Saturday, May 27, 2006

Vanity Post

                                             CRED   GR   QP  

41200 01 ANALY INTERP OF LIT 3.0 A 12.00
41302 03 ENGLISH LITERATURE 2 4.0 A 16.00
41406 03 SHAKESPEARE 1 3.0 A 12.00
41453 01 THE CRAFT OF POETRY 3.0 A 12.00

SEM. CR. TOWARD CUM. 13.0 52.00 4.00*
TOT. CR. TOWARD CUM. 40.0 156.04 3.90


Semester gpa: 4.00
Cumulative gpa: 3.90
awww, yeah.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Thoughts upon Julius Caesar’s Last Moments

When Caesar said "Et tu, Brute?", in shock
his dying breath contained myriad things:
1024 atoms; a flock
of tiny birds on 1 million billion billion wings.
And in the time between his death and now
they have flown from Rome and into your mouth!
And I hear you wondering aloud, “How?”
They have circulated North, West, East, South—
Casting these oxygen and carbon seeds
across the world over land and ocean.
You likely inhale one or two of these
as your chest rises and falls; the motion
of every single quiet breath
brings the flavor of Caesar’s Death.

© jrs

Sunday, May 14, 2006

another poem today.

A [sort of] Elegy for the Night-Table

The night-table is an ugly redbrown, the paint slapped on thick,
why were you cast off, left at the curb, a lone bastard son?
Someone had their time with you, and then let you pass
unmourned;. Why? Even as I see you there, unburied,
I know that this is temporary, the interstitial place
where death and potentiation live together, in the
shadowlands. Once loved and now lost, but ready to move on.
I carefully scoop you up, and swaddle you in a wool blanket, bringing you home.
I remove your three drawers, standing them up on cardboard,
numbering them, 1,2,3.
I number your insides and lay you down on a cardboard bed.
Donning a denim apron, I snap on skintight blue nitrile gloves.
I pour varnish remover on your sides, and it slowly rolls down,
aided by a paintbrush in my hand. I wait.
The stripper goes to work, slowly melting and bonding to the old paint, crinkling it up in waves.
The scraper pulls the old finish off in convoluted ribbons, revealing
your honey blond grain beneath, still stained in spots.
Wiping you clean with an old tee shirt, I repeat the process with your drawers, scraping halfmoon carved drawer pulls clean,
feeling echoes of forsaking fingers.
I open another gallon can, hiss of the mouth breathing in the air, sides donging outward. Upending over
another rag, I am bathed in the carcinogen-sweet smell of lacquer thinner.
I wash you carefully with the liquid, running steel wool over your skin,
burnishing out remaining stains.
You dry almost as soon as you are wet, the volatile fumes rising.
I carry you outside, and pour more lacquer thinner upon your face, anointing you.
I strike a match and touch you, setting you alight.
Burning with an ephemeral blue flame, almost invisible,
the heat draws out old wax and impurities.
You sparkle, tiny shining dots push up through your skin.
I put everything away, and begin sanding you with 80 grit
then 120 grit sandpaper,
sloughing off scales, the wind carrying the chaff away,
revealing new wood, untouched and ready
for the kiss of chestnut mist.

