Tuesday, November 18, 2008


My Senior years of college I lived in a college house. It was the sort of awesome cliche I had always wanted for myself, but usually fell short of. There were concerts and there were parties and there were parties with concerts and there were concerts that turned into parties. People we didn't know shuffling through our back door, down to the basement; people we didn't know, people we didn't like, people we wanted to know and people we wished we didn't. Our yard lit up like a Christmas tree between sets with people smoking and looking cool.

We drank beer, every brand I've ever heard of, and some that I've only seen in my basement. The empties and half empties would show up in our recycle for weeks. Clean up meant--take a broom knock down all the bottles and cans off the heating ducts, sweep the shattered glass and empty cans into a corner, then search the entire basement looking for unfinished beer. Once I took a five gallon bucket down there to drain the left over beer and Carlo Rossi. I filled it half way up, used it to watered the rhodies out back.

Our backdoor neighbors would hold impromptu jam sessions on their porch, they would leave us presents from the "beer faery," and tell us stories. God the stories we heard. Nick Nelson. His bandana sewn round his neck. Beard long and hippy-ish. Staggering in asking us to touch it--"don't it feel like a girl's pubes." Shit, he could tell stories. Down in Arizona, he was leaving a party at ASU. The drunks were scouring the yard. Rummaging through Bud-Light cans, searching for the left-over beer. Nick offered to share his Nattie Ice. They looked at him like he was crazy. Like he was offering them dog shit laced with arsenic. I never found many Nattie Ice cans half empty. Seems like the people who drink Nattie Ice finish their beer.

Sitting alone in the room I grew up in, in a town that doesn't sell Natural Ice listening to sad-sappy music on an apple laptop: I miss those half empties; hearing the bottles hit the concrete, their smell exploding through the room. The cans in the lawn, the cans in the shrubs, the cans in the alley. The under-aged metal heads breaking bottles in the street. I miss the people, I miss the cliche--I wish when I went out to my garage I could find a half empty bud light, or at least an empty Natural Ice.

But in my garage there are tents, ten year old Corollas and lawn tools.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bobby's Note

[Here is a revised version of the title poem to my upcoming chapbook "This is My Wolverine." I'm still hammering this poem out, so I'm very open to criticism.]

Bobby is an awkward tall. 18 and armed with the kindness of a grandpa whose pockets are full of butterscotch. He is someone who thinks at the right depths, tells stories that never stray from the point but still manage to hop around like a frog being chased by a 5 year old.
Camp stories are a staple for him, most of them involve mischief or at least copious amounts of nudity, either way they keep my attention.

One his stories has a more somber tone. Every year the camp we worked at was invaded by Japanese students on a tour of the West Coast. They come to camp, ride motorbikes, play basketball, dance and sing. At the end of these weeks they write their counselors thank you notes. Most notes express how much fun they had at camp, but the note bobby received was different, more succinct; it said simply

"please, don't forget me."

Months after hearing this story I'm sitting between cobwebs and drunks in my basement listening to Ryler read poems over beer bongs and keg stands. He tells us what angels ought to be, screen doors fly, gorillas snatch up baby girls and people die of wonder: he is opening up his chest and going on the discovery channel. I get to watch. Metalheads in leatherjackets stumble by with Carlo Rossi. They don't get it. They leave.

Downtown legends are oral traditions in Bellingham. In dark basements the stories are past down. My favorites are the stories of Geronimo. He is somewhat of a local celebrity: homeless as far as anyone knows and social to the point of frustration. One day Geronimo found a dead raccoon. He paraded it through downtown explaining that he had hunted it down and killed it. Going up to different cafe's and dinners he would hold the carcass against the window and its bloody entrails all over screaming "THIS IS MY WOLVERINE! THIS IS MY WOLVERINE!"

Geronimo was letting people know: he was here. The smeared blood on the window was Geronimo's way of saying "Please, don't forget me". Poetry for me is just that. I putting me, out there. Letting you know that I was here and that this, THIS, is my wolverine.

Sometimes it doesn't work. Sometimes it’s a pile of uncomfortable disjointed thoughts. Sometimes I would rather do a thousand keg stands than write another word. But every time I come back, with each letter I write there is a part of me writing a simple note:

"please, don't forget me."

Praying for Peace

This post has very little to do with poetry. I think I figured out the secret to all my problems in life. At first I thought "I'm just lazy, who isn't?" But as my credit card debt and waist size continued to rise I started thinking there was more to it. It wasn't until I waited until the day before a confirmation letter deadline before trying to send it, and I was forced to drive up to Vancouver through the teeth of rush hour that I began to see that there was a darker conspiracy at work. I have a deep seated hatred for Future Jake. Everything I do, I do to make his life more miserable. I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with race or sexuality, so at least I'm not a bigot. I think it is just random hatred. Somehow I won my hate-lotto and Future Jake has been incurring my wrath for going on 25 years. I'm going to try and have a sit down chat between the two of sides using two methods:

1. As Future Jake I will try and open up dialog with my past self by going back and leaving encouraging livejournal comments on my blog.

2. As Present, or Past Jake, I will write a series of apology letters to Future Jake. These letters I will keep in my glove compartment for 2 to 5 years. Hopefully this will help alleviate any bitterness towards Past/Present Jake that may have built up.

Utilizing these to method I hope to reduce tensions between these two factions who have historically been enemies. I realize it is a large task, not unlike the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East with both sides playing a large role in the others destiny; but I believe with perseverance and a little bit of exercise these deep wounds can begin to be healed. Until then we can all pray for peace between Past/Present Jake and Future Jake.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lit Up Magazine

Just got four poems published in Lit Up Magazine check it out http://litupmagazine.wordpress.com/. There's a mistake in the first poem. Well that's pretty encouraging. Peace Out!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Gods We Wished For

A rottweiler followed me home from school. It was big, dumb, muscled, scary and persistent. It licked my hands then followed 5 paces back.

Followed me all the way to my gate; I went in the back to keep him from sticking his head through the door. I was opening the back door when I saw it jump the fence, the cedar planks bent back until under it's weight. It trotted up to the porch and stuck it's head in the door.

It was all I could do to shove him back out onto the porch, which was where it stayed, looking inside, tongue wagging, head cocked. It stayed until it's owner came to my door looking for it. He was big, dumb and muscled like the dog. l grabbed the dogs collar and lead it back the the man's black pick-up.

I never saw that dog again.