Wednesday, December 20, 2006


11:15 a.m.: Following a text message and hopefully a phone call, I stumble rather gracelessly out of bed and into my day.

11: 25 a.m.: I read an article in Esquire Magazine. Something about the future of driving. I page to a decription of a $600 pea coat that I could imagine myself being able to afford in roughly 25 years.

11:45 a.m.: I boil some coffee, pour myself a bowl of Crispix and sit out on the lanai.

12:05 p.m.: I write a love letter. Sign it. Date it. Address, stamp, and seal the envelope.

1:07 p.m.: I read Sedaris for a couple hours.

3:15 p.m.: In the process of getting ready [messenger bag-check; letter-check; iPod-check] for my daily ride to the post office, I accidentally take a nap.

4:30 p.m.: I am on the road, riding as close as I can to the shoulder, for there are no bike lanes here. Passersby in their big trucks and SUVs give me dirty looks. I take a short cut through the retirement community. Get dirty looks there too, despite the fact that there is no traffic to hold up.

4:45 p.m.: Deposit said love letter a cool 15 minutes before the last pick-up. One thing I love about vacations--LEISURE.

6:00+ p.m.: Oh, neither this nor that. Maybe I'll read. Maybe I'll lust after MacBooks. Maybe I'll watch one of the Godfathers. Mostly, there is a lot of daydreaming. And the occasional flashback. Once in a while, I'll flash forward, though I try not to do that very much.

My Florida Routine

4:00 a.m.: I get up a half hour before my alarm goes off. I put on my robe and slippers, fire up the coffee maker [decaf--it's better for my blood pressure, doctor says], and turn on the evangelical network on TV.

6:00 a.m.: I wait for them to unlock the doors at Denny's. Tuesday is Senior Day and I can save 15% on my Grand Slam. Sunny side up, please. Bacon. Wheat toast. I bring my own Metamucil.

7:30 a.m.: First foursome on the fairway--myself, Gino, Frank, and Redd. We get in a quick nine, as I don't have the stamina I used to. Just ask my wife, hehheh.

HACK! I have trouble laughing these days, you know. All those Pall Malls during the War.

10:15 a.m.: Lunch at the Country Club--Pastrami on Rye. My doctor says I should stay away from the stuff, but I've got to live a little, eh?

11:30 a.m.: Home again. Catch the last half of Price Is Right. I hope and pray for Plinko! It never happens.

11:42 a.m.: Slumber to visions of myself standing atop the multi-color platform with plastic pucks in my hand. From my perch, I look down the shimmering tops of Barker's Beauties. PlinkPlinkPlink-PlinkPlink-Plink Each chip lands in the tray labeled $10,000.

11:57 a.m.: I wake, covered in drool. My downbelows are throbbing. Where's my damn wife? Sheila! She's putting the roast in the oven. Roast again? Seems like the fifth time this week!

12:03 p.m.: Damned local news is on again. Nothing but a bunch of crazies out there, you know? I flip on the golf network and fall back asleep.

3:45 p.m.: My wife rouses me from sleep with a wooden spatula. I thought you was dead, she yells. This happens every day. Nothing but a bunch of crazies. I love her to death, though.

4:00 p.m.: Dinner is served--pot roast and scalloped potatoes. My favorite. Fifth time this week, I swear.

4:45 p.m.: While eating my sugar-free vanilla ice cream, I see this doofy kid riding past on his bike. He's got on some queer looking satchel. Sonofabitch is probably taking a shortcut to the Post Office. Problem is with kids these days, always taking shortcuts. Doesn't he know this is a gated community? I rent this trailer from September until April so I don't have to deal with these hippies. Third day in a row I've seen him cutting through here. Next time, mark my words, I'm gonna say something. Kids these days. Bunch of crazies.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


You will feel the heat radiating as you leave Kent. You will see the glow as you crest and descend rolling Pennsylvania mountains. The light behind the trees will cast long shadows as you wind around the crooks and bends of I-80. Closer and closer, brighter and brighter.

New Jersey will pass by [thankfully] like a blur, for your eyes will be swallowed whole by the pulsing ember across the estuary of the Hudson. The beacon will shine into the heavens, casting a spectrum like aurora borealis, a wafty wave streaking comet-like across the night sky. This falling star will never fade. It only serves to guide you across one border, then another, then another. One bridge, then another.

Soon you will be standing before the pillar of light three-thousand feet tall. The art nouveau elevator is powered by bellows, great tufts of air that lift you up, up, up.

Atop the spire.

Exactly where you belong.

It is warm here.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


There is something about crying in the rain that doesn’t seem real. Or rather, it is hyper-real; as if the atmosphere collects in her eyes, then distills, and precipitates down her face.

Lakes form gradually in upturned umbrellas.
under the sad tree dripdripdrip
she tastes of cider and rain dripdripdrip
holding close wet tight dripdripdrip
never let go don’t leave dripdripdrip
don’t do this not yet dripdripdrip
We pick them back up.

It rains inside the umbrellas. We are drenched from head to toe. I grab her amber locks and squeeze, as if to wring them out. Mascara runs like a silt deposit over the arc of her cheeks. The rain is salty and cold.

Soon it stops and the weight of late November lifts from our shoulders and souls.

Two umbrellas—one of a square print; the other paisley—spiral and separate, join again, overlap. They move apart: the squares find higher ground; the paisley departs for the lowlands. But they move indeterminately. There is always stopping, spinning, spiraling, and the diligent search for one another under halogen lamps in the distance.

Our umbrellas have leaks.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

“The first symptom of love in a young man is shyness; the first symptom in a woman, it's boldness.”

--Victor Hugo

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Yesterday began as any normal Saturday, with myself rolling out of bed around 11 and stumbling rather gracelessly into my day. Around 1, after writing in my journal and showering, I decided to head next door and grab a latte, which proved to be a recent development in my life. The warm, spring-like air nearly knocked me over upon walking through the half-agape, busted-ass door to my apartment.

The sun shone brilliantly and the temps approached the high ‘60s. It felt more like late March than late November. I felt my soul set itself ablaze. My feet ached to be put to use. With latte in hand, I went back up to my apartment to map out my day. This proved to be another recent development in my life—the whole planning ahead thing. I budgeted a certain measure of time for a drive to Beckwith’s Orchard for some cider. The previous night, I had depleted my supply. The back of my throat stung a tad, and I pictured a massive slumbering infection about to be awakened. My only hope for survival would be the ameliorative powers of the cider.

With my daily agenda set and my latte expended, I headed out for the ATM machine on Main Street. I only had to deposit a check and withdraw some money, then I would go back to my apartment and drive to the orchard. I opted to walk to Huntington Bank, as it was only over the hill and the day was so beautiful. Upon making the subsequent deposit and withdrawal, I held an unflagging desire to continue walking. I felt the optimism of early spring pulsing through my veins, knowing full well it was really late fall and no time to look on the bright side of anything. Deadlines, projects, and obligations loomed over me, as they had all semester. I decided to go for a walk.

It should have been a short walk, just around the block: North Water-Crain Avenue-Gougler (with a detour into the park)-Main-home. It shouldn’t have taken longer than 20 minutes. I crossed the Crain Avenue Bridge, looked over into the Cuyahoga, and saw a vertical tube sticking out of the ground below. It was wide enough to fit a person, as evidenced by the ladder that dropped into it. I wondered where that ladder led and what lay at the bottom of that tube. I located a way down there—I only had to climb down the rocky sheer wall, cross the railroad tracks, and coerce some thorny vines to let me pass.

The hole was only 15’ deep or so, and I climbed down rather easily. At the bottom ran a horizontal tube in both directions, for draining flood waters from the railroad bed, I assumed. By crouching as low as I could and looking to my right, I could see, as if through a long lens, a small sphere of the Cuyahoga. I could hear its churning and shifting. I glanced up the ladder, saw only sky and clouds.

