Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Love Poem: Teresa Gilman!


Licking the roof of my mouth afterward,
I sucked the syrup residue, the sweet

cream sliding down my throat of his kiss, a tang
of sauce flecked with  ginger  scintillating

behind each tooth,  and it spread me out
into the early May dusk, jewelled through me

like a river in the sun’s last light,
circling and washing,  and slipped underground

into jagged caves, cutting a new way
into my song, like clovering bees,  a slide

of stones underfoot, the rearrangement
of  all  my  molecules.

                 for Jim

 published in “Roses in the Sand, Your Hand” (FootHills, 2006)

Bio:   Teresa Gilman thinks the more  the  work looks like fooling around doing ‘nothing’ the closer
it is to her real work.   She writes poems and letters, looks after dogs,  practices yoga, and misses people. A lot.

A new chapbook “Itching,  itching”  coming out this fall from Finishing Line Press.    Click on “Forthcoming Titles and New Releases”  , then scroll down the alphabetical list.

Poetic License Horoscopes for September 30-October 6: A Fresh Start Mixtape!

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21):  Rush (Big Audio Dynamite): “Situation no win. Rush for a change of atmosphere.” It’s not as dire as that...just let go of anything that’s weighing you down, anything that costs more than it gives. So very much is waiting.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): Thunder Road (Bruce Springsteen): “Hey what else can we do now except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair.Well the night's busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere.”  Take a leap-of-faith road trip on to your next big thing.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): Plenty Is Never Enough (Tenement Halls): “Oh, come out with me love, we’ll disappear in the evening light. Oh, come out with me, love, into a  world that’s sparkly bright.” Sparkly bright like you! Your constant wishes for everything are beginning to pay off.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Cherry Red (Ida Maria): “I’m gonna be your girl tonight. I’m gonna make you apple pie. I’m gonna wear my cherry red, I’m gonna give you lots of…” luck! Everything pretty and sweet is rushing towards you, dizzy and at top speed.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): The Suburbs (as covered by Mr. Little Jeans): “Sometimes I can’t believe it, I’m moving past the feeling.” Things you never thought you’d be able to forget, like the poems hidden behind the bookshelves and the heartbreakers and the fears, they’re playing a smaller part every day.
Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): This Too Shall Pass (OK Go): I know I’ve told you this before, and so has Ok Go, and we stars tell it to ourselves, and sometimes it seems ridiculous. Whatever you’re in the middle of always seems permanent. Watch the nice video with the Rube Goldberg machine, though, for whatever it’s worth.

Aries (March 21-April 18): Walking With a Ghost (Tegan and Sara): Whatever’s haunting you, whatever dramas you’ve had to slog through, it’ll disappear soon, float up towards the heavens like the perfect ephemera that it is.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): He Got Game (Public Enemy): “It might feel good, might sound a lil’ somethin’, but damn the game if it don’t mean nothin’.” You’ve managed to distill your lovely life down to only the most important things, keep at it.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): Defying Gravity (Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth): Belting out this song at the dinner table the other day with my sister was one of the highlights of ever, as was listening to children occasionally hit some of the notes during the summer camp play month before last. Pick something equally big and loud and belt it out with abandon.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): Ellen and Ben (Dismemberment Plan): “You know how I love a surprise.”  I really don’t like this song at all, but I do like the way it keeps up its hopes at the end, in spite of everything. Surprises do happen, so you really never know!

