Monthly Archives: November 2014

Words From The Midwest XVIII

Good morning, all tripped up, begotten; all riots and protests. Welcome. This is Words From The Midwest.

It’s the kind of morning I feel I have to write. And not because I have anything instructive to say or anything terribly inspired to bring across, but because I’ve been kicked in the gut by my newsfeed today: Ferguson is burning. Cities across the country stand in solidarity.

Now, let me first say that everyone saw this coming and no one could stop it. That should be known first and foremost: No one can stop a people from responding to a situation which comes across as unjust and no one can stop a police force from using their weapons for controlling an out-of-control crowd. Protests in Missouri turned into riots and people who could have done better, did worse. There really is no justification for looting or setting fire to cars no matter how upset you are. But people in this country – this world – tend to misplace their anger in all sorts of ways and force is unquestionably the answer which it seems we as a People come to sooner or later.

But if you think for even a moment that the failure to charge an officer with a crime he was found by a jury of his peers to have not committed was the last straw, you’re mistaken. This, like every other bullshit thing we’re dealing with in this country, is a problem deep seeded in hatred and Our inability to separate fact from fiction amidst Big Media and Propaganda with a capital P who shape our arguments amongst ourselves. Because who really knows who started the riots in Missouri last night. Perhaps the very presence of a militant force is what will be remembered. That all-encompassed Fear officers in full riot gear, armed to the teeth, instill in an already angry and bewildered population; a people already victimized and yet already labeled as dangerous just by gathering in public, freely.

This, like the mass shootings which plague this country, isn’t simply an issue of class or race, although both of these things play their part. Hell, if I were to sit here and try and frame an argument where those weren’t front and center in my testimony, I’d be a goddamn fool, or worse. But they do merely set to underscore the key issue: that lethal force is ever necessitated. A man with a gun verses a man without one…we know the outcome all too well: the man with the gun wins every time. And if we are to believe what the evidence shows, the officer in question simply did as he was trained to do: kill. And that may very well be the problem. When confronted with something against us, something that we fear on the basis of context – or when we ignore context and focus on the Fear itself – we aim and fire. That goes for the police – who, by the way, shot and killed a 12 year old boy with a bb gun in Cleveland yesterday – and it goes for our system at large. How can we expect peace when our society doesn’t train us for peace? How can a couple thousand people in Missouri not be expected to fuck shit up when They have been fucked with for too long? Perhaps peace isn’t the answer. Perhaps the answer is to burn the motherfuckers.

I mean, that’s what we do. That’s what We do.

And that’s all anybody seems to understand.

Unless we take back our right to peace; our responsibility to act peacefully. Because it is a responsibility. One we’ve neglected for far too long. Because if we respond to every instance of prejudice – and, even supreme, injustice – with violence, what does that say about us? It says we see your call and raise you the same. It says that we’re here to say, ‘fuck it,’ there’s no other way.

And again, maybe there isn’t. Maybe this is another day in the life of what it means to be American: that somehow, some way, there will be retaliation, no matter how misguided. Maybe we’re on the verge of something big.

It seems we are.

Let’s try to turn it into a force for Good.

Not a force for More Of The Same.



The Veil of Vermont ((#nohashtags) Twitter Story)

he stepped out of his house; the sky with an orange glow shone down upon him. with bated breath, he waited for a sign. what is this life?

he spent his childhood in an iron lung, mostly, and mostly he couldn’t remember most of it, as redundant as that sentence seems to be.

so he walked down the walk, questions batting around in his mind: what is this life? he asked himself. and to himself he answered: it is.

“it is…” the only thing he could regret at the present time was the feeling that he couldn’t think up a better description; better words.

it was midnight, or somewhere around midnight, he was sure of this much. and so he checked his watch: three in the morning, he thought. why?

where had the time gone? he searched his memory of the evening: nothing out of the ordinary. he had eaten by six; completed a book by nine.

“something is escue.” he said it out loud to himself. there has to be a simple explanation…did he nap without realizing it? or something..

a deep whirling from above changed his viewpoint as he craned his neck to see what made the awful noise.

a spaceship circled and landed.

somewhere in the distance a dog barked. a tree sang. and the man? the man was taken up into the craft without hesitation. and soon, he knew.

tap tap tap. he awoke with a start. oh good, he thought, i’m in my own bed. it must have all been a dream. he went to bathroom and looked…

in the mirror was not his own face, but the face of a much much older man. “they must have taken me! and for years!” he exclaimed.

just then lightning struck. and he was lifted again from life: death surrounded him and so he greeted it. and with not more than a tear.

Words From The Midwest XVII

Good evening, all dilapidated controversy; all hungry hearts; all placid tongues. Welcome to another edition of Words.

