Tuesday, 31 December 2013

On the last day of 2013

I sent my sister back to Chicago, ate Taiwanese food, was correctly diagnosed as needing some coffee, had a beer in the oldest bar in Seattle, helped Rachel clean her old apartment, shook some drinks, poured some champagne, got paid, took a shower.

not in that order. all the blogging cleanup of 2013 and the subsequent looks forward happen by January 7th, or they get skipped this year.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

The Day After Christmas

the bus driver swerved
tailgated a truck with political
stickers all the way
from Everett

to somewhere called Newberry Court,
a small city nearly lease ready

while a Russian woman laughed
loudly at the girl who asked if she was German.
"Oh, svweethhchaart, I vish."

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Maintenance Update Eight Million and Three:

Concise and relevant updates with regards to readings and writings curated and designed or otherwise involving myself:
Thursday, December 12th, I read at Honey Moon Mead in Bellingham, Wa, with Marissa Dimick and Douglas Stranger. It was a great reading, warm crowd, nice venue and I enjoyed the other features as well.
Set: Our Favorite Radio Station/Love and breakfast/Rite Aid/Sleeps With the Fishes/Tool Breaks its Promise/New Danger Activities/Cavities/GRIFOLS/All Things Winged and Waiting

Speaking of "A Tool Breaks its Promise" was featured on Wa. State Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken's blog recently. Stoked.

Coming up: Rad Santa: A Night of Literary Holiday Catharsis. At Lotties. I think this marks my first crosspollination between my life as a bartender and life as an organizer. Milestones! Gusta will be coming down from Bellingham, Paul Nelson will be haiku-ing, Ela Barton will throwdown. . . plus more.

January 5th I'm opening for Kris Hall as he releases his new manuscript, Manuscript. Full of poems titled Poem.

January 19th I'm reading at a new event at Naked City Brewing called Squid Press: Books and Beats. Two readers, two beatmakers. Rose Mc Aleese is also reading. More info on that when it's not 4:15pm on a Wednesday, with a few brief hours to be a good holiday shopper. . .

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Crashing and Brackish (rough)

the town still flooded
                         tendons unspooled
across the arterials,
your arms, finally.

(in the manual,
we are the wires.
in the manual,
we are the charge.)

your legs deregulate
                        across from union station
and the armies of
neighboring cities
                       rally in mortar against
the grating.

(in the police report
we are the wires.
in the police report
we are the charge.)

hire a better crane
                          girders for monuments
rebar for rebar
and salt and Norway rats
                          running down the ropes.

I carry my entrails calmly,
though this is not how it was
supposed to go.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Split Schedule Informal Poll:

You work evenings. Not quite graveyard, but the earliest you're ever done with work is 11:30 p.m. Late ends around 3:15 a.m., though the general average for shift-finishing is 1:30 a.m., which is what it'll likely be tonight. You often take between one and three hours after getting off work to fall asleep. Today, due to a variety of forces, you got up at 8:30 a.m. (you didn't work last  night, so you got about 6 1/2 hours of fitfullish sleep) and now it is 1:45 p.m. and you're looking ahead to a night of work. You've achieved a couple of things you planned for the day, but there's a huge gap between the now and the then.
Soo do you:
--all answers are legally binding, btw--

A) Go home and nap; sleep all the sleep you didn't have until your alarm sounds and you have fifteen minutes to get to the train and work. Ignore bodily or mental impulses that try to wake you up, sublimate the already consumed caffeine and pull blankets and pillows over your head and squeeze your eyes tight, demanding every possible second of rest from the universe.

B) Power through. Another cup of coffee, dish doing, poem editing, service-provider-calling, information-gathering, eating, then, after that, work will seem less a daily grind than a remarkably decision-free zone where you can know for facts what your best uses of time are.

C) Start "The Idiot."

D) Wander around the general waterfront area and do a lot of gazing out upon it, toy with the idea of taking a ferry to Bremerton and back again, just in time for work. Backlog that on a list of things to do someday. (See also: King Street Station and a bus to Kent.)

E) A reasonable mix: go home, short nap, dishes, grab some groceries for the morning. Boring blog post, decent day.

F) If you do________________ much of _______________, you'll give yourself permission to ___________ before work. If not, WEEP!

G) What was that movie everyone was telling you about? You've got the time.

These are the things I talk to myself about on days like this.

Friday, 15 November 2013


I spoke too soon.
Now we'll se if she can work with other council members to improve the lot of the working class in Seattle, what differences she can make, and whether or not this has national influence.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

File Under Poetry and Sports:

Tonight I'm reading an article rather than poetry. It has been a long time since I read an article, aloud, to people. Maybe even a first?

Later, as in, December 12th, I'll be reading at Honeymoon, in Bellingham, with Marissa Dimmick. Still later, the 15th of December, I'll be performing somewhere in Greenwood at an unnamed venue with unnamed makers of beats and noise, for an unnamed event. Its that new.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

And the hopeful predictions ending with a "womp WOMP"

Well, she didn't win. Most of the things I was hoping to pass failed, but some of the things I dreaded passing also failed, and plucky little do-gooder Mike O'Brien retains his seat on the city council, despite Seattle Times' declaration that he was "too liberal" for the city. Anyway, was bummed yesterday and Tuesday, took half a sec to scroll through my semi-active Facebook, and after about forty minutes of rant-reading, have taken to looking forward. Murray is mayor, Conlin at least had to sweat for his seat, this is the reality, it is still rainy, I still have a job I don't hate, and I've just completed a move to as close to the middle of the city as I can afford. This is day two of typing from Cafe Vita Pioneer Square, which may easily become a second living room, for as long as I'm netless in my studio.

Monday, 4 November 2013

If she wins, I hope she just drops the mic and walks away.

I sat outside Rudy's barbershop and filled out my King County/City of Seattle ballot. I had a hard time mustering too much enthusiasm for many of the issues at hand, but did fill out the ballot (yes to food labeling, don't see what's so hard about that, no to anything that smacks of Eyman's NIMBY, aristocraticonservatism) and as informed of votes as possible regarding the specific candidates who'll be leading this pretty-good to greatish city into the future.

For mayor, I went with Mike McGinn. Sort of a devil-you-know approach, I suppose, as I was not impressed with his handling of Seattle's well-documented culture of police brutality. When the Feds tell you "yeah, you guys are too racist and violent," that's a fucking problem, and McGinn didn't seem to know what to do with it. That said, his opponent, Ed Murray, seems to be of the "OH MY GOSH THIS CITY IS SO DANGEROUS WE NEED TO HIRE MORE COPS ALL THE TIME .. . . but ah, no, they won't be the racist type. Trust me."
Frankly, one thing I'd like to see done on this issue (as a first, and not only) step would be to require that police officers who work in, and for, the City of Seattle, actually live there.
Or within a very close radius.
Plus, McGinn is really strong on issues like Transit, which is pretty close to my heart/ability to live and work in town.

The other interesting thing to watch has been how the Seattle Times has been outright campaigning for Murray; reason alone to distrust him. ST is as close to a republican rag as you can get in Seattle, and as it tends to service the greater Puget Sound area (you can get it as far north as Bellingham, no problem) it also caters quite a bit to Eastside interests and concerns. Which are not, in and of themselves evil, or wrong, but Bellevue is not Seattle. It has spent the last sixty years trying to play an image of both Northwest-hominess and incredible opulence. In the last twenty, it's asserted itself as a business center and constructed Washington State's second densest skyline (I think; Tacoma may give it a run), creating the sense of a City without the culture, vibrancy, or diversity*, and as such, shouldn't try to influence what Seattle does or wants. So the fact that Murray sometimes acts like he's running for the Mayor of Seattle Met, Meet Me in Kirkland For Martinis Later doesn't sit well with me.**

Also, I voted for Kshama Sawant. I'm not a socialist in any sort of large-scale way*** but we need a real lefty on the council. Someone who'll advocate for the poor and the working to big businesses, not the other way around. Someone who'll advocate for affordable housing in the quickest-rising rent (disproportionate to income, btw) in the nation. If she gets elected, will she be able to push all her talking points through? No. No one ever does. But I'm pretty stoked that I get to vote for a candidate I believe actually gives a shit about anyone making under $80,000 a year.

