Monday, December 31, 2012

We met him on the road, a few miles out of town. He was wearing a pair of startlingly shiny boots, it's how Denny saw him, actually --spotted him just slowly walking down the middle of Michigan Ave.

He must've not heard us yelling to turn around --just kept on with his slow pace, arms and hands keeping rhythm like the slowest motion morning jogger you'll never see.



Sunday, December 30, 2012


Suicide is the answer, actually.

Metaphorical nothing. You shoot yourself in the head with a gun, any gun, and you die, here, in this world.

In all the other worlds, though not a statistically significant number, you don't.

It isn't time travel if it is strictly vertical. But vertical in a sense we can't understand.

Suicide is a doorway.

This is a lot of rumination, though, isn't it?

Walk into the gun store. Wait twenty-four hours. Start traveling. Don't be obvious, buy three boxes of bullets. Asking for just one bullet would probably send the wrong message.

WARNING TO OTHER TRAVELERS:
Whatever reality you're about to exit goes on without you. Whoever you're living with will have to clean your brains and bones off the ceiling or the carpet or the wall. Be thoughtful! Double bag that head before pulling the trigger!

Whoever loved you will have many, many questions. Why? What? Why?

Also, probably, a few weeks later, it will dawn on them and anyone that loved or even knew you will ask themselves: "Why?"

It is best to leave a note. Just one, and don't be fancy. Explain that . . . I don't know. Suicide notes are very personal. Don't blame anyone, though, and make sure they know you were happy and want them to be happy too.

Don't try to make them hate you, that always backfires. Trying to make people hate you will, eventually, somewhere (and possibly not to a statistically significant number) back fire, and open more questions.

Loving suicide notes don't make sense either.

You see the trickiness, now, yes? You get to go galavanting around in other dimensions, with other identities, for literally ever and all your loved ones here grow old and die wondering why you opted out "before your time."

That's (probably) the best suicide note to leave: "This is my time." Don't embellish. Don't get flowery. Good, strong declarative sentences and pull the trigger and move on.



Thursday, December 27, 2012

"Color of her eyes was the color of insanity." --Dave King

It's always like that part in Anpao. It is pronounced, in my head: Ann Pay Oh.

Snakes and ankles and bare breasts and too much sweat and keep going anyway. What else would you possibly want to do, but that?

What else could (haha, cud) you do?

Seriously: You. What would you do?


I would call less often, which these days wouldn't be hard to do. I wouldn't have called then, looking back on it.

I'd've taken that jam stain and laughed and washed it off and then I'd've tattooed another F on my forearm, a big ol' embroidered looking mother fucker of an F and I'd've left it at that.

Seriously: That is what I would do, if somehow these eyes were always always blue shifted.

It'd change everything, that solitary phone call not made. Dominoes. Would I be here, though? Would I care?

It's interesting, that proposition equation.

Would it be even?

eF equals n?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Worth less?

I won't know. I can't know the value of a party by the gigantic cannon, off Prospects. Note: that isn't a metaphor, there's a gigantic cannon (still occasionally used) and it sits proudly on the side of a road called Prospect in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I didn't go to the party and I ran into the host at a strip club a week later and we said hello like it didn't matter, but I know it did. I was a value added proposition --else why invite me? And I'd decided against it despite her penetrating eyes and our firm handshake at the invitation. In another life, she and I are lovers, by now, or 4am coney island confidants.

I do know there was value in the beatings. We four merry drunkards, bleary eyed and stunningly acrobatic and indefatigable on that green Friday night.

[Fo(u)r] two hours we swag from a fifth of someone grimier, sharper, hotter than Jim Bean and wooo'd and I wobbled around, meek and red, between the pile ons.

I caught a glimpse of the spirit of Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA, while we were out. We were walking an unlit bridge, having trounced the lonely horseman barring our way ("You shall not pass" --pah.) and our token female, more balls than the lot of us wither her leg braces and clicky klank swagger, was saying something and I only came back to her words when: "But sexually it just wasn't happening, so." got spoke.

And then there was a neighing and horse's breathe still somehow steaming in in that green night. all knees break with a kick and applied baseball bats.

Many

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Write what you know and . . . die bored.

I met the spirit of Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA, the other night.

It jumped from a young girl (call her twenty-three) to a late twenties barman, smoking a cigarette before going back to a surprisingly packed gourmet sausage bar.

It asked me how I was doing and, distressingly for me, the spirit of Ypsilanti has, among them, powers of truth.

I lied anyway, on opening my mouth, "I'm good,  thank-you, I blurted." And ran to my car, keys jingling in a shaky hand.

I am thirty years old and a beard most men would envy. I am six feet and four inches (think: 2.5 meters) tall.

The spirit of Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA is a scary thing to meet.



This morning, I realized I'd been summoning a spirit shard of sadness and entropy. I realized this as I was driving to work, and also while driving to work, I devised a cage and a way to capture the shard.

. . .

I just finished the last part of the lock, I think (I hope) and look at me! I'm writing and publishing a blog post about lies and other fictions.

There's truth to be had, here, my love, and I hope you see it.

* * *

Last night, as we were getting dressed, steam rising off our naked bodies, pulling on our socks over wet toes to get our feet off the changing room tile that much faster; in that moment of black socks and total acceptance Nick asked Bea if she'd like a ride home. My mouth hung open, my words stolen.

Proof time isn't linear, right there.

It's my own fault, I suppose. I dragged a friend two and a half days into the past and pushed and shoved him into his ex wife's house, where we got wasted on her top shelf rum and he tried on her clothes and kicked her diningroom chairs around and cried his eyes out.

"Thanks man, that was actually really good for me." He said.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

(Or, put another way) 509

Tzu shifted uneasily in his sleep, under the dark, verdant canopy.

"Wake up boy, there's a pig to hunt." Whispered his grandfather's ghost, and Tzu snapped up, coffee eyes wide, looking around.

Grandfather Ghost sat down on the far side of the quiet fire, and when Tzu saw him, they stared at each other for a long while, while skinny bats and flying insects played cat and mouse.

Tzu asked, "Am I dreaming?"

"No," Replied Grandfather Ghost, "You ate some fermented fruit for dinner. There's soft vine down by the river, and some flint to fashion your spear head from."

"But I checked down there."

"Not hard enough. Be careful what you eat, the boar is no chicken, no easily swayed doe eyed creature. You're lucky, with this fruit."

"Which was it?"

Grandfather Ghost shook his head no and shrugged.

A centipede crawled over Tzu's ankle and he woke, blanket wet with morning dew, the white and orange remains of his fire browning the blanket's edges.

The sun came up red through the grey, cloudless, morning sky --it would bake it azure throughout the day, but all good things take time to cook.

Tzu picked his knife out of the fire and re-wrapped the leather strip around the handle, carefully overlapping and laying the leather flat. He smiled at the prick of blood it drew, pushed lightly into his thumb.

At the river, her skewered shimmering piranha and left them to drown on the rocks while he foraged more wood for his fire.

