Through the trapdoor on a wooden ship, shackled in chains, bound behind bars is a captive. On his knees, leaning forward, tormented by the rocking of the ship, his raven black hair has grown wild; It is unkempt and unruly and crawls with lice. His beard is full, but dirty. It is dark and damp and stinks of seawater and dead fish and urine. The boat rocks and he wretches. No one watches him, because who would ever subject themselves to such misery.

Pirates, eye-patch, lemon custard puffy white clouds. Meringue. Blow-torch. Poseidon. Captive audience. Bred in Captivity. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. A snake on the loose, escaped. Fear and terror. Unpredictability.

The ship has tattered sails; Worn white. Big strong trees built this monstrosity that could be snapped like a twig if a hurricane decided to come along. Uneasy explorers. Good and evil, subjective.

Writing Exercise #8

Adjectives > Nouns

  1. juvenile > heart
  2. didactic > death
  3. wistful > wealth
  4. onerous > patience
  5. psychotic > salad

Nouns > Verbs

  1. painting > sings
  2. nature > laughs
  3. childhood > bites
  4. injury > rejects
  5. ear > seeks

Verbs > Nouns

  1. burning > midnight
  2. escaping > reality
  3. plunging > doubts
  4. hurrying > river
  5. bouncing > cloud

Nouns > Adjectives

  1. tomatoes > aromatic
  2. eggnog > foaming
  3. cars > sturdy
  4. baby > troubled
  5. channel > needless

Nouns > Nouns

  1. roof > father
    1. The roof is the father
    2. The father of the roof
  2. silk > basin
    1. The basin of the silk
  3. hat > town
    1. The hat is a town
    2. The town of hats
  4. quilt > flowers
    1. The quilt is flowers
    2. Flowers of the quilt
  5. train > children
    1. Children of the train
    2. The train’s children

Adverbs > Verbs

  1. reluctantly > yawning
  2. smoothly > reciting
  3. joyously > accepting
  4. scarcely > smiling
  5. fairly > protecting

Verbs > Adverbs

  1. abating > enormously
  2. placing > widely
  3. retching > painfully
  4. arising > repeatedly
  5. skidding > excitedly


String shot Caterpie, Pokemon daydreams. Metapod evolves to a stone cold cocoon. I embarked on a trainer a handful of times, but only beat the game once (that I remember). Plastic Purple Game Boy Color formed my hands at a young age.

Follow the string through the labyrinth to witness Perseus kill the Minotaur. I have not played Assassin’s Creed Odyssey since early January and I don’t miss it, though I will definitely start missing it if I start playing again. A longing of the heart. Video game, Playstation attachment.

Going fishing, smell the growth on the still water. Somehow make sense of the fishing pole contraption that seems so complicated to me. Thread the fishing line through the holes and cast off. The boat is rickety freedom. I hear a loon cry out sad. Crickets in the early morning, other birds chirp sweetly.

Cat’s Cradle yarn – Another childhood game I used to have memorized. Used to have an accompanied book that would instruct how to do it and go through the motions. I used to have so much fun. The string was purple-ish, maybe even elastic.

String unwinds from a shirt. The kind you tug toughly to rip off, but it ends up just making a longer string. Frustrating.

I see these memories in my mind’s eye and can remember what it was like to be that small – evaporated anxiety, but hindsight is 20/20 and the grass is always greener on the other side. As Told By Ginger on Nickelodeon. String Thing was a great fruit snack I used to have as a kid. Of course it was all pure sugar and corn syrup. It came in blue and red. Blue Raspberry and Cherry or Strawberry (I forget which), but this snack came in a smallish, flat cardboard tray. And when you opened the packaging, the snack would be wound about the tray like a maze of string. And you would have to peel the fruity “string” off the packaging to eat it. After it was all consumed, there would be a maze on the cardboard tray that you could do with a pen or a pencil. I loved that fruit snack. But every time I bring it up no one quite knows what I’m talking about. Google validates –


Regal juxtaposed royalty and power. The Queen of Hearts with red lipstick on in whiteface, two perfect circles encompass her cheeks, filled in red to match her lipstick. Playing card hegemony, it’s expected. Golden patterns, encrusted jewels. Bright and distracting, glints in the sun. The sun, a symbol for the king or queen, depending on the time. Heavy crown, thick robes, fur-lined. Drag queens too. Royalty. A word that sounds regal to the lips and tongue as it makes that sound and shape. Red carpet leads to the throne. Abuse of the throne leads to beheading. Going off with her head. Dismembered royalty. Dismembered, misremembered royalty. I could write it all down, but what if I get the words wrong? What if someone got paid off to say something that wasn’t really true. Controlling the narrative. Policing vocabulary. Newt Gingrich. What a blockhead. GOP strategy. Someone call on a queen to oust these polarized politics and call order once and for all.


If you have a quarter, you can stick it in my neck

I can unironically recite all the words to Saves The Day’s “Jukebox Breakdown”. It is one of my favorite songs, favorite riffs of all time. Stay What You Are.

Rainbow, inviting computer machine. Back when the Franklin Steakhouse was closer to Yantacaw School (and not the high school), and when a heavy smell and haze of smoke clouded the interior, I remember the jukebox to the right of the entrance, glowing, inviting, pulling me to play a song and take my money. My young lungs, accustomed to the smoke, did not hesitate to breathe in deeply and post myself when there was a wait, and at the very least, I would just flip through the jukebox selections. At that point, it was all CDs. Once in awhile my mom would let me put some money in so we could hear a song while we waited for a table to open up. It would be such a thrill. Even flipping through the pages of songs was fun. How they would move by air.

Before Cowan’s opened and I’d go to The Rock with friends in Passaic, there also was a jukebox. But At least 15 years had passed since my Steakhouse memory (and the jukebox – and possibly the Steakhouse – was long gone by then), but The Rock jukebox was all digital, touch screen. It took credit cards and cash, not quarters (at least not that I remember). But we still had fun and put on songs that we loved. I remember putting on “At Your Funeral”; Stay What You Are.

Some generalized sentence about music and how it makes you feel no pain. But the fact of the matter is that it transcends that statement, and there are no words to express the experience without sounding pathetic.

Jukebox royalties. Jukebox Royalty. I feel –