Monday, February 2, 2015

Four Years In the Blood


So, I'm in a diner. Torn seat cushions. Greek football on the radio. On my second cup of coffee.
And I realize, for the first time since I've moved here, the start of a new year hasn't been punctuated by frantic, creative desperation.

2011 - Get here. Push through the snowstorm. Rebuild. Find new artistic work at all costs.You have lost everything.  Get moving.
2012 - Prove yourself. Do summer stock auditions and as many shows as you can.
2013 - Take a risk. Pull out that solo script you've been scared to do for a decade -edit, submit, produce and perform GHOST ON A STICK.
2014 - Join SAG-AFTRA. Realize that you haven't dealt with death and loss and a corrupt sense of self. Go back to therapy. Do meds.  Make a brand new solo show and hustle that as hard as possible.

And now? 

There's uncertainty. Not in a troubling way.  But in an open, inviting approach. Maybe a solo show will take off this year.  Maybe more poetry will follow.  Maybe love will chime in my bones. Maybe work in TV and film will begin.  It's an exciting future.

So, let's get to the heart of why I jot these down each year. Mark the notch of time. Ego? A bit. More importantly, it's to remind me that it's never done alone. Every inch of what's been accomplished is the result of countless people (only a handful of which are personally thanked today) who have shaped me and kindly supported my odes and nonsense.

Here's what's been done, what I'd like to do this upcoming year, and my thanks....


Produced and performed KING OF THE HOBOS  -   Guys, this is the quite possibly the best thing I've ever done. A one man hobo musical set in the Great Depression.  All the current music is available online to stream for FREE (or, if you want to download it, you may purchase)  Plans are in motion to edit the show to an hour and twenty minutes, do another workshop this year, and then pitch it for an long term Off-Broadway run.  I owe Abigail Taylor-Sansom so much for finding the heart of the piece and continually pushing me as an artist with this work. 

Wrote four new songs -  Apart from new songs for the hobo musical, I also wrote some individual new music as well.  Some much more refined work than the past.  Songs about mental recovery, loving in New York City, and bracing for uncertain, hopeful change.

Came back to poetry - after a break, I found myself stumbling back into poem-making.  Re-released my book of poems, RAMSHACKLE, and did a reading of it in NYC as well.  Started two new poem cycles - The Divorced Dad Poems and Texts From Last Night Poems.   All in all, wrote FORTY poems this year.  Here are some of the best.

Jumped into fun theatre projects - another launch of PAGEANT PRINCESS, a daunting, intense affair doing all three HENRY VI plays in rep with Hamlet Isn't Dead, and a production of Vicki Mooney's play BROKEN HEARTLAND.

Wrote the start of a new play (THE MUSEUM OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS) in a glass fishbowl - such a wonderful, weird experience. Every word you type displayed to the world for the two hours you crunch. Making something brand new out of nothing, for the first time, in front of strangers. Being completely fearless. 

Finished the first draft of THIS GREAT MORTALITY - my play cycle about the Black Plague and a loose factual account of how it affected Avignon, France in 1348.

Lost 67 pounds - Started 2014 at 300 pounds. With diet, exercise, and meds, I've knocked it down to 233. No longer pre-diabetic. 

Wrapped a short comic film with Abigail, Rocky, and Megan Jeannette Smith.  - it's always a treat to collaborate with these sweet, talented beasts.  And Conor Stratton's camera work was top notch.  Can't wait to see the final product!


 - A diet of expectation is appropriate and healthy.  I've come to say this at least twice a day. It's on a card at eye level by my desk. 

 - Always leave a party when you start to feel sad.

- Before you were making things in an effort to earn glory or fame or wealth or any money at all, before you were making things to garner potential status or affection, or prestige, you were making them for yourself. As a quiet, invisible child, alone. Start there. Remember that. 


Here's where I get unconventional this year.  I'm not getting specific. I'm gonna focus on three spheres of human quality, and with each undertaking I do, I'll ask myself:  how does this improve or limit me in these three areas?

I want to use this year to further deepen and improve in the following three tenets:


And now, let's define them.

Self-love - Internal maintenance and growth.  Mental health. Physical health (eyewear, dental work)  Time given to rest and to goof off and to create. Consistent examination of negative thought patterns and limiting behaviors.

Self-care - external maintenance and growth.  Apartment upkeep. Clothes.  Food,  Walking. More engagement with friends. 

Self-respect - Appreciation of abilities and esteem. Taking professional stock in myself. Being prudent with time on external projects.  Accepting compliments and praise whole-heartedly. Being open to receiving love.

 Thanks to the following people:
mi mama   
Jelina Seibert and Dave Seibert  
Jeric Jones and Stephanie Girard 
Bekki Doster 
Mark Kinch
Megan Jeannette Smith
Emily Travis
All those who helped produce KING OF THE HOBOS
Tess Suchoff
Bobby Lux  
Patti Cox
Mike Valloney
Katrina Lenk
Shannon Algeo
Jen Ponton
Sarah Baskin
Sarah Dacey Charles
Meredyth Kenney
Everett Goldner
Alan Corcoran
Sigi Gradwohl
Michael Geffner
 Robin Rightmyer
David Andrew Laws
Kristen Penner
Lorelei Mackenzie  
Abigail Taylor-Sansom
Rockford Sansom
Dianna Tucker Baritot
Adam Baritot 
Malini McDonald
Vicki Mooney
Tony White
Vicki Oceguera  
Tod Engle 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

TFLN Poem - Schadenfruede, Support


Here's this week's poem.



