31 December 2010

Hy-Vee #8 Finds Our Hero Sarcastical (Sorta)

Adventures in commerce is exactly what I wanna be doing on the eve of a New Year. Sets the tone, you know.

25 December 2010




The abbreviation "X-Mas" comes from the days of movable type. Looking to save space and time, type setters used the Greek letter "X," which stands for "Chi," to stand in for the first half of "Christmas." No disrespect was intended. (Source: Bob Dylan, "Theme Time Radio Hour")

22 December 2010


Every winter, we drag a tree into our living room and hang things on it. Every winter, I find this fascinating...

And this winter, there's a new generation of squirrels in our backyard. This set is less mischievous than the last one. Instead of raiding the compost bin, they seem more intent upon striking cute-assed poses on our fence posts and allogrooming one another in the slate-grey shades of evening.

20 December 2010

Long Night

Tomorrow night is going to be a long, long night. Longest of the year, in fact. And so it begins...

18 December 2010

Pine Noir

A stand of Chataqua pines, where Janelle's gaze is falling right about now. And last night, while EB slept, I fell asleep reading the words of Johnny Cash as he droned on and on about his Arkansas childhood: "Our cotton was of the Delta Pine variety, so called because its long fibers...reminded whoever named it of pine needles."

17 December 2010

A Blog Post

For a weekend trip, Janelle & the baby are in Boulder, Colorado - the place where J & I first met under a rented caterer's tent. It's also where we went to grad school, rescued certain daffodils from frost & sat in endless meditations...I think it was Cezanne who once said "Life is a rainbow of chaos."

16 December 2010

Snowbound Nocturnalistic

Today, at the odds & ends store, I bought $3 worth of screws. Do you know how many screws that is? A lot. Roughly a pint. With actual money, I also purchased Cash, by Johnny Cash, a roughed-up copy of M. Lesy's Wisconsin Death Trip, the photo-book, & a straight-edge paper cutter - the kind I used in my high school Graphic Arts/Industrial Arts classes. And outside, the snow is beating down the whole suffering hepcat universe.

14 December 2010

Canna Lily

It occurs to me tonight that Nicola Appert was a boy on a far-off shore, tossing message bottles into the surf...except instead of bottles, he tossed cans. And instead of messages, his cans contained food. And instead of the surf, he tossed his cans into time itself. Did you know that the word "can" derives from the Latin word "canna," which means cane or reed?

12 December 2010

Grandfather Lyric

the old man builds model ships / all alone in his living room / reconstructing in miniature / those massive moments of his youth / And he quit drinkin after his beloved died / so now he ain't got much left to lose / he's under his light bulb in Shiloh / Satellites are trackin across the sky / an aging artist in his work boots / mentally polishing old diatribes / & the winter moon is picking up over shiloh / shining on his vexed situation / while he glues together the little pieces/ of a built-to-scale attrition / & he is at death's door/ and I'm in my Converse / jogging out along the county border / as the old man turns out his lamp and retires to his quarters / and the moon is out over Georgia / leading me to my latest epiphanies / and an old man is in Georgia / dreaming the last of his dreams

11 December 2010


I used to collect crucifixes. Birdwings. Postcards. Oatmeal cartons. Bunch of stuff like that. Now I make mobiles, essentially a way to make use of my useless collections. I noticed this many years ago: If you tie a string around something useless, then suspend it above your head, it becomes inherently interesting. I don't understand why, exactly, except for about a million psychological and aesthetic reasons.

10 December 2010

Snowstorm Freedom Experiment

Beverly sez there's a big snow storm comin'. But the real news is that we did it: We upgraded on Pandora. For thirty bucks a year, we now get to listen to music commercial-free. Say what you will about the American plutocracy, this is freedom.

Bird Walk

It is important to know one's place in the order of things. Take last night, for example, when, on the walk home from work, I found myself under a vortex of blackbirds swarming & winging all turvy in the sky. There was maybe a million of them, maybe more, and all of them caw-ing and cheeping and finally filling two great big oaks on Jefferson Street, substituting for the leaves that fell a month ago. As I passed under their deafening bird harmonics and wingflap, I drank a few of the birds into my dumb heart & thought of auguries of yore, before hustling home so as not to indulge flight of fancy and risk of birdshit. I am man, after all, and belong not to the domain of the winged.

08 December 2010


A few days ago,
an old creative writing
student of mine,
"Kiki, from Chicago"
stopped me on the sidewalk.
"Hey, J.," she said,
safe inside her hood.
It was pissing rain
that day, brutally
cold & windy
along the pedestrian mall.
"Kiki, right?"
She: young, brown, & radiant.
Me: distracted, on my lunch break,
head full of ideas that would later
turn into poem-stories.
"How are you? Still writing?"
"Nah. I'm a social worker now."
Her style, I later recalled,
was kind of a hip-hop thing.
Very Wu-Tang, very Nas,
except, you know, feminine.
Her subject matter?
Growing up broke
and fatherless
on the South Side calles
of the city.
Playing house with
baldheaded dolls.
The rape that had happened.
Seraphim on the stroll.
Room full of books.
And then - college, escape.
The years unfurl.
"Cool, Kiki. We need you."
I said. And we both
smiled the smile
of the tenacious -
and this was all on earth,
a million miles
from the angelic realm.

07 December 2010

December Bone Bag

Sleeping in my pages.
A one-man walkabout
in minor chords
as the luck of a snowfall
caps picket & plinth.

06 December 2010


And so it begins.

01 December 2010

buddy holly sez rock

was composed outta the landscape, our dirt daubed corner of time and space, followin its nose & skeetin the bleary-eyed five elements and the one four five sonic cuneiforms lifting their skirts the ten thousand things resultant flowerin that Chet Atkins style eatin white dirt an hoppin up like a shower of procaine to a big baby Texarkana welcome gettin grown into howlin turnaround murderin it electric pickup careenin axe-beat of Les Paul pull offs hammer-onin' the devil back down to the Hades in the crow's eye it sprang from like be-stripmined shanty songs from the domestics in the cracked arroyo before the banjo movement come rainin and hawkt it all down to the dupont certified ol man Mose the original negro Neptune's oleo show dragging its certifications through neon and corporate cantina where it's spitting blood back of the carcinogenic drum an these wings pierced to my back dont seem to ache as much in the nowadays cascade of burnt numerologies married to a greasy chemical compound lilting over your area with the pocket still burnin up my vein like a lost bulletproof gal in a lightnin storm