*This is changing. Bellevue in 2013 is different than it was, and it will continue to change, both due to abstract, inevitable forces of growth, and also because recently the Bellevue city council has been shaking the grip of some of it's most backwards-asshole influences.
** Ed Murray, if polls are to be believed, will probably win. I do not believe he'd be the unmitigated disaster that Bruce Harrell or Tim Burgess or Peter Steinbrueck would have, but I'd still have a bit of an "ugh."
***Though by any red-state standards, I'd probably be considered a Maoist. I think in the American Debate we've gone far enough to the right as of late that I'd like to see more unabashed Socialists coming out to pull this country's head out of its ass, and that can happen on a city level as well.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


So Shane Guthrie first appeared in my life when I was about 15, he a couple years older, as part of a teen writer's group. The first thing I heard of his was a poem that scanned both backwards. He had pieces that proposed a viewpoint one way, and an opposite viewpoint the other (Christian/Atheist being my favorite, natch). For the Filthy Jerry kickstarter, he demanded a forward/backwards piece from me. It's taken me this long to write it, with some false starts and scrapped efforts (I decided it didn't need to present opposing viewpoints, but should attempt some sort of sense) and I do some fiddling with the punctuation from one version to the next. But this is the first piece of this type I've completed.

Tasty! (maybe inspired by politics. Or not.)

Saintly ,again, disappearing into water.
Turning expectations, repasting billboards
All good deeds, all charity drives, all blessed returns.
Saintly, again, rewritten histories.
Bodies, bulldozers, cremations, buyoffs.
Pitchshifted. Rebeats. Chopped, screwed.
Again, Saintliness as moving goalposts.
Stories fit headlines. Splashed page full.
Halos glowing shinier, for flashbulbs.
Searching, a finished writeup, new review.
Again, bowing. Saved great act for last.
Last for act. Great. Saved, bowing again.
Review new writeup, finished a searching.
Flashbulbs for shinier glowing halos.
Full page splashed headlines fit stories.
Goalposts moving as Saintliness, again,
Screwed, chopped. Rebeats. Pitchshifted.
Buyoffs, cremations, bulldozers, bodies.
Histories rewritten again, Saintly.
Returns blessed all, drives charity all, deeds good all
Billboards repasting expectations, turning

Water into disappearing again, Saintly.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

When Whiskey Becomes Coffee--

or Five Useful Responses For The Navigation of Smallish Talk, a Follow Up.

When dealing with the sort of every day interactions I outlined in the last post, there are options. Say you don't want to stonewall someone, but because of circumstances, it's not appropriate or feasible to really get into it at the time (you're at work, they're at work, you're late for something, etc) there are still ways to avoid the bland sameness of "fineness." Here are five responses to the "how are you/what's new" querie that tend to kickstart a friendly banter, let people know you like and appreciate their presence, without rabbit trailing too much.

1) "Well, I'm on the right side of the ground. Everything else is gravy!" Grabbed this from crusty old dudes at the bar. It works better delivered by crusty old dudes, but even saying it as a half-joke has a weird way of re-enforcing a wider perspective.

2) "Kickin' ass and takin' names." This seems like a joke, but depending where you put the goalposts, this can always be true. Perhaps the kicking ass was winning the Lottery and the names you took were those who high-fived you afterwards. Or maybe it was getting out of bed and making coffee.

3) "Livin' the dream, man, livin' the dream." No matter who you're speaking to, it is always appropriate to refer to them as "man" when one is living the dream.

4) "Well, I'm at work, so you know. But, I have a job, so, hey." This is obviously most effective when you're actually at work.

5) "My family just died in a fire and I had to watch the Arsonists laughing eyes as I helplessly struggled against the flames. Nightly I hear his ruthless cackling and all around me seems confirmation that John Calvin was right; and endless hell of predestined torture awaits us all, and I am only futiley counting down the hours until the Bat King flies off with my soul into is torment-cave. But there's a new Italian place down the way and I hear they have a good happy hour. We should check it out."

Thursday, 24 October 2013

When Coffee Becomes Whiskey

and emotional entitlement in the name of sincerity.

There's a disturbing upward trend in the amount of espresso needed to be enthused about things. Function I can do just fine, but in work and relationships and finding new places to live and responding to the question "what's new?" ("increased hair loss!") there's a certain amount of enthusiasm that's wanted by the askers. Not just an "I'm-so-excited" sort of enthusiasm, but the more specific, emotionally subdued, but still intense sincerity of an answer. The sort of convincing that can deflect the follow up "are you REALLY fine" question, usually from old friends or people at the bar who especially pride themselves on being genuine and not phony.

and yes, sometimes you need a person to shake you out of auto-response, but the whole "people never say what they mean when you ask them how they are" meme, one passed down from generation to generation of sincere, artistic, caring people (who are just searching for SOME sort of human connection in this increasingly disconnected yar blargh ermpha hrmpha) fails to recognize a few basic things:
One is that sometimes people are actually fine. Not great, not awful, not particularly qualifiable, just, you know, alright. No one's died, no one's got a raise, the level of laid-getting remains steady as what it has been, the movie was decent.
Another is that if you are my friend and you trust me, after the first "wait, really? because you look sorta. . ." (which yes, annoying questions are a basic tenant of friendship) then respect the fact that, at the very least, I don't want to talk about it. And just as likely, I am telling the truth. If you think I am constantly lying about my emotional state at all times, then you have shitty taste in friends.
Aaannnnnnnnnnd, if you're a stranger, keep in mind that while every now and then an honest "you know, I've had a shitty day" is refreshing, you really want me to be fine. Or at least you don't want me to be all "Yeah, I'm not having a good day, but unless you're about to cut me a check for 200,000 and give me a full deep-tissue massage, there's not a goddamn thing you can do about it, kiddo."
It is important when dispatching ostensibly well meaning strangers that you call them "kiddo," especially if they're old and fought in a war.

All this relevants to the in-between-strangers-and-friends relationships that occur around moving, as I'm about to go do some paperwork on a spot I want to move into, and all the attendant lite schmooze that requires, and after four shots of espresso and an egg fried with spinach onto flattened bread, all I really want to do is take a swing.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

The Handover of former ventures

Is fully documented here, in an interview by Tom Mohrman at Wonder and Risk, where he talked at length with myself and Robert Kaye about life, poetry, evil, power, literature, and biscuits.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Dinosaur knows your time is up.

Monday was the last day of Works In Progress at the Richard Hugo House. Monday was the last day of official excuses for two slices and 1-3 cans of discount Hamms at Big Mario's in a contained time frame before heading over to the RHH. It was time to let Robert P Kaye make like Jesus, and take the wheel. Kris and Bryan and Arlo and a bunch of folks who'd not been in a while mobbed down and I had the trusty Dinosaur Protector to watch hungrily as the night went on. Afterward we all (including Rachel's younger bro and his gf) went to the Cha Cha, Kris got enthused about Lords of the New Church and I got enthused about Mudhoney, respectively, as they drowned out conversation.
Dinosaur watches Steve Shue read from his laptop.

