Tuesday, August 19, 2014

This is mine.

This is mine. I own this shit, and I'll do what I want with it. I figure it's an electronic shovel, and I'm gonna sweat more than John Henry. I want to be down deep in it, farther than six feet in it, down in the dark, moist heat of it. I want to compost myself.

Composting is important, but maybe you don't care about the earth, you fucking dick. Not that I compost, or care about anything, but you're still a dick. That's undeniable. You smell like Nixon, I'd imagine. He's dead now, so he probably doesn't smell as slick. Splitting hairs.

So, like I said, this is mine. You can try to take it from me, I don't care. It'll be nice to get some fresh air.

We're all on the same team! You can keep saying it and we can keep smiling about it, but I gotta say - sounds like the makings of a very damn boring game.

I keep a knife beside me when I write. It is for cuticles and apples and bits of string. It is to hold and caress. It is there to slice through epidermal armor, into the slop and meat of myself. I've got to put my hands in there and get the feel of it. I want to feel the wet squish through my fingers, hold my heart and feel the thump.

Or I'll move on down the line, handful of dimes. Bagging. Sack the village. Burn it. The bridges, too. There is no going back.

Friday, August 15, 2014

2 Minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. Every Friday we do a fun free-write. 

You can write whatever you want in the comments section on this blog post. You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds ... no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. So, tell a friend. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play. 

Jenny sat on a crag of rock, perched in a sideways squat, thinking. Above her, there was sky, miles and miles of blue. Beneath her, there were waves pounding the rock. The waves were a promise of death, but she could not move. 

Why? Everyone would ask why. She wanted to explain. About the pebble. About how it was different, gold flecked and half-white and just ... magical. It hadn't seemed far. Now, pebble in her pocket, Jenny felt her fingers tearing and shut her eyes. 

She felt herself falling, the wind, indecent, taking liberties with her body. There was no splash. She opened her eyes to find herself hundreds of feet in the air, body soaring, soul screaming, hand clutching her magic rock.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next Friday. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014


You are in it, caught up, red-handed, dust-devil drawn - light sketch lines. There is so much above you, but you don't look up. You do not see the swift-winged swallows tear the sky to ribbons. You are aware of clouds, but you do not look to see them - you take their shade and ignore the beauty they sculpt into the opal sky. You promised. The words echo in your head - the echoes are loud and frantic and you picture her face. You think: well, yeah... You promised, but there is something childlike about her disappointment - you have lived too long in the world where promises are like sunny-day popsicles, overly sweet and easily broken.

She steps out of the crowd at the bus station and it breaks your heart, truly. There is an ache inside so acute it frightens you - you wonder what a heart attack feels like. You want to run, but before you know it there are air kisses and she still wears the same perfume and the wind won't scatter it fast enough, and you're angry. You didn't ask for this. This taste of perfume thick in your mouth.

She talks so much and you wonder if it's natural. It sure doesn't seem like it. Seems like dexedrine. But that's not your business. Everyone has their secret crushes. Their secret crutches. Yours makes you quiet, withdrawn. It works out well. You stare at the space between her eyebrows and let the words soak you to the bone, not understanding. There is nothing to be understood.

Do you want to talk about it?

Your mind closes, and you feel loathing like syrup in your lungs. Of course. She called because of the funeral. It must have been in the paper. For a brief second you are back, standing in a raucous patch of sunlight wondering why. Why? And now it is all too clear. She felt obligated. That's all. It makes you feel lost and selfish and sad.

You shrug your jacket on. She's still saying things and the things are still too fast. She grabs your arm and you shake it away with a ferocity that is surprising to both of you. It turns her face large, smooth. She is still yelling after you, shrieks of guilt, slick along the broken buildings. It doesn't matter. You don't want to talk anymore.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Four and Twenty Blackbirds

He shifts his head slowly to better hear the train, a low whistle on a black-out track. He breathes deeply and lets the sound of the train fill him. It trips his other senses, and soon he is following smaller sounds. He hears the scuttling of feet on the roof. He hears the gentle breath from her soft lips. She is sleeping, her breath smells like mussmelon.

He shifts in the bed slowly, for her slumber is a monument. Her slumber is peace and serenity and beauty. He will not take it from her. He is on his back, now, mind wide awake. He traces a finger down the soft skin between her armpit and her hip. She makes quiet sounds in her sleep, nudges her face forward like a cat. Crickets own the night.