I climbed back up the ladder, reentered the world. I decided to keep walking. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to walk as it was that I needed to walk. I found myself under the Crain Avenue Bridge, amidst old Samba footprints, an abandoned fire pit, and an empty bottle of gin. I looked into the river, broke a small branch from a bush, threw it in.

Pooh sticks, I thought, though I was under the bridge, not on it, and I was the only one racing.

I kept going, along the railroad tracks, along the river, deviating occasionally to revisit old landmarks. I saw the Standing Rock for the first time. Near the dilapidated cement structure, known by those so privy as the Moon Tower, I found a square hole in the ground, lined with cement. The thing was only 4’ deep, so I jumped down and found myself in the junction of 3 underground tunnels. My breath condensed in the cold of the earth. I decided not to pursue the destination of said tubes as it was very dark and cold.

I climbed atop the 25’ tall Moon Tower, visiting the place for probably the last time. I did a few laps around its circular platform. I recalled being incredibly frightened the first time I climbed the roughshod ladder of wood planks nailed to a dead tree. This time, I performed the task with aplomb. I climbed back down, hitting the ground with a thud. I walked away without looking back.

I had become thirsty in my travels. I remembered the cider—my whole reason for departing in the first place. I glanced at the sun. It was sinking rapidly but I figured I had at least one more hour of daylight. I could easily reach the orchard by foot in that span, with time left over to milk the daylight for the trip back. I hit my stride, with my Asics sneakers plodding against the earth in a steady rhythm.

I wondered if I was lonely. I thought of a number of people who would have enjoyed bits and pieces of the excursion, though I couldn’t really conjure anyone who would be up for the entire walk. There were many times during my walk when I said, That would make a good picture; Dogs, I know someone who loves a good pooch; I remember the time we biked on this path. I thought of my best friend Geoff, how we could have marched at the same pace the entire time, exchanging words maybe three times the whole day, but being able to recount the entire adventure—event for event—years later. Nostalgia aside, I knew that I had to do this alone. I was free.

Upon reaching a rickety railroad bridge, I watched a father and son walking beside some tract housing in the distance. The little boy pointed toward me as gingerly balanced between each railroad tie. I had reached the home stretch of my orchard jaunt. I could see, a quarter mile in the distance, the road that led to Beckwith’s. I took a shortcut on a horse trail behind the orchard and followed it along the rows and rows of cornstalks until I found a wide corridor to pass through. Upon stepping through the cornstalks, I was immediately taken aback by the desolateness of the orchard. The trees had been stripped of their leaves and a few bunches of apples dotted the otherwise barren mass of limbs.

The place was completely deserted and I wondered, amidst the five minute walk through the uncomfortably quiet field, if the orchard was even open. Luckily, it was, though the bustling atmosphere that pervaded the store in October had fled. I got my free apple, bought a gallon of cider, and made for home. I calculated that I could get around 70 miles to the gallon of cider.

My thoughts on the return trip were influenced by the setting sun directly in front of me. I thought about the nature of solstices and equinoxes, the longest and shortest days of the year. I thought about what I was doing for the longest day of the year. I hoped I had appreciated every single second of daylight, as the days continued to wax and wane, with increasing intensity, this entire fall. I figured that I had lost November, though this day hit me as a sort of reprieve, a means to make something worthwhile out of this otherwise disparaging month.

As I neared Kent, I was hit with gusts that were simultaneously warm and cold. I could feel spring and fall battling it out before me. Of course, fall was to win, only to be taken slave by winter. But I digress here. I walked beside a pond that had a thin membrane of ice—of ice! How it could maintain that over this warm day made me wonder. I knew this weather was not to last, but I made sure to milk, as I said before, every last instance of daylight.

I left the railroad tracks at the Crain Avenue Bridge, continued across it as I had intended 3 hours ago, walked along Gougler, detoured into the park, sat near the dam for 10 minutes or so, thought of my leap, as Capt. Brady, last July. The streetlights had stammered to life. The sun had set. Headlights traversed Main Street. It grew cold. The slumbering beast of late November rumbled beneath the earth.

With feet blistered, I made the climb to street level, walked up Main Street to my home.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The opening for my yet-to-be-titled novel

At the end of the first week of our last semester of college, Calvin and I sat on the roof of my apartment on Main Street, smoking victory cigars.

"We won," we said, in between cat-calling the ladies and gentlemen who passed below on the sidewalk. Headlights zipped past all night. Cars without mufflers rattled our beer bottles. We toasted to victory.

We had won.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Snow is dusted lightly over car roofs and tree limbs. The gradual ascension of morning brings light to a new week. The last one was dreadful, and I am glad to bid it adieu. Despite the optimism that accompanied the jump into October, November has become a month riddled with mistakes.

My life, of late, has been defined by the mistakes I've made. Backs are turned, cold shoulders thrust forward, fists raised. Supreme disappointment greets my every turn. I have stepped back into the Postmodern Dystopia.

A week ago, I found myself confronted with the phrase, "Look on the bright side, it can't get any worse." That statement was premature; it got much worse. My life was described as "spiraling out of control" by the only person whose opinion really matters to me. Last week, I wore the bullseye; each day signaled a direct hit.

But I embark on this week of togetherness and goodwill with an agenda and renewed motivation. I will catch up. I will find my bearings. I will relax.

I remain confident that I can once again extract the glowing ember of optimism, fuel it to a blaze. If only I had the bellow.

I am cold. Soon I will be warm.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Today's image

An unwieldy silver cash box is scooped off the ground, carried toward me by its visibly exerted courier.

"Do you need some help with that?" I asked, turning away from her assistant, whom I was hopelessly engaging. "Here, let me help you."

I saw the woman struggling with the heavy metal mass of bills and change and recognized an exit strategy. I used that box as my ticket out of the office, for I knew that if I stuck around, continued on with her assistant, a weight far heavier would descend on my shoulders and on my heart.

She transferred its weight to me. I gripped it by the handles, turned and followed the previous carrier out the door. I glanced back at the assistant still in the office.

I'm sorry, I thought.

The box was my placebo, a sugar pill that masked the pain for a brief instant.

I'm sorry.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

poems--Breaking Up, Breaking Away

Late November Revelations

A shattered fragment of sanity
plummets to the Earth
in a blatant show
of disregard
for what could have been.

The lingering notion of solitude
pervades the frigid air
of early winter,
holding the spirit
of icy isolation.

The specter of commitment
fades to vapor,
taken slave
by the distinct November wind,
a template
for notions of regret.

A falling leaf breaks fractiously
from the pack,
stoically reaffirming
that tumultuous breezes
are best handled

The piquancy of decay
permeates the dusky landscape
of browns and grays
a sinewy cloudscape
juxtaposed by failed beauty
both separating with distinction
by dispersing particles of nightfall.

Inevitability struck harder
than the surprise,
with its constant reminder
that tundra waits
between two paradises,
clutch the gusts of severance
and weather the storm.

Originally published in the Fall 2004 Luna Negra.


Waiting in the Wind

Late Fall wind whips against the window.
We lay against each other on the couch,
listening to tumultuous gusts without.
Within, we shift closer, breath meeting breath,
comfortable to be removed from November,
more to be together, though it is not to last.

I say, ‘Are you sure you must leave?’
between farewells as we step into the night.
Piquantly decayed leaves leap past our brows.
Environment we previously mocked shouts back.
We emphatically embrace and I let her know
I’ll be waiting here in the wind for her
but she drives into darkness anyway.

Morning, bright again, last night’s brilliant antithesis.
I glance out the window and see gossamer web,
silky thread undulating in the breeze, catching the rays.
Shimmering like hope, a tenuous testament to resiliency
through the gusty times, waiting diligently in the wind.

