Friday, April 24, 2020

2 Minutes. Go!


The dream is always the same. There is noise and blood, and the air is thick with it. The blood is in your eyes, your mouth. You taste iron, and you feel it run down your throat and, in tracks, down your face. You try to call for help, but your voice is lost in the gurgle of blood and spit and panic. Your heart races, that feeling you get when you know you’ve really hurt yourself, but you need to act quickly. Stay calm. Stay focused. Spit the blood out fast enough, and you might be able to get a few words out. Clear your throat. Spit and yell. There is no one there to hear you. The dream makes no sense, but there is no wonder in your mind. The meaning of the dream sits on the fence of your subconscious: a fat, alley cat smiling. It knows something you don’t. The cat knows everything, but you never will. You will continue to be a conveyance for blood and terror. Until your eyes open.

They probably will.



The ones you want aren’t the ones you need. That’s the first paradox. The second is that they want you to keep your mind straight, unless they’re the ones bending it. There’s a pill to make you happy, but it comes with a price. There’s a pill that makes your hair grow, but it might make you blink twice. There are pills and powders and potions, there always were and there always will be. There’s all kinds of nooks and cranny’s in the world of pharmacology.

Advil is medicine, just like Cocaine. Benadryl and Dramamine? They’re one and the same. The most deadly? That’s Tylenol, you can buy it at school. There are lots of sly lessons for you to learn, fool.

Everything’s medicine. Every show, shot and smile. The world is wide-open, you can see it in style. The side effects vary and may be intense. You may just start stuttering and lose all your sense. You may end up naked and covered in puke. Or you could end up a tenured professor at Duke.

If it’s crack, bribe the cops, if it’s pills bribe a doctor. She’s heard it before, trust, none of it shocks her. And her prescription pad’s magic, it will fix all your pain. Ask all your junkie friends, and they’ll tell you the same.



The table is so high and, sitting underneath, you can watch the knees walk by and they won’t even know you’re in there. A dozen brownies stuffed down the front of your shirt. Aunt Irene can’t try to kiss you on the mouth. Grandpa can’t try to convince you to recite the poems he made you memorize.

The air smells like homemade peach pie, and the wind is shifting just right that it rustles the cornstalks and whips conversations through the fields like precocious ghosts.

You just stay under that table, boy. You really should. Trust me. It doesn’t get better. It gets harder and more complicated and you end up going places where everyone ignores the kid slipping under the tablecloth with a plate full of cookies. You’re going to wish you could go under there