Thursday, June 5, 2008

It's oh'eight a'ight

2008 – Life is Great. (My last acrostic for Brown seniors)

I love roads, traveling, feeling complete when
the right foot hits the gas pedal and I
speed forth somewhere between here and there.

On the road to find out, I sing out, like Cats Stevens, and ask,
how else do we learn who we are?

Everything is evolving at exactly the right time and
I know my evolution is
going as it must, because I am
human and I grow, everyday,
towards knowledge of what it is I’m meant to be. Yet,

all of us, currently, are trapped in modern reality:
living/loving/believing/dreaming/hoping that such
roads will continue forward and deliver us towards happiness and sorrow.
I travel in love with today, and I am
going to embrace my tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
head-first with a smile -- because
this is all I can do while inhaling my lifetime of lady fortune.

Beyond the confinement of flesh
lives a soul that is
ubiquitous with everything;
nothing compares to the
karma of being dreadlocked in

Time. See,
I was born to this mortal trap, but
my mind belongs to the emancipation of my heart’s greatest gap.

Before I began climbing
on the educational ladder, my
grandmother taught me the love of words,
giant beings, brain turds, that can catapault
across pages of journals with enormous energy and a
nascent philosophy for loving life. I began to question my

Journey, as a young man,
on the shorelines of a small lake where I
heard her purple poetics. The memory is
near my soul dance and hypnotics of how I choose to survive.

Being alive means knowing how to laugh -- to join the
overture of shooting Janet on this blue-green planet of
love, forests, oceans, deserts, mountains and unknown
terrains of possibilities.
Even the sharpest mind, with its simplicities, has yet to be imagined
next to the orchestra of our hearts.

Brown has a way of swirling, for starts,
all the colors of a crayola box
in the artist’s tool kit, and the true
learner keeps their all-star beginning next to their crafted
erasers, pencils and markers of time. Cuz as the white power ranger,
You draw the magic with doodles, history and rhyme.

Bryan, my father used to say to me, You’ll be
useless unless you learn that if you want something done
right, you must work to get it done
all by yourself. “You’ll see,” he’d lecture, “that
going forth in the world means you’re man
enough not to complain, but to fix those problems that frustrate you.”

Sometimes I want to throw in the towel to let
everyone else win, but then I remember
my father’s advice
and that powerful word, integrity, and I
jump forward with celebrity clenched in my teeth seeking
justice and goodness for all.

By the pond one night, a mosquito arrived from the
underbrush with dyed-hair and a lip
ring. She sang a
cacophony of buzz-buzz and
hizz hizz and oh, what a relief it is to hear

Such a sweet song. My nature was to whack it, but such violence was
unnecessary, so I didn’t smack it. Instead, I decided to look
zany in the eye of a mirror, knowing it was
all I
needed to realize how magical a creature
nestled to its nature
actually is. So, with a plop-plop fizz-fay, I asked,
how are your skeeter ways today?

Crazy little kid I was, collecting
ants in a plastic wristwatch, and
bringing them wherever I went. I
remember my mom yelling, parental rant,
exactly where was I taking those bugs?
really, Bryan, why can’t you have normal,
acceptable friends? Why must you play with ants?

Little did she know about the amoeba collection under my bed.
Ulcers would float in her head if I told her I took them in a plastic
container from my school and kept them well fed with an
imaginary kingdom of Lady Bug Queens and Planaria Princesses.
Everyone needs an imagination to survive. I kept mine in my room.

Crap, school sucks –
all this learning on someone else’s clock; with seconds and
hours are wasted in mandated institutional
asylums: Bring out the Scottish drums, historical Phylums and
let them make noise – ask the bag pipes to play, I say,
loud so boys in plaid skirts can punk it out in a nonconforming way.

Life’s philosophy is always better written
on a paper towel with black magic marker in an enraged
growl of Ginsberg-like howl of
Armageddon. School bites the proverbial weenie – but
now it’s over. Let the next prisoners arrive.

Caves are lessons on how to survive,
as they ask us to question all the
near-sighted lessons of shadows
on fire-lit stoned walls -- where our
necks, bodies and arms, mortal calls, are shackled.

He was right, that Plato dude,
enlightening young minds in an apathetic mood with
lessons of pre-
existential truth.
Now, I ask you from a telephone booth, “was this last stanza a lie?’

Crandall scandal, but I try. That’s the headline across the
entertainment section of tonight’s nightly news.
Ripley has the blues, those robin
egg hues, and he’s looking for
someone to sing them with him…
in a piano bar filled with cigarette smoke and worry.

Ellen Degeneres
rings him on the phone, but it’s blurry and beckons,
I want you to be my guest.
crazy woman, such a pest, he thinks, and
asks, “will you teach me to dance?” Not a chance.

Clarence Dowell
once said, “the first half of our lives are ruined by parents;
now the second half is ruined by our children.”
Napolean dynamite says, “Sweet.”

A bay is God’s opinion the world should meet and go on, wrote Sandburg,
neither fire nor wind, birth nor death (ergh) can erase good deeds,
noticed Buddha
and now I wonder what you have to say?

Creativity comes from when the mind creates an
overture from experiences:
sunsets with friends,
laughing at what fools we can be when it ends,
or those moments
when life changes us and we evolve.

Creativity doesn’t solve such an
obnoxious curse. Carry a leopard-print
umbrella or wear a
red, feathered boa
to the prom to rehearse that a
normal life is overrated, and
everyone else seems ordinarily obtuse.
You, on the other hand, are an individual, notes this guy in Syracuse.

Doodle in notebooks
and collect news clipping of ugly wedding brides on
Valentine’s day.
I mean, keep track of the news that is
strange ~r~ than fiction.

Buy a journal, make one,
record the rhythm of thoughts
in undated history
tip-tapping ideas for
tomorrow, when reflection
allows you to look back.
Notice the world at this moment, letting
you grow wiser for the ones yet to come.

Did I tell you the one about the
elephant and the eleven blind
Each was a scientist and wished to
record what an elephant looks like.

Jokes aren’t empirical data, however.
one had the trunk, another a leg, the third a tail.
How can anything be known when
none of us have ever been able to see?

Dillydallying is a way of life.
I can’t say I’ve
lived my own this way --
letting time creep up my legs
and tip toe towards the tendons in my arm. No. I
reach forth, grab kismet and
destinty before I let the fates get a hold of me.

Kicking back, though, my
ego grows frustrated…
not because I take moments to kick my legs up, but that I could be
dancing, or running, or moving
about the blue and green moments, instead,
loving every second as if it was my last, and
laughing at the insanity of it all – comprehend?

Early in my life I knew when the time
arrived to graduate, I’d
run, sprint, depart. I’d flee into the unknown like a
neophyte fledgling leaving its nest. I knew, too, my sister would
empty her branches off my parents tree a
year after I did.

Now, I’ve returned to the forest I once knew.
I’ve found my flight has gone full
circle and the winds still remind me that
keeping such memories in my heart is not enough. I need more.

Each of us are madmen, emptying the
never-ending ocean with a fork. We
go bungy jumping on red strings of
licorice because we trampoline the
eternal risk of one life time.
Men. women. children. Each of us as
apprentices to the hard work of one
nerve-frenzied lifetime.

Learn from this chaos. Find
entertainment in the mundane –
a way to stay sane in the insanity,
never throwing your utensils
away, nor tossing a towel to the wind.

Eeyore holds a bit of truth within his cyncism. but
Rabbit doesn’t sit still long enough to notice.
I tend to like Piglet, myself,
cause he’s innocently precious in a
kid-like way, chasing a balloon and looking for new ways to play.
so does Pooh, I guess, with a mission for a honey
overture of all life’s
nectar and wax.

Kangaroo teaches nurture
and Owl seems to know everything.
Tigger is simply a spazzagezoink and sees
every moment as the perfect place to pounce.
Life, notes Benjamin Hoff, is both the Tao and Te.
You have to find a way to ying and yang the reality every
now and again.

Frog legs! My mom loves to order frog legs for dinner, &
I get sick to my stomach. I prefer sushi, cooked steak in
tempura sauce with a side order of ginger and rice-noodle soup.
ze idea of frogs, he sayz in a fwench accent, ze idea of
green legs and, WHAM, Kermit being fried,
elicits fury in a Miss Piggy rant and
rage. In this stage of my
appetite I’d rather not eat green accept for
lettuce, beans and wasabi
dipped in soy sauce.

Squid makes me nervous, too; it’s like
eating a rubber hose with suction cups
and crunchy toes.
No. Leave the Frogs and Squids alone.

God is hope.
I know this now as he/she/it has
brought me many
songs to sing for my little journey, especially
on days where I’ve felt out of fashion and alone.
Now, I need such hope. I find myself dangling at the end of my

Rope, and like some dope
on a see-saw with insecurities and doubt, this
boy is looking, more and more, way up and
yonder, so he can continue to ponder for
nirvana that never goes away. It is here I wish to stay.

Grabbed a basketball and went
outside to shoot some hoops today. It’s been
forever. Even though I played alone, I sure did
foul a lot – I even gave myself a technical for un-
necessary sportsmanship, which screwed
everything up for my team, because I needed myself for
rebounds and foul shots if I was going to win.

All I wanted was to stretch my
legs and to get some anxious
energy out of my system. Too quickly I was
x’d out of the game, though, and sent to some Russian farm team.

Gigantic. The sea. The galaxy.
our ability to make sense of
the nonsense where all
the starfish wash onto shore.

Aren’t stars meant to hang in the sky at
night…to sparkle their burning possibilities before
days blur into illusions of the moon’s
revival? I suppose such questions don’t matter.
Eventually, the right time, everything
will be as it will and the answers will be in the palms of our hands.

Gonna go to the library to grab something to
read -- anything has got to be better than the never
ending crap school labels as worthy. Gonna
enter another world where my eyes
race like letters on a keyboard towards imagination.

Books are the soul’s lifetime of work, and because they’re
entrenched in intellectual liquid, they
need the thirst of great minds to drink them.

Haven’t collected toenails in
a very long time.
You should keep a jar nearby, and
each time you clip those claws you can
stash them for your sister in a vessel of sibling love.

Sick? I have another.
Think about a booger bag –
a container for crusty
critters that can be caked for an
eternity in a package
you can mail Mindy on her birthday : ).

