Tags: poemage



(Written on the way home from Comic-Con 2011)

Someday, if I sell enough
video games, I'll be rich enough
to afford one
Someday I'll have my own office
at a game company someone's heard of
in a room that doesn't always smell like cat shit
in a building that doesn't always smell like cat shit
and I'll line a bookshelf with souvenirs
from half my life--an old
microchip, a wooden ghost, a handmade owl,
a Sherman tank in the shape of an anime girl--
tastefully arrayed above
the desk where I make
the other half--
instead of taping them shut
in a cardboard box
Someday I'll live in a room bigger than a closet
(no, that's not hyperbole)
and watch enough movies to follow conversations
without consulting Wikipedia
Someday I'll measure the price of a comic book
in something other than days of rent

Someday I'll have a DVD collection
Someday I'll have a bunch of friends I can just call some weekend
and ask if they want to hang out
or talk about William Shatner
or watch Community
or argue about McLuhan or McCain or McGonigal
or play that new video game I bought
while we complain about how our lives are going
Someday I will stop using my chessboard as a coffee table
and my copy of Apples to Apples as a paperweight
Someday I won't be ashamed
of liking My Little Pony

Someday I'll stop obsessing over Charles Schulz's little redhead,
the fujoshi playwrit
the Star Wars animatrix
the steampunk librarienne
the superheroine seamstress
the not your average girl reporters--
the Felicia Days, the Lauren Fausts,
who won't take shit for an answer
and aren't full of no
Someday I'll quote Pride and Prejudice
in my bedroom voice
to a woman who quotes Princess Bride
in her bedroom voice

Someday I'll learn to play "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
both the Bob Dylan version and the Guns 'n' Roses version
Someday I'll go to a con dressed up like Terry Bogard
and you'll go dressed up as Aradia Megido
and in a roped-off nook of the convention center we'll have
the most flagrantly non-canon makeout
in the history of chainsaws
Someday I'll hum the Chrono Trigger ending song
as you're drifting off to sleep, and you'll hear it in my chest
and surprise me with the OCRemix vocals,
the pixietricks to my zircon
Someday I'll bore you with the parable of
the Atari ST and the cathode ray tube,
how a lifetime has to happen in the instant
between the first scanline and the last
and you'll just laugh
and call me a dork

Someday I'll go dancing and not come back alone
Someday I won't lie in the grass late at night and fall asleep in the quiet
Someday I'll make love in a mosh pit

Someday I'll take for granted
the opinion of an average
woman on the shape of a
bagel relative to the starch
content of the dough as just
another idle observation
and not
the most beautiful thing I've ever heard

Some days I'll shut my laptop
stare into the afterimage it
smolders into the dark
reach out to the
blistering antiviolet and
feel myself
running out
of someday



I accidentally wrote a 五言绝句 on Twitter today.

Seeing apartments,
strange people in mine.
It is hard to work.
I am without peace

"Oh, please," cries the smug fuck, "that's not really a wuyien jueju. You totally missed the point of this ancient and elegant poetic form, you cultural appropriator."

Fine, smug fuck. Have it your way.


Yes, I know. My classical Chinese is terrible. I would get so lost looking for a bathroom in a Tang Dynasty poem.
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stolen pomes from the poet tree

Yesterday I did a volunteer shift at my church's ridiculous ridiculous annual used book sale (paperbacks for $1.50, hardcovers for $2!). I am in the midst of a minor theological struggle about it right now, since Jesus pushed over tables when he saw people selling stuff on consecrated ground, and the very same building where the pastor preached to us the virtues of not giving in to temptation (we are in Lent) became a temporary marketplace just hours later. But if they are hypocrites then I am also, because after a mere 45 minutes of theological wrestling I was down there hauling an armful of books to the counter. I am a bad Christian.

So, as if it would make things better, when it really makes things worse, I am going to illegally pirate some of the poems I bought today, from the January 2007 issue of Poetry. Viewing these poems does not constitute fair use and you will be arrested shortly. Please enjoy them while you wait for the authorities to arrive. Collapse )

riding down the lane, snuffing tobacco-weed, sipping on juniper and turpentine

O, have I maidens in the sitting room,
Be getting on, for they depart not 'fore
The cock is risen, six at morn, so what
Or whom be done? Confound thine chamberpot,
or chambers thine. My fob-sack brims with skins
Of noblest lamb; my knaves garment their knobs
With prophylactic raiments similar!
So extinguish the torches, gates be shut
As well. But what? What, ho? The love with which
We plow our seed be not thine truest love,
but that which be for garden implements.
So light thine pipes, dear sirs, with tinctures green,
Knave up, dames down; lend ears, and bounce to this!

workshop would have hated this poem


This is for the between places,
the arching highways;
tall bridges, heavy with stone;
the asphalt deserts.

