Need More Guest Poems (and animations)!

Now that the poetry cycles up there in the header (except on Internet Explorer), people are likely to see a lot more of them on each visit. Sure, there’s well over a hundred in the rotation, but as every american knows, more is better. You can help! Send me yout little poems either here in the comments or by email, along with the name you want to appear with it. If you want your picture next to it, of course you have to supply that too. Otherwise I might just pick something. I have a couple of poems in the roatation —notably the ‘theme haiku’ — but mainly that little area is a place for guests to play.

And who knows? We know that great literary movers and shakers frequent this site. This could be your shot at the glamorous life of a poet!

Edited to add: Heck, why stop at poetry? You may have noticed the occasional duck flying through the header every minute or two. The way that’s done, I can load and play pretty much anything anyone out there puts together. It shouldn’t be too intrusive, of course, but with one simple tweak to your animation I can put it in the random list. Whether you’ve been thinking about learning a little Flash or you kick Flash’s ass, here’s a great chance to strut your stuff.

What could POSSIBLY be cooler than that? Nothing, that’s what!

I met a guy once

I met a guy once

I met a guy once, a big guy his skin black his teeth white his eyes red his laugh came from deep in his belly, and “who the hell are you?” he asked me.

Fortune Cigarettes

There’s a Santa Fe tradition called Zozobra, in which old man gloom is incinerated, along with all his negative baggage. There are many other similar traditions aound the world. But here’s a way to bring that idea into your everyday life. Wouldn’t it be cool if when you smoked a cigarette you were burning negaive thoughts at the same time? I don’t smoke, but it would almost be worth it to ritually burn the things that bother me.

Enter cigarettes with extra printing on them, negative things that you conquer by burning them. You can buy the regular pack with random messages or you can custom-order with your own personal nemeses. Sure the custom ones would cost a lot more, but that alone might provide incentive to cut back, while making the occasional smoke a poetic act. There must be a brand of cigarette that markets to the black-beret crowd that would make a killing off this.

Plus, it would be a kick to write the ill-fortunes.

Burning Words

Burning Words

There are words in my head
“fifty-six” I said just now
out loud, for no apparent reason
They are sounds, nothing more
They bang about up there
ugly tourists

If I smoked
I’d write each word on a cigarette
and burn it
hear it crackle as I inhaled
watch the paper glow and draw back
the numbers most of all must go

Road Haiku

Road Haiku

Mile post fifty
Night monsoon flash and grumble
Mile fifty-one

Bacon Haiku

Bacon Haiku

When you’re feeling blue
Let some bacon in haiku
fix what’s ailin’ you
Not long ago there was a feverish burst of bacon-related haiku activity in the comments here at MR&HBI. Not surprising, really, considering the position we hold in the vanguard of modern literature. As a service to the poetic community I thought I would consolidate the bacon haiku in its very own episode. Let me know if I missed any, or if I made any errors transferring the words. And, just because I posted these, doesn’t mean you can’t add more! In fact, I’m quite certain that the ultimate bacon haiku has yet to be written.
delicious bacon
side order of happiness
greasy crispy bliss
– TG

Greasy piece of lard
Oil drenched yummy goodness
bacon gift from GOD

Salty crunchy good
The dog tackles me everyday
Ouch that’s not bacon dog

Bacon oh Bacon
from the sizzle to the crunch
a cat eating beans
– pL

crisp pink perfection
the pig’s noble sacrifice
as the chicken smiles
– Harlean

m-m-m bacon
m-m-m-m-m bacon
baco frickin n
– Jerry

delicious frying
bacon on the hot griddle
blt coming
– john[liz]

bacon, ham, porkchops
magical meat animal
oh how i love you
– john & liz

if i ever thought
that bacon would cease to be
i would stab my face
– liz

when i eat bacon
i find that i enjoy life
more than e’er before
– liz

this one time in france
i did bad things with bacon
that i won’t forget
– liz

bacon on my knee
feel the oil burning me there
wish i had a plate
– john (dedicated to liz)

