A Vague Idea – Six Guest Super Show

a vague idea

My friend Nate Ragolia, who runs Spaceboy Books, was nice enough to invite me back onto his podcast/game show, despite me lying through my teeth the first time around.

“A Vague Idea” is a game show podcast where a group of people are given random topics and assigned points based on how much they know about those topics. You can give it a listen here or on iTunes podcasts. I was joined on this episode by cohosts Shannon Paige and John Peros, as well as Rachel Trignano, Josh Mattison and Cory Byrom.

The Anatomy of a 29 Year Old Human (2017)

*just about every year on my birthday I write an “Anatomy of a … Year Old” poem. Thank you for reading.

i am a giant lizard monster
trying to lay down comfortably in a sprawling metropolis but the buildings scratch at my back

the cars pierce my feet like legos

i fold myself ragdoll into a suitcase in attempt to be smaller
i’ve tried my hand at big, i wish to be little

i stare into the mirror but it’s not a mirror
it’s the ghost of marley and he’s eating my cereal

he tells me i need to grow out my beard again

he reminds me i am a joshua tree at the end of the western world
he reminds me that it is crucial that i push through heavy desert ground

my veins are filled with marathon runners sprinting but only when it’s dark out
i’ve begun to name the avenues they run down, federal, larimer, colfax

rush hour is a real bitch
my hands shake at the horns honking screaming for attention

i’ve spent twenty eight years sawing myself in half for the big audience
i want to spend the next twenty eight sewn together

maybe salinger, alone in a boat in the middle of a forest

maybe vincent, a militia of mad men in the fields of anxiety

there is hair in my ears and when i was signing my contract this was not mentioned
television led me to believe that this corresponded with twilight years

meanwhile the movies led me to believe i would be a wealthy philanthropist batperson by now
i conveniently ignore al bundy’s belly, his thin hair, his vicious kmart realism

my eyes are the brownest they have ever been
this is good

this is spirit in form
petrified wood to be built into rocking chair conversations and tobacco pipes

i am seeking a clean definition of masculinity
and my femininity is my best hope to get there

there is goldfish in a glass bowl lodged in my heart
i still haven’t figured out what that’s all about but i feed it pellets

i remember that though the castle it swims around is small it is still a castle
and the castle is me and the goldfish is the music of it all

i’m confused
i’ve wrapped myself up in ace bandages but i’m not injured

i decide to play a mummy because for a brief minute this year i was a pharaoh
and now all i want is to be surrounded by true gold and sleep sleep sleep

and wake up thirty and haunt the shit out of these fuckers for at least a few more

cropped-king-boo.jpg

ENSO POEM TWO

I’ve already learned something about these poems. They don’t belong on the internet. They belong to me. This isn’t about you perceiving my journey. It’s about me immersing myself in my journey. I can’t be caught up in my story if I keep turning the pages for you. Goodbye.

enso poem one

enso

great wonder beyond the wall
the wall beyond the shadows of something
the shadows of something beyond enveloped life
oversaturated perfection
inconsistent adulterated human experience
swept clean like dead flies from the floor beneath the burning building

“enso” is a Japanese word meaning circle. ensos are symbolic of many things including enlightenment, infinity and the void. in some practices, Buddhists will each day paint an enso, usually in one stroke, in a certain hope of drawing a perfect circle. there is both a sense of giving in to the moment and the ongoing discipline towards perfection therein. with these enso poems, i will write poems in one fell swoop, hoping for the best, hoping to strengthen my muscle each day, and resolved in their imperfections.

The Anatomy of a Thirty Year Old Man

I kind of feel like a field of ten thousand oranges,
like a universe made up entirely of suns,
like some sort of cosmic relief to be freed from subterranean dirt,
like I’ve worked my way through codependent alcohol-induced relationships
and deciphered every single Fall Out Boy lyric.

I kind of feel like God,
except I’m buying Glide floss at the grocery store
and everyone around me is God too.

I kind of feel like the flower section at King Soopers.
I feel like the succulent on clearance at King Soopers
but then I purchase myself and water myself back to health.

The sky is a Charles Mingus song,
my eyes are an audience drunk on sound.

I’m chewing on the clouds like white taffy.

