Monday, April 30, 2007

La Vie est Belle

I have been having moments you wouldn't believe. So this is what life is like.

I've been thinking about this blog. While I really want to keep it up, I'm bored with it. I think what needs to happen is it needs to become my primary blog, where I keep personal as well as "professional" reflections.

So Boston in the springtime is wet, cold, and grey, but on a balcony standing next to someone with whiskey and the city before you, it's the prettiest thing you could imagine.

I want to write and to bring all of this to you, because the world I see is beautiful.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Changes

I know my posts have been sporadic lately. I'm going through a few major life-changes that make it difficult for me to keep this up as well as I'd like. Hopefully, my posts will pick up soon.

-JS

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Somerville News

My poem, "Paris," is in this week's Somerville News. Y'all should check it out.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Aloneness

The more I do so, the more I realize I'm tired of fulfilling social obligation. I'm so lucky to have so many beautiful, incredible friends, many of whom I don't keep in contact with nearly as much as I should or would like to, and so much work to do. Why should I spend even an hour with someone whose company I don't enjoy, doing something I don't like, just to be nice?

Am I finally to the point in my life where I'm comfortable being alone sometimes? Isn't that sort of necessary for a writer? The ability to say no, I need to be alone now, I need to work. I think I'm getting the hang of it.

And to anyone reading this, you of course should know if you are someone who I would traverse forests and tundras to see. No drama, just thoughts.

I'm getting some poems published in the near and less-near future. I'll keep you updated on where and when you'll be able to find them.

Love to the world,

JS

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

NPR

I'm quoted on an NPR show about that blogging summit a few weeks ago. Here's a link to the transcript.

I'm sure they chose my quote because no one else could sum up the excitement as eloquently as I can.

"It sounds cool. What he's saying sounds possible, and it sounds like it could really take off."

Ha. Sweet.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Holy Saturday

Tonight I go by myself to Debbie Priestly's Open Bark reading at the Out of the Blue Gallery. This is by far my favorite open mic I've been to around Boston. The crowd is respectful, and they range in age from teenagers to eighty-year-olds. It's not slammy, it's not too insane, and -- miracle of miracles -- some people come just to listen.

It's not too crowded tonight because of the holiday, but the atmosphere is welcoming and conducive, and I enjoy the other writers' work and am excited to read here.

I only bring two poems I happened to grab running out of the house to catch the bus. One is an older one now from Paris, and another is a brand new one that I love, one that I read over and over after I wrote it just loving it. It's rare I write a poem I like that much, so I'm happy to debut it tonight in such a warm, open environment.

I could write more, but I'm tired and I have to work in the morning. Nothing is too bad. The world is calm tonight.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Black Mass.

Thursday Thade and I are in Harvard Square sushi restaurant celebrating the marriage of two old friends. Since I'm not working the next day, when dinner is over we decide to check out Squawk Coffee House, which is held in the Harvard Epson Methodist Church every Thursday starting at around 9:30.

I've heard about Squawk, and I've always meant to check it out. It's been described to me as "crazy" and "interesting." I also remember someone saying that the crowd is a little on the unemployed side because of the strange meeting time, but I've been unemployed many times in my life and don't think that necessarily means anything negative.

We enter and are stopped by a grey-haired woman with weird glasses in a purple turtleneck and a vest. "It's three dollars. Do you have three dollars?" she says to Thade, blocking his way and pointing to a large jar on a table behind a huge sign that says in thick block letters: "Suggested Donation $3." Thade says he doesn't have any cash on him, so the woman approaches me as I try to walk in.

"I understand you're going to be paying for your friend as well. So that'll be six dollars." She extends a flattened supine palm like an exaggerated French bellhop. I open my wallet and give her a five and a one.

"Thanks!" she says smiling, and moves out of my way.

Even though we're there at nine thirty, the show hasn't started yet. The crowd is younger than at Stone Soup, but I only see two other people who look like they're in their twenties. A lot of forty- and fifty-year-olds, a lot of weird thirty-somethings. I'm uncomfortable already, and then a beligerent guitarist takes the stage and starts to banter with the crowd.

More and more people are trickling in. They are strange. They are Gothic and dumpy, or they wear "funky" outfits like big sunglasses, a chain belt, feather boas, leather, and animal print. One guy comes in wearing a pirate hat. I lean over in my chair and hang my head between my legs.

The MC is on stage now. He is a round fortyish man with long black hair and a wicked goatee. He and the audience are participating in some bizarre call-and-response. It's only then I realize I'm in a church, and he must be preaching.

