Thursday, July 20, 2017

Buttdialing Ubers and Other Sonnetized Shorts

Season Sixteen

A one-size-fits-all transcription of experience
and your mind's ear takes a break today at Mickey D's -
generic, anti-confessional, without
the clawing happenstance of a Johnny Depp lookalike
backstroking in a sea of Elmer's Glue
You continue to get antsy with dead zones in conversations
Who doesn't? . . . but do we need two of anything?
Attention-deficit mavens and their obsession
with the gap between fit and finish
transforming stage directions into librettos
puts one in the mood for a slice of pizza
with the works . . . from Baldy's on Reid -
a stopgap for fortune tellers and fortune hunters
If at any point you feel small, you should

Season Seventeen

Later . . . in a restaurant . . . on the lake . . . a specter
with cropped gray hair . . . and the waiter serves the soup du jour -
cream of broccoli - sided with a bronzed copy of the Post-it
she stuck to your mailbox 30 years ago . . . and someone asks
what Porgy stands for . . . and you're flashed back
to the balcony of Glimmerglass with its incredible range of voices
and tale of a cripple in the tracks of a very young Sidney Poitier
on his knees . . . in a wagon pulled by a goat . . . whose googling
tells you it's a subspecies domesticated from the wild goat
of southwest Asia . . . and did you know that goats
have only bottom front and side teeth and one large back molar
in the top jaw for crushing things . . . and the Poitier
Porgy and Bess is one of the great lost films
because of a pissing match between the two Gershwin estates?

Sidney Poitier in Porgy and Bess (1959)


Monday, July 10, 2017

Buttdialing Ubers and Other Sonnetized Shorts

Season Fourteen

Using rhetoric in a slipshod manner
Or slapdash, yes, that's it . . . slapdash
Why bother trying to be ironic and sincere . . . at the same time?
Can't you see beyond the No Smoking sign?
This is where the poem is supposed to get horny
or forgettable . . . or whatever
Yes, I know you hate that
Assailed by distractions . . . in the guise of . . . aesthetics?
Can you please help prime the pump?
Doing so, however, may result in a Surgeon General ticket
Speak softly but carry a big selfie stick
In the moment . . . but only if the moment cooperates
and then only if dessert is included
in the slapdash dish . . . in a slipshod manner

Season Fifteen

You're charged with toggling a laugh track
while waiting in the checkout line
at the supermarket
The manager is a clown suit
A clown suit is a root canal sans novocaine
A clown suit is a box lunch
An after-the-fact afterthought
Your flight is taxiing
And now the ticket person in a clown suit
is telling you you're in the wrong line
but there's a million dollar smile
on a million dollar baby
in a million dollar condo
with a million dollar (fill in the blank) ___



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Buttdialing Ubers and Other Sonnetized Shorts

Season Twelve

Postcards from the corner office offer tips
on managing the parts of life that make no sense:
seductive five-star creamsicles
soundtracked by melodic lines nursing
pentatonic and catatonic scales
You pride yourself on inscrutable self-scrutiny
the examined life . . . and all that
as if parroting fan-fiction of the Canon
through pursed lips
makes dumbing down the default
So why the obsession with spoon-fed fork-tonguers?
The files . . . sight-read
have been sealed . . . and now
your raised hand is being codependently ignored

Season Thirteen

Escaping through the cracks in your argument
following bread crumbs to the Temple of Incidentals
restless long legs
parody of a back-flap biography
you fret over brands of black pepper
focus on the container
Stepping out onto the deck with eggs over easy, yes?
And coffee?
The seemingly insignificant?
There's nothing wrong with invisibility
and lemon juice . . . held up to a light bulb
selecting from menu options
making do . . . treading water
Come prepared to defend your thesis

Rihanna

Monday, July 3, 2017

Buttdialing Ubers and Other Sonnetized Shorts

Season Eleven

The theatrics begin . . . with words up . . . words down
rehearsals . . . do not pass Go
You know how it is
with everyone talking . . . at the same time
It's tough to follow the storyline
if there is a storyline
But then some stories are better without a storyline
Just let the events unfold
in your pocket . . . I don't care
little matter where
Whatever's convenient for you
I'm trying to wrap my head around something
something that will get me through the next few hours
or the next few minutes

