Thursday, December 22, 2011

Push the Button, Frank

We've all had the feeling. It's late. You need some rest. After all there's that thing and the one you forgot today and the person who has to know something asap or it will be too late. Okay. All lined up and ready for the morning. Your body is a mass of nervous tired. Covers up. Light off. You slowly close your eyes and

BOOM! Breasts! FIRE OH MY GOD FIRE! "Sure but what does he know? I mean..." DEATH! Indy 500 CLOSE UP! A Jetta commercial on speed. "It's the square root of EVIL!" Bodies writhing for the DANCE. Snakes DYING!

Open eyes.


Is this what speed is like?


You can't turn it off. Channel a big ball of light or a stream. Try to remember what silence sounds like. Tell the world to fuck off and hope it forgets you soon.

This is, I'm sorry to say, a regular occurrence with me. I wanted to attribute it to genius, but since I can't seem to find any empirical proof of that, I now call it overstimulation. It took a while to find the conscious relaxation technique for me. Here it is for your edification or entertainment.

It is pitch black. I walk forward, hand out. I touch a doorknob, cold brass and smooth. Turn and enter. A billion lights on a control panel. A plane or mad scientist playset. I move forward and begin slowly switching off the sharp points of light, feeling each move reducing power in the ship or machine or whatever. I do this systematically for about a minute. Each 'off' reduces the tension in another part of my body. Click. Left foot. Snick. Right hand. That's when I see it. A comically large, red button at the top right. How did I not see it before? Failsafe. Master Dead Switch. Yeah, like the one at the gas station. Hit the button, Frank. I palm it hard and it all goes down. Everything. Every light. Every sense of power. The hum I wasn't even aware of drops from tenor to bass and dissolves to nothing.

The Titanic. Night. April 14, 1912.

Suddenly I am in a lifeboat, safe and distant. All at once the massive liner goes dark, lifeless. I'm not cold as the hulk lurches to the left the moonlit water like a giant finally dying on the horizon. I've left the great vessel of life and am beginning to float further out into the darkness. It's not scary. I'm warm and the world's want gives me a bye. It's okay. Just go. You won't be missed. Everyone understands. You've done just fine. I stop worrying about every little thing I am expected to remember when I wake. Whom to love. The dates of war. mad motor skills. Whom to leave alone. I smile. I breathe. I leave behind even the darkness.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Road Trip

Half drunk on his own sad, he croons badly to his country. Salt on his tongue, he smiles, thinks about running away from statues and spotlights towards things hell bent in the wind. Hands and knees on dirt. Spanish spat in slurred anger. The rights of stars. Falling back in roadside bushes, tumbling the world down a thickened vision, it's due south and saying somethings are rightfully ignored. Forgotten on purpose.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

In Superior

What do you do when you are too sick to go out, clean house, or otherwise be helpful? Rework scraps you find in drawers, maybe remember very special nights up north.

In Superior

the nameless points on the horizon,
where sight surfs on white flashes
and into the black suede above,
show us everything we need to know.

I love how it makes me young, my eyes
suckling the full breast of moonlight.
I love how it makes us old, two smirking stars
who have watched it all come and go together.

In the morning it’s almost gone, just a glance
over breakfast and bloodies and the world’s tide rolling in.
So let’s not rush.

At the place where the night starts to see,
when the day closes down
I'll see you there.
Don’t say a word.
Get ready to jump.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Some Mondays Are Better Than Others

Pushcart Prize Nomination

I'd like to thank words, without which this would not have been possible.

I post more regular updates over at Facebook. If you're not following me there, you're missing out my almost daily quips of pyrite and nickle.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Multiple Choice

The secret night opens six inches in front of your next step. It is exactly 12 years from your past and half that from your future. You have to enter it else be trapped forever. The solution is understanding:

a. Why
she feels slighted at the Oscars.
They don't know shit she says in the dark,
no make up and writing her own lines to boot.
No idea.
Weighted with bags enough, she practices with
couples in the park. They just smile and stroll on.
She doesn't hear cut and keeps talking until
the last bench, where she sits to smoke,
stretches her varicose legs until her bit part
in the next scene.

some people
are completely themselves in public,
as if the open air act of being noticed
enables their own private perfection.
For you, he laughed, its a gauntlet.
Just make it through and shut the door.
Exhale. Allow the closed world
to refill what keeps getting taken against
your will.

c. Where
the perfect blue is cut slant by architecture.
This sky so close above you,
Some worlds need pressure to form, you think.
Something about oysters and pearls and
small incisions that hurt now but help in the end.
Blue oblivion edging the relief.
But then there's the steady state view,
something says. An old man every night
outliving us all in a field
just outside the city.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


