Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Embers

I gaze at my reflection in the bathroom mirror. Behind layers of ancient caked-on grease and soot I see someone who used to resemble me once.

I can hear the beat. The drums in my head. The tribal, rhythmic, incessant pounding of the drums. I sit on the toilet and cradle my face in my hands. The sound is too intense. Too primitive. Crippling. Quieter still I hear the song of the sirens. Somewhere across the sea on a desolate shore of black sand they sing to me. They beckon me back into their world. Into the savage land. They know that I know the ship is moored at dock, quietly creaking and swaying. A solitary lantern is hung upon the watchtower. The light breeze perpetually smacking it against the wood with a dull clang. Inside the abandoned captains quarters you would find a loaded gun and a snuff box containing all sorts of wondrous delectables.

I know I'm stronger than this.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Beautiful

I sit in my room, sad song on repeat, thinking to myself the irony of it all. Life truly does imitate art, doesn’t it?

There was a place you used to go. Your special place where you’d sit and drink and think and attempt to sift through your shit with a broken plate like a melancholy prospector, so tired, on the fringes of hope. A broken relic. Esoteric. Hollow.

At least that’s my take. I still don’t get it though.

It was a quiet lake up the canyon a ways. There was a ledge with a view where you’d gaze, in the early morning light, at an entire world 300 feet down below, a world free of pain. Soft ripples only hint at the bubbling bliss and simplicity of hungry fish and the day-to-day void of strictly human flaws such as betrayal, heartache, depression… and resignation. Soft lapping waves -

I can only imagine you’d hold cautiously still and feel yourself die moment by moment. With the whispering wind you walk the astral plane, your soul so far far away, thousands of miles away, with your son as he plays. In your mind’s eye you see him pause, and thoughtfully look up to the sky, as you smile down the only way you know how.

Carefully you remove your shirt, shoes and socks. Place your car keys and wallet beside your things in a meticulous line. You approach the ledge, eyes affixed on the distant horizon…

“There must be an angel with a smile on her face,
When she thought up that I should be with you.
But it's time to face the truth,
I will never be with you. “

Monday, December 12, 2005

Ignis fatuus

Christmas Eve, 2004.

“ So why are you here... of all places?”

I take a hard swig from the bottle. Tastes damned good. Especially when it's this cold - near freezing. The room is dark. Surreal. A self-contained, melancholy world. The only window to the outside is a tiny 2' x 2' plate-glass deal above the door. Just beyond the smoked glass I see the wind whip the snow around and around in the night air. A white Christmas it seems... to the delight of children and dreamers everywhere. The snow, as reflected underneath the street lights, is hauntingly beautiful and hypnotic. Tiny tornado mini-gusts, spinning and spinning, as though they waltz. Locked together in a naive, never-ending dance.

“ Well I'm here 'cause I don't have anywhere else to go. I'm not from around here. And well... I fucked up. To make a long story short I'd rather be here.”

He holds up his beer, “ Well merry Christmas then." He takes a long pull and sets his bottle down with a hollow thump. " So what did you do?” His fierce eyes ominously glint at me in the neon half light along with his gold tooth.

I look away. My attention's drawn to the corner of the room. I sullenly eye an old man sitting at the end of the bar next to the ancient Juke Box which whirs and grinds out old rock ballads from the 80's. A guitar solo fills the tiny establishment. The high-pitched scream permeates throughout the atmosphere in a congested cloud along with the thick smoke of the Marlboro Reds I'm chain-smoking. The combination of the music, smoke, and a shaky old ceiling fan which precariously dangles directly above my head create an odd effect: the walls seem to breathe. The whole room is crackling and alive. A stunning contrast to the stillness of the old man as he sits stiff as a statue. He's eerily silent without even a word - or a drink. It's as though this catotonic state can be attributed to the vacancy of his soul as he stares back at me through muffled pits. Beneath rotted lids.

“ Yo. You still here?” A finger snap in front of my face.

“ Yeah. Sorry. What were you saying?” My attention fixes back to the man seated in the stool next to mine.

“ What happened with you and your woman?”

I squint at him beneath my Willy Wonka sunglasses and wipe my nose with my shirt sleeve. I shift in my seat as I take a deep puff from my cigarette.

“ No offense but I'd rather not talk about it.”

I exhale two streams of smoke from my nostrils like a cartoon dragon. I turn away and wave at the bartender. “ Hey another beer over here, Bud light, if you could.”

My gaze returns to the old man in the corner. He seems to be gazing intently at his drink... or perhaps at me, I can't tell. I can't make out his features, even when I peer at him from beneath my glasses. His body is pitched in darkness. The only light upon his face is an unnatural neon blue. A perverted “Rembrandt shadow” that illuminates only half of his face. The other side is almost completely dark except for a small triangle below his eye. His eyes, or the sockets where they should be, are blackened. His grizzled chin is pressed tight against his western-style button-up and his back is hunched. It's an awkward way to sit. I'm reminded of old cowboy flicks and the way corpses of executed criminals are laid out in pine boxes with quarters placed upon their eyes.

As if on queue, as if reading my thoughts word for word, image for image, the man next to me states in a hoarse tone of voice, in a soft, sharp whisper:

“ Death is merciful, for there is no return therefrom but with him who has come back out of the nethermost chambers of the night.”

It takes a second for the quote to register. My rusted brain slowly chugs and spurts to life like an old truck left out in a field, forgotten, for many many years. Realization is quickly followed by a sense of apprehension and then a creeping fear. I catiously turn, fully expecting to find the man standing next to me, or behind me, breathing his foul demon breath into my neck, skull-fucking me with his eyes.

Instead, I find an empty stool. My eyes flit to the shadowy corner. I see an empty glass.

And outside the wind and snow eternally waltz.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Panegyric

Relic

“ Red,” you say, “ the sun that evening in Berlin. A brilliant, striking, unforgettable shade of Red.”

In this memory for some reason it's always raining.

There we are, you and I, alone in your garage. Your “den” you'd often refer to it as. I remember the shelves of old knick knacks. War medals. Trophies. Fishing gear. Photographs. Everything that truly ever mattered to you proudly on display for all to see. An intricate story behind each item free of charge for anyone willing to listen. Unfortunately, back in those days, there were very few who would listen - who hadn't heard each and every tale told and retold countless times. Unfortunately, family didn't really come around that much anymore. Unfortunately, you were more of a burden than a familial treasure.

And there I'd sit, a wide eyed little neighbor kid, ears pricked not daring to move a muscle or breathe a breath in fear I'd miss even a word. And there you were, an 80-year-old kid, excitedly ducking and weaving behind your torn recliners and rusty filing cabinets firing imaginary guns at imaginary ghosts of imaginary Nazi's who lived on in your memory... and now mine.

Demons

“ Red,” you say, “ the dog in the corner, over there... it's fucking red.”

Leather straps drawn taut across your chest and wrists groan and creak. You struggle to stay conscious and more importantly keep yourself from vomiting as the methadone drip slowly works it's way through the vinyl tubing to the I.V sloppily buried into your track-addled forearm. You start to hyperventilate as your eyes roll into the back of your jerking head.

I stay calm. I keep my voice even. “ There's no dog. It's just you and me here. Okay? Everything is fine man... just try and relax... Hey. Everything is cool, I'm here.”

“ F-Fuck you! It's there, oh god! Help me please, fucking get it away from me!!”

With a patient sigh I stand up and walk over to the door. I turn the lights up to their brightest setting. I come back over to your bed and sit down. I dab sweat from your forehead with a cold wash rag and hold your hand in mine as I softly hum one of our favorite tunes we used to sing as children.

We sit for awhile. The room is silent except for my humming, the smacking of your lips, and an occasional whimper.

“ See? Nothing there bro'.”

Your vice-grip loosens and you breathe just a little bit deeper. I place my fingers on your neck and count. It's much slower now. With half-closed eyes you look up at me awaiting more words... more reassurance.

I smile and say, “ Hey let's order a pizza. The food here fucking stinks.”

Absolute

“ O.K what's a three letter word that could also mean 'coward?'"

“Red,” you say, without looking up from the paper.

“ Pop... red? Are you sure?”

“ Yeah, you never heard that phrase? A red-bellied chickenshit?”

“ Nah. Are you sure you're not thinking 'yellow?'”

You peer up at me. Tiny eyes underneath your glasses. “ That's what I said... 'yellow.'”

Monday, December 05, 2005

an exercise in futility

A drunk, tweaked-out bum spits at me through gapped teeth pissed off I'm lying in his spot. No sound except cursing, hissing, mumbling and the shrill whistling wind and a flapping issue of Time propped between two rocks. How I wound up in the middle of the park at 3 am on a bench is an utter mystery to me. All I know is I have a very hostile meth-head all over me like stink on shit. My mind races. What to do? What to do? What I always do when faced with a sticky situation: a hostile, quick burst of serrated violence and testosterone fueled posturing. If I get lucky he'll back down as in nature when animals settle quarrels through unspoken macho pose-downs and chest thumping. If he doesn't back the fuck up I have to take him out quick before he pulls out a blade and cuts me. These territorial wino fucks always carry knives. They'll protect their precious pissing grounds tooth and nail without fail.

Lightning fast I jump up full height, stare this jag-off in the eye, and ask him what the problem is. He continues to approach quickly closing the distance between us with every passing second. The wind continues to blow and the flip-flapping of that annoying magazine serves as a tympanic accompaniment to the incoherent, rhythmic shouting and guffawing of this grizzled, foul smelling hobo. My eyes shift from his face to his shoulders. I watch his arms, his hands, and to my dismay I find them straying to the pockets of his tattered trench-coat. I gotta make this quick. This fucker's mind is injected with PCP, no reason or common sense, and nothing's gonna stop him unless I knock his ass out cold.

I dash forward and close the distance between us in the blink of an eye. He expects me to swing at his face so I shoot out my right foot and slam my old school sneak into his knee. Between the wind and the rustling mag and the chattering trees there's a hollow pop. For a microsecond I think about New Years, champagne bottles, and loneliness. His situation complicates exponentially. An agonizing 180 degree inversion. His knee cap is now hiding behind his leg just where his hamstring meets his calf. Drugs and adrenaline do wondrous things. He doesn't feel it, holy shit. I follow this career-ending highlight-reel kung-fu quick kick with a fist between the eyes on the topmost bridge of his nose. I need to blind this mother fucker so I can get behind him and lock him up and lay him down. Works like a charm. I wrap an arm around his throat and using his body the same way a stripper uses a pole I swing around behind him. Like in those old episodes of “Dukes of Hazard” where those red-neck good ol' boys slide across the hood of the General Lee. All in one motion I bring up my other arm, press down on his head with my hand, and apply pressure. Both sides of his windpipe are constricted by my forearm and bicep. His hands shoot up to his face trying to jab out my eyes or grab my hair. I bury my face into the back of his head and drop to the ground onto my back. I wrap my legs around his waist as I continue to clamp off his air supply. This is what's knows as a “spider lock.” I'm surprisingly relaxed, rational, and a little bit sad. As his flailing and grunting begin to subside I think to myself this... all of this... could have been so easily avoided.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Ad Infinitum

Friday Night

Not any ordinary Friday night, but a Friday the way they used to be. So this was the main selling point. My cousin Angel and I decide to meet at "Ice,” an upscale club, for some drinks, laughs, and to reminisce about old times. Two hours prior on the phone he told me “you're in a rut Cabron, we need to get you out of those shithole bars for a change. You need to live.” So I grudgingly shave, style my hair, don my black suit which I haven't worn for ages it seems, shine up my Zelli shoes, splash on some cologne, take a deep breath, and head out the door. I still can't figure out why I agreed to this though.

