in absentia

Every english teacher is a failed actor,
an english teacher once told me-

he was a failed poet,
if there is such a thing-
and recalled often nostalgically
how he held the microphone for allen ginsberg
in central park,
one summer...

he used to shuffle about the room
holding the norton anthology
like it was a scene from hamlet
overpronouncing the syllables
and making the latino girls groan
when he mispronounced lorca.

he said that poetry
was the conversation between
heart and mind
a transmission of emotion
that travelled between a world that understood
and one that never could

only the emo kids got this,
and nodded as though they understood
gripping the wrists they had tried to free
from society's manacles.

in the mornings, during homeroom,
he used to read his sonnet of the day,
except the day before christmas,
when he read My Last Duchess
and asked the class to consider the materialism
of the coming holiday season.

once a year, in the spring
he held the school's annual poetry contest
suggesting poems for those who didn't know
and listening expectingly to those who did
when they got up to read in front of the class.

he had a weak spot for cummings, blake, and berryman,
but nothing placated him like ginsberg
so it was not often surprising when a go-getter girl
read 'selections from Howl' in a manner they had practiced
with him on monday afternoons,
and thursdays
during the free period.

one november,
it came out-

he had been sleeping with some of the girls,
who had come by for help with their verses
and found him.

he was investigated, arrested and indicted
the girls were supeonead to testify against
him, and cried
as they recalled how much they loved him
and didn't blame him, and how beautiful he made the words
for those who hadn't thought of them.

he was found guilty.

one weekend, his wife came to clean the room
taking down the photograph of whitman on the wall,
the somber rendering of poe in charcoal,
the picture of ginsberg addressing the crowd at prague
having just been crowned king of the may
back to the camera, arms raised
like a literary messiah.

she took down the large definitions of poetic terms
from the sides of the chalkboards,
and brought the clumps of paper and posterboard
to the dumpster in the back,
and discarded them.

when we got back,
with a new teacher,
with rumors of the trial floating like hungry coyotes
down lockered halls,
the only thing that remained in the room
was the one thing she couldn't reach:
is the conversation between
heart and mind
a transmission of emotion
that travels between a world that understands
and one that never can'

it never came down.

even after the teacher was killed in prison,
in a fight,
and the school was condemned for asbestos
in 1995.
even then,
when the halls were gutted
the banners taken down,
the teachers and students moved
to a school across the street.

even then,
the words remained,
the words of the failed poet
the english teacher,
who said that all english teachers were failed actors

except him.


We are all
looking for love
or reasonable fascism.


What happened to your face

I was on the phone with an ex-girlfriend when a backlit man opened my door, and said my name slowly.

"Zachary," he sighed, "Zachary..."

I looked up from my bed, and tried to see who it was.

"Hello?" I asked. "Hello? Who is that?"

"Zachary there is no time." The man responded and stepped into light, "You are in great danger."

The man was horribly disfigured. His face was grotesque. It seemed that his nose had been terribly broken in some unspeakable accident. He was carrying a large metal book, which appeared to be quite heavy because he repeatedly raised and lowered the book, struggling to reset his grip.

"Jen," I said to my ex. "Jen, I think I'm gonna have to call you back..."

I hung up.

"Who the hell are you?" I asked the stranger, "And what do you want?"

He stepped further towards.

"Zachary, do you not recognize me?" He asked. "I am you!"

I recoiled in fear. Me? Surely not. It was not possible.

"I am you Zack, I have travelled back in time to give you warning. So horrible calamity is about to happen to you, if you do not avoid it."

"Me?" I asked. "You're me?"

He nodded.

"What happened to your- to my, face?" I asked.

"There's no time for that Zachary. You are in great danger. This evening, a man will approach you claiming-"

"No seriously man, that can wait." I interjected. "What the fuck happened to your face? That's what I concerned about."


"DUDE, What the FUCK happened?"

"Zachary, there is no time! Later this very evening, a man will approach you claiming that he-"

"What - Happened - To - My - Face?"

"I will tell you later..."

"Damn it man, tell me now!"





The large book came crashing down on my face. It was heavy. It was crushing. I could feel my nose compress into my face. There was no time to react.

"There!" the stranger explained, "Now you know!"


My Daemon


The poetic moment has passed
it dwindled in the shop keeps
was laid off, left, downsized
shunted, made the small, out-of the way,
a corner in the mega-bookstore
a series of collections,
left in second hand book stores
where aged hippies smoked on the porch
and gestured inside that poetry was
'in the back' by the bathroom
while even now, they remembered
Auden on the green and could recall
if asked, what it had felt like before
poetry crested and fell away- unrequited.


