Posts filed under ‘Poetry’

Celebrating “Semi-Charmed Life”

In the summer of 1997, my girlfriends and I camped out in a backyard tent and listened to “Semi-Charmed Life” on repeat for several hours. I’m the kind of person who tires after hearing a threshold amount of even the best music (How many times can a person really stand to listen to The Joshua Tree or Thriller?), but this Third-Eye Blind hit has never ceased to astound me.

As thirteen-year-olds, we only somewhat understood the sexually and chemically charged lyrics. Also, the breezy, fast-faced tempo made it difficult to decipher what lead singer Stephan Jenkins was even singing. It didn’t help that we couldn’t just “Google” a line from the song and retrieve the lyrics. I recall mistaking “And I speak to you like the chorus to the verse” with “And it speaks to you like the birds in the forest.”

Now, of course, I realize that “Semi-Charmed Life” is the seminal anthem of sex, drugs, and rock & roll. It was also my brother’s theme song. We played it at his memorial service, and it was awesome to hear “Doin’ crystal meth will lift you up until you break” and “How do I get back there to the place where I fell asleep inside you?” blast in a room full of relatives, young people, old people, Christians, atheists, and floral arrangements.

I went to Newport Beach this past weekend and had a great time slowly running my bare feet through the sand. I thought, “I believe in the sand beneath my toes / The beach gives a feeling / An earthy feeling / I believe in the faith that grows.” I thought about how hard it really seems, sometimes, to get through this bittersweet, ironic, defeating, gratifying, semi-charmed life. I thought about how I can’t not believe that there’s life after death. I simply cannot accept a reality in which I will never see Alex again.

I’m not listening when you say goodbye…

April 1, 2010 at 6:14 am 1 comment

Shades of Grey

He stared into his cup, noting that the black coffee was not black, but deep brown. Not many things of the world were really black, not even the night, not even mines. And the light was not white, either, even the palest light held within itself some hint of its origins, in fire.
– James Baldwin, Another Country

brown, not black,
is the antithesis
of white.

December 31, 2009 at 3:38 am 1 comment


el, los, don, señor, padre

not qua doctor
or professor

not in any
of those capacities
will i consult
you (Uds.)

Unless i have to

Why do i so often have to?

December 13, 2009 at 11:44 am 6 comments

Lighters Up

Lighters up
like at a Queen concert
if Freddie Mercury were still alive
if you were still alive
singing Bohemian Rhapsody

Mama, just killed a man
a lot like Miss Jones,
I think I just shot her son

I think it just snowed in East Texas
Who knew
memories of you would get me
singing Randy Travis
higher than the pine trees
that grow tall upon the hill

The one in the summer
where we used to smoke pot
I thought, what’s wrong
with this neighborhood?
urban life decay

I look for you everywhere:
in crossword puzzles,
clouds, thin air, Rumble Fish,
katamari damacy, Disneyland, flour bags,
snow, the Aurora Borealis, grocery stores,
dreams, nightmares, everywhere
Wouldn’t you?

Lighter’s up
its flame
cathedral champaign
and my bleeding heart
A most beautiful ruby red.

December 9, 2009 at 6:50 am Leave a comment

The Real Melting Pot

All so fluid
Ship sliding over

Welcome to the identity diaspora.

September 15, 2009 at 6:08 am 2 comments

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Your misogynistic poetry
what’s so wrong
that it’s about me
or that it’s not


July 20, 2009 at 3:51 pm Leave a comment


(written in 2005)

Whether that was a question or a statement
Affects whether I answer or respond
So Im adding structure to your ambiguity
Since you have broken the rules of punctuation
For the last time
I wanted to experience all of your etceteras
And I really liked how the apostrophes always followed our name
Or even better
How we were one pronoun or possessive adjective
I got a kick out of your interjections in bed
And your clever appositives in reference to me
But there is always a but
See the only conjunction I can tolerate is and
And you think or can replace and
And so Im ending with a period this time
Not an ellipsis.

July 14, 2009 at 2:42 am Leave a comment

I Want Your Jello to Jiggle

I want your cherry

Jello to jiggle like a

Chicago heat wave

May 20, 2009 at 4:03 pm Leave a comment

Collecting Shells

(written May 2002)

Collecting shells
Some people spend most of their trip to the beach
Doing it
Others, occasionally
The best thing
To do
Is stand right where
The ocean’s brim meets the shore
Each wave
Brings in the new
And replaces the old
Many options
Limited time
Few worth putting in the bucket
One, in particular
Might catch the eye
But seen hitting
The bottom of the pail
Already has lost
Its luster
The pretty ones are always the broken ones
The plain white,
Shape, size, color, texture
Smell, taste?
All taken into account
The bar rises
As the collection increases
There it is!
Floating, lingering
In the foam
Fluttering, fumbling, tumbling,
Whether or not the imagination’s figment
The Moon speeds up the tide
And on One
Slides past
With the next wave
Out of reach
Out of dive
Out of mind
Out of sight
So good
That it is missed
Without being experienced

Let’s ignore the
And plastic shovels,
White tummies,
SPF 30
Sometimes the best ones get away.

April 20, 2009 at 10:39 pm Leave a comment

Alex Vicarious

alextree3The hole through my lip

Throbs faintly to remind me

Of your countenance.

March 23, 2009 at 11:27 pm 5 comments

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