Artbystander
Salt Water

And then

this memory of a Paul Simon

song playing on a Bose

radio while

the cool winds blew in from

the creek reminded

us that saltwater isn’t a dream

instead something so magnificent

and potent and without

a nation or an identity, but

instead this great bouquet

of everything splendid in the skin

it seeps through, the grass and your flesh

and the moon hanging so low

it isn’t clear whether it’s above

the water or underneath it.

This is how I imagine life should be

a collection of detached memories inspired

by the colorful and artful moments

of the world at large, trying to think

of your friends being good

and doing good

while the night meanders and the mornings

smile, the curve of the earth twirling

around an axis of fate and bone,

muscle and sinew

thunder and roaring ocean breaks,

rustling leaves deep in the forests

of our lingering memories

the common dense of it all.

Gatsby #trailerpark

the importance of anger and apathy.

a poem for Zachary Cohen

your footsteps are like echoes
a ticking clock in an empty house
hours earlier the sun has fallen
and strolling down an avenue towards
infinity you no longer care about wallets
and missed calls
questions or the unbearable need for answers

do you remember that night
when we drank whiskey in Brooklyn
and you flirted with some Puerto Rican girl
who was married with kids
I tried speaking Spanish
to her, but all I really wanted
was to black out and wrap myself
twice in that tweed coat
I’d bought

and so maybe it’s important to love
or be loved
to not be the same as your parents
but to maintain  a certain moral turpitude
like the villagers of days yore

but I remember evenings
wine stunk in pocket park
reading poems from a memo
pad and imagining Che Guevara
was riding in my ephemeral sidecar

another night, San Francisco breezes
the ocean’s stink and seals bark
as I lay on a bench and drank straight
out of a bottle of sweet 2 dollar port
a whole poem in my blood
and negative space upholding my neck

to care is something different I think.
money is a curse of adulthood
someone  should shout fuck you at the banks
I spit on the ATM and pee in garbage cans
buy leather shoes and stick them in the fire
whilst still on my feet

Driving through Nebraska at 18
all I could imagine was something that never could be
do you remember the smell of pages
the stacks of I.O.U.’s and the rivers
of filth flowing through the crescents of our moons?
Do you recall the thunder of rain on
air-conditioner units?

Do you say I love you to the meanings?
in queens she was raped while all the neighbors
watched, but a recent study proved that it wasn’t
apathy, it was faith in others that allowed it to go
unreported

faith that someone else will do what you wish you might do should you do anything

I listen to music
I write novels
I make money
I am a poem
I drink because I have nothing better to do
I drink to black out
I drink to drink

Whiskey and wine remind me that America
can cushion a fall as long as you admit you’re falling
Europe will burn
and so will New York

remember 1977
and the world is all a cycle

nothing is new
money money money
better make sure they pull the net

I want to fall into the abyss

do you smell the rivers mush
the refineries cough
and the powerplants whirr?

On 1st avenue
it’s easy to fall in love
if you don’t try to

I walked all night
until my toes bled and my body ached
across bridges and under
highways searching for a reason
to believe
at the end of it
all I heard were footsteps
and the echoes of those footsteps

and the sound of my voice
reciting a litany of verse
from the columns of my mind

A Poem On A Friday

It’s hard sometimes, writing poems on the fly, a night time bender, the moon hidden behind lights and clouds with puffed out chests, the inherent violence of life, incumbent charm, a father in a chair sleeping to college football, weather the whether will be weathered

noontime drinks in the yard, kicking dry leaves, autumn chill and gray clouds, a wind whipping eastwards towards the sea, the smell of chimney smoke and cinnamon and dust. the water of the sewers singing like a waterfall

The word “and” can be used like an accelerator pedal, dumping words like fire on the dry eyes of a dimly lit house, thimbles full of tears, drinking the salt like wine. God never called and if he did would you even take the call, when elevators ascend the midnight hustle of your lowly lived life.

silverware, and candles, the blur of conversations and how the voice can grind one’s own ears when at the end of a sentence he can truly hear himself trailing off.  The news on a nationally broadcast station reporting terror to two year olds, lives dumped in the wreckage of a medium.

The Star Floater by Jon Allen, 30”x40”, acrylic.  Great young artist living up in Massachusetts.  #art

The Star Floater by Jon Allen, 30”x40”, acrylic.  Great young artist living up in Massachusetts.  #art

A Poem on Youth

fragile like a beaker
bored like a blade of grass

the summer is not so far away
in milk stained bowls
the wallowing of stinking sinks
rumbles with tectonic shifts
plates crackling
beneath broken toenails

I want to give thanks
thanks for this job I spend too much time at
for the dreams I’ve watched in the windows of my eyes fade into the distance
for poetry, like a lover that’s slighted me
for William Burroughs
and the ideas that nothing is worth a lick because we’ll all be dead

In the boulevards of Hollywood the crown weighs heavy
wealth is the language of love and adoration
multiplying children
scatter over granite sidewalks
unaware of their parents broken marriage
and the ideals of a whole country crumbles

I miss the rivers of my youth
The Hudson and Harlem River
The Mississippi
the peacefulness of water, cool
breezes cutting splinters down the spine

supine memories
undone by adulthood
coming to on the shoulder of some freeway
wearing coffee stained clothes
and water filling green eyes
unsure of the future
and attached to history

fragile like a glass spine
bored like a redwood. 