Paolo Roversi



Saturday, July 1, 2017

Buttdialing Ubers and Other Sonnetized Shorts

Season Eight

Which reminds me, when was the last time you punched in?
A to-go box would be nice
As would your cv
with color-coded treasure map
The cartography of the selfie, yes?
I have no idea why but protocol is calling the shots
You've seen it yourself in the glacially slow downloads
Two streams diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry you could not ogle both
and be one ogler . . . I don't believe you!
It's not as if they didn't score high on Rotten Tomatoes
The dominant aesthetic right now seems to be amusement
A defense mechanism, perhaps?
Download and install the Uber app, already, will you please?

Season Nine

You have a reputation for down time
for rearranging players and their parts
It's all there . . . in your notebooks . . . on your (un)zip drive
It has become your mantra
Incomplete sentences . . . written with crayons
follow in your wake
The manner in which they carry themselves
and the questions . . . left unanswered
Trying to construct reality with Legos, yes?
You and your erotic other were captured on tape
with sticky wickets
I never believed in falling prey to pews
But then again . . . and again
Something is sure to befall the one-night (by)standers

Season Ten

The subject becomes the object
igniting associations
It happens whenever you click Search
The tendency to remain open
while people hover . . . submitting requests
Are you ready to give it up? . . . to give in?
Let's hope not . . . at least not until
your fingers have done the walking
Opening statements, please
What if we were to record every other word?
Would nonsense reign?
Would it become the New Now?
You were late . . . with revisions . . . only
to be called out . . . to be called out . . . for redundancy

David Benoliel

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Buttdialing Ubers and Other Sonnetized Shorts

Season One

You hawk Girl Scout cookies to linemen
patching phone lines in manholes
They pledge allegiance to the pleats in your uniform
A flâneur stumbles . . . on camera
Ill-equipped and ill-mannered
you are perfect for the job
and hired on the spot from within
Your half-life . . . is a lateral
You skip the condiment aisle
to jostle newhires . . . if for no other reason
A pawn . . . no, a night . . . in the game, yes?
Ditto Dottie!
With as much anachronism as catch-as-catch-can
Neck . . . and benecked

Season Two

You count out change from a shiny metal change counter
attached to your belt with Velcro
You score a merit badge for the likes of this
Isn’t this romantic?
An aging-out squeezebox expands and contracts
to the gesticulations of bystanders
eBay's only a day away
Forging ahead nonetheless
with less than Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels
you wait tables in reruns
buttdialing Ubers for Q&As
while running changes with after-hour noodlers
A good misstep
as innocuous as an up-close-and-personal

Season Three

I’m famished . . . how about you?
Lick and belicked . . . as you like it
A speedbump unto oneself, yes?
Isn’t it time to resume the obligatory?
Can you imagine?
Not unlike the postmodern
foisted upon minions
when no one was looking and the brownout was force-fed
And just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, yes?
Is it safe? quoth Sir Laurence . . . to the Marathon Man
Low-lying clouds should be forgiven
They know not . . . As for you?
The same is not true . . . You knew . . . around the block
and then some

Season Four

I’ll huff . . . and I’ll puff
Really? . . . That's a bit Uberish, yes?
The Uber knows all
Though stymied, you go on
Feel better when you fail better
The drones are about to trance . . . teleported to Walmart
I’ll bet you miss Blue Light Specials
Blue Light Specials "R" Us!
As if we were belched into the nosebleed section
Runners on first and third . . . here’s the pitch
swung on . . . and the hills are alive with the sound of silence
Simon and Garfunkel? Aren't they're close-mouthed?
Wittgenstein as Party-Pooper
If you can’t talk about it . . . Bollocks!