As I pull up to the valet I find Angel standing by the entrance with our boys. They're all dressed impeccably. They all look so good... so young. Or perhaps I'm the old one. Ancient like a Sequoia.

“Dude, I feel like I'm seeing a ghost. Why you decide to come out?”

I smile as Diego and I embrace. I tell him in his ear, “I needed material.”

As I pull away he looks at me with a puzzled expression.

We walk into the club. It feels so natural yet at the same time so unfamiliar. Angel and the boys are all in step, in sync, to them it's all a part of the fucking routine. I'm the unwitting outsider now. Angel senses my hesitation. He turns to me and above the beat of the techno shouts: “Same fucking shit man except now we're older. Some wealthier. Some of us are still crazy. But there are always the ladies. A fresh batch of ladies.” I nod and inhale the aroma of cigarettes and perfume.

On the main dance floor I find myself surrounded by an undulating sea of unfamiliar faces. The scene has changed, dramatically. Everyone is so beautiful, tan, toned, perfect. The music drowns out Angel's words. The din of the beat is all I hear and all I see is movement. Flitting images. Dirty Vegas' "Without you." Bleached teeth. Blue drinks. It's all too fast. I'm forced to stop for a second to catch my breath and undo the knots in my stomach. There was a time “this” was what we lived for. This was our domain. This was... living. Yet here I am nervous and afraid.

There is a phrase we used to use, and we'd toss it around so casually: “You can take the dog out of the ghetto, but you can never take the ghetto out of the dog.”

What happens when the dog returns to the ghetto and doesn't want to leave again?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Isotopic

I ask questions. Like a paleontologist whom cautiously, and methodically, chips and brushes and files away layer upon layer of sandstone, plunging further back into time, thousands of years with every passing inch. Examining bones. Piecing together a coherent story based on riddles, half-truths, and cryptic clues. I prod and poke and smile. I keep the drinks coming so long as he keeps talking.

The topmost layer I find cockiness. Arrogance. Brash assurity. A carefully erected blockade or defense mechanism designed to keep the right people out and let the wrong people in. Bulletproof armor designed to prevent a messy stabbing or a shooting, but imperfect at the same time. This armor may prevent death but it won’t prevent pain. You’ll invariably find yourself knocked on your ass, gasping for breath like a slimy fluke flopping around on the deck of a fishing boat. In fact it’s this “I don’t give a shit” attitude that first drew me to him. I had to invite this guy out for a drink or three. I had to study and dissect him, and then tell the story as it should be told. It’s been awhile but finally someone with a set of balls - solid brass ones, who truly didn’t give a flying fuck what other people thought. They say in life perception defines a person. If people believe you’re a fucking drunk and a loser and a con then you are. It’s a democratic system, the majority always wins. It’s unfair but it’s life. It’s destroyed many. And it leaves permanent scars. Perceptions are near impossible to undo. Was it Obi Wan Kenobi, the Jedi knight, who said “Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view?” Needless to say, my new friend, let’s call him “Sam” has been crucified on many an occasion. He’s played the pariah. And he loves it…

Or so he would have you think.

He’d also be the first to tell you he is, in no uncertain terms, a fucking “wino.” He wears his scarlet “A” with beaming pride. He’s let go. He’s embraced it. Why? There was a time it was so much worse. There was a time he was consumed by it, unable to stop, completely intent on drinking himself into oblivion. A filthy apartment void of furniture, in lieu of a sofa or a coffee table or a 32” television there are rows upon rows of stacked empty bottles. He calls it “the wailing wall.” I nod and I tell him I understand, I truly do, of course, he insists I don’t. “ No one can. I saw, with my own eyes, demons and devils.” It was severe. Family and friends tried to help. The intervention only intensified the problem. It fueled it like dry tinder crackling on a campfire. Finally, the ambulance, along with the cops, came to take him away from his purgatory, his wailing wall, because he posed a threat to himself. In a court of law he would have been indicted for involuntary manslaughter, or as he phrased it “voluntary stupidity.”

This is the tale of the tape. This is the story the top layer - carefully catalogued, carbon dated, and labeled – tells. The first mask of many.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Finding the Philosopher's Stone

Words trickle down my arms into my fingertips and somehow make the inter-dimensional trip to the white screen. Like that scene in “Chariots of Fire” where the English chaps run along the beach. Except these words, with glimmering hope in their eyes, destination in sight, rush headlong toward death. A shiny obsidian cliff with an infinite drop. So here I am, playing God.

Without scruple I sentence these halting, insubstantial words. I shackle their feet and bind their hands and away they are whisked single file to the awaiting trains. These old lumbering trains whose wretched smoke fill the skies pitching the earth in shadow... perpetual shadow. Helios died a long time ago, or perhaps he hides, or perhaps he kneels before the golden calf of capitalism. Men no longer worship the sun, or his sister the moon, or the Gods of old who died before the arrival of Jesus. Fuck, they don't even worship the God Elohim, Jehovah, Jahveh, Yaweh, or Shem Hammephorash (if you like). Men worship idols made of gold, silicon, platinum, and celluloid. Men worship the quantity theory. Back-room alchemists laboriously study fluctuations and trends and through some magic known only unto them amass riches.

” Money, clothes, and ho's.” The new Hammurabi Code.

Words written in stone, bronze, parchment, paper, magnetic strips, compact discs, and now words written nowhere. Non-words. Words floating about, riding the fiber optic wave, from one isolated beach to another to another to another. There was a time to be literate, to understand the manipulation of words, to have the ability to create words, to create worlds – to translate them, to transmute them, to alchemize or alchemate or alchemulate words; to spin words out of air as the millers daughter spun straw into gold, was to understand power.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Foot will slide in due time

I awoke this morning feeling a little blue so I decided to read some Jonathan Edwards. His uplifting sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Originally delivered on a beautiful Sunday morning on July 8, 1741, it was given (as a gift would be given) by Edwards with impassioned enthusiasm and bored gusto. In Benjamin Turnbull's A Complete History of Conneticut (1797) we are told that Edwards read his sermon in a level voice with his sermon book in his left hand, and in spite of his calm demeanor “there was such breathing of distress, and weeping, that the preacher was obliged to speak to the people and desire silence, so that he might be heard.” Sweet!

The fact of the matter is we are all equally worthless and God hates us all. So Edward states:

“The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: His wrath toward you burns like fire; He looks upon as you as worthy of nothing else but be cast into the fire; He is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in His eyes than the most hateful venomous serpent in ours. You have offended Him infinitely more then ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and it is nothing but His hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment.”

I love that passage... that passion. It oozes with hope and optimism doesn't it? As a boil, red and swollen, oozes out puss like a toothpaste tube being slowly squeezed from the bottom up.

Why does God hate us so? Same reason my own father hates me, or YOUR father probably hates you... because we have failed him in every conceivable way despite his generosity... despite the fact he has equipped us all with the means to succeed, to shine, to “lead the field.” He hates us because we are detestable, loathsome, gluttonous creatures, the lot of us, deserving of nothing more than being crushed like a disgusting, impuissant stink bug in the driveway when I back out my BMW.

“ If you cry to God to pity you, He will be so far from pitying in your doleful case, or showing you the least regard of favor, that instead of that, He will only tread you underfoot... He will crush out your blood, and make it fly and it shall be sprinkled on His garments, so as to stain all His raiment. He will not only hate you, but He will have you in the utmost contempt: no place shall be fit for you, but under His feet to be trodden down as the mire of the streets.”

Like a rotten carcass of a dead cat by the roadside with it's bones crushed to the point it no longer resembles a living animal, but a sticky, stained rug a hobo wouldn't even desire to keep in his cardboard box right Jon?

Remember God loves us, and he hates us. It's a bittersweet romance. If he didn't care about you or love you you'd wake up tomorrow and find yourself in Hell alongside Hitler and Vlad the Impaler and everyone else to be tortured and bound eternally facing your worst fears, covered in repugnant spiders and hissing cockroaches from Madagascar... and be served cold coffee like in that Gary Larson cartoon. Yes, they do think of everything.

So be sure to mind your P's and Q's. Don't worry be happy. Oh and Dad I did it, I am a fucking bum and a dismal failure. To quote good ol' Buk:

"You are a bum," he told me. "and you'll always be a bum!"

and I thought, if being a bum is to be the opposite of what this son of a bitch is, then that's what I'm going to be.

and it's too bad he's been dead so long for now he can't see how beautifully I've succeeded at that."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Ink

His body reads like a page torn out of Rand McNally. Swirling lines span years, speak of pain and turmoil, heartbreak and brotherhood. Most of his work was done while he was locked away at Folsom with a single sewing needle and a busted black Bic ink-pen core melted over a Zippo. " Hell, there wasn't much else to do" he says. At night, by candlelight, his Aryan brother, who went by the moniker “Hound,” would laboriously spend hours hunched over his bunk as the dull needle threaded in and out of his skin, the whole while he’d simply lay still as a corpse laid out on an autopsy table, relishing the pain, with eyes fixed on the ceiling thinking about the open road, old ladies, and cold brews.

Each tat tells a story. His body is a book, a collection of shorts - different time periods, different characters, but all equally significant. All interwoven as the ink on a medieval tapestry are all interwoven. As ancient blood, shit, and plant pigment long ago dried on a cave wall tell tales of the hunt. They all contribute to what he later became. Autobiographical scribbling. The best way to describe it is in his own words. He’d often tell me the following:

“Kid, it ain't the destination but the journey. It’s the roads you choose and the sights you see. It’s the cow shit and hay you smell as you ride on by with the wind in your hair, chillin' your bones.”

A barely there, faded picture of a woman’s face. Below this are inscribed the words. “Dainty Deb.” With distant eyes he recollects, sifting through dusty drug addled memories kept under lock and key in the attic of his thoughts: " A shotgun wedding at the county courthouse circa 1976. A damned fine girl who could out-party anyone. Yep… she could hang with the big dogs.” He tells me with pride and a sparkle in his eye.

I ask him about the spider web on his right elbow - 1981, when he served time for cocaine possession. “ I was a courier. Ain’t nothing more, nothing less. But I never ratted. I ain’t no fuckin' rat.” I ask him what it means. His expression darkens. He tells me it symbolizes being trapped in a “god damned cage like a god damned dog.”

