Tuesday, June 9, 2009

sketches composed while listening to The Talking Heads on a Tuesday afternoon.

the girls just want to be with the…

The boys don’t know what the girls like about the boys. The boys don’t know what to think when it comes to what it is the girls might be feeling about the boys. The boys are in the dark about the girls. The boys often wonder, what is it that makes the girls like the boys? All the boys want to be liked by the girls. It is hard for the boys to know if the girls like them, mostly because the boys don’t see what is so great about a boy that would make a girl like a boy. Only the girls know what it is that attracts them to the boys. The boys just don’t understand. The boys know what attracts the boys to the girls. The boys know what they like about the girls. The girls also know what the boys like about the girls. This makes things somewhat unfair for the boys. The girls do not know this. The girls have a hard time understanding why the boys don’t know why one of the girls might like one of the boys. To the boys all the boys are the same. The boys don’t see why there might be something special about any one of the boys that would attract one of the girls. The boys do see why a boy would like a girl. The girls have certain things that attract a boy. Both the boys and the girls know what these things are. What the boys don’t know is what the things are about the boys that attract the girls to the boys. The girls know what these things are of course. The boys spend a lot of time trying to figure these things out. The girls don’t need to figure out what it is about the girls that attracts the boys to the girls. The girls already know what these things are. The boys are at a definite disadvantage. Sometimes the boys will try to be funny. The boys think that being funny is something the girls might like. Some of the girls like it when the boys are funny. But the boys aren’t really sure what that “like” means. The boys are not sure if it is a “like” like, or just a like. The girls know the difference, but they don’t make it clear to the boys. The girls think that they boys can tell the difference between a like and a “like” like, and the girls don’t want to let the boys know when it is a “like” like anyway. The girls like to keep things like that to themselves. Sometimes the boys will get frustrated by this, and the boys will sometimes go up to the girls on the playground and push one of the girls down, and the girl will fall on the blacktop, and the girl will get her hands scraped up and she might tear her pants and she might even get some bruises or start bleeding. Whatever happens, the girl’s feelings will definitely be hurt. The boy will most likely laugh, or the boy might spit at or on the girl, and then the boy will go away and give the other boys some high fives, and the boy will feel very vindicated. The girl will not understand that the boy actually likes the girl. This is very common. It happens all the time. The boys don’t understand certain things about the girls, and the girls don’t understand certain things about the boys. These things will never be resolved. Still, 95 percent of boys and girls end up getting married by age 55.

please respect my opinions they will be respected some day

When I came home that day I found that my mother had moved seven male lodgers into our house. We only had two bathrooms in that house, and one was my mother’s. I was very concerned about the bathroom situation. It didn’t seem that we’d have enough hot water to get through all of those showers every day, and what about all that time we’d each have to spend going number one and two. It could cause problems. I was very stressed out about this initially. It was on my mind a lot. There were not locks on the bathroom doors. Would we be getting locks on there? I didn’t want to walk in on one of the lodgers. I didn’t want them to walk in on me. It was not a fun situation to be in. I asked my mother, why? Why all of a sudden this influx of lodgers? We had enough money to get by. We were not lacking. And it wasn’t like we had a lot of room to spare. In fact, besides my room and my mother’s bedroom, there was only one other small room in the house, well, excluding the kitchen and the two bathrooms of course. My mother said that the lodgers needed a place to sleep at night and a place to put their stuff. We had a place to sleep. We had a place to put our stuff. We had food to eat. Why not share some food with the lodgers? I didn’t argue with her. It was not my place to argue. It was not like I was paying to stay there. I was a notch below the lodgers on that one. She had me there. So, I tried to get used to having all of those lodgers around, and tried not to think about the bathroom situation, which, like I said, was very troublesome to me.

My cuticles would get cut and bleed a lot back then. It seemed I was always getting cuts on my cuticles. They were always bleeding. It was a rare day when I didn’t have at least one band aid wrapped around the cuticle of a finger. I would cut them on cracker boxes and shampoo bottles and pens and cardboard trays and doors and carrots and really anything with edges. It was hard to keep enough band aids in the house for me. The lodgers sometimes took the band aids from the medicine cabinet and hid them from me. The lodgers would laugh about this. I didn’t find it funny. Having a bleeding cuticle and no band aid to put on it is not fun.