I’m mourning ten years of residual teenaged angst
but teenaged angst isn’t dead,
it’s just hiding under ground
punching the lid of its coffin until it can break through
and avenge the man that massacred my wedding party.

I kind of feel like love.
Like I’ve arrived in a nice suit at a wedding.
Like the king of the dance floor, drowning in waves of hands held high.

Like my twenties largely prepared me through the trial and error of shit mistakes
to enter my thirties entirely renewed and ablaze
and ready to make all sorts of new and interesting mistakes.

My bones are bionic.
The marrow is whiskey.
I am whiskey now, I don’t need to drink to get there.

I’ve aged in barrels.

My beard sleeps soundly against the walls of my face.

If I had ten thousand blenders I’d turn them all on to high.

I am a giant monster that could attack the city but instead
I’m opting to dig deep in the dirt and plant large gardens of flowers.

I am realized chaos,

I am a cat thrown into the sky
and landing in downward dog.

My tongue spits om after om
as I regenerate my bones.

I am sailing on an ocean of great intentions
and I spent a quiet night with Hemingway
taught how to punch caustic sharks in their stupid faces.

Neruda has taught me that revolution and love
are one and the same.

Warsan taught me that our pain is our story
and it can be behind us,
like a great thick wind pushing us into new pain.

I am naked and painting myself to blend in with the grass.
I am green and inseparable from everything,
except I’m acutely aware I’m 30.

I’m acutely aware of the position I’ve established on my doomsday clock.

I am the clock hands of Doctor Manhattan in the mouth,
along the sides, in the cunt,
floating like oceans across the breasts of a lover.

I am meditating on Mars about my goddess of war,
and how she has awakened inside of me the armistice of my arms,
now outstretched into great giant fields of oranges,
where I reach out,
and grab them,
and peel the skin,

and I try to pull the pieces out neatly,

but the orange says no,

the orange says,
enough already,

dig your face deep into me and eat me rabidly.

An Old Woman of Arles

though once
her hair was wild
it is now tamed
seeking refuge from
a long life
in the sanctuary
of a black bandana

her eyes sunken in
like great ships
set ablaze
in the starry night
beneath her eyebrows
like clouds
that dissipate
slowly through time

her wrinkles have
formed like drylands
under the salt water crusades
of lovers above her
long gone
onward to other women
other lives
and down the stairs
six feet beneath the
ground

there is no symmetry
left to her face
there is no falsity
of balance
of give and take
of war and peace
just the residue
of what lost
and what was won

she stares
at the artist
like she is staring
at god
like she stares out
into the great void
that hovers over her
small bed
the great void
that comes whistling
out of her teapot
the great void
that consumes
not only the old woman
but the artist as well
but youth

he does not know
that when he stares out
at the old woman of arles
that he stares into
himself
but god
does he know
how to paint
a self-portrait.

'An Old Woman of Arles' by Vincent Van Gogh. 1888.

You Are Not a Flower

you are not a flower.

you do not rise
from the soil
like some dandy little
spark of life

you are not
overflowing
with green vanity

you just are.

when spring hits

you do not bloom

you do not rise up

from the cold winter

to burst forth into
some spectral showcase
of expressionistical color

you are not some
kaleidoscopic
manifesto

you are not
in constant competition
with the bright roses
around you

you are not
in constant praise
of the sun

your tongue is not
held out before you
drinking in
the ultraviolet rays
you’ve been fed

you do not
think of your roots
as being for
gathering life
into your body
like stranger prayer

you are not a flower.

you bloom inward
you burn circles
in your living room rug

trying to find
unidentified life lying
in the widening crack
of your ceiling

you lick the salt
from your wounds
and watch your hands
swell

you waste days
you boil water into boredom

you’ve torn your roots
from the bureaucratic soil
of bureaucracy

lifted
your two-dimensional legs
from the blueprint
they laid out for you

and you’re not always
so beautiful

you don’t have
the distinct privilege
of a best laid plan

you are something else

seedless
fruitless
without petals

you dance best drunk
and to heavy metal

you are not a flower.

you are the crayon
that walked to the edge
of town
and outside of the lines

and when you bloom
it’ll be in the middle of winter
in the middle of the night
and you will not bloom delicate

you my dear
will bloom fists and fury

From Stupid Flowers