His pants are in a ball at the bottom of the bed, and he retrieves them with a monkey-grip foot. Slowly. She does not move.

Flipping the top of the pack, he pulls a smoke out with his lips, lights it on the candle that sits by the window, its flame dancing upon a stuttering wick. He pulls deeply, drawing the smoke down into his lungs, releasing it in a thin, fast stream from his red nose.

He does not want to sleep. He reaches into his pants again, retrieving a small plastic bag with lightning bolts on it. The bag is the size of a matchbook. He opens the bag and dumps the contents onto the glass of a picture frame. Her kids. Irony. Brilliant. Fuck 'em.

The little shards of glass wink up at him and he rolls his Bic over them, crushing the crystals to a fine white powder. He kills the line in four goes, his body spasms. He lights another cigarette and lets his mind run.

Stacey. Girl at the mall. Could have been any girl. Up and talking. Being funny. She's a pretty girl and she's tired. Got kids at home. Tired? Hell, that's easy to fix. Her face, horrified. Then, his voice. He tells her about fighter pilots and athletes and JFK and hypocrisy. She's too tired to argue.

Outside the mall, Stacey changes. It's OK. Deal. God, those fucking kids. Whatever. She's hot and she has money and it all don't matter when you got money. You can turn it off.

It is late and very dark. The orange tip of the cigarette dances to a lurid beat, something that needs jungle drums. He pulls the flame to the filter and flicks it out the open window,  drops of a light rain tickling. He is out of the bed now. She sleeps on. He goes first to the boy's room. He stands above him and watches him sleep for several minutes. Next, the girl. She is asleep, too, but her eyelashes quiver.

He walks to the kitchen and pours himself some warm vodka from the plastic bottle under the sink. He drinks it in one shot, sucking spit. It barely dents the crystal, but it changes it, shades it a little darker. He looks at the green numbers on the microwave: 3:23. It is his time. He can do anything he wants to do. The world is alseep, his brain, afire.

He pulls the large butcher's knife from the knife block. It isn't a good knife, but it will do the trick. He pours more vodka.

The skinning is easy. The flesh ripe and soft, he feels the warm liquids on his hands. He kneads and pulls and tears at them. The knife removes distinguishing features. Skinless, they lay on the table. He works hard, and he is done when the sun peaks over the ridge. He climbs the stairs slowly.

She wakes when he sets the pie down, canting one eye, shaking her head.

"You made pie?"

"Four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie ..."

"You don't know anything, do you?"

"I don't, Stacey. I don't know anything. I fucked up. I'm sorry. I promise -"

"You promise what? What exactly do you promise? You'll stop? You'll change? Please. This is so fucking -"

She smiles and he knows the children are behind him. He twists his face, feet rooted. His eyes bore into her until she sighs, nods. He walks over and kisses her on the cheek. Whispers. I swear to God, I'll get it right. I'll fix it. He can feel the giving in. It shames him, but he releases the breath he has been holding. He fixes a bright smile to his face and turns. Their faces are small, worried.

"Kids, I'm sorry. I just want you to know it won't happen again. I don't want to be an embarrassment. I don't expect forgiveness, but give me one more chance ..."

The small faces are set hard, but the nose-twitches are involuntary. He smiles.

"Yeah, I figured today was a 'fresh apple pie for breakfast' kind of day. Wonderful things, apples. Despite what the good book says. Hell, I don't even know what it says. All I know is there is one goddamn important apple in there somewhere."

The kids smile and Stacey chuckles. He's winning again, he can feel it. He's got them. This time he has to follow through. Or there won't be enough apples in the world. He smiles because, in this moment, pie steaming and fogging the windows, he actually believes. He is shielded from the alleys and compromises and sadness that await him.

Stacey stretches and he jumps on her. The kids follow. They tussle until hunger takes over. They look at the pie and the large knife beside it.

"No plates? Forks?"

"Didn't want to wake y'all up running water. Everything is dirty. Here, I'll show you how they do it in France."

He reaches a hand in, scoops the warm pie into his mouth, trying not to laugh, juice down his chin. Stacey starts to speak, but both kids are already elbow deep and she just smiles. They eat the whole pie before Stacey sends the kids off to get ready for school.

