Dedicated to Haley Capra, Cellea Osterbauer, Katie Weinstock, and Tim Engle. Thanks for believing in me when I needed it the most and more importantly thanks for saving my life.
The Grocery was written in the summer of 2015 when I had access to copious amounts of weed and alcohol. The Grocery is the name of the apartment in St. Paul Minnesota where I wrote most of the poems inside of this poetry collection. I decided to use The Grocery as the title of the book because I think it is cheesy, lazy, and uncreative when poets title their books after a poem in their collection. No single poem in here is titled “The Grocery”. The poetry book still remains a collection of poem and should not be thought of as a single poem titled “The Grocery”.
In one sense The Grocery is a thematic text which tries its best to capture fragments as opposed to anything cohesive. The challenge with such a project is that fragments can also create confusion and frustration for readers. I try to strike the balance between my personal needs and the reader’s needs. Where something I wrote makes sense to me, it may not make sense to the reader. I tried to fill the gap by reworking the cryptic phrases resulting from drunken stupors. I did this by providing a focus on a topic. Many of the poems started without a focal point so I tried to reframe that when possible.
There was also sometimes the allure of leaving the text in their premature forms simply because I wanted to capture the authenticity of the despair. I realized this was a ridiculous and crude way to approach poetry and would lead readers to be more bored than moved. Essentially poetry which stems from drinking and smoking only provides cryptic poetic language that can be threaded together once all the barf is set aside and discarded.
As per the picture on the front text, it is symbolic of running into danger as opposed to running away from it. I think if there was any way to describe this text it would be captured by the phrase, “running into danger”. The Grocery and the experimental life I attempted to forge there was about running into danger without fear. This text captures that attempt.
I’m That Cow
the fragments of concrete which remain
the body parts of manikins strewn
cuddle on the forgotten grass
an arm over the torso
two toenails intertwined delicately
twisted together like a cherry stem by a practiced tongue
knotted like the intestines that float up like nails into my stomach
These angelic pangs remark about
Documents, filled with white out
Cream cheese shred open with tweezers
Bright red stains on the carpet growl,
Vacuums roar through your pain killing cuteness.
I slam hard against the closed door with a peep hole that lets me inside of you, to wake you, so I can see your face this morning, to see if you are as sweet and tender as the hands I touched the night before.
All the pornography sat on the windowsill untouched that night because I wanted to watch your bare chest rise and fall where the strangers only see the passing someone’s dressed in torn jeans.
They desperately knock our heads against soft pillows, trying to suffocate their own hesitation.
The simpletons pass over emptiness and like it were a bridge over beauty, see nothing.
And I, I always fall into that patch
Between long stretches of sidewalk
where that slot of concrete is missing,
I go slipping.
Where that cow moos on the suburban lawn,
I see its despair and loneliness,
I go to pet it, between the leg space.
My friends interrupt me by asking, “Are you okay?”
I’m okay. I’m petting the cow inbetween those cracks where barbecue smoke suffocates everyone but myself. I begin to moo, I’m that cow.
Everything feels like
scraping down my back on a foggy night.
Christmas candle dipped into my popcorn,
There is poop in my niece’s vagina
And when I wipe it away she blows a bright green snot bubble from her mouth and giggles. She has a fever.
She will be pretty one day, dressing up for someone.
Where did she get such a sweet tooth? From me? My sexiness?
No, I’m just a fat bat hippy,
My touch is like a toad’s,
urinating when startled.
Fingers on piano keys twitching, zone out on comfort, disturbed by the taste of water, undisturbed by people.
Listerine mints flirt with a soft face, I speak of her like she were a ballerina. I forget to mention the snot bubble.
The arch angels say hookah while I peel the ginger in the kitchens, just so I can sing a bit more. Am I attractive. Is she cute?
I don’t know.
The sheik wings of the green demons come apart and hold her, she smiles as the prickles of the cactus sink into her flesh.
The trickling herbs make me believe my nipples are a chimney stack for a dead fire pit boiling milk.
The morning comes ringing in, and I wonder if she found her crib last night. I wonder if she is sleeping out on the grass again.
There is popcorn in my candle, fuck, how did it get there? I don’t remember, how did I get here? Fuck.
Will she say bye to the nobody at her side when the teenagers she adores wilt away?
Shame, where is my cow nipple, in the drunken sea-worm, ripping my back away, revealing the loose phlegm splashing in my lungs. I want to be a woman too sometimes.
I wonder where the gnomes live and I sing about her, her broken ceramic body in the abandoned field where the snakes come together to comfort her.
Out there where the spiked vines are, I cannot grope the handle of her teacup. She wants to be a princess, with a kettle filled by psychotherapy, my love for her smells like her diaper.
Her blue towel Babylon, too much towel, too much death running around the house, too many grocery bags in the bathroom willing to suffocate her for a small fee-- for some reason grumbling belugas pass over the white bucket and barf up pink nail polish and fish sticks once shaped like dinosaurs.
Look at those pearls
money makes us smile like that
but he is just some person in a kayak now
some curled haired boy
the labels before the microwave beeping
the tea is finished, but only one cup for myself
alone heated, don’t matter now
a fire, burning my
blaming the pointed fingers
in the mirror
I want what’s in my mouth
in the mirror
What’s in my mouth?
Green, stuck to the tooth,
I want the chemicals of tangled tongues
like snake sex, twined in a slime pit
curled up cozy like brain
like gravity pulling down the water
from a tower I want to be tickled by a demon from a past made of feathers, that smile
a fire built by children, that smile
that burning nettle smile
fly repellent, scorching
Drunken pumpkins talk on the radio and barf up all the news today and magic little fairies sing blues to the moon, and the popcorn stars butter in the night
I am just a toothpick in a beef chiabatta,
holding beef together like a hand grenade.
Torn off are the petals that sparkle in the air
fighting like an antelope to grasp a lady’s fare.
I wish on every well, and read my fortune cookies,
I stab the voodoo dolls; harder every day
My hope is that the holes will fill with blood.
Then when the humans come walking in my church
I have the wine to baptize everyone.
Dipped in the turd toilet,
Lachrymose smiles at the words
Broken chop sticks sing about Asians, and the feather bows when the fire crackers break apart the petals of an unknown Jesuit.
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A collection of poetry written while drunk, high, sad, or otherwise intoxicated by some form of biological indifference. The theme is hard to pin down. Somewhere between a passion for life and apathy. Contains LGBT content, sexuality, nature mixed with images of society, and themes of mental illness. Sometimes rhymes, sometimes fragmented, sometimes completely aloof. Sometimes the truth is spoken.