– Patti Smith, Horses (1975)

when I was thirteen a thesaurus lied to me

ataraxiaContrary to the alleged wisdom of Roget’s Super Thesaurus 1995 edition (what deemed it “super” the tome never explained): “poetry” and “prose” are NOT synonyms. Thirteen-year-old me did not realize this. I trusted the almighty power of the printed word. Old notebooks now hold embarrassing hand-lettered titlepages. Of course, by “hand-lettered,” I mean letters cut from Seventeen magazine like a ransom note.

I digress.

Full disclosure: I don’t write poetry very often.

Any more at least. Between the ages of twelve and seventeen, I filled nearly a dozen hand-written journals with my awkward, adolescent odes. In some of the earlier volumes, I hadn’t even mastered the dexerity required for elegant cursive writing. And I consulted the aforementioned thesaurus far too often, believing this great book to be the key to it all, thus peppering my poems with endless malapropisms.

I don’t think I’ve gotten better with age.


I’ve written a total of about four poems in the last seven years. Two are terrible. Another two, not so bad.

One of those not-so-bad two, Madrid, Before a Recession, appears in Ataraxia Vol. 4, available here.

When I first wrote this poem, nearly six years ago, it was simply titled Madrid.

I sat on it for a while. Years passed.

Looking at it again, it suddenly became something of a time capsule. (Like a thesaurus from 1995.) And a rather accidental one at that.

Thus, the renaming.

"The two elements the traveler first captures in the big city are extra human architecture and furious rhythm. Geometry and anguish."

– Frederico Garcia Lorca

new books

Because maybe it’s time I start learning something…

“Look at the longing, the anguish of a sad fossil world / that cannot find the accent of its first sob.” (Frederico Garcia Lorca)

turn autocorrect off

the sound of the trains comes thinly

hand in hand with rain

shivering into droplets against the smudged glass of the window

two handprints on the outside, small and light

vowels seem redundant

but esses less so

in these days of much

i have a tripleword score lined up ready to win

but sometimes i just make up words and no one would ever really know

but me

i would know

until i chose to forget

the floors creak more loudly than i remember

the words whistle in a whisper

dubyas are four points

i remember

you renegade-eyed degenerate rascal thing

I love my magnetic poetry… not the regular kind, but an “indie” magnetic poetry (which is to say, not legally endorsed by the makers of Magnetic Poetry[TM]) called William’s Wit Kit: Create Your Own Shakespearean Insults. I rearrange the words on my fridge and pretend I’m wearing tights and a cod piece while slinging verbal fisticuffs with Christopher Marlowe.


July 2008

commuter school

—So what’s your slant?
(He’ll start and end with this question.)
The bus winds slowly up a hill…
slowly back down.
—like sardines, he jabs.
The cynicism rolls off his shoulders and
lands with a sickening thud.
I’ll appreciate it less every day.
We—the hundred collective—cling to
something like prison bars to keep afoot.
— So what’s your slant?
I shrug. Still,
But slightly prouder of my ambiguity.
I wear it like a badge.