The seven lodgers all slept in our spare room, which was quite small, but they had bunk beds in there, bunk beds that my mother had bought at a second hand store for them. So, there were these three bunk beds crammed in there, with hardly room to move. I don’t know where the extra lodger slept. He might have slept on the floor for all I knew. I didn’t really go in that room much, except to take out their dirty laundry down to the wash room. Mother said it was my duty to do this small task. I frowned a lot while doing it and also made a lot of frustrated noises of contempt, but I did it.

One night I came home late. I’d been to the grocery store to pick up some turnips and horseradish and a cheap bottle of wine. My mother had asked me to pick these items up after work. I came home, with the turnips, horseradish, and wine in tow, and when I opened the front door I heard a lot of commotion. I didn’t see anything at first, then, as I walked towards the kitchen, I saw all of the lodgers in there, and then I saw my mother in there too. I dropped my bag of turnips, horseradish, and wine. I heard the wine break on the floor. I’m not sure what happened to the horseradish. I grabbed the turnips and made a hasty exit.

Relaxing is overrated. It is not easy to relax. Is in not fun to relax. Relax, don’t do it.

I’m not as smart as most people are smart. That being said, if that were something that we could assume from the start, if we could just go ahead and say, okay, this kid, he’s not so smart, then it would be easier to explain myself, to start from this position, this, shall we say, differential of experience. Because what I’m talking about here is not the hard-wired capacity for intelligence, for learning things, for remembering, for thinking abstractly and attaching notions to expanding potential and turning them into other notions, which are then created and verily follow, and that lead to the ability to think in a highly developed and articulate way. No. I must be speaking of something else. It is more of a way of seeing, or of not seeing, the way things work together with each other. Now, as I have stated, I am not as smart as most people. I am not in the possession of even a mediocre intelligence. I do not remember things I read very well. Sometimes I will read the same sentence over and over again, and still I will have no idea how the different words connect to each other. I will have no idea of the meaning of the sentence, though I might be able to recite it perfectly from memory, after reading it slowly over about a hundred times, I will most likely have no idea what the words are saying. Nothing connects. I see everything as bits and pieces. I never see the whole. I am not smart. This is something I reconciled myself to at a very young age. I considered myself dumb from very early on. I did not have the knack. I could not “get” things. Concepts were beyond me. Numbers never added up correctly. I remember distinctly sitting at a lunch table at recess one day. It was one of those mean days in the middle of February. One of those days when summer seems light years away, when the weather is dark and gloomy, and there is nothing good happening at all, just tests and homework and bologna sandwiches and dirt-laced water from the drinking fountains. I was sitting there at the lunch table, my elbows resting on the smudged blue of the slick plastic tabletop, my chin resting on my closed fists, my eyes partly open and partly closed, as I was kind of staring off at nothing in particular and daydreaming at the same time. There was this group of kids who were out there playing kickball on the field in front of one of the backstops out on the schoolyard’s wide expanse of grass. They were having loads of fun out there, those kids. I was not. I was sitting there at that lunch table feeling miserable. The clouds were heaving. I kept thinking about how heavy and wet they were. You know that is what they used to call beer, heavy wet? Gin was called Blue Ruin. I do not know why I know that. I do not know why I mentioned it. I am not smart. That is all I can say. I am not sure why I felt like the clouds were heaving. I guess I meant that they were swelling or something. Or that I felt like they were swelling, that they were somehow weighing down on me. Something like that anyway. So, I just sat there that day, watching the kids play kickball in the murky light, staring off, daydreaming, thinking about how I would never be smart no matter how hard I tried, no matter how many books I read or things I thought of in my head, I just was not dealt the same cards as