Thursday, November 15, 2007


Toes at water’s waning
what is
the weight of a shoreline of sand?
i stand amid the seaweed encrusted melon rind
and search out a rock with a hole
a holed rock
in the bead shop of the downtown
pieces of coral pile in a small
glass bowl
copper fish displayed as at a market

plunge to where they are found
that which hides the ruin of man
and keeps his passion

and i will stand at a distance
holding hand above wave
and feel
and touch the song of a whale
beneath my rib cage
as explosion
that vibrates without colors displayed

weeds hang just below the surface
floating in wreaths, imperfect and organic
barnacles growths dangle at ends
of the fronds and sweep
the silty white covering
to build up the shoreline

the slow progression of pods
of whales
a choir, a chorus
i am dwarfed
something bigger than myself
lost am i

Collaboration Research 6

I enjoy researching poetry inspired by paintings. It is a great way to gain inspiration when you've run out of ideas. This week I discovered Anne Sexton. Anne was an American poet and writer. She struggled with bipolar disorder and an unhealthy need to please men. She once told her therapist that her only talent was prostitution. Through evaluation, Anne's therapist noted her creativity and encouraged her to take up poetry. Writing poetry became her livlihood and part of her therapy. She has won many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1967.

I discovered Anne through Wikipedia, began googling her name, and found many of her poems. "The Starry Night" is a title shared between a painting by Vincent van Gogh and a poem written by Anne Sexton. Vincent van Gogh was known for his lonely feelings and endless creative energy. Anne's poem was an expression of what she saw in the painting. Below you will see both versions of "The Starry Night," as both a painting and a poem.

That does not keep me from having a terrible need of -- shall I say the word -- religion. Then I go out at night to paint the stars.

--Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother

The town does not exist
except where one black-haired tree slips
up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.
The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die.

It moves. They are all alive.
Even the moon bulges in its orange irons
to push children, like a god, from its eye.
The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die:

into that rushing beast of the night,
sucked up by that great dragon, to split
from my life with no flag,
no belly,
no cry.

For more poems by Anne Sexton, click here.
oh see
sea of this earth
brush against me in your wisdom
seize my waves for
what humanely they are
smile in your saltness
lose sunglasses in your wonder
let the creatures of the liquid
slide into my face
teach me what I am made of
its dirtiest kin
sway with the trenches
deep with lovingness
crowding the sins of our future
let the sun breathe
warm on your bosom
for all the canters who
dominate your doors
make friends with the pelican
who bustles on that
round rock
believe into the tragedies
of your people
let their pain humble your
power whistling pure
the simplicity of all the species
they breathe their way
in and out
sustaining being
let those who protrude your beauty
the wonderment of the bluegreen
stay clean despite
their pursuing against
so oneday
we may drink for you


i waltz in Your rising
i scream in Your falling

i think i love you
You hug the sun
You run with wind
then bury my secrets
i cast them out with each rock skipped

but maybe i hate you
how are Your bones sea? fortified with calcium?
look inside
a body-slammed Titanic
swallowed without bite marks
does it taste good with salf?

Your skirt
a cool calling
waving threads of blues and greens
then fraying holes in fabric
yet i still come back for more


The sea’s burnt tragedy is cannibalistic death. Eternal wait, stick figure messiah grins in absence; draw lots. Wait, more wait, wait more, the sea is an endless lack of time. There is a hunger. There is hunger from the sea, from all things that gasp last breaths at taboos. More waiting, wait, wait until the sea is its own doppelganger, its own vague haunting simulacrum doubling upon itself. Its anticipation palpable. The bookie takes odds on thirst hunger or insanity, on the nutritional taste slake value of a half-pint of human blood. And the sea laughs, spits prayers, judges, finds wanting. Waiting more waiting, more thirst/hunger. The sun has left again; his dark toddler multiplies the base sea, the crying sea. And it will come. I have seen the leather liquor’s passing and the sound flee. Make good time and time good demon. The cerebellum bullet. The end of hunger waiting thirst.

