Yes, in fact, it is racist. And absolutely no one should be surprised.

13 09 2013

I sometimes forget about comics, sci-fi, and the internet. It’s kind of shocking, considering how much of my free time was spent with the comics internet in my twenties, three blogs and a lot of productivity ago. But, you know, times change, people change, interests change, and the world goes on; still, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, as the old saying goes.1

An article at Broken Frontier stumbled across my Twitter timeline today. Actually, I hadn’t even noticed the site of publication, as I was in a rush to get to the content. The article is titled Yes, but is it racist? Science Fiction and The Significance of 9%, and it’s written by a Josh Finney, whose work I haven’t encountered before. The article meanders around a few points but, at it’s core–the TL;DR version–the primary focus is that science fiction writers and science fiction fandom aren’t as awfully racist as people suggest because, um, market factors and write what you know and “some of my best friends are,” etc.

Let’s have some fun with some of the ideas presented, shall we? Everyone likes fun, right? Especially the hey-let’s-totally-abolish-any-talk-of-our-own-racism variety! Woo!

1. Write what you know. Of all the maxims I’ve heard regarding writing, “write what you know” remains my absolute favorite.  I won’t bother breaking that one down in terms of actual writing advice, as others have already done it, and done it well. And, specific to the context of the genre conventions we’re talking about, any literal reading of the phrase would be pointless in stupid. Writers don’t exactly “know” what they’re writing about when they’re writing about dystopian futures filled with rayguns and jetpacks and aliens and, given some remaindered sci-fi novels I’ve seen on bookshelves, shooting rayguns while having aeronautical jetpack sex with sexy, sexy aliens. At this point, I think most folks are bright enough to realize the “write what you know” comes more from converting the individual experience into something else entirely where, by remaining true to an intellectual or emotional connection, a certain level of verisimilitude is forged. “Yes,” the reader says, “that is good and right and true,” even if it’s a cryogenically-thawed Tyrannosaur overcoming his short arms to become a piano virtuoso in a Texas roadhouse.

Here, though, I do think Finney gets it right: you shouldn’t write what you specifically don’t know. At the very best, you engage in some kind of voyeuristic cultural appropriation; at the very worst, you dredge up horrible stereotypes belying an undercurrent of racist ideology. Finney describes writing an in-progress book of his where the “story demanded” certain things of his protagonist, “an inner-city teen who goes from being a drug dealer to a refugee, to a soldier in the Second American Civil War. The hero being black is strictly a matter of form following function. The story could not be told any other way, nor should it have to.”

If we’re talking baby-steps-to-progress, I guess we might could be somewhat relieved to see that the future is not apparently lily-white in Finney’s universe, as it is with some authors.

But, really, that story “could not be told any other way?” I’d beg to differ, but what I’d have to say would be entirely disregarded, because…

2. The only people who get upset are those white PC liberal types. Finney makes it very clear that he has black friends/readers, and they are totally supporting him in this endeavor. The only pushback he’s received has been from the “overly sensitive, entirely white, politically correct hippy crowd.”

Now, for the record, I am entirely white, somewhat sensitive, and politically correct only in the sense that, well, I’m often correct, politically, so I do somewhat resemble this remark. I mean, I’m not puts-mayo-on-everything white, or doesn’t-know-what-a-washcloth-is-for white, or owns-a-box-set-of-Anne-Murray-albums white. I am, however, knows-all-the-words-to-SO I MARRIED AN AXE MURDERER white, smells-like-a-dog-when-it-rains white, and no-one-crosses-the-street-or-pulls-their-kid-in-close-when-I-walk-by-no-matter-what-I’m-wearing white. Luckily, though, Finney highlights again the “write what you know thing” to show ” long-haired, hippy-type, pinko fags”2 like me what’s what:

But sometimes I wonder if this driving need to “protect” minorities from any and all possible affronts isn’t doing more harm than good. I’ve written Asians, Brits, rednecks, war vets, junkies, psychopaths, even artificial intelligences. And unless this reality is the Matrix, I can honestly say I have never been any of these things.