You Don't Comment on my Poems Anymore or the Lass that Loved a Sleeping Sailor

The poem I wrote when I was listening
to the Beatles didn't work out
the way I hoped it would.
Matt played frisbee instead
he gave in to the elliptical (perfect)
over the keys
and the pressure
the tension of writing
something he wanted to be good
or, at least, true.

Middles are the worst parts
the frisbee reminded
resurrections are only possible when
the dead can rise
but they have to die
(and dying's never fun)

I have scissors on the desk
and maybe I will cut this part if I don't like it
well, enough.

Middles, ends, they almost move the same way
progressing seemingly
to this ephemeral conclusion
an artificial construct
things don't ever just end
expect people.

And then again-
their ends are called,
not ends at all.



it was dawn or something like it
black box, light at the end, streaming
consciounsness, moving images, more than
shadows, almost corporeal,
if you could look through, into the place it was real

faces absent, absorbed,
a boy hooking up with a girl
in the upper left
in the place where society didn't really mind
and smiled because society too had lost something
of itself in the dark hall
the shadox-box projected corridor,
the dreamscape society had loved and lived to
love when society was young and naive and still

the man had been hacker once,
he was on parole and living a tough life
when the beautiful black woman
had come and tempted him back
for oral sex, cash, techno soundtracks
and the promise of eternal glory:
he hacked the gibson in the thirty seconds
with a gun to his temple, and still
made the benediction, and cracked NASA with a
smile on his face.

Houdini, some sort of victorian wet dream,
for the age of the actual and still yet the
decieved. if he fell in the river, bundled
and chained, he really did fall in the river.
and sink and struggle and emerge from the waters
no actor, a legend, amortal

but did houdini really fall into the river?

i've seen the photographs, and the posters,
i've seen houdini smile out from amusement park
rides named in his honor with cheesy senace subplots
he'd never had approved,
but still did he fall in the river?

i was somewhere across middle earth,
when I remembered what the dwarves had awoke there
and stood back in horror to observe
the master of the secret fire
do combat with that ancient evil.

i was the movies.


i don't know what you think of me but want to know because i need to know what I think of myself

i don't know what you think of me
i know that I'm the one standing on the desk
raising cheap rum to the ceiling
pretending i'm something. I've always liked the word presume because I presume, and hope that other people presume, and expect that if I pretend others will presume and believe in something I don't believe in, which is myself. I imagine that when new borns see me with half closed eyes all they see is future, and I hope that when I laugh with people or experience something with them, or have an adventure with friends, that I can make it worth it because it will be amplified.
you know me, I'm the one people know straight through and know nothing about. I give them one side, and a lot of it,
I have never been myself,
I have torn the veil,
I have never reached out and cut it,
because I couldn't reach it,
and didn't have a knife,
and was scared to cut it when I could,
becuase in short I was afraid.

i'm the kid who sang in the shower, because I just needed to be heard.
i'm the kid who was never good at anything, especially all the things I wanted to be good at.
i'm the kid who needs an audience,
i'm the kid who is more wealthy when someone thanks me
or says, when I do not expect it, 'that's amazing you know, i think that's amazing'

i've never done anything amazing in my life.

i'm the kid who doesn't what to think about mirrors
i'm the kid who's hopped up on Lacan and dropping mirror stage allusions,
the kid who practices faces and impression against myself (like an athlete I never was)
i'm the kid who didn't look in the mirror for three years, because I didn't think I liked the kid i was.

i'm the kid whose attractive in that 'this is the variable that doesn't fit' sort of way, or at least, i hope i am.

i'm the kid who wants to be cool,
all i ever wanted to be told, 'was your the best'
all i ever wanted people to be proud of was that 'i knew him'
or 'he was a crazy kid, but amazing'

i don't know who i am,
i identify with shadows and peter pan
i imagine that poetry is a woman who is starving herself down the hall from me,
and i need to find her, make her eat,
convince her of what i know,
tell her she's beautiful and let her grow,
i think poetry doesn't know how beautiful she is,
and has forgotten that prose is the second, uglier one that walked into the party,
not the ivory princess that launched a thousand ships in a verse,
and made prose beg forever for the lip gloss that uttered the words

i think the poetry lost her mind or her memory
i can't give her a new mentality,
but i can remind,

which is why all I utter is trite, cliched poetry,
when I'm out of my mind, or crazy, or drunk on the desk,
pointing to the sky, wishing she can see me and will presume,
pretending that I am what she presumes,
and not the liar-theif that wants you tell him something
he is so he can know what he should tell you
he believes.

i never expected for that.


