Tuesday, February 20, 2007

On Writing

I like it when a poem doesn't say a whole lot.
When it dances around a message
like leaves around that statue of Garibaldi in Washington Square Park.
When the poem can speak
without ever really saying anything.

I like to read three pages and think two sentences,
like the author has you by the ears and he's dragging you along,
and you're kicking and screaming.

I think the finest poets can stare at a sky so big it seems to end below their feet
and sum it up in a few short words:
"No sky is bigger than another."

When a Decision is Made to Stay in One Place.

The snow was light and sparse and reminded him of the pubic hair on his first real red-headed girlfriend.

It was the kind of snow that fell and melted the second it hit one’s skin.

The way it inhaled and exhaled itself toward the pavement was nothing short of a visual phenomenon. It breathed just enough to maintain a light barrier over the preexisting sharp ridges of what was once it’s brethren but now, it’s inevitable fate: Ice crunched under foot like the sound of bones breaking in a high school football game.

Minus the fans and all the noisemakers, he glided across the thick white patches with finesse and straight-back confidence. He’d remember this walk when he’d get home. He’d use it as an excuse to not go out again. It was beautiful and he knew it. But the beauty was not worth the risk to step outside his apartment. To walk the nearly six blocks, for water, to an always empty corner store.

Leaving wouldn’t be worth the work come Friday when he’d still be sick and have to spend another late January weekend with his friends completely sober on feeling alone.

The phone rings and he ignores it. He doesn’t try to do it; he’s just doing something more important…

Tending to his eyebrows.

Swabbing out his earlobes.

Flossing past the canines.

Dabbing his face with coarse hand towels.

Unlike snowflakes, his beauty would stay. Yet, snowflakes are not susceptible to eight a.m. headaches or vulnerable to the dentist's ultimate nemesis, teeth sick with fits of decay.

Flakes lack hands and wrists and five digit fists. They are truly unable to ensure long lasting survival. Come rain or shine, in the end, snow just dies.





They breathe down to the ground. Dissipating like an airy “o” from a drawn out southern belle’s “hello.”

He’d make sure he was preserved. He was cold, yeah that was it.

He was cool. It could be seen in his alizarin colored cheeks.
He loved the winter weather.
He loved to see that he could outlive the existence of his very own element.

A Brief and Charming Trip North.

Platform fifteen at 4:33. Upper deck, green vinyl sleek seats.

Cue north suburban scenery.

Lake Forest, Illinois.
Quaint. Sun setting pink on a middle class neighborhood.

A church and a strip mall and an out of place green and white fast food establishment.

Most excellent wait service.

“Big” Mac is an overstatement

Forty-five minute walk toward some liberal art writing retreat on a cement stream littered with trees. An hour and a half is all we can spare. Not enough to walk. Call a cab. It doesn’t show.

We give up.

We get distracted.

Circle three sidewalks and a parking lot. Make the short journey one square block.

See a bank and an empty gas station. Perched above pines a pale cuticle shaped satellite. Astral decor for centuries. Accessory to everything.

Skin looking good underneath a waxing “Wolf Moon.”


The train station is deserted.


A vagabond talks to a dark man mopping.

The train does not arrive.

Stranded in Lake Forest.

An old-fashioned clock tells the time. A big clock with both hands points toward “panic.”

Quickly calmed down -Sunday schedule reads that we are to leave at 9:00.

Seconds smoke by until there’s one last cigarette.

At 8:55, we're sailing south on once green, now burgundy, sleek vinyl seats.