May 2010

Menelaus rasped his tongue along the iron bars of the cell.
“Open this door!”
“No.” said the go-go dancer inside.

The club was fulla hubbub and had a hot-tub in back where backrubs were given by Oddjob lookalikes. There was hobnobbing and gladhanding but not enough hobhanding. “This place is bunk.” grumbled Menelaus.
“We gotta get outta this place. If its the last thing we ever do cuz guys there’s a better life for me and you.” mumbled Argo. 
Ulysses stomped his foot. “I’m putting my foot down! This club was voted the only place in Atlantis City to get the ‘Food and Environment Warning’.”
“Firstly, that wasn’t an award it was a citation from the Health Code Inspectors and secondly the bacterial meningitis in the hot-tub has evolved legs and an endoskeleton!” Argo shrieked. 

As they pushed their way towards the door, a sinewy hand lit upon Uly’s shoulder and a chill touched his bones and he felt power drain from him. “Who dost touch me?” 
“Come,” he heard whispered across his eyebrow, curving along his cro-magnon skull and rattling his ear cartilege. 
Uly grabbed unto Menelaus’ coccyx who grabbed Telemachus’ perineum who grabbed Argo’s sacrum.
They made a trainwreck of a centipede, winding through the throng of thong wearing twenty-somethings who surreptitiously smoked something or another and wore perfume that smelled of Now And Laters. 

Through an alley way door and skipping through a round-about then down a drainpipe, they battled a giant spider’s Dead Lights and arose triumphantly after befriending four mutant ninja turtles and two Italians in overalls.
They stood on Atlantis City’s Boardwalk. The air smelled of cat, fish, catfish, and pirate’s crabs. 
Pale light from the whore houses glumly lit the Mysterious Stranger. Under her cloak her face was sheen, wane, a dagger of strange. 
“Look yonder” She pointed “and see the Great White Throne of Judgment.”
Past the merrygoround and a Hall of Mirrors it shone lilywhite and comely.
“There shall meet the most beautiful.”
“Yahoo! The beauty contest! We’ve finally arrived!” Ulysses yipped as he scratched at his scraggles he called a beard. 
“Yesssss. Your journey was arduous was it not? No? Oui?” The Stranger frowned her hisses.
“There was an anteater in Arkansas I’d rather not talk about.” Argo offered. “It kissed me on the mouth and then licked the inside of my stomach.” 
“We even went to Topeka!” Tele prompted.
“Topekaaaaaa….” from under Her Strange Hood. “What a punk ass town. Buncha weak ass clowns.”

The Stranger handed them backstage passes to the Beauty Pageant and in a BAMF! disappeared.
“Call me!” Menelaus weakly whimpered.

Tickets handed, wrists banded, hands sweaty, eyes leery, cheeks cheery the fantastic four were backstage at the Multiverse’s hottest spot since Lindsay Lohan’s canker sores. 

Said Menelaus:
Me likes the looks of the pretty ones the lovely bones
the shapes of things–of bone, of fleshy boon, they makest me swoon
Ah, fie! I spy with my little eye everyone here oh my oh my!
My lusts are lively and I’m lookin’ for a lady to be wively
ohhh I’m ready to settle dowwwn.
I like the looks of a country marm
with twigs in her hair and a sleepy charm
the looks of illiteracy found in the Bible belt
like big hamhocks and never svelt
a dullard’s nice duller’s better
someone who’ll stay home and knit a sweater

But until that day comes and along with it the duldrums
I’ll happily swing and do the nightscene thing
for that’s where the action is
Yes there’ll come a day I’ll jump in the fray
of a yawnin’ bond ’til On Golden Pond
but ’til then I’ll stay…where the action is

Sang Argo:
I’m keen on findin’ a mate fulla spleen
someone who’ll hold me and tell me its fine
I’d go for a fella smooth and sweet like Nutella
who’s church goin’, and tall and genuine
There no tellin’ where you’ll find your next heartache
I’ve had one or two in each United State
I fell for bellhop who hopped a train to elude me
I rang the bell of a boxer who squarely wouldn’t denude me
I wish I were a bloodhound to track down an escapee
or sniff out a gent who hails from Kissimmee
O a husband! It seems I’ll never get my paws on thee
Muttered Telemachus
I’m happy with my hand man
I don’t understand man

