Tuesday, May 31, 2011

may 31st, 2011 part 2

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I like to think I intimidated them, that they couldn’t get through the first section out of furious envy, that they’re bitter and jealous and can’t muster up the courage to dole out even a single compliment, a single piece of acknowledgment in any possible way.

I like to think my love and devotion to the art blinded them into childish figurines incapable of admitting that maybe my shit isn’t so bad, that maybe it’s actually good and has potential.

I’m not asking for a fucking medal, just input from those who claim to be writers.

My creative writing teacher at Santa Barbara City College never wrote back after I emailed him about my first book. He was the first person to ever play music for me as I wrote. He put on the song “Acknowledgment” by John Coltrane and gave us 10 minutes or so to write anything at all. For whatever reason I decided to write prose (for the record I want to say that I consider prose to be poetry, but I do not consider poetry to be prose… similar to the way that a square is a rectangle but a rectangle is not a square). Anyways, pretentious rants from a drunk man aside, I wrote a piece called “acknowledgment.” In desperate need of participation points (required to pass) I volunteered to read. I did so with a trembling voice and a shaky pair of hands. After finishing and most surely stumbling over a few words, I received nothing. No applause, no whispered words, nothing. Prior to this moment, it was standard practice for everyone to give a slight round of applause to the brave/arrogant willing student. I received silence and what felt like dozens and dozens of burning sets of eyes. Was it respect? Was it reactionary confusion and shock? Or was it disapproval? All I know is that since then I have published two books and currently feel my left hand closing against my will. Give in and allow a night off? Go fuck yourself.

My high school English teacher who inspired me in many ways allowed me access to his inner beast as well, years later that is. A complete lack of effort to communicate and brazen disinterest in reading or purchasing my books has left me baffled. Perhaps he fears my attitude and commitment. Perhaps he’s perplexed by my sudden ability and dedication to the combination of words. Perhaps he’s seen the years pass and justifies his teaching as being more important to society; hurling his own desires as a writer into the trunk of a car doused in gasoline. “Burn baby, burn,” he cackles.

There are more examples, more personal disappointments and more rejections from people claiming to be something they are not, but to continue would be superfluous. I’ll always be bitter so this only ignites the fire. But don’t take me for someone who loves to glorify the struggle. I simply prefer to write about what I know, how I feel, who I listen to and who I ignore.

If you’re scanning this piece for contradictions, I suggest you step the fuck back because it’s full of ‘em.

I’m no genius writer, I’m just willing to churn out more than the delusional sap who’s been told his words flow like caramel. His “craving” will soon subside as mine subtlety struts by unannounced. Notice the alliteration; how it’s significance can be argued for pointless hour upon hour, when all that matters is whether or not the sentence flows better as a result. Or maybe it’s just personal preference. Don’t discount that. Maybe every sentence Toni Morrison writes isn’t supposed to be analyzed to the bone. What’s wrong with intended personal significance that may not translate the exact same message to every brain? By making writing personal we can make it relatable in all kinds of new ways. Write what you know and the right ones will follow.

Life isn’t shit, it just favors the greedy. Help me find a detour.

may 31st, 2011


Dresses were thin, trousers were rolled up and sunburns escaped no one. Weekend monkeys hiccupped, holding bottles of rum as they waltzed alone under striped umbrellas. The sun nibbled on our shoulders like carnivorous dandruff. Sunscreen was applied. And applied. And applied again to bronze backs acting as non-stick surfaces.

It was summer and all of us knew it. Hell, three quarters of the town showed up. I don’t even like the beach, but the sunrise lifted me out of bed and it only felt natural to gather up the family and head West. It was a short drive, just one I seldom took. I liked being inside. I liked my records, my television and my silence (when it was granted, which was also seldom).

But today… today was different. Today the sun shone so aggressively while somehow remaining friendly. It shook me out my slumber and slammed me against the wall, only to then offer me an ice cold glass of cherry lemonade. How was I supposed to turn that down? It was cherry, my favorite.

So away we went, beach towels and sandals and innocent grins. Yet none of us knew why we were so excited, so childishly giddy. It didn’t really matter in the scheme of things, so none of us harped on the confusion for more than a moment. Had plans been made they were surely broken because as we tumbled out of the front door three neighbors in plain sight were doing the exact same thing. Wide-eyed and drooling behind stiff pairs of sunglasses. At least ours were stiff. None of us were beach nuts or surf junkies. We like being inside. We like the feel of shag carpet beneath our toes.

Not today though. Today our toes craved the sinking, grainy feeling of sand and not a word was spoken until I shifted the car into park. Unspoken, unanimous impulsion.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

may 21st, 2011

A new piece written with Erin Dillon.


There's only a thick,
sympathetic silence between us.

