Saturday, December 18, 2010

people with high hair who talk a lot

x: I just get so annihilated by the suffering of others.

o: Like a scalpel for your emotions.

x: If you’d say that kind of thing and think it to be true then…

o: Oh. Well that does say a whole lot more about the sayer than it does…

x: Lord it over yourself, why don’t you?

o: Pussy.

x: Hard-on.

o: What the fuck? And you’re going to sit there and tell me that you have this over-active empathic capacity, and you’re going to sit there and say shit like that?

x: I could stand and say it.

o: Ah, go twist a nutsac.

x: Please. You can do better than that.

o: Would it were that I could, but, alas, my hindside is blind.

x: Shit. So. What I was a saying…

o: Or more like what you meant.

x: Is that there’s no real reason for me to be so, well, overwhelmed by this hurt I see going on in other people. Well, except that I want maybe to have somebody else feel that way for me if I were in their situation.

o: A morsel of harm does a body good every now and then.

x: But it’s not really driven by selfishness.

o: Really? That sounds like a butt plug for pity.

x: No. It’s more like a condom for tears.

o: Not bad. It’s like you don’t want the mess, or…no. It’s more like you don’t want the consequences of your, or their, suffering to like ejaculate all over you. But it saps you nonetheless, perhaps more so because there’s not the same release. It’s almost fake. And then you tie up the soiled rubber and toss it away.

x: Away. That’s just it. It’s maybe sort of a purity issue. Keeping my soul as clean as possible.

o: Your soul? No. More like a crusty rag for the finished product of your baser instincts having the rule of the roost.

x: Maybe it’s embarrassing. Like I don’t want others to see the real me.

o: Ah. Well. Let’s not go that far. You’re doing fine treading water where you are. Keep at it.

x: Genital wart.

o: Dick cramp.

x: Ah fuck. Anyway. People go into convulsions. I’ve seen it. And I’m not talking physical pain.

o: Of course.

x: That’s a different ballpark.

o: A-whole-nother cup of piss.

x: I’m talking about emotional pain, manic grips of depression wielding insanity as a hammer.

o: Who’s got the sickle?

x: Oh, the tortured physics of understanding. How much must be taken before we learn to give?

o: I’m going to pinch this loaf pre-sphincter.

x: Be my guest.

o: People hold a lot of stuff in, right?

x: Sure, but that’s not…

o: Hold on. Now. I’m going to veer here.

x: Go swerve on ahead.

o: It’s the whole that-person-in-the-picture-is-not-me thing. Though it is you in the picture. And you know this. But you don’t want it to be. It’s not the person who you think that you are, who you want to be when others look. And it freaks you out. It makes you question the very nature of your existence.

x: And a bible to the head could knock some sense into the creepiest among us.

o: I once was lost but now I’m found. But there before the grace of blah, blah, blah go I. Yeah. I know. All that crap.

x: It’s the steps you take to get where you end up, right?

o: I don’t know about that. To tell you the truth, it sounds like a load a manure to me right now. But it might pass.

x: And then you find yourself in line at the grocery store, wondering why they can’t change the express-line sign to read, “Ten items or fewer.”

o: Something like that.

x: A best-side-facing-the-world-at-all-times thing. A minor kink in the operations of expressing your personality, of gaining access to special moments of rapport.

o: Something to live for, right? Or would that be creating things to make your life seem like it’s worth living.

x: Is there really a difference?

o: I don’t know. Really. I don’t. Maybe that’s part of the problem. Is seeing really always believing?

x: My default mode of thinking keeps getting set to the same things. Hell, and I’m stuck with screen-saver sensibilities.

o: It’s like we’re defining ourselves more and more by the things we like. Who we are is what we like, or more importantly, what we own, or, um, that is, I guess, what we import into our lives. We’re turning into a bunch of spoiled kids who are addicts of instant gratification. Gimme, gimme this. Gimme, gimme that. Gimme it all, and gimme it all right now.

x: Gershwin slimmed down to an airplane commercial. Jabba The Hut reciting Milton. Outdoor space heaters.

o: And we get all the news we need from the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

x: There’s a flattering going on. An urge beat into us, something that is constantly trying to persuade us to attempt to satisfy our desires, to want without end, to drink and eat and laugh and play video games and watch the latest big-budget Hollywood movie and to, above all else, spend money on things that we’re taught to need. We’re instilled with a poison-ivy-itch hankering to consume, to be impatient and greedy, to pay with the dollar-sign-hued hours of our days for this priceless gift of existence.

o: And all you’re left with is this life you’ve built from pop songs and loud TV commercials and WiFi tendencies and logos of professional sports teams and the immediate, though extremely ephemeral, satisfaction of texting.

x: Emptiness. Unquenchable desires. And only an escalating debt inflating all the time in the ruins of your spiritual bank account. A job that leaves you dead to the world, exhausted, barely able to push the buttons of your remote control, eat some corndogs, and cachinnate like a Tickle Me Elmo doll while plopped bloated and weary on your couch.