The strange chemicals in my brain have leveled out once again, and the world is no longer seen as a reddened singularity. It is fascinating to watch myself, as if from the outside, behaving like my father. Those times when he would implode and wend, with perfect subtlety, from stoic king to half-mad emperor. Kurtz ala Brando. The tribute to Hollow Men. A concrete weight is placed on the face and heart, the air you breathe rationed with sadistic measure and scented with bondage. The world you have created for yourself has been effortlessly assumed by sly raiders who have done nothing to earn it, save for their patience in waiting for you to drop your guard.

Fairness becomes an excuse for the beaten. Entreaties from everywhere like peels of sardonic laughter, masked just enough to keep you playing the game. It is not unlike dreaming, when the monster is upon you and you're slowly sprinting in quicksand. But here you're the monster and the horizon is teeming with hoards of  decisions that have brought you here, to the place you cannot bear and cannot leave. So you rattle the cage, ironically impressed by its solid construction, by the beauty of light glinting off the life your very own hands have shaped.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vacation in Catalan

Finding yourself in Catalan
where the brave cliffs still tell stories and twist
winds through the minds of madmen.

In their cracks the plans of melted genius
have taken up hermitage, waiting for the world
once again to call for Roche.

Your group approaches the castle and whispers
its way up the winding stairs. It's dark, but from behind
you see the thin glowing line that connects, the one that
stops at you.

On the roof your friends veer right
to hear the new language of architecture,
see the lights of the city as they pop and start
the arousing work of night.

You wander left to a cannon,
hard and ready for a hundred years.
And as you load it with your clothes,
they don't notice that you're free, 
that you're propositioning a whore to light the fuse.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pan in the Cloister

This weekend I decided to embrace my inner Pan, who breaks free of his provincial bonds every summer and fall, and return to the waters that sated and bathed me, those earliest years of my new life in Minnesota. I saw a faerie there (yeah, really) and the energy of that place helped ease the turbulent transition from my old life in TN to my new one so far north. It is a certain spot on the Mississippi, just west of where it joins the Minnesota. This space is a sacred cloister for me, a place to recharge the soul batteries and get perspective from the daily grind. It would be fifteen more years before I would discover that this area is also sacred to someone else, the local Dakota who consider the place where the two rivers join, the Bdote, nothing short of the center of the universe. The place of Dakota genesis. I'm telling you; you feel something here.

My spot is waiting for me, though the weather has transformed it from a hidden sanctuary to a pit stop on a well traveled path. I feel I have traveled sideways through time. Enormous puppets and madrigaled beauty surround me. Ren Fest made real. People of all ages in some kind of celebration. Seems like something to be imagined, but it is only good timing. Lovers holding hands. Feudal love, requited. How wonderful. I am passed without a glance, shielded by indifference or native glamour. The old driftwood tree, which has always centered my visits here, has somehow escaped the spring floods and glows in the afternoon sun. It is more beautiful in how less it has become. Once imposing, now a stark piece of art Zen against all thought it could be so. Its protective skin long gone, smooth grooves hardened perfectly by everything it has weathered.

There are still nymphs about. I can't see their ethereal curves; I feel them. They approach me, whisper in enticing breeze, giggle out of nostalgia. They ask me where the hell I've been. I try to respond, but have nothing. One pulls on my shirt and I smile. Pan, the wrong time, always the right place. And the old Pan simmers here in the light between the trees. Visions. Primordial drive and open sky. Earths moved by desire alone. I am shone fires that still burn beyond the day. A silent proposition. The sun laughs. Pan, too. He miles at the newness of everything. He wants to make long love to the modern world. Remind it through coarse sweat what it keeps leaving behind. He wants it to call him in the morning.

As I prepare to leave the modern self begins to take over. "Where am I?" The sand just laughs. It wonders why the question is always the same. A day trip to Fey, I tell myself. The rumored madness not a fear, but a blessing that prepares me for the return. The timeless clearing seems at odds with the world that waits. Come here at you become the thing that does not fit. Join them both inside you. Tighten the bands while opening the soul. Rectify infinity with the stone ticking of the clock.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday in America

It is a very good morning

And all I want is more
A woman buys coffee she won’t drink
And somewhere a platoon of names
are suddenly homeless

As a blonde walks byA boy's brains
Leave his head
Like his last memory of spring

And here we sit worried
We can’t finish
More than names are lost

It is a very good morning
The sun is here
And all I want is more

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Water and the Setting Sun

Will you be my daisy passing, or be the grave I dig?

