Blog Archives

“The State of Nature”

“The State of Nature”


Don’t trust the truster.

Yet distrust disappoints
in not

And we’re all
humans, all men
normal, all women wanting

You can’t hoard freedom
and be

A philosopher’s slave once
took this dictation:
My freedom ends where
your freedom begins.

All are enemies,
our only hopes.

When we take
shelter, we

Fear freeing.
But fear more, in the
dark and wild places,
climbing into the
shelter of

-D. M. Collins

Five Poems in Five Days, Day 19: The Marathon

I wrote this during an exercise on Sunday’s poetry salon at Beyond Baroque, led by Emily Clark.


The Marathon

Religious concepts say love must be pure.
Though secular, you find the concept wise:
to find a love and make that love endure,
a marathon, with life-long love the prize.

And so a few false starts do not dissuade,
life caught coughing in fits, your lungs healthy.
But there’s smoke in the road, and where the path?
Is there a path?

You sprint madly, parched,
handed batons that you cannot drink.

You crumple them and toss them on the green grass.
Like emeralds beneath the grey, it soothes you.
And to your right rise proud cliffs,
and to your left, a river.

And you follow it,
as do the other sturdy
runners by your side.

-D. M. Collins

Five Poems in Five Days

Apparently there is some kind of challenge going on in virtual land about writing five poems in five days?

It couldn’t come at a worse time. I’m ridiculously busy, seemingly incapable of transcribing simple interviews I need to present to publications I’ve been writing for; and meanwhile, my day job has gotten harder, longer, and more prone to fatiguing me early in the working day than ever, making writing that much harder.

In short, I needed an excuse to push my ADD to the limit and take on a NEW task! Here’s my first example:


Random I Movement

I wanted to sleep, but
I want a
lot of

I wanted to write, and I

But it was
not as

short as




-D. M. Collins

“Manchester and Vermont” – an exquisite corpse.

In only one hour, we’re having this month’s A Rrose in a Prose at Stories Books in Echo Park! Please attend.

To whet your whistle, here is the exquisite corpse we created at last month’s amazing event. It’s written by virtually everyone who was in attendance, and it goes from dark to political to comic. It’s almost like life in reverse!

Manchester and Vermont - An Exquisite Corpse copy

Manchester and Vermont - An Exquisite Corpse II copy

Manchester and Vermont - An Exquisite Corpse III copy

Manchester and Vermont - An Exquisite Corpse IV copy


The Pine

Here’s another of the new poems I read on Sunday at A Rrose in a Prose.

I seem to be doing a lot of poems recently with lines or themes (or, at least, words) that recur multiple times, in a cadence, maybe even a rhythm. Perhaps it’s because I know I might be doing these over a band like Cardoo! Or maybe because I lack conviction.

Or maybe because I HAVE it. In TRUCK LOADS.

Or maybe because I like Phyllis Diller–load up the premise and rattle off the bits!

Or maybe because it’s the laziest way to have real structure.

Or maybe because it flows from the mind like stop sign after stop sign, fast food joint after fast food joint.

Or maybe it’s because I enjoy the compositions of Johann Gambolputty-de-von-Ausfern-schplenden-schlitter-crass-cren-bon-fried-digger-dingle-dangle-dongle-dungle-burstein-von-knacker-thrasher-apple-banger-horowitz-ticolensic-grander-knotty-spelltinkle-grandlich-grumblemeyer-spelter-wasser-kurstlich-himble-eisenbahnwagen-guten-abend-bitte-ein-nürnburger-bratwürstel-gespurten-mitz-weimache-luber-hundsfut-gumeraber-schönendanker-kalbsfleisch-mittleraucher-von-Hautkopft of Ulm.

Or maybe it’s because I like lists.

Anyway, now that I’ve ruined the poem, here it is.

The Pine copy

WordPress sucks when it comes to poetry.

So… I guess from now on, if I want to publish poetry on WordPress, I’m gonna have to take a screenshot of my Word doc and just publish that image. Trying to get even slightly fancy with poetry (with avant-garde choices like “no spacing between lines” or “subtle indentation”) is apparently just not a consideration here.

Do I sound way bitter about something not that big of a deal? Why not just hack it up a bit, or edit in Text, or use manual spacing rather than indentation? Well, I’ll tell you: WordPress has somehow, I assume indirectly, made their site so that it “corrects” all those creative choices and still displays each line as left aligned and each new line as a new paragraph, i.e. it adds a space with each line break. I’ve tried to change the style of the blog in the hopes that it was just the Theme that was causing the problem, but that seems to have no effect.

Seriously, look at the letter below and tell me if the spacing and line breaks make any sense. No? That’s because they were totally NOT my original choices. Despite my posting it eighteen times and trying desperately to get everything to work, it just didn’t save correctly. Sure, it’ll look fine in the editor, but upon save, no dice–this blogging tool wants its own paragraph formats and line breaks, and to hell with creative choices and single spacing!

