Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Discount sparklers

We built our house on a sloping hill with the back end of it propped up on stilts of old oil stained posts. A year later we even added a clever porch that wrapped around the massive oak tree that shot past our rooftop. A dirt basement opened beneath it, a room where we would grow white button mushrooms and a stall for tools. My rabbit had his hutch there, and I would teach the new seasons of kittens to climb the oak tree to the open porch above. That July we had enough foresight to build a larder of sparklers, exploding snakes and fireworks from our trip to town to celebrate the occasion with. On the fourth, the sun refused to pass over the horizon, and the long day off spent in waiting added to my anxiousness for the holiday. The night was almost cold, me outfitted with my little denim coat before evening had even settled. The sparklers were quickly consumed by my mother and toddler brother: her spelling out their names in glimmering silver and gold streaks. They moved back into the house as dusk began to settle on us. The snakes me and my father lit carefully and I watched wide eyed as molten columns shot up from the tiny tin disks and disappeared in the smoke. I came down quickly from the excitement and sat by myself on the porch and as the frogs sang from the pond behind us the last bit of sun faded from the horizon. We never had much of occasions like this. City dads would barbeque and sip bud light in lawn chairs while the city moms would wear American flag aprons, make drinks and preen. No, my dad would be in his workshop with the constant thrum I knew to be his lathe. Mom would would be in the herb garden plucking chamomile heads and mint leaves to brew in a big bottle in the morning sun. I would never move to that dark dirty city of garages and pugs on chains. Then it would happen, at the right moment our spendthrift occasion would begin. Dad would walk out of his shop with the telltale brown bag of modest festivities wearing a serious look with a grin sneaking from behind it. The big firecracker was shaped like a horse; a deep blue and shiny cardboard rocking horse littered with warning stickers and redundant signs cautioning us of danger. Dad called everyone outside, and as the few wispy clouds floated over in the pitch of night he lit that fuse. The thing was propped up on the rail of the porch, small as a half of an apple, and never would the fuse take for more than a second. He tried again, three times flicking a match up again and cautiously bringing it up to the back of the plastic horse. Once more he brought a red match head to the sandpaper flap and it roared bright yellow for a second as he plunged it towards the fuse. It took rapidly this time, and in a brief stutter and distended whistle it had fallen to the ground somewhere apparently lifeless. Our few piecemeal fireworks used up and the night impenetrable, we laughed about our whistling horse. My mothers arms lifted, ushering us toward the door to close the nights events. Her and my father might stay up another few hours and watch something on that little tinny black and white TV. The canned laughter I would hear if I woke up in the middle of the night thirsty, comedy shows and well fitting suits. I had nearly gotten to the door when my eye caught a flitting amber light between the cracks of the porch boards. I drew down to see better, my parents distracted, my elbows on my knees peering. I uttered something naive, I knew no better; “I see fireflies!” She walked up irritated, urged I go to bed. “Look” I pronounced, eager to have her join in my love for fireflies. She too took a closer look. She did not mistake the crackling yellow flame for the blue-green of beetle love like I did. My father began running. He flew furiously past us, frightening me, briefly stopping in the kitchen to clamor with the pots and pans, door left flapping as he disappeared. I stood confused on the porch, looking through the old wood doors open to the dark. My heart thrummed like a fat bumblebee caught between the screen and the window. My mother waited for him... “It's ok honey, it's ok” she repeated to herself, her arm limp on my shoulder and her staring past me towards the open door. Her voice was weak; she was never a champion of disaster. I heard noises and soft voices; my upstairs bedroom open to the stairs where they spoke in rushed whispers and adulation. I tried to sleep, I had been up too long but my breathing wouldn't slow down. I didn't understand the secret they were keeping, the excitement. My mother came up to help me to bed, again tucking me in, taking time now to reassure me everything was over. I asked if dad was alright. She hesitated. I asked to see him. His right hand was in a large pot, ice overflowing it, medical tape around his wrist holding loose bandages onto red red skin. His arm was blotted by little flecks of rosy flesh. I cried and my stomach dropped. I hugged his belly, him reclined with his arm above his heart, his eyes too were glassy. I was 7, my brother just a diapered tot. He never remembered how it was when we lived hard and had so little. He grew up with color TV and friends close enough to visit the house. He doesn't remember when we set the house on fire with an errant firecracker and dad ripped down a burning sheet of plastic with his bare vulnerable hand and beat it out with a fry pan. He doesn't remember dad crying until the divorce or until the custody battle. I saw it well before, the bandages and never a trip to the hospital. The couple months spent in summer afraid of fire, watching new skin grow and telling everybody that they better listen to me next time; I saved all of us from burning up with that damned whistling horse. *Character building exercise additions in Italics.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Johny no-fight lately

