Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence? -Sathya Sai Baba

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hey Poetry Freaks!

In my first "real" publication (i.e. publications of which I am not the editor), two of my poems have been posted online at This is a fantastic site listing poetry events in the community, not to mention featuring work by writers such as yours truly. Do go visit, and enjoy.

Also – HAPPY NEW YEAR! Here’s hoping that 2006 treats you even better than 2005 (which wouldn’t be hard for some folks given the year some of my friends have had). Thank you all for being part of my life.

I’ll be in AZ starting January 1 through January 9, so I may not be blogging much. Oh, I might, but I just don’t want to get anybody’s hopes up. I need to retreat, rethink, plan out the next years campaigns, and really get my shit together. Let’s hear it for morbid introspection!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Saturday, December 24, 2005

meme - 4 things

Four Jobs You've Had in Your Life:

Graveyard shift Donut Finisher
Porter (read: Janitor) at said Donut Shop
Glorified copy boy for the Rockefeller Family

Four Movies You could Watch Over and Over:

Shawn of the Dead
Boogie Nights
Dazed and Confused
Blazing Saddles

Four Places You've Lived:

Chicago, IL
Columbus, OH
Tucson, AZ
New York, NY

Four TV Shows You Love to Watch:

West Wing

Four Places You've Been on Vacation:

Albuquerque, NM
Las Vegas, NV
Los Angeles, CA

Four Websites You Visit Daily:

Discordian Research Technology (

Four of Your Favorite Foods:

Eggs and (fake) bacon with Toast and OJ
Dani's House of Pizza
Kachoori (from Baluchi's)

Four Places You'd Rather Be:

No place I'd rather be, except perhaps with my family on Christmas

Transit Strike is OVER (if you want it)

(Thanks John and Yoko)

I feel like I can breathe. I realize, more and more every day, how much I love my adopted city. During the strike, I almost felt as if I were crippled.

To the MTA and TWU: I'm not mad, just disappointed. Don't do it again.

Went down to Rockefeller Center with the wife's parents to see the tree. Every street was packed with people madly rushing about to get their final shopping done. The whole town seemed to be out, pushing, shoving, cursing, weaving through throngs, tourists looking bewildered and backing into people as they try to get everyone in the shot with their digital cameras plastered to their faces. It was great.

Saw King Kong last night. A beautiful movie. As my friend Brian said, "A tragedy." I didn't identify, as he suggested I might, with the ape, but I certainly did sympathize. An old man, finally finding love in the midst of his loneliness.

disconnected post, but I'm still waking up and getting ready for the upcoming celebrations.

Happy Christmas, if that's your style, Or Haunnakah, if that's your flavor. Much love, regardless.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Christmas Carol as Saturn Redeemed

I’m in a play right now – A Very Nosedive Christmas Carol (if you haven’t made plans to see it already, why the fuck not?) – and it is a good time. By that I mean that I am enjoying the play, the process, and the company in equal measure. The play itself is a wonderful adaptation of the original Dickens Carol by Mr. Jimmy Comtois, and the process, while grueling, has been a joy. It’s fun to do a well written, skillfully directed play. The cast is also terrific: pleasant, charming folks all. Having my wife in the cast also insures that I’ll see her more than once a fortnight. So that’s good.

I was interested to note that, in spite of some fairly significant dramas amongst cast members and crew, everyone seems to be keeping in remarkably good spirits. No snarling backstage brawls, no bickering, no moody creatures poisoning the air with their depressive silences. No, everyone seems to be clicking right along, with as little friction as possible.

Why is this?

Why is it that certain shows almost always seem to create friendly relations between the cast members? Why is it that certain shows seem to have almost the opposite effect? As an example, I’ve been in several productions of Godspell, and in every single one, there was a sense of real camaraderie between the cast. Almost as if the subject matter had some sort of gentling effect on the players.

I pondered this for a while in connection with the Christmas Carol, and I realized that what I was seeing was a very similar effect. But first, a little background…

The original holiday season of winter was the Saturnalia. Long before Jesus was even a twinkle in Mary’s eye, the Romans (and others, though they called it by different names) coped with the long cruelty of winter by throwing a massive party and getting wrecked. They exchanged gifts and basically celebrated the fact that winter, though hard and deadly, was finite, and that it would not last. Saturn was the god of Hard Reality, of Duty, of Leaden Depression. Basically Saturn personified everything that winter was about. Saturnalia was a party to redeem Saturn from his gloomy gus persona and remind him that winter ends, spring comes, and all shall be well. The world will not always be privation and despair, cold wind and bitter snow, hard choices and resources that will only extend so far. Generosity has a place, benevolence has a place, joy and a good party all have places, even at the most cruel depth of winter.

Which brings us to the Christmas Carol. A cruel, poverty fearing, dutiful old man is redeemed through reminders of his past and fears of his future. He is reminded that there is more to life than despair, and he joins in the celebration going on all around him. The Christmas Carol invokes the spirit of Saturn in the person of Scrooge, and then invites him to the party. The Christmas Carol is Saturn Redeemed, and this spirit of joy echoes the same party that’s been going on for thousands of years. And we, the players, we feel that spirit of joy in ourselves, and it makes for a benevolent and generous spirit, even when the worst is crashing down on us (and, a couple of times, it seemed like the worst was coming for us, with a vengeance).

So, God Bless us, everyone.

Come and see the show, by the way. I swear it won’t be as treacle-y and sweet as the stuff I wrote above, but I do guarantee a good time. It’s funny! With masks! And puppets!

Thursday, December 8, 2005

A Very Nosedive Christmas Carol

Nosedive? What is this Nosedive?

Nosedive Productions is an off-off Broadway Theatre company producing original plays. They are well known both for the quality of their productions and for their, shall we say, irreverent attitude. I’m terribly proud to be part of this show for the second year in a row, and I can pretty much guarantee you’ve never seen a Christmas Carol like this. The traditional story is lovingly revamped for the cynic in all of us, and, after all, what’s a cynic but a disappointed romantic in need of a belly laugh, a hug, and a whack upside the head? I’ll be playing the ghost of Christmas Present, and did I mention the eggnog available for your enjoyment during the show (eggnog also available in “not-so-jolly” strength for the kiddies)?

We sold out a good portion of the run last year, and after a mention last week in both New York Magazine and the New York Post, I’m sure this year’s shows at the Kraine Theatre are going to go quickly. Get your tickets now!

Here’s the skinny:

A Very Nosedive Christmas Carol
The Kraine Theatre
85 East 4th Street (west of 2nd Ave)
December 8-10, 15-17
Thursday through Saturday, 8 pm
$15 Admission

For reservations, please call 212-696-7342

Join us for nog, hilarity, and Christmas sentiment. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Nuts in White Satin

I touched my first breast to the dulcet tones of “Spirit of Radio” by Rush. We were making out on her bed with a poster of David Bowie (circa “Let’s Dance”) gazing down on us in boredom from the ceiling of the bedroom in her parent’s house in the suburbs of Tucson (which is like saying it was the suburbs of the suburbs. Can a city be almost entirely suburbs and still call itself a city?). It was in one of those planned communities where all the houses look like they were less constructed than extruded from a tube onto the scraped earth to quickly gelatinize and then harden in the blazing desert sun. She let me lick and suck at her nipples until she grew tired of it, sighed, said “That’s enough,” sat up and pulled down her shirt.

A few years later, I lost my virginity to the Moody Blues Greatest Hits Volume 1. Specifically, if I remember, side 2, which included “Nights in White Satin”. The concrete block walls of my dorm room were cold and the tile floor chilly and my bed springs creaked in protest as she lowered herself onto me. I did not love her, and was barely attracted to her. We ended up going out for a year or so after that, mostly out of my own sense of guilt. (As an interesting side note, I also used that album to listen to while I was having my wisdom teeth pulled. I was given a local anesthetic and a muscle relaxant. I listened to the Moody Blues and fell asleep before they were done.)

My friend Roger read a poem last night during the Slam at 13 which spoke of calypso music as being the sort of template for love making among his people as well as the substrate of a repressed culture preserving its integrity. I saw quite clearly in this brief instant the absolute bankruptcy of white suburban culture, and I was sad. He spoke of calypso, writhing and passionate, double twitch hips and the language of resistance.

Compare and contrast, if you will, to Rush and the Moody Blues. Intellectual pretensions, half-assed ripping off of older Western music traditions, but without any real connection to, skill for, or understanding of those traditions. Not to mention being practically impossible to dance to. This was the music of my sexual awakening…

Is it any wonder I started taking drugs?

Friday, November 18, 2005

My Collected Works, Ages 5-18, and What Became of Them

First, a word about Kaufmann. I met him through a mutual acquaintance in college when I mentioned that I was looking for a guitarist with whom I could collaborate. I thought he was a bit dim (as I have mentioned, for a good portion of my youth I always believed myself to be the smartest person in the room with an arrogance that was almost shocking in its complete lack of self-awareness. I could never understand it when people seemed to dislike me. “What did I do?”), a terrible singer, and an amazing guitarist. He was playing with his girlfriend at the time in a mostly lame acoustic duo (a side note: why do guitarists always do this? Paul McCartney is, of course the classic example of an excellent musician so blinded by love that he allows his clearly musically inept girlfriend/wife to sing on his records when obviously she should never have be left alone in the same room with a microphone. Just saying. His girlfriend wasn't as bad as all that, but she clearly didn't have a gift for it.). We chatted a little, and eventually became roommates, then friends, then band mates, and finally that weird, co-dependent thing that sometimes happens between men who work very closely together without having clearly defined personal boundaries. We never had sex, or were even romantically involved, but the relationship had all the intensity of a married couple, with as messy and unpleasant (in some ways) a divorce.