Having an artistic vision rarely
exists for a world full of blank pages. Yet, some of us move through
thoughts with ideas. We need to draw
our original interpretation of a lifetime in personal
notebooks of our soul. The

Colors we use should transcend untouched territories and
overcome those visions of illusions -- the
language of shades that contrast diverse
I look to the mind,
needing the invitation for the galleries that lie ahead.

Harold didn’t love Maude as much as he needed to
erode the darkness he felt within. The
rope, the blades, the fire and the sorrow were an
old way of being told, “hey,
life is a
disaster in a Petri dish of doubt.” It isn’t until a field of a

Zillion daisies are introduced -- each
one an original and not needing to be like another – that an
eighty-year old moves on, teaching another to sing out with his banjo.

Here we go, across the stages,
onto performances of the unknown trying to
remember those who made us who we are. This is a
never-ending story of endless possibilities.

Brown is the color of soil, the swirl of an entire universe
rubbed together in hope.
It’s melted earth-wax on
the corner of first and muhammed.
Take this moment, graduates, to breathe in
and think about what once was and will
no longer be. When
you do that, you have permission to fly.

K, the consonant, the eleventh letter in the
alphabet, is supposed to bring us closer to a
language needed for communicating a
billion ideas at this very moment.

J, that which comes before K, does the same. But,
are any of these letters
meaningful in the philosophical
existential coindidental experimental
soup? Doopity doop. Poop. I haven’t a clue.

Kindness grows when
love is shown.
Anarchy blooms when
restrictions are blown.
Eternity looms where goodness and chaos

Little yellow hatchlings run across the farm
existing as little peckers, trying to do no harm – If
only I had some barbecue sauce for this McNugget wisdom.

Kentucky was my home, where I
lived, slept and roamed while
evolving towards my
individual discoveries and
narcissistic insecurities.

Eventually, a
meandering New York state of
mind became a set of seagulls,
and like Frodo, I was called elsewhere, feeling unsettled.

Little do the Brown bears know, when
entering the world from their dens, how un-
wise those honey bees are.
I’ve heard their buzz and pollinating business,
shouting, “here comes a bear…look out!” bizz buzz.

Call me a madman, but
I’ve been bestfriends with Alice, the Grizzly, for
eleven years. I know that beneath the
roar and growling of every “grrrrrr” ump, one can
always find a “fuzzy wuzzy” teddy bear, like you.

Lucy Liu once said she admired the
ogre-like strength of the Incredible Hulk and the
goddesss-diva status of Wonder Woman. Even so, she
doubted anyone would take her serious if,
on occasion, she raged hard, all bulky and green.
No, she makes a better woman warrior.

Now, Lucy Liu played Ling on Ally McBeal and
I was one in love with her (as much as I had a
crush on Portia DeRossi). Neither of them needed
kryptonite to keep me away, though. Because now I’m in love with Ellen.

Look at that last stanza,
u would think I meant to
knit those words for you, but I
entered them, instead, upon Logsdon’s script.
Naughty me. Always one chapter behind myself.

My God, has it
already been a year?
Really? Such truth
gushes at me with too much force. There’s no
escape, and despite all the improv of my heart,
everything I want to say, I can’t. So, elephant shoe. That’s good enough.

Minds are like parachutes
and they only come alive when idiots
leap out of the plane and
laugh at the rapids rushing
or falling head. It’s important to
yell at the top of your lungs, “Oh, My God!”

Keeling over, squatting in air, you eventually land,
and plant your feet firmly on the ground again,
thinking, “Did I just do that? Did I just
ebb and flow across the azure sky
letting flight spiral me back to earth?”
Yes, our minds are the willingness to
navigate territories that scare us to death. Plunge forward.

Mistakes are par for the
course and I’ve made more than my share,
growing, every day, more aware of how
opaque I’m actually becoming --
wanting the transparency for my humming
a carefree tune while tip toe-ing through the roses,
not allowing anyone to forget to smell the tulips.

Art is subjective, so the way I
sing the tunes in my head
has little to do with how others
laugh at my drumbeat. Every
error I’ve ever made has made me who I am.
You’ve got to be flawed, in order to be awed.

Martin Luther King
opted to stick with love because hatred
needed too much energy to bear.
The mountain still needs to be climbed, so why
go up it, pushing that boulder, with anger
on your shoulder when a smile should suffice? If a
man doesn’t know what he’s living for
each and every day, then the
rivers of struggle will pull him down, inevitably.
You need to keep the mission in sight. Your submission of

Delight comes from good deeds, violence bleeds
arrogantly between right and wrong. And yes, we must
Question to be strong, never
underestimating how our answers may take a long time to
nullify one’s curiosity. Stay awake in this
narcolepsy, sleepwalking through hypocrisy.

Nature hides
over the winter.

This is cyclical, natural, hardly
and in the spring, another awakening of
nirvana blooms. Gray turns into hope.

New beginnings. We are
given life in a bundled sack that must be
unraveled and explored. Even if
yesterday all is understood,
eventually, tomorrow can hold the potential for
numinous doubt.

This is why I say be
ready to rant and shout,
always keeping a Vietnamese memory
near your thoughts and mind,
go forward to find that everything happens for a reason.

On my neck, a
chain cascades -- a golden
oval dog-tag reminder that when I
need a home, I have one. Every
now and again, I grab this linked rope
entirely in my hand and
let go when I feel okay.

Kooky truth, that is, to say I
allow a necklace
such power for my soul. But
I am a weak man -- and
each of us need a talisman to believe in.

Oh, I can be quite stupid….I’m proud of being a
moron, an idiotic imbecile who
emits a dufus-
reign onto the kingdom of too much seriousness.

Cuz everyone needs a pogo stick
laying around in the garage
and each of us needs to bounce, while
yodeling, upon
the grand stage over the
orchestra pit. Audiences
need more fools….boing boing boing. bong. Am I wrong?

Peter Piper picked a peck of
ecky icky peppers,
catching cough contagiously from the
kooky lepers.
Izzy Bizzy Banana Girl
Peter for a swirl, but
all she got was a hacking whirl
giving her a twirl as Peter Piper gave a goober-
hurl of needing several doctors.

Jeepers creepers, Izzy yelled, so Peter could see her
uvula swell,
look what you’ve spit in my face.
I am now a disgrace,
and, of course, the fork ran away with the spoon.

People need to laugh more than they do…to
reach deep into their gut for the
internally loud release of hysterics;
everyone deserves such humorous lyrics of
silly laughter….
they need to lose control where
eyes tear up and
roll in painful epiphany.

Keep the
ability to find humor from
your friends:
live, love
and laugh often. This is the way.

Rainbows are visions
and only illusions, sings Kermit
underneath the shadow of cattails and
holly trees.

Believe in them –
each colored arc brings a possibility of
crayola box miracles on a roy g. biv
and, besides, rainbows have nothing to hide.

Ran seven more miles today.
Entered the outdoors of blue sky
and post-snow sun to
deliciously break a sweat while listening to my i-pod.

Laps like this, on wet pavement
against well-worn kicks, have become an emotional
umbrella for me. I know while
running my heart is pumping life, making me more
even-keeled and balanced. I
need such exercise, and to perspire my worries away.

River dance.
I tried this once, by the Ohio,
dangling my clunky shoes with Alice, and
let my untalented tip-tapping,
eccentric clogging
yank the seriousness out of my life.
Klydesdale horses are what we were. And I learned
I am not a man with
rhythm who
steps to the drumming
tunes with my feet.
Even so, each of us
needs to bust a move, so we did. We do. Can you?

Rode around with a lot of crazy kids when
I was younger and
dappled with adventures that
lured danger every mile I traveled.
Each of us are daredevils when we’re
young -- Such risk is what ages us.

Krystallnacht. The Holocaust. Teenagers
running scared to death of national
identities that would rather not have them around.
Sometimes I think, God, I’ve been so lucky.

Rationality is a statistical nightmare
on a standard curve with little deviation.
Boy, we thinkers are cursed, caught by
illusions that are somehow mapped
near those truth and lies we tell ourselves.
Science is flawed because it’s human,
or we err because we’re not scientific enough. Do I
need a reference for this? I probably could quote Foucault.

Cause and effect. Placing the world’s
hubris under a microscope to
randomly run some tests.
I fail every time, but usually end up with a
short story that no one will ever read.

Remember to sing music from the gospel. We
owe it to ourselves to hear such song
when thinking about history, struggle and the
eternity of letting go.

Destiny is nothing unless we teach
ourselves to hear the church choir vocals and
notice the harmony of robed youth singing in praise.
I heard them raise the
spirit of culture once upon a time, and at their church I found
heaven – celestial bliss –
and I have been a changed man ever since.

Smith, Anna Nicole, wanted to be Marilyn Monroe,
crazy how some saw her as a
hoe, when really she was more like a
rake, learning to be fake for the
entertainment of the masses. The world
needs a tribute for this candle in the wind, this
girl with a reality show who made
realize how normal their boring lives really were.

Larry, poor poor Larry, our Kentucky boy, seeing
every joy disappear like a chocolate donut or
amphetamines in the throat of a star. I’d offer a
hardy har har, but life’s sad. so so sad. God is this stanza bad.

Sanity is madness put to good use and
half the game is 90% mental.
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown and
laughter is the shortest distance between two people, I’ve found.
Man invented stupidity
and I’m sure it’ll be reinvented again. Yet,
Nothing can erase our good deeds. (These are stolen,

Lines, quotes, once said
at a different occasion on another day.”
u, though, are stepping forward, on your own, and what is
read tomorrow depends on how you’ll offer
advice with your words. Trust me, I’ll be listening.

Tomorrow, my friend, and tomorrow and tomorrow,
u will find yourself upon stage after stage,
to the last syllable of recorded
time, because, yes,
life is a shadow, and
each of us signify everything.

June will be here soon, and
eventually will
slip into more calendars of yesteryear. The
songs of high school are no more.
I was there once, the
class-cave of 1990 in upstate New York;
Ah, it seems like yesterday.

Velveeta Cheese is supposed to be
a tasty addition to pasta and hamburger.
Let me admit something, though.
Every time I leave the grocery store, I
never buy it. Why? Because
the mice I feed prefer Helluva Good Cheese
in thin slices served on Triscuits. They would
eat something like Velveeta.

Boy, this is a cheesy stanza, but it’s hard to find
ridiculous glitter to post upon my words with an
icky glue stick that resembles a Hallmark card. Things may fall
apart, Okonkwo, B.A.M.F., but who
needs such literature when you have your Babeez who dub you 4 eva.


