Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A poem, second third draft:

Take down these next ten digits:

[Phone number]
[Repeated. Faster.]

That,
my friends,
is your muthafuckin' bat phone.
A direct line to dial
before the next time you head to hit the [Name of Location]
because I
am the wingman.
Here to help you procure all the pussy
I've never been able to get for myself.
And I know that probably pissed off half the women in the audience,
but I'd remind you that one day
you're going to go out for that good dick
and I'm not going to judge you then.
I might even
be able
to help.
I'm available to push, prod, nudge
and be the grand fucking facilitator
without a single soul sensing a thing.

Providing open shots
like Steve Nash gets the Suns
carrying conversations about nothing
like a master of my domain
and, yes,
fucking
fat
friends.

NOTE:
There remains a two-bagger minimum.
I've still got some standards.

Keeping the conversation
cohesive and compelling
is par for the course,
but the Phase 2 package
means remembering that time you saved the sea lions in Alaska

...

There's no pinnipeds in the Arctic?
Well, fuck you and your marine biology!
... I meant penguins.
Ladies love the lil guys.

And it's obscure knowledge like that
that will allow me to cock lead block
right through the heart of the defense
breaking open a lane
for backfield penetration
bandying stiff arms about
as you hit holes
without anyone
deflecting a pass.

This is a special set of skills
acquired only after years of watching
that guy
get the girl,
before becoming cool belatedly
and remaining unable to convert the knowledge
into succ-sex
in spite of myself.
When you're accustomed to being best friends,
it's hard to treat women like conquests
because you've seen what they look like defeated
and that's not something you're ready to be responsible for.

So I've made every effort
only to break hearts
that will remember me fondly
as I mutually mack it for everyone else,
offering a steady supply of situational setups,
making the magic happen
because maybe it means
this time
they don't fuck it up.

And it's easier to have that faith in others
than change anything about myself,
a me never remembered
unless I'm run into,
but then showered with smiles
and even some shots,
because if the situation went sour,
well,
it wasn't my fault
and God -
she had sooo much fucking fun that night
and totally wants to do it again,
obvi,
and needs my number like, yesterday.

This is a fine plan
until she shows up with someone else
and can't remember my name
at the introduction.

But I'll smile
and find a partner for pool
because maybe it means
this time,
she won't fuck it up

if only she gets a little encouragement
from someone willing to draw away enemy fire
even as it blows up
in his face.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

A poem, third fourth draft:

It’s okay.
The Grand National Nightmare is over –
Barry Bonds FINALLY hit those fucking home runs.
Now we can move on to hating Michael Vick
because electrocuting puppies is waaay worse than doing steroids.
And since he happens to be black,
we won’t have to demonize any white athletes.

But first,
Picture four friends.
They are 12, and walking back from school.
They see a girl beating down some dude,
yelling to give back her headphones,
encouraged by the friends that surround them.
One of her people
says the white kid
is laughing at her.

Three friends are named 'Aamir, Shapel and Kareem.
The fourth
is Benjamin.

He is surrounded,
and hit twice
and they laugh.
They take the Yankee hat Kareem just bought
because they won the World Series
and the rest of the city
is celebrating.

Because of this
you know in your stomach
that when a friend cracks wise
about his latest DWB,
it's not just an attempt at black humor.

We are the sons and daughters of the Civil Rights generation,
and for the first time
America is exploring how it works
when the dominant popular culture
is colored.

Our poetry has become Def,
Jammed into breakbeats
and sped-up soul samples,
stomped around in Air Force Ones
and steel-toed Timberland boots,
our flat-brimmed fitteds sittin' sideways
bling so bright you can see it in the dictionary.

But all the ice shines cold light
in distracting directions
and the snow trapped
in the mainstream
makes music like Minstrels.

These are some things you probably know:

Barry Lamar Bonds.
Leftfield.
San Francisco Giants.
Black.

Already established as the best player of his generation,
Bonds hits 351 home runs after the age of 35.
He collects four straight MVPs.
This is one more than anyone has ever earned
in their entire career.
He is named in a federal investigation
regarding illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
As is Gary Sheffield,
black,
a training partner who couldn't keep up with the regimen.
Reporters seek Sheffield for comment.
Two books are written.
The world wants its records back.

