Marcus G. Minnow School of Sorrow PTA Meeting

I remember making this sitting on my laptop while my oldest son did taekwando practice. I’m not sure what sparked the idea; perhaps it was me reflecting on the one PTA meeting I attended, which was I went to one, which was awkward and incredibly boring. 

Screenshot (9)

 I can’t insert a bigger picture, so if you can’t see it well, I’m afraid you’ll have to zoom in.

Have You Ever Been to the Grave? (freewriting)

I’ve been on a creative writing break for about two months now. I didn’t plan to take a break, but I’m glad I did. Doing so frees up my creativity so I can write more music…it turns out I have a hard time spending energy on both pursuits. I’m sure the pendulum will swing the other way in time.

I still engage in freewriting periodically, as is my wont. I usually go back through it to find a theme or a few lines for the beginning of a poem. I’m not sure if there’s anything here worth saving, but it struck me as interesting nonetheless:

Do you ever want to speak about the funeral? No. Of course not because you were all, “Uh, I can’t stand dead people!” and then you went somewhere and got drunk. Do you think it was easy for any of us? The rest of us had to sit there and take it, deal with our pain. We had to listen to that idiotic preacher spin a story about a man I never knew existed. It sure as hell wasn’t our father, which you know if you’d bothered to stick around.

Have you even been to the grave? God, you’re so disappointing. You have some pair of balls showing up here and expecting me to forgive you. If I start forgiving you for this, where does it stop? Am I supposed to forgive you for everything? Is that how forgiveness works? Is there some kind of statute of limitations on forgiveness, like a certain number of crows that are allowed to gather before they officially become a murder? Don’t look at me like that. Jesus. I’m making perfect sense, but you don’t understand anything because you’re so focused on yourself. If there’s a god in heaven, which is highly suspect, he doesn’t care anything about you. You were a tragic mistake, a slip of the pen, a scribble in the corner, an accidental union of chromosomes that somehow managed to make it out of the womb and draw breath. If I could go back in time, I’d kill every single one of your ancestors.

Well then. (ahem)

Regret (poem)

I’ve been looking through old journals lately and found the first draft of the poem below. I thought I’d posted it before, but it seems I didn’t.

Regret

I lie to my atoms,
telling every electron
that you’re still close,
not a million stars away.
Fooling my system is easy,

but I’m still hungry for your pain,
the sky of confusion in your eyes,
the quiet hurt on your tongue.

If you slept with me again,
you’d find my angles and lines
are knives ready for cutting,
my first blood ballet.

But you’re kind: you’d never
sell me to the Traveling People
who would replace my fluids
with bitter paste so I would never
understand water again.

Come back to me,
my mysterious cloud.
Let us eat blackness together.

Comparing Hands (poem)

I’ve been on a writing break since around Christmas and am just now easing back into daily writing, editing, and testing the creative waters. Instead of writing, I’ve been focusing on composing, studying music theory, and learning how to tune a piano. I’m hoping to turn the latter into a career; I’m done with traditional classroom teaching, both on the public and college level. 19 years was enough. I’m still teaching English to Chinese students online, but that doesn’t feel like teaching at all…it’s more like encouraging.

Anyway, here’s my first poem of 2019. 

Comparing Hands

You tell me fix my hands, like they’re broken,
as if they’re useless stems I just happened
to be born with, not finely-tuned instruments
for giving love, back-rubs, applying pressure,
or anointing, whichever the situation calls for.

You pretend your hands are perfect when, in truth,
they’ve written reams and reams of lies,
and still you brag that they helped set the stars,
soothed the earth’s waters until they calmed,
the record of your work preserved for heaven’s sake,

to make the angels scratch their luminous heads
and wonder how a creature such as yourself merited
favor, taking secrets bets on who you slept with,
which principality or power you blew to in order
to win cosmic favor, to be the fairest in all the land,

and all that shit that fills fairy tales…but this is life
on life’s terms, the hard and the harder, the blood
and the eye that sees the blood, the scream and the ear
that hears the scream, and all the while you doze
in a patch of sun, the world burning down around you.

6:03 PM in Hell (poem)

I’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the last few months, but I still write when I can. I wrote this piece during office hours before teaching a freshman composition class. I’m glad I can write just about anywhere.

6:03 PM in Hell

She rolls over in the darkness
and asks, “What time is it in Hell?”
I fumble with my watch, still set
to Hell time, and say, “6:03 PM.”

She’s quiet for a while, then says,
“I guess they don’t do daylight
savings, do they?” I sigh, pull
the covers up, and answer, “No.”

It’s so like her to ask about my
experiences there, in the middle
of the night, just as I’m starting a dream
that has nothing to do with the damned,

screams, or eternal anguish…and now,
it’s all that fills my mind as I flip the pillow
to the cool side, grateful for having escaped
but bearing scars I’d rather not discuss.

 

Yum (poem)

 

 I was looking through some old files and discovered this poem from 1997. It holds up pretty well. I wish I remember about whom the poem was written…but perhaps it’s best I don’t.

Yum

At dinner last week,
she wanted to be the wine,
something perfected
rather than destroyed by age,
and the week before that,
she craved shelf-life,
sitting untouched and unwanted
in an abandoned fall-out shelter.

Obsession being enough
to encourage appetite,
I ate of her, tasted
the awkwardness of her habits,
turned them into golden juice
dribbling down my chin,
transformed her affair
with apathy into fireworks,
her penchant for irresolution
into a perfect cantata.

This week, she is desirous
of all things fresh,
blooming fat and tender-red
in the center of the table.
Even now, she wants more,
which is perfect for me,
emotionally deaf by choice,
a thinking man’s Van Gough
who took the gift too far.

My Father Confuses Murder with Worship (poem)

I don’t suppose I’ll ever be done with this subject….

My Father Confuses Murder with Worship

Do what you hate, and you’ll
never lose a wink of sleep
, my father,
ensconced in red leather and fog,
says and tips me a sagacious wink.

Are you sure that’s the saying?
I ask from a distance of 1,567 kilometers,
the exact length of his heart from mine.

My father borrows someone’s cranky
boss and offers him as a burnt offering,
and the smell reminds me of childhood,
which says nothing good about my home.

As sure as I am about anything, he says
and wipes blood on his checkered apron
while I carve off a piece of charred flesh.