Most of the wood was damp, but the thinner sticks dried and caught fire, speeding the drying of the rest, and so on until he had a fire fit to sizzle the scales from his toothy breakfasts.

Tzu relieved himself in the deep hole, dug two days ago, and quickly covered his mess.

He walked, hopped, and balance gamed his way half a mile or so down stream, so as not to pollute his drinking water, and washed the work of the previous day from his skin, which sang to him, deep in his ears and lightly through his skin --the crispness sharp on the parts of him usually covered in cloth.

Around noon, thankfully, the storm clouds rolled in for the day, bringing cooling rains and a hide to hide the blinding daytime river under.

Tzu sat and splayed his legs out, splishing his toes happily in the water. He splished, and when that got tiresome he splashed and just as he was about to dive in, something red and sinuous caught his eye. Something strange and otherworldly tworled between two rocks, then was gone.

The red tworling thing shot back into site: a gigantic, bulbous head and eyes like cat's when caught staring at a storm as lightning strikes, but horizontal and infinitely deeper, even in the river. The red tworling thing had more limbs than tzu could count, and they drifted gently in the river's breeze, though the creature stayed where it was.

Tzu noticed it had not broken eye contact with him.



614

Back in Detroit, there’s this group of kids, people --some of them are kids. They’re experimenting with lord only knows what. Space and Time, they’d tell you.

They’d tell you a lot of things, on rainy sundays, with sparkling mimosas and medicinal marijuana. On a Foggy Friday, in Ferndale, staring at fading indie rock singers who headline for men older, with more pizzaz and energy than a lot of the teenagers faux-mosh-pitting.

Lee would look you in the eye, over the frames of her glasses, and before she opened her mouth to speak, she’s set her fingertips on your thighs, under the table. Lee would push her immaculate fingertips firmly down and she’s slowly lick her upper lip and she’d say, “I need you” and she’d pause dramatically before asking for a bottle of water, so she could sober up and drive home in time to let her dog out.

Because shit just isn’t fun to clean up, and you’ve been out since eight thirty.


It snowed, and you spun out on the way to the party these two gorgeous sisters were throwing. You spun out, hit a curb and knocked a wheel off. The tow truck driver told you you’d probably snapped an axel and you turned white. He drove you home.


When you turned nineteen, you met a man with a sad eye (and an eyepatch) who collected window frames and broken glass. He was much older than you and he smiled a lot when you talked, and more as he answered your questions with more questions.

He smiled as he answered the door to his apartment, on a fire escape. (“Don’t bother with the buzzer,” he told you, “I disconnected it. Just come up the fire escape, I’ll make sure its down for you.”) You were wearing your sexiest outfit, and he laughed despite himself and overly dramatically ushered you in.

His living room and bedroom were the same size, and his kitchen and bathroom were tiny and it was all immaculate cast-offs and riff raff.

You smoked pot and ate some peanut butter and psilocybin mushrooms and drank some whiskey with a squid (or something) on the label and he talked in such a sonorous voice that, despite the age difference, despite your friends’ warnings you went into his bedroom. And immediately out.

He politely turned on some music while you pooped out the entirety of yourself, three times, wondering as you wiped, each time, “have I done this before?” and “Wow I’m fucked up” and you chuckled, but carefully, because you didn’t want to make a mess on his threadbare welcome towels.

When you made it out, sweating, shirtless, from his bathroom you were so proud, the way you walked back to his bedroom, through the burgundy door, into the disorientation.

He spoke calming words to you and you, slow transition, made it onto your back, onto your bed, staring out a window, straight up.

Confused, you turned your head to the side, resting it assuredly against a leaky throw pillow with tiny bangles that jingled like rain.

“Oh.” You said, disconcerted. “Another window.”

Very clearly, the man with the eyepatch told you, “They’re all real. They’re all eyes.”

You smiled languidly, jostling the pillow bangles with laconic fingers. “Eyes to the soul.” you flubbed, and he laughed.

He said, “Exactly.” and handed you a glass pipe, which you toked from, heroically.

You laughed and said, “Oops.” Then, after both your giggles wore off, you asked, “What’s this?”

THe man with the eyepatch told you, “You’ll see.” And you did.

Oh and you did.

There was a shattering and a sundering and a cold breeze across your bare chest.

Friday, November 2, 2012

nanowrimo0003 (735)

The balcony.

Let's back up.

The Balcony was wrought iron, painted chartreuse (there's no other green, in New Orleans) and has a half dozen hanging baskets choked with a time lapse of snapping dragons and poppy weeds.

A steep stairway lead to the roof, which had very little by way of a guard rail, just the rickety n's.

The Roof itself held a well kept but old, New York style, water drum; and a small stage, and a green edged tiki bar in opposite corners.

So, when James frenzied and dove at Geoff, Philip knew that he'd have to heft the man up through the window in order to get him over the edge and away from the party goers.

A few things: Philip didn't know it would be James that frenzied, just that most likely it wouldn't be Geoff or the other guy, and it definitely wasn't going to be Matthew. Philip was larger than every other player by a good fifty pounds, but he hid it well in loose, well fitting clothes, a practiced half slouch, and an easy smile.

Philip knew someone was going to go nuts; to his brain, that is just how these jobs went. He wouldn't be there otherwise.

The table flipped away from everyone, toward the living room as James, spittle dripping, drove toward Geoff, who sat there, somewhat stunned.

There was a crash and a rattle when Philip tossed James through the window, upward trajectory practicedly correct.

“Wait for it,” Philip said, “There’ll be a thump in a moment.”

They listened to the party from the roof, the hum of the fridge.

Then, with blood curdling silence James popped up, bloody, a shards of glass spider webbing, embedded acros in his face. He stood, heaving, hands rictus, staring at the four men.

“Oh.” The other guy said, followed by the tinkle sound of liquid dripping on tile.

“Piss.” Matthew muttered, scooping money as he slunk away from the shattered window (and James) and toward the living room.

Right. Layout; of the apartment. It’s nice in the glitzy ramshackle sort of way only New Orleans pulls off with pride. If you come up the stairs next to the shop front (currently coffee, soon to be a post card and candy shop, then a coffee shop again --this is too far from tourist land to be an effective anything not already established or a truly amazing amalgamation.

Up the stairs, you’re in the living room right off, and it’s a big square, four rooms with a bathroom squeezed into the back middle, kitchen and living room “on the front” bedroom, and in this case an office, in the back, to your right.

It’d be easier if you saw it, promise. For now, just know that Matthew is making his way toward and exit and there is a bloody, somewhat crazy man on the balcony, breathing heavy, peppered with glass.

“What the eff man?” James shrieked, a string of spit dangled from his chin.

Philip replied, “Uh, you were about to mangle-ate our host. I’m not cool with that.”

“You almost tossed me off the balcony!”

“I was trying to, actually.” Philip was still calm, hands at his sides.

“What the hell? Aren’t you on my side?”

“Side?”

