Saturday, December 27, 2008

I hope there is something more than personality or we're fucked

I am not sure why I included everyone in the title. Sorry, everyone.

Are we all in this together?


* * * * * * * *

I remember a particular viewpoint I had
when I was a child. I would talk about my
newly formed opinions on world issues
with my father. Muhammad Ali, a man
who will always be known as a beautiful
destroyer of men, was on my mind. "He
deserved to have his right to fight taken
away from him. He was a draft dodger."

My father would nod in what I thought
to be agreement. I saw it this way because
he was a Marine. But, you know the old
saying: "Once a Marine, Always A Marine"
And when I had these flashes of judgment,
which I interpreted to be moments of
premature wisdom and brilliance, I
must have seemed like a terrible
little prick wrapped up in a Midwest
upbringing he would grow to resent.
And I was, although the resentment has
faded into something less extreme, which
brings on it's own kind of guilt.

I'm fairly self-assured that I've grown
past this. Hating on Cassius Clay or
any other human being with the ability
to know the difference between fighting
and dying is not something I'd like to
be remembered for doing, although
I assume I am the only one who
recollects the father/son opinion swap
in the first place. And I learned at least
one thing that I am aware of): Having
to fight against but your own
makes it much easier to say
is nothing wrong with taking away
anyone's right to fight.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Life is boring, friends

I say this without thinking, because
upon waking this morning to an
alarm clock trapped in my roommates
locked bedroom that was below mine,
I issued a warning and then kicked
the door down. My footprint is on
the door; when August comes and I
move out I will be able to say
"My footprint has remained to this day"
And that day will be July 31st.

It took me five kicks to break the
deadbolt lock. I told my neighbor
about it and then complained to her
for hours about how life is either
hard or exceptionally dull. I wish
it had taken me one-thousand kicks
to bust that door in, and I could start
every day of my life from now on
doing it all over again.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sherlock Holmes and the Peer Evaluation

Written from a peer's perspective, evaluating me with scrutiny:

"All the enjambent is distracting! It's such a cool idea and images. You just throw in too many poetry devices to prove your point"

Indeed. I am using far too many poetic devices in my poetry.

No shit, sherlock.

One Night Only

Tonight I am isolating myself from the world.
I will gather my poems together to create
a portfolio for Mark Neely's poetry class.
It will also contain simultaneously-at-once-and-together
at least half of the poems that will be included
in 'birdhouse', my first chapbook that will
hopefully exist in January. And I hope that
it exists so hard and so fast, and that it doesn't
become an old idea in my brain and move to
the nursery home brain-stem area, where
old ideas go to become nothing but themselves
falling short of everything they have ever done.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Self-Portrait at 20

I made them right and just; though free to fall
And choices made are choices to be kept
Though guilt and shame (or wine) were to follow,
I did not tremble; neither laughed or wept.
When out one day I glanced a broken mirror
My own eyes split up among the pieces,
I thought that it was only seven years;
A risk to take to see my many faces.
And one was sad and another, solemn
the rest were scattered, shattered between;
The reflections took hold; somewhere along
I stretched myself white, too thin to be seen

And in the time it took to notice this,
a choice, a moment, went; one that I missed

Sunday, December 7, 2008

rap lyrics, riggity-rap music, funky shit

I am forcing myself to be in my room alone because I sort of hate it. Only in the mornings do I appreciate any kind of solitude. Once I introduce people into my daily diet my raging metabolism enthusiasm for intrapersonal interaction doesn't cease until I sleep.

* * * * * * * * * *

Okay I lost interest in this for a while but I think it's coming back.
* * * * * * *

My past is tied around my waist and my legs never seem to get any stronger.

My car is out of power steering fluid (I think). My forearms are stronger.

My friends are all where they should be. I miss everyone at once but only when they aren't around. I miss my family only when I am with them. There are in-betweens, maybe one or two. Or none.

P.J Harvey is singing to me and that makes me feel less lonely. It's like a woman is asking me to save her from a very far distance. When a male vocalist plays, I think it's me talking to myself. Both of these things lead me to think I'm fucked up but I think I can play it off as being 'eccentric'

What do you think?

Sunday, November 30, 2008


The swollen globe that was her belly
peeked through a skirt of snakes.
Her children rushed to stop their
Brother from breaking the womb of their
Creator. The jealous dagger they
held to silence their mother would
be used on them, burning through
their stone skin with the vengeful flame of
a brother’s birthright. The last
sisters' head was flung into a sky
draped with weeping clouds. When
he saw himself reflected in the colorless
orb that now swung low over the oceans,
he threw his fiery glare at the Earth,
rendering the ground sterile and lifeless.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Today is a special day

Really, it is.

