REPORT A PROBLEM
and here are some shorter poems:
Mama let it not be said
your baby girl is underfed.
AESOP HAS TAUGHT ME NOTHING
Tonight I am the smug
My philosophy paper will
I am invincible.
Slow and steady is for suckers.
Who calls them hares anyway?
when you blink
I can discover
all over again.
the corner of my eye
no, not a flake of snow.
too eager am I.
it’s simply ash
fallen from someone’s
but I could kiss it,
it let me have.
you know what? I can deny it all I want but all I really want is to be a diva. I want to sing and when I do I want people to burst into tears because my voice is so beautiful. I want a little group with a piano player a drummer a bassist maybe some horns depending on the song. I want people to come watch me at the clubs where I sing and it wont even matter what I look like because the beauty of my voice will transcend visual perception so that I will be their Aphrodite.
I don’t like it when people watch me play—watch me at all really. and it makes me want to hibernate. I want to sleep for months. If I could only be a bear. Do bears have nightmares too? jesus, I hope not. I want hibernation free from introspection and all social situations. I find myself: I am a child playing outside by myself in my own yard, and I flee when cars drive by. I know I’m not doing anything wrong by playing. But still I cant help but find the need to run and hide behind a tree.
I’ve been sitting here for the past half hour racking my brain, wondering why I am so maddeningly introspective. What is it about me that demands constant self doubt? Do I have some sort of internal mechanism that switches at irregular intervals between self hate, self restraint, and self pity? Aren’t each of these three only varieties of manifestations of selfishness? How can I avoid this? Is it Possible for me to avoid this? And could I possibly use the word SELF more in this statement?
Note: The irony of this set of 100 words is not lost to me.
This morning I was following some guy into some building on my way to some class, and I had this vivid daydream that it was Joe Paterno, he didn't hold the door open for me. Instead, he slammed it right in my face. Naturally I kicked his ass right there.
Now last year this would have made complete sense to any hypothetical shrink I might be seeing, since I was miserable at Penn State, I was taking out my aggressions on a symbol of the University. But now I guess it just means I'm violent and want to hurt people.
Whenever I am tired or otherwise feeling a little silly, I feel like speaking Spanish. Now I don't know HOW to speak Spanish. I took French in high school, but I know quite a few choice words in Spanish, more than I ought to for not having studied it (if you ask me) I even have written songs in Spanish. ("Los Dos Tomatitos" was one. "Los Minosvalidos" was another.) Both written in French class, oddly enough. Anyway, I really want to learn how to speak Spanish so that I can be even more incoherent in my pre-sleep ramblings and mumblings.
Thank you, Ken Mickels, for giving me 100 words. I don't know how you found it, but I can honestly say that I wouldn't be writing nearly as much if it weren't for you. (I think that's a good thing. I like to write. If you don't think it's a good thing, well sod off!) Now every blank part of a piece of paper begs me to write on it: margins of newspapers, backs of receipts, hell, I don't even mind when people hand me fliers with their advertisements on them. Now they're just supporting my writing habit. YAY KEN!
I love my name. I like it that not a soul on the planet has my name but me. I don't know anyone else who has a hyphen in their first name. My mom had a dog named "Erin" when she was little. "Erin" means "Ireland" which means "land of peace" Somehow my mom is convinced I was named after the Joni Mitchell song "Little Green" (I WAS born with the moon in Cancer...) My dad was a huge Beatles fan, which explains the "Michelle"
WARNING: Use sparingly. My name is my weakness. Use it like you'd use a promise.
That blind kid on campus scares the hell out of me. Every time I see him, it’s like he is coming straight at me, swinging that cane. This blind kid walks faster than everyone, and people see him and run or dive off the sidewalk.
He’d make an excellent supervillain. He is Penn State’s “Blind Terror.”
One time, (oh, jesus, I’m pretty evil myself, aren’t I?) he walked straight into a car that was stopped at a stopsign. The driver just sat there like “WTF?” Blind kid just kept walking, swinging that cane.
And I laughed.
ERIN LUHKS: “There’s only one with a smile. It must be Trapani.”
LUCY BAKER: “Look at his big green butt.”
TRAPANI: “Hey! How come I don’t got any arms???”
Lucy Baker asked me to write my Saturday’s 100 words about “Chabarbie” and my first Eat N Park experience. Chad Barbe drew a fantastic picture of us in green crayon on his placemat. (Chad Barbe ordered a stack of pankakes with sausage AND corned beef hash. He’s a little guy… but he’s a HUNGRY little guy!) I ordered mashed potatoes with gravy. They weren’t great, but I kept that green crayon.