“Yeah, man, I figured there’d be a rube and four of us in the know; once I realized the other two were in cahoots, I figured you were another sucker!”

“Ah.” Philip said, “I see.”

The four of them were motionless for a few, quiet, seconds.

James blinked a few times. “I’m going to go. And I am never playing cards with any of you again. And you,” He snarled at Geoff, “I know where you live.” James carefully climbed down the balcony, and was gone.

“Well, that was strange.” Philip noted.

“Uh, yeah.” Geoff stared at his broken window. “Was that necessary?”
“How’s your throat?”

“Fine.”

“Well, then.”

“You count the money, I’ll be on your couch.”

“I’m just going to go,” Said the rube.

No one responded.

* * *

(The next morning)

Beatrix woke up to her phone buzzing --Matthew wanted to get a breakfast burrito from Juan’s Flying Burrito.

(This is 2012, remember, before the apocalypse and the three hurricanes that destroyed Florida, D.C. and NYC. These places exist as stores and shop fronts and houses. This could’ve happened, for all you know.  [Don’t worry, it’s all just fiction, really.]).


Philip was sprawled happily outside The Burrito, on the curb, sunning himself, a half lit cigarette hung callously from his lips.

“Hey!” Beatrix shouted, “Where’s my burrito?”

“Patience, grasshopper.”


“I will hop on your crotch if we don’t eat a burrito soon.”

“An interesting argument.”

“Let’s eat.”

“You order, I’ll save us a table, the tourists will be waking up soon.”

They smiled at each other and she went inside. Philip puffed his cigarette back to life, smiled on the last inhale and tossed it into a gutter.

(Once they’re seated, eating)

Beatrix asked, “What happened last night, anyway?”

“Just another angry mark.”

“You should be more careful, it’s a small town and if you keep taking jobs like that eventually people are going to know you.”

“And that’d be bad?”
“Having a reputation poor reputation? Yeah, that’d be bad. I had a friend who had to move to L.A. because he rubbed the wrong local rube the wrong way.”

“Ruh ruh ruh ruh ruh.”

Beatrix slapped his burrito, a splodge of guacamole plithed onto the sidewalk. “Seriously. I know you think you’re special or whatever, but eventually someone will figure out your game.”

“Yah, but we were working for a local.”

“Geoff?” Beatrix snorted, “He’s a migrator who normally sublets his place and kicks out his tenants for random parties. Or sleeps with them.”

“So, not a local local.”

“Nope.”

“That sucks. Matthew said he was a local. He said it probably wouldn’t even blow up.”
“He says that every time.”

“Yup.” Philip sighed. “I don’t know why I keep agreeing to it.”

“Because it’s easy money, yea?”

“Suppose so.”

“Just be careful.”

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nanowrimo0002 (766)

The sun shone sickly through the slatted window shutters. Vaughn peered through them, nervous. "Dude, where is she?"

"Man, she said she'd be here at noon, right?" His flatmate, Andrew, wetly snarfed more kid's cereal into his mouth, and flipped to the next episode of something political on the internet television.

"Yeah bu--"

"But nothing, she's got a good ten minutes before she's even on time, man. Chill out."

Vaughn sighed, and checked the safety on his handgun again, the warmth of his previous check still lingering in the underarm holster.

"No," Andrew said, "The gun does not make you look fat." They both chuckled.

* * *

The princess paused, the scissor edge just above his nipple --her phone had beeped. "Someone special, excuse me please," She said, standing and tying her robe.

She took the stairs two at a time, heart racing, and had the clamshell open before the locks had clicked their second clicks.

It read:
Hey was great running into you at the diner yesterday.
She smiled, eyebrows raised and started to respond when her phone beeped again. It read:
Do you want to get coffee some time?
The princess deleted her response. Instead, she sent the question, "Are you an Eddie Izzard fan?" to which, a few moments later, the response came:
 Lol. Tomrw?

* * *

The roof of the apartment was only cold for a moment, the gust not bothering to tail back, and Vaughn smiled at the lost hats and whipped-about bustles of the burlesque dancers.

Beatrix shot him a disproving glance before bellowing, "A breath of fire, perhaps?" And then it was hot and bright and drunk people squealed in exhortation.

A loud drunk shouted "MOORE" and she obliged, turning toward the voice, expertly keeping the flames in check, her spit in her cheeks, her lips crayon red, eyes glistening from the heat.

"That do ya? Now! Let there be music!" She bellowed again and somewhere, a dj scratched a record to life, hidden speakers blasting. "Welcome to the Solstice!" but  this time Beatrix's voice was lost in the crowd and the thud-thump of the music.

Vaughn stood on the edge of the roof, leaning tentatively against a rusty guard rail. He smiled and raised his glass at Beatrix as she lasciviously made her way through the roiling crowd, toward him.

They hugged, she on tippy-toes despite platform shoes, and she shouted, "Shouldn't you be watching Jim's back?" Gumming his ear lobe.

"They're taking a piss break, and the host is making more drinks. I'm probably going to have to ringer one of the more astute players in a drinking match, not sure if he's trying to swindle us or just getting lucky."

Beatrix bent back, "I don't believe in luck." She intoned.

"Back to it then, eh?"

“Back to it.”

Philip carefully climbed down the stairs, careful not to dislodge any of the drunker revelers, and climbed back through the kitchen window. “Woa woa woah, what’s this?” He asked.

The four other men, seated around a table looked up. James, the one Philip had mentioned to Beatrix smirked. “You snooze you loose.”

Philip counted everyone’s chips --exactly as it was when he’d ducked out to check on Beatrix. “I think you must be snoozing pretty hard then, pal.”

“Not your pal, pal.”

Philip shrugged and took his seat. He leaned into the table and reiterated where they were: The big and little blinds, minimum bet, and how well James’ mother fellated Philip that very morning.

Geoff, the man Philip was playing beef for took the deck and shuffled it, dropped it once, accidentally and blushed --actually blushed, just slightly-- before shuffling thrice more and dealing out the next hand, which James won.

The next hand was more tense, but Matthew, the person who’d hired Geoff (and subsequently Philip) and whose kitchen they were now monopolizing won big, knocking out the other player, a scrub, and leaving Philip and James both dangerously low on funds.

“Are we playing nice?” Matthew asked. “I’d hate for the two lovers here to have to go home at the same time.”

The lights flickered and another gust of wind blustered about, making it through the window, catching, but dropping a few fifty dollar bills.

“I won’t lose” James calmly stated.

Philip took the deck, shuffled, offered Matthew a chance to inspect the deck before dealing (declined) and dealt the cards.

The only sounds were the clink of chips and knuckles knocking the linoleum table  for a minute or two. Finally, Matthew looked everyone evenly in the face and announced the end.

Geoff won it all.

James frenzied.


NanoWriMo0001 (883)

"This doesn't feel right. I don't feel monstrous. I'm not sure you're doing me justice, recounting me like this." Said the misshapen man.