Originally published in the chapbook Palette of Browns and Grays.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

today's image

Ebony tights sit folded in a neat square beside the beveled wooden leg of my blue recliner.


You are beautiful, you know that? Black tights sheath legs that could serve as a delicacy, you know, if people ate other people's legs. Anyways, I'd eat your legs. They are very appetizing to me. Your denim skirt is a neat garnish to be brushed aside, maybe nibbled on for freshness, like parsley.


You're so dolled up tonight. I wonder if it's because of me. Nah, can't be.

Yes, I'm sure it is.


We walk down down Main St., toward South Water. You allow me to know the color of your underwear, flashing me a hot pink bra strap. Raw. Sexual. Carnal. Hot. Pink.

Let's have a drink, my little delicacy.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Last Saturday, Charles and I bought bottles of whiskey. He opted for Jim Beam; I, Jameson. I keep the bottle in the freezer, as cold Jameson doesn't quite have the bite. November drives me to drink Jameson on the rocks.

The bottle is now, as of Tuesday afternoon, almost empty. I have drank no highballs of whiskey, only shots. On Saturday, I slung three in a row. This was at the recommendation of my roommate Jess, who said that it would help me sleep. It did, to a point, but I still sobbed a bunch beforehand. They were the dry sort of sobs that are really frustrating. Dry sobs make me feel like I'm cheating myself.

Sunday night provided a two shot night--back-to-back. This was because my friend Justin came over with a bottle of cider (I love cider), and that makes the best chaser. Charlie was over too, and he read me a story he was writing. In the middle of it, I passed out in my brown chair. I woke up at 4:30 with all the lights on. Charlie had let himself out. I slid into bed and melancholy. Slept some more.

Monday night was the radio show. The theme was "Breaking Up, Breaking Away." This was quite the coincidence. Maybe it was fate. I read three poems--the last, "traffic." I nearly broke down at the end of it, live on-air. I could have gotten away with that if the episode was called "breaking down." It wasn't, so we pushed onward.

Dinner at Chipotle. While waiting in the doorway, I picked up a Stater, saw Folk Fest pictures, your name at the top. I deflated a bit more. Just when I thought there was nothing left.

Amy came over. We talked through things. I began to feel better. I attempted to begin a series of writings for Poetry II class. It was supposed to be another set of memoirs like the one I wrote last year. I couldn't do the same thing again, didn't want to, so I pursued the idea of an anthology about a fractured relationship. Just as I was about to start, I asked Amy if she wanted to do a shot.

We leapt toward the kitchen. It was 12:05. We toasted the first to adulthood. Amy toasted the second one to something carnal and raw. I believe the third was Cleveland. The fourth, fifth and sixth shots I don't remember. We were stark raving drunk by 12:30. It was an accident.

We sat in my room, Amy in the brown recliner, me in the blue, and reminisced about high school--laughed and carried on like drunks do. Jess came home and we chatted with her for a bit, Amy mainly. She focused on the future. I felt sick. I excused myself and vomited in the bathroom. As I was leaving, I caught a sight of myself in the mirror. It hit me again, the wave of melancholy. I tilted my head against the glass.

I sat back in the chair and attempted to write, amidst double vision and an undulating cocktail in my gut. Here is an excerpt:

I got drunk tonight. 6 shots of Irish Whiskey. Who does that? On a Monday? This is where I'm at. . .6 shots of whiskey on Monday. I looked at myself in the mirror. I saw myself, the dark circles around the eyes, and I knew, just knew, that you would not approve of me right now. I wonder what you are doing right now. It is 1:32 in the morning. You are probably sleeping right now. I, on the other hand, am drunk. I did not mean for this to happen, I swear. I love you so much. I wish I could express that a bit better. But here I am, drunk off 6 shots of Jameson, wishing I was with you. I wanted to call you today, just to express what I was feeling today. But I couldn't.
A little later, I wept uncontrollably into Amy's arms. I still sat in the chair, she sat in my lap. I cried and I cried and I cried. I couldn't even live with myself. We passed out there.

I awoke from a wonderful dream about you. I can't remember exactly what it was about, but the last image was the two of us together, embracing, laughing. It was a gray morning again. Reality crushed me immediately.

Amy threw up six times that morning. I felt okay, a bit groggy maybe, but okay. I slept through Poetry class. I had nothing to present anyway.

Amy was curled up on the couch as I got ready for the day. I rationalized last night as this: I needed to torment my liver, because for the last few days I'd been tormenting my heart. It drew the pain away from one organ and into another.

Still, it comes and goes. Right now, I'm riding a low swell in the tidal wave. Hopefully it will rise soon. I'm confident that it will; though I know, in my heart of hearts, that it will only be a matter of time before I am pulled back down again.

I love her.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sand is running out of the hourglass.
. . . . .

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Late Fights

LaTonia and I had been having 'late fights,' as I called them, all semester long. She was winning. It was a competition for who could arrive later to poetry class. If you missed class outright, the day was a wash. She was a tough adversary, and quite shameless, I may add. I had, over the last four years, fine tuned my ability to walk into class drastically late, making little more ruckus than the meek opening and shutting of the door. If my lateness would exceed thirty minutes, I would call it a day and just stay in bed. LaTonia, on the other hand, had no qualms arriving up to an hour late to an hour-and-fifteen minute class. It was a challenge, but I scored bonus points by arriving late to the midterm a month ago. Still, I operated at a tremendous deficit in comparison to her.

This morning, I strolled into Satterfield Hall at 9:30, a healthy fifteen minutes late. I tapped the raindrops from my umbrella and lifted my headphones. I took a drink from the fountain, snuck past the classroom door, removed my jacket. I saw a Daily Kent Stater sitting on a table and browsed the photos.

At that moment, Danielle walked into the building. She asked me why the hell I was standing alone in the hallway, reading a paper, jacket draped over one arm, fifteen minutes late. I explained to her that I was already late, and that there was no sense in rushing at that point. I went on to say that by taking off my jacket before entering, I would appear to have been in the building for a while, printing out copies of my poem, possibly. I pulled a folder out of my satchel to complete the illusion.

Danielle laughed, said she hadn't seen me in a while, gave me a hug. I asked her if she was with me. She told me to hold on and took off her jacket. We tiptoed in together, ill prepared, jackets removed, folders in hand, smiling. Upon gingerly sitting down, we realized neither had been to class in a week and laughed silently to each other.

Ten minutes later, LaTonia stepped in, wearing her bright red leather jacket. She produced much commotion with said jacket's removal. The chair clamored clumsily as she pulled it away from the table. She sat down with a tremendous sigh.

I chalked the day up as a loss.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

memoir--the dB building

"What are you thinking?" Sunshine asked, looking down at me.

I was having trouble expressing myself so I continued to stare deep into her eyes, icy ponds in which I often drowned myself. Her face reflected a soft glow and was shimmery around the edges. Her mouth canted toward a coy smile. I shivered a bit.

The world left me in that gaze. Suddenly, everything that had been bothering me--all those little and big insecurities of adulthood--diffused in the air. She waited for an answer.

I smiled wider, shrugged, said, "I'm not thinking of anything."

A lie, obviously. She knew this. I was lost in this seemingly inconsequential moment of laying together on a dorm room futon. Just looking at her, just being with her, was enough to quell the cocktail of confusion that sat before us, certain to be spilled two months down the road.

Then it was back again, the insecurity, accumulating deep within me. The base formed quickly in my lower abdomen, then the structure piled high once more. The peak came to rest somewhere near the back of my throat. I had become used to its dim throb the last few weeks, as if it was some great big statement waiting to be expressed, but I always lacked the means to do so.

"Nothing?" Sunshine asked, not believing it for a second. Her smile beamed brighter.

