I’m having trouble with the terminology, but I’m into CB.

I didn’t get a copy of Hex Enduction Hour until I was 25 or 26. I was living with my parents at the time, and the first time I listened to it, my mom was in the car. She puts up pretty well with a lot of my music, but she was offended by “The Classical.”

I was running late for work Monday morning, and people started hassling me as soon as I walked out the door. I was so annoyed, the only thing I could stand to listen to was the Fall.

RIP Mark E. Smith.

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A Thousand P(o)ints of Bud Light

As an English major, I have a duty to appreciate obscure forms of poetry. One of these is the hexaduad, which comes from Old English (think Beowulf). It consists of one stanza of 12 lines of rhyming couplets with a rhyme scheme of aa, bb, cc, dd, ee, ff. That’s all well and good, but the cool thing about the hexaduad is the varying syllable count of the lines: 2/2/6/6/8/8/4/4/6/6/4/4.

You don’t see many hexaduads in modern English, for obvious reasons. So, imagine my surprise when a hexaduad typewritten on a sheet of paper blew into my face as I walked home tonight along Third Street. The paper is a bit smudged and waterlogged what with the rain and all, so I’ve taken the liberty of retyping the anonymous poem (apparently written in honor of the bill the house passed yesterday) so I can share it with you here. Enjoy!

A photo taken at the intersection where the poem hit me in the face.


A Thousand P(o)ints of Bud Light

Fair pled,
Unread,
Comes our much-needed bill. 
Kids rejoice, hearts be still:
Paul has won, the Speaker laughs last.
Against all the odds, Trumpcare passed.
Unhealthy friends,
Let’s make amends.
Rest easy, remember
Your votes in November.
A promise kept.
Now die, unwept.

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Significant Moments in the Life of Kenny Rogers Reynolds, Aged 31

  • He is the only child of two only children who met at a Kenny Rogers concert.
  • He insisted on wearing a plain white t-shirt on his first day of kindergarten, and made it to the school without having to put on the blue and red flannel shirt his mother had picked out for him.
  • He won the fourth grade science fair for his invention of a cup that featured a detachable coaster.
  • He made his first appearance on television when he and three of his friends were interviewed by the local news after camping out for 30 hours to see the opening screening of The Phantom Menace.
  • He learned to speak fluent Italian while spending a year studying in Rome.
  • He made three unsuccessful attempts at building a time machine in hopes of traveling to the 1960‘s so that he might woo Anna Karina before she married Pierre Fabre.
  • He started a successful pop-up restaurant named Kenny Reynolds Roasters, which featured a menu focused on roasted vegetables.
  • He made his second appearance on television when volunteered to answer phones during a PBS telethon.
  • He didn’t talk with his parents for two years after engaging in a heated and protracted argument about his decision to stay single and childless, which his father called “wiping the Reynolds name from history.”
  • He took in a stray cat whom he named Crumbs.
  • He was named, at the age of 31, as a “Person to Watch” in the local free weekly newspaper, and he earned a lot of points around the city after the accompanying feature quoted him as responding to the question of “What’s the best piece of advice you have to give?” by saying, “Don’t watch me. Do something else”
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Pocket Change

Sometimes when I’m walking home from work, I’ll see a guy I call Scarecrow.  Most of the times I’ve seen him, he stands in the strip of grass by the fence that separates Fulton Street from I-70, on the east side of Third Street.  I guess he panhandles there, but I’ve never seen him ask anyone for money.  As far as I can tell, he just picks a car stopped at the light and stares at it, and when the car pulls away after the light’s turned green, he points to it and looks away, as if he’s trying to tell some invisible accomplice, “That’s the one.”

I said that Scarecrow stands alongside Fulton most of the time that I see him.  That’s because sometimes I’ve seen him standing in the middle of Fulton during the evening rush hour, blocking the traffic heading to the I-70 onramp, looking confused amidst a chorus of honking horns. Other times, I’ve seen him cross the steady current of traffic headed south on Third, wait for the light to change, and then walk across the cars headed west on Fulton, causing ripples in the car flow as the drivers swerve to avoid him.