Why the trouble’s gone through
when your hand is given you

But until a ring graces my finger
In sleazy bars and dark alleys I’ll linger
There’s time before the vows are said
And there’ll be time to be celibate when I’m dead

Lamented Ulysses
O Penelope! Your name repeats in my conkles and valves
The memories of your smiles and laugter are my only salves
O what mistakes have I accrued that my birth is now rued
From a sad and broken heart this wisdom I now impart:

A marriage in title only means one should never be lonely
Yes I’ll soothe my pains and drown my shames
in further exploits yet with lovely damsels you can bet
‘cuz I earned my wife’s ire I’ll fight fire with fire
and burn my loins to ashes
with ladies in painted sashes
For flesh I’ll send until death the end–
More ladies says I, more ladies!

The Contest’s Judge checked the mirror one last time as she listened to the MC’s voice over the dressing room intercom. The mirror said: “this is what the sum of your body and clothes look like to you in the reverse image of what you would appear like to others” she smacked her lips and winked. Since her first occasion of judging the Atlantis City Beauty Contest, she felt like she was being paid for doing the opposite of what she was doing. It was she that was being judged. She knew that beauty evades proper naming and being applauded thus the best poets and prophets spoke in strange and confusing lines full of awe and evoking silence. No, it was she that was judged standing in the presence of beauty is a horrible thing at times, requiring change, humility, daring, self reflection. She had been aged dearly by the process, which is saying something since she was immortal.

The first 12,000 contestants were admirable. The next 144,000 were also full of grace and stirringly, hauntingly beautiful. She was shaking. Backstage the Flirtatious Four were just leaving in disgust.
“These people are disgusting!” Ulysses howled. “They look like grocery clerks and (sigh) mill workers!”
Menelaus shook his head “Truly, this is the worst looking group since ComicCon!”
They huffed towards the exit and just as they were squeezing through the door they didn’t hear a huge silence spread through the Hall. Somewhere a pin dropped followed by one elderly man’s giant adam’s apple clicking.
“What’s this all about?” Argo turned tail and sniffed back towards their spot in the wings.
“Well, maybe they’re so ugly it’ll be worth it just for laughs. Let’s go take a look.” said Uly seconding Argo’s motion.

She was plain as a scrap piece of paper, a face to be lost in crowds and assured to get her name forgotten. She stood before the Great White Throne in a dress not dissimilar from Judy Garland’s in that movie where she stood before a Great Green Throne. The Judge’s head was in her hands and the tiara was already descending from thin wires commanded from some theatre tech high in the clouds. The sea of onlookers were all a’tremble like a Methodism revival. Even Ulysses was beginning to slump as though an ice pick of ‘something great’ was shivvin’ into his gutsy-guts.

“I’m gonna ask her to marry me.” Menelaus whispered.
The Teen of the Quad cleared his throat. “Why does everybody got their nuts all wound up about her? I mean, she looks like somebody’s sister.” 
After years of hardship and loss, Telemachus would learn that beauty and ‘sexual appeal’ or ‘good looks’ were not always hand in hand and he would come to desire beauty–but that was many years away. He was in the maelstrom of testosterone and in a solipsism of masturbatory lust. 

Menelaus caught up with her in the parking lot. Under UFO landing lights and in yellow grids they spoke uneasily. Her tiara glimmering like a snowcone atop a head of raven’s feathers and nest. His hands rattled like the bbs in a trainyard’s grof session. She was kind and glowed at the non-punchlines of his non-jokes but didn’t give an inch when he played cute. After they parted, he ran back to the guys. “She said she appreciated the sentiment–but she can’t marry me right now and if I don’t back off, she’d pepper spray my ‘creepy ass’. But overall, I think it was a good first impression/marriage proposal….guys are you even listening?”
“I wanna marry that woman.” from Argo.
“Hey, waitaminute!”
“I’m gonna proclaim my undying love to her.” from Uly.
“Hey, jackass!”
“I’m hungry.” From Tele as he played Nintendo DS.

