Regular Poem: Special Occasions

22 Mar

Saving special things
for special occasions
is all good and well and
but as I thawed the last
tender, grass-fed sirloins
a previous roommate
had blessedly abandoned
in my deep freeze
and prepared to pan fry
them in gratuitous butter
at 11 pm on just a regular old night,
I thought to myself,

What’s more special than surviving

countless double shifts,
a power outage,
a denied promotion,
attacks and ripped blouses and lost buttons and bites and bruises and backaches?

What’s more special than
not having cried over things one can’t change
and should’ve forgotten by now anyway?

What’s more special than craving
good red meat and bad cholesterol?

What’s more special than living life
to whatever degree of success one can manage?

Every day is a new, same day,
another day of drudgery in paradise,
one more step up on a down escalator,
so excuse me for living.

Regular Poem: References

7 Mar


Hello, this is she.

Oh, yes, of course.

If only for more words
to express
my deep admiration
for this
pinnacle of humanity:

a beam of hope,
a spark of the divine,
a singular ray
glimmering in the gloom–
brightly and humbly
walking in robes of
wisdom, charm,
grace, empathy.

And yes,
she is the ideal
for this position.

Any position.

All positions.


Hello, this is she.

Sure, of course.

Yes, she is
an extraordinary individual:
quick, funny, organized.

More so than others?
Yes, I can say with certainty.
A memorable personality,
well-suited to the profession.


Hello, yes.

Sure, yes.

She is–
or was when
I knew her
a year and a half ago–
driven, intellectual,
sometimes flippant,
often late,
a snappy dresser.

I rather hated her
her lipstick was nice.

Yes, probably a good fit.




Yes, I vaguely recall
she was

a person
whom I knew,
and she was
in some ways–

cute hair
and a big mouth.

Um, sure.
She could do a job.




Yes, well.

She may or may not
be a character
with characteristics
that are both
good and bad
at points.

May I be frank?

Please give her the position.
If I have to give
one more reference,
I will strangle someone,
and it will probably be

an HR coordinator.

And you don’t want that
blood on your hands.

Regular Poem: I’ve Been Wanting

18 Feb

I’ve been wanting
to write poetry
just shattered,
scattered lines
everywhere but
mostly nowhere
about everything but
mostly nothing.

Apparitions taking the shape of
gerunds and participles
make their appearances–
nightly, weekly, fortnightly–
and I want to see them again
tangibly, palpably
on a chalkboard or whiteboard or smartboard,
but they are
of all the words I’ve loved before.

And then of course the weather.
It’s been weeks since a sexy fog,
but I still feel a chill–
the stupidly exciting kind–
when I shuffle in
with static electricity in my hair
in a classically midwinter outfit,
and there’s a connection with all past
midwinter outfits,
something so mundane and redundant
as to be

And everything’s perfectly
in order
perfectly in disorder
down to the ill-fitting blankets on my bed (each
a different size
and none of them for a queen–
I’m too humble to admit the metaphor)
and the way I dissolve into that bed each night–
150 pounds of mostly whiskey,
grief and grievances and

but also
forgotten half-remembered memories,
titles of movies I’ve never watched,
lines from books I pretended to read,
radio jingles unheard for ten years,
slogans for restaurants no longer in business,
flashes of surreal and pixelated video game levels from 1992,
mathematical formulas and
ancient vocabulary words,
a rap about French verbs that take etre to form past tense,
names of discontinued makeup,
malformed vocal warm-ups ululating to no one,
the hope variety
and the unconscious variety
and the subconscious variety.

I drift
in and out of sleep,
in and out of loneliness,
in and out of self-loathing,
in and out.

“I’ve been thinking of doing a fast,”
I say
as I drink a second Miller High Life
(and repeat its catchphrase over and over in my head–
The Champagne of Beers,
The Champagne of Bottle Beer,
The Champagne of Beers,
The Champagne of Bottle Beer).
“I’ve been thinking of–”
I say
as I’m thinking of thinking of.
“I’ve been thinking of–”
I don’t say
as I’m thinking.

There’s no poetry here.
But there is–
of remembering and
not remembering
of wanting
of wanting to want
of wanting to not want.

I’ve been found wanting;
I’ve been left wanting;
I’ve been wanting.

Clown Redux: The Christmas Miracle

25 Dec

I woke up pissed, sore, and groggy.  There was no good reason for this.

Of course, 2014 has been a generally pissy year for me: my dad was hospitalized twice with various mysterious alcohol-induced illnesses (one of those times he was bleeding profusely all over his house before the ambulance came, and so a week later I was the one cleaning all of that up); my estranged mother has cancer; my dog died; my grandma died; my job continues to be dissatisfying, injurious to both my physical and emotional health, and low-paying.

I wasn’t thinking about all of this consciously when I woke up pissed off this morning.  But after grumbling internally about a lot of suddenly prickly past grievances and new annoyances–a grumbling that lasted all through my shower and putting on make up and running around forgetting things as I left the house–I stopped myself.  I took a deep breath, and I prayed the same thing I always pray:  that I would be forgiving and loving and generally be God’s woman today.

