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Pittsburgh, PA, United States
Hi I'm Mike Barchetti. I love the unique and the strange. I am opinionated, and love to discuss things. Humor is the spice of life, because nothing is ever off limits. With that being said, I am a very sarcastic and vulgar person. Besides my love of discourse, storytelling is something that I live for, and whenever the two meet, I am in my element. I'm very outgoing, and like to meet new people, so give me a shout!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Out my Window (Haiku) (2012)

A bug's feelers dance,
Climbing high on my window,
Oh no, it fell, dead.

Leaves blow in the wind,
Twisting and flipping - thirsty,
Here comes the downpour.

Collect on my sill,
Drip, Splash.

Clouds soar overhead,
The sun kicks off its blanket,
Time to get to work.

Water vapor drifts
Off the pavement, rainfall's ghost,
Ascending upward.

Laughter and yelling,
Kinds in fresh puddles,
Like birds in a bath.

The Meadow (2012)

I reach out my hand, feeling the rough dew covered shrubs.  Thick blades of grass crunch with each high step.  Leaves hide the chalk moon from my eyes.  The canopy has made a new night sky, devoid of light.  Sporadic flashes from fireflies show the way like dying candles.

At the edge of the wood, the moon tries to imitate the sun with its pale light.  The stars seem too bright, like there are holes in the dark sky, so the sun can shine through.  The tall wild grass gives under my heavy feet.  I part the shrubs like a curtain, and enter the meadow.  Silence does not know this place at night, for it comes alive in the darkness.

I walk along a low stone wall.  My fingers barely graze the smooth rock islands, in the coarse sea of mortar.  My feet are following the wall, and I my feet.  Sitting by itself atop a hill is the willow tree we used to climb.  Our names carved in its skin.  I reintroduce myself, and rest my outstretched hand on its ancient bark.  I sit and lean against its strong body and gaze up at the moon.  I observes its off-color craters.  I sit, doze off and dream of what could've been, under the tree where you first kissed me.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stateline, NV (2012)

The waves and the shore are shy lovers,
Whispering sweet nothings back and forth,
Gently kissing after each exchange.
Evergreens and drying sun screen, a subtle perfume
Hanging in the air like a gull gliding against the wind.

We are surrounded by mountains like distant predators
Snow covered, as cold as stone hearts.
They claw at the cloudless desert of sky, a
Blue blob of infinity, shapeless and bare, except for
An unblinking eye that shines without limitation.
It reflects off water like a liquid mirror, a
Glass window to a shrouded world I'll never know.

Winter swims in the water during the summer,
The lake is cold water from the garden hose
quenching my skin after playing with the sun,
It washes off the sand sticking to my skin,
My sun baked towel calls to me with an outstretched hand,
come back.

NOthing is SOMEthing (2012)

Nothing can never really be nothing.  Thinking of nothing makes it something.  You may try picturing pitch black or pure white.  Yet, these are colors, and are something and cannot truly be nothing.  You envision nothing as an empty space.  Nothing cannot be this.  A "space" is something that can be given qualities like "emptiness."  You cannot think of nothing.  The word nothing signifies it as something.  However nothing is "no-thing."  It is the absence of something.  Nothing is the absence of thought, of anything, ever.  These words on this paper, the words that I am speaking, and even your thoughts about these words makes nothing something.  Nothing is a concept (or lack thereof) that is incomprehensible. It is beyond us, and is the absence of us, and everything we know or will ever know.  We are beings made of something, and have never and will never experience nothing.

Coffee Cup Sleeve (An Ode) (2012)

Dear Coffee Cup Sleeve,
My bare hands are the damsel and you are the knight
That shields my naked skin from that damned dragon's fire.
You are an oven mitt that I never have to wear,
Sun block that never needs to be applied.

O Coffee Collar,
Your tan tattooed cardboard skin
Has hugged so many cups,
But I'm not green with envy, for
You always come back to me
When my finger are in need.

Here's to you Java Jacket,
You are my palm's messiah,
The selfless saint who never retires,
For you get resurrected and repurposed
when recycled.

O Coffee Cup Scarf,
Before you came into my life,
My waking world was filled with scorching pain.
Before we were introduced in that coffee shop,
I was vulnerable, fragile, timid,
I was scared of being burned and blistered.
You took that fear away.

