Friday, November 17, 2017

The New Religion

That culture is becoming "the" culture.
          - Tad Friend, Getting On

You wake to a loopier world and friend request from Big Pharma.
Not unlike the Neanderthal's trephining blades, yes?

The Mom and Pop on the corner is no more a gray flannel suit
with homburg and pipe.

Whatever happened to The Young Philadelphians
shinnying up the senior partner pole slathered with grease?

Survey Says T-E-C-H-N-O-L-O-G-Y.
Fifty-something "Grampa" Buzz's flip-flopped new boss is young enough

to be his son's son. . . . Grampa Buzz can't afford to get laid
off . . . but he will . . . and his salary will buy five smarter

twenty-something brogrammers unencumbered by stodgy college degrees.
Their expertise's half-life is down to three years.

Who writes code anymore anyway . . .
now that off-the-shelf APIs are ready to do the heavy lifting?

It's all there in the cards.
And just what cards might those be?

Golden Cosmos

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Screen Dump 383

The mark of my poetry is the constant regret that human experience
eludes description.
          - Czesław Miłosz

The insincerity of huge red clown shoes trips up
your lip-sync of David Bowie's Oh You Pretty Things . . .
as foreign tongues dip into bowls of chowder
laid out with candy-ass smiles
and free tickets to movie theaters featuring blank screens
awaiting flash-in-the-pan fictional lives . . .
It's all shtick, anyway, yes? . . .
bicycling between goalposts . . . with sustain pedal . . .
the buffering . . . the artisanal teas . . .
the Nabokovian butterflies pinned with day
passes to wooded paths strewn with poisonous words . . .
Wandering lonely as a cloud pits you against bulls
in china shops with intricate archways
spelling out the history of underground go-betweens . . .
You have a knack for note-taking
which bodes well for fine-tooth combing the intricacies
of personal spaces known only to others once removed . . .
You will be called upon . . . I just know it . . .

Monday, November 13, 2017

Screen Dump 382

I'm stuck in a paraphrase . . . your paragraph
a faux antidote . . . capturing moments coalescing
at the bottom of a black hole . . .
Dealmaker or dealbreaker? . . .
The endpoint the same, yes? . . .
I mean when was the last time you considered
the combination of letters headbutting you
as we speak . . . or . . . as we try to communicate
with signage? . . . To dawdle in such dress
as they are used to wear, indeed! . . .
Forget that it's all there . . . all the remnants of your odyssey
when you were given a second chance
to guide the motorcycle through the cones
set out by the Emperor of Ice Cream . . .

Friday, November 10, 2017

Screen Dump 381

Parenthetical interruptions . . . exhausting . . . you try to avoid them
and marvel at the perfection of the opening line:
It's late already, five or five-thirty . . .
You concede that the search for meaning is senseless . . .
a convex mirror type of phenomenon
as jarring as verbal abstraction when playing hangman . . .
What about transitions? . . .
Rarely abrupt . . . and this I guess is good . . .
You have been known to confuse yourself . . . and others . . .
There is some solace, however, in putting on an overcoat
reeking of a story critiqued by oddsmakers . . .
And what does it remind you of? . . .
It may take a while, with all the red tape, but rest assured
it will happen . . . say the informants . . .
most of whom would flounder in a stream of consciousness . . .

Paolo Roversi

Monday, November 6, 2017

Screen Dump 380

Post-coital hot tubbing with mannequins
unleashes half-baked half-overheard conversations plagiarized
from footnotes of wannabes miming cocksure readers
whose bar-hopping is choked
with arms, legs, glass eyes, and false positives . . .
Your intrepid unscripted words continue to trickle into daylight
while your profile gets a fresh coat of paint
and your shopping cart checks itself out . . .
And these are only a few of your favorite things? . . .

Paolo Rovesi

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Screen Dump 379

The whole thing innocuous . . . losing the unfollowing . . .
the body picking through the remains of the day
confused by puzzle-me-this . . . a vanishing point
to ask again if this is enough . . . if this is enough . . .
Waking with the rain . . . texting for balance . . . in Halloween
costume with motorcycle boots . . . and treasure trove
of gandy dancers laying track to the outermost house . . .
its windowless room a catalyst for your re-readings
of open-ended questions submitted by student interns . . .
I will return to this . . .