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23) I Want You to Want Me (Cheap Trick): “I'll shine up the old brown shoes, put on a brand-new shirt. I'll get home early from work if you say that you love me.” Do any little thing you can for love, and it will love you back.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): Roll Away Your Stone (Mumford and Sons): “Stars, hide your fires, for these here are my desires, and I won’t give them up to you this time around.” Stop taking less than you deserve. Stop accepting dumb excuses. Burn bridges if you have to, it’ll work out in the end.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Song of the Week: Ocean Size

It's an admittedly bratty song of the week. This past month, I've realized that I'm just a little bitty part of life to people that meant a whole whole lot to me. A couple of days ago, a formerly dear friend told me, that I am, in fact, "beside the point." It's been heartbreaking and humbling, but the teenage spitefulness of this song is a perfect catharsis for it. Last night I was on the 43 bus crossing the Spring Garden bridge, and I loved blasting this song in my headphones as I watched the water coursing over the art museum dam. Perfect.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Triads and Quadrangles: Let's Clear Out Some Bitter

A Polyamorist’s Letter to the Friend Who Accused Me of Wanting Him to Abandon his Wife and Children

Well, we’ve reached the stage of heartbreak known as writing an identity piece about it.

Dear _______,

Yes, I could have asked if it was authorized,
should have obtained consent from all parties concerned.

Ever since my crash course became a research project,
I’ve learned all sorts of lovely protocols,
but I’m quite sure they don’t translate
to every 2 A.M. couch,
and though I would never blame the whiskey,
there was whiskey.

And yes, I’m so sorry to say,
I liked being hidden in plain sight,
snuck into poems as stoplights, or windows,
or stars, or the reuptake of serotonin
I’d rather be the not-guilty thing
the one in the stanza about the pulled up dress
and no underwear, not the one thought about in code
two stanzas before.

It’s terrible, yes, even after I knew
I sent a few love notes, and liked receiving them.
We wrote love poems out of our Scrabble words
and had whole musical meta-conversations
via walls and You Tube links
until every mistress movie played in my head and we called it a day.
Nobody thought my side-project jokes were funny.

But friend, I’ve been reading your first drafts
for four years, and I have loved your family
for exactly that long.
You taught me how to sing your daughters to sleep.
We’ve co-written funerals, housefires,
and revelatory road trips
since you first sent me a friend-of-a-friend
friend request.
I used to live in the family car as a mix tape,
and I’m certain I no longer do.

You are the only one
I have ever taken out a paragraph for.
Here it is, unredacted:

“And I had such an epiphany a little while ago when he posted a beautiful poem about his wife. I guess I thought I might be jealous, but I read it anyway. And a little latch-box opened in my heart and the sun shined out. I was/am genuinely happy that he’s in his real life, loving and loved and writing hot poems for her.”

Some very nice people
made up a very nice word for that.
I don’t think I’ll tell you what it is.

You said something about wanting me
to make your world bigger.
Here’s what I want you to know about that,
but won’t tell you:

1. I am not a window or a star
just a woman as much as your wife and your daughters
with hormones and a stupid clock
and the tendency to want to talk things through. A lot.

2. I know through the magic of poetry that your wife is a top.
The next time you get the urge
to visit the driver’s seat,
remember that the submissive heart
beating beneath you is real
and capable of sending needy texts.
If you can’t answer them, climb off.

3. I will never ask you to give up anything.
If we ever make it back to friendship,
try to remember who I am.

I will never have another friend
to whom I can’t send Xes and Os
to whom I can’t say
“I love you.”
Anyone who expects me to be less
than completely fucking adorable
can just go ahead and fuck off.

I’ll still think of you every April.
I’ll thank you every spring
for everything you taught me
about fidelity.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Love Poem: Rico Frederick!

Kissing A Botanist

In the gesture of
night air flirting

With strands of conk hair 
stranded on her forehead.

A flock of fingers
         swooning the cliff of her face.

Love is an ocean riffing notes
in a drowning man’s lungs.

I am a man,    Hunger for passion 
Easily persuaded to stay home.

She has put all her wary trust on my lap.
All her dinner plates in my stomach.

Evening calls out from the window
but the T.V. has other ideas for our heads.

Hands content with the botany of warm skin.
Legs pretzel into comfort.

We are a collusion of better ambitions.
Jigsaw puzzles with a drunk conscience.

When we finally gave into
the daylight sipping us awake.

