Thursday, October 9, 2008

Alone, he walks a sullied path,
Afraid to tempt God’s might wrath.
Too old to fall away from grace,
He settles for this lonely place,
And thinks of what he might have done
And thinks of what he might have done.

Alone, he sweeps with ancient pace,
And pours the putrid water out of a vase.
Flowers wither, and then turn to dust,
Much like his sacred vows turn into lust.
And he thinks of what he might have had.
And he thinks of how he might go mad.

They come on God’s day to pray for more,
As he feeds communion to a child-whore.
They kneel on pews and ask for more!
He kneels and begs to have the whore.

And he thinks about how he will burn.
And he thinks about how he will burn.

He’s settled for this forsaken place,
He lives alone in numbing grace.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Animal Poem

Does it suffer? Tied to a tree, waiting, in the shade

of young white eucalyptus—does it know?

It’s snout sniffs, waving forward and backward,

for food or maybe just to pass the time.

It’s nothing like the little pig’s of my childhood,

not standing up right, dressed in coats and scarf’s.

There’s no brick house to run to, no salvation in

brotherly bonds. The others, they’re just happy it’s

not them.

He, or She, is alone and still just waiting.

I watched, though they told me not too, hidden

behind the same young tree, the same white

limbs, the same cooling smell.

Water is boiled, the creature, a color disturbingly

close to my own, is lifted and set on a sacrificial

table, hooves, tied with twine. Three men lift,

and the creature moves its body like a limbless

person, made up of a long torso and the face of a


One strike to the head with a mallet—it’s suppose

to be the kind way. But how? The skull is thick,

one hit isn’t enough, and rather than die, I see the

stream of piss, golden, in the sun ride down the

length of it’s leg. It screams, like a person, it screams

over and over until the mallet comes down again…

and again, and again.

Its limbs stretch out. In death, rippling muscles

under layers of fat, manages to move gracefully.

A knife in the throat, and a bucket to collect

the blood. The spasms slow—death settles in.

And still I watch, as carefully, nearly lovingly,

they pour cupfuls of boiling water upon

the relaxing corpse. The dirt comes off, the hair

is shaven, many knives go to work.

From here, at the base of the tree, I can still

hear how Its snout snorted at the earth, and those

lingering screams that attach to the branches.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Poems written in CAL Lab.

There’s a place where you have to slow down for the deer. Years and years ago, so he says, but they’re still there. He knows. The deer wont run out. Today I don’t believe the deer’s are there anymore, people get like to mount deer’s on their walls, and deer’s get scared when they see carcasses. Smoking, he says, he had to honk the horn to make them move. Silence—no one tell him the deer are all gone.

The old blind woman laughed at me when I fell. Face down on the swept dirt floor of her living room, kitchen, and bedroom. White gums showed when she giggled even boney fingers couldn’t hide them. Too drained to be offended, I laughed too. The barefoot granddaughter, my age, stands holding my offering of beans, rice, coffee, and sugar. Enough for a week.

Blood is thicker than time, over there. So they beat her when the telltale blood didn’t come. Blood makes more sense than trying to listen, sometimes. Skepticism, the root of gossip, leads the witch-hunt today, in broad daylight. Is it hard to wear you’re happy rainbow traje, is the monthly rag made of the same material? No blood this month, and next month when there is no belly, somehow they are still proud. She learned what happens, the say. A good lesson.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Leap

I read this poem the first time through and found myself so terribly confused by the many comas and constant capitalization. I didn’t know which words were supposed to be meaningful or how the poem was to be read. So the second time I read it I decided to turn the TV off and read the piece out loud. That helped a lot more, but there was one last thing I had to do. I went through the poem and underlined the descriptions and memories and circled the beginnings of sentences where it seemed the writer was speaking directly toward at me.
The speaker seems to be an older man, reminiscing after reading an article in the newspaper. He recognizes the person in the article and the circumstances for this woman being in the news trigger a memory he had of her from grade school.
Although I had a hard time following the poem I think this piece really cemented something I read in chapter one of The Discovery of Poetry, which was that poetry needs time to be understood or at the very least appreciated. Reading it once through wasn’t going to make this poem suddenly click, hell, reading it twice and then three times through didn’t make it just click. But the more I read it the more I appreciate that the poem didn’t make perfect sense. It was like being allowed into someone’s mind and following the stream of thought that came with a “detached” or better put “faraway” tragedy. This, to me, was a poem made up of fragments of thought processes.
Due to the poem consisting of this sort of thought arrangement I didn’t find it to move linearly at all. So although the poem was narrative, it was like hearing someone recall a faint memory, it was full of sudden turns and gaps and bursts of information.
There were a few lines in the poem itself that I couldn’t make sense of. Just random little comments that the writer added in like some type of personal afterthought. For example line 42, “And touched the end of something I began,” I am not sure what he means by something he began. Maybe it might all get cleared up if this piece is discussed in class, I’d like to hear what other people thought of that line. And then there’s the very last like, “While I examine my hands.” I know these lines are being taken out of context so they don’t make much sense as they are but even reading them with the rest of the poem wrapped around it I fail to understand them or see their purpose for even being there at all.
I enjoyed that the piece itself didn’t seem to carry so much sadness in it. There was of course that sort of distant lament for the death of someone who was somewhat familiar but the poem isn’t at all dripping with remorse. It seems to be a very simple recollection and something of a promise that this woman who has committed suicide will not be remembered for her jump from a hotel window but rather for her “liberating” jump in a dress in that dancing-class dance.
Her jump was important, meaningful, it plucked her out of the crowed of individuals he went to school with.

My Elegy:

Into Walls

They put us into thick walls,
Our loved ones do, so that we
Won’t mingle with the dirt.
Sylvia, in her
Torpor, looked more dead than
He who was actually in the coffin.

It’s uncomfortable, surely, even
In death to have ones nose and
Mouth sealed with foul smelling
Stuff. Didn’t know what it was,
Still don’t know what it is. But
At least he had more color than
The rest of us.

It was her children, Sylvia’s, who
Had to link arms to hold her back
When she tried to crawl into the
Wall too. Thick walls, which are
Easier to reopen than graves are to
dig up.
It was her children, Sylvia’s, who
Got to touch the coffin one last
Time before they began to put the
Bricks into place, and seal it up
With cement.

He ran very well, my uncle, so well
That he ran to the car even after
A built lodged itself in his lung. He
Ran because he was too full of rest-
Lessness, or so the story is told, he
Was running even when he was in
The womb.

I knew him briefly, as a child he
Would buy me candy when I visited,
From brightly painted corner stores,
And I would eat it, there with him
Sitting on the edge of dirt roads while
He drank a beer from a bottle and
Speculated on tropical thunderstorms,
The like of which I became very familiar
With thanks to Central American

I knew him, only well enough to learn,
That bad things happen to good people,
And that,
They put us into thick walls, our loved
Ones do, so that our bones wont get
Lost and so we don’t mingle with dirt.