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  4.    <title>Dickens of a Blog</title>
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  6.    <description>Doug Bolden&apos;s personal blog mixing news, life, reading, tea, RPGs, pipes, and other sundries.</description>
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  8.    <pubDate>Thu, 20 Mar 2008 05:31:38 -0600</pubDate>
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  11.    <webMaster> (W. Doug Bolden)</webMaster>
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  13.    <ttl>5</ttl>
  15.    <item><title>A video to commemorate the anniversary of "I, This Thinking Thing"</title><link></link><guid></guid><description> &lt;p class="photo"&gt;&lt;img src=""/&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;On July 29, 2015, I wrote a poem: &lt;a href=""&gt;"I, This Thinking Thing"&lt;/a&gt;. It was the first poem I had written in years. There were many reasons for me writing it, then. I had started talking about poetry with a friend. I had decided to try writing again. I had...feelings...I had to process. Since then, this past year, I have written a few dozen strong poems, meaning poems I readily claim as my own, and rewritten a number of my older poems into stronger versions. In something like an honor of that, I wanted to commemorate the poem that began the trend with a video.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;Before I get to the video and that process, let's take a moment to look at something I wrote when I first posted the poem:&lt;/p&gt; &lt;div class="quote"&gt; &lt;blockquote&gt;This new poem grew out of three things...[one of which was the first of] two conversations I had with a friend. [It] was about the use of the word "I" in a number of her poems, and how I used to use the word "I" too much, and how "I" is dangerous in poetry. Not only does it take all of your existence and compress down into a single word, but it disrupts the reader: they have to either decide the poem is about them, and accept all inside, or read it as merely about the poet, which has its place but must be used carefully. Which means, of course, I wrote a poem in which "I" is essential to the structure because, you know, I am petulant about rules.&lt;/blockquote&gt; &lt;blockquote&gt;I feel understanding your own infinity is a lot harder than realizing you are a complex space-time-event. It is easy to label yourself with multiple labels - nerd, librarian, friend, lover, mediocre dancer, smoker, poet, reader, swamp-rat born, etc - but kind of hard to realize that none of those labels mean anything except as the shallowest of starting conditions. We project ourselves unto the world, but often only in broad strokes, and therefore reduce the world to a pitiful cognitive dissonance... In such, the poem became a love-letter, but the "eventually, someone says I love you" unvoiced love moment is the poet getting comfortable with what "I" might mean, again. Along the way...[the "I"] starts seeing itself as a relationship between others.&lt;/blockquote&gt; &lt;/div&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;&lt;a href=""&gt;And now the video...&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="photo"&gt;&lt;iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen&gt;&lt;/iframe&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;When I decided to make the video, it took me a couple of weeks to realize what I wanted to do for it. The first idea was simply to sit outside and record myself reading it as is. The second idea was to take an image of the poem as a whole, and then to pan-and-zoom along the image as I read it out, possibly faded out with my reading of it visible behind. That eventually lead to the idea of a Prezi where I would make the poem into a complex shape being navigated as I read it. That proved more complicated, and more "gimmicky" than I wanted, so I decided instead &lt;a href=""&gt;to make "I, This Thinking Thing" in Google Sheets&lt;/a&gt;, which I could then record in a way similar to the Prezi version, but with different sorts of tricks.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;Along the way, certain ideas presented themselves, ways to add a visual layer to the poetry. I won't spoil all of the tricks, both those in the poem itself and in the video of it, but here are eight to get you started.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;ol class="article"&gt; &lt;li&gt;In morse code, the letter "i" is represented by two dots, note the profusion of colons, ":," in the poem.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;In the video, the letter's "i" and "u", as well as words representing "i" and "you" (in various ways) are represented by different fonts and colors. This is used in weird ways in places. I'll leave you to find all of them.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;The poem combines my undergraduate majors - astrophysics and philosophy - by referencing &lt;i&gt;cogito ergo sum&lt;/i&gt; and including a imagery about stars and space.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;"between hello and goodbye" are formatted in the stylings of &lt;t&gt;The House of Leaves&lt;/t&gt;. In that book, words meaning house are in blue, while words meaning the minotaur and struck out words are in red. Note, there is another trick on that slide.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;The word "color" in "a mandala without color" is not only an irony, but a mild tribute to my friend Kelsey, matching the sort of colors she used while working with me at the Salmon Library. She is not the only person to get a shout-out in the poem.