Updated: Jan 25, 2021
The Magic of FAH & Inspiring Language
As I reflect on this new year, I want to think about how I got to this point of running a FAH(n) website. I first found FAH on May 5, 2020 and tiptoed around the rabbit hole (as we fahns say) but didn't take a deep dive until after the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis, MN on May 25, 2020. Since I'm a person who believes in facing the world head on, I watched the filmed killing of Floyd and discovered, as most people with any heart or sense of the injustices in this world, that I was overwhelmed with anger and sadness at this despicable act of violence. My antidote to this horror was FAH. It was then that I charged down the rabbit hole and never looked back. In fact, I have not surfaced since. That is, from the FAH rabbit hole. I have, of course, surfaced to face the world head on. I joined their Patreon page on June 11th, after subscribing to their YouTube and Facebook channels in mid-May (and let's throw Instagram in there for good measure too), and took three weeks to create this website, publishing it and going live on Google on July 23rd. On that same day, I sent the site, with a long email, to FAH and waited with much trepidation for them to respond to me. I was particularly worried, because I had approached their work from an analytical perspective, something I knew that no one had done before, and I had written four blog posts, three of which analyzed their work in depth. To my great relief Foil wrote to say that they all loved what I had created! And then we were off and running! In fact, I have not really slowed down much since then, producing both analytical pieces about their sketches, an Ode to the FAHns series, and writing a FAH detective fiction novel, FAH and the Case of Warehouse 1. I love that Foil gave me his blessing for that first creative work and then read the entire novel! And now, dear readers, I am writing a second, much longer and certainly more complicated novel, FAH and the Red Ribbon Murders.
So, that brings me to my thoughts about putting this particular blog post together. On my birthday, January 7th of this year, FAH presented a live stream (Arms's Magazine Show) and not only did they wish me Happy Birthday at the beginning of it, they sang me a birthday song at the end! It was a pretty spectacular experience for me because I got to celebrate my birthday with FAH and also with the amazingly fabulous people in the fahn community. To say that I felt unbelievably happy and blessed is a total understatement! My life is simply better for knowing FAH and for being a part of the wonderful, supportive and brilliant international fahn community. This blog, therefore, is written as a sort of mini-celebration at the beginning of this new year of the poetry that FAH and fahn friends have inspired me to create. And to that end, I am posting 14 poems that are FAH related and 8 that are not. I will explain why I wrote what I did and give a little bit of background on my writing process and some insights into my writer's mind and heart.
I don't have many artistic skills - unlike lots of other fahns in our community - but I can write, and I absolutely love to color. So, I'm including some of my favorite pieces that I've colored over the last year - these are pandemic coloring creations. The images that I colored are from the Scottish artist Johanna Basford; I don't have the ability to draw - again, unlike some of the amazing fahns - but I really enjoy putting colors together on the page. All the pieces in this blog were colored for friends or family with the person's favorite colors and/or personality in mind. Beauty comes from the heart for me - via coloring, writing, or even singing (my other talent) - so all the art in this post is heartfelt. I posted all of these poems - except one (which I'll point out) - on my Instagram page. And I've posted some of these coloring pieces on there too, but I'm sure there are many that people haven't seen before. I'll be posting the poems in chronological order of writing them.
November 3, 2020
FAH on Election Day
The world around me is in turmoil.
People I know are dying in anguish;
There is chaos, heartbreak, anger.
But FAH smiles and . . .
Hope . . . it creeps in, to stage
A coup in my heart and to
Push against the boundaries
Can FAH do all this for us, for me?
Is that too much to rest on their comedy
Shoulders, in this world so varied and vast?
Perhaps, but I ask anyway and
Shall I receive? I hardly know
Anymore; I only know that when
I see FAH smile on Election Day
I am, just for a moment,
Somewhere else, without worry.