On his left pec, over his heart, is a profile pic of a skull. Sprouting out of the skull a set of ornate wings. Black and white, about the size of my hand. A truly awe-inspiring sight. Only a select few are permitted, or would even dare, to own this tattoo. “You KNOW what that is right boy?”

“Yeah… I definitely do.”

“It was 1988. The year I joined the club. I was riding a Harley dynaglide with an evo. A damned good bike.”

I’ve always found it interesting how guys like this keep track of time by the bikes they own or the tattoo’s they acquire. Time, to them, is a linear series of bikes, women, parties, and jail time.

“ Would you do it all again?”

He peers at me out of the corner of his eye, Budweiser raised to his lips.

“ Does a fat baby fart?”

Monday, November 14, 2005

Kid.

Hey T____. Doubt you'll get this letter, but who knows? Just wanted to tell you something... I wanted to explain a few things I never really had the chance to explain. Hey, I cared about you, and I still do. In fact, I keep tabs on you, the occasional Google search or two, to see what you're up to. You were the little brother I never had. In you I saw myself, but a hard luck version. Oliver Twist except you weren't an orphan. A good kid with dreams and aspirations, who was unfortunately limited by money and circumstance. It was just you and your mom, and she didn't make much. Your dad was a distant memory, a stranger, who sent the occasional check every now and then. Of course there were your sisters, but they didn't come around that often. They had their own lives... their own shit... to contend with. They did what they could but in it was difficult for them to really be there for you, especially monetarily, if you know what I mean. But you and I clicked right from the get-go. It was scary how much like me you were. Awkwardly shy, attractive but at the same time almost geeky, so much POTENTIAL to become the very best at anything you chose. And I wanted to take you under my wing and be the big brother I myself never had, but had always wanted. I wanted to see you succeed, and make us all proud.

I remember even after your sis and I broke up, you and I still stayed in touch. We went to the movies and walked around downtown late bullshitting about this or that. You'd tell me about your life, crushes, dreams, and passions and I'd encourage you to pursue them all. You'd often tell me how much you'd one day love to play professional ball, but feared you were too small, even to play point. Perfectly in stride, playing the parent or mentor role, I told you the usual “you can do anything you want.” I gave you the anecdotal lip service everyone gives: “You know kid, there's an old Chinese proverb... if you do the things you love you won't work a day in your life.” It's funny how we readily dispense advice which we ourselves are unable to follow.

Then there was the time your sister and I got back together again to give it another try. Unfortunately things didn't work out between us, I guess it wasn't meant to be. I disappeared. Yes, that was fucked up but I didn't think it was my place, it wasn't the right thing, to stick around and maintain our friendship. I'm sure you didn't like me, hell I'm sure you fucking hated me, and you may probably still, as you probably felt as though I “fucked over” your sister yet again. You probably felt as though I used you, and our friendship, to weasel my way back into her life... this isn't true. Our friendship was completely separate from all of that. We were “us.” You were my friend, not my ex-girlfriends little brother.

Anyhow, I hope things are well for you kid. If you're feeling blue remember this: “Everyone feels down, there's no avoiding it, but you have to know that you are still luckier than most of the world's people. You have to learn to see the best in everything, although it sounds difficult, it is possible. You might as well have fun while you're alive, cause you won't get another chance. I'm not trying to dictate to anyone, I'm just telling you what I've come to feel and realize constantly.”

Just something I read somewhere along the way.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Toast

To satisfy silently. To weep. To dream. To speak. To tweak. To climbing desolation peak and reading Kerouac alone as you eat cold stew from a chipped bowl. To laying in the grass listening to Bob Dylan on the ipod. To God. To drunken nights in jail. To wise old men, and the stories they tell. To drink. To love. To raising a glass and honoring good friends we've lost. To pot. To pretty girls who went to our heads. To witty girls who went to our beds. To sitting in our car stuck in gridlock - singing butt-rock - at the top of our lungs. To rolling in the club. To disillusionment. To fun. To double shot mocha's in a to-go cup. To heartbreak. To pain. To passionate fucking while it rains. To Vegas - and a beautiful wedding in a little white chapel. To cigarettes. To cancer. To visiting the strip club to see our "tiny dancer." To clapping our hands to our favorite bands. To being a fan. To running barefoot in the sand. To holding my son's hand as I play dad. To write a passage or a poem. To kick-start the Harley and ride the dusty road with no direction home. To pray. To play. To happy endings where the prince slays the dragon. To ending up again right where we started. To melancholy rivers running their course, full circle, out to the sea... finally free. Mama, take this badge off of me.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Etiquette lesson pt I

Vision blurs as I trudge, not walk, up and down each lane searching for a bottle of Coke, cigs, and some NyQuil in this labrynthian supermarket montrosity. One stop shopping has never been more convienent... or has it? I'm looking forward to downing 3 shots of this foul-tasting, green shit, and then sleeping the worry-free, deep sleep of the dead. No ephedrine or hit from the glass today or yesterday so my body isn't accustomed to being awake without help. Disorientation. Vertigo, fatique, and claustrophobia hit me from all angles as I try to stay balanced and keep my eyes straight ahead, as I seemingly float past the miles and miles of packaged, dehydrated, calorie laden CRAP. I try my best to ignore the queer glances and hushed laughing. Slept til 4 and I could have kept sleeping if it wasn't for this annoying sore throat, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching head, and inability to rest. The grocery store and it's blinking, red neon sign and magazine racks beckoned me out of my silken cave - as the sirens tempted Ulysses. Funny, I didn't even bother to throw on jeans, just a black t-shirt, my pajama bottoms and flip flops. Haven't shaved for days... or showered... I probably stink. My asshole probably stinks. I've had caustic runs. Yesterday I discovered blood in my stool. My sister said I should get this checked out as it could be something serious. I shrugged and nonchalantly told her it was just hemorroids.

As is usually the case, there are only two registers open and a mile of pissed off customers in each line. I only have two items so I take my place in the “20 items or less” line. I stand and patiently wait, watching the inept store manager scurry about eyeing the growing throng of consumers. After about five minutes he finally gets a clue and opens up another register, directly to my left. I'm one person away from ringing up my merchandise so I tell the guy in front of me that the other register is open now and he was here before I was so he should jump into the other line and ring up his stuff. Before he could even respond some fat fuck appears out of nowhere and impetuously shoves his cart past myself and the gentleman in front of me into the now open register. I guess his business, his time, was more important than anyone else's. I guess common courtesy and manners don't apply to him. I guess he's the god-damned king of the grocery store.

So I say to him, “ What the fuck? You think we've been standing here for our health?”

He ignores me. I take a place behind him fully intent to teach this asshole a lesson in etiquette. I slam my shit down on the sticky conveyor belt. “Hey you FUCK, I'm talking to you.” He continues to ignore me but he's moving quicker and his face is red and his brow is starting to get sweaty. Scared. Obviously he's not accustomed to sick-as-hell, delirious, incensed motherfuckers such as myself adressing his bullshit behavior.

“Listen prick, I'm going to give you three seconds to look at me and acknowledge I'm speaking to you before I dump the contents of this drink all over your coat.” Thoughts of provoking him into taking a swing at me so I can choke him out, here at register three, here at Smith's in front of everyone to see, swirl through my exhausted brain.

The guy in the other line interrupts, playing the peacemaker. “ Look man I appreciate what you're doing here but it's not really a big deal, it's not necess....”

“No, it IS FUCKING necessary. This piece of shit thinks he can butt his FAT ASS in front of us? I've been standing in line for over 5 minutes, you too, and this ASSHOLE just barely walked up. No. Hell no!”

I'd finish the story but I'm seriously too pissed off, and deliriously exhausted right now to continue. Maybe later.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Down and Out

Honkey tonk dive bar outside town,
corner booth wearin’ a raggedy frown,
Ashtray full of butts, stale nuts, bleeding cuts.
Melancholy organ grinder whoring out shitty covers
Of shitty songs for one-night lovers
Glances over at me with crooked teeth
And a knowing wink.

Old rockers and outlaw bikers
throwin back Budweisers and Whiskey Sours.
Telling tales of killer shows, dusty roads, vanquished foes,
and click-clackin', sweet-smellin', stiletto’d woe.

And here I sit, fucked up drunk, and lit,
Tastin’ the dry drip, snifflin’ like I’m sick.
Wishing for a time I’ll never get
to make amends, repay old debts.
And here I’ll remain even when
the table dips and the room spins.
Until I pass out cold on the floor.
And then I’ll wake up tomorrow alone,
Out on my own, like a rolling stone.

An old wino hands me his brown-bag bottle of moonshine,
A hearty tug, a raspy cough,
more snow-white lines, and some small-talk.
He speaks of life, servin' time, and long hard years.
I nod and order another round of beers.

Shadows

No sound except the soft clink of a Zippo as I light my last Lucky Strike. The steam rises off the lake in the early morning half-light tranquility fall brings along with yellow leaves and layers of chilling frost known to kill crickets, crack heads, and frogs. What’s it been now… one year exactly without you? When soldiers return home from war missing an arm or a leg, they sometimes still feel the phantom limb moving, speaking, and breathing. Perhaps it’s denial. A subconscious refusal to admit it’s gone. A refusal to admit they’re half-there, half-empty, and half-lost with clipped wings, bound feet, and the tedious task of re-learning how to breathe. A sort of un-death, muffled acceptance one finds after surviving a gunfight, car crash, or bitch slap. An inability to ignore the crumpled, concerned brows and helping hands offered by compassionate family and friends as you struggle to pull yourself up. Wipe my ass. Tuck me in. Kill me please and put me out of my misery. Another tug from an old flask my cousin gave me back when we were young and sang foolish songs about heartbreak and love. It’s this forlorn, excruciating pain limbless soldiers feel that course through my veins and valves into my rotten heart as I sit by the lake outside town. Desolation. Except for perhaps the nameless corpses sleeping below that are never coming home.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

a space odyssey

And here I sit in my shiny, tin-foil moon hat, an effective tool to keep out the uv, crisscrossing mind probes emitted by the silver, mouthless men who poke and prod and lodge strange objects into our rectums and guts intent to break, dominate, and inseminate. I feel like Harry Mudd resplendent in my oversized fur coat and gold loops, intergalactic peddler of poon and green skinned martian women who happen to know how to belly dance. Mysterious. Dark alluring eyes shining in half-light around the fire pit lodged there in blue cheese, cardboard moon rocks. Supersonic spaceflight once thought impossible achieved in waking dreams by brave men with feathered 70's disco hair and half-capes... High adventure. Awkward drive-in makeout sessions, hot and heavy and intense, 2 for 1 specials complete with popcorn, fogged windows, and premature ejaculations. In Dad's car, in the dark, dick sucked to flickering celluloid images of Jane Fonda in quasi-futuristic shimmering half-shirt, short skirt, and thigh-high go-go boots. Schlocking images of whirling twirling pie plates disintegrating Manhattan while people point and scatter, purses and fedora's in hand. Shock and awe late fifties pulp entertainment a reflection of the age's intense cold war belief in Roswell and zig-zagging, impossible fly-by's reported by honest air force test-pilots named Chuck, Buzz, or Charley. Strange lights. Queer sights. Jim, Bones, and Scotty, and an assortment of nameless, expendable red shirts beaming down to a parallel earth where Germany won cause they got the atom bomb before us.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Ghost

Somewhere between the debauched, pulsating city of neon and the desolate sea. Somewhere out in the dry, disenchanted blackness. Somewhere on an empty stretch of concrete... I zoom along on my TL-1000, pumping my fist in the air like Tom Cruise from a decadent 80's action film. Old army ruksack tied to my back, worn leather straps flapping away, containing a bottle of Jarritos guava, 3 apples, and a bag of flour tortillas I bought at a fruitstand in little Tijuana from a kind senorita with leathery skin and sad eyes. Leaning forward, full tuck, I twist the accelerator... 85... 100... 115... 125. The air becomes heavier and tears creep out sneakily tip-toeing across my face and then like little spiders leap into the wind to realize their dreams. One slip, one patch of gravel, one split-second screw-up, and I'm fucking dead. The poison running through my veins, the wake-up juice, the fire water, crystal meth keeps me one step ahead of the blurred lights and white stripes. Like a sniper I blend into the dreamy speed-scape, I'm one with the cylindrical, high velocity tick-tock roar of the thousand cc supersport V-twin.