We knew lastnight,     we gave the street 
lamps something glorious
to look at.

Rico Frederick is the first poet ever to represent all Four New York City poetry venues, at the National Poetry Slam.  He is a three-time Nuyorican Grand Slam Finalist, a three-time Urbana Grand Slam Finalist and the 2010 Grand Slam Champion of LouderARTS Project. Intangibles Grand Slam Finalist 2011. He has also taken his humble heartbeat to numerous universities, hospitals, bars, coffee shops and the Q-train. He calls Jersey City home base.
He is a lover of gummy worms & pistachio ice cream.

Poetic License Horoscopes for September 23-29

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21):  If you can’t tell your support group that you’re sick of support groups, then who can you tell? Take some time away from bonding and delving and just paint, or dance, or run. This is always the way that things start to untangle.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): Spend each morning writing to the divine whatever, to physics, to the clouds, to the river—whatever force might be able to propel you forward. Don’t be afraid to ask for everything.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): To the Sagittarius in Austin, soaking up sunbeams—are the pancakes warm? Are the readings full of humor and adorable accents? How is the book-writing going? The stars are always thinking of you and hoping it feels like home.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): You’ve always known how to walk away at the right times and walk toward something wholly better—that’s why your life is so enchanted. Can you teach the stars this talent, Leaps of Faith for Beginners?

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): Aquarius is closed this week for renovations. The stars apologize for the inconvenience and welcome your requests.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): The stars like to picture you on tour, typing witty observations into your telephone, reading at the front of churches and the back of bookstores, opening the window to let the highway air in, playing DJ for the travel songs. Have a safe trip and please send us a postcard.

Aries (March 21-April 18): This week, listen to Such Great Heights, both the Postal Service and Iron and Wine versions. That’s where we’re going, darling, and the stars songs are always with you.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): To the Taurus settling into a new job: may you always be needed. May the time flow by like magic. May you walk home feeling satisfyingly tired. May you decorate the new space with beautiful things.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): The stars see apple picking in your future, and mum-shopping, and the consuming of maple candy. Run with adorable children through aster-strewn vistas. Watch the leaves start to change. Enjoy the love and bright colors, it’s everything.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): To the Cancer who called about the sky in New Mexico, thanks. I was feeling claustrophobic and your travels set me free a little. Thank you for hinting at new possibilities.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): Dance at your friends’ wedding and think about connection—how much love the couple has, and how much each guest has, and so on, until it’s all a big squishy fractal of love. No, the stars are not high.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): “However confused the scene of our life appears, however torn we may be who now face that scene, it can be faced, and we can go on to be whole.”(Muriel Rukeyser)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Love FTW

A few weeks ago at the Friday Love Poems anthology reading, my friend John Beck introduced his poem by saying that Amy and I were the couple who inspired him to get married. This was surprising for a number of reasons, not least because my wedding ring had almost just gone down the sink.

I don’t wear my wedding ring very often, but I was wearing it last Saturday as we drove to John and Carol’s wedding. I was listening to a mix I made for my friend Sam and a mix he made for me. Amy was next to me and we were both in our wholesome wedding clothes. I had a moment when I thought “Maybe my life isn’t falling apart. Maybe it’s coming together.” I don’t quite feel like that today, but it was nice to visit the feeling.

To give you an idea of how awesome the couple is, the table numbers were spelled out in Scrabble tiles, and I heard that they were up late the night before playing board games.

My favorite part of the whole day (besides getting to visit my Grandmom after!) was during the couple’s first dance. Carol told me later that they’d forgotten their steps, but all I noticed was that they bantered and laughed through the whole song. It got me thinking about how much each guest loves the bride and groom, and how many people love each guest, and so on. Yes, I was full of my new-favorite-old-timey-drink-to-order, the Tom Collins, but still. We’re all really so lucky and safe.

