Tag Archives: Daniel Bailey

I shoot a sonnet with a rifle and chili and I don’t know

Made some venison chili. As usual, I just grab whatever and throw it in the pot. I saw this massive pepper at the store.  I’m not sure what type of pepper. Anyway, I brought it home and threw it into my chili. I punctured it seven times with a knife first, to let the heat and flavor seep into my chili. The chili was level 6, so I’m not sure if this process worked. This might be my last chili for a while. Spring is not for chili. Spring is for fish tacos and shrimp nachos and golden beer. Spring is for taking my kid canoeing and fishing. Spring is for running 26.2 miles. Spring is disc golf. Spring I might try to strangle a flower to life,  if I can, I’m thinking below my mailbox. No, I will go fishing. I don’t go around saying, “I’d rather be fishing.” I am not a green ball cap in a store in TN with wonderful potato wedges. You know why? Because I am out fishing and yes I curse too often around my son and sometimes instead of a rightful dinner I give him Cool Ranch Doritos and maybe a cup of blue yogurt but damn if that boy won’t have wonderful memories of fishing and the ability to catch fish and to read the dips, curves, eddies of a river and navigate a canoe and just realize for a second that we are actually the river and the river is us, our very blood and pooling synapses and that’s why it feels good, son, feels good to leave all the nonsense behind and get a cooler, two rods/reels, a bag of roasted peanuts, a big-ass Pepsi for you, a red canoe and kiss/wave/cough the crazy world goodbye to go fishing.


I did a YASOO 800 X 14 last evening.

4 X 6:00 mile pace.     4 X 5:56     4 X 5:52     Then one at 5:49, one at 5:27 mile pace.

The last one I was so exhausted and coughing a bit and I just didn’t know if I could finish the full 800 but then I remembered years ago Lance Armstrong said, “You can surprise yourself how the mind can overcome the body’s limits.”

(I used to dislike Lance because he was dating Sheryl Crow and I have a major crush on Sheryl Crow and didn’t want to have to imagine Lance pedaling all over her.)

That seems obvious or corny or whatever, but it is actually very true. So I just told my body, “Legs that feel like dead fish, lungs that whimper glass, you are going to stop soon, OK, you get to stop soon, but NOT RIGHT NOW.”

And I finished my last 800 and stumbled into the shower. I felt very tired but very alive and anyone reading this who has really pushed their body out there, out there into what I call The Crucible, knows what I am saying. Runners run because it makes you feel alive and real and actually spending a moment in your body NOT questioning, NOT questioning, wearing yourself like your skin is indeed yours and maybe things will be OK or glow for a little while.

Pretty solid, but I have been ill lately and the training has been lame-o like a duck. I need another long run before the marathon. I am am semi-fit but certainly need more mileage. The illness (a nagging cold) cut down on my mileage. We’ll see.

[Note: running at night is never smart. My metabolism was all sped up and my body hot for hours and I sit there in bed with tired legs and a very awake mind.]


Corium Magazine be crazy like talking soda. Lauren Becker did not fuck around! Thanks for asking me aboard, Lauren.

I have a prayer in the new Divine Dirt Quarterly. It is centered and I didn’t write it centered. I have never written a centered poem in my life, but maybe it’s just an editorial decision on their part or maybe they will change it or maybe it doesn’t really matter at all. I mean I got a mortgage and this little gutter on my house that sags weird like a broken rib and my dog is so stupid and never sits or comes back and here I am blabbing about some centered poem.


Over at HTML Blake got drunk and read a selection from Drunk Sonnets.

Drunk Sonnet blog here.

My interview of Daniel Bailey (Sonnet author) here.

Damn! I can’t get Blake’s sonnet video to embed. Have no idea why. I am an idiot.

Here, go to The Faster Times and watch it. It is worth a watch. Blake is trashed. Don’t drink like that, children.

Well, you know, I am a big fan of Blake and I am basically  a lemming so waited two days and knocked back a beer or seven and read another Drunk Sonnet, # 18. I then went outside and shot the sonnet with a tricked-out squirrel rifle, as is my way.

Enjoy. And remember, I am trained in both firearms and poetry, so don’t try this at home, kids.


Interview Daniel Bailey Drunk Sonnets

The Drunk Sonnets are here.


(Aside: The cover appears to be a vat of movie popcorn. I don’t really get that one.)

I keep getting this image of a drunk sonnet, like a poem staggering around, its meter all whack. It starts hitting on a haiku, etc.

