Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Top Ten of 2014

10. A noticeable achievement in killer robots.
9. King street station clocktower in the fog.
8. The time a pop star/rapper and we were all outraged, or calling the outrage what it was: something we disagreed with because it seemed to indicate an attitude we disapproved of.
blooorrrrrghphmampharrrrgleshupdtreeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuugh! poi poi poi nooooggggheeeeeephrelmoppskj!!! amph!
7. Krangovers: the specific shame and sickness one has after being up all night creating TMNT memes.
6. A very important Tweet.
5. Inappropriate levels of__ expressed by falling on the floor with a microphone in hand.
4. 86ed.
3. A punch in the gut, a slap in the face, a growing fear for ones life every time the news comes on. Huddled around a working phone, desperately refreshing, in hopes to hear something good.
2. A five-page long dictionary of ambivalent definitions every time someone 'revolutions.'
1. Pizza by the slice in lieu.

this is the only 2014 list there is.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

County Werewolf (draft)

What do we do with the county werewolf? The rows and rows of potleafs bristling in the draft of the tattered greenhouse, the cash crop that cuts to/
                                                                                                fleeing brides in torn veils collapsing under drooling fangs, moonlight just cracking through the hydroponic lights.
Also, the odd fleeing groom, his tuxedo catching fire as he smokes a joint he knows will be his last,
but as the claws descend, he just wants something for the pain, man.
Some days its medical, some days it’s a fucking feast. Hairs in the meat. We held a vigil at full moon, but no one went wolf. We watched the mountains for howlers, but only a fleeing elk. We use our phones to find the way back, on roads that’ve been here for fifty years.
This towns not that small, that’s the problem. There could be any number of college kids turning
to beasts and tearing the throats out of chickens. Any number of crucified ghosts getting ground on in ritual/
Ground up by ritual.
What do we do with the scratching, screaming women? What do we do with the teeth-red wine?
The sherriff proposed an execution, and a would be mayor suggested treatment, but the pastors said that’s witchcraft, witchcraft, as no one is sure who’s really turning, getting hairy, bearded

What do we do with the hairy, bearded howling men at  midnight, throwing their glasses and pawing at bodies? What do we do with the pastors who say this is never a thing, except for satan, that this is never the cold joke told in the morning, the scattered bones from a chicken dinner, then a scattering of other things, more horrible, between the plants. Bones.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Trains And Tall Buildings 4: Brief Growth Update.

the above is a map of all the "planned growth" in Seattle. 
let's keep in mind that this is a town that historically has largely been single-family homes, and prided itself on a strangely ambivalent approach to cosmopolitanism. 

Monday, 3 November 2014

Stark Times Slipping Down Fire Ballot Hill -or- We Will Always Remember His Laugh

The Car man died today, sources say it was either complications from a terrifying, uncurable disease or bears. We will always remember his laugh. he had a smile you could hear over the phone. his advice was so good that even the bears and snow tigers would circle him and listen. even if the motherfuckers couldn't spell carburetor. this ultimately may have been his undoing, his doolittlian explanations of transmissions to the greater carnivores.

if you cannot stop them from eating your deer, if you cannot stop them from battling coyotes, if you cannot stop them from knocking over your trash cans, why would you think your children are safe?

in a disney version of the homeless park the animals are dancing and singing. the realtors demand clean glass. another panicked email from democrats, linking the Car man's death to GOP policies, linking the wire-haired metal man's death to GOP policies, linking rising towers of beaver pelts to GOP policies, linking arms and singing evil disco at the vigil.

there is always a vigil. all of these candles won't take back bullets. all of these bullets won't take back ballots. all of these ballots won't take back the hordes of tigers unleashed upon the parks and gardens. here we thought they were endangered.

obviously there's coffee, but if you cannot stop drinking coffee, can you stop drinking whiskey? and if you can't stop drinking whiskey, can you ever stop driving home at 6 in the morning to your tire-flattened trailer park home shrieking along to dying crowws? and if you can't stop the shrieking, can you stop dousing yourself in paint thinner and plastering yourself to the Today's Pop Hits billboard in an energetic, but ultimately derivative performance art piece? and if you can't stop that, who are you to criticize the arsonists who make a living from their fires?

send in your ballot. vote yes for bear control, for all it can do. they eat babies, you know. and give you alzheimers.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

When you are in a place, and write about that place (part one of eighty five.)

Excited to be part of Greg Bem's outdoor reading series Ghost Tokens. I plan to read something near the MRX studio where Freeway Park had their first practices (before we had a name settled) and possibly wander down near the Siren Tavern, where I nearly got a job during my Orcas Landing days.

