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Showing posts from May, 2018

Beyond NaPo 55

Puerto Rico

To see
the bioluminescence,
light without fire,
sit tight
in your canoe
and
stir the dark
water. A tiny
meteor
will appear
in the atmosphere
of the bay.
Stir again,
this time not
with your paddle but with
your hand,
and direct
the sentence of
the second meteor.
You are then
angel
and patient.

Beyond NaPo 54

Northern Mariana Islands

These islands
have names--
not Asuncion,
Saipan, Tinian,
Pagan,
but older
ones--
Launch Pad, Mission Field,
Way Station,
The Secret of My Heart's Desire,
and one that is
possibly
mistranslated
as
Dandelions Growing Out of a Boot.

Beyond NaPo 53

Guam

Ferried over
by a military transport,
the brown
tree snake
has nearly
killed off
the ko'ko' bird,
now only
bred
in captivity.
Forests,
where the secretive
rail once ran,
its elongated
body slipping
through
the receptive
herbage,
are empty
of bird whistle
but full
of spiders
and swathed
like a bride
in spider webs.

Beyond NaPo 52

American Samoa

He charged
at the ball
and at the
quarterback.
He sacked
all our defenses.
He made
America
sit up and
look for
their maps.
“I have
a fear of being
average,”
said the
tight end.
He shot
himself dead
in the chest,
the warrior,
said good-bye
with the lyrics
of “Who
I Ain’t.”
Born in Oceanside,
California,
but he came
from the territory
with one
zip code.

in memory of Junior Seau (1969 – 2012)

Beyond NaPo 51

District of Columbia

Not real,
marmoreal
city,
mammary
gland,
memory
land,
march
of the living
and the
dead,
the murmur
in the corridor
that changes
everything.
The reflecting
pool,
humming tunelessly,
steals
your face.


*

Lady Bird (2017), written and directed by Greta Gerwig, is a good movie, but not a great one. Why the fuss over it? Saoirse Ronan, as the Sacramento high school senior stumbling through her first romance, family entanglements, and college application, makes it very watchable. Laurie Metcalf is wonderful as Mom. Lucas Hedges, Lady Bird's first boyfriend who turns out to be gay, is a natural actor. He also appears as the nephew in Manchester by the Sea.

In Valentina's Wedding (La Boda de Valentina, 2018), a silly but enjoyable romp, an all grown-up Ryan Carnes as Valentina's gringo fiance. Still has the body he showed off in Eating Out.


Beyond NaPo 50

Wyoming

Here you
can stand
over the
Continental
Divide,
rivers to
the left,
rivers to
the right,
and feel
the irreconcilable
differences.
Rain stands
here too,
in this
great Basin,
not running
to any
ocean, true,
but moving,
nevertheless.
The rain
sinks here
into the
parched ground,
or else
evaporates
into the air.

Beyond NaPo 49

Wisconsin

This is the house that Wright built
and rebuilt
and rebuilt
after each ravagement,
the limestone
from a local quarry,
the plaster
mixed with sienna
to resemble
the sandy banks of the river,
the shingles
weathered to the color
of silver-grey trees,
the windows
placed to let the sun in
at every hour
of the day.
This is the house
that houses
Japanese prints and Ming vases,
a council circle
re-de-signed by an
immigrant Dane,
and bears the name
of a Welsh bard,
which means Shining Brow.
This is the house
that built other houses
and the centrifugal
house for
Non-Objective art,
later named
after its founding Jew.
This is the house
that students come to
every summer
to study how to build a house.

Beyond NaPo 48

West Virginia

A snippet of video
cut from a cut
and recombined with the clip
is called West Virginia.
A pod of dolphins
leaving a super-pod
to join a herd
is called West Virginia.
Welcome to the secession from the secession,
which is not
the same as unity,
or Not Having Left.
Welcome to the past,
the present, and the future.
The deutero-stomes,
whose first hole
formed the anus of the organism,
split from the proto-stomes,
whose first hole
formed the mouth,
590 million years ago.
We look forward
to their rejoining and our recording
of the convention
of the blastopore.

