Saturday, June 02, 2012

Salt Water


Salt Water

And then

this memory of a Paul Simon
song playing on a Bose
radio while
the cool winds blew in from
the creek reminded
us that saltwater isn’t a dream

instead something so magnificent
and potent and without
a nation or an identity, but
instead this great bouquet
of everything splendid in the skin
it seeps through, the grass and your flesh
and the moon hanging so low

it isn’t clear whether it’s above
the water or underneath it.
This is how I imagine life should be
a collection of detached memories inspired
by the colorful and artful moments
of the world at large, trying to think
of your friends being good
and doing good

while the night meanders and the mornings
smile, the curve of the earth twirling
around an axis of fate and bone,
muscle and sinew
thunder and roaring ocean breaks,
rustling leaves deep in the forests
of our lingering memories

the common dense of it all.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Poem on Youth

fragile like a beaker
bored like a blade of grass

the summer is not so far away
in milk stained bowls
the wallowing of stinking sinks
rumbles with tectonic shifts
plates crackling
beneath broken toenails

I want to give thanks
thanks for this job I spend too much time at
for the dreams I’ve watched in the windows of my eyes fade into the distance
for poetry, like a lover that’s slighted me
for William Burroughs
and the ideas that nothing is worth a lick because we’ll all be dead

In the boulevards of Hollywood the crown weighs heavy
wealth is the language of love and adoration
multiplying children
scatter over granite sidewalks
unaware of their parents broken marriage
and the ideals of a whole country crumbles

I miss the rivers of my youth
The Hudson and Harlem River
The Mississippi
the peacefulness of water, cool
breezes cutting splinters down the spine

supine memories
undone by adulthood
coming to on the shoulder of some freeway
wearing coffee stained clothes
and water filling green eyes
unsure of the future
and attached to history

fragile like a glass spine
bored like a redwood.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Poem from my Desk

I have a window now
looking out on the
mountains of Los Feliz, Silver Lake
snow capped beyond

Love Hate Tattoo
street signs below
the sprawl of Los Angeles
and this awful feeling
of Deja Vu

a hangover
sunken into a desk chair on Madison Avenue
the summer burning outside
and a million poems
spilling from my pen

the thunder storms of summer
humidity and sex
outcast friends, craving flesh and fine print
the fucking of a river, flowing stink
through waking dreams in Williamsburg
night.

She was high on my list
prone to cocaine and holey underwear
my friends didn’t like her laugh
or the way she always ordered the most expensive
drinks, but then wanted to split the bill

one afternoon in Chelsea she gushed about
an artist she’d had lunch with,
i wish she would’ve just said they’d fucked.
He wore a speedo in Tompkins Square while sunbathing
I was more shy.

And the city during those summers
was like a future unannounced
little promises shimmering in windows
black to the outside world

Intellectual overtones,
Collective underachievers
real thieves wandering avenues
searching for subterranean bars
and large ideas

I think it was a tuesday when I got mugged
stumbling through China Town,
hiking over the Williamsburg Bridge
in search of a girl with
tiny tattoos and thick lensed glasses.

And now we are
hovering over Los Angeles
Nuclear
planning vacations and wandering
the silence of our homes
sunbathing in fenced yards
and waiting for inspiration.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Current Affairs 3.10.11

A wanted man
started over with
a new name
and a new life
in Idaho, but
then his past
caught up with him.

The state Assembly
voted 53-42
to curtail bargaining rights,
sending the bill
to Gov. Scott Walker who promised to sign it.

The Dow closed below 12,000,
as oil market jitters
and the conflict in Libya
served as a reminder
of the
fragile nature
of the global recovery.

The incommensurability series
continues with
‘The Existentialist’s Nightmare’
and the Humpty Dumpty Theory of Meaning.

The
police crackdown
preceded
a planned
“day of rage”
throughout the country
that officials
have said they will not tolerate.

A matchmaking agency
in
South Korea
has promoted itself by
finding a suitable marriage partner
for the son of
North Korea’s leader.

