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Love Thy Neighbor

Mood: Wicked
Drinking: Liquid

If I love you
chances are
you’ll soon be experiencing
a violent act of God.

A falling maple tree will crush your red Camaro.
Basketball-sized hail will obliterate your new roof.
Half a hill will cannonball right down into your swimming pool.
An unexpected tornado will (Poof!) disapparate your Shih Tzu.

If I love you
Lady Luck
will certainly
take her leave.

Expect to start by breaking a nail at least once a day.
Soon your lover will take back his grandmother’s ring.
Your boss will decide you’re all wrong for your job and
your creditors will hire the ATF (Blam!) to break down your front door.

If I love you
honey, it’s sad
but true – the End is near
and it’s coming for you.

It’s all over now but the crying.
The only question left for you is: Silver urn? Or casket?
Better pick one real quick and tease your blonde hair real high.
It’s the last thing you’ll get to do (Wail!) before you die, die, die!

But wait…
If I hate you
it might all
be ok.

It’s the least I can do.
Set aside the Golden Rule and
start practicing the philanthropy
of misanthropy – just for you!

So if someday you wonder why
I don’t like you, well,
I hope now you’ve understood…

It’s really all for your own good.

-Lo, who’s feeling the need for a little black humor today.

At the Open Mic

Mood: Cranky
Drinking: Nothing helpful

Dear Fellow Poet-Person,

I hate the way you read poetry.

I’ve tried, really, I have, to be patient, to hear things from your point of view, to get in your zone, to say something nice. It’s not going to happen.

I unreservedly detest, I violently dislike, I utterly despise the way you read poetry.

You sound like a Valley Girl in the young Nicolas Cage era (pre-hair transplant and porcelain veneers), leaving ends of phrases just dangling in mid-air. Like, you know? You draw out the ends of words with fish hooks and wrecking cables. The words don’t want to go there! Please don’t make them.

I don’t want to hear about the pluuuuuuuuuuuuuuums your lover eats or those leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewd zucchinis. A purple plum? Ok. A lewd zucchini? I’ll take it.

But all those extra vowels just underline your mediocrity. Your schtick gets in the way of your words. I can’t hear what you’re really saying.

It doesn’t have to be like this. If you ever took a moment to listen to yourself, to actually hear what you sound like, without all the artifice, you might be surprised. You might like it.

But please, stop borrowing this overdone, overly dramatic Poetry Voice. Stop copying a device that got old before its time. (Just because it worked for them doesn’t mean it works for you!) Stop lazing around in a pool of your own supposed genius. Just stop.

You don’t need a gimmick. You just need your own voice.

I went to the Open Mic for my 3 minutes of amplification, true. I don’t mind the applause. But I was hoping to find someone else there. Someone original. Someone inspirational. Someone electrifying.

Instead I found 2 poor facsimiles of the Beatnik generation, 3 self-indulgent slackers, and 6 rhymers with no reason.

So I dragged myself home deflated and disgruntled. I’ve stewed over it for a few days, and have come up with nothing better than this sad rant.

I love you, San Francisco, but I miss The Green Mill more than ever. I miss the irreverence. I miss the feminist hiss. I miss the complete lack of politically correct concern.

Where’s the Marc Smith (So What!) of San Francisco? Where’s the discriminating audience?

Where are the good words hiding?

-Lo, who certainly doesn’t claim to be the best, but knows a thing or two about not being the worst.

You Get Used to the Blood

ab_shootMood: Yay
Drinking: Tea

At long last, our bloodiest cinépoem ever is ready to make its debut.

I give you Abattoir.

We had a lot of fun shooting this one. We all got very dirty. Or bloody, rather. But it was yummy chocolate blood (made with cocoa), so nobody really minded.

It’s been in the editing suite for quite awhile… Although the shoot took place in April when our friend Eric (who you’ll soon come to know as “The Butcher”) was in town for a visit, the editing had to wait for Secrets to come off the press, and then the book release party, and then a little trip to Scotland and Ireland, and now, finally, our 15th(!) cinépoem is ready for viewing.

Big thanks, as always, to the lovely Michelle, my cinepoem creative partner, for not only shooting and editing, but also for getting in front of the camera this time.

Thanks, also, to my friends Kimberley, Michael, Roy, and Rob, for getting down and dirty. Thanks to Chris for not minding all the blood on his ceiling and to Bruce for second camera action and for helping to determine exactly which fake blood recipe was the best one to use.

And a huge round of applause to the wonderful Eric, who wields a very mean-looking cleaver, but is the sweetest guy around, really. (And ladies, he’s single!)

I know we’ve gotten you all used to angel wings and Parisian streets with our last few cinepoems, but this one is all about the testosterone. And the blood.


-Lo, who rather obviously doesn’t know how to smoke. Just watch. You’ll see.

Smells Like Children

kids2Mood: Measured
Drinking: Diet Coke in a Can

Last weekend, Boy and I played host to some old friends and their two little rugrats. (It’s an affectionate term, Internet!)

I guess the LeeLoo should get some credit for playing host, too. She was so very polite whilst being covered in shredded bits of Kleenex by small shrieking tots.

I think the game was “TeePee the Dog with the Smallest Bits of Tissue Possible While Giggling Hysterically at Extremely High-Pitched Levels.” She did very well, just laying there and taking it like a champ. But then she does love to lick on baby toes, so I guess the trade-off was more than adequate for her.

