Posted in Life, poetry

Nobody and Thursday

The past few weeks have been difficult for me. It’s an internal thing, peppered with some outside forces. The struggle is real. The sads are deep.  It’s not PMS either. It’s PMS’s punk ass step sister.

The peppered outside forces crept up onto my shoulder this morning and I tried to brush them off. I was met with resistance. Deep breathing helps, but I still feel their weight. I logged on and into my workload for the day. My mind feels empty- but full of heavy, wet, fog.

I opened another tab in my browser and stared at the screen.  I closed my eyes and this poem flashed in my mind:

the laughing heart

your life is your life.
don’t let it be clubbed into dank
submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the
darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you
chances.
know them, take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death
in life,
sometimes
and the more often you
learn to do it,
the more light there will
be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have
it.
you are marvelous.
the gods wait to delight
in
you.
-Charles Bukowski, 1993

And with that, I felt the resistance give way, just a bit.

 

Posted in poetry, Writing

Threadbare

I have become

the thread that hangs

from your sleeve

the blue shirt

that you wore for brunch

the one that brings out the

madness in your eyes

and the ice in your veins

I am

tickling your wrist

a panic

that perhaps it was a spider

crawling higher up your arm

to perch on your collar

and whisper

that I’ve hated you for so

long

maybe I’ll be the dead

grazing your flesh

to remember

to forget

to know

that the balance of all

that we were

hangs on a thread

that you’ll eventually

pull

and discard

onto the floor-

but what else

is

new?

Posted in 'zine, nashville, Writing

Can you dig it?

Last week I was missing Chandler something fierce. I had picked up my phone several times throughout my day to send him a random meme I found about the show Cops, only to stop myself because I knew he wouldn’t respond. Honestly though, maybe I should send the text. I read an article a few months ago about a programmer who created a bot of her friend who had passed away. She used analytics to mimic their entire text conversations and capture the “tone” of her friend, which would determine the responses needed. She built a virtual monument of her friend for when she missed him. I found the entire thing fascinating and sad. I was also jealous.

After a few minutes of sitting at my desk and reading through a solid year of text messages with Chandler, I decided to log onto YouTube and listen to his playlists. I was more than halfway through one them, when a vaguely familiar song came on. I tried not to peek at the artist, as I wanted my damn brain to remember where I’d heard it.

Failing at my own memory game, I clicked on the tab and I noticed the album cover first: a chewed up dog toy.

Or rather, what I always thought looked like a chewed up dog toy.

Here, see for yourself:

Related image

He has this album? This one? How the hell did he even find this? Did I tell him about it?

When I was in high school, I used to write album reviews for a local Nashville ‘zine.

I KNOW.

I KNOW.

This was some serious shit for me. Writing music reviews for a pseudo-underground newspaper at fourteen? SOLD.

And this album right here is the first one I reviewed.

As soon as I saw the album cover, I closed my eyes, thinking back to the phone call I got from that newspaper. I honestly cannot recall how I even chanced upon this gig, but it’s safe to assume I was at Cafe Coco with my friends one weekend when I saw it. The guy I talked to was excited to have a “young person” write reviews on upcoming bands. Now, this makes me laugh. If I was fourteen, how old were the owners?  I remember how my heart was racing during that conversation and I thought, “This is it! I’m going to make it as an indie writer and eventually work for Rolling Stone! (just so you know, I only did three more album reviews before the magazine went under and with it went my dreams of crushing the souls of shitty bands with my wicked reviews)!

The magazine sent this CD to me in the mail and in return, I would write a 500 word (or less) essay on what I thought. They would pay me $10 and I could keep the music. Believe it or not, this album is really good. It had serious potential at the time. However, it was also released at the peak of grunge. Well, maybe not the peak peak, but at least the running start. This album was released in late 1993. Nirvana had been around and was at an obnoxious level of fame. Alice in Chains had released Dirt, but not Jar of Flies and Tag Team was winning the scene with Whoomp!(There it s). Personally, I was in my industrial metal phase (Skinny Puppy, Ministry, KMFDM to name a few), so this album wasn’t something I kept on rotation in my collection.

And last Friday, there it was.

I instantly looked up the band on YouTube and played the entire album. I logged onto Facebook and discovered they had a few fan pages, but nothing too current. I even thought about writing them to let them know that somewhere in the Metro Nashville area, there is probably a warehouse with leftover newspapers with my review in it.  You know what else is crazy? I wrote that review ON A TYPEWRITER. IN MY BEDROOM. I was so hipster before it was even thought of.

In case you don’t feel like looking them up for yourself, you can have a listen HERE. You should take the time to close your eyes and remember the nineties though.

Life was simple then.

Only a few of us had pagers.

Even fewer of us had the internet.

Well, maybe it wasn’t that simple.

I was a freshman in high school with braces and limited social skills.

Which is probably how I wound up writing shitty music reviews for an underground newspaper in the first place.

 

 

 

Posted in poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

Ore

We were,

like two fire escape ladders

Always next to one another

Never touching

icebound in winter,

when the city is wrapped in gray.

Broiling in the long summer

when the city radiates in reds.

Never used

No emergencies

No hero’s parade

A penchant for all that is good

Until we are replaced

with new

sinewy

ladders

That may or may not

ever touch

or be heroic

or in love.

Posted in poetry

Compare, Contrast, Divide.

