Every Day

I want a working man’s mentality-

to wake every morning 

humble in the dark

when the city is still cold and sleeping,

before the hum & tick of machinery.

When,

across the street, 

every blade of grass in

the cemetery sprawling 

still bows under the weight 

of midnight dew

and

downtown

the strip malls sit in hushed anticipation 

for the daily clamor of tourists.

When the asphalt in the parking lot lies in 

surrender to the sun soon beating.

Then, briskly, in the dawn

I’ll pull on my trousers

and sip my tar black coffee

putting my head down,

to immerse myself fully 

in the creation of something

to which i’ll possess no delusions 

of its grandeur.

Something so very simple,

because it happens every day.

No questions as to its place or meaning

or if it matters

or if it has any worth

or if I have any worth

or how I might possibly be able to survive

off the fruits these 

toiling hours might bear.

No more.

I won’t wait any longer for 

mysterious forces to arrive—

no magnanimous effort saved for when 

the sunlight lingers just right

or when the bees buzz electric ‘round my skull,

or when the wine is just sweet enough,

or when the sirens croon silken songs.

I won’t bend to its whim,

biding my time in some eternal waiting line for my bounty.

I’d rather trade this ‘bedridden bohemian’

kneeling on the mattress, praying for profundity,

for roughhewn daily laborer

striking when the iron is still hot.

In these new digs,

I’ll be unentranced by saccharine luxury 

and, instead, I’ll work

until i am numb and weary,

and never more alive.

There is no romance embedded in this way of life,

no, 

nothing beyond the swirling supernova of the everyday.

So, as the city sleeps

and 

dawn creeps 

through fern fronds on the windowsill,

filtering light patterns in spidery shadows on the wall,

I’ll reach out with maddened lysergic eyes

and seize my gift.

Every day,

just like that.






Waiting Room Blues

Image of the McCleary-Thornton-Minor Hospital waiting room in Excelsior Springs, Missouri during the 1970s. Check out those ashtrays~ health, ammiright?!

Image of the McCleary-Thornton-Minor Hospital waiting room in Excelsior Springs, Missouri during the 1970s. Check out those ashtrays~ health, ammiright?!

“The world doesn’t owe you anything,”

that’s what I’ve been warned

again and again.

it’s just what people say—

a colloquial phrase

even so, I never wanted to believe it 

but, despite my blind, teeth-gritting optimism 

sometimes I am still afraid that

my sadness will swallow anyone who dares step in my path.

Sitting in my car outside the doctor’s office

with the AC cranked 

on a sweltering June day, facing the mountains

mist hangs in the air like a damp curtain

eggshell white

                 are the walls in the waiting room

where the clock says “no time today,”

and an owlish receptionist purses her lips 

and the woman on the lime green couch buries her head deeper into a 2017 edition of Cosmo 

and nobody sees me

or everyone’s just trying not to look at me

and the despair feels unending and

and I’m not sure what to do 

so I hide in my car and

some turbulent ocean turns in my stomach

bleeding out on my legs.

I hate this sense of desperation creeping in.

But,

as much as I tell myself not to bend to such self-pitying depths and

as many times as I slap myself on the wrist

the message just won’t deliver.

The pit runs deep—

the desire to feel secure,

to be supported.

Haven’t you heard?

No one’s giving it for free these days.

I am 25—by all standards, no longer a dependent

so why do I feel so easily reduced to a helpless child?

I can’t afford it. To be in this state.

Still attempting to balance it all with grace:

the appointments, rent, multiple jobs, laundry, gigs, sustenance.

But,

when it seems that even brushing my own hair is too much,

some faded memory wags it’s finger 

and scolds bitterly:

Get up.

The world doesn’t owe you anything.

Well,

At least that’s what I’ve been told.

But, even after all these lacerations 

I have hope that there is 

some over-arching care.

That I will be heard by

this benevolent motherly force out there,

just watching me cry in my car

and wanting to touch my back with its soft hand,

unperturbed by the visceral scene

or my guttural sobs.

So

I put my head down

on my knuckles, grasping the steering wheel and

mumble some words—

never taught how to pray

so I just say “please”

until there’s nothing left in me

but quiet resignation—

something resembling peace,

a baby rocked gently 

towards the point of sleep.

You Can Trust Me

Photo from a Francis Ford Coppola film poster, sourced from Woodstockings.

Photo from a Francis Ford Coppola film poster, sourced from Woodstockings.

I don’t want to be 

So afraid to look at myself

That I have to cover my 

mirrors in cobwebs

I don’t want to be 

So afraid to hear my own thoughts

That I have to turn up the television  

to tune them out

But, they say, “you’re right to protect yourself,

A young woman like you in this world,”

foam cascading from jagged mouths.