But all that came later. Kaufmann was not, in fact, dim at all. Not even close. Though he may have sanded some of the sharper edges off his mind with the liberal application of certain recreational pharmaceuticals, he was (and remains) one of the most intelligent and creative artists I’ve ever met. I was completely ignorant in my youth of the concept of other types of intelligence beyond the verbal, and so I had to learn, slowly, that this man had some pretty amazing depths.

So, originally a physics major, he, like so many of my friends, dumped science and went into the arts. Kaufmann actually majored in Studio Art, specifically painting, but his real goal was to be a ROCK STAR! In the meantime, he was a skilled and powerful painter, with a very interesting way of archiving his work. He told me this in the very impressionable months directly before I went insane in earnest, and I was smitten with the idea.

Kaufmann had a horror of repeating himself, and in an effort to not rest on his laurels, to always be striving ahead toward new ideas and better execution, he would, at the end of every year, get ready for his retrospective show by digging a pit, either out in the desert or in some convenient vacant lot. Into that pit he would place all of his paintings, sketchbooks, drawings, prints, etc. from the past year, and set them on fire. Once that was all taken care of, he would take a jar, carefully label it with a piece of masking tape with the words “Collected Works” and the year, collect all the ashes, seal them in the jar, and that would be that.

Wow. Several things appealed to me about this idea. Firstly, the irrevocability of the act appealed to me in a huge way. I love commitment, even in wrong actions. The beauty of action taken wholeheartedly, without reservation, excited both admiration and longing in me. I had been, for much of my life, drifting at the whims of: parents, friends, teachers, coaches, bosses, church, etc. All of them wanted something of me, and since I didn’t know what I wanted, I went with whatever they said. I never really developed a sense of who I was.

Another reason involved the extremity of the action, the way that you could never take it back. My favorite moments in life, even now, involve that moment that comes when one is unable to do anything but what one is doing. When one starts the race, knowing that one now has no real choice but to finish. The instant of jumping off the high dive (I have a slight fear of heights), knowing that there’s no place to go but down. The relaxation of tension that comes from surrender to the moment. So.

Now, I had, in a box that I had carried around with me since I was 5, everything that I had ever written in my life. I had decided I wanted to write since I was about that young. I loved stories and poems, rhyming and music. I published a few things in college magazines when I was in high school and junior high, and I was a compulsive journal keeper (“diaries” were for girls. I kept a “journal”, full of feelings and dreams and crushes and the boring minutia of my days. No, it was not a fucking diary. There’s a difference! Well, if I have to explain it to you… oh, fine, whatever. It was a diary.). Everything. From the poem to my mother in first grade, to the story I wrote in high school to amuse my English teacher to my most recent diary. All of it.

I was finally becoming myself. I was out of the dorm, living on my own, I’d had sex (with a *woman* finally!), I’d gotten drunk, I was skipping class if I wanted, I was my own person! Yes, I’d had a remarkably sheltered life – no small contributing factor in the insanity that followed. I realized that if I really wanted to become myself, I had to get rid of everything that I was. The simplest solution? Burn that shit.

So on a prearranged night around sundown, with much solemnity and thought, I took a few pages, fed them into the wood burning stove in my house, and lit them on fire, gradually adding more as the fire caught the pages. It took me over an hour to burn it all.

I’d like to say I mourned, but mostly I just felt sick to my stomach and horrified. I still, to this day, don’t know if I did the right thing, but I burned every last page. I took the ashes, and I buried them in the front yard at the Adams house. I was no longer what I was – no longer a child, and sure as fuck not a man.

I was about to embark on a journey to the depths of myself. No net. I didn’t know enough at the time to be scared.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Cars I have loved

1. The Pinto – ’70 something, Ford, Avocado Green, full back window on the hatchback (not like the half-windows they had on most models). Never rear-ended, and, subsequently, never exploded. This was probably the most poorly made car I have ever been in. The Arizona sun did not agree with it, at all, and the plastic and vinyl interior began to disintegrate almost immediately upon our moving to Tucson. By the time my mother got rid of it, the seat belt buckles had dissolved, leaving a blossom of metal springs and brittle black plastic shards. I used to ride to school with my mom while she was getting her Ph.D. and this was the car we traveled in. Less like a car, and more like the furniture of my very young childhood.

2. The Matador – ’76, AMC, beige, station wagon, brown interior. This one had door handles of shiny textured metal that were inset in the doors. My sister learned to drive in this one, and, as a teenager, ran it up on the median on Oracle Road driving me home from swim practice one rainy afternoon, with me screaming all the while “We’re going to die! We’re going to die!” She denies everything, of course. Of course, she is lying. A real piece, but memorable and beloved in the same way one might reminisce fondly on an old family pet that growled at shadows, barked at crickets, and farted.

3. The Celebrity – ’83, Chevy, black, automatic, 4 door. This was the car I learned to drive in, and the car in which I had my first accident (Grandma, sister, mother all in the car yelling as we plowed serenely into the blue VW Bug trying to turn left in front of us.) The sun in AZ is not kind to all black cars, and by the time this one was sold, it looked like it had been baked in an oven. The paint was utterly carbonized and starting to disappear in places. I also had my first blowjob in this car, from a nice Seventh-Day Adventist girl who never wore makeup, always wore skirts, and who never cut her hair. I eventually broke up with her because I was stupid. It was a good car, and it was my job to wash it every weekend, which I did with varying degrees of conscientiousness.

4. The Lynx – ’82, Mercury, grey, hatchback, standard transmission. This was the car I in which I learned how to drive a stick. Tangerine Road was long, straight, two lanes, deserted, and out in the north boonies of Tucson when I was in High School (now it’s fairly close to civilization, due to the unfettered development now rampant in the Southwest). Once, in high school, my parents let me take my friends out in it, and we stalled in the middle of a busy intersection while I tried to figure out the intricacies of second and fourth gear. My friends screamed as cars careened around us honking and making rude conjectures as to the nature of my parentage. Nobody died, but my friends were still nervous about riding with me, even a year later. Ingrates. A good car, but a little troubled. As was the tendency with my family, we rode it into the ground. Dad eventually cracked the frame in a fender bender, and it became useless to us.

5. The Rabbit – ’82, Volkswagen, brown, four-door, hatchback, automatic. My first car, given me by my parents. I nicknamed it Shadrach after my favorite Beastie-Boys song, and for no other reason. When I later went insane, I sold it to pay for (in this order): 1) rent for a summer, 2) drugs (mostly pot, with the occasional foray into mushrooms, acid, and blotter paper dipped in what was probably roach spray), 3) a motorcycle which I didn’t know how to take care of and which I then proceeded to drive into the ground. It was a good car. I should have kept it, but I was stupid, and since it was a gift, I didn’t value it. Because I was a shithead.

6. The Corrolla – ’81, Toyota, white, two door hatchback, 5 speed automatic transmission. I bought this car with my own money that I earned while living in a trailer park after deciding I needed to clean up and go back to school. It was fairly reliable, except for the time that I tried to drive up to Sedona with my girlfriend for a relationship saving vacation and it broke down about a mile outside of town. The transmission needed replacing, and since Toyota only made the 5 speeds for two years (80 and 81) we had to find a transmission in a junkyard in Phoenix, have it shipped up to Sedona and put in by a gentleman mechanic who recognized the signs of a self-destructing relationship in our eyes and was terribly kind to us in our misery. Other than that, a fine car which I sold to have enough money to come to New York.

Dad only bought American cars, if you'll notice. No purpose to this post, just a story I wanted to tell.

Monday, November 14, 2005

My most illegal post yet!

I asked everyone in the last post to let me know which of three possible stories they'd like me to tell in today's edition. And after a overwhelming response...

Your indifference is duly noted. Since no one seems to give a shit, I’m just going to tell the story I haven’t already told a million times.

Her name started with an S and ended with a long “e” sound. She was 16 when I met her.

A brief sideline seems to be in order, here. Of the girls/women that I have dated, the breakdown of names goes something like this.

1 Shelley - twice
1 Andrea
1 Debbie
1 Stacey
1 Sherri
1 Elizabeth
2 Stephanie’s (one with a “y”, one with an “ie”)

One night stands and unconsummated crushes excluded. So, anybody notice a pattern, there? That’s right - of the 8 long-term (over a month) relationships, over half were with women whose names began and ended with the sounds “S” and “EE” (long e). Admittedly, this is a small sample, and not necessarily out of line with the average phonetic breakdown of women’s names popular during the birth years of 1965-1975, but still, what the hell, right? Maybe, unconsciously, I knew that the women for me had this particular name (“Oh, man, I know her name was something like Stephanie or Sally, maybe Stacey? Shit, I knew this one…”) and so I dated variations of her until I found the right one.

Well I thought it was interesting, anyway.

So, S-ee was blonde, and attractive. And not very bright. She had a long, slightly horsey face that was made more lovely by her big blue eyes and high cheekbones. She was short, muscular, and curvy, with a little bit of baby fat on her. We met through a mutual friend at a Denny’s on Oracle Road in Tucson. I thought she was stupid (as was my wont. At 19 I believed that no one was quite as smart as I was. I’ve since found out otherwise…) but cute, and I was immoral enough at the time to take her number when she offered it at the end of the evening. She seemed smitten, and I was (constantly) lonely and (eternally) in need of reassurance as to my attractiveness after a series of romantic and worldly setbacks culminating about a year later in my being fired from a Dunkin’ Donuts for stealing eggs since I couldn’t afford food. I was not quite at my lowest ebb at this point, and so might have appeared to be somewhat of a catch at the time (neurotic, scraggly, slacker potheads always being so in vogue among youngish women determined to alarm and enrage their parents). I took the number and forgot about it.

