Sunday, December 8, 2019

Library near Rainbow Road

A shovel full of hummus
And olives bowl by bowl
If I’m not careful
I won’t walk; I’ll roll

Fifty dinars postage
What a dumb thing to do
There’s a dozen cheaper ways
To send fifty “I love you”s

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Library near Hashemite Square

Hustle and Bustle
No rest for thee
We must keep moving
There’re ruins to see

Dirty Dingy Dusty Jordan
What an increase in mental load
To wonder what new horror awaits
When next I visit the commode


One of the greatest sights so far
A desert night and lots of stars
The moon throwing me a crescent smile
And Saturn, Jupiter, Venus in single file
With that sight a pleasant sound
Silence! By God, there’s no one around

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Batumi, Briefly

Braindead in Batumi
Functions depressed
Struggle each morning
Just to get dressed

Half hungry half tired
Unsure of my needs
Brain dredges up
Forgotten misdeeds

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Construction Complaints

“Quit your bellyachin!” Big John scolded the crew of seven. “I won’t stand for it.”

A whisper made its way into one of the crew’s ears about how few things Big John - a euphemism, as calling him ‘Fat John’ was grounds for dismissal - would stand for. The man into whose ear this sentiment was whispered snickered involuntarily.

“Who’s cracking jokes? I should dock all your pay.” At that there came a chorus of ‘fuck yous’ and miscellaneous grumbling. After a moment, one of the crew spoke up.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019


It had been a full day since the family first sought refuge in the small cabin. The hours had been spent pacing, arguing, and, for the two youngest members, huddling together under the table. They knew they couldn’t stay there, but the danger outside was too great to chance.

“Do you think it’s still out there?” asked Shawn, the oldest brother. At nineteen, he’d already taken over most duties on the family’s farm and had been looking forward to this ‘relaxing vacation’ for months.

“I don’t know - why don’t you check?” Cary spat. Sixteen had hit him particularly hard and a week with his family sounded like torture even before it had gone south. Spending the past twenty four hours within a few yards of the clan had worn through whatever mental fortitude he had left.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Avetik Isahakyan Central Library

Staring ahead, mind’s dead
Paper’s blank, motive’s sank
Can’t think, spill no ink
Soldier through, a word or two
Fill the page, fight the rage
Don’t be mad, yes it’s bad
But what was missed, now exists

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Party Tricks

Chrysler had one more trick up her sleeve. Well, not up her sleeve, per se, as she had divested herself of her garments over the previous few minutes, but the phrase is applicable idiomatically at the very least, if not also euphemistically. Perhaps it works double duty as a euphemism, given the nature of her work. In any case, she had one final talent to display.

By talent, of course, we’re not talking about thirty-some kilograms of precious metal. She loved Gold and Silver - both had lockers near her - but Chrysler had none of their namesakes to her own name. The closest she came was a small “copper” bracelet Jade had given her made of a stainless steel police badge. No, talent in this case refers to skill and mastery of craft. Before we go down that road, it should be clear we’re talking about the intangible craft, not the nautical kind, as it was preceded by the word skill just moments ago.

Friday, October 18, 2019

National Library of Armenia

A splash of inspiration
Momentarily sparked
By surprise appearance
A statue of Marx

To his right: Engles
Or I think that’s his bust
As that’s the direction
My mind’s been thrust

As opposed to Tblilisi
And librarians foul
While here’s a bit sterile
There’s nary a scowl

Friday, October 11, 2019

Garden Party

The smell was overwhelming; it went beyond filling the young girl’s nose and seemed to bleed into taste, sight, and sound. She did not so much walk through the garden as float through it, carried by her senses.

“Violet!” the girl’s mother called out like a whip. Violet dropped back to her feet.

“Mom!” she implored. “I was having such a nice time!”

“If you spend any more time out here you’re going to turn into a flower--” Violet did not see a downside in this consequence “--go wash up and get ready for bed.”

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Trekkies to the Rescue

“Beam yourself up!”

“I’m sorry, what did you say?”

“I said beam yourself. The fuck. Up.”

“How dare you speak to your commanding officer like that?”

“Oh, I dare.”