* * *

"This feels like a fairy tale, us here in the dark, talking amongst ourselves." The princess's voice was Ella Fitzgerald or a testicularly challenged Tom Waits. As if to prove the point, she lit a cigarette. Puffed it bright, lighting her half smile in the otherwise pitch room.

There were other voices, too, but all too distant, so I stood, thinking, meditating on the labored breathing of the misshapen man (though, squinting, maybe there are two of them? I couldn't tell) and the slow sighs of the princess.

"Hey," I asked the darkness. "What's your name?"

No Responses.

* * *

The sun broke through the clouds as the two hugged and parted. She called back over her shoulder, "Sorry this took so long!"

"Time is fine," he replied, but a grey truck turned the corner, burying his words, "We'll do it sooner next time."

During lunch, there had been genuine laughter, and highway divider eyes. He'd confessed to having a crush on a coworker, not the one that had a crush on him, and they'd both laughed. She chided him: "You're what? twenty-five? Aren't you too old for that shit?" And they'd laughed.

The sun, amazingly, strangely for September, warmed the wind, which gusted and rustled yellowing trees.

* * *

Mizu lives in Detroit, Michigan on the 9th floor of the Chatsworth Apartment building, in a one bedroom apartment she vacuums daily. There are bamboo shoots of various heights and girths potted in scavenged or stolen urns, rain barrels, jam jars, flower vases, and seven kinds of pots. Her closet is sparse, half a dozen variations on black or grey pencil skirts, ten white or grey button downs, and three sweater dresses: White, Grey, Black.

Mizu does not own pants. Mizu has enough garter belts and tights that by the time she has worn the last one, the first has aired completely out. She does not do this, though, oh no. She instead wears through tights and leggings obsessively, and more than one pair of runny thigh highs are reanimated panty hose.

* * *

Today, the day this narrative starts, is November Third, 2012. This story takes place in Detroit, and some satellite cities. These are cities you'd be familiar with if you were from Detroit, because let's write what we know, n'est pas? And they're not places you'd know if you were from, say, South Carolina, or New Orleans.

It's important to note that those two are different in scale only.

This is a story about living on the edge of cataclysm. This is the fourth of a second when the riders of a roller coaster are suspended, looking down the hill, the biggest on their ride, and they aren't falling, but they may as well be. In some ways, that not-falling falling is often worse.

Lots of people die of heart attacks, no one dies of fright.

This is about that space, what it looks like.

Arguably the two most important cities on the East Coast of the United States of America (Estados Unidos) have just been hit by one of the largest hurricanes in the history of the country. There may have been larger, but they weren't recorded.

(That may be a theme that emerges, later, and necessarily breaks the fourth (and third) wall: if something isn't recorded --tweeted, posted to a wall, tumbled, blogged, txt msg'd, or otherwise communicated to someone else, does it happen? This is different than lonely trees toppling or growing in forests.

The answer, apparently obvious from the outside, is yes: yes of course these things happen.)

On November third, a quarter of NYC is still without power, and the expected high temperature is forty eight degrees, with a low of thirty three. The number of dead old people, too stubborn to leave their apartments will be in the dozens and Republicans will hawk this number, screech about incompetence and the neglected argument is this:
If the GOP were in power, FEMA and other country wide disaster response teams would not exist as more than twitching shadows.

Not that there's much more life in it now, but none of that is Detroit, it's the brothers of Detroit, protecting and smiling and ignoring the beep beep beep.

Detroit was termed, "The Canary in the Mine" when the world's economy started twitching and leaking, way back in 2010. In 2012, the chap book "Discordia" By Molly CrabApple explained that, Greece, as a country, had also sprouted wings and a black lung.

Greece is tiny compared to los Estados Unidos, and as poor as the vacant tracts in Detroit, pero pienso que estais igualmente en ruina.

Counting spoons on the Hindenberg.

Mizu called her friend at 4:20pm, she thought it was funny and idiomatic. They chatted about class, an assignment, and whether or not they'd make it to the writer's conference in Chicago in a month.

"Depends on the election, really." dijo que.

* * *

There is a basement (so what?) deep en un barrio de Dearborn, circa de Detroit, sí? And in this basement the princess smokes cigarettes under a paper chandelier and draws art nouveau patterns on the complicit body of her ex novio with a broken pair of scissors.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Stretch and a Yawn

Amanda's crimson accent wall mirrored the stains she and Phil had just put on her sheets.

She lounged, coyly covered by the blanket, and passed him a joint. She said, "Well damn, that was amazing."

Phil smiled and ran his fingers every so slowly through her hair, faux intentionally massaging her head.

Friday, September 14, 2012

We were staring out a window, sat on the back of our couch, my five year old son and I, watching snowflakes fall and settle on the ferns in our front yard. "What do you think about going to the New York City Museum of Modern art?" I asked him. I continued quickly, so as not to let the idea pass, "I can show you my favorite painting, then you can find yours!"

 His eyes went wide and he asked me, "Really? How will I know it?"

 "You'll know it when you see it," I replied with a smile.

 "Really?"

 "Really!"

Friday, August 31, 2012

I dislike tying posts here to an actual time line, but here's a post to think about
So, if you want to write for Arc, here’s your challenge. Enter our third short story competition and share with us your vision of the future of pleasure, entertainment, games, toys and fun.
http://arcfinity.tumblr.com/post/30587959468/share-your-dreams-of-pleasure-with-us 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Her nails went right in the man's eyes, her thumbs scraping his gums as she pushed his head back.

Her boyfriend curled into a ball on the ground. . .

But that's not true. He's not a wuss, I know the guy. I'm inside his head for heaven's sake (and it is).

Here's an ending for you:

The two (surviving) main characters are sitting on a beach watching the sun settle into a crystal clear body of water.

The feminine one (not necessarily a man) shivers and her partner wraps a towel around her shoulders.

They clink champagne flutes together and the sun disappears --not under the horizon line, simply disappears, like a switch has been flipped and now the sun's light is "off."


Thursday, July 19, 2012


The boy counted to one hundred and twenty-three, blew out the candle and went to sleep. He dreamed of two tall, black teenagers, a boy and a girl. The three of them were stood in the yellowed, grassy median of a highway and it was dark, but the light from zooming cars hung like long exposure photography, like melting neon tubes.

"Wow." the black girl said. "You're pretty strong to pull us here like this."

"What?" he asked.

"How did you pull us here?" The black boy spoke, and it was the same voice that he'd heard the day before, the one that stood up for him, protected him from Mark.

"You!" he said, waking himself up.

(In the dream before they dealesed the two looked quizzically at each other. The girl shrugged, the boy sighed as they faded out.)

Monday, July 16, 2012

"I don't know why I summoned you, actually. Sorry. I guess because I'm lonely and tired, but don't want to sleep yet. A friend told me about some songs, and they seemed to fit. So I tried that ritual again, and here you are, now. Sorry."

The demon's dozen eyes blinked, a body wave of closed and opened obsidian sockets. It squatted, gargoylesque, on the foot board.

"I've never seen one of you before, so close. I don't really. I don't know what. What do I do now?"

