Spitting our Painter’s Palette into the Smog

When Trump won the presidency so many people took to Facebook to bear witness to the end of democracy, the end of America, the end of the world as we know it.

Whether the world ended or not in November, we’re still here. We people, poets, painters, photographers are still here to raise a fist the apparently falling sky. Okay you Doomsday cultists, the end is nigh, the titan Lucifer is laying waste to the Parisian skyline; we’ll be stay planted to document his fiery footfalls.

The fact is that we artists will be here to ward off “the end” until we aren’t. To ward off the end when there’s no reason to live and no life left. We’ll fucking be here to spit our painter’s palette into the smog.

Art doesn’t die. It does not die. Cut all the funding you want, Cheeto boy. Try to snuff the spirit of art. But you’ll find that artists will do their best to snuff you right back.

Artists will swallow every fucking seventh seal you try to shove down their throats, chew it up, and spit it back in your face.

Every dystopia has its graffiti artists.

Happy Thoughts!!!

Two weeks ago, Lytton tried to guide the class, through a prompt, towards writing something happy. Lytton mentioned that it seemed like the class tended to write a lot of sad, depressing,  tragic, etc. poetry. I agree. There hasn’t been much poetry that we’ve workshopped that has been focused on a positive aspect of life. I think it’s imperative, as a poet, to bring the reader’s attention to positive, uplifting things. Because they’re out there. I feel that I must bring attention to the positive, unseen aspects of life in much the same way a poet writes about the unjust or the surreptitiously insidious, otherwise, I’m presenting a worldview that is pessimistic and therefore unrealistic. Happiness is part of the human experience. Goodness permeates the world too. To people I meet who say this: “The world is doomed. Just look at the hellhole this world has come to. The world is doomed,” I always say, “A gunshot is much louder than a hug.” The evil resounds across the world, but the goodness and beauty, that goes on just as often, we tend to keep to ourselves, or at least, we don’t think needs to be written or talked about. Okay, I’ll stop pontificating. Heres a happy poem:


I wrote that first part about two weeks ago and I’ve been trying to write a happy poem ever since but I’ve been unsuccessful. I sat for a while trying to force myself to focus on the good but all that I could dredge up from my insides were intense, depressing, melancholic, and existentially perplexing subjects.

This has made me question my previous assertion that a poet should try to write about all aspects of life, good and bad.  I think maybe I was wrong about that. I’m unsure now. Romantic poets wanted to express the beauty and spiritual tranquility of nature. What are we trying to express in the modern day? Is there a trend? Is there a general goal that poets should have when they write? Who am I to say poets should write about the good things too. Maybe poets should write what feels true to them. Maybe poets should tackle whatever subjects they feel like. Maybe poets should write about social justice.

I’m thinking now that poetry can be anything a poet wants it to be. Any goal. Any subject. Maybe we don’t write about the good stuff so much because that stuff is not what preoccupies us. Maybe good doesn’t need to be addressed so much.



Steam of (ADHD) Consciousness: Taking cues from Diego’s “Poetry Freestyle/Off the dome/”

I’ve been wanting to write a stream of consciousness for a long ass time and I think this kind of writing is super important. Trying to construct our thoughts into the structure and format that we want sometimes edits out the most dangerous, the most raw, the most true aspects of my writing and I suspect of other’s writing as well. Here goes:

The  door was splintering as they were smashing it crashing it with a broken mirror and a tin can. I didn’t know things that  were that fragile could carry the power of a battering ram or could crack the face of porcelain man while he’s curled up crying like a crippled lion and dying in the light of the wildfire that’s climbing the ladder to his tree house where he camps out sinking his teeth into the leather binding of the kill. His fangs puncturing the pages that plead patience but that’s the way that ink teeth fall on the page. the fire is making its way to the lions den because it can smell the gasoline drip drip dripping from the lion’s leaking maw cause lead that has burrowed its way from muzzle to muzzle has left the massive muscles shorn from their anchors. Little lion men, make that dying men, always burning walking spirits of flame that think they can tame the mane that they think they can cut from the nape of the main man in the plain that they infiltrated because they take what they can from the land that they lay claim to like they were natives like their names are inscribed on the mountains and boulders and lions like they could write their name on the sun net it up and swallow it up. Thank god the sun can burn them away because they’re patiently waiting till they can reach it and stab it with the sharp end of a flag and take a flying leap for (white) mankind. How dare you mistake a man for the sun. believe me i can burn you blind if you try to take the hydrogen violently exploding in me dont try to corrode my fire. You cant bottle lightning so fight me look me in the  fucking eye as you try to break my eye contact, step back because you lack the power to make me bow and your just a flashbang waiting to be swallowed and spit up into the light of the sun. You can’t blind me with your artificial light, I’ve got sight and you might think that you could break me and win but im a sun lion and a stallion you’ll need a battalion of broke nose, rotten teeth sin grin, men that been licking the dirt that stick to the boots of their God, to bear down on me like a garbage masher. Too bad the trash that you mean to compact can compact back and slap the newtons out of the metal walls that make to break. Next time you line up in formation like the british at lexington, think about it before you start a war and before you try to snap the back of a spine that breaks back.


