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QUIET LIGHTNING IS

:
a literary nonprofit with a handful of ongoing projects,
including a monthly, submission-based reading series
featuring all forms of writing without introductions or
author banter—of which sparkle + blink is a verbatim
transcript. Since December 2009 we’ve presented 1,100
readings by 700 authors in 100 shows and 80 books,
selected by 50 people through a blind selection process
and performed in 70 venues, appearing so far in bars,
art galleries...a hotel, and a cave.

The shows are also filmed and loaded online—in text
and video—and rebroadcast on public access television.

There are only two rules to submit:
1. you have to commit to the date to submit
2. you only get up to 8 minutes

quietlightning.org/submission-details

SUBSCRIBE

quietlightning.org/subscribe

info + updates + video of every reading
This year we received a grant from the San Francisco Arts
Commission that’s enabled us to make our shows free and
to pay all participating artists. In the hopes of making this a
sustainable practice, we’re running a fundraising campaign
through Oct 12, specifically to establish our first living-wage
staff position—for which we’ll soon be hiring; our board
of directors has pledged to match our modest $15K goal, if
successful.

With your help we can create a healthier, more vibrant
culture that will last and flourish long after we’re no longer
able to run this organization personally. All contributions
go directly to artists and artist opportunities throughout the
SF/Bay Area, and are tax deductible to the fullest extent of
the law.

to find out more:

visit quietlightning.org/kickstarter

or see one of our staff members
Poetry in Parks 2016
co-presented by

with additional help from the following
organizations:
friends of mt. tam marin county free
one tam library
somarts cultural marin poetry center
center california poets in the
litquake schools
booksmith poets & writers
artspan d’maize catering
bread & roses presents sneaky’s bbq
classical revolution lagunitas brewing
california arts company
council house kombucha

To find out more about all of these partners, and all of
today’s artists:

quietlightning.org/tam
sparkle + blink 78
© 2016 Quiet Lightning

cover © Paula Morales
paula-morales.com

“Pippilouette’s story…” by Kim Stanley Robinson
is an excerpt from Shaman (Orbit, 2013)
“August 15, 2016” by Jack Foley
from the forthcoming collection Grief Songs
“The Apple Orchard” and “The Road” by Dana Gioia
reprinted with the author’s permission
“Vilnius” by Jane Hirshfield from After (HarperCollins, 2006)
“Deplaning” by Prartho Sereno from Chattahoochee Review, 2015;
Elephant Raga (Lynx House Press, 2015)
“Reverse Drama” by Kay Ryan
from The Best of It (Grove Press, 2010)

book design by j. brandon loberg
set in Absara

Promotional rights only.

This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form
without permission from individual authors.

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the
internet or any other means without the permission of the
author(s) is illegal.

Your support is crucial and appreciated.

quietlightning.org
su bmit @ qui e tl i g h tn i n g . o r g
CONTENTS
curated by
Prartho Sereno, Scott Green + Evan Karp
featured artists
Paula Morales | paula-morales.com

KIM STANLEY ROBINSON Pippilouette’s story by the fire,
near the Ardeche river, 32,000 years before present 1
ADELLE FOLEY For H.D. Moe (1937-2013) 7
Selfie 8
Peaceful Walk 8
JACK FOLEY August 15, 2016 9
DANA GIOIA The Apple Orchard 13
The Road 14
ARISA WHITE She read the cards and they said a king
would bring her roses and fruits (—whatever) 15
PRARTHO SERENO Deplaning 19
ALEJANDRO MURGUÍA Not That It Matters 21
Nature Always Tells the Truth 22
JANE HIRSHFIELD Vilnius 23
KAY RYAN Reverse Drama 25
BRYNN SAITO How to Prepare
the Mind for Lightning 27
CHARLIE GETTER In Defense of Horse 29
ANDREW PAUL NELSON Who the Most Tourist 35
TONGO EISEN-MARTIN Wave At The People Walking
Upside Down 39
The Course of Meal 44
MATTHEW ZAPRUDER Poem for Doom 49
Penultimate Poem 52
BARBARA JANE REYES Psalm for Mary Jane Veloso 53
G IS SPONSOR
ET LIGHTNIN ED B
QU I Y
QUIET LIGHTNING
A 501(c)3, the primary objective and purpose of Quiet
Lightning is to foster a community based on literary
expression and to provide an arena for said expression. QL
produces a monthly, submission-based reading series on
the first Monday of every month, of which these books
(sparkle + blink) are verbatim transcripts.

