Monthly Archives: April 2008

interview with a vampire henchman

my friends assure me that my work is strange
compared to theirs. i ask them if they could pick their ceo
out of a line.

i know i work inside his mansion.
i ought to know his face and name.

i know the butler fine – he interviewed me –
he liked that i was ex-army, frazzled
from the war still getting used
to life with one leg

(angry all the time, i heard about
the job through a vet center, bless them all.)

i wanted something quiet. i wanted
to think, maybe study at night for an mba
that’s all.

security jobs that pay well – you expect
a gun. i know it’s strange that all the windows
are bricked up. i know i’ve never seen the boss
or know his name. my paycheck comes from his
corporation, which are his initials, and i know those
just fine. they’re on my paycheck.

what do i do for him? something
quiet. he has this art. it’s all insured.
they want it guarded to save money
i sit at a desk in the room with the art.
i read. i study for the g-mats.
i clean the gun. if the phone
rings, it’s the butler, and he
wants me to pick up my stuff and abandon
the room for a while, with the art.

the boss doesn’t like to interact with us
low folks on totem poles. that’s the butler’s

(one time – i knew i’d be in trouble for it –
in the servant’s hidden hallway, waiting
for the boss to finish walking around the canvasses –
i pressed my ear against the door to hear
his footfall in the plush carpet.)

then, i hear the phone ringing
through the door. i return to the desk.
the butler thanks me on the phone.
i read. i clean my gun.

so many paintings by claude lorraine
all that green happiness, blue sky
and the people like tiny smears of color
among the livestock. also a monet,
a pissaro, and a couple gainesborough.
beautiful paintings of happiness.
trees and sun and beautiful women in
prom dresses, in a garden,

then nick, the second shift guy,
he shows up, and i go

home. i watch tv. i play with my dog.

what else you want to know?

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has literary poetry become nothing but elegies and variations of elegies?

is sadness all there is of merit? melancholy? disconnection?

is it only good enough if it is elegantly wan?

the evidence against literary poetry.

Did you know that the speculative folks are still capable of elegant laughter?

It’s national poetry month, or something. You can be endlessly elegantly melancholy or you can go read the poetry genre mags, where elegies do not outnumber dramedies.

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open to suggestions

i have most def gots to do me some more book promotional stuff.

i will be going to the local renaissance festival very soon (now that whatever grass i’m allergic to is done with the first flower of spring, and is no longer having newlywed sex in my eyes and sinuses, now it’s old married sex and not too troublesome).

my challenge: how can i turn my attendance at the ren fest into a major media event, complete with helicopters, celebrities, and mainstream news all present to find out about me, or my book, or something like that.

thus, our challenge: how can i turn ren fest into a major media event about me?

anyone got any ideas?

i’m not allowed to be annoying. i’d like to go back again next year, after all, sans shame.

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ten year what?

the alumni association of my local high school had no trouble tracking me down on myspace.

apparently, a ten year reunion is en route this summer.

ten years? already?

isn’t it weird how it still feels like tomorrow i have to get up, put on a uniform, and drive to a high school to feel like my mind is asleep for six hours, waiting for anything that stimulates my brain in the slightest, and finding nothing but boredom, boredom, boredom.

i meet people sometimes who remember high school as happy. i don’t trust them. there’s something wrong about someone who found high school exhilerating. high school is miserable. teenagers are cruel to each other, and often unchallenged in their academic work. thus, the ones who remember this time as pleasurable tend to be the ones who are the dominant cruel, and the easily challenged.

this is a gross generalization, but it is one that clouds my preconceptions whenever i meet new people. there are – of course – exceptions. somewhere. i haven’t quite met them yet.

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more poetry

i dug up my ancient tripod blog (

i found some poetry there, too, buried in the annoying adware.
i had a nightmare of my hand
a daemon shoved it
past the lips of my cold blender
i watched it grind

banana sinew, cherry blood
gore like peaches, nectarines
bone was almond in her roar
blender, blender, whirling boar

my head is quiet and I stare
among the frozen fruit
we watch, detached
through cellophane


with apologies to the victim whose e-mail i skewered

an excerpt from an e-mail:

the only things i’ve ever really
wanted in this life:

to be a cheerleader with
long, straight blonde hair

to write a decent poem
i have a better chance with the first

send me a poem, I’ll read it
gratefully. maybe i’ll share

one of mine. thanks,

(source at:

i wrote this next poem when i was a freshman in college:

how strange that emptiness is filling
like a bubble growing gas
how strange i might just up — explode
in how my hungers last

thus so — to fight the filling
i fill — i fill — i fill —
until the empty all of me
fades empty in itself

(source at:

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all the blogged poems and flash fictions…

here’s a list with links of all the blogged poems, in no particular order.

so, i whiffed the dates when i was busy and whiffed international pixelated technopeasant day a little bit.

still, look below and notice that this isn’t even half of everything i’ve given for your reading pleasure, totally free and creative commons’d on this blog.

bees don’t

philly versus dallas

excerpts from an architecture textbook, translated into english for non-architects

further excerpts from an architecture textbook

further excerpts from an architecture textbook

again, excerpts from an architecture textbook

excerpts from an architecture textbook, a little longer

name him like a man

the liars

sentimental mercantilism


abandoned prose (look below the prose i abandoned for the poem.)

teenagers with cellphones

musicbox ghost (along with most excellent music video that inspired the poem.)


