2014 poetry readings

Friday, December 20, 2013

Feb 1 — Dazzle Gradually, Rock Hill, SC

Feb 26-Mar 1 — 2014 AWP, Seattle, WA

Mar 6 — Glitter Bomb release reading, Biola, La Mirada, CA [Facebook]

Mar 8 — Glitter Bomb release party & reading, Mystery Brewing Co. Public House, Hillsborough, NC [Facebook]

Apr 4 — Glitter Bomb release party & reading, St. Elmo Fire Hall, Chattanooga, TN [Facebook]

Apr 5 — Glitter Bomb release party & reading, Joe’s Café, St. Louis, MO [Facebook]


easter poems

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Look at all the weird seeds—
    plum stones and green beans,
salted sunflower snacks,
    buttered peas, silkweed pods
spilling downy-tufted spores,
    artichoke hearts, apple pips,
maple wings falling like helicopters
    up and down Main Street,
dandelion heads kids blow at each other,
    wheat germ, algae zygospores,
slick brown watermelon seeds,
    seeds that pass from fish to fish,
dog to dog, and deer to deer,
    human seed invisible to the eye—

and look at the bodies that develop
    from those seeds,
geranium, hippopotamus, human,
    the pear which grows unlike a rock,
the spreading mint, ivy and moss,
    the mammoth cedar, the wily goat,
and you will see the splendors
    of God’s holy transformation
of sown ground to bushes of fruit,
    the same transformation
the righteous will undergo
    in the blink of an eye
after having been planted for awhile
    in the earth’s hushed vault.


    “And star differs from star in splendor.” -I Corinthians 15:41

Finally resurrection will not be limited
    to bodily difference but will explode in light,
so that some of us will be stars, some moons,
    some suns and some comets,
consistent with the variety of God’s creation,
    so bright that we would not guess
what kind of cracked, dirty seeds produced them,
    but in such teeming numbers
that we will recognize the original vegetation,
    the birds, creatures of the sea, and livestock
the sheaves of humans, bunched and different,
    living in the huts, towns, and provinces
of the former kingdom which was a shattered mirror
    for that time—when God will give
the Morning Star to each who overcomes,
    and also a new name written on a white stone.

[Composed for Easter, 1996]


Saturday, April 12, 2014

By John Ashbery and Billy Joel


He cuts down the lakes so they appear straight
He smiles at his feet in their tired mules.

She’s got a way about her;
I don’t know what it is,
But I know that I can’t live without her.

He turns up the music much louder.
He takes down the vaseline from the pantry shelf.

She’s got a way of pleasin’;
I don’t know what it is,
But there doesn’t have to be a reason anyway.

He is the capricious smile behind the colored bottles.
He eats not lest the poor want some.

She’s got a smile that heals me;
I don’t know why it is,
But I have to laugh when she reveals me.

He breathes of attitudes the piney altitudes.
He indeed is the White Cliffs of Dover.

She’s got a way of talkin’;
I don’t know why it is,
But it lifts me up when we are walkin’ anywhere.

He knows that his neck is frozen.
He snorts in the vale of dim wolves.

She comes to me when I’m feelin’ down,
Inspires me without a sound;
She touches me, and I get turned around.

He writes to say, “If ever you visit this island,
He’ll grow you back to your childhood.”

She’s got a way of showin’
How I make her feel,
And I find the strength to keep on goin’.

“He is the liar behind the hedge
He grew one morning out of candor.”

She’s got a light around her,
And everywhere she goes
A million dreams of love surround her everywhere.

“He is his own consolation prize.
He has had his eye on you since the beginning.”

She comes to me when I’m feelin’ down,
Inspires me without a sound;
She touches me, and I get turned around.

He hears the weak cut down with a smile.
He waltzes tragically on the spitting housetops.

She’s got a smile that heals me.
I don’t know why it is,
But I have to laugh when she reveals me.

He is never near. What you need
He cancels with the air of one making a salad.

She’s got a way about her;
I don’t know what it is,
But I know that I can’t live without her anyway.

He is always the last to know.
He is strength you once said was your bonnet.

the man who was unnecessarily authoritarian with his coffee

Thursday, March 27, 2014

He said, “You will hold still while I drink you.”
And he said, “The matter is not up for discussion.”
He said, “After all, I own you. You are my coffee.”
Sinisterly he added, “This is not a democracy.”
People sitting near him began to stare, became silent,
and they stared through their glasses, their heads
ensconced in turned-up collars, their bodies
swathed in bushy coats, with platinum accessories.
The only sound in the small coffee shop
other than the authoritarian man’s voice
was a mild jangling of jewelry and car keys,
for some were getting up quietly to exit, quietly
so as not to interrupt the performance, as quietly
as they could, considering that they were so heavily
accessorized as to be mistaken, possibly,
for metallurgists or German shopkeepers, and so
continued the authoritarian man, barking “Aw!
You are so HOT right now, ha!” and “I shall indeed
drink you down to the botty-bottom of the cuppy-cup,
for when I finish, the barista will fill you back up!”
A small child in the corner raised its hand,
a child with moon-shaped face and crazy hair,
waited to be called on—but no one called on it.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Shane, you’re so weird.
At least you’ve shaved
your plaid beard.