To The Sea

To the Sea


Hey sea

where do u come from
who rained u
why are u dying i know why
how does that make u feel
don't answer that
seasick right

oh little sea
big sea
vast sea
motherfucking humongous sea
u is big
where are u now
why dont u kill us
we been bad
we didnt mean to

sometimes its a mystery
why we are so blah

we little flecks of foam
morphed out of you

and we have not grown
we have but now we decay
but occasionally we make nice
but now we get weird compexity
we think we all big and shit
bigger than the sea
and we got philosophy
Derrida and particle accelerators
we can destroy u, nuke you
we got your # mr c
we kill universe
take over
waterboard the sun
make sun talk
tell us where the codes are hidden

Icarus dedalus, poseidon
dead dead dead dead dead
triton jason jonah moby dick jaws
all fizzled up made into oil

goodbye sea
rain no more
we can see clearly now
we are fucked and there is no god
to come down and spank us
no god to save us, hug us, hegel us
we killed god, didnt we nietzsche

oh see vast and lonely dying sea
maybe jimmy buffet will sing for u
goodbye sea
tatata earth
we go fuck up some other world now
that's the way things are

u must be joking
u cynical old fuck
get a life!
Stop using u in your poem
when you know damn well it's YOU

well well well
we'll wait and see
we always do
maybe we'll make it
some do, some don't
how bout sending a little rain this way

one day we may drink for you unselfishly
one day we may cry tears made by you instead of pepsi
one day we may watch you perform beaches, sunsets, splashy cliffs
one day we may save ourselves, save you, save god, and stuff
one day we may drink together, collaborate on a poem together, maybe a rewrite of Dover Beach from your perspective...
one day we may get to know the real you... do lunch sometime
negotiate your dispute with the moon, maybe make love
catch a movie... have children: half fish, half poem
we could be cute little ellipsis floating through space
and when I drown in you, you will absorb my thoughts


Off the cruise ship we got on the bus
and are poured beer into cups by mi amigo
who is a professoro who guides us and takes
tips like scholars of old- little did I know then
that I would soon be adjuncting too... but now
I am the ugly american, here to exploit him,
you know, see how he lives, that's how I spend
my vacation, spending money and shit.

So after sweating my ass off, nearly fainting in Tulum
I imagine what bastards the Spaniards must have been
and I stare at the jungle as my 7th cup of beer evaporates into the sweaty air

In Jamaica we sing Jamaican Farewell on the bus to the plantations and we spit
sugar cane and make jokes about marijuana, my brother and I, not the guide...
and ian fleming references, bob marley, blue mtn coffee, jerk chicken and poverty
looks like it was made by disney and uncle Remus gonna come around singing
zippity doo dah, although we are a bit too far south for that.

In grand cayman, we retrace the setting of the firm and I get salt water in my eyes
and don't swim, so I drink cognac and eat rumcake, poor me
think of all the money laundering -this place is well off seemingly
but I imagine that an asteroid like the one that killed off the dinosaurs
might hit the carribean again just like the one on the History channel
and this island with no high ground will be devoured by hundreds of feet
of water.
Where will all the money go?


In ocho rios, we swam
where the cool river water cascaded down a
nd converged with the hot sea
and it is a wonder we ever climbed out
of the water

in playa del carmen
mom and dad swam in an underground river
while John and I sweated in Tulum's ruins

On the boat, I watch
midnight in the garden of good and evil
the apostle and the wedding singer

at the dining table
we are served by
a waiter from war torn
Yugoslavia and he works 18 hour days
for tips
our housekeeper from Africa does likewise
and the ship saild through 3 hurricanes
percolating in the carribean

then came keywest, Sloppy Joes
Jimmy Buffet and hemingway's 6 toed cats
then it was back to the normalcy
of Las Vegas nevada which is located
at the bottom of an ancient sea
long since dried up.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

collaborative poetry

This is an awesome poem, I just googled collaborative poetry & found this:

Waiting for scars.
The fist, an augured wind that blew
against a cheek that turned
away again, already burned
with shame
'Breathe' said the lungs
in a sweating cage of blank devotion
bidding joy and all emotion
to silence
'Stand' said the bone
a splintered act of moderation
lapis tattoo of adoration
a joke
'Steal' said the mind
to feed the poor and battered love
ragged-winged, bleeding dove
of misery
'Wait' said the soul
'be patient
time will heal, and
when there's nothing left at all to feel
try scars'
(John Ahearn/Kate Bousfield)
Sea’s Sick Lullaby
Emily Meier