Ridiculous Techno - Erotic Videos Part II

And this one's just hilarious


Dream (I felt the colors repugnant
and fell backwards through the well
and was cascaded
like wine from a decanter
into a glass I could not see

it was a green & dream
but not like christmas, no, indeed
the world was suddenly a field
I played soccer on once
in Ipswich, by a small
1- lane highway and a 7-11

but the highway was not there
(and neither was the store
I recall)
and everywhere around the field
was corn, where we lost the ball.
A friend kicked it far, high,
soaring over the goal, and I,
the goalkeeper, went to get it.
between the stalks I saw
a light,
but could not for anything
find the ball.
The corn bent high and low in the wind
and I was in Ohio)

(Once in a dream I cannot place,
I was on a road in Ohio
a road I'm sure I could find
if needed on an older map.
I was bicycle, on it, that is suddenly
a yellow bike with thin black lettering
reading 'wasp' in a momentary

I rode north, a crossroads unfolded
there was a green sign:
cleveland 20 pennslyvania 5
you are here and a map
that had blurred in the rain.

I took a dirt road, that appeared
between the choices i was afforded
and walked northeast, the wasp
was gone.

It was a long and twisting road,
beech trees aged and yawning wide
threw up arms that sagged with concern
for some event long since past.

Ahead, an old house, blue, though the
paint was chipping from grey wood
and left the house naked with pock marks
like a sick grandfather,
smiling through the pain.

i stopped, there were two men,
digging up, two graves, four feet into
the mild earth they looked up and glared
I had a bike again,
between my legs with heavy
feet that would not move,
behind the men were scampering out
brandishing cold metal and screaming
the legs sprung suddenly to life
I cast off and rode back like
the wind through the screaming beeches
with boughs a fury.

the scene became a street in a
town I used to live in
the street unmarked but I knew it
was named River ave.and catching
my breath, graveyard behind,
I saw a girl I had been in
love with in middle school once
and she smiled and said)


friends are the only ones who let you down and that's why they're friends

America east side providence risd inside the white room.
ideology uncertain tall blonde gorgeous inside the white room.
40 (ppl) abbreviated jumping singing dancing they know the words inside the white room.
she can't feel her hands he can't feel his face both feel each other inside the white room.
dirty bathroom drinks $1 free if you know tony or say you do inside the white room.
sunglasses black hair brown shoes ironic t-shirt silkscreen
from a paper bag drinking your eyes
they won't let go, they just feel her whole body
inside the white room.
on psycadelic dementia man in the corner only recognizes red
on euphoric hope girl in the bathroom smears the lipstick red
on incidental curiousity new boy gapes wide eyed and red
on intentional feeling they won't let go nowhere to go let's just go
inside the white room.
she the one he wanted was
he the one she didn't imagine or know was
they america east side didn't expect was something out of oblvion
inside the white room.
he another, tall blonde standing with drinks mojito he knew tony
drinks free if you knew he was the one that made the world round turn & turn
the blonde isn't he obvious was god defiant
the fallen deity angel-sheared and hipstered
a neuter providence americana experiment gone awry and washed
down the pipe lines of society satan
inside the white room.
he the other the lover knew which way was out but couldn't convince his mind
to make the steps as he clutched her oh how he wanted her
if he could only have her would she remember him
did she know him goddamn and goddamn who cares
he struggled to the door and pulled her here he said here
and the went out from the dissonance and the punishment
inside the white room.
it was whizbang in the corridor a sort of pollack in dynamic 3d
spitting white boys trying rap to try to impress the angry white girls
who didn't know why they weren't back
inside the white room.
it was a composition in green white &red
that's what he told her that's what she said
when the got back to a dorm room he said
he knew the owner its my friend he said
she didn't know what the fuck that's what she said
it was inside outside the end is too cliched who wants to hear about the obvious
the expected conclusion nay or may have transpired why do you care
the he and the she if they turned out a we then why would you care
what happened to me, back before we, back he + she,
back blonde and tall in the corner dreaming on pychosis
and putrid poets spitting rhymes without girls respect
back satan and static one thousand wishes and revisions
and wishes for revisions all sifted and unsaid in time
the moments recollected were something else in
there the recollected unrevised the edition left unprinted
the devil knew tony gave drinks for free if you knew him
providence risd side east america
inside the white room.



i like running in my robe,
seeing my shadow showing the robe
thrown out behind me in the wind.
don't say it, but you're exactly right,
i look like a wizard running across the quad.

academics used to dress like this-
they still do, in some places of the world
where knowledge is coat and tie affair
not something casually lectured to kids
in uggs and sweatpants, checking their email
on macintosh notebooks.