The demon blinked again. It whispered, "Make a wish."

"I want to know who scared Mark off, yesterday." He said.

"What is the payment?"

"Oh, right." With a snip he fed a lock of his hair into the candle flame.

"More." The demon uncurled a black tentacle, like a burned octopus arm, it crinkled as it moved. Another snip and another lock of hair was gone.

"Usually you . . . your kind don't come into the light."

The demon's chest opened, a gaping body smile with oily gums, no teeth, a dozen still, wormy tongues. "Others, eh?"

He nodded, gulped quietly.

The demon nodded, and vanished.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Best and Worst Birthday.

Yesterday was his fourteenth birthday and he had been so happy: His mom had taken him clothes shopping and she'd won really big at bingo the weekend before and she told him he could get what ever outfit he wanted, and, meticulously, he did.


He'd gotten the most appropriate cool kids jeans he could find, and the perfect under and over shirts, and he'd begged his mom for a new coat, for fall and winter and, "I promise it'll be warm enough! Yes! Even in January!" He'd said when she balked at the price.


His mother had smiled at him and asked if there was anywhere else he wanted to go, did he want a new watch or anything? He knew better than to ask for a new mobile phone, so shook his head no and smiled timidly.


She'd said, "Great! Then how about we splurge a bit more and go to your favorite restaurant?"


"What about the meatloaf?" He'd asked.


"We can finish that after our left overs are gone, in a day or two, hey?" Her smile was infectious.


"Really? My Favorite favorite restaurant? We're going there?"


His mom nodded, and they arrived just as a booth was clearing, and she told him, conspiratorially over their ice teas, that they should order the most expensive things on the menu, no matter what, and they did, and it was delicious, and the server remembered his name, and the cute hostess with the glasses and the hips had mussed his hair, and he laughed along with everyone when he blushed, after they sang him their happy birthday song.


But now it was sixth period but he couldn't concentrate on anything, just stared hard at the black board, knuckles white under his long sleeves. Lunch had not gone how he'd imagined it would.


He'd walked up the cool kids' table just like he'd imagined, and tried to sit down, but Mark Jones had pushed him as he sat and he'd fallen off the end of the bench, spilling his Mac'n'Cheese on his shirt, and they'd laughed and when he managed a laugh too, they'd stopped. "Why are you laughing?" Mark asked him.


"That was funny, right?" He replied, smiling and trying to wipe the cheese sauce off his new shirt.


"No."


"But you were laughing."


"No. You don't sit there. You stink just like your mom."


He'd started to protest but Mark's cold green eyes knocked the words from his tongue and they fluttered quietly to the floor with his gaze.


Class after lunch was just as bad: Mark and two of his friends were in his next two classes, and they said his name, loudly, then whispered, laughed, glared at him.


And now, the end of the day, and the long walk home. The bell rang and everyone packed their bags, the teacher shouted the homework assignment, which he dutifully wrote down. He swallowed the knot in his throat and zipped up his new coat, all the way, dug his nose down into the high collar and trudged out of the classroom.


As he approached the gate in the fence that lead through the small wood and to his subdivision, his heart raced happily for half a moment: Mark and his two friends were there, waiting on the other side of the fence --he started to wave, but stopped. One of them tapped Mark on his arm. Mark glared at him and rolled up the sleeves of his jacket, cracked his knuckles.


The sun went behind a cloud and a cool breeze pushed a dust devil of leaves around his feet. The knot in his throat came back. He slowed his walking, and stuck his hands deep in his pockets.


His voice cracked when he shouted hello at Mark and his two friends, who strutted toward him.


He stopped walking.


"You."


"Me?"


"You." Mark spat.


"Yes?" He asked, trying to sound hopeful.


"You can't be in the same class as us any more."


"I can't switch classes though. It's too late."


"You can. If you don't, for every hour we have to spend in the same room as you, we're gonna spend an hour beating you up. Make sense? Seem fair? An hour for an hour?"


"No?"


"What'd you say?" Mark roared and reared up, chest to chest with him. Mark's palms stung him, and he stumbled backward, had to skip step not to fall over.


"No." He said, again, louder this time. "It is not okay."


"It's true." A voice, watery and deep, agreed with him from behind his shoulder. "Whatever he said no to, it's a no."


Mark's eyes narrowed. "This isn't you."


"I disagree." came the voice, cold as an Alaskan waterfall. "For every minute you spend beating him up, I'm going to spend an hour beating you up." It quipped, "Make sense?" in a whinge.


"Whatever." Mark spat, it whistled past his ear and he flinched. Then Mark turned around and sulked off.


It took him a minute to come to his senses, to turn around and thank --thank whoever. When he turned around, though, there was no one there.







Thursday, July 12, 2012

This is What I Think Friendship Looks like (5/10)

"Hey, what happened to that blog series you were writing?"

"I'd forgotten about it, honestly."

"I liked that one, it was good."

"Thank-you."

The hostess walked up to us as we sat, sweating pleasantly, enjoying the condensation from the liquor snifters on our fingers and chatting about where we were from. "Your table is ready." she said.

"I've got this," she said.

I protested, but she was having none of it. We settled on my giving her cash for the drink, and her buying us dinner. I could hardly argue with free food on a nice day.

We sat and talked about comic books, and made raunchy jokes about the people who were sitting, pretending not to notice our sun burns, a few tables away.

The sun set, we had more drinks. She gave me a ride to my car and a compliment.

I said, "I'll see you soon."

"You too."

And we did.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cooking and Eating the Bacon

"Brrrr." Julian muttered as he stepped out of the freezer.

Crissy handed him his coffee sludge. She told him, "The eggs are almost finished, so I  turned the oven on."

"Cool."

"You've got a pig back there?"

"Most of one."

"Huh."

"Yup."

"Where'd you get your eggs?"

"God." Julian laughed. "I got them from God."

"Very funny."

"No, I'm serious. I know a guy named Jesus, Hey Zeus, really, but we call him God for short. He raises chickens, hens and cocks, and I did him a favor last year, helped him keep his chicken farm."

"There are no chicken farms in Detroit."

Julian smiled, "You're right: There aren't." he replied.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Bacon II

"Bacon and some scrambled eggs, if you'll let me."


"That sounds amazing!"


Julian smiled. He asked, "What's your name again?"


"Crissy."


"Hi Crissy. Sorry I don't remember you --I was drunk, very drunk, last night. Can you hand me that pan, and turn those two red nobs, on the big chugging machine?"


"How much?"


"Til the lines are flat." Julian made a horizontal motion with the pan she'd handed him.


Crissy turned the two red nobs and the coffee machine slurp-bumped down from a roar to peaceful gurgles. A thick, rich, almost sludge of coffee began to ooze into the waiting cast iron pot. "You'll want to cut that with some water. I dont' know how it comes out so thick, but it does. There's spoons. . . somewhere around here."


"In the drawer maybe?"


"Maybe." Julian smiled. He lit the stove with a match and opened the fridge, rooting around for the margarine. "You find them?"


