Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Note on Antonin Artaud

Always grappling with his innards he attempted to communicate by shoving everyone into his body.

Watchfiends & Rack Screams

Friday, December 23, 2011


Journal Excerpts

I'll get to know someone, talk to them frequently or semi-frequently for months/years, and then part with them for whatever circumstantial reason, never to talk to them again. Sometimes the communication fizzles out, but regardless, communications stops. I've always found this aspect of life bizarre and hard to adjust to. I still think fondly of many people, but realize I probably don't even know them now. I'm not who I was at 18, though I am.

The good thing about having a full stomach is that I'm forced to slowly savor my wine and red velvet cake.

In bar, involuntary audible sigh escapes me when The Wind Cries Mary begins.

I saw this girl today who was 20, but might as well have been 70. Somehow she was already beyond vanity or at least self consciousness of her beauty and youth. She was reading the paper on the train. Not fashionable. Worn mauve fingernail polish. Fluffy hair. She only frowned when she looked at her guy friend.

Sky is soon to be purple.

Standing on the 5 train platform at Union Square, I caught the scent of a passerby's aftershave and felt as if I were an entirely different person -- alone in New York with book while waiting on the train.

When a piece of poetry or music becomes more than that, poetry or music, it is what it was conceived to be, regardless of the author's intentions.

Write with no hope nor fear.

I'm in and entering a great highlight of my life. I was looking at photographs of my time in Spain, and I don't long for those days as much as I cherish now. Discipline is no longer the issue, it's a right frame of mind that I need. I'm there. I'm going to enjoy NYC, enjoy exercise, enjoy writing. And quit making everything so heavy. Life is now. I'm living it and I'm happy. Now are the golden days.

Woke this morning to see the perfect circle of a blood red sun floating between two buildings.

Some days I allow the slow walkers to pace me, to allow me to smell the roses. Some days I curse them.

After you become wealthy, win awards, and no longer need money or esteem, I imagine you return to the motive for creating art with which you began: it's fun and you want to.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Had a Big Idea and Forgot It

"The soul has to find and hold its ground against hostile forces, sometimes embodied in ideas which frequently deny its very existence, and which indeed often seem to be trying to annul it altogether." --Saul Bellow

I had a good thought and marinated it till it was at it's juiciest, only to find that as I sat down to write it, it had evaporated. But it had to do with the point, if there is a "point", of being an artist today. Bellow's quotation came to mind after the thought left me, and hits close to what I wanted to explore.

The soul has little, if any, breathing room today, and I think it's the job, conscious or not, of the artist to continue to funnel oxygen to it.

Oh, man, maybe I'll come back to this.

Monday, December 12, 2011


There's always something to want, always something better to be had, but I'm grateful for the times I realize how lucky I am to listen to music and read in our heated apartment while my lovely wife navigates facebook. I'm grateful for how being in the same room with her puts me at ease, regardless of whether or not we're interacting.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Poetry in the Air

I had a dream last night that I was standing on the steps of a building much like the Met, but instead of Fifth Avenue, I looked out onto a plaza with a fountain that led into a park. And poetry was scrolling through the air. There was a little eddie of stanzas near the fountain. Words like birds zipped across the sky. Some were dancing ribbons of syntax.

I spent the rest of the dream trying to write down what I'd read. I was constantly looking for notebooks or making sure I had my notebook with me. But, just like writing in real life, I never quite got down exactly what was in the air.

The poetry wasn't biblical, but I remember thinking that the title should be Proverbs 18:21: "Death and Life are in the power of the tongue".

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

okieinthecity: Top 100 NYC Blog

New York 101: The Definitive Guide to New York City listed as one of the top 100 blogs of New York.

Pretty cool to have this honor come out of the blue. I have no idea how they found me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Okie in the City Artist's Collective: Thursday, November 10th

In need of some good soul salve? Come on down to the Nuyorican cafe tomorrow night and hear some great music and poetry from kind and goofy people alike.

