Friday, June 23, 2006

Poem Thirteen

I noticed that I hadn't posted a poem on here since March.
This one is about one the strangest movies I've ever seen. Of course, the strangness was magnified by the setting. The poem doesn't even address the annoying hanger-on/beggar I saw it with...


Movie theater; Puri, India

The Sacred’s decay
surely picks up a little speed,
each screening of this
obscurely dubbed Japanese

its grainy rip-off
Philip K. Dick
robot police just
leggy props for defenestration
and rape played for laughs

to an audience
reeking of frottage, mere blocks from
Lord Jagannath temple,

a site so holy those
shady men lose track their count,
the rupees got leading
foreign travelers up any

old building when,
as every guidebook warns,
the library’s rooftop
offers the only view of

that spiced chaotic throng
worth paying for by
that non-Hindu swath of the world

banned from entry by serious-sized
red signs, so even
the Lithuanian Hare Krishna
wielding a specially stamped letter of permission

isn’t welcome
because his parents ate meat and the temple priest
is a stickler

and stricter than ever
knowing such strictness
can’t hold, and sensing how mere blocks away
this hand-painted white sheet advertisement ripples
illegality over the ticket booth,
carnival faces sharply artful

a folk art perspective’s grotesqueness
strands the arms detached
with hands larger

than heads,
and makes one ask if the position of the sex act
so boldly depicted
is called The Giraffe,

if the yellow-circled
A means rated for adults
or promises agony

dark as the temple complex’s six entryways
made caves by bats, clouds
risen off the sleep of a
devotion-hobbled baba
whose father resurrects nightly in his beard,
mother from his knotted hair,

cold watchers readying
an announcement,
hushing and ultimate.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


LOCCAL, the League of Citizens Concerned About Literature (Rachel K. and myself), have a call for submissions on their blog right now that you should check out. Even though it's technically a call for poems, the way the writing will be used is very non-standard. So even if you don't write poems, please, still submit. For these purposes think of a poem as a piece of very short creative writing. (And, for other purposes, don't even start trying to think of defining a poem. Just a warning. 'Cause people get weirdly intense about that shit...)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

so get this. At work on Friday, on my way with a client to get the video for the night, I stopped to mail a letter. It was an important letter, signed by the psychiatrist, so I opened the hatch to make sure it went in okay. I always doublecheck, being a bit of an obsessive even though the mail never gets stuck. Except this time, when it's an important letter, one that was a pain in the ass for me to get signed by the psychiatrist on official letterhead my boss keeps locked in her office. There it is, stuck, just inside the rim. Hold the hatch open just so and you can see it sittin' there. "Wish I had a stick, " I said to M. "Wish I had a pen."
No stick, no pen. But no worries, I can just reach right in there, brush it enough with a fingertip to knock it down. No problem. So I was doing that and it turns out it's not as easy as it looks. So I'm trying, reaching in a bit more, a bit more... "Shit." (oh no.) "Shit, this isn't funny."
(oh no.) "My...hand's stuck." (so this is how things like this happen to people)"Run, fast, back to El Rey, get the first staff you see..." M. didn't
let me down and Mary appeared after a long minute. "Do you want me to call the fire department?" "Yes!" My fingers were seriously jammed. Visions of fingerlessness. Of cut circulation while the blowtorches take their sweet time, followed by amputation. Damn! A few minutes later, the firetruck (didn't they have anything smaller??). The sirens. The crowd of my co-workers gathering. The digital cameras of strangers. The flashlights and strategizing. The crowbar pushing the hatch down a quarter inch for a quarter second. The relief. My fingers are still stiff at the joints, but they're working. My arm's a bit sore but it's working.

Lesson: Humility happens.

And don't mail yourself. If the Velvet Underground taught us anything it's "don't mail yourself."