December 28, 2007

HUSH (Having Utensils Saves Honesty) [Part IV of my "Thinking In Acronyms" series]

Wasted monuments stare down at what we do.
Generations past may have cared.
Now stony gazes marvel at marble stares.
Barely noticed by the times I lightly tread by.
My footsteps leaving impermanent prints in the fresh icing of snow.
Ludicrous next to the impertinence of stone.

Fleeting beauty is deeper than everlasting glare.
New tracks are left every day. I let them lead me astray.
No sense of direction takes you interesting places.
Leaving intentions of returning at the starting point, you always win the race no matter where you finish.
Every day is a triumph over nothingness.
I forgot when I woke up. So many sleepwalkers nurse delusions of glory and future in their heads. How come I am so much more awake than most, when my favorite pastime is sleeping?
I listen to things people say in dreaming, awake blabber is of little value. Stuck in a dark room, no TV or street noise dictating your thoughts, what is left on your table?
I lack a spoon, but because I can use my knife as a fork, it's half as bad. Can your watch tell the temperature? Did you teach your cups to talk yet?
As I pass the statue of a lionesque dog I wonder what miracles that creature performed to deserve immortality.
And if God does exist, why does it matter if they're wrong?

"And if you swear that there's no truth and who cares, how come you say it like you're right?"

November 18, 2007

TOP (Taming Our Past) [Part III of my "Thinking In Acronyms" series]

Thoughts wonderfully impotent and irrelevant swirl. Tangled webs of spiraled miracles in time.

How I got here fades in light of upcoming events.

Meretricious convictions serve people well. I throw them in with the rest of the trash.

The perennial exhaustion is fraying my patience and my perseverance. Brumal darkness serves as a catalyst of my own murk.

Apocryphal warmth fills the spaces in between my soul and mind.

I don’t trust the road ahead, its end shrouded in dubiety. But I am shiftless, I can’t change course and South isn’t a better direction anyway.

I staple commitments to my chest, so I don’t lose them, and take up my cape. After all, the quest is the eternal adventure of life.

What I earned fits in one moss-green pouch. Hence-armed, my emotions stuck under my belt, my wisdom pinned to my flap, my feet clad in boots of principle, I walk out into the open field and let the winds attempt to knock me down.

“I've betrayed the whole concept of ground right there for standing.”

November 13, 2007

COD (Chronic Overthinking Disorder) [Part II of my "Thinking In Acronyms" series]

Identifying the stranger I should know is impossible to do, but my only chance. He should step forward, do his part.

The familiar voice makes me dream. And write. It's a constant presence, the voice. Welcomed.

I elevate the moments worth mentioning. Stick a needle in them and hang them up on the board.

Milk has gone bad in the fridge. Is time in fast forward?

Autumn haze and winter clarity form a beautiful blend. I am searching for that silent spot in my mind. Cars are evil.

Lights dance in front of my window and their routine has no meaning, isn't tied to anything anymore. They have glowed for too long. They have passed decorative or pretty.

The emotional strings stretch far and wide and cover a lot of ground. Swinging on them hand over hand is a tricky task and demands strength. I've done it all my life.

Too many truths in this world make sense. Lies are easier to figure out. Figures.

A house of cards in a hurricane.

November 10, 2007

Menagerie [Part I of my "Thinking In Acronyms" series]

On the day of all days the mood swings, I cry at my laughter and laugh at my tears. I reconfigure the centrifuge and search for measurements that need to be invented.

I think in acronyms now.

Days recede into the night and don't leave a note. I can never be sure if I am spinning around or the world.

The people speak my language, but I choose to unlearn it. Three letters in my head awaken soft feelings, I gently smile, I feel loving and caring and giving. It's crazy how three random letters can carry so much meaning. Which you have built up in your head, all by yourself.

A familiar gesture awakens me for a minute. Everyone can see the history in it. I have a history, I left a mark though it gets thrown away with the wrapping.

Why is that one song on repeat and talking to me?

I pair up fifteen dancers in my head and then realize I have split one in half. They should just stop making noise in my head. Serves them right.

