Thursday, October 22, 2009


So I haven't posted anything for a while, mostly because nothing has been good enough to post. The post immediately below ("Repeating Lyrics") isn't even that good. I think my grasp of good writing is slipping.

At any rate, here's a new poem I wrote recently. I like it, but don't know that it's awesome, or even moderately good.


dilated pupils, yours, mine
settled equidistant on fixed points
between your lips and my indifference
to an insecure ideology
a lilac laden molecular makeup
a forced line on things about which

neither of us knows we're contrived
carefully constructed verbiage
dancing, sparkling
distributing evenly between us

pixilated grays disguised
as silver-coated stains

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Repeating Lyrics

So we’re at the fountain again (yes—again) when, somewhere between my ramblings and your interjections, I get distracted by the shiny blues, the cracked concrete, the streams of water. Really I’m searching for words, but you’ll think the dripping and swirling has pulled my focus from you. And maybe it has. Or maybe it hasn’t. Or, rather, your rationalizations of who I am and what I’m saying have driven me to stare (seemingly mindlessly) at this thing.

You’ll keep trying to pin me down – to classify or categorize – but it’s a fruitless exercise. Trust me.

So we’ll keep talking, strolling around the fountain, and you’ll continue to counter my serious chatter with digressions about your high-school friends or the wonders of Europe (you’re going to live there someday, after all). I, of course, won’t be satisfied. And we’ll keep strolling, circling.


I’ll probably say something unintentionally (or – more to the point – something intentional with the appearance of the opposite) and you’ll stop me. You’ll say something close to, “Wait, Dave, what do you mean by ________?” Though I did want to explain at one point, even before I uttered the unintentional intentional phrase, I no longer do. But you’ll get upset, keep hounding me about it, and the side-stories about Germany or past boyfriends will disappear.

I tell you, “It’s nothing I need to say, and nothing you need to hear.”

But you won’t let it go, making it an impossibility to finish our (serious?) conversation. We’ll go back and forth: you’ll tell me you want to know, that I promised to be forthright, that you won’t let me say what I want to say until I divulge; I’ll tell you I don’t want to talk about it, that it’s not important.

“But it’s important to me, Dave, and aren’t I important to you?”

I’ll want to say, “No. Not anymore.” But I won’t.

Instead I’ll think up some sort of pseudo definition of the (un)intentional utterance and tentatively explain. It won’t be a lie. There are parts of the truth interwoven. But it will not have been “forthright”. It will not have been what I truly meant at that moment.

We’ll continue our pace on the concrete until we pass the point at which we started. It will be familiar to me; it will not be familiar to you. And we’ll walk around again.

I’ll get annoyed at your (false) generalizations about me, or at your tendency to live in the past or the distant future. I’ll try to sober the conversation, and we’ll be stuck in another loop. We’ll end up back where we started.

We’ll go again.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I Lost Monday

My poem that was published in Persona Magazine 2008-2009:

I Lost Monday

On Sunday the moon fell in love with me
I replied You are among the stars—
too much for me to handle

Frenzied rocks shot down
became candescent in the descent

lit up the evening with sharp sparks sprinkling sapphire
reds and yellows
I am a man and you are a planet—not a planet

but planetary

and I don’t want to be hurt

It sent reassurance:
tides washed the desert
smoothed over jaggedness
cleared sand from my feet—

I mean to say that you are huge


I would be crushed

with one thrust

The waves withdrew
and the week skipped to Tuesday.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Good Old SLC