Today is the first day that I haven't smoked marijuana in over ninety days. This is not a big deal to anyone but me, it seems. 

I wasn't sure if marijuana was the kind of drug that can be abused, but it can be. Thankfully, the only major thing it affected was my active listening skills. If it seemed like I was strung-out, it's because I was. 

Pun time: The smoke has cleared.

I also read a book today for the first time in over ninety days. This worried me more than the pot. 

The book was called "August: Osage County". It was a family-study play. Very good. Unique, but not outlandish. B+

Being back home has slowed life down. It's a good time to take a sober moment of reflection.

It's also Thanksgiving. That means something to many Americans and many turkeys.

This was the first Thanksgiving that I can remember where we did not prepare our own food and sit down in one of our houses. We ate at a restaurant. It was too loud. As much as one can be trapped with family at home, it's much more severe in a public space.

I need to work more to pay rent and buy presents. 

Muncie, I'm coming back quietly.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Remember you are strong and punch a hole in the ceiling

Let the sun lay itself on everything but your twin-sized bed. Remember you are cold and let the soggy November breezes find their way to your bones. Look at yourself. Let your hands know everything and everywhere, and let your shoulders remain a slender mystery. Remember you are a forest fire and let the wind be your stylist. Remember you are strong and rip doors from their hinges. Throw them into the air with your laughter. Remember that the world can see you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Pick-Up Truck Can Carry About A Thousand Dollars Worth of Dead Raccoons

"I think it would be the kind of hunting you would like the most. You drive around smoking joints and listening to loud music and you shoot animals. It's pretty fun"

Very true

Sunday, October 26, 2008

There Are No Punk Rock Ballads

"Steel on the skyline
Sky made of glass
Made for a real world
All things must pass

Waiting for something
Looking for someone
Is there no reason?
Have I stared too long?"

-David Bowie, "Heathen"

For example: When I was
younger, a teenager, I took

things that didn't belong
to me or maybe anyone

change on coffee tables
or road signs covered

in vines, holiday decorations,
bicycles. I stopped

for no righteous reason, I
simply grew away from it. Well,

One night I fell for a bell
shaped compulsive liar in

an attic bedroom. Her
complexion absorbed light

passing through the skylight. Her
stories don't make sense and the

people may have never existed, but
understanding was not a part

of our love. Sometimes I would
catch her slipping into fiction, and,

obviously concerned, she would leap
to kiss me, springing from her hands,

the same hands that slipped my
possessions into her purse. A

forty-five, a wooden pipe, vintage
clothes and shot glasses. Two years

later and I'm not sure if she
took anything with her.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Death and Texas

The moon swings like a dull scythe loosely held
by fleshless fingers on a summer night
and scarce can anyone this evening say
that it is anything less than a glimpse
into the mind of death itself, to know
who sees the sun for one more day and those
who fall like dying flowers in the cold.
So when we few fearful men came to ask
if the sorrow of death (and mine the same)
should make us take some pity on ourselves
we came to understand, without sadness,
that the sun surely brings us the day. But

Death will rest, as sure, and wake with the moon
to deliver us from summer too soon.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I don't do much here. But first:

Thanks to the handful of people who have read what I've posted here. Oh, and everyone who has commented tends to be a better writer/human being than myself, and you/they deserve credit/kudos for that. w/e.

So anyways. I don't do much here because I've been taking a break from the internet.

My social life is out of control. I am 'busy' for the first time in my life, whatever that means. I have ways of dealing with it, mostly illegal, fairly predictable, but enjoyable.

The more uncertain my future gets the happier I am, but I feel like there will be a point when I grow up very quickly. Some situations that would cause me to grow up:

I get arrested.
A parent dies.
Blood shows up when I cough.
I lose my job.
A car accident injures me moderately.
Radiohead puts out a terribly boring record (I feel this is least likely to happen).
John McCain wins the presidency of United States.
Barack Obama wins, then is murdered on live television.
Certain friends grow to despise me. 
Former adversaries become friendly acquaintances.
I father a child.

There could be more.

None of these things have happened, so I remain a twenty-year old male with high ambition seeking the path of least resistance while hiding behind a shroud of 'personal experiences' that supposedly shapes personality.

Side note: I want to submit poetry for many new sites started by some acquaintances. If you are one of these people, I'll try to get something to you soon.