Bad questions fill the air until the night.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Coffee and Cigarettes

The final scene of Coffee and Cigarettes with Taylor Meade and Bill Rice just might be the best cinematic moment I've seen yet. I won't link to the scene, because it is more poignant if you watch the whole film.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

On "A View of the Woods"

"A View of the Woods" by Flannery O'Connor is perfectly typical for that author's style. The loved child, defiant - subtle but certain proof that the world is not aligned the way it should be, that this world is tainted with injustice fashioned by God for sins a life has worked itself against and, unknowingly, for.

Some have commented on a reflexive Oedipal-Elektra complex between the old man and the girl. ( It doesn't strike me as something intentional. This kind of relationship is reminiscent of the one between Francis Marion Tarwater and his great uncle in The Violent Bear it Away, O'Connor's great second and final novel. It is not about sex but about old and new, the past and the future's death grip on the present. I would contend that this is the same dynamic we find in "Woods." The blog above also mentions things such as how the natural world in the story is described in human terms, while people are done so in those more animalistic. The businessman's serpentine features fit cleanly into O'Connor's Christian ethos, and the clay motif also instills in the story a realism you can almost smell.

The ending is quintessential O'Connor, the imagery vague and haunting, recalling O'Connor's story "The River" and, to a lesser degree for me, "The Turkey." When I read "Woods" it did not matter to me the actual fate of the girl at the end. The author's deft craft conveys what the reader needs to know, that she has crossed to the other side, has left this world, entirely -- tainted and scarred as it is -- all chances for redemption, but Fortune's dream.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Transmission #260

A woman enters the courtyard glances around in her subtle confusion. In distressed spandex, she knows what she hates body first, the rest of the world when she has time. She admires the strong, wide denim of a man to her left. Military. Sewn patches. Biker. She veers toward and sits at the table next to him. In space, a tepid light approaches a rock, which bends it so very slightly in its favor. Race.

Teens at the next table try to talk like adults. Their voices like two long poles in a crowded room.

The woman has switched seats now, the one watching the man. She's moved so she can better view of him. He now has a woman sitting with him. She effuses a spousal aroma. But that doesn't stop the other woman from watching intently. Some are to be admired for the tenacity of their hunger. Survivor

The servers across the court are having to gossip more quickly now with a steady increase of patrons. Loud cheers from down the block grow in timbre. I watch their allure, which seems to grow and darken like areolas. I take a deep draw and envelope my head in a concealing haze. That's when I hear the thing that ties it all together. Cancer

Suddenly. I'm aware. Runners slowing to a walk at the end of the courtyard, their matching pink shirts, the common goal. The no longer unconscious shifting in my chair. My smoking takes on an apologetic air, for no discernible reason. I find myself rehearsing answers to questions I will not be asked.

The runners end their trek and file into the other bar in spasms. Swarms of tanned arms taken up in solidarity. Cropped hair and looks of dogged gratitude. Hope against corrugated time. "Juicy's Juggs" on their shirts call forth no sexuality, but rays of sunshine and a clean bill. Families trundle by like nuclear caravans, wives smiling at the open display of womanhood. Children confused. Husbands adjust themselves in pastel Polos.

Servers are in high gear now, unsure how to temper their typical sexuality in this singular context of what is just beyond their lives. Till the end of their shift, they will pace the gray zone between them. Race.

Within the gathering crowd of runners, a teenage girl plays with her phone, looking up now and again to half-smile at the positive energy around her. It is the exact same look as the server orbiting her. The one with the Eastern Bloc lips and Allied hips. She maintains her pace, her eyes darting to the growing fervor of the crowd. Fleeting glimpses of a verified future, a road not yet traveled. She is drawn and repulsed. It's a conflict now a part of each fake smile she flashes.  

The woman across the way gets up. She stands right in front of the man and his companion. She looks at them both likes she wants to speak, looks back at the runners instead, and absently walks away. Survivor.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Song to Myself

I failed to update the Journal last week. Guilty. I was on the WTP (White Trash Patio) instead. Against my better judgment I transcribe from the night. I make no claims for coherence only melodrama. If you find meaning in it, let me know. To me it is only waves against the shore. Consider it a gift, a reason to point and laugh when we next meet.