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;As fitting for a poem inspired in part by &lt;t&gt;I and Thou&lt;/t&gt;, there are bits of biblical and mythical imagery, such as "a dreaming clay". The strangest is a reference to the line &lt;i&gt;et in arcadia ego&lt;/i&gt; [meaning in paradise, death existed]. Except I have replaced arcadia with &lt;i&gt;imago&lt;/i&gt;, both a reference to a stage in an insect's life and to the image (or phenomenon) of things. It also allowed me to make a reference to both Wallace Stevens - "Imago, Imago, Imago" - and Laird Barron - "The Imago Sequence".&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;The strange vocals of the reading was accomplished by speaking loudly but calmly into a mike capable of recording directional sound held closely to my mouth, so my voice was recorded multiple times in a single take, and then I normalized it and processed it through noise reduction to create a strange warble where the voices were processed into a single voice.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;The poem ends with the opening line, a reference to &lt;t&gt;Finnegan's Wake&lt;/t&gt;, but also ends with an ampersand, implying that the poem goes on indefinitely and you are only witnessing a small part of it.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;/ol&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;There are a number of glitches with the poem and its reading. One of letters i is in the wrong font. Due to Google's attempt to turn three periods into an ellipses, you get weird font twitches in the series of four-on-four periods. You can hear the clicking of the slides in several places. I also intended one of the letters i to be the square-root of negative one. But, all in all, the flaws are part of the whole. And, in the slideshow glitches, I have corrected them in the version shared above.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;So, enjoy my strange reading of my strange poem, "I, This Thinking Thing," (which I might note has been rewritten slightly for this version, and I consider the corrections to make this &lt;a href=""&gt;the definitive version&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="sig"&gt;OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: &lt;a href=""&gt;August 2016&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><pubDate>Mon, 15 Aug 2016 20:37:22 -0700</pubDate></item>
  16.    <item><title>Poem: "Another Night Lost to Drinking Poetry"</title><link></link><guid></guid><description>&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Another night lost to drinking away poetry&lt;br/&gt;Another night lost to drowning memories&lt;br/&gt;Reshaping them into lines, giving them names&lt;br/&gt;Putting them into cardboard boxes, trying to forget&lt;br/&gt;Another midnight coming on fast like a train&lt;br/&gt;As I sit here on the tracks, putting thoughts&lt;br/&gt;To paper, following after words I never know&lt;br/&gt;If I will have courage to speak, to admit&lt;br/&gt;I feel, but I write them all because they haunt&lt;br/&gt;Me and my walks and my quiet summer miles&lt;br/&gt;Lights and horns blaring, seeking an end&lt;br/&gt;To this need to be spoken, wrapping mouth &lt;br/&gt;Around the lines unwritten, the desperate hoping&lt;br/&gt;That I would somehow stop feeling them before&lt;br/&gt;They were poured on pages, typed and dead,&lt;br/&gt;Finally outloud, a tragedy born and bleeding.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;br/&gt;I seek to balance the after and the before,&lt;br/&gt;Balance the silence with the life and laughter,&lt;br/&gt;Balance the absence with the time together,&lt;br/&gt;Balance the standing with falling down grace,&lt;br/&gt;Balance the sadness with the happiness once,&lt;br/&gt;Balance the today with the Saturdays gone.&lt;br/&gt;All these photos of you, smiling and laughing,&lt;br/&gt;Become just another grave for a poem's passing,&lt;br/&gt;Become just another tiger stalking through forests.&lt;br/&gt;All the things said, the jokes and the idle chatter,&lt;br/&gt;All the happiness felt, what can any of it matter?&lt;br/&gt;The posters, the verses, the friendly curses,&lt;br/&gt;The angry fights over food and shoes and meaning,&lt;br/&gt;The pouring out over sidewalks and through malls,&lt;br/&gt;Down roads and near ponds, the quiet touches,&lt;br/&gt;The singing the rhyming the reading the breathing&lt;br/&gt;Of hours and minutes and seconds gone away&lt;br/&gt;For a dawn has fallen, run out into rivers&lt;br/&gt;Streaming down to an ocean, a beach of forever. &lt;br/&gt;Such simple enjoyment gone, no matter the reasons.&lt;br/&gt;And some of them were quite good, we needed&lt;br/&gt;Space to process the melting of distance,&lt;br/&gt;To process the labels we had for each other,&lt;br/&gt;I needed to be myself and you needed to know&lt;br/&gt;Who you were in possibility, and to other&lt;br/&gt;Hearts we needed to dedicate our care and time&lt;br/&gt;Because even at its best my heart failed to explain&lt;br/&gt;All the things it washed into you with the rising tide&lt;br/&gt;As you washed into it when the waves flowed out.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;br/&gt;You were never my poetry, never my gifts,&lt;br/&gt;You were never my friendship nor my I love you,&lt;br/&gt;You were never my ideals, never my missteps, &lt;br/&gt;You were not even your last harsh words,&lt;br/&gt;No matter how much truth you imparted in them.&lt;br/&gt;Even if I know I am stronger than the weakness&lt;br/&gt;You painted like tattoos on my skin, I am glad&lt;br/&gt;That you got to express my darkness in the end,&lt;br/&gt;Because it was one last argument I won, &lt;br/&gt;A final proof of the things I had tried to explain to you,&lt;br/&gt;And no matter how much more of me there is beyond&lt;br/&gt;The things you said, sometimes cracked mirrors&lt;br/&gt;Are what we look to for our own lost reflection&lt;br/&gt;And I hold this mirror, now, looking back into myself&lt;br/&gt;As a failure of a friend, a failure of parts,&lt;br/&gt;A failure in love, a failure to be a better man,&lt;br/&gt;A machine running down into its own bad end.