Tuesday, 25 April 2017

25/30: Conversations With My Classmate-Professor Over Lunch in Cardiff


Of all the places, high street, of all the places on high street, a faux-mexican
chain with bad spellings and valleys accents. Here again for all the unpacking
at the logical end of the course we took together.
find ourselves comparing notes eight years from the day he said
so you’re also an American, and showed me the best seat
in the mini-cafe.

The years they have been kind?
Strange? About the same?
His kids are people now, big
laughs and so many transgressive
authors, Naked Lunch Naked Lunch
Naked Lunch and how the students
need
to be shaken
and twisted
and broken
you just keep writing and throwing it
out and keep writing and throwing it
out to the high street, he gestures,
something for the people, these
people they just go about their little
lives.

At some point in our thirties we just start looking the same
for a long time. We met when he was a year younger
than I am now, he’s lost a little weight, but aging only
shows in family pictures.

So many beat authors  and  pages full
of violence, his students complain, especially
the women, but people need to know
life’s not all gardens and shopping
and roses. he references Thoreau
and Ginsberg and Lydia so and so
and says something about guts
on the page. GUTS.
To break up the bland, pleasant
horror of domesticity.
What are we doing
here on the high street,
if we’re not picking  up tail
or telling rough truths?

He’s married. I’m not. He was married when we met.
I wasn’t. The Cardiff we meet in and the Cardiff
he lives in are different places even so.

The new book is meant to be
destroyed, because art is temporal.
I get a copy for free. He has to give
some of his students credit, they call him
on his shit. He’s got shit, like I’ve got shit
like they’ve got shit, but these
are his classes and
I learn more, here on high street
about Cardiff Uni Politics
than will
hopefully ever be useful.

Always used to joke to me to not get married, fuck around as
long as possible. Struck me as sad, and honest. A third weak
beer in and I remember three years ago, he sent a few links
for professor jobs in Cardiff, then one in Bellingham that
he’d thought about.
But you can’t uproot family. You, you could go anywhere.
He pulls a page out of his book and wraps his tip in it
things are going pretty well, he re-iterates, life is what it
is, just kicking against the long going
and I take another look down high street
contemplating curriculums for those who only
wish
their desperation could be
quiet.

Monday, 24 April 2017

24/30: Evictions

Upside down American Flag                                                       Try me, fuckers, try me.
wheatpasted next to Johnny Cash                                                Ambiguous icons. No arguments.
and a robot lady with eagle                                                         Sexy, but not. Ominous.
tattoos on a brick                                                                         Plan your wedding photos here.
building that isn't long                                                                 I am surprised you are not dead yet.
for this block.                     

The key to my room I marked with a Hot Water sticker
from work in a month when all my keys looked the same
and I was frequently drunk and every other day they
entered my room to check for pipe problems or ventilation
problems or bug problems or window problems. They did
this with all the rooms, according notes on computer paper
taped to doors, minutes within compliance of renter's rights
law.

                                                        What do you want from a home
  These apartments are made of steel,
                                                                stucco, glass, cocaine, rat corpses
                                     and Adderall. No one gets out of these
                 apartments alive because these apartments
                                                          are the entire world, you are just moving
                                     room to room to room and sometimes
                    falling out of windows.

Saul is gone. Notice on his door.
Not sure why. He was skinnier and
skinnier and more swollen and he was
friendly enough and we talked
about PJ Harvey's fucked up
relationship with Nick Cave
and he was one of the few people
on my floor that neither twitched
and muttered nor wore
a backwards baseball cap.

I am a cold ghost. I am a fire alarm. I am a broken flatscreen. I am a home invasion warning from the new security team. I am here to answer any of your questions. I am a floor and a ceiling. I am fucking in the weight room bathrooms. I am constantly tuned to CNN while an elderly polish woman endlessly folds laundry at midnight. I am a bed of roaches. I am a hall of rat tails. I am a song about the same neighborhood that sicks in your throat. I am a book about prostitutes at the turn of the century. I am your neighbor's sex life, loud and unforgiving. I am a hot plate and a broken microwave. I am a block without trees. I am a manmade waterfall. I am your neighbor's toilet flushing at five a.m. I am a gathering of poets staring at night skyscrapers. I am a constantly reconstructing view. I am in the middle of everything and sending you everywhere. I am the reason you are gone. I am the reason this building still stands. I am temporary. I am permanent.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

23/30: "Good morning my son! Your Father and I are planning on dying soon."

. . . is what I heard over the Sprint Network

when an idle mention of Life Insurance, and how

they are finally getting On That.

I thought of my Grandpa's funeral, my Aunt's

funeral, my Grandmother's funeral, all

the stacks of paperwork and

runs to party supply stores for ribbons

and picture frames, and the tedium of

memorials I saw the women of the family

execute sharply and how I could barely keep

it together.

". . . so if, you know, The Lord decides to take us

both at once, make it easy on us. . . of course, that'd

be harder on you kids. . ."

That would be consistent with the behavior

of the Lord I've met. First I picture a car accident

something bloody on a bridge, called to

Identify the bodies. . . But no.

