Friday, September 29, 2006

Torture Poems

Some of the poems I've been writing lately mention torture. Maybe I should stop reading/watching the news. It's too depressing. We're becoming a nation right out of "1984." The Democrats will still not gain back Congress, despite everything that's been done wrong. Maybe when it all falls apart they won't be so tainted by it and be able to repair the damage. Wishful thinking.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pictures for My Poems

Each of my poems should come with accompanying pictures of each of the images I use. For example, a photo of a Scooby Doo night light. I think it'd make for an interesting book.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Great Burlesque Poetry Hour Reading!

Thank you Lolita and Gilda, Moira and Mike (my fellow readers) as well as everyone who attended (especially J.D., Erik, Phil, and Doug) for a great Burlesque Poetry Hour Reading. Check out some photos of me and others at the event at

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Burlesque Poetry Hour Reading

Here's an announcement of a reading I'm doing next Monday -- see September's Sexy Shake-Up A month of unexpected surprises! Moira Egan, Mike Gubser and Donald Illich are taking it off for Lolita and Gilda at Bar Rouge in Washington D.C. Monday, August 28. Reading will begin at 8:00 p.m. in The Dark Room at Bar Rouge. Moira Egan's first book of poems, Cleave (WWPH, 2004), was nominated for the National Book Award and was a finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Award. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Gargoyle, Notre Dame Review, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Redivider, 32 Poems, and West Branch, among many others. In Italy, a selection of her poems will appear in translation in Nuovi Argomenti and as a collection in a new series of American poets. Her work is featured in the anthologies Kindled Terraces: American Poets in Greece; Lofty Dogmas: Poets on Poetics; Sex & Chocolate; and The Art of Poetry, which is forthcoming in 2006. Her work has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Two of her Bar Napkin Sonnets won First Place in the Baltimore City Paper Poetry Contest (2005). She has been a Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Creative Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a VCCA International Fellow at the St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity in Malta. Egan lives in Baltimore, does private manuscript consultations, and teaches poetry workshops at The Writer's Center in Bethesda, MD. Mike Gubser is the author of Secret, but Kept it Room (Ahadada, Dec. 2005) and the chapbook 14 Projects for the Next Millennium. He is currently a history professor at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. Donald Illich has published poetry in The Iowa Review, Fourteen Hills, CrossConnect Magazine, Roanoke Review, and New Zoo Poetry Review. His work will be included in future issues of Passages North, Nimrod, LIT, Xavier Review,, Del Sol Review, and The Sulphur River Literary Review. He received a Prairie Schooner scholarship to the 2006 Nebraska Summer Writer’s Conference. He has written more than 125 love sonnets in bars around the D.C. area, and he will write at least a few more tonight (maybe about you, if you're lucky).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tony Hoagland's New Book

I bought a copy of Tony Hoagland's new book last night at Barnes and Noble. I can already tell, just by reading a few pages, that'll it be very helpful to my writing. I also bought an issue of "Filter" because it had a story about the Decemberists. Although I'm not as keen on the new album as their others, it's still very good, and I'm always impressed at Colin Meloy's ability to tell a story and use interesting language.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I had a weird nightmare last night where I needed to get cable straps for my backpack, so I could go on a camping trip with my ex-girlfriend. The problem was I was shopping in a bad area of the city and was afraid I'd be mugged. Then on my return home I had to cross on foot a very high bridge similar to one in Biloxi (I'm afraid of heights) and asked a fireman to drive me across. We realized after we got over the bridge that Saddam Hussein was in the truck, and we needed to stop him before he escaped from the tiny market store we'd all gone inside. It's hazy after that, though I do know I grappled with Hussein, tried to karate chop him. I'm afraid to psychoanalyze this one.

Monday, September 18, 2006


I went hiking with a friend yesterday around Lake Frank in Montgomery County, Md. I had a good time -- saw a turtle in the middle of a trail with an orange shell, butterflies hanging around wildflowers, and a floppy eared goat that bleated like a human being. The goat might make it into one of my poems. I bought a big bag of jelly beans in a plastic bag with the word "yum" written all around it. A few questions 1) How did "yum" become a word meaning delicious? 2) Does it work -- does it make people more likely to buy food with that word all over its wrapping?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Reading This Now