&lt;br/&gt;Broken and unhealthy, uncomfortable to tolerate&lt;br/&gt;Behind the days you were counting down like sand.&lt;br/&gt;And all that year of things thought so sweet and pure&lt;br/&gt;Became just a mask for the hate you needed&lt;br/&gt;To express in confused parting, became sounds.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;br/&gt;So here I am, drinking away another night to poetry&lt;br/&gt;Trying to forget, but finding it easier to forgive&lt;br/&gt;Even when I feel mostly confused by all of this.&lt;br/&gt;(Forgive you, I mean, I'm not sure how to forgive myself.)&lt;br/&gt;I look back, not for the last time, over the horizon,&lt;br/&gt;And wonder what else could have been&lt;br/&gt;If different afternoons talked of different things&lt;br/&gt;But a million-billion pairs of eyes look forward&lt;br/&gt;And I know questions like that have no answers,&lt;br/&gt;For it was what it was, something into itself,&lt;br/&gt;But like all things, it ran out of time to be expressed&lt;br/&gt;And became a ghost of a puzzle, a music box,&lt;br/&gt;A shadow of a year sitting on a dusty shelf,&lt;br/&gt;The ink dries into the past, becomes something else.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;br/&gt;Now the next chapter opens up, already here,&lt;br/&gt;Midnight wanes, I close the page and shut the door&lt;br/&gt;Behind me as I head out to watch meteors fall. &lt;br/&gt;I wish it had been a better goodbye, my beautiful friend,&lt;br/&gt;But we barely got to choose the start or the finish.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="sig"&gt;OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: &lt;a href=""&gt;August 2016&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><pubDate>Fri, 12 Aug 2016 22:36:39 -0700</pubDate></item>
  17.    <item><title>A Rainy [and largely unplanned] Road Trip to Gadsden</title><link></link><guid></guid><description> &lt;p class="article"&gt;After &lt;a href=""&gt;the emotional intensity of my last blog post&lt;/a&gt;, it was pretty clear to me (and probably to several of you), that Sarah and I have some things to work through. Couples therapy, like any therapy, like an medical treatment, is only good when it is in tandem with working through the underlying issues. Things are already improving between her and I, and we made some big breakthroughs this week, but I would be foolish to think that recovery is a given. Part of this recovery, though, was returning somewhat to our roots and returning to some of the things that helped forge our relationship in general. Yesterday was partially about that. Sarah and I used to hike a lot, used to talk a lot, used to get out and play games together. We were best friends before we were a couple, and best friends as a couple, and that's probably what was missing most from the past five or so months of our relationship, the feeling that we were best friends still. So, we took a trip to Gadsden, which was an important part of our relationship back when I was in grad school, and spent a day just relaxing around one another.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="photo"&gt;&lt;img src="" title="Rainy trips to Gadsden"/&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;On the way down to Gadsden, we got hit by one of the wettest, most sustained rain storms I have seen in some time. In fact, it was such a heavy storm that by time we got to Atalla, we had to take an alternate route to Gadsden because one of the roads was so flooded that cops were having to block off the road. Even the open roads had enough water that some cars were getting stuck trying to drive down them. We eventually pulled over in a bank parking lot, waited for about 20 minutes for some of the water to pour off, and then took a sort of backroads way around to &lt;a href=""&gt;Noccalula Falls&lt;/a&gt;. I had briefly visited the park with a coworker during a lull in the 2016 Alabama Library Conference, and wanted to take her there. We get there, it is still drizzling, so we hole up under a pavilion for about half an hour before finally going across the street to a Dollar General and picking up a couple of umbrellas. She has been playing &lt;t&gt;Pokemon GO&lt;/t&gt; a bit, so the added protection from the rain meant she could hunt out objects in the rain without ruining her phone. Because of a couple of delays (the stops to avoid the worst of the rain, some stuff I will talk about later, and just taking it slow when we got there) we missed being able to go into the park proper, but we still were able to hike around above the falls and then to take Black Creek Trail for an hour or so as daylight waned and twilight built up.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="photo"&gt;&lt;img src="" title="Sarah near Noccalula Falls while the rain is still falling"/&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;We got far enough down the trail to visit the river, and then spent a bit down there on the rocks by the water before we came back out in the dying light. It was nice. I'm sad I've not been down there, before, because the trails are clean, well cared-for, and they have lots of nice and pleasing views. There's a mini-golf course and some other activities that would be fun to try (though the rain yesterday would have nixed them even if we had gotten there early enough to do anything about it). I'd like to go back, maybe in the cooler months of the year. Not terribly long ago, Sarah and I spent an anniversary trip hanging out around Gadsden, and while I am pretty adamant about not wanting to go on any long trips this year, travel has a way of draining me, it might be a good place to spend a weekend near our twelfth-anniversary. If you like hiking and haven't been to the Falls, give it a whirl. It's not like black-diamond style trails, more like casual ones, but it is pretty good for the soul.