My father’s advice rings in my ears at the strangest times.
You may one day find yourself replaying the

lines spoken to you,
again and again (that you choose to ignore), lines being
sung in your soul when
traveling your roads less traveled.

People are stubborn -
oh, we know what we’re doing and know when to put plugs in our
ears – but years will pass and
the words spoken at you, to you, for you, will enter
in you at the strangest times:
cause everything that needs to be said, is said to the wind.

Go out of this cave, 2008. Exit the
oval door and enter the light with knowledge.
Once, there were many who gave you a standing ovation, who
dedicated their lives so your life could be possible.
Bring the “idea of Brown” with
you wherever you go because
everywhere can use a little more of this place.

Follow your heart, soul and mind – they will always lead you
over rough patches of gray and
rainy skies.

So, this is a finale of sorts.
Every year I’ve written such silliness. It is my
nature to do this – some call it a curse, the
inevitable joke has always been on me, with each poetic verse.
Out! out! brief candles.
Remember the way this
school set you on fire – it’s your turn to set others ablaze.

Bryan R. Crandall

Friday, May 25, 2007


i. another goodbye, another year

and he went to the front door,
nestled at his blinds to look
out towards his painted porch
to see who rang the bell.
he saw no one. his
existence was only a maple tree seed
ricocheting on concrete from the wind.

ghosts. he thought. buried
on the horizon of his past --
on the shorelines of forgotten lakes and
days where he once wandered in
youth and adolescence. he knew he had to
evolve - continue his revolution of Hegel’s theory.

and then came the question. why was
no one there, at the door, wanting a greeting, or an
orientation of hospitality? hello, can i help you?
the world was empty, and
he felt it in his
eyes -- which he shut --
racing inward to find the answer.

you’ll have these moments, moonbeams. they come
every once in a childish smile
and, for a little while, you’ll begin to wonder. who
rang the bell? isn’t there supposed to be somebody there?

America is not Africa. I’ve never
been continentally dark, but since I live in my head, I’ve
danced there a million times in Ibo, Dinka and Arabic ceremonies
of sand and infertile land before a heard of cows and ideas. I’ve
wanted to know what is the what.

All things fall apart,
my friend, in the beloved country, but i
understand they’re put back together by those of us who
need to laugh, to feel, to cry, and to chase midget shadows with islamic hope.
all it takes is the drive to run a city -- any city -- and the power of our mind.

Buddha sits in manufactured glory
all around my house and
yes, he stands next to a Maple tree stump in the back yard
entertaining the nut-hungry squirrels and
needy, greedy doves.
siddhartha, cycles, the Om.

Chinese workers make an American
hope, my icons, bought cheap at a discount mall. even so, the
rivers continue to flow, fluid, and
i continue to question -- is this the only
self i have? am i simply a samana learning to play Samsara?

Back then, i didn’t clown around much.
all that high school social positioning gave me
indegestion, luigi. i was odd, but i didn’t
learn to laugh until i learned to juggle: to
eat the moment for the flavor it actually was.
yapping. tap dancing. writing poetry for no one.

Man, i don’t know who taught me this. Me -- the
orangutan, an evolved ape with the
rare privilege to teach and to
gain, year after year, the reminders that
each career is based on mind games -- professionally
numbing. i should have chose plumbing (he types, thumbing his nose at the rules).

Been improv-ing all my life
etching on sketches and skits, testing my
charismatic wits of imbecilic tomfoolerly and
karmic icecream.
my guess is that quarterbacks
aren’t too good and improvising the moment, either.
no. they’ve got their plays planned out, and they are

Judged by espn 1 & 2. (Ah, Big Bootie) but for us, the
Jokes are for a locker, the curtain call, and perfect for -- STOP -- a laugh.

Be of quality, they say, a man who is
rare, and who dares to take the higher ground
around and around and around the
delusions of mediated foolishness.
expect the best, and do
not rest until you are a man -- until you can breathe.

Blank expectations are where we have to find a way to connect the
line from point A to point B with few directives,
asking few questions until it is too late.
krazy. most of us don’t become men. we can’t
earn this until we internalize the advice older generations left behind with blood.

Cartoons aren’t only for Nickelodeon.
animation is imagination, a
rite of passage and contemplative
thought brought to us in a flash, an
evolutionary story board
reminding us of how ridiculous we really are.

Just yesterday, i watched tom and jerry
eating cupcakes before their
frantic chase ensued.
first, draw a nemesis, then scribble a
random duality between good and
evil with a whole lot of gray in between. Finally,,
you need a hero -- always let the good guy win, but let the bad guys get away.

another shackled fire pit. Another
random entrapment
that this is all there is -
habits. routine. ritual
and pattern where we fall victim to the

Life is more than this --
or at least i pretend it is, -- and i seem to be in a
race to exit cave after cave after cave...
eventually, i guess, i’ll understand the journey, and
anxiously, i hope, the shadows will
learn to dance with me, protruding their lips with glorious attitude.

each of us authored as a
true self --
an ink stain on smeared canvas
who, sometimes, makes sense to poetized others.
all of us are mere abstracts, the pop art
yanked into materialistic definitions
of t-shirt, kicks and recycled imagery.

Andy Warhol was a freak, but he captured
kambell’s tomato soup can like an artistic sneak.
ever wonder who creates the print of our
entire existence? Who
manages to whip up a soul, one brush stroke at a time?

Church is a state of mind - the place of
learned reflection and where light
arcs its way through stained glass,
rituals, gospel and a drive for more
knowledge. Christ.

Ask a mime and he’ll perform. The
Jubilation is in the hope of the performance.

Delirious. i find myself hilariously
anxious and subconsciously
vivacious in the monstrous
isthmus of human goodness.

Eros. pathos. ethos.
mythos. the greeks weren’t shapeless with their
imagination nor practiced as the
litmus-stained stasis of human condition allows us to believe.
y question the oomphalos*? *Oomphalos - belly button

Destiny is a powerful word.
i think about it often:
x-amining its connotation/denotation
of the destination written in the stars, and
nearing a galaxy of your individualized fate.

Part of me applauds, but hates, the moments i find myself
examing the hard work which brought me this far,
reaching the pinnacle of every summit, and
realizing the boulder must be pushed up again.
you’re destined to understand what i mean some day.

Dusty was my first dog. i
remember picking him
up at the farm, and because he was the
runt of the litter, my mother chose him. we were so
young, and i still smell his puppy breath. In

June and July, we’d spend weekends
on Loch Lebanon, and Dusty would
run after motor boats, while my sisters and i
dove, head first, perfecting our form.
and Dusty, Dusty would wear the pads off his feet, chasing
never-to-be-caught skiiers. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

Every year i move forward, i
arrive ten years behind. i
remembering the steps i took,
not knowing where they’d one day lead.
every movement is a slideshow of
yesterday and tomorrow.

So, i’ve accrued milestone
after milestone,
making memories
all the way. The
nearer i get to
the destination, the
harder it is to decipher where i’m
arriving or where i once was.

Earth to Bryan. Come in, Bryan, - we
seem to have found ourselves between
a rock and a hard place.
rally up the forces, kid, and
energizes the bunnies,
you’ve got to move on, somehow. Somewhere.

Captain Firefly, paging Mr. Moonbeam, are you
out there somewhere? We need you to propel
upstate, land your dreams to where they began,
return to the starting line only to
take off once again.
na-noo. na-noo
everything is evolving at exactly the right time.
yeah, you keep telling yourself this.

Fact is, words are good for crossword puzzles.
i say this bitterly, knowing my brain
teasers have been stories and poems criss-crossed in
zebra stripes across a newspaper no one reads.
games. dissertations. papers.
examinations. they’ve yet to create a
reliable standardized test for life which
assesses the relationship between work ethic,
learning, wisdom, accomplishment and love.
dumb, really, if you ask me.

Love, though, can be the
universal choice “C” - the
kryptonite for every super man. That is, of course, unless there’s an
e) all the above. If that’s an option, I always choose it. i believe in everything.

Great word. a female dog. a
rambunctious, degrading term used on
every woman capable of usurping power. one in which,
eventually, every XX knows as a
nickname. a back stab. a slogan.

My guess is you’re right.
each time its used it says more about the user who
goes for the easy bikini kill rather than the golden matriarch.
and for me? i prefer the history behind such a lexicon, admiring the
nuances intelligent wimin hold. They know more than me, anyway.

Hamilton, New York, is where my mother was born. She
arrived to 24 Milford Street, to An E. and Spence
ripley, an only child from a pre-WWII romance. She was
destined to be an actress,
enjoying her True Blue100s and the azure
star-glitter in her eyes.
that was before she met my father, and my grandparents
yanked her college money away and bought a camp.

All throughout my childhood, we drove to Hamilton
nearly every weekend, and would
go to The Nautilus for an ice cream cone or
entertained ourselves playing baseball in the park. such a
little piece of trivia -- like
all the stories they told me which made them who they were -- who i am.

He doesn’t mean to laugh as much as he does, but
everything cracks him up, chuckle, and buckle under-
neath his snorting hee-haw sense of humor.
did you just see what i just saw? He breaks up
even when he should focus,
realizing the
seriousness of every moment, the
omnipotence of ignorance and the
narcissicism of a giggle.

Jokes on him, on us, he supposes, and he realizes the
existence of the whizgigging tear from a
smile counts just as much as the
saline drip-drop of pain.
i’d rather laugh at myself than
cry at myself,
and that’s the way i’ll be ‘till the fat lady sings (ba dum dum, ch’)

I had a dream near November. a
scary dream, where i opened my front
door and no one was there,
and when i turned around, my
house was being robbed. they
laughed. i turned to concrete.

Since then, my monsters have been obvious.
people aren’t as good as i want them to be,
especially when i watch them from paralysis, and am
not able to exist. i
saw my family and they saw me.
eerie. they wanted to help, but as a fledgling who
ran away, they were too far away -- they were home.

Kuz on the night it was discovered that
all seagulls morph into
scandanavian blondes with beak-lips, and that
every great dane takes flight across icelandic fjords ---
you were there with Aaron Martinson, mario before senior prom.

Just three of us, wound up,
eating icecream, cracking jokes, and experiencing the
danish truth for a mere fraction of our life.

King Lear wants his daughters to love him -- he
needs their approval in his madness as the temptest storms
on a dark-lit stage. ah cordelia.
u have
such loyalty for the
everlasting performance.

and i play the fool part well,
coming before the court as the unnamed son and
hiding in a hovel of humor, while
entertaining tragedy to those i
love ---- ah, but this world is just a stage i’m merely going through.