She got tired of waiting and called me a few weeks later, having obtained my number through the aforementioned friend. We talked on the phone quite a bit over the next few days while I decided what the hell to do. She talked about her home life (miserable) her commitment to school (non-existent) and her dreams (more on those later). I was flattered by her attention (not to mention constantly horny and lonely), and immediately agreed upon a date after finding out that she had just turned 17.

I picked her up in the city in my 1978 VW Rabbit (nicknamed Shadrach) and took her to a movie the name of which utterly escapes me. We went back to my house and talked on the couch. I determined that I absolutely would not touch her (my suspicions aroused as to her age), but as the conversation became more and more personal, I started getting the idea that things were more than a little bad at home, and I finally got the confession that her step-dad hit her (and maybe touched her inappropriately – never really got a straight answer on that one). She kept telling me, over and over, she didn’t want to go home. It got later and later. My judgment (never super hi-fi when it came to women anyway) became increasingly clouded as we began to make out (that resolution not to touch her? Yeah, not so much.). Finally I agreed that she could stay the night, I’d take her back the next day. We agreed that we weren’t ready for sex, and slept chastely in my bed.

The next morning she straddled me like a horse and rode me to sweaty climaxes until I finally came, as well. We cuddled and made goo-goo sounds at each other for a few hours until our bliss was broken by a phone call.


“Where’s my daughter?”

Her step-dad had ferreted out my name and number from a friend of S’s and proceeded to let me know, in no uncertain terms, what he would do to me. I, being young, stupid, and… well, mostly just really stupid, didn’t have the sense to lie and say I didn’t know where she was. Instead I told him that she was with me and that she didn’t want to come home (!). So add to my list of transgressions kidnapping. Just so we’re clear, her step-dad was a fireplug, ugly and muscular, with a jaw like Popeye and a silent, sullen charm that only lifted slightly when he spoke of riding his motorcycle. You see, he was involved with a local motorcycle club that… oh, didn’t I mention he was a scary fucking biker? Must have slipped my mind. Yeah, a tattooed, muscled, construction working, backhanding, possibly molesting biker. And I just kept his step-daughter out all night, doing god knows what to her, and she didn’t want to come home, and aren’t I the noble fucking knight? Yeah, this was getting exciting. I hung up the phone, turned off the ringer and tried to figure out what to do with the blonde sex-goddess in my bed who it seemed was setting me up to get my ass kicked by at least one and quite possibly several scary bikers. Never mind the legal action he was threatening me with after he beat me to a wet spot on the sidewalk.

A half-hour later came the pounding on the front door.

Now I found sense. When confronted by the possibility of imminent death at the hands of a marauding biker, I huddled in the bed, listening to him curse, and indicated with my eyes to the lovely creature next to me that she must, must, must, must be silent. She was in this, as in so many other, infinitely more pleasant things, utterly compliant. Fortunately, I believe she might have been as terrified as I was. She knew what this guy could do.

The only possible explanation I can give for this total abrogation of reason and good sense was… well, she told me that her only goal in life was to become an exotic dancer. Sigh. What could I have done? At my age. With a constant hard-on. And no plans. And she was cute!

Yeah, I was an idiot.

Anti-climactic-ly, that’s as far as it went. He left after about 15 minutes of sheer terror (pounding the door, threats, warnings of the imminent arrival of the police, rinse, repeat). I dropped her off at her house later that night. Met her parents about two weeks later (no one mentioned anything about it), and dated her a couple of months until I got bored and dumped her.

I saw her in the wedding columns less than six months later. Pregnant. The only other thing she wanted more than being an exotic dancer? Babies. Dodged a bullet on that one, I suppose.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Adams House

In response to this post mentioning in passing my old haunts at the Euclid and Adams house, my oldest friend in the whole world Rabbit wrote this:
Euclid and Adams! I have fond memories of that place, though I didn't have to live there. I do remember you lighting cockroaches on fire, but I also remember making plans to go to the first Lollapalooza.
Now that is the kind of note that gives one pause. “Lighting cockroaches on fire”? Really? My response was as one might expect –
Oh Jesus. Did I really light cockroaches on fire? Please do elaborate (though I must admit to a touch of The Fear).
His response was most illuminating:
I seem to remember you saying it was more effective than smashing them. and not as gross.
Lord have mercy. I do not remember that at all. Then again, a lot of weirdness went down at that place that I might have trouble remembering.

Perhaps a little background… while I was in college, I went insane. After moving out of the hellish extension of high school that was the freshman dorm, I moved into a small triplex north of the university (to the heated objections of my parents whom I deftly manipulated into getting me what I wanted anyway by procrastinating to the point where no other choice was possible). On one side of us in the –plex lived a lesbian couple (the more butch half of which would eventually score me my first mescaline) who routinely came home drunk in the wee hours to scream obscenities and thence to pound the living shit out of each other (I called the cops a couple of times). The lesbian community in Tucson at the time (early 90’s) had heard of the term “lipstick lesbian,” but found it slightly disturbing and really wanted nothing to do with it. These were muscular bruisers with short, spiky hair, plaid shirts, jeans, work boots, gutter mouths and wicked senses of humor, along with viscously short fuses and jealous streaks a mile wide. They were awesome, and frightened my skinny white Christian ass to death.

On the other side was a man with an indeterminate number of dogs and aluminum foil over all the windows. The less said about him, the better (“he kept to himself, we hardly ever saw him. We had no idea that he would….” You know the type.)

The construction was shoddy, the floors uneven. We had a claw foot bathtub, and a cast iron wood burning stove (which came in useful later. If this story continues, I’ll let you know). I was the one constant in this little gingerbread slum, with a parade of roommates and crashers. My first roommate was a tuba player/music education major who’s Catholicism rendered him incapable of telling his parents he was actually living with his girlfriend. He was the ideal roommate, remarkable only by his absences and his utter horror at my house cleaning habits, which could be generously termed “plague-incubating”. The comments above about my insect extermination experiments might give you a clue as to what I’m talking about.

So, this was the setting for the beginning of a breakdown in morality, manners, and mental (not to mention physical) hygiene, all (at least initially) funded by the generosity of the University of Arizona and my increasing annoyed, then angered, then worried, and finally disturbed and fearful parents. This was where I learned about all manner of illicit and dangerous substances, where I huddled in my room avoiding a statutory rape charge, where I determined the fate of my entire collected works (ages 5-18).

Since I might feel like writing about this stuff again, I leave it in your hands, dear readers, as to which stories you might enjoy. Should it be:

1) The drug story about mushrooms and the Smiths?
2) What happened to everything I wrote from ages of 5-18?
3) The almost statutory rape story?

Leave a note in comments suggesting which you want to hear, and thanks.

Also, come out tonight to CBGB’s if you get the notion!

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Tomorrow at CBGB's! Electric Open Mic!

As mentioned in yesterday's post - here's the info. I'm playing bass in the hizz-ouse band, and I'm really excited. Come out if you can!


CBGB's Lounge
Downtown Underground Electric Open Mike - Every Thursday at 8pm

Upcoming dates: 11/10, 11/17, 11/24, 12/01, 12/08

315 Bowery St., New York, NY

Hosted by jOff wilsOn/The Bowery Boys

15 min. slots. Backline provided, Drummers bring stix/snare. Great open mike for bands or solos looking to hook up with other musicians. No hardcore or metal because of similtaneous shows upstairs in the Gallery.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Where you been?

Busy. Oh my, yes. Tonight, I’ll be at Acentos, backing up the lovely and talented Eliel Lucero. It’s up in the Bronx, and if you can go, you should. Eliel has really grown in the time that I’ve known him, both as a writer and a performer, and I know he’s bringing his “A” game tonight.

But that’s only the start of the wonderment… there’s so much else going on. “What else?” you say? Let me tell you…

On a whim a few weeks ago, I answered an ad looking for a bass player for an electric open mic at CBGB’s Lounge. Do I play bass? Yes I do! I’ve played a couple of shows with synonymUS and I used to play when I was in college (deep in the mists of time). The fellow running the show liked me, it seems, and having checked out a few of my mp3’s online, said “The gig is yours, if you want it.” It’s every Thursday night at CBGB Lounge (313 Bowery, downstairs), starting at 8. I play bass, Joff plays guitar, and Riley plays drums – we’re the house band, and people can do their solo electric/acoustic thing, or they can tell us chords and we can play along. It’s fun, and poets are welcome (hint, hint).

So there’s that. I taught myself how to play bass back when I lived in this little house on the corner of Euclid and Adams in Tucson. I paid 150 dollars a month for rent (a price which, at the time, seemed a little high), had my own room, and lived with an array of roommates. I’d listen to Fugazi and Jane’s Addiction and try to play along. In an effort to get my chops back up, I’ve reacquainted myself with these bands, and I’m having a great time playing and learning. The band is good people, and the open mic looks to be a lot of fun. Come out if you can.