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="photo"&gt;&lt;img src="" title="Sarah standing on some rocks by the river as we were watching the sunlight go away (and the rain)"/&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;Getting back up to the top of the trails, and walking back to our car, we saw a number of other &lt;i&gt;PoGo&lt;/i&gt; players hanging out in the park. It was kind of nice. Just a dozen or so people, some of them obviously strangers to one another, hanging out and swapping stories. A few were sitting around and enjoying watching the people. I still am not playing the game, but I've been enjoying watching a bit of the future bubble forth.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;Completely unrelated to that, we sat down and rested for a moment near this little trolley that goes through the park, and I got to watch some kittens run around and down the tracks. Nothing quite like sitting near a "train platform", in the dark, surrounded by a slight rain shower, watching kittens play, that makes you feel strangely like someone in a Murakami novel. I damn near tweeted the below pic (blurry as hell from the low light and the fogged up lens on my camera) with a message something like, "Watching cats play on a train at night. Help, I'm trapped in a Murakami novel. Send jazz and daikon radishes!" But I didn't, because I figured about three people would get and laugh at that joke, and I was two of them. Some of the reasons for being there, the emotional aspects, only added to the surreality.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="photo"&gt;&lt;img src="" title="Sarah standing on some rocks by the river as we were watching the sunlight go away (and the rain)"/&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;After that, Sarah and I went across the street to &lt;a href=""&gt;Kati Thai Cuisine&lt;/a&gt; and had some vegan pad thai and some tofu/cashew stir-fry and soup. It was really good. They have one of the best vegan menus I have ever tried, and whole-heartedly recommend them. Then we ran down to Wal-mart so I could get a dry undershirt since the shirt I was wearing had been rain soaked for about four hours, and some much needed body-spray because I smelled like a cave-man, and we came back up to Huntsville. We got in about 11pm, and I lay down to pet my cat for a few minutes, and fell asleep almost immediately. Slept something like nine hours. Could probably still use some more sleep, to be honest.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;One of the reasons we were late leaving, and a good one, is that after my post several friends and family members contacted us. Several people reached out and talked to me about divorce, miscarriage, problems having children, adoption, issues with their own marriage, depression, and so forth. I appreciate everyone who reached out, quite a bit. I also appreciate the number of people who said that Sarah and I were the kind of couple that it was surprising to hear were having any problems, since we seemed like such a special pair, but that they were absolutely sure that we could work it out and be even happier together. I think we can. There are certain lessons learned, certain habits learned, in our bad times that I would like to revisit. Like, I enjoyed getting out a couple of nights a week and walking around campus and around town. I think I will do that again, once heat allows. I liked that Sarah and I both had friends that we could talk to outside of the marriage, something I would like to keep up, though it is good to know the limitations of how effective this can be. I also know that Sarah and I being able to get out and have fun together is absolutely vital, and for those who mentioned that while talking to me, thank you. I mean, it was something I already knew, but it was good to have other people tell me.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;And so, in the spirit of fun, but also with a hint of sadness, I will end this with a Sarah hates bananas. Hates them almost as much as she hates spiders. She hates the way they taste. She gets kind of nauseated when she eats them. Except, strangely, when she was pregnant. She suddenly craved bananas and started eating them. We wanted to share this with her sister (a fellow banana-phobe) and so I took a picture and sent it to Alicia and Alicia's immediate response was, "Stop sexting me!". I've posted the picture below so you can see why such a response was immediate, even though the pic was just meant to be innocent and candid (the fact that is so blurry testifies that it was meant to be a quick Messenger pic and not something we were taking "on purpose". It is truly one of the great Sarah photos. It is also, um, special. I will end with it as a way to remember a great-time that became a bad-time, but a bad-time with hope in it for a better future, but also to illustrate what it is that I am now fighting for, keeping this sex-pot in my life. Enjoy your Sunday, folks.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="photo"&gt;&lt;img src="" title="Sarah eating a banana"/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="sig"&gt;OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: &lt;a href=""&gt;July 2016&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><pubDate>Sun, 24 Jul 2016 13:02:13 -0700</pubDate></item>