Lass fried auf erde sein und fang bitte mit mir (*let peace rule, and let it be within
an. me -- with God, our father, we are
mit gott unserem vater, bruder sind wir alle*. all brothers)
or something like that. i was young when we sang it,
note for note, in a german class at
the junior high i attended. the tune

Just sticks in my head
and pops out at the most random time
no, i can’t sing and my german is rusty, but if
everyone is family, i’m sort of into letting peace rule the earth.

Life. There are those we think insane, who hear the music and dance to the
overture in their head -- the crescendo of
bass, strings, brass, drums and applause which
bounce along hallways, art rooms, stories and youth like a bud lucky cartoon.

Eternal music. How can we not spin to the
rhythm of Vesudeva’s river
in a quest for Om -- Um, and/or another
new beginning. And why don’t the others hear this music?

Learning is complicated.
oh, they’ve designed this school stuff, and preach how we
need thirteen years of compulsory education, how we
go because we have to - it’s part of the machinery --

Very much like the 30 years of labor
invested to the mechanism of a
career, before
the social security checks kick in, and an
opportunity for retirement arrives.
ridiculous, really, this
interdependence between
a system and the self.

Monday, i walked to school
across the 2nd street bridge leaving my Ford to
rest, unmotivated to move.
this happens when one loses his keys.
i have lost my keys more than i have found them, even if i
need them to open doors to my future. All roads are
situated ahead with
orange cones, speed limits and the
nerve-wracking radars policing the pace we live.

All of us are tested
as patients to our patience,
randomly chosen for practical jokes, and
oh, how we’ll laugh. scream. laugh. scream. as the
nincompoops on the ledge of stupidity.

Mosh pit.
explain to me how any of this is not a most pit.
you wore the dress and combat boots, and
eventually dyed your hair sunset orange, so how was any of this not a
random stomp of adrenaline, testosterone and adolescence?

Man, it’s better than
a square dance or the waltzing of debutante divas and their groomed
rico-suaves in a promenade of conformity. Only the few will
zulu stomp and romp as they fall from birth to death, outside symbolic skyscrapers.

Magic is hard to believe in, and
i’ve been reprimanded for having such hope, and for
creating a land of leprechauns, unicorns and gnomes in
a soup of brown utopia, even if
no one else wished to believe.

Fools. Idiots they are,
reaching into their drawers for laws, handbooks
and routines to make them feel safe from the
nirvana they’ll never know.
cause they can’t grow, and
eventually, they’ll simply disappear, not knowing there was
serenity in the wand and the power of the pond they refused to see.

My father’s a Nascar fan.
i prefer speeding on my own,
lapping along the track,
lagging behind the other cars.
i even enjoy going the wrong way
or racing the roads less traveled, where
no frog has been before.

Sometimes, i take my time,
hovering the moment as if it is an
eternity, stopping to smell the tulips,
leaving footprints beside the roses.
because these roads are free, i’ve raced, and
yes, it has made all the difference.

My sisters and i were thrilled when,
on christmas morning, 1981, we
received skateboards -- banana logs which barely could hold
two feet.
our pride came from sliding down the driveway without falling --
not just any one could accomplish that.

Dad would even try, but he’d fall
and all of us would laugh to show him how it was done.
nerds. that’s what we were. dorks.
neophyte, kids
yearning to prove ourselves that we were capable of something.

Nock Nock. Who’s there? Aardvark!
excuse me? Aardvark
who? Oh, Aardvark a
thousand miles for
one of your smiles!
nock, Nock! Who’s there?

Errrr, it’s Alfie. Oh, yeah? Alfie who?
man, Alfie terrible when you leave, and
i’ll dedicate every
laugh, from now on, to the
yucca yucca yucca of the good-natured soul.

News is on again. some
girl stabbed her 15 year
old son in a fit of medea-induced madness.

This just in: tornados are currently
reminding someone, somewhere, that we’re
under the thumb of a greater goddess. why make our own
news? Why celebrate our slap-happy silliness, when nature’s
going to take care of us one day at a time anyway?

News flash. The red carpet isn’t for the queen. no. NBC studios is
going to sober the rich and ridiculous for interviews so
u and i can watch them again and again and again on
you-too-are-a-boob-tube gossip gala extravaganza.
entertainment tonight needs its footage, and since anna
nicole smith imploded, they need a new madonna.

Does it seem odd to you,
all this hyperreal Americana?
no. he says, i don’t watch much t.v..
how can i? i’ve got more important things to do.

News update: one of these days i’m
gonna turn it off. i’ll wave a magic wand and
u will hold an empty glass of water.
you will giggle and fidget, and
everyone will watch you on the stage, wondering what will be

Hocus pocus, miraculous jokus.
u will blink once and a goldfish will appear.
everyone will be amazed by the magic, but it won’t be worthy of the tabloids.

On the walls of my history, mistakes
are chiseled with invisible ink. i
know what they say, but they’re not for
everyone to read.
sometimes i share them. And

Just when i feel my wings can reach the
orange blur of life, the feathers catch fire, and i
spiral like floating ashes back to earth to
highlight the imperceptible poem.

Part of me wants to fold my corners,
as if i am a piece of origami,
sentenced to be twisted into the
shape others want me to be.
and i feel their
fingers bending my sense of
individuality, creasing my soul
under my heart and wrinkling
my mind until it is
exactly like theirs. It is

Maddening, and
as paper, against scissors and fingernails, there’s a
desparate fear of fire and getting wet.
i want to fight back,
show them how deep a paper cut can go
or unravel with the words i
need to survive -- like a 1000 cranes of hope.

Pods of i’s --
eerie really, a wired generation of
children tuned out to immediate gratification,
keeping vanity higher than Mt. Olympus -- an
immediate culture of entitlement.
now. now. now. i don’t have the
patience to hear what you have to say
amidst the thumb-driven phenomenon of scrolling
up and down for personal satiation. Millenium
go-bots conditioned towards selfishness and
hubris. Of course, he laughs,

My t.v. is on CBS, and
alec baldwin is cussing his daughter for
the failure to return a phone call.
this is our tomorrow. I’m just as guilty.

Perfect. The pace of the race
eats away at the grace of my
each day, more needs to be done, and
i can’t find enough hours in the week to
rally the internal forces
against the to-do lists.

So, what do
i go and do?
exactly. i vacuum too hard against a shelf,
ramming a twenty pound barbell on my toe,
and, ya know, it’s made me even slower.

Point is,
i haven’t figure any of it out yet. yeah, you got to
live a little, laugh a little, and
love a lot, but the purpose thing beats me.
orpheus could bring rocks and trees to movement, but
when he went for Eurydice, the underworld took the upper hand.

And perhaps, like him, I’ll land in Lesbos with
nothing left but my singing head, and the
damage caused by Ciconian Maenads,
ripping the magic to pieces, while
enchanting their missles
with poetics and pizzazz.

interesting story, huh? how a sculptor
neglects the real for a statue he
created by his own
hands. Perhaps we love most what we’re able to
bring into being: a painting, a story, a child. then there’s
eliza doolittle, shaw’s
creation -- a gutter-snipe-
kockney from the streets who was

Created into the very essence of a lady.
henry higgins
loved the magic of his mind.
ornamental fruition from the labor of
ego, and no matter where we go, such creation is our only hope.

R we more than
ants scurrying to reach tomorrow, storing
yesterday in our hills?

Are we victim to a system’s
apparatus which institutionalizes its
rituals and norms into
our being, and uses us for the
naive propogation of its own cause? i pause. yep.

R we the lead of pencil
escaping into form, and
going from thought and
arrogant ideas into sketchy
nothingness or are we the

Creative genius
hiding in a box of paint
lusting to be found
on canvas one day and
entering the universe, one doodle at a time?

curl up into yourself
on any couch, any chair, any wall, any bed, and let
the sandman punch your lights out, and
the venom take over your body like a spider, man.

Peace. be at rest, because
existence is more tranquil when
entertained from canadian dreams, eh?
just kidding. it’s time to wake up.

Since i was a little boy, i
had my way within silence,
especially when crowds of
people hogged my
peripheal view of the world. i learned young to
entertain myself from the nuthouse, and
retreat in my head in order to
on such occasions, it’s as if i
need the masses, but fear them just the same.

Even when i’m the center of attention,
ridiculously chalking my boards with
ideas, i want to disappear...
creep underneath the cattails
and write the stories of those who inspire me to death.

Sunshine. It
has this way of finding itself through the most
intense window panes to light my indoor dust and
remind me, we’re a dirty species
caught in the sludge of
living and forgiving.
i can’t imagine life without such rays
finding their way under doors, around corners, in the
front yard illuminating the pavement i travel.

Cause and effect. The
orb above makes the herb below, warms the
rain as it trickles down these blades of grass, and
eats away the soil to bring creation to the seed. stay
young. this is the joy which brings life to the world.

i could be wrong, but whether we
evolved creationistically or we creationistically evolved,
god would want us to sing.
even if we couldn’t, he’d want us to embrace the color purple and
love for our freedom to be centered in our lungs and soul. Go to the

Juke joint, he’d say, and step to the spirit of
ancestry, history, reformation, recreation, and revolution. We
need to join the choir of all cultures and
entertain the hostest with the mostest -- we are so lucky to be alive.
see, i may not know church, but i
sure know the meaning of the search,
and, lord knows, i’m caught singing almost everywhere i go.

So, you’re up at the chalkboard and you hear a
mean rip -- i’m talking gas from
intense baked beans and white castle. somewhere in
this room, you anticipate a kid just exploded, and you
hang your head low as you turn around to see who it was.

Dorry ‘bout dat kids, says a braided Barney wearing an
orangemen jersey, and
making a cross eyed distorted face.
in a nutshell, this is teaching.
no child is left behind,
i find, when they all know how to laugh. i design the
quizzes and they
unleash the laughter.
eh hem. did someone just fart?

There’s a curse to being a poet,
u and i both know it, yet philosophically we grow it, and
randomly we flow it through our transcendental veins.
next day, it still rains, but the sun is much stronger,
egotistically, because we hunger for its
rays while meandering throughout this mortal maze.

Man is born to ask why,
interrograte the truth, laugh, feel and
cry and through his questions, a poet will learn
how to fly,
and the flight will recycle, Michael, in the artist’s
eye. some are born to follow. others are born to
learn from the hollow cave, while burning ideas for the shadows to follow.

