Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'm...fucking...DONE.

Seriously. I am NOT going to even bother to apply for the Winter Poetry and Prose Getaway scholarship again. It's pointless. It's clear that their "panel" is looking for something or someone I am clearly not. I'm not putting myself through the anxiety of having to wonder whether or not I stand a snowball's chance in the sun at this thing again. It's obvious I don't. So, I'm not going to apply for the scholarship again. Furthermore, since I KNOW that money is always going to be an issue for me, I know that there's nary a chance I'll ever be able to afford to go...so basically, I'm never going to get to go. It's fine. Really. I've had a lovely string a rejections lately...my manuscript is floating in purgatory...I've had bad writer's block. Perhaps it's a sign. Shit, I didn't even place in the Medford Arts Center's poetry contest, so why would I think I'd get this? I'm starting to lose my desire to write. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Try these instead...

So here's five Christmas songs that I've come to really like. Some may surprise you. There are many others I like, but I've come to like these the most.




5. Martina McBride - O Holy Night
I first heard Martina's version of this song on a compilation cd. I believe it was called "Mother and Child" and it sounded interesting, but it mostly disappointed...except for Martina's version of this song. I've never seen this a cappella version before, but if there's any doubt that this woman can emote with her voice, this should erase that doubt. I prefer her older material, which was stronger and more pure country, but I'll always like her version of this song the best.


4. Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
BNL can play it straight sometimes, in case you didn't know. In fact, they have many great songs that aren't goofy or playful. I wasn't much of a fan of this song before I heard this version. It doesn't hurt that it's BNL and Sarah, two acts I've seen a combined six times. It's hip and cool and I like it a lot.


3. Dido - Christmas Day
This is one of those rare cases when an artist creates their own Christmas song and makes something really good. I've seen Dido live, and she's quite good. Anyway, I love how she can create a sort of emotional calm. It's well written, it's sung sweetly and with subtlety. It makes me think of winter in a cabin on a mountain. I have no idea why. 


2. Mediaeval Baebes - Gaudete
There isn't much I don't like from these ladies, so perhaps I'm a little biased here, but I get entranced by their version of this one. I also find it funny that some of my favorite Christmas songs are religious, being that I'm an atheist. I love me those mournful sounding church songs. Anyway, it's sung in Latin, in case you couldn't figure that out. Katharine Blake's solo is really pretty in this one and when they come together on the refrain, it's magical. This version, to me, is the definitive one. No one does it like the Baebes.


1. Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You - Billy Squier
Ok, so there's a little bit of a cheese factor here...but it's definitely a cool, rockin' 80's Christmas song from a guy who had some kick ass songs like "The Stroke", "Everybody Wants You" and "My Kinda Lover". I don't get through the holiday season without listening to this song. Besides, shouldn't Christmas rock at least a little?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I'm feeling very festive this year, yet...

I have a problem with Christmas music. See, I like a lot of the traditional songs done by the original artists. I like when people create a new Christmas song that's actually good. (It's rare, but it happens.) Most of the time, I prefer a subtle, graceful and pretty song that's not over the top and filled with unnecessary melisma. (See Mariah Carey on this one...for the melisma, that is.) So, I found myself making a mental list at work today...of my most HATED Christmas songs. Mind you, I like the old stuff like Burl Ives' "Holly Jolly Christmas", Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas", Bing Crosby's "White Christmas", Andy Williams' "Happy Holidays"...just as much as I like Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan's version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman", Dido's "Christmas Day" and my personal favorite, "Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You" by Billy Squier. (Yes, I'm SERIOUS.) I even kind of like Wham's "Last Christmas", but mostly it grew on me thanks to C...it's her favorite. My favorite Christmas album? That would by the Mediaeval Baebes' "Mistletoe and Wine". It's like nothing else you'll hear. Trust me. So anyway...here's a short list of hated Christmas songs.




5. "All I Want For Christmas Is You" - Mariah Carey
Yeah, I hate this fucking song. It's not sweet, it's not suggestive...it's over the top. It's excessive and everything I hate about how she wastes her talent, which at this point, is questionable to begin with. All I want for Christmas, Mariah, is for you to shut the fuck up.


4. This Christmas - Donny Hathaway (and EVERYONE else who covers it...)
Ok...I do believe that Donny Hathaway was talented. Let's get that out of the way right away. He was troubled, but talented...and this was a mistake. This song is annoying. I particularly hate the way EVERY SINGLE PERSON who covers this song sings the words "This Christmas" as "This Criss-muss". It's annoying as all fuck. Sorry. When this song is on, it is NOT a very special Criss-muss. It's fucking grating.


3. Happy X-mas (War Is Over) - John Lennon
Again, I respect John Lennon...though I'm not really a fan of his solo work. I just think he shlocks it up too fucking much in this song. The lyrics are so fucking tree hugging, dope smoking-ly stupid that I want to barf. And THEN, we get to here Yoko sing...and I want someone to stab me in the ears and let me die. Her voice is the sound of cats getting sodomized. John, Yoko and a Christmas song...FUCK NO. 


2. Do They Know It's Christmas - Band-Aid
I can't even stop explaining on how many levels this song both sucks and blows. Not only does its sentiment fall flat, but it's written so fucking poorly that it borders on insulting. I was talking to my friend Rennie (who is Liberian) about this song today and he said it was like they were mocking Africans. So yeah...it's a piece of shit. The most hysterical part in this song? Bono's line: "Well, tonight thank god it's them instead of you!". HA HA HA! Yeah! Dodged that bullet...being born in America. (Or in Mr. Paul "Bono" Hewson's case, Ireland...that self righteous dickhead.) "There won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime". Yeah, arid environment. That'll do it. Fucking geniuses. Do you even think Africans give a shit about Christmas? Ugh. I fucking hate this song. Bob Geldof himself apologized for writing this pitiful piece of buffalo shit.


1. Paul McCartney - Simply Having A Wonderful Christmastime
You know...when I hear the opening keyboard part on this song, not only do I know EXACTLY what it is, but I want to throw myself in front of a moving vehicle. It makes me want to curl up on the floor in a fetal position and rock like a fucking psych ward patient. Not only is this easily the worst Christmas song of all time, but it's probably one of the 10 worst SONGS OF ALL TIME. I say this with zero hesitation. It's detestable. It's horrid. The music is shit. The delivery is shit. It's one giant ball of suck wrapped with a bow, placed under all of our trees and ready to suck the life out of our holiday cheer. There's a website called Music Videos That Suck...it's on there. I am hardly alone in my complete and utter hatred of this abomination on mankind. Sir Paul...you make me hate you for this.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Easily distracted...

