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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in 40's Overcoat's LiveJournal:

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Saturday, June 27th, 2009
8:45 am
for Randi, #2
2. On Certainty
    Gravity crushes dreams.  It is mechanical and heartless.  Are we really going to say that whatever rises must fall?  You tell me where the romance is in that.  Dawn comes early over the Sierra Nevadas this morning.  I am on a return flight from LA and the clouds look gorgeous, they are huge scoops of champagne ice cream with soft pink centers.  I am almost calm, have almost forgotten for one brief moment the fear of losing you, when the woman across the aisle raises her voice to her husband: I told you I didn’t want to fly.  I’m going to be sick.  Most flights crash just after takeoff or just before landing, you know.  Your voice comes back and rises in me, echoing the same anxiety.  And now when I look out the tiny porthole window I feel weightless, as if all I would have to do to fly is take off my shoes.

Friday, June 5th, 2009
11:28 pm
Love is rare and worth fighting for.
And Where Will We Find Something We Can Comfortably Call Love?
(for Randi Nolen)

In words we throw up against unpainted walls
like overhead projections
or in nothing.

In shampoo-colored fog that takes
our breath, but not away,
or in nothing.

Who, after all, can take anything
away?  Away is a word
made of nettles
and twigs, a nest
of crushed wings
in which perhaps a small bird
could curl up, but never a person.

But never a heart with a soul
attached by a string; and
I would so very
much like to pull
you up by the boots, and I’m stringing
along the last notes of a song that is you

But which will not be heard,
unless in the ears
of the sails of the boats

That carry us away, beyond anything like the ocean,
or in times when I’m caught dreaming,
or in nothing.

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009
2:53 am

What goes between and carries us
is nothing like the sun.

It’s cold and clear, like water, or a glass
upon the counter

that you stagger to, and fill, and drain
to quench your thirst at midnight.

I think of you at midnight mostly
when I am asleep,

though sometimes waking, I can feel the pull
of you, across the tracks

where trains go by incessantly
hauling their various cargo.

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008
12:12 pm
longtime, no?
Snooze Button

Why, round world, do you flatten
your ears at me, cat hissing spit

at my feet? I came to you empty
of impulse and underwear. I assume

I’ll go out the same way. Now when I said,
“All I want is to sleep without hurry,”

I was not rejecting your quicklight at morning,
your slow growing oaks in the distance,

the natural ideas that parachute
down from your lashes as pollen

and want me to wake up breathing, sucking down air
so hard my chest cracks. Hope is a hermit,

and I need my friends, world, I need other eyeballs
to clack into my loneliness like marbles, cat’s eye

ribbons that sparkle in colors not
my own; I didn’t mean to hurt you

when I pulled the blinds down, when I rolled back
over; please don’t take it personal.

This is my condition: ghosts fill the hollows
I leave when I crawl out of bed.
Tuesday, November 20th, 2007
6:45 pm
I took a page of Walt Whitman and took out the words I didn't want.
The pure

           braced       and

            tied to
                a pail;
                    the drunkard

   rolls up

        his light boots

    some lean
    from the crowd

        the sugarfield        views

     them    ;
Tuesday, November 13th, 2007
12:35 pm
Grad School Looms; the horror...
Nocturnal Ghazal

Come sit and we’ll talk of a cool breathing smoke.
The night softly fallen, a wool breathing smoke.

We walked up to where we could see the whole city,
Its dark margin cut like a jewel breathing smoke.

Where is distortion?  And where is decay?
Floating balls-up in a pool breathing smoke.

“Don’t hassle me, man,” says Umberto, “I’m sober,”
While shadows adhere to his tools breathing smoke.

Down the rough alleys, the caterwauls ring.
The busboy leans back on his stool breathing smoke.

When last you were seen here, no words. But your eyes
Told a story of water, a school breathing smoke.

How to cull sense from the droppings of memory?
Make it a compost, a gruel breathing smoke.

Now a pale pink skirts the rim of the world;
What first the sun touches—this fool breathing smoke.
Thursday, October 4th, 2007
9:23 am
Thursday, June 7th, 2007
2:20 am
that good shit
Sonnet 117

All we were going strong last night this time,
the mots were flying & the frozen daiquiris
were downing, supine on the floor lay Lise
listening to Schubert grievous & sublime,
my head was frantic with a following rime:
it was a good evening, an evening to please,
I kissed her in the kitchen—ecstasies—
among so much good we tamped down the crime.

The weather's changing. This morning was cold,
as I made for the grove, without expectation,
some hundred Sonnets in my pocket, old,
to read her if she came. Presently the sun
yellowed the pines & my lady came not
in blue jeans & a sweater. I sat down & wrote.

—John Berryman
Monday, April 23rd, 2007
4:28 pm
for William Carlos Williams

Apples, tinder, haystacks. Shovels glazed
with light, the golden rows of wheat beside.
Going homeward, several hands upraised,
the farmer's children let the cool air glide
across their grubby fingers. It is late.
Between wet grasses, fireflies ignite.
Along white fenceposts, tired swallows wait,
deny the possibility of flight.
But in the kitchen, mother stirs the pots
and wipes her apron front with busy palms,
and thinks "It's time the children had their shots,"
and hums a blessing from the book of Psalms.
She thinks by keeping busy she can heal
what time, and time, and silence come to steal.
Wednesday, April 18th, 2007
12:47 pm

I’d like to say my brother taught me how
to be a man, but he is teaching still,
and what escaped me then eludes me now,
and I’ve begun to think it always will,
though I grow older. Time’s unhurried tick
marks out the days; I neither gain nor grow.
The world’s a marketplace, and if a trick
can turn the scales uncertain, I should know
because I’ve tried. I’ve tried to cheat the sum
of labor days with little labor done
and in that idle sleep, what nightmares come—
I would not wish the same on anyone
who loves not pain for pleasure’s profit bought.
But I am young. I still can learn a lot.
Tuesday, April 17th, 2007
5:02 pm
trying to write shit that vaguely means anything

I would break into blossom now. I’ve smoked too many
cigarettes. Behind a world of smoke, the objects
seem strange—what are lampposts but matchsticks?
Why do stars waver? To what body of water do these gutters run?

