Thursday, June 27, 2013

where the winds hit heavy on the borderline

            I bought a few drinks for myself, then looked at my image in the mirror behind the bar. It wasn’t enjoyable to look at, so I looked away. Reconsidering the plight I’d delved to recently, I decided to buy myself another.
            Without bothering to relax at all, without canceling my reservations for capital letters and believable necessity, I sat and sulked. But most of me was not in it.  I wanted to iterate, not reiterate.
            I mumbled, “Run for it, suckers.” That was it. That was all.
            I quit cheating and got out of the habit of begging for people to be nice. Hiding out was the best possible situation for me. And, so, that’s about all I did. I did my hiding in dark bars, mostly. I did my hiding discreetly. I did my hiding flummoxed with aggressiveness. There wasn’t a choice. I plucked flowers until the rain stopped.
            Poor light and a devil’s tail coat. A cropped dusk-lit marigold. I am stepping on wet leaves and over-priced magazines. Nobody sings, “Vroom! Vroom!” anymore. Nobody.
            The laundry tumbles. The day gets done. Emotions come and go like car tires on the sun-cooked pavement. Hunger reaches a gnarled paw down your throat and tugs. There’s another drink in that Vodka bottle in the freezer, at least. Maybe another. It’s possible.
            The stories that never get told. Pulled hair and a dumb unlucky grin. I get less than most out of cramming my sentiments away in my vest pocket for later. These hands are where moths go to die. 
            Allegations thrown like tantrums all over this place. You get yourself free. You get yourself tossed. It’s better to bone up on disarray. Watch the streets for signs of leaves. It’s like Wee Willie Keeler put it, “Keep your eye clear, and hit ‘em where they ain’t.”
            A cat named Loretta and a former Olympic torchbearer. Inconspicuously consuming a few more than a few. Oh, and there’s a 500 smackers reward for Loretta’s safe return. An identifier in a deteriorating doorway shedding splinters and rust. No more hushes are falling over the crowd. No more bandstanders to rough up. A torn American flag waving from a newspapered-up window down a red alleyway. Nobody’s feeling rotten. Nobody’s breaking eggs. A lengthy indication of an imperfect moment less green than any of these trees’ leaves. And the empty-handed have their hands cut off.
            Let’s return to complexities. Please, excuse the cleanliness. The allies we’ve yet to make are out on paid leave. For a few things. The telephone poles were too crooked. Dump the crestfallen on me. I’m intent on taking one side or another.
            The bar mirror’s not telling me anything I’d like to know. I’ve seen it all before. I’ve seen it packed away in railcars off and onto other shoulders than these. I am not so dreary with what’s here-- in my pockets, grinded in my teeth, or spit out on a coat sleeve. A pianola somewhere is always playing, somewhere. For me, or not. Somewhere.
            So wandering became the most normal thing to do, or to sit on a curb and tie your shoes, have a smoke, scratch at your neck, sleep in the barn of your thoughts for a bit. Don’t shoot the lights out or anything, though, you know. Spells the worst, mumbles the rest. You’re scuffing the floor like Mel Ott. You’re terrible at being you. Really, it’s just a poor excuse for a weak alibi. Really, it’s nothing to notice or tell about. Off with it, you know?
            Taffeta on the mind, in the bowery of my worst dreams, in the hull of sulking and the heart of slurring. Shit. I can’t make any amends worth a damn. None of these songs are sad enough. Contemplating the lacquered smooth bar ledge, the palm trees on the wallpaper, the narcoleptic whisky gnats who hover and hover and hover. It’s all they do. That, and then stumble in midair and pass out in the bar’s dust.
             I keep to myself. I keep to my mumbling: “Give me a badge. Call me Cowman. Get the way I remember her best out of my head, just for a moment, at least, so I can sit here in peace and watch the dreary light fade beneath the side door’s gap. My ride’s tied up just outside. And my heart? My heart’s all tied up in here. So, play me something illicit beneath the pangs of love’s done. Play me a song that’ll rip the tide from the sea of your desolate eyes. Hell, I can’t complain. I just can’t.”
            The bar’s grown dark. So dark, you’d never believe. No more sparklers or neon or jukebox light. No more glowing cigarettes. No more. No more. We all sit here and wait on a dream that never arrives, but another drink that always does. Talking’s no good. It just gets me confused. I will sit here. I will just sit here and sit here and sit here. The sound of one man vomiting. Please. Don’t tell the sparrows that I don’t miss them. Please. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Jesus Christ I Love You Yes I Do (Or, The Wreck of A Circus Train)

The stately alabaster tone of seriousness, a slab of strict sensibility cut from loaned piddling. The Pillars Of Heracles don’t got a thing on whatever corn-off-the-cob this melee makes itself out to be. Get the laundry in before the bed bugs don’t bite. Cue the TV. It is time, almost, to not begin. I, for another one, don’t really care for all of this wavering. 

We had the boats. We did. They wrestled the wind for a place in nobody else’s heart, but then we had shredders for what our hearts wouldn’t say, and, of course, never do, ever. The same old ways to die. Whatever they turned out to not be. From the brim of what perspective never shows or tells. That isn’t just not to speak, or eat what’s left of yesterday’s plum. To say, “I don’t,” to it all. My mouth’s an empty three-car garage without love.

Lousy, pitiful, greedy fears of man. It’s all we’ve got. You wouldn’t push through past me, past the butter of all passings, past the last table left for supper in hell, for tea at 4 a.m., for just a look and a rib. I am openly sinister. Pass the good deeds. I’ll pass.

