... and then there was stuff.

stuff and things.

Tangent Manifesto
I am turning 30 soon.
I hear that this is an age at which we begin to measure years against
pay rates.

My consciousness has recently become littered with photographs of unfamiliar sunsets,
partially obscured by
BOLD WHITE TYPEFACE shouting motivational imperatives to
rid myself of people who bring me down,
take the first small steps toward my goals,
and allow myself a weekly “cheat day” in the quest for self-optimization.

The clock is ticking.
The plot is thickening.
The clutch is sticking.
My bell is ringing.
The death knell of my 20s is
the tea kettle of my senses, as it
boils and whistles,
spitting spits of water,
212 degrees, 100 C,
over the edge,
where they hit the burner and sizzle...
and I become acutely aware that I am getting older.

My generation has a reputation for being
one of unwritten songs, unfinished thoughts, and unfinished
We have more aphorisms than hobbies, more goals than plans, and more plans than actions.

But my only true fear is to look back and lament that
things just didn't turn out how I'd envisioned them.

I refuse to hold others' definitions of failure against myself.
I refuse to hold my own definition of failure against myself.

I have forgiven myself for
all the books I'll never finish
and renewed my library card.

I have issued myself a pardon for all the glasses of cheap wine
I have poured and abandoned
in moments of distraction.

I have recognized the absurdity of so many razor blades dulled out of fear that if I were to shave less, people would assume I was trying to make a statement.

I have come to terms with the fact that I am
the type of person who writes things like “Learn Swedish” on a to-do list,
and that I will probably never learn Swedish,
and that I will probably keep putting it on the list.

I have looked at my life, cut holes in the pockets, and let things that don't work for me fall out.

Cable TV, Complacency
Meat, Dairy, and Monogamy
High-waisted bathing suit bottoms
and no more Coconut Rum: we all know how that ended the last time.

No regrets.
Each tattoo is a litmus test to see if it's worth opening my mouth,
or if I've already been dismissed.
Saving my breath for old age.

No regrets.
Spanish One Night Stand didn't call the next morning, and I would not have answered.
Saving my breath for old age.

No regrets.
I'm not picking out baby names and I'm not playing mind games.
Saving your breath.

I am neither business nor casual: still comfortable around
blown glass, ashtrays, and blasphemy
shaky knees, lost keys, and idolatry

A refusal to be bored is all it takes to hold on to yourself:
an awareness of how unaware you have the potential to become.

Little kid in Mom's shoes, the 11th hour, happy birthday.

Some Haikus
Hot girl at the show:
I realized you were a dude…
That was okay too.

We poured wine last night
but fell asleep by ten o’clock.
It became breakfast.

This be haiku mine
Good try to make it I don’t
Why bother? Who cares?

I showed you my poem
All that you had to say was,
“Oh god, purple pen.”

That’s impossible
For all intents, purposes.
You’ve done it twice now.

Fuck Raynaud’s Syndrome!
My blood vessels are useless
In the wintertime.
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Shoot The Messenger
men in uniform making amateur snuff films
witness Icarus flew too close to the law

shoot the messenger when his back is turned
shoot the messenger when his back is turned

this must be time travel
watching progress unravel

I feel sick, you feel scared
I feel sick, you feel scared

grand juries played like
grand pianos

hands up don't film
hands up don't film

white fans riot
black thugs riot

who gives the news?
who gives the news?

last time I checked, adjectives modified nouns
not the other way around

unarmed grammar lessons
unarmed grammar lessons

elementary school kids
some will grow to be cops, some will grow to fear them

drink your milk, raise the flag
drink your milk, raise the flag

I want to love you, America,
but I don't know who you are anymore

home is where the heart stops
home is where the heart stops

Act I: Vegan at the Evening Gathering

All eyes on me when I try to decline politely.

Thank you but I've already eaten.
Eat! Eat!
I'm just not feeling great.
Eat! Eat!
I have an allergy.
Eat! Eat!
I appreciate it but actually I'm vegan.

A hush falls.

Now I'm a thousand-faced, light-reflecting disco ball!
Within ten minutes of walking in the door,
I'm a glitter-glimmer-right-back-atchya disco ball!
I'm an empathy whore.

You'd prefer the convenient distortions of a funhouse mirror.

Rear ends shift in creaky wooden chairs.

My presence has nudged all the elbows and all the dark sunglasses have been jostled.
My presence is a picture window installation in the slaughterhouse and the blinds have been raised.

Everyone looks around,
figuring that I'll need an empty basket for my leaflets, my...

I said no thank you to the ham and now
I'm on a talk show, being interviewed, scrutinized, sized up, and dissected.
The same old debate is being rehashed, reviewed, reiterated, and resurrected.

Stop trying to put words in my mouth!
Stop trying to put cheese in my mouth!

Don't act like I'm some Morrissey-PETA hypocrisy apologist!
Don't talk to me like I'm some Whole Foods hipster anthropologist
and you're my freelance psychologist
who suddenly has a degree in nutrition
which you keep folded up
at the bottom of a box of Pop Tarts.

I just wanted to slip in
and out
quietly eating some of your stale ass green salad-
even the shredded carrots-
which, by the way,
are trash can garnish.

Shredded carrots are the bits that mice piss on and leave behind.
Shredded carrots are the precursor to a monochromatic garbage disposal clog.