“You’re on thin ice!”

“What are you going to do about it? You’re there and I’m here.”

“You just wait.”

With a slap of the chest the communication link between the two was disconnected. The Captain pondered his predicament - as yet undetected in the bowels of a Borg Cube, he wouldn’t stay that way for long. With the insubordination of the junior officer, his assimilation was almost certainly guaranteed.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019


“It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” -Socrates

‘This was supposed to be easy,’ I thought, having heard the challenges and feats expected in the competition. Sure, there were a few ordinary games one might play drunk in the small courtyard - beer pong, darts, and cornhole among the most conspicuous - but the announcement of feats of strength, dexterity, and constitution threw most of the crowd for a loop. Instead of nice, leisurely turns-between-sips, we’d be expected to haul kegs, balance beers, and hold a “cheers” pose for as long as possible. It was absurd.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Adventure Awaits

Sunshine and smiles permeated the small encampment. Anything seemed possible on a day like today, and the trio were bubbling with excitement.

“I bet we’ll find monsters!” said Josh, a freckled boy of eight.

“No way! Monsters aren’t real,” retorted Brian, who had to keep pulling up his pants. “My brother said so.”

“Doesn’t mean we won’t find some,” Josh hoped aloud. Terry nodded his shaggy head.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Tbilisi's Angry Librarians

Hate-filled, Hurtful
Library Lady
I'm just here to write
Not anything shady

I'm the odd one out
I stand out
Of the gathered four
I'm writing on paper
Not reading newspaper
Thereby scrutinized more

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Moon Shine

ROUND ROBIN PROMPT: it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

  • Timed
  • Author change denoted by %
  • Some light editing for ESL authors

With a shiver I cursed what had gotten me into this whole predicament. I rubbed my calloused hands up and down my now-raw arms and legs, trying to bring a moment of warmth to my flesh. A noble, but doomed effort - beyond the walls of this pitch-black cabin was tons upon tons of ice and snow.

I shouldn’t have been so cocky. %

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Tbilisi Metro Library

Sleep all day
Drink all night
Give in to glut
Without a fight

Keep an owl's hours
Waste the light
Bum 'round reddit
Dare not write

Stay in bed
See no sight
Contrary to wisdom
That's what's right

Definitely continue
A fool's delight
And sleep all day
And drink all night


Seventy five words
Four fifty characters
Is it enough
to push out a story?

Flash fiction, sure
Nano, micro, constrained
What foundation
Does it create?

Pursuit of attention
Desire of desire
Can I fill
Whatever hole exists?

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Today I Learned

alt: On the Necessity of Posting

I am, for lack of something better to do tonight, going to post an unnecessary rant about others' need to post their unnecessary thoughts online. Perhaps it's my age. Perhaps it's a weariness that's been beaten into me through years of most people not giving a shit about what I think most of the time. Perhaps it's another reason altogether, but I continue to be astounded by the absolute drivel people feel obliged to type and post.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Georgia National Library

Sweaty Day
Access Denied
Wanna See
What's Inside
Write a Poem
Cool Down a Bit
There's No Need
For this Shit
Found a Bench
Spilled some Ink
Museum Next
Is What I Think

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Heart Transport

Precious cargo encased within
Without the air is very thin
While, for now, we're miles above
Below is where we'll test this love
Let's celebrate our time together
Separate, soon, we'll spend forever

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Skater Girl

For we are those who like to move
For we are those who like to groove
Very soon we'll see new sights
Very soon new taste delights
For a moment in seat curled
Very soon we'll see the world

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Small Music

Notes and Stoats and Velvet Coats
A shuffle, a stroll
Reggae and Rock & Roll
Legian Street
Sonic meet & greet

Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Owl

Spot the Owl

I am the watcher
Vigilance is key
While others party
I absorb what I see
The snake is a coward
Though he makes girls scream
Not a bone in his body
Is actually mean
The luwak can party
But only at night
By day he sleeps
While girls hug him tight
Falling Flying Foxes
Are bad acrobats
Hand-fed papaya
Knocks loose the fruit bats
Finally Iguana
Who sits on his stump
He's quite the curmudgeon
Perhaps voted trump

