Pimp to the mouth-breathers

Anne and the Fountain Pen

I’m re-reading The Diary of Anne Frank. In one entry, she describes the history and demise of her fountain pen, originally given to her at nine, when she was in bed with the flu. Now she’s 14 and it’s the pen that has been with her through the year and a half in the Annexe.

She’s sitting at the table with her dad and sister while they work on Latin. The fountain pen is also hanging out at the table. Anne’s rubbing beans, which, as she describes it, is the process of de-molding old beans. At a quarter to six, she sweeps the floor and throws the dirt and old beans into a newspaper and onto the fire.

The next morning, the pen’s clip was found among the ashes, but the gold nib was nowhere to be found.

"I have one consolation, although a slender one," she writes. "My fountain pen has been cremated, just what I want later." 


Like roses
I stretch towards 
and not away
plant to day
song to night
an accidental boxer
who’s found the fists to fight

The End Of The World

"But," my friend who’s getting married says - a few beers in - "I’ve been thinking a lot about the end of the world lately. Like seriously, how are we even here in the first place? And if we come from bacteria or whatever, why is the bacteria even here?"

I laugh and tell her we’re here because god must have had a craving for sliced bread.

"No, I’m serious," she says back. And now she’s very seriously balancing a rice krispy treat between her thighs. "They’ve said that at the rate we’re destroying the world, we literally have only decades - decades - before this place becomes uninhabitable. Like, how are you supposed to have a kid if they’re going to have to live in a hole or something?”

No one’s living in a hole, I say. You’re kids aren’t living in a hole.

"Yeah, well let me tell you. Shit’s crazy. Getting married and having a kid are like the last things you need to be thinking about when the world’s on the edge of ending."


"Galoosh" go the trees so high above
"Alack" cries the raven to the morning dove
"Where" asks my hand to its missing glove
"Away" says the breeze to the one I love

"Galoosh" the trees stutter again once more
"Matter" croaks the raven to the forest floor
"Gone" weeps my hand all frozen alone
"Lost" moans the glove

My Favorite Organ

Where eyes will fail
and joints may wail
and hair falls to the ground

I know the bit that sticks around
That flabby part without much sound
to tout itself as best

The massive part that covers all
walling organs in
Without it we’d appall
That pink stuff known as skin

Is On My Side

Time both rushes and slows as you leave that quaint and magical decade known as your 20s. Standing over a stove, I find myself marveling at the creation of a roux - basically a fancy version of the stuff that’s in a can of cream of mushroom soup. I’ve made the thing several times now - part of my attempt at a “healthy” version of tuna casserole - and every time I think, “It’s not going to thicken, it’s going to stay liquid goo,” and then, with a trick of the eye, it’s perfect. I’m standing in the kitchen and the sun is coming in and I’ve got this mystery of science bubbling over in front of me. Those slower moments are easier to hang onto. But others - a band screaming, whiskey downing, lakeshore driving - go by without much thought for me or my memory of them. Selfish shorts and languid longs. Spliced up frames in the wacky film of life. 

What Lies

And what lies beyond
and what below
and what above our head?

Do we die in hopes of living
or living, dream we’re dead? 

What dreams may come
and what of dreams
What guidance can they give?

A sieve for inner mind
unwinding us to live.

Give Me The Earth

You know, there are planets and there are planets. I’ve only seen two of them, but there’s absolutely no comparison between them. The moon is a fascinating place and I’m sure that, geologically, it’s a little gem. But give me the earth anytime. -Michael Collins, part of the three-man Apollo 11 moon crew.

Give me the earth anytime
let me roll it around in my fingers 
like a tobacco-laced doob
muddy with ecstasy
and mud
and the sweat sigh of millions
Give me an earth hug
bring it in close
suffocating and damp
If there’s not enough earth to swoon
I’ll take the moon


Why write?
Why fight so hard
I’d rather a yard and a dog 
deep down
and a baby to hold
and a cold
to keep the baby forever needing
and feeding off me
All this time with the pen is bullish
I want something to say to
with blue eyes and round face
and a place
- oh a place -
where the three can be
the baby
the dog
and the writer-less me

On the Pier

I’m walking by myself at Navy Pier. I’m there to see a show, but I’m early and so I think I’ll walk to the end of the pier and sit in the sun and read. It’s sunny and cold, one of the last cold days in May. I find my bench and open A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. She’s talking about how Pride and Prejudice is a good book and how it’s amazing the book was even written at all, considering Jane Austen didn’t have said room of her own and most likely wrote surrounded by company and noise. Men’s sentences - Woolf says - are direct, compact. Effective, in that they are all the ear has known for most of human history. Women’s sentences are just being born. They’re part male, part struggling out of the maleness. Quieter. Listening carefully to themselves for clues.

At this point I stop and turn my face to the sun. There are more people around now, more May eskimos hunting for their own piece of the pier. I hear a sudden splash in front of me and look down to find a duck bobbing and staring back at me. We look at each other, that connection that has nothing to do with women or men’s sentences, and then down he dives. And though I wait a minute or two, he doesn’t come up again.

I pick up my book and - like a good soldier of theater - begin a proud march towards Henry the V and whatever the rest of the night has to say.