  18.    <item><title>Poem of the Day, April 30: "Thus, Exeunt" </title><link></link><guid></guid><description> &lt;p class="article"&gt;Without comment, the final 10-minute-poem of the day for now...&lt;/p&gt; &lt;h3 class="article"&gt;"Thus, Exeunt"&lt;/h3&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Eyes must be more than the physical act of seeing&lt;br/&gt;If the dead have them closed, rotting and forgotten&lt;br/&gt;In graves full of names of dates and faces they rarely&lt;br/&gt;Wore while living, landscapes of darkness against&lt;br/&gt;Coffin lids, and eyes must be more than windows&lt;br/&gt;To the soul if the living have them, rushing screaming,&lt;br/&gt;Thrust out into the world full of fleeing confusions,&lt;br/&gt;Landscapes of other people and minor schemes&lt;br/&gt;Against day to day priorities and buildings roads&lt;br/&gt;Glass cars thorns trees stones clouds sky stars&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Poetry must be more than the physical act of speaking&lt;br/&gt;Words with lips and teeth and meaning if the dead&lt;br/&gt;Can be remembered for their poetry after breathing&lt;br/&gt;Ceases and naught but good words are spoke of them,&lt;br/&gt;Echoes of lives understood largely through implication,&lt;br/&gt;And poetry must be more than pretty words in rhyme&lt;br/&gt;If the living can bungle them so well, poor choices&lt;br/&gt;And pastoral pastiches of sentimental claptrap&lt;br/&gt;Shared with strangers with the cliche of common ground,&lt;br/&gt;Ill defined tempos and rhythms full of saccharine &lt;br/&gt;Humanity, burning in the hearts that forget&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;And silence must be more than the physical act of holding&lt;br/&gt;If the dead do it so effortlessly, without trying.&lt;br/&gt;Silence must be more than that simply not living if a &lt;br/&gt;Billion people are silent at any given time, crowds of clowns&lt;br/&gt;With mouths held tight and dry and behind those faces&lt;br/&gt;It is so loud, so very loud, and all failures of expression&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;So goodbye, Neruda&lt;br/&gt;So goodbye, Hulme&lt;br/&gt;So goodbye, Ginsberg&lt;br/&gt;So goodbye, Blake&lt;br/&gt;So goodbye, Bukowski&lt;br/&gt;So goodbye, Dick&lt;br/&gt;So goodnight, Pound&lt;br/&gt;So goodnight, Joyce&lt;br/&gt;So goodnight, Toole&lt;br/&gt;So spokoynoy nochi, Dostoevsky&lt;br/&gt;So bon nuit, James&lt;br/&gt;[and so long, you other James, the ghostly one]&lt;br/&gt;So long, Aickman&lt;br/&gt;So goodbye, Lovecraft&lt;br/&gt;So goodbye, Vonnegut&lt;br/&gt;So goodbye, Dickinson&lt;br/&gt;So goodbye, Hardy&lt;br/&gt;So good try, Topaz&lt;br/&gt;So much, so sorry, so hard to know what else&lt;br/&gt;Could have had such a so much nothing&lt;br/&gt;So goodbye, thought&lt;br/&gt;So goodbye, sound&lt;br/&gt;So goodbye, sight&lt;br/&gt;So goodbye, ground&lt;br/&gt;So goodbye, landscapes&lt;br/&gt;So goodbye, crowd&lt;br/&gt;And good luck, me&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;So goodnight to thirty-eight years and we are all just &lt;br/&gt;Dead things living in the past of ourselves, memories&lt;br/&gt;Of a grave that has yet to be dug and all&lt;br/&gt;Of our poetry is just this moment that may be spoken&lt;br/&gt;Into the silence of eyes some time down the road&lt;br/&gt;Or maybe find quiet in the act of being lost beside&lt;br/&gt;The great river, over rocks and rapids it goes&lt;br/&gt;And nothing we can do will make better of it&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Thus, exeunt&lt;br/&gt;Thus, exeunt&lt;br/&gt;An ending is implied in the beginning&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="photo"&gt;&lt;img src=""/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="sig"&gt;OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: &lt;a href=""&gt;April 2016&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><pubDate>Sat, 30 Apr 2016 14:31:45 -0700</pubDate></item>
  19.    <item><title>Being a [relatively] old man at a G-Eazy Concert [April 27, 2016 @ Sloss Furnaces]</title><link></link><guid></guid><description> &lt;p class="photo"&gt;&lt;a href=""&gt;&lt;img src="" title="Tom, Doug, and Maryam at the G-Eazy Concert, along with too many other people. Click for bigger image." alt="Tom, Doug, and Maryam surrounded by a packed crowd."/&gt;&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;I get along alright with &lt;a href=""&gt;G-Eazy's music&lt;/a&gt;. A Bay-area rapper on the rise, I was introduced to him by my friend Maryam (&lt;a href=""&gt;she of the burning flowers photoshoot&lt;/a&gt;) who enjoys him somewhat: meaning her review him tends to be four-stars and two-stars combined but not averaged out. She's had a dream for a bit of getting to see him and meet him and such, and when I found out that he was coming to &lt;a href=""&gt;Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham&lt;/a&gt; just one week after her birthday, it made sense to get her tickets as a birthday gift. The initial plan was that we would go with Sarah and Tom [a friend of ours and G-Eazy detractor], though for reasons Sarah dropped out of the concert itself while going with us on the road trip.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="photo"&gt;&lt;a href=""&gt;&lt;img src="" title="Maryam standing by a G-Eazy cut-out as we are in line waiting to get in. Click for bigger image." alt="Maryam standing by a G-Eazy cut out."