We had lots of fun with homemade pizza a walk to the park and small bowls of messy gelato for all. I even dug out a dusty box of coloring books and crayons from the depths of the garage. One of our small guests has a great liking for drawing dinosaurs. He also will only eat crackers and grapes.

The habits of childhood are mystifying to me. I remember having a strong aversion to liver and onions (which has followed me into adulthood), but I don’t remember much about my own toddler-sized likes and dislikes.

After all the sippy cups and ziploc baggies of crackers were stowed away and our guests had tucked themselves back into their minivan and headed east again, Boy looked at me in the blessed silence and said,
“You know, if we have some of our own, they’re not going to go away at the end of the day.”

I flopped down on the couch next to the dog and picked a bit of half-chewed tissue from her ear.
“Yeah,” I sighed.
“I know.”

It’s a topic that’s been beaten to death recently, what with another approaching birthday heralding another year in the Unused Uterus Club, as well as the way one of my very best friend’s little belly is starting to pooch out in an adorably pregnant way.

Boy’s mom wants to know, my Grandma wants to know, people I don’t even know at all want to know, “WHEN ARE YOU GUYS GOING TO START A FAMILY?”

There are so many things I want to say to that question, not the least of which is,
“None of your business!”
And also, “We already ARE a family.”
And then, “I really haven’t the faintest idea.”

At first, there were so many things we wanted to do. And we’ve done a lot of them in the last seven years. But the thing I’m beginning to realize is that you never, ever, finish your To Do List.

Visit one exotic land and you’ll discover six more that you just have to see. Finish one book and you’ll want to write two more. Settle into a little house and you’ll soon need a bigger one. The list will just go on and on, forever.

Meanwhile, in the background, behind all the hustle and everyday bustle, a clock will wind up and start ticking, at first so softly that you can’t even hear it. But the years start to spin by faster and faster and pretty soon the goddamn ticking sound is all that you can hear.

And by “you”, I mean me. Because I’m standing up here with my head cocked to the left like Captain Hook on watch for the crocodile, but Boy can’t hear a thing.

I guess if you’re lacking in ovarian capacity, a biological clock is beside the point.

So there I was on a bright Sunday afternoon, slow roasting in the sun at a playground, feeling like a barren intruder among all those self-confident breeders, a colorless island amidst a river of primary colors, watching the roommate of my bar-hopping days wrangle her children like a seasoned veteran, like a real mommy, like a woman.

And the clock was beating in time to my banging pulse.

Suddenly I was afraid.

They say you’re never really ready for it. I believe it. If I’ve learned anything in this life, it’s that you’re never really ready for anything. Not even when you’ve read all the books and done all your homework. You’re never prepared for the real thing. You’ve just gotta jump in and kick and splash and cough and swim.

One of these days, one of these days
I’m jumping in.

Until then, I’ll just let my li’l sister tell me how deep and cold the water is…

-Lo, who wants to know if she’s Auntie to a boy or a girl. What are you, Peanut?!

Gotta Get It

Mood: Kick-ass-ey
Drinking: Tea from the ‘Bucks

She’s got hers.

What are you waiting for?

That’s right, I’m talkin’ to you. I know you’ve been thinking about ordering up your very own copy of The Secrets of Falling but you were waiting for summer or sundown or Christmas in July.

And to you, I say, “What better time than now?”

All you’ve gotta do is run right over to the ordering page and click on the button and bing! bang! zoom! Your book will be waiting, all shiny and smelling of fresh ink, in your mailbox. Pages and pages of yet-unread words… sounds like a magical afternoon to me. But then, I’m biased toward words to begin with.

If you’re one of those folks who’s a bit scared of modern technology and internet shopping and hackers and slackers and such, well, just pop on over to the Says You page and tell me how you’d rather pay for your book…check in the mail, money order in the envelope, quarters in a sock, fair trade for fellow artists, whatever. I’m negotiable.

Well, to a point.

Anyway, the point is: Go Get Yours!

-Lo, who may even throw in a fun little prize, old-school Cracker Jack-style.


treeMood: Industrious
Drinking: Green Tea

even the dust here
is weary and
covering the brown men
in their roadside shacks
with a visible layer of

dreams get smaller
in dinuba. children
hope for chicken nuggets
and plastic birthday
gifts. everyone goes to church
and WalMart on Sundays
to worship
in the air-conditioned aisles
of capitalism and canned ham.
the 24-hour supercenter
fills an entire field
where the transplanted
landscape palms
look dehydrated
and uncomfortable.
across the street, all the
stores stay closed, the windows
shuttered with yellow dust.

the air smells
of ennui and
nectarines. it is four
hours from home and
a wide world away where
all the bumper stickers
are redwhite and
conservative and the only time
brown and white ever mingle
is when money changes hands.

on the side of the road
I pay a brown man two
dollars for a box of bruised
purple plums. I plan
to say gracias instead
of thankyou but it seems
so condescending. when
the moment comes
I panic.
I keep my head down
and mutter merci
which helps no-one. I feel
exceptionally pale and
unaccountably guilty.
there’s nothing left to do but
drive away.

-Lo, who really is exceptionally pale.