Thursday, March 29, 2012

Travel Photos vs. Everything Else On Pinterest

Some months ago, I realized that I needed to be more proactive about the internet. I know that sounds like something Bill Murray would say in a Wes Anderson movie, but, given my past, present and probable future of working in online advertising, it's true. When a young person discuss the main sites of the internet (Facebook, Twitter, etc), you can notice an older person's eyes draw a blank and then shrug it off. When you see a young person mention hip, slightly-lesser-well-known sites (, Mashable, etc), you can see the uneasiness in another young person. They're losing touch with their own generation and it freaks them out.

So, I signed up for Pinterest, and that paragraph above was the best segue I could come up with while I'm all laid up sick in bed. My night table is the laziest impression of Hunter S. Thompson's briefcase right now. I should be seeing things with all these pills and syrups. Instead, I've just been reading Hunger Games and Sin City while layered up under some blankets and a sleeping bag to sweat out this distress call somebody named the flu for whatever fucking reason, so my nights have largely consisted of having really exciting half-dreams until 2 a.m. Last night, I thought I was a detective. The fevers at night are getting weirder. But, in the morning, I wake up feeling like I've just come home from an adventure. Then I get in the car to work and slump over myself like I've been shot and I'm driving myself to the hospital.

Fuck, I can't believe this is my segue into Pinterest.

And it's not even really about Pinterest.

Pinterest was the segue.

Ugh. This is why I haven't written anything longer in a spell. I can put together a poem like a solider can put together a gun. But I'd be straight drowning in stream of consciousness. I blame it on this last month. My brain has been fried and eaten, and I couldn't even tell you when that happened.

Anyway, I don't know why people are passing around photos of shoes and scarves on Pinterest when they could be repining the hell out of travel photos. Yes, we'd all love to find out what you're planning on doing with mason jars and sticks and how you're turning some old ribbon from your prom dress into a wedding accessory, but, come the fuck on, these travel photos that are being pinned are downright outstanding.

Here's ten travel photos on Pinterest that are just rad:

1. Singapore
2. Bern, Switzerland
3. Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina
4. Venice, Italy
5. Fjallbacka, Sweden
6. Kleven, Ukraine
7. Mykonos, Greece
8. Yokohama, Japan
9. Toronto, Canada
10. Huangshan, China
The Yellow Mountains, Huangshan, China     "Thousands of feet high towers the Yellow Mountains  With its thirty-two magnificent peaks,  Blooming like golden lotus flowers  Amidst red crags and rock columns."   -Li Bai

Sydney, Australia
I have to get out of this bed. It's making me crazy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"great america"

"great america"
written in a comfortable bed by jake kilroy.

every spring, there comes a night
when summer peaks its head in,
just to make sure the windows are open,
just to make sure the doors are unlocked,
just to make sure that it's still welcome.

as a child, i would spend that evening
on a back porch with soft light
wishing southern california had fireflies.
instead, i had dog barks and powerlines,
but i adored the great sound of the world.
i heard wishing wells, car horns and insects buzz.
and i had rooftops, back seats and balconies.
we heard whispers, kisses and sighs.
and we had picnics, freedom and time.

but still we sought great america.
we wanted the america jean commercials promised us.
we wanted the america that was fought for by farmers.
we learned fizgerald and hemingway in school.
we discovered vonnegut and robbins in bedrooms.
we read and wrote love letters until we couldn't see
anything but a future that was filled with generous sex
that meant the world to the unfathomable depths of our aching hearts.
the teenage years are a magical spell of their own
and it's probably where great america came from.

what i learned in school gave me an america,
but it wasn't great america.
great america was what my grandparents told me about
when i spent the weekend.
they told me about golden hollywood and radio shows,
but they always left out the bad parts,
so i could sleep at night without crying
for the great america that never truly was.

i remember watching old television programs
after my grandparents would go to bed
and i'd fall asleep trying to understand
what i had missed and how beloved it was.
then my grandfather would wake in the middle of the night
and make me and my sister and my brother
warm chocolate pudding in a big batch,
so we'd go to bed with stomachaches
after eating the secret recipe of his irish mother
who passed away after seeing the entire 20th century.
she saw great america and all i knew about her
is that she liked playing cards, telling stories
and making chocolate pudding for her son.
she could've told me what great america was
but i was too young to listen
and she was too old to wait.