/&gt;&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;After grabbing some food at &lt;a href=""&gt;Eli's Jerusalem Grill&lt;/a&gt; [quick review: yes, go], we headed over to Sloss so that Sarah could drop us off and we could get in line about 6pm. Already, the line was a hundred or more people long. Over the next hour and a half, it grew ten times that size, stretching all the way back and around the parking lot. This section of the night was mostly dedicated to people watching, trying to figure out the weird unknown dramas unfolding around us: the menage a trois of youths in front of us, the couple walking back and forth like they had lost something but never asking anyone to help them look, the high-school looking girl with her bra hanging out complaining about all the high-schoolers in the crowd, etc. Finally, around 7:30pm, the gates were opened and we started marching forward. Oddly, there was a call for us to get into four separate lines [Maryam and I got into one and Tom got into the one next to us] and this become three lines, which then melted into two, and the one line, the leftmost one with Maryam and myself, went slower than the other three that blended together. Who knows.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;At this point, a performance art piece began that you might refer to as "young people pack themselves into a small building at a density roughly equating a single loose solid". Cigarettes, e-cigs, and joints were widely smoked. One girl emptied a baggie of some sort of pill. Beer in cans and cups were drunk and empty containers were flung into the crowd [I was hit with an empty pack of cigarettes, one mostly empty beer cup, and some quantity of liquid I still do not the source of]. People started crawling up brick walls around the edges. Elbows were thrown. People smashed into other's people's backsides. Every time someone went to use the restroom or get drinks, the crowd had to wheeze and compact themselves in a slow responding reconfiguration much like a sluggish artificial intelligence calculation chugging along on an old computer. See the photo at the top of this, or see the one below, to get an idea of what the next four hours was like for yours truly. One woman rubbed her ass up against my thigh for half an hour and you have to understand, she was not grinding me on the dance floor, she was merely moving in a space without space, in which every movement was contact. One time I went to grab out my cellphone and I rubbed up against three people on the way up and pulled two people's hair. Another woman behind me threw decorum out the window and proceeded to use me as a tripod for her cellphone to record the show and would grab my shirt and pull on it to hold herself up to see better over my shoulder. One guy basically had his hand on my ass for several minutes because I think he was trying to get &lt;em&gt;his&lt;/em&gt; cellphone out, and the space between his front pocket and my rear one was roughly the width of a single layer of jeans.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="photo"&gt;&lt;a href=""&gt;&lt;img src="" title="The crowd. Click for bigger image." alt="The crowd."/&gt;&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;It is with something like irony that my memory of the concert mostly involves the constant contact with dozens of strangers across hours of being jostled and squeezed, though the show itself was not bad. G played a good number of songs, had a fair stage presence, and played up to the crowd in a good, friendly manner [though his stage schtick felt a bit fake and forced in times, such as his "From the bottom of my heart, this is the happiest I have ever been"]. The two songs I most wanted to hear, "You Got Me" and "I Mean It" were saved for the encore, which helped the whole thing end on a high note. The music was just about the right level of loud, and for all of their immense closeness and shared sweatiness, the crowd was roughly well behaved. Roughly. At one point in time, a failed crowd-surf nearly slammed a young man into the cement near my feet and I managed to get him up. At another, some women shoving their way forward to get a better view basically just slammed people out of their way. Also, see the beer and such thrown into the back of people's heads. Still, the mood was mostly a good-time one.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;Knowing Sarah's hatred for crowds, her generally "meh" stance on G, and her need to get up early to go to work the next day, it is best she didn't actually show up to the show, though in some ways I wish she could have been at the back, watching the whole thing like an anthropological event. In contrast, she and I had gone to a &lt;a href=""&gt;Roomful of Teeth&lt;/a&gt; concert just the night before, and that one had been calm and collected and beautifully organized, with the crowd happy just to enjoy in thoughtful, weird music. Yet, for all the beauty of the Teeth-show compared to sweaty-animal-stink of the G-one, I will probably remember the Sloss Furnaces show more clearly, because it was truly one of the most unusual experiences of my life.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="article"&gt;With that being said, I would go see Roomful of Teeth at the drop of the dime, while actively avoiding seeing another G-Eazy concert unless I can get some sort of box seating. Heh.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="sig"&gt;OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: &lt;a href=""&gt;April 2016&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><pubDate>Sat, 30 Apr 2016 10:16:19 -0700</pubDate></item>