"The spoons?" Crissy drummed on the back of a chair, grinned with her teeth, asked, "You want a mug?"


"Yea, two spoons of sugar, two cup-cups of water, please." Julian found the margarine and stood up, spooned a glob into the pan --it started sizzling instantly, and he swished it around, coating the well loved bottom.


Crissy tapped him on the shoulder with a mug; they sipped their coffee sludge and smiled at each other. "You, ah, you going to make those eggs and bacon?" She asked him. "That margarine's going to burn your pan out if you don't do something with it."


Julian mumbled something agreeably and cracked five eggs into the pan. "Scramble those?" It was barely a question, and Crissy grabbed a spatula from the repurposed coffee can in answer.


"Scrambling come menced." She intoned, faux-robotically.


While Crissy scrambled the eggs, Julian set another pan on the stove and tip toed back to the walk in freezer, hiding as it did behind the kitchen area, to the left of Jenn's bathroom. 


The freezer was a lucky find Julian came upon while rooting around another block, looking for something to patch Jenn's roof with. He'd called in one of many favors from a man named Ellis (just Ellis) who had a forklift, and another favor from a ex-home builder whom Julian had eased a scorned lover for, just after the crash, and the three of them had reinforced the floor and carefully knocked out a corner wall and stuffed the freezer into Jenn's loft space. She had cooked them venison and roasted potatoes, with onion and chive soup as a reward. Miraculously, it ran just fine on the solar power converter, and so civilization crept back into the river front.


Quietly, Julian slipped into the walk in freezer, took the butcher blade from its hook just inside the door and addressed the smoked slab of pork. "Thank-you for the food, and the friendship you are about to nuture," He said quietly. He inhaled and held his breathe for a moment; on the exhale he chopped down fast and hard, took off a goodly thick chunk of meat, and caught it before it touched the ground.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Where do we go oh oh oh . . .From here?



Julian Philip Ellis awoke on his twenty-eighth birthday to the recorded cheers and glitchy bass line of his favorite dub step song. He smiled at the other side of his bed, which was empty but for some spent condom wrappers and a folded piece of legal paper.


Julian didn't have to work on his birthday, so he wrapped a blanket around his shoulders and stepped from his cozy bedroom into the cavernous living room of the loft he shared with his friend Jennifer Marie Ambuloo (Jenn, generally speaking) --an older woman he'd met online some five years ago.


The loft was rent controlled all the way back to her great-great-grandfather lawyer.


The remains of two hand made piñatas hung from the rafters, and the wan light of a Detroit February made patches between the cones of warm antique floor lamps. Faces hidden from the light, slumped on and around the papasan couch clusters were the still passed out bodies --a mixture of his and hers friends, then all smiling, all inebriated; all good acquaintances, now.


Julian passed through the MDMA Bosche painting of a living room, smiling faintly, careful not to tread on any unclaimed candy, and came to the kitchen section of the wall southern wall. He pulled down a gallon of water and prepped the gigantic, ancient coffee machine: turning nobs and pulling brass levers and spotless steel nozzles into position. As the coffee machinery beast began gurgling, he rubbed his belly with his right hand and swiped with solid clinks the handles of a half dozen or so glass mugs onto the post-humanly long fingers of his right; he set the mugs carefully under spigots and spouts, or around   the lowered nozzles. He smiled as the black ichor started to drip into the mugs.


There came the expected, loud bump from somewhere in the beast's bowels as the thick coffee reached the end of the dispenser line and things began to slush and gurgle back onto themselves in its guts. The bump must've woken someone, as a delicate groan floated from the closest cluster of couches.


"Coffee?" Was the next sound, though Julian couldn't be certain who it came from.


He replied anyway, "Yup," and, "I'll be starting the bacon and eggs soon, so if the smell's off putting..." 


A pixie with orange hair and indian warpaint shot bolt upright. "Bacon?'


"Bacon."


"Holy shit! Bacon!" and then there she was, shredded black shirt, no pants or pigment, and wide red eyes. "Bacon? Seriously?" She was pressed against Julian's chest, her tiny, pointed, nose pressed against the underside of his chin.


"Seriously seriously." Julian smiled, wrapping her in his blanket like an patchwork Dracularian cape. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Six minutes into the demon hour (witching hour, actually, but he got the name wrong, he always did...) he turned the night light off and closed his eyes. Outside the murky flicker of the candle he could hear the  demons scuttling. These demons being proper things of darkness, with long chitinous appendages, all pointed hooves and prehensile follicles. Dead eyes and doll face masks floating through the tiny vinyl bodies,  kind words wrapped around icicles; warm smiles and distant, fleeing and accusatory eyes.

Outside the candle light, they whispered to him, fed him stories of pleasant divorces, of easy sex with twirling, younger friends of friends. It helped him get by.

The stories the demons fed him weren't all real, there were the stories of dinosaur attacks and zombies that wanted to be friends, and these eased the loneliness of being sixteen. Even the divorce stories were a strange comfort: something solid to rage against, an action that had happened. Instead of the reality: the waiting. And, besides the solidity of something that had happened it was someone interacting with him.

"I want to argue." he whispered to the demons hiding just outside the quiet candle light. "I want to get in a fight and get a black eye. I want to loose a tooth."

The demons listened. The demons waited.

"Here, look," he said, unnecessarily. The boy cut a lock of his hair and fed it slowly into the tiny flame, which licked at the hair and farted crackling and smelled like scalded flesh.

The demons smiled in the darkness.

"I want someone to show me they love me." he said. "I want to see someone loving me, and enjoy it."

The demons' smiles grew toothy, jagged.

The boy sighed. Carefully carefully he pricked the thumb of his right hand with the sharpened tooth of a silver comb; he milked his blood, watched it dribble down the callow candle four times, and onto his bed sheets. "Here, it isn't, but this is my first born child." he said. "You can have its blood too, if I ever have children."

The candle cackled.

Monday, July 2, 2012

"I don't know what to say. I've already told you what happened."

"Then say you're sorry!" She shrieked.

"But I'm not." He narrowed his eyes. "I'd do every single thing over, just like I did the first time."

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Violence is meaningless without context.

The black, bald, spidery man stood up and shook his head, rubbed his right knuckles gingerly with his left finger tips. He said something in Brazilian Portuguese and spat next to the crumpled, spurting face of his opponent; he turned and walked away.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The shaman sprawled happily against the wall, beer in one hand, laptop balanced on his knees, typing away, slurping away.

He sat in the hallway, patiently waiting for his teacher to arrive.

He probably shouldn't have been drinking beer, but the monkey had demanded it, and the can was in a brown paper bag. He'd justified it to himself with the thought, "If anyone asks, I'll tell them its an energy drink."

or

"Hurry and throw me more ammunition!" The frightened little brother yelled to his sister. "I'm almost out!"

or

The house stood empty, water turned off, back porch bare and sun bleached, and brittle in the winter noon.

or

"I'd like to be free again." He said glumly to his shoes. "More free than this, at least."

or

I am thirty two years old today --it is my birthday and I am happy. I have: A loving son, a loving wife, a loving boyfriend and a loving girlfriend. We all live together in a house that shouldn't be able to fit five people, but does.