Michelle-Leona Godin is kicking the evening off with her avant accordion brain smash. If you've never heard, no, experienced this, you're in for a treat.

Yours truly with the Kick Assonance crew, Steven Leyva and Christian Erickson, will follow with some toasty poetry.

And Single White Band will round the evening out with music that will slap a smile across your face and set your feet a tappin'.

$8 tickets in advance, $10 at the door. Show starts at 7pm. Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dear Norman Schwarzkopf: Letter from 10-year-old Kyle

I found a letter I had written to General Schwarzkopf as an assignment for my fifth-grade English class. My grandmother sent it to me a few years ago. Apparently, I felt I could colloquially address the general.

Little me was self-conscious about being small for his grade, but other than that, was an egotist who talked about himself for the majority of the letter, even squeezing in how others say "I can run fast and they say I'm strong".

Transcribed with original typos:

Dear, Norman

I've been thinking about you down there in Saudi and I been tring to remember to pray for you every night, I thank you for being down thier. I don't know a whole lot about you so when or if you right me back please tell me something more about you than what I've already heard on the news. I'll tell you about me for a little while than I gotta go eat at a resaraunt. I'm ten years old and my birthday is on November, 20. I have three brothers and one sister. My favorite sport is football my favorite team is LA. Raiders [emphasized with square lettering] and thier ausome but thats my opion. My favorite player is Bo Jackson [emphasized with large lettering] a wear glasses but they broke. Just because I wear glasses does not make me a nerd because people say I can run fast and they say I'm strong. And its not just my dad who says that its my mom to just kidding. Oh and I'm in 5th [emphasized with large lettering] grade. I skipped a grade thats why I'm so small and people call me midget if thats how you spell it. My name is at the bottom of course. Well gotta go see you later I hope.

P.S. please when you write back send me a suvanier well by.

Your friend

Kyle Erickson

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Old Married Men (animated)

Leslie cut some audio of this poem from the fun Kick Assonance reading, and I drew some sketches to accompany it. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Do you mind?

"Can you do me a favor and stop rubbing that early 90s Pop all over my body."

Friday, August 19, 2011


Oh, how pleasure flames
permanent flying gestures
across your temples

Friday, August 12, 2011

New York, You Beautiful Bitch

Letter to a friend who asked, "What is New York?"


When I first moved to NYC, the most cosmopolitan aspect of her reminded me of Valencia, Spain, the only big city, 4 million people, I've lived in, though I've passed through many. A philosopher from Baltimore made an overnight round-trip just to see Steven and my poetry reading in Brooklyn. He was confident he could navigate the madness, and in spite of his being a world traveler, he failed. I had to give him directions while 50 kind people awaited our reading.

"New York, madame, is a monument to a city," said a wise poet.

Here's a fat nutshell of my exploits, failures, and euphorias upon my Manhattan embrace.

Leslie and I both gained over 40 pounds after our honeymoon with NYC. We lived in a shoe box, 275 sqr foot studio, and worked opposite schedules. Our option to pursue our dreams with few excuses made us depressed and overwhelmed.

I'm stalling. Here's the raw reel.

I scrawled my dreams and nightmares on the toilet, on the train, in my mind in the shower, over barren souls, always, through everything, while working in the Moloch monoliths of Manhattan: 13th largest law firm in the world, D___ and _____, where my nose bled and I cried over malnourishment while proofing mergers and acquisitions of the ____, _____, and the late Michael Jackson's business exploits; the Daily News building houses the globe of the Daily Planet in the first Superman movie with Reeves, here I wailed through 20-hour shifts, editing medical material, going temporarily blind for reading reading reading; Les was in a robbery; I almost fought a clown who hit her; the move from Manhattan to Brooklyn was tougher than Tulsa to Manhattana . . . all the while, writing writing writing poetry, sketches, Transit Prosody, Walking Stiff Blues, songs, prayers, elegies, and reading Jung, Rilke, Nietzsche, the Gospels, Dostoevsky, Eliot, Joyce, Pound, WCW, Isaiah, Doty, Li-Young Lee, Goethe, Kant, Alan Bloom, Aristotle, and comic books.

