Thursday, May 31, 2007

Beating some metaphorical A*

I stepped on the heel of a man as I boarded the 12 at Pasteur. It wasn't intentional, but he didn't see it that way. After awkwardly producing an obligatory and insincere "Pardon, Monsieur," I considered the matter closed. While the train pulled out of the station I pulled out a thin slice of poetry I've been chewing on the past few days. The crust, now stale, I looked over the book to see the man staring up at me from his fold-away metro chair. I watched his fat lips mumble diluted French phrases his voice wasn't strong enough to validate. He looked up at me repeatedly, flashing his sad, cartoon gangster eyes my direction. Amused, I sat and stared at him for the rest of the ride, occassionally smiling. He continued to mumble as he checked the back of his poor fitting trouser leg. As the metro slowed to Convention and I prepared to depart, I heard the man stiffly stand up next to me.
For a brief moment I imagined grabbing him by the bruise of his throat and pushing him down to the floor. I pictured his sad eyes under the sole of my muddy shoes. I felt the bones around his jaw and temple give as I applied my weight. I finally heard his mumbles take shape as screams that came to a quick end as the toe of my shoe, the same muddy shoe that started our relationship, pushed his Adam's apple to the back of his neck.
As the doors opened I walked up the stairs to my exit. Passing some drugees and their dogs, I kept looking over my shoulder. A control officer caught my eye and I watched her begin to follow me up the stairs. As I turned out of the station, she was gone. From there I went home, feeling criminal, feeling violent, feeling whole.

*Title courtesy of Jason Coggins

Monday, May 28, 2007

I jumped onto the metro quickly, not taking note of those around me. I quickly swung my backpack around to my stomach and sat on one of the theatre chairs of the middle aisle. In my hurry, I failed to notice there were fewer passengers on this car than others. Within seconds I heard him screaming.

His voice full, decorating the room like some 7th century mead hall. In my periphery I could see his coatrack of a body holding other peoples' clothes between the bench seats of the metro car. I couldn't understand what he was saying, but from the grumbling of other passengers and the clutching of purses, I assumed he wanted money.

He approached an older girl beside me, not more than 18. When begged, she non-chalantly put apologies in his cup, she looked calm but reserved as the sides of her bob haircut crawled around her high cheek bones.

As the man continued yelling, I looked again at the young girl, whose head was in her left hand. Inside her palm she was shivering. I couldn't help but be moved at how this young woman was so emotionally delicate that even the presence of a human on the brink of despair could bring her to almost uncontolable sobbing. I thought surely I had never seen compassion like that before, and would not soon see it again.

As the metro met my stop, I rose to meet friends for dinner. As I walked past the girl she lowered the mask of her hand. Behind it, there were no tears. She had been laughing. Laughing so hard she hid herself.

I ate in silence.

Monday, May 21, 2007


I want the bottom to drop.
This plate of clouds spinning above the tower,
I want the center to break
Letting ceramic and ropes of
Precipitate pasta pour around me.

I want to fall asleep
among this grass
among these gnats
among these lovers

I want to wake up in the rain, an empty field.
My white t-shirt, clinging like skin.
My mouth, a cup of water.
My eyes, the only dry place in Paris.

Man at Pasteur

He is elegantly gay, holding his sexuality
Like a handbag. He tosses it flippantly over
His left shoulder, dropping hips like breadcrumbs.

He holds his lips in a kiss, unkissed.
His eyes could be masculine, but he's
Powdered each iris with graphite.

He stares in a dark grey, a woman grey,
A blank grey that belies the 5 o'clock
Shadow he's wearing at 8 am.

I think I'll follow him for the rest of the day,
See what bridges he stops, doesn't stop, at
See what couples he stares, doesn't stare, at

Marvel at how anger like that tears bread.

Woman at Convention

There is a slow woman at the metro
Who stands on the cliff of the stairs
Mouthing words with her hands.

She occassionally yields suffocating noises
From the balloon leak of her lips, constantly staring
At the floor, which she floats inaudibly above.

She hangs an arbitrary smile
On the coat-rack of her cheeks
Opening and closing her thoughts like cabinets.

I think, perhaps, the whole of humanity
Rests between her slightly out-turned ears
And her pace and manners are just subtle
Signs of being crushed.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Order Up: An introcution of Pamela Davis

Pamela Davis throws pies: apple pies, cherry pies, blueberry, mulberry. She's even been known to throw a mincemeat when provoked. She throws pies. Take care when pecan's on deck, pecan pies are unforgiving.

Timidly toeing her way out of her mother's womb on a snady beach in SoCal, Pamela, Pam to her friends, wore pink holsters in her youth, a tutu in her early teens, a tatoo in her late teens and bell-bottoms in the San Fransixties.

Pam is responsible for the VW in VW bug. Known as Volkswagon after a lengthy court battle in 1973, VW originally stood for Virginia Woolf. Pam, Pamela to authorities, was known form Tahiti to Newport for driving her VW around, hanging out the window yelling, "Who's afraid, who's afraid?" Pam wasn't afraid, she was armed with a cherry cobbler.

