Tag Archives: Poems

“This Is How It Feels to Be Something Dumbstruck”

THIS IS HOW IT FEELS TO BE SOMETHING DUMBSTRUCK

city of lights

and this is how it feels to be something dumbstruck:
charged electrons, a ghost, a construct
that parts ways / when it sees your shining face / a
dose of heathen chemistry
for your stormy weather good fuck
and how this electricity / strikes me dead & dumb / one
more comet / lost amongst the sky
like streaked chalk,
at peace with its own wandering eye / still the Sun
draws pure, inspiration & entropy / moving to match;
you, love, curve along a delicate place,
burning souls where you like to walk

I see your eyes, love
now my face is on fire / my heartstring plucked /
wishing only to match you / desire for desire.
my tongue is loose (with a lightning touch) /
wishing to show your body
how it feels / to be something dumbstruck

J.W.

“The New American Century.”

reposting this poem because, honestly, I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately…

electricusa

THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY

Life’s great joy is harmony through symmetry,
elastic epiphanies in every brain, every doorway.
Somehow, we’ll stay warm & have plenty,
even while life will drag us down
and find a way to keep our stomachs empty.
But we’ll hold on for a New American Century,
smile wide and come chill with me,
all we could ask for is this daydream nation,
and that’s we get, from station to station,
believe in fairy tales in place of our liberty;
we’re not that free, just sums of accessories,
because we’ve got bombs in the tunnels
and tick-tick-ticking in our hearts,
we ask for light and yet all we get are sparks.

But, there is one thing we do know:
This little dream is ours, & it is ours to save,
in the Land of The Somewhat Free,
Home of The Sunny Day Brave.

— Jackson Williams.

“Harlem” (Hughes)

Safe American HomeWhat happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
      like a raisin in the sun?
      Or fester like a sore—
      And then run?
      Does it stink like rotten meat?
      Or crust and sugar over—
      like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
      like a heavy load.
      Or does it explode?
Langston Hughes (1951)
(JW)

“Chicago” (Carl Sandburg)

Hog Butcher for the World,  Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,  Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;  Stormy, husky, brawling,  City of the Big Shoulders: 

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I  have seen your painted women under the gas lamps  luring the farm boys.  And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it  is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to  kill again.  And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the  faces of women and children I have seen the marks  of wanton hunger.  And having answered so I turn once more to those who  sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer  and say to them:  Come and show me another city with lifted head singing  so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.  Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on  job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the  little soft cities; 

Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning  as a savage pitted against the wilderness, 

Bareheaded,  Shoveling,  Wrecking,  Planning,  Building, breaking, rebuilding, 

Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with  white teeth,  Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young  man laughs,  Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has  never lost a battle,  Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse,  and under his ribs the heart of the people, 

Laughing! 

Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of  Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog  Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with  Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

— Carl Sandburg.

J.W.

“Line-Up For Yesterday” (Ogden Nash)

LINE-UP FOR YESTERDAY
by
Ogden Nash

baseballgrass

A is for Alex
The great Alexander;
More Goose eggs he pitched
Than a popular gander.

B is for Bresnahan
Back of the plate;
The Cubs were his love,
and McGraw his hate.

C is for Cobb,
Who grew spikes and not corn,
And made all the basemen
Wish they weren’t born.

D is for Dean,
The grammatical Diz,
When they asked, Who’s the tops?
Said correctly, I is.

E is for Evers,
His jaw in advance;
Never afraid
To Tinker with Chance.

F is for Fordham
And Frankie and Frisch;
I wish he were back
With the Giants, I wish.

G is for Gehrig,
The Pride of the Stadium;
His record pure gold,
His courage, pure radium.

H is for Hornsby;
When pitching to Rog,
The pitcher would pitch,
Then the pitcher would dodge.

I is for Me,
Not a hard-hitting man,
But an outstanding all-time
Incurable fan.

J is for Johnson
The Big Train in his prime
Was so fast he could throw
Three strikes at a time.

K is for Keeler,
As fresh as green paint,
The fastest and mostest
To hit where they ain’t.