THE OPENING PARAGRAPH of "The Night-Sea Journey" is designed, that is composed specifically, to be the very important-creating opening page of any future collection of self-referential writing. I will use it myself, I have no doubt, so perfectly laid out in literature English as it has been done. And I will do it

as others do, unabashedly, to add some arbitrary component of gravitas to my work. And all written work does strive to be important, most so by those who claim to want the exact opposite. The most grass-roots movement is, in fact, destined for momentary greatness. It has something

to do with the fire I'm trying to start. No. I'm not being metaphorical here like Jefferson Starship (why they had to move from an airplane to something grander had everything to do with their fall from grace) and Krispy Kreme. No

I am attempting, in vain it seems, to light a nice fire here on the patio. I should be inside composing my promised Thursday blog post. Who knows, perhaps the two will meet one day. I keep blowing the well placed embers in an attempt to breathe life into their potential. No. This sounds metaphorical again. I'm serious. Because it has to do with the way the almost flames almost catch the vertical log aflame. The approach licking it alive, but without the head needed to make the jump to full fire. Yes, that is metaphorical. The truth is that I. It licks in a sexual attempt to validate itself as agent of change. In truth. I want. I think

the wood is upset. Wet. Impotent even. There are those who may read this who know they could fix it. I'm sure you could. Sexual and energy morphed into Promethean skill sets. You'd think. You'd think I could, the way I like to ramble on. Something is amiss. it is because you. I'm certain it is because you are not here. There is but one person I hope reads this. They do not even know who they are. It is senseless. I know. But there

it is, redeemed by your strongest effort, but not your drive. The night is taking over. What strange lives we lead. What pleasures denied and deny. Things watch us and I turn away. But I see the power that instills those eyes. Do you want beyond subterranean consciousness, like the other I know like you? Alpha and Omega, once revered, now reduced to subsequence. How sad. To promote

life beyond the standard. What noble guesses glide to the edge of indiscretion?

Those who realize. Distant shores of knowing. Speeding caress that fuels them, but I want more. No. No and Gide's attic. I was there once. Parts of me never left. And it is in moments like these I try to go back and retrieve them. What fire. Strange the flame most deny even the notion of breath. I will no succumb, subscribe. Lead! What pleasures sustain beneath the lowest and basest of defined desire? To those. To those I secretly prostrate myself. Do you know? Do you adhere to the filament that has made me this?  You. You do not answer. As if silence fulfills you more and places you beyond me. And suddenly. And suddenly

this becomes about the wave I wait for, as I float out beyond the breakers. It is dark now, and I fade with the final glow into the horizon. What wan filigree to which I am prematurely reduced. I imagine you evolving as I sit stuck in some phase between liquid and gas. A sad and quiet fate. Sad and sad again. Yet I rebel. I fight it. With these words I do not go gentle... I strive to set into motion what you leave to reverie. What means I have used to approach. Strange. Seems I should have progressed so much further. The Night. That Wanton. The Day. That Convener. The reason I cannot stop this

because I haven't the strength to do it myself. I rely. I rely on the will of the body of the soul of the corpus of the mind. But none of this will be the relief. Come morning it will stand, the Convener wins, stands outside all just knowing or execution. And so do I, jingling cap and dance, the innocent sin of this all.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Transmission from the Center of the Universe #259

There is a subtle difference between the sports bars drinkers and the better off homeless who traverse the pathways here at the Center of the Universe, specifically the Infinite Courtyard.  At first I believed. At first I believed it to be one single thing. While their attire is often remarkably similar in screaming color scheme, brand, and style, the former are lighter on their plodding heels. Drunk on booze rather than fatigue and dark brain hauntings, they transport themselves from table to street to wall to tab with a kinetic their counterparts don’t seem often to muster. It is an attempt at sobriety, this springy gait, an attempt at sobriety shoved into motion. They have plans and have every intention of wending their way to and through them. These plans, which grew shapely legs from bar napkins found at the base of their skulls, penned evenings facing endless times jukebox memorial and flags raised in a/c reverie. Plans now enacted, they are not more, but less real, vying for attention against the wind, breasts and the sweat of new laughters. And perhaps it is in the glow of this attention that the weight of their lives is lifted—if only the slightest—to keep them keeping on.

But their foils, equally aimless but without end of the trail abode. Their steps seem emptier but with more weight. Step. The earth around them bowing its head. A respect reserved for those having borne so much life discarded by the other side of luck. It is in them rivers empty, replete with detritus thought that genius could equal, yet rearranged. Step. The wraiths know which part of the food chain is proper, and it is against same they must defend themselves, turning the trip step corner for not home.