Out of all the things that have happened around me over the last two months, one reassuring moment of clarity: Poetry has helped turn me into a better person. That seems like a ridiculous sentence to say but I feel like I neglect or ignore certain things that are far more important to me than I'd like to let on.

But not poetry. it's fucking great. it's the bees knees.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

good idea/bad idea

lets start a band called felix lighter
a stoner-rock/shoegaze mix with
a little bit of neil young

we'll get a van
a big van for our instruments
and people we pick up
on the street

there will be fights
someone will get punched
for crossing some line
but never in the van
because it will explode

teach me a D chord
it's the rock and roll note
then teach me A minor
because it is frail
and tell me it's a song
so i can stop watching myself
in the rearview mirror
on long trips

Friday, August 8, 2008

run (on and on and on)

i am done running.
i have moved.
last year i moved on a piece of rubber
attached to machine
attached to my feet.
i ran two miles.
i have moved in.
four weeks ago i jumped
out of a parachute
out of a plane.
in and of the sky all at
the same time.
the pilot waved goodbye.
he wished me good luck.
thumbs up, two.
i fell in
into the dirt and grass
my sides split open and everyone was watching.
the pilot came.
two thumbs, down.

even though he flew my plane i had never seen him before.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Look! I bought this today!!

It cost me fifteen dollars, which I considered a fair price.

Notice this book is by Kilgore Trout. 

Kilgore Trout is not a real person. But he left us this book. Amazing.

When I am in Lafayette, I become something like Mr. Trout.

Monday, July 14, 2008

sports are not a reflection of anything (except for swimming because you can see yourself in the water)

when people say things happen for a reason

it's because they don't understand it.

you don't hear the announcer at a baseball game

lean closer into the microphone after

a routine grounder to the shortstop and say

"that happened for a reason, everyone.

it's okay. baseball has a reason! please

rise for the seventh inning stretch, where

john leguizamo will sing a song. john leguizamo

is here for a reason, too."

the announcer does not say this because

it would ruin the game for everyone.

especially the shortstop who has 

played baseball for his entire life

only to be marginalized by a single

phrase that means nothing to anyone

who has ever been to a baseball game.

to anyone who has ever seen that ball

get so close the green ivy brick wall only

to be caught by the left fielder.

and everyone sighs

and everyone sits down

and everyone drinks their sodas or beer

and everyone eats a hot dog

because it tastes good. and that's it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I am a normal person on some nights

This was one of those nights.

I saw Iron Man for the second time. Normal people will often see movies two times if they enjoy them enough. Also, they will see them a second time if they are taking someone new. In this case, that person was Walter, my father.

Walter liked the movie. That's good, because he has a normal palate for films. For example, he would hate There Will Be Blood. But that's okay, because that movie was not a life-altering masterpiece. Many normal people do not like life-altering movies, most likely because they are imposing and do not just do their job, which is to be entertaining.

We talked about superheroes and movies for a while afterwards. Earlier in the day we talked about non-super humans, like my friends. There are fissures in my group of friends, the group that I have known for the longest time and the group I am/was most comfortable with. I told Walter that I accepted that as part of growing up, that my teenage life was bound to fade and I should take advantage of it. The most difficult part of this is that taking 'advantage' of the situation means being somewhat of an asshole to old friends.

If you live in Muncie, Indiana, expect me to be more interested in your life this year. I will try to be more interesting, wacky, zany, drunk, sober, or enlightening depending on who you think I am. I want to return the favor of Funcie friendships.

Another normal thing I did is talk about the house I'll be moving into, and the Mastiff that will be our house dog, and the work we will do on the house to make it look nicer and to get rent breaks. These are normal things that people do.

Normal people will also end things fairly abruptly.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


partly cloudy

humid sweaty forearms

lacking enthusiasm

not enough sugar

cautious movement

sunburnt shoulders

just enough caffeine

seventy five channels

too many advertisements

twenty five newspapers

nothing of interest

fourteen killed in helicopter crash

rising oil prices

your favorite song

nothing to lose

zero visibility

avoiding fistfights

action-packed romance

chance of rain

limited risk


calculated movements


no turn on red

car accidents

funeral procession

backed-up traffic

a full ashtray

credit limits

bald tires

slick roads

scattered thunderstorms

scattered republicans

delayed flights

flash floods

unwarranted aggression

poor judgment

heavy burden

white lies

filing cabinets

temporary insanity mixed with a notion

of permanence

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The History of Heavy Metal

A tank crashes through Paris like a 

pinch harmonic at the end of a pentatonic scale.

