Tuesday, November 04, 2008

One Hundred Fifty Eighth Entry

Kind of a dry spell for Steven. I run a reading series now. I'm a big man with big plans.

Here's my poem:


My lungs are empty for a brief moment.
Now I'm restless, bored with the tragedy of crawling snakes.
Lungs are pitiful bags, unable to beg my cigarettes for relief.
I'm going to announce myself as mayor when we get there.
Are churches without roofs closer to God?
Going up to the clouds are many prayers, many tiny puffs of smoke.
Churches get built near the road, for easy access and escape.
Up in the clouds, maybe you sleep with a magazine on your lap.
Get this woman more coffee, stewardess. She is special to me.
In this car, we have begun collecting regional candy wrappers.
This town will be my line in the dirt for decent people.
This mayor will shine through the night like a lighthouse.
We can't even imagine right now the whiteness of his house.
Entire families are charged with keeping it clean and bright.
Can't find any magazine worth having at the service station.
Families drive home from Sunday service, loosening their clothes.
Find me a mayor who's lived with the nonsense that I have.
Drive backwards to New York; remind me why we're doing this.
Me, I'll just crush my cigarette on my shoe and make that face.
Backwards little country towns are preserved in time like fancy bones.
I'll push the button on the car radio, but I don't really want it off.
Little do we know the best song is coming up.
Push me against the window; wait for my face to get cold.
Do these small favors and you are always welcome in my town.

Candy from America is so innocent and so horribly named.
Cow's Ears and Super Mud Pops litter our floorboards.
From this window, trees wave like well-wishers.
Ears poised for anything, we have been twisting the dial.
This trip has caused us to drink and sleep more.
Poised for revelation, we've spent very little time outside of this car.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

One Hundred and Fifty-Seventh Entry

I had a REALLY bad nightmare last night. It's also two thousand degrees here today. Also, I scratched my glasses and need to get new lenses. Just things going on in Steve-land. Here's another Animal Kingdom poem.

Here's my poem:


The kitchen table is covered in white cotton,
and I am drinking a cup full of ants.
Her breasts are touched by sunlight
and begin to turn blue, then red,
and are topographical like a globe's surface.
I am eating the meat off a skeleton.
In the future I will eat mostly worms.
Other people will live on this globe,
or so my encyclopedia says on my computer.
Her breasts exist in the future,
underneath a button-down shirt
made of white cotton.

Friday, May 16, 2008

One Hundred and Fifty-Fifth Entry

I've started writing poems that I'm not posting. Don't worry, it's only been a couple and it's because they're not of a caliber, you know what I mean? Plus, with my reading series getting started and my book on the horizon, I'm realizing I don't need to put up every little snot out of my nose. But that last poem was dedicated to Gina Myers, so you know. And this one is not. I'm starting a Jackson Mac Low-ish project called "Steve Roberts' Animal Kingdom." Here's one of those poems.

Here's my poem:


I'm writing about sunlight dripping off of a brick wall.
It hurts me to write about it, and my house
is surrounded by sunlight. It hurts me
to drink, I check my watch and open
my encyclopedia. I wrote a letter
laying in the grass while the sunlight
slapped the surface of my computer.
My white cotton shirt is now red.
I was drinking while writing a letter.
I was grinning on the telephone while talking
to the president and eating.
I'm writing about worms.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

One Hundred and Fifty Fourth Entry

So, it seems almost a lock that I'm starting a reading series!!!! The first one will be on the last Wednesday of May and will feature Nathan Austin and Lauren Ireland. It'll be at Home Sweet Home on Chrystie St. I have more information, but I'll update you dudettes later, okay?

This week is crunch time for me, work-wise. Tonight especially. And I'm dealing with it the only way I know how: by watching Back to the Future II and ignoring it. I am currently listening to the Gin Blossoms.

Also, I went to the Flarf reading at Bowery Poetry Club this last Saturday. It was interesting and good, mostly. Shanna Compton killed, of course. I loved her new poem. Anyway.

This poem is being posted especially for Dan Magers.

Here's my poem:


I burn most of the things I own
soon after buying them. Some of them
are cigarettes, and I guess that's okay,
but often, while musing in my study,
I'll forget my left hand set the house
on fire while my right hand set
the house on fire.

This town is why
red light bulbs were invented. Dinosaurs
used to roam here, but most of the bars
they frequented have been shut down.
I like it when old people,
sitting wherever they sit, smoking
whatever it is I smell, tell me
about how everything used to be better
before I was born. I don't think
I'm the problem. Young people,
wearing black, often tell me to go away
when I sit in the tattoo parlor
and tell them they are making
a horrible mistake.

But I don't think they're the problem
either. Most of this town is grass
spread out on each side of the expressway.
When mowed, it's easy to compare the surface
of the Earth to your very own face,
but actually there are differences,
just like the differences between architecture
and those little paper models the architects

When I set fire to this town
watching the fairgrounds melt
into unintentional outsider art,
I will smoke a cigarette, and it will
just be something I did.
Firemen will try to arc their hoses
high enough to put out the ferris wheel,
but up there, at the top, there is no fire
and there can be no water. Most of the old people
understand this confusing truth,
and that is why they sit there
and let flies settle in their glasses
and let the beer go flat
just so they can tell me
that the town you're born in
is the only town you'll ever really live in
and though you might hear of other places
and know people from them,
and even go there to live, all of that
is an illusion, and really you have never left.
Being Texans, they actually believe this.