L is for Lajoie
Whom Clevelanders love,
Napoleon himself,
With glue in his glove.

M is for Matty,
Who carried a charm
In the form of an extra
brain in his arm.

N is for Newsom,
Bobo’s favorite kin.
You ask how he’s here,
He talked himself in.

O is for Ott
Of the restless right foot.
When he leaned on the pellet,
The pellet stayed put.

P is for Plank,
The arm of the A’s;
When he tangled with Matty
Games lasted for days.

Q is for Don Quixote
Cornelius Mack;
Neither Yankees nor years
Can halt his attack.

R is for Ruth.
To tell you the truth,
There’s just no more to be said,
Just R is for Ruth.

S is for Speaker,
Swift center-field tender,
When the ball saw him coming,
It yelled, “I surrender.”

T is for Terry
The Giant from Memphis
Whose .400 average
You can’t overemphis.

U would be ‘Ubell
if Carl were a cockney;
We say Hubbell and Baseball
Like Football and Rockne.

V is for Vance
The Dodger’s very own Dazzy;
None of his rivals
Could throw as fast as he.

W is for Wagner,
The bowlegged beauty;
Short was closed to all traffic
With Honus on duty.

X is the first
of two x’s in Foxx
Who was right behind Ruth
with his powerful soxx.

Y is for Young
The magnificent Cy;
People battled against him,
But I never knew why.

Z is for Zenith
The summit of fame.
These men are up there.
These men are the game.

Happy Sunday.

Jackson Williams.

“Blue Skies & Electric Daydreams…”

blueskies

Still shimmering, still stupefying:
to say that she is not a beautiful sight
would mean that I was lying, and under the
Sun, or as a lamp for the dark night, effervescent
& effortless, a curse against regret & despair,
a shot of happiness, and oh so much more
beauty, fiery to the touch, you’d swear she could capture the air,
and steal your heart to make it new, and cast
that long shadow, enough to make
my silly little electric daydreams come true;
I dream of Paris, souls as big as monuments, her
eyes electric to astonishment, and there drifting out
(voices to the sea, feet on the continent)
and now I know no more, and I picture light
following her, from the sidewalk to the door;
I dream of Paris, foolish hearts dancing
as the old lives burn away,
stretching like the sky – raging against the death of day,
bigger than we admit, stretching on & on,
and so the lights & this old city teach us to burn,
and we watch the summer fade, lawn to lawn….

This is a lot of words to use
for such a beautiful girl,
but here is the meaning of my daydream:
to become lost in the swirl.

Jackson Williams.
May 7th, 2014.

Clouds (poem written half-awake at one o’clock, this a.m.)

moon1

and what a thing to be:
pale, proud ghost against the weight of the night,
a milky white island in a darkening sea.

Calm it stays, even if it sees the abyss,
whether by wind, or shaken by a kiss.
but baby i know we’ve both witnessed this dance before:
wild & wicked, too much to ignore,
like holy birds of love, locked in eternal war.

Gather your worries, shake off your dust,
and circle with me around the moon;
make it fast, I hope to see you soon,
before we are gathered away in a gust.

(poem reposted from my old blog.)

Jackson Williams.

“365: A Baseball Poem” (Jack Buck)

365: A BASEBALL POEM
by
Jack Buck.

When someone asks you your favorite sport
And you answer Baseball in a blink
There are certain qualities you must possess
And you’re more attached than you think.
In the frozen grip of winter
I’m sure you’ll agree with me
Not a day goes by without someone
Talking baseball to some degree.
The calendar flips on New Year’s Day
The Super Bowl comes and it goes
Get the other sports out of the way
The green grass and the fever grows.
It’s time to pack a bag and take a trip
To Arizona or the Sunshine State
Perhaps you can’t go, but there’s the radio
So you listen-you root-you wait.
They start the campaign, pomp and pageantry reign
You claim the pennant on Opening Day

McGraw & Mathewson.