Thanks for including us in your day, friends. Let’s plan a game night soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Submit/Order Friday Love Poems!

Hi Loves,

Just a snuggly reminder that The Serotonin Factory is always looking for love poems, and that my definition of a love poem is pretty broad. Here's how to submit!

Also, if you haven't had a chance to order the Friday Love Poems anthology (Turtle Ink Press) yet, you should! It's a doozie. You can order it on the PayPal link on the right side of the page.

All proceeds are being donated to The Attic Youth Center.

"The Attic creates opportunities for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth to develop into healthy, independent, civic-minded adults within a safe and supportive community, and promotes the acceptance of LGBTQ youth in society."

Here's my list of superstar poets once again:

  1. Morning Under Water by Courtney Bambrick
  2. Summer Smile by Peter Baroth
  3. The Roomie is a Rayleigh Scattering by Sean Battle
  4. Untitled by John Beck
  5. Spin Cycle by Tara Betts
  6. Old Love by Tony Brown
  7. For Those About to Plan Weddings, We Salute You by Jane Cassady
  8. The Silver Church by Lillian Dunn
  9. Foreign Particles by Dan Elman
  10. Rock and Roll Moon by Jennifer Gigantino
  11. In the Rooms of Evening by Teresa Gilman
  12. Impact by Kevin Hageman
  13. An American Love Song by Victor D. Infante
  14. Descent by Warren Longmire
  15. I love science. I love science. I love science. I love science. by Shannon Maney-Magnuson 
  16. A Desperate Stonewall Love Poem for Nikki G by J Mase III
  17. When The Gardner Loved Houdini by Amanda Mathews and Andy Bowen
  18. Host Like by Bonnie MacAllister
  19. Page of Rods: road song by Marty McConnell
  20. A Study in Sparkly Vampire/Werewolf Geometry by Hannah McDonald
  21. Tasty Grapes by Daniel McGinn
  22. Last Love by Rachel McKibbens
  23. Sentence Structure: A Love Poem by Curtis X. Meyer
  24. Ode to My Morning Cup of Coffee by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz
  25. On Taking a Lover by Shappy Seasholtz
  26. No Big Secret by Elliott D. Smith
  27. Immodest Proposal by Rob Sturma


Monday, September 19, 2011

Motivation Mondays: No Crazymakers

 “If you are involved now with a crazymaker, it is very important that you admit this fact. Admit that you are being used—and admit that you are using your own abuser. Your crazymaker is a block you choose yourself, to deter you from your own trajectory.”—Julia Cameron

If there is someone in your life who drives you nuts, get away from him or her, or before too long, you will be the one driving everybody crazy. I’m learning that lesson the hard way at the moment.

Here are the signs that someone is a crazymaker, according to The Artist’s Way:

“Crazymakers break deals and destroy schedules.

Crazymakers discount your reality

Crazymakers spend your time and money.

Crazymakers triangulate those they deal with. (This is the most painful item on the list for me, as the crazy has cost me some friends lately.)

Crazymakers are expert blamers.

Crazymakers create dramas, but seldom where they belong.

Crazymakers hate schedules, except their own.

Crazymakers hate order.

Crazymakers deny that they are crazymakers.”

 For the past three years, I have been working under such a person to run the Philly Poetry Slam. I divorced the group last week and the effects are sad and far-reaching. It seems now that there were a million signs that I should get out, like the first time he sent me a blustery text saying that so and so “is to be taken off the mailing list and never involved in the reading in any way, effective immediately,” because one of the young ladies on the scene wouldn’t date him. Or the time he said that he “really didn’t give a fuck” what the owners of the coffeeshop thought. Or the time that he lied to our slam team for an entire summer about having registered them for competition. Every lie, every time he pulled the rug out from under us, every person we disappointed, I stuck with him because I loved the venue. It was a mistake to stay, because here at the end of the project, I am so angry I barely recognize myself.

