UNsLACKed poetry by james leeOne of Madison's premier performance poets, james lee is part of Radio Literature on WORT 7 PM Tuesdays, and lords over the madisonpoets.com website for local poets and spoken word events. He has 2 chapbooks, can't fool me, it's turtle all the way down and UNsLACKed, and a CD made as the winner of the first John Lehman Poetry Award, Highway 14.Highway 14 - james lee and the Malt Lickers

james lee

photo by fibitz

call me?

I inebriated in your direction with my manly stagger, do you cringe here often?  A frown is commonplace, but so is my obliviousness, is this a good place for a semicolon or what; question marks hang on your nipples, and I'd ask them for clarity, but I'm blurring and your chest is multiplying.  No, I used to work for clarity, but I got laid off; never bothered to unionize, are those thong underwear?  Hold my beer for me while I piss, I've got a full ego and it's making my eyes water.  I forget what's-his-name, but he's a genius or something, loves his work – doesn't he write screenplays?  Oh, he's your ex-roommate, I think that fucker owes me money.  You've got a great asterisk, if you don't mind my starched potatoes, I have these ideas but I don't want to offend you with my motives that I wear like a smock, where did you learn to play pool like that?  so last week I kissed this chick and she punched me in the teeth I hope her hand is okay – where are you going?  Call me?

   *    *     *      *       *

angles of the mandible

Bolivian mudslide in spring
the logs as teeth
she speaking can't
stay it in place
'don't leave' she slides
while spring arched her back

also ski hill accident
learned about the strength of tibias
and the long soft morphine slumber
when the angels spoke to me
with butterfly tongues
my dead grandfather
stood behind them
wiping blood from his ear

yet another
tight as the skyline
silent as twilight
no she to shake the rafters with
so mouth creased like a forlorn fist
until the window opened me
to perched pigeons purring
on the eavestrough
sore tongue was the sun swallowed then

could be when
my father hooked the salmon deep
and emptied her eggs on the bank
where I later stepped barefoot
oh the open tomb expression
mausoleum shiver
the cellar cobwebs on your brow

oh last now, put my hand in her nest
this smile was
not erosion,
not medication, not star mutilation
but something so genuine
the angels sat up in their sleep.

   *    *     *      *       *

you can't fool me it's turtles all the way down

sat at her shell
and breathed, had to do that,
conically I filled her beach,
geometrically I spilled moon to her belly
oh, her wet belly above me
I was on my back
yes, overturned turtle
green meat, all the earth
allowed in your head,
grew corn in her leather back,
dug hooves and tilled her leather back,
pushed cannons here and there on her leather back,
lofted my cargo to the joint
of her scissor legs and I found eggs there,
tried to hatch them at the beach
yes a cone, a dark star radius of cone,
I found unaccounted-for matter
in her turtle wing
it's turtles all the way down
a conical swell
a belly swell,
a spit seed to a paranoid skin swell,
allegory now where our bodies were war
and Napoleon drank the yellow
from her dandelion patch
yes we lifted shiny saber there,
fired cannon volleys to her valley there,
resistance was merely the absence of spring
sky driven in
sick with geese formation
the leg posture
yes the V for victory
all of those necks craning north
those wings would own my dreams
if they came any closer
I want to migrate my nightmares
on their plume-embroidered backs
like the aching teeth
and Laotian bombing raids
I put that face on the gander's right wing
frown flapping down
it's turtles all the way down
all the way down
all the way down
to where her scissor clipped the meat.

© 4/1/01 james lee