My Robot Is Pregnant theme song!

tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

February 28, 2007

Silverfish & Foxing presents western pulp fiction


I wish I could paint like that…


The Flagpoles in fine print


Our second show with me on the bass…
It is so much fun playing with these guys. I want to thank them for letting me be a slow learner.

the time between wars

There was a lot of shooting…

catalogue stuff
with catered lunch
(quinoa burgers,
breaded shittake mushrooms
that tasted like meat
mixed greens and razor-sliced red peppers)
casual conversation about learning to surf
at a resort in Mexico
“the sorest I’ve ever been in my life”

the news magazines were starting to show pictures
of damaged soldiers
women with wrapped stumps and robotic legs
men’s faces erased with layers of scar tissue
returning home to (former?) lovers

the mail order catalogues were showing
artificially stressed hutches
wreathes of lavender for the bathroom
on location in Napa
while the empire looked for new markets
to conquer

February 27, 2007

Planes that love heaven

The plane rattled the ice in my plastic cup and my stomach went weightless as we fell through a pressure leak in the sky. “It happens over mountains,” I heard the stewardess say. “Las Vegas is worse.”
We landed in Burbank and the brakes slammed on, the bit of the wing folded up into an air brake, and everyone clutched something…armrest, knee, a favorite curse word…we lived to fly again.
I had seen snow dusting the oil fields on hill tops of the santa clarita valley. Barren cowboy hills with snow and oil derricks. Los Angeles eighty miles away. Burbank was warm enough, and I saw a few showgirls in short shorts and built-for-big-tips blonde hair pulling pink carry-on’s, wheels clicking over the sidewalk forms.
There was a movie to be made this weekend, and I was heading to Val Verde to shoot it. A lot of progress was made, in spite of my vomiting, diarrhea, and a twenty nine hour nap – thanks to Alina, who provided a really expensive camera and a really expensive film school education that allowed her to edit the thing. It should be done very soon and I look forward to sharing some of my favorites recipes on first installment of “Recipes from the Sad Cafe”, a cooking show!
Thank you all for your patience.

Yours truly,

Jon Rolston

February 20, 2007


This is from my Dad’s shop, called Silverfish & Foxing. It’s one of a series of trading cards that came with Mecca Cigarettes, a brand that was around in the late 1800′s through the turn of the century. Baseball cards of today got their start as inserts in soft packs of cigarettes, a way to stiffen the pack so you wouldn’t crush your butts. This was before the modern era of hardpack cigarettes. Beautiful women, boxers and other sports stars, historical figures and wildlife were often featured in collectible sets put out by cigarette manufacturers.


This is for Lyle, who told me about the website Digg. The guys who started it have created a new site, Revision3, a “tv channel” on the web. There was a podcast of them live at a bar down the road that I happened to be at because my upstairs neighbors were playing music there. It gets confusing, thanks to the small world of the internet. They say links help.


This is down the street at the Pacific Ocean.

February 18, 2007

Dollars and Cents


Here’s another old doodle that investigates the power of symbolic language…

February 17, 2007


Have you ever been out in public and put your lip on something you shouldn’t have? Like maybe have you ever tried biting a giant piece of art hanging on a wall to see if it is made of glass or plastic? Then realized it is smeared with finger prints? Immediately you hear the sound of construction as the canker sore city begins…


This is the only example I have from a deck of Northwest Orient Airlines* playing cards. Just imagine how good your English would get if you owned the full set.

*Now known as Nortwest Airlines, or NWA for short. Which is awesome.

February 15, 2007

“Even to a high flying bird this was country to be passed over quickly.”

That’s how this Western thriller begins. The front cover caught my eye with the see through door effect. The inside cover proudly claims it was painted by Morton Engel, “a young art student” in New York who won the Pocket Book’s 4th annual cover design competition, held in 1955.

February 14, 2007

Whiskey Buzz!