Saw angels in the architecture, devils in the subway, duende in the heart, and felt the muse in my blood.

Leslie kept me sane, and I her; Midwest dreams and the North Woods of Central Park helped, too.

Courtesy of Craig Ruttle.

Miles Davis, Ravel, Dvorak, Radiohead . . . on the phono, the latter in concert, helped too.

The city heals me and kills me, and Christ and Leslie sustain me.

I've printed 4 lit journals, produced countless plays/performances, have a draft of 3 novels, made music events, made music, hung an artists' collective. One must go to the valley first, to the depths of the river of the valley, before one can enjoy ascending. I will slip and fall, but I'm enjoying the burdened climb to heaven.

If Christ is for us . . . devil help those against us. I feel like Paul, telling of his beatings, imprisonings, shipwrecks, and time on the rack.

All to His glory.

Say hi to the ____ crew. Love them.


200th Post

My 200th. For this I'll eat a Frisbee . . . again.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ruddy Chins

There's a duo eclipsing the horizon that may blaze skulls dry with good vibes, though they're likely to fortify the touring tradition the Liverpool mops began in '65, i.e., not touring.

Either way, look out for original Ruddies blowing up your iPods soon.

Friday, August 5, 2011


"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things."

"Chaos, the war of opposites, is, as we know from the Bible, the condition of creativity, which must be mastered by the creator."

"One must have chaos within to birth a dancing star."

"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"

"A dissonance
in the valence of Uranium
led to the discovery

(if you are interested)
leads to discovery"

"For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business."

"Dichten = condensare."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Jove Julia

Les and I returned from Chicago where we had our portraits drawn by our 7-year-old niece, Julia. After seeing her dark Russian interpretation of my profile (see the Raskolnikov rings under my eyes?), I glanced at her signature and began to explain that Jove was the Roman god of love*, until I realized that her spelling was just a beautiful mistake.

Les got a caterpillar next to the correct spelling of Jule's sign off.

Sketches are courtesy of Julia. All Rights Reserved.

*Jove or Jupiter is the god of the sky. Julia's confused typo, caused by staring at my daringly handsome face, indirectly led me to confuse her even more . . . ah, love.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Transit Prosody (Poet)

The girl beside me on my flight to Indianapolis is diligently plowing through her novel while I'm flinging folders, scrawling 'cross journals, cranking iPod volume up and down, chomping cashews . . . . I'm a poet! She quietly reads by lamplight, and I apologize for kicking my bag at her feet, unintentionally.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Poem (Jazz: Typography and Music)




¿Mira la,
Lo es


magnifique ?!

Siempre y
nunca, o
nada y pues nada.

Photo stolen from Brian Ferry.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

B'More Poetic Poetry Reading

If you're around Baltimore and hate poetry, come here (B'More Poetic) and spit on poets. If you love poetry, come and punch out the spitters.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Without Hands

Bobby Jr. was always prepared for mind control by keeping his hands in his pockets. He was in Grand Central when a man walking around the terminal gave a command and everyone, I mean everyone (including himself), raised their hands. So Junior was always prepared now.

Last week I asked him, “How do you eat?”

“With focus,” he said.

Such discipline at 5-years-old! I can learn a lot from him, I thought, and with that in mind I asked my brother if he’d mind if I took Junior to the park this Sunday. To my surprise, Junior brought a football.

“You play catch, too?”

He shrugged and handed me his umbrella. It was sprinkling a little, but Bobby Jr. preferred this. Fewer people. If he missed a catch, he’d wipe the ball on his chest, toss it, and then put his hands in his pockets.

“Not everyone’s interested in mind control, bubba,” I said.

“I know.”

“But better safe than sorry?”