Formed as a nonprofit in July 2011, the QL board is currently:

Evan Karp executive director
Chris Cole managing director
Josey Rose Duncan public relations
Lisa Church outreach
Meghan Thornton treasurer
Kelsey Schimmelman secretary
Laura Cerón Melo art director
Christine No production

If you live in the Bay Area and are interested in
helping—on any level—please send us a line:

e v an @ qui et light nin g . o rg
- SET 1 -
KK KKKKKKKKKKK
KK KK
KK P K
THE IPPILO
U E TTE ’S S T O R Y B Y E R ,
FIRE, N HE RIV
32,00 EAR THE ARDEC SENT
0 YEARS BEFORE PRE

I am a traveler as you know,
I walk the surface of mother earth
And so do my fellow travelers
Each of us his own path.
And some of us repeat our paths
As long as we can find them,
And nothing makes us take a different way.
I am one of those myself,
Having a wife with my brother,
And he goes out when I’m at home,
And he doesn’t like it when I’m overly late
Although both of us have been delayed
Once or twice through the years.
What this means for me is I go out east
To the gate between worlds
And then turn north and walk for a fortnight,
Right up to the edge of the great ice cap,
And come back just under that great white wall
Or sometimes up on the ice itself
If the summer melt has made the land next to the ice
Impassable. West I return and south
Across the steppes to home, using paths

1
Of my own that no one knows, the best ways of all.
That’s the way it is for me, but in my travels
I meet other men out walking the world,
And some of them have neither circuit nor home
But wander always a new way. These men
Are curious people, odd in their ways and speech,
But interesting for that, and we talk.
Always when travelers get together over a fire
We talk. You can see that right now, I know.
And travelers together talk about traveling. Where
have you been?
What have you seen? What are people like?
What’s out there in this world we live on?
These are the questions we ask and the stories we tell,
And some travelers travel to find the answers
And tell new stories to those they meet.

One such I met this summer, at the farthest east
Of all the places I go. This man looked like
The northers and I could barely understand him,
But I could, and it got easier as we talked
Because he had only one thing to talk about,
Which was this world we live on, its shape and size.
All travelers agree, for we’ve seen it ourselves:
There is ice to the north, wherever you go,
And to the west is the great salt sea,
And to the south, again the salt sea,
Although warmer and more calm,
More in and out, and dotted with islands.
We all agree on this, we travelers,
As between us we have seen it all,

2
And some travelers claim to have seen it all
Themselves alone. Good. Maybe they are even
Telling the truth. I can’t say. But here’s the thing:
What about east? This norther man
Was like a lot of us, he had that question
And more than that: he wanted to know the answer.
And no one had it.
So he took off walking east, he said.
He walked for days, he walked for months,
He walked for years. He walked east from the time
This question had come to him, in his youth,
And he kept on walking until he was a man in the
middle of life.
Seventeen years, he said, he walked east.
I asked him what he had seen on this life walk.
He told me of steppes that went on forever.
There were mountains like those to the west of here,
And some lakes bigger than any I’ve seen,
Little salt seas even, their water was salt, he said,
But mostly it was steppes.
You know what that’s like. The walking is good
If it isn’t too wet, and there are always animals to eat.
So there really was no impediment to him.
Yet there he sat, across a fire from me,
As far to the east as I had ever been,
But it was only the gate of worlds, a nice broad pass
Between low mountains to north and south.
It had taken him twelve years to walk back
To where we were. This he told me.
Finally I had to ask him: why did you come back?
Having gone so far, why turn around?

Ki m Stanle y Robi nson 3
Why not keep going for the rest of your life?
He stared into the fire for a long, long time
Before he met my eye and answered me.
When I was as far east as I got, he said,
I came to a hill and went up it to look.
I was feeling poorly and my feet hurt,
And no person I had met for several years
Spoke any word I understood. All my dealings
Were done by sign, and you can do that
And still get by, but after a while you want a word
With the people you see. I Pippi could only agree to that!
And so, he said, he stood on that hill, and all to the east
Was just the same. There was no sign at all it would
ever change.
I realized, he said, that this world is just too big.
You can’t have it all, no matter how much you want it.
It’s bigger than any man can walk in one life.
Possibly it just keeps going on forever.
Possibly our mother earth is round, he said then, like
a pregnant woman
Or the moon, and if you walked long enough
You would come back to where you started,
Assuming the great salt sea did not stop you,
But really there is no way to know for sure.
And so I turned around, he said, because the world is
too big
And most of all, I wanted to talk to somebody again
Before I died. Having said that, having told his tale,
We stood and hugged, and he cried so hard
I thought he would choke. I had to hold him up.
Whether he had succeeded or failed in his life walk

4
He did not know, and I didn’t either.
After that he calmed down, and we looked at the fire
Until long in the night, telling other stories we knew.
Before bed I asked him, So what’s for you now?
What will you do, now that you’re back?
Well, he said, I’m thinking I may take off east again.