Well. that happened. I ended up sitting in a kind of rap rhythm. I’ve never written with that kind of rhythm. Honestly I’ve never written anything that was stream of consciousness. Hope you liked it! I feel like Diego will especially appreciate this.

Quilting Poetry: A Response to Chloe’s Showcase

 I’ve been meaning to write about Chloe’s quilt Showcase since we had it. I thought the analogy of a poem to quilt is a really interesting one.

It really made sense with what Lytton’s been teaching about source: that all writing comes from reading and is informed by source in some way. Similarly, quilts consist of patches of different “source” material. Often, as Chloe mentioned, quilts came from old unusable clothing. They were made from Grandad’s old jeans, from my childhood blanket, from my cousin’s wedding dress, from a forgotten nosebleed, from my old singed mittens that I tried to warm in the microwave. All of these things interestingly, could just as well be sources for poetry.

I also loved the materials that were brought. All of that beautiful wrapping paper, the ribbon. It all was very beautiful and elegant and colorful, which are words I would use to describe Chloe’s poetry. It made sense. The paint in particular I loved (as some of you may have noticed lol).

For me I really took this as a way for me to express my poetic ethos, to question what that ethos was, and to somehow sew the pieces into a quilt.

Everyone went up right away to get the pieces. I wanted to wait a) to not be in the midst of all the bustle of getting the materials first. I tend to always wait at buffets and dinners and weddings when everyone goes up to get food. I often wait till there’s no else going up. I’d rather be last. Perhaps that says something about me. and b) to think about what I wanted to do.

I ended up not coming up with anything while waiting. So I just winged it, and the first thing I thought to do was take one of those pages of beautiful metallic wrapping paper and tear off a piece of it roughly, not cleanly, not cut. I tore every piece of paper I used instead of cutting.

I think I did this because I don’t like when things are perfect. I hate sterile white rooms. Or all white outfits. That shit stresses me out. If I were to see a house all pure white inside, white couch, white walls, white carpet, it would cease to be a house; I would want to make it a canvas. I would want to splatter primary colors all over the place. Take big paint buckets and slam them against the wall, put them on a stool and shoot them with a shotgun, hack spraypraint cans with an axe, stab them with a kitchen knife. Take soil and fling it everywhere.

I’m not a fan of perfect and blank. So I chose to make my quilt the least perfect that I could. I also hate being alone in my art. My art wants to be touched by the people around it. My art wants inked fingerprints to dapple it’s face. 

So, when Amanda suggested she work with me on the quilt, I was really happy for her to do so.

We tore paper, splashed red finger paint on it, taped a golf ball I found in Arizona in my bag on it. We taped orange peels from Ari’s showcase on it, we put cute little fox stickers on it. And we put sparkle glue on it. I did things, Amanda changed some of those things.  Amanda did things, I changed some of those things (ahem… critique and revision/workshops).

    Poetry is very social for me. I write best in a shopping mall or in the union Starbucks. With a lot of voices buzzing and bouncing. It gives me the right feeling.

    It means I’m not locked in a cigar box, feverishly scribbling letters with no addressee. I don’t want that to be my writing experience.

    I also got paint all over me (thank you Amanda :P). I think that I have to be able to get dirty with my poetry. In class, I likened it to getting paint on oneself when making a painting. It’s important for me to really dig into the subject I’m dealing with, to invest myself in it and not be too cerebral.


Thank you Chloe for this really cool experience!

I learned a lot about my poetic ethos!


child cowering, fetal, open field, hurricane     hair snagged on fishhooks tied to kite tails

I draw inspiration from my rather unique childhood experience. Grew up poor at first, mental illness haunts my family like cholesterol. Didn’t know that long toes were a common physical trait on my mother’s side till I was eighteen.

My childhood had pain, and I suppose I draw from that pain in my poetry. A wish to express how relatable emotional and psychological pain is. That everyone is an island among islands.

I want to help people pull back veil of bones. To bare my own open heart pulsing to them. For them to see that pain and pulsing and blood and wounds are felt by everyone and that in that, they are not alone.


folks with mental illness, marginalized. Mental illness, ignored,   buried alive. muffled pain: lowers head – hair hanging…    I will thrust my fingers from the earth, splinter pleather-padded coffins.

I have ADHD and have suffered from depression. Every one of my family members suffers from some mental illness, be it bipolar, schizophrenia, ADHD. Torturous to live with. ignored. Often hard for those people to speak up for themselves through art, through anything.

I want to show support and solidarity. engage with the unique relationships, emotions, thought processes of these illnesses. They’re not alone. They’re not monsters. Also, sometimes there’s beauty there. I want to find the beautiful, the tragic, the painful, the relatable in the struggle. Raw emotions of depression, etc. are, to me, interesting and challenging to try to convey accurately. Would love to compile poetry from people struggling with different illnesses.


I’m fixated on the passage of time and the passage of people through it. “Ships that pass in the night…” I love old places, things, books. So many feet have graced this classroom, fingerprints, this book. So many lives, just passing through. I think Longfellow’s words are especially relevant and resonant with the current age. With social media, lightning-quick interactions between strangers strike. Then disappear into the conveyor belt sea. I often think about time as it relates to the human condition and human connection. Especially important to a generation enthralled with that soggy golden thread: nostalgia.