Season Five

The flight left in two hours
Then you accidentally uncorked plagiarism
As if to say There, I’ve done it again!
Full-fledged-in-your-face-buttdialing
I feel I should commit myself
to something . . . or someone
Happenstance as whoopee cushion
as pocket billiards
with all the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Bespoken . . . ain’t that the truth?
with a hey, diddle, diddle and a cache of Little Golden Books
breaching security for the hell of it
Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell . . . And then?
He called for his bong . . . and he called for his bowl

Season Six

They're choreographing drive-bys . . . on trikes
and talking with Jacob's Pillow about next steps
You listen to the rhythm of the falling rain
telling you just what a fool you've been
Hey, that's OK! . . . we're all just passing out
Besides, the light is about to change
Insignificance piles up on the night stand
most days
Orchestrating tweets
You end up backpedaling for all the wrong reasons
Soon to a major motion picture . . . guaranteed
to stop post-nasal drip and other post-apocalypse nits
You're good to go
French Press or full press?

Season Seven

You can have both
Clickety-clack
and the days become a railroad apartment
with you as conductor
of Mahler's Seventh
Buttdialing Mahler's Seventh
Does a table-read have to be cold?
All the world's a chessboard
and you have all the right moves
Triumphant! . . . He/she was triumphant!
Measure upon measure . . . as if out with the bathwater
Purposefully negligent
Now why in the world would you call for backup?
Continue reading the main story

Geisha Davis

Friday, June 23, 2017

Screen Dump 371

A willingness to look silly stalks you
with kinky imaginations . . . banister games . .  .
late-night tête-à-têtes . . .
while you . . . on hidden camera . . .
backpedal . . . into an off-season valentine
shopping trip to designer outlets . . .
A soft-spoken train wreck meanders
into wish-fulfillment
with instructional video in Jungian tongue . . .
The morning reboots . . .
jousts . . . the colors of some flag . . .
Two can play solitaire, yes? . . .
You are this . . . that . . . this . . .
and that . . . nurturing a crudeness into nothing
less than a bespoke cringing one-act . . .

Monalli

Friday, June 16, 2017

Screen Dump 370

Love loves to love love.
          - James Joyce, Ulysses

You quote yourself . . . again . . . finding solace
in the non sequitur . . .
in the interplay among players . . .
among onlookers
who . . . could they have it another way . . .
would not . . . tapping their fingers
to your breathing
while you . . . awake with asking
the morning again . . . and again . . . and again . . .
a transubstantiation . . .
of the temporal . . . the insignificant . . .

Monalli

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Paging (Through) Dr. Williams

(reposted from Sunday, May 29, 2011)

Red-faced
balding
in faded scrubs,
he walks
his hound
and waits
while she pees
nonchalantly
on the red
wheelbarrow,
sending
the white
chickens
scurrying
in a flurry
of feathers.
I pass
noisily
in my rusted-
out sub-
compact,
munching
on the sweet
cold plums
I took
from the fridge
when no one
was looking.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Screen Dump 369

You are lavish in the security of the between-line labyrinths
of this poem . . . obliterating bedpost notches as if rewriting
oxymorons . . . while Hallmarkian tributes
fester in a siding . . .
You trained your voice to ignore
the embellishments dripping from the rafters
where has-beens scramble for long balls
with gestures that make the evening news . . .
Why is keyboarding so difficult? . . .
Wait, let me try this . . . OK, that's better . . .
You said it yourself . . . though I'm at a loss
for what it was exactly . . . but who cares
if most things are not spot-on? . . .
Don't you just love that phrase? . . .
The polymorphous morning drenches . . .
Someone somewhere whistles . . .
soundtracking your journey into the afternoon's summit
where signposts await crayons
and we can spend a few moments dancing away
our hearts and souls . . .
Listen . . . do you hear it? . . .
The script! . . . My kingdom for a script! . . .
Again dredging up the dramaturgical model? . . .
Please, don't drop Goffman's name . . .
Without which you would be at a loss
for describing the dogeared pages of your little black book . . .
the doggerel of your little black dress . . .
Irrespective of something or other . . .
I think I know what you meant when you said what you said . . .
Confronting the silence at 3 AM . . .
We made new with old . . . and waited for the shore
to be washed along with the others . . .
Funny how things slip into cereal boxes
without much effort . . . (eight ball into the corner pocket) . . .
You were there when he/she dropped the ball
but proceeded nonetheless to run without it . . .
How ridiculous! . . . Disrobing in a fitting room . . .
Taking care to wipe off the counter
before the guests arrived . . . to speak in tongues . . .
Why so serious? . . .
This must be a transcription, yes? . . .
You are in the throes of minions . . . wishing for a timeout . . .
And now look who's here . . . три сестр . . .
Are you kidding with those accoutrements? . . .
You attended the play with an old jar? . . .
A magician gushed as he/she biked along the boulevard
where ghosts of past players
rehearsed on an empty stage brimmed with elliptical memories . . .
Irresponsible and aimless as an underhanded clock . . .
You saw the writing in the bread truck at 4 AM
regurgitating your lines as if he/she wanted to hear all about it . . .
But then, without warning . . .