all those other kids, all those kids that got to run around and play kickball and be carefree, those kids that got to frolic and laugh and stuff like that. All I got was this busted good-for-nothing noodle, this brain with a broken gasket, and you know, its brakes are not too hot, they stick and whine like a lobster being boiled, and the spark plugs are misfiring, the oil is low, and the radiator leaks. I remember sitting there at that lunch table like that, looking at those kids out there who got to play kickball. And all I got was nothing, and it was hard for me at the time, but I tried to convince myself that nothing was plenty for me. Sometimes I would even try singing that song from Porky and Bess to convince myself of it, but, like I said, it was hard. I was not smart enough to see what I should do about anything. I was not even smart enough to ask anybody about what to do. What to do, what to do, what to do. What does one do? I mean really, what does one do with this life? This is the only life that has been given to one. To one? To whom? To me? To you? Yes. This is it. So, sure, I know, even though I am not very smart, that I should make the most of what I have got. But what is it that I have got? I have got this life. Yes. That I know. This life is something. It is really a miracle. Just being alive. I cannot spell. I do not know much about grammar or putting sentences together. I like to sing, but my voice is no good. At least that is what I have been told. I like the sound of my voice though. What is good about a voice? What makes one voice better than another voice? Are not they just sounds? Is not it all merely a matter of opinion, a matter of taste, something more of an aesthetic sense than a concrete thing? I know that does not make sense. I told you I am not smart. At least not as smart as other people are smart. I do not understand things very well. But we must have clarity. After all, things must be presented in a way that they can be understood. There must be order. Sentences must have subjects and objects. The word “got” should not be used. Things should not run on and veer away from the point. Pleonasm should be avoided at all costs. Commas should not splice things. Modifiers should not be left dangling. Prepositions should not end a sentence. Effect should not be used as a verb. I know these things. But I can not apply them. I am not smart enough to know how to use what I know to do what I am never quite sure I am going to do with it. That day at recess, sitting there watching those kids play kickball, I could imagine myself out there playing with them. I could see myself doing all the things it would take to play. I would settle in behind home plate. The pitcher would roll the ball to me in the rock-strewn, sienna dirt of the path from the pitcher’s mound to the plate. It would bound. That rubber ball that the principal called Mr. Redball and told us not to kick. He would hold up the ball and pronounce in a deep rich baritone, “Don’t kick Mr. Redball!” That ball, Mr. Redball, would take many bounces. I would take one step, and then another, and then a few more with increasing speed, and then I would draw my foot back and swing my body to the side, and I would time my foot with the bounce of the ball, and I would kick at the ball with my foot, whipping my leg around like a catapult, and I would look right at the ball as I kicked it…but this was all I could do, imagine this happening. I knew that if I were to go out there, if I were to go and play with those kids out there on the grass by the backstop, out there under the tenebrous sky, out there where they were all having fun and doing all of that frolicking, that I would not be able to kick that ball. I would know how to do it every step of the way, but to make all of those things happen in consecution seemed a complete impossibility. I just could not make anything add up. Things only made sense to me in parts. I am not smart. I repeat myself constantly. I never think anyone is listening when I am talking. I lost my first baby tooth when my father smacked me across the face for pissing my pants when I was five. These are just some things. I do not know much about what they mean. I just know that they are things, and that they are mine. Excuse me, is this microphone turned on? Should I speak into it? Is anyone listening? Hello? Oh. There we go. Sorry. I knew something was wrong. Can you hear me now? Okay. Good. Um. Well, I could go on I guess. There is a lot more I want to say. But I will not. I am tired. I am weary. I am not smart. And really…nobody cares. Good night.

