Last Thursday, Maurya Simon read some of her poems about punctuation at Marin Poetry Center. They were delightful. The next morning, I found this darker one from a poet I don’t know:


The comma is a heart murmur, tremor in hamstring. He is an almost; someone
calling in time about the man staggering out of American Bar into traffic—
mouths gasping into headlights.

He is headlights; two boy quickly push off each other. Commas dangling like
belt buckles from their ankled jeans as they run out to the brushes.

More than pause—comma as toddler asleep on crisp sheets, body fetaled in big snow
beneath I-40. Someone should call in time before comma becomes a period,
 ,                                                                                   his legs curled in against his body.

Jake Skeets

Monday Poem

Another gem from Poetry Daily:

God Is Not Right, He Is Big

The news isn’t all bad. July and August
were the hottest months in human history,

but a family found the pet tortoise
that went missing in 1982. The low cloud

above me passes under the high clouds
like a souped-up Civic passing on the right.

I’ve been all over this island and still
have no names for most of the trees.

Continue reading “Monday Poem”

A Haibun

This form, from the Japanese, was originally mostly used for travel journals–prose, then a haiku. But in English-language hands, it has become slipped into a looser form, a new way to write about whatever. Here’s one I particularly like:

On Teaching Poetry In A Men’s High Security Prison

I was searched at every edge. I wanted everyone, including me, to be innocent. One inmate squeezed my hand like a letter he’d been hoping for. In the workshop, he read his poem. I applauded. He hugged me. He smelt of stale soap. Leaning in, his stubble sandpapered my softer jaw. He tells me what he did.

He was drunk the night he blacked out, opened his eyes in the kitchen, his wife who wanted divorce, on the floor, dead. I see his wedding ring. I wish I knew her name so I could plant it here. Continue reading “A Haibun”

Reading Saturday in Oakland

I’m excited to be reading with the amazing Amanda Moore tomorrow at 2 pm at Gearbox Gallery on West Grand. We’ve woven together a reading about birth, childhood, adolescence, marriage and death, based on a reading I heard at the Community of Writers.  I think it’s really going to be fun.

Here’s a sample poem.

Jung on Dying

Is the psyche bound to the body?
Jung thinks not.
In dreams
the psyche travels
unconstrained by matter.
As for death, the unconscious
rejects it.

Those who live as if
the rich cloth of time
were unrolling endlessly before them
are better off.
It’s not a question of belief.

We need salt, he says,
does it matter why?
Food tastes better with it.