Craig McDean

Friday, October 27, 2017

Screen Dump 378

You become the person you were scripted to become . . .
despite your edits . . . your Lottery tickets . . . your season passes . . .
your photo ops . . . There's no telling
who will be next in the queue
that stretches along the potheaded macadam
back to your once upon a time . . . taken out
in the third quarter . . . treated with condiments -
at least they looked the part - and released into a bullpen
with nose ring and selfie stick . . .
You would have thought the colors . . .
but that wasn't on today's menu . . . or in today's cards
falling like leaves with ramifications for droves of peepers . . .
rewinding the tape . . .

Rebekah Heller

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Screen Dump 377

Of course, there will be moments . . . lost moments . . .
moments with voices . . .
infrasound voices . . .

and the seventh function of language
if you catch my drift . . .
Bipolarity 'R' Us . . .

Twittering is speechless . . . it goes without saying, yes? . . .
Picking through drops . . . imagining seriation
as if happenstance were ritual . . .

The elliptical exuberance of go-betweens
who chime in at the slightest provocation . . .
It's not the endpoint I imagined . . . not at all . . .

Can you please sit still for the rapidographic moment? . . .
At least for the tabloid elements
which jostle themselves senseless? . . .

Most are stuck in enjambments . . . for that matter . . .
awaiting mediation . . .
awaiting colorization . . .

Please try to stay within the lines
or you too will feel the mounting hum . . . I mean . . .
Far too many have come forth

with iridescent confessions from odysseys past . . .
Too late? . . . Your momentary lapse is ineffectual
and will be returned . . . you weren't were you? . . .

So . . . why now persist in juxtapositions
when you know . . . better than most . . . what can happen
at the water cooler? . . . elsewhere? . . .

The repetition . . . stifling . . . or maybe not?. . .
Dunno! . . .
I've encountered it on my trips outside the strike zone

with a full count . . . and two men on . . .
Keep a stiff upper lip . . . Huh? . . .
Reduce the map to palatable units . . .

Then an end run surcease of sorrow . . .
Devil may care or (clause)trophobia . . .
This will be written up . . . and saved as diagonal grammar

in a foolishly embroidered manner . . .
and added to the menu . . . at the last minute . . .
A losing battle? . . . Who said that?. . .

Notwithstanding . . .
Everyone is getting antsy . . . over whatever . . .
The latest release . . . edifying! . . .

The imagined consensual . . . alive and well
in afterlife's timeouts . . .
in afterlife's reflections . . .

Jarek Kubicki

Monday, October 16, 2017

Screen Dump 376

You worry the blurriness of closed circuit
the 24/7 blurriness
with newbies meandering in and out of frames . . .
striking poses in
weblike food courts . . . ominous kiosks . . .
yet to be wikipedia'd . . .
Descending into the maelstrom of a mall
carded with BOGOs
you continue bluepenciling the first draft
of your long-awaited collected works
soon to be short-listed
despite dead links . . . bit players . . . and berms
popping up . . . in your wake . . . in and out of thin air . . .
All tried-and-true, yes? . . .

Craig McDean

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Screen Dump 375

Your loom of straw men and women as incantations . . .
backroom fist bumps
with players lining up for takeaways
which - let's not kid ourselves - are compromised simulacra
of authentic knockoffs . . .
But hey there's nothing wrong with endings that fit . . .
Accessibility is third party . . . and the road the Wild West . . .
Talking heads feature . . . with cauldrons, no less . . .
Stick around . . . there's more . . .
When did you say you last visited the Palace of Memory? . . .
It can happen . . .
Dealing from the bottom of the Old Maid deck, I mean . . .
Perhaps you are one and the sane, yes? . . .
Know what I mean? . . .
Skip to my Lou . . . then tell me
why you've decided to shadow the alphabet . . . just in case . . .
I am before . . . and after . . . again . . .
Your BFF wants to know the true extent
of your incalculability . . . minus underpinnings . . .