This is obviously going to kick it out of the sci-fi territory for a bit, but is there anything more tiring than someone setting themselves up as the lone-voice-of-reason-in-a-crazy-politically-correct-world? Finney calls back to this at the end, in his bio, where he is described as being one who “follows in the fine tradition of sci-fi novelists in that he’s a prickly son-of-a-bitch who’ll tell you exactly what’s on his mind.” And, if you’re here with me because you know me personally, or know me via Twitter, you may not know that I’m a huge nerd. I’ve spent a lot of time with other huge nerds in places where nerds congregate.3 Trust me when I say this: this is not a sci-fi novelist thing. This is a nerd thing. Anywhere you encounter nerds, you will encounter a larger percentage of “straight-talking-straight-shooting-maverick” types than you will elsewhere. It’s the conversational equivalent of a closet full of black t-shirts emblazoned with white text that proclaims how “crazy,” “insane,” or “evil” the wearer is. Whether anti-social, awkwardly-social, or trying-real-hard-to-be-Han-Solo, a good bit of nerdlings will embrace this kind of rhetoric the way they latch on to creepy Men’s Rights Activist language or Pick Up Artist language.

In the end, though, the article becomes even more tribal. Beyond even just the typical indicators of white privilege–it becomes terribly important to circle the spacewagons around the intergalactic convoy, and defend science fiction and it’s fandom from the outsiders attacking it:

So is science-fiction racist? This is sort of like asking if dreams are prejudiced. It’s not even a question. But to truly understand the discord currently raging across the spec-lit community, we need to take a hard look at what’s happening inside the Science Fiction Writer’s Association.

During the group’s election for president this year a moderately successful author named Theodore Beale ran for office. A self-described radical Christian Libertarian, Beale’s platform openly touted both his sexist and white-supremacist views. Predictably, Beale lost. Bad. Real bad. In fact, he barely achieved 9% of the vote. Then, to show everyone just what a classy guy he is, Beale exploded on Twitter, blaming his defeat on Jews, women, and “half-savages.”

Naturally, the press ate this up. Just go to Google and punch in these terms: sexist, racist, sci-fi. Be sure to wear a clean-suit because the amount of sludge you’ll be wading through is downright apocalyptic. Unfortunately, the press, just like Beale, is all too happy to portray all of us as a horde of unwashed trolls who hate women and minorities.

Why is it that a man who has been permanently expelled from the SFWA is being allowed to define a whole community’s image? Sure, he did win 9% of the vote. But guess what? According to an Associated Press poll conducted in 2012, roughly 51% of Americans were shown to harbor anti-black views. Maybe it’s time people stop waving their fingers at sci-fi writers and take a good look in the mirror. The numbers say we’re ahead of the curve. Way ahead.

So, is Beale racist? Um, shit yes. Overtly. Proudly, apparently.  This line of thinking, though? Maybe I really am getting sensitive in my old age, but I can’t help but read this as another example of “But we’re the good whites! We’re not as awful as this chinless wonder over here! Ignore the racism we’re expressing!” By positing a worse example of overt racism, people will try to absolve themselves of their own racist ideologies, or the ideologies present in their own group (in this case, science fiction authors and fandom).  Finney, too, addresses some of the problems inherent in much genre publishing directed towards a nerdier set: the fact that books not targeted towards a white, male, heterosexual audience find trouble in the marketplace. That bears out much more than his statement that the “aging white guys” of science fiction are “quantifiably less racist than the average American.”

But, hey, we can always blame the “comics press” for the shortcomings of diversity in the medium:

“As someone who has been writing high quality graphic novels with challenging stories and unique casts, I see red every time someone like Laura Hudson or Heidi MacDonald decries the lack of diversity in comics. My first thought is always, “Try opening your eyes!” There’s an entire community of talented creators who fit this criteria, yet the press won’t give them the time of day. Well, okay. Broken Frontier has been excellent about it, but hey, why do you think I chose to start writing here?”

I would have assumed it was because Comics Alliance‘s roster was full. Or perhaps cronyism is a better fit–remember, this is the site that was the last hold-out of boosterism when CrossGen was stiffing the people who created their books for them. Again, as I’ve been away from the comics internet for a while (reading mostly blogs of friends or sites like Comics Alliance), I’m not sure of the pedigree of the current crop of reviewers and columnists at the site, but I do remember in the mid-2000s that it was less a matter of other outlets not giving certain creators the “time of day,” but that the site itself consistently provided positive reviews to creators with whom the site had some kind of social or business-related connection with. At the very least, positive reviews of the column follow that same trend: it isn’t difficult to note that the first comment, praising Finney for being “willing to tackle the hard questions most journalists won’t touch” was posted by somebody with whom Finney doubly-connected–both as the co-founder of a publishing interest that carries Finney’s work, and as his spouse.

