Tag Archives: work

selections from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

‘I think,’ said Anna, toying with the glove she had taken off, ‘I think . . . if there are as many minds as there are men, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.’ Continue reading

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selections from The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels


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selections from Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

No one ever said that you could work hard—harder even than you ever thought possible—and still find yourself sinking ever deeper into poverty and debt. Continue reading

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“Workweek” by Keith Gaboury

On Monday, I slipped out of my skin
in the parking lot, leaving
my freckles rotting in the sun.

On Tuesday, I gave my liver
a vacation in the breakroom.

On Wednesday, I scooped out
my eyeballs, happy to display them

in a glass of ice tea
to my co-worker Sam.

On Thursday, I panfried
my testicles, serving two globes

during our spaghetti and meatballs
office party.

On Friday, I poked a pen
through my stomach lining

where I wrote a two-week declaration
of war to the VP of Cadaver Development.

On hands and knees, I stuffed
my guts under his door

before stumbling past
a slab of putrefied flesh. Continue reading

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sex with me… sex with me… sex with me…

the drive
six-dollar garbage
L. A.
Micah’s little lab
dropping by Federal
sunset cruise to Santa Monica
sir, this is valet only
the motel, Steve, Thai curry, the cockroach

Vator Splash
walk for oil
chillin w Tram
goodbye Santa Monica

sunrise to LAX
the literati
trader joes shopping
gal palace
aerienne’s curry
rise of the jack o lanterns
staples center
the pantry
sex with me, sex with me
film shoot
martinis at Clifton

sweating, parking
Meryl the blonde tart
Clara the effortlessly beautiful
Travis the sexy handyman
back at the chicken shack
raw silk
maximum laughter, minimal consequence
scene queen
80s club (wreck 86?) speakeasy
overpass popup
gig rig piss
spurned the hip hop breeze
hot dog, malt liquor, blow

video chat w love
high as fuck w Fitzcarraldo


piece of shit
part one of Anna Karenina
the Ivy
over the garden wall
finished Fitzcarraldo

fragment of shit
cacao coffee
barneys beanery
little dieter needs to fly

bagels n coffee
work, work
laundry out
car wash
seat belt ticket
laundry home
yoga nap
chicken kebab election
bye aerienne

moving the car asleep
cafe 50s
el matador
shower and jojoba
long lyft
a novel Thai feast
double double rye, straight
bye Meryl
bye Virgil
hello j
from sleep

early morning car move again
waiting for the call
toilet call
pack fast and peace
selected ambient drive
peter gabriel
fresh fruit
surprise! Continue reading

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IMG_7531 Continue reading

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The Bartender and Her Wife

Once there was a bartender who lived with her wife in a shabby Tenderloin studio. Paying rent always proved difficult, so the bartender regularly worked long shifts at her bar down the street.

One particularly slow afternoon, a slovenly hobo waltzed into the bar. His eyes were bloodshot, spittle leaked out the edges of his mouth onto his dark, dirt-encrusted denim jacket, and he reeked as if he hadn’t showered in several years. This was an ordinary sight, unfortunately, so the bartender barely lifted her gaze when she said, “Sorry, sir, but you have to leave. Come back once you’ve cleaned yourself up.”

The hobo, however, quickly gathered his composure and replied with silver tongue: “Excuse my appearance, barkeep, but the truth is I’m an enchanted prince simply passing through your world. If you would be kind enough to serve me a single scotch, I’ll drink it speedily and be on my way.”

Taken aback by the hobo’s eloquence, the bartender finally looked up and relented. She poured two fingers of scotch and handed it to the hobo.

“Thank you, kind lady,” said the hobo, who instantly emptied the glass, bowed his head, and walked out the door, leaving drops of blood in his wake.

Later that night, the bartender returned home and related the encounter to her wife, who was incredulous: “You idiot!” she shouted. “You met an enchanted prince and didn’t make a wish?”

“Make a wish?” said the bartender. “The thought didn’t cross my mind.”

“You go back to that bar and ask the prince for a nice place to live in Pacific Heights,” said her wife.

“Pacific Heights? But why?” asked the bartender.

“This place is disgusting!” said her wife. “Every day we step over used needles just to reach the front door, there are always people convulsing and talking to themselves in the stairway, and our bed smells like a bathroom. Now do you understand?”

Though the bartender felt uneasy about the situation, the next day she returned to her bar, which she found to be mostly empty besides a few regulars in the corner. At length, she spoke:

Hobo, hobo, of the city,
If you’re a prince, then speak to me.
Though I don’t agree with my wife’s request,
I’ve come to ask it nonetheless.

Immediately, the hobo walked through the front door and said, “What do you want?”