From April till fall
You follow the bouncing white ball
Your team is set to go all the way.
They fall short of the series
You have a case of the “wearies”
And need as break from the game
But when Christmas bells jingle
You feel that old tingle
And you’re ready for more of the same.
It will be hot dogs for dinner
Six months of heaven, a winner
Yes, Baseball has always been it.
You would amaze all your friends
If they knew to what ends
You’d go for a little old hit.
The best times you’re had
Have been with your Mom and your Dad
And a bat and a ball and a glove.

From the first time you played
Till the last time you prayed
It’s been a simple matter of love.

Jack Buck.

J.W.

“The Cottonwoods.”

UPDATE: this is an old poem I published on here months ago but I decided to republish it tonight for one very simple, personal reason: the man I wrote it for, my beloved Grandpa Bill, died twenty-two years ago today at the age of seventy-five years old.

And I still miss you, Grandpa.

Thank you.

J.W.

Old Glory

THIS SHALL HENCEFORTH BE READ IN A FAUX-N.P.R. VOICE, WARM AND MELLOW LIKE A FRESH CUP OF COFFEE:

Good evening and welcome to Part 1 of The New American Poetry Hour. I’m your host, Pretentious McDouchebag. On tonight’s episode we have two old poems by Jackson Williams and let me tell you now, dear listeners: they’re not that good. Both of these poems we have for you tonight are not that good and show the marks of a young man who learned very early on that he’s not that good with poetry. They were written sometime in 2007 — the author lost the dates to them. I apologize to those tuning in tonight.

But mmmmmm, this is good java, no?

THE COTTONWOODS

I think of Grandpa Bill, a nickel tucked in a shoe,
westbound to California, run from the Irish wake blues.
His mother had just died. Relatives gathered ’round;
for three days he knew no sound, except the plucking of
heartstrings, and the dead, like lightning, finding a way to the ground.
Like clockwork his Pa had another round, not just one but two,
his soul buried in more than rot and sand. A misunderstood justice,
delivered from a gnarled hand.

Stories I heard, haunted by vibrations from just three days,
never again understanding evil people and their civil ways.
But I guess it pays to be young, and he heard the trains,
hellcats ripping through Virginia night, eyes blistering with
nervous moonlight. Then the Old Man, always right, that mad
dad full’a beer, playing his new performances of knocks
to an audience full of fright and good cheer.

They had an Irish Wake, like an heirloom on display,
spooked and ghostly, maybe the dead would wake front and center.
Storms were quelled and given life there in the living room,
if only for a few moments, you can’t hide a hidden temper.
Choruses, choruses, the fist and shotguns, relatives drinking
and spun like tops on tables, the telling of tall tales,
let’s add on to old Irish fables.
Leave it to the angels to be experts on sin.
There you go!

To California! To California!
Under that sky one could live off their own shoes.
To California! To sweet California!
Bless the train, bringer of glorious red, white, and blue.

I heard he was tall as a mountain, thin as a rail,
a voice clear to tremble might, an escape from a jail.
That is the sweet sad mark of old adventure.
On a train he found faith, wisdom, took a chance on truth,
on that rocket he found the key to youth: adventure.
He didn’t know how far it was to the west.
All he had on him was scorn, an old steel-stringed guitar,
and he still wore that funeral vest.

To California! To California!
Look at God and give his plan a big ol’ laugh!
To California! To California!
Only believe in the possibility of your nation.

Week later landing and running to Sacramento.
What a story, and how all the good ones go:
He married the first girl he spoke to, and it’s
never what you know but who you know. In his
life of grand escape, he watched Depression and saw
a nation bloom in to something more. Not that it meant
anything in the end, he was simple enough to enjoy his door.

To Destiny! To California!
May what lays ahead always set you free!
To California! To the western dream!
A road begins from here to Kentucky.

I remember the funeral, I was only three. First person
I knew to die; first march to surrender a funeral wreath .
Hank Williams played through the night,
the old Cottonwoods raged before the street,
a few weeks later I saw the train and recognized that old beat.
It is the twang of history, a precession of candlelight
Not even the rust can throw it off its tune, powered by song
and the wandering moonlight strolls to see its thunder:
To California, my heart for every wonder.

J.W.