.I’ve also been doing Funkworthy Fridays with {audio genic} and this past week we did a show celebrating all our Scorpio friends. We had a make-up artist, a costumer, and a tarot reader, and we were all done up and pretty and lovely. It was a hoot. Here’s a picture of me that I think is pretty neat. I keep telling my friends to come out, and let me just say, those who know – go. It’s fun, it’s sexy. If you get the invite for next time, clear your calendar, make the trip, because it WILL be worth it.

I also agreed to do the next Nosedive Productions show of “A Very Nosedive Christmas Carol” as the Ghost of Christmas Present. Last year, I played it up as a harlequin, but this year, I think we might be using masks… I read the re-write of the script, and maybe it’s just me, but I think Jimmy keeps making me more and more pretentious, and maybe a little gay. Gonna have to talk to that boy… These are the same guys that brought you "Jesus is my Valentine" and "Bucket O' Chum" which, now that I think about it, qualify as some of the most terrifying pieces of performance I've ever done.

Plus there’s the regular synonymUS gigs (coming up next week on Wednesday, if you didn’t know), and the usual parties, friends, poetry readings, and, ummm, work. I do work, too.

I may need to retreat at some point soon. The cool thing is that the high level (and quality!) of activity makes it almost impossible for me to a) get in any serious trouble, and b) get depressed – which is sort of the same thing. The idle brain is the devil’s popsicle, or something. Anyway, I’m keeping up with my yoga regimen (30-40 minutes everyday) and a steady diet of recreational pharmaceuticals to stay physically and mentally flexible. So, I’m staying healthy. I don’t see my wife near enough, since grad school has effectively kidnapped her, and she’s got a show coming up at our church, so she disappears on the weekends.

Anyway. That’s where I’ve been. I’ll post details for the various things soon, so if you want, you can check it out.

Friday, October 21, 2005

"Hit that perfect beat, boy"

Oscar brings the 80's love in this great blog post about the Smiths. Gotta give some love back...

One of the things "they" say is that the music that you listen to between the ages of, say, 16 and 25 is the music you'll listen to for the rest of your life. That may be true. One thing I will say, though, is that no other music taps as directly into your limbic system, in the core of your emotions, as the music you listen to during those years. You may be embarassed by it, you may disown it, but if you grew up in the 80's, and somebody plays Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, I guarantee you are gonna feel something!

Part of it is just the sense of discovery that you feel. The first time you hear that band is like the discovery of pot, or masturbation, or kissing, or the first time you really understood a poem or a novel. It's like a great secret has been revealed to you and you alone. You stare at the stereo, incredulous, wondering that the world has contained, all along, this incredible sound and you have been waiting for it to find you all these years and lo, here it is. And you copy down all the lyrics and you write the band name (if possible, in script exactly copying the font on the newest album) over and over on your notebook and you go into your room with your headphones and you lie on the bed, rigid with the electricity of feeling that the music pushes though your body by way of your ears and you know that you have found a piece of yourself that was hidden in the world. This music, this band, they may have made it, but it is yours.

And there's always a first band, isn't there? The band where you see them on the screen or in the magazine or maybe just on the little blazing stage you made for them behind your closed eye lids and you say to your self, "That's me! That music, that attitude, that hair, that sex, that fury and rage and screaming and spitting and drugs. That's ME!" I remember distinctly the look of disgust on my saxophone teacher's face the day I told him that I didn't want to play jazz, that I had heard a band that sounded like how I felt, and that I wanted to make music like Oingo Boingo. He didn't understand. Nobody ever really understands. That's what makes it yours.

So, to Danny Elfman, and Andy Partridge, and Sting, and Simon LeBon, and Robert Smith, and David Bowie, and Siouxsie Sioux, and Morrissey, Adam Ant, Michael Stipe and all you eighties freaks, a salute. I don't listen to most of you at all, anymore, but I can sing every one of your songs by heart.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Grab bag fun stuff

PARSE party was fun, once I got past the whole "bleeding out the eyes with stress" thing. People do this all the time, so I guess it's all about what you can get used to. Chad and I learned a huge amount from the experience (give ourselves more lead time, don't freak out and almost throw down just before the show, alert the magazines) and that's a great thing. Everyone seemed to have a good time, including the poets, and we sold a bunch of books and didn't lose our shirts. So that's good. I wanted to especially shout out Raymond Daniel Medina musical madman and grounding force. Without him, all would have been silence.

Incidentally, it just occurred to me: Chad and Scot? Our names are Chad and Scot? How white can we actually get? I feel like we should be wearing pink Izod shirts with upturned collars and speaking through clenched jaws like Thurston Howell III on our yacht.

Speaking of being an over-privileged white guy (HA!), I saw Amiri Baraka last night at 13. Great speaker, and quite inspiring. I really enjoyed his work, and I barely flinched when, during one of his more strident pieces he described those who work evil as being "uglier than white people." NICE! After the final piece (the same piece, I believe, that got the post of NJ poet Laureate eliminated), which asked who was basically the fountain of all evil in the world, my friend Jai leaned over, rubbed my back sympathetically, and said, "It isn't you!" I laughed heartily.

It's like the fact that my dad (and Grandfather) are both 32nd degree Masons. I mean, I don't want to be a whiner, but if I am so all-powerful, I'd think that I would be getting paid more. I don't know, I'm just saying.

I managed to get a copy of PARSE into both Martin Espada's and Amiri Baraka's hands. Amiri's words were, "This is a good looking book." Very happy about that. Hope they like the insides as much.

Finally, here's an amazing poem I found this morning on called In The Bulrushes. Check it out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

"We don't have to murder the intelligentsia"

"Here again, we find ourselves in luck. The society is so glutted with easy entertainment that no writer or company of writers is troublesome enough to warrant the compliment of an arrest, or even the courtesy of a sharp blow to the head. What passes for the American school of dissent talks exclusively to itself in the pages of obscure journals, across the coffee cups in Berkeley and Park Slope, in half‑deserted lecture halls in small Midwestern colleges."

A modest proposal by Lewis Lapham in Harper's Magazine for the realization of the American Fascist Dream - article here. Link courtesy of Discordian Research Technology (Don't Read This).

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Could the Spread of Latino Culture throughout the world... the the path to peace?

I'm a big fan of norteno and soca, myself, but hey, what ever works. Plus, who knew that Egyptians liked salsa?

Friday, October 7, 2005

Beck Hansen is the White Man's Prince (thanks Ray)

Saw Beck at Hammerstein Ballroom with Ray. Lovely night. The opening act, McRorie, wore a kilt and a suit that allowed him to play electronic drums, bass and guitar with his body. He was canadian, so I guess he couldn't help it. He did numerous rap covers (Rapper's Delight, Fight for Your Right to Party, I Like Big Butts by Sir-Mix-a-Lot (god have mercy on us all)). He also exhorted the fellows to "go downtown" for their ladies. Frankly, even though I appreciate, in no particular order, kilts, electronic drums, canadians, cunnilingus, old-school rap, and one-man-bands, somehow the convergence of all these elements in the singular person of McRorie was too much for my poor mind to take. I emerged into the set break a broken and sadder man. Which doesn't mean I didn't enjoy him.

Then Beck came along to make it all alright. I saw him when he toured with The Flaming Lips for his Sea Change album. He was a little more mellow, a little sad, a little broken himself. Though I loved his voice (apparently, when depressed, Beck's voice modulates from a reedy coffeehouse folky's whine to a rich baritone that would not sound out of place on an LP of old Marine battle hymns), the energy and pizazz was a little lacking. Plus, Steph got ill in the middle of his set and we had to split.

This time, he was every bit the showman, rocking out for a good portion, spicing the mix with the occasional ballad (including a flaming lips cover!) and generally rocking out with his caulking out. It was awesome.

I stayed out afterwards and handed out flyers for the PARSE party until I got picked up by a couple of poet girls who offered to take a bunch of flyers to their school to hand out. I gratefully said yes, accompanied them to Wendy's for a pleasant conversation and ran for my train a few minutes later.

Overall, a fantastic night. In case you're wondering about the post heading, Ray turned to me and spoke those exact words not a half-hour before Beck introduced himself as "The Artist Currently Known as Beck". So it wasn't just us.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Other show news

My good friend Abena is directing this wonderful piece, and she asked me to be a part of it. I'll be doing some of the music. Come out if you can!


West End Theatre
263 86th Street, NY, NY
When: Saturday, October 8, 7:00pm & Sunday, October 9, 3:00 pm

Eve Descending is a journey through the stories of women in the Bible. Each woman comes to life through poetry, dance, and song to speak where the scriptures have been silent. (60 Minutes)

TICKETS: $15 available at or at the door.

Featuring: Keisa Ababio, Elana Bell, Annmarie Benedict,* Oscar Bermeo, Jessica Elizabeth, Deborah Goffe, Sabrina Hayeem Ladani, Hanna Kivioja-Honeycutt, Dara Lazar, Daniel Montana, Lynne Procope, Dana Shavonne Rainey*, Melanie Stroh, Jane Titus*, Rich Villar, Scot Williams, Stephanie Williams

*member of Actors Equity

Monday, October 3, 2005

Sunday, October 2, 2005

PARTY! Friendlyfire Style...

So. You want to be at the Bowery Poetry Club on October 15 (that's a Saturday). See the details here, but it is going to be killer!!! Feel free to pass this along, and we can't wait to see you.

PARSE Book Release Party
Saturday, October 15, 2005
8:00 - 10:00 PM
Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery at Bleeker Street
$10 cover

Please join Friendlyfire Press (Chad Griffin and Scot Lee Williams) as they celebrate the release of PARSE - Alchemy, a new collaboration of visual artistry and poetry featuring poems by:

Elana Bell
Oscar Bermeo
Jai Chakrabarti
Robert Bevan Dalton
Sabrina Hayeem-Ladani
Mara Jebsen
Raymond Daniel Medina
John J, Trause
Rich Villar

With readings by the poets, musical collaboration from synonymUS and Raj spinning tunes.