I suppose it is just fair play to mention that we are just sparks in the software, just wind in the sails - that all of this; please take a look around; it is just borrowed from the future, with heavy interest and with no incentive to stay. Our essence leaks out of this hostile machine the more we ride it, certainly, but our inner ears synchronize to the hum and buzz of its cogs and glinting pulleys. I will admit that I have lost the fight in my limbs. I want cold comfort and middle aged penis pills, a corpulent and comfortable wife, a retirement plan and insurance. This and I have methodically alienated every kind voice, and burned every promising bridge from both ends. Frankly Mr. Manic, it is time to head for the hills or put that muzzle in your mouth, because nothing changes if you let it sit; like a warm cancer or a cold gun.

Friday, March 02, 2012

School of Necessity

They say that necessity is the wet nurse of reinvention. To have a new life, to start a new damned life, you have to have some gusto. You need to march into a blubbering idiots office and say it "are you looking at me?". Sure you let go of some well know and conventional norms when you pull off your reflective vest and point for him to finish up your time card so you can go get a bit of whiskey and enjoy your weekend. It is for these moments that individuality owes a debt of gratitude, for they provide the inertia of change; they harden the voice and straighten the back, they draw in the paunch and give you the crooked little grin that it takes to do something real. The majesty of whatever it may be has been lost on you; every new job just a fit of desperation, like marrying your high school sweetheart at 36 with two other men's children.

This is where lesser people drown their kids in a lake or buy a fancy can and get hair plugs, but I am invigorated with this nearly supernatural sense of nothing to lose. It is the freedom of a terminal illness or a social security check, for we all fade away and die, but I will do it to my own theme music.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Premature Elucidations

When a person starts a journal and says they are writing for themselves, and in fact don’t ever expect anybody else to ever read it; well, that’s a filthy lie. It foremost wouldn’t be embossed on the cover and single college ruled for anything other than a god damned exhibitionist. You coy freshmen girls that conveniently leave your unlocked diaries opened up on you pillows, split open at some pertinent quotation that proves a passive aggressive resolution to your roommate’s new found bitchiness. Really, when they say they had always wrote from their heart, it makes sense that four chambers might pump out organized quatrains and lament the loss of childhood innocence.

I think someone might read this. Better than that, I secretly hope that I will testify the wrong of the world and my crooked little heart will be avenged. Sound a little unrealistic? Sure the hell better than pretending that my personal thoughts are anything close to personal and spending my time writing a purgative account of dismembered ideas that don’t even look like me on paper. It is better to start with a message in a bottle than stare at your own bent reflection and pretend it is your psyche peeking through.

I started a few weeks ago. Scribbles on a napkin to pass the time sitting and waiting. I drew a face peeking down from a window or the way a brick front leered in the lamp light. I drew shadows and the charcoal heft of the night left draped on the city that situated itself between real people and animals. My engine dead and cold; the radio flitting, just audible, the clang of a train pounding between the old warehouses.

Then I wrote about it. I listed descriptors like a child; I personified and struck similes. The night was a smokey blanket – the dusk was like the cherry of a fat man’s cigar. Wretched shit really. I’m not proud. Only so many things to describe in the sparse yellow din of streetlights. Colors are every shade of gray and orange – technicolor blindness.

I would write stories after that, things like boy meets girl and protagonists that only halfheartedly want to keep them apart. People would eventually come to their senses when looking down the barrel of true love. I’m not proud of it! It’s a way to pass the time.