I hope what Julia Cameron says is true, that separating from this is really putting me closer to my own trajectory. It’s really hard to see that now, but it’s worth a try. Sanity doesn’t seem too far away, I guess. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Love Poem: Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory!

Black Holes for Beginners

“i will love you til death, but eternity, i'm sorry eternity is reserved for the stars” 
–Thomas Fucaloro

In my dreams, it all comes out effortlessly.

You stroll into a room after a lifetime of awkward silences and apologetics
looking more Ferris Bueller than Mr. Rochester
your mind having finally balanced the equation of your insides.

Even though you still wear your paper heart like armor,
you’re not afraid of it flying away anymore.
Instead, you hand me the string of a kite
& tell me not to flinch if I pull it and don’t see light.

When the paper crane of you begins to bleed,
I feel the first bit of comfort in a while,
realize that vulnerability is its own kind of poetry
and decide to never trouble you with words again.

From this point on, I resolve to speak in science and stars
the only logic you have faith in
& the only things that haven’t failed me yet.
They are the breadcrumbs I throw up in surrender 
after accepting that someone else’s body can be home.

When you look at me bewildered 
because I’m utterly bewildered,
I explain that the first rule of dealing with black holes
Is knowing that they don’t exist.

Technically defined as the greatest possible amount of matter
packed into the tiniest volume of space
They are invisible to everybody but scientists
who turns x-rays into invisible ink
at which point you stare at me like I have three heads
but it’s okay
because you’re cute when you’re confused
and I’m good at that
and this officially isn’t a dream anymore.

You see, black holes
have such a high concentration of gravity
that they tear apart everything in their path
including common sense
and better judgment
and, in most cases, eloquence.
So, from the mouth of a disaster waiting to happen:
fall apart with me.

According to the laws of chemistry,
constitutional isomers are molecules with different rearrangements of the same identity
manipulated to function more efficiently
especially when bonding with other things.

I know that orgo was never your niche
but there’s something to be said
for rebuilding yourself for the sake of becoming complete
and not letting all of the messy things that happened to make us
define the blueprints of who we’re meant to be

so, here’s to bathing in ink
until we can’t remember where our stories start
and finding our way in the dark.

You bring the blind faith.
I’ll take care of the stars.

Bio: Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory is a connoisseur of carpe diem and light. Slam Mistress of the upcoming Pleasantville Poetry Slam in Hawthorne, New Jersey & editor-in-chief of the online poetry journals Borderline and Anatomy + Etymology, her work has been featured in journals including The Legendary, Breadcrumb Scabs, Troubadour 21, and Four and Twenty.  She wants to help you rediscover your heart, one syllable at a time. For more information, check out her website at

Poetic License Horoscopes for September 16-22

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): You are rich with epiphanies and new songs. Turn the epiphanies into resolutions and follow them. Turn the songs into mixes, place them in headphones, and walk fast.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): “Now, as you breathe in, say to yourself, “I have arrived.” and as you breathe out, “I am home.” (Laura Randall)

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): You may find your inbox full of offers. Say yes to most of them, especially the party invitations, no matter whose. Show up with wine and flowers for the host and/or hostess. Go ahead and celebrate.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): Things might be coming apart a little bit, might have to be restructured, but meditate as always on Tetris, all those neat little blocks falling into place—you know how to flip and direct them. You’ll claim the high score.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): I miss you. Let’s take a walk with your cherub-kids in the Upstate sunset, through the long trees of you neighborhood. Let’s watch internet memes on your big screen TV. Let’s make a cake for each one of your antique cake stands, and have a tasting.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): Congratulations, you’ve helped save the day. Thank you for your quick action and steady voice, your plucky determination and ready suggestions of music. Reward yourself with magazines and rest.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): To the Pisces whose book is coming out—oh, all the lucky readers, ready to know the periodic table of your heart, your footnoted fantasies, your beatific face. Everyone is so very ready to love you.

