Thursday, August 31, 2006


"Stitches" is back in revision. I don't know why I feel I must make it shine. I polish and polish again; every revision makes it prettier. The last time I messed with it, I created a fourth and fifth character to help populate the book. Now, I polish what they say, and I fix a section that's irritated me for years. "Stitches" was halfway written in a single sitting; that was over six years ago. The story and theme stay with me through all artistic ebb and flow in my thoughts. Something about the black tower calls me back, just like it called back Stitches. I need to forget the struggles of the patchwork Stitches for another project. I like the appeal of The Philosophy of the Monster. I strain to express myself, no matter how unsuccessful effort after effort proves to be.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Play Golf Without A Driver

Play golf without a driver;
Just try it and you'll see.
The virtues of the iron
My Uncle taught to me.

A ball played off the fairway
Is better than the water.
A straight ball gives much more
Than ten more yards can offer.

Don't get me wrong, he owns one
And curses at the thing.
Don't play if it's not fun,
Or overthink your swing.

So next time when you hook one
With a driver in yourhand,
Remember straight beats distance,
And try to miss the sand.

My Uncle is straightforward:
He uses friendly tools.
A lower score is better;
The rest is for the fools.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Book Shopping

I just went book shopping with my cousins here in Bellingham, Washington. We had a good ole time at a nearby used book store. Sixty dollars later, we had quite a few books for one of my cousins, a few nonfiction books with lots of pictures for a younger cousin, and some Aristotle for the last cousin. If you want to succeed at an essay test, know a bit of the subject matter at hand and a lot of Aristotle; you'll be all set to write well in a pleasing, academic style. Aristotle is demonstrably wrong about many of his conclusions, but his approach to making those conclusions is still potent and worth studying.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Friday, August 25, 2006

Barbeque Bigot

Some people like to call me a bigot. I've even heard it from a few people I call friends. I contend that the only bigotry in my psyche is over barbeque. I like Texas style. Grilling and charcoal don't count. I like my grilled meats, but I love my Barbeque. Texas style barbeque is beef brisket, beef sausage, and pork ribs in that order of importance. The key to Texas barbeque is the smoke. In Texas, when you want some barbeque, you go to the local barbeque joint where it's served on butcher paper with white bread or crackers. Some of the joints have sides and some don't. Basically, you take inedibly tough meat like brisket or shoulder, or maybe some meat that's questionably old, and you smoke it for twelve hours or so. What's left at the end is Texas barbeque. Some people like sauce, and some people don't. Personally, I prefer to not rely on sauce; it's more challenging to cook meat without it. If the barbeque isn't very good, pass me the sauce!

A quick note on sauce: I'll eat it if I like it. Vinegar, tomato, sweet, I don't really care what it is, so long as it's good. Kraft counts as good sometimes. It's better than most other brands; I add extra heat. Barbeque isn't about sauce, it's about meat.

If Texas style barbeque sounds like a meat market more than a restaurant, that's because it is. Restaurants serve steaks. Barbecue joints serve brisket. Up here in Maryland, you can't get good barbeque. It's all grilling, saucing, faux 'que. It's ok, I guess, but I tend to smother it with sauce. Some restaurants serve real smoked meat in the beginning, but by the time the restaurant catches on, they start cooking it in higher heat for faster preparation. They'll insist that the meat is smoked, and maybe it is. However, they don't tell you that it's smoked in an hour or less. Now, I just get fried fish and brunswick stew. I like fish. I like brunswick stew. It's not barbeque, but at least it's better than white ribs cooked too damn quick. I've even come to the point where I rate the restaurants around here on their brunswick stew. I still long for butcher paper and good, slow brisket.

Maryland has an interesting custom for eating crabs. They're served on butcher paper and in crates, and eaten with fingers and wooden mallets. I respect the crab; it's a lot like home. Unfortunately, they won't take the same care with the beef, and I'm not a big fan of crab.

For now, I get whatever is around. If I resign myself to catfish and brunswick stew, I don't get too upset with what they serve me. I need to go back to Austin sometime, if only for the meat.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Writing More

I'm trying to write more. That includes correspondance and this blog. Raising one's daily word count is good for all developing writers. For a while, I put everything on what I call the Keats scale. It took him ten years to develop as a poet: that's the fastest I know for any major English poet. I'm hopelessly behind right now, but I have ambitions to close the gap between myself and the Keats Scale. The only way to pursue those ambitions is to simply write more, and write more vigorously.