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Bali Library

Fun Fact: Not a Library

My gum is sandy
My luck's run out
The library's moved
The plan's in doubt

A smiling face
and snapper soup
I've been thrown
For quite a loop!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Yogyakarta Library

Little Girl
Little Kittens
Just across from
Where I'm sittin'
Eatin' chicken
Drinkin' tea
Shopkeep wants to
Marry me

Tuesday, July 2, 2019


The bag wasn’t anything special, but it caught her eye. Everything seemed just the slightest bit more attractive than the purse she was carrying - the color seemed to match her dress, the clasps had a bit more sparkle to them, hell, the size seemed like it might accommodate those one or two last minute additions to her day. She basically had no choice other than to enter the shop.

Inside the shop, she exchanged pleasantries with the cashier before settling on the object of her desire. The price, however, became a sticking point. Where the inferior assemblage of cloth and leather that had entered the shop with the woman had only cost a week’s wages not even a month prior, the clearly superior accessory cost three times as much!

A struggle ensued. The woman began to extoll the virtues of her own bag and point out every imaginable flaw in the bag she desired. Once a comprehensive list had been made plain, a suggestion of an equal trade floated between the two women before being swatted down by the cashier.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Jakarta Local Library

Terima Kasih
Those magic words
Can open doors
Wherever they're heard

Confusion and smiles
After traveling miles
Though well guarded
Also well regarded


Time to push
Time to go
Another museum
Then one mo'

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Byron Bay Library

Remember how to write a poem
Remember how to sit alone
Remember how to rhyme a line
Remember how to take your time


Critical Convo
on reading and writing
Changing the world
Thinking is fighting

Ride's over
Now we're here
Time for coffee
Then for beer

Saturday, June 29, 2019

National Library of Indonesia

To the top
Our dismay
As it stops
There's no way
We'll go far
With twenty people
In the car

The national monument
Looks insignificant
From the Library's twenty fourth floor
With that point of view
Imagine what we'd do
If only we valued books more

Friday, June 28, 2019


“Madmen part their hair on the right, you know.”
The statement was issued without the slightest acknowledgement of its target. The young woman who made the statement remained melted into the couch cushions, her eyes affixed to the small screen she held in her hand.

“What in the world are you talking about?” The young man, her brother, touched his hair as if an answer had nested itself there. One hadn’t, so he walked up to his sister’s feet.

She ignored his presence for a few moments, if only to stay in control of the encounter. He loitered, waiting for an answer.

“I’m saying you’re a psycho, Ethan.”

“Because of my hair?”

“As *evinced* by your hair,” she said, looking up to meet his eyes. “Crazy people part on the right.”

Monday, June 24, 2019


“What’s with the long face?”

“I have a bad feeling about that worm over there.”
“How so?”
“Well, Tommy went for one just like it an hour ago and I haven’t seen him since.”
“That’s so Tommy - he’s probably just pulling your fin.”

“He’s never been gone quite this long.”
“Are you telling me you’re afraid of a worm?”
“Afraid’s not the word.”
“What’s the word then?”

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Surf's Up

“Surf’s up dude!”
“What are you, a stereotype?”
“Whaddya mean? Like a Sony?”
“You just said ‘surf’s up, dude’.”
“Well, it is! If we don’t get going, we’ll miss it!”
“Miss the surf?”
“How does one miss the surf?”
“Usually at a bar. Just kinda hits you. One minute you’re drinkin’ and the next you know you’re missin’ the surf.”

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Lotto Haiku

Drinking Pure Blonde Beer
Been a full day of painting
Ultra low carb end


Plinking Star Wars tune
In the cafeteria
Piano Practice


Cylons and Toasters
Battlestar Galactica
Will the humans win?

Thursday, June 6, 2019


"I swear I couldn't look away!"

"What do you mean 'couldn't'?"

"It had me transfixed! under a spell! Entranced!"

"You mean to say you were completely unable to perform any action other than stare at the object?"


"Despite your duties?"

"I'm afraid so."

Sunday, June 2, 2019


"Well, who saw this coming?" one of the trio spoke after a moment's pause. Her companions shared a look and simultaneously shrugged their shoulders.

