Saturday, July 22, 2006

Attempts (at voice recognition or poetry or both)

I'm training a piece of voice recognition software. It surprises me just how adept it is... and yet how often it'll get really tricky passages right while occasionally tripping up on the mundane. Anyway, to help it get accustomed to how I speak, I've been reading from handwritten poems I wrote in high school or first year university, in 1986, 1987, and 1988. I still have reams of this stuff... two binders full. Probably a thousand poems, and most of them are pretentious and wincingly bad (though I think I knew that at the time; it was all just practice and I wrote down whatever occurred to me). But every now and then there's one that might not be a gem, but has a turn of phrase or illustration in it that pleases me, and those are the ones I've transcribed. Since I'm doing this anyway, I thought I'd share what I have so far. Make of 'em what you will. :)


Standing in the rain
In the tiny island's sand
Praying for rescue

Unfinished Business II

Things left unsaid
Things left undone
Propose an answer
I watch the sky at work
The sun sets
-----where were you when I needed you
-----burying my days with spite and loneliness
I look in your eyes...
I see unfinished business.

By Scent

girl walks by
-----heady sheet of sweet
-----perfumed air
-----pressed hard
-----against the windborne flakes
----------of snow

like a million
scented love letters


There’s a frost that stills the morning air
When the sky shakes hands with the dead
Remember that moon that stood pale in midmorning
And then disappeared when it thought no one was watching
The songs of the ages ring in the years
Against the background noise of autumn

I am hidden in the frost
It blinds me
I lie in the grass and no one sees me
The sun affords me no warmth
And the fields about me don't steam
The cars hum along the highway
People inside with places to go and things to do
While I walk the farms
And watch the moon
And sometimes shake hands with the sky.

The country air was sweet, perched on summer's edge
She would lie in bed, not really asleep
No naked wonders in December
But as June dies she mulls it over in her mind
By day those eyes were pale blue and lined with violent
Now the tiny openings have fallen into empty pits
-----that plunge forever, boring into her thoughts
The ivy that covers the moldy wood
Can make a house a home
With trees for walls
She stirs; dark and lithe against the moonlight,
-----she crosses the floor, tiptoe quiet
The cool evening air gently clothes her and
It’s down the stairs with quiet footfalls

As Seen Through Fear

The fear was locked in her eyes
Like a ghost trapped in a crystal
Haunting her every thought
She saw the sun come up
And dance six-pointed on the dewy leaves
But the fear made it ugly
And she hid behind a windowpane
With edges to cut her soul
Her mind lies bleeding on the sidewalk
And she cannot retrieve it.

Ode to Glory Days

Glory days
You greet the dawn
With no thought to the number left to see
There are no limits in those
Glory days

Glory days, they call them
Because that's how they remember them
But they're just days
They come and go, usually without remark

Glory days fall
And merge, indistinguishable, with the rest of time
Like rain drops in a puddle
Glory days are just the water that turns the dirt into mud

Glory days are snowflakes that fall into one's palm
And melt, with the heat of time, to nothing but bitter rain.
Rain that runs and falls away,
Laughing as it escapes
And all that remains is a memory of brief beauty
Now lost to a world of tedium, mediocrity, and ugliness.

Glory days.

In my mind I hold
A calm black pool
With a floor of smooth granite
And a beach of brown pine needles

Tall balsams
They are my brothers
As they lay down their shadows to blanket me
And stand in a mighty ring around me
Bodyguards who only ask a share of the sky


Kites above the field
There is a score to keep against the wind and trees
By running you keep it aloft
The problems of flight vanish into
The naïve clouds
Stop and it crashes
Only the broken bones are left

What pride we took
On the hill above the school
Such triumph over such torment
Friday afternoons were holy
Falls and spills
Crashes, tangles
So many lost kites and hill climbs

Rain pisses down on kites
Kites are afraid to soar at night
Conditions must be optimum
Skinned knees and broken dreams

8:16 a.m.

cold morning in late spring
mellow sunrise
cold building-shadows
glistening dewdrop harvest on a spider web.


Glow of sunrise
I hear the sea call me from the beach
Smell its perfume as it fans the breeze
Down the cliff stairs
To cool Atlantic joy

Blaze of afternoon
The sand bars are stranded for miles
Stains on the sand that were jellyfish
Burning footprints;
Longing for the feel
Of cool green grass
Climbing the cliff stairs
From stark Northumberland desert

Visions of Blindness

My dad used to smoke
While the Catholics held Mass
Because the incense irritated him

And while the clouds melted in the heat
The ice cubes talked through chattering teeth
Noble sentiments on the nature of God
And the freezer light went off and they slept

The moon howled at the dogs in the parking lot
But nobody noticed
They were too engrossed in the executions on TV
The condemned pleaded with the screens
But my dad just laughed
And lit in incense stick.