I'm going to see a singer and songwriter I met last week sing later on today. Check her out at; her songs are great, and her voice fits her songs nicely. I've always envied singers; I can't carry a tune in a bucket, but that's another story for another day. Expect more out of this blog, and be sure I'm writing more aside from it, too.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

200th Post

Why do I repeat myself? I can everything. Most of my remarks and my speech are pre-prepared to meet future occasions. Believe it or not, I would repeat myself even more if I didn't try to mix it up beforehand. I don't have the memory that I used to; my disease and my medications changed all that. I find myself in similar situations all the time, so my anecdotes become circular. I don't like the way my mind works anymore; I do my best to replicate what I was before, but I just keep failing miserably. I tried being more spontaneous, but all that ends up doing for me is guaranteeing silence out of my voice, and even less socialization than I manage now. If I can't speak, the choir just sings louder, and Prester Bane finds more opportunities to instruct me. Needless to say, I don't want that.

So I'm left with very few options. The most genuine would be to remain quiet, but that leaves me with no companionship aside from the Choir and Prester Bane. The other major option is to manufacture statements ahead of time and practice them. It's hard to be a Monster full-time, so I often resort to the canned, smiling jackass familiar to the few of you who know me outside the written word. Don't feed me a line of bull about how much you genuinely like me. Everyone who knows the Monster prefers the jackass; that's the truth.

There's nothing I want more than to establish myself in the written word. It gives me the time and the opportunity to say things as I wish them to be said. I wish I could touch people with this blog and my poems, but I know that option is closed. I type to a brick wall. My options are the Monster and the smiling, loudmouthed jackass; there is no third.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Take Honesty away
And put it with good taste.
The end is the beginning
And nothing ever changes.

Does it?

Too many smiles for you
Never answered in truth.
Can't you see me struggle
With open arms and closed eyes

To shout?

Every moment was yours!
Every whisper of you,
Every line screamed my love!
Every rhyme was a promise!

I lost

To Time. Bad fortune swept
Too quickly over levees
I made out of doubt.
I thought that I was safe.

I wasn't.

So now as I return,
Those doubting levees stress
Beneath the weight of Hope
I never want to lose.

So what?

I grapple with decisions
As days, they pass me by.
But this . . . this moment means
That I have changed somehow

With time.

I saw that I don't want
Your sparkle in my sight.
My new hope isn't yours
I finally decided

I'm done.

Let Hope spring from the ground
In someone I just met:
Someone else to shine
The Apple of My Eye


Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Beast From The East or The Siberian Paper Tiger?

In a little more than a month, we'll get to see Nicolay Valuev fight on American television for the first time. All we have to go by right now is his impressive record of 44 wins, no losses, but only 32 knockouts. How a seven foot tall, three hundred twenty-five pound fighter can't end all his fights with anything less than a medical emergency is beyond me. This guy is massive muscles and not much else. For example, the smaller fighter below, John Ruiz, weighs 240 pounds.

Some fighters just can't punch. The same 240 pound fighter above was knocked out in 19 seconds by David Tua. Valuev managed to prod and lean on Ruiz for a hometown, majority decision. For now, I'll lean towards Paper Tiger; he has to show me something on October 7 if he wants more esteem.


I apologize for misrepresenting John Ruiz's record; he's only been stopped once, and never fought Michael Moorer. I've deleted the erroneous comments.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I've gone to Church for a few weeks. I don't fit in well there, but it's closer than most other places. I started going to a small group meeting Friday nights, but I attended the past two Sundays' services. I even got the Eucharist. The Church I attend allows each individual believer to decide the meaning of both forms; I'm a Transubstantiation guy. So far, the small group puts up with me. A few months observing my monstrosity is usually enough for anyone, so we'll see how long the good will lasts. I leave a good first impression on most people, but when I let them into the deep waters of my life for an extended period of time, everyone drowns. I will cling and struggle to hold on, but I will eventually wind up alone at the bottom of my watery lair. That might not sound fair to those that know me, but there's enough evidence to support the Philosophy of The Monster in this blog alone. Count the words between flurries of responses. Count the friends that no longer speak to me. Think of our last communication; no one lasts six months. Don't give me garbage about a self-fulfilling prophecy; the truth is undeniable. The facts speak for themselves, just like this silence. I'm not alone in torture, but I'm alone in mine.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Quartey won that fight. I'm beside myself. I hate it when judges steal a fight, especially when it looks like favoritism for the American fighter. This isn't Germany; I hope we stop with the bogus decisions. We don't need a Sven Otthke in the U.S.A. Sure, Vernon Forrest threw a lot of punches, but he didn't land hardly any. I'm disgusted. Tonight, Ghana should celebrate, and we should hang our heads.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Prowling With The Monster

