climate thoughts

the UN summit happen
people care about climate
amazon rainforest burns
backyard oak tree dies
Thunberg stirs feelings
people care about climate
peel the tinfoil off the
Chobani
rinse
“this goes in recycling”
wildfire season starts
a dog poop on the street
October second: ninety and muggy
October third: fifty and rainy
winter’s first chill
drizzle big apple
some im🍑ment
rosy cheek spank
香港 protests violently
us winners
won the hackathon
Thunberg is silent
clouds rumble 
in the distance
winter coming
people care about climate
you care about climate
I care
about frogs
trees
the experts disagree:
action?
inaction?
maybe pump
the coldness
of outer space
down clouds
and ozone
onto sweaty metropolitan
subway platform
jam pack
people care about climate
but disagree on how to care
how much, how often,
what’s possible and what’s
“just not gonna happen”
or is it
all brains churning
to solve climate
warming the world
like an overheating MacBook Pro
burning the leggings clad thighs
of some fit millennial
i’d probably
take too glances at
Waverly
on W 4th st.

walking in central park

Nadie me dijo
el dolor ascerbico del presente,
y cuando lo descubrí,
fue en un sueño
entre los dedos de mis pies,
bailando algo loco,
gritando su tristez
en disfraz de "un dia normal.”

I couldn't explain this in English
as I wrote the poem on my phone,
in stride, 
dodging tourists in Central Park,
not on mushrooms.

It was a little simile,
a beautiful stranger who
passes on the street:
you have to 
look back.

“I’ll take care of you,” the trees told me.
There were still horses then,
children
and yellow leaves.

“These are last fall’s leaves.” she said
And she said many other things as well.

When I started this poem I asked
"What would J.W. read?"
What wouldn't J.W. read?
J.W. is a halibut.
She is Billy Jean and
also she is not my lover.

Wandering poets,
brains all molten
at the pit of the wishing well.
Dip a bucket in me.
Dip a bucket:
my water 
is brine.

My water is brine because I held my tears
and her hand
all night
all those nights.
It took a
downwind whiff
of a 
more than two
port-o-potty row
to shake those finger tips loose.

There is fruit in my bag.
I just arrived at the reservoir
with its weird skyline.

I remember some questionable snot nosed kiss happened here.
He was too old.
She was too sick.

Are we trees or are we leaves?
We are leaves.
We are sweet skinned old bikini women,
shoulder straps down,
shiny and hot.

If there's anything other than drinking a bit
and walking the length of the park
poetry phone in hand,
tell me it!

There's fruit and a bottle of champagne in my backpack and no
I'm not making sangria.

Get your 2k a day from
someone else's sugar water.
This is purely recreational.

No I am not one of those
buff work out guys
running shirtless and lubed
around the Onassis.

But I am a poet with
two beers and a bottle in my pack
three peaches and a couple manzanas.
Everything is coming up
apples
this tarot reading.

I could retire to a bungalow
with a record player in West Berkeley,
could tear my clothes off
and somersault up
Central Park West.
But today: not.

Today I use the feet:
one then the other
and the thumbs:
tip-tap tip-tap.
My feet make the trudge sound.
Thumbs are making letters.
These letters
which by the way You
are writing
by reading them
and I am reading by
writing them,
and now You
can choose to stop.

Burning Man, Climate Change and Priceless Economics

(0) Preamble

I didn’t go to Burning Man this year. One reason is that I’m in the East Coast, feeling concerned about the health of our planet. I also wanted to use this week to write; to finish this piece just it in time for those coming back from the playa* to read as they dust off their existences and open up the screens of the default world*. This article is my way of participating in Burning Man 2019. 

The point of this piece is to explain why your burn matters in terms of the global climate situation. No, I’m not here to make you feel guilty for having one of the best weeks of your life. I’m here to discuss why it matters that you went, why it matters that you loved it, and to invite you on an intellectual journey to understand how your experience can contribute to the healing of Earth. 

