Tag Archives: water

After Overdosing on Sean Singer

Reading Discography by Sean Singer in class this month. I was going through his book and also his stuff on From the Fishouse (AN AMAZING LINK TO SOME SWEET HONEY, GO ENJOY THAT SHIT), and I realized that this dude was blowing my head off. HE IS INSANELY GOOD. I couldn’t even hang on to some of the language he was pulling off in his work, but a week later his lines are still rattling around in my head, particularly from my favorite, “Echolocation”:
“Into a dustbowl of annihilation the rotating head/seizes its empire of blood; a storm collapses each/mouse bone as the threnody of rain crushes the air.”
But he also has a Robert Johnson poem that puts mine to SHAAAME because of the line “Doping doping all through the grape night.” LIKE. AAAAHHH.
His knowledge of jazz and blues, travel and history and his exercises in self-persona construction are amazing. So I stayed up til about 2 reading everything I could find on him and trying to soak up his tone and voice for a second. I wanted to try on his style for myself in a piece, so here’s what I came up with. Anything I do pales in comparison to his prowess though–I guess this is just a little shoutout to him for taking my skull on a walk last week. CHECK. HIM. OUT.

After Overdosing on Sean Singer

I close against this cobalt
wall of insomnia,
unforgiving in its grind.
an ocean rolls off a distant ridge—
slow dope-draw of traffic
to the hypoderm
at my temple, the thinnest veil
bearing the heart’s starved
hypoxia, its
drag and ratamacue.
Singer slips another
line down the gyri: jazz and
its hawkish homology
making another loop—
he wishes I were an onion
so I can feel his thumb
peel my layers.

the water trembles
over, too much at the glass-rim,
darkens in ominous polygons
on my carpet—some cartography
of the dreams ahead: jaws
and cheeks and shuttering lids
rising like the hedron
in the eight-ball—what
waits in the smalt-wash
of these indigo visions
and sleepless strokes?
I’ll theorize about the sounds
the animals make in my walls,
scratching wider passages
through the plaster,
their empires of arteries
pushing work in the dark.
Their bodies will fold
into some appropriate
hugeness, like how
the cavern of my mouth
cradles the bite-bruised
petal of my tongue.


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mermaid trimeter poetry thing uh

another prompt for class deriving from pages 1-12 of the poetry dictionary.
the whole damn thing was on accentual meter. so i decided i was going to do a trimeter piece, which i’ve attempted before, nbd.
however, i was also kicking around the idea of a fugue.
a fugue is not a poetic form. In music, a fugue (FEWG) is a technique in two or more voices, built on a subject (theme) that is introduced at the beginning in imitation (repetition at different pitches) and recurs frequently in the course of the composition. the voices work to interweave, repeat, turn upside down in pitch and all kinds of stuff.
so, poetically speaking, this fails, since music is about polyphonics. but repetition, stanzaic modulation and sonic play can imitate it a little. the most bombass fugue poem can be read here, where the author spices up the fugue even more with the play of german and english. another good one is this, and the author’s audio explanation for how it was made (william carlos williams + markov text generator) IS SO EFFING COOL. listen!!
FINALLY, with the challenge of a trimeter fugue piece, i was kicking around the idea of the little mermaid. like, she’s a siren. she’s supposed to sing men out to sea and kill them, but instead (at least in the original story), she gives up her voice and endures horrible suffering for her man and then dies. talk about subversion of female power. no wonder disney took that shit over (but of course, you don’t have a franchise if you have a dead princess).
then i really wanted some balance with six sestets following my fugue progression (you know, divisible by three).
OK SO THAT’S EVERYTHING GOING ON IN THIS BITCH. took about 6 hours of work? i dunno. again, not completely satisfied due to form constraints. GIMME SOME FEEDBACK.

Siren Fugue

Breach the ambient scatter
of sun in wave-washed
depths, where everything stirs
and stirs. Breach the ambient
scatter of wavering song
like stirring sun in your throat—

Cross the white halo
between sea and surface
wide as a cathedral
windowpane, cross
the white halo, wide,
while pain draws its holy

notes in the back of your throat—
love so strong you go
breathless in the mute void
of sound, chords crashing like
notes in the back of your throat,
love so strong you swallow

shallow heat: the crush
of tide-torn beaches
empty of music, only
the love-crush lasting as long
as a tide-turn tugged
by a piercing Pisces moon.

Your heart curls on quick
rhythms of deep dusk-water,
the whistle of weightless air—
shallow heat curling
your heart small as a conch,
empty of music, only

a gasp of your siren song
swimming back to the topaz,
shading down into dark
quays and blue reefs
gasping your siren song
back, seducing you home.

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I’ve only been kinda writing in the past few weeks. Ad the weather back in the states is quite the opposite of that of rainy London.
I guess I’m running low on things to say.


The beams lance the upper leaves first, bleaching
them to chalky petals, parched, collapsing. Grasses blanch
into yellow bristle, releasing their last gasps of luster,
and heat-gusts scream, burning timber to the roots.
I am pressed between the sallow sheets of summer afternoon,
sluggish, with blood congealing in my pulsing throat,
catching in the sharp groove of my collarbone, and sweat
searing salty trails onto my face, punishing. This place is brutal,
the land shattering into dusty shingles and trees thinning
to rail spokes, drawing black shadows on sun-shocked sod.
Animals retreat deep into dark earth, still in the creeping sizzle
of desiccation. My garden cries out, petulant. Their stalks shrivel
as heat streams forth in vaporous flames, and my brain
simmers, starved under white, quivering skies. I forget
how it is to weep. In arid dreamlands I wander,
urging singed fields to awake, empty gullies to sob again
as recuperated streams. If I could, I would transfigure
the insect-husk clouds into heavier-breasted forms
and call them down onto these dead sprawls. Breathless, I lie
in this scorched purgatory where my weary bones crumble
from thirst—silent, deafening, in my supplication for rain.