Chekhov's Three Sisters at Cumbernauld Theatre Scotland 2016

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Screen Dump 368

Instead of musing over unwritables
you conjure an upper playground of happenstance
illuminated by naked citrus fruits . . .
stand-ins for understudies . . .
This will have to do . . . for now . . .
Bad decisions again slept in the car
somehow skirting the inevitable
reworked into the script . . .
There's really nothing that can be done with the extended family
preparing for a voyage that may ultimately prove problematic . . .
We'll have to weather that as well, yes? . . .
Try to bring it full-circle
not unlike the past when you bumped into the future at a kiosk . . .
It took your breath away . . .
You continue to believe in the words as transcribed . . .
Nothing wrong with that . . . I too will play the options . . .
Who knows what we will find in the emptiness after the credits? . . .

Paolo Roversi

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Screen Dump 367

On the beach in full-dress rehearsal . . .
reaching for the gold ring
the merry-go-round anything but . . .
wooden horses stuffed with players
jostling for a taste of the imagination . . .
Your offering scanned . . .
Why the strange nomenclature? . . .
Why now with the betting windows closed
and all eyes on the disguise? . . .
I too had no idea it was an enormous pity
what with the domino-effect in effect
being force-fed the far-fetched rationale . . .
You get what you pay for, yes? . . .

Alina Lebedeva


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Screen Dump 366

On the phone with a ventriloquist . . .
imagining his/her unmoving lips . . .
the script - fully formed - trotting across the stage
the lighting subdued . . .
you decide to rebuild the equation
to reduce the gap . . . the inequity . . .
as if jargon were the reason . . .
Pick a time and a place . . . that's it . . .
You will know your lines . . .
Five stars . . . if that means anything . . .
Intact . . . tweaking the past . . . prefiguring the future, yes? . . .
Credentialed of course . . .
for those who trust the certificate . . .

Alina Lebedeva

Monday, May 15, 2017

Screen Dump 365

Do you think you're talking to a normal person here?
          - David Letterman

You have become a gardener of time
refusing to admit to theory . . .
to the notion of passage . . .
balancing world views on a pinhead
while cataloging the entrails of happenstance . . .
Hopes, dreams, paradigms, yes? . . .
come together as a resolution of sorts . . .
of elements of style . . . of chance . . .
the harmonics of each breath . . .
the sound deafening . . . as you confront silence . . .
unable to contribute anything as spellbinding
as emptiness . . .

David Letterman


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Screen Dump 364

You made sure the sidings were empty . . .
The inexplicable explained in the margins
of chapbooks that have taken flight
as a way to appropriate images
from Facebook friends . . .
Squeezing through the mirror
in the fun house
is a fun thing to do on days when footnotes fail . . .
Do you feel as obligated as you once did? . . .
You telling me about your expertise
or what you took to be your expertise . . .
You certainly had your share
of forgotten moments . . .
when out of the blue you received applications
for the position you had yet to advertise . . .
It's all in the business cards, I guess . . .
A good thing you insisted on photo IDs . . .
The incidental music proved a fascinating backstory . . .
One that held the listener . . .
and prompted most to order seconds . . .