These are some things you should know if you don't:

William Roger Clemens
Pitcher
New York Yankees
White

A one-time phenom thought to be on the decline,
Clemens wins four Cy Young Awards for three teams
after the age of 34.
This is one less than anyone has ever earned
in their entire career.
He is named in a federal investigation
regarding illegal performance enhancing drugs.
As is Andy Pettitte,
white
,
a training partner who couldn't keep up with the regimen.
Reporters pass Pettitte by for comment.
There are no books,
and Clemens gets paid $18 million
to start the season two months late,
and only join the team on days he is pitching.

Sports
they can be at the forefront of society.
Baseball broke the color barrier
seven seasons before
Brown beat the Board of Education
And now that Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith
squared off as coaches in the Super Bowl,
their landmark leadership
showcased on sports' most spectacular stage,
maybe
just maybe
we’re prepped for a black President.
In politics.

We are
Team America.
Fuck.
Yeah.
Just remember,
don't hate the players,
hate the games
we keep playing
with race.

Because until I can’t update this poem with parables,
we’re still separate
on unequal fields.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A poem, second draft (Word to D-Wil of The Starting Five):

The Grand National Nightmare is over –
Barry Bonds FINALLY hit his fucking home runs.
Now we can move on to hating Michael Vick
because electrocuting puppies is waaay worse than doing steroids.
And he happens to be back,
so we won’t have to demonize any white athletes.

Barry Lamar Bonds.
Leftfield.
San Francisco Giants.
Black.

Already established as the best player of his generation,
Bonds sets a career high with 49 home runs in 2000.
He is 35.
The next year he hits 73.
The next three, 45 in each.
He collects four straight MVPs.
This is one more than anyone has ever earned
in their career.
He is named in a federal investigation
regarding performance-enhancing drugs.
So is Gary Sheffield,
black,
a training partner who couldn't keep up with the regimen.
Reporters seek Sheffield for comment.
Two books are written.
The world wants its records back.

William Roger Clemens
Pitcher
New York Yankees
White

In 1997,
after four straight seasons of 11 wins or fewer,
Clemens leaves Boston for Toronto as a free agent.
He is 34.
During the next 10 years,
he wins four Cy Young Awards for three teams;
three of the other seven seasons rank among his best.
He is named in a federal investigation
regarding illegal Human Growth Hormone.
So is Andy Pettitte,
white
,
a training partner who couldn't keep up with the regimen.
Reporters pass by Pettitte's comments.
There are no books,
and Clemens gets paid $3 million per month
to start seasons two months late,
and only join the team on days he is pitching.

Adam Bernard "Pacman" Jones
Cornerback
Tennessee Titans
Black

In two years as a pro,
Jones is questioned by police in 10 separate incidents,
famously "making it rain" during the NBA All-Star Weekend.
He has not been convicted once.
April 10, 2007
Jones is suspended without pay for the entire season.
There is a chance of reinstatement after Game 10.
An appeal is made,
but withdrawn when it appears futile.
He is not allowed to practice with the team.
He has turned to professional wrestling
because he needs to make a living
and he has got a lot
of fucking time off.

Jared Scot Allen
Defensive end
Kansas City Chiefs
White

Twice convicted of Driving Under the Influence.
First time:
May 2006
Enters a diversion program.
Second time:
Sept. 2006
Pleads no contest.
April 28, 2007
He tells the KC Star he has been suspended 4 games without pay
under the NFL's Substance Abuse Policy.
After expressing remorse and becoming involved in local charities,
focusing mainly on juvenile diabetes,
an appeal is made.
July 16, 2007
4 games becomes 2.

Sports
they're at the forefront of society.
Baseball broke the color barrier
seven seasons before
Brown beat the Board of Ed.
And now that Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith
squared off in the Super Bowl,
landmark leadership
showcased on sports' most spectacular stage,
we might
just might
be prepped for a President.
In politics.

