Showing posts from November, 2013

Engineered furnishings, illustrated by Reza Farazmand

Happy Birthday to Me!

And here's one of my funniest poems, illustrated by the very funny Reza.
Get some chuckles today at his site Poorly Drawn Lines. And read below.

In case the poetry thing doesn’t work out
for me, you’ll be relieved to know I have skills.
I build bookshelves, dressers, closets, cabinets,
and other furniture from prefab pieces.
I am a craftsman of only the finest

particle boards and composites. I have tools,
the complete set: a hammer, and not one but
two screwdrivers. I’ve also amassed some screws
and several Allen wrenches (now safely kept
behind the dryer. If I need them, I’ll get

a magnet and string.) I can read Swedish charts
more or less, and I can construct a brand new
night stand in fewer than four goddamn-fuck-its.
If I start at sunrise, by midafternoon
I’ll have one new shelf and a few new BandAids.

Engineered furnishing. It’s a train: fast, smooth
and streamlined. And I’m the engineer—choo-choo!

Jungle revival, illustrated by Kyle Trujillo

Even after watching him smack face first
into countless trees over endless days,
the ape named Ape had still not fully guessed
the depths of his friend George’s naiveté—
not until George’s “Doggie,” Shep traversed

the ancestral passage to the graveyard
of elephants. George continued calling
for Shep at dusk and setting out huge plates
of chow insisting he would be hungry
when he came home. George’s mate Ursula

and Ape both tried to explain what dying
was, but George would open a breadfruit and
shout, “Here, Shep!” Ape was awed at the Living
Saint of Primal Innocence; and he left
to live with his ape tribe. He was afraid

of seeing George laid on his own deathbed.
Meanwhile, George still lives, calling his dog, Shep.

No one moves, illustrated by Roz Chast

Roz Chast! I just have to say before the feature poem begins: I am backflippingly thrilled to have Roz Chast's art in my book. Besides having loved her panels for years, she's also in a book that provided early inspiration for my current project: What The Songs Look Like, illustrated lyrics of Talking Heads. See more of Roz Chast's wonderful, funny, subtle art at her website. And now...

No one moves

Public chess set in the Galleria
with 4-foot kings and queens: I’ve never seen
anybody play. You’d have to be a
chess player to suggest putting one in.
Maybe some assistant set it via

the mall manager. I know that a queen
can be moved by a pawn—but nobody
plays, far as I’ve seen, as I eat frozen
yogurt, listening to podcasts at three.
Watching a match would seem hilarious

in San Francisco’s stylishly stifled
downtown daylight. I imagine someone
putting lipstick on the kings or stacking
the castles in a pyramid pattern
after hours, after the stodgy sun

has gone. But the mall get…

After the party, illustred by Ann Sheng

My friends visit, and I feast, storing up
memories, storing up memories for
when they’re gone and I stand by the cupboard
with my hands, with my hands talking over
each other like they do when thoughts rupture

so fast over my head. If forever
were mine, I would be still as a painting
and reach the exquisite end of wonder.
Wonder why. Now my hands are recalling
their American faces. I suppose

we’re the same around the world—but being
understood at last! Mother, I’ll return.
Mother, I’ll return, but first I’m knitting
this unforgettable, missing garment
from the way my friends are no longer here.

My hands knitting in the Sri Lankan sun,
knitting what’s gone, knitting what’s not yet gone.

This poem was published with the illustration by Ann Sheng
in Wisdom Crieth Without, issue 10.