The above poem was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend and a fellow fahn. It was Election day in the U.S. where I live and I was waiting to see what would happen with the outcome - would the bloated yam go or would we be faced with another four years of growing fascism? And then doomdah_fah posted a lovely picture of FAH smiling and I realized that I felt so much better when I looked at their picture. And this was because they are such lovely, sweet, kind people who get so much joy out of laughter and enjoying comedy. And so I wrote this poem for that moment when I felt free of worry about politics and life. I did send this poem to Foil because it meant a lot to me and I felt that I wanted to share it with him, as one human being to another. He called it "really powerful."
Posted to Instagram on November 11, 2020 (written some time in October)
Vicar Street in My Dreams
At its heart humor is most comical when
It divines just what the audience wants.
In steps Foil ready to whip us up
Into a frenzy of singing.
Arms comes next with his trumpet sound
To thrill our senses and change the tune.
While Hog dips in and out chatting to anyone
Who will listen and there are thousands of us,
Waiting to hear exactly what he will say!
We don’t want to miss a thing as these three
Comedy artists lay the groundwork for a night of
This is a poem that did not make it into the FAHnArtChallenge (in October on Instagram) and so I posted it because it still captures what I've seen in FAH's five live shows that I've watched over and over again on Patreon, but that I've never seen for myself in person. My dream is to see FAH in Vicar Street because I know that is a venue that they really love and in which they feel at home. It is my dream to see FAH in their home away from home.
November 14, 2020
3 Months of Waiting
The doorbell rings and Pudge barks;
he goes crazy and I
Trudge to the door, as usual . . .
who’s there or what’s up?
Today he is looking for something
that only I see.
A package from Ireland;
my FAH merch has arrived!
And my dog didn’t even notice.
I wrote this little poem the day my FAH merch finally arrived after 3 months of waiting. I went back and forth with lovely Mick the Merch man a couple of times and Foil as well, but when these notebooks finally arrived I was so happy that I wanted to get that moment of wonder down on the page ( pun intended). It is kind of a simple and somewhat silly poem, but other fahns could totally relate and that was all that mattered to me! It was that sharing of community spirit that made me so happy. Who cares that my dog didn't notice - the entire fahn community did! Yeah!
I wrote the following five poems on
November 17, 2020
A Flash of Insight
FAH and chameleons have much in common.
Each adapting to their new surroundings.
Changing clothes or colors, whatever suits the mood.
A metamorphosis occurs and I am transfixed
By their ability to mesmerize and attract,
Refashioning images of themselves in a moment.
This was a poem inspired by FAH's sketch "The Military Capture an Actor" which they published on Youtube on November 12, 2020. I thought about Foil's portrayal of an actor and how Hog responded to him and then suddenly I was struck by the similarities between Foil and chameleons and it all came together. It is a strange connection, to be sure, but one that I think works.
I read somewhere that FAH want
“some tea and motha fuckin biscuits.”
I know the feeling.
Where did I read this brilliant line? Why, on FAH's Facebook page of course! Here is the original line: "Time to check in at the precinct for some tea and motha fuckin biscuits" (September 10, 2010). I loved this line so much, I turned it into a poem and here we are! First of all, motherfucker is my absolute favorite curse word (just saying), so I felt an immediate connection with FAH on that one. Second, this seems so much like what they'd say in my 1950's mystery novel about them that I loved the line even more.
A Psychic Vision
Meeting FAH is simply a dream deferred,
To be fulfilled at a later date in a
Suitable time zone; across the ocean
For me or all three of them, either here or there
Or at least somewhere to see one another in the
Present tense. An “I am here” sensibility and you
Are there too, for a dream fulfilled.
I was actually inspired to write this poem about FAH by the African-American poet, Langston Hughes, and his beautiful poem, "Harlem" (below). I adore this poem and I began to think about the contrast between "a dream deferred" and my own desire for a dream fulfilled in seeing FAH live. It is interesting how I come up with poems. I like to play around with language, feelings, and sentiments. I think the rule, less is more, is a good one and in this instance I was able to capture what I wanted to in this short piece. Titles are very important to me as well. Titles need to resonate with me just as strongly as the entire poem and they should capture another layer in what I want to convey to a reader. The idea of a psychic vision appeals to me - yes, I know this is going to come true because I can see it in the future. It is in my power to see FAH live at some point, somewhere. I hope.