Previously, Sunday night, I hopped a bus to Capitol Hill (ALWAYS WITH THE CAPITOL HILL) and shared a laptop (and some Roses Bourbon) with Chelsea K, who hosts The Casserole, an online reading series (which I explained just one post ago.) I read to the forced silence of Ethan and Rachel E, while Emily Wittenhagen beamed in from Roslyn. I read some new poems, some reworked old poems and a handful of less-frequently read poems from FJGTPL. After she reads, we talk about Aliens, and Owls, and some vague things about forms of writing. Watch it below.

Tonight I am going to work, in about an hour and a half, after a day of largely editing/advising on other people's poetry. This is work I usually get paid for, but sometimes doing it completely for free feels more liberating. . .? That was a dumb sentence I just typed, but I'm leaving it there, because I meant it.

I'll leave you with the following: a list of bars poets can, or should, drink at, in case you'd not seen that before, and this post from Leigh Bell, who writes on artistic self-care in way that neither makes me want to puke, nor makes me suspect she's selling something. She's able to overcome the initial eye-roll I have at "The Artist's Way," to address issues that tend to be either pushed aside or can be overcome if you come to this new writer's retreat and conference and send away for a series of tapes. . . .
It's a relatively quick read for a fairly in-depth thought process, which is something she's pretty good at, as you'll see if you take on her prior posts.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

"I now understand panic attacks as a bitter struggle between myself and the homunculus."--B.E.

Tonight I'm reading with Emily Wittenhagen on the Google Hangout reading series The Casserole, hosted by Chelsea Kurnick, whose been running this reading from her Cap Hill apartment for several months (a year?) with an impressive consistency and range of readers.
Pretty stoked to be reading. You can find it on Google Hangouts, or http://www.youtube.com/users/thecasserolereading, if you can't see it live, it'll be up there. I'm currently eating Cheezits, printing out poems and listening to Bryan Edenfield talk about fighting his homunculus. Here's a few good ones from recent months:

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Geo Concerns

They're building a crater
in the lot behind the bank
concrete gives way to clay,

unexpected tidepools.
someday, hundreds of people
will stack on this pit,

shopping and eating new ripe fruit.
jagged edges waiting
under below grade parking

for the big one.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Interview!

In all it's rambling glory: Here's that Interview with Paul Nelson. I'd take a second pass at a few of the more complex questions of faith and politics, but there ya go.

In specifics, w/regards to Bradley/Chelsea Manning (this was prior to the announcement, the interview) what I was trying to get at had more to do with the inequities in punishments for different types of crimes; I don't believe Manning is a traitor, but I'd admit I've not followed the case closely enough (nor do I know enough about Military Intelligence and procedures for reporting abuse) to wholeheartedly get on a Free Manning kick.
There's too much going on there.

Anyway, I was stoked to do the interview, which will be released to the world in a serialized five piece format.

Other news, last night's Claustrophobia went well, Raanan was a gracious host and good reader. There'll be stuff about that up at www.cozytownfrolics.wordpress.com soon.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Postcard View Dailies (draft)

This is what I read last night at Da'Daedal X in Everett. This is an initial stage, a bunch will change. Feel free to pop off with suggestions, love, or haterade.

to work. To walk. To work. To walk to work.
Seventeen if I saunter, five if I run.
on the way, deconstructions:
neighborhood, city, country,

as if my pen would floatme above, ride a crane into new calamitous conclusions,
let me become the judgement I sit in, the crash I swing toward..
But better writers have tried to strike out against the gentrification that their
own romanticizing kicked into gear; spur, stronger activists, more upstanding pastors, etcetera.
I take streets that get me there quickest
and undetected, unreconstructed, unspied,
so I can grab the shakers slap my face into public form.

Kris tells me I have more Face than any other bartender he knows personally. The thick mask of unflappability. The workface.  Is this is a fakeness?  If I were a hunter, I’d become the bear. If I were a fisherman, I’d become the plankton. If I were an excorcist, I’d become the little girl.  If I walk too much, or not enough, my legs become
spokes. Shaking drinks and staring buildings and marking time, I become the salt on the rim,
the laugh at the jokes. My face sags and limbs crawl to a warning spot. Kris tells me that I didn’t recognize him when he showed up, that I and all my returns came back in manila envelopes, unmarked.

To past work. To memorial.
The postcards take three weeks,
two days on express,
Over the oceans where I became the Shark. Through the tubes where I became the
cracks, not recognizing the water leaking, the water, the water,
the darling struck soaked like standing by puddles meeting bikewheels.
To home, from work. To home. To back,
lets say we can’t call it a home, lets say
it’s a place where I sleep and cook eggs
and masturbate with the door closed
and window open because it doesn’t face anything.

Takes longer, to get there, get home
after work, after the face, after betraying
endless friends with professional nods,
 through the collapsing buildings and the deep built
pits, where the dog care was.

Now all the dogs are filthy and barking up park trees.
Now I no longer cut through the park,
Now I no longer think about meanings
Of signs with cartoon bycicles.
Every  3 a.m. couchflop a victory and surrender.
On leaving, Greg decided it was important we eat hilarious chips, almost blow ourselves up, hear some old Nick Cave songs. It was important. We talked about buildings in cities we will never live again and the holding belief people have that their friends will all one day live on the same block as them.,, and we didn’t dwell on leaving at all, as he walked back through a neighborhood, the same one, but through different eyes, when was the last time I made it to boston, street-statue performers and all, and I gravitate myself away from thinking too hard about the number of things that are ending in a promise of postcards.
Two weeks, three, a pit of faces. I become the mailman’s papercuts.

Friday, 23 August 2013

"are we all children of Roethke?"

Wednesday morning I had the honor of sitting across the table from Paul Nelson, who held a recorder and asked me questions about Filthy Jerry, faith, empire, and poetic form. It'll be up in about a week or so, and we'll see just how badly I butchered my thoughts on complex issues like the State of the Nation, my Personal Faith Journey and Poetry.
Nonetheless it was a good conversation, but I'm never quite confident in my ability to not come off like a jackass in these situations.

 Riding a bus north to Bellingham, where I'll say goodbye to David Ney who moves to Brooklyn. Oh hey, just passed through Everett, where monday's Da'Daedal will occur and I swear I'll have a new thing written for it. I swear.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

A Weird Thing to Do to Your Brain:

Is fall asleep at 4am, wake up at 8:30am, head for breakfast with girlfriend and out-of-town visitor, load up on coffee and mimosas, come back to your place and fall asleep while this movie plays:

I'm not sure what was part of the movie and what parts my brain added, but truth is probably stranger than fiction.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Recap: PZS, PPS, Max ridin'

This weekend I bused south to Portland, Oregon to help Bryan table at the Portland Zine Symposium. He, I, and Rachel took turns browsing, explaining what a Babel/salvage is and trying to not spend all our money on art and zines. Though not trying that hard. I've got a nice little shelf's worth of art, politics, comics, and poetry zines I'll be working my way through over the next few weeks.
One of the recurring things you hear as a tabler is as follows:
"Oh wow, this is really cool. I mean, really cool. I don't have any money on me, though, will you be here tomorrow?"
Still, B/S was able to spread the good word through a few trades, card hand-offs, and even a purchase here and there.

