Wednesday, October 31, 2007

by popular demand

eyelids droop
babies poop
make sure you eat
lots of soup

party hard
cake is lard
Abby says to
stomp the yard

Happy Birthday

Saturday, October 27, 2007


"Thank you all for coming to my birthday party."

Remember that one time when Rachel asked me to emcee her wedding reception and I pretended it was my birthday and everyone laughed except for grandma who actually believed me and started thinking what she could give me for a birthday present and ended up slipping me a twenty in the food line with a wink that was supposed to say it all and I thought "it all" was a tip for doing such a snazzy job at the mic all night and then I found out by eavesdropping that she meant it as a birthday present and then I spent it on root beer right away so I wouldn't have it to give back to her once someone told her the truth but then Rachel got all ticked off at me and said I was like ruining her wedding and pretty much her whole life by being a jerk to grandma about the money and the one thing I couldn't live with was ruining Rachel's whole life so I offered grandma one of the root beers and she got mad and threw it in the trash but it missed the trash and broke on the floor next to the table holding the wedding cake and dad slipped on the root beer and knocked over the cake and then I thought for sure I had ruined Rachel's life except that everyone burst out laughing when they saw dad with cake all over his tux and in his hair like he had just aged thirty years and grandma put her arm around me and laughed and cried and laughed and cried until Rachel started laughing and crying too and started messing up all her make-up from crying and got mad again?

Yeah, that was a good time. And I don't even care that Rachel says that will be the last time she asks me to emcee her wedding reception.

Friday, October 26, 2007


If I felt for every man what I feel for you
If I wished for every man what I wish for you
If I loved every man with the love I have for you

What a grand thing I'd be!
What a Saint I'd surely be!
How alive my world would be!


"I'm funny. And great honks, people like me!" That is not what he said. At least, not out loud. But everyone needs a phrase to get their adrenaline pumping when they're about to draw all attention to themselves, so that is what he thought. Then he stepped up to bat. And by "to bat" I mean, "to do," a reckless thing. And "to do," with the exchange of a few letters, is "to boo," which is what the crowd did. And "to boo," when said instead of read, sounds like "taboo." And taboo is exactly what he committed when he stepped up to the plate and spit his beef jerky cud all over the umpire's cleats. Needless to say, he struck out. The ump called strike three on a ball way outside and as high as the bleachers. He had expected as much after misplacing his jerky on the ump's shoe, but he still felt a bit mistreated. And then, as if an instinctive reflex to his deflating mood, he suddenly thought, "I'm funny. And great honks, people like me!" His self-confidence restored, he marched back to the plate and spit the rest of his cud onto the umpire's cleats. The big man wasn't humored. Nor did his following actions demonstrate that he liked his assailant. The batter spent the remainder of the game in the locker room re-arranging the laces on his shoes. There comes a point in every one's mad rush at life, driven by pure adrenaline and reckless confidence, when the individual turns against his assumed friend--that "go get 'em tiger!" mentality--and the abuse begins. "I'm not funny. Stop saying I'm funny! You lied to me. People don't laugh with me, they laugh at me. Didn't you hear them! They think I'm an idiot; they don't like me! And who says 'great honks!' anyway. You're retarded!" The abuse would continue, except that the individual doesn't put the blame on himself--he puts it on whatever that thing is that keeps telling him he's funny. He blames something else for the way he feels and becomes certain that all he has to do is stand up and walk away from that nasty mean thing that keeps lying to him. The person is fully confident he can do just fine on his own now that he's severed ties with that . . . that thing. But the difference is only that he starts speaking to himself in first-person, instead of second. He really hasn't severed ties with anything. But on the illusion he has, he begins to rebuild the confidence he just took a sledge hammer to. "Tell me I'm funny and then watch me get laughed at! I'll show you funny! I'll show you what kind of a rock star I really am. And you won't get any credit this time, it's all me! Because gosh darn it, people like me!" Soon, though, he will forget to focus so exclusively on the thoughts firing around in his head and he'll slip back into second-person, especially just after doing something good. "See! You are funny! I told you you were funny. Did you see the way that guy laughed? Dang straight you're funny--don't you let anyone tell you again you aren't funny. And people like you!" But he'll do something inappropriate again. Just give him time. And when he does, it's back to the bench in the locker room to abuse the lying, deceitful, bag of mean tricks, evil, dumb, hate it . . . thing!! And then the mock trial, sentence, and severance party. Before you know it, he's back on his feet and recklessly experimenting with life again, driven by the same adrenaline he hates. But what happens when the man figures out what he's been doing his whole life? That he's been fooling himself in order to preserve himself? And what's the harm in a little hypocrisy now that he knows, if the result keeps him moving happily through life's ups and downs? I'll tell you the harm. He will one day hate hypocrisy, hate himself, and have no where to turn. Too tired of running away from himself he will take full responsibility, take all the abuse and stay seated on that locker room bench for a long while. He may sit there an eternity . . . or he may get up. But what gets him up this time? That is the question. Is it the first-person, the second, or the third? Or can he live without narrating his life at all? Who's the narrator anyway? And who said it was a mere "person?"