 

 

1 I maintain that the majority of stupid phrases like this that I know and use come from superhero comics. I want to say I learned this as a child from a Chris Claremont-penned issue of Uncanny X-Men.
2 Lyrics from Charlie Daniel’s “Uneasy Rider.” Really, though, I’m bald now, so I probably could have cut out the “long-haired” bit. I just had to include something like this because everything I type now requires some kind of karaoke reference.
3 So, um, the internet.





NaPoWriMo 2013 #1: A day late, and two poems short.

2 04 2013

My goal for this year: get in more than two poems in thirty days.

It’s important to set achievable goals with measured improvements over the period before. That’s what they tell me at my day job. And so it is with National Poetry Writing Month. Last year, two poems is all I could muster, because I kept getting distracted. I’m easily distracted.

This month, I hope to get out of the “start something new and then never follow through with it” thing that I tend to do. Of course, starting in late means I’m coming from behind, but that’s fine by me.

I like the chase.

Also, let’s just point to the two I actually did last year. I think both were triggered by prompts from the site linked above. I do love the idea of writing prompts, particularly within a shared group setting. It goes without saying that no two people will type the exact same thing from the same humble beginning. So, if you want to see the poem inspired by the song that was #1 on the day that I was born or the poem that was ostensibly about internet memes and the poetry of the 21st century, there you go.

And, with this post, we’re half-way towards my own personal goal. The prompt for today (well, yesterday):

Continuing with the theme of firsts, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that has the same first line as another poem.

I thought about doing a poem just made out of first lines of other poems, but then I just got distracted by reading poem after poem after poem.  That’s what I do, when it comes to reading poetry.  What I settled on, though, was poetry-as-therapy, and took my first line from Amiri Baraka’s Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note.

Don’t fret, dear friends. While I have been terribly, terribly depressed for a while, and while that plays into the poem, Baraka’s poem isn’t a cry for help, by any stretch. I mean, a twenty volume suicide note? Shit. I’d die of natural causes before I could bang out a twenty volume suicide note.  His poem, though, focuses on the forward progression from the mundane repetitiveness of modern life to the small, hopeful wonders of it.  I’m not sure where mine went, but it’s here.

………………………………

 

Lately, I’ve become accustomed to the way
my alarm clock plays Jersey Joe Walcott
to my Joe Louis, as it knocks me out
of slumber but I counter, and punish
the snooze button for fourteen rounds.

Things have come to that.

And now, each night I sing in bars
to the same weary ears, fueled by the same
weary drinks and snide comments
accompanied to the clinking of glasses.

At least the songs change.

And then, each morning, the clock
requests a rematch. A bell rings.
The room smells not of stale water
but of sand and sun and sweat.
Joe Louis becomes Theogenes

turning his head to greet the day.





Let’s forget the failure of NaPoWriMo, and begin the failure of NaNoWriMo

24 10 2012

The nice thing about being me is that I am rarely, if ever, discouraged.

Seriously, in the face of a ton of bullshit and failure, I somehow keep plugging on. I’m not sure if it’s masochism, or stubbornness, or something else entirely. Currently, I’m working extremely long days in a job I do not find particularly satisfying, and my free time is spent mostly in bars, singing karaoke.

Poorly.

Still, every once in a while–a very rare once in a while at that–I get in a creative mood. Recently, I thought I’d put my efforts into a revision on the anti-bullying campaigns using Frantz Fanon’s writing as an inspiration, but I don’t think I have enough social media traction to really get that message out there. But then I remembered that November is almost upon us.

November. Oh, I hate you November.

Y’see, November is also National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. I’ve attempted this twice. I’ve failed at this twice. November is just never a good time for me. Either I’m working full-time and going to graduate school full time, or I’m in the process of getting divorced, or I’m… well, the me of the present, with important obligations like work and drinking and making terrible decisions.

Like the one I’m making right now: I’m going to give it a shot again.

Here’s the thing. When it comes to writing, I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist. I won’t say I agonize over the process. There is no sitting in chair-shifting discomfort when trying to come up with a pleasing way of putting one word in front of another. That’s the part that comes naturally. My problem, and I recognize it fully, is that I really do lack the work ethic needed to pull off 50,000 words in thirty days. That, and I think too much.

So, here’s my commitment. Work ethic! Less thinking! More writing! No free time at all!

I think my failing–well, one of my failings–the last time I attempted an endeavor like this was that I was trying something wholly new for me.  I had recently gotten out of my “all genre fiction is terrible!” stance by way of Raymond Chandler, which put me into my current “most genre fiction is bad” stance.

And, let’s face it–most of it is.