With everything going on poetry-wise, it's hard to stay focused on my own writing lately. I did a reading on Friday as the opening act for my friend Mike, who was playing an acoustic set that featured songs off of his last two cd's. It went well, but I could have been better. I think I was rushing a bit.
I haven't written lately. I haven't had the proper nudge in that direction. I can't force myself to write unless I want crap. Anyway, I have a QND meeting tonight and I need to get situated for that, even though I'm in a great deal of pain with this back of mine. More soon...
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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My kind of day...

A hard rain has just begun here and this sort of thing is usually what spurs my creativity and gets me writing. The rain, some coffee and peace and quiet. However, I have things to do around here and my day off is slowly slipping away. If I could actually afford to, I'd take the rest of the week off to finish recuperating from my messed up back and also, to give myself a swift kick in the ass for not writing a single thing since April. I'll be readying another book for release from MDP in September and also taking a weekend trip to Lancaster in September, as well. I have four readings to get situated and things to do for preparation. I'd prefer to have some more new material for those, as well. 


I think that social media has taken over a large part of my attention and I need to work on rectifying that. It's easy to get sucked into Facebook and Twitter, and while I've made many good connections on both, I feel like I could use that time to focus more on my writing and on other projects that I've wanted to begin. I do enjoy being connected, so I'd never remove myself entirely from everything. It's just not feasible to me. Also, I've been dealing with issues at my job (which doesn't even merit description here) and some nagging health issues, which easily fuel my depression, something I've battled my entire life. 


So, I'm putting aside a little time today to converse with my muse and hopefully, she'll listen to me. I've been saying that I don't have the time to blog these days, yet I lament not being here often enough. I think blogging could also be a catalyst. We'll see how it works out.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dusting off the blog...

I haven't written since April. There, I've said it. I do have some ideas bouncing around the melon, but I've been revising some of the 62 I wrote in April, while working on things for Maverick Duck Press, like getting Adrienne Odasso's new chapbook ready to be printed. It is due this month. I've also been going through the backlog of submissions there and brought it up to current, so that's something of an achievement, I suppose. Also, Chantarelle's Notebook will be putting out a new issue next month, so there's that, as well. So basically, I've been in editor mode for May and much of June. 

As for myself, I have one poem out in the new issue of Drown In My Own Fears, which is a cool little quarterly journal that has taken work of mine before. I am waiting on word of another submission and am planning two more submissions.

Then, there's the manuscript. It was rejected by a press fairly quickly, which I appreciated (the speed of rejection, not the actual rejection, of course), as I can get it back out quickly. I'm not really sure where it will fit, but I will not self publish with MDP again. I want it to find a home, but I'm having difficulties figuring out where to send. I don't see the point of paying a reading fee to potentially be rejected, so I've been trying to find more places that read chapbook manuscripts that don't charge a reading fee. This has been fruitless.

My next post will be in reference to reading fees. I think it should be a separate post, so stay tuned. 



Saturday, April 30, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 30

Well, this is it for April. I managed one today, which isn't terrible considering that I've written the last two poems while on vacation in Lancaster and struggling with iffy wi-fi. Anyway, the PA prompt was to write an "after leaving here" poem, so I made it about our trip here. I know, too easy...but after 62 poems, I believe I get some latitude.  


After leaving here

We will have to unload all of the bags
that have built up in the back seat of
my car and separate the clothes from
the snacks and lament that the trip was
far too short and went too quickly.

We will have to readjust to sleeping
in our own bed, our backs thanking us
for returning to some stiff normalcy.

We will have to dump all of the dirty
clothes into our basement laundry room
and hope there's nothing in there that
we need to start the week off with since
neither one of us will want to wash
clothes after the long ride back.

We will moan and complain about going
back to eating right, back to our
thankless jobs, back to pay the bills
piling in the office, back to everything
that drove us out to a peaceful weekend
away from our lives.
 

Friday, April 29, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 29

I'm having serious issues with internet here in the place I'm staying in Lancaster. It works when it feels like it. It's pissing me off, really. Anyway, I managed one poem today and it's off the PA prompt to write an ode. I've already written one to bacon, so here's the obvious other choice.


Ode to coffee

There is an entire shelf in my pantry
dedicated to various forms of it:
instant, espresso, cappuccino, grounds.
Sometimes I don't even brew it, I just
lift an unopened bag from its section
and gently squeeze so the aroma just
slightly pushes out the little air hole.

I don't even care if my stomach protests
everything I throw into it, I will still
grab a mug and decide whether I want to
brew a full pot, a cup at a time or just
some carefully measured instant to get me
through my fix for the moment.

My collection of various flavored creamers
stand neatly arranged in the door of my
refrigerator, waiting to mingle with the
freshly made, hot brew.

The little signs and decorations on my
kitchen and dining room walls profess my
undying love for it, the one thing that
never lets me down on any day of the week.
 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 28

I guess I was in a music state of mind today, since both poems reference music...the first is all about music, really. The PA prompt was to write a "the world without something else" poem, a flip from the Day 3 prompt to write a "the world if you didn't exist" poem. 


Pop tarts I wouldn't miss

Katy Perry, I don't need to know that you
kissed a girl and liked it.
Lots of girls kiss each other every day
and don't make crappy songs about it.

Justin Bieber, if you decided to say
Baby, Baby, Baby, oh! to some girl
I can guarantee you that she will laugh
in your moppy headed face,
and I would join in and point at you.
I don't care that you're a teenager.

Rebecca Black...oh, you're just too easy,
but at least you didn't write that crappy
song, and you can make fun of yourself,
so you score a few points with me.

Gwen Stefani, I still don't know what the
hell a Hollaback Girl is. What I do know
is that this crap you're making now makes
me miss the early No Doubt stuff. A lot.

Britney, you've outlasted your welcome
for a long time now. You're proof that
you can take the girl out of the trailer,
but you can't take the trailer out of the girl.
Oh yeah, your music is terrible.

Madonna...you're not British.
Your remake of American Pie made me want
to drink battery acid.
Also...I blame all of this pop crap on you.