We are
Team America.
Fuck.
Yeah.
But remember,
don't hate the players,
hate the games
we keep playing
with race.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

A poem, first draft:

CURTAIN

PROLOGUE
You lost her twice.
The first time at 15,
when you believed being cool
was beyond you.

Then again at 22,
when a move made too much sense,
but the seven years since
has stripped away any sense
of an ability to sense
and perceive innocence
because every broken heart
makes it harder to choose correctly
when a special situation presents itself.

SCENE
Meeting a mutual friend on the subway
on the kind of day we all imagine in cliche.
It is morning.
You are on the way to school.
She is standing next to your friend,
five-foot something with brown hair in a bun
and glasses that make her library hot.
Her chest is ample,
and she has not yet grown into the ass
that will inspire introductions to your friends
just to prove it actually exists.
Jocks have yet to make bets about bedding her
and this means that you've still got time to dismember a bird
because you found a prayer the second you saw her.

You are only a sophomore -
wise enough to know this won't end well,
but foolish enough to try.

You pop the cherry of your acquaintance,
and faith scores a point against cynicism
because it is the first time you know what people mean
when they talk about breath being taken away.
It is the only time you lie to her outright
because she asks if you're asthmatic,
offering an inhaler,
and nodding yes is an easier answer.
You convince yourself she was laughing with you
when it only makes you choke harder
and she becomes the only girl
to take your breath away two times at once.

SCENE
Train rides.
SCENE
Small talk.
SCENE
She EXITS.
You have nothing new to say to your best friend,
so you tell him you hope you can make it to her party.
You say this while blushing.
He notices.
Of course he notices.
--You like her.
--Huh?
--Like like her like her.
--Uh ... yeah, I guess.
SCENE
Scheduling conflict.
SCENE
New semester.
EXIT
Train rides.
EXIT
Interactions.
END
ACT I

CURTAIN

ACT II
SCENE
It is seven years, two college experiences
and a fuckload of technology later.
CUE
Reconnection.
CUE
Curiousity.
SCENE
Halloween.
The East Side.
It is warm.
You're a Newsie.
You hold an address
and papes
with a cigar stashed somewhere on your person.
Elevator goes up,
and you're there.
She's a faerie
and you forget you should breathe
for the first time since 15.
You recover in time to talk
because you remember living last time,
and you still had not been instructed
on the physics involved in inhalers.
She rolls blunts like breakfast cinnamon,
introduces you to her people
and you take the train together
when it's time to go home.

SCENE
Hanging out.
SCENE
Mad movies.
CUE
Holding back.
EXIT
Your chances.

SCENE
Big snowfall.
First day post-operation
you're allowed to open your eyes.
Glasses gone,
you go along
as she captures the community on film.
The scene so perfect
all you can do is observe,
a ghost of your ability to alpha.

ENTER
Job prospects.
EXIT
Brooklyn.
ENTER
Upstate.
END
ACT II

EPILOGUE
When you live larger than 8 millimeters,
second chances are short in supply
and often speed by
because 24 frames per second
only fools you into thinking
you're seeing the speed of life.

SCENE
We met.
SCENE
We left.
SCENE
Reconnect.
SCENE
I regret
that each scene to be next
features another actress
in the role that could have made her
a star.

CURTAIN

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

From a January mass email:
I placed third at the November Oneonta Poetry Slam, hosted by the Black Oak Tavern, against some stiff competition. I also worked with the owners of the Oak to set up a myspace page for the venue ( http://www.myspace.com/theblackoak), where you can find a recap of the event. I was later invited, along with Sierra -- another newcomer; she came in second at the November OPS -- to join the Intangible Spoken Word Collective and feature with them Friday at SUNY-New Paltz's Gathering of the Minds event. Nearly 30 poets performed to a packed house at the Student Union. I actually surprised myself by coming through smoothly (until flubbing MY SECOND TO LAST LINE. Ugh. That close.)

There was an afterparty at a bar downtown, and then a late-night "Round 3" impromptu poetry showcase at the organizer's crib, where most of us crashed for the night before brunch and a return trip to the Big O.

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