She calmed down in the nineties, burying himself under commas and catheters until she relunctantly peeked out to see her shadow jsut a few years ago. Suffering from fluctuating fears of being seena dn being overlooked, it turned out that her abrubt appearance late last winter was actually a cardboard cutout. Pam's been walking around us in disguise for the last fifteen years.

As it turns out, Davis isn't even her last name. Since 1984 she's gone a symbol, π.

It's her current hope to reunite with someone she knew in paris some twenty years ago. She hasn't yet decided what she'll say when they come face to face, but she has decided on the pie.

It will obviously be lemon, sans meringue.

Blazon for My Grandfather

My grandfather's jaw was a candelabra of melting teeth. His pickled tongue slept behind their burning wicks. His wisk broom mustache shook beneath a cobblestone nose. My grandfather's ukulele laugh would peel down wall-paper into a bed of bougainvillea, there we would sit, spinning him above us, skeletal helicopter, our faces to the cool breeze of his whale-tailed webs.

My grandfather's hands were gravel-gloved so that he could crush clouds into rain, so that he could grate granite with his palms, so that he could snake into blackberry dungeons and rescue the trembling fruit.

His cigarette legs would walk in circles through my grandmother, feeding her wine and walnuts, both in glass, ferociously fox-trotting her back to the flooded 40's, where tubes and oxygen, saliva streamers hung from champagne chandeliers.

My grandfather had tomato vine veins, vericose, very close to his straw-hat heart.

He woke up like a Fibonacci fountain, slept in the first and fourth quadrant of his Cartesian California king. He dreamed abundant vegetable dreams.

My grandfather's paper-thin skin held him together until, like all gifts, he was opened.

Ramene ta fraise*

I pissed in the corner of the Cour Carre.
Smelling like asperge and Kronenburg,
I pissed with my back to the angels and saints,
My back to the windless accordion of their prayers.

After zipping up I marched, marcher, around the square,
Stopping dutifully at each impatient statue,
Screaming my stops like a metro horn.

*literally translated as "bring your strawberries," a term used to provoke a fight

Ego-Trip (revised)

I am the hub of all Paris,
The center of its spokes and wheels.
I am the point about which the arrondisements spiral,
The direction of the Triumpal Way.
I stretch from the Arc's wreath of remote control cars,
Past the gold lit match of crane's and unseeing eyes,
Beyond the Sun, beyond his horse, beyond their hooves, years off the ground.

I am buried beneath the pyramids,
Balanced on their tips.

I am the words and the bread,
The wine and the wind,
The flowers hanging form Haussmann balconies.
I am the piss in the metro,
The wysteria growing their paper grapes.
I am the poplars on the quai.
Their leaves a shimmering gypsy dress.

I am the slow pull of the water,
The stubborn push of the land.
I am the broad shoulders over which the Seine is bent.

I am the weight of St. Denis's head and
The angle at which he holds it.

I am the holy kisses of men
meeting at Medditerranean markets.
I am the abrupt kisses of women
cutting up conversations.
I am the soft kisses of lovers,
held like marbles between the lips.

I am the toasts to birth
to health
to death
to love
to sex
to the thin thread of white light which ties them all together.

I am the tunnel with its royal ghosts.
I am the open books of Verlain and Baudelaire,
The ones that have yet to be opened.

I am the flour in the boulangerie.
I am the blood in the charcuterie.
I am the stench in the fromagerie.
I am the appetite which devours all three.

I am Paris, because Paris is made of me.

I am the stars.

I am the stone.

I am the one to whom St. Genevieve still points.

A Short Week of Poetry.

For me, this was a short week of poetry. having jsut finished a week long workshop with poet Cecilia Woloch, I am now going to post some of the poems that came out of the week, including a new version of Ego-Trip. This will have no effect on your lives, but it will be somewhat cathartic to me. I wouldn't want to be stripped of my sobriquet like Bloggins or completely abandon this little bivouac of my thoughts.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Packing up Rome

I rested on the Colloseum steps
My eyes sliding down its slopes
Weaving through its buried maze

I shuffled throught the Roman Forum
My hands against rough stone
My thoughts with virgins underground

I walked beside the Palatine
I searched the hill for its high-leafed trees
Seen before on plates and vases

And when I was done with the Ancient City
I folded her neatly in an old newspaper
And boxed her all away,
Somewhere between the stone and golden age.


one day these bones will dry
then white and still
will sleep

one day this blood will still
then black with sleep
will dry

one day this hand will sleep
the pen then dry
will still


Today I started a poem
a very poor poem

The title bled into the first lines.
the verbs weren't sharp
the nouns, not all accounted for

Upon reflection I cleared my desk
picked up my pen
and quickly wrote another

not as a poet of course,
my poet days ended at the first poem.
I wrote the second, more as a custodian.
wiping clear the trash and clutter
scrubbing up the ball of my pen
unwrapping new paper
and balancing clean words on its blue shelves
in the quiet cupboard of my journal

All of the tea in the Ming Dynasty

I just got back from a little excursion to the French Alps, Cinque Terre, Rome, and Interlaken. I had a good time. I wrote some poems. Here are some of them.