All you poets,

get your pens ready

Autumn is here and how, oh how,

are we ever going to capture the dying beauty of the season?

Time is not on our side-

Each one of us guilty of

using the words:

crunch, crumble, rustle, rustled, rustling

Here we go, trying to convey

the smell of decaying Earth

Capture it, swoop it up in your wide arms

which you’ll bring close to your breast

hug that decaying pile

so that you can show it all off

Here, here,

look at my words

dead like beetles under rocks

dead like the mailman’s face

dead like your eyes, when you wear

blue shirts

With sighing sighs and long gazes

you drink up the day

(Compare the day to a glass of amber beer, an extra dirty martini, or perhaps if you’re like me and milking a hangover, a large ice water. But you must compare. MUST).

noticing the sun is trying to blind you

from the right side, catching your peripheral vision

and pissing you off

through branches that were once thick and green

(Compare to life full and lush, now waning. Go on, do it).

Come on now poets,

don’t let anyone down

the world, or rather, those who follow your Twitter feed

are anxious to hear what you have to say about the

changing season- Tell them all,

get to getting

to comparing

to describing

before the day has merged into weeks

crashed into months

and before you find yourself

standing at the bus stop

in moon boots and heavy coat with cheaply made scarves

watching as your exhaled breath

fills up with words

about how you hate the icy prick

of winter;

which will give way to the birth of Spring

and the grade school glam of Summer.

Posted in poetry, Writing

Sun Peach

If the sun took a moment,

to hush itself and turn down the heat,

waiting for itself to darken, like a rotted peach

it would take eight minutes for any of us

to realize that life as we know it

would be snuffed out,

like a hot match between two wet fingertips.

Posted in Writing

To The Poets, To The Drunkards

“You read Keats?” he asked.

I took a swig from my Diet Coke, placed it back between my legs and shook my head.  The carbonation burned the back of my throat. “Not really, no.” I said.  I turned my body towards him as he drove.  His right palm drumming against the steering wheel, his left hand continuously flicking his cigarette ash out the window. I was about to rub the back of his neck with my left hand when he said:

“I don’t know if I can sleep with a girl who hasn’t read Keats.”

My hand retreated back into my lap and my face turned back to glance out of the window.  I watched the white dashes loop underneath the tires of the car until I became ill.  Then I looked up. There was a normal day ahead of me: Partly sunny, partly warm, partly alive.  I propped my right foot up on the dashboard while I leaned forward and grabbed my bag to look for a lighter. Instead I  felt a wadded up piece of paper in the bottom corner and pulled it out.

“I mean, when he says ‘My sense with their deliciousness was spell’d: Soft voices had they, that with tender plea Whisper’d of peace, and truth, and friendliness unquell’d.’ It’s … brilliant! Don’t you see?”

Half listening to him yammer on, I had begun to unfold the paper from the bottom of my bag.  The crinkled lines read like a disgustingly false treasure map.  The words weren’t much help either. 

“Seriously, do you read any poets?” He asked this as he flicked his cigarette out the window.  I saw the butt fly backwards, slamming into the window.  My eyes moved back to my crumpled paper and I scanned the words written in tiny print.  “Are you even listening to me? Poets! Do you read them?”

A small smile worked it’s way onto my mouth. First turning up the right side, then the left, before my teeth were forced to show themselves. Smoothing the paper out on my lap, I rubbed both my hands up and down my thighs.  I noticed the faster I did this, the hotter the paper felt against my skin.  I looked back out the passenger side window, watching billboards fast approach with large images before disappearing behind me.

Without breaking my gaze, I replied, “I do read poets. Plenty of them. We’re all poets, aren’t we? I find it very shallow of you to say that you don’t sleep with girls who don’t read Keats. Not everyone can be enamored with a romantic English poet.”

“I thought you said you didn’t read him?”

“Just because I haven’t read him doesn’t mean I don’t know who he is. Jesus.”

I kept rubbing my hands over the paper, looking out the window.  I waited a few more minutes before saying anything. About a mile before the highway divided into East and West I asked him to stop the car. “What? You’re fucking crazy. I’m not stopping the car.”

“If you don’t stop the car, I’ll open the door and jump out.”

“Is this because I won’t sleep with you?”

“I wouldn’t give you the pleasure,” and my right hand gripped the door handle, pulling it towards me.  “Stop the car,” I said again.

He slowed, seeing the seriousness on my face. The Chevy merged over two lanes of traffic as we coasted, then coming to a complete stop directly in between the two interstates. “Thank you,” I said as I reached down for my bag. I took the piece of paper that had been warming on my thighs and folded it neatly, placing it in a side pocket.  I unbuckled my seat belt, opened the car door.

“Oh my God, you’re really doing this.”

I stepped out. He rolled down the window. 

“Get back in the car. Are you trying to prove a point? C’mon. Get back in the car. I’ll buy you some merlot and let you read Sylvia Plath to me or some shit.” 

I leaned up against the window and spoke,

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

A confused look came across his face as I continued, “If you want to be cliche, I figured I’d match you.” 

My body leaned in closer, halfway inside the car.  He met my gaze, “Get in the car. Quit fucking around.” 

I spit in his face.  “I’ll take it from here, thanks.”

The tires kicked up rocks into my knees and I saw his hand extend out of the window as he flipped me the bird.  I stood there for a moment smiling and then continued on with my partly normal day.