Morning rises on a desert convention center

Posted On April 28th, 2011

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.


Thirty Poems in 30 Days: Disaster Restoration

Posted On April 24th, 2011

Disaster Restoration

There 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.

Is there anything I need to say about this picture?

Posted On April 23rd, 2011

Metaphorically yours,


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!)

Posted On April 22nd, 2011



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!

Posted On April 20th, 2011

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!

Thirty Poems in 30 Days: Sitting in a Car Full of Garbage and Recycling

Posted On April 16th, 2011

Sitting in a Car Full of Garbage and Recycling

This 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.

God help me (it’s the 7th grade!)

Posted On April 15th, 2011

Watch on Posterous

Another poem for National Poetry Month: The Poet as Journalist

Posted On April 14th, 2011


 The Poet as Journalist 


It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.

—William Carlos Williams

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.