Sorry. I think I’m going to find a high rooftop to leap from. It is time and it is not.

The shallower my reconstructions behave-- before, after, or during my past-- the more mistimed my first time’s get. That’s a breather I’m not allowing myself to have, in the jackhammer’s morning boom at least. By the light of stalled traffic, in the holy ruin of car wrecks, for the miserable and the lumpy throated, it is all bonhomie and raisins for the masses. And to think, Harry Dean Stanton is not even my father.    

I’m not married to anything or what have you because all the trees around here grow kale wings and never fly. The sea is not romantic at all. Drugs are wasted on the druggies. I have my suspicions about growing up. I have my internal tick-tock of white noise and gas. A dab of gasoline behind the ears and some olive oil under the arms. It measures up when it does not. I tell you.

The moon over the building tops is not splendid or silvery. The US flag ripples and gloats in a strong gust. I play hooky from my ambition in the park of my clunky head while warding off malice’s sparrows. Gesture to me. Go ahead, tilt the sky like a pinball machine, and let me fall from all the graces of the cathedral across the street. The path is too wide, today, and there is nowhere to not run to, or not enough. Place me just behind the slowest horse on the track. The caboose is not my friend. I am winded with distance.
To what’s not left.
To what was never there.
To there and farther away than that.
To yours and not mine.
To it all. To it all.

The tan lines of this world we’ve all inherited get more distinct the more I muddle through the wainscoting of my life. I rhymed asparagus with therapists the other day. Lord hurt me. It’s gotten that bad. Excuse me for a decade or so. My green beans have gone purple, and my plowshares are no longer with me. There is a For Sale sign on the lateral pass of my wits. The scenery’s mangled with too much mowing. I am considering a new motto: never attempt a thing. 

I was just about to say, “Goldenrod flowers like flying saucers flow vigorously through fertile fields of my most decent comportment,” when the wind picked up and took my sense of proportion with it. Smaller than infinite, I kept to others. A Showmen’s Rest of a place, really, is all it was, and I remembered, almost suddenly, that all of my heroes were drunks, outlaws, and circus performers. It was a happy memory. It got me through the burnt toast and cold coffee of another morning. I told myself, “Then there are also flowers, still, perfuming other avenues of horror, scenting blurry daylight’s doze with terror and shiftiness.” That about did it. And now? It might still. Other lazy louts have done less in this top-hatless world we’ve come to know and not know so well. Just to think, squeamish with fascination’s horded dog barks, ladled in-and-out with laud’s roar, humming with the drums of another, cast in to coast uphill for an eerie evening without even a moth around to swat at.

An accidental brushing up on flown away lives. A touch of hassle to make some of it worthwhile. A cornet blessing the crumb-covered kitchen floor with a dope-fueled serenade. There isn’t much left to have or take with or give away. The vagabondage of an oyster’s daring clips splats from my coldest moods.

We pulled in to Pokagon close to eleven. There were hanging oil lamps rattling with the fervor and restlessness of stunted, latent ideas. I chopped repetitiously at mistreated vegetables in the dining car. A few tropes like plastic plants cropped motionless in the machine shop of my thoughts. Tour groups came and went. I don’t know how close I was to not being drunk. The tin cups dangling from hooks above me were expanding with the weight of disarray and battled remonstrance. For me? I don’t know. I really don’t. There were chiggers in the fridge’s crisper. The time of day was up for grabs. A woman named Bubby held the weight of a musket of lyrebirds in the hem of her gown. Me? I held my breath and remained motionless for as long as I possibly could.
The crinkly fringes of necessity came calling, my hold on reality being sprayed around like milt, as it were, from the comportment of my low-tide surrender to it. The train. The train. The steel rails’ hum’s hold on it all was coming apart, and so was I. I was buckling, an innocent bystander of my own wreck. “Crack to it!” I screamed through the steam. It only tore apart what was already shredded to mistakes and failed understandings. I thought, ‘Holy, holy, holy, holy…still. Holy. Still.’

The volley of color: plights of pickled light, elated greens and bustling brown, the off-blue temper of a burgundy whiff, violet pins poked through sheets of blackest shale, cascading saffron bruises. “I am making distinctions,” I offered, “between tones and notes, rough stuff and weaker knees, the whole’s part of the part’s whole, and there is no dealer in what’s been handed down to us, here, in the thin of this place-- just deals.” More things to flash and spin by, noticed or not; and we’re bound by life’s fragility, rent checks, shoes and socks, and the curvature of the earth to be who we are. Nothing here sticks around. Move over and stay put. Ahead goes back to behind and then right smack back into the middle of it all again. Missing’s for the swallows. I’m putting up with it all, again, until home is back’s only far and the range’s only is back home once again.