PARSE Volume 1 - Alchemy is the first in a series of books based on the fruits of collaboration between artists of different disciplines. Friendlyfire Press is dedicated to promoting the arts through the creation of beautiful books and amazing poetry. Hope to see you there!

This could be why the cat is thinking of...


Friday, September 30, 2005

Tonight's Rilly Big Shew

Last minute, I know, but I hope some of you can make it. This promises to be a fun show. I'll be doing some of my poetry with the louderARTS crew, and you know those poets are ridiculously good. Plus, the NY Percussion Quartet! Details below.
FRIDAY, 9/30/05
7-11pm $10 ($6 students)
Dagmar, New York Percussion Quartet, Johnny Divine, and LouderARTS

7 pm sharp: JOHNNY DIVINE -- post-alt rock straight from Philly, hold the demure

8-ish: THE NEW YORK PERCUSSION QUARTET -- powerful, spectacularly intricate tuned and untuned percussion like you've never heard before by four of this planet's greatest percussionists

9-ish: louderARTS ( a dozen+ performance poets slammin' away with film, art, humor, music, DJ and fire.

10:00-ish (maybe earlier, but not a minute later):
DAGMAR -- A new theatricalized music experiment by composer Jim Bauer. A surreal story cycles through the mountain-to-valley music arrangements about a guy who can't get out of bed in the morning and an insect goddess who plunges through the ether to save him. Lucky for our hero in hiding, Dagmar is up for just about anything, as long as it has more than four legs.

70 North 6th Street
between Kent and Wythe
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11211
718 782-5188

From Manhattan by Subway- Take the L to Bedford Ave. (1st stop in Brooklyn), exit on N. 7th and walk down one block to N. 6th, take a right and walk 2 1/2 blocks over. We're between Wythe and Kent on the left side. Or Take the JMZ to Marcy Ave. Walk two blocks west on Broadway to Bedford Ave. Catch the B61 bus and take it to N7 (approximately 5 minute ride).

Thursday, September 22, 2005

As the kids say, werd....

The party is here - folks. Yet another reason to get crazy on a Friday night with {audio genic}, the Warren Commission, all the sexy people we know, and YOU! This is the party avatar of the infamous synonymUS Band, improvising sickness over dope-ass beats provided by wonderful DJ's. Not to mention a beatboxer named Kid Lucky, a wood-synth player named Onyx, free food from 6-8 and a lot of craziness. Come out, make it happen. I'll be the tall guy with the sax in my hand.

Quote of the Day

From one of my current favorite maniacs:

"I believe reality is a marvelous joke staged for my edification and amusement, and everybody is working very hard to make me happy."

- Terrence McKenna

So far, you guys are doing a great job. Keep up the good work!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Hot buttons

Originally meant to be posted 9/16/05. I'll post why this past weekend was so crazy later after I've had a chance to process.

When I find myself talking out loud to no one in particular about a particular issue, I usually know it’s time to post.

Last night at the Urbana Slam, Eliel came up to me before the second round and suggested I do “The Poem.”

I thought he meant “The Journal”, which was the most confessional thing I’d done for the Bar13 crowd (discussing my erstwhile descent (almost) into male prostitution, drugs, and abject, pathetic loneliness, and what happened when a girlfriend found out all the sordid details), and which was sort of a watershed for me in terms of performance. “No,” he said, “The POEM. The White Man Poem.”

Ohhh, THAT poem. The POEM. The scare the crap out of myself poem. I wrote this poem in response to Roger Bonair-Agard’s “Song for Trent Lott” in which he writes about the strength that has come to Black people from being systematically enslaved, tortured, experimented on, etc. The entire history of the relationship between White folk and Black, basically, with a bit of “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, and you do not want to fuck with what you made,” thrown in for good measure.

I’ve thought a lot about that poem since I first heard it. It’s very moving, very intense and exciting. One of the reactions I had as a white person was particularly interesting for me: I found myself perversely proud of the history of rape, genocide, and world domination white people have forged for themselves. I was, in my heart-of-hearts, a little admiring of the bat-shit crazy white folk who bent technology and the world to their will in the pursuit of power, much in the same way that one reads with morbid fascination of a serial killer or watches a slasher film, secretly rooting for the guy in the mask as he impassively slaughters his way through an unmemorable gaggle of pretty vacant teenagers.

This was, to say the least, a disturbing thing to know about myself.

In an effort to understand myself (or possibly just to put my fascist sympathies back in the closet where they would no longer shame me), I came to the conclusion that what I was admiring of was, in fact, a more wide-spread trait: the Will to Power. The desire to dominate, to destroy the “other”, to impose ones will upon the world. I admired this trait because it resonated with a trait that all people had to a greater or lesser degree, and which I had, up to this point, not acknowledged in myself.

So I wrote a poem, first claiming and owning those traits every slam poet and race polemicist since the post-colonialism came into being had attributed to White People, and then pointing up as many instances as I could of the root issue (the Will to Power) manifesting in other races, preferably against their own kind. The idea being that every person has this tendency in them somewhat, and White people just happened to have been better at expressing it during a certain point in recent history, but that if you took a longer and broader view, you would find that that violence and that desire to dominate were universal human characteristics that didn’t pertain to race.

I scared myself. Like when you cut yourself to watch the blood well up – that kind of scary. So, to debut this little gem, I decided to read it at GrooveNation – a series at Bar13 “celebrating poets and poems of the African diaspora.” Just to make it a little bit scarier.

It was fine, of course. I puss-ed out a bit at the beginning by saying that the piece was a persona, which is true, but only sort of. Truthfully, I know that I’m fairly safe at 13, and that it was the right way to do it. The point was fairly well made, but I think it needs editing. Anyway, you can find the poem here.

Do let me know what you think.

I didn’t do it at Urbana, mostly because it’s too long to slam with right now, and I didn’t have it with me or memorized.

I’ll write more about my desire to push myself by putting myself in difficult performance positions later.

Friday, September 2, 2005

Escape from NY - New England's Dreaming

So, in spite of all economic indicators and news sources, we rented a car and drove to NH for a few days of relaxation and business. The folks at Hertz have a deal where you can either fill the gas tank up before you return it, or have them do it at a fee of $x per gallon. Normally, the fee is quite exorbitant, but when they told Steph the price right now (a little less than $3.00/gal, probably a policy that has yet to change from when gas was under $2.00 per) she immediately said "Hells, yes!" I have no doubt, given the recent and continuing unpleasantness in the gulf, that we'll be looking at a substantial savings from the $4.00 or more per gallon that's coming in the next few days.

Since I'm working the publishing thing, I'm writing a lot of the trip off - I went to the NH Secretary of State office and officially incorporated Friendlyfire Press, LLC! We're in business, son! If you're just visiting and I haven't already harrassed you about it and you haven't already, check out the website. The link is just off to the right on the little sidebar thingy. Check it out and buy a book!

I've been keeping up with the news of the rapidly developing horrorshow that is New Orleans through the traditional news sources, and through this fellow's livejournal. He's a tech guy in NO who's doing his best to keep his company's servers up and running during the disaster. He's a friggin' hardcore man, I admire the cool he's been able to keep in spite of what's happening down there, and he's been supplying news from "on the ground" as things have been happening (buildings burning seems to be the latest). Plus there's a live video feed and plenty of linked images. Check it out, and dig in your pockets (like you need me to tell you).

NH is beautiful, and I really am grateful for the amazing luxury I am allowed to live in. I count my blessings, and I hope I can send out blessings to those who are suffering so much in the south. Please God, be with them as they struggle to overcome the stupidity, venality, and short-sightedness of man, and be gentle with them as they learn lessons of their own need for growth.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

yea! NERD!

Modern, Cool Nerd
69 % Nerd, 52% Geek, 34% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!


Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in either of the following:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Professional Wrestling

Love & Sexuality

Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 74% on nerdiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 61% on geekosity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 59% on dork points
Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Thursday, August 11, 2005

And also, the new hotness

Friendlyfire Press, home of PARSE, the new collaboration between artists and poets. Come see the paradise!

Hot Peppers, Hiccups, and Magick

When I was 10 years old, my elementary school teacher, Mrs. Eggen, showed me how to cure hiccups. She was a wise, sweet, and gentle soul who saw in my spacey demeanor the possibility of intelligence. She actually taught a number of us in her class this method, along with a few other things, including how to hang spoons from the ends of our noses (a skill which I have demonstrated repeatedly to the embarrassment of those close to me). The method, which she described in some detail, and which she assured us “always worked” went something like this: take three sips of water, and a small breath, repeat this until the lungs are entirely full, and then hold your breath for a count of thirty. In the decade plus that I have been using this method, I have never found it to fail. I knew in my heart that this was due mostly to its effect on the mind. Nothing was actually effected by the actions themselves except a tenor of mind that allowed me to relax my diaphragm and stop hiccupping.

This weekend, at a wedding in South Carolina, I ended up eating a number of jalapeno peppers. Now, jalapenos (indeed, most extremely spicy foods by themselves) give me hiccups and I’m walking down this street and I don’t have any water. I don’t have any water and these hiccups are driving me nuts, so how can I get rid of them?

