Thursday, November 29, 2012

Where I Work: A Photo Essay

I've always liked the people I work with at any job I've ever had, and I've held positions at a restaurant, a warehouse, a business magazine, and an online small business advertisement firm, so there's been a good variety in my employment history. But, now at a creative ad agency, I spent 2012 working with people I like for people I like. This is a much different thing, as, up until this gig, I had never had head honchos that proved they were consistently making good decisions for the employees as well as the company. In turn, the culture here is, and always has been, kind of bonkers (especially when you compare it to the cubicle farms of America). So, once again, through the power of Instagram's web profiles, I've lifted pictures for you, this time to scope out our office and the goof-havery we have here.

Front yard.
Morning meeting.
Afternoon meeting.
 Soda explosion bar charts.
 Salad Wednesday.
 Beer Friday.
 Homemade shuffleboard.
 Ice cream.
 Ping pong.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


on a sleepy day by jake kilroy.

with legs as free and dangerous as a seaside cliff drive,
she could send waves of audio into men that would melt their hearts.
the lull of a trumpet would pummel their heart into pulp.
the rage of a songbird letting go would swim in their lungs.
the gospel spirit of ancient sorrow would parade through their ears,
with lanterns leading them out of the endless, unforgiving cavern.

she had lips like a graveyard,
with so many men claiming they died there,
just to sound as though they had a courage to offer the world.
when she drank her wine slowly,
it mangled every man in the room.
when she danced, it was the end of civilization.

what every man would've given to be the one to destroy her
could've filled the seven seas with the junk of sweetheart madmen.

Monday, November 26, 2012

"as my ancestors watched me sleep"

"as my ancestors watched me sleep"
coming through electric after a holiday weekend by jake kilroy.

oh, the world was to rattle when i went to bed early on the sabbath,
with sleep that felt like dragging bones
through the wasteland of dreams,
and i in barely a bed for fallen king idols
that dampen the pillow with drool.

what lofty excuses the architects of youth knifed in the dartboard
while we drank poison that only thickened our skulls
and made us break out in hives when our backs broke in the hot sun.

this was the flood of the ancients,
mesmerizing and twirling for centuries,
coming for us with a bloodbath
that we'd try to stop with history books.
"no, fairest wreckers, this was not to be our demise, but our after-party,"
we'd choke out in a wrestling drunken stupor,
counting broken knuckles like prayer beads.

with patterns of sleep as stitched together as a patchwork quilt,
seizing the troubling depths of the watery grave i call guts,
i nailed spanish poetry to the weak walls of my eyes.
this was when my hands should have built heaven.
this was when my tongue should have tightened.

i can't recall the last day there wasn't a car race in my neck
with a heart playing as soundly and stupidly as a toy piano,
all so i can march through beach towns looking for a good taco
to call a last meal with wind in my hair and a grin that needs polishing.

so please let me know when the nomadic knights of my ancestors come,
for i have only begging to do and a store-bought quiche to put out.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bully Bands: Built By Snow

I've had so little down time these last few months, it's become pretty obvious that this blog has evolved into some sort of half-assed poetry collection (since they only take me a few minutes to write most of the time). To provide some diversity while I don't sit down to write long essays or pieces of fiction, I'm introducing my new segment called Bully Bands for two reasons:
  1. I really like music recommendations on personal blogs.
  2. I really like the word "bully" to describe cool things.
Anyway, let's start it up with a song I discovered on the Fang Island pandora station yesterday at the library and haven't been able to stop listening to in my bedroom. Built By Snow has an album called Mega that I've heard a few songs from before, but somehow this song slipped by and, holy shit, it's catchy, cutesy, and noisy. Give it a listen. It's super fun.

"Science of Love - Built By Snow
Science of Love by Built By Snow on Grooveshark

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

This Is Our House

It's probably not that much of a surprise that I don't have Instagram (or Reason #32 to get an iPhone, as Grant calls it). However, Instagram recently started doing web profiles, meaning that creepo dumbphoners, such as myself, can finally see everyone's pictures of sunsets, food, and food in sunsets. Well, I took some of my friends' photos and put together a pictorial of the Romelle House. So, without further ado, this is where I live with neat people and have all sorts of fun.

