I’m Taking Requests: A Month of Poems Based on Songs

After a recent flurry of submissions, which resulted in poems forthcoming here, here, and here (but still no chapbook), I’ve decided I need to have another month where all I do is write. Theme months were fun in January (persona poems mainly about fracking) and March (knotty thoughts about religion), so I thought I’d try another one for September.

The most recent poem I posted here included a line from Alice Cooper. Fellow poet blogger John Allen Richter suggested I listen to more Alice Cooper, or some Jimi Hendrix. I’m taking him up on that and will expand the idea from there: I’ll spend all of September writing poems based on particular songs.

Some, I might have some associations with already. Others might have certain lyrics that might spark something. For others, it might be the sound or the overall feeling that generates the idea. But each day, I’ll write a poem that is based in some way on a song.

Also, I’m taking requests.

In the comments, please name one song you’d like me to write about. This one and this one have already been requested, but other than that, I’m open to any song, any style. It just has to be a specific artist and/or song, and fairly readily available. I’ll write them in the order I get them, and I won’t turn any down until I reach a yet-to-be-determined cut-off point (maybe 60 maximum).

I’m not going to post the entire month’s worth, but I’ll blog each Tuesday as usual. If you would like to see the whole series or your song’s poem in particular, let me know and we’ll work something out. (I’m trying to avoid “previously publishing” all of them here, lest any of them turn out to be submittably good.) 

So … The request line is now open!


Precise Increments of Actual Fact

Let’s not be arbitrary about this,
our memories of wooden decks, nesting yellow jackets.

Don’t forget what you always wanted:
this empty sore, this ravenous ache.

All is forgiven, and on its way to being forgotten;
a little more memory goes down the shower drain each day.

Sometimes mine sings as it leaves me:
No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more Mr. Cleeeeeeeean …

Someday, we might all erupt somehow—
but probably not today.



If it’s Tuesday p.m., check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets.



Open Link Eve

I’m taking this one off.
I have too many bees in the head.
A beard of bees. Bread and cheese?
I’d love a sandwich, thanks.

Too many cows, and I cannot
churn butter, not with all these
flies in the ointment, a whole
continent of lies; they buzz

the same as truths, only louder.
Louder, you say? I suppose
I could yell, but when I’m yellow
like this, and underwater,

I’m not sure it matters much. Yello?
Yello? Now I am at the last payphone
on Earth, with a fistful  of quarters
and nothing left to say.




If it’s Tuesday p.m., check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets.


San Francisco Unseen

Don’t talk to me about the automatons—

Laughing Sally at the Musée Mécanique,
how she cackled and seemed to whisper
my name as small, cracked bells chimed

over an artificial bay where robotic sea lions
(with convincing stench) formed my initials
while decommissioned battleships, perfect
scale models, kept watch. Even now, doll-size

Beats stagger outside false City Lights,
and Chinatown, that phantom diorama,

rises, falls, breathes real fog.




If it’s Tuesday p.m., check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets.


Pictures of Our Potato Bugs

I can provide pictures if interested.
But why would you want to see
pictures of our potato bugs, the ones
that congregate in the mossy drip
under our air conditioner, the ones
that my son calls Tater Pals, or
Tater Tots if they’re small? He and I
go out in the morning to our front gate
to pick up our newspaper and greet
the day—and the potato bugs. He is
often barefoot, wincing over hard
little fruits from a certain tree.
We say they’re nuts; we’re wrong
about this, too. Just like, of course,
the potato bugs, which are actually
sow bugs or pill bugs or roly polies.
But one day we called them
potato bugs, and thus they remain
potato bugs, and an entire
architecture of words has been
built around them, tiny scaffolds
to protect small, gray cousins
of lobsters, not even bugs at all.



Be sure to check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets every Tuesday p.m.