I have seen them collide on the street, these Doppelgängers. No, there. Just beyond the Great Arch of Eternity that bridges present and future. It is a rare and engaging encounter. An attempt at covalent bonding gone wrong. Watch the mirrored look that assumes both faces. Observe the connection, like a lightning or a sucker punch, as each countenance tries its best to deny the other and itself, attempts to negate time by reaching back, jumping forward through a tunnel created by the existence of the other. Sometimes it ends. Sometimes it ends with a voice from one or the other. A line cast through the haze of recognition. A line which never lands. An opportunity always lost to what is upon us. A scent. The hopeful spark of neon. Ass swing flower pendulum of the Holy Grail.  Ascent.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


in the key of Barth

If he is lucky, at some point the diligent writer finds himself at a crossroads, a great existential chasm like a decision or a doorjamb. One each side lies solid ground and in between yawns the deep known that will destroy him. He will have grown tired of the side on which he resides (else he will have set it ablaze, in an effort to get things going or instill his life with the fictional drama that arouses him). He will pick up the pen or the shotgun to find a way out. Searching the ground around him, he might fling debris into the gap in a vain attempt to fill it (see Midwest poetry ca. 2010). Or he may describe for the average reader the very average madness, about which we never speak. Especially at parties. He will pause to realize that this madness is or could be the abyss to be bridged and the means by which to do it. He decides on the latter and makes it the moving from the middle of the kitchen to the rusting patio furniture handed down by in-laws to purchase more, just as ugly. It the American way to. The writer would be quick to point out that it has nothing to do with the actual movement from inside to out - which is, as it happens, south, that is to imply down, as in Hell - which gives rise to the aforementioned mad. It has everything to do with the exchange which transpires just prior to this exit, which instigates it, galvanizes it, causing it to rise up from the caste of mere displacement from one locale to another, to the physical manifestation of the desire to flee the scene ultimately. Writers need to include a sense of the kinetic, sometimes subtle, sometimes involving helicopters. To flee the scene ultimately, the scene here being city, state, country, and domestic planet. But no protagonist has been established, but merely implied by all this directional garbage. Nonetheless, the aforementioned exchange which led to the exit onto bland patio begins actually ten years ago, pulling the rug from under no less than all of us. It isn't fair. Writers can't just do whatever they. Ten years ago this September and ends 2.5 seconds before the body is turned and marched doorward. Were the reader the researcher type (and some are), it could be conjectured that this act was foretold even further back, before the marriage. The early-to-mid twenties, when longing for both home and away undergoes a certain puberty, hair, stink, and mood and all. Every compound, does it not, allow itself to be broken down into its native constituents? Though here the exchange, we will call it an argument for the sake of it, is exactly that - a compound and heated at that. I would not call it a solution. The native constituents. Hers: the single mother crone who is to be revered, now broken, spoiled, and parading dour before everyone as if by penance. His: the early outcast complex made usable by pressure on all sides along with the discovery of the word in all its nefarious forms. Together, a joined quest for the new and need for the creation of the old within it. And so it happens, and with success, because time is a native constituent, too, and one which must be taken into the equation. We must not behave as amateurs. Time, the constituent with a timer, expending its own pressure with a slowly growing erection toward its death. The rack. Contractions. In imitation of a worthy narrative it builds to a point of change that must be logical and must contain within it a violence for flavor. So it happens five lines from the end. Her need for the security of the nest and his desire not be rendered insane by it. A door, south and east, slams. Vector forces, cut. A baby cries as it imagines a balloon floating off. A god somewhere in the woman turns away, as the man wanders outside, kicks chairs for looking at, wonders why, wonders how long it will take to write about changing places with time.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


The bartender was bleach dirty blonde, and I don't just mean her hair. Late 30's, she was still a player kept healthy by constant movement, gardening, engaging with the children in the back yard and on the other side of the bar. Knee-length, acid-washed shorts, tank top with the kind of rack you direct a buddy to. But with a matronly air, that said you talk with her about other women. Many a bartender can flash a smile for the win, but she was different. It. never. stopped. I watched closely as she restocked the rail, changed channels looking for the game, poured beers and shots. Her smile was the only constant. It was comforting to think she was having a good time, someone who was at the right place at the right time and getting a check to boot. Soon, because I can't leave a good thing alone, I started seeing it as a burden. Something she keeps up because she's being watched. A bad action-thriller plot point. I imagined a look powered by the steady flow of Red Bull, momentum, and a growing stack of damp singles. She called everyone darlin', smiled at the ways of men, and never batted an eye when the word pussy was crumpled and tossed to the floor. I decided she was just solid, the kind to keep her sanity in a routine anything but. The kind of solid that said though it was fun to try, there isn't an orgasm strong enough that could keep her down for long.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