Imagining a world without hippies

There would be no use for bands like
the Grateful Dead and Phish, their
annoying hippie grooves wasted on
those of us who grind it out to bands
with more sinister names like
Nine Inch Nails and Kidneythieves.

There would be no Woodstock, no free love,
no Birkenstocks, no rasta-wanna-bes,
no psychedelic rock, no tie dye, no ponchos,
no hairy armpits, no head scarves,
no bell bottoms and the VW Bus would be
reclaimed as a cool van you could throw
all of your hockey equipment in on a
Sunday afternoon.

The peace and love movement would be
initiated by Lady Gaga, as she emerges
from a giant bird's nest with a full
set of wings and takes flight over the
world, healing everyone's pain with
disposable pop grooves that make
people like me vomitous.

I suppose you have to take the good with the bad.
 







Wednesday, April 27, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 27

Going out with a whimper...only one again today, and I don't like it. The PA prompt was to write a poem with the phrase "In the (blank) of (blank)", fill in the blanks and use it as the poem's title. Either my brain is fried, or I just didn't feel the prompt at all.


In the last gasp of evening

Images hide from brain waves that cannot
fire up, cannot find an ounce of clarity
among the clutter of television noise,
the light hum of small electronics.
You hide after the silent treatment,
take it out on the floor in a late workout,
burn worn knee tissue with lunges,
push with extra crunches, sit alone in the
dark and disappear into the clutches of
reality tv and mindless internet surfing.

The dirty dishes will be there in the morning,
but your muse has ditched you, ran off to
Atlantic City with some dark haired, pierced
up musician type who'll get her plastered and
have his way with her. Leave out one of the
last two cupcakes in the kitchen. Maybe the
pink frosting will be eye candy enough to
lure her back and revive what's left of your brain.
 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 26

Sadly, I only managed one today. The muse wasn't very cooperative and I wasn't feeling it today. The PA prompt was to write either a 'leader' poem or a 'follower' poem. I chose to write a leader poem.


Led to false redemption

A line of temptation laid out
pushed them all to the basement,
one by one, their impressionable
naive brains fell for the lines
of some sort of redemption from
a white haired prophet who gave
them excuse after excuse to
keep spiraling down the path to
something far from self awareness,
and not terribly far from Jonesian,
just missing the spiked Kool-Aid.
He drew out their vulnerabilities,
with the help of his guitar strumming
minions, and the tears poured and
the embraces and symbolism masked
any sense of reality each of them
would be smacked with on Monday
morning down sterile school hallways.
Those retreats, those stupid chunks
of wood on crappy black strings,
the singing for meals, the talks
that did nothing to mold them and
everything to shield them from the
reality that not everything was ok,
led some of them to give up breathing.
He wasn't a leader, but an
extravagant liar.
 

Monday, April 25, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 25

Today's PA prompt was to write a 'falling' poem, so I managed that. Both poems today are a bit morbid, the second isn't great. It's a bit paranoid...or is it? 



The Falling

First, it was the mall
on an early Saturday evening,
my arms draped like butcher slabs
over the cool, silver railing,
then a slip, hands slide off the rail,
head first, turning
air rushing around me and then -
my head rises, a gasp,
a bead of sweat.
The first of many tumbles.

The Empire State Building,
the Grand Canyon,
The Golden Gate Bridge.

Everywhere I've been, I've fallen.
My body a sacrifice to my brain,
a dead man walking.

The plan is simple:
avoid escalators,
stay five feet away from railings,
release my grip from anything,
anyone,
that pulls me to the edge.
 



Mantra

The sudden nausea hits,
heightens the pain that
wraps from ear to ear.
The neck crackles with
protest and you connect
it all with a demise you
are not willing to fight
anymore, yet you repeat,
I'm not ready yet.
I'm not ready yet.

A self diagnosis,
a portend,
a means to the end.
You repeat your mantra.
Not like this.
Not like this.

Grasp for reasons,
pull the plug on sleep,
keep eyes bloodshot to
keep the factory from
shutting down.
 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 24

I wasn't entirely sure where to go with today's PA prompt to write a 'prayer poem'. Well, I wanted to go to a harder, more aggressive place with it, but since you can't really follow what XTC did with "Dear God"...ever...because it's just perfect, I went with a more lighthearted poem. The second poem is about driving home from visiting my parents in the winter.


Atheists don't pray on Easter, or any other day

While leaning back in my comfortable
leather chair, a pricey birthday present,
I hoped today that you would
not come to my door and knock or
ring the bell, disturbing my
Sunday morning's peace and quiet,
agitating my little dog, who barks
like she's a German Shepherd.
She clearly doesn't know she's a Dachshund.

I'm just never prepared for a theological
conversation before I've had my breakfast.
It was only egg whites and toast, but I'm
sure that your god doesn't send you out
in your Sunday best on an empty stomach,
and talking god without coffee in my
system is really not a good idea.

I'm thankful, blessed even, that you
didn't leave one of your little booklets
in my storm door's handle, which would
inevitably be blown out by a gust from
off the river and sent bent and flapping
against the fence between my neighbor's
house and mine, left entirely unread
and most assuredly unappreciated.

Don't be offended by my lack of faith
or my disregard for your savior.
It's just that I don't believe in
imaginary men, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.




Driving back from my parents' house

The red glow of taillights
are a slow burning light
that doesn't keep you awake
enough on winter afternoons
when the sun disappears by
4pm, if you're lucky, and
the trees are a rapid fire
movie in fast forward
surrounding the side windows
and the road looks blacker
than the deepest mug of
coffee that sits covered,
slowly cooling, soon to be
tossed out when you can
finally pry your dead weight
ass out of this claustrophobic
speeding bullet that you're
hoping will steer you to a
restful night of sleep, but
you know it won't be when it
just brings you back to the
routine that wears you harder
than the two hours it usually
takes to make it back home
from a house that hasn't felt
like home in over a decade.

NaPoWriMo, Day 23

Two more to add to the pile...the first comes from the Poetic Asides prompt to write a "quit doing what you're doing" poem. I'm not thrilled with it. The second...just came out of nowhere. I have been tweeting random lines from poems and I tweeted this one today from Valzhyna Mort: "By now, we have sixty names for snow. It's time to come up with sixty names for darkness." So, it's going on a "darkness" theme, I guess. Call it a list poem, if you want. I suppose it is.