like the morning mist
the dew upon the branches
bacon is profound
– liz

why bacon, you ask?
why do we draw breath each day?
why does the sun rise?
– TG

Bacon sizzles hot
A breakfast with John and Liz
Going to eat that?
– The Eightster

you must know, eighster
all’s fair in love and bacon
would you like seconds?
– liz

gleam in greasy eyes
unseen but for its effect
stealth ninja bacon
– TG

back when we were kids
Liz and I would eat bacon
then go to the park
– TG (dedicated to liz)

if i had a choice
my sister would always win
over all bacon
– liz

find us if you can
ultimate bacon haiku
we will be waiting
– TG

Pork belly futures
My plate the fulcrum of Time
Ghosts of Breakfast Past
– John H.

Following Soup Boy
John ain’t got no office job
Can’t pay for bacon
– Squirrely Joe

Look at your breakfast
Chicken did a good job but
Pig was committed
– Squirrely Joe

Bacon o bacon
‘Tis thy crispy porcine
Flesh I miss the most
– dyczko schmeeczko





rainy morn, groggy head
ooo! heart-shaped banana bread
big-ass pot of tea

All the guest poems

Note that this page will look extra-cool look if you install the font “Maszyna“. I’m looking into embedding the font in the page, but that might be tricky.

If things look wacky it means either the style sheet is cached and didn’t update (usually reloading the page will fix this) or it means you’re using Internet Explorer.

Programming Note

I’m giving more weight to new entries in the poetry rotation. I’m still experimenting with how much weight is appropriate and what the definition of new is, so we’ll see what happens. Meanwhile, for those keeping score at home, pL has nine poems in the rotation, followed by Bob with eight, and Carol Anne in a distant third with five.

There have been a couple of multi-verse submissions I’m still trying to figure out how to get into the rotation, and a couple that don’t physically fit in the space. I’ll think of something.

Addendum: Currently there are four guest poets for whom I have no image. If you don’t like the placeholder I gave you, send me something else. Adam’s placeholder is a lemur, in case you can’t tell.

Programming Note

It has come to my attention that after my travels I have photos of many of the guest poets appearing on this page. It wasn’t a big reach to go from there to putting the picture of the author next to the poem. If you are a guest poet and would rather NOT have your picture next to the poem, or if there is another picture you would prefer I use, just let me know.

Currently I’m missing pictures of Melinda and Brian. I would love to put you up there, however, so please send me a picture of you that can be cropped square. I have put in suitable substitutes for the time being (heh, heh, heh…). Let me know if you find a mistake – I could easily have made a typo and the code currently assumes the order the browser will execute the JavaScript functions. If it executes in the wrong sequence I expect someone else’s picture will appear next to my explanatory haiku.

I also have figured out how to fit the limericks in the header more nicely, and I’ll get to that in the next couple of days – so bring on those 5-line poems!

The Power of Positive Drinking

Some people ruin their drinks with ice,
and then they ask me for advice.
They say, “I’ve never told this to anyone else before.”
— Lou Reed, The Power of Positive Drinking

I was thinking of that line even before Brian mentioned not putting ice in his beloved Lagavulin. It’s a sad day that that even needs to be said. Ice. pff.

Holy Crap! Sweet Jane just came on the TV radio station. It’s a cover, but it still counts as a plate of shrimp. It’s a good cover. Oh, man I feel good right now. I was feeling pretty good before, but then with head-slap thunder the chama monsoon rain started coming down just as the second beer was finding my nervous system. Late in the season for a monsoon, especially considering the dry August, but just what the doctor ordered for heart and land. And the smell, the smell. Ozone and soft mud. More thunder, punctuating Buffalo Springfield.

The temperature has dropped a few degrees: It’s whiskey time now. On each side of me a dog lies twitching, running with the wolves they’ve never learned they’re not.

