last time we spoke i was a boy

but since then my stretch armstrong strong arms have stretched out
like power lines across the backbone of the u.s. and i grasp at portland oregon
with the carpal tunnel deftness of my left hand and the arthritis of my right
reaching to portland maine and i hold this country. less infant and more hostage.

i hold this country ransom for the insurmountable sum of its debts.
my eyes two slot-machine sevens eternally waiting for the third wheel to roll.
they stare into the mouth of the american beast and count the cavities.

my head is some sort of exquisite corpse.
the top half bald as buddhist monks. clean shaven and empty as a drum.
ready to resonate the rumbling sound of war and dissipate it back down
to a stagnant state of stasis.
the bottom half hairy. american and bearded blossoming brown weeds
onto the clean canvas of priviledge. a baby face buried in premature senility.

the bags beneath my eyes bring in the groceries.
they hold the bottle for a friend. they hold their hair back while they vomit.
the bags beneath my eyes carry the weight of so many worlds
like marbles in a sack. a monstrous collection of collectibles.
figurines dustless and pristine poised for shelving but never to be played with.
it’s easy to take pride in the things you allegedly can do i suppose.

my legs curl up like the wicked witch of the east.
in this house of a body fallen on top of me. stripey songs entangled.

my heart is an f5 tornado tearing through a drive-in theater (of course, in denver)
showing some grindhouse double feature romantic comedy hardcore porno
shitshow melodrama documentary on wild cats and the birds of paradise.
my heart is the f5 tornado. the cinematic feature for the evening is my manifesto.
if there’s snacks then i’m thinking red vines and sour patch kids.

the hairs on my arms and my chest and my shoulders are trees
cascading across the rises and the falls of the illustrious whiteboy mountains.
poisoned by beetle rot. the decay breeds new trees to decay breeds new trees.
i am reborn more times than a confused christian sex addict.
i die way too many fucking times. i feel it each time.

my gut is some shy girl who gets drunk at a party and takes her glasses off
and wakes up popular. she wakes up with a quarterback boyfriend.
she sleeps again. she wakes up pregnant. she wakes up married.
she wakes up barefoot. she passes out on the kitchen floor. she wakes up 40.
she wakes up divorced. my gut is pulled into expectation but on her 50th
birthday she goes to some cool country like bali on a spiritual journey
and discovers that she was born to be some kind of kaballah goddess
that drinks kava and dreamdances across the daoist sands of time.
still barefoot. my gut.

my knees are sore. my neck. is sore. my ankles are sore. my eyes are heavy.
life is hell on the hips. on the waist. on each and every stone of the backbone
but rebuild like giant blocks of jenga the tower that holds your soul.
it’ll fall. rebuild it.

from a distance i seem to be a great highrise apartment complex.
stacked with carnegie steel and beautiful revamped otis elevators that ascend
to the rooftop garden. great spotbeams burst out hot heat into the black
void of almost being thirty but what the hell is thirty i’m going to live to be
seven thousand anyways. what the hell is thirty. what the hell are we
but stacks of the stories that we press onto paper and bind and tie up
and stack high and mighty and from a distance we blur our vision and
pretend to be a great highrise apartment complex.

last time we spoke i was a boy

now i wake up each day and spend my days looking into the mirror of strangers
trying to get a glimpse at the what that i am that moment and how it fits into this
giant twenty-seven pound fuckfish that i go around trying to convince everyone that i am.



be the savior of my religion
be the hand beneath my pillow
be the paperweight on my papers in the wind
be the kiss that beats my alarm clock

i’ll be the dust on your stage
i’ll be the canary to your coal mine
i’ll be the detour to your house
i’ll be the fire to your attic

we’ll be until we can’t
we’ll move like wind ahead of hurricanes
we’ll dance like we’re drunk
in my parent’s basement

then you’ll be the ghost under my stairs
then you’ll be beneath my flowers and my letters
then you’ll be the flowers that rise to your grave
then you’ll be cumulonimbic swan songs

then i’ll be with you amongst the madness
then i’ll be swimming beside you like two halves
of a pair of scissors piercing through paper chaos
then i’ll remember the way we felt

i’ll remember the way we felt

then i don’t know
i don’t know
i don’t know
i don’t know

we’ll make it up as we go along.