Menelaus looked back where she was waiting for her bus and the congregation of people around her on one knee.
“Getting down on one knee is a bit cliche isn’t it?”

Above them on the parking lot’s jumbotron big electric pixels announced: “Winner of Beauty Contest: Helen…..Next Week: Hannah Montana World Tour”


The Coens have made the most plainly and accessibly theological American film in a number of years with A Serious Man.

By theological, I mean to say that it rests in the theological mood, one of pious questioning rather than of dogmaticism or creedalism. Certainly we have seen the rise of the true cinematic powerhouse Tyler Perry whose work is rife with faith, celebration of the Christian tradition, and stirring testifying of the Gospel, but Perry’s work and Christian bookstore oddity Fireproof (starring off-the-deep-end Kirk Cameron) are of the creedal type rather than theological.

The Coens pay homage to their Judaic tradition of ‘wrestling with G-d’, of questioning the One Who Isn’t Obliged To Answer. I for one have always felt more attuned to this stance in life and is in part why I was so attracted to this film.

It is a modern depiction of a ‘Job like trial’ surely, but it also poses the question that arises from the tension in the Tanakh, the Jewish Scriptures. Does the sins of one generation impact the judgment of the next or not?
“…I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,” –Deut. 5:9
“…The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.”–Ezek. 18:20

We find this tension immediately after the Yiddish ‘Prologue’ where the editing is done so that we are made to believe that the son and the father are one. The camera trains on close ups of their ears–awakening the audience to ‘listen with their spiritual ears’. The Son (Danny) and Father (Larry) are closely aligned in the film: both are facing hardships and are on a spiritual path–one on his way to Bar Mitzvah the other caught in the labrynth of day-to-day life and the conundrums that accompany it.

Many have found similarities between A Serious Man and the Biblical portrayal of Job.
I would say that the Coens have creatively stepped back from the Job story.
Whereas in Job we are told that Job’s problems are indeed the result of a wager between the Accuser and the Lord, in Larry’s case we never know.
The question of Job is “why do bad things happen to good people?” to which God answers essentially “none of your business! I’m in control around here so quit yer yappin’.”
The question we’re presented in this film is “Can we ever know if God is involved in our lives at all?” and the answer is essentially “nope.”

Whether God is involved or not, you are left in a double bind.
This is set-up in the ‘Prologue’ which is made to feel like an ol’ Yiddish tale from the shtetl was in fact written by the Coens and though they have said in interview that the story has no connection to the film, it plainly does.
The double bind as presented in the Prologue is this:
If the man is truly a dybbuk the family will experience hardship because it is a supernatural curse.
If the man is not a dybbuk, the family will be cursed because they just killed a man.
Bottom line: you’re screwed no matter what choice you make and you’ll never know if God or supernatural influence had any part in it.

This is the double bind of Larry, and I would offer of many alive in contemporary society.
Life seems miserable. Is it God’s doing? Is there something we should change? Do our choices matter? Are we reading meaning into common everyday occurrances to find a ‘something more’?
Whether you believe in God or not, you are given no answers and no solace is found.

In fact, there would seem to be a simplicity in not trying to find the answers. In their previous film No Country For Old Men Sheriff Ed Tom Bell is troubled by the seemingly increasing violence of his world. In the opening voiceover he gives what could be the final words of the film:
“…You can say its my job to fight it [the crimes of Anton Shigur and the evils he represents] but I don’t know what it is anymore. More than that, I don’t want to know. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He would have to say: Okay, I’ll be a part of this world.”**

It is perhaps easier to turn away from the darkness, the realities of the human condition but to do so, by Sheriff Bell’s telling, you’re not a part of the world. Another double bind. You must face evil or turn away from it and be lost to yourself in a new type of horror: isolation, solipsism, passivity, vanity.

The film balances on a hinge point of decision: Larry’s changing of Clive Park’s grade at the end.
Earlier, Larry had told Clive that there were consequences to what occurred in his office. ‘Not just academic. Moral!’
He took the moral highground then, but later succumbed. (This is an interesting pattern in human experience where it is when one is through the hardship that they let their moral guard down–things are going good, ‘somebody up there must like me’.)
It is at that moment that we see the tornado threatening the son Danny.
(Job 40:6, “God answered Job from the whirlwind saying…”Do you think you’re as in control as I?”)