I am the bodhissatva of torque.

And I heard on good authority from Awakener Avalokitesvara - he is the hearer and answerer of prayer - that I'll live to drink, laugh, and fuck another day.

Just for kicks I flip the lights off for a minute or two trusting the fact the road will continue on straight and true. I trust I won't hit a lizard or large juicy spider and skid out of control and be tossed off my bike into a jagged rock or better yet, be dragged along underneath the 600 lb machine, as the rocky cement gnaws away at my leg and torso like a hungy, late nineteenth-century industrial monstrosity. I'm playing with a revolver that only has one round empty. Tick-tock, tick tock, fade into grainy black and white, slow it down, cut the sound. Here I am, higher than high, hanging on to the giant hands of time like Harold Lloyd.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Tangled up in Blue

Rain pisses down in buckets. The sun went away and the whole city is pitched in a metallic gray and every car that passes is black. I lay flat on my back on the grass, reclined, with my arms behind my head and my legs crossed staring at the sky which stares back, not at me, but at the homeless junkie fast asleep 10 feet away. Despite the chilly wetness and the piercing wind, I smile, arrogantly detached in my black tank and raggedy jeans. Tiny droplets bead all over my prickly beard and freshly shorn scalp (#1 attachment and a pocket mirror - a homegrown deal cause I'm crafty and cheap) It’s really quiet except for the sound of passing cars which splash through murky piles of sewage and mud. There's also the wind whistling through the branches of the naked trees, producing a gentle clatter... a skeleton wind chime. I pucker up my lips and sing along with squinty, wet, wild eyes.

I think it's time to pack my bags, wrap my shit up in a hankey danglin' off a stick, and head back east for a bit.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

the widening gyre

I think it might be over.

You called the police and I quickly left, not because I did anything wrong mind you. I simply didn't want to have to take an hour out of MY precious life explaining myself - clarifying my innocence - to a couple of dictatorial, asshole cops. In addition, I really can't afford to be late for work again because you and I decided to spend yet another long night "talking" about it which usually entails hashing and rehashing the same tired issues over and over and over and over again.

" All I'm trying to find out is what's the guy's name on first base.

No. What is on second base.

I'm not asking you who's on second.."


Like that scene in "Crime and Punishment" where the horse is beaten beyond death into the realm of the delirious... of the macabre... that is our relationship. Those are our "talks." That is my emotional state and well being right now. I'm really, really tired J____. Furthermore, the fact you dialed 911, on my cell phone, on my minutes, and requested an officer's assistance because you mistakenly thought I "might" become violent is preposterous and inexcusable... especially while my phone is roaming.

Yeh, I'm afraid it's fucking over.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

To an athlete dying young

Three years ago today.

And there I am sitting in church, a troubled and confused look splayed across my face as if I'd just been bitch-slapped, asking myself over and over “what the fuck?” I look great, however, in that black Versace suit, hair slicked back, like a million bucks. And then there's you, dude. Lying in that casket there. Your face painstakingly reconstructed, in layers of thick make-up, as to resemble a younger, happier, more alive you - frozen in time in some old photograph your parents gave the mortician... and it's not fooling anybody. You look horrific. Like a wax figurine at Madame Tussaud's. Your body, once perfect (you worked out obsessively and some of us thought you even juiced cause you were just too big and too cut) now shattered and broken. The seventy-five dollar suit you probably wore to church every Sunday stapled to the front of you as your bare, rigid ass naps in the white satin liner of your new bed.

Everyone around us is crying.

Your best friend, Ed, is up in the front pew next to your confused-as-shit kids and your grief-stricken parents. There he is with his face buried in his hands convulsing with sobs. And here I am, seven rows back, wondering what the fuck I should do. How I should act. We were close but not that close. Drinking buddies. Clubbing buddies. Acquaintances, at best... but never friends. There's a distinct difference. Yet here I am because Ed and your parents requested I be here. Because you came to me before "it" happened seeking advice, looking for comfort, looking for an answer, and I didn't even know it. None of us did. You had it all man. Good looks. Charisma. A nice ride. Cute kids. Of course we weren't there that night last Christmas in Wisconsin when you came home from work early and found your wife butt-ass naked fucking some other dude in YOUR bed. Of course I wasn't there the following New Years in Vegas when you overdosed on Extacy and cocaine and spoke to demons and angels.

Life couldn't go on for you could it? And we all thought you were finally finding your way out of this funk. You seemed so much happier. Your shit was finally piecing together. You were dating a really nice girl one hundred times smarter, prettier, caring, and ambitious then your ex-wife, and she loved your kids like they were hers. It was right there in front of your face and you were just too blind, too stupid, too selfish to see it.

And here I am in my designer suit, tears trickling down my face. Not because I'll miss you, because I won't. It sucks admitting that but it's true. I weep because you had so much potential to become something great. No, fuck it, you WERE great. I weep because you were a dad, a hero, a lover, a son, and a friend...

... and you let a lot of people down.

Monday, October 17, 2005

talking to strangers

Some sweaty, sunburnt, middle-aged, yuppie investment banker wearing a light blue golf shirt, brown Dockers, and leather boat shoes complete with tassles and no socks sits on the stool next to mine pounding down glass after glass of Crown Royal, neat.

I can’t get over how much the guy looks like Pat O’Brien, glasses, mustache and all - a spitting fucking image.

I don’t know this dip-shit from Adam, yet, we’re suddenly best friends. He’s telling me about the multi million-dollar deals he makes or breaks on a day-to-day basis. He’s bragging about his ride, a brand new 700 series BMW, and how much 18-year old ass he pulls in it. He’s telling me about his cunt ex-wife who left him for a guy half her age. He’s filling me in on every intimate, inane, insignificant detail of his shallow life.

I never asked. But if you keep them Red-Bull vodka’s coming I’ll continue to be your ”buddy” - your…. momentary best friend, disposable as a condom. I’ll keep listening, nodding my head, and agreeing with your bullshit like some slack-jawed yes-man. I’ll continue to laugh at your two-cent jokes.

And As I raise my glass, with a carefree smile, and toast life and love with my new companion I can’t stop thinking about how sickeningly easy it’d be to take his ass home and rob him at gunpoint.

Mucus builds up on his bushy mustache above his upper lip.

Have another line Pat.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Bonnie Parker...

You ask me why I carry a loaded gun. You really don’t know me do you? I stare at you with dark eyes saying nothing. I can’t provide an answer – I’m lying, actually I can, but I don’t want to. The truth could hurt… it really could. But guess what? Although you think I didn’t see it, I did. It lasted for an instant, a passing flash, a microburst supernova erupting beneath your eyelids when I pulled out the gat and carefully set it up on your hope chest among your girlish, garish knick-knacks and cheap crap. Dilated eyes. Accelerated heart rate. A subtle flutter in your stomach spider-webbing north to your flushed cheeks and way south. Warmer. Wetter. Getting better.

Danger. Just a hint of it glints across your thoughts like a skipping stone across a murky pond. I take off my shirt. The fact my body is covered in scars and tats, a twisted windy road map, adds to the forbidden element of the upcoming act. You lay on your bed looking up at me with those innocent eyes… or should I say feigning innocence. Beneath the fa├žade lies something dark. The teddy bears and pink sheets may hoodwink your piece of shit, molester dad, but oh no, not me.

We could write some amazing songs, you and I… songs to make you want to slit your wrists by.

Hand in mine, into your icy blues
And then I'd say to you we could take to the highway
With this trunk of ammunition too
I'd end my days with you in a hail of bullets.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Catatonic

All alone in a dark room, sparsely furnished. He shoots up on a ragged, piss-stained mattress laying on the floor. Next to the "bed" rests a pot of sopping Ramen cooked two days back, a stack of dusty books and porno mags, and an empty box of cheap vino. Festering piles of rank human shit are scattered about. The smell would make a crime scene investigator grimace. In the corner there's a window containing no glass, long ago shattered by junkies looking for a fix and protection from the frigid winds and patrolling pigs. The moldy drywall once white, now a mousy brownish tan shade, skillfully painted by a million dicks from a million smack-addled, homeless nobodies… his friends.

Not a creature stirs, not even a roach.

The high-pitched sound of pulsating silence mixes with the shrill cacophonic, absurdly dadaistic sense of twisted reason. Deadly resolve. Irrational rationality - unjustified justification to self-mutilate. Tourniquet clenched in rotted teeth pulled tight. Rubber taught. Bleeding punctured veins covered in scabs involuntarily twitching with plodding, undead anticipation. A rusty needle, 20-gauge, origin unknown, heated over a fading Zippo.

Aw fuck it, it’s clean enough, who cares.

3 cc’s of the hot shit on a red-eye, non-stop flight to the brain with a possible layover in his 60-year-old failing ticker. He’s 28. A flickering, buzzing, skeletal shadow of his former self. Mouth blistered and dry. Dilated eyes. Hair falling out in clumps. The same kid who once loved comic books, camping, ninjas, and romance now sits alone in a dark room staring at the bubbling, breathing wall rhythmically clenching and unclenching his jaw. A stranger to rational thought. Every creak, bang, or groan could be the Meth-monsters slowly approaching down the hall, or even worse... the cops.