Very clever there, gooch bandit.
all this time you convinced me, dumb
noob that i am, about stapling your elbow, the squishyfleshygushy part
called the weenis and telling your peers they suffer from weenis

Bry, the teacher, loves his words --
ran down to biological Berry Line (yes,
i like to check my sources)
and that’s when I learned i was a
numbskull. dj dawgbite makes things up and i believed him.

When i first arrived,
a creek of Beargrass adopted me. i
learned my body was the ploy of water to
keep recycling itself around the globe and
existence is a watershed of h2o -- a
river heading towards the sea.

Eventually, i learned,
my bones and flesh will become fish food -
i found solace in this, and
learned to giggle that no matter how much i try to
yank nature into my mortal control, it will yank me into its own.

We can be ferret like, needing to horde objects -
i admit it; i tend to glue keepsakes in my scrapbook of
days. weeks. months. years. and
eventually, i get back to the pages of some journal kept long ago to
remember the pace will always be out of my control. One day, i’ll

Leave behind such books: piles of them which will
annoy the poor souls who clean up after me.
unbelievable, i think,
remembering the years i went through the diaries of
ane e. rip. my god, i am her grandson. my poor ancestors.

What? he asks me,
i haven’t said a thing. I haven’t opened my
lips all year. You’re the teacher always
lollygagging and yapping, yadda yadda yadda.
i know i am, i tell him, but i can hear your mind
and it never sits still. it’s so loud.
moron, he thinks. idiotic english teacher. doesn’t he know
silence is golden?

Can’t get the kid to
hush up. Comes in first period, causing a
racket of blah blah blah blah blah,
interupting the silent world with his chatter box.
shut up, i tell him, you talk way too much!

Well, we had terrible seats.
i hid my orange fanaticism and future on the third
level. i’m a superstitious man, but i
learned that when things don’t go my way,
i have the right to change my mind. the first half was
awesome and those red birds were
making ex’cuses all over their dumb, free hall. the
second half wasn’t as pleasant.

Keef wanted to know how i could cheer both teams
enthusiastically. that clown was carrying on like a red and black mad man
engulfed in rows of orange and blue. yeah, that moment will
forever be tattoo’d in the way things once were -- the way things should always be.

Welcome to real life, we tell them,
you are graduating and about to enter the real world.
now begins the rest of the journey, and there’s
no way to explain what’s to come.

Crazy, i say, because hasn’t this world already been real?
over the last four years, haven’t we all experienced
life as it is or are we supposed to believe it was all our imagination?
let me whisper a secret in your
ear: this year is as real as it gets --
every year is, but it is up to us to make it authentic and alive.
now, upon tassle turning, go out there, be-bop and jive.

Yodel. I’ve never tried myself, but you should. Climb
onto a city bus and let your lungs go ---
hollar “Yodel -leh-hee-hoo”
as if it is an urban chant,
nestled in the heart of humanity, a
necessity to save the galaxy with an
eternal chirp-choir cacophony of
serenading sing-song.

Krazy? then whistle.
enter that bus like a hiss-pipe diva,
releasing the toot-tootie trill of
not a warbler? Then leave the bus a poem.

xxxxxvi. curtain call:

God, it seems like it was
only yesterday i sprawled applications
on my parent’s floor, trying to make a
decision of where to go and what to

become next.
you are opening a door, i thought to myself, knowing that
everything was evolving at exactly the right

time. name. telephone number. declaration of major.
origin and date of birth. allergies. medical record.
data on your parents educational background.
and then, to the post office for a stamp of approval.
you are only at that moment once in a lifetime.

he understands such snapshots -- how they quickly become memories on
early sunday mornings over a cup of coffee, and he
laughs that time doesn’t sit still, nor does the
language, for what he wants to say, flow easy:
o curas hominum! O quantum est in rebus inane* (*Ah, human cares! Ah futility
the silliness of our willingness to be human fools. in the world)
omnia iam fient quae posse negabam*- (*everything which I used to say
my cave drawings are being left say could not happen, will now happen.)
over the fire-lit shadows of a brown cave, and once again i’m
reaching for a pen, an adventure, and
reminding myself that everything happens for a reason.
optimus magister, bonus liber*, and as a teacher, i’m still (*The best teacher is a good
writing the pages of my own -- Ore rotundo* (*with full voice). book)

Sunday, April 9, 2006


2006; When Words Become A Finale


alive, right
now, at this moment,

i’ll find a way with words
nearing the clock of another
tick-tocking year. i’ll
read the forty stories
of individuality from within a semblance of
diversity - a scripted we, collective whole --
cause it’s 2006, and
this memory sticks to a life,
in a brown swirl of existence,
over, above, beyond all that is alive, right


at asakusa temple, in japan,
under the pagoda and beyond the tourists,
seven hundred doves flew away with
the small steps i tried to take.
i don’t like to disturb the peace.
no, i prefer to let things

and the sight of all those doves
stretching wings beyond anything i could do, made me
see the potential of one lifetime, and a promise to do what i could.


collegiate thoughts, the
intellectual meandering where
everyone tries to find an answer and a
right choice for the multiple answers of what we’ve
read, experienced
and understood.

bells ring in celebration --
each of us larger than the boundaries
left to us by ACTs, SATs, and admissions.
laughter transcends us all.


and so i had a dream where a
song hovered over international fear. i
heard music singing in my sleeplessness,
leaving an impact on my daydreams,
enlightening the terror that
years of history planted.

bryan, she taught you how the mind is
unbelievable and through
leaping through books
lends itself towards global understanding.
and the lesson came from
relatives occupied in the professional
deliciousness of writing another ending.


because life gives us lemons,
ellen degeneres has a
cloroxed mustache. humor is in the
cacophony of instrumentation
and a the mad magic of a musical mind.

because life gives us dog crap
on our brand new sneakers,
living makes us watch our step.
this is a key ingredient for
existing -- the
need for a pooper scooper at times.


people amaze me,
all of us running around
timidly lost, yet mystically
i once was a student myself,
cns, my high school, that
kindergarten year in utica. then

binghamton, a
university that showed me the doors which could be
reached, and ever since, how i’ve preached the
need to keep opening them.
since you’ve found the doorknob, too,
i nod approval your way.
decide whether to walk through --
eventually, it will all make more sense than my teaching ever did.


kryptonite paralyzed superman,
and yoda had his bad days, too.
rudolph was embarrassed by a nose so bright,
and so it’s perfectly all right to be you.

cry the beloved country marked some to dry tears,
and elie wiesel introduced your junior year to fears.
shakespeare confused language-upon a petty plight,
the perks of being a wallflower says the quiet are all right.
lavender had to be pulled from a tree,
eleanor rigby says loneliness is me.
blanche dubois was overly dramatic,
existential harold found maude quite romantic
reality searches oceans for bing
rivers become siddhartha’s thing, because
yesterday was a memory, and today it’s history.


jog. run. sprint. walk.
on the road to find out, move,
simply pace yourself ahead of the
horizon, so your shadow

can be seen upon sunrise and sunset.
have your obsessions,
each deserves them,
rather it be george bush or the marines,
vannah white or snuffaluffagus.
eat well. digest. stretch every
nerve ending and synapse until you’re exhausted.
austin bass is a good enough lass to think about,
kneel before the moon before PTSD hyperventilates.


january, the letters written to the self are in
envelopes, where they will be
left until december finds its way again.
i wonder where you’ll be when the
songs of your senior year will

cause it will come at last,
like prom, rights of passage
and your mid-thirties before you know it.
rituals. patterns. cycles. milestones.


gee, um, what, huh,
really? no,
are you kidding me?
actually, that’s what
my mom said.

crazy. whoa. dude.
oh my god,
not now, sometime later.
right now i want to veg
oh, and later,
yep, i’ll be in that tree - sloth reality.


i’ve been worried about
living my life to its fullest --
you never know when the mind might go.

crazy, really, our regression.
oh, today, it’s my sixteenth birthday, and
only yesterday, i was in my twenties, with
my stories which are precious to me, these memories, where
each tale makes me who i am. not
sam, nor a lily of the valley, but a silly ham on my own louisville hill.


driving along I-65, i
exit towards new albany
and can go west on eastern parkway,
nearing my neighborhood, and my shelter.
the home is where my heart is,
even though i have several homes.

casually tapping my breaks,
understanding it slows my pace down, i
notice a woman on the side of the road. she
needs money, food and assistance.
i am not her
nor can i imagine the desperation of her life. i
go home, bag a few items of food, drive back and
hand it to her.
a child from wednesday,
made me think, and i donate with a wink he made a difference.


krud. i meant to do that,
really, it was on my agenda all along.
interesting. it didn’t get done? ugh.
so, the hill didn’t disappear.
the hill drew bigger. but
i had to climb. push that rock ahead.

and a few lessons learned --
very good lessons in which
i proved to the world i am
strong. see my strength and admire.


just the other day,
all i could do was look up.
my eyes searched the sky
arrogantly seeking a
life that wasn’t there yet.

disappointed? not really. my
eyes kept staring at the clouds. it may have been a
lonely longing, this fixation
at the blue space above, or it may have been
heaven i was trying to admire
and/or the idea there’s something
not quite us, beyond all of this..
then it happened. my
eyes didn’t deceive me.
you became the hawk i was looking for, and you soared.



obnoxious little children,
adults. mature.
neophytes leaving the nest.

i watch them pile up like autumn leaves
leaving the tree that gave them
life. children are my seasons.


the peculiar story,
how it is told,
opens a mind to wonder.
movies. films. nightly news.

decency. integrity.
understanding complexity with dignity.
from the way i understand it, the
freaky story is told through
your dreams, but not all of us are dreamers as good as you are.


since we’re on the subject of luke skywalker,
u should probably know that the
star lit galaxy is a twinkle in your eye
and the force
never leaves your fingerprints.

even chewbaca, all hairy and all,
doesn’t escape such energy --
whhhhaaaaaaaaaaaa (that’s what he says)
amidst the Ewoks and Hans Solo.
right. that’s correct.
darth vader wears a mask
secretly dreaming to be breaducated by you.


and it was spring. there were
monkeys. fireflies. fields of
bees aggravating the days of our hives.
elephant dung. a white alligator.
rhinos in the mood.

food, expensive, packed.
and biophiliacs racked for moonbeams and zoos.
yep. a decent enough excuse to go wild.


anime. anyway. i am me
s e r e n d i p i t o u s l y
historically, we are
locusts finding our groove
escaping the shells that contain us.
isn’t it crazy how weird it all is?
gaining insight by becoming fiction,
having success by portraying the past?