Throughout this journey, I’ll appeal to your felt senses by depicting scenes and moments you may relate to, to show how Burning Man is not only a social experiment, but a portal into a future way of being. I’ll venture to explain why life according to the Ten Principles* can feel fuller than life in the default world, and how this is relevant to the Climate Crisis.

If you’ve never been to Burning Man or something like it, I’ll do my best to show you what these spacetimes feel like. I’m adding footnotes to any terminology that’s Burner-specific* with the goal that even my grandfather, when he reads this (which I know he will, thanks Granddaddy!) will understand the piece. Storytelling sections will be in italics, so if you are only interested in the philosophical meat you can skip them. 

Ultimately I want to highlight the unique gift you have been given in attending the Burn: the delicious felt experience of existing in an alternative society built on priceless economics. I do this to challenge each of us to imagine how we can start to bring that futuristic way of being into the present; to leverage this felt-sense in navigating towards a more sustainable future.


(1) In the Deepest Darkness, the Brightest Light

In the dead of the Nevada night, a truck rumbled down a small dirt road. It’s lonely headlamps illuminated the occasional shrub. Finally the truck rolled past the last little patch of grass, and the road began to flatten into a cracked powdery surface devoid of all life. 

Turning a corner, seemingly out of nowhere, thousands of red lights appeared in the distance. These were countless vehicles, lined up as far as the eye could see in the absolute middle of nowhere, hemmed in on every side by swirling dusty darkness.

The two young men in the truck waited eagerly for about eight hours as the line of vehicles crawled forward before arriving at a massive gate. A woman in a cowboy hat told them to get out and roll around on the chalky ground. “You’re not virgins anymore,” she said, hammering a large gong. They both looked as if they had jumped in a bag of flour. 

The truck rumbled on past the gate until a new light emerged — the entire horizon, glittering, flashing and sparkling in every imaginable neon color. The next moment they were within the city. Giant glowing insects rolled up along side the truck and revelers twisted flaming hula hoops as work crews hammered away, building art pieces that stretched towards the milky moon. It was a new world for the two young men — an entirely new flavor of experience. 

Over the next week they worked, built, played, danced, shared, cooked, and thrived, falling deeply in love with the priceless spacetime of the playa. 


(2) What We Feel is What We Know

Burning Man uses a set of rules called the Ten Principles. By collectively agreeing to live according to these principles for one week, participants create a spacetime in which priceless economics replace the money based socio-economic system of our default world. If you’ve fallen in love with Burning Man, not for its grand hedonic spectacles but simply for soul-filling sensation of working, playing, and surviving according to the Ten Principles, then you have understood the beauty of priceless economics. 

Many people will point out that the priceless environment on the playa is a fantasy. That is true in the sense that the material goods which make survival there possible are imported from the consumerist default world beyond the trash fence*. And yes, going to Burning Man does entail a hefty carbon cost, from the countless last minute Amazon Prime orders to the millions of mile-gallons it takes to shlep a city to the middle of a remote desert. While these activities are unsustainable and planet-warming, viewing the Burn as a sunk cost is defeatist and unhelpful. Rather we must view the expenditures as opening a portal into the future that we can learn from. 

Our current model of industrial capitalism is unsustainable, so it by definition cannot be the future. The future must feel different, it will be composed of a different flavor of spacetime. If we let it, the Burning Man experience can give us a taste of existing within a possible futuristic spacetime governed by priceless economics. 

To understand priceless economics, it’s helpful to examine the effects our existing model of currency based economics has on our way of life. While we feel the inefficiencies of the currency economy every day, we have become so used to these pains as to become numb. It is only when this oppressive paradigm dissolves in a spacetime like Burning Man that we have a point of reference with which to contrast our currency-based existence. 

While the economics that prevail within Burning Man are indeed a type of fantasy, our use of currency in the default world enables a fantasy that is harder to recognize and therefore far more dangerous. This is the illusion is that we are paying the full price for the goods we purchase. In fact, the price we pay only covers the capital costs of a good. It ignores the time/effort (human cost) and global temperature impact (ecosystemic cost) that went into producing the good. 