Per Zennstrom

Monday, October 2, 2017

Screen Dump 374

A beer and pizza run through a cemetery
segues to a thought bubble . . . filled with nuance
and dissonant furniture music . . . while you
unfazed by the URLs of unscripted moments
unfoldered . . . cranked up . . .
entertain ghosts with headstoned gymnastics
and comedic extirpations
linked to incidentals [citation required] . . .
The party's infinitesimal talk prompts a shift
with unspooled punctuation
and 20 grammar-like sundries . . .
top bottom . . . bottom top . . . no hint of the uncommonest
moments yet to come . . . before a patdown of standins
auditioning for a 2 AM shoot . . .

Diandra Forrest

Friday, September 22, 2017

Screen Dump 373

That scene with the untied shoe . . . pointier
than I would have imagined
following it down the hall
and into the fourth room on the left
with him/her believing in the grandiloquence
of unpunctuated lives
that arrive with box lunches to boot . . .
and you fast forwarding to FaceTime . . .
infinitely looped . . . costumes
favoring triple dips . . . on triple decks . . .
in triple headers . . .
enigmatic words silenced in bell jars
bandied in and out of SROs . . .
And where are we, again? . . .
And why am I having trouble remembering
the prize in the Cracker Jack box?
the prize from your brief foray into flash fiction?

The trance-like atmosphere of being short-listed
surely en plein air
as spellbinding as the watchers at the gate . . .
encumbered with semicolons . . .

Abbie Cornish as Fanny Brawne in Jane Campion's Bright Star (2009)

Monday, September 18, 2017

In the Hall (House?) of Mirrors (Glass?)

(reposted from Sunday, June 24, 2012)

How did her life live itself without her?
          - Jonathan Safran Foer

Sketch the images in the mirrors to preserve them.
To show them to others.
To share them.
Sketch them quickly.
The way your art teacher had you do it.
Forget about getting it right. (Whatever that is.)
Forget perfection.
You have 20 minutes.
For what?
Never mind, just sketch.
Do any of the images remind you of people you know?
Or people you knew?
People who play - or played - a role in your drama?
Think about the people and their delicate lives.
How their delicate lives impacted your delicate life.
How your delicate life impacted their delicate lives.
How whatever they did impacted whatever you did.
Whatever you chose to do.
Don't point a finger.
You are the architect of you.
You are how you are.
Not how you should be or could be.
But are.
The Captain of Your Soul.
Captain America.
O Captain! My Captain!
Captain Midnight.
Captain Morgan.
Captain Hook.
The Captain and Tennille.
Keep sketching, please.
Are you beginning to recognize the people in the images?
They're in there.
And if you can, think about the questions.
What questions?
The questions you've written on index cards.
Think about the order of questions.
The questions you've been dying to ask the people.
The people in the images.
The people you know.
The people you knew.
The people you don't know but would like to know.
Irrespective of how shallow the questions may seem.
How seemingly shallowly secular.
But isn't there another way?
No. This is the only way.
You wanted feedback, yes?
Doesn't everyone want feedback?
How am I doing?
How do I look?
Do you like what I've done?
Where am I going?
When will I get there?
How will I know when I've gotten there?
You've come here to ask the questions.
To ask the people in the images the questions.
The questions on the index cards.
Perhaps, but necessary.
Wait. I think I see a dog in one of the images.
Perfectly acceptable.
Animals are perfectly acceptable images.
Yes, it's a pit bull. It's his/her pit bill.
A white pit bull with a black eye.
He/she called him Joe or Joseph or something like that.
Please. Keep sketching.

Francesca Woodman

Monday, September 4, 2017

Screen Dump 372

Your life . . . and its iterations . . . is out to lunch . . .
shopping for winter boots . . . which doubtless will remain boxed
despite the inevitable shadowing us . . .
the tarts and torts . . . the pajama'd players . . . queuing up to cameo
in your off-color-coordinated dream . . .
An open question opens into abstraction
as a day-trader's phish for trinkets
litters the path with the insistence of hooplas . . .
stanzas rewound to target voyeurs . . .
You again eye the rafters . . . as do we all . . . and continue . . .
dog-eared how-to manuals offering salvation whenever you chime in . . .
Dim the light . . . play out the hand . . . if you must . . .