I thought of it all, the teetering skyscraper of my uncertain future.

college jobs radio career internship potential begin end
loss moving packing leaving paths cities apart december
fast life secret confuse priorities dedication sorry home
wrecker infidelity separation obtuse lonely cause me hand
written miss sadness despair stride life vibrant prospect
park brooklyn hands sunsets drives wksu typewriter
corner visit ride window hot stickers buttons excuse
umbrella columns rain merrill walking estuary bridge
mountain memoir poems slovak abruzzi mix sufjan vinyl
dancing jazz pinot creative laying tears emotion heavy
words sexual charge celebrity party roof gone twenty
four sitting lake hip indie quit letter prayers red jacket in
love whimsy bellow like intense morning moment eyes
wednesday hump bad both someday reason works
out annie coltrane elevator black white flim pentax then
what lips yours best beautiful longing summer more
failure respect stroke cheek feel better lift worry concern
income lexus volvo turnup glasses bright why when see
again pain hurt need want everything nothing importance
orchestra viola opera elixir ypsilanti calculation reprieve
distance week month fourteen year summer fall october
florida sunglass fashion artemis stater boogie hat eyelashes
kisskiss deep curls breeze smile gloves scarf football field
susans E not D wandering phone text waiting station orange
november thanksgiving soon warm cold nose cider fordham
paste jane ira pink sleep neck rasberries tummy giggle grad
school two save see world wishing glad blog new york glance
april twenty three birthday whimsy alley transfer cannot park
slope destination apartment loft studio photos paintings high
art we poem statue pumpkin happy remember palette travel
europe france prague rome london firenze amour distinct
throb seeing horizon lights tunnels vapor balance shutter dorm
comfort relationship amazing wonderful crazy nutso for you
future future future future future future future future future
time time time time time time time time time time time time
love love love love love love love love love love love love love
life life life life life life life life life life life life life life life life life
nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing
everything everything everything everything everything
end end end end end end end end end end end end end end
begin begin begin begin begin begin begin begin begin begin
sunshine sunshine sunshine sunshine sunshine sunshine
future time love life nothing everything end begin sunshine

These were about the first forty stories of my skyscraper, the cumbersome
dB Building. We sold stocks, bonds and insecurity deposits. At the top of this structure was a great big art deco spire, originally designed to tether a bulbous dirigible labeled FUTURE. But this building was huge--well over three thousand feet tall in concept. The wind whipped and pulled up there at the peak. Any balloon would have been tossed about. As such, it was uncertain as to where I'd board the FUTURE, and where it'd even take me.

But this wasn't my strongest concern. It was not my future that scratched at the back of my throat. The Zeppelin was floating around the night sky and would return in due time. It did not worry me much.

It was that someone had occupied--amid whipping winds and a teetering base--the small circular platform atop the spire.

It was you, Sunshine.

So when you asked me what I was thinking when we gazed into each other's eyes that night, I could have said everything. But I said nothing. I had trouble expressing myself. Because at the very top of it all, at the silvery peak of all my bustling thoughts, happy and sad, you stood like a beacon.

So it was nothing.
And it was everything.
But mainly,
it was you.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Everything is changing. I blink as another weekend passes, then four, then ten. Soon it will be Thanksgiving. Soon it will be later than that.

The piles upon piles of leaves I raked this autumn have been decimated by the wind. I fluttered away with them. Just another leaf in the breeze, I mingled with snowflakes as they broke open the virginal fall sky.

The weight of the leaf piles approached infinity before forward momentum took over and sent them aflight. They were too cumbersome for their own good, pressing with so much force upon the Earth.

'Enough is enough,' said Earth, flexing and shrugging off the unweildy masses clinging to its back.

I was with those leaves for a while, first buried, then flapping through the air.

Then I stood on solid ground again. The tremendous weight of fall swirled around me like a vortex. I could reach out and pull each individual leaf from the sky. I could examine its veiny structure while it decomposed before my eyes. There were leaves everywhere, but I could handle the job. It was almost easier that way.

Soon the snowflakes will outnumber the leaves. Soon fall will decompose. Soon I will be cold. Or soon I will be warm. Soon.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What It Took To Look Away

1. A room full of poems

2. The luminary staccato of flashbulb

3. A 99 cent comp book that won’t shut up

4. A truncated brown tail to gnaw

5. The wrought iron chain link contents of a letter yet to be written

6. December and uncertainty

7. A scarf that lacked blue and gold pattern

8. Four-day stubble, or the lack thereof, on one quadrant of my cheek

9. Desiring for the sake of being desired, that that was a recent realization

10. A habit of leaving halfway

--After Ariana-Sophia M. Kartsonis’ poem of the same name

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Not to worry.

Forehead rests in the crook of my thumb and forefinger. I am slouched over the desk, hair pulled at obtuse angles from my scalp. Creases orbit my eyelids. It has been a rough night. I breathe thickly, and my chest vibrates at odd time signatures. I am heavy with regret and sorrow and apologies and gratitude. I lose myself when I begin to worry.

I'm sorry.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Androidgyny: Act II

[Act I archive]


I continued to run into Sam in the break room, a little nook near the slop sink housing a table and a few crates to sit on. She smoked like a freight train, though only at intervals of half-cigarettes. I came to realize the significance of the semi-smoked Turkish blends that dangled from ash trays in the back. After sitting back there with her a few times, I became accustomed to the awkwardness of watching her light half a cigarette.

She was amazed to find out I was an English major. Her eyes lit and she flashed me that expansive smile of hers.

“You’re an English major? Wow, you must read a lot of books.”

I provided her with my manufactured response for everything that was either a lie or something I was ashamed of.

“I’ve been known to partake from time to time.”

She laughed, and we came to bask in the commonality that we were both immersed in On the Road. Kerouac had been my nightly partner on those nights when I was still sober enough to read for five minutes before passing out. This happened on and off for the last two months. She admitted reading the book for four months. I liked that she was taking twice as long as I in reading a 260 page first-person novel.

As with any conversation about a novel both participants have yet to finish, the next five minutes were spent talking about what to expect and what was enjoyed, where the novel was going and when we expected to finish it.

“I’m going home tonight and finishing it,” I said. “Are you in? You and me and Kerouac, tonight.” This was the pull, the rub, if you will, to get her to my place to fool around. I had to admit I wasn’t overly attracted to her, not even moderately attracted to her, but the prospect of laying the mack on a server, at long last, served as my motivation.

The way our break room conversations had been going those last days convinced me her answer would be an astounding “yea,” though her reaction led me differently. Her smile plummeted, and her eyes sank to the half Camel as she snuffed it gingerly out and placed it in one of the cigarette nooks of the ashtray.

“I can’t,” she said, eyes coming back up to meet mine, “I told Leroy I would go to Doug’s party tonight. I’d rather read with you, though.”

Instantly, Kerouac fell away in my mind. “Did you say party? How did I not know about this?” Images of girls wearing only lampshades on their heads and myself with a decanter of cognac flashed through my mind. I pulled again on the square I had bummed from her. “I can’t believe Leroy didn’t mention this.”

“Well, it’s a work party. Doug is throwing it for the employees. I think Leroy said he mentioned it to you. Said he mentioned it when he dropped off that bottle of wine to your apartment.”

I lapsed back to a few nights ago, when I had spilled a quarter bottle of Pisano on my work shirt, and in the frenetic scrubbing that ensued, I had dumped the remainder of the jug on the carpet. I was too embarrassed and too incapacitated to make my way back to the Clark Station. I knew Leroy was coming over that night to get me high, so I hit him up and asked him to make a stop. The rest of the evening was a blur.

“He may have mentioned a party, come to think of it,” I said.

“You can come, too. It’ll be fun—you, me, and Leroy,” she said.