Your echoing voice against the great stone walls
hits my ears like lonesome calls
Such fury can be felt when thrashing the rocks
mist flying into the air dampening what lies around
Your hand-like waves move the beach
forward and backward
motion like a dance
A romantic dance between you and your partner
Out of your foam came Aphrodite
the goddess of love born that day
It’s that same sea that took my love away
Your mighty arms wrapped him and rocked
using his boat as a baby’s cradle
to sleep to sleep
a sea’s lullaby
sea’s sick lullaby
I lay on this shore each night
looking at the sky and stars
Reflection dancing across your body
I listen to your howls
You moan as if for someone
yet you cannot hear my moans
My tears run and my cries echo
yet I know you don’t care
If you cared of such a love
you would not have rocked the boat too hard
Those walls of water went up
then down like stone upon that boat
I enter your domain willingly
The water comes upon me as a blanket
Wrap your arms around me
Be strong enough to fight my struggles
Carry me out
I want to see him

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Example of Collaborative Poem

throbbing gristle, by Andrei Codrescu, Laura Rosenthal, Mark Spitzer and Robin Becker

I'm pro-clam
O Pro Tubular comet raise your sungod blone.
Poets move away
from genitals. Move toward
the seed that shudders a velocity that
will achieve NADA

(margin release should never be taught to anyone under 60
'cause then they cut you off
& capitalize on every return
suckling with your gray matter)

do it

move beyond that female hat-stink brat
smell sweet cosmos leaning into nothing
as gaseous and deep in camp
and like the smell of children kill
breathing through the swirl of mice
lopez was a wolf his wolverine was stoned

the avocado was an orphan of the Manatee of Glove
the hair of pearlflesh was the rape of Ophelia in bloom
succulent ripple roseflesh lunch

she who gorges gorgeously
will be first in line for organ donation
her name is Cindy Crawford
I think.

(I hope I'm not breaking any copyrights by posting this. -SMA)

Collaborative Project

This is by Richard Garcia from his latest collection
The Persistance of Objects Rochester N.Y.:BOA editions, 2006.

This particular poem is a collaboration with Moby Dick
like the suggestion in our course syllabus,
Garcia as he explained at one of his readings
wrote a paper some 45 years ago in a freshman college class
and it failed. He ended up dropping out of college...
but it ended up making a good poem.

from "Under a Black Flag"

In my Moby Dick Captain Ahab is Hitler.
That's why he stomps around, dragging his peg leg,
muttering about those Jews, Gypsies, mongrel intellectuals,
communists, homosexuals, and decadent artists--
they all coalesce into the image of that cursed whale, cursed
albino with the black heart, black blood, black milk of emptiness!
And the Pequod, the Pequod is Western Civilization
following the white whale through an existential darkness
of a world made lonely from the Death of God.
Hitler, poor Hitler can't find any Aryans to join his crew
so he settles for American Indians, Blacks, and Ishmael,
whom he suspects might be an Arab. Me? I'm in the book tooo-
Pepito the cabin boy. Being illegal, I have to sleep
down in the hold with the rats and the ballast
graveyard dirt-and I sleep well, rocked
by creaking timbers, and the herds of whales singing
ghostly utulations of Ahab's death song. But my Moby Dick
is in a kind of eternal present. That's why Nathaniel Hawthorne
leans toward Herman Melville as they bounce along
in a horse-drawn carriage and tells him about the article he read
in the Gazette-a white whale often seen off the island of Mocha,
that the sailors call Mocha Dick....

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Hitler Tree

This tree is not hitler
Nor is it Alice Notley
Nor Michel Foucault
Nor Joe Pesci’s dentures

This tree is logical positivism
This tree is Esperanto
This tree is a ham sandwich
Vibrating in my cellphone crotch

This tree is a spermwhale
But not the red sea
Nor is it Mussolini
Or Tito Puente

This tree is on fire
(notify the next of kin)
It has boobs, dances
Boobies are dangling

From the branches
The tree dogs me, cats me
Shakes me, fondles me
I love my tree

My anus tree
No it’s not poetry
It’s not art, nor news
Song, blues, Nein!

The tree is treeful, treeness
Treelicious, tree-rific
The tree is a cunt
It is cunty-riffic

The tree is a salamander
Advocating the left wing agenda
The tree is bulletproof, praying
That you are not a tree

You think you are
But you’re not!
You are like the tree
Maybe you are the tree

Maybe you are
the fucking tree! Happy?
The tree is not/is Hitler.
We are all Hitler.

