Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hunters Point, 1PM

the girl in front of me
is paying for her cheeseburger
with stripper bills, tens and fives
folded down the middle,
greasy from her thighs

her brown matted braid swings
down as her diamond-starred
fingernails untangle her cash,
wadded at the bottom of a purse

out of its gleaming depths
floats a stray napkin
white unfolding bright
struck by a breeze
from the opening door,
it rises into the street, vanishes

Is the last part awkward?

(This is the part of Queens that has a lot of ladies of the evening.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Strange one...

Song of the Real Doll

“made in the workshop of filthy creation” –Frankenstein

Oracle, Orifice, my tongue can be removed for easier access,
a mouth constantly open, ready, soft

things I am missing: a voice box,
various glands, the ability to whisper

my head is a hive full of air, extra light for quick positioning,
my hair is rooted, strand by strand, should the idea of blonde
reins occur to you

you can put whatever you like into my eye,
broken wine glasses, carpet fiber, the words “I want,”
over and over again

men throw me down in the tub, the kitchen, the garden,
trying to reach the holy in me
trying to touch that faint blue light, that turning mirrored sphere

they use flesh covered instruments and they fail and fail
I never yawn and wash their tears off my breasts

I have never met a man I didn’t like

I am stillness, the stone fixed to mountain,
the November icicle that never falls

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Why I Deserve an Extreme Makeover

people often read my poetry and ask
themselves, So what? or stand next to me
in line at the bank and say, How could
you do this to us?
a woman
with exceptionally shimmering gray
eyes once told me that my work
made her queasy, she whispered this
while digging a hole in my front lawn,
a girl who I’ve never met (but who claims
to have extraordinarily long and full
blue hair) wrote me and blamed me
for her nightmare about a dead woman
under her bed
, a man who tried to look
older by dyeing his beard gray sat across
from me at Starbucks and told me
that certain of my poems brought back
childhood memories he’d hoped
he’d forgotten forever, I get ten
call hang-ups a day on my answering machine,
sometimes a short, moist breath
is recorded, I suspect my mother
has read my poetry and is planning
a peculiar sort of gas-soaked revenge


I believe I've gotten every single one of these responses, except not in the settings described.

Monday, October 22, 2007

sometimes I write the word "mother"
when I actually mean "cat"

condensation on the bookshelf,
the lower drawer in the kitchenette,
a puddle of gruel accumulating
on the seat of the new "winged
chariot" Ford Odyssey, September
slopping into the bucket you keep
under your chair, in case,
the crossing-guards drop by again,
hungry for some baked Alaska
with artificial violets


T.S. Eliot fans will bust a hip laughing: http://www.corprew.org/content/lolcat-wasteland


Sunday, October 14, 2007

For Loretta

sleeping hands, your rooms are empty
or contain one fish one girl a chair

or a garden aching with green symmetry
their eyes are far into the horizon

or the floor there is never any
electricity but lots of perfect

clouds round, boyant
glowing pinkly underneath like

slowing opening mouths
like soft teeth at dawn

your walls are green or blue or pink
your children are lost

in thought or lost in time
your floors, neat, spacious

somewhere several soft lights are glowing
we never know where the children’s

hands blanch and pinken as if they are very
cold or very anemic we notice their cheeks

uneasily that glow means a fever
some odd and secret excitement

white peaches piled in the vegetable
aisle or spilling from vendors out into

the smoke smeared, gummy dark
sidewalk have that kind of iridescent

dangerous salmon shiver or blur
we imagine at night the soft half

moons of the children’s naked
fingernails glow steadily as if they

are lit within and some of the light
is leaking out as if, if they opened

their mouths, we would see other
pastels rooms empty as this one

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Disquieting Muses

We are all waiting by the gate. Down below us, water slaps in irregular movements against the stone. In the shadows the ripples are grey and green, sometimes brown. In the light, we can see only white reflections, a trapped sun. The children finally collapse in the dirt, rubbing their fingers in the dust and then sucking them. The parents lift their children by the hands, try to get them to stand. The children slide down slowly as if the bones in their legs have turned to syrup. They hold the fallen maple leaves to their ears, crinkle the dry red back and forth.

The older children try to walk but the sounds under their feet stop them. They lift their sandels gingerly, distracted by the rustle. The parents continue to walk in circles, talking on their cell phones or staring morosely at the sky, waiting for the gate to open.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Upcoming Readings

I have two readings coming up on October 16th and October 25th.

I’m reading at Think Coffee in the Village on Tuesday, October 16th. The reading starts at seven and here’s some of the bios:

Christine Hamm
is a PhD candidate in English Literature at Drew University. She recently won the MiPoesias First Annual Chapbook Competition with her manuscript, Children Having Trouble with Meat. Her poetry has been published in The Adirondack Review, Rattle, Exquisite Corpse and over 90 other journals. She has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, and she teaches English and poetry at Rutgers University. Christine has performed her poetry at venues including the Bowery Poetry Club, The Poetry Project and Ear Inn. The Transparent Dinner, her book of poems, was published by Mayapple Press in 2006. Christine was recently named a runner-up to the Poet Laureate of Queens. For more about her, go to christinehamm.org.

Erika Lutzner is professional chef, former violinist and writer. She feels more comfortable with a knife or a pen in her hand than eyeliner or nailpolish. Her parents would'nt let her into the kitchen until her 27th birthday, yet she somehow managed to become a professional chef. Words, whether inked out on flesh, paper, or some other art form are her means of communication. There's a cadence driving through her head constantly. She's been published in Wicked Alice, Mr. Beller's Neighborhood, Food/Arts, and this summer attended Breadloaf's Writer's conference.

