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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I can do

I can do better than that. There isn't much I
can't do better than. Put it in a hat
at random, I

will draw forth the winning ticket, and
read off a completely different number
and that will be what fact stands on. I

can't help but determine for myself
the course the fates of others take -
a game to me, but not one I play

eyes closed

book open

finger on page

Man.

Man. To read some of my poetry? Wow.

You'd think I was pretty fucked up.

I mean, don't get me wrong! I love those poems.

I'm always fucked where poetry goes, because so many people

put poetry forward one way only: into a dark teak
cushioned box with kneelers, and a miniature
pew: a confessional. But fuck that!

I was born Catholic.

Why do I need?


Poem-wise,


I'd be a novelist.

and of course that means
it's all true.

Straight from the Marketing Department.

deadbolt

there's an extra step I have to take
to keep you out
forever
fate

the key slips in to do the job
I didn't even lock the knob

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

summer notice

only a week removed from solstice
these days darken slowly
the sun takes its leave
like a surly tenant

the night, grim landlord
has long since given notice
but still this bright-faced bum
drags his slow heels down the sky
to horizon's front door, under twilight's
watchful
eye

wish wish wish

I'm wishing for you for no reason
I wish we could talk -
I've got nothing to say!

Except all the things
that will spring to my mind
in the moment your voice
leads my focus astray

as you lead me to look
up to cosmic designs
'til the future decides
to give in to today
as you lead me to look
down to where our paths wind
branching tangents
from way, on
to way

on our way

will you please

Everything you ever gave to me
is ready to be sent back.
Packed, boxed and bagged,
it's in the driveway by the curb
of my heart's garage. Kind of a
dumb move on my part. I've
blocked in my car.

My heart's car, I mean. My heart's
car is sweet - one sweet ride,
a classic! A "muscle car" -
that American classic style.
They don't make them like
that anymore. You should hear
this baby purr. It's all revved up,
fueled up and ready to go!

Will you please come get your shit.

like ants

towering clouds
look down on us like ants

like enormous ants

like gigantic, fluffy white ants
trooping in huge, loose,
disorganized formation
towards some unimaginable anthill

burrowed

deep into moist
blue depths

divinations

things break, and birds
carry off strands and pieces
in beaks, to build nests with
each shiny thread
woven into an interpretable pattern
decorated with shards

clouds burst
they are not crying
that's jism

eww

unfortunate metaphors
are run with

the earth is doused
with heaven's rich seed
as the grasses sprout
and the fruits grow
wild, and beasts feed -
fattening
the world's continual harvest
some pagan excuse for a carnival in the making

hey,

let's you and I lay back
and make our own excuses to the stars
why our destinies are not
lining up with, living up to
the signs laid out

this fate is ours

new horizons

Suddenly the world
has expanded its horizons, no
not "its" - "mine." My eyes
have been widened. The world
has not changed its shape, has not
stretched farther than yesterday, than what
was already there - I just didn't see it.
Too short, or maybe
my eyes were not looking far enough
up? Or the visibility changed. Crystal blue
clarity, for a million miles of sunlit
distance.

When I shrink,
or when the humid haze returns -
will I still know the world's true shape?

An Appeal to The Reader,


To the Reader,

Poem,
poem,
poem!
Poem!

Somebody said: make a poem, make it rhyme
I was like: "I can do that one time!"
then I lost interest.

I mean, it seemed a little bit juvenile, the way
the poem in question was progressing. Too sing-
song, too chant, too children's tv program host
sucka emcee, or

something.

I guess I got suddenly stuck-up.
Pretentious
I said:

try it this way! "Free"

unmetered,

and with the consequent heft of significance.

But who was I kidding? Not the reader!

The reader is inured to such tricks. The reader
has turned green from being jaded, has seen
free verse poems vomited forth like so many
rushing rapids, falling and crashing like so many
niagras, plummeting floods of unstructured words
into so many metaphorical buckets, and

Well,

once the process of composition is complete,
once the urge
to create poetry has been purged
in the act of its creation - does anyone imagine
the reader who really wants to revisit the product
of that process?