Young people, to, think they are wise
about all kinds of things, and even though
they are wrong, this is a kind of wisdom
and it cannot be reproduced. In the tattoo
parlor, they relieve themselves
of the responsibility of owning their bodies,
and instead leave the big decisions
up to the pin-ups, battleships and wildebeasts
now taking up space on their thighs and forearms.

A tornado came through here once.
Not really, but it could have. Tornadoes are always
showing up. They never ask if they can stay,
and I guess they never stay that long, but they leave a mess,
an indelible impression everywhere that they go.
I am not like this. I try not to leave stains anywhere,
or marks on the floor, and although I am
unsuccessful, when I leave a particular area
it's as if I was never there, and whatever
I have done gets attributed to someone or something
else. This makes it incredibly easy to start fires,
and I have started many of them, but there are always
more, every day, that I haven't started,
and that's how I make peace with the idea of it.

My state has a long and interesting history.
At one point, many of us attacked
the Mexican army while they were asleep.
At Goliad, several of us surrendered
and were executed by the Mexicans.
This seems to have upset some people.
I'm sure they didn't mean any harm. It's just that
in the course of history, bad things happen
and people get hurt, often by other people.
If I have learned anything, and I have,
it's that worrying about the consequences
of these actions is not really a good way
to spend your time. There are so many
important things to eat. There are so many
important things to drink. If you don't
take advantage of these items, somebody else
probably will.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

One Hundred and Fifty Third Entry

Still hanging in there, like that little kitty on the branch in the motivational poster.
This last poem at read at Amy Lawless' Control Reading Series. You should all go to it. it's muy bueno.

p.s. the Weather Wand is a weapon used by DC supervillain the Weather Wizard. I don't actually know if that has any relevance.

Here's my poem:


There is a wheel made of thirty spokes,
meant not to roll across the muddy street.
Its time is measured by a general weathering;
as the wood chips and whitens, the wheel
eventually leaves the apartment, nuzzled
in our sneaker treads, warm like baby mammals
in the folds of their mothers in the wild
being photographed by biologists from England.

Everything is constructed with a purpose, even
tiny balls of discarded gum, discarded
by the not-so-careless fingers. And most of it
cannot stand up to rain. Rain is created almost
everywhere. The way it lands on the face, the way
it follows the unseen tear-grooves in the cheeks
and eventually makes its way to the ground to pool
does not, in the grand scheme, matter very much.
Seriously, there is no god.

Strange to think that sweat and saliva
have a part to play, but they actually do.
How is it sunny when the shadows don't rustle
us from sleep? The sleeping body does not know
the weather, trapped in the perpetual keel-haul
of the oxygen-free subconscious. Rain will never
enter into the mind's convoluted understanding
of rain. Scientists and doctors are currently
and have for some time been studying the purpose
of sleep, but in a way the mind will never know
the effects of, say, a tornado or rainbow. Might
be easier to explain illusions to the blind.

If there was a god, I'm not sure he would really
care about the weather's effects. Or me. Sleep
is difficult to come by in the presence of storms.
That is one reason why I stopped creating them. That,
and my own misunderstanding of time. I used to feel
there would always be time for this or that, but certain
thises or thats will never come again, and this
upsets me very much when, in the shadow provided
by my window shade, I try with a palpable effort
to return to the one place I can and by turns cannot
control the weather, landscape and changing cast
of characters which is, in case it's not obvious,
where I would rather be right now.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

One Hundred and Fifty-Second Entry

Good Morning, Blog.

Going to the Armory Show today, that should be both expensive and fun. Here's a wonderful found poem from a Norwegian phrase book I found at the Reanimation Library. It's in Carroll Gardens, oddly enough, about a block from where I used to live, at the Proteus Gowanus gallery.

Here's my poem:


We have not much money.
Here are three stamps.
I have some money in my purse.
How many books have you there?
What has the boy in his pocket?
There is a light in the room.
Are the children at home?
The boys have no money.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

One Hundred and Fifty-First Entry

I've been staying up very late lately. Who knows why? This poem is part of my Fit to Print series. I bought a new totally manual typewriter, and it's inspiring me to write, mostly fiction, but this poem as well. Peace and hair-grease.

Here's my poem:


No effort, and we wander.
Our first instinct is to bend like thin fronds
towards the computer, but I don't. Pennsylvania
clinched it. Let words slip down the grease-slick stairs
of our cities. The cloth has been lifted,
and the dust will land on our shelves
like a form of snow never recognized.

I could take the branch in my mouth,
chewing the bark until it and my teeth gave way.
Later the break in weather came, the redness
as multiple scarves were left, their tartans
fading in the halls of the community space.
No work for the week, the delegates eager
to leave to the hills, their altars
buried under their skin and suits.
The office itself takes on a haunted glow,
the manager predicts harmony among tribes,
but his seeing bones were raw, fresh
from the sockets, winter surprises like a sudden door.

My bones are in excellent condition; they glimmer
inside me and shine out upon reflection with the moon.
What is your building like, when you're not there
to turn the lights on? What is being worshiped
by the steel? I don't care too much about the answer,
it's the asking that indicates direction. Which is always up.