Conversion mentality is how a lot of this works, frankly, and knowing the name of your savior has always been a good thing.

We're all queer here, except maybe my son, who doesn't really think in terms of gender or sexual identity these days.

We're all farmers, here, again except my son, because he's three and doesn't do so well with the coordination.

I'm a hub, it sounds, from that first paragraph. But the spokes are all connected too, friendships platonic and queer and that's delightful, all around delightful.

Maybe I sleep in the garage, because that's a livable space, now: Walls all insulated, a toilet installed, piping just fine, thank-you. There's a skylight, but the roof's a bit too drafty to stay up there long. Murals painted on blankets, stapled to wooden planks --like castles from the 900's or when ever Europe was more than a crater.

Not that Europe is a literal crater, now, just an economic and political one. It looks a lot like a cold, wet version of South Africa, frankly.

Even before the now, I could never picture a prosperous world. But I can always picture a happy one.

or

My wife and my girlfriend looked at me. "We've met." They said in unison. We all stared somberly at each other, like an emotional mexican standoff. Then, explosive laughter.

or

My wife and her boyfriend looked at me. Staring at him I said, "We've met." We all stared somberly at each other, like an emotional mexican standoff. Then, explosive laughter.

or

"You don't love me any more, do you?" She asked him.

Her boyfriend shrugged, brushed hair away from his eyes and said, "We haven't had sex in months. I'm not sure why I'm sticking around."

or

The vodka bottle exploded against the kitchen cupboard, the baby woke crying, but the couple burst out laughing. "It's your turn, asshole," she smiled at him through the guffaw-tears.


or


The car engine ran smoothly until the moment it exploded.


or 


The ceiling swirled and though he wanted to speak, the sounds refused to form, hid in fact in his lungs and tickled his bladder.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Moment of Meta-Decision

The people who are most successful tell other people, who are generally less successful, (Quote from Eliza Gauger via Warren Ellis, but Stephen K. Hayes said a similar thing once, to a friend of mine) "You either work 9-5 or 24/7."

And it's true. I have a few things I'd happily do 24/7, things that I think about doing 24/7. Things that give me a bigger endorphin rush than others.

But I don't know how you'd monetize dating, at my age.

I dreamed in blue and orange last night, about defending a house from invaders by hiding on the roof and throwing racquet ball racquets at them. Then, being in a quickly filling subterranean mall, and having a contact bashed out by a gigantic spider. Fortunately, I found a box of contacts floating in the water (tropical ocean, clean blue) and managed to put one in.

I wonder: if I'd woken up before getting the contact back in, would I be blind?

The other narrative I've been thinking about is an active god sort of thing. Somewhere between Morrison's Animal Man and Amis's  London Fields. Because a blog post inherently ties a date and a  time to things. . . my thought was, when I wasn't writing about the characters, they would just be frozen there, stuck however I left them in the narrative, but things beyond them would still be moving, shuffling about, grinding their teeth waiting for the sun to set so the shadows grew long enough to reach the people I'd been writing about.

A sort of negligent puppet master leaving his means of affordance out in the rain, as it were. I don't know if the characters would be initially aware of me/the narrator as their means of salvation or hope, but it'd give a more episodic feel to things, and add tension to spans where I can't put words down/out.

Like, they have an adventure in a forest and go to sleep in their tents, but instead of waking up the next day, I've, in this world, had a rough few days and so when I come back to the story, it's three days later, not 6 hours or whatever, and they're hungry, and probably shat themselves, and maybe a bear ate one because they weren't conscious enough to do anything.

It works in blogs because they can be daily writing, so the story and the narrative rule isn't as dangerous to the characters as, say, a monthly (or even weekly) comic book.

A twist on the multiplicative time in a cube story, maybe.



Monday, June 25, 2012

"That was close," he said.

"I almost didn't make it here. The road was so screwed up. Construction, a bunch of detours. I almost drove right into what was more a tank trap than a pot hole.

You've got to be nostalgic about government funded roads if you live in Michigan, you know?

You've got to long for the days when pot holes wouldn't snap an axle in the dark. When the power was consistent and you didn't have to shoot people sneaking over your fence at least once a week.

You've got to be nostalgic for a time when shooting trespassers was something you joked about with your crazy republican coworkers.

And yet.

And yet.

And yet.

And there's rain, pitter patter (pitter pitter patter)ing down and thank goodness that last patch job and tarp worked. Thank the hard work and the sun burn and the delicious beer and the sun-stroke hangover the next day. Thank the hard work and not the workers --I'm missing an eye and he's dead, shot in the back of the head as he turned and waved, walking back to his house. It'd been such a slow week, and we hadn't seen any rovers in three days on top of that and Ella went inside, out off the roof, away from the binoculars for just that three minutes and

BAM

One dead friend and my winged face and blind (haha) luck that I caught one in the chest and the other in the leg and Ella, bless her, got them both in the head with her rifle a moment later; a moment (too) late.

One dead friend, and some bumpy roads.

Welcome to the bleed, I suppose."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I met a young woman today with crayon red hair, she wore glasses too, and had a toothy laugh, but what stuck out most was her hair.

It'd been a long day: a family wedding culminating, or tapering off --your choice!-- at a intentionally low key bar, with Karaoke, and micro brews with names like, "ypsi gypsy."

This young woman said, "I pass over video games because I already feel like I'm wasting so much of my life." She said this because she is cheerfully warring with cancer. At the moment, her war is a stalemate, but she doesn't always remember who she's firing shots at.

I'd forgotten I could dodge bullets until this evening. I suppose --all old dogs and their tricks, n'est pas?-- I'm proud of my deflections, and I hope she doesn't mind gunfight.

Enemies becoming friends and all that, if we're to be high school students about it all.

I'd prefer we just became friends.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Six Months Later

It was snowing and we were walking back from a video rental store; I was talking about the latest post human book I'd finished when she took my hand, transgressively.

We were just friends at this point; my genial warts were mostly under control but she still smoked infinitely and whored.

The sun was long set; streetlights dulled by snow made the street murky.

She had red and black hair and I was shaved bald under my grey skull cap.

I still wore green cargo pants and polished my jump boots obsessively. Mainly, she wore long black, wool coats and toe shoes, when she wasn't in garters and six inch platforms.

Her palm was sweaty, or snow wet --cold against my fingertips as she slid her hand up my sleeve.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This is what I think Friendship Looks like (04/10)

Drive and get the old woman some vodka. Sit and drink and listen to her raunchy stories about Cold War Russia. Sleep in your car, drunk in her driveway, and wake up refreshed, and go to work.

Monday, June 11, 2012

This is What I Think Friendship Looks like (03/10)

The bass shook the stairs Sam stood on, the sudden strobe momentarily blinded her, rendered everyone frozen (like weeping angels ["Neeerd."]).

