Tag Archives: Lawrence

Snapshots of Lawrence

10 Jan

I washed my hands

looked into the mirror

and smiled.

Kansas wasn’t an easy move to make.

You have to want to find Lawrence.

You don’t wind up there by accident.

You can’t fly there

and no bus or train will take you without

stopping in Kansas City, Missouri first.

I’d left the comfortable trappings

of a cushy middle management gig

in Texas for a period of uncertainty

in some random college town that most of my friends

didn’t know existed.

It made sense to no one but me.

I needed to absorb the history of the town

where modern basketball was birthed

long after the first shots of the Civil War rang out.

A town where Nick Collison became a local legend

and Hall of famers like Wilt the Stilt,

Paul Pierce and JoJo White made their bones.

Greg Ostertag starred at the neighboring high school

in Dallas.

Met Gale Sayers once in an elevator

who I had no idea–before that day–that he was a KU alum.

He looked nothing like Billy Dee Williams.

I once asked a coworker who’d

played center at Oklahoma State,

what it was like to play in Allen Fieldhouse as a visitor,

and he said it was “kinda spooky.”

One of the best years of my life was spent living in Lawrence, Kansas

But I didn’t know that yet.

I would’ve never guess that I would roam the same halls

where Danny Manning won a high school state championship.

Didn’t know how often I would run into guys like

Wayne Simien, Scott Pollard and Ben McLemore

randomly at places like the grocery store or the taco shop.

Or that I would enjoy some of my best moments

microdosing and playing basketball with friends

or one of the most memorable birthdays ever

at an in conference game with two good buddies.

All those summer visits to Lawrence and KC led to this:

playing pickup soccer under soft Kansas sunsets,

learning on the fly in a semi competitive league.

pining to meet someone

who’d lived in Lawrence during the golden age of 1996 to 2003.

Before the development of the west side

and destruction of the marshes.

None of it made sense.

How do you explain the chills of

being in attendance at game in Allen Fieldhouse

walking around with all the ghosts in town?

It was something one had to experience for themselves.

The intensity and fun of various pickup games

on the town’s many courts–

and the beauty of seeing basketball hoops in every other driveway.

Those pleasures would not be mine

had I not taken that chance.

Moved to the middle of nowhere

to a state where I knew no one

and didn’t have a notion of how I would make a living,

or frankly, where I would live.

But it would all work out

in ways I could never predict.

Of course, I didn’t know that at the time

staring in the mirror

and drying my my hands,

before joining the throng

of people playing board games

in the living room.

It definitely felt like home.

I just wasn’t sure for how long.

~Bob E. Freeman


It’s Official

24 Jan

Thanks to a buddy of mine, I found out that my latest collection of poetry, Poems About Lawrence is available to purchase here and here. You can get it in paperback or on the kindle. Thanks in advance for supporting this project.



Edward Austin Robertson

New Collection of Poetry On the Way

29 Dec

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My newest book , “Poems About Lawrence” will be available to purchase in a couple of weeks. You will  be able to buy it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Ingram, among other places. I will keep you posted. Until then, have a happy new year and enjoy this playlist that I made while editing the book.


~Edward Austin Robertson

East Coast Trippin’ Day 1: “A lost day of travel”

24 May

Completely lost track of the holiday schedule this year and didn’t account for Memorial Day coming a weekend earlier than I am used to. Had I realized this, I would have put my travel plans on hold until Monday. I hate traveling holiday weekends. Ticket lines are busier, buses and planes are guaranteed to be crowded, and cops are always more visible.

After a year of “champagne-ing and campaigning” in Lawrence, KS, I decided to beat the heat this summer and head up to the northeast. Believe it or not, I had a blast in the middle of the United States and am better for the experience. Spent last week saying goodbyes and even managed to leave a present for my incoming sub-leaser

2014-05-23 10.59.53

There was a little shenanigans coming out of the block yesterday for sure. One of my roommates forgot to put the top back on his radiator (he’d been checking his fluids) and the engine started smoking when we got on the highway. He pulled over at the nearest service station and because I had planned ahead for such fiascoes, I had enough time to call another housemate and rescue us, and get me to the airport in time.