"A determined soul will always manage,"
states the silhouette.
I shake my head in tender agreement.
The pink image of a girl
smiles down from a summery beer ad.
Her searing green eyes
capture my focus.
A number of men try shifting her gaze
but it belongs to me.
I tighten my grip
and whisk her into the stairwell.

"I ain't felt so safe in a long time,"
whispers the delicate starlet.

In his failure the believer finds triumph.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 19th, 2011

This is a cover of the poem "slim killers" by Charles Bukowski from the book Mockingbird Wish Me Luck.

slim killers

four motherfuckers knock at my door
and I open it
I'm drunk and they're massive.
"Bunch of slim killers," I say.

they stroll in with arrogance,
naive machismo
demanding a ride
while pretending
to ask for one.

we pile in,
all of us stinky drunk.

"I write too," exclaims one of the faces.
"I write poetry, like you."
His moment of vulnerability
attempts to mask his vile indecision,
his stench of desired acceptance.

back at my place I remain king.
one by one they pass out
like terrified, clever possums.
heavy aspirations
mixed with inflated egos
lead to disappointing self-realizations,
involving drink intake
and not.

come morning,
when they awake to a blinding
and cruel hangover,
one sure to be nursed with sympathy,
they vomit in turn
and leave with whatever dignity
they're able to muster.

as fans of my work,
I feel indifferent.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

may 18th, 2011

remain frantic

I must remain frantic during these times, during these down times, these days and weeks and months that flirt with the glowing green sign hanging above the door which leads to new beginnings; I can’t quite make out the word and the answer hides like a song you cannot place, a melody so familiar yet infinitely far away. The inability to name the unreachable tune rips away at the protective layer of skin outside my brain like cockroaches on a dumpster sandwich.

I must remain frantic during these times, during these times when my age restricts success. As a writer I must remember the time required to pass before recognition remembers my name as we shake hands. I cannot watch fellow artists and friends attain early triumph and feel left behind. My name will be heard and my words will be shared and it’s not all going to happen one lucky morning. I’m not trying to write a hit single or cause the world to gasp in awe because those singles are forgotten and those gasps become new gasps which become exhales. I want a slew of guttural twists that span a lifetime and refuse to show mercy. Readers who love the written word search library shelves with a nervous pulse, “Oh come on, come on, I know you’ve got a whole mess of Weber. I know you bastards do. I saw five books by Fante and Miller had at least half a dozen. Shit, I saw two copies of ‘Tropic of Cancer’ in perfect library condition. Beaten vintage.”

I must remain anxious but cling to the waist of patience with clammy palms. I may always wish it was easier, but why should that feeling pose as unnatural? If given the ability to construct an individual utopia why involve struggle? Why involve hurdles and violence and failure and disappointment? Therefore, why should any of us reject the idea of possible perfection? In any realm? Life is abstract and strange and its purpose will be debated until the idea of purpose no longer holds meaning to any living entity. I believe in the idea of demanding it all. Why keep our ceiling within reasonable reach?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

may 4th, 2011


Talking heads on swivel sticks
yammer incessantly
into my bleeding ears
while I stare ahead,
nodding on cue
like those fucking tchotchke desk birds who drink water.
I am a trinket who serves no purpose,
waiting for someone to leave a window open
so I can fly into a nearby propeller.

I haven't been published in almost a year
and tonight I'm reminded of that fact.
I open another beer and write this angry poem
out of frustration,
out of malice towards contemporary literature
and the art I have chosen to pursue.

I love writing,
god I fucking love to write,
but the apologetic "thanks but not thanks" emails
have been laying eggs in my brain for a while now
and I think they're beginning to to hatch.
I hear the first one poking its legs through
like a smoke bomb seeping through a screen door.
I hear another--
and a few more--
and soon a colony has formed
and I'm banging my head against my wooden desk.

"I'll kill you all I SWEAR TO GOD I'LL KILL YOU ALL!"
I scream, waking up my neighbors who shout back,
"We're trying to sleep here, shut the fuck up asshole!"
"Ah, fuck you!" I holler back.

I start bashing my head with a frying pan,
pausing only slightly to finish the beer in hand
and regain sight.
"I'll kill every last one of you eight-legged freaks!"

I'm convinced they're scared,
hell I know they're scared.
Shaking in their tiny fucking boots I bet.
"I won't give up until you surrender
and crawl out of my ear waving tiny white flags!
Fuck your insincerity!
Fuck your half-assed template compliments!
Fuck your desire to print vanilla poetry!
I'll have my way,
one of these days.
I'll have my way and when I do--
I'll tilt my head over the garbage disposal
and shake all you bastards out into hell.
Go ahead and accept bland bullshit,
you're nothing more than colonies of insects."

Did I mention that I haven't been published in almost a year?