Kate Hall
is a former poetry editor of Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poetry and stories have appeared in such journals as Antioch Review, In Posse, Mudlark, Big Bridge, Disquieting Muses, Poetry Magazine, The 2River View, Perihelion, Mississippi
Review, Zuzu's Petals Quarterly, Mr. Beller's Neighborhood and Rattle. She was awarded the Robert Frost Poetry Prize by Kenyon College, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She also holds a J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Think Coffee is very nice coffee house with a delicious array of coffee drinks and ambivalent salespeople!

Directions: 248 Mercer Street, between 3rd and 4th streets -- You can take the abcdef to West 4th Street and than walk on West 4th towards Broadway until you find Mercer, or you can take the nwr to 8th Street and then walk down Broadway until you hit 4th, then walk a few blocks west.

On October 25th at 8PM, I’ll be reading in Astoria at Waltz Café as part of a benefit for Peace.


Eli Yamin--Jazz composer and keyboardist, Eli Yamin, has just returned from
touring Mali, India, and China with Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Rhythm Road
All-Stars. He has played and recorded with numerous bands through the years
(including Illinois Jacquet's big band, Solar, and The Eli Yamin Quartet),
and has produced and hosted jazz and blues programs for WBGO/Jazz 88,
Sirius Satellite Radio, and National Public Radio.

Stephan Said--Iraqi-American singer-songwriter and activist Stephan Said
(who has also recorded as Stephan Smith) has been praised by The Village
Voice as an "heir apparent to Woody Guthrie" and by Jam TV as "the clearest
voice of the protest movement rising up out of Seattle." His CDs include
Slash and Burn (Artemis Records), Now's the Time (Rounder/Universal), and
New World Worder (Universal Hobo).

Christine Hamm-- Poet Christine Hamm is the author of The Transparent
Dinner, published in 2006 by Mayapple Press. She has also published three
chapbooks: Children Having Trouble with Meat, The Animal Husband, and The
Salt Daughter. She teaches English and poetry writing at Rutgers.

Betty Smith--A long time peace and justice activist, Betty Smith is the
president of International Publishers and a member of Astorians for Peace
and Justice (AFPJ). Betty will talk about AFPJ's upcoming work.

Russell Branca and Eliot Katz
will be performing a bass/poetry
collaboration. Jazz bassist and composer Russell Branca is the leader of
The Russell Branca Quartet and recently organized a Jazz Means Peace series
at Bowery Poetry Club. Eliot Katz is the author of Unlocking the Exits and
When the Skyline Crumbles: Poems for the Bush Years.


Waltz-Astoria Cafe
23-14 Ditmars Blvd,
Astoria (N or W to Ditmars Blvd.)
www.waltz-astoria.com (718-95-MUSIC)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


someone is kicking
the back of my seat

again in the flickering
theater, he rocks and rocks

as if it is all too boring
as if the measured words

and lace and difficult boots
rippling back and forth before us

on a piece of sheer cloth
the size of a house

the size of God’s tongue,
are nothing more than

an out-of-date newspaper
or an empty linen sagging

on the clothesline
on a gray day, an indoor day

he kicks and he kicks
the short someone
the little man with

angry thumbs and toes
and my back begins

to ache as if I am
a horse, a poor

pony on endless track,
a carnival circle around a circle,

endless children plopped
on my saddle as circus music

weeps from garish blue
instruments and a gold bell or two

the theater plays itself out
the actors say what they say

they speak about serious rocks,
chairs with broken spokes, cars
that go or won’t

they have guns or they
have drawers, there are women
in closets and men upstairs

and the little man goes
on and on until I lose

the thread of what
is being said

until all I’m doing
is waiting for the light

at the end, for the
sunrise or sunset

and for the curtain to
swoop down and

the hall lights to go up
I wait for the credits

with my aching back
and the constant, rock, rock,

I wait for it all to end but I
never think to turn
and just whisper stop


I’m doing a reading next Tuesday at Think Café (Details to follow) and I just bought some beautiful and cheeeeeep art. I got the Katarina and Manshroom.

I can’t wait to get them in the mail! Real prints for 20 dollars!

Monday, October 08, 2007

New Poem! Finally, I got some writing done. Comments?

Dream Analysis

I have come to the island again to visit my patient who deals pot and beats her children. She insists that we meet in her bedroom. A beautiful Japanese woman in very high heels comes in and takes our picture. For the camera, I stare soulfully at the oil painting of Micheal Jackson and Jesus above the headboard. My patient pulls the blinds in her window, now everything is striped with light. I ask my patient what she has been eating. She complains that she threw her back out on Tuesday carrying her babies to the grocery store. She lies down on the bed and folds her hands across her chest. She closes her eyes. I lift piles of magazines and dirty silk lingerie off a chair and sit down. We begin to snore in unison.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I've had a hard time finishing any poetry lately -- so this is a little finished.
Let me know what you think.

Waiting for the Tooth Fairy

perhaps she’s still there,
waiting by a window and
a green rotary phone,
a tattered doily across
the back of her stiff
chair, her white hair
in hard little curls
close to her cheeks,
her glasses cloudy
because she forgets to
wipe them on her orange
sweater sleeve, she forgets
sometimes, when she’s
staring out at the lawn,
waiting for something
with wings to fly down
and pull all the pink
out of the earth