What is the thing that would draw them there?
Is there beauty there? - meaning, there? Or just
so much revolt against a norm?

a "norm"
that's fallen so far off the norm,
you barely even
see it anymore.

A norm that in itself
is so laughably remote, so obsolete
- so beaten and weak,
and bled - is there any envelope there
left to push at this point? Poetry.

All I see
is rips of paper, striped in places
with old, dried licks
of glue.

Nothing there that needs to be confronted, or opposed
at this late date,
surely?

Poetry
is for suckers.
You people reading this?
Suckers! The form doesn't exist.
It's been refined by being defiled, defined
right out of the dictionary. And we poets,

Well,

we can't really say
how we feel about poetry anymore, can we?
We don't
want to step on each other's toes
do we? And be called out! Forced to justify
our own - that's the last thing we want!
To say what's what, to have to make a case for Great,
in a world where Who Can Even Say What's "good"?
is the definitive mantra of the age; the challenge,
the dogma, the battle cry of
artistic integrity. An art critical theory
of who are you to criticize? The cat got your tongue? My
tongue. Our tongue. Lapping at it, like

a bunch of pussies.

all of us

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

the broken note

your song
goes

off

slid
skipped
a slipped,
horrific instant -
one second of squall, in
an aria of smooth, hard glissando
like a swooping modern sculpture
of blown glass -

- crack'd,

and
fall.

hard like the world

what you said was hard
like the world
but dead accurate, and
honest. True

I know you are my friend
first. You will give me straight
truth, straight. If truth is hard,
you won't put a glove on it.

And the world is hard. I just wish
there were ways for you and me
together

to create a softer place

whassup, wretches!

the word "wretched"
seems weird, to modern ears -
we do not see ourselves so.
"wretched"
no,
we don't look around
ourselves, raise our eyes to see:
the streets thronged with wretches,
wretching their wretched ways
through the wretched maze
of their wretched days.

oh amazing grace,
that saved a wretch like me

it used to be
that pretty much everybody was a wretch
or at least,

admitted to being wretched

we once have lost our wretchedness
but we need a new word
for what we've found

honest

Honestly, dishonesty's kind of pointless
once you get to the point where you both
know what truth means. Then you don't need
to lie. If you both
agree that you'd rather be hurt, rather
take a hard truth head-on, rather than be
lied to? That's freedom. That's trust, that's
a confidence you cannot beat - and that cannot
be beaten. Because each of you knows the other
will not take the easy way around

- when there's something fundamental that could tear
the whole thing down
that needs to be faced up to,
that needs to be worked on. And you know it will

because you know that neither of you will settle for
evasion.

Because you each trust in the other's strength,
you will choose strength. You will feed
and support that strength, with truth -
you won't choose to feed and support
each other's weakness
with the easy lie

that ol' seed of eventual discord

because it always happens that way, doesn't it? that thing
you gloss over, lie about, to get along - that thing
you can't deal with -
- why can't you deal with it?
- isn't your relationship strong?
- wouldn't you be better off facing that?
- I bet if you tried, you'd find that you were strong
enough. But when you lie, you feed the weakness
instead.

And then one day, you look up and realize
that you're not strong enough, now
to take that lie down
to root it out

the foundation is cracked through.
that little lie grew - that habit
of acting as though we can't trust each other to handle
truth -

it grew
into its own fucked-up truth
with fucked-up teeth
gnawing at the heart
of what should have been strong enough
to beat
anything. To beat a lie, at least. If only
we had given ourselves the chance to

Let's stop
and not go down that road, huh? Instead,

let's believe: that each of us is strong enough
to face a fact. Especially a hard fact. Even if
it's supposedly so minor! What an insult,
to act like I can't take the truth
about something you say doesn't matter!
Would you want to be with someone who can't take the truth
about something that doesn't matter? If so,
fuck you, kind of. I don't want to be that.