O Cup Cover,
You not only keep me safe from harm,
But you also keep my beverage warm.
You are a paper prophet, a corrugated cup coat,
A recyclable rescuer, a holder for the heated,
And a cardboard crusader.
Cheers to you Coffee Clutch!

Curses upon Public Restroom "Toilet Paper" (2012)

I hate you; I hate you,
O, do I hate you.
I curse you and your makers.

Let them resort to using you, in
Their most dire and desperate times
With your tissue paper strength.
Let them try using you, like I have.

You are my reason,
For avoiding the public stall,
You with your 1/2 ply physique,
Your wholesale sized roll of discomfort.

Let your makers try,
Your frail and fragile form,
Your gritty and grainy softness.
Let them try.

You're the bane of
My restroom experience.
The thorn in my backside.
The great tease of the enjoyable relief.

Curses upon you,
Public restroom "toilet paper,"
You cruel cost effective demon.

Lost and Found (2012)

Here, I find you sitting,
Retired, old, and forgotten,
In your green garden by the gravel road,
Withering away like a piece of old iron.

Retired, old, and forgotten,
Your face used to light up the room,
Withering away like a piece of old iron,
People used to stare at you in awe.

Your face used to light up the room,
Electric with your flashing colors,
People used to stare at you in awe,
Watching your emotions dance.

Electric with your flashing colors,
You became an escape from the routine,
Watching your emotions dance,
You brought us together with your episodes.

You became an escape from the routine,
Stories of triumph, loss, love, and despair,
You brought us together with your episodes,
We'd listen to and watch you all night.

Stories of triumph, loss, love, and despair,
You're a woman scorned,
We'd listen to and watch you all night,
Dumped on the side of the road.

You're a woman scorned,
Yesteryear's prized possession,
Dumped on the side of the road,
Being replaced by something younger, thinner, prettier.

Yesteryear's prized possession,
You don't seem bitter though,
Being replaced by something younger, thinner, prettier,
Lavender wildflowers and bumble bees furnish your new home.

You don't seem bitter though,
Hungry squirrels and robins listen to your stories now,
Lavender wildflowers and bumble bees furnish your new home,
Rising and falling stars now dance for you.

Hungry squirrels and robins listen to your stories now,
You with your roadside garden,
Rising and falling stars now dance for you,
Peaceful and isolated from that world which birthed you.

You with your roadside garden,
Rusting away with your faded memories,
Peaceful and isolated from that world which birthed you,
Here, I find you sitting.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Heart redux (2012)

My Heart remains unsatisfied.
It is thirsty,
For a glass of your beauty.
It is longing,
To refresh its chapped lips with your liquid love.

My Heart continues searching.
It is lost,
In the tangled knots, drawn on that map.
It is absent,
Leaving behind a pink zipper on my chest.

You were the solar eclipse
That took its sight;
A magnet
Next to its compass.

You were the ivy
Climbing up its walls, but
Once leaves withered and fell,
You turned to a juniper.

My Heart still aches.
It is sore,
Like it went 3 rounds with Iron Mike.
It is tender,
After you hit it with that mallet over and over.

I can change the locks,
Brick up your entrance,
Dig a moat, and
Burn the bridges, but
Time waters flowers that bloom from ashes.

Shakespeare's 3 circa 2012 (2012)

Look into your mirror and tell yourself,
That I can make another with my face,
And I can put my name on history's shelf.
You're cheating the world, losing life's long race.
Will my vanity be the death of me?
Will I e'er find a field to till and seed?
A future mother of my family
Tree; one that will grow large, and will succeed.
You're your mother's mirror, and vice versa.
You were created in her youth and prime,
And though you are no longer a larva,
And despite your wrinkles, this is your time.
          If you're not meant to live through history,
          Die single, and your name will die swiftly.

3, 2, 1, Blast Off (2012)

I am straddling a rocket ship
          on a one-way course
          to the starry cosmos.
I'm a human missile,
          "Slow" is foreign language,
          mumbo jumbo,
          jargon of conservative.
The Wind's voice can't temper
          my reckless desire.
I'm a human bullet
          shot from a cannon.