"I was thinking the other day about what I'll miss when I'm dead." He shouts to intermittent cries of "Yeah!" from the audience. He continues. "I'm going to miss my mouth. I'm not going to be able to talk when I'm dead. I mean, even if you can communicate with telepathy, it's just not going to be as good. So I'm going to miss Coffeehouse. I can't live without Coffeehouse. So that's why I say, 'Coffeehouse, every Thursday until eternity!'"

The crowd is clapping, and they chant, "Every Thursday until eternity!"

He says, "We're never going to stop!"

They repeat, "We're never going to stop!"

He says, "Coffehouse is lifeblood!"

They repeat, "Coffeehouse is lifeblood!"

He says, "Fortuitous loquation!"

They repeat, "Fortuitous loquation!"

He says, "Fortuitous loquation!"

They repeat, "Fortuitous loquation!"

He says, "Fortuitous loquation!"

They repeat, "Fortuitous loquation!"

This goes on for way too long. I don't usually feel uncomfortable in these situations. I've seen some weird rituals, but now my heart is pounding and I feel nauseous thinking about reading here. I stand up, grab my bag and my coat, and run out.

"Bye!" the beligerent guitarist calls at me, sneering.


Thade and I run back to the Square. We meet a friend of mine from work and go have beer at Charlie's Kitchen. I'm winding down, but I'm still upset, still frustrated. There just has to be, in Boston of all places, something better than this.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Some Words

I wrote this back in February. I read it once at the Cantab and didn't get that great a reaction, but I still kind of like it.





I want, like Britney Spears, to shave my head.

Join me.

We will shear our scalps –
shed this burden of beauty
and form an army of 25 year old girls
screaming under eyes of the world
we will not take this anymore.

Think – with a flick of the wrist
we can tear out of the pictures –
we can wear boots, tattoos,
fly at those who seek
to flatten us, view us as crystal and lace –

Fuck you, I wear spikes and brass knuckles.

I’ll stamp into the pavement your flesh
and your camera if you dare pain my portrait
in any color but pure rage red.

I want to hear “sir” when I enter the room.
I want you to hang on every word that drops
from my lips even if they’re painted pink.

Hand me the clippers, I wish to be shorn.
My hair is too brittle to care for.

Fuck the petals, give me the thorns.
I’m too tired now to be careful.

Fuck the romance, give me the porn,
that hot wet vibration invading.

Fuck the shelter, give me the storm.
I’ve no beauty left that’s worth saving.

I remember, fifteen
and the world changed.

I held on futilely to the music of my childhood when the bubblegum gloss overcame and banished the gut-wrenching shrieks and drumbeats and the blessed atonal syncopated angst to my headphones and shameful bedroom.

When in the street again we see
skinny girls’ virginity
sold as flesh filets of meat
to Rolling Stone and MTV.

And the flash came –
the strobe-light flare
of Hollywood blonde
and limousine glare
that came like an A-bomb
in the cottonmouth pall
of tragic September,
that desolate fall.

Yes, the cameras rose up
with the beats and the bass
and the flash of the lights
and the limousine chase
and the white city girls
and the voyeur disgrace
of each and every one of you

and me.

And that opiate, rich
in its maddening rush
bubbled and cooked
and colored our lust.

Oh your sparkling glamour
invading my brain!
It’s drawn up my nose
and into my veins
straight to my heart
and there’s no way to block it.
I’m addicted to you,
don’t you know that you’re toxic?

And the record of poisons
I’ve drawn from the air
is kept in cross-section
in each shaft of hair.

So lather my scalp and hand me the shears.
I want to be free of the past seven years.
Just shave my head bald, like whatshername Spears

and goddamn the fear.
Goddamn the fear.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

On the Internets

It's difficult I know for anyone to budget their time. I try to write every day, but sometimes it doesn't happen.

The danger of these blogs for me is when I write a long entry, a part of my mind says, "Okay, I've written something clever today, let's go get drunk."

I was talking to a friend the other night about how much time people our age spend on the internet. It's a social network, a business tool, and a vast, open library. I know I check my email more times than I want to count during the day, but almost everyone I talk to does the same. I feel better about it knowing other people I respect do it too, and I figure, we're the first generation who has grown up with this as a part of our lives, so we can't go comparing how we spend our time to how artists or whoever of the past spent theirs. I don't watch TV, and I've decided as long as I'm still getting things done, I can forgive myself for instant messenger and stalking people on the Myspace.