Regie Cabico

 

SPRING POEM THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SESTINA

Living with another poet can
drive you crazy like the waiting list
to use the computer

or the way he sneaks up
behind you to check what’s
on the screen. You’re always

tempted to steal each other’s
metaphors like the loose change
hidden in his crumpled trousers.

Take the dove on our fire escape
whom we’ve named Rita
& her babies Paz, Bishop,

Ai & Neruda. He wants Rita
for an upcoming elegy
& I want them all

for a spring sestina. You
understand how difficult
it is developing allegories

with little money
but we still drive in each other
a hard bargain.

 

IN BED WITH JAMES TATE

A paperclip of light falls
on the first poem titled,
“Where Babies Come From”
I place the book aside because
Nightline is on starring Harold
Bloom who looks like a plate
of cold asparagus. The other
guest is Emily Dickinson
whose breasts are poached
apples. Her nipples stemless
cherries, galloping in wild
pentameters. She’s belting, “I like
to see her lick my miles”
accompanied by her band
The Buzzing Flies. Ted Koppel
has an eloquent errection.
He always shoots from the hip.
You find your way into
the bedroom reunited with your
loved ones like Captain Janeway
and her crew of Camel Lights.
Is it any good, you say, slipping
under the sheets like the rent
check sliding under the landlord’s
door. I don’t get the first poem.
Read it. I flip the channels
and find an infomercial selling
other James Tate books. I like
this poem a lot, you say and I say,
What does this poem have
to do with conception. I would
start the poem here with the typhoon
and then end with Mama and Papa
on the shore. No, No, No,
you say, James Tate is saying
that babies come from anywhere
like the moon and maybe play
with an American flag. But by now
you’re conversing with my foot
which is already half-asleep
dreaming of little green men.

Michael Gessner
Foo
2002
Paulownia wood, 14" x 14" x 18"
See more work by Michael Gessner

 

IT'S NOT SO MUCH HIS KISS I RECALL AS HIS VOICE

A shy pebble rippling water. Each phrase
a school of startled ginger fish shimmering
through the telephone line. I’d like to invite
you to my place & immediately I became
a frightened puppy in a tropical rain forest.
Only to my surprise, I was in Brooklyn
reading Lorca in his living room, calmly
sipping tea. He played me Joni Mitchell
crooning the lines he loved & even tried
to sing the high notes. His falsetto cracking
midair as we both laughed. That’s when he
rested a photo album on his lap & pulled
a picture of himself, a young boy swimming
in a Buenos Aires blue reflecting pool. I wanted
to lick the nape of his neck instead said, You’ll
have to teach me how to swim. I’m afraid
of water. That’s when he placed his lips
to mine, our most perfect palates open as we
pulled away to catch our breath. You have
to be relaxed otherwise you’ll drown.. I kiss
him again feeling ribs beneath sweatshirt,
our hearts racing the way a diver freefalls
plunging in a sea of pearls

 

 

THE HUDSON WAKES YOU UP EACH MORNING

Outside your window,
the sun makes a smash
against the darkest wave
of water. You could peek
through the blinds but it would
be like an infant opening
its eyes to Promethian fire,
lava the first crackle turning
to stone. A sea breeze blows
smoke in your throat and you
can’t finish your sentence.

You could turn off the clang
of old-fashioned alarm, destroy
the dream you and a hundred
gulls share, glare from the Chrysler
tower, sidewalk renderings,
colored chalk that fades
with the slightest hint of rain,

the Sunday afternoon sound
of pedestrians stomping
their soles on pavement. You
don’t mind a chill, don’t mind
a draft though cotton sheets
can’t stop seasons turning
over like rush hour traffic.

Your parents wonder if they
did all they could. They wonder
why you never pick up the phone.
The voice on the machine
isn’t you even though it says
it is.

The side of the bed
your lover sleeps on is where
you first saw the sun rise
in Oregon. Your name
means life it is a new day,
so will its arms take you
through the flames.

 

 

YOU BRING OUT THE WRITER IN ME

Your breasts are couplets
Your body is a sonnet
Your thoughts share my soliloquy
Your kiss is imagery
Your eyes are iambic
Your tongue is trochaic
Your touch is stream of consciousness
Your complexity is Eliot
Your neck is Steinbeck
Your stubble is cacophony
Your presence is from fantasy
Your brilliance is Ashbery
Your ass is assonance
Your penis is epic
Your torso is a tanka
Your rambling is a renga
Your fucking is foreshadowing
Your sighs are the climax
Your orgasms are onomatopoeia
................................onomatopoeia
................................onomatopoeia
Your clinging is Sexton
Your ejaculation is sprung rhythm
Your testicles are testaments
Your backbones are stanzas
Your viewpoints omnipotent
I see you in epilogue
going
going
gone

 

 

Regie Cabico won the 1993 Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam and took top prizes in the 1993, 1994, and 1997 National Poetry Slams. He has received three New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships for Poetry and Performance Art and received the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award presented by Poets & Writers. He co-edited Poetry Nation: A North American Anthology of Fusion Poetry (Vehicule Press, 1998) and his work appears in Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, and Spoken Word Revolution, among other anthologies. He has appeared on two seasons of HBO's Def Poetry Jam and his plays have been produced at the Humana Theater Festival, Joe's Pub, The Public Theater, Dixon Place, Theater Offensive, and the Kennedy Center Play Lab. He is former artist-in-residence for NYU's Asian/Pacific/American Institute and presently works as the Artistic Director of Sol & Soul in Washington, DC.

 

Published in Volume 8, Number 1, Winter 2007.



More by this author:
Cabico's Intro to the Split This Rock Issue: Vol. 9, No. 1, Winter 2008
Regie Cabico: Audio Issue
Regie Cabico: Tenth Anniversary Issue
Regie Cabico on DC Slam: Literary Organizations Issue
Regie Cabico: Langston Hughes Tribute Issue
Regie Cabico: Floricanto Issue
Regie Cabico on Essex Hemphill: Poetic Ancestors Issue