i wanted to write this because i wanted to write something new on my blog without having it necessarily mean anything. as i’ve stated before, why does anything have to mean anything (also see my declaration against question marks and other punctuation and style formalities) i just want to be pleasant and conversational overall so fuck it (it brings me joy to omit a comma)
last night, if you care to know, i had a dream of a giant skeleton hurling thru the star-speckled universe with its mouth agape. it seems a popular facial expression for many skulls worldwide. it brought to mind birds parched in summer, in a desperate quest for water, like i see often here in vegas. regardless, after the skeleton came the projectile of flames and smoke, hot on my path, chasing me thru space like a bee protecting its hive
have you ever wanted to kiss someone while they were speaking with you — you know those fleeting moments when you are overcome by adoration or lust. just a thought…
now that i see what i’ve done, all the words i have made here, now i would like to make this really long and meaningless. i find meaningless things are refreshing. i want to write poems about gum wrappers and empty coffee cups. i also seek out bad writing because it makes me happy and inspires me. these are people who have a literary voice without trying. like a baby picking up a paint brush and having at it on the canvas. have you ever watched an elephant paint. i’m finding that the best and most genuine art is regressive and primitive. see jean-michel basquiat for many, many examples.
i want to write in a sort of scribble. i genuinely feel it is closest to my truest literary voice. i strive for eloquent, conversational meaninglessness.
I think this might be the first time i’ve mentioned my artwork on this blog, and it’ll most likely be the last. Still, i do collage art, and to me, that creative process shares many similarities with writing poetry. But anyway, i just wanted to invite whoever to check out my art website. I am open to commission work to do book covers and other visual elements for both print and online. The artwork already on my website also is available for such purposes. If interested, simply use the contact form here on this blog or the one on my art website. Thank you, and i hope you have an inspiring day.
— Cassandra Keenan
In my late great-grandmother’s building on Bathgate Avenue in the Bronx
about a block from my old Catholic elementary school
the stairs creaked like a rocker on the front porch
they had resonance as if empty crates walked upon.
A skunky amalgam of boiled cabbage and potatoes
still in their dusty, cratered skins always permeated
the air as I climbed to the third floor for a visit.
They were the smells of death and aging
but still I knew they were not emanating from my
great-grandmother’s since she was from Sicily (died in her late 90s)
and cooked accordingly. Besides, she did mostly baking:
Those cookies she’d make by the batch, we had named
them “rocks,” crafted with a thick chocolate glaze stiffened
to a shell, and the inside with nuts and dried fruits
and all the warmth and texture of the earth.
They had a shelf life of almost forever
eco-poetry oh is
that what it is called
earlier a twig did snap
beneath my sneaker
i followed 2 old ladies
to learn a new park loop
stretched to the periphery
out by montessouri street
for once i walked well past
the squeaky pedestrian bridge
and along the chalky drainage basin
near the drought-stricken ball field
it was so new to me
i took photos of the RV park
someone’s yard with a lot of junk
just over the concrete barrier wall
a pressed dandelion was found
inside the hardcover contemporary
American poetry anthology edited by
A. Poulin Jr. and Michael Waters
I studied Richard McGuire’s
sequential drawings —
a flamingo a sunrise
a wind-battered tree
bird cages and a butterfly
and bee on a runway;
an abandoned bike on a
route in the inner city
without a front tire.
Illustration by Laszlo Layton.
Lately I’ve become quite the nature aficionado, specifically regarding the flora & fauna in my community. The other day I spotted 2 great-tailed grackles trading courtship calls from polar opposite ends of a Washoe pine. I thought it quite amusing since these are raucous birds with shrill cries, obscenely long beaks for their body size & all-around abrupt behavior. Yet here was this would-be couple acting like reticent teenagers at a high school prom, having eyes for each other from across the gym floor, wondering if they’d be able to share a dance before the final song.
