a poem about mozart and poplars

The cat investigates the phonograph
She can’t decide if she likes Mozart
Sniffs at the rotating record

I am reading Kenneth Rexroth
And marveling at his detail
He remembers everything that happens
At his imaginary parties
And like most poets
Talks of poplars

there was a period of time
When all my friends wrote
About poplars
I would say
“You live in Texas.
There aren’t any fucking poplars here.”
But they thought it sounded literary
And indeed it is the most literary tree

I shoo the cat away from the phonograph
She meows in disapproval
I tell her she can deal with it

a poem about boiled eggs

A poem about boiled eggs

What strange alchemy happens in those boiling shells that renders the soft soup of embryo to a hardened jelly?
Any scientist who claims to know this process is a liar and a con artist.
The mysteries contained within the walls of that brittle housing aren’t meant for our understanding.
If a human were to grasp the mechanisms of a boiling egg, they would immediately reach Nirvana and transcend the material plane.
I keep my boiled eggs in a plastic bag, moistened by steamy condensation from the cooking process.
That way the eggs feel at home.
It’s like they never left the shell.
I take all the broken shells from years back and construct a great and beautiful man-sized shell.
I incubate my dreams in the shell.
That’s where I live.

Quarantine Blues

I guess the good part is
that I’m reading more.
There’s a biography of Lenin
by Tariq Ali that’s spectacular.
I read it on a beat up
ipad I got off ebay
with my stimulus check.

There’s nothing left to watch
on all the streaming services.
I watched everything I can stomach.
It pours out the screen in a
stultifying slurry.
I don’t want to go all Adorno
but every TV show is trash.

On the rare occasions I go outside
my minor problems are put in perspective.

I live in a low income neighborhood
and I’ve noticed new homeless people about.
There are the usuals: Jojo, Albert, Stephanie.
But now there are new homeless people.
And I mean people who are very new
to being homeless.
People are being forced out of their
homes at an alarming rate.

It’s continually baffling to me
that there are people without homes
at all.
It doesn’t make sense.
The resources are there.
But the love of exploitation is all too alluring.

NaPoWriMo Struggle Session [blog]

Now that National Poetry Writing Month is over, I thought it would be cool to take a look back at what was achieved, what was learned, and what could be done better… not necessarily in that order.

So for those who don’t know, the goal is to write 30 poems in 30 days. I did not achieve that goal this year. I think I wrote 30 pieces of writing, but a few were not poems. I guess a couple could have been poems if I added more line breaks. But still, in the strictest interpretation of the rules of NaPoWriMo, I did fall short of the goal.

However, it seems pertinent to interrogate what the point of NaPoWriMo actually is. This is going to be different for different people. But to me the points are to write more, write better, and to develop a rhythm within yourself, both in the writing and in the production of the writing.

To this point, I feel that I succeeded. I definitely wrote more. And that was awesome. I wrote some utter garbage, but I also wrote some things that I am truly proud of. And I developed a new writing routine that really suits my life at this moment.

Since I decided to do the exercise publicly on WordPress, I got to meet a lot of cool people and got some really interesting feedback in the comments section. This was my favorite part of the project.

Now I feel empowered to go forward and write more stuff in public. I don’t know if I’m going to keep the same grueling schedule that NaPoWriMo demanded of me. But with my new routine and my new friends, I’m really looking forward to what happens next. As cheesy as that is.

Motivational Speech [monologue]

(LIGHTS UP. The stage of the Quarantine Theatre is empty. M L Woldman goes to CENTER STAGE wearing a ragged thrift store business suit that doesn’t fit right. He’s wearing one of those tiny microphones that stick to the side of the face as if by douche bag magic.)

Welcome back to the Quarantine Theatre. I like what you’ve done with your hair. It’s very distinctive.

I asked you here today because I saw an ad on Facebook that told me I should be a motivational speaker. And seeing as I always do what Facebook ads tell me to do, I decided that I’m going to motivate the shit out of you today. So look out! Motivation is coming at ya!

(He pauses a beat and looks around, unsure of what to say next.)

Do you like my suit? I think it exudes a certain motivational gravitas. That’s one thing you can say about people in suits. They always look so motivated. Wearing suits, waiting impatiently, on business calls, checking watches, being shitty to people in the service industry… these are the signs of a motivated person.

So how do you become a motivated person? Well, it helps if your parents were motivated professionals who worked nonstop throughout your childhood and who treated you like an unwelcome house guest. That way you can learn from an early age to supplant material reward in place of love. This will allow you to crush underfoot any ethical encumbrances in your pursuit of capital.

(As he says the following section, he slowly takes off his jacket, tie and button-down shirt.)

But that’s just one kind of motivation. That’s the motivation that poisons the world. There are other motivations out there that don’t get as much play.

What motivates you? Is it love, light, truth, beauty, art, equity, and human connection? Or is it venality, avarice, vengeance, spectacle, and atomization? Is it some weird combination?

We’re all motivated by something at any given point. That’s just the human drive. Even if you’re too depressed to get out of bed, depression is motivating you to stay in bed.

(As he takes off his shirt, he reveals a t-shirt underneath which reads “Choose your motivation.”)

The most empowering thing I can tell you now is that you can choose your motivation; and that doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason.

Our culture fetishizes action.

“Make sure you’re doing things all the time. Don’t stop to think about why you’re doing these things. Don’t consider the implications of your actions. Just produce.”

So it’s important to stop for a minute. Look at what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Ask yourself if you’re happy with your methods and motivations.

Because there is no magic more powerful than your examined will exacted with clarity and heart.