Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Tuesday, September 14, 2010


By Sandra Beasley

For six months I dealt Baccarat in a casino.
For six months I played Brahms in a mall.
For six months I arranged museum dioramas;
my hands were too small for the Paleolithic
and when they reassigned me to lichens, I quit.
I type ninety-one words per minute, all of them
Help. Yes, I speak Dewey Decimal.
I speak Russian, Latin, a smattering of Tlingit.
I can balance seven dinner plates on my arm.
All I want to do is sit on a veranda while
a hard rain falls around me. I'll file your 1099s.
I'll make love to strangers of your choice.
I'll do whatever you want, as long as I can do it
on that veranda. If it calls you, it's your calling,
right? Once I asked a broker what he loved
about his job, and he said Making a killing.
Once I asked a serial killer what made him
get up in the morning, and he said The people.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I Am Not Yours

By Sara Teasdale

I am not yours, not lost in you,
Not lost, although I long to be
Lost as a candle lit at noon,
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

You love me, and I find you still
A spirit beautiful and bright,
Yet I am I, who long to be
Lost as a light is lost in light.

Oh plunge me deep in love—put out
My senses, leave me deaf and blind,
Swept by the tempest of your love,
A taper in a rushing wind.

Monday, July 12, 2010

All the Whiskey in Heaven

By Charles Bernstein

Not for all the whiskey in heaven
Not for all the flies in Vermont
Not for all the tears in the basement
Not for a million trips to Mars

Not if you paid me in diamonds
Not if you paid me in pearls
Not if you gave me your pinky ring
Not if you gave me your curls

Not for all the fire in hell
Not for all the blue in the sky
Not for an empire of my own
Not even for peace of mind

No, never, I'll never stop loving you
Not till my heart beats its last
And even then in my words and my songs
I will love you all over again

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Birthday

...to someone without whom I would not exist and without whom I would not be who I am today.
Happy Birthday to someone who always fought for what he believed in and put passion into everything that he did.
Happy Birthday to someone who wasn't afraid to cry, whether it was from joy or pain or pride.
Happy Birthday to someone who looked me in the eye and made me understand the importance of respect.
Happy Birthday to someone who took the time to enjoy small moments and helped me to appreciate them too by asking me to sit with him on the patio on summer evenings and just stare at the stars.
Happy Birthday to someone who's hands were rough from working day in and day out.
Happy Birthday to someone who helped me understand what it meant to have faith.
Happy Birthday to someone who was in pain almost every day of his life. Even though his limp showed it, his face did not.
Happy Birthday to a man that could fill a large gymnasium with people he touched in one way or another.
Happy Birthday to someone who wasn't perfect and knew it.
Happy Birthday to my role model.

Happy Birthday Dad.
Daniel J. Geis
(June 18th, 1962 - March 19th, 2007)


by Alicia Suskin Ostriker

But it's really fear you want to talk about
and cannot find the words
so you jeer at yourself

you call yourself a coward
you wake at 2 a.m. thinking failure,
fool, unable to sleep, unable to sleep

buzzing away on your mattress with two pillows
and a quilt, they call them comforters,
which implies that comfort can be bought

and paid for, to help with the fear, the failure
your two walnut chests of drawers snicker, the bookshelves mourn
the art on the walls pities you, the man himself beside you

asleep smelling like mushrooms and moss is a comfort
but never enough, never, the ceiling fixture lightless
velvet drapes hiding the window

traffic noise like a vicious animal
on the loose somewhere out there—
you brag to friends you won't mind death only dying

what a liar you are—
all the other fears, of rejection, of physical pain,
of losing your mind, of losing your eyes,

they are all part of this!
Pawprints of this! Hair snarls in your comb
this glowing clock the single light in the room

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Summer Song

By William Carlos Williams

Wanderer moon
smiling a
faintly ironical smile
at this
brilliant, dew-moistened
summer morning,—
a detached
sleepily indifferent
smile, a
wanderer's smile,—
if I should
buy a shirt
your color and
put on a necktie
where would they carry me?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Greenwich Village Walking Tour

I am posting a walking tour I wrote of the East and West Villages serially on my other blog, Nebraskan Thoughts. I highly recommend you check it out. Here's a taste!

Stop #1: The White Horse Tavern

We start our tour on Hudson Street, deep in the West Village at the White Horse Tavern, at the corner of 11th Street. This bar was a favorite spot for many members of the literary community during the early 1950s. It is particularly famous for being one of Dylan Thomas’s favorite haunts and the story is that he drank himself to death here, however, although he drank at the Tavern often, he did not drink himself to death and died of unrelated causes.

Later on, this bar became an important spot for writers like Norman Mailer and Hunter S. Thompson. Musicians such as Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison also began to spend time in this establishment in the 1960s. It is also worth noting that Bob Dylan, originally Robert Zimmerman, supposedly took his name from Dylan Thomas.

