but aren't they all random?



A Pocketful of Poesy was a Poem-a-Day(-on-Average) Blog* up until the great derail of 2013. The impossibly-high standard of quality proved impractical to keep up, without a book deal. But don't take my word for it: click RANDOM and judge for yourself! And feel free to offer your critique.
*based on poem rate for calendar years 2009-2012. Also, kidding about the book deal.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mouth Was Made

Your mouth was made for kissing
but mine was made unfortunately
for explaining, forming words your ears
don't need to hear - your ears were made
for me to kiss, for me alone, for me alone
was made for you, "for me was made"? - for I
was made to tell you everything you knew
already, once you saw my eyes - my eyes
tell all, they can't say no. In fact, my mouth's
redundant now - it should shut up. We knew
that, though.

Poem as Alternative to

kind of uninspired
so why write a poem?

that's a good question
and is it going to rhyme?

well it's better than writing
your rent check and bills
that are just about due
- they don't rhyme, either!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

kiss and kismet

We met at the
intersection of two parallel streets
She asked me,
was it fate that made the two of us meet?
Well fate - I said -
is way too much geometry for me
I like to leave
coincidence and chance to destiny.
But with hindsight
and in retrospect, I guess she had a point.
It's a billion evens
to one odd, an act of god
thrown out of joint for one
predestined girl to find
one random guy
in all this mess.
And so for her,

it must be fate. For me?
Just luck, I guess.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

setting myself a series

I'm setting myself a series of serious tasks
such as: describe the last thing you'll ever see.
Make a complete list of trees without using any trees.
Draw a picture in words, using exactly one thousand,
without counting, then sell it for a song about a magical
fountain. Once you find it take a dip and soak the wrinkles
back in; start a garden with a single leaf and one forbidden
sin. There are no weeds just crappier flowers and undesirable
kinds of grass. I'm setting myself a series of serious tasks,
with escalating levels of significance invisible to everyone
but those with a specific kind of innocence, legally described
by certain artful phrases starting with "not guilty, by reason of,"
and after that, irrelevant. One person's expert testimony is another's
sandwich: fried baloney, slice of cheese, and easy on the mayonnaise.
I'm starting on my list of serious tasks without delay, you see. Sneak
into the choir loft, inject the hymns with harmonies from avant-jazz
practitioners. Bebop with the Seraphim. Return to where you don't
belong and make them take you in.

A Time Must Come to Put Poetry First

I've become a real ass-kicking poet over the years.
A lot of people don't realize. I'm a poet with bells on.
I've got some kind of poet super power, I could be Poet
Laureate of some parallel dimension where that's still
being done.

Wait, I checked - it is still being done. Current guy:
one Charles Simic. Well, watch out buddy. I got your
number: one less than mine. I will be the X+oneth
U.S. Poet Laureate, where X = the current number of
Poets Laureate that have been.

I will insist on a name change to the position. I will be
the first United States Secretary of Poetry. This will represent
an elevation of the post, to a cabinet-level position. The
U.S. Dept of Poetry under my tenure and direction will be
the greatest ever, and everyone will say

So, what are your plans next? You've revolutionized the game,
got people talking about poetry again, got poetry classes and
poetry programs reinstated into our nation's school curricula,
improved our poemland security, revitalized the formerly-flagging
poem industry - which has never seen such boom times as it's seeing
right now!, you've dealt a hideous and brutal blow to terrorism
with your Operation Patriot Poem initiative, and what are you going
to do next?