Chad Barbe is a little guy. He likes to smoke pot. He recently shaved his beard, which proved to be a traumatic event for a certain friend of his who had never known Chad Barbe before he grew his beard, and was delighted by the fact that “barbe” means “beard” in French. However, there’s more to this little guy than just a beard, so the new friend will hopefully get over her shock. Chad Barbe is always hungry. He would rather drive three blocks than walk it. He loves Reese’s peanut butter pumpkins He doesn’t have white boy music taste.
NOVEMBER IS JUSTIN TRAPANI MONTH
That's right, kids, now November is Justin Trapani month, the month dedicated to the celebration of all that embodies the hedonistic phenomenon that is Justin Evan Trapani. Never before has the introduction of a month of awareness for anything been so enthusiastically adopted by cultures worldwide as Justin Trapani month. In addition to observing Justin Trapani month by embracing his suggestion to consume exorbinate amounts of alcohol and participate in wild orgies, many groups are developing all new hedonistic practices the world has never before experienced. Among the most incredible of these pleasures is the…
Certainly there are countless reasons why Lucy Baker is the best in the world. But since I only have 100 words to try to capture her awesomeness, I’ll only be able to supply a short few. First of all, she bought me this kickass pencil at the UniMart last night. It has pictures of paper airplanes on it. Another reason Lucy is great is she taught me how to say MEEP ZERP, and she had the patience to keep telling me the way to say it even when I kept getting it wrong. Also, she’s a saucy redhead. Lucy rules.
Friends, I must warn you. I have come across some very important information that affects us all very immediately. Team Kowalski is trying to conquer the world, starting with the modest venture of conquering State College. Some of the evils they intend to implement once the world is under their diabolical control:
-universal dress code consisting of orange shirts with purple letters boldly reading “PROPERTY OF KOWALSKI” and terrible purple shorts that you’re probably somehow allergic to
-daily required supplemental annoyance vitamins designed to maximize obnoxiousness and hatability
-weekly viewings of the 2000 version of Godzilla (the worst movie ever)
Can you blame me for the crimes I commit when I am sleepwalking?
I often wonder is it my conscious or my subconscious that is responsible for my deeds?
What would happen if it were the other?
And sometimes I wonder how much of myself I can destroy and remain truly me.
it smarts like a bee sting
the sharpness of sunlight in my eye
a laser beam shattering my ghosts
like screams down an elevator shaft
only the memory
rings in my ears
and the dream
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAMMIT!
Here's what your report card is probably like at Concordia:
SKATEBOARDING 273: Heelflips
(three credits) GRADE: A
Teacher comments: You're real good, but your ankles scare me.
PHOTOGRAPHY 258: Advanced Black and White
(three credits) GRADE: A
Teacher comments: You’re a damn good picture taker.
LOCATION 156: Being in Wisconsin
(three credits) GRADE: A
Teacher comments: Way to be in Wisconsin. Good job, son.
LOCATION 290: Being in Yardley
(three credits) GRADE:
Oh wait, you droppped that class
ENGLISH 215: Creative Writing
(three credits) GRADE: B+
Teacher comments: Wonderfully creative uses of the word “fuck.”
We took a clown car up West College to a darker place so we could better see the meteor show. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was beautiful, lines all streaking the sky. Mellon gave me numbers for frequencies of shooting stars per minute, but it was more about the lines for me. But even so--
it didn’t feel fair-- I guess because it was predicted. It was like the difference between going to see a lot of bears at the zoo, and finding one lone bear for yourself in the wild. I prefer it when things are accidental.
That girl with the lemur tattoo has got
to be crazy! It’s huge
the whole length of her forearm. He’s
all black and white except for those giant
orange eyes. You won’t believe me but
I swear-- he watches me. I’m telling you
I’ve seen him blink. HONEST! And
he winks at me sometimes too, like
he knows all the secrets of the world.
He probably DOES! Not only that,
but I’ve seen him move! I kid you not—
it moved that damned tail! That
ring-tailed taunting tattoo tail! I’m telling you
it moved!!! Yeah,
that girl is totally crazy!
Why in the world
did you tear down the wallpaper?
Holly, honey, that’s ridiculous.
What were you thinking
when you smashed that glass on the tiles?
Seriously, Holly, that’s dangerous.
What possessed you
to throw the chairs in the swimming pool?
Good Lord! The table too?!
Holly, honey, oh Holly…
And do you really think it was a good idea
to put permanent dye in the laundry
to spill marbles in the dark hallway
to put a tripwire at the top of the stairs?
to set the curtains on fire?
Really, Holly, that’s just crazy.
At some point in my life, I want to have a cat and a dog and name the cat Simon and name the dog Garfunkel. At some point in my life, I want to have a cat called Yoko so I can sing that John Lennon song to someone (and naming a baby girl Yoko would be weird) How about three cats called Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? That’d be cool for when I’m old and batty. In the near future I want a black cat and I’ll name it Aku which means evil. That name is obviously from Samurai Jack.
