(To Melt)

God, I am melting.
Sinking, melting, ensnared, churning.
I am turning into a neon glaze onstage,
in front of blue velvet curtains,
diffusing across the floorboards.
The flamenco dancers raise their heavy arms,
and they push down.
The stage fades, the facade collapses,
and now I know
how it feels to melt.

You're not listening.

I'm dreaming of lower fidelity dreams.
So that I can't hear myself melting
in all of the white noise,
an ambient hiss that floats around
these polyphonic negative dreams
(make it stop. make it stop-)
It was quiet at first.
Here comes the roar.
God, stop me from melting.
My skin is sloughing off.
Someone. Anyone.

(Swell, tumult, burst eardrums, silence.)

The first-story jump out of an open winter window.



You wonder how a mass of people don't try to save the man who is next in line. Sure, they know it's wrong, but they don't want to be next. So they'll look on and... enjoy the show.

The clouds break over the gas station. You're called over, and without further ado, the officer begins to bash your head in with a crowbar. A cheer after every blow. With every passing crunch, more blood lets from your nostrils and eyes. A hard swing, a cheer, and another. And it hurts. But it won't stop. You know it won't stop until you're dead.

Everywhere, the process of no process is

You wonder. You wonder as you sip your peppermint tea, curl up near a warm fire, and vacantly look out the winter window.



Overstuffed grey coat.
Worn-out meshed hat.

Cranberry birds fly down
Feathers fall around me.

The railroad ends up ahead
Of the curve, they once told me.
There is dirt everywhere.

Nothing to do but sleep
Under beautiful light pollution,
Under scared starless skies.

I would eat,
But I don't want their charity.
I would say it to someone,
But there's no one to thank.
And nothing to be thankful for.


Insomniac Manifesto IV

i am
such a


Saccades (Insomniac Manifesto III)

Did I fall asleep?
I'm falling asleep with my eyes open.
I am falling - I am asleep - I am my eyes that are open.
I am at least the velvet, well-intentioned underpinnings
of a fevered brain death.
No. I am just wasted ink.

Every third
of a
second, your
retinas skip.
The information
received from
retinal skipping
is new
visual input
for the
brain's cortex
to process.
The output
feels like
a consistent
visual flow.

But then
1. you check yourself against reality
2. realize that your vision
is so far out of sync
and (realizing why)
3. you fall asleep.


Insomniac Manifesto II

1. (Box.)

This is the most desperate
I've felt in a while.

2. (Boxed.)

I'm pressing rewind.
And I'm listening again.

3. ("Boxing")

Nothing good...
Nothing good.

4. (Boxes.)

Some rest might solve this.
Someone else might solve this.

5. (Boxer.)

Deep conflict, pestilent resolve


Optic Flow

I am drowning in red tape.

There lies a dark grey box,
with many tinier boxes inside.

Sometimes, they let me go home.
The wallpaper is peeling.
The children are crying.

Rarely, I go to the attic.
I put on a record from the 1930s.
Light ballroom music. 
A trumpet croons softly 
over the sway of a sleepy big band. 
The aged stylus mingles
with the dust 
and the warped sounds crackle warmly.
Sometimes it rains from the adhesive sky.
That gentleness quietly falls into the mix.
This is when I sit down and 
flow cascades verdoyant.
And I write. 
And I sing.
And I dream. 
And I rest.


The Pink Dinosaur of Meritocracy:

1. I was up for 24 hours straight.
2. Working, or maybe floating.
3. It's hard to tell that late.
4. I'm here because some people don't work.
5. I am awake because of them, for them.
6. Writing, writing, writing.
7. Validity might be around the corner.
8. But it probably isn't.
9. I finally fell asleep.
10. I might've been awake.
11. Maybe I fell somewhere between the two.
12. Or perhaps an infinite amount of souls were floating through me.
13. Either way, you carried me.
14. Several miles, in fact.
15. I only faintly remember
16. Being cast into a tall fire.


1. The idea.
2. The drums.
3. The rhythm.
4. Then came civilization on the xth day.
5. Speaking of... the crane.
6. I saw it heading south before winter.
7. It was doing nothing important, but
8. It felt the need to roar nonetheless.
9. We wanted to stop it.
10. In some final act of defiance.
11. But then people would be left to wonder
12. "Well, who was playing the drums?"

13. Terror, boundless, persists.
14. Fabric, calico and ripped.


1. It was absolutely beautiful.
2. The way the black and white splashed on our faces.
3. We watched the system fall to pieces.
4. A new one came to life from the ashes, on some other planet.
5. It was absolutely beautiful.
6. The scene unfolded before us.
7. Some sweet song of the decade played in slow-motion.
8. I touched your hand and became instantly complete.
9. I didn't care when I woke up.

1. Poetry was an evolutionary mistake.
2. It has been phased out accordingly as it
3. Contributes to neither the
4. Continuation nor the
5. Proliferation of our species.



1. Up and down. Day in and day out.
2. No end to the cycle, really.
3. An elevator must get tired of its work.
4. In fact, I know it does.
5. Once this elevator has had enough, it will collapse from
6. Exhaustion.
7. And so everyone inside is done for.


Four poems.

1.    I am a disembodied voice. It follows that,
2.     I will never have substance.
3.     I will never have answers.
4.     Least of all the ones you want.
5.     I will never have an appearance.
6.     Least of all one you’d find acceptable.
7.     I will never belong to anyone.
8.     Least of all you.