I should also clarify that he doesn’t really stand, so much as he sways.  I’ve never seen him fall, but it usually seems like he’s about go down.  His torso swivels back and forth — to the point where he’s bending back 45 degrees then suddenly bending completely forward, always staring or pointing — with his legs rooted firmly in the ground, like a scarecrow flailing in the wind.  And he doesn’t walk across moving traffic so much as he stumbles, making the same swiveling motion with his torso but occasionally taking a knee before steadying himself to the point where he can get back up and move forward.

He’s got to be on some kind of drug, but I don’t know what.  I do know that every time I see him, I think that it’s a miracle he’s still alive.

Anyway, one day while walking south along Third, I saw Scarecrow stumbling on the sidewalk ahead of me, just north of Fulton.  I slowed my pace, hoping he’d get moving again before I reached his spot, and I would’ve avoided him if he hadn’t stopped next to a light pole just off the left curb of the sidewalk to pull down his rolled up pants legs.

I was on the far right of the sidewalk and was just about to pass him when he suddenly stood straight up and turned around to face me.  Startled, I stopped for a moment, and he approached me.  I got my first good, closeup view of him.  His hair was long and bushy, but not necessarily unkempt, and his clothes looked old, but clean and well cared for.  He wasn’t swaying at that moment, but his right leg made a kinetic, wiggling motion that seemed synced with the constant chewing motion that his mouth made.  He rubbed his hands together every few moments.  His whole body seemed restless, except for his eyes, which were steady and fixed determinedly on my own.

“Hey man, hey man,” he said.  His voice sounded relaxed, not pleading like I had expected.

“What do you need?” I said.  I already had excuses prepared to explain why I couldn’t give him what he was looking for.  First on the list was to say that I was sorry, but I didn’t have any cash on me.  Second was that I myself was broke and had just gotten fired from my job.  I’ll spare you the others, but trust me when I tell you that it’s easy to make up stories the farther away you get from reality.

“Hey man,” he said again.  It was like he didn’t realize he had my attention.  We’d only been talking for a moment, but I was ready to get this conversation over with.

“Yeah?” I said.

“Hey man, hey man, can I ask you something?”

“Yeah,” I said.  “What do you need?”  I was two seconds from walking away.

“Hey man,” he said to me, still looking me straight in the eyes.  “All I want is the truth.”

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Apologia

Paper. The banknotes, blast them. Old Deasy’s letter. Here. Thanking you for the hospitality tear the blank end off. Turning his back to the sun he bent over far to a table of rock and scribbled words. That’s twice I forgot to take slips from the library counter.

-James Joyce, Ulysses

I get a lot of thoughts in the morning.
I write ’em all down.
If it wasn’t for that,
I’d forget ’em in a while.

–Brian Wilson, “Busy Doin’ Nothin'”

I wanted an outlet to publish some of what I write, and I forgot that it wasn’t 2005 anymore, so I created a blog. I have some short fiction and some short- to medium-length essays in varying states of progress. I’ll post those that are (hopefully) readable and (at least vaguely) interesting upon completion. If the mood strikes me, I might also post some other snippets in hopes of being either entertaining or insightful (but never ever both at the same time, of course). Basically, think of this as a collection of scribblings that I thought were worth preserving.

Caveats: Past experience indicates I may post things very sporadically. I’d like to think that there will be a readable, literary tone throughout everything here (dig those prefatory quotes up top), but there’s also a good chance this will devolve into me writing drooling “Pere Ubu is cool” pieces.

The Internet will never have enough noise on account of the fact that as the twenty-first century progresses, more and more of our great art will either actually be or derive from transcendent Internet noise. Here goes an attempt at making noise. Enjoy.

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