o: O’ beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain!

x: So where does that leave us?

o: Thumb wrestling our way through the cosmos.

x: Shouldn’t I have more to show for myself than a handful of gripes about other people and their problems?

o: Maybe you know it is o’ so possible. Brother, by the way, could you, uh, maybe, perhaps, spare a dime or two?

x: Just being appreciated. That’s what most of my emotional trunk of levied hurt comes down to. That wanting to feel important to somebody else. And somebody with whom to appreciate this distinctly short wonderful thing called being alive. I’m not thorning from the sidelines much these days. You know. You know. You know. Lap it up and let the moonlight wane on away.

o: And you’ve got to ask yourself if it’s merely self-serving, this love you keep forking over.

x: Getting fucked over for.

o: Or fucking over somebody else. If you can tell the difference.

x: Reading bodies and predicting the past.

o: Fall maundering to the ground and ghost the roots of your passivity with chummy sucks of face.

x: Vested interest comes and goes. We pocket what’s left of our heart and move on and move on and move on and move on and move on and move on and move on and move on and move on.

o: A manifesto for evading whatever it is that’s been put in us by nature. A call to arms for the ass scratchers and the mouth breathers and the leg humpers and the condiment lovers and those who’d rather spell words than watch TV.

x: Well clear cut my forest and mistake my mountains for spider bites.

o: It’s never enough.

x: What is?

o: Everything. Nothing. It’s never enough. You just keep wanting more and more and more.

x: Love decks itself out with airbrushed delusions, and we wait and ship off for the ruinous smoldering shores of carpe diem satisfaction.

o: Horace is still quite hip among the heathens I take it.

x: Odes and Epodes, motherfucker.

o: There’s no substitute for lunching with passionate dos-à-dosers. An eclogue raspberries to obscenity. Violence bojangles to freedom. Hear my lust roar!

x: Can it. I’m hullaballoing until the cows croak for dragon-tail snacks.

o: Materializing as a look-the-other-way kind of guy.

x: Fly down into the hard-back chair of your life and kick.

o: Who wants to see the way they are seen?

x: You rise from the plain astral plane of your thoughts to new dimensions of decoding the chaos you believe to be the world around you.

o: A ruche of distilled memories taking root in the briar patch of your hindsight’s sunglasses-tinted retrospective. Tread or be trod on. I guess.

x: That man in the picture.

o: Yes.

x: That stranger who others mistake for being me.

o: He straggles about in your clothes.

x: He puts on my face and wears my hair.

o: There is no you in him.

x: No me to be.

o: Just an imposter who serves as some kind of margrave seeking resources to feed his troops.

x: Pestering me with indifference. Gandering the unanimous night. Nobody knows his name like mine but something the whole tipped-over rent-apart flushed-toilet of wiped-cleaned forgiveness in just-for-you don’t-look-backs follows and follows, and we are born into things too.

o: How many yous can you be at once?

x: Never enough. And still the traffic lights clack up to red, lined up and flashing as they jog away by the ocean in the deep air-sadness of it all. Lately I’ve been noticing the limning that goes unsaid in the amphetamine nightmares of hilltop gazing. The breaks in the yellow-orange decadence, the wounded lines scratching through black-boned swaths of mangled tree and concrete. Mist chugging through in the clumpy cough of fog’s junked lungs over the ocean’s forgone disappearing longing. There’s nothing except everything wrong with me.

o: Empathy swears off bathos and dons a red rubber clown nose.

x: I can’t offer succor to every fucking asshole screaming her way through the chains of being a person alive in the world.

o: You can be you.

x: Ass dimple.

o: Butter fart.

x: Punching through the surface of small talk, of chatter, of burping wit, of dinner conversation, of we-need-to-talk seriousness, to get to the bloody pulp of being singularly you in the plurals of made-up selves.

o: We’ve got to get down to the white, fibrillose ballerina socks of the thing.

x: Fuck it. I’m learning sign language.

o: Yes. We strive for new endeavors of self-expression.

x: I’m growing a mustache. I’m shaving my head. I will give ear to a cut toenail’s final plea.

o: Ten thousand. Ten thousand and one. Ten thousand and…

x: Guns drawn. Hair slicked back with motor oil. Couples getting married. Why not? Why? Why not? Why? Why not?

o: Short pleadings for attention scribbled on tiny scraps of paper tossed towards a trashcan. Balled up. Gone. Still here. Gone.

x: If I could climb inside of your suffering and build myself a fire to keep you warm. If I could cry your tears for you. If I could fight Sonny Liston on the moon.

o: Help me Geraldine! Help me Geraldine!

x: Somebody else always running to your side or running for cover. It’s a gaff to support the woebegone sails of trying to be everything that you are not.

o: And me here all vaccinated against courage. You thriftily spend through the dollars of your days.