The sun is delayed. It slinks behind hedges and hides
in a sleeping bag, taking up space. Now the eyes
brighten, seeking the light where it lies
in a stray can of Coke, making faces

at the sky. Why wait for a dawning, a bugle,
a song to warm the ears? I have here
my favorite hat, made of lamb’s wool, and secrets
to whisper across the lawns.

—Luke M. Rickford
Thursday, April 5th, 2007
6:13 pm
On the Birth of Stars

Red the first quickening, flash-in-the-dark.
Glass and water.
A room with red walls.

You were there before anyone knew it, weren’t you?
Holding onto.
Grasping for.

It was quiet, remember? No. It was noise.
Thump in the eardrum.
A shimmer, a scrape,

Then a scream of hot light.
Flashbulb darling, the camera
always loved you.
I was there. I remember.
Tuesday, March 6th, 2007
12:30 pm
Ode to Frisbee

See how the white circle rises?
A trick of the light.
A flick of the wrist turns
a plate into a bubble.

Recurring dream of flight—
Oh to be a robot,
body floating parallel
to the grass.

These are the rules:
if the wrist turns over,
the disc will not.
Cuts should break ankles.

Angles, trajectories, dirt.
The belief that all swill
can be caught. The belief
when you land it won’t hurt.
Monday, February 5th, 2007
2:32 pm
There's a new short story contest at stanford, 8,000 word maximum, Seniors only. First prize is $2,000. Egad! That's enough money to buy a lock of Bob Dylan's hair!!!

...wanna try?
Wednesday, January 31st, 2007
12:33 pm

The night takes of its cotton shirt
of silent clouds and rustling wings.
There’s nothing left in me that sings
except this morning’s coffee. Dirt

and acid tumble in my chest.
I still remember Adam’s eyes;
He liked The Lonesome Crowded West.
Every day the music dies

into my gaping mouth again.
The words are needlesharp, bloodsweet.
A t-shirt: Hey, you found a friend.
Cars go by in the street.
Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007
5:11 am
madness sets in... time for sleep

act asinine ask alice about adderall acid anchovies apricots applauding ample acumen
better be bold bounce bubbles blow both buoys backpedal basically bungle by blind
caterpillar character convoy cataplexy cool cats coarse combs coefficient catch clap
dish dope diligent divide due deference don’t do decepticon dance dirty developments
everybody easy end-stopped energy embryo escapism elephant electrons
following fresh flown floods far fodder fallen feathers fly flippant for french fire fries fools
go gather green grapes gender goes garrulous gay garments gawking golem grins gold grill
hepatitis hash hope hide heavy homonyms happenstance hives hooves high hats hoes
5:03 am
To An Old Friend

You do not know me. This is hard to say:
Confession’s tricky, even for a saint,
But language always seems to find a way.

A night spent drinking, you in disarray—
A scene drawn thin as watercolor paint.
You do not know me. This is hard to say.

I watch you watch the blurried lanterns sway
Before your eyes. My voice is garbled, faint.
But language always seems to find a way.

A fifth of scotch, a handle of Bombay.
We did it right. I’ve no cause for complaint.
But you don’t know me. This is hard to say;

I lack your swindler’s ease with repartee,
And I’ve been taught to privilege restraint.
But language always seems to find a way.

The truth is hard, but easy to convey.
It’s what it is, it isn’t what it ain’t.
You do not know me—this is hard to say,
But language always seems to find a way.
Thursday, January 11th, 2007
12:57 pm
Oh, I got the stones
Hopefully this will be the start of some more regular, non-poetry-posting LJ action on my part. Would that it could have begun more auspiciously...

My doctor thinks I have a kidney stone. Around 4 pm yesterday I was hit with wave after wave of nausea, diziness, and pain in my abdomen probably ranking in the top 3 most physically painful experiences I can remember.

I had to excuse myself from class, which BLOWS, because it was Robert Pinsky's (1997-2000 Us Poet Laureate) 3-hour seminar, which he flies in from Cambridge, MA to teach once a week.

After waiting a very uncomfortable 20 minutes at urgent care, I eventually received a delightful shot in the buttocks of some weird hormonal drug, the name of which escapes me. While it did make my ass sore, the pain went right away—which the nurse says only happens, usually, if you do have kidney stones.


I was supposed to go in this morning for a CT scan, but the machine is broken (of course). So, meanwhile, i'm narced out on vicodin and waiting to piss the thing out.

Another friendly update on the Life of Luke. Bigger and better things soon to come...
Tuesday, December 26th, 2006
6:04 pm
Poker game, mi casa, 9 PM. Come one come all.
Wednesday, November 29th, 2006
9:44 pm
4 Cantos
Formatting in LJ sucks. Anyone who cares can view this draft at Trip's fantastic document-hosting website:


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