Was it a judgment upon Larry? Or was it coincidence?
The answer won’t come to Larry from God. Will we give it?

**No Country For Old Men Adaptation by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy

As an aside, I got a kick out of the three Rabbis we see in the film. The first and youngest is full of zeal and answers. The second is full of words that amount to little. The last and oldest, Marshak who we see in the above clip, wisely intones: “Be a good boy.”

Much has been written about Antonioni’s 1966 Blow-Up, but many analyses miss what I feel he was truly trying to convey in the film: a critique of Western artists’ inability to launch an effective response to the era’s violent upheavals the Vietnam War among them.
Many reviewers note the film’s stark portrayal of the listless Swinging London Town, full of moping faces and sense of ennui but fail to mark how the ‘hero’ of the film (Thomas) and the action are speaking to the zeitgeist.

Thomas is an Artist, a producer of pop culture and implicitly a narrator of the times. As he sees, he aids to inform others how to see themselves, others, the world. Despite all the power that is rightly or wrongly given him, he chooses to be powerless. His true impotence and fragility in the face of life is masked through his bullying, his sadistic treatment of his models, his ‘rockstar’ front complete with top-0f-the-line sportscar.

Thomas speaks of his ‘wife’ and though it is not clear exactly if she is partner, love interest, or wife , we can assume it is perhaps an ‘open marriage’. We see the theme of Thomas’ frustration where he sees her enraptured in making love to another. We see his confusion and his hurt as he exits the room. His energies and pathos we can imagine are poured into his other sexual adventures–famously a trio where full frontal nudity was first shown in England.

There is another hint at Thomas’ theme of potential that is lost to capricious aethesticism: his purchase of an airplane propeller. Just as his art is all the Mod rage and affords him groupies as expendible sexual experiences but does not further London’s society in any tangible way in the sense of values, justice, or artistic depth, so too does he own a symbol of flight without the power (or more appropriately interest) to do so.

The Spirit of the era bookends the film. We open to a band of revellers, a literal truckload of chaos swinging through the (eerily quiet) London streets. The city seems a blank slate with the Young staring at it, dreaming of what to do next. This Merry Band will close out the movie but I’ll get to that later…

The film operates as a suspense or mystery but cleverly undermines both in their conventions. There is no ‘payoff’ to either genre’s expectations, but as in many mysteries the ‘hero’ is explored as much as the crime. In Blow-Up, not only is Thomas searched out, but he is ‘solved’–that is, he comes to a conclusion.

His peers are seen to be as equally irresolute and aimless as Thomas. The antique shop worker wants to go away to Asia where there will be ‘no antiques’ in a quest for the new for the sake of newness. When Thomas goes to seek counsel about his photographs and to search for the mysterious woman in them, he is brought to a joyless music concert and an ornate mansion that has become a hollowed out drug den. The ‘scene’ is exactly that: flat and unconvincing scenery that appears not to fulfill or satisfy. 

At the concert, Thomas receives a piece of the band’s recently smashed guitar. Though he is suddenly mobbed by the crowd as though zombies going after brains and must fight his way just to get out of the concert hall he drops the guitar neck on the ground–what had been priceless and sought after one minute was garbage the next. What of their culture was lasting, worthwhile, truly valuable?

The ‘blow-up’ and the event it chronicled (crime or no?) are really a background to the ‘action’. This is a great trick of mystery films–a red herring to get the audience to look one way while under their noses the story’s hinge points go unnoticed. The park’s events and players whatever they are, can only be a point of conjecture (and I’d love to hear yours!) but we can make some solid statements about Thomas, which is The Who of what the film is about.

He does not call police or any authorities’ help. It is a project of the ego for him and more than that, an artistic endeavor. I see him not trying to ‘solve’ a crime, but seeing the potential ‘artistic’ value to a possible crime. He stares at what might be a new Zapruder film, a story of passion gone wrong. I see him more likely than not selling the pictures to a glossy magazine for the shock factor and whether or not the ‘case is solved’ is of no consequence to him. Surely he could be motivated by a distrust in authority but I venture it is an artistic ego that stands in the way of acting socially responsible. 