And yeah my life is crummy by certain measurements, but it’s also very blessed. I have life. I have a steady–albeit rather crummy–paycheck.  I have Eternity.  I have friends and family who love me.

And I have clown.

creepy puppet

Not only that, but I also have New Clown, The Christmas Miracle.

new clown

Let me begin at the beginning.

In the year and a half since I wrote about the original Clown, what started as a purely electronic, one-sided trolling has become something more:  I printed a hard copy, and Tish and I have been exchanging it on and off in disparate locations and circumstances.  She’s put it in my sheets, in the dryer, in the shower, in the medicine cabinet.  I’ve slipped it into her lunchbox, in her wedding present, in a Thanksgiving card.  All our friends know about it and reference it.  Her husband speculates with her about where to put it next, and my new roommate tries to get in on it misguidedly.

Me: What is this picture you just sent me? Roommate:  Is this not how you do Clown?

Me: What is this picture you just sent me?
Roommate: Is this not how you do Clown? Like you just send a picture of a clown, right?

Meanwhile, another roommate and I had had a standing date at CiCi’s pizza every Saturday night for several months, not only because we loved gorging ourselves on bad pizza but also because we loved gorging ourselves on bad karaoke sung by off-tune pre-teens, which one could also find at a particular CiCi’s Pizza in town (alas that roommate moved out, and that CiCi’s has gone the way of the dodo).

It was a strange and close-knit community we observed there.  Our favorite act was a twelve-ish-year-old boy who would always sing “Glad You Came.”  The kicker was that he was a ventriloquist with a professional dummy.  He was neither a good singer nor a good ventriloquist, but we enjoyed his enthusiasm and confidence regardless.

Now imagine my surprise as my family is opening gifts this morning to find that my one brother has bought my other brother a homemade ventriloquist dummy.

Given my track record, I already find this hilarious, of course.

But then out comes the real, actual best part.  My brother special-ordered this dummy (to look vaguely like my other brother) from his teenage neighbor, who not only makes homemade dummies but also owns several professional dummies and goes to ventriloquist camp.

And that teenage neighbor is none other than THE BOY FROM CICI’S PIZZA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We live in the smallest, strangest world.

new clown and andy

New Clown scares my brother, but he doesn’t scare me!


And in conclusion, I’m glad you came, New Clown.  And, of course, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Regular Poem: Steam

11 Dec

I want
a shower
to be like an
illicit love affair:

hot and as long as I want it to be,
scorching from start to finish,
giving me a reason to
shave my legs all the way up–
all smooth flesh yielding to heat and pressure.

An event that
leaves my skin flushed
my lungs cleared,
my muscles relaxed.

And at the end
I want residual
to linger
and warm me as I
finish my routine–
gliding singingly into my moisturizers and mousse–
and then
lull me luxuriously
into my robe.

I don’t need a tragic, protracted romance
that grows increasingly colder and dissatisfying,
whose conclusion starts too early
and then jolts and jerks
finally to a
torturous yet fortuitous
in a string of curses and sneers
and pure blind hatred.

Count me out
for the kind of shower
that ends with me
standing naked in my chilly bathroom
avoiding phone calls,
clawing angrily
at all the hair left in the drain,
ruing the time I wasted
after the brief
at this catastrophe’s commencement.

Regular Poem: Poem Swap

2 Nov

Sometimes–as a thought exercise–
I imagine what
a poem he might write about me
might look like,
sound like,
feel like.

(He writes poetry, too,
but I’m not sure how many
whiskeys and old country songs
have to be involved
in the process.)

How might I appear
as a protagonist–
or perhaps
in his penmanship,
scrawled on a half sheet
of legal pad
whose top half contains a checklist
of medications he’s taken already

“Your memory is short,
and your feelings are shallow.
A house is more than a house,
even if left for seasons fallow.”

(His poetry often rhymes.)

Would he write
about me
or about himself
through me?

Would I be
as I am
or as I should be?

Would it be so
laced through with
strings of metaphors
so dense
that no one would see me?

It’s a silly thought exercise.
I could just ask him.

But then that would
become a different
type of thought exercise–
an interrogation,
a call-and-response song,
a riddle
wrapped in inefficiency.

That would be his thought exercise,
not mine.

Regular Poem: Several Times Bitten

28 Oct

If once bitten twice shy then twice bitten thrice shy? Or should it follow that twice bitten four times shy? (I was always pretty good at the math section of SATs and ACTs but there are simply not enough terms to find the pattern to find the nth term, you know?) Regardless, in my experience, the premise rings a little false. People say they’ll try anything once and then end up trying it twice just to be sure the first time wasn’t a fluke. And if it hurts, maybe they like the hurt a little subconsciously. So maybe the inverse is true. Twice bitten once shy. And if we’re talking literal bites yeah, I don’t wanna get bit, but now that I have, I know what to expect. And sometimes you just have to take the bite. Especially if somebody else is about to get bit. You gotta throw your arm in and let yourself get bit instead.

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