Dollar Bill’s Auto (an exercise in complacency) 
Putting it to less of a test, then, we get reverberations in the most minuscule of realms. We get tethered speech patterns worn in uncomfortable embraces, coin-operated restrooms, meal-ticket vacations, and scam cruises to unimaginable islands. There goes my nothing. It’s washing what can’t not be clean. But the better stiffs get the upper lip all the time. Be numb and nimble. Play all the hardwires until the swooners get soft with their own song. Burn the unpaid bills. Set the alarm for midnight and make a run for the pool. Take whatever shakes out. Adjust your atmosphere of digestion to it, if you can. There’s a cranberry-colored dress with your name penciled on the tag. We’ve got until next afternoon, at least, to make a go without this. Everybody’s waltzing the plank, and we’ve got no time for intruders. Let’s make it not matter. Let’s burn the butler’s street clothes. The palms are swaying with it; you know. And it is not love that we’re asking for in the tangerine light. Best let the cops sort it out, from here on out. But, still, I make the best ice in town. The sidewalk tells my tale. Don’t let them pave over my name on 6th avenue. And, you ask, “How’s it going?” Streaked with dried drops of gutter water. Lassoed with inhibitions. Trained to a tell by horoscopes. Missing the top bottom on my favorite jacket. It’s all hurt messed up with a little sorrow. It’s all a backed-up toilet of regret. It isn’t any of what I’ve got. Trains lost in fog and God. Messages left and never retrieved. We are run-over and too unkind. Or maybe that’s just you. Under less and over more. Sky’s the color of laundry. Moon’s like rust on a can opener. I am not rushing to have it all. I am not who you won’t ever think that I am not. Philadelphia is still so far away. And the grass? Hell, the lawn is married to me, at least until the sprinklers come on.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How John Oliver Stole My Job As Host Of The Daily Show by Jon Stewart

          There is no movie. I am not a director of anything. Iran? A film about a book by some guy who Jason Jones interviewed? You’ve got to be shitting me. I know. I know. The douche bags in charge have filed a grievance against me, again. Grief. Fuck. I am wine-dark with it, or…listen up. Shit. The clusterfuck of my life could use a bulldozer, and, of course and of course and of course, there are copious returns on the dickhead factor of it all. But who’s going to listen to a washed-up ex-comedian atheist Jew who hates his father so much that he changed his last name? I want intelligent conversation and all I get is hoots for more monkey dancing.
            For fuck’s sake. I’ll blow kisses to anything that moves.
            Sorry. I’m having the kind of week when you’re still doing the Tuesday crossword on Thursday, when both sides of the bed are wrong every morning, and you keep spilling coffee all over your socks and underwear. Fuck me. This is the last time I let one of those interns tell me what’s hip in world affairs. And those fucking nitwit correspondents. Don’t even get me fucking started.
            Language. I know. I should try to keep this cleaner. But my wits are pretty damn far from me right about now.
            So, I’m getting gunned at all the time. I know. O'Reilly's camping happy. It’s cleaner to be a mess sometimes. Getting found out is a gem in a manure truck’s load at times like these. Oh, Samantha-Bee me for a day. Fuck. No. Bad-pun me to hell and back too. These times? Maybe I’m just not as on-edge as I should be. I don’t know. It’s hard to say. I don’t mind getting plunked for my own team’s troubles, but I’d rather have at least an iota of say-so in the matter, you know? Interviewing these cunts four nights a week. Holding up their shitty books for the camera and feigning interest in them. It’s all a sham and a shame. I used to say I wouldn’t quit it for the world. Now? It’d be a horrible gamble to feel any other way about it. And this suck-up Oliver guy? His southern accent is shit, as is just about his whole onscreen persona. He’s funny, though. He’s a damn funny guy. I guess I’ll go ahead and admit that. What a fucking pansy though. Though, well, I’m one to talk, huh?
            Yep. I’m hung out to soak, or tied to the mast at least, like in Draper’s Ulysses And The Sirens. Oh, the fucking cuteness of it all-- I’m not being…at all. Nope. It’s hurtling greener lights than these at the sky’s dunked purple. It’ll take more than some hardcore chuckling to get through this shit storm. My copy machine’s been sold for scrap. Well, I guess I’ll be Instagraming my ass to anybody who cares, for now. Maybe it’s juvenile pranks that’ll keep me going through the darkest of this. Maybe I’ve been too old for too long already. Shit.
             I keep taking pictures of myself. For some reason I’m compelled to know what I look like. Selfies? Shit. That garbage is for the dipshit kids of this hashtagging self-absorbed generation. Let them have their pathetic naval-gazing games and their smart-phone pockets and their flinch-heavy lifestyles. I’m okay with being shunned by it all. I really am.
            A full moon in the trades. I keep thinking about that as all the gorgeous girls in town head downhill in a hurry. Eugene O’Neill. Who reads O’Neill anymore? Shit. Not even me. I don’t have time to read. And I hear they’re wheeling out a color chart for prose now. Probably get it all labeled and categorized so they can file it away in some fucking Google doc file, or something, or whatever that means, or is, or…fuck. Language, Jonny Boy. Language. Got to keep it as clean as possible before these grubby Prism ass wipes come for you. Probably try to wash my mouth out with kerosene. I’ve got a few razors though. And I’ve been (excuse me) sharpening my nails.
            The Mets can’t hit for shit. My face looks like used moist towelette. And I’m stuck here in a rat’s paradise, some sloppy excuse for a poor man’s cellar, or a rich man’s generic version of it. There’s no such thing as hitting bottom anymore-- just living way less than dangerously. Hell, I don’t even want to make myself laugh.
            Ok. Ok. So I’m supposed to describing here the ways in which my wonderful job was taken from me, at least one would suppose so from the title of this thing. Maybe I’d rather get sidetracked by plangent griping. Anyhow, that Oliver, he’s not so bad really. He’s motivated by that Limey perseverance that grinds and mulls and stews until the time is riper than a wrestler’s unders. And then he snaps and locks his jaws onto what you’ve got until you’re forced to let go or get maliciously mauled. I mean, the show has got my name in the fucking title! It’s The Daily Show With JON STEWART! And he’s sitting there hosting the damn thing with my name still on it. God. That sounds like a line from some Tori Amos song or something. Is that what I’ve become? Some trite, cliché-shouting lunatic? Twenty-five bucks and a cracker. Fuck. What a dumbass I’m turning out to be. Must be all that time I spent on Remote Control, thrashing through the early nineties with more chips than a Mexican restaurant on my shoulder, reeling into howling fantods of furor at wanna-be hip types with bad haircuts and souls to match. Fuck the dangling modifier of it all. Bash me all the way to the motherfucking moon. I’m through being funny, and I stopped being nice before Clinton’s first term was through. Hell, I want silent thunder too. And all of my goldfish are belly up.
            Yeah. Yeah. I know you all want to hear about how I got hoodwinked out of my job, out of my celebrity status and those steady streams of ironic jabs at the piranha pundits of the world of network news; how I morphed into a media pariah right before your very closed eyes. But really, it’s just basic cable, and the show came on after that Tosh Point Zero guy or crank-calling puppets or cussing cartoon kids or that chubby and horrible unfunny woman who thinks her takes on sexual taboos are comical to anyone but herself; or whatever Comedy Central was trying to plug to spill them some more cash for cheap. It’s all a bullshit world ruled by commercials and tacky hoaxes. And me? Shit. I’m about as subtle as a bow tie on a banana. I want sweeter dreams too, you know? I want…Fuck. I know. Can it Stewart. I want. I want. Maybe that’s all there is: to break away from this endless desire to want. Shit. Maybe I’m on the right track after all.
            Fuck it. Wish that Oliver kid the best. Give Colbert my record collection. Slap Denis Leary around a few times for me. And tell my wife and kids that do I love them very much.
            PS-- I’m moving to Aeaea.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