Events like this help me generate new material and answer questions to myself and listeners. Speaking of-- here's me doing just that with the aformentioned Bemstrosity as part of the Citydrift Project.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Three Ticks Away From Another Renewal

The last day of September should mean something besides a sweatshirt.
The last afternoon clouds, shredded by a setting sun or God's wrath, whichever comes first.
The last of an old lease, clothespiles, the floor, the futon, paperpiles, the breakfast table,
the lamp table, the desk, the bookshelf, bookpiles, the bookshelf, the lamp table, the floor.

The next bus on the last day, full ebola.
The next bus on the last day, masked riots.
The next bus on the last day, late


The last stop of a new old season should be something besides calendar page loss. I used to send flares up for apartment changes, the gathering of things, the significance of pizza on an empty floor in a room full of boxes, songs chosen for long laughs, cheap looks. So much peperoni, gathering in corners.

The next day, a first day.
Another three months til the moving trucks, if that,
the last bus of the first day, rolling cartons of torta.
the last bus of the first day, hiding cider in to go mugs.
the last bus of the first day, fist bumps with gloved strangers.
the last bus of the first day, just found twenty dollars,

the last bus of the first day,

late, but rolling.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Three Through Oregon

For a while, we thought we were in Seaside.
The crags spiking from the water, the earth’s dome edge
visible beyond the pacific. The tidepools drying,
leaving dead jellyfish, plankton baking with maggots.
Then we thought we were in Pacific City,
with the houses all slung low and cute
over the sand, the road wandering and ending
near the hill we climbed last year,
and it sure has eroded since then,


I am killed by ultraviolet.
I am toast in a broken oven.
There is no water for my feet,
only an icebox and pick.
I am grounded by seafood,
swam by late night Frisbee chase
and not good enough at ping pong
for family occasions.

The Mo’s in every town,
the pirates with their coffee
curving 101, I hug the side
of passenger vans,
Tipping but never rolling,
swerving but never crashing
rocketing towards oncoming camrys
sliding back over double yellows just

Riding back from the edge of the earth,
free of coastal chains, or national, through
pine bluffs and mini valleys and every
third mile someone with an “Ie” ending
their name runs a family diner, every sixth,
an ammo store.

Salem looks like a slice of Portland hot-injected
with South Everett, Hear No Evil’s Car-Audio store
crowned the king of roadside wordplay, the
trailer park a few blocks from the state capitol
and the freshmen ahead of me chattering about
the day awaiting them in Portland, whether the
Smiths are still alive.

Don’t blame me for sleeping, don’t blame me
for staying awake. Killed in the body, mind swimming
and the days weight settling in at the base of my neck,
as we roll into Oregon City, “Welcome to Historic Oregon City.
The end of the Oregon Trail” across from a
Home Depot and McDonalds.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Trains and Tall Buldings 3: Dispatch from the Central Oregon Coast

Many American cities with "city" in their title aren't recognizable as such*. This seems especially true in the Northwest, where a "city" suffix guarantees a post-rural town that's been swallowed by (or is currently being swallowed by) growing sprawl. Sometimes this takes the form of a dual-downtown situation, where the historic, old downtown is preserved, (with various levels of care) and serves as a destination for tourists, or prospective urban transplants.** Then, a mile or so up a road that more often than not serves as an inlet to multiple cul-de-sacs, there's a huge parking lot with a flagship store (Wal-Mart, if the town is poor, a Safeway/Haggen/Costco if not, Whole Foods or Trader Joes if they have attracted a lot of post-citydwellers) and several other chains-- a Subway, McDonalds, Starbucks, Dominos, etc. I first noticed and identified this in Stanwood, where I lived on return to the states, but have noticed it in growing small towns all over Western Washington. The idealist in me says (dammit!) the old, walkable, local downtowns should be enough for any town, but the pragmatist in me says (well, I guess) this is a decent compromise. More on that, probably at some future post, but this is the context needed for my trip with Rachel and her family to Lincoln City, Oregon.

Located halfway down the coast, at 8,000+, Lincoln City has the third largest population (after Astoria and Newport) of Oregon's coast. When we first drove into the north end, there was the mile-up option, two large parking lots with strip-malls about 40% full of business. A McMennamins. A Safeway, a Grocery Outlet, "the 60s Diner," something called the Dapper Frog, and a pizza place. Lots of Space-For-Lease. 

We got to the beach house, overlooking the pacific ocean. It was serene, spacious, gorgeous. This seems to be a feature of all Oregon coast beach houses.
The first day was largely beachlounging, eating, getting settled. The next day we piled into a couple of cars and drove through Lincoln City to Newport, Oregon***. Lincoln City is an interesting case, as for the longest time it was a series of much smaller towns. The result, as you wind down 101, is a series of your classic, historic downtowns connected intermittently by sprawl or woods. I'm a bit miffed my vacation has to ends when it does, because I want to walk around Welcoma and Taft, especially. The town itself probably couldn't sustain this many centers of eating, drinking, and trinket-buying, but in summer, Lincoln City can grow up to 30,000 people due to tourism. Which is it's #1 income source, natch.
It'd be a great spot for a school of some sort; it seems uniquely positioned to make for a sweet little college town. But that's not the business I'm in.