Eventually it would come to me, neatly in a notebook, a mission to describe this dirty place. I would write about my waiting; about how people leave their homes at different times and all the work to figure out a plan to get in their front door. I would detail my adrenaline, the shaky hand on broken glass and the close calls that saturate my twilight. It became a sketch pad, though just a wire bound and inaccurate one. It lacked a certain gusto…

What it needed was a science. It needed a measurable value. It needed adrenal glands; phalanges grasping clavicles in a desperate dance, a calculated foray into the economics of the event. It needed to weigh the human cost of everything I make and break in a day on this earth.

So at 4:47 on a spring morning, 14th of May, I gently and silently let my truck door swing open and leave it akimbo at a sharp 85 degrees while I ease my way into a strangers home and take back what they never owned to begin with. You wait long enough and an opportunity always presents itself.

---

In someone elses home, there remains a certain comfort afforded by the fact that people are all basically the same size and lay out their homes accordingly. There is always a corridor to the bathroom and refrigerator dug through junk or half full boxes of a lives collections. There is a lonely little seat somewhere in the middle of it all, like the central nervous system of desperate hoarding. The clothes are in one pile, the food in another – combinations thereof are scattered throughout. Rich, poor – its the same story – nobody’s had a monopoly on originality since the prehistoric ice thawed and we started cooking the lizards we ate. I could walk through a dark cake dwelling with the same gusto of a suburban condo, just narrowly navigating the stretch between the bear skin recliner and piles of discarded New York Times classifieds scribbled with red and blue ballpoints. Just a few more feet and I am at my prize, my reason for being; my pie in the sky – the thing I waited a long long night for. It isn’t Indiana Jones, it’s just regular old stuff that people don’t pay for anymore. It could be a TV, a convection oven or some gadget that the kids stopped using or the wife stopped vacuuming with. It could be an old lonely man, a family of ten, a crazed cat lady, a dead person – you wait; you take.

The last time it was a TV. The rules say you try nicely on the first go; knock on the front door and politely recite the terms they agreed upon, give them one last chance to begin payments and see what happens. I do so; a little saltbox house; a wire fence bucketing in the tiny brown yard; all of it stained with dog piss and faded plastic toys. A tubby little guy answers the door and I swear never says a word to me as I complete a full ten minute sermon on what company constructed his 32 inch television, what consequences he faces for not making his payments for the last 4 months and how we can move forward with the process. He never makes eye contact, slinking slowly back as I talk until we are in the living room; him regarding me from periphery and nestling in again around his barely breathing little family huddled in every nook of the old gray sofa. It is dark aside from the television pulsing and the glint of half wet eyes mounded on the couch. I step in front of it. They lean on their sides to see around me, grabbing up every second of the electric junk; oblivious to me.

I run out of options; a quick few steps and I unplug the heap from the wall – a static crick pops as the elements fade to black. I slowly wrap the wire around the screen to secure it; their eyes still blank and staring – right through me really – eyes still focused on the bulk. I lift, tucking the edge of the chassis on the protrusion of my hip, centering the weight as I step slowly out of the living room, the kitchen, the house… Nobody moved. Nobody watched. It is hard to tell if anyone noticed.

It is bad to think we have too many things in our life anyway. Not all this money isn’t happiness rag, but cold hard attention to details gets overwhelmed. We just barely climbed out of the trees, are we ready to be CEO’s and leaders of industry? Can we remember more than fifty odd names and a few years of telephone numbers? We speak in geographical accents and cook the food our mother fed us; we are a product of a simple and unsophisticated environment – a heartless city and a barren farm, a suburban cabbage garden and an old book of classics meant to prepare us for 100 years of nothing changing.

The restaurant reminds me of how a movie might portray a cafeteria at a mental hospital. Old narcoleptic faces coughing into two plastic-trayed pancakes, compulsively adjusting spectacles and asking the nice lady if he needs to pay for more syrup. Shrill voices through toothless mouths, under-bites from missing dentures, a cleft palette somewhere in the crowd birthing a string of vowels out of a completely kindly intended sentence. A grizzled haired kid asks me if I want to hear my horoscope, I ignore him for a while, he asks again.

“Wanna hear your horoscope?” he stutters; gotta be twenty three, twenty five – “or do you care?”.

“Nah.” I resoundingly don’t care.

“Looks like I am in for a five star day” he admits – he must be luring me into some panhandlers trap.