For One Day Michael is a Lonely Meme

Lonely on a Tuesday, and all my metaphors are like similies. I find myself looking for new ways to spell my name, as though the words in themselves have meaning and will bring about some kind of change somewhere. Names are unique only in their definitions. To yourself, to family and loved ones, names are something wholly unique and more inextricably bound to emotion than the rest of the dictionary. On par with entries like rape and Heaven. But to others, to those who do not know you, they are like the names of colors, about which they know nothing, in whose beauty they may never invest themselves.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bukowski Walkthrough

Beginnings are clean, even when it's stink or hate. You laugh when smoke is blown
in your face. Inside you know a clear path has been cut through the socks and books
and condoms, because you're the pussy here and he's the dick.

Stage Two, but you're still on the outside pounding on the door.
It opens and the smell is on you. You stub your toe on a jagged
memory and you're all hair and coins at Billy's, where its all Heart
Magic Man or maybe Barracuda. You're aware of your crotch
for the first time today. And it makes you sad. You're too clean
to be here, but fact's fact and you can't wish away the touch.

It's usually somewhere in the middle, which can be just about
anywhere, depending on how long he is this time.
You start noticing wrinkles you can't smooth away,
the gut that won't suck in. It's the exact subject of the piece
or the slow reflection of it off the narrator, which
you think is the author because otherwise you're
lost. Maybe it's about a gash bleeding love into
the middle of second street. In another, a pause
after the troubled world has finally left him in peace.

And it is that moment which slides you to the end, a climax and denouement
holding hands, where his solitude shoves you out like an unwanted coda, while
his patience for you, Herculean, has brought him some invisible reward.

Standing the hall, you play your part as he plays his Mahler.
You imagine a fifth against his chest sinking into the chair,
only to rise against his own odds somewhere after you've gone,
forgetting you and taking his bow like a good long piss.

Friday, July 1, 2011


What do you do when things stop making sense, when the routine is suddenly spotlit with a broken vibe, an inanity that renders even tender moments devoid of love?

When you are Jack's life, and you are a small plastic box with sentimental value.

When, what, and how? Does you merely drink himself back into neutral once again?

Reset the amnesia?

You are afraid to enter the shadows. Not out of fear of what awaits,
but out of fear they will underwhelm you, subtracting yet another possible excitement.

Is there mystery which never ends, is never exhausted because it posses no center?
Even the bottomless pit eventually empties to some other side.

The secret then -- to maintain orbit and never land, bore through to the core.

There lies mystery in only the approach of the other.

On the other side, you're back to start.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


An ocean
Cream calm and wide
Tides that breathe with a secret pulse

One by one
We held you
Until the waters stirred
And sounds found and
Turned us depth and victim
Into something unfathomable

Watching now
I see the moonlight has you right
A scented vista fleshed by shadow
Dreaming of pure annihilation

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Because Sometimes This Thing is Just a Diary...

May 26, 2011

Sometimes it's all just too much. The routine and its ignorant constraint. The desired abandon - a childlike hunger for the open air and sultry breeze - whose adult consequence puts the rigors of virtue to shame. Second gear that refuses to be found when you are feeling good about yourself. How sometimes you just can't get the day off of you fast enough. Trying to lose your pants and the zipper just doesn't work.

Even the rusted gears of trying to make sense of all of the movement and haling. That, too, gets swallowed into a greater sphere that manifests right around daybreak. The lessons learned are not clean and only define themselves as such by virtue of their shadows cast upon your conscience. A firm, stray thought cast before you in the middle of nowhere. A declaration like a sentence. You alone to decide its fate. Poked and prodded into bona fide epiphany or left on the shoulder like once living road kill. To be carried away or abandoned to rot. A piece of something important now useless even to itself. ~

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Excerpt from Unnamed Work in Progress...

“You need to get laid, my friend.”

Peter had had enough of my wistful staring. He was not buying me drinks to have me sit out the game.

“You offerin’?”

“Shit, I would if I thought it would help.”

“Sorry, Just thinky.”

“Let me guess: art stuff, right? Man, why can’t you just worry about the same stuff the rest of us do? You don’t say a word when you’re selling CDs for gas money, but heaven forbid we get a new Poet Laurette you don’t like, and you’re depressed for a fucking week.”



 “It’s Poet Laureate.”

