Friday, August 31, 2012

Blue Moon

I'm tired and the weather is weird, my barometer is off. You go through life groping. Sometimes you grab something nice. Sometimes you don't. Sometimes it's honeysuckle and sometimes you choke back the bile while you try not to cry in front of people who don't understand.

My daughter asks me sometimes why I'm sad. Then I remember I need to put the happy mask back on. I can't explain to her and I hope to god she never figures it out for herself. I am not always sad. But sometimes life is a punch in the gut. Sometimes people are just so plain ugly that you're ashamed you are the same species. I want to be a moth. I want to be drawn to something. I'm tired of fluttering aimlessly.

All this emo shit makes me want to smack myself. You can want to smack me, too. It's just one of those days. Must be the blue moon.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wednesday Night

Thursday night and the baby's crying. It echoes off the cheap walls of the apartment. It is stuck in the corners with the cobwebs. It is a colorful sound full of deep reds and greens so green they are almost black. Sleep is something we take for granted. Like grandparents. Like breakfast.

I'm an automaton. It's almost kind of pleasant. I have been anesthetized by fatigue. I feel like McMurphy and his electroshocking calm. I'm not fighting it. You can't.

Think I'll go have a glass of milk. There is something about cold milk at night. Something that takes me back to footed pajamas and sleep that was rarely interrupted. I dreamt of flying. Every night. Here, in the darkness, my family surrounds me and I can feel this weird energy. It's like airborne love. And I'll fucking take it. Even if they fall asleep, I might stay up. Looking at their faces. Being thankful.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I hate the word 'dappled', but that's what the fucking sun is doing. I slump on the couch and stare at the wall, painting it different colors in my mind. My lower back hurts. This is a constant. I want to run, but I can't. I want to fly, but I could never do that.

I find my mind wandering back through the cob-webbed corridors...there was a girl. How many stories start like that? I guess every story starts like that. There was a girl.

She was like a poorly trained puppy. Always lashing out. She was flailing, out of control. She was beautiful. So beautiful I can't even describe it. For once I just want the word to mean what it really means. She really was beautiful. 

She came to my shows. I knew some of her friends. She liked my white Chucks. She told me one time, and I couldn't think of a response, and she laughed and pinballed down the hallway of our flat singing about boys who wear Dickies and white Chucks.

She moved in with a friend of mine. A wonderful girl...she always made me sad. She always fucked my friends and they never seemed to care that she actually thought it meant something. But what can you do? She was smart. She didn't need a thing from me. She had a big soft bed. I slept in it, but never with her.

She invited us over for Thanksgiving. Tofurkey. Santa Cruz. We made the drive down from the City with some laced weed and warm beer. We were on vacation from the vacation that was our daily lives. Fuck the tofurkey and pass the booze. She could get fucked up, that girl. With the best of us. She had a thing for acid and whip-its that I never quite understood. I liked her.

Her friend liked to fuck with people. She looked riot grrl soft, but she was made of safety glass. I didn't know it at the time. She was mean, and I liked that. I liked it when people treated me like shit. I liked bitchy, privileged girls who liked me because I was poor and on the death march. Eventually, I would let the little, small human part of me show and they would leave because I was just like every other schmuck. I cared too much. But before the facade shattered I was some kind of 'bad girl' trophy. I didn't realize this at the time.

We spent days drinking and smoking that dust weed and churning through packs of cigarettes. I remember that I spent a lot of the weekend playing guitar by myself on the porch. Hoping she would find it interesting. Hoping I could get away without talking to anyone. Jim was busy fucking Lilith, and so the beauty and I circled. She was fucking with me. So, I played guitar and got as fucked up as I possibly could.

I guess I passed out on the couch, but I woke up with her on top of me. Her eyes were those magic eyes. The kind that change color. Her skin was dark and soft. She was voracious. Neither of us had our shirts on. I was confused and trying to keep up. She bit me. I was still wearing the pegged, size 28 Dickies she had given me, laughing that her pants fit a boy. I put a lot more in my nose than my stomach back then.

I wanted her. No doubt. But she kept fucking biting me. Not coyly. Not sexy bites. She bit me until I shoved her onto the floor. She ran out of the room crying. Lilith came in and saw the blood...I told her what had happened. She told me that her friend had been a virgin until the rape I didn't know about. The one that had happened on Halloween.

We didn't talk the rest of the trip. I didn't talk to Jim or Lilith either. I drank wine from a jug and played their shitty acoustic guitar until my fingers bled. Some of the bite marks were visible. Big, purple bruises on my arms and neck. No one said anything.  