"I only got one more time in me, you know that, right?"

"I know, baby. I told you. I got my mind right. Easy as pie."

He even winks.

She is laughing as he slips the knife down beside the bed, snug against the wall. He tells himself that it is all silliness, a joke. The whole thing. Pie for breakfast? Who does that? He listens to the shower run and licks his sticky fingers.

Friday, August 8, 2014

2 minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. Every Friday we do a fun free-write. 

You can write whatever you want in the comments section on this blog post. You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds ... no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. So, tell a friend. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play. 

It's all a scam. It's fixed, rigged. Hell the rigging is so complicated a sailor couldn't figure that shit out. It's all about backhand deals made in soundproofed offices. It's manipulation. You make the laws and then exploit them. Since only you understand them, since you tied those loopholes tight - fuck a sailor. 

It's gotta be strange. I don't think I'd feel right about it. Sure, it's legal. And legality ain't my trip, but it's hurtful. That's the part that would get me. It hurts other people. People who can't get a decent night's sleep because they can't put the bills away. They float in the miasma of insomnia. They'll sleep a little, sure. And it will be worse than if they'd never slept at all.

I bet it's easier to sleep in those soundproofed offices.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next Friday. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Waiting Men

The men sit, silently, on the curb of a forgotten gas station. They are similar in demeanor - they take ball caps off their heads, wipe the sweat, sweep the hat back on. The hat has seen many miles, and you assume the same is true of the men.

What can we know of them? They are us and we are them, but for different circumstances, tragedies, victories, and luck. We sweat under the same sun, but some of us don't sweat enough. Many sweat more than their share.

Cars and trucks and motorcycles pass, belching carcinogenic cacophony - the men breathe it in. These are men used to inhaling dangerous things. What is cancer in fifteen years when there are mouths to feed tonight?

The men guard their money fiercely. They have gone to battle for it. Their backs ache and their fingers clench. They do not smile. They know they must remain shadows. It is what got them here.

It is a poorly scripted movie that plays forever in the cheap theater that used to be a porn shack. We never learn. We take advantage and have the nerve to bite the hand that feeds us.

The men are to be respected. The reasons they are disrespected are numerous and silly, you can fix that. You can try. You can get the ball rolling.

The men leave when it gets dark. They leave slowly, like they are attached to the curb by invisible, elasticized bands. They hope for that last minute redemption. It rarely comes. Generally, the men go home and sleep. They need to be waiting before the sun comes up.

Friday, August 1, 2014

2 Minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. Every Friday we do a fun free-write. 

You can write whatever you want in the comments section on this blog post. You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds ... no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. So, tell a friend. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play. 

(This was more like four minutes - it didn't want me to stop.)

He could feel it inside, a pressure - something urgent - he did his best to ignore it. He grit his teeth when he stood up, no old man sighs. He helped with the work like he always had, stacking wood, working the field, sunlight nearing sadistic. He sweat - sweat was his reward, he loved the work, the sweat, the days that passed with invisible clarity, mind detached and body pumping. But this pressure. This pressure was something. 

Clyde looked at his father and smiled. It was a sad smile filled with regret and hope and love, mostly sadness. His mouth tasted like corn silk and cotton balls. He was thirsty. 

Clyde was standing, hat off and wind pushing his damp hair back. He was enjoying the smell of the flowers his wife planted. He felt like a lucky man. He had this land, a good woman, family. He thought about rolling a cigarette, but shrugged it off. It was then that the old man fell. First, to his knees - he fell like a penitent at the end of a long journey. His fall was a baptism. He was still, on his knees, head down, arms wide. Then, just as slowly, he fell forward.

Clyde's run had left him breathless, and he could barely whisper.


"Clyde, hush. Not much time..."

"You can't die!"

"Everyone dies, son. I wouldn't have had it any other way. I swear. I dreamed it this way. I love you, and you will do this land proud. You've done me proud."

"Dad, what can I do?"

Clyde was frantic now, crying.

"Hold me, son. And bury me here. Right here. And smile when you think of me. My time is over. Yours has begun. Have a son. I did, and it was the best thing I ever did."

Thanks for stopping by! See you next Friday.