I also featured at the Portland Poetry Slam at Backspace Coffee right in down/old town Portland. It's a great reading, energetic room, and the all-ages factor gives an urgency and life to the proceedings that helps the time pass quickly. That said, I felt a bit ambivalent about my own performance; I feel I've definitely done better readings for matching the mood/emotions of the crowd and connecting with folks.
Set: filthy jerry gets paid/ sharis parking lot/ little fear of drowning/ GRIFOLS-Biomat parking lot/ northward/ charity pledge drive/ foxes of bainbridge/ story problem.
Part of the issue, I think lies with the fact that both 'gets paid' and 'sharis' actually read a bit better in my head than they do on stage. About halfway through either of them I've already collected half a page of self notes on how to tighten them/perform them better. Leads to an editing-on-the-fly sitch that probably would have been better not to, you know, start with.
Still, the crowd was generous, talked to some folks afterwards, saw old friends, and caught a bus with Rachel back to NEPO, where the bar was closed but the pizza place was open. The time not at PZS or the Slam is documented below:

One thing I find interesting when I'm in Portland is the constant overhearing of Cliche Conversations about Portland.
"Yeah, like, coming from L.A. I expected it to be way smaller, actually. But it's pretty big. . . but not that big. Like, it's a town that pretends to be a city."

Yeah, take a swig every time you hear one of those and you'll be drunk in ten minutes. But PDX actually strikes me as the opposite: it's a Big City (in general, american terms) that pretends to be a town, not the other way around. The gardens, the farmers markets, the single family homes and general lack of tall buildings outside of Downtown and the Rose Quarter give it a towny feel. But the infrastructure, the neighborhood-focused walkability, the mass transit, these are all city ammenities, but dressed down. How long that dressing down remains, who's to see. But Portland feels like a town, works like a city.

Seattle, on the other hand, has many ways in which it's a (huge) town still growing into it's practical cityhood; we're behind on transit and infrastructure, which is one of greatest indicators (in my mind) of urban living. That said, there's more of an outward-looking mindset in Seattle, where as Portland seems to be more localized, to both its benefit and detriment.

I write this on a bus, and have just entered Centralia.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Soft Limits

“Okay, what the HELL?”
He jumped backwards, knocked the knife out of her hand. “I gotta go. Call you later.”
Crunching through leaves to his apartment, he held his bloodied arm, kneaded his
windpipe, reflecting that the smartest thing he’d learned those months in Corvallis was
that there comes a time where it is neither fun, nor sexy, and knowing when to say so.

It was a tepid autumn and his ears itched and scratched up shoulders chafed against
his sweater and he decided to call her back; he was a romantic at heart and all the renewed
tensions between the U.S. and Russia had him cataloguing the best spots to lie naked, bruised,
to watch ash hit the clouds with force.

This is a riff on a couple of pieces I wrote in high school (!) that for whatever reason, sauntered into my head today. The original piece was a bait and switch (I wrote a lot of those for a while) and the "what the HELL" signaled the switch. there's a oblique reference  to "Time to Destroy" in the last lines, but I fear it'll never be as awesome without lines like "I know that you like it when my troops are deployed. . . "

Friday, 2 August 2013

Artist CV

Did some stuff. wrote some things. got other people to do stuff in co-operation. let me come over and read for you. that sort of thing.

self promotion comes too easy for some, not enough for others. i feel like i've got both those people in me, fighting for control; days and weeks of self deprecation followed by shotgun blasts of "getting myself out there." slowly gaining balance.

in trying to get my shit together pro-style, I found this video, which I dunno if I posted here before, but I'm posting now. It's one of my favorite performances I've done, of the piece "Foxes of Bainbridge."

Feel free, obviously, to repost this video, or blog post, so that if nothing else, it's easier to find something I wrote and performed within the last three years.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Sometimes the full link is prettier. Like a half-eaten train.

So, let's be generous with our linkage. I recently got four of my pieces posted up at Wonder And Risk:

I really like what that they're doing over at WAR; bridging coverage of comedy, performance art, poetry, indie sports (pencil fighting? bike polo? what-have-you. there's a "poetry and sports" section), and theatre in a way that makes a lot of intuitive sense, but doesn't get done that often. at least not around here.

Also! Stoked to have received a Director's Scholarship to this year's Litfuse: http://www.litfuse.us/
Now I just have to figure out how to get there, where to stay in Tieton, stuff like that.

Likewise, in case you missed it, you can still listen to an interview that Steve Barker did with Bryan Edenfield and I at OM: http://ordinarymadness.org/?p=442
We were fascinating.

And as always, support Babel Salvage or buy Filthy Jerry's Guide to Parking Lots here: http://babelsalvage.com/

Friday, 26 July 2013

Sorry, Kanye

. . . but like always, yours won't be my favorite rap record of the year.


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Now Closing: Othello

So recently, one of my favorite southend joints closed. It wasn't a perfect spot, but the owner was sweet, staff was friendly, food and coffee was good, and it was nice to get out of Columbia City now and again.
This was a fairly new place, so we aren't talking about the too-familiar "pillar of South End Community closes due to the greed of (_______)" scenario, but what we are seeing seems to be a bit of shortsightedness on the part of landlords who, for the last year have been using the presence of Deo Valente as a selling point.

The official website for The Station at Othello Park no longer lists Deo as a client, but the ads above (often with a photo of Deo's signage) are still all over the train.

So what's there now? Nothing. A much-anticipated mexican restaurant will be re-opening there, but with the lengths of the buildout, I'd be surprised if they last. There's a teriyaki joint on ground floor and then a few more empty spots. Retail for Lease signs. Bring on the graffiti and broken windows soon.
I don't know the specifics of the financial situation of the landlords or Deo (and honestly, if they do re-open in Othello, a smaller space might suit them both on a renting and atmosphere-creating end) so I'm not going to howl about this; there's enough in the world to be addressing these days. But it's a little sour to me that 1) Luxury Apartments in Othello Neighborhood (period, for a few reasons) and 2) The Station continues to use the little cafe that it evicted as advertising leverage to attract people to a "vibrant" and "cute" area. Hrmm.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

See: The Way Things Start and End on Time.

See: Long Breakfast Coming
Sometime Sunday morning, afternoon, actually, the day after the final Greenwood Lit Crawl, eating a veggie breakfast burrito at a favorite Columbia City brunch spot, an hour and a half before working a crazy shift where I had to use both elbows to get through crowds of dancers (without spilling beer), on a recap-tip with Rachel, I still swam with half-thoughts and images. I thought about the writers group I started attending in Jr. High and loved, then grew completely frustrated with by the time I was 19; there was no exit point. I thought about getting kicked out of the UK about six months (at least) too soon and trying to scramble to put things in place so the stuff I started there would work. I thought about how I'd loved Bellingham, Washington, in November 2005, how I'd have not moved to stop a fullscale demolition in May of 2007.

See: Not to be Confused With a Swedish Rock Band
I was recapping the story of how Basement Poetry ended-- a 67 year old one-handed veteran reading an epic narrative about his father to about 20 people, four cop cars, three separate noise-violation tickets of $250-- to Rachel, who'd either not heard it, or felt I needed to feel like I was telling a new story. Either way, a once-storied thing I'd put together (not coincidentally, with two other friends, over beer) I'd apparently not even mentioned to my girlfriend. Buried? Blurred? (ask her, however, if she wants to hear about The Crunch again. . .)

See: Everything I do, I do for Love and a Suffocating Sense of Obligation.
There is no online recording of Lobster Manor, the Poem that,had I written later in my writing career/education, would have probably taken on a greater element of word collage. I was palpably bitter because I was twenty six and had enough fucked shit going on personally that I could afford to spread it around, and because me, Jake, Ryler had to live in that house for a year after the tickets, could barely even have people over ("If this happens again, you'll probably get evicted") and I, at least, had folks I barely knew coming up to me and guilting me for not risking my house and prosecution in order to keep having shows and readings. . .you know, FOR THE SCENE.

See: Getting to the Nostalgia At Hand
One year ago Saturday, we had the first Five Alarms Lit Crawl. Below you can watch my rambling, overexplanatory introduction and Eva Suter's set, which kicked off the whole shebang. You can also remember that sometimes I don't have a beard, and then there's my hair, solidly at the middle point between "terrible" and "decent" grahamhair.