 “See, who cares? I think you’re an alien from the planet Photon or something. That would explain it, except you never have goodies like lasers or anything. What good is an alien with nothing to offer the good people of earth?”

The best question I’d heard in a while. It’s not just the culture of this country, but the race of beings currently at the helm at the rock as a whole. Product is everything. Screw creation in the shadows, and forget the future. It’s production logged and measured in units available to the public. It’s black and white, over the tender shoulder head shots on double-glossy business cards. Bob Rauch – Novelist. Roberto Mist, Esq. – Poet. The thought made me queasy and the truth of it made me head for the men’s. I passed under the neon that buzzed the same whether the evening was shaping up to be a win or loss for the nighthawks at the diner, the same it had since that night Spider John got crazy after his set and nailed it with a lowball glass. He doesn’t play her anymore. Maybe he got queasy, too, fed up with the kids talking over his songs and not listening to anything an alien like him might have to offer. Maybe he’s been hiding out here in the stall. Maybe its his spaceship. No, not tonight. Nothing but errant piss and toilet tags. Post-modern literature as deemed by the Council on Reversed Baseball Caps. I find myself searching it for real bits of wisdom underneath the bogroll, like looking in the mirror for signs of a hand well played. But until they show up, I'll wait. I'm patient. Aliens are patient. I'll keep looking. And one day I'll show up and I'll have it tucked in the palm of my hand. I'll wait until the band takes a break, because aliens are considerate, then I'll buy the bar a round. Peter'll set in, and that's when I'll whip it out. He'll think it's a joke, try to knock it away, but I will hold it up and he will see it is for the good people of earth and it will be shiny and the future and I'll make sure everyone sees the look on his face. I'll make sure everyone sees the look on his face when he notices it's set to kill.

Robots of Hamm

Robots enter and exit the bar across the street. Their Cylon sunglasses make them invincible. As they approach, the bored servers seem surprised at the business. They say nothing but do not like that they are not human.

Teenagers gather in the center of the plaza. They are tight and lanky and they smoke and glance to ensure they are doing it correctly. They sway from side to side as if it warms them, as if a rhythmic movement will attract something for them, anything at all that will justify their collective unconscious.

A hiker zigzags slowly through the courtyard. He has climbed mountains you and I don't like to think about. Has cooked vicious meals by yon river. Ashcan to ashcan with a walking stick, looking for something important we idiots have left behind.

Monday, May 16, 2011

He Wasn't a Man

He wasn't a man
if he didn't smoke in front of her.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ike Reality Blues

a spontaneous poem. Enjoy

Ike Reality Blues

I like Ike Reilly really
but I can't imagine his eggs
scrambled at noon, that gaunt Irish mouth
screaming all broken teeth
and car bombs. His love of pop tarts
going down with his toast

I know he belongs to the sweltering evening
and his hollowpoint eyes are hungry
for the moment the moment
will fill him just one more time
with enough to make it to the finish line

first Vica and plastic and hip hop thighs
shot up through the alleys
of veins each one searching the puddles of scum
for the fountain of youth
something you can drink while your on your knees
that doesn't taste like it was 62

But he keeps running off sleep
like it's the devil or a god you trick
skating through discretion
and salesmen and jokes
and racists calling the shots you have to down
for street cred cum the morning burn

I've wanted Ike's cool wanted it for years
I thought I'd get some one night at the Ave
But he just kept pissing
and reading the walls
acknowledging that he was
completely alone

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tennessee Memory

When I visited my folks in TN this past March, I spent time on the porch with my Dad. He has emphysema, weighs about 130 pounds and still smokes Marlboros and drinks Diet Pepsi. He wanders the empty farm looking for projects to remind him he’s a man but that aren’t too strenuous for him. A few times he'd start something like fix a fence or clean the barn before exhaustion drove him back in the house to take a nap. 

One night we sat on the porch and we talked about his younger days. He was a wild child motorcycle cop in El Paso, Texas who used to drag race with his partner while on duty with my mom on the back. He picked up Little Richard one night for vagrancy. He took no shit from anyone, wonders why I would. I watched him wince for minutes on end at his hands, clenching and unclenching them like pliers. He confessed he doesn’t miss much about his youth. He’d had a pretty good one compared to many. I told him I bet it he missed dancing with the women at the bar. It was nice to see him smile.

I wish I had written this for my father. I think he wishes he’d written it for his.