I interviewed Daniel Bailey. I knew I needed to get drunk first, but I rarely drink, as we know. So I went and bought a mojito at Chili’s (love Chili’s! Freedom!), drank it, vomited on my Subaru, walked home, brushed my teeth thrice, conducted this interview:

1.) You say that you wrote these sonnets drunk. How drunk? Was there a spectrum? Like from “that song sounds really cool” light buzz to thrown urinals and an ambulance?

Daniel: i was pretty drunk for some of them, a little drunk for others. it depends on how far into the night it was. i would drink maybe three beers and then start writing. i felt like i was at a good place to begin, at that point. i would write at least 12 poems per night, so it was a progression. i think i remember writing every one of the poems though, so it’s not like i was blackout, wake up the next day in the tub with my clothes on drunk. i still had to go to work the next day.

2.) If you could be any poet besides yourself, who would you be? Why?

i would be want to be a poet who’s still alive. i keep thinking of poets that i’d want to be and they’re all dead (frank o’hara, frank stanford [ok, i guess just those two]), so i don’t want to be them. maybe i would want to be them while they were still living. i think i’m going to go with jason bredle because his poems are funny and scary and have a force behind them that is intense enough that i don’t even have to microwave my burritos. all i have to do is hold my burritos up to my copy of pain fantasy and they heat themselves. plus jason’s old facebook photo was of him trying to put his foot in his mouth.

3.) Several students at BSU (where you were recently a student, and I am now a prof) told me you worshiped Satan. It seems to be an English dept rumor among the undergrads. Is that true? If so, how does your Satanism affect your writing, if at all?

That’s about 80% true. i’m not totally into it. my heart’s not completely there. i’m not even a card-carrying member of the church of satan. i’m not a member (and never will be) because you have to pay $200 to join


check out the “affiliation” section.

I think i initially wanted to join the church of satan because it seemed like a fun thing to do. it would be funny to get out my membership card at a party and maybe make people think i was edgy or something. mostly, i don’t care about religion or having specific beliefs.

i associate satan with things that are “metal,” which is, to me, synonymous with fun. i want to write things that are “metal.” i want to write things that are also “fun,” but also “true.” ok, i’m done with the tao lin quotes now.

4.) Do you think your writing glorifies the long-established idea/history of art and alcohol?


probably. it wasn’t my intention to do so. i kind of feel like the connection between art and alcohol is a bit overblown. i bet the percentage of alcholic artists vs. alcoholic any other profession is pretty close. the funny thing is that, outside of THE DRUNK SONNETS and the DRUNK blog, i do most of my writing sober.

5.) Who inspires you, and you cannot name a writer.

i’m having a really hard time answering this question. harmony korine inspires me and makes me want to make something, but he technically “writes” his movies.

for some reason, i can only think about a vacation when i was 12 or 13 when my parents took me to england and we were walking through london and a homeless woman put a curse or something on my dad in a foreign (maybe eastern european) language because my dad didn’t give her any money. i felt afraid for my dad’s life for a couple years, but he’s still doing alright.

that’s not an answer. i don’t feel inspired by that woman. but that’s where your question led me.

6.) In several venues, you have said you edited these pieces sober, not drunk. Why? Why not edit drunk, too?

i’m not sure. i guess it’s because i was sober whenever i opened up the word doc or when mike sent editorial suggestions. it does seem to not be in the spirit of the title, but whatever. i’d rather make the poems as good as i can rather than worry too much about my mental state at the time of writing or editing.

7.) Shaken or stirred?


i was shaken as a baby.

8.) Many of these pieces started on a blog. I read them there. Can you discuss how a blog can help or hinder a writer?

for me, writing into the blogger post window makes my mind work in a different way from when i try to write into a word document. i’d call it a good thing. the font is different. you’re not just staring at white with a little blue to the side. it feels better. the words somehow make images more real to me, which makes it easier to stay interested and continue writing. i think the only way a blog can hinder a writer is when the writer has a lot of people that look at the blog and the writer then feels like they don’t have to write as well or something. a blog can give a writer a persona or something, which is detrimental to honesty in writing. a blog is really only good for getting your name out. it’s like a homebase. i sometimes get frustrated when i read something in an online journal and the bio doesn’t have a link to the writer’s blog. blogs are good, because maybe i wanted to read more of your writing. a blog is a good central location for that. so, i guess, blogs are good for writers and also good for readers.