x: I tell stuff. I says, ‘I’ve got sleep in my eyes for you,’ to some curdled-milk mouth of a dame. Cat hair all over my clothes. Frozen toes.

o: The mustard’s on the sandwich. The syrup’s in the coffee. The rubber bands are on the wrist. The hotels are all out of vacancy. The best of who we are is only streamed at the speed of the sound of loneliness. Nail a sign to your door that reads, “My heart is not my own.”

x: Got it. Stop twisting my titties about it. Seriously. I got it down pat.

o: By rote. By rote. That’s all. You learn it but you don’t know it on the inside. You just taste it. You don’t digest it.

x: Pacing myself. Keeping the ship afloat for my personal time being.

o: Not anybody else’s?

x: Hope not. Hope not. Hope not. Hope not. Hope not. Hope not.

o: Me too.

x: Do you believe in sanity?

o: Something more.

x: Just suppressed anxiety maybe.

o: Something less.

x: We’ve got more filling. We’ve got tastes like pie.

o: Starts out in all directions, perhaps, or maybe, like a new moon, like shushes chowdering the night, like hassle-free checking, like fallow periods for crop plots, like bloody gums, like the way cars blush in traffic.

x: Where does it end?

o: Warmly.

x: Where?

o: Distinctly when the maple leaves are falling, falling.

x: In the hopes of recovering a surface tension that was lost in the sad closeness of rubbed-the-wrong-way yesterdays.

o: Of course.

x: Yep.

o: The coloring doesn’t go away, does it?

x: It might not. It’ll change, swirl around a bit, pop up for air, deal a Kansas City to your misery, hopscotch over your heart. What is much less if it’s not going to be more eventually? Bad habits add up, and we’ve got bowling shoes horseshoed on our lonely feet to dance away the blues with.

o: A sneeze of gold dust?

x: If not then likely something particularly similar, in the way that disparate things can often times be found to be oddly related.

o: A pedestal to stare from. To feel better about being you. To grunt up hysteria and fool passivity into being humble and never grumbling.

x: A frigate to laugh at the turbid waters of your life from.

o: Hoisted and balled-out. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Must we always make only muck from our missteps?

x: Probably.

o: Fuck.

x: Oh well, oh well, oh well, oh….well.

o: I want to reach out my window with an arm longer than an oarfish, and I want to nab an oranged greeny sheen-slick slippery maroonish leaf from the drooping wiry branches of the tree out there, outside my window I want to sail like a chucked goldfish into the street-slapping rain, I want to extend a hand to the bullion-skinned clouds, and if I draw back in fear let the lasting imprint of my summery seduction leave itself alone, at last, and then, let me reach outside, let me blunder, all the cities of me, let me fail to see what’s right there, let me join a chancy traveling sideshow speaking badinage and wearing horse-mane scarves, let me run to other skins, let the roof hold me, let me, let me, let me, let me, let go.

x: Oh.

o: Oh?

x: See?

o: Never. Never.

x: Dependent on others for the thoughts they keep you in.

o: On the thoughts of others. Sometimes, late at night, I lie in bed, wide awake, making faces out of the darkness, and I want to talk to all of my old friends whom I don’t talk to anymore. I want to be connected, to be enmeshed in the lives of others, to have somebody else care that I exist, to fit into the mechanics of their schedule somewhere, to have a place to do my living in that coincides with where others are doing theirs.

x: Likely it’ll end in Missouri.

o: Like Kansas-City eyes?

x: Almost. Eyes are hard to tell.

o: If there were a storm to tremble the spell from your…

x: Stop it.

o: Now, lord, now here’s a needy time. Jesus why don’t you come by here? Don’t stay long on your knees and pray. Come on by here, come on Jesus won’t you come by here? Don’t stay long. Don’t stay too long lord. Jesus. Lord. Why don’t you come on by here?

x: Keep it up.

o: Parlor talk. Staircase stuff.

x: That need be enough in this case it’s general and we’re speaking troves of pampasy-clear shrugging like indoor wilderness almost.

o: Impersonal. Needy.

x: Galvanized with personable automobiling.

o: Lie down on your bed in the middle of the day and turn all the lights off and turn your phone off and unplug your TV and your stereo and think about who it is you really are when it comes down to it and ponder if that’s who you want to be.

x: Been here. Done this.

o: Check out the ass-cheek flapping on this guy.

x: Go percolate a jar of shit.

o: Sure. Sure. Sure. I guess bliss is not for everybody.

x: Seems like I hear somebody calling, calling, calling, calling. But are they calling me?

o: Not by name. A prominent custom though it is, still, the lottery will take you by number. And that’s not your dollar. There’s a you who license-plates your corporeal shape with letters signifying personhood, this self that is a calligraphic assertion of what this specific entity bearing witness to the world is. A form you take. Hats on a cotton roof. A rustling of leaves. And then, after nobody’s noticed, drooping home to peter out in the shallows.

x: Older than old times.

o: Similar to new times.