If you are reading this now, you are part of a very exclusive club. A very small one. Send me your name and address, and I will send you your very own membership card and a personalized poem (it may be an old one with your name taped to it). I will also send you the meaning of life, typed very neatly* (*May not actually end up being the meaning of life). What's with me and poetry: rejection, rejection, rejection. I think I may just start writing about cats for greeting card companies.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Apparently, one time in college a professor told a friend of mine I was a genius. This is secondhand information, so I wasn't sure how accurate it was. But how does he feel now, knowing how wrong he was? I'm a super-genius, man!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Why the title was the first word I thought of when I began writing this I'll leave to the historians to debate. I know people will talk, did he mean on popcorn, did he mean fresh from the dairy, did he imply something naughty ("butt"). I will let it be a mystery, a fruitful one I hope. Let this be my "Moby Dick," my "Catcher and the Rye," my "Gravity's Rainbow." With one word I've changed the world.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I bought some Muenster cheese from Safeway yesterday, and it's date to sell by was August 1st. Then I looked on my back and tattooed in red ink was the same text. I didn't know I'd expired, but I must have been left out too long. Remember that if you're coming to talk to me; I'm sour, stinky, and about to go bad.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Omission Is The New Submission

Omission is the new submission. Send empty envelopes to every journal you know. Fill them with the nothingness in your heart. Wait for the SASE of your soul, who has been beaten up by the devil on your shoulder, and bandaged by the angel on your head. Lick them up, staple on your stamps.

The New Deal

There was a boy who had an elf, and this elf didn't like people. It buried one of his teachers in the yard, and it was indicted for a criminal conspiracy to manipulate the stock market. The boy sucked his thumb and whined it wasn't his fault. Meanwhile, a new shiny car appeared in his father's driveway, a pot of gold in the backseat. No one looked for the teacher after they found a robot replacement. The father got new hair plugs. The boy's mother began to drink heavily. In conclusion, that's the way the New Deal was founded. The End.

Friday, September 08, 2006


The geniuses are running the asylum. They don't know how this happened, as they expect stupid people to always win. They're handing out straitjackets for warmth. Pills are sprayed inside inmates' mouths. IQ tests determine who gets which shift. At night they eat from their gift baskets, Brie and expensive wines. Soon they will all make a video and you will watch it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


My army of stingrays will be coming to a town near you. Our venomous barbs are illegal weapons of warfare we will unleash on the great unwashed. Purchase our chocolate bars so we won't have to do this again. Your coral reefs are no place for picnics. Please buy all my collectible cups, each with a different picture of me combating a wild animal: duck, termite, great white shark, vampire, and Karl Rove. The McDonald's people will be so happy I'm letting you all know about this.

Things My Things Have

My olive has a martini. My Frankenberry has a spoon. My VH1 Remember the 90s has a C-list comedian commentator.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The True Major Problem with Contemporary American Poetry, Why It Can't Reach a Larger Audience, and What We All Can Do About It

Critique: All poetry but mine sucks. Solution: My books should be published, widely distributed, and given prominent places in bookstores. That will solve the problem.


Today I'm thinking about letters. Why do we need them? They're such ugly things, sans and sans serif. They don't like us, I think. See how they betray us each day -- so many bad battles they get us into each day. But when they spell "birthday," see how happy we are? We like having a cake, even the "k" is forgiven.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Frieda Hughes Column

This is a new column by the daughter of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, Fieda Hughes.,,7-2338849.html. I felt it was a humble and enlightening discussion of how she came to poetry despite her resistance to it (due to her famous parents), and also how anyone can enjoy poetry. These paragraphs speak to me: "It seems to me that poetry is often held at arm’s length and viewed with a mixture of suspicion and the attitude that somehow it is not for ordinary people, only for elevated literary types who talk of iambic pentameter and hexameters. But the more one reads the more familiar and accessible poetry becomes. "I believe that poetry explains us to ourselves, through the mirror of the poet’s eye. In the writing of it, it comes from a place deep down inside us that is more honest and real than the superficial face we present to the world, and when a reader finds the right poem, that is the part of them that responds, especially if the poem should describe a familiar experience or a reflection of someone they know — or themselves."


I am a starfish. I'm neither a star nor a fish. I am a unicorn. Feel my horn.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Feelings About Rain

It's raining here. I like rainy and cold days, I'm not sure why. There's always this feeling of something impending, of something out there that's going to change my life. Maybe it's the storm clouds about to let loose their rain. I feel calmer and safer. My back tingles. I feel more one with things (almost transcendental).

Everything (Within Reason) Poetry Exercise

Maybe when I write stuff it should just be random words and associations. That could be an exercise, just write down everything you see around you (within reason), and for each item, describe an emotional and thought association you have with this object. Then go back and revise this language into a draft of a poem.