Monthly Archives: December 2013

A Hell of a Poem

I asked my English as a Second Language class

if they thought learning a second language

was closer to learning an art or a science

their reaction was mixed

about half said art and about half said science

“It science,” said Mr. Kim, “we need follow rule. Grammar like science.”

I fixed his sentences

added all the proper verbs and prepositions till I took Maria’s reaction

“I think art. Reading English no have rules. Spanish have accent English no have accent.”

I know what she meant

Spanish is easier to read than English

Spanish is consistent

reading English is like chasing quicksilver

where the Polish girl could polish the silverware

how farmers produce produce

how is English still the world’s language


could it be because of its flexibility?

How get means everything.

how so many of our expressions can mean infinity

it’s a hell of a language

now go ahead and try and tell a guy who speaks Chinese what a hell of a means

I had a hell of a day could mean anything

not till you hear the tone of the voice

can you translate the note of emotion



a hell of a language.

The Death of Birthdays

Today I’m 39

yesterday I was 38

tomorrow will I be 40?

How much I’ve aged in a single day

subjective in its objectiveness

lost in the shuffle

of sunrises and sunsets

of timelessness

cause where I started counting up

ain’t where the rest of us started counting up

or down

and at 39

I’m not sure if I should start counting up

or counting down

cause statistically speaking

(though statistics and politicians are the biggest liars)

I’m halfway to somewhere

where I don’t know where I’m going

where I don’t know when I’ll ever know if I’ll ever get there

or if I’ll ever get back

so go know nothing of what’s coming

comforting myself wrapping myself in yesterday’s newspaper

knowing the only thing that will rub off on me is the ink.