A suicide bomber
jumped on the police chief
as he patrolled
just 150 feet from his headquarters,
killing him and two other officers

A series of surveillance videotapes
showed officers suspected of falsifying reports,
illegally
entering residences
and, in one instance,
making a purposefully flawed arrest for drug possession.

Benlysta, the first new
drug to treat lupus
in more than half a century,
is the first product approved for its developer,
Human Genome Sciences.

Did the Iraq War
influence
the Arab uprisings?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

New Poem: Current Affairs 3.9.2011

America’s political and military goals
seem
d i s c o n n e c t e d from
the situation
on
the ground in
Afghanistan.

Eleven people
died
in fighting
that broke out
during a protest
by Christians over
the
burning of a church.

A legislative effort
by
companies providing the loans
has been met
with
vigorous
opposition
from
insurance companies
and chambers of commerce.

Beatings
and shootings
begin
in demonstrations
that had been
relatively
peaceful.

Alarm
over the condition
of a
turtle
that scientists
say could be more than a century old
has prompted an
urgent effort
to determine and treat
its ailments.

Human Rights Watch says
the country faces a “crisis of impunity” that has festered for decades.

Eighteen young men
and teenage boys
have been charged with participating in the
GANG RAPE
of an 11-year-old girl,
which was recorded on
telephones.

The fast-moving fire
broke out
while the mother was milking cows
and the father was taking a nap nearby
in a milk delivery truck, the authorities said.

An estimated one million sardines
turned up dead Tuesday
in a Southern California
marina, creating a floating
feast for pelicans,
gulls
and other sea life
and a stinky mess
for harbor authorities.

Bank of America executives said on Tuesday
that a government idea to write off tens
of billions worth of mortgage debt
was unworkable and warned that
it would be unfair to untroubled borrowers.

Use red or green cabbage in this comforting vegan dish.

Her name is Wisdom,
and she also bore chicks
in 2008,
2009
and 2010

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

New Poem: Current Affairs 3.8.2011

Twenty-one priests are
on administrative leave
because of credible
charges that
they
had
sexually
abused minors.

Football coach
was suspended
two games and
fined
$250,000 for
violating
N.C.A.A. rules.

The producers are planning
a significant overhaul
of the
$65 million
Broadway musical
that would
involve shutting down performances
for
two
to
three weeks.

The pressure
designers feel to
come up with something new
is evident.

As protests spread
to new areas of Yemen on Tuesday,
the
foreign minister
appealed to
rich
Gulf
countries
for $6 billion in additional aid.

Mitsubishi
denies responsibility for
birth defects
and leukemia
cases near a
former rare earth refinery
in Malaysia,
but
volunteered
to clean up the site.

Two federal marshals
and a city police officer
were shot
while
serving an arrest warrant.

The case
of a man
charged
with distributing
child pornography via YouTube
is the talk of a small town.

Raj Rajaratnam was greeted
by photographers outside
the courthouse,
but little drama
inside, as he began
his trial on charges that he made
$45 million
by trading on illegal tips.

The depression
that the poet
Les Murray suffered,
detailed
with self-effacing honesty
in his memoir, “Killing the Black Dog,”
informs the humor in his
new collection, “Taller When Prone.”

Defense Secretary
Robert M. Gates said
that the United States
faces
an
“acid test”
this spring
and summer
to determine if
gains in the war are sustainable.

another night spent thinking

Under the lights
everything reflects
blindly

a morning like afternoon
afternoon like night
night like sleep
and no sleep

The ocean used to be close
now it is far
a forest used to rest by my back door
now a single tree sways under California sun
grass used to smell like stale cereal
now it feels plastic and looks too green

And even though thunder
is invisible
the thickness of its sounds
send shudders through our vision
another night spent thinking
about lives worth living

Though the list isn't a list
I miss the smell of wind
the feeling of sea water
the smile of a copper beech
and the luxury of tall grass dancing
in the gusts of late spring and
early autumn.

the evening dances
orange light bouncing timber
analogous tearful faith

Monday, November 01, 2010

Even if she were true...