Well I can’t live like this

I won’t have steel locks on all my doors 

And bars on all my windows

They obstruct the light 

I was told there is a broken open place

In a lover

And there is certainly a broken open place in me

And it aches sometimes 

When exposed to harsh wind, but

in this knowing I’ve chosen

To stay open and free

I once saw white linen curtains

swaying on a

Seaside balcony

Doors swung wide

And it stuck with me

I go back there in my mind’s eye, still

The point is,

I trust myself,

So you can trust me

Welcome to The Good Land

Photo from Woodstockings.

Photo from Woodstockings.

when i first moved here

i told her where i’d come from

and how i’d fallen under

some sort of anxious spell,

and

she laughed and said

“oh, you’ll be alright here,

the entire town’s a giant rehab center.”


welcome to The Good Land-

respite for the burn outs,

lost boys,

dharma bums,

deadbeats.

a final stopping point for 

the weary vagrant, 

because

life ain’t easy

when you try so hard.

i am not a woman of routine,

but i’ve formed some semblance of habit here,

perhaps to give myself 

something to hold onto 

so I won’t float away.

every couple of days

i walk a quarter of a mile

down the road

to reach the mailbox,

swathed in cobwebs.

the thick grass along 

the path

is flattened and 

dried up in the sun,

like dead snakes.

no one sends letters anymore

so i occasionally order small packages

to feign interaction with the outside world.

i imagine that soon

i’ll start leaving pressed flowers in the post

like fragile gifts from a far-off friend—

never too grand to play pretend.

in this 

sedate heat

the yard swims softly

foxtail and palm fronds waltz

i flip through the pages of 

Jitterbug Perfume absentmindedly.

life moves syrupy slow

like a fly foolishly toiling in its final moments,

caught in a jar of thick honey.

the people here, on the other hand,

have caught on to the maddening futility 

of any form of hustle 

and have, instead, chosen 

to fully surrender to 

eternal summer.

from the back porch 

i can see my neighbor

reclining on a lawn chair

chain-smoking

in white plastic sunglasses,

his back to cold blue mountains,

some Fear & Loathing pothead bachelor.

for split-second our eyes catch 

through the tall grass

but swiftly, i avert my gaze—

we never wave.

here we have silent agreement:

you float in your world 

and i’ll float in mine.

we like our our microcosms quiet, 

unperturbed.

in the kitchen

i burn incense 

to mask the balm of molding carpet,

everything steeped in the humidity of sea air.

Let it Bleed spins on the record player,

stuck on eternal line,

“baby you can bleed on me.”

i am too lazy to turn the record over.

eggs in tarragon and olive oil fry in the pan, and

a malaise hangs heavy overhead,

like the marine layer drafting in

from Hendry’s beach on weekend mornings.

here, it seems any major pursuits are rendered fruitless—

an infinite to-do list left unchecked.

nevertheless,

there is a ceaseless supply of lemons 

from the yard.

it is a world at once stagnant and abundant.

if there is any illusion of movement here 

it can be attributed to 

the rush of cars passing by on the freeway,

reminding me that

outside this bubble,

someone is going somewhere important.

yes, the world scurries by,

but, live here long enough

and it begins to sound just like 

the ocean in a seashell.

when i first moved here

i wanted to hide from the city

and the hysteria it had incurred in my life.

i had grown paranoid

to what I perceived to be

a constant threat of cruelty.

now i feel completely safe,

but wonder if i am squandering my time.

so, once again i am drawn into bustling metropolis—

a magnet for the restless.

we’ve struck up an affair

and i make frequent visits

like giddy meetings with a secret lover.

i want to melt into its

warm steel nights,

but hesitate,

questioning if this fire is fueled only by distance,

and,

if i’d run to it

only to find myself scalded again.

my mother always worried that i had this appetite for danger,

and, truly,

there is something so seductive about it. 

but, now i see that it is most potent 

when served in right proportions,

and

eagerly, i always seem to overdo it.

indeed, it seems like i am always running,

so for now 

i’ve named myself temporary resident of

 The Good Land—

respite for the burn outs,

lost boys,

dharma bums,

deadbeats,

and me.

an emphemeral stopping point for 

the weary vagrant,

because

life ain’t easy

when you try so hard,

and lord knows I’ve tried.

Before the Honey is too Thick

1960s postcard from the Old Mission Hotel Gardens in Santa Barbara.

1960s postcard from the Old Mission Hotel Gardens in Santa Barbara.

All of these tourists 

In their summertime drag.

I feel something insidious,

Some old brand of melancholy,

A penchant for escape—

Just as the walls are peeling paint

To reveal underworld, hot & oozing.

Even the stucco is sweating.

Something is creeping,

Wisteria thick with bees 

Curling round the handrail.