Twenty years later, in Italy,

Clint Eastwood shoots a man in the face

without exhaling any cigar smoke. On the other

side of the world a Nebraskan child learns

that one human soul is worth ten guitar lessons

from Satan. This took place after he read 

the book of Revelations which everyone knows

is the story of the apocalypse set to AC/DC.

Fourteen years later someone confuses punk for

metal and everyone punches each other. This is why

Metallica will never be as good as they used to be.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Charlie in the trees

charlie says to me

'god got to be like man, god got to understand'

and to me, charlie stop making sense

tommy say, he talk about the bottle

he say 'stay away'

'the devils fingers hold the glass'

and tommy got class, so he make sense

the nameless in the streets

they don't say much

they just drink that cheap wine

two dollars and forty nine cents

myself, i tell me

'you got to listen'

and i hear myself, i do,

and i start to make sense

god, he tells me to

have faith, but god?

it don't come out

to much

my fingers, the man's fingers

grab that bottle

they tell me, well,

they don't talk much, they just hands

say something tommy!

say something with class!

you just say what god

meant you to say!

me and tree charlie,

we got our bench in the woods

we got our bottle

yes god sir, just leave us be

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Thirteen Doctrines of Benjamin Franklin

(Eat Not To Dullness)

After a breakfast of eggs and toast

(Avoid Trifling Conversation)

Ben slaps his mistress across the face, knuckle to cheek, and demands

(Let All Your Things Have Their Places)

To know where she and Jefferson were during the last congressional session

(Resolve to Perform What You Ought)

While he was considering a revolt against the home of his father

(Waste Nothing)

He threw the breakfast plate at her and asked her again, reserved with rage

(Cut Off All Unnecessary Action)

She says nothing.

(If You Speak, Speak Accordingly)

"Deborah, Thomas is not to be trusted. Are you?"

(Wrong None By Doing Injuries)

Ben takes her silence in stride. She removes the shattered plate and egg remnants.

(Avoid Extremes)

Ben leaves the kitchen and the weeping woman without speaking again

(Tolerate No Uncleanliness In Body or Habitation)

His large frame blocks the sunlight falling on his Philadelphia hardwood floor

(Be Not Disturbed At Trifles)

Rocking in a chair, he tastes the colonies' butter on the back of his tongue

(Rarely Use Venery But For Health Or Offspring)

He returns to the kitchen to console his mistress

(Imitate Jesus and Socrates)

Before meeting with Jefferson at Independence Hall.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

some paralogical metaphors

my bed is the route 66 of sleeping devices

cell phones are the steamshovels of the 1980's

my cat Frizz is the Fender Telecaster of domesticated animals

this movie wants to be the Magna Carta of visual entertainment, but comes off as a cheap imitation of the policies of Alan Greenspan

you are a super nintendo that has never existed

Monday, May 26, 2008

pugilista vulgaris

its like i want to make something
punch something else
senselessly and loyally and without stopping
over and over again
until there is nothing left
there will be holes in something
there will be cuts on something
there will not be anything left
and whatever it is that punches will
turn on me and punch me in the mouth
i will wonder why until i realize
that i'm something else
with bruises too

Thursday, May 22, 2008

i need a title, please help

an airplane lands, no!
taking off again, but why?
that thing on the wheel...

his eyes roll into
his head falls his hands
tense and nostalgic:

his first day of school
and every day of school;
the last day of school

the remote control,
there on the coffee table,
inches from his hands

cars in front of him
all seem to have some sort of
dents in the bumper

electric guitars
strong hands throttling their necks
and smashed in pieces

ejaculate sweats,
slides down her rounded belly
stopped by his rough hands

an airplane lands, yes,
he exits this time, his fists clenched
teeth clenched, sore of life

