Tag Archives: poetry

chicago, a redaction

23 Nov

A redactive poem by Ashleigh Hill fit for the day before Thanksgiving.

"Chicago." Redaction by Ashleigh Hill

on top of
deep snow
on top of
snow up on his knees.

They were home.

:: :: ::

See more at Palimpsests

Brute Neighbors

10 May

“At a time when our environment is under constant threat, we turn to an unlikely source for answers: The city. In this urgent anthology, poets, photographers and essayists show there is much to be learned at the  intersection of the urban and the wild.”

An interesting take on the collision of the urban and the rural, put together by a poet and an ecosystem ecologist.

We’ll see if it’s any good.

a friend’s poem

14 Apr

An incredible poem by my friend Ashleigh Hill. I got to hear her read this last Friday.



Everything you said
about dinosaurs was right:
the part about how some bounded
across the wet forest,
leggy and unaware,
maybe hungry and
never sad about volcanoes
or whether or not people would someday exist
and frantically dig through the dirt
for unspecified lumps,
hollowed frames, and
label dried-up, separated bones for proof
that, like us
some chests were small
and some would become
full of holes.


micro-vignettes and magik*

18 Feb

An excerpt from my latest work for ALARM:

Vanderslice and Choi click. On the album, much like in real life, they respect each other enough to not talk over the other, or step on toes, or do those things that could poison promising collaborations. And so, at times, the orchestra will disappear completely; other times it’s Vanderslice’s voice that vanishes. These absences enhance the record’s topography and keep it from becoming pallid. “After It Ends,” for example, might not withstand critique on its own. It’s not a single. If untethered, it would fade into the background and be lost. But within the record, it serves as respite between two of the record’s more overgrown tracks.

Without M*MO, the same might have happened to White Wilderness. Distilled down to micro-vignettes and a few instruments, the album might’ve faded into the background, barely registering, the equivalent of a nine-page book of poems sandwiched between John Ashberry and Charles Bukowski on the shelf of a crowded bookstore. This allusion is not unfitting. Actual Air, a collection of poems by David Berman (of Silver Jews fame) is such a book, agonizingly difficult to find, often buried among more formidable names. But there’s a hint of it in the way that Vanderslice constructs his vignettes, and when his songs are compared to Berman’s poetry, it becomes clear as to why. “Aw man, that guy’s my hero,” he says. “I’m a huge fan of his. David Berman has actually given me a lot of titles for a lot of my songs. He sends me lists of titles for me to use. I mean, that’s fucking incredible, right? It makes me feel like a really lucky person.”

Read the whole story, accompanied by Josh Band‘s photos, here.

guitar case & spoons

2 Apr

THE OTHER NIGHT, IL – 3 quarters of a dozen people gathered in a dimly lit living room and made music. mostly spoons and shakers and other trinkets, a few real instruments. it lasted almost two hours with few pauses and even fewer words.

the following is merely one glimpse into the night. both because of its subject, and because it was read in the midst of it…


Pattiann Rogers

I’m sure there’s a god
in favor of drums. Consider
their pervasiveness—the thump,
thump and slide of waves
on a stretched hide of beach,
the rising beat and slap
of their crests against shore
baffles, the rapping of otters
cracking molluscs with stones,
woodpeckers beak-banging, the beaver’s
whack of his tail-paddle, the ape
playing the bam of his own chest,
the million tickering rolls
of rain off the flat-leaves
and razor-rims of the forest.

And we know the noise
of our own inventions—snare and kettle,
bongo, conga, big bass, toy tin,
timbales, tambourine, tom-tom.