i came to some years later,
aware of american history
and pissed about politics.
my marx was always groucho, never karl,
and my teachers never gave me great america.
they just read from a book
that sounded like death
and i waited until they finished.
and then i'd go home
and dream about great america.

by the time america let me smoke,
i was unstoppable.
but by the time america let me drink,
i was distracted.
what those few years of voting will do to you,
i swear it just ages your heart,
'cause all you're ever doing is waiting for great america.

but i clung to enough morning cartoons
to see the colors of the growing world.
and i absorbed enough film noir flicks
to read between the black and white.
so where are the answers for these questions
that i ask every new year's eve?
how many churches must i attend?
how many barbecues must i throw?
how many highways must i drive?
how many baptisms and christenings
must i sit through to really know that
my neighbor loves me, despite fences?

when i was a boy,
i thought great america was kissing a girl
under the fourth of july fireworks at night.
i thought great america was a bike ride
without wanted posters or police alerts.
i thought great america was a swim at sunset
and figuring out the unending darkness.

later, as a young man,
i saw great america as a big city loft,
with sparse furniture and art i didn't get.
i saw great america as protests and riots
that sprawled out until the cops gave in.
i saw great america as a home in the suburbs
and never wanting a single thing again.

now, as someone writing this,
i see great america as a comfortable bed.
we all sleep in it, we all pray around it,
and sometimes it brings out the best in us,
but it's where the fights are,
it's where the romance is,
it's where the hope should be.

oh, america,
sweet gentle great america,
if i've found you, then i have to ask,
when was the last time you took a nap?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"on a windy day, standing on a pier"

"on a windy day, standing on a pier"
overcast by jake kilroy.

i bury my head in the breeze and squint,
with sleepy eyes dangling like nooses,
as i ruffle my own feathers in a peacoat,
digging my toes into my beat up shoes.

this was supposed to be the season of mercy,
the one that youth forgot to tell.
youth was too busy playing spin the bottle
at a sleepover with a movie on in the background.
adulthood came and saw the mess
and just drove his car to the pier.

to do what?

what a story to tell
to yourself
to make ends meet.

what a cough to have
after spending your teenage years
drinking cough syrup
before going to a meaningless job
just for kicks.

the sea is so restless.
who sails it anymore?
we already know what's on the other side.
it's just more civilization.

there's no new world within the world.
the sea monsters were left to history,
the pirates were left to hang,
and the oxford comma can go straight to hell.
what educated men we became!
tying knots and telling tales,
wishing we had drown at sea
instead of washing up on shore.

oh, to be a sailor
and not just swear like one.
oh, to be a captain,
and not just drink like one.

hair like waves,
skin like sand,
clothes like rags,
twas a pirate's life for me.
no honorable naval officer here.
just jonah climbing into the belly of a whale
without a holy book,
but a bottle of rum instead.
yo ho ho.
drink up.
this vessel won't bless itself.

"perfect day"

"perfect day"
written on a perfect day by jake kilroy.

wearing sunglasses,
sitting in your car,
watching the beach,
smoking a cigarette
chewing bubble gum,
drinking root beer,
listening to oldies,
writing a poem.

Monday, March 26, 2012

"drinking in the catskills"

"drinking in the catskills"
finally, by jake kilroy.

darling, i built you a fire
with hands that do shadow puppets too.
the dog kept me company
while you were out of town.
but the rain came
and i cleaned the house,
and everything felt new.

it was the week i couldn't sleep,
accidentally meditating in the kitchen.
i slurred my words as i cooked,
and the wine was soon gone.
everything in me was rotten,
yet cheerful and warm.
before i burned my meal,
i slumped against the fridge
and let out a sly cough and a grin
before asking myself questions.
where do the best drinkers die?
do they make it home from the bar
where everybody knows their name?
or do they tumble into the sea,
waiting for their ship to come in?
i draw a blank,
and then i draw something prettier 
something made from the earth,
of wood, of clay, of emeralds!

so like a pioneer lost to land,
i inhale sunsets and sniff snuff
until i come up with an answer:
i want to get drunk in the catskills.

