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02/01 Direct Link

If I could have anything in the world, it'd be an attack squirrel. The thing about them is that, while you can't technically *own* one, you can befriend one that will protect you, and I respect that: I think it says a lot about their character. They're soft-spoken, which not many people know about attack squirrels. They can be vicious, but they don't enjoy it. That's a common misconception. The vast majority I've had the pleasure to meet have been well-read.







..but if they have to rip out a newborn baby's spine to protect you, they will, and that's awesome.
02/02 Direct Link
At the right place in a three-piece a week too early, he hustled to the club and valeted the van only to wait in line behind thirty-nine black men and women lookin' fine but not showstoppin' as him; was asked if he worked there, ran guns or dope, or was a cop—nope, man, I'm not—and began to get used to gettin' that a lot; almost had to slap a ho when a ghetto booty almost wrecked the show for everybody; gave a shoddy demo to modest mentor, Donny D, and made the acquaintance of a cat named Wayne.
02/03 Direct Link
Clubbers get booted early in Texas, so their best bet is to sober up with Denny's breakfast. Kico and Donny wound down the setlist, and some drunk chick callin' a dude "fertile"perplexed us. An R&B singer named Devon quoted Machiavelli, so I had to stay ‘til three at her request.

On the drive home I almost lost it when I saw big Tim walkin,' but being a good Agnostic, I gave him a ride in. We talked, he drank my water, and we listened to Common. From a stranger, "thanks, friend"is the best payment you can ask for.
02/04 Direct Link
The Akodo samurai, true to form, had burst in with no real knowledge of the situation, and accused the Scorpion courtier's yojimbo of stealing his daisho.

"Good morning, Akodo-sama,"intoned the Shosoro, in classic poison-laced sweetness.

"Arrest this man!"growled the Lion samurai.

"You're on dangerous ground, Akodo-sama,"she intoned, standing deliberately from the table where six young samurai watched. "This ronin serves me, and has his own daisho."

The ronin squared off with the Lion and said, calmly, "I challenge you to a duel."

Shosoro smiled: the Akodo, unable to compete in a duel, had nothing more to say.
02/05 Direct Link
So what if the rhyme scheme's complicated?
I keep mad time,
fucked it up to keep y'all constipated;
had assholes' faces puckered up
like sundried raisins
if y'all had the patience to wait
you might find out
it just takes time to turn grapes to wine
--mistakes into lessons--
you should be eager to create like this, son;
maybe you should open up a saving grace account and earn interest
on your meagre intellectual income.
And it's a high crime
to lose an audience to pot limericks
--this is simply not the time
to be flowin' on the high times.
02/06 Direct Link
I needed a stage name to sound impressive--
You can't be some plain jane lame brain
With unsound methods--
If you're gonna play the game
You might as well be the deftest,
You might as well astound the audience
With a structure that's dextrous,
Instead of paying deference
to popular preference
Sounding like a starving artist.
To be honest, dude, your flow is gifted,
But next on stage is you-know-who:
He Who Does Not Get Lifted,
He Whose Rhymes are the Dope Shit,
He Whose Burden-of-Proof Jewels are Unscripted,
He Who does not Call Himself "Poet,-
The one called Modest.
02/07 Direct Link

Stopping at stop lights wouldn't be so bad
if they were blacklights.

You know the ones, where you stop at ‘em,
and you wait for, like,

a full minute,

for some unmemorable car to drive through?

Drunks would never run a blacklight,
and stoners would stop for yellow.

It would be really cool, noticing all this lint you have on your shirt, even though you didn't think there was any before, now you know.

And that shirt is gonna be lint-free, man.

But then you accuse your girlfriend
of sleeping with another guy,
but the shirt's yours.

Man, that's awkward.
02/08 Direct Link
Black history month falls on February,
The shortest month of the year,
And this year, February,
Some of us mourn the loss
of an unparalleled civil rights leader
As a passing thing, as Rosa Parks passed: quietly.

I mourn the passage of a mind
too far ahead of her time
to be appreciated during the Vietnam,
Gulf War, and War on Terror generations.

An advocate for civil liberty,
and gay and lesbian dignity, among others;
a mother of four.

Our Presidents spoke at her service,
and did a disservice by not doing her justice.

Rest in peace,
Coretta Scott King.
02/09 Direct Link
We're the weak pulse of America:
Neither conservative nor liberal,
Sharp enough to read news
and find the message,
Measured against the annals
of history and its continuous passage,
Criticized by all sides for not
supporting shortsighted causes
Through short-term gains
and long-term losses.
A lot of us smoke, drink, spit, and fuck,
And curse everyone equally:
Catholics of all ethnicities
overpopulating our cities;
Cravenly politically correct
ethically bankrupt
mental weaklings
Constantly updating the Newspeak dictionaries;
both parties leaving the nation
to
linger without visionaries;
and this is the way the world ends,
not with a bang, but a whimper..
02/10 Direct Link
Pants zippers don't need warning labels.

