Saturday, November 20, 2004

Magic in the air and the Fine Art of Anonymity....

Nothing beats dancing with a beautiful girl whose name you have a hard time remembering because it's crowded on the dancefloor. Nothing beats walking her home and shrouding her shoulders with your jacket to ward off the brittle November air. Nothing beats twirling her around in the late evening autumnal haze. Nothing beats holding her under the limbs of a park evergreen at two thirty in the morning, your bodies tumbled in mulch and dew. Nothing beats waking up with a splash of sunlight in her bedroom and kissing her forehead as you frisk the floor for your respective garments. Nothing beats tucking her in and letting the dog out as you (once again) head to work, because that's how you spend both your days and your nights and your weekends, you work, you sacrifice your health truckling to the whims of rich kids from chicago who've never had to work for much of anything.

Nothing beats the insinuating nod your co-worker gives you when he comments that "You have leaves stuck in your sweater" and you respond with a glazed look of triumph tucked into your smile. Nothing beats booting up your blogg and seeing the reflection of her Good China forehead in the blankness of your pending entry; thinking about how her eyes became wild pebbles rippling across the shore of her lips after you kissed.

Nothing beats reflecting over the sweetness of her breath. Nothing beats mentally raking over the few details you can remember about her five hours later. How her name is Nicole. How she is a philosophy major. How she plays guitar and is five ft. one and with feathery limbs. How she is only twenty. How she said she'd been with three other people before last night.How she had a parent who died from cancer who was two years younger than your dad who also died of cancer.

How her fingertips groped the tip of the sheet as she cloaked her entire body in a mound of warmth. How her body formed parenthesis and ellipses and various lowercase alphabetical shapes as she drifted into the nocturnal key signature of sleep.

Nothing beats wondering if you'll ever see her again. Which, in all honesty, you probably won't.

Nothing stings when she suggests "Do you think we should date?" And all you can do is hold her.

Nothing beats realizing on your way to work that sometime last night your wallet slipped out the side pocket of your jacket and you are short around $150 and have no identification. No school ID. No drivers license. No ATM. Nothing.

Nothing beats realizing this and not caring. Hoping that some bum found the money. Realizing that you, in a way, feel emanicipated from the tiny laminated rectangular gloss that so readily informs the world your eye color, of your height Of which organs you'd like to have donated. Of when your driving priveledges expire.

Nothing beats realizing who you are, on your own, with nothing but the memory of a smile. A plucked visual petal kissed from the nostalgia of someone else's lips.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Just found a stack of old 3 1/2 inch floppies with old poems I thought I'd never see again. This is a poem for Ashley, a brilliant creative writing student from Bismark North Dakota. Ashley hated my line breaks and would often write "BB" (which means Bad Break) in the margins of all the poems I would workshop. This poem is about breaking things and is for her (it's written in her impeccable style)....

Love song for Ashley Krenelka

“The preordained frangibility of the hymen,”
James Joyce, Ulysses

According to Ashley Krenelka
A creative writing student
From Bismark, North Dakota
I can’t break a line of poetry
To wipe my ass with.
It’s not that I haven’t had trouble
Breaking things before.
Every toy I had growing up
Broke rather easily.
My mom accused
Me of rough-housing
When I broke my sister’s
Cello, hurtling my other
Sister into it after watching
I blew out the brakes
On my Christmas ten-speed
Going down a hill
In Bradley park
Trying to halt
Before hammering into the front
Bumper of the park Marshal’s Jeep
Opportunely stationed
At the bottom of the hill.

I had no trouble breaking
Meredith Willow's hymen
Breaking into her body
Our foreheads
slapped with sweat
Facing the other
As bodily fluid
Mixed with tears
Mixed with blood

I had no trouble breaking up
With several girlfriend’s
Had no trouble breaking
My words then
Had no trouble telling them
Things that I knew would hurt them.
Separating the noun from the verb.
The action from the event

On more than one occasion
I have had trouble breaking
away from the bar stool.
Thinking that eventually
My body would drift away
Out into a pond of sobriety
Where eventually everything
Would somehow make sense.

