The Fear of Losing This

Florist is a band that makes three minute existential crises instead of music.

One of their songs, “The Fear of Losing This”, well-I’m actually losing my mind over it, even though the lyrics are intensely mundane. It’s something about how they fit the words with these strange vocals and background noises, it gets to me. Here’s the lyrics:

Open your eyes
And see what you have
But really I know inside it’s all the same in death
But my mind is mine for now

I never asked
To be here at all
So why do I have to face the fear of losing it?
Of losing why I live?

And if I just knew
I’d already be gone
I told you everything
That I had the chance to
And there is no more now
No more light golden low
There is only what I have
Until that goes

Now every night
I pray to the stars
I say please give me love
Or please just give me strength

The colors of love
They all become gray
When everywhere I’ve been
Won’t be there someday
It’s a beautiful thing
That I keep close to me
And I won’t forget
But nothing is mine to keep


Okay, so I am reading back over these lyrics, and they sound not only simple, but saddening. Slack. Slack is how I feel about this song when it’s put on paper like this.

However, I urge you to listen to it. It’s so different as music. It’s almost happy, or at least a questioning happy that I can attempt to call wholesome.

The song is the equivalent of laying down on a beach and waking to be a thousand feet from shore, choking on all of the water you didn’t notice until your eyes were opened. At least, that is what it makes me think of.

I did some background research on Florist, and turns out, they call themselves a “friendship project” rather than whatever they are supposed to be titled as. A band? God and a few angels? Who knows.

Florist is unusually unheard of, which only further prompts me to crave their lyrics. Not everyone has washed them down to “another sad indie band yet”. They still have time before they become mainstream and either fade from existence and cease to produce music or all together begin making music for mainstream kids, which would ultimately be worse. (This sounds quite pretentious, but I don’t mean for it to. What I am saying is that making this a “mainstream band” would take away from the secrecy in their songs, or whatever.) I really, truly would rather Florist stop making music than produce songs like Drake’s “God’s Plan” or Panic at the Disco’s newer music (these are just the examples that are easily found in my brain right now).

These are my favorite lyrics:

I never asked
To be here at all
So why do I have to face the fear of losing it?
Of losing why I live?

Scary stuff. What a strange way of thinking about this life, right?

“The Fear of Losing This” hurts my feelings unlike any other song I have discovered. It makes me even question the comfort I find in the lyrics, as they are generally not the type of optimist/nihilist approach I would route myself into. But yeah, interesting song. You guys should definitely check it out.




In Honor of the First Day of Spring, Here’s Three Pretty Poems

In honor of the first day of spring, here are three very important Mary Oliver pieces that remind me of spring and summer, or the feeling of warmness, wholeness in general.

Also, I’ve just been generally more inspired when I read warm-toned poems, mostly because I believe I just have “seasonal depression” and not “Depression depression”. These just make me feel better about myself and the world, and who doesn’t need more of that feeling in their life?


I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred—
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone.
It’s like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.


I wanted to start with going over his piece because it seems like the first page of a new book. It’s really fresh, especially the way she uses her description. I like the word “cusp”, the phrase “broken cupboard” when describing a clam ,and “scarred” when describing a barnacle.

It amazes me how she can take her observations and not only write them beautifully, but give a lesson or sixth-feeling to you when exploring those observations.

This poem makes me feel: warm, like a full belly of strawberries.



There is a thing in me that dreamed of trees,
A quiet house, some green and modest acres
A little way from every troubling town,
A little way from factories, schools, laments.
I would have time, I thought, and time to spare,
With only streams and birds for company,
To build out of my life a few wild stanzas.
And then it came to me, that so was death,
A little way away from everywhere.
There is a thing in me still dreams of trees.
But let it go. Homesick for moderation,
Half the world’s artists shrink or fall away.
If any find solution, let him tell it.
Meanwhile I bend my heart toward lamentation
Where, as the times implore our true involvement,
The blades of every crisis point the way.

I would it were not so, but so it is.
Who ever made music of a mild day?

This poem really struck me after I read the line,”homesick for moderation.” When you look up the definition of moderation, it is the idea that you want to stay away from extremes and stick to something usual and relaxing, or normal. The idea that too much of a good thing is a bad one.

I also like the fact she will be “bending towards lament” while the “artists of the world” look for a solution to not falling away.