These nights are balmy & eternal

And it’s effect is something literary,

A phrase lifted from a Blixen paperback

On the rack 

In line at 

The Safeway check out.

Seems like a life sentence,

Muddled in this heat stroke lethargy,

Waiting for cheap oranges.

These days I feel too civilian

I think

I’ll pack a bag

And hop a Greyhound

God knows where to

But it’s always better than here

Don’t let it get too routine

Don’t let the mind stall

Gotta get out 

Before the honey is too thick

And the wine too fermented

Gotta get free.

Irish goodbyes

Run viscous in the blood.

Guess that’s just what we do—

Think I read it somewhere once,

Something beatnik.

Regardless, it’s 

A familiar impulse

But I never quite knew if it was 

Instinctive in me, 

Feral

Or just a faded hand-me-down 

Plucked fresh from the wash lines.





Let's Forget Our Time (Hipsters be like...)

Photo by Woodstockings. A funni 1, surprise!

Photo by Woodstockings. A funni 1, surprise!

Let’s forget our time

Ignore this electrical world

With its pantheon of holographic gods

Let’s install a tape deck and

Drive into the mountains 

No, better yet, let’s invest

In a lava lamp and record player

Lose ourselves in lysergic daydreams

Tumbling about in fields of daisies,

Shedding our kaftans to make love

But mother says you’d be 

Remiss to think it was that simple,

All you need is one fellow 

Named “Road-dog” to sell you bunk acid

And you’re toast

And then, there was ‘Nam

Bloody ‘Nam

So, let’s go back even further,

Prior to the advent of televised gore—

A golden era:

Drag a cigarette,

I’ll slip into a beaded dress, 

And be your fiery flapper girl 

We’ll immerse ourselves in the 

Glory of the roaring moment

Undulate our bodies to

The mad sounds of jazz

On some cool city night

But then you’ve got prohibition, 

The commencement of the Great Depression, 

Rampant unchecked racism (as if it’s much different now...)

Dig deeper,

The old west

A time of kerosene and cowhide

Open prairie 

Handwritten letters to long lost lovers

...fatal diseases, no penicillin, outlaws, gunslingers, and gangs?

Fine,

Let’s get Medieval .

No, let’s go Renaissance.

We could harken back to the Dark Age!

Or become  cave dwellers,

Discover fire..

Even better, let’s shed our human shells altogether.

Let’s go Jurassic,

Triassic,

It’s all such a dream!

I know,

Let’s dial it back 2.7 billion years..

We’ll become Cyanobacteria 

And invent photosynthesis, 

The real forefathers.

Yes, it seems the only way to know if things will ever get better

Is to scale it all the way back to the beginning,

And then we’ll REALLY see it through—

Past even our own holographic time.

Eternal algae

Clinging to rust-colored rocks

Like zen monks

Passively watching the world as it smolders.

And then, I guess

We’ll get what we 

Always truly wanted,

What with our hieroglyphics, cave drawings, novels, and Instagram feeds—

To be immortal

Right?

The American Dream

An old postcard from Waddle’s Coffee Shop in Portland, Oregon, from an article by Chris Alm.

An old postcard from Waddle’s Coffee Shop in Portland, Oregon, from an article by Chris Alm.

She said

My treat of choice used to be 

An apple and a cigarette

And I laughed and said

Oh that’s so 

Newyorkcityhighfashionanorexicmodel

Of you

And we bought a pint of 

Apple pie ice cream

And parked in the lot by the beach

Windows rolled down

And ate with our mouths gaping 

Watching the waves roll turbulently

Voyeurs

Like tourists ogling at a desert monument or human faces carved into a mountain range.

Some Americana wet dream this is,

Sugar cream dripping down our chins 

While heavenly fog lifts from the horizon—

A muddled golden hour.

And in our sheltered moment,

This drive-in chimera,

This pearly bubble delicately poised for the popping,

We remarked at how absurd it all is, really,

That we build ourselves steel prisons

From the prisms of perspective we’ve constructed.

Indulgence & restriction

Is a slingshot game,

But at least we can laugh about it now.

Anyhow, I suppose confinement is what we needed 

In order to understand 

What it truly means to be free—

Ah yes, you say,

The good ol’ American Dream.

Paris is Burning

From Breathless (1960) by Jean-Luc Godard.

From Breathless (1960) by Jean-Luc Godard.

I awoke

This morning 

To electric moonlit message

Scalding my eyes

Paris is burning.

A broken heart

And with it, the smoldering

Of our early 20s

Naive memories

Spindling up like spires of smoke

A gothic cathedral made of black ash

to replace Notre Dame

Flecks of dust floating down the Seine

Can you talk tonight?

I really need someone to hold me now

But I think your voice whispering through the telephone wires will do 


This must be love in the apocalypse.