And it suddenly occurs to me – if this cure is all in my mind, then the actions aren’t really necessary at all. All I need to do is imagine myself doing the “miracle” hiccup cure, and it will be accomplished. So, OK. I do it. And it works.

This is the first magickal act I have ever done. I internalized the ritual and manifested the results. Belief, imagination, and no more hiccups.

Sounds stupid, right? But that’s how it starts.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

security checkpoint

From: Scot
Date: August 5, 2005 10:35:39 PM EDT
To: ray

I'm writing you from the Charlotte, NC airport, where I just had a delightful dinner of a Quesedilla and tequila in an effort to forget the search of my person I underwent at the security checkpoint in Newark. When they searched my guitar case, they apparently found traces of a chemical that fooled their machines into thinking I had some sort of contact recently with TNT(!). They asked me all kinds of questions about my habits - do I use drugs, where do I live, what prescriptions do I take. Needless to say I kept cool, but it was still a mighty pain in the ass to say the least. They made me take out my inhaler, show them how it worked, not with an idea towards actual information, but with the express idea that I might show in some trembling in my hand, some fumbling in my speech, that I had something to hide.

They looked at me like I was a criminal.

Not an unfamiliar feeling, but still, not one I've been used to of late. Couple this with my recent viewing of a documentary on the Weathermen, and this past weekend's yogic experiments, and you have the ground ripe for a bumper crop of paranoia. Fortunately, my heritage as the ruling class of the planet earth (white, male, young, tongue firmly planted in cheek) stood me in good stead, and I was able to play it off as nothing but an inconvenience, and necessary for the "good of the realm", as opposed to what it was - a violation of my person as a free man.

Not to make too much of it, though. They re x-rayed the guitar case and let me go - after making sure they had all my info, and asking why I still had an AZ driver's license even though I live in NYC (I did what anyone should do in such a situation - I lied and said I'd just moved, lying being the only appropriate response to power in certain situations). Imagine had I been slightly darker of skin, or not wearing the cross my mother gave me!

Now I'm fine, slightly buzzed and waiting for my flight to go see my lady. All is well. Hope you are too.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

The Week in Williams

“Help! How did I get inside this person! Oh my God, I feel like I’ve been here for days! Somebody…for the love of God! Oh, this is worst than that time I was stuck on the runway at O’Hare for 3 hours….” etc., etc.

So, I played a party with {audio genic} which is the, shall we say, secular incarnation of synonymUS at b1 involving DJ’s, beats, and soundscapes extraordinaire. It was a pleasant evening, filled with music and wacky hi-jinx for all. Guests for the evening included the amazing Onyx and the equally amazing beatboxer Kid Lucky (whose talents as a beatboxer are only matched by his organizational/community building skills amply represented at, his website. I have to admit, I felt pretty amateur compared to these cats.

If you didn't come out - you missed it. Show up next time and represent. Or something.

Steph went upstate to visit her friend, and I spent most of the day cleaning the house and the rest of the night doing yoga. I was definitely transported after a small phone call with Mary (those who have ears, let them hear). It was a good night, with many physical effects. I’m still noticing an elevated mood and a much more attuned mind, which is all to the good.

Nothing much else of note, save that PARSE has been printed, and is shipping. I’ve been showing it around like that guy, you know? That guy with a baby, and isn’t his baby amazing? Have you ever seen anything like this beautiful baby? Ever? And boy aren’t you tired of hearing about and seeing his baby? But he won’t shut up about his baby? Yeah, I’m that guy. I’m sure my friends are already saying, “Yes, you printed a fucking book. Maybe you should put it away every once in awhile. Try talking about something else, say. Maybe attend to your grooming, or something.”

Actually, I’m pretty sure they aren’t saying that at all, interestingly enough. It seems that Chad and I have really done something, here. I hope that the momentum continues…

I was at 13 last night (that’s where all this bibliographic exhibitionism took place) and the regional Slam was a hoot. Packed and noisy, everybody hopped on goofballs. Here’s hoping 13 takes it all the way next week at nationals, since they are clearly the best team up there, Taylor Mali notwithstanding. In spite of his being "the most hated man in slam" or some such horseshit, I always enjoy Taylor's stuff, and he seems to me to be one of the better perfomers out there. He's witty, charming, good with a turn of phrase and always unfailingly polite and pleasant when I've had occasion to speak to him. Having said that, his team didn't have what it took to beat 13 on their home turf. Anyway, it should be a great battle. I can’t wait to get to ABQ for Slam Nationals. Let the party begin!

Reading: Harry Fucking Potter and his Murderous Shit-Eating Half-Blood Prince (I cried. It was very sad),
Yoga for Yahoos/Yellowbellies (by Mr. Crowley, pronounced Crow-ly, because he is holy),
Lord Byron’s Novel – The Evening Land by John Crowley (no relation). If that last one seems a little obscure – I mean, is it Lord Byron’s novel or Crowley’s? – suffice to say that this book is so damn meta it kills me. It’s a novel about a book and the finding of a lost manuscript of that book and half the text so far seems to be transcriptions of emails between the characters… oh, hell. It’s all a bit complicated.
Watching: Deadwood (cocksuckers)
Listening: M83 – Before the Dawn Heals Us. Sounds like what My Bloody Valentine would have done with a laptop and a little more Swervedriver.

See you in New Mexico.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Tucson as Karmic Gravity Sink - Cafe Quebec

This one won't make any sense to anybody who didn't live in Tucson, AZ in the early to mid-nineties. It's OK, read the other posts instead.


-----Original Message-----
From: chad
Sent: Friday, July 29, 2005 10:58 AM
To: Scott Williams; troy tilus
Subject: journal entry

on 29.04.2002, i wrote::

some coffee shops are pick-up joints. some are for students cramming for meaningless tests. some are where the kids hang-out—and café Q? café Q in tucson arizona? it is the prison rec-room; where one smokes and plans for revolt all the while spending one's time like a ten year sentence. you'll break out soon. until then there is plenty of time for another drawing, another book, some more reading...


From: Scott Williams
Sent: Friday, July 29, 2005 11:11 AM
To: 'chad'
Subject: RE: journal entry

Corn Chowder or Gazpacho and a crusty, chewy half-a-baugette for 3 dollars and change. Scribbling in my journal about 3xpl0d1n6 the AT&T building and imagining its giant antenna piercing the streets of downtown Tucson, sending gouts of flam3 into the air while Club Congress burns. Reading Sexus, Nexus, Plexus and trying to imagine being an ubermensch, entertaining caffeine and other substance induced fantasies of sex and fame. Mooning pathetically over the girl behind the bar, knowing she’ll never like me… Watching the popular guys and the high school girls, wishing I was somewhere else, unable to think of anyplace else to go. Hoping someone I knew would walk by, desperate for them to leave when they do show up.

More like a recruitment center where we sign up for our own bad trips and internment – basic training for hipster hell.

Man did I love that soup, though.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Mt. Maya? Don't Mind if I Do!

synyonymUS made a trek up to Kent, CT to play for some kids at a writer’s camp (not to be confused with writer’s cramp). Terrific trip up and back with six fools packed into an SUV making crazy jokes and being generally silly. The kids we played for seemed to like it (though I couldn’t tell – they just got super-quiet. Reminded me of my singer-songwriter days), we got paid, had Japanese food, and generally enjoyed the hell out of the day and each other. Wouldn’t it be loverly?

There’s also a wonderful article on the periodic table in today’s You can find it here. You might not have thought the periodic table needed updating, but apparently somebody has come up with a new way of visually organizing the elements, and it’s beautiful! I won’t give away the big surprise, but it seemed to me to be a recapitulation of order of creation, simple to more-complex, and I love it. Geeking out over here, don’t mind me.

Show info, for the fraction who don't know. I think I'll be playing bass tonight, as well as my usual sax and flute.

Wednesday, July 20th @ 6:45 pm
Featuring, TRANSMITTING: Jane LeCroy (poetry), Tom Abbs (bass/didjeridoo) and Kid Lucky (beatbox)
Plus Feature Showcase, RAJ
Open Form@ sign up 6:45pm
Dancers, Musicians, Poets and Artists of all walks welcome. Bring your own collab or work with US.
plus the Collaborative Open Form@

Curated by Raymond Daniel Medina

Nuyorican Poets Café
236 East Third Street (between Aves B & C)
$7 Cover

Saturday, July 16, 2005


What is PARSE, you may ask? PARSE is the newest creation from Friendlyfire Press, an ongoing proposition created by yours truly and Chad Griffin (whose excellent personal site can be found here). It's about art, it's about poetry, it's about collaboration, it's about $12.00 and will soon be available from our website (under construction),, and wherever poets are doing their thing. We sent it to press on Friday and I am about as nervous as a mother hen.

Chad had this idea of showcasing art with poetry which we put together with a few poet friends of mine as PARSE: POEM. We sort of consider that to be Volume .5 as we did an extremely limited run of 43 handsewn, laserprinted books in awesome anti-static bags. Even though we got great feedback, the labor involved putting it together was more than Chad or I saw as being useful in the long run, so for this edition we decided to enlist the help of printers. Hopefully we'll have our first printing back before nationals so we can start spreading the word nationwide.

The newest edition is called PARSE Volume 1: Alchemy, and should be available by the end of August to the general public, with a release party of some sort occurring in September. It features artwork and setting by Mr. Chad Griffin and poetry by (click to visit their website or see their bio):

Elana Bell
Oscar Bermeo
Jai Chakrabarti
Robert Bevan Dalton
Mara Jebsen
Sabrina Hayeem-Ladani
Raymond Daniel Medina
John Trause
Rich Villar

and me acting as editor and slipping a few of my own poems in on the sly.

