March 8th was the first day I started schilling for the first published volume of The Insafemode Journals. I acknowledge that it's a weird choice for a fundraiser in 2023, when I'm working on two memoiry novels that people have expressed more interest in (The Book Of Love Is Long An Boring and They Left Without Buying Anything) but it's part of a larger project.
In January of this year, I left my job in comic retail. It's all very maddening and cyclical, and what was fun in my twenties, and what I got really good at in my thirties is now exhausting. And the pandemic changing everything made my job fun and unpredicatble for a while but the industry didn't improve as much as I'd hoped.
So, I'm opening a graphic novel/living poetry library/performance venue. I am planning on doing it in the Boston area because I'm used to it here, and there are a ton of colleges I can approach/am approaching about helping fund/house such an endeavor.
My personal library of graphic novels and poety volumes will be the opening collection. I have a more thorough collection than many, but not all, of the people I've met through collecting books and working comic retail. This will help the venue already have a big draw, and keep my fiancé and family from having to figure out what to do with all my books. I've seen too many families come in sad and confused into various retail stores trying to figure out what to do with their deceased love ones' collectibles. Usually, they get massively ripped off and a store ends up with a ton of material that tends not to move very fast no matter how reasonably priced. Everybody loses. By helping fund/house my curated collection, the college I work with will get to keep all the books when I die.
While the contents of the library should be the initial draw, I plan on running events/having others run events in this space. Of course, a poetry reading or two, and not just open mics and features, but themed or targeted non-traditional shows. Sci-fi watch parties, Writing workshops. Author signings. Gallery openings for non-traditional art shows (fewer paintings, more sculptures/3D-art). Community reading groups. And, naturally, this space will give preference to events focused on the lgbtq+ community, people of color, and communities currently underserved in the Boston area, which tends to have writing and reading groups that favor 60+ white people, who do also deserve their own group events, and who currently have a plethora of places to go and share their ideas. They'll also be invited to use the space, of course, but they don't get preferential treatment.
This venue will also host Crooked Treehouse Press. This is a press focused on, but not exclusively limited to, putting out poetry collections. And that's where this fundraiser comes in. This is a test. $4,000 is a pretty small amount for a Kickstarter. It's not for a flashy, experimental hair growth tonic, it doesn't promise to organize your wallet using some new technology, and it's not a board game that's going to require the production of millions of tiny rubber ducks. This first fundraiser is for printing the 20th anniversary for a memoir. But it's also for buying an obscene amount of barcodes.
If you don't know, barcodes are expensive if you buy them one at a time. They usually start at $125 apiece. But then you can get ten for $300 or less. A hell of a discount. And to get 100? $575. So, under $6 apiece, instead of $125 apiece. A hell of a better deal. So I'm going to use part of this money to buy 100 barcodes. If Crooked Treehouse doesn't end up using all of them, I will donate them to other small presses focused on underrepresented community or for individuals who want to put out books on their own.
If the test works, I'll work on other fundraising projects with more ambition. Projects that pay artists to make videos/logos/artwork to promote books or the library itself.
If it doesn't work, if this Kickstarter can't meet its modest goal, then I need to rethink this project from the bottom up, and decide whether I'm the person qualified to get something liek this off the ground.
I've been running special bonuses during this campaign, and today, I am running a 24/24, which means I will write 24 poems during 24 hours. People can pledge to the Kickstarter campaign for $1 a poem completed, or a flat rate donation, but only if I can make the 24 poem goal.
The poems will be posted on this page. It is never too late to donate. I'll be doing another 24/24 style challenge later this week.
I'd appreciate any amount you can donate to this project, The All My Exes Live In Sex Flicks: A Queered Memoir Kickstarter.
“I don’t know if it’s the artificial airflow, the lighting, or the overhead announcements but every time I take a flight, I feel like I’m back in the hospital, and someone is trying to shake me out of my coma.” is the text I send Emily right before the plane takes off. But what I mean is, it feels like I’m dead again. It feels like the last four years are just my brain slowly winking out. Not that I didn’t recover in the hospital, but that I’m not going to recover in that hospital. I am still in there. Dying. My lungs, a heavy chunk of shrapnel that has collapsed against my heart.
But then the plane takes off, and I’m fine again.
The last text I send to my fiancé, Conrad, is a picture of my ringfinger, and a reminder that I love him. Pre-2019 me would have been disgusted. 2023 me is a little disgusted but not ashamed. I love Conrad like sustenance. Like he is something my body craves every day that I never grow tired of, like he is necessary for my survival but also something to be savored. Before Conrad, I’d told three men that I loved and would always love them. Since Conrad, I realized that I’d completely lied to at least two of them. Whatever that had been wasn’t love. It was need, maybe. It was struggling to be comfortable with myself. It was kiss me, please, and validate that I am a human deserving of love.