Under the covers every night I'm someone else. And never the same someone twice. But I am always alone. Curious how I seldom ever notice anymore.

The music swells and suddenly it's all a syncope.

October 14, 2007

Seasonal Wisdom

After the summer that came and went without anyone ever knowing it had been there at all, I am still sitting alone in my room over the same task I was assigned weeks ago and my thoughts now so far down a path I am thinking it is hard to catch up to them again, ever. Or to explain them to anyone, even myself. Nothing is real and tangible these days, it's all just mist and truths in dreams.

I opened my window and the air coming in smelled of winter. A few days after autumn started and already I can smell the frost and behind my closed eyelids see the twinkling lights of Christmas. My heart takes a leap of joy as a smile forms on my lips and the crisp breeze travels to my lungs.

From the back of the closet I longingly pulled out my black winter coat, which keeps me warm in the worst of weather and I smiled at my biker boots standing right there underneath it. I thought to myself "I cannot wait for it to be winter". Preferably with a lot of snow and sunshine in between. I want to take long walks. Through the city and out of the city, past trees that are sleeping. I want to breathe deep while in my ears Matt Pond sings a sweet song. I want to wrap a scarf around my neck, wear my silly woolen hat, my mittens and my biker boots with thick socks in them and trod around in the cold for hours until my nose freezes off or I get hungry. And even then I would rather unpack a crumbled ginger bread man from my pocket than go home. I want to take my journal and record my thoughts when my feet are tired and I am sitting on a bench, people with dogs passing me by. I want the cold to make me feel alive again. When I am freezing I will finally feel every muscle in my body, every part of me will be there, achingly making itself noticed and I can take inventory and see if I lost anything along the way. I will feel the shivers traveling along my body, starting in my lower back and spreading to my stomach, running down my legs and back up to take a hold of my arms until I shudder and shake them off. And I will start to run, my arms flapping like those of an unselfconscious child still full of enthusiasm not worried about looking silly. I will run as fast and as long as I can until the cold pierces my lungs and I will fall into the snow and stare into the pale sky while the wetness makes my coat damp from underneath. Maybe at that point I will break out in song.

"If you ever wanted anything

Then you have to disagree

Make some time with the fire's coals

Who really knows if it isn't cold"

Standing at my window lost in my fantasy of winter I think if I close my eyes tight enough and listen to the silence in the weather, I can smell the fireplaces that are going to be lit when the thermometer drops, and the dead earth, the leaves rotting away under all the mushy brown snow. I can hear the muffled steps of children making new footsteps where no one has gone before them and the faint sound of Christmas songs playing in every store in the city center. And with the icy particles of winter wind a sense of connection settles onto my skin. Thousands of miles away I can see a face, reddened by the temperature and the exhaustion and I can't wait to meet him.

"I can be quiet

Wish you could hear me"

I stand frozen in my posture and fractions of another life slide across my face and pass me by. The ice is so unbelievably thick in Wisconsin in winter. You never get ice like that around here. And once in my childhood it rained and then froze so fast, all the trees had a coat of ice around them and when the wind blew they clunked against each other and played a glockenspiel symphony. That was a magical day.

Many people hate winter and the cold, but I remember a friend of mine who said he hated the heat more, because you can always put more clothes on to shield you from cold, but there is a limit to taking clothes off to relieve you of heat. I believe the cold makes us more aware. It brings out the truth. You cannot hide from all the cold. You put on layers and layers of clothes in an effort to hide, but the cold always finds a way in and only the resilient retain a smile and a cheer. The most spirited ones defy the rules of everything dying and come alive when it's cold. The people grumpy when it's cold are the ones always grumpy, but usually they hide it well when the sun provides a cozy cover and chemical illusions. I dare the winter to bring out the truth, show us who we really are, point me to my corner and make me whole again. I'd rather be freezing on the outside than frozen on the inside.

Under all the items of clothing you wear when it's cold it's hard to express anything, you are restricted from using body language or intricate gestures with gloved fingers. You have to use your words and people do it too little. I applaud the cold for wrenching words from mindless souls. Nothing registers as real if you never give it words. You cannot run from sounds you have spoken, you can never take them back. This permanence is a good reason to hate winter, but it's no excuse. To stand in fields of snow and speak words from deep within is beautiful purity you can only get in winter.