This would be more like Enoch, aforementioned

Lord giving the two finger beckon;

both my parents sitting together, holding hands

the way they do, silently when the right

jazz standard, or Beatles song comes

on, in one of the cars they

actually liked, that little yellow one maybe

and they just

drive

away.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

22/30: Notes En Route Alongisde the March For Science

Darth Vaders with Han Solo signs.
Elbows to elbows to knees to smalls of backs.
Snide asides from the "justtryingtogettowork"
crowd about "finally a march I'm on board with."

Plenty of jokes. Plenty of quotes. Plenty of
white folks with dreadlocks. No sign of hacky sack
in the rain.

A bullhorn in the rapidly filling park.
Cheers. A switching tide of people,
toward and away from less clogged routes,
toward and away from shorter lines for coffee.

Plenty of portraits of obscure physicists next to
"It's Motherfucking SCIENCE BITCH" next to
grey haired ladies in rumpled gortex talking about
priests of nonviolence and the 70s and the
documentary their lone young companion should watch.

Storm troopers with anti-fa arm bands.
A chance to dress up in a casual town.
A swarming sea of blacks and blues and greens
and the thought that Science will continue
whether we recognize it or not,

much to the terror of the man pulling a radio
flyer with two brown haired children,
thumbsucking and curled up on eachother
like puppies.

Friday, 21 April 2017

21/30: #Targets

A poem about Class in Seattle,
Class in myself, the idea of Taste as
Class signifier, of Class as Taste
signifier, of Education as Class
and Taste signifier, as how despite my
love for both the band and radio station,
I couldn't help but define the
New Pornographers as
KEXP the band.

this is not a compliment.

A poem about Subarus.
A poem about people who
pay so much money for durable
flip flops  and then eat such expensive food
in those durable flip flops and
a poem about people, these
same ones, who think that
we relate to eachother because
we've both read Bolano.

A poem about self-isolation
and a poem about self immolation
in the need to fit in. The gatekeepers
still exist, despite the thinkpieces
gatekeepers share on their facebook
about how the internet
has rid us
of gatekeepers.

This is not a complaint.

A poem about what sorts of
buildings the suburbs meant
growing up, and what they mean
now, and a poem about

the assholes who live in my building
who let their friends steal flat
screened TVs and a poem about
the whole of recorded history
as seen through subsidized housing.

I am also an asshole in my building
but none of my friends have done the sort of damage
that leads to long term policy or rental changes.

A poem about "mindfulness."
A poem about "following your dreams" or about "hard work" or about Nice Things and why we can have them, actually, if we change our attitudes.
A poem about your favorite yoga place.
A poem about my favorite sandwich shop.
A poem about the way the moderately wealthy
do more to shame to poor than the extremely wealthy do
90% of the time, their smirks and their aphorisms.

A poem about the friends I used to have,
who hover like vultures in comment sections and
wider gatherings, whose lives of relative wit
and misanthropy sour like milk and burn like
spilt coffee.

This is not a high ground, but it's the only ground I've got.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

20/30: Well Whiskey and a Rainier

for Natalie

A neutral bar-- enough; one might quarrel with the bartender's tattoos
but who can argue with pizza? Don't know exactly what I was expecting
one year ago over pepperoni slices, except that you were
hotter in person and your voice warmer than any bio-interests belied.

Those sparkler moments when interest went from idle to active--
your "because if you can, why not?" over a trip to Scotland to watch
a band with a sentence long name, the romance lighting, the way
when we decamped to the last and only journalist dive in town

you said "yah, I'm not fancy, give me a well whiskey and a rainier."
The well at the Streamline is Old Crow. We learn, in time, this is our
low-end threshold, that it's worth a dollar or two more for
Beam or Jack when facing down Potters or McCormicks.

The Rainier remains steady, sometimes even without the whiskey.
Those first-date bars are out of our way, but haven't disappeared.
Pizza remains steady, sometimes even without pepperoni.
This morning I kissed you half sleeping, made breakfast,
left the last egg for you.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

19/30: In Which I Summon the Ghosts of Still Living Scribes

Ten oil paint woodland water scenes
in this room where two men in
turbans compare data over a
laptop and the guy who works at
the gyro place where they recognize
my nephew sits in a chair with
an embroidered cushion while
songs with echo-ey lady vocals
drift over the sound of espresso
machines, and I believe that if
there is a problem in this room
I am part of it.

This is the second poem I've written
in A Muddy Cup in my life time and the
more-than-second poem I've written
during this arbitrary daily-poem-calendar
-time about the coffee shop that I'm writing
in and if every poem is a little bit
about poetry, then all of mine are a lot
about poetry, but this is the second one
that I consciously chose to write this month
and I will finish my taxes a little  later
than I planned.

Now this is like a Shane Guthrie poem
or Ryan Johnson poem, they are also both
writing poems every day or almost
every day, because it is important and we
know we are important because we
choose to do this, and they also both
have written about the act of writing and
I'm not sure if they'll be flattered or offended

that I sat in a room with it's own library
that is in the business of giving people a
place to sit and not be terrified of the world
but ostensibly it's just coffee and now
this piece is much much longer than either
Ryan or Shane usually write, even longer
than a poem by Jake Tucker, who was the
most enthused about the 30/30s, but has
written the least, so I assume he has broken
fingers by a Moose in Canada, but yes,
mush longer of a poem than any
of theirs, unless
it's an epic diatribe,
surrealist or
political, respectively,
God
I could use
one of those

right now.