Friday, April 30, 2010

NPM 30 (And... done!)

Today I have an ego.
Tomorrow I will
trade it in
for a lemon.

Does sine
head up before
it goes down,
or is that cosine?

Am I supposed
to compare one
of the two to how
I am feeling today?

Today I have an ego.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thesis Word Cloud

So I just handed in my defense draft of my thesis yesterday. Because I find word clouds so interesting, I decided to do one too:

Wordle: MA Thesis

NPM 29

The pen-

The best-
in the Atari
is Asteroids.

is "a hit"
in the game
of Go.

on Go
the money.

An asteroid's
greatest fear
is land

it loves

NPM 28

One day
a business suit
is going

to walk
up to me
and ask

to try it on
just this once

and I would
likely respond
that I'd prefer

the fundoshi
I'm not

that big
on the whole
nudity thing.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NPM 27

1. You are the ----- that so many people ----- their time.
  • A) afterthought . . blame for misplacing
  • B) byproduct of improvisation . . think is not worth
  • C) smoke and mirrors . . deem worthy of
  • D) most recent flash of brilliance . . have seen burn out before
  • E) jigsaw puzzle . . use to pass

Monday, April 26, 2010

NPM 26

First Memory

I was at a park
climbing a picnic bench
to grab a sucker
I’d apparently left there earlier.

At two
balance is a privilege
not a given

and before long
I was falling
staring up at the sky

and my head found the slab
of concrete the table rested on.

Remember this,
something told me at the time,
This is what it feels like to die.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

NPM 25

Why do you throw your receipts in the garbage?

So no one will find them in the recycling.

You do know that there's not really any valuable information on those, right?

Yes, but I don't want my stalker to see them.

Oh yeah? How's he doing?

Okay. Even though he doesn't know where I'm going.

I guess not, just where you've been.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

NPM 24

I'm better than this.
One day my mustache and I
will escape it all.

NPM 23

Edit: I swear I hit "Publish" on this last night, but I guess I only hit "Save Now"

Out Past Curfew Pt. 1

I knew they were there I knew they were there I knew they were there
but I couldn’t see them
at least not yet.

Didn’t know they’d use him like that didn’t know they’d come after us
didn’t know this would be the first time I’d throw a punch—
a sequence of punches—
that would actually land
or at least have landings that I remember.

Some lessons I learned to forget
like my speeches about sophisticated dolphin civilizations
and their underwater cities and my endless glee
sitting on the playground two houses down
from a house I used to live in with the creepy room
at the end of the attic with the burn marks on the wood.

A friend tried to get her phone to record my meanderings,
but it turned a deaf ear

and, drunk, I illustrated the dophins’ speech patterns by banging on a stop sign
some time after two in the morning and roused a neighbor
(also drunk)

who pulled a gun on me that I don’t remember seeing.
My friends dragged me away to safety
but I wasn’t there so I turned to one friend
and belted him and he saw stars,

the same ones we’d been before,
shooting through the atmosphere

in ignorance and fermentation.

The next day he told me we went on for a half hour this way,
and by the time it was over
the neighbor had exchanged his gun for a bottle.

My brain began recording again just as the bottle intersected with my forehead,
right at the hairline.

I shook it off
turned to the guy

and said
you just broke a bottle over my head
paused, said,
well, see ya!
and staggered off.

At the crosswalk
two blocks later two girls I saw from the party earlier saw me
and asked me why my face was bleeding and I said something like
I don’t know,
apparently some people
have a problem
with nice guys

and I continued on my merry way home.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NPM 22

Another (possible) thesis preview:

Down the Void

Emergency Exits are located near each stairwell.
Good thing I stayed awake for the training video.

Vacuum tubes made of six-inch plastic walls, and
if I didn’t say riding one was my dream, I’d be lying.


and I always loved how in the old 60s Batman show
Bruce Wayne could disappear down a hole

and emerge at the bottom a new man.
As if it were a given a man could change

wardrobe and persona so rapidly mid-descent,
as if holding a fire pole explained the process.

