Tag Archives: random

one from spring break

Over break I had a dream about foxes and I have a friend who decided their spirit animal from a dream they had about goats, so I’m thinking maybe my spirit animal is a fox? What was my fox-dream trying to tell me?

Then I ended up on a weird part of the internet taking spirit animal quizzes and learning about spirituality, tarot and mysticism. I also found a cute little comic about animals going through existential crises.

I thought about how these things are tied up in how people structure their own self-perceptions and identities, how the use of such symbology creates a certain declaration about who they are and why from an external source, when such an exercise is a very private and sacred internal contemplation that can’t ever be fully captured from the outside.

Anyways, I used my friend as a VERY CRUMBLY FOUNDATION and then EMBELLISHED AND EMBELLISHED THE SHIT OUT OF HER. So, to my friend, if you read this, please please please don’t hate this. You were merely a tool in my own literary exercise, a way to distance my self from this self that I wanted to figuratively examine. Hopefully this contemplation is a token of gratitude for the inspiration?

The Mystic

She had a totem dream—goat
spirit raced to her from the rockiest
peak, consuming everything. She opened

the tarot door, rode her Bianchi down a concrete
creek—-black crossbars and aluminum rims.
Her cards spilled art deco on my carpet:

indigo damask and maroon arabesque, the twist
of horn-bones and hollyhock ghosting desert sky,
the roll of rocky courses down a mountain spine—

Pay attention to the pentacles, she said, the whole
fucking spectrum of experience.
Chakra lines
bloomed blue, the refract of her veins at the wrist—

come up from your hollow, she said
to the surface where we wait for you.
I couldn’t ladder her Dao chiasmus

braiding down the page. She drew
a ram-skull on her scapula, got a head
of garlic tattooed to her ribs. I’m trying

to take care of myself. She rode home
alone to her new apartment, everything still
packed except some speakers and an album

of jangly dream-pop on fuzzy repeat,
basked in a beam of pastel violet, the bounce-
back of Capricorn caught in her curtain.

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i think of the birds i sight as omen work

whenever i see crows, i think trouble.
whenever i see larks, jays, robins, i think joy.
sparrows signify suspension.
so when scott and i drove through the migration site of the sandhill cranes before we won our respective races, i knew we were going to be successful. here’s the series of fragments i developed for class as a result, with edits.

Migration Land

Useless panorama
punched down deadpack
of February defrost brown

but not brown more gray
cut with divining lines
season cycle luster-fade

harvest chaff and husk
below quieting conversation
retreating cloudshores

reflected in the hot shine
coffee melting
paperboard walls

night-cool
swampland on endless loop
against the glass undulating

sunrise breath steams
detritus tule-rush
whisked hoary ribbons

before the dashboard
a continent opens worried wing
banded white feather bustle

brushing sedged ditches
born there now fleeing
on the exhale crests

arrowed call roofed by red cap
crane-skull nestled easy
the sling of a muscled neck

silvered and hollow resonating
asking and answering minor notes
chasm blush between clean

horizon and the overcast
red tones woven over asphalt-waver
warming rubber treads.

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i wrote this after watching river monsters.

Jeremy Wade is a god. And a master story-teller. So he told this story of electric eels killing some cowboys when they feel in a river, I was enticed to look them up. Here’s what they inspired.

Electric

On Orinoco river bottoms
or stagnant Amazon waters—
in the dark, in the black
mud, saliva-slick,
they doze, cutlass bodies,
stillwater drones
with pock-punched muzzles
and humming hulls
like bright citrus—
a buzz of low-volt
slumber,
a thick black ribbon
of muscle, a ripple
in the murk—
their bodies rope
over a threshing flank
churning in the slip-stream,
battery-bullet cells
punching, punching,
punching each charge
into an embrace,
and the shock
does not kill, only
stuns, suffocates
the victims as they drown,
as they fold into the electric
clamp of knife-fish bodies
that caress, searching
the numb body twitching
in its neural collapse.

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theodicy

the next post is the product of the prompt: ‘describe a scheme gone wrong.’ i thought it worked nicely with this thing i’ve been kicking around in my head about good and evil and religion. if god exists, why do bad things happen in the world? this is the elementary question of the religious doctrinal debate known as theodicy. so. here’s my contemplation of god’s existence in the face of evil.

When I Lost Faith in God

Baby, we almost died on that street in Montmarte.
We felt so free, so drunk in our wrenching
open of the world, lapping up the marrow
of life: Bordeaux on the lawn of the Basilica of Sacre Couer,
lime and rum in the streets of Le Marais, staggering
through the cobbled streets of Bohemia—
The sour suction of guilt drains down my scalp
in a migraine, turning my stomach, boiling
up my throat. I suffocate on the reverb of memory
echoing through my lungs, on every shard
of the trauma that touched us that night: you, ripped,
using your body in ways you never dreamed
to save it; me, adrift, my limbs too heavy to fight—
from the backseat of the Parisian cruiser the sun
stroked the mullioned face of Notre Dame
with a pink and peaceful ray and I snarled
at the fantasy. Forty hours of insomnia, stale coffee
and imported cigarettes with Che’s face on the carton,
Oh God, Jesus, Fuck—theodicy unraveling in the cruelest
fashion as the train rocks us back across the English Channel.
Calls come in from the hospital, the embassy, parents
too far away: static on the airwaves save for the halting
breath that inquires into the anguish, wavering, falling
flat. I am a poet strangled to inarticulation, Frenchless,
Englishless, stripped of every fiber of intelligence
that flew me over these seas. Clinging to you, I feel
the miles spiral under us in the city of broken love
as its bore its brutality to us: hypnagogic gyrations cut
with sallow streetlamps and concrete, harsh alien syllables,
sterile waiting rooms and pooled blood in smoke-scratched
eyelids praying to close, to break the bad dream.