This is a propaganda movie (about a minute long) that expounds the dangers of Whiskey. Whiskey Buzz is the character you see trying to tempt the beautiful and innocent young Ashley to “Fly high and feel good.”

February 13, 2007


My little outhouse is going to the sculpture garden at the San Francisco transfer station! (more of an honor than it probably sounds) I spent this afternoon between rain showers taking it apart. Matty helped me get the roof off, and we had to throw it over the fence since it wouldn’t fit out the gated door in the back yard.

The San Francisco “dump” has a innovative artist in residence program that allows artists to pick through the junk and make art with what they find. There is a sculpture/flower garden hidden on a hillside behind the transfer station. That’s where my outhouse is going!

February 12, 2007

Not A Nice Poem

cum dribble makes a note to his future self
call home before you write.
Mom gargles a glut of notes in the throat,
spits in a bedside glass the same words
Dad came up with
“Do you love me?”


A Very Nice Story

Facts Are Different on Different Coasts

There’s a beautiful little New England town by the water and not so far from Boston that ideas can’t drift up and inspire young kids who want to get outta there and see the world. And the kids there can surf the internet and rent movies and download music from all over the world. So they aren’t isolated – they know things. All the same… it’s a small town. You can live with your parents, or your Mom if they’ve split. That’s how I’ve seen it happen.

Last I was back, that little town was still sleepy. There was a new hotel in an old parking lot and condos put up right down town, but made of brick so it looked old. Historical Society said to. Things don’t really change there. More of the same is all.

Upton is still living there. He’s a guy five years younger than me, I met him at Castaways, a thrift store in town. He was one of those guys and I was one of those guys. No money, but into things. Not motors or sports. Knick knacks. Old corduroy coats. Portable organs. Cassette tapes. Especially mix tapes. The old ladies always wanted to throw those out. A whole batch would show up in a cardboard box with used batteries and bandannas. A rubber bracelet. Like someone decided they’d grown up and didn’t need that stuff anymore. Perfect time capsules for Upton and me.

Used to be stores sold plastic racks to hold your tapes. Five to a side, all four sides, and the base swiveled. Something you’d buy at Kmart. You wouldn’t usually get a mix tape in those. But if the little tan pleather suitcases came in, made for guys on the go with tape decks in their cars, you’d be sure to find a good thirty percent mix. Upton and me, we’d split them up and the next day tell each other what gems we’d found.

“Bim Skala Bim, the Bosstones, and some weird stuff I’ve never heard,” he’d say with a knowing look. Good stuff.

“I just got some crappy Whitney Houston stuff and whoever it was practicing their piano.”

I’d come and gone, come back again. I mean I’d traveled, smoked dope with hitchhikers, drank beer with old guys on the street, had men say strange things to me. Upton’d moved down from Maine, so this little town on the water was still fascinating to him. It was a kick for me to see myself, young as I was, somewhat wiser than someone. I wasn’t sure if I’d blinked those four months I’d been away from home. Everything I’d seen out there in America was new to me. But I’d made it back home and Upton showed me how I’d changed better than Id’ve been able to explain it to anyone. So I liked him a lot.

Now this last time I was home, I ran into Upton. He’d moved out of his mom’s place and was living with some other bohemians in an old wooden house with rabbit pelts on one wall and tie-dyed sheets over the windows. He had a mustache. He told me he was going west in the summer. He was serious.

I wanted to tell him no. He couldn’t go. It’d been six years since I’d lived in that little town with him, and I hadn’t been back more than that many times. Just living by myself out on the California coast.

“That’s exciting!” I told him. Because it was, but what I didn’t tell him was something I couldn’t explain. “Don’t stay away from your mom too long,” I wanted to tell him. Honestly. Because a young man going west without family turns into a different kind of man. He will give up religion, if he had it. He’ll have too many nights drinking. And no one will ask him about what kind of women he’s seeing.

Sounds funny, right? Like I’m in the old West, the old days? Well, whatever century it is, I’m talking about seeing a man decide to try everything in life, only to find out it hurts. And no one cares.

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