A currency that ignores the human costs of a good is structurally guaranteed to degrade humanity and create inequality. A currency that ignores the ecosystemic costs of a good is structurally guaranteed to degrade the Earth and increase the global temperature. 

Today’s global economic system accepts these compromises so that we might pay a “cheaper” price for goods, adding fluidity to commerce while unwittingly opting us into social and ecological debt with every purchase we make. 


(3) Immediacy of Work

It’s not just goods that are devalued by our use of money in capitalist economics, but also our work. We are not the beneficiaries of our work. We work for someone else, for something else, and this work is only “for us” in the sense that we are given some money in exchange for doing it. Furthermore, our work generally is not seen and valued directly by those in our community.

In this way, money contributes to a story of separation, facilitating detachment between workers, their community, and the products of their labor. The consumer of the work is also not as able to appreciate the labor because the money price they paid for it acts as a buffer to appreciation of the human effort that went into the work. The result of this inefficiency is that many in our society become depressed and feel unseen, in part because their money-based work is isolating and unappreciated. 

Money also facilitates the ability of external interests to become involved in and profit from local financial transactions through lending, investment, and trading. At every step of the economic system where currency is involved, the end result is that value is hijacked from the local level by large corporations and the global financial system, leaving less of the value of goods and labor within the dense local networks where they were created. 

Of course working for money has downsides, but what is the viable alternative? It seems like a paradox that to work without being paid could be more rewarding, but those who experience priceless labor immediately recognize it as so. In a context like Burning Man we feel magnetically drawn towards work. The fundamental human need to be helpful and appreciated are the only motivation we need to roll up our sleeves. While Burning Man nearly guarantees we’ll have this felt revelation, a trip to the playa is by no means necessary to experience the feeling of priceless work. Other examples can be seen in the operation of certain temples, organ exchange networks, Vipassana retreats, platforms (ie: Wikipedia), civil movements and volunteer-run organizations. In all of these cases, a set of social agreements in a buffered context create functional local economies.


(4) Just Came for Build

Build week* of 2015 was one long battle against high winds and furious dust storms. Rae came out for that week to help build her camp’s infrastructure. She spent her first two days helping her camp erect a large finicky dome structure. 

On the third day the winds were particularly fierce. She describes a moment when the entire structure began to bow under immense pressure. It was on the verge of collapse when suddenly a man from a nearby camp appeared through the dust with a knife. He began slashing holes in the canvas walls of the structure, cutting certain lines, allowing the wind to flow through and easing the tension on the structure.

In the end their dome stood, thanks to this random act of engineering by someone none of them knew.

Rae describes these few days as having been her most meaningful Burning Man moments: simply living in the extreme conditions of the playa, building, working, and collaborating. 


(5) Money is Hot

We’ve seen that a priceless system like the one at Burning Man can lead to greater fulfillment through more immediate realization of the value of goods and labor. It’s a beautiful experiment, but why does it matter?

Our global capitalist economic system is destroying the Earth. Take for example, the current situation in the Amazon, where recent forest fires have garnered international attention. From the perspective of the cattle ranchers who are starting these fires, the land is more lucrative when it is not covered in jungle. They can use the cleared land to raise animals and grow crops that will allow them to better provide for their families. Their forest-burning may appear violent, but they are no more responsible than we would be in making the decision to take a job that requires frequent cross-country flights. The rancher’s participation in a globalized system in which holding currency is the only means of security, stability, and utility all but guarantees that sooner or later, they will make the decision to turn forestlands into farmlands, to degrade native ecosystems and replace them with economically productive agricultural  space.

There might be ways to reconfigure capitalism so that it heats the Earth less: drawing energy from renewable sources or taxing carbon emissions. While these changes are critical, and can slow the process of global warming, they cannot bring us to a place of truly healing the Earth. The incentives of the money system are fundamentally misaligned with that goal. Because of this, if we are serious about course correcting, we must explore entirely different ways of being such as those offered by priceless economics. 

