Monday, October 30, 2006

Terrible News

Newspaper deliverers who bring terrible news have to endure whatever scandals, disasters, and emergencies their papers report. One man has to face journalists' questions about his illegal pet hamster ring and what, if anything, his suit made out of hundred dollar bills has to do with his kickbacks from the American Association for Hamster Milkers (AAHM). A woman has to save herself and an El Salvadoran family of ten from a 7.1 earthquake caused by the earth's teeth jamming against each other, trying to find something eat. Another woman orders the evacuation of the southern states because of a poisonous grit and ham epidemic, wiping out Waffle Houses across the region. When the deliverers quit and no applicants appear to take their jobs, the dailies stay wrapped on the loading docks. Tumbleweeds bounce through newsrooms, editors disappear in their own blue pencils. A giant globe tumbles from the Daily Planet building. J. Joan Jameson loses his temper for the last time and explodes. A herd of 20 feet-tall hamsters carrying a vat of grits stomps over a flock of politicians on the Capitol steps. No one hears or writes a thing.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Ugh, I'm poison! I took myself, even though clearly on my bottle, it said don't take me with milk, Chinese food, or shiny, shiny red apples. Hemlock is jealous now, so is cyanide. They sit around the pill watching TV, waiting for me to come home. Late that night I sneak in past the vocal cords as we're tossed down a throat. Oh, and where have you been, little noxious contaminant? And you have a 007 license for that? Yeah, you think you're really less painful than your girlfriend noose or that nice exposure kid next door? Meanwhile, the stomach rumbles (because that's what they do), acid throws a party with intestines for stringers, the internal organs are telling them to eat cake, and the royalty in the head is just minding its own business, moseying along, clueless as a crossword puzzle left out in the rain.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Coloring Book

Teach me how to play the Indigo. Bounce the Blue off my head. Throw a Yellow into the trash bin, then remember you have to give one copy to me, your teacher, Green. Spank Beige in a closet hidden by Black, who's following my orders. Kiss White and Puice in a school dance we're not allowed to go to. Send the Rainbow to the firing squad, 18 Crayons lacking erasers, permanet grease smear over the badly drawn lines of my life. Find a pot of gold over my dead body, which you'll happily cross with a dark pen to get, now that you're a grown-up, now that you can begin on your coloring book.

Monday, October 23, 2006


An enchanted dove met a devil near a pool of chilled chocolate pudding. The dove had not been enchanted for long and worried a lot about whether it was truly magical or if it was just deceiving itself. The devil wanted to jump into the pudding, but it had been trying to lose weight and decided that being "evil" required keeping itself from things it desired. The pudding was just pudding. Sometimes there is no end to a story, like this one. It would need a plot first, and the last time someone saw one of those around these parts, he was shot. But not because he saw a plot -- we don't give much credence to eyewitness testimony and he was mostly a nice guy -- but because he was part of one. Then it and he ended.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Book I'm Enjoying

I'm enjoying Matthew Zapruder's "The Pajamist." Good collection by a humorous and talented writer.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Damn, this rock is heavy! Are you sure there isn't something smaller I can roll, like, I don't know, a ball of fluff or a bicycle tire? Yeah, yeah, here for punishment, your horrible doom, I'm a bad guy, heard it all before. Hey, no need to poke me with that thing! It's been a long way over that stinky river, then herded with the mob through the lakes of burning fire, then getting roughly separated by those goons over there. I suppose I shouldn't complain, after seeing what that one guy was buried in (what a crime for masturbaters), but let's consider I'm going to be doing something over and over for eternity. A bird pecking at a metal mountain. A wait at an eternal dentist's office with no magazines but Field and Stream. Does it have to be so hard? All right, get moving, I'm pushing, I'm pushing . . . .

Sunday, October 15, 2006

December Reading

I'll be reading with her in December. I'm working on being published in as many places as her (and being as prolific). Maybe twice as many rejection slips, eventually.