Diandra Forrest


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Screen Dump 363

Instead a foray into electronic music . . .
You make do with the acoustics . . .
The true through kicks it up a notch
along the canal of your second chapter
which is pretty much good to go . . .
A low thin cloud invades the recording studio . . .
Again, the emptiness . . .
with a dark function that takes on the late '80s
as if you have isolated the indexes
which hold the order of players
as listed in the credits . . . which keep rolling . . .
There's really nothing to do here . . .
Does this ring a bell? . . .
Recall the boardwalk . . . and the hookups
when everyone smoked or seemed to . . .

Diandra Forrest

Friday, May 12, 2017

Melville's Sister

(reposted from Friday, May 13, 2011)

I'm talking with Melville's kid sister
a scrappy toehead
with eyes like deep water
who signed on for a tour of the high seas
with her brother
but ended up here
pierced, tattooed, in overalls,
slathering mustard and meat sauce
on footlongs for hard hats
from a shiny aluminum vending cart.

She talks to whales in trees;
tends a small garden of hooded flowers
whose petals hold maps of Persia;
collects gum wrappers.

Her costumes mimic the seasons;
her toenails, the color of the South Seas.

Off hours, she fulfills fantasies

her voice like evening rain
leading strangers through a maze of hemlocks
spellbinding them
with the sound of a cello
note for note
measure upon measure
before releasing them
drained yet sated
into the morning commute.



Monday, May 8, 2017

Screen Dump 362

Your Likert-type scale with its even number of anchors renders fence-sitting impossible . . . Not that anyone cares . . . Auditions for Player-of-the-Month continue . . . The constant gardener . . . The reassignment of persons places things . . . You are reassigned  . . . elsewhere . . . You apply for a sabbatical . . . to study ins-and-outs . . . redactions . . . Expungements like a good neighbor . . . The bus stations of your odyssey morph into empty rooms . . . Mannequins appear . . . and color-code themselves . . . to fit in . . . Implied otherness . . . is not an oft-used phrase . . . Quickly, the storm of texts arrives . . . uninvited . . . Reading the odd numbered chapters . . . evenly spaced . . . is one way to go . . . Questions from past players . . . hoping to score . . . choke your answering machine . . . Your mother appears and orders a chunk of suet for gołąbki . . . Porcelain-skinned Angela, the store owner's wife, reaches across the counter . . . with a piece of fruit . . . The window showcases bound, hanging cheeses . . . their sharpness . . . the entrapment of memory . . . squeezing through the fence . . . dealing . . . or not . . . A Proustian moment as joie de vivre . . .

Diandra Forrest

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Screen Dump 361

. . . not trying has become the whole point.
          - Maggie Nelson, Bluets

Trafficking in hidden agendas with day-glo paint misses the point . . .
Restorative innocence quells the spirit . . .
and makes playing modal à la Bill Evans an eye-patch drama
as if licking the clothing off the fresco'd figures
on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel . . .
awakening the bloom of lilacs . . .
tweaking photos to edit the story
you want Facebook friends to commit to memory . . .
Hamming it up . . . 20, 30, 40 years ago . . .
Your co-ham now gone, yes? . . .
his smile . . . an afterthought . . .
Why now the disambiguation
of shouldering the burden as we stumble along with
the happiness? . . . sadness? . . . indifference? . . .
of posting the past? . . .
I am just past pedaling . . . appropriating deep-throat lyrics
for an avatar aging out of a forgotten storyboard . . .
Not trying has become the whole point . . . and nothing but, yes?. . .


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Screen Dump 360

Auditioning for the part of valet on the street
of unparked cars
you spin tales of wild nights . . . wild nights . . .
silencing intimaions of parochialism . . .
taking back memories of back seats
on bridges seen at dawn
from windows in apartments of unknown comics
whose eye contact is part of their shtick . . .
One-liners dressed to the nines . . .
on stages set exponentially . . . in powers of ten
by the enormously well-read
clutch one-way tickets
to what some call Palookaville . . .
just off the boardwalk in Atlantic City . . .
a city tied to your DNA with lemons
ripe for squeezing beneath camo'd trench coats . . .
Are you still struggling with clarity? . . .