“My wife wants to live in Pacific Heights,” replied the bartender.

“Go to her now,” said the hobo. “She’s already there.”

And so she was. Magically, all their belongings had been transported from the grungy Tenderloin studio to a newly remodeled, two-story Victorian in Pacific Heights. They had a full garage, more than enough bathrooms and bedrooms for any number of guests, a beautiful kitchen, and even a hot tub on the roof.

“This is grand!” said the bartender. “We’re set for life now.”

“It’s nice,” agreed the wife. But a week later, she found herself dissatisfied with all the space and decided she needed something to fill her time. So she went to the bartender and said, “Call up that hobo prince and ask him to make me CEO of a tech company.”

“But why do you need to be CEO of a tech company?” asked the bartender.

“Don’t question me!” said her wife. “Just do as I say.”

Reluctantly, the bartender returned to work the next day with the request weighing down on her mind. It was happy hour, so she saw the usual regulars plus some strangers who had dropped in from the street. When she found a free moment, she spoke:

Hobo, hobo, of the city,
If you’re a prince, then speak to me.
Though I don’t agree with my wife’s request,
I’ve come to ask it nonetheless.

The hobo walked in and said, “Again? What do you need?”

“My wife wants to be CEO of a tech company,” replied the bartender.

“Go to her now,” said the hobo. “She’s CEO.”

After her shift, the bartender found a black car waiting for her outside. The vehicle whisked her away to a corporate office in SoMa, where she found her wife wrapping up a call. As soon as the wife hung up, she dove into a box of farm-to-table gourmet lunch that had been dropped off by a food delivery startup. Between mouthfuls, she shared her eagerness to see first quarter results.

“So you’re CEO,” said the bartender.

“I am,” replied her wife.

“I’m very proud of you.”

“Thank you, but I’m not quite content. I think it’d be great to have a few billion dollars for investing. Can you ask that hobo to make me an angel investor?”

“Aren’t you happy being CEO?” asked the bartender.

“Not at all,” replied her wife.

The bartender, as usual, found it difficult to resist her wife’s demands. The next night, the bar was packed with college students and people from the suburbs ordering fancy vodka cocktails. It wasn’t until late when the bartender finally spoke:

Hobo, hobo, of the city,
If you’re a prince, then speak to me.
Though I don’t agree with my wife’s request,
I’ve come to ask it nonetheless.

In walked the hobo saying, “What is it now?”

“My wife wants to be a billionaire angel investor,” said the bartender.

“Go to her now,” said the hobo. “She’s already investing.”

Sure enough, the next time the bartender saw her wife, she had one cell phone glued to her ear and another one firing off email after email replete with investment decisions, startup valuations, and hearty acceptances of board director positions. In her free moments, she drafted exposés on technology, business, politics, and even philosophy.

“Looks like you’re an influential angel investor,” said the bartender.

“I am,” replied her wife.

“Can’t imagine anything better.”

“That’s because you’re not very imaginative. You see, money brings power to a point, but I’m aiming beyond that point. Next time you see that old hobo, which I trust will be soon, tell him to make me the president.”

The bartender started to argue, but she was shot down with a glance.

The next night the bartender found herself at work, a momentous sporting event blared on TV, bringing out not just the regulars and bridge-and-tunnelers, but even the people who normally stayed at home. The place was loud, messy, and just nearly out of control.

In a brief moment of respite, the bartender again summoned the hobo:

Hobo, hobo, of the city,
If you’re a prince, then speak to me.
Though I don’t agree with my wife’s request,
I’ve come to ask it nonetheless.

“What do you want?” said the hobo.

“My wife wants to be the president,” said the bartender.

“Go to her now,” said the hobo. “She’s already president.”

It took the bartender several hours to prove her identity in order to get past several tiers of Secret Service agents guarding her wife, now president of the most powerful country in the world. Sitting in the pristine Oval Office, the president busily ordered which countries were to be bombed and which were to be spared, which global leaders were to be treated as friends and which were enemies, which millions of people were to be considered human beings and which billions were to be slaves. At the end of hours of this, she reclined in a plush seat, puffing a full-flavored cigar while a masseuse worked her shoulders.

“You’re the president,” said the bartender.

“I am,” replied her wife.

“Then there will be no more requests.”

“We’ll see about that.”

That night, the bartender’s wife could not sleep thanks to her unquenchable ambition. Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, she watched the sun rise in the east and she realized what she wanted.

Though the bartender still lightly slept, the wife tapped her on the shoulder and said: “You must return to the hobo and ask him to make me a god.”

The bartender fell out of bed bewildered by the ludicrous wish. “You cannot be serious,” said the bartender.