Aries (March 21-April 18): To the Aries starting a new job this week—you are as generous as the sun, stronger than floods, more lovable than mixtapes. Every reward is deserved, every step forward is lit up ahead of you, and not just by stars.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): Your songs still shuffle in when the stars need strength or to just chill out a little. We appreciate your steadying influence, and we’ll take more songs any time.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): To the Gemini who sent me a rude text yesterday: that’s no way to talk to the stars! Luckily, the same day, my telephone also received good luck wishes, good news, friend-love, and, for some reason, a picture of a goat. Those are the texts I’ll choose to remember.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): To the Cancer who likes jumping around to gypsy punk music: keep dancing. The stars don’t see the appeal, but we’re glad it makes you happy. You can dance around until all the loose ends in your life are tied up with pretty ribbons.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): Oh Leo, with your authoritative voice and your lists of perfectly reasonable demands, thank you. We need you to be our voice of reason, our steady heart, our warm sleep through so many instances of the snooze alarm.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Songs of the Week Part 2: A Lullaby and a Swagger Song

I don't know what a classic girl is, and I'm pretty sure I'm not one, but this song makes me feel all snuggly and loved. Also, whoever made this video is more emo than I am.

And how could you not love...

Resigning the Philly Slam

Dear friends,

As of last night, Amy and I resigned our participation in the Philadelphia Poetry Slam due to irreconcilable differences with the slam master, Sherod Smallman. We have tried over the years to resolve these differences but at this point I feel that continued participation would be putting my mental health at risk.

I feel very sad to be giving up the venue that I love so much, espcially since I'll be giving up the chance to collaborate with Hannah and Matt McDonald and MJ Harris, all of whom are wonderful and can make such nice things happen.

For the people I've booked so far, as far as I know, your dates still stand. I will get you the contact info for whoever fills my slot ASAP. I am very sorry to miss the chance to host you.

I love you all so much. Thanks for understanding.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Songs of the Week Part 1: Joan Jett's Androgynous

A very nice cover of a Factory favorite. It's everything good in this world.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Triads and Quadrangles: Six Epiphanies/Resolutions

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
 love what it loves.” (Mary Oliver, Wild Geese)

Last week, I was worrying over my poly learning curve: sorry boys, it can’t’ve been flattering to be compared to Intermediate Algebra, even if I do kinda like math these days. I thought that since I keep re-having the same epiphanies, I’d turn them into resolutions.

  1. This whole endeavor would be a lot easier if I could stop trying to prove to myself that I am lovable. Empirical evidence suggests that I am, and that really should be that. (Easier epiphanied than done, of course, but I’ll give it a whirl.)
  2. So far, the best gift of polyamory is the way that it has expanded my definition of friendship and brought me closer to my platonic pals—I feel so lucky to have so MANY people on whom to lavish affection.
  3. There’s nothing wrong or embarrassing about being crushy. I don’t know why I keep thinking there is. I think I just need to dance around to “Your Love Is My Drug” some more and keep embracing my inner Ke$ha.
  4. I’m pretty comfortable with the amount of attention I like (some to a lot) so I am going to stop calling myself needy. Not everyone can pay that much attention, and that’s okay, too. That’s why they invented other people.
  5. I will remember that this isn’t monogamy, so I don’t need one person to provide everything. That’s taken a lot of pressure off of my relationship with Amy, and it should take the pressure off my boy-wishes, too. Even though it’s sometimes frustrating, I do like practicing my grey-areas.
  6. It’s possible that I am an over-asker, but I would rather ask a lot of questions than worry or make assumptions. The one time I didn’t ask a question, things went pretty askew, so I intend to keep asking.
And here are the Pixies with a vote of confidence:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Motivation Mondays: Painting Party! And Gender Reel Was Awesome!

