Category Archives: journal



Art is not a mirror to reflect the world but a hammer with which to shape it.

–Bertholt Brecht

Neruda on the Poet’s Pact

“Poetry is a deep inner calling in man; from it came liturgy, the psalms, and also the content of religions. The poet confronted nature’s phenomena and in the early ages called himself a priest, to safeguard his vocation. . . . Today’s social poet is still a member of the earliest order of priests. In the old days he made his pact with the darkness, and now he must interpret the light.”

–Pablo Neruda

November in Portland

(I love band names. This short story tries to incorporate as many names of bands that are playing this month in Portland as possible.) 

I dragged myself out of bed and took a Slowdive look in the mirror. It would take more than Shovels and Rope to raise the coffin face staring back at me.

I started the shower running.

“Hey babe, come Dance Yourself Clean!” said the Blond Redhead in my bed. Blondie was last nights Title Fight and a Bike Thief Extraordinaire, as it turns out.

I didn’t remember what Small Skies she fell from. I vaguely remembered drinking Foxy Lemons and dancing wearing a Top Hat and not much else. Beyond that, the night before was a blur. You don’t drink your way from one end of Boyce Avenue to the other without losing a few things along the way. The Fault Lines of my life were beginning to shift in a serious way but my Deaf Mind didn’t want to admit it.

“You are one Well Swung Thundercat,” said blondie when i came out of the bathroom with my Hook and Anchor still dragging. Blondie was no Shy Girl. She could Talk in Tongues with the best of them and knew how to pass the Collection plate.

It was taking Ages and Ages for the Nearly Deads to wake up. I had that Sick Feeling you get when your mouth is full of Fur Coats and your head is full of Space Leeches from too much Moon-Hooch when blondie said “Hey babe, that was some Panama Wedding we had last night.”

Uh oh. Now the girl with the Astro Tan had my full attention.

“Ah God” and “My Oh My,” was the best could come up with while I frantically tried to remember if I had really been that drunk or if this was just a Trapfest.

Blondie let me squirm for a while longer.  “Don’t worry, Axecrack, I was only kidding.”

Whew. This Fortunate Youth may be a Henhouse Prowler but he was nobody’s Prize Hog. It was time for this Swingtown Viper girl to leave.

“I don’t want to start a Global Ruckus but I think you should go,” I said like the Rat King I was. “Go on, Head For The Hills or you’ll be taking a Dirt Nap on Hemlock Lane.”

“You’re Some Kind of Wonderful, said blondie. “You Low Light. Do all the Mascaras run from you when you give them the Blind Shake. Well I see through your act Dr. Love. You may be a Sorry Devil but I’m your Rotten Strawberry.”

Usually they were on their way up The Coastline after I had showed them my Pretty Gritty Heart of Oak. I was going to need bigger Artillery with this girl. No matter. I was daddy Cool Nutz and nobody was going to make me their personal Votive light. Then again, maybe she was Crazy Like Me and there was more I needed to know about miss Arachnid the Huntress. At least the Animal in Me thought so. Well, if I was on a Path to Ruin and I was headed for a Year of No Light, at least I would have some Fun With Dynamite along the way.

I went back to bed like a Wild Moth and let out an Antique Scream. I was ready for Re-Ignition and my full Separation from Sanity. I was going on a trip to a Class M Planet with this Candy Machine Wrecker girl and God Bless America and God bless this nasty Side Dish Smorgasboard called November in Portland.

Words Lead to Deeds

“Words lead to deeds…they prepare the soul, make it ready and move it to tenderness.”

–Anton Chekhov

To Raymond Carver

There is too much blue
in the world.

You taught us to mix
other colors into it.

Things are still very blue,
but now more interestingly so.

You taught us to stuff
our bathrobe pockets with notes

and to trust, to believe
they would fall out in useful places,

even if the place were dark
and love was a dream deferred.

The Eclipses of Poets

“The eclipses of
poets are not foretold in the calendar”

–Marina Tsvetaeva


whatever I've been
         to this faded land

at least I was ready
  when a piece of another land fell through