Twenty miles south is Newport, the largest town on the Central Oregon Coast, an hourish east of Eugene. After noodling our way through the Nye Beach Neighborhood, we disembarked at Bayfront, which serves as both an active fishing port and Newport's crown tourist destination (the aquarium, wax museum, waterfront, and undersea gardens are all there). 

I got the feeling both Nye Beach and Bayfront serve as Old Downtowns for Newport; the mile-up strip mall option wasn't one parking lot or series thereof, it was the whole stretch into town, a la Highway 99 in Washington. Bayfront promised the unique-to-Newport.
As such, I wanted to fall in love with Bayfront. I didn't. I mean, it was fascinating**** but . . . inevitably, things sold to tourists and tourists end up being useless; people buy the things they truly need in or near the places they live. Resulting in blocks and blocks of shirts that say things like "If You Like My Bumper, You'll Love my Headlights!" or "If you're not fishing, you're doing it wrong." 
I mean, a block of these stores, fine. Or you know, one really good one. Two decent ones at different ends. . . but in Newport, next to bars that advertise themselves as "a haven for the riff-raff, the ne-er do-wells", bars that probably had to slap "historic" into their name just to remain, across from the docks where fishermen haul in the seafood that serves one of the many Coastal Chains, are rows of pastel butterflies, of sub-Hot Topic/Spencers storefronts that you wonder who, how, why?
Not to say I wasn't charmed at points. The Seafood was damn good. The fascination factor kept my head swiveling, and the town makes no attempts to hide it's grime or industry. In Seattle they'd probably set up a toll system to eat your fish and chips above a dock of Sea Lions.

*the obvious, glaring exception being New York City. Haven't been to either Iowa or Carson Cities, but impressions have not been of huge metropoli, foster-wallaces notwithstanding.
**"You know, it's such a shame to leave Seattle, but I could actually see us living here. . . this is such a cute cafe and look! That bar has a sign for live music. Plus, we can do most our shopping at the farmers market for the three months that it exists."
***There are more Newports than any other town in the English Speaking World. It's just that catchy! (And functional!)
****Fascinating is still better than the Grey Hell that is going through Lynnwood, or Oregon City. Fascinating is better than the grinding depression of Hoquiam, Wa, or even, arguably the Endpoints of Gentrification that a handful of Seattle's neighborhoods are rapidly becoming. But we can ask for more from our communities than single-mode identifiers OR a sub-gonzo journalistic licking of blood-stained lips.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014


Even as it stays hotter longer, theres more leaves skittering under bike tires here in the Central District, at a corner of a playground, hair salon and coffeehall. i tap my device. rachel sits across from me with two fingers pushing up her left cheek into her glasses. the little green man appears and disappears. the glowing red hand sometimes takes its place. i was going to change the world again, but need to catch a bus to a job where people look up from their devices long enough to tell me whether I should shake or stir.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

But wait--

There’s more.

Jerk eyes open
Verizon wireless theme song in
digital slap

base operations across from
Zeek’s pizza glowering billboard
skating by on borrowed

internet, a sarlac pit
of creased envelopes,
a deletery of e-mails.

That is not all;

Past the white windowless van with the electrician’s name on it, past the backward baseball caps and scarred arms leaning over the freight trains, past the giant clock by the lamp store, past the testicles all bouncing in green, and the ghosts of brewers, all coming back with hooks for hands, there is another smoking hole in a wall, or the asphalt, cigarettes or asteroids.
That could be all,
but holiday specials forbid it. Towerless searses forbid it. Postal delivery drivers, presumably werewolves, forbid it with pork between their fangs. ALSO! Veteran vetrinarians, presumably evil mermaids, for-fucking-bid it. So there is more—

--a swift mop up
before leaving work,
a death threat bus 

stop, running on borrowed

fares, a deathstar
with its lights on,

but wait--

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Trains and Tall Buildings 2: Growth as a given?