i suppose i've always wanted to get drunk in the catskills.
but i had to look up where they were once.
can you believe they left those mountains
untouched in new york?
have you ever seen a green so honest,
so flawless, so goddamn close to home?
i just want a cabin and a bottle
and an idea for the great american novel.
i just want a summer where i find sand in my hair
on christmas day, barely cleaning up
for a party where i knock out the piano player.
that's the life.
i don't know what the hell this is,
but that's the life.

i want
smoke signals to the prettiest girl on either side of the mississippi,
morse code to the smartest gal on either coast,
handwritten letters to the one who'd write back.

i told a poet friend once that all we wrote about was
leavin' home and lovin' women.
what else is good to read?
i wondered in a moving car.
i've got books on my shelf to explain america,
anthologies on opera, and comics about heroes
who can't afford to leave home.
but i'm the one swaying in a drug store,
trying to decide between sleeping pills or rye,
flipping a scratched coin to call out
which girl i'll take home next.

and even that ain't the truth.
but who wants to read about a poet
that spends fifteen minutes reading the labels
of carpet cleaners on a grocery store shelf?
who wants to read about him
pumping gas, paying bills, and commuting to work?
nobody that's got something to say, that's who.

so give me the car that'll speed,
the lady that'll miss me,
and one hell of a summer,
writing the great american novel
and drinking myself to death,
somewhere out in the catskills.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kele Okereke

I think a good goal to set would be to one day look as dope as Kele Okereke does in this picture.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Vaadhoo Island, The Maldives

Talkin' 'Bout Y Generation

"Generation Y doesn't actually have its own language. Unlike other generations, Gen Y never really rebelled. Many of its members listen to their parents' music, love the movies their folks grew up on and use the same products." - The Huffington Post

"A post-emotional generation. No anger, no edge, no ego." - The New York Times

"The hipster moment did not produce artists, but tattoo artists. It did not yield a great literature, but it made good use of fonts." - New York Magazine

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"two writers on a porch"

"two writers on a porch"
written in memory by jake kilroy.

by porch light,
two writers took a break
from their evening work.
one wrote to his family,
one wrote to america.
one drank, one smoked,
they both sipped tea.
one said, "i'm scared for when my mind goes."
the other said, "i'm scared for when my body does."
neither feared death.
death was poetry.
death was night.
death was fine.
"how young we are to be so old," one harped.
"yeah, been a couple of years," the other agreed.
remember tennessee?
remember our old place?
remember the women?
nodding, the other cracked his knuckles.
"we're doing good, right?"
nodding, the other poet coughed.
"i sure hope so."
"what if we aren't?"
"what else is there?"
"yeah, i'd say we're doing alright."
then came a breeze
and a bird escaping a tree
to claim the deep breath of darkness.
"i feel like we're far from home."
"maybe we are."
nodding, the other clicked his tongue.
nodding, the other leaned in his chair.
"what else we got?"
nodding, the other shrugged.
nodding, the other agreed.
both of them slept well before midnight
and neither dreamed of winding roads,
train cars, boat waves or plane tickets.
they thought of home and grinned in their sleep.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"death of a film student"

"death of a film student"
written as a movie-lover by jake kilroy.

the film student died
trying to explain the human condition,
trying to ignore what is and what could be,
besting himself at traveling through the void
known as "the world according to me,"
before coughing up the pride he swallowed
and the humor he left out to mourn.
oh, how the theater never understood him,
when he made the popcorn
and cleaned the projector.
he sadly died in a fire
when he burned all the rom-coms
and horror flicks
and english language dramas
that weren't born to an art house.
he loved fellini before woody allen
and had a snide remark to make
in the balcony of a lonely premiere.
tragedy struck when he laughed
and didn't know what it meant,
all before a dizzying all-nighter,
when he watched the most underrated film,
that los angeles ignored,
that new york city buried,
that cannes wouldn't even touch.
to give him what he wanted,
they left him on the cutting room floor,
snipped and snapped,
the deleted scene,
the odd man out,
blacklisted as
the oldest joke
in hollywood.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"sure, one day"

"sure, one day"
written thoughtfully by jake kilroy.

