Thursday, December 9, 2010

Snow Angel

Two cars swing wide in the snowy parking lot
forming a perfect arc, in tandem
leaving lovely equidistant tracks in the
new fallen snow
temporarily renewing my faith in
beauty and coincidence.

But I am in the sub-zero hospital garage
returned from a brief break from her bedside,
during a winter where I will lose
much more than foliage.

She is suspended above me on the 5th floor,
some angel frozen in an ugly rapture
high above the streets of this town
in the hospital where I was born
struggling hard for every breath

a ventilator obstructing more than it seems to aid
barring her from speaking, so that our
only communication is the kiss she blew
through the window as I left an hour ago
and some hand signals pleading for me
to recite the rosary to her

I count the beads down
one by one, ten and one
and hope that she will
forgive my trespasses

praying mostly that the 5th floor
of this sterile skyscraper is
not the highest she will ascend.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Whats good for you

Check out Big States blog for some excellent music.
If you know whats good for you, you'll head straight for the Mississippi Record Mix Tapes.

I know whats good for you.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New things

The blog is changing shape.
During school I was whole-heartedly dedicated to poetry. And, really, what a lovely thing to be able to spend your time on. However, I am not in school anymore and there are many pressing issues I've been reading up on. My writing inevitably reflects that.
I've only been writing prose. Contemplative prose about subjects that deserve deeper thought in my daily life than I have been able to give them in many years. These pieces and topics will begin to show up on the blog. Please, please, please let me know what you think of them. Honestly. This is my first serious foray into the world of creative nonfiction. I want to deliver my opinions and observations on the world, while supporting them with serious research. And I want to know if the writing is valid.

Also, I moved to a new city. Columbus, Ohio is home now.
While I am neglecting my posts further, I will continue updating you on the cool things I come across.
I am now doing the PR and Marketing for the Columbus chapter of the American Red Cross. Justice, service, and complete impartiality-- what more can you ask for?

The Franklin Park Conservatory is a fabulous park I discovered near my new office.
They have a community garden that is busy producing every kind of vegetable and spice you can think of. And an outdoor kitchen for demonstrations. This is going to be a great place to eat lunch!

More to come.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Feeling Animated

First order of business: R.I.P Harvey Pekar
The Cleveland-native comic genius behind American Splendor passed away this week. Infamous for his late night shenanigans on the Letterman show and his self-deprecating Cleveland based comics, Pekar is a legend to say the least. If you don't know about him, you should. Check out the 2003 film entitled "American Splendor"--starring Paul Giamatti as Pekar and also the real Pekar, and also some really awesome comics.

Having become very dear friends with Chris Monday, I've deepened my interest in the world of comics. We draw them at work, between waiting tables, and have this excellent game called "switcheroo." If I ever get a scanner I will upload some of our games of switcheroo. Essentially you start with a picture, like a bug. Chris sees the bug and has to think up another name that you could call it. So in Chris's mind he says "that bug is a bee." Then Chris draws something that rhymes with the word bee. So I drew a little bug and now, next to it there is a tree that Chris has drawn. I have to then figure out what the drawing is and what word he chose to get there. With bug and tree its pretty easy, but you should have seen the game that went from Fat Kid to Arachnid.... genius. 

Since this post seems dedicated to the celebration of all things comic, let me direct your attention to some of Jed and Chris's work. These guys are good friends of mine and amazing artists... and piss-your-pants funny. Jed has been drawing a daily comic journal for 2010 called CHAMP-- it's following his journey to being alcohol-free for 1 year. He is six months along and it's agonizing, hilarious, and insightful. (Disclaimer: it's also addictive!) So thanks Jed for keeping me entertained daily with your misery. 

Jed and Chris have teamed up on a comic project that I am ridiculously excited about called "Bad Advice for Bad People." It's a comic advice column and it is spectacular. The first installment just came out on Society6  and it shows some major promise. I can't wait to see what they come up with next. Chris Monday does all of the background work on this comic (props to the Cosmos frame!) and Jed Collins draws the people. Together they give the worst advice, from the worst people, to equally awful people. And yes, the questions are real... people actually ask this shit... and not just our friends either!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

These first few hours are unbearable.

I tried to drive to the lake and sit 

in the yellowing mist of the sun 

going down in the rain and 

listen to Neil Young on the warm 

hood of my car

but now I have returned

to the house because there is nowhere

left to drive

and all of the recyclables in the bin

by the door are yours, along with the

towels and I couldn’t get you to take

the macaroni and cheese with you 

so it's sitting in the cupboard staring 

me down accusingly

I know

I know

but it insists, along with the spot

you cleared in the garden. 

