"There's not much doubt in any of our minds that no complete idea springs fully formed from our brow,
needing only a handshake and a signature on the contract to send it off into the world to make twenty-five billion dollars.
The germ of the idea grows slowly..." - Walt Kelly

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


It's all in the translation,
the careful deduction of meaning
and divination of intent.
Impossible, you say?
To transform our machinations
into something real, something good,
takes but a moment
and a degree of demolition.
Then we'll know what we see
and what we mean
when we make a resolution
not to go through this again.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Timbre Timbre, Creep On Creepin' On

Friday, December 16, 2011

We've all got wood and nails

Halfway through his experiments on the human psyche, he discovered what an inconsequential species mankind really was. After pouring thousands of his own dollars into this research, he sat in his office, cursing how empty his bank account was. He could write only one thing in his notepad: "It was fun while it lasted."

Okay, yeah, so it's actually 54 words. You caught me.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Go! Team, Get It Together

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

If I were to change my name

It would read something
like "The Beggar King,"
and it would be written
at the start of our new

It would be the war that
never happened, and we
would carry on and spill
our varied drinks upon our

In that moment, if we could
celebrate my new poverty
and all of your bright glory,
it would satisfy my greatest

At the short fence, we will
meekly reach hands to grip
tethered hearts, and we will
stare from afar at my lost

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
TV On The Radio, Shout Me Out

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pitchforks: check...Torches: check

Well, that's the end of that. I came up a little more than 2,700 words short in my quest for NaNoWriMo greatness, although I do take a little pride in the fact that I spilled out over 13,000 words yesterday in my last minute push to make the deadline. As I've been saying about my favorite sports team for the last 14 seasons: There's always next year.

In the meantime, back to writing the smaller stuff. Here's a new post for Three Word Wednesday (yes, on Thursday, I know). The words this week are behave, jettison and mob.

Dearly beloved,
we are gathered here today
to burst through the confines
of this thin Blue line.
Our mob shall spill forth
as blood rips free
from an old wound.

In our eyes we shall behave
as revolutionaries.
In theirs,
as menaces to society.
If they refuse to see our power,
will we change course
or stagnate in protest?

We musn't be persuaded
to jettison our faith,
no matter the odds against us.
We can hope for change,
but hope carries little pull
when the world turns to shove.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Paul Simon, April Come She Will

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When there's nothing left to burn

Needed to write something other than my novel for a bit. Maybe it will get me going again. So for now, I'll partake in another edition of Three Word Wednesday - impetus, solace and vindication.

Also, a bit of shameless promotion - 50 to 1 is looking for submissions, so send something in! Have a look at the guidelines and see if you've got what it takes to pack a story's worth of impact into one little tale.

Our impetus
has carried us forward,
hasn't it?
How else
would you categorize
our newfound lust
for microchips?
When at last
we've climbed
the impossible mountain
to stand at the frozen edge,
we'll mouth a question
to the wilderness.
"Your smartphone
is a nuclear bomb,"
it tells us.
"Destructive range:
ten miles."
We'll smile,
like this truth
has bestowed upon us
some kind of vindication.
In our solace we'll know:
we must set ourselves aflame.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Bon Iver, Re: Stacks

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo begins!

Thanks to the miracle of Twitter, I discovered that November is National Novel Writing Month, and an organization called the Office of Letters and Light brings writers together to write 50,000-word novels in a month. So, being the glutton for punishment that I apparently am, I decided, "Yeah, why the hell not?" So here you will find my first bits of writing for NaNoWriMo 2011, started just 15 minutes ago:

This is the beginning of my new novel, Seize.


The first thing she noticed was how quiet it had become. Highways can be so loud - one of the reasons she was glad her husband's car had noise cancellation - but right now, it was a vacuum. She turned her head, noticed how slowly it moved. Noticed the scarring on the windshield, blossoming like a horrible, prickly flower.

Next she noticed the low, humming scream. She wasn't sure where it was coming from. Was it her husband? One of her daughters? Was it her? It seemed to be coming from everywhere, rising like someone was pulling it out from under the water, a terrified child after its first foray into the pool.

Finally she heard it all - sounds came crashing in from everywhere, ripping her attention span to pieces as she tried desperately to focus on something, anything to grab hold of and stop the spinning. Why was she spinning? Her head thrashed in wild circles, forward, backward, around to the right halfway before looping violently back into the headrest. Crystalline dust filled the air - she could feel it puncturing her skin as it blew through the interior of the car, ignoring all the expensive safety features. She tried to find her husband, her daughters, but the force of whatever misspent momentum was carrying the vehicle would not let her. For the longest part of that moment, it pried her eyes outward and glued them to the windshield.

The ruined glass blew apart, and the whole car seemed to tilt forward onto its nose - but it did so violently, in a sudden, crunching screech, and she felt gravity start to fail. Again her focus failed her. Nothing to grab hold of. Nothing to keep her there. Why was she flying?

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Tallest Man on Earth, Troubles Will Be Gone

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Like legend

More writing for Three Word Wednesday. This week the words to use are figment, inclined and vulnerable.

In those times
we were unafraid of ourselves
and pulled to action,
when our minds were so inclined.
We might as well
write our tomes now,
commit ourselves
to lyrical poetry
and sculptors
studying our shoulders.
It could be
that we're better served
at home with the help,
made vulnerable
by the undying prayers
of a nation,
their thoughts lingering
on the edge
of black madness,
horrifying history
strewn about our lairs.
We've buried our own opinions
in harmonious lies,
a backward gift wrapping that reads,
"A figment of your imagination."
And perhaps it's all true.
Perhaps our obsession
with the oddities
is a savior, an answer,
a found ten dollar bill
in the back of our wallets.
Or perhaps those figments
are really our own.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Arcade Fire, Black Mirror

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What year is it?

Dual inspiration today - one half from the aptly named Inspiration Monday and the other from the piece below by Sabrina Tibourtine.

If the heavy, electric thump kills your enthusiasm, consider this: Only when the bright lights falter will our future become clear. Let new construction tear you down, replace your skepticism with blind faith and help you remember the truth. They vomit into prisms and all we see is clean, white light.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Radiohead, Sit Down, Stand Up

Friday, October 21, 2011

In for it

A world on its own
much like those who inhabit,
like those who have died;

much like those who dove face first
in the barred hall
and left their stained crosses
at the altar,
a blind sacrifice
to an unseeing god;

much like those who fought
tooth and nail,
had a mean left
but never the right,
never the tearful initiation
and acceptance;

much like those who died,
ever trapped in striped existence:
a world on its own.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Exile ft. Slum Village, Time Has Come

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Really enjoying this Three Word Wednesday thing so far...but late on this one. That's what happens when the World Series is on. The words for this week are breach, ember and tentative.

