Monthly Archives: March 2019

What the Forest Knows

from squirrel carcass
to goshawk turd and back
is like a priest shivering in an empty room

the forest knows more than I ever shall
but it is better to go to town
as a tender ball of bones
than to go alone

Book Review: Soft Science by Franny Choi

I was prepared to hate it / well, hate is a strong word /
let’s just say give it wings and let it sail past the bridge
/ but it doesn’t suck / it doesn’t pretend to get on its knees
and make the rafters sing / it is a red owl on a bicycle with hungry eyes /

   “Who isn’t bruised around the edges, peaches poured
   into the truck bed, receipts faded to white?”

it sends out science mannikins to shout about being nervous in secret /
it collaborates with machines to make rain squalls / it argues for
a better kind of blindness / it warns others about dreaming in stairwells
and at crime scenes / it is a crime scene painted in butterscotch broth /

   “The cop speaks and I call a plum into is his mouth
   and it doesn’t shut him up.

   The cop kneels in the grass below my friends, my friends
   crowned with August and Salt. My marigold my wave.”

tendrils and tips and sprockets combine to give it firm plant awareness /
“cyborg means man made” I didn’t know / it is like new sounds added
to frost in the stubble by the road / in a Wyoming winter snow drifts
come and go like grainy herds of buffalo / this book is like those herds
mated with seigniorage — the profit made from the minting of coins /
ducats in the pillow / francs thrown into the Seine / everything costs
what you are willing to throw away / this book is completely free
in that sense / it is madly lyrical  / and it doesn’t suck

Note: this review is for the Rumpus Poetry Book Club. Soft Science
is forthcoming from Alice James books.

TNT and Waffles

On my way home from class suddenly
   I’m in deep sludge traffic—hey asshole
   your accelerator is the one on the right
   To my left a Redbox movie machine
   like a clown closet holding out things

Beside Starbucks a dentist vomiting in the street
   gives me a chance to sneak run a red light
   The check cashing place is out of 20s
   Who buys cars from a place named TNT Auto Sales

By the diesel generator & family friendly
   Food Mart Stop Here for Signal Sick Motors
   Porsche & Audi repairs & Let’s Dance
   Lotsa Luck cocktails & inflatables
   are northbound for least pressure wave building
   on the depressed grade under a locomotive
   on the overpass like a grandfather clock on it’s back

Classic Pianos and healthcare for everyone
   at the Kozy Hefeweizen Hotcake House
   open 24 hours and hazy as an 86

Jack is in the box by the veterinary hospital
   power parks are made by people you Lucky Devil
   Dry pavement with lights on cranes
   over blue water dark as a wheelchair

In front of me a rack of steel pipe makes the turn
   onto the freeway by the construction site sphincter
   Stationary / no way / One Way / Right Way / that way
   Wrong Way / okay okay that way

The American Cancer Society has no trucks
   Near the river a new blaze of office
   with granite fingers and a large pubic bone
   There is evidence for both God and Washman
   I smell popcorn
   At home a new Michael Dickman poem in the New Yorker
   like sympathetic pliers