I have been promised a puppy for when I graduate college. It will be (because it has always meant to be) an Old English Sheepdog. They are the best puppies in the world. I can’t wait. I want a boypuppy, I think. Old English Sheepdogs require a lot of maintenance like brushing a lot since they never shed and let’s be honest, they’re just dumb so it’ll take a lot of patience to raise. Old English sheepdogs have a totally adorable walk (it’s floppy) and really big cute paws. I want to call him Watson. He can be my sidekick.
What’s up with the word Palindrome not being one itself? The word palindrome reminds me of elephants, probably because it reminds me of the word pachyderm. (learned that one from watching Dumbo) How do you even spell pachyderm? I’m going to go check. Wow, hey, I was right. Pachyderms are cool. Have you ever seen an elephant swimming? It’s the coolest thing in the world. There’s an old diet coke commercial with an elephant swimming in a lagoon, dropping peanuts on a raft, and picking up a diet coke. It is probably one of my favorite commercials of all time.
When I was a little kid, I made plans to have been published by age twenty. And now that I am, I don’t even have any works TRYING to be published. But have I let myself down? Do I even have enough life behind me to write anything worth reading??
a score ago
a rainy night
an Oakland hospital
to our surprise
the father arrives first
a score ago
a few weeks late
a delivery room
to our surprise
the baby girl doesn’t cry
a score ago
a story told
to my surprise
I’ve survived this long
Doubt is a strange thing. It physically changes you, it tenses your stomach and quickens your pulse. It heightens your senses until the sheer mass of perceptions overwhelms you and you just have to shuty ou eyes, but no matter how tightly you press your eyelids together, your senses just wont stop sensing. You feel yourself falling and your hands flail around reaching for something for anything to hold you up. You wish you could say “Well, at least there’s That” but ist there anything you can say that about? Doubt destroys every That. Your hands reach but you fall.
I like to do this thing on car trips sometimes where everyone writes a poem together. You let one person start with a word, and let each other person add phrases. The first car poem I participated in was the following en route to the Quarry Swim Club:
was in the forecast all week.
by Mika Hunter, Craig Chassen, and Erin Luhks
And we wrote another one today, on the way back to school:
in the mud
Johanna Perry, Dennis Powell, Rick Mellon, and Erin Luhks
Try writing one! It’s fun!
“Sometimes I just want to dissolve.” Her words were deliberate and abrupt like the lighting of a match, betraying the silence upon which they had agreed. The girl’s eyes rested far into the sunset before them, but her thoughts were restless and farther still. She held her breath waiting for a response.
Her companion continued to look at her, as he had been doing without interruption since late afternoon when they had settled at the edge of this cliff overlooking the ocean. “Like how?” he said at last.
She sighed, tilted her head slightly. “To just dissipate into the air.”
She sighed, tilted her head slightly. “To just dissipate into the air.” She repositioned herself against the pillow she had made of his side. “Like a fog lifting.”
After a moment, he turned his head and his attention away from the direction of her face. “Sometimes I just want to stop existing,” he said.
As he looked at the sunset, she glanced downward, as if there were only enough of the scene for a single beholder. She surrendered it to him. “I guess that’s what I mean,” she muttered.
“It’s like I just don’t want to BE anymore,” he explained.
“It’s like I just don’t want to BE anymore,” he explained. He inhaled deeply, and for a long moment allowed twilight’s clouds to swirl in his lungs. He allowed the horizon’s colors to dance on the insides of his eyelids. He let his thoughts tumble through his mind and dizzy him before he exhaled.
“Because it’s just not fun anymore,” He threw his head back, eyes closed, indicating it was now her turn.
She nodded. “I figure dissolving would be a nice way to have that happen. Just like, diffusing into the atmosphere, when life is just too overwhelming.”
Like playing cards. On their own, they lay flat, occupying two dimensions only (just about). Now put two of them together. Leaning so they touch at their edges. The beginning of a card house. Together they conquer space. They occupy three dimensions. No longer flatness; instead, these two cards find victory, and they surpass the rest of the deck, who will certainly try to follow suit and pair up into twos and invade the third dimension as well. Wouldn’t you? Each pair is perfectly isosceles but each pair has its own angles resulting from the intersection of the cards’ planes.
My sadness renders you helpless. I must have told you once at least once how much I hate it when I’m told to be happy when I’m told to not be sad. So you tell me it’s ok to be sad. Tell me it’s ok to be who I am. (I hope sadness is not who I am) That you cant cheer me up when you want to and try to makes me feel terrible not to mention selfish. Please don’t be hurt if I fail when I try to give you the reaction you seek when you comfort me.
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