[i get the feeling that people are feeling sad
in keeney, a friend came by on his way to a long walk
it was 1:41 in the morning, a long walk meant
an hour plus- with headphones, listening to something
indiscrinable, there's something in the water I
promise you.]

i am foolish as hell
i want to major in love.

the way a dove shook down on me
her feathers, reminded me she was
an angel when the phone rang and she
had to go, tip-toed around the fact
that she was not in her room, and left
me sad and smiling simultaneously.

there's a suggestive illustration
on a dance album my brother gave me
and my mind dreams of x-wing fighters
attacking a death star that is made of
my professor's emails.

a sailor's life is drowsy
and insatiable when the weathers
down and the waters cold, frozen,

i had a dream that we were
film noir, trusted private eyes
that talked like the maltese falcon
real Humphrey Bogart
in a room that was nothing like our
room except that it had our flag,
with the triple x's
and a Botticelli- framed in gold,
but you couldn't tell because it was
a black and white dream.

a few boys from the hall
messed up the bathroom real good.
it was a twisted cavern listern

i asked the boys what they made of it
and they laughed like they hadn't done
and said stuff like 'if i did this,'
'if I had done this,' or 'I would'
and other hypotheticals,
I told them to defend it as art
and they agreed.
they laughed and confessed that they
would call it an art thing, 'if they got
caught' 'if they had done it'

a stillness hangs in the air that is
uncanny. the heats on, and on high,
we dream of arabic women from persian
harems that tempt good christian men
from their foolish religion.

i felt the floor for a couple of hours,
and told my joy that the word was tactile
'tactile, joy, it's all so tactile'
'foolish,' I later explained, 'it was all so foolish'

i willed myself to boston.
i tapped into the core that will run
even when the interface will not
atm, pin number password, how to ride
an electric chain, train,
cognizant just enough to know that i
needed to get to the University
listening jsut enough to hear a man
tell another man that he needed the b line
and I followed that advice.

love, is the spirit, that moves the great
waves, it is the storm off the coast that
we're all waiting for.

the surfers, and the sailors, and the mothers,
and the runners, and the teachers, and the firemen.
because life's just more interesting when there's a storm on.
always, it gives you a chance to remember who you are,
what's inside.

nice days are a distraction, a flirt,
a promise, but no assertion.
the storm reminds you who you are,
what you have inside to entertain yourself.

the robe's out rippling behind me,
i like running in it,
i feel like a wizard,
i feel like an ancient scholar,
an academic,
i feel like me, and smile
to remember myself.


Valentine’s day snuck up on me like some homeless guy at a train station. I turned around when I registered the stench and heard the shuffle of social obligation.

“Spare Change?” He asked cruelly, unconsciously demanding.

I squeezed by him without contact, painfully avoiding the conversation hearts, Disney valentines and required bouquets of flowers. The paragon of prepackaged amorous obligation excused me from its requirement as conscientious objector.

I spent the day like a horse with blinders, carefully filtering the images of the day to a level I could deal with. Some girl came up to me with pink hearts painted on her eyes and asked if I’d be her Valentine. I flipped her off, but not before reacting with a look of awkward isolation.

The day passed painfully slow. I wasted three class periods while the teacher went around the room with candy and questions.

“And who is your valentine, Jack?” my teacher asked sweetly, a siren of temptation with a bowl of m&ms.

I flipped her off, but not before shouting, “fuck your contrived corporate capitalism” at the top of my lungs.

I spent the rest of the day in the Dean of Discipline’s office discussing my comments to Ms. Shreigger. I apologized for the outburst, and for my disillusionment. I expressed my condolences that that Dean was forced to be a middleman in the American capitalistic system. A yes man, I may have said, pausing only to take a watermelon Jolly Rancher from his famous bowl of confectionary.