Texas radios
telecaster guitars
the element of chance on a
subway ride home from Brooklyn
with some fat bike messenger type
with tattooed legs and a chain
loosely belted around his waste

you're in new york city kid
from the day you arrive
til the day you die
no salt water pacific sunset
is gonna change that, the N
train on September 11th
nursing a monster hangover
after another

night spent at the Cedar
some freckled girl angrily awakened
in a red morning sun rise
end of summer gaminess
and the responsibility
of early adulthood
commenting on your sore back.

The early sunrises of Santa Monica
come on like a bad cold, gradual
and gentle, nothing like those
blistering summer Sundays
on Avenue A with Doc Holidays and
Niagara pouring 2 for 1s
and little hip chicks
wearing spaghetti tops
and jean shorts,

waiting for the brunch in some
outdoor cafe
heads floating like balloons
and their eyes dark and sunken
like jack-o-lanterns
on a humid indian summer night.

I am alone
i was alone
i will always be alone
even when you are in my arms
even when i can hear you in the other room
even when you're banging pots and pans and making a squash soup
even when you weep and i stare blankly at the cracked paint on the wall
even when you leave and you say you just need time to figure it out.

and oh those new york city nights
when i've walked the 40 blocks home
and I have cold sweat on my back
and the apartment is hot and dank and
looming
miles above the taxi cabs and car horns and pedestrians
smoking and screaming and stumbling with hands knotted together all fumbly and weird
like copper wires in an old home wired by a cataract-ed ex-marine named Carl

and still, drunken and stumbling and slurring words
at the typer there was purpose, she was in the bathroom
and you sat down and just started telling a story
with no purpose but to make something up no matter
how ugly or depressing or pointless it was,

just to create the rhythm of phrases
jagged
and butting up against one another
like a fevered fight when everyone is screaming
like a pack of wolves.

She is gone, the memory of her
isn't even real, it just was something
you/I made up and even if she were true
she's back in New York City or more likely moved out to a brownstone
in Brooklyn with her new husband
and they baby they dressed up like a pumpkin
for Halloween.

~ Craig A. Platt, 11.1.2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

SOUNDS

Life is an experiment.

the senses, a stack of
moments collected
& laid to rest some-
-where obscure
and meta-
-physical, waiting to
be triggered back to

life
in a shocking
moment. These thoughts
& impressions are
collected into the
mind and spatially
they lie in the most

uncomfortable crawl
spaces of the
mind.
tiny little details,
sunken pleasures,
that
wet
cracking
sound
of paint peeling
off
a
roller

the feeling of
water
soaked
through the cuffs of
pant legs

the
smell
of
tobacco
when it's first lit

a
warm
sweatshirt

a spider web
walked
through
and tangled
up on
finger-
-tips

traffic

rain

the
whistle
of a train

cash
registers

and typewriters

a
standup
Bass

someone
w
e
e
p
i
n
g
softly

on of those
bells on
the door
of a
retail store

a
cold
greeting

SPLASH.

It's only in aging
where we realize
the incredible predictable
nature
of time
humans
and the society we live in

so to emerge from a
collector's Deco apartment
on West End Avenue
to a freezing
New York night,
a cocaine burn in the nostrils
and trailing red lights
one remembers the simplicity of action:

dig you hands deep into the
pockets
lower head
raise shoulders
and march persistently
towards the nearest
subway station.

~ Craig A. Platt
10.12.2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Highways & Horizons

The scene is as simple
and American as any I can
think of, a dark bar
the windows shaded and yellow
a street lamp outside
surrounded by mosquitoes
and maybe a slight s
summer breeze
a lonely motor
rumbles diesel in the distance

on the jukebox
there are sad honkeytonk
songs playing
and men drink whiskey
chased by beer
and flirt
with horrible women
with pock marked faces
and crooked yellowing teeth

the day was all highway
and horizon
a mode of life
foreign to most
but more alive
in their imaginations
than the reality
they exist under.

An umbrella
of life, the cold
hard ground
wet grass under
toes, children laughing
in dark bedrooms
refusing to go to sleep
and a stack of

novels in the corner
of the room, some made
young man desperate
to write.


~ Craig A. Platt
Sunday October 10, 2010, 9:17 PM