Monthly Archives: February 2013

an email to my friend jeff who quit his job as a bartender at a red lobster in connecticut and wants to be a stand-up comedian but won’t move to l.a. because he doesn’t like planes.

you don’t fly to LA. you drive here. you rent a shitty, shitty apartment in venice beach. you walk into any bar or restaurant and beg for a job waiting tables or washing dishes. you go to open mics every night of the week because we have them every night of the week. you get on stage and deliver material. it sucks. you get booed. you learn how to be funnier. you take classes at upright citizens brigade and second city. you write terrible comedy sketches with other terrible wannabe comedians. you eventually, inexplicably get paid $50 a month to do a terrible sketch show at UCB or IOWest. you get drunk every night and eat a lot of tacos. you run into random celebrities at shitholes in hollywood. you make fun of the valley. people stop booing at you and start laughing with you. you get paid in drinks to do stand-up with 10 other comics on a $5 bill at a shitty bar. you keep getting drunk. you record stupid but occasionally accidentally funny youtube videos. you tweet 30 jokes a day. you get 5,000 twitter followers. you get 10,000 views on your shittiest video yet. you audition for a 3-minute standup spot on “conan.” you get rejected. you get cast in a 2-line role in an awful kevin james movie. you move from your shitty venice beach apartment into a shittier hollywood apartment. you’re doing standup 6 nights a week and friends start asking you to fly to NYC to be on their shitty bills at lousy brooklyn clubs. they pay for your flight and your drinks. a well-known comedian invites you to open for him in seattle and portland. you write a screenplay. you get an agent. after your 10th tryout you finally get that 3-minute spot on “conan.” you have small parts in 3 sitcoms in 2017. you no longer wait tables. you’re funny for a living. because you worked hard at it and because your know-it-all-friend told you to stop whining and go do it.

Floor Fan

It’s all noise. Put me to sleep in a too
quiet room and I’ll find more than a few
voices to make up for the lack of tune.
There’s nothing so meaningful as the lone
convincings of the slightly insane,
and silence itself is usually
to blame. Give me a fan to blow away
the nonsense that nobody hears but me.
Keep me cool and quilt covered, and mostly
undiscovered, and unmolested, and
primarily at my best, ignoring
the restless rest of myself that no one
else has to listen to except in my
sleep, online, and at poetry readings.

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Mostly In Scotland

He told me his name was Brennan, that he was Irish, raised “mostly in Scotland, you know,” and that was all I needed to know. Just like that. And, in a way, I suppose he was right–mostly because the Brennan I’d spent the last year with, the Brennan who’d held me and touched me and fucked me and promised me things on which he actually delivered, always, really seemed to have no bearing on a Brennan of the past. Or as far as he was concerned, never needed to. So, I closed my eyes and consented; simply, I never found a reason not to. But I admit to not having looked, either.

A First Draft

He sat down, with a fresh pen he had lifted from behind the counter at the end of his shift, and said out loud, “I’m starting the list.” This was going to be it — all the ones he needed to contact, to review and maybe reconcile. Their fault, his fault. Either way, they would talk it over. The people who were necessary.

The sky dimmed to black, and the purple-white LED streetlight flicked on outside his window. When he put the pen down, his list consisted of a stick figure lion, an old school Metallica logo, and thirty eight spirals. He was tired, and the opening shift started in a few hours.

The Dance

(apologies to William Carlos Williams)

In my not-so-great memory, it’s a mess:
the dancer stands still, she stands stock still,
still staring at the floor, the wall, and at the
twaddle of her friends, who fidget and fiddle
sucking in their bellies (convex as her thick-
lensed glasses whose view they distort)
those heels and that dress doing nothing
to sway her. Shuffling and mumbling
about the Cafetorium, conscious of her butt, those
flanks must be covered to bear up under the
rollicking pressure, I cringe until unhinged
in my not-so-great memory, at this mess.

calculus truth religion

First I proved there is no God and then I disappeared,
The violence of this I dismissed and then my conscience cleared.
A flash of light was left behind for all the world to see—
The thunder sounded shortly after—then there was no me.

The queer sensation quickly passed, a tingling feeling, strange,
Then I focused on the act that left my spirit changed.
I remember performing simple math, a child’s task at best—
But the final problem I deduced would never give me rest.

‘Twas the inverse logarithmic function I was working through.
Derived, this fellow is itself, and integrated too.
Logician’s nightmare, absurdist’s dream, this controversial “e,”
Is how I learned, above all else, that God resides in me.