Even though I had a fairly interesting conceit, I still had nothing to bring to the detective fiction story. It wasn’t a story for me to tell, at the time, and that’s a shame. It was a promising concept. I may revisit it someday. The real problem, though, was that it wasn’t real enough. I couldn’t fully invest myself into it because it just felt like… typing clever words. Not writing. I was saying things without actually saying anything.

And that, in a nutshell, is my problem with writing genre fiction. It’s not effortless for me like it is for people really invested in fantasy, or mystery, or science fiction. It’s not my default state. Working at it is more work than I could commit to for a thirty-day project where the only real goal is completion. It’s a time where a writer “[values] enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft.”  It’s doing a shitty first draft with a cheering section.

Be my cheering section, internet. I’m going to need it.

Surprising no one, this novel will deal with karaoke. Fortunately, I’ve only read one karaoke novel (Adventures of the Karaoke King, by Harold Taw), and that’s not the kind of thing I plan on writing, which means I will hopefully tread some new ground with the concept. And I can credit my friend Bret Taylor with unintentionally inspiring the whole direction I’m taking with one snarky tweet:

If you’re writing about karaoke, wouldn’t it be best to just rewrite someone else’s book?

Yes, Bret. Yes it would. However, that’s not entirely what I’m going to do, because my least favorite karaoke singer is the singer who only sings one song, who never steps from outside of his comfort zone–be it “Mack the Knife” or “The Battle of New Orleans.”  On any given night, my ideal karaoke singer has Digital Underground, Living Colour, the Who, the Pixies, and Frank Sinatra all cued up and ready to go.  Instead of taking the form of a novel as a guiding shape, I’m going to take chapters from novels as my beginning and end points of each section.

Yes, The Great Gatsby will make an appearance.

Yes, I’m predictable.

I’m also stepping out of my comfort zone by not writing thinly-veiled fact and calling it fiction. That really would be the easiest thing for me to do, as a writer and as a karaoke person in a small town. Any karaoke person in a small town can tell you that a group of karaoke regulars is often worse than any daytime soap opera in terms of melodrama.

NEXT WEEK, ON DRUNKEN BAR SINGING: THIS GUY SINGS THIS, AND THOSE TWO HAVE SEX IN THE PARKING LOT EVEN THOUGH THEY HATE EACH OTHER AND WILL LIKELY REGRET IT BY THE NEXT WEEK, AND THAT BITCH TOTALLY STOLE “MY” SONG WHO DOES SHE THINK SHE IS ANYWAY JUST BECAUSE SHE LOOKS LIKE ADELE DOESN’T MEAN SHE CAN SING LIKE HER.

*Ahem.*

So, while there is always a ton of material to mine from that milieu, I am actually going to refrain from using anything specific like that from my neck of the woods. Really, the only thing I’m taking from real-life are assorted theories and maxims related to karaoke itself.  I have no characters yet. I have no plot. I probably won’t have a plot, even though having a laid out plot roughed out over the next few days would make the process technically easier.

Then again, who needs easy?

Like most karaoke nights, it’ll be a hot mess. But it’ll be my hot mess and, hopefully, it’ll be fun.

 





Long Political Post–Blogging Back From the Dead

3 10 2012

Hi! Remember me? I sometimes blog! Rarely! But sometimes, I have something to say.

This one is political and rant-y, so, you know, if you don’t like political and rant-y, there are awesome poetry and karaoke stories below.

A friend of mine on Twitter re-tweeted something somebody wrote:

Tonight’s #DebateDenver is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter who is elected, control of the U.S. has been taken from the people.#NDAAruling

Ok. I’ll be honest. I’m probably skipping the debate tonight. I’ll catch the highlights tomorrow, I’m sure. Maybe I’ll DVR it. Maybe I’ll just read about it. But you know what? I’m invested in it. Why? Because the things that happen in our country are important. They affect each and every citizen to some extent. Regardless of whether the candidates are likable, or were the best choices out of the primary choices (hello, Ron Paul supporters!), the outcome of this election season matters. If you know me, you already know who I’m voting for. If you don’t know  me–well, it’s weird that you got here, but hello strangers–you can probably guess because I have a blog, a Twitter, a Facebook, and I use big words sometimes (and can actually define them without looking them up, usually).

Regardless of who I am voting for, though–the quoted tweet bothers me. And here’s why: “control of the U.S. has been taken from the people.”

Maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe that’s a great thing. Now, don’t get me wrong–I was happy that my state did something not stupid for a change, and got rid of the Voter ID law because, let’s face it, it was a partisan piece of legislature designed to affect a specific and sizable portion of the opponent’s likely voters (students, people of color, etc). At the same time, though, the idea of democracy has been starting to bother me of late. Why?