No, nein, not Hitler
tree is orgasm.
Yes… that is
what the tree is.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tomorrow tomorrow

to sit and focus on Survival alone
straight ahead
eyes on the Prize
an Acorn
no attention to what is around
so many colors
it’s about living Life
what is Ahead
no Time for Today
Tomorrow’s coming
no Time to sit and enjoy
the Yellows, Blues, Greens
so many Hues
have to be ready for what’s Ahead
Life without Routine is still
look around
the Yellows, Blues, Greens
the Now
worry about Tomorrow
if Tomorrow isn’t there tomorrow
at least you had


Nose running,
skin drying,
Lips chapping,
Fingers turning -

He dreads opening to door
entering the white.
With the frost set in,
ground hard and unbreakable.
The weather -

Straining toward to path.
Looking back at the prints
left as he moves forward.
With each step his feet grow colder.
The icy water seeps through the crevice
and the bitter chill winds it's way in
between and opening in his coat.
force force force
force yourself to write each day
forceful force
let the force be with you
fornicate with the force
let it be with you in bed
let it whisper those lies
you love so much
force the pen to page , scribble sins
you were forced to commit
mental hospital
feel the forceful river flow
it flows
at least it’s flowing
feel the fantasy of inking
especially knowing
feel your mind just be in a costume
what are you for halloween?
a poet
a slutty one?
sorry, no
it’s nice the slutty is for only one
ah, back to commit again

Memo to Greenbaum

Contraption no way is which way
a convoluted series of tubes
something that Ted Stevens must’ve invented
each color takes you on a different path
triangle quadrilateral
up and down the steps
body like a trampoline
the enigma bounces on me
keeping your focus like Sisyphus Junior

Autoshape command doesn’t do justice
three dimensions for the price of two
a subway map for your creative fugue
understanding you more today
than I did yesterday
making sure it’s due
when the deadline is infinity
and time is relative to an orphan

Up in the corner
a window to the edge of nothing
Exit 47, you can’t miss it but you will
pay the toll with intangible quarters
before you’re nickeled and dimed to submission

Thursday, November 1, 2007

what do you think?

did anyone else have a difficulty with the elegy poem? I found it weird and uncomfortable and I didn't want it to be self-indulgent or whatever--

How did you all decide to write your elegy? I really like them all



When I die eat donuts b/c I love donuts
When I die take naps b/c I love naps
When I die be stubborn b/c I am stubborn
When I die make dinner b/c I love dinner
when I die check your email every five minutes
When I die sing Salt n Pepa b/c I love Salt N Pepa
When I die don’t wear panty hose don’t bite your lip don’t eat
habeneros don’t say the word slut or bitch or bastard
When I die quote the Gilmore Girls read Kenneth Burke passages dress
like zombies be sarcastic talk about how you hate children big
dogs old people who drive slow
When I die give away my books
When I die write me letters I will write back
When I die have lots of sex or if you can’t have sex masturbate
When I die take showers all day long or shower baths or baths with
When I die vacuum the main room dust the television light candles but
not in church don’t go to church when I die go to the mall or buy bread from local grocers or coo coo with the little pigeons
When I die carve pumpkins bake pumpkin seeds and put them in little
baggies and pass them out and say this if from Andrea!
When I die drink cold Sambuca tequila w/o groceries long island ice
teas capecods w/lime
When I die play hopscotch and get chalk on your fingers
When I die write Jacob stories about dandelions and kitties and aliens
When I die wear all of your jewelry at once or hats or ties or lipstick
and kiss people
When I die say hello to inanimate objects b/c they are alive hello
lamppost hello train hello post office hello McDonalds hello computer hello book hello poptart hello microwave
When I die don’t drive b/c I hate driving
When I die talk about yourself
When I die say hello to animals hello cows, why are you a cow?
Hello sheep, hello blackbirds hello kitties hello camels hello
llamas hello squirrels how is your acorn?
When I die speak the Ojibwe say the word for blueberry pie
b/c it’s the longest Ojibwe word
Miin-aan baash kimini-sij-i-gan bitooyin sij-i-gan-bukwayszhiigan
When I die don’t bury me next to my dead kitty or my dead birds or
my husband or my children or my parent’s graves or my sister’s graves or my brother’s grave


You left the stove light on
before you went out.
I don’t blame you
because you never knew
you weren’t coming back.

And it’s okay,
because I turned it off
while I was waiting for you
to come home.
I waited
I waited until the next morning
when the paper hit the door
and the news hit my core.

You used to be a little flighty
and you read too many books.
You had this way about your dancing
and your head-tilt-back laugh.
You had the passion of a dreamer
and the wisdom of a doer
the vibrancy of a Jackson Pollock
and the fragile heart of a child
but we’ll all remember you
beautiful you
as the best kind of half-crazy—
unyielding in your attempts
to save the world
and all of us.

Now that those eyes will never open,
the shine has gone from everything.