“Looks like it is off to a good start.” I am defeated, but keep writing as he vents his story of the day – he is a babysitter by trade. His cigarette is still half lit from outside, he must be savoring them. He swears at it – cold smoke hits my nostril, it’s dry bitter pinch settling on my burger. I smile and write a few lines, fast as I can, I look like a crazy busy man. I am.

“For you?” He offers, gently; only the insane will bother a busy writer.

“My day is over… I’m going to sleep.”

“It’s 6 in the morning though!”

I finish the breakfast on foot, notebook tucked like a little trial lawyer on her first case. It hurts my feelings less when nobody is around and trying to convince me that we have lost this great big war against being sub par. Old jowls peer out of truck windows, rested on fists and eyes drooping like a forgotten dog. Yowls and shouts, emphatic claps on the back, ugly old ladies chitting like songbirds on the porch of the old beaten church. Voices just a bit too loud. Children rushing by just a bit too fast.

I want to see a man with a sign; just like the movies – notifying us all that the end is near. A bearded guy, face like some joker at the restaurant, just staring like that creepy little family without a TV. I want someone to read the signs and pull the switch – enough is enough.

The river is empty and quiet – nobody here from the movies skipping rocks into it. A few cars skitter by. The river is old and used up. It holds ancient bones and the dust of a falling empire. It runs with the colors of tattoo ink, old paint thinner and discarded tires.

Almost home. Just a little break at the park bench – check for needles and jagged rust – and I will be on my way. I’m delirious, tired, wanting. I drop heavily into it. Next to the bench is a wheelchair. The sunrise zeniths as I turn my head – one of those movie things – I see a giant, paunched man shuffle his way gracelessly into the golden aura. He moves stomach first like a bacon wrapped magnet; his hips leading each headlong and hopeless kick forward. As if he fights the vacuum of space with each step his hands bristled into hardened fists; he stops, falters, and falls.

---

You gotta to keep the fight in you, the stink of resistance on your skin – the argumentative nature of a leering eye or standard grimace. It is your sword and shield against the probing and violation that is a lifetime of crowded bus’s and lavender purified elevators. It is the Kevlar vest of shopping center shankings and the white blood cells of road rage. The unamused glare – who could argue it’s bare handed combat style in breaking the tension of a strangers expectations.

Sometimes still, it breaks down before you have a chance to dodge the bullet. It is a move of deflection that requires more than the occasional proverbial pushup, running a lap, loathing or disgust. There are moments caught in a gaze that disturb the primal urge to growl and somehow displace the hostile reflex in favor of concern or some chemical related to compassion.

The fat man (or the boy, now that I am closer) wheezes, face down in his own ample cushion of skin. His ears are bright red; side of the neck mottled by lack of oxygen to the extremities. Labored breathing belies the severity of it; his limbs weakly curling, lethargically paddling in the dirty brown grass. I hesitate to intercede in a strangers workout regiment, I do; I grab a shoulder and pull with three straining hefts that manage to negotiate him to his back. His chest heaves, eyes half open – pulse races past one hundred and sixty as I kneel in the dusty turf gripping a wrist gently. Hopelessly, I wait for some normality – ponder an ambulance – he must be a good three fifty.

The sun doesn’t bother to notice the man down; rises like any other day. Maybe he is medicated… Diabetic shock, anaphalaxis, insulin coma, diuretics, amphetamines… I jog to his chair, the double wide and motorized hunk that gleams like the brass of a Victorian era Tesla coil. A few faces watch me frantically search every pocket and crevasse for conditional evidence. One bronchial steroid inhaler; an unopened tube of calcium carbonate antacid tablets, a book of Japanese poetry with underlined passages, a canning jar of deep yellow green liquid (a sniff reveals a juice of sorts). Recovering from a cold? Overweight for certain; liquid diet, disenfranchised youth denying his affluent upbringing in trade for the faux simplicity of a whitewashed culture. No clues. Dehydration and hypoxia then; overworked muscles spitting out veritable narcotics into the blood supply. Lactic acid ripping fissures into the muscle matrix, paralyzing pain for his atrophied body.

I dump the sour juice from his jar, and spurt in some warm iron-stenched water from the fountain. It looks briny and I am not sure why I thought it would help. I’m only away for a minute or two, I check constantly for breathing or I will have to lapse into CPR. No clues.