He shrugged. On the long walk home, the sprinkling turned into slanting rain, and my umbrella was too high to cover him. He asked for his. I didn’t mention the obvious and handed it over. How taxing it must have been! People running the sidewalks, dog walkers, puddles, rivers in the gutters. What focus! I had many questions, but with all the commotion, I thought it best to allow the little guy space. The way his galoshes navigated the obstacles—he could have been blindfolded! A work of art! Man! if I could have recorded it, the whole family would marvel together after thanksgiving dinner.

Finally back at my brother’s, I was excited to tell about it when Junior handed his umbrella to Robert and walked up the stairs without his hands in his pockets. I forgot all my exclamations and just watched till Robert said, “Bubba? You don’t have your hands in your pockets.”

He mumbled what sounded like “amen” without looking our way and walked up the stairs.

“What did you guys do?” Robert said.

“We just played catch and then hustled back here when the rain hit. It was coming down hard and Junior wanted his umbrella because it was slantwise and mine was so high, you see?”


“I’d never seen anything like it! Like a tight-rope walker—with such grace he negotiated the potholes, cobblestones, the dogs. All the while, maintaining his crazy focus . . ..”

“So that’s why he wanted his umbrella?”

“What . . .. Why?”

“Hell if I know, but he knew he’d keep his hands out of his pockets today.”

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Transit Prosody (Morning)

this is a morning poem about morning things and you are one of them as i see the tree hit by light below 23rd on my way to work

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kicking Wednesday Interviews

A voracious bowl and keen spoon.

Sei la Vie, baby.

I am dying for- and terrified of a forced sabbath.

Fraying my passport to find the Brooklyn of every city.

You're all I need to get by.
Right now there are stacks of bricks in the living room.  Soon, they'll be my long-awaited dream of an exposed brick wall; but, I'm most excited about mixing the mortar, hearing the resolute scrapes of the trowel, and the stacking--brick by brick.

Kick Assonance: July 6

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kick Assonance: July 6

Photo courtesy of Craig Ruttle.

Wednesday, July 6 · 7:30pm - 9:00pm
The Sackett Bar
Union stop on D,N,R
Brooklyn, NY

Created By
Kyle Erickson, Leslie Goshko

Hosted by

STEVEN LEYVA - Mr. Leyva to his students


Someone who can hold a Flip.


First-edition handmade books will be for sale. 5 outta 10 books remain. First-messaged first-served. [SOLD OUT]

Due to high demand, there will be a first-come first-served paper-back edition. [15 books @ $5 each]

What is Kick Assonance?
Fun with fools and friends of fools? That's close. Kicking wicking bricking licking? That's it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kicking Wednesday Interviews

Don Quixote is peaking over the turntable.

poetry poetry poetry


the vortex

                    "It is difficult
to get the news from poems
          yet men die miserably every day
                    for lack
of what is found there." —WCW

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ignorant Questions for Society and Its City (3)

How do I comprehend the peace that surpasses the understanding of Manhattan foliage?

Why do women go to and fro talking of Jake Gyllenhaal?

In what station at which metro do you see no faces?

This is just to say who ate the plumbing of Central Park?

Dear alpha, seriously?

Kick Assonance

Last year's first edition.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kicking Wednesday Interviews (Early Editon)

Kick Assonance: July 6

christian ericson

your favorite colour

all the time

it all began in marin county back in 1973

not for me to say . . .

with grace

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kicking Wednesday Interviews (Early Editon)

Steven and Simon Leyva

An old man now, who's learned at last
what it means truly to be in love

If I speak for the dead, I must leave
the animal of my body,
I must write the same poem over and over

Day off in a dark suit and hat

She would plunge all poets in the ninth circle

New York, madame,
is a monument to a city

I said, what if by story you mean the shortcut home,
but I mean voices in a room by the sea
while days go by?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Leslie and Kyle: The Tulsa Stories (Merry Christmas!)

This was my Christmas present to Leslie in 2004. I finished the last panel in NYC on Christmas of 2007. The only thing that changed between cities was the geographical distance between us and long-time friends. (Click on images to view large.)