  20.    <item><title>Poem of the Day, April 29: "Decades"</title><link></link><guid></guid><description> &lt;p class="article"&gt;So, I only managed maybe 15 "poems of the day" out of 30 possible, but that's pretty good. I have today's poem written, that would have been a poem from a few days ago except I couldn't quite get into the flow of it, and then life happened and I was really tired, so I figured rather than force a "catch up" post with three or four poems, I'd just let a few lacunae birth themselves into non-being. Skipping ahead to today, tonight's poem is "Decades", and is something like a sister poem to &lt;a href=""&gt;"Grotto"&lt;/a&gt;, which was me looking back to my old mopey teenage self and realizing I'm a 38-year-old mopey self. This one references an odd bit of philosophy: if you only have one life to live, every choice you make kills all those other yous who could have been, therefore you commit suicide every single day, in many ways, and by the time you make it to your late thirties you are a mass-murderer, a serial killer specializing in victims sharing your name and general life disposition. It is perhaps the opposite of my &lt;a href=""&gt;Million-Billion Dougs&lt;/a&gt; philosophy, but perhaps the truest form of it. There are not a million-billion Dougs, there is just one, and he has killed the rest. Whether or not he reigns supreme is up to him, or I should say, the him that will eventually be the last Doug alive, one last Doug facing himself, and then he will fade into nothing, probably thinking of himself as a failure, despite outwitting all the others in the only race that matters: the race to exist. [Note: since I've skipped quite a few poems, I've sped up the weird icon that accompanies them so it can reach its final form by the final one, tomorrow.]&lt;/p&gt; &lt;h3 class="article"&gt;"Decades"&lt;/h3&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Decades are dust on my teeth and my tongue&lt;br/&gt;Catches spit red like blood and drips years my lips&lt;br/&gt;Crack open words and this is all of me, this muddy time&lt;br/&gt;Flowing down my back and an old man I have become&lt;br/&gt;In the very act of fleeing the ire of younger selves,&lt;br/&gt;Grown ugly and tired and a mirror of dreams&lt;br/&gt;I have barely nurtured to fruition, the betrayal&lt;br/&gt;Of circumstance and the air of expedience&lt;br/&gt;The path of least resistance to become the &lt;br/&gt;Not the me of such improbable destinies:&lt;br/&gt;Forks in the road and dice rolls slapping tables,&lt;br/&gt;Glass houses for catch fate quick schemes,&lt;br/&gt;Fool of the cards wild and all hands and feet.&lt;br/&gt;Suicide is living long enough to watch all possibilities&lt;br/&gt;Turn left down the road to better things, a million-billion&lt;br/&gt;Victims of the choices you wear out every day.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Here is me as a scientist and he digs deeper against&lt;br/&gt;Star burnt mysteries and here is me as preacher&lt;br/&gt;And God like a fire tears out my eyes and here&lt;br/&gt;Is me as a family man with children fluttering ground&lt;br/&gt;And a yard and a house and a door with my name upon&lt;br/&gt;And here is me as a mad poet prophesying rhyme&lt;br/&gt;And proselytizing rhyme and here is me as a dead&lt;br/&gt;Man tombstone and there is no big enough apostrophe &lt;br/&gt;To define all that could have been mine but here is me&lt;br/&gt;As this old man and in my pocket are all these decades&lt;br/&gt;Burning a hole and spent and dry despite all the rain&lt;br/&gt;Falling loud outside of my window into the whispery&lt;br/&gt;Scratch of another late night listening to music,&lt;br/&gt;The currency of age and what could have been&lt;br/&gt;Had it not been that that which has been happened&lt;br/&gt;And living is just the masks you wear in remembrance&lt;br/&gt;Of all those done died yous left in those other truths,&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Another dead youth to an even older you falls behind,&lt;br/&gt;And all those decades keep falling gravities into sound,&lt;br/&gt;As if it were not really you on the road to the mountaintop,&lt;br/&gt;Seeing yourself seeking one last question then full stop.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="photo"&gt;&lt;img src=""/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="sig"&gt;OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: &lt;a href=""&gt;April 2016&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><pubDate>Fri, 29 Apr 2016 22:41:24 -0700</pubDate></item>
  21.    <item><title>Three Poems of the Day, April 24: "The Stars During the Day", "Grin", and "Doors"</title><link></link><guid></guid><description> &lt;p class="article"&gt;It has been a couple of days since I have last written a poem. I've taken a few stabs at it, and what you see below is the result, though each of them was actually committed to the "page" tonight. The first two are too rough, and were close to not even being included, but the third is one that I do actually kind of like. And for those paying attention at all to the weird graphics accompanying the poetry, the final form is starting to show up. I'm definitely starting looking forward to May, when I will go back and edit and tweak all of these poems into something more like their final shape.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;h3 class="article"&gt;"The Stars During the Day"&lt;/h3&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;The stars during the day are not sleeping giants &lt;br/&gt;Romantically watching from around the corners of sunlight,&lt;br/&gt;They are hidden in the depths of blue, burning and bright,&lt;br/&gt;The great constant kings always on immaculate fire,&lt;br/&gt;And the sing down to us like we talk to corpses in the grave.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Skulls of hydrogen into helium, iron building in their marrow,&lt;br/&gt;Those gods creak and moan with the song of bones and time,&lt;br/&gt;Passing overhead ignored in their ocean of blackest rhyme,&lt;br/&gt;Their faces are years behind their slow walk, their eyes open&lt;br/&gt;Wide and eternity trembles in their very passing, their ire.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Look not for stars in the daytime, the jealous sun will frown,&lt;br/&gt;Let them have their secret ways, their tedious sabbaticals.&lt;br/&gt;Seasons change, people die, and leaves pass green to brown.