After a while under the lone and startlingly green tree in the park, the fat boy starts to talk. He suckles at the mason jar discreetly and squints in the sunshine that bathes the little park.

First off, he wishes I didn’t dump out his vegetable juice. Secondly, he is twenty years old and indeed distrusts his posh middle class upbringing for entirely the right reasons. Not because his busy parents poke and prod into his private life. Not at all because of neglect. It isn’t even watching everyone else get poorer while he still got ponies for his birthday. For it all, Stuart was a big fat designer baby with love to go around. High hopes for the young man that came out of the last century with a twinkle in his eye; guns ablaze. Stuart was born with a purpose and a plan; and god of course came wretchedly short of handing it over.

Stuarts says his body is against him. He says that seven years ago when his voice changed and little hairs prickled up in his armpits; that was the calm before the storm. After dad taught him to shave and he took his first tour of an Ivy League college prospect – it was all just waiting to come toppling over. It was an earthquake thumping out a tsunami – a tiny oceanic clacking of plates and up wells the life-taking wall of sea. After puberty, Stuart began to change – to fill out. His one hundred twenty pound frame doubled itself in a year – for somehow a monster was able to creep into his brain under the auspice of a harmless genetic propensity for higher IQ. It piggy backed on familial expectation and modified alele for memory sensitivity. It flashed the badge of higher chromosomal programming and planted the stash – morbid consuming obesity.

“You gonna finish that?”

“Naw” He said, handing over his little jar of tepid water.

I needed a moment to hate myself. I needed time to consider what happens to a person when these changes happen and they are at the mercy of an internalized bomb. I need just a minute or two.

---

Home was a mangle of old things left sitting past their usefulness. In fact, the little house itself was just a dilapidated reminder on an old burnished hill, the mound probably built of old junk buried under years of grime and lack of use. It was a fitting reminder that layer upon layer upon layer constitutes our dim ways; our old habits of hanging on.

I didn’t expect to see anything out of the ordinary as I pushed through my front door, but I subconsciously scanned the room for change anyhow. I remembered old smudges on mirrors that I could never explain to a soul, but they resonated soundly with my sense of comfort. I saw every old thing was situated in its footprint of dust, arranged in some geographic relation by it’s shape and color. Even old curtains hung with the same limp lifelessness that I called home. Books were arranged roughly by size and when they were un-boxed. The walls were an uneven patina of gray and smudge, ceilings whiter still and bereft of d├ęcor.

I hadn’t begun as a collector. Quite the contrary – these things were demanding mouths that make cumbersome requests to their owners. They need a warm, dry place to sleep lest they fray, peel or fracture. They need touch and the occasional use – even obsolete things do not endure loneliness – they must feel useful, empowered by serial number or unique color strain. They need a hand to strip the scent of quietness from their soft ebony keys or silver aluminum handles. Their switches need the lubrication of a steady hand, like a surgeon calmly operating the trocar to open a fleshy lesion. So many bedridden children to care for.

About a year ago I got a ping from the unit in my truck. I scroll through the old cases like some kind of detective working folders of papers, except I am half awake and thumbing absently through the screens of half facts. A pawnshop puts out a call on a vintage typewriter that had gone two months delinquent, I que it up, I get an address.

Sometimes I just go back to sleep and hope that I will get a null on the unit when I check again. Rarely another operator will snatch and grab on the same route, but routes get expanded as delinquency ticks by. This day I feel invigorated for adventure though, all dressed up and spinning through my pings – it’s like some Tom Clancy movie. I started to remember that it was raining; but no, it’s raining now – clouding my recollection.

I cold start the old beast, lights humming brighter with activity. The unit flickers, straight blue and white lines coalesce into a crude map of my clump of the city. I bear into a sodden little neighborhood, focus on a light blue paneled shanty and make for my target. A knock reveals nothing – deserves no answer polite or otherwise. I peek into a dirty side window; probably a bathroom. Everything is locked tight. A backdoor into a shed probably barred from the inside; no budge whatsoever. Someone is inside. I give another tentative knock, and another. I suppose I could just wait it out…

I want to sleep or solve this typewriter business, I don’t want to wait. I pull a strip of aluminum strapping from an aged beam that it is nailed to. Flattening it seems to make a rigid enough plate that I can press it between the door and frame lifting slightly a pivoting beam that lies across the door locking it into place. I mash it out a bit more with a smooth rock. The longer handle give leverage and doesn’t twist when I pull up on it. Push at the same time, it will hold the board in place higher and higher upward. Finally a “cling” and the door tumbles open.

