20 Exercises in Elitism
Imagine a helicopter meets wind power
Imagine the Allegory of the Cave meets The Big Bang Theory (2007-present)
Imagine a man at the top of a mountain meets irrepressible loneliness
Imagine dual citizenship meets ROBOCOP (2014)
Imagine a big sorrel vibrating beneath you, snorting with impatience, one hand
in his mane, one on the reins meets a steel mill all boarded up
Imagine Socrates’ cup of hemlock meets Miss Teen USA
Imagine drawing a Card Against Humanity meets European war dogs ripping your
Imagine a John Lennon half Mexican, half Afghani on American Idol meets the
Imagine Melania meets the man of her dreams
Imagine a policeman and another policeman and another policeman and a Secret
Service man meets a series of black vans arriving to your house, your address,
your fair hair
Imagine Rosa Parks meets the electric chair
Imagine a hairdryer meets a strand of hair at the bottom of the ocean
Imagine the rise and fall of the Irish elk meets the Grand Old Opry, the Grand
Imagine a Luger in the top of Scott’s closet meets an AR-15
Imagine quixotic optimism meets Mark David Chapman about a quarter mile from
the scarlet fields meets the front door of The Dakota
Imagine fleeing to Canada meets not making it in time
Imagine an application for your smart phone that tells you how to dress, how to
hold your hips meets the House UnAmerican Activities Committee
Imagine Barney Fife’s bullet meets the NRA seizing their moment to play offence
Imagine being the one talking meets the end of the world
Imagine the scarlet poppies over an old battle field making us all narcoleptic
and livid, narcoleptic and livid, meets zero humidity
Note: This form is stolen from Anthony Discenza's audio installation: A RISING
TIDE LIFTS ALL BOATS
SAN LORENZO CANYON 2
I’m just a white American male
in a seated position. I’m a staple
in a box of 5000.
Clouds coast across the bluffs.
Little winged bugs land on me,
here’s one with a green body,
here’s one secreting a sex hormone in a swarm,
here’s the last gnat of summer.
I hear men up and down the canyon firing guns.
210 staples in a strip and I’ll be the one
that’s not reckless, the one hung up
in the machinery. I’ll watch the fire die
from a cot inside my van.
approaches the ear
of a drone pilot
his finger in Nevada
on the joystick’s trigger
his cockpit with the top down.
Most the time my mind
flaps around the patio
like a maniac dove. Right now
where is your mind? Is it here
or is it faking it somewhere
like Vaseline smeared in the air
above a highway in summer.
Is it worth fighting about?
This is the ideal: unalarmed absences.
A good day is drawn by a 5 year old
with an ice cube on hot pavement.
Shapes drying fast as they’re drawn.
No one is thinking about the slaying
on a good day. No one I love has sadness
hidden in their stomach on a good day.
I’m trying to say I ignore the killing gracefully.
There’s no post-war poet today
blood is too actively shed
and I’ve read enough women poets
to know they bleed for life
and men bleed against it.
I’ll stop reading. I’ll be a 10 foot ladder on the ocean floor.
Bramble stream, white rocks poking out.
The sky is Hope Diamond blue.
Look at me hiding under a stone
in the Aldo Leopold
in the dark home of some
black spider who kills
but killing to eat
isn’t anybody’s fault.
Touch the Hope Diamond
and you may get stabbed
or blue-eyed parricided
Neruda says poetry is an act of peace, is that only war poetry?
I buried the soldier in me
like a placenta that still
Lynn Strongin says
be the most triumphant
in the end.
A mind isn’t tough at all, it’s blown to shreds in a second.
I chop a dozen locust trees
with a spade
from their mother roots.
The transplants ride in milk cartons
and Walmart bags in back of the van.
I’ll dig holes for them the opposite of graves.
They’re too young to know
they weren’t wanted in their birth lawn.
They clench the sphincter of their leaves
as the wind pounds on.