Not because they're not dangerous, but because they can't kill you, and you never make the same mistake twice. Not like a gun, which has a safety, and can still blow your head off if you clean it with a bullet in the chamber. No, even for the most unfortunate, a few moments of sheer terror and extraordinary pain, you won't die
—and even for the least unfortunate,
it's memorable enough that you
Never
Do it
Again.

Girlfriends will not kill you,
make you stronger,
or teach you anything.

They should have warning labels.
02/11 Direct Link
My favorite time of the week
is Sunday at three in the morning.

The sun is still there, otherwise
we'd go spinning into space..
it's still there, but I can't *see* it.
It's not really "day,"because "day"
is a word we use that says,
"hey, man, I can see the sun."
We even have a specific word for
when you can start to see the sun,
but it doesn't start with "three in the...-

Plus, sun dials don't work:

"Hey man, can you tell me what time it is?-
"Not until Sunday, man..
then I'll definitely be able to.-
02/12 Direct Link
I feel like a conductor losing patrons
to the third rail at a train station--
like a Doctor faced with losing patience—
and I wonder if
you'll recognize my greatness
before it's too late. This
generation is not arguably in danger
of fallin' prey to the playstation.
So before you say
"I've heard that one before,-
I hope to be the last
to kick this dead horse.
But just to play close
to par for the course,
I'll be the first
to call the Playstation a dead metaphor.
Kids these days are born, bred, and raised
to be intellectually poor.
02/13 Direct Link
No phone numbers, anymore.
They're spoken once
and saved by name.
I remember remembering
friends' telephone numbers,
as a thing of the past.
Our comrades and neighbors
simply disappear,
for they
are unlisted.

To lose a cellular telephone
is to fall from the face--
you're just gone.

On a monthly basis, how many
--honestly, how many?--
of those hundred seventy
really ever call you?

A few, but they're greeted as strangers
--"hello..?---
at least at first.
Technology--both a boon and a omen--
is a double-edged weapon:
it cuts both ways, and deep.
02/14 Direct Link
She spoke in a voice
I wanted to believe
but oh, the tangled webs
we sometimes weave
when we don't have any choice.
Somewhere between patient waiting
and prayer, her slender fingers
filling the vacant space
with strands spun of careless sincerity,
leaving bits of web
and strands of hair
to linger
when
she
left,
she
left
me

hanging.

Her eyes spoke, too,
And I guess I should have listened
--should have learned my lesson--
but instead,
they barely burned,
those broken webs I treasured,
leaving impressions,
the leadridden words still legible
on the ashes of remembrances
barely interred.
02/15 Direct Link
A green Mustang merges onto the highway
Doing almost fifty.
I drive a van
That doesn't quite weigh three tons
And could easily force it off the road
But I don't.

Instead, I lay on the horn, hard,
And don't stop, even after
It pulls into the right lane,
Still not doing fifty.

I accelerate to pass it,
Horn still blaring, and pass safely,
Not cutting or flipping it off
Or anything.

That green Mustang pushing fifty,
I decide, must go from
Zero to sixty in about five minutes.
That's really slow, especially in comparison
To a full-size Chevy van.
02/16 Direct Link
There are deep cracks in the concrete and black spots of ancient chewing gum
--which few pedestrians walk over and even fewer seem to notice--on the sidewalk that runs along Martin street, which supports lots of east-west traffic. The asphalt is rutted by tires and there is a pothole in the left lane near the matte-green street lamp pole. The window through which I observe the salmon- and gray-colored marble walls of the building across the street is smeared with soap-based paint on the inside, but still reflects one stainless steel leg of the off-violet sofa to my left.
02/17 Direct Link
There must be three-hundred
or so people in here.
It's stuffy
and we're supposed to be listening
to this guy


talk about..
something

but I'm not.
I'm listening to people shift in their seats
and cough. There is a pattern to it
if you listen closely enough. This guy mentions someone
in the row in front of me.
She stands, and everyone claps
for some reason.
Later on, she is mentioned again,
but nobody claps, at first.

Why not?

I begin to clap, loudly,
and so does everyone else.
But they're tired near the end:
someone coughs every three seconds.
02/18 Direct Link
Someplace in Omaha, there stands
what used to be a department store
--the kind with glass display cases--
and, later in life, a theatre
--the kind where people perform--
with a brass-lettered sign above
the painted doors
and the letters spell
"MAGIC-
and it's all like that
because of me.

