Tag Archives: comedy

elegy for a lost DVD

Next prompt for class was to write a poem about a movie. I choose The Darjeeling Limited by Wes Anderson, a movie that I can always just turn on and drift away in. One week in the fall when I was going through some rough stuff, I watched it once every day. ILOVEIT. But I lost my DVD copy, though. It’s kinda upsetting. Luckily I can almost replay the whole thing in my mind’s eye…

Seeking Moksha
After The Darjeeling Limited

Wake up, brother. Where would I have seen you
last? Was it the funeral, after the taxi spewed
Dad’s change across 57th and Mom released,
an absent saint? Since then you’ve technically
died and I’ll follow, unbodied by these opiates,
half-smoked cigs and scotch. Brother,

I should’ve known you’d try to break open, throw
yourself from your cycle and rise in a crown
of gauze. All the nights spent at Hotel Chevalier
in a stolen bathrobe, transmuting your sadness
to prose—you live alone there, a casual thing—
you retch the hot musk-swell of Voltaire No. 6,

Parisian wine, curled clove-stars from Rajasthan—
probably one of the most spiritual places
in the world!” You sweat burnt sienna: turmeric,
the bindi thumbed to your brow now bleeding
as you limp after the street-swilled shoeshine
stealing your loafers. We are long-faced gamboling

this love-gutted dramedy, prowling the frost-glass
carriage doors of a locomotive lost on a one-way
track—we can’t know where to go. We haul
heavy luggage, haunt rails like angry Hindu djinns
bhangra-ing to 70s British blues-pop—what can we do
but cling to the vacuous continent of grief? Brother,

in your peacock-feather tantric tadasana, you know
the thoracic lurch that punched his gut when the fender
fractured his femur, hip and heart. You fear healing
won’t come, the bandages won’t give way to holy
pink scars and memories of hurt. There was
a plan for this pilgrimage, but fuck the itinerary

fuck the itinerary, fucking fuck the itinerary. We’ll
just drift with everything Ganges running-running,
drunk in the sallow veil of this land so sugar-bitter
like under-ripe lime over ice, or the cherry scowl
of a lover, lips red like Dad’s Jaguar never-resurrected—
not even after we jumped it, shoved it up the block.


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Filed under for class, New Writing, Poetry, Unedited, Unpublished

I don’t have a clever title, but i do have a poem.

I knocked another prompt off of my prompt list: this one is about lobster. Yeaah.
This piece is kind of…piece-y, I guess? It doesn’t seem to flow, for some reason. It also feels too narrative for me. It’s also about animals again. Maybe I should work more slowly, find new prompts, try a specific format/style to work within…my work feels really narrow and unsatisfactory right now. Suggestions?
Like anyone is reading this, anyways.
OK, here ya go:

Homarus americanus

In the receding squalls of last century, you couldn’t keep them
from flooding the gritty Formica shores from Labrador to New Jersey,
clogging the groynes and wharves of the local beaches with their mottled
sunset coats of armor, flipping and scratching as the waves washed
them in. Mariners braved the pinch and snap of twenty, eleven
or nine-pounders stranded by storm tides, scooping the arthropods
back into the sea before the gulls and sun turned their briny bodies
rotten and salty, their sandy scuttling suffocated. They ground
up the chitin bodies of the already-dead and spread them over dirt
more valuable than their lives—meat and muscle only befitting
of peasants, prisoners and pioneers in the far Northwest.

But soon, when the rails learned how to transport lobster flesh
across the continent live, on ice, to the glittering light-spools
of Midwestern cities, the crustacean kings ascended to white linen thrones
of luxury adorned with crystal wineglasses and silver tureens. In the dark
howl of a used cattle car, you picture the hordes in their hardwood crates
still stained with the slippery Maine air, curled up and watchful,
rattling with the sway and shift of the tracks. They did not contemplate
the fate yawning open before them: the boiling, black cast-iron pot
like a frothy tidepool in the wake of a Noreaster; the hissing, steamy
depths, the heat, the trembling upon their first dip, the death
that turned their ocean-bottom shells from the earthy, cooled-lava
blues and browns to an expensive, angry, scalding red.

Today rusty traps bob in the turgid basins of the East Coast tidal plains,
clanking and pinging their radar rings and winding carefully down
slopes of underwater mountains crested with sea-lichen and marine grit.
Their prey listen and challenge with their beefy claws—one to crush
and grind, one to slice chewy bait drifting on the undersea motes
of their benthic homes. They tango with their pereiopods, oven-mitt
pinchers locking into place as males grip each other in a struggle
or couples clasp to one another in the dance of mating. Time runs
long for a lobster, decades building and shedding
over their segments and plates until they grow into monsters
of the deep, ancient and keen—creepy crawlers with twitchy
feelers and peristaltic feet inching along their dreamworld.

