Monday, November 25, 2013

"i drank cleopatra's bath water"

"i drank cleopatra's bath water"
bastardized and baptized by jake kilroy.

i drank cleopatra's bath water,
and it tasted of cobra's blood and wine,
a shaky cocktail to take down to destroy
every empire between the head and the heart.

hot damn, goddamn, i pulled scripture out of my mouth,
like a magic trick gone rotten from resting too long in death.
i coughed up what sand wasn't used to cover the past,
where the statues were buried neck-high to show god a thing or two.
what a caravan it was to witness the long march of lovers,
wasting away in memory, distant yet warm still,
from here, a throne, immobile and arrogant!

grief took us thentook us apartstruck a match against our bones,
and we were suddenly nothing without every indulgence imaginable.
i would've swallowed swords if i had known the taste of battle,
but i could only play my ribs like a poor man's percussion,
and the marching band had been sentenced to a long life of doldrums.

i wanted her then, a fiery queen that was a pain in the asp,
telling jokes like a jester but making love like her king;
just one that wouldn't tell her to calm down, but conquer instead.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Suffering

"Is there another life? Shall I awake and find all this a dream? There must be. We cannot be created for this sort of suffering."
- John Keats

Friday, November 15, 2013


There's a dirty laundry list of reasons to lose faith in the world. Truly. But, man, what's happening with Batkid in San Francisco right now is one of the best examples of humanity I've ever witnessed. You will always find saints in charity and heroes in disasters, but I've never seen 10,000+ people participate in one kid's dream of fighting evil alongside Batman. Social media and the news are blowing up with good vibes. People are goooooood.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What Would I Say?

I'm looking to start doing poetry readings semi-regularly (and finally going to one tonight after a year-long absence). But as I recite and rehearse selected poems of mine on the way to work, I notice what words I reuse. It’s hard to see it when you look at one poem here and there, but when I do them one after another, I notice themes such as:
  • Breaths and the process of breathing (gasping, catching air, etc)
  • Religious imagery (angels, demons, scripture, etc)
  • Mildly violent actions as part of metaphors and similes (beating, dragging, etc)
  • Body parts (heart, brain, gut, hips, fingers, etc)
  • Death (graves, last meal, etc)
There's a great deal more, but that's what I immediately recall from my drive this morning. We repeat ourselves because there can only be so much that truly fascinates us or resonates with us. And with poetry's fractured, almost nonsensical, and rambling persuasion, it's very easy to get how your mind works in scope of the world. Poetry is honest because it's borderline gibberish.

And it took me forever to realize there was a time and a place for it.

I remember seeing my friend Katy years ago after a long absence of catching up. At some point, she told me, “It’s hard to tell what you’re up to these days.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Your status updates are always like, ‘Whiskey stars in the night sky, and the land shakes, and what beauty is here blah blah blah.’ Why can’t you just tell me you’re going to Taco Bell and buying new sheets?”

“Huh,” I mused, because she was right.

I used to use social media as a way of disguising the truth. Well, shit, not even disguising it. It was more, HEY, LOOK AT ME, I OBVIOUSLY CONSIDER MYSELF A WRITER. And when she pointed it out, I realized how unnecessary it was to "pretty up" the mundane.

You should be poetic if you like to be, but you need to know the proper outlets because it's really, really easy to be a fuckin' douche if you enjoy writing and don't think what you write is dog shit.

When I went to Australia for 3 weeks at the age of 19, I sent postcards home to my friends Jeff, Rex, and Chase. They all agreed that my postcards should be more like other people's postcards. I was writing poetic musings about travel (BECAUSE I WAS OH-SO-FUCKING-CLEVER) on the back of them, and they, like Katy, asked me why I couldn’t just tell them what I was seeing, what I was eating, what I was doing. Chase told me, “I legitimately have no idea what you did on your trip because all your postcard talked about was the fuckin’ traveling bug.”

And I used to do this all the time. When I was planning my high school reunion earlier this year, I went through friends’ yearbooks, and I noticed that I had written some poetic musing about the future and what lay ahead and what it all meant in all my friends' yearbooks (BECAUSE I WAS OH-TOO-FUCKING-HIP TO TELL EVERYONE HOW MUCH I ENJOYED GOING TO SCHOOL WITH THEM AND I HOPED THEY HAD A GOOD SUMMER AND/OR LIFE).

The reason I always did this was because I wanted to create tokens of memory. I wanted to give people something they could keep for its timeless quality and ethereal value. I took a shot at how I thought nostalgia worked and anticipated what we would believe is important. Now that I’m edging up to the ripe age of 30, I realize that it doesn’t matter and you can’t call it out early. You have no idea what you'll really hold close to you about your youth or your adolescence or your young adulthood.

Now, since signing those yearbooks, I make my cards or notes thoughtful, direct, and personal.