I am stuck at an intersection coming off of a sleepy side street onto the main thoroughfare during rush hour. No one in Vegas will let up to allow me in but I don’t care: I’ve got all damn day, and I’ve grown so accustomed to intersections, whether in a car or not. I am content to just sit here in limbo since it’s such a familiar spot. One top of that, no one is behind me, so I’m just like, whatevah, la-di-da, que sera. I turn on the radio and watch the endless stream of cars, like so many forgone opportunities. I think of those fiery balls of color in a Roman candle, tearing into the sky, one by one, with a piercing whistle and a trail of light but then fizzling out. Still, people keep making those things. And there are always shooting stars.
1. Somebody looked like somebody I know, with the blue sweatsuit and the lack of makeup — the worried look on her face. Her name was not Chris. This woman had different hair, too. But she was browsing the new age books, so theoretically, it could have been her, but it turned out that it wasn’t.
2. This time someone looked like my former coworker. She had corn-colored hair with dark roots and a long pony tail, but she wasn’t pregnant. I cannot remember a time when my coworker was not somewhere along in the nine-month cycle. She was always either with child or on maternity leave. Also, this woman was drinking coffee, and that is not recommended during pregnancy (on the off-chance that it really was my former coworker but she just wasn’t showing yet.)
I am here to say please do not bother getting all your ducks in a row. You will only die trying. Anything recommended in a row is twisted wisdom — masochistic at best.
Oddly, I do not actually own a crotch rocket. I have only thought longingly about riding one, as well as obsessing over where I would put groceries and what if I fell.
How’s this for the first line of a short story?
“They couldn’t avoid being slobs at the restaurant table during their first date.”
I mean, anything can happen after that. Just anything. But I like it ’cause right off the bat it’s a predicament.
We could make these two people horny as fuck. And you know where it would go from there. Someone passes the ketchup, and then one thing leads to another. Mayhem. Half-cooked hamburger meat and everything else. Pickles. Soda. Hot sauce, for crying out loud.
Or perhaps they are guests at a wedding where lobster is being served. Assuming it’s a woman and a man, the woman would have to wrangle with the shell to exhume the meat, which may or may not look appealing to the male. Maybe the woman’s hands might look too masculine, or maybe she has really short nails, and the fact that she is digging into something moist and fleshy makes them look all the worse. And the guy — maybe he can’t bust open the shell. Or he gets stabbed by a claw and makes a big deal over it. Walks around in a huff looking for the first-aid kit and such. Yells at the waiter. The woman’s father shaking his head disapprovingly. Nobody getting any that night.
they had a long conversation over coffee at the coffee place. Uninterrupted eye contact. She was leaning toward him, hunched over the table. He was leaning back in his chair — reclining almost, wearing pricey sweats, footies and Nike SBs. She was in a dishy black dress and pumps, had big eyelashes on. She had long hair, nearly down to her butt, but she still managed to make a bun on top of her head, as in ancient Rome like a patrician. A participant of taxpayer-supported orgies. The guy, meanwhile, looked delighted. His nose was long and sharp. He had a maniacal smile. He showed her a photo on his cellphone. She laughed, mouth wide, in a deriding way. She was playing with her hair. He was gesturing, attempting to look sincere. She concurred. Leaned in toward him and laughed. She went to pee and then came back and nursed the last of her water. His macchiato was now just a puddle of foam and ice. They stared at each other, wordless. She tapped her upper lip with the tip of her finger, smirking at him, playing at suspicion.
The mushroom lady is afoot after a winter-long downtime. She has the air of someone who worked in retail or perhaps an administrative office in a grade school. In her Old Navy shorts and button-down shirt and her hair done like Margaret Thatcher, she prowls the grounds of the apartment complex for sprouts of fungi. Then she sits on the ground and tears away tufts of the lawn like a kid in a sandbox.
Did her line of work have her yanking out hair of her own?
Or maybe she suffered a broken heart?
A widow, sometimes she uses
her two small dogs as a ruse
to go digging for mushrooms
more than once a day, the
yield stashed in a plastic
bag in lieu of poop,
which she allows
the dogs to do,
but she does