"Really, really? You two mean to say that we accidentally appeared on a beach that seems perfect for the three of us to take a nice, relaxing holiday? No planning? No intervention? No shenanigans at all?"

"Atty, we knew you'd never allow it, which is why I didn't say anything when Chloe planned it. That said, we're here and it's all in order, so you should just relax."

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Beast is a Metaphor

"Oh my fucking God - it's coming right at us!"
At that, alarms started blaring throughout the ship. Panic was the order, though a few pushed through the bands of people in order to try to save the lives of everyone onboard.

"Try to stay calm, everyone!" our presumed protagonist commanded. "Make your way to the lifeboats and shelter unless we give the order to launch!"

The command made only the slightest change in the general demeanor. Too busy to be frustrated with the stupidity of the masses, our protagonist - a young woman named Laura, as I've written too many male characters recently - patted her uniform ritually as if some answer to the current predicament were hidden in one of her pockets. Bumped one time too many by the passengers, she pushed, climbed, and shoved her way onto the bridge.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Mind over Matter

"Try not to focus too intently - you'll pop a synapse."

The neophyte didn't acknowledge her senpai, daring not to spare even a glance. The object - her object - floated in front of her as a partially filled balloon. She struggled to control it. Her eyes burned as she tried to manipulate it; tried to push it left, right, up, or down. She was barely aware of the tears running down her cheeks or the blood in her palms from her fingernails squeezing into her skin.

A melodramatic approximation of a cough filled the small room and echoed off the walls. Startled by the sudden eruption, the student lost control and the object 'blipped' out of existence. Now it was gray walls, gray tunics, and an accusatory stare.

Friday, May 24, 2019


It had already been a long day. Another two hour delay was met with laughter - the whole adventure turned to farce early in the trip and the crew realized the futility of anger in the face of nature.

"I could swim there faster," a voice growled in the cramped cabin.

"My Grandma could swim there faster," another voice added.

"Yeah, but how would she pull the load?" a final voice, the Captain's, completed the trio.

"Heh, keep the rope in her dentures. Use her tits as floaties. Scare all the traffic out of the lane," the first voice speculated.

"Don't talk about my Grandma that way," the second voice, a younger man, protested through a smirk. "She's dead."

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

NSW State Library

Murky Streams and Shifting Sands
Thoughtless Mind and Aimless Plans
I haven't the slightest of where I am
Nor of where I'm headed


[Free Dinner]

I want some chocolate
Perhaps a kit kat bar
I passed a dozen shops
But none fit the bill

I hope there's one nearby
Rather not walk far
I just want a little snack
Before I get my fill


This Library's Nice
To hear people dying
The seating is great
The sounds are trying

Monday, May 13, 2019

Adelaide City Library

Shoe Shoppin'
Tip Toe Hoppin'
Bouncin' all around

Warm puddin'
Feelin' good in
Adelaide Town


Eyes on paper
Big small favor
Don the hat of
Word reshaper

Saturday, May 11, 2019

State Library of South Australia

City Chatty Easy Atty Friendly Adelaide
Clean Streets Cas' Meets Smiling Adelaide
Rainy Start Take Heart Sunny Adelaide
Glad I Spent Every Cent Gettting to Adelaide

Thursday, May 9, 2019

I'm Sittin' Here!

I am the thinnest person ever
I suspect that's their thought
As they bump and bounce and hit
And spill the beer I just bought

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Melbourne City Library

Fuzzy Brain
Foggy Thoughts
One Consequence
Of Many Shots


Another dying pen
Soon to be replaced
Astronaut Pen
Soon to be spaced


Typing Travels
Telling Tales
Grand Adventures
By Air and Rail


There once was a man from Melbourne
Who got hit whilst making a u-turn
His life 'fore his eyes
He quickly 'came wise
And his lesson he certainly did learn

Monday, April 22, 2019

Victoria State Library (Melbourne)

Bad News
Dead Shoes
Tired Feet
Traveler's Blues


Cozy City
Source of Pride
Almost Perfect
Streets too wide


Fifty Percent Bigger
In nearly every way
People, cars, apartments
The length of the day
Grown, stretched, expanded
Long and wide and tall
After six months of Asia
I suddenly seem small