Ki m Stanle y Robi nson 5
AAAAAAAAA
AAA

FOR H.D. MOE
(1937-2013)

Monday afternoon
I said “good-bye” to David
Knew it was good bye.

He sat on the bed
His legs thin as water pipes
Said he needed help

Early this summer
We heard him read his new work
Next to that same bed

The radio show
Jack taped was broadcast the day
After David died

7
SELFIE
An infectious smile
Tapping out daily Haiku
Pretty good figure

PEACEFUL WALK
The water lapping
Against the stone barrier
The sun on my face

8
JJJJJJJJJJ

A U G U S T 1 5, 2 0 1 6

for Adelle Foley

It’s your birthday
My dear, dead love
I had begun a birthday poem
My wife
My life
And had already bought some gifts for you
A Monday—Moon Day
“Looney” in our Dellwackian fantasy
Who paired with the tiny sun,
“Salvador Dully”
You made a cartoon for me
Eight days before your death
(Six before the day
You forever lost consciousness)
I am trying to find
Another life to fit me
But what could ever fit me
So well as the life we made
As Moon and Sun
As Dell Dell and Jack Wack
As the EEE Monster
And the DDD Monster

9
As all the phantasmagoria
That rose out of our love,
That kept our love
Forever alive:
They never stopped loving
Even when you and I faltered
They wondered why Dellwackia
Suddenly looked
Like a hospital room.
I’ve cooked dinner for you tonight
Polpette, purpettes,
A meal you loved
That came from my mother’s
Long Calabrese line.
Dear friends will join me
And then we’ll watch
A favorite film:
Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent
Looney and Salvador Dully
Will watch it too
And Dell Dell and Jack Wack
And the Monsters.
Everyone loves
The poems I’ve been writing
About your death
You were always my Muse
And today is the birthday
You could not celebrate.
Our love remains
In all these figures
In all these words

10
While you
Whirl through the universe
(If such things are true)
Forgetting birth and death
Forgetting Dellwackia and me
Remembering only
The deep configurations
Of Life and Love.

The names mentioned are cartoon characters in a joint
fantasy that Adelle and I maintained for years. We
drew pictures for each other and gave the characters
voices. She was Dell Dell—a name her father gave
to her when she was a child. I, “J.W. Foley,” was Jack
Wack. The DDD Monster and the EEE Monster, etc.
all figured into this fantasy, which took place in a
country named for the queen and king: Dellwackia.
We had a ritual for turning out the bedroom lights at
night. The Dellwackians didn’t understand electricity
but they would all gather and in their various voices
“blow out the candle.” After the lights were out, I
would say, “’Night, Dell.” She would answer, “’Night,
Wack.” The lights are still on in our bedroom.

Ja ck F ole y 11
DDDDDDDDDD

T H E APPLE O RC H A R D

You won’t remember it—the apple orchard
We wandered through one April afternoon,
Climbing the hill behind the empty farm.

A city boy, I’d never seen a grove
Burst in full flower or breathed the bittersweet
Perfume of blossoms mingled with the dust.

A quarter mile of trees in fragrant rows
Arching above us. We walked the aisle,
Alone in spring’s ephemeral cathedral.

We had the luck, if you can call it that,
Of having been in love but never lovers—
The bright flame burning, fed by pure desire.

Nothing consumed, such secrets brought to light!
There was a moment when I stood behind you,
Reached out to spin you toward me . . . but I stopped.

What more could I have wanted from that day?
Everything, of course. Perhaps that was the point—
To learn that what we will not grasp is lost.

13
THE ROAD

He sometimes felt that he had missed his life
By being far too busy looking for it.
Searching the distance, he often turned to find
That he had passed some milestone unaware,
And someone else was walking next to him,
First friends, then lovers, now children and a wife.
They were good company—generous, kind,
But equally bewildered to be there.
He noticed then that no one chose the way—
All seemed to drift by some collective will.
The path grew easier with each passing day,
Since it was worn and mostly sloped downhill.
The road ahead seemed hazy in the gloom.
Where was it he had meant to go, and with whom?