the wonder you had as a kid,
the arrogance you had as a teenager,
the guts you had as a college student,
the laugh you had as a young adult,
the humility you have as everything beyond.

until old age breaks my bones
and weakens my muscles,
i'll have the life of chimneys,
of little league, of messy garages,
of forgetting, of remembering,
of rambling, of staying put.

but at least i had pints with friends and strangers,
stumbling in a dazzling parade through vancouver.
at least i drank cheap wine while building a tent
trying to beat sundown in the backwoods of missouri.
at least i fell asleep during a day-long reading of ulysses,
from slumming in a pub and walking across new york city.
at least i had a generous sip of something i'd never tasted,
trying to make my way out of the thieves capital of tangier.
at least i spent new years after new years cackling true,
asking the year for more of the same on a beach in la mision.

sure, one day,
these fingers won't be recognized as my own,
and i'll ask for medicine,
and i'll hate the medicine,
and i'll watch myself
and pleasant.

at least i had something to bury in the backyard.
at least i had something to hide in the attic.
at least i had something to tuck away in a closet.

roads, rails and seas
couldn't hold me,
but a neighborhood could surely kill me,
and it'd be a lovely death indeed.

sure, one day, i'll be buried, hidden and tucked away,
but all i ask is that the grim reaper tells me a good joke
and explains how he was always so very jealous of me.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"chicago in november"

"chicago in november"
written (a)musingly by jake kilroy.

the worthless american godspell,
sinking into your seat
at a play you wanted to see,
but the drugs are too much
and the lights are too much
and the audience is too much,
so you slip out for a drink in the lobby,
sipping on gin you kept in a flask
because you thought it would be like soda
instead of the whiskey you had in the car.

this is the city of dim lights,
where the shadows roll dice in the alley
and you strain your eyes to see nothing,
brilliantly covered by a sputtering cough
that you call "youth in turmoil,"
until you ride the train home
and fail to notice all the gold
and silver and ruby red lights
that sparkle with emerald green words
against a white that looks stolen from heaven.

what a grave to make, so close to the suburbs,
watching over chicago's cemeteries,
clawed in grass, wasted in snow,
dazzlingly wretched in a winter
you've come to adore,
even when you sleep well in a basement,
praying to dead gods for summer.

so you missed the final act
and can't remember how you got home,
but you can sing the words you hummed to yourself
when you washed out your throat
with something you couldn't taste
before going to bed without a single thought
other than, "my god, what a glorious change love would be."

Monday, March 5, 2012

Jim & Tommy

Jim and Tommy sit in an old pick-up truck, each drinking a bottle of whiskey. They are parked on a hill over looking the town below. It is just after dusk and neither of them has ever finished a Shakespeare play.

"Say, Jim, what do you believe in?"

"That question's as big as the stars. I reckon you meant to ask somethin' more specific."

"No, I mean it, what do you believe in? The whole thing. I want the whole thing. I don't want no God this or God that. No atheism neither. I want the full truth of what you got rattlin' inside you like a snake in a cage. Let that sucker bite."

"Dear God, Tommy, you've done drunk yourself into oblivion. There ain't no way out now."

"Oh, hush up, I ain't drunker than you. You've been going through your bottle like you was trying to swim to the bottom for treasure."

"Oh, I was, was I? Listen, you horses's ass, I may be drunk, but I ain't answerin' some question that'll take the Lord's week to explain."

"Then don't! Just start namin' things you believe in!"

"What kind of goddamn question is that?"

"It's just a question! Christ Almighty, you act like you got skeletons diggin' up graves in your backyard. Here, I'll go first. I believe in waterfalls."

"What the fuck kind of shit answer is that, Tommy? Of course you believe in waterfalls. They exist. That ain't somethin' to believe in. That's like me sayin' grass or cows or some shit. They exist, so what?"

"Nope, it's gotta be somethin' that really puts a sunrise in your heart."

"Now that's another thing I don't get! What the hell are you goin' on about?"

"Here's another one. I believe in fast cars."


"So, I also believe in dancin' until midnight."

"Tommy, I ain't seen you dance shit my whole life."

"Well, you ain't a lady. Things change, brother."

"Fuckin' hell. Ok, what else?"

"Easter breakfast."

"Alright, alright, give me another."

