Sunday, 19 June 2016

When the Cavs Won It All

What will I remember about today,
in this city
that takes every punch,
unflinching, on our chins;
that rises up from every blow,
standing tall, cut-mouthed
against the world?

I'll remember
that this day is like
every other day
this city working doubles
while you slept on it
this city skipping vacation
to get the job done
this city, laconic, intractable
where we bow to no king
no, not even our own
this city of redemption
where we always welcome our sons home

Today, today
is for 
                YOU 
to remember:

this city can always say it left it all on the floor
this city where every stand is a last stand
this city where we pull for each other, exchange 
blood-stained grins
and sing loudest for the unsung.

You had forgotten
what we've always known
Cleveland is the city
filled with champions
and tomorrow, 
we get back to work.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Legerdemain

            spiderweb flag // on fog flagpole
  porcelain vase of beasts // in rare inks
     huge cube of concrete // speckled egg inside.
             backwards map // for a maze of mirrors
                onion skin // atop onion skin
              time be // tween star // light
             pond of rocks // pond of rocks
           a pond of rocks // upon whose
         foundation a shat // ter rain falls
        and while you were // reading this
      catercorner, edge of // eye, peripheral
                  we sneak // on rat feet
               on rat feet // scuttle scaffolds
               to build or // crash or crash
               we the loud // est shout
           millennia built // magician hands
                  reckless // calculation
        papier-mâché masks // watercolor thunderstorm
           monster fearing // above the bed
         myth minted daily // god cowering
               about women // god? or just
                           // men

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

When the Cavs Won/Lost It All

About a week ago I was contacted by Bill at Fox8 who had remembered my previous Fox8 appearance about my Poetry 4 Free project. His idea was to make a piece about how Clevelanders were reacting to the Cavs being in the finals & he wanted me to come up with something that would help tie it all together. I think he did a great job considering he had to plan the piece to work for victory or defeat. Clevelanders tend to be good at that kind of planning. Here’s the piece:

I also anticipated the possibility of needing two outcomes. My full poem is below. I only gave a couple of hours to it, so it isn’t as revised as I would like, but I knew it was going to be a small part of a larger whole, so I tried to structure it for both coherence and reorganization. I only had to change the first line of the last stanza to change the tone of the poem. Efficiency!

What will I remember about today,
in this city
that takes every punch,
unflinching, on our chins;
that rises up from every blow,
standing tall, cut-mouthed
against the world?

I'll remember
that this day is like
every other day
this city working doubles
while you slept on it
this city skipping vacation
to get the job done
this city, laconic, intractable
where we bow to no king
no, not even our own
this city of redemption
where we always welcome our sons home

Today, today
is for 
                YOU 
to remember:

this city can always say it left it all on the floor
this city where every stand is a last stand
this city where we pull for each other, exchange 
blood-stained grins
and sing loudest for the unsung.

You have forgotten (or) One day you'll learn
what we've always known
Cleveland is the city
filled with champions
and tomorrow, 
we get back to work.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Lauds

This morning, my dog and I caught God
trying to sneak through the city like
a man skipping Mass in search of a drink.

He still filled the sky and his steps were
like the echoes of an empty hallway.
My dog just wagged her tail but I

shouted at him:
I SEE YOU, OLD AFRAID MAN!
He didn’t turn, just created a dirty rabbit

which he threw over-shoulder at my dog. 
I don’t know if my dog or the rabbit was
more surprised. The rabbit dissipated 

using natural rabbit-magic, and when I
looked, so had God. The city whispered
an antiphon: Kýrie, eléison.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Thrown Bricks

                                for Zena

you say
     life is a building collapse
     a stone rain
     a brick fusillade

you are forensic of
struck shoulders,
bowed backs,
chipped teeth admixed 
in stony splinters
and you say
     
     life, you are a
     a despised dissolution
     a slow chemical burn 

     life,
     you are a grave
     an ash fault
     a burial mound of
     hungry mouths. life,
     you are the
     most subtle drug

and, as
you deign,
you say 

     there is 
     no thing
     not unclean
     no thing
     unfailed
     
you say that
     no one has ever
     seen the sky

so you say
and shrug

even though the storm
will never clear
you raise your eyes
heave bricks at heaven
laugh amid
the smoke of ruin
bloody-knuckled and
    
    proclaim
    all the dead 
    to be sunlight

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Public Square

Walk to Public Square,
while you live, and sing
the victims

roughly shoved between
lath and beam - the dead women -
sealed in walls, scratching
under the floor of Imperial
Avenue. The Seymour attic decade,
three women in chains 
a half mile from my home
the raped child's rape child
on the same playground as my son

sit down on Public Square
while you live, and sing
the victims

your fingers in the holes
left by one hundred and thirty-seven
police bullets 
your body policed upon the
asphalt so hard it stops
your twelve years of life
split open by a police sidearm.

stand up on Public Square
while you live, and sing
the victims

of men
of police
men
of institutions of
men, whose words
are worse than silence.

stand up on Public Square
and tear it down.