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and to think i saw it on floyd terrace

Tim Martin's Sonnet Project

Thursday, September 30, 2004

When I started this project, I had the goal of writing a sonnet a day for 88 sonnets. This is number 88! Now comes the question, do I shoot for 100 or do I change things up?

I will be at a wedding in South Carolina for a few days. More when I get back.

I Can Stop Anytime I Want to

whatever is in this parody
of a better man that makes us
crumble in fits of laughter
like operatic clowns
in a college of beat poets
where i write confessional verse
constructed of lies
and everyone else's lives
that unexpectedly disappear
when the night gets bumpy
where did that line come from?
with ice from the bucket
i try to keep well stocked
and end up as useful as Joseph

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Old Man Jack

in the oldness of the Appalachians
are narratives that have no plot
& are some cradlesong philosophy
in the new oral tradition
a man or hermit in this particular one
without Thoreau’s care packages
finds a bedtime story
connected to everything
but alone like some Chinese poet
in the first snow on the log cabin
while folksongs of hunters
echo down the valley
where they are chanted
just before sleep

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Soft Landing

what troubles me
is having had a plan
but that’s Greek history
without sticking to my guns
i count to ten, eleven
these are just thoughts i am having
in the car after two
it seems appropriate
to leave without secrets
to have bargained all i can
for a good breakfast
but my words get confused with cynicism
and it’s the autumnal equinox
and i am supposed to be praying for balance

Monday, September 27, 2004

Pay no Attention to the Poet Behind the Curtain

all the missing parts
to the story resolve
in the last fifteen minutes
you were there and you
but i never knew
just how i got here
or who is next to me
in three dozen next mornings
after insufficient answers
where i am the character
meant for comic relief
with a final soliloquy
of things i wont say
until it’s not a lie

Friday, September 24, 2004

The Muffin Man

opens with a doorbell
& cryptic references to salesmen
why would you be nervous?
some ovaltine, perhaps
in black and white film
this would be suspicious
the love of a man for his painting
sometimes a cigar
is a greater symbolic logic
in a somnambulists vocabulary
but that’s romantic ideal
in a world before drag queens
that keeps resurfacing all day like
a song that gets stuck in your head

Thursday, September 23, 2004


in an aesthetic of assistance
in form & letter of the law
this is a bond with one
another to surrender
into this final trust
in that moment after
simplest trials and accidents
there are many kinds of endings
despite what the ghosts tell us
man, if you be like to decide
the last twenty four hours
was an inarticulate monologue
you find yourself speaking
to the one left to help you

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Waiting Room Poem

i catch shadows of them
in league with demerol
& demons of the time
i spent playing with blocks
connected by colored wire
just one of those things
one night in this age
of posses and chain gangs
making the hard decisions
that bring ourselves
to the brink of confrontation
or possibilities of extinction
some changes will be made
to days when they still made nice guys

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Urban Legend

with all this talk of electrified chickens
on jersey farmland highway
do you remember the time
the eerie visions of women
of white crochet dripping red wine
bleeding from sycamore trees
i am under the rhododendron
calling for the missing
in a movie based on the true story
from the radio comes the soundtrack
to tell our fortunes
or histories we are doomed to repeat
in the middle of a hurricane
i have come to believe
it’s still yesterday

Monday, September 20, 2004


it’s the smirk that explains
this is a post-irony thing
in Nicaraguan hand gestures
way back in the monkey brain
where metaphors and signs go
later to emerge in Lit classes
a laugh track from the gallows
swing low, sweet Cadillac
could this be a cliff hanger?
at the Saturday morning serials
a nod to metropolis machines
that run commentary with seriousness
at the bottom of the screen
it’s hard to be funny in an epigram

Friday, September 17, 2004


the weekend weather man
held by the flagpole
with heavy boots of lead at dawn
a breakdown in travel logic
some amen to viewing pleasure
like a bloody sun on the pavement
crawling in Etruscan tombs
we are fascinated by grottoes
by a fear of heights that is
really about not being able to stop jumping
so we wait in the morbid distance
with a smirk on our faces
cracking jokes at how we are
so attracted to the ground

Thursday, September 16, 2004

No Poetry After

if this is the spell that saves
if no one speaks
if name of the disaster is silent
i think of the casual violence
always miles from me
forest fires inhale acres of pine
in time to write the elegies
that everyone wants now
who stood in the duststorm
if i cut my hair
create a new calendar for absence
i would still be migrating with the band
leaving whatever was left to us
across this trail of fear

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Large Glass

when a man & woman share space
there is a silver wire across the plate
to reveal the true mechanics of the bride
this is in streaks and hisses
another of the progeny unbound
to the revolution begun with Russ Meyers
faster, faster low budget monologues
free the urge to kill
on the shotgun wedding day
visitors reflected in the glass
broken in it’s explanation
leaving a gift in the door
a poet remade in seal skin
just a walk down the avenue

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

What's That, Lassie

i’m a squiggly Keith Haring man
lost to the ocean of other Keith Haring men
looking for a fight or a wife
whichever gets welcomed first
in any case, a nurse is needed
to learn to applaud things that guys know
like how to be part of the solution
& the one person who you can speak with
they kill messengers, don’t they?
in publications with brown wrappers
i’m trapped in a well
beside the burning barn
and my only hope is miming my location
arms stretched in greeting