x: Just like it, almost.

o: Let me blink and forget about my self for a while.

x: Please. Do the rest of us a favor.

o: I’m like a sorcerer who unwittingly constructs a labyrinth that he can’t escape from, and therefore is doomed to wander within its solitary confines forever.

x: Playing nice with the history of your past. Talking so all the time.

o: So?

x: What’s missing is the retention. It’s like the powder of your experiences is passing through a sieve that catches nothing except empty air in its screen.

o: Bored empathy rears its miscalculating head. Emotional contagion spreading like a smallpox epidemic. Take care of yourself. The rest will follow.

x: Dine alone.

o: Sure, because if there’s a library, and if that library is a universe of multi-leveled hungers, well, my appetite is pathologically strained and full. The tiered nature, whether Platonic or Aristolian, of stacked-plate platitudes will give all-you-can-eat lunches to the more Machiavellian natured among us. And if the news is breaking, and if the bomb’s interminable infinite nature is not my own, is there something wrong? Yes. So wrong. So motherfucking wrong. Something that plows through the current of centuries and leafs through books of days and gets lost in the simulacra-saturated fussy gestures of a generation’s download aptitude. An artist’s rendering of fatty foods.

x: My friends will surround me with the things I need to survive. I will drift in their current. Is that carelessly getting carried away?

o: With care. Always, remember, with care.

x: Being a person can be difficult, can it not?

o: It’s rough stuff sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

from "slightly altered or drawn-out famous moments in history"

Clapton fell in love rather quick with George Harrison’s wife. Pattie Boyd was quite the looker. It was hard for Clapton. His good friend’s wife. But Clapton was uncredited on the Beatles’ White Album, so that was kind of fucked up. But still, Clapton’s jealousy probably should’ve been kept in his lips. His pining not lost on anyone. Not subtle at all. Wished his friend dead, or more like just out of the picture…no. Not that at all. He could lip sync his love to anybody. Got stuck in some fable about a prince or somebody being given away to somebody else who was unworthy of her company. Turned his pain to the proverbial drawing board of music. Chastened? Perhaps. A lost notation of what not to do with what’s left of his passion. Adultery swinging like an axe through his mindset, which was set on stun anyway, for the time being, whatever time having to do with love at all completely beyond him of course. What did it matter how long? A few months? That could be an eternity if he were by her side. Only a night to stay and hold and be held. That would be more than enough. But Georgie boy was in the way, no longer a moptop, just some longish-haired dude with a mustache who could’ve been a car salesman for whatever it was worth. No longer did it matter. Clapton’s love would throw more shadows on the walls of sorrow. Clapton would play his guitar until it wept. Not like him. Not like him at all. But what could he do? Just move around and on and over. Over? Maybe. Some day. But he was really starting to doubt it rather big time. A movement, one of the lesser known ones as far as movements go, crammed into his head, and he rattled off some scrappy lyrics and tugged and tied them together with some scratchy riffing and some plucky licks. Got himself some dominoes and rechristened himself to go along with them. He dealt himself a stacked deck. Without warning or sign from god this thing came on and wrecked him, his guts all knotted and his head crunched with unrequited longing. He didn’t want to hurt anybody, but he himself was already hurt pretty bad. Clapton was a mess. He played his guitar and dreamed of Pattie’s eyes. Kept his wishes that it wouldn’t last to himself. But really she did have him on his knees, doing a lot of begging please and all the likes. Probably Clapton wasn’t sleeping well. Maybe he drowned his going-nowhere ideas of romance in alcohol and flushed them up and out with cocaine. What was right wasn’t what was whating the whatever of what mattered to the what muttering, “what, what, what,” in his heart. Clapton was in a lonely place. Everything else going on in the world seemed insignificant. He couldn’t sleep. He lay awake at night and made up stories about his life, about he and Pattie making a life together, just them two. It soon transmogrified into all he wanted to do. Sweetly begging off today for tomorrow’s sourest notes. It was no way for a guitarist to be behaving. Time was something just to push his way through, to get over with, or to have to dreamily look forward to. The now he had wasn’t worth having. All we wanted was a then that never came. It sucked. Clapton played his song for Pattie. It got pretty popular. People thought it rocked. Harrison had no comment. He had Pattie. He’d made All Things Must Pass. What the hell did he care about some cry-me-a-river up-and-comer trying to get all smoochy with his lady? Not that Clapton was getting too pretty with his miss, but still, he must’ve been at least slightly enraged at this encroachment upon the attention of his inamorata. Clapton played his guitar. Clapton cried himself to sleep, fists clenched, screaming, “Layla!” at his ceiling fan. It wasn’t pleasant for anybody, especially his neighbors. But there was nothing to be done. You don’t get to choose whom you fall in love with. You just meet somebody, you fall in love, and then that’s it.


