30 Apr

I get these fliers like once a month from one of those shady “we buy houses” places, and I’m honestly getting tempted to call them. So I did a little blackout poetry to try to dissuade myself from what is probably a bad idea.


I want
I have been trying
I am not sure of the condition inside
needs some work.
ask them
be willing

You can choose
you want fast
I don’t care.
Please take a moment
Please try
I hope that
we can work something out…I am

Regular Poem: Angle of Repose

29 Apr

learned a new phrase today
that will inevitably
pop up in my brain in the future
and bang around for a few weeks
with a lot of self-reflection and metaphor attached to it

maybe i can nip it in the bud
and deal with it now
and mercifully forget about it
i doubt that
but it’s worth a try

angle of repose:
the steepest angle at which a certain granule can be stacked
with others of like kind before sliding

i’ve spent a lot of time driving
the kansas countryside
seeing big piles of wheat or beans or sand or rock or whatever
just out in the open
sometimes on a tarp sometimes on a burnt stretch of field
sometimes covered by a tarp sometimes just beholden to breeze and precipitation

and i have wondered about that
angle of repose
but never had the terminology for it
until a few hours ago

i guess you see it in anthills too
and molehills
any hill
any dirt will do

what is too much atmospheric pressure
what is too much weight
before collapse
and is it a collapse so much as a reconfiguration

more interesting than the angle of repose might be
the cirumference of the pile
how does the pile get into such a perfect circle
or perfect cone as it were

it’s all about angles and pi and force and gravity
i suppose
which i never took in school
but i like the idea of it

i think my personality was wasted in a number of ways
both ways of my own making
and ways outside my control

i could’ve probably been a very good theoretical mathematician
or at the very least pop science writer
and i could’ve taken steps to have chosen that but didn’t
i also would’ve been a very effective mean big sister to somebody but that wasn’t my fault
and i would’ve been so so good at being a quack “doctor” in the 1890s or so but that wasn’t my fate either

angle of repose though
such a romantic little phrase
sounds like how many pillows an elegant lady needs for optimal comfort lying on a chaise

maybe not romantic maybe bleak
sounds like how much one must fold oneself and twist oneself to fit into a prescribed role so that there’s not so much societal friction

sounds like a lot of things
sounds good–
the sounds themselves that is
a very pleasing phrase
that feels good to say
opens up the mouth in a lot of ways–
and yet its meaning is about a closing
a cap a limit

i certainly haven’t dealt with it thoroughly enough for it to not sprout again soon
it will be back to haunt me
the next time i’m climbing a grain bin
or even driving past one
or perhaps just drinking a baja blast with a completely empty mind

Regular Poem: The End

29 Apr

i’ve never felt particularly compelled
to finish things

one time i read all but the very last chapter of a book before i decided
it just wasn’t worth it anymore
i’ve got tangles and tangles of fishing line tumbling around in my garage from when i made a diy bow to play musical saw
but discarded that when i couldn’t get more than a squeak out of it
one hundred thousand words of that vampire novel
with no discernible plot and no end in sight

but then again
i did listen to all twenty two discs
of east of eden
hating it the entire time
just because it was part of a reading challenge that i was adamant about winning

so i don’t know what my deal is
what kind of goals are effective
what objectives properly motivate me
what rules and regulations do i respect and which do i ignore

whatever i guess
i’ll be on another project next week
and maybe i’ll interrogate the process
but interrogating processes is another project to be abandoned in itself

Regular Poem: Essential Workers

27 Apr

haven’t punched my red cross card yet
i’m saving it for when i’m
sufficiently lonely and restless

but considering
quik trip is still open
i don’t know when that might be

because even before
sometimes when i’d get lonely
i’d make up a reason to go to quik trip

because quik trip
exclusively employs attractive polite cashiers
who want to engage with people

just yesterday that nice pretty boy ringing me up
talked to me about my dog and the weather
and smiled and made my day

three months ago that nice pretty girl ringing me up
talked to me about her favorite gatorade
and smiled and made my evening

a year ago that nice pretty man
mistook me for someone else and talked to me about relatives i didn’t have
and smiled and made my week

several times over the course of a few months last year
the beefy blond found me at the fountain drinks and told me
he was glad to see me and that i always make his night