If those plants ever come up,

they will say the same thing

look at me the same awful way

that the ash tray-- empty-- on

the back steps does

I know

I did this 

and I've done it before

and it's easier to blame you for leaving.

The rain tapping on the leaves 

should comfort me but I’ve heard 

too much today

and you are still in motion 

with places left to drive

headlights and wipers beating 

searching for a heart of gold

and I have no idea if I will see you again. 

The dog needs to go out into that rain and 

you are not here to take him

so I will sit in the dusk with the

beetles buzzing up and slamming

themselves into the porch light,

beside the ash tray and imagine

your car pulling back into the drive

you rolling a cigarette with a grin

your legs crossed at the ankle 

a heart of gold

and I will rehash every awful thing I’ve ever said to you

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer things

 In truth, I have not written a word since I finished my thesis and my attentions have been completely devoted to the summer, my new garden, and job searching. So now what do I write?
The legitimate fear of becoming a washed-up hyper-dramatic personal journal writer definitely lingers in the back of my mind. But I also have this sneaking suspicion that there are still important things out there that I've not yet written about. So until I figure out exactly what those things are, and how I am going to start the revolution by exposing them to the rest of the world... I will just keep updating the blog with things I am thinking about, reading, watching, and listening to.

Its Brew Week in Athens, and my oh my is it wonderful 

Last night Mike and I watched The Cove-- an oscar nominated documentary exposing the horrifying truths of the Japanese dolphin industry. This was one of the best documentaries I have seen in a very long time (better than Food, Inc. which we just watched last week). Something about this documentary took it beyond the usual documentary formula: blow the top off a big public cover up, expose the terrible realities of the industry, etc. This movie is the Casino-Heist film of the Ocean-Rescue world. Covert missions, threatening Japanese guards, high-def, high-tech military-grade equipment. It was riveting, entertaining, eye-opening, and terrifying. In two hours this film turned two people from Pescatarians to straight Veg.
Seafood lovers beware you are in serious Mercury denial.  

Re-reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a book that makes you deconstruct your daily notions of the world around you, confront the ghosts of your past, and desperately want a motorcycle. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

OhioLink to thesis

This is the link to my thesis as it is archived on the OhioLink network. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Today I turned in my thesis, which completes my requirements for graduation with a bachelor's degree in English from the Honors Tutorial College at OU.
It is a collection of poems (most have been on the blog at some stage of their creation!) with a critical introduction concerning the correlation between madness and writing in two confessional poets: Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath. The essay is not especially formal-- I used it as a personal reflection on my attraction to and affection for poetry and an introduction to my own collection. 

Let me know if you would like a copy!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Imagined Night In the House of My Grandmother (Revision)

Now that you are gone,

I am graduating and my 

nightmares bear no resemblance

to the ones you may have consoled

me from in youth. 

I am fleeing the tangible and

mundane terror of a bleak and

open future, the specter of

failure moaning in my ears, 

the ghost of debt creaking the 

floorboards and rattling chains. 

I go to spend the night in

your home, hoping the memory

of you may be enough to console 

me to sleep-- which only comes 

now with a struggle. 

I drink tea on your floral couch 

and eat a peppermint from the 

bowl on the table and my lids

begin to grow heavy, a wash of

sleep calmer than any I’ve known 

lately.I climb the stairs of your warm

blue house to the bedroom you

shared with Papa for fifty some 


All night the golden anniversary clock

chimes to mock my awakeness, singing

at the hour and the half

you should have known

you should have known

you’d be awake here

and alone. 

Static (revision of 5 O'clock)

I wonder how you feel,

around 6:15

when you come home from work and

enter this hectic kitchen 

full of children flinging stories and jokes

at one another -- squeals ricocheting

off the cupboards and walls

a barrage of voices too immediate and loud 

for you-- under fire

And our enthusiasm sends you

into the living room, battered, 

to sit for the rest of the night

in front of the three-channeled television.

Like the strange failure of waves from the

broadcasting networks to the flimsy

antennae of the tv,

your signals are never strong enough

to decipher. A little fuzzier as the night

goes on, until they are entirely scrambled.

You switch off and lock yourself behind a

bedroom door. One thought runs in my 

head, already in syndication:

One day you will drop dead, 

and I won’t know a 

Goddamn thing about you.

Monday, May 10, 2010


when we went to the park a few September days
before my birthday (I am trying to remember, but
it exists in that file of memories that are Technicolor
and incomplete) what did I do to provoke you?

did I play along when you created a game where
you kicked the soccer ball at the spokes of my tires
while I drove my pink bike in loping circles ?