Since talking with the droogs, I make my postcards lush, truthful, and joyous.

Since talking with Katy, I make my social media updates what they should be: an honest account of who I am and what's happening. That obviously includes jokes and swear words, but it doesn't have to be poetically vague.

So, when I stumbled upon the site What Would I Say? (kudos to Jackie and Bram), I was naturally curious to see the mashup of Facebook status updates. That's what it does. It takes all of the things you've posted on Facebook and tries to guess what a possible status update would be for you. Most of the time, it doesn't make sense at all (try "Halloween the ground. Or ruined something they loved. Juli for December 3, book cover every day").

But, here and there, it really nails you, and you wonder about things you've said and treasured in the past. I've listed some of my favorites below. But, just so it didn't read as kooky (and was more about the order of words), I've corrected capital letters and punctuation.

Here are some small ones that I assembled into a poem:
  • What, you're just a pirate.
  • Fleeing town once again.
  • I'll gamble the talking.
  • Rough draft for them.
  • Without days of things.
  • You have any girl ever.
  • So I can feel it.
  • For an open mind?
  • After years and years of learning.
  • I ended on a bender.
And here are some that I just thought were funny or wild:
  • Work was the villain in a mediocre view.
  • I feel like the kids from American Graffiti art.
  • Twas totally weird, twas totally sick too.
  • Erin, give me bruises? Remember those puppies at the Fortress House?
  • It's like Disneyland for adults; what a long, hot shower.
  • I'm obviously having fun, all the raddest things
  • It's like a lion using an antelope, as my words have blurred together in value.
  • Reading Ayn Rand and wondering if she is so hard.
  • I want to clarify, I would watch the destruction in that day.
  • It was a guitar. Sometimes, a perfume.
  • And it's just enough pain for journalists to do.
  • Murder is on my soul in no way.
  • No way, I'm going to go barhopping in the last revolution I tried.
  • Off of lust and fucking on repeat for thirty minutes before I call it.
And then there was this one, which I didn't have to adjust a single thing for:
  • Lauren, darling, I need somebody who is more ready to drink.
Truer words were never spoken, website version of old me. I guess poetry isn't that hard.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Idiot Culture

"We are in the process of creating what deserves to be called the idiot culture. Not an idiot subculture, which every society has bubbling beneath the surface and which can provide harmless fun; but the culture itself. For the first time, the weird and the stupid and the coarse are becoming our cultural norm, even our cultural ideal."
- Carl Bernstein

Monday, November 4, 2013

"if truth was here and now and not forever"

"if truth was here and now and not forever"
written after the last weekend of wonder by jake kilroy.

glory never loves those who don't give everything they have.
splintered hands, knuckled heads, all the leg work exhausted;
we are youth, even in old age.

walls of scripture pages, crosses on every lamp,
sheets that covered the pews of empty churches
now clinging to every bed at night on solstice,
here we are in the house we grew up in,
haunted by what might have never been there.

fists through the glass, fingers in the dirt,
i couldn't swallow my pride for that last meal.
jesus christ wouldn't know what to beg for these days.

and here all we wanted was reverb shaking the local jails
that hold the bands of folksingers we worshipped,
years ago when we thought god had built man
and not vice versa.

so give me false idols that'll actually talk back.
hold up the flames of these burial candles,
because this concert won't have an encore.
mass population, mass media,
mass words we can't speak,
ever since our tongues were tied
when we were speaking in them.

this is the tension of ghosts,
dragging blood through us,
carving muscles from memory,
unable to spill their guts
or tell the difference
between wishes and hopes.
dreams are another plague,
one without cure or ailment.

can we even speak truth anymore
without our eyes filling with salt?
stop repeating yourself.

Friday, November 1, 2013

"sweat in the eyes and hope in the heart"

"sweat in the eyes and hope in the heart"
written after good news for a bag of dirty bones by jake kilroy.

in your bedroom, i could taste the starlight abound,
washing it down with sweat, as we stretched ourselves thin,
letting our memories drift out of our pores to sparkle above.

we ate the past off paper moons.
we plucked the stars like fruit.
we reread pages from old notebooks,
because we wanted to know what we didn't know once.

this has been an endless lunar cycle,
passing through the glowing of your body,
bouncing off the curves of your hips,
tickling your thighs and bursting out your toes.

this was christmas breath coughing at the end of summer,
a barely audible hope cascading from the nerve-endings,
brilliant in each silent skip, gleefully swinging an ax.

all our hearts wanted was a new spinal path to trample
with ecstasy and prowess and cautionary breadcrumbs.

spirits coming out of the muscle forests,
these shredded ambitions are yours.
my heart has always been a drunken hunter.
your bones are thrift store weathered.
we're the mailboxes americans only buy for nostalgia.
lucky charms swing in our eyes,
and we are nothing without a joke.