heaven is a place where nothing ever happens

if there are airplanes outside the window

if there are apples in the refrigerator

if there are kisses in the glove compartment

if there are morons making the laws

if there are portraits of iguanas hanging on the walls

if there are killdeer in the radio

if there are people walking and talking

if there are silences between life and death

if there are fruit flies in the Laundromat

if there are mistakes of color in the elevator shafts

if there are flowers

then it’s not a major disaster

This girl was trying to steal my barstool, and it seemed to me, since I was still sitting on it, that this was an improper thing to do. So I told her as much. She did not like that. She didn’t like it one bit. In fact, this really irked her some. She started giving me the business. She was really giving it to me. Calling me names that made me feel about as tall as a potato chip. And then she started slapping at me too. It was really something. I tried to cover up, to ignore her, but it was difficult. She was really worked up. She was in a tizzy. There wasn’t much I could do about it. As long as she didn’t knock my beer over I was okay with it. I’d take it. And take it I did.

When she was done I went back to my beer. She’d called me a scrawny, mealy-mouthed sack of wet shit before slapping me one last time and trotting on away. I was pretty proud of myself. I’d held up well under her barrage, and I still had my beer sweating there on the bar in front of me. Absently, while taking a good long swallow of my beer, I looked into the bar mirror, and I saw the wreck of a man who was sitting there on my barstool, the same stool that horrid woman had tried to steal right out from under me. I couldn’t really blame her for trying to take it away. I wasn’t much to look at. She probably thought I wouldn’t put up much of a fight. She probably thought that a guy like me didn’t need a stool anyway. Looking at myself, all woebegone and wasted away there in that mirror, I have to say I couldn’t tell you that she was wrong

some rules for the kids:

Don’t tuck in your shirt.

Don’t wear jeans with a suit jacket.

Don’t wear jeans.

Sing Buddy Holly songs as loud as you can as much as you can.

Don’t eat lettuce.

Don’t use umbrellas.

Read the list of ingredients on all foods.

Don’t watch TV.

If a lot of people are doing it, try not to do it yourself.

Try to stay as quiet as you can as much as you can, except when singing Buddy Holly songs.

Don’t fit in.


Try not to own things.

Enjoy yourself.

Give away as much as you can as much as you can.

Don’t worry about tomorrow.

Don’t wear hats.

Don’t let other people tell you what to do.

Hug a cop.

Create as much as you can as much as you can.

Don’t waste time worrying.

Be lazy.

Ignore all rules.

Shelly and Lloyd

We used to be busy waiting for Jesus. That is what we were concerning ourselves with. Sure, we went through carwashes with our eyes open. We did a lot of things while we were waiting for Jesus. We played guitars. We talked about our problems and expressed concern. We had finger-snapping contests. Sure, of course, we did that too. We were keeping busy while we were waiting for Jesus, while we were also busy with waiting for Jesus. But Jesus never came, so we found other things to keep us busy. Sometimes, we’d buy dishes or we’d clean windows or we’d put coins in parking meters. Other times we’d just count money by adding and subtracting rows of numbers on a piece of paper. We smoked cigarettes too, even when we weren’t busy waiting. We smoked a lot of cigarettes. Lloyd invented a new kind of mop head. We saw the light. We were lost and then we were found. We spent time walking through the park and also ate chicken fried steak. Keeping busy is not always easy, especially when you are used to being busy with waiting for Jesus, and all of a sudden you are no longer busy with waiting for Jesus. We kept busy though. That is one thing that is for sure. You can be certain of that. Now we are always busy, but we are no longer waiting for Jesus. We are nothing now but busy. That about sums us up.

The book I read is about compassion being a virtue and so many people who’ve got their problems and other nonsense like that

the sitter

I hope she didn’t give you too much trouble.

Did you whack her with a belt?

Did either of you at any point in time play hopscotch on the driveway?

I’m sure you’d rather have coffee than tea.

You don’t seem like a tea drinker.

You might be someone who plays make believe.

I am not someone who does, but that doesn’t mean I automatically hate anyone who does.

You probably spent some time lying down by the fireplace.

It’s okay.

Being warm is good.

There’s nothing wrong with keeping warm.

Let’s be honest.

How much do I owe you?

The thing about helicopters is, if you really want to know about it, if you have like some kind of an abstract idea or even some abstruse notions about the flight of helicopters or the sounds they make when flying, if you think about helicopters more than a few times a week, more than the average person might come to think stray thoughts about helicopters, then when it comes to helicopters, well, I might be able to tell you a few things. You know about H.G. Wells, right? Sure, that’s something you might know, the thing about Mr. Wells predicting helicopters, writing about them before they existed. That’s something you probably already understand. But the thing about helicopters, not, obviously, that there is just one thing when it comes to helicopters, but the thing I want to tell you about when it comes to helicopters, besides the landing pads on the tops of tall buildings, and the way helicopters help chase down bad guys at night, besides those things of course, is that helicopters can be really loud when they are flying. Of course, you know this. You’ve probably seen movies where helicopters are landing and making quite a racket, and maybe you’ve even taken a ride in a helicopter and witnessed this loudness first hand. But when you are sitting in your apartment, and there is this helicopter flying overhead all morning, then you really know how loud helicopters can be. They really can rattle the walls, even when they are pretty high up above, and things can get kind of shaken up in your place, kind of like what might happen in a small earthquake. Helicopters are pretty loud. I wouldn’t want to fall out of a helicopter. I wouldn’t want to like, you know, just fall out and head towards the ground. Even if I had a parachute on. I mean, how can you be sure the parachute is really going to work? And splat becomes the last things you know. Just splat, and then no more you. I don’t want that.

