I give the morning keynote at the BOOST Conference, the largest annual conference for k-12 outside-of-school educators, and although I’m excited, what really has my boxers in a bunch is the two-hour ride I’ll have to LAX later tonight with Jonathan Kozol (he wrote Savage Inequalities and many other books on education). I’ll be at his keynote. Will he be at mine? You’d think, right? Especially if he knows we will be sharing a ride? More later.
Disaster RestorationThere is a sign outside this morning’s window
that reads “Disaster Restoration,” and I have no idea
what that means but love it anyway, like a poem,
or the red leaves dispersed among the green, decoration
only God can restore, because it is Sunday and Easter
and raining here in Portland, Oregon, and although that might seem redundant—the part about the rain—last night
was mild in the backyard of The Pointy House where I read
for 90 minutes to a crowd so grateful for the sun I felt I was
preaching the word of God, maybe calling forth the rain, beseeching that sweet wetness for restoration from disaster, or maybe calling it down upon us, as night gently rose on the only day that Jesus never lived.
Metaphorically yours,Taylor P.S. Sent from the road so forgive odd spellings & apparent curtness.
Another poem for National Poetry Month: Star of this Morning’s Dream (this one is definitely coming down soon!)
Star of this Morning’s Dream
What characterizes the human race more:
cruelty, or the capacity to feel shame for it?
—from Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts
I woke this morning dreaming of Star
and the afternoon we broke up; how we sat
together on the sofa while I itemized to her face
the ways she had failed me, fallen short—
who it was I had hoped she might become
in the presence of my love and who it was instead
I had in hers; of how, then, when I least expected it,
she hauled off and kissed me hard on the lips,
and pulled away apologizing. She’s sorry, she said.
She didn’t mean to do that, she said. It’s just
that she’s so wet. And I couldn’t help myself.
And I was going to write this morning for an hour
about the folly of the human heart:
Why it is we want the one who is already gone,
who says we’re not good enough. Except
what I did then was slip my hand between her legs
to see if she was telling the truth,
and that seems the more intricate act
of human cruelty in need of exploration with my pen.
In the morning’s memory I do awful things
I never did that afternoon like ask if her cunt wants
what her heart cannot have. In memory I make her
into the slut I never had the guts to admit I am,
the dirty slut who took her one last time so madly
it would be called rape if it weren’t exactly what she wanted.
I tell myself that it was breakup sex, which is always awesome
for one of you at least, the one who will leave anyway, the body
of the other saying in every buck and thrust and bitter grind
Stay or you will never feel this again. But the truth is
I was mean then and meaner still in my memory this morning.
Why do I come to this? Why would I want to?
I have seen such ugliness inside myself and wished
I did not recognize any of it.
I’m performing in Portland (OR) this Saturday (4/23) at 7:30 pm. It’s a tiny house so get there early if you want more than a spot on the floor!
The Pointy House Reading Series doesn’t really exist. It’s just that there’s this house in Portland, OR, where lots of poets have lived, including the incredible Anis Mojgani, who has moved back to Ausin and is getting married. Anyway, the house is really triangular so everyone on the street calls it “the pointy house,” as in “I live in the really pointy house on Clay Street.” Because it’s poets who live there, they sometimes organize readings, and that’s what they have done for me. If the weather is nice, they move the reading outside and suddenly double their capacity! Whatever happens, it will be fun and packed, and I’m planning on reading a bunch of poems I’ve never read out loud before!
Sitting in a Car Full of Garbage and RecyclingThis is not a poem, this is me sitting in my Toyota Prius at 7:56 in the morning outside the Toyota dealership trying no to smell the smell of the trash in the back of the car that I could not leave at the dump on the way because budget cuts have necessitated that the hours be scaled back. And what is worst, I cannot keep from thinking of the word DISGUSTIPATING, which I abhor.
The Poet as Journalist
I do not report the news
though I truck in truth
and use as proof
images from life
and the street.
is my only deadline,
the human heart,
my only beat.