Jones Very just showed up at Ralph Waldo Emerson’s door one day. It was raining. Jones was drenched. His clothes were covered in mud. He’d been thrashing around in the forest, tumbling in the flowers, talking to trees and squirrels, like he was St. Francis of Assisi or something. Emerson liked him immediately and invited him in, soiled, wet clothes and all. They talked about Hamlet for a bit, both agreeing that the poor prince was merely feigning to feign madness, which made him quite mad, and a hero too. Jones told Ralph that Christ was speaking through him quite often these days. The second coming was here, and Jones was it, kindly donating his body as a vessel for good old JC to speak through. He showed him some sonnets he’d written while under the influence. Ralph thought them badly written, and told him that the holy spirit could do with some grammar and spelling lessons. But while in an ecstatic revelry, well, really, who could possibly concentrate on such mundane things? It was a ghost surging through his veins, and when it spoke to him he had no choice but to listen. Ralph made them some tea. He then proceeded to whine about how much he was at the mercy of the disturbances of daily life, and they spoke of the meteorology of thought, acute loneliness and the paradoxical need for solitude, and about how life was at bottom only flux, transition, and undulation. Jones wasn’t reticent in the least, and told Ralph that maybe they should flee to the mountains for a spell. Ralph guffawed, drank some tea, told him that everyone was dying of miscellany these days, and invited Jones to a meeting of his Transcendental Club. He even offered to print some of Jones’ poems in his tidy, little magazine called The Dial. They were both very excited about the divine nature and mystical prospects of this serendipitous encounter. Ralph told Jones about his recalcitrant, garrulous friend Henry David Thoreau, whom he thought would get along splendidly with this wild, crazed fellow who was born out-of-wedlock to a couple of first cousins. They chatted about how life was all circles with no circumference, and how around every circle another one can be drawn, meaning that everything was without end, that it all just went on and on. Though the night was clawing and scratching at the hours, their small time together seemed essential and immortal. Jones stood on a chair and recited a few of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Ralph looked on, softly smiling, beaming with gratitude for this strange man’s special sort of madness. ‘My eyes are like raindrops,’ he thought. ‘I will not let the days carry their gifts silently away. Fuck it. Politeness was invented by wise men to keep fools at a distance. I will marry this fellow to the infinitely repellent orb of my ways.’ Ralph then also stood up on his chair. He screamed at Jones, “Alone is wisdom! Alone is happiness! Society only makes us all low-spirited and hopeless! Alone! Alone is heaven alone!” Jones looked down at his muddy shoes, his sopping and shredded clothes flecked with bits of fern, and he ran his hands through his disheveled hair, and softly said, “Mr. Emerson. I am the second coming of Christ. I am in the midst of going completely mad, but I, my good fellow, am not quite sure how to do so. Surely somebody else will speak for me, for I cannot.” The wind trilled. Rustling came and went. A mouse scampered by over creak mines in the floorboards. Nothing happened. They both sat back down and silently contemplated what it meant to be alive, to be this particular person who they happened to be at this particular juncture in time, and felt damn lucky to be living just then, no matter what the hell else was ever going to happen to them. Then they both retreated to separate rooms and fell asleep.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

fragment #33

The infant was at the door. The doorbell was broken. The thing was whimpering. The thing was soft and small. This thing we’d never beheld the likes of before. Now it was all ours. To be had with an urgent gifting, plump and labile. Trying to share something but it was hard to tell. It was alone and replete with geranium kisses. Rootlessly alive. There was this misbehaving nightlight. There were onyx eyes in a mug’s milk. The aftertaste of mood investigators clearing away the rubble of first times made alternatives to a one or a two. Spatially adept, teary, snotty, this infant folded through the origami of our affairs. Ramshackling and punted into the hurl of the atmosphere’s tendencies towards blue we hardlucked it and made it work. Do not give the baby chocolate. Do not warn me against calamity. Jot down my hunches. In the here and now the infant is not smelling so grand. This pyrrhic victory is starting to stink of defeat. Later the lollipops will sour, the potty-trained will lob skyward, the lucky will come down with a bad case of rheumatism. On this brave day we will all be chewing gum. After a letter arrived notifying us of pleasure and doom, we tracked down the infant’s missing rattle and insulated our cares with Saran wrap. Coupled with exercising our freewill over minor moments of panic, we had jobs that left us uninspired and in bad need of charged batteries. The infant sleeps and wakes and screams and sleeps and wakes and screams all of the night. Music comes in handy. Is there a ballistic missile of opportunity headed our way? Time will tell. For now we put peanut butter on our fingertips. Only once-daily doses will do. The infant is on the floor. The carpet’s thick with porridge. No new deal will thresh beyond the husking of what we’ve come to become. Maundering is our lot. Things are curtailed and growing, and things are hard. The cottonwoods, flushed with flowers straining from yellow to orange to blood-red before they flutter to their destiny, are brushed with wind while rushes sprout beneath, antlering their skinny way through the bonds of love and terrible footwear choices. The infant’s eyebrows gush squid ink. A moral is lost. Zeal sweeps away the tenets of love with snoopings and banana-skin pelts of looking-the-other-way. The infant, that thing that arrived at our door so innocently, that thing that is munching on the snackfood of our togetherness, that thing that is believable only in gasps of want in junked-car hysteria, that thing that speaks in louvered chants and knows not how to whisper, well, it seems the infant’s taken a shine to the porcelain of being on the lam. We don’t hold anybody responsible.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Homeliest Woman In Town