Rain Dogs by Tom Waits is on. Let’s start with that piece of information.

I’m drinking red wine. This too is important.

I’m about to smoke a cigarette, so I’ll keep this short and sweet.

I had a hell of a weekend: a wedding and a pretend wedding/murder mystery that I gave up on trying to figure out about a quarter of the way through, not because I didn’t like it or anything like that, just because I’m not good at that kind of thing and I just wasn’t in the mindset to get into it. But I did write some pretty entertaining pieces in place of my guesses as to what happened and who was the murderer.

I also got to see some of my favorite people who I’d love to name here but won’t because by leaving someone out I’m sure I would offend someone. So I won’t go into it. But know that I did see some of my most favorite people. Know that for certain.

Moving on, it’s that time of year I have mixed feelings about. I love Thanksgiving and Christmas and I think Fall and early Winter have the ability to have a certain romance to them…those days where the trees stand stark against pale grey skies, leaves littering the sidewalk and piled up on tree lawns. I really do love it all. And the end of the year and the beginning of a new one offer an all-too-perfect time for new beginnings and an end to some things you’d rather not remember. I didn’t have the type of year that needs to end, mind you, but I’ve certainly had a past five or so that I’d like to forget…but no, not forget, just grow from.

And I have.

That’s for sure.

And I mean it when I say I think this time of year is romantic, at least once you get past that beginning of school sadness that’s still left over from memories of years past. Hell, I haven’t been in school in a couple years and I still get that pang of foreboding that September brought on as a child growing up, heading back to a place and a general people I just didn’t really care for. But, suffice to say, those times are over, and I’m left with that feeling of romance I spoke of: that walking and intentionally stomping dead leaves littering the ground and bundling up in a coat and scarf, enjoying a nice cup of coffee and glimpsing rosy cheeked women walking by. I love it all.

And as Bill Hicks said, only lizards like when it’s hot and sunny every day. I’m paraphrasing.

So, in keeping this as brief as possible, let me leave you with my hope that November finds you well, etcetera. I know two thousand fifteen will be even better than forteen. I know this for sure.

Good night dreamers.

Stay up late.



Words From The Midwest XVI

Good afternoon, all moons rising; all switched-off lights; all dark and real truth. Welcome to another edition of Words.

What to say, what to say, what to say. Oh my goodness, what to say?

I’m listening to The Mountain Goats’ album The Sunset Tree as I’m writing this: this cosmic validation of all things remote and languid; all things finalized and brimming with sunshine.

It’s raining.

But I like it.

I like it because this album is playing and it’s a great rainy day record. I love every song on this LP and hold it very close to my heart. It helped me through a very difficult time. And besides, it’s the first Mountain Goats album I ever heard and, you know, it’s common for the first anything by anyone to mean the most to you. My favorite Okkervil River record is The Stage Names. My favorite Bob Dylan is Blood On The Tracks. My Favorite Beatles is With The Beatles. My favorite Cat Stevens is Tea For The Tillerman. Or maybe Greatest Hits. No, no, Tea For The Tillerman, even though it wasn’t the first one I ever heard. I guess rules are made to be broken; made to have exceptions which, all too often, tend to prove the rule, I suppose.

Today has been a long day. A long day, indeed. I’ve been up since seven this morning and spent the good part of the morning going around with my Mom to stores and we went out to lunch at Tommy’s and I got a roast beef sandwich. It was delicious. It was a good morning, really. Really.

Now, I’m just killing time until I feel like reading again.

That time is now.



The Importance Of The Faces To The Greater Mystery

The greatest rock and roll band of all time is The Faces. I simply cannot follow the logic of anyone who says differently. Rod Stewart’s voice is raspy as hell and yet warm and forgiving; his notes bend, unreachable by the novice singer; his cadence and phrasing a perfect vibe for sitting with your headphones on as Ronnie Wood’s incredible guitar work shimmers on the left, pans to the right, screams out and plays against your inner ear. The Rolling Stones can’t touch The Faces. And there really shouldn’t be any argument there.

Music, incidentally, is all that really matters to me. And that’s Music, with a capital M. Those songs which reach into your soul and paste life lessons there; those lyrics which speak to your inner voice and beg for it to have something to say in return. Music is life. And my life? My life is my music.

It should go without saying that I do other things, mind you. It’s not like I’m sitting here writing and there’s music playing, although sometimes I do that and sometimes it’s exactly what I need to sustain the flow of the words; the arch of the sentences. But often when I’m writing in this manner, music disallows me to really concentrate on what I’d like to say. And so, in case you are wondering, I’m sitting in silence as I write this.