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Osaka Prefectural Library

I am distressed
My mind's not at rest
Rather focused on trash beside me

I should write a card
I'm finding that hard
With this mountain of trash beside me

It's just an excuse
To avoid self abuse
My problem's the trash that's inside me


Dash off some postcards
Walk to Osaka Castle
Sit among the trees


Post card?
Boast hard.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Kyoto Prefectural Library

Philosopher's Walk
Cherry Blossoms in full bloom
Tourists Everywhere


Black library pen
Wood and glass and openess
Bureaucracy noise


Worn out and weary
Feet and knees feeling the miles
Nonetheless cheery


Pic at Nintendo
Ramen, sushi, Kyoto
Next week in Tokyo


Kimono Crawlers
Always in Pairs
So very common
Nobody stares

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Kyotoshiminami Library, Kobe

A Painting Alive
A youthful girl from China
Serving me Sake




The section's baseball cheers
All tend to share a theme
They awake a baseball fear
Of supporting the wrong team


Hungry Hungry Hippo
Skipped food as he go
Now tummy let him know
Time to find some miso

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Kobe City Library

Very hairy monster man
Definitely needs a shave
Stupidly he's being drunk
Instead of bein' have


There once was a man from Kobe
Who walked straight and yelled "make way"
While a neat trick
He gave it up quick
After getting hit by a car on the highway


With friends e'er drinking
and not often thinking
not a word written since Manila

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Crawling on the Ceiling

Smiling moon
Coming into view
As I float
Thinking of you
Geckos scrambling
On ceiling and wall
I am a moron
Given my fall
I sink in my sorrows
A pool full of tears
I’ll swim in the water
And drown in the beers
How could I believe
After all that I know
How could I allow
Love’s ember to glow
Smiling moon
You mock my ache
Yet we both know soon
I’ll repeat my mistake

Sunday, April 7, 2019


A familiar fat ballpoint brush
Paints paper once more
A last gasp, a final breath
Death knocks at the door


A beautiful beach
Shellin’ and shuckin’
What’s spoiling the view?
Two dogs fuckin’


I’d rather write tales
Than be a beached whale
Yet here I sit
Quite a nitwit
As mad as a hatter
‘cause I chose the latter
Opposite a beach bum
I am a sore thumb


I already miss you
I should’ve kissed you
I know I couldn’t
Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t
Alas, it’s not up to me


Gel pen?
Hell pen!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Bereft of Beauty

Red orb rising
Mists fade from
Mossy green mountains
A painting
A picture
A cinemagraph
As we wind our way
Through the valley
I become numb to beauty
The small invades
My elbow
My eyes
My ass
Beaten Bruised Broken
Awe driven away
with every bump
Are we there yet?

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


Flowers have left my Fingers
Dead stems take their place
Dry thorns rake paper
Trying, trying
To make life appear once more
Fishhooks yank at my eyes
My irises marionettes
Black spots fill my vision
Chaos, chaos
My future is minutes
My pen might be a traitor
The other book a spy
Who can I trust?
No one, no one
Not even myself
What whimsy flutters by
Fanciful, farcical, deadly
I have been drawn in too close
Escape, escape
Sever my head or pierce my heart
Alas it cannot be so easy
For I am made of stouter stuff
My torturer myself
Madness, madness
Another blank page awaits

Monday, April 1, 2019


I’ve seen this dance before
I’ve heard its music
Pulsing speakers
Grinding mixers
Shouted orders
Quicksilver saloon
Fast forward friends
I’m not surprised
Just weary
On the dancefloor
Eyes open
A part apart
Observing from within
Aware as I sit
Opposite everything
I’ve seen this dance before

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Muntinlupa City Library

Throw me in the water
Watch me sink
My brain a leaden weight
Now bobbing atop my jelly body
If capsized a cannonball in a condom
Watch me as I rise from rest
Slinky neck stretched
Dragging face on floor
The slime that is my life
Seeping from my mouth
Watch me as I write these words
Each penstroke painful
A train of thought stopped in station
Closest I’d get to a head of steam
Is if you throw me in the water

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Manila City Library

Dot matrix printer
Books wall to wall
Dozens of students
Having a ball
Portraits of men
Standing up tall
Just a few blocks
From City Hall

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Angeles City Library

Yes we have WiFi, use this computer
But I need it for my phone
No phone, computer, sir. Only computer
Well I guess I’m on my own


What’s there to do in Angeles City?
Get Lost? Wander? Despair?
With terrible maps and bad advice
One can do all of those there

Monday, March 18, 2019

My Radiolab Rant

I give up.