The pavement is a black winding river,
          with chewed gum in it.
The white dotted line,
          is now a white solid streak.
The trees have become
          a blurred hedgerow
          made of a green rainbow.
The sun is making love with the gas tank,
          and their heat is coming off in waves.
My missile, my rocket, my bullet
          roars at me with ferocity;
          a monster I cannot escape.

Backlit gauges show me three numbers
          where two once stood.
Two, ironically, is the number of souls
          brave enough for this journey.
A Wasp, brilliant with its yellow and black,
          hanging on for survival,
          as am I.
A pilot and co-pilot
          blasting off into the unknown together,
          giving me an unfamiliar sense of comfort.
How odd indeed,
          being comforted by a Wasp.

Black metallic eyes,
          unblinking, peering forward
          into things it couldn't understand.
Only two thin yellow legs
          clung to the missile,
          the others flowed with
          the furious Wind.
The Wasp couldn't know
          where we were going.
It had taken a chance
          and landed on a bullet.

In a bat of my lashes
          a new destination has arrived.
I release my wrist's tension,
          the monster is back in its cage,
          the rocket back in the hanger,
          the bullet casing now on the ground.
I bid my co-pilot
          a fruitful future, as it flies away.

We are all Wasps,
          deep down at our molten cores.
Taking chances on things
          we may not understand.
Hanging on for dear life,
          so that the sun may once again
          warm our faces.
We are led along winding paths,
          with no way to tell
          where we are going,
          or where our journeys may end.
We are all Wasps
          clinging to something,
          as our world turns and flies beneath us.

Why Must Hindsight be 20/20? (2012)

Can you call it failure, if
You didn't really want to succeed?
My heart says yes, it drops
An anchor that'll never reach the bottom.
My mind says no, it opens
A parachute to stop the free fall.

Can you miss something, that
You never really had?
My heart says no,
The ship is pulled beneath the brine.
My mind says yes,
Thoughts and emotions get tangled in the nylon chute.

God, my head's like Boggle, with pieces that won't land.
Hindsight's lessons always seem
Out of focus and grainy.
Answers are given that cannot be read.
I must be dyslexic,
Or blind.

Forced onto the rack by my desires,
Is it solitude or is it confinement?
Affection or obsession?
Spin that wheel and I'll say "when,"
But wait - it's hard to speak with
Words made of peanut butter.

Do I really want this, or
Was I just curious?
Am I really in love, or
Was I trapped thinking of a flytrap?

Words can find their way, but
They wonder off one way, while
Actions speak with a megaphone
Leading me in another.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Summer's Slumber (2012)

Trees once a luscious green have now caught fire,
Colorful old men losing all of their hair,
From life to death their heads have changed attire,
Their falling flakes of red and orange flair.
If air had a taste, autumn's would be crisp,
Breathe in deep and your lungs will not forget,
With gusts it will sting your face like a wasp,
Cold winds catch your beating heart like a net.
Though summer's warmth is gone, I will not frown,
It's like stepping out of a hot shower,
Your pallet's been cleansed, and time to cool down,
Spring will come and I'll once again flower.
The days may have gotten a lot shorter,
But that means it'll get warmer that much sooner!

A Day and a Night that Was and Wasn't (2012)

That memory is a chest with no loot,
An orchard, without the fruit.
I was certainly here, or there,
I couldn't have vanished in thin air.

Matter without substance,
Words typed with backspace,
A mindful ignorance.

How does one
Make the nothing tangible,
A blank canvas beautiful,
Or build a piece-less puzzle?

What did we do, where did we go?
Were we young at heart, but old in soul?
Was our wondering lit by the moon's pale glow?

All of these questions but still no answer,
Maybe if I think longer and harder I'll remember...

It's so hard to put fingers on,
All of the things that I could've done,
On that night I turned the big 2 - 1.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fire and Brimestone (2012)

Never in my life had I seen a priest yell and scream,
I stood in disbelief as I watched his heart beating in his neck,
Veins full of anger pulsed to the rhythm of his rant,
His face grew red like a warning light, faster, deeper.

