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)

Friday, May 3, 2019

2 Minutes. Go!

I’m gonna rob the Hot Topic. I’m gonna take all their shit and set the place on fire. I’m gonna laugh while they text pictures to their friends – look at the crazy old shirtless man setting the Hot Topic on fire. Yelling, “This rebellious enough for ya?” I’m gonna knock an Orange Julius out of someone’s hand and go try on 500 ball caps when I’m done. I’m gonna sell all the Bob Marley and Snoop and Ozzie posters. I’m gonna use the One Direction poster to beat a boy scout to death. That funny coffee mug? I’m gonna smash it and use the shard-sharp handle to give you a new smile. I’ll stand on top of the cash register singing Johnny Cash songs and making myself vomit. I’ll eat a JUUL case. You’ll see. I just don’t give a damn. And all the time I’ll be singing. “IS THIS REBELLIOS ENOUGH FOR YOU!!!” Then, I’ll get a Cinnabon and throw myself down the escalator, chugging bourbon and lighter fluid.

Show them youngsters how it’s done.

Friday, April 26, 2019

2 Minutes. Go!

The mask smells like a midget’s rectum. Sweat, soaked in sweat. Your eyes glint out from the small holes cut into the vinyl and you smile. It is time. The reckoning. You belch into one satin glove and you’re ready. The first thing you hear is vast silence. When you step into the ring, the entire world disappears. The crowd is a voiceless monster thrashing in the close oblivion. You are in a vacuum, and your mouth is dry. Your tongue is glued to the roof of your mouth, so you smack your gums. Your tongue taps the top teeth. 

The chair hits the back of your head like an explosion. Three toddlers tied to sledgehammers, sent down the falls to scatter in pieces on the shore. You see a quick blackness and hear the sound of tearing metal. The crowd comes back in a symphonic wave. You taste blood and money. The laughter erupts from your crocodile throat. 

The bar is empty, but for two old men sleeping and the barkeep. The whiskey takes the pain away as long as you never stop. Just like wrestling. Everything is OK just as long as you keep GOING!

Ding ding ding.
 
_____________
The darkness is cold and absolute, and screams belt the star-quilt – you are undone by it. You are left groveling in the sad, gritty realization that nothing will ever profit. Nothing will change. You will die a simpler creature than you are now. You are getting simpler by the day. The craven need is unstoppable and you shout it into the universe with hand on heart and moms tut-tutting and people serenading through your life until you think, fuck man, they’re all just waiting around for you to die. They want ringside seats or a brownine badge for saving you. Right. Go into the December darkness if you must, but I don’t want to see it. You can give my ticket to the next sad woman who liked your band in high school. I will be here, ear pressed to the tepid shore, tasting salt and brine. Whose place is it to judge?

Not mine.
 
You look at me with wide eyes and the thing that falls out of your mouth turns around; I find myself staring from an animal much lower than horse high – I start to look like the bad guy. Suddenly, I am NOT angry. I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want any of it. I want to talk about this show and what happened today and we can pretend like it never even got spoken. There’s no rewind on knee-jerk reactions though. You live in that moment because you  have to because you created it. Sucks, I know.

Friday, April 19, 2019

2 Minutes. Go!

(done slacking)

I handed you the book, like, hey, here is something I care about – something that’s important to me. You took the olive branch and stuck it in my eye. You belly laughed about it. What a fucking nerd.

I tried to think what you cared about. What sung inside you with such beauty and delicacy that it HAD to be shared. And I thought, if there isn’t something … Jesus. If’s there’s not a book you love or a show you worship or a song that touched you, well, hell, that’s so sad. 

And then I felt like you wanted me to cry, but I was too sad to cry. I was empathizing with your meek, passionless life. Too cool to care. You should listen to Ian McKay. He was a blowhard, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t right. 

So, I tucked my nerdy trump card and skated. Back home where my big Sis waited. And he’d called her. Told her what I’d done. Super freaking nerd shit. Your brother is such a dork. How could anyone care so much about something so retarded?

We were sad for him together. As sad as you can be for an insecure pile of clichés and self aggrandizement. He’s a lawyer now. 

Still don’t care about shit.

____________

She was a little older than me, and she smelled like cinnamon gum. She smoked cigarettes while she waited for the bus. My friends and I broke stuff. She stood to the side and smoked cigarettes. 

One day she sat beside me on the bus, and I swear I died. My heart exploded. Our knees touched and I felt a shock. Literally. That’s not just lazy writing. 

Long, blonde hair. The only blonde I’ve ever loved except family. 

She was nice in a detached way. I thought she must have been 27 really and there to observe the middle school boys in their natural environment. Laughing hyenas. She was worldly, which is a cliché, but screw you. I’m trying to be honest. I’m trying to be open. What are you trying?

