flotation device 18

I started making Flotation Device in 1998 and I did it frequently and regularly for a while. Then for a while I didn’t make it at all and I thought I was done making them. But then I started up and I realized that I had only been on a super slow and sometimes irregular schedule. And now, here is the 18th issue. Which seems both crazy and totally normal at the same time. Making zines is just something I do at this point. Although I struggle with, like, who do I make them for? Why do I make them? Etc.

Flotation Device 18 is a (hopefully not too) heavy times zine about my grieving process for my friend Alex who died a year and a half ago now. It’s a collection of the thoughts I had and feelings/sensations I felt during that first year and some stray memories of him that live in me. There’s also some random detritus that made sense to include at the end. Ephemera!

I’ve decided I’m pretty much done selling things, although I will take some of these to Quimby’s for olde tymes sake. I’m in a position where I can not participate in capitalism in this tiny infinitesimal way. I don’t need to sell things, so why bother. Which means if you’d like a copy of this zine, just send me an email and say so. I’ll send you one for free. I’m happy if someone reads it.

radio free jp – october 2019

Make all the Ghoul Girls Cry – Quix*o*tic
You’re Dead – Norma Tanega
We’re so Cool – Au Pairs
Heart on a Chain – GoGoGo Airheart
Vertigo – The Screamers
Happy Harvest – Coughs
Editions of You – Roxy Music
LIP MAP – Tatiana Heuman
Es ist vollbracht – Maria Kliegel
Satanam – OVO
Baby I’m Crying – Vickie and the Van Dykes
The Amputees – Tindersticks
The Devil – PJ Harvey
I’m Glad You’re Mine – Al Green
Dig It – The Coup
When Tomorrow Hits – Mudhoney
River – The Ex
For You and I – Loraine James
What Have I Done to Deserve This – Pet Shop Boys
Freedom – Sampa the Great
She Wolf – Mira Cook
She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult
Dracula (Main Edit) – Basement Jaxx
Tricks N’ Treats – Kid Koala
Hiyeeley – Dur-Dur Band
The Great Pumpkin Waltz – Vince Guaraldi
Way-Out is the Way Out – Lungfish

flotation device 16


Hello. I have made another issue of Flotation Device. Amazingly, I have maintained a fairly annual schedule for the past couple years. This new one documents my experiences with panic and anxiety over the past 22 years. I tried to show how it has changed over the years as I learn to accept it as part of my life instead of fighting it. It took a few years to put together and I’m definitely at a different place with panic and anxiety now than when I started working on the zine. Maybe I’ll do another zine in the future that’s more about where I’m at now with panic and anxiety.

If you are interested in getting a copy, you can find it over at ye olde etsee shoppee.

things my son said over the weekend


Things my son said to me over the weekend:

You’re my best friend dad.

What was your favorite part of day?

Dad, you’re a bear!

I know that song.

What next?

Sing a spooky George.
To which I said, no, how about a different spooky song.
What one?
How about, awoooooo, werewolves of London. Awooooooo!
What that one called?
Werewolves of London. Do you want to hear it?
I looked for it on my phone and then played it. We sang the awooooo parts together. When it was over he said, that cool.

the year in poems 2013

Early morning
awake three hours
and it’s not even 6.30
arm around our son

You are a blur
of preparation
appear and reappear
in various stages of dress

The air outside is warm
for January
this winter of constant fall

Sun and slow wind
no hat, no gloves
bare trees
a mud flow by the baseball field
and a train to take me to work

A single gray hair on my head
torrential snow and rain
a friend died
after a year of ovarian cancer

This morning a meteor
exploded over Chelyabinsk

I see her as I last saw her
in her office smiling
and I see her as I imagine her
on the operating table
unconscious and slipping away
eyes closed

Vapor trails in the sky
blinding white
flash of light

In the middle of lunch
he gets up from his chair
runs into the other room

I hear him playing
I tell him there are grapes
I hear him running

then a thud
a pause
a breath
a loud cry
instant tears

I pick him up and blood pours
from his lip
onto his shirt
and my shirt
cries and cries

touches his blood
looks at his hand
and cries some more

I hold him in the bathroom
try to get him to suck on a wash cloth
try to put pressure on his lip

