messed up people

cta wtf

hey
go fighting irish
hahaha

you were crazy last night
you were falling all over the place, and then when I
like
fell into you

no, it was that second place we were at

you were so gone
I mean
not that I wasn’t

we should do a cleanse

I said we should do a cleanse

it will
like
detox all the alcohol

 

ladies and gentlemen
it’s a beautiful day today
I want to share with you my purpose from god

 

no, it’s bad to have all of that sit
like
in your liver
a cleanse would just make us
like
free of all the

what

yeah
rachel was talking a lot of stupid shit last night

haha
oh my god
what a bitch

 

you see
I had a mom who wasn’t there
and not because she couldn’t
but the way we was doing things weren’t all right
I’m going to do better
I’m going to make some revenues with entertainment
not sell drugs
not anymore
you see people
I’ve been to jail
but I’m on the comeup now baby
this is it
you know a lot of people don’t know god
god told me that I was an entertainer
so that’s what I’m going to give you blessed people

 

no she didn’t
oh my god
she would

well you heard that thing she did with Brian
right

yeah
she

no it’s some guy
he just got on the subway

I don’t know
he’s
like
whatever…

 

everybodys got a purpose
you feel me
and my purpose is to be in the entertainment business
god has a plan for me
my gifts will bring huge
uh
economic revenues
so listen
let me start-it-off for you here…

 


that’s just how rachel is
she’s always like that
her parents give her everything
and she still complains about working
like
two days a week

I know right

because when I say something about it
she’s gotta be all…

 

*boomboomboom click*
started with noth’en
*boomboomboom click*
ain’t got mon
ey
*boomboomboom click*
but now I entertain
*boomboomboom click*
cuz god told
me
*boomboomboom click*
I’m gunna be famous
*boomboomboom click*
ain’t gunna be
poor
*boomboomboom click*
mak’en that money
*boomboomboom click*
ain’t sling’en no
more

 

so
are you going to that thing tonight at rachel’s
I mean…

 

*boomboomboom click*
cuz god gave me a
plan

 

her parents are like out of town and…

yeah she’s a bitch
but…

I dunno
I’m still going…

oh
I dunno
he’s like crazy or something
he’s banging on the windows…

 

*boomboomboom click*
and now I’ma righteous
man

 


yeah
he’s black

I dunno
people are trying to
like
ignore him

 

*boomboomboom click*

 


I know
some people just don’t care

 

*boomboomboom click*

 


totally
there’s some messed up people in this world

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Beat Down

How fitting
That the printer
Beats
To a time of 5/4;
The most savage
Of rhythms.

Between the Lines

As you were describing the novel

plot and symbolism
character dispositions,
rising and falling
actions
twists and turns in
theme, setting, time
line for line

your friend

lifelong chum
whose booze-
breath babbles
but can still saddle a
stallion sentence

interrupted you

hurdling himself
to the middle of
the mute in
your mouth
between words

to laugh and say, “ha that’s clever”

never  can your momentum
find its way back
now that the conversation
lost its slack

because he didn’t understand you

intelligence
is social currency
you mustn’t act cheap

And now three years later

three years packed into
the empty space between
the lines of this poem

when you think about that novel

infrequent but happens
time to time

you ponder what significance

a different denomination
of social currency

your friend understood in that one part

understood an
overstatement

What clever irony

the currency
of past
prospects

eluded you,

our poetic protagonist

you thought

infrequent but happens
time to time

,that your friend realized secondhand

he was always able to read
between the lines

Note #2

Religion, politics, psychology, education, cultural theory, philosophy – people who devote their lives to the study of these topics sometimes feel like they are studying the cement of humanity; the discipline to rule them all. But humanity isn’t a paved road with one cement that binds us. It’s a mixed media sculpture, with super glue, sticky tack, duct tape, cement and nails.

Buckminster Fuller once said that “the universe is non-simultaneously apprehended.” So, to the intellectuals, mystics and self-proclaimed profits who think they understand, who think their life’s devotion is the best way, who think they hold THE key, just remember it won’t fit in every door.

How to Get Good at Anything

Manuscripts, like muscles,
need rest to build.

Yet, the breath and the body
only hone when willed.

The breach between beauty
and the ugly, unskilled

is the distance from deprecation
to a glass half filled.

Talents lackluster / talents that glisten =
talents laid down / much repetition.

Those who succeed are those who are smitten
by the love of the language no matter who listens.

Dust

…other people.
They are
The city.

The city is
A person forest.

The city park
Bench
Marks
A person for est.

The city is
An (est)imation
Of
A nation.

People concentrate hard
When not
At parks.

The city washes blood
Red hands of
White collar crimes on
Blue collar backs.

The city
Evokes in me
The cliché,
Which is itself
A cliché
Now
To call
Something a
Cliché.

The city is
The common man –
Home from work,
Covered in filth,
Pours a drink,
Sits down to unwind:
Wound up
From drinking
At the filth
Of Work.
Work.
Work.*
Work.
Work. [1]

(*Driving to Wednesday work
Following a marineairforcearmynavy
Semper fidelis veteran:

I hate his truck,
And bumper labels
(adhesive fables),
And I think all American veterans
Are pathetic,
Because any child
Born under the sun
With a magnifying glass
Can burn ants.

I hate him as he
Leaves, turning
Left under
Leaves that
Left tombstones shadowed.

Living domestic partnerships
With drugstore flags,
The tombstones told tales
Of domestic abuse.

Realization shot,
And now
I hate myself
For hating him.

I hate people
That I barely know.