The American public, by and large, are a bunch of fucking morons.

Let me just point a few things out:

Because we’re divided by what is effectively a two-party system, politics have become like a professional sports rivalry.  Regardless of what an individual believes, when we decide to vote based on a few key issues, it becomes a matter of team drawing, and we’re more likely to start defending things we don’t agree with just to make sure we’re Good! Team! Players! For example, in my experience:

  • Conservatives tend to believe that abortion is wrong and that there should be no choice in the matter, but the death penalty is right.
  • Liberals tend to believe that abortion is a matter of choice, not right and wrong, and the death penalty is wrong and should be abolished.

I fail to see the logical consistency in either of these positions, but maybe that’s just me. If the underlying premise is that life is a sacred thing from God and all babies should be borned, then all prisoners shouldn’t be… deaded either. On the flip side, if there are situations where it is acceptable for a life to be terminated, why would we draw the line at just babies and not horrible mass-raping-and-murdering cockmonsters?

But maybe I’m just all crazy and pro-death. Aside from that, though:

The American public, by and large, are a bunch of fucking morons.

I could go into our educational system, and how the fact that we spend a criminally tiny amount, as a country, making sure we remain on top of our game. Investing in our own talent pool is something, I think, any rational person on any side of the political spectrum can agree with, because investing in ourselves is a great, great thing and yay us and woo. Then again, you don’t want to invest in shit, right, which leads us right back to the refrain:

The American public, by and large, are a bunch of fucking morons.

We lionize stupidity. We have made Honey Boo Boo a star. People are looked at funny, or called elitist, for reading. Reading! Remember that Bill Hicks bit?

You know I’ve noticed a certain anti-intellectualism going around this country ever since around 1980, coincidentally enough. I was in Nashville, Tennessee last weekend and after the show I went to a waffle house and I’m sitting there and I’m eating and reading a book. I don’t know anybody, I’m alone, I’m eating and I’m reading a book. This waitress comes over to me (mocks chewing gum) ‘what you readin’ for?’…wow, I’ve never been asked that; not ‘What am I reading’, ‘What am I reading for?’ Well, goddamnit, you stumped me…I guess I read for a lot of reasons — the main one is so I don’t end up being a fuckin’ waffle waitress. Yeah, that would be pretty high on the list. Then this trucker in the booth next to me gets up, stands over me and says [mocks Southern drawl] ‘Well, looks like we got ourselves a readah’…aahh, what the fuck’s goin’ on? It’s like I walked into a Klan rally in a Boy George costume or something. Am I stepping out of some intellectual closet here? I read, there I said it. I feel better.

Still true to this day.

But it’s more than just a lack of cultural education and what people do to entertain themselves.  Ohio is a state where 6% of residents think the Governor of Massachusetts had more to do with the death of Osama Bin Laden than the sitting President, and 31% just weren’t sure.  Why? Probably one of two reasons:

1. Strict, firm political bias.
2. Pure stupidity.

Maybe both. Who knows? Again, my theory is:

The American public, by and large, are a bunch of fucking morons.

We are a passionate people, though. You’ve got to give us that. We are way into the things we are into. With zeal. With fervor. With conviction. And we are into those things regardless of whether or not they make any sense. Why? Because we believe. We are believers. Most believe in God. Some believe in Science so much that Science becomes their God. Gatsby believed in the green light, but we’re not talking about him now, even if the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us seems to be receding faster.

This isn’t about religion. You love God? More power to you. You’re an atheist? Cool. Me too, sort of, but that’s a story for another time. Still, atheists? 99.9% of all atheists I’ve encountered are just as–if not more so–more religious than the believers they mock.

True story.

I don’t care what you believe. I just care that you think. Think about what you are saying. Think about what you are doing. Think about what might happen if you do it. Just, you know, think. Reason. Question. Experiment. I get that you’re angry, conservatives and liberals alike. I get it. I love a good dog-pile as much as the next guy. And I’m for the debate. I don’t mind that, in my opinion, some people are just wrong-wrong-wrongity-wrong. But I’d rather they be wrong-wrong-wrongity-wrong from an informed, reasoned opinion, rather than because they saw some ridiculous shit on Facebook about Obama being sworn in on a Koran rather than a Bible. And I know some of you wrong-wrong-wrongity-wrong people are doing just that. It’s just that there’s very few of you. And some of the right-right-rightity-right people  are doing just that. It’s just that there are very few of them. Why?