Winter makes you dig for things. Your car underneath the cover of snow, the safe way to cross the icy road, your gloves at the bottom of your pocket, life underneath the exterior of death. If ever you wanted to say something true, winter is the time to do it. There is nothing left to distract us, no girls in short skirts, no beach parties, no barbecues, no feel good radio hits, all that's left is what you keep from dying in the cold.

I'd never trust someone who falls in love with me in summer time, the sun makes everything look too pretty. I don't care about pretty and sunny and colorful. I like the core of things, all the dispensable disposed of and no chemical illusions altering the mind. Summer lies and people lie in summer. When all you can see is my eyes underneath all the winter accessories I am wearing and all you can hear is me singing matt pond PA and talking about crickets when you fall in love with me, that's when I'll believe you, because at the bottom of things that's who I am. I am winter and I like it that way.

September 6, 2007


I was in love with you once. I remember it as clearly as a crystal winter’s night. The popular notion of love is that it’s fuzzy and warm and consoling. My love for you chilled my very bones. I hated that I loved you from the minute I started to. Everything I ever perceived myself to be froze up while I loved you. There was no movement left, within or without; my soul was preserved in its state and couldn’t evolve while I loved you. Gelid air filled my lungs and I wandered around my own self as through an empty warehouse, my footsteps on cement floor echoing back at me, everything aglow in blue faded light. Dust gathered on the shelves I used to store my feelings on, they had all been swept to the ground by your consuming nature. For the first time I realized how infinite my soul was and how deep it went. Endless corridors lay adjacent to spacious halls and boxes I hadn’t touched in years or ever stood around in disarray. Yet every move I made seemed unsafe, disturbing your curve and it wasn’t worth the strenuous effort, so I quickly stopped to stray. You on the other hand had found your perfect playground. You burst through the door and filled the corridors of my soul with everything you were, thoughtlessly opening boxes I could never tape back shut. And while I loved you and silently stood and watched you throw around my childhood memories and my deep contempt for stupidity, I still hated you for being who you were. So selfish and so arrogant, so convinced of your own intelligence and so reckless. I never saw you in the daylight, only saw your silhouette in the shallow gloaming of my warehouse. It was the only way I could stand to look at you at all. And yet I say I loved you. And I do because you at least were real and intense. You touched parts of my self no one had ever reached and with your touch gave them life and made me aware of their existence. You made an impact, you moved the boxes, you didn’t just look into them. You rearranged and reordered and realigned me according to your taste, your knowledge and your pleasure. You put me to use when I had felt useless all my life. Suddenly I wasn’t lonely anymore, there was someone else living inside me, the voice was existent and my questions received an answer. I didn’t want the noise you made to leave me again. Just the sound of your breath next to me in bed was enough to assure me I was alive and this world not as desolate as sometimes it looks in grim daydreams we have.

You took what you needed from my warehouse, carried it around with you out there in the world, never gave some of it back. I didn’t feel like I ever gave you anything. You found all the things worth taking by yourself while I just stood there and consciously observed you robbing my soul as if it was just that: a warehouse without an alarm system. You left some things behind too. Going through the boxes now I find them, scattered, useless things you didn’t need or didn’t want anymore, like your nicotine addiction. I couldn’t keep you for long. The corridors and halls seemed endless to me, but you soon found their limits, stood in front of the walls that hold in my soul, and decided you needed to break through. I never fixed the hole you ripped for your escape and sunlight is now pouring into the room I kept my dignity in. I stand in it a lot, my arms crossed over my chest, and marvel at the bright whiteness of everything beyond my wall. The light is so radiant it almost becomes a corporeal force, magnetic in its power and I wonder if one day I will step outside and leave who I was, carrying just one box to my new warehouse, the one I built from dreaming.

