Short Declarations

Boredom. Apathy. Ennui. Whatever.
Throw back a bourbon. Throw back another.
Put on the music.
Solve a problem. Jive to the beat.
Get stuck. Squint your eyes.
Figure it out. Jive some more.
Play those drums in the air.
Bob your head. Back and forth. Side to side.
Hit your desk in rhythm to the beat.
You are there.
You are there.
You are there.
There you are.
There you go.
Sobriety returns.
Back.
Gone.

But on the Inside, It’s Very Different

1.

Incredible! Unbelievable! Really? Just Disgusting!
I can’t believe you would treat me like that!
Don’t you know who I am? You’re such an ass!
You’re nobody important; who do you think you are?
Forget it. I will take my business elsewhere.

I walk – no storm! (actually, I suppose, walk) – away,
Disgruntled, upset, and steaming with indignation.
How silly; I’m nobody important. But still!
Can you believe how he treated me? Fuck!

2.

Really? OK, Whatever.

I walk away.
I go on with my day.
I’m somebody important.

Proustian Anamnesis

When I was walking into the office this morning, I caught a whiff of some vanilla and coffee from the outdoor coffee shop, and I was transported back to my freshman year of college, on a cold rainy day when I had no classes, and sat in our apartment in the dark woods, stirring Maxwell House International Café French Vanilla powder into hot microwaved water, and watching a TCM marathon of Aubrey Hepburn movies on a twenty-seven-inch CRT television.

Later, buying lunch at the grocery store, I saw a box of Lemonheads candy on sale for twenty-five cents. I bought it, ate one, and suddenly I was eleven years old, visiting my father’s office, with the scent of singed circuit boards and solder hanging in the air just outside the lab. Innocence lost, and now and then, fleetingly visible.

Fragmented Tinkering

As I drive into work I have a thought
(Because when else would I have a thought?)
About how many people – me too! – find pleasure
In watching Let’s Play videos on YouTube.

But there is a soul-enhancing joy to be had,
By opening up your gadgets, seeing how they work,
And tinkering. You can take an old radio, and
Make it new, and with a little know-how even
Stream the audio of that Let’s Play video to it.

Maybe Locke and Marx were right, and that to
Own yourself, you must own your things,
And to own your things, you must tinker with them,
And on YouTube you can watch others tinker.

A Stoplight in the Pre-Dawn Morning

In the dark just-pre-dawn light,
I am sitting at a red stoplight,
At the edge of a town and an agricultural preserve.
The contours of hills are only just becoming distinct.

I glance in my rear-view mirror.
Behind me is an old, beat-up Toyota Corolla.
A couple is sitting in the front seats, barely illuminated.
They quickly lean over and peck eachother on the lips,
Before the light turns green,
And they drive on to their jobs picking Avocados from the groves
That grow outside of town.

Romance, Effendi, Romance

We sit and eat Teriyaki Chicken Kebabs, while watching
My parents’ dogs. What should we do now? she asks.
We could spend the evening writing poetry to each other, I say.
I’m so exhausted, I just want to watch TV, she says.
That is OK too, I say, and together we watch HGTV.

Later in the evening, she asks me, disbelievingly, what kind of poetry I write.
I guess realist poems, I say. I have never let her see my poetry.
You should write me a romantic poem, she says.

I am taken back to the Middle-East in colonial times,
When it was full of adventure, and pyramids, and tombs, and effendis,
And Sol Bloom and the Streets of Cairo and Maurice Jarre.
You could wear khakis then, and their pressed seams would remain immaculate,
Their soft but stiff fabric unsullied by sand or dirt or the decomposing detritus of ancient mummified Pharaohs.
Such wonder, such romance!
But now in their place are grubby terrorists with self-made IEDs.

She yawns, and I pour the rest of the wine into our glasses.
Tomorrow we will need to get up early.

A Break in the Rain

Driving down the freeway, it is raining.
The car stereo plays an album from the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.
Traffic plays outside where the guitars do not sound.
A break in the traffic presents itself.
The rain beats down harder.

I switch off the windshield wipers, which were going back and forth every eight seconds.
I think of rolling down the windows; and speed up.

As I imagine the water drilling itself into the left side of my face, it pools vertically on my windshield, and I see, for a moment, a rainbow that is not there.
Traffic has built up again along with the water outside my car.

My car? I own it! I imagine rolling up the window.
I imagine straightening my tie.
I imagine slicking back my hair.
I stop, and present a grimacing smile to the brake-lights in front of me.
There you are, at last.

Some Advice for the Long-Dead Occupy Movement

Converge again, and create your tent cities of
Love and Hope and STDs and Public Safety Hazards.
Sit in your Circles again and Beat your Drums and
Talk and Live and create your Ideals. You must have your
Ideals.

Now; you have killed the grass on which your tents are
Erected. The Police will soon be ordered to
Evict You. The Politicians who once supported you, and
Told you to Stay as Long as you Needed to Effectuate Change,
Are discussing when to give the order.

Now! Before they come again! Pick up that Brick! Throw it!
Through the Window! Now is your chance!
Throw that brick through the window!
You can not destroy a corrupt system unless you enter into it,
Or you commit violence against it.

Your Drum Circles and Marijuana and Sharing Economy and
Consensus mean nothing, if you do not take up arms,
Or lay them down and enter into the Belly of the Beast.

Eugenia Place

The sleek, modern high-rise thrusts itself up,
Piercing the afternoon sky. Its translucent glass shaft
Shimmers in the clear wind, as its rigid cement blocks and steel beams,
Ribbed around the building, gleam.
What a phallic erection this is! Such potency,
And wealth.

But from its roof grows a mature oak tree.
It looks stolid and ancient. Its gnarled trunk
and yellowing foliage suggest the archaic;
A straight thing made crooked with age.
Its roots grow both shallow and deep.

Another 10 Haikus from the Mechanical Turk

The rain is falling
The storm is almost upon
night is so dark now

—–

A dog barks so loud
His owner is very proud
The dog starts a crowd

—–

Wispy strands fly off
I watch the soft magic flow
Of dandelions.

—–

The world is changing
Will it be better or worse
Let’s see together

—–

Some Rose buds are red.
Some rose buds are orange and white.
Give me fifteen cents.

—–

Painful swollen jaw
Can’t eat anything but soup
Wisdom teeth suck

—–

haikus are silly
but are kind of fun to write
case in point above.

—–

I am so tired
My bleary eyes start to shut
Peaceful dreaming now

—–

Trees are painted red
Crunchy leaves beneath my feet
Fall season is here

—–

Black, gray, and yellow
The sky clouded, the moon bright
Driving through the night.