Or to be with that.

If that's the truth, I'll take the truth - with thanks,
take it and go. Better now, up-front, my incompatible one -
than later with greater and greater damage done.

Truth is easy and sweet to tell. I don't know where you
have been keeping your heart, if that seems so big a deal, but
it's just as well.

So can we take it, or can't we? Are we amateurs?

And if truth is not how you like it - if
you can't handle honesty? If you need me
to lie to you, just to get along? Well, baby

Sure!

I'm fine with that. Why wouldn't I be?

Sure

she got fat

I don't know what happened to us
It just doesn't feel like we are
the same people we used to be.
Our "together" has changed. We just
don't feel like ourselves, anymore. Like
the relationship we fell in love with -
on top of the person I fell in love with, you
and the person you fell in love with - me,
there was this great way we worked together...

What happened to that? I don't know

I love you! I still do, but
I don't know what it is. You

I

I don't know what it is. I
don't feel like the person I was
who was in love with you,

anymore.

I don't know what changed

something changed -

I've changed

Monday, June 20, 2011

modern translation

Does our heart now lodge in our fingertips?
Has the cat now got our nails?
- to keep us from saying what we simply must
type

as our words
lock up,
and fail

who am I to tell you what you can say?

You are
my queen
my heart
and half my soul
you've crowded most of my mind out
so it's for you to say what's in
my mind
and what comes out
my mouth

"bargain"

this girl
has left her soul behind
complete with halo, framed
in glass

and priced to sell at $1.99 -

her gaze indicting all
who pass

just rotated my tires

The stage was set
it was HOT 104.1 degrees
No shade. you better believe
the equipment -
tire iron, jack, and nuts to spare
- was red hot and hard,
when I pulled it out.
hard enough to bruise and
hot enough to burn
hands too eager.

Right out
in the open. Right
under that hot sun -
no shade. As I said,
right out in public
you better believe
it was far from easy
but oh, I made it look
easy and sweet!

whipping around, mind calm,
body frantic to go
loosening up the lugs
working that iron around
and around, jimmy-jacking up
the chassis, getting those nuts off
like a precision routine

but spontaneous and easy,
as I said. Easy like a roll downhill
through sweet, high grass.
Routine, like a summer day
all the way down hill - that's
the way I made it look

yet vigorous and bustling
with easy vigor and roiling motions,
stripped to the waist, not wasting time
or money - if motion were money, my muscles
made a lean, smooth economy as I kept
switching positions

first cranking away up front,
then rolling back around to the rear,
sliding my jack out, back in
and under again
and cranking away. I made
that back end dance!
Aw, yeah.

like a precision routine
made up of seeming-spontaneous moves
Right out in the open

and by the time
I pulled that thing out
from under the backside, and slid it
in up under, in front again
to start cranking away for that final,
blessed stretch - you bet things had
gotten (you better believe things had
gotten) sweaty. By that point
- in that heat? Aw,
my mind had checked out of the brain,
and was possessed
by my body.

I was "in the zone" - moving
rangily, hands slipping, working that iron around
in circles.
Grinning like a dog!
Mouth slightly open, breathing
through mouth and nose and all pores

I bet my tongue lolled out

I don't even know, now. All self-consciousness lost
in a long, sweet moment of sweat, torque and torsion.
But that's cool. Dignity
goes right out the window in these situations

too much about action - one becomes "all natural."

I certainly don't mind getting right down to it!
the action -
hoisting,
cranking,
loosening up and then tightening on down - right out in public!
Hair spiking with drops of sweat, grinning like a fool
for anyone who happened by. I don't care

I kind of get a charge off that. And you better believe
that breeze felt good

I did a solid job and loved it. It was hard, sure,
hard work and I was spent and winded by the finish
just from the pace I set!
but I finished strong. When I do a job it is done
thorough and well.