My head was shaved for economical purposes.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kicking Wednesday Interviews (Early Editon)

I'm interviewing the performers and rabble-rousers of Kick Assonance because they and the event are fun. Please find the most generic and absurd interview below.

Photo courtesy of Maryanne Ventrice

Leslie "Oh My" Goshko

Comedian, hypochondriac, lover of tube socks, and host of Kick Assonance!

In the cracks between your dreams. Wait, those would be nightmares. Never mind. New York!

In the year of our Lord and Reality TV programming.

Because my parents were bored one night and Colombo was a re-run.

With two fingers of whiskey.

okieinthecity cocktail* presents
Kick Assonance
The Sackett
(Sackett Street and 4th Avenue, Brooklyn [Union stop on D,N,R])
July 6

*okieinthecity may become a cocktail. Seriously.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Transit Prosody (Cup)

cup partially
covers head and
neck of 40oz bottle,
only dust
free cup
pile of others
near the entrance 
of manhattan where
the b train enters
is dives into from the 
sky into darkness
(hell) of workaday
workaday workaday...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Transit Prosody (Q Train, R Train)

train squeal
hip hop
people shuffle
voices muffle
(change at union sqr)
heavy ac
cute girls trip as
train and brain accelerate
couple chats
          wah wah wah
                    (charlie brown)
train stops
doors open...

Kick Assonance II

And we're back: 7:30, July 6. Venue courtesy of The Sackett Bar.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Transit Prosody (Tracks)

Golf ball now black
next to basketball and
crunched milk carton
on the tracks

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Transit Prosody (R Train)

Man, well groomed, enters, sits and talks to ungroomed young man, standing on R train, who enters with him and replies.

"I ain't got the tickets. I forgot 'em. They ain't here," sitting man says.

"What's that mean?"

"They ain't here, they ain't here."

"What's that mean?"

"I ain't got 'em. Ah! here they are." Holds up waded plastic bag he'd been holding since entering the train car.

"You need that receipt?" Standing man says.

"They'd have 'em in the computer even if I forgot. They'd have 'em in the computer. They'd have 'em in the computer."

"You need that receipt?"

"No." Sitting man removes pink tickets from bag. "Peddling in front of an entrance. That's not you. That's not you. You were to the side where I put you right? You weren't directly in front where the people come and go, right?"

"I was where you put me."

"Disorderly conduct. That's not you. That's not you. It's not. What'd you do to get that?"

"I told you the cops would come there, didn't I?"

"Hey now, you see this? See this? This is a tax license. I pay taxes. They go see this and leave me alone like before. One sir come up to me and say, 'Let's go,' and I say, 'Oh no,' and show 'em this and he say, 'Mighty fine.' So the same'll happen today you see. You see? You see now, you do."

Sitting man stands, and they exit.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Insanae et vanae curae invadunt mentes nostras: III

Fiction Excerpt

Somehow we age a decade every year in New York City and are never the wiser.

When a person turns away from me, the silence begins and anxiety fills it -- the faceless void is filled with pain. But what's worse is the sound of faces, of the multitude of faces brashing against me for every single second I'm on the street. Give me the void and my anxiety! accompanied by comforting nothingness and nightmares -- a cozy fireplace within which I'll become ash.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hold Please

When I asked him to hold The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, the Borders sales clerk laughed and said, "Okay, but no body's looking for him, man."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Letter to Alpha, Great Grandmother

Journal Excerpt

It's difficult to assess the volume of jazz when listening to the phono alone.

I'm always thinking of loved ones, and I love so many. I recently had a hierarchical list of friends in the back of my pocket journal, which I amended over time till it was just composed of family. But everyone, blood related or not, was family -- and the list void.

I often think of family out of time. I write to my 18-year-old older brother, though he lives and is now 31. I write to my 10-year-old baby brother, though he's 20. Even to myself at 4, 8, 24, 39, 87. Past, future, doesn't matter. Why? Why not? We are encompassed by a great cloud of witnesses, according to the author of Hebrews, and time is nothing to God.

