Regular Poem: Jerks

21 May

the other morning I listened to
one of my fave Bible stories
during my daily routine
God blessed me with it
and i chose to throw away that blessing
like esau despising his birthright

(of course that king james terminology doesn’t quite
line up with the modern meaning of the word
despise didn’t exactly mean he hated it
so much as he
didn’t value it enough

as we’ve discussed previously
jacob is a total dick
and therefore
takes advantage of his brother’s weakness and foolishness
but esau
to jacob’s credit
is a melodramatic little bitch)

he sold his inheritance for lentil soup
and i traded my blessing for riling myself up

but anyway
i was blessed with it and
enjoyed the blessing for a moment

it’s the one where
jehoshaphat king of judah is hanging out with ahab king of israel and he says
“you got a prophet of the Lord in this joint?”
and ahab goes
“yeah but i hate him
because he always tells the truth
instead of what i want to hear”

they visit him anyway
and at first the prophet’s like
“you’ll win the next battle for sure”
and they’re like
and he’s like
“lol no there’s a lying spirit in all the other
air quotes
and you’re gonna lose big time
sheep without a shephard
the whole bit”

and of course he’s right
because he tells the truth
hears what God tells him and relays it

it’s one of my faves because
it’s funny of course
but also because
we know ahab mostly because of jezebel
his lady macbeth
enticing him into power struggles and idolatry
her lifeless decadently adorned corpse consumed by dogs

ahab was a wicked king
and his wife was even wickeder
but at least she had some agency

and here’s where the riling myself up comes in

it’s okay for david to effectively murder nabal
so he can fuck abigail
because nabal is a bad guy
but it’s not okay for david to effectively murder uriah
so he can fuck bathsheba
because uriah is a good guy

it’s okay for david to have a lot of wives and concubines and
to show his junk dancing in a street festival
but it’s not okay
for michal his first wife to think it wasn’t proper for her husband and king
to show his junk dancing in a street festival

he’s blessed and she’s cursed
for it
the intention of it
the selfless or selfish
ness of it

(also michal was jonathan’s sister
and jonathan
was the only one
david really loved
and in a super gay way


i don’t think God is arbitrary
but saying a bisexual dude
[jonathan’s love “passing the love of women”!!!]
[bathsheba’s naked bathing body “very beautiful to look upon”!!!]

possesses God’s own heart

is enough evidence for me
that God is different than we conservative assholes might think)

i rile myself up

i’m as angry as elisha
as he summons bears to devour children who mock him

it’s not the concubines that make one unholy
it’s what one believes because of those concubines

throw me out a window if you must
but know

someone has told the truth
a prophet is somewhere in the wilderness wailing

and an oft-divorced gentile woman
is the person
Jesus chose to speak to the longest

“did right in the sight of the Lord”

those kings didn’t abolish high places
weren’t the husband of one wife

but their hearts were somehow right

so what does a right heart even mean?

i answer the question and don’t answer

i believe

we’re all such jerks


Regular Poem: Gamble

17 May

lay your money down
heap it in the pot
feel the excitement as you win

but realize
that too many people have placed the same bet
the odds were in your favor
so your share is small

you’ve bet
that i
wouldn’t learn from my mistakes
that i
would make impulsive decisions
that i
would be writing the same bullshit about the same four people for the thousandth time

that’s not a safe bet, babe
that’s a fixed fight

that’s the black sox scandal of 1919, babe

i use the gambling metaphor because
i use the gambling metaphor in my colloquial speech that everyone around me picks up on and subsequently uses

i’m turning us all into humphrey bogart
one hard-boiled cliche at a time
but not like regular philip marlowe humphrey bogart
but surreal dark passage humphrey bogart where
half the time you don’t even have your own face
just bandages and chiaroscuro
and spite

of course

you’d have bet on chiaroscuro and spite
you’d have bet on a lot of things

i always deliver on a lot of things
and never deliver on others

one thing i did actually learn
is that an always-never argument
is automatically invalid

there are sometimes

what are my favorite adverbs
who are my favorite people

they say not to write using adverbs
they say it’s lazy
telling rather than showing

what is a person
divorced from
she’s completing an action

adverbs answer a lot of questions

i ask
i answer myself
i use old-timey stock phrases

there are a lot of things worthy of hate
but adverbs tend to be
a grammatical whipping boy

catch me behind the woodshed
i’m always ready for a punishment
physical preferred because i know i can take that

put your money on me
i’m the horse with the worst name at the kentucky derby
but the worst names usually win
and you can wear whatever hat you want as you drink mint juleps

max bet
accidentally six bucks a spin
when really you had meant
repeat bet

but every bet
is still a bet
there’s the chance to lose
and the house always wins regardless

Regular Poem: Taurus Season

30 Apr

i said something blunt and dismissive
in my usual
blunt dismissive way
and she said
“of course you would say that
you’re a taurus”

and i said
“i don’t what that means and also
how do you know when my birthday is”

so from what she told me about what that meant
and a few other anecdotal sources
and from the fact that i tend to celebrate my birthday
the entire month of may
and people pretty universally let me

i’ve come to the conclusion
that taurus season
is all hedonism–
a hedonism of both the body and the mind
all ranting and buffets and margarita buckets and new clothes and sunshine hammock naps
lazy convertible rides and raspberry iced tea
skinny dipping and off-key singing
and saying a lot of blunt dismissive things
whenever you want

if aries is aggressive and impulsive
maybe taurus is that but with a rounded edge from overuse

at least i know that a taurus is a bull
and a bull is big and mean and has horns
but is often too lazy to use them

