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Poetry Observed Illustrated Broadsides

So as some of you may know, we had our release party for the new Poetry Observed series for New York on Monday at Louderarts. It was a huge success and I want to thank everyone for coming out. The videos will be coming out online soon, but right now I want to show you these illustrated broadsides we put together for each video in our series. We matched each poet up with an artist and the results of the collaboration were astounding. Check ’em out below:

These were our most popular Kickstarter reward and will be going out to backers within the week, but they’ll be available for sale to the public soon after at poetryobserved.com.

And finally a shout-out to our amazing artists who made this all possible:

Deb Berman – The Sky Now Black With Birds
Kailyn Kent – Pinocchio and A Letter to Sarah
Matt Loxley – When You Sew What You Reap
Henry Moskowitz – Barcode
Gabrielle Peterson – Repetition
Sarah Rebar – My Friend and Advice to the Photophobic
Eduardo Santana – One
Tyson Schroeder – The Session

James Brown Gives Me a Poetry Solo and I Try Not to Fuck It Up

HAH

Playing russian roulette with a turkey baster
full of ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’
with 5 stuffed animals in the basement
of my childhood home, and soon
none of us can believe what we’re NOT covered in

C’MON

Like a salamander on a waterslide
I wanna coat my skin with astroglide
and watch the world smear around me
as I’m carried to my wet destiny
of freefall and misbehavior.
And won’t you love the slick lanes
I leave in your hallways and underwear,
don’t be afraid of the thunder
that’s just the youthful exuberance
leaving my body

OOH

And can I scream
about double indemnity clauses and the state of modern packaging materials
And can I scream
about the growing number of invalid ways to live
And can I scream
about the corporate graveyards where the endless mountains of dead businessman are shrouded in the most beautiful fog
And can I scream
for the hungry and alone and the ones without a home
And can I scream
for whatever it is inside of me that needs a scream to be set free
And can I scream
And can I scream
And can IIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEOW

WOO

Baby, if I was a newspaperman I’d be inclined
to write a headline cover story about that time
you doubted me and I exceeded expectations,
but then I’d probably get fired from the newspaper
and be unable to pay child support
once you divorce me
(after we’re married of course)
because of my lingering drinking problem
which I’d always promise to kick
but eventually succomb to
like I did to you
Oh
things were nice once weren’t they?

HAH

Touching the tall thin pines and smelling
their air-freshener smell and getting
cant-touch-other-people sticky in the sap
let’s lie down on the ground
where there can never, no never, be leaves

My Heart is an Auntie Anne’s Pretzels in the Dallas Airport

Improvised poem Kiss Punch Poem on March 2nd, 2013.

Haunted by a grassy knoll
beyond the bridge, the goats, the troll,
there’s a  rocket in my pocket
and it’ll paint the cloudscape with my soul.

I’m asexual except for adrenaline sports.
Will you skin me if I  misbehave?
Don’t use reflections when I shave…

A riot in a crowded space
shrink-wrapped in anger,
so future generations can smell our musk.

Bravo, how should I live my life?
Will clever puns help me meet my wife?

Swallow all the miracles
Store them like a safe
Donate all your friends to God
Embrace the choke-chain’s chafe.

What does it mean to be an assistant manager at Lowe’s?

I hope I get assassinated
to prove that I was cool.

Let’s get it on in 1080p,
it might be sexy so lets get clean
in the river of honesty before we get dirty
in the subletted love nest of our dreams.

Let me say your name until
it doesn’t mean anything
so we always can only call each other
by touch and no one can make you pay taxes.

Yo dawg, let’s  get anachronistic
and have a pizza party in a big castle
with a moat around it.
And some vassals baby,
let’s get some vassals
so they can feed the pizza to us.

Tattoo Borges on my chest
so I too can have
lucid nightmares where me and
other famous writers are mummies
who terrorize the living
and exchange tips on metaphor.

VROOOOOOOMMM-chuk-chuk-chuk
VRRRRRR-chuk-a-ta-chuk-a-ta-chuk-a-ta
WANH-WANH-WANH-chuh-chuh-WEEEEOOOORRRR
*pretend to be an airplane* *run around in circles*

Whatever, most of my books were overdue anyway.
I’m sure the Queens Public Library will be happy
to have a reader as engaged as I am.

But really, is anyone going to talk about
the drunk dying moose in the room?
The murderers we could all become if the
slightest circumstance were changed.
Already feel like I’m losing control…

BUT LOOK AT THIS CAT!