Annie Clark aka St. Vincent

Sunday, September 3, 2017


by John Ashbery (1927-2017)

But I was mistaken.

* from As We Know (1979)

Friday, August 25, 2017


Never trust alabaster cockatoos
or blue-light specials . . .

Answering the door
with blueberry muffin on your face . . .

At least in your electra glide in blue eyes . . .

You highlight . . . the (pen)ultimatum . . .
in red yellow blue . . .

Memories flood the five minutes . . .
both of you blue-penciling the script . . .

Whatever it is . . . will be massaged . . .
like the donor's heart . . .
to answer the questions that have been airdropped
and to be corrected analyzed blue-penciled
and returned . . . for revision . . . later . . . in the month . . .

Bob Dylan's North Country Blues . . .

You have become true north . . . again . . .
Gerrymandering the neighborhood . . . in provocative teamwear . . .
Usernames on the back in iridescent blue . . .

I've got Blue Light Specials on the brain . . .

Your dreams of curating an exhibit of shopping carts
ooze seduction . . .
an overdosing on blue pigment . . .

Life deserves an essay question . . .
An essay question . . . with extra time
and additional blue books . . .

My dreams paralyzed . . .
demanding answers to questions
orphaned in blue books . . . long ago . . .

Miles' Blue In Green jostling for attention
alongside your students
omniscient . . . indifferent . . . whatever . . .
shepherded into the bipolarity of adulthood . . .

Quibbling over the blueness of blue
and how over time most bow to convention . . .

Your costume as rhetorical fiction . . . as illicit . . .
as maddeningly blue . . .
where in earlier chapters, you fell in love
with retraction . . .
taking back what you offered . . . teasing . . .
as you considered the fast lane in a trailer park . . .
with rules for engagement for understudies
afflicted with acyanoblepsia . . .
the inability to see blue . . .

. . . insinuating yourself into the after-hours . . .
asking recording engineers . . . session musicians . . .
character actors . . .
about the nuances . . . and blueness
of your voice . . .

Finding that most people's favorite painting
is a blue landscape . . .

with Miles . . . in an atelier . . . noodling . . .
Kind of Blue . . . a mantra . . .

As when you look back and get drenched in blue . . .

You're on record for covers
for begin-agains
for setting up a kiosk in a trailer park
outside of Atlantic City . . .
and you have been written up
for quilting your odyssey . . .
complete with blue lights, dampeners, and
(un)dressers . . .

The declensions . . . the alterations . . .
Insidious, but then . . .
demythologizing the odyssey . . .
à la Maggie Nelson in Bluets:
[It] worked well because he is a passive top
and I am an active bottom . . .

And Sherlock Holmes's Blue Carbuncle . . .

You kick it up a notch for the blue screeners . . .
a bevy of iconoclasts in a blue Chevy SUV . . .

While you're up, could you please flip
the complications . . . of that encounter . . .
when the reds, whites, and blues partied hard? . . .

There's a blueness to it . . . hypnotic . . .
despite the trepidation of icosahedrons . . .

You were kept up at night by Joan Mitchell's
Les Bluets . . .

Gym rats crowd onto a blue continuum with feigned defeat
pained by the thought of your strange repetitions . . .
their ineptitude straining the windows with halftime images . . .

You enter the fray
disabling the tried and true
with the words of oglers
vying for redacting . . . and blueness . . . again . . .

You certainly had your share
of forgotten moments . . .
when out of the blue you received applications
for the position you had yet to advertise . . .

This morning at the breakfast table . . .
your blue eyes mapped your next strategem . . .
imagining blue skies . . . and blue waters . . .
a blue room . . . in a blue hotel . . . as if like Stein
you believe every bit of blue is precocious . . .

*composed for a blue-themed open mic by appropriating lines with
blue from Screen Dump 1-365.

Diandra Forrest

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Disconnecting the Dots

Sometimes I left messages in the street.
          - David Markson, Wittgenstein's Mistress

And then Frank O'Hara stopped by.
He's living in a yurt . . . in the Adirondacks
doing this . . . doing that
And here I am, the
center of all beauty!
writing these poems!

