30 One-Liners (Joe Brainard).

WINTER
More time is spent at the window.

SUMMER
You go along from day to day with summer all around you.

STORES
Stores tell all about people who live in the area.

WRITING
Others have already written what I would like to write.

TODAY
Today the sky is so blue it burns.

IN THE COUNTRY
In the country one can almost hear the silence.

THE FOUR SEASONS
The four seasons of the year permit us to enjoy things.

RECIPE
Smear each side of a pork chop with mustard and dredge in
flour.

BOOK WORM
Have always had nose stuck in book from little on.

THAT FEELING
What defines that feeling one has when gazing at a rock?

COSTA RICA
It was in Costa Rica I saw my first coffee plantation.

HAPPINESS
Happiness is nothing more than a state of mind.

MONEY
Money will buy a fine dog.

OUR GOVERNMENT
A new program is being introduced by our government.

EDWARD
On the whole he is a beautiful human being.

LAKE
A lake attracts a man and wife and members of a family.

THE SKY
We see so many different things when we look at the sky.

A SEXY THOUGHT
Male early in the day.

POTATOES
One can only go so far without potatoes in the kitchen.

MOTHER
A mother is something we have all had.

MODERN TIMES
Every four minutes a car comes off the assembly line they say.

THE OCEAN
Foamy waves wash to shore “treasures” as a sacrifice to damp
sand.

TODAY
High density housing is going on all around us.

REAL LIFE
I could have screamed the day John proposed winterizing
the cottage and living there permanently.

ALASKA
I am a very cold person here.

THE YEAR OF THE WHITE MAN
The year of the white man was a year of many beads.

LOYALTY
Loyalty, I feel, is a very big word.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Perhaps in our mad scramble to keep our heads above water
we miss the point.

HUMAN NATURE
Why must we be so intent on destroying everything we
touch?

COMPANY
Winifred was a little relieved when they were gone.

brainard

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Smith Mountain Lake Wedding Getaway Vacation Poem.

Bravanza

I can’t stop thinking about those farms and silos buried
beneath the lake. Rooms full of water, doors swinging
on their hinges with each passing boat above. Never in my life
had I boated to lunch, never floated on a neon noodle
in the summer darklit water watching fireworks break apart
above my head. First I was living inside my life, chucking stems
to the chickens, fetching flowers at dusk, and then I was there:
the lake, a single bed, rooms full of brothers and wives,
a couple to marry, my hand held and adorned with henna,
the screams of cicadas, unceasing. Artists draped in metals
they’d bent into form, hats and towels strewn on the deck
like clothing stripped by lovers. A husband kissed his wife
in water, the raft between them bobbing gently. A woman
with a mohawk danced beside her lady’s braids. A toast was made,
a dream was told, a glass refilled. I was but a single set of legs,
unbuoyed and unburdened, free to roam at will, gently moving
through the spider threads that draped between each couple
in attendance, dewdrops of their pairings landing on my arms,
my ankles. I watched a belly held to feel the kicking; I handed
cups of bubbly to each person in the room, I picked a chigger
off the inside of my toe. I ate the food they fed me, I lingered
on an edge of dock to marvel at the sunlight floating in the water,
I swimmed some laps, I swished the ice cubes in my cocktails,
I wore a skirt and spoke the wedding words in front of everyone,
boats tearing through the water just behind. I watched
the married ones exclaim in summer heat as the shining faces
of their familes encircled them in hugs. In the company
of teachers I talked of names and ways of being; I laughed
with jewelers, I spoke of herbs, I threw away the memory of never
having known these people and gave them all I’d brought.

Sprung (poem) (mine).

