My favorite event of all time anywhere ever is coming up, the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair. There are tons of amazing vendors, too many to name, and two days of literary appreciation, readings, sales, and other events. If you’re anywhere nearby check it out. Also, specifically check out the Cage Match table to see some of my work. Cage Match is a zine/anthology that features wonderful artists and is put out by my friends Bobby and Matt at Bad Drone Media. Last year I wrote a poem about toast, blood, and cotton balls, because that’s what Matt told me to do. This year, the only poem I wrote during my summer in Pittsburgh that wasn’t totally depressing, Christmas Lights Are The Stars of the Firework World, will be featured.

Check out all the info by clicking on the Small Press Fair link and support Cage Match and all the other hundreds of hundreds of artists that are going to be totally awesome there.

I would love (I think)
to know why I am here
stuck in the craw of the yachting elite
hundreds of miles from the gritty streets,
the fumbling managers,
the mumbling bastards of my home.

It seems unfair to be away from home,
and yet so obviously fair to travel.
To be in motion is to live and to slow time at once.
And to see the situation as such is to believe that only
benefits are fair,
and only obligations un-.
But how am I obliged?
I can travel. I am free to live and to slow time.
And were I to take that choice,
my time would be accelerated.
So my time now is slowed,
but how am I traveling?
Is it only through time?
Or is “only” too harsh?
I should not devalue my journey
through time, merely because my journey is involuntary,
and proceeds while I sleep.
A train, after all, does not stop for my fears.

Having traveled, I may also return.
These same rails may remember me
(albeit on a different train)
to those stations of my journey’s infancy,
though I must sacrifice my experience of those passengers
that have joined me to this point,
and abandon them to points forward.

If I were to point my bow backward and venture
to make a life out of stations passed,
how responsible am I to myself?
Not as I write, but as I read,
I may feel slighted by myself
for my retreat. I pay dividends
on each investment backward
that impoverishes my present path,
which truly lies before me only.
I steal from my own pockets and dull my sword,
I drain my flask and steal my rations,
Cleave my tongue to the roof of my mouth
and make myself dumb
when I fly backwards
to a port whose stamp I know.

And yet I find more and more
I have forgotten stores or supplies
at earlier stops. My mind ejected
concern for some sacred thing I require
at this station, as much as at my start.

The quandary, of course, being

There is a great student piece on higher education and the myth that our social institutions can be run as a business at no cost in Canisius College’s student paper, The Griffin. The article puts the lie to the Six Sigma ideas that have sparked a national debate in recent years and were put in practice in Western New York by Erie County Executive-turned-Congressman Chris Collins. When you approach social institutions with the same criteria as you apply to private organizations designed for profit, the unintended consequences generally affect those the institution was designed to serve in the first place:

In four years, I have seen Canisius transform not from a college to a university, but from a college to a business. But what happens when you treat students like customers? Well, when you run a bad business, your customers leave. The end-all result is a sophomore or junior who cannot maintain his or her already minimal scholarship, who is now a transfer student or a college dropout. But Canisius still wins in the end, netting north of 50 grand from each dropout, which means more subpar scholarship money for more future under-qualified students.

Check out the whole article and let me know what you think.

Harlem Shake

March 13, 2013

I can’t tell you all why I feel this way, but I think that “Do the Harlem Shake” and then proceeding to do something that is not, in fact, even a variety of the Harlem Shake, is going to feel like a pretty stupid generational passcode when you turn 30. I don’t even know what mine is, but my favorite candidate is James Cosmo shouting “Aaggh! Idiot boy!” when his character’s son tries to pull an arrow out of his shoulder. And regardless of what it says about my generation, I feel like I know what it is, at least for me.