Beyond NaPo 47

Washington

“I don’t belong
to any of you,
 not to the Army Corps
of Engineers,
not to the
anthropologists,
not even to
the Confederated Tribes
of the Coville Reservation,
to whom
I most closely resemble
in my genetic material.
I am not native.
I am not foreign.
I am the Kennewick Man,
named so
because I was completely
found in Kennewick,
which means a grassy place,
as in the grass
is always greener on the other side,
also, winter paradise,
for winters there
are mild,
or, in another name, Tehe,
the laughter
of a girl
when asked
the name
of where she lived.”

Beyond NaPo 46

Virginia

Do you
want
the name of your state
on a landmark
case
against loving?
“Mr. Cohen,
tell the Court
I love
my wife
and it is just unfair
that I can’t live
with her
in Virginia.”
Mr. Cohen,
tell the court
of public opinion
I love
all my boys,
the statistician,
the father, the masochist,
the Starbucks manager, the above-average architect, the ex-lawyer,
and the lovers still in their diapers,
and it is so unfair
that I can’t live
with all of them
at once,
at their peak,
o, blue ridge mountain,
by
the Potomac
with its
two sources.

Beyond NaPo 45

Vermont

sugar maple
rock maple
hydraulic lift
phloem tap
bowling pins
guitar neck
pure stand
shade tolerant
pool cues
sad sap
real estate
civil union
fall colors
secret history
climate change
commemorative coin
winged seed
winged seed

Beyond NaPo 44

Image
Utah

In the painting
of the Promontory Summit
by Thomas Hill,
in the ceremony
of
the golden spike,
which would join
not just
two rails,
not just
two halves of a country,
but
two world-faring oceans,
you can see
the Big Four,
the railway officials,
the railroad workers,
women,
even an Indian,
but not a Chinese
stone blaster
stone carter,
bridge builder,
cook,
who survived
the panning
years
over the Sierra Nevada.

Beyond NaPo 43

Texas

They raise
them now,
the broncos,
for bucking,
running wild
on the open
range, but
gentled for
worming,
for loading
in trailers
and in the
bucking chute.
The beasts
are scored too,
for rocking
hard and not
in a straight
line, for bucking
unpredictably.
On the first
jump out of
the chute,
the cowboy
has to mark
 the horse
out—his heels
have to tap
the shoulders
of the athletic
gelding for
the ride to count.
Make it count.

Beyond NaPo 42

Tennessee

Heartbreak.
Jailhouse.
You’ve got
to love
the words
as much as
the music.
You’ve got
to shoot
not just
from the
pelvis but
break out
the pulse.

Queen

I've just discovered Freddie Mercury. https://youtu.be/oozJH6jSr2U

Beyond NaPo 41

South Dakota

You could
flash
a route,
but the
pure
ascend
the rock
on-sight,
without
fore-
knowledge,
every
handhold a
self
discovery.
You could
dance
with the
crowd
on the
head
of a pin,
but the
tenacious
 angel,
who knows
when
to smear
and when
to
campus,
always
mindful
of the
risk of
a
zipper,
climbs
the
Needles.

Beyond NaPo 40

South Carolina

There’s no
sensation
like
syncopation.
I’d rather
Charleston
in Charleston.
There’s more
to destroy
than the
towers of Troy.
I’d rather
Soloi
in Soloi.
Give up
the dry eye
to the blue sea
and the blue sky.
I’d rather
Shanghai
in Shanghai.
For the scoop
and the dope,
for the good trope,
Grant in Grant
and
Hope in Hope.
I may
never
Barbados
in Barbados,
or Buncombe
in Buncombe,
but let me be
banged up
by a gang
of 251 men
or more.
I’d rather
Singapore
in Singapore.

Beyond NaPo 39

Rhode Island

On a sailboat
or in a
synagogue,
the end will
come.
Watching
the green
light or
lighting the
gas light,
the end will
come.
Working on
a farm
or in a
pharmacy,
the end will
come.
Reciting
a letter
or rescinding
a check,
the end will
come.
Out of
the sky or
into
the skin,
the end will
come. Come,
the end,
for, after
a lifetime of
waiting, we
are well
provided for.