Well, folks, December’s more than halfway through, but it sure is sunny out. One of those days where the clouds and the haze and the snow seem to have dissolved. Well, except for the snow. The snow doesn’t dissolve (it never dissolves) and, well, it’s been here since the 1st of the month. But luckily – fortunately, auspiciously, providentially – the sun is blazing today. Well, it seems to be blazing. It’s not (of course), but it seems—it seems. Incidentally, or “well, folks, while we’re on the subject”, the slow snowmelt exposes the ground, the grass, the valley it’s been covering (with “covering” being an overt, not-quite-so-subtle way of saying “masquerading”).
Oh—the subtleties of this city.
The newly built hospital on State Street and 5400 extends into the air (maybe as high as the downtown skyline) and just look at the renovations on the west side: the classy street lights, the “Welcome to Taylorsville” slabs, the new Starbucks on Redwood Road (or “Road Redwood”, depending largely on which local TV commercial you’re watching). Incidentally, or “well, while we’re on the west side of town…”, the old neighborhoods – the “ghetto” parts of Kearns, West Jordan, Taylorsville – blend into the new. Meaning, of course, that the more you drive, the more varied the LDS church structures become—and that means you can see the old pueblo style (with those pale brown bricks piling up to that flat brown roof), the chimney-needle (essentially the old pueblo style with white bricks and a tall, slender tower that has a shiny metal pole extending from its top), and the all-new white-steeple-topped church (the old pueblo again, this time with red bricks and a white roof, and, well, you can guess what’s on top). And you can see all sorts of variations on these three styles in a short ten minute drive. Well, at least you probably can—especially if you’re driving in West Jordan. Oh, West Jordan. With the bad rap – it is the oh-so-dreaded west side – and, you know, the ritzier houses, the clean snow…
But enough about West Jordan. It’s just a different version of Kearns or Taylorsville—a sub-city of Salt Lake that blends into all the others. And the white glaze doesn’t dissolve from it any sooner than it does on the east side, in Sugarhouse or Sandy. Or Murray.
Oh, Murray. With Cottonwood High School obstructing everyone’s view—catching everyone’s eye. The new football field (a “thank-you-very-much” goes out to the rich father of a former quarterback) is visible from space (rather, the white space between the valley floor and the mountaintops); a large, clumsy scoreboard towers over the field, the school, the academics—the theatre society, debate team, math club, physics department (insert various aspects of education that seem more significant than a less-than-successful football team). Incidentally, or “since we’re discussing the principles of Murray”, how about that Mormon-to-non-Mormon ratio? It gets blamed. A lot. Sure, 4/7 of the populace is heavily – annoyingly – LDS, but there is that 2/7 rebelling the Mormon establishment just as heavily, just as annoyingly. On one hand it’s don’t-say-“God”-because-it’s-a-bad-word; on the other it’s let’s-say-“fuck”-because-it-annoys-them. And you can’t tell which hand is carrying more weight, which hand is predominant, and which hand really ought to get a manicure. The skewed priorities, the football-over-smarts, could be attributed to the ratio, but (really now) can’t everything? Shouldn’t it really come down to history? To the passing down of genes, social structures, morals, money—all that jazz? Shouldn’t it boil down to the people of the sub-city which is – regrettably – a derivative of Salt Lake itself? Unfortunately, and still more regrettably, the city is a byproduct of the people contained, trapped, living within it; the people have constructed the city (and by extension their reality) just as much as the city has constructed them. And in this city, religion is a tricky thing. It shouldn’t matter (doesn’t seem to matter elsewhere)—but it does. Oh, it does.
But then we have that remaining, indifferent 1/7—and thank God (it doesn’t matter which one) for these people. On a spectrum of Functional to Dysfunctional, they generally comprise the middle and left end (outliers excepted). They are not a third hand, but a tiny growth on the chest; for them, it’s who-cares-if-you-say-“shit”-but-you-don’t-need-to-all-the-time. And these godsends dodge the snow, or at least don’t let it amass, build, bury.
At any rate, Murray might as well be West Jordan. Or West Valley, South Jordan, insert sub-city of Salt Lake, insert general part of the city—insert location within the valley, insert place inside the encircling mountains.
