Archive for May, 2014

Spring Morning at the Philadelphia Amtrak Station

Posted in My Poetry with tags , on May 22, 2014 by sethdellinger

Travelers slouch behind low barricades of baggage, backs
to the tiled walls.  Two men paired in low conversation
lean at a column, smoothing worn bills with their fingers,

faces hidden in hoods like traders at a camel fair.
Children’s faces sink behind tiny sunglasses as they fall asleep.
We observe one another like cities

on the same broad plain, scanning for relief columns,
vulnerable to the clouds, measuring the distances
through the glare as though from so many windows,

and the eyes we meet turn away to the firmament
of peeling painted signs, the ranked fluorescent suns.

Fizzy Waterfalls & the Haircut Bigots

Posted in Photography, Prose, Rant/ Rave, Snippet with tags , , , , , , , on May 15, 2014 by sethdellinger

Have you ever filled a big cup up about halfway with a carbonated beverage, and when you go to take a drink of it, you can’t really breathe?  What’s the scientific process going on here?  Is the inside of the cup all filled with carbon dioxide?

Since I buy a lot of music on vinyl that I already own in another format, I keep ending up with a lot of “download cards”–these little guys that come in the vinyl records that also let you download a free version of the album–basically a way to try to convince you to spend money on music in any form at all.  Anyway, for awhile I tried to match up these cards with friends I thought might enjoy the specific music the most, but it’s gotten difficult.  If you legitimately think you might enjoy discovering new music that is the kind of music I like, let me know, the first person to say so just automatically gets all my download cards from here on out.

It seems about every six months, some bigot from the middle of nowhere says something atrocious, gets fired from his high profile job, and all the other bigots start freaking out about the First Amendment.  Now, I know I’m not the first to point this out, so I’ll be brief:  the First Amendment protects your speech (and not even all of it!) from the government.  Not from companies.  And the thing is, the people who want the jobs of these rich hate-mongers saved are the same exact people who are always the first to try to get a waitress fired for next to no reason.  Yeah, let’s keep the job of the rich bigot who definitely doesn’t care about you—because the Constitution!—but let’s fire our actual brethren who are down in the trenches with us because your steak was burnt.  I can only imagine what you’d want if that waitress said something you didn’t like!

I’m currently obsessed with the Kay Ryan poem, “The Niagara River”.  Watch the video below to see me tell you why:

The Niagara River

As though
the river were
a floor, we position
our table and chairs
upon it, eat, and
have conversation.
As it moves along,
we notice–as
calmly as though
dining room paintings
were being replaced–
the changing scenes
along the shore.  We
do know, we do
know this is the
Niagara River, but
it is hard to remember
what that means.


It’s kind of difficult to rate your senses, isn’t it?  I was just sitting here thinking, gee, smell has to be the best sense!  But then I thought, oh there is no way smell can compete with touch!  But then I remembered sight.  And on and on.  Senses rule!

I’m getting tired of cutting my hair.  Does this really just have to keep happening?  I mean it’s every couple weeks, for, like, life.  I mean, I get it, body.  You’re good at growing hair on my head and, increasingly, everywhere else.  We’re all very impressed.  But consider your point proven.

My new deodorant smells like soap.

Look at this picture I took:




The Foxes

Posted in My Poetry with tags , , , on May 11, 2014 by sethdellinger

The thrift store was having a sale.
How forlorn they looked,
the two red foxes dangling over a hanger,
sold separately.
They were whole bodies—
heads, legs, tails, even claws
except on one leg.

My friend giggled
as I wrapped one
then both around my neck.
They seemed alive
chasing each other around my shoulders.
They were warm,
nuzzling my ears.
Sold—the pair.

To celebrate their rescue
I wore them to coffee
at a nearby diner.
My friend said the woman at the register
grimaced when we walked in,
the foxes and I.
No, I said.
Yes, I’m certain, he said.

I gently laid them down
together, by my side in the booth.
A waitress brought a menu.
Oh no, she said when she saw them.