We left, and I forgot about it. Months later, my friend Kevin came to visit and fucked her. Then he stole my weed and my wallet and went back to San Diego.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

High Noon

Cracks in your teeth, you smile. Ask for a hug. I smell booze and filth and madness and I hug for all I'm worth and I hope I won't get sick. Or stabbed. You can't deny someone a hug. And you twirl off down the street wearing all the clothes you own. And I get sad and happy. And I feel strange. The smell sticks and the hug felt good and I'm all mixed up.

I'm still trying to make sense of it and I get an email from an old student. Advice about writing. Shit. I don't know, brother. It's like anything else. You do your best and you keep doing it. You fake it when you can't bring the real shit and you hope no one notices. You'll wonder why the fraud seems so well received - there's a lesson there. Feed the frauds if that's your thing...let them choke on it. You write a story about a baby bird and people think you're a lunatic. I'm not afraid of lunacy. I've been there and back.

Advice? Fuck, man. Write. And hug people if they ask for a hug. No one gets there fast, and if they do it doesn't last. It's a's shooting free throws. I want to play music, but it's not time for band practice and I guess I'll just wait. It's not time for drinking and it's not time for smoking and it's not time for prying that pill bottle out of its hiding spot.

It's time to make money and that ain't got shit to do with writing. I'll take all comers. Call me an asshole. I don't give a shit. Bring it. I don't want to hear about how many books you've sold or how many people have their faces glued to your asshole. I want to see what you've got. This is a pistols at high noon kind of thing.

Advice? Fuck, don't ask for advice, that's my advice. Do it your way and do it the best you can and hope that you don't end up alone and bitter with only your propped up accolades to comfort you. Stare at the sun a while. Moms said that was bad, but she was just looking out for you. Don't do what I aren't me and it won't work for you.

I'm serious, though. I'm the fastest gun in the west. If you don't believe it, I'd be glad to enlighten you. And that makes me a prick, I know it. We might as well be honest. I hate almost everything about myself, so I might as well get some mileage from the things I don't.

Monday, August 27, 2012


He pulled the makings out of  his breast pocket and started rolling a cigarette without breaking eye contact. His hair wasn’t so much grey as it was without color. He said, “Son…”

So, I stopped listening. I pulled my knife out and started an ambling whittle. When I started listening again, he was talking about shoes.

“…the kind of shoes you could wear wet or dry. Boots. The best pair I ever had. By a long sight. So, it wasn’t no joke when he took ‘em. You take a man’s boots and that’s one thing. Bad enough, I reckon. But he knew about those boots. And he just off and took ‘em.”

I had a very sharp stick by now. The evening sounds were a broken facsimile of a bootleg orchestra. I pulled a Camel from my pocket and stared into the sharp fire while he lit it with a kitchen match. I tipped the clear jug bottle and goddamn but I dare you to find a man who won’t cringe. I hit it again while my throat was numb.

“You fuckin’ kids. Do you even get what I’m saying to you?”

“Yessir. You really liked them boots.”

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Pharmacist

She was the kind of girl that shy guys don’t realize love them until years later when someone else tells them and they realize they blew it.  Casually pretty. She looked like a librarian with a secret life. Cool glasses, thoughtful clothes. Delicate in finger.  He was worried about what his death would signify.  Would people still be forgiving of the stupid, simple, routine of mistakes and let downs? The old woman was incensed that there was no alternative to buying something poor people could afford.
            “So, what, this is made of powder?  $3.65!?!”
            “It’s the generic version of the medication.”
            “But I want the name brand. I’ll pay for it.”
            “They don’t make the name brand anymore.”
            “What are you telling me? It is checked right here for generic.”
            “Right, that’s what they usually do so we can fill the generic.”
            “I don’t want the generic. Can I get it someplace else?”
            “I don’t think so…I don’t think it’s produced anymore…the wholesaler can't get it.”
            He stared at the rack of .99 cent items and fought the urge to buy a scarf. There was no sense to it. A lady’s scarf…but some part of him wanted to be a consumer…on a level he could handle. He stared at the back of the old woman’s head. What medicine could be worth this much trouble?
            “So, I can’t get the brand…this is what you are telling me?”
            “Yes, that’s what I’m telling you. I’m sorry.”
            Her eyes were tired but lit at the corners with wry amusement. The old woman looked for her boy. He was dark-skinned with long hair and a private school uniform. They hugged and then he spun off into the aisles of multi-colored packaging.
            He looked at the boy and wondered if he knew how surreal it all was. The acid-trip aisles and the blatant wealth and the inhaler he was about to put on his swollen credit card. He thought how happy he would be to pay four dollars for a prescription. He knew he would always wonder. It had to be something good for someone to care that much.