&lt;br/&gt;As the stars pour out into the sky, others drown in day,&lt;br/&gt;And another song is sung, another horrible dawn awakes.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="photo"&gt;&lt;img src=""/&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;h3 class="article"&gt;"Grin"&lt;/h3&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;I grin when I think&lt;br/&gt;I laugh when I hurt&lt;br/&gt;I smile when I am confused&lt;br/&gt;I crackle cackle giggle guffaw when all the pains of understanding break upon me and smite my brain and I am left choking and burning and lost again inside of the&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Let me tell you a joke of lust and joy&lt;br/&gt;Let me tell you a joke of day and night&lt;br/&gt;Let me tell you a joke of death and loss&lt;br/&gt;Let me tell you a joke of finding, the gentle joy of finding, of finding whatever it is you are looking for and knowing, having found it, that you can only hold it for such a little time&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;A clown I am&lt;br/&gt;A fool I am&lt;br/&gt;A jester with a head of feathers and twine&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;But I see&lt;br/&gt;But I see&lt;br/&gt;I see, but for a little while&lt;br/&gt;So laugh with me, and smile with me, and grin with me, guffaw and teeth&lt;br/&gt;And let us tell these jokes and riddles to the face of life, so messy and yet so complete&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="photo"&gt;&lt;img src=""/&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;h3 class="article"&gt;"Doors"&lt;/h3&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Doors are not always rectangular in nature,&lt;br/&gt;And hearts are not always beats and blood,&lt;br/&gt;Dreams are not always stains upon thoughts.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;I have noticed without paying too much attention&lt;br/&gt;To anything of the sort. I have noticed without noticing.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Trees are not always bark and swings and leaves,&lt;br/&gt;And roads are not always avenues or paths or streets,&lt;br/&gt;And horizons are not always the sky’s final edge.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Makes sense, on deeper introspection,&lt;br/&gt;That my soul MIGHT be shaped like that,&lt;br/&gt;Shaped like something it is not while also&lt;br/&gt;Just maybe, shaped exactly like it is. &lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Oceans sometimes flow like shadows,&lt;br/&gt;River sometimes dry to dust and flame,&lt;br/&gt;And the rain sometimes dies without ever&lt;br/&gt;Finding a single spot upon the ground. &lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Casting shapes upon the wall, I wish &lt;br/&gt;I could see the bigger picture;&lt;br/&gt;But blinder than a moment of joy&lt;br/&gt;In a world full of pain and misunderstanding,&lt;br/&gt;Blinder than a moment of crying&lt;br/&gt;In a world full of love and happiness,&lt;br/&gt;I wait, and in the morning (as dew) I fall.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class="photo"&gt;&lt;img src=""/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="sig"&gt;OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: &lt;a href=""&gt;April 2016&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><pubDate>Sun, 24 Apr 2016 21:26:50 -0700</pubDate></item>
  22.    <item><title>Poem of the Day, April 21: "Goodbye Is a Song I've Sung", for E Marie</title><link></link><guid></guid><description> &lt;p class="article"&gt;One of my most personal lines of poetry is from "8 Space", when I say that "No one calls Huntsville home" as an indictment to all the times I've stayed here while my friends have gone off into other lives. As the spring semester winds down, several of my friends are getting ready to go again. This my 10-minute attempt to capture that mood.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;h3 class="article"&gt;"Goodbye Is a Song I've Sung", for E Marie&lt;/h3&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Goodbye is a song I've sung, many times, played upon the heart&lt;br/&gt;And in the sunrises when the deep quiet refuses to steal my thoughts&lt;br/&gt;And am forced to live myself as I am, facing the gray and the blue&lt;br/&gt;And the scent of grass yearning to grow in the coming in the day.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Goodbye, oh how I've sung you, &lt;br/&gt;Though you have no rhythm&lt;br/&gt;Though you have no rhyme&lt;br/&gt;Though you have no melody nor harmony just a beat and a time and a &lt;br/&gt;Salty sweet bitter lyricism about your teeth&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Goodbye, oh goodbye, your name I can barely speak,&lt;br/&gt;Given to you by circumstances, the chance of knowing&lt;br/&gt;But for a time and then it collapses into the shape it was&lt;br/&gt;Which is the shape it will be again, the great unknowing&lt;br/&gt;After the such short knowing, the silence after a brief shout&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="noindent"&gt;Goodbye is a lonesome valley we all get to walk&lt;br/&gt;Goodbye is a lonesome valley, we never go by ourselves&lt;br/&gt;Hark the void of goodbye, come and sing her face,&lt;br/&gt;And then let it die on your lips, just another forgotten taste&lt;br/&gt;Until it is sung again and again until it is meaningless&lt;br/&gt;Rain drops off a window down to the ground, &lt;br/&gt;Drying as they fell&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="photo"&gt;&lt;img src=""/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p class="sig"&gt;OTHER BLOTS THIS MONTH: &lt;a href=""&gt;April 2016&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><pubDate>Thu, 21 Apr 2016 22:11:43 -0700</pubDate></item>
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