The Assistant Headmaster had me sent to the School Psychiatrist. The shrink identified with me quietly, confiding that he really didn’t “dig” the whole Valentine’s Day thing either. I asked where he went to college. He said Dickinson. We talked about Pennsylvania and water-skiing before he filled in a piece of paper “recommending” that I be able to return to class. I shook his hand, he winked at me, I got weirded out and left in a hurry.

I skipped advisory, Church assembly and my ‘afternoon obligation’. The athletic director put a note in my box explaining that if I missed one more Squash practice, I would be removed from the team and disciplined.

Dinner was Macaroni & Cheese with Meatloaf. I asked the student server where they came up with the combinations. He said he didn’t know, that I should eat what I was given and shut the fuck up. I asked him if they had any cupcakes without hearts on them. He said they didn’t.

“Besides,” the student server continued, “A heart’s not gonna kill you.”

I told him to shove the cupcakes up his ass and flipped him off. The Dean of Discipline saw me do it, and demanded that I spend the rest of dinner assisting the student server.

I got back to my room, had study hall and sketched Anime characters that I remembered from my youth. A friend stopped by and asked if there was anything I needed.

“Got any porn?” I asked gently.

“Sure, but why do ya need it?” He responded.

“It’s Valentine’s day.” I explained softly. “And I’d really like to make it special.”


in haiku or something like it, some thoughts I had before I went to sleep

part of waking up early
is seeing what the world looks like
with sex in her hair

part of sleeping late
is pretending that the world only
includes the two of you

part of taking a nap
is remembering that the girl is
probably running somewhere

part of staying up late
is knowing that the term 'midnight
oil' is total bullshit

part of waking up to an alarm
is smiling when you think about the times
you didn't have to.


It's a metaphor (a haiku)

I pulled the arrow
out of the dripping wound
but the damage had been done.


i was thinking about your pillow
when i looked at the snow
and thought 'the problem with the pillow
is that the pillow is mostly slept on,
but rarely slept with'
what a poor pillow,
dealing with the sweat and grit,
the blood and the tears-
and it is not any pillow
(for pillows are not interchangable)
that pillow has a history,
that pillow has been written on a hundred times
that pillow has been washed
but you can't take experience out of a pillow
pillows remember the tears,
pillows remember when the two heads
were better than one-
the pillow remembers being stripped
the pillow remembers sleeping around
(just for the first semester, it was a naieve time)
the pillow remembers the beds
the beds that were nice,
and those that were hard, callous,
the pillow remembers the music in the morning
the sweeping of waves along the ocean
(both the real, and the unreal)
(both the ones that were dreamed about,
and the waves that crashed incessantly
in the still room three stories up, a mile
from the beach, with no noise besides the boy
beside, sleeping and dreaming love
in uncertain proportions)

that pillow is just a pillow,
but what if it was a metaphor?
we, we who float six inches above
the ground dreaming, and walk a foot below
the ground when our thoughts are sad,
we are the poets, and princesses,
and runners that attribute meaning to things
we find close to one another.
and in the electric midnight air (or 1 am air,
or 2 am air,
I really don't know when it was,
but I was beside you (the boy you will
remember) and didn't care)
then, in that air,
I said the word was charged-
the name was charged-
it was filled with meaning
the pillow is more than a pillow
it is a metaphor,
a stand in for someone I believe in
a person who got slept on
but not with,
and I put my hand under the pillow
that pillow, not any pillow,
the one with the story,
and the mystery, and the narrative
I cannot read,
and I whisper into the pillow
and cry into it,
'you are beutiful,
you are dawn,
you are the first snowflake,
the electricity in a neon sign,
you are happiness,
when my head is on you,'

and i will sleep with forever,
but never on,
I believe.


three sonnets in the soduku style

In terms of apples, your last story was an orchard
I wandered through the trees
Picking the most delectable fruit.
I carried a ladder on my shoulder
and used it to climb the trees that were high.
I lay in the boughs,
up where the apples touched the sky.
In terms of clouds, your first story was a hurricane,
and the second, a nimbus- tightly wound,
but as for the last, well, the last was an orchard,
either in terms of apples,
or of clouds.

The following woman is unscripted,
she trespassed on the shoot
and found her way into
a scene,
there- you can see her.
She's the one in the back wearing
the brown baret, the pageboy cap,
as though she had a part in the movie.
If you're not paying attention,
you don't even notice her,
she fits in, like, ,
but the studio would not have it,
'that woman was unscripted' they said,
'do the scene right'

I realized suddenly,
that all my poems would have sounded
better, if Ogden Nash or W.H. Auden
filled the by-line
and included them in a collection
or on a recording
distinguished by their
aged voices.
My, this poem itself,
would seem an insight-
and of interest, if
only, Auden or Ogden
could have found the time
to read it.

dissonance in the stop & shop

I have always admired the seafood
section of the stop & shop,
the lobsters sit complacently,
except for the single naysayer
who climbs incessantly and no doubt
whispers 'the end is near'
to the rubber-banded brethern.