for i danced once, a mild waltz
learning a simple step a
young lady trained to teach.
now, the acting’s over, time for a speech.
nevermind. i forgot what i was going to say.


pretty crazy, huh?
all the energy and work
that goes into a moment?
ridiculous amounts of the spastic:
itineraries, requests, and pleading our
cause, cuz we just want the best...
is there anything wrong with that?
are we fooling ourselves?

hectic. we see the hurdles
and we leap over them, turning around to
rally all those behind us to catch up. we could
ditch them, let them find their own way around...
eventually they’ll make it, we can hope,
soul-searching in the shadows of
those who tirelessly know how to leap.
yep, it’s crazy, huh?


tonight, i’ll be performing a piece i call
awkward. it’s a theatrical number where
bryan will attempt to control his wandering
i, and will lose weight without trying.
the cast will include danish reggae singers,
hauntingly looking like seagulls,
and it will be standing room only.

hold on. no drama.
only a four letter word called hope.
direction. you’ve got to have
gigantic words to speak, back up singers, lights --
everyone has different reasons for that...before the
smoke will clear. nudge nudge. there’ll be applause.


being young, they say is wasted
enchantment, spent on young
naive of what lies ahead.
i had a plan though, where
everything i was warned about would be

harvested in the palm of my hand.
oh, and i suppose i chuckle some,
realizing my luck, and that ants work towards
nirvana, while grasshoppers don’t winter as well.


characters are what make a story matter.
all a writer needs is their own, unique angle.
right? so, i’ve got this precious child in
love with the world, okay, and she’s energetic...
you’ve got see her, and sometimes she tans,

just a little bit, to become bronze,
and she carries this zebra folder, while
caring deeply for all her friends, and she values
knowledge...not just textbooks, but the deeper stuff, and
sometimes she yodels in class and impersonates her family
or curls up on a couch and hides in a hoody...
now that is a character, and i couldn’t write her better myself.


and then the night came where i
left, turned a tassel and never
looked behind me.
i had that internal drive --
sadness wrapped in tightly held fists
organized and compact,
needing only my own two feet to move on.

knowledge and wisdom soon followed, and now an
eternity of experience has
nestled nicely in the luggage i carry.
next, tomorrow, i can’t predict, but i
expect it will blossom upward, my
yesterdays fertilizing the future.


soul. there is one inside me,
although who i answer to
ricochets between spiritual moments
and the frustration of mortal doubt.
heaven, they say, can be in this

life, at this moment, right now.
i trust in that religion,
temporarily losing sanity when
the expectations of perfect bliss
rampages against my inevitable flaws.
everyday, however, i try, i
learn from my mistakes,
letting the lives of others model a better way.


been doodling again,
reaching into my book bag for
instruments: pens, pencils, markers for
diagnosing a blank page with art.
gee, that doesn’t look like me
even though i scribbled a strabismus
tip toeing towards those love handles.
that’s right. it looks like a buddha, grimace, an
elephant with hairy legs and bad teeth.

let’s sketch a background, an
orange couch, a banana tree,
green grass around my ankles and a big footed
sasquatch to fall in love with.
dang. did i just cuss? my bad.
oh, i drew an octopus in my ear....
now all it needs is a signature...self portrait, complete.


elvira had a rep, you see,
ran around on her family stealing
ice cream, dippen’ dots, from cracked-up
carnivals and frozen freezer aisles of walmart.

luck wasn’t with her, though, and
oh, the po po locked her up, but
man, she could read. her literacy was
awesome: plato, harlequin romances, Mad Libs.
xtremely intelligent, locked up wanting to play dodgeball.


and all eyes were watching god,
renting the body for the minute where
it had the chance to be alive. the
child looked upwards, too,
awkwardly awaiting the moment ahead.

lord, she said, i’ve been good to
you, honest, faithful, hard working,
on my best behavior. all i ask, she spoke
nervously, is for your understanding and your
strength. there was silence, but the child knew she could smile.


ava maria. i heard this for the first time when i was a
nerd in high school. the italians were everywhere in my
neighborhood, and on gray days, moms were known to
announce through windows, Avaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Mariiiaaaaaaaaaa.

now, when clouds pile upon clouds and the rain
eventually falls, i think about that music, how my
people of yesterday new something i was too
underaged to understand. it’s the sound
that song makes, when produced by musical magic, which reminds me
everything is everything for a reason.


all of us are at war, really, battling, protecting a
nest of comfort we hide deep within our hearts.
new generations and old generations share
a history, being written, already told.

nine months later, another chapter begins the
imagination and dreams of another life.
creation is a miracle, and the struggle becomes the
kindred spirit of brotherhood. sisterhood.
each of us a part of a family
reaching beyond boundaries to the next level of the
soul. we fight. we flex our muscles. we attack.
oh, but the truth is, we seek our mothers. we
need the comfort of their arms and their love.


bravado. paris hilton. the pose.
rambunctious scared apes we
are, flexing our inhibitions so
no one can see how human we “be”
diversity is a word, but deep down,
on the platform of personal truth,
not a single being can escape.

people fascinate me.
and that’s why they need to be policed,
reeled back down to reality.
i was born, i’ll live, and i’ll die ... i already
see through the facade. that’s where my quality is.


reached into my pocket,
and pulled out a wad of twenties,
you got a size ten in this shoe. they’re on sale, with commission,

x2x100 divided by the inevitable when we all go broke. barefoot.


jumpin’ through a line to buy a tie,
over a few streets at the value of a city, another
store, the pregnant cashier asked me what was wrong.
everything i told her, but i’ll be okay.
please just let me go, i thought, don’t
hover over my mood.

she grabbed my hand. she said,
honey, it’ll be all right.
everything is going to be just fine,
really. i guess i needed that.
my course along the galaxy had me
arrogantly preoccupied with the
necessity of only me. i thanked her and walked away more free.


just one more question,
only this, so if
shakespeare didn’t really write all his plays
how did he become a literary giant, the bard of

stratford upon avon, and the master of the globe?
they love him, i answer, like those who worship
elvis presley. we like to believe in the rebirth of the
phoenix, and that such mastery will exist in us. it’s called idolatry.
he wasn’t satisfied with my response.
elizabethans knew ol’ Will and
now some scholars claim the playwright was a fruit.
so they some care. I ask, does it really matter?


jade, a shade of pain and then you die.
on my first trip overseas, I listened to
seal a lot. he had these
harvested facial scars and that song sang to me.

such violence, you’d think, the whole world’s coming to an end.
that was what the judybats recorded, where they
entertained me in my sentra driving in collegiate thought.
voice. guitar. song. soul.
every generation bears the seed of its own destruction.
now, that’s not music. it’s aristotle.
song repairs the heart, where philosophy tears it apart. poor kurt.


dang. they got an atari system. man
oh man, they must be
rich. colecovision?
i can’t believe it, donkey kong
and q-bert.
nintendo. super mario brother,

that’s getting over my head
and progress left me in the dust.
you are of the magical generation, where
letting fingers control a character’s fate
overreaches the books and stories i believe in.
really, i’m jealous. all the good toys were invented too late.


hacking. in my day,
it’s what my grandfather did,
evacuating his lungs from camel smoke.
now, it’s a keyboard game and

the truth is, it’s better than ping pong.
ripleys, believe it or not,
a faster life is upon us.
next stlp meeting will be tuesday.


my parents told me good things come to
all who wait. i was patient,
remembering their advice as the
years piled up.

very interesting words to tell a fat kid, but
i stacked away the
coins in piggy banks i’ve never seen.
krazy, but maybe they’re right, and
even if they’re not, i heard them.
retirement will come soon enough.
yes, i do this so that one day i can say i waited.


phases of the moon,
elliptical revelations
that remind me
everything has its patterns. (but bryan, i
really, weally, wheeeeelllllyyyy need to pee).

very well, then. (you may pee).
oh, and if you run into international
evil doers, terrorists who speak the
language of durka durk durka.....remember you
know my sign of distress. when my
eyes bulge and i wag my arms above my head,
raise your hand again, and ask, bry, can i please go to the bathroom?


all i can think about when i
near amalfi drive, is
now what? where am
i coming from and where am i going? does
everyone wonder such things?

we, the transient beings.
east. west.
south. north
the compass pointing the way to where we should
meander. we see where we need to go,
over there, back here, perhaps along the
river. a ferryman might take us across, but not
every individual will understand how he rows.
life isn’t as easy as the lessons
a teacher may chalk on a board.
no. wisdom comes from outside these walls,
down the street a bit and to the left. no right. somewhere out there.


a showcase comes upon
my little world each and every year.
a project, which culminates
never quite as i expected.
days pass. pages are turned,
and there’s always another book on its way.

we, the readers, find
intelligence in such narration,
leaving no child behind at the
destruction of our own personal race.
eventually it adds up,
reaches deep down and provides me with more wonder.


this is the curtain call, of sorts,
where we close the tapestry,
open it up and take a bow.

this is another part of a phase, which leaves a
haze on my exhaustion from another year.
ovation. standing. applause. this is
ubiquitous, everything and nothing at once.
see, for you it’s a once in a lifetime event
and together, you’ve endured --
not necessarily like others before you, but
different is good, and look where you

are. at this moment, right
now almost robed and tasseled to the
deliciousness of a ceremony celebrating you.

strange. in 1990
i was allowed to stand up, wave, and an
x was checked by my name. i didn’t matter.

graduation was a central, new york conveyor belt
of getting another year
over and sending us out to the lakes with
dreams we’d become someone.

boy, it goes fast.
yep, fourteen years later, i
entertain myself with a poem. and i wonder, who have i become?

b.r. crandall

Saturday, April 9, 2005


Two Zero Zero Five, My Final Thoughts


knowledge is life. wisdom. a
river which flows throughout us and
i am a bridge
sustaining yesterday with
the memory of today.
everyday’s a lesson, i have learned,
needing the structure i’ve become.

am i touching
down, planted in concrete
and able to withstand the
madness and serenity of passing traffic?
sure i am. i stand and i hold on. i hold on.


saw another movie with its insight cabled
tightly in a two hour twist of ego.
eventually, filmed, i was wrapped in my own
victimization of hubris between the commercials.
entertainment. angles. cinematic grammar
needing the same old stories told once ...

