Thursday, December 29, 2011

Poetic License Horoscope for December 29- January 5


Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): If possible, throw a penny in the fountain in front of Cezanne’s Large Bathers in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Make a wish about the way light hits things. Study the blues and darks and shimmers. If you are not in Philadelphia, any fountain will do.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): “Without deviation, progress is not possible.” (Frank Zappa) Study the little ways to change the path this year, Aquarius, and celebrate the ways in which your pretty deviations have already been so fruitful.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): This year will bring you almost everything you need if you do the following: Get lots of sleep. Take a long time to cook supper sometimes. Go on ridiculously long walks. Confide in ones who deserve it. Write things down.


Aries (March 21-April 18): To my dad, who is a standup comedian but also on a on a day-job hunt: everything is coming to you, jokes and money, free time and slots in famous lineups. Remember the time you fist-bumped Richard Lewis? It’ll be like that.


Taurus (April 19-May 18): “Hand in hand is the only way to land, always the right way round.” (The Cure, Love Cats) Should you find yourself next to someone who needs more trust-falls than resolutions, be sure to catch her.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): “More Nellie, less Laura.” (Jean Gray, The Blame Game) It isn’t so much that 
you have to take up the habits of (as Alison Arngrim calls her character) a prairie bitch, but this year it’s okay
 to stick your little nose in the air at anyone who really deserves it, 
even if you’re a sweet little half-pint at heart. 
 
Cancer (June 22-July 23): “In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, / Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; / Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, / In the bleak midwinter, long ago.” (Christina Rossetti) Inside you, it’s the opposite of that, so go ahead and make more warmth.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): May you spend the new year snuggling, watching and rewatching beloved series’, and listening to your wife complain just a little less. You will find the perfect job, use your perfect design skills, and hit the snooze alarm for snuggling more times than you can count.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23):  “Give us the spirit of the child, who is not afraid to need; who is not afraid of love.” (Sara Moores Campbell) This year, you’ve made great strides in trust, so if you’re still nursing wounds from that risk, wear them proudly and then let them go.

Libra (Sept 24-Oct 21): “The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths.” (Bruce Nauman) I’ve lost count to how many times the stars have told you to paint, or make stuff in whatever way you like, but really, is there ever any better advice?

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22):  May the new year find you happy and snuggled on the couch, forgetting whatever has been or will be lost. At the moment, just go ahead and have everything.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): “Sometimes even frogs have rainy days.” (Kermit, Pictures in my Head)  If you want to, you can indulge in a little bit of year-end melancholy, because so much happiness is coming for you in 2012, you won’t even know what to do with it.











Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Songs of the Year: Muppets, Obviously...

So, my favorite pop culture moment of the year was when Jason Segel bursts into the classroom singing and then  says "Sorry, superexcited." But it seems like tempting fate to make "Life's a Happy Song" the song of the year, so to ward off hubris, I added some Muppet melancholy, as well.



Friday, December 23, 2011

Poetic License Horoscope for December 23-29


Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): You are a cookie-decorating contest. Awards will be given for “Jolliest,” “Best Wrapped,” and “Best Winter Wonderland Reenactment.” Decorate meticulously, get sticky and sugar-high, and win.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): Yours is the biggest family I know. May your holiday be filled with friendly cooking, emphatic children, and dear, unlikely moments of privacy and peace.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): “Don't try to swim against the tide. You want to be there, and you've already done so much to get there… this is not where you are trying to land. Follow the stream. You will be great.” (Shanny Jean Maney)


Aries (March 21-April 18): You are a miracle and I love you. Who could ever say no to that face? Have fun talking pretty people into things that are complicated and fun. And remember, you are so much of the stars’ strength.


Taurus (April 19-May 18): To the Taurus librarian who made a request: yes, you are nearing escape velocity. This is where it all gets easier. Your children will have jobs and spouses that they/you love. Your table will be full of long-lasting light. (Confidential to a pal: you are my “Red Rider 200 shot carbine action range model air rifle with a compass and this thing that tells time built right into the stock.” Best present, thank you.)

Gemini (May 19-June 21): For the holidays, your family will be together. Children will ignore their toys to
 hug you. There will be exactly enough meatballs, and everyone will love their presents. Most importantly,
 though, you’ll be holding the right hand(s) and happy.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): To the Cancer who called me complaining that all of the Christmas decorations at home make him feel like he’s “living in a department store, and not a particularly expensive one.” The important thing is, like the Muppets, you and your beautiful wife are artists of both joy and melancholy. Thanks for giving them both their due. This voicemail is art in itself.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): Like the girl who was frozen in a vault on that planet where fish swim in the clouds on Doctor Who, you will have a perfect Christmas day. Unlike her, though, your days are not quite so numbered. Find a million little ways for joy and peace, and take them all.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23):  “I wouldn’t even know where Destiny’s balls are.” (Henry, (Adam Scott) on Party Down.) I am confident that you will figure it out.