Finally, we might ask, while we can see how the money system is structured to degrade Earth, how can priceless economics perform better? In a priceless system creating and consuming value locally is highly incentivized, requiring less transport costs. Less physical goods are available to consume and more emphasis is placed on self expression and even work itself to generate joy and meaning in life. Because there’s no incentive to overproduce in order to accumulate money, a priceless economy encourages the production of only what is needed.

Ultimately moving to a priceless economy means embracing a simpler way of life, but it does so in a way that can theoretically improve our felt quality of life. It aligns a healing of what is sick in our society with a healing of the Earth we inhabit.

While a better life with less material comforts may seem unthinkable to many, those who have experienced Burning Man or other priceless economic spacetimes know it is possible. That is why we must become leaders in navigating humanity towards sustainability. This is why it matters that you went. This is why it matters that you loved it. 


(6) Bringing the Future Now

I got to Prospect Park in Brooklyn around 6pm on Saturday. Near the entrance I found a group of my friends clustered up having a picnic. As the sun set we were about to head to dinner when someone in our group proposed, “Should we go to the Burn?” Prospect Burn was happening somewhere deeper in the park, timed to coincide with the night of man burn* that was happening thousands of miles away from us in Nevada.

Not exactly sure what to expect, everyone agreed to check out the Burn before dinner. As soon as we agreed to go to the Burn the feeling in our group began to change. We started walking into the woods and darkness enclosed us. We walked down the path shining our cell phone lights and dancing as we bumped music from a portable speaker. After about a mile of dark urban wilderness, we saw a little cluster of lights in the distance. 

The first thing that struck us about Prospect Burn was its tiny size – just a few dozen people clustered around in a park. But there were some large piece of art, and people wearing glowing lights. I immediately felt a sense of having entered a new flavor of spacetime. I was quickly split off from my friends, helping a man named “Party Bear” deconstruct a pop up shade canopy. 

All around us people were practicing decommodification, gifting, immediacy. For many of my picnic friends this was the first time they had experienced any kind of Burn. Wandering around the tiny but secluded area of the park, striking up conversations with strangers and participating in collective art experiences, I forgot for a moment that I was not in Black Rock City. 



Acknowledgements: 

I want to thank Vienna Looi for her enlightened conceptions of priceless economics, which formed the primary inspiration for this piece. I also want to mention that I recently read “Climate: A New Story” by Charles Eisenstein and that book was also relevant to my thinking in creating this. 


Glossary:

The Burn - Another word for Burning Man.

Playa - The playa is the name used to describe the area of Black Rock Desert where Burning Man takes place.

Default World - Burners use the term default world to refer to the regular world outside of Burning Man. 

Burners - Attendees of Burning Man.

Trash Fence - This is a large plastic fence that wraps around the entire Burning Man event for purposes of keeping trash from blowing away into the playa. Everything within the trash fence is Burning Man.

Build Week - The week before Burning Man officially opens its gates to attendees, many Burners are already on the playa helping to build the infrastructure that will make the event possible.

Man Burn - The large event on Saturday night of the Burn in which the eponymous Man is actually burned. 



can we call this a poem?

I can tell you are hurting and I am sorry, I know that this situation is stressful and worrying. I can also see 
how seeing my posts would be 
concerning if it felt to you 
like I was bum rocket ski hi dive financial 
Mercury pluot garment reduction 
elephunk Mesmer hot garbage campaign 
linked fire twat 
was unprotected 
no cleft nudge handiman absolute capital frank cheese emblem 
creative matchstick uncanny looking glass defrillbulator hostel comet 
slinging after "I don't know, I don't know. I don't know, I don't know." 
He got evacuated.
The island went silent.
A woman hung from ropes 
illuminated by the round red 
siren light of a coast guard ship.
Tangible metrics: nobody died,
caught or contracted aid's virus,
lost another chunk of sanity,
fell in love.

that moment when in the middle of writing, drowsiness strikes, the head droops, and the pen keeps moving