“Yeah, that sounds like a blast. I’d, uh,”—

In a moment of unprecedented silence from the dish tank, I heard the sound of dentist’s drill, accelerated, and an abrupt tapping on metal. Then one of my fellow bussers deposited a tub on the dish tank counter and the cacophony recommenced.

She looked at me blankly.

“Um, I’d love to go. Is it BYOB or should I bring my own cup?”

Her empty gaze continued, “I’m sorry, BYOB, that’s unfamiliar to me.”

“BYOB? Come on, you’re joking.”

“Bee-Yob? That term is unfamiliar.”

“Jeez you’re silly,” I said. Her scientific tone made me a bit uneasy, but I figured she was poking fun at the English major propensity toward dry humor in the face of looking like a fool. My cigarette cherry began to lick the latex of my hand.

I startled, flicking the butt into the slop sink, “BYOB, bring your own beer. You mean you’ve never heard that before?”

“I like to learn things. I like it when you teach me, Andy.”

I was about to lay down the skills again, to say something like, ‘I can teach you a bunch, baby. Like how to go back and take them clothes off,’ but the loudspeaker emitted a glass shattering shriek.

“Sam, you have a table. Sam, table four please.”

“I have to go,” Sam said to me, neither looking excited nor disappointed, and rounded the corner back to the front. Such was the way our break chats usually fared, me about to make a move, and she methodically going back to work at the sound of the hostess’s PA.

At least I had invited myself along tonight, which was promising. I could see us stumbling up the steps to my apartment and collapsing in a big sexy heap on my twin size air mattress on the floor. Nice.

I decided to tack an additional seven minutes onto my fifteen minute break. With no other servers to shoot me down, I fingered through that morning’s papers, stained and cigarette burned. The first five or six pages were usually illegible due to the amount of coffee spillage and burn holes, so I habitually flipped to page eight. The top of the Sciences page provided an interesting picture of a slick-looking Asian inventor dude standing beside a naked, shining, convoluted exoskeleton. The headline read: “Amazing Advancements in Cybernetics.” I reached for my coffee mug, but in the process overturned one of the seventeen other mugs littering the break table, effectively spilling three day old sludge all over the paper. As I reached across the table for napkins, a shiny ribbon caught my eye.

No longer than a pencil and about the width of a swatch of Scotch tape, the ribbon looked to be made of stainless steel or some other metal. Embossed lengthwise was a series of numbers, something like 11001010101011100. It looked like some computer printout. I ran my rubber-gloved finger along the raised numbers, smudging some sausage gravy in the crevices.

Another five or six bus tubs sounded against the steel counter. My bussing partner had had enough of my break.

“Andy, you fucking fat ass, get back to work! Take care of these fucking mush pans.”

Another day, another dollar. I put the sliver in my pocket and went back to work.

* * *

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Jacket of Leaves

You wear Autumn over your shoulders,
your leaf jacket glows like hot coals
until the falling foliage becomes falling snow.
The setting sun fades to brown,
disintegrates in the wind,
leaving only stems and thread.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sitting on Cement Steps in a Corridor of Kent, Ohio

I gaze at your mouth, the way humming halogens
pool at the space above lips that sit like a shelf
holding up your Slovak/Abruzzi face.
I tell you, this alley is our blanket, its shadows
a sheath inside which we hold hands
and ambitions aloft, as if flashing both
would leave the passing sidewalk blind.
Above, a flat roof on Main Street
gingerly juggles fluorescence and dark.
Lurid signs buzz against faces with askew eyebrows.
Crooked smiles contort with optimism.
They look upon trailing exhausts
spitting sparks against the asphalt.
Everyone I know is going on to great things.

--After James Wright’s “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota”


We set off via bikes somewhere near the Crain Street Bridge
where some imposing factories clad in tan aluminum
yield a smooth trail along the railroad tracks.
We cross a pond, tires cutting a swath in murky low water,
heading for the orchard with promise of cider
and half a peck to shoulder for the trip back.

I keep to a low gear, for her, the novice cyclist, to stay close
as we pass snapdragons and wildflower. She diligently points this out.
I notice the lonely brick smoke stack labeled Gougler,
how it rises above the trees, like a tattooed finger making some point
that no longer matters.

I take her back to the water tower, covered in graffiti, chipped, and bruised,
like me falling over a bump in the path. With palms raw and face red,
I let her know these things happen when I’m excited and on a bike.
We don’t climb it, only look up and reflect on a time when the tower
may have had some use. A time when it was not broken glass,
charred pit. Time before a tribal drum pled people to throw railroad ties
into the fire, though they didn’t burn the whole way through.

We decide that water towers and railroad ties and fire pits are not apples.
We began for apples and apples it is to be, so we leave that place.

We bear East toward Ravenna, beside tracks that allow rocks
like crab apples to spill to the side and cause us to bob up and down.

On our seats we list back and forth, as if about to fall,
But I am careful not to do so again. I am not meant for cider.
I tell her to brace on the pedals to absorb the shock a bit.
She does and the ride goes smoother, though the rocks increase,
pile upon pile. We reach the orchard, where a gravel lot greets us
before approaching the wood store, whitewashed and sharp.

A boy sells chocolate bars at the elbow of a wraparound porch.
His face puckered by a day’s worth of retail, sales, and barter,
I ask him his favorite and his eyes glaze. They scan Kit-Kat, Twix, Reese’s,
then he looks at me. He says, “Kit-Kat,” determinately, as if
he’d been asked that by all his customers. I see her toss back her hair
in his great big round glasses and tell him we’ll be back.

Inside the Beckwith store, we browse piles of fragrant apples, some red,
some green, some both. I inquire as to the best for making pies,
keeping in mind I like my apples tart. “McIntosh,” was the answer
according to the sign and the woman behind the counter.
“Good for baking, great for eating.” To hell with that.
I try a Devine, spindled skinless from some apple-shearing contraption.

With freshly sticky hands, I paw through the bin of McIntoshes,
trying to look like I know how to select a half peck of apples.
Really, I have no idea, and rest my hand on one, arbitrarily,
scooping it up, and carrying toward her for approval.

At the cash register, I habitually call out, “cider,” a necessary fluid of Fall.
It is a half gallon of crisp air and decay but mainly of sweetness;
that tenuous point between ripe and rotten.

She and I step outside and buy that Kit-Kat, supporting the kid
and his Catholic school. We sit on the wooden steps outside,
pulling on the cider, content to save the half peck and the chocolate.

Monday, October 02, 2006



From my seat atop the bleachers, I felt four dozen sets of eyes glare up at me. In some versions of this story, I was reading a book (War & Peace, presumably), yet in this telling, I was merely lost in thought. I could hear their sharp gasps and exclamations of “What!?,” whiny protest being a staple of any sixth grade injustice. I myself may have uttered a few words of contempt at my own ill fortune. An apparent rift ran through the crowd of aspiring athletes. Well, “athlete” may not have been the correct term; to describe myself as athletic now would be a stretch (no pun intended), to do so then was an outright travesty. That having been said, my current position did wield some disconcertion.

At age eleven, one’s decision making is oft glazed over like morning frost on a January windshield. When I heard my name called, I was day dreaming about playing NHL ’95 on Sega Genesis or watching Speed Racer. The air hung low, cool, dank in the middle school gymnasium. The winter air of Pennsylvania inspired me to further progress into my cold weather lethargy. I had been led astray by my nerdy counterparts who decided joining the intramural basketball team was the way to go. We were all bound together by the hope of not being the last player picked to a team. Coach Kalina’s raspy (and incorrect, I might add) pronunciation of my name once more reverberated off the cinderblock walls of the ancient gym.