I am a disgusting human being. I am an American, born and raised under the red, white, and blue, spanked into manifest destiny, schooled from sea to shining sea, and mollycoddled by boredom and the comfort of wide open spaces. The sky is like velvet today. The grayness will come. Lightly, wind is already starting up with all its doings, taking the petals from the hunkering-down flowers adorning the branches of the tree outside my window. Life is happening. The weather channel scrolls its temperatures along the bottom of the TV screen, ESPN runs the baseball scores, and CNN tells of the rest. I am a puddle of anxiety and irony, with a few splashes of lassitude and detachment thrown in for flavor. The shoals of my soul are deeper than my thoughts. I become more terrible of a person with each breath, more removed, more set in stone, more deranged and self-important. A few of the things that I can rely on are the channel changer and the microwave. I am not patient. I want things without even knowing why I want them. The cords of my neck stand out when I scream, which is often, at the television set or the kid behind the counter at Starbucks. Getting riled up is one of the things I pride myself on being good at. Sometimes, just to pass the time, I sit in my truck while it is idling. If my garage door gets stuck, I get angry. The wind blows cold. I know where the grapes of wrath are stored.

Elvis would never tell but he’d break a mirror trying

saying it is just make believe

saying something

saying Presley

just a look and a quiver

Elvis never found a window

Elvis would just forget instead of forgetting what it was he was trying to forget

saying it makes it truer than gun shots

saying it is like saying nothing

just a face and a facing of it

painting windows while watching TV

Elvis ran in time to the way a circle goes

saying finds direction

saying gives hope

saying rhymes with things you say if you say them right

just a hook and a whimper

Elvis worked and Elvis sang and Elvis was and Elvis had

saying so is so

saying is seeing is seeming is saying

saying it is spraying and spreading

just a voice and a warning

saying this is he

look at my hair

look at my skin


look at me


get the girls

get the wishes of common sense

get it intuitively

Elvis put on some sunglasses and kick at the sky

I wouldn’t worry about me

placating a patient’s desire to perpetually have something wrong with them, whether it be a physical malady or something of less actuality, as far as a thing having the quality of being a discernible substance is concerned, a thing more of the mind as it were, if one were to draw a distinction between the somatic and the cerebral, if that were something that would be allowable in this situation, or any situation for that matter, which might render the patient’s so-called “malady” completely irrelevant in the diagnosis, as the symptoms themselves, as symptoms “per se” in this rendering of circumstances, could not qualitatively determine what is “wrong” with the patient, if it could be said that there is something possibly wrong with the patient, it would still be a good idea to humor the patient until further test results come in

shake it up baby

The complete loss of control. That is what death would be. There would be no way to know what is happening to your body. Anything could be happening to it, and there’d be nothing that you could do about it. In fact, you wouldn’t even be there to know that anything is happening. You’d be gone. Nonexistent. And the worst part about it is that it wouldn’t even matter. Nothing would matter. You wouldn’t have a body. The body would no longer be yours, because you would not be you. That is not to say that you would be something else, unless you consider nothing to be something else. Then, yes, you would be something else: nothing. So, really, there isn’t anything to be concerned about. There would be no loss of control. You wouldn’t be alive to lose control, or to know that control is being lost. Other people looking at your body might feel this way, but again, this would not matter to you. There would be no you for it to matter to. That is all.