14
AAAAAAA
AAAA
SHE
RE AID A
KING AD THE CARDS AND THEY S N D
WOULD BRI SA
NG HER ROSE
F R U I TS ( — W H AT E V E R )

His mother is late again. When she comes in she brings
her hurricane and switches and a fog of a mood—you
can’t see her face because it’s creased up and bothered,
and it’s everyone’s fault, including his. We know this
trouble he’s giving me is anticipation for being slapped
up-side his head. It’s usually Derrick and Taniqua who
are the last 4th graders left, and when her brother, who
comes in smelling like grape-flavored marijuana, picks
her up, Derrick makes no peace with the seat. “Ms, let
me walk out with T and see if my mom is out there.” I
tell him no, he sighs from the depth of his oppression,
and I eye the basket of fruit we’re given for the kids’
snack. He couldn’t be bribed with an orange because
“Ms, I got an orange tree in my backyard. Please with
that.”

Well then. Never before have I experienced a person
rejecting a piece of fruit because they have a supply
growing in a place they can easily access. Never had
I a fruit tree, or a backyard for that matter. This is
my first time teaching in Oakland, since moving
from Brooklyn a few months ago. He’s leaning on

15
the doorframe, waiting for his mother’s footsteps.
“Derrick, considering this new information you’ve
shared, I proclaim you the King of Fruitvale. How
about you make me some art?” I walk over to him with
loose leaf. After the side-eye appraisal, a long drink of
a stare down the hallway, he takes a sheet and then
takes his time shaping the paper into a gun.

Once his origami is done, he searches all the crayon
baskets, and markers too, for the black ones. Colors
it until it is blue, and tells me to put my hands up,
showing me he did a good job. I can’t resist—I give
him more paper, tell him we need some flowers. He
tells me cardboard makes a better vest. His eyes are on
the empty box that the reams of post-consumer paper
came in, and he cocks his head to the side, eyes full of
charm and says “It’s good to recycle.” I roll my eyes and
give in, respond, “Grab a ruler off my desk.” We will do
this right.

I measure the width and length of his chest and back,
and let him know we’re going to make this in three
pieces and duct tape the parts together. He agrees
that’s a good idea and tells me about the time his
older brother made a robot costume out of “boxes
from the liquor store because those ones were the
stronger ones, and then he used some of that silver
pipe stuff that goes on the drying machine.” He takes
the measurements for the panels in his composition
notebook and suggests that we “use the sides of the
box for the chest pieces.” I ask what will we use for

16
your back? He looks at me, confident and smirking,
shifting into his boysplaining mode, “Ms. White, it’s
obvious. The bottom of the box.” I check him, tell him,
“You better watch yourself.” He’s tickled and his smile
is genuine.

We get to drawing out the shapes, using only pencil,
“just in case we make mistakes,” and the design gets
modified along the way. We cut out the pieces, and
then when it comes time for the duct tape, he says,
“Ms. White, you must be kidding me?” He’s holding hot
pink and leopard-printed duct tapes. “Why would you
even have these?” The look on his face—like he has
his grandma’s panties in one hand and a sack of shit in
another—and I’m tearing up with laughter. I got them
because they were on sale, and he shakes his head at
me because that is a poor excuse by his standard.

He decides on the leopard print, and I agree that the
leopard is quite a fierce and fearless cat. He pulls off
a piece of tape, and rips it off with his teeth. “Not a
cat, Ms., a leopard. I want people to have that in their
minds—not those cats they be seeing in the streets or
their cats they name Whiskers or Tiffany.” This is a
good point, and I offer him the scissors for the next
strip, but instead he holds out the piece of duct tape
for me to cut and we work like this, for nearly an
hour, until the vest is almost complete and we hear
the mother’s footsteps coming down the hall, but
mostly we hear her voice, that tension as she tells the
other person on the line, “I got to call you back. I’m at

Ari sa Wh i t e 17
Derrick’s school picking him up.” And by the time she
reaches the door and tells him “Hurry up now, I don’t
got all day,” he has his vest on underneath his cardigan,
and the gun is inside his composition notebook and
the notebook is in his backpack, and he tells me “I’ll
make some flowers at home, and pick you an orange,
Ms.”