Tones dance across the auditory cortex,
steps tentatively taken at first,
then gripped by passion
and shoved hastily forward.
A split-second to recognize
and another to react -
a shifting of cooling embers
stirs just enough in the breach
and fire is lit;
adrenaline flows warm
and comforting.

Some great Quick Links from last week's edition of 3WW:

Jae Rose has written a nicely complex little poem: Book.

Monica details the horrible tension of one woman's Quiet.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Blu & Exile, Good Life

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beginner's luck

Another edition of Three Word Wednesday. This week the words are admire, follow and piece.

"It's been four hours, Kopack...FOUR HOURS." Andrews clenched his teeth and growled for emphasis through his last two words. "And what have we seen?"

Kopack turned from where he'd been monitoring the warehouse out the passenger's side window, stopped mid-chew with a mouthful of slightly warm Snickers bar. He glanced over at his partner carefully, as if expecting his apologetic gaze to be met with a right hook.

"I'm sure they'll show up," he mumbled around the sticky caramel. "They have to pick it up eventually, right?"

Andrews let his head drop onto the headrest of the driver's seat, sighed, and shrugged sarcastically.

"Well sure, they'll have to..." He tensed and turned to focus on Kopack. "...if your crackpot theory is even right."

When there was no immediate reaction from the junior officer, Andrews finally couldn't contain himself anymore. He let loose.

"Look, I know the chief is obligated to put a little extra stock in your investigations since he's your father, but isn't this overdoing it a little bit?"

Kopack admired the contours of the last unchewed peanut left in his mouth, trying very hard not to pay attention to his superior.

"I know you'll probably tell him everything I say, but at this point I don't really give a fuck. If he was any kind of cop at all, he could see plain and simple that your evidence is all circumstantial, at best, and that accusing a legitimate, well-respected, squeaky-clean local businessman of counterfeiting hundreds is completely absurd, especially in this town."

The peanut finally met its end, and Kopack swallowed it slowly, nervously. He had been sure of his theory, as sure as he'd ever been of anything since graduating from the academy. Andrews kept talking, proceeded to poke holes in every little pontoon of evidence Kopack had built. He felt himself sinking. What was it that always happened to cops who failed? He thought for a moment, then nodded slightly to himself. Traffic duty. He'd get bumped down to traffic duty for sure.

"And I know you always hear in TV and movies and whatever the hell else you kids watch that the guys with the perfect records are always hiding something, but in the real world, people actually do go a very long time without getting in trouble." Andrews stopped to breathe, his complexion noticeably reddened with frustration. "Are you listening?"

Kopack nodded vigorously, but with a tinge of sadness.

"Yeah, and you're right," he said breathily, letting the last of his confidence escape into a fog on the inside of the windshield. He turned to the side window again, stared blankly into the growing murk of nighttime. "I guess there were a few more checks I should have done before I went to my dad..."

Andrews threw up his hands in sarcastic joy.

"Thank goodness, the young lad has learned his lesson," he said. "And it only took up four hours of my weekend to make it happen. Glad to have volunteered my time." He nodded at the keys in the ignition, motioned out the front window. "Shall we?"

Kopack looked back at him, nodded sadly, concentrated on the pieces of dirt nestled the fibers of the floor carpet. Andrews sighed again and shook his head, then put his hands to the keys and turned. The engine rumbled back to consciousness and the cruiser's headlights popped on, spewing dirty yellow light across the front of the warehouse and the road in front of it.

Andrews saw it first, and groaned loudly before slapping his palm to his forehead.

"Mother fuck..." he said, enunciating each unbelieving syllable.

Kopack looked up and followed Andrews' gaze out the window. Standing frozen in the road, red-handed deer in the headlights, were the legitimate, well-respected, squeaky-clean local businessman and two of his associates, each shouldering as many duffel bags as they could carry, the occasional hundred dollar bill fluttering out of an open zipper onto the dusty asphalt.

The young policeman felt his skin stretching as his smile grew wider and wider. He turned to Andrews, then back to the counterfeiters, then back to Andrews, who looked up with disbelief still stamped on his face. Andrews could see that Kopack was still searching his brain for the right procedure, trying to dodge the clouds of euphoria that interrupted his judgment. Andrews' expression finally softened, and he smiled at his partner's elation.

"All right, rook," Andrews said, his tone bordering on fatherly. "Go book 'em."

Also, Quick Links to some fellow Three-Worders whose work I very much enjoyed last week:

Thom gives us a disturbing look at Another Thursday Night in the 'Burbs.

Dee eloquently touches on the subject of the 99%.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Pharoahe Monch, Free

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Three Word Wednesday!

New online literary discovery! Thanks to one of my 50 to 1 submitters, I've come upon Three Word Wednesday, which I shall now proceed to take part in as often as I can. Today's words are eject, impact and render.

Not much can be asked
of harmless impact -
it has already given
so much of itself
to fighting its own
energy, the blank
slate of the universe.
There we've written
lifeless stories,
our whole world cut up
and thrown out,
a dead rendering of reality,
and now

unable to eject,
flight controls failing,
ground coming up
faster than the will to act.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Little Brother, Dreams

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Uomo politico

Up from the dying woods
of the south,
the rusty leper carries
only the most exquisite
tools of torture -
and carries only himself.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Phonte, The Good Fight

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Take one

The punch drew blood, loosened a few teeth, started skin-deep capillaries wailing - it shouldn't have. "Cut!" the director screamed. The crew had watched the tension build for weeks and now gasped, surprise laced with satisfaction. Supporting looked down at Lead's ruined face, sneered. "That's for sleeping with my wife."

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Grizzly Bear, Cheerleader

Saturday, September 24, 2011


In the cold she could tell his breaths were becoming more rapid, heavier, angry. "Don't believe everything you hear," she coaxed, and put a hand on his shoulder. He shuddered and cursed, felt his fury start to melt, dripping in half-frozen morsels from his elbow, collapsing softly in the snow.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Bob Dylan, Don't Think Twice, It's All Right

Friday, September 23, 2011


The chilled wind blowing up from the canyon showed more life than his purpled lips, perpetually smashed together. He looked back at his car – still parked in the worst traffic he'd ever seen – and shook his head with expectant regret. Bad things happened when he had this much time on his hands.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Bon Iver, Blindsided

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Droplets spattered on the roof of his car in psychedelic rhythm, like someone was snapping their fingers in time during a bad trip. But they would never fall hard enough to wipe his memory clean of those savage recollections, those mind-killing sounds, those visions of a young summer at war.
Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Johnson&Jonson, Up All Night

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


This wasn't going to be your run-of-the-mill staff meeting, but he was the only one who knew it. They gathered their coffee, their donuts, their uninterested stares, and sat quietly. He stood, walked to the front. "Ladies and gentlemen, I've murdered our boss. And named myself CEO."