So it's official. Seattle is the USA's fastest growing major city.* Bigger than Boston, DC or Denver, edging up on cities like Memphis and Detroit, which have traditionally been thought of as far more important, flagship metropolises, while lil' ole Seattle was content to corner away up near Canada, with its fish and its rain and odd bursts of quirky architecture.
At least, that's often  how it got sold to outsiders; there's always been an internal struggle in town; people in Seattle want it recognized as an incubator of culture and ideas, but also want it for their own; best-kept secret with arts and culture and food and on a comparable level to** New York or wherever, but . . . ours.
(This spreads to the rest of the Northwest, and you have your Olympias and Bellinghams and Anacortes and Centralias cultivating relationships with the rest of the state in ways roughly analagous to how Seattle's had it's will they/won't they affair with the U.S. and world)

I'll totally cop to completely mixed feelings about the growth. I'm glad I live somewhere where not every single college grad is trying to cut me out of my bartending gig*** because nothing else is available. I'm glad that some of Seattle's ideas around fair payment and environmentalism can't be held up as economic hindrances. I'm glad people have jobs, and frankly, I think tall buildings are cool.
There's been a sense of quiet optimism over the last 20 years, so it's hard to see the current building and growth frenzy as some sort of triumphant turn around. As long as I thought about it, Seattle was a cool place to be, city parts, nature parts, family parts, rock and roll parts, lakes and weird retrofuture architecture. It still is all that, but now it's way harder to pay rent.
That said, some of us remember, or have parents who remember when that wasn't always the case. Seattle's seen some lean times. The 1970s are well before my realm of memory, but in a global sense that's recent. That we're in a boom time is neither something to be taken for granted, nor something that will always be the case.
As such, it makes sense to me that some of the most vitriolic anti-growthers**** are transplants, often here well under ten years. They never got to see this sign every time they left and entered the city.
*not sure how they measure "majorness." I think that means a city over 100,000 people. There are plenty of small farm communities that through annexation and development have jumped from 2,000 to 25,000 all over the country.
**or you know, a cheaper, acceptable version of said things. 
***only every third college grad. I'm also a college grad, and that line does smack of hypocrisy. maybe I'll write the blog post about why I'm at least breaking from trying to thrust myself into academia. (hint: I can pay the bills better and I like the work just as much, if in a different way.)
****this post may make it seem like I enthusiastically welcome our new luxury-dwelling amazon programming overlords. Anyone who has walked with me through Capitol Hill knows this isn't true, but the things I think are bullshit, the ways to address this sort of crazy growth, the multiplicity of dualities, these are things for their own Trains and Tall Buildings posts.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Walking isn't always walking.

Tomorrow I am working a men's fashion show. I haven't changed careers, there just happens to be a men's fashion show at Lotties, and as such I was asked by my supervisor to "try to look cute, for once." For me this will mean that I probably put on blazer, and throw some goo in my hair to dewispify it. Plausibly shave. Oh! The effort.
For the record: I have walked in one fashion show, in my life, it was fun, I wish I'd gotten to keep the suit.

Here are some cool things! One is a strange and mesmerizing story about a bathtub over at Wonder and Risk. Another is the simple fact that Ryan A. Johnson is writing again, and well. Keeping up with George Parrotian narratives, while sharpening the prose-poem technique. Paul E. Nelson wrote a fairly comprehensive review of the Cascadia Poetry Festival. I didn't make all the panels, but the mainstage stuff I saw was engaging and interesting, the bookfair was cool and the events I helped throw together went mainly pretty smooth. A more comprehensive review on my part is, I think, probably not necessary.

The sun is out and from this library view Seattle looks as sci-fi as it ever has, ever growing more so.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

7 Asterisks, or Why I Got into this Cascadia Thing When I Kept Saying I was Already Exhausted and Trying Not to Do So Much

Tomorrow starts the Cascadia Poetry Festival, four days of lots and lots of readings, workshops, panels, critique groups, open mics, and slams all weaving their way in, through, and around the theme of Cascadia. This is probably the largest single event-co-ordination I've been involved with. Specifically, I've been co-planning the Beer Slam and the Afterparty, both events which will hopefully provide the splashing, fun, raucous dolphin caught in an otherwise fairly serious tuna net.*

That said, when co-planning as a loose part of Seattle Poetry Lab, there's a fluidity to the conversation and action that can be electrifying**; a sense that the crew is more than just a collection of folks executing specific tasks to fit a schedule, this is a group of people united around ideas, or at least the discussion of them. Of bringing ideas to a table.***

I think, as Paul Constant points out in his excellent Stranger article, that discussion is in its infancy, or maybe its pimpled teenhood, but it's still growing. There are specific elements of the Cascadian Thing I'm interested in; Place has always tormented my writing no matter how much I tried to get away from it**** and the idea of a Cascadian Voice is intriguing to me, partly because of its simultaneous specificity and vagueness. It's far more specific than just "The Northwest," and more inclusive-- CPF (as it forever shall be known) draws heavily from Canadian poets.

But it's also a little vague; as a generations-native Seattlite, I can tell you there's a big goddamn difference in experience, perspective and artistic input between someone who grew up in Maple Leaf, Seattle, and someone who grew up in Walla Walla, or a farm outside La Grande, or a condo in downtown Vancouver.