The idea of falling away of an artist strikes a cord with me. As artists we like to create and expand our creations into the public surface, but sometimes, reality hits us and we forget our “dream of trees.” I don’t know, that’s just how it made me feel.



I have been in love more times than one,
thank the Lord. Sometimes it was lasting
whether active or not. Sometimes
it was all but ephemeral, maybe only
an afternoon, but not less real for that.
They stay in my mind, these beautiful people,
or anyway people beautiful to me, of which
there are so many. You, and you, and you,
whom I had the fortune to meet, or maybe
missed. Love, love, love it was the
core of my life, from which, of course, comes
the word for the heart. And, oh, have I mentioned
that some of them were men and some were women
and some—now carry my revelation with you–
were trees. Or places. Or music flying above
the names of their makers. Or clouds, or the sun
which was the first, and the best, and the most
loyal for certain, who looked so faithfully into
my eyes, every morning. So I imagine
such love of the world–its fervency, its shining, its
innocence and hunger to give of itself–I imagine
this is how it began.

-Mary Oliver

I wanted to end on this poem because it felt like the epitome of how I look at the world. I thought it was really interesting seeing how Mary Oliver specifically loves, as she is one of the most loving artists of both the world and of people that I have discovered.

It was also interesting how she specifically says that she is grateful for multiple, and short loves. It makes me kind of rethink how I ought to be loved, or how I should love others in general. This poem makes me feel temporary.



And on the Seventh Day, God Reviewed Movie Dialogue

The link above is the transcript to Brokeback Mountain, a 2005 movie that’s been adapted from book form.

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I like this movie a lot, and not just because Heath Ledger is cast in the main role as a cowboy, Ennis. This piece has some really strong, really heavy dialogue in the majority of the scenes, and I connected with the turmoil and pain that the characters carried throughout the movie.

(Ennis and Jack are lovers that meet on Brokeback Mountain in the summer of 63, after working together, tending to sheep.)

I don’t necessarily want to dive into a summary or review of the book/movie itself; rather, I’d like to just share some of the lines that were especially hard-hitting to me, and describe why they were so important.

Here’s some of my favorite consecutive scenes:

Scene in camp:

(JACK opens a can of beans as as ENNIS scrubs down with his shirt off.)

ENNIS Shot a coyote up there. It’s a big son of a b****, balls on him size a apples. He looked like he could eat himself a camel. You want some of this hot water?

JACK It’s all yours.

Scene in camp:

(JACK takes a piss at edge of camp as Ennis finishes his can of beans.)


(JACK walks up and taps on his rodeo belt buckle.)

ENNIS I don’t rodeo much myself. I mean, what’s the point of ridin’ some piece of stock for eight seconds?

JACK Money’s a good point.

ENNIS True enough, if you don’t get stomped winnin’ it, huh?

(JACK pours some whiskey in ENNIS’s cup.)

ENNIS Thank you.

JACK Well, my ol’ man was a bull rider, pretty well known in his day, though he kept his secrets to himself. Never taught me a thing, never once come to see me ride. Your brother and sister do right by you?

ENNIS They did the best they could after my folks was gone, considerin’ they didn’t leave us nothin’ but 24 dollars in a coffee can. I got me a year of high school before the transmission went on the pickup. My sis left. She married a roughneck, moved to Casper. Me and my brother, we got ourselves some work on a ranch up near Worland until I was 19, and then he got married. No more room for me. That’s how come me end up here. (Notices JACK smiling.) Whut?

JACK Friend, that’s more words than you’ve spoke in the past two weeks.

ENNIS Hell, that’s the most I’ve spoke in a year. My dad, he was a fine roper. Didn’t rodeo much, though. He thought rodeo cowboys was all [screw]*-ups.

JACK The hell they are! (Gets into ENNIS’s face and whoops.) Yee-haw!

ENNIS There you go.

(JACK continues to whoop and carry on.) I’m spurrin’ his guts out, wavin’ to the girls in the stands! He’s kickin’ to high heaven, but he don’t dashboard me, no way! (Stumbles and collapses in laughter.)

ENNIS (also laughing) I think my dad was right.

Scene in new camp:

ENNIS Tent don’t look right. (Works on it.)

JACK Well, it ain’t goin’ nowhere. Let it be. (Plays harmonica.)

ENNIS That harmonica don’t sound quite right either.

JACK That’s ’cause it got kinda flattened when that mare threw me.