18
PPPPPPPPPPP
PPP

D E P L A NI N G

At the far end of baggage claim
in pastel shirts and navy blue blazers
they look so longingly in my direction,
jiggling their hopeful block-letter signs—
Hernandez, Patel, Moore—I want to go
to one and say, Yes, I am Mrs. Moore,
then turn and walk with him into a new life.
Yes, I want to say. To everything.
Hyatt Regency, poolside? Yes,
praise the Lord. Oh, thank you—
these bags seem to put on pounds
with each new time zone... Am I
attending the conference? Why, yes.
Giving the keynote on my life’s work
with elephants. Yes, amazing,
what they have to say—
in registers beneath the human ear.
Expressions of love for which we have
no name. No, I never made out the actual
words, but they taught me with subterranean
patience. I learned to sleep standing
on the savanna, rocked in a long slow
chorus of grass-scented breath... Yes,
I see the traffic’s terrible this way.

19
I don’t mind at all if you take the back
road. And do tell me about your summer
with the bears. Especially the scrappy one
with the torn-up ear. He led you upriver
to watch the salmon spawn? And you
ate with him. And that fish still flaps
in the pit of you? The fish you shared
with the gleaming, slobbering dark?

20
AAAAAAAA
A AAA AA
AA A
NOT THAT IT MATTERS

When Mother Nature made the lobster
She was in a mood, like maybe lonely
Or thinking of someone
Who is absent
Like I think of you when it rains
When the mail drops in the slot
The time at the zoo in awe of the giraffe
Now that is creative
And I return to my hands holding the lobster
And the vagaries of life
Syria bleeding in the news
The absence of wind
A train wreck somewhere in India
A tornado in Iowa
The end of the afternoon

21
NATURE ALWAYS TELLS THE TRUTH
I come with my songs to clean the wounds
Like wind thru the redwoods
I’m the hum of the hummingbird
The color of the red-tail hawk
There’s a jaguar within
that prowls the city streets
Hunting for a poem
The riddle of the blue jay is my pen
The majesty of the condor my ink
I’m the river, I’m the rain
The grizzly bear’s paw
The courage of the wolf and the cunning of coyote
I’m the cactus, the nopal, the agave
With its sweet mescal
I’m the seashell on the shore that listens to your woes
the tsunami washing away that same shore
The storm that’s coming—the hurricane
Oh Pacha Mama
only you give us life
And the corporations give us death
You give us beauty and they turn it to trash
So I burn sage to cloud up their plans
I blow copal to confuse their midnight conferences
I offer cedar to protect all the four-legged
and the two-legged
Pacha Mama to the four directions
Pacha Mama to the center, the balance
For the children
And the children waiting to be born
22
JJJJJJJJJJJJ
JJJ

VIL NI U S

For a long time
I keep the guidebooks out on the table.
In the morning, drinking coffee, I see the spines:
St. Petersburg, Vilnius, Vienna.
Choices pondered but not finally taken.
Behind them—sometimes behind thick fog—
the mountain.
If you lived higher up on the mountain,
I find myself thinking, what you would see is
more of everything else, but not the mountain.

23
KKKKKKKK

R E V E RS E D R A M A

Lightning, but not bright.
Thunder, but not loud.
Sometimes something
in the sky connects
to something in the ground
in ways we don’t expect
and more or less miss except
through reverse drama:
things were heightened
and now they’re calmer.

25
- SET 2 -
BBBBBBB
BBBB

THE MHI O W T O P R E PA R E NING
N D F O R LI G H T

In the recesses of the woman’s mind
there is a warehouse. The warehouse
is covered in wisteria. The wisteria
wonders

what it is doing in the mind of the woman.
The woman wonders too.
The river is raw tonight. The river is a
calling

aching with want. The woman walks towards it
her arms unimpaired and coated
with moonlight. The wisteria wants the
river.

It also wants the warehouse in the mind
of the woman, wants to remain in the ruins
though water is another kind of original
ruin

determined in its structure and unpredictable.
The woman unlaces the light across her body.
She wades through the river while
twining wisteria
27
bleeds from her mouth, her eyes, her wrist-veins,
her heart valve, her heart. The garden again
overgrows the body—called by the water

and carried by the woman to the wanting river.
When she bleeds the wisteria, the warehouse
in her mind is free and empty and the
source

of all emptiness. It is free to house the night sky.
It is free like the woman to hold nothing
but the boundless, empty, unimaginable
dark.