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inspired by creepers.

Class assignment: 20-line narrative poem.
I was really stuck.
I sat in the library for a few hours trying to come up with something and then I got distracted by the ‘Missed Connections’ page on Craigslist (because 1-they’re hilarious/sad/cute, 2-there may be one about ME there, 3-i’m going to plot a real juicy one someday and plant it to see what happens and i need inspiration). Then I realized that these people are telling stories about others they’ve wished to meet–making NARRATIVES. And I smashed a few of them together to create a fake missed connection narrative poem (an idea SHAMELESSLY STOLEN from Francisco).
I was thinking about word and line economy here, too.
Like, I say so much superfluous shit in a piece. If William S Burroughs came by and cut all my words apart in this poem and tried to put them back together, how would my writing fare? Sooo I tried to make every word earn its spot. And another thing: if every line in a poem is supposed to be valuable in itself, how do each of my lines read alone? Do they get better as the poem develops, as they should?
Probably not, but. You tell me.

Missed Connection:

You found a ukulele on the street
outside Salvation Army. Smoothing
each grubby gray sticker peeling
from the battered black laminate,
you let your hands learn every broken
note the overwound strings could sing,
the whine of the catgut left yowling
in the gutter. Your knuckles wheeled
the knobs, the instrument wrung out
its rainwater blues, and you passed me
with the case cradled in your elbow.
We had a quick glance and I couldn’t smile.
Tell me the songs you know, the way
you twang your fingers in a slack-key style,
the feeling of pulling those courses
from the soundboard until they hum—
I can see the music filling you up
as you bounce away, a rolling propulsion
of chirruping notes and treble tones.

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i make goals and then i don’t do them.

Here’s a list of stuff I came across today that I want to write about this weekend:
-the life and times of the Prophet Muhammad
-the significance of the hijab and the theology of veils in Islam
-‘theodicy,’ the defense of god’ greatness in spite of the existence of evil
-the burning of judas (look it up)
-the mental breakdown of Brian Wilson
-the evolution of hip hop in 1970’s south harlem

And then here’s a poem I wrote in about 20 minutes that doesn’t really relate to any of that, except that it’s inspired by a random article I saw in Sun Magazine about kids neglected by their parents are more likely to be diagnosed with ADD; disorder spawns from unstable home life. So, yeah. This is like, the instability of standard childhood memories?…Maybe I’ll have more luck with my other ideas.

And then tomorrow I really have to go back through my stuff and pick some pieces for a poetry reading I’m participating in on Friday. SHOOOOOOT.

Without further ado:

What Ails You

You are a child, and
you feel like the viral footage
of an erupting volcano on loop.
Your parents need you to be quiet,
sit still and stop twisting your hands
into sticky pink knots in your lap.
You are locked up at home
with cigarette-scarred floors and
worn down couches and
shoe-scuffed pianos and
echoes of speeding traffic shredding
your head.
There is a silent black dog
staring in the lamp-lit yard
across the street, and
the shattered white ripples
in the swimming pool chant
their drowning song in your ear, and
the green buzz of the television
turns your belly until
your bitten-back tears
gush out, mingling with the static.
You wonder about the color
of your insides: red
like shut eyelids, angry and ill,
or blue like nightmares and
shut closets, forgotten and
full of dark, unimaginable things.

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i dunno what i’m doing

Here’s a poem about nothing! It has an imaginary premise that is too vague to be relatable, an incomplete resolution, and too many metaphors that can’t be reconciled easily because of the multiple weird subjects from which I pulled for source material…It would be really interesting to see what my internet history looks like after this kind of thing. Ah well. It’s what I do in about 2 hours of random internet surfing.

Black & White

We have made this bed too hot, the light and shadow
striations too bright on our bodies sprawled
on the sea-tossed mattress. I don’t know where to start
into the geography between your coast and mine: waves
of different strengths shaping vague bays and berms,
oblique angles of our swelling drawing dark
drift lines on the sheets. I trace the places
where your skin presses continents
into your sweat-damp shirt—ridges and roughs
of each bruise-gray cityscape printed on your ribs—
and reach into ink-black valleys we’ve made
in our daguerreotype embrace, knowing
how hollow I was before I felt how solid
you were. I ached for you in all my emptiness,
shattered and white, fragile as cockle scattered
on the shore. Slate squalls billowed briny breezes
through your lungs as you hummed with Belafonte’s
crackling calypso, ready to rush you back out. Your eyes
open, radiating onyx spindles and oily drops of life—vivid,
searching in the smoky monochrome of midnight. I wish
you didn’t have to find me, the sad and ruined thing
laid bare in this illusion, the snapped-keel shipwreck
run aground, smeared from the scene, nullified.

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