Wednesday, October 31, 2007

While walking in the Luxembourg gardens I noted to Alejandra the small spikes rising from the heads of statues. I told her they were to keep the pigeons from resting on the statues. She responded that she hopes she never sees a pigeon impaled on one of the spikes.

That got me thinking about a haiku I know:

Fluttering headress
Blood dripping in garden rain
How death crowns a queen

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Debbie Downer

Today I walked past St. Germain de Prés,
with its thousand year tower,
with Hugo's wedding bells
with the white christening gown of the Marquis de Sade
with its egg-shell frescos
with its wood-eyed angels
with its forlorn bells pouring like concrete.

Today I walked past St. Germain de Prés,
as a Frenchman was being carried out.

Its easy to forget people die here,
easier still to forget that we'll die as well.
You're more space than time to me,
More arms than hands.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Upon Reading the Book of Jonah

After we walk the narrow path.
After we find it constricting.
After we widen it with our teeth
Biting and spitting out the gravel.
After we forge other territories
After we set things ablaze
After we stick hands in the fire
After we are burned
After we are content
After we are free

After we find peace,
What great fish will swallow us?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Football Poem

After 4 hours and 4 radio stations I've blindly given my email address to in hopes that one would carry the game internationally, I've finally stopped at KTRH in Houston who, after raising my hopes to the very brink of fruition, has just informed me I'll be able to enjoy the Aggie game in a mere 60 days.

This poem is dedicated to the game played December 27th, the radio station that will bring it to me, and the only Aggie shirt Jason Coggins has ever owned that I am wearing now in celebration of him and his beloved alma mater.

People don't write poetry about football,
They cross-stitch poetry about football
They bake it into brownies sold outside cold football stadiums
wearing the pictures of their homecoming queen or pimple-faced flautist,
oversized mug-shots of their children's incarceration.

People don't write poetry about football
Not because football is too aggressive,
but because poetry is too aggressive.

Poetry wants to cut, to slice, to rip with alliterative teeth.
Football wants to kick, to catch, to charge,
To shake hands afterwards.

Poets don't shake hands.
Poets don't win.
We don't leave the field.

We know there is no field,
and if there ever was...

We would have plucked it up blade by blade years before the ball was thrown.

(well, that was certainly an odd little poem)

Open apology for the last poem written

I really don't know how to begin this. I was under a deadline. I was pressured to create creativity when I wasn't feeling very creative. I apologize for the weak attempt at a concrete poem, the even weaker use of the presents/presence homophone. I initially wanted to write a thank you for Why? Justin Why?'s recent post, but it turned out to be a little too detached to scrape meaning from. I've come to the conclusion that even great poets are great only on occasion. The rest of their existence is nothing but metered mediocrity. All this to say. If you want the full expression of my voice, you'll have to occasionally hear me clear my throat. I hope the next few days will make up for my *ahem.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I'll open it
later, when no other
gift is under the tree, when all I
need for Christmas is the idea that someone took
to wrap
it up

Thursday, October 25, 2007


That woman on the metro is missing two fingers.
That one with the hat, brim pulled like Saturn.
She's grabbing the pole with her thumb and ring finger.
Her pinkie hidden from its brothers' fate
She looks like a sketch from some fashion catalogue.

"Here we have a classic brown knee-length
Accented with brown hose and a cashmere sweater.
You see how the gold of her necklace and rings
accentuate the modest neutral hues of her base.
The heels and silk of her scarf take this ensemble
from Sunday morning to Saturday night..."

The absence of her first two fingers on her right hand
are a fortunate addition to the outfit
Who knows in which jaguar's belly they sit?
Which voodoo priest is wearing them like a trophy
accenting the his high ancestral cheek bones
and the ivory at the bridge of his nose?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Today I heard a story about a French woman who refuses to wait in lines. She is an older woman, a child during the Second World War. When anyone confronts her about her etiquette, she responds that she's waited in enough lines already, now it's her time to be moved to the front.

I imagine her in grocery stores,
elbows full of soup cans,
pushing her way to the register.

In boulangeries, hand raised from the back,
ordering baguettes, daring anyone
to say a word.

In charcuteries, eyeing knives,
taking unrationed meat from
the baskets of others.

In cinemas, demanding front row seats
reminding them of when she pedaled
for the Nazis.

In museums, remembering a time
when the line for La Jaconde would be
around an orange tree,
her forehead touching the bark.

I imagine her during the war,
standing patiently in lines,
long lines
longer than the grocery
longer than the market
longer than the cinema

lines where no one wanted to be first.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mother to Son

I would have told you
about the children
playing in the park.

I would have told you
about their pink-fingered guns;
how they would count paces
before turning

To follow, with eyes of gold,
imaginary bullets,
imaginary wounds.

I would have told you
about the sounds their
candy-breathed mouths made,

The "bang," "pow," "kapow"
clicking from their tongues like dominoes.

I would have told you
how they stumbled to the ground.
How, writhing on sand,
They clutched imaginary wounds
with real hands.

I would have told you how they screamed.

I would have told you how they screamed.

But you were gone,
and wouldn't have listened anyway.

Monday, October 22, 2007

In Celebration of Justin

In celebration of Justin Wolfshohl I will be posting one new poem each day until my triumphant return to the states. This, of course, doesn't mean that you need to read these poems each day, jsut liek you didn't tear off each page from that farside calendar you got in 7th grade. This just means that poetry will exist here for the next 25 days at a steady pace. Not good poetry mind you. just poetry. And in the end, isn't that all we can ask for?
I lay down at the Pantheon
My head on cold concrete, bowed steps
I lay down at the Pantheon
My body lying in state next to Hugo, Dumas
I lay down at the Pantheon
Slipping into it's architecture, a poet on its Greek facade
I lay down at the Pantheon
The rhythm of my blood timed on Foucalt's Pendulum

I see the breeze blow through Corinthian leaves
I feel the weight of the bell, its shuddered silence
I am a child spinning under its domed cathedral

I weave in and out of its history
I lay
I alight
I loom

Until, like a beggar, I am asked to leave.