Seriously, now that we’re all doing more poetry on this blog, this feels like a near deal-breaker for me. WordPress, you can do better. Poems are words, too.

Zara Kand at A Rrose in a Prose – December 16

Zara Kand is a rock star–so it seems appropriate that I’m up front there, holding the microphone stand for her like some kind of roadie (I never seem to buy mike stands, only quasi-inherit them through someone else’s laziness).

I think my favorite part of this video is the image of precious gems on fingertips…

Video is by Jean-Paul Garnier, who introduced me to Zara Kand! I’m glad he did.

“Sleeves Where Legs Should Go”

Today I did a reading at The Last Bookstore, along with some other talented folks: Justin Maurer from the Clorox Girls, Gabriel Hart from Jail Weddings, Kenneth Sonny Donato of A Poet’s Guide to the Bars, Jean-Paul Garnier of Loopool, Gitane Demone from Christian Death, James Carman from Images, Marianne Stewart from White Murder, and Zache Davis from being just an awesome punk rocker with awesome bike ridin’ LEGS!

For my own turn at bat, I read an album review of Johnny O’Donnell’s band, and also an original poem that I just came up with, entitled “Sleeves Where Legs Should Go.” I never thought the poem would be received so well, but people seemed to really love it, so I’m feeling confident enough to post it here. It’s a naked poem, and I hope to revisit it in the future, but here’s what I read.

Sleeves Where Legs Should Go

Sleeves where legs should go.
Albums stacked, strewn around the coffee table.
Surface stained. Wine red. Bottle rings. Scotch in my glass.
Room stuffed with sounds stuffed into sleeves.
Slides out like worried breath in, hhhhhHHHHH.
Egyptian Lover.
Sound where people should go, person once was.
Phil Spector, Brian Wilson, Stiv Bators:
Real people.
Not to make tea for, rub the back of.
To giggle like an 8 year old, sometimes like a mule. Hiiighn hiiighn!
Breaking her hand on the back of my head.
9 a.m. wake up, crust-nosed, half-asleep trip to the pound for what? Lhasa-apso mix.
Saved its life. Classes at the Rose Bowl. I taught it, him, to jump, lie down, shake my hand.
Hugging buddy at 3 a.m.
Now in Portland.
“My son calls another man ‘daddy.’”
Pressed tight between Bobby Bare and Tammy Wynette.
“It’s ain’t love, but it ain’t bad.”
Ani DiFranco said that.
Wiltern 1997.

Sitting, kitchen.
Daytime, dark.
Thick curtains block That Lucky Old Sun.
Bottle caps cluttered around the recycling bag.
Meal, not mine, smeared across the counter top.
Bukowski would be proud, though probably listening to Schubert. Not “Freak-A-Holic.”
Living room impossible.
Ikea right angles, rectangular prisms bristly with spines.
Slight grey cobweb above the wall heater, shaking gently like a grandmother’s arm.
Spinster at the mixing board.
Jerry Lee Lewis’s Old Tyme Country Music.
Younger than he is now.
Alone at the board.
Albums make no sound on their own.
Herzog native, Bible against his ear to hear the word of God. “It doesn’t speak!”
Nothing, just a man in a room.
Flotsam. Jetsam.
Line worker at Bama Pie, 1972, liked the song she heard on the Flip Wilson show. Twenty years under baseball bats in the garage, then estate sale, then a plastic sleeve, sticker saying forty dollars.
Now under 90’s Jabberjaw collection and Gnip Gnop.
Thousands of stories. Stories sticking, skipping, silent.
4 minutes, 33 seconds.
Super-saturated. New foot every two weeks.
Infinity plus 1 foot still infinity.
The void.
Liner notes on their backs—poetry.
10 thousand poems.
100 thousand songs.
Every turn of phrase.
Gyorgi Ligeti’s hundred.
Clack. Clack-clack-clack, clack clack.
Like shook flint rocks.
In a jar.
No spark.
No purpose.

The sun rolled around heaven wrong.
Time was I’d sit out in the yard. Beneath the gazebo when the rain comes.
Now it’s not for me. Cuz…
Lester Bangs: “I’m a ghoul.”
No, whats-his-name in Almost Famous.
Cough syrup and a hermit crab.
Redhead as grey as the sky, scowling, jaw clenched, tight as the living room.
Sighing like a metal chair pulled along a cement floor.
Tight as time.
Permanent silence.
Packaged silence.
Infinite silence.
A black hole in a black hole.

But this record.
Save for a Rainy Day.
Mr. Dean Torrence.
Poor man’s Pet Sounds.
Very poor man.
First song, shitty cover.
Yellow Balloon.
Only I would have this.
A gift from someone who knows me best.
On the couch, the sounds of the record thunder, but gently.
“Like a Summer Rain.”