Thursday, February 28, 2013

i, american

This is the first poem in a much longer cycle. If I told you the scope of the thing you would think I'm insane. I've written three poem in the cycle thus far, the second being only fifteen lines, the third (the first draft of which I finished less than twenty minutes ago) is slightly shorter this. This cycle is meant to evolve over a period of time, so don't expect to see anything else from it anytime soon.

"i, american # 1"

i’m trying to resurrect something
maybe an ancestral memory
some item pulled from the past
but all i come up with are apologies
gripes or petty grievances
my poems are road maps of exactly what not to do

my mother is a schoolteacher
she really tries her best
i would break my back if she needed me to
but no one needs me
this should make me sad
it should, but it doesn’t

i have no history
no presence in the past
my blood is too mixed to be of any advantage
but i am an american
this ground was stolen, but my roots make it my own
i can trace my footsteps back through places no sane man would go


fullerton, california, december, twenty twelve
almost six years after the breakup
i needed new scenery
but didn’t realize i’d never change

this is where i learned what not to do
this is where i made my stand
socal is a dream to middle america
but to me it’s a wasteland,
a place my dreams could never come true

skeletal youth with eternal cigarettes
they used to kick it on commonwealth
i don’t know where they went
but they’re gone now
there, by that taco bell
you might never see me again
i remember the last time i heard “heart of glass”
as american as apple pie
rock n roll keeps my feet on the ground
hip hop beats keep me moving

i owe my existence to my country
everything i love is here
the cities i love are alive with sound
as only american cities could be

the surface stuff is unappealing
obviously, i can’t condone my government
but i’ll defend my nation to the death
if only for rock n roll

you do the sleep, i’ll do the driving
you can take the wheel sometime around dawn
or jesus will
and we’ll drive into the sun

i want to have faith in something
i really do, i do
but the only things i can believe in
are things that i can touch

if you find it frail, i was right
but if you find fulfillment, i’ll shut my mouth
baby, hold still
we’re exactly the same, with or without

some ways are easier
i have my beliefs
but i won’t defend them
you can’t defend nothing

i’m sorry if you need faith
but religion has flourished in my country
in a way that makes me scared
look, i’m not sure you can rely on anyone
i have a hard enough time trusting myself

seattle is a city of abandoned furniture
its bald spots are crawling
with dead things that used to live
but died without knowing
that it was time to cease moving

if it were only my sins
that kept me moving
i would retire immediately
but i believe i am building something
that is bigger than i am

from my living room i see skyscrapers
i wouldn’t mourn their passing\
but i would miss the skyline
stars don’t belong in cities
most of us don’t do well in the dark

trees and concrete
the scent of a body of water
the eternal thrust of human beings
all of these things provide me with a comfort
i need my city as much as my country
american born, i enjoy being home

Friday, February 15, 2013

"If I am a stranger, now, to you/I will always be"

Every now and again (very rarely) a poem feels as if it's writing itself. There was a small amount of control towards the end, but mostly it felt like I was just holding the pen. It has an odd structure, but I didn't plan it that way. When I finished the second verse I knew the next one needed parentheses. I have a few basic ideas about what it's about, but I'm not sharing. It's written in first person, but very little of it feels like something out of my own head. I'm sharing it because it's such an oddity.

“bad vision”

thing is, i was trying to predict the future
i was trying to force
my desires to take form
no trickery, officer
i’m just really bored

take my luck, i don’t need it
the bluest pair of eyes
only exist for me
the heavens must of gotten tired of bad fortune
it’s raining pennies for me

(i hope i’m not too obvious
i’m really fucking miserable
something is kicking inside my brain
it scares me
i think it might get out)

let’s clink our goddamn glasses
our fears have been reversed
the fog is frittering itself away, now
 i can drink all i can swallow
i’m going to sleep now, i’ll be back tomorrow

(i slunk away
envisioning festering wounds
there are strange ideas inside of me
and even stranger ways of carrying them out
i’m not going to say anything more)