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02/01 Direct Link
Why can’t I be an artist?
I can’t paint,
I can’t draw,
I can’t sculpt,
I can’t write
But I desperately want to be A hipster, a beatnik, a bohemian.
I want to brood at a coffee shop over a well-worn sketchbook.
I want to shuffle frenziedly through the wrinkled pages of my brilliant screenplay.
I want my hands to be callused and stained with toxic oil paints.
But my sketchbook is still at the bookstore.
My screenplay is in pre-pre-production.
And my hands are clean and soft.
Why can’t I be an artist?
I’d be so good at it!
02/02 Direct Link
Oncers are North America’s most widespread, indigenous organisms. They live in every state, city, and college town across the nation and are easily spotted in their natural habitats: bars and coffee shops. Next time you’re out, see if you can find one. They’re easy to recognize if you know what characteristics to look for.

Their call is very unique: “Once I get some money…Once I start investing…Once I get that job…”

Also, see if you can spot the $4 coffee, $300 sunglasses, designer shirts, unnecessary electronics, and plane tickets to destinations far away from “some money, “investing”, and “that job.”
02/03 Direct Link
Angsty Teenage Love Poem

Declaration about yourself as an outsider.
Phrase about loneliness or isolation.
Metaphor about ice, cold or rain.
Phrase about betrayals.
Phrase about abandonment.
Metaphor about drowning
“I can’t breathe.”
Phrase about the world and how cruel it can be.
Metaphor about flowers withering.
Mention of that special person that gives your life meaning.
Declaration of hope and beauty and truth.
Metaphor about the sun.
Verbs like connecting and soaring.
Sudden twist.
Verbs like crushing and destroying.
Phrase about unrequited love.
“Always.”
“Forever.”
Phrase about rejection.
Phrase about loneliness or isolation.
Declaration about yourself as an outsider.
02/04 Direct Link
Played-Out Super Bowl Hype Phrases

The biggest day in professional sports.
Everything is on the line.
It all comes down to this.
Who will be left standing when the smoke clears?
These two powerhouse teams stand ready to do battle.
Two teams will enter; only one team will leave victoriously.
Which team will hoist the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy?
He’s the most feared offensive player in the NFL.
They will have to match this team point for point.
If they want to stand a chance they will have to stop Number 11.
Clean hit.
That’s what makes him so dangerous.
02/05 Direct Link
Super Bowl Sunday! The biggest most important day of the year! Everything is on the line! It all comes down to this! Who will be left standing when the smoke clears? Who will be the best in the world? Which advertiser will become Number 1? I think there is some sort of sport going on as well between commercials, fireworks, confetti cannons, and crappy, lip-synched, pop performances. A day long event dedicated to two groups of overweight and over-paid men running into each other a couple of hundred times. New York Giants! New England Patriots! I don’t get it. Shrug.
02/06 Direct Link
Today I had all my self-centered stupidity put in perspective by a 7th grade girl. Her father is dying of cancer. She’s become one of his caretakers and undoubtedly has a huge emotional burden on her shoulders. Everyday she puts on a happy face and tries her best to be upbeat, but I know inside she’s barely hanging on and her happy face is a paper-thin façade. We’ve been talking more lately and today she even referred to me as her only friend in class and then as a brother. It broke my heart. Lackadaisical classes aren’t that bad afterall.
02/07 Direct Link
Water is the essence of life, the very substance we were spawned in and eventually crawled out of. Thankfully someone found away to improve the most perfect substance in existence. It was always missing artificially kiwi-flavored syrup! I always wanted the refreshment and hydrating power of water with a dash of Lemon Pledge! Nothing makes me feel more refreshed after a strenuous workout than a gelatinous grape film covering the inside of my mouth. So next time the afternoon sun is blazing and you’re covered with sweat, reach for a cool, sweaty class of suclarose, sodium citrate and calcium disodium.
02/08 Direct Link
A Mature, Balanced Look at the Writers’ Strike

While living in an era of instant gratification and entertainment on-demand, it goes without saying that there may need to be a complete overhaul of how the industry operates. The question of whether or not writers should be compensated when their work is published on the internet goes without saying: of course they should. As we get closer to the nexus when TV and the internet merge to become a new entity, the rules for art, business and fair practices must be rewritten.