My podcatcher shows that I've listened to 279 episodes of Radiolab. It will stay at that number. This has been a long time in the making (obviously), but at some point the delightful edutainment podcast left and was replaced by a well polished approximation of what idiots think intelligence sounds like - the Big Bang Theory of podcasts. Where once I listened to episodes eager to learn something new, now they sit, continually being pushed to the bottom of my queue. I should have stopped a while ago - it is partially anger at myself for not having done so which is fueling this particular rant.

My first annoyance - the thing I always had to grin and bear to get to the content - is the way the hosts waste my time by speaking for the guests, often intersperced with the stupidest babble imaginable. A fictitious example:

Host 1: And so we went to Philadelphia to interview Simon
Simon: Hi, I'm Simon
Host 1: He's an expert in flags.
Simon: I live in Philadelphia and I'm a vexillologist.
Host 2: What did he say? Veximotoxilist? Vexipagoloist? Fleximotologist?
Host 1: Vexillologist - he studies flags.
Host 2: Ohhh, a vexillologist!
Simon: I like studying flags.
Host 1: And we brought him in to talk about flags.
Host 2: Flags? Like the flappy things? The things you put on flagpoles?
Host 1: Yes, the things you put on flagpoles.
Host 2: Red, white, and blue? The Star Spangled Banner?
Host 1: The very same!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Middle Class Doesn't Exist

Here I am, getting back to the roots of this blog (and, of course, not writing fiction). I was listening to one of the NPR political podcasts the other day which touched on the recent college admission scandal in the US where people - often celebrities - paid tens of thousands to millions of dollars to get their kids into elite universities. What really tripped me up was, in the span of a minute, the hosts talked about how these people were not the 1% (who "buy buildings" to get their kids accepted), but more like the 2% - which then they referred to as the "upper middle class".


I have a problem with the way Americans use the term "the middle class" - that is to say recklessly and indiscriminately. I almost guarantee if you went up to someone on the street and asked "would you consider yourself to be a part of the middle class?" they would answer in the affirmative. If you followed that up with a request for a definition, you'd probably get some wishy-washy statement about being able to afford some luxury every once in a while. It's a national myth that everyone's "middle class" and, I feel, that's harmful.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

South Philly

Hop in the way back machine with me to September 2010. I lucked out. Stumbled my way into a Federal career and picked Philadelphia as my first choice as a "Get Out Of Florida Free™" card. My rationale was that my sister lived here so I knew one person, and I had spent my entire life in easy suburban living. Dropping myself in a bona fide urban environment would be a culture shock, but like they say in poker you can’t win if you don’t put something in the middle.

Year one I spent mostly getting used to my new job and trying to keep my truck’s tires intact. They were only slashed twice, so that’s a win by Philly standards. Year two my sister got married, and the month before that happened I bought a house two blocks away on Juniper Street after realizing that South Philly is a collection of amazing smaller neighborhoods and not a bad place to hang your hat. But the thing is I didn’t really take advantage of that right away. Anytime I’ve ever switched environments - new class, new school, new job - I sit back, observe, and wait for the right moment to insert myself into the group. I think that’s one of my strengths and a key reason why I get along with the majority of people out there.

After two years of mostly focusing on my job and getting comfortable with living alone, I finally decided to venture out and try something new. Thanks to the local Philadelphia subreddit I’d learned there was a weekly happy hour at a bar two blocks from my office, right next to Independence Hall. Try something new, right? What’s the worst that can happen?