again. over and over again., etc. the
dynamics of hollywood empires not fallen nor
erased by its innocence and
rearrangement of reality
so, for a moment, we matter.
on the t.v. a tale is told, tonight, a dance in the sun.
new years yet to come -- recycled., like reruns.


he likes to read.
always has, until guilt sets in and he
needs to get outside -- live the life
necessary to be written onto page.
and, he likes to journal
how everything/nothing/this matters

all he craves, though, is a good story. how the
race of being human catches up, and
bobo’s burden of the ring
arrives even after gollum gets his way.
unbelievable. that’s how these poems
go. so, for a little while,
he/she/they/we can grow.


by now, you know that somewhere, over the
rainbow, there only exists more doors to the
they each are painted in
the spirit that moves you,
atlases to the moment the journey begins -
you are the

artist with the brush,
randomly pinpointing the
brilliance, radiance, song and dance,
under the framework of sky,
creating the lines, space, a mood on a
kid’s face.
everyone must exit the door.


all of us are made of earth:
man, woman, child
awkward forms of bone, muscle,
nerves, and mud, carcassed beings
deep within the
aggravation of its harnessed cravings.

birth begets rebirth begets being born again,
over and over
arriving as dirt, dust and
knowledge. there’s always an end.

rivers teach this: Ohio, good morning,
i am alive
going along with this rhythm, while i have it,
growing into what i’m to become,
sustaining this body until it must be returned.


in the tree, walnuts. never claimed to be otherwise,
admit it, odd, peculiar, seedlings they are, pink elephants
not meant to fit in all family trees.

but through the leaves the sun is focused,
on those of us pushing the boulders uphill,
living to fulfill dreams which
grow in the garden of a hip-hop, flip-flop life. the
evolution takes time, like the music in our heads,
racing - a squirrel who plays chicken on the highway of life, but prevails.


look. evil is subjective.
i mean, look at alice.
nerd. dork. a word that rhymes with witch.
ditch. electric chair. flip the
switch and
everyone goes happy.
yodel lai he hoooooooo.

crap. i forgot to add the fabric softener,
and it’s made for a womyn, strong enough for a man.
racist. sexist. bigot. crackerjack cheese puff.
tally the anxiousness, the pace of these words
eagerly awaiting the reader to
run away with the punch line (which is usually bryan)


moo cow. p.u. cow. pow wow
aglow now,
singing in the field of penguins.
one. two. three. four.
nab your tentacles on the floor.

cot two cot two, giddyup giddyup, giddyup, get down.
oh, no, mr. bill, not another bamboozled
xenophobic, claustrophobic hypochondriac. quack quack quack.


this is my curse. i
reach to be my best, excel,
and while almost at the sun, my wings
viciously catch fire and i am
icarus once again.
sucks to be me.

cause the next day, upon landing in aches and pains, i’ll
reach the sun once again, or
at least i think i will, but won’t.
flying is for the birds, but
the dream is for humanity.


look. it’s purely coincidental that
all of us are swirling in this batter of uneaten
cookie dough. eggs. flour. sugar,
even the vanilla extract and chocolate chips,
you know what i mean?

don’t know what i mean? okay.
all of us happen to be in this bowl, right,
with all these other ingredients, totally random,
so we can taste good once cooked, together,
on some pie rack the “man” created for us. but
nope. it won’t work. they’ll forget to turn the oven on and eat us raw.


quazy how the need to go fast
usually ends up in a ticket,
or some crazy internet scandal
causing us to lose money. yet i say

drive fast. make bets. attempt the
impossible and when you lose, play innocent.
now is the only moment that matters.
how would your grand kids feel if you didn’t have stories for them to learn?


blink of an eye, summer’s here
leaving another generation of imagination attempting the
aggravation of the real world intervention.
i hate to tell them that it stinks, but winona ryder did star in
reality bites. ‘though, once you get past the whining and the

depression and the angst and the drama,
obviously all that is left is happiness, awe and weally whacky
wonder about how one earth could have such
delicious everything underneath forgotten rocks and
living beneath soil only to
evolve into exactly what it’s supposed to be. it’s not just black and white.


jelly on scones. blueberry pancakes. scrambled
eggs, bacon toast at a diner of old lady waitresses.
rhubarb pie. rice soup. poached salmon.
elephant ears at the fair, hot cinnamon rolls,
monkey bread, christmas cookies, potato salad,
yogurt on top of angel cake and strawberries.

french fries, tator tots. sushi and wasabi.
each bite, a new discovery of what the palate
rationalizes into flavor, taste, aesthetic and mood.
rarely, does the culinary artist within grow, but with have every right to smack your lips and return to the kitchen.


my example is lunacy, i suppose --
always manic in a drive to accomplish
the impossible, on a mission to
hang the crescent moon on heaven’s nail so
everything, for a little while, anyway,
will be serene, calm, so i can exhale with

fuzzy wuzzy was a bear
over and over again
with a smile on my face at how
little it takes for me to believe in
everything you work for. i’ve got your back as you
reach the heavens to hang the better life on that same nail.


random they accuse me of being, an
idiot insane on the insanity of the inaneness,
crazy as a loon at a pow wow,
after the cowboys have rode their horses.
doing/saying/being whatever whim comes to my
overly anxious brain.

fudge. total fudge. i’m focused
on what really matters and that is everything.
x-actly my point. everything is confusing.


knowing what i know now
entertains me, only because i can
laugh at how stupid i once was.
singing songs are like this.
earlier, i could sing “i’ve been working on the railroad”.
yesterday, i could sing my a,b, c’s.

growing up, i got a walkman
and tuned everyone out. I became a
recluse in black clothing, webbed in internal
realities, because songs helped me to survive.
eventually, i began to listen to different tunes, though.
the melodies of great symphonies before me,
taught me wisdom and i began singing my own song. i say, “sing”.


maybe there are werewolves
and they go bowling for lawn gnomes,
running away when the robins start to sing.
i don’t know. i live with a dog who
sleeps and for entertainment, rolls over to
sleep some more. i wish she was
as entertaining as a bowling werewolf would be.

great. now i’m all sad that my canine
exists uselessly, only to flip-flop in dead possum,
not to howl at the moon nor roll gutter balls past
the jolly little dwarves at the end of the alley.
really, my world could be more interesting
yelling, “Juliette, don’t eat the Nisse.”


superficial what?
and with std’s?
man, promiscuous little boogers
attend that school.
now, why doesn’t everyone go
there? i mean, if it’s the greatest, brightest, best, ever,
how is it we’re not all there.
are we the dumbest, dimmest and least?

hmmmm. i sort of like that.
all of us can exhale now, knowing how
little we are and unimportant. it’s too bad we know how to


reaching for the moon one day, i heard someone
yelling it didn’t belong to me.
are you a nincompoop, the voice screamed,
no one, no one is to touch the sky!!!

how sad, i thought,
as i tucked my arms back to their side.
my intentions were good and i planned on
sending the moon back in its place.
life is too grande not to have a taste of
every opportunity which arises, so if they
yell at you, make sure you at least grab a star.


duh. um. hmmm.
aaaaaahhh...ugh. thud
now, that is a performance. it’s called
a man trying to articulate his passion while
hanging his memories on a nail. it’s a

vietnamese folk tale. i think it was
you who shared it with me, once.

hhmmmm. uggghhhhh, duh,
ahhhhhhhh, whack.
never mind. that was another story, when
no one was around to see my curtain call,
and when the velvet robes were pulled shut before I
had a chance to bow. God, I hate the theater. Such drama. la de da.


doobie doobie doobie doo
aardvark, cow and ostrich poo,
voo do vat vith vu? woo woo
i dooooooooooooon’t believvvvve it,
dabid hobby -- it’s not even dursday.

hippetty hoppity tru’ dat,
and sing along with this poetic skat,
rapping at the mic, with mickey the rat,
voo do vat vith vu? woo woo
eccentric language stew, yep, that’s totally
you. (mecha lecka hi, mecka hiney ho -- yo)


jugs. that’s what they do to
unruly guys at st. x.
see, they do the crime
they pay the time
imprisoned by jugs.
naughty naughy, tsk tsk.

horribly evil it is to stand as a t-shape
idiot with two jugs in each grip. They must
go crazy, in heavenly pain, aching in
god’s wrath that thee hath
sinned. ouch.


first it was betty crocker.
ran up with a recipe for
entertaining the heart -- she
didn’t know about L’il Debbie, did she?

how about Sara Lee
or Mrs. Butterworth?
does the CEO tell all the
girls about Silver’s or Lil Ace’s
eight secret ingredients on being a
stud? Lady’s man...Lady’s man!!


nobody knows
all there is to know in this

however, when the wind blows
under our wings we must fly.
you were given gifts to use wisely.
now is the time to
hatch from your senior cocoon and live.


my grandmother taught me to sing the songs
all around me. look at the trees, she said, the
rivers, the lakes, the sky, the clouds and
the kingdom of life.
i have tried to live as she did, and
need her memory in the back of my mind,
always knowing these eyes are watching god, too.

just like zora, i need a world of story. i need words
on paper to make sense of it all.
never forget the color purple
existing in your heart.
sing the song of poets and smile your smile forever.


little things matter most
in the end.
born into
you must internalize the magic, the

never forgetting the blues
oscillating in the accomplishment of dialectics.
ubiquitous infinity
saves all of us in the
end. but this is only the beginning.


jokes on us,
each and every day because
riddles bring nothing but
ego to the punster.
madness, the hubris
yearning to pull a fast one even quicker.

life has the last laugh, though,
and soon, once again, the eyes leak,
never confident of tomorrow’s regrets
eventually settling within us all.


my instinct is to play drums while driving.
i’ve never had a lesson, no, but there’s something about song which
causes my hands to find the steering wheel in a pit-pat
holy experience. at times, my rhythm is
awkward, but so am i, and i have hard time with my
ears. what sounds good to me is purely
ludicrous, but i play anyway.

laugh, anyway.
i sing, too. sometimes with windows open, other times
closed. and when i play, i wonder
how others view me from their roads. i keep the
volume loud. why? why not. when i’m tapping
at the internal drum kit of my soul, as
ridiculous as it is, i’m making music. that’s all that matters.


just yesterday i arrived,
early, in a toyota tercel i named joan popper, my
simple blue traveler which brought my world of books and
story to this land of splooievilled kenyucky.
i have no regrets, either, because somehow i learned to
earn this -- this moment, so quickly shared.

my travels have changed some
and gas prices have climbed, but still i find myself
going, moving, being, seeing, loving the road ahead.
each day i accelerate, sister,
each day the wear and tear of age brings me closer to what really matters.