"First cigarette of the day."

"Hmmm. That's pretty good. Tastes like Hell or Heaven."

"One or the other. Good way to tell how your day's gonna go."

"Sure, sure. Ok, I got one. How about...staying out late?"

"Oh, come on, you son of a bitch, that's about the same thing as dancin' 'til midnight."

"That ain't the same thing. I just like stayin' out late. You like to waltz."

"I didn't say that."

"Tommy, I've seen you dance. You could only do the waltz."

"Ha. Maybe, but at least it's with a lady. You just wanna get drunk with your friends."

"Ain't that what we're doing?"

"Yeah, I reckon that's one of my too."

"Alright then. Chalk that one up to a good time. Goddamn irony, if you will. Alright, I'll shows."

"Game shows? I say fast cars and waterfalls and you want game shows?"

"Tommy, you ever watched a game show? They're the best. All they do is be the best. Alright, another one for me"

"Oh, that's a good one."

"Thanks. Also skippin' church and fishin'."

"Why don't you just say sins?"

"Tommy, sins ain't for me. And neither is church."

"You'll catch hell for that, Jim."

"Suppose I do. So what?"

"I'll put that on your tombstone when the good creator done smokes you."

"Alright, well, one of the things I'd like to believe in is that the good creator won't do that."

"Can't make you no promises, Jim."

"Well, shoot, alright, I'll say goin' to church instead."

"It's too late for that, Jim."

"Ah shucks...hey, how we getting' home anyhow?"

"Figured we'd drive, but...seein' how fast you're swimmin' through the gold pond in the glass there, maybe we should walk."

"That sounds good. Let's head home. It'll be an hour before we get down from here."

"That's ok. More time to talk beliefs."

"I believe in walks home."

"We all do, Jim."

"Well, then, I guess I believe in people."

"Not enough of us do, Jim."

"Moon's pretty tonight. Can I believe in the moon?"

"Only thing we got left, Jim."

"Sure is big."

"Sure is a lot of things, Jim."

"I reckon so, Tommy."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"summer in spring"

"summer in spring"
after one hell of a day by jake kilroy.

fireworks in your gut,
finding summer in spring,
hearing crickets while sipping your lemonade,
you count the blessings against the scars.
so damned are we,
i imagine,
with love letters in a shoebox
and our heart on a string.

these patio lights are cheaper stars
and i've had enough pints to keep me young
and let me die young.

portraits of artists i never knew
line these hallways like mirrors,
but i haven't the confidence to write
a suicide note for each and every magnificent bastard
that died like a poor man's conscience.

so give us the books
and we'll give 'em hell,
the old college try,
and we'll get our hands dirty this time,
tinged with fire and colorful with graffiti.

this cool air from the window reminds me of paris,
when i drank cognac on the steps of a church on a hill
that looked over the city
and all i could think of was how right everything was,
but youth does that to you sometimes.

screen doors, fireflies and a will to live
is all an american needs to build a home
that will let in summer
like a dinner party guest.

i accept your church and i accept your christ,
but all i'm really looking for is a drinking partner
that can tip well.

so let's go to the dance, let's shine our shoes,
let's remember what it felt like to get cuts
on our hands from building tree houses
and never settle for anything less than nostalgia.

i have a dream that won't stop kicking around my head
and it makes me sick to my stomach to know it,
but i can't chase freedom forever
when all i really need is one good night
that doesn't age me
and make me tremble,
but instead makes me reckless
with love.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Musical Thoughts

At a constant, I want to:
  • Do drugs, clear out the furniture of a living room and dance with my friends to Matt & Kim, Passion Pit or LCD Soundsystem.
  • Get drunk in my basement, crowded with friends, and rock out to Against Me! or Motion City Soundtrack.
  • Drink alone to Lucero or Johnny Cash.
  • Get high to Explosions In The Sky.
  • Speed on a crowded freeway to Black Flag or Death From Above 1979.
  • Cruise a semi-empty highway to Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen.
  • Drive through forest roads to Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
  • Terrorize neighborhoods to The Misfits.
  • Dance with a lady to Ella Fitzgerald.
  • Fall asleep on my floor to Chet Baker or Billie Holiday.
  • Listen to The Replacements or The Clash.