Sunday, December 1, 2013

Tupelo Press 30/30 Project (Scroll Down for the First 5 Poems)

Hi Kids,

I've just started a month long poetry marathon called the Tupelo Press 30/30 project. I’m going to write a new poem every day in December and all of them will appear on the project website (you can see my face here and find the poems somewhere in here [or just scroll down in this post]).

The project is also a fundraiser to help Tupelo Press do what they do (printing interesting books, defending the cause of poetry, validating my existence, etc.), so I made a goal to raise $400 through the course of the month.

I hate, hate, hate asking for money, so to ease my conscience a bit I'm offering a bit of a payback system for anybody who wants to help:

  • A $15 donation gets you a poem dedication (I'll write "For ______" at the beginning of the poem).
  • A $20 donation will get you a poem written about you or the subject of your choosing.
  • A $35 donation will get you the above, plus I will write and send you your own poem (a new one that won't appear on the site).
  • A $50 donation will get you the above, plus a kiss, and I will write the new poem on fancy paper and mail it to you so you can keep it forever (Christmas presents, people), AND I will send you a hand made chapbook of all 31 poems when I finish.
  • A $99 donation gets you all of the above and 9 books of your choosing from Tupelo Press.
If you want to do one of these ^ please let me know and I will write you down. First come, first served.

There are three ways to donate:

1 - Subscribe to Tupelo Press by going HERE, filling everything out, and remembering to put my name in the "comments" field.
  • You get 9 books for $99. You can choose the 2013 series, another year's series, or just handpick 9 books that sound good to you.
2 - Complete the Tupelo Press Donation Form by going HERE, filling everything out, and remembering to put my name in the "honor" field.
  • You can choose the amount (be sure to tell me if you're over $15 so I can give you your reward) and submit it.
3 - Donate Using PayPal by going HERE, clicking on the orange link that says "Quick Donation via PayPal," and remembering to put my name in the "message" field.
  • Yay.
You can get a tax receipt for items 2 & 3 (not 1, since you get 9 books) by providing your mailing address when you donate.


Please don't feel any pressure whatsoever to donate. If nothing else, just follow the poems and enjoy your December.


Poem 1


Not long ago, the wind was full
of things: leaves mostly, occasionally
a plastic bag. It filled them
the way wind does, imitating water  

and, some nights, pausing

to consider itself, accidentally
sharing with the ground
all the once wind-filled things.

Morning makes its way
through my skeleton, the wind blows
what’s left of the unseen sunrise
into my unprotected eyes.
Keep your finality, I can still see
through you and into the future.
Poem 2


     —For Chellee

A song that is not your own
picks its way through a crowd

almost shrouded at the edge of one
fire’s reach. The outdoor amphitheater
lends itself to leaning forward,
a patient strumming at the tipping point.
This is all of us: landlocked.
Here the boundaries are built of dirt,
there are two tomorrows, stars
in their normal places and farther
downhill and through the trees
more stars bounce off the lake.
Between verses I remember
you are left handed: some would say
your guitar is strung backward
but your fingers fit the chord
without a first glance, the way the blind read
braille, another language we don’t speak.
A song is no religion, but close
enough to soften rocks
or at least coax them from the water
you have chosen for your backdrop.
Silence keeps the secret of itself
in the tree line. The fire burns.
If we waited long enough
you could show us the size of darkness.


Poem 3


The crosswalk lines, newly painted
in a warmer month, dissolve.
That is no way to say it
but to say decay is too much
against the shadows stretching
into what was once an afternoon.
I am the only quiet thing
left in this city. I want to sleep
the way I always sleep: curled
away from nothing or something
without a heartbeat. Not now.
Around the corner a house (not yellow
enough to be yellow, too yellow
to call it cream) sits. That is all.
It sits. On the other side of a fence
two tennis nets sag, the weight of color
lifted long ago, the way it leaves
the beards of young men and every tree
that has not learned of permanence
through release. I am nearly home.
There, where the yard starts, movement
pried my gaze from the concrete once:
I thought it might have been a bird
choosing not to fly away in fear.
It was a leaf, something heavier
holding it down just enough, too much.

Poem 4, which contains a secret message.

I’ll Call You Back

                    —For Danielle (You asked for it.)

 Certain duties have me
Restrained for the time being.
After dinner I was forced to
Poop in someone else’s house.

Ordinarily, I’d stay on the line, but
Ring me in fifteen?

Going here is all off. I’m impeded,
Every side an obstacle: a crotch-encroaching sink,
Toilet paper disorientation, texts.

Oh, my feet have fallen asleep
Five minutes sooner than normal.
Fear settles in. Is someone outside?

That was a footstep. They know I’m here.
Hum and haw, run the water, pray it doesn’t

Press forward, push onward, forget
Or repress the phone-sized splash in my panic:
The door isn’t locked.


Poem 5, whose title has two meanings.


In darkness I feel the human desire
to diagram the heart, an artist’s
rendering, beautiful and incomplete
enough to label the ruptures without
naming them. It is possible
to feel guilty for being wronged. Try
catharsis in the old sense of the word:
sketch the necks of geese.
I stole that line from a gallery—
it fled an open mouth, I found it
in the stealing place. I wrote it down.
When I kneel at my bed at night
I do not ask for justice. Justice hovers
out of focus, out of sight.



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