(head. heart. gut.)

i believe
with all of my heart
with every ounce of logic
and with that rawest of instinct
that this is all we are made of.

the heart beats
and blood rushes to the head
and the gut twists
the gut writhes inside of us all
and they are all bickering
loudly and honestly
and with no sense of reservation
trying to decide
what to do
and who we are
and where
we are going.

this holiest trinity
that resides within us all.
let us pray.

let us pray first of all
that we acknowledge our hearts
that though they do not have a mouth
nor a check-in box on a voting ballot
that they do in fact have something to say
the heart will endlessly be compared to a drum
i will never stop comparing the heart to a drum
because deep
deep in the dark forest of night
at the core of our jungle is the purest of black
but there resides the drum
the drum that beats and fire rises around it
and the people gather within us
to form great circles around the heart
and we honor that which allows us to love
and forgive ourselves
that it also has allowed all of us to hate
but the drum beats either way
systolic elation
diastolic revelation
the cause
and the effect
the river
and its ripple
the vibration
and its echo
and it shakes water from deep lakes within us
and they rise to our eyes when called upon
when we cannot hold in
that which makes us human
and when our heart declares war
it is our head that begins to prepare

our head
a great philosopher
pacing around our skull
unrolling maps
and sticking thumbtacks
in foreign lands
crashing meticulously knights
into fragile queens
and claiming checkmate
when it has seen ahead
of the face across the table
it is the head that allows us to keep the heart
the eyes that move along the words
that turns madness into reality
that turns reality into the past

and some things
do not belong to emotion
some things
do not belong to logic or reason
some things are written
by an invisible hand
that moves us through harsh winter
into uncertainty
the gut
raw as raw
the gut that does not tell you what to do
it does
the hand that removes itself from the hot fire
the moment when nothing can explain why
that it is this
that you have to do

and the head and the gut they bicker
and they always bicker
and get into loud shouting matches
over anything and everything
as the heart tells them both to calm down
as if the heart doesn’t have its fair share
of shouting matches
with them both
but they have to do this



three sailors
lost in our sea
in a boat barely big enough
for them all.

to think.
to love.
to act.

what else is there to do?



02.2013 is a twenty-eight day project chronicling my february of 2013 through poetry. to read the entries from the beginning CLICK HERE



(the unexplainable.)

there is that which words cannot hold onto
the spaces between these letters
the black part of your pupils
that feeling of vast emptiness when you stand amongst epic nature
rocks like gods and rivers like veins that run through the earth
the feeling you must get staring at our world from outer space
the static charge when lovers lips meet
that danceable feeling of revelation when you meet a new friend on the off chance that some unexplainable force led you to the same room at the same time
that moments when you look in the mirror and see yourself and think what the hell kind of thing is this that i’m a part of
the way you wish you could see yourself with your eyes closed
Love, but not just Love Love
the Love that exists undeniably between everything capable of Love and the Love that sneaks up on you when you’re feeling underoverwhelmed and overunderwhelmed
watching a bird fly beside you down a highway where you both look like you are standing still but in fact you both are charging recklessly into the dawn at unimaginable speeds
that idea that creeps into your skull that you can’t take credit for but that you don’t quite know how you could have gone on each day being you if this great muse didn’t crack open your skull and let in this homeless insect
undocumented phenomenon
ghosts of moments that can’t be captured
the stars you see after closing your eyes tightly then opening them wide and back into reality
the way you can fall in love with an abstract painting
the way you can fall in love with a character in some two dimensional story
or a stranger just by watching them dance
the indescribable
the undeniable, existential, completely existent non-existent smoke clouds rising into the sky and out into neverland floating above us below us within us
most of all, within us
the unexplainable
that which truly is


READ 02.12, DAY 12 OF THE 02.2013 PROJECT

02.2013 is a twenty-eight day project chronicling my february of 2013 through poetry. to read the entries from the beginning CLICK HERE