Hi pals! This weekend I got to volunteer at the Gender Reel Festival. Here's how the website describes the festival: "Gender Reel is an annual event dedicated to enhancing the visibility of gender non-conforming, gender variant/queer and transgender identities. As a festival, our goal is to empower artists, filmmakers, and photographers to continue creating works that is reflective of gender non- conforming experiences and identities. To do this, we provide an accessible and embracing multi-media platform where this work can be displayed." 

You know I get really happy whenever I'm surrounded by fellow gender-enjoyers. It was a wonderful day full of edifying films, good art, and favorite friends. I'm so glad I volunteered because it forced me to come out of my shell a little bit and talk to people I didn't already know. 

(I you're in Philly and looking for fun LGBTQ things to do, the Philly Trans March is coming up October 8th, and they have a fundraiser coming up this Friday! With pancakes!)

My favorite part of Gender Reel was getting to participate in my pal Sam's painting workshop. Not only did I get to support him for his first teaching endeavor and find out that he is a natural teacher, I got to sit around and make art with cute people, which is the best thing ever. It inspired me to re-take-up watercolors, and to think about planning a painting party myself.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Love Poem: Ben Trigg!!!

This is the only Friday Love Poem that has ever been accompanied by a picture of a picture on my refrigerator. That's the picture Ben gave me when I left California ten years ago last month. He is one of my oldest and best poet friends and I can't tell you how happy I was to find this poem in my inbox, especially since it is telling me exactly what I need to hear.

Lost At Sea
Somewhere someone is traveling furiously toward you  -  John Ashberry
Run. Do not let him catch you.
The green in his eyes is cloudy and unreadable.
You've read about his kind in the paper,
the haunted look, the dark secret that dares him to break you.
He knows the line to cross,
how to take you back to the summer you were 17,
when all you could dream of was escape.
The loneliness was the open sea
and you knew it would never let go.
Its dark water was as endless and black as an oil spill,
and no one could see the waves you made.
He's coming for you, so run fast.
If you're daring, run towards him, meet him halfway.
His eyes might regain the sparkle they had years ago.
You've seen the same haunted look in the mirror,
and you realize he's still lost at sea.
Years of isolation have left him battered,
anger the only thing keeping him warm.
You can see that he's afraid to smile
as though the upturned corner of his mouth
were a blade that's cut him too many times.
If you are daring, heal him.
Share the dream of escape as a dream fulfilled.
Take him in your arms and hold him
until the frightened child inside is calmed.
Hold him until he becomes the man you both need him to be.
Make your choice, but whatever you do, run.

Previously published in Don't Blame the Ugly Mug: 10 Years of Two Idiots Peddling Poetry available at

Ben Trigg is the co-host of Two Idiots Peddling Poetry at the Ugly Mug in Orange, California. When not at the Ugly Mug, Ben spends his time using a BA in drama to work in educational research. He's also known to be lost in a comic book at any given moment. He has performed throughout Southern California, parts of the Northeastern U.S., and in Texas as part of the Austin International Poetry Festival. His first full length collection Kindness from a Dark God came out on Moon Tide Press in 2007. He was published in the Orange County/Long Beach Poets Anthology, Incidental Buildings and Accidental Beauty, and the California Poets Anthologies So Luminous The Wildflowers and Blue Arc West. Ben was also one of the organizers behind the first Orange County Poetry Festival in 2002, as well as subsequent festivals in 2003 and 2004.

