About Me

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I write. And then I eat. And then maybe I'm happy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

excerpt from NYtimes article, "On Poetry - The Great(ness) Game"

'When we lose sight of greatness, we cease being hard on ourselves and on one another; we begin to think of real criticism as being “mean” rather than as evidence of poetry’s health; we stop assuming that poems should be interesting to other people and begin thinking of them as being obliged only to interest our friends — and finally, not even that. Perhaps most disturbing, we stop making demands on the few artists capable of practicing the art at its highest levels. Instead, we cling to the ground in those artists’ shadows — John Ashbery’s is enormous at this point — and talk about how rich the darkness is and how lovely it is to be a mushroom.'

Zouch. That last line is a killer.

On Poetry - The Great(ness) Game by David Orr

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mega phone 'The Happy Burden' & Seatbelt: visual poem #1 & #2

I have attempted a series of visual poems. At first, my idea was to continue using words in shapes from a poem I wrote roughly 6 years ago called SMOKESTREAM, where the words formed a plume of smoke from the bottom of the page to the top. Late last year an idea hit me -- MEGA PHONE, SEATBELT, BINOCULARS, and a few others. I was gonna publish them as a chapbook. Something simple. But then I came across some artwork which inspired me into a new direction. A young lady by the name of Deanna and visual poems at www.poetryfoundation.org.

Whenever I write poetry, sometimes, the poetic idea may come to me months or years before I actually write it. Its kinda like I'm at the microwave waiting for the machine to beep. I told myself I'd wait until I could get to a computer for more than an hour, and not have it be an internet cafe (they tend to speed up the time, the bastards). Well, I got to a laptop, had it for 24hrs plus... but the poems never came. See, originally I was going to use simple borders to outline the words in the shapes of the objects. So it would be easy to just do it in 10 hours or such and be done. But other poems came. Many others.

These visual poems were always in my head, but off to the side where the stack of covers and pillows are in my room. See, I just think that the poems were waiting for me to be inspired to go in the direction I went (re: the above pictures).

I'm not all the way happy with them. A little tweak here, there. But it was fun. Something I've never done. Including the ghazal I wrote a few weeks ago, I'm on a good run of trying new things creatively.

I slept, I ate, and now I'm happy. No maybe. For now...

Aww shoot, it just wore off.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Living Single is Friends before Friends was Friends

Yeah, so you have the same structure. I think even the same city. But you have three women living together, two male friends next door. You have the somewhat ditzy, good hearted friend, the hard working responsible one, the kind of rich/slutty one, you had the goofy guy who wasn't good with the ladies, you had the ladies man.

Now, with the lawyer friend Max you have a kind of anomaly. You could say she's Ross. We, I guess you should say that. High education, good ass job, intense, kind of crazy.

You had the same storylines, (two friends hooking up, throughout the show run, big 'are they aren't they' thing)...

Both survived, but one got a horrible death when it shouldn't have, the other lived on for ten years. Why is it? Was it too brown for people to relate too? Naw...

No idea what happened.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

excerpt from non-fiction piece Homeless In Long Beach

Once, I opened a pack of instant oatmeal and found worms squirming through the dust after I poured it into my bowl. This has nothing to do with the year I spent on the streets of Long Beach, but I’ve always wanted to tell the story and never got the chance.

I left North Texas on a whim. Whim. When you use whim people usually think less of the action, as if little thought went into it. When you tell them the impulse felt like a rope you grip and pull on, but instead of whatever is on the end of that rope coming towards you, its reversed. There is an inevitably about it. And then when you tell them how, in that instant, it felt forever written, forever declared for you to hop on the train and go to California with only a pocket of cash and a bag, no guarantees… you still seem crazy. And I figured whim took up less space.

I lived in California maybe ten years prior to my exodus, in Whittier. Can you believe the only time I had been to Long Beach was for 15 minutes, off of Junipero, to pick up a friend? It’s true. I circled around it, spending time in Compton, Watts, Norwalk, name it. But understand, I’m sure I can live on the streets of Whittier and realize I likely never knew my own city until that point.

After my mom left for North Texas and I hitched a ride, my own other family was my sister, who found an apartment near Downtown Long Beach she referred to as “so cute”. I hopped off the train early in Pomona to catch a ride from a buddy in Diamond Bar. I never carried on my bag which was in cabinet-storage on the way to Union Station. I didn’t worry about it.

I knew my sister could put me up for a little bit while I figured a way to make all the impossibles less un-impossible. A couple of seconds after closing my friend’s cell phone and repeating what my sister told me (“Uhh, I don’t think so Michael.”), I didn’t think anything. For a moment, I wasn’t there. Whatever separates our consciousness and the atoms of the universe, for that moment, disintegrated, or maybe, finally, fully integrated and were finally one.

