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Dear Angry Mob,

Oak Wood Trail is closed to you. We
feel it unnecessary to defend our position,
for we have always thought of ourselves
(and rightly, I venture) as a haven for
those seeking a quiet and solitary
contemplation. We are truly sorry
for the inconvenience....

"When we define the Photograph as a motionless image, this does not mean only that the figures it represents do not move; it means that they do not emerge, do not leave: they are anesthetized and fastened down, like butterflies."

In appreciation of Amy Lawless, to whom I dedicate this post.

First he gave me
his heart. It was
red fruit containing
many seeds, the skin
leathery, unlikely.
I preferred
to starve, bearing
out my training.

Sometimes when I happy get I turn on my television set and disappear into its glow like a pixelated crow I flap my wings so pure and black and feel like there's no going back inside the tube I'll stay forever consider thrown the simulacrum lever if my mother comes home and turns it off at her love I'll scoff happy on my own terms you see like a Titleist balanced on a tee waiting for the coming thwack to send me into orbit's knack for spinning guests in skyward order free I am a floating boarder everywhere I go I smile I see my reflection in bathroom tile my grin it gleams with the purity of creams freshly descended from the cow of bacon from the virgin sow who [...]

I’d caught glimpses of them before. Maybe I’d been up very late and into the morning, taking the Brooklyn-bound train from Manhattan and had seen them standing with briefcases on platforms waiting for trains. Maybe I woke bright and early for my hangover, craving Naked Juice and sparkling water from the corner bodega. Maybe I had wild notions of pretending I had a nine-to-five writing schedule so that there would be an end to the thankless work.

Before I post my regularly scheduled post, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I give you an excerpt from James Joyce's "The Dead."

This is a poetry blog, and I’m a poet, and I’ve written many poems and essays about poetry, so you’d think I’d be a natural choice. But the thing is, I haven’t read or written a poem in some while. And it all has to do with investment capital. Several months ago, I finished a poetry manuscript and sent it out to world of contests. It’s currently awaiting judgment at the Yale, the Whitman, the Bakeless, and a dozen others. And since sending it out, I’ve found that I’m not really able to focus on poetry. The only explanation I’ve been able to come up with is the following: producing a manuscript, for me, is like starting a business. I’ve tied up my poetic capital in this venture. And until it’s either successful, or bankrupt, my poetic assets are not liquid.

Sunday evening I encountered this artifact created out of the weekend's leftovers. I had been showing family around who had never been nyc before. That meant three miserable days of walking in the rain while forcing myself to be cheerful. This stream or river or rainbow or spittle-barf of umbrellas was an affirmation to me of whats most at stake in being conscious, (which could be described very quickly, I guess, as a reaction). Whoever made this left no trace of themselves nor stuck around to explain. Less is almost always more. I love you, whoever made this, for that.

If I am anything at all, I am a vaudevillian. Considering that vaudville has been stone dead the last 80 years, that's a hard thing to be, but wouldn't you want to attend a reading where, first, someone read Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art" beautifully, followed by a white poodle jumping through a fiery hula hoop, then a great tap dancer, and then a good torch singer doing "Strange Fruit," topped off by a rousing version of Etheridge Knight's "All Fucked Up"?

When I was 19 I interned at The Bowery Poetry Club. I can tell you that I didn’t get much done in the way of writing press releases; I was there to experience poetry. I was there to meet the real live poets who didn’t seem to exist on my college campus. I attended a private Long Island university where writing poetry meant none of the business student boys wanted to date me and most of the frat guys thought a stanza was a complicated version of the keg stand. Therefore, at The Bowery Poetry Club, I thought I was going to find what I was looking for: Poets Who Took Poetry Seriously.

[Poem of the Week: 3/16/10]

Expand the post to revel in the full text of each poem!
Part 1
[audio:http://www.scatteredrhymes.com/poets/ben%20mirov%201.mp3|bgcolor=0x000000]
Part 2
[audio:http://www.scatteredrhymes.com/poets/ben%20mirov%202.mp3|bgcolor=0x000000]
Posted in tandem with www.scatteredrhymes.com

Today I thought I should add my secret voice to your evaluations.
Your intelligence may be genius, but remember as my mother saids also always to be nice.
A seventh grade teacher consoled me when I was teased:
You can always tell the genius by the enemies who surround him.

This is not my first year of teaching high school English, but it is my first year teaching at one of Portland, Oregon’s lowest-achieving high schools. There is much to say about my students’ backgrounds that might explain their sub-standard reading and writing: they come from a variety of places, including the mountains of Southeast Asia, refugee camps in Africa, former Soviet republics, Pacific Islands, etc; the neighborhood culture is, in general, one of generational poverty, which means that many students lack good role models and education-minded guardians at home (or they transfer to other schools in the district, as more than half of the neighborhood’s students have done based on their No Child Left Behind right to attend successful schools); a lack of steady educational funding and organizational constitution [...]

Congrats to Rae Armatrout, whose book VERSED won the 2010 NBCC Award.