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I hate words.
They won't serve me.
They won't be wielded by my abrasive hand.
Like bad children they scatter when their
father calls them and rebel the worse at
attempts to tame them.
They mock me, serve not my meaning to others.
They know me and laugh that no one else can.
Disguised as portals to my soul they attract,
then turn to armored walls and attack
the guests I wanted.
Deceptive as sour milk in baby bottles.
You'll never know the poison until your child screams--
the one inside you wanting good milk.
And part of me dies to see it so.
I lash out at the words:

You putrid things!
I asked for good, for sweet, for life.
You gave them knives.
And left the dying cries
of children in my ears.
My wanted meaning disappears
Just like my unseen, unheard tears
at hidden words you changed to mean
your putrid things!

And in response, the words laugh loud
to keep the truth from listening crowds
who wait for words
to tell my heart.
As if the words
obey my art--
the art I am.

But I'm like you and hear them only.
The words I write will disobey me
once on the page--
Like children sent from God to earth
to show the world His love and worth,
not wars to wage . . .
But that is all they do from birth.

Yet, does the Father stop creating?
Cease His constant renovating
of our souls
When we evade the knowledge given
and shun the caring He has bidden
us the share?

But I'm no Father,
nor have I children
but bastard words I've found and driven
into lines.
Like mines ill-placed at times of war
my words deface what I'd adored
when writing.

Now nothing's more inviting
than to hate those words.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bueford Day

The twentieth day of the tenth month. Rare is the solemnity of an event observed with as much black clothing within the LDS culture. Funerals, where one would usually expect a sea of black to represent the congregation, are adorned with more light and color in this culture than in others. And why should it not? These people believe life isn't really over at death--that separation from loved ones is only temporary and ice-cream isn't as bad for you up there anyway, so the dead are probably having a much merrier time of it than we are. There is one catch to this idea of temporary parting: it only pertains to things with living souls--not vehicles you became emotionally attached to in mortality. The Castleton's big old Dodge Ram van isn't going to make it past the pearly gates . . . no matter how many times we unloaded all our emotional drama onto its steering wheel and dashboard. The gas guzzler just isn't going to have an immortal soul no matter how hard we cried and prayed for its survival during those last splutters and coughs of exhaust it exhaled in the desert. We won't see "the beast" again. And all the "fun times" we had almost falling to our deaths through the make-shift floor boards at sixty miles per hour are just going to have to remain memories with no opportunity to relive the moment. Even the fact that we gave Bueford a name won't carry him over to the next world. Bueford is dead, and will be even when we're dead. So, why all the black clothing? Because we became so darn attached to something without a soul that now we have to mourn its loss each year--the void never to be refilled. Of course, I filled it a long time ago with NASCAR, but Becky wouldn't join me because she likes having a good reason to wear all black once a year. None of us can ever resist doing everything Becky tells us to do when she asks with that quiver-lip thing and the waterworks. So, I still wear black once a year on October 20th and hang my head and look really depressed in photo shoots. Here's to old rusty metal and make-shift floor boards: We miss you Bueford.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

the arrangement of metal, rubber and plastics

James' motorbike--when words don't work anymore, James' moterbike does. Thanks James.

Cold Collar

it takes more to freeze
than an icy blast seize
at your blood.
it takes a warm breeze
stripping naked with ease
heart's defense against "please
let me in."
it takes giving keys
to the one asking "please"
and false safety in birds and in bees,
so that when the maid leaves
you're exposed, and you freeze
from the lonely ice seize
at your blood.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

This man says it

I was going to give everything.
No, I was going to give more than everything.
That was the secret.
And then, when I thought I'd given even more than was humanly possible,
I was going to reach back somewhere inside myself,
like the best race horses did,
and find whatever it is on the bottom line that makes a champion,
and was going to give it that.
And I'd win.

--Jesse Owens

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Forced to Live

When in the lover's pain,
There is nowhere to go
nowhere to be
nothing to say
nothing to free
your forlorn soul from suffering.

It's drifting in space with claustrophobia
or motion sickness from the earth's spin.
It's freezing at 100 degrees Fahrenheit
or burning at the other end.
It's death by wanting,
Yet forced to live each moment more.
No search can end the suffering
nor find the right in every sore.

If at least it were the noble thing,
If at least I sensed some glory;
If at least I were the martyr king
In some heroic story.
But it's none of these,
Not ev'n at least.
In simplest terms it's boring.
The plot is worth ignoring,
For sits the man restoring
Nothing by his sitting
And nothing by his spinning
of the harshest words--
the ones meant for his ridding
of the pain.
Not even rain
Can drown his sickness whole
And leave him sleep--that peaceful role
of happy men, of kings extolled.
The suffered sits--nothing consoled.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

. . . is not to care

To use the thing,
wring out the being
on pretense of your loving;
Then shun the shell,
the dried up well
when nothing's left for drinking;
And blame it first
for unquenched thirst
instead of blame your leaching;
Like eating seeds
for hating weeds
and time required for sowing;
Yet eating 'till
you're hungry still
and hate the plants not growing . . .

. . . is not to care.

. . . is not the rare
and cultivated loving
of real friendship.

For care's the seed
and love the reed
grown from the ground befriending;
And when reeds die
new seeds fall nigh
and prove care-full beginnings.

But you ate seeds,
your passion--reeds
of nothing worth devouring
now that famine's come.