super dead boy

bye bye bye bye bye bi berlin

a little poem for the children about how a prince saved the kingdom from a giant spider

a very, very crappy romance villanelle that i am ashamed of composing

robot prostitute speaks

revenge of the thunderlizards II

life never stops for anyone

lovestory of beatrix fortuna

aspirin love

invisible deer

roe deer at a stream


after “the anger of achilles” by jacque louis-david

robert shirtliffe, (this poem originally appeared in tipton poetry journal #4)

three poems in a house

nyc in the bloodstream



orange suede parable

blues songs remixed into sonnets

another blues song remixed into a sonnet

the very first blues song i remixed into a sonnet

banged my head on a counter and it hurt very, very much

cowboy at breakfast

when the eggs are all invisible (this one got its line formatting messed up. i should totally fix that sometime.)

yesterday and i have all we need
(another one with messed up line formatting. must have been my fault on whatever machine i was using at the time, wherever i was at the time.)

one more night in berlin

night flight, first appearing in tipton poetry journal #7

fragment after altes pinarkotekt


what will they do when the president is gay?

snippets of half-remembered poetry from long ago

vaguely remembered fragments of lost poetry

my apologies, dearest emily

finally, the two poems i composed specifically for the holiday in question.

flash fiction: father
some flash fiction i put up in honor of pixelated technopeasant day last year: ein euro, bitte
Ooh, also here’s a short story I still hear people liked called “Baboons”

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In Honor of International Pixelated Technopeasant Day

Yes, that was on the 23rd, and I am late.

But, I give away a lot of stuff around these parts, so don’t you worry none about exactly what day is what.

I was busy, and I wanted to produce some new, original stuff.


Two original poems:

“Pretty Ladies”

pretty ladies like coathangers with hips
sipping wine they’ll never complete –
there’s some trees – white christmas lights –
in spring

these bored ones – twos – and threes
speak lovers as if the man
never held a gun to her
as if mortgages aren’t the same as guns
as if a child is only a child
is only a child


“New Cities”

i thought i could escape this town by train
again, then at every step i heard my city’s
Name – more pretty girls in white sell tschibo coffee,
pastries, smiles and beside that
a turkish man called me by my city’s
Name – i recognized his hands
his voice
his food
the money

i slept in new apartments
square walls and square windows
over streets as square as memories
fitting together in streetlamp blocks
and new furniture that, in the dark,
felt the same, fed me the same dreams

that night, if i turned on the lights
i know exactly where i’ll be.

a hand turns a doorknob – both mine
behind the door, a sitting woman
blinks into her palms like mirrors
a standing man smiles, both happiness
and sadness in his teeth – he urges
me to go –
just go –
to the train station

to a new city – i can start again

i can rediscover my mistakes.

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would you eat an ent?

i have been pondering this perhps a little too much of late.

i am a vegetarian, so eating things like hobbit or manticore or the popelick monster (thank you Jeff VanderMeer…) are all quite out of the question.

but, would i eat an ent?

you remember the noble ent, don’t you? i don’t think i would eat treebeard. he was pretty cool. he stomped some orcs, and called out a war upon the tower because his trees were killed. he is definitely not on my table.

but, what about that other ent? you know the one i’m talking about. he’s not just a little gruff; he’s downright unfriendly! he messes with people, planting in their yards overnight and then moving just to make people suspicious of the trees. he isn’t particularily intelligent. in fact, he can barely speak properly. most of the words he knows and uses are entian curse words. he likes to hurt squirrels. he also likes to stalk people and take pictures of them in compromising positions, which he sells for money. with the money, he buys excessive quantities of miracle gro and spaces out on the juice that burs his head.

i hate to say it, i probably wouldn’t eat this ent, either.

i’m a food wimp.

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Watch for "Lights, Bugs" in Coyote Wild Magazine

I just heard from MacAllister Stone.

A long-ish short story called “Lights, Bugs” just got picked up over at Coyote Wild Magazine.

My favorite line from this story is when Lancaster says “Organic fucking bananas”.

I still refer to all organic bananas as “organic fucking bananas” now.

I’ll let you know when the story goes live on the site.

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mr sparrow

A sparrow asked me if I had anything to eat. I assured the sparrow that all I had was the most inexpensive cup of coffee available at the cafe. I apologized to the sparrow because I was quite busy trying to be a rich, famous writer – failing, miserably, too.

The sparrow introduced himself. He said that he wasn’t always a sparrow. Once, he was a stone. All this flying that birds do is truly miraculous, because they each begin their lives as stones. They sit inside little round stones, in the ground. They wait and wait and wait for a bird to come along and devour them. Then, inside of a bird’s gizzard, the stone becomes an egg.

Don’t believe the scientists who say that birds are not stones. Sparrows, at least, are rocks that have taken flight. Sparrows – more specifically – are made from granite.

Ravens are born of obsidion. Robins are born from magma. Pelicans are from salty limestones. A magpie is hard-packed chalk. Eagles are born of coal. A golden finch was fool’s gold. A crane whooping used to be a dinosaur egg. That is why cranes are so rare. The crane must first find the fossilized egg of the ancestors.

This is also why cranes are so magical, and their song is full of such weeping sorrow. We were dinosaurs once, and we were magma. We are the true sons and daughters of this rocky earth.

“We are, all of us, firebirds! We carry the rocks inside of us, that came up from the bubbling magma!”

I thanked the sparrow for his story. He, again, asked me if I had anything for him to eat.

I picked up a concrete rock from a chip in the ground. I asked the sparrow if he would accept a stone made of men.

Th sparrow bowed and refused. The birds born of concrete are pigeons, and a more awful bunch of beggars and thieves no noble sparrow has ever known.

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