ENNIS Oh yeah? I thought you said that mare couldn’t throw you.

JACK Ah, she got lucky.

ENNIS Yeah, well, if I got lucky, that harmonica would’ve broke in two.

Scene in camp:

JACK (singing) “I know I shall meet you on that final day, Water Walkin’ Jesus, take me away . . .”

ENNIS (taps rhythm of song out) Very good.

JACK Oh yeah. My mama, she believes in the Pentecost.

ENNIS Oh yeah? Exactly what is the Pentecost? I mean, my folks, they was Methodist.

JACK The Pentecost. I don’t know. I don’t know what the Pentecost is. Mom never explained it to me. I guess it’s when the world ends and fellas like you and me march off to hell.

ENNIS Speak for yourself. You may be a sinner, but I ain’t yet had the opportunity. (takes the whiskey) Thank you.


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This movie was important to me because Ennis’ character learned, experienced, and grew throughout every scene. The best part, though, is that he grew with the help of Jack, played by Jake Gyllenhaal.

Their interactions with each other were always very hurried, very brisk and harsh in tone, even the intimate ones. Their love was rough, and that scared and confused me. I have never seen two people in an intimate relationship interact they way that these two characters were written and acted out.

The movie was also important because it was set in the sixties, and it was placed in Wyoming. Both men had families, lives, reputations. Jack’s life was taken because of his relationship with Ennis in the end.

This quiet connection between the two, the way Jack could make Ennis speak up about his life like no one else could, and the angry relationship, the scared and violet love the two shared, made this an excellent movie. I am planning to read the book version very soon, and I recommend both to you.


Boxing with Your Mom

E. Ethelbert Miller has written the piece as a block of prose, but first presents a quote:

Whoever said men
hit harder when women
are around, is right.
– Yusef Komunyakaa

After, he follows with the piece:

You push the door open not knowing
what to expect. She sits in a chair next
to her hospital bed. Just sitting. How long?
Before you can even enter the room a big
smile of recognition kisses her lips before
she kisses you. Her seamstress eyes survey
your clothes. You’re a rhinestone of a son
slipping between her shaking hands. As the
sparkle leaves her eyes she withdraws under
her hospital robe. So small she looks. So
small she is. You want to leave but you just
came. It’s just you and her. You’re overmatched.
Her moods change so quick you can’t avoid
her jabs. There’s bitterness in each blow. She
has you against the wall. You’re fighting with
her again. This is sick you say to yourself.
You want to leave but the bell never rings.
You’re trying to love her too much. You’re
losing another round.


I began the piece without first reading the quote that precedes it, and, after rereading the piece with the quote, I was given much more insight into the route Miller was giving his poem.

The prose is offered as an observation from the point of view of a man with his hospitalized mother. She has some sort of sickness that makes her forget things, most likely some stage of Alzheimer’s, and, instead of making her weak in this moment, Miller sort of paints her image as that of a fighter-but not a fighter against what you would initially believe.

He writes the piece as if the son and mother are fighting against one another, and for what reason? My thought is that he would do this to describe exhaustion as something more tangible, more physical.

I found the line, ‘You want to leave but the bell never rings.‘ to be very hard-hitting when paired directly after with, ‘You’re trying to love her too much.

Miller is basically saying that there are many ways to look at how this sickness is affecting everyone’s life so greatly. I could feel in my body the expression of just being over wanting to do something in this piece. Just-just being tired, you know? The feeling of exhaustion in this prose was so well-written that, even though it isn’t one of my favorites by Miller, it still stuck in my brain. He almost needed a separate sense besides the five he was given to describe the way both characters in the piece felt, and he nailed them as characters themselves.

This piece was honestly just so overwhelming. There was so much going on, and Miller added many underlying descriptions that built the characters he was talking of, for example the lines about the mother’s seamstress hands shaking, then the comparison following, talking of how her hands let the son slip- none of these descriptions were directly needed, but they added so much to the story he wove within these lines.



This is Water Messed Me Up

I wrote this for Letters for Literature, and this speech is really incredible, so I thought I would use this as my blog.

(Here’s the link, if you want to listen to it.)