I, Aaron, and Greg got better and briefer with the intros. Saw some fantastic readings, some readers stepping in at clutch time to fill a void and knocking it outta the part (larry, jesse, kris, erin), got love in the local press, love from our friends and got to know a lot of awesome folks that we'd not beforehand. I tend to think that curating is a delicate balance between sacrifice and selfishness; when you have respected writers getting on a mic and saying "This is one of the best/my favorite literary event series. . ."
well that may not be the reason you started (because that is a bad reason to expend so much effort) but it can help you keep going (perpetual motion machine. maybe we can top ourselves)
I think next to starting The Crunch, Five Alarms has been my consistent favorite curation experience. Merging the fun (drinking! crawling! socializing!) with a commitment to quality and challenging work (that line betwen crowd-accessible and experimental and confrontational) both nailed my personal aesthetic and helped to expand it. The energy, shifting vibe-- the crawls all had basic ingredients in common, but no two had the same atmosphere around them. This was huge for me.
For comprehensive video, photos, check out www.fivealarms.wordpress.com.
I was going to have a mini list of my own personal favorite moments, but that would be some saccharine bullshit.

See: All Good Things
So if you clicked his name, you know Greg is going to Cambodia. If you've talked to any of us in person, you know we somewhat arbitrarily set out to do 5, and that you are welcome to pick our brains if you want to pick up where we left off. There've been more than a few "Why are you stopping?" queries, but they've generally been unloaded; no guilt, no guff. Partly because I think it can actually be harder to stop a reading when it's struggling; it feels like a defeat, like no one will step up. I have no question that we would have gotten to that point if we'd tried to drag it on; there were many writers I'd have loved to see at a crawl, but you know what? I'm pretty sure the scene can take care of itself. There was a sense in the conversations I heard and was a part of that this can be a start, or a link, in Seattle's ongoing literary metamorphosis.
Ending like I started: On a personal note it's been so. good. for me to be involved in something that ended at the right moment.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Fast Music For Heavy Fingers or Six Months in a Half Hour

or what happens when we commit to communication

1. Internet Presence/ts.
I just dug through a nearly disused e-mail account to to find a password for a social media network I haven't used in four years. I didn't. Find it. So I had to sign into the New, Improved Version of a site that just won't go away (you know which I'm talking about. it's switched its focus to "music" lately and seems like an unholy marriage of Linkedin and Google Plus any more) and that gave me to the wills of nostalgia and more than a few names I'd forgotten exist. Profiles that haven't been updated and therefore remain locked.
You know, though? After about three minutes it wasn't much hard to click delete on that.

More challenging is/was/will be the 8 years worth of Livejournal. no linking. you'll have to work for that if you want to find all the bouts of self pity, the odd misdirected misogyny, half hearted apologies, and lite-artist-as-a-young-dogisms that simply saying "livejournal" to anyone of A Certain Age implies. Making this whole paragraph redundant.

2. I have acquired another birthday.
You know what I always think I'm going to do? Write some sort of State of the Union*, some three paragraph synopses of the Ats that Here's Where I. This is silly. Not because I never do, or because no one cares (you clicked this link, so I assume you care.) but because I hold off on ALL OTHER CONTENT until I've posted the Big Update. Which is why three updates in June, none in July, a dwindling amount of content even with more to write.
Basically, when people write "I've turned _____ and I FEEL SO OLD" it sounds like a hack's game, someone throwing themselves into a mindset because they think they should. But I also get that it's not always the case that 32 feels just like 31 feels just like 26. Things change, good and bad.** But I'll give you a few more years before you have to endure some smotheringly smug "Getting Older is Getting BETTER!" blog about how spiritually rewarding it is to purchase couches.

3. Seattle is a sentence.
I have not quite lived back in Seattle as long as I lived in Bellingham, but I have lived in Seattle longer than I did in Swansea, and longer than I'd planned/hoped on initial return. This isn't some sort of broken-plans post,  I wasn't sure what I wanted from my hometown as an independent entity, so the result tends to be half boxing match, half dance. A frequent frustration being that much of the work of a grad program in a creative field is making connections. . . which are 8,000 miles away. Ba dum ching. So a sense of starting over that leaves me feel like Now, after an event or two, I feel solidly part of the Seattle lit community. It's a good community, usually. Now that I've done that work, do I want to . . . oh, who knows.
This ambivalence is fairly well amplified by reading through old blog entries from both those previous towns.

4. I quit my job at the Loft.
For three and a half years, I worked at North Seattle Community College tutoring English and Writing to ELL students, immigrants, exchange students, folks returning to school after fifteen years in professions that shut down during the recession. Arguably, this was the most rewarding, edifying ongoing*** job I've held to date. Obviously there were days it felt like work, or I didn't want to be there, but there was never a sense of futility. My co-workers were all engaged, considerate, often artistic folks and whatnot.
However, thanks to the repu-  state budget crisis, there's a spending cap, meaning no raise, no additional hours. Two-three hours round trip for short shifts became the sort of diminishing returns that I couldn't idealize away any more. I quit on good terms and have already felt healthier for having a consistent sleep schedule.

5. Now I work at a bar.
It's a good bar. The amusing nightmares of past bars can go ahead and remain in the past. When people say "I bet that gives you a lot of material!" the answer is "Sure, but only for the first year. Then it's a job-- you writing a story about data management?"
I like my co-workers, it's close to my house, I make close to three times as much per hour as I did helping newcomers to the country learn the language.

6. Rachel and I are still very much a thing, but are not engaged or married or living together or whatever your conceived "next step" is 
You are reading this most likely because you clicked on a link from another site. Believe me, you'd know if something big, good or bad, happened that way. Because internet.

7. I am slowly cutting down the number of literary events for which I am responsible.
Because I'd like to write my own things again, from time to time. A longer post on this balance may be forthcoming, but that's the sort of thinking that got us to this long, list based post in the first place. Never say Probably. Now I will take a bus to West Seattle, which is and is not the same place at all.

*by which I mean Graham. The UNION FOREVER!
**More specific and illuminating insights can be found in the self-help book aforementioned blog post nets me a deal for. Did you also know that change is sometimes hard, but often worth it?
*** So not including one-night gigs reading poetry, or the time I got paid by Southbank Centre to take pics of graffiti and send them to London, where they got made into postcards.****
****Yes, that was a brag. I still think that was pretty cool.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Slam Recap

For well on eight years, I've been a sort of tangential member of Seattle's Poetry Slam community;  slamming occasionally, meeting people in other spoken word contexts-- Poetry Night, Breadline, Cheap Wine and Poetry-- hanging out as my friends -- Ryler, Lohafer, Lashley-- feature at the Slam and so on. Reading at the open mic. Never being a weekly, but feeling a bit odd if I went too long without popping my head in. Consistently, every few years, having this idea that this would be the year I really polish up my set and start competing. Make a name.

Well, that hasn't happened; the urge never takes hold strong enough, and the longer it goes the less I write competitive poetry; I haven't ever truly written "slam" poetry, but I used to more regularly write performative pieces that could, theoretically compete. These days, while I believe myself to be a better performer than I used to be-- more controlled, more range-- I write less and less to performance, more and more to page or internal rhythms.
So it was not without some trepidation that I featured at the Seattle Poetry Slam last night; for me it felt both like a long time coming and a bit out of left field (despite the fact that yes, I had brooched the subject with them.) I did the following setlist: foxes of bainbridge/seeker friendly/story problem/rite aid/charity pledge drive/ambition is critical/love and breakfast/rules for riding the king county metro.
I felt good; got some good feedback. The crowd was small, but a few good friends-- Kris Hall, Bryan E, Chelsea Rose, Karen K, Adam showed up and that helped it feel like a party. As did the shots of fireball afterward. I need to cut that from my diet, or just stock up on ibruprofen and red beers.

