A POEM A DAY

I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: poem a day

18/30: COMO SIEMPRE

When
did I stop
paying attention to gravity

Who
untethered
my heart

Did anyone see
the sugar
in my chest melt

Early this morning
when a parade of little humans
read poems in the post-storm air

Who noticed
my body collapse, releasing joy like
a small door

Does anyone
know if love
ever has an accurate weather report

is it the opposite of humidity?

is it this scene in front of me?

17/30: A BRIEF ANNOTED LIST OF THE QUESTIONS MY STUDENTS ASK

Question: Mr. Zachary, is this poem good?

Translation: Last week, we learned what rejection meant.
I do not like the definition of that word. Is there anything
wrong with what I feel? Am I good enough? Nobody ever
listens to what I have to say. Last week, we learned what
worthy meant. I want to mean worthy.

Question: Mr. Zachary, does this poem have to rhyme?

Translation: If there are rules, I don’t want to break them.
I just hate when language has expectation. I don’t want
to be expected.

Question: Mr. Zachary, do I have to read this poem out loud?

Translation: I’ve never trusted my mouth. Inside is a voice I am
afraid to let out. Who is going to listen to me? What do you mean
the stage is mine? What do you mean I can command an audience
just by speaking?

Question: Mr. Zachary, what if we don’t know what to write?

Translation: How does anyone ever say what they mean? Self-
Expression is confusing. How can I matter just by saying so?
If I have a story, you mean I have to write it? I don’t want to say
what I have to say. You mean someone is listening?  I don’t think
so. No one wants to know what’s inside my head. Not even me.

 

16/30: IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER, PLEASE DON’T GUESS.

Outside,
Lightning is all the sky talks about
Houston has a clapping chatter mouth,
bayou tongue, thundering teeth.
I drive by a series of buildings all dark
except the dance studio second-story window
where I see an elderly couple
waltzing
alone
together—
so this
is the face of love’s
rhythm after it has grown?
I am almost crash the car
in a flash of grace.
I’ll never be the same.
The rain makes it so easy to fall apart.
Stay inside of yourself.
The trees flurry with reason
Weather is all about rhythm
Nothing trembles for trembling’s sake
I can sleep through thunder
I can dream through thrashing
Why is nobody impressed?
What’s left of my body besides
the crumbs of love?
If you don’t know the answer,
please,
Don’t guess.

15/30: THE AUTHOR IS A LAW STUDENT IS A POET IS NOT AFRAID

After Angel Nafis’ “Gravity”

Are you going to get a job How much debt are you in How do you ever have
time Won’t you lose your soul What type of law will you pursue Isn’t the Justice
System Broke Are you going to get a job Aren’t you lonely Doesn’t the work
seem impossible What if you fail What if you fail What if you fail What if
What if you hate your job How will you make a difference You know lawyers
are really good at killing themselves Are you going to kill yourself Why
aren’t you raising your voice Why are you so calm How can you be so happy
You mean you’re not worried at all How do you have any time to write poems
Why don’t you just be a poet But how will you get a job Isn’t poetry dead
Isn’t poetry dying Why do you keep writing How do you ever have time
Aren’t you lonely with all those words Isn’t language big Why are you smiling
Why so grateful How is it you get out of bed every morning How do you care
about people so much How is it you are okay with being wrong How is it
you are lost and calm How How How

How do you have
more energy
than
god

II.

And behind this door, lies the energy of god. The door is my mouth.
Odd isn’t it. I crack a smile, and shadows turn gold. Darkness
knocked-out. I jab with joy. I run the religion of It’s All Good. Nobody
should be this bright. But I ain’t nobody. See my thighs? Christmas trees.
See this face? A night-light. My heart is a furnace full of faith. Watch.
I make the stars Yo-Yo just by picking my nose. Watch. I create without waste.
Out of the frying pan, I’m ambitious like fried chicken. I taste better than
fried chicken. The secret to both fried chicken and love is tenderness.
I’m professionally tender. Lonely only overcooks. I don’t overcook.
If afraid is a kitchen, gimme a cast-iron skillet. Watch. Attention pays me.
I’m rich in moments. From henceforth, the new policy of my sex life will be
caring is cool. Not all poems you love will love you back. Each time
a person says poetry is dead, I open my mouth. Resurrection for breakfast.
Every season is on my reading list. The river is a clock. Watch. I got softer
hands than time. I don’t do Brunch, but I’ll eat your How Does He Do That
For Brunch.Language is the only umbrella that won’t quit on you. Failure’s
got bad breath and success tastes like strawberries. I fucking love strawberries.
I can bury you with sincerity. Batman swears to me. If I fall, I get back up.
I’m not worried. Grateful is my toothpaste. I brush my teeth every day.
If you want to kiss me, you gotta say please.

14/30: THE FRUIT OF GRIEF

What do we want?

More certainty!

When do we want it?

I don’t know!

Tomorrow!

Maybe!

And the days
Parade
Forth.

The Unknown

Unceremonious.

Want is a seashell pretending to be the ocean.

That’s why Van Gogh cut off his ear.

Where’s the rationale for rejection?

How do you measure the value

of something lost?

Benefit of the doubt is a stupid phrase.

Nobody benefits from doubt.

Not in this country.

Belief only

Please.

13/30: I NAME MY GOD CARING IS COOL

After Emily Kendal Frey

If you level a building

Watch,

More light appears.

Whoever says fresh laundry is overrated

is probably afraid of death.

The best things in life are infinitely ending.

Take for example, the perfect parking spot.