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tom and Jerry

Tom Waits and Jerry Seinfeld walk into a bar
Jerry owns this bar
Jerry asks Tom if he likes the place
Tom doesn't directly reply, instead he says
"A red bird just flew by outside"
This was before they walked inside
Jerry doesn't remember the bird, instead
he orders a cosmopolitan from the bartender
he doesn't have to pay
Tom orders a beer and, uncharacteristically, doesn't pay
He is a guest of Jerry Seinfeld
He doesn't have to pay if he doesn't want to
Jerry sips on his cosmo
Tom drinks his beer
He talks to the bartender
He asks him questions like
"Do you watch much television?"
Tom asks this in his typical whiskey-soaked voice
The bartender replies
"Only what's on the TV sets in the bar"
Tom watches the television in front of him
It's a human interest piece about the homeless
Tom takes another drink from his beer bottle
and doesn't ask the bartender any more questions
Jerry is talking to his celebrity friends.
Tom is nervous on the stool, afraid that those other people
will recognize him or his voice
He asks the bartender one more question
"Do you notice the birds in the summer?"
The bartender replies
"Is it summer already?"
Tom nods and walks over to Jerry
and, characteristically, smashes the bottle over Jerry's head
in front of his famous friends
Jerry stands with his arms spread and head cut open
His friends ask him "Did Tom Waits just hit you with a beer bottle?"
Jerry doesn't reply
Tom walks out of the bar. He sees a bum wino and gives him a twenty dollar bill.
The bum says "Thanks" and walks away
He doesn't recognize the man who gave him the money

Tom Waits knowingly walks into another bar on his own.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Pentagon Has Five Points and I Don't Understand Any of Them


Anyone who says that love is the opposite of war
Has never been in a war or watched the news to
see family members turn over corpses carelessly, looking
for the corpse that belongs to them.
There is love in that and carelessness too.
The same goes for peace. A soldier with
a cigarette in his mouth may be most peaceful
when he can see his target clearly and the trigger
has already been warmed by his index finger. Peace
is difficult to explain to the soldier who loves his
wife, daughter, and rifle, in that order.


I think the opposite of war is difficult to explain too
It would be something like free-form jazz, or astronomy yes astronomy because
Outer Space is the opposite of war
There are no bullets in space
There are no Nazi’s in space
That sounds funny to me. Nazi’s in space.
Supposedly Adolf Hitler was nearly aborted by his mother
Whatever gets the job done, Mrs. Hitler!
I like jokes that are created from fear and misunderstanding like that
but political satire is still political and makes me feel guilty for
not being political enough or satirical enough


Some things that are supposed to ‘inspire’ me
Are either dull or soul-crushing or both, like books and
Documentaries about children who are trained to be
killers for terrorists and fascists and other groups of people
who are afraid and don’t understand themselves or anyone else.
All those books and movies do is remind me how terrible
People can be to other people, and even worse is that I am
inspired with fear of orphans and children with AK-47's


Whenever I see people get shot on television I notice
the placement of the camera
the way the light seems to focus together at the end of the barrel
right before the bullet pushes the brain through the skull through the skin
I would say something like The setting really added a lot of dignity
To his death

But no one really died
Suicide is still very dignified, right?


Sometimes I wish that aliens existed. Not just one type of alien,
But many types of alien, all of them terrifyingly intelligent, all of them
Fighting each other and killing each other for not being the right
type of alien. Then all these aliens would converge here, on this planet,
and they would laugh at our bodies, and they would laugh at our primitive weapons
And then they would see a human body with a primitive gun destroy another human body, and
They would piss their alien pants and run away screaming, wondering
how we ruthless alien earthlings could do something like that
And then they would blow up the planet
For obvious reasons

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Actually it makes perfect sense, I just don't care to think about it

I was not hungover but I felt like I had been drinking becuase my legs felt two inches too long. I stood up when I heard the doorbell. I opened the door. It was God. He made it very clear it was God because he looked exactly like me only he was wearing a hat that said "Foxy and Forty". I had made it clear to God three years ago that if he were ever to show up at my door, this is what he should wear. I wanted God to be awkward and ironic and hilarious. He wasn't very funny, which made me realize that I wasn't very funny. Still, he was awkward. He asked if he could come inside.
I said no.
He said he understood. I thanked him for his understanding. I suggested we go on a walk.
"It's a very nice day outside" I said.
"Thank you for noticing" said God.
I laughed. He laughed. We both knew his relationship with the sun and wind. We walked in the middle of the street. There were no cars, which was not surprising. I appreciated that he made this a special occasion for me.
I talked with him for about an hour. I asked if he minded if I smoked.
"Well, of course I mind. I have more nice days for you to see in sixty years." he said.
"I don't want to be seventy-five and senile, God. I don't want to be helpless and weak."
God nodded. God understood. But God disagreed.
"It's not always about you, Ryan." said God. This made sense because we were wearing the same tennis shoes and had the same haircut. When I heard him say this from my own dry lips it sounded like the Pacific Ocean, which I have never been to.
God walked me back to my room. I was worried he would ask to come inside again. He didn't. Instead, he asked this:
"Why didn't you let me inside earlier?"
I had thought about this before. I thought about it again before I answered:
"There's just no room inside for the both of us. I have a guitar in here that takes up all this room. My books are littered on the rug. My television is uncomfortably large. I think I may get rid of it get a bigger bookshelf. There's scribbled notes piling up in the trash can. It just looks terrible in there, God. I can barely stand to be in there myself. There's just no room for you in here."
He laughed. God's laughter makes me laugh. Our laughter is contagious.
"I understand" he said.
God walked away. I watched my body walk away. Apparently I have a rhythmic strut. I'd like to think that he meant for that to happen. But it mostly looks awkward.
I sat down inside my room. It wasn't really that messy. I was comfortable in my chair. My television was on. I turned it off and picked up the nearest book to me. Being alone was fine with me, there was no need for God to ruin this beautiful day. I'm glad he understood. I'm glad he left me alone.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This title comes from a jennifer knox poem. peter davis made me use it.