A tank away, some crabs
have already met their maker.
Their detached claws lanquish
on processed ice for the erudite
shellfish afficionado.

Behind them, a pile of FRESH!
Clams lay, like a strange Dali painting
explained with the sign FRESH!
LIVE CLAMS, wild caught
as though the shellfisherman tracked these
clams and flushed them out of the tidal
flats using only his bare hands and an old
trusty clam rake-

(my, what a champion a man like that must be!)

a woman behind me, noticing my uneasy
and engaged pause, breaks into my moment
and decries the seafood.

“This isn't the place to buy seafood honey”
she tells me,
“If you want them fresh, go to Anthony's.”

I ask her if they have wild caught clams there
she looks unsure, but answers yes.

I thank her for the advice,
and press my hand close against the
glass of the lobster tank to engage
the disengaged, shackled


Techno is the porn of the music world

The following is a gratuitious collection of near pornographic techno music videos. They are posted in the name of cultural studies, for, techno videos strangely seem to feature permutations of the same pornographic content despite being made years apart and by different artists.

What is it about Techno that suggests SEX in capital letters?

Benny Benassi - Satisfaction

Eric Prydz - Call on Me

Vinylshakerz - One Night in Bangkok


Facebook Relationships & the Apocalypse: Dating in Ones and Zeroes

My libido is at an all-time high on account of access to Cherry Coke. You’re wondering how this fits in. I’m sitting in front of a computer about to change my relationship status on Facebook, and I’m scared out of my mind.

Once upon time, before Facebook.com or the need to propagate a digital identity, people declared relationships only so far as it was necessary. Homies might ask a friend if he was dating the girl he was sleeping with. Girls might ask what the deal was with the boy they’d seen stalking their sister. Parents, invariably, would ask “do you have a boyfriend?” in a tone that was at once incriminating and inviting. (“Yes mom, I do, he’s 23, owns a Ducati motorcycle, a apartment by the Brooklyn Bridge, and drives up here twice a month to have sex with me.”) In short, these were simpler times. At best, you were committed to someone with the verbal admission of ‘being in a relationship’ and at worst, other people were aware of this.

Of course, it didn’t take long for the iPod generation to reinvent dating statuses. Given their comfort on the computer and their willingness to engage in orgies of online, instant messaging, it seemed inevitable that kids would start defining their relationship statuses via the web. With personal podcasts, relationship blogs, and match-making websites available for global consumption, dating had become very much a part of the digital landscape. Websites like MySpace initiated a wave of people defining themselves in terms that anyone on the internet was capable of discovering. It wasn’t that MySpace was the first forum to do this, it’s just that that’s where it started to get interesting.

A couple of months ago, Facebook.com made a number of changes that fundamentally altered the way the service worked. Before, college kids had rocked out on photo posts of drinking everything imaginable and by messaging one another between digital “walls” where only a person’s friends could see what was written. This was the swinging 60’s of Facebook.com. People posted photos of raw debauchery and thought little of it. Only once Pornography moguls, potential employers, and Hilary Clinton got a Facebook did things become a problematic. Suddenly, Facebook was open to everyone. Teamed with a dreadful creation called the newsfeed, which digitally shared a user’s actions and profile changes with friends, Facebook was suddenly a world of harsh exposure. The naked people drinking and dancing in the digital bohemia had been rudely cataloged and reported. Gone was the golden age of unaccountable, unconcerned documentarians. In its stead, the age of the Facebook feed-er had begun.

But back to me. Sitting in front of my computer, things are about to get dicey. For a while now, my Facebook relationship status has been an empty field, failing to appear under my posted personal information. In this day and age, with Facebook stalking at the level of modern art, every detail on my pixilated profile is up for interpretation. Nuance and experience have suggested that the relationship status is the absolute pivot point for the Facebook page. After a person (or a group of people) has methodically rated your looks based on tagged photographs, the relationship status is what will separate the men from the boys.