"Well," I'm going to say, "I've got to go write a poem."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Love At First

when we first met, our first word was a kiss
like a work of creation, a word of first cause
God speaking to void, saying

"let there be this"

when we drew back and opened our eyes, there it was.

someone had introduced us - but they were walled off
by the moment our eyes met, widened, and shone
all peripheral vision was scrambled and lost
as we drew much too close to see anything wrong

and we smiled, and searched ourselves, rummaging minds
for some great thing to start with, for something to say
we drew closer and closer and never a word -
'til we suddenly closed the whole gap in one play

and we kissed

for so long someone said, "man and wife!"
and we pulled back and grinned, we'd both been convinced
we clasped hands without words and escaped with one life,
and we've never had anything much to say since

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"burnt toast"

burnt toast scraped with butterknife
- across, across, across the grain
of char and ash and brittle black
held careful, tilted, over can -
no more than thrice! Then wipe the knife,
and cut a slice of butter, thin, and blend
it in, and blend it in, across the face
so cool and flat. Then set it on the plate
and lift the plate, and with decision, fast
- before you've time to change your mind -
tip it in the trash.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

the rowers home

the rowers home are bound; they row
with purpose
each as sure as each

united in direction and belief
that home
is within reach

each rower solitary, each alone,
they pull
as one

their boats are scattered evenly, and all
towards the sun

each rower, facing backwards
contemplates
the wake, behind

the sea is fine like isinglass,
and endless to the eye and mind

the long haul calls not urgency
but confidence, and constant nerve

bending backs, with even pulls
steady toil, strength conserved

pull onward, towards a destination
none can see and none have known

a sea of scattered boats, a sea
of lookers back

and rowers home

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another Poet Dies Plying His Trade, Heroically

I deal in delightful abstractions. I
make rowboats out of windsaws
and then set them tumbling, to the
boisterous delight of the children,
whom I also proceed to set tumbling.

I paint elephants out of glass and stars,
I wind strings around the wind and
kick my heels to a beat that is neither
sound nor rhythm, but perhaps snow.

I let the rain rain down on its own. I
neither approve of it nor aid it in
any way. I rebuke the moon, for its
importunity. It retires each night, abashed.
Then some nights it won't show its face
at all, but it always comes back.

I break the week in seven places, and
observe my little rituals which mean
so much to no one: cup here, saucer
and give me a kiss! I pour cream from
a little pitcher and the steam rises sweet
to someone's lips.

I walk downtown and observe the sky,
it falls softly between buildings and
so do I

I get back up from where my shoe was untied
and I set myself up, just in time to
catch a sigh from a passing lady, painted
like a very understated clown - you
could hear her sighing a mile away,
and you'd wonder what got her down

but don't ask - I did, that was my mistake
and as her eyes began to flash I knew
I should have couched my meaning in
a metaphor
or two

Monday, June 15, 2009

"Not my idea."

I have an imaginary girlfriend.

It wasn't my idea! She asked me out first. I said,
can't we try being just friends for a bit? She said
"only if you" - and she gave me a list.
And once we checked it all off, it was clear
we were meant - me "to be",
her to not
- so together we spent
every stray moment well. Sent
the bad moments back. We got used
to each other's
existence (or lack). And
she talks with a limp, and
she walks with a lilt - and
she's heavy as ice, and as sad
as spilt milk. She's as glad
as a clam, and as bright as night
sky. And you ask, what's she look like?

That's hard to describe. She
keeps changing her eyes. She keeps
changing her clothes. She keeps changing
her hair, but

she's got the same nose.

Yes, that's always the same,
so cute it's insane. She's from
somewhere Northeast of the South part
of Spain at least that's what I'd guess
from her accent and hints.
But when she makes believe,
somehow I'm not convinced.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

word-of-the-day poem

Listen, I want a mausoleum with a machine inside, with pistons and gears and wheels and knives and it would be solar-powered, to run forever run clean - chopping, grinding, churning the remainder of me.

Standing outside, if you laid your palm flat on the cool stone and splayed your fingers out wide, you could feel the hum.

