The Good Word of Sprout

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I just came out of a coma.  More to follow.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Almost the End

So, after many years, The Good Word of Sprout has mostly reached the end of its functionality.  It's too quaint for this new exotic Internet in which we live.

However, if you need a fix of me, please visit  There will be many things there to entertain you, and if I ever need to say something too horrible or offensive for that website, I will be sure to post it here.

See you over there! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bus Ride

Route eighty-one Lawrence
To Wilson and Marine
Twenty-nine hundred west
Please give up your seat for
The elderly
Expectant mothers
And people with disabilities.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Problem/Solution/Com- plication

Problem: Rain

Solution: Raincoat

Complication: Your raincoat is made of spun sugar and, consequently, is full of bees!

Solution: Rain



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Three Links

Hello everyone.  I haven't done a Three Links since June 6th.  How selfish.  The internet is abundant with unshared pleasures and yet I haven't managed to share a thing.  One should always share.  It's human nature: I like you because you give me things.  Anyhow, these are interesting bits in the order I'd like you to read them:

Today's topic: Lightning



Well, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, from now until mid-December there's going to be lessening sun -- and the dark, despite small increases, will continue for months after.  I encourage you to go to your favorite blogs and comment, and with the right sort of human friendship, we'll get ourselves through the winter and back to the Spring.



Wednesday, October 03, 2012

To Graceland

Heading south, it gets dark early.  I suppose it's the season, but on my way to Memphis it was more than that.  It was going back in time, me, a man from Chicago, barreling through states: Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee -- and towns: Cooter, Blytheville, West Memphis.  I can't remember most of them, obviously, but I was terrified.

My cell phone was dead.  No one, except for two people, knew where I was.  In the early 1990's this would not have been a thing, but nowadays it was a recipe for an episode of Cold Case Files.  "We found him in the Mississippi," it would begin.

Yes, a flat tire in the peaceful rurals of Missouri or Arkansas. I could change it, I know that, but what then?  What within a fifty mile radius?  More blackness, desperation?  No towns with an open garage, that's for sure.  Maybe a strange trucker on a strange night?  Danger?  Stars?  Helplessness?  I did not wish to acknowledge my own mortality, but I had to. 

As I drove I listened to the Cardinals game, anathema to a Chicagoan, so tedious and red, but I was grateful that it went into extra innings.  I needed the monotone, the familiar pitch and catch: I could not listen to music, fearing the freedom of thought that it provides.  I needed the basic, boring, Midwestern structure that I had deliberately flouted (and embraced) on an impulse to go to Graceland, where The King lived.  As Muslims to Mecca, Americans...

I wanted, I want, to be American.  I want to love the values than we all love.  Elvis, Paul Simon, etc.  And I do.  And that is why I left Chicago on a Saturday afternoon without thought, without planning, just a reckless 80 mph drive south down I-57, guided only by the feeling that there was something waiting in Memphis for me.  I love fall foliage.  I love America.

I made it to a Memphis hotel around 11 P.M.  There was a room.  I slept there in a King sized bed, watching Law & Order reruns, my clothes draped on chairs airing out.

And the next day I went to Graceland, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee.  There was a shuttle bus.  And people, high-school students on a field trip on a Sunday.  And I was so grateful to feel the shag carpet walls that Elvis once felt, the mirrored staircase, the sunburst clock, the Jungle Room, the televisions with dials.  And it was so neat to see the carport and the smokehouse with the videos of Elvis, once King, laughing and smirking and speaking to all of us.  There is no reason why he died, and he left us all a lot poorer.  But...

I am alive.  That's what's important.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Western

A shadow snakes across the dirt, a long black tongue ending at a pair of black boots and skinny legs, a tall skinny man who is our friend.  The sun hot on the back of his neck, he presses his hands deeper into his pockets, touching coins, lint, scrotum.

It's time.

There, across the road, stands his rival: broad, hatefully muscular, with lustrous hair, unaware of any rivalry.  So self-assured.  But soon this poor man will poop his pants, make a boom-boom.

Besides the death, the bowel evacuations will be the best part.  In those tight blue-jeans there will be nowhere for the poop to go except for in a slowly expanding circle around the butthole.  Sand will cake there.  What kind of man wears tight blue-jeans, anyway?  One who doesn't expect to die today.