Libra (Sept 24-Oct 21): Mindy Kaling says that one of the titles she considered for her book was Sometimes You Just Have to Put on Lip Gloss and Pretend to Be Psyched. You’re already pretty psyched, but feel free to smile a little wider, to anticipate just a little more joy, to shine your beautiful eyes with hope.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22):  It gets dark early, yes, so you may be tempted towards unhelpful tangents about Frosty the Snowman as a metaphor for the finiteness of life. Instead, cuddle in, watch a movie or ten, and wait for the light to start coming back. It will!

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): “I do not know which to prefer, /  The beauty of inflections / Or the beauty of innuendoes, / The blackbird whistling / Or just after.” (Wallace Stephens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird) Marvel at the in-betweens of things, and let the rest of it go.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Song of the Week: Bert and Ernie's Merry Little Christmas

Even when I was a little kid, I got super choked up about this. It is one of my very favorite moments of Christmasness.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Year-End Heart Inventory, 2011


Sheesh, I looked at last year’s heart-inventory, and I was surprised by how sad it was. Even if at the moment I’m a little blue from the 4 o’clock dark, I’m happy to report that this year was s a lot cheerier. The theme was learning curve, and I’ve still got a long way to go, but I am proud of the progress I’ve made.

  1. I am really proud of my progress towards self-acceptance about being poly. I started of the year feeling like men would always be a mystery, and in some ways they still totally are (in other ways ways, I think maybe all I have to do is have boobs and occasionally stop talking) but at least I have found the courage to do some good research. I’m not sure where any of this is going, but I and so excited about how far I’ve come.

At my church, they do this thing where they give you a pretty stone to put into a bowl of water, supposed to represent adding your joy or sorrow to those of the community, I guess. Anyway, last Sunday I was holding the line up picking out three stones instead of one, and I turned to the guy behind me and said “Yep, I’m greedy.” In that moment, I felt like yeah, I’m okay, this is the way it is. I don’t have to feel worry or shame, and everything might actually work out. I don’t feel that way all the time—some days I still feel scared, rattled, not pretty enough. Sometimes being polyamorous just means more people to disappoint. But sometimes the light shines in, I’m just me, dudes are just dudes, and it’s all a miracle. I’m so grateful for the days that I feel like that.

  1. Last summer, during my first few weeks as an online student for teacher certification, I felt like it was never gonna work out. It was too lonely, sitting there in front of the computer, the grey of the discussion boards, the sometimes-dryness of the subject matter was deadening. I wrote to my friend Shanny who’d been through the same thing and she said:
“I found my education classes, with one exception, to be horrible. Mind numbing. Terrible. I did not have a trick to getting through, I just went, and then complained to Roy a lot. But here is what I need you to do:

1. Do not panic, and do not make it personal. You and I have the tendency to turn situations that are horrible into situations that are horrible because "there must be something wrong with us." Nothing is wrong with you. These classes are horrible.

2. Remember that you cannot teach without them, and with them, you get to teach.

3. Go with the flow. Don't try to swim against the tide. You want to be there, and you've already done so much to get there. It is a sick joke that "there" is horrible and stupid and a big waste of money. But this is not where you are trying to land. Follow the stream. You will be great.”
I knew she was right, so I kept going. Real-life work with kids, long walks, and a LOT of music kept my soul going to the point where I am now starting to enjoy the classes and feeling like I can make it to teacherdom. On the days I go to school-visits or the days where the library kids and I do something particularly productive, I feel like this amazing new whole person who can do things. I hope that I can do justice to the rest of the teacher certification process, because I am starting to grasp what it might be like to actually have a classroom, and there’s absolutely nothing else as compelling.

  1. This year, one of my biggest, dearest dreams came true: my manuscript was accepted for publication by Sibling Rivalry Press. One day while I was working at summer camp, Bryan Borland left a message on my voicemail, and when I called him back, he said, (in the most adorable Arkansas accent) that there was a problem with the manuscript. When I asked what that problem might be (all ready to change the heck out of it if necessary!) he said “It doesn’t have an SRP logo on it.” I squealed like a reality-song-competition-winner. He said that my manuscript “Touched him—sometimes in inappropriate places.”

So here I am this week, sending in the current draft, with a whole bunch added, to my superadorable queer press. I love them so much that when I sent my contract, I sent a mix CD with it. When we met Bryan and his husband a few months ago, we all knew we were friends for life.

My friends who’ve had books published keep telling me how painful the editing process will be, how much it’ll hurt when my beloved editor tells me things I have to change, and they might be right, but I know I’m in good hands. Also, this could be a case in which submissiveness might actually count as a life skill.

I still wonder how I am going to fit in a tour—school is so demanding that I may need a miracle, or at least a TARDIS.

  1. Okay, this one’s not so fun: about giving up helping to run the Philadelphia Poetry Slam, one of the most painful things about this year. It still hurts that I felt so used about it, and that I had to walk away from people and a project that I did love. But at the same time, the experience has been liberating. I have spent more than ten years trying so hard to be a part of the national Slam community, to varying degrees of success. I’m so proud of everything I’ve written and performed and especially of the amazing connections I have made. Some of my poetry friends may very well be in my life for the rest of ever.