A message to my stubborn body

You are stealing hours from me
and making me toss and turn while
blasting me with words and twisted
REM sleep movies that leave me
sitting in front of a screen with
fingers that are unable to translate.

You knot me like dough with
everything I put in you,
leaving sustenance a persona non grata.
I wake and you twist me from the inside.

Your phantom pains in the arm I split
when I was in high school
reverberate through my shoulders,
shock the fragile system in my leg,
set my knees on fire
and comfort is impossible.

I am going to fight you until you
respond in kinder fashion.
I will refuse to accept your collect calls.
I will carry on in spite of you.
 



The infinite definitions for darkness

It is the razor sitting uncapped on a shelf.
It is the drawer full of knives, the car's idle.
It is the ache of bones and the will to end.
It is the grinding of teeth, the friction itself.
It is the silence between two bodies,
two rooms apart, two miles in distance.
It is the inevitable letdown.
It is the unrelenting, unforgiving clock on the wall.
It is the uncertainty of trust.
It is the twitch and the gasp.
It is every space between wake and sleep.
 

Friday, April 22, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 22

Today I have a few shorter poems. The first is from the Poetic Asides prompt of writing an "only one in the world" poem. The second is a shadorma.



The Only Sister

She escaped as liquid
fleeing a flawed world,
leaving as a perfect ghost.
Maybe she saw me as a threat
and decided there was no room
for her in a house with a boy
and his Matchbox cars and a Big Wheel.
There would be no Barbie dolls to remove
the heads off of, no bullies to shove off
of her pink tricycle while she whined and sobbed
with grass stained knees on our front lawn by the
tiny japanese maple tree that wouldn't survive, either.
A small plastic cube holds a white space among my baby pictures
where a faded picture of she and I would be, hugging for my father's
Kodak 110 camera, the only sister, the one I find in late night dreams.
 



Renewal

A leap of
faith, a drizzle, her
legs draped, a
found moment,
carried through dark halls, her taste,
the sound of her breath.
 



 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 21

Another...interesting day poetically, I suppose. The Poetic Asides prompt was to write a "second thoughts" poem. It is the first poem I have here today. My second poem came from a funny Twitter tweet from this hilarious woman I follow who says completely outrageous and politically incorrect stuff. Her tweet was "Parents always get so fucking weird when I ask if I can pet their babies." I knew something would come from that, so that's the second poem.




Cross country

The wailing begins again at 3am,
so he wills his sleep heavy body
out from under blanket warmth.
Heavy feet arrive at the infant's
room. He raises her to his shoulder
and sways back and forth to nothing
but the mating of crickets and house
sounds while he walks towards the
coat closet, finds his spring jacket
and digs for a lighter. The episode
is over quickly, her late night terrors
subsided. He gently lays her back
under her pink blanket and creeps out
into the backyard to smoke, into the
garage to contemplate, into the car,
onto a long stretch of highway to find
the life he imagined twenty years ago,
far away from suburbia.







Can I pet your baby?

You pierce their tender ears and
dress them in bows and hats,
display them like porcelain playthings
in your strollers and double wide strollers
and everyone thinks they're oh-so-cute
that they want to squeeze cheeks and
and make stroke patient noises at them,
but all I want to do is pet them,
like I do my dachshund, and maybe,
give them a little treat, if they have
the choppers to gnaw them down to swallow size.
I want to know if they can roll over or
do any tricks, because most of them just
lay there with vacant eyes taking in the
faces around them and wondering what to do.
My dog doesn't mess with that bullshit.
She has a plan and knows what she gets
for a being a sideshow act: food.
So don't get all weird on me when I ask
if I can pet your baby.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 20

I just finished the last of my three poems today. In case I hadn't mentioned, I've been using the prompts from Robert Lee Brewer's blog, Poetic Asides. The prompt today was to write a 'message in a bottle' poem. I wrote two. Some of my other prompts from come sites like NaPoWriMo and Big Tent Poetry or from this ambitious lady's blog. My third poem came from an experience today. No prompt necessary.



Placemat

You'll see that I couldn't have been
too important since this was written
on the back of a paper placemat from
a diner just down the highway,
but I think all diners around here
must buy the same the placemats from
the same distributor, which makes this
even less unique, so, I don't really
have much to say except that I lived
around here. Probably not far from
where you found the bottle this was in.
I wrote here, I slowly unraveled here.
I don't think there were many who were
very interested, but it was something
I had to do, like breathing. So if you
happen to look up my name on the internet
and find poems floating in limbo,
those are mine. Those little fragments
of me that are left. The pieces that will
tell you more about me than anyone
can tell you.
 



For her

I hope the sight of a bottle floating
in your kitchen sink, stopped up and
filled to the top didn't startle you.
I sneaked in while you were at work
and left you this message just to let
you know that I thought of you today,
and how I never picked up on your
subtle hints, how I missed the goofy
things you did, like standing on
counters and hiding in recycling bins.
I still have that cd you made for me.
I wonder if you still read my books.
I'm leaving my number at the bottom.
Call me some time so I can remember
the voice that shapes my regrets.




For the woman who told me to wash my hands

When you're at home and carefully pulling
apart the fragile fibers of an english muffin,
do you first lather your hands under the heavily
chlorinated Willingboro water and think of
how you'd tell other people to do the same?

Do you cover your mouth when you cough?


After you opened the door at my job,
did you rustle through your bag desperately
searching for a wipe to cleanse yourself
of the hands of others who opened it before you,
or just those who look like me?

When my shirt caught my sneeze in the shoulder,
I felt your eyes judging my exterior,
as if I'd catapulted a plague towards everyone
within earshot of my allergic reaction to pepper.

When you felt the need to complain,
did you think I'd cower under your jaded hand
and apologize for the audacity of my body?

Will you wake tomorrow and find another place
to spread your hate?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 19

I just did not have the goods today. I tried for two and failed. The prompts I was working with were "write a love poem" and "write an anti-love poem". I managed an anti-love poem and that's it. I'm a bit pissed at myself, but I guess...shit happens. One is better than none. Here's the anti-love poem.



Anti

You think marriage is an antiquated ritual
and find indisputable proof in piles of patience
falling over like the dishes in the sink, like the
basement full of junk, like the constant nagging over
how you hate her friends, how you have to name
your kids after her dead aunts and uncles and
great-great grandparents and how vacations just
aren't much fun anymore when it's all work to
pack a car full of kids, full of bags, full of
gas and shuttle it to some place with a beach
and nothing more than burn and slow torture,
something you never signed up for and never
thought you'd become. Fat. Old. Worn out.
Sleep deprived and certainly not in love.
 