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Dull Life

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Abandoned building

One glance at the warped fence and hollowed old windows told her all she needed to know: it had been too long. She couldn't see his face in the doorway anymore, waiting for her to come home. With a slow sigh she got back in her car. No closure here.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Arcade Fire, Old Flame

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I clawed desperately at the mud, freeing rocks and small tree roots from their amorphous enclosure. My only chance was to bury myself and hope they weren't interested in an otherwise empty foxhole. Then: the clack of a rifle behind me. I froze. "We don't tolerate cowards," a voice said.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
OK Go, This Too Shall Pass

Friday, September 16, 2011


The first of the 50-worders:

His hands were a deeper pale color than I expected. His face, too - a lazy coral. I knew it would elicit a reaction, but not like this. I grabbed the nearest bit of cloth to shield him from the truth. One should never have to witness one's own death.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Radiohead, How To Disappear Completely

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Desperate, much?

My friend and I have decided we needed more impetus to keep writing, and our strategy has boiled down to making each other write a 50-word story every day for the next 4 weeks. The first one should go up tomorrow (dunno if he'll let me publish his, too, but I'll try) and the run should end sometime around the middle of October. I figured NaPoWriMo worked so well for me, why not try the same method once more?

We'll see.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Decided to try this again, but with my work Blackberry this time. Not as good a shape as the recorder, but still a challenge to fill it with meaningful language...which, of course, is the point.

                                    A structure
                          so incomplete, but
                so meaningful. A bare frame
              filled to its empty walls with the
              pale ghosts of our collective past,
                shining in the mirrored glass and
                  howling to be forgotten - no, not
                    forgotten, let go. Released from
                     our memorial tethers; allowed to
                       stay at rest without the imminen
                         interruption of policy, rhetoric,
                           commercialism; allowed to settle
                             into the light grooves of their new
                               homes - at home in the mind,
                                 and at home in the heart.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
TV On The Radio, Blues From Down Here

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Something's fishy

to my halibut-lined anxiety.
Allergies hold no promise
but the constant itch
of time
spent in a cathedral,
colored in stained glass.
My years in the sea
spent yearning
for a tinge of hell,
salty misery
seasoned to taste.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Rage Against the Machine, Wake Up

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Such sweet sorrow

It's only a short moment in time,
but the impact is a long-lasting plague:
a dizzying stillness
adrift in the occupancy
of an empty room.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Jean Grae, CaseBasket

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Advice I advise you to take

Learn to love the lowered stare of the bull.
Shower in the pixie sounds of crashing China.
Empty your pockets just the one time -
the second will be a hoax,
wrought religiously in an opium den
owned by your second cousin.
(He never told you that secret?)
Squeak in time with your new sneakers.
This means, of course, that you must learn to keep time.
Wear the expensive watch your second cousin
very generously got for you last Christmas.
(Don't ask him where he got it.)
Try to leave Pamplona unharmed.
The insurance doesn't cover "aggravated goring."

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Wailin' Jennys, Long Time Traveler

Monday, August 22, 2011

Build it yourself

We passed but once,
eyes buried in the grated landscape
sprinkled heartily around us.
Did you see a reflection of yourself?
I saw mine.
I liked parts of what it showed me
and sent others back for revision,
the benefit of keeping all my eggs
in different baskets
and burning my faith in the imaginary
long before you learned to ask questions.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Tallest Man On Earth, Graceland

Monday, August 8, 2011

You might say it was a, "sharp sense"

This marks my triumphant (HA...good one) return to the world of writing. I'll be back in the weeks to come, and I hope it's with more consistency.

Again he heard the knife slide into the pillow, and again he woke with a start to find it wasn’t actually there. But she was, fast asleep and probably dreaming, judging by the slight grin that creased her features. Maybe marrying an acquitted killer wasn’t the best idea he’d ever had.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:.
Xavier Rudd, Messages

Monday, July 4, 2011

Keep out the rain

There's the halo of rainy mist,
there's the scar.
In the upturned collar
is a warning:
Lies we buried in those soft memories,
imprints of a love,
shall rise up in a lightning flash,
a glowering split of synapses
aimed with our good intentions.
They wake in the mornings,
darkness in the afterglow;
questions we don't need answers to,
truths we never should have told.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Neutral Milk Hotel, In An Aeroplane Over The Sea

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Not quite good enough

Blurred in those eyes, mired in that pearlescent green-orange tint, was an admission of guilt, something he would probably never say, but something I heard nonetheless. I checked the chambers, noted their fullness, thumbed the cylinder closed. "Apology accepted," I said softly, then pointed the revolver and pulled the trigger.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Incubus, Sick Sad Little World

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I am who I am

"We've been talking, your dad and I."

Never a good way to start off lunch with your mother. I stopped mid-chew and stared at her, deer-in-the-headlights look in full effect.


"He told me he feels badly that he couldn't always make it to things for you and your brother when you two were younger."

I swallowed my forkful of chicken parm and squinted.

"Never bothered me - I mean, last I checked, I'm not a spoiled rich kid with daddy issues."

"That's not what I'm trying to say," she said, reaching for her water in what I took to be a reflexive response to my too-dry humor. "He just wishes he could have been at more soccer games and that kind of thing."

"Well I never held it against him. Still don't. I know he had to work - somebody has to keep a young family afloat."

She smiled, and I tensed for the "I'm so proud you're so grown up I guess we did an okay job after all" line I was sure would follow, but it never came.

"Someday you'll have to tell him that," she said. "I think it would mean a lot to him."

She put down her drink and returned her focus to the roasted red pepper sandwich in front of her.

There's more, Mom, I wanted to say. I am who I am because of him. You too, of course, but as far as I'm concerned, a boy doesn't grow up well without a father figure who does his job. So if you're ever proud of me, be proud of him, because he's a big reason why.

But I kept my mouth shut - it'd be better for him to hear, I decided. I took a sip of my iced tea, my focus split between the straw and the how. How would I relay such a message to a man who I figured was harder to read than a quantum physics textbook? Another sip of tea brought no answers.

"You know Father's Day is coming up, right?" she asked, yanking me back into the here-and-now. "Have you talked to your brother about getting a gift?"

"No, Mom," I groaned. "I'll handle it though, I've been thinking of ideas."

"Do you need help? I could probably think of a few good things."

"I've got it, thanks though. I think I'm going to go pick something up later today."

"Oh okay. Just thought I'd ask."

We finished lunch, and I walked with her back to the train home. She chatted away, as usual, me only half-listening as I ran through my options. How would I convey feelings I couldn't even bring myself to say out loud?