I hate myself
For writing poetry,
And for thinking
Poetry is art,
And for thinking I’m an artist
Because I say Poetry
Isn’t art,
And for thinking I’m making
An artistic statement
By saying I hate myself
For thinking I’m an artist
Based on my realization
Of thinking I’m an artist
For claiming poetry
Is not art
Ironically
In a poem,
And so on.

But I don’t hate hate.

Love
Is the (square) root
Of all hate.
Hate
Is the product of multiplying
Love against itself,
And fear is a factorial!)

1. Sometimes I happen upon ideas within my head that I think are marvelous, and I instantly sit down to work these ideas out into art, or craftsmanship, or utility, or for no reason but compulsion. But as I get through the work, I realize that the whole idea was fleeting and broken into pieces not fully materialized.

The meat of the work comes out instantly, because it was given to me in insight, in epiphany, and the completion of the rest will rely on a substantial amount of personal energy and commitment. So now the work gets abandoned, neglected, and every return meets me with another layer of dust, until the idea is unrecognizable. I might come back and try to complete it, but it won’t measure up to my original vision.

I don’t know… these are no more than just pixels on a screen, right?

And oh ya: Sartre something or other, blah blah, because hell is…

Butchers

The working class

Are butchers

Carving pork butt,

Forever trying

To make ends meat.

Social Etiquette

At the party,
you’re shoved into a room
because your feet keep pushing you around,
because they’re bossy and without direction,
because they realize that, without them,
you would never stand up for yourself.

The room has nothing for you,
and you,
nothing for it.

The only other organisms
are sewn into the bushel of beige carpet
and nestled under the rims of beer bottles,
solidified in cells of saliva.

Your feet push toward the hall
when another organism,
similar in size,
froths forward into the room
by the same footy misfortune.

You hesitate departure,
pretending your placement has purpose,
only to clear your throat
and let out a single interested hum,
looking at pictures on the wall
as if you’re still the only one:
a compulsive fidget of acknowledgement,
impersonal, impassive and indirect –
like being thirteen and uncomfortably shifting
your position on the couch
while watching a sex scene
in a movie
with your parents.

Turn to leave again,
orphaning your bottle
to its brethren.

Make eyes for the first time,
raise brows,
half smile,
as not to be rude.
Leave.

“Homeless in Sacramento”

harpers-march-2011

This is a poem I wrote based on the March 2011 feature article in Harper’s Magazine. The poem and the article go by the same name.

“Homeless in Sacramento”

I wander the streets, looking for pieces of copper and silver;
I can eat as long as change remains the only constant.
Although,
There’s often more change in my life than in my pocket,
Because the currency of change is predetermined by possessions.

And have very little.

No abode with a basement…
No permanent placement…
Consequently my circumstances change constantly.

Even the constellations, which I myself will arrange
Into figures I’ve fashioned – some normal, some strange –
That broaden my roof to an infinite range
Change:
Perceivably one degree west every night.

There is but one quality I envy in such physical laws:
Stability.
Unfortunately,
State laws imitate the inconsistent chaos of homelessness;
Their similarity in polarity causes forces between them to repel.
– The forces of a place to sleep –
– The forces of helpful humanitarians –
– The forces of a decent meal –
All are repelled by laws administered by a force known as ‘police’.

Until their law coincides with physical law
I will always be a victim of change.

 

The Zen Paradox

(a short essay)

Eastern philosophies have always concerned themselves with paradox. From Buddhism, to Zen, to Taoism, to Hinduism, the perception of paradox lies outside of mere observation and encompasses almost a loose dogma in which paradox becomes a sort of “WWJD” for life’s dilemmas. Ethical questions are answered with contradictions, and absurdity becomes the basis for understanding reason. A question might be answered with a paradox or enigma to get the asker to un-think the initial question; a casual undoing of thought. One of the most well-known examples of this was when a monk asked Dongshan Shouchu – an ancient Chinese Zen teacher – what the Buddha was. Dongshan replied, “This flax weighs three pounds.” However, with the emphasis of paradox and contradiction in Eastern philosophy, these philosophies have become the embodiment of paradox themselves. Here is why:

Although several differences exist between these Eastern schools of philosophical thought, there is an underlying cement that binds them all together. This is the notion of “oneness.” Nearly every Eastern philosophy pushes this idea that individuality and separateness are illusions; that the universe – a word derived from the Old Latin “unus,” meaning ‘one’ – is a singular organism. As Alan Watts put it, “For ‘you’ is the universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points that come and go so that the vision is forever new.” Or Aleister Crowley, “The universe is the Practical Joke of the General at the expense of the Particular.”

Many Eastern philosophies pave a spiritual path to enlightenment. This is especially true in the case of Zen Buddhism. If one fully realizes the teachings of the creed, he or she can become “enlightened.” Enlightenment is to be one of the highest attainments of life’s journey. This sets up a very obvious dichotomy between the enlightened and the unenlightened.

Now here is the paradox: Why concern yourself with the individual enlightenment of people if you believe the universe and everything in it to be one? If everything in existence is the embodiment of one breath, one process that works as a whole and doesn’t contain individual pieces, doesn’t the preoccupation with getting the illusionary pieces of this whole realize their innate reality sound ridiculous? If everything is one, then getting people to realize this becomes arbitrary, because that would be to define people as individual, the very concept you attempt to dispel. Thus, all philosophies that teach the “oneness” of the universe contradict themselves by supposing that there are individuals that need to be taught.

Disclaimer: I do not intend to claim that Eastern philosophies are ‘wrong’ in their beliefs. As an old Taoist poet once said, “the conflict between right and wrong is the sickness of the mind.”