Goliath sat in his Boston sports bar tank and stewed
for many Superbowls, the years clicking down his decapod back.
You wouldn’t know how old he’s gotten, but the langoustine bones
he wears on the outside proudly proffer over half a century
of scars, holding all twenty pounds of him inside. Sympathetic
hands wrapped him up in icy towels of saltwater and set him free
in a Montreal aquarium where he keeps expanding, king
of his teal shallows, his shape a testament to Maine Gulf wilderness
without a threat and scorn for his smaller, scrawnier compatriots
served up every Sunday afternoon in butter baths and parsley frills.

In the sterile, fluorescent passageways of the local grocery store,
you dive into the murky cyan of their holding cells, contemplating
their taste. Peer into the glass portal, into those stalked eyes
alight with orange and brown blotches of flame, framed
in spiny gills, and you may receive a salute of angry, banded
claws in response, calico and toothed, still clenching the briny
ribbons of a marine slipstream miles and memories away,
not lost to an aging and defiant crustacean cut off
before his prime, who embraces the dunk into the slimy ooze
of dressings, herbs, nutcrackers, bibs and knives.


Filed under New Writing, Poetry, Summer work, Unedited, Unpublished

Blinded by Nostalgia

I’ve been writing too much about childhood too much, I think. First with the siblings poem and now this. A pokemon poem. Poke-em?

The prompt for class was to write about an imaginary animal, and why would I use my imagination when I can steal from the imaginary prowess that dominated most of my childhood? So, here is my homage to the most famous imaginary creature of my generation. Dare I say of all time? My emotions still run pretty deep about it, as this poem indicates. Hope it takes you back, if you can access the reference.

Lightning Mouse

When lightning strikes, the creatures flock
to the smoking, shocked earth to feast on the dirt
that tastes of roasted almonds and mesquite, flashing
in their mouths like spearmint triboluminescence.
Electricity coursing over munching rose-blot cheeks,
they race through fields like currents measured
in amperes of intensity as powerlines ignite overhead
and crackling charges spiral through their scamper
in squealing snaps. They thrive under the storm-tossed
sky of a rural Okinawa night, crooked tails
and nimble paws dancing like St. Elmo’s Fire.
Bolts skitter across their saffron bodies, build
in their rodent-bones until they cry out, and blast out
with hungry fingers of fire and light. No thunder
follows their strike, only guttering sparks haloing
cherubic faces: glittering eyes and a small smile,
with pointed ears pricked, electric, twitching—
the subtle touch of a blue-blossom static charge.

A relic from my childhood I'm too attached to let go of. Embarassing.

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Filed under for class, New Writing, Poetry

GOT INTO CANVAS YEEUH (and more poems)

So they decided to add Agua Honda into the FALL 2010 EDITION OF CANVAS. Hollabackk. Do you recall that piece of literary GENIUS? Well, you should.

In other news, here are a bunch more poems to keep you entertained…I would have updated sooner but I had binnez to take care of, being a published writer and all.

PROMPT: Write a poem from the point of view of an inaimate object. What would it think if it had a soul?

I’ve decided–fishbowls would be the nihilists of the material world. Such emptiness…

The Existential Crisis of a Fish Bowl

What happens to you when,
after so many days of living with
so much weight, you find everything
inside of you has died? Free-floating
fish, you were my anchor, my fixation
of all points within, flowing through
my liquid conscious. I was so still
for you, careful not to spill your
fragile flame from my basin.
When they came to me, they looked
through, into the jewel-bright
treasures my fluted flanks and
generous hips held. Oh anguish,
the day your essence was scoured
out of my depths, leaving me empty
again. How can I express my disarray?
I am a dying lung, hollow and brittle,
gasping and gaping as you did in your
final moments. I wish for the water
once more—what’s the point
of being so light? The only thing
that comes through me now is
the sun, pale and timid, shattering
into a spectrum of colored confusion
as it passes through this void.

PROMPT: Write a poem incorporating a weird/true fact and a familiar saying.

