Monday, December 31, 2012


Today at the shop a person was designated to teach me the most efficient way to cut patches.
Patches. The items I spent the entire nineties, printing cutting and sewing to jackets. Rows of days lost themselves in cutting things up, days I'll never get back, and here's a guy whose presence exposes the raw reality that I still spend some of my time cutting patches to be sewn, only now they're for other people's garments and there's no drugs involved. I want to run screaming. I should have. I used to.

"Always start from the bottom right hand corner and move upward, stabilizing with the ruler."
I started from the left because I'm left-handed. Nothing else makes sense.
"If you don't start from the bottom right it aint gonna work on these."
"The bottom left is the same, look." I cut. Nothing changed, it was just backwards, my upside-down patch urging a mumble from my mentor. "...nttt gnnna wrrrk..."
It did too work.
He looked over at my crunched posture. "Also, you want to use your whole body, not just your fingers and blade."
"I always stand like this," I said, all defensive. I'm holding my ligaments together with cortisol, winding one leg around the other and throwing my shoulders at themselves. My pelvis is twisted a good forty degrees from my abdomen.
"Well, ya wanna use your back leg. Shift your weight."
Shift my weight to my back leg? It's not like I was punching someone in the jaw. Shift my weight, I thought. Stupid.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Yearz

Just wanted to let regular readers know that I'll be back up and running in a few days. So much happening in the New Year.
I hope you all had a great holidaze and are now happily living in 2012.

To answer a reader question:
No. I do not think that the end of the Mayan long count spells out cataclysm for Earthlings.
I fear we are the cockroaches of the Solar System, and will continue our tedious spinning far beyond 2012, either degrading or rising up. Hopefully rising up.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's All Keratin

When I went to beauty school
over twenty years ago
The Bible of Beauty
(that's not what it was called)
was the main theory book
the federally accepted, standard text
for most all beauty school curricula

the text described/divided
hair types
not by texture
but by race

white hair was desribed as "normal hair"
and by white I don't mean lacking pigment.
I mean white like "look at the normal hair on that white lady."

asian hair was described as "overly straight"

black hair was, following suit, "overly curly"

Overly. The teacher seemed oblivious to the implications.

When we got to the chapter with different face shapes
the manual's antiquity showed itself
with pictures of pink-faced lady
all lined up in rows
according to the shape of their heads:

Diamond-shaped face
Heart-shaped face.
Oblong face.
Round face.

Well looky there
You Can Draw The Lines

Then it went like this:

Asian face
which sort of looked like the Round Face
but inside of the circle
was a racist cartoon
with just yellow tone for skin

and then, as all the air sucked out of my lungs,

the teacher said it out loud

Person With Negroid Features

And Deleena said

Oh, no.
What- in- the- fuck- is- a- ne-groid?
And she did a robot walk around the teachers desk
I -am -not -buyin -this- shi-it, in robotvoice, she repeated
What. The. Fuck. Is. A. Ne-groid."

other people slammed their books on the ground
I- am- from-the-planet-ne-grella robotted Deleena
stiff-legging her way out the door
we all followed
one by one
a student walk-out
in protest of the text

The School said they'd call the authors
if they ever did, I can't be sure

When I became an educator
twelve years later
I saw that the text hadn't changed much
and I had to tell my students

There's no such thing as "overly"
Nevermind that
The shit's all keratin
It's curly, or it aint

the Bible of Beauty
is still limited
to teaching certain procedures
over others

And my students, like I did twenty years ago
ended up marching in the streets
picketing their own school
this time
for gross exploitation of race
an opportunistic attempt so deep
that I am still
wrapping my head around it
(this was only two years ago
I wish I was lying)

in the Happy Smile Corporate schools of today
it's just as racist
a sea of Mormon-white faces
waiting to burn your eyes out
with sodium hydroxide
standing on stages
the same text
but with superballs
and god-forsaken glitter
thrown into the mix
to distract people
from getting an education

all they have to do is clap their hands
and catch the ball
as more glitter slips in
on the backs of thin, greasy ponytails

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It Ends With The Click

It's not like I never asked. I asked Chris the Receptionist, "Wait wait wait, you just way undercharged that dude..."
"Uhuh, honey. It was a men's cut." "
"Wait, what?"
"It was a Men's Cut." he said, like that was even a thing, a men's cut.
"No, it was a hair cut, Chris...I..."
"Men's cut!" he sang, tapping a beat on the cash register.
The cash register, always filling up, ding, kachunk, slide, click.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Poet's Fridge/Letter to eileen