What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore— And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over— like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?
Another November 17, 2020 poem
Waiting . . .
Creativity haunts me like an addiction.
When I cannot get a fix, I feel like I have
Fallen into a dark abyss, my ideas lost in
A hazy nothingness, a blank, empty space in my brain, expecting my next injection.
. . . for inspiration.
I'm not sure this poem really works that well, but I tried anyway to capture how elusive creativity can be for a writer. Writing about FAH - either through analysis or creatively - fills me with utter joy, but sometimes I get stuck and writer's block kicks in. I was thinking about what it means to have that creativity cut off and how it can seem like going through an addiction withdrawal. FAH have also written a couple of their sketches with an addiction structure (think "Tea Addiction" and "Mother Earth Catches Ireland Burning Fossil Fuels") and I was thinking about this when I put the poem together. Also, I wanted to do something with the first and last lines so that if a reader just read the bold words, they would see another meaning that was layered on top of the poem itself. Is it entirely successful? I don't think so, but I bravely posted it anyway.
When Hog says “there’s no cocaine there”
He really knows what he’s talking about.
For the “soldier of death” has ridden in on his horse
And taken the bat out of its tiny cage and eaten it.
FAH have a dark side to their comedy (see "Baby Head Clamp" October 1, 2013, among others) and I've noticed this mostly in their early work. But FAH had just posted "The Earth is Pissed" (they've since changed it to "Drunk Planet Earth Interview" but I honestly preferred the other title because it is such a brilliant play on words - the Earth is pissed because he's angry and drunk) and this reminded me a lot of their early, edgy material that challenges viewers' perspectives about comedy and the world. I knew I wanted to do something with this darker sensibility, so I put this little poem together. The two quotes come from Hog. The first quote is from the outro to the sketch "Every Committee Ever" (February 7, 2019). The second quote is spoken by Hog to Arms on the Hog Show, episode 1 (October 22, 2020), which is on their Patreon page. The final line is, of course, a reference to Foil and his stunning portrayal of drunk Earth.
November 22, 2020
Possession, whose is it?
Yours or mine, I only ask
because you’re somebody
in Dublin that I
breathe into life.
Writing from my own heart
the stories that matter.
Names are embodied in
the bones and flesh
Of ideas; existing between
the pages of my visions.
Resurrected on the streets of
another city, I
Hope only for an ethereal
image that reflects
Something of you, but not
I adore this particular poem. I wrote it thinking about the way I write creatively about FAH and what it means to take their stage names (Foil Arms and Hog) and create characters in fiction called by these same names. I tried to capture what I do as a writer and what I'm trying to achieve with my fahn fiction. It is also about respect, something I talk to Foil a lot about when I write to him and share my work about them. I'm always cognizant of wanting FAH to understand that I am interested in honoring them with my writing. But whose writing is this if I'm using their names? Of course, I'm the creator, but they're the inspiration and both matter to keep artistic balance.
December 5, 2020
Revelations in FAH
I used to find peace
Laundry, especially, lent
itself to calm.
A neat house was the
same as emotional
But in the pandemic
Apathy sets in and I would
rather watch Anne
Tell me to: “clean as you go”
than do it myself.
Poems come into my mind at any time of the day or night. This one came to me one morning, lying in bed and thinking about the days when I actually found doing laundry a satisfying activity. Well, no more. Now, it just seems like a drag and a slog. I would rather be writing. I was looking out my bedroom window and thought: "I used to find peace in domesticity" and I was off and running. This was written very quickly on my phone as soon as I thought of this line. I tweaked it later when I put it into my poetry file, titled, interestingly "Bad FAH Poetry" - but of course a lot of my poetry is not bad. The title of the file does keep me humble, though.
