Monday, August 31, 2015

I am working on a short story and will come back to this section after doing some research.

via Instagram

Manzanita Dioramas

Manzanita Diorama
by james bezerra

The ground floor windows
of Manzanita Hall:
perfectly square
and window seats
exactly along bottom edge.

Students sit in them,
eating lunch,
looking like
zoo animals
or extinction dioramas.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

My Week.

This first week of the semester when I am feeling - I'm not embarrassed to tell you -  a little bit unsure of how awesome I am (this being a result of the fact that I am teaching my own class for the first time and am more than acceptably invested in whether or not my students feel like I am changing their lives and making them better people, blah, blah, etc) I am happy to report that I met the guy who has my old job of assisting Professor D. with her freshman students and he says that Professor D. still gushes about me, which makes me feel good because I like to know that other people feel intimidated by the shadow of me, but also because I adore Professor D.

Also - and this is very sweet and should be a trope in movies but isn't - I bumped into a young woman who was a student of mine about a year and a half ago and I always admired her and she always admired me and it was a conversation that was totally devoid of subterfuge. I asked after her and was actually interested in her response and she asked after me and I was both funny and charming in my reply because that is - you know - how I am.

It was a wonderfully happy and reassuring reunion with a former student and it made me feel so much better about my life journey into this world of "teaching-things-to-people-which-always-seemed-otherwise-obvious-to-me"

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Palms Down as if in Prayer.

Palms Down as if in Prayer
by james bezerra

I like how you like
to place your hands
palms down
on either side of the bathroom sink

when I lay my hands
palms down
on either side
of your spine

knead my thumbs
hard into your skin.
My fingers can feel
the bone inside your hips.

I like the sound you make,
little whisper
of wind
from between your lips.

The way you arch
back toward me.
How you close your eyes
and roll your shoulders,

relaxing your body
and tensing
your body
at the same time.


Feeling Conflicted about the Patriarchy.

Feeling Conflicted About the Patriarchy
by james bezerra

All of my
goes out the window
when mini-skirts.

Because we
convinced you -
with our impeccable,
mass-marketing Capitalism machine -

that your tan bare legs,
smooth and long,
are the same
as freedom,
as expression.

Of course your
ass-tight, nearly sheer
black tights
are the most comfortable thing you own;
we’ve made them that way.

We’ve gotten
two generations of you
laced into
Victoria’s Secret
and we made it hugely expensive.

I recognize how poorly
we’ve treated you
how much we’ve sexualized you
and how much we shame you
for acting how we ask you to.

And yet,
I still love you
in La Perla,
in Agent Provocateur,
or in nothing.

We want
our daughters
to be nuns
and everyone else’s daughters
to be strippers.

I want
to save you
from me
but I realize
even that is a misogyny.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Go to the Casbah.

Go to the Casbah
by james bezerra

Few places are better,
when you’re young
and happy

than the smoking patio
at the Casbah
at Kettner and Laurel

at the top of the hill
and the jetliners
come barreling down

out of night
just as if inches
above you,

landing gear dangling
maybe just moments,
or a strong crossbreeze,

from your fingertips
and only seconds
from tarmac.

The jetwash whir
and whine
so loud

it drowns the music
wafting out
from the band

and reminds you
to be alive
right now

because 300 tons
of swiftly descending steel
and a slight miscalculation

and this drink in your hand
might be all there is
in your last half second.


I'm From a Very Small Town,

I'm From a Very Small Town
by james bezerra

There was that time that Robbie punched a nazi
got punched by a nazi

punched a guy he called a nazi,
either way,
that guy was a squid.

It was out at that rented
Rented by

those two guys
whose names I never really knew
but whose names smashed together
sounded like a band.

And they only allowed pot
smoked in their barcalounger
living room
because they thought

that sweet smell
of the Amazon burning
got high school girls slick
horny and mindless.

I remember thinking
that I thought then
they must have been thinking
of fuck-ready lab rats

and how they probably
also thought
guys with barcalounger living rooms
could ever

get laid
if the girls weren't already
in high school, drunk,
and high.


Monday, August 10, 2015


I have been fighting with the below poem for four or five days. Below I have beat it into 33 eight-line stanzas which seems to even work a little bit! As with most of the stuff I post here, I am not claiming that it is good or done, but it is written and I kind of think it is kind of fun. By “fun” of course I actually mean “wildly pretentious”.


Airborne JellyFish.

Airborne JellyFish,
What Burnouts Have Taught Me About The Odyssey

There is something heroic,
pure almost,
Odyssean maybe,
about setting off
across vast
and endless distances
in a shitty car.

Early 2000 Hyundais
all have the same
paint problem,
as if all
attacked by
airborne jellyfish.

They all look battle-scarred
of course,
they are
because only
the very poorest
of people
drive them.

