Handsome Baby

Aug 15


Aug 14

What is even going on anymore?

I’m reading the news and checking twitter and I don’t recognize my own country when I see it

Here’s The Song of America, by Rob Cook

I’m raising my child to become the end of rotting,
and to expose the lushness of the cemetery moth.

I’m raising my child to know the difference between the two sunsets:
one purple with thermonuclear iodine, the other the charred insides of rain.

I’m raising my child to find the stones his brothers fed each other.
I’m raising my child to fall behind the apricot blossoms
and to trust only others who’ve fallen behind.

I’m raising my child to listen: there is so much noise
only silence will be remembered.

I’m raising my child to fill in the spaces between wars
and the spaces between people
where everything grows even after the last space is gone.

I’m raising my child to bring into the world books that suffer
with words detention-kids make over and over.

I’m raising my child to follow the scatter of flesh across the sky,
birds and their wingprint trails to Alaska.

I’m raising my child to predict the sicknesses left of summer
by the number of shadows he sweats.

I’m raising my child to plant pennies where he’ll find rest
and good fingerpaint for one night.

I’m raising my child to chop down the televisions of peasants
and their machine that picks thunderstorms from a leaf.

I’m raising my child to write a treaty for his own smells,
the ones that hurt the self and the ones that hurt others,
and a treaty for the poison sumac whose only emotion is hunger.

I’m raising my child to dress like a long line of near-humans
if he wants to be recognized
and to show kindness to the roadkill that sneaks into his bed.

I’m raising my child to know which part of a hamburger is still afraid.
I’m raising my child to be captain of the abandoned mail trucks

and to lead the grasses across the Midwestern sleep.
I’m raising my child to leave New York.

I’m raising my child to add letters and numbers to his name
and chameleons and hellbenders behind his name.

I’m raising my child to drown and to drop dead and to carry buildings on his back.
I’m raising my child to listen to his face breaking when it’s cold.

I’m raising my child to seduce only photographs of women.
I’m raising my child to know that the cobras that shiver
in the sky at night are mistakes and not responsible for us.

I’m raising my child to leave bread for the voices that come after dark.

I’m raising my child to keep his eyes closed.

I’m raising my child to tell the truth by having no sound at all.


Aug 13

Let’s face it: just writing something, anything, and showing it to the world, is to risk ridicule and shame. What if it is bad? What if no one wants to read it, publish it? What if I can’t even finish the thing? Every time I begin a book, a story, even a fresh page, I have a sense that it might go horribly wrong. And for a professional writer, working on multiyear projects, that would be more than an emotional humiliation. It would involve awkward letters from the student loan people and the credit card company.

I could never live like that, you might be thinking. But of course you could, and do.

” — "Writing Is a Risky, Humiliating Endeavor" - David Gordon (via the New York Times

“The reality of a poem is a very ghostly one. It suggests, it suggests, it suggests again.” — Mark Strand (via theparisreview)


Aug 12

Do you think it’s okay to start a story without knowing the why?

Is it irresponsible to prod characters into living, to press “play” and watch their realness jolt into inexorable motion toward only the barest hints of things horrific and revelatory?

Is it wrong to know exactly how slack he wears his tie as he stands tense at the copy machine, the particular saturation of the stadium lights when she meets her Other and doesn’t know it yet. To hear the fear-choke in between pounding steps and know that, at some point, they’ll be running for their lives? To see the inconsequential things, the details of life so vividly but only yawning gaps of gray where the significance should be?

You don’t lay track in front of a speeding train, but I can’t get the purple of the desert sky out of my head. I just don’t trust myself to know what’s waiting for them before they arrive.

Aug 11

Mentally ill people do not gain freedom by committing suicide.


Robin Williams’s death is an unspeakable tragedy and a terrible waste of a tremendous talent.


It’s a terrible insult to anyone who has ever dealt with mental illness and disrespectful to who Robin Williams was as a person.

Aug 09

Cheap Words - The New Yorker -



Things all book lovers should know. 

Trying to figure out the Amazon mess? Start here.

I never operated under illusions that Amazon wasn’t a soulless megacorporation, but it was easy to imagine an online bookseller gone megalomaniac. 

“I thought he was just a bookstore, stupid me. Books were going to be the way to get the names and the data. Books were his customer-acquisition strategy.” 

I honestly didn’t expect that it’s all been a 20 year-long bait and switch.

(via fishingboatproceeds)

Philip Levine is in my head today

For no apparent reason.

Here’s Detroit Grease Shop Poem

Four bright steel crosses,
universal joints, plucked
out of the burlap sack —
"the heart of the drive train,"
the book says. Stars
on Lemon’s wooden palm,
stars that must be capped,
rolled, and anointed,
that have their orders
and their commands as he
has his.

Under the blue
hesitant light another day
at Automotive
in the city of dreams.
We’re all here to count
and be counted, Lemon,
Rosie, Eugene, Luis,
and me, too young to know
this is for keeps, pinning
on my apron, rolling up
my sleeves.

The roof leaks
from yesterday’s rain,
the waters gather above us
waiting for one mistake.
When a drop falls on Lemon’s
corded arm, he looks at it
as though it were something
rare or mysterious
like a drop of water or
a single lucid meteor
fallen slowly from
nowhere and burning on
his skin like a tear. 

My sad pre-lunch confusion has been surpassed

Aug 08

Wilfrid Gibson, “Air-Raid”


Night shatters in mid-heaven:the bark of guns,
The roar of planes, the crash of bombs, and all
The unshackled sky pandemonium stuns
The senses to indifference, when a fall
Of masonry near by startles awake,
Tingling wide-eyed, prick-eared, with bristling hair,
Each sense within the body crouched aware
Like some sore-hunted creature in the brake.

Yet side by side we lie in the little room,
Just touching hands, with eyes and ears that strain
Keenly, yet dream-bewildered, through tense gloom,
Listening in helpless stupor of insane
Drugged nightmare panic fantastically wild,
To the quiet breathing of our sleeping child.

For the centenary of the Great War, every day this week we offer a poem in remembrance.