Here’s what I learned. The worst that can happen is you stay at home doing nothing and meeting nobody. But I didn’t keep that up for too long. In February 2013 I walked into Cooperage Wine & Whiskey bar and met two random dudes who are still amazing buddies to this day. And that led to meeting more people through that happy hour group. Which led to me getting more social and willing to go out alone and see what happens. Which led to me checking out a new bar called SouthHouse around the corner from my house.

Armed with newfound confidence I started discovering a community of friends and neighbors based around both of these bars. A few of the friends I met at Cooperage ended up buying houses in South Philly, and for the first time in my life I really feel like I’m part of a community. I’m 42 now and I’ve lived in 10 different states. Recently I realized that at 8 years this is the longest I’ve ever lived at any one address in my life. And that just so happens to be my very own house. Like Han Solo said, “she may not look like much but she’s got it where it counts.” It's no mansion but it's home. It’s a damn good feeling to sit back and realize that I managed to build a decent life for myself out of complete desperation 10 years earlier. Yeah, I did the heavy lifting but I also had support along the way from my mom, sister, family, the Government, and a few friends. I’ll never forget that.

At some point I even seriously stepped outside my comfort zone and tried dating, which historically has been a non-factor for me. Too many other things to worry about without that headache. Ended up with mostly misses, a fleeting hit or two, but I learned a lot and it might not have been possible if I hadn’t gained confidence from feeling like I was part of a community. My biggest takeaway from that was I realized I do pretty well as a solo individual. And thanks to the many friends I’ve made here I never really feel alone.

As someone who never really found a place to call home, it looks like I finally stumbled across one all the same. I can walk into a local bar and get into a great conversation with a stranger that just so happens to also be a neighbor, and I manage to fit in. I know how to order a cheesesteak without looking like a jabroni (seriously, it's not that hard, don't hold up the line). I studied just enough historic sports trivia to blend in with the locals who grew up with heroes like Mike Schmidt, Bernie Parent, and Eric Lindros. Most importantly, I’ve met great friends here and for the first time in my life really feel like I belong somewhere.

I wrote this on January 21st, 2019 at a local bar: Taproom on 19th. I spent most of the night keeping to myself, listening to music and thinking about old friends, as is my style. By the end of the night I was having great conversations with locals I'd never met partly due to beer and partly due to the openness and community spirit of the residents. One thing was consistent throughout the night: I was surrounded by the people and energy that makes South Philly arguably the greatest neighborhood in the world.

“Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a partner
Sometimes I feel like my only friend
Is the city I live in, the city of cheesesteaks [citation needed]
Lonely as I am, together we cry.”


Friday, February 22, 2019

Bong Dong Gong Hong Kong Long Pong Song Tong Wong

Childish Talk
Of drawings in Chalk
I'm given the tour
Now on pens
and Spidermen
My heart grows all the more


"Flying Pan": Racist?
Meant in ill-will?
Or is it cute
A mere mole hill?

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Why Brunei

Tiny Nation of Brunei
Still don't know your how or why
Visited your old museum
Education not the theme

Now I wander - need to eat
Itchy bugbites on my feet
Only days until I fly
Away away from Brunei

Thursday, February 14, 2019


I will never find love
I will never find love
I will never find love
I will never find love
I will never find love
It is important to remember.
Halfway around the world.
I am not immune.
Girls break up with boys.
Not to be with me.
Never me.
I am traveling by myself.
Not just this year.
I will never find love.
I will never find love.
I will never find love.
I will never find love.
I will never find love.

Thursday, January 31, 2019


“Hoss! Hoss! Open the fucking door!” 

I'm sitting alone in my barracks room on a weekend rocking a game on the PlayStation 2. Next thing I know I hear Bailey’s voice and an urgent pounding on the door. I open it and there’s Bailey, Farncomb, and the new rookie, aka platoon FNG (Fuckin’ New Guy) standing in the hallway.

And between them is an 8 foot tall wooden post with a Yield sign attached.

“Dude! We got this for you!” Bailey says. He and Farncomb look extremely pleased with themselves. I’ll never forget this moment. The FNG is amused too, but mostly because he got dragged along with the cool kids and clearly did a good job.