28
CCCCCCCCCCCC
CC
I N D E F E N SE O F H O R S E

& she said
“fraaaack you and the horse you rode in on!”

& all I can say is

“it’s ok if you don’t like me, but let’s leave the
horse out of this… OK?”

he might not be the best horse,
but still that’s cold,
so cold

reminds me of rule #1

Rule #1: Always wear a warm coat,
because the world is cold
it might be summer
but bummer
the world is still cold

Rule #2: Don’t walk around with a gun
because you’ll shoot someone
or someone’s horse
but probably yourself

29
but maybe someone else
& you’ll think
they deserve it
but odds are they don’t

unless you shoot yourself
then of course

they do.

Rule #3: Watch your mouth
because in truth
only bad people, or horses
say what they think
good people, or horses
say what they have to say

(I say what I think)

my horse?! you’d have to ask him

Bad people also make lists of things
other people should do

so don’t do that!

(if you’re counting, that’s rule #4)

I ride a horse called “Hypocrisy”
and he eats all my wild oats
and I’ve thought through every possible scenario

30
& I’m here to say
we’re screwed

I want to take a moment of your time
a moment more
than the one i took before

I carry a garbage can
for that purpose
and I’ve filled it with so
many moments

I can live seven more lives
as long as I spend them
in that can.

Part of me smiles manically at other people
the other part of me is embarrassed by my face

Part of me might be brave, but generally
I listen to the other part

Part of me talks about myself
like that’s somehow relevant
or important

the better part of me, talks about my horse

My horse,
“Hypocrisy,”
likes to drink

Ch a rli e Ge t t e r 31
and gets mad at drunks
especially when he’s drunk
and damn
he’s drunk a lot

my horse thinks he’s pretty smart,
he does everything wrong,
every time,

in exquisite epic social failure
but yeah,
he’s smart-ish,
I guess

My horse learned how to walk backwards
so now that’s pretty much
his only direction

polc-pilc
polc-pilc
polc-pilc
polc-pilc

always back against the traffic
and people blow their horns at him
but you don’t need blinders
not to see

he just leads with his ass
and you think that

32
might be awkward
or rare,
you should know,
it is awkward

My other horse is “Oppressed-Paranoid”
but he’s not that special
everyone’s got one of those

but he’s even more difficult to ride
because he’s both “oppressed”
and “paranoid”

he’s got two asses
pointed out of either end
and he tends to kick at everything
he hasn’t already shit all over

Hypocrisy whinnies at me
“Hey Charlie,”
says he,
“let’s back through everything,
blissfully!”

and I put on my stretchy pants
and crazy shiny silk vest
and little black helmet
and climb aboard
as we back through the world,

Ch a rli e Ge t t e r 33
polc-pilc, polc-pilc, polc-pilc

and it really seems like
I’m getting
somewhere!

34
A AAAAAAAAAAAA
A AA AA
WHO THE
M O ST T O U R IST?

who phony as baloney?
who sandwich meat?
who cuts cold?
who cuckold?
who faux as Tussaud?
who poetic wax?
who feign brilliance & bleed taxidermy?
who foundlings in search of wreckage?
who is anchored in doubt?
who write ghosts?
who temporary people?
who St. almost?
who mostly flotsam?
who is underwater perfect?
who is misappropriated sea drift
who goods cast overboard
deliberately to lighten
or improve stability
who is jettisoned pornographic
desideratum under duress?
who the first carpenter?
who ride pale horse of oblivion?
who is guilt as displaced aggression?

35
who canned laughs? lagan love?
cellophane scorn wrapped in ambivalence
who astroturf automaton? first degree for-malady?
grim reaper on tall fin of US Navy F14 Tomcat
who fake as wedding cake
who face paint
who dance
who ghost
who blame
who dance?
who unreal
who is
El FANTASMA ORGASMA?
who is only visiting?
who chooses?
who chose you?
who you is?
who blame?
who cop out?
who machine-made?
who made you?
who you is?
Who is a mediocre poet
but a fucking fantastic ukulele player?
who is commanding lieutenant
of her royal majesty - The Harem of Misery
the sad poet mayor of Valencia st.
the patron saint of mediocrity
who totem king paranoia?
who cover band as promise land?
who think they smart?

