Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ramshackle Review

Ramshackle Review is an online literary magazine on their second issue, which included poetry by Howie Good (eerie-good) and Justin Hyde (heartfelt-and-heartbeat-quick-good).


The Most Boring Thing

I've been in Connecticut since Thanksgiving. This is becoming a problem for me, spiritually. Last weekend I heard non-ironic use of the phrase "Coldplay wine tasting." But more troublesome than that, my parents are locked in a bitter legal battle with their neighbors over the placement of a swing set.

One day, likely enough, I will own property. The value of that property will grow more important to me than the relationship I have to the people living near it. Or that is one of the thoughts keeping me awake at night.

My parents are not especially malicious or passionless people. My mother is a speech therapist for kindergartners. My father sang and played lead guitar in bands when he was my age. They live to make their family happy. Every evening for about an hour they kvetch and bark about this child's playscape. The eyesore. The nerve of them. The costs. Is this what lies at the end of the funnel of a successful domestic life?

This is not, to me, an example of "more money more problems" as much as "more money, different and more fake-sounding problems." But it's as real to them as the twisty green slide we can see from the porch. If I stay here much longer, I might bury myself alive in mulch.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

four poems in The Legendary, my new book

The Legendary decided to publish four of my poems.

Also, I just self-published (with no small amount of help) a book called The Souls of Fossils. It's a squarish little book with six poems, each illustrated by my friend Sophia Holtz, and it comes with a six track EP. It is a brief assessment of romantic love--by way of natural disasters, fatal encounters with captive animals, and the extinction of the dinosaurs. There will be a release party at the Whitehaus tomorrow night (Friday, 8/27).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Love Will Follow You to Your House and Hide There Until You Find and Kill It (But It Will Never Die)

Here is a new poem that I turned into a song that you can hear on my Myspace. I honestly think it's much better as a song, but here's the poem:

My love for you is a dog
I have to train not to bite.

My love for you is also a cat
that hates you

except when it’s a different cat
that I have to lock in my room
when you come to my house
because you’re allergic.

If there is ever a sweetness in the morning air
that you haven’t known since you were a baby,
like the scent of a great aunt who must be dead
since the beginning of your memories, that too
is my love. Call it by its name
and it will stay.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

To the Spawning

I got the idea for this poem from a sketch that Carlos is working on. The poem would describe the aftermath of said sketch.

We found him over at O’Hare
running up the down escalator
wearing a gigantic salmon suit.

When we took off the headpiece
the guy was sweating like a bear
in the desert, and he was wailing.

Hours later, we got it on the radio—
there actually was another salmon,
waiting around at the wrong terminal.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I was stuck in California!

Last Tuesday, Carrie, Carlos, and I flew out to do a show at UC Santa Cruz, and return flights to Boston got canceled because of snow, so Carlos and I were in Santa Cruz until last Friday night. Carrie went to L.A. to celebrate her birthday.

Meanwhile, I spent my birthday gallavanting around Santa Cruz with Carlos. We had sandwiches with avocados in them, and we went on a hike through the redwoods where we visited the Wishing Tree and the Climbing Tree and a tree that had fallen, and we walked along the wharf and looked down on the shut-down amusement park, and then we went to the Saturn Diner and I had another sandwich with avocado and a soymilkshake. It was a wonderful birthday--perhaps the best birthday that ever ended with sleeping in an airport--but the whole time I really missed the East Coast.

So I wrote my love poem to Boston. It was bound to happen. Here it is, out of my system:

Dear City of Perpetual Hibernation

In Santa Cruz, they eat citrus off of trees and sleep
wherever they fall. They think 40 is cold and grow
up to be sandalwood teapots. We will always be
too fat for Los Angeles. In Denver you could spend
your whole life chewing moss off of one mountain.

________I left a carton of blueberries in the fridge.
Leave just a handful for me.

_________________________New York has a whole
lot of mouth and a great deal on some slightly used
electronics. I’d rather eat stale falafel out by Inman
than give them the satisfaction of their all-night cafés.
I’d rather get jilted and stuck in your hoof-worn paths
at 2 in the morning than pace their 24-hour Lite-Brite.

I filled my flask with the cabinet, Boston, please
don’t yell.

__________Nobody understands wind in Georgia.
I couldn’t tell you where they keep the salt in West
Palm Beach and I told you I’m sorry for ever living
in Connecticut, though the shiny junk hanging from
your left ear was made in New Haven. Boston, when
I get home I won’t make you talk about the surgery
you convinced me you were going to need. We can
stain the whole carpet with cheap scotch to clarify
that the old stains were never there. We can get all
hysterical and warm and not admit to a damn thing
in the morning. Your trains won’t budge for the sun
but you made me out of apologies for being tardy.
I’m awful sorry. Your face doesn’t scrunch up at all
when you cry. I never know what to say, so let’s just
get this out over the phone:

______________________You were right. As always.
If I could sprout spikes from my back and turn away
from the rest of the world, I would do it.

of all places, couldn’t get through its head where
my grumpiness came from. That’s it for America.
That’s it for any but your briny ass.

___________________________________So sit down.
Let me share what’s been keeping me busy all week.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Day I Was an Arcade Machine

Here's a poem that I'm happy with, but which might not make the final cut of the manuscript I'm putting together. Inspired by a short story by Geoffrey Forsyth.

This happened to me on exactly the wrong day:
I lost my voice, and every time I tried to speak,
brass coins would flop out of my mouth. Engaging
customers was more hellish than usual. Making
their change at the register was all but impossible.
People kept bringing back their ice cream—they
had heard how filthy money was supposed to be
and they feared for their health. I kept turning to
Bob hoping he'd send me home, but Bob was too
busy tuning the yogurt machines to be bothered.
And of course I couldn't ask him. I need this job.
I was virtually unemployable as it was, and now
I spoke in a foreign currency. These coins had
the face of a woman with cropped hair on one
side and some kind of marsupial looking down
at its empty chest on the other. I picked one up
and started to wonder, what if everyone started
doing this, like a sort of very lucrative pandemic.
If we all spoke in the same coins, I imagined,
inflation would kill us.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Plough & Stars

I'm playing a show next Thursday (February 4th) at the Plough & Stars in Cambridge, along with my friend Sean Conlon and a notorious local band by the name of Sway. The show will start around 10pm. It's 21+.

I made guacamole today after work. I'd half-forgotten how satisfying it is to make good snack foods.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Whitehaus

I'm playing the Whitehaus tomorrow night, along with Tongue Oven, Illlich of Baab Ceegur fame, and house resident B. Law. The Whitehaus is in Jamaica Plain, and it is the coolest.

I don't work at an ice cream store anymore. I worked my last shift tomorrow, and every time I served a rude customer I pretended I was saying goodbye to them all. And I was.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


If you haven't done it yet, you should get George Watsky's surname-titled album. Here's an example of why this is a good idea:

I played this track for my brother on my parents' stereo, and after the line, "but I love my Dad, that motherfucker read to me," my mother turned to me and said, "This is crude."

"But Mom," I said, "he's talking about how much he loves his father. You just don't like that he said 'motherfucker.'"

And she said, "Well, I guess that's it."

Seriously, though, get this album. Listen to it while walking somewhere you don't want to go, so to provide the courage you need for your journey. Put tracks from this album on mixes that you make for your friends, that they too can feel this strong. Together you will laugh at the weaknesses that make you human and worthy of love. I work at a record store now; the people expect me to know about these things.