Monday, May 10, 2010

Prose Poems: #4

(This prose poem is one of a series titled, "Tone Poems of the Cowboy", which tries to capture the tone and attitude of the American archteypal cowboy.) This is the spoken word version of the poem.

The Cowboy Speaks of Solitude

I want to thank you all for taking time from your busy schedules to listen to these poems. Not too many people will read a poem and fewer still come out of their way to sit and listen to poems being spoken, especially the poems of a lonesome cowboy. I say that because you might think it’s lonely out on the trail working the herd or mending a fence line. But that is not the case. My life offers the great advantage of plentiful solitude. A solitary life establishes independence. As independence grows loneliness goes. You might have to think about that to see its truth. I will point out that a solitary person has time to think. Loneliness comes from missing things that seem dear. Think about it. What’s to miss? The squeal of the urban pigs? The gobbets of excrement let fly in the air as the pundits of propaganda strive to fill your ear? The ubiquitous stench of the foul stew of egotism emanating from the pot of every person? The perpetual program hammering your brain? The program that teaches you to be programmed, to expect it and accept it as necessary? I don’t miss that a bit. The entire world is arranged to highjack your mind – whereas a poem is designed to offer you the opportunity to think. It’s only an offer; you can take it or leave it. My life will remain worthwhile whether or not you pay attention to the words in this poem. Can you make the same claim? The next poem you hear won’t be as sensible as this one. You might have to think more than you’re normally inclined.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Prose Poem #3

Ten Dollars a Gallon

Oh, gigantic, hideous thing, long and aluminum, rectangular, with pleated sides and flat top, tinted windows, shiny black tires, and numb passengers nodding at the dumb shows inside, why do you exist? Oh, box of stuff, rolling along, in command of four hundred horses, the cost of your travel from mountain to sea matches the yearly income of two campesinos. ¿Es usted la bestia del apocalipsis? When the fat, wealthy man at the helm high in your padded cabin, the back of his leather chair sweaty, hemorrhoids athrob, drinking gin to wash down two Excedrin, tired from his days at the bank, has a heart attack and crashes, will anyone care? Probably not. Even his children won’t weep. I see your future -- your round legs ground up, your tin skin punctured, little wood-burners installed for cooking, smoke stacks jutting out like broken arms. Shelter for the homeless! After all, we are a practical people.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Playing with Prose Poems #2

Here’s a little machine, its gears precise, turning teeth, whirring wheels: steel drum just so, like a torturer’s instrument, tiny nipples arranged in variegated rows to trip the steel tangs, tensile, tempered, slim as a bird’s tongue – a mechanical sorcery, teasing tempos somehow musical, lilting, lovely, from springs wound tight – all beneath a complicated tableau, a girl turning, perpetually gazing at a chariot tracing a circular track, its horses’ forelegs prancing, noble heads up and down, a grassy park, a tree, a glass sky, a globe to be concise. And I, with wily hands inside the workings, agile fool, thinking, tinkering, never satisfied.

Music Box

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Playing with Prose Poetry #1

Tiny Universe

A star exploded in a tiny universe sending an immense expanding sphere of light outward. On a tiny planet at the farthest reaches at the edge of nothing, an old man stood in his garden next to his tomato plants. He had been kneeling to turn some manure into the dirt with a trowel, but stood up to stretch and rest. He felt the wave of light, the initial intensity of which had been multiply reduced by the vast distances it had traveled in the tiny universe. Still, it was terribly hot. The hot wave washed over him. His face flushed and he felt dizzy. His face flushed redder yet as something burst like an infinitely small star in his brain, discharging a tumbler of energy from his body. the old man fell to his knees then toppled forward. By the time his face hit the soft dirt of his cultivation he was dead.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

No title

I stand
at your grave
waiting for words to come,
but no words rise from my depths, only
peacefulness: acceptance
that you have

Friday, November 27, 2009


the top hat,
a rabbit nibbled greens:
the man tipped his hat away to show
the rabbit, still, with long-toothed
grin, as mean
as hell.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Birds Flew from His Mouth

flew from
his mouth – larks,
sparrows, swallows and black –
they fluttered forth in strange formations
scribing wild story-land
his great