None of what I feel today is hindered by the memory of you. I am not bitter when I talk about my love, it left the same way it came in, sudden and without a warning. And in the end it doesn’t matter why the boxes are in different places, as long as the places are meaningful to me. That is what I am left with, I am back at square one. I can only assume the boxes were in purposeful places before you came and where they were defined who I was. It was a maze and I was looking for the pattern. I have to start over now, the pattern has changed, but the game is still the same. The arrangement of my boxes still says who I am. I just have to read it right, read it better than the coffee grounds left in my cup in the morning. Sometimes I am tempted to test my memory and put everything back the way it used to be, to return to delivery condition. But then I wonder if who I was before was so much better than who I am now and how can I judge when I hadn’t figured me out back then and I haven’t figured me out yet? And with each day I wait to convert back to Old Me, the more the memory of it fades and I stumble upon crates and cases and chests and coffers I don’t recall the proper placement for.

Every now and then I attempt to move a box, store it away on the designated shelf, attach a tag and cross-reference it in the index cabinet. I successfully hoisted the box of bashfulness onto the top shelf of the recycling rack. And the carton of cataclysm was lighter than I thought, while the canister of capability took all my capacity to even be moved an inch closer to the can-opener. And did you know that doubt simply evaporates if you lift the lid off its crate? I still don’t know why the jar of jealousy stands next to the flask of faith, but I am sure I’ll make sense of it soon. In the meantime I lavish the liquid in my ladle of language.

As of now my legs wobble with every step I take, they are new to the motion as I am new to every experience post the era of you. But like a child with every stumble I gain more confidence, hone my senses and earn my keep. Strange how nothing has changed without like it has within. I might go and buy a dust brush, see if I can’t get these hallways to shine.

June 28, 2007


I have many weird favorite things. Where some don't bother to pick favorites, I do. And where everyone picks favorites, I pick weird ones.

My favorite stylistic device is the hendiadys. My favorite pen is from Kohs Machine Shop Inc in Marshfield, WI (I own about 300 pens). My favorite letter is P. My favorite cloud is snoopy-shaped. My favorite temperature is 27° Celsius. My favorite Greek letter is f. My favorite TV character is Oz (NOT the wizard). My favorite animal is the squirrel.

My favorite feeling is melancholy.

I think that the indefinable space between happy and sad is the most moving and compelling place for an artist to be. If there's anything I consistently strive for, it's a melancholy limbo."

- Shawn Colvin

When I say melancholy I don't mean depression or sadness. I mean melancholy. A pensive mood. A tear in one eye and a smile on the lips.

"Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness."

- Italo Calvino

That kind of melancholy. There is too much in this world, in us people, to not be melancholic, I believe. At least every now and then. To get lost within the slightly bitter taste of life, the beautiful irony of it all. To think about love lost, friendship not found, impending death and children in the sunshine. Your heart feels heavier in your chest, you notice its presence for a change, your thoughts are shrouded in mist, everything looks beautiful but gloomy, alive but meant to fade. When I am melancholic I feel connected to something greater than myself. And since I don't believe in God, I name it the soul of the world, the wisdom of the times. Not that I know anything in these moments others don't know, I just feel like I could know something if I tried hard enough.

Great men are always of a nature originally melancholy."

- Aristotle

When I am melancholic, I can sense many have been melancholic before and will be after I am gone. Which makes it all the more touching. When you are melancholic you don't think about your petty little self, you look out at the world and see the depths in puddles, hidden traits, dark secrets and the greenest greens in all the red. You write the best poetry, the most moving songs, touching lines of prose.

"Melancholy is a fearful gift. What is it but the telescope of truth!"

- Lord Byron

Melancholy makes you sink deeper into your soul and settle into your body. You arrive within yourself while your thoughts travel with the couple on bikes passing by. It's a warm blanket, rain proof and harder to shed the longer you wear it. It calms you down, it gives you time and patience. You no longer have an elsewhere to be. You can meditate over your coffee forever, you can rock the baby's cradle for hours. Your thoughts escape you, travel far and wide and when you finally come back, you are more relaxed than ever.

"There is no such thing as happiness, only lesser shades of melancholy."