I'm prowling with The Monster
To make my large sounds small.
With footsteps barely heard,
No prey can know our presence.
Every Midnight shocks me
Although each night's the same.
I own my poet's toolbox;
My letters form old stories.
But verses, oh, my verses,
They love the Monster's tale
As flies surround each stanza
To ponder on my motives.
I can't give up an answer,
But answers often dodge
The questions that come easy:
Like "How?" and "why?" and "when?"
Rough estimates for each
Arrive while we escape.
I bludgeon out the poems:
Each line is hammered fingers;
The Monster shows me how.
My words crave years to heal,
But pain arrives each day;
The Monster shows me why.
So chances are, we're prowling
With answers in our knives;
The Monster shows me when.
A midnight in disguise
Hides prowlers in the sounds
Made sweet though plainly sour
With hope that's plainly false
For ears quite plainly deaf
By me, quite plainly mute.
A Monster no one knows
Stays in pursuit of silence.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Pricing A Soul

I don't venture into politics much on this blog, but I do speak on Religion quite often. Until a few minutes ago, I was watching "Quite Frankly," a show on ESPN2. It came on after boxing, so I gave it a shot to gain my viewership. On the show were four analysts, and the host, Stephen A. Smith; Two of the analysts called black atheletes slaves because they work for largely white owners and coaches. When one of the analysts on "Quite Frankly" started throwing around the scriptures, I turned off the TV.

It would be nice to see more equity in sports management. However, the way I look at the situation is quite simple: anyone can take or redistribute all the money in the world, but the price is your soul. From card sharks, bookies, insider traders, confidence men, legislators for sale, sycophants in corporate America, all the way to professional atheletes who must conform to a coach's plan and say the right thing to the media. Even so-called socially conscious artists that gain fame are usually in it for a buck or a good review, and will do most anything to get either. Everyone is beholden to someone with different values, and we're all beholden to God. No man can serve God and Mammon (Matt 6:24). That's everyone: black, white, sane, schizophrenic, rock star in a "commie" hat, rapper with a mission, me, everyone. Someone could have made my point later in the discussion on "Quite Frankly," but I didn't give any of them a chance.

Texan Bards and Cosmopolitan Reviewers

I wrote the following poem a little over a year ago while I was in Austin for the Austin International Poetry Festival. I was in the car on the way to a poetry reading, and decided to break my silence on politics after hearing on the previous day a poem written describing one man's jubilation over the deaths in the Pentagon during the 9/11 attacks. The audience gave the poet a standing ovation. So for my part, I decided to insult an entire room of so-called poets, many of whom were at the previous day's reading celebrating the terrorists' successes. I gave no preface for my poem and just started with the title. I don't think they listened past that point; the bastards in the audience didn't even have the sense to boo me. My friend Nii Parkes had a good laugh; he understood my intentions. The audience full of vacant stares and even more vacant thoughts thoroughly disappointed me when I got a standing ovation.

I got the title for this post from Lord Byron; read and enjoy.

An Ode to Stupid Americans

Americans are stupid,
But not the ones you think.
The Stupid American isn't familiar
With barbed wire and trenches,
The beaches of Anzio,
Or even the Sunken Road and Pittsburgh Landing.

Americans are stupid on suffering.
We don't like to bleed,
Especially here.
We consider it so inappropriate
That even your great granddaddy
Didn't fight here.

Americans are unsafe elsewhere
Because we defend America elsewhere.
No American wants to be dead
Outside his own house,
But much of the world
Would love nothing better than
An American notch on every AK-47.

Stupid Americans are the ingrates:
Those who don't know danger,
Are unwilling to bleed,
And hate those that bleed for them.
They remain blissfully, willingly
Ignorant of elsewhere.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I had a poetry professor in college who wanted to join Randall Jarrell's class when she was sixteen. She went to his house bearing a cake box full of poems, all of her poems. The great man read many of them, and agreed to let my professor into his class, but on one condition: she burns all her poems in that cake box right away. My professor burned those poems, and never looked back. Nothing beats a purge to get rid of poems that don't deserve further attention. I took Randall Jarrell's advice to my teacher to heart. I purged and burned everything but one copy from my youth. It was liberating, and let me move on from so many bad little learning lessons. Sometimes extreme results demand extreme measures. (EDIT: I purged the poems of my youth over five years ago, so don't worry about anything recent or anything of quality being lost.)