I finished really quick, too!

From the moment I first really
got the nuts loosened up,
all the way to that last languid spin -
as we return to the ground, the pressure
settles back into the joints and sockets

as everything relaxes

and I pull that slack jack out from under,
slide it back in its bag -

it was only 37 minutes. Well

for me that's quick.

Friday, June 17, 2011

"She Hates Angels"

she left me with a suicide note
it was beautiful
like a lullaby
she didn't follow through on it though
'cause she changed her mind
with the sunrise
so ...
that was typical
of the girl I knew
and I haven't heard, but I hope
that's she's happy now
and her pain is through

she hates
angels
they never make it all right
she hates
angels
they tuck her into bed at night, but
she hates
angels
'cause they're always saving her life

she left me feeling dizzy and lost
feeling cynical
feeling civilized
and reaching out for something I'd missed
for the longest time
maybe even now
the funny thing is
it was never me
who was traumatized
but now I stay up wondering if
is she watching me
through those sad brown eyes?

she hates
angels
they never make it all right
she hates
angels
they tuck her into bed at night, but
she hates
angels
'cause they're always saving her life
but they never make it all right

they bear her up upon their wings
so she's never going to stub her toes, but
she hates
angels
they follow everywhere she goes
yes, even where they fear to tread
they're always hanging on her shoulder blades, but
she hates
angels
they never do a thing she prays

she left me feeling dizzy and lost
standing out alone
like a signal light
I'm blinking out a code in the dark
is she reading me?
does she care or not?
or is she beyond - does she never think
of what she left behind?
I've got her favorite sunglasses on
star-gazing

from the hill she climbed

bleed

my heart's on my sleeve
so I wear red shirts
but still you can see where it bleeds,
where it hurts

I should take my heart off
stick it back in my chest
but the wound has closed over, plus -

I'm perfectly-dressed.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

preantepenultimatum

This is the warning you get
before
the time before
your second-to-last.
After the one after that - you're done.
So don't even ask me - I can't!
You passed.

gaze

I'm picturing you naked
but I'm looking at your eyes

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

much weight

How much weight do I need to push
to clear out the space in my life that I've lost
How much cost do I need to count
to make it balance out to the old amount?
I feel as though you've put a lien on my soul
you can legally keep it 'til I've paid the whole
outstanding balance that you claim you're owed
(plus the interest, of course)

Bankruptcy!

I fold.

Monday, June 13, 2011

limbo

what a color you were
in this wide grey world
that's been stretching forever along
since you left

now it stretches as far as I see or can go
does the grey reach to you,
where you are?

I suspect

drunk n' subtle

down at the Drunk N' Subtle, girls
are making points that are hard to ignore
boys are sipping their malted shakes, chocolate
if you want to know.

The juke is playing old golden hits that kick
from a bygone age's treble and bass, as some yodeling hick
yelps a crooned-out version of what was only barely just called
rock and roll, well

here at the Drunk N' Subtle, most
of the patrons aren't really attuned
to what goes on between the lines anymore
but baby, you and I've

got blues, baby you and I
have only got eyes

for the door.

waterboardin' usa

oo baby
The idea of waterboarding with you
so sexy
we'd be out there
in the surf
on the waves
riding 'em in
and then we'd grab our waterboards and run back to our towels and flop,
scattering glittering salt droplets
and just grin
at each other as we sunned ourselves, as the water
evaporated off our hot
hot bodies
aw yeah

honestly
I haven't got the slightest idea how anybody cracks under that.
I could do that all day long.
I guess maybe
if the person you're doing it with
(your interrogator?)
is a real jerk
pestering you with questions -
that might do it.

You'd be all "chill, bud!
I'm trying to fuckin' -
I'm trying to fuckin' chill, here."

inside knowledge

I must be psychic or something
because I knew enough about all of that
about her
before you told me.

Albeit, not quite with your "unique spin."
Keep orbiting, I guess.