Ambition still feels like home when performing it, and King County Metro remains an effective set ender. All in all I was stoked to read.

Yeah, no big revelations there. But trying to blog again.

Monday, 3 June 2013

"Does no one else notice the way you disappear whenever you go to the bathroom? I do, dude, YOU TOTALLY DO THAT AND I NOTICE."-Kris

Myself and Kris Hall are The Collectibles. A, erm, "troupe" consisting of two writer/performer/drinkers. This was our first show. We read inbetween a chilean sound poet and a darkwave/synthpop band. Thanks to Bemster for the video.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

#30: The Drinks We Aren't Buying

Who knocked
the water tumbler?

It was all goldfish out the doors into the spring wind,
all flakes again in difficult lazy mornings.

Let me nod, or sigh, or grin
whichever keeps you most company.
Let me refill and refill and one too many
and cut you off. No one is ever cut off
at just the right moment.

Who is



Let me ride with you in the passenger seat
until I have to drive, let me leave the flask
at home.
I know you have enough for the both of us.

Monday, 29 April 2013

#29: Merman

There is no use for tenacles on a community college campus. The muscles for walking and muscles for swimming are unique to their elements and suction only goes too far. The day I sprouted four had also been the day I donned my three piece suit for an interview with the dean about possible improvements to the enrollment structure. I couldn't walk anywhere, just flail at passing students, three of whom thought they were doing a favor when they tossed me in the campus fountain, just starting to fill for spring.
But my lungs hadn't gone fishy, my skin wasn't scales, my thirst remained untouched. Obviously, I missed the meeting and my suit was ruined. There'd be no promotion in my future, no raise, no commendations or plaques. Some people started crumbling up crackers and dropping them on my face as the suit tore and night fell and it inevitably started to rain. That was so stupid. Crackers are for goldfish, get it right, I yelled, shocked at the pride I had in my new traits. I tried to dial my phone, but it was ruined, tried to beat people away, but even with flailing I wasn't too good. These were brand new and I didn't know how to use them yet.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

#27 & 28: Problematic Ally/Problematic/Problems.

Because I can only sustain the anger indefinitely
after a few whiskies, and
that's such a cowboy thing to drink,
and the anger gets indiscriminatory,
criticisms unconstructive,
the swears start flowing ripe
and even sober
I'll always think 99 problems
is a pretty good song.

* * *
I did not want to get gin-shitty
at the family restaurant
on a sunday afternoon
and flirt then apologize
then flirt
with the bartender

but there are no proper bars near
this train station, I have seen all the movies
and I'm terrified what would happen
if I went home and got online.

* * *
Tamales. Across the street.
I want one, but am so full.

The Special Session is in special session,
a little more time to fix the state's problems,
and I will not watch The Wire, despite
my second of two housemates' insistence
because who has the time

when the other stuff I want is mainly
to be twenty pounds lighter,
a couple grand richer
and trains
to anywhere in the city.

Friday, 26 April 2013

#24 is in the back of a notebook, at the bottom of a bag. #25 didn't happen. #26: There Is No Right To Privacy in this System

each click,
full stop.

each name, number, initial, monetary amount.

now we are being completely honest. now we are being truly vulnerable.
now we are returned to sender. now we are pinging back. now we
are the thought in the lobe, traveling to the other side of the mind
via brain rail. no we are a flat bed truck carrying fruits and jewelry
open to the wind and pickpocketing monkeys. now we are the swimming
pool for everyone to dive into.

each angry tap,
each key,
each address change,
each medical condition,
real or imagined,
and you just clicked okay.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

#23: A Clean, Well Lit Place

After the takeover I felt far less hostile,
arranged my goldfish by seniority
along the edges of the windowsill,
sprung for the gourmet fish flakes.

Put on a soothing Whale Songs ep,
and cracked every single one of
my toes. To win, I'll begin my memoir--
tomorrow-- requires a certain clenching

of one's balls. Tough, when one has
Balls of Steel, but that brings me to my

Second Magnificent Feature: ingenuity.
These words came to me in the bath

the day before the Swordfish Scandal
and the leverage it provided the company,
I'd always been a company man. It is
a cold swing in a dark golf course what happened next

--let's just say there weren't many stops for
tea and it took all eight of my magnificent features
not to cave at the inquiry, not to drown in Drug River
and not to show mercy when The Office At the End

became the Hall of Swords. In retrospect,
maybe the Purge of Fire wasn't entirely necessary
and the tension in my elbows seems to be permanent.
This room is quiet, but I need my music to drown

the sort of bubbling gasps I keep on hearing.
Still, now, I have plenty of time to write
and even the mistresses are terrified to enter
so I hope someone buys this book.

Monday, 22 April 2013

#22: A Stenographer Describes A Witness Using Only The Margins of Her Freshman Composition Notebook

Hammered out of sleep or lack
Hammered out of tire gravel
Hammered out of sprained ribs
Hammered out of new cartoons

Struck from the record for insolence
Struck from the record for rambling
Struck from the record for irrelevance
Struck from the record for pomposity

Worn and drawn from smokey oak
Worn and drawn from his father's cloth
Worn and drawn from coughed jokes
Worn and drawn from catastrophe waffles

Recorded for posterity
Recorded for tweny bucks an hour
Recorded for an archivist's morning
Recorded for fun

Sliding out of the stand like a snake toward an apple
Sliding out of the stand like brick upon oiled brick
Sliding out of the stand for lack of coordination
Sliding out of the stand like dissipating clouds
puffed through all this woodwork, dissappearing up
his own words, freefalling, freefalalalalaing, this
won't be the last he sees a courtroom door.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

#20: No Room For Interpretive Dance


(a man on a train, filling a crossword)


(there are no such things as hot noise band chicks.)

(they prefer to be known as burlesque dancers)





Friday, 19 April 2013

#19: New Danger Activities

When I wake up four hours later,
two hours earlier,
they've caught the bomber,
shot another, and east coasters are once again
let outside.

In Texas, they aren't sure who's fault
it is, "complicated" gets slapped around
like a hockey puck.

in the four hours without
wiring, I stared at the pulled
shades of an airplane
as sudden altitude drops
sent fingers to armrests,
flight attendant's spread-on smiles
clicked into place.

I swear the lights went out at
least once, but maybe I was dreaming.

Three days ago, eating a style-of-pizza
in it's city of origin, I was more worried
about waking up in a shooting gallery,
oversleeping a stop, losing my girlfriend
in the snakes and ladders of looped buildings
or being frozen in place by sudden blasts of snow.

At Least They Got The Guy, the new headline,
makes sense, I'll take it, what else can I?
put my life's temporary
break in a nostalgia file for later,
get back on the checks that need writing, the grins.

At some point in all of this
I failed conciousness duties by relying soley
on print media,

five days ago, getting packed, wondering what the trip would do to me.
how the bits and pieces alter, the imprints of place grow new chunks
of muscle. the where to goes.
running was the least of my concerns.

I've been writing throughout my trip to Chicago, but it's all handwritten and will take a few to get posted up here. 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

#14: Mean Grill. #15: Pilsen Day One

meangrill fried-- monster breath intakes-- train squeals-- sobs-- red curtains green-- candles-- old hugs-- loud joke-- glasses-- tired hotdog-- kale jokes now-- wise beards bristle-- pinot shakes-- bartender metal-- we-- return-- don't laugh-- green-- last-- mill-- poem-- we remember-- wide mirrors-- divided by street-- we arrive-- use as segue-- we started-- nothing-- put-- in a trap-- dumb song loud-- trap set what?-- the the the-- new old new-- stools stacked jazz-- a trinity-- we-- fried bits of liquor-- who? -- wordswordswordswordswords

Pilsen Day One The three mannequins forming an alternate
internal skyline.
the one with blue hair, no pants,
one with
rainbow tits, no head,
one with a
monkey head, offsetting serious architecture.
Speakers. Bookshelves. Gloved marimba.