Beyond NaPo 38

Pennsylvania

Fourscore and seven
years ago, Charlie Chaplin
released City Lights,
the Scottsboro Boys
were convicted of
rape, Nevada legalized
gambling, Harold Urey
discovered deuterium,
the Empire State
Building was completed,
John Haven
Emerson perfected
his iron lung, a gallon
of gas cost 10 cents,
Dick Tracy began
his career
in the Detroit Mirror,
Al Capone was
jailed for tax
evasion, the Bible
Student Movement
took the name
of Jehovah’s
Witnesses, Alvin
Ailey was born—so
I date this poem
and this poem dates me.

Beyond NaPo37

Oregon

Under it all
swims the fungus,
the weight of
200 whales
spread thin
over 2000 acres,
surfacing
like splashes of latex
in most places,
breathing
through the gills
of honey mushrooms
every fall.
It kills trees, yes,
creeping
after the network
of roots
and tying its
shoestrings
around and about
their feet,
but the slow
decay,
the inevitable
drop,
makes temporary
homes of trees
for what
we hear
as birds.

Beyond NaPo 36

Oklahoma

Sooner
rather than later,
all 25 native languages
spoken here
will disappear,
unless the school in Tahlequah
succeeds
in teaching its children
to cherish their Cherokee,
the language 75% of which
consists of verbs,
some verbs
denoting the quality
of their direct objects,
so you can say
in one word
hand me something flexible,
like a rope,
hand me something
long, like a broom
or a pencil,
hand me
something liquid,
or a container
for liquid,
like a cup of joe,
hand me something living.

Beyond NaPo 35

Ohio

The blushes
along
even the baseball bat
make you think
of passion
but it was
a celebrity wedding,
this Andy Warhol
print of Pete Rose,
this picture bride,
this baseball card,
made in the exciting
year chasing the world record
of hits,
and breaking it
the day after
the work was unveiled.
Two years later,
Rose was
banned for betting
on his Reds
and Andy,
who did not know
a thing
about baseball,
was dead.

Beyond NaPo 34

North Dakota

You know Fargo,
now get to
Minot, where
every September
Vikings take up
swords to fight
the Trolls at the
Norsk Høstfest,
and the solemnest
business, to induct
into
the Hall of Fame
chefs, oil drillers,
actors, the dishy
Josh Duhamel,
musicians, coaches,
the secret agent
who saved
Mrs. Kennedy,
the school counselor
who spent
all his free time
building a Viking ship
from scratch,
through his leukemia,
which sailed,
after his death,
through the Great Lakes,
the Erie Canal,
down the Hudson,
into the storm of the Atlantic,
the ship Hjemkomst,
all the way to Norway,
 ending in champagne
with the pale King.

Beyond NaPo 33

North Carolina

Wilmington—where
the term “race riot”
was invented
to dress up the killing
of blacks.
At the age of 32,
Alexander Manly
 dared to write
in 1898,
“Every Negro lynched
is called
‘a big burly, black brute,’
when in fact
many…were
sufficiently attractive
for white girls
of culture and refinement
to fall
in love with them
as is very well
known to all,”
and had his words
twisted
in the white papers
and afterwards
his Daily Record
burned and gutted,
and his people,
women also,
gunned down
by the Red Shirts.

NaPo Day 30 and Beyond NaPo 31 and 32

New Jersey

Put out the light, Edison,
return to your river, to your
fishing with a bamboo rod.
Forget your rod and let
the fish still swim in their
ignorance. The schoolchild
working late into the night
on advanced trigonometry
will thank you. The factory
worker descending into the
chemical tank will thank you.
The first-time lover too,
fumbling with the buckle
of the boy on top of him,
borrowing an excuse from
the moonless night for his
inexperience. That lover, he
will remember the sweet
terror afterwards, as will
the savage, cowering in
the fundamental shadow
of the eclipse of the sun.


New Mexico

No, it doesn’t go
beep-beep.
The roadrunner
has a slow
and descending
dove-like
coo.
With its red
and blue
mascara,
it’s a drag queen
who has
just undressed
after the show,
and from the print
of its
zygodactyl
feet, digits
2 and 3
facing forward,
1 and 4
facing back,
nobody knows,
not even him,
where he goes
off-stage
into the night
of flashing horns.


New York

Which
place to tout
in one’s…