the ideal reader for ryan j. rader

emphasizes middle initials
uses self-referential titles
does not capitalizeor use punctuation
struggles with originality
wears checkered slip-ons
has only one hooded sweatshirt apparently
smells like cigarettes
tastes like cigarettes
fucking loves cigarettes
drinks on friday
drinks on saturday
fucks up on saturday
regrets on sunday
laughs on monday
hates february and march
is neutral towards april
was born in may
will get heart disease
or pancreatic cancer
from fucking smoking
or too many carbohydrates
and will be buried
far away from a church with
something he has written
to give to his favorite dead heroes
he will do the best heroin ever
with bill hicks and boba fett
because they are all dead
heaven has the best drugs
he will fight ronald reagan
and he will win
he will watch people read
something he has written
he will pray that somebody
understands what he meant
even though he has never prayed before
he will work on being
a better version of himself
he will quit smoking
he will stop shooting up
he will watch his work
be misinterpreted in classrooms
he never did heroin while he was alive
he will start smoking again
like he always

Crucifixion on the Interstate

A black Cadillac,
dead. Everyone feels God &
Hell inside. Jesus’ kidney
leaks mitochondria & niacin onto
polyester, quick & relentless. Stuck
there, under veil, writhing
excessively, yet zoic.

Monday, April 7, 2008

How to Beat Cancer

Go get some cancer
Cancer can be found in most major cities
And pesticides. Cancer is waiting to be discovered. Cancer is

Cigarettes will give you cancer
if you smoke them one
After another after another like
Boxcars on a train, but the boxcars are
Your lungs and the train is
Lymphatic cancer. That train will
Also give you cancer if it is powered
By coal. Cancer is convenient and comes
In boxes.

You can buy cancer on the streets. A typical cancer salesman
looks like Hawaiian Hunter S. Thompson with dreadlocks and a leather jacket.
Ask for the Hicks capsule for pancreatic cancer. Side effects
include anger, denial, and bonus rage. Cancer salesmen may use cutting agents in their pills, usually newspapers and
guitar strings. This is to be expected. Cancer is

Make sure you have cancer. Doctors are good
for this and so are certain animals. If
Your cat rubs her head on your neck, you may
Have neck cancer. Neck cancer almost always
Becomes head cancer. Cancer is
Logical and direct.

Now that you have cancer, do not die. Dying
Means you lose to cancer. Life is about competing
With death. Cancer moves quickly, is hard to defend,
And has a solid three-point shot. Cancer must be shot in the head.
Cancer is like
Steve Nash and zombies rolled into one cancerous

Do pushups with one hand. Let your cat see you do them, she will
Be confused and avoid you. Work on your crossover dribble and
Midrange jumper. Cancer is worried. Learn how to fly a single-engine plane.
You will soar over cancer. Cancer is small from space, and so is Steve Nash.
Stop smoking, this will
Add fourteen years to your life, and you will have the drop on cancer when
You are seventy-two and sleeping. Remind cancer that you have won, because you are unforgiving. Cancer will be embarassed. When you know that
You have won, knowing that cancer
is weakened and will never crawl inside you again you will learn
that death is a train and cancer
ain’t shit.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

'Write it until it gets out of your system'