I’m through with insincerity.

Caring is cool.

White privilege is real.

On behalf of joy,

I explain the creativity behind four-berry jam.

When my friends fall in love

The yeast in my heart rises.

Fly too close to the sun

and you might become heat resistant!

Goodbyes are sweltering.

If love has one condition,

Can it be breakfast in bed?

Another word for love is honest.

I hear Chrysanthemum tea

is the enemy of anxiety

A lot of people disagree

You can’t make me sad

Life is too rad

I say! Loudly! To the mirror! At home! Alone!

My great-grandma’s name was Bernadine.

I have neglected pretty thoughts.

I can name a million feelings

better than sadness.

You don’t have to convince me.

If you level a building,

Watch,

More light appears.

The bones of being alone

Break every last one.

12/30: LIFE IS A GOOD IDEA

Bubbles play ballet in the parking lot

A little girl travels by her own breath

Down the street, the swing set is busy

Throwing laughter like a pendulum

The sun is everyone’s friend

The parking lot at H-E-B is full

No one is left at home today

Everyone is falling in love

Flowers at Home Depot

My mother watches me reverse

From the boy on her wall

And out onto the road

The tree in front of our house

is the biggest it has ever been

I trust my little brother

I’m getting better at hugs

Not quite a perfectionist

A student of mine once told me

She likes I’m not a perfectionist because

Perfectionism

Is just a hologram of ego

A-ha!

Look at all my substance!

Seriously, the weight of my heart is substantial

Watch, I can win arguments without raising my voice.

Watch, I can go a whole day listening

I’ve made up my mind

Life is a good idea.

7/30: GUY FIERI GIVES HIS SON “THE TALK”

Son, the first time you come
to Flavor Town, you will want to eat
everything. You will look
at your hands
memorize the size of
what you can hold.
Only fools rush in
so wait for the invitation
learn to love food
by the dance of heat.

A woman’s body is not for you to eat
not for you to pick apart
but to ask for the recipe,
to see what you need,
in hopes of being needed,
to be worthy of her kitchen.
I don’t care how hungry you are
you don’t get fed
just because
you hear a
growl.

Don’t just show up.
You need an invitation.
Make sure not to chew
with your mouth open.
Are you hungry?
Are you hungry?
Are you hungry?
Are you hungry?
Do not confuse
I could eat
for
eat me.
Do not confuse
I’m hungry
for
I’m hungry for you.

I beg of you. I’m hardly a perfect man.
But when the food is hot, wait your turn.
Just because your mouth is open
doesn’t mean you get fed.
When you hear
it is time
to break
bread,
think of your mother
washing your plate.
You don’t always
get seconds.
You are not even promised
first.
If she doesn’t want you
in her kitchen,
say yes, Chef!
When she says her body is out of bounds,
say yes, Chef!
You are, after all, a guest.

You cannot savor the dish
until she sets the table.

6/30: REJECTAMENTA

6/30: REJECTAMENTA

“The poem that is merely painful revelations:
my impulse to tell you everything –
which may destroy everything”
– Theodore Roetheke

I know how it feels
when you trick your heart
into being someone else’s treat.
But smiling alone
with you
is how the blood
in my body
refused to rot,
rejected deceit,
rose like a wave &
now the mystery is
who wants to swim
in the mud of love?
who wants to break
the cycle of breaking?
No, I do not know all
my hauntings by name,
but a history of hurt is here,
constant presence, always relevant
but this
is not a poem about defeat.
This is merely pain revealing itself.
This is a monsoon of magnolias
against the grey blanket of morning.
This tired legacy of failed reciprocity
does not bewilder me, the promise of new joy
is a gentle riddle lust cannot solve,
if my heart is knotted, don’t let love resolve,
untie or cut the twist, I just need you to
show up and mean it.
I’ll forget the history of hurt
if you just keep showing up,
turn this historic loneliness
into something we can both fix
the both of us,
your arrival,
the beginning,
apotheosis—
finally, all my fear
furnace bound &
lovemaking
is the quiet smoldering,
which may destroy
everything.

5/30: THAT VIOLENT BUSINESS

“…woe is translatable to joy if light
becomes darkness and darkness light,
as it will—“
-William Carlos Williams

On the day of the spring equinox,
I fed myself strawberries, ate black plums,
someone called me handsome and I hummed
to myself in the kitchen.

A quick note on the black plums:
the first time, I grabbed one was an accident
had to be the summer before last
the one I spent alone in my apartment
baffled by want, a linguist lost in love’s speeches,
studying for four months to take a test
so I could go to school for three more years
then take another test at the end of it. Anyways.
That next season, I read a poem out loud
to three other English majors in my Modernism class
about stolen plums, the deceptive sweetness
of language, the immediate contact with the present,
the need to reach through with what is wholly you,
and in that moment, the poet comes to know
the image is more useful
than what it represents & that’s what I’m saying!
I bite into a black plum not by my lonesome
but swirling with significance, a cloud of moments,
the long day stretched out like a highway
I cannot help but get stuck in the traffic
of my own imagination, impavid and impatient
& imagine me humming a number
equal parts lovely and somber, with plum breath
and the confidence of a compliment.
I think of all the mouths I let on my flesh,
eyes closed and touch filled with expiration,
like they expect the sweetest thing in season,
hoping for a brief revival just by holding my body, and
how this explains their reason for leaving, because who doesn’t understand
pleasure, who doesn’t eat a plum on the first day of spring
and throw the pit in the garbage, forgetting forgiveness,
you know, that violent business.