Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Got Karaoke?

Saturday night karaoke fever. Hole in the wall joint on the east side of town. I’m feeling good… feeling loose. I bought three methadones off of a junkie I know at three dollars per pill. Cool and clean buzz keeps me light on my feet like Fred Astaire. I’m flitting from table to table with a disingenious smile dispensing fake compliments like the condom machine in the shit-stained bathroom at a quarter a pop. Corona, painkillers, and prime-time cigars: the holy feel-good trifecta.

I’m here with my buddy, Bruce. He’s big in the karaoke scene, or so I hear. He’s wearing a 70’s style ringer tee and the front of it asks in small unassuming script: “got Karaoke?” The back, in very large, in-your-face, oriental-style font proclaims: “Karaoke Bruce!” He had it custom made at the t-shirt shop for twenty dollars. He has numerous versions of it and he asked me once if I wanted to buy one. I graciously declined. We’re sitting at a table with another karaoke fixture… “Rocker Joe.” He’s a throwback to the hair bands of yore - a living fossil. As far as Rocker Joe is concerned, it’s always 1985 and the beer is always cold and the chicks are bitchin’ and the bands are kickin'. Rocker Joe’s wearing a t-shirt that reads “I’m here about the blowjob.” I told him I really liked his shirt and I asked him where he got it, he refused to tell me. Instead he offered to hook me up with one if I gave him some cash, fucking wino. I declined and said I'd order one off the "internets." Also at our table sits Joe’s on-again off-again girlfriend/booty-call, Jill. She keeps giggling at my stupid jokes and inconspicuously placing her hand on my thigh.

The place is crawling with various sorts of white trash: cowboys, bikers, rockers, wiggers, strippers, and, of course, the Karaoke royals. Bruce keeps asking me what he should sing and I keep telling him to sing whatever he wants, just as long as it’s not Bon Jovi. I think that’s why he keeps asking me is because he WANTS to sing Bon Jovi and he’s hoping I’ll change my mind. I told him I honestly don’t give a fuck, it makes no difference to me. Bruce asks me if I’m going to sing.

“ Yeah, I think I am.”

“ Whoa. Really?!? What song?” He leans in closer, very intrigued, ready to base my entire existence off of my song selection.

“ Jill and I are going to sing a duet, isn't that right Jill?”

Jill absently nods, unable to hear a single word I just said over the loud music.

“ Oh, ‘Summer Loving'... Grease?" Bruce persists. " 'Photograph' by Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock?"

“ No... 'Me so Horny’ by 2 Live Crew.”

Friday, May 19, 2006


I remember how red your scarf was that evening many years ago in Berlin. Each thread a dense implosion of fiery pigment gleaming in the candle-lit, jazzy, smooth snare-drum mood. Me and you alone in a booth as I scoot my ass inch by inch closer so I can get a whiff of your fragrant black hair teased back into place by a mess of bobby pins, loose strands and all. You smile and tell me to relax as you pour us a couple of glasses of cheap champagne. I straighten my shoulders and loosen my cravat three notches, if that's possible, acting cool like I know what the fuck. Low-tempo slow-mo slow-down every second ticks by like a still life vibrant Cezanne and your tan skin looks so exotic. Jimmy asked me how many fingers I'd give you and I replied my entire hand. He said he'd give you two fingers... he'd cut off two fingers to bang you for a week... well - never mind that, just macho posturing guy-talk. Growing nausea like cancer starts low in my stomach and works it's way up my throat as I raise the flute to my parched lips and drink in your striking eyes with one unsure gulp.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Wing and a prayer

If you could take the remaining half of what's left of me, and leave me there empty... Would I finally, somehow be complete?

It is rumored the Roman poet Catullus wrote over twelve thousand poems all devoted to one single woman. I think you've stolen twelve thousand thoughts. Twelve thousand hours. Twelve thousand regrets. Twelve thousand grams.

Regrets that finally fade away like invisible ink.

Thoughts. Come and go through a revolving door at a cruising altitude of 32,000 feet. Flying at night. What did you describe it as, with that sly half-smile? "Spurts of civilization?" I gaze out the porticullis searching down down and then up. Searching for stars. .. a star... a single one. One free wish and yet I see none. And what of heaven? I feel close but never close enough but never closer than I do now.

Spurts of civilization. Clusters of twinkling lights spread out among the rocky wilderness. Settlements. Small town Americana. And there's always one flashing light. Could this be a starry-eyed child? My son or maybe me... once upon a time... Beaming a flashlight toward heaven. Toward me.

Toward God.

Sending out an S.O.S

Is emptiness better than fullness? It's symptomatic of loss, yes that's true, but it can also signify hope. An empty vessel, patiently waiting to be filled again. The simple beginning of a marvelous journey... as I gaze toward heaven, or a lack thereof, at 32,000 feet shrink-wrapped in an ice-cold steel chrysalis. And the homefires burn. And a new life begins anew. Wow, what a trip it's been.