What I hope is that discussions of Cascadian Poetry can grow to acknowledge this variety and encourage a more global view of Northwest/Cascadian/WABCOREGONSOMECALIFORNIAANDMAYBEMONTANA poetics.***** As a Seattle writer, I've gotten more and more interested in how that translates to writing about and experiencing other places, and how the experience of other places influences writing Seattle.******

I'll be interested to see where all the talks-- formal and especially informal-- go. More than most fests, what interests me about this is the conversation. This is a poetry fest for people who want to be interested, who want to engage. I suspect I'll probably disagree at some (many?) points on what constitutes "innovation," and I'll be straight up that the more hardcore political/anarchist/decolonize elements of the Cascadia movement hold no interest for me. I'm glad though, that a wide swath of writers are included******* and, that, as hard as it's been to program, a competitive element is included; the Northwest has had a long history of producing or housing performance poets whose work interacts with and crosses over into academic circles, blurring (what I think are largely manufactured) lines.

Okay. I told myself I'd not get past 7 asterisks, so read all my clarifications below and come to the fest. It'll be less work than reading this whole thing was, I swear.

*the other events will probably also be fun, but mine are the ones with "beer" in the title, where FUN IS ON THE AGENDA.
**Which is important, because this has been a lot of goddamn work.
***Or, you know, just bringing the table.
****The writing about place, or the place itself.
*****As opposed to a less global view, which so many NW-focused writing events tend to do, inadvertantly. There's a certain element of privilege that happens here, I think, especially when writing gets too exclusively nature-y. But that's a convo for another time, especially since I'm helping out with a fest whose flag has a tree on it.

******There's a certain Seattle Travel Poem boilerplate that seems to go "I went to New York and it was amazing but kind of dirty, and I thought about Frank O'Hara. . .  I went to LA and blah blah smog. . . I went to the midwest and relished their hospitality but oh! their politics. . . I'm glad to be back in the land of (lame joke about coffee or flannel, and SCENE.)" I am so weary of that boilerplate.
*******For the record, between myself, Aaron K, Paul Nelson, and some help from Jocelyn M, and Nadine M (different Ms) we scheduled near on fifty poets for just the runoff slam, beer slam, and afterparty alone. ALONE. So we aren't suffering for volume, that's for sure.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Setting up/knocking down. Future/past tense for April

Writing for this has been a strange cycle of image generations (going around Pioneer Square taking pictures, drawing ducks wearing glasses and strange monsters) and text-writing, the occasional cribbing from older work that never found a home, older images that never found a home, or might get re-homed, and of course, stress, stress, stress. Finally got an initial text draft done, touches on:
place (duh, Graham, always you do that), my Grandpa, nightmares, epiphany, Pioneer Square, boorish conversations, weather, churches and various other things. I've got six minutes.

Before that, tomorrow I read with Arlene Kim, Laura Wachs, Michael Hodges, and Mira Kraft at one of the few recently-opened-but-not-bullshit places on Capitol Hill. Its on the theme of identity, and I'll probably bring some Lake City to the table.

not strippers (ahaaaaa! Lake City joke!) 

Beginning of the month, I went to Boulder, Co, and hung out with Elyse Brownell and Chris Shugrue, who were wonderful hosts, made me feel at home and love some Colorado. The Bouldering Poets Series was a great host reading, with one of the better open mics I've witnessed recently. 
my setlist: Love and breakfast/Perpetual States/Seeker Friendly/Ambition is Critical/Little Fear of Drowning/Rite Aid Parking Lot/Sleeps with the Fishes. I overdressed for the plane/cold and was able to take off an item or two of clothing between each poem and still have all things covered in such a way that I'd get served in most restaurants.

I did not do an encore.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Napowrimo, relaxed settings, pecha-kucha

and a little bit of loose interpretation.
I basically have committed myself to writing a poem a day unless: )I submit at least two pieces (or a manuscript) to journals that day.
or )I spend enough time revising an existing piece that I feel it's entered a new stage of drafting. I don't have to have finished a piece, but have to have made recognizable improvements. Some of the pieces I write will end up in the upcoming  Pecha Kucha show at the Seattle Public Library this month.
I'll also be taking lots of pictures, doing some drawings and collages to complete the 20 necessary slides. Soooo. No rest, etc etc etc.

Monday, 31 March 2014

For the first time since starting this blog

Somewhereincolorado will actually BE somewhere in colorado!

I'm reading in Boulder on Thursday night. Then I'll hang there, or in Denver with Elyse and Chris, and just sorta see what's up for a couple days, and come back to seattle in time for Runoff!

