Category Archives: FOUND SCRIBBLINGS!


I opened up one of my college notebooks to a random page.  There’s no date written on it, but a few pages beforehand I have the date March 6, 2007.  Scrawled in purple pen and separated by squiggly lines are the following musings:


“I could still make it to class

But it’s such a fucking

beautiful day.”


“I don’t know what I’m doing.”


“The song they’re playing right now

Is absolutely beautiful.

I can’t even understand

What the singer’s saying

but his voice is still great

And I love that I can hear

someone playing the triangle —

Or are they chimes?

Maybe it’s some indie band

that someone put on a CD

titled “Tuesday Afternoon Mix.”

If that’s the case, I would love to shake that person’s hand.”


“I don’t think too many people

look attractive in shorts.

I myself haven’t worn shorts

in public in at least five years.

I don’t have long, skinny, supermodel legs

and I don’t pretend I do

So I save people the terror

and always wear jeans.”


“Now in Vienna

there’s 10 pretty women

There’s a shoulder

Where death comes to cry

There’s a lobby with 1200 windows

There’s a tree where the doves

go to die.”


“I love you like

sitting outside at sidewalk cafes

watching people stroll by

while I sip at a mug

of coffee and scribble in my


I’m wearing sunglasses that

reflect back an image of

you smiling and then closing your

eyes to breathe

Just for a second.”


1.) I wonder what I was doing in that moment that was too good to give up for the sake of going to class.  I suspect I was sitting at The Kresge Cafe, because I know that’s where I was when I wrote the ditty about the “Tuesday Afternoon Mix.”  Was I somewhere else when I wrote the first blurb?  Was I outside, or was I just content?  Finally…did I end up going to class?

2.) “I don’t know what I’m doing.”  Whoa there.  What was I talking about?  Whoa there.  Don’t even get me started on that one.

3.) How funny that I just posted the final draft of this one.  It’s interesting for me to look at this draft.  I guess I didn’t change too much of it, but I still think the changes I made were the right ones.  Go Steff.

4.) Ha.  Oh, wow.  I still haven’t worn shorts in public.  I wonder why I felt the need to write this down.  I probably saw someone wearing shorts and felt inclined to write about…shorts.

5.) No, I’m not secretly a brilliant poet who’s been hiding her true capability from the world.  This is a poem by Federico Garcia Lorca that was translated into English and made into a song by Leonard Cohen.  This song was my JAM when I was 20.  My JAM.  I’m still every bit as hopelessly romantic now as I was then.  ::Sigh::  Only question: “12oo windows”?  It’s “900 windows.”  I mean, “TWELVE” doesn’t even SOUND like “NINE.”  If I had written “FIVE HUNDRED” I would have understood, as “NINE” and “FIVE” sound similar…but “TWELVE”?  Pretty dorky, Steff.

6.) I blame my love for Jack Kerouac and Ani Difranco.

Dear God, was I being serious about all of this?  Or was I just having fun?

Why am I evening worrying about it?

Aren’t I doing this for fun?

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I feel a little strange about posting this poem.

I’m not embarrassed.  Honestly, I’m having a great time sharing all of these dorky college poems with you.

Still, I feel a little strange about posting this poem, because this one was once very important to me.

I wrote it sophomore year, which I’ve come to realize was a time when everything was important.  I was 20 years-old — the oldest I’d ever been.  I was hundreds of miles away from mom and dad.  I was in charge of making my own meals and doing my own laundry.  I had my own room.  I was taking feminist studies classes and reading The Bell Jar in my spare time.  I was obsessed with Bob Dylan and Shane MacGowan and I felt so cool when one of my professor’s said, “Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Laurie Anderson.”  I loved my roommates and my apartment and my school.

In January, I started seeing a boy I’d been friends with for a few months.  By “seeing” I mean sneaking around with, and by “boy” I mean, ya know, a fellow consenting young adult.  We secretly kissed one night after a party, and instead of just leaving it at that, we had to repeat our mistake and make things complicated.

We liked each other and I knew that and he knew that, but for some reason we never really got it right.  One of us was always afraid of something and the other was always worried about something else.  One day we’d say, “Let’s just be friends,” and then after two days of being the kind of friends who stay up all night talking, one of us would say, “I can’t just be friends.”  We’d start over.

It was frustrating and painful and yeah, frickin’ exciting.  It always hurt a little bit after one of our “we need to stop this” discussions, but we’d always change our minds, which always meant a few more days of sneaky bliss.

We finally decided to commit, and things immediately soured.  I don’t know whose fault it was.  Maybe if I had just let him ignore me instead of barging into his apartment asking, “Where the fuck have you been for five days?” things would have been better.  Maybe if he had actually told me what it was that made him want to run away things would have been better.  Maybe it’s because we were both 20 years-old?