He’s got little brown spots on his paws
on his paws and that’s exactly where he licks them
and it’s like the spots got there from him licking them so much,
and I’m not sure if I can afford him
but hey, there’s more than one way to skin a sibling,
especially when there’s music involved,
and hey, did you hear about that divorce down the street?
Here’s a flyer.

The Pahnke Test

If all that is required is closing your eyes and turning inward
then you are already on top of a mountain you’ve invented
looking out on a world you’ve invented
like your self, do you like yourself
in this moment?
Or does thinking about I’s and You’s
at a time like this feel a little profane
C’mon get sacred with me,
I come from a good family
And snow’s just the Barbasol on God’s beard
And the glaciar’s the razor
So let’s go sledding so slowly
We need to reconceptualize time to have fun.

Count to 3 for no reason:
3!
And now everything’s different
(cause we are IN CHARGE here)
and the endless seas lap up against the side of our eliptical machines
but we’ll get to Norway eventually–
I’ve got a preexisting condition and a license to pickle
and our albatross farm is coming along quite nicely,
look how milky and smooth their feathers are
so unlike their old fisherman hearts
and when they nuzzle against us in the night
don’t their warbles sound just a little like someone
playing an Al Green record in the next room,
(someone needed to rebrand the albatross,
it might as well happen here)
HERE on the edge of everything,
or another word for center,
yeah, you add up the times when I was silent
and the times when I was screaming
and tell me what kind of man.i.am
but right here in this circle of dirt
in the sweat lodge of our collective heart
I want you to look me right in my sweaty man-face
and tell me the thing that is true
though it take most of your life
to even utter the first sound.

Copenhagen – Collaborative Poem with Drew Boston

Copenhagen

Local man,
are you looking forward
to the trip?
Arrival in mud
90% of survey respondents
say they are very happy
in this club.

O Scandanavia,
which I imagined as a kid
as lobster boats arriving
at ice floes,
like the Maine of my parents.
Coping pagans of the small town
outside of a big town.

Grinding it out
caught between growing and shrinking,
lighting candles to that soft dream,
selling the IKEA bookshelves and
eloping, aging
like trees, fat and stationary,
planting grass seed
in an infertile back yard,
not worried so much about it.
Things’ll grow or they won’t.
Thing you leave are either there
when you come back,
or they’re not.

Rewriting ‘Romeo + Juliet’
so it is about six popes
or one true pope
and five anti-popes,
sniping at each other
in the hills surrounding Verona.

Is there enough rope
to tie us to wooden beams
and streetlights
far enough away from our
cell phones to hear each jingle
and hiss but not do anything about it
but assume we are wanted?

Is there enough rope to carry
a children’t playground
suspended by fighter drones
on their way across the Atlantic?

Rope is too much the property of sailors
and sexual deviants.

 

Tale Unstuck in Time

for the causings

A tale unstuck in time
where broken syllables seem to rhyme
and the sound of chandeliers being dragged through the streets
teaches us something about interior design

~

All the screaming ghosts sound like opera singers
and it’s hard to know how many graveyard bacchanals
have outlasted themselves with the invederate music-making
of the dead
but why should I care about what’s been said
I want to tell the the truth from scratch like Heidegger did.
There’s something in this life worth shaking so hard
it falls apart and i wand to be there to
dirty my fingers with whatever’s inside,
to stand tall and not to hide
while other’s just philosophied

~

The casual daydreams of kisses executed
by my much more skillful stunt double
standing in his long duster coat
looking magnanimous and defiant.
I owned a secret once
took it out for walks on weekends
before always swallowing it whole
in some ways
we are like a suckling pig
only in death do we become delicious
like anything
only a small percentage of adjectives
describe us at any one time and the others
exist out of reach and invisible
like mosquitos past the aureola of a smoky fire.
There is no artful way to write down breathing
except to say that when I see your picture
the ocean enters me
and in return
I expel the flesh of my lungs into the dust
What is it called when humans rust?

~

Dancing at the fountain there,
yes, you in your white and blue
all ribbons and perfume.
I was clumsy
but you stayed my hand
and the little boys marched on like soldiers or a marching band
and I felt your breath on my neck
and it was the ocean
and it shattered me
and if I imagined you between clicks of my mouse
would it change the way you though about
the twist of my brow
the nerve damage in my lowerlip
no, you are as imperfect as I
and none of us picks what makes us

~

The kids are playing Call of Duty
on an XBox made of human thumbs.
They say the verisimilitude is uncanny.
They say you can almost smell the death
mingling through the console
with the wet-stench of their breath.

