Friday, January 30, 2009

Halo Sims' Late Night King Kong Radio Hour (PART 1)

Hello out there. This is Halo Sims coming at you over the airwaves like a broken beer bottle smashed on your head. This is Halo Sims and I’m careening through the time space continuum with the tenacity and delirious backbreaking fury of a Chihuahua attacking a burglar. Hello out there you pedestrian dabblers in high-frequency modulation, you hunks of mutton, you red-eyed and weary-souled night owls and spelunkers of the Walpurgisnacht. I, Halo Sims, the most can-openeristic, belt-it-out-of-the-park, Sodapopinski, flag-chewing son of a bitch that any of you Twinkie-munchers will ever come across, do hereby declare that I now, until further notice, am assuming complete and absolute control of your feeble, herd-concerned minds. So, take that volume control knob and turn it all the way up past eleven, pour out an extra cup of coffee, grab the person next to you and do-si-do to the sound of the cockroaches rooting around in your kitchen, and hold on to your hats and glasses because this here is the wildest ride in the urban-ness.

Well, so, hello out there. Halo Sims would like to welcome you critters and poetasters, all of you 24-hour diner patrons and moon watchers and Owl-line bus riders and throwers of rocks at lampposts to a most Grand Guignol feast of aural bacchanalian revelry. Your intrepid host and master of transubstantiation, Halo Sims, is here to reassure you that he will be up, up, up late and all through the windy squeals of night with you. I know times are rough out there. I know it’s getting harder and harder to make it. Heard a marsupial croaking in the gutter right on the corner of Post and Jones. Saw the shredded guts of an accountant on the sidewalk over on 5th Street. Cars with their batteries stolen. Potholes all over the place like divots on a golf course. Manhole covers gone and sold for scrap. The lines for the homeless shelters and the soup kitchens snaking around the block. Panhandlers outnumbering the tourists downtown. Cable Cars going off the tracks and careening into pedestrians and dogs. Murderers roaming the streets. Thieves. Sad-eyed mules of men wearing rags soaked in Crisco carrying empty bottles of champagne. Not a sign of rain. Nope. No precipitation in sight, and the stock market crashes and sinks and bottoms out lower and lower each day, and people are losing their homes, and people are losing their jobs, and people are losing their minds. I know it’s bad all over. And you’ve got haircuts to get and bills to pay. It’s not easy. No, no. It is not easy. And you hear things like economic downturn, knee-deep recession, not-so-great depression, a bad patch, and you hang your head a little lower and think that, no, things can’t get any worse. But they do. I know. I know it’s rough out there. But perk up your ears for a Qoheletic minute, take some time out of your busy-ness and running around, whether it’s inside your own skull or not, and listen up, okay? Because Halo Sims is going to take all of your pain and suffering and shove it down, down, down, and away for a while. You won’t have to think about making it through another day just yet. Not tonight. No. Not here. Not now. Not on my watch. Halo Sims is going to put your minds at ease. Yes siree bob. No more worrying about how you’re going to afford that Hungry Man Salisbury Steak dinner, or even that Top Ramen lunch, if that’s what floats your proverbial boat these days. No more wondering about how those bills are going to just get up and pay themselves, or flipping through the Classifieds every morning trying to find a job of work. Just let it all go and settle in, get down with it, crack your knuckles and hunker down, because Halo Sims is going to take you places that’ll make all your troubles seem like nothing more than a few cracked eggs, and we’ve all got to break a few eggs sometimes to get things done, ain’t that the way it is? Yeah. Halo Sims is here for you, as sacerdotal witness, as professor and madman, as garbage collector and boogey man and CEO and violinist and lawyer and groom, as the fly on your window or in your soup. It’d be small of me to commit bigamy, and there is always another dish to wash. So sit tight and turn it up. Halo Sims is in control, and I’m taking all your cares away with me, and putting them back where they belong.