What also occurs in this space of moneyless relative scarcity, where basic needs are met, but luxuries are unlikely and can’t be purchased, is that we begin to prance around openly swaggling our poonzi-kooks
nothing more than a bunch of grieving nooziclerks 
or else a grammut of petulant mulberry thivs. 
Twirling our juggy buttumps loose wit old hamsmear kajingus, 
the funk within, without the place was muggy and damp, 
not doing his school work. 
fragments and pieces 
of it here and there. 
grim child clutching the hell and handle out a judas wrench - pencil, 
the perfect maelstrom contengecy 
in my arch and lardint cool respunktive geranium ass worldview, 
dusk in the Dorset highlands,
mammal calamity, 
hung punks heaving into lucky-loo’s, 
devil swiff, devil sniff, 
CHI FAN at the devil’s ZHUOZI, 
comming back to the red penicil, 
he was waiting there, waiting in a window for me, a young son, the protagonist of my film, rocking his torso in half sleep, as though caressed by some underworld god. 

The poem I want to write is bigger than your head: and round. 
Maybe inscribed inner ring of the hula hoop, cylindrical infinity hazard. 
Oops we put the “O” in hoola hoop. 
Oops we activated the ungsteen blooper infinity problem. 
Right now your eyes stay closed, ok, dear finger?  

I had my squirming oily parameters DOS’ed. 
Finger in the Amazon. 
No he wasn’t. 
No he wasn’t the man we who though was he or n’t. 
So yeah. Plam B is food, gone a little “ham ways”. 
Holy cow. 
we ate, 
the holy, holy cow. 
Holy cow, we what meat we ate. 
The Holy Cow. 
Yes We Did. 

So this is my dumn boem, and it isn’t “about anything”
it’s a rumbling rant through the pillin’ hilltops of everglade glen canyon.
Sweet me! 

fun

for the love of:
the good old fun of luck, 
the love of fun, 
the life of fun, 
the good old brand of fun, 
the happy fun, 
the funnest of fun times, 
the fun you want to have, 
or the fun fun fun for everyone that fun never left behind!

On "Climate: A New Story"

In the past few months I have been trying to ask myself, “what truly motivates you?” and “what cause would you be willing to make major sacrifices for?” One compelling answer for me is the beauty of the natural world.

Human activities are overwhelmingly pushing the planet in a direction where that natural beauty is being destroyed. As a human I am participating in that destruction. This does not feel ok to me. I feel motivated to take action that makes me healing force for the natural world. I would be willing to make sacrifices for this. 

But how? In such a large, complicated world, how can one orient themselves and their actions in such a way as to know, as best as possible, that what they are doing does in fact have a positive impact? 

In my quest to answer these questions I picked up the book “Climate: A New Story” by Charles Eisenstein, which was recommended to me by a friend. 

Eisenstein’s book offers, as the title suggests, a “new story” on the situation of ecological destruction and climate change. I found his perspective very motivating, and I’ll spend most of this piece summarizing or reflecting on points he made in the book.

Before I discuss the “new story” however, I’d like to mention the current story from which Eisenstein seeks to draw a contrast. A simplified version is this: Industrial humanity has an addiction to energy. In our quest for energy, we do things (such as burning fossil fuels) that release carbon into the atmosphere. This causes the planet to get hotter, which creates a vicious cycle of increasing heat. At the higher temperatures, forests dry up, sea levels rise, ecosystems fail, and increasingly, survival becomes difficult for humans, too. 

This story reduces the problem of an unhealthy planet into a single number that allows us to feel like we can quantify, offset, and eventually control the quality of the environment. The simplification is useful in that it allows all of us to pull together at a time of extreme urgency around global warming. By some estimates there may be only 2-3 years before an inflection point in warming makes it essentially impossible to come back to today's temperature baseline. 

Indeed, many have signed on to this story and are doing what they can to reduce atmospheric carbon and cool the planet. Yet there are many others for whom this current narrative has yet to convince them to change course. There are many reasons for this. It could be that they feel alienated by the divisive politics that surround climate change, that they are too overwhelmed by the scope of the problem to feel like any one human's actions can have an impact, or simply that they feel it is already too late.