But her wife did not smile.

When the bartender finally remembered to make the request, it was already 1:00 AM on Sunday morning. The bar was jam-packed with drunk and obnoxious patrons screaming loudly, singing 80s songs completely out of tune, and picking fights with one another. A thin girl swaying in heels had just puked in the corner.

Plugging her nose, the bartender again summoned the hobo:

Hobo, hobo, of the city,
If you’re a prince, then speak to me.
Though I don’t agree with my wife’s request,
I’ve come to ask it nonetheless.

“Now what?” asked the hobo.

“My wife wants to be a god,” replied the bartender.

“So be it,” said the hobo. “She’s back in the Tenderloin studio.”

Indeed, when the bartender went home that night, that’s where she found her wife, and they lived there until the end of their days. Continue reading

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the devil

the devil—
they day i said i loved her—
took all my things and threw em in a dumpster.

she set fire to my feet
coercing me to trod
on and and on on
the same old song
for an eternity or more,

froze me in my sleep,
set biting horseflies upon me,
starved me, squeezed me,
burned my flesh several inches deep,

sliced the ends of my toes
and fingernails
and ankles
and elbows
and chopped everything up into little pieces,
double decapitation,

before whispering into my ear
a command
to climb the nearest mountain.

this i did
and there i saw
the devil disentangling herself from it all. Continue reading

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half of what i say is meaningless

three more days of work. less than three weeks until New York.

then: more than half a year of walking.

now? every moment a melding of dream and reality.

my lover lies at my side sleeping. i am in her bed, our bed… in her house, my house. we are not married nor engaged, and yet i have never felt such strong conviction in my love. if possible, it is deeper or more all-encompassing than conviction. it is decision, resolution, revelation.

the past few days, i have been moving so many boxes. boxes of records, boxes of clothes, boxes of bullshit. so many goddamn boxes. the modern age is all about acquiring things and putting them in boxes. in fact, we adore boxes so much that we live in boxes ourselves. and yet we wonder why cats care so much about boxes.

after leaving the office today, i boarded a railbound box headed downtown and immediately recognized a pretty little lady sitting near the window. she smiled at me and i smiled back almost laughing, wondering whether she would come over for a chat.


“wow, you remember my name.”


“oh man i was gonna say ‘ron!'”

this simple dialogue is a big deal for me. i can remember names. Julia’s a girl from Ohio who’d recently moved to San Francisco. i learned this when, a couple months ago, i caught her eyeing me on the same muni train after work. when i asked what was up, she confessed her admiration for my reading Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species,” almost word-for-word in the way that other girl once talked to me on muni about my reading Einstein. in any case, Julia and i talked about a bunch of things that first time, including how i should listen to Lauren O’Connell and read Aldo Leopold’s “Sand County Almanac.”

in today’s encounter, things went even deeper. in less than ten minutes, we went from Emily Dickinson poetry (because of the book in my hand) to feminism. we talked about how women in business try to speak in lower voices so men take them seriously and we talked about why guys don’t wear dresses. and we talked about how those things ultimately represent the next great hurdle in gender equality. so far gender equality has been about bringing women to the same level as men… but… what if that’s incredibly short-sighted? what if true equality requires a complete rethinking and restructuring of the way the world functions, from business to culture to art? perhaps we shall never know harmony until we understand and appreciate the beauty in both femininity and masculinity and how to entwine the two, instead of just focusing on granting masculine powers to feminine beings.

Julia wrote her mailing address on a post-it note so i could send her postcards from the walk. i predict she will be a beautiful, wondrous friend for the future. i hope!

last night, four whole nights after discussing the nature of lucid dreams w friends, i traversed a vivid dream world. the beginning, or what i recall as the beginning, took on the tone of a gory bloodbath from a Blizzard game. except i, sword in hand, experienced the grotesque, poisonous attacks of mutalisks in the first-person. what seemed like an era later, i found myself at the very same site of that battle as it appeared at a later, more peaceful date. it was now a mansion surrounded on all sides by walls of junk. i wandered among the dusty corridors a warrior still, and attempted to scale the junkyard with a trusted German Shepherd at my side (who in the dream i called Kaiser though he looked more American than my dad’s dog).

in the morning, i awoke to birds chirping “Goodbye Blue Sky” from their digital prison in my smartphone. Continue reading

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possible reasons i got an ocular migraine today

staring at computer screen all day
Ritz crackers
pint of Will’s beer
dehydrated? (not really though)
walked 3.3 miles from work
two chocolate macadamia cookies
mango + salt
salad (mixed greens, beets, avocado, mushrooms, etc.)
apple + peanut butter
walked 1.5 miles to work Continue reading

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