I scratched my chin stubble as we waited at the next crosswalk. I'm a college-educated 24-year-old, I thought to myself. I'm sure I'll manage to think of a way.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Eagles, Learn to Be Still

Friday, June 17, 2011

Reynolds (Part One)

The mist of that damp, rotten Baltimore midnight curled around my feet like it was tied to my ankles with the finest thread. When I moved, it followed, circling tiny ripples on the cobblestones and then hurriedly chasing my heels down the road.

He seemed perfectly serene when I first came upon him, making no sound or movement besides sporadic, arbitrary weight shifting that seemed more ambient than the product of his own muscles.

I stepped closer through the fog, and he twisted violently at the hips to look at me.

I stopped, trying my best to measure his intensity and stability despite the muddling effect the mist had on my vision. I could barely make out most of his face, but what I saw for sure were his eyes, eyelids spread wide in what I perceived as either horror or insanity. Not certain of which it actually was, I decided it was best to stay put.

"Edgar?" I said. "Edgar, is that you?"

His eyes stayed completely open, like sight was the last of his five senses that remained operable and he was trying to take it all in optically.

"Where is he?" he asked, pupils flitting about as he scanned the street behind me. "He came with you, didn't he? He used you, didn't he, Mags? He used you..."

He trailed off into silence and his eyes locked on me. At least now I knew it was Edgar, evidenced by the use of his nickname for me - the one he had used ever since I had nearly blinded both of us during a college science experiment.

It made me smile to know this was my friend, but I couldn't see past the crumbled, wild exterior to see just how much of him was still there.

He stepped closer to me and reached out a dirty, almost-gloved hand.

"Come with me, Mags," he whispered. "I know where we can hide."

More worried than scared at this point, I grabbed his hand and let him lead me. His palm was cold and covered in dirt or some other gritty substance. Despite his frayed condition he was still strong, and he pulled me almost headlong down the street. I took a glance behind us and saw nothing but the mist spiraling up from the road, crimping in protest before fading into the blackness above the streetlamps.

Edgar took me down a short alleyway, bursting out into the street and then a painfully sharp turn and down a longer alley, one I couldn't see the end of. I dodged garbage and empty crates, our speed increasing with the aid of the straightaway.

And just as quickly as he had accelerated us down the alley, Edgar brought us to a halt, stopping dead in his tracks in front of a bleak wooden door. I crashed into his back, the impact upsetting the silt that covered his jacket. He turned and looked at me, unimpressed with my momentum, and I noticed that his eyes had finally started to calm, which left me mildly relieved.

He turned back to his front and flung through his trouser pockets, finally appearing satisfied when he grasped a grimy, grayed key in his right hand. He inserted it into the lock and turned. The door opened with an unhappy croak, revealing a bright, albeit dusty room that was very much the opposite of the door in terms of condition.

With swooping agility that belied his appearance, Edgar moved inside and rushed straight for a set of elegant, wooden cabinets resting against the far wall. He reached for the handle, then stopped himself.

"Mmmmm...not yet," he muttered, and left the cabinet to go bounding around the room, inspecting the rest of the furniture.

Now I came into the room and, my curiosity piqued, moved for the cabinets as well. They were definitely antique pieces, and besides a thick layer of dust, they appeared to be in very good shape. I grasped one of the handles and tensed my arm to pull, but was thwarted when Edgar ran by and slapped me on the shoulder.

"Not yet!" he said, placing heavy emphasis on each word, then went scrambling about the room at a slightly slower pace than before.

"Edgar, let me help you," I said, opening my arms in as comforting a pose as I could manage. "What are you looking for?

He paused with a deep sigh, arms buried deep in a dresser drawer, and turned to look at me.

"I have it here, Mags, everything we'll need…everything…everything."

He was panting now, clearly out of breath, and his eyes flickered open and shut.

"He did this to me...lied...and his men..."

He slowly drew his arms out of the drawer, and used the dresser to pull himself up to his feet.

"Who did this?" I asked. "You have to tell me more, Edgar, please!"

He swallowed and blinked once, opening his mouth to speak and then immediately closing it again. I knew what was about to happen and forced myself into motion, but I was too late. Edgar staggered into the dresser, recovered, and then crumbled into a heap on the groaning wooden floor.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Crash and the Boys, We Hate You, Please Die

Monday, June 6, 2011

Not the smartest bunch

This delicate opera
of whispered knowledge
and wild opulence
breathes old life
back into our bones -
as if the current aches and pains
weren't enough.
And now,
marrow throbbing,
we'll walk the tightest rope
(although free not to)
and curse our forebears
for the last painful twangs
of our too-taut misfortune.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Motion City Soundtrack, Pulp Fiction

Thursday, June 2, 2011


We're a hollow sound - all cleverness and cruelty and courage - but mostly contempt. Not for one another, mind you, but for our own situation, whether it’s poverty, physical weakness or ignorance. And in the push for self-improvement, we almost always lose sight of something else. So is it worth it?

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Pharoahe Monch, Evolve

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I'm not, I do

I'm not an eloquent man, but here's what I can say:

I fear the ghosts
of my own presence,
the ones who've left me lit
like an old lantern,
burning slow and dirty,
billowing acidity -
but you've been my
my means of escape,
my steady comparison
by which I finally know
how to measure myself.

I'm not an intelligent man, but here's what I do know:

This flickering hope
is far from dead, much
to my heavy thanks,
and those thanks extend,
of course, to you:
You who have opened my window
so that less harmful things
can fly their way in,
alight on my headboard
and warble uncertainties,
the fairest kind,
your fairest kindness.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Laura Marling, Tap At My Window

Sunday, May 8, 2011

300 Characters II

Here's another one of those 300-character dohickeys, written on my POS flip phone.

It's not right, and you know it, but it's popular. Don't let the spotlights hold you, lest they reveal your disagreement and paint you a color you can't see, but you know perfectly well what it means. It means you aren't one of us, no matter your proof of paperwork. Speak well: the stake is made ready.

Q-Tip, Gettin' Up

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Down the line

Not sure how I came up with this (bored at work) but it seemed like a cool idea. This is for Thursday Poets' Rally Week 43:

JUMP to the handle,
Upwards of 60 feet too far away.
Managing to maintain your grasp
Proves you're more than getting warmer.

IMAGINE if things were easier:
Maybe we'd feel more capable
And more well-thought-out in substance.
Grandeur doesn't always come as illusion
If you decide to maintain your course,
Not plunge for higher ground.
Easy can be fulfilling too, we tell ourselves.

FORGET your limits and instead,
Overdo everything - home and abroad -
Remind those around you of your excellence.
Granted, they'll question until, at last,
Evidence is provided. In the long run, though,
Too much is always too little.