the scrotumtightening sea

We are all oxytocin junkies on an infinite dopamine loop with everywhere to run to while hiding at the same time. It’s a getting that is almost like an intoxicated yawn.  

Eat my shorts.

Dangle me like a misplaced modifier over the train-wreck sentence of my past. 

Don’t get long with me.

Along, and properly, only, harried to the chase. Don’t think about it, adult.

The stakes are, unbelievably, higher than you’d never think. Drop a quarter. Go ahead. I’m definite that the moon’s only silver on loan from the sun’s glint. I won’t pick it up. I Doublemint promise.

Drink your Gatorade.

Whatever’s drunk is drunk. Thimbles of wishes gone rummaging, shambling south, and the whiff of perfume kills it, us, whoever.

Let us forget.

Sure. There are cases we could unmake.

Such as?

Cold-water flats and lunatic fringes, people on the verge of desperation. The cacophony of trashcan lids. The gesticulations of war through a hassle-filled night. I’m sawing my nightmares in two and letting the morning’s coffee put them back together again. A chopped-off pinky finger haunts my waking dreams. Who can eat at times like these?

My last three meals: caterpillar with tomato sauce, iguana with rice and beans, steamed pumpkin leaves with sprinkled paprika. 

What else?

I’m really good at washing my hands, and I punctuate with my gut. Don’t get me finished. At a rust-around-the-edges point in a lessening of assumptions, or whatever. Still, billiards is the only game I can’t play well. 

The walls of the asylum have grown heavy with barbwire. There is no escape for a runaway crook. It is a look that never keeps from running. And everything is away. 

Beer for the gnats. Wine for the flies. Cigarettes for any mosquitoes that have survived. We are, my companion, both plagued by boons to our worst nature. Drift and harangue. Blowhard and get winded.

Let’s eat and be miserable, drink and be sad.

And by the time we clink glasses and wake up from all this harrumphing, well, most folks will be on lunch.

Well, most folks ain’t like us. They don’t make geezers like us no more. No they surely don’t.

That’s a relief. A dying breed of lonely assholes.

Henry Ford was an asshole. His kid Edsel got the worst of it.

Not now. Listen. I got chalk on my back and a water pistol at my side. Nobody’s taking names, especially not mine. It’s forgiveness weather out. It’s a sweeter pill than most, but we all chew instead of swallow. It measures distance by height and swoops the lens from seeing. I am not sensible at all. We’ve got more planks to walk than’ll ever be made. The spaces we get are gone one final time, right? The horror we witness is chiming in closer all the while. You got the time? Hell, I don’t even own a watch. There are too many cigarettes tucked away in the fireplace’s flue. Trust the money you haven’t yet made; it’ll all odd out before the beginning. I’ve seen more style in monkeys in hard-up places where everybody’s laid up for good, or worse. To be the fluent badgering test of nobody-in-their-wrong-mind’s mettle. Truer tests are not softer to lose. But we do. And, well, we don’t too. What’s gone’s already begun. Also, people with mustaches should not have mustaches.

No. No. We’ve all got to keep dreaming better and better every night.

I am special. I am delicate.

And cannibals only eat their enemies. Yes. It is all myth. All of it. And we’ve got to prepare ourselves for the worst and the best and the mediocre too. It remains a gamble just to pass gas or swat at a winged insect.

It should be a source of great pride that we are who we are, who we remain after all the pestilence and soul-crushing battery we’ve been through.

Who are we?

Less than you’d suspect but more than you’d ever dare to nightmare.

Perchance to.