I once made out with my girlfriend
on the corduroy love seat upstairs,
where I once got drunk
and packed my things.
There's an underground tunnel, too,
to this tiny jewelry store,
where we had an art opening
that the same ex-girlfriend
brought her boyfriend to.
02/19 Direct Link
When I was a little kid
I had a denim wallet
with two zipper pockets
that I kept chalk in,
two pennies and a nickel
and I felt rich
'cause with that kind of scratch
you could pay cash
for seven penny candy cigarettes.
I had a wicker toy basket
where I kept my contraband.
Mom knew I did so, on occasion,
she'd catch me red-handed.
There was soft blue carpet
where I'd just sit and stack shit.
After the divorce, all that was left
was a bucket of Legos.
It was still my room,
but didn't feel like it.
02/20 Direct Link
This one time at band camp
a girl held my hand.
I can't remember her face
but I'll never forget her name:
Carrie (last name withheld).
She was a mousy sort of girl,
a trombone player,
and
a school district superintendent's daughter.
They'd play movies for us
to watch during off-time.
We'd bring blankets and pillows,
lay in the front row,
snuggle up close
and just hold
one another.
She'd press herself
against my back,
wrap an arm around me,
and barely
run her fingernails along my scalp.
But I doubt I'd recognize her
if I ever saw her again.
02/21 Direct Link
There is one woman in this world
that I love.
She has short, dark hair
with blonde highlights and
these incredible blue eyes.
I've known her for years
and always sort-of liked her..
but she's been on my mind lately.
Because she lives so far away,
we don't talk as often as I'd like,
sometimes,
but that's alright, because she
knows how I feel, and understands:
sometimes it's just not in the plans.
She rocks, and I'm a lucky man,
and even though I sometimes miss her,
I'll share my life with
a woman who loves me.
She's my sister.
02/22 Direct Link
I have this theory that peoples' lives are shaped not simply by their experiences, whether good or bad, but how those individuals react to those experiences. Many people that suffer from depression treat it as a crutch--as a tool to exempt them from the pain and pressure of everyday life--never realizing that they can live rich and meaningful lives. Most people, I think you'll find, have excuses to exempt them from responsibility (among other things, but primarily responsibility, the essential quality of a person who is able to craft their destiny from the pith and minutia of life).
02/23 Direct Link
Her name was Jessica.
She wore a big black cowboy hat and knee-high patent leather boots. The blue-eyed blonde looked down during the first song at the thin boy in the turntable t-shirt. Toward the end of the second song he asked for a dance, and she snagged him afterward. There was attraction between them, and he wondered as she Eskimo kissed him whether she'd mind him seeing her with clothes on. The song was over quickly, as they all were, and she stood, still ladylike and ravishing. They hugged twice and she let him know when she'd work next.
02/24 Direct Link
It began with loud arguments between parents--a life sentence of divorce punctuated every other weekend with semicolons of forty-eight-hour mutual agony sessions, summers gashed open by two-week-long m-dashes--and ended fourteen years later at an impasse, with the valuable lessons learned by the children.

They were already adults at an early age, and the only saving grace was exactly that--then again, they'd never really grown up, like permanent children with adult outlooks growing into adult bodies- -as with common sense, maturity, not common even to individuals several years their senior, set them apart as fantastic creatures.
02/25 Direct Link
There was a note inside the saya that held the Akodo's katana. Each of the samurai inspected it in turn, the last of whom was the Courtier.

"Can you read it, Shosuro-sama?" asked the Mirumoto.

"No, I cannot," she replied, placid face belying none of the dread she felt: it was written in Scorpion clan cipher.

"Are you certain?" asked the Kitsuki. It was a tough spot: lose face for lying earlier, or boldly feign ignorance in front of a Kitsuki.

"I must have been holding it upside-down," she lied, knowing full well that curiosity might kill these particular cats..
02/26 Direct Link
Nothing happened today. I imagine the whole world just stayed home. They played yesterday's news on t.v. The newspaper delivery trucks and boys stayed home: the presses were closed because there was no news to wrap the pages of advertisements and opinion columns up in because Congress and the Senate stayed home because their kids had the day off from school; the Israelis and Palestinians stayed home because Arafat and Sharon were otherwise occupied; I had to be at work but there was nothing to do, so I just went home early. It was Peace on Earth Day, I guess.
02/27 Direct Link
Airports are places rich with, to the point of overflowing, almost every human emotion: the sorrow of a mother at the loss of a child to the military and, inevitably, the war; melancholy for the departure, or elation over the arrival, of a lover; deathly boredom or panic due to long lay-overs; nostalgia at the reunion of old friends; awkward or enjoyable moments spent chatting with strangers; culture shock; being felt-up by cops; wanting to kill screaming babies, seriously, for the first time; racial prifiling; consumption by long line rage; panic at the word "turbulence;" and just plain getting home.
02/28 Direct Link
"Would you like some company?"she asks.

"I'm just getting settled,"he replies, lifting the half-full pint can of Guinness in demonstration. He glances around at the others, who are far more attractive, but he hasn't yet decided whose "company"he'd like.

Ah, there she is, the one in the fishnet dress. He looks at her and motions her over, and she sits. "My name is.."She'd just dropped her name, and either he wasn't paying attention or heard it but immediately forgot. They chat for a moment, and he offers her a cigarette. They make for the dark corner.