“SHOUT-OUTS” (a minor epic) (mine).

SHOUT-OUTS

Today I feel like giving shout-outs
to my people around the country (around the world)
doing their thang as hard & best they can.
Shout-out to the poets writing poems
and the poets trying to write more poems.
Shout-out to the hard-workin’ ladiez
in grad school tryna make time for their boyfriends
& do their adult homework & get enough sleep
& not cry every single day cuz it’s a little too much.
Shout-out to the doctor-in-training.
Shout-out to the lawyer-to-be.
Shout-out to those who have moved recently
out of love for their partner
which I find a valid reason
to cross state lines.
Shout-outs to the ladies turning male
and the males transitioning into ladiez,
making a switch so tough I’ll spend my life
just trying to fathom it. Shout-outs to the players
of nighttime piano concertos in the bossman’s
vestibule. Shout-out to the teachers
and the educators and the riot-makers
asking everyone around them to Please
Step Up And Change with Me.
Big-Ass shout-outs to the baristas & baristos
serving medium-hot coffee to the assholes
of the world, myself included.
Shout-out to the musicians sitting in low-ceilinged rooms
making their tall music.
Shout-outs to all the dads & the moms
especially the new dads & moms
figuring their shit out and loving their babies
and trying to devise the best way
not to get pissed on. Shout-out to the pissing babes
spraying their new baby-yellow rooms
and puking right onto their mom’s faces
because that mom is still gonna love you
and I look forward to understanding a love like that.
Shout-out to the horse-owners and the pig-lovers
& the goat-chin-scratchers, pulling cold flakes of hay
from the bales to keep those animals alive
through these cold-ass months. Shout-out
to the gay dads preparing for their baby girl
& conquering the question of breastmilk.
Shout-out to the ones looking to feel better next year
cuz I think we all want that.
Shout-out to the firepeople for saving our lives
and the ambulance drivers for saving our lives
and the snow plow drivers for saving our lives.
Shout-out to the intrepid mailman
driving up the hill to bring me the news
I need. Shout-outs to the chaps & broads
serving lunch & dinner & breakast. Shout-out to anyone
working outside at this very minute. Shouts
to the truck drivers who are Literally Bringing Us
Everything. Shout-out to the pilots of the planes
that carry us to family and vacation.
Shout-outs to the grannies knitting hats for charities
& the grannies knitting hats for grandchildren.
Shout-out to my grandpa who asks good questions
& who I owe a telephone call.
Shouts to the journalists trying to make sense
of the world quickly enough to help us make sense of it.
Shout-out to the witches that still live in Salem.
Shout-out to the volunteers of anything.
Shout-outs to the instigators & the academics
crushin’ it in their university newspapers
& in the streets. Shout-outs to the full-time potters
& the full-on proper ladies serving tea
to the homeless (if you exist).
Shout-outs to Every Single Person working at a job
that is not their dream job.
And shout-outs to even those working
at their dream jobs, because not even dreams
are perfect. Shout-out to the humans in Info Booths
everywhere. Shout-out to the toll collectors & magazine
slingers. Shout-out to the people driving across the border
to get to work. Shout-out to the tractor drivers
& their neck pains. Shouts to the lovers
underneath the sheets & the ones defaming
public restrooms with their bodies (cuz who am I
to judge). Shout-out to the straight-laced ladies
who wanna get whipped in their bedrooms.
Shout-out to the ladies who really don’t.
Shout-out to any man acknowleding his status
of power and using it wisely. Shout-out to the PhDs
& the RIPS along the highway.
Shout-out to all the goddamn good humans
whose presence we no longer get to enjoy,
may they rest their weary heads in a sweeter world.
Shout-out to the writers writing in secret
at their jobs & sleepily at home.
Shout-out to the beekeepers & the bees.
Shout-out to the injured athletes, because pain
knows no salary. Shouts to the loudmouths
& the whisperers and to anyone
with a birth mark on their face
that made their formative years miserable.
Shout-out to the people living with disabilities
that are finding grace where they can.
Shout-out to to everyone I missed,
because I know you’re shouting, too.
Shout-out to everyone who knows
it’s about listening & not being heard.
Shout-out to the haters who are gonna be all
“That girl’s poems are too damn long.” Cuz listen:
I’m short, I’m compensating, I’m just trying
to be a little loud to make a little more goodness grow.
I’m shouting out. Holler back.

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Filed under poems out loud, shout-outs

“Affirmation” (poem by Assata Shakur).

assata shakur poem

Cassandra Gillig showed me that Assata Shakur’s whole autobiography is available to read online here. The internet sometimes is worth 76402 million dollars (and sometimes it’s worth negative 5439300 million pennies).

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Ugly Ole Sweater poem (mine).

I bought this scruffy poet cardigan
with a big ole stain on the cuff
because it has a professorial pattern
and because it already had a big ole stain
which means it’s safe from spoiling by me,
having already been spoiled by someone else.
Does this sound defeatist? To me it’s relaxing,
the stress of ruination removed by the simple
presence of a big brown smudge. I love you,
big brown smudge! Were you car grease or paint
or pigsweat? Who cares! I’ll eat my stew
with you, I’ll sit at work & cast no sweat
upon this perfect, ugly, poet sweater.