Bayt al-Hikma

After the Mongol hordes washed in waves
over the streets of Baghdad, treading
through the cobbled streets crooked and red
with trails of blood, they tore the library down
to broken stones and flung the tomes
thick and sturdy into the Tigris with flumping
splashes of paper and water. The river ran black
as the knowledge lifted away from its pages
and bled from the bloated bodies, the spines
splitting into the ether of waterlogged decay,
currents clearing words away in swift strokes.
When the sodden sheets fluttered down in drifts
to the river bottom, the silt scrubbed the last
of the pen scratches from paper in swipes
as easy as the clearing of memory. Can you
imagine the shining stream of obsidian cutting
through the ravaged land, mournful as the caliph’s
cry? Reaching through the depths, they could not
wade into the same book twice. Rambling
over the lands, the library slurred into a stream
of babble, languages lost in a raging rush of ignorance,
flashing like the swing of a jealous conqueror’s
flail. If they could, they would have collected
those ribbons of onyx like pearls of wisdom,
stringingthe lessons history taught into beads
of prayer, reminding themselves of the many
names that give shape to grief: stones slick
from the inky-smooth swirl of a turgid current.

I have another on for all y’all, but it’s too rough to reveal yet. Definitely not in my typical style, either…a prose poem describing a fantastic/surreal event. We’ll see how this goes.

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Filed under Canvas, New Writing, Poetry, Published, Unedited, Unpublished

ENG W-3O3, and a lack thereof

So, W303 has been super disappointing lately. I was expecting something to help me get farther in the craft of writing…The challenge has been severely lacking, since the prompts have been grounded in writing about yourself, and i hate writing about myself. To me, it’s the most uninteresting practice in the field of writing. But maybe therein lies the challenge of W3O3…

Anyways, I’m embarrassed to display (but will, for a lack of better things to publish and a need to make up for a lack of posts in a while…), a poem about my name (or lack thereof) and a poem about a trip with my family (or lack thereof).

Also, applied for an editor position in my dorm. And am really anxious for Canvas submissions to open again.

Proper Name

Rebecca is a bitch name,
with the bossy pop of the lips over the medial b,
the scoffing huff of the double c lifting
into an annoyed “aaahhh…”

Rebecca. I knew lots of them
in my younger days, and none
were very nice. So I’m trading in

for the sugar sweetness
of a bubbly b and a grinning y:

Becky! I don’t care what you call me,
just don’t use my proper name.

My younger cousin had the right idea
as he stumbled over those pretentious
syllables, renaming me

My father caught all my flaws with his names.
Wharf! He called as he crushed
my baby fat rolls against my forehead.
Dumbo! echoed down my ears
as he flicked them into flapping.
Then I was Celltower, the title
sharp as the braces cutting under my tongue.

I was my mother’s Hunkaburninlove—
she was into Elvis—and her Gorgeous-Girl,
an attempt to reverse the damage.

In school, I was Potatoes (boiled, of course),
then Saddlebags, then Beef-short-for-Beefcake,
and finally, Bubba.

You can try to get it just right,
siphoning language to fit over my face,
but identity slips away, never catching
the contours and shadows, the place
I went to when I scratched out
my proper name on the attendance sheet.

At the Game

It’s 8 o’ clock on a Friday, and my family is gone,
in South Bend for the weekend to watch the football game.
They’ve gone without me and I walk, for lack of better
things to do, smoking my last clove alone. Smoke curls
singe my tongue, harsh and fragrant, while columns of tobacco
unfurl along the spokes of my spine like sails. Vapors dash
away from my shadow and slither into the October night,
cold and swift. The copper penny of the moon leans
into umber cloud banks, dizzy as the navy sky wheels around it.
Streetlight runs away in all directions, and people wander
close on this path, flickering and bright on bikewheel
haunts, but we do not walk together. Meanwhile, my family

is probably driving back to Indianapolis after visiting
La Casa del Rio for burritos. I can see the car, with its black
closeness and shifting polygons of speedway shadows.
They will circle the twilit highways of Northern Indiana,
the road sharp and clear as a pop-art image white phantasms
of fog billow over the glossy plain of the windshield
and glowing needles of radio towers watch like sentinels,

but they won’t come close to me. I need another clove, but
the box is empty. I want to take off running into the muted
stillness of this night, into the dark steeped in the amber autumn
and all its bad advice, but I’m not wearing the right shoes.
Knots of clothing empty of their bodies turn at my staggering
approach and veer off the bone-white sidewalk.

Velvety lawns sigh scents of damp Earth and rot and harvest,
of fetid leaves and frosted fruit. They croon invitations to me
to finally lay still, but I go on. I am walking as my family
slides their car through some unnamed Midwestern town,
turning the static on the stereo higher in hopes of catching
the last strands of the game on radio waves that will stutter
over my last blossoms of cigarette smoke and pass me by.

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Filed under for class, Old Writing, Poetry, Uncategorized, Unedited