I never want to think of Earth as a lost cause. Even if we do reach a point where cooling to pre-industrial levels is all but impossible, there will always be something that we can do as individuals to improve the quality of the ecosystems that surround us. As such, while our current narrative offers a clear short term directive to address climate, I find myself wondering if there is another approach which could offer a framework for meaningful action in a future where the global temperature situation may feel hopelessly out of control.

To begin with, Eisenstein questions whether the current carbon-centric narrative for climate action has us rowing in the right direction at all. Consider the following thought experiment, in which Eisenstein hopes to show why optimizing for carbon or temperature reduction alone may not be our best foot forward as environmentalists:

Imagine a future in which technology continues to improve, and as it does, we are able to apply a technology solution to every process that is contributing to climate change. We build a spread floating nano-cells that harvest energy while making the atmosphere more reflective, embrace lab grown meats, and create giant filters that suck the carbon out of the atmosphere. As a result, we solve the climate crisis in that Earth’s temperature normalizes and we can go on with business as usual. 

The world I described above could be one in which every single tree has been replaced with a more efficient CO2 to O2 conversion device; where no inch of grassland is left uncovered by solar panels; where the only extant animal species are humans, dogs, and brainless lab-chickens. While these extremes feel unlikely, this example pointed out for me that our current model for healing the environment isn’t structurally guaranteed to do so.

So what is the alternative? Eisenstein suggests that to find that answer, we might go back to what originally motivated us to care in the first place. For me, it’s a love of forests. I grew up in the Oakland Hills, surrounded by majestic live oaks and towering pines. Now, 20 years after I first moved to the region, the changes are noticeable. The hills are drier, there are less insects, the salamanders have gone, and many of the live oaks that give the city its name are dead and brown, including two in my backyard.

I loved those trees, I cried when I realized they were dying. I felt an almost irrational zeal when I considered what I’d be willing to do, what I’d be willing to sacrifice, to save just those two trees. 

In Eisenstein’s new story, we are invited to partake in ecological healing at the level where it evokes the strongest feelings for us. Rather than looking at the dying oaks behind my house and thinking “the oaks are dying because of global climate change, I’ll make a donation to carbon offsets in their honor” and moving on, I’m asked to actually go into the forest, to look at the dying trees, to feel the earth, to ask what that particular patch of nature wants, and to take action to make a positive change.

While these may seem like small actions, they teach a skill that I, and other humans, need to learn if we want to begin to heal the Earth. To understand the land around us, to care for it, and to help it recover on a local level. 

Eisenstein cites impressive examples of regenerative agriculture - farms that have found ways not only to maintain but increase yields per acre while simultaneously restoring the beauty and balance to the local ecosystem and sequestering carbon in rebuilt topsoil deposits. Among these are Brown’s Ranch in North Dakota and Ernst Gotsch’s farm in Brazil. 

It’s possible to work the land in a way that is productive for human consumption needs and healing to the Earth, but there is a caveat: this type of farming requires many more human labor hours than conventional industrial farming. In order for this to work, a much larger segment of the population would need to live and work on the land. As Eisenstein puts it: “figuratively and literally, we need to go back to the land.” 

This would be a massive restructure of our society. Eisenstein gives examples of changes in policy and our monetary system that could incentivize and enable it, such as negative interest and UBI. Viewing the climate crisis as an inevitable symptom of broken socioeconomic structure, he acknowledges “the necessity of that change reaching to the level of money.” 

Making these changes would allow more humans to assume roles as boots-on-the-ground stewards of Earth’s ecosystems. As challenging as it might seem to achieve, this is a destination for the future role of humans on the Earth that I feel good about orienting myself towards. On a personal level, the next steps towards that destination feel clear. Understanding this perspective allowed me to shift my thinking from “humans are bad: the Earth would be better without us” to “humans can be good:  Earth now needs our acts to heal and thrive.”

