Friday, February 9, 2018

Photogenic Failure


I have grown so goddamn sick and tired of keeping this barbed wire coat of failure wrapped tight for more than two years now.

I'm not ok.  I need help out.  I don't know how that comes.  A mentor or booking a gig or taking one of my shows out of the closet and giving it life again, maybe.

Researching this essay, I wanted to start off with a quote.  A footprint from someone or something in poetry or literature which did more than your typical "turned my failure into cobblestones for success" pablum.  Somebody who really knelt down, took the punches, coughed the blood. Shivered in the silence. And was left there with nothing but their thoughts.  For ages.

Couldn't find that.  So I guess I'll write that.

The story starts November 2015.  King of the Hobos , the result of three year's workshopping, brainstorming, and obsession, was now a three week run in Brooklyn.  I formed a production company. Got a real grown up publicist.  Went over budget, but felt optimistic that I could turn a corner, make this work.

By November's end, it was a terrible, terrible bomb.  77 people attended in total those 11 shows.  I got hit hard with debt.  Nobody bought the music.  

I remembered the flat, cold in my father's eyes after his second bankruptcy, when his bike shops closed.  He was so damn proud that one Christmas he got a front-page spread in the local paper, having us deliver bikes to the even more disenfranchised (which until that day, I thought wasn't even possible)  And now, it was over.  He kept trying, one get-rich quick scheme after another, but he never swung with the full strength ever again.  Fear sat on his chest, held his throat.  Made a quiet man even more taciturn.

Same with me.  I couldn't bear to look people in the face after being such a failure as a producer, as a performer.  Starting refusing invitations to see folks.  I'd creep into social media less and less, each time in disbelief over those who still had the gumption and the spirit to hawk themselves so ardently -see my work - read my twitter - buy my stuff -  Didn't they understand?  I thought, tears coming to my face.   Didn't they know somehow in the root of their bones that we're so horribly broken and withered up and nobody wants what we're selling?

I couldn't make work anymore.  Every song attempt make me flash forward to the ramifications of production costs and audience accessibility  - is the subject matter going to be too goddamn weird?  And I'd stop before I'd even plunked out a draft.

I auditioned heavily in the vise of failure, but it felt so useless.  I'm sure I wore it on me like a bad cologne.  A blunt, weary focus.  Fifty auditions in 2017 alone and nothing - no callback, no work.

I am so, so sorry for being cold and distant to everyone.  I'm sorry for not being more open as a friend these past few years. I'm sorry for not seeing your shows, for not being as supportive and kind and welcoming as I should have been.   I'm sorry I haven't been able to talk about this oppressive weight.  It still makes me fall apart when I think about it.

I want to get better.  I want to be free from this failure.  I want to be able to make things again, just enjoy making them.   I hope making this public opens a door to that growth.



Wednesday, December 28, 2016

What's Going on - and Why You Should Join My Patreon


Wishing everyone a warm and loving holiday!

Been a bit deliciously occupied with matters of the heart, and I just wanted to make a pitch to everyone as to why you should spend pennies a day to become a patron on my Patreon account:

1) As of this writing, there's FIVE HUNDRED EIGHTY FIVE pieces of artistic content.  (songs, poems, plays, essays, videos, and more)
2) ONE HUNDRED SIXTY SIX of these odes and nonsense are FREE!  Right now.  I'm serious.
Check out some playwriting, hear a song, enjoy some nonsense.
3) There's NINETY ONE essays (Patreon Diary Entries)  covering a raw, unfiltered look into my mental health, my artistic mind, my obsessions, my rivulets of hope. My small joys and the grateful love I've received this year.

Here are the topics:

3/18/15 – Making Art out of Hobo
3/25/15 – Showing Up
4/1/15 – Taking Time, Getting the Card
4/8/15 – A Diet of Expectation
4/15/15 – The Shakespeare Marathon
4/22/15 – What’s Next?
4/29/15 – Every Day’s a Gram of Failure
5/6/15 – Self-Care
5/13/15 - Art
5/20/15 – Self-Promotion
5/27/15 – The Unanswered Question
6/3/15 – Scratching Out Hobo Edits
6/10/15 – The Reading
6/17/15 – Prison of Self
6/24/15 – Dudes Writing Romantic Comedies
7/1/15 - Need
7/8/15 – The Tub
7/15/15 – Why Games Matter
7/29/15 – The Chest of Drawers
8/5/15 – August
8/12/15 – Hypnosis
8/19/15 –The Heat
8/26/15 - Lessons
9/2/15 – Where’s the Fire?
9/9/15 –Testing, Testing
9/16/15 –Dating
9/23/15 –Gambling
9/30/15 – The Absurd
10/7/15 – I Need Help
10/14/15 – Being Favored
10/21/15 – Hey, Remember the Time We Pretended We Ain’t Got No Arms So We Could Get Free Muffins?
10/28/15 – This Weathered Old Guitar, and a Homely Face to Tell My Tale
11/4/15 – Every Heart Got a Song to Sing
11/11/15 – 20 Answers
11/18/15 – If You Ain’t Scared, You’ve Got No Skin In the Game
11/25/15 – Waiting For the Other Shoe to Drop
12/2/15 –Doubling Down
12/9/15- Wiping Your Feet
12/16/15 – Re-Entry
12/23/15 – Todo Tiene Solucion, Menos la Muerte
12/30/15 – One of Three
1/6/16 - Nicknames
1/13/16 – Go To Hoboken, Go To the Temple
1/20/16 - Butterflies
1/27/16 – Muscle Memory
2/3/16 – Seasonal Affective Disorder
2/10/16 - Mood
2/17/16 –The Ouija Board
2/24/16 –Square One
3/2/16 – The Boomerang
3/9/16 - Immersion
3/16/16 – Well’s Dry
3/23/16 – Criterion Velocity
3/30/16 –Hold Music
4/6/16 – All You Need is the Cage
4/13/16 – Scissor Sisters
4/20/16 - Sometimes
4/27/16 – Changes
5/4/16 – Cattle Call
5/11/16 – A Mirror is Glass + Motion + Time
5/18/16 – Love-Apples
5/25/16 –Picture Puzzles
6/1/16 – Twenty Unasked Questions to Twenty Different People
6/8/16 – Finding a Mentor
6/15/16 – Making Room
6/22/16 – All it Takes is a Phone Call or Email
6/29/16 – Sin Eaters
7/6/16 – Guests in This Hotel
7/13/16 – A Song I Didn’t Write
7/20/16 – The Woman in the Blue Dress
7/27/16 – I Am a Pretty, Pretty Princess
8/3/16 – It’s Just Business
8/10/16 – Looking for Spiders
8/17/16 – Run in the Rain and Get Soaked Faster
8/24/16 – A Suspecting Model
9/7/16 - Body
9/14/16 – The Voice
9/21/16 – Reading For Fun
9/28/16 – Catalog
10/5/16 –Swallowing Fire
10/12/16 – The Chocolate Factory
10/19/16 – Ain’t No Pockets in a Board Overcoat
 10/26/16- The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round
11/2/16 – Typing Passwords in the Dark
11/9/16 –What Can Be Done?  Maybe That’s It.
11/16/16 – Pulling Out the Smoke Alarm
11/23/16 - Reclaimed
12/7/16 –Mani-Pedi
12/14/16 – Keep Your Head Up
12/21/16 – Completing the Circuit

