All Contents (c) Martin Grider 1997
Editor's Note: The works contained herein are recent (to the date of
publication). This is not a selected works, or representative
2207 Roosevelt St. NE
Mpls. MN, 55418
Table of Contents:
RELATIVELY FINISHED POEMS
UNFINISHED POEMS FROM VARIOUS JOURNALS
FRAGMENTS & SENTENCES
ON BEING A POET
RELATIVELY FINISHED POEMS
ar-dent (är-dent) adj.
1. Expressing or characterized by warmth of feeling; passionate.
2. Displaying or characterized by strong enthusiasm or devotion; fervent.
3.a. Burning; fiery. b. Glowing; shining.
-American Heritage Dictionary
Stretched taught muscles,
Chorded bands of withdrawn power
Seep in on a waiting couple -- like
Oily sea serpents; suddenly
Tenderness is transformed brashly
From silken to searing, each caress
Carries the weight of a hundred pounds.
Lover's arms are factory arms, steel lovers
Bending beneath the blacksmith's hammer.
Rolling Over onto Seventeenth St.
humped out morning
layer after layer of fat and sweat
stucco sheets stick
gauntlet dreams hover
Morning foil dances,
my skin shinny, crinkling,
taking texture of tinfoil --
hurts my teeth when I bite it.
Gold on the sidewalk, someone's
trapped below there,
hands and face pressed upward, hair
embedded in bedrock.
I am a dumpling,
morning gravy smothers me.
Mother of pearl is the freeway,
mother of light,
she strings her darlings along
atop spear-like cradles,
Children of wonder and
dawn after midnight,
bastard skid marks and
Stars in my Stomach
Considerably missing stars
underneath ceiling's veil.
City rooftops and high streetlight-umbrellas
push the canopy of sky back,
hide it with dark gray sandpaper.
After spring handstands I used to suffer
light's tapering tadpoles.
Maybe one night in a dream
I swallowed stars, now
when I'm upside down they unsettle
falling to the edges of my eyes.
walked in on someone in the bathroom
"Excuse me Sir!
My consequences are more dire
Guitaur-boat a sail on the
puddle of books on my floor.
Oil words mixing
some rise. Some words
are so dense they carry passengers.
You can turn my tangerine heart to marmalade.
sticky-orange-juice in my ears,
filling my cucumber every time you're
You make me feel freshly squeezed,
eat my pulp
Warmth of a Secluded Star,
Champagne and Rotted Cheese
Her jaw is set for him. Her jaw is set for me.
She regrets a month and denied future. She regrets in
six months and two remaindered years.
She sparks when you compliment her, like a metal saw
or propane torch. On her, compliments have lost
their finish, worn through to wooden disbelief.
Her legs are skinny, she says she should be happy.
Her legs are stout, muscular, she insists
there is no hope for us.
I have never seen you huddled so small.
(You are likely a twentieth
the volume of this room.)
To me you are a large person:
I only see you from inside your embrace.
Sitting over there, head hunched,
eyes glazed and glued to a tiny screen,
I think of you for the first time as small.
I compare you to the universe
as I so often compare myself.
A dream in which
I slink across a washboard floor
under the tables of Valhalla.
Past boots of war heroes,
brushing boots of gods,
I dine on holy scraps of meat
thrown aside for dogs.
Nature on Glass
Wind swept window
showing scratches like a record--
eight stories up.
She is sixty,
she lives the greatest love of her life.
-Title attributed to Anna Swir.
Back-hand, alley-ridden block,
his torrent on the corner,
from the paneless window above Snyder Drug:
Positionally, she should be serenading him,
instead he sings to her as she walks by.
The greatest love is unrehearsed, out of key,
nearly blind, and deaf as a fart.
No eyes look up, no foot-stepping stops.
The old man without teeth
could be singing to the rain.
Dying is the hardest work.
-Title attributed to Anna Swir.
not once moldy, flesh crept,
not once crypt met me.
No fish in my galoshes, no sandwiches, no eyes
in empty sockets,
no skulls or sickles crashing
heavily or silently --
none bore down against that door.
No, I drape my life, what's left of it,
on the back of my arm-chair,
and I sweat years.
Eulogy on South Padre Island
I forgot to thank the Gulf of Mexico,
for its days when I splashed,
nights, when it sent me the moon.