For some reason, I had been named captain of a basketball team. I’m sure no legitimate reason existed for the promotion, save maybe Coach Kalina’s enjoyment. The ugly bald guy always did have a way of singling me out, above and beyond other authority figures of that time. The redundant sound of cement blocks hitting rim bounded about my head. Humiliated and a tad shocked, I descended from my perch atop the bleachers. I had no basketball skills whatsoever, what the hell was I doing here? Alienation tapped me on the shoulder; it was laughing as well. I had not signed up to be a captain. I am not a leader. I didn’t even want to play. I cursed the friends who talked me into it.

“Kill me,” I mouthed to them in passing. I saw my eyebrows canted at sharp angles in their big round wire rimmed glasses.

I stepped onto the ageless hardwood floor where so many other prepubescent boys before me had fought valiantly and died. I viewed the draft pool. Then it was the loathing process of systematically selecting team members, captain’s prerogative.

So many useless choices, I thought. They smirked and grinned back, as if they knew a secret I did not. It was no secret my lack of qualifications for the job. Of the six captains in the first round, I would pick last. This could make or break my team. As I watched the popular athletic (read: husky) guys join their respective teams, I focused upon my selection, my shining star.

I recited my first pick, “Tim Mitchell.”

A series of loud cackles went up from the ranks. They resounded against terra-cotta tile and steel rafter. Now, Tim was good, arguably the best of my group of friends. However, compared to the median level of 6th grade talent, he was far below the norm. I had obviously made a mistake beyond repair. Even Kalina surrendered a smirk and obligatory head shake.

Fully assured of my lot in life, my middle school caste, I plowed through the rest of the draft. By round eight, I had burned through my group of friends and was already, by far, the worst intramural basketball captain in history of Westinghouse Middle School. I scanned the remaining talent pool, each free agent careful not to make eye contact for fear of being chosen next.

Then I saw him, my shooting star, my big winner. On the third row of bleachers, clutching a Globetrotters ball, sat Rickie Jones. My intentions became painfully apparent once we met eyes. Rickie flinched, possessed by fear, humiliation, rage.

“Rickie,” I said stoically, pointing at him from my hip. He made no attempt to hide his disgust, chucking his ball off the ground while mumbling something about wanting to be on a good team this year. It was at this moment in life that Rick took a downward turn. He’d been socially climbing his whole academic life up to this point. But all collapsed at my recitation of his name. By freshman year of high school, he had developed several drug addictions and stood, once more, at the bottom rung of the social ladder.

I held no sympathy; blame Kalina, I’m obviously not captain material. Plus, Rick’s investment in an NBA career seemed a bit shortsighted even by eleven year-old standards. Ruining lives was inevitable given my position.

After about five or six more rounds, the team was complete. I recall sitting Indian-style on the glossy hardwood floor, as the other more formidable teams had their jollies pointing and laughing. The humiliation departed at that moment. In its wake sat a noticeable numbness. I had done it; I had constructed the worst team in the history of organized sport. The title was cumbersome but I would gladly shoulder the weight.

Practice commenced shortly thereafter.

I wish I could say that we impressed everyone, that we were the sleeper team that intramural season. That there was some type of team bonding experience involving NBA players and a kid in a wheelchair that could slam dunk. None of this happened; we were just your average, run-of-the-mill, utterly pathetic basketball team. No lives were ruined in the fray (except Rickie’s) and by March, the event was completely forgotten by the general populous.

Yet, every drama at age eleven seems terminal and for that reason deserves a place in history. I’m still amazed at how a devastating occurrence in youth eventually turns into a petty entry in one’s autobiography; another brick in a lifetime of missed shots, combined with some mortar to form something more tangible, complete.

Sunday, October 01, 2006



I see you strolling down the sidewalk along Prospect Park in Brooklyn. It is still a bit chilly, but this mid-April Saturday is sunny and electric. You are wearing your olive green pea coat, with a camera bag around your shoulders and an overnight suitcase hanging from one arm. You look a bit weary, though determined, from the trips into JFK and Brooklyn. Your hair, a few shades darker now, uncoils and coils in the breeze.

I smile, watching every man you pass turn back to capture one last fleeting glance.

“You are beautiful,” I mouth. “You know that?”

You lift your sunglasses and smile. The world suddenly abandons everything that is wrong. Blushing, you look down and across. Creases appear at the far edges of your eyes.

I move to meet you, shifting the weight of the messenger bag on my right shoulder. As we come closer, I am consumed by the way sunlight rides the waves of your eyelashes.

We reach one another. I say, “Your eyes swallow me whole.” Lips briefly stretch and relax. They part, whimsical. You lift your chin and I lower mine.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be twenty-three. It is early Spring in New York City. You have finally come to visit. I have spent the last three and a half months missing you. I love life in this city. I am glad you are here. It has been far too long.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Androidgyny: Act I

When I turned 20, I realized my life wasn't really going anywhere. Sure I was enjoying the relaxation new life as an English major afforded me: reading books, writing essays, playing video game hockey. But by the beginning of summer my bank account was drained, the landlady was leaving me threatening notes on a daily basis, and I was sleeping 15 hours a day [10 hours at night + 2 2.5 hour naps through the day]. I had put on weight and began hearing "sloth" from random passers-by on daily walks to the Clark Station for scratch-off lottery tickets.

And since shifting to the English program, I had ceased getting any. I couldn't even remember the last time I had sexual relations [a lie: it was over Christmas break, with some high school chick that had a crush on me three years ago. Really awkward--she was fat and I was approaching fat. Now I'm just fat], and my libido had been really waning of late. It was like a valve had been shut off in my testicles, my genitals appearing flaccid and unused. It was really depressing.

So I said to myself, "Andy, you need a job. Then you can pay the rent. Then you can make Landlady Gladys happy. Then you can find a girl. Wine 'em. Dine 'em. 69 'em." It was a brilliant plan. It sounded like a George Thoroughood song, too, but I didn't dwell on that. Old George seemed to have his act together.

One bourbon
One Scotch
One Beer
And so on
And so forth
et. al.

I drilled some of my contacts for information: job openings, recommendations, bridges to live under. Fortunately, my drummer friend Leroy also had a day job as a grill cook. I couldn't cook, but I did need a job. Turns out his place of business, a diner unflatteringly called “Coffee and Water,” needed some people to clean off the tables. I also wasn't much of a sanitary person, but wiping off tables fell into a realm a bit closer to my qualifications.

"Dude, talk to my manager," Leroy said. "Ask for Doug, he's cool. Totally like us."

Within five business days, my arms were plunged elbow deep into greasy, viscous, dish soak water. I accumulated innumerable cuts from knives hiding at the bottom of the basin. Said cuts were promptly infected by the teeming soak sink. I learned how to judge the trajectory of sausage gravy as it deflected from the inside of a dirty ladle by the tank spray hose. These amorphous projectiles would usually strike the surface of my eye, mysteriously arching over my unspeckled glasses.

I hit the busser life hard. I'd bike home, reeking of summer pits and grease, to sit in my apartment, which stunk similarly. Each night, I would absorb two and a half jugs of Clark Station Pisano ["The Wino Wine," I called it], only to bike back drunk the next morning, puking at intervals of down stroke.

Despite my jaundice-evoking lifestyle, I was looking a bit fitter. My flabby flanks were starting to appear meaty and my turkey neck had flown the coup. I became an expert with the pun, and dropped a nauseating amount of innuendo [sexual and otherwise] around the female servers. They flirted back casually, out of politeness, but never seemed too keen on any type of physical contact. It could have been my monstrously thick eyebrows or my lack of a car that caused their disinterest; such is the mystery of women.

One unusually slow Sunday morning, as I wiped clean a recently deserted table, a rather formless server sauntered over to me. I watched as she emerged through the stainless-yet-stained steel kitchen doors, looking indeterminate in direction. She came to stand at the end of the four-top, hands resting together at the small of her back.