I’ve got worries, oh lord, I’ve got more worries than you’d ever know. My worries weary me something awful. I wish my baby was here, wish she was calling my name. But I’m too busy worrying all my time away, to even care about what she has to say. Because I’ve got worries, my lord, I’ve got such a worried soul. I’m even worried about saving what’s left of that. No savings account can hold what I've got No it can’t. I’ve got more worries than a worms got holes to go crawling in. I’ve been down and out so long I’ve forgotten how to look up. Oh lord. I’ve got worries. Oh lord. And those worries won’t just worry themselves away.

the taste of blood in the mouth

So, sure, it isn’t always sunny weather, and the even when it is, the sunny side of the street might not always seem like such a bright idea. When Dave Loggins is imploring you to come to Boston or Denver or home, and that’s the last place you’d want to ramble on off to, well, yeah, things don’t always work out for the best. But, you know, that’s okay. Halo Sims will be with you tonight, singing and ranting and howling at the moon along with you. So hush…hush, sweet Charlotte. Things are bound to turn back around someday. But for now the world is upside down. So put your halo on, and come along with Halo Sims. It’s about surviving, about crawling around in the muck and the filth and the shit, and coming up with your hands clasped, with a little trash and truth shining through in your smile. It’s a lonely world out there when you go about it all alone. So take out that harmonica, swing that guitar around to your belly, look out for that orange blossom special that’ll be bringing your baby back. Come on along for the ride. Here we go. This is Halo Sims…

This is a breezy but predictable yarn about a wayward young fellow, a gleeman and warbling bard of a sort, named Chester Mayflower, whose wild woodnotes soared throughout the highlands, gathering the dust from berries and piping loud as a lute. Chester was a gas station attendant. Yeah. He sat around nights watching the pumps glow red and white in the lights of semis rolling in off the interstate. When it rained he shoved a nickel in his hat brim to make it shine. Nobody knew Chester. Nobody cared. He rolled his own cigarettes, Old Gold. There were holes in his shoes to match the holes in his head, and it just so seemed that he’d leak out his story to anybody who happened to be passing by. Chester filled up gas tanks and washed windshields and spit on the concrete and watched the night sky for any signs of a change. He wasn’t the fastest train on the track...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sprinklers & Sparrows

I get my gum from Parsippany, New Jersey

Chewing gum reduces stress

(The trouble with breathing is That you always have to keep at it Again and again Like your heart beating And thinking about it doesn’t do any good It only makes it worse One time you might step off of a curb And down and out Into the street Right in front of a bus That might be it for you)

You can’t bribe somebody with an IOU

Saying have a good day a hundred times a day
But never meaning it even once
Serves its own purpose

My gum contains sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol,
acacia, acesulfame potassium, aspartame,
candelilla wax,
glycerin, sodium stearate,
soy lecithin and titanium dioxide.
It is made by Cadbury Adams,
Whom I imagine to be a robust, hearty and hale man,
with a wispy shock of auburn hair.
A guy who bales hay and wakes up at the crack of dawn,
Who maybe smokes a pipe on his porch while the cicadas sing in the twilight,
And whose gum factory
In Parsippany, New Jersey
Churns out tiny square pieces of gum by the thousands
All the live long day.

White letters
on the
gum packaging 
that my 
gum has been


shown to 



(I rest reassured)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

He Who Laughs Last Laughs His Last Laugh

**Listen to this first before reading**

Wanting more shared experiences, though only those that would be as rich as those he had when alone, cognizant of the fact that his inferiority complex was making him overcompensate, thinking now that maybe he was borderline schizotypal, though leaning towards the leaner side of it, at least not yet believing in magical thinking and ESP or putting all of his faith unwillingly into a fortune cookie, though he did find himself staring at the winning lottery numbers from time to time and daydreaming about the numbers coming to him in an epiphanic flash, and also sometimes when sitting or standing close to an attractive girl he sometimes felt himself concentrating all of his energy, you could almost call it praying really hard, to try to make the girl somehow “pick up on” these vibrations emanating from him, and turn and smile at him and start talking, which would lead, in his head, to a long imaginary conversation in which he said all of the right things, as did she, and by the time she was gone, having got off the bus or left the cafĂ© she had been sitting in, he would have already imagined their whole prefabricated life together, maybe even all the way to both of their deaths, depending on who had died first, as sometimes it was he who bit the big one before she did and this of course would preclude any further imaginings, and he would probably go on staring at a lamppost or a sign in a shop window or a crunchy, brittle, curled up leaf on the sidewalk or whatever tiny, insignificant thing he could concentrate on to make the world seem smaller and more manageable until something else came along for him to prevaricate along with, but for now his subconscious yearnings had not reached a level where they could sway his conscious thoughts to be willing participants in this charade, this “dream world” he found that he was carefully crafting with his thoughts when he was unoccupied with the actual physical world, and this in turn would lead his “normal-everyday-mundane” thoughts around delirious corners, speeding off to those blissful realms where tit was not for tat and here was never there and wormholes seemed like ice cream cones compared to the psychedelic landscapes over which these visions propelled themselves like mice shot out of block-long slingshots into an ocean of marmalade and meringue.