I had been to Co. before this, back in 2001, in Manitou Springs, mainly. But that's another story for another time.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

trains and tall buildings # 1. Intro.

I walk out of my apartment building every day, cross the street to a bus island and walk alongside the tunnel for the Great Northern Railroad.
Some days, given the right weather, mood and amount of time, it feels like I've moved not just neighborhoods, but cities entirely. Today is not quite one of those, but it comes close. Lately I've been trying to measure the ways that moving to the I.D./Pioneer Square has affected my life, mood and living style. I've been here for almost five months and it's felt five months; it feels almost like more. I'm going to start recording my thoughts on this (and other Seattle/City/"urban living" *blech*/sorts of thoughts) blog under the Trains and Tall Buildings tags. If you're one of the eight people who come here for poems, or one of the five-to-ten who are looking for general life updates, this will definitely not be a place for the former, and only questionably a place for the latter, as "how I'm doing here near downtown and what" will slide quite nicely alongside me talking about things like the shape of buildings or use of public space. 

So if you're interested in these things, yay. If not, you aren't alone.
One thing that is true about my life now is that I cannot simply walk out of my house at 6:42 to get to work by 6:58. I must go catch a train to avoid the shame of tardiness.

which is why this was largely just an intro, devoid of any real ideas or content. and I got you to read it!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Hat Trick

Curtains and tights.
Doves and canes.
Caps, cufflinks, gloves,
We were that joke about
the truck, who turned into
a cornfield.
                                                  HEY ravens! HEY crows! these stalks aren’t for ignoring.
Pendants and saws.
Repurposed coffins.
Lights so bright or
none at all.
                                                  (crystal, but with a joke about balls. A twitch and a wink)

Capes, capes, capes.
This knife can cut through an
ordinary leather sofa in
ten minutes. Think what
the whole set could do.
These shoes were the finest
taps in all the land, we
can be your cobbler.
Keep in mind, we used to
be people who used to be
a truck.
                                                      HEY! Rally, motorcycles! HEY!
                                                      Rally, flamethrowers! Rally, chrome-                                                                                                                    winged-donkeys.
it is so unfair that these
things repeat themselves.
Nonetheless, we were velvet curtains,
waxed goatee, blazer. Twirling
a rabbit on our finger, blowing
a kiss in sparkling blue pastel,
what they wanted to see,
harsh realities not withstanding.

                                                (this knife cuts through cob)

Monday, 17 March 2014

2 of 4.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Listen to this Irish Music:

here's some new stuff, with the addendums to follow:
Lord and Savor
Tell me about this weird moment, he said, chewing an elongated piece of intestine. He gnawed and gnawed. Tell me about this epiphaaaneeeee smack smack smack smack gulp, this new revelation that you—spit—know. I love beef jerky. I love it. I suspect, however, that much of it is actually pork.
The ceiling fan continued its one-per-minute rotation.
But tell me, young sir, young miss, youngling, what is this thing that happened in a second and is now gone but has changed the way you feel about everything? Tell me, and talk into this tape recorder, then we will let your parents go. It is the plan.
The sun was grey and dusty and the two stared out the county courthouse windows for a long time. The child also chewed a stick of jerky, and eventually said that it was when he saw the ponys, he knew he wanted to be a cowboy, and the man knew that this meant absolutely nothing, and that he was not, in fact “the one” by any stretch, the prophecy would have none of him, just some fucking kid, and his parents had been beheaded for nothing.

Sword and Labor
We unfolded the sign over the bridge over the freeway near the university and the residentials. “FUCK YOUR WAR” it said. The anticipated military parade didn’t arrive. The city council members who’d voted to fire on Everett did not pass by. They were in a hotel talking tunnels.
But everyone has their war. We hadn’t taken into account the use of metaphor in self help books. The passing subarus became alcoholics, the passing jeeps filled with self doubt. At some point a Dairigold tanker crashed into the Betty Paige house and everyone fighting a war against sexual repression just lost, all at once. We were trying to roll the sign up again once we saw what was happening but it turned out that our war was with prudent withdrawal, which was also why the walls of so many vaginas collapsed and we had nothing warm to soften us. Also, the bridge. They warned us this could happen.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

ZAPP as connector

the Zine Archive and Publishing Project is moving out of the Richard Hugo House. This is huge. For near-on ten years now, that's been a goal of ZAPP's, at times a casual, "wouldn't it be nice", at others a more pressing concern, but due to a variety of issues, resets, and general struggle I won't get into here (but may later) it hasn't happened til now.

This. Is. Huge.