I forgot to thank sand dunes on South Padre Island
for hide-and-seek, running
up over their tops, jumping barefoot.
I forgot to thank salt
that clung to me; the road
allowing us to explore; the restaurant
that stood precariously on a cliff
for seagulls in its parking lot.
I forgot to thank Grandpa,
worst of all, for his scratchy face,
and guayaberas we wore only hesitantly.
I have already cheated a little, but I thought I'd save about half of
this chapbook for various poems, poetic fragments, and poetic sayings
which have appeared in my various journals recently. Many of the previous
poems got their starts in much the same fashion, but this is the raw
stuff, the unfettered dream stuff, the intangible tangibles, and the stuff
I just don't want to take the time to edit further and call completed
poems. Mostly it's my desire to rush to the press (so to speak) which
causes me to print these in this form, but also I think there is a
quality to some of these lines-phrases-which is very poetic, while not
quite qualifying for completed work.
4/29/97 FROM A BUS DRIVER
They can't handle me on the 5.
Say the 5's a dangerous route,
not when I'm driving.
I have 'em all up in the isles
rollin' around -
Incense makes sense
wiping away a sense
with the more powerful.
On desk of platinum aromas,
the root smell of rank foot
takes top billing, the studious smell
of koke refinery second, that familiar sulfur smell...
I have heard someone say they could smell chalk in a classroom.
I can't. But I do smell spring. I smell rain.
I can smell winter on the edge of happening.
Today is spread thin.
I am melting butter on toast.
The night's dreams explode
like flowers recorded blooming and played back at high speeds.
1/28/97 GLASS BOTTOMED BOAT
reek of the rifts between rafts of choral
reefs in the sea both fragile and floral
immortal rocks of dead bodies drown
blaze by with gaze turned upside down
What dares intrude upon this romance of sleep?
Which man or beast comes to befuzzle
my counted sheep?
I swim in strange curves
upon dark dusk shores of Absolom;
unfettered wind swings waves over brawn.
From sandy shore emerge I, naked and dry
to push my way through bush and tangled vine-
'till hidden sky.
In deep, a web of green enfolds
--no longer alone--
Speaketh ye, or forever hold your peace:
"I would return from whence I came."
I stand up on my own,
a big boy.
My shoes are tied.
I still trip.
4/21/97 TINY DEMONS WAITING IN YOUR BED
Among bedtime rag dolls,
bear's paw and Ann and Andy,
bedbugs lay in ambush,
briar teeth and antennae.
Things leave his hands
scatter in air,
fall and rise again.
Things live in his flowing aura.
They are not in defiance
of gravity, or
rebellion from physics,
they are simply
following along his arms,
falling into his form.
logic in love with lips
the lusciousness of them,
leaning leering lechers
let logic lie,
I am a lover
stealing of sex.
Pants painting ankles,
velvet vulva dream
makes me drip,
its sausage saliva--
raw white rivals.
4/7/97 CHAT ROOM
my eyes are silver to eat with
chrome plated sex-drives
sex dives in electric escapades
swim in it skinny-boy
come out! onto computer chip clean
chrome craniums hidden
hiding in computers
silenced by keyboards
screaming in pixels
black pixel pupils
perpetrating, pretending, pestering
my eyes are watching hungrily
Loss is loss,
like lavender floss
and curtain-tails in rain;
all sound pretty
but damn-sure silly.
Silliest of all is pain.
In massacres, days twist sideways,
droves of days,
stanzas of days.
Snail-slime time slides by.
Slick but sticky;
tick, and tick, and tick.
Dimes on the sidewalk speak to me.
Their lives are quiet,
spared the suffering shuffling
of cash registers, Levis pockets,
greasy fingers and purses.
Mexican sky, Oh! Spanish sky,
how I long to gaze upon your breast,
millions of twinkling sun-tanned stars
and I'm stuck in the dull Midwest.
European sea, Oh! English sea,
I would I could float on your creamy crest,
you'd whisper me poems and offer me tea,
but here I am studying, instead, your best.
Oriental fire, Oh! Japanese fire,
smoldering beneath a dragon's breath,
your shinny toys like dart-gun eels
slither and strangle our states in your net.