The only way Thomas does act upon the filmed event is to use it as leverage to gain sexual adventure. Make no mistake, his blackmailing Jane into sex over the pictures places Thomas low on the moral spectrum and is another hint that the film’s subject is not the ‘Park Event’ or the pictures. It is Thomas as he functions as a critique of culturally inactive and morally bankrupt Artists of the late sixties.

The final ‘conclusion’ of Thomas comes when he is confronted by the MerryMakers, the same truckload of mime-painted clowns we saw in the beginning. They meet in the park and the mimes take to a tennis court ‘playing tennis’ without ball or rackets. They are Chaos personified, the tide that sought to overwhelm the age, with antics that while high in gaiety and art were low in meaning, relevance, prophetic voice to their struggling culture.

He gives in to the chaos and plays by their rules as he ‘picks up’ the tennis ball and throws it. The magic takes over as the imaginary ball makes a noise–the dream has become reality and we the viewers have in a sense also crossed over with Thomas.

Any ideas about the Peace Protesters and the “Go Away!” sign?

It is time to take California back from the corporate-elite and put it into the hands of a corporate-elite turn quasi politician!
Hello, its me Meg Whitman.
I want to speak to you today about getting California Green. And by that I mean getting California Republicans to allow me to buy their votes.
If ‘grassroots’ campaigning means ‘throw money all over the ground and let the stupid masses swarm to it like pigslop’ then yes, I’m running a grassroots campaign.
I’ve stirred the hearts of the GOP party! At first anyway.
What more do you want from me? 68 Million dollars spent in campaigning not enough?
You want substance? Experience? Coherence? Leadership?
Your current Governor has leadership experience saving John Conner from a liquid metal machine from the future!

Steve Poizner says I’m not ‘strong enough on undocumented residents’. I’m proposing to build a wall like mother fucking Berlin across our entire border! Amnesty? Hate the word. Sanctuary? Get outta here.
What more do you want? A hunting season?

Well, if rabid fear mongering and xenophobia are what you want–I’ll give it to you! In beautifully shot advertisements that will play ceaselessly even after I’m elected governor.
Sheesh. How can Mountain Dew effectively market a bright yellow green, semi opaque, kidney destroying and organ-fat enveloping syrup with as little as Pepsi’s 1.2 Billion brand overhaul and I can hardly shill out my vapid rightwing rhetoric at 68 Million? 

I guess I’ll never understand how to buy an election primary.  

(This post was written by my mom.)

Something I learned today about the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s blown-out well got me thinking about all the oil that didn’t get away, the oil that BP and the other companies have managed to pump and sell over the past century or so, without “wasting” much through spillage.

What I learned from TV news this evening was that one reason BP has sought to downplay the amount of the Deepwater spill is that the company will likely have to pay agreed-upon royalty fees to the government for every gallon sucked out of the earth, including all the gallons spilled into the Gulf. Of course, when BP signed that contract, it was planning to harvest all the oil, not let millions of gallons of it float away.

And what about the oil that gets pumped up properly, refined, delivered to gas stations and power plants and heating oil companies, and eventually sold to us customers. What do we do with it? We burn it, of course (except for the portion we use to make plastic). Some small amount of residue from the burning gunks up our cars’ engines and catalytic converters and slimes up the surface of our roads, but modern cars burn fuel pretty efficiently; the vast majority of what was gasoline when we paid for it goes out the tail pipe and into the air. You can see the oil in the air in this picture, which shows the view from the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, looking westward toward Salt Lake City. The exhaust from a few hundred thousand cars has become thick smog, completely hiding the city.

The twentieth century was the age of oil; Saudi Arabia’s wealth was discovered in 1900. By approximately 2000, we’d burned up half of all the oil believed to exist, including almost all the oil in Texas and Oklahoma and most of the oil in Alaska. Much of that century’s worth of oil smoke is still in the air, doing its greenhouse-gas thing, but much has fallen back to earth by now, often washed out by rain and snow. We say that a rain shower has “cleared the air,” and it has. Back on the ground, the chemicals that perhaps recently floated in the air as smog and once upon a time rested deep underground as oil now leach down through the soil into our groundwater or wash directly into creeks and lakes and rivers and of course oceans. Either way, we drink that oil. And it’s nasty–carcinogenic and flat-out poisonous.