(it’s a pheromone
i think
that makes me especially enticing to gas station clerks

whatever it is it’s a mutual appreciation
a reprieve
an anonymous pleasant interaction)

i’d feel guilty about it
except it’s so brief
you can wash up before and after and pose very little risk to anybody

i’d feel guilty about it
but from everything i’ve read it seems quik trip is an ethical company
compensates their employees well and looks out for their best interests and even has a gentleman’s agreemant with other gas stations to not encroach on their turf

i’d feel guilty
but i don’t
i need certain stimulation and i think they probably do too

Regular Poem: Hypothetical Casting Call

26 Apr

that before time
back when i had regularly scheduled extracurricular activities five days a week
all kind of blurs together in my memory
just as the days do now
with no discernible time markers or dialogue tags
a block of indistinct happenings both before and now

i’m going over vague events and trying to piece them together
as fully as i am able
to extract some joy from them–
in remembrance create hope
that similar things might occur in the future
when the fuzzy now time is over
when the malaise of this current season dissipates.

an anecdote i suddenly remembered today that made me smile:

the hottest soprano in praise band

(she is not my soprano
i’m alto b and she’s soprano a
but c team was on mic for the evening
so we were in the front row of the worship center sitting next to each other
because she likes to make fun of me for texting so much during rehearsals
and i like to make fun of her for balancing her checkbook during rehearsals)

and i

for some reason i do not recall
started talking about musical theater and that quickly devolved
into a flirty fake argument about which one of us
would be the better sandy in a production of grease

well you already know from the exposition i provided
that she is both very attractive and a soprano
what you don’t know is that her singing is like if there were a disney princess who was voiced by a ’90s country-western-pop-crossover diva
what you also don’t know is that my singing is more a ’30s cabaret alto who might voice a disney villain

(when her assigned alto is indisposed and i fill in
or when my assigned soprano is indisposed and she fills in
or when soprano c is doing keys 2 and alto c is out of town and we’re the people available
or whatever other circumstance forces us to sing together

we blend so well
sound so good together
and look so good together as a bonus

[in my opinion alto c is the hottest alto
but my proclivities for 60-year-old women with sharp jawlines are not ubiquitous unfortunately
so in popular opinion
i’m the hottest alto])

so she’s the obvious choice
for this not real production

but the way she was issuing challenges to me and waggling her eyebrows and flipping her long straight blonde hair and laughing to expose her slim pale throat
made me realize she was adamant that we should have some kind of manufactured rivalry about it

just for the fun of it

and she was so flirtatiously competitive
that it made me want to be equally flirtatiously competitive
and belt out the correct lyrics to the chorus of “hopelessly devoted to you” after she had botched them

(don’t worry
rehearsal was over by this time
so we weren’t being disruptive
as we sang at each other
increasingly ardently
in a showdown at the metropolitan baptist corral)

it concluded when i capitulated by saying
“i’m more of a rizzo anyway”

and that seemed to satisfy her
because a sandy is not actually a sandy
without a rizzo to be contrasted against

Regular Poem: Trauma Response

25 Apr

somebody told me the other day that i’m
so empathetic

in context it made sense
and yes
i do tend to think of myself in that way

but i immediately started questioning it

it seems like the sort of characteristic
that should be universally evident
and yet

who else might describe me that way
and who else wouldn’t in a million years even with a gun to their head

it’s one of those innocuous things
that serves as a traumatic trigger for me

‘nam veterans have fireworks and/or wet shoes
and rape survivors have their attackers’ faces and/or smells

i’ve got sudden movements in my periphery
and comments about my personality that people in positions of authority have denied are true

i shouldn’t so freely equate myself with people who’ve endured so much worse
but then i look at my discolored and highly scarred forearms
and think maybe trauma is trauma is trauma
and it effects the psyche in similar ways regardless of severity
and also
just because i knew the reason i was being attacked
doesn’t mean it wasn’t scary and didn’t hurt

oh shit
maybe that’s why
the gaslighting sticks with me more than the physical pain
because i didn’t and still don’t understand the reason for it

i can reconcile why an autistic schizophrenic man might tackle me to the ground and punch me repeatedly in the face
but i can’t reconcile why nobody with any power to do anything about it didn’t believe me when i told them he was dangerous

i have no ill will toward that man who punched me as i jump out of my skin when someone a few feet away extends an arm very quickly and jerkily even though his erratic actions conditioned me to this heightened response
i have nothing but contempt and rage and deep sadness about those people who dismissed my concerns when someone calls me perceptive and i question that analysis because those people’s actions conditioned me to self-reflection and self-loathing

i know i’m too much up my own ass
spend too much time thinking about
my own problems and my own personal attributes–both positive and negative–and how those attributes are both utilized and perceived

trauma responses
respond the way they do
in whatever iteration they do
for a reason
and that’s just science

Regular Poem: You Keep Using That Word…

24 Apr

I’m suspicious
these folks don’t know what

It doesn’t mean
nuts to the max.
It’s not shorthand for
uncontrollably excited.
It’s not synonymous with

It refers to a previously domesticated animal now living in the wild, reverting to a natural state,
which I guess in some contexts
fits what they’re trying to say.