NOTE 5/8/11: I've been gifted with the Perfect Poet Award from The Promising Poets' Cafe for this week's rally! Thanks to you guys for the honor - and I'd like to nominate Blaga for the next award.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Circa Survive, Kicking Your Crosses Down

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Degrees to keep us

The final post of National Poetry Month...this has been an incredible test, and although I'm finishing it late, I'm proud to be finishing it at all. And crazily enough, I'm already looking forward to next April.

My poem of impact for Prompt #30: Celebrating Poetry is this one by Nikki Magennis, whose writing I'm very happy to have discovered over the last month.

In a decade of sin,
it's unspeakably perfect.
We've managed
to nail down our outcomes,
patch the cracks
in our armor
and build our monuments
sideways - a test
of fortitude
and architectural
The brushes that now swirl,
on our canvas,
blend blood and green ink,
spread ugly brown
over Paris,
over Appomattox,
over Versailles.
Our past
is unrecognizable as fact;
we've satisfied our
and all that's left is to hope
that we'll be pleased with the results.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Tame Impala, Desire Be Desire Go

Friday, April 29, 2011


Almost there.
Prompt #29: Free Day!

Some glowing orb
Poisons my sky,
Twists my intentions
And bleeds my thoughts.

Halfway to home
The eagle rests,
Tests the ropes and laughs
Before our fall.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Eminem & Royce Da 5'9, Fast Lane

Thursday, April 28, 2011

When the new brass tiptoes

Interesting task, this one.
Prompt #28: Roundel

When the new brass tiptoes, the other soldier dies,
Too many times they've gone to deliver the rose,
A harrowing gift delivered with earnest lies,
  When the new brass tiptoes.

Bullets ride the air between a man and his foes,
Despite his courage and to his great surprise,
Only the quiet ticking of his heartbeat slows.

Between the battlefield and home it's hope that fries,
Baked in the sudden sun above the final blows.
Alone the dead will rest in the bloodied night skies
  When the new brass tiptoes.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Brandon Boyd, All Ears Avow!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pains of glass

Thank goodness for long bus rides, or I don't think I'd get any writing done anymore.
Prompt #27: Still Life

What can this hold?
Heated sand
pressed to shape,
a barrier
to what lies
or without.
Build it walls
to hold it,
and bury that
which you'd like
to keep out
or forget.
Depending on
your angle,
it can hold
just about anything.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Fleet Foxes, Sim Sala Bim

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Move along

Prompt #26: Quiet Windows

In the outpouring of craggy rock,
bone spurs from the mountainside,
few things are visible
but the aging face of time,
the shavings of an empire,
the unnatural halt of geology
and the quieter sides
of our nature,
far from the discordant horns
bleating wrong notes
to snapped branches
and the downturned veins
of new leaves,
brighter green
than any child's mind,
'til they turn to the sky in death,
weak pleas for sustenance
met only by shivering derision.
"Quite right,"
we nod in agreement.
"Nothing to see here."

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Foo Fighters, White Limo

Monday, April 25, 2011

The curious case of the upright pack animals

Prompt #25: Memes

Our phenomenon is empty,
but oh,
how it fills so much.

Our phenomenon is quiet,
but oh,
how it speaks so loud.

Our phenomenon is incorrect,
but oh,
how much weight it carries.

Our phenomenon is imperfect,
but oh,
how we've made it gold.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Paul Simon, Rewrite

Sunday, April 24, 2011

We could

Off prompt...oh well.

We could bury our faces in laughter,
but it needn't be anything
only a momentary respite
from a world they call
cold or hard or evil,
and we simply call empty.

We could stand an egg on its end
on a day other than the
a dead sun our signal
that we'd finally seen
the impossible, or at least
the very difficult.

We could ride in a gray limousine
for no reason other than our
dress in our finest and
stare out the rear window,
watch the aging roads
fall out from under us.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Roots, The Fire

Saturday, April 23, 2011

They're really more afraid of you

HAIKUS! Slightly off-prompt haikus, but whatever.
Prompt #23: Dual Voices

It is a heavy,
itchy hand that rests upon
her starch-white shoulder.

His is a heavy,
fishy breath that falls upon
the back of her neck.

Hers is a twitch-quick,
sudden movement to the rack
where her shotgun waits.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Rilo Kiley, With Arms Outstretched

Friday, April 22, 2011

River drive

More catch-up: this is from a poem I wrote on the train to NYC my first day of work last June. I've tried to rehabilitate it a few times, with help, but I couldn't seem to make it work. So, perfect opportunity here.
Prompt #22: Recycle, Reuse, Rewrite

Out blares a tenor signal, clear as the rainwater
pooling in the streets. So follow it,
take the road to its nearest end point.
Around the corner, tattered shoes hang from a power line,
leaking usefulness. Watch as the wind blows,
knocks their peeling heels together:
A quiet wish for a way home, screamed across the ruin.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Morning Benders, Stitches

Thursday, April 21, 2011

To you, and your apprehension:

Playing catch-up...again.
Prompt #21: Sharing the Love

On a deserted highway,
find the cleanest ditch,
leave your bags
and head South.
New things there,
new promises and
new life.
Someone may come upon
that same highway,
empty with dust
and carrion.
Someone may open your bags,
hear the scratching
of the zipper and
lay eyes on
your most cherished,
your most missed
from back home.
And if you're lucky,
which you are,
you needn't worry:
We'll bring your things
right back to you.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Dodos, Don't Try And Hide It (of course if it has Neko Case on it, I'm listening to it)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The bottle

Technically it's not April anymore, but you can't tell because I scheduled this post for April 20th! Man, I got you good on that one...
Prompt #20: Personify

I'm just a whore
and nothing less,
a place to rest their
warm hands.
No love
in that grasp,
the sticky,
fermented moisture
of breath
falling irregularly
as they undress me,
take what they need
and go.
Loud gulps
of temporary
echo loud and
down the halls.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Black Keys, Tighten Up

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One up, one down

Only one "lightbulb moment" here, but it's really the only one I still wonder about.
Prompt #19: Lightbulbs

In my head
it all made so much more sense,
no dangerous tread
and certainly no false pretense.
Affection bred
in earnest, and with no expense,
but here instead,
alone, and no new promise since.
It's easy dread
can turn behavior rather dense,
and easily said:
one more mistake without defense.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Talib Kweli, Broken Glass

Monday, April 18, 2011

Incessant and torturous, and incessant

So close to writing a haiku for this one, because I don't think I've ever seriously written a haiku before. But this popped up instead:
Prompt #18: NaPoWriMo

Lightly tanned
shoulders, alone
in the dark -
and by choice,
so no worries.

Observe the soft stroke of the zealots, marvel at their singing range, gaze longingly upon their wild and varied color palettes, interior decorators.

There's so much
to be seen in
a light turn
of the lips,
red with love.

Black and white nonsense words, break them down into syllables so maybe, yes, maybe, stylized happiness can be yours once again.

