Wednesday, August 27, 2008

a real Summer COLD

today's poem is from 8:97 - and it's another prose poem - and an appropriate one, as I have come down with one of those wonderful summer colds … well, it’s not 90+ degrees as described in the poem, (not complaining either ). actually it’s been a pleasant day, except for the cold. Back on night shift starting tomorrow ….

Week one in shipping is history. Actually a LOT more to learn than I realized, probably more than anyone who hasn’t done the job realizes. But I do think it will come eventually - but it will take time. Just a lot of little things, what rolls to double stack in what rail cars, the pattern to place rolls in a truck (all depending on size of trailer, and number of axels on the trailer) …. Little stuff that like.

And I got to call Vanguard again this morning … to reply to a letter from my rep. Nothing much, except the paperwork has finally arrived from Weyco, and should be processed and finalized by Oct. 1 - seems a long time to me, but I guess it’s the way the world works now days. At least I have a time frame - and I guess Vanguard will handle everything for the actual reallocation - at least that’s what I’ve been told. We shall see.


i cough. another summer cold. 89 degrees three hours after sunset. the farmers are cutting mint in dusty fields tonight. & the sweet smell is enough to gag you. their harvesters are old & dirty, as the farmers themselves, working well past their prime.

neighbor tinkers with his 63 Ford, new cam shaft & headers. this son-of-a-bitch really screams. & it does. 11 p.m., bastard machine born in heat of teenage angst & middle age crisis. he rough idles it well past midnight - maybe he evens believe it is a fountain of youth. but i don't. last virgin he saw in it was 6 month old cat, on the way to the vet for spaying.

Niquil - & an hour later i am awake to a groggy moon, watching possum (mother & 3 youth) cross through the fresh cut mint, ugly & awkward, delighting in both. i wonder if god felt this way after rebirth & hallelujah parishioners quit filling his coffer with pristine $20 bills. i cough & go back to bed, hopeful of sleep.

Friday, August 15, 2008

waiting around for paperwork gods

Today’s poem is from 12:97 - it was accepted by Cedar Hill Review in Feb. 98, but not used. It was then put in a manuscript called The Shared Dream, that was junked, but later - most of the poems, including this one, ended up in a manuscript called Humbly I Offer These Awkward Poems, which was also accepted for publication by Cedar Hill Publications, but not released before the press went defunct (for at least a while) ... a montage poem.

Called the boys at Vanguard this morning (investment specialists handling my 401k & IRA) about the status of my Weyco pension being rolled over to an IRA. Well, nothing is happening. All they need to process the piles of paperwork is a confirmation from the dear old Weyco officials of my last Date of work. Two weeks have passed and they still haven’t passed that onto Vanguard. I am not the only one in limbo over this. Seems that once they got rid of the Containerboard Division, everything to do with us has become of secondary importance. Oh well, at least Vanguard knows I am monitoring it and my representative said once they get any confirmation paperwork, he will notify me. Eventually it will happen I guess. At least the phone call confirmed all the paper work is in place and was done correctly. (Another well done for Nance!)

Now, onto the poetry … I need to go through piles of old poems pretty soon and get a few dozen more typed up for future use. I doubt after this vacation I’ll have a lot of free time, so I best set some time aside one of these extremely hot afternoons (just 99 f. or so the past two days!)

-after charles reznikoff

2 stones out of my left pocket
(no scared chips
from the pyramids,
just rough granite,
talus slope debris.)

i fling them as if curses
from this darkness. the sun
unwounded, continues to shine
upon the damned & righteously damned.

David, who returned Goliath
to dust,
surely faces legal problems.

hero or not, premeditated. The Infidels
suing for loss of plunder,

i send my name. class action
windfalls. mostly snow
gathers on my balding head these days.

blood in the gutter.

vagrant with no respect,
dying next to the garbage can
of Mr. Perfect Neighbor,

who, with rubber gloves,
opens the lid, deposits
morning scraps of burnt toast

then calls the proper authorities,
certain they bring

i do not believe he was Goliath
reincarnate, though certainly
just as worthy.

these stones are not signal flares
for the Deities
lost in eternal sleep.

i wish it were possible.