Poem written on December 15, 2020
Nothing to do with FAH
Love and loneliness go together
like something profound.
But I can’t think of what, at
We leave behind relationships
like snail trails,
Forever known and felt, but
disappearing in the sun.
This is a poem I wrote for a friend who lost a friendship with another person and was grieving. I was writing so much about FAH, that I needed people to know that this poem had nothing to do with them. This is a very compact piece of writing that contains a lot of meaning and I really love it. It came together fairly quickly, but I had to get inside someone else's grief for it to work and that takes a bit of energy to do - I had to channel that grief in order to write about it. And there is really nothing profound to say about grief, we just have to feel it and then let it go into the ether or in this instance, a snail trail in the sun.
December 16, 2020
Me and You
I am invisible.
You don’t see me.
You don’t hear me.
You don’t know me.
You don’t see the words
get trashed or thrashed,
Broken, bent, twisted, erased.
You don’t see the pain, the frustration,
the joy, the elation.
You don’t see me beating the meaning
out of my heart.
Until . . . I step into the light,
Exposed, bare, trembling,
For you . . .
To see me, to hear me, to know me.
This is a raw, emotional poem that I wrote when I had a moment of feeling like writing is not recognized as important or valuable as an artistic endeavor. I run an entire website and I produce unbelievable amounts of writing material. I'm incredibly prolific, but that intellectual labor, I sometimes feel, is invisible. It just appears, but no one sees what happens behind the scenes. It's not even possible or really interesting to show the stages of the writing process, visually, to others; most people are only interested in the final product. And then I put my work out into the public eye and I'm there to be seen and assessed. That is an intense moment of exposure. What came out of this revealing poem is probably one of my more powerful and favorite pieces that I've written so far. It is about opening myself up to my own vulnerability. But it is also about waiting for the recognition of me, the writer, to be seen. The caveat to this poem is that I have been seen and know it, so this was just one moment in my writer's life and it has passed now. I still adore the poem though.
December 17, 2020
I was born needing peace
I’m a FAHn girl,
devoted and true
Walking into dreams,
Singing, sighing, oh
Help me . . .
You go straight to my heart
And I could scoop you up with
a spoon you’re
This is another very personal poem. I had just watched, with hundreds of other fahns, the final live stream of FAH's on Patreon: Foil's Xmas Gathering. It was such a lovely experience to be part of the community and to feel a connection with everyone, but to also see FAH so full of joy and delight about being together with us and one another. It was an experience that stayed with me and out came this poem. I did not post this on Instagram because it felt too personal (I just sent it to a few close fahn friends) and it was sort of a side to me that I didn't want everyone in the world to see, but I've decided to include it in this post because it is part of my FAH writing journey. I had the final line and the first line floating around in my Bad FAH Poetry file, so I knew I wanted to use both of them and this seemed like the perfect time to do so. I adore this poem and the title is reflective of the sensibility of my heart concerning FAH - there is something ethereal, but down to earth about their joy, comedy, and laughter.
December 19, 2020
I am outside,
You are inside,
Our stories traverse
the abyss of
Prison cells and lives
Say my name and
I’ll say yours.
And we’ll find an inbetween
This is a non-FAH poem about the teaching that I do to male students at a maximum security prison. I teach them a writing course via correspondence because we are in a pandemic and it is impossible to see them in person. Working with these students has been one of the most rewarding and also the most painful experiences in my 26 year teaching career. I wrote this poem for the students that I just taught in the autumn term and I shared it with the students that I am teaching now in the winter term. It is a recognition of their invisibility in our country and culture and how writing can connect people no matter their circumstances and make them visible again.