We are foibles of our own loss’s moiety. We are reconfigured rough drafts of inconsiderate mocking. The welkin’s striped with strips of that same old damn silver that just might not be there in the wink of the man in the moon’s cheese-wheel eye. But who are we to notice stuff like this? We’re busy moaning over the sound of air raid sirens and ducking under tables for fun.

Keep the little kids out of the street. Choke up when life’s got two strikes on you. Shorten up. Go the other way. Bunt and make a mad dash for it. Never use cliché phrases like, “It’s a slippery slope,” when trying to help somebody. Nothing’s as good or as horrible as you think. Give yourself the time of night, even if nobody else will.

Like I was saying…

Cantankerous grumps like us weed the roses from the garden with each breath. Clickers in a world of indefatigable clicking, endless clicks leading to more clicks, links to other links, connections disseminating worry’s over-stimulation to both cerebral hemispheres equally. All things to other things to other things to yet other other things. Panic addicts. Lords of minutiae’s ruins. Nobody even has time to forget, let alone remember anything. 



So, there’s this guy, you see? And his name is, well, let’s just say his name is Banjo, okay?

Got it.

So, maybe, perhaps, I’m just biding time, you know, as is my wont, sitting around my office, right by the window by the street, and I’m sitting there at my desk mostly just watching the sky change its clothes, gawking at traffic lights and pedestrians, ruminating rather pleasantly about the current condition of my less-than-honorable state of mind and place in the world.

Let’s just say it’s so.

And so, this guy Banjo comes in thwacking away at stuff with gripes and minty breath too, but, well, you don’t see me getting all sodden and sentimental about any of it. It grows likes like ready-to-drop leaves. And Banjo’s got not enough on his mind. Let’s just say that the duplex of his days is getting shoddy and moan-worn. It’s no way to feel, but he does. Let’s not face it at all; he’s groomed for worse things. But the sky is so clear that it’s raining airplanes. How aren’t you? You know? It’s something doing for nothing. And so Banjo goes and leaps all together, and it becomes foggy that he’s down for somebody else’s count. Things for him are getting down-to-your-last-pair-of-underwear bad, and the Laundromats in his head are all closing up shop. I tell him, perhaps, “Banjo, keep it apart. You’re just not what you don’t got.” And maybe it helps more than I’d intended it to. It sops up what wasn’t left of his moldy aspirations. You see, the cloth Banjo’s cut from is moth-eaten and raw-weather rough. His chair’s higher up than most. The kind of guy whom you want to make soup for, you know? It must but it won’t. It will but it don’t. Close it up. The tighter it doesn’t get, well, it might get just as well. But what the hell are you going to do with a guy like that? Banjo. Banjo. It sweeps the shivers from your coldest nights and spreads ketchup over the rest of it. Pleading or not, it seems suitable enough for any occasion that comes on around. Plus or running in. The eagle’s got a grin. Don’t go having yourself a good day, now. You see?

Sure. Who couldn’t? 

But most people don’t speak in overtures. Let’s smoke-signal the masses with dashing dots of residual algorithms lost in the memories of a payphone graveyard.

Or we could sit here and just smoke. There’s some notice still left in these pixel-scarred eyes. We could be windless if we would.

If we would.

The convergence of all matter-- metaphysical or astrophysical or geometrical or microbiological or nanotechnological, thought or seen or felt, gray or chatoyant as it may or might not be-- is shrinking and expanding at all times, all the time, over and over. And we are just part of it. Nothing more or less. This has all happened already, an infinite amount of times, and it has all yet to happen, also, an infinite amount of times again, and also, again. There is no difference.


And you find yourself fleeing shapely hunches in whatever’s begging to be you around 6:53 PM on a Saturday, alone except for music and vodka. 

Now you’re talking. Where’s my drink? Where’s the music? Where’d all of my good times run on off to?

Nowhere. Nowhere at all.

You mean everywhere, right?

Of course.

Good. That-- at long last-- at least that, my fellow asshole, is a damn good thing.

Yes. Yes, it is.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

the shady side of life

JOHN LENNON: Is it better to shoot or be shot?

KURT COBAIN: Better? There’s no difference. If you’re the target, either way, that’s it.

JOHN LENNON: Shake your head. Look the other way. Yep. I see something in hindsight I’ve missed in attempting to be a tad more promethean in my thinking.

KURT COBAIN: Is it able to shake? I mean, anymore, now? Then? Whatever this substance of space is that we’re now dealing with.

JOHN LENNON: Nothing me and my monkey can’t eke out a dying from.

KURT COBAIN: Some guy who’s missed the back belt loop, pants sagging in all the wrong places, elbows on the table. He’s on edge but never over it. Strum away what you will, we’re still figuring to not ever figure in the midst of things again.

JOHN LENNON: Taken out before the seventh-inning stretch. Benched before the bells ring out for x-mas day. A hot dog left bun-less and plain. No more apples in the pie.

KURT COBAIN: That’s an American way to behave, you know?

JOHN LENNON: I could scream, “Yoko! Yoko!”

KURT COBAIN: Please. Don’t.

JOHN LENNON: It’s lobster week in New York City. Everything is red and green when you’re old and shitty. Not too scabby. A real effort for the hawk lovers to stroll over to Times Square and eat fried cockroaches. There’s never enough breakfast to go around, but who needs it, right?

KURT COBAIN: Not people like us. The pope, maybe. Or Harry Nilsson. But not folk like us.