Poetic License Horoscopes for September 9-15

Poetic License Horoscopes for September 9-15

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): “You do not have to be good. / You do not have to walk on your knees/ For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting./ You only have to let the soft animal of your body/ love what it loves.” (Mary Oliver, Wild Geese) Nor do you have to keep trying to prove to everyone how easygoing you are, how little you need.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): “You may be my lucky star, ‘cause you make the darkness seem so far.” (Madonna)  To the Libra who recently decided to re-take-up poetry: we’re shining on your every stanza.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): “Want you to make me feel, like I’m the only girl in the world, like I’m the only one you’ll ever love, like I’m the only one who knows your heart.” (Rihanna) Yes, Rihanna, this is possible, even if you are just one star in a vast constellation.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): The stars hope you spent your last day of summer napping on a beach somewhere, resting up for the next season of growth and riches, friends and fan mail. The stars just love your famous face.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): You are dancing joyfully at every party, belting out pop songs with wild abandon, doing everything Beyoncé tells you to. This is exactly right.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): Stay up late talking with friends even after the party is over. This is how you will know you are loved, that you absolutely belong somewhere, as the hostess is washing the dishes and urging you to eat the last cupcake.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): It’s time to Google the Glee version of Born This Way, decide what your T-shirt would say, and love that part of yourself.

Aries (March 21-April 18): It couldn’t hurt to write long love letters to everyone who’s missing and tell them just how much they are missed. I don’t know who could resist such sweet hearted Valentines; probably no one.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): “Oh, to be in love with so many things at once.” (Elliott D. Smith) Love takes apart everything and puts it back together, even the most tough-guy dreamboats know this. Celebrate every snuggle.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): Even if it rains on the first day of school, even if the school bus forgets you, the rest of your year will be filled with bright faces and sharp pencils, birthday prizes and fulfilled rubrics. Happy September.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): To the Cancer who sent me fancy bird stickers for my birthday—what better way to pass the way-too-much-time until the next season of Portlandia than putting birds on love letters and sending them everywhere.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23):  “It’s like a different country, the past/ we made wishes on unnamed falling stars/ that I’ve forgotten, that maybe were granted/ because I wished for love.” (Sheila Packa) You are very wish perfectly granted, every prayer invoice, every secret whim followed.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Songs of the Week: Thanks Birthday Songs!

I swear I will stop bragging about awesome birthday presents, but I couldn't let the week go by without celebrating that I got sent these songs by two of my favorite platonic crushes. "Lucky Star" is, I think, one of the nicest things anyone's ever said to me on a mix.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Order The Friday Love Poems Anthology!

Last Saturday, I got to have the best birthday ever, because I got to hear a whole bunch of my friends read me love poems from the beautiful Friday Love Poems Anthology. Thanks so much to everyone who came and especially to those who read.

Amy put up a PalPal link so that you can order your own copy! Look! It's right over there! >>> 

All proceeds will be donated to The Attic Youth Center. 

Here's my list of superstar poets once again:

  1. Morning Under Water by Courtney Bambrick
  2. Summer Smile by Peter Baroth
  3. The Roomie is a Rayleigh Scattering by Sean Battle
  4. Untitled by John Beck
  5. Spin Cycle by Tara Betts
  6. Old Love by Tony Brown
  7. For Those About to Plan Weddings, We Salute You by Jane Cassady
  8. The Silver Church by Lillian Dunn
  9. Foreign Particles by Dan Elman
  10. Rock and Roll Moon by Jennifer Gigantino
  11. In the Rooms of Evening by Teresa Gilman
  12. Impact by Kevin Hageman
  13. An American Love Song by Victor D. Infante
  14. Descent by Warren Longmire
  15. I love science. I love science. I love science. I love science. by Shannon Maney-Magnuson 
  16. A Desperate Stonewall Love Poem for Nikki G by J Mase III
  17. When The Gardner Loved Houdini by Amanda Mathews and Andy Bowen
  18. Host Like by Bonnie MacAllister
  19. Page of Rods: road song by Marty McConnell
  20. A Study in Sparkly Vampire/Werewolf Geometry by Hannah McDonald
  21. Tasty Grapes by Daniel McGinn
  22. Last Love by Rachel McKibbens
  23. Sentence Structure: A Love Poem by Curtis X. Meyer
  24. Ode to My Morning Cup of Coffee by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz
  25. On Taking a Lover by Shappy Seasholtz
  26. No Big Secret by Elliott D. Smith
  27. Immodest Proposal by Rob Sturma