I’m nothing but a shit and piss factory. People come in and out of here, draining me of my sap, nudging my head towards the end of a rifle, and I’m supposed to feel sorry for them? Fuck that. That’s not what I was made for. What was I made for? Beats me. But one of the things I knows. And I knows it for sure. I knows it well. I wasn’t made for doling out pity to strangers. That much I do knows. So, now, well there’s this way I have about me though. Some might call it good old-fashioned generosity of spirit. That’d be okay by me. My footsteps ain’t so hard to follow in. Maybe I’d get clued into the happenings of whatever it was going on down the hall, you know, with those folks who just can’t keep it down. I could stay up all night. Sure. But that’s a matter of the circumstances being, well, downright accommodating, I guess. Nothing I'm spoiling to get all vexed over. Surely it’ll get to be going that I’ll be digging my own grave before long. I chew nails and spit rust at the ruder among us, but still I try to use that halt-who-goes-there strategy often enough for it to matter to the makings of this here personality. There was a day before when I wasn’t so damn evaporated and lacking motivation for making things happen in this here life I lead. Can’t rightly remember it exactly, but I knows it was there. I knows it because I lived it, and living it was all there was to do then. I managed without disco balls and high-wire shit. Sorry for all the rambling. I’ll make it back to the bar at some point. Back to the bar. Let’s hobble back to the bar then. Buy me a drink and I’ll think it over. So. Let’s just us see. It was back when I was wearing those thick sideburns, you know, those muttonchops. I’m one hairy s.o.b anyway, and this just added to it. Would hang out with the top two buttons of my shirt undone and this thick mat of thick, scraggy hair straggling out like an ape unleashed. Late nights I’d spend there. Get kicked out most nights some time after last call. Some times carried out. Ah, that’s the way it goes. Get so soused that you blow your own candle out. Rotten-candy-apple reddish rolling along, you know? Atlas couldn’t a hefted me on some nights, let me tells you. Gorging on about my, you know, self-indulgent ways, that’s what was suiting me at the time. Staying dry was out of the question. So, I’m hunkering down for another night of whisky and cigarettes, and I’m sort of masquerading as a playboy too. Got my best suit on, double breasted. Feeling swanky for some reason. I don’t know. Sometimes it was just like that. Chase the blues away with some duding up. Every chance I got to run I took it. That was how it was then. Blabbering on and justifying my life with pretzels. Living one-shot-at-a-time. So, I’m stool-bound and hunting for something eventful. I wasn’t really convinced of my own mortality. Then there’s this chick thumping herself down next to me. I’m trying not to look. It’s just my way. Don’t want to be too obvious. But I sneak a few glances over, and there’s just this mass of wiry brown curls fuzzed out all over the place, and this snout hooked out from it like a beak almost. The breath was like bad salami. I decided to keep minding my own. Mockingbird wish me luck, you know? But there’s this break in the action. A time when life kind of just settles down and dims. I was fishing around for a smoke in my vest pocket. I knew there’d be one there. I’d always put one there before I went out just in case I forgot where my pack was or lost it or was just too lazy to go wondering about where it was. Her look was like palpable. That witch-like creature on the stool to my right, and I made it a point not to look her way or give her a sign that she was invited to this here party. I found the smoke and stumbled outside to smoke it. So, outside I was smoking and pondering over the sky going pink just before sunset, lighting up the clouds all salmon and rose. Don’t know why. Just get to thinking that way sometimes. And I was leaning against a telephone pole and just feeling nice and calm. Nobody was bothering me. This wouldn’t last. Of course. Somebody will always start bothering you, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, somebody will always come along and, without asking, destroy your peace of mind for you. That’s for sure. That don’t ever seem to change. Leaves you wiped out and alone in the end too. But that’s nothing to mind. So, I’m dragging out the smoke there, holding up the telephone pole, and I’m saxophoning my guts up to a tolerable level with fantasies of a life I’m too much of a wimp to actually start leading. It’s passing the time alright. So, this lucky lady of the Medusa curls is, unbeknownst to me, well on her way to cramming herself into my situation. At first it’s just a poke in my ribs. I don’t like it. But what’s a you to do? You know? This hideous lady is jabbing at me, and there’s no ignoring her. So I give her some attention. That’s all some people want in this world. Just a little attention to be paid to them. I gave her a nod. She was grinning like a lunatic. Something had to be done. Irking my way around, you know, I can be jerk too, but I didn’t want to try sarcasm on for size just then. Not yet at least. Not right away. I was in a playful mood I guess. That kind of windy feeling you get sometimes after a few beers, stepping outside, being nonchalant and at ease about your ways. People say things like moseying I guess. Moseying in your mind. Something like that. Any whose-it-or-lose-it way, I was pleasant, and we started chatting, after she bummed a smoke from me of course. There was something bovine about her mouth, like her teeth were too big for it, and her lips seemed to be pulled really tight across, almost like they were going to split if she weren’t careful about her smiling technique. And her ears. They were chewed pepperoni jutting out antennae-like from her hair’s brown stringy tangles. It was like they had a life