Katarzyna Dembrowska

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Piece of Nothing

(reposted from Friday, September 21, 2012)

That's all there was to it. No more than a solemn waking to brevity.
          - Mark Strand

And then, again, you decide to look at the sketches of domes in cities you've never visited, and probably never will, the domes having insinuated themselves into your reading and into your life. You don't even know the names of the cities and towns but they're pleasant to look at, and spark images of travel. There are moments when the armchair you're sitting in by the window overlooking the park seems to lift off and float above the canals in the cities. You strike up conversations with strangers in languages you don't even know. This could be a wish, or a piece of nothing, connecting you to the world.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Screen Dump 359

Of course there are other matters . . . but that's for later . . .
Right now I'm not sure . . . where . . .
If anything you can continue with pin spotting . . .
A minor miracle has come to the fore
and with it several outlandishments . . .
There's always room for more, someone said . . . I'm sure . . .
Look . . . you're the one for this . . .
The clandestine underpins will go undocumented . . .
and unnoticed . . . for the most part . . .
It's someone else's bailiwick, anyway . . .
someone else's Pilates routine . . .
Just the other day, in fact, if I'm not mistaken . . .
Indeed, you've been snapping pics for decades . . .
as unparalleled moments monopolized your unique features . . .

Kate Barry

Friday, April 21, 2017

Screen Dump 358

You are ticketed for going all the way on a one-way street
in Chapter 18 of Finnegans Wake
channeling Here Comes Everybody . . .
a borderline personality . . . happy only when pissed . . .
You hail an Uber and begin recording . . .
hurrying nothing into memory . . .
backstory pushing through the glass ceiling
dumping you into a seance
with Emily Dickinson . . . voiceover'd by Terrence Davies . . .
Why do passersby do that? . . .
Do what? . . .
Insert sleeved DVDs . . . barcode windowed . . .
into envelopes for return? . . .

No idea . . . closure, maybe? . . .
afraid to leave something undone? . . .
You spend too much time in an atelier
taking the wheel from court-appointed best-selling
ceramicist Edmund de Waal . . .
Even the Silk Road to clubs in Staten Island
has traps, pitted as it is with indiscretions . . .
and jabberwocky . . .
But I do so like to grope . . .
Yes, . . . and? . . .
And I cameoed in Chapter 3 of Psychopathology for Dummies . . .
giving head notes to a phrenology prof . . .
I aced the course . . .

You need to take a few days off . . .

Mary-Averatt Seelya in Finnegans Wake (circa 1970)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Screen Dump 357

Again, the denominator rears its hazy head . . .
A toxic flamboyance . . . waving a pinwheel . . . approaches the stage . . .
where lines will be drawn with mechanical pencils
by mannequins in see-through outerwear . . .
The problem of translation, yes? . . .
Zeroing-out the counters . . . that sort of thing . . .
while just above the fill-line you spot the missing pieces . . .
the missing persons . . . and play through the midpoint
with nothing in mind but the failed endgame . . .

Katarzyna Dembrowska

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Screen Dump 356

Plotting the next stage of your odyssey
jump-starts ring-tailed fantasies from your days
in the driver's seat when you squiggled
for all you were worth . . . minus shipping . . .
Rent-A-Mime remains an option, yes? . . .
Spit-shining Crocs on those days when your tinnitus
chimes in may bring relief to those signed up
for your tour into the heart of darkness . . .
which continues to beat more than
one hundred thousand times a day . . .
in an ongoing quest for the eternal sunshine
of the ambient mind . . . where partying morphs
into a stone-faced commitment
on the deck of the Nellie and you toggle
understudies . . . trading tasty tidbits
for the something-or-other of strangers in full view . . .

Katarzyna Dembrowska