Tuesday, December 15, 2009



I watch the space shuttle take off as my teacher explains rocketry in a way a room of third graders can barely understand:

He tells us a charge fires through the center of the rocket igniting all two million pounds of fuel at once. The whole thing becomes a giant controlled explosion pointed at the ground, sending the rocket up at seven hundred and sixty miles per hour. Mach 1. That, he says, is how we escape the earth.

I watch transfixed on the TV as a plume of gas one half the heat of the sun flares from a joint in the engine, causing the rocket to rotate out of its housing, strike the external tank and alter its attitude relative to air flow so that technically, Challenger did not explode. Rather, it disintegrated from aerodynamic force.

I have had insomnia ever since then.

I am told it’s because I think too much. I have a friend who worries too much. She takes Fluoxetine to inhibit her serotonin reuptake and to sew the lips of her dream voice shut. When my father and I run out of things to say we drink a spirit fermented from agave to avoid the howling silence where our apologies should be. An old friend turned to Jesus when methamphetamines failed to replace his wife. He says his life is a controlled explosion.

I am tired of watching them leap from cliffs because they wish they felt as deeply as the rocks below. I am tired of men with fifty-thousand-dollar degrees saying they have the technology to repair them. I am looking at the rocks and I am scared that the greatest minds of my generation are lining up to sell me plastic wings.

Sometimes my insomnia gets so bad I can’t sleep unless I listen to the static on the TV whispering, shhh…

My mother walks with a cane even though her new hip is made from the same material as the space shuttle. Open her coffin in a thousand years and the hip will still be reusable.

When Challenger disintegrated, only the cargo and crew were lost. The rockets survived. Kept going. Kept pushing up away from all things human, as if the engineers who made them ratcheted into their guts a desire to do just that.

Late that night I asked my father, “where do you go when you die?” He told me to ask Jesus. When I cried, he held me tight. It’s okay David. Shhh… It’s all right. Sometimes you just think too much.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Below are three entries, one for each of the shows on the Bay Area portion of the tour I'm doing with Jen G under the handle, The Pincushion Orchestra...


I sat entranced, watching the stage like a small woodland creature unable to commit to fight or flight, as Chris Bundy stood before me, twice his normal height, having dawned a halloween costume that looked like a cross-between a dildo and a hot air balloon.

Apparently it was the costume from the film "Kabluey," sleeper hit of 2007

The theme of the night was the left over halloween candy slam. And folks came correct, decked out in all their glory. I don't remember much else, having sampled more than a few of Faultine Brewery's signature ales.

This much is clear:

-- Kat Dietrich knows how to wear some glitter. Her commitment to Sparkle Motion is, in this commentator's opinion, beyond reproach.

-- No one took their relationship angst out on MACLA's thermostat, like that one time. You know who you are.

-- Our first San Jose Slam feature went off without a hitch and we can't wait to return. And yes, my saying that I want to return to the slam I used to help run causes something of an existential crisis

but I'm cool.

Thanks Chris, Kat, Tristissima and the rest of the 408 for giving us a jolly good homecoming!


Walk to the back wall of "Dalva," one of the few bars in the mission district that (a) maintains a classy if understated aesthetic and (b) has yet to be overrun with scenesters, and you will find a gem of a performance space.

It's small, about the size of a drunk tank (and with essentially the same clientele), dimly lit and not without a hint of cellar-like dankness. In short, it is exactly what you picture when you think of a San Franciscan poetry venue. It could not be more so if they passed out berets, copies of "howl" and drams of absinthe fresh-squeezed from the curtains of Vesuvio itself.


The reading was good too. There were some very rowdy drunken senior citizens which, despite their interrupting my shit, I had to adore in a very non-ironic sort of way.

Sadly, the poetry mission has since dissolved. I didn't do it. It was out of my control. Really is too bad. But for anyone who lives in the city, check out Dalva. Maybe they'll let you have an impromptu soiree in the newly unoccupied back room. . . Also check out 16th and mission on Thursdays, the SF slam, and the open mic Mondays at Brainwash, where Jen and I hope to feature early 2010!!!


The Cool Show was the most fun Jen and I have had performing in a while. Walters and Staedlar and their wacky antics warm us in places we need three mirrors to see.

For those who were not there and who know the poets in question... yes, Jen G, myself, John Staedlar and Joshua Walters did a show together. You know how some plans look great on paper but don't work out in practice? This was like the opposite of that. Made infinite sense but only after it happened. It was like when you accidentally spill BBQ sauce on your french fries and you're like, "shit" and then you're like, "wait a second" and then your like, "hey!"

Yeah. Cool Show. Who knew?!

By the way, everyone in San Jose needs to check out Slave Labor Graphics. Awesome comic book store... and so much more. so. much. more.

If the witty banter shared between Walters and Dan Vado, SLG proprietor, are any indication The Cool Show or something like it should be happening again soon. Stay tuned for more.

Meantime, many thanks to all who came. All who did not, well, you missed Jen and I waltzing on stage while Staedlar plucked away on guitar and Walters dreamed of roasting chicken.

Stay hungry my friends