Why on earth
would anyone ever feel the need to convince a person
of another person's wretchedness?

Aren't we all pathetic? Aren't we frail enough? Haven't we all
earned the pity of others, if only they knew
what we wish no one knew about us?

You know what,

forget I asked. It's okay, I don't need to know any
more. I don't want to know more. Have you ever been human
before?

I know enough.

belief in one's dreams

Everyone thinks they can make something great
that will bring people in.

We're dependent on that - that attraction is fact,
way before we have even begun to begin.
We plan and we draw, within limits set out
way out there where our farthest far hope
plants its flag

- and we think "I'll beat that!"

(our campaigns have a ways
to go)

But we brag, oh

we brag.

a trick, played

Love is a trick played, by the heart
on the brain but it's the worst pain
and the worst part,
when the heart involved
is the other person's heart
- and the brain is yours. Wait
what did that mean? Well,
who can be sure

ghost hands

as if in torment -
grip and twist
and squeeze
and press
you leave ghost hands
on you, they vanish
not into thin air
but flesh

tough guy

it's funny how when you punch a hole in a guy
all this blood comes out
it doesn't matter whether you use a gun
or a sharp point,

or can claim self-defense -
the result's the same. Laugh or cry.

I'm a real tough guy, huh? I could be in a detective novel.
In fact, I could be in a detective novel! If I only stopped
to write some of this down. Luckily,

it never stops.

It was a dark night in the old city

to say so.

we miss most of our chances in life
to make anyone who is worth it
feel appreciated

you know?

and I try to believe that means probably,
there are a lot of people who wish us
way better than we know

they just
missed their chance to say so.

Try Science

try science
and if you're doing it right
keep track
and if you're doing it wrong
go back
and if you're making it up
as you go, there you go
there's a theory for that

try science
and if it fits with the facts
apply it
but if it stretches and snaps
don't buy it
break it make it collapse
stretch the pieces back out
on a framework of thought

and try science
if they click back as one
don't buy it
don't assume that you're through
re-apply it
test it back from step one
if it makes sense to you
don't assume that you're done
try science

adult content

yes,

your pussy

aw yeh

this poem.

stick it in

aww yeh

that's what I call

"adult content"

awww, yeh

sorry the poem is so short, baby

don't laugh

yes, it's over already

awwww,

yeh

jackadaws

the squalling and cawing of birds outside
sounds like a promise to tear your flesh

jackadaws

I am sure they are not.
But they sound like they are

jackadaws

I'm impressed.

menu planning

I will only order brunch
for the rest of my life,
because I'll want you
for breakfast.

to start
the day
right.

stupid happy people

Ah, oh okay. I know what you mean now. And yes,
by our lessons, they are stupid. Or are they? Maybe
they are not by theirs. I want
to turn this into a poem
but I don't know how.
I feel like it's not my poem to write.
I'd make it happy endings.
I'd say: let them seize such lil' triumphs as they can, though, right?
You and me can't wise them up - if life's
got brutal surprises in store for them, they'll believe it
only when they see it. Or hell,
if they manage to sail through without being disappointed
- then they weren't stupid! Were they?

Because: then they will have won

But

Nonsense, though. No one sails through.

I can't help rooting for people like that
to sail through. Reporting each embarrassing glimpse of sun
like a battle won singlehandedly, as if against
great odds. What's going to happen to them
when the crash comes?

Will they sink like stones - will it be the death of them?
Can they ever learn our lessons? Or will they learn worse ones, or
just shrug it off and continue,
as infuriating as ever?

see

happy endings

The horizon is a lie.

There's no real line there, no true border
It isn't even what I'd call
an optical illusion. It's a collusion
to deceive, between earth and sky -
to trick the mind's eye into buying landscapes.

I reject the horizon utterly.
The horizon is a lie

just being nice

I have no idea what pills you took,
or what pills you stopped taking, but
either lay off or get back on them
because they're either driving you
nuts

or you needed them to be sane.