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Frozenpoem (mine).

It’s so cold today I’m wearing a sweater vest

over a sweater. And it was so cold yesterday an egg froze

underneath my chicken’s butt! Plus one hen won’t go home

and now lives beneath the porch; it’s so cold she might

be dead, and if she’s not: props, sister. Tonight

the temperature will dive so low it’ll limbo underground

and after that, who knows: maybe the freeze will set

so deep into the ground the earth will send a message

to the moon that reads: that’s it, I quit, I’m comin’

over for a visit. Inside the house, one of our windowpanes

is covered in ice cuz it’s our first winter here & not everything

is sealed all nice & tight. Oh, well. Oh, hell. Maybe

we’ll shave that window ice with a razor blade and use it

for our cocktails! Maybe I’ll scoop the moonlight off

the frozen snow and add it to my hair! I’m wearing too many

sweaters to care what anyone thinks of me & my windows.

Suffice to say: winter’s landed like a bigass prehistoric bird

and I will stay as far from her beak as I’m able.

vest

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Magazine articles for ladies (list I made while laughing).

These articles don’t exist yet because maybe they don’t have to be written because maybe just their titles are enough. I came up with them in a rush of hilarity one day last week. It was way too easy. Can I make a career out of this? Show me the money!
 

8 Ways To Tell If You Fell Asleep Or If You’re Still Watching That Movie

Seven Ways To Wear Your Hair That Will Convince People You Definitely Have Hair

Top 10 Best Books To Read While Pooping

Twenty-Seven Hotties To Think About While the Gynecologist Does Her Thang Down There

Six Sexy Songs To Make Your Sex Sexier and Songier

“I Can’t Calculate That”: One Woman’s True Story of Trying to Figure Out How Many Tampons She Has Used In Her Whole Life

The Best Dog Breeds For Keeping Your Secrets

Do the Dougie, Or Don’t: Women Confess Their Sad True Tales of Dancing Really Bad

How To Eat Garlic For Dinner And Still Get Banged That Night

Best Ways To Integrate Your Sad Childhood Stuffed Animals Into Foreplay

10 Fruits That Will Make You Say, “Wow, Fruit Is Good!”

Classiest Slutty Wedding Dresses

Six Nailpolishes That Scream “I’m Hungry!”

“Yoga Takes Forever”: One Woman’s Story of Downward Dog Boredom

5 Easy (& Photogenic!) Weekday Recipes That Are Actually Just Take-Out Placed in a Pricey Bowl from Anthropologie

7 Kittens That Will Make You Puke and Never Want To See a Kitten Again

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“Dark & Lovely” (littlepoem) (mine).

Dark & Lovely

  space

Why were those deer

in the road

this morning?

Didn’t they know

their duskhour is still

lightyears

away? Didn’t they look

dark & lovely

in the morning light,

and didn’t you

hope in your fleshy

heart they’d survive

this season

of guns?

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Filed under autumn, dangerdanger, poetics, poetry alive

Mourning for Galway Kinnell, poet & Vermont person.

Maybe it’s just because I’m stretched as thin as cheap stockings right now and prone to emotions, but I cried this morning hearing (again) about the passing of Galway Kinnell.

I learned to love his poems in college, by my professor who loves his poems. When I worked for the Dartmouth bookstore years ago, I sold books at a reading he gave at Dartmouth, sitting next to him as he signed new and wellworn copies. The reading he gave was equal parts wonderful and sad; he often lost his place while reading a poem, or seemed to drift away mid-thought. I witnessed the deteriorating mind of a poet whose poems have meant a lot to me.

His epic poem (note: I do not generally use the word epic so you know I mean it) “The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ Into the New World” has so much more of New York in it than Taylor Swift’s new song (that’s not saying a lot), and even more of New York in it than Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ song. He was compared to Walt Whitman after that poem, and I see why: it contains multitudes, big time.

As Daniel Lewis of the New York Times writes, “The poem is a 14-part work about Avenue C in Manhattan, a mother lode of inspiration for someone with Mr. Kinnell’s photographic eye and intuitive sense of other people’s lives. In these verses and on this street, Jews, blacks and Puerto Ricans walked in the spring sunlight, past the avenue’s mainstays at the time — the Downtown Talmud Torah, Blosztein’s Cutrate Bakery, Areceba Panataria Hispano, Nathan Kugler Chicken Store Fresh Killed Daily and others.”

I’ve experienced a renewed love of Kinnell since moving to Vermont, as I read his poems again, many of which are set in this state, such as “Blackberry Eating”:

I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry-making; and as I stand among them
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
like strengths and squinched,
many-lettered, on-syllabled lumps,
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
in the silent, startled, icy, black language
of blackberry-eating in late September.

And then there’s this poem, which has always blown my mind. If someone had told me in college that you could write a poem with the word “is” used three times in a row and it would be a stunner, I would not have believe him/her.

Prayer

Whatever happens. Whatever
what is is is what
I want. Only that. But that.

kinnell

Harriet Richardson, a Student Organizer at Pennsylvania’s Juniata College, Presses a Cloth to the Wounds of Galway Kinnell, Who Was Then Poet-In-Residence at Juiata, Selma, Alabama, 1965.

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Filed under artiste, in memoriam, poet-love, poetics