BUT there was something so draining about having to try so hard to be a part of things, to be remembered, to count. Part of the reason that I hung onto the Philly Slam longer than I should’ve is because I thought, if I didn’t have it, my friends wouldn’t want to come visit me. That fear kind of came true: a few weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night realizing that a good friend of ours was in town and we hadn’t made arrangements to hang out. I was progressing busily with other things, but it still stung. I miss the poetry and the company, but I don’t miss the vulnerability, the desperation I felt trying to keep a bedraggled team on task, trying to wrangle a fuckwad slammaster into giving me truthful answers, trying to make people love me.

  1. May 2012 be a year of not trying to make anyone love me.

  1. I am grateful every day for Amy and my beautiful, safe, wonderful home. Every morning when she hits the snooze-alarm a million times so that we can snuggle, every Friday night that we spend at the grocery store, every time I come home from church and find her finishing up an episode of Sanctuary, every best-pal conversation (Even when my yammering drives her crazy!) every time we are driving somewhere listening to podcasts, every time it’s hard to drag ourselves out of the house because we just want to stay home, every single thing about Amy makes me so very grateful to have her. I hope that I can continue to be someone she wants around, someone who most-of-the-time makes her happy.

  1. Projects that were/are awesome: my perfect job at the library, Friday Love Poems, my poetry-lady job at Allen’s Lane Art Camp, etc, etc.

  1. Besides Shanny, there have been some friends who have gone above and beyond the call of friendship to help met get where I needed to go. I’m superglad that I have my various two-person support groups, and I’m sure I’ll need more, so be ready!

Mostly I’m ending this year feeling like a lucky, greedy brat who has so much of everything. I guess what I have to say is, dear 2012, let it last.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Love Poem (Yay, Explicit!)


Today's poet wishes only to be identified as Walter. He is so mysterious that he doesn't even have a fb account, claiming that it's "a long story involving The Exorcist and a handjob." He also claims not to be a poet, but I begged to differ when I met him last month at The Erotic Literary Salon, His blog can be found at  henrystrashcan.wordpress.com. (He says it's not at all love-related though.)

Love Letter

Every day at work I walk past a stack of optometry magazines with a mysterious and perfect woman on the cover. Here is an entirely inappropriate love letter that I will never send.

Dear Vanessa,

I’m sorry I just decided that your name is Vanessa. It seemed to fit.

In any case, maybe you could clarify for me what your actual name is… perhaps, over dinner?

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I’m shallow, that I’m only asking you out based on your looks. But actually, I can tell a few important things just by examining your face. For example, we both have prominent eyebrows, which will serve us well in our relationship.

Do you know why humans have eyebrows? I bet it’s because, back in the day, the monkeys without eyebrows couldn’t express themselves. Maybe they couldn’t arch an eyebrow questioningly at another monkey’s stupid idea to pick a fight with a tiger, and they both got eaten. The monkey tribe with strong eyebrows could communicate messages like, “I am surprised,” or “Maybe let’s not fight a tiger today.”

So you see, expressive eyebrows are key to communication, and communication is key to a good relationship. Do you know why people don’t like snakes? Mostly it’s the poison, but eyebrows probably have something to do with it. People would hug a snake if it put on a convincing sad face.

I know that you’ve been airbrushed, Vanessa, and it doesn’t bother me a bit. I would probably be a little freaked out if your teeth really were that white. It would mean that you don’t drink coffee, and that you probably don’t eat things, and if you didn’t do any of that then what would I bring to you in bed in the morning?

I really would do that for you, Vanessa. If you had to leave for work at 9 a.m., I would start kissing your neck at 8 o’clock, your tits at 8:02, your belly at 8:32, and you’d snap awake by the time I got to your pussy, and you’d peak down at me with half-open eyes and smile then let your head fall back onto the pillow and you’d start to breathe heavily and squeeze me between your thighs and I would suck your clit and caress your ass and you’d have a radiant smile as you strolled into the office the next day and everyone would know exactly why you were so happy that morning and you would be the envy of all your co-workers especially mothafuckin’ Stacy from accounts payable!

I’m sorry if Stacy is just a person I made up.

You look very wise, Vanessa, and probably about seven years older than me, yes? Well I want you to know that I’ve been with an older woman before, and I can handle it.

One time when we were gettin’ it on, she decided out of the blue to bite my shoulder really hard. And it was great.
I had no idea I liked being bit on the shoulder really hard. 

I wonder if I should credit that success to her being more experienced, as I imagine you are. Maybe she thought, “This looks like a man who enjoys having his shoulder gnawed without any warning.”

Or maybe she just thought, “I’m gonna bite this fucker. Bonus points if he happens to enjoy it.”

Either way it worked out well, and I bet you’d be open to explaining your weird kinks to me.

So please, covergirl for Eye Care magazine, Volume 6, Issue 1, I want desperately to make love to you. But in real life this time. I’m sick of all the papercuts.