I tried to end it a few times, and both times I was talked out of it.  It was confusing.  It was frustrating and painful and I hated every second of it.

Things came to an end over the summer when we both had to go back to our respective suburban homes.  He broke up with me.  When he called me that day, I knew exactly what was going to happen — it had been ages since we last spoke.  He said, “I have to break up with you,” and I said, “Haven’t we been broken up for weeks?”  I was sad, but I wasn’t hurt — I had gotten all the “hurt” out of my system back in Santa Cruz.  Furthermore, I wasn’t about to let him think I was surprised to hear that we were through.  Looking back, I shouldn’t even have been that nice.  I should have just blurted out a big, loud, “DUH.”

I’m a huge fan of monogamy and commitment and intimacy and all that, but, I have to say, the best part of this relationship was the “sneaky bliss.”  It probably shouldn’t have gone beyond that.  Maybe we’d still be friends and I wouldn’t be posting a poem I wrote about him.

I wrote this one night after visiting him in his apartment.  A few weeks later, I decided to submit it to a poetry contest that was being held by The Beat Museum in San Francisco.  I didn’t think that I was going to win, nor did I really care.  The only reason I mailed the poem off to the city was because it seemed like a fun little creative outlet.  Despite my lighthearted feelings, I still decided not to tell anyone.  This was just for me.

A month later I called my mom one Sunday morning to ask her something — I really don’t remember what.  My older brother answered the phone.

“Hi Bobby!”

“Hey.  I just read your poem.”


What poem?”

“The one about the diabetic boy.”

Yes.  My mother, being a Beat Museum enthusiast, had gone to their website that morning just for kicks.  Across the screen, she saw the names of the winners of that month’s poetry contest.  Honorable Mention went to Stephanie from Santa Cruz, California, for her poem “Sweet Love.”

March 2007

Stephanie Callas Santa Cruz, California
Sweet Love

I know this guy who’s diabetic

Whenever he’s at my apartment

he has to go home every couple of hours

to check his blood sugar levels

I miss him during those few minutes

and I’m always overjoyed when he comes back

sipping his Capri Sun.

Once a long time ago at his apartment

he checked his blood sugar

right there in his room

and when the results were in

he shot insulin into his hip

I asked him if he needed a Capri Sun

“No sugar this time. Just insulin.”

He called me one night while I was

trying to write an essay

for some silly class

that I didn’t really care about.

My priorities don’t involve textbooks

“I need you to come over,” he said

“I had a seizure today at 4am.”

I was over an hour later

with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s

Double Chocolate Fudge Brownie

“Cause this time you where low, right?”

He grabbed my hand and said,

“Do ya ever have days when you

only wanna see specific people?”

Curled up on his bed

with the ice-cream close at hand

we watched the first half of a movie

and then we kissed for nearly two hours

Then I went home at 2am and stared at my

blank computer screen and told myself,

“I could love this guy.”

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I’m really having a blast sharing these.

Maybe I’m the only one.

All the same, I’m kind of relieved that this is the last poem I shared on my Myspace, because that means I don’t have to keep signing into Myspace to copy these.  All this week I’ve been getting emails from Myspace saying that people (bands and porn robots) have added me.  So sad.

This one was inspired by a moment I had while I was sitting at the Kresge Cafe.  It was my sophomore year, so I think that by this time the cafe was called The Owl’s Nest.

I spent a lot of time at Kresge College because that’s where most of my Literature classes were held.  The Lit department used to be located there, but it moved when they built the Humanities building at Cowell.  Even after that happened, though, I still had to go to Kresge for most of my Lit lectures.

Kresge College was, and is, a very cool place.  They have a Food Co-Op that sells organic avocados.  I bought a cup of coffee there once.  It was cold because it had been sitting in the pot for hours and the paper cup they put it in was super beat up and there was a small bug floating around in it.  I still accepted the coffee when the cute hippie handed it to me (a habitual mistake), and in return I handed him a perfectly good dollar bill.

Owl’s Nest?  Co-Op?  Owls?  Coop?  “The Owl’s Are Not What They Seem”?  Agent Dale Cooper? 

Dear God, what a dorky epiphany.

All right.

So, the Kresge Cafe/Owl’s Nest was probably my favorite cafe on campus aside from the Stevenson Coffee Shop.  I mean, Stevenson had the best coffee and the best avocado and cheese sandwiches and baked goods really don’t get much better than Oatmeal Fudgies, but the Kresge Cafe had BURGERS.  Good Ones.  And sometimes, ya know, all I wanted was a Good Goddamn Burger.

I used to keep a journal next to me while I was eating Good Goddamn Burgers at The Kresge Cafe/Owl’s Nest.  THIS journal, to be specific:

How cool was College Steff?  Seriously.