36
who know stupid?
who all hype no substance - all bite not bogus
how clear is obvious?
how see-through transparent?
who counterfeit sincerity
make-believe magnanimity
who fraudulent antipathy
mock documentary of pseudo-self
hidden inside your pillowcase
who the most tourist?

who is a rich kid?
who makes art?
make art rich kid
make art

from a Baltimore pay phone
to your lover in Puerto Rico
before the hurricane
before the shipwreck
before the empty medicine cabinet
they mispronounced you pirate, fugitive, captor
just as the sea summons
as the grudge thaws
as the fog nullifies all warning signs
a colossal cruise ship unloads
swarms of provisional people on to the pavement
hordes of lifeless past & future lovers
rubbernecking the hollow beats between stanzas
perpetually waiting for the skyscraper windows to blink

Andre w Pau l Ne lson 37
who comes home?
who ships out?
who looks up?

38
T TTTTTTTTTTT
TT TT
T T
WAV PLE
WALKINE AT T H E P E ODOWN
G U P SID E

I am off to make a church bell out of a bank window

“kitchens meant
more to the masses
back in the day”

and before that?

“we had no enemy”

somewhere in america
the prison bus is running on time

you are going to want
to lose that job
before the revolution hits

I won’t be home for breakfast.
Everyone out here now knows my name.
And I won’t be turned against for at least four
months.

39
-The cop in the picket line is a hard working rookie.
-The sign in my hand is getting more and more laughs
(something about a numb tumble).

-The picket line got cops in it.

“I can take care of
these windows for you,
but someone else
has to go in your gas tank”

was clear to the man that
rich people had talked too much this year

go ahead and throw down that marble park bench
everyone is looking up at,
you know,
get the Romans out of your mind

Maybe a good night’s sleep
would have changed
The last twenty years of my life

-Playing an instrument
Is like punching a wall-

What would you have me do?
Replace the population?
Give brotherhood back to the winter?
Stop smoking cigarettes with the barely dead?

40
They listen in on the Sabbath

Police called the police on me
-a white candlestick beneath my detention

“I’ve ruined the soup again,”
thought the judge
as he took off his pilgrim robe
behind a white people’s door (and more)

“I didn’t get lucky. I got
what was coming to me,”
he toasts

“fight me back,”
the man says, of course, to himself

washing windows with a will to live
tin can on his left shoulder
enjoying the bright brand new blight
with all party goers
(both supernatural and supernaturally down to earth)

what, is this elevator traveling side to side?

Like one thousand bitter polaroid pictures you actually try
to eat
All the furniture on this street is nailed to the cement
Cheap furniture, but we have commitment

This morning, an essay opens the conversation between

Tongo Ei se n- Ma rt i n 41
enemies
“why, because you control every gram of processed sugar
between here and a poor man’s border?”
“because in the tin can on my left shoulder
I can hear the engines of deindustrialization?”

-You should get into painting,
You know,
Tell lies deeply-

I’m rooting for the traitor this month

Carting cement to my pillow… “here we will build”

“I’m high again. Not talking much.”

Climb the organ pipes up to our apartment floor

“I’m high again. Calling everything church.
Singing along to the courtyard.”

Thanks to a horn player’s holy past time

Climb up to the rustiest nail

-Put a real jacket on it
Talk about a real five years-

42
Keep memories like these
In my pocket
Next to the toll receipt

a man lost a wager
with the god of good causes,
you know,
stood up for himself
a little too late
(maybe too early)

I can still see
Twenty angles of his jaw
Zig zagging through
The cold world
Of deindustrialization

“there’s an art to it,” I will tell my closest friends one day

Tongo Ei se n- Ma rt i n 43
THE COURSE OF MEAL

Apparently, too much of San Francisco was not there
in the first place

This dream requires more condemned Africans
Or
State violence rises down
Or
Still life is just getting warmed up
Or
army life is looking for a new church and ignored all other
suggestions
or
folk tale writers have not made up their minds as to who is
going to be their friends

“this is the worst downtown yet. And I’ve borrowed a
cigarette everywhere
…I’ve taken many a walk to the back of a bus…that led
on out the back of a story teller’s prison sentence…
then on out the back of slave scars.”

“… though this is my comeback face.”

“I left my watch on the public bathroom sink and
took the toilet with me. I threw it at the first bus I
saw eating single mothers half alive. It flew through
the bus line number… then on out the front of the
white house”
44
hopefully you find comfort downtown. But if not,
we’ve brought you enough cigarette filters to make a
decent winter coat

a special species of handshake
let’s all know who’s king and what the lifespan is of
uniform cloth

this coffin needs to quit acting like those are birds
singing
rusty nails have no wings
have no voice other than that of a white world dying
there are indeed book pages in the gas pump
catchy isn’t it?
the way three nooses is the rule
or the way potato sack masks go well with radio
codes

Or the way condemned Africans fought their way
back to the ocean only to find waves made of
1920’s burned up piano parts
European backdoor deals
and red flowers for widows who spend all day in the
sun mumbling at San Francisco

“red flowers, but what’s the color of a doctor visit?”