~

A lonely animal with a horn cries out
across an empty sports arena.
It’s seen the archival footage
but has everyone gotten a red card?
It’s gotten quite good at heading the ball into the net
though sometimes the ball is punctured irreperably
on the spire of bone.
Fortunately, there are plenty of soccer balls around.
Forunately this animal has all the time in the world.

~

**KSSSSHHHKKKIT***KACHIK***THIS On? Can you hear me?
The ship’s sunk, it’s all lost.
Yes, yes, twas the ‘whale’ that did it.
Radio room’s the only thing left intact,
hermetically sealed HA! Thank you modern engineering
for the privelege of drowning in my own breath
rather than the ocean’s.
Yes…well…
the air’s getting a bit thin and I’m not sure how long
this transmission will last
so I better make good of it.
Yes, tell my daughter to carve her name
into the desk in my study,
there’s enough of my blood in ther
I might still feel it.
Tell my wife to buy a telescope and never stand
for looking at things their proper size again.
Tell them I love them more than breath or time will allow
and I exhale their names with every gasping breath,
ah yes, just my heart’s beating now,
yes, that’s just fine…***KSSSSHHHKICH***KACHIKIT***

~

A weird silence
with just enough noise to highlight
the general absence.
We’ve each said goodbye before but never
with such obvious cinematic quality as to make
the lack of a soundtrack so noticeable.
And still, even in our quietest moments,
somewhere a clock is ticking.

 

Ayn Rand is Forced to Confront The Mediocrity Principle

which states that no point in space
is more important than any other
the earth is just an average rock
orbiting around an average star
occupying a negligible portion
of one of the outer boroughs of one of
a hundred billion galaxies
which is all just to say
that Ayn Rand’s brain is no more
important than the shit I took this morning.
This is not an opinion.
This is science.

Everyone’s shit and Ayn Rand’s brains stinks the same
and if Atlas shrugs, let him shrug
gravity’s been gunning for that job for years
and even gravity is not more important than
New York City which is no better than
small-town Louisiana which is no different from
Fusushima Daiichi or
Chernobyl which is no worse than
the bamboo thicket where I
first learned to sharpen my heart
which is the same as
an Iranian mother holding her baby
because no one’s babies
are special or important
because you are just the temporary custodian
of a temporary configuration of atoms
and you, in  fact, did not. build. that.
This is not an opinion.
This is science.

 

 

 

Bop for James Murphy

Bop for James Murphy
                                and Joe, and Orion

Now in the age of letters yearning for a friendship
we don’t know if adults can attain, now in the age
of drunken facebook digital assimilation
the internet is the desolate hometown we’ve wished for
and still regret, we all want to be tethers,
infinitely elastic, our hearts.

Where are your friends tonight?

Ah, the life of beautiful letters
and longing, though someday that
message gonnna come burning
like a draft order once we have
enough urgency boiling in our blood
to build something better than 
our paychecks and our decency.
Already, my singe-ing fingers…

Where are your friends tonight?

Coffee makes me stonger and music makes me brave
and it’s so easy to forget our youth,
when we can’t be together we can still
be the constellations guiding each other home
every bit helps, the ocean is as unlimited
as we allow it, it’s all elastic anyhow but

Where are your friends tonight?
Where are your friends tonight?

The Ghost of New York Present

So I’m doing a 30/30 for November, and here’s the first poem of the month.

The Ghost of New York Present

After hearing about the blackout
for days, it took me somewhat
by surprise to see all that sunlight
glimmering the dim windows
and broken trees.
Today
seems to be the day everyone
has decided they won’t be swept away
if they try to get a little exercise,
and the streets and bridges are
full of huffers and puffers, cramping
on cabin fever legs.

I have a headache from
the thirst of it all
but I can’t bring myself to
drink out of hoses and fire
hydrants like the displaced tenement-
dwellers of the Lower East Side,
or to be more precise
I don’t have a proper receptacle
or to be more precise
I don’t have the guts to ask to borrow
an empty plastic jug when my
faucet works just fine at home.

My heart is half-exhausted
from the running and the empty bed
and my lungs ache from inhaling
so eagerly the debris of life.
Is there anything romantic about
a cold and lonely man on the
empty banks of a river?
I mean when you actually see him,
not when it’s written down.