Questions for Cocaine Wolf

Where does your name come from? This is my first time talking to you.
Are wolves actually involved? I assume cocaine is definitely involved.
Do you sleep at night? I stay up late to read books and masturbate.
Did you graduate high school? I've heard you live around the university.
Are you registered to vote? I think I'll vote for a minority this year.
Have you traveled much? I'm taking a road trip with Jessica this summer.
Can you do backflips? I can do a killer impression of Freddie Mercury.
Do you stay warm in the winter? I wish I could smoke inside.
Can you jerk off behind the grocery store? Milk is usually three dollars a gallon.
What's your favorite Brendan Frasier movie? My sister stole my DVD player.
Have you ever seen Nebraska? I wish I could be a trucker, just for a year.
Do you read the funny papers? Calvin and Hobbes was never in my newspaper, dammit.
Are you tired of soup? Monday and Wednesday is pizza with Leslie and John.
If you find deodorant, would you use it? I ran two miles today in the August heat.
How does homelessness feel? When I heard your name I laughed, I said
'I want to meet that guy' and I walked to my apartment. Nice day outside,
don't you think?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

This is an attempt to say goodbye without actually leaving

My windows and doors are open
the food and milk in the
unplugged refrigerator has turned

How does meat turn?
Does it curse and rebel against
the apples in the crisper below?

I don’t understand why
there are so many ways to leave
wherever I am at

I have rebelled against enough people
But this couch knows what it did
when I leave it nailed to the carpet

If you would like to surprise me
climb the patio and come in or
break through the kitchen wall

Earlier, I salvaged two apples and
when I am eating one I am noticing
how red and crisp they can be

If I seem powerless or rotten
when you enter and I turn it is
because I unplugged myself

I am saving the other apple for you
but it is possible I may slide out the window
before you get here

I can’t promise the apple will remain
red and crisp, loyal to the milk and meat
Close the door on your way out

Friday, March 7, 2008

Times When I Notice I Am Turning Into Walter

-For my Father

It's January and I am outside of my car in twelve inches of snow. The car is running. The doors are locked. Did I really just fucking do that?
Clint Eastwood walks into a bar. All my dreams are fulfilled. I punch the nearest living thing.
I open a forwarded message. What’s in the forwarded message? Fuck me. Fooled again.
Almost up to a pack a day.
I am tired of Indiana too, and Missouri does sound nice but I’m not sure why.
My mid-midlife crisis running parallel to his midlife crisis, and pornography.
I tear off the labels to plastic bottles and stuff them inside the bottle when I’ve finished the drink. What the hell am I doing?
My mother is dull sometimes, but is beautiful all the time. I don’t spend much time with her.
New music is boring and old music doesn't sound like it used to.
Beer starts reminding me of my stupidity and tastes like wasted youth.
A steady job is respectable.
I hate Hillary Clinton because it’s also respectable.
I just need somebody, somebody, anybody come to me. Oh, sorry, I guess I cheated on you. Somebody else, please.
I picture my son rebelling against me with chewing tobacco and cowboy hats only to realize that I don’t suck and that it’s okay to go to school for journalism because that’s what I did and that might not be amazingly original but it is respectable and I made sure that word slept beside him on most nights.

Monday, March 3, 2008


I spent two kinetic miles
in white sneakers and blue shorts while
My headphones struggled to wedge
themselves beside my eardrums as the
sweat moved into my canals like oil
being drawn from the crust of the planet. My
feet could taste the difference between the sidewalk
and the parking lots. It was hot and that asphalt might
as well have been rubber cement spread over
cracked linoleum. My eyebrows were sagging
from the weight of the salt in the sweat. I reminded
myself that after I finished the second mile my lungs
would feel like they were full of used matches and that
the fourteen cigarettes and seven beers I drank
the night before no longer counted. I drank
to counteract feelings of loneliness. My running and
my drinking are performing their actions in opposite
directions. As I sweat out the potential tumors and cysts
that are eyeing my organs, my neck fails to support
my head and the smell of alcohol and nicotine
are leaking through my pores. My nose is

Sunday, March 2, 2008


"It doesn't count as littering if you write on it first"
you said to me after unwrapping it with your tongue
As the yellow and red dyes seeped between your gums,
the wrapper floated lazily to the ground. The phrase
"I don't like chocolate" written on pink wax paper was
all I saw before you grabbed my hand and said
"Now the bugs have art, too"

Friday, February 29, 2008


A girl wrote her phone number on the back of my right hand today. I know this girl likes me because she referred to me as "Ryan J. Rader", and only girls who like me do that. Girls who didn't like me in high school just called me "Rader", and that annoyed me. They might as well have called me ugly or short or overweight, which in high school I was all of those things. Fuck them anyways. I am still short, technically, but people don't call me short. I don't know why. I think it's because I wear clothes that fit now.