"mausoleum"

Saturday, June 13, 2009

wait

wait
there's no more, just
wait
let it sink in

let the revelation
keep unfolding its skin
as it sits
in its bin, as it crinkles
out of crumpled up
the ball that you formed
2 for the win

a post-free-form origami
from your hands, still warm
how hard you squeezed it
wanting to compress it into
not diamonds - charcoal

to push in
on it, to fix it
in place, force out the air
but the shape won't stick
as a sphere, it pops and crackles
dry slithering hiss of a paper exhale
spreading back out again
- you can see some of
the words, now

again. But a crease of its deformed
form forms a perfect pocket for
a lit match. And it goes up in colors
- this goddamned artsy notepaper -
the design makes flames
yellow, red, violet, over
in less than a minute

and a smoked haze
of burnt green plastic

Friday, June 12, 2009

death left a message

while I was out, the call came through
"call back as soon as you can,"
but without the ever-important, "don't worry -
it's nothing important,"

so now I know,

pit

of the stomach, I know!

shit:

Who died?

it turns out,

I

the truth is not true

The truth is not true.
What we felt with a kick
in the heart, as we - sudden -
discovered the truth of the way
the world is, and would be,
and must be - as the bottom fell out
of the worlds where we live,
the truth didn't stick.

Once the world sank, the feeling
sank in, it all lifted away
in a way that made sense
without needing to say

and your heart turned around, then
to follow your head.
To make good decisions, instead of
- instead of the ones that we made,

to give shot after shot, one more patch,
one more slip, one more catch,
one more knot

and then pray that it holds
- but it didn't.

It loosed.

There's not much left I know, but it's sure
not the truth.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The archer, Science, drew its bow

The archer, Science, drew its bow, and
sighting into the distance, let loose - fired wild

let out a "whoop!" as the arrow flew true
on some deterministic path, with variables askew

Science couldn't wait to see wherever the arrow stuck
- to jump into the air and declare it "bullseye!"

But hold the celebration, archer - first,
we must have reproducibility.

Monday, June 08, 2009

why we tried

take what you want and leave
the only thing you don't get to take is me
I won't dispute your truth, but it's not true to me
and you can't even see mine, so we can't disagree

because there's no single point where our truths intersect
we live on parallel lines, with no means to connect
no matter how far we go, forward and back
we will never end up running on the same track

there were times when we thought we were on the same line
when you thought I meant yours, and I thought you meant mine
because we didn't listen, we just wanted to hear -
we filled in the meanings we wanted, my dear

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Rhyme Poem Is Coming to Kill You, Free Verse

you wouldn't think it
but poems that rhyme
are jealous of poems
that don't

those rhyme poems must
keep even time and space
their even ways across
the page or screen, in
ways that must seem oh
so strict and needless
to the meanings of their
words.

Rhyme poems can't relax
and be proud of their words,
no matter how hard they strike
home - because they are obsessed
with the thought of how much less
perfect a word must be, for having
been selected on the basis of sound,
instead of pure meaning.

And all poems feel very strongly,
that pure meaning is their object.

So the rhyme poem goes too hard, on
itself. Whether its words are perfect
or no, it can't credit them that. It can't
be proud of words so clearly, seemingly
chosen to fill and fit some arbitrary
artistic pattern. Its only choice is
to be proud of the pattern. To be proud
of its rhymes. Of how well the all-important
design was drawn, and filled in with blanks.
The rhyme poem has become cynical, its meter
its measure, though it knows it knows better.

When all poems had to rhyme, to be considered
respectable specimens, then it seemed that the words
could matter, could be seen as chosen and perfect.
Because there was no choice but to rhyme. Everyone
had to choose within that! But today, rhyming is
- let's be honest: silly. Quaint. And so how can any
poem say anything perfect and important, in rhyme?
How can any poem's words not seem a bit suspect,
when the impression has already been given that
the scheme is more important than what you are trying
to say? The only defense is to seem not to mean it.