Everything you say is just creepy
to me. I don't want to be mean, but
how can you be nice to someone who
will willfully interpret being nice
as some sick twisted signal?

Fuck.

According to you, everything I say
is your personal life. I can't even figure
where I begin or end, in the eyes of someone
who can't see any line

between me and them.

There's no question of being cool, or friends.
There's no question of boundary, or fix.

I'm done.

I'm done because this: there was nothing
much there in the first place. Sorry. I like
happy conversation as much as the next
person - but happy isn't one person telling
the other what the other means. Hard to be
free, easy and shoot the breeze with someone
when you just being nice equals them,
"deceived"

Friday, June 10, 2011

"You're My Pornstar"

You
got me
however you want me
whatever you think I need - it's only
YOU
got me
without even trying
I'm right where I want to be, you own me
YOU
got me
without doing nothing
you don't need to dye your hair, now honey
YOU
got me
'cause baby you're something
exactly the way that you are

You're my porn star, honey!
do you want me to call you a trashy stage name?
You're my porn star, honey!
don't you know that I think that your body's amazing?

I
need you
so much I can't stand to
be where you're not when you're not there, now
I
need to
express my emotions
in all of the usual ways - I care how
YOU
want to
have me reassure you
well that's what I'm going to do, now honey
YOU
got me
'cause you are the only
thing that I want to do

You're my porn star, honey!
do you want me to call you a trashy stage name?
You're my porn star, honey!
don't you know that I think that your body's amazing?
You're my porn star, honey
whatever you want, girl, you don't have to ask it
You're my porn star, honey
'cause you're loving is real, and that's better than plastic

Bridge:
I'm so deep, there's just no substitute for you
you just keep your picture stuck
in my mind, in my mind, in my mind
I can't see, any way you could be improved
you are my fantasy girl, but reality
is where you shine

You're my porn star, honey!
You're my porn star

You're my porn star, honey!
do you want me to call you a trashy stage name?
You're my porn star, honey!
don't you know that I think that your body's amazing?
You're my porn star, honey
whatever you want, girl, you don't have to ask it
You're my porn star, honey
'cause you're loving is real, and that's better than plastic

Thursday, June 09, 2011

what impossible means

with impossible means
to improbable ends
you can't justify this
if it kills us, my friend
well we can't go back that way - or
- does it depend?
I've been practical-minded,
but that's at an end.
For practically all of my life - and I'm sick
at the slim possibility that I was right! -
I have made my decisions so certain
and slight
on the basis of what?
now, it looks like a trick of the light
how the motes flow slow motion,
exist - suspended in air
like a glittering swarm
it's so hard to believe that it's coming to this
there is nothing to fight
it's as cold and as hard
as you used to be warm.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

what impossible mess

I will reverse engineer it
I'm good enough to figure out both
principle
and mechanism
from the streak of black grease smoke, residue
and evidence
of the act having already occurred. Or earlier -
in the instant, I will catch it

I will put the explosion back together
into a bomb.
No one will have to ask:
"What happened?" Because nothing
will have. And I will
know what set it off. And I will
know what destroyed us
or could have
done
And I will defuse it.

The things I find irreparable,
put back together and leave
undone
cannot even be numbered

my hands have too few fingers
left

Saturday, June 04, 2011

moonshine

the truth of the world
sends hot, burning rays
you stand in the dark,
well back
and reflect

a cool soothing light
both piercing and pale
and my tides rush to you,
wax and wane
without fail.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Another Tense Moment In The Boss-House

I was summoned and kept waiting
in the halls of building ten
where the CEO and other cats
maintain their lions' den
I was wanted, I was not told why
I knew I'd have to justify
I knew I'd have to stand and fire
I knew I wouldn't have to lie.
The faces walking in and out
all looked much worse the second time -
I sat, head bowed, thought:
"concentrate!"
and scribbled out
this rhyme