I ingested some “special” banana bread to ease my flying anxiety and our plane was up in the air by 1:50-ish (I flew Delta–which is never quite on schedule–they are like the greyhound of commercial flying).

So far there is nothing to report. I spent the night in a hotel in Charlotte (which I kind of like–reminds me of a laid back north Houston suburb). I’m clearly staying out in the hood, but trouble has not found me, and the locals have been very engaging. If I ever have a friend who moves here, that will be excuse enough to visit this city. they say it will be the next Atlanta.

Speaking of Atlanta……….their airport is what is up! So many beautiful honeys up in that motherfucker. Wow!!! I even had a cutie throw me a “Rock Chalk” after she saw my Kansas t-shirt. From the excited look in her face, I thought she knew me from somewhere–turns out she was just on that Lawrence tip.

My cab is here to take me to the bus station. Asheville here I come. I have heard so many great things about you. I hope they are all true.

Thanks Vision

7 Nov

Last night I found myself at the Granada with a 15 dollar ticket to see Toro y Moi.

For as good of a band they are, they are still kind of an underground secret.

The place was packed with a vast collection of Lawrence bros and hipsters.
The band threw down from the very first note, but I was extremely unnerved by the lack of dancing at the show (and the awful bro/ho ratio). It was hilarious watching a crowd full of hyper masculine dudes resist dancing to some ultra funky grooves. It was almost like they were afraid of letting go and appearing “gay”.

I started out in the very back of the crowd and finally after 3 songs decided I was going to go up front and dance. I fished my way up to the stage where only a smatter of people actually were grooving. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. What in the name of Andrew Wiggins were these people here for if not to dance? The lifeless looks on their faces was confusing. I know I was back in the midwest but this had to be the stiffest crowd I’d ever seen at a live show. I could only imagine how it looked from up on stage. Were we not in the best college town in America? Was this not a chance to celebrate how lucky we were to be able to share this experience? Maybe it was the depressing layout of the theater (no seating and loads of concrete–the Dallas Grenada is far superior) Or was I a little too fucked up on mushrooms?

I don’t know. But I knew I had to show these cats some love. I appreciated them coming to play here in Lawrence, Kansas of all places. I was going to dance and if someone got bumped into it was because they were out of rhythm.

I didn’t think I was high enough until the music started, but by the time they went into Divina, I knew I was peaking. I was drenched in sweat from the constant dancing– I couldn’t stay still for one single note. This was the third time I’d seen Toro y Moi this year and it was amazing just how much tighter they’d gotten since the last time I’d seen them in March at SXSW.

They were feeling it too. You can tell they are locked into a groove. Even old Chaz had let his hair grow into a beautiful fro that I could only be jealous of. They are ready. I had danced so much that by the last 3 songs I felt exhausted. My limbs were moving by sheer rhythmic instinct.

It was an incredible show. It is unbelievable that it was only a 15 dollar ticket. I’m certain that the next time they tour, Toro y Moi will be playing in bigger venues for a higher price. And as long as there is room to dance and the speakers and sound system can handle their music, then it will be worth it.

Dr. Naismith, Or: How I learned to stop worrying and hate Mizzou

21 Jun

My experiences in Missouri could best be described as mildly uncomfortable, to wildly absurd, to downright shitty.

Besides my first Royals game where I watched Mark Mulder (then with the A’s) pitch a 2 hitter (I had bought seats behind the plate for like 25 bucks), my trips to Kansas City have gotten progressively weirder. Whether it was being hosted by some weirdo ballet girlfriend of a traveling companion or being (almost)seduced by a tranny in a nightclub in Kansas City.

“Oh you’re transexual? Post op or Pre-op?
Pre-Op, huh? well it was nice dancing with you. You should let a guy know these things before you come inches away from being kissed by him”  (which taught me that just because there’s no Adam’s Apple, doesn’t mean that she (?) isn’t a he. I thought I felt warmth coming from her (?) crotch area, but wasn’t sure if it was just my paranoia from being drunk in a gay club. The lesson as always is to trust your instincts.)

