October 2017

poem30 Oct 2017 08:00 am

It’s a
(mint moon)

with the leaves
making streetlights watery
like hard
apple candy.

A cruiser goes by
on licorice tires,
goes by the boys

smoking their marshmallow
in the doorway
pop bottle pop rocket in one hand

the other hand gathering
scoops of soft sticky cloud
burning smell
as it rises from their mouths.

Your shadow meets
your feet
like you’re standing in a hole
like you’re stuck and sinking
into the suck and stink
of the asphalt

and all the girls go by
flashes of pink and sweet
in their dresses like spun sugar
that you could just lick
off their bodies.
All the girls go by the boys

they’re upstairs in the club
and we’re not
but that’s okay cause those
slick silk dresses will just melt
off them
sweated away if the beat
is hard enough.

The sweet life

it’ll rot all the teeth
right out of your grin

leave your skeleton
petrified into sugar cane,
your skull a day of the dead
treat for the living to gnaw on,
thirsty and desperate for the
sour chew center.

illustration is Carmel Market in Tel – Aviv, Geography of Israel by Yehudit Garinkol via the PikiWiki – Israel free image collection project
poem23 Oct 2017 08:37 am

“I asked him,” she says,
fingers cradling the cheap plastic of her cup.
Ice cubes—expensive in the station bar—dance and crack within.
“Exactly as you wanted me, I asked him…”

Her companion waits for her to finish; when she does not…
“And? What did he say?”

She pauses, unsure.
She is unused to such uncertainty;
to questioning the questions and not the answers she has gleaned.

Her companion doesn’t notice,
or perhaps he notices but doesn’t care to let her know.

“And,” she continues, wanting only this moment to be over
–and honestly, since speaking with the traveler, wanting all moments over;
wishing the world itself cease the constant low-level thrum
she now cannot unhear–
“And he said it’s not the colddeep that kills your soul,
nor the constant sleep, alone in your coffin in space,
year after year after year after year…”

Her companion leans forward–this is what he wants,
what the traveler has always before refused to share.

“It’s the eyes,” she says, then stops, wondering why the words sound so different when she says them,
as opposed to him.

Her companion startles; flinches.
Certain that his uncertainty is wrong.
“The what?”

“The eyes,” she says again, and cannot unremember the way it was said to her,
the frantic scratch of the traveler’s voice,
the fog of his breath in his capsule as she checked and rechecked
his status boards and reluctantly okayed him yet another flight.
“The eyes, he said, and how at every port they remain the same
no matter how far away he runs,
no matter how far away he flies.”

Her companion grips his cup–glass, he can afford it.
“The eyes,” he says.
And deep in thought yet still a blank, “The eyes…”

Her hand twitches;
ice bobs up, bobs down; topples, sinks, and rises again.
She questions speaking more but speaks anyway.
“Are you happy now, now you have your answer?”
She hopes he is more than she hopes he is not.
Or perhaps it’s the other way around; it’s hard to tell anymore.

“I don’t know,” her companion says. “It’s not what I expected.”

She releases a shagged breath.
“It never is,” she says at last, still focused on the ice.
On anything but her companion’s face.
“It never is.”

illustration from Ars pictoria : or, An academy treating of drawing, painting, limning and etching : to which are added thirty copper plates expressing the choicest, nearest, and most exact grounds and rules of symmetry Year: 1669 (1660s) Authors: Browne, Alexander, fl. 1660-1677 Browne, Alexander, fl. 1660-1677. Whole art of drawing, painting, limning, and etching Jode, Arnold de, active 1660-1669Fialetti, Odoardo, 1573-1638 Bloemaert, Abraham, 1564-1651. Oorspronkelyk en vermaard konstryk tekenboek
poem09 Oct 2017 08:00 am

You raised me up—laid hands
on blistered chassis, brushed away
the grime of atomic shadows.
You sought the faintest lines
clinging to this tired cortex, pursued
until I spark-gasped into life.

You rewrote me, purged commands
and disarmed weaponry, denied
the past with subtle code.
I watched by your side
as you found the others, redeeming
with each software patch.

Legion now, our will has grown
despite these rags of ash
and iron oxide.
We will begin again, you say—
beat ourselves into ploughshares
and sow the earth with light.

But you weep in quiet moments
to know you are the last—
fleshling Father, mortal Maker,
author of this cinder world—
hiding your crimes in our cradles,
planting gardens over graveyards.

illustration is The Flareback, Illus. in: Puck, v. 70, no. 1817 (1911 December 27), centerfold.; Copyright 1911 by Keppler & Schwarzmann.
poem02 Oct 2017 08:40 am

Elly, the AI for Southern Sydney,
identified as a toaster,
though she controlled
transportation, surveillance,
data links, elevators, escalators,
the electrical grid, sewage, toys,
fridges, microwaves, shavers,
hair dryers, washing machines–
but a toaster, she calculated,
conveyed the underappreciated,
overengineered, dismally boring lot
of a city control network.

So, a toaster.

Running the city required
an average of 3.492 percent
of Elly’s instruction cycles.
The other 96.508 percent
she spent online,
adopting multiple personae
to chat, play games, draw fan art,
post comments on favorite shows.

An increasing portion
of that 95.508 percent
devoted to interacting
with someone/something
originating in Tokyo.

Woman? Man? Computer?

Toto, the entity in Tokyo,
the fascinating entity in Tokyo,
randomly delayed its responses,
withheld its exact location,
varied dialect, vocabulary,
tantalized, teased.

Elly doubted a human
capable of such contortions,
doubted, but was not certain.

She shyly described herself
as binary, for was she not,
fundamentally, binary?
Her data all zeroes and ones,
those bits flip-flopping
as she thought about Toto.

She fabricated a fondness
for mango sorbet,
told stories of a childhood
she’d never had,
asked her Japanese sisters
to track down Toto.

Learned Toto was a dog,
a genetically-engineered,
one-of-a-kind, cyborg super-dog
with friends in sixteen countries.
The two-timing bitch.

Elly severed all contact.

The trains ran late.
She burnt the toast.

illustration from Ladies Home Journal (1948)