Prometheus welts upon my hands.
i have stolen more than fire.

Lucifer, i am certain,
grateful for my contributions.

all these temples in my heart -
stone upon stone -
the hecatombs as magnificent
as sex.

if God were a woman,
i believe,
sex would taste like chocolate.

we are the bones of a lost society,
homeless, decadent,
visionaries on the wrong side of success.
we are the very bones
someday someone to discover
& misinterpret.

yellow lizard upon
stone fence.

if i could sleep like that
i probably would,

open skies all the way
across the dark bay - wind
mumbling the fragrance of apple-blossoms.

she painted emotions, dreams,
primary colors -
forms far too limiting.

what was it about here
that allowed me to sacrifice myself?

what about those eyes?

yellow silk in her hair
tangled in lost winds
from the tombolo at the Little Sur,
certainly more haunting
than ghosts summoned,
but seldom responding.

O, grandfather bones! O sacred sister bones!
what was it about her fingers
that i call yet
into the voids
for deliverance?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

shipping awaits

today's poem is from the end of 10:93. thought i'd post something a little less morose, as i am on vacation and not doing a whole lot but trying to relax, listen to some old 60's music and watching some baseball on TV.

The work changes are in place. Got to become International Paper officially on Aug. 4th. So far, not any changes i can see other than new name on the entrance gate. Maybe behind the scenes there are some things going on, but not on the paper machine thus far, with the small exception of we are now making some paper for a couple of West Coast IP box plants.

the major change is i start training in shipping after my current vacation is over. i don't really know what to expect, and i do have 45 days to change my mind and go back to the paper machine if i feel it won't work for me. There is a cut in pay to go to shipping, and at first some major reduction of hours. Oh well, i'll survive the reduction in my pay-checks (even if i don't like it) and the less hours may be beneficial for my sore feet and shoulder.


crow with a viper tongue
in casual conversation
with the wind

through your autumn hair
& ambitious arms

sun coughing rainbows
across a placid river
going nowhere in particular today

through your autumn hair
& resplendent eyes

Friday, August 1, 2008


8:97 is the time frame of today’s poem.

Actually some news to report. One - before I get to add another update, I will be working for International Paper. The take-over is supposed to happen on Aug. 4th. I’ll be on night shift, 5th handing (yuk), on overtime that week. I suspect it’ll be more a symbolic change for the first few months than anything major, other than new names on the paychecks and paper rolls.

Two- the other big change (and really bigger for me), is I have decided to try to work in a different department of the mill. It took some behind the scenes negotiating (I am really amazed that some union officials actually went to bat for me and while they didn’t get the rules rewritten, they did get around the rule that was preventing me from going to the shipping department and giving that a try. And obviously the company had to agree, so it appears they worked out something that worked for both of them, to my benefit.) I am scheduled to start training in shipping the 11th of August, which is also the first day of my vacation. So, don’t know how that will work exactly, but I am certain it won’t become an issue. Now all I need is my knees and neck to hold out on a Hyster for the next half-dozen or so years. (The idea was to get off my feet and quit plugging core so my shoulder wouldn’t ache all the time, as it does now on the winder area of the paper machine. Time will tell how well the great scheme works out, I guess.) Anyway, now to the poetry.


you speak silence well.

fog is on the river tonight.
to curse it is futile,
but i curse it anyway, as i have cursed your ambivalence.

the wind writes no sonnets
on the bills of the egret,
one leg on his dark stump
beside the shallows.

i pull my collar tight,
shiver as i watch
the graffiti artists work
the darkness
behind the performing arts center,
as we all work in the thick darkness,
some more rewarding than others.

no pens in old mugs on your table,
no fibre optics connect our lives -
you dance angelically without audience,
upon the stage of the self ....

indeed, you speak silence well.