This is our dog.
These are our kittens.
These are our Chases.
This is our living room.
This is my bathroom.
This is our basement.
This is our foozball table.
This is our fridge.
 This is our drink cart.
These are my books. 
 This is our backyard from one angle.
 This is our backyard from another.
This is how we spent summer.
This is how we're spending winter.
Photo Credit: Italian Dog, Sleeping Kitten Pals, and Backyard Spread by Sarah. Chase On Chase Action, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (In The Living Room), Endless Bummer, Basement Out Of Time, and Summer Croquet Slurs by Brittany. Foozball Table Immaculate by Adriana. YoloHanSolo by Grant. Drink Cart Fury by Jessica. Too Many Shelves of Books by Regina. Winter Wine by Rex. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"cold weather"

"cold weather"
after an endless sabbath by jake kilroy.

mangled poetic by the nights that creep into town like syrup,
we drink lukewarm coffee and wait for autumn unrest,
that seasonal mania of sleeping over at beauties' apartments
just to get out of the house.

these are the crippling jokes
of us stepping out for drug store pop-ins
when the dog gets spooked and we look for ghosts,
even after all the funerals we've been to
with no prayers answered.

even with grit in our history,
we worry ourselves sick
because we can't take the quiet sometimes.
this dining room table is like an outpost
in the stillest house of the west,
and we watch the world breathe from it.

this backyard curves in the wind,
as the trees slink together like a morning-after brigade,
all while we can barely dress ourselves
for old movies at the theater in seal beach.

was there ever a time we weren't young?
could a man ever truly grow old if he never stops drinking hot cocoa?
i wonder most when i order black coffee
from a girl half my age, who sees the future as unending,
and i can't think past the heavy heart of tomorrow.

the weather outside feels like the diary of charles dickens
but not quite the journal of edgar allen poe.
i waited years to be a poet instead of someone writing poems,
and it took a broken spirit to finally understand and describe the silence
that pierces mouths and slips through the cracks of a rib cage.

it was worth the wait of adolescence,
as it wore me out and wore me down.
i rattled my guts senseless every winter,
only to pop and shine in the spring.
but it was the weather that pushed into me,
not my smokey air climbing into the chill.
i was 17 in a peacoat, drinking cheap vodka,
atop a parking garage that overlooked old towne,
when i made a promise to myself
to work with words like my hands would be dirtied.
i wanted to write and feel the leverage pulled out of me.
i wanted to go to bed exhausted with sore fingers.
i wanted to describe the cold of winter in the dead of night
so that my own bones would freeze in the desolate wail of the season,
as if the devil met me at the crossroads and begged for a deal,
just so he could hear me talk about nothing and do it well.


borderline mailing it in by jake kilroy.

a dried-out mouth is no place for words as salty as these,
and these knuckles could do without the blood.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"nina simone"

"nina simone"
after a night out by jake kilroy.

the day after i puked in an alley
with my friend smoking next to me,
i listened to nina simone all afternoon
while the rain came down like confetti
and dotted my aching face
as if i hadn't spent all night
running my mouth.
it was the week before thanksgiving
and all i could think about
was how little money i had
for christmas gifts,
but just enough
for too much

Friday, November 16, 2012

"white beds in green trees"

"white beds in green trees"
written while feeling extraordinarily well by jake kilroy.

white beds in green trees
with red hearts and blue skies
and a big yellow sun
painting our skin gold;
with the musings of heaven
collected in a gypsy-made book,
we laced our toes together
and waited for the waterfall in summer
and triumphed over city-living,
so that all the world could see us
as a religion that didn't need dogma,
but just enough oxygen and laughs
to sweep out the cobwebs of our lungs
and go on in a world
where that itself is a treasure,
as we can't live this well without wings,
a girl once told me to keep me out of trouble,
but it was only enough for me to conquer the world.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"young american men with guitars"

"young american men with guitars"
written while listening to the national by jake kilroy.

every young man refers to the moon
as a desolate spotlight that hangs over the west,
and each young man thinks he's the first.
so they drive themselves mad with fury
and furious with madness,
as they work day in and day out,
just to return to europe again
and do it right for the first time:
pints, cafes, beds, too much coffee.

young american men,
still lost in their own country,
their own words, their own minds,
want to set out with backpacks
to find truth and bring it home
like scientists who can't stop buying jeans.

were their lovers supposed to wait by the sea?
what was home to be, if not a shelter?
but it's the black and white photos that got them.
it was the folk dress, the poetry, the art house flicks,
that practically killed them in a storm
because they were too busy saving
their old books and new technology.

but at least they could play music.
they, as glorious as bar patron saints,
could cut their fingers on guitar strings
and paint hearts on bathroom mirrors
so their barely dressed women
would think it was lipstick
that just happened to taste
like gorgeous blood.

vinyl hearts sewed with the world on a string,
buttoned over a denim jacket,
stitched up with sutures
when it should have been suitors.
what grace can still save a man
so hellbent on seeing the world
just to let it destroy him completely?

darling, beautiful anarchists,
play every instrument,
from drums to molotov cocktails,
because there's no anthem in america
that doesn't make every romantic
want to shed their bones.