November 9, 2018

Dear Mr. David Foster Wallace,

How could you? In This is Water, you open our minds to breaking the boundaries of our brains, of shifting perspective of life and the little inconsistencies we find in our everyday routines-you speak of hope. This 2005 public speech at Kenyon University would later go on to be one of your most influential pieces, a speech that would leave all generations open mouthed and in awe of their own existence. And yet, police found you hanging from the rafters in your home not three years later. You hung yourself on September 12, 2008, you killed your ideals when you killed yourself and that, Mr. Wallace, makes you a hypocrite.
This is Water is a piece that reflects on human self-perseverance through seeing life’s negative attributes as a gift to each of us. You suggest within it a self-discipline, a mind-over-matter way of seeing the world. It is a piece meant to remind us of the “water” all around us, of our lives that are more beautiful than we now can comprehend, and of the self-awareness we all should have towards our external experiences and through our communications with others. And I knew as I listened in my bed and cried to this piece, that you must be a forever lonely man, having thoughts such as these. It is a very daunting task to chase intellect and nearly worship it, you said it yourself, so how could you let this same idea ruin you?
After hearing this speech, I noticed my shoes fit different. I watched my words fall from my mouth and found myself able to touch them with my fingers, to feel the power each syllable had once spoken into the air. I imagined my life and walked with open hands into it, palms outstretched and ready to gratefully tackle any obstacle. Shortly after practicing this lifestyle, I learned too of your death. Of your major-depressive disorder and the electroshock therapy. Of your struggles and your internal pain, though I had initially pictured you as this impenetrable force, a man with a more resilient mind than anyone I had the privilege to listen to before.
Mr. Wallace, I will forever be in awe of you, but you are a hypocrite, you are a liar. You cheated me, giving me false hope where even you couldn’t find any. You said once that “writing is what it means to be a f****** human being”, that writing has the potential to make the writer and reader “less alone inside.” Still, there was a hole in you-the writing wasn’t enough, the people you touched with your spirit through poetry, essays, and speeches was not enough for you. The hole was your heart and head aching in a constant and never-ending battle, depressive episodes racking through your bones and choking these sentimental, humble phrases from your mouth. You let your brain eat you from the inside out, and I don’t know if I can forgive you for it.
What did you worship, Mr. Wallace? Was it intellect, as I first imagined, that drove you? Perhaps not, as you did say it was incredibly useless to do so, but I still have notions that you said this knowing you would always return to look for more intellect, that you secret did in fact worship knowledge and knowingly let it break you into little pieces, running to a finish line that never existed.
As you said, “The one thing that is Capital T- true, is that you decide how you’re going to see it.” You were talking about life when you let these words tumble from your mouth. Maybe you were more selfish than I knew, only talking of your own life, but Mr. Wallace, when you said this, I considered my life and the lives of my friends, of my family, of strangers I would meet in the next. It was universal, and your words hit home. As a fish in water, as my seventeen-year-old self, I was hooked to this quote, and it still carries me through days. But, Mr. Wallace, can it even hold the weight it once did in my mind after discovering that you never fully invested into the idea yourself? You had chances, you have choices, and though your words were brilliant, I have trouble coming to terms with your death and simultaneously believing in them. I can barely believe in you anymore.
Mr. Wallace, I hope you found peace through your decision, but I also hope you know that because of your decision, I do not believe peace is something I will have for a very long time.

Best wishes, wherever you are,

Katherine Dian Westbrook

And I Think That it’s Fair This is my Second Attempt Writing This

Where would they place you in a shopping market?

I ask this hoping that you can be open-minded about it. If you were a product on a shelf in some corner store, what would you be? An avocado? Perhaps a pair of socks, or chewing gum, or even a bag of Jolly Ranchers?

Think to yourself about what you would be and write down your initial answer. The very first thing that comes to mind. It’s important.

Now, go back and actually think about what I’m asking.

In what part of a shopping market do you fit in?

This question could mean multiple things. I could be asking what you relate to, whether it’s Almond Milk because you’re lactose intolerant, or white bread because you’re simple and straightforward, a common component, a staple food.

Or maybe it is that I’m asking for setting. Where in a super market should you be? The back stall of the girl’s bathroom, smoking the last cigarette from your mother’s purse? Do you see yourself in line for checkout, frantically searching for thirty cents? In between packages of toilet paper, playing hide and seek with your little sister?

Or maybe still I am asking what aisle you belong on. Is it with the baking goods, you with your powdery personality, or by the spices, all turmeric and cardamom, or picking through the frozen shellfish in the front?