Poetic License Horoscope for December 16-22

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): Dear mentor and friend, it’s been a long time since I’ve updated you. I hope the heat isn’t too bad where you live, and that you and the dogs are happy. Here, its time for editing, and for a little break from writing paragraphs about all the things I am not doing, at least for a little while.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Don’t be surprised if some old friends arrive at your holiday door with ridiculously-decorated cookies and Marcel the Shell’s new book. Here’s to a year of doing whatever Jenny Slate tells us to, to the oversize Christmas lights around your door, to the pretty woods you live in.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): If it shocks you sometimes what’s missing, write it all down, please—what you’ve traded in for the things you really needed, the new rooms in your house like in a dream, the adorable faces calling you “family,” and the warmth, oh, the warmth.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): Find as many versions of “It’s Cold Outside” as you can. I like the She and Him version and of course the one from Glee—listen to them all through the day and night, until your life is a marathon of festive seduction.

Aries (March 21-April 18): Hit on the girl and/or boy you like at the company Christmas party—there’s something about tinsel, isn’t there, about colored lights warming boozy cheeks. Get a little (but not too) Mad Men about it, and don’t do anything the stars wouldn’t do.


Taurus (April 19-May 18): “Yeah, you really got me now. You got me so I don’t know what I’m doin’. (The Kinks) Oh Taurus, just grab on tight to whatever distracting you. When you do, everyone will be grateful, and cheerful, and spent, purring with something like grace.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): To my sister, posting the Christmas Picture of the Day every day this month-what would we do without you to document us, and open you home to us, and let us watch a million hours of Big Bang Theory on your couch. Gemini, you are the kindest and best.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): On the most recent season of Bored to Death, the fictional version of Jonathan Ames went on a quest for his biological father and it went horribly awry. Your quest isn’t like that. Whatever you’re looking for, it’ll find you, and it’ll open you like flowers.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): Though we may in fact be too old for poetry shows in unheated artists’ studios, you make the best of it—drink hot chocolate, snuggle under a blanket, get a little warmth onstage. Soon enough, you’ll be home and warm, watching long spates of sitcoms.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23):  “More than a mere weariness, it implies the feeling of having been used, of being raw. It involves a sort of nakedness of mind, and, ultimately, of soul; a feeling of being reduced to the bedrock of consciousness. In short, it means being undramatically pushed up against the wall of oneself.”  (John Clellon Holmes)

Libra (Sept 24-Oct 21): “Charlie Brown is a blockhead, but he did get a pretty nice tree!” (Lucy Van Pelt in A Charlie Brown Christmas) Whatever modest thing you and your friends can find, wrap a blanket around it, dress it up nice, and sing around it. You’ll always know how to make a whole lot from a little.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22):  Relax. Anyone near you is lucky to have you near, you don’t have to worry. Take a look at your beautiful face in the mirror. Think of some wishes that you would like granted, and the stars will do their very best.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Poetic License Horoscope for December 9-15



Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): Happy belated birthday to one of the stars’ favorite people in the world, Lori McGinn! Your coming year will be filled with daffodils, Lost episodes on demand, children’s craft projects, grace, and lots of family snuggling. You deserve to be a hug millionaire, don’t forget it.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): You are as beautiful and risky as camping on a second date—take this opportunity for very fresh air, hiking, and a warm-front acquaintance despite the cold.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): Sometimes I mix up statistics class with OK Cupid, and this is a good thing. Write as many notes to as many cute faces as you can possibly stand to, and it’s probable that your dance card will overwhelm you.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): Conduct an interview with yourself ten years ago, or maybe even twenty. See what risks you would’ve taken, what scandalous demands you would have made without thinking, what staircases you would have feverishly disrobed on. Be just a little more like that person.

Aries (March 21-April 18): Take this time to embroider all of the progress you’ve made onto merit badges. Sew every snuggle, poem, and promotion, and wear it all like a proud sash. More is coming, and soon, so you’d better be ready.


Taurus (April 19-May 18): I gave up online Scrabble because of a bad conversation there, but a Taurus pal sensibly told me that I shouldn’t blame Scrabble for this, and says I should take it up again. Think of everything you’ve neglected because of grief and consider taking them all back.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): Every year, on the night that we put up the Christmas tree, I make eggnog bread pudding for my wife and me to eat in front of sitcoms before tackling the untangling of lights. Add several made-up traditions to your repertoire, the more decadent, the better.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): You are of course ending the year with more milestones and accomplishments than ever before—years are like that. Cut out ten paper snowflakes for every new thing you are proud of, and string them up on every mirror.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): You are like a craft workshop at the nature center—wholesome, happy, pure, and prone to collecting leaves for their design qualities. Wrap it all up into a wreath and hang it on the door. I promise that no one will steal it.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23):  I learned from last week’s “Poly for the Holidays” episode of Polyamory Weekly that hosting a dinner can be a way of expressing one’s submissive side. I never though of it quite that way, but this week, feel free to be of service in any way you see fit, especially if it involves elaborate desserts.

