November 29th, 2013 / 11:29 pm
Author Spotlight & Behind the Scenes

……In Tornado Wreckage….. …(by david blumenshine)…



dat disaster. it was this disaster. surreal when it’s you. when it’s not just a news story.


pretty sure that’s actually, well, at least was, my sister’s house. been staying there for a few months bouncing from basement to basement, on the lamb from homelessness on account of my own admittedly poor time management (see: effort towards literary endeavors v gainful employment otherwise). my sister had, well she still does have, a white saturn suv. she was in toluca around 11am cst. my brother in law had some dark green car, with specialty plates and a few notre dame bumper stickers. pretty sure i smoked where the backwall’s framing rests sideways on the ground now. this happened several times each night while staying here, there, because i can’t, couldn’t sleep, trying to pretend like i know what i’m doing. with the journal. but life in general, too. i don’t even remember at the moment how long ago it happened. no, i think the reading was saturday night, because most people who talk about where they were, people in washington, talk about being at church when they had to take shelter.


my two nieces (2yr, 7months) had one of those flimsy backyard jungle gyms. i didn’t even think to see where that ended up. the pink should have stood out. my sister found her favorite wedding photo a few streets over, beneath a consortium of debris. I found the first draft of the poem i read the night before. this is all very confusing and difficult to meditate properly on. for instance, the one time me and my three younger sisters were photographed for the local newspaper it was next to a jungle gym at the park in chillicothe where i grew up.


i don’t care if you know these specific things about me. which is weird, being such a paranoid person, typically. not that anyone really reads or cares about these things, but most of my social media posts are fueled by the man-child qualities of fear in me. i write poems, mostly pretty shitty ones. i write poems that try to avoid the schizophrenic voice the speaker hates in himself, mostly i write long hand, or use my grandfather’s typewriter during first drafts, of which there are several variations of editing before i willingly commit the work, shitty as i assume it to be, to technologies. i try to be self-aware, do the smart thing, even if the act seems absurd. like me comparing finding the first draft to sister finding the picture. i am absurd.


In the Bathroom

this is just an average line
for me being in a public library
restroom stall insuffilating amphetamines
crushed through a rolled, modgepodged
one dollar bill yesterday i lost
my medicine just because the whole thing
with the tornado happened and i had to
resort to guiltily accepting the kindness
of my coke dealer fronting me
a bag i hate
charity because of the ambition
involved reminds me to write
this because i finally could walk
to the corner store before curfew
and buy a god damn notebook to write
an ode to my back-handed life full of self
pity looking in the mirror checking
to see if any residuals are obvious


this one writer who is my favorite writer told me i was writing my first post-storm poem while facebook chatting with her. i wasn’t writing it then. i wrote it just now, a week later, on my stupid iphone in the stall. it’s probably the best poem i’ve written in several months. at least. i have been otherwise consumed & mainly doing edits to the poem i read last saturday night. that poem that keeps getting rejected – but always accompanied by a nice note. i’ve got a lot of nice notes lately. usually people are mean to me. usually it’s justified. usuallyi hate pretty much everyone.


mom was paranoid a lot, too. she still is. but it’s different somehow when aged. her paranoia was situationally specific: when storm sirens rang, she made us put away mall madness in the middle of a god damn game and stomped behind whoever reacted to her prodding most slowly (slowest?) to impose some psychological whipping we good foot it to the basement.


dad never took shelter. well, dad wasn’t really my dad. it’s why now people call me david blumenshine. i found my hospital bracelet just before the storm which proved my born name was blumenshine. i don’t know why they felt such great need to have the hospital re-write my birth certificate, go to the trouble of having a judge sign it as legal reality otherwise, then not tell me for sixteen years about it. that was right before dad died from an inoperable brain tumor. they said, i heard from outside the room, the doctors told mom it’d be like removing banana slices from a jello mold without damaging the jello. my real dad i never met, and mom refuses to talk about. my aunt who died a year after dad in a car accident said i looked like the spitting image of this person. i still don’t understand how spitting image is a good metaphor. i went to the funeral of his mom by my self to try to find out things. he wasn’t there. he’s a junkie in phoenix. or was. honestly, i disassociate pretty well when i have to. so anyway, dad was his own control, & would stand at the screen door, watching the storm skip across chillicothe, confident in the spoils of a valley.