The next day we spoke and she told me I had a month to get things together. I think we lasted less than that before I walked out, no longer able to deal with the already toxic and strained relationship my sister and I had.

My first night on the street wasn’t frightening. I just couldn’t believe it had come to this. I remember sleeping, rather, trying to sleep behind a Vegetarian cafĂ© called Zephyr. It really wasn’t a good idea, as the space is a narrow pathway with high walls, which breathed in the cold air and swept it across. In my rush out of my sister’s place I forgot my jacket, assuming the two long sleeve shirts I wore could suffice. Thaaaaaat would be a negative. But the sky was Texas clear, stars burning beautiful, and the pale bright moon made it daytime for a dark night. Comfort for a shivering form.

(other excerpt featured at http://www.michaeljamesmartin.wordpress.com

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New Issuu - If we die, 2nd edition

The Correlation

I am supported by invisible things,
structures, and sometimes we're all accountable
for the gun going off,
or the hand slipping because of the sweat,
watching the person slowly accelerating
away from you, centuries down where nature meets
a fragile body and decisively cracks
the entire self, sometimes
the scream in our throats isn't for
what we're losing or what we've lost,
or the semi-pure terror of the event
in our faces,
sometimes the panic, the tremble, the scream
is for ourselves, as we see the inverted reflection
of a 'thing' unperverted.

I'd rather be alone than be related
to some eradiated source material
surgically picking at the contents
of my injured self.

Intermediate Fourplay For Experts

she compared her lipstick tube to
you know what
and I suddenly wasn’t in the mood

I compared her frontside
To my frontside
And told her it was a perfect match

She was still in the mood, so
I told her she was a woodpecker
In a past life until she was shot down
And hit every ugly branch on the way

She was still in the mood

I've searched my eyes to the bone

“I’ve seen the best minds of my generation
destroyed by madness”
- Allen Ginsberg

I’ve searched my eyes to the bone for the umpteenth time
Stripping rubber-wax coatings off live wires
Denoting the areas where childhood molestation
Bubble in the mind. I’m not supposed to mention it
Which means it didn’t happen
And doesn’t keep magnifying like the circular lens-click on a sniper’s scope
Like the gravity of the world as you lay in the grass
Breathing through a hastily torn throat, somehow
In some fashion, a beast collects his energy and feels connected to it all
The rotation of the unseen, the magnetic deflection of an earth’s axis

I’m dead feeling my pulse, it skips. It skips. I’m skipping
And unhappy, smearing chalk, outside of the lines
My foot falling to the left of the box, foul, start again
Repeat the mistake, because I do what I want to, which is why
I’m no longer invited to the game.

I love women too much. I love them before they meet me.
I’ve searched my eyes to the bone and wipe blood from near
The globular pulp of my eyes, know me through my poetrys
And I assume the windowed door to my insides is wide
Open, I’m a shotgun house, see the backyard where my soul
Hoists empty hammocks for you to ease into. Just for you.
I’ve searched my eyes to the bone for an unexplanation, I know
Too little too much too well. My atoms know the women I love,
But I am returned to sender sans SASE. Locations. Fuck location,
Split a carbon and it’ll do what it do
No matter the telescoped swirl of its sensitivity. Carmen San Diego?
May I live with you? No one seems to find you. I like it like that.

I’ve searched my eyes to the bone
And found a surplus store stocked: 50 caliber machinery
Well oiled, the veteran Air Force clerk
All his limbs, not a scratch on the bastards
And I ask him how he came through so intact, I ask
If he spent all his service in a cockpit breathing reused air
And he yells to someone in the back to stop boiling his egg,
Then turns his attention to me, “I killed about twenty men.
I can see their faces clear as yours. Never was able to use
My pistol on any of ‘em. Used a knife on a couple. Wait,
Twenty-one. One of those was a boy ‘bout this height, yeah
about that height. He had this bomb looked like a cat.
I shot that kid cold blood. He’d of killed me and the fellas
I was wit, but still… you kill anything and its cold blood.
That’s war though ‘cuz my sister died when she went
Over there and said she was one of us. That’s war though
‘cuz my mother died in Japan when she was doin’ chemo,
Some experimental shit they can’t do here. Treated her
Good, too. Better than where we’re at. That’s the war
Everyone dies, if you ain’t die you’re dyin’ so
You gon’ buy something or what?”

I’ve searched my eyes to the bone, scratching at the frontal lobe
Its this MK-Ultra, I’m dizzy, I’ve searched my eyes
And pulled out Jim Jones demo-tapes, fisher twine inch by inch
Like angelhair spaghetti from my nose, but I stop right there
Scared to witness the prize at the tip.