He refuses

His lip is swollen
but the bleeding slows
I hold him close
and his breathing calms
his cry is less intense

Do you want to watch a show?

quiet, weak

We sit on the couch
he sees blood on my neck
tries to wipe it off
with the wash cloth

As he calms
and begins to heal
my body and mind relax
and I try not to cry
fight tears
as tension, fear, worry, love, relief
release at once

Early afternoon light
reflects off snow
we sit close
the tv on

Early lunch interrupted
blood, a split lip
tears and safety
while we sit on the couch

My stomach
always takes my attention
I feel it as a physical thing
a weight
it feels large
or it carries my anxiety

I feel it hang over my pants
my belt squeezing against it
in the windows of buildings

As I walk by

I see it hanging over
in and out as I breathe
do others see it as I do?

Then –
why does that matter

It doesn’t
it does and it doesn’t
self conscious

Accepting my body
its changes as I age
weight added
noticed only by me
but noticed
every night in the mirror

Smell of cut grass
sitting on the train
alive after work

awake in bed
looking into the dark ceiling
you breathing
on the other side of the bed
we don’t touch

Standing on the train
on the way home from work
humid evening
garlic breath

Streak lightning
across night sky
the window across the alley
with a wreath on it
talking on the couch
while our son sleeps upstairs

Slow train morning
eyes fluttering with sleep
drifting in and out
while reading a book

Sitting on my lap
this morning while eating pancakes
with applesauce

He stopped and looked at me
and gave me a hug
this he said
I gave him a hug
holding him close

When I started to release him
he said
and kept hugging me

I held him close again
my chin on his head
when he had enough
he turned and grabbed a piece of pancake
dipped it in his applesauce
and put it in his mouth

Wet heavy clouds
the smell of grass and weeds
in the air
my feet damp inside shoes
lilac petals on my shirt

Cool and damp
I didn’t even know
I missed this

Trying not to take it personally
while you throw yourself to the floor
and refuse to eat the lunch I made

Sun through windows
observing anger and sadness
you are so tired

Friendship depth
should we have hugged
before you walked away?

Cool afternoon
full stomachs
a book given a book received

Trying not to fear
the bike ride home

Sun morning
tree seeds in the seams of the car
my son singing along to
ring of fire
dancing to slow ride
more this he says
more this dada

This weekend was
mowing the lawn
and errands
a possibility of making out
the park
our son singing and dancing
our teams tying and winning
beer and wine

Turning the corner
in the bathroom
at work
narrowly avoiding
the puddle of piss
in front of the urinal

Lingering smell of shellfish
in the halls
from yesterday

Pointless leaving work
the lines for the train
are deep
in the humid afternoon
three or four
will go by
before I can get on

Spending the day
with our son
walking to the hardware store
what’s this?
what’s this?

Up and down the aisles
are you ready to go?
no, what’s this?

heavy clouds open
it rains
he splashes in puddles
squats, puts his finger in a small puddle
tastes the water
he laughs when the drops hit him

Alternates between walking
and me carrying him

He leans into me on the couch
my head rests against him
holding him close

The door handle rattles
and the door opens
he walks over to our bed
and crawls in
and we sleep
for a few more minutes
five o’clock

Holding him close
his legs grip my stomach
we rise with the waves
and fall with the waves

He smiles

A large wave
rolls us
I grip him tight
no thoughts
just action

We come up
but calm
hair sopped
in our faces
water dripping
in our mouths

Sunlight still

Focusing on my breath
in and out
the words
to not believe in 100 years of happiness
come from nowhere

Shit smeared
running down the garage door
an open diaper
on the ground at its base

Waking up
his foot in my face
his foot in my neck
pale light in pre-dawn
turning him around so
his head is by mine
my arm around his
small body
he burrows in
I doze
hoping he will sleep
for a little longer

Following my breath
and nodding off
while I sit

A burned out
cicada droning
alone in the
summer evening
as I walk home

That fat pigeon
looks like an owl
caught me by surprise
when I first saw it
under the overpass
at Irving Park

Old man
singing minor
with an out of tune guitar
as busses go by
waiting people at Jefferson Park