They don’t prepare you for the human side of any adventure you undergo. Just a list of things to read in a daring situation. Unavoidably you walk or barge into any number of unfortunate, unbearable or awful things by sheer statistical probability in this job. That was MY lucky day.

---

Smells are effective ways for your body to preprocess information before you put your self in harm. For instance, the smell of arbitrary bacteria breaking down standard food products produces a scent that we associate with feces. We therefor avoid eating rotten meat, putrid fruit and most of all, said feces. Dead bodies are victims of this of course, but suffer from the breakdown of living cells and their cornucopia of new scents developed during bloating and liquefaction.

For me it was the smell of old peaches – it was a deliberate bitter sugary smell that reminded me of an autumn day that lingered a bit long. The excitement of picking a hidden fruit from the tiptoed height of a shimmering autumn tree; your teeth ache to bite the tender fruit and before they connect there is a sour retort that warns a nostril. You spin the treat in disbelief and see the shorn hole in the side from a crows borrowing beak. That type of faint and worrisome smell.

I hesitated only slightly. I have seen beaten children; hundreds of dying old folks strewn out in hospital beds; the sick and morbid. I have seen shaven haired cancer kids plead their stubborn parent to pay me enough to go away and not steal back their TV’s and video games. I even saw a man die in a hospital after a hit and run – I pocketed his watch shortly after – It was worth a few thousand dollars, hadn’t made a payment in a year. There is a need for intimacy with clientele that you follow for days, whose stuff you somehow through a trick of legality and credit you own.

The rancor was from the kitchen and an over-heaped bowl of pink and green fruit. The sink was clean, no dishes stacked up, wine glasses neatly slid into the under-cabinet wire racks and canned food neatly pyramided and faced in the cabinets and pantry filled with a selection of bagged pastas and ready made embellished meals. One way to be sure… The cabinet under the sink had no child proofing hardware. The shelves beneath held nothing more than a modest supply of sponges and dishwasher capsules. A childless middle aged, middle income man with a maid.

All of this for an antique typewriter which may or may not have belonged to the late great T.C. Boyle. It was rumored to never have been used in any major work of his, nor significant to his writing style. It was in fact in less than working condition as it lay in three pieces on the dining room table; seemingly waiting for my visit. The platen rod was removed and sitting behind the unit of which sat upside down seemingly regurgitating its keys through the rear.

Nobody leaves the country for a few hundred dollars on an unimportant typewriter. I could collect my mark now and be out the back door without fanfare. I could be uninvolved completely. I would never have to look into another door or crawlspace or attic box today.

I hear a soft moan; a dreaded sound in an abandoned home. It comes from a place somewhere in the periphery, just behind a thin white wall and in the dark. I tremble with readiness to run – somehow I feel less fearful, though far from courageous. A sheer wall and motive separating me from knowing for sure.

“Anyone here?!” I bellow, half afraid of the answer.

Another thin rasp emanates from the bowels of the home. Again, a moment later a mechanical wheeze as I stand my ground. I step closer to the wall, put my ear nearer to feel the vibrations of the house, my ear gently aside the drywall. “Click, wheeze gasp”.

The muted set of noises makes no sense to me. Not a person for sure; too late to leave now. I push open the light wooden door to the bedroom.

Smell is the brains way of sending a message quicker than your eyes. It processes data on a subconscious scale allowing an opportunity to fight or flee before you even step into trouble. Our brain easily invokes adrenal reflex with little provocation aside from the wilted flower smells of a predators musk. Death is too direct of a clue – since a bloated body is far from danger – no, death is a consequential smell of it’s inevitable digestion. Fear, distress, they are ghosts of yore that now leave an indelible mark on a place. They are the stains that drape over the the atmosphere of emotional mood.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

This Old Banger

I had always thought typewriters were glamorous, not heavy and difficult things that smudge onto your fingers. I had thought them to tip tap like a soft and distant chatter while you compose your immortal verse, not chime and clank like a drawer of silverware. Between the wooden box that this thing is hinged into and the bulk of its steel frame... The ink thwaps halfheartedly onto my cheap paper, springing back to its position when my fingers still - the smell is like an old burnt coffee with a hint of stale winter air. God, why drag this all the way up the stairs of the water tower - was I going to watch the people push through the streets, or dodge careless drivers and write a poem about the rain? It was a silly notion, something I'm sure I saw in a movie about the solitary writer bringing his surroundings an examined new life while pouring his heart out.