The first answer you gave would seem irrelevant now, or at least it did to me when I was asked this question. I went back and I changed my mind. Initially I said with the dairy products, and I was thinking of nothing more than the fact that I love strawberry yogurt, but once I began considering every factor, I decided I belong more in the gardening area with the mixed potting soil, and this came with the tedious thoughts of both location, my personality relating to potting soil, and how the workers and customers interact different in that section of most supermarkets. It’s like it is another store completely back there. I would most certainly fit in.

I might have lost you by now. How is this inspiring in any way, you ask?

Just wait, we are headed in the right direction. This blog is going to be about “second times”. In other words, second-attempts at “first time” things, a rethinking on the things you might have already been through. This blog is about stepping out of the picture to look at yourself in whole. Stay with me.

My life moves faster than I can keep up with it most of the time. Two weeks ago I was thirteen and now I am graduating in just five months. My hands and feet somehow  have always kept up, but my brain has trouble doing the same on occasion.

In my junior year, I was determined to have as many “firsts” as possible, whether they be good experiences or absolute terrible memories. In the excitement of the moments in which I was experiencing all of my “firsts”, it never really mattered how I felt after, or who I hurt in the process. I ended up having a beautifully destructive year because of this, and I am so thankful for that, because I learned a good bit about my own person and others through it. And if there is one thing I can say in this post that sticks with anyone, my hope is that it will be this: Life is about revisions. It has never, and will never be about first times, although those are very important. No, I think I’ve come to realize, life is about second times, and third times, and the continuation of new experiences that become an eventual rhythm in our daily lives. Life is about doing things that are hard for days- days that turn into months, that turn into years. It’s about choosing the right thing every time, not just that one time when you were feeling brave. It is about becoming consistent in finding your fear and fulfilling that fear until you aren’t afraid of it anymore.

In my life right now, I am working every day to make friends with my insecurities, my discomforts, my secret dreams and hopes that I have not fully whispered into the world.

I take the time to sit down and make decisions now, to actually ask myself questions and follow through with the answers, whether they be about grocery stores or college options.

I still go with my gut when it feels right, though. There are some things in life that work out in the most amazing ways the first time, things that don’t need polishing or revisions. These are our “Perfect Things”-we keep them close to our heart.

These perfect things are like pebbles. Imagine yourself,walking down a stretch of the beach, picking up pebbles as you go. Each one is beautiful in its own way, carved by the ocean and almost asking you to snatch them from the sand. Lets say you begin filling your pockets, and you walk, and you continue this exercise of finding the pebbles and filling your pockets with them the entire time. What happens when your pockets fill entirely?

Another thing I have recently dealt with is my issue with not being able to let people and things leave my life if they were once a part of it. This is how I see those pebbles, as individual people and memories that are pieces of myself in some way, due to my obsessive attachment to them. When people leave my life without me having a choice in the matter, I seem to forget every other pebble down the stretch of beach, ahead of me-my future people, experiences, memories.

I’ve begun to be very selective in which things I keep close to my heart, the things I fill my pockets with. I put many hours into a few choice pebbles, I keep a small few close to me, and I give them 100%, rather than expend a half-hearted energy on many separate moments and feel equally attached to all of them.

I hope I’m making a clear point, but if not, this is what I am basically trying to say: Cultivate yourself and the people that care about you, and cultivate your life with them. Remember that all good things eventually do end and be grateful for the experiences you get. Never take what you have now for granted, even if you once had better, or could have better. Don’t forget about the life ahead of you, or even the present life you have. Do not be too focused on your past that you miss out on everything now.

At this point, I know you’re still at a loss for exactly how this post is supposed to invigorate you, to inspire you.

The truth is- and let me warn you, this is going to suck- the truth is that nothing I put in this blog, no matter how eloquently written, will ever be enough to inspire you if you do not first see the potential to be inspired in yourself.

Professional hypnotists begin all of their sessions by telling their clients, the audience, etc. , that the hypnotism will not work if you are not open to be hypnotized. You have to actually tell yourself that you can and will be hypnotized for the process to make any change in you. Basically, you must trick yourself into believing it, and at that point, the hypnotists job is easy- they have already won you over because you have won yourself over.

Life is the same in this sense, and inspiration. If your brain is not willing to be “tricked” into its own happiness, then you won’t be happy.