“What the fuck?” I ask. Of course, I understand why they’re holding a Yield sign. It’s because these are my two best friends and they know how much this means to me. I’m just stunned that it’s right there in Charlie Troop’s barracks.

They drag the entire thing into my room. Farncomb explains they were golfing on the neighboring Air Force Base and drinking one beer per hole. They took the FNG as designated driver so they could actually enjoy their afternoon. Price you pay for being the new guy, but the trade off is street cred among your fellow soldiers which is gold when you’re new to the unit.

I stare at this idol beckoning to me like a shining beacon that connects my past and future. The sign is red and white, fit to fight. Just like the U.S. Cavalry. 

“We were a good way through and then we just saw this sign,” Bailey explains. “But to us, it didn’t say ‘Yield,’ it said ‘Hoss.’” He waves his hand across the invisible memory in his field of vision for emphasis. Meanwhile, Farncomb is laughing along with me at the whole situation. FNG is just happy to be included. 

“We drove right through the main gate with this sticking out the back!” Farncomb tells me. This is extra funny because Bailey drives a 2-door Jeep Wrangler which cannot possibly conceal 8 feet of anything, let alone a full size street sign passing in front of an MP checkpoint.

At some point I had told my buddies about the time my friends and I “appropriated” a Yield sign from the streets of Tallahassee when we worked at Domino’s Pizza. One of my friends was pissed after a shitty delivery with no tip, and he got mad and ripped the sign out of the ground. We asked him where it was, then one of my roommates took his truck to the sight and unbolted the Yield sign which adorned the walls of our college bachelor pad as a trophy. When we all eventually went our separate ways, we left it with one of our friends. His wife eventually made him get rid of it,’s a fucking road sign.

But as I had explained to my Army buddies, that first Yield sign wasn’t just a fucking road sign. It was a symbol that my old friends in Florida had used to bond over one thing we all loved: Pearl Jam.

My Florida friends had been Pearl Jam fans from the start, but I didn’t really discover the band until right before their album Yield came out in 1998. I listened to it a lot while delivering pizzas to broke FSU students. And then we all took a road trip down to Fort Lauderdale to see Pearl Jam live. And I loved it. That concert sold me. Their music helped me get through a lot of tough times in my life, especially while in the military.

So I’m standing here at Fort Lewis thinking about all of this in a flash of memory, and all I can say is, “Dudes. I don’t know what to say.” Bailey and Farncomb just grin and tell me to enjoy it. I make quick work getting the Yield sign off the post and ditching the wood somewhere. I know I can stash the Yield sign behind wall lockers, but Sergeants tend to notice shit like a sign on an 8 foot post during room inspections. Out of sight, out of mind. The United States military mantra for success.

In this moment I’m really happy because my friends know how much the Yield sign means to me. I have a deep connection with Pearl Jam’s music and they went the extra mile just for me. People might think a road sign is juvenile (college days, right?) but for me it’s not about the sign itself. It’s because my best friends risked getting caught by Air Force and Army MP soldiers to get the damn thing to me.

Flash forward to 2019. I went though a lot of bad years and had to abandon a lot of possessions in Oregon at some point. But I never got rid of that sign. After rising from my lowest point in 2006, I went back to college, got a degree, and great career job with the Government. In 2011 I bought my house and that Yield sign was the first thing I put up on my wall. It’s opposite my couch so I see it all the time, every day. I'm staring at it right now in South Philadelphia, yet I'm also seeing it for the first time back at Fort Lewis.

Friends who visit my house just see a scratched road sign. I look at it every day, especially when I’m playing guitar. And it doesn't say, “Yield.” It' reads:

To Hoss
From Zac & Cameron
1/14 Cavalry - Never Forget

"Here's a token of my openness
Of my need to not disappear."

-Pearl Jam

Monday, January 28, 2019


I haven't seen Kuah Town
I've mostly seen my bed
Many hours I've laid down
Pretend to rest my head

There's gravity at play, it's true
It pulls me to the floor
For when I ask "what else to do?"
The answer's always "more"

I don't want to fight this fight
So, overwhelmed I snooze
Tomorrow I swear I'll write
But it's one more day I'll lose