School of Quietude Badge

Yesterday I received my School of Quietude Poetry Badge. I'm so excited! I saved up Proof of Purchases from collections by my favorite SoQ poets, like Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, Donald Hall, and Robert Pinsky. Now, I'm deputized to talk about the human condition, write formal verse, and decry poetic experimentation. Be on the look out -- I might bring your poem to SoQ Jail, where we'll refuse to beat the sense out of it; we'll expect it to confess everything on its own.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Hi, I'm an antenna. You know, I hate satellites. They've been my enemy for more than 20 years, and not once have you stuck up for me. No, you pretend to be electrocuted by sticking a fork in the toaster. Not once have you prepared toast correctly. You should make biscuits instead. Fluffier, warmer, a little honey, give them to the neighbor boy, invite your friends in for tea and laxatives. I used to whip asses, in some of the more abusive houses. Gangs ripped me off cars of "Richie Riches" who did not deign to talk to the young, uneducated Pink Lions or Carnivorous Campers. A bear once chewed my metal like bark, a shrimp's never seen me. I'm not defeated. Sometimes you'll see me on the hoods of lonely Chevettes in used car lots. If you pass me, feel my cold surface in the palms of your hands. Talk to me. Scream at the skies above you, with their orbiting metal, with their electronic planets, spying on you, grinning at me, dangerous.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


In Iowa they grow poets, their biggest export. Some people say they are our nation's most important untapped energy source, others say they huddle together too much, picking lice off their bodies, fooling yokels with pyramid schemes built out of avant garde poetics and snake oil. In the poet fields, pretending to be a scarecrow, you can hear them rustle toward the coasts, wherever the MLA Conference is, wherever a university wants to peel them back, lather them with butter, and feed them to the undergrads. But no one's going to ever get full on them.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


The squeezer was looking for you. Don't hide in that basket, I'm talking to you! You're dripping all over the closet. The kitchen's lonelier than normal tonight. Leftovers lack the juice to get them going, so it's up to you little one. You might hear that squeaking, crushing sound in your pulp at night. If you roll around in the mud they will still wash you off. Plenty have tired to flee, none have succeeded. You think you can fly if the fork will take a bribe, the spoon will reflect itself in the moon. Average lemons live for only a few weeks. The fruit fly doesn't have much of a life. You're going to sleep with a gun under your pillow. But you have no hands, and the core you have inside you is full of seeds. A kernel of wisdom helps no one. The squeezer doesn't sleep, can't be defeated, it waits on the glass table. If you look through it you can see your own soul frowning back at you, shaking its head.

Monday, October 09, 2006


North has a crush on South, but doesn't want East to know, who is South's life partner. North is busy making grits, baking biscuits, and cooking up ham, but is afraid South might be offended that North assumed South would like this kind of food. South is playing with a yo-yo. East is plotting against West, who in this instance is symbolized by a witch (ho hum.) The compass blooms into a flower, diamond snakes writhe in its petals. The man carrying the map wonders what relationships directions have when he isn't looking at them. When they're off the clock distance fades into a muddy background, indistinct, brown and common. North wonders if he's mastered his accent. East and South go back to bed, making a sun. West laughs, swings her mighty broom all over the earth.

Friday, October 06, 2006


A chapter had a problem with its book. Not the usual complaint about being cut up in a book next to other slimy characters, some of them too dramatic for their own good. No, it always wanted to be a dentist, not a section of a novel. When told by the book that training was too expensive, and that in any case it had no teeth, the chapter went on a killing spree. Down went Don Quixote, down went Heathcliff, down went Cujo. White pages drank their own letters and spit up blood. The librarians refused to come near, saying they had to re-file some periodicals downstairs, and the literary critics hushed up the whole business by saying the author was due to an "accident," not a murder. Oh, chapter, I want to tell it, you should listen to surf music. In the perfect wave you can surf the country. In your woody you can slip into deep, deep sleep, hundreds of fathoms below the ocean, wake up in the curriculum, dead and white and tall.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


The demolitions expert tries to work in the word "dynamite" into every conversation and people are tired of it. For example, if he loves a woman, he tells her she's dynamite and that he wants to explode her. When she wakes up, though, with wires attached to her head and a plunger on the other side of the room, she wonders if he's not taking this too far. Meanwhile, a bird at the window carries wick in its mouth. Flames explode from its beak when the wind blows a spark inside its mouth. The woman, updating her dental records, wonders if the robin had teeth just before she paints the room with pupils. He now works the word "loss" into his discussions and no one says a thing.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Today's My Birthday, No. 34, Year of Doom

Today's my birthday -- I'm 34. My mid-life crisis starts now, if a little early. Expect to hear about me buying a sports car and trying to hang out with people in their 20s in a desperate attempt to feel young again.