This is about green traffic islands,
concrete oases;
the patches of interstate where no one stops
and no sidewalk runs,
big-box lots where no foot has trod for miles
and which the gulls mistake for ocean.

This is a thin metal sign,
askew, incandescent,
cold to the touch.

This is exit zero,
a parabola of rubberized concrete, rising clean up
and never to its limit,
dangling in midair like a thought
over the latte-swirl waters.
Cut clean, like a sandwich,
pipes dangling,
to sit.

This is a dormant rooftop,
fans turning, boxes thrumming,
a mile of braids
wound thick as anxiety
around a rust-speckled spool,
rumbling softly.

This is a stand of orange cones.

this is the most passive-aggressive poem ever


When I am dead and over me bright April
Shakes out her rain-drenched hair,
Though you should lean above me broken-hearted,
I shall not care.

I shall have peace, as leafy trees are peaceful
When rain bends down the bough,
And I shall be more silent and cold-hearted
Than you are now.

Sara Teasdale (1915)

Well I never, Sara Teasdale! My word. What did I ever do to you? Just because you're dead--

Can you imagine people reading this aloud at her funeral in 1933? After her suicide? Can you imagine how darkly silly that would be?

I've noticed that much of her poetry is vastly improved if, instead of reading it in a poetic monotone, you imagine any given poem sung to the tune of a merry Irish jig. First stanza chorus, second stanza bridge. Replace every word with "la" if you forget the words in mid-song, and shout "HEY!" after random phrases, and you can almost hear the fiddle and the handclaps.


Let it be forgotten, as a flower is forgotten,
    Forgotten as a fire that once was signing gold,
Let it be forgotten for ever and ever,
    Time is a kind friend, he will make us old.

If anyone asks, say it was forgotten
    Long and long ago,
As a flower, as a fire, as a hushed footfall
    In a long forgotten snow.


Damn it. Now I have an early twentieth century lyrical poet stuck in my head.
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michael r. burch is way too good at poetry

So I've recently discovered The HyperTexts, a slightly pretentious online poetry journal. It is pretentious in that, unlike virtually every other online poetry collection, it is an actual literary journal. Meaning it only publishes poems from actual professional poets. How professional? Well...three poems published there have apparently been Pulitzer nominees. Yikes.

((edit) Okay, that was coincidence. Most of them were originally published elsewhere. And dude, Leonard Nimoy?? I admire Spock as much as the next geek, but...seriously. Well, so much for my own snooty pretensions.)

I've been spending short breaks at work reading through the section dedicated to the Darfur genocide. Some of it comes off as a little sappy (probably because it was meant to be read aloud). Some of it is really good. But nothing, absolutely nothing, can light a candle to the contributions of Michael R. Burch, founding editor of The Hypertexts himself.

((edit) What the hell was I thinking when I wrote this? HACKED BY CHINESE)

Other poets try to convey a message by chasing you around with a sledgehammer. Michael R. Burch point-blanks you with fifty-caliber HE. You have barely enough time to think "what the hell?" just as the slug rips through your skull and boom! That's your head, or what used to be, painting a thick layer of stickiness across the carpet. An example--a totally tasteless choice given that metaphor--from the Darfur section:

A Child's Epitaph
by Michael R. Burch

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.

Two lines. Two lines. But--not since Eliot--damn it, Burch! Just...damn. I don't think a single couplet has ever depressed me so much.

He's not just an excellent minimalist, either. From the selected works on his website he seems to be good at damn near everything. Sonnets, sestinas, epigrams, free verse, heroic couplets, even nursery rhymes--name a form and he's done it. And it's almost uniformly good--sometimes amazing, sometimes even groundbreaking. For such a prolific poet you'd think he'd wear down--even Yeats did, if you've read some of his less famous work--but no. This guy just keeps on churning out beautiful verse. It's not fair.

(edit) Okay, I spoke too soon, his collected works wax Victorian by the middle of the page. He may be brilliant, but he's human.

(p.s. save darfur)