We're going way back on these, all the way back to 1993 in celebration of Kris Collins' 35th birthday
we carried our so-called holy poetry
in notebooks and folders that were tattered
across pittsburgh searchin' for some factory
created holiness that we lost
in the halls and cathederal steps
and on the green grass of pitt's campus
where your beautiful poetry we shouted
meant nothing to the passer-by but
much to us, beat and broken,
soul wonderers we've made ourselves
so we sat quiet yesterday, three years into it all
eating mustard and ketchup sproutin' hot dogs
on the steps
of hillman library
and just like you said about me on that cold concrete
i am stronger now
and i think i can carry you
on my back for awhile
and you can carry me with your written words
'cause i got none now
so don't let the local poets and your own blues
bring ya' down
one day i'll hear ya'
shoutin' your poesy
in a gold suit
on mountain tops.
1994 (from pittsburgh poesy blues)
just me and
on church steps
1994 (from pittsburgh poesy blues)
here i am
sweating from the fall heat
climbing the stairs where
stands thursday nights
in the frosty air
huddled in his flannel shirt
watching the traffic on
flowing from his
1995 (east busway blues)
why writers are like lovers
our dirty little sport
still gets me.
we are children
and we are pound and eliot
at each other’s throats
on a rickety french balcony
(okay, for the sake of argument
i will be pound)
when will it end, old friend?
when we are codgers
instead of poems?
or now when the cup of
our golden daydreams
sit on etched platters
placed before our salivating mouths?
i hope never
on both accounts
because it would be a shame
to hate your beautiful words
from the nosebleed seats
2008 (from The Noose Doesn't Get Any Looser After You Punch-Out)
poem made from a letter to kris collins
i found my old journal last night,
the one from december 1995 to july 1996,
while sifting through papers and looking for yet more
car forms because we have to sell another car.
so i found this journal which is completely interesting
and yet foreign to me
at the same time,
and the book is full of tales about going to the bbt
with you and angie
to see trbovich’s band play,
and drunk jesses wandering around
talking up his james joyce/sonic youth paper
and plans to graduate college
and all the goddamned women!
mary still bothering me four months
after we ended
and my obsession with cassandra reznik
and gretchen in art class
and greta with her famous name,
whom i spent a june night sitting
in schenley park with
amongst the bums.
and calvin and steve and bleary nights
in the city of youth.
and hell it reads like someone else wrote it now.
how could i be so full
and so full of it as the same time?
where goest the hunger that brought my words?
why tired and disillusioned?
why beaten to death now?
why is the best i can do, man, is feeling okay
because i can live to pay the bills
why has all of the writing i was
building myself up to create;
why has it come and come in droves,
but it still isn’t good enough for me?
kris, what is this ungodly age of thirty-three.
and the papers tell me american life expectancy
is up to seventy-eight now.
like it’s a good thing.
like it isn’t another entry in another
journal that i have yet to write,
read forty-five years from now,
by someone i don’t know yet,
trying to recognize someone who maybe
didn’t exist in the first place.
or if he did,
it was only in pieces and in moments
that can never be grasped or held again,
once they’ve been chewed up
and left to rot in a yellowing notebook.