On the other hand: I WANT MY TV BACK!
02/09 Direct Link
A Series of Overly Dramatic Haiku about the X-Men

What about your past?
Claws of adamantium
Can’t fix everything.

Ruby quartz visor
hiding everyday burdens.
Open your eyes Scott.

Sacrifice and pain
Your burning is not Phoenix
It’s undying love.

They’re killing themselves.
You can read their minds Charles,
What are they feeling?

Your love for science
Will save countless people Hank.
Whose love will save you?

Hiding in shadows,
Outsider, elf, circus freak,
‘Port your scars away.

Your steel skin is tough.
Not quite adamantium,
It rusts, Tovarisch.

Cries of an orphan,
A deafening thunderclap
Which one is louder?
02/10 Direct Link
I’m tired of driving to work and going to Starbuck’s and watching TV and buying groceries and browsing the internet. I want an adventure. I want to be marooned on a tropical island with a motley band of characters. I want to sleep under the stars beneath my palm frond shelter. I want storms. I want to set up leaves and wreckage to catch rainwater to drink. I want to fish. I want to find a cave and move into it. I want to start a cozy fire and know that my life is better here then it was before.
02/11 Direct Link
Careworn and Grim dreamed of opening a gothic laundromat since they were six years old. They got strange looks when people saw them on the sidewalk painting cardboard box washing machines black and festooning them with gnarly crosses and sharp skulls, but they knew someday their hard work and angst would pay off. Now they look with pride at Soiled, the only gloomy Laundromat in town, where all the angry Goths come to wash and dry in the machines marked “Darks Only” and “Mesh Cycle” and listen to Cure and Cruxshadows records while they brood and match their red-striped socks.
02/12 Direct Link
I’m overclocked.
I don’t have the time to wait for you,
Don’t you know what the next ATM screen is going to say?
Haven’t you ever used self-checkout before?
I’m running fiber optics
I didn’t know any 56k’s were still around.
You’re outmoded.
I’ve got 10 torrents active and 20 more in queue.
Files to rip
Cracks to download
Software to patch
Audio to convert
Data to burn
You think this drive is gonna defrag itself?
I’m livin’ on the edge.
System backup is for suckers.
I think it’s time for you to go.
Control. Alt. Delete.
Shut it down.
02/13 Direct Link
The strip is lit up. Bars are bustling. The air vibrates with unintelligent hip-hop. Trite lyrics sung by posers for posers. Young white women pretending they can dance. Young black men pretending they matter. Young white men pretending they are young black men. Pheromones, smoke, and alcohol thick in the night air. Women barely dressed, desperately wanting to be loved, presenting like animals in hear. Men, overdressed, desperately wanting to have sex. Drunken frat boys posturing, showing everyone how hard they are. Don’t let anyone know you’re not important and nobody cares that you’re here. Desperation brings the party down.
02/14 Direct Link
One of these days I am really going to have to learn how health insurance works. Because the way I understand it is that I pay every month to a company, so when I become ill or injured and have to receive medical care, they can give me permission to pay more. Essentially I am paying someone to not assist me. I am really going to have to start becoming ill within the rules. I just can’t get sick during a full moon or low tide or Monday through Sunday or any one of the four seasons. Definitely not criminal.
02/15 Direct Link
Upon rereading the ill-conceived travesty that is Amazing Spider-Man #545, I realized that comics will never be allowed to rise to truly inspired literary heights. In a truly unique art form, where characters are developed over decades and relationships forged over thousands of pages, it is the most egregious insult to decide to retcon an entire lifetime of literature and mythos because writers and editors don’t have the talent nor nor desire to continue to create new ideas or evolve characters past a permanently juvenile state. Instead of a deep, interesting, layered character, we get a worn out adolescent cartoon.
02/16 Direct Link
A night on the town.
A chill in the air.
Girls standing in their bras and panties trying to lure guys into unremarkable bars.
“No cover tonight guys.”
Pathetic desperation following us for a block.
“Wow she really likes me, maybe if I go in her bar and drink alcohol she’ll want to have sex with me.”
What a success the feminist movement was.
Women, the bestowers of life, reduced to walking billboards with breasts and vaginas.
Trading your dignity for a few extra dollars.
Your mothers and fathers must be so proud.
Their little girls are all growed up.
02/17 Direct Link
Damien’s irrational fear of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made finding a seat in the cafeteria a harrowing ordeal. Every time the lunch bell rang, little Damien would grab his tuna fish sandwich, always tuna fish, his dear, dear, beloved non-threatening tuna fish and steel himself for his midday nightmare. Traversing the linoleum wasteland dotted with Jif and Smuckers land mines, he would hope the kid with the weird allergies was in school today. No peanuts for 20 feet. The poster on the wall says “Eat a balanced lunch.” Damien doesn’t feel very balanced. At least tomorrow is pizza day.
02/18 Direct Link
What is it that is so fantastic about taking a fake sick day? It can’t be that you can do anything. You can do anything on the weekends, and while weekends are awesome, they are certainly not as great a fake sick days.

