THE 8 POEMS NOBODY WANTED

Word up, yo. I found these poems suffocating in a Google Doc from 2017. I’d sent them all out a million times to a million online journals with no takers (which makes sense).

It turns out I have a connection with the editors of this fine site; I traded 2 canisters of CBD-infused Flonase for them to post these 8 fairly-crappy poems today:

 

The Candle Throws Tantrums Against the Walls

On Christmas morning
I feel giddy with something simple
like a sunbeam flashing
off a metallic pinwheel.

We give Lois a sweater and help her
pass her arms through. The nurse
hands us a Sharpie to write
her name in the collar.

The bright rope that held her thoughts
is slack. I can’t tell if the punch
has grapefruit juice
or pomegranate sherbet.
There’s a man at the piano
with his back turned, turning
pages in a songbook, searching
for Silent Night.

~

Highs and Lows

The dementia ward plays Born to Run
from speakers embedded in the ceiling.
Lois is sad today. She can’t say why.
We walk outside to the reflecting pool.
There’s an airplane above us,
only a handful of people
even know where it’s going. 

~

When the Party’s Over

I watched her walk
across the lawn
with the shower curtain
held high, fresh
from the washer,
headed for the line.
Without being asked,
like a giant pine tree,
I stood there,
worried.

~

The Plague

Like a great darkness it moves
from one leaf to the next
through the thoroughly-washed
50/50 mix. 3 different strains
of lettuce and spinach
succumb to black slime
deep in the unpopular
corner of the crisper drawer.
Armies of manganese
and potassium suffocate
inside the quiet running
of the refrigerator.

~

Married To My Country
-after Wendell Berry

My country and I
trade fake smiles
for months.

There’s no use
to try and seduce
my country.

All my country complains
because the sun won’t walk
in the shoes of the moon.

~

The Cabin Wakes Up

The eyelids of two beagles
and a golden up first with the sun.
A forty-eight-nail tap dance
on the hardwood, their tags
tambourine the water bowl.
Loud cartoons and the empty bellies
of the five and six year old flip on. I rise
because the sun in my face
and a mildew scent on my pillow.

Grandpa starts the coffee quietly.
Grandma against the measuring glass
spazzes eggs with a fork
and the four teenagers begrudge every sound.
Their empty beer bottles, wine bottles
and bottle of rum
stuck to the table on the porch.
Their ping pong balls cornered
and they’re awake but not up

as the adults commit glass-on-glass
atrocities in the trash.
Their worried words
white-hot ping pong balls
from the paddles of their mouths,
and I’ve been that teenager
hearing just enough to know what’s coming
and knowing just enough to stay down.

~

Sweeping Alabama

The dogs–more afraid of stick than bristle–
run and hide as the 5 year old sweeps the walkway
to the cabin and sways to jazz on the radio.

I sweep out the studio that faces the lake
with giant bay windows. Several dead scorpions
cramp the threads of my broom, each in its own
sarcophagus of dog hair, dust and pencil shavings.
The prayer of their tiny claws open and unanswered.

A great drag out the window: wake boarders, skiers
and inner tubers. I wait to see someone swept
from their rope, their bodies skipped like stones
across the waves.

~

Urgent and Damned on the Rio Grande Under the I10 bridge

In a Bronco with tinted windows two teenagers
are locked in an awkward, equal-opportunity
sexual stickiness. There’s also 4 swastikas
spray-painted red on the turquoise supports.
One can smell a dead duck upwind in the reeds
and overhead one can hear the jagged ripping
of motorcycles, the steady forge of 18-wheelers
and the constant crackling of the desert sun.
The scent of fertilizer runoff from the fields
lifts off the river and one can feel the moment
urgent and damned, like a fly with amputated wings.

MC FLASHCARD SPITS FIRE AGAIN!!!

Have you ever done time in a New Mexico public school? if so, these bars are for you. Hear MC FLASHCARD preach over a beat made by Dr. SWA, one of his finest students. Flashcard delves into the New Mexico Public Education system from both sides of the dais.

LYRICS:

New Mexico C

(verse 1 MC FLASHCARD)

Crusty, musty our budget’s real low

Trust me, in the LC that’s how it goes

Grease up the grades like a mechanic

cars broke down, I feel kinda manic

All through high school the microscope’s on you

The adults round here got no follow through

And what exactly are you graduating to

Suicide hotline’s got a waiting room

(chorus)

Skiree skiree

Which one of ya’ll ever thinks about me?