Ken & Barbie left the house unlocked

left through the backdoor and threw away the keys

not so chary they were ginning up a slippery scheme

to lose it all

traveling spare were the pair

no more doll-hair chandelier to light the way

guesswork was good enough

paths that cross

nothing a couple grand wouldn’t fix

shinnying up a telephone pole and over a brick wall

there they go

to be bumming around and getting by

riding the tide of escape

mooching and mucking it up

splendidly humble and gracious

Ken lost his clothes somewhere around Bakersfield

Barbie lost an arm in Fresno

they robbed a bank and had nothing to put the money in

there they go

off and running free at last

just a couple of two-bit shysters

a couple of bums on the lam

Ken & Barbie got while the getting was good

to find themselves a city to live in


Some guy was playing The Star Spangled Banner on the clarinet in the apartment next to us. Bobby was ready to knock down the guy’s door. Nothing would get the guy to shut up. We’d banged on the walls and screamed at him. Nothing. He kept right on playing that damn song on the clarinet. I didn’t mind it as much as Bobby did. Bobby really couldn’t stand it. I have to admit, that song was really starting to irk me too, but I didn’t really let on. Mostly because Bobby was doing enough complaining for the both of us. Anyway, I don’t really like to rock the boat. I’d rather float along and let somebody else do the driving. That’s what I was doing then. Just letting Bobby do the driving. I was just along for the ride. At least that’s what I kept telling myself. That was until Bobby socked me a good one to the kisser. That was not fun. Not something I’d want to happen to me again. My blood was getting all over the place. My nose was really gushing. Bobby didn’t care. He just kept raging around and yelling at the Clarinetist. I went and got a towel from the bathroom and held it on my nose. I figured it was broken, but I didn’t cry. I knew Bobby wouldn’t like that, and it’d only make him more mad. I kept my cool, let me tell you. I started thinking of that Patsy Kline song Crazy. I started singing it in my head. It made me feel better. The clarinet was still playing, but I couldn’t hear it.

the ballad of the nine-year-old runaway

I got a harmonica that I can’t play

I got a gun

I don’t got no real bullet

I can squeeze the trigger

I can shoot

I can take it on the lam

I can fake my own death

I don’t play nice for fun

I ain’t no sucker

I run afoul more than most

I throw cue balls at strangers

I ride subway trains alone in the dark

I sneak into movie theatres

I know the places to go to on the streets

I don’t go where skies are not cloudy or gray

I could be a cowboy if I wanted

I don’t have to smile

I think I might be able to fly

I don’t need you to take my picture

I might spit a watermelon seed in your eye

I ain’t too careful

I think I’ll go throw a brick at a window

I got cotton-candy fingers

I got coca-cola lips

I got a temper and pistol and couple of bucks too

I wanna go where the deer and the antelope play

I don’t miss anyone when they’re gone

Ontologically speaking, we were not making any inroads. We were not getting anywhere. This is just to say. There’s really not much left to say now. Going with the sway, going with the tide, going with the way things tend to go, we were pretty much stagnant. That’s about all there was to it. You can’t always tell someone when this happens. You don’t always feel like mentioning it. Sometimes you might want to sing a song like My Darling Clementine. Other times you might find yourself just keeping quiet or doing a puzzle or something. Sometimes you might end up by yourself. The TV could be on. Things could be going awry. People don’t say awry too much anymore. When did people stop saying awry? When I say awry does it date me? Does it make me seem pretentious or ostentatious or magniloquent or pedantic or conceited or vainglorious? Or does it make me just sound like a dick? But that doesn’t matter. We are still not making any inroads. Inroads are not being made. You might find yourself, say, in a park, surrounded by funny-looking sculptures or trees. You might ask yourself why you have a song in your head. You might ask yourself, ontologically speaking, what the hell you are doing here on this planet, taking up space, using up air, dirtying the sky, swimming in lakes, biting your nails, you know, all the stuff that you do. And you’ll probably wonder why we stopped making inroads into why you do all of those things that you do. You might think of Tom Hanks. You probably won’t. We are made to wonder, ontologically speaking. It might even be said of us that we are made of wonder too.

check a box

I don’t like you. Do you like me? Because when it comes down to it, that’s what matters here. The liking or not liking of me by you is what matters most. Don’t ask me why I don’t like you. I don’t like you because. Let’s just leave it at that. Why do I have to like you? You probably don’t like me. You might not even have reasons why you don’t like me. You might just not like me. That’s fine. I don’t mind that. I mean, I don’t even have reasons why I don’t like you. Why should I ask you for reasons? Who needs reasons? Certainly not me. Nope. Not I. I surely do not need any reasons for not liking you. I just don’t. There is no because. Unless you consider because to be a because. Then because would be the reason why. You know like when you tell a kid he can’t do something because? You know that because? When you tell a kid, “Because, that’s why.” That’s the kind of because I’m talking about. And if you don’t like me either, and if your reason is just because, then that’s okay with me. That’s perfectly alright. I am like totally willing to accept that as an answer to my question. You don’t like me because. It’s not always possible to have a person like you. Of course, I want you to like me. Everyone wants to be liked. But, just in case you don’t like me, it won’t be a big deal to me. Mostly because I don’t like you. That’s my because in this particular situation. I already have a because to answer yours, if your answer is that you don’t like me because. I have an answer to that because. I don’t like you. Do you like me? Be honest. I won’t be offended. Come on. It’s just a simple question. We are simple people. We say simple things. Here’s something simple that I’ve already said: I don’t like you. Don’t think you are going to weasel your way out of this one. I’ve got you cornered. And all I want is a yes or a no. That can’t be so hard. Just a word. One syllable. You can come out with that. Whether you like me or not, I will still not like you, so don’t base your answer, or you know, don’t let how I feel about you influence how you feel about me. I still will not like you either way. So, just let me know, okay?