so, i’ve been thinking a lot about loyalty and trust.
every man, and woman, must do this eventually,
arguing, internally, about what is right and wrong. we
need the constancy of sincerity.

mahaffey has this. he’s truth,
always appearing one way, but providing another,
holding on to his beliefs, morals
and convictions of what’s best in this world.
for some, they missed out on this pillar, this
friend who’d have your back during the greatest storm.
every now and then, you meet someone who’s a good guy.
yes, sean, you’re the good guy and i hope it delivers to you what it should.


last year, i was in a trinity of disbelief: doubt, discouragement
and leaving. the easiest answer was to leave the
madness when all around me the insanity prevailed.
i have wanted to leave more than once,
catching back up to the life i once lived,
having the bliss created from memory
and living in my wigmore hill past,
especially when another year
lashes goodbyes against the chalkboard.

my instinct is to dive back under the lily pads,
causing a mild tsunami
kicking only the cattails around. this is my
nature, and i want to hide,
going underneath, instead of above.
however, it’s good to stay still because here
the greatest lessons are learned. i know this now.


d, 1-2-3
all the spirit belongs to me.
i must shout and i must scream
remembering the purpose is to dream.

m & m’s, with skittles, too,
creating spirit is up to you.
perhaps a dance, perhaps a cheer,
how the individual matters,
each and
every year.
tippety-toppity, trippity, toe
embrace the self, put off the foe.
reach above and touch the moon,
sing the magic of your tune.


my first dog was dusty. my sisters and
i used to swim with him at loch lebanon, until his
chasing of water skiers wore the padding from his paws.
he had a stroke, though - only could use his left leg.
early the next summer, my sister brought home tizzephina
louise. i suppose she’s the closest thing (he
laughs to himself) to this man’s best friend i’ve
ever had.

moons changed through phases and
onward i marched. tizzy saved my sister’s life and
no one can take that back.
that day, i suppose i woke up, once again,
galloping one step closer to the man i am today.
oh, and now i have good ol’ pinhead,
my third.
everyone likes to make fun of her --
really, she’s quite an odd dog,
yet, i love having her around. dog spelled backwards is god, after all.


jelly. honey. something sweet
or full of sugar. that’s what pooh likes.
not tigger, nor eeyore (which
i tend to be), but good ol’ winnie,
catching some of the bee stings, cuz he’s
always willing to work for what he wants.

maybe that’s the secret
of what it’s all about. we
need to know what tickles our belly and
take all the chances necessary to
get there. not all are
on the way.
many don’t work
enough, don’t have that child within
reaching past the hives thrown their way.
you don’t pooh pooh, you win.


koi. you knew i’d begin that way,
having the first line bring orange brilliance
along the murky poem -- you knew i’d
need to use those three letters in simplicity, not merit,
glowing larger than the universe.

god, buddha, maude. the one -
i know you know the words i need to say
and i know you know i can only imply them.

nirvana is what we make this life and that’s why i decide to
give, to help, to search for the best in everything i know
until i die, . why. it’s just bry.
yearning to tackle the insecure
egomania a little, sigh, too much. it is time
now. go upstream holding the sun and moon upon your back. swim.


my ancestors make me a mutt.
i come from ukranian eggs,
celtic stories, english pubs, while
holding german oompa oompa tales
everywhere i go. no, i’ve never
lived in vietnam, nor do i sing the
lullabies a generation of immigrants have
entertained in american dreams.

no, i’m not a pure bread, either. i’m more a
garbled basquiat painting of color and
unbelievable randomness that works.
yet, i’m human,
evolving from everything my progenitors
needed to survive, and like you, i’m alive for them.


very first day, the woman warrior proved her worth.
all of us cracked a smile, seeing another
nguyen follow in rather large footsteps
navigated and hung before her.
your worth was known early on.

now, i nod my head, trusting in the
gigantic being you’ve become. you’ve
undergone this battle, this four-year fight, and
you’ve proven your craftsmanship with sword.
every one in town bows their head and will
never forget your vietnamese power.


creativity is born with the passion of
loving and living in a blanket of words.
art is a part of writing. writers must
reach deep into their supplies, utilizing every
item available in a new way that lets the
scream. i’ve
always seen the muses screaming inside of you.

part of the creation, though, comes from
awkward surroundings, challenging the
reality you think you know,
diving head first into your
opposites until they’re synonymous with who you currently are.
now, go out there and write. write and make fun of yourself the entire way.


redheads. it’s not so much they
are hot under the
collar as it is they
harness so much passion within
and don’t know how to use it all the time.
eventually, though, some of them
live long enough to tame the

and then, and then, ah man, the
rebirth, reformation and renaissance is delicious.
krispy kreme donuts, delicious. full of flavor, like black and white film.


returning home is the secret of it
all. when away from what
you knew was last week, the intricate

particulars become more familiar.
on the occasion i travel back,
going over the speed limit
gaining momentum with the miles,
every landmark begins to crystalize,
narrowing in on the importance of what once was.
bygones will be bygones, and flashbacks will
oscillate from neuron to neuron --
remember when we went to brown --
god, it seemed like just yesterday.


sometimes, i can’t harness the
crazy energythougtsmovementsideas going
on in my head, either. i
try to focus, but become blurry in ocean fog,
too quick for my own memory

rapid roads of good intentions are
our best traits -- brothers --
some people don’t get it. how in
every minute of motion we exhibit, we
retain a zillion thoughts/movements/actions never to be shared.


how many of us have learned the
art of giving....of wrapping the self
naturally for the benefit of others.
not many i suppose.
all of us are so selfish with
how important we think our time actually is.

slow down, i say. find the moments on the
clock to pause and commit those random acts of kindness,
helping others so that one day,
under the darkest skies of their existence, they too, can
selfishly give back to this world. we all
take so much for granted: sunrises, ladybugs,
early spring, snowfall, an interesting new friend.
really, it’s quite easy, but we make it more difficult.


learn. learn even when chalk isn’t on the board.
utilize this moment, now, to think, to appreciate that
knowledge transcends the ridiculousness of school and
each second of your day is the lesson you need to learn.

school, you see, is a gimmick. it’s a tool to babysit
children who are brats, who need teachers outside of
having the bricks of k - 12 game-play.
really, everything i needed to recognize to grow
existed from the hours on the sundial when
no one was offering me a test, a quiz or a paper to be
graded. perhaps the greatest lesson to learn is how
each person deserves respect, has a soul. what we hate in others, i
recall, is something we truly despise about ourselves.


and yesterday, while pretending to be a hoosier, i had to
laugh. see, these froads came to my door and
explained that they were cousins to the Nisse, but they had
x-ray vision, which superman stole once upon a time.

so, i asked, you’re kin to lawn gnomes?
cousins, they repeated, we’re cousins....
how else is a monk suppose to get away with
uncommitted night screenings of buster keaton. they then
laughed. the froads laughed at my stupidity and the
zillion romantic notions i have for life -- a figment of their imagination.


when we run, we live. the
intensity of the pavement.
lung inhalation, perspiration -- the
limitations of muscle and mind

scrapes everything into nothing,
leaving nothing, exhaling
into everything.
do it, the right thing, &
earn this chance you have
running along this trail.


quickly, he arrived, did his four years and left.
usually it doesn’t seem this fast, but this time, it’s as if jan
arnow called me up last night and said,
ripley, boy, i need you take this kid
that abe loves so much and see to it he
exists in harmony, in the peculiar sing-song of that
zany brown school. let him be.

so, he came. he danced some....stirred mild drama, then
made a splash of excitement as all our souls were pierced
in the florida sun and ocean salt-water.
then, with the snap of a finger, the blink of an eye,
he moved on and fulfilled the promise that existed within him.


cause sometimes,
on broadway, the light is
directly where it needs to be, and
you feel infinite.

sometimes, when we’re
with friends, the music
allows the wind to
naturally blow throughout our hair, and
suddenly, everything is serene. if
only this was everyday. if it only lasted one more day.
no. it can’t. the pace catches up to you and you must move on.


how many of us can say,
i understand change. i understand the
exhaustion a butterfly must go through
near the end of its metamorphosis.

the wings, unable to stretch, must cramp,
retained in their cocoon before the renaissance.
and then there are those who know
not only american chrysalis, but have tasted the vietnamese winds, as well.


vietnam &
nestled in fetal position, against the framework of

rivers in both lands providing life
against the hardships of survival.
naturally, together, they flow, ya know?


many nights
i lie awake thinking, breathing deep in my
lungs, letting my day unwind into
exhaustion, makes me want to holler, too, before letting go to

time moves, swish, like a shot clock,
rushes forward with the sweat of a brow
and before you know it, your
voyage is ahead of the ships in the bay.
in the end, it is your
soul, your strength, needed to mentor others.


men like to tell stories.
i’ve told a few myself,
knowing that truth & lies interchange.
eventually, though, the

viciousness of tales catch up
and sooner or later we
need to reevaluate the
cause, effect, trust &
eventually, how much of a man we are. I trust in the man you will be.


just yesterday, a child
entering her independence, playful, a
scout among the mockingbirds.
she stood in a canoe & thought about the

world: npr, history channel,
an augustine of saints, time. She
dove head first, wide awake,
erupting minimal splash, but causing a wave.


leprechauns. gnomes. froads
and nisse. cod pieces &
unbelievable random thoughts
running through our obsessions
and compulsions, control & chaos with

words -- the brain turds of ohio
river b.s..
i must hold onto keepsakes,
give them meaning, containment,
have gates put up and bars, only
to, like you, simply secure my existence of today in magic notebooks.


sea. that’s
all which stands in the way of
nations. mountains. the lines we
decide are boundaries,
restrictions of which culture
actually is which

knowing the scarier truth,
now, more than ever, we are
obviously the same:
freunde und friend.
english to german,
life to life, a prayer to harmonize.


tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow .. the
way to dusty death.
out....out...brief candle

the shadows have been behind me
however long i’ve taught.
one day, i was young,
unbelievably naive of how deep our
souls can go, and once
again i am an idiot, seeking in vain hope that
none of this is forgotten. i know,
deep down, that it will be.

all of us are poor players signifying
nothing, all our yesterdays light this fool the way to
dusty death.

for now, out. out brief candles.
i beg you soar. i say leave. go. carry this
vision to all that you do. carpe diem’.
exist like no one before you ever has. exist beautifully.

- b.r. crandall