In conclusion, I came away from my reading of Eisenstein’s book feeling newly humbled to the challenges facing our planet, and how inappropriately oriented our society is to address them. I also felt inspired about the possibilities of what we can do and be as Earth-loving humans. While I still feel that resolving carbon-related warming needs to be the primary compass directing near term action, Climate made me feel motivated to address environmental issues closest to home for me, to the level of simply maintaining my own garden or the woods around my house. If I want to take a step beyond that, I’m excited by the idea of practicing and promoting regenerative agriculture, with the hope that human by human, acre by acre, we have the potential to heal the Earth from the ground up. 



crowd poems vol 2

these
are the second round
of poems 
inspired by prompts
from friends
on facebook

        my eyes have only seen the surface, jan

knowing life
from outside in
never knowing what’s within
what is within?
peeling back the bark and branches
dissecting the leaves
leaves still
another
deeper
cell
always wrapped by something else
some thing we can see
which is us
the surface even 
is invisible.
i have only ever seen me
peeking under the rock
of my own 
consciousness

        nothing makes sense if we don’t know who we are, don

earlier that night
i stared deep into the eyes
of a man in my dreams
and felt electricity
all around me
he said,
“if you keep coming here,
in ten years, then,
i can tell you who i am”
when i woke up
someone was staring back at me
in the bathroom mirror,
i think he was that
guy from earlier

        deja vu, elijah

the familiarity of this place
is almost nauseating
was i here in a dream?
or is this the dream
where i was here in it?
i guess it is kind of a dive bar
all on it’s own residential
block up north side of town
almost feel stuck
here like some version 
of myself
has just been here all along
and always will be

        what is the future, stephanie

the future
is the seed
at the end of the tunnel
from it, roots sprout backward
into time
becoming every dreamy moment
we currently call now

        staying at too nice of a hotel, and realizing,
        to your dismay, that in fact you DO enjoy nice things, roman

i had to leave the hostel
one day after checking in
i'm not young anymore
i like nice shit
i'm going to be broke
no matter how much money i make

a hostel seemed like a great idea
one night of cacophonous snoring later
i spent the entire day
scouring amsterdam for a private room

        starting a fund, dave

all eggs 
one basket
always felt brittle:
let's crack 
the big yolk
and let 
it trickle 
out through 
the shower head.

        needy kittens, fang

i do not
know
about the needs
of kittens
but i cat sat
momma cat
and boy
could
she
eat

        being in your own bed for the first time after a long trip, lisa

the road has been long
my head slept
on the
side of bus windows
airport benches.
i caught a few hours
at hotels
where i wasn’t sure about 
the sheets.
out of the taxi
and into my bed
i hear the first
raindrops
pattering me
into half sleep
half bliss.

        daydreaming becomes real, lihui

millisecond
head droop
mind image
sensation
waking up
waking
another reality
this one
built up from dream bricks
each a sleepy 
day doze
flash
bricks gel
concrete
crenelated tower

        manatees, zi

plorbous bodies
drifting under mud sea
a mangrove cow
we mourn
a world getting too cruel
and hot 
for such a peaceable
plump
sea grazer as you

        a man’s poetic retelling of the woman’s ovarian cycle, sakura

uncertain dry tentative
a squeeze
comfy understanding
we can but don’t have to

things seem stable
new moon flips to wax
a tingling
a warmth

passionate advances
old wounds 
delicate tantrum
ecstatic release

drawn water pulls red
tension breaks 
into pain and relief
there’s no baby

        letting go but not wanting to, carla

quivering hand hold
wet smile
what we saw was one moon
and its antechambers
the difference
between yours and you’re
love we can look in the eyes
those grinning tears
are the hardest
to wipe away
stay for a couple 
more cry laughs
eat these
cookies with
me

crowd poems vol 1

i asked for prompts
from friends
on facebook
(thank you)
they are
the italics
rest is
the poem

        picture of a temple on a jungle hill, jeremy

looking up through
jungle brush
a temple is painted
on a rock that pierces
bright clouds
    
i carried my orange banner
many miles
to ascend the hill
and place my flag 
among the works of
the great romantics:
blake, nabokov, plath
    
standing at the foot
of god’s pagoda
it feels it may vanish
if i take even one step closer
a mirage
a photograph
a dream

        letter to the weather on a hot day, stephanie

you give a soggy grey glow
and i sit in the greenhouse
you had me sticky in bed this
morning, my feet eager for
the cold shower water 
finally drenching a reluctant spine
you sucked my will to achieve
but neither could i mourn
sunk in the hazy doldrums of your
wet heat

        talking to a stranger outside a restaurant, jenny
 
i was going to
trudge back into drizzly swelter
(the host said “one hour”)
when I saw you.
something about
the angle of your phone said
“available”
you came from the same state as me
our brothers competed in soccer
    