But really,
it’s a neutral word–
doesn’t have the feverish fervent connotation
they want it to.

a opossum
(yeah I use that indefinite article;
the o is silent)
hissing in a dumpster
is not feral.
She’s just
that you interrupted her.

I’m being pedantic about it tonight

because I’m so tired of seeing it–
overuse of an initially innocuous maybe even pleasing phrase is not only annoying in its own right
but also especially annoying because the more I see something
the more I’m inclined to analyze and investigate it
and be pedantic about it,
and heaven knows:
pedantry [even from me, who is very pretty and very clever]
is very annoying–

And also because I recently did a bunch of reading on so-called wild horses,
and technically these pockets of free-range mustangs in the American West
are not wild but feral,
and I still haven’t stopped thinking about that.

The idea of feral horses
with the connotation of feral so often in common use
is hilarious and sort of frightening.
They’re so big
and so skittish and so weird, even when well-trained.

I bemusedly found myself at a horse rescue a while back,
and the gal running the joint was an old hick lady,
so of course we got on well,
and anytime you get on well with any old lady
there comes a time in the course of the interaction
where she’s forgotten her reading glasses somewhere and squints at her phone and pulls it away from her face and brings it in close to her face and pulls it back again and finds the correct distance where she can see
and then scrolls through a bunch of pictures of restaurant menus and blurry shots of grandkids
and finally finds the things she’s actually wanting to show you

(I have always loved old ladies,
and now in this current technological landscape
they’ve really brought their a-game to changing with the times but still retaining their old lady essence, and I hope to follow their example as I age and gradually become an old lady to some younger woman who will laugh at me and with me and love me and appreciate me at the same time).

And the thing she wanted to show me was the horse bite

She has worked with horses her entire life. Some of the horses have lived with her for decades.
Every single horse at this place
came from abusive origins,
and yet in the five hours I was there
I didn’t see a single one startle.
They were all gentle and socialized to people,
ate right out of my hand,
nuzzled my neck–
what a testimony to the sympathetic and comprehensive care this woman has shown.

So if a sweet and well-loved horse can do that accidentally
(the biting horse had been in and out of consciousness while giving birth at the time of the incident)
what might a feral horse be capable of?

I’m kind of arguing against my own point,
but also no I’m not.

Most animals–domesticated, tame (tame is on an individual level rather than a species level which is where domesticated lives), feral, or wild–are just minding their own business,
reacting to stimuli,
defending themselves if need be.
They don’t typically
actively seek out conflict.

When you’re at the zoo
see a tiger pacing its cage
a polar bear swimming figure eights
they’re not biding their time and planning something.
They’re just understimulated–
what they’re doing is called a stereotypy,
and they do it when they as LeAnn Rimes would say
got nothin’ better to do.

In conclusion,
doesn’t mean
always ready to bite and scratch and commit crimes.
It’s just animals being animals
after they’ve been pets or livestock.

Author’s Note 1:
Language is a device
with frequent updates.
Maybe feral does mean what you want to pretend it means;
as long as whom you’re communicating with understands,
no harm no fowl (pun!).
I’m just in a mood
and still
thinking about
feral horses
as a phrase as a concept as an actual thing that exists
and needed to talk about it more.

Author’s Note 2:
Most animals are just minding their own business.
Except the domesticated cat.
Whether a housecat or feral, cats are dicks
and do very much seek out whatever trouble
they find themselves in.

