ART & INSOLENCE

Poetry, prose, and other stuff. I write things, and this is where you can read them. Find more of my work and more about me under the menu link (top left).

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Was thinking about you one night at a bar. A night when a drunken Irishman was berating me for slouching in my barstool. He gets like that. Because he cares. I told him I was still taller, even though sitting (and slouching) was I and on his feet was he. I think he tried to tickle me. I think […]

Why write. I have to, I suppose. That’s what I tell people, and it sounds pretty good. I don’t really feel compelled to lumberjackery or carjackery or crackerjackery or whatever elsery anyway. Looked into haberdashery once, but it just didn’t pan out, because no one knows what that is anymore. Sophistry, though—now that I understand.

Wild things. They put on their wild thing suits and get all stirred up and wreak wild thing havoc and are sent to their rooms without their supper, rooms by which, however, naturally, of course, they cannot be contained because they’re wild things, after all, and so they drift off to a wild thing wilderness—or […]

From here, I hear, from my chair in the corner, too tired, I fear, to do much more than notice. Cool air through the windows, wide open because I can still smell the food I cooked for dinner and I want to smell the storm coming instead. Lightning flashes like it’s sneaking a picture and […]

He walked out ahead, tolerating us, tolerating her, tolerating me enjoying her, all a little drunk and enjoying tolerance as we moved along the wet pavement in the night under dim tolerant streetlamps, the line of parked cars glistening, dark brick and concrete and steel rising up on either side into nothing we cared to […]

Why am I receiving Men’s Health magazine? This is now the fourth issue to arrive in my mailbox. It is terrible and I did not subscribe, but it keeps appearing and appearing (and appearing and appearing), at intervals I, in my mail-retrieving irregularities, can only see as completely irregular, as if every so often the […]

Broke my best spatula today, just snapped into three pieces. Was attempting to get under a pancake in need of a flip, pressed down a bit too much, and it exploded. I shed a single tear and promptly buried it with ritualistic solemnity by throwing it from my seventh-floor balcony into the street below. No, […]

Tired and irresponsible, plain not thinking. What is all this now? I love to think, but I hate to love anymore, yes, anymore I hate to love so I guess I’m lucky it’s all just my imagination. That’s it, really—little more than a sensation, a sensationation, a silly byproduct of certain synapses and stimuli and […]

Yes yes, going to be hanging out with you this weekend, chair and desk, desk and chair. Doing big things. Big chair and desk things. These things. Us things. Me things. Wait—is that like Me Time? Because if it is, we might have to think about inviting someone over, even if they just watch, or […]

Complete indelicacy, maniacal and severe in its blandness. Brusque movements, rough and choppy, lacking nuance, manners, courtesy, decorum. Making only noise, noise of a purely, plainly noisy variety, not sound, asonorous. Reactive, deliberately inadvertent, even negligent, triumphantly so, giving impulse and instinct bad names. An atmospheric sloppiness of language which speaks to a world distilled […]

You touched me Delphic and acute and then took it right back and I wondered if it was some small retribution or peculiar rebuke because it had that kind of feel or I’m prone to that kind of thought. I was about to say my wall went right back up, thicker and taller than before, that what […]

Balance now, yes, balance by default because that’s all that’s left. Followed by…? Well, what? Answer me, boy. Collapse, perhaps. Or is it explosion I’ve chosen. Hard to say which, though, hard to tell the difference, truly, and harder still to care, but it sounds serious. Maybe one, then the other. Maybe one, maybe both—maybe […]

I see my salary as if it were a tangible thing, but I never see any of my money. When I say I see it, I mean any thought, however small and glancing, of the number itself auto-projects a visual somewhere behind my eyes, as if I’m squeezing them shut and trying to look through my […]

They meet, an encounter, chance, for there is no other kind, and they watch and listen and observe and wonder, and go back to their lives and think, excited. They think. And they ask. They ask their lives, feeling a life should know something about what it is the person living it feels. But lives […]

You were on pins and needles all day, waiting to hear from me—or so I assumed, because ten hours or more had passed since I said my last words, and when I finally said some more, late in the evening because I finally had to, you called within minutes and we spoke until straight lines […]

On my couch tonight trying to feel her through the wish for full-blooded besidedness, feverish, imagining I could sense her sleeping, or sensing I could imagine, thinking the same starry sky that’s over me is over she too, mostly. Latitudinal, longitudinal, altitudinal. And the celestial ticking toward daybreak muted, flattened out to a steady, low […]

Sorry for your loss, hello, pleasure to meet you, sorry for your loss, pleasure, sorry it’s under these circumstances, sorry for your loss, hello, sorry, pleasure, circumstances, sorry, loss.