Love with Conrad is just Life. He is there most days when I wake up. He is watching old sitcoms and new sci-fi shows while eating fried food. He is crocheting while I am making TikTok videos of rubber ducks. He is rubber ducks. He is so many rubber ducks. Our house (see, exes, not my house that he lives in, our house) is filled with rubber ducks. Not like prank videos filled with rubber ducks. Not, like, push aside a flock of ducks in Halloween outfits if you want room on the table to eat. We have ducks above our doorways, ducks on bookshelves, a duck showercurtain, two giant ducks on the toilet tank.
The ducks are proof of life. If I really am dead or in a coma, then the ducks don’t make sense. I never collected ducks when I was alive (if I am no longer alive). Ducks are a Conrad thing. He came into my life with a collection of dozens of ducks. I don’t remember when I bought my first duck for him, or my first duck for me, I only know that in the last year and a half I have probably bought over a hundred ducks. Generic ducks. Carnival ducks. Presidential ducks. Superhero ducks. Halloween ducks. Rock star ducks. Movie character ducks. Animals that aren’t duck ducks.
I am on my way to Las Vegas right now, and there are three ducks in my backpack, and another six in my luggage.
I am alive because otherwise the ducks don’t make sense. Right? Sure, maybe as my brain began to wink out, I created some perfect boyfriend (now fiancé) to live out the rest of my fictional life with, but why would I have created these ducks? Why do I care about ducks now, other than they bring Conrad joy, which brings me life.
A few weeks ago, when I started taking ducks out of a hiding spot, and placing them around the house, daring Conrad to notice them. When he did notice them, he grabbed my face between his hands. “You. have. a .problem. We don’t. need. more. ducks.”
And I can’t say “But without them, how do I know you are real? And how do I know I am still alive, and not just laying in some hospital bed being visited by fewer and fewer family members and friends until I am an old withering corpse on life support. Or dead. In a coma or dead. How do I know if I survived unless I am experiencing new things, and populating this house with ducks? Don’t you ever dream, Conrad?” I know he does, I hear him whimper or laugh in his sleep. “Even the most surreal dream makes sense. If you’re terrified of bees and hornets and wasps, and a dream ends with you slapping a hornet on your cheek, that makes sense, even if there was no hornet in your dream until that moment. You fear hornets. Hornets show up in your dreams to torment you. Ducks Mean Nothing To Me If This Isn’t Real. Ducks mean something to you, the man I love, and who I am sometimes terrified isn’t real. So ducks for you. Ducks for me. Ducks for doorframes. Ducks forever.” I love you ducks worth. An infinite amount of ducks.
Andy Warhol paints the 59th Street Bridge
over and over in fluorescent blood Art leaps
from every vibrant panel into the neoprine river below
Bridges and water
Bridges and water
Art is nothing if not repetitive
Every night the lovely little sparrow comes to
peck out his vocal cords
as The Real Housewives of Bleeker Street
rolls across his retinas
No matter what your Spotify playlist tells you
Art does not shuffle but
dangles like a conversation from the precipice
of the mortal coil
pondering his exit
as another book of Twilight fan fiction
enters the NYT Best Seller list
Art would rather be MC Hammer than a snail
Yes he would
If he only could be comfortable
in the baggy pants of obscurity
rather than building himself
permanent residence in the hard shell of resentment
The rumors of Art’s death at the hands of poetry slam have been
exaggerated as Paul McCartney’s
as The Buggles’ forecast of their relationship
between MTV and radio
as journalism’s obituary in the folding
of newspaper corporations
Art survives every spoiled Canadian Teenage Pop Star
every bigoted comedian with delusions of divinity
every comic artist who can’t draw feet
While Paul Simon might be cut down by friendly fire
at the Sarlac Pit
Art will survive
past purely conceived covers
past surgery on swelled shut vocal cords
Art is the Wolverine of 20th century pop culture
shrugging off bullet wounds with a lit cigar and a one-liner
It’s been forty-five years since Art was supposed to disappear
thirty-five years since his name became laugh track cliché
You can’t kill Art
no matter the weapon
At eighty-two years old
it may not be too much longer
before Rolling Stone dot com posts the following headline
“Garfunkel is dead. Love live Art.”
