A Lamentation

 

 

There’s a city full of people

right outside my window.

There’s a city full of people

and no one to talk to.

 

There’s a city full of people

strolling down the sidewalk,

pattering across the pavement,

caterwauling, cavorting, canoodling.

People talking with their hands and toes,

chalking figures on the concrete,

cementing ideas with other characters.

A city full of people

but I am a lone fish.

 

Leaves rustle in the breeze, in the trees.

Busses bustle, freeze for bikers stacking racks.

Runners hustle, catching busses, climbing busses,

missing busses. Commuting. Cavorting. Transporting.

Supporting the local economy, bussing and buying.

Guys trying beers. Eyes spying queers.

There’s a city full of queers.

You can’t throw a stone in Uptown…

 

It’s an easy, breezy summer’s day

and there a city full of people.

 

I step out my door, I stand on my stoop,

I snoop for a glimpse of a chance

for a wish, for a beat, for a dance.

 

The rhythm of the air brushes through my hair,

swipes a sip of a kiss, touches the tip

of my nose, goes sauntering and sashaying

down the alleyway, banters with a

beagle and a bantam.

 

Rests a pause.

 

The rhythm of the air beats a beat

on my temple, whispers wishy-washy

melancholy scents in my nostrils.

Weeps on the corner

and sings from the station stops!

 

This is a city full of people!

And it lives! And they live!

And the wind strums out a lively ditty

for the whimsey and the witty

in this jam-packed, people-packed

tune-whistling, time-bristling city.

 

It’s got a song in it’s heart

and a leap in it’s step

and I yearn to sing along–

to march to the beat of this song

 

to not be a solo, solitary peg in the throng.

Day 26

The prompt for today was to write an “erasure” by deleting lines, words, punctuation, letters, whatever from a long poem written by someone else, thereby creating a new poem. I took Allen Ginsberg’s America and created this (even the title is an “erasure”):

Am  i 

I’ve given you
two dollars and
my own mind.
when will we end                              ?
Go fuck yourself
don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write                            in my right mind.
when will you
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you
When will you be worthy                                        ?
why are you               full of tears?
when will you
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go                                                                                       ?
after all it is you
You                     too much for me.
You made me want
argument.
it’s sinister.
Are you          sinister or                                                      ?
I’m trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
stop pushing I know what I’m doing.
falling.
for months, everyday

I’m not sorry.
I smoke
I sit                                                                                 in the closet
When I                                                      never get laid.
My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble.
You should have seen me
I’m perfectly right.
I won’t say
I have mystical                                     vibrations.
I still haven’t told you what you did

I’m addressing you.
Are you going to let our emotional life be ?
I’m obsessed
every week
every time I slink
in the basement of the               Public Library
tell    me about responsibility.                    serious.
serious. Everybody’s serious
I am
I am talking to myself again.

against me.

I’d better consider my
My                                                                                              genitals
private
mental
I say nothing about my
my
whorehouses
My ambition

how can I
I      continue like                    my                                         his
sex
I will
free
save
must not die
I am                        boy
when I was

free everybody was              sentimental
so sincere you have no idea

made me cry                                                  Everybody must

really want to go to war.
Russians.
Chinamen.

Her                                   Her                                     her
Him             bureaucracy
no good. Ugh.                  Indians                                         niggers.
Hah.                                                             Help.
this is quite serious.
this is the impression I get
is this correct?
I’d better get right down to
It               I
I’m                                   anyway
I’m                   queer

Day 22

The 22nd of April, or day 22 of NaPoWriMo, is Earth Day. Therefore, an Earth Day poem:

Humanity is in its adolescence
and we treat Mother Earth poorly.