Summer Tragedy

he raises his hands to his eyes
and cries
lamenting the death
of a dropped ice cream cone.

Identity Crisis

I stepped out of the house without my wallet this morning
leaving my identity
on top of my dresser

Buttercup Doom

the buttercups lie
in fear of the cow
they cannot hide
when she comes grazing
the bees dance with them
with little time left:
the bees dance quickly
then kiss them good-bye

(This one reminds me of Jody, who died of cancer at 26 in June, 2004)

Running Wild (version 2)

In my mind are sunny days
Of empty streets
Where we do the most animal things
In store windows.

New Regimes

"There’s work to be done,"
he said
and I was
under a mushroom cloud
Perhaps I'll tan
if not:
are the perfect


just by saying
"shit disturber",
you showed what a
shit disturber
you are


Into the woods
Without a map
I went that day

Windbreaker flagging around my body
The floor clammy
Climbing over the sharp cold rocks
Lying on the soft wet boulders
Rubbing my toes aching in the chill

Then I saw it

Horror in the vision
Of a dead raccoon
Being eaten from within
The maggots crawling

And I spent the whole
Cold wet day
At the dead thing
Full of life

Watching the Tickle

He parks her
Against the lockers
She smiles
Squinting jealously,
I watch her hand go
To his chin

I see them in my
Casual mind
On the chesterfield
Watching everything they do
Chewing nails

They will
Make some beer
Drink some love
And be touched
And they discuss the pile of clothes:
-----What color?
-----I had a
-----pair like that

I watch them melt into one another
Without form
I will bite my lip and turn away
-----The bell rings --
-----dressed, they kiss and part.


I sat and watched the girl
Who stood, shouting to the chipmunks,
"Puff up your tails!"
(She wanted squirrels.)

On the Road

Headlights on the road
Have tired his eyes
Like boatmen pulling oars

The car needs gas
So he pulls into
A motel
Cheap little restaurant
Mousehole rooms
Indistinguishable from a thousand others

The waitress is keen to take his order
Her voice
Sweet and syrupy
Like flat Coke
He’d do anything
To talk longer

He sits in the dingy motel room
Thinks of the thousand or so occupants it's housed
The cheap affairs it's facilitated
Even though the Gideons
Took such care...

He picks up the phone
Then thinks better of it

Returns to the staleness of seclusion.


Regimental flavors
And colors
Are rolling past your window:
I stand outside
In the gray
And listen:
Do you sing while you work?
Do you hum to the things it to shove summarily
-----into the oven?

In the gray I stand shivering
The grass is cold and tickles my ankles
No covering is warming
I've sat here in the fall before
My skin damp, and damp inside
With my soul clammy as my seat
And I stared at the glow of your window
Not even seeing me, you
Closed the window
And shut the heat in.

Beyond the Forest Floor

High in the tree he observes away
The wind shakes hands with the leaves
And he talks to himself

The stellar metropolis
Stares down, full of pity
For the broken neck
And the timeless waiting

The Final Threshold

I'll really believe
Our attitude’s changed
When I see humans
In my animal crackers


Oh, he was alive
-----he lived!
But life made his tears flow
-----and then his spirit rusted

Relative Motion and Life's Choreography

Here is what you were talking about
When you laughed at him as the warm rain fell
And drenched our shoulders as we watched him slink away
Here is what you told me you dreamt of
As the puddles merged
And rivers of mud flowed beside the curbs
Here is what you were hoping to find
As the ground welled up water around our feet
As we stood beside a dead oak
That climbed living into the sky for centuries
And now cared nothing
For immortal suns
And mayflies that talked and dreamed and hoped.

The Wind, the Sky, and the Ceiling Gray

A cold agony kept pace with the breeze
Keeping the temper of the waves leashed
Nothing to take hold of
Hair spirals to the gray ceiling
The dew is sprayed across the shins
And the ground has whips
Towering with destination into the northeast
Beating the warm blood from
The heart's core

There are ships with sails
They’re white sails
They don't match the horizon
Darkness surrounds them
And the wind can keep the full
But not clean

Congealing stagnant lust in an inland marsh
Feet in the grass will seek solace in its warm water
There are no rainbows as the droplets fall
Rippling tidal pools in the rocks
There are no partners to share this with
As it all comes bounding out of the world.

1 comment:

Andy Byers said...

It's not without its charms.