Thursday, June 20, 2019

2 Minutes. Go!

He's yelling your name at the top of his lungs. The sound reaches up into the sky, hovers at apex, and then falls, exploding into light showers. He knows that you are big and thinks he understands what that means; he thinks that you must be the most beautiful man he's ever seen. You must be able to chop down trees with your hand. You must have a blue ox somewhere. 

This is because he doesn't understand how things really work.

H doesn't know about medical insurance and genocide. Not yet. He's too young for all that. I wonder when you're old enough for genocide?

And he's looking at you like you're some kind of spirit guide. Wide-eyed enthusiasm. What do you say? Most folks consider me a loser, so you may want to find a different guide? 

The boy still thinks that flowers and birds and puppies are important. He doesn't know about the kids his age who are caged and locked in the desert, covered in sickness and misery. He doesn't know about 9/11 or Chris Brown or Syria or slavery. He just wants to play and you can barely remember how that felt. 

But you know you used to feel it.

And that little boy is going to grow up and he'll wonder just like you do. A lot of folks loved Hitler, MAGA nightmare notwithstanding - when you're living it you want to make it small. This can't possibly be real actual historical significance could, it? Yeah, but it's all about perspective. 

The farther you get, in time or space, the bigger the damn thing gets. 

Boy.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

2 Minutes. Go!

There's a sly, white slice in her eye - sheet metal gray around it. She takes everything of color; she absorbs the light.

"Tell me what's up."

Maybe it's nothing man, but sometimes nothing means something. Sometimes, it means everything.

You stick that sexy diffidence. It's delicious; it bends the very walls of the universe, cools like magma into a hard, gray shell.

I'm gonna be the lighthouse. I'm gonna be your nightmare. I'm gonna fuck your life up. And none of it ain't a bit fair. I will dance in the darkness while the church is burning; I will not fiddle.

Cast your sentiment aside and call me a coward. Listen as the minutes drop, flooding into hours. You look at me and it's all raw - the air, the feelings, the sound and touch and taste of it. I'm not talking about sex. Abasement.

Inside the twisted vortex of mind-fuck tapestries, behind your failed quests for justice or retribution - which are not the same things - you see a younger you who is afraid of what you have become. Your reaction to this child tells you everything you need to know about yourself.

So, the brain rumbles on and the thoughts keep tumbling. The fingers move like they're greased, but it takes a minute to find the rhythm. There's no rhyme to it.

It's different every time, see?

I'm just the conduit.

#2MinutesGo

Thursday, June 6, 2019

2 Minutes. Go!

You on the team? Everybody’s on the team. Everybody gets a slice. You’re like a shitty general manager who doesn’t get paid. I’m like, sitting in the outfield, laughing. Your sense of allegiance is misplaced. Your anger is tangible, but you’re not angry about this. This is supposed to be a release valve. You’ve turned it into a bar with premade beef. Other people’s beef. Brother, you are NOT on the team.

The sun hits everyone and everyone dies a little as the hours pass. Get you a hotdog. You can tell folks at work on Monday that you played an integral part. Half-drunk-idiot in the nosebleed seats is an important position. I get you.

Pre-recorded rivalry is a stupid reason to die. Stupid reason to fight. Stupid reason to argue. You can’t care enough to get invested in human welfare, but you’ll die if your rival team wins because, well, you were told they were the enemy and that was enough. Get the pitchforks.

How much does the team care about you? About as much as your season tickets cost. About as much as the merchandise you overpay for. About as much as I care about you and your Sunday rage-preach. There are children dying in cages.

Did YOU see the game.

 ***
Open eyes, face on soft velour. Flash of neon in the rain, smears as you drive. Radio playing bad hip hop. The road is smooth, then a washboard. Your body is chilled, soaked. There is a sense of panic as your eyes focus. That smell. Don’t think about it. 


Time passes and you wonder. Wondering is risky. Risk is aversion. Avert your eyes outward; introspection is not your friend. 


Go back and construct excuses from what you recall. Cover your trail in hypocrisy soaked in convenient half-truths. Crack the window. Drink the soggy air. Hear the music, stunted and guilded by the sounds of the city as it flows by

Thursday, May 30, 2019

2 Minutes.Go!

Salvation

You can't kill a man with a painted feather. 
Or, you might be able to, but not effectively. 
A blue jay is a friend as long as you don't mess with him.
Never trust a doctor and only half the carnies.
The electrical jolt that kills you will come out of nowhere. 
You will be forgotten within a generation. 
It doesn't matter. 
You can kill a man with a lead pipe, but there are more effective ways. 
You can use a lifetime to grind a man to nothing, kick him when he's down. 
You don't have to be nice to anyone, but it helps. 
Shake it out. 
Walk down a country road and throw rocks at all the rust signs. 
You should leave something beautiful if you can. Try?
Learn to paint or sing a song; learn some stories and maybe a cheap magic trick or two. 
Use these things to bring happiness to others. 
Don't stop being curious. 
You can kill a man if you put him in a box. It's effective. Proven.
Calling it effective don't make it right, boss. 
Find a child to draw with. 
Go fucking fishing, man. 
Seriously. I don't murder people in traffic because you don't think I should? 
I think an afternoon of fishing would do you good. 

There are lots of ways to save a man. 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

2 Minutes. Go!

As the waves climbed to the gunwales, the sharks circled. The sun was high in the sky, and Arthur squinted into the light, watching gulls dive. The last of the seagull he had managed to kill was gone days ago. This was day 19. He had been alone since the tenth day when Johnathan went mad and took his last swim. He was sunburned and starving, but he knew he could make it. Keep floating and eventually you will pass by land. Stay alert and someone is bound to find you.