Libra (Sept 24-Oct 21): On this year’s Christmas episode of How I Met Your Mother, ACDC and an elaborate light display came into play in cheering up a friend. To your friends, you are that many lights and that much very emphatic music.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22):  Like those teenagers making out in the car in “Manos”:The Hands of Fate,” you just can’t seem to stop kissing. Good for you! Don’t let anything stop you.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Taking a Break from Friday Love Poems

Well, dears, submissions have been coming in kinda slow, so I think I'll take this month off of Friday Love Poems. Maybe I'll start up again after the holidays.

Feel free to still submit, though. I'd love to hear from you. serotoninfactory@gmail.com

Poetic License Horoscope for December 2-8


Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): For those of us who fall towards the middle of the Muppet/human spectrum, asking ourselves “Am I a man, or a Muppet?” can be kind of tricky. This week, be adorably grateful for all the things at which you are in-between.
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): And speaking of in-between, courtesy of my wife’s Scrabble dictionary, I present to you the word ambivert, which means a person who is both an introvert and an extrovert. This week, take time to be a social butterfly, yes, but also time to cocoon. (Even though, sorry, cocoons are mainly for moths.)
Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): This week, catch up on girl talk, the activity, and Girl Talk, the dude who makes excellent mashups out of pop songs. On a related note, raveling and unraveling have the same definition.
Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20):  “I think Marcel the Shell is my patronus.”(Shanny Jean Maney) You couldn’t be more right. You sleep eight to a muffin, worry over loved ones who’ve floated away, and like to smile “because it’s worth it.” We adore you for all of these qualities and so many more.
Aries (March 21-April 18): This week, your advice comes from megacute Jenny Slate: “For some, having a thick skin means preparing for the worst—arming yourself for a huge battle. But that notion allows negativity to define you. Rather, I work to maintain an unwaveringly extra-positive self-image. Even when my contract wasn’t renewed on Saturday Night Live last year, I remained 100-percent confident in my abilities. One decision on someone else’s part, whether they’re affirming or rejecting you, is ultimately minor. You are your constant, and your opinion of yourself is what matters most.”


Taurus (April 19-May 18): “You're telling me it's in the trees, in the trees. It's not, it's inside me. You're telling me it's on the ground, all around. It's not, it's inside me. You're telling me it's in disguise, well use your eyes--it's not, it's inside me.” (Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Grey Cell Green) Now would be a good time to stay put, to go ahead and have what you’ve been looking for.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): “You’ve got everything that you need, right in front of you.”(The Muppets)Singing along to the new Muppet Movie soundtrack with my sister and niece on the way back from day-after-Thanksgiving shopping was one of the happiest things of ever. Be prepared for a month filled with moments exactly as adorable as that.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): This week, thank and snuggle all of your learning curves. My friend Andrea says that a butterfly has to fight to get out of its chrysalis, because that’s how it builds up strength in its wings. If it doesn’t struggle enough, it won’t be able to fly. This makes me feel better about my statistics homework, among other things.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): “The universe is big. It's vast and complicated and ridiculous and sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles... and that's a theory. Nine hundred years and I've never seen one yet, but this will do me.” (Doctor Who)

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23):  “Gonna walk right up to him, give him a great big kiss, MWAH!” (The Shangri-Las) Lately, forces have been conspiring against your tendency to overthink things. Just let them.


Libra (Sept 24-Oct 21): Don’t forget how much you like to sit and make art. Put on some nice music and get out your paints. Spend an afternoon just on colors and yourself.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22):  This is a week to make optimistic purchases including, but not limited to, lots of new makeout music. The stars would like to suggest A Very She and Him Christmas for those who are holiday-minded, and anything by The Shins for those who are not.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Albums of the Week: The Muppets and A Very She & Him Christmas

It's been a long time since I bought an actual physical CD, but while I was out Christmas shopping with my sister, I bought two, and they've been on repeat ever since. If you have an doubt about where we fall along the Muppet-human spectrum, just imagine us driving along belting out these:



Monday, November 28, 2011

Motivation Mondays: Advice from Jenny Slate/The New Marcel the Shell Episode

Friday morning after I got back from shopping/singing along to the Muppet Movie soundtrack with my sister, I was snoozing into the big holiday issue of Real Simple and came across this great advice:

"For some, having a thick skin means preparing for the worst--arming yourself for a huge battle. But that notion allows negativity to define you. Rather, I work to maintain an unwaveringly extra-positive self-image. Even when my contract wasn't renewed on Saturday Night Live last year, I remained 100 percent confident in my abilities. One decision on someone else's part, whether they're affirming or rejecting you, is ultimately minor. You are your constant, and your opinion of yourself is what matters most." --Jenny Slate

Of course, it must be easy to have an unwaveringly extra-positive self-image if you made this:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Poetic License Horoscope for November 24-December 1

Poetic License Horoscope for November 24-December 1

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): I recently went to a performance at the Circus School near my house, and it inspired me to tell you this: meditate on hoops, and silks, and ropes, balance, foolproof costumes, and funny magic tricks. Also, as always, sequins.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): It’s the end of the semester and everything’s up in the air. Plow through your homework so that you can get on with the festivities, the toasts, the walks around downtown under the snowflake lights.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): “Lose your mind, lose it now, lose your clothes in the crowd. We’re delirious; tear it down, ‘til the sun comes around.” (Ke$ha, Take It Off) It’s time to listen less to your inner Hermione Granger and more to your inner Ke$ha. Put a dance night on the calendar with your cutest and silliest friends.
 
Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20):  Rewatch the movies of your early twenties. It’ll be like a reunion of everyone you’ve ever snuggled with. Involve piles of blankets and lots of tea.

Aries (March 21-April 18): Thanks once again for lending the stars your swagger. If we’re feeling shy, we always ask ourselves what you would do and end up blushing and happily indulged. We really can’t thank you enough.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): It’s time to send everyone lots of presents, even if they’re metaphorical, all tied up in pretty ribbons. The rewards will be many, and warm, and frosted. Probably with sprinkles.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): Every year, my sister and I wake up early the day after Thanksgiving and start 
our Christmas shopping. It’s much more relaxing than people think it is. You can go to the store in your 
pajamas, get an eggnog latte, bring home the big, fat holiday Real Simple, then snooze/eat pie. 

Cancer (June 22-July 23): Count the things you are grateful for, yes, but also think of all the many people who are grateful to you. Nod them a “You’re welcome” or write them long, informative letters.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): “I'll love you for my whole life through. I can't stand to see you sad. I can't bear to hear you cry. If you can't tell me what you need, all I can do is wonder why.” (Marshall Crenshaw, Someday, Someway) Tell the universe every little thing you need, and it’ll do its best to get it to you.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23):  See: Aquarius.


Libra (Sept 24-Oct 21): Don’t forget that the stars take requests, dear, and I like this request to much, I’m going to quote it directly: “Just a reminder that I have to stop putting myself down and holding myself back. Also, that a positive and loving heart is a powerful thing.” Thanks for writing Libra, pal.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22):  This week, you are as reliable as The Beatles on shuffle—think of how few of those songs are actually unlistenable—only two or three. Pretty good probability.

Songs of the Week: Expanded Thanksgivin' Mix






Monday, November 21, 2011

Motivation Mondays: On Your Best Day

Just a short one today before I put my head down and slog through homeworktown. On that Poly Weekly episode that I recommended the other day, she said something like "How would you react to this on your best day?" and I kind of wanted to remember that. Things go the most wrong when I have a knee-jerk reaction to something rather than taking time to think about how things really are and do what I'd do at my most adorable. That's all. Have a lovely week, dears!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Triads and Quadrangles: Thanks, Pals. Thanks, Learning Curve.

"Each new connection expands me."--The Ethical Slut

Thanksgiving is coming up and it's my favorite holiday. I've been thinking about how lucky I am this year. Every connection I've made since I became actively poly has changed me for the better, even the heartbreakiest ones. Each person I've got to meet has meant something to me, even if they just added a couple of songs to my ever-expanding playlist. Some were temporary, some ended up friends, some are new and/or up in the air, but whoever they are, my life feels all the richer. So thanks.

There even may be reason to be grateful for the learning curve of it all. My friend Andrea says that a butterfly has to fight to get out of its chrysalis, because that's how it builds up strength in its wings. It it doesn't struggle enough, it won't be able to fly. I'll try to remember that next time I'm struggling with my math homework or, um, anything else.

Friday Love Poems: Steve Subrizi!

BACKSTROKE

I lay down on the cold wood in the dark.

My roommate’s cat stepped on me and purred.

She has cat asthma. I thought about snorkeling.

There are islands that only one of us will ever visit—

you barreling over the sand near Greece, chucking a frisbee through the rain,

me with my body hanging beneath the sun like a complicated fruit.

DEDICATION



Here is a series of ugly sounds that I make to beckon you near me.


Here is the hot stink of the Tupperware kept in my chest.


Here is the shirt that I wear so that I look like a person.


Here are the pants that I wear so that I walk like an animal.


Here is a bouquet of sparrows at your feet.


Here are the keys to my throat.


Here is your portrait in piano wire,
            in a squid’s last ink,
            in digital.


Here is the satellite that I put you inside.
Here is the satellite where I live.


Here are five stupid fingers.


I know where your left shoulder lives.
I go there when I sleep.


My imagination is a naked animal, giving you a glare
like you’re the one who ought to know better.


My ambition is the same animal with longer hair.
It will live in my house forever and ever.


Here is the misinformation to which I have committed.


Here is the bottle you were searching for, devoid of content.


Here is a letter to go inside of the bottle;
this is what it says. Please,
will you put it away inside of your room?
Will you take it with you into space?