Incidentally, or “while we’re on the move”, how does one visit these exciting locations? With I-15 going north to south, I-215 running west to east (and then curving north), and I-80 doing what could be described as a loop, the sky’s the limit! Or at least the outskirts: Magna, Bluffdale, Bountiful, Cottonwood Heights. And while you’re transporting, moving, swirling, from left to right and north to south, note the amount of block letters (white, of course) reading “Wal-Mart”, or check out the oh-so excitingly tall buildings downtown. Downtown is lovely this time of year: multi-colored bulbs drape over streetlamps, ice forms and takes hold of one-way streets (all six-lane), and Temple Square buzzes with bright pasty lights and people.
And if the sights are for you – the places of note – stroll over to the Delt—oops, rather the Energy Solutions Arena (formerly the Delta Center); drop by the Gateway—hit the Megaplex, browse the shops; or, for a change of pace, drive past the Cathedral: two towers topped by crosses, a steeple in the middle topped by a cross (and a large circular window at its center), and an entrance with a summit topped (surprisingly) by a cross. And if large establishments are for you, trudge the half-snowed-half-melted campuses of Westminster (private college) or the U[niversity of Utah]. The U’s red and white buildings stick out over bare brown trees, with Olympic Stadium the most obtrusive; and Westminster’s…well, it’s embedded within Sugarhouse—it seems that’s the best description.
You must be hungry by now—take Trax (or the bus) to the nearest Café Rio (look for the stylized red lettering, the white Christmas-esque lighting, the handmade tortillas and guacamole), or hit up Woody’s on 13th East (if you’re craving over-priced shakes and burgers), or sit down at Chef Tom’s Italian Café (formerly Francesco’s) on the west side, Asian Star on the east side, a Village Inn, Denny’s, IHOP on State Street. Or – if you’re tired – wait in line at one of the innumerable corporate coffee houses (insert Starbucks), or go the small business route with Just Add Coffee (that’d be Taylorsville), Sugarhouse Coffee (you can guess where that is), or the Greenhouse Effect (roundabouts 9th East and 33rd South).
Question: Aren’t these directions confusing? Answer: Think “grid system”; Think of 27th West as 2700 West, 39th South as 3900; Think all roads lead to mountainside, all roads occupied by an old pueblo, a chimney-needle, a white-steeple-top—all roads lined with snow (melting or not) and all roads slippery, wet or not.
But, really now, with twilight dawning, where are the people? Oh, you’ll get to them, you’ll get to them. First, keep in mind the sun goes down at 5:12 on days like this, so twilight?—yes, but night?—hardly. And the people, well… A briefing first? The denizens – even the “normal” and Functional – are really not all that normal or functional. And (alas) as functionality is relative, socially awkward is more bearable than socially inept; theatrical is more desirable than dramatic; crazy beats insane; LDS can be lesser than, equal to, or greater than non-LDS…but we’ve gone over that point—been dragged through it, beaten with it.
They’re all at once what they seem and what they don’t. Everyone. No exaggeration (and “No” could be substituted with “Slight”). Certainty is not necessarily on the surface—reality is at times skin deep, at times underneath, and at times an amalgamation. In these white-upper-middle-class-suburban neighborhoods, contradictions run rampant (and here – in terms of the hypocritical – you should know that religion is irrelevant). Goody-two-shoe Susan is much meaner than she looks, more callous, more who-gives-a-damn; jock Jonathan could be on steroids, or he might be homosexual—you’ll never know for sure; rebellious Zach – new to drugs – doesn’t love being “blazed” nearly as much as he loves talking about how blazed he’s been; valedictorian Katie is somewhat of a social pariah, and she may be bulimic (but, really, whose business is that…); missionary Gary, dedicating two years of servitude to the (oh-so “True”) Church, was just last year a drinker and a womanizer. Motivations, though easy to guess at, are not as simple as they seem, not as superficial as they look: things are not quite what you’d like them to be.
Incidentally, or “going off this talk of motivations”, make sure to keep yours in mind as you visit the city—take in the sights, sounds, lights, conversation. And as you converse with the natives, remember that no one is as straightforward as they appear. Don’t blame the religious ratio or the skewed morals, just observe the experiences, because (really now) they only know what they’ve lived.
After all, these people are just different versions of your self. At any rate, enjoy your stay before the next storm barrels through, and consider shoveling the snow off your porch, wiping the white powder from your car windows—you probably shouldn’t let it accumulate.