But a quick cut on screen is an eternity
in the experience. The Void caught us

and carried us down and everything
was the same on every floor we passed,

as if we were just dropping out
the bottom and coming back out on top

like first-person Pac-Man, dying to get out,
or at least to escape our ghosts.


Dad was waiting for me at the bottom, but
I could barely recognize him in the darkness.

All around us were big semi trucks, the word
CARGO stenciled in the side in black, offset

by the white of the trailers. Had there been more
light I would have seen him limping, a trail of

blood speckling the oil slicks on the concrete.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

NPM 21

At the Mall

I fingered salt
crystals in pretzel
cheese cup residue

and whistled Dixie
while drinking water
from a paper cup.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

NPM 20 - Lyrics

Atoms and time drawn together on a line
split the difference, clear the mind.
Let guilty conscience fall behind.

When you were five
did you think that when you died
you'd be the words that you can't find
always one syllable behind?

Did you want something to show for it,
a little proof of ownership?
Can't negotiate your way out
or spin the planet backwards

because you're yesterday's news
the paper blowing down the sidewalk
the joke you told to everybody
the sequel no one saw.

You can point out anything you please
but your arms expanding by degrees
only mark the distance from the day you found

that you're worthless and you know it,
surrendered all your ownership.
You've lost the leg you stand on
so limp off towards the sunset

because you're yesterdays news

Monday, April 19, 2010

NPM 19

Here is a (possible) thesis preview:

The White Between the Frames

I am picked up from school by a relative. The last time this happened was the day my brother was born.


I am in the living room, the same look on the relative’s face now on my parents’, smiling with everything but their eyes.


I am in the hospital cafeteria. Everything was fluorescent white, metal tables and plastic dinner trays. I was arguing with Dad about the line between alive and dead. I want to say now that the food was terrible, but that’s not a memory, just what we expect to hear when someone mentions hospital food.


I am in my classroom in a fetal position on the floor. It’s recess, but I haven’t moved since story time.


I am in the room where he died. He is there, behind the machines on every wall, the clear plastic tubes, fluids suspended inside. I don’t remember the heart monitor flatlining the way it always does when someone dies, but I remember the white speckled tiles, the reflections from the fluorescent lights above, and feeling no difference in the room when my parents told me my brother said goodbye. I faced away, wondering why I didn’t hear him say it too.


I mistake silence for confirmation when I ask if I’m going to die next.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

NPM 18

I am pinioned by the impulse to dismiss

common ideas as uninteresting simply

because I've heard them before. Familiarity:

my old stomping grounds of estrangement.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

NPM 17

On the way to buy beer my friend saved the rest of us
from a nasty spill by taking the spill for himself.

There was the "oh shit!"
the pause
the "are you okay?"
and then of course the laughter

At the hotel after he washed his knee
and cursed the tear in his new jeans
we watched the Best Fails of 2009
and provided the Bob Saget laugh track.

At the end I said it was only funny to me
because I knew everyone walked away okay

but realized that there was no way I could know.

Friday, April 16, 2010

NPM 16 - Song Lyric Edition

I've owed these lyrics to the band for a little bit:


I hear that you're all burnt out.
You're growing roots and settling down
Remember when we rode the winds?
The pushpins showing where we've been.

Now see these chambers they flood.
The air will color our blood,
so when did you first forget
to breathe?

The corners of this map are folding in,
blank journal's pages yellowing
Remember all the adventures we had?
You can settle but don't forget our past.

We've changed the way water runs.
We've generated our luck,
and when the valleys would flood
we'd breathe.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

NPM 15 (halfway)

Croatian doctors are baffled after a teenage girl who fell
into a mysterious coma woke up speaking fluent German.

The Professor collects time
like winning business cards
in the free lunch raffle
at the bratwurst restaurant
right around the corner.

Her card pulled in a hurry
she didn't have a chance
to hang her Out to Lunch sign
before the 24-hour crash course
on the intricacies of history.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

NPM 14

Moving out of my apartment last year
I found a plastic slider-puzzle piece,
a yellow "8" magnet, and a checker.