Right now, it is the beginning of November, to give you a clue into what the weather is like, at the very least. It’s cold outside. That kind of beginning-of-the-winter Cold when the wind blows hard against the windows, scraping the glass with rain. I never used to like going out in this weather. But a month of living on the streets in February in Oregon gave me the kind of thickened skin I’ve always desired and never acquired before last year. And now, like last night, for example, I simple stand with my scarf tied tightly around my neck; my sport coat buttoned once and once only; the rest of my clothes, layers upon layers underneath my outerwear; my green, wool Hanna Hat pulled low over my eyes and my hood up over my head. I have never been warmer in such a cold situation as I was last night, standing just outside the door of the restaurant, The Harp, smoking the half cigarette I had saved from earlier.

My teeth do chatter in this weather, however, that should be said. But simply not the way they used to. My legs shake and my back bends against the cold, but I am able to stand back up straight again when I notice myself at nearly a forty-five degree angle. And I stand there. And I smoke. And I don’t mind the Winter like I used to.

Or stood. Or smoked.

I never really know in what tense to write.

But, no matter. I will continue.

My name is inconsequential. That should be the first thing you know about me. You see, I have gone by many different names in my lifetime: Michael, Mike, Mickey, Mickey T, Michael Timothy, Mick, Miguel Timoteo, M.C. Guire, The Algorian Shore, The Supposed So. They’re all the same name, I suppose, but I’ve enjoyed thoroughly nearly every single one of them. And how. And how? Just. Why? Just because.

My town is Cleveland, Ohio. What a goddamn city. A brilliant downtown: not too big, not too small. I love Progressive Field and The Q and I love East 4th and House of Blues, even though the sound in there is pretty awful, or at least was when I saw The Mountain Goats there some years ago. They sounded terrible. They really did. No better than the time I saw just John Darnielle play without his band a few years back, when I didn’t live in Cleveland, Ohio, when I lived in Asheville, North Carolina.

I love Cleveland. I live, specifically, in Ohio City. It is on the near West Side, just East of Gordon Square, an arts district some twenty blocks from my apartment.

I live in a two bedroom, second story place and I do like it, I should say. It isn’t my favorite place I’ve ever lived but it’s warm in the wintertime and fucking hot in the summertime and really pretty big for just one person but I only pay three hundred dollars a month which is doable, even though I could probably live with a roommate or two in Tremont and pay between two and two fifty. But oh well. I enjoy living by myself most of the time. I can go to the bathroom with the door open and shower in the middle of the night and watch whatever I want to watch at any given time and go to sleep whenever and I’m not afraid I’ll miss some great time with a roommate and whoever else would be here. No, living alone is pretty nice. I wouldn’t trade it. At least for now.

As I said, music is pretty much my entire life. I’m a songwriter, first and foremost. And I’ve written over a hundred songs over the past five years; have recorded and released nearly all of them over the past three. I haven’t sold much of anything, really. But I play shows here and there and I think I’m within a two or three year future period of time where people might actually start to pay attention. I’m not really sure about that, obviously, but I think it’s important, as an artist, to have a good deal of faith in your work, even if that faith and confidence is sometimes misconstrued as ego or bombasticity. It’s both, I suppose, but I spent far too much time in my youth believing that I had very little to offer the world in terms of the concrete, or even in terms of friendship, really. I’ve gotten past all of that. And I have a selection of people in my past to thank for it, even if most of those people have disappeared from my day to day, or even my month to month. Yes, I haven’t seen some of my very best, dear old friends for years. And some of them? Some of them I miss terribly.

But oh well, I say. Oh well, indeed. Life is a funny thing when the mistakes you make are magnified by your lyrical content and the novellas you write…in my case, anyway. And it’s true that I’ve put a great deal of myself into what I’ve written since two thousand and eleven, for that was the year it all really began to crumble for me. Although, I will say outright that my breakdown was years in the making. Nothing so major as a full blown manic episode happens overnight. It takes years of placing the feelings of others over the feelings of yourself; years of selfish relationships and unrequited love; years of denying the circumstances which made up the turning points of your childhood. And when it all comes crashing down, it’s like your entire life is upon you all at once.

But goddamnit. Do I really want to be talking about all of this? I’m sure I don’t, really. I’m sure I don’t want to talk about any of it. And I haven’t, really. I really haven’t. Haven’t talked about those weeks leading up to the time I paced the streets for over a month in the wind and the rain on the streets of Portland, staying up all night wandering about looking for someone to bum cigarettes off of. Haven’t talked about those times on the street when I was sure I was being followed; being watched; being listened to. It was a tortured time for me. And I’m not so sure writing about it now will make too much of a difference. Because it’s in the past and I’ve come to terms with that past and have written off those weeks and months (and years), burying them in cryptic lyrics to songs with bright melodies and chipper harmonies; I’ve buried them in short novels without flow or meaning, just strange vignettes of corded hyperbole and slight misanthropic asides. I don’t think many people have read or listened to any of it. And that may very well be for the best.