His thoughts were becoming odd. Strange things occurred to him constantly. As he drove by houses he found himself staring at their lawns. He saw the grass and his mind became replete with all the living organisms on the planet. This was not something that he could express to other people. He became very quiet at these times, or he talked a lot, wildly and in disconnected fragments, about some other thing, anything else, and whatever it was, it was always dull and vapid, and it felt dead and sour on his tongue. What was in his mind seemed incomprehensible, inexpressible, stupid. He couldn’t even explain it to himself. Being alone was becoming more and more what he wanted. Nervousness roiled around in his gut with an unsteady churning, a plopping, a slow ache and whine that made him wince and grab at his side. The sound of his phone ringing made his heart jump and beat wildly, and his face would flush over and over again, embarrassed of something that he couldn’t explain, always feeling ashamed of something, though what it was seemed unimportant, or too difficult to try contemplating. Going outside, even just to cross the street, seemed like some kind of otherworldly miracle, and he would find himself wandering around in his apartment, knocking on the walls as if wanting somebody to answer, to let him out, whatever that would mean. Something was building up inside of him. Some type of indistinct rage, an uncanny sensation that made him feel like a water balloon slowly being filled at the tap. If bursting were an option, he’d take it. There must be limits, even to this. There must be an end. He was becoming bitter and angry and other people were drifting further and further outside of the equations of his life. Doing the cultural cringe was taking up more and more of his time.

He finds himself feeling constricted, hemmed in, fettered and tied down to things he can’t name. But the thought of future days, days when he imagines himself free, gives him an incredible feeling of hope. Those days are easy for him to imagine. Those days never actually come. Time is always pushing down on him, holding him prisoner, never letting him just relax and enjoy things.

Cantaloupe soup. An obelisk. 

Chester comes home and is upset at himself for being there. It isn’t a very comfortable situation. Not for Chester. He doesn’t want to have to be around himself, not all the time at least. There’s nothing to be done about it. Grin and bear it. Until the eagle grins. Chester is never alone. Nothing matters. Nobody cares about him. He cannot escape. Look. There he is. Right, there…He is laughing.

Good God.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Drugstore Delivery Boy

Lot’s of time you spend just looking in the rearview. It’s a habit you get into. Sometimes you’re just looking at yourself, your face up close, maybe trying to pop a zit, or see if you missed a hair shaving that morning, or if there are boogers in your nose, or you’re just looking to see if you’re still the same person you’ve always seen in mirrors. The same asshole doing the same stupid shit you’ve always done. Yeah. It’s hard to keep steering straight while you’re doing this, but you learn. You push hard against the wheel with your hands to keep it steady. You learn to do three or four things at once. Multi-tasking I’ve heard it called. Something a delivery guy’s got to do a lot of. You learn to get all the brown paper bags in order on the seat next to you. To kind of hold them there with your right arm when you stop suddenly or take a turn too hard. To keep sneaking glances over at them to make sure they haven’t tipped over and spilled their meds out onto the floor, where it’ll be hell trying to find them, because you know they’ve probably rolled all the way under the seat or disappeared like that kid in the Twilight Zone who accidentally rolled into the fifth dimension. Lots of stuff gets lost in the truck. Who knows where the hell it goes. And then one day, like when you are getting off work and you’ve parked the truck for the night, a bottle of meds will fall out onto the cement when you close the door. One time I found a bottle dated four years before. Who knows?

