Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Five-Minute Farce

1. Head across campus to pick up screenplay evaluation.
2. Realize halfway there that you've popped your front bike tire.
3. Opt to walk.
4. Trip over bike while passing through front door of building.
5. Recover, pick up screenplay from professor's office.
6. Head back outside, walk bike towards streetcorner.
7. Curse madly as your messenger bag strap rips.
8. Laugh it off, pick bag up off ground in front of attractive jogger.
9. Arrive at crosswalk too late for "WALK" sign.
10. Decide that you deserve chocolate for all this nonsense.
11. Go out of your way to the student union.
12. See that some of your favorite candy bars are on sale--two for a dollar.
13. Fling useless messenger bag onto table, dig around for wallet.
14. Snap. You left it in your sweatpants when you changed out of your gym clothes.
15. No chocolate for you, suckah.
16. It's a lot colder outside than you thought it would be.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Imagination is Freer Than Memory

Last week in Advanced Creative Writing, we had to make short lists of specific places--things that could be settings for poems or short stories. I came up with a list of stuff like: a stairwell, a winter coat pocket, a shark's mouth, an eyelet.

Today our prof wrote all of our nominations on the board and we voted on one that everyone would have to write "a short history" of. It ended up being, "a fluorescent ashtray in the bedroom."

So anyway, we got thirty minutes to write something about the fluorescent ashtray in the bedroom, and in my case, a shark's mouth. Surprise, surprise, right?

A Short History of a Fluorescent Ashtray in the Bedroom

That's where I see her,
Aunt Judy.
In cheaper motels,
under broken lattice front porches,
in leaves, dodging loan sharks
and cobweb clutter,
in film
and filth

and sepia,
a beer-pitcher Bonnie to a
steel-toed, line-dancing,
one-night Clyde.
But not as wry,
or motivated.
Like Salinger's Zooey,
in a chain of smoke
and cynicism,
only not as witty,
not as pointed.
Dull, really.

And this is all she's left:
nightstand, stolen console TV,
tinfoil rabbit ears and
no heirlooms.
The last to get boxed
is what she'd miss most,
if forced to feel.
We don't know.
She is missing,
and this is her likely ghost,
a fluorescent ashtray glow,
casting shame.

A Short History of A Shark's Mouth

I've been here,
shifting seismic rows,
pointed plate tectonic teeth
and the like,
pre-dating badass, sans
I've always been this cool,
watch yourself.

Open, suck, pump
twitch, lorenzini dots
sense, dodge fish flutter.
Feel that?
Each one serrated,
for my pleasure.
Saw soldier, thrash monger,
frenzy firer.

The salt stands still,
the jaw gapes and drops,
at the ready. Ripping scales
with no remorse,
but plenty of remoras trailing,
sucking guts and gills as it were.
Put that on your neck and wear it.
I'll just grow a new one.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Something of a Moment

When my ear finally popped in the shower, I wondered how long the dump truck outside had been beeping.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Borrowing From The Yellow House

Robin Behn has a series of "Yellow House" poems that are thematically linked--sometimes very loosely, sometimes very intensely. She's working on a collection of these poems. In my advanced creative writing class, we were required to read a handful of these works, and I loved a few of them so much that I couldn't stop reading them out loud last night before bed.

Today, our professor read each of the poems one-at-a-time and after each was finished, we were told to write down particular words or short phrases that we remembered--things that jumped out at us. We did this with six separate poems. Then, after we had the lists made, we were instructed to go outside for twenty minutes and write something new using, or inspired by, Behn's words that we'd recorded.

I tried to use every single word on my list, and I came up with this, although it has no title. Also, because of the nature of blogger, it's not formatted the way it is in my notebook.

The perpetuity of dank stones,
chestnut smell of death, a
filmic latch-key monster
with velvet teeth and
fallen feathers.

Your fingers,
your beard as curators of my neck, no--
more like fluttering tails
of blind cavefish
the lattice of my ribcage.
And then you are,
you are
arched over like a spoon, like
the letter r on its side,
unaware of the policing squares
of light
that pass through latitudinal
tree trunks and jagged crosshair
in the still--okay, cemetery;
in the exact middle of what is not

not a dream,
but a street where I once lived
in an--
almost--yellow house.