Nonfiction—Mendengar Saya Menguam


Sumatra, Indonesia

We couldn’t afford color blinds on our windows, not with kids in Disney shirts waving from the roadside, young women stooped over rubber trees, old men smiling with malachite teeth. There was the International conglomerate and the poor indigenous and all that separated us were barbed-wire fences and fat bank accounts. I spent my day learning U.S. History; my nights playing soccer with a ball of teak root. Some locals dropped a hornet nest on my head. I thought 9/11 occurred in Kuala Lampur.


Tianjin, China

The skies were gray. There were no pigeons but deadly chemicals disguised as bread crumbs and iron spikes on rooftops. We couldn’t let the pets outside – I wondered if it was because of the poison or the markets where vendors lined their stalls with freshly-gutted dogs. The Chinese saw us less as bourgeois and more as barges. Strangers would call their friends over to laugh at our large feet. A business man wanted my picture by a bull statue’s testicles. Poverty had been swept behind smiling skyscrapers and the endless ranks of cranes. Our U.S. passports could only get us so far. From there on it was knowing which barbershops cut your hair and which were fronts for brothels.


Lecheria, Venezuela

We lived in rich man prison – a network of mansions connected by a network of canals. Transport included travel-by-yacht. I’d take the boat to the Mall, tie her up, watch a film with English subtitles. Or take her to open water and fish like Ernest Hemingway. We said what we wanted about Hugo Chavez. The taxi drivers never agreed with us. Nothing could stop our wanton – not the insurgents, not the kidnappers who took our neighbors, not the pirates asking for agua with pistols behind their backs, not the man who collapsed in the Wendy’s drive-through with a bullet in his shoulder.


Santa Barbara, California

I’m idling incognito, an exclusive ooze, wasting away with a cynical smile. There are scars on my legs from jungle hornets, a little red book full of Mao. I think in languages I never use. I walk along landing strips and thumb airplanes and would never play tricks on Gimpel the Fool. I don’t belong.

I am expatriate, both brahmin and untouchable.


Lip Bomb is an outrageous group of spoken word-a-holics who mostly met in Kip Fulbeck’s spoken word course Art 137, with a few stragglers (like myself) added later. These seriously attractive people decided to continue performing and writing and freaking out beyond the occasional classroom gig, leading to the bombastic foundation of the group. I’m consistently stoked by Lip Bomb’s bad ass bravado, affable antics, and meticulous humor (although my excitement might be reticent at times since, if anything, I’m the Pierce Hawthorne of the group – older, cynical, less wise). Now as I retire (err, well, graduate) I have an obligation to pay Lip Bomb some lip service: keep it up, youngsters! You’re walking, talking, definitely-not-balking balmshells and you do beautiful things.

Somewhere over the rainballs…
I’ve been asked to revive my one-hit wonder “How to be a Man: Splitting Firewood with my Face and other Manly Skills” for Wizard of Balls: A Night of Spoken Words. The show is being put on by Lip Bomb, a spoken word group on campus. The show’s TONIGHT, as in Friday, March 9th, 2012, at 7:30 PM sharp in the Theater & Dance Room 1701. Here’s a blurb about the show:

Lions and Tigers and Balls, OH MY!

We’ve all been scared before, worried, wondering, “Where are my balls?” Well, we were thinking the exact same thing. Come along on our journey down the yellow brick road in search of our courage fruit.


Spoken Word—These were my brothers

[A Spoken Word piece I improvised on-the-spot when somebody (as prank vengeance for doing the same to her) signed me up for Bean Night.]

These were my brothers.

The oldest breathed water and wouldn’t stay in the sea. Sprinting across the crags, he lived puddle to puddle. Why not just stay in the ocean? But I think he was broken.

The second found cadavers that walked and talked and kissed but were dead. Second would give them pieces of his soul so they could glow, but soul isn’t sunlight.

Third lived in a cloud fishing for people. When he caught them he would reel them up and eat them. Little stink pieces of heart and blood dripped from the vapor. I would have liked Third, maybe. At least he knew there were worse things than being lonely.

Fourth lived by an ugly statue, a humpty dumpty god. At night he burned his hands in fireplaces, and in the morning he pieced the monument together with Third-World tools. Noon, he would write poetry on its corpse.

When the Fourth died, there were no children to complete his work. But dying isn’t disappearing.

These were my brothers. They speak to me and make me want to do terrible things.

Michael Morgan Presents The Odyssey Project

Michael Morgan, a UCSB theater professor with the voice of a lion, hosted this “unique inter-disciplinary theatrical production” over the Summer of 2011. What really set us apart from other stage adaptations of The Odyssey was the inclusion of teenage juvenille delinquents from Los Prietos Boys Camp and Academy in our main cast. For an entire Summer we worked with Los Boys on a primal, abstract, and ultimately personal rendition of The Illiad’s ubiquitous sequel. There was a lot of soul-searching, a lot of tears, one kid got busted with a baggie of pot, that sort of thing. The end result was a blackbox godspell.
For my part (because, as usual, this blog is all about me!), I played one of the cyclops who admonish Polyphemos, as well as a (hopefully) sexy Odysseus during his sexy stay on Circe’s island. Kalila Griffith (who’s actually sexy) played Circe and we had a sexy Tango dance number. It was fun!
And sexy.