I’m trying not to resent the arrival of the family later this afternoon. It’s their house, after all. They paid for it and everything. The only thing is, I have put the Jerry vibe into this place the last few days, and it’s just now building up to critical mass. I feel the vibe most intensely right now. It is a calm feeling despite the loud music. (Next time I get up I’m going to turn down the bass just a wee bit, bringing the vibe incrementally closer to perfection.) My quiet madness reaches out across the Chama Valley and reflects back to me off the far Brazos Peaks, rolling with the distant thunder, dancing with lightning, and I know the storm is here for me. I have called it from the place where storms sleep, roused it for one last grumbly dance across the land.

The thirsty land feels my energy, and amplifies it. The rich mud hosts tiny creatures fleeting across brief puddles, in a madcap accelerated cycle of life. Water! Grow! Sex! Die! In this frantic call to life I am unnoticed, but something rises from the muck that I smell and understand. Some bugs are getting laid tonight.

Ooo! Look! A can of mixed nuts, sitting right here next to me! Truly the Universe is resonating with me today, responding to my needs even before I know them myself.

My vibe, apparently, is a fragile one. Bringing other personalities too close to it pains it. In a bar, I can create a vibesphere, and close myself in my own aura for a few precious hours, but in a house with other people around the bubble shatters into tiny red fragments, needle-sharp little brain jammers. Better not to even try to bubbleize in the first place.

But for now I sit, pupflanked, Scotch Guarded, open, resonating. Feeling the power.

Secrets of the Past and Future

So you may already have read that last night Amy and I stayed up way too late (for her) while she questioned herself and her relationship with the man who will forever be known to me as “Cute Boy”. Cute Boy is older than Amy and, well, really makes her socks go up and down. They were at the beach Saturday and he had passed on a kiss, then he didn’t return her call.

I don’t have a label for our relationship anymore. It seemed like a big brother kind of thing until the details got uncomfortably intimate. (Are there girls that talk about that stuff to their big brothers? I’ve never had a little sister, and she’s never had a big brother, so maybe we’re just doing it wrong.) I’m clearly not her big sister; I’m not that far gone. Maybe big eunuch. I heard details about her sex life, enough to make me wish I had a sex life, and to be honest the subject filled me with a tingling down under, the expression of which would have completely destroyed the feeling of the night, and undermined the trust she has in me.

And there’s the wacky thing. Amy trusts me. It’s pretty sick, I know, but there it is. She trusted me enough to blow the dust off poetry she wrote years ago. The last thing in the world I want to do is betray that trust. It’s a treasure to me that I will never allow a tingly feeling to undermine.

Here’s something I can tell you, though. I don’t know if it applies to all women, but I bet even if it doesn’t translate exactly there are similar rules with most women. Amy has a date count. She has rules that she (usually) follows to determine how far things are going to go on a particular date. Cute Boy got his date counter reset last night; now he has to climb the mountain again. Too bad for you, Cute Boy!

All that is an aside, and here is an aside to the aside. Pardon me while I step up onto this soap box… *ahem* Testing, testing, one two… Well, then: Being in a relationship is hard work. If you’re not ready to work, stay away from relationships. Don’t fool yourself. Don’t tell yourself that this person will change you. Only you can change you. That’s a two-way street—people who try to change their partners generally end up unhappy also. I’ll say it again: If you’re not ready to work, don’t waste some good person’s time pretending that you’re interested in spending the rest of your life with them. It’s just not fair to anyone. Personally, I’m not up for working that hard.

Right, then. Back to the intended subject. Everyone can write, but not everyone does. It was a scene right out of some heartwarming movie, Amy and I sharing poetry and deep thoughts. Amy has written some really good stuff, although perhaps too much of it has been squeezed into Rock ‘n’ Roll Lyric format (RnRLF). There was good imagery and great honesty in what I heard. One poem in particular stood out; it was the poem she had originally wanted to read for me and rightly so. The rest were discovered (to her great delight) as she searched for the one. The one stood out. It was really good; showing a facility with language, an ear and a voice.