The windshield my body snapped
Spittle glass drippings
Chandelier teardrops coating my
Body on the front of my hood
The din of traffic horns
Fluttering voices of paserby’s
Telling me that I am lucky
And of course, I heckled,
Because I felt at the time
That I could break anything.

Or the window I shattered--
My fist the size of a human heart
pummeling through the transparent
Gloss of my own reflection
Again I laughed
Watching as my face
Tumbled into triangular shards
A vacuous rectangular frame
leering back at me,
A socket culled from some other world.

But I still can’t break a line of Poetry.
When Ashley critiques my Xeroxed poems
There’s capital hot-pink BB’s
At the end of every sentence
Indicating bad line-breaks.
Apparently her eyelash
is only capable of soaking
Limited amounts of language
In a single blink.

Maybe the reason Ashley breaks lines
With such grace and facility
(She writes her poems
like she wear her jeans—tight!)
is because, being female
she possesses the innate power to crunch
a man’s chest though words.
She knows what it’s like to feast
From a sac of male arteries
She knows what fine delicacies a male
Aorta presents for the female palette.
How the heart tastes like squid pate
As it moistens on the feminine tongue
Before being digested.

She knows all this
and hums it to herself—scribbling
“BB” at the end of my every sentence,
Knowing that men
break in half horizontally,
A lightening slash fissure
zipped across his chest
Pawning off a superhero’s
Claiming they can leap light years
Using the moon as a belt buckle
They can save the world
While no one would notice
That they are broken
from the inside,
like my poems,
Never break
Even when I am already
Broken in half again and again
and again.

-David Von Behren


Sunday, November 07, 2004


That's right ladies, my novel's TOO big. 750 single space pages plus illustrations means that I'm having a bitch of a time finding a single FLASH drive to save it on. That and I NEED a clean draft of this by midnight DEC 15th which means that I need to cut at least 200 pages and then double space the damn thing......AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

If I Could Cry, I Would Almost Break Down in Tears...

Hello heart attack!!!! I come into work this morning and while I'm casually filling out time cards I see a scribbled post-it on the corner of my desk.




followed by his phone number....

McSweeney's is one of the hippest literary journals in the Nation founded by Best Selling author Dave Eggers. I sent out a bunch of "stuff" to McSweeney's late last summer and still have yet to hear back from them.

Until this morning. I was out late last night, carousing with mutual muses Kim, Bob, Amanda and "Farm girl" Katie (who told me the difference between straw and hay "There's a reason us nice farm girls roll around in the hay and not the straw.") I somersauletd out of bed, clocked in early on a weekend, opened the library, listened to customers grouse about the temperature, listened to foreign students butcher the lexicon of my youth before dodging back into my office and there it was, posted in the corner, winking at me in scribbly ink.

Then it hit me.

" I'm....published in a major journal!!!!!!! What am I going to tell my mom? I've finally been acknowledged as a writer!!!"

I went outside for a smoke. I called my co-worker SEXUALLY FRUSTRATED GRETCHEN who took the message last night. She yelled at me for waking her up and then said yes, some guy called long distance for you. He said it was really important.

"Gretchen, do you know what this means? That's the name of the guy I sent off my manuscripts to last august!"

Sexually Frustrated Gretchen : Yawn.

"This means I'm finally a writer Gretchen!!!!"

Sexually Frustrated Gretchen: Click.

My entire body rattled like a maladjusted seismic monitor as my fingers pecked out the numerical shapes. What would he say?

"Dave man your writing's the shit brother. We love it!!!! Come out here and write a monthly column for us!!"

As I called the number and listened to the static drone of cellular warble I was left with a voice mail address of none other than Nick the Writer, my beautiful writer friend who's living in New York.

"Just called to see what you were up to brother. And, oh yeah, gotchya!!!!"

Damn it Nick!!!