All these left before my time, so I left
a Battleship peg, a clip of staples,
and a thumbtack in exchange. Later,

Yellow found the yellow "8" in her mailbox.

NPM 13

Forgive yesterday
for the McDonald's I ate.
Food poisoning sucks.

Monday, April 12, 2010

NPM 12

Today was a friend's birthday

so as is social media tradition

I commented on her wall

and got her this present

She said it was the deepest present

she'd gotten so far so I replied

she'd better use it would be a shame

to waste the present and now

I've decided to take my own advice

and exploit the conversation

in order to meet my quota

so here is poem twelve of thirty.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

NPM 11

1. Tetris : Imprinting Itself on my Eyelids When I'm Trying to Fall Asleep :: A Formal Education : __________
  • A) a constant feeling of alienation when speaking to the "layman"
  • B) a debt load disproportionate to a projected income
  • C) the annoying smirk I get when I bypass the "why can't a spoon just be a spoon?" question by declaring "there is no spoon."
  • D) the belief that emulating analogy problems is in any way a witty or clever approach to poetry.
2. The End of Life : Unfinished Business :: Being Insulted : __________
  • A) a secret admiration for the aesthetic symmetry of said barb
  • B) the thing I did to deserve the insult
  • C) the two hours it takes for me to have a witty comeback
  • D) the surprise I feel in dreams when I am naked in a room full of clothes, eyeballs, and indifference
3. Nachos : Memories of watching Beavis and Butthead in my teens :: Meaning : __________
  • A) the ability to guess a friend's favorite Muppet
  • B) the hum of a TV on mute
  • C) the bottle of Arby's sauce my friend stole and left in my dorm, and our idea to use to fill our Dorito's 3-D's
  • D) the feeling I got the first time I recorded a harmony to my own lead.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

NPM 10

The girl at the booth across from mine
waited until I was all packed up
on the last day of the bookfair
to hand me her portrait of me
and she didn't miss a detail.

Here is my lazy overgrown hair
my mustache and soul patch
two-day stubble speckling my face
my literary glasses framing
either blank or thoughtful eyes
peeking out under bushy eyebrows.
as my cheeks round out
my non-neck in a button-up collar.

Here I recognize myself
not as a was
but as a becoming.

Friday, April 9, 2010


I like to drag my feet
against the black spider hairs
on the sides of escalators.

I would buy cigarettes out
of restaurant vending machines
just for the kitsch value.

Speaking again of escalators,
the handrails vibrate if you
keep your hand there long enough.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Sixth grade still brought with it the promise of recess,
but the Big Toy had become more of a lookout post.

I told The Girl, significant in my memory for sharing
my birthday, that she needed to shave her legs,

and then proceeded to forget I had done so.
A week or so later I was on the playground again,

and I saw the huddle, The Girl and two friends
and they were looking at me, and I was at the age

of attention. The huddle broke and one of the friends
approached me and my memory says I smiled

and the friend said something like "I think
what you said to [The Girl] the other day

was incredibly rude, and you should be ashamed
of yourself" and she walked off before I could process it.

And I still haven't processed it.
I think that was the first time

I saw the difference between
intention and interpretation.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I. Bellingham International

I forgot to take my shoes
off at the security check.
They don't let you forget.

In the terminal
I am encouraged
to give Nopalea a try.

It's made from the Sonora
desert's cactus fruit.
One happy testimonial

said she was first turned on
to it at church. Three days ago
I was at my first church service

in years. Everyone who used
to be there was still there,
but blurred at the edges,

and me with my four-day beard.
The flight was overbooked,
and someone had to give up

their seat for $300 in vouchers.
I've always wanted to be
that someone. I've heard ubiquity

is in fashion this time of year.
Nopalea's sound was overdubbed
by an Orange Homeland Security Alert.

On the TV screen a woman
in a pink blouse went from
mouthing snake oil to coloring fear.

And now the pre-boarding twist:
Nopalea isn't a product for you,
but a Trivita business opportunity.

It's one thing to wake to these
indoctromercials after falling asleep
to a movie, everything overglowing.