9.) You live in Colorado now, right? How is the drinking scene?

it’s alright. i miss the heorot. i don’t think i’ll ever find a bar as good as the heorot. fort collins has o’dell’s brewery, which is great. we also have new belgium, which is a shitty excuse for a brewery. i know new belgium and fat tire have infiltrated muncie and the midwest/east coast recently. it seems like fat tire is the new hipster beer. fuck fat tire and fuck new belgium. they make shitty beers. they care more about the environment than they do about making good beer (which they suck at). i miss the muncie drinking scene. people in muncie know their shit because drinking is all there is to do in muncie. the only thing that bars in colorado have that bars in indiana don’t have is shuffleboard, which is fun to play every once in a while.

indiana doesn’t have mountains, though. if i want to look at a mountain, all i have to do is walk out into the parking lot behind my apartment building and turn left. there are the foothills of the rocky mountains. i’ll take geography over good bars any day.

10.) Why sonnets?

because of how short they are. i’ve mentioned before that the sonnet was my escape from long free verse poems (though, the drunk sonnets are technically free verse. the only constraint (for me) is the 14 line limit. i guess my love of the sonnet is like your love of flash faction. it allows for a huge thing to be compressed into a small area, which is why i had to write so many of them. it allows for prolificness. it requires conciseness. and somehow the last two lines always force you into a place where you’re not sure what’s going to happen, but the chance of goodness is favorable, usually. seeing the end of the poem raises the stakes. it causes drama within the heart. it raises the blood pressure. i’m pretty sure it causes fever. recklessness disappears. when you have the end in sight, you know what you have to do. you can’t waste time fucking around with language. all you have is what you have and that’s what will come out if you treat it right and that is a beautiful thing.


He did a good job with that.



The First Annual Alexandre Pope Crystal Gravel Literary Prize!!

The buzz continues for Crystal Gavel, as we all expected. Quality is as quality does, or something about a box of chocolate rabbits, whatever.

I again want to thank Amazon for the editorial work, though I think the last meeting was a bit, uh, strange. To put it plainly, they “bought me out.” They paid me a certain fee to NOT attend the meeting. Uh. OK. The fee was immediately put to 7 beers, 3 nacho platters, a smidgen of pharmaceuticals (legal, obviously), and a plane ticket to Arizona. I hope that was one hell of a meeting.

Now that my corporate partner and I have established a viable (and lucrative, even in these suicide times) literary magazine, we would like to announce THE FIRST ANNUAL ALEXANDRE POPE CRYSTAL GAVEL LITERARY PRIZE!!!


1. We have no entry fee. we consider entry (or even entree) fees to be unethical. My partner would never act unethically, unethically, unethically.

2. Here is how the contest works. Go to The Crystal Gavel. Read each published text (how they made it through our rigorous editorial process, I will never know or want to [You know how a hundred dollar bill feels slippery, a strange sheen–that is what we call in our industry grease]).

3. You will notice a question below each poem/story/essay/screenplay: WAS THIS REVIEW HELPFUL TO YOU?

Whatever piece you are voting as “BEST” please click YES. In 10 days folks, I–along with my corporate partner and her many accountants–will tally the most “HELPFUL” text in the magazine. This writer will be contacted, recognized, and awarded a substantial prize.

(If you want to add COMMENTS to the COMMENTS [holy meta-fiction!], go right ahead. We will read them. They will help us decide. We love everything in the world that is like champagne bubbles. They rise.)

We thank you.



One runner barefoot, one about to eat dust.

I ran 16 this morning. I wanted to go 20 but didn’t feel it. My Boston training has sucked. My L foot is acting up, my treadmill lift motor exploded. I am under-trained. You don’t want to run Boston under-trained. I will reap, reap, reap what I sow, sow, sow at Boston.

But I will be there, folks.



Go read your Abraham Lincoln. KGM is there. Daniel Boy is there and wow can that guy drink. I saw him drink 14 whiskeys in Chicago. He sang a pleasant song about plaque protection and did a jig in the way of North Pole, New York. (I just thought up a story about a hoary elf lured away from the crowd. Hold up, I am going to go write it.)

(OK, I’m back. It sucked.)

“It was 15 whiskeys.”

“Fuck off! Who are you? This is my blog.”

“I am the sound of heart-driven flowers for the funeral. I mean to say how to properly pack a bag with Xanax if about to take a flight. How to avoid the detections of your life…And he had 15 whiskeys. I was there.”


Nobel Prize Odds. Samantha Arlotta. Sheep Lit. American Writers Are Dumb?

Call your bookie! Or have me call mine. Her name is Klaw.

Make “legal” bet here.

I feel good about an American winning since the head of the award said American

Writers are too stupid to win.