My manager stood planted to the ground.
Her roots gripping and clinging to the earth against his gusts of contempt,
Absorbing all of the priest's raging heat and radiant anger,
Catching all of the rain shot out of the volcano's mouth.

On Mother's Day I saw the priest's utter disgust tattooed on his face,
"How dare you seat them before me," he said in his heated hymn,
Poking at my manager with a hand made of nails and eyes like thorns,
Crucifixion was the only solution to this heinous act.

The seven sins were the priest's obnoxious aftershave,
It was the burning smell of fire and brimstone.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Nothing Cannot be Nothing (2011)

Nothing can never actually be nothing. By thinking of nothing you automatically are making nothing into something. You imagine nothing as pitch black or pure white. However, these are colors, and are in fact something and therefore cannot be nothing. You envision nothing as an empty space. Nothing cannot be this, because a space is something that can be given qualities like emptiness. You cannot think of nothing. The word nothing automatically signifies it as something. However nothing is the absence of that something. Nothing is the absence of thought, of anything, ever. This essay, that previous statement, and even this statement makes nothing something. Nothing is a concept (or lack thereof) that you are unable of comprehending. We cannot comprehend nothing, because are beings that have mass, and have never and will never experience nothing. It is beyond us, and the absence of us, and everything we know or will ever know.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meet the Amish (2012)

It is inevitable. The lavish way of life that we take for granted will end. Whether it be by nuclear holocaust, disease, economic collapse, alien invasion, or zombie apocalypse, our stock exchanging, Big Mac consuming, Call of Duty playing, Honey Boo Boo watching days will come to a close. In the post-apocalyptic world, a self-sufficient civilization is crucial. It would need to be a civilization that produces its own sustenance, its own clothes, and its own shelter. It would need to be a civilization that could thrive with the lack of electricity and technology. With all the death and chaos that would surely be ravaging the world, it would need to be a civilization with a strong moral and religious structure. And sure, those magical fireplaces that these people make would be nice too. Meet the Amish, champions of the future of mankind.

The Amish, Mennonites, Pennsylvania Dutch, crazy horse buggy hobos, or whatever name you give them are a peaceful God-fearing people. They reside in very small and isolated villages in the vast rural areas of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and Indiana. Their way of life is simple, meager, and mostly technology free. The Amish have an unemployment rate of zero, because everybody has a job and everyone works. They seem to find solace in manual labor. The culture of the Amish is one that places a heavy emphasis on family and religious values, as each member of the community is required to attend the weekly service, for fear of banishment (Like survivor, only real). Like living breathing time capsules, these villages often resemble colonial America more than modern times.

After the fall of man, it will undoubtedly be proven that slow and steady wins the race. A culture that has changed little in 300 years, of existence, may one day be the only and/or the most advanced culture around. They will already have farm with crops and livestock, not to mention that they would have access to water and the tools to cultivate and work those farms. With the inherit knowledge of manual labor that each Amish individual possesses, building new homes, and making clothes would be simple. Voila, a self-sufficient village where the only problem would be the closed gene pool.

We have all seen film set in post-apocalyptic times, and you know it's never about just obtaining the resources for survival, but it's also about protecting those resources for survival. In any post-apocalyptic situation there will always be bandits, raiders, marauders, diseased mutants, Mongolians, parasitic aliens, or zombies, and to survive you will need to be able to protect yourself. The Amish have that mastered, for underneath the simple, peaceful, and religious appearance lives a skilled and ruthless warrior. Each Amish individual is taken from birth and is trained in hand-to-hand combat with countless weapons. Their bodies are taken from the womb as soft clay, and are forged in the fires of Jakob Ammann (17th century Anabaptist leader and namesake of the Amish religion) into solid steel. The Amish are also masters of illusion and of sorcery (How else do you think they get those fireplaces to work?), and it is because of their cunning guile that they are able to conceal their true warrior identity underneath their innocent appearance.

Though the Amish have quietly mastered the art of war, it is their sorcery that they value the most, for until now they have successfully masked their true identity to the world. On the surface the Amish men and women are simple, peaceful, and innocent looking individuals. However it is this quality alone that always masks nature's most dangerous predators (i.e. poison dart frogs, dingoes, chimpanzees, polar bears, gas station burritos, etc.). Each Amish person is a master of illusion, and is able to conceal just about anything with a plain and meager appearance. They are also able to summon the spirit of Jakob Ammann in the form of a cleansing holy fire that will vanquish any enemy that may arrive at their doorstep.