It is not overestimating it to say that ZAPP has likely been the most important of places in my re-entry into Seattle. In 2009 I started volunteering weekly, while I was still living in Stanwood, working hanging Christmas Lights, at ZAPP's open hours. In 2010 I accepted an internship writing PR (which went through Hugo House) and helping co-ordinate volunteers. This culminated in my Internship Show, Jesus Christ Made Seattle Under Protest, which re-sparked my interest in visual art (an interest that goes through it's own series of languishes and resets.) Many of the new, lasting friendships, artistic collaborations and  I've made have been through ZAPP-- I met Bryan Edenfield, without whom there'd be no book of Filthy Jerry Poems at ZAPP. I was in a writer's group with him, Rainey Warren, and Emily Wittenhagen the latter of whom gave me a job at the Hugo House Bar, which in turn helped me to get my foot in the door in Seattle's bar scene (From the OTHER side of the bar. please.) It's where I met Lindsey Tibbot, who'd go on to marry David Stone (both of whom put me up when a spot I was going to live fell through at the last minute.)If you factor in that employment as an outgrowth of ZAPP, I also met Marty, Brian McGuigan, Paul Nelson and many others not-too-indirectly, through ZAPP.

I'm super stoked to be reading at their Release Party. I'd say more but the Library is closing.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

You can't win, how do you feel about that?

This is the song for yesterday, for today, maybe tomorrow. We'll hope to change up the soundtrack by the end of the week.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

IF I weren't working tonight. . .

I would totally be at the Double Header hanging out with the readers and writers of Seattlish.
Like, a site that combines my much-increased-over-the-last-three-years city-planning/development nerdery with healthy sense of humor, diy sensibilities, feminism and a healthy love of drinking cheap beer? AND PUNS?

Someone was trying to target market me.
But I am working, so my liver is probably glad about that.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Lets talk about Snow some more!

When I walk outside into the snow, it's cool and all, and I'm glad I'm wearing boots, but whenever the weather does something here, its all I get to hear about from anyone.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

January: Grinding to a nub!

Progress and loss.
The broken record on linear time: december feels like a year ago, this month feels like it just started.

Monday, 27 January 2014

"It is good to rejoice in our commonalities."

Over the weekend, Seattle Playwright's Collective mounted the fourth of the Medicine Ball series, in which I pick some poets, Dan Tarker picks some playwrights, they write to a theme, and the audience votes on which artform is superior. We started about 2 years ago, the voting thing has always been pretty tongue-in-cheek (winners get 2 buck chuck, losers get warm PBR) but it tends to be a hook that gets more folks in. Slams, etc. This time the Playwrights took it by 5 ballots over the course of a three day run.
The Medicine Ball is consistently different from all the other things I've been involved in putting together-- essentially it's introducing poetry into a theater context. In the past we've done staged readings, this time it was full staged, costumed, propped. Though it's a bit strange to be involved in such a conceptual way in such a physical undertaking ("hey guys! here's some poets! poets! write a thing, send it to these guys. see you at the show!") each time out the dialogue between playwriting and poeting seems to get more nuanced. Especially as we've got people hopping sides-- Robert Lashley wrote an incredibly powerful one act, and playwright Craig Kentworthy sent in a strong, multifaceted poem that worked on multiple levels (kind of funny they were working from the same prompt. Hmm.)
This time we also incorporated visual cues from local artists, specific word cues, and let the writers see the faces of the actors they'd be writing for. Interestingly, this led to the most serious Medicine Ball to date. There was plenty of humor, sure, but the overall tone of the night was contemplative, desperate, and punchy. I could go on about the specific choices made by writers and directors (though I gotta drop a shout out to the way Dan turned Ryan Johnson's surrealist pastiche into a helpless shrug on the ubiquity of oppressive masculinity) but ultimately, I was just stoked on the evening as a whole, and occasionally forgot I was even involved. That's one of the better parts of organizing, when you can just enjoy something as an audience member.
Of course, you get reminded reaal quick when it's time to strike the set. . .

Friday, 17 January 2014

I'll see your "do what you love" and raise you one "that's why they call it work, kid."

So lately a variety of people have posted this article about the culture of unpaid arts and academic work, and while Slate is increasingly becoming about as reliable and readable as Salon, the article (which was originally posted on Jacobin, natch) nicely articulates a lot of frustrations I have with the culture around writing, arts organizing, and "getting involved." The writer does a decent job of balancing practical and philosophical concerns, and while the author (wisely) doesn't propose a practical solution to the free-work/dismissal of labor problem, I like the ways-of-thinking suggestions in the last paragraph.