Pain, so sharp... so god damned alarmingly sharp. Dick feels like a million razor blades dipped in lemon juice yet the urge to jerk-off can’t be ignored. Sex fiend. Drug fiend. Tweaker. Dreamer. Lost boy. Sad eyes and a forced smile on a faded milk carton.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Thrift store Indiana Jones

Wading through an undulating sea of knick knacks and cast-offs. I feel like Jacques Cousteau exploring the millions of miles of empty unknown searching for a glistening stone buried among the sifting sands. Or a rare fish flitting about the sweeping green weeds. The thrift store is not always willing to cough up it's treasures though. She's a hard mistress, no... rather, a nagging old hag who loves to talk, gossip, and look for meanings in the bottoms of cups. However, every once in a great while I get lucky and find a designer shirt, a kitschy, colorful artistic work, or a sturdy pair of good boots.

How does the phrase go, it's not the destination but the journey? It's the hunt. The relentless, obsessive-compulsive search for that treasure everyone has somehow managed to ignorantly pass up. Today I count myself lucky. I find a powdered blue sweater that zips up in the front. The neighborhood of make-believe awaits. I have a very important dinner date with Queen Sarah and Henrietta Pussycat, and I'm 24 years too late.

The illusion is so much dreamier than reality isn't it?

What we all don't know, but should, is Fred Rogers was a marine sniper with over 60 confirmed kills. All head-shots. Lucky for us he left the beast in the steaming jungles of Korea, in a bamboo hut, sitting next to Colonel Kurtz.

A mentally handicapped woman smiles at me as she painstakingly rings up my purchase. My treasure. My booty. My diamond. All the while I whistle “Lullaby” by the Cure and think about Daniel Tiger and King Friday.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Just a ragged clown

Muttering nothing, staring at the wall, I'm outside in the hall
Thinking about you, the road, and packing my bags
headin outside... into the rain... pitter patter, streaming down.
It's dark, the wee hours of the jingle-jangle morning.
Rocking away, hugging your arms, tears on your face,
pain replaced by more pain, in waves,
so sweet and heartbreaking and tragic and magic
Hey what do you say?
How is it you always manage to make me feel this way?

Play a song for me,
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.


The miles race by, my only company in the drop top g-ride
gila monsters and spiders, snakes and stars, and itty-bitty spacemen on mars
Coffee and methamphetamine race through my veins. In my brain.
4 cc's running hard, no turning back, no looking back, no regrets or final thoughts... only the pain... so heartbreaking, tragic, and magic.

Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin' ship,
My senses have been stripped, my hands can't feel to grip


Bittersweet memories that's all we ever have in the end...

...oh and death.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Night Tremors

Drowning in a relentless sea of late night infomercials. A barrage of junk aimed at improving the “value of life.” The next great innovation. The best of intentions, namely: the systematic elimination of inconvenience. A dollar and a dream, oh, and 6 very easy monthly installments of $39.95... if you're not completely satisfied send it back, shipping is free, and keep that set of steak knives... a gift, a token of our insincere generosity.

An old man with kind eyes touts the virtues of owning an electric scooter. He promises a better life. He promises increased mobility. Most importantly, he promises the self-given gift of independence. Dependent independence. Independence at what cost? Que flashing images of the smiling elderly scooting around the park. Or at the grocery store. Or alongside a grandchild first learning to ride a bike sans training wheels. Always smiling. So confident and secure and... alive.

Or it could be the anti-oxidants, B12 vitamins, and Viagra.

The elderly, the poor, the overweight... all easy targets. All sitting on social security checks, unemployment checks, class action lawsuit checks, insurance checks... so many nest eggs, so little time. All they ask is 30 minutes of your precious life. Here's the dotted line, sign.

And yes, operators are always standing by.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

And the feeling's right

He dances alone up on the stage ignoring all. Absorbed in the beat, he crazily waves his glow-sticks to the music like a maestro conducting a philharmonic.. to fucking Cher. Rivulets of sweat bleed down his face. He's short, toned, and from what I can tell, Asian. He's dressed in a policeman's uniform: striped pants, riding boots, mirrored aviator sunglasses, an authentic looking badge, and even a knight stick dangling by his side. I expect to see a biker, an Indian, and a construction worker at any moment. However, tonight isn't Halloween. It's a hot evening in the middle of September. This isn't a costume party or a masquerade ball. It's any Friday night at the club I bounce at.

What's on the menu? Usually an unrelenting barrage of repetitive house and trance music. Tanned, shirtless, roided out fags with perfect hair and perfect complexions aimlessly wandering about the club rolling their balls off, bottled water in hand. Drag queens and transsexuals with sexier legs than any woman you'll ever find. Blowjobs, rimjobs, and cocaine nose-jobs in every bathroom stall.

All of the freaks come out on Friday night.

They're harmless. Aside from catty fits of drunken name calling, finger pointing, and drink throwing, they never fight. Ever. Friday is the only night we can really relax. Instead of testosterone the air is filled with plur, celebration, and estrogen. A lot of the bouncers will drink or smoke weed. Why? Because we can. Because we don't have to be at 100 percent. We don't have to be perfectly in tune to the crowd, ears and eyes pricked to detect shit talk or a thrown punch. Being out of our heads, out of our consciousness, helps to pass the time as we're stationed at the different doors or left alone on our carpeted boxes surveying the odd display of excess taking place on the dance-floor before us. Everyone always seems to be in a more relaxed mood on Friday night.

It counterbalances the extreme homophobia a lot of the dumb-as-shit bouncers invariably wear on their sleeves.

A lot of beautiful women come in on Friday night. It's a great night for an enterprising bouncer or a resourceful bartender to hook up... believe it or not. You see, these pretty girls feel safe around all of the non-threatening gay men. They feel bolder. They become hornier. As the night progresses they get drunker. They all think they'll be “the one” who will convince their fag friend (every pretty girl has one, it's like a purse – an accessory) to bat for the other team. Light flirting and harmless innuendo turns into brazen, desperate begging and pleading. They realize their wily charms are having absolutely zero effect on the obviously homosexual men all around them so they turn their attention to the hetero bouncing staff. I've taken many girls home after my shift on Friday night. The key is to flirt with their protective gay friend who brought them. To build a level of trust. To slip their party a round of free shots.

We call these girls "fag hags." Ironically, so do the fags themselves.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Chance encounter

I spy you across the crowded room sipping a Vodka-tonic, your usual, standing amidst a buzzing swarm of pretentious, coked-out assholes, again... your usual. You pretend you don't see me but I know you know I'm here. In fact, you couldn't stop staring at me when I walked in tonight, yes that's right, here... in YOUR club.

How long has it been R____, two years?

Nothing has changed. It's comforting to know I'm not the only one who's accomplished exactly jack-shit. It's comforting to know there are things that can always be relied upon in life such as gravity, taxes, the sun setting in the evening, and you. You and I, round and round we go.

When Narcissus gazed into that clear pool at his reflection so many years ago he fell madly, truly, deeply in love with himself. He remained seated by that pool until the day he died. The day he starved to death. Want to know why he really died?

A broken heart.

He knew he could never be with that person he saw coyly smiling back. It was a tragic, ironic, unrequited, comical love affair.

Like the love affair you have with yourself. Like the love affair I have with myself. Like the anti-love affair we have with each other.

When I gaze into your face, R____, what I see is a reflection of me. An incredibly precise reflection. However, unlike Narcissus, it's not love I feel. When I look at you I see the same fucked up, selfish, materialistic son of a bitch I face every morning. I see the same drug addled, angry, insecure weakling I see at night. I see the same arrogant, maladjusted, prideful prick I see gazing back at me in the john, after taking a piss... or upon jerking off for the umpteenth time.

Yeah... an anti-love to remember.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Lest we forget.

The final seconds recorded by the in-flight recorder, the black box, of United Airlines flight 93 on September 11, 2001 was wind. Seconds before that was the indistinguishable yells of triumphant desperation as the passengers broke down the cockpit door and physically pummeled the hapless remaining two terrorists with fire extinguishers, fists, and feet. The indispensable thought they'd never see their loved ones fueled their anger.

Such exquisite rage.

There were fathers, sisters, brothers, mothers, daughters, sons, husbands, and wives on board. Final “I love you”'s were left on answering machines, messages intended for unknowing, confused children, and stunned beyond belief loved ones. And then static blackness.

Yet these voices...these men and women... these hero's... live on.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Cave

In my experience I've noticed the best writers are succeedingly able to make the fantastic seem real, and the real seem truly fantastic. You'll believe what you read because you want to believe it's true... we all do. Like horses wearing blinders, we conveniently ignore the awkward man standing behind the curtain. Why? Because there is no way he could be behind this spectacle we see before us. There is no way the insultingly simple system of pulleys and levers splayed out before him could be controlling this wondrous machine. The man behind the screen is just too boring, too generic... too bland.

We, as readers, are given a set of clues, roadside markers. We then fill in the miles and miles of lonely highway. We connect the dots. Not necessarily in the same order or as skillfully as the next person, but in the end we are presented with a unique picture, a fictitious painting. A distorted reflection of reality in a shimmering pond. Or perhaps a shadow on the wall of a cave of an ideal image we think we know, but have never actually seen.

A marvelous piece of writing is like a constellation. Is it really there? Are we seeing what our neighbor sees or what we are meant to see? Half the time we simply agree and claim we can distinguish Orion's belt. Or a crab. Or a scorpion. We dumbly nod, ooh and awe, and marvel at how wondrous and beautiful and utterly complete this abstract, ridiculous, pitiful "thing" is supposed to be. And then you begin to question yourself, as you sit there all alone in the dark - eyes fixed skyward, tripping on mushrooms. Perhaps you just aren't creative or imaginative enough to "see" what everyone else is claiming to see... but really don't.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Nomadic

The Darhad people of Mongolia every year will make the arduous three day trek to warmer, winter pastures. They pack their children in baskets that are in turn strapped to yaks. The elderly ride in drag carts behind stubborn oxen. Their food, water, shelter, clothes, cooking utensils, and every other worldly belonging is taken with them across the many miles through frigid mountain passes, forests, and across sub-zero, icy rivers. Not a spoon or cup is left behind. The land is seemingly undisturbed. They leave it the way they found it.

It is a desolate landscape... a desolate life... but it is their home. They know nothing else.

Their only company out on these barren plains are the stars, that sing to them at night, and the wolves, whom they hunt. They are a migratory herding people and masters of the horse. In addition to their belongings and their families, they will also transport packs of goat and sheep... their true wealth, their food. These obedient animals follow each other single file, ears perked and eyes forward. Should one stray the horsemen will quickly catch it and expertly steer it back to the flock.

The Darhad are the living descendants of Ghengis Khan; a proud people. They are also an extremely humble people - subservient to the gods of Earth and the ancestral spirits. They love each other as they love vodka and song... both of which warm their chilled bones.

Their lives have remained the same for thousands of years. Lives that consist of continuous change, continuous hardship and continuous movement. They can claim no place as home yet at the same time claim all of it as home, thousands upon thousands of sprawling, harsh miles. They know this land, have names for every rock, tree, river, and beast. When they kill their natural adversaries, the wolves, whom mercilessly hunt their livestock, they call upon their deceased brethren for strength, courage, and wit. Upon shooting a wolf they ask the fallen animal for forgiveness. Death, more so than life, is an accepted, almost welcome event. In a land where it is always winter, death is viewed as a rebirth. Life is cyclic and in a constant state of flux between the land of the living and the land of the dead where the ancestors dwell harmoniously with the spirits of the wolves. Where the stars kiss the earth and the skyline meets the distant horizon.