I found my legs in the silverware drawer
this morning where the spoons used to be
We haven’t had utensils in four evicted roommates
three hundred forty-seven thousand
Last night I saw the alibi under the bed
slicing up the living room rug with my legs
I saw him because he was wearing my eyes like earrings
My body hasn’t been fashionable since I was born
perhaps I’ve been wearing it wrong
My alibi dances as though he knows my intentions
better than I ever have
If there is a name for this dance
It isn’t mine
I have forgotten how to name things: emotions
the people who name things
Tonight I am feeling Diet Coke flat
It’s the knowing that I am an improperly arranged potato head
That some drunk nature built me
with a foot in my mouth hole
and I didn’t notice until someone pulled my legs off
A bullfrog flew the moon into my shirt pocket
when i was born Slow glowing heartbeat
When i turned eleven and my voice went walkabout
My mother tried to convince me the frog
had climbed into my throat Her eyes kaleidoscope
pretending telescope Faulty stethoscope ears
Where my voice echoed back needs no atlasing
My body didn’t extend like a metaphor
but i kept footnoting my youth like
someone’s going to major in my autobiography
Cliff notes for the autobiography of a swallowed frog pilot
crash landed in a fictional pocket:
Trees are infinite ladders of gin smelling future napkins
so much mud
Four years saving fly corpses until they fluttered into spaceship
navigating around bovine gymnasts and fiddling cats
I caught the moon bobbing in space’s wake
Moon as handkerchief
Moon as party dress
Moon as moon in unfamiliar galaxy
There are so many moons in the universe
The frog’s moon wasn’t local
You haven’t seen it
Frogs in throats are myths
They settle in livers
Frogs for hearts
Rabbits for libido
Fuck the moon
The frog’s greatest achievement
was beating Super Mario Brothers 3 in fifteen minutes
Swallowing moons is so 1991
My voice’s greatest achievement was a three
month vacation in a stranger’s ear
The only parts of our bodies we ever shared
A bullfrog flew my shirt into an ex’s closet
It didn’t fit me anymore anyway
The bullfrog hits eject like a spacebar on an old typewriter
Fuck my mouth
Galaxy of awkward images
Uvula echo Uvula unreliable narrator Uvula promise
echo Good intentions Uvula Mint flavored swamp water
Fuck my lips Uvula echo frog legs
If the moon is a heart
there is too much bullfrog in it
The myth of my heart as satellite is a lie
perpetrated by Lenny Kravitz and Slash
like everything they wish was hurled into the vacuum of space
they named my heart Axel
Uvula Echo Ribbit
I’ve never known where my voice is
in realation to my heart
We were twenty-three when Susan told Dave
she wished she could go out with him but
she didn’t date college students
so Dave dropped out of Genie School to join the Bottle Rockets
Like most mediocre genie rock musicians
Dave played bass
Our first gig was at The Paradise
but like most mediocre rock bands we wished for bigger shows
Nothing was ever enough arena
The cover of Rolling Stone didn’t show off enough of our fingers
I told Dave all I ever wanted was for us to feel content
The only one who benefited from my wish was Dave’s dealer
Halfway through our second national tour
Eric woke up hung over and freckled with needle bites
turned to Dave and said I wish I was dead
I am a terrible wish maker
Desire — my fourth language
Spine — a staircase to my brain
My heart travels by wheelchair
I was barely fast enough to say
Eric I wish you hadn’t said that
We were on our fifth drummer
crumbled a fist full of scars
popped them into his choke and said I wish
and Dave shut Eric’s mouth with his own
There is so much silence that hangs on an unnamed desire
Eric couldn’t speak in front of Dave for fifteen years
The thing about genies is that
they only live forever with proper training
Without a degree or a lamp
genies who grant wishes rarely live past forty
The doctor called Dave’s slow fade into smoke
His biographer would
refer to it as delayed
On his deathstretcher
after we all said our simple goodbyes
Eric pressed his lips to what was not yet smoke and
whispered Don’t ever leave me
This is why Eric cries constantly and coughs in his sleep
©2014, 2023 by Adam Stone and CrookedTreehousePress
The attached file is another excerpt from the retail manuscript I'm working on.
The first 3,540 words of the retail manuscript I'm currently working on.
I start every year with desire
thick braid of maybe tied around my head
The heart bloods the fingers to their tasks
The calendar winking its filthy progression
Every checked box is an impending excuse for another failure
Every friend a bartender with a free pint of congratulations
Tonight and every night we celebrate
having one less thing to celebrate
What Is This All About?
This page is where the content from previous poetry blogs have been condensed. It's not on the menu, since most of these projects are over, or on hiatus, but the posts are still here to peruse.