Regular Poem: Confession: I’m Very Stupid in So Many Ways and Also I Would Totally Bang Ann Coulter

23 Apr

no thoughts in the brain
is a pretty neutral state
blank and somnambulent and executing rote tasks by muscle memory alone
until it stabs you in the back
or in the brain as it were

and suddenly

what was once blank
is now fully lit with halogen bulbs and lurid in the harsh glow not to mention horrible to see and experience

it can be just a flash of something
not even a second long
precipitated by
a scrap of fabric with a suggestion of a meaningful emblem on it
a familiar smell carried in and then abruptly away on a breeze
just anything tiny and terrible to stimulate just the right wrong neural pathways

goodbye clean white uncreased 8.5×11 letter paper of the mind
hello new england clam chowder of the mind

what’s even in new england clam chowder
an inscrutable amalgamation of colors and flavors and textures
and ain’t that a kick in the head

a kick in the mind as it were
that kick starts every angry thing

next month i’ve gotta renew my driver’s license
i haven’t yet read the materials regarding such which the kansas department of revenue division of vehicles sent me a while back
so i’m wondering if i can keep my motorcycle license without much fuss

i’m much more likely to be able to remember how to kick start a motorcycle
than i am likely to remember
the relevant details as to why
i’m so angry all the time about these flashes of nothing and/or everything that keep sparking like a flame catching on the stray dry strands of a damp log on a bonfire

i’m better at general statements
than supporting arguments
i’d love to blame this on my incredibly vivid dreams and how i sometimes have trouble distinguishing them from real memories because of the way they feel and the way they stick
i know actually
i have a patchy long-term memory
that specializes in themes and images and phantom feelings

not very useful for passing driving exams for vehicles one hasn’t personally encountered since ann coulter was writing about how obama would be the new jimmy carter
not very useful
except to rile myself up with no scaffolding for the platform at the top of the in-construction skyscraper that is my rage

Regular Poem: Cycles

22 Apr

it goes in cycles
durations negotiable
durations be damned

not one hundred percent sure what we talked about over the course of our hour and a half phone convo
there was a lot to cover
in these trying times

but i do know this

we are branches from the same root
understanding of each other in a way that is unfathomable by others
and unfathomable in a certain way by us too
not exactly a yin and yang because we’re not opposites

we complete each other not because we provide what the other lacks
but because we arrive at the same conclusions
through different thought processes
the same amount of asshole filtered through different brains
so same so different temperament socialization etc

i feel better right now than i have in months
i’m not happy exactly
but i’m not
sad and angry and feeling like burning down a building and punching somebody and crying all night in my car before driving off a cliff the following morning

i don’t like that you’re going through it right now
and you didn’t like that i was going through it
last summer
and two and a half years ago
and [ad infinitum]

one or the other of us is perpetually going through it
and we are a constant to each other regardless

it goes in cycles
and it is what it is
and it is unrelenting

at least we have each other
and all our other chosen assholes

Regular Poem: Covenant Peanut Butter

21 Apr

Not to put too fine a point on it and not to as paul would say
Think of [myself] more highly than [i] ought to think

But you know how i feel about old testament prophets
And you know how i feel about mowing

And there’s no good reason on God’s green earth
Or even hell’s half acre

That my ancient battered lawnmower whose wheels are halfway to falling off and whose blades have probably never been sharpened in the fifteen years its been clinging to efficacy
Should have started today after spending the winter in a shed with no heating and no door

Not only did this old girl fire up and get the job done
But she also purred to life on the very first pull

It wasn’t exactly like when elijah was living with that widow and her son died and she was like “why’d you come here to eat my food and murder my son” and elijah laid himself out on top of him and cried out to God to revive him
But it wasn’t not like that

Not all miracles are so dire and dramatic after all
Some miracles are just little things that ought not be possible

But where’s the covenant peanut butter factor in
You’re asking or maybe not as seeming non sequiturs that really only make sense in my own brain and the way i associate ideas are kind of my thing too

(Well not this time babe
Thematic relevance and from the very same chapter of first kings)

It may have been the same evening year before last
That my best friend and her husband helped me change the oil and spark plug on this same old mower

That they wanted a snack and went to raid my cupboard
On a rare occasion that i had bread in the house

And she said
Surely this can’t be the peanut butter i bought when i lived here

(She was my roommate before she got married
And that was three roommates ago)

But it was indeed against all odds that peanut butter
And two years later (counting from that evening) or eight years later (counting from when we last lived together)

That peanut butter is still to this day in my cupboard far from depleted or rancid
In fact i successfully ate a generous helping of it on a waffle two weeks ago

(Before the widow’s kid died
There was the famine in the land and the infinite flour and oil miraculously extrapolated from scraps

Her house did eat many days
And the barrel of meal wasted not neither did the cruse of oil fail

I’m not saying i’m an old testament prophet
I’m just saying that for all my myriad curses i’m also


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