I thought I was so much older but the candle on the
cake in the picture says that I am only six-- the scabs
on my cheek and eye still fresh from crashing to the
asphalt, and the training wheels recently removed

meant that there were only two wheels to leave
spirographs on the church parking lot. Loops that
seem so chaotic in the making, but turn out impossibly
beautiful and intricate.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


When Roguey Tom got sick,
came down to his last days,
his body no longer able to shoulder
the brunt of his alcoholism--
his girls took him in and nursed him
let him back like they did every time
he would reappear on a greyhound 
sock-less and pifficated.

When Papa's stroke robbed him 
so violently of the ability to walk and talk
and eat, my mother would wake early
and stay late each of those four years
filling feeding tubes and
changing diapers, wiping the crust
from the roof of his mouth 
with a warm wash rag

and I am your daughter
even though we barely speak
and when you are dying
I will be the first there. 


My mother recounts her 

Childhood to me, saying:

“Every night Daddy would 

light a cigar and watch the 

CBS news or Lawrence Welk

in his rocking chair,

laughing a little.

And every morning he would 

wake next to Mama, read

the paper in his undershirt and 

suspenders and drive his dump 

truck down the street and

throw bread crumbs off the 

porch, saying "The birds gotta 

eat too, Mama."

Sometimes on Sundays 

Roguey Tom would turn up

smelling like booze

and passing out 20 dollar bills

to all the kids

Drifting through the state

like a man with no ties 

his own children no doubt 

home and worried, his 

nieces reveling in the novelty

of his visit.

Mama would make him

dinner and a cup of coffee

before Daddy collected back

his brother’s money from the kids and

drove him to the bus stop, saying

"go on back to your family, Tom."--

and I wonder, now, if he ever wanted

to buy a case of beer and get on that bus too?

Monday, April 5, 2010

imagined night in the house of my grandmother

a gradeschool friend once told me that when
you are running in a dream, wherever you
run to is your real home, your place of safety.

now, not fleeing some fantastic terror: a witch,
a kidnapper, a runaway truck, but the tangible
and mundane terror of failure; a bleak and open
future, I go to spend the night where I felt safest.
In my grandmother's house.

I open the door, disarm the alarm and enter
into your living room as she left it
floral couch and lace curtains
a bowl of peppermints on the table.
The fridge is well stocked with the things
I love best:
carrot cake and vegetable soup
and after one cup of tea my lids begin
to grow heavy, a wash of sleep calmer
than any I've known lately. I climb
the stairs to the bedroom where
Papa and Granny lay side by side
for some fifty years.

All night the golden anniversary clock
chimes to mock my awakeness, singing
at the hour and the half
you should have known
you should have known
you'd be awake here
and alone.

Monday, March 15, 2010

King of the Jungle

At six years old I am not aware of the exact

implications of the word stroke.

And when you sit me on the bottom of the

oak staircase with the wrought iron banister

I can see that you have been sobbing and your

fear at 32 is more intense than any of mine.

I do not know exactly what was said during that

phone call, only that it was spoken by my grandmother

from an emergency room somewhere and heard in front

of a glowing kitchen window on a phone old

enough to have a curly cord and that it is

the hottest part of the summer and we’ve just

been to the zoo to ride the carousel and see the

lions. And that when it is finally relayed to

me I do not understand the change of life it

will imply or how unfair it is to keep a

lion in a Midwestern zoo confined to a glass

enclosure, pacing the same worn spots, gawked

at, its majesty doctored and forgotten.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Janis Joplin on the Festival Express

You ever get drunk on a train
through four cities in less than twice
as many days? Well, when you got
eleven cars and just as many bands
riding along and it's the heat of the 
summer and it's that beautiful part
of Canada between Winnipeg and
Calgary and you just saw what
Toronto had going on-- I tell you
what you're gonna do: you're gonna
drink on that train. And you're 
gonna go down to the car where
everybody's got their guitars out
and you're gonna forget-- when you
see the Grateful Dead and The Band
jamming with Buddy Guy-- that it 
ain't been more than 5 or 6 years
since we got the good sense to start
eating in the same diners and
pissing in the same toilets.
And you'd get drunk too if you
heard that some thousand kids
decided to storm the gates at the
next stop and goddamn you 
if you didn't know you had to
let those kids hear you for free
and if only I knew that I'd 
be dead by October-- but it's
Summertime, child, and your
living is easy.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