Well, here goes. I’m a thirty-something Capricorn (textbook), Christmas Eve baby, six-foot-five, 220-ish pounds, 100-ish kilos, 16-ish stone, if anyone’s counting and measuring, former/current basketball player and perpetual dreamer (aww) with an actual functioning mind and overfunctioning heart. I frequently digress (see everything below), love to travel, although I somehow rarely do, I speak approximately […]

Canoeing with my dad on the Shenandoah. The smooth river winding along, trees leaning in, sitting up front with him in the back behind, fishing, watching the countryside, the riverbanks, keeping an eye out for rocks and finding the best places to glide through innocuous Shenandoah rapids, looking down into the dark green water, wondering […]

“You hear about the fire?” ? “There was a fire—a fairly big one, I think, in the city somewhere last night, up north.” “Had no idea.” I was busy. All my energy was elsewhere, after finally pulling myself out of an elsewhere that was actually, really, and truly just someone else’s nowhere, just a plain […]

Read books, I swear I have, real ones, quite a few, in fact. And I suspect I’ll read a few more, in part, in whole, maybe even write some. Who knows. I better. Some might say they’ve gotten me nowhere, these books, and that’s just because here is, they think. But is is just a seems […]

I’ll always be here for you, she says. When was she ever and what is this always…? Ah that’s not what this means. Silly stupid heartfeeling me. Here, for me. Always. Always here, for me. For me to what. For me to And that’s what she was ever, really. These are her terms, and this another […]

We all go through it, we’ve all been there, that’s life, it is what it is, what can we do, everything happens for a reason, it’ll all work out in the end, you’ll be better for it, stronger, smarter. Spare me, please. Let’s stop dealing in cliché and quaint misapprehension. So your boyfriend/girlfriend cheated, so […]

A train horn in the distance tonight, long and low, makes me think of home. We lived right by those tracks—tracks like those, some tracks anyway—so close we couldn’t sleep with the big windows open because of the heavy, resounding clakclakclakclakclak and the discordant dingdingdingding of the crossing signal and the occasional horn and the […]

The shoeshine guy from the store across the street walks by me on the sidewalk as I stand there making a call to a restaurant I’ll never get into because I always wait till the last minute to make a reservation and asks, after a simple hello nod, “you married?” “No,” I say after a pause, […]

Something, someone keeps saying you’ll always be here. I can still hear it, and it sounds like you. Maybe one of those songs you sent, playing on repeat. Maybe it’s just me, me forgetting I released you from your promise, forgetting that what I hear now is only an echo, a reverberation muffled in the […]

Fuck you, 2015, year, you. You and your predecessors, most of them, some of them, a few of them. Ok, just back to 2011. How’s that? Send me back there, lessons in hand, preferably in cuneiform on clay tablets, nice and incomprehensible so I can do it all again and probably do it all the same […]

My eighth birthday in this city, a week ago, in my eighth year here. What did I do, what have I done in this here octennial? This is what happens when your birthday falls at the end of the year—you wonder, doubly, what the fuck you did, what changed, what didn’t, what you gained, lost, […]

Well hello new, you don’t know the first fucking thing about me, do you. No question mark there because I’m not really asking. We both know that much. What I’ve done, what I’ve been through, who I’ve been, how low, how high and why and everywherething in between. I don’t know if you could know, […]

I’m looking for you. Because this is terrible, and I need you to say, yes, it’s terrible, too. I’ve loved you for that and that alone. Because I’ve lost you, and I’m afraid, damn near terrified I’ve exhausted my supply of finds after I used my last left behind. Because I’m out of love, but […]

I know now. I now know. I know all about missing. I get it, after all this time, it got me, more like it, and here I am missing the hell out of you, knowing I always will because that’s what I always do. Missing you so much I could miss almost anyone who got […]

When this year began I was busy saying the city might be my salvation because I needed something to say that about and the city made sense, even though I didn’t feel like I did, or could or would or should. Home is what I wanted it to be, wanted someplace to be, desperately did, […]

Monique speaks French and I tell her that’s nice, but not in French though because I don’t speak it, not anymore. Anymore is a stretch. I tell her I used to speak some (French), just a little, and she gets excited, lights up, speaking to me en français—ah, bon, she says, le etcetera, le etcetera—because […]

Life gets ugly, we know that, it’s right as rain and true as glue and clear as mud; there’s perhaps nothing more self-evident and trite, or truer and opaque. Maybe that’s the ugliest thing about it. Ugliness’s inevitability, and its murk.