And how about Gustav Mahler channeling Frank O'Hara . . .
bicycling Bavaria
I seem to be absolutely born for the cycle!
deconstructing Moby's Porcelain
disconnecting the dots
as if it matters . . . and it does . . . but not to
his gorgeous, alcoholic, hearing-impaired,
superflirty, 19 years his junior, wife and muse, Alma,
whose bedpost is mottled
with the notches of affairs.
Billed as the most beautiful girl in Vienna
she believes several men are better than one
and spills as much to Freud one afternoon on his couch.
Never a fan of her husband's music
she chooses none of his for her funeral 50 years after his death.
And here again is Frank:
It's my lunch hour, so I go
for a walk among the hum-colored
cabs. First, down the sidewalk
where laborers feed their dirty
glistening torsos sandwiches
and Coca-Cola, . . .

Laura Mentink in Wittgenstein's Mistress (2017)

Early this morning, bicycling Route 28 to Inlet:
unforgettable . . .
meandering past pristine lakes, deep woods,
and rustic little towns,
someone wrote.
I know a moose when I see one.
And I've seen several . . . at Hoss's General Store in Long Lake.
Everything anyone would need . . . or want.
They have everything.
Books . . . some read, some unread . . . on my shelves.
OK, so I've skipped a few chapters
and skimmed others
and disregarded enjambments.
Who hasn't?
But really . . . what is this thing called PO-ET-RY?
Without coffee, I mean . . . or, I mean, of course.
And what's with that?
Simon and Garfunkel's Bookends:
A photograph's all that's left of you.
Must we write from prompts?
Or from furniture music, à la Satie?
I am now trying . . . to write upon nothing, Swift said.
Someone keeps elbowing in with irregardless.
Where, oh where, are the grammar police?
Can you spell donuts?
How about potato?
How about VP Quayle's version of potato?
By the way, it's now called Dunkin'.
Dunkirk is showing at Bow Tie Cinema.
Try this . . . but not at home.
This is a text.
I'm embedding pics in a text.
Putting pen to paper . . . sitting on the fence.
Trying to write right
and other absurdities for understudy
by standins . . . and passersby . . . and wannabes
saddled with odysseys.
Three rows over, 55 years ago, in Latin Class
this girl in the school uniform
and I'm mentally undressing her
while Julius Caesar divides Gaul into three parts.

Latin Class

Coming Into the Country with John McPhee
who memorialized big rigs and other uncommon carriers
in Uncommon Carriers
after shadowing truckers for a few months.
Something about momentum
and air brakes
and commercial breaks
which speed delusions
with Copeland's Fanfare for the Common Man.
I'm out here waiting for the answer with Soren Kierkegaard
the other Dane who loved the rain falling mainly on the plain
in full view of Either/Or
written after breaking up with his fiancée Regine Olsen
using the pseudonyms A for Either, B for Or,
and Johannes Climacus for The Diary of the Seducer.
I can well understand why children love sand, Wittgenstein said.
It's all about castles . . . my home is my castle, yes?
With you bundled with apps . . . one day in the foreseeable . . .
An algorithm walks into a bar . . .
This too will be tweaked . . . and tweeted . . .
to fit the model to the facts
or the facts to the model . . . whichever . . .
before Cicero's Third Oration:
How long, O Catiline, will you tax our endurance?
How long will that madness of yours escape us?
To what end will your unruly boldness hurl itself at us?

Lucius Sergius Catilina

This, by the way, is an example of trichotomy, Sister Anna Roberta said.
Sound familiar?
And why the Fates red-carded Caesar
in the middle of the Rubicon
and why Hannibal joined the circus and mastered elephantese.
It comes full circle . . . all of it . . .
the dots connected . . . disconnected . . . fading from view . . .
with paybacks and fallbacks playbacks and callbacks wetbacks and drybacks
and boxes of ephemera
near the counter of the old, lamented
Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop in Boston,

Dan Chaisson wrote in The New Yorker
brimming with
mangy postcards
wedding announcements
lobby cards
vinyl LPs
hippie stickers and patches
Civil Defense pamphlets and evacuation maps
poker chips
Old Maid decks
and skinny dogeared self-published PO-ET-RY chapbooks
filled with messages in the street.

Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Buttdialing Ubers and Other Sonnetized Shorts

Season Twenty

Using topspin to unseat the poem du jour
carrying most through enjambed memories
with summer . . . bending into grains of sand
primed to mimic phishers
You have yet to read into eccentricity
especially as your odyssey'd past
inheres in material traces
Never forget the soirees . . . in the dunes
with their distinct impressions of nothing
costumed as commitment
as well as someone's . . . Godot's perhaps? . . . footfalls
Everyone was naughty
Everyone regressed
Everyone failed . . . again

Francesco Carrozzini

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Buttdialing Ubers and Other Sonnetized Shorts

Season Nineteen

You seem to enjoy the almostness of your borderline personality
carrying on about the leaks in emptiness
that accompany Bruegger's Everything Bagel
and the duffel bags . . . of risky narcissists
adorned with fidgety flight tags
from the Bucket's 100 Places to Visit Before Passing
Stay the merriment became your duly-noted mantra
even after your breaths exceeded the numbers
and you hop-scotched with bouquets of trillium
that happened by on their way
to yet another ho-hum commercial break
that . . . despite the menagerie . . . always made you chuckle . . .
especially when Facebook friends pointed to lapses in serving styles
And you do believe yourself, yes?

Bruno Aveillan

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

It's August, and the Ponies are Running

(reposted from Monday, August 1, 2011 & Monday, August 1, 2016)

It's August, and the ponies are running:

they're running, running, running;
running away with my better judgment,
my better half, my worse half, my other half;
they're running away with my vacation, my vocation;
with my kids' education, my salutation, my edification;

they're running away with the plump-lipped waitress
in her too-tight uniform, in her too-short uniform,
in her tu-tu uniform;
they're running away with the short-order cook,
the dishwasher, the window washer, the windshield washer,
the loud customers, the cleavagers, the spin doctors.

It's August, and the ponies are running away
with my expectations, my aspirations, my inclinations;
with my best intentions, my worst nightmares;
with the free tees and handicappers,
with the gamblers, the scramblers, the midnight ramblers;

they're running away with the long shots,
the long run, the long ball, the long haul, the big fall;
with the potheads, the potholes,
the hotties with their rubberneckers,
the one-armed bandits and double-deckers,
the card sharks, the loan sharks, the great white sharks;
with the stacked decks and pole vaulters,
the pole sitters and baby sitters;

The ponies are running away with the weary travelers,
the thirst quenchers, the road crew bosses
and time-and-a-halfers;
with the running-on-empties, and pies-in-the-sky,
with the local history buffs and their jaundiced eye;

they're running away with the landscape,
the cityscape, the seascape, the escapees, the APBs;
the trees lining the tertiaries, the estuaries,
the innocent bystanders, the indigents,
the passersby, the groupies, the roadies, the loners;
with the home-schooled and home-brewed;
they're running away with the motley-crewed.

It's August, and the ponies are running:

they're running, running, running;
running away with the one-tricks, the two cents,
the three blind mice, the four horsemen;
with the squanderers, the wanderers
the hangers-on, the barflies, the right wingers,
the left wingers, the middle-of-the-roaders, the Debra Wingers;
with the know-it-alls and straight shooters,
the forked tonguers, the mixers and remixers, the mixmasters.

It's August, and the ponies are running:

they're running, running, running;
running away with my severance pay, my brand new day,
my May day, my getaway, my AOK, my here-to-stay,
my hip hip hooray, my final say.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Buttdialing Ubers and Other Sonnetized Shorts

Season Eighteen

This poem is a game of scrabble . . . a game of babble
a game of mirrored sunglasses reflecting
a box of colored pencils . . . as you
thumb through Augusten Burroughs's Dry
inviting a tangle of lines leading to a fun house
in the middle of a re-enactment . . . as if
parallel parking a shopping cart were sufficient
Again you argue the clock
with thoughts of a drybrush masterpiece
by Andrew Wyeth . . . at the Fenimore Museum
Everyone deserves a break today
Why today? . . . Why today the blue vacuum with dry load
applied to a dry support
from your dry days revitalizing sober living apartments?

Paolo Roversi

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 over dead zones
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 Cork Hill -
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


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