The Good Word of Sprout

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Monday, June 28, 2010

Encounter at the Beach

Here comes that twirling fool again. With his arms outstretched and holes in the ass of his jeans, he kicks up red dust. Even in this heat, he smiles his simple smile with his big too-blue eyes and says "Gee thanks mister" when I give him a cup of water. It's just water and don't call me mister.

Minus the patchouli and blue eyes, I used to be that fool until I made some choices, gave up some freedom for some comfort. Now I can never go back, at least until dementia sets in. An innocent smile is a rare commodity. It expires.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Problem/Solution/Com- plication

Problem: The structure of contemporary American society is such that things that are culturally male and culturally white are, by the nature of the system itself, given higher value than those things that are not male and not white. I am a white male, and it is sometimes difficult for me to personally identify with the struggle of those who the system oppresses.

Solution: I am short. I would contend that society has an inherent structural bias against the short (I have no sources other than remembering reading something that men over six feet five earn significantly more than their shorter counterparts). But this allows me to join the fight, to fight the tall, to ally myself with the feminists, the anti-racists, and all those groups who refuse to accept the cruelty of the system that through its very existence diminishes their value as human beings. There can be no true equality until we are all equal. I will do my part to make the short taller by making the tall shorter.

Complication: I don't know what to do with all these shins and feet I've removed from the sleeping tall. My freezer is full. It seems a shame to throw them out.


I can't take credit for these ideas. Please see Maggie Jochild's post, Morning Manifesto. And of course, the fight is against the system and the thought processes that perpetuate it, not particular people within the system. Unfortunately, the joke doesn't work without amputations.



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Young Poem

I was digging through the big black plastic container where I throw all my old writing and garbage writing and scraps of paper with incomprehensible ideas -- I think of it as composting -- and in a folder whose cover features a white seal holding the Earth between its paws and another white seal peering cutely outward, both beneath the aurora borealis, I came across this poem, which is dated 1997 (putting me at 17 or 18):


The ladies want a big meaty man:
Bold, juicy, and flavorful.
He should strut about and boast of his protein content
So people will ignore his saturated fat.
Call me rice pilaf.

I laughed.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Three Links

Here it's almost summer in the city. The back of my neck gets burnt and pretty.

These are interesting bits, in no particular order (Am I lying to you? I am lying to you):

1) Quite possibly the most patriotic thing I've ever done

2) Shooting Stars

3) that one time I went speed dating

A happy Summer Solstice to you. I'll be visiting the live poultry store to get my sacrifice on. I hope you will too, but the chickens don't.


Monday, June 07, 2010

Prose as music: pro and con

Prose can be music if arranged just so in rhythm and tone. I've sat transfixed, bound by the rise and fall of cadence. I've been touched in the music spot by the sound of a voice projecting pictures and people into my mind. I've melted into the author.

Prose cannot cross language barriers. It cannot inspire bodies to move together in sexual pantomime or better. It is a more confined art -- less in scope, a degree removed -- that must reach the spirit through thought and memory. It cannot mainline joy.

Friday, June 04, 2010

On Writing and a Woman

I keep pens in every room to capture the "A-ha" moment of a pleasing set of words before they dissipate. I collect them. Perfect phrasing is an accident. Good writing is an accident compounded.

Once I met a woman who teaches kids art or kids teach her art, I forget which. She's a little crazy, and I'm okay with that. She keeps colored pencils in vases and sometimes waters them. Crayon mobiles hang from her ceiling, the sharp ends filed down. There are magic markers tucked in with her silverware. She says they encourage spontaneous art. There is joy in spontenaity.

I'm tempted to remove all her yellow writing utensils and keep them in some yellow drawer never to be opened. Drunken epiphanies, phone numbers, and friends' addresses all disappear in yellow on white. But she loves to draw the moon. She loves the moon, especially the crescent moon. I sometimes wonder if she's an Islamist.

Black bores her, so she gives me colored pens. She would have my notebooks look like they fell from a nine year old girl's backpack. The pens sit in a desk drawer, grouped into warm and cool colors. You see, I don't want to dot my i's with hearts. I don't want to have a crush on my best friend's older brother Nick or experiment with writing his last name after mine. I don't want to write mean things about the fat girl in gym class. Although maybe I am the fat girl in gym class. Or the second-fattest.

She likes it when I write poems on her naked body, as if it weren't a poem already. She closes her eyes while I read them to her and trace the words with my fingers. That's a muse. I've spent years trying not to smear the ink. Smearing the ink is the best part. Fuck yeah it is.

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