Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Sunday, December 1, 2013
This poem is a work in progress. Just something I jotted quickly on the bus.
We're all writing ghost stories.
There's no way of knowing,
while they're still spilling out,
what kind they're going to be.
Scary, with blackened eyes and a rocking chair that rights itself in the night,
or sad, unfinished, marked by suicide and sprinkled with the tragedies of unheard voices.
We write them, walk about with a ghost town building around us,
every building we enter haunted with our past, ghosts that drag behind us,
Jacob Marley memories.
Eventually we die.
The stories become ghosts.
Half-remembered things, haunts seen from the corner of memory by those we knew.
They're building their own ghosts.
Friday, November 1, 2013
This is a problem that seems like it should pop up more often. There are a lot of truly reprehensible views held by artists, both past and present. Should I avoid the writing of Lovecraft, an author I enjoy immensely, because he was also a hateful bigot? Does every artist who committed suicide deserve to have their work interpreted through that lens? Do I have to, in other words, agree with every idea I come in contact with?
Of course I don't. That'd be silly.
Separating the art from the artist is something I picked up early. To me, it was amazing that actual human men and women put those words down on the page. When you're young, the suspension of disbelief is so strong that you almost believe as if each novel was written precisely for you, was telling you events that actually happened. I know Tolkien felt that way the first time I read it, turned back to page one and immediately reread it. And I've tried to keep that feeling into adulthood. It's hard, but accepting the fiction you're reading or watching as reality, at least for that moment, is part of the fun.
There's no reason to let that fiction be tainted by the asshole behind it.
Authors Note: I may have had more difficulty justifying the visit to the movies if Orson Scott Card was getting any money from the film. However, due to a poor deal on his part, it appears he gets nothing from the backend. Just my two cents for an emotionally charged debate.
Friday, October 25, 2013
How do I know I want to be a writer? It's because I get excited for new writing. I buy a magazine, I'm all anxious, twitching and clenching hands until i can crack it open and bask in the (surely toxic) fumes and tightly spaced print. A new video game is a fresh written world, coded and acted for my pleasure. A well written film satisfies, hours that fly by. And a book is best of all. There is nothing like time lost in a book. Nothing else can reward you more.
My own writing elicits a similar reaction. Even if I'm just in front of the desk for five minutes, typing hastily into a blog that no one reads (ahem), I feel satisfied at the end. There is something that exists that didn't before, and maybe, just maybe it'll enrich someone's life. It certainly does my own.
So how do I know I want to be a writer? I know because it makes me happy.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
You’ve seen him before.
when his shoulders were younger, broad.
it settles, at places the memory of strength holding,
wrinkles sinking to bones and knotted skin, stitches arthritic as
the back they rest on.
a tie that was given when his wife was still alive,
blue silver striped, what might be a fish, clipped
hold from back to front,
sunk into a comfortable knot.
fastidious, polished shoes, slightly pigeoned.
once, pairs matched each morning to socks,
now the last ones left, brown wingtips,
at odds against black pants.
baseball cap. it looks brand new.
being my age, coasting between two wars, a wife,
hopeful words on a radio.
those that his neighbors shunned, discovered common
this city sprung, generations changed.
headphones in, eyes down.
Friday, August 16, 2013
The driving, the great novels, travelogues, the interviews, they were all written by those who could force themselves up off their asses and out the door. My generation has trouble with that. I have trouble with that.
I want to go. I want to move out, push down the gas pedal or the keyboard, take photographs at 6 am of the sun rising over the mountains or a nameless beach along the coast. But I'm not doing that. Instead, I work 40 hours a week and let other people live. And I write things (like this) that sound like the Livejournal ramblings of someone who's read too much Kerouac.
How do you change?
Sunday, August 11, 2013
That's kind of how this summer went.
I'm not saying that I failed miserably at everything these last months. I managed to get a lot of work in at the magazine. I swam a bit. I moved up in the world at my day job. But I am still stuck in my head on a daily basis. It's incredibly tough to be unable to write a single sentence that I'm happy with.
So I'm sitting here in a library, out of my bedroom office, parked at a one-hour workstation that smells like the stale cigarettes and body odor of the man who was here before me. A city library patron, overdressed for the weather in a hemp hoodie and carrying his world in a rolling suitcase. I should probably feel worse for him than I do, but even in this cavernous space, I'm in myself, no pity but for me.
It's a beautiful room. Lanterns hang from a curved wooden ceiling, calling to mind torii in Japan with their angled crossbeams. Large windows, butchered by shades, hold in my line of sight.
It's a hard room to be angry in.
I need to get angry.
Saturday, June 1, 2013
I’ve never been able to balance that perfect mix of poor and fashionable.
I look rumpled when I try it, wearing clothes that I’ve had for two years now
while I walk by a woman, two steps out of a thrift shop
and into Vice magazine
soft porn American Apparel advertisements.
These references won’t stand for time.
But really, are we listening to ourselves?
How arrogant; I complain of my shoes, my clothes,
when I can look across this room and see the closet is, at least, full.
And self-centering, I focus back onto my poor-me screed,
typed on a machine that cost more than a grand.
We’re writing our histories,
using Twitter to complain of all the pussy we didn’t get or
omg did you see Jon Hamm’s bulge?
Fuck your anecdote. You won’t make sense in sixty years.