Check out more HERE!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Beat Photos

Some very interesting photos taken by Allen Ginsberg, on exhibit at the National Gallery of Art until September. I hope I can make it down to D.C. to check it out!

New York in the Movies

The classic movies that made me want to move here:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sometimes all you have is a feeling

Having just graduated with a B.A. from NYU, I have been thinking a lot about the past four years and my reasons for going to New York for college. I've been thinking about how the experience has changed me.

Reading "At Least You Have Pride," by Jennifer Paddock was an eerie experience for me. She speaks of so many feelings and experiences that I have felt in the last four years. It has me thinking even harder about my life in New York City and how it has shaped who I am.

And the thought that plagues my mind even more than any else is, "Who am I?"

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Etymology: German, from wandern to wander + Lust desire, pleasure
Date: 1875

1: strong longing for or impulse toward wandering

2: the feeling that keeps me up at night, that makes my fingers and toes itch, wanting to go, just to go, not concerned with where or when or how long it might take or what troubles could be encountered, just wanting to move one foot in front of the other until I am in a different place and a different time surrounded by strangers who seem more familiar to me than the people I have known my entire life, familiar strangers, the familiar sense of outsiderness, of not belonging, of being different, just want to go, go, go...

Monday, May 3, 2010


By e.e. cummings

there are so many tictoc
clocks everywhere telling people
what toctic time it is for
tictic instance five toc minutes toc
past six tic

Spring is not regulated and does
not get out of order nor do
its hands a little jerking move
over numbers slowly

we do not
wind it up it has no weights
springs wheels inside of
its slender self no indeed dear
nothing of the kind.

(So,when kiss Spring comes
we'll kiss each kiss other on kiss the kiss
lips because tic clocks toc don't make
a toctic difference
to kisskiss you and to
kiss me)

Saturday, May 1, 2010


By James Schuyler

The morning sky is clouding up
and what is that tree,
dressed up in white? The fruit
tree, French pear. Sulphur-
yellow bees stud the forsythia
canes leaning down into the transfer
across the park. And trees in
skimpy flower bud suggest
the uses of paint thinner, so
fine the net they cast upon
the wind. Cross-pollination
is the order of the fragrant day.
That was yesterday: today is May,
not April and the magnolias
open their goblets up and
an unseen precipitation
fills them. A gray day in May.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Current Favorite Song.

Jose Gonzalez covers a song by The Knife. It's such a hauntingly beautiful song. I melt every time I hear it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I have always loved this poem but we recently talked about it in my English class and listened to Ginsberg reading it aloud. Hearing it read aloud, particularly by Ginsberg is just phenomenal.

Howl by Allen Ginsberg


By Fred Chappell

The children race now here by the ivied fence,
gather squealing now there by the lily border.
The evening calms the quickened air, immense
and warm; its veil is pierced with fire. The order
of space discloses as pair by pair porch lights
carve shadows. Cool phosphors flare when dark
permits yearning to signal where, with spark
and pause and spark, the fireflies are, the sites
they spiral when they aspire, with carefree ardor
busy, to embrace a star that draws them thence.

Like children we stand and stare, watching the field
that twinkles where gold wisps fare to the end
of dusk, as the sudden sphere, ivory shield
aloft, of moon stands clear of the world's far bend.

I miss being a child and running through the backyard catching fireflies. I wish that all I had to worry about right now was if i poked enough holes in the lid of the firefly jar.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Sisters of Charity of New York

I recently posted a long piece that I wrote last semester for my advanced reporting class on my other blog. It was a very important piece for me personally because I was writing about religious life and I was constantly reminded of experiences from my childhood. In honor of the Easter holiday starting tonight (if you are Catholic like me), I thought I would post the link to it here too. Below is the slideshow that I made to go with it.

