Monthly Archives: December 2012

Butchers

The working class

Are butchers

Carving pork butt,

Forever trying

To make ends meat.

Social Etiquette

At the party,
you’re shoved into a room
because your feet keep pushing you around,
because they’re bossy and without direction,
because they realize that, without them,
you would never stand up for yourself.

The room has nothing for you,
and you,
nothing for it.

The only other organisms
are sewn into the bushel of beige carpet
and nestled under the rims of beer bottles,
solidified in cells of saliva.

Your feet push toward the hall
when another organism,
similar in size,
froths forward into the room
by the same footy misfortune.

You hesitate departure,
pretending your placement has purpose,
only to clear your throat
and let out a single interested hum,
looking at pictures on the wall
as if you’re still the only one:
a compulsive fidget of acknowledgement,
impersonal, impassive and indirect –
like being thirteen and uncomfortably shifting
your position on the couch
while watching a sex scene
in a movie
with your parents.

Turn to leave again,
orphaning your bottle
to its brethren.

Make eyes for the first time,
raise brows,
half smile,
as not to be rude.
Leave.

“Homeless in Sacramento”

harpers-march-2011

This is a poem I wrote based on the March 2011 feature article in Harper’s Magazine. The poem and the article go by the same name.

“Homeless in Sacramento”

I wander the streets, looking for pieces of copper and silver;
I can eat as long as change remains the only constant.
Although,
There’s often more change in my life than in my pocket,
Because the currency of change is predetermined by possessions.

And have very little.

No abode with a basement…
No permanent placement…
Consequently my circumstances change constantly.

Even the constellations, which I myself will arrange
Into figures I’ve fashioned – some normal, some strange –
That broaden my roof to an infinite range
Change:
Perceivably one degree west every night.

There is but one quality I envy in such physical laws:
Stability.
Unfortunately,
State laws imitate the inconsistent chaos of homelessness;
Their similarity in polarity causes forces between them to repel.
– The forces of a place to sleep –
– The forces of helpful humanitarians –
– The forces of a decent meal –
All are repelled by laws administered by a force known as ‘police’.

Until their law coincides with physical law
I will always be a victim of change.