© jrs

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ulster Pastoral

Stepping out into coolwet morning air, unlock the bike,
tighten my knapsack straps, my breath trailing behind me.
Out onto the street and up, muted clicking of the chain through derailleur,
the rapid bump of tire-nub and the rush of passing cars.
Up the long hill, my legs pumping, warming,
through the town and up, deep breaths and up,
this long slow hill and all my muscles humming;
then, leveling out, and a slow glide across the overpass,
the breeze climbing down my shirt, my jacket flapping.
Over my shoulder, the ridge reclines, bluegreen and wrapped in fog, not quite awake.
Ahead, rolling foothills and low curling mist easing through the treetops, soft puffs of smoke.
The wheel crunches on the shoulder, ploughing through gravel.
Garlic mustard and wild onion sweeten the air. Robins alight in meadows
hopping and pecking. Occasional rabbits
panic and freeze, panic and freeze.
The hawks watch and wheel, waiting for the sun to break through and warm their wings.
Skirting the edges of culverts, the sluggish seep of runoff nourishing mallows and lilies,
the lime carpet of algae rimmed with froth,
the shale piles in thousands of weathered arrowpoints, mounds of slategrey cloven rock,
my legs moving up and down, up and down in tight circles, breathing in time.
Leaning barns with quiet ghosts and rough rust-red tractors watch over fields lain fallow,
The deer flick their tails and dip their heads down as I pass;
Heading east, the sun is a vague corona above the trees;
it pushes through the clouds, guiding me upward,

© jrs

Saturday, May 06, 2006

okay, another one.


The parking lot light shines
through grey Venetian blinds,
an illuminated fence on the floor
Floating in this limitless empty space,
a reference point, defining my place;
it is an anchor, lying on the shore.
Ink-dark carpet ocean:
red and green glowing LED’s
mark a channel, like dim buoys
drifting in slow motion.

Pipes softly hiss and creak
as if trying to speak;
the stress of expansion almost too great.
Quiet stretch and groan, a subdued protest
against bearing this hot unwelcome guest.
An angry slow push against the steel plate
of the straining baseboard;
though the air wafts still soft and warm
it is the calm before the storm,
and cannot be ignored.

Breathing deep next to me
she slumbers peacefully,
her face angelic, relaxed and content
[for she is free from this worry and stress].
I resist the urge to touch and caress
her, lest she wake—this is time well spent
together in our bed—
no place I’d rather be on Earth.
Moments without her have less worth—
morning fills me with dread.

The morning is coming!
Marching dawn is drumming!
The light clicks off and leaves me in blue hue.
Twilight is here and stars are winking out,
I want to hold it back, to rail, scream and shout,
but I know that there’s nothing I can do
but rise and get ready
to shower, shave, brush and get dressed.
[understand I am truly blessed
in love with this lady].

A stack of bills to pay.
Rent’s due on the first day
of the month, or else I wouldn’t get up.
Oh, to stay in bed, in the warmth with you,
there’s nothing I really would rather do;
but without work I cannot fill my cup
or yours with drink, or plates
with food, without money, no rent
paid and eviction notice sent:
we’ll be in dire straits.

The sky is lightening,
the noose is tightening—
I’m desperate to avoid going out,
but I must, and you truly ought to know
that all the day long as I work, although
I have to do what I do, please don’t doubt
I am thinking of you.
You are forever in my mind—
open the grey Venetian blinds,
breathe, and enjoy the view.

© jrs

another poem


My mother once gave me a compass, so
“I wouldn’t lose my direction”.
It burned in a car fire. Now a new
one, on my belt, needle pointing skyward.

Three key fobs rattle, the print worn away,
the bounce and click a tight marching cadence.
Medals from a war of attrition, still
ongoing; “One Day At A Time” they say.

A finger-sized flashlight shows me the way:
a tiny beacon against stubbed toes at
midnight, tacks, bugs, crumbs, shoes and loose wires.
My magic wand, warding off the unknown.

Further down, a tiny green pocketknife
dangles, home to miniature scissors,
nail file, toothpick, tweezers and tiny blade:
knife useless for all but the smallest task.

Solid-state circuitry hangs just below,
zeroes and ones sit silently waiting.
Thirty poems packed neatly in plastic
and silicon—the size of this stanza.

A pint-sized, felt-tipped, black sharpie marker
for poetic graffiti—scrawled haiku
left in serendipitous locations
bringing smiles to frowning passersby.

Unsurprisingly, there are keys here too—
Siblings in sharp-toothed brass, a patina
from age, like two old pennies: controlling
ingress and egress—the bolt clicks, thunks shut.

© jrs