Monday, February 27, 2006

Groundhog Day

The weather is getting warmer - downtown park and I find sleeping junkies underneath groggy trees as cool breezes rustle soggy leaf puddles. It's t-shirt season and I’m in torn 501’s, Chuck’s, and a black zippered hoodie. A green military cap pulls back greasy uncombed hair falling in frizzy curls around my neck hiding the white buds feeding Cat Stevens into thirsty ears. Wearing over-sized Willy Wonka shades that pitch the world in tones of gray I sit on a park bench chewing gum.

I remember when I was small my mom would tell me to chew gum as the plane took off rocketing us into space. She said it'd “pop my ears,” she'd say this, and I didn't have the faintest idea what it meant but I'd chew and chew. I'd chew and stare out the portcullis hole watching the world grow smaller and smaller to miniature proportions like a tiny electric train-set landscape. I used to think the roads and highways far, far below were the state borders as you'd see on an atlas or Rand McNally map. Naive thoughts of youth. I remember I also used to think the world was black and white back in the day and that's why Mr. Bogart, Mr. Gable, Abbott and Costello, and the l'il Rascals were always cast in high contrast shades of crackling gray. I asked my Grandpa this and I remember he laughed and laughed... and then he played along so I thought the world was black and white for another year.

And maybe it was... sure, maybe it was... except in Oz.

Gum chewing, neck jerking... nervous habits like biting my nails or always locking car doors. Headache coming on like a rider on the storm and I'm sitting on this filthy park bench waiting for some guy I met through a guy who's now an hour late with my eighth. Wad of cash burning a hole in my pocket and I'm starting to get nervous. Starting to trip hard as bums approach like zombies... a slow relentless advance. Tweaker jaw tweaking and eyes flicking about like a lizard tongue zipping 20 feet to swallow a stink-beetle. Cops lazily circle round and round staring hard through smoked glass, mustaches, and mirrored aviators.

And a tsunami quietly advances on a white beach somewhere.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

listen carefully...

The old man was true to his word. He promised to bring me back a bottle, which he did. As he also promised we’d drink together again. I read his face. Expressionless. Hardened. A swirling sea of swirling lines - a mess of memories. I met him a year ago in the usual spot at the usual time as I told the usual tales to nobody in particular.

Shimmering subconscious shadows flickering across the silver screen of falling snow. A surreal scene, so synthetic, like a Japanese anime. Frozen water floats by suspended in mid-air slow-mo magical calm. Yellow smiles rotten teeth and bloodshot eyes as my companion and I sit in stillness in the dark on a park bench shivering cold passing the brown bag back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. As we spoke in tears of fifteen years of wasted life.

Have you any dreams you'd like to sell?
Dreams of loneliness...
Like a heartbeat...drives you mad...
In the stillness of remembering what you had...
And what you lost.



Junk dreams. Set scene: twitching arm, torn couch, rotten bowl of Cheerios and the shivering sound of a twisting coil of maggot. Alcohol burn meth-rage replaced with numb. Need to sleep. Needle full of junk. Need to sleep. Crushed Thorazine fairy dust dripping down my throat and it tastes like shit. Need to sleep. Stupid eyes as Bugs Bunny and friends flicker across dead retina. Rods and cones refuse to fire… only white noise across miles of rusted wire. Deeper and deeper in space and a million miles below… so damned cold. Listening to the steady beat of leathery wings.

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I’m hunting rabbit.

Monday, February 13, 2006


Hipster coffee-shop downtown. I sit in a shadowy corner booth sipping chai tea nursing a stubborn winter cold that won’t go away. Bundled up like a beatnik Eskimo in my bespoke shearling lambskin coat, fingerless gloves, and colorful scarf an ex girlfriend knitted. Hair’s grown out now to nappy mod-60’s-shag proportions complete with complementary 70’s-style sideburns and every third Friday of the month is open mic poetry night so the place is jump-and-jiving with pretentious artsy types so I blend in well.

I’m chilling with an old high school buddy who’s in town for a few days. He’s all grown up now, a professor. He teaches literature in upstate New York and every time we meet it’s bittersweet. He embodies what I could have been and I embody, to him, the quintessential Nietzschian figure. Tragically fallen from grace. He believes I chose the wrong path and threw away the “gift.”