I’ve been on Greyhound buses where we picked up some weirdo with extra chromosomes in small towns there, and Kansas City Pedo’s with underage girlfriends (who could easily be mistaken for brother and sister or kissing cousins–thought that type of behavior may be accepted out there).

I got stranded once in post-apocalyptic Joplin for nine hours because we missed our connecting bus. The operator of my bus from Kansas City was a power-tripping, crazy lady whose two unscheduled stops caused me a night of discomfort on the linoleum station floor.

I got stuck in Springfield once because I was left during during a 20 minute stop (totally my fault for trying to fit in an argument with my then girlfriend).

I had a shitty visit to ST. Louis, a place where nothing seemed to be on the level. My buddy and I paid 50 bucks to stay in a flophouse that presented itself on the internet as a hostel (we should have known with a name like the Huck Finn). It was there that I learned that no one even lives in St. Louis.

They commute from the surrounding burbs and go into town. The actual city itself is comprised of restaurants and businesses and has a pretty big racial problem.

I happened to walk up on a domestic dispute between an Italian and his lady (she was sobbing with her head against the steering wheel) and he stopped yelling at her to say ” Hey nigger what the fuck?.I laughed hysterically. My buddy from California was not impressed either.

This visit coupled with the Rangers’ loss to the Cardinals in last year’s World Series has flamed a passionate disregard for the shit hole city ( Miles Davis crazy ass might be the best thing to ever come out of there–oh yeah he was from the Illinois side–fuck em!)

Another time on a road trip to Toronto, my buddy and I had the misfortune of trying to stop at a Best Buy in Wentzville (to pick up some tunes for the road) where we encountered a fifteen minute detour because we missed the exit. We were shown a real life example of the meaning of the word, anti-climatic. Not only was the music section small, but the best selections it had to offer were in the forms of Yanni, Michael Jackson, and Yo Yo MA.

The phrase “going to Wentzville” was coined as a way to define any ridiculous endeavor that results in a bigger headache than what it was originally thought to be worth. (For example: taking a girl on a really expensive date to realize halfway through that she was annoying, boring and talked too much, but then powering through the night only to find that at the end of night she couldn’t sleep with you because she was on her period–that my friends is “taking a trip out to Wentzville).

The ”show me state” had yet to show me half the hospitality bestowed unto me in neighboring Kansas. I’ve been treated like a rock star up in Wichita. They rolled out the red carpet for me on many a visit there. The women have treated me well there, I never had to worry about a place to sleep, good coffee to drink, or good pot to smoke.

Then of course there is Lawrence. I have never been shy about my developing love for KU basketball. I can list so many epic games I’ve seen on television throughout my adult life alone. My adoration for the program really blossomed during the 2002-2003 era, when Drew gooden, Nick Collison, and Kirk Hinrich were the stars there. Keith Langford was one of my all time favorites (the lefty who could always seem to get his shot).

When I moved to Austin in ’01, I had the pleasure of seeing Drew Gooden (Don’t laugh. He was ill back in college) put up some crazy numbers against the TJ Ford led Horns.

What I took away from the game though wasn’t what happened on the court. It was what took place in the stands. There were thousands of people dressed in Jayhawk blue who had commuted from Lawrence, KS to see their team play.

Basketball was still a novelty in longhorn country and the only reason people came close to selling the arena out was Sugarland phenom TJ Ford. But even as good as he was, the place wouldn’t fill up unless it was a marquee matchup.

So to see people who genuinely cared about basketball was intriguing. And they were so nice. The fans had a lot of class and they cheered so loudly that they eventually took over the game and the arena. There was never any doubt either. They knew they were good, but they weren’t cocky, they were just good and they knew it.

I couldn’t help but sit down and root for them when the NCAA’s came around. The eventual National Champion Terrapins of Maryland beat them in the Final Four.

But they made things interesting and made me pay attention the next year when I saw Nick Collison put up a 20-20 game against the Horns down in Allen Fieldhouse. That team had Hinrich, Keith langford, Jeff graves, Michael Lee, Aaron Miles, and that team came SO close to taking it all against Carmelo Anthony and the Orange(men).