If you are single, and wish to share this under your provided information, you have many options. The one that will simply, all-out, never do, is the most obvious. You can never declare yourself as simply “SINGLE.” This looks desperate. Instead, declare yourself to be in an open relationship with Donna Summers or something else funny. At best, leave it blank. Mystery is, and will always be, the best way to attract other crazy people that are available for dating/hook-up/kinky engagement purposes.

But again, let’s talk about me. For me, declaring myself to be in a relationship (not a joke one with Pikachu, Yoda, or Foghorn Leghorn, but a real one) means an absolute end to my sexual autonomy in the world. The moment that I change the status on Facebook, every one of my friends will be notified of the change via the ubiquitous newsfeed. What’s more, anytime some cute girl down the hall decides she’s up for a hook-up and thinks I might be game, she may be confronted by my digitally verified commitment. Ignorance of adultery becomes noticeably more difficult.

So what are the perks? Well, most notably, the same problems I’m dealing with will also plague the person who I getting into a relationship with. Suddenly, her friends know that she is committed and are strangely willing to look out for me, even if I am not present or they do not know me. Also, other moral-free men like myself may be put off making a move on my new girlfriend. But mainly, the perks of declaring a relationship on Facebook is the brief flurry of excitement, notoriety, and celebrity that accompanies the announcement. Your guy friends take the time to check her out with her tagged photos and to rate her on your wall. (“dude! new girl = nice work. She’s prob a 8.5/ 9 on a good day. You tap that yet? ;) ” ) Her friends friend you and do the same ( “Honey… congrats on the new bf. He looks really sweet” ) Ultimately, you feel like Bennifer or Brangelina for a day. You are also, however briefly, in a confusion-free state. What’s my relationship status? I don’t know, check my Facebook.

Keeping up with the Orwellian irony of it all, declaring a relationship on Facebook is a lot like buying something from Amazon.com. First, you change relationship status to “In a relationship” from a drop-down menu. Next, you are asked to fill in the name of the person you are dating. Facebook’s gerbil-driven search combs its archives and finds out if someone is registered under the alias you have provided. Finding a list of girls with the same name, Facebook will ask you to “Choose your girlfriend.” Responding to its prompt, I pick my recently won spouse, and move on. Facebook photo glittering, I click “Add as girlfriend” and complete the process. A confirmation email will soon be sent to my gf for formal certification. There’s no fooling around. Facebook wants to make sure that this relationship is seriously understood but both parties. This, after all, is a sort of contract.

“Add as girlfriend” didn’t strike me as weird until I was on Amazon.com a little later. (Apart from my new girlfriend, I have few friends and spend hours wasting time and money on the World Wide Web). After finding the “book” I was looking for I formally purchased it by pressing a button titled “add to cart.” The connection was eerie. Had Facebook really used the same language as Amazon? Had I purchased a girlfriend? I checked out my status on Facebook. I logged on, and tried to edit my relationship status. That same piece of information that had precipitated a flurry or fame and notoriety suddenly seemed like an creepy intrusion of the computer world into my own life. Facebook seemed to be growing closer to Kubrick’s HAL by the minute. Sure enough, while trying to change back my relationship status to single (just for a test mind you, my relationship was going quite well) I was confronted by a strange message. “Do you want to cancel your relationship?”

Cancel?! What the hell had I got myself into? This girl was not a magazine subscription. I couldn’t just cancel her. Moreover, how the hell do you cancel a relationship? (I’m sorry. This just isn’t working. It’s not you, it’s me- and I think we should cancel our relationship”) Flashes of digital hell flashed in my mind. Was this the Matrix? Was Blade Runner automating my dating? I couldn’t deal with my current situation- I needed to take a stand and change things on Facebook.

A few days later, my girlfriend changed our relationship to “It’s Complicated.” One of three possible options for those who are “an item,” the “it’s complicated” terrain is by far the most unstable and confusing. We’d talked about it, but I was still lost in the ambiguity. Complicated suggested falling apart. I thought we were in love, I thought we’d talked about things, but just like that the “in a relationship” status had been pulled out from under my feet. I was losing my girlfriend to a Brave New World. I didn’t know where to turn- I went for a round of Google stalking.

Hopped up on Cherry Coke, the libido screams for satisfaction. You’re wondering how this fits in. I have yet to get off the computer. My relationship is currently ones and zeros. Facebook has made me a socialized machine.