African earth, Oh! home of the earth,
dry dusty prairies with interesting flesh,
tiger and elephant, lion and zebra,
Nature! if you could, grant me death.
4-19-97 SUCH A PERFORMER
I felt small
in a cavern of her charisma
huddled, knees to chest.
It was the first hot day,
my eyelids melting,
the sun shone empty from a manicured sky.
Morning, right away read away,
salient morning peaked by poems--
glory in gluttony.
To satisfy this bone,
poem-bone (mind of its own!)
tomes crawl onto the salient bed
also peaked (ouch!) by poems;
lifted on light and linear words,
I fall all the harder, farther,
landing askew on a lumpy mush of morning.
Birds sing outside in the night's dead.
Poison tipped pine needles
greyly sprout a beak and feathered forehead,
its slide-whistle song must mean something!
On the phone word-caged riddles postpone
our inevitable duet of goodbyes.
face a burr.
until one afternoon
when our faces play velcro--
Your enlightened eyes merge into one;
your smile is vanilla icing.
I read about one man, kissed eleven times by the sky!
How the heavens must have loved him.
A spark of anything seems to make so much more sense than a dull light of
any kind, even if the dull light burns brighter and for longer.
I wonder about flesh, flesh of the street, the city, growing warts like
old junkers, cars with rusted out intestines. I think of them as AIDS
cells, bringing down creatures so much larger than themselves. Matchbox
death in a room full of redwoods stacked, decapitated, strangled.
The scrotum of the city would have to be its schools and campuses, pumping out writhing students in yearly squirts, safely folded in a sack of governmental bureaucracy--ugly but effective.
In the midst of becoming a new person, it is not uncommon to miss your old self.
Fragile words settle empty in my stomach; I need the sustenance of repetition.
Nothing with the intensity of stupidity should be ignored.
You see someone on the street, swear you've seen them before, they make you think about something you haven't thought about in so long, you have to hit yourself, you don't know where you know them from, you don't know why you thought of the things you tho
ught of when you saw them.
* * *
Life is epitomized by the slow rhythm your heart knows at birth.
Seamus, plow poem-fields, till
that excrement of excitement,
what growing words meant,
uproot(s) and grow(s) wings!
5/3/97 IMAGE RIPE
I have had so much of it sticking out!
Mud-stucco, ground swine,
beaver buried synapse trees felled,
convoluted foul-screams in morning.
They dance like prom queens, prom queers,
(the stares when they hold hands!)
It's all fancy tornadoes-whip cream whorlwinds-
welts of sweltering sandwich thoughts
drown like hibernating bears.
With wet wings unwound, I
slither around, dart
in and out, make
rattlesnake and raven sound. I
misguide myth and madness, my
maw is yawning-come inside! I
want to taste your warring perceptions,
stink like a mountain's wind.
Today we have a hard time putting things in
three dimensions. We look from one another to the couches and the chairs.
I imagine them all drawn onto a sheet of paper, in color, in perfect
detail; we move, even an inch, and the picture is redrawn.
Life is reduced to a series of stilled
A poet is sometimes a biographer of things.
Poetry is both real life and the transcendence of real life.
Poetry is evolution of the human language.
Maybe imagination is the sixth sense, and each idea only a reflection or
an interpretation of nerves we don't yet know exist, nerves which
possibly extend beyond our bodies into the world of the subliminal, the
social, and the subconscious.
Some of us make professions out of things too small to see; biologists,
neurologists, molecular anythingists... A poet does this too. Words, of
course, are visible, but the important things are all so small...
Poetry is so simple, how can I do it?
The poet can only know so much. If ever I am certain about something I am
Our mouths pucker, gills only shallowly suck;
these ALLUSIONS are dirty water.
OLD poems are fuzzy at pond's bottom,
you gotta swim down to 'em.
I have written a bunch about my writing
lately. This has, of course, led to a better understanding of it. I found
out recently that I could probably call myself an imagist, although I'm
wary of that because I haven't enjoyed most of the imagists I've read. I
still feel that the poetry I'm trying to write has not yet been written.
I just don't see it. I've never seen it, and I've looked. Sure, there are
a few poets who here and there have a poem that does what I'm trying to
do, but I don't think they realize it. I don't think they pick those
poems out and point to them, saying "Look what I've done!" This is what
Look what I've done!
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