It is a difficult life... yet they are grateful. If one were to ask any one of these people what they were most grateful for they would quickly answer:

“ I am grateful for the work, and doing it well.”

Thursday, September 01, 2005

American Psycho

Marshal Law.

As I sit and witness our government's unwillingness and inability to act - to help these poor people who have been to hell and back... I am wordless. I am completely dumbstruck. I'm shocked, disgusted, and abhorred with this administration and furthermore, as a member of the middle class; as a member of the paycheck-to-paycheck , hand to mouth, pissed-on, pissed-off, piss-poor, cubicle proletariat all I can say is I am scared. I'm petrified. I'm scared my job will invariably be outsourced. I'm scared I won't be able to afford gas. I'm scared I won't see a penny of social security. I'm scared some crazy terrorist prick is going to slit my throat because of the mere fact I'm an American. I'm scared I'm going to get drafted, get sent overseas to kill innocent people in a meaningless, bullshit war...

I ain't no senator's son.

Wanna know what scares me even more?

20,000 desperate, angry people, young and old, crammed into the "Superdome" with no food, no water, no place to shit or piss, and worst of all, no power or lights tonight.

It's a powderkeg and it's ready to blow.

And no, I didn't vote for this motherfucker either, you douche bags. But nice job! You KNEW what you were getting into. You KNEW he would fuck it up yet you still voted him back into office you dumb-ass, redneck, brainwashed, hillbilly assholes.

For Christ's sake turn-off Sean Hannity and start using your heads... use some common sense. Open your eyes. Read the signs, they say "Help Us!"

I can't help but wonder if the California coastline had been struck, say... Hollywood, or the "O.C," or Malibu, or Beverly Hills... would there be more of a sense of urgency? Would the "governator" roll up his sleeves and personally "terminate" hunger, thirst, death, loss, and grief?

I'm sure he would.

The truth of the matter is these unfortunate people are receiving third rate treatment because they're "third-rate citizens." The majority of these displaced souls are poor and black. They're expendable. They're sub-human. In fact, they're "animals."

Wow, this nation has sure come a long way.

Fuck you Bush and FUCK your administration. I realize you're a puppet, a flagrantly stupid puppet at that, and the big-money Texas oil companies, the pharmaceuticals, the lobbyists, the tobacco companies, your buddies the Saudi's, the list goes on and on... are the real villains here.

But then again I could be wrong. I'm a radical what do I know?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A hard lesson

The stubborn donkey wouldn’t budge despite Juan’s lulls and bribes. It was a hot day. The sun angrily beat down on the comedic duo: one anxiously glancing forward toward the eerily empty road ahead, pressing onward, and the other dumbly looking back, committed to those roads already traveled – those paths already deemed safe. Juan could feel his impatience slowly turning into rage. Despite his beckoning, pleading, and assertive commanding, the burro remained rooted in the caked earth, his passionless black eyes coldly revealing nothing. Juan turned and walked toward the back of the ramshackle cart. With a huff he unsnapped the whip from it’s home below the box where he stored his tools. He walked back around behind the cart with a deadly gleam in his eye fully prepared to vent a lifetime of frustrations on the poor beast.

“All right you have a choice. You can pull the cart and we will proceed to San Luis or you can continue to dumbly sit and be punished for your defiance.”

The donkey casually looked back, his tail swatting at a pesky horsefly.

“Fine.”

Committed to his decision Juan reached back and with all of his strength lashed the donkey’s back. The donkey stiffened for but a second, his emaciated body attempting to lessen the cruel sting of the whip. A bloody, raw line remained in the donkey’s soft brown fur along the length of his bony spine. Despite the throbbing pain the donkey was resolute. His black eyes gazing forward, revealing nothing. This steadfastness… this "defiance"…. only fueled the fire that had begun raging inside Juan’s soul.

He lashed the donkey again. And again he was met with stoic silence and unwavering stillness.

Juan became angrier, driven down the dangerous path of unthinking blind rage he continued to whip the donkey. Blow after devastating blow was rained upon the poor beast’s back, sides, and rear. Where once the donkey’s coat was a perfect, velvety brown, it was now a marred landscape of gory skin and a sickeningly thick layer of sticky, matted blood. The donkey’s knees buckled. The rickety cart tipped over and the contents spilled. The combination of the heat, the pain of the numerous wounds, and the stinging bites of a thousand horseflies that now covered his broken skin, drawn by the scent of blood, was too much to bear.

Exhausted and out of breath, Juan leaned forward and rested his hands on his knees. He wiped his mouth and angrily spit a thick clump of bile and saliva onto the cracked dirt. He blankly stared at the pitiful donkey that now lay on the ground wheezing in pain, disoriented and scared. As the adrenaline ran its course in his bloodstream, reality began to set in. “What have I done?” He thought to himself. His pensiveness was interrupted by a voice behind him.

“ Where are you headed on this hot day?”

Juan turned to see a man, finely dressed in black slacks and a crisp white shirt. He was clean shaven, his hair carefully combed. The man had handsome features and wisdom in his eyes.

“ Oh, I didn’t see you there. We travel to San Luis. I have work waiting for me.”

The mysterious man’s eyes flitted from the cart, to the bleeding donkey, back to Juan. “ You’ll be there in no time at this rate.”

“ If you’d like to help you may, otherwise proceed on, your sarcasm does not humor me.”

“ I won’t help you but I offer you this advice. San Luis is closed to outsiders. The town has been struck with the plague. All of its inhabitants are dead or dying, including the rats. Only the cockroaches remain. You may continue on if you’d like, although I assure you, the consequences will be dire.”

Juan paused. A bead of sweat slowly ran down the length of his face, beaded on his chin, and then, as if in slow motion, fell to the earth.

The stranger continued. “Perhaps in the future you should stop and listen. Be mindful of your anger and observe the wisdom you’ll invariably find all around you. Now you are left with nothing except a long walk home, wherever that may be.” As he said this he nudged toward where the donkey lay. Juan followed the man’s gaze. The poor animal was no longer breathing. His service to Juan forever ended. Once proud and faithful, now merely a meal for the flies and vultures.

Juan turned back to address the man only to find he had vanished.

Juan was left standing in the hot sun, his upturned cart, spilled wares, and a dead donkey his only company.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Re-animated

Ah, very good... up five points. Your value is rising.

You're on the 'up and up' ready to claim your prize that lies in the bottom of a Crackerjack box, your piece of the pie. Counting your praises, like pennies, hunched over a solitary candle, you sit alone by your laptop sifting through dusty volumes full of dusty ideas desperate to arrive at the next great original thought. A formulaic exercise in thievery, regurgitation, and repackaging. This blog, this so-called experiment, houses the concepts and theories you supposedly cast-off. A digital island of misfit toys, misshapen freaks, and there you sit surveying it all. Dr. Moreau himself. Creator, destroyer, fabricator of hypocrisy, lover of links... fat and bloated beyond reason: so full of reeking, fetid bullshit. This home grown concoction you ladle from a gigantic black cauldron kept in some seedy, secret back room where you cook up this disgusting stew. A little Wilde, a dash of Greene, a pinch of Ginsburg, a tablespoon of Palahniuk, and the list goes on. Varying degrees of theft.

But wait, isn't all art theft?

I hear a distant, rhythmic slapping sound, the sloppy sound of fucking, or maybe it's merely you, reading your own work which you humbly claim is unfinished and unpolished, tugging on your tiny pecker, your other hand, caught up in the moment, crinkling a copy of Neruda. Meathead assholes drive big trucks because they have small cocks. In the circles we run in, men who use garrulous, pedantic words also have small.... ideas? They have small... imaginations? Nah. I'm inclined to think they also have small, underused peckers. I'm inclined to think YOU haven't been laid in a year and a half. I'm inclined to think you want to bang some bright eyed, nubile lit student, perhaps woo her with your in-depth knowledge of Joyce, Dostoevsky, and Beckett, and failing even in this endeavor utterly. I imagine you sitting there on your throne, your Dickies around your ankles, wallet chain dangling, squeezing out your next turd, polished and gleaming - a scalding observational piece criticizing someone you've never actually met but think you know based off a select number of words or images this other person has carefully chosen to provide you. Someone you think you know because you will invariably compare this person to someone you knew once, or perhaps in your egocentricity, to yourself once upon a time. Someone you know because you read some books and compare this person to one of the many fictional, fossilized characters you surround yourself with. How pathetic.

A dinosaur on the verge of extinction attempting to examine and decipher the bones of Homo Sapien.

I can imagine a person like that. Despite whatever airs of sophistication they may try to hoodwink or bamboozle the rest of us with. Despite whatever masks they may choose to don. Despite their efforts to mingle with the common folk sipping Guiness discussing the latest indie bands, dressed in denim, Diesel, and black and white Chuck Taylor's complete with a small tattoo on their arm which thus screams their rebelliousness and surety. Yes, I can imagine a person like that and no, that person does not stare at me every night when I brush my teeth. I'm not talking about me, I'm talking about you and you know I'm talking about you.

Even if I wasn't, in your hubris and pretension, you'd still probably know I was.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

a trip abroad

Blond hair, blue eyes, and tan skin looks so seductive under the black lights and bathed in the cool, ghostly glow of the sticks. Her smile gleams with radioactive whiteness. Her tits are immaculate. A perfect fusion of nature and science. Not too big, they complement the rest of her toned, muscled body. It looks natural. Her shoulders, arms, stomach, and legs are defined. I've always loved athletic looking women. Absolutely sublime. I've dated models and the coked out thin look doesn't suit me. It never has. How odd when I was younger I'd more likely be caught jerking off to “Fitness for Her” or the latest issue of “Shape” than “Victoria's Secret.” J___ embodies everything I've ever desired in this respect. She's petite, around 5' 6”, but when she wears those trashy, clear stiletto's, I call them “stripper shoes,” she's easily 5'9”. In addition, those wonderful shoes bring out the shape of her calves and thighs... oh and her ass. I could write sonnets about her perfect bubble butt. Like a violin virtuoso picking up a stradivarius, those shoes play J____'s body, bringing out the most beautiful elements. They accentuate the good and disguise any flaws.

Wait, she doesn't have any flaws.

I arch my back raising my cock as she runs her tongue up the shaft starting at my balls up to the tip. A small droplet of pre-cum has beaded on the end like a pearl. She squeezes my cock and we both watch the pearl double in size. She then playfully flicks her tongue over the end and the precious gem disappears somewhere inside her mouth. In one motion she swallows my sword as her hands run up my stomach to my chest. She starts to rub my nipples with her thumbs as she continues to bob her head up and down on my lap. Her hair hides her sexy face but I can still see it's outline in my mind. I lean back and close my eyes, enjoying the sensation... transported to the outer edges of carnality. The trance beat defines the landscape and the tablets of E we both crushed up and snorted is our guide on this beautiful, frantic, erotic journey J___ and I are on.