So, yeah, you get really busy, and you start driving like a maniac, weaving in and out of traffic, getting on and off the freeway for short stretches to try to make good time, and all the while trying to keep the bags in order and steady on the passenger’s seat, and also trying to read the clipboard with all the delivery addresses and names listed on it, where you keep trying to check things off with a pencil that is attached to the clipboard with a long thin chain-thing, like they have on pens at banks, that keeps getting all tangled up in itself. It’s not easy. It can be damn stressful. I got to the point where I could plan out my trips way ahead of time in my head. I knew every damn shortcut and back alley in the city. I knew the timing of the lights, when to make three right turns instead of waiting at a soft green to make a left. I knew where all the houses were, and in what order I’d go to them, and the paths to take between them to cut down on backtracking. My head would be abuzz with all of these things, and I’d drive on instinct, without ever thinking about it. The radio would be blaring some classic rock station and I’d have all the windows rolled down and would be singing along, weaving through traffic and screaming at other cars. Shit, I’d be four or five streets ahead of myself in my mind. And I’d grab the bags and sometimes leave the truck running in the driveway, and I’d sprint to the door and knock and ring the damn doorbell like a madman. Sometimes these damn people would take fucking forever to come to the door. And I’d be shitting bricks, hopping up and down and trying to look in the little window in the front door, sometimes calling out, “Anybody home! Delivery! Drugs on the steps!” and other shit like that. If nobody answered after a while I just left a note, in my horrible chicken-scratch, that I’d tried to deliver the medications but that nobody was home, and I’d put the pharmacy’s phone number on the bottom, and I’d stick the note in the crack in the door and hope for the best. Sometimes someone would come running after my truck as I pulled away. I usually pretended not to notice them. I was already gone to the next place in my mind.

So, like I was telling you, you do happen to look into that rearview a lot when you’re driving around all day like that. Hell, I like looking at myself. Is that so wrong? And this brings me to, well, that’s kind of what caused most of the crashes I got into with that truck. There were a couple that were really bad. The last one totally ruined that piece-of-shit 1989 Toyota pickup. I was rolling off the freeway off ramp at a pretty good clip. It was at a place where there a like five or six lanes merging into three lanes, and it was downhill, so I’m flying, just fucking flying through all this, all these cars trying to merge, and I’m changing lanes back and forth like a motherfucker trying to pass people, like I was playing Frogger at superspeed. It was like the Blitzkrieg was after me. I was jamming. Gunning it. Pedal to the metal and all that crap. Yeah. I was really motoring. And so, I look up in the rearview to do a quick check of my booger situation, and then blam, just like that, I go ramming into the rear end of some dumbfuck. And that’s that. The truck is fucked. I slow it down and slam it up against a curb. The thing is smoking like a chimney, and the hood is all bent up, and I just know I am like totally fucked. You know that feeling in your gut that like everything is just wrong and that there is absolutely nothing you can do about it? It was like my whole world just sort of collapsed. I sat there in the truck and kind of put my head in my hands and leaned against the steering wheel. Some jerkoff comes knocking on my window, and he’s like all fucking P.O.’d and shit, and he’s yelling at me, and saying stuff like, “Didn’t you see my brake lights?” and other stupid crap like that. I’m just kind of dazed. The seat belt held me in, so I wasn’t hurt or anything, but I was feeling really awful. The guy was really being an asshole, so I just kind of turned to him and said, “Hey buddy. Why don’t you take a flying fuck and get the hell out of my face.” And then I rolled the window all the way up. He got real pissed then. Man. He was fucking livid. Started screaming all kinds of shit and pounding on the glass. I flipped him off and put my head in my arms, leaning on the steering wheel again. It was kind of fun. I kind of just kept ignoring him and eventually he went away. I remember sitting there thinking about how tough my life was going to be from there on out. How bad things were going to be. Nothing was ever going to be good again, to be easy, and I’d have to suffer. I knew I’d have to suffer, and that I’d have to keep paying for my mistakes over and over again.