Blood is thicker than
Water is thicker than
Your off-brand pepper spray and
Why the everlovingfuck did you tear
Off the label and leave it next to my
Breath spray, Karen?

I’m in bed.  Basically blind.  Supposed to be a safe place.
Now my tongue’s closed up like a failed kite and you’re topless,
Peeing yourself laughing. 

I need this to get better.  Now.  Taste things. Speak. 
Stop being a sexy, sadistic nurse and think of something else.
Ice cubes.  Go buy some sourdough bread , wet it with your
Mouth, and softly fill my cheeks.

Or so help me,
I’ll jump over there,
Weeping and full of Vitamin C,
Strip off your thong,
And I’ll bury my suffering in your gleeful sweetness.

Oh, I’ll do it.
Mutually assured destruction, Karen.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

TFLN Poem - Cuckolding, Contemplation


Here's this week's poem.


Maybe if I get to know him I'll stop wanting to fuck his wife so much.

He’s got the personality
Of a stone.

But that’s just
Making a hasty imprint.

People are unkempt
Hidden from time.

Given access,
Given the permission of grace,
There’s got to be some dormant dram of color.

Because she once savored him
Because she once matched his murmured breath
And found him flavorful.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

TFLN Poem - Missing, Muddled


Here's this week's poem.


Cradling three pieces of a Lincoln Log set
I’m wearing what’s left of my broken pair of glasses like a
There’s a fistful of auburn hair inside my wallet
But small ones
Got all these clues and yet, no clothes
Inside somewhere     Can’t see where the other wall meets
But it smells like pencil shavings
And fish
Please   someone feed my lizard
And match up the pic of the hair thatch
With our circle
Buy some tape or superglue
Head towards the ocean
I think I can hear the ocean
Pack my pair of emergency chinos
I’ll be waiting

Monday, December 15, 2014

Time I Whisper - First Draft of New Song


I feel like I'm either close to shutting down or to the start of career-defining work.

Not sure what.

Winter and depression and doubt can muddy that diagnosis.

But I'm here.  I'm clicking quietly away.

Got a new song.  For me. For anyone wondering out there if it's their moment to eke out a sense of purpose, to be known.  To be bold, and compassionate, and sharing. To prosper. Even be loved.

Here we go.


first verse

ive given up on suffering

is it my time i whisper
is it my time i whisper

tucking in for winter
ill see you spring


prechorus one
see me lay down
beg the night my soul to keep
ive never earned love good as sleep
head crooked
watch the silence fill the room
year spent chasing urequiteds sweet perfume

if you gotta run
if its hard won
like a flare gun
lets make it binding
make a promise to finding
what were worth
dearth of motivation
moldy conversation
leaden deprivation
am i unwinding
is the madness still grinding

verse two
im getting smaller
take less space
staring out the subway
and i see my fathers face

prechorus two
see me talk less
every word its a thought grenade
you wont catch me turning round
seeing what ive made
the lost traveller
my guide
ill course
ill scribble on
this little wick of pride



verse three
ive buried loss
so calm collect
still mouthing syllables
in a manner circumspect

prechorus three
see my debts paid
by my spartan living style
im just a monk serving nothing but my own guile
and i summon in the air
a little nonsense
no one seems to care


Thursday, December 11, 2014

TFLN Poem - Texts, Truth


Here's this week's poem.

If it’s not a grainy,
Sun-shy letter, stuffed in a shoebox,
Move after move,
Almost forgotten,
 Or a foggy evening
Overlooking the Edinburgh center,
Hands locked, creeping quietly between the mausoleums,
Trespassing, sharing.  Silent, yet staring at the cages
Of the dead.  (Their mortsafes, their iron ribs,
Hoping to spare one last indignity.  A leg torn here,
A body resurrected there,  
A fresh, shining corpse sold to a medical school
Otherwise. )

If it’s not
Strip poker on a gnarled shag carpet
Watching you spin yourself
And shake to fits of giggles
As this boomerang in my impatient grip
Remains determined
To exist solely
As a stick,

If it’s not even a gram
Of disarming, aching hope,
If all it is,
From word to word,
(these disposable and effortless words)
Is lather,
The dull, warm compress of common talk,
And no blade,
Then stop, Now. 
Let us see each other.  Let us be loud, bracing.
And let us love clearly again.  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

TFLN poem - Charity, Courtship


Here's this week's poem.

There’s no epigram
On my goddamn mons pubis.

Emma Lazarus didn’t scribble out some
American Exceptionalism between
My thick and curlies.

I don’t want the tired,
The wretched
The homeless, the tempest-tost .

Yearn to be free away from me.

My clit wasn’t supposed to end up
Like a dented can of apple pie filling
In a food drive.   Lacquered in dust. Pawed at with
Itchy boredom by the disenfranchised.  No tools or time
To make a decent, thoughtful meal. 

But, what’s left?

Where’s my wild-eyed man who needs no saving,
No rehabilitation.  Someone who smiles
In the dark, when there’s no one left to please.
A man with a landscape of scars, thin white constellations
Of open, examined suffering.    Not hidden.  Not raw. 
Ornaments of kindness.     Where is that earnest, unblinking love…