Wednesday, September 10, 2014

If I Were a Rock-

According to a Buzzfeed Quiz I took
on Facebook, I am 95% Awesome.
My wife assures me the quiz is flawed
Not as flawed as I am,
but flawed, nonetheless.

According to a Gawker Quiz
I took on Facebook,
if I were a rock
I’d be an igneous rock.
I find this a bit troubling,
not only because I’d always thought
of myself as being more sedimentary,
but because it means I will now have to remember
how to spell igneous.

At various points in my life I have taken
meditation courses,
and Mindfullness training,
I’ve been therapied and psychoanalyzed,
but never before have I approached
the level of self-awareness
that these internet quizzes I see on Facebook
are giving me.

If I were a precious stone
What precious stone would I be?

If I were a dog
what dog would I be?
- Sure, my wife says,
they got that half right.

If I were a Peanuts character
which peanuts character would I be?

At a certain point, though,
I began to doubt the insight these quizzes
were giving me.

If I was  a vegetable,
what vegetable would I be?
might tell me something about myself
(I was hoping for asparagus,
but got potato.
Yeah, I know).

But, if I was moss
what kind of moss would I be?
just doesn’t seem to be speaking
to the issues facing me
in today’s 21st century world.

What 1970s television sitcom character
would I be?
seemed to be about to give me great insight,
until it turned out that I’d be Marcia,
 from the Brady Bunch.

Likewise, finding out that
if I were a Snapple flavor,
I’d be crabapple cranberry,
well, that might be a bit
too close to the truth.

I quit doing these quizzes
when it turned out that if I were
a Japanese vending machine,
I’d be dispensing
designer condoms
in packets featuring the faces
 of champion sumo wrestlers.

I found that deeply disturbing,
yet somehow oddly intriguing,
so I decided to quit while I was ahead.
I am, after all,
a 95% awesome
igneous rock potato
with the personality of Marcia Brady.
And knowing all that,
how much more personal insight
can I really afford ?

Wednesday, September 03, 2014


This summer I spent a month at Poetry Boot Camp.
It was Hell.

We stayed in dorms named after famous poets.
The women got the Emily Dickinson Cottage.
It was great for them-
Fresh eggs from local chickens at breakfast every morning.
Tea and scones served by shirtless Italian waiters
every afternoon at 3.

The men were packed into the Bukowski Barracks.
We were only given two hours sleep each night,
not allowed to shower,
and fed a straight diet of ham sandwiches and beer.
They pumped so much beer into us
that by the third day
you could have taken my piss,
bottled it,
put it on the supermarket shelf,
labeled it ‘Coors’,
and nobody could have told the difference.

We started each day with drills.
There was a Spoken Word Breath Control drill
where you had to repeat your name ten times
without stopping to breath.
Tom Dix won that every day.
I had a Spanish friend,
Pablo Suarez de Jesus Escondido Maria Montoya Escalan de Gama,
 - he almost died.

The drill sergeants were all
named after Beat Poets.
You didn’t mess with the one we called Ginsburg.
If you made a mistake, he made you talk
the rest of the day using haiku.
Yoda Haiku.
Excuse me-
Haiku, spoke we in,
As if Yoda we were... oy.
Easy, not, it was.

There were games-
An Adverb Scavenger Hunt.
Pin the Simile on the Metaphor.
Spin the Hyperbole.
If you fucked THAT up
Ginsburg hit you on the head
with a copy of
The Collected Works of Rod McKuen.

Then the Slam Team Trainers came for us.
Their motto was,
“We Put The Slam in Slamming”.
They had arm bands featuring
the velociraptor from Jurassic Park.
We jogged to and from every class,
shouting Kill! Kill! Kill!
at the top of our lungs
in iambic pentameter.

They taught us to achieve the mindset
of the Professional Poetry Slammer-
“You are my opponent.
I admire your work and wish you luck.
I applaud your every victory,
I will crush you like a bug”.

At Graduation we had to get our diplomas
by running over a 20-foot long bed of
fiery, red hot consonants.
I got a Q stuck between my toes and
couldn’t walk for a week.

This summer I spent a month at Poetry Boot Camp,
and it was Hell.
But why am I standing here
telling you all about it?
The next session starts in an hour-
the buses are waiting outside-
So saddle up, poets!
The Dickinson Cottage
and Bukowski Barracks
are waiting for you!