New Poem: Current Affairs 3.9.2011

America’s political and military goals
seem
d i s c o n n e c t e d from
the situation
on
the ground in
Afghanistan.

Eleven people
died
in fighting
that broke out
during a protest
by Christians over
the
burning of a church.

A legislative effort
by
companies providing the loans
has been met
with
vigorous
opposition
from
insurance companies
and chambers of commerce.

Beatings
and shootings
begin
in demonstrations
that had been
relatively
peaceful.

Alarm
over the condition
of a
turtle
that scientists
say could be more than a century old
has prompted an
urgent effort
to determine and treat
its ailments.

Human Rights Watch says
the country faces a “crisis of impunity” that has festered for decades.

Eighteen young men
and teenage boys
have been charged with participating in the
GANG RAPE
of an 11-year-old girl,
which was recorded on
telephones.

The fast-moving fire
broke out
while the mother was milking cows
and the father was taking a nap nearby
in a milk delivery truck, the authorities said.

An estimated one million sardines
turned up dead Tuesday
in a Southern California
marina, creating a floating
feast for pelicans,
gulls
and other sea life
and a stinky mess
for harbor authorities.

Bank of America executives said on Tuesday
that a government idea to write off tens
of billions worth of mortgage debt
was unworkable and warned that
it would be unfair to untroubled borrowers.

Use red or green cabbage in this comforting vegan dish.

Her name is Wisdom,
and she also bore chicks
in 2008,
2009 
and 2010

another night spent thinking

Under the lights
everything reflects
blindly

a morning like afternoon
afternoon like night
night like sleep
and no sleep

The ocean used to be close
now it is far
a forest used to rest by my back door
now a single tree sways under California sun
grass used to smell like stale cereal
now it feels plastic and looks too green

And even though thunder
is invisible
the thickness of its sounds
send shudders through our vision
another night spent thinking
about lives worth living

Though the list isn’t a list
I miss the smell of wind
the feeling of sea water
the smile of a copper beech
and the luxury of tall grass dancing
in the gusts of late spring and
early autumn.

the evening dances
orange light bouncing timber
analogous tearful faith

Even if she were true…

Texas radios
telecaster guitars
the element of chance on a
subway ride home from Brooklyn
with some fat bike messenger type
with tattooed legs and a chain
loosely belted around his waste

you’re in new york city kid
from the day you arrive
til the day you die
no salt water pacific sunset
is gonna change that, the N
train on September 11th
nursing a monster hangover
after another

night spent at the Cedar
some freckled girl angrily awakened
in a red morning sun rise
end of summer gaminess
and the responsibility
of early adulthood
commenting on your sore back.

The early sunrises of Santa Monica
come on like a bad cold, gradual
and gentle, nothing like those
blistering summer Sundays
on Avenue A with Doc Holidays and
Niagara pouring 2 for 1s
and little hip chicks
wearing spaghetti tops
and jean shorts,

waiting for the brunch in some
outdoor cafe
heads floating like balloons
and their eyes dark and sunken
like jack-o-lanterns
on a humid indian summer night.

I am alone
i was alone
i will always be alone
even when you are in my arms
even when i can hear you in the other room
even when you’re banging pots and pans and making a squash soup
even when you weep and i stare blankly at the cracked paint on the wall
even when you leave and you say you just need time to figure it out.

and oh those new york city nights
when i’ve walked the 40 blocks home
and I have cold sweat on my back
and the apartment is hot and dank and
looming
miles above the taxi cabs and car horns and pedestrians
smoking and screaming and stumbling with hands knotted together all fumbly and weird
like copper wires in an old home wired by a cataract-ed ex-marine named Carl

and still, drunken and stumbling and slurring words
at the typer there was purpose, she was in the bathroom
and you sat down and just started telling a story
with no purpose but to make something up no matter
how ugly or depressing or pointless it was,

just to create the rhythm of phrases
jagged
and butting up against one another
like a fevered fight when everyone is screaming
like a pack of wolves.

She is gone, the memory of her
isn’t even real, it just was something
you/I made up and even if she were true
she’s back in New York City or more likely moved out to a brownstone
in Brooklyn with her new husband
and they baby they dressed up like a pumpkin
for Halloween.

~ Craig A. Platt, 11.1.2010