of their own. Very strange. I couldn’t help staring. I’m quite the ogler any how, but this chick was hard not to look at, though I’d been doing such a fantastic job in the bar, but it was dark in there and, well, whatever. It’s just that way sometimes. Once you start it gets to be addictive, like the more you see the more you want to keep looking. The sharp horrible red veins like cuts in her eyeballs, the gnarled flaking skin all pustuled like Braille on her cheeks, eyebrows that seemed like they might wake up and crawl away any minute. It was ghastly but somehow enjoyable to keep checking out. Was I charmed? I don’t know. Caught in a spell. Warped. Something. Or maybe just groping through shit-stained weather and hoping to renovate my attitude towards strangers in general. Enough said, you know? I kept thinking about that song Chelsea Hotel. Just popped in and looted my best intentions, or worst for that matter. Running for the money and the flesh, and that was called love for the workers in song, and all that, etcetera, etcetera, and all of that jiving around. The chick’s got her sights set on plunder, and she’s asking me about personality disorders and the comfort of long train rides in the rain, the way the drops splatter and stick and drip down the windows. I’m not sure how to respond to anything. The sky’s mending bluebells, and it’s all harps with broken strings and puttered out grain-of-sand mindsets from there on out. I wasn’t too cranky, and we conversed, and I was light and bantery, and she was hoarse and done-in. There wasn’t much left in the way of coppered sunsets and the missing letters of dead movie marquees. Let’s move a rain cloud on over here, huh? But there was a certain doting way she had of dealing with my presence. I’ve got to admit. I was eating it up. I usually do when confronted with stuff like that. It helps my self-esteem out something remarkable. So I let her go on and on, and it’s nothing. It’s not a beveled edge at all. We joke and get along. Sometimes, well, what else is there? Once you’ve got that. Like singing to crickets. And this gruesome female is wrecking some havoc with my vision. I can’t help but be drawn by this certain terror clapping behind the theater of her eyes. Some specious lurk packing on the pounds in my baser instincts. A seeing that is pleased by being seen. So, I flick my cigarette butt into the street, wink around a bit, and she flexes her way back into the bar with me. Nobody’s flipping a lid in there or anything like that, but there’s this stupor of weirdness axing through the remains of what I thought I’d left behind, perhaps in that bar, a long time ago, you know? Young enough at the time, I guess, to pull my dreary ass through the minefields of regret. Jesus. It’s all shit and piss with me. That’s my creed in these drafty times. Gotta rip this hairnet of inanition off my damn skull at some point, right? So we sit on barstools and we order drinks for each other. Music’s not happening. The dark’s taking over. And we light candles with some sort of lucid care. There’s more than nothing to say, but we don’t say it anyway. ‘Don’t go tipping over,’ I keep telling myself. ‘Don’t toss your cards all over the floor for her to pick up.’ Swearing wouldn’t do any good. I knew that. Fast to start and quicker to end. Just a lot of scenery to ambush. Booming crawls of cunning stepping from diving boards of clemency. ‘Tonight. Tonight,’ I think. ‘A poor border for synchronizing smiles. Come on. Get over your pleads for lasting.’ There was music enough in her name to make me dance. Go ahead. Laugh. See where it gets you. I care less and more all the time. Don’t mess with my kindness. I spurn all kinds of opportunities. Just get the basics back to additional means to fuck over what’s just a substitute for peripheral sappiness. Don’t get me finished. So of course I’m not berating her or any of the things like that, you know, for being doe eyed or earnestly disposed or ironically challenged or having that face-smashed-into-concrete look about her. Most of our interacting-type behavior was modified by restraint and hesitation. The levers cranked in our favor, and some light sprinkling rain slicked the streets, and the moon had a rakishly angled trilby atop its bald pate. It wasn’t anything to get weepy about. I run on beer and popcorn most nights. Rest assured, my motivation was not hampered by baser patty-cake instincts or pop-goes-the-weasel sensibilities. I mean, shit, there was a string quartet playing Born To Run in my head. Get it straight. Light the top of my x-mas tree and run for cover. It’s not red, white, or blue in here. It’s mostly gray and royal blue. Nobody understands you when you’re scarred and routed. But there at the bar, back at the bar, well, there’s plenty to go on about, to soak up and enliven your personality with, to suppose with unknown prefixes of habit, to yank and yearn, to understate and munch on about. Tips were not included. You know how that goes. Every low-life needling intimation in the world coming for the lunch special in your soul. Getting a grip? Maybe I was fond of the notion. But mostly with me, as you know, it’s just shit and piss, shit and piss. That’s how it mostly goes. What’s you going to do? Huh? What? Shit and piss. Like a tapping at my stall door. Only this. Merely this, and nothing more. Any what’s-in-a-name way, I planted a bug in the deceptions of whatever the hell I was going to do for my next move. It wasn’t anything plop-heavy. It was a name-dropping urge at best. Beats the dick out of me what was churning cheap-like around in that rugged female specimen’s soupy demeanor. Dinner was not served. Dessert was not on the way. The bartender was having none of our leftovers. Damn it all. Get me to a bathroom. Why would I be a shitter of assumptions? No ways I knows. I just don’t. And nothing was weird at all. Let there be light, you know? And all that. And all that. And all that too.