Monday, April 18, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 18

The first is from a prompt of "write a poem with the title Like _______". The second is to write an incantatory color poem. 



Like two idiots

We would stay up late, eating an entire box
of ice cream sandwiches while you would
force me to play Tecmo Bowl Football and
give me a beatdown every time.
I'd unleash my frustration by throwing the
controller in the air with a backspin,
get up and walk away until we'd find
something else to do, like firing a hard
plastic football at each other's heads,
just to see if one of us would be able to
catch the thing before it slammed against
the wall and made our mother scream down
the steps at us and remind us what time it was,
as if we were completely oblivious to it.
Other times, we'd watch the same movies,
ad nauseum until we could recite every single
line and mimic each character's expression,
while raiding our mother's stash of snacks
that she saved 'for company', but never for us.

If you ever make the drive down here, I have
at least a half box of ice cream sandwiches
in the freezer. You bring the Doritos.
 



In her closet

Black scarves hang from over stuffed racks
in a closet where black shoes and boots
litter the floor of the closet and the
hard floor scuffed from black soles that
have trekked through and have been tossed
aside in search of the right black heel
or black flat to go with whatever
black skirt or shirt that you swears holds
a different shade of black than the last,
though I can't see it, I just see black,
like any other color, though it could just
be that I'm comfortable with my black
Doc Martens and my black Converse and the
two pairs of black Skechers I own, one
shiny and the other, flat black, or it
could just be that I'm a guy, and I
just don't get it.
 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 17

I'm rolling along here and now have a total of 40 poems in 17 days. The first one today is from a prompt to write a "big picture" poem. The second is my second attempt at a 40 line poem that is one sentence.



Obsolete

It won't matter if the collective bargaining agreement
in the NFL ever gets solved, or if your favorite show
on tv gets cancelled, or if your abs are ripped enough.
This planet will keep turning, spinning and circling
the sun and its tectonic plates will keep shifting and
keep us on our toes until we fuck with things too much
and then, nature will punish us a little more. Pieces
of our countries will be swallowed by raging seas and
levees will break as a reminder that we can't really
alter what nature has planned. There will be shore front
property in Arizona, a lot fewer island nations, but I'll
be long forgotten by then. I'm not even sure if this poem
will survive technology as it sits on some computer or
flash drive, rendered obsolete.
 



Reality Sucks

It's starting to
get offensive
to me that any
jackass who
ends up on a
reality show can
land a show on
tv, on just about
any network while
some of us,
myself included,
can plug away at
bullshit jobs and
come home to write
and write and write
and there's not a
damned person on
the face of the
frickin' earth
who gives a crap,
but people know who
The Situation is
and give a shit
about who is Dancing
With The Stars but
do you think for one
fucking minute that
a show called Top
Poet would ever be
nothing more than
a blip in the Nielsen
ratings when you can
just watch a bunch
of teen girls dealing
with having babies at
fourteen years old or
see what crappy singer
American Idol forces
on the public again,
while we all just keep
voting on our phones
for them and we all just
keep ourselves glued
to our televisions like
the good little lemmings
we are.
 

NaPoWriMo, Day 16

I ended up with only two today, and they're relatively short. The first is from a prompt of 'write a snapshot poem'. The second is a tanka, another form I've never tried before. Tanka is generally in the haiku family, but has 31 syllables and five lines that are 5-7-5-7-7.



A Saturday

The dog's asleep on the sofa
finding comfort in lazing while
rain covers the painted gray
stoop and driveway, flooding the
corners and soaking the yellowed lawn.

A finished grocery list is followed
by her complaint of another wasted day -
boredom and staring at screens.

The smell of freshly baked cornbread
wafts through the upstairs while
finches hush their voices in the basement.

The quiet is molested by the sound
of a cellphone, a kitchen timer.

Both of us are dressed in gray,
draped in ambivalence and uncertainty.
 




Miles

Fists of rain drench his
slouched shadow, this sobering
clarity costs a
toll that distance will collect.
The footsteps home become miles.

Friday, April 15, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 15

I have two for today. The first is from a prompt to write a 'portrait poem'. The second is something called a rictameter, which is a 9 line syllabic poem. The first and last words are the same and should be two syllables. I wrote it for a friend who is going through a tough time health-wise. 



Self portrait

Awake, you hear music in your head,
even the bad pop songs that haunt you
for hours at a time.

A silhouette in a leather chair,
a shadow cast in a dimly lit
hallway in between bedrooms,
you weigh heavy on the afternoon
in this empty house with the
smell of one candle burning
caramel pecan into membranes
stimulating this forming of words
that moves the platelets around.

You rise only for water,
for brief strolls to pet the dog,
to carry in new burden from the mailbox.

The words will carry into the night
and shut out everything else around them.
This focus is a blessing, a curse -
you believe in neither.

Throw them all together into the night
and hope some of them stick to something,
to someone who might be listening,
anyone who bleeds the same way.




A note of comfort
 

Laura,
your body will
falter but you cannot
let it be your prison. Swallow
the pills to bind you, bite back the urge to
give in and give up. Rage and muse
all of it. Cry it out.
Spit in its eyes,
Laura.

NaPoWriMo, Day 14

I had posted two poems here last night and decided to remove them and replace them with this poem. So, I did three for Day 14 officially, but since it's possible that some of my poetic words could be misconstrued, I won't repost the other two. So instead, there's this...again, based on the 'none of your business' prompt. It's another decastich poem.



Question unasked

In between the freckles covering her
pale arms are separate sets of lines,
pink and raised and it becomes hard
to turn away as she hikes the sleeves
of her shirt up past her elbows to
keep the dishwater from soaking her.
I keep my distance, look at the endless
pile of dishes that look as though
they will topple if she makes one odd move
and resist the urge to ask if she's ok.
 



 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 13

I have officially hit the 30 poem mark on day 13. I think I've shocked myself, to be honest. Anyway, the first of these three poems is another ascending/descending fibonacci poem. It was written for a coworker this morning. I read it to her at work. The second is from a prompt of "write a poem that remembers an old relationship". The third is from a prompt of "write a poem in five minutes or less". I got it in at 4:57. 



