Sneaky Feels #16

By John Proctor

When you realize that your worst fears are not of what you think them to be, but exactly the opposite. When you imagine the ice caps melting and sending a tidal wave crashing over your city, you are afraid of being priced out of your neighborhood. When you imagine the death of someone in your family, you are afraid of doing hundreds of small things that will make your spouse wish he or she had stayed with the person he or she’d been dating before you, or that your children will have to work out with their future therapists and/or religious cults. When you remember 9/11 fondly, perhaps it’s because the city’s temporary collapse drew deeper meaning, or at least a temporary respite, from the numbers you’d been coding for people’s reactions to personal hygiene products at the market research job you’d taken after being fired from your PR job and the advertising job before it. Perhaps when you imagine the worst possible scenario, you’re seeking to avoid the most obvious one: that you, like everyone else, are subject to the quotidian middle, where the best and worst possible scenarios are well beyond your reach. 


Check out other Sneaky Feels:

#12

#13

#14

#15

#1-11

Sneaky Feels #15

By John Proctor

When you follow a low crescent moon down the West Side Highway, past early October fireworks over the Palisades cliffs, under the George Washington Bridge that shuffled you into this city sixteen years ago and you feel for a moment that rush of expectation, of imagined colonization that you’ll never feel again, that was never real in the first place but it feels like the only thing for this ephemeral, echoing moment, before you come back to this also-moment, when you’re driving back to Brooklyn from your job in Westchester County like you do every Thursday evening, and the crescent sliver looks so thin, so fragile as it lowers to meet the shimmering Jersey skyline, and you remember standing at the Queens Plaza train station at 2am composing lines in blank verse in your journal as that same moon vanished into the glistening teeth of midtown Manhattan—you called that piece “And the City Swallowed the Moon” but now, fifteen years later as you pass West 30th and the moon dips behind Jersey City, you know even New York can’t eat the moon. It’s just moving into someone else’s skyline.


Check out other Sneaky Feels:

#12

#13

#14

#1-11

Sneaky Feels #14

By John Proctor

When the director of your department invites you into his office to tell you he’d like you to teach in an outreach program with the Sullivan County Correctional Facility teaching writing to inmates, that he sees you as a perfect fit for this partnership because you’ve told him in conversation that your father was in prison when you were born and you didn’t meet him until you were sixteen years old and he also knows how desperately you want to teach writing to someone other than college freshmen. And this opportunity makes you so happy, and then, less than a month later, the director of your department falls or walks or jumps off Breakneck Ridge. And you go to his funeral, and you email the provost and the academic dean to let them know you’d still like to teach in this partnership, and they say they’d still like it to continue, would you like to run it? And you say Yes, Yes, Yes, and then your college’s chief compliance officer says wait, the facility and the coordinating program want the college to assume primary liability, and we have a new incoming president who doesn’t want to take any risks his first year, and you really don’t have any experience coordinating this type of program, and it looks like we’ll have to pass on this partnership and perhaps recalibrate for future such partnerships when the college is more stable. And you want to cry, right there in the office of the chief compliance officer, but you say, simply, Yes, I’d like to pursue future partnerships, and you start talking to other faculty about it and they say, This is a great idea, good luck with it, and you realize, in a moment of terror, that This will not happen unless you make it happen. And you are not one to make things happen—you are one to react, to critique, to feel. And your father-in-law, in a heated discussion of cops shooting unarmed black men, says, I see your point, but what are you going to do about it? Like everyone, you feel deeply. But what are you going to do?


Check out other Sneaky Feels:

#12

#13

#15

#1-11

 

Sneaky Feels #13

By John Proctor

When you find a used copy of The Bell Jar while working at the campus bookstore, and you read it between flash card sessions for Organic Chemistry and feel yourself in Plath—or Esther Greenwood, or Victoria Lucas—so completely that you have to tell someone, so you go to the office of your writing professor after class and work against your natural tendency toward introversion to tell him how you know from your knowledge of organic chemistry that Esther could not have actually gotten food poisoning from ptomaine as the novel suggests—you’re surprised when he responds that Plath has always been one of his favorite poets, that he had a friend in college, a cheerleader majoring in English Education who transcribed his words verbatim on tests for Twentieth Century Lit classes until she died in a horrific van accident on the way back from cheerleading nationals, and you wonder why you ever told him about your own excitement about Plath—the enthusiasm you had for reading her feels somehow tainted by the knowledge that her words remind this middle-aged man of a dead cheerleader.


Check out other Sneaky Feels:

#12

#14

#15

#1-11

 

Sneaky Feels #12

By John Proctor

When you hung out next to the river under the bridge as a child looking at the homeless people, seeing the bed sheets they hung to demarcate territory and make pretense to privacy, running away like a scared animal when they called to you but returning regularly to watch them while pretending to fish, then passing over the bridge on your school bus to junior high and thinking about the people entering and exiting that makeshift liminal space and wanting to quit school and live with them under the bridge, or any bridge really—the bridge is not important. Soon enough the steamboat, the boxcar, the Greyhound bus, and the backseat of a stranger’s car will join it in your freedom-in-mobility mythology, not through lived experience so much as through the stories you read, and you’ll become enmeshed inescapably in Twentieth-Century American self-delusion specifically through your desire to escape it. 


Check out other Sneaky Feels:

#13

#14

#15

#1-11

 

Videos from Bob Schneider

We can't wrap up our Feature of Bob Schneider without sharing more music. Here's a couple of his videos that he directed.

The White Moon

Come With Me Tonight

To see more of Bob's poetry, follow the link below for his chapbook or find more on his Awst page. Find more info on Bob's music at his website


Awst Collection - Bob Schneider
5.00

This chapbook contains 15 new poems from Bob. This is printed on premium paper and hand-sewn. Artwork provided by Christa Blackwood.

List of poems:

A Man Of Fifty Or So

All Things Must Shine

Bob Dylan Looking Into Someone’s Window

Church Clothes

Gene Simmons' Air Hockey Table

Groucho Marx

It’s Hard To Write A Good Song These Days

Just Another Day In The Hood

Karma

Nothing But The Facts

The Dead Monkeys

The Fire That Stories Explain

The Top Of The Wall

The Younger Nick

Things To Do

Sample poem:

Church clothes

Up in the air
With the flies

The world is
As small

As the lies you
Told me about

Where you were
All day