He never should have accepted the offer. This is the thought that plagued him. He was raised to think in numbers and percentages. The call to sea was  a  siren song all along.

When they found the boat, it was empty. This does not mean that Arthur died. It means the boat was empty. To his family, Arthur was king of an island somewhere. He was eating coconuts and laughing. He was building civilizations from driftwood and palm fronds. His sons would become sailors eventually and traverse the world, wondering. They would look at the old, weathered men they saw in sea ports. They would hope for some flash of recognition.

They never guessed that Arthur saw his salvation as a new start. Freedom. He was tied to no one and nothing. He saw his sons occasionally from afar, but never spoke to them.

There are many things that happen on the sea. There are mysteries that will never be solved. There are ghosts that slip the valleys between waves. There are lives that blossom in salt water. There are pitfalls and disasters.

You look at the horizon and you see an invitation, but that is reckless innocence. The sea takes what the sea wants. The boats bob on the waves, but we know nothing of the worlds underneath. But go ahead and join them. You might as well go to sea. The ocean is calling you. And you might survive, or you might be lucky and be spared the torture of starvation and madness. The sea gives you what you need, whether you want it to or not.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

2 Minutes. Go!

Candy

The handle is sticky, toggling back and forth as the ice melts and the wrappers crinkle. Street fighter. You could do this for days. Take Mountain Dew and Twix breaks. Watch the shoplifters move slow then fast, then out. Watch the seventeen year old at the counter not giving a shit. Watch the owner coming back furious, but what the hell can he do?

Don’t eat the hotdogs. Seriously, just don’t. Leave a quarter on the game to save your place. You’re poor, but if you keep winning you won’t have to pay. You suck. Take quarters off the counter and from the corner of the mud room. That’s not stealing, it’s appropriating. Something fancier. You know it, baby.

The high school kids smoke cigarettes out front and talk smack to everybody – little kids included. They don’t care about anyone or anything except cigarettes and 90210. That kid with the fishing rod? He’s going to commit suicide. No one will see it coming. Same with Jenny who becomes a mommy young. Rachel will be a lawyer. Dante will see both sides of  a gun.

Wipe your hands on your pants and spit in the gutter and look up at the sun like, man, that sun is so bright. That’s everything right there.

Mad power.

 

Rust

That thin ketchup with the water in it. Always forget to shake it and you get mostly water, wet fart of ketchup. Tomato soup. Old people in scratchy sweaters. Peppermint fuzzy with lint. A dark bait box and the smell of industry. You don’t know what that smells like? In Pennsylvania it smells like upbeat poverty. That clothesline in the backyard, an octagon – all you gotta do is spin it, state of the art. Rust poking through the rubber paint.

An eerie silence, then dogs barking. You’ll never know. The house settles and makes sounds. Tiny sword, blackjack, bubble gum. Just take one. Cool water and cigar smoke. The smell of fresh cut grass. Hungry. Eating fast enough to skip being sick. Just tired. The back of a farm truck on a hot day. Sweat speckling hay.

Fish fries. FryDaddy. Cole slaw. Fisticuffs at the boat slips. Long, slow days. Warm beer. Neighbors fighting. Kids are kids. They are barefoot and full of wonder. Mullets and Mustangs.

Night. Silence. Collective breath.

Florida.

Florida feels like humid desperation. Boy, where's your smile? Turnstile. Way too close to Alabama. Hushpuppies and Catfish, son. You'll be home soon.

Let the night settle the dust of the day. Ashes to ashes. Rust to rust.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

2 Minutes. Go!

Pee


The alleyway is dark and stained, but the air is still – you are leaning, shoulder against cement, smiling like you’ve got a secret. The graffiti pulses in the moonlight. The stench of humans surrounds you, clogging your throat. This is where souls go to die. Among dirty syringes and broken bottles, the meek make a mockery of scripture. Feral cats claw at the scraps of trash, claw at each other. There is the silence of everything. Traffic and fights and yelling and sirens. There is no expectation of privacy here, and people do not go here to hide. They come to do things that make them feel hidden, lost in the tumult of mediocre dirtbag. You are just passing through, temporary dirtbag. You will not get lost in the alley. This does not make you superior, it makes you complicit. And lucky. Therebutfore the grace of something.

 

Beach


I don’t know where Kiggie went. 

It’s dark. 

There are lights father up the beach, lights behind the dunes – lighters flick on and off, blasting sparks into the sky. 

No Kiggie. Where the hell did he go? Why the hell does he always do shit like this? This is the last time, left to wander among strangers as the grunion run... 

Silver flashes in the shallow water. Moonlight trapped in brine. It’s apocalyptic and exciting. It’s a smile tearing itself across your face. 

Where the hell is that kid? What is wrong with him anyway? 

But then he’s back grinning and what can you say? I mean, there’s lots to say, but the grunion wait for no man. No boy. No manboy. 

I don’t know about you, but it’s not so bad – the salt in the air and the sound of the waves. 

The flashes of silver fish in the moonlight.

 

Ramen


It’ll keep you alive. Sort of. It will keep you alive, but you will be made of salt. Salt will replace your blood. But you will save money. And you will not die. You might die ... after a while. Just make sure that any opportunity to eat free food is an opportunity to cram diversity into your diet. Eat fifty carrots. The little ones. Not the big ones. You will regret it if you do. Do not eat free Ramen, you have ramen at home. Do not share your Ramen with your roommates because then you’re not even saving money and you could be eating a burrito. Your ramen can be stored anywhere, but the shelf in the closet is the prime space. The garage. The roomrage. You can add pasta sauce instead of the sauce packet if you cop some. Hint: People often throw away sauce jars with a serving left. Sometimes more. Ramen has become your master. Bow to ramen. You are now one of the salt people. Soon, you can be their king.

(prompts provided by a student)