I slid my eyes up from her narrow waist and hips to her flat tummy to her flat chest to her jagged chin, pursed lips, sharp nose, and wide set, inquisitive green eyes. Her shoulder-length red hair was tied in a pony tail, as was the standard server style. She miraculously lacked any scent; she obviously opted out of drenching herself in an asphyxiating amount of lilac spray from Bath & Body Works like the other servers, but managed to avoid gleaning the stench of grease and stale defeat as I and the other bussers had.

Upon making eye contact, her tight lips spread into a smile that exposed an array of slightly off-true teeth. At first glance, her smile didn’t appear crooked, though it seemed a different angle could tell another story. I tried not to notice her physical shortcomings.

I bent back to a better posture and stuffed my wash rag into my apron strap, patted my wine gut.

“Hi, I’m Andy,” I said, extending my rubber gloved hand. “Andy Stool.”

“Nice to meet you, I’m Sam,” she said. Her eyes sparked upon learning my name. “You know Leroy, right? I like him.”

“Yeah, he’s a good friend of mine,” I said. “But I mostly work mornings and he works nights. I don’t see him a whole lot.”

Her smile vanished. “That’s too bad.”

“Ah well,” I said, “I don’t really like him anyway.”

Her eyes contorted into confusion. I smiled and she quickly followed suit.

“Yeah,” she laughed: a high-pitched, quick emission, “I don’t really like him either.”

A pause followed, not one I’d necessarily describe as awkward, though if it had lingered it could have quickly gone that route.

“Well, it was nice meeting you, Andy Stool. I’ll talk to you later.” She turned and went back toward the kitchen.

“Most definitely,” I said.

She turned back to me and smiled that big asymmetrical smile. She turned her head back just in time to slam into the kitchen doors.

* * *

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Shameless Plug for PoMo-X

Remember that creative writing radio show on Black Squirrel Radio last semester?

well. . .


Be sure to tune in for The Postmodern Experience [PoMo-X] on BS Radio.

The new season starts in September. Stay posted to this site and the PME blog for more info.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Kent's future niche bar

With the opening of a hookah bar in Kent, it has been proven that niche businesses can succeed in the downtown area. Anything other than beer and pizza is considered growth in my book. As such, I'm going to let my idea for a niche business out of the bag.

Concept: Cereal bar
Name: Cerealism

Yes, it's a cereal bar. Classy, huh? Upon hearing the idea, my roommate Ted came up with the idea of asking our artsy friends to conjure us some surrealist art to display on the walls, things like cereal bowls melting off cliffs, bent spoons, that sort of thing. I'm picturing bins full of different trappings of cereal lore: bran flakes, corn flakes, oats, marshmellows, etc., etc. A customer can add his or her choice of fresh fruit. There will also be a selection of organic milks on hand.

My friend Amy also came up with the name of our main dish: the Cereal Killer. That one's going to put us on the map.

"Why does this bowl of cereal have razor blades in it?"
"Duh, because it's the Cereal Killer."

The floorplan will be designed with lounging in mind, with couches, breakfast nooks, and the like. Comfort is paramount in dealing with grains.

Recently the idea has been tossed around for joining my Cerealism with a milk bar. Hmm. Cereal bar and milk bar conjoined? Seems like it would be a natural birth to me.

With the pending revitalization of downtown Kent, I feel that a store such as mine would thrive. Some day, Kent, some day.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Currently Spinning. . .

For some reason, I've been absolutely obsessed with Bloc Party of late. Not even their B-sides or remixes, it's the album I've had for like a year now. Kinda wrote it off as boring at first, now I love it. Does that mean I'm becoming more boring and thus the CD is more exciting as a result?

My mind is totally blown, man!

But seriously, Bloc Party: friggin' awesome.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Post-Scientology Manifesto

What is the Church of Post-Scientology, you may ask? We can't tell you. That is, we can't tell you unless you give us ten dollars. Then it will only be a matter of the introductory pamphlet to be distributed at any of the following three convenient [but not too convenient] Kent locations:

1.) The U.S. Postal Service mailbox at the corner of E. School and Willow Ext.
2.) The Fed-ex deposit box behind Michael Schwartz Center
3.) Any UPS Store countywide

PLEASE NOTE: Post-scientology is in no way affiliated with parcel delivery. In fact, the church views any type of drop-off/delivery as an assertion of ignorance to the inner-collective-self-psyche [the creeeetian, as we call it]. But that is all classified information, privy only to Church members who have achieved ICSP ratings of 45897458 or higher.

In fact, by reading this, you owe us five dollars.

Please send five dollar incidental information charge to:
DHL drop-off box
120 S. Water
Kent, OH 44240

These five dollars do not secure entry into the Church of Post-Scientology. This will only be the first of many many many monetary donations. For the path to enlightenment is paved by affluence. Except our path is not paved. It is not even a path. It is a cannon,
called Earth Defender 9, extending from the center of the Earth to well beyond our moon. This cannon will prevent the Evil Forces from once again taking over the Earth. But Earth Defender 9 will not be an easy undertaking. It needs your help. And money. Mainly just money. Send us your money to any of the four locations listed above.

Hurry! There are over 240 trillion years of history to catch up on! But we've already said too much. This was at least like twenty-five bucks worth of info here. Hook us up. The eventual fate of Earth is at stake.

And you can't lie about this stuff.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

[Certain to be unfulfilled] goals for this Spring Break

If I am afforded any type of break, like this weeklong Spring Recess [by the way: it's snowing right now. Ah, the Rites of Spring in NE Ohio], I inevitably accumulate some infallible wall of objectives. This one is no different:

1.) Change oil in car
2.) Register long-expired car
2.) Get bikes in working order
3.) Walk to Sheetz [hope this weather breaks]
4.) Finish Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay [pg 58/636]
5.) Read one of David Sedaris' books
6.) Interview above author and Clap Your Hands for DKS
7.) Finish episode of PME
8.) Go to Pittsburgh
9.) " " Youngstown
10.) Start dance synth band based on teachings of post-Scientology
11.) Tour Central America with said band
12.) Transcribe travel journal from said tour into best-selling memoirs
13.) Do Spanish midterm

With nine days to go, I stare at the horizon, rife with potential. All this free time.

I'm gonna take a nap.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

This week on the Postmodern Experience

Episode #3: "Famous People"

How many of us have seen or met someone famous, some celebrity? It seems like everyone has had some brush with fame. This episode features some funny celebrity stories. For, just by seeing a famous person, one feels just a bit closer to "making it" in this topsy-turvy world.

Act One: "Famous people interviews" No, these are not interviews with actual famous people. I hit the bricks and conducted interviews with regular people who have met famous people.
Amy Mathews: "The FUSE internship"
Ted Ferringer: "Farmer Brown Meets Jim Kelly"
My mom: "That time we saw Michael Keaton"

Act Two: Nicholas DiSabatino reads a personal essay of his, "The Human Voice." Nicholas's pliable voice is distinctly his own, and can range from the country alto of Johnny Cash to the wavery lilt of Katherine Hepburn.

Act Three: "McAffleck"--a relationship so brief in the careers of Ben Affleck and PME contributor Molly McAllen as to pass under the radar of the mass media. Okay, that's melodramatic. When she was 14, Molly met pre-Bennifer Affleck, and antics ensued.

Act Four: Danny Volk works in a Washington Art Gallery and meets his first famous person--Dr. Ruth--amongst still life paintings and expended audio tour tapes.

Act Five: In "One degree of Kevin Bacon," Rachel Aslaksen tries her damnest to avoid being a link in the popular Kevin Bacon equation, but it proves to be fruitless. Kevin Bacon finds you, you don't find Kevin Bacon.