Steve Subrizi is a New Englander. He has performed his work at dive bars and lecture halls across America. His poems have appeared in such places as The ScramblerNAPMuzzleMonday Night, and NOÖ Journal. His e-chapbook, Newly Wild Hedgehog, is available for free from NAP. He plays in a band called The Crazy Exes from Hell.
-- 



Poetic License Horoscopes for November 18-24

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22):  You are as comforting and comforted as snuggling on the couch in front of Mystery Science Theatre 3000: the gentle rhythm of time-capsule jokes, the Zen of B-movie (Or C- or D-Movie) framing, silly and soft as breath.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): Last weekend, I got the following fortune cookie, and it reminded me of you: “You will be spending time outdoors, in the mountains, near water.” The coming weeks will be like that, exactly like an advertisement for being alive. Collect lots of leaves and luck, and keep them.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Last week in church, the sermon was about learning the trapeze. It turns out, when someone is reaching out to catch you, you can’t just reach for them back. This is what’s referred to as “grabby hands.” You can’t catch them, you just have to hold your hands forward and let them catch you.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): “You change all the lead/ sleeping in my head/ to gold.” (Arcade Fire,Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) Yes, maybe I refer to this song too often, but only because alchemy is so important—let things mingle in unexpected ways and see what shiny things might happen.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20):  You are a flurry of breakthroughs, a hurricane of progress, moving as fast and as warm and as glowing as a galaxy-be sure you are ready to catch everything spiraling by. Write it all down and be a metaphor millionaire, swimming in gold just like Scrooge McDuck.

Aries (March 21-April 18): “It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart, but the welcome I receive with a restart.” (Mumford and Sons, Roll Away Your Stone) Life is always starting over, dear, beautiful and fresh.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): “Walk me all through you. I am not afraid of all the shades. We dreamed of faith.” (S.C.U.M. Faith Unfolds) It’s perfectly acceptable to lose faith, from time to time. It’s the kind of thing that tends to wander back on its own.

Gemini (May 19June 21): It’s totally okay to be a little braggadocio about your life, dear. You made it this way with 
love and adorableness and generosity and well-chosen songs. Write a list of all the things that are totally AMAZING about you. Make copies and post them up 
everywhere like show flyers. 

Cancer (June 22-July 23): This week, whenever there’s a choice to be made, make the optimistic one. It may be a risk, but you might just end up neck-deep in snuggles and/or publication credits.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): If all of your energy is suddenly fizzing, take advantage of it. Make out often and emphatically, write a whole novel, make mixes for everyone you know. Take advantage of the surge while you have it, then rest.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23):  “No one ever told us we had to study our lives,/ make of our lives a study, as if learning natural history/ or music, that we should begin/ with the simple exercises first/ and slowly go on trying/ the hard ones, practicing till strength/ and accuracy become one with the daring/ to leap into transcendence.” (Adrienne Rich, Transcendental Etude)

 Libra (Sept 24-Oct 21): The stars would like thank you for all the time you've spent listening to our secrets, for the all the miles and texts received. Never forget, you are generous and perfect, sweet as fancy cinnamon. warm as toast.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Motivation Mondays: An Optimism Day

(Amy says she was at a stoplight when she took that picture, so I didn't have to worry she wasn't driving safely!)

A few weeks ago, I was having a day where I was feeling kind of lost, so I decided that whenever there was a choice to be made, I would make the optimistic one. That little experiment has paid off in some lovely unexpected ways, so I think it might stay my policy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Submit Friday Love Poems! Eek, I've run out!

Amy's says I should post "I'm All Out Of Love" whenever I run out of Friday Love Poems, but I wouldn't do that to you. Well, maybe I would. But really, you should send some. I have a really broad definition of what constitutes a love poem, but I'll get really excited if you are writing from a queer and/or polyamorous perspective. Send as many poems as you'd like, in the body of an email along with your bio and a picture. It can be a picture of your or just a pretty something that goes with the poem.

My email address is serotoninfactory@gmail.com


XOXOXOXOXOXOXO and have a happy weekend full of snuggles.

Poetic License Horoscope for November 11-17

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22):  Happy birthday! This week, meditate on TV shows about cupcakes: The sudden ubiquitousness of red velvet, the intricacies of frosting roses, the elaborate themed showpieces displaying an array of sweetness, that’s you.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” (Semisonic, Closing Time) This week, and every week, really, let one thing go and let one new thing start, even if it’s  trying a new recipe or getting attached to a new sitcom, it’s a little way to keep starting life over.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Take whatever you did with your extra daylight savings time and invest it—even if it pays dividends of dancing or of extra sleep, you’ll be rich with it soon enough.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): To the Aquarius who asked a boy nicely to kiss her—good for you. Whatever softness you’ve gained, whatever future snuggles, can be attributed to the bravery of (ever so politely) claiming something cute for yourself.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20):  However vexing or important the dreams are that are stubbornly refusing to come true, take time this week to celebrate the ones that are already yours. Collect hugs and snapshots, and wholesome tourist experiences. The other dreams are watching you through the Lost-mirror lighthouse and waiting for their time, we promise.