There is a choice in your head that you must make to cause movement in your legs, your arms, your knees. Your brain tells them to move to put you in a different place, right? We move to survive, to leave bad places, to run away or stand and fight. These choices propel our well being.

Movement in terms of mindset is exactly like the movements in your body, and other people notice this as well.

Have a frown in the waiting room because the nurse hasn’t called you back yet? Maybe you got impatient and didn’t hold the door open for the man behind you in a wheelchair?  The lady taking phone calls in the front, yes- she noticed, and she makes choices about how to treat you because of it. She might just have a thirty minute conversation with your doctor about his upcoming trip to Sweden in a few minutes because of it.  This is just one example of how our actions have reactions and are intertwined, and everyone’s lives are substantially connected in this way as well.

In other words, everything effects everything. It’s like we’ve all got the flu and can’t help but cough on one another.

For me, being inspired is like believing in God. You don’t need proof, you need faith, and sometimes, you need to challenge your reality and perspective.

Faith that things can and will get better, despite how it looks now. Faith in your feet and hands that you know where you’re headed, knowing there will be obstacles in your future. Faith to make the right choice in general, even when you’re tired, even when it’s so hard to.

It’s calling rejection an opportunity to receive feedback and improve work for the second time around. It is actually taking the time to revise your life, and knowing that the greatest thing you can do with it is give every day to your and other’s betterment.

It’s going to bed having failed, and having failed in the most costly ways, and still being able to call the day a trial and error process. You are the only person in the world that can tell yourself how to think and what to believe, and every choice you make reflects who you are, no matter how insignificant you think the decision is.

Life is a series of first drafts, and it’s up to you to find the files and edit.



This Is Love? How Strange

Everyone has been talking about Call Me By Your Name since it was published/released as a movie, and I think I went into reading it with too high of hopes. (Or, quite possibly, I just don’t understand love like the author does.)

It was incredibly hard to read through the first chapter, even though both the main character and love interest were introduced within the first ten pages. The entirety of the book felt to me a bit rushed, but at the same time, it took way too long to get to the meat of the story.

There were very beautiful lines in this book that created interesting characters, and the word choice was not what I would have chosen, but it definitely added to the piece. However, the lines were all dragged out, and I felt as though Andre Aciman (the author) could have given me some shorter lines so my brain had time to breathe in  between sentences.

I hate this, but I also skipped over a few pages at times and still understood the story, and I wish certain parts were not included. I don’t want to give spoiler alerts, so I’m not going to, but any parts that were about Elio, the main character, considering his love for Oliver were my favorite. They showed how unreliable he was as a first-person character, as well as the confusion and wishy-washy reactions to falling in love with Oliver.

I was actually very uneasy about the age-gap between both characters. (Oliver was 24 and Elio, 17.) That was something that I found very threatening, almost, and I was shocked to see how Aciman decided to go about handling it. That beingsaid, the ties the two had in religion were interesting. I still don’t know how I feel about it, but whatever.

The setting really did wonders for the growth in love in this piece. I do not think this piece would have been as successful in any other setting. The life Andre Aciman gave this small town was wild, the fragrances, foods, and style was something that kept me wanting to read. Having the ocean in this piece also gave a heavy, pulling feeling to my gut. It definitely was one of the most sensory aspect that painted a great picture in my head of setting.

The way this was written makes the book timeless. If you took out the small parts with technology and recent news, the piece could’ve been created a few years back or a hundred. The timelessness was also one of the most incredible aspects to this piece that drew me in. Andre Aciman is a peculiar writer to me, and I still don’t necessarily understand the love wholly in the book, but I did enjoy it and want to further study the piece.

Stop Doing this to Me, I Don’t Want to Like Your Work

I think I am going to read this piece for the November Coffeehouse, part because I am still searching for a poem that deals with time and is also something I can relate to.

Charles Bukowski always has a way of making me come back to his work, no matter his reputation and personality. (He’s kind of trashy, etc. etc.) I feel grounded in his poetry, in all of his pieces actually-this one is just something I felt the need to unpack and smear the personal revelations I understood from it into the blog-sphere.

Why does he do this to me? Why, “every day should be a miracle instead of a machination.”

First of all, is “machination” even a word? And secondly, my guts are sore from aching all the god-damn time, Mr. Bukowski, these lines are just too powerful for me.

The poem is real, it’s beautiful-I love it because of it’s authenticity. Realness is something I yearn to find in my own writing. It is something I haven’t discovered in my youth, and hope to find as I continue my life into adulthood and stop mooching themes from other authors.