JOHN LENNON: Ringo and his damn coke binges. Shit. Maybe he did us all in after all, in a manner, or without them.


JOHN LENNON: Yep. He was a slob who behaved neatly. The only case of that I’ve ever come across in the universe. There was only so much we both were made for, I think-- you and I. The two of us, when we were; not now, when we aren’t. 

KURT COBAIN:  And yet the damn Stones go on and on, rolling into tediously boring septuagenarian rock. How do they stand themselves?

JOHN LENNON: They don’t have to. They just go through the motions and let come what may. It’s such a passionless way to live, really. I pity old Mick and the crew. Dead while they still live.

KURT COBAIN: Better to burn out than…

JOHN LENNON: Fuck that. That’s not what I’m saying. Seriously, fuck that. You just burn like a fucking roman candle at both ends for so long, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways of behaving that’ll get your proverbial goat out to better pastures and other avenues of…well, of being you.

KURT COBAIN: Darn. Shoot. I didn’t take the easy way out. I really didn’t. Dagnabbit. It probably got so that I couldn’t stand my own presence, or could with present company excluded, i.e. me.

JOHN LENNON: Present company excluded, of course. That makes it and breaks it.

KURT COBAIN: Let’s pretend that we both are still around.

JOHN LENNON: Make up our lives from scratch? Sure.

KURT COBAIN: Anyway. What’s real? I scrape the grunge from the surface and get only gunkified nails in return. The world neglects the real stuff of being me and glories in my image.

JOHN LENNON: What is the difference between the life that we watch and the life that we lead? It might be subtler than one would think, the lack of one or the surplus of another. We scream timber but nobody’s around. Leap first; check the ground for signs of death. It doesn’t help. Addiction to a way of living, the need to be sucked in, to be dependent on being a viewer, for flattery at all times. A curse of bemused indifference to a fictional reality, losing the ability to discern what’s really real or just fake real.

KURT COBAIN: My dreams are stoked with popup ads and spam. My heart aches with dial-up slowness. There are no more lilies in the windows of my past. Get me to the asylum, right quick. I want to chew a wrench until I spit metal shards at all comers. I am not well at all.
JOHN LENNON: To watch without observing, lint-clogged thoughts. Time in and out of life. We’ve got a low pitch angle in our arm, right smack dab between the Perseus and the Sagittarius, curling away slowly without sticking out much. It takes light 1,000 centuries to cross the combined might of a few hundred billion stars worth of distance. We are never without home in sight, like on a mushy but clear evening in the northern hemisphere, walking with the tide towards swirls of ways of milk.    
KURT COBAIN: Yeah. It’s like-- whose life are you going to save this time? Mine?
JOHN LENNON: I doubt it. Maybe Dylan’s. Maybe start a war. Get a hand grenade’s thoughts on the matter. Love or hate, you know? What’s it going to be?
KURT COBAIN: I was taught to hate from an early age. The most vile parts of the human psyche concoct these terrible things, the parts that go to war, that kill without remorse, that think better-them-than-me thoughts. A distinction that doesn’t need to be made: them, us. It’s a flimsy, selfish construct with horrible consequences for humanity.  
JOHN LENNON: The clock ticks and we all run for our phones.
KURT COBAIN: Songs of love and trouble, a sucker’s tilt towards an empty jackpot. The face you’re wearing doesn’t match the one we’ve got on file. Sorry for the inconvenience. It’s all your fault.
JOHN LENNON: True that. Listen, though. I’m wondering still about missing things. I mean, like…well, she left me for a toupee salesman. What else can I say? And then that damn bird kept attacking my head at the bus stop. It got so that I couldn’t leave the house without the constant worry of somebody plummeting to their death and landing right on top of me. I couldn’t stop looking up, walking under overhangs, zigzagging my way to the market, as if this would lessen the billion-in-one chances of being crushed in this manner: a man killed by another’s suicidal leap to the pavement. Brilliant, right? Eventually I guess I chose the Pascalian route and just stayed home. Avoiding the trouble and complications that come with leaving one’s room, or one’s bed.
KURT COBAIN: Whatever you believe in, whatever keeps the flag flying high through your weakest moods, it all strips the hull and retraces nobody’s path through your own personal scream-less wilderness. Something in or out of the way. Always.
JOHN LENNON: Just hanging out on the observation deck, making hay, passing the passersby, letting out a spool of myself into the too-large life of it all. Watching what could be happening, but isn’t. A somewhere man seeing what isn’t believing. Believing what’s never seen.
KURT COBAIN: That’s it. I’m all rocked out. Let’s tear down the chandeliers and throw the diamonds from the highest window we can find. There won’t be a me left to care.
JOHN LENNON: I’m writing this for someone who’ll never know it is for them.
KURT COBAIN: So, I guess we both end up the same. It’s no matter. It’s all that matters. It is what it is, now.

JOHN LENNON: Funny how that happens all the time.

KURT COBAIN: Well. That’s it. I’m done.

JOHN LENNON: Me too. Me too. Me, motherfucking, too.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

too much makeup and a broken shoe

That girl, she had a face that’d stop a clock. With brass knuckles on both hands and a few black teeth splitting up her smile, she whispered to me, “Be a dear and keep my switchblade in your pocket, please.”

All I had were punch lines without jokes. Things like, “I said, ‘Bury her,’ not, ‘Marry her.’” It was never a tell to get panicky over horoscopes and crossword clues, but the motions I kept making were too routine and ordinary to mistake for genuflections or semaphores that’d land a Boeing 747. They were enough to keep me busy.