How she will cry, the night growing more humid with her tears, her sobs joining the frog calls, handkerchiefs piling up in her laundry-baskets.  The image flashes: her man lying there with flies on his ass and bloody foam in his cold mouth.

It's inevitable now.  The poison has been administered.

Our friend has never killed a man before, never even wanted to for more than a moment.  He feels belted by a great wide belt.  Murder is a belt made of stone.

His rival staggers, coughs, and falls writhing and writhing and finally curls up, a potato bug.  The breeze kicks up a cloud of dirt.  His eyes and mouth are shut tightly.  He shivers.

A bird calls out, "Koo-roo, koo-roo!"


Back at the shack, our friend sweeps the floor and considers how long before he should go meet her to offer his condolences and support.  The tincture will help them both.

That night he sleeps with candles burning.  Each noise worries him that his rival did not die or became undead -- such things are possible.  Each time he closes his eyes he must open them, convinced that someone is standing over his bed, blue-faced with a death-sneer.  Murder might have been a mistake.


In the morning he considers whiskey instead of juice.  He settles on equal parts of each.  He works silently except for the sound of hammering nails.



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Problem/Solution/Com- plication

Problem: I can't stop eating these cashews.

Solution: Rub them with raw chicken.

Complication: My brain is melting and everyone hates me.  I wish I hadn't brought both cashews and raw chicken on this bus trip.



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bookshelf Paragraph Generator

I suppose I am not the first person ever to write, although if the entire outside world is a figment of my imagination, then maybe.  In this spirit, I would like to introduce a new segment: bookshelf paragraph generator.

In this segment, I will ask you to share a paragraph based on a random, still to be determined formula, coming from the books on the shelves in your residence.  If you don't have books, use the ingredient labels from items in your pantry.  If you don't have books or food, use numbers from the train cars you're hopping.  I don't know, these aren't strict rules, figure it out hobo.

I own books, and I like to share them.  But the problem with a book club is that the author/reader relationship should be so vague and intimate that you shouldn't be able to describe it, at least if the author is doing his or her job and the reader his or hers.

Anyhow, let's play the game.  Here are the rules:

1) Choose your favorite bookshelf.
2) Count five books from the right and add the number of times this week you've thought "I am God" or "I am the Devil" or "I am both God and the Devil" or "I am neither God nor the Devil" or "These potatoes are good."  This is your book.
3) Turn to the page that you estimate your IQ to be.  If you know your IQ, it's probably above 80.  What a useless metric to determine likeability, though.
4) Share the third paragraph in the comments.  And the book and the title if you like.
5) If it doesn't work, choose another favorite shelf, but no cheating on the rest (1-2 estimated IQ points I think is a fair adjustment, unless it causes you to poop yourself).

Here's mine:

From One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn:

"Hey, you guys, hey!"  He started badgering the men bringing the bricks and mortar.  "Can't you get these bricks over here?"


I dunno if this will work.  Worth a try.        

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Selections from the box

I enjoy me in a foreign country, even 10+ years ago, but seriously, go talk to the bartender...


Well, here I am, sitting in a café populated by a large-nosed Spaniard, his tall and somewhat attractive girlfriend, an an attractive bartender.  I have no idea what to write about.  I feel good.  I like this place, it makes me comfortable.  Mellow music, no Americans, light enough to see, dark enough to fade into, you know.  Sweet taste of café con Bailey's only a buck and change...better than Starbucks.  Damn Seattle folk.

The Spaniard and (I assume) his novia (because Spaniards can't be friends with girls) just left, leaving me alone in this place with the bartender.  Maybe I should go talk to her.  I guess the only issue left here is to decide whether I want to talk to her or not.  Indeed (efectivamente), this is turning into more of a "slice of life" than any sort of argumentative attempt.  Sometimes, though, these are the pieces that are the most valuable.

The atmosphere is lovely.  I'm forced to write by social graces.  What I mean is, I couldn't, in a socially acceptable manner, just sit here and stare at the bartender.  A sort of indirect, but pleasant discipline.  I don't like to take photos.  Indeed, each photo is an abortion of a thousand words.  What's happening here?  Some guy just walked in and is speaking in a disagreeable tone.  I never saw his face.

This piece seems to lack a certain interest, but perhaps the meaning will be realized later. 