In this photo
of something
horrible, many
still find
loud beauty.

But under your capital U-cloak, a proud university regrets its decision to promote its fledgling students so soon, so green, so envious.

We are an
early blade of
Midwest grass,
strung up
by the wrists.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Grizzly Bear, All We Ask

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Yeah, about that...

Poetry Month, Day 17:
I've been totally useless so far today, so now I must attempt to undo that (off prompt, again, and slightly ridiculous):

Eyes on target
spider shoes
climb for ceiling
Bad idea.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Shins, Fighting In A Sack

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Streaking bravery

Poetry Month, Day 16:
I tried, but couldn't get anything out of today's prompt, so I just wrote something off the cuff instead:

A look into our eyes: there's no comprehension, but we'll ape it - levy
          our fears into tax breaks and deliver on blind promises to men
          who have seen too much. Those men will raise glasses, then
          shovels, and take what was yours, bury it deep. Cold dirt and a
          rock will be your only reminder years from now.

Imagine it as a chess match, clacking victory that prances across
          laminated wood. Wouldn't it be easier if there were a warning
          track, something to keep us from straying too close to the edges,
          something to scrape the cataracts clean? That way you'll know:
          coffins keep promises far better than any human ever could.

If it must end this way, at least let it end with some certainty. Try to
          spoon out all the makings of a time bomb, but don't get tangled in
          the rainbowed wiring - it's a sensation you get that you know
          should be something like anguish, when really, that feathery
          feeling in your muscles signifies relief.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Portugal. The Man, Children

Friday, April 15, 2011

Only a half-truth

As we reach the halfway point of this epicness that is National Poetry Month, I want to share links for some other folks who have been working on this journey, as well. And so, I present to you:
Mr. Leonard Wilson and Mr. Zach Ayres.

Now, on with the poetry.
Prompt #15: Kinetic Wordplay

We died and they swept us under the rug,
no heartbeats to heat the floorboards
and no leaking tendrils of wire
scratching at the humming wood.
They cashed out, slips to the front desk,
threw down a few bills at the bar
for a shot of blossoming warmth,
twisted hair to spark waning friction,
and tethered their kinetic nervousness
to the nearest horse and buggy;
all a scheme to make it out
without the need for another sip.
We embolden ourselves at the last,
and then, knee-deep in cloud,
we're expected to believe that finally,
our thirst for bliss is quenched.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Tame Impala, Half Full Glass of Wine

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What a life

Well, at least I got this one done within a day of the post. And, I'm back on pace now, so win for me.
Prompt #14: Poem in Your Pocket

Dark ivy climbs my walls,
But it does me no good
As a method of escaping
My own rumbling blackness.

If these stems ever planted,
I'd climb them, so surely,
Turn myself inside-out
Just for a chance at sunlight.

My omnipresent, shining silver,
Road signs to relevance
For all those elder statesman;
Reminders of the unobtainable.

What I'd love for you to do
Is take hold of my deepest fear,
Like you did so long ago,
And reveal your loss of wealth.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Fleet Foxes, English House

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


This one came to me on the bus ride home. Yes, I'm still behind, but I'll get to those other two in due time. Promise.
Prompt #13: Adjective-less

The cry that rang out,
bird figured,
was the volume
to wake a bear from hibernation,
of course it roused him
from his slumber.
Bird ran and pressed his ear
to the door,
skin melded with wood,
to hear the ruckus.
Two voices:
neither in a tone
he would welcome.
"The way you treat us!"
she cried.
"Cut the accusations,"
he replied. "Consider,
my work, my stress.
Consider the sources."
She was silent.
Bird opened the door
so he could see without being seen,
saw Mother, tears and sighs,
what was she remembering?
"We could handle it before,"
she recalled. "What changed?"
They stared at each other,
and bird knew a feeling
hadn't felt before,
and it made him shiver
and weep.
Mother and Father
knew just as he did,
and their gazes twitched,
eyes at the scope,
to the door
bird hid behind.
"Time to fly."

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Way Out

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Hardest part of this one? Finding a geological form that doesn't totally suck. No, scratch that, figuring out what my favorite song is.
Prompt #12: Triad

In the first blades of sunlight,
my awareness droops,
heavy, burdened
with information it won't need
twelve hours from now,
but it holds on just the same -
curiosity must be sated,
and like a child's first taste
of cinnamon's sweet grains,
once will be all it takes.

From the aesthetic melody
that fills my early hearing,
I can sense certain similarities -
coy to my realization -
to gliding through porous
sandstone monuments: deep,
stately, flawed, as if
I'm floating down a river,
troubles at my back,
discoveries playfully ahead.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Foo Fighters, Best of You

Monday, April 11, 2011

That fucking leftist news media

Playing catch-up, part four:
Prompt #11: PostSecret
So it's not quite a narrative like they say in the prompt, but whatever.

How many little secrets
can we glean?

In a hushed tone,
like we bear in a room of echoes,
tired voices sing sins
and remind themselves
that like all good things,
this trove of deeply woven
will eventually go public.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The New Pornographers, Use It

Sunday, April 10, 2011

From inside great thunderstorms

Playing catch-up, part three:
Prompt #10: Mad Libs
(I'm using the Walid Bitar poem)

From inside great thunderstorms(don’t call them friend)
hearing is smaller than usual,
as are the words that force it. Inside great thunderstorms,
unlike arguments, are not catapults
and the people grasp enough
to lie to (at least the mistake isn’t small),
have no temper or fingerprints when they sit beside
their falsity and don health, pretending
to be an empty glass in a cold climate. The scenery
sharpens like a papercut in my ear.
It brews itself, and I hear of this
a harsh curve you can color with the whites
and marbles of fireplaces back home, bred otherwise
invisible as the price of empathy.
An enemy, too, is invisible; why are
you feeding it at your rose, growing
it into discomfort?
Leave it alone; throw me a little to
the sky; people shave their heads
into animosity here; I
remain (on the outside) nonplussed.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Circa Survive, Always Getting What You Want

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Playing catch-up, part two (this one was difficult, and I definitely think it shows):
Prompt #09: Metonymy

While you hold on to that dream,
see if you have room for these:

One day, we'll hope to be kings,
do kingly things,
make queens of beautiful women,
drop the coveted iron fist
on the backs of our detractors,
and hope the axe
isn't as sharp as it looks.

One day, we'll hope to be famous,
live in opulence
and make all of this for so little.
But careful,
too much stock can be placed
in the subtle twist of a good time
before the flashes scream.