“seven people died climbing everest this year”
you mention.
    
i look down, holding an orange flag
i see the detail of the fabric, not orange at all
but thin red stitches over golden yellow silk.
the table is ready

        feeling of leaving a place you’ll never come back to, tammy
 
wet eyes scan the horizon
a smile on my lips
life isn’t long enough
to rebuild 
your wonders
or short enough for me
to stay here forever
so i fall to my knees
gathering two tight clenched fistfuls
of your dusty soil
letting wind catch the particles
slips from grasp

        recover or reconstruct familiarity, elizabeth
    
a peppery flavor to the 
splash of crimson in your 
gold nasturtium
feels familiar.
given even the purest water
that bouquet will wither.
just down the path there is
an emerald hillside
where spicy flowers grow.
these are new flowers
with the same name.

        growing up, mo

remember when we were kids living on the north side?
things were complicated back then
but now things are simple
but now we’re told they have to be.
i used to wander in the hills of Oakland
listening to deltron
on a panasonic portable CD player
two double A batteries
lost somewhere in the 
electrocrackle of a hot vintage porn
swarming with dream life
spirits and hallucinations.
trees don’t get me as high any more
but i’ll
still go half on sack with you,
dusting off my purple motive.
do we have to settle down?
i want us to settle up.
to put the same orange flowers
on that one ikea table
every day to
make it new.

        shopping at Costco, vikram

is this being grown up?
when i push the cart aisle to aisle
drive it like it's stolen
because we’re gonna expense this:
brownie bites
coconut oil, olive oil,
twenty dozen eggs,
spices, cereals, earplugs,
jam.
there’s a proud
snap-worthy moment
when we pull up to the register,
cart filled past capacity
the man at the door signs off on our load
and we start wheeling it
towards the landfill
a couple of ants.

        a golden retriever named Theo, summer
 
bleached targaryen mane
you were the star at graduation
the falcor in my 
neverending insta story
what made me happy were
your pouty eyes
your triumphant shlump back into the dog
bed home from a walk
for those three days before
my date
you were the perfect digital wingman
if i walked you, you’d be grateful
but if not it would be chill too

stroognoot (strange night)

wibbled we
plump meanders neathwords
sweet squeeze one night 
orbed we oleander
skin grip
wet spot
stucky touch we 
skirfed out nerth words
zung zunging no fooded, needs eat
living behind quince cottage
anta sum grimmudge loose alley
bad slumping dust brick all car theft
risky mistreat solked homes
out back half sunk
haunt mansion
hewmed we
hot sweat sticky bug day night
swat skeeters
strubbling out to see sky flames
star snuffs
big dipper
we can’t find orion cause stars don’t align
for us they do
depending how you define: line
drawn
tea house from bad korean
two brainhearts sqweetched among wobb hovel
viving or loving
sky spike upta ood fern filled farmyard
here, to snive
all along the llamas
out buskirk sweet biggy boot trot we
swat cute bumple bee bum danger
squat, press to get to
that bed clutch hell tight
sweet gribbin
a future gelling
did the flood came then
washing away tissue tissue tissue tissue
in snibbly nose dab
holding tight what’s letting go
your proposal
let’s wake up as ...

we woke up surrounded by chirruping chickens
squak jawed peacock
the inflatable turkey’s rhythmic plompf
levee eyes parting the muddy scuttle
of gradient guinea hens

we wake up smiling on the speckless white
floor rug of your fidi apartment
there’s a backpack
and a lego man
door closes
elevator opens

... frends