Act II: Vegan at the Grocery Store

I'm whistlin' past the graveyard
where mothers and babies
are salted and vacuum sealed,
destined to be a rushed meal
or disregarded, discarded
by a fat American child who decides too late
that he wants macaroni.

The stench of near death in the saltwater
of voyeuristic lobster concentration camps.

I keep smiling and grab a flier.
Sale prices read like obituary details to me:
page after page of cadaver snapshots.
Yeah, my propaganda.

Act III: Vegan at the Bus Stop

Golden arches
taxi, taxi, taxi, taxi whizzing past with blown up photos of
pepperoni pizza
beef teriyaki
chicken wings
buffalo wings
all you can eat seafood
got milk?
Tiiime for ice cream!
taco, taco, taco, taco.
Yeah, my propaganda. It must be overwhelming.

I don't have propaganda, a vendetta, or an agenda. I just have broccoli and quinoa and I'm happy to keep them all to myself in my underground hacky sack hippie sweatshop.

Loved your hunting photos, by the way, and those fish you caught.
The pot roast looked like it took hours.
I post a lasagna recipe and it's World War III- then you act like you're the first person ever to tell me a bacon joke.
Not the first but definitely the funniest.

Apologies for the misunderstanding; I wasn't posing a challenge.
At its core
it was just

PB&J Haiku
Bread! Bread! Bread! Bread! Bread!
Peanut butter jelly time:
five! All open-faced.

Matilda's Poem
I search for you
on dryer walls,
in fitting room stalls,
and dorm room halls.

My love, mon amor.
In Spain they might say,
"la media naranja,"
or, "the other half of the orange."
But that sounds sticky.

I'm useless without you.
So alone.

So many questions would I ask...
Are you lost, too?
Are you willing to try some
kinky stuff like puppeteering?

Would you read Sock-rates to me,
or shall we play Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots instead?

My love, mon amor.
Are you looking for me too,
from the bottom of a shoe,
on a one-legged drag queen
who dreams of pink knee-highs?

Marque Dos
I heard a word
on TV:
one Latina called another a coconut,
un coco,
because she couldn't speak Spanish:
"brown on the outside,
white on the inside."

I couldn't help but laugh
at the imagery.
It made me realize
that I must be a marshmallow,
un malvavisco:
white all around,
but hoping to walk through the fire of language
just long enough to brown around the edges,
a tostarme un poco,
to distance myself from the hegemony, and
excuse myself from the party
that's headed for the same token American bar
as last week.

Snow White, naïve Blancanieve

Looking to blend in more than to stand out.
To disappear, a desaparecerme, somewhere.

In Lisbon someone asked if I was Spanish.
In Madrid, Portuguese.
Both times I said no, but thank you so much.

Still forgetting words left and right,
asking to repeat.
Years later I'm out of practice.
Always minding the difference between
mente & menta
entre menta y mente
una mente de menta mentirosa y sabrosa...

The masochistic pursuit of
sideways elevator glances,
supermarket suspicion,
and accusations of having a fondness for underdogs.

America says, “Speak English!”
Everyone else says, “America, try speaking anything but.”

We've got the net
so we can connect:
fiber optic
cables intersect.
Fast cars and highways,
we've got flash mobs and
we've got the bomb.

We view immigrants
---the newer ones, not us---
as software that's outdated
and needs to be upgraded.

This is not my land and this is not your land.
Imaginary lines tend to cost a lot of lives.

Keeping up appearances:
take French in high school.
The state says you should;
it makes your transcript look good...
nothing to do with any actual aspirations of
global citizenship.

Everyone's all up in arms over
Por favor, marque dos para español.
Don't like it? Then don't marque dos, asshole.

Meanwhile, we sell steaks and beer using Australians,
perfume and bras with Italians,
and your GPS comes out of the box speaking British English so you're more likely to trust it.

But anything we don't understand at home
is perceived as a threat:
una amenaza.
I had to look that word up,
cuz it's one I forget.

Much of what we call inclusion
is an illusion:
do we really want to reach out,
or continue in seclusion
con esta confusion que nos separa?
con esta realidad que nunca para?

I heard a word
on TV,
because that's where we hear things.

Last Gold Panther
I’m highly distractible and feeling like a carousel pony
I’m feisty like ice cream and thinking of life with a migraine
Marianne Faithfull is plotting her escape from the library
La scopeta, la scopeta

We’re gonna blow ourselves up for profit
Drink the poison to keep them all guessing
I want to see the whites of their eyes
La scopeta, la scopeta

I don’t like TV cuz I know it’s all fake
There’s only so much of that shit I can take
Sometimes what you don’t know can kill you
I’m a fucking dinosaur!

She’s got thighs like bottle rockets
But she’s plastic like Polly Pocket, yeah
Ha ha ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha
La scopeta, la scopeta

Jackson Pollock, Cartographer
Love your neighbor like a Christian
Love yourself like an atheist
Love your brother like a brother
Love your lover like little fish

I heard you got a secret
Bet you wonder how I knew
Well it's a really funny story
And only half of it is true

Lick your lips just like a lizard
It's the only thing I see
You got one finger on the trigger
And the other ones on me

I think there's blood again
Still we're all as white as day
I keep on looking for the sunlight
But all I ever see is gray

It's so sweet
When you're softly asleep
And you've let down your guard
It's a secret I'll keep

As you quietly breathe
Living then in a dream
On the back of my neck
You're releasing the steam
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