Well, they’re singing operettas in the streets and the moon’s tongue’s hanging out like a tired dog's. And I just get a little, well, nervous on the weekends. So I’m trying to watch the Twilight Zone on a 9” Panasonic portable, drinking warm beer and sweating through my undershirt with all the windows up, and nobody’s staying in tonight, and everyone’s behaving like circus animals run amok. The sky’s turning over salmon and rose hues, grumbling a few soapy clouds through the musky firmament of it all. And me? I’m bleeding static and pinball buzzers while Fred Neil sings the ceiling blue. Won over with bad ties and worse hair. Too tired to sleep at night, it’s all through a concave mirror without a way to shave. Hell, it’s been a two-burrito kind of day so far, and I’m misting up over a car commercial and laughing at the evening news, and I guess I'll be lounging around here in a thrift-store suit for the remainder of the evening. You see, the fridge is running out of beer, my dear. And I can’t call it quits just yet. Nope. I’m going all out from here on out. No more settling for mushy apples and Tampico-and-cheap-vodka screwdrivers for breakfast. It’s all high-class cocktail hours that never end, spats-only occasions, and bathroom attendants with pencil-thin mustaches who smile calmly, hand you a towel, and call you Sir. But hell, who am I fooling? Really, I’m just a creampuff of a retired bootblack who’s faking out the cold-and-colder running ghosts in the walls. Shit. I still can get lively from time to time when the neon signs flicker to life outside my window, but it doesn’t last for longer than a commercial break. I kick the fan over and scramble towards the door. It’ll have to do. There are getting to be less and less ways to make rent around here, and it’s getting so bad that you can’t even afford a decent prostitute in the this town anymore. So, well, you know, maybe I’ll head on down to the wax museum and try to score with Marie Antoinette or Marilyn Monroe. But some joker of a security guard keeps calling the cops. Shit. Guys like that always call the cops. So, well, it gets so bad that you’re walking around in everybody else’s shoes but your own, trying to wear out somebody else’s soles. It’s no use, kid. You’re a dropped pass in the end zone on 4th and goal; a no-brainer gone down the drain to fouler pastures. Don’t be scared; be terrified. The dew will scent your days with murder and honeysuckle. But me? I’m a believer in eternal inflation, universes trapped in and bruised by other universes in the cosmic muck, the concentric Russian doll of it all, you know? That gets me up and at ‘em most late afternoons. Battle the bottle for a shot at reconstructing the Big Bang’s echo in my no-way-to-hold-that-doesn’t-hurt head. Once it’s all over it’ll all happen again, you know? Cyclical figuring and sussing out of ways that Mars-bound sailing ships still float, adrift on dream smoke and amethyst hearts. Can’t find out what you already know you’ll never get back to not knowing, like kicking a mule. Still, I wait it out and hunker down in the toothpicks of my days, in the Tupperware of my afternoons, and in the silverware of my nights. I regress to safer haunts: the possibility of oysters on a bed of ice, a seat on the bus, a love letter in my mailbox written on an old never-sent Paris postcard from a girl with hair the color of diamonds. But really, there ain’t a way in purgatory that I’m getting out of any of this alive. And, well, that’s enough to make it all worthwhile. Shit. That’s the point, really.                

She had a cast on one arm and a hospital wristband on the other, and came burping and cussing her way on the bus with a head full of speed. We’d had the law from far back, at least a cursory fling with it, and it kept us honest enough. With a scratchy throat and eyes like rhinestones, she had too many tricks to fit up both sleeves and tuck away in her boots. Still, she didn’t get away with as much as she should have.  

Don’t be cross with me. I’m having breakfast later and later each day. Maybe some marble cake with Sprite. I don’t know. Same new, different old. Something inside of me is broken. Street sweeping bastards, hat full of dimes, and the hardest thing about doing good is being better at being alive. There’s a place out of the sun that’s withdrawing from the rest of what used to keep me going. Shit. We’ve all known those bad times when you’re mixing Tampico with the cheapest vodka you can find for breakfast. And the worse times too, like now, when you’ve run out of both and don’t have the wherewithal to go out and get more.

Oh, I don’t know. I met this girl out in Tupelo and we sort of hit it on and off, you know? There ain’t a lot to it, really. You point the chassis of your love life over in one direction and then you lose the brakes. And it’s me who’s left sniveling. “Just great,” you say to yourself, as she runs off with that fire inspector from Tallahassee. It’s all bullshit. Raise my rent and call the cops. Shit. I really just don’t know about any of it anymore. I split for Tuscaloosa and then shifted my weight over to Pensacola. Nothing changed. I was still really fucking sad all the time. Bitter? Me? I’ve been bitter since I was 4 years old. Sometimes it’s hard to judge the distance between events in your life. The Spa King of New Jersey, and all that. How long’s it been? Really? 

We’ve got hats to lift without glasses or any of it. A hard roll to put a spin on. Let’s drive the bar from the drink and set the cigarette machine on fire. I’m only left handed on good days, and the spit’s still wet on the lip, and the moon dies a little more with each November night. No more waiting around. No more to not do. Staving off a mental breakdown one nervous sip of bourbon at a time. Most likely there are other bathrooms to pursue, other bathtubs to share, and all the bats have left for other belfries.