One day, when She is old,
when Her trees grow grey
from the roots and Her crevasses
are deep and jagged, when She
has less energy to blow the
winds and stir the currents, on
that day, perhaps, if we have
wizened a bit ourselves, we will
appreciate Her. Until then,

we eat Her fish into extinction,
steal their body parts for soup
and dump live butchered carcasses
to bloody the seas. We scoop up
sea turtles, sea horses, birds, clams,
anemones, eggs, coral, starfish,
plant life and more! Just to settle
our taste for dead shrimp. We
kill her babies. Until that day,

we suck oil, natural gas
through tubes stuck in her crust.
Then we burn ‘em and pollute
Her atmosphere with carcinogens
and carbon. We kill the green
trees which clear the skies
and brighten the air. We
burn and consume and covert
energy into energy. Until then,

we want what we want and we
want it fast, cheap, and now! We
eat up everything in our path, we
ravage the grasslands, we scourge
the oceans, we pillage the
deserts and mountains and sands!
Be we on the savannah or taiga,
we can consume it. We are like
maggots on rotting flesh. Then,

one day, when She’s limping
’round the sun, when Her core
heaves heavy sighs and She coughs
ash and soot into the heavens,
when Her rivers run muddy with
industry and Her lakes are rank
with death, when the blood-
red seas glow like the face of
Mars, then, and not before,

will we see. Our hindsight
will be perfect and our demise
nigh. Our battered Mother, in
Her calm and steady way will
purge Her body, will cleanse
Herself of the human plague.
And as quietly as we rose
from the dust, we will return,
beaten, unencumbered, finished.

Humanity is in its adolescence,
but we can see old age from here.

Day 21

On Day 21 we were charged to re-write Frank O’Hara’s Lines for the Fortune Cookies.

 

 

You’re great, pal, and a great pal.

Your descendants will not number the stars. Feel lucky–the world is overpopulated.

You’ve been to ten European nations and Asia scares the shit out of you.

If you ever marry, it will be because assholes lay down their arms.

Only you can prevent forest fires.

Only you are the true anorexic.

You have to want it. Do you want it?

There are too many people writing. Too many books. Too many poems.

You have the most expressive eyes of anyone. They talk when you’re silent.

When you escape prison, it will be by the skin of your teeth.

You will vote for the next President of the United States.

The last president was a black man and the next will be a woman.

If you keep your politics out of your personal life, you’ll never amount to anything.

People will love you.

You’re a vegetarian who wears leather–do not be ashamed.

Write your heart on the page. Some will read it there.

Keep the home fires burning and a stranger will meet you there.

Live your life!

Day 18

The challenge for Day 18 was to write a poem which begins and ends with the same word.

 

There, but for the grace

of god, go I.

I have trouble

with sentiments like this.

No gods exist. But for luck,

go I. But for chance. But for

circumstance, but for my own

choices.

 

My boyfriend says “god” can be

anything. That kind of relativism

is appealing. That kind of plural-

ism is appealing. It’s tempting.

Seems the concept of this relative

“god” is less troubling than the

word “god” itself. It’s loaded.

 

This word is everywhere in our

language. Godspeed. God bless you.

Goddamnit! Thank god! God

is in his heaven… Is he?

Wood Allen said, “If there’s

really a god, he better have a damn

good excuse.”

 

There but for a billion choices,

a billion organisms living and dying,

a billion butterflies flapping their

wings, go I.

 

Should we not accept responsibility

for the things we do ourselves?

Should we not recognize the role

circumstance, nature and nurture play

in our lives? There, but for a

delayed train. A car accident,

an airport bomb, a kid on a bike.

 

There but for the everyday

goings-on of everyday life in

the everyday world!–go I.

 

Go I shall. And go I shall.

But for the thoughts in my mind

and the love in my heart–

with the thoughts in my mind

and the joy in my heart

I go there.

Day 12

On Day 12 the prompt was to write a poem expressing things you want to say, but will never be able to. Time to “get it off your chest.”

 

 

You instilled in me the importance of family,

but when I turned out not in your image, you rejected me.

 

You impressed upon me the need for education,

then dismissed me as a “liberal elitist,” code for educated.

 

You brought me up in a strict, conservative church–

a sure-fire way to create a godless revolutionary.

 

Then you act surprised when I don’t embrace the tyranny,

though the founder of your sect was once a rebel himself.

 

Your own father wouldn’t allow you to become a teacher,

even though you had a full scholarship to university.

 

Do you ever think of that when you judge my life?