I think I’ll grade ya’ll a New Mexico C

deserrrrrrrve it

 

(verse 2 MC FLASHCARD)

I sling the hammock up between your ears

Focus on your breath, now, never fear

All the trash card haters writin’ a  diss track

I best ghost write it so it’s worth a crap  

Now listen to me once, never to me twice

I’m not gonna ride you like a little tighty white

Now I never meant to do ya’ll a disservice

Half the time I feel my lessons are worthless

(chorus)

Skiree skiree

Which one of ya’ll ever thinks about me?

I think I’ll grade ya’ll New Mexico C

deserrrrrrrve it

(verse 3 MC FLASHCARD)

Some say I should shave, get a haircut

Buzz cut my B-Ballz, that won’t shut me up

Caramelized onions and chile relleno

Sure my life’s all wrapped up like a burrito

Don’t quit your cell phone cause i tell you to

My clothes get faded grading you

If only I was casually observing you

If only I was casually observing you

songwriters: MC FLASHCARD, DR. SWA

THANK YOU CACTI FUR

Thanks to Jim Thompson over at Cacti Fur for publishing these 13 new haiku. Cacti Fur is the only poetry journal in America that would accept these. These 13 haiku got rejected 72 times. Here’s a brief retelling of those rejections:

For rejections 0-10 I remained giddy.

For rejections 11-26 I ate corn dogs or thought that maybe I should find some corn dogs to eat.

For rejections 27-32, which came in the winter, I felt cold on the inside and the out.

For rejection 33, this one never came, I’m guessing the editors were so knocked out by my haiku they just tossed in the towel completely and turned to stone like that one soldier in Clash of the Titans.

For rejections 34-58 I thought maybe all the publishers of poetry in America must clearly be idiots who only publish their white friends. This feelings lasted 46 days and 26 minutes.

For rejections 59-62 I thought maybe I would have better luck being published if my name was Suzy Hiro or Hilario Bustamontes or Mads Kellaway.

For rejections 63-70 I thought maybe I’m a terrible poet and then I told myself that writing is like therapy and then I washed my mouth out with Ivory soap.

Rejection 71 came from the New Yorker, oh Kevin Young, what good are you? You’re a better color than the last dude, but c’mon.

Rejection 72 never came. Rejection 72 was an acceptance letter from Jim Thompson of Cacti Fur. I love you for loving me! But I hate myself for being this needy. Jim, if you are reading this, when can I submit more poems to you, and only you, for rest of my life?

Click here for 13 new haiku by Tim Staley

Here is a picture of me pretending to talk about my 13 new haiku to Kevin Young from the New Yorker:

The Most Honest Syllable is Shhh now available on Amazon

Tim Staley’s newest chapbook, The Most Honest Syllable is Shhh, is now available from Amazon.

This 32 page collection was originally released in June, 2017, by NightBallet Press out of Cleveland, Ohio.

Here is a poem from this chapbook:

 

My Life and Your Life

 

My life almost feels

like your life.

Your life might be

someplace nearby.

I turn over your life

like a ceiling fan:

on/off off/on

fast/ medium fast/

really fast.

In winter I turn

the other way.

Or is it your life

turning over mine?

SCENES FROM THE 2016 FALL POETRY TOUR

placitas-9-25-16-with-wordsplacitas-9-25-16-with-sax-with-wordsnmsu-with-soldofskylexington-10-8-16-with-wordscovington-10-10-16-with-wordscleveland-10-16-12-with-words-3cleveland-10-12-16-2-faceshot-with-wordsslam-10-14-16-with-words

TOUR ITINERARY

September 25, 2016    Anasazi Winery  Placitas, NM
September 30, 2016  New Mexico State University   Las Cruces, NM
October 8, 2016   Wild Fig Books   Lexington, KY
October 10, 2016   Sandra Small Gallery  Covington, KY
October 12, 2016   Mac’s Backs   Cleveland, OH
October 14, 2016   Art Obscura   Las Cruces, NM

Tim Staley shares the stage with other local poets this Saturday

 

This year’s “For Love of Lit” reading, in conjunction with “For Love of Art Month” in Las Cruces, will be held Saturday, February 27, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. at the Branigan Cultural Center.

Last year our audience spilled over from the smaller Schwartz Room, so this year we are scheduled for the larger Shannon Room.

THE READERS:
LeeAnn Meadows, Joanne Townsend, Christine Eber, Ellen Roberts Young, Catherine McGeehan, Caitlin Ferguson, Anna Underwood
and
Peter Goodman, Frank Varela, Dick Thomas, Joe Somoza, Gerry Stork, Terry Hertzler, Tim Staley

You are correct if you conclude that they are not reading in this order.  There will be an intermission.  Come hear some of our local Las Cruces area poets.