Tuesday, September 29, 2009

from "The IQ Champion of 8th Grade"

Jordy Clopp sings during language arts

Mark Twain ain’t got nothing for me

Nothing about Huck Finn is going to do it

Because I’m stuck on some girl

She’s got my mind in a whirl

I’ve got no thoughts left for Mark Twain

Not today

Mark Twain don’t get my time

She’s getting all of mine

Not some guy who don’t got much to say

At least not to me

Not today

Not Mark Twain

I don’t want to hear about no life on the Mississippi

Not no story about two guys on a raft

Not some rich snob doing the old switcheroo with a bum

Not anything about how fun it is to paint a fence

Not today

No way

Mark Twain

My girl’s getting my time

And there ain’t none left for your kind

So get back on that steamboat

And head home

Mark Twain

I don’t need you around bothering me

Not today

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

an excerpt from "fairly compendious stories told by pretty abominable men"

there was this cripple, this fucker on crutches, and he was holding up traffic, hobbling along super slow in the middle of the street, really fucking tying things up, crossing the street like a goddamn shit-faced turtle, and I was walking by on my way to the grocery store to secure some coffee before the damn place closed up shop for the night, just trying to get along, you know, walking at a brisk fucking pace, minding my own shit, and all these cars were backed up fairly close to the intersection at the top of the hill, and I’m like what the fuck, what the hell is going on here, why is this dude, this one single guy, inconveniencing all of these other people, what gives, I mean what gives him the right to just waddle on out there and back things up like that, and he’s all fucked up too, I mean like really fucked up, like he should be in a hospital or a mental ward or something, I don’t know, strapped to a gurney, looks fucking homeless or something, not a snappy dresser, you know, hair all knotted and wild, and his clothes are all ripped up and he probably stinks, but I’m walking by and looking at all of this, and the people in their cars are being pretty cool about it, they’re not like screaming at him or honking or anything, in fact they’re all being pretty damn patient, and the traffic signal is going from green to yellow to red and the walk signals are ticking down and the cars are just kind of lining up there like boxcars of some stopped train, so I walk on by and am kind of taking things in, you know, and I’m looking at this scruffy gimpy dude who is causing all the congestion, which is now turning into some real fucking gridlock with cars blocking the intersection and caught in half-turns and idling while the people inside stick their heads out the window to try to catch a glimpse of what the fuck is going on out there, and then out of nowhere this gnarly stink bomb on crutches starts hurling, and I don’t mean just your run of the mill vomiting episodes either, no, this is a real fucking catastrophe, like a Niagara Falls of puke, just loads of this slimy You-Can’t-Do-That-On-Television shit shooting out of his mouth, and it’s like coming without a lot of effort on this guy’s part, he’s just leaning on his crutches there in the middle of the street, not even close to being in any kind of a crosswalk, kind of bent over a little, but not much, and his mouth is kind of open, but lazy, you know, not like too wide, not like he’s at the dentist or something, you know, when they ask you to open wider so they can like get to the teeth way in the back there, not like that, just kind of like he’s staring at something slack jawed, like he should be drooling, like maybe he’s sort of out of it, like he’s just huffed gas or computer cleaner or something, not with it, anyway, I’ve seen people projectile vomit before, shit, I a saw a cracked-out woman projectile shit on the alley wall behind Safeway, fuck, it was like a machine gun fire of diarrhea, it was bad, bad fucking news, and it made this like insane splatter painting on the wall, well, it was better than most of the graffiti on there at least, and so this fucked up dude on the crutches is just leaning there and all of this vomit is just pouring out of him, I can hear it splashing all over the street, and there is a lot of it, it is all just pouring out in these like fucking waves, and he’s not even making those sounds that people make when they puke, you know, like they’re in the 5th set at Wimbledon, all of that fucking heaving and painfully disgusting over-the-top burp/scream stuff, no, this guy is quiet as a fucking church mouse, but I can hear all of this runny liquid streaming all over the fucking street and I can imagine it running down towards me because he was at the top of a hill and I’d kind of walked past him a little by then, but I didn’t want to look back, you know, like fucking Satchel Paige used to say, or was it Bob Dylan, anyway, I kept on walking, and I couldn’t fucking believe how much puke was streaming from this guy, it was like a fucking volcano had just went off or something, or maybe like somebody’d opened up a fire hydrant, and so I started thinking about maybe being a do-gooder for once, you know, a real fucking Good Samaritan, do something to help the crutch-bound bastard out, but, well, I mean, what the hell could I do about it, should I go back and try to help the poor fuck, or would somebody get out of their car back there and move him out of the way, but that’d be fucking sick, I mean there was puke everywhere, you know, and who knows what kind of fucking diseases were all over this guy, and I might get puke on me, you know, and what the hell could I do really, call an ambulance I guess, but the situation really didn’t seem to warrant that, the guy probably wasn’t having a life or death emergency, even though he was in some pretty bad shape, but the whole thing that bothered me was that this one dude was like getting in the way of a whole bunch of other people’s lives, and that seemed selfish, bullshit, thinking that your own life was somehow so much more important than