(letters to a young poet from a young poet.)

i’ve heard too many times
“i am not very good at poetry,”
that is like saying
“i am not good at breathing,”
you’re going to do this
whether you want to or not
so you might as well
make your breaths deep
take in the fragrance in the air
along with the carbon monoxide
write your poetry
like a carpenter would make
his own crucifix

if you are uninspired
and you are a poet
it is time
to start sneaking into movie theaters
time to drive your car home in reverse
spend a day trapped inside your home
dressed like emily dickinson
stalking a housefly
attempt to roll uphill

your blood is eighty-five percent water
come to a rolling boil
you were not made to be luke warm
if you are body temperature
you are denying yourself
the chance to be something other than a body

you will write shitty poems
you will have shitty relationships
and shitty jobs with shitty bosses
and sometimes the most precious of poems
gets damaged in a move

you are not a poet
until you type your soul on a screen
and forget to save
but when that computer crashes
you will learn
that some things cannot be taken away from you

there are plenty of people out there
who won’t want to hear your poetry
but you do not speak for them
we all speak to the ears that want to hear
there is a method to the madness
of bees and their flowers

you do not have to share your poems
but document your heart beats
and your heart murmurs alike

sometimes a bad poem
is the prosthetic legs
of a good poem

as far as love
you have to love
loneliness is a bitch
big, big bitch
the fat kid in class
who steals your lunch
because he can’t get full on his
but you have to love
throw yourself into uncomfortable

pad your bed with broken dreams
make strangers less strange
and embrace their stories as your own
because time turns us into alphabet soup
and no one can claim the letters as theirs for long
your mouth carries the fiber of the universe
your dreams form our reality
speak now
or forever hold your peace

write everyday
write with borrowed pens on napkins at diners
and write with scratches on the backs of lovers
tiger stripe God’s car
throw eggs at his driveway
ding dong ditch his front door
leave a flaming bag of dog shit for him to put out
God knows only how to smile
at the precocious little monster you’re being
someday you’ll just be glad you made some memories

a poet is one hell of a hard thing to be
there is no health care, no 401k
no big benefits package
you don’t get sick time
but you will make money off of it
you’ll just be dead by then

the wealth of a poet is measured
in the lint in your pocket
and the gems you’ve placed
in the pocket of the hearts
of those around you

a friend once said to me
the worst thing someone can be to you
is bad poetry
and i believe that to be true
i cannot unhear what i have heard
and you cannot say
what you decided to let be unsaid

take a second
close your eyes
and take in a deep breath
before you start turning blue
let it out


READ 02.06, DAY 6 OF THE 28 DAY 02.2013 PROJECT

02.2013 is a thirty day project chronicling my february of 2013 through poetry. to read the entries from the beginning CLICK HERE


some people’s hearts
are 1300 pounds of rage

some people’s minds
are antique arcade machines

some people’s guts
are ocean oil spills

and some people’s bodies
are imploding giant casinos

we are not small accidents
we are massive heart attacks
to happiness
and we
are nuclear radiation

we must speak loudly
we must love even louder
we must be unafraid
to shake the ground
to leave cracks in mountains
that will remain safe passage
for every holy virus
we awaken
to walk through



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and i have run into several interesting kinds along the way
the girl whose heart ticked like a richter scale
whose pulse i feared to make rise
because along with the waves in her blood, her skin
came seismic cracks in the land, tsunamis and volcanos
the devastation of flash flood like we were all
drowning in her childhood

there was the one whose heart i could not feel beat at all
silent the crevice of her chest sounded of a hand over a mouth
a door that had been boarded up with nails and bad habits
she said she wanted to die so anyone else could live
and i tried to tell her that you cannot die for a stranger
if you are not able to live your life for yourself
but she sure as hell tried and refused to give up
as i found myself giving up on her

some hearts are made arrhythmic
they bounce around the chest cavity
like a schizophrenic cell mate
they dance in heavy drugged delirium
they twist through psychosis
and they refuse to acknowledge
that someone else may catch on to the pattern
in what they thought was
their complete lack of pattern

those seem to be my favorite to catch
and the ones that are best at getting away

this one heart
beat like a symphony all on its own
like a great deep dark jazz drum rumbling
it echoed through me and still does
my bones the beams for it to try to tear to shambles
it filled me with black oceans where i could not see through
and i just kept swimming along through this haze
and i’m still just swimming through this haze
on the hunt for the heart that beats like mine



Interesting in submitting to Flashlight City Blues?