Becoming an Amish warrior and/or sorcerer takes not only a rigorous training regiment put together by the Four Elders (Amish Elder Counsel probably located somewhere in Lancaster County, PA or something), but they also need a strict diet with only the finest organic foods. The actual farming techniques are held in very high regard, and to even learn their ways a person needs to be an established member of the village, for an extended period of time. The manuscript that contains the farming techniques that the Amish employ has been passed down for centuries, and was written by the founder of the Garden of Eden. The Amish grow nothing but the finest crops and raise nothing but the fattest cows. Like hair was to Sampson, the food of the Amish-men is the source of their mental and physical strength.

At the end of the civilized world, the Amish nation will look a lot like it does today. It is possible that they would remain untouched by the chaos of an ending era. It is possible that the Amish would be none the wiser that the civilized world even ended. With this in mind, I hope that they are accepting applications to become a member, because with the thought of having to survive the never-ending wastelands of a post-apocalyptic world haunts me, as it should you. Have you ever seen The Road with Viggo Mortensen or Book of Eli with Denzel Washington? I'll take some hard manual labor, and a baptism into the Anabaptist Church (The official religion of the Amish) over that any day of the week.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Theory of Cloning (2012)

The easiest and most realistic way to clone oneself is through reproduction. George Foreman is the perfect example. Mr. Foreman has 10 children, and 7 of them are named George or has George in the name:
  1. George Jr.
  2. George II
  3. George III
  4. George IV
  5. George V
  6. George VI
  7. Georgetta (Daughter)
  8. Freeda George (Daughter)
Let's say that at least one of the sons inherits the family business of Foreman Grills, after George Sr. retires. Holding true the common practice of passing down from father to son. None of which is too out of the ordinary or far-fetched. After a son takes over the business, he will feel obligated to name at least one of his sons George. This exact scenario could seemingly replicate itself for generations. Generations, of George Foremans, keeping the name and the legacy alive. Can you imagine the chaos that could ensue? Forget about the rest of the world for a second. Can you even imagine a family reunion, in the Foreman household? After generations, the army of George Foremans would stop calling each other George Foreman. Why would they? They would simply refer to each other as numbers.
"Hey 67, how's your day going?"
Now consider this. Say a few generations from now George Foreman's ethnicity starts to transcend national and social borders from around the world. It would be the melding of the bourgeois and the proletariat. George Foreman's agents would be around the world, and in all social classes. Thus, creating a truly formidable army of Foremans. There would be so many of them at this point that they could theoretically from their own ideology, their own doctrine, their own political party, their own revolution, and would have the ability to plant a Foreman into a position of absolute power and authority. All they would need to do is band together, as families certainly are able to do, and rally for a single Foreman. The Foreman Klan would be unstoppable.
Once this happens, the free world would cease to exist. The President Foreman and his Gestapo of Foremans would rule with an iron fist. They would control us like remote control cars, or cogs in a machine, by using their latest George Foreman Grills, as transmitters for the distribution of their "mind controlling" propaganda, their undeniable doctrine. By this time there would be a grill in every house. No one would be safe from the FOREMANS.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sandwichology-ism (2011)

There is nothing quite like the crackling sound of lunch meat frying in a pan. I find it absolutely heart-warming. The popping sound of fat heated to extremes, and the smell of grease and meat in the air is hypnotizing. It is safe to assume that frying any food will instantly make it better (period). One of my favorite processed lunch-meats to fry is bologna. The somewhat suspicious make-up of bologna allows for the best results. This pork and chicken creation is very fatty and, when it is heated, bologna will produce quite a bit of grease in the pan (Success). It mirrors its distant cousin, bacon, effortlessly. Ham is another one of my favorites. Though not as fatty and mysterious as bologna, ham seems to double in flavor when cooked. It's safe to say that I love pork. Good thing I'm not Jewish, because nothing but the most unclean cloven-hooved animals find their way into my diet.

