working at camp + emo poetry

I miss you enough that it’s physical pain. Maybe it’s not just you. Maybe it’s my home, or my mom.
But I miss you and I wish I could cry to let it out.

I’ll call you tomorrow. You can come and see me, even though that might make me miss you more when you are gone.

I love you.

Think about something else…

So full of feeling, so short of words.

I saw him and I’m still smiling. Sad, no? I’ve become such an airhead.

I still carry your mark.
It’s nothing personal. I just bear the
traces on my faces of everyone
who has touched me, like clay.
My mother shaped my nose and the
tightness of my neck with her worry,
my father my eyes and taut [taught?] shoulders
with his failures.
Time has scarred me, has bent me,
and it will continue to do so:
piling on more old clay to my
thighs, drawing my skin dry and
thin, making my ankles swell
and my eyes water.

And then there’s your thumbprint
in the middle of my face that
I cannot smooth away. Is it
a scar or a bruise from
where you touched me, softly?
Is it a mark of spite or
benediction, a reminder of (our?)
my love or a memory of (our?)
your pain?

I carry it with me,
and I wonder if it’s
a kindness or a curse
that it reminds me of you.

Only a few more days.
Hold on…

I’m so in love that it brings me to tears, sometimes.
They say there is no such thing as crying from happiness.
What is it, then?
Knowing that, one way or another, it’ll end?
Why do I do this to myself?


the first summer in idaho without my grandfather

My grandfather is the first that I have loved who is dead.
The grief is not about a violent outburst of tears and catharsis. It is an ache that persists because I keep on not seeing him, he keeps not opening the door and coming in.
So every picture of him gives me pause, makes me reach out to touch it in hopes of touching him. It’s a useless and instinctive gesture, like most reactions to the dead.

It’s been a year since I started this notebook.

Currently lying about 10 inches from water that slaps the pier and makes it groan. It sways, rises, falls to the rhythm of the lake as the sun burns down and bleaches the old wood, as every time the wake of a boat disturbs the water that the pier floats on, it moves in a faster louder tempo.

So many dreams.

I remember when I was here two years ago, how painfully self-conscious I was, how I wrote in a journal in hopes of a boy waiter with a ring on his thumb reading it. I didn’t realize how depressed I was back then. I didn’t realize how much of it was growing pains.

Things that I want to tell you
how I saw a deer and how every time I see one it is a sign of something divine, something strange and rare and graceful.
how i walked over a log and didn’t fall, and the strange joy afterwards.
Aaron Burr
how I miss my grandfather
how I miss you
what does otiose mean? [futile]

joseph heller, catch-22, and reflections

“And don’t tell me God works in mysterious ways… Good God, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements? Why in the world did He ever create pain?”
“Pain?” Lieutenant Scheisskopf’s wife pounced on the word victoriously. “Pain is a useful symptom. Pain is a warning to us of bodily dangers.”
“And who created the dangers?” Yossarian demanded. He laughed caustically. “Oh, He was really being charitable to us when he gave us pain! Why couldn’t He have used a doorbell instead to notify us, or one of his celestial choirs? Or a system of blue-and-red neon tubes right in the middle of each person’s forehead. Any jukebox manufacturer worth his salt could have done that. Why couldn’t he?”
“People would certainly look silly walking around with red neon tubes in the middle of their foreheards.”
“They certainly look beautiful now writing in agony or stupefied with morphine, don’t they? What a colossal, immortal blunderer! When you consider the opportunity and power He had to really do a job, and then look at the stupid, ugly little mess of it he made instead, His sheer incompetence is almost staggering.”

“Rome was destroyed, Greece was destroyed, Persia was destroyed, Spain was destroyed. All great countries are destroyed. Why not yours? How much longer do you really think your own country will last? Forever? Keep in mind that the earth itself is destined to be destroyed in twenty-five million years or so.”
Nately squirmed uncomfortably. “Well, forever is a long time, I guess.”
“A million years?” persisted the jeering old man with keen, sadistic zest. “A half million? The frog is almost five hundred million years old. Could you really say with much certainty that America, with all its strength and prosperity, with its fighting man that is second to none, and with its standard of living that is the highest in the world, will last as long as … the frog?”

“This is a pretty good tree,” he observed admiringly with proprietary gratitude.
“It’s the tree of life,” Yossarian answered, waggling his toes, “and of knowledge of good and evil too.”
Milo squinted closely at the bark and branches. “No it isn’t,” he replied. “It’s a chestnut tree.” I ought to know. I sell chestnuts.”
“Have it your way.”

What did you learn from Catch-22?
You always have other options.
And every stab of pain and death is worth the ending life, the final triumph over mathematics and axioms and fate and doom and duty to the irration.

musings from some road trip – choir tour?

And it’s weird that you can only write in second person and that you must start all sentences with “and,” and it’s strange how each sentence becomes profound by doing such things.

You look back to some things you’ve written and you want to blot them out but you cannot because they were once true. This of all places must be honest, because if you lie to yourself or edit yourself in the forum of a diary you will not be able to accept who you once were and what you now are.

And for some reason you now choose words consciously, even here, rejecting passive verbs for those that speak more clearly. You now go back to change a word for something starker or more true – why?

You miss him. That is not the answer to the question, but it is a true thing. And the lyrics of “and then the telephone started ringing ringing ringing on” cut deep and slip into your breath and you smell something in the air that you savor it because it is a reminder, it is a confirmation that he once existed.

And you wonder, How could I have missed this? And you wonder, How could I not have seen?

And it’s beautiful when you awaken and you see the trees clustered and the ground soft with tall grass and the sky, the sky that is like dove wings, the sky that is high and calm in its grey dignity.

once upon a time there was a girl that had a crush, a huge deep painful crush that grew to deep painful love with a boy with dark eyes.
(she would repeat this story to herself a thousand times, sometimes as a litany of heartbreak, later as a joke that was once too big to see.)
and roughly a year later…
ok. we’ll be blunt. she more or less had an orgasm.
and a while before that that he loved her.
that was more important.

outside language, robert stewert

In an oral culture, capitalization doesn’t matter, or punctuation. The hems and haws get chinked away in the listener’s ear. Imagine Paul the apostle with a cell phone, e-mail, satellite dish, and cable access. Spontaneity hawks us back to the days of abbreviated gestures, little pictorials, lapses between thoughts like a string of dots that trail off into the bushes. Multilingual influences on language affect us at the speed of a channel selector, with infusions of innovation and nuance. The question is, why would one fret even a minute for capitalization used with consistency, for commas that set off nonessential phrases and appositions, for modifiers tucked in tightly where they belong? Why the hassle to distinguish when to use “which” and when to use “that”?


A writer must know this. All suffering is random. To begin, you begin anywhere. I begin with the dream. What I saw in the window was nothing I did not see every morning in the mirror, and every day on the street, in buses. It might seem illogical, that death is not death, that you can’t always tell without pulling back the eyelid. The world always has designs on us, like a siren, a Lorelei, an ad guy, polishing the mirrors we fly into; and I have had designs on the world.

We like to think that art comes of hardship, that suffering and anger have their payoff, that every roach crawling across our cell carries on its back an inspirational glow. Art comes from taking out the trash, from washing the floor, from sweeping up after the quake, after the fall.

“…the depression is a purely chemical state. Yet it feels for all the world like the result of empirical, clinical observation.” — Karl Taro Greenfield