Can't wait for you all to see it. I think it's different from anything anyone is doing right now - it's truly collaborative, with the poets all writing to a theme and the artwork being a response to the poems (and vice-versa), as well as the poets responding to each other. The fun part is over - now we've got to sell the damn thing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Story of my life

Do every day or two something for no other reason than you would rather not do it, so that when the hour of dire need draws nigh, it may find you not unnerved and untrained to stand the test. - William James

And actually, things are going pretty well. It really does get easier.

Buddha as Christian Saint

Christianity has a long and glorious history of appropriation of other cultures, Jewish deity, pagan holidays. Why not get Buddhism in the mix, too?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


I must have short-circuited the neurotic in me because I have been feeling pretty good lately. It really began with getting the call on Sunday that the synonymUS jam was cancelled. I had spent the afternoon cleaning and watching movies with Stephanie and suddenly, my day opened up. I realized in my bones that it was summertime, and I decided to get out. I drank a couple of gourds of yerba maté and, properly stimulated, I jumped on my bike and rode out to Willow Lake, near Corona Park. Now, normally when I ride, I push myself, raging to “get in shape” (for what?) or “beat my time” (what “time”?). Instead, this time, I just slowed down and enjoyed the day.

And the day was beautiful, right at my favorite time, blessed with the sinking light of the sun and a cool breeze. It reminded me of Sunday afternoons in Tucson, playing outside, riding my bike around the neighborhood before dinner. Sunday evening at the Williams house meant dad grilling steaks (or, later on, chicken breasts for my mom) and me swimming in the pool, imagining that there were monsters down in the drain at the bottom of the deep end. In the present, riding my bike through Briarwood, Queens, past the houses with sprinklers in the front yard and the “hissing of summer lawns”, I was suddenly overcome, not with nostalgia, but with a deep and humbling gratitude. The world was quiet, and safe, and actually quite simple. For a moment, I was complete.

I rode this wave of good feeling down to the lake (more a pond, really). Hundreds of families encircled the water, with their coolers and their grills and their Frisbees and their kites. Oblivious children wove in and out of pedestrian traffic on the paths, and boats floated out on the water. The smell of charcoal and meat grilling filled my nostrils; rock music and hip-hop and soca music twisted together between parties with competing sound systems to form complex poly-rhythms in the air (the only thing that would have made it more complete for me would have been the polka rhythms and ass-quake bass of norteno music). I loved them all. All these people and their families and their friends and their lovers and their children and their quarrels and their trash and their beer and their cigarettes and their pork or beef or chicken grilling. All of them suffused in this holy light of a sunset gently putting the day to bed – they were beautiful.

I rode home, took a walk with Steph around the neighborhood (still too early in the day for the fireflies to be out, but the gloss of loving memory puts them in anyway), went home, watched an episode of Deadwood. Lovely.

Got together with Ray last night to play music and made some interesting and occasionally pretty sounds, even though my guitar chops are no where near what I’d like. It was nice to play without expectations or even hope of a “product.” The body and mind and heart enjoy play for its own sake.

That’s all, I’m just blessed. Thanks.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Southern Discomfort

Yeah, Janis Joplin obviously had a masochistic streak. I drank one (and a half) fucking Southern Comfort Old Fashioned and felt like I'd been poisoned. I'm guessing it was some combination of what ever it is that is constantly brewing up in these cesspools I call sinuses and insulin shock from all the sugar in that vile, reprehensible concoction. Cramps, hot flashes, stupor. Steph came home from a party I was supposed to join her at and put cold towels on my forehead as I was burning up. Woke up this morning digusted and exhausted, eyes bloodshot and body aching.

My poor father drank these on the weekends. He must have had an extraordinary tolerance for discomfort and delerium.

All experiments end with information gathered. Sometimes the information is simply a resolve to never repeat the experiment. I mentioned this to Chad and he said, "Well, Newton poisoned himself with his alchemy experiments. Madame Curie, you know. You're in good company."

Friday, July 8, 2005

Rainy day post

If they didn’t have cameras in my office, I’d take off all my clothes and dance around naked, as the place is as ghost-empty as any NY office you could find on an average Friday at quarter-to-five in July. Alas, I am still here, watching the phones on the possibility that the other guy working after 5 on Friday in July in New York might call.

I don’t have a whole lot to say, except that I really needed to bump the self-pitying whiny post from the top of the page.

It’s been mentioned on other blogs and other bios, but perhaps you’ve heard of the newest sensation to hit the NY poetry scene: PARSE. We are in the final stages of putting it together, and damn if it don’t look purty. Anyway, there’s lots of stuff in my head right now, potential projects brewing and stewing, and we’re gonna have us a party in September to celebrate PARSE and the official release, so look out for it.

Currently I’m:
Paying close attention to my dreams
Feeling my feet when I walk
Checking my breathing, to see when I stop
Listening to hip-hop
Watching Deadwood Season 1, you limber-dicked cocksuckers
Trying to find Angostura bitters.

The story behind that is: when I was a child, my dad’s favorite drink was Southern Comfort Old Fashioned. Old Fashioned’s are made thus: take one sugar cube and a little bit of branch (bottled) water. Muddle it together in a highball glass with about 3 dashes of Angostura bitters. Add ice and enough SoCo to fill the glass along with one maraschino cherry. Dad would let me eat the cherry, and I loved the taste (of the cherry, not the drink). Fun facts: SoCo is actually bourbon and a peach liqueur. Yummy! Janis Joplin drank a lot of it. Anyway. So I’m having some difficulty finding Angostura bitters and it’s making me a little cranky. It’s not like I’m looking for Root Beer Schnapps or some crazy shit like that!

All else is well. I haven’t been writing much (poetry) lately, just getting stuff ready for the big release. For all the wonderful people who came out and made my birthday such an amazing night, and all the great folks who told me they loved me after reading my (whiny) birthday entry – I love you, too.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

I'm 34 today...

and melancholy. No not one of those typical late-early-middle-age "what does it all mean, what have I accomplished" moments. Fuck that. I gave that one over years ago. No, just sort of a gentle, "God, I wish I still did drugs" day where I feel like the world isn't worth the effort. It comes and goes with me. Mostly goes, of late, thank God. The only thing for it is to do something. Get the routine going just to get moving. I'm supposed to see a movie with Steph tonight, Batman or Land of the Dead (I'm leaning toward Batman, as post-zombie-apocalyptic nihilism, given my mood, seems like bringing coals to Newcastle, as nobody really says anymore). The plan was to go to the beach and hang out watching the sea. Turns out its going to be cloudy and rainy most of the day, "with potential for inland flooding." Lovely.

Did the form slam on Monday, and didn't win, as per usual. Not that I blame the judges. Abena was great, Samantha had some really terrific poems (though not necessarily to my tastes, but that's neither here nor there). My stuff tends to be a little less visceral, and sometimes I have trouble really grabbing the judges. All the people who mattered to me gave me kudos for the sestina, and really, that's all I cared about. Every 2 or 3 months I get a good poem that has both the craft and the inspiration. The rest of the time I just slog through, tightening the screws and polishing the brass, as it were. Occasionally, lightning strikes, and I guess that's about all I can ask for.

During the "Haiku Deathmatch", Abena did a bunch of very erotic haiku (haikus? haikai?) that really got the crowd going. Mine tended to be much more imagistic, but I thought about the possibility of doing an erotic poem. So little in my life is erotic per se and my relationship to sex is so sketchy anyway, that erotic poems seem a little out of reach for me. It would be like making a bulimic a food critic: "The meal was an orgy of flavors and texture, exquisitely prepared and lovingly presented. It tasted almost exactly like battery acid when I forced myself to regurgitate it approximately 15 minutes later in a frenzy of disgust and self-loathing." Yeah, that's sexy.

Anyway. I'm gonna go do yoga, that'll probably relax me and get me out of this funk. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Me and Mia

So there’s this song, right? Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, off the album “Shake the Sheets”. It’s called “Me and Mia”. After I got it, I listened to it over and over, dancing in place on the subway with the iPod blasting. At first, the lyrics seemed to me to be some sort of “don’t lose heart” encouragement song:

Fighting for the smallest goal to
gain a little self-control. I
know how hard you try.
I see it your eyes.

If you believe in something beautiful then
Get up and be it!

I was fighting some battles of my own at the time, and I really needed to hear something like this. It was a blessing to feel understood.

I started listening a little closer, though, and some things started to make me feel a little confused. The opening lyrics made sense, and reminded me of finally giving up drugs:

I was walking through a life one morning
The sun was out the air was warm but, oh
I was cold.
and though I must have looked a half-a-person
to tell the tale in my own version
it was only then that I felt whole.

but there were other things happening here. The song mentioned Mia, and also Anna. Who’s Anna? And what’s this about “fighting food to find transcendence”? What’s going on here? Following a hunch, I started looking up the lyrics online. Ted didn’t spell it Anna. He spelled it Ana. I then found out that Mia and Ana are short for bulimia and anorexia. The rest of the lyrics fell into place. Here they are:

As I was walking through a life one morning
the sun was out, the air was warm, but
Oh, I was cold
And though I must have looked half a person,
to tell the tale, in my own version,
It was only then that I felt whole

But do you believe in something beautiful?
Then get up and be it

Fighting for the smallest goal: to get a little self-contol
I know how hard you try. I see it in your eyes
But call your friends, 'cause we've forgotten what it's like to eat what's rotten
And what's eating you alive might help you to survive.
We went on as we were on a mission, latest in a Grand Tradition
And oh, what did we find?
It was Ego who was flying the banner, and me and Mia, Ann and Ana
Oh, we'd been unkind

But do you believe in something beautiful?
Then get up and be it

Fighting for the smallest goal: to get a little self-control
I see it in your eyes, I see it in your spine.
But call your friends,
'cause we've forgotten what it's like to eat what's rotten
And what's eating you alive, might help you to survive.