I wrote a line about an older lady walking her great dane; it wasn't happening it now but I remember the sight in the park. I drove by, it was the last rainstorm and the dog was pulling her towards a puddle to get itself a drink.

Next I tried a little bit of rhyming, a couple of the letters got too close though and stuck together in mid air. I laughed a bit, pushing the old thing off my lap and looking into horizon like a bored fool, the sun still spitting a bit, a little glimmer of light at me from the purpled sky.

Then I heard the explosion.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

We Agree to Nevermind

I've become adept at the cold reading, and yes, I can nearly pinpoint the breath you will use to say it; "I've never opened up my heart so much". I know that you are awake while I am typing this, while I am hunting and pecking in the glow of a screen, you wonder a half wonder what I am up to, but truly you aren't bothered by it. You don't know me; never took the time. I'm not really the boy that makes small talk and is quick to smile and dab your lip corner with a fresh napkin, in fact maybe we have both lost track. We imprint these tiny ideas from all of the bodies we have come into contact with, it becomes overwhelming - it is akin to playing the few bars Moonlit Sonata every time I warm up to the piano - these inner convulsions that propel us like serpents through another relationship. Muscle memory and learned patters that we dredge from our superstitious connection to true nudity. I admitted that it could be just an addiction, I hope that is only the first of a gradually simpler set of steps. The sex, the musk of it all, it was never worth a night out with butterflies and lost fading interest. I want to love you harder - but what if you have fat calves or you scream in bed like a epileptic - or if your old lover was successful and still plays an anchor in your life. What of you collect friends like cancelled stamps from nearby districts, a heave of self made individualists with that one beaten horse skill or mantra. What if your feet are thick like a babies hoof, and you always need to prop your bare toes on our furniture. What if you have a bland catch phrase like "in all reality" or "good times". What if your breasts hang like old dented cans in the moonlight beaming through your loft window. How can I make poetry with your body when I have to explain why people break my heart to you. When I have to explain the meaning of "multifaceted", or tell one more cold dead ear that I don't follow football, sorry. I sometimes convince myself that I simply need to meet extraordinary people. Then I glower at your wall of acclaims and degrees and plot my exit from your still careless arms. Love is a dying breath or a jump from an airplane, a last ditch effort to inject meaning into an explosive finality. I love, and then it goes slowly dark.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

In Seven Years

"The hardest part for me, with language and making, is the first step of spilling ink onto a clean pale page. It's a metaphor, you dig? It's about taking the first step, hoping the rest will follow with momentum towards a certain velocity. The plunge? The risk? All of that contrite crap about self confidence and taking risks, gotta spend money to make money. Reverse that; I just hate introductions.

Set the stage, make the bed, first impressions, books and covers, love at first bite. This is real folks, no rehearsals, you have waited all this time and honing your craft, let it shine. Not time off for performance anxiety. Gotta be a verse factory to succeed. Eat nothing but post-modernism, breathe and shit pure literary gold.

This whole journal thing was supposed to fix that, supposed to put a priority on the stuff, a spotlight on a perfect little hobby that I could focus down into a tight beam of excellence."


It all started in a fervor; one day a few sentences to broadcast a lonesome heart that would be further bundled up in social anxiety as the months tick by. The next year another disparate lover might quench or begin another cycle of loathing and scathing paragraphs. One year it was about the strength of surviving cancer, and the next year it was about mulling the hot streets of Mexico. It's a nice little journal that speaks nothing. It's a couple hundred short stories that belong condensed in some foul after-dinner mint. It has all been and jumble and a ramble. It had days when it made me feel stronger, when I took it like a serious thing, and it was my megaphone on the mount; and I screamed curses at the damned. Then it became a thin paper tacked to a door that said "Lunch at Noon".