But I don’t really know. That should and could and may very well be said over and over again in my writing. “I don’t know.” Because I don’t, you goddamn voyeur. You wretched pink bastard. You cheat! I don’t fuckin’ know a goddamn thing about what I should or could or may be saying as I’m just sitting here writing down whatever words come to mind as quickly as I can without misspelling a word, and when I do simply going back and letting spellcheck do the rest of the work for me. I don’t fucking know!

But maybe I’m being rash; maybe a bit dramatic. No, I know I am. Because this isn’t anything, is it? I mean, it’s nothing to me, I’m telling you. But if I can just get it all out – get it all down on paper – I can finally stop feeling like I’m alone in this world; like I’m just a fucking asshole who says stupid shit when he’s drunk and writes songs trying to trap people and places and occurrences in three or four minutes or in poems or blog posts or, dare I even attempt to say…novels. Because this won’t be one of those. This one is going to be short. Because what I really want to say – what this is really for – is all about The Faces.

They make me feel so much better.

Words From The Midwest XV

Good afternoon, all morning-lovers; all sunny days; all rain and wind. Welcome to another edition of Words From The Midwest.

The baseball season has come and gone and what a hell of a World Series it was. Not great, mind you. Not great at all. But we did get to witness one of the most dominating – if not the most dominating – pitching performances of all time in Madison Bumgarner, which is one completely awesome and hilarious name. But I really wanted to see the Royals win, as I think did all of the baseball world outside of the Bay Area.

But, oh well. Oh well, indeed. We now have basketball to keep us up late at night and football – if you’re that type of person – to entertain our Sundays. And even though I care about way more than sports, I find myself entrenched in the passions of my youth when I would sit around with my Dad and watch literally any sport that was televised any given day. For some reason I’m back to going online every morning to see if the Cavs won and by how much and, woah, how did Lebron do, etcetera. And I’m not ashamed. I’m not.

I do hate football, though, even if I did watch as the Browns annihilated Pittsburgh by looking like two or three professional football teams rolled into one.

I haven’t seen a game since and I don’t really care to see another one this or any season. But I’d still like to hear they won because anything that’s good for Cleveland is good for me, intrinsically. Feels like I’ve said that before.

So, currently, I’m listening to Harry Nilsson and goddamnit I love that man. Probably the best voice in the history of Pop music, if I’m being honest with myself…the guy had a four or five or six octave range. I can’t even begin to fathom having that good a voice, even though I think I’ve a pretty good one, anyway.


I do a lot with what I have.

And on that note, jump over to to listen to any of the hundred or so songs I’ve written and recorded over the past three years. Some of them are pretty darn good. Some of them are completely forgettable. A few of them are classic. All of them are true. And that’s really what matters, isn’t it?

I’ve come to the point of reissuing the books I’ve published…Just Napkins is now available at It’s $10. It’s what I wrote when I was living on the streets of Portland last year. It is what it is.

I will soon be publishing The Supposed So Trilogy (containing the novellas The Will and The Won’t, A Way To Go Sideways, and A Pair Of Honest Men) with the cover art having been done by Michael Marras (, a seriously brilliant artist out of Akron, Ohio and someone who I’m sure will be world renowned at some point in the very near future. I’m also going to republish Good Morning, Good Afternoon, and Good Evening (the poetry series I did here on tumblr before Words began). Not sure what the cover will be yet. But both of these books will be available in hardback for the first time. Maybe someone will buy them. I know I will.

Finally, as the Midterm Elections draw closer, I am finding myself completely and utterly jaded and dismayed by the news that it’s the most expensive midterms ever, weighing in at about four billion dollars. That’s billion. With a capital B. And goddamnit, I don’t even think I’m going to vote. And I could go into it at length as to why I’m not going to but I think it comes down to that dollar figure I just quoted. It’s a fucking wash. It’s a fucking disgrace that this is what our electoral process has come to and I feel it is my duty as an American to boycott the very process. I mean, there is really no such thing as a good politician. There just isn’t. And I, like so many others of my generation, am just so completely disillusioned by the way Washington is bought and paid for, and am so reluctant to acknowledge the fact that these people do anything for the People that going out to Vote seems almost futile. And it is.

And I don’t even feel that guilty about it.

I’ll definitely vote for the next President, though, simply because I want to vote for Hillary Clinton even if she scares me a little.

That’s all for now, ya’ll.

Tune in next time for another edition of Words.