The Awesomest Poem Title

poetry writing lit literature

Mark Leidner is an MFA student at the ultra prestigious Iowa Writer’s Workshop, where good writers go get ready to be nearly famous. Mark Leidner is also a filmmaker and a very accessible poet. His work is so easy to read that it seems almost un-crafted. But this sort of trickery is the sign of a gifted writer.

Below are a few of his poems, published by La Petite Zinc literary journal. To the right is a random photo taken from Mr. Leidner’s blog, which is full of other images of life at random.

The Awesomest Bagel

It’s this nice ‘everything’ bagel
with a fat chicken salad dollop
dollopped on it nicely, too, first,
and on top of that chicken salad,
these eight tiny strips of tender
bacon, and then there’s a level of
cheddar bubbling because it’s been
grilled, and some finely cut strips
of steak also embedded inside the
cheddar, and on top of that’s two
big slices of tomato, and one ounce
of shred Shitake mushrooms, the
awesomest bagel ever, you’re not
supposed to sleep with a woman
unless you love her, and these
green Mexican chive-things
sprinkled on top of it all.
So fucking awesome.

Horror Mansion

I want to direct a movie
that worries you. Hiccups,
nervous coughing, and splattering
tea on your thighs are the best
responses you have still, according
to my flickering psychology. Horror
 will be the name of the movie,
because I love you so much.

real late last night sandra day

real late
last night
sandra day
o connor
came to
me in
a dream
and said
you don’t
even know
what i
look like
do you


The worst thing
about living
in Bolivia is

the haunting omnipresence
of the shadow
of Simón Bolivar.

The best thing
about living
in Bolivia is

every midnight
getting to sit up
and whisper

these Bolivian

This post is part of my ongoing collaboration with Zeteo Journal’s Zeteo is Reading section. 

The Bedroom is Trees


Last week I wrote about a three-way interview published by “The Review Review” about the future of poetry. The three-way was composed of Rob MacDonald of Sixth Finch Journal,  Matt Hart of Forklift Ohio Journal and Gale Marie Thompson of Jellyfish Magazine

I recommend at least perusing the article to get a sense of what people in the poetry world (and these are very relevant people within that cloaked realm) have to say about the general future of the genre. But what is truly special about the article are the poets that the participants mention.

My plan is to go through most of these writers in the upcoming weeks. Today, I am featuring Emily Kendal Frey from Portland, Oregon.  Her newest book, “Sorrow Arrow” was just released by Octopus Books. For those looking to learn more, here is her blog.

The poem below was recently the “Poem of the Day” at Poets.Org.


A Tyrant Seeks Conclusion in the Known Self


In California we went to the dive bar and I lost my wallet

I remember falling into it

And maybe kissing against someone’s garage

I fell on city sidewalks

In California and other places

The trees looked at me tenderly

I’m guessing

You do not love me because your mom did not love you

I understand the equation

Meanwhile, I make a butter fire in the kitchen

Two times I heat the butter for the eggs

Both times I burn it

Just observe, I tell

My students, describe what is

The woman next to me on the airplane

Moves pictures from her wallet to her pocket

In case we die

I cry with my eyes closed and the Sprite goes by

The unconscious drives us to master

The childhood situation

I wonder if there are spiders

Here, in the carpet or between the seats

A place with bugs is so

Much more friendly

The book I am reading tells me

Ours is an earthbound crisis

That until we cease to dominate

With doing, we will fail

At being

My fingernails

Are the color of rotten peaches

On Orcas Island there’s a stone tower on top of Mt. Constitution

Some days you can see for miles, the many

Mountain ranges and pine-crusted bodies

In my mind

I practice dying

I throw myself over the edge

The plane is making its way into the streaking

Sun of this country

In Mexico I slept in a clay structure facing the ocean

I could hear the wind constantly

I bought you a tin heart with a hole in it

I brought it back in my backpack

In bed you said Don’t make fun of me

When I’m old, okay?

When I think of your face

I have to think of me

You are holding my knee

And now I look into you

Now I look up and face

The abject fear

I am an animal

The bedroom is trees

Go limp a voice tells me

When a person passes me on their way to the restroom

I pretend they are the kindly face

Of god

Look deep into the eyes

Of the divine

It’s so beautiful isn’t it

To believe you are looking

At the future


- This post is part of my weekly collaboration with Zeteo Journal’s Zeteo is Reading. 

Point Lobos Poetry

point lobos nature

I hiked Point Lobos National Park, just south of Monterey, California, last Saturday. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful national parks in all of the naturally well-endowed state, and rightly so.

Please see, and hear, the video poems I took. Both “Sea Lion Poem” and “Point Lobos Ocean Rock Poem” can be viewed here.