While all the while, you sharpen your knife,
and scheme.

the truth is one hand with many many creepy wiggling fingers

everyone writes about the truth
their search for truth
their path to truth
as if there isn't only one
and it isn't only theirs
as if it's something they can find
outside themselves
or within themselves
Well, hell!
maybe they're right

but to me, you know
there is only one truth
and every true glimpse you
can catch of it, of a piece of
it, of a truth
you can grasp,
you can hold,
you can name,
you can call your own,
if you want.
But the truth is,
that truth
of yours, yes
- that truth you have
found - if it is true
at all, then it is only
a small part.
A part of the only
truth there is.
The truth is,
the truth is one
hand, with many,
many creepy
wiggling
fingers

Saturday, June 06, 2009

the good dreams are the worst to wake up from

I'd drink your soft lips
as your head tipped back
in the crook of my arm

your neck and body on down
transformed into noodles!
Then, sudden

your intake of breath
and consciousness, back in a
moment, returning
embrace

your strength, and firm purpose
resolve, your eyes opened
again

into mine

- as I wake up.

eyes opened again

and
I can't
break the stare
through your gaze into mine
yours - burned into my eyes -
is only a retinal ghost.
an afterimage

a face projected
on a blank white screen
you burn into my ceiling
over long minutes,

before I can bear to blink.

my eyes don't sting

my eyes are not dry

and I blink. As your face fades to white,

you do not smile.

neither do I

Friday, June 05, 2009

Sacred Stones

In Eire, we walked on footpaths worn
by centuries of pilgrim boots
to standing stones and sacred springs
in hidden groves with hidden roots
and green was in our eyes, my love
and green grew soft to close us in
as intertwined, our forms combined
in one design of sacred skin

and sin was superstition, then -
a child's tale, to tease and kid
each other with; we cleaved unto
each other as the world was hid
by sacred limbs and leaves and stones
our hands and hearts were ringed around
- the grove was in a faerie ring,
a skein was otherworldly wound
around us by our hearts' request:
"For love to last, to never part!"
by silent benediction blessed
some witness worked a silent art

and in that grove, an hundred years
and more have passed - this sign remains
for wanderer to chance upon:
in whitest stone, in form unchanged,
two lovers intertwined recline.
No ravages of love's deceit,
no marks of time's decay, we lie
enamored and enarmoured; sweet

The grove was in a faerie ring
- we knew it not - our fondest wish
"for love to last, to never part"
was granted -

and they call us art.

at the start of the 13th song

The light at the end of the tunnel is gray
I'll be standing at the edge 'til the rain lets up
then I'll make my break. I will run for the sun -
I will publish my pain, and you'll take your cut

So my guitar got played 'til my fingers said nay
and I wrote a dozen songs of you done me wrong
and I beat a tattoo of you onto my chest
but I haven't got you out of my system yet

There is nothing I have left to hold against you
there is nothing I have left to hold you against
and you didn't do me wrong, it just felt that way
and it isn't like the worst is all that's left of my life

but there's nothing I have left
of the best

Our Walk

gong and clang and hi-hat hiss
palm heel slap, and fingers drum
my hand slides down,
I make the metal handrail sing
from rail to rung

some bad world music rhythm king
I crown myself, as I walk down
the steep decline -
this was our walk,
I'm walking down without you now

the river runs with slanted light
the railroad bridge -
that spans the gap from cliff to cliff
- is painted gold and rose,
and all between is mapped

by memories of every path we walked
the quaint and painted ways,
in lines that crossed and overlapped
and intertwined

a thousand days

in this gay seaside village town.

Like postcards from a kinder year
- though I am bitter from the end,
I can't help write: "Wish you were here."

Capitola_Village

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

a bed of nails

we drag ourselves back
with no mercy at all
though we said it's the end
still we can't seem to stop

and we wrack ourselves,
pitiless, body and soul
still, it matters a great deal
who is on top

Monday, June 01, 2009

Quit Whining!

Jees! Will you
quit whining about all
this lovelorn fluff, and
how you've either had enough,
or will never give up?

It's enough to be sick
how you dwell over it
with your big boo hoo smile
and your brave, secret sniff

write poems about APPLES
write poems about TREES
it's Spring, almost Summer!
write poems about BEES!

Quit bothering people, with
love, endless love, ended
love, ending up how it endlessly
does

Quit bothering people!
Write poems about waves
and beaches, and benches,
and fences,
and graves.