Monday, August 20, 2012

The garage drinker says...

The Old Style can is beautiful in the dusty garage light.  Perspiring, it sits on the workbench beneath the glass block windows between the pruning shears and the Weed-B-Gon.  I pick it up and put it to use.  It's so cold.

There are no limits to the places the mind can go if the heart will send it.  The fount is life is new experience, facing the unknown with enthusiasm.  We all want something beautiful, and it may be out there beyond the garage door or it may be deep in the cavern of my head.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How I Am

I define myself through writing, how the words come together, the constant little changes, evolution and creation.  There's a bringing forth.  When I write, I bathe in light.  It is always morning.  It shows me in detail.

There is another definition, leaden.  It is a crossing of seamless boundaries, a terror.  It is a dramatic and perverse lens that pulls and purples the world, distorting words, perceptions, and intentions.  It is the other side of the coin.

Mother knows.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Spider bite

When I scratch an itch, there is such intense relief, the pleasure receptors so flooded that in attempting to prolong it, to revel in it, I will scratch until I bleed.

It's indulgence to the point of damage.  I am not incapable of self-control, just unwilling to give up the silvery haze of pleasure in the moment. There is, after all, only the moment.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Storm Is Coming, Fish

It is quiet before the storm.  The lily pad is still.  On it sits a yellow flower.  A man fishes, but the fish are hiding -- the little ones in the big ones' mouths.  It's a storm agreement they have, although I'd be lying if I said the big ones didn't occasionally snack, perhaps convinced it would be their last meal, perhaps just ignorant of their contractual obligations, perhaps just hungry.  How else do you think they got big?  Not by merit.

The wind cools.  The storm points its purple finger across the sky, the point of which will soon be here on this rock where I sit.  Will it annihilate me?  Do I want that?  Likely not.


Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Storm Is Coming, Guy from Michigan

A storm's a'comin'.  Too many apostrophes.  Too much folksiness.  I don't have a down-home way of speaking.  Some people do, and that's nice as long as they're saying things I want to hear.  Once a guy from rural Michigan told me that I sound like a dictionary.  A dictionary, of course, does not speak unless you waterboard it, but I don't think that guy meant it literally.  I think he meant that I sounded uncool.  Additionally, I failed to wear my baseball cap backwards.  That was a sad day.  But a storm is still coming, a tempest, a low pressure front, nature's fury (nature: an abusive mother).  It will have a way to make everything equal.  Being uncool will not matter, if it ever did.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Storm Is Coming, Bird

A storm is coming.  Brightly feathered, getting their last-minute singing in, the birds know it.  The birds know a lot of things, a lot of songs about things, but mostly songs about sex.  Birds sing to get laid, like Andrew Bird, who also whistles with the same purpose.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Storm Is Coming, Blue

There is a storm coming.  It is blue.  It is bluestone.  Like that girl I once knew plus lightning, it is pretty but not nice.   I can tell this by its voice: a low rumble, threatening, indifferent.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Storm Is Coming, Fly

There is a storm in the distance.  The sun is hot on my sleeves, hot on my arms, and won't be around for long.  A fly tries to bother me.  Wait, fly.  Wait for the storm.  You will feel its fury, and your tiny little wings will be still.  You will see an infinity of drops.  Your disease will be washed away.  You will be a clean fly, a rebel, washed of poop, although that may have been your snack, and maybe you will be extremely frustrated.  I don't care.  I swat your kind.  I shot a rubber band at your mother.  Whatcha think about that?


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Three Links

Three Links seems to be as good a way as any to ease back into this thing. I've never really gone two months without blogging before. Maybe you think it's because I've turned boring. On the contrary, my friend, I've turned so exciting that every time I've touched a computer's keyboard it tripped a circuit breaker (on laptops the battery just caught fire -- that hurts the junk something fierce -- mine now looks like Nick Nolte's face, minus the teeth of course).

These are interesting bits, alphabetically by subject matter:

Angel Food Cake

Making Beautiful Things

Rectangles of Sod

Okay. I've done my part. Now you do yours.  And yes, I'm typing this in a non-conductive rubber suit.  It's hot.  I know, but literally.


Friday, March 30, 2012

If you could lick the screen and taste the words...

gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy bleach gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy gravy

Aaaauuuugggghhhh!!! Why???