Do you have any idea what it’s like to be bombarded by God’s love? Do you? Everyone’s got their own damn opinion. Everybody knows what’s what, according to them, you know? It’s all bad, and worse too, and I get mine just like the rest. Me too, you know? And all that. Yep. And all that too. Shakespeare’s okay, but I’m better. I get my grip, get the job done. I give in and out all the time. I use my delusions too, not that I’m sweating the large stuff for any bits-and-pieces man or nothing. I grow old just like the rest. The rest. Shit. Who gives a care about the rest? An inside the park job gone to waste. I’d finance a dozen opinions about what makes it all super. In the neighborhood we all go down swinging, though. And nobody around here reads horoscopes.   
I’m making this up.

So, sitting in the darkest bar on the planet I made plans to recover what I could. I undid a few noble aspirations. The ploy to carefully bruise my ego with bitter complaints against the maker wasn’t working. Nothing was working. Perusing the solace and comfort of a bottle, I concocted a better way to be complacent: something satin-lined and fenced in with rattan. I moved some more over, and then some more. We all squint the best we can at it, I figured. This would have to do. I guess foul balls on 3-2 counts every time. Moon Over Dog Street, and all that. And all that.

The damn red car’s been parked there for three weeks. I know the girl who left it. I wish they’d give it the boot, sometimes. But sometimes I don’t.

She was a sparrow-faced girl with bad dreams in her back pocket and a jump-start in her knees. There wasn’t much she hadn’t done and gotten over. The hard-boiled disaster of her days was over-cooked and done well enough to matter. Never married. Never single. A worn-on-your-socks sort who wouldn’t test the answers until she’d get what wasn’t shaking. She wasn’t paired to take a perfect swill of streaks of misery, but she’d make a case for it anyway. A radio-only broadcast of her life’s final tale. Nothing too sad or happy about any of it. With a purple eye and an ebony heart she rolled her way down the international zone. Nobody was recording anything. We all repaired to the bar one more time. It was all we had, and so we took it and ran with it too. There’s nowhere left to run to, now. A wino’s shot at a violin solo. That’s all that we’ve got. The wind’s magic. All we’ve got is rare rings around no more Rosies. It is up all night and dead to the day.

The wind isn’t up to any trickling today. It’s heaving, if anything, through the blinds. A real chamber-of-commerce day built for cotton candy and at-‘em balls. And some greasy, mole-of-a-guy hands me a pamphlet telling me that the holy lord will bring his judgment and wrath upon me, but it seems that I've left my good intentions in the backseat of a '57 Chrysler New Yorker. So, let’s shed some serious light on the subject. Let’s crochet limelight into the hem of things. Let’s buy ourselves a round, on us. It’s lighter to be shedding dark, or about to. Kiss me a river. It’s buyout time in Hooverville. Drinking beer in the shower. Drinking brandy from a tin cup. Listening to another Rockefeller have his say, as always. It’s blotched and Hudsoned and borrowed back at least a few times. We’ve had bad years and worse all the time. We’ve had bushels of death tumbled onto the highway. Hell, we all miss once in a while. But, maybe, just maybe, it’s not quite time to drag the couch cushions and count up all my change just yet, because maybe there’s one more race left in these worn and wobbly legs, and in the end, maybe we all make it back to our grandmother’s porch at some point, and the rest? Well, then, like my grandmother used to say, “The rest is just poppycock and gruel.” That about does it. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bad Poems Written By Famous Poets (Issue #10)

A Ghost As King Of All Rabbit Holes by Kenneth Goldsmith

east wades up
over water
of course
cornered or less round
husked and delicately aware in the shavings of space
elbows last or a dangled hand’s shiver
much that’s silver lasts
even while bemoaning one’s station and all that horse shit
redirect all impertinence to the ground
temperance builds stiff the stuff of a stunted dream’s sludge
or worse
there could be climbing down to do
still steady
a cavalcade of riddance rides curses to their finale
and an untouched soft bottom sidles chiffonier-like into trouble
perhaps spackled shadows retreat less in frenzy’s delicate bower
the quick stall and goad the dead for rubber candy bars
bill murray takes a dive
do not remark
“I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, ‘Why does that have to be me?’”
“Let me buy you breakfast or something, at least. You aren’t quite the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen, but you’ll do.”
but stay rowdy at heart instead
paste it in
chat around it
overtake the neurotic plunge or plumbed shallows of squalid spiffiness
while nobody’s at it
it’ll matter
like how they were selling soap on the radio
the day JFK got shot
kick yourself into the street and wait
daylight’s here for daylight’s sake
as the marsh of consciousness is busy sopping up the plain and noticeable
can have the rest
meant for
anticipating no ends
starts by on some other gentrified afternoon
or forgets to take in the mail

On Drugs by WS Merwin 

A box to beat a drummer
What can be said
Or ways of expressing what can’t
Anguished or what not or have or have not or you do
Strands white overlapping with currents of morning wind
Stitched without color or absence
Very the same way
As long as the kids get it
It’ll get by okay or almost okay
There don’t go the boats not so wonderfully
On to some death in Samoa
Or mangoes in a cartouche-covered dish
Reading randomly still
What’s pleasing
A pop-dead song lured into trouble
The purity of not knowing why
Never mixed up with ourselves
No more years to count away
I get a kick out of myself still
Happiest alone
With the widest margins in town
Taking whatever wont take me in too far
But gone
Remote and moneyless
Just like always
People pretend to care about me
But they don’t
I just know it
At least the cigarettes have not caught fire