Do these people think
I could kill these babies next to me?
I would have freed them,
opened the trap,
nursed the severed paw.
I wear them as a tribute
to their beauty, their existence.

Does anyone think it was my fault?
Monica killing herself,
so alone there in Chicago.
I wasn’t there and she had called
the night before but I never answered
and now it’s been four years,
she’s long since dead in the ground
and I’ll never even visit the grave.

the opposite of loneliness

Posted in Prose with tags on May 8, 2014 by sethdellinger

really, there’s just art.  immense, wide skies with cumulus clouds to the horizon, the prairie spread out in the foreground.  a poem that makes you tear up, but not really cry.  that toe-tapping song, that movie that makes you feel afraid like you did when you were ten.  shadows in the photo 8corner, a swirling dervish of a dance.  that’s really all there ever really is, just the art and some sort of meaning.

there’s not really a word for the opposite of loneliness, but that’s what I experience, all the time.  not because there are so many people around me—there are often none.  and it’s not because I don’t feel lonely; that would just be the absence of loneliness.  no, it is the opposite of loneliness, a filling-up of things, a carrying of weight, a total contentedness with the order of things.  which is not to say I am perfectly happy; I photo 4simply don’t feel a lacking in the universe.  the universe doesn’t have enough concern for little old me to make me feel lonely–there’s too much else going on.  but what I do often feel is the desire for time to stop.  I can have sickening longings for the past.  I am not afraid to grow old, nor do I wish to relive past experiences; but I miss eras, phases, periods of my life.  I miss the way your apartment smelled in the summer and I want to smell it again.  I miss when you had mice so bad I killed them by throwing phone books at them across the room—I was damn good at it.  I was like a god, those days.  I don’t want you to live in that apartment again.  that apartment was terrible and you were still doing heroin.  but it smelled so good and I killed those mice like a boss.  and then there was that time so many of us lived in like a five block radius of one another, and there were coffee shops and open mic nights and warm summer nights when the noises of different venues mixed on the streets with the smells of coffee beans and rum and cigarette smoke and Liz Claiborne perfume.  I don’t need to live it again.  good lord, I don’t need to live it again.  just let’s stop everything and smell it and look at it and grow old in that world, in that place, in that feeling.  let’s have the rings of Saturn stand still for just an epoch.  then we can start time again.  I live in the opposite of loneliness and I’d like more of it.

moonless dark country nights.  there’s a sound to it.  a cricket sound, a buzzing, a silent sheath.  the sound of the nights of my teenage years, photo 9usually accompanied by the smell of beer, loud talk, and the first Violent Femmes album, the one with Country Death Song.  nowadays I want to take pictures of everything.  I try not to but I do anyway.  I don’t know what the penalty is for allowing a beautiful moment to pass unrecorded but nobody is ever going to levy it upon me.  I wonder about things like the shape of the land, the hills, how much we made to suit our own photo 3purposes like roads and drainage and sewage and how much the earth made, how long was it like this, how did it get this way?  eventualities swirl around and around and around, and around yet.  I have very much to say about many things.  mostly I don’t say them.  often I will say two or three sentences but I know it’s more than most people want.  it is just as well.  I’m a prick with my ideas and opinions and there’s no need to spew them out entirely; the big old universe with its Saturn’s rings and open mic nights does not give one fig about what I am saying.  and so on and so on and so on.  dark country nights with their sounds and their memories and time stopping and who couldn’t be lonely in all this immensity, anyway?  it’s all so damned big and careless and spinning with no plan, so I say, so I think, if you really want to know, and the wind blows like a motherfucker and the flags are stretched out at the tops of their poles and we’re all so lonely and the opposite of lonely.

really, there’s just art.  immense, wide skies with cumulus clouds to the horizon, the prairie spread out in the foreground.  a poem that makes you tear up, but not really cry.  that toe-tapping song, that movie that makes you feel afraid like you did when you were ten.  shadows in the corner, a swirling dervish of a dance.  that’s really all there ever really is, just the art and some sort of meaning.


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