I Can’t Recall My First Kiss

But I remember my first paperback romance. I hid it in a little wastebasket by my bed and snuck it out to read.

Rape Counseling

I’m used to thinking my way through any problem presented. So what do I do when it’s my thinking machine that’s sick?

I’m a Fraud, a Liar, a Cheat

If someone else spoke to me the way I speak to myself I’d slap them and walk away.

I am Rose Hope

I thought, as this is the first week of my official njpoet tenure, I should introduce myself.

What They Said When I Told Them I Was Raped

First of all, could we take a moment to focus on me? I’m sorry, but one of us has been violated and traumatized.

I Am Not Afraid by @RoseHopefully

I was drunk. I was comfortable. And I thought, “It’s okay. He’s a nice guy.” And I passed out.

Writers’ Apartment

Y’all sure know how to make a poet professor feel extra special. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for always reading along.

HOME OFFICE [Introducing @RoseHopefully]

They got to talking about programming, and they’ve basically been hunched over their laptops coding together ever since. But there’s more.

Doomsday Philosopher

“You really do think we’re doomed,” she said, “that’s not just something you joke about on Facebook. You really feel that way.”

A Speech For My Mother’s Birthday

The strange Internet story of the speech I gave at my mother’s 60th birthday party.

Writing for Donations

If you’re a frequent reader, follower, fan, or admirer, please consider dropping a few dollars in my virtual hat. Thank you.

Samuel R. Delany, Emeritus

This morning, Facebook informed me that Professor Samuel R. Delany will be retiring from the MFA Program at Temple University.

The Smell of Homophobia in the Morning via @nj1015

“We need healthy families with a mother and a father for the sake of the children and humanity!!!!!” wrote Immaculate High School teacher Patricia Jannuzzi.

To Live and Almost Die in Traffic

A team of paramedics, firefighters, and police were busy scraping bits of machinery and people off the road.

Twitter for Reading

I used to skim five newspapers every day, digesting all the headlines and reading up on developing stories. That was before Twitter.

Way Beyond Bloomfield, New Jersey

A woman who works at my bank said I’m “worldly” because I knew the history of India and her home country, Pakistan.

Bookstore Living

Some people laugh when I say I live in a bookstore, but as the years have unfolded since academia, more and more of my private library has become the inventory for the #njpoet bookstore.

Department Store

I could hear them bickering before they turned the corner. She’d dragged him to this department store before he’d finished breakfast, apparently. He was still protesting.

My Facebook, My Classroom

In the absence of a university classroom, I found that I naturally began using Facebook to share essays and articles I used to pass on to my students.

A Permanent Methane Cloud

She graduated from one of the better-known journalism programs in the early 90s, used her business savvy to land herself a sweet job, used her charm and her talent to earn the beat she’d always wanted: Global Warming.

The Iraq War Prophecies

I remember a long bus ride to Washington D.C., en route to march in protest of the coming Iraq War. It was early 2003.

Eviction Court

For the next ten minutes of stammering, our virtual judge explained to the roomful of overstressed people that the court had no authority .

Saturday Night: a true story

Years before my life without you, we were leaving the supermarket we worked for, heading out to look for drinks, to meet women, when you spotted one staggering to her knees outside the adjacent drug store.

Overworked: a prose poem

And then we’re snapping at each other over something stupid, something insignificant and not worth the emotion.

Literary Depression: a pedagogical story

Last week I told my students that I used to be suicidal. We were thirty minutes into discussing Kafka’s Metamorphosis.

What If He Comes Back With a Gun?

Someone in the back of the class muttered what I assumed many others were also thinking.

Under the Shortcut Bridge

Every morning we see families of homeless people huddled together on scavenged mattresses, wrapped in dirty blankets.

Bloody Dreams Of My College Years

Through my four years of college, and for one year after graduation, I worked in the meat department of a local grocery store.

Growing Up With Violence

My father was insane from the Vietnam War, abusive; my mother used to fight him off with anything she could grab.

Do you ever write fiction?: notes on reading #njpoet

A lot of the people I write about, ex-girlfriends, or random lovers, or former employers are often, are usually fictional mash-ups of several real-life people.

On the Phone w/ #njpoet

At a lecture, presentation, orientation, whatever, quietly speed tapping notes into a word-processing app on my phone.

The Combat Rifle

The combat rifle was longer than his thigh, the muzzle aimed at a casual forty-five degree angle towards the concrete floor.

Diary of the Returning Professor

I’m writing a syllabus for a course that will pay $3600, eight bi-weekly pay checks of  $450—before taxes.

Please don’t hurt me

a rape poem

Batman Won’t Save Us

It’s a fantasy that soothes us, empowers us in the face of our struggles to pay the rent, keep the utilities running, find and/or keep a job, and somehow prepare our children for what’s to come.

She said I’m a Twitter star—whatever that means.

“I am so proud of you,” she wrote, but I didn’t know why.

Occupy Killed the Media Star

It was a simple shot—casual, yet dynamic. The reporter would speak his lines while strolling through Zuccotti Park. But Zuccotti Park was not cooperating.

Professor Trust Fund

One afternoon, Professor Trust Fund interrupted my writing class—just swung open the door and interjected himself.

What They Say in the USA

But it’s very expensive, they say, with a polished compassion. Not to worry!

10 Time Saving Tips for Writers

a list

Written On Her Body

a sex poem

The Mourning After: for my father

War is still eating our families.

I’m not an angry man.

He told me I needed to work on my people skills, then leaned back in his chair and twitched his mustache—a slight, somewhat satisfied smile.

Drunk With My Dead Best Friends

“Who are your dead? Have them meet in a poem, even if they never met in life [they didn’t], and describe how they interact.”

Buddhism Makes You Sexy

At least that was the general consensus at a recent social gathering. My female friends were all in agreement. The Buddhist thing was hot.

If You’re So Damn Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?

“Advanced education frightens employers,” he warned. “And try not to appear too intelligent if you land an interview.”

literary america

a poem

Phil Donahue Gave Me Writer’s Block

I walked into the NJ Peace Action annual dinner, a notebook in my hand, my head full of activism.