so let us grow new ones like branches
that reach for the sky
and shake like waves,
all while we hear one
good voice whip our backs
so we can come back stronger
and crazier and more in love
with throwing words at each other
that sparkle and glisten
and truly, finally,
make us forget

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Text Message of the Day

"Hi Jake! I just wanted to let you know that I'm screaming down the five freeway right now and I'm coming to get you. Bitch." - James

Sunday, November 11, 2012

"love, as a speeding car"

"love, as a speeding car"
written mostly in a college coffeehouse by jake kilroy.

i was asked how i saw love,
back when all i could afford to eat was string cheese
and my politics weren't quite articulate but already dying.

i said,
"love is like speeding along next to a train
and seeing if you can jump out of your car
to land in the boxcar before the tunnel.
it's all about timing, not process."

"you don't think it's about the journey?"

"what journey worthy of the unbearable trouble
ever started out with a foot in the right direction?"

this was the truth raised by wolves,
fidgety in flames, reckless immaculate,
kissing lies in the backwoods
and not telling the mouth.

in my youth,
my knuckles rapped on my chest like gunshots
to quell an itch that somebody called a heartbeat,
which was painted as the high lonesome sound
in americana gift shops that made a history of selling goods
to expatriates, out in the great plains of western guilt.

to the righteous, love is fragile.
to the jokers, love is a quesadilla at two a.m.

true love isn't scrapbooks or popsicle sticks.
it's a gang fight where death or jail blur,
and the hope goes out of the heart
and splatters the body and seizes its wreckage
and turns memories into murals,
so a lover can have an alter to pray to
those nights that the insomnia eats away.

the wandering, the breaking, the tricking,
it all comes down to what you won't do
when you finally have the chance.

so lovers gloriously amass on their rooftops
like weathervanes and point in every direction
to turn apartment buildings into art shows,
for look at how beautiful they are to behold,
even though heartache is kitsch at this point.

every jab at the steering wheel,
every deep breath in the shower,
every drunken outpouring,
it's all for show,
time and time again,
but then the great travesty
becomes leaving underwear behind
in every other lonely u.s. bed.

and so the punchline comes in a great laugh
of college students spitting out philosophy
at a downtown coffee house
where the owner has to be just fucking sick of it,
since they come in night after night and drop nobody names
as if they're trying to let them blow away
and then give chase to autumn leaves
that can't be raked together
because they crumble.

these colors that end up in the little black book
are supposed to be more than a museum's inventory.
they're taped up and held together by luck
and savagely worshipped with primal fury.
this is my way out.
this is my way home.
this is my way of saying,
"don't trust any writer
who's claimed he's called a girl from a pay phone."

what good is it?
what good is any of this?
all of this is either the first thread of a voodoo doll
or the last shred of sanity in a world's turning grace.
revolution, resolution, absolution,
we repeat in a chant of scripture
we wrote ourselves with breaths
that sounded like apologies
in the winter that we wrote
every love letter we've been meaning
to send for goddamn years.

tremendous, finally,
what shall we treasure for eternity,
if not this?
yes, yes, yes,
we growl
like beasts.
so there,
in a car,
we speed.

Friday, November 9, 2012


written with a wandering memory by jake kilroy.

half-asleep on a bus,
on the mass pike,
i wrote a quote
by che guevara
down in a journal
that was given to me
by a girl who believed
in revolution.

that summer,
i learned spanish
and discovered
that i never
knew how
to feel

Thursday, November 8, 2012


written on a day of indecisive weather by jake kilroy.

she had canvas stretched over her bones
and the tracks of muddy birds adorned her,
along with clean feathers and waves of barley,
somewhere in a loft on the upper east side.
barely a word trampolined out of her mouth
without a smile going up like a circus tent,
and her breasts floated through the words
of every poet that tried his damnedest to sit still.

her eyes lit up like like porch lights,
and her cheeks billowed like hot air balloons
when she could hardly keep the freckles on
in a sweater that drove the dirt roads
of east coast men's hearts wild.

there was a smooth grip to her lips
when she laughed in winter,
which was almost always.
she lived most in spring,
loved hardest in summer
and looked best in fall.
but it was christmas
that made the hair
on her neck
stand up
it was
new year's
that made her
heart shake like
she had been loved
and worshipped and
called upon by the men
of every american city to
simply go out and buy coffee
and walk the length of the streets
to let them know next year would be fine.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"in the soft hands of america"

"in the soft hands of america"
written after an election by jake kilroy.