Fibonacci for Dianna

You
know,
when you
drink all those
mochas you sing out
of key and get loud and hyper,
but at least you're entertaining.
I may be grumpy
a lot but
I do
like
you.




To The Woman Who Gave Birth To My Nieces and Nephew


It all ended with silence.

You stopped confiding in me
soon after my presence was long
gone from the area and there was
no one around who would ever
suspect that you would fall so
incredibly hard from the pedestal
you placed yourself on.

The revelations of a threesome
came much later in a phone call,
but not from you.

No one knew about the alcohol,
or the musician who was ten years
younger than you, just as he
probably didn't know about your
daughters and your son while you
were fucking, probably in some
sleazy New York City motel.

And months later,
after therapy and rehab,
after blaming neglectful parents
and bipolar disease,
your detachment seems
all the more contrived
after hearing that you fucked
my cousin, as well.

And yet, you're still allowed
to work with children.
 



Riverline

All you can do is stare
at the brightly lit,
crossed out circle that
shows a left hand turn,
stare at the long gates
as they provide a flimsy
barrier from the metal
bullet that zips down
the rails, seemingly on
every occasion that you
try to make a right or
a left to cross out of
your small town and up
towards the long stretch

of highway ahead.

Sit and stare again as
another of those body
carriers comes from the
other direction, sending
more of us lemmings off
to another day of work,
but at least, they aren't
waiting. They aren't going
to be late.
 











 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 12

The first poem, from a prompt of "write a form poem or an anti-form poem", is a list poem. The second is a poem called a fibonacci, which I wrote as an ascending/descending fibonacci. The last is a shadorma, so I've written in three forms today. I believe that is a personal record.



As a Colts fan

I have only been alive to see them
win one Super Bowl, but there have been
a long list of teams that I call,
'mental blocks' come playoff time.

The Pittsburgh Steelers knocked them out
twice in a couple of painful games
decided by a dropped pass and a missed field goal.

The San Diego Chargers find a way to beat them
either at home or in Indianapolis,
with virtually anyone at quarterback,
though Philip Rivers always kills us.

The New York Jets beat us in a Super Bowl,
with Joe Namath guaranteeing a win,
while a new generation of Colt killers
led by Mark Sanchez knocked them out this year.

Those New Orleans Saints marched their way
to a championship in February 2010 and
Drew Brees burned us all over again,
that ex-Charger. I really want to hate him,
but he's a really terrific quarterback.

A lot of these losses were with a future
Hall of Famer at quarterback, and that's what
kills me the most, when I can remember everyone
who came before the mighty Peyton Manning.

There was Captain Comeback, Jim Harbaugh,
now the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
There's not much to say about Paul Justin,
but I can say that Kerwin Bell deserved a shot.
Mike Pagel was so-so, but had some moments.
Gary Hogeboom never really worked out.
I did always like Jack Trudeau, who should have
started over that loudmouth Jeff George.
Kelly Holcomb saved his best for when he
started for the Cleveland Browns.
Bert Jones might have been the best Colt QB
to never win a Super Bowl.
We won't talk about Art Schlichter.

The saddest part is that this year,
there might not be a season.
 



Undercharged

At
Best
Buy a
girl with the
name Xenia charged
me for three cd's instead of
four. I hope she doesn't get in
trouble over it.
My wife thought
that she
liked
me.




Before sleep

The smell of
her face cream is the
last thing that
sticks in his
head, and how soft her cheek felt
when his lips touched it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 11

The first is from a prompt of "Maybe (blank)". The second is to write a poem of at least 40 lines that is one continual sentence. 



Maybe we need a do-over

I'm tired of seeing all of the dishes
clustered in the bottom of the sink.
I don't want to deal with extra work
when I'm exhausted from being on my feet
all day, it's just annoying,
but it's my fault, too.

I wasn't cut out to landscape the terrain
of a large yard, being pale and prone to
sunburn and getting dive bombed by
supercharged bugs that have been mass
breeding before the cold snap.

The strain of never being able to pay
anything on time is getting to me,
and I'm restless and constantly tossing
and turning in the bed every night.

I'm waiting for the next catastrophe to
happen in this house, where everything seems
to cost ten times what we can ever afford.

I'm holding my breath for the next time that
some clueless moron rolls a little too far
at a stop sign and destroys another car of mine.

Something tells me that I wasn't cut out for this.
 



Dear Natalie

I just wanted to
let you know that
I've been thinking about
you and how your
dad is doing since
everything that
went down and
continues to go
down in that whole
mess of a relationship
that really somehow
got to be a giant
clusterfuck, and I
probably shouldn't
use words like
clusterfuck when I talk
to you since you're, I think,
three years old now,
but you should know
that you're my
favorite out of all
of the kids that my
brother (your dad)
had with that fuck up
that pretends to be
your mom,
and I think you'll be
the most fun to
hang out with and to
get to know if I
could ever get my ass
back up to see you
guys, but life has this
way of really tiring
the hell out of me
and doesn't make me want
to do much besides stare
into space and from time
to time stuff my fat face,
and I really hope you
remember me because I think
the role of uncle is a bit
more important than some
people think it is,
especially when, really,
you're going to need as
many allies as you can get
in this fucked up world,
so I hope you're doing ok,
because I think about you
a lot and besides, I really
want to be there when you
finally rip that fucking
lip ring out of
your dad's lip.

 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 10

The first is a reverse etheree using a 'never again' prompt. The second is an acrostic poem chosen from a random word found in a reference book. I used a dictionary, flipped random and pointed. I ended up with the word 'hypothetical'.



163 days of pain

The big money, corporate driven teams
will always find a way to buy their
talent away from the little
guys, like my Twins, who suffer
year after year longing
for a World Series.
Never again
in my life
may they
win.




Hypothetical

Have a good alibi ready for when
you spend a little extra time
parked in front of her house,
or outside sharing a cigarette.
The talk is bound to happen when
her cell phone blows up with texts.
Extra, extra! Did you hear?
They certainly must be fucking, right?
It all adds up, look at them hugging again!

Cancel all of those plans you had
and forget about that nap.
Leave a random pair of underwear on your bedroom floor.

NaPoWriMo, Day 9

I was a little disappointed in how my 'time of day' poems turned out. I have two here that are really just sort of meh. The first may be slightly better than the second. The third is another type of form called an etheree. I hope to work on a reverse etheree, as well.