One day, we'll stop dreaming,
and realize that we've already
got it pretty damn good.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Eagles, New Kid In Town (still great, 30 years after they started)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Try permanent press instead

Playing catch-up, part one:
Prompt #08: Hope

It's a million weights per minute,
each heavier than the last
and creased with new wrinkles.
In the minute of their fall,
it would seem only appropriate
to question a life's work
and wonder if the recollections we tacked
to the peppered-brown corkboard
are worth more than the pile of ashes
they'll produce when they burn.
When we tumble dry at the end,
flailing dust mites,
some kind of beauty,
some kind of hope,
some kind of stamp
I might leave behind,
my only hope
is that static cling
proves more powerful than lost memories.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Coheed & Cambria, Time Consumer

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Doomed to repeat it

Bus post! Please forgive the absence of links until I get to a real computer.
Prompt #07: Wrong Hands

How slight a movement,
and then it all can just


Watch the shine,
but careful,
a misled path
is difficult
to self-correct.

If not now,
Patterns lie beautiful,
prostrate before us,
too easy to step over
and abandon.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Paul Simon, Late in the Evening

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Defiant bloom

I started in one direction, and then ended up going in a completely different one...sometimes there is just too much going on online.
Prompt #06: Flora

One quiet tremor.
Two, rising now.
A third, and,
Horns, hard-nosed and
ominous, trail in
to a slight curvature
of wood-grained blindness,
but in triumph
the result is seated,
most fragile,
upon living earth.
the arms curl up,
but just the edges,
bladed allure -
and fragrance,
a tiny,
almost petulant scent,
as if to say,
"I've endured your worst,
and here at last,
I will bring back
your best."

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Michael Giacchino, After the Drop

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Remember when...

Going the slightly humorous route for this one -
Prompt #05: Strange Little Drawing

Back when life was the same color
as the milk when you're done with a bowl of Lucky Charms:
Perhaps red.
Or was it green?

Back when we never questioned
why in the world cereal turned milk gray,
and the ants on the patio
formed tiny dotted lines
we wished we could follow,
and the pool float's refusal
to stay fully inflated
was the worst of our summer worries,

we could live.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Dutchess & The Duke, Mary

Monday, April 4, 2011

Thin line

Today's prompt: Prompt #04: Book + Picture. I chose William Stafford's The Rescued Year, and picked out "still," "heroic deed" and "thunderous."

When I was angry.
When the air in my room was uncomfortably still.
When not even the large memories
of more prosperous times
could calm the horrid bubbling.
Like polka dots of light
arranged in performance
of some heroic deed,

we waited - glass and Mylar,
like it could keep out
the thunderous growl of emptiness.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Nas, Life's A Bitch

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A wavering note

It's that time again: Day three!
Prompt #03: Voicing

In the first dramatic slant of sound,
we hear it all:

A flash of instability, tingling fear
and the sweat of anticipation,
sliding town the inside turn
to a tickling shudder.
If it is to be this way,
we can at least allow the subtle strings
to carry desires outward,
a dancing melody of sex drive
and lowered expectations -
because, really,
who's looking for all the right pieces?
In our voicing, a rising chorus,
it is made plain:
no longer shall we flutter eyelashes
at passing scenes of beauty.
Lock lips at home,
actions shucked of inhibition,
and let crystalline reflections
lend a slight incline to your step,
and keep the brine taste,
bred orange in the seaside homestead,
to remind you of your winning formula.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
John Lennon, Working Class Hero

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The wronged one

I just barely made it for day one yesterday, so this is me being proactive:
Prompt #02: Unwritten Desire

Behind my eyelids is where I keep
all those things I meant to say
in that days-brief moment
before my mind was made up,
whether or not my heart believed it.
Crossing thoughts are apt to crash,
leave debris strewn across shocked acreage,
but no disaster was more fitting
than a fit of second-guessing
spurred by some dull, sad dedication.

There's a classic saying for this
that no one really means when they recite,
a way of showing what's wrong with me
with as little detail as possible;
acknowledgment hurts more than the wounds.
All I know is a decision I regret,
a choice I'd like to crush and remake,
a speckled blue holdover of two years
that hung around just long enough
to see me burn alive one final time.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Incubus, Punch Drunk

Friday, April 1, 2011


It's day one of the Poem-A-Day Challenge:
Prompt #01: No Narrative

It's hard to imagine an emptier
vessel, something that once
contained so much of you,

all of you, stood up and
straightened out, thrones lifted
on your shoulders for everyday kings.

To what end is our labor?
A lonely buckle prescribes no
relief, but sucks dry what it can.

So let the pieces walk on their own -
intervention is no more than sick foreplay,
gleaming yellow tongues wagging in misuse.

Level with me: It was your intention
all along, wasn't it? To leave ghosts
in the fibers, and carry out my solid ground?

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
TV on the Radio, Staring at the Sun

Thursday, March 31, 2011

National Poetry Month!

April (which starts tomorrow, btw - is this year speeding by or what?) is National Poetry Month, and some crazy folks decided it would be a good idea to issue a challenge to writers everywhere. The challenge? Write a poem every day for the whole month.

Here's the deal: people give them ideas for daily prompts. Then, each day, they provide the prompt, to which you provide the poem. I've become very excited about this very quickly, so I pretty much have to follow through at this point.

Here goes nothin'.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

In need of repair

It had always been a fight, and the end was no different. But when the dust settled, it wasn't his bruised sense of pride that he was worried about. The half-dizzy haze that had devoured his thoughts was ruptured by a single question:

"How can I fix this?"

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Local Natives, Who Knows Who Cares

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The worst part

When the bus driver started making angry hand gestures at no one in particular, I knew I had made the wrong - albeit interesting - choice of transportation. Interesting in that I didn't expect to have the last four months of my life flash before my eyes today.

I think the worst part of it might have been not seeing it coming. You probably could have called what happened next from a mile away. You were always a little prescient about things. I figured it was just good instincts, or like those gut feelings Han Solo gets. You told me you got one of those feelings the first time I held your hand, but you never explained what that meant. I'm not sure you knew at the time, and sometimes I really wish you had.

I think the worst part of it might have been when the windows shattered. You never really think about how bad an idea it is to be surrounded by huge panes of glass until you're being pelted and punctured by the shards. I didn't hear myself cry out in pain, but whether it was because of the impact with the road or the airport tarmac-worthy decibel level, I'm not sure.

I think the worst part of it might have been when I started wondering if you'd seen the end coming the whole time. I think you had a glass of wine in your hand. I can't remember whether it was empty or full, but I do remember smelling the rest of the bottle on your breath. I always hated when you drank to ease your tension. I thought it was a sign of weakness, although I never told you that in such a direct manner.

I think the worst part of it might have been the empty, cackling screech of metal as the momentum of 65-mile-per-hour travel carried us sideways down the highway. It was like listening to you scream at me the first time we fought. I wanted so badly to study the asphalt, find some imperfections greater than my own, but I could already feel the sparks burning my neck.