i was destined for america
long before the stilettos tilled the earth
and the lipstick drew up the flag.
there were fireworks in my stomach
when i set sail as a proud maniac.
what was to come drummed on my ribcage
like the fingers of a waiting general,
and my best anthem harped
when i slid my tongue
over the red, white, and blue
of my mouth with a sucker still in it.

this country hugs and fights like new year's lovers
trying to make good on old promises
before getting the tattoos of new ones.
all we wanted was freshly cut lawns and polite dinnertime kisses
and instead we got the finest of wines to coat our insides.
we didn't see it coming, the elders muse.
we didn't anticipate the youth sharpening blades
to be put to good work with backs breaking in the sun.
the myths told us they'd chop down the family tree.

but, now, in the fortuitous grace of statues and statures,
there comes a waking light that pulses in the distance.
immaculate rays, not quite sunshine, not yet starlight,
swell in our eyes as we take in what rattles us best.

so, for today,
with infinity like sleeves instead of handcuffs
and princes mixing blood with paupers,
go forth in the world with a sense of purpose.
smooth out the colors of collars,
drink everything in the place,
and let us finally talk freedom.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thanks, Goodreads

I'm on Goodreads, and, for a bibliophile who loves rating things, it's obviously a pretty swell place. My friends Non and Jessica met on the reader-oriented site and were later married in a book-themed wedding. But who would've guessed that I too would find love there? Just received this letter from my future teenage Russian bride-to-be:

holle dear
Nice to meet you My name is miss helen. am a young girl I was impressed when i saw your profile today and i will like to establish a long lasting relationship with you. In addition, i will like you to reply me through my e-mail address so that i will give you my picture of you to know whom i am, please i will like to tell you how much interested i am in knowing more about you, i think we can start from here and share our feelings together as one. please contact me back with my mail address Thanks waiting to hear from you dear.yours new friend

I just hope Eat Pray Love isn't her favorite book, because then we are OVER.

Friday, November 2, 2012

"all hail the oasis"

"all hail the oasis"
written because jive-talkin' is pretty sweet by jake kilroy.

mariachi lions loiter around my skull like a safari junkyard line-up,
smoking antelope bones and talking about the time they played drums,
all while my desert wasteland mouth sprouts palm tree poetry
and my tongue smacks against my gum with the ripe taste of death.

"all hail the oasis," comes the belt song of the crocodile king,
"for we have come so far for so much and we are ever so thankful.
now let us pray to the pale eyes, for they see all,
but they do not bring the wicked racket of ears."

every animal that could carve up another animal slumps,
begging forgiveness for a hot minute of sparkling fire gut,
before the growl within them tackles their own inhibitions.

"these cats ain't cats," one lion finally mumbles.
"ain't nobody here but us cats," another jives.
"then let's play," croons the lion with the most tail.
they adjust their bow ties and play.

"he was seasoned like a salty summer,
but so was the moon he saw before slumber,
a white plate spinning so slow for a bath,
some wine pool a king would lap up for a laugh,"
sings the only lion with sunglasses.

cheap shots and top pot drain the wildlife of their mania,
and they claw at their own giggles and curl up to sleep,
somewhere in the wide-open watering hole of my neck,
and they dream and dream and dream and dream
until they're sick to their own stomachs.

but, man, when that mariachi lion band plays,
there ain't any cats around that can swing better than me.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

"november first"

"november first"
written in accurate timing by jake kilroy.

somehow drifting like a shipwrecked sailor
in japanese restaurants and all-too-american dive bars,
i found myself somewhere between jack-o-lanterns and turkeys
with christmas music rumbling in the heart of a girl out of focus.
it was so loud i thought the new year would come from her mouth.

what would that be?
a confetti laugh?
a showy promise?
a drunken kiss?

god help me every year i say that at midnight
in a top hat, covered in gold and black,
smoothed over by champagne and winks.
what drum did we order to beat this loud?
there's a marching band coming out of my sleeves
and every song is for whoever's in the room.

but i have to sit through the orange and black,
the orange and brown, and the red and green,
just to get to everything all at once
in the wordy backseat of a throat
that won't stop crooning auld lang syne
until everywhere becomes a bed
and we just stick to being wallflowers
until valentine's day or the spring beyond.

and without our tongues jostling the rain
of our stormy mouths, laced with lightning,
juggling two a.m. doesn't seem so wild
without sunrises to come cracking with whips,
as we slump into daylight like posters coming off the wall.

well, there was a night once or a dozen times
i came home with groceries
and had to stand on my front lawn
to consider the magic
that was possible
every waking second
once summer died out
like the bulb of a back porch.
and when the broom of my conscience swept,
it didn't leave so much as a matchbook.
it was a clean slate,
and it was glorious.