I decided suddenly to drive the truck back to the pharmacy. It wasn’t a short drive, probably about five miles. I just turned the keys, the thing jangled and sputtered to life like a wrecked lawnmower, and I got the hell out of there lickity-fucking-split. The guy whose car I’d rammed into was screaming at me and trying to come after me, but I jumped the center divider and flipped a bitch pretty damn quick, heading back towards the freeway onramp. The hood of the trunk was bent up, kind of crumpled too, and there was all kinds of steam coming from the engine, but I made it back on the freeway, though I did stay in the slow lane. The front bumper was hanging off, barely there, and I think one of the headlights was cracked. The truck was doing a lot of lunging and making some damn strange sounds, like banging and popping kind of sounds, and I could tell all of the water and many of the vital fluids had drained out of the thing. It was slow going. People were honking at me, flipping me off, and yelling at me to get the fuck off of the road, but I kept at it. It seemed really important that I get back to the pharmacy. I didn’t know what else to do. I was a long way from home. My car was back in the pharmacy parking lot. The stores around there had all closed, and I was sure my boss had gone home.

I often ended up being out on deliveries when the place closed. I’d usually get back late, park the truck in the lot, and slide my delivery log, the keys, the cash bag, and whatever brown bags of drugs I had left over through the mail slot in the side of the front door. It was funny seeing all that stuff lying there on the floor like that. That’s what the boss wanted me to do. I didn’t argue.

It was getting late, getting to that point when the day starts thinking about turning into night. I had one headlight on the truck that was working. It would have to do. I drove that beat-up piece-of-shit truck all the way back, smoking and dripping and clanking, the steering wheel shaking so bad I felt like I was having a epileptic fit, but I made it into the parking lot. I slammed the damn truck into a parking block and turned off the engine. Smoke was still bellowing from it. The thing was in bad shape. I knew it was wrecked. There was nothing I could do about it. I took a walk around to the back of the building. There were some dumpsters back there and it stunk bad. I threw the keys into some bushes, and heaved the clipboard onto the roof of the building. I put the cash bag in one of the dumpsters, and walked away back to my car, doing nothing but thinking about how hard my life was going to be from then on.

Monday, January 5, 2009


(The inside jokes and the misbehaving ways and the worst of it like a pie in the face when you wake up hungover again and the gray day is a little grayer sweeping away the ways you move underneath its weight dragging you down and the world will be a little lighter without you around to step all over it)

Grandiloquent and shabby and dull, before next Wednesday we’ll have some peace around here, graphs show where the pointer points, falling out of bed, functioning is optional, lastly erstwhile nothing changes, bummering and lost, stamped and unlicked and somehow ready, watching Abel Gance movies in the dark, contumacious and silently screaming while that scream is still looking for a mouth, back-seat driving and beleaguered, there are more isolationists in the hills, welcome the little runts dancing in the brick dust, deceive the defeated into smiling, cook a steak, there are more millionaires in the hairs of a rat than in all the beautiful singing children’s hearts, we cannot motor on this river no more with this rudderless boat, carrying Nebraska was enough to make the hard hearted farmers march in the dirt roads with pitchforks raised high to raze the world, cauliflower grows in the boxer’s ear, the devil shaved yesterday and looks a little younger but not any more healthy, watch all the different ways of driving that we do, bocce balls were not meant to be thrown like baseballs at things like walls or people’s heads, there are more than 883 different ways of being distracted by a fly, willpower makes itself up all the time without making any sense or money, furthermore is rarely used in conversation, a spellchecker didn’t invent spelling, winning isn’t always the best way to win, defying to defy gravity is mostly what we do here on the ground, the Wizard of Oz is not so wonderful, putting pants on can be done both legs at a time, personalities are personal, there are words and there are worlds and there is autopoiesis, the sound of a cap gun, the sound of a cannon, the sound of a cicada in the grass, the sound of the moon, the sound of a small child crying, the sound of shoes on linoleum, the sound of rain, the sound of shit plopping into toilet water, the sound of grass growing, the sound of jumper cables, the sound of swimming pools, the sound of soup, the sound of tires on wet cement, the sound of refrigerators, the sound of aerosol, the sound of a violin drifting from an open window across the street on a quiet night, the sound of machines, the sound of bracelets, the sound of Emmy Lou Harris, the sound of computer keys, the sound of marching soldiers, the sound of presidents, the sound of death…