I left my needle in the poet's fridge
that summer
in Provincetown

Dear Eileen,
I never told you what was in the blue bag
it sat in your fridge like a brick
on the bottom shelf
it took up space in the vaccuum
of your giant, empty poet's fridge
You must have looked inside
while I slept in an upstairs nook
a room designed for artists
and art
but instead it was me
while your girlfriend looked
into the blue bag
(who wouldnt look inside
a blue medical bag
placed by a stranger
without asking
behind cans of seltzer)

The Poet (hero)
and her girlfriend
never asked
'what medicine are you shooting
into your leg in our guest bathroom
why do you look green
ten minutes later'
(the poet knows drugs)
(the poet knows that my needle doesn't fill itself
with drugs,
but with medicine)

The Poet has seen so many
big and small
friends and presidential campaigns
and now I sit
in the new england summer
with an epi-pen micro-fine
jammed into my thigh muscle
unprepared for reception
interferon killing me
in your home seeming perfect
for those moments
I died
until other needles were poked
through my chest
in jest they slid
pulling only air
and bits of flesh
behind them
'play' needles they were called
by tattooed voices
to make them seem innocent
objects no different from paper dolls
air rushed my lungs
and a girl cried
guilt rising in her lungs
pouring out her lips
She Wasn't Ready Yet
To Go This Far For Play
I walked
up commercial street
with my shirt off
dry needles stuck in flesh
and blood dripping to my waist
as i ordered coffee
what a poseur

Dear Eileen,
I'm sorry
I never told you
what was in the bag
I put it in your fridge
Your Holy Poet's Fridge
I am sure you know
it was only medicine
I hope it didn't shock your lady
as i was shocked
by the bowl of perfect citrus
laid sterile on the marble countertop

Thursday, June 24, 2010

pantoum 36

for Los Angeles

You do not have to suffer for beauty
It's not true
A farce created by industry
Mean cheerleaders chant in unison

It's not true
that silver hair is ugly
Mean cheerleaders chant in unison
"Dye Job! Botox! GLITTER!"

"That silver hair is ugly"
she said it and you bought it
Dye job, Botox, glitter.
Glitter gets everywhere; I hate it

She said it, and you bought it
Now your face is a frozen mask in a dark bar
Glitter gets everywhere; I hate it
when careless hands toss glitter around the dance floor

Now your face is a frozen mask in a dark bar
stretched tight in fury
When careless hands toss glitter around the dance floor,
flashbulbs pop from your face for weeks

stretched tight in fury
Self-tanning lotion sets orange in creases
Flashbulbs pop from your face for weeks
The Lady says, "Don't move. You have glitter on your face"

Self-tanning lotion sets, orange in creases
Self-concious in the bank, you panic
The Lady says, "Don't move. You have glitter on your face"
Nobody knows it's on your butthole, too

Self-concious, in the bank you panic
everyone sees your glittering fake tan
Nobody knows it's on your butthole too
(both the glitter and the tan)

Everyone sees your glittering fake tan
the Botox, the dye job, the pinpricks
Both the glitter and the tan
fill the holes made by needles

The botox the dye job the pinpricks
they only make you smell older
Fill the holes made by needles
with botulism from a petri dish

They only make you smell older
A farce, created by industry
Fill the holes made by needles
You do not have to suffer for beauty

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

pantoum 35

Ravens line branches
to shit on my head
It brings good fortune
The blessings of birds

To shit on my head
Digested fruit and nectar
The blessings of birds
Only good can come of this

Digested fruit and nectar
It brings good fortune
Only good can come of this
Ravens line branches

pantoum 34


Lilies in full bloom
White curls
Like Mapplethorpe
At once filthy and beautiful

White curls
The hair of old women
At once filthy and beautiful
Yellowed by poison air

The hair of old women
Wound on tiny rods
Yellowed by poison air
Overprocessed with chemicals

Wound on tiny rods
Tension pulls at scalps
Overproccessed with chemicals
Hair turns to mush

Tension pulls at scalps
Chemicals burn skin
Hair turns to mush
Sink traps eat, digest

Chemicals burn skin
like Mapplethorpe
Sink traps eat, digest
lilies in full bloom

Monday, February 18, 2008


A poem. Written a long time ago. Co-written with George H Reyes, found recorded on an audio tape made in a four day period of self induced sleep deprivation:

San Francisco 1995

Last minute quick list of things in the city:
Slow cabs arriving and smiling
Late airport grumblings
creeping up pigs asses driving
and there’s no seat on that bird for me
Backseat silence rips voracious purr through spilled port sky
layered thicker than evenings slit
cunt shade
wet magnet
and cut grit
on the 26th terminal
watching lost kids erupt
amber fountains adrenal