Romances of a Digital Identity

I was walking back from a rehersal for Shakespeare on the Green and I had the idea for this short film. Splice together segments from the Matrix, Hackers and Star Wars to create the modern romance. Later, while indulging in intense consumerism at the Providence Place Mall, I had the first conceptualization of the digital romance. Traditionally, the romance was understood from a chivalric model. What was introduced from courtly love and the Morte d'Arthur eventually grew into a celebrated genre of human thought- the passionate tales of love and how love is to be pursued and manifested in society.

The advent of the digital age fundamentally changed the way the world worked, but has yet to truely pierce the heart of the romance. Looking at these high-tech, sci-fi classics only exposes this understanding. While the romances take place with a new techno-eroticism and allow for the pixel to co-exist with the passion, the digital age has not really changed the romance. Luke has a new excalibur in a light saber, Neo needs love to be resurrected, and Crash Override can only be humbled in his love for the girl.

Has the digital age changed romanticism? Or is this just LCD screens and chivalry?

people don't believe in poetry anymore

people don't believe in poetry anymore.

They did once,
when they were little
when they still believed in fairies and
clapped through performances of peter pan
begging Tinkerbell


Poetry was part of that life they lived
before DARE programs or cynicism,
before dances, before Holden Caulfield,
before people told them they couldn't just like it-
before people told them there was something else in it.

Poetry was an imaginary friend
he was the late night joker under the sheets
she was his first kiss,
he was a pirate, a king, a knight in shining armor
she was a princess, a queen, a knight in shining armor

there were faces peeking out from commas
and sword fights in exclamation points
there were castles in stanzas
ships in hyperbole, alliterative adventures,
white chalk on black asphalt
words formed and existent forever
reclaimed by nature in a drenching rain

but always there.

Poetry was what they begged
their fathers & mothers & brothers & sisters
& aunts & uncles & neighbors & babysitters
to read.

(Just read what this says
read it again,
what do they mean?
What happened before that?
Where do the pirates sleep?
(How come it sounds so pretty?))

Poetry was bedtime, mornings, the wheels on the bus,
the light through the trees changing outside the brick school

Poetry was the tear in Dad's eye
(this one always gets me)
the confession, the slow sigh, the laugh,
the enlightened twinkle, the never ending conclusion,
the end too soon-
(I think that's enough for tonight)


no it's not)

On the bus home, down the sidestreets,
Poetry was the wind on the road
it was laughter, it was hopscotch,
a trite norman rockwell moment
a raw experience they wouldn't find the words to
until years later.

Poetry was a passion that no one else understood.
It was sneaking up to the beach for the full moon
climbing onto the garage roof and watching the fireworks,
repeating the sentences when the night was cold
writing the words when the day was alone.

Poetry was what happened to them when
Dad got back from work
and told them to put the book away
(I think it's time...)
It was what happened between the lines
when the teacher asked them
what it was really about.
It was what happened outside the dance
when they spit blood for the first time
and sat alone on the car ride home
answering that (yes the dance was good)
and that (no I did not dance with the girls)

It was the lie about the fat lip,
It was the sob that escaped in the room
It was the conviction, it was the understanding,
It was the brazen foresaking, it was the silent withdrawal

It was a shrug.

(I think that's enough for today)


no it's not)

Poetry what was died
when there were no longer dragons in the forest
when santa stopped being real questionable line.
when a word became only a word

Poetry was what stopped keeping them up at night
with the certainty that a monster was under the bed
with the conviction that the cliché was always possible important line, cause you indulge in cliches
with the understanding that there was something separate
called the ideal.

It was when the shadow stopped being a friend
the night became just a night
dawn lost her meaning
the summer was no longer fireflies
and magic, just books you had to read
and arguments.

Poetry was what they stopped listening to
believing in,
hoping for.

Poetry became the unexplained.
The toys that mom threw out when she was cleaning the attic,
the baseball card collection.
it was something they used to do,
and confessed sheepishly that they had believed
and laughed with the others who too had believed
and condescended.

Poetry was the unmistakable whisper that they heard
when they walked through the buzz of life
and felt disconnected again,
it was the surging of unbridled emotion that told them
(you are in love!)

but still they did not believe.

It was a tingling before they knocked on the door
the sudden belief that the moon was more than the moon

the unexpected, uncontrolled desire to run and never stop running
it was the understanding that the words were written for them:
(you, yes you,
I wrote this for you)

Poetry was what happened when they lived how they wanted to
Poetry was what taught them they could fly,
Poetry made them heroes
Poetry kept them up all night clapping and screaming
Breathe! Damn it! I want you to Breathe!

But mostly, people don't believe in poetry anymore.