A German Shepherd bounds
down outdoor stairs.
We talk and talk and talk
and get tacos. That fall
all over our clothes.

After the library, a line at the triangle light.
Harrison Ford is filming a chase scene.
No one can cross.

Crooked crooked sidewalk cracks.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

#13: Morning You Leave Drinking Game

Mind Spiders. Trotskyism in the third degree, as experienced by those still learning to read. Cold coffee.

Anticipating illness like crazy, like being crazy, like not knowing whether you'll need headphones. We must always be entertained.

A history of labor to bear up on shoulders you fly with. Wings. Which books should I take? That one requires shots.

The way that doing dishes suddenly becomes very important in the face of unpacked pants.
The way that replying to an e-mail from weeks ago is now a priority.

Perhaps this is the week of the friend cull. A history you have a week to experience.
A week to make history.

Perhaps just a few sips of beer for that. And for every time you wonder aloud just how much reading you'll do on this trip, you hate the thought of going somewhere unbooked, but how much do you do at home? Aren't you leaving because it's supposed to be more interesting?

Security check passport rigamarole.

Friday, 12 April 2013

#10 Didn't happen, ironically, because I was reading poetry to people. #11: Sleep Becomes an Entity

Like trying to get a cat into a travel kennel.
Like a two year old running after a remote controlled car.
Like a basketball rolling off the court.

There are drugs, there are songs, there are movies
that are supposed to help, like watching the ceiling drip
down onto a molding pillowcase.

Like mouthing the words to a speech.
Like grounding a paper airplane.
Like unpopping popcorn.

You want to wrap it in bubble wrap and push it
out a window. You want to rock it gently
in a giant recliner. You want to smother it
with a metal teddy bear. 

There are folk remedies, mantras, prayers
that are supposed to help. But really,

you are chasing it down the hall, breathing heavy,
as it ducks and dodges and shrieks away from you,
and you, dead eyed, singular, keep charging, 
brandishing your knife.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

#9: Zoned For Concrete

Swing low, sweet crane
in spirit and truth, sci-fi named.

Bring the machines, the last two years
they've pushed so much dirt.

Hollow out the city,
fill it with rubble,
pound that into paste.

I'll recall days under the bridge, watching out
keeping my hood tight to my hair, soaked
through to my socks. I'll recall the
eyesores replaced with eyesores.

I will not try to stop you,
growth or death, growth or death

but will tell the stories to my sons
of the growth and death of corners.

Monday, 8 April 2013

#7 was posted and then redacted for personal reasons. #8: Let Us Mourn the Passing

(I utilize a Liars song title in this repetition)
A strip mall
                            the dumb in the rain
ten minutes in soggy
                                                   run quicker than
shoes don't care
                                                                            several scared cheetahs.
who you are.

A skinned cat
                                                      more than one way.
A shelled turtle.      
                                                      to rock.
A principled stand in the age of compromise.
                                                      to rise headily like

balloon                               made of cheetah pelts.
dictator                               made of poor man corpses.
nation                                 mourns its symbolics.

Ten minutes soggy
                                            the dumb in the rain
cheeks in the crowd
                                            a recovery! a recovery.
turn toward home
                                            a line at the crosswalk.

A large swaggering man, knowing the value of
turtle shells                    a well placed phrase                    balloons.
hot air
a strip mall to the poor man's corpse.

leave it to crumble
                                                       the dumb in the rain
or it will always be with us
                                                       in their tattering shoes
boots, these boots are leather, they
know who you are.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

#6 Gershwin. I said Gershwin, Dammit.

Goddamn you, Train Nap, all the waking up I did or didn't,
or tried to do, what. It's been easy and uneasy all day
and the pianos I'm dragging behind me have started playing
Aaron Copland melodies like I'm supposed to want to fuck
a field and give birth to a farm, fed only on Mrs. McCready's
afterchurch biscuits.

Goddamn you, Train Nap, like a penny on the tracks,
like a spit in the eye of a deaf librarian. Like a falling balloon,
like a speedboat. No one knows how to steer speedboats,
there are only the lucky ones and the unlucky ones,
it doesn't matter, your license. I am sent now, waving up
on the beaches and children, careening into worker's housing
while the giant soar of americana tries to raise
it's prohibition toast to normalcy and goodness, without
ever defining the terms. There's something lurking behind
the mayor, but I can't see it; I just keep rubbing my eyes.

Friday, 5 April 2013

#5 A Tool Breaks Its Promise

You tricked me, leafblower, out amongst
the lawns, admiring my own arms for

their usefulness, peeled bark, owned houses,
guidelines toward mulch. I wanted you

to be the wind, harnessed, finally, I wanted
you to make me God. But like the firehose

or blender or hangglider before you, this is a
clumsy toy, a dignity steal for men in buttoned

shirts even on their day off. Listen: my home
is my castle and the lawn is my moat and the

leaves, they are alligators, even in the fall.
You've punchlined me, set me to the neighborhood

council in apology rags, contrition tie, shame loafers.
I drive back, my savnat malfunctioning, Joe,

over there, on his riding mower, grinning,
near asleep in his beer.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

#4 Parks and

After a year and change in Rainier Beach, I'd still not gone to Kubota Gardens,
three and a half plus in the South End and not seen some crowning jewels.
So I told myself I wouldn't miss out, living right on the Cheasty Greenspace,
take my feet up and sit on logs above moss looking like it was designed
for Kermit, establishing shots of the idyllic. The drip of dew and scampering
of squirrels.
In Hitts Hill, things are too secret for the idyllic, a park
I'd not known about until a lunch break trot with Greg,
a park where Jason, mason jars full of rum, led
an orchestra of shouts until our lighters burnt out. So green,
so similar, but the ease of daytime walks
depends so much on context.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

#3 Take Care, Sincerely, All the Best.

Take care when crossing the street not
to be run over by the stampeding hippos
let out by the fired zookeeper in one last
act of vengeance against the shrinking animal budget,
no time for larger cages, only endless
lemur apartments, meerkat holes,
while the elephants and grizzlies
were set afire for a host of incoming
green space.

Take care when dodging the eagles
swooping down, they haven't had fish
for days and you live in Seattle, you'll
always smell a bit like cod, you only
wish it were Salmon, get over yourself.
The real take at city hall was that too
many laughing children offset prime-view
prices, so they beheaded several ostritches
and sold their fried bodies on hoagies
from repossessed trailers.

Take care of your knees and elbows this
summer, as reports have ten orangutans
swinging directly toward you,
rumors are they're infected. Probably just
a cold, you know, the rain, hahaha,
but seriously, save your tarzanning for
the gondola ride, get out the smelling salts
and remember banana-based diversions
only work on chimps.

Take this elbow grease. Keep your most wrinkly
parts smoothed and savvy. Take this muscle relaxant
and helmet for your skate down the hill. Take
a minute to think of your family, and what would
have happened if they'd agreed to meet you
for brunch in the path of charging rhinos. Circumstance
is a speeding warning when you expected
the baton. Take your jelly legs to a bench,
and take the next bus out of here. This place
has become a real shithole since the Zoo burned
down and all the families were eaten
by tigers.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

#2: Serenity Wow

In the psychic healer's waiting room
an ashtray full of colored rocks,
glowing for the alien landing,
as I chew the gum with the biggest bubbles,
big enough to float me away through
sawdust clouds, but don't blow yet
as there is no wind.

a half wall of motivational posters,
some parody, all cat-themed.
as I wait for someone to take my brain
and work it into a fine paste for
a model stucco city of rubbermaid models
the rocks shake and chatter and
I swallow my gum.

it was only the vacuumer, listening to
Metallica on headphones larger than hubcaps
inspiration peeling off the walls,
trailing weakened tape. Fumbling
for more, I watch the trailer walls
fall out into the rented yard of barking dogs.
Will they see me? This is taking forever.

