Posts Tagged American Culture

Recursive Empty

Down, count me
red nursery down,
count me hel-
tearing off my  strings, leaving
darkened blue regret.

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Friday Afternoon at Costco

I know it’s

me — the people with

anger that

mangles my

nerves — attacked by carts, wanting

to curl down and die.

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Take a Look in the Mirror – Meditation on Mean People Pushing Their Big Carts Around at Costco

I see self,

but this moment, I’m

so oddly

kind, gentle,

I know that inside of me

is meaner than they.

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I Try Not to Slip Away from Who I Want to Be


We fixed you,

made you modern.

What would the windows do

when you have aluminum?


And lines, old lines, tan split by old,

above-ground lines, split by a

telephone pole, hand-carved sitting

by the door that would not allow you in

unless you showed your whole face

in the tiny box.


Oh but we opened a nice front

on the side and more aluminum

and now there are sadly-ripped papers

glued and taped to that window,


that door and the painting

on the window

look so stale, as if to be dead.


We gave you plenty of spots

but you sit there with

empty slices of bored, and

sleepy gravel,

waiting for action,

waiting for

the brightness of the energy

we need. And then,


and then,

and then,

would you watch that concrete

on the front?


Did we fix you, old man, or what?

No more curves or gaps or carvings.

We gave you 50s slab,

and if you don’t like it,

bang your head against that slithery, slimy wall.


until you bleed,

and the aluminum

laughs at you again and again.




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America, 2016, Unnumbered, Crashing Crumbles Aboard My Late Train


from concrete, crumbles

spray grain dust,

curling light,

crushing spirits that fly, creeps

crimping my dead brain.




Yet another Dystopia Today shot from the amateur Carl in some very small town (somewhere hidden in the midwest) sometime late in the Summer of 2016.

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America, 2016, #2 – On Gravel to Avoid the Hit



One in front

of the other they

said and no

one would love

me again, tossed I am on

rusty grills.



Carl’s dystopia today shot near Gibbon, Nebraska, September 2016



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How Might I Squash That Fear?

Later, I remem-

ber being stricken

by dread of

what they felt:

How much did they spy rummag-

ing beneath the crust?

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Why I’m Not a Good Spectator at Poetry Readings

I’m here early. Observing
in a disinterested
way, or trying to appear

that way. The students, I want
to be one, and the hippies,
the hippies and a dead nylon

smell. Nothing wrong
with green hair but it bothers
me that it’s a fashion statement
while being anti-fashion, and I’m

anti-, anti-social because
I’m fearful of people I
don’t know, because I’m a
chicken without a mind,

perhaps intriguing on the
inside but flat as a board
in these chatty situations,
and all of this makes me

want to hate myself, especially
when George
won’t have the courtesy
to say hi to me. He is

the weirdo who was happy
to see me unofficially
kicked out of the writing
group. I hate him almost

because I set out
my weakness for
him, he being a similar,
bizarre character, and he

dismissed me,
the scoundrel.

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Riffed Out of Easy

Listening to loud Middle
Class Rut, wishing I
could run away to
their fields of play.

Some things are simple,
blare with clarity,
and they’re impossible.

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Insanity Sparkled by Banal Trivialities

I declare up
front that this is an essay. Essays appealed to me
during one part of my life when other things were important to me. It’s been weeks
since I wrote a poem and months
since I wrote a good one, and my last
effort at a series secretly unveiled my current world where nothing is important to me.

I thought I couldn’t write
poetry because my depression was in
remission. When the depression becomes most disturbing, the evil
fingers of all of the nerves crawling through me seem
to force me to write. And then after I’ve written, I feel


Is this god’s design for this worthless mortal?

It’s an odd cycle:
feel relief,
hate the writing,
quit writing,
enter remission causing inordinate amounts confidence in my Superman powers in creation of recovery,

inadvertently encounter some minor and inconsequential
but despicable piece of human behavior,

crash hard,
suffer and here
we are back
to the beginning.

One time remission lasted three weeks, and my joy
was overflowing as I thought, “This is why
people might want to live.” I thought, “I knew
this shit would leave me someday! Everybody
gets better some day! All of my recovery
work is paying off! I’m human!” 

And right when I start questioning what kind of god it was
that has pushed me into unfathomable joy,


(I have a question for you: do you know what I describe when I say Crash? Let’s pause on Crash.)

Then I feel like a victim, the idiot in a con
game, where the trickster is able
to repeatedly make me feel as though I am progressing, when
really, the spiral only goes right back
to the sick depths of insanity. It
never goes up for
long, and right when it stretches
my credulity, it strikes out
for the bottom,
for the basement,
a shadowy world
always deeper
than the last one.

So I’ve just had another crash, and I’ve been coaching myself to ignore it. Just think
of the others, any others, even the mean others, and try
to help the others. There will be no pain.

So I zip myself into the trivial. This includes my day
job. It includes raking the leaves, watching the Chiefs lose and thinking
this might bond me with some community out there, and seeing all of the terrible
muckraking of Facebook, or the grandest triviality ever fashioned
by man, Twitter,
but even those Trivialites, who enjoy those
snowflake machines, think I am a worthless
clown looking for my own gravesite.

Then I think, “Why I’ll write like my
heroes did. I’ll write grandly,” but these tiny
insects bite at my brain cells and tell me I’d have more
success flying to India and becoming

a heroin addict.

I’ve been the sickest of addicts before, and I won’t go
back there, so it is death or fool
myself into doing the greatest triviality of all, writing trashy
poems and getting lucky every
hundred or so, and seeing my humanity in a
poem and feeling as though
creating this crap is worth something.

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