Which I most likely did.

“ You really should be in Manhattan taking pictures. You know, it’s not too late. It really isn't. You're still young...” He tells me with patient optimism, in between sips of espresso, as though he’s a father addressing a volatile child.

I pause and sullenly gaze at him from beneath my oversized Tyler Durden gas-station aviators. And again I remind him that I'm broke and that I pawned my camera off a long time ago so I could pay hospital bills after I crashed my bike. Of course what he doesn’t know is that I actually drank that money away. Of course what he doesn’t know is that I've given up. That I'm disenchanted. That I'm not the same eccentric, bright-eyed, funny kid he knew in High School once upon a time. Perhaps he doesn't realize I simply don't care anymore.

Or perhaps he does know and he’s too polite to call me on it.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


I am a vampire. I am ancient. I thirst. I hurt. No words today or perhaps ever. I seek inspiration. I need reason. I need a life-giving infusion, a spark, that deep inhalation of acrid white smoke filling my lungs and super-charging my brain. For I am hollow. Dry. Brittle. I am undead re-animated flesh.

Nine-inch spikes tear skin and sinewy tendon, bore through bone. Thoughts of salvation. Redemption. Regret. Damnation. And I turn to you and through clenched teeth with raspy breath ask you:

“ remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom.”

I think of her.

Images click through my mind in split-second succession: her eyes, her hair, her skin, her hate, her pain, her death. She is incorruptible. I see her swathed in white satin looking angelic a hundred years from now, a thousand years from now, entombed beneath glass. Breathless. Cold. Untouched by the hellish wrath of decomposition. A saint. Wearing red lipstick one might expect to find on the base of a penis. My sweet. O’ may I lay down with you and join you in your sweet sleep. My Ligeia. As suffering and time and worms march across our still eyelids. Statues locked in a stiff embrace never to be re-awakened for all eternity… or until Christmas… or whatever comes soonest.


Reeking of dried shit, piss and clammy sweat. The needle zeros in with deadly precision, like a gps guided missile, finding a spot along the vein void of gangrene or bloat or dried blood. The magic spot. The big G. A garish red “X” painted on in marker. The pirate booty. Buried therein a time capsule housing millions of cells housing millions of years of evolution and survival, marked by this one moment of de-evolution, of self-mutilation, of self-destruction. And the Darwin award goes to…

Yes, I confess… I lie. More to myself than to you, yet I lie nonetheless. For I have sinned. Again and again and again. I’m a liar and a cheat and a junkie.

“ And I’ll tell you things that you already know so you can say:
'I really identify with you, so much.'
And all the time that you’re needing me is just the time
That I’m bleeding you, don’t you get it yet?”

That’s why you hate me. That’s why they love me. They? I am the pied piper of Hamelin and we are legion. The disenchanted. The lost. The drunks. The fiends.

Monday, February 06, 2006


Drunk, horny old dude leaning next to the bar with a lecherous smile tells every girl who walks by: “ Damn. You’re hot.” Same line over and over like an LP belting out Beatles tunes on crackling repeat. Black and white visions of John and Paul, with nappy mop-top haircuts, running through a sea of sobbing girls and flash-bulbs.

But that was yesterday.

The chorus of screams has died down. The hysteria of youth now replaced with a dull, barely-audible buzzing sound as his ticker struggles to pump blood through expired veins and clogged arteries. He’s an old tin can in a ratty bag full of tin cans collected next to a busy freeway overpass. Obsolete. Yesterday’s model sitting on a dusty thrift store shelf marked ten cents. No man’s treasure, every man’s trash. Whiskey-dreams and faded memories fuel his courage. Nothing to lose at this point, everything to gain. His pride sleeps in the bottom of a dumpster in a sticky puddle of garbage-juice. A pride long ago abandoned by it’s owner.

Yet in quieter moments, when he's alone in the bathroom taking a whiz on wobbly legs, when he's introspectively gazing in the mirror at his grizzled reflection, he swears he's still the same high school football hero who fucked the homecoming queen.

He's even told me, with misdirected trust and beaming pride , that he looks like Johnny Lawrence.