The lilacs will be here any minute

Forsythia is happening and so is coltsfoot on the roadsides

Daffodils are happening and little blue flowers I don’t know yet

Breakfast & dinner outside is happening

as the roosters chase each other inside their fencing

Grass is greening fast with full moon energy

The tomato starts are waving at the brassicas in the porch breeze

It is time for a hat with a brim that goes all the way around

It’s time for dandelions for dinner & ramps for lunch

The violets just showed their shy purple faces yesterday before the rain

The marsh marigolds are practically everywhere

Spring is touching us all with the a wand invisible & bright

fairfield porter

“Schwenk” by Fairfield Porter, 1959.

Do You Know Where to Look (Do You Know How)

If you slide your fingers down the slender stem
of bluebells

like a man searching the body of a woman
for signs of yes,

you will find your palm filled
with tiny flowers composed

of intricate beauty
You will find your palm

has become a bowl of soundless
fragrance

You will find faces
made of petals

& you may even find
something of yourself.

 

bluebells

 

 

Patti Smith Month: An Introduction

What Is Patti Smith Month?

An answer I made up about a thing I made up

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I loathe when people complain about the weather. It’s like complaining about being in a body. Being in a body is 1) the only choice we all have, and 2) essentially a miracle. I’m bored by easy negativity because it’s not creating anything. It simply laments what IS.

Weather is the main way that nature touches us. Even if you live in a city, the weather affects you. One of my favorite things about living in the country is how big of a character the weather is in my life, in the lives of all my friends and neighbors. It’s something we all share, and yet it affects us differently—where Justin’s snowdrifts pile up is different from where mine do, but both of us have blocked windows.

That being said, February is not an easy time to be alive in the northern hemisphere. It’s cold, it can be dark for days. Which is why, two years ago, I created something called Patti Smith Month. It started when I decided to reread her book “Just Kids,” because my friend Scott had gone to the St Mark’s bookstore in search of it (we had recently seen Patti Smith do a reading there in frigidicecold winter). When he got to the bookstore, he couldn’t find it anywhere. He wanted to buy it because I’d told him how much I love it, and because we both loved the way Patti Smith looked at her reading, with her boyish body and her black beanie. We both loved what she said.

He finally asked a clerk at the front of the bookstore where he could find “Just Kids.” In my head, she looked at him like he was an Effing Idiot (because this is how clerks look at you because you ARE one and also they’re tired) (I’ve been there), and said “Her books are all in the back, next to her.”

Patti Smith was in the store at that very moment signing books. Instead of buying the book for himself, he bought me a copy, which he had her inscribe. This is one of my most prized possessions.

As I read this book two years ago, it lit all those little flames inside of me. Some of those flames have to do with being an artist, which has practically become a dirty word these days. Some of those flames have to do with the talismanic powers that we all have to instill our lives with meaning. Some of those flames have to do with wearing menswear and necklaces. Suffice to say: that book is a world I need.

And so I decided that every February, I would re-read it. That’s the beginning. That’s the kindling. Because when I reread it, I relive and remember my own dedication to art-making. I am reminded. I am refreshed. I refurbish my altars and don my Patti Smith shirt, the only shirt with a face on it I’d ever wear. I drink tea in the dark nighttime house and tear up pages of notebooks with words. Sometimes I commit to writing more letters, or revising a long piece, or improving the art on my wall.

This year, I will write a poem every day for the month of February. I will write a letter to a new penpal in the hopes that she wants to write back. I am in the process of beginning an exciting new literary project with a friend of mine, so that will come to fruition, too. I don’t know what else will happen. Patti Smith Month is about saying, I am a maker. And: there is no time but the present.

I believe Patti Smith Month is one of my best ideas. Not only because what it inspires, but because in making February a special month for myself, I have improved my own life. Patti Smith Month is the opposite of complaining about Feburary. It means I look forward to February and the way I’ll spend the month leaning in to the artistry inside me. Remember how environmentalists sometimes tell you that you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem? I disagree. You are both the problem and the solution. So even if Patti Smith Month isn’t what will make your own personal February awesome, find out what will. Then buy yourself a t-shirt and get to work.