Who should I write to now?

Paw-paw. First is first. Oh, then that'd be Mutti's mother, whose name I shamefully can't remember but want to call Alpha. I'll call her Great Grandma.

Great Grandma,

Were you there when your daughter was killed in the car accident on her way to church on that dark Missouri farm road? I wouldn't have been. If God himself couldn't watch his son die, how can we? Yet we do.

You died after having lived for more than 100 years. For over a century you hung around here. And my only vivid memory of you is in Mutti's kitchen. You both had such strong hands, she in her 50's, you pushing a century. I joke to Nic that I've moved to New York and lost my stone mason's hands. I don't know if I ever had them. Leslie says they're artist's hands -- she's nice.

You're now over 120 in Earth years and I'm talking across the plane of existence about my hands!

When I wrestled competitively, my Dad, Paul (did you ever see him wrestle?), told me to strengthen my grip. For if you can hold him, you can control him. Maybe that's why they're weak. I don't care to control anyone.

Okay, enough of me for a bit. What's it like where you are? Is it all nice? The Bible speaks of mansions and gold streets. Buddha of Nirvana. Rilke of beauty. It doesn't matter to me. There's enough hell and heaven on Earth for me to be content in something a pinch more placid. Here I am talking again. If I knew how to tune my ears to your frequency I would listen. The truth the dead know . . . . Don't think I could bare it, honestly. So let's scrap all that and say I'm speaking to the earth and what's left of you in it. That still works for me. Dirt is as noble as anything else.

Your daughter, my grandmother, was, is, marvelous. She once took us boys, me, Adam, and Nic, for a hike through our newly purchased 60 acres. It was untamed to say the least. The paths up the bluff were fine, and we three were rambling behind her about nonsense of pre-pubescence till we reached the top. Then we were all quiet as she navigated the thorns and thistles ahead of us. It was a typical Oklahoma summer, hot. We had short sleeves and shorts, and Mutti, as always, was in flannel and jeans. How did she never burn up?! Mom once laughed when I referred to her as cold blooded, meaning cold natured. So there we were in the Amazon of Oklahoma, trying not to whine because she never paid that no mind, when finally, after years, we reached the fence, the end of our property. Dad was brush-hogging the neighbor's pasture for a better view of our land from the lake road. Was he paying the mortgage? He almost laughed out loud upon seeing our bloody limbs and red faces breaching the brush and walking, calmly, we were boys wanting to be men after all, out to his parking the tractor. Mutti was in heaven. She was delighted to be outside with son and grandsons. That was it. Outside with family was all she ever needed to be in heaven. I hope you two are picnicking now without the flies buzzing 'round your potato salad.

It's 1 a.m. in Brooklyn and I must act like I can sleep. I love you. Say hi to Mutti for me.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So little time

If only I could simultaneously consume two books with respective eyes...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Witching Hour


The birds are talking,
Madrugador, but
they quiet as rain
clatters on graveyard
commuter trains that
shuffle under the
tombs of Manhattan.
Why'd you break your soul
off in her belly's
gears? Was it worth it?


With moons for eyes and
mountains for shoulders
you hover over
your breakfast darkness
while loons swoon lovers
under the covers
of the Atlantic.


The cock crow cranked
your croak and spilt
your bowels of
Tarot marrow,
the elements,
though no water,
for she's clever.


What did I say?
Why now do your
boulders grind and
moons gleam? I fear
no soulless nightingale!
Calm your quake or
meet your fate, dark


Silence is the sea
you walk under, and
thunder rolls over
all waking wonders.
Darkness and day
merrily make
another soul
for your breaking.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wife Poem

     when I turn to my left
          I see the unfolding
to create my perspective
     a fluttering of cubes out of
          sync but in unison
a patchwork of butterflies
     crying in the night the void
          all in a blink of an eye and then
and then
     and then
          a tree in bloom
a magnolia a stamen
     a pistil
and me