Whiskeytown beat us to it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Piece over at Berg-Gasse 19

A minimalist vignette.
Rejected as a bad poem at one journal.
Understood and published at this one.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Question for You

You could see it as a debilitating sickness. Or. You could see it as an opportunity to slow down and organize. This last week I contracted a bad cold or some such which has slowed my thinking and moving to a crawl. Very frustrating to someone who tends to ride the carousel of his artistic ADD like a manic 6-year old nature spirit. Part of this time has been spent looking at how I spend my time creating, the directions in which I expend this energy, and the deep, real reasons I create and share.

This is where you come in...

I have had this blog for some time. Initially it was used as an immediate venue for creative writing, not having the patience to submit, wait, file the rejection slip, and start over. I wanted to create and share, then move on to the next thing. As time has progressed, I am submitting more and getting published more, which has forced me to rethink the role of this blog.

So, I have decided to do what I haven't seen other bloggers do: Ask you, followers of this blog what YOU want to see. What would keep you coming back? In short, what would be worth your time to visit and read?

  • More introspection on the world around us?
  • Reviews of local lit, readings, publications, websites?
  • My own works, for critique before submitting them for publication?
  • Something completely different?

Post your suggestions as comments to this post, or feel free to email me at michael at thedayonfire dot com.

 I will take your suggestions seriously and hopefully start soon with a new focus for this online journal of thoughts. I thank you for being interested in what I have to say, and appreciate your input on how it should look moving forward.

Cheers, Michael

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dear M. Star

I know. I stopped. The sounds outside wouldn't and I grew tired of falling asleep, even in your arms. Deep as you were, the world changed as you rode your single wrenching wave. I remember the day I started walking, sad I could no longer fade into you.

I'm sorry.
Let's meet every fall by the water.
Let's say little
and drift off over and over again.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I pulled up alongside a kid at the light this morning. He was stomping the floor violently with his face craned up. In part, I figured, because his car had no bass. In another, because life just wouldn't turn green.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Movement in Movement

Lots of good movement lately in new realms.

Sending out writing for publication

Meeting local filmmakers for possible collaboration

New artist collaboration web project moving forward. I believe I have found a web guy who will (at least) start it up gratis. This is the biggest thing on my plate right now. It will be a place for (again at least to start)local artist of all kinds to come together, create responses to works, connect with artists of other media for collaboration and more. I will try to get grants to get artists paid. I think it can be big. I will feed it good food, love it, and call it George.

If you haven't checked out my main website, you should. It has a new coat of paint:


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Light Makes Shadow

And I've seen talks of faith turn up
noses in the face of
abandon they don't understand

Hazel Motes
the man in the body
of the world

Feet full of stones
the harder path that knows nothing
of miracles conjured for the hope at home
of a laying of hands on your hard-earned
the harder path that brings heaven down
to hold its own in the alleys paved
by what it was all sacrificed for
a thousand psalms ago when sand
was biblical and things that burn
were meant to burn when piety
was a harsh librarian who
had read all the pages
and could tell you how some were better
than others and how you could recombine
them depending on why you believed the sun
rose each and every
But in it all lies
the lie the truth
not marketed in the product
of ink
in the pulce before the tequila

You know what comes next
the idea before the reasons
to cast it in stone, in tablets
we carry and quote and that which
does not reside in the stone shall
not be embraced and if you reject
there will be no cookies or juice
or salvation after the keynote
speaker for you or your guests

I've seen the idea
living under the Hennepin Street
Bridge but he stinks and swears
and his grammar ain't so good
and well the last thing he thought
you'd do is sit and talk a while and
record everything he spit and say
goodbye and head straight for the
press to give birth to a bestseller
based on the words of a man mad
enough to believe in the peace and
clarity and absence of hate that
might make a place you won't want to leave
for Portland.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Love Note

the point of love
is real and
rents under itself

a laughing keystone
to the outer and inner
rings of desire

but sex is the weak conceit
a child with a child with a child
with a heart

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

For a Friend

you wax on the rise of falling
a black belt at mistaking
one for the other
no use for shadows the sun
sends you running to the other
the one who wanes for the senses
laughs at how crazy she makes you
basking half wild in her reflection

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blowing Kisses

she started blowing kisses
everywhere she goes
said she was planting seeds
'cause you ne-ver know
no no no
you never know

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Red Fez Wormhole

Red Fez understands that you get to the center of anything and you come out the other side.

Friday, January 14, 2011

R.I.P. Trish Keenan of Broadcast

And then one day you wake

To find all broken halls

And curved walls confine you

When you get close

They are everywhere with your voice

Leading you down decisions that have

And will turn you and end in silence

It all made sense before

But then one day you woke

A broken bell

And there is no way out

But sleep