That was an awesome tourney to watch and it really made me wonder if I was really a Jayhawk fan at heart.

Maybe the Thunder should consider signing Hinrich??

In 2004 I’d take my first visit to Lawrence while on a road trip to Kansas City.

I was immediately impressed with the town, the rolling hills were unlike what I thought could be possible in Kansas. The campus was enormous, and beautiful and there was a serene calm about the town.

I liked Lawrence immediately but I was already living in a small town, and there didn’t seem to be anything to do but shop and eat.

It was sheer coincidence that I happened to be in San Antonio during the ’08 Final four.

I was in downtown San Antonio, right outside the venue when Mario Chalmers hit the game tying 3 pointer and go into overtime to beat the Memphis Tigers. I got a chance to party with the Jayhawk faithful on that championship night. Even shared a wink and nod with the great Larry Brown (pound for pound as Sheed called him) at a restaurant. I even ran into former Jayhawk 3 point specialist Michael Lee down by the Riverwalk.  There was something different about these fans and they left a lasting impression on me.

When the NCAA’s came to Tulsa, I took the opportunity to treat myself and get a taste of the excitement For 75 dollars I got great seats behind the basket (THE BOK is a smaller venue with no real bad seat in the house.) and got to watch two very different games.TNT was covering  the games and Craig Sager could be seen on the sidelines. When  I recognized the hairdo’s of Stever Kerr and Marv Albert I knew it was for real.

Texas played Arizona in the first game and KU played Illinois.  There were so many things to take away from the game. Arizona’s basketball band was really fun to see. They had a great selection of tunes to go through and you could tell they were enjoying themselves. They all wore matching Hawaiian shirts and played uptempo and contemporary songs (I’m pretty sure they played a range of JethroTull, Pearl Jam, and even some White Stripes).

While UT’s band played the same stale tunes they were playing when I was working security for them in 2003. It was actually pretty sad.

Only a handful of people had made the trip from Austin and it was clear that the U of A fans far outnumbered the Longhorn fans. It seemed like the only people there were family of the players and coaches, and people from the athletic department.

UT got hosed on a bad inbounds violation call and ended up losing in the final seconds. The dry ass Longhorn band started playing the “Eyes of Texas” for the few fans who’d commuted to lend their support and before the song was even over, the Jayhawks players ran onto the court–amidst a sea of cheers that drowned out the pitiful UT faithful.

There was a Jayhawk invasion much like in San Antonio. They took over and it felt like a home game for the KU boys (may as well been Tulsa is only four hours from Lawrence).

KU trounced them but the Illini at least won the battle of the cheer squad. They were good. The cheerleaders had great routines and they were in synch with the Fighting Illini musicians, pulling off some pretty impressive stunts and acrobatics. They managed to pull of some gymnastic formations I’d never seen before and I realized that this was why I sometimes enjoyed being at NCAA events more than NBA.

Only the tip of the iceberg. they pulled out all the stops for the tournament

It wasn’t nearly as bombastic or artificially loud. There was no crazy music going on during the game, and no silly PR promotions. It was just about the school traditions and spirits. The pageantry was on full display that night. Fans didn’t have to be urged on to cheer. They were already ravenous without prompting. The KU game against Illinois convinced me that I had to see a game in Lawrence.

Later that winter I road tripped up there, scalped myself a ticket and completed my trip to the basketball mecca of Allen Fieldhouse.

A basketball shrine. This was where it all began–where basketball was invented. Photos of KU greats like Wilt the stilt, Danny Manning, Mr. Iowa Nick Collison, Jacque Vaughn, and Paul Pierce was a bit unnerving. I felt like I was at a museum.

And of course everyone was just as nice as I remembered. Fans were such an intricate part of the process. It was a like being at a big high school game, everyone sat in the bleachers. Fans lined up along a roped off area that led to the tunnel of the players’ dressing room.There were no luxury boxed seats, no ridiculously loud music to whip the crowd into a frenzy. I couldn’t believe I was here. The only time I could recall having such a religious experience was the first time I went to a Cubs game in Wrigley. Though no tears time around, just a really big smile that lasted throughout the game and most of the night.