Monday, 1 April 2013

April 1st, 2013 (Napowriyolo#1) Pogopogopogopogo

The fiends! Normally I wouldn't go out in a rainstorm without my foil helmet but drastic times, measures. They were running down the block with my giant plastic santa claus-- the one I got for the halloween party-- and I had no choice but to mount my pogostick and hop after them. There were lightning crashes. There were thunder strikes. There were traffic jams. There were wage hikes. The bastards! How did they know my pogo would run out of spring so soon? I was stuck in a growing puddle as cars whizzed around me sporting Star Wars Political Slogans. Nothing mattered any more, though it might later, I reminded myself, catching the first ghost train to another planet and ripping out my spleen. It'd not done much for me anyway, since the deventing operation.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Things People Steal

shampoo, combs, brushes,
liquor, obviously, but that’s not locked up,
condoms, apparently as much as toothpaste,
one leads to the other?
cough syrup, but not pills.
mouthwash, conditioner, cigarettes,
lotto tickets. this lock could probably
fall with a hammer, or a steel toed shoe
but if that’s what you’re going for
just take the glass. It is standing there clean,
objects of your goals behind it, no fingerprints.

Friday, 22 February 2013

"The Next Big Thing" Interview

So my friend and colleague Chas Hoppe has tagged me in the Next Big Thing interview series, wherein writers answer a few questions about current projects, ring the bell, sound the gong, and pass the torch.

What is the working title of the book?

Filthy Jerry's Guide to Parking Lots.
Where did the idea come from for the book?

Well I had this character Filthy Jerry popping up in various poems and flash fictions. Not sure where that came from; it wasn't an intentional reference to a popular brand of Spiced Rum, though some people have suggested that. It's also fun to make up kinda silly names for things. That's the Filthy Jerry bit. The parking lots thing came from writing pieces about three of the parking lots I lived across from for a year in Rainier Beach.
What genre does your book fall under?
The first half is flash fiction or prose poetry, the second half would be more straight up poems. For whatever the difference is worth. There's not a lot of form engaged, but there are a couple of Haibun.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
When is the movie coming out? Is it coming out NOW? Ryan Gosling. Think of the royalty check. In a few years? Maybe still Ryan Gosling? Someone famous. If they're making your book of poems into a movie, you might as well take it to the bank. Your real fans aren't gonna like the film anyway.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
First, narrative of Filthy Jerry's life through snapshots and second, a bunch of poems about places and bad jobs.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Five months? The idea came about around the corresponding themes (parking lots, jerry, filthiness) so a few of the pieces were written prior to the book. I wrangled in a couple of older pieces as well, but had to sand them down to make them fit. 
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
This is a lot like the idea question, self, were you not listening the first time? Here's another thing-- I really like the idea of patchwork narrative, bringing back recurring themes and trying to create a sense of a cohesive whole within a series of poems. The format allows for selective omission and plot-holes, while still feeling satisfying, or standing alone as a collection individual pieces. Assuming you do it right, which is for other people to decide.

I fully admit there's a cake-eat-it-too element going on here but refuse to apologize.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Other themes and references include dinosaurs (real or metaphorical? you decide!), God (ditto), bus travel (both), Dale Crover's drumming style (definitely real), chili (metaphor), "Place" (blah blah blah), fond memories of sexual encounters (probably metaphor), fried food (realer than real), fish (you decide), and fake irish accents (real/fake/real.)

If any of those things interest you, you may like this book. If none of them do, well, there's other stuff in there as well.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'm stoked to say it is being released by Babel/Salvage Publishing. It's out now!
My tagged writers for next Wednesday are:
Ryan Johnson, Terra Leigh Bell and Kris Hall.
They may need to update their websites.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

2012 recap number one: some songs

These songs existed in my life in 2012. To varying degrees.

Its pretty safe to say that the year started out with this record. Though I don't think Not Drugs and I played it much on the actual trip, it reminds me of Victoria.

One of the best shows of the year belongs to Liars, whom Not Drugs and I saw at Neumos with Bem, Gusta, Ryan Johnson and other people. One of the best albums belongs to them, too.

it was an election year! this was probably also the best up and up rap album, though i'd take suggestions. I know that Kendrick record came out last year, but I didn't really hear it until this last month.

I probably listened to The Plot Against Common Sense more than any other record this year, though it dropped off (partially due to exhaustion) in the second half of things. Also an excellent show.

Not terribly *proud* of how much Nacho i consumed in the last year, but I'd be a damn liar if I didn't include him on the list. Lots of jokes that alternate between goofy/punny and strange/sick. Triggers.

Probably my fave second half of 2012 record was/is White Lung's "Sorry."

and, of course, the H.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Lets say

. . . by the end of january, the retrospective. because so far, 2013 has felt like loose ends of 2012, even more than usual, what with burying Bana and the attendant services, emotions, and deliberate squelchings thereof.
I got up at five a.m. today to see Brielle back off to Chicago and then visited Greg in the hospital, and now am off work and about to meet Aaron to plan Greenwood without Greg. Its all a lot, and I also have lots of personal/financial errands to do, and I am feeling like a rag doll all over.

This too shall pass, I'm all too aware, but the amount of minutes I've had for blogging have often been taken up with staring at walls or fb scrolling just for the sake of it.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

January 8th, half finished, in eight lines.

you will live and die in front of a computer, by choice or pay.
time spent summoning the angels will outlast the help they give.

mongolian names are harder than ethiopian, welsh, or chinese.
working girls/smirking churls/lurking hurls.

the habit of putting off hard decisions just long enough for someone else to make them.
have a good time at the funeral; you know what I mean.

you will live and die and this mist will feel the same either way.
you know what I mean. obviously, I'm being dramatic.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Craft and Inspiration

My fingers are splitting open,
oiled and pasted and drugged
and re-taped, my fingers
are seaming apart, bits of lemon
juice traveling into and under
skin that refuses itself.

At the table I read a new novel,
and think about sex. The novel
is not about sex, but sex, or something,
is inescapable these days with all these
pictures everywhere, all the reminders
everyone having these legs and torsos.

I have had sex everyday this year
but haven't written a thing.*
the walls are huge and blank
except the parts with pastel flowers
and warping and splitting,
like my fingers or the back of my neck
that she massages together every night

when two officers of the law, booted
and uniformed walk in and stroll about
the cafe. another one enters and I read
and read and read and don't look at
them or think about anything except
for craft and professionalism and
inspiration. definitely not about

unraveling, unfunctioning, jittering apart
or the fourth and fifth officers, two female,**
three male, all white except one guy
who looks hispanic, scratching their chins
and making crisp talk with the girl at the
counter whose lip rings avoid suspicion
because she is employed. In this moment

I'm glad to be reading, not writing,
because that is still less suspicious
and my hands are really starting to shake
and the novel is pretty good,
so far.

*not complaining. or bragging. 
**when approached by a female police officer, it is an excellent idea to consistently mention her gender when addressing her directly. If she is at all attractive-- and they often are-- be sure to mention that, too. They love that and will probably let you off with a warning. Also, if you've ever seen a movie with a ladycop, bring that up, possibly ask if she starred in it. There is no way that could go wrong, like joking about the handcuffs.