We call these excursions “vacations.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Take me home

Eight empty shot glasses lined up on the bar in a neat, little, obsessive-compulsive row. My mouth tastes like pennies and rusted fillings. I casually pick at the complimentary wooden bowl full of stale nuts halfheartedly trying to satiate the intense hunger that stings at my aching soul. It’s Karaoke night at the dive bar. Some old man sings John Denver’s “Country Roads.” I think about the city. I miss the East Coast.

I miss the way “life used to be.”

I really should be at home in bed but then what would be the point in that? I’d rather be here: lucid, dreaming, and awake, shooting away my sorrows. Listening to the sad tales around me. Joining in the mournful chorus of wailing ghosts.

A blonde, toothless whore named “Bonnie” sits next to me vying for my attention. She’s a former heroin addict with leathery skin. She’s a flitting shadow of her former self. Once upon a time, probably back in the heavy metal 80’s, she was a very beautiful woman. Time hasn’t been kind. 15 years, one ruptured silicon implant, numerous drug and alcohol addictions, and 5 kids later: she’s tore up. How does the phrase go?

"Ridden hard and put away wet.”

She’s telling me about her ex husband. He’s a biker. In fact, he’s a lieutenant and a hired gun for the outlaw motorcycle organization “the Banditos.” Why she’s telling me I have no idea. To impress me perhaps? I listen though. As long as she keeps buying me shots of Tequila and slipping me smokes I’ll continue to listen. Isn’t that all what we search for, someone who is willing to listen? Here and there I’ll throw in a lame quip or a stupid joke in between her stories of yesteryear. Her laugh is grating… like nails on a chalkboard. It’s the wheezing, silent laugh of chain smoking, trailer park royalty. I try not to look at her row of rotted gum.

I’ll probably go home with her tonight. Somehow I’m always able to find the beauty in any woman I meet. especially after 8 shots of Tequila and 4 beers. Her body isn’t too bad. I’ll satisfy her fantasy tonight. I’ll give her some company and pleasure. In return, she’ll provide me a fleeting, temporary escape quickly followed by shuddering, convulsive feelings of disgust and panic and then calm… as I pass out in her bed with my cock still buried deep inside her as we lay among a million stuffed animals alone in her double-wide.

I’ll be sure not to kiss her on the mouth.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Beat

You might lose everything in this life.

You might find yourself homeless crashing on your buddies couch while all of your shit, all of your worldly belongings, are locked away in a 20 dollar-a-month, climate controlled storage unit. You may find yourself wearing the same clothes you found yourself wearing the previous week when you realized you were wearing the same clothes you wore the previous week. You may find yourself at the local 7-eleven sealed in a bathroom washing your knickers in the sink, a trusty bottle of Palmolive by your side, with your dick hanging out. You may find yourself stealing money out of your dying grandmother's purse. You may find yourself donating plasma, blood, sperm, or whatever other bodily fluids so you may later buy your fake-ass friends a round of shots at the bar and look like a big shot. You may find yourself looking in the mirror and not recognizing the face who stares back. You may find yourself turning tricks, sucking off a 50 year old investment banker who looks like Richard Gere in a dingy back room at a crappy, fag techno club hoping... no, praying... someone you know doesn't spot you. You may find yourself shooting heroin between your fingers and toes so you may hide unsightly track marks from colleagues, friends, family, and yourself. You may find yourself sitting in the back of a limo sipping champagne and snorting lines of coke with complete fucking strangers, middle aged swingers, who's only intent is to fuck your girlfriend. You may find yourself sitting in front of your laptop at 3:45 in the morning with your head swiming in coffee and mephamphetamine, grasping at ideas, desperate to arrive at something profound and beautiful... and utterly failing. You may find you've lost the touch, the idea machine has shut down due to irreparable damage. You may find yourself walking just a little slower across that bridge. You may find yourself shivering on a park bench staring at a photograph of your little boy, focusing on his happy smile and starry, optimistic eyes. However, no matter how hard life decides to shit on you. No matter how many punches to the face and kicks to the balls you take. No matter how much dirt and dog shit you're forced to pick up with your face. No matter how hard you hit the bottle, the floor, or the bottom, wherever that may be; wherever your personal version of dizzying hell might lead you ... there is always the music.

There is always the beat.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Carnal

The stale stench of sweat, shit, and cum lingers heavily in the cramped room. All three of us lie naked on the filthy mattress that lies on the filthy carpet nestled amidst piles of filthy clothes, rat turds, empty cans of Bud light, and dripping condoms. The room is dark. Shadows from the outside playfully dance on the adjacent wall. These shadow-puppets are hypnotic, and too far and few between. There aren’t many cars out at 3:45 am. The world is sleeping; including Angel and this disgusting whore we brought home who is lying between us.

I can’t sleep.

We both took turns fucking her in every possible hole. Male bonding. Angel says we are now “Carnales.” In Spanish “carnal” means “blood.” My cousin and I are now blood brothers. We’ve discussed it often: how hot it would be to tag team a bitch. Hours earlier, at the club, Angel talked me into bringing home M___, a girl I fucked. I asked him why. His response was immediate and predictable, “for a laugh of course.” This also happens to be our personal motto. I agreed and with a wry smile I invited M___ to come back to our place for “some drinks and some fun.” She agreed. Everyone wants to be loved you know.

Everyone is searching for a purpose.

“ Hey M____, you want to play a game”

“ It depends, what’s the game?”

“ You put on this blindfold and then you try to guess which one of us kissing you. If you guess wrong, you take another drink of beer. If you guess right, we drink.”

“ O.K, sounds fun.”


We fucked her. Hard. We wanted to hurt her. We wanted to make this moment an unforgettable one. She hungrily sucked our cocks and salty balls. We spit in her face. We double-penetrated her. We were caught in it, the delicious rage, so wonderful and intense and urgent. A torrid snapshot frozen in time. For the briefest moment I didn’t think about my life, my shitty job, my bills, my next fix, nothing, only the sensation; only M___’s pitiful, guttural sobs or the incessant, rhythmic slapping of our balls against her ass and chin. We focused on getting off again and again and again. The filthy bitch was a mere toy, a cum receptacle… nothing more, nothing less.

I pull my dick out of her ass, tear the condom off, grab M___ by her bottle-bleached blonde hair, and shove my cock in her mouth. I fuck her face as I shoot my hot spunk down her throat; my ass clenching and unclenching. She gags and chokes on what seems to be a gallon of hot, white shit. My cousin looks at me and giggles. I can’t help but laugh. I laugh at how fucked up the situation is. I laugh at the intense level of mordant disgust I feel. I laugh at how proud my parents must be of me, wherever the fuck they are.

We accomplished our goal though. Carnales to the end.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Last

He was a child, no younger than eight. Born into poverty, the son of a carter, he knew hardship at an early age. He was well versed in the hard lessons of life. Every crust of bread or strip of meat had to be earned. He would often help tend the stubborn old ox as they walked for miles and miles along the rickety roads from one province to the next under the hot sun. As he silently trudged alongside his somber father, he’d steal glances into the dark forest, among the darting shadows. Wishing he’d be the first among his friends to see her. He felt no fear or hesitation.

When all seems hopeless and feelings of desolation eat away at your soul, I will be there. Through hazy eyes, across the steaming mists of the eternal forest, so lush and green, that will always exist in the farthest recesses of your mind. I will be there. Across the dry, swirling sands of the empty desert that stretch on endlessly in your cavernous heart. I will be there.

He was a young man, no older than twenty, so strong and quick. He assumed an apprenticeship as a carpenter and wiled away long hours into the night cutting and whittling, mending and crafting. With a sweaty brow he would often see the idle lords and ladies, dukes and duchesses, and the clumsy assortment of royal fools, who hoped to be seen, on parade in the cobbled streets. Sometimes he’d stand in the doorway, as the rain poured down, hoping to catch but a mere glimpse of her amidst the throng of dull eyes and bruised feet.

All I know, I can’t let go. Is it dark? Do we dream? Only yesterday we were endlessly trapped in a sad, sad song. You are a vision to me. A shimmering beautiful shadow I long to see when I close my eyes and search the sky, freeing my mind. There you are between the sparkling stars and the mournful moon smiling, always smiling, even when I cry.

He is an old man, fragile and broken, forsaken by family and friends, alone on his deathbed. A lifetime of toil and regret weigh heavily on his head and his heart, torn apart, seeks solace and rest. In between fluttering beats and raspy breaths, in between this plane and the next, among the flickering shadows of the nether regions where the dark seas meet, he finally catches but the briefest glimpse of black, wise eyes. A white mane and a single ancient horn, crafted of bone.

With a final passing smile and a sigh he can finally say goodbye to the fleeting, hard life he never knew.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Fade to Black

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Game Hunting

“ Fuck, I think I’m gonna puke!” I lean forward and gingerly rest the tips of my fingers on the red brick. I close my eyes, grit my teeth, and focus on some random thought. Using my other hand, I pinch the bridge of my nose with my thumb and index finger attempting to stave off the alcohol induced vertigo and nausea.

Of course Angel doesn’t hear me. He’s 20 feet away chatting up a group of skanks.

The club is closing. The bouncers are herding everybody out like cattle. This is the last opportunity we’re going to have to find someone to take home. Unfortunately I’ve been sidelined, and Angel’s having an off night.

“Chango, no way I’m fucking driving, take these…” Speaking to nobody in particular, I reach into my pocket and pull out my keys. I extend my arm and dangle them out in the air like a carrot for anyone to grab. Angel snatches the keys from my hand as if on cue.

“Fucking bitches, acting stuck-up as hell. I’m not going to sit there feeding their fucking egos… hey you ok?”

I carelessly sit down on the pavement next to a stack of discarded flyers. My foot kicks a half-empty Guiness bottle causing it to spin. Sticky beer splashes all over. At this point, I could care less about my black slacks or Italian shoes. “Where the fuck have you been bro?”

“What do you mean where have I been? Trying to get us LAID Cabron!”

“Any luck?”

Angel’s ignoring me.

He’s scanning the crowd with a furrowed brow, a look of intense concentration splayed across his face. Like a lion, he’s searching for the easiest prey: the sick, the weak. Angel truly doesn’t give a fuck whether he takes home a fat girl, or a funny looking girl, or an ugly bitch. It's not that he's bad looking, on the contrary, he's a very good looking guy, dark and exotic. He simply doesn't care. He’s told me on many occasions, with pride even, “a hole is a hole.” That’s where we differ. I’ve always been a trophy hunter. I have to have the best looking girl by my side or in my bed. I’ve always felt I had a reputation to uphold. If I don’t hook up with the girl with the nicest set of tits, or legs, or the prettiest face, I’d rather go home empty-handed. Of course, like any man, I have a few skeletons in my closet. I’ve banged a few nasties here or there in a drunken daze. Or if, for instance, Angel’s needed me to “distract” an over-protective friend, thereby “taking the bullet.” He’s done the same for me… countless times. I’ll rationalize MY “lowering of standards” with this simple, elegant phrase:

“I find perfection in her imperfections.”