In Honor of the First Day of Poetry Month

A Story
Philip Levine

Everyone loves a story. Let's begin with a house.
We can fill it with careful rooms and fill the rooms
with things—tables, chairs, cupboards, drawers
closed to hide tiny beds where children once slept
or big drawers that yawn open to reveal
precisely folded garments washed half to death,
unsoiled, stale, and waiting to be worn out.
There must be a kitchen, and the kitchen
must have a stove, perhaps a big iron one
with a fat black pipe that vanishes into the ceiling
to reach the sky and exhale its smells and collusions.
This was the center of whatever family life
was here, this and the sink gone yellow
around the drain where the water, dirty or pure,
ran off with no explanation, somehow like the point
of this, the story we promised and may yet deliver.
Make no mistake, a family was here. You see
the path worn into the linoleum where the wood,
gray and certainly pine, shows through.
Father stood there in the middle of his life
to call to the heavens he imagined above the roof
must surely be listening. When no one answered
you can see where his heel came down again
and again, even though he'd been taught
never to demand. Not that life was especially cruel;
they had well water they pumped at first,
a stove that gave heat, a mother who stood
at the sink at all hours and gazed longingly
to where the woods once held the voices
of small bears—themselves a family—and the songs
of birds long fled once the deep woods surrendered
one tree at a time after the workmen arrived
with jugs of hot coffee. The worn spot on the sill
is where Mother rested her head when no one saw,
those two stained ridges were handholds
she relied on; they never let her down.
Where is she now? You think you have a right
to know everything? The children tiny enough
to inhabit cupboards, large enough to have rooms
of their own and to abandon them, the father
with his right hand raised against the sky?
If those questions are too personal, then tell us,
where are the woods? They had to have been
because the continent was clothed in trees.
We all read that in school and knew it to be true.
Yet all we see are houses, rows and rows
of houses as far as sight, and where sight vanishes
into nothing, into the new world no one has seen,
there has to be more than dust, wind-borne particles
of burning earth, the earth we lost, and nothing else.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Don't Know

I haven't written in a few weeks. Mostly because I have been at home in Nebraska. I spent a few days with my sister in Omaha and then a few in Friend with my mom.

While I was home, I started noticing a confidence building in myself. Something that didn't have anything to do with my accomplishments or successes. It was just a confidence in me, as an individual.

I don't know where I will be a year from today. I don't know what I will be doing six months from now. I don't even know what mid-May, only two months away, will bring for me. But I am comfortable with that ambiguity in a way I've never been before.

I was sitting at a table in the bar my mom owns with several of her regular customers drinking cheap beer and discussing whatever came to mind. Conversation turned to me and what I am planning to do with my life just as it usually does when I am home.

I confidently looked them in the eyes and said that I really wasn't sure.

"Do you have any ideas?" they asked.

"Well, yes. I have some ideas, but I just don't know what I will do," I responded.

The middle aged members of our small community just looked at me like I was silly. They weren't really sure what to say or do, so they nodded their heads and changed the topic. (Then again, almost everything I do leaves them with a bit of a puzzled look.)

I, on the other hand, have never felt more confident about an answer. I'm not scared. Not scared of the future at least, or of the unpredictable.

I am slightly surprised by my confidence.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Alive and Well

So damn easy to say that life's so hard
Everybody's got their share of battle scars
As for me I'd like to thank my lucky stars that
I'm alive and well

It'd be easy to add up all the pain
And all the dreams you've sat and watch go up in flames
Dwell on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain
But not me... I'm alive

These are lyrics from one of the few country songs I actually really like. I heard it a couple of months ago while I was riding with my mom. The lyrics aren't half bad advice but the haunting melody is what really gets me. Check out the video below.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A ride on the Roosevelt Island Tramway

I went for a ride on the tram before it closed for renovations. It was a great way to spend a snowy afternoon!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Finally feeling a bit like Spring...

Cold Spring
By Lawrence Raab

The last few gray sheets of snow are gone,
winter’s scraps and leavings lowered
to a common level. A sudden jolt
of weather pushed us outside, and now
this larger world once again belongs to us.
I stand at the edge of it, beside the house,
listening to the stream we haven’t heard
since fall, and I imagine one day thinking
back to this hour and blaming myself
for my worries, my foolishness, today’s choices
having become the accomplished
facts of change, accepted
or forgotten. The woods are a mangle
of lines, yet delicate, yet precise,
when I take the time to look closely.
If I’m not happy it must be my own fault.
At the edge of the lawn my wife
bends down to uncover a flower, then another.
The first splurge of crocuses.
And for a moment the sweep and shudder
of the wind seems indistinguishable
from the steady furl of water
just beyond her.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Visit to the Bodies Exhibit

Walking through the cold, dimly lit rooms full of preserved human muscles, bones, and organs, it was hard not to think about these same things hiding under my own skin.

An eerie feeling washed over me as I stared into the dead eyes of one of the preserved bodies. He was clutching a football, posed in an unnatural way. I remembered the unnatural and uncomfortable position the mortician had arranged my father for the funeral. The pale makeup on his face coating his normally bright red skin. The suit his body was squeezed into, a suit my dad only wore for special occasions.

Death is a natural part of the process of life. It all must end sometime. But the way we, the living, deal with this thing seems entirely unnatural.

We put our loved ones in uncomfortable clothes and try to make them look like they did before their heart stopped beating. We put unclaimed bodies in chemicals and display their insides for the public to see.

We don't like to look at death the way it really is. It reminds us how quickly our own life could be coming to a close nd that is something we would just rather not think about.

It has been nearly three years since my dad's heart stopped beating. I don't know what his bones and muscles and organs look like now. They weren't preserved the way those bodies on display were. But it doesn't matter right now because I am going to eat this cookie sitting in front of me because I am alive and I can.