3:22pm

The window is closing on being able to
squeeze in food shopping before dinner,
but it needs to get done so that another
Saturday night isn't spent in the likes
of Aldi and Shop Rite, when we could be
anywhere else, window shopping,
strolling long mall walkways or even
taking the dog for a walk along the river.

It's 12:22pm in California,
where my cousin Brianna could be driving
around with the top down in a convertible
soaking up coastal sun and gloating about it
on Facebook to make her sister Hayley jealous.
Hayley's back in Minnesota, where I'd rather be,
at Target Field watching a Twins game.

It's 3:29pm now, and I'm thinking of how
my friend Katie is spending this mild April day
at her grandfather's funeral.
It's the last place I'd want to be,
but it reminds me that I need to call my parents.







9:55pm

I use the last of my energy to mine
my brain for the words floating around
without cohesion and to experiment
with making homemade donuts.

The smell of cinnamon twists through
every room, but smell is deceiving
when I could end up with a pan of
dough, stuck in a circular clump or
burned to the bottom, a colossal
waste of time,

as is trying to find substance in
incoherent ramblings on four hours of sleep.







Stalemate

She
stands with
her head cocked
towards the window
watching bodies pass
fleet of foot, a quick glance
and she's turning cobalt blue
eyes into his enamored gaze,
he fixates on her dark hair, pale skin,
his tongue kept, etches her face in his mind.

Friday, April 8, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 8

The first is from a prompt of "write a ready to celebrate" poem. I struggled a bit with it, and I think it shows in the result, sadly. The second is my third attempt at writing in a form, as it is a cinquain (a short, usually unrhymed poem consisting of 22 syllables distributed as 2,4,6,8,2).


The Getaway

We mark the days on a dry erase calendar
slowly counting down to our eighth year.
Our limbs, tired daily, droop over armrests
and on the recline of a loveseat while
we think of all of the sleep we've lost
that we will steal back from our jobs,
from the daily beatdown of the struggle
to pay bills. We don't worry if they're
on time anymore. All that matters are the
sixteen days between then and now and
what we want to do when my car crosses
state lines.

We celebrate quietly,
hardly bother with alcohol,
barely raise our voices over casual talk.
The getaway is celebration enough.

We will drop our bags in Amish country,
find the outlet stores and snag bargains,
eat hearty at the Waffle House and
completely forget about our diets,
maneuver around horse shit on the roads.

At night, we will stretch long
in the king sized bed,
but still fight over the sheets.
 



Another Friday

Black night,
an endless rain
lulling me to slumber.
Words cluttering my synapses -
limbs turn.
 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 7

It's light verse day...for me, anyway. The first is another Decastich poem based on a "What if?" prompt. The second is from of prompt of "things you've learned from your dog".



A litany of what-ifs put into perspective

A response to your email never sent would
have stranded me in a basement for several
more years, undoubtedly. Letting you escape
when the distance between us was crushing
could have landed me with the short haired
blonde teacher who was a Yankees fan, a
natural enemy to my beloved Twins and I.
A refusal to move from the safe confines of
the familiar would have been the end of us.
Waking up next to you again, I never forget these things.
 



A few things I've learned from Layla

I've learned that taking long naps while
balled up underneath a blanket can be a
seriously zen experience.

I've learned that sometimes, you have to
stick your nose through your bowl a few
times to find the really tasty pieces.

I've learned that begging can occasionally
get you what you want. Occasionally.

I've learned that there is always one
person who will put up with your shit
and pick up after you.

I've learned that if you're cute enough,
you can get your way all the time.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 6

The first poem is from a prompt of "Don't (blank), (blank)" and the second is a Decastich poem, meaning a free verse poem of ten lines.



Don't deflect blame, here is a mirror

It's funny, how some people show compassion,
how it is masked by the familiar
undercurrents of cattiness, of moments
never entirely left back in high school,
where passing notes and babbling about who
is kissing who and who is giving blow jobs
in the backs of cars still translates to
what is really talked about some fifteen
years later.

A mirror cannot lie.
About anything.
It describes every flaw you refuse to see.

Hurt is defined by what you feel,
never what is inflicted in sharp commentary
amongst those who stroke the ego
in the comfortable confines of familiarity.
The arrow pierces only one way when shot.

Your nausea will subside now that the words
that cut you have tempered to a drizzle.
Your concern was never with a union,
but the image you desperately need
to maintain.
 



Firework

You are a brown ponytailed flash of
light, a burst of blue waves in
your eyes at seven am when we
both are exhausted from this
grind of public service.
I keep you near, like a little
sister and guard you from the
circling prey that would swallow
you. And when they try to separate
us, a long embrace shields us.
 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 5

Today ended up a little better than yesterday, as I ended up with two poems. The first has to do with today being 17 years since Kurt Cobain's death. The second is about the town I now call home.


All apologies

There is still a void in between the
moment you put the barrel of a shotgun in
your mouth and pulled the trigger
to now, seventeen years later,
where no one has sounded
anything like you and no genre has
been defined by anyone since.

I still remember listening to the
radio on the way to Paramus Park Mall,
and I never listen to the radio, and
hearing the news that you were gone.

I remember exactly what I screamed aloud
in the car, by myself.

You stupid son-of-a-bitch!

Like an irate father screaming at
fighting children in the back seat.

I still want to believe that Courtney had
something to do with how you died,
because that would make more sense to me
than to think you'd want to leave your
baby daughter alone with that shell of a human.

Yet part of me understands entirely
what it's like to feel the weight of every
burden and need a way to be released
from every kind of human interaction.

Or maybe it really was the pain in your
stomach, that couldn't be quelled by anything
but heroin.

I didn't get it then, but I do now,
and I swear that I don't have a gun.
 



Dear Riverside

We've been acquainted almost two years
and I feel like I barely know you.

I enjoy walking along River Drive and
staring out into the still water of
Rancocas Creek when the Spring arrives,
but I know nothing of the center of you
except that The Dog House charges
far too much for a plain hot dog with
nothing on it. Come on, three dollars?

You don't seem to occupy much space,
when I can take a short walk and end up
in Delran, where I get flirtatious looks
from L&M Bakery all the time. I have a
feeling that I'll be cheating on you soon.

I have to admit, Delanco lures me to her
7-11 for soft pretzels all the time,
even late at night when the urges really
start to kick in, so you need to try harder.