1.     I’m taking a walk in some park tomorrow.
2.     I will not count the trees.
3.     I will count the numbers on some boardwalk.
4.     I will count the numbers I see in some skyline.
5.     Until the sky begins to bleed its rain.
6.     It won't be fun anymore after that.

1.     I need to know who I am.
2.     The soul of an ex-person knocked on my door.
3.     He says “Let me in, I can tell you who you are.
4.     Who you will be. Where you will end up.”
5.     I say “I can’t be so sure of that.”
6.     He says “Why not.”
7.     “I figured you out a long time ago.”

1.     I left the house dripping in sweat.
2.     Usually it’s because of fire.
3.     I had to escape a monster this time.
4.     It was stuck under my bed, you see.
5.     It would bite at my thumbs at night.
6.     It was gnawing at my existence.
7.     It had to go.
8.     But I didn’t know how to get rid of it.
9.     So I left the house, one night.
10. I don’t know where I went.
11. But it went away when I came back?
12. Asks the doctor.



Bleeding from the nostrils
Red from scars left by the ceiling
Dying fast without a song
Without someone singing near me
"Come here it's alright."

I don't think you're the one
I don't think you're that song
But I'd really like to think you are
I really wish you were.

When you listened, you'd just listen far too hard
A construction-ridden park
All your trees are felled in part
Because of me.
Oh it's always 'cause of me.

So I will dig the tunnel
You'll stay up above
And shovel all the dirt back in
When I'm just about done.
Oh the worst fading light.

I'll see the sun for one last time
As it fades to one thin ray
And I'll think it just as no surprise
And continue on my way
Oh the worst fading light.

I will live here underground
Red from ceiling scars
I'll build a city in this space
And rub the finished work in your face
But maybe I'll just die.

Without a song, without a flashlight in the dark
A construction-ridden park
All your trees are felled in part
Because of me.
Oh it's always 'cause of me.


Tethering (Insomniac Manifesto I)

The world has collapsed from exhaustion

And gone to sleep.
The only thing tethering everything together
Is a far-off reverberation.
A grumbling howl in the middle of this once
Breathing night.
It's a little bit more distant now.
And I'm writing lines
In the bathroom at 4:1 5
Hoping that this will mean something someday.
At least you're listening.
At least, I think you're listening.
Maybe no one's listening now.
No one can listen:
The world collapsed from exhaustion.
Everything lost its hearing
From the once shrieking echo,
The movement of a Friday night in the city.
And maybe if I wait long enough,
I will see the sun.


I should’ve worn a sweatshirt. It’s been raining all day.

After 75 minutes of meandering philosophy, (trying to one-up your peers doesn’t get you anywhere closer to the truth) (am I in love because you are perfect or are you perfect because I am in love) I walked home, if I can call it that. My clothes became wet in slow-motion, staining my t-shirt the color of blood. It looked and it felt like I was bleeding, that the entirety of my flawed existence was publicly visible,

seeping through wet clothing.

But then the bleeding stopped, I was inside my halfway house, and I stood still. I reflected on everyone I saw with hoods, jackets, umbrellas. There’s so much desire for everyone here, to be something. What something…

I trudged up the stairs, opened your door, and, dripping with water-blood, I confessed.

“I have come to grips with the fact that I will never be a perfect human being.”


Seeing Jeff Mangum Live.

August 8, 2011.

There was so much driving and so much risk of the car breaking down, but Robert and I made it to the First Unitarian Church in Burlington. Here's the run-down of what may have been the best show I'll evereverever attend:

- After camping in the will-call line for a while, we're rewarded with really nice seats in the sixth row of pews. We wait for another hour and a half.

- Tall Firs comes on. Two unassuming [and hilarious] middle-aged guys with a knack for guitar interplay and deep, pained vocals. Loved it.

- Andrew, Scott, & Laura. I catch that Scott is Scott Spilane from Neutral Milk Hotel, but I forget what the other two are from. Their set bores me to death from its redundancy and they play for about a half-hour too long. I'm antsy at this point.

- All antsyness washes away as I catch my first glimpse of the man, the myth, the legend, Jeff Mangum. We applaud him as the background music stops. He makes sure his guitars are in place, makes a "one minute" motion, and then walks offstage. We applaud again. He re-enters. We applaud a third time. Natch.

He invites us to sing along and breaks into "O Comely" and suddenly it hits me just what is happening. I am witnessing the most elusive and, arguably, the most important independent musician shake the dust off of his work and play again. And it sounds as if he never left. That authentic Mangum (howl, warble, whatever you want to call it) is as solid as it was circa '97.

At one point, the PA system goes out. At first, everyone's a bit pissed, but Jeff has a solution. He plays unplugged. He steps down from the pulpit, brings a chair, and some of us crowd around him, crouched in the center aisle and awaiting with wide eyes. He starts "Two Headed Boy Pt. 2."

Many people in the pews sang along during the set, but the participation is most audible here without any microphone to support Jeff's voice. I'm just close enough to him so that I can hear his voice clearly. The voices mix perfectly and reverberate off the walls of the church. He eggs on the crowd to sing even louder and the "When we break..." verse swells like a hymn. I am certain I'll never experience anything quite like that again.

The song unfortunately has to end, and the PA comes back on. But I, along with a few others, stay seated in the middle aisle for the remainder of the set. Front and center. Even better.
After the show, Jeff gets more-or-less swarmed by fans. I go up and shake his hand. Then, nervously: "Uh, I just want to say... thanks for being a huge influen