For Townes Van Zandt

when discovered Townes,we too were going out on the highway to

listen to them big trucks whine, hoping that our ramblings through

Canada in a borrowed sedan would show us what we meant to

each other. To the world.

when he married his first wife, she was 21 and not expecting

her new husband to spend their honeymoon locked in her shoe closet

writing what would become waiting around to die

when you called me, I was 21 and not expecting we’d ever speak again after

you took someone else on that same long drive to Toronto. But here

we are listening to him Live at the Old Quarter, Houston,

weaving through the hills of West Virginia

Pancho and Lefty singing our own Fraternity Blues

Somehow addicted to you the way he was addicted to

the airplane glue that sealed all his teeth together before

they cracked them apart with a ball-pin hammer

If I needed you

would you come to me

would you come to me and ease my pain?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


These are some of the hardest words I've ever had to write or read. 
R.I.P Margaret "Tootsie" Hamilton
April 22, 1921 -- January 11, 2010

It feels impossible at this point to distance myself enough to write about the entirety of Granny’s life- her beauty, her family, these abstract and massive things that I can barely grasp right now, in my twenties, in my grief. 

It seems more appropriate somehow to talk about the past week, with its too-fast process of losing her. I drove up from school last monday, when I heard that she was in the hospital and I stayed the night with her once or twice. Laying in that bed with the blankets draped over her side I could see the thinness of her legs, the knob of her ankles, and even with the swelling I could see through to her delicate joints. When they rolled her onto her side, her hip rose, loping into the soft curve of her figure-- the same feminine shape of her twenties, the curves that my grandfather fell in love with, the hips that bore the seven girls that were now rotating visiting shifts in the ICU. And still, her physical beauty is such a small part of what made her so remarkable. 

When they adjust her breathing tube,  I see her cry for what I believe is the first time in my life. And I know then the scope of her pain. She was a true stoic-- tearless, fearless, and always without complaint. These are the things she was, in life and death. Just completely graceful. When she held my hand in the hospital, it was the same way she held my hand as a toddler. With all the same acceptance and complete love. That is what she offered everyone she encountered-- a fair shot. 

I was nervous about leaving her, but I had to return to school and work and the hustle of immediate concerns. It never really mattered before that she hadn’t seen my house in Athens, of course I wanted her to, but there was always the promise of spring and talk of a visit to come. But when I got the call that she was gone, all of my surroundings seemed to shift. My house felt colder, emptier, hollow since it had never been blessed with her presence. I think everything will feel that way to an extent; that I will always favor the things she had a part in; enjoy the places she had been. As if her having been there would linger, a gentility that could be felt even after years. 

Just the other day I meant to have her tell me about her wedding day again. About Russles Point and the Banana Cake made with carnation milk. About the time she was terrified waiting for Papa under the marquee of a movie theater in the rain.  These stories and all the others are pieces of her I want to take and hold and shuffle through in passing--  reminders everyday of the person she was. Stories I want to tell my children, who will belong to a generation that will only know the magnitude of her grace through the bits of it I hope we have collected. I can only hope that through proximity to greatness, maybe some of it has rubbed off. I hope that we, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, can try to be those pieces of her that we loved the best. To be strong and gentile, funny and forgiving, faithful and stoic, beautiful and peaceful. I hope that we can love with the fullness and acceptance that she gave to each of us. 

As Tootsie would say:  “I’ll see you on the radio.” 

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Last night was hard
there was no moon to speak of
and the room was dark enough
to hide crying, only one soft
sound gave you away

and when I woke this
morning the sun was on
fire red and drippy like it
had been up all night
crying for us

the city billowed a smoke
made more ominous with
the cold, proof that progress
won't stop for us

the car still frosted over
and in my hurry to leave for
a job that would not wait
I neglected to clear the

drove the morning streets
peering through a slit in
the frost hoping not to hit
anything- the sun on fire
glaring in the rear view

we have failed in our
honest attempts to
remain the same. We are
no exception to the rule
that everything changes;
nothing will hold still
for us.

And now it is winter, the
windshield too frosty to
show what is ahead of me
as I drive away -- from you
still in a dream. 


we're really mad here
I'm not sure we're sure
but let me tell you that
when a plate hits a plate
in a loading dishwasher
or soapy sink or dry cupboard
we jump
and if you raise your voice
just a little too high, fall
on the ball of your foot
just a little too hard
make your step resound off
the hardwood
you're bound to hear about it

a scream and yell temper
tantrum that lasts only a moment
or, when there is less sun, less money
to go around, more bills to pay,
a silence that lasts much longer