Monday, September 13, 2004


For all of you who missed Shin Yu Pai and Ish Klein read last Saturday, you missed a great reading. Shin Yu Pai, who I met at Naropa, read some wonderful poems that showed her eye of the visual artist, very tactile. Ish Klein read some engaging narrative work.
Progressive Poetry Calendar


811, Saturday, 7:30 PM: Shin Yu Pai& Ish Klein, La Tazza, 108 Chestnut Street
16, Thursday, 5:00 PM: Jen Hofer, Ofelia Pérez Sepúlveda& Cristina Rivera-Garza, Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk, University of Pennsylvania
17-19, Friday-Sunday, times vary: Zukofsky /100, celebration of the LZ centennial, at Columbia & Barnard, New York City. Details here.
18, Saturday, 8:00 PM: Linh Dinh, Molly’s Books, 1010 S. 9th Street, in the © of the Italian Market
21, Tuesday, 7:00 PM: Ron Silliman, Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk, University of Pennsylvania
23, Thursday, 6:30 PM: Nathalie Anderson, Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk, University of Pennsylvania
25, Saturday, 7:30 PM: hassen presents Patrick Herron & Elizabeth Reddin, La Tazza, 108 Chestnut Street
30, Thursday, 8:00 PM: Fiona Templeton, Temple University City Center, 15th & Market, Room 222

All events are in Philadelphia unless otherwise noted
Also, check out the http://www.poetryproject.com for their upcoming events

Spaghetti Western

there’s this Helen Keller joke
with a stucco wall
where everyone mouths another language
photocopied to a living sky
patches of it are an Irish sheep farm
with sugared statues of past lovers
misplaced and argued over
like the Elgin marbles
this woman slips into European accents
tires to kill me with produce
& two dollar bottles of lager
she sends an Oswald
like it’s the west again only with Asian aesthetics
& Italians at high noon

Friday, September 10, 2004

The Lost Tapes

there is a cipher’s curse
with us in the marginalia
even at this ungodly hour
whistling to the radio
we need a theme song
or at least some backup singers
not just a twilight zone scream
directly at the camera
hindsight is so damn clear
in the cinema verite
some old crone mutters
under her breath
it is a good day
a train ride & new lease

Thursday, September 09, 2004

If You've Got Good Bait

even though this was the face
to launch a thousand websites
& an out of mind experience or two
it was Halloween all over again
now that the dwarf left
when i asked him if he still kept
the coin in his wallet
with the outside world in mind
it was the blond strategy
that remained the same
with a thousand faces
brought to the house of worship
built for the fourth time
in our own afterimage

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

To Be Yong, Gifted and _______ [Blank]

I, unoriginated in text
am full of irrelevances in the census
with fingers of all columns
am an uncheck primary box
the “other” at the administration office
in the new race museum
I am in the segregated bathroom
I am line at the IHS, unaided
where I am four fight high
in the constitution center
an alien savage sent by the king
a nude descending a staircase
signed into agreement by absentee ballot
with all the rights of the regulated

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

commercial interuption

Hi Folks. For all of you you in Philly or environs of , you've got to see Shin Yu Pai Read at La Tazza with Ish Klien, at 7:30 PM on Sept. 11 , 108 Chestnut Street. Great Poet. Come Hear.

King of Hearts

every gambler knows
never explain to your loved ones
unexpected blood in the morning
five w’s extend into white space
for the journalists book
sung to the tune of Alice’s Restaurant
this story is a good hand
with nothing showing
where you cut your hair and fingered the ash
took the clay bowl from the cupboard
and let water run into it
i remember every word of the prayer
aloud as they fit the mask
over your face

Monday, September 06, 2004

Ursa Major

the same laser pointer to promise
kept and lost and drowned in the Jordan
retell the cosmos a new trail of tears
of the two legged kind
a great bear leaving sign
in the dry riverbank
he wanted to say he felt
lost though never more free
tracking the peg-legged legends
across the tables where they tell these stories
in the telescope where she watchesthe arc of his previous actions
on top of a scarred butte
risen in safety

Friday, September 03, 2004

Double Fantasy

it’s 3 a.m. tv information
blond girls, black girls, tractor trailer school
my life is so much better now
a whole new diet technology
outside terrace hums alert & pregnant
cats in back alley finding my sherry glass
i will have all future discussions in my vestibule
or via text messages
coherencies of android dreams
stumble door phone ring
there is a rhythm to knocking
did you ever count sheep?
in answer to the riddle
it’s easier when i’m asleep

Thursday, September 02, 2004

North Wind

now that i am in on the joke
everyone’s in hats like Annie Hall
here at the end of summer
i want to say it is nine years ago
after the money’s gone
i get all fiddler in the moment
between two people i can never guess
this isn’t the conversation i counted on
it’s logical to go to the baltics
or somewhere where there’s sand and saltwater
i can’t stand hobbles
and there’s a new city
i knew this morning
before you had time to tell me

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me Lucille

every good boy deserves… something
or so they said to us all in class
play any Marvin Gaye song to this
and demand answers
from the family brain trust
in a game of rock/paper/scissors
do i keep playing rock?
locked with antlers of second guesses
between visits to the chiropractor
i notice sunset in the door glass
it makes sage smoke over this year’s dance
evokes the genetic component to music
it might take a village
to raise the infant asleep in my arms