Thursday, July 31, 2008

no title

Of all the things in the world
my one hope is this:
that we can say good-bye for a thousand years.
While the world curls in on itself
and ashes burst into vapor around us
we will be there
eye to eye
and lips to lips
the longing and tingling dread
of letting go
pulling us tighter together
like twin suns caught for a million moments in our diminishing gravities.
During the years you will not age
and we won’t sleep
because we only have a thousand years
and most people don’t get this lucky
so we have to make the most of it.
All around us there will be death –
you must prepare yourself for this –
but it will not touch us
tight in our cocoon,
fingers entwined in hair,
eyes shut,
breath caught
until each of the centuries,
like the ten digits in your hands,
have curled in, down to nothing.
And then I’ll say good-bye
only then.
Only when I am certain
that even the black holes in space
are aware
and envious
of our love.


Man would you look at the dust gathering on this place! It's like an archaeological dig all up in here! Because a broken laptop waits for no man, Paul is here to self-indulge some more with what is left of my copious Fringe booty.

So this one was requested by a guy who gave no title and four words instead of the customary three (unorthodox, but we at the Vending Machine, like Burger King, make everything to order): hope, longing, death, love. A little bleak, but I ran with it. Interesting side note to this - the dude showed up again with much the same instructions later on to another poet, and it turns out that he was gathering words for an art project. It's pretty damn cool of him to collaborate with local artists (even if they aren't aware). Kinda makes Orlando a little more artistically exciting, I say.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Live Laugh Love

Often the light plays tricks on your mind
especially when it’s gone.
Images form and rage,
your mind delighting in its revenge
for all the time you denied it today
left behind, like a pet, for more important things.
Even your ears join in the fight against you
tossing imaginary echoes off the wall
sounding the way mischievous elves would sound
if only they were there to help you.
But that’s the way it works,
gray matter against flesh
or the other way around.
Looking above fabric walls sporting thumbtacks,
outside windows pocked by dried dew
it’s obvious who started this fight,
Hatfields and McCoys
except less about pigs
but still about bringing home the bacon.
Fluorescence, neutral hues, keyboards that sound like dogs scratching.
Alone at night, when the sheets are relaxing
around you
and the silence consumes you
while memory plays a record that skips to the best part
an olive branch from an old friend
you smile
and know everything will be all right


Hey hey, it's Paul again! In the continuing saga of Tod's laptop of doom I am yet again pilfering my own treasure trove until I get some submissions from fellow 'machiners (and, as you may note, I'm down to the sand at the bottom of the trove). This one came from a surprising Vending Machine groupie. Surprising since she kind of appeared out of nowhere and that all the males in the booth fell in love (she was oh so generous with the beers). This poem represents one of the difficulties of custom-made art: when someone gives you the title "Live Laugh Love" and the words delight, mischievous, and consume, and you happen to be a cynical bastard of a poet, how exactly do you enter into their head and give them what they want? By being a better poet than me, it seems, since she came back and requested haikus from Tod and Butch using the same title.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thanks, Seth!

The Poetry Vending Machine in the news today, courtesy of a nice little spotlight for J. Bradley's last Broken Speech face-off between myself and Curtis Meyer. Seth Kubersky makes mention of the "cherished" ode to cheese that was written for him and his girl last month in his Live Active Cultures column of the Orlando Weekly.

This would, uh ... this would really be a good time to post that poem up here, huh?


I hate my laptop.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Haikus as packing peanuts


She’s walking softly
in the reeds, parting for her.
A beauteous dance.


The mirror, she lies.
You think it’s a compliment.
Nope. Just adjectives.


A two-fer on the same subject! This one came about while Tod and I, starved for attention, tackled the same haiku theme for the same price. Two for one! It's like happy hour at the Vending Machine! And it makes excellent filler here until Tod's lappy gets mended.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Senryus and Limericks

Popcorn Haiku

Buttery popcorn
Kernels stuck in my molars
Just like our lost love

Breakdancing Haiku

Poppin' and lockin'
B-Boy's legs spin in orbit
The crowd stares in awe

Gyro Haiku

Stomach in distress
I hunger for something Greek
I need a gyro


The vulture comes sooner than the dove
Longing in great circles high above
Its breath held for terms
Early birds get worms
Death arrives on wings faster than love

by Curtis


All Curtis all the time for awhile, as promised. I'd been meaning to start posting some of the many haikus and senryus we did anyway.

This was an option we'd give the cheapskates periodically: $1 for a haiku, full poem for $5. I don't know about anyone else, but I actually found them harder to do. With a full poem, the customer goes away and leaves you alone for awhile to write it. With these, they were usually sitting right there waiting for it because come on, it's only 17 syllables and they've got places to be and bathrobe boys to ogle. My haiku almost universally sucked.