Archive for January, 2007


“So it was pretty early and I wanted to get some stuff for when I was having you guys over later, so I put on my coat over my nightgown and I put my hat on too—you know my [black felt cowboy] hat?— and I drove down to the the store and [ex-boyfriend] Billy was there working the cash register, and he was wearing, you know that hat he always wears? that train engineer hat? Well he looked at me and said ‘where’s your horse?’ and I was so tired I said something dumb like ‘oh it’s outside’ or something like that. But if I had been thinking I would have said ‘same place as your train.’ There were a bunch of people standing around. It would have been perfect.”

close shaves with mortality

I felt a funeral on my chin—
A razor, to and fro,
Kept shaving, shaving, till it seemed
The skin was breaking through.

Then, shaving cream depleted,
A faucet like a gun
Kept rinsing, rinsing, till I thought
My hand was going numb.

And then I felt it lift the blade,
And scrape across my lip
With those same teeth of steel again.
My face began to drip

As all the heavens were a bowl,
And shaving but a tear,
And my complexion a disgrace,
Wrecked, solitary, here.

the medium is the mess

“That’s CBS evening news for this Friday. I hope you all have a safe weekend. I’ll see you back here Monday night. Good night everyone!”

[We see our hero, sprawled on the couch, trying to balance a bowl of spaghetti on his chest while winding gobs of it onto his fork. Theme music swells from the television set. He reaches for the remote control.]

“Oh honey, let me get you a napkin!”

[Our hero looks up, wide-eyed.]

“Katie Couric?”

“I know I usually stay in the TV set and everything, but I couldn’t help noticing—you’re going to ruin that fleece if you don’t get that tomato sauce off it.”

[It is Katie Couric!]

“How…how did you get here?”

“Oh honey, you don’t think I could just stay in there and see you live like this? I really care about you! Here—”

[Katie Couric hands our hero a paper towel.]

“Wow, I—well, I didn’t know you could just step into my living room like that!”

“Yeah, I know. People think that television personalities are just characters on a screen. They don’t think we know what goes on outside, but we do.”

“I just—I didn’t know it worked that way.”

“I care about all my viewers. Every single one of them.”

“Yeah—wow. I guess that’s why you always sound so motherly and concerned, huh? Hey—what are you doing?!”

“I just thought you’d like me to put that in a glass for you. There you go sweetie.”

“Uh…thanks. So, like, you’ve been watching me all this time? You mean every time I turn on the television set you can see me too?”

“We’re not trying to pry honey. That’s just the way it is with live television. We just want to make sure you’re OK.”

“So all the other news anchors—”

“They can see you too.”

“Even the ones on PBS?” Maybe that’s why they look so tired…

“We all can. But we’re not trying to be invasive. I wouldn’t have said anything except you really have to be careful with tomato sauce, especially on the furniture. You know, you might want to eat this at the table first and then watch TV after.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right. Thanks.”

“I’m going to go along now honey. Just remember to use a little warm water and soap on that vest.”

“I will. See you.”

“Bye sweetie.”

[Katie Couric climbs back into the television, stepping around an entertainment news host. Our hero changes the channel, then gets up for seconds and another beer.]

dysenterysted regulators?


TO: California Growers Assoc.
FROM: Western Civilization
SUBJECT: “Good Agricultural Practices

1. TP
2. Flush
3. Wash hands
4. No pets

And repeat.

I think, therefore

Iambic penthouse! Let me in your rooms
To soil your carpets with my piles of words,
And irrigate your sofas with my herds
Of periods and, from their fertile wombs,
Quotations, semi-colons, question marks—
Each one a-suckle at the foul milk
Of hubris, angst, pretension, and their ilk.
Hey! Knock-knock! At your door a poem barks!
Or moos, or squawks—whatever poems do.
It craves the luscious clarity within—
Suave diction smeared with pentametric glue—
That lets a poem rise above the din
Of this prose-aic, nether-wordly stew.
You can’t refuse! Now come invite me in.

(Thanks to my Christmas present.)


We interrupt this program to bring exciting news from the Midwest.* Apparently aliens visited O’Hare airport in early November. To their credit, however, they didn’t stop.

Think that’s strange? You’re not alone, but many Americans are preparing for even stranger: a recent poll showed that 25% of us believe 2007 will be the year of the second coming of Christ. This is slightly fewer than the 35% who believe the U.S. government will reinstate the draft within the next twelve months.

The only thing scarier than aliens and the government are Americans themselves.

(*The CPS acknowledges that this could be oxymoronic. We were just trying to be funny.)