I was singing Psycho Killer to about 5 or 6 bored Japanese businessmen at a karaoke bar when my water broke. It was embarrassing. It was right during that part when you’ve got to sing in French. I lost my concentration and started screaming, “Husker Du! Husker Du!” over and over. I finished the song though. I don’t think any of them had heard the song before. I did a pretty good rendition of it. You don’t usually hear girls do that song at karaoke bars. When I was done a few of them clapped. I thanked them, tipped the KJ, and went off to the hospital to have my baby.

Pull me up.

So I got myself some cardboard. I set up this cardboard in a meticulous way. I bent the corners and smoothed out the flat pieces. I was very careful. I cut off the flaps. I didn’t get too excited about what I was doing. I concentrated on making sure it looked just right. I had that cardboard all figured out. I wanted to make some shapes with the cardboard. Maybe some rhombuses or a few triangles. I put on some music. It didn’t scare me at all. I am not afraid of music. Also, I am not afraid of cardboard. Cardboard is alright with me. I got myself some cardboard. I cut it up. I bent it. I made all kinds of shapes with the pieces. I was in the living room standing on the carpet with my bare feet. I was feeling pretty good. Cardboard is not paper. You can hold paper up to the light and look right through it. With cardboard it is different. See for yourself. Write things. Nothing fits. You’ll see. My shapes were marveling. I did some marveling at them. I was feeling very grand. I had taken off my shoes and everything was soft and I had that cardboard all figured out.

Liquid H, Men, And Beauty Too

crooking with the slight groove of the collarbone

bested and worse off

a burring in the chopper’s wake

the fit of a key into a lock

a burlap bag and gunshots in the apartment down the hall

witnesses who saw men dissolve

stooping to a disagreeable chore under electric light

spitting on principle

through thrifty skies and shabby hills

just to be thrown into the calaboose

taken for a ride on sagacity’s robe

under an owl perched on a skull and crossbones

telling tales of the war

in oak-ribbed rooms filled with smoke

superbly independent

a doorbell rings

what is happening to my skin

I’m not worried about the air

Monday, June 1, 2009

Today Is Not Friday


in want of a moment’s peace

I walked outside of the bar

and sat down to smoke a cigarette in the sun

the birds were making all their racket up in the trees

an old lady walking by glanced over at me

and made the sign of the cross

I held my head

I smoked my cigarette

I laughed a little

the steep hills were breaking away in the distance

rolling and covered with houses and telephone poles and hospitals and cement

just like everything else

I got up and walked down the street a ways

I kicked at some thick weeds growing out of a crack in the sidewalk

they just bounced back up

I stopped at the corner

I held my breath

a few cars went by

I exhaled

I held out my arms like a scarecrow

or Jesus on the cross

a dog was taking a dump in a treewell a few feet from me

I looked up as high as I could


with a cigarette dangling out of my mouth

I stood there like that

on the street corner

with a sort of smirk on my face

feeling good about things for the first time in a long time

it wasn’t so bad to be alive just then

standing there like that

fooling myself into thinking I didn’t have a care in the world


for once

believing it

the dog finished its business

and its owner pulled the leash and led the mangy beast away

I crossed my legs at the ankles

I didn’t make a sound

the wind blew

and the wind stunk like dog shit

the smoke from my cigarette was burning my eyes

I stood there like that for as long as I could

while people’s phones rang and mailmen walked and clouds scudded

and governments bought car companies and newborns cried

I thought

hell this ain’t so bad

I’ll just stand here like this forever

there’s nothing else to do

then my cigarette went out