Friday, March 31, 2006

Second Poet Laureate Of The Blogosphere

"National Poetry Month is April and it’s now up to the members of Poetisphere and to decide how the process will be run this year.

In the meantime, let’s get busy nominating. If you know of a blogging poet who meets the following rules then please feel free to leave that poet’s name and complete URL in the comments below. As only Poetisphere members may leave comments, those who are not members may e-mail your submissions to... idleblogs (AT) [or] e-mail them to another Poetisphere member."
(I'd be happy to relay your nominations.)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Café Lutecia

Here, in this corner, life happens.

Here, beside the dusty faded magazines
of a hundred covers ago,

Here, beneath the posters of a homeland
missed so much it’s been forgotten,

Here, at this table of fading stains
by the naïve declarations of eternity
etched into its face,

Here, did I stop loving you?

Here, where a hundred stories
must’ve begun before,

Here, where a hundred mornings
stumbled across the threshold,

Here, where they draped the mantle
with pictures of what it was used to be,

an etching of a city
that no longer wants to be etched,

Here, in this kitchen where she frowned
over the smell of another place,

where she saw in the face of the eggs
another future gone by,

Did she here ask, Why?
a hundred times before?

Did she, too, stop loving him
a hundred closings ago?

Did she, too, look at those walls
and wonder what else might have been?

What that bridge must have looked like
from the window of another room?

Did she think of why she stopped collecting
mugs, and plates, and figurines?

And how long after that
did it take for the dust to collect?

Did she notice the first time
they looked just like the day before?

And the first time the faces coming in
all looked, like those getting out, alike?

Did she see it like that first wrinkle
that didn’t go with a good night’s sleep?

Like the first time she admitted
it wasn’t the light making that hair look white?

Here, when they turned over the sign,
she must have sat, hands folded in her lap,
like a hundred laps before,

Here, she must have looked out
at the street falling asleep,
at the night gathering
like dirt behind her ears,

Here, she must have wondered
if there’ll be another…

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Geography Lessons

To Katy
I sat there on the steps
absorbing the rest of the day,
waiting to see you for the first time.
The sun was dissipating with the distance,
turning the sky into a fake purple screen
soon to be erased.
And the cold was seeping in me.

But you were real.
From behind the hill,
huge eyes, and a tweed the color of the sky,
and a silence only the night knows.
How could you live up to your self
when you are so big?
But you do.

Always the night.
That density of the air
when she sang of candles and roses
and voices bouncing off the walls.
You could smell the humidity then
before it collected under your nose.

We were young, and she was young,
and the country was young, too.
The geraniums were blooming from ear to ear,
forced from the ground with too much determination.
I was just starting to know the night.

So how did we get to this?
Sitting each in his couch
on opposite sides of the room,
slicing the silence between us
like a brie,
gathering the distance like dust bunnies
under the coffee table.

When did the night turn so cold?
It was always silent,
but even the silence sounded different then.

Now you're gone
back to words,
silent, but loud,
smoothing away the folds in the distance.
Sometimes it's not a matter of geography.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Reading Excerpt

As much as I hate seeing myself on video, below finally is a video excerpt from Saturday's reading, upon the insistence of my family and friends in Lebanon, featuring "Tired" and "Tell Me". (Happy Mother's Day, Mom!)

The program was picked by my dear friend, Katy, who came all the way from Sandwich, MA! Here it is:
  1. Breathe
  2. Seasons
  3. In the Making
  4. Jellyfish
  5. Alkaline
  6. The Flight of the Swallow
  7. Red Light District
  8. Cry
  9. Life (Unraveled)
  10. Life on a Beautiful Day
  11. The Smallness of Life
  12. Tired
  13. Tell Me
(Ryan, thanks for the footage!)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Reading / News

Hello all,

I will be reading this Saturday, March 18 2006 at 7:00pm at Communitas (201 Sabine Ave. Narberth, PA). I hope to see you there!

Also, I was a finalist in the Mad Poets Society contest for my poem "Life on a Beautiful Day" which will be published in the upcoming issue of Mad Poets Review (late summer/early fall).

And three of my artworks will be featured in the most recent issue of Philadelphia Stories (out this week): two wax collages and a water color (below).

Thursday, March 09, 2006


We picked up a sandwich
at a station a thousand miles from home
--no matter where that may be.
The hills spread, yellow and thin,
underneath our anger.
And just where the plains ended
a new pain began,
of sun, white, and winding stone.

At the top I found you
scoping the world with an ache
I never saw for me.
I looked towards your glance,
the looming towers and dusty grass,
sandwiched between your life
and another you'd rather live,
between the sky
and always somewhere else.

I wasn't panting then,
running after you in every foreign tongue
we didn't speak.
I traced your gaze
like I could never the nape of your neck:
it ended in the shadow of a bell tower,
and began somewhere
far far from me.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Baltic Song

Even though I put on my rare Gaultier
I could still smell the inside of my mouth

I finally figured out why I write about myself;
because there is nobody.
I finally figured out why I stopped writing.

He looks at the cobblestone and says,
I’ve had enough of this,
enough of the brown brick
bouncing in the sheen of the sidewalk,
enough of the bite of winter on windy streets;
I was born where the sun has enough shame
to drop by.

But I have lost my home;
have you seen my shoes?
There on the Baltic it stayed,
but I left.
Now it isn’t anymore.
The streets look like yesterday
did when it was today,
except it is neither anymore.
Now they just look vacant
like eyes on a Friday night
when they’re too tired to sleep.

My mom used to be tall and fresh, he said,
a vision in short hair and a smile.
(But she was always Catholic.)
And then I lost my hair
and something changed in her brow.

My mother said, I’ll tell you a secret
all mothers know:
I still see you as a child
stubborn, with supple hair.
So how is it I can see the grey in yours,
even under the dye?

This smell lasts forever;
that’s why I bought it in the first place.
But it is weighing on me
like a youth that has grown
a buckle too small.
Maybe one day I’ll give it up,
maybe one day I’ll find another.
But for now I’ve got quite a bit
in the bottle left.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Mountain

It’s my turn
to rise to the mountain
but the mountain keeps rising
ahead of me.

I keep looking at the valleys
spread thin below my feet,
villages scattered in the groins of the earth.
Mountains are barren, I say,
and looking up always makes me squint.
I don’t like breathing clouds,
and I grew up imploring in song
to be rescued from the fog.

I’ve been up other mountains before
and each I descended
with my pride trailing my feet.
I collect peaks for a living,
but the peaks keep moving on.

Down in the valley
I am sheltered from the wind,
I can pretend my hair is supple still.
But up there…
I fear the heights,
the thin air is so forbidding;
and no tiny bud can make it worth my while.

Down there I will live
where the rivers are near
and the sky is far
and I can hear
the bowels of the earth