- Victor Hugo

Melancholy hides everywhere. It's the feeling you get when you listen to Epicure's "Main Street". It's the feeling you get when someone you love accomplishes something and you know you haven't accomplished anything lately. It's the feeling of wanting to be more than you are but seeing no way to get there soon. At the end of the day melancholy makes you smile and think you are silly for loving deep thoughts more than laughter. What is a day in the sun worth measured against the times of time? Are the thoughts you put down on paper when you are melancholic more resistant than the fading sounds of voices in the wind whispering timely jokes in timely fashion?

"Melancholy advanceth men's conceits more than shy humor whatever."

- Robert Burton

Melancholy makes you fancy yourself to be an artist, a dark soul wandering past people unnoticed and yet more profound than them. It makes you feel you are on the outside looking in and you see something others miss. Your eyes search the room for someone else who sees it too and all too many times arrive at yourself again. Everyone melancholic thinks they are alone. Which is just as well, the perception of loneliness is a vital part of melancholy, the only true kind.

"If you are melancholy for the first time, you will find, upon a little inquiry, that others have been melancholy many times, and yet are cheerful now."

- James Henry Leigh Hunt

You see the world as it should be, may be and will be, when you are melancholic. Behind the masks and masquerades there are insights to be gained and you want them all. You don't believe in the headlines, the bleached hair and the sparkling teeth. And the two girls at the table next to you talking about shoes disgust you more than the bloodshed in a distant country. At least the bloodshed is real, what are they? Figurines, impressionable and without questioning, raised in a world out of touch with its own core. At the speed the world is turning, these two will definitely be amongst those who get thrown off by the centrifugal force over time.

"Melancholy sees the worst of things,--things as they may be, and not as they are. It looks upon a beautiful face, and sees but a grinning skull."

- Christian Nestell Bovee

Melancholy makes you sigh more than usual and leaves you unable to make any kind of facial expression. People tend to worry about me when I am melancholic. They are convinced they need to cheer me up, but there is no cheering up from melancholy. You have to choose to leave it behind out of your own will. And when you are connected to something real through melancholy, you don't want to give it away anymore.

"Go--you may call it madness, folly,
You shall not chase my gloom away.
There's such a charm in melancholy,
I would not, if I could, be gay!"

- Samuel Rogers

Everything seems to have a purpose and make sense when you look at it with melancholic eyes. This sense may not be dainty and it may be horrifying indeed, but at least it is a sense. The crying child you know will grow up to be a unique person and the scraped knee won't make a difference. The law student will, after a long coffee break, find his way back to his books and fail his exam anyway. The rain draining the woman without an umbrella will enable her boyfriend to take sweet care of her when she gets home drenched and shivering. The homeless man on the corner will go unnoticed for the rest of his life, because of a few bad choices he made long ago. The murderer will walk free because he had the money to afford the good lawyer. Melancholy sees order in things that make no sense. It sees that it needs to be this way. The world cannot be merry and happy, it needs the dark to have the light. It is almost a duty to be melancholic to us melancholic. We know we keep the balance alive. If we gave up on our sweet dark milk, the world would light up and pretty soon burn out. So we mock you with our cynicism and our gloomy words on paper and probing questions so uncomfortable to think about.

"Aristotle said melancholy men of all others are most witty."

- Robert Burton

You have to excuse us. We don't mean to be condescending. Melancholy among everything else shrouds your view to other things and people. It has to in order to render the results we all desire. No melancholy is worth a damn if it thinks itself anything less than extraordinary. It's in the nature of things. No rock star can perform properly if he doesn't think he is the greatest man alive when he is on stage. A melancholy mind works the same way. And who would want to miss the insights of Eliot, Poe, Rilke or Oberst for the banal fact of them realizing they are not any different than the rest? Because in the end they are. Different.

"It's not something I would recommend, but it is one way to live."

- Conor Oberst

Melancholy gives the melancholic purpose. It defines our selves and identity is something not shed lightly. Nothing is done lightly in a melancholy state of mind. Not even the choice of your coffee. You are careful not to break your own mood. You avoid the upbeat CDs in your case, you turn off comedy shows on TV, you drown out the crowds. In the deepest stages of melancholy you find yourself still. Nothing within you moves except your thoughts and life passes you by in fast motion. You close your eyes, breathe in and grasp at something evasive for two seconds. You take your pen to write it down and it is gone. What you put on the page is a mere shadow of what you knew in those two seconds. But it gnaws at you forever and leaves you wanting to know what it was, digging into your soul, flipping through pages of profound books, listening to all the songs to find something familiar, to catch the scent again, to taste the taste of truth, melting on your tongue, exploding in your cells and shaking your muscles. It stays lost.