And even the nights, they could get better
And even the days ain't all that bad
And after a week of fighting, as more and more it seems the right thing

But do you believe in something beautiful?
Then get up and be it

Fighting for the smallest goal: to gain a little self-control
Won't anybody here just let you disappear?
Not doctors, nor your mom nor dad, but me and Mia, Ann and Ana
Know how hard you try. Don't you see it in my eyes?
Sick to death of my dependence, fighting food to find transcendence
Fighting to survive, more dead but more alive
Cigarettes and speed to live, and sleeping pills to feel forgiven
All that you contrive, and all that you're deprived
All the bourgeois social angels telling you you've got to change
Don't have any idea. They'll never see so clear.
But don't forget what it really means to hunger strike
when you don't really need to
Some are dying for a cause, but that don't make it yours.

And even the nights, they can get better.

So then I found out about a whole group of people who call themselves pro-ana or pro-mia. Go ahead, google it. They have websites and communities and livejournals and blogs and… and let me tell you, those websites are NSFW, or anywhere else for that matter, some of them. Pictures of anorexic women and razor thin models as “encouragement”, tips and tricks for keeping your friends and family in the dark, a whole ideology built up around the concept of eating-disorder-as-lifestyle-choice. Wow. I sort of became a little obsessed.

Now, I had been struggling to find the subject for a sestina I’d been hoping to write (sestinas have a repetitive, almost hypnotic quality well suited to obsessive contemplation and to the voice of the monomaniac). I had almost settled on writing a persona poem from the point of view of Iggy Pop (I may still, if my heart is in it), but this blew me away. Here was obsession, a voice, a whole set of images, all just waiting for me, based on the research I had done (and my understanding of addictive/obsessive behavior from the inside). Anyway, here’s what came out.

for Ana

I know my mother lies,
when she tells me I am beautiful.
The pain of hunger
is only ugliness melting from my bones;
in this body I will fall asleep
and awaken, a delicate dragonfly.

I will molt, from nymph into dragonfly
and shed the blubbery carcass that now lies
upon me like a heavy sleep.
I must peel this flesh to find a beautiful
white cage made from my bones.
It cradles my heart, a prisoner of hunger.

My parents try to infect me with their vacuous hunger
and I dart into hiding like a dragonfly.
They note with fear my growing bones
so I blunt my angularity with heavy coats and thin lies.
They cannot bear my becoming beautiful
because their hearts are flabby and thick with sleep.

Sometimes, I have trouble falling asleep
and I bustle about in the small hours to soothe my hunger.
I clean and scrub and make my world beautiful
until it shines like the iridescent wings of a dragonfly.
Afterwards, I stare at the ceiling above the bed where I lie
all night fingering the delicate points of my bones.

How I long for a world of bones,
clean and slender, far from the feverish sleep
of my parents and friends and the larded lies
they vomit and swallow and still they hunger.
They would pull the wings from a dragonfly,
fat-slick eyes hating everything beautiful,

and I am so close to being beautiful,
so close to exposing the strong purity of bone
like the shiny carapace of a dragonfly
the armor of grace that does not sleep.
I will soon be shut of their mindless hunger,
purging the lonely weakness of comforting lies.

I will charm a dragonfly to sew shut my mouth while I sleep
using a needle of bone, and I will embrace my lover, hunger.
This body will fall away like a cocoon. Leave it where it lies.


Let me know what you think.

Friday, June 3, 2005

Kids, Don't Blog Drunk

Seriously. I almost posted this weird little rant after reading Roger Bonair-Agard's blog entry from Jamaica. Somehow I got in my head that racial tension could actually be a good thing, that somehow that tension created some of the most fruitful and amazing hybrids (rock and roll, the current New York poetry scene, hip-hop). I also managed to tie it all together with references to Mars, the God of War, and the concept of sacrifice and blood (all Gods demand sacrifices, but if you give them the right sacrifice, all Gods come bearing gifts). I think, with a little bit of effort and a good bit of time to meditate, I could have had a pretty good entry, but drunk? Fuhgedaboudit. I sounded like a racist nutjob with a hard-on for Roman Mythology.

Maybe some other time.

I'll be in Chicago next week. My company thinks I'm responsible enough to send there to help open up a new office. Amazing. Anyway, they'll put me up in hotel, and that'll be fun. But what will I do when I'm not at work? Write, read, walk, drink, visit some friends and family, eat some food, and think about Home (specifically, my wife, my friends, my band, my cat - and somehow, my city of New York).

BTW the magazine proceeds apace. We should have the first draft out to the poets soon! You'll love it, I promise. Subscriptions are available. Just leave a comment, or email me.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Crazy Weekend (so far)

So, Friday, I finally manage to make it out to the Pink Pony reading series. Roger recommended that I check it out several months ago when I was first starting to talk to people about trying to get features, and it seemed like the kind of place I might do well at. Nice, earnest people, and a slightly less chaotic environment than 13 (ah, but chaos is sexy). I had to go up second, dropped the Nokia poem, which seems to be going over well lately, and managed to get everybody's attention, so, success! Talked to a few people, talked up synonymUS, enjoyed the feature (Marj, it was her birthday), and headed out in the Manhattan night.

On a whim, I decide to go to a reading at St. Mark's Church. Marty was featuring, and the evening was all about persona poems, a style which I have yet to try with any success. I had a lot of time to kill, and I ended up wandering all over the city, over to Union Square, over to St. Marks. While eating dinner I read a poem by Rilke (my current fav, in translation by Robert Bly) which I've been telling my friends about. Like to hear it? Here it goes:

Archaic Torso of Apollo

We have no idea what his fantastic head
was like, where the eyeballs were slowly swelling. But
his body now is glowing like a gas lamp,
whose inner eyes, only turned down a little,

hold their flame, shine. If there weren't light, the curve
of the breast wouldn't blind you, and in the swerve
of the thighs a smile wouldn't keep on going
toward the place where the seeds are.

If there weren't light, this stone would look cut off
where it drops clearly from the shoulders,
its skin wouldn't gleam like the fur of a wild animal,

and the body wouldn't send out light from every edge
as a star does... for there is no place at all
that isn't looking at you. You must change your life.


I had to stop eating, put the book down, and take a second. The last line nearly undid me. Not with the usual sentimental, "Oh, yes, I do have to change my life [bows head and weeps in gratitude and shame]." No it was more like, "Yes, exactly, that's why I've been working so hard for the past few years, why I've been trying to dig myself out of the hole I thought I was in." The world exists, and it's beauty and power demand a response, a decision. You must decide your relationship to this amazing array of sensation and being. You must decide if you are part of it, and if so, how. You must take your place in the world. You must change your life.

Marty's reading ended up being much more interesting than I could have hoped. There was a band backing up the poets - classical guitar, 7 string bass (doubling on flute), clarinet, percussion (rattles, bongos, hi-hat, ride, large cylindrical skin drum, shakers and ephemera), violin (with more electronic toys on it than Ngoma) and trombone. They improvised (a la synonymUS) with the poets - I got the feeling they were sort of new to the whole thing so in some ways they were more interested in listening to each other than the poets. There were a couple of moments of real transcendence, and no one would think that the musicians were anything less than stellar, chops-wise. It made me want to really explore using more texture and less groove with synonymUS. Even the pieces where we don't use the drum machine have a tendency to be of the "slow-jam/pretty walk on the beach" variety. We definitely need to push our boundaries, musically. We've got a couple of things we do well - the noise piece (heavy or sparse groove on 505, distorted and/or delayed guitar, saxophone squonk, maybe violin madness), the pretty piece (clean guitar, light or no groove, flute), the hip-hop-ish thing (bass groove, thump on the 505, sax). Those are our standard operating procedures for the open mic, and I think we ought to start turning off the drum machine and begin demanding more of ourselves. These cats really showed me what's possible in other directions using texture, sparseness and mixing with groove. Also, the addition of other instruments might give us a chance to really make something happen... maybe a cello or somehow bringing that trombone back (anybody know a trumpeter? Or a really good clarinetist?).

Anyway, great night. Marty did her Laci Peterson piece and What Red Learned... both of which were beautiful.

Saturday, relax around the house, try to get tix to go to Albuquerque for nats, finally just decided to wait hoping for a last minute deal. We did book the hotel, however, so there's that. Saw the last night of the show Steph is stage managing, Dying Goldfish and went to the cast party afterwards. Decided to drink, specifically tequila. I am nothing if not disciplined when it comes to substance use. I abide by a few easy to remember rules: stick with one type of alcohol all night, and preferably the same brand. If beer, drink beer, if wine, drink wine - dance only with the girl who brought ya'. Last night, as I mentioned, was tequila, and even more specifically Patron, God love it. I drank several glasses (not shots. You don't shoot Patron, philistines, for the same reason you don't play lawn darts at the Garden of Versailles - that's not what it was made for) of tequila and enjoyed myself immensely. Lovely.

Anyway, that was my weekend, and it's only Sunday. Still have all of today and tomorrow to enjoy. Hope yours goes well, too.