Act Six: PME producer Elizabeth Tussey tells the story of the time her young father waved to Nikita Khrushchev at the old Greater Pittsburgh airport in the mid-fifties. "What was the Soviet premier doing in Pittsburgh?" one may ask. We're not sure. Though an even greater question would be, "How did Liz manage to meet Krushchev's son, decades later, and how did said son remember her dad?" A tale of generations being linked and linked again.

Tune in this Monday at 4:00 on Black Squirrel Radio, as always.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


As I spent the entirety of last weekend in front of my computer monitor, I was really looking forward to spending some quality time with my third roommate, Gus, the Asian Ladybeetle. I hadn't seen him since the last post that I made [as I probably scared him away. GUS: that guy wrote a post about me? Creepy. . .], but I thought my desklamp being lit through the night would draw him out of hiding.

Alas, no Gus. . .

But today, today! I found him snoozing in my bookshelf [by bookshelf, I mean stacked milk crates containing books]. And what book do you think he was chillin' on? Only my all-time fav, All the Pretty Horses. Despite being from opposite sides of the globe, Gus and I have so much in common. If only I could get him to pick up his share of the rent. Lazy bastard.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

This week on the Postmodern Experience

Vacations, or, Getting Away: Stories of escape from the mundane, from the familiar, from reality.

Act One: Danny Volk reads his short story "Born to Be Wild," in which a man sets out for an adventure of Steppenwolf proportions but ends up in the video gameland of the Mushroom Kingdom.

Act Two: Eli Cohen heads to the Great Lakes Medieval Fair and becomes Quinn Cromcaden, a toiling peasant more adept with the pen than the sword.

Act Three: Amelia Corrigan visits Paris--the Louvre, specifically--and finds that her minimal knowledge of the French language does not compare to her unbridled ignorance of High Art.

Act Four: PME producer Charles Parsons hits the road for Pittsburgh, armed with a copy of The English Patient and the wrong map.

Tune in this Monday at 4:00 on Black Squirrel Radio.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Imagine this as my profile pic

because I can't figure out how to get it on there right now. . .

Listen Up, Y'all

In my overzealous progression of all things postmodern, I have created [with the much appreciated help of Elizabeth Tussey] a creative writing radio show.

The Postmodern Experience

is set to air this Monday at 4:oo

on Kent State's student-run internet radio station,

Black Squirrel Radio

My show will basically emulate "This American Life," in that we are featuring stories on a general theme that ties into a broader social issue. Whether the show can actually acheive this end is questionable, but it will be a fun process.

We are trying to podcast the show, so one can download it at his or her leisure.

But I still recommend listening to the live broadcast, Monday at 4. Simply click Listen Live! and follow the instructions for streaming audio. It's roughly as simple as making brownies.

Hope to have some listeners!

Also, if anyone is interested in joining our mailing list, or would like to submit some stories, e-mail us at

Good times. Good radio. Good stuff.

My Asian roommate

As I've been spending more late nights at my desk, if front of my computer, I've been getting lonely. Fortunately, I have this guy to keep me company.

Gus, an Asian lady beetle, like the one to above, has been hanging around my work space lately. He has been recently obsessed with my desk lamp.

I think this guy's been in my room since the beginning of winter--how he's managed to survive is beyond me--so I've actually had a third roommate this whole time. Curious as to the origns of my Far Eastern friend, I googled him.

Turns out the Asian lady beetle was brought to the States to control the aphid populations. Aphids eat trees and such, and our own capitalist ladybugs got lazy and stopped doing their jobs. So the hardworking Asians were sent in. I guess it'd be considered outsourcing [or would that be insourcing]. Either way, the lady bugs' Oriental cousin did a much better job, as expected, and their populations thrived. In late autumn, the Asian lady beetles are known to swarm around buildings in preparation for hibernation [overwintering] and have become kind of a nuisance.

Yet, this guy doesn't bother me too much. He keeps me entertained as I meddle away at my laptop. I can't help but feel a bit silly [sad, even] making an entry about my lady beetle friend, but such is my life right now.

FUN FACT: As a defense mechanism, the Asian lady beetle secretes a yellowish liquid from its leg joints. This happens when it is about to be squashed [i.e. if a bird were to eat it]. This would explain why the walls behind my picture frames have stains running down. And all this time I thought my walls were bleeding.

Good one, Gus!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Today's image

I strolled past the squat neon green monstrosity that is Screwy Louie's on this blustery evening. A black cat darted out from the side of the building. It stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, catching a glimpse of me and stopping dead. The cat flashed its eyes and retreated back in the shadows adjacent to Screwy Louie's. The situation really made me question my luck at the moment. I mean, a black cat was too afraid to cross MY path. Then again, maybe it thought I was leaving Screwy Louie's. I'd take bad luck any day.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Today's image

Creamy yellow vanilla pudding dribbles down a vinyl wall like ectoplasm marking a recent haunt.

Friday, January 27, 2006

My new Fiction II story

My next story in Fiction II will be about time travel. It will feature a seventh grader named Douglas Hewitt who remains obsessed with the movie Back to the Future. [Yes, I realize I have also expressed a strong inclination toward both time travel and BTTF, but you write what you know, right?]

Anyways, he's ridiculed at his junior high because he's not the coolest kid. He's smart and kinda akward, and the kids nicknamed him "Doogie Howser, M.D.," because of said intelligence and the unfortunate initials bestowed upon him by his now divorced parents. His classmates then shifted it to "Doogie," to make it flow a bit quicker, then truncated it further to just "Doog."

So he comes up with this idea for a time travel watch. On it is his life clock in YEARS:MONTHS:DAYS:HOURS:MINUTES:SECONDS:OLYMPIC MICROSECONDS. The knob on the right side turns the watch backwards, causing him to go back in time in his own life. He can't go forward, only backward. With this watch, he can venture back in his own life and alter himself enough to avoid ridicule. Go back and make himself cool, like Marty McFly.

The only thing is, though he's smart, he's not nearly smart enough to invent such a contraption. He then resides in the concept of this thing, flashing back to points in his life he'd like to change. The story here must become very cerebral. I'm just usure how to trigger these flashbacks.

I'm thinking he should:
1. buy a digital watch from a dept. store in the vein of what he would consider his watch to look like.
2. Sort through photos in his room, flashback that way
3. Read through old diaries
4. Pass out in his bed and have it as a dream sequence where the watch is real in his dream

Then the next day at school, he wears this nerdy digital watch in gym class, and in the locker room, someone breaks it, and he decides to stop dwelling on the past.

Or, he never comes to terms with the present, overanalyzing every little thing he does, thinking he can go back and change it.

I'd appreciate any input on any aspect of this story. Thanks

Today's image

I strolled along the Pedestrian Freeway, the girthy sidewalk linking Auditorium and Bowman, and crossed paths with a large woman. I don't mean to say she was overweight, no, she possessed a larger stature. She dwarfed me, and I stand at a lanky 6'-1." But she did not strike me simply from her Amazon appearance, she adorned her body with obnoxiously oversized garb. Her head exploded with frizzy hair adrift in the wind; her eyes and half her face was consumed with blocky, movie star sunglasses; torso clad in a puffy, marshmellowish jacket; and her feet, not to be left out of the equation, were covered in earthy dungaree boots, brown fluff acting as buffer between calf and ankle. She did not stand out to me because of her outright beauty or ugliness, she struck me with her success at appearing larger-than-life.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Todays image

I stepped outside of Satterfield between classes today. The air was thick, chilly, and wind whipped across the bland facade of the building. I walked to the end of a long sidewalk, between Satterfield and Bowman, and as I reachedthe end of it, the atmosphere grew electric. Then the snow came, after weeks of dormancy. Winter sprung like a pissed off old man, hurling frigid ice and ill will , chastising us for our optimism.