"Melancholy spreads itself betwixt heaven and earth, like envy between man and man, and is an everlasting mist."
- Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron)

My favorite feeling is melancholy.

Once it grabs a hold of you, once you experience it, you don't want it to leave your life. Sometimes it goes to sleep within you and is tired of making you twist and turn. Then you delve into ordinary life and become one of the laughing people. Until one day melancholy comes out of hibernation, demands to be fed and takes a close look at what you have been doing while it was sleeping. And it puts the knowing smile back on your face. Lets you know what you have done was gain experience, more to contemplate, more to examine, more to savor. Melancholy makes the most of every moment, because it can freeze it and look at it for all eternity. One perfect moment is enough to feed your melancholy for all your life. You can write endless stories about that one moment, you can relive it, you can taste it, smell it, feel it, love it. To be melancholic is to know things fade and make them stick around only in your mind. To be melancholic is to beat time. To be melancholic is to be.

"Nothing is so dainty sweet as lovely melancholy."

- Samuel Fletcher

June 12, 2007

Dilute, Dissolve, Disband

Give it some meaning, make it safe. Stay out in the water, at least till it's dark. The trees at the shore, they keep all our secrets. I didn't just dream it, they really whisper the truth. Let's go out further, let's dive in deep. See the light dancing upon the dark waves. The lake is sleeping, resting for the day. We're not scared, we've made it this far. Living is easy, you just have to start. It is safe between the trees and our bodies. We can leave all of the talking and just make sounds from feelings. Seven different kinds of kisses lead the way out in the water. There's no need to dry our arms now, we will stay out here for hours. Floating round in circles we have nothing to remember. Hold on to my shoulders, I'll spin you around. Live in your body, look out at the world. All the years I've known you and we haven't grown older. Soothing water around us, the world falls away. Pretend we're alone, let it all go. You have nothing to fear, I will let you drown in me. Our feet leave the bottom as we drift along. Safely entangled in motionless thought, we're breathing in nature, envision the dark. I touch your wet hair, it's strands of hope. Left by the wayside lie our summer clothes. Shed in a hurry, hindering shells. Talk to the small drops that sit on your chest. Explore all the deepness, dive after dive. Ripple the surface, make it change. Answers now stop counting as we float out in the water. And we stayed out here for hours, made it safe and gave it meaning.
~ inspired by matt pond PA

January 21, 2007

Elektra and Agamemnon

My dad is tall.

My dad has a limp.

My dad has very dark brown eyes.

My dad has dark hair.

My dad has two earrings in his left ear and one in the right.

My dad wears two silver rings on his right hand and one on the left.

My dad has huge hands that don't look like mine at all.

My dad has the same chin as me.

My dad has five cats.

My dad works in the storehouse of a book publisher.

My dad might lose his job this summer.

My dad smokes.

My dad can cook.

My dad knows a lot about wine.

My dad has five kinds of oil at home, rapeseed, sun flower, sesame, sesame with ginger and olive.

My dad drinks wheat beer.

My dad has a tattoo of an octopus that just ate a human on his left arm.

My dad wants to get five more tattoos.

My dad fell off his bike in the storm two days ago and no one helped him up.

My dad doesn't know what "identical twins" means in Italian.

My dad sat next to me last night.

My dad ate spagetti with octopus and peas last night.

My dad wore an orange shirt last night.

My dad told my brother smoking isn't healthy last night.

My dad asked about my studies last night.

My dad shared my desert and I shared his last night.

My dad teased me about not eating seafood last night.

My dad taught me the words "scorfano" and "strozzapreti" last night.

My dad paid for my drinks at the bar last night.

My dad did an impersonation of me complaining about the mud last night.

I liked my dad last night.