I don’t think Charles Bukowski mooches as much as the rest of us do. I think he was born into the world an old, tired man, and all of his ideas are his own-they are impenetrable.


he then begins a life-within-a-life story, some parts choppy, but all centering back to a central theme that can be found at the beginning, middle, and especially end of the poem.

The meat of this poem:

“it’s not so much that nothing means anything but more that it keeps meaning nothing.”

I love and hate his self-awareness and reflection at times. I love and hate having to grapple with my own image after reading these lines. This poem requires that I try and I give up all at once; it gives me a hundred headaches with each syllable. Love and hate, but mostly hard work, are needed here.

“such a sadness: everything trying to break into blossom.”

he is talking of horses being released from their shoots during a race, so too is he referring to himself and me and whoever else wants to existentialize horse races.

There is something soft-footed about his lines, something that wants to be heavy but cannot for the moment seem to find grounding. It makes me thoughtful, it makes my own body feel it’s weight instead of the words.

The poem almost makes up for Bukowski being such a s****y man. (I said almost.)

“the more people say, the less there is to say.”

You said it, Mr. Bukowski.


Lyrics like a Pair of Nikes.

The comfortable, wear-around-the-house (even though your mom says not to) kind of Nikes. Palisades Park, by Counting Crows-look them up or something, but you should know what Counting Crows is-anyway, this song they wrote is my absolute favorite, and has been for a long time now.

It’s honestly hard to groove to, or get into as the entire song is an experience, and takes ten minutes to listen to. I know what you’re thinking, ten minutes? 

Yes, ten minutes. The song, in my opinion, could’ve been two hours long, and if it carried the story out as well as it did in those ten, then it would still be my favorite.

I’m going to post the lyrics below, but you could never understand the magnitude of them without the music put with them:

Somebody screamed and all of Jim Jeffries dreams
Explode against a black fist
He falls to the floor
He stares up at the sky and he may wish he knew why
But he can’t go back there no more
Future sounds so crazy
We’ve all heard that song before
Tomorrow’s the name we change from yesterday to blame
When the train just don’t stop here anymore
I got starry-eyed on the coaster ride
Andy says “Man, I need a break from the world outside
These days my life just careens through a pinball machine
I could do so much better but I can’t get off the TILT”
There’s a photograph on the TV
Black and white and
Andy says something to you
Jack Johnson straddling Reno, Nevada like
She says “I forget myself sometimes too”
Out past the doorways where we are sleeping
The White Queens creep and the tomcats peep
And now I’m not breaking
The train’s just shaking
And I’ve never made it here before
There’s a Wild Mouse spinning the girls around
Til they can’t take it anymore
I used to dream in the dark of Palisades Park
Up over the cliffs and down among the sparks
It’s a long life full of long nights
But it’s not what I was waiting for
Everybody’s seen the horses diving down the shore
It’s a miracle they don’t make them anymore


So…”Make up ladies”…Wake up baby
You walked into the bar like some Saturday star
Stud-straight on spiked heels and needles and nerves
You’re a downtown pride fully-amplified Clyde
Gin-tight and aging but well-preserved

Remember Andy standing outside your bedroom window
Saying “Come on, let’s drive across to the Palisades
Keep going til we hit Reno, Nevada”
Don’t see Andy all that much these days
Still there are pages in back of the Action stacks
Where the White Queens creep and the tomcats peep
And the train’s not braking
The track’s just shaking
And I never made it here before
There’s a Sky Rocket turning the world around
Til I can’t take it anymore
You can carry that spark from Palisades Park
Down over the cliffs and out into the dark
It’s a long life full of long nights
And it’s not what I was looking for
Everybody dreams of horses flying ‘round the shore
It’s a bad dream we’re not having anymore
Man, have you seen Andy?
Hey man, have you seen her around?
Hey man, have you seen my my my Andy?
Hey man, have you seen her?
Have you seen him?
Have you seen her?
You seen Andy around?
Dressed up in our pirate best
All leathers and feathers and pearls
Andy said “Look at me man!
I am cookin’
These hands could finger up this whole world!”
He says “Come outside
Climb out your bedroom window
Shimmy down the fire escape
And say goodbye”
Come outside
Andy says “I’m dressed up just like Edie
Changing all the time
These leopard spots to polka dots
And say goodbye”
Come outside
Maybe we could move to California
Just meet me at the subway
And say goodbye
Come outside
The cops all think we’re crazy
But if you stay, you’ll just get married
To a girl who’ll never know you
And then say goodbye
Hey Man, have you seen Andy?
I lost her in the sun
I was high as a kite on Lovely & White
Man, you could lose anyone
Hey man, have you seen Andy
I don’t know where he’s gone
Real love outlives teenage lust
We could get wet and it keeps us warm
Love is like Angel Dust
Lovely sometimes changes us…sometimes not
Have you been aching to trust or just…?
Have you been waking yourself with lust…?
Have you been making us up or just taking us home?
It’s a long wait at a long light
Cars frozen in flight
All the traffic stops to stare
At a crosswalk in Reno, Nevada
Wearing nothing but air
And a pair of grey paper wings
Andy thinks “I got nothing to wear”
We got nothing new and…
We got nothing to wear…(2x)