“Hey, look at them over there.” Angel points at two girls smoking by a silver Honda. They aren’t gorgeous, nor are they ugly either. They are simply… there. Imperfectly perfect. Generic. Fuckable. Something stirs inside me… something primitive.

Or maybe it's the booze.

“O.K I’m in. Let’s do this.” I hop up and dust the seat of my pants. I suddenly have a second wind. I’m feeling “firme.”

We walk over to the two girls to make our acquaintance.

I give a genuine, friendly smile. "Hi."

“Hey.”

“ Do you have a lig-………..”

I’m unable to finish my sentence. I double over and puke the entire contents of my stomach onto the curb right next to the street, the Civic, and the two girls... a steaming, dripping pile of half-digested sushi, Red Bull, and Vodka.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Black and White

He sits by himself in his empty, filthy apartment blankly staring at an old black and white photograph of his deceased grandfather. No emotion. Dying. Alone. Rock bottom. He wears an expressionless death mask… a mask of Noh. The windows are open and the blinds are drawn. Rain soaks his shit-brown carpet as the winds incessantly snap the ratted red curtains. The pitter-patter of the rain, the whipping of the curtains, the incessant howl of the wind outside, the faint tympani of ten-thousand cockroach feet, the dry crackling of peeling yellow paint... they're instruments in a mournful orchestra - the soundtrack to his hopeless life.

He’s too lazy to get up and close the window. Or eat. Or jerk off. In fact he’s too un-ambitious to do much of anything except chain-smoke and shoot up. Four cc’s of sweet smack flow up his arm into his heart, up through his brain, and then off to his starving, twitching muscles. The result is a calm, euphoric, relaxed state. Kind of like sitting in a hot tub while getting your dick sucked, back scratched, and feet rubbed. Not a care or a fuck in the world.

The rank stink of the dried shit camping out in his boxers doesn’t bother him much.

Through half-closed eyes he concentrates on the photograph he’s struggling to hold between his thumb and index finger. Although the paper is frayed around the edges, yellowed and brittle from time, the image is unmistakable. A handsome, young man standing before the prow of a battleship. He wears a crisp white naval uniform and an even whiter smile. It's funny, his grandfather looks exactly like he does. That is IF he shaved. Or ate more. Or slept.

The man's mind, prone to distraction, begins to wander. The 50’s… it was a better time then. We knew who the bad guys were. It was a black and white war in a self-contained black and white world. His grandfather’s eyes twinkle with pride and… anticipation? He’s ready to fight the good fight. Kill some kikes or Japs. Maybe fuck a nubile islander somewhere in the South Pacific.

Wait, did he just wink?

The disenchanted son of a bitch asleep in the torn thrift store chair gently stirs… and smiles. He wonders if the image in the photograph will suddenly break into dance or song like Fred fucking Astaire. Or not? He needs something. Answers. Meaning. History. Importance. A miracle. He grasps at shadowy memories. He asks questions. What kind of a man was his grandfather? Who was he really? When this image was captured, in the split second the shutter opened and closed with a whirring click… at the very instant his grandfather’s countenance was forever fixed onto the negative – what was he thinking?

Is there a chance he could have imagined this? For the briefest of seconds and through the foggy expanse of time, could he have seen his grandson sitting in a desolate apartment staring right back? His legacy? His immortality? His failure.

Remember when I'd come and visit you out on Long Island? You were healthy then. You'd sit in your favorite chair on the back patio reading the paper and smoking a cigar... you were always smoking a cigar. I grew to love that smell. It's always summer where we are. I'm catching fireflies and storing them in mason jars. All for you. You're my hero and I'm your little paisan.

I think the last time I cried was the day you died.


Between the rain, wind, and the snapping curtains the man in the chair hears a Pimp shouting at one of his whores out on the street three stories and a million miles below. He's threatening to "slit her belly open and piss on her guts." She begs for mercy. He notices her accent. Puerto Rican maybe?

His thoughts shift to his mother.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Perfect

It was a cold, clear February day when you and I first met. Permafrost blanketed the ground and the trees quietly slept as they patiently waited and wished for Spring's life-giving warmth. Creation. Death. Rebirth. Reincarnation. A wide array of tumultuous emotions hit me the moment I first gazed into your dark, wise eyes. It was finally time, I realized, to return to the highway. Faintly I heard you calling and beckoning, begging me to come back with your first agonizing, raspy cry. The road less traveled had indeed born fruit. I did not walk away empty handed as I thought I always would. No, instead I found you... my destiny... my legacy... my immortality. That cold February day I knew it was time to seal everything up in a box labeled “yesterday” and finally move the fuck on. I had to grow up. Like a snake shedding its skin: a faded, dry, stinking husk… to reveal the beautiful array of striking resplendent color underneath. Hypnotic patterns that remained so well hidden these many, many years as I slept. The epiphanous instant I heard your first mournful wail I suddenly knew I was indeed capable of love, for I loved you beyond reason or words or conditions.

Alone in the nursery you and I had our first conversation that cold night back in February. I sat by your bedside and watched you sleep, snugly wrapped in your blankets and hastily jacked in to a wide array of instruments and machines; the only sound was the steady beep of your tiny heartbeat. Your heart that pumped OUR blood: yours, mine, and your mothers. I distinctly recall thinking to myself how unbelievably perfect you were. Your gray eyes were so sharp and wise. I knew they were eyes that had just, a short time prior, beheld God. Your olive skin was like mine but unblemished and void of the cruel, unrelenting lashes administered by time. Finally, I remember how you'd smile when you slept. Who were you talking to? Perhaps one day you'll tell me. That night we sat and discoursed, you and I. I told you about your mother, your aunt, my dreams, our future. I'd bring up stupid, silly things; inane facts. For instance, did you know that a redwood, a lion, and a whale all begin the same size, as a single cell? I somehow knew, and still know, YOU will grow into something wonderful. One day you will be great. I can feel this with every fiber of my being. It is a glow that surrounds your tiny body and... it’s unmistakable.

However, if you follow the same shadowy path I did, I will continue to love you… forever, without reason, words, or conditions.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Primordial

“There is this recurring dream I’ve had since childhood. I had it again last night.”

“Yes… tell me about this dream of yours… what do you remember?” He’s impeccably dressed in tweed. I remember thinking to myself: “a bearded shrink dressed in tweed? Wow, how utterly fitting and… perfect.”

“Well, I’m standing on a beach….”

“Yes… go on.” He leans forward giving a well-rehearsed pensive look as he casually and half-heartedly pushes his glasses higher on his hooked nose.

“I’m standing on a beach all alone. The sky is red and the sand is black. Littered all about are dead horseshoe crabs. They lie on their backs with their stiff, spiny legs forever pointed skyward. There are hundreds…”

“Uh-huh… what else do you remember?” He’s writing something in his legal pad. I wish I knew what he was writing. I wish I knew what was wrong with me.

“The stench... is unendurable. It reeks of decay, sulfur, and salt. I hear the waves crashing upon the rocky shoals. They’re easily around 30 feet high.”

“Interesting…. What color is the water? Do you remember this?”

“Yes, the water is black; black as obsidian. The sky is blood red and the sea is black.”

“mmmm…” More scribbling.

“I gaze out toward the horizon… out toward the wide expanse of the ocean. It’s so large and limitless. I feel vertigo except the feeling is not caused by standing at a great vertical height, but by standing on a horizontal axis that stretches on and on forever and ever. It’s a reverse vertigo. Would that be called horzigo?”

“Heh, Heh, clever. Why I don’t know. I’ve never … ”

“So beyond the waves… out in the black churning waters of this strange, unnamed ocean I hear the most horrible sounds - like the echoing songs of whales but corrupted. It’s so dark, words cannot describe the horror I feel upon hearing this sound… so primitive. It’s the ear-rupturing wail of the nameless ones. Prehistoric leviathans that patrolled the savage oceans when the Earth was young… before the age of mammals… before the age of man, which is but a mere drop in the elusive eternity of existence. Long ago, before recorded time, these beasts ruled the seas, as their scaly brethren ruled the lands. I cannot see them but I know they’re out there… hundreds of them. Some closer to my vantage point than others but they are all out there waiting…. “

“O.K Hermes I need you to slow down…. What are they waiting for?” He’s interested now... or worried. He uneasily shifts in his very expensive chair. The only sound in the room is the creaking of the rich leather… and the far-off honking of some very impatient, very pissed off cabbie somewhere.

“Me. They wait for me to wade out into the tumultuous waves. They possess teeth the size of my open hand… eyes the size of your dictionary sitting on your desk over there. The smallest of them is 100 feet in length. I cannot see them as the water is too dark but I see their silhouettes. I see their serpentine necks as they unnaturally circle. I undoubtedly sense them. I can also sense the killers.”

“The… killers?” He nervously clicks the end of his ballpoint three times. Why only three times? Why not four or two? Is this some sort of code? Will a group of large men dressed in white scrubs suddenly burst out from the back room, syringes in hand?

“I see their dorsal fins. They’re sharks, sir.”

“Sharks?”

“ Prehistoric sharks easily 300 feet in length. Not Megaladons either, these creatures remain undocumented and un-cataloged. Or perhaps they never existed… the terrible stuff of nightmare. MY nightmares. The killers feast upon the nameless ones. Or they simply murder. They kill with glee and the sky is filled with the screeching cries of the nameless ones. These screams can be heard in heaven where the angels debate and bicker amongst themselves. The Killers will leave the gargantuan carcasses afloat whilst their offspring come out of hiding like grotesque schools to feast, always cautious for the nameless ones hunt the younglings who in turn feast on their deceased brethren. Perhaps this is why the ocean runs reddish-black, I don’t know. The killers… they too wait. They forever circle… with cold eyes forever fixed forward toward the dry land while an army of parasitic worms attach themselves to their sandpapery skin and drink their thick blood…”

Silence.

“And then? What happens next Hermes?”

I turn away and gaze out the window. I see the park across the street where some children play. Such a beautiful scene. It’s so peaceful. One particular boy catches my attention - a beautiful little boy with black hair, brown eyes, and olive skin. He’s sitting by himself in the sand next to the merry-go-round, his knees raised to his chest and tears streaming down his face from a scraped arm. He’s by himself dealing with the pain and the confusion and the abject horror caused by the sight of blood. Where the fuck is his mother or father? Why is he just sitting there by himself?

“ *Ahem*, Hermes?”

“ ... Yeah, what happens next? Well... nothing... yet. I will walk out into the black ocean. It’s time to face my demons. Night has fallen and the water gently stirs...

...and I am still completely alone.”