MR. REED 10/27/13

October 29, 2013

Something I wrote in honor of the passing of Lou Reed this past Sunday. This will definitely be in the upcoming collection:

MR. REED 10/27/13

I wish I could hear the
A capella bass of Runaround Sue
And extract the melody of Sweet Jane
I wish I had a busload of faith when
All grows dark as Alphabet city
On a ‘70s summer night
My glimpse of beauty is not a Telecaster
But I can understand the possibility of how
From your waxing words
Salt and pepper hair is not misplaced
Behind aviators and black leather
Oddly at home not rechasing rebel youth
Instead paving a way to grace in engineer boots
Gutter poet laureate
Forgoing hipster flash and pretentions
For honesty and underground prose
Finding beauty in an overdose and pre-op wishes
Grungy sidewalks and humanist foibles
A permanent rock fixture
Etched in wet cement by the corner
Of a rough life well fought
The colored girls sing do-de-do your send off
So fly fly away.



No NaNoWriMo Fo’ Me

October 28, 2013

I made the decision this week to not participate in the National Novel Writing Month challenge this year. I was thinking about it last month and I thought it would be a way to jumpstart my writing again and finish a novella that’s been languishing a bit. And no doubt it’s had that effect for a lot of writers including some friends of mine. It’s a great idea and will participate in it someday; just not this year.

I had to take some personal inventory to see if I could do it, and as much as I’d like to, the brutal honest answer is I can’t. I’m just starting to gain my footing again and trying to be okay with being stable. I’ve been unstable for so long that any relaxation feels like the calm before the next storm. Adding to the worries or daily deadlines to hit 50,000 words by months end and trying to ram all of it past my internal censors (which are already on overload) won’t help at all. My head is not in a space where I can focus on writing that much at this time. Better to take it easy on myself because it’s the one thing I don’t do.

Earlier this month, I made a list of my writing project priorities:

  • 10 poems (varying lengths)
  • finish sci-fi western short story
  • finish chapter 2 of a sci-fi novella (the one languishing)
  • short script mockumentary about a white power band
  • feature length zombie script
  • memoir about 1 year working on Occupy Boston Radio.

The list is big enough as it is. I tend to bite off more than I can chew in general. If I can do things in manageable chunks, I can do things better. The NaNoWriMo is meant to help you write in and organize in manageable chunks, but I know I wouldn’t approach it that way, even if it’s an already existing project. I’ve got 8 of the 10 poems done and I’d like to finish the sci-fi western before anything else new. The other projects are either in the beginning stages or still just an idea. Honestly I want to get through half the list I have before I can commit to something as big as a 50,000+ word project. The list above (with the exception of the memoir, and some of what I want is already on audio so needs to be transcribed), are short enough for me to complete and then build on the accomplishments. After this past summer baby steps are a good idea right now.

Naiveté and Usual Suspects

October 23, 2013

For all my intelligence and cynicism, I am pretty naive and dense. Earlier this month I was at an Art & Design get together in Corona Park, NY. It was a daytime family gathering—the first organized one I’ve seen in a while and was able to go to—so I took Sophia with me to meet my old high school friends (well, those she hasn’t already met). Despite a two hour walk in the sun trying to find the meeting place in the park (directions of exactly where were not easy to figure and I made a big wrong turn), we had a great time. Except when the cops showed up.

This was one on the last Indian summer cookout weekends of the year so there were a few families trying to get one more BBQ in before fall hit. However we were probably the only ones with open beer bottles on the table in plain view. So when the Parks Department SUV came rolling by, we were surprised they came right to us. Luckily there were only two beer bottles out; Kim had the vodka stored up in a cooler. While the cops checked IDs of the organizers, the rest of us tried to act natural. For some of us, that meant eating.

Chachi decides he wants cheese on his burger and went looking for it on the table, where it was at one point. When he couldn’t find it, I remembered where it was: in the cooler… with the other alcoholic beverages (obviously you don’t want it to melt). So knowing where it was, what do I do? “Oh, I know where the cheese is. I’ll get it for you,” and start making my way to the alcohol cooler to help my friend. I figured it’s the least I could do. Of course there’s at least six people waving me off in slow motion and giving me the stink eye, but of course I don’t notice this: I’m on a mission to get cheese. So they’re freaking out as I’m Wander-over-yondering my way to the cooler and get about four to five feet from it when I spot the green Parks Department uniform, and it suddenly dawns on me what I’m doing. Plus Chachi finally catches up to me to grab my shoulder while two other friends are mouthing “Don’t open the fucking cooler” to me, at which point I back off. We were let off with a minor fine, but nothing compared to what it would have been had I opened the cooler.

The thing is that’s just like me to do that: obliviously open a cooler of contraband items in full view of the park rangers. I’d reach over, pop it open and say “hey guys, the cheese is here next to the vodka, the brick of uncut heroin and the SIG Sauer. While I’m here, does anyone want more dip?” Yes, I can be that bad.

Having said that, it seems like, of course, our group is the one to get picked on. We’re surrounded by families who most likely have similar beer bottles as us, each of them equally as loud as we are, and we’re the ones to get busted. I feel they could be doing worse things than us and we’d still be the ones the cops come down on. Imagine: one family is using the BBQ station to cook crystal meth while wearing full hazmat suits; another are gang-banging an illegally trafficked, extremely underage male Thai prostitute;  and the last are strapping on backpack IEDs dressed in full length neon yellow and hot pink burqas. And who do the cops consider the detriment to society? A bunch of 40-something former art students playing dominoes with a two empty beer bottles on the table. We can’t catch a break.

Other than that it was a nice day.


October 22, 2013

Latest poetry work.


A gray bilious cumulonimbus
Sits low on the horizon
Stretched across waterfront and skyline
Gliding quick along the jet stream
Pouring down a torrential fury
On prepared and unprepared alike
Directly above square hole punched in the clouds
Flies a sun soaked azure sky
Oblivious to watery violence unleashed below
I stare at the patch of blue
Wondering what it takes to get the sun
To intervene on behalf of the drenched city
Wind blows awning droplets hard on my face
Violating what little courage I had
Seeping water into the seams of my sneakers
Faded torn in all the wrong places
Slowly drowning my feet in waterlogged socks
Not helping the long slog home.

Marquee Humor

October 22, 2013

Showing the diversity of marquees out there: this was seen on the lawn sign for the Congregational Church of West Medford about a week ago:

“Waiting for a sign from God?
Here it is.”

You have to give props for religious types with a sense of humor. 

Marquee Humor

October 14, 2013

This was up this week at the Lexington Venue in Lexington, MA:

“Enough Said
Thanks For Sharing”

Wonder what “too much information” was that led to this…

Marquee Humor

October 7, 2013

Seen at the Lexington Venue in Lexington MA:

Enough Said”

That’s the marquee version of a microphone drop.