II. Seatac

And shame on me to think
I was pre-planning
what I would write
when I touched down.

I sat by the left wing
of a small propeller plane
and when it took off
I felt like I was riding
a rolling pin attached
to two pizza cutters

but before that I looked
at the plane and expected
Dan Akroyd in a pointless cameo,
Kate Capshaw at my side,
me triumphantly yelling
"Nice try, Lao Che!"
before slamming the door
and sleeping with my fedora
over my eyes among the chicken
crates as the red line on the map
drew its line, and it was a short line.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010


I limit the person who is desperate
with the extraordinary kitten
which got drunk with the chairperson
whom a splendid kneecap tattooed powerfully.

The red giggle made very feeble wrinkled catchphrases.
Text generated with this
and bastardized using this

Sunday, April 4, 2010


When two crabs want to mate
they clamp together and roll.

When pebble frogs spot predators
they go rigid and roll.

When I am hungry I have a choice
between Tootsie or baked rolls.

In the throes of midlife crisis
men are known to purchase Rolls.

I had to go to jail in Monopoly
when I got 3 doubles in 3 rolls.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Spilled milk oil song code,
fixed latch, the trend pit's insight,
roles outweigh my breath.

Roles outweigh my milk
oil spilled song code, the trend pit's
fixed latch in sight.

Fixed latch outweighs milk,
oil in trend pits, the spilled song's
role, my code.

My role in spilled milk,
oiled song pits, the fixed latch, trends
weighed out.

Weigh the oil spill fix,
my song pit trend, roles latched in

Roles spilled. Fix the latch.
My weight in trends. Song pit oil.

Song pit roles spill trends.
My weigh-in. The fixed latch.

The fixed roles in song
weigh my spilled trend pit.

Trends in the spilled roles,
My song weight fixed.

Weigh my trends in spills.
The song's role.

The songs weigh my spills
in trends.

The spill, my song weighs

My weight spills the song.

The spills weigh me.

Weigh the spills.

The weight.


Friday, April 2, 2010


If I had drawn it
I wouldn’t have ended it like this.

I wouldn’t have looked over to see that he’d become one of them.

I guess there was no saving the world anymore.

If I had drawn it
there’d be a low camera angle

my body occupying the center of the lower half of the screen, fists clenched

in the same heroic pose
that showed up in the comics
I drew every Christmas for Dad,

the same pose he taught me
after practicing it for years
in the pages of his own stories.

I picture a breeze blowing from behind me on the left side of the screen,

the glow of a fire on the right,
my figure framed perfectly
by the CARGO sign on the trailer.

And what CARGO we were carrying.

I walked back toward the trailer
heard the unmistakable,

heard a low groaning
the occasional thud.

They were in there all right.

If this were a movie
you’d be yelling at the screen about now

because I kept walking towards it, opened the trailer doors, and let them out.

It took two days for the bite to change him,
two days to pretend he wasn’t dying,
two days to plan our inevitable escape,

because undying in a dead world is no way to make a living.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I sympathize with a character
and for you

with whom I am far apart.


You adapt to a story
from a beginning.

Your story may lose an opportunity
to finish in opposition and suspense.

You answer too many questions
before having the time.


She won't be strong enough to endure,
to accept her memory contentedly.

He found a picture at art school and
it helped with his talent focusing.

The marriage was troubled
by an opposition of a class and

he was divorced after a year
of threatening. It is the reason why

she avoided attractive men.
He is merciful at least and is short.


Thus I am deeper

a little.

Why all these uproars

about falling in a production,

a story at the beginning of a story?

You will provide with an answer to a question

before getting the chance that a reader asks for.


If an intelligent conclusion comes,
I will ask it, "is it connected with the chandelier?"

I will state it positively.
I think about it all the time.

If an intelligent conclusion comes,
and you follow it, I will ask it

to state it positively, because
he makes a point, or is going to

gradually get closer to nothing.
And a capsule falls from the sky

and goes ashore in a paragraph.
If it is accompanied with a change

in psychology. The leading role
can't always choose a destination.
Text found and here
and bastardized here