Fast moving clouds
cool air damp with rain

My hand on your thigh
while we talk
at night too tired
to move

After work
humid sun
smell of electricity
and smoke
two men talk
I’m aware of my teeth
and how they feel

A delayed train
children’s voices

Stifling heat on the train
after work
eyes glued to a book
high altitude clouds
summer dresses

(happened July 2013)

Small sunburn
on my shoulders
my big toes torn up
slices like gills
sand burning my feet
giant waves, no clouds
knowing my family is there
on the beach
but I can’t see them
without my glasses

The body of a pigeon
into the deep impression
of a foot
frozen in cement

Cool air this morning
as I walk to the train
that will take me to work

Last night
I could feel
the mass of my body
attention to my stomach
touching my legs
my son eating grapes
while writhing and squirming
in my lap
bringing more awareness
I couldn’t stand it

I can’t stop sweating
slightly dizzy
out of the corners of my eyes

These two
this couple
sitting at the back of the train

Revolt me
with repeated

– short and sweet
but every ten seconds

Unwarranted disgust
but true nonetheless

may 2015

May 5, 2015

The afternoon spent walking with him. Holding hands. Looking at cactuses in the greenhouses. Asking me what the plants are called. Laughing at the one called, “baby toes.” Carrying him on my shoulders looking at lilies and lettuce. The large fish in the lagoon circling slow beneath and then rising face first to break the surface with open slow mouths searching for human food handouts. He leans down close to the water to look. Waves. Leans against me. Balancing on rocks and platforms. Puzzles in the library. Sadness that the outdoor model train garden isn’t open yet.

June 2015

June 15, 2015

Morning train as I read with wet shoes and pant legs soaked. A young woman watches with intent eyes the man drawing in a sketchbook across from her. He in black jeans and hiking sneakers. Gray hair frizzled mess in all directions. White earphone buds in his ears. Feet tapping in fast tempo and hands swirling colored pencils in circles across the pages rapidly. Fast slash blurs. She watches and he angles the sketchbook down to an angle she can see better. Her eyes calm and intent. Her hand holding the hand of the young man next to her. His shiny black boots. Scraggle beard across face. Straw hat. They with baggage coming from O’Hare. His eyes glance at the blur sketch pad. Then look up at train maps. Advertisements. Sometimes at the young woman. Sometimes at the man drawing furiously. Oranges, yellows, reds. The semblance of faces forming out of the arcs and circles. The young woman with eyes fixed on the page, her hair tucked behind ears. Sometimes her mouth opens. Sometimes she moves her feet in green Converse low tops. Coffee in the air. Wet pants. Rain cascades down train windows as we slow to stops at each station.

June 17, 2015

Reading on the train after work. We come out of the tunnel. Surface at Damen. The sky black with rain and clouds. Wind. My phone buzzes an alarm. Then everyone else’s phones buzz and beep in alarm. A weather alert. Funnel cloud, it says. Everyone looking at their phones and then up to the windows. To the sky and blowing trees. Lights smeared through water trails. Wondering. Then the tornado siren outside. Our train makes all the stops. The siren sounds. People sit waiting for their train on the opposite side of the platform. People get off at their stops. Lakes forming in yards. Rivers running through streets. Watching the sky where the funnel cloud was sighted.

reading watching listening

The Complete David Bowie – Nicholas Pegg
A Thousand Coloured Castles – Gareth Brookes
Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth – Warsan Shire
How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy – Jenny Odell
Revenge of the She-Punks – Vivien Goldman
Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene – Donna J. Haraway
Last Night at the Casino #14 and #15 – Billy Roberts
Muchacha #12: Decolonize Travel – Daisy Salinas, editor
Ker-bloom! #131 and #132 – Artnoose
Dork Lifestyle #2 and #4, Number One: a zine of firsts, Black Cloud – Missy Kulik
I’m learning to dance through clouds, I forgot to love myself, A Book of Rainbows – Shei
Tell Your Own Story – Dayna Moth
The Water Spirit – Alexander Utkin
Spider-Gwen Volume 1 – Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez, Chris Visions.
Ms. Marvel: Generation Why – G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Jacob Wyatt.
Spinning Silver – Naomi Novik
What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew: Working Together to Empower Kids for Success in School and Life – Dr. Sharon Saline
Bloom Spells – Rebecca Artemisa
Behind the Zines #8 – Billy McCall, editor
The Cranklet’s Chronicle #2 – Ellen Lindner
Fern Zine and Biblioburbia – Vanessa Berry
Possession Obsession – Olivia M.