I think the worst part of it might have been when it was going so well that I took it for granted. The priest sought to satisfy us both, the atheist and the Roman Catholic, and suggested "a civil union, and then we'll sprinkle in some Jesus." I remember you told me you couldn't be married by a man who treated your savior like a salad topping, and I remember that your insistence only made me laugh harder. I guess you weren't feeling prescient after that, or perhaps you just didn't like what your instincts were telling you.

I think the worst part of it might have been the impact. I had never once questioned my faith, but in that moment when the median first sent concrete-heavy tremors through the frame of the bus and up the back of my seat, I wondered whether this would be a good time to do so. I wondered if it would be worth it. I wondered if maybe a last-second conversion could send me to the afterlife, where I might wait for you at the gates, sitting cross-legged, my hopefully sad stare trained at the space between the wrought-iron spokes.

I think the worst part of it might have been the impact. It was like that pressurized feeling I'd had in my chest before, but now, 14 carats of white gold felt like the heaviest thing to ever drop into the palm of my hand. The reverberations hurried up my arm and devoured my sense of hearing, turning my brain into a rogue guitar string, and the only words I heard were "paperwork" and "sorry."

It was the impact. The worst part was definitely the impact.

Some Quick Links to entertain you for the upcoming weekend:

I posted a new issue of 50 to 1 last weekend, and if you haven't read it yet, I recommend it - some excellent pieces.

xTx kicks ass, as usual, in this untitled post.

Glen is having a giveaway! Go! Win things!

I just discovered Kerry's blog (thank you DJ) but damn...she's good.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Pharoahe Monch (feat. Jean Grae & Royce da 5'9"), Assassins

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Trust me, it's plenty "life affirming"

It's not consequences that scare me - finality never has - but the act itself, the idea of ranking one option above another, even for a moment. So here I sit, immobilized by inner conflict...

I just can't decide whether or not to eat this entire sleeve of Girl Scout cookies.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
The Dodos, Fools

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I don't know what this is.
I found it
And it seemed interesting
So I kept it.
Someday I might figure it out.

But I doubt it.
Too bad.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Fleet Foxes, Blue Ridge Mountains

Saturday, February 5, 2011

X as in...

Xanthic (adj) - yellowish in color
Xeric (adj) - dry or desert-like conditions; having very little moisture
Xenophobia (n) - fear or hatred toward foreigners, foreign countries, or anything else foreign

and what I no longer am,
just hands clasping
at air
and soft skin
airbrushed by aching fingers,
bloodied almost to purple,
a tinge of purpose,
whether or not we know it.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Yeasayer, Sunrise

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The modern kid

Rocco is a modern kid. He has been studying history for the greater part of his life so far, and fancies himself a more informed lad for it. His main areas of interest have been the era of the United Soviet Socialist Republic and the birth of the United States.

The USSR and all that it stood for frighten Rocco greatly, for he cannot understand how someone could run a country so poorly. Since he was born in the US, he naturally assumes that its chosen form of government is the best, and his readings on the genesis of said form of government make him unflinchingly proud.

Rocco has spent the last two summers traveling to weekly meetings where he and his friends pray and discuss how thankful they are that the US is not the USSR.

One time, one of Rocco's good friends told him a horrifying fact: that the president of the United States was trying to turn Rocco's beloved home country into the USSR. Rocco was crushed, but not surprised. The president was, of course, a member of the "commie party," as his grandfather always used to put it.

Every winter, Rocco and his friends refuse to attend "holiday parties" and vehemently agree with anyone who shouted, "Keep Christ in Christmas!" They never listen when someone tries to tell them that it "isn't a big deal" or that "nobody's trying to ruin the holiday." In fact, instead of listening, Rocco and his friends have discovered that it's much more fun to yell and scream and wave signs they made out of cardboard and magic markers.

While it would normally be an issue, it's okay that Rocco and his friends haven't learned to conduct civil, meaningful discourse yet, because they're still kids.

Rocco doesn't have all access to all the same sources of information his parents did when they were kids, so he tries to watch as much TV news as he can and be even better informed than his history studies have made him. All his heroes think the same way he does, and anytime one of them issues a warning about the president and his cronies, Rocco is sure to heed it without question.

One of Rocco's greatest hopes is that eventually, someone will come along and do the right thing: take the country back to its roots, and instill the brilliance of the founding fathers once again. "No more of this terrifying progressive nonsense," he and his friends scoff during one of their summer meetings.

Rocco thinks that someday, if he has kids, he will home school them, because he and his friends know that the liberal scourge of teachers is poisoning their minds.

While this sort of behavior usually raises concerns, the fact that Rocco hasn't learned to investigate claims and think for himself yet really isn't too big a deal, because he's still a kid.

Next week, Rocco will celebrate his birthday, and he's going to invite a bunch of his friends over to his house. He wonders how he will fit fifty-one candles on a single cake.

A shorter edition of quick links today:

Andrew Kaspereen lets us in on what he's feeling right now.

Peter Richter pairs a new poem with a fascinating painting by Brett Cody Rogers.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Masta Ace, Acknowledge

Monday, January 17, 2011

Not enough

With every dash of the pick,
          it swings to                    and lands fro

          devil's eye resting on
               the last place we've known as a home
          and the wires buckle
               to the sweet melody's broken tune

          swinging to                    and landing fro

          funny how one note
               can hold to curse our future work
          take beautiful music
               and make us dash the chords into fire

          bitter ashes fly.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Modest Mouse, Space Travel Is Boring

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stand still

If life was louder, maybe we'd be able to hear it when it tried to tell us things. Maybe it would send a message, cold and clear. Not that we'd listen, of course, because it's so much easier to mark the passage of time when we build our own landmarks.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Theory Hazit, I Just Wanna Go Home

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Where this is going

There's no telling
what guile it took
to park the Lone Ranger back in his saddle
and make it home whole;
no whistling of metal,
no galloping, grunting chase,
no blue-green haze of the sky glazing over,
final submission for half-lidded review.
Just crackle and glow
and peace,
loudly entered into the records
by the desert's finest,
proud remnants of how things should have stayed -
or that's what they'd have us believe -
torn back by the last dim notes,
ghastly, rhythm-less breezes that,
despite their discord,
will always resonate the loudest.
Acoustic-string tremors
humming beautiful violence in crude, gold ripples;
If you're listening for the effect,
sound waves couldn't be more heartbreaking.

Quick Links:

From last month's decomP, Sam Meizlish gives us a short poem stocked with phenomenal imagery.

Brian Long has been busy, initiating a 50-words per day project.

Continuing a trend of very good work, Anthony Kirchner takes us on a wandering journey.

Apparently I've been doing a terrible job of keeping up with Andrew Kaspereen's work - he's got a lot of new things on his blog.

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Bob Dylan, Song to Woody