All day every day, we drink oil and breathe it; after a century of oil-burning, we and all the other plants and animals on the planet probably have traces of oil in every cell in our bodies. A century is a very short time, evolution-wise; homo sapiens evolved in a world where almost all the oil was trapped deep underground, and hardly any of it was in the air and the water and the food chain.

We’ve been able to eat and drink and breathe oil and still get by, so to speak, because most of the time the burnt-up oil is diluted before we ingest it. The life in the Gulf of Mexico won’t be so lucky.

Hey kids! Get fired up for the slopes and rev up to rock solid some peak icey nice!
Powder keggin’ some sweet cherry mountains in the kewlest xtreem sport is fun! It is awesome! It is truly a prime way to catch the best high! But check it–there’s A LOT to learn so strap in and stoke up for sum hott schoolin’ on the only reason to live: Snowboarding!

You want to fly? Come check the friendly skies! Go big or go home. Ice down your breakouts cuz windburn is tuff. Apply hot compress pads on backne to really cool down the afterburnerz! You’ll be flyin’ in no time.

Feeling the brutal power of the raw adrenaline that adults usually try to supress is regal! Unleash the hidden shadows and fodder of your cramped up true self and tear out some tendons by the ski lodge! You’ll be triumphant when you get to tell your pediatrician your ribs are soft and detached. Dare to be different!

Now you’ve got it. Snowboarding the best sport. It is the absolute best.
Your friends in middle school are gonna puke and drool with envy and be like: Naw!
And you’ll be like: I destroyed!
Snowboarding is only for the best.

Do it your way. Your way is xtreemly the best and no one can stop you now. The snow is the core of who you are and everything else has melted away to leave you a fiery daemon of black diamond expert slopes. Take a few beginner lessons from a certified trainer at your local bunny hill. And always wear a helmet kids.

Ride thru the woods! Shred up the backcountry and make paper (that’s what big kids call knockin’ down stupid trees)!
You rule here. No one can tell you that school is important in the chest deep pow of freeridin’ forests. No one can judge you in this anything goes mayhem of destruction! Have your parents buy you a cell phone to take wicked pics of yourself munchin’ some sweet lumber in snowboarding no-man’s land of spinal injury! Your mind will EXPLODE. Take a hit on the awesome stick.

Kiss the crowds bye-bye and wave ‘C Ya Suckas!’ as you go rockstar in the lodge’s restaurant or warming shed. Blaze new trails through the candy machine line and be like “Tic tock!” as you clock in some toasty hot chocolate.

Tell your parents, step-parents, guardians, or church youth group leader that they’re weak but you’re tweaked! Ride an avalanche! Boom goes the dynamite as you launch into an epic rail slide down an apocalyptic avalanche of plastic ice, rock, debris, and bodies. Zen out and nollie.

Kids can have fun too. This is a kids world! Kids rule, grownups drool.

You are on course to glory. Your manna is INCREASED. Get your power up by accessing some Mountain Dew from your parents SUV that they were keepin’ for after and rip through 24 ounces of electricity b4 hitting the arcade!

Race 4 the finish, y’all! Race for victory. Never stop now. Go faster than you thought possible by ampin’ up on two Butterfingers. Keep a great diet because champions never quit. Knock back three yogurt cups and some trail mix before bed every nite to keep ripped up and shredded hard. Punch at your bedroom wall when you’re grounded and keep lookin’ at totally xtreem snowboarding websites like this one! Watch TV all nite!

Gravity is a big no-no. Amplify your life with altitude! Jibbin’ some kewl moves and shwankin a Doot Blast to some insane air is sure to catch the eyes of some sweet snow hotty bodies! Wait to have sex until college kids! And yes, community college counts kids! Expand your horizons on the slopes and with your head in the books y’all. School is cool and so is having sex at college kids! Extend your legs and lean into it kids!