What We Do in the Shadows (series)
Dr. Who
Looney Tunes
Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
Lunch On
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Young Frankenstein
Liga MX Femenil
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Sick Day. Thomas Comerford. Ovef Ow. Jefferson Memorial Park. August 2, 2019.
Hugo Colin. Little Egypt. Axons. Superknova. Jefferson Memorial Park. August 3, 2019.
Natalie Duke. Donna Herula. Jessica Risker. Jovan Landry. Jefferson Memorial Park. August 4, 2019.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Clean Living Under Difficult Circumstances – Drug Apts
Life Metal – Sunn O)))
Ecstatic Computation – Caterina Barbieri
Anyone Who Had A Heart – Dionne Warwick
Cuz I Love You – Lizzo
Legacy! Legacy! – Jamila Woods
Synergy – Jovan Landry
Metallic Butterfly – Princess Nokia
American Queers – SuperKnova
Crash the Party – Ovef Ow
Best Off – Kitchen and the Plastic Spoons
fantasii – Mhysa
7 directions – Nkisi
No. 2, Ame Debout, Paix, and Le Rat Débile Et L’Homme Des Champs – Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes

radio free jp – july 2019

We’ve Only Just Begun (The Reflex Revision) – The Carpenters/Reflex
Moscow (Mariposa Voladora) – Elysia Crampton
Invernadero Part 2 – QEEI
Profumo 1994 – ?Alos
Come Back 2 Me – Bizzy B / Cool Hand Flex
‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore – David Bowie
Sous la mer c’est calme – Cyril Cyril
Il Triello – Ennio Morricone
Las Olfateadoras – Los Pirañas
Kut Masta Kurt presents Masters of Illusion – Masters of Illusion
Ruins – Wooden Shjips
Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale – Love
Liar (Reptile Demo) – Nine Inch Nails
Steppin’ Out – Joe Jackson
Chicken and Meat – Das Racist
Dancing Queen – ABBA
Never Knew Love Like This Before – Stephanie Mills
Little League – Cap’n Jazz
Abortion – Mommy Long Legs
Young Girls – Princess Nokia
Something About John Coltrane – Alice Coltrane
Holy Diver – Dio
Violence Grows – Fatal Microbes
Garçon Glaçon – April March

radio free jp – june 2019

A lot of the music that caught my ears in June of 2019.

Part, the first:

Be-in – The Dandy Warhols
Dem Nuh Know Me (Alis-Bias Mix) – DJ Rupture
Esperma y Ron – Los Guacharacos
em2500 M243X – afx
Dennehy – Serengeti
Stereo – Drug Apts
Like A Girl – Lizzo
MILES – Jamila Woods
Joan of Marc by Marc – French Vanilla
Cocktail de voix – Musique Chienne
Phiesope – µ-Ziq
I Don’t Believe Me – Kool Keith
Five Years (Sounds of the 70s Bob Harris Recorded 18.1.72) – David Bowie
– Six Finger Satellite
Drop Out – White Hills
You Can’t Blame Me – Johnson, Hawkins, Tatum & Durr
Serpico – Prolapse
Fata Morgana – Ipek Gorgun
Arada – Tadesse Andargue
Trigger (Rizzla Remix) – Maluca

and part, the second:

Albatross – Public Image Limited
Milo Minute – Grass Widow
Intermittents – The Scissor Girls
Vicious Rap – Tanya Winley
Eanan – A Tribe Called Red
LIM (1974) – Carl Stone
Comin’ Home – Hum
Tattoo – Link Wray
Monuments – The Minutemen
Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) – Terry Reid
Gainer – Gila Bend
Heaven and Hell – Tuxedo Moon
Ohue (Frankie Francis & Simbad Edit) – Victor Uwaifo
Darling I’ll Go (Instrumental) – Moovers
In-Psycholopedia (Everybody Wants To Shag… Version) – The Teardrop Explodes
4 More – De La Soul