Sunday, February 14, 2010

St. Valentine's Recital

I want to write five poems
and assemble an audience
and recite each one slowly
Before each poem I will say
"This is about the only time
I've been in love"
And each time it will be true.
That is what you feel.

I crushed a bug on my wall with a book
Her insides flipped out,
Antennae bent wildly,
green, oozing. And,
i think I could see her heart.
I appreciated her honesty.
It was a beautiful expression of love.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

You're sad and you don't even know it.
You're an illiterate typist, a blind glassblower.
You're the spoke that catches the hamster.
You're a metaphor constantly using wheels.

I have to write words like this
in order to feel like someone else.
It used to be that I'd just change
my hair or my clothes and that would be all.

I'm too old for that bullshit now.
I'm too old to not recognize how awful I am.

I judge people. I'm not that funny.
People think I treat women terribly.
I finally made all of those enemies I earned
because I opened my fucking mouth too much.

It's too fucking early sonnet

I've been in love three times already
Each time felt like dancing in a fire
with the girl holding a bucket of water
over her head, and laughing, and doing nothing.

Two of them got married.
One two months after I graduated high school.
The other one is having a baby with her husband.

I'm twenty-one years old.
I shouldn't have to deal with shit like that yet.
And my family is starting to fall apart too.

The third one won't return my calls.
She hates me, all of me, through and through.
I think I'm still in love with her.
Now, I'm with someone else. It's alright.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Today I think my brain is in my back,
nestled in muscle, cradled by the bone,
sending messages from my blind-side:
be more flexible, worry less, do more
push-ups, just don't think, don't.

I cleaned my bathroom to clear my head
and I sprayed cleaning product in my eyes
on accident. It burned like things
I've never felt, because I avoid burning.

There are dreams I have sometimes
Where I'm yelling at some guy,
trying to pick a fight, and he's bigger than me.

And I don't talk my way out of this one,
and I wake up, scared, before the first punch.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Controlled Sonnet

I wrote series of facts and information
in numerically based grids to satisfy
a psychological urge only to realize
that things are often squares, and so am I,
and I create nothing but squares, squares
in my home and where my parents live.
I was raised on the square! I thrive
on the glowing rectangular frontier!
But the planet is a sphere. Gravity
rained knives on each side of my square,
collapsing the edges, ripping, tearing
it into nameless, shapeless entities

and then into a circle, the perfect thing.
I need to know God, madness, everything.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Time Capsule 2626

In those days God was a heap of blank
cassette tapes and twisted rabbit ears.
The people had more knowledge than sense,
and commercials could incite riots.
I guess things aren't any better now.
Our cars still have tires,
and jetpacks were outlawed a century ago.
Now, everyone knows that Elvis was real,
and that Microsoft was a myth,
and none of us want our meal
to come in a pill or powder.

We quit war, but that took the fun
out of football and professional wrestling,
and we grabbed our guns and invaded Mexico.
Religion finally gave up, then it massacred nations,
then gave up again. We made it illegal
Then again, cigarettes are illegal too,
but they're not going to smoke themselves,
though we have robots that can do that for us.
But, in those days, robots danced endlessly
in front of monster-truck dealerships.
The language was a series of clicks
bouncing off monstrous satellites in space.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Flawless Victory

So there was this writing gala at Ball State University, and the first three places won some nice books.

So I read some stuff. So did Jeremy Bauer and Shaun Gannon.

I won these books:

Jeremy and Shaun won some books too. Here's the stuff that I read:

The Challenge

BEER. WINE. FOOD. Three words in fifty-six point Helvetica on the window of a bar that hangs on the corner of unremarkable downtown streets, flashing a neon red OPEN from three to three most of the week. Tonight, a Tuesday, begins after three hours of a fast-food job and an endless five minutes attempting to knock some sense into a group of English undergraduates. I’m three beers to one over Annie, my hands gesturing in schizophrenic waves, ranting about a Buddhism-drenched poem that, artistically, is surely equal to Blonde on Blonde and far better than everything after the Joshua Tree.

My antics start a fire in my belly making the alcohol crawl up my spine, and there’s a college football game on the television above the fake fireplace, and Annie manages to make sense of all this for five minutes while I talk myself crazy and she’s on just that one beer. She’s got resolve, and I’m not exactly sure what that means but I have a notion, and Annie gets my notions. And a great smile. But not too often – it must be earned. That’s nice. Because I don’t have resolve. I need the challenge to prove to myself that I am myself and that proves I am: challenging.

Crowd noise flares up from the television. Tulane is playing a team in awful maroon jerseys. Annie’s wearing a yellow hat and sweatshirt under a leather jacket adorned with what could be entirely fake zippers, that is to say real zippers without pockets. It’s the kind of fashion statement that might say “I can carry a lot of shit in my giant purse” or “I want to annoy you by pretending to be a DJ, aren’t I hilarious?” She glances into her beer and then at the television during the few moments I’m not exasperating. I breathe, and keep going:

“Listen, Annie, I know you haven’t read it but I wish you could, you’d see how the poem gets hectic as you creep down the page, how the couplets collapse on each other like punctured lungs, the whole time making noise on the page by colliding consonants over and over again like linebackers. I mean, I resent anyone who does not like this poem. I would be horrified to learn that someone who hates this poem holds any major public office. Revolution will come and those who do not love this poem will grease the wheels of poetic justice with their blood.”

Annie and I take our longest gulps of the night. Tulane is down by three points.

“Sounds like a pretty fuckin’ cool poem”
-and I almost do a spit take down Annie’s leather jacket
“Yeah Annie, it’s pretty fuckin’ cool poem.”
The bartender swoops and grabs our empty mugs with her thumb and middle finger. “You want another beer, Ryan?" she asks.

Now, I’ve been asked this question three times tonight and at least three hundred times since this bar opened only four months ago. My answer is always casual, predictable, full of appreciation and always accompanied by a modest tip that reflects my current socio-economic status and total lack of fiscal responsibility. I look at Annie.

“Do you want another beer?”
She nods. “No. You can have one if you want.”
It takes seven to ten seconds for me to make a decision. Annie and the bartender wait in fantastic anticipation.
“I’ll just close out my tab, Miles”

I end my Tuesday night on 36 ounces of beer and five mozzarella sticks. Six dollars. Two-dollar tip. Tulane kicks a field-goal from forty yards out but wind knocks it wide left. The ugly maroon bastards win. Can’t win ‘em all, Tulane. I never could play football. Too small, too smart to get tackled endlessly for no reason. I wave goodbye to Jesse, the heavily tattooed cook and nod to guy who’s name I’m pretty sure is Bill and walk with Annie out the door.

“Do you know where Tulane is?”
She pauses, grinning “I have no clue. Alabama?”

My right hand finds the small of her back and she presses her face against my shoulder to shield herself from the cold, bending her knees slightly to come down to my level.