Odds on Winning Nobel Prize in Literature:

Claudio Magris




Amos Oz


Joyce Carol Oates


Philip Roth


Don DeLillo


Haruki Murakami


Les Murray


Jean Marie Gustav Le Clezio


Yves Bonnefoy


Inger Christensen


Michael Ondaatje


Thomas Pynchon


Arnošt Lustig


Ismail Kadare


Ko Un


Mario Vargas Llosa


Thomas Transtromer


A.B Yehousha


Assia Djebar


Milan Kundera


Cees Nooteboom


Gitta Sereny


Harry Mulisch


James Ngugi


Margaret Atwood


Alice Munro


Antoni Tabucchi


Bei Dao


Carlos Fuentes


Peter Carey


Umberto Eco


Chinua Achebe


Cormac McCarhty


Herta Müller


Ian McEwan


John Updike


Mahasweta Devi


A. S. Byatt


David Malouf


Ernesto Cardenal


F. Sionil Jose


Marge Piercy


Maya Angelou


Salman Rushdie


Willy Kyrklund


Adam Zagajewski


Beryl Bainbridge


E.L Doctorow


Eeva Kilpi


John Banville


Jonathan Little


Julian Barnes


Mary Gordon


Michael Tournier


Patrick Modiano


Paul Auster


Rosalind Belben


Vassilis Aleksakis


William H Gass


Bob Dylan


Go Murakami!!!!

Here’s a side bet if you are a big-time player:

Thomas Pynchon to win and attend the Nobelfest (10th Dec. 2008) 40/1


We Shoplifted
Samantha Arlotta

all the books we couldn’t afford
and cases of beer,
expensive liquor
We’d just walk out with them
under our coats or sometimes
out in the open like we’d
already paid
keeping an even pace
You were the same as me,
at least in the respect
You could steal anything
nailed down, chained or otherwise

We were drunk for
three months straight
I’d dropped out but you were
still in school somehow
It got to the point where we could
take down a 750 each without much
feeling and I was smaller then
than I am now
couldn’t have weighed more than
a hundred and ten pounds
You wore a long coat and I’d
sing myself hoarse if I drank enough
I remember one night at my aunt’s house
in Azusa
we woke up at 2 AM still reeling
and you chased me onto the front lawn
in a white sheet
the grass was wet and you
tore the sheet away from me
spun me around naked and it was
warm, high summer
quiet in the streets with no cars
no movement
just us
You told me I was beautiful and
should never wear clothes
You ran your hands over me and then you
threw me to the ground
but we were so drunk we just
talked about Marilyn Monroe and
Elvis until the sun came up
Your eyes were blue or green
I can never remember
and eventually I lost everything we stole


I like most any sheep literature.

Wild Sheep Chase.

Daniel Bailey’s new Sheep poem in Lamination Colony.


by James L. Dickey
Farm boys wild to couple
With anything      with soft-wooded trees
With mounds of earth      mounds
Of pinestraw      will keep themselves off
Animals by legends of their own:
In the hay-tunnel dark
And dung of barns, they will
Say    I have heard tell
That in a museum in Atlanta
Way back in a corner somewhere
There’s this thing that’s only half
Sheep      like a woolly baby
Pickled in alcohol      because
Those things can’t live.      his eyes
Are open      but you can’t stand to look
I heard from somebody who …
But this is now almost all
Gone. The boys have taken
Their own true wives in the city,
The sheep are safe in the west hill
Pasture      but we who were born there
Still are not sure. Are we,
Because we remember, remembered
In the terrible dust of museums?
Merely with his eyes, the sheep-child may
Be saying      saying
I am here, in my father’s house.
I who am half of your world, came deeply
To my mother in the long grass
Of the west pasture, where she stood like moonlight
Listening for foxes. It was something like love
From another world that seized her
From behind, and she gave, not lifting her head
Out of dew, without ever looking, her best
Self to that great need. Turned loose, she dipped her face
Farther into the chill of the earth, and in a sound
Of sobbing      of something stumbling
Away, began, as she must do,
To carry me. I woke, dying,
In the summer sun of the hillside, with my eyes
Far more than human. I saw for a blazing moment
The great grassy world from both sides,
Man and beast in the round of their need,
And the hill wind stirred in my wood,
My hoof and my hand clasped each other,
I ate my one meal
Of milk, and died
Staring. From dark grass I came straight
To my father’s house, whose dust
Whirls up in the halls for no reason
When no one comes      piling deep in a hellish mild corner,
And, through my immortal waters,
I meet the sun’s grains eye
To eye, and they fail at my closet of glass.
Dead, I am most surely living
In the minds of farm boys: I am he who drives
Them like wolves from the hound bitch and calf
And from the chaste ewe in the wind.
They go into woods      into bean fields      they go
Deep into their known right hands. Dreaming of me,
They groan      they wait      they suffer
Themselves, they marry, they raise their kind.