If you are a fan of basketball you have to go to at least one game at the Phogg. It’s truly a unique experience.

The best part of course was when the clock was running out in the second half and the chants of ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK began.

And this was just a non-conference game against Howard University. This wasn’t the famous Border Wars finale with Mizzou.

This was a blowout win against an inferior opponent. No one left early. Everyone was loud. They cheered everyone on the team from the star forward Thomas Robinson to the equipment manager. There was something to these fans that evoked admiration and respect. They were loyal, and knowledgeable and they respected the game. I was on board.

It wasn’t until the final conference game with Missouri that I was able to get some perspective on the rivalry between Kansas and Missouri. It was much bigger than basketball. This was legitimate bad blood that went as far back as the Civil War. The more research I did the more it started to make sense. 

I felt stupid for not realizing it earlier. Of course I was having fucked up experiences in Missouri,it was a slave state (as if I’d never read any Mark Twain duuuuuuhhhhhhh). It was upon my last visit that some locals gave me the lowdown on Lawrence and how it was established and why the radical roots ran so deep. It certainly made anyone rooting for Missouri suspect in my mind.

I certainly know on which side of the fence I fall. Any enemy to Missouri is a friend of mine. Jayhawkers huh? Well maybe this was the town for me then.

To be continued.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk

14 May

Local Texas boy Keith Langford smashing on fools. A damn shame they didn't win it all in '03

Local Texas boy Keith Langford smashing on fools. A damn shame they didn't win it all in '03


I’m in Lawrence, Kansas right now at the  public library.

I’m in town on my day off from a nice little road trip. Did stand up in Wichita on Monday and I have a poetry reading in Wichita on Friday at the Blank Page Gallery on Douglas street.

With two days off I decided to hit up the town where Burroughs holed up before he died, to see what all this talk is about.

Now I’ve always had an affinity for Jayhawks basketball ever since I started watching college hoops.

I loved the uniforms and my first ever tourney was watching Adonis Jordan and Rex Walters play in the same backcourt in ’93. That was the year of the C-Webb timeout against UNC. J-Kidd and Steve Nash both made a little noise that year as well.

Some of my favorite moments of watching Jayhawks hoops involved Nick Collison’s 20-24 agaisnt UT in Allen Fieldhouse in 2003, Collison putting up a 30-20 against Duke in the tournament, Drew Gooden beasting it up against UT in Austin in 2002, and the Mario Chalmers shot to send it into overtime against Memphis in 2008 (I was in San Antonio during that game and the city was flooded with Jayhawks fans, it was pretty surreal. I met Larry Brown and Michael Lee– even ran into Patrick Ewing, he looked fat.)

I’ve visited up here on a couple of occasions but this was the first time I really got to kick it.

I’m staying with this cat Marcel, who I met on couchsurfing.com and he is a super cool cat. a recent transplant from Seattle, he likes hoops, jazz, women, and traveling. I think I’d call that a kindred spirit wouldn’t you?

He showed me around a little bit then I checked out the jazzhaus on Mass street. It was cool, reminded me a bit of Berkeley as far as vibes go, a very nuetral energy.

it’s kind of squaresville out here. Lots of fratty/ sorostitute types. Lots of hot chicks, but none I’d be innarested in. I’m a country boy at heart and these girls just wouldn’t be picking up what I’m putting down.

I prefer the ladies in Wichita. A bit more twisted, and if you can put up with all the cigarrette smoke, you’re guaranteed some anal…..they don’t play around in that town. They could give Okie women a run for their money.

As it is, I’m here one more day and then I head back down towards home. Good times for sure. Excited about the poetry reading. I read some stuff at the open mic and I got a mixed response. The best one was from the guy who runs sound:

” WHen I found out there’d be poetry I was thinking it’d be boring and pretensious, but it was nothing at all like that. It was funny, honest, dirty and best of all real. You gotta come back Bobby.”

I most definitely will. Especially if I can score some basketball tickets in the winter. I’ll paint the town Jayhawk blue. But as for right now, it just can’t get weird enough for me here.