Monthly Archives: October 2013

for elder hampton, a mormon i met on the 87 bus in 2002, and whose first name i actually thought was “elder.”

“just remember,” elder hampton solemnly said,

“god loves you. and so do i,”

a sentiment he emphasized by gently

placing his paw on my hand resting on the

bar top.

“why elder,” i said, “i had no idea.”

as I flipped my hand

over, curling

my fingers around the kid’s knuckles

letting my mischeivous and only slightly

insincere smile

speak for itself.

Guest Room

So I guess you reach a certain age when
even catching up isn’t enough, when
you can spend an extended weekend in
each other’s homes but never find yourselves
alone for long enough to discuss more
than the particular activity
at hand. You have a great time, get along,
click like nothing has change and time hasn’t
gone on separately for the two of
you, but the day to day despair eludes
mention, probably without intention,
but nevertheless. At the end of the
trip, you find yourselves saying, “Let’s do this
again, and soon. I miss talking to you.”

Top 10 Blackface Halloween Costumes That Are Legitimately Acceptable And Totally Not Racist To Wear

10. […]

Relaxation

Have You Never Been Mellow?
– Olivia Newton-John

I. 1972. Motion.
I am going on only what I’m told here, from parents,
grandparents, people who were there and could retain
the memory of the constant blur of my hands, my feet,
always moving, even in sleep. 2 am rides in the car,
being placed on top of the washing machine during
the spin cycle. My father would push me in my stroller
to Nantasket Beach, unbuckle me at the point where
the white sand ended, and let me run. Keep moving.

II. 1982. Entenmann’s.
They were uncomplicated, small, easy to consume.
One by one they’d go down until they were tasteless
and I was just after the sensation of chewing,
of doing something that happened automatically
and without my permission. Because I thought
this was nourishment. Because in hindsight
it had nothing to do with sustenance and everything
to do with keeping my mouth full so that I wouldn’t scream.

III. 2002. E&J V.S.O.P.
Not quite bottom shelf, not entirely respectable.
I was the punchline long before I’d heard the joke
about you, about us. On a cold night, walking home,
I can still smell you, your siren song smell of bad apples
and battery acid tang. But this was never about quality.
Indeed, most nights you never even made it into a glass.
This was about how fast you could get me where
I needed to go. Oblivion always trumps unwinding.

Drumstick

Not like chicken, but a disposable
plank to hit skins with, a giant wooden
downstage guitar pick, twirled and discarded
at the end of the night, but forever
cherished thereafter by the overjoyed
passerby lucky enough to snag such
a massive corporeal reminder of
his or her time in this venue, the sheer
pleasure extended over this one night,
even if it’s for the second or third
or 54th time. These are the moments
of poetry in our lives, when we can
see what we are, where we don’t want to be:
namely, anywhere that isn’t this stage.

Manic Pixie Dreamgirl; or, the Post-Postmodern Prometheus

She came to life on a cold, flat slab, a thin slice of pulped plant flesh cut down to 8.5×11 inches and college-ruled with blue lines and pink borders on the edge. Her master made her through an ungodly alchemy of other fictional females, the edges of their words stitched together like skin. Her fingers came from Garden State; her left leg from Elizabethtown, while her right came from The Perks of Being A Wallflower; her luscious lips were culled from High Fidelity‘s Charlie; her fashion sense was stolen from one Holly Golightly; and her voice was ripped straight from the throat of Zoe Deschanel herself.

In short, she was perfect. So he flipped the switch and brought the page to life — his beautiful, monstrous bride, unnaturally thrust into reality and forced  to do his bidding. He cackled wildly as the little black inkjets spit her out upon the page in all her bubbling two-dimensional glory. “Arise!” he screamed, “Arise!” as the thunder clapped behind him, its cavernous boom breathing life into his creation.

When her eyes sprung open, he saw that she had a heterochromia — one green eye, one brown, a subtle quirk that brought her unrealisticness to life. She looked at him with those sparkling, mismatched eyes and said, “Where am I?”

“New Jersey,” he replied. “Or, maybe LA, I don’t know, I haven’t really decided yet. Williamsburg? That’s kind of in the middle, right?”

“Williamsburg, wow! I’ve never been to New York City,” she said as she sat up on the table and peered around his office laboratory. She saw posters of indie rock bands tacked up to the walls, and fraying composition notebooks building wood piles in the corners by the sagging full-size mattress that he pretended was a bed. “Do you have any tea? I could really use some organic honey chamomile with ginger, one Stevia and maybe just a splash of almond milk. Have you heard the new Arcade Fire record? I haven’t, I don’t listen to music released after 1973. Oh! Let’s go dancing! I’ve never danced before. Is there weather outside? It should definitely be raining, unless it’s sunny, which is also good, too. Do you have some kind of whimsical pet name I should call you?”

“Jesus Christ, shut up already,” he said.

“But…I don’t know your name,” she said with a sparkle in her smile.

“You can call me ‘Master’,” he said. “But just don’t talk right now. That’s not what I made you for.”

“What do you mean? A free spirit can’t be made like this. I’m independent, a free woman. Isn’t that what you wanted?”

“Well, yes, but you’re not supposed to…I don’t know, want things. You shouldn’t have like, opinions or whatever. Jesus Christ!” He crumpled up the paper, crushed it smaller, smaller still, until it turned into a little ball that fit inside his fist, then he threw it at the trash can and stomped out of his bedroom, slamming the door behind him for dramatic effect.

But what he didn’t realize was that it was already too late. He had already let his creation out into the world. In all her quirky wonder, in all her hypomanic majesty. And it was a world that she could never understand, a system of rules that she could never truly fit inside. So she grabbed the nearest hoodie, crawled out his bedroom window, leaving the curtains flapping behind her in the evening breeze, and she escaped, setting out to find a place where she could spread her manic pixie madness and be free.

sole mates

i don’t believe in soulmates
’cause i don’t believe in souls
and it’s always getting tougher
as i’m growing ever old
so when i tell you plainly
there’s nothing once you die
you should take it close to heart:
there’s no meet up in the sky
but i don’t intend this bleakly
or as fatal, dismal, dark
use the inspiration
make it light a burning spark

yet leave me stranded, crawling,
lost distraughtly on all fours
if i do not care for mine
how could i ever care for yours?