There are book titles in the street

Book titles like:

Tongo Ei se n- Ma rt i n 45
*Hero, You’d Make A Better Zero*

*Fur Coat Lady, The President Is Dead*

*Pay Me Back In Children*

*They Hung Up Their Bodies In Their Own Museums*

-and other book titles pulled out of a drum solo

run here, hero!
-lied the hiding place

all the bullets in ten precincts know where to go
there’s no heaven (nor any other good ideas) in the
sky
politics means: people did it and people do it.
understand that when in San Francisco
and other places that were never really there

bet this ocean thinks it’s an ocean
but it’s not.
it’s just 6th and mission street.

“All know who is king. King of thin things. Like
america. I’m proud to deserve to die… I will eat
my dinner extra slow tonight in this
police state candy dispenser that

46
you all call a neighborhood…”
no set of manners
goes unpunished
never mind about
a murderer’s insomnia
or the tea kettle preparing everyone for police sirens

Tongo Ei se n- Ma rt i n 47
MMMMMM
M MMMM MM
MM M
P O EM FOR DO O M

Birds don’t lie
they are never lost
they never think
above the earth
I stole this form
or blue is the best
I listen to it
singing my old man
is far away
singing American
songs stolen
from those who lived
in what now is
but was not
the park which makes
me love him
I am eating an orange
someone grabbed
from nature
over me I hear
controlled mechanical
obsidian dragonflies
search for anarchists
for a long time

49
I went to school
in the palm of my life
carrying a stone
obeying the law
of semblance
now each night
I bring it back
down to the land
asphodels cover
then I wake
and take my son
out on the porch
to say hello
everything hello
green hills that slept
hello tree
drawn on the side
of a white truck
exorably rumbling
toward some hole
hello magnolia
whose pink
and white blossoms
have left it
for where
oh sweet doom
we are all going
then behind us
we close
the black door
with the golden knob

50
and sit
in the great
chair morning light
through the shades
always makes
look like a dream
forest throne
all around
our subjects
the shadow trees
rise up
their private thoughts
filling the room
I take them
like an animal
with gentle
ungrateful ceremony
from a leaf
takes dew

Mat t h e w Za pr u de r 51
PENULTIMATE POEM
Let us walk one more time very slowly
to the famous meadow whose name eludes us
from there we can see the ghost ship
sail off the lake and into the clouds
let’s speculate on where it has gone
and touch the glass thought animals and talk
about the machine that makes nothing matter
so totally it will never be different
our lives have already changed
and now we all have to go
back into the city and combine
pleasurably or at least well with the day
we will walk beneath the huge blue
gorgeous corporate windows and know
they are glass cases the figurines
inside them so carefully painted
they are almost completely alive
like our parents under the earth
their low voices in the kitchen say
they didn’t mean anything by it and now
like great dead poets they understand us
just one more thing no matter how long
it seems it has been gone this feeling
everything you touch with your mind
so beautifully together belongs
will keep falling up into your life
like airplanes rise into the miraculous
unremarkable sky over the harbor
and its great ships taking their names out to sea

52
BB BBBBBBBBBBB
B BB BB
PSALM FOR
M A R Y JANE VEL OS O

Praise the monstrous body, too enormous to describe.
When the tongue is taken, how may the mouth even
try.

Praise the bitch slapped face, the hemorrhaged eyes.
The cluster. The clot. We thin our blood, we run. We
run, and we always look back.

Praise the trafficked body, the one that is excised. On
smartphones, with hashtags, we lament the phantom
part.

Praise the foreign object rushing to the heart. That is
you, the help, the heroine. We pump our fists for you,
isang bagsak!

Praise the ever-present lens, the firing squad shoots
every curse and plea. Your breath is a miracle, a
lifeline, a headline.

The old you is dead. Praise for her soul. We offer
to her our last Lacrimosa. Praise the new you, the
chrysalis, the secluded saint.

53
Praise you. May you emerge, graced and gospeled.
Unjudged, unfallen, and the color of sky.

54
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