Besides breaking just about every law in the Kashrut (The dietary laws of Judaism), every good sandwich needs an "X-factor". Consider Primanti Bros, the quintessential staple in Pittsburgh fine dining. Their sandwiches would not be nearly the same without the addition of coleslaw and french-fries, right between the bread and the meat. After I spend a sizable amount of time frying processed pork products, I usually spend even more time scouring my refrigerator and my pantry to find the perfect "X-factor" element. Building a sandwich is both a science and an art. The egg, whether scrambled, fried, or hard-boiled is a solid hamburger or sandwich topper. It is also no surprise that one of the best combinations with the egg are pork products (ham, bacon, etc.). If there are no eggs to be cooked, I usually try to find something that will contrast the salty taste of the pan-fried meat. Ripping off the sweet flavor of coleslaw from Primantis is always a safe option. However if neither of those can be found, adding another meat to the sandwich equation can be beneficial. Some viable options as add-ons would be: pepperoni, salami, corned-beef, roast-beef, turkey, etc.

As far as cheese goes, I'm no expert. Though I'm not much of a cheese guy, I will try anything at least once (maybe twice). The list of cheeses that I like to eat is expanding with each passing day, as my palate seems to be acquiring the taste. In the realm of sandwiches, a sharp cheddar is always a safe selection, especially if toasters or panini presses are involved. An excellent sharp cheddar cheese not only brings a rich flavor, but also a nice stringy consistency and texture. Provolone is another safe bet, when trying to make the decision between cheeses. A good provolone brings a subtle flavor that only adds to the sandwich equation. The consistency of provolone is solid to say the least, and will tend to hold its shape even when toasted. Then there are the processed cheeses like American cheese and some pepper jack, which can be added to just about any sandwich. I consider these kinds of cheeses primary cheeses, because they can usually stand alone within a sandwich. Some of my favorite secondary cheeses are Jarlsberg and Munster to name a few. These kinds of cheeses can be a great addition to a sandwich with any of the primary cheeses to give a boost in flavor.

Vegetables are an important element to any structurally sound sandwich. Vegetables add color, texture, nutrients and vitamins, and can be a great contrast to the flavor of any protein packed sandwich. Though not everyone's favorite food group, not having any vegetables can utterly break a sandwiches' chances at success. Even the simplest sandwiches need to have at least lettuce and tomatoes (the basics). Vegetables can give a sandwich a much needed crunch that you can get from green peppers or lettuce, or the sweetness from tomatoes or Vidalia onions, which can contrast the tender and salty fried meats. Adding a nice selection of vegetables, like roasted red peppers or pickles, can give a sandwich some aesthetic beauty as well, by adding more color. Not to mention that vegetables will help the nutritional value of some of the more unhealthy sandwiches. Yeah, sure it takes a little extra time to cut and slice these elements, but putting in that extra effort can help a sandwich reach its potential.

Last but certainly not least is the sauce or condiment that gets placed on the bread. Sauce is to sandwich, like cherry is to sundae, or like meatball is to spaghetti (cliché). It is a must. I love a good mustard, and there is really one for any occasion. Deli or brown mustard is good on just about any cold cuts sandwich, but I like it especially with ham based sandwiches. Yellow mustard is the good 'ole stand-by choice, the All-American choice, and is compatible with any sandwich creation. Then there is the magnificent Dijon mustard, my favorite being Grey Poupon. Grey Poupon is the ultimate mustard, because it has a peculiar sweet and spicy kind of flavor that can literally make any sandwich seem like it is the god of the sandwiches (Love). My heart skips a beat every time I open a jar. Then there is mayonnaise, not to be confused with Miracle Whip. Damn Miracle Whip to the fiery depths and the high horse it rode in on. Mayonnaise adds just enough flavor and texture to make any good sandwich, a great one. Next is horseradish sauce. I hold horseradish sauce in the same regard as Grey Poupon. It is god like, and is immaculate on any beef based sandwich, and can add a nice nose clearing kick to any sandwich that comes out a bit bland.

Building a great sandwich is both a science and an art. Trial and error is part of the game when creating something spectacular. Don't be afraid to get creative and experiment with new sandwich blueprints. Open your refrigerator and pantry and get to work!