I saw my daughter in a dream last night, only I don’t have a daughter. I don’t have any children at all, in fact. But I saw her nonetheless. Without question, that was her (she, I know). I wish I’d been able to see her face—she couldn’t have been more than five. What a time […]

I have a new job. It’s better than my old one, and the one before that and before that, back to time immemorial, infinity-mirrored. Better than all of them, though they’re all really the same aren’t they, a series of times and tasks and more or less logical parameters, more or less sensible expectations, day-framed? […]

This is personal. I’ve been away, again, and I left right at the moment of swearing finally and definitively and forevermore death before dishonor happily ever after the end amen that I’d never again go, all away-going thus fully forsworn and packed in travel-battered and bumped past tense as those times I went, oh all […]

She gets on the train in the morning and sits nearby, just happens to, like she’s happened to so many times before, and once again my imagination runs away with both of us, breathless and fast and stumbling over itself, thinking of asking hers to step outside all this for a moment to speak, one to […]

Dec 31 Cleaning my stove and refrigerator on new year’s eve is perfect because it doesn’t feel like such a waste then, like I’m spending time on maintenance that could (should) be spent on change. It doesn’t seem like I’m giving in to “the way things are,” as the old folks say (and the young […]

Contrary to what my employers seem to believe, I am extraordinarily unfit for my day job which is sometimes also a night job and occasionally a weekend job, even when I don’t have work to do—it sticks with me, a kind of trivial, biting toxicity requiring at least twenty-four hours of away time to purge from my system, […]

When I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed part-time grad student and full-time, spectacularly underpaid university office staffer, I wrote a short essay for some grandly insignificant gender issues essay contest about being a secretary because I thought it was funny to discuss the trials and tribulations of being a young, (presumably) up-and-coming man in a role traditionally held […]

It is a little-known fact that Jack Kerouac was the first howler monkey to break into the literary arts, as evidenced by the photo above (left), taken by Allen Ginsberg in 1953 and which I have juxtaposed to a stock photo of a stock howler monkey (right) as clear and indisputable proof. Ginsberg, in the […]

Sorry, buddy. I was gone for a while and I owe you some kind of explanation. You see, I was being what clinical psychologists call “stupid.” I lied to, hid from, blamed, and in one way or another mistreated just about everyone who cares about me. In short, I was behaving as what is often […]

None of this is real, right? I’m just making it up as I go, imagining? Monday. I’m turning photos of receipts from Boom Burger right-side-up and saving them as pdfs because our people in the field apparently can’t do this themselves and the company still handles expenses as if we live in an age where […]

Time flows like a rain-swollen river, carrying the detritus of hopes, dreams, regrets, certainties and uncertainties, works and lives, all history out to a perhaps, an I guess so, a big maybe made up of innumerable snaking tributaries, a vast, unreachable delta which we can only imagine and invent. It courses by and through all that […]

Dear Sir or Madam or Mr. or Mrs. or Whomever, Whatever, You, Person, I’m writing this predictably formulaic letter to a complete stranger about a job I only partially understand because I think I want it and assume it pays well (enough). So here are my three standard paragraphs, in the first of which I […]

I wander around crowded places looking for empty spaces, traces of life and activity. This predilection to seek emptiness and stasis in the midst of bustle and swarms is, I think, a manifestation of my Capricorn Problem—two places at once, dichotomous nature, pulled in opposing directions, mildly schizophrenic (not really, except maybe sometimes; either way it […]

This is where I’m from, roughly. It is also, now that I am away, an island of refuge to which my mind returns when I need to breathe. Open, alive, slow, simple, unencumbered, sometimes a little backward, always rounded out with wild, something like home. There are people out there, I think, I remember—we were […]

Where does Thesaurus.com get off suggesting I “meet Chinese lady?” I came for a synonym and it’s offering me companionship—although I must say the fact that it’s “free join” is enticing. Yes, I realize I was searching for synonyms for “alone,” but this ad/link shows up almost every time I use the site, no matter […]

Seeing this makes me feel closer, just closer, no matter how far away I may be (or think I am), reminds me of what closeness really is, its beautiful base ingredients and essence. All it takes is a photo from a moment I remember in outline and impression, a moment I can revisit through some […]

Very inspiring. I always thought this was a one-man job but maybe I should swallow some pride and start relying on my coworkers more. After all, as the caption reminds us, “when we all work together, we all win together.” I want to be a winner. Winners are team players, and team players use the […]

This is what happens when I’m trying to write but nothing seems to make any sense, when my sight is cloudy and my words are flat, stick-figureish, when I can’t for the life of me locate the feeling, that burst of clarity and energy from which thoughts flow freely and clearly, meaningfully and purposefully. It […]

This is the cave in which doubt, fear, and inhibition speak in whispers lightly amplified, echoing faintly off thick walls, filling your ears with the sensible nonsense of less. The voice is familiar, what it speaks is familiar, its tone and content the wearisome comfort of conventional mediocrity, repetition, and limitation in the face of […]

I fell out of love here—well, not so much fell out of love as a love, the longest-lived and most complex and intense of my (semi) mature romances, fell apart. Right there on that porch, in fact, did the crumbling begin. We had chairs and a table then, and it was much warmer, late summer. I remember how […]