Whenever I look at the back of my right hand, like I just did, it makes me smile and I want to show everyone I know. This is more important than sex. This is better than sex, right now. I don't even know if I should have sex with this girl should the opportunity arise. Should I? Yes. I should. I didn't have sex in high school. This will make up for it, like the other seven did.

High school is actually more important to me now than it was then. Lots of those girls are pregnant now with fetuses of unnattractive men. I almost want the number tattooed on the back of my hand. Those ugly children will grow up, and I will be old and cool like Lou Reed and they will see my tattoo and I will tell them this story.

Is high school over yet?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Soaked, standing in the shower
I don't get the wrinkled raisin fingers and toes
and the soapy fingernails of childhood anymore
No place for the Stormtrooper vs. X-Men wars
fought on my round, hairless belly
My navel was a prison for building blocks
My knees were fleshy glaciers that rose from the murky, hard-water ocean
My toes were buoys
My legs and elbows controlled the tide

The tips of my toes are useless now, I tower over
The porcelain and chrome fixtures where I learned how my body worked, accidentally,
But soon becoming an engineer of myself
Now I'm working on a degree in women's studies, becoming
A bachelor with a masters.

My aim is impeccable unless I've been drinking
I suppose there is room for a fifth next to the aftershave.
Batman was an alcoholic even when he was five inches and plastic in a bathtub.
I should drink in the shower. I should take showers
with Catwoman and Supergirl now and teach them
what I've learned, but no.
Childhood ends when erections begin.
Cold showers from now on.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Before I drove to the liquor store
my grandmother slipped
on the ice and shattered her ankle

After I returned with the bottle
I opened my whisky and saw
three black children running on melted snow

Sunday, February 24, 2008

two poems written in the span of five minutes

'Don't you think it's better this way?'

A stranger, suggesting the
Title should be more specific
And related to the story

About a young man on
A field trip in a shopping
Mall in North Dakota

Urges me to burn my
Leather wallet and never
Wear blue jeans again

This is not a matter of life and death--

--It’s a goddamn
Shopping cart covered in mud along
The riverbank

It is not a running commentary
On grocery stores and pharmacies
And you are not the shopping cart
You are not covered in mud
You are high and dry
On a covered bridge above the river
I did not care
To see the shopping cart
Until you pointed it out to me
And then
I considered jumping
To grab it and wash it in the river
And drive you home while your fingers
Grasped the metal lattice from
The inside of the shopping cart

This is the part where
We are struck by a passing
Pick-up truck and
Flung into the title

Thursday, February 21, 2008

On A Postcard to William Henry Harrison

Two years ago I had the best
Summer of my life, specifically
June. I drank wine and danced
Every night. At the beginning
of August it rained and I got
sick. Thirty days and nothing
but rain filled bottles to show for
it. I know how it feels. Enjoy
the summer.

Monday, February 18, 2008


We do not make sense, we judge it instead. During our critique of the omniscient whatever, we defined God:

My god is black and plays harmonica
Your god is you, because you can count on it.

I like your god, your god paints suicide like the inside of kindergarten classrooms. Your god references my favorite bands and your god plays a Fender Stratocaster. God is not a Gibson god. When our gods meet, they should start a band with Elliott Smith and
Dave Grohl on drums and call themselves Caning the Able, maybe selling 200,000 records and opening for U2. I hate Bono for his piety. We can duck out early and leave our gods at the afterparty. They won't care, our gods are ambivalent...
Would you like to grab some coffee with me? That's what I'm trying to say when I quote Thom Yorke.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I Take Myself Very Seriously When It Comes To Art?

I could never grasp the concept of
Drawing shadows
Which means everything I drew took place
On two-dimensional moonless evenings

This is the second portrait I’ve received
By the second person, and I wonder
Will there be a third? And will they teach me
How to draw my own picture where I stand
In front of a brick building
And my silhouette is laughing at me? In my defense,
I am drawing with the alphabet and I don’t need sunlight
To burn the letters into the paper

Once I carelessly drew horses and superheroes, now I can barely pry myself
Away from the mirror and my solemn bohemian expression to
Let you know that you are my favorite artist,
I think.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Frederick Douglass Goes to Mars is the first of many episodes featuring the iconic civil rights crusader. Much like the Marines, Frederick Douglass gets into all sorts of wacky adventures in exotic and foreign locations. Using his superior powers of discourse, rhetoric, and beard, Douglass manages to outwit the nastiest of haters. Frederick Douglass' mortal enemy is haters, and haters can be found everywhere. There is no plot structure, conflict, or resolution to any of the episodes, and none of them actually exist. Haters, however, are very real.