Caught in a Moment

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Flying By Night

Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations.
Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
back into the little system of his care.
All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,
tug with bright streets at lonely lights like his.
-Ted Kooser

I miss the stars of wild Nebraska summer nights.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A History of New York

I'm taking a class called Writing New York this semester (primarily for fun because it's in the English Department) and so far its been a very interesting mix of literature and history regarding New York City. Learning about the perceptions of New York that people had in the 18th and 19th centuries has given me a whole new perspective on the city and the streets that I walk down everyday.

It got me to thinking about Nebraskan literature a bit too. Nebraska literature was a required part of my high school's English curriculum and we read a book called Black Elk Speaks by John Neihardt. While Neihardt was a Nebraska native, Black Elk, a Sioux medicine man whose stories the book depicts, was not. It was a wonderful book, but as that was the only required reading for Nebraska literature, I don't feel like I learned much about the relationship between Nebraska and literature.

I read Willa Cather's My Antonia (another Nebraska native) last year and felt that her descriptions of Nebraska were extremely fascinating. Of course, she had to move to New York City before she could write about her home state.

Maybe there just isn't much of a relationship between Nebraska and literature, at least nothing like the relationship between New York and literature. Check out the blog that my teachers have for the class.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Two years

I was looking back over some of my older posts when I realized that I have been keeping up with this blog for just over two years now.It was a strange realization to come to because I hadn't really thought about how long I've been doing this.

It was sort of surreal to go back to some of the first posts, which I posted right as I was leaving for four months in Paris. How different things were then!

It's fun looking back on posts from Paris and the evolution I encountered in myself while I was there. And then there are all of the changes I have been through since Paris with the last two years of college. It almost doesn't seem like I am the same person who started this blog at the beginning of 2008.

And now, I'm coming up on another big change in my life with college graduation only a few months away. I hope that two years from now, I will still have this blog going, and I will be able to look back on myself and my writing and relish in the changes that I have been through just as I am today.

I hope I feel as good about the changes in two years as I feel about them today.


A call in the midst of the crowd,
My own voice, orotund sweeping and final.

Come my children,
Come my boys and girls, my women, household and intimates,
Now the performer launches his nerve, he has pass'd his prelude on
the reeds within.

Easily written loose-finger'd chords--I feel the thrum of your
climax and close.

My head slues round on my neck,
Music rolls, but not from the organ,
Folks are around me, but they are no household of mine.

Ever the hard unsunk ground,
Ever the eaters and drinkers, ever the upward and downward sun, ever
the air and the ceaseless tides,
Ever myself and my neighbors, refreshing, wicked, real,
Ever the old inexplicable query, ever that thorn'd thumb, that
breath of itches and thirsts,
Ever the vexer's hoot! hoot! till we find where the sly one hides
and bring him forth,
Ever love, ever the sobbing liquid of life,
Ever the bandage under the chin, ever the trestles of death.

Here and there with dimes on the eyes walking,
To feed the greed of the belly the brains liberally spooning,
Tickets buying, taking, selling, but in to the feast never once going,
Many sweating, ploughing, thrashing, and then the chaff for payment
A few idly owning, and they the wheat continually claiming.

This is the city and I am one of the citizens,
Whatever interests the rest interests me, politics, wars, markets,
newspapers, schools,
The mayor and councils, banks, tariffs, steamships, factories,
stocks, stores, real estate and personal estate.

The little plentiful manikins skipping around in collars and tail'd coats
I am aware who they are, (they are positively not worms or fleas,)
I acknowledge the duplicates of myself, the weakest and shallowest
is deathless with me,
What I do and say the same waits for them,
Every thought that flounders in me the same flounders in them.

I know perfectly well my own egotism,
Know my omnivorous lines and must not write any less,
And would fetch you whoever you are flush with myself.

Not words of routine this song of mine,
But abruptly to question, to leap beyond yet nearer bring;
This printed and bound book--but the printer and the
printing-office boy?
The well-taken photographs--but your wife or friend close and solid
in your arms?
The black ship mail'd with iron, her mighty guns in her turrets--but
the pluck of the captain and engineers?
In the houses the dishes and fare and furniture--but the host and
hostess, and the look out of their eyes?
The sky up there--yet here or next door, or across the way?
The saints and sages in history--but you yourself?
Sermons, creeds, theology--but the fathomless human brain,
And what is reason? and what is love? and what is life?

-Walt Whitman, Song Of Myself

I used to claim that I hated Walt Whitman and his poetry. Now that I'm reading it for class, I wonder...Did I ever read any of his poetry? I must not have, because I am really enjoying his style, the rawness of his subjects, and the earthy, natural way he approaches them. Thank God I was forced to read this for class. Otherwise, I might have gone on thinking I didn't like Whitman for who knows how long.