Monday, February 20, 2017


Troy's Work Table reads new poem "Gilboa" at the Creative Colloquy open mic. Photo by Jackie Casella.


A few lines from section five (of seven) of the early draft of "Gilboa."

Saul stands atop Gilboa

and Samuel’s words clamber
up the mountainside

following its rivulets and ravines

like dark demons summoned
forth from the land of the dead

seeking the retreating king.

Copyright © 2017 by Troy's Work Table.


At tonight's February Creative Colloquy Gathering, I read a rough draft of my new poem "Gilboa" during the open mic. I've been trying to write this poem off and on for the past five years, but was unable to find a form that worked. I may have finally found its form.

I think it mostly worked, but it felt really rough. There is a line that is repeated in five of the seven short sections, and then echoed in the final section to end the whole thing. When I read the last line for an audience, even though I had read it aloud for myself multiple times at home, all I could hear was the rhythm of the last line of each stanza of Poe's "The Raven," although "slant-wise" (as Emily Dickinson would have it).

The last time I uttered "Gilboa" I could only hear "nevermore." It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, although I felt a bit stunned by such a revelation. The seven syllables of the echoed lines in "The Raven" and "Gilboa," similar consonant and vowel sounds in each, and a similar rhythm caught me off guard at the microphone.


Before each open mic or reading in which I participate, I listen to music that I listened to while writing the poems I intend on reading or songs that feel of a same spirit. For instance, whenever I read any of my "Black Psalms," I listen to songs by Kvelertak. When I read poems influenced by Moby-Dick, I listen to Leviathan by Mastodon and/or sea chanteys. As I drove into Tacoma to read "Gilboa," I listened to "Superunknown" by Soundgarden over and over.

So I started the evening with "Superunknown" playing in my head and ended it with "The Raven" crying "nevermore."


The next step for "Gilboa" is revision. We'll see what stays and what gets left behind in the next draft.


Tacoma poet Michael Haeflinger reading poems, some of which also appear on his spoken word album Let's Don't Be Crazy, which you can listen to at


"Portrait of George Washington," oil on canvas, circa 1797, by Gilbert Stuart. Public domain. On display at Tacoma Art Museum, as part of the Haub Family Collection of Western American Art.


Happy Presidents Day. I was privileged to spend some time with this painting last week.

I'm always amazed at what art looks like in real life. When I get to see it as a reproduction, I always try to imagine what the original is like.

The original is always better. The colors are richer. The brushstrokes and texture of the paint can be seen.

But I always imagined this canvas larger and grander. It's smaller size and the fact that it is swallowed by its frame appeals to me.

Friday, February 10, 2017


Scuttlebutt Hoptopia Ale, an Imperial IPA by Scuttlebutt Brewing.

On tap, served in pint glass.

8.0% abv.


The pour is a clear yellow with a finger-thick white head.

The nose is clean, with an almost saison-like leaning. Some of the notes in the aroma are sage, flower petals (rose?), and perhaps a light yeastiness.

The tongue is sage, a piney/resin bitterness, and butterscotch/toffee, with a light hint of flower petals (rose?).

The mouthfeel is medium. The finish is medium-long, which is mostly sage/vegetal and pine/resin. As the beer warms and I get deeper into the glass, there are hints of lemon zest and paint thinner.

It seems like a hybrid of a saison and an IPA, which is not a bad thing.

This is very enjoyable, and it accompanies a Tacoma Dog quite well.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017


In my day, we called them mixtapes and they consisted of songs recorded from vinyl albums, cassette tapes, or the radio that then made their way onto cassette. They were often given to a friend. There was something communal about these groupings of songs.

In the day of The Child, they are called playlists and they end up in digital form from wherever they originate. They seem most often built for one's self to listen to. They end up as somewhat individual soundtracks.

I'm building this playlist/mixtape as a way of trying to bridge the gap between the two worlds, in the midst of the mess that is our current culture.

(I've been introducing The Child to various albums, trying to share songs that help define who I am.)

Playlist for 02/07/2017

“Young Man” by The Blackouts
1981, History in Reverse (2004 compilation album)

“Just Got Paid” by Mastodon
2009, Transformers: Dark of the Moon — The Album (2011), ZZ Top cover

“Joy” by Lucinda Williams
1998, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

“Peek-a-Boo” by Siouxsie and the Banshees
1988, Peepshow

“Antiworld” by Nina Hagen
1982, NunSexMonkRock

“Deus” by Sugarcubes
1988, Life’s Too Good

“I’m Afraid of Americans” by David Bowie
1997, Earthling

“It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)” by Arcade Fire
2013, Reflektor

“See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” by Laibach
2014, Spectre, Blind Lemon Jefferson cover

“New Slaves” by Kanye West
2013, Yeezus

“Walk Us Uptown” by Elvis Costello and The Roots
2013, Wise Up Ghost

“Out Go the Lights” by Spoon
2010, Transference

Monday, February 06, 2017


"Moonscape" by Troy's Work Table. Snow day chalk painting for Monday 06 February 2017.

Sidewalk chalk wash, sidewalk chalk, chalk pastels, candle wax, and white charcoal pencil on 12" x 12" concrete board.

Experimenting with some abstract "landscape" chalk paintings.

Sunday, February 05, 2017


Waiting for Mr. Tumnus in Puyallup's Pioneer Park.