Regular Poem: Bad Girls Book Club, Part II

29 Apr

well i started the book without the
nouveau cahier
excuse me
new notebook
(there’s a lot of french sprinkled in because that’s what it’s translated from
and you know how i am
how my brain
splinters and drifts and then finds pieces of itself on a distant shore half petrified with salt and wind)

and so far
i don’t like it
it’s very pretentious
and if i had a euro for every time within even just the first three chapters someone’s derided the bourgeoisie
i could buy a decent croque-monsieur and orangina already
of course the bourgeoisie deserve to be derided
and so do i for feeling such pride at having
spelled bourgeoisie correctly on my first attempt
but still

what was the last fiction book i liked

oh yeah

destitute romantic dreamers in the deep south
generational trauma and troubles
sympathetic selfish people struggling with familial curses and differing addictions
literal and metaphorical ghosts
magical realism
lyrical writing
ruminations on love and loss
modern trashy gothic

i’ve got a dramatic streak
windblown moors a craggy precipice a lighthouse in a hurricane
that’s dissatisfied with the bourgeois
existentialism and philosophizing
inherent in so many fictional works
not written by disenfranchised people
or at least people disenfranchised adjacent

angry hopeful people with little money
and weird relationships with their parents
sentimental and pragmatic and spiritual and
maybe a little nuts
striving yearning working hands and working minds
seeing sad beauty in dog vomit

jane eyre in an indian casino in oklahoma

maybe i have niche interests
or maybe i just can’t relate
to middle-class french people
who hate their lives
for very different reasons than
i hate mine

Regular Poem: Hobbies

28 Apr

i wish i could be one of those calm people who watched birds
went for hikes and took photos of rocks
tended a garden
baked as relaxation
zoned out on a treadmill

what do i even do for pleasure like that
that pleasure that’s serene and organic

most of my leisure activities
rile me up in one way or another
i can’t even take a hot shower
without getting mad that i don’t have a bathtub

is it just my choleric nature
or a psychological problem i could fix
through kindness and determination

even things i enjoy
i quietly or even loudly criticize
“i like the story ok but this exposition is tedious and repetitive”
“the game itself is fun but the rules have a lot of exploitable loopholes”
“you’ve put together so much valuable information in this powerpoint but is that really the font you’re going with”
“i like having an outlet for my thoughts and feelings but is it actually poetry so much as narcissistic stream of consciousness essays divided into arbitrary stanzas”

maybe my one real hobby is criticism
maybe my one real hobby is analysis
maybe my one real hobby is anxiety

maybe i can participate in any hobby
and still be narcissitically preoccupied with my stream of consciousness essay writing itself
behind birdcalls and a teaspoon of almond extract

Regular Poem: Double Portion, Please

27 Apr

i had a prophetic dream the other night
i hadn’t had one of those in ages
and so wasn’t prepared for the effects

i started awake at 4am
sweating and aching
hands and feet swollen
stumbled to the bathroom
reached for my toothbrush
but then realized it wasn’t yet time
to be performing tasks

i fell back into bed
and back into dreams

of swamps and trudging through them
cautiously thoughtfully but confidently

when my alarm went off
and i reached for my toothbrush at the appropriate time

i still felt
the heat and wet of the swamp
the teeth of the alligator

my prophetic dreams contain
just small truths
but if i were to be perfectly obedient
listen and do
even twenty five percent more

what could my dreams tell me then

it’s a scary
i’m here at the edges of the sublime

elisha commanded an unseen host
and it frightens me to think
that could be me

at least i’m not an old testament prophet
i’ve comforted myself by saying it so many times
but what if i’m meant to be
but i’m indulging myself in being a piece of shit too much
to realize my full potential
and i’m just getting vague hints through bizarre dreams and weird interactions

of course it could be coincidence
but i don’t believe in coincidence
i’m a calvinist after all alas

i can’t just sit around and wait
for a mantle to fall upon my shoulders
dropping from a chariot of fire
so obvious too obvious
for my modern sensibilities

but surely everyone
has a prophetic dream every now and then
surely i can just live and be

if i really believed that though
i wouldn’t be paying so much attention to my dreams
would i
if i really believed that
i wouldn’t be begging for more

Regular Poem: It Seems

26 Apr

it seems
time for my first rib to jump
out of alignment into piercing perfect pain

the conditions are right
or wrong

but maybe
it’ll be something different this time
physical and emotional stress will manifest instead

in perhaps
probably not i have an iron stomach
i’m like a dachshund or goat that way
stubborn asshole animals that can eat glass and still get out of the fence an hour later

perhaps migraines
but those are more autumn accessories
yes spring is autumn adjacent
the weather capricious in inverted ways
bloom and rot both inducing similar allergic reactions
the difference is the sunlight maybe
similar angles but waxing rather than waning
more of it as spring progresses
and the more uv the more vitamins a and d
anyway i don’t currently have a lot of spring migraines
but i’m open to the idea

strep is always on the table
but let’s knock on wood and cross our fingers about that

in fact
while we’re at it
let’s knock on wood and cross our fingers about almost everything

after all
mysteriously pinched nerves
sometimes mysteriously unpinch themselves
at seemingly unrelated trauma
everything’s connected rather obscurely
it seems

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