Photographs that hold moments in time
a way of looking at the world
looking at her
always there
and in the leaves that scatter the ground
the seeds that scatter
a footprint on the floor
from where a dancer has just leapt
walking in between rows
of tall growing prairie grass
field grass
sitting silent on a ledge
and loving
my dear
clothed in comfort
and prisms of light

Painting Poem

fabric stretching
Silver Cloud a puppeteer
of a shelter of colors
the sheet tents of a child’s childhood
the ship that carries and keeps
eyelash that the wish was made on
gusts, billows
breath makes flutter the flags
none can touch save her and hers
apple tree branches float beside
and messages sent on the bands of Canada geese
cardboard cut-outs of paper dolls
cut from the lining of the boat
patchwork quilt covers them both
patched with doilies and lace
and float them on a sea
owl eyes watch from cloth barns
a castle of leaves
and i am the gardener
sleep there in a room of exquisite oaks
and knock three times
when i shall come to take you back


never read
all the great books
always an excuse
for tomorrow

never traveled
poor and trapped
in a cycle of spending

never fell
in love cynical and jaded
everyone too good
or not good enough

never had
a God faith making no
more sense than love

never told
friends that time spent with
them was all that mattered in
the end

collaborative project

This is a poem my little brother Jacob (he's ten) and I are writing--we started this b/c he's always bored and I told him to write me something about dandelions, aliens, and kitties (I said it had to be 4 paragraphs)--this is what he wrote and then I wrote back--I will continue to post our replies each week--as you can see he is a much better writer than me.

the dandelion has turned white and the seeds are flying away bye seeds hay that seed burned formed the sun that one drown in the ocean uh oh no more seeds so sad uh oh uho uh oh uh oh uh oh uh h uho not 4 paragraphs but good right but that seed turned into a dandelion i missed counted uh oh read again for more cycles

Sweet Alien! Here is a dandelion for you b/c you are green b/c you have big eyes like jacob eyes like a kitty eyes like my kitty Sweet Alien! Why do the cows moo moo? Why do the birdies twitter twitter? Let's go south and see the ocean let's go to Disneyland and ask Mickey to pay Goofy and Minnie more money. Sweet Alien! I miss my little brother b/c he has dimples b/c he likes chocolate and harry potter and movies and i like those things too.

Dandelion--your seeds are in my hair and in the Sweet Alien's teeth. Dandelion I will see you in the spring if you see Jacob tell him I say hello

reflection of she/me

she sat underneath the overshadowing tree

bashfully hidden from the world, what she did best

she was prolific with words that overflowed

her book

each meaning more than what it read

she was inspired by her past

she was inspired by her future

her future of defection--

molding her unique being

craving for satisfaction

she learned would not be discovered within

the limits of the world

family built her fragile bones

friends were the muscles surrounding them

influencing her agile nature

stability breathed into her

many came, few remained

yet only one thing real in her life

one thing that had true definition

no matter what HE was there to stay

whether or not she left him, she’d always make her way

back into his asylum

continuously mistaking worldly comforts

for what can only be temporary thrills

she was blessed and quickly learned

false love could not last

an understanding grew like branches

she inherited an abundant life

feeling like she struggled as no other

resulted in her gaining the strength of ten men

she represented beauty, faith,

independence, intellect

A child of her mother

from tears to laughter

pain to bliss

insecurities to confidence

silence to a voice

girl to WOMAN

she found her in him

she found life collected till her end

Where The Tracks Used to Be

Ten thousand shades
of tender green
beside the Langley road

__remember when there was dancing
__and Bellinis and tealights

they would only lay
the flat clay roof
at the full of the moon

__then darkness
__with echoes remaining

of coal dust
on the stripped door

__straight out of the sauna
__we roll through new snow

the timeless
and hungry arms
of emptiness

__in her dreams she always slept
__in a different bed

he knew
all his wishes
would never come true

__white lilac is pompom
__and poodle and first communion

hand-made soap
wrapped in paisley
on the wicker platter

__if my love were jam
__it would be fig and ginger

moonseeds —
pine cones tumbling
out of the sky

__everyone has the same cold
__that goes then comes back

at death
she might
let go

__I imagine your favourite jumper —
__green cashmere, tudor-sleeved

nose to tail
the lurcher pup
wriggles free

__a mother skips with her child
__where the tracks used to be

wild daffodils —
smaller, softer
more golden

__at sunset
__all we caught was rain.

Linda France
Tim Foxall