The American public, by and large, are a bunch of fucking morons.

And I’m probably one of them, considering I spent all this time typing this. And you’re probably one of them, because you sat and read my typings. But, to reward you, a YouTube link of Bad Religion’s “I Want to Conquer the World.” You have to love a punk band whose frontman has a PhD. in zoology.





NaPoWriMo#2: I Can Haz Pome?

3 04 2012

Writing poetry about poetry. How dreadfully “meta.” The genesis for this: NaPoWriMo itself, looking up Billy Collin’s “Litany” yesterday, pronouncing “LOL” out loud and hearing “Lowell,” and 20% of the messages that leave and enter my Android.

Looking it over, I kind of feel like an old poetry codger, yelling at kids to hike up their pants and get off my internet.

……………

I Can Haz Pome?

The apparition of rage faces in the crowd,
smudges on a super AMOLED screen.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the internet,
that I am the face of challenge accepted.

Imagine a world where we send
poems through our smartphones
instead of:

misspelled words in Arial Black
superimposed on pictures of cats

snide rejoinders in Gill sans light
decorating antique graphics in pastel

and pictures of our genitals
sent  in a whiskey-blind haze

Imagine a world where we write
poems on our smartphones
and bar napkins
and notebooks
and the bathroom walls
and we whisper or shout
love and lust and confessions
instead of typing them one thumbed
and regretting them once
our nightstands shudder
come morning.

If you say “lol” fast enough,
confessional poetry will erupt.

But don’t worry, I’m not the no face.
You are still the no face.
You will always be the no face,
not to mention true story and–somehow–so close.

If we see the light at the end of the tunnel,
it’s the light of the oncoming train,
but if we see twinkling in the modern night
its no star, but a blinking LED notifying us
that out there, somewhere else in the night
(or just across the table at the bar)
that someone, somehow
said something silently, made
a small face, reached out in a way
that was not a poem.





NaPoWriMo #1: My Sharona

3 04 2012

I guess it’s time to dip my toes in. It’s been, well, a really long time since I’ve written poetry, so I am going to go with the prompt for today that was posted on the NaPoWriMo site, and  will do “a poem inspired by the song that was #1 on the day that you were born.”

For the record, the #1 song on 31 August 1979 was “My Sharona” by the Knack, a song I have sung at karaoke strictly because of the fact that it was the #1 song on the day I fell out of my mother. I have recently heard it on oldies stations. If, by some strange reason, you have never heard “My Sharona,” it breaks down like this: Opening chords make people approaching middle age dance. 25 year old guy in the Knack has a thing for a 17 year old girl. A 64 measure break for karaoke singers needing a pee break. My my my i yi woo.

Thirty three years later, she’s a high end real estate agent, he’s dead, and I have a poem I kind of like.

…………………………………….

Sharona is not a nymph,
the way that a photo of a home
(landscaped lot, inground pool)
is not somewhere you can sleep
or cool yourself off and escape
Los Angeles traffic and heat.

The photo is the promise
that by spending three million
you, too, could escape
Los Angeles traffic and heat
and choose one of four bedrooms
to dream new, more affluent dreams.

Her photo is the promise:
white tank top, braless, hair
hiding her eyes in shadow,
the high waist of her tight jeans
the only sign on the 7″  sleeve
that makes the moment then, not now.

Is it just a matter of time, Sharona?
Neither the world nor love is young.
It’s hard to find a 7″ single these days.
I heard you on an oldies station
wedged between station identification
and a song I imagine you once danced to.

Still, there will always be a guy writing poems,
or crafting songs for someone younger than he.
Maybe Sharona is a nymph–muses were nymphs too.
That’s where time stops. That is the photo.

The song is the photo.
Sharona sells real estate.





National Poetry Writing Month.

2 04 2012

I’m the type of guy who likes to start things and leave them unfinished. This blog, for example. Work things. Relationships. Pretty much the only thing I’m guaranteed to finish is a drink.

Let’s see if I can fix that in this, the cruellest month.

My friend Hannibal reminded me of National Poetry Writing Month. It’s a lot like National Novel Writing Month, except for the difference of format and no publishing deal, to my knowledge.

So, this is how I hope it goes down: I bang out thirty poems in thirty days (already a day behind! Par for the course!) and maybe that will prompt me to get in the habit of posting things more than once a never.

No poetry yet, but check out Hannibal’s Trayvon Martin poem that he kicked April off with.

 








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.