Maybe it’s the complete emotional 180 that happens in the 30 seconds you decide not to go to work. You wake up ready to start another soul-crushing day of work, and then, you call out! And a group of leprechauns and unicorns carrying lollipops made of starlight and dreams come sliding into your bedroom on a rainbow.
02/19 Direct Link
Jack was a normal guy. He worked in an office for a company that made things. Everyday he’d get up, get dressed, and head downtown to work. A few days a week he’d head across the street to the corporate family restaurant with tennis rackets and fishing poles on the walls and he’d order a crispy chicken salad with honey mustard dressing. He’d make small talk with his workmates about sports or movies. Then he’d head home, call a phone sex hotline and ask the girl on the other end to make vomiting sounds while he pleasured himself. So what?
02/20 Direct Link
To do list:

Buy a telescope and start scouting locations for first interstellar Starbucks franchise
Build a 1:1 scale ship in a bottle
Gallivant
Microwave a pair of X-ray specs, see if interdimensional portal opens
Write a Dr. Seuss style story with the first line “Alistair was an imaginator.”
Strip under the stage name “Meatballs Gorgonzola”
Secede from continental United States and form an island nation called “Awesomeness” declare my self “Emperor”
Create a 10 part, sixty minute postmodern YouTube video of myself watching wet paint dry on growing blades of grass
Teach my dog an existential trick, “Stay…a dog.”
02/21 Direct Link
I have a Valentine from a student in my wallet thanking me for being a good friend while she was going through a really difficult time at home. I keep it because it reminds me of why I became a teacher: to really have a positive effect on children. Sometimes I get stressed or angry when nobody does their homework or the class just can’t quite catch on to using quotation marks. Notes or Valentines or drawings remind me that children are unique, special, and important and it is my job to make sure that they always stay that way.
02/22 Direct Link
Well, I’ve been watching American Idol:
1. because I’m a moron
and
2. because I’m a moron.
People in the media and some fans are upset because at least one of the contestants is not an “amateur.” She had apparently released an album before landing a spot on the show. Some people think her presence takes away from the “spirit” of the show. I hate to break the news, but the “spirit” of the show is to sell 20 minutes of commercial time per hour and then find a singer who will sell a boatload of albums to teenage retards.
02/23 Direct Link
Nine Sci-fiku

The thrusters are down,
orbit degenerating.
Look, a shooting star.