From across the tiny club, her friend spotted her and in the renewed red-blue spot lights she could see his smile. Then he looked at the crowd and made a sad, "Cant-get-to-you" face, so Sam plunged off the stairs into the throbbing throng, and twisted, and smiled, and spun, and ass-patted her way to the reserved (always reserved) booth her Matt friend was sitting in.

"No Andrea tonight?" Sam asked.

"Does she ever come out any more?"Came an accidentally more terse response than either were expecting.

"You really should drag her sometime. It'd be nice to hang out with the two of you."

"She doesn't leave the house, just stays in, knitting all the time, now." Matt took a exasperated swig of his whiskey sour before grouching, "Says she has projects to finish, and that she'd just get in the way."

Sam declared, "Well that's bullshit." And then, "I need a drink. Come with?"

"But of course."


. . . Drinks got, acquaintances hello'd, they hit the dance floor, smiles wide, Sam's cleavage high and bobbling, just like Matt's drink (ice cubes on the dance floor, some poor girl in too high to dance heels careening into an Asian dance circle and everyone laughed. . . ) and the vibe rolled into them, onto them and around them like an adoring cat --people came, pulled into their gravity and danced and laughed and flirted and fell away, orbits and other gravities doing what they do to club goers and always those too, Sam and Matt in the thick of it, drunk far more on each other than the booze, more stoned-high too, than anything they could actually imbibe.

All the way 'til the lights came up and they grinned and wiped the sweat from each other's brows and shared swigs from a bottle of water one of their satellites gave up as it spun away.

"I'll talk to you soon," He whispered and squeezed the small of Sam's back, "My Driver's leaving, talk to you soon!"

And she smiled at his behind.

Friday, June 8, 2012

(One of Many) Letters to Dead People

Dear Helen,
I saw you riding the bus the other day.

I was dreaming, but there you were.

I dreamed I was stood on a rain wet corner, it was pouring down, and I was wearing glasses and everything was water streaked, but I still saw you, your vibrant purple hair and red red lips through the streaks. You smiled at me and I felt it (all the way) at the bottom of my kidneys.

I flashed through dinners we won't ever have: Bright Sundays at my grandfather's house that smelled like cooking meat long after our cups of tea had been drunk. Our tea drank in plush, gold colored chairs; chatting and watching BBC4 on a sun washed television, the volume very low indeed.

I longed for our missing, damp Sunday afternoons in Stoke Poges. Walking in bright wellies and mottled blue hooded sweaters through muddy and verdant fields, down a foggy horse trail with our dogs loose and barking after rabbits but us not worrying about what they caught.

The thrill on your face as a young fox eyed us from under a hedge.

England.

A missed connection, like on craigslist.org for whatever city dreams are tied to these days.

I hope you're well.

Love of All Kinds,
Ernest


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"Where are you going?" Helen asked.

Her husband replied, "The world just ended, but we're still here. I'm going to my car and getting my shotgun." He winked at her and smiled, then he stepped onto their dark driveway.

Monday, June 4, 2012

My imagination, continued. (with a splash of what friendship looks like)

Sure, but this wooden block. I've been staring at it for the past decade and a half. Fingering it's edges, pulling splinters from under my nails.

I've thrown it at walls (doesn't stick) tried to drown it (wood floats) and set it on fire --too close to the drowning, apparently: no fire.

Those initial connections, they're great, they're not the work. I know what work looks like, and occasionally I'll even do some. It looks satisfying because it is. Digging a hole with a shovel. Getting in the hole, hand scooping out the loosest of the dirt and getting that dirt ground (grinded) under your nails.

(What a weird image to have recur)

When I was sixteen and half done digging the new tree holes, my mother said to me, "You're an actual worker now." She smiled down at me, sweat pooling on her bosom. The afternoon sun made everything waver and I smiled through the sweat sting in my eyes, and I turned and kept digging.

Half the trees died over the winter and the next spring, I dug them up and returned them to the store (this was when trees could be purchased, and insurance taken out on them.) and dug the holes deeper, added more pete and fertilizer and planted new trees, which survived.

Seeds are one thing. Whole trees that have made it a few years are something else entirely. Transplanting them to a different kind of ground, does that work? If you have to auger the holes, will the roots make it through the clay walls, or are you suffocating them?

The answer is (and I know this because my mother showed me) that the weak ones die, and the strongest break through their red coffins and find the sustenance they need to thrive.

I used to think writing was like shoveling snow, but it doesn't always snow, and snow is seasonal. Digging though, digging is always an option, and there are more and less purposeful reasons to dig. When I was a child my parents took me to Florida and my dad and I dug a hole so big and so deep we touched the water table, and the was the some of the most fun I had that trip. If I'd've been smart I would've learned a lesson from this anecdote, too, but I didn't see the lesson until I was much older, and even now, some twenty-eight years later, I just now realized what I was being shown that day on the spiral staircase.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A mouth

What? Me? I'm happy today. Couldn't be better, honestly. My smile? It's tentative because it's new to me, this smile I've got. I'm not wearing it, I've got it --it's mine.

It's more a piercing than a tattoo, but it's mine, and it's here for a while --I like the way it highlights my lips, my nose. Don't you think?

I realize there's always gonna be troubles, but this new set of troubles is new --nothing feels like trouble yet.

I think this grin, it'll do okay.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Imagination. . .


You've got to start simply. It has to be simple. That's where I come from, where we all come from: A brutal, effective place that splits and splits and reconstitutes and grows and becomes something amazing and interconnected and beautiful.

Life, yes sure, stories yes, yea ya yeh yae yay yaw. People. Even desert island stories aren't about vacuums. Robinson Crusoe.

I think it's the potential, all that wonderful unknown, that gets us most excited about desert island stories. Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, The Man From Outer Space. They're all clean slates of a sort, and the intrigue, the deliciousness, comes from watching the intertwining and the formation, the initial splits and choices the *potential* of taking the road less travelled.

The baking of a cookie, a cake, a meal.

I took drugs and stared at a ceiling that was, so it turned out, a doorway; and through that doorway came a rambunctious snake and a shy Ox. And the drugs wore off and they were gone.

or

I was sitting, listening to my favorite album, reading a book when there came a knock on my door. On opening it, there sat a very large snake. It smiled and winked at me, and nodded his (obviously it was a he) head behind him, to the frightened white buffalo. And then, since I live in an apartment building, my neighbor's door opened and the two animals sauntered in.

or

The snake, when I noticed it, was coiled around the chandelier. "Don't mind that great white buffalo." It hisssed at me.

I don't know why the talking animals didn't bother me --I suppose my life would be a far less boring narrative if I'd freaked out and a fight happened -- but it didn't.

or 

"You locked me in the bathroom for an hour! You're fucking right I'm furious!" He yelled and slapped the wall, which made Jen giggle.

"You had a book and a place to pee, what more did you need?" Jen quipped at her boyfriend.

"To not be locked in the effing bathroom!" 



. . . is a wooden block.