I’d scribble in this thing before, after, and during Burger consumption.  Here’s a little ditty that I posted on Myspace in March of 2007.  The version found in this journal is slightly longer, but I fixed it up to submit to my Creative Writing class.  Yes.  Yes, I did.  And my classmates loved it.  Probably because it was a quick read.

Here goes nothin’.  Again.



The song they’re playing right now
on the stereo at this cafe
is absolutely beautiful.
I can’t understand a single word
the singer’s singing
but his voice is still great
and I love that I can hear
someone playing the triangle
in the background
–or are they chimes?
Considering where I am
it’s probably some song
by some Indie band
that Someone put on a CD
titled “Tuesday Afternoon Mix.”
I would love to shake that Someone’s hand.


It’s time to share another embarrassing poem I wrote in college.

This one is actually still kinda funny.  To me. 

I found it on my MySpace blog, and it says in huge letters:

Written whilst sitting on a bench at the Stevenson knoll.

“Whilst.”  Oh, Steff.

Now, the Stevenson Knoll is one of the most beautiful places on our planet.  It is near the dorms at Stevenson College at UC Santa Cruz.  It is a grassy knoll that overlooks the ocean.  It is the perfect place to sit and watch the sun come up.  Or read a book.  Or stare out into space.  

It’s a holy spot…  ::Sigh::

As SOON as the sun comes out in spring, it becomes Bikini Central.  Everyone suddenly switches gears from “Let’s go to the knoll and sing songs” to, “Oh my GOD I’m so PALE!  Let’s go to the KNOLL!”

One day, when I felt like going to the knoll with my notebook, I encountered a group of giggling bikinis.  After observing their behavior for awhile, I wrote this poem.

March 19, 2007

“Spring Got Sprung”

Skinny, bikini-clad girls are
all over the place.
Can’t escape ’em!
Everywhere I look
there’s another skinny white girl’s ass
in a skimpy bikini bottom.
BRIGHT pink, BRIGHT red,
and some blue or green.
I’m stuck in a tornado of tiny tits.
A scrawny chick in black is
playing with a lighter as if
to tell the world,
“I have every intention of
eventually smoking
a BAD ASS cigarette.”

I’d like to make her a sandwich
and take away her cell phone.

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I used to write a lot of poems. Like, a LOT of them. I’m not sure if they were good or bad, really. I may even go so far as to say that some of them showed potential.

Good or bad aside, they REEK of college. Absolutely REEK of it. They are all about, in the [poetic] words of The Rolling Stones:

“Laughter, joy, and loneliness
And sex and sex and sex and sex.”

I used to share these poems with ENTIRELY TOO MANY PEOPLE. ENTIRELY. I read them to my classmates, posted them on my MYSPACE BLOG, submitted them to poetry contests and WON…

…Well, ya know, I received Honorable Mention…TWICE!

Here’s one I just found. I will definitely share more of these.

Posted on my MYSPACE BLOG on March 19, 2008. At the time I was a junior in college, and I lived in a tiny blue house in Midtown Santa Cruz. I may have been dating a cannabis-growing, pot-selling convenient store clerk at this point — I’m not sure when exactly we started dating.

Anyway, I was a really happy, creative kid. And I wrote this poem.

“The Palace Flophouse”

A tiny blue house sits off kilter
at an angle
tucked between two much more substantial buildings.
The cars in the drive way virtually
tower over the beach shanty and
the blue paint is faded from years of
sunshine and rain
and the rust-colored mailbox creaks loudly
every time it’s opened.
The plants in the front yard
are sparse and shriveled.
They enhance…nothing.

The tiny, comfy living room
has an ugly white sofa
with a horrid floral pattern
and there are two brown corduroy chairs
on either side of it.
There’s always a glare on the television screen
because there aren’t any shades
on the gigantic glass windows
that make privacy impossible.
And the room is freezing…all the time.

A tiny, dirty kitchen
has a stove that never ignites
and a dishwasher that never works
and a huge, white counter
that’s never clean.
The floor is made of red bricks
and no matter how much anyone sweeps
it’s always dirty
and littered with crumbs, dust, hair,
and bottle tops.
It’s still swept everyday…anyway.

A tiny, horrid patio
has three white, plastic chairs
and two stools that have both been
destroyed by monsoons and heat.
There are green weeds growing like mad
between the slabs of gray granite
and they are slowly taking over.
A dirty shell sits on one of the stools
and it’s used for cigarette butts
and it’s always overflowing.
There’s ash…everywhere.

A tiny, stupid voice in my head says,
“How the Hell have you survived here?
“There’s no heating or air conditioning
and the bathroom’s full of spiders
“and the front door doesn’t really lock
“and your bedroom is so crammed
“and there’s really shitty lighting
“and the parking lot around the corner
is so damn loud at night
“and the beach is cold and windy
“and raccoons run on your roof.”
But I wouldn’t trade this place for…anything.

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