Every year on my birthday (July 19th), I write a poem called “The Anatomy of a ___-year-old boy. It’s my birthday today and I’d like to share with you all the poem I just wrote:

Let’s start with the head.

We found the skull to be very thick and stubborn to get
through. One surgeon working on this operation swears
in his testimony that at one point after successfully opening
the skull that he watched the skull close back in on
itself, though this could not be confirmed (nor denied.)

Upon successfully surgically opening the head directly down the
center we were able to begin our studies with a very profound
journey into the central work station of the twenty-four year old
boy. It seems the subject’s mind is fairly saturated with high levels
of dreams,
however, it is worth noting that these dreams are clotted with
equally high levels of thoughts on the female gender:
There were several times during the operation where we had
to enter the brain to rewire the shifting eyes to focus on the
subject at hand.

On that note, the subject’s eyes rarely seemed willing to look
at one thing for too long. The subject was easily distracted
by outrageous ideas, some as far-fetched as doing what he
loved for a living.

Upon searching the mouth, we were clued in that the subject
may suffer from attention deficit disorder, when leftover bits
of Adderall (Amphetamine) were detected hanging on
for dear life at the back of the throat. It is important to note
that this may in fact be the residual effects of a misdiagnosis
but our tests were inconclusive one way or the other.

The subjects bones were made out of a foreign material
unseen in any of our previous cadaverous experiments. Several
chemical tests were unable to identify the substance, but
a brief but luckily contained accident by an intern where a
flammable substance was spilled on the subjects bones led us
to the undeniable conclusion that the subject’s bones, head to
toe, were composed of strike-anywhere matches. The subject,
as we then learned, is highly combustible; it seemed the slightest
spark could set our subject on fire.

Upon examination we were able to monitor the subjects’
heartbeat; and what we found there was most astounding;
not only did the subject have an arrhythmic heartbeat, it seemed
the subject’s heartbeat was reactive to whatever music was playing
in his head. Ranging from classics, such as the Beatles to newer
inquiries, such as Foster the People, it seemed the subject was
completely at the whim of music. Our psycho-surgical analysts
were starting to gain concern that the subject may be too fragile
to undergo this surgery. Everything we were seeing underneath
the skin was substantially honest and vulnerable. (I disagreed with
our psycho-surgical analysts on the proposal of concluding our
endeavors. Personally having counseled the subject prior to
inoculation, I saw the great vigor with which he wrote his sworn
affidavit aggreeing to the procedure.) As if our finding with
the subject’s heart weren’t intriguing enough, later tests showed in
rare, nevertheless consistently intermittent moments, the subject’s
heart would stop beating all together. It brought a wave of fear
over the operation the first time, but we quickly found undeniable
evidence that though this subject’s heart concretely did stop
pulsating time to time, that it did always begin again, always
back to its normal frantic pace.

There was a certain correspondence we were able to identify
between the systolic beat of the heart and the left leg, and the
diastolic beat of the heart, and the right leg. One doctor remarked,
and we all agreed, that the subject marched to the beat of his
own drummer.

Though no tests were performed, I noticed a certain shakiness
in the subject’s hands through much of the testing. As if the
subject wanted to feel everything that was happening to him.
Or maybe as if there was some passion that he was suffering from
anxiety to get back to doing. On a less professional, and more
poetic note, it seemed as if he was typing on the air. As if even in
the midst of this numb surgery he was crafting something.
I couldn’t help but notice.

Government funding only allotted us so much funding for this
endeavor so from there I thought it best to conclude, hoping next
year to re-up our grant and continue to study the anatomy
of a twenty-five year old boy.