A desolate rock,
No place for a family.
Mommy, I miss earth.

We’ve lost all control,
Past the event horizon.
We have 8 minutes.

Oxygen is gone,
now nitrogen narcosis.
Look at all the stars.

Roger, Starbase-One,
Docking Bay 36A.
It’s good to be home.

Ship held two thousand,
Cryo-sleep for 16 years.
Red malfunction light.

Boys in their backyards,
Watching meteor showers.
All systems are go.

Lifeforms detected.
They’ve just established contact.
We’ve been targeted.

The crew mutinied
Blew captain out the airlock.
Took NavProg with him.

02/24 Direct Link
I am a year and a half into my teaching career and already I feel disillusioned. I’m working in a school run by dinosaurs. Over the summer I had such great ideas. I had really fun, imaginative projects. I bust my ass trying to implement them. I spend my own money to pull them off. I pull teeth with the kids because they’ve never done anything like them before. And at the end I have a really great product. No one notices. No one cares. No one asks how we can move the school forward. Why do I even bother?
02/25 Direct Link
I think I’m going to start writing poetry.
The only problem is that I suck at poetry.
I never know where a poem should go
or what it should be.
Should it be heard or should it be seen?

A multitude of mind dividing distractions
A fraction of a frication of a fraction of a whole
A single thought becoming two, then four, then eight
Geometrically, exponentially
Attention deficit mitosis
Focus.
Focus.

Is it done?
Should I write more?
Where is it going?
What am I doing?
What’s the point?
Taylor Mali how do you make it look so easy?
02/26 Direct Link
I’m watching Darkon, a commentary about a group of live action role players. All of the LARPers are uber-dorks. They are clearly all maladjusted adults, who use their game, Darkon, to escape how unfulfilling their everyday lives are. Watching these adults act out their warrior characters is a little awkward, and frankly, a little silly. However, I wholeheartedly respect what they do. They have something they’re passionate about and they share it with a group of like-minded friends. Above all it makes them happy. And if they have to escape a ridiculously pointless world to find happiness, what’s the problem?
02/27 Direct Link
How We Rolled

First you flip the hat
Thirty men. Warp zones.
Nintendo Power.
Hold in reset button as you turn power off.
Walter Smith has all the answers
Ugh! I fuckin’ hate Bald Bull!

M.A.S.K. C.O.P.S. M.U.S.C.L.E.
E.T. N.E.S. O.P.P.

Thieves stole my oxen! I got dysentery!
You holdin’?
Fun Dip? Nerds? Combos?
How 'bout some Big League Chew
I’ll trade you Disgustin’ Justin and Barfin’ Barbara
How about my Wolf Breath Madball and a MicroMachine?
The Countach motherfucker!

I’m out
Choose your own adventure
Gotcha!, Bad Dudes, and Pizza Hut tonight
That’s right
Five Book It stars!
Jealous?
02/28 Direct Link
Poetry is weird.
I don’t get it.
I understand poems, I just don’t get poetry.
It lives and breaths and ebbs and flows.
I spent four hours on one poem that became two then one then two again.
I don’t even know if I like it.
I wrote for another two hours,
with breaks for Taylor Mali and Sara Kay and the rest of Urbana,
trying to pen a manifesto,
only to have it interrupted by the flow of a poem I didn’t even know I wanted to write.
And its better! I think.
And that’s the problem, I think.
02/29 Direct Link
This is the last day of my first month on 100 Words. I’ve written at least 100 words everyday for the past month. I have to say, it has kickstarted my creativity. It feels good to create; to draft and revise and revise and revise. I’ve really started getting into poetry; reading it, writing it, listening to it, and especially teaching it. I have really piqued my students’ interest. They thought poetry was all love and flowers and friendship. I don’t think they realized poetry could be important and relevant. Some of them are actually finding a voice. Thank you.