Dec. 20, 2020
Mother earth is scattered
And bored into.
us down into the Irish sea
Rests and kills while
Wax on about the beauty
asks: “when can I rest,
because all I
want is a snack and a
I suppose this is both a non-FAH poem and a FAH poem. For this piece I was thinking about FAH's sketch "Mother Earth Catches Ireland Burning Fossil Fuels" and "Drunk Planet Earth Interview," but also the way that Arms portrays Mother Earth and Foil portrays Earth. I also read that the Irish Sea is one of the most radioactively contaminated seas in the world. I tried to put a humorous twist on something tragic at the end of the poem. And the title seemed to work with the sentiment of the piece. Do I think it is perfect? Not at all, but I do like the last line.
December 23, 2020
I’m in the mood
for a black-market hug.
FAH had the right idea. Seek
and ye shall find, they said.
I should have listened when
I had the chance to love.
But now to ease
My loneliness I can only
dream of you.
I absolutely adore FAH's sketch "Blackmarket Lockdown Haircut." It was one of the first that I watched at least 30 times (no exaggeration). It is just the most amazing sketch and when Hog says that he wants a hug for a haircut it is both funny and poignant because he captures the feeling that so many people had in that moment of just wanting to be close to people during a lockdown. So, that is partly my inspiration for this very short poem. But also, I just was feeling bloody lonely when I wrote this - all my friends are far away in other countries and the few friends I have here in the US are also far away and no one can see one another in each other's homes. It was just a moment of feeling bereft of friends and closeness. We've turned the corner into another year and I still feel these sentiments that I captured in this piece. Hugs are at a premium right now and if I didn't have my dog to hug and cuddle, I think I would be pretty bad off indeed.
December 25, 2020
A Short FAH Christmas Poem
Across the miles I see Dasher
and, uh, Dasher, again,
And then Cupid: three visions of sugar
Plums . . . ho, ho, no, wait a minute.
What I mean is that FAH are so dear
to us they create Christmas cheer
Just by being generous with their art
And winging their way into our hearts.
This one was hard to pull together. I really struggled and even now it feels incomplete to me. I think it definitely needs a third stanza, but I couldn't figure out how to bring my ideas together and I wanted to get something up for Christmas. This is partly an inside fahn poem. If you, dear reader, are not on Patreon, you won't get the first references to the names of the reindeer and why they are repetitive. The second reference of course comes from FAH's sketch: "The Elves are Fed Up" (December 3, 2020). Who knows why I went into rhymes? And that is why this poem doesn't really work for me. It served its purpose as exactly what I said it is: A Short FAH Christmas Poem. But it is not my finest hour as a writer, that's for sure.
December 29, 2020
Falling, falling into an abyss of love,
I see the passing darkness.
Moving, moving into a chasm of delight.
I taste the sweetness of laughter.
Shifting, shifting into a chamber of joy,
I smell the fragrance of devotion.
Easing, easing into a fissure of warmth,
I touch the fiery light.
Drifting, drifting into a canyon of pleasure
I hear the sounds of you.
This is a poem for a friend about love. But honestly, it could be for anyone who has ever loved and adored someone and just revels in the presence of that person who brings them joy, happiness, delight, and a feeling of sheer devotion. Love brings all of these feelings to us and we throw ourselves into that love with gusto! Again, like the grief that I crawled into for one of my poems, here I crawled into the love that I know my friend is feeling and I tried to capture it on the page. I really like this poem a lot because it feels very universal and that is a comfort as a writer. It is easily accessible to many people who have experienced the wonders of all consuming love.
December 31, 2020
As I wait for the minutes to pass into the future, I watch FAH on my screen, Arms’s “wassup!” taking me back to an era and a moment, bridging the gap in years with laughter.
In a few days I’ll have a birthday; I feel
comfort and a peaceful easing
into ageing. I am content.
But tonight, I will ring in another kind of
new year with some good musical jams,
and homemade chicken soup, in the kitchen.