In my perspective of the story, and after watching the video, I take away from this song the story of two young boys, living life in the 70/80’s, and just, completely blowing it, and coming to terms with their youth and their life not yet lived.

In the song, the story of Andy’s sexuality is explored, and in a way that moves with the music. Drugs, alcohol, and sex are also underlined themes in this song, and it really gives off a strange vibe for me every time I hear it.

The opening lines are a reference to boxer Jim Jeffries’ famous fight that happened in the seventies, and how he was knocked unconcious. I liked that this was the opening line, and that his blackout was further compared to life itself; a really clear picture  was painted through this.

My favorite lines are:

Man, you could lose anyone
Hey man, have you seen Andy
I don’t know where he’s gone
Real love outlives teenage lust
We could get wet and it keeps us warm
Love is like Angel Dust
Lovely sometimes changes us…sometimes not
Have you been aching to trust or just…?
Have you been waking yourself with lust…?
Have you been making us up or just taking us home?

I feel as though these lines really embodied what Adam Duritz (the guy in the band writing this incredible stuff) wanted to evoke from the song.

These lyrics were an exploration in discovering yourself, and falling in love with life and the things in it.

Palisades Park is an abandoned amusement park that used to operate in Reno, Nevada. This setting for the pieces encapsulates the idea of loss over time passing, not only of special places but of people, to many things that enter our life as we grow and change.

Anyway, love this song, and this band, and this idea. Really makes me want to be a lyricist and try to top this.

(Also, I do not care that this is 90’s dad-rock, it is still The Best Band and Music known to Man. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.)

A Million Little Pieces

James Frey produced one of the best nonfiction novels I have found so far. That is, until I did more research within this week and discovered that some of the accounts in the book are entirely untrue.

James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces, wrote about his account in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center over the course of six weeks. In this account, he is found on a plane with no memory of how he got there, along with a gaping whole through his cheek and missing teeth. The story continues with his parents picking him up and driving him to the center in Minnesota, claiming to be the best in the US. He is confronted with many obstacles within the center, such as “being treated for a dental surgery with no painkillers” that was later found to be untrue. His story that unfolds within the treatment center is also slanted to heighten the intensity of his account, and it is not actually known whether or not his former girlfriend for whom he is in his situation for actually committed suicide.

James Frey had a beautiful way of capturing the audiences with certain subtleties within this piece. His underlying theme dealing with not being able to look himself in the eyes really drove me to continue on the journey through his rehabilitation. Also, his need and action was strong within every line and phrase. Frey created a quick-paced world in which to live in, one that felt to me as if he were spending his whole life looking out of a car window.

Frey’s theme of eyes continues with his love interest and friend that was also in rehabilitation at the time. He calls her eyes oceans and ice and many other cold blue analogies, and says they pierce him when he sees her.

My favorite idea within this piece was that of Frey’s commitment to everything he did. He was lower at the beginning of the book than I believed possible, and he is a bestseller now. The last few chapters of the book talk of him, immediately leaving rehab, going inside of a bar and ordering a type of hard liquor, then just looking at it. He never drinks it, and walks out of the bar a man with a decision that changed his life for the better.

Frey inspired me in this piece, whether embellished or not, to commit to things that are good for me, and to not apologize for the work that it takes to get to a good place in life. He is a very influential person to me because of this piece, I only wish he had kept the story entirely authentic.

(I very much so recommend reading A Million Little Pieces.)