all of these other people’s lives, and there was a part of me, sure, that wanted to extend a fucking olive branch out to the guy or something, to make peace with this surly son-of-a-bitch vomiting in the street, and I wanted to do the right thing you know, I wanted to help this guy, I mean, he was not doing well walking on those crutches, and he probably could use a hand, but the thought of it made me sick, and I really couldn’t imagine anything that I could do to help this spewing fuck-nut on crutches, but I also wanted to get him to mosey on away out of the way of all the cars so all those fucking people could get on with their lives, so I looked back, just turned a little bit, you know, like just craned my neck some, just to quickly scope out the scene there, and I saw the dude teetering, he must’ve been dizzy, and there is this sick-ass vomit all over the place and it is dripping off of his chin in this like thick green vine, just dangling there all mucusy and swinging back and forth like a pendulum, and the guy’s starting to sway, to tilt, and it seems he might go over, he’s unsteady on those crutches, and a car is inching up to him but can’t go around him because he is in the middle of the street and there are cars coming the other way that are also stopped and can’t get around, you see there are just these two lanes of traffic, and nobody is honking, and it’s fucking surreal as all get out, and I see the dude start to topple, start to take that fucking inevitable face-plant dive into the concrete, and the crutches are wobbling, and one goes down, it rattles and crashes down on the street, and he’s leaning on the other, using it for support, and it starts to twirl a little under his armpit, an he’s like putting all of his fucking weight on it, and I’m thinking like shit, here we go, this is it, this dude’s going down, but there’s nothing I can do about it, what am I going to do, go running over and try to catch this like fucking puke-smeared raggedy handicapable dude before he goes headfirst into the pavement, no fucking chance, that is not going to happen, that much I knew, so I look at the cars and the people in there are just kind of in awe of things, and they’re not really saying much, or doing anything, just idling there waiting for something to happen, and the guy leaning on his one crutch with that giant drip of spittle-like vomit hanging from his chin, well, I look at him wavering there and he has this crazed smile on his face, like he’s going through some kind of bliss, like he’s peaking on heroin or something, you know, real far away, and dopey, but happy as hell, just a nothing who doesn’t even know that there is such a thing as a something, I don’t know, some weird shit, but I kind of lost interest for some reason, or maybe it was just because the whole thing was starting to make me feel like I was going to vomit, and so I turned away and kept on walking down the street, I mean, what the fuck could I do, I needed to get to the grocery store before it closed, I was out of coffee, and if I don’t have my coffee in the morning, well, you don’t even want to fucking know what the hell that would be like, I don’t either, shit, so I walked on away and got to the store just before it closed and I was damn glad, a pretty fucking happy camper if I do say so myself.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I was never good at plumbing the depths, never one to do much more than skim the surface of things. Couldn’t keep my interest in any one single thing for long enough to do much more than give it a slight going over, a limning skirt about the margins if you will. Made it through the credits of most movies. That’s about all I could take before something else would come strolling along to distract me. I’d hove this way and that, find out about some nautical term or a small unremarkable skirmish during the Spanish-American War, and then it came to be that I would be on my way, gone, and somehow back again too, at the beginning of whatever it was I’d been starting out, or more accurately where I’d been starting out from. There were of course things that held my interest for a decent length of time, but those things were mostly something like a robin alit on a park bench or the way Neil Diamond’s voice cracked during Forever in Blue Jeans, and they didn’t require contemplation. I could concentrate on those things. I could get my mind to settle down. But those times were rare anyway, and mostly I’d use music to diffuse my thoughts, to make them swim upstream and away. If I cranked Borodin up as loud as it’d go I would usually be able to stay empty-headed long enough to stay focused, though it wouldn’t bring me any satisfaction. Some meditation-like state I guess. I’d just lie there on the floor letting the music fill me up and empty me out, and soon I’d just be this hunk of meat with hair and limbs and nails and teeth, and I couldn’t understand myself, this fleshy thing that hummed old commercial jingles and ran marathons in the rain and washed its hands. So it became hard for me to conceive of myself as the person whom I had always thought myself to be, though those thoughts would only be momentary escapes lasting as long as I let the music drift through me like that. Then it was back to the good old hemming and hawing, the blurty twists of enthusiasm and lackluster penance, of sudden bouts of back and forth between bug-eyed lucubration and TV watching and doing dishes and smelling plants and feverishly scribbling the names of every person I’d ever met on napkins. A scent of home would send me capsizing into memories, and then I’d sap out and flail into some other haven of a sort, some lesser-than-real place, the whereabouts of which I was often unsure, that would scream me back home, not that it’d ever feel like home, whatever home is, or was, or could be too, it wasn’t like that. It was not like that at all. I’d get song after song stuck in my head, not for long of course. It’d be just one after the other coming through like somebody was quickly scanning through radio stations. I couldn’t make