Because while a lot of the internship/volunteer/lowpay positions came into existence because of economic realities surrounding pursuits of artistic, spiritual, or intangible value, they are increasingly re-enforced by a sorta beatific, pie-in-the-sky mentality truly available to only a few. The human soul needs to be nourished, but folks tend to nourish the body first. So unlike nurses and mousetrap-makers, most people with any type of say, humanities degree, won't always have a market for their work.
I think the do-what-you-love-and-it-isn't-work paradigm ironically creates a self-love/self-loathing hamster wheel for artists, writers, designers, researchers, who don't feel they have any "real" skills, yet also see themselves as elevated by "pursuing their passions" after years of having their professors tell them to. (or you know, years of following the blog of an oil heiress who decided to quit her job and "make a living" selling necklaces made out of chicken feathers while practicing a self-invented form of yoga and tutting disapprovingly at those in the "rat race.")

There's a longer discussion here with regards to ideas about what it means to be "serious about your art" that tends to get caught up in these pinwheels as well.

At this point I've made an evolving, uneasy peace with ways I pursue my art, ways I pursue my livelihood, and how often the two do or don't intersect. Every individual has to do that on their own; I sort of figured on getting a Creative Writing Degree that bartending, or record store working (ha!) was going to figure heavily in my future.
This is why I roll my eyes at the precious snowflackes who complain that they just "aren't being fullfilled" or feel like they "just, you know, want something more. . ." from their work. I mean, if a job sucks, yeah, get outta there, go for the promotion, etc. but sometimes work is just, you know, work. And that's fine.
Necessary, even.

Monday, 6 January 2014

2013: A recap full of recaps.

Having just spent the last forty reviewing what I wrote, and wrote about in 2013, one thing that stuck out at me is how many of the substantive posts were dealing with endings. The end of 2012, the end of the Greenwood Lit Crawl, the end of my tenure as host of Works in Progress.
There were other endings I didn't post about with as much depth; the end of my tenure at North Seattle Community College, after nearly four years of tutoring. Spending 3 hours daily on rickety buses for 5 hour shifts at a wage that hadn't raised in almost a decade had become untenable, especially paired with subsequent 8 hour shifts behind a bar.
My Grandma, who taught me to love poetry at the age of 10 years old, passed last Christmas, but it was January when the services were, when we could all get together to acknowledge loss. This was a thing I tried to keep private, but that loss definitely cast its net into 2013's waters.
I also moved. For the second time in my life, and the first time as a non-student, I live alone. It's a studio apartment, but it has its own bathroom, kitchen space, plenty of natural light, a view of the smith tower that makes me feel pretty writerly late at night. this is a beginning, but it's also an end (for the time being, at least) of me living in the South End. I've lived in the South End for the last three years, since moving back to Seattle Proper, and in a sense, its become part of my identity. Not that I never left it; contrarily, it was long trips on the 7 that helped solidify my self-identification as a South-ender. Meghan K says that technically I am still a Southender, as my address has a S in it, and I'm past Yesler. . . but I'm not in the Rainier Valley, I'm on the edge of downtown. With Rachel's recent move to Capitol District (where the CD and cap hill meet and no one knows what to call it!) that leaves my job at the best bar in the RV as my only tangible connection to the 98118.

I also noticed how text heavy my posts were this year. So here's this little bit of Pop Culture that also ended in 2013:

If you didn't watch that show, I recommend it; especially if you like romantic comedies in which a jimmy-stewart-esque every man triumphs over corruption, vice, and every day hurdles through a simple purity of spirit.

I wanted to write a proper recap-- month by month, or achievement by achievement, even failure by failure. But I feel like there's been too much recapping and looking back already. The high notes have been harped on and the low notes have been struck. I'm in a different place, physically, literarily, geographically, and emotionally. And I won't be surprised if I'll be able to say the same thing next year.

2013: Internet Stats

in 2013, I posted 58 times on this blogspot. This is down by five from 2012, when I posted 63 times, and down by 18 from 2011, when I posted 86 times on this blog. 2011, so far, is the record for posts-per-year since I started writing here (instead of Livejournal(!)) in late 2007, when blogging still seemed an artistic and expressive form instead of being Crucial to Maximizing and Maintaining a Strong Internet Presence.
The most read post this year was my Next Big Thing Interview in February, right before the release of FJGTPL. The second most read was when I wrote about the end of the Greenwood Lit Crawl, which makes me happy, since it was a piece of communication I put some work and thought into, and is perhaps my favorite of the informational blog posts from this year.
The month with the greatest number of posts (nearly a third of them from 2013) is April, due to NaPoWriMo. I still mine that repository of near-finished poems and half ideas for inspiration or pet rocks worth polishing.
Most of the traffic came from instances where I posted a link to this blog on Facebook, though some reroutes from SPLAB and Wonder And Risk came a close second.
I make no promises about whether this year will continue a downward trend in posting habits, or will reverse it. But this is the information as it stands. Deduce what you will about my life from it.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

January 5th, 2014

Rachel and I went to the catholic church where we met three years ago and then to Lindas. Rituals.