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Aw man. I talk about nautical stuff too much.

Sometimes I feel too stuck in the title of this blog–THE DEPTHS. I guess the depths is an idea that really touches me. For some reason I think of the mind as something as complex and unfathomable as the ocean. To reach into the mind–particularly into one’s own mind–is to embark on a long voyage of some sort. So I must have been stuck on that thought again when I wrote this…Plus I’ve been spendign a lot of time around all these adorable longboats on the Regent’s Canal in London. Hah.


Last night, I dreamt I was a gunner
on the HMS Belfast in the Pacific Theater,
loading the cannons: shell to the breach, ram it home.
Set the fuse, raise the muzzle and fire away.

In reality I spend every night in the strange depths
of a tide-turning city, where the streets
fill and empty and the skyscraper lights
shudder on and off. Liquid windowpanes
melt my face into black and white polygons:
anonymous lips and eye sockets,
cheeks and brows I don’t recognize.

Tonight I dream I rule the Thames, and
I sink the Belfast to the silt-swilled bottom.
For every day they spent saving her, I wanted
to strike her down—
tear every armament to spindles, break the bilges,
snap the keel and shatter the hull.
From the shores London weeps and watches
as I drown with the wreckage.

In the anarchy of the mind, my body swims
forward without me into the soft rush
of traffic noise and urban trash. There are
no stars to see from here, not even at this height.
In the morning the gloom of a rain-drenched
dawn will slither over the wave-tossed sheets
and touch the crest upon which I lay, waking.

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world news

Inspiration comes from so many places. The other day, the Google sidebar called out to me. It was an article about a squid ship from Japan resurfacing near Canada. The picture, to me, was kind of haunting. And the impacts of the tsunami are still being felt in places. I wanted to access that emotion, that haunting, in a way I understood. It may not be a real reflection of the news, but as a writer, I take internal truths, ghosts of the news, and reconstruct them in a new way. So, here:

“An aircraft patrolling the seas off British Columbia saw the vessel… from the Haida Gwaii islands on Friday. It is believed to be the first large item from the millions of tons of tsunami debris to cross the Pacific.”–BBC News

The oceans pushed me back to land with an azure hand
after the clap of saline and spray that washed me away
from the coastal teeth of the Hokkaido. Take me back
to rock-strewn sea-cliffs, to the scream
of water against Earth, the rushing collision
of waves straddling themselves as they teem
towards the shore. I was vast once, holding inside
myself the heavy tools of nautical labor, dark and solid
and greasy with saltwater. The Pacific lapped along
beneath my keels and nets, and I was strong
in my stroke against the currents. Then the tremendous
upheaval, the rapid flood of tidal bores into the harbor
like the whipping of one great sheet in the wind,the smashing
force of shoaling crests, the draining drawback
that yanked me from the jetty and swept me adrift.
In that blue emptiness, that suspended stillness
of so many depths, the rust blossomed along my hull,
and my sea-tossed body refused to sink.
Approaching that black brow of horizon again,
I know I am all hollowed out, a ghost of myself.

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poem for a rainy day

Working in the tercet form has been kind of fun this week, but unfortunately I’ve been pretty much unmotivated to do anything significant with my writing or life in general, probably on account of the dreary weather that plagued Bloomington. So, here is my reworking of my apathy in tercet form. I kinda like it, for all its grayness.

Writer’s Block

The rain takes the roads
into its lacquered embrace, swilling
sideways like milk in glass.

My body goes walking
without me, shoes seeped
in weepy water that washes

heat from my feet as fat ovals
of it dagger down my back,
breaking like cold eggs

into my skin. These hollow
hours rush like traffic noise
caught in a gray window,

numb fatigue and stirring laundry
rearranging itself in the machine.
Lately I can’t help but spin

with these cycles of water and wind
unthreading themselves
from the shell-hull of the sky,

my mouth opening with the clouds,
only wet street-sounds coming out.
Words drop and run

like weather on these pages,
bloated and blue with water-rot.
I keep breaking

the lines and forms, but
hands clammed with drizzle-glue
and frigid slicks stick to the sheets,

stopping me up.


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Praise poems were the prompt this week. I’m really happy with this one…maybe because it’s so upbeat? It’s also subject matter for which I will always sing my praises…frogs.


Blessed be the Indian summer, the frost forgotten
for one last bloom of feverish fall air. Blessed

be the choked and shuffled refuse scattered on these
boggy banks, bleached of their greenery for acidic

yellows and cider browns. In this swill of summered
fall, blessed be the pop and patter, the evening crescendo

of love tuning and turning in amphibious throats
like the squeaky spiraling of a screw in wood,

like the keening jingle of olive-drab, gelatin bells
that breathe and shift with the ephemeral shores

of the sunset-stained marsh. Blessed be that writhing
of notes in those bugle-cheeks, whose chimes earn

names worthy of their songs: pinkletinks, tinkletoes,
pinkwinks. But beneath the mud-slicks lies bladed

the promise of a winter that presses peeper-husks
under barks and briars, frozen, but only just,

as life taps the softest touch into lycra peeper-hides.
Blessed be those cruciform patterns on lily-backs, the mark

of seasons crashing into themselves: dancing
leaves and shivering buds set to a sporadic semaphore,

a tentative chirrup I chase with muddied palms,
both asking and answering: Yes…Yes?

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