anything stay. I’d start whistling, or no, maybe more like singing very lightly under my breath, “No cuts, no buts, no coconuts.” I’d do it in public, but not so anybody’d notice. At least that’s what I thought. That’s what you think when you do these kinds of things. I don’t know. The trouble with water is that it ripples and that it never stops recirculating. My brain was like that. There’s something else I kept thinking about, when I got the chance. I had this idea for a painting I was going to do. It was going to be massive. A giant canvas. The title was going to be Bear With Fish-Sized Penis. The title just came to me one day out of the big old empty, and there it was, the whole thing, resplendent in larger-than-life magnificence. The details were hazy, but the title wore its way into my mental tableau and it never really left the palate of my dreams clean. I’d had ideas like this before, but they’d always faded within a matter of minutes. Something else would always come along and push them out of the way like an advertisement or a steamroller. This idea about the painting somehow stuck though. It followed me around and nagged at me and junked its way onto the trash heap of my imagination, and it wouldn’t leave me the hell alone. It was weird. I didn’t know what to do at first, so I just ignored it. That worked for a few days. My mind was always transposing things and distracting itself with an unbelievable amount of fodder and offal and detritus-like crap. I had a lot of other stuff straggling along in there to keep me occupied. Like trying to figure out the names of all the actors from the A-Team, or plotting out dance moves alone in my room with my headphones on, or deciding what types of things I could add to Top Ramon, or absently thinking about God. But this image of the bear painting kept coming back to me. It was epic. I envisioned the bear standing up on its hind legs, maybe with a stern look of supernal majesty on its face, possibly holding its front paws up in a graceful butler-like pose, its head listing as if lost in contemplation, an unperturbed stoutness welling up from its sleek chest as a subtle roar made its luscious way out of an elegantly parted mouth. The bears claws would be manicured to add an effeminate touch. One day it just so happened that I decided the bear would have to be a polar bear. I don’t know why. I just started thinking about it that way. That was it. I’d walk around thinking about this polar bear all the time. I’d be fondling cantaloupes at the grocery store or something, and my mind would just hawk in on this polar bear straddling a rock that strangely reminded me of Half Dome, but obviously wasn’t as large. It was a fish-sized Half Dome I guess. Then it occurred to me that I hadn’t even conceptualized the way the bear’s penis would look. I mean, it was in the title. It had to be there. It just hadn’t entered my noggin up until then what the hell a fish-sized penis on a bear would look like. I know a title shouldn’t give away too much, or tell people what to think, or really do anymore than hint at the contents of the piece. Nobody wants to be told what they are supposed to be looking at, do they? That’s not the artist’s job. The audience should work a little, you know? Put in some effort. Well, me, I even have a hard time figuring out what day of the week it is, let alone what the hell some goddamn piece of art is supposed to be, or mean, or tell me about who I am on this big old lopsided orb spinning at a 23.4 degree tilt and hurtling through time and space at a speed that is nothing and everything at the same time. But everybody knows that. Who the hell knows what a fish-sized penis on a bear is supposed to look like? And what about the balls? Would they be bear-sized balls? And would that be bear-ball-sized balls or balls that were as big as a bear? Would the fish-sized penis be the size of a fish’s penis or the size of a fish? Did fish even have penises? It was confusing. I thought about making that the whole point. The audience would be left to use their own latent powers of ingenuity and fancy to make wondering splashes on the canvas with their own conceptions of what was there, of what it meant, of what was hiding underneath the surface of the mundane, the unoriginal and ordinary and trite. The onlooker would be part of the creative process. They would reflect their own ideas back onto the painting, and this would be what it was. It was collaborative, and there is where I figured the genius of the thing must lie. The bear would be more than a symbol. It would be a place holder for a symbol. It would be dynamic and the truth would wave in cockling folds from its splendor. The bear with the fish-sized penis. It was grandiose and wild and comforting at the same time. It was a thought that would not go away. I decided no canvas would hold this creation. It must be done as a mural. I went down to the art supply store and bought paint. I bought brushes. I got ready to do something for the good of humanity. My time would be well spent from this point on. It was invigorating. The mural would be timeless, it would teach the world for ages what it means to be alive. I put on a large panama hat, got all of my supplies together, and walked down to the elementary school by my house. It was summer. Nobody was around. I found a large unadorned wall towards the back of the schoolyard. It had no windows and was covered with that white splotchy substance that is kind of like cottage-cheese ceilings, but not quite. I took out my brush. I dipped it into the paint. Life stood tall and good and wonderful. I no longer cared about who I was.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

smells like band aids

for now

it is nothing but this

sometimes at least

like now too

don’t forget about what is currently happening


for now

something it is

what it is

like that also



that is occurring for what


like this

or that


something else

for that matter

for now

it is just what is

nothing else




quite like

this it

that is a now

for what just might qualify

for forever