12/28/16 - Honk

Give yourself a gift for the upcoming year and become a patron today!



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

New Poem - Hoodoo - and some housekeeping

(peeks at website)
(grabs a broom and sweeps up the cobwebs)


Been a busy time.    The Patreon site and my official website have been posting continuous updates on the past few months, creatively.

Here's some updates -

The Pirate Song - I recorded a high quality version and it's available to stream on this site or you may purchase it on Bandcamp!

A new poem - (again, new for non - Patreon folk)  At this point, you're a fool if you don't snatch up the chance to view over 500 pieces of creative content PENNIES a day. Do it now!


Where your

bottle trees?

You bring your


all the way

up this here parish

and it's like you're holding

a yard sale

for wickedness.

You got trees. Get them bottles.

String em up, face em east.

Sun'll burn those demons out like


What that?

Ain't no demons

in your lil camelback shack?


You're cute.

Lucky you -

I've got my book

'o spells:

We ain't gonna

pass by your sister's

'til we read together

some Psalm one-o-one.

Friday, August 12, 2016

New Poem - Wet Cement


Here's another poem based on a Patreon donor prompt.  There's hundreds of hours of weird, wonderful content on the site; all yours for pennies a day!  



The raw, inert 
poured into a bucket.

with common water.
(too little
and the end result

Hands steady.
We pour.   Somewhere,
A clock's heart throbs.

One day, two (maybe) -
And it's set.

Tending to the surface.
Smoothing out 
the anxious bubbles.

Imprinting our descendant's skin
which preserves for 
half a century, long after
we mere carpenters
surrender our trowels,
our gauge rakes, our 
artisan paddles.

Night.  A shift concluded.
We sleep.

That tabula rasa 
stares expectantly
at the moon, its godmother.

Lovers, vandals, the 
hulk of anonymous
starving for any 
lasting impression,
they too may leave
a mark; scratch out their 
initials, scar this
constructed child
with a careless 
tire print.

We prepare.
We cordon off.
We erect warnings.
We compound with quality materials.
We broker faith in our neighbors.
We fret.  Too many pock-marked
littered with selfish influence.

It's just concrete, you say.

We bow our heads,
casting concern upon 
the  trodden, rough-shod ground
while others amble, cock their chins,

eyes skyward.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

IT'S ALIVE - Jara's Brand-Spanking-New Website!


I've connected all the acting, music, Patreon, and writing (both here and on other forums) to my official site:  !  Give it a spin; let me know what you think...



Sunday, July 24, 2016

New Poem - Oneironaut


Here's a new poem (but super cool Patreon folk got to see it first - you should totally be one of them)


You.  You till
That fertile lie:
What you, sensate,
Clarify as your self-sure
Is binding. True. 

There are ghosts
Between the minute
Of your unswept floor.

The screen
To which you fixate
In hazy surrender
Is not static;
Rather, its canvas
Tears draft upon draft
In rapid succession
Yet the eye
Betrays witness.

The night is a malleable clay.

The day, likewise.

I have seen
Plastic drinking straws
Pierce the hide
Of a brutish white birch tree.

I have crept, silent and custodial, into my mother's dreams.
I straighten the dream-table.
I discard the dream-waste.
I launder the dream-garments.  Hang them to dry on the dream-patio.

In my own
Frequent confrontations
With the wizened
I act as script supervisor.

I challenge,
you've realized
This character,
My father,
Has expired. 

My skin
is not wire-shackled;

An airplane
Cannot guest
A serpent,
Three-headed, rapt
With hunger.

I rub my hands together.
Cradle the dream-beasts.
Mash their form into
A microphone
Or a talk show
Or a bookstore
Or a soundstage
Or a theatre.

I do not accept their false face.

I craft another,

Shadow following shadow.