I’d worried about you
out on the strand,
un chien Andalou

as they say. Your pipe
emitted foul lies
mixed with night

as you puffed, horny
as a hound dog
born in Borneo

some horrible,
plaid-bearded Romeo.
Shane, you’re deplorable!

idk hannah

Monday, March 24, 2014

If you can title a playlist
I Have Cry in My Eyes
without drawing attention
to another problem you
might have and that

would be a problem saying
things in a grownup way
There Are Tears in My Eyes
perhaps or Sadness Is
Changing Part of My Face

or even I’m Srsly Lachrymose
Ovah Here Dawgs
Hannah so many maturer
options but I do confess
none more Hannahish for I

strike that We and by We
I mean All of us have seen
what your hair tends
to do at times and are
amazed by it we are kind of

in awe so if there is any
way for your saying or titling
things to remain in keeping
with that yes then Hannah
yes the universe says yes

famous people i met at awp

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I could go on and on about the cliché buzz sort of book signing handshake and who all famous I met at AWP and had a drink with or talked to at a party but it won’t take long it was Aaron Belz Aaron Belz was the most famous person that I met he was handsome kind of unassuming and really made me laugh Aaron Belz ate breakfast with me every day his insights were delightful I kept noticing him wandering around the book exhibition and he’d stop and talk to me and it was really nice of him but the big shocker was when Aaron Belz took me out for veggie tacos and a little carriage ride we stayed out into the night and skipped the big AWP reading I drank way too much with him and then went to the bat bridge and stuff Aaron Belz took my pants off and put them back on several times looked at me in the mirror even winked Aaron Belz is cute but the way he looked at me I could tell that he wanted to touch me in another way Aaron Belz signed his chapbook for me and was smiling the whole time wrote something clever and now I have 30 copies of it in my satchel he is so famous and I could go on and on and on 


[Austin-Bergstrom Int'l Airport, Spring 2006]


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Men and women should be gentler with one another;
what was it my godmother used to say? Painfully tender.

Men and women should arrive and depart together
and without flourish or flattery—just some small banter.

These aren’t the gentlefolk you might remember
hearing of I’m describing; these aren’t your ancestors.

Men and women in love should appear sister and brother
as much or more than they do ruthless lovers,

flashy, self-conscious, dressed as if by the perfumer,
unwilling to forgive, and in fact, consumed by the anger

that in certain circles passes as love’s necessary other.
It’s not that, being brutalized, one simply shouldn’t bother

to return what has been euphemistically termed the favor,
but to say, simply, always remember the heart of your lover

beating full of hope and sorrow, and that life’s a river
flowing in both directions, it would seem—forever.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

I like Jenga in shrink wrap,
Jenga virgin, untouchable,
its blocks impossible to pull,
a tower impossible to raze,
because I’ve had enough
of compromise and failure,
don’t need the drama
in my life of balancing and
balancing, always calculating
what might be safely removed,
and because I’ve always wanted
the whole thing—of a piece,
monolithic if sorrowful
for lack of adventure. I like
Jenga in its box, safe and alone.

for halvo on his bday

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I wouldn’t say that you eat books, Dr. Halvorson.
I wouldn’t say that you eat French monks, either.
But there is something interesting about your head,

and not that it is large and rectangular, but that its eyes
and teeth brighten so readily at the mention not only
of books and monks but of morning canyon jogs

and soccer practice, and of your beautiful bride,
and of beers with the boys. There’s an omnivorousness
in your head, Derek Halvorson, an omnivorousness

that is more than just obvious or patently obvious,
yet it is not without a necessary executive steadiness.
I don’t know, man. You’re just a neat guy.

You like to kick it in a new pair of wingtips,
to feel that shine light up your mind and soul,
you like to clop down the hallway in painted klompen,

and I wouldn’t say that you go back to your office
and get out a fork and knife and eat those klompen,
but that’s just the thing! No one knows what you do in there!

So you keep getting older, and—best case scenario—
don’t change a thing about the way you are.
Keep delighting in everything. You’re well-loved, bro.


[Commissioned by subject's spouse, Dec. 2011]


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