She has another friend, a confidant and advisor, who will be here for her long after I’m gone. But honestly I don’t think he sees Amy for what she is, and certainly not for what she could be. Perhaps I’m jealous of his most exalted big eunuchness that will live past my own; perhaps I’m being overprotective of a woman who can certainly take care of herself. There is no doubt that she’ll be fine without me. But last night, staying up late and talking, she told me she was glad I was there. I think that’s because I believe in her no matter what. Whatever the reason, it meant a lot to me when she said that.

Amy has a series of journals with her writing in them. She changes books not when they are full but when she is starting a new chapter in her life. She hasn’t written anything in years. Today I bought her an empty book (agonizing over the correct choice). In the front, on the page the book naturally opens to, I wrote:

the beginning an end
the end unwrit

I hope she thinks about that before she turns the page. I want her to think that this is the beginning of something for her, so she will feel the freedom to express herself. I want her to leave her doubts and regrets behind. Overleaf I wrote:

Here’s a place
to put your shit.

Can’t get too sappy.

New Poll is Up

Jesse put in a comment:

I think you should start a new poll
on how you should chase this Nicole
we’ll say, “start the hunt!”
or, “give up and punt”
come on man! give us control

There you go. Vote early, vote often. Maximum ballot box stuffing rate is once per day, I’m afraid, unless you have multiple computers.

As I said before, I’ll abide by the decision of the public. I’m only going to be here a few more days at most, I think, so this poll will close pretty quickly.

Poetry Slam

Buggy invited me along and I happily accepted. I’m a writer now, right? I’m supposed to do all that literary shit. It was a lot of fun. If there’s one in your area, you should check it out.

It is a competition, with judges recrtuited from the audience. I was offered the “opportunity” to be a judge and I’m very glad I turned it down. More on that later, maybe. The qualilty of the performances was more uniform that usual, Buggy tells me. The eight finalists tonight had to win preliminary rounds to compete tonight, so they were all pretty good, but there was a uniformness of voice among the competitors that I suspect is a reflection of the taste of the audience in the previous rounds. Many of the performers made heavy use of a Hip-Hop cadence that has become a poetic stereotype.

Here is the one image I took of a performer, as she began an animated discussion of her unnatural love of peanut butter:

Lots of good ideas, soem expressed better than others, and everyone understood that this was just as much about the performance as it was about the poem. All the finalists attacked their work with great energy and honesty, and some of the things I heard really made me think.

Unfortunately, I had only a couple of seconds after each performance before the big goofy jackass MC hopped up on stage and started shouting his schtick into the mike. After listening to a woman tell us how she was coping with bring molested as a child and having a friend murdered while she worked in a peep show, the last thing I wanted to hear was some douchebag clown saying “Look at meee! Look at meeee!” Sure, his job is to keep the energy up, but the energy of thought and ideas moving is sometimes better than just “get everyone making noise” energy. (Buggy pointed out that as a crowd the poetry circle is pretty self-absorbed and no one listened to each other’s work anyway.)

The judges were, as I mentioned, recruited out of the audience, and while they took it very seriously, they weren’t prepared for the task. The guy who went first put on a very good performance but as time passed there became an unofficial minimum score that the audience would accept, and that floor kept going up. It didn’t matter who went first, they were doomed. Had I accepted the role of judge, I would have been taken outside and beaten for giving scores below 8 out of ten. Any explanation of scale attenuation would have been wasted.

While I have dwelt for a bit on the negatives of the night, my overall impression was very good. I heard several very talented and very brave people spilling their guts out to strangers and (scarier) friends. It made me think about my writing and got my juices flowing again. Tonight I made some important improvements to the first chapter of The Fish by imagining myself reciting it as poetry.

The four winners now go to St. Louis for the national finals. Good luck to them there.

From the old days

From the old days

Now’s the time to do sleep,
Close the eyes, count the sheep,
And when cock’s crow makes chickens cluck
to roll over, mutter, “fuck”
And sleep some more.