Aries (March 21-April 18): “And all the children walking home past the factories/ can see the light that’s shining in my window as I write this song to you/ and all the cars running fast along the interstate/ can feel the love that radiates, illuminating what I know is true.” (Gabe Dixon, All Will Be Well) Like the characters on last week’s Parks and Recreation, pretend it’s the last night on earth, and do everything you’ve ever wanted to do.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): To the Taurus who’s been sending me like a million songs that help keep my brain alive in times of too much homework: Brian Eno’s Baby’s on Fire was especially helpful, and so was the Le Tigre and the concert footage of Kiss doing Detroit Rock City. Gold star to you, sit. and sorry for the autotune I sometimes send in return.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): It may seem a little bit early, but it’s time to firm up your plans to go see The Muppet Movie with the family over Thanksgiving break. Jason Segel! Has a roommate! Who is! A muppet! He is a FAN of Muppets who also IS a muppet, which is confusing, but apt, and reminds me of you. (Of whom I am a fan)

Cancer (June 22-July 23): You are like a poem that can be used for a million lesson plans, photocopied for children, parsed out on the overhead projector, an introduction to the mathematics of color and the science of prisms. You are always the entire spectrum, and so edifying.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): “this fucking/ Scotch is/ great./ let’s play/ Scrabble.” (Charles Bukowski, Pulled Down Shade) Even if it’s dealt you the occasional bad pew in the past, Scrabble is wonderful to have in the house, like love.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23):  “The world is a bloodrush of rough harmony.” (Ali Smith, There But for The) You’ll pick out the notes that jostle you awake, that jangle your soul. Don’t stop listening until you find them all.

Libra (Sept 24-Oct 21): “If you had the courage and/ Could give the Beloved his choice, some nights,/ He would just drag you around the room,/ By your hair,/ Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world/ That bring you no joy.” (Hafiz, Tired of Speaking Sweetly)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Songs of the Week Part Three: LMFAO+ Brian Eno

I'm drawn to this combination of songs like Buffy was drawn to Spike. 

They find themselves next to each other in my iPod due to a confluence of couple of good bad influences, including the new Beavis and Butthead, which I wholeheartedly endorse. Seeing them watch MGMT did my slacker heart good. Seeing them watch LMFAO made me, well, you know.

You can skip the zombie plotline if you want to--the song starts about two minutes in.


Songs of the Week Part Two: Pleasant Ones From the Thursday Shows

Last week on Parks and Recreation, everyone was living as if it was the last night on earth. April and Andy decided to drive to the Grand Canyon and April couldn't even find anything to be annoyed with.

On The Office, Andy decided to end every work day with one of my favorite Nineties pop songs. I've decided to do the same at the library whenever possible.



Songs of the Week Part One: Faith Unfolds

Monday, November 7, 2011

Motivation Mondays: Oh, Hafiz, Oh My...

Sometimes being Unitarian is awesome. Like when you hear this poem in church.


TIRED OF SPEAKING SWEETLY
Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,
Break all our teacup talk of God.
If you had the courage and
Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,
He would just drag you around the room
By your hair,
Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world
That bring you no joy.
Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly
And wants to rip to shreds
All your erroneous notions of truth
That make you fight within yourself, dear one,
And with others,
Causing the world to weep
On too many fine days.
God wants to manhandle us,
Lock us inside of a tiny room with Himself
And practice His dropkick.
The Beloved sometimes wants
To do us a great favor:
Hold us upside down
And shake all the nonsense out.
But when we hear
He is in such a “playful drunken mood”
Most everyone I know
Quickly packs their bags and hightails it
Out of town.
~ Hafiz ~

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Love Poems: Kat Guarascio!

Your Chosen Tree


Tall laurel stretched skyward.
These arms flail                        wildly,

always reaching too far,
serve better as branches,
break the sun from stony earth,
streak light across your face.

My hair,
the blending of so many green leaves

fall in phases of the year,

hides my spine in the form of autumn,
change from yellow                    to orange
to brown                                   to dirt.

I cannot be your lover despite clever disguise,
and I am too old to be a flowered bride,
whose petals you stroke and
call your lovely.

Let me be your tree.

I stand well on my own knotted knees,
my posture firm against the winking of eons.

Balance your steps
on my
rigid                 roots,

stare at my silhouette
blackened against setting sun,
touch my bark with tentative stroke.

My weathered skin
remembers past affections,
the words you carved
on my trunk remain there still.

And when I am no longer picturesque
and you no longer call me darling,
I will still hold
memory
in my gathering rings
and spout green leaves
to scatter
around              you.

Whenever you come looking
I’ll be where you left me,
happy to shade your head.

Take this token in place of me.
Be contented to wood and debris,
and regret not
your foolish play with bows and arrows.

Orange


You told me once,

when you
found me
at two am,

sitting cross legged
on linoleum floor,

pulling apart
sections
of an orange
to suck on the slices,

you can’t decide
which part of me

to forge
into a locket
so you could
fold yourself up,

held within
for always.

Katrina K Guarascio is a writer and teacher living in New Mexico. As an active member of the poetry community, she has worked as an editor for various literary magazines and small presses, along with hosting bi-weekly poetry workshops and producing various poetry performances, including The Smokin’ Slam, Rio Rancho’s only monthly Poetry Slam and Open Mic.

Along with many small press and e-zine publications, she is the author of two chapbooks of poetry and two book length publication previously released through Casa De Snapdragon publishing entitled A Scattering of Imperfections and They don’t make memories like that anymore...  Visit her Amazon author page at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0039T049Q