talking about yourself is like dancing about something else

I know y'all can take me only in tiny doses, and I can take myself only in droplets, but my friend Sean Kilpatrick was kind enough to interview me and let me talk at length about shit.

Please read my interview.

I will do something for you, buy you a cake or something.

P.S. I probably won't buy you a cake.


SoQ repreZENT

I feel sleazy. I am not out in the heat doing physical labor, like my father once did, like my mother once did, like my sister does on Arcata farms, like my friends do in foundation pits and cherry factories.

I feel sleazy about that.

Have done it. Building sheds, canning, gutting and cleaning filthy apartments. But right now I'm just a slip of here and that, a waste of water.

Thus: sleaze.

I wrote a SoQ poem because my new SoQ life "amuses" me. The rich people in this town smell of plastic rosewood, maple cures (in bottles, in bottles of maple pills) and sloths (dead sloths).

But this has nothing to do with all that.

It's actually okay, I'm doing well. I've drafted three new short stories. Okay, raise your hand if you give a shit. You shouldn't. Turn to your favorite news source for pictures of charred buses, useless shrugs, a conflict dreary with thousands of years and gallons of hatred.

I wish this had something to do with all that.

I wish I could write something about that.

Should I?

This is two posts in one. That was the first post.

The next post: I wrote a SoQ poem because my new SoQ life "amuses" me. I couldn't stay the course. It sounds like James Tate eating confetti-colored mints. Oh well. I'm glad it's not too quiet.

Now That I Own a Door

Leave you outside, you said,
with the spider on my doorbell.
Well, maybe him? Does he want to
join me and drag-race an armored car?
Fill my molars with melted honey bears?
Stay up until two playing the mandolin
with me, lift me -- it has a nice ring.
Listen, kid: all of your friends are
burnt sod and none of them want to hear
the name June laughed from a tailgate
outside a stadium of grass like tall women
thinking about something else when
they lean into bus poles, when they
won't push the door before a sigh.
Your best bets are cable receipts
and neighborhood popsicle brats
in Hulk Hogan t-shirts, asking after
more kids. No, sorry. Just a crust
of sleet -- but lemme check the burners
twice, then the last gimp of my Crest.
I will find one yet to let back in.


stolen graham crackers

New poems, real names, same ole same ole:

For If You Burn Carol's Phone Number

God, Keighley, we were not a city
of giant things: weeds and words
for sleet from a Russian immigrant.
He evacuated a smirched shantytown
for your couch. He called Carol
a girl who sound like horse.

Not horse, dude: just Caterpillar boots
nailed like pelts to the sweep of
matching chimneys in a mute mining town,
to wet porches and beer bongs and summer
plans of sinking knuckles beneath lashes.

This other girl is off for Africa,
but she keeps whomping my shoulders,
like you don't understand, you don't --
what about hairdryers?
Who knows, eat
these Mini-Wheats, you're way gone,
you're way gone-- but none of us are way

gone, Keighley. I mean: why did we
let Carol down a fishtank full of rum?
I mean: I was stupid when I saw her
smack the cop car, Indian-sprawled
in a rain ditch, mascara flakes
dusting her crooked belt buckle.

I was stupid when I saw her and thought
hooray for pear and gorgonzola pizza
in my New York City summer! Fuck everyone!
You sound like horse like horse like horse!

Think now of how the tossed off lap
the swamp. They swim and make the rain
that makes us glad when sun busts
back to squish our guilt, thank God.

Keighley, hose her down and buy her
a clipper ship? You won't. We were
a city of singed faceplants, and
we left no lasting grace, only
its opposite -- riddens -- that
brands the broken like a long noon.


New SmokeLong Quarterly

SLQ 13 is out. Fine flash fiction from flash fiction fiends.


NOÖ [four]!

Everyone trundle on over to NOÖ Journal to check out [four]! Just released! Hot and steamy!

jessica rowan is a good person

Jessica Rowan is a kind person.

She reminds me of Emmanuel Levinas. She likes other people and what they say. She allows them their oceans, even when they're tentative and honest about the stupidity of many activities, like writing to practice for MFA programs instead of writing to love language and people. But even if they want to do that, she'll let them.

i like what other people say too. i honestly find everyone humbling and crippling and amazing, even stoners, jocks, and Republicans. i'm not being sarcastic.

The jury is still out on assholes. They make me sad and delirious. They make me feel like i have Alka-Seltzer in my shoulderblades and that i will never do any good for the world because everyone else is so worried about hating people.

Oh well! Let's all of us have a carnival and invite everyone who doesn't go to college and who doesn't complain about menial things.

Posting this, i'm "treading thin ice," like my father says, because a lot of the people who read this blog i've met through NOÖ or the wider writing world. They probably don't even realize i'm in college. In my contact with them, i try to stay hyper-articulate and mature, because most people believe college is full of undercooked dunderheads.

Community college in a dirtpoor town and growing up in a strange, mostly poor, semi-urban, semi-rural town -- they both make me feel ditzy and sick about all this hyped up ferocity and obsession over the miniscule. In an American college full of air conditioners! Or on the lousy internet! Were we reduced to an island, three people in the world would have the internet. But i love it. i love it because of all the people i've met.

Still, i try engaging those of my supposed "peers" who consider themselves grave and epic, their collegiate environment doubly so. They hate me for ridiculing cynicism or self-adoration, hate me for dressing like a sailor and spouting and spouting kooky words. i talk a lot because honesty skitters toward the complicated. i talk a lot because talking is funny.

i work hard and grew up poor enough to know i would never hit college unless i scooped every scholarship. But now -- i'm guilty as anyone, equally submersed in this lavish day-to-day, where we're so out of touch with the world that the situation skips disgusting and ascends to silly.

So, if you're sneering and ranting through college, assuming your world sucks, not engaged somehow (any how) in "play" that signals how scary and blissful our luck is -- i don't know. i don't know. Ethically, morally -- i really don't know.

But i guess i engage these people around me because they're people and they're around me. i don't genuinely "hate" anyone or believe anyone comes hardwired as an asshole. i am always hopeful that something cool and kind and earnest lurks in their chestbones, something that might twang and allow them to stop snarling over silly nonsense, leaving room for something graceful.

My sister is a hippie who, with her churchgroup, feeds people chili. Sometimes i'm cynical, but that's only because she does more than me and it breaks my heart that she can't do everything for everyone and we both want to do everything for everyone. =(

Sometimes i try to give her jokes that will make people happy.


NOÖ Journal [four] is out!!

Update: Everyone trundle on over to NOÖ Journal to check out [four]! Just released! Hot and steamy!

Now, rain:

"It's raining? Is it warm rain? My phone told me it was warm rain."

This Oregon swamprain is crazy right now. You have to see it.

When I read about things I've never seen -- a poem about a Montana train station -- I will picture it as something I once saw on TV / a movie. Even if I don't remember the specific scene, I can tell that media recall is what's going down. Is my imagination limp and squalid?

Does this happen to anyone else? Please help me out. I feel so cold.


in the bathtub with a french accent

What's going on these days with fizzpo? Friends are writing short, sly fluff pieces about why their friends' poetry is fizzpo.

Check it out here.

What is fizzpo?

And some more clever fizzpo rules.