I’ve not yet seen anything on Orion’s shoulder, and
my soliloquy won’t break the crew down in tears.
If this is a film, you’re a piss poor director.
And that reference is better known
for the moment
the food we aren’t giving. That food fills shelves
goes bad in the fridge
and we throw it away when we’ve had enough.
My yogurt was only half gone when I decided I was full.
We spend hundreds on a meal we won’t remember in two weeks
and a child dies for an unforgettable bite that would have cost less than a quarter
We breed dogs, make unsustainable mutant creatures with fragile hips
and respiratory systems that sound like Hell’s own ductwork.
Force them to stand in tiny cages, fucking, then throwing them away,
so a woman in Lincoln Park can buy a pug whose face resembles the
skin of a
you know what?
This is entitlement showmanship, well and good,
but I’ve been writing this over the course of a month that left
a town in ruins and a city in lockdown.
And when the murder of twenty children was forgotten in a vote
Barely four months later
poetry pop culture is
nothing but fashionably poor.
Look at that. I totally swore. See how edgy I am?
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Friday, April 12, 2013
That's the name of the street I'm headed for up there.
It's where my barbershop is and it's about a forty minute bus ride. I could have waited; my roommate Sam is headed there later, and he has a car. But hey, I like the commute.
When I'm on the bus, or the EL or walking in a crowd down Michigan avenue, I'm in the city. There's St. Matthias' over there, wishing me a happy spring with a razor-toothed fence and a touch of green bordering its parking lot. That girl, the one who stopped me to tell me she liked my shirt, we had a ten second love affair that played out the way most of my relationships do; she walked away first. The trees are budding and I walked to the bus through alternating pot smoked dubstep and curried classical.
I live in this city now but I'm not quite here yet. The dual language signs are inclusive but I'm not included. I'm still just passing.
But I'm still in the city right?
Monday, February 25, 2013
Because of this blogging on the move I hadn't seen the list of friends' blogs recently. And when I logged in tonight to write this, I saw that the most recent update from any of them was five months ago.
I'd say unacceptable but I feel that might be a little bit hypocritical. I'm not exactly timely myself. But this is, once again, an "I promise to get better" post.
Things have been a little hectic. The internship, two jobs, and a lack of funds create a space that isn't really the most motivational for me. I miss my dog and I stress about other people's lives. About things that are so unlikely to come to pass that they might as well be the stuff of Victorian melodrama.
But there are positives too.
Today for example. I held the door for an old man. A girl with a smile in her eyes let it spread to her lips. I did yoga for the first time in a month and felt my heart nearly slip into that old comfortable place.
You just have to sit down and look around. The winter isn't really so bad. And that's a star up there.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
My dog passed last week.
It wasn't a sudden or unexpected thing. She had been sick for a while and had recently suffered a second stroke, part of a series which, the vet said, would continue. Further debilitation each time. My parents made the difficult decision. A trip to the vet. A bed on the floor. An embrace as she was given the shot. She went to sleep. She stopped breathing.
I was a day too late to say goodbye.
So now, less than a week later, I'm sitting alone in one of my favorite bars, nursing the first of two beers I've decided I can afford. I'm drinking alone, which I honestly prefer. I'm hoisting them to the memory of Star.
To the memory of a little puppy asleep in her food dish.
To a dog tearing across a snowpacked field, a winter glove in her mouth.
To a girl who wasn't afraid of ponies or fireworks or thunder.
To someone to whom food was always a gourmet experience, no matter that it was the same dish, day-in-and-out.
To a dog that would avoid barking, who flapped her ears to let you know what she wanted, and wore any clothes with no complaint.
To a nose that would face into the wind for hours.
To Star. I love you. Sleep well.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Thursday, December 13, 2012
City wildlife can be pretty. I saw a pigeon with purple and green markings this morning. Pretty.
Then I saw another pigeon being eaten by a rat roughly the size of a Volkswagen.
The City, my friends.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Her friends are drifting apart. Her children are without their mother. Her fans are distraught; she had been an inspiration.
Her name was 832F and she was killed because she was a wolf.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Since moving to the city, I've lost about ten pounds. Fat and alcohol, a bit of it melancholy cut out like the biblical lump of flesh. Most of it is from my increasingly active lifestyle; I'm running more and when I go most places, I walk there. My stride is lengthening, shatterstomps from hobnails on the sidewalk.
That part of it is also my trips on the train.
That's where I'm writing this from now, an EL car that was tagged by a particularly ineffectual artist. The red line is in its midday lull, seeming to crawl along, with no regard for schedule, hope or raging: we'll get there when we get there.
The train seems sedentary. A place for my ass to flatten out, nothing else.
After I post this, when you're reading it and thinking 'Jesus, is he ever going to grow past trying to be a beat cum gonzo prick?,' I'll look around at my fellow passengers. They're inspiring.
In Michigan, we sit in our separate cars, eye contact a faux pas or a threat. We don't want to make any sort of human contact in our commute. Chicago? We can't help it.
I revel in that.
I walk to the train every day and crave that raw human interaction. I might tell myself I'm speedwalking because I'm late for work. But the commute is just there, a city bottlenecked in a train car. We don't smile. We avoid the beggars and shame grows in our heads. But we are all still there and living in a communal shared space. We're a big sweating, newspaper reading, passed out, vomiting, sightseeing snake and I love it.