My once
once pointed
to my tires
and explained
that steel cord there
wound tight beneath thin rubber,
you’re not supposed to be able to see it.

I think of him often
when I fill my tires
at gas stations,
something non-poverty people never do.
The jut-jut-jut-jut-jut
of 75 cent air pump
reminding you
your tires leak because you’re poor.

The siren song
of distant edges
of endless distances
means more
when you can’t afford to get there
the horizon remains
always a promised land.

I’ve never arrived
at Ellis Island
in damp peacoat
throbbing from
marketing majesty
that is
Lady Liberty,
but I Imagine

that deliverance
is similar to  
driving to
shit job
while considering
Hyundai into concrete
and rebar divider.

Many of my friends now are young women
- attribute no meaning to this -
they’re always high
on Taylor Swift and
know Miley Cyrus
in place of
Gloria Steinem
and they ask me:

- always while I’m drinking,
I don’t know why,
maybe I’m always drinking
or maybe they’re always asking,
or maybe I just drink and imagine them -
why I’m friends
with the obvious meth addicts
in our building,

or the 7-11 homeless guy
who looks - to me -
like Agamemnon.
I’ve never properly
been able to
kinship I feel
to burn-outs.

Allegiance always
to triple-shift ephedrine waiters,
cocaine-awake bartenders,
slim white shirt hostesses with
cobweb ballet dreams
and a fifth of flavored vodka
split with the busboy
who wants to fuck her.

I wanta save them all
because I know them all
shades of them.
I want,
like from Dunkirk
to save them all
when they need saving most.

I have actually - no shit actually -
seen the best minds
of my generation
by poverty;

without the privilege
of Columbia.
Drinking Popov
to death,
raising two little girls
on Jack-in-the-Box wages,
feeding families off-brand Chef Boyardee,
97 cents a can from the 99 Cent Store.

Angelheaded hipsters
weren’t never
nothen’ but
white middle-class college kids.
Hippies weren’t never idealists,
just youthful fuck-drunk narcissists,
charred draft cards,
parents’ homes to go home to.

I’m angry.
I’m angry,
feel betrayed
by Kerouac
and Ginsberg,
I’m angry at
Steinbeck and Hemingway,
Carver and S. Thompson

They prepared us none
for Buzzfeed,
encouraged us not
to learn to code.
The starry dynamo of the night
turns out
was just a billboard
for The American Century.

Promised us
wordy greatness
in perfectly typeset letters
on inside bend
of elbows, knees,
pretty drugs,
and trim thighs,

but now
we recognize
how white grace easy arrogant
it was
to be
a superpower, and
it benefit even
counterculture revolutionaries,

when 1946 we were
only earth nation
still able to mass-produce a car
or steel widgets
or plastic red cups
or perfectly throbbing dildos
or electrified nipple clips
or pink atom bombs.

Electric kool-aid acid test my ass.
Self-fellatio as good as vomitoriums.
Those who do not
study history are doomed
to remix it
and so we EDM.
I want a Tickle-Me-Elmo
Jimmy Carter doll.

I want the roof beams
of the White House
to ache
with the weight
of solar panels
like used doublewides do
with spent
Direct TV dishes.

Don’t want
a tax break.
I want
a guillotine
on a carnival float,
and police-free hours
on Park Avenue,
on Wall Street.

Bob Dylan sold
100 million records,
been a celebrity
since he was 22:
Mick Jagger is 72 years old.
Paul McCartney is a billionaire
and then some.

Hendrix had the decency to die.
And Hamlet, god love him.
And Neal Cassady.
Biggie, John Lennon, Keith Haring, Basquiat, Jeff Buckley, Warhol, Jim Morrison,
Janis Joplin,
Jesus, Django Reinhardt, Kurt Cobain, Virginia Woolf, Robert Johnson, Tupac, Brian Jones, Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly, Sylvia Plath and Tyler Durden.
Not to venerate suicide,

I just wanta
drive my Hyundai
endless distances
powered by sunlight
and citrus,
and hope without
a barcode.
I want a pod for escape

from the bullshit
of ever being hungry
in this county.
Can you even believe
any of us go hungry
in this country,
which is made
mostly of donuts?

I want
one grenade
for one engine
of each G6
at Las Vegas airport
for a UFC fight.

From the day he left
to the day
he saw Penelope again,
it took Odysseus
twenty years.
Google Maps says
you can drive it
in 13 hours.

Gotta wonder
did he really
even wanta get home?
Or just
live in the distances?
ignore new Rolling Stones albums
or movies about the Beats.

Or did he
just wanta kill some cyclops,
fuck Circe on her knees,
drive the interstates,
Mushrooms at KOAs
and group sex in hostels?
Did he just wanta drive his Hyundai into the sea
instead of the median?

Or did he
just wanta go
until the tires gave out
and marooned him
on a HitchBOT highway shoulder
with nothing left
but whatever the fuck
stretched before him?