now it's borodin...

Plath did it with gas

at 4:30 in the morning

what a time to go

just after the soul’s night is darkest

sealed the doors to her kids’ room with wet blankets

placed her head in the oven

what a way to go

her last breath oxygen-less

kneeling down on the kitchen tile

not hysterical at all

probably as calm and determined as she’d ever been

maybe delusioned into expecting breakfast

or dreaming of bumblebees on Johnson Avenue

while the trash trucks hummed and sighed outside

shards of gobbledygook and palindromic names threshing her memories

no longer crawling underneath houses to drown in sleeping pills

a more direct approach that doesn’t cry for help

or hurt


Hemmingway ended it with a twelve-gauge

a felo-de-se just like his old man

put a bullet through his head with his favorite shotgun

in Ketchum, Idaho

nowhere left to run

some say a rope will snap quicker what’s left of you

not so

not so

the noose might fail

or a beam might break

leaving complications of the senses

or bewildered drooling

I knew a guy who tried 4 stories

but gravity let him down

so he went up to thirteen

a popular number for jumpers

the sirens sang him away in roughly 15 minutes

there will always be mothballs in the brain

a spate of rash decisions

that won’t make it far enough

to try keeping on for size

some say pentobarbital will do the job

but take too much and you’ll sick it all up

too little and you’ll linger around like rotten cabbage

leap into fire

get dashed by flames


there are gray jays pleading in the basement

and the water’s too cold for the mess of a drowning

besides suddenness might come on too slow

as taking cues from Spalding Gray or Hart Crane

is not for those of the wavering or timid sort

knew a kid who used a dead-end street as a drag strip

in his parent’s brand new Honda

thought the brick wall at the finish would do the job

crashed the thing through doing 70 and sailed it into a pool

but he was foiled by the car’s safety features

the airbag made sure he was laid up for 6 months

recovering his miserable self

one must be sure to be thorough

and fortify one’s spirit to be hasty and cocksure

at the end

when that gorgeous green window lifts

to reveal the hidden components of necessity

and you sip the tides from the lunatics and the bums

and the lawyers flash smiles like tossed gold pieces below your calloused feet

like bird feed

which was incurred during flush times of survival

while there were still a few horses left to bet on

while time marched instead of nose diving

one must respect the ones who are left behind

a mush of reminiscing

a curling spit of sun

charred descendents of other scars and fleshy misgivings

a respite is not enough


there is no training ground for hesitation

a white-winged dove will not swoop down to the rescue

and angels have more important matters to attend to

like saving whales and planting the seeds of next year’s harvest


don’t grow too fond of farewells

circles mend their own bends

even if darkness lowers the boom

perhaps a burial ground for the static-brained yawns of bored evenings might do

or a leper colony for jealousy

sometimes mercy will not strain

not even for a quality individual

like yourself

a girl who once lived upstairs

sliced her wrists both ways

and bled into bathwater

until the super came breaking in to see about a noise complaint

seems she’d been blasting the radio the whole while

the unfortunate bastard bandaged her up and called the paramedics

who arrived too early to save her

so she went on

until a bottle of tranquilizers found her stomach

and then a bottle of cheap vodka

which finally finished off what she’d never wanted to begin

her bed held her shape for almost a week

before they found her

lying there prone with hands outstretched

as if posing for a crucifixion

smiling at what she’d done

Wallace Carothers

the inventor of nylon

mixed his cyanide with lemon juice

in a cheap Philadelphia hotel room

to work the trick quicker

endurance and willpower

strength and hope

things to say on a string of petty days with nothing to be tied to

just one after the next

clomping along

in a business-as-usual clump

but somewhere

like a crane fly skimming frost flowers in January’s meanest

or a sky glutted with the bent-paperclip shapes of birds

a newfangled buffet car for the freshly dead is rumbling by

and there is no place to put the things one might miss

on a cold day at the end of November

no place that’ll hold what remains

and it is just this now

that matters

in whatever capacity we might have for imagining it

like eating an apple

or forgetting to close the garage door