If you only had a really kick ass
pizza joint, we'd really be in love.
Right now, I like you a lot, but you're
still an enigma to me.
 

Monday, April 4, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 4

Well, one is better than none. I failed to come up with a second poem. I did, however, mine this one from a Poetic Asides prompt of writing about a type of person.


The OCD Neighbor

At the hint of fair weather
he emerges with a bottle of
dish soap, a sponge and a bucket.

He pulls his wife's car into
the street and then proceeds to
remove the wheels from his truck,
hose down the flatbed and pull
all of the mats out.

This will go on for hours between
both vehicles until every lugnut
is perfectly shined and every
fiber of carpeting is without dirt.

His Camaro remains cocooned under
a gray cover with buckets of
chlorine around it to keep the
squirrels from eating through the fabric.

The driveway will also get the treatment
and the water and suds from his work
gather in the front of my driveway.

He tells me the disease drives him crazy
but he can't help it,
and I almost want him to invite me into
his house, where he would undoubtedly
have me remove my shoes as I tiptoe
from room to room,
while he carefully pours water into a
coffeemaker and wipes away the slight dust
on the lid, while I plan this poem
and write it in my dusty office hours later,
a room that would have him twitching.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

NaPoWriMo, Day 3

The first is from a prompt of "Imagine the world if you hadn't existed". The next two are my attempts at septolets, a form found on a new poetic friend's blog. The last is a narrative poem.


Something of a life

Extract the snowstorm from the equation
and the entire conception would be
null and void.

Or switch the chromosomes and then
I would have been Laura Jean,
most likely not living in South Jersey,
and quite possibly not a poet.

Or maybe I would have ended up like
my sister Melanie:
a life not carried to term.

Instead, I stare at the pieces of my parents.

The red hair, edged with white.
The softly paling blue eyes.
The freckles that consume my shoulders.

Lie in darkness with eyes closed
and wonder what it is that has
kept you here.
 


Parking lot

He breathed
in her
embrace
caught hair
in his mouth

Not exactly
affair worthy.




A routine

Sky devoid
of stars
air around

brings bodies
through the
evening, morning
darker still.







A open letter to Rebecca Black

When you wake up tomorrow morning,
I sincerely doubt you'll be eating
cereal in some specific bowl that
you just have to have every single
day, and anyone who's mom can shell
out $4,000 for a song and a video
probably has omelets and toast that
is probably some kind of whole grain.
But you'll undoubtedly have the last
laugh when every single one of us
that have mocked your robotic delivery
have fallen prey to your ridiculously
catchy chorus, repeating in our heads,
not just on Friday, but every single
fucking day of the week until our
heads explode, and your song has been
added to that special list of songs
that idiotic radio programmers use
every single Friday, 52 weeks a year,
where they play Working For The Weekend,
Bang The Drum All Day and Shout, and
I hated them for making me not want
to listen to Todd Rundgren for a while.
Still, your fifteen minutes could run
a little longer. You're only thirteen
and you could easily extend your shelf
life to three to five years by finding
the right writers. Just remember to
enjoy this, because there might be a
lot of Fridays in a year, but you're
only as good as your last hit in this
What have you done for me lately? world.

PS- We NOT so excited. I'm fucking tired.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 2, NaPoWriMo

The first poem is a "postcard poem". The second was a prompt from the NaPoWriMo website, which was to write a poem about how you will die.


In the mountains of Virginia

I don't know what the hell
to do with myself now that
I'm out here.
I haven't seen a Starbucks.
There's trees everywhere.
How the hell am I going to
get a wi-fi signal?
Bored out of my mind.
And they call New Jersey
America's armpit?
Please come kidnap me
before I go insane.

 


Sugar on the asphalt
(after Cesar Vallejo)

I can see how it will end for me,
at 7-11 on a Saturday night
at 2am, buying a donut for my wife
who is craving random things on
her cycle.

I won't be the one attempting
to thwart a robbery by
stepping in front a bullet or
chasing the gunman into the dark
parking lot on sleepy Delanco Road.

I will be run down in the parking lot
by those fleeing criminals in their
beat up Chevy van.

I will be clutching a small paper bag
with two cake donuts,
a bottle of Gold Peak iced tea
will be found 30 feet away,
my coffee splattered on the ground and
slowly dripping back towards my
lifeless body in the upslant of the lot
to outline me.

The crickets and streetlights,
the only witnesses.
 

Day 1 poems for NaPoWriMo

The first poem is a prompt from Poetic Asides, which I will be posting one poem a day to. The prompt was to write a "what got you here" poem. The second (and I am writing 2 a day) came from reading a book about the suicide of four teens in my hometown. I stretched it a little further.


Exit 6

What tends to take me from any state
of dormancy to a level of hyperaware
is almost assuredly a girl,
and this one led me down a long,
tedious stretch of road to a town
I'd never heard of until she told me
she lived there.

It was large amounts of coffee and
hours worth of cd's crammed into the
glove compartment of a Ford Escort
that began to shake when it reached
70 miles an hour.

She led me around this county a few times
before we settled by the creek in a
town that lacks mailboxes and harasses
you to cut your lawn or be fined.

That long, expensive strip of highway
left behind and rarely traveled again.



Middle poor

An author of a book about four suicides that happened in my town
summed up everyone's childhood there in two words:
middle poor.

My father, the garage doorman.
My mother, the reluctant housewife who
occasionally served us Swanson's Fried Chicken Dinners,
whose strangely seasoned corn would some how find its way
into the brownie in the middle of the aluminum tin.
It is a scent that I actually have nostalgia for.

As a middle poor child, I had a Big Wheel and
bikes my father would find put out for the trash
in the front of other yards that he would refurbish
with different shades of Krylon paint.

And now, in a home just long strides away from
a creek frequented by geese and mallards,
I think about how rich I felt wearing Lee jeans
and hideous striped shirts my mother bought at Sears,
as I count the change in my pocket and realize it is
all the money I have that isn't going towards bills.

Middle poor to poor poor in a small town filled
with people cashing their unemployment checks,
while I come home from work and peel off clothes
that smell like burnt bread, onions and vinegar
and earned me enough to maintain my internet,
my cable and just enough to pay my car on time.

This milk white, freckled, half Italian that shares
absolutely nothing with the likes of Snooki and J-Wow,
not even the right area code.

This creator of lines, this maker of sandwiches.