I wanted to write a poem about New Years eve and FAH had just published their utterly brilliant sketch, "Decades Throw a Party" (December 31, 2020). Arms's "wassup!" brought me back to a time when my family adored this saying and we said it all the time to each other and then guffawed with laughter and delight. And every time I watch this sketch, I just am so happy. And I laugh every single time that Arms says this phrase. So I knew where I would begin, but then where to go? What to say? My birthday was looming at that point and also people were asking me: what are you going to do for New Year's eve? And I find and found this question puzzling because, first of all, we're in a pandemic and what is there to do, really? And also, the thought of any kind of partying on any level fills me with utter dread. So this, dear reader, is what I did. I made chicken soup and sat in my kitchen happily. I do feel that this insistence on peace and tranquility is not just about the pandemic for me, but also about not wanting to be uncomfortable or worry about "doing" something for an event that is going to pass every single year as I get older. I'm content getting older, but I want it on my terms: the chicken soup was delicious.
January 2, 2021
I shot a gun once. A .22 pistol.
It was silver, and light in my hand.
I stood in a field behind an old
house in Florida and shot at cans.
One, two, three, the bullets whizzing
across the grass.
At 19 I knew this wasn’t for me, but
the person I loved deeply didn’t.
We stood together, so far apart
even in those early days. It would
take another 25 years to figure
out the truth.
I never picked up a gun again,
I’m 54 now, alone and happy.
This poem was inspired by a book that I was reading and the author was talking about what kind of experience makes for good writing descriptions about gun battles in detective fiction stories and I remembered that I had shot a gun once, long ago. And I said out loud to myself: "I shot a gun once" and then the poem just materialized in front of me. It is more of a narrative than some of my other poems, but I do like it. I hate guns, the marriage didn't work out, and I'm okay. I survived and here I am doing things that I love: writing about FAH, running this website, teaching students who desperately need help, creating a community among people far flung and close. Is my life perfect? No. But whose life is these days? We're in the middle of a pandemic and there are a whole host of problems in the world to conquer, but I feel that life is pretty darn good and I'm very blessed to have what I do.
January 15, 2021
We all have a dark side . . .
Sometimes this emerges as we stand
in the kitchen at midnight,
Eating ice cream out of the freezer
with a spoon that we’ve picked
Up out of the sink because it looks
relatively clean and we can’t be
Bothered doing the dishes.
This poem came to me in one moment when I thought to myself: we all have a dark side. I like this phrase and I kicked around the idea of writing a really heavy poem, but then I thought that humor would go farther and be more meaningful. And who hasn't pulled a spoon out of a sink of dirty dishes to eat ice cream out of the freezer, day or night? It is a simple, silly, fun poem.
January 17, 2021
FAH’s Party Ethos, Long Gone
In the pandemic, rooms in the house
Days of the week pass unseen and
Ghosts of strangers and lovers alike
roam in and out of months.
No one holds a glass of wine or eats
hors d’oeuvres together.
No one mingles or wraps their arms
around each other.
No one takes home food in foil
or cooks a hog in the sun.
Our time is spent with medicines,
wandering company aisles
Masked, six feet apart, lonely for
the lost decades of love.
I end this blog post with FAH, as it should be. This poem came to me one day while I was talking to a fahn friend; the poem is really inspired by her and our conversation. It didn't take me long to write the poem but it took me ages to come up with a title that I liked. I wanted to capture what we're not experiencing now in the pandemic, but what FAH like to focus a lot of attention on: the party! It's something that we can't experience now because most of us across the world are either still in lockdown or in situations that prevent us from coming together and having fun as a group. I wanted to use FAH's "house party" playlist as a jumping off point for this poem and I think it worked out considerably well. This is a poem that makes me happy even though the subject matter captures a sense of sadness in what we've lost.
Thanks for coming along on this ride with me, dear reader, and sticking around until the end! I hope you enjoyed yourself and learned something about me, the person who created and runs this website, who likes to write poetry, FAH detective fiction, analyses, and who feels very grateful for FAH and the brilliant, amazing, supportive and fabulous fahn community. This is my dog, Pudge. He's smiling here, if you can't tell, and to him life is full of joy and wonder, good food, smells, and lots of cuddles. As anyone who knows me might imagine, I share the same sentiments and values.