But the heart must be the most
pervasive drum of all. Imagine
hearing all together every tinny
snare of every heartbeat
in every jumping mouse and harvest
mouse, sagebrush vole and least
shrew living across the prairie;
and add to that cacophony the individual
staccato ticking’s inside all gnatcatchers,
kingbirds, kestrels, rock doves, pine
warblers crossing, criss-crossing
each other in the sky, the sound
of their beatings overlapping
with the singular hammerings
of the hearts of cougar, coyote,
weasel, badger, pronghorn, the ponderous
bass of the black bear; and on deserts, too,
all the knackings, the flutterings
inside wart snakes, whiptails, racers
and sidewinders, earless lizards, cactus
owls; plus the clamors undersea, slow
booming in the breasts of beluga
and bowhead, uniform rappings
in a passing school of cod or bib,
the thidderings of bat rays and needlefish.

Imagine the earth carrying this continuous
din, this multifarious festival of pulsing
thuds, stutters and drummings, wheeling
on and on across the universe.

This must be proof of a power existing
somewhere definitely in favor
of such a racket.


google has the answers to all our questions

19 Feb

type how into google and
it might suggest

how to tie a tie
how I met your mother
how to kiss
how stuff works
how to
how to get pregnant
how to make money
how to lose weight
how to draw
howard university

add another word and—

how do I know if I’m registered to vote
how do I register to vote
how do you know if you’re pregnant
how do you know if a guy likes you
how does the electoral college work
how does it work
how do I love thee
how do I breathe lyrics

one more letter, and here are:

how do tornadoes form
how do torrents work
how do they do it
(further down on the list)
how do turtles mate

continue typing—

how do trac phones work

to find what I’m looking for.

how do trackbacks work – 64,100,000 results


16 Jan

we took four buses
to get where we were going
which wasn’t far
just six blocks
5 if you don’t count the
small ones
this morning
we waited,
for bus
number one
and at each stop
she said,
you’re eyelashes are frozen

the Tamers

6 Jan

he could do things no other bear could do

like shimmy from one branch to the next
the leaves more than rustling
like the old Union Pacific
he could even blow smoke like that ancient train
and eat fire
just as he ate the diamond trout
from the Poudre
and slurped from its muddy, tracked-up banks

everyone called him Circus Bear

until recently
when we heard that howl
the kind that turns your eyes to marble
lips to jelly
stomach to a rattling basket of cones
and a friend
who used to live nearby
came to tell us there was a ghost wagon
in the valley
bogeymen with tree-tops for heads
red, red wheels
trampling little ones to repaint their tread

the valley was a morgue with
a still-born moon

i pawed at the ground
as i heard them take him
his bed emptier than my womb
my new family tucked into my girth
a protective cloister
from the thieves,
the ladder-bearers,
sick, mangled things and scampering spirits

o my children bury your eyes!
do not look!

by morning the call was gone

three charred boughs
of pine were all that was left
of our rogue

and we met at the Poudre to discuss the night
the disappearance
shuddering, holding one another
we were revisited
by the silhouette
of him shackled,
his conical hat perched on his head
with no humor
and no silly feats at his disposal
no trick to free himself

we howled at the rising sun
to bring them back, to
to a greater nature, a
wide-brimmed heart
that could, if it wanted,
give itself a tip

out would tumble a great humorist
our ever-charming dare devil


3 Jan

Our tiger is much better at cards than I am
My wife too, for that matter

But instead of cheat, I pull his leash and
He’ll let me win, with a snarl like a tree limb

Snapping in a Spring ice strom, or a roar
like a crowd at a football game

a tad more ferocious, and I have to jump to my feet
He’s the size of Fran’s Jetta, our Jonathan

When he naps, he stretches his back toward the sky
Busier and starker blue, without the monsoons

of his Indian sky, and fewer obstructions
to block the sun from its play

He yawns like a young boy in front
of Saturday morning commercials, new chocolate milk

Swishing his tail in the scraggly grass,
a thick, orange machete through a spotty jungle

Our neighbor, Harold, hates our lawn
Hates Jonathan, is spiteful in general

and overweight, but quite smart for all his social disgrace
Smarter than me, maybe smarter than Jonathan

I know tigers are quite intelligent, the wittiest of animals they say, but I say witty and clever are different

Jonathan, the spoiled grouch,
has never made Fran or I laugh

Though I have yet to discover
how he’s cheating at hearts