You are the RoboSnoVillain who’s nursing a broken collar bone! With a rude ‘tude, you’ll be grubbin’ on this factoid:
Snowboarding is the best. TXT message “SUATB” to your homies as you forget everything and bliss out on some sun glared ice patches and some chewing tobacco. Smoking is for grownups and totally gross. Smoking is not allowed in the snow park. Stuff in some chew your brother gave you and call people from the slopes as you rest and get your head right from the nicotine nausea. Its sick wicked! Havok up some of your gums to the max and remember to pick your teeth b4 you talk to your buzzkill parents! Rip it with style and look kewl.

Demand your parents buy you a season pass. Its what all your friends’ parents are doing! Why do they have to be such a bunch of douches? You’ve got the smooth moves and you know what to do. FEAR leads to DOUBT. Questioning yourself is failure! Don’t bonk on this. Tantrum and bust a gut and alternate between listening to emo and slash core/hiphop fusion! Never look back. Dazzle everyone. You are the star. Backflip 540 into a hernia.

Okay, time to take it up a notch. Declare nuclear war on skiers! You’ve got a lot of nerve. Your mocking is like a game and you’re going for the GOLD. There is no end to the possibilities! Have your parents pack you a school lunch and challenge your classmates to competitive eating! Spark your growth spurt and eat as fast as you can kids! You outrun the wind. You own the 6th grade. Never bully. Bullying is for losers. A quiet confidence and aire of superiority and implied threats go ALL THE WAY. Who’s in charge? You. Lock your door and never let your sister find your journal. Its private! Your feelings of inadequacy are none of her business! She’d totally think you’re a noob if she found out you cry everynight thinking about how much you miss having friends!

Get a sponsor. Board for Nike or Pepsi. Call them up and tell them your name. Spell your name. Enunciation is KEY.
Let them know: “I am in confirmation class at St. Gregory’s Greek Orthodox Church and I’m big for my age!”
Tell them they need you like the birds need the sky. Because that sounds awesome!  You’re getting some big air! Stay on top of your game! Shower regularly kids and brush and floss your teeth. Look at yourself in the mirror and try not to crumble under the pressure. Get yourself together. C’mon, dude. It’ll be alright.

I asked my dad: should I be a poet or an air force pilot?
Be a respected, fawned over, hero to children
or a troubled and troubling egomaniac?
“Mehhh. You do whatever you think you need to do.”
My dad was always a hands-0ff kind of parent.
A man of few words and less attention, he held to the adage
“don’t speak unless spoken to” for both of us.
Uncomfortable silence is like the smell of baking cookies to me now.
I ride office-tower elevators just for the homey feeling.
Nevertheless my dad thought himself a wordsmith and a modern Mark Twain.
I always told him ‘cheating in a race between yourself and a frog and writing a story about a person who cheats in a frog race are two different things.’
A short list of his ‘folksy wisdom’ might go like this–
‘chance favors the mind prepared enough to have rigged the game’
‘better never than late if it means less paperwork’
‘you can’t uncrack an egg but with the right tools you can unbirth a llama’
‘judging a book by its cover if you’re illiterate shows initiative’
‘never bring a knife to a gunfight, always bring a gun to a knife fight, and always bring a well armed chimp to a monkey knife fight’
‘your largest sex organ is your brain and if not congratulations’
‘let the Wookie win’
Because I get airsick easily and look horrible in jumpsuits
(both traits I get from my father)
I took to the path to become penniless, reviled, and
with any luck posthumously forgotten.

I entertained the idea that one can love loud enough to drown out a small town’s whispers
I spent summers where my biggest problem was evening moths in my red wine and how to drink around them
I found a sonnet in the sight of Kotex in a wastebasket

Insert into your mind “Danger Zone” here

I lost lines between the bottle and the page
I memorialized the sudden silence on linoleum that grew in a kitchette
I passed by others’ definitions of success like some drive upstate two-lane blacktop to watch trees’ leaves die

Put “Take My Breath Away” in your mental tapedeck

Some might say poetry is as dumb as Tom Cruise playing sand volleyball in tight blue jeans
And I’d say ‘O! To be those blue jeans!’

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