today i could finally afford a notebook. today is wednesday & the curfew was no problem. i know this because tomorrow is thanksgiving. and i know yesterday a bunch of townies chased fema out of washington at gun point. glenn beck dick rode that for a day. i had family in katrina. glenn beck can suck my dick. he also supposedly writes books. i’ve seen a lot of them at wal-mart. sometimes i wonder if he’s actually a good writer. mostly i know people write shit and the name glenn beck is a brand. i didn’t have a ghostwriter for this, obviously. and i hate considering the likelihood that similar:peaks:: is a brand. and i’m like glenn beck to it’s fox. but then glenn beck has his own tv station now i guess. maybe ted turner really is to blame. but he just wanted to ride a horse he owned from the us/mexico border to the one with canada, the land on which he would ride also would be owned by him. i have stuff in common with them. i lie and say mean things.


i wrote a lot of mean things last night in my new notebook. i’d drank a bit of tanqueray and taken some klonopin. i am like glenn beck in that i say things a lot of people think is rude. i am not like glenn beck in that i would start my own station after leaving one that originally made my name relevant, though my name is not relevant, in a few different ways. i don’t want to type what i wrote. right now. but i will say that there will come a time in which a person is gonna play theyself out, and try to shit on me. i keep all of my correspondence. even when it’s not sent directly to me. because i’m paranoid. i think. maybe i’m a sociopath.


i read publicly the first time at dads funeral. mostly i think i wished he would die so hard that he did. i got so many encouragements after reading at his mourn now i wonder how far that extends. i am absurd.


mrs gray, my 2nd grade teacher, wouldn’t let me leave class to use the restroom. she coughed on me once and told me she hoped i got sick so she wouldn’t have to see me for a couple of days. that day when i had to pee i ended up not being able to do anything but piss my pants. a large circle on the blue, taut carpet beneath my desk was soaked. but one time in her class we were prompted to write a poem about tornados. she played ‘don’t worry, be happy’ while we wrote. she really liked mine, or acted as though she did, and i believed her because it was the only time she praised me that year. she’s probably dead now. i felt dumb because after writing our poems mrs gray described the sound of an approaching tornado as similar to an approaching freight train. i raised my hand — earnest after praise — to ask whether tornados also had whistles they blew to warn traffic to stay out of the way. they had every right to ridicule me.


i peed my pants two other times: once while getting jumped in stlouis trying to go to an eminem concert back in high school, and the other while on stage singing christmas carols during our church’s yearly praise jesus’ born day event. after that someone asked my mom, i overheard from a few pews in front of her, about when, because she never knew hypercolor started selling pants. it was the same lady i once asked if i could grow up to be someone who could write a chapter for the bible. i asked why no one has done that in a while. she was one of those people who ate a lot of big macs but imagined it equaled out if she drank diet soda. she was wrong. she just said she was proud of my ambition.


i hate my ambition. i laughed at the kid who, back in little league, was relegated to playing left field, when he peed his sweatpants during practice. his parents owned the ace true value hardware store in town, and sponsored the team. they even brought us a new wood bat to use from their store to try to take the heat off their chubby and slow son. i was always the leadoff hitter. on the first pitch i got jammed on a pitch in on my hands and the bat shattered across the infield. it’s the same shame in comparing wedding photos with poetry drafts. but exclaimed by the situation. it’s not a situation. we live, are living, this shit.


bio notes: david blumenshine, along with his bestie Rachel Burns, co-founded Similar:Peaks::, an online literary journal he is editor in chief of. Currently homeless & hoping to afford the move to Portland, his writing has appeared in Paper Darts, Seven Corners, Passages North, Bluffs, Smoking Glue Gun, as well as LUNGFULL! #21 (letters to the editor, under his government name). If you know where Craig Crawford’s cat, Baby, is, please let someone know. Craig doesn’t deserve that shit.




  1. bemightee

      some brutally honest stuff here….thanks for sharing. i can relate to the natural disaster thing having evacuated a few times in my life because of hurricanes. a few years ago my parents thought they might’ve lost everything and were waiting for news – it was a tense time and i think i’ve never heard my father’s voice so scared so uncertain, i hope you make it to portland.

  2. Garett Strickland