetry Review.
“Capacity is not the same thing as genius.”
- William Hazlitt
We’ve long sipped from the same flagon —
You call it a canteen, I call it a flagon.
And for quite a while you’ve owned a car
And I’ve been content with my sorcery, my linguistics, my urges
And my dragon.
You are the practical one; I am the practiced.
I’ve gathered experiences while you’ve planned your walks
I’ve stumbled in darkness, tripped over words
And you’ve filled out credit applications, weighed the checks and balances —
Arithmetic in chalks.
Long we lived together under one prodigious roof
And brotherly I mocked you and brotherly you cursed
I have scars on my inner thigh
And you over your blue right eye
You do the calculation, I will write the verse.
Though my words are sacrilegious, though your replies are terse.
Though in money you and hymen I are Cocytusly immersed
You do the calculation, brother, and I will write the verse.