I was 115 pounds of straight nervous heart attack. I was writing stories in my head, and they were all about her. 

The day I decided I loved her completely was one of the last times I saw her. School ended. She never came back. I’m 42 and I don’t regret much, but if I could go back I would have kissed her. Asked her out. Asked her to marry me in a sketchy cult ceremony.

She would have said no. And it would have been amazing.

___________________________


Daddy’s hands were black, but his chest shone like a beacon. Like a man whose job it was to guide ships in during a storm. His face was grey. White on Sundays. Black at the end of the day. He smoked unfiltered cigarettes and coughed. He sang songs in the choir. He made homemade ice cream, and he liked to fish. 

His anger was righteousness, like God was pissed. When he was happy, he was a pal. When he was down in the mine, he never watched the canary. He didn’t think like that. 

When Ma died, he shattered. He lived in the mine and at the rail, drinking rye whiskey and telling bullshit stories and bragging how he had the best job on earth. He pulled his paycheck from the earth. He tapped it out with hammers and a chisel. He fucking breathed it inside of him. It killed him. He’s dead. 

Coal raised me. Every bite I ate was black. Every pair of shoes left black grit on my soul. I did not brag about Daddy’s job. Everyone had a daddy worked in the mine. He was nothing special.

Nowadays, I sit on the big rock at the Y in the trout stream, and I think about him. Cigars, rough hands. Skin always cracking. He could never get clean. And I think. That’s it, man. That’s it right there. The poor bastard could never get clean. Not even when he tried.

 

Friday, April 12, 2019

2 Minutes. Go!

Her wings are a blur - pure speed. She blasts the sunlight outward, green and red. Brilliant red. The air tastes like panic, but that's on you, not her. You don't have to worry, hero. She'll be fine without you. Just listen to her song and smile.

Warmth. Tickle of grass under your feet and sun-baked hair. You walk over kingdoms and civilizations without wondering. There is no profit in wonder. What's the point?

I wonder.

The Jay holds my secrets tight, and I am a good and noble servant. The Blue Jay wears no clothes, but I would never tell him that. 

The whole world smells like a flower shop. The cute girl working there has multiplied by the millions. She's everywhere. Don't touch her. Don't say a word. 

Just be glad it's Spring.

Friday, April 5, 2019

2 Minutes. GO!

Man, those are some pretty eyes. Filled with marzipan and lies; sweet confectionary bullshit oozes out of the corners of your mouth. Beautiful, like blood. You can tell me all about the black escape, and I will understand. I've been there. I built a summer home there. Tell me all about it, darling. I got nothing to offer, but you can bounce anything you want off me. I'll absorb it - set you free.

My skin hurts like it's being torn.

I swore I wasn't going to write emo existential bullshit, but here we are. My eyes are only tiny slits, my throat feels like an ashtray. And I don't smoke. 

I'm sorry. Alright. I know some people like plot and character and whatnot. I don't feel like forcing it, and I'm out of spontaneity. Don't worry; it'll come back. I think.

 

Friday, March 29, 2019

2 Minutes. Go!

I should lick the fog off the rooftops, set the sun free. Head down to the lake and pretend I'm fishing. Or get my shit together. Figure out a way to make a fortune while doing cardio. I'm stressed all the time; isn't that "cardio" enough? How hard does my heart have to beat? How many times do the balls inside my chest need to inflate … deflate … inflate...

I wonder what the fog would taste like? Probably hair spray and petroleum. It might kill me, or make me live forever as a freak superhero. I don't want great power. I don't want great responsibility.

I want a burrito that regenerates when you take a bite.

Friday, March 22, 2019

2 Minutes. Go!

Write whatever you want in the 'comments' section on this blog post. Play as many times as you like. #breaktheblog! 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....

Yellow, the sun sits in the elbow of the day. The clouds rest their bulk on the forearm’s strength. The blue sky covers the periphery, and Jack sits with his back against the rough bark of a streamside tree. He has fished enough. There was no objective. No timeline. Freedom...


From the canopy of trees, the sound of a meadowlark erupts clean and distinct. The sound stills the air, but it cannot occupy the space. The birdsong is stolen by the sky and the trees. 


Sitting against the tree, Jack thinks about the woman he lost. He cannot remember her name. Not now. Fifty years have passed; his mind is going. Sometimes, he remembers, sometimes, he does not. 


The smell of rot is thick in the air. A thick, growing smell. The smell of life, of soil being turned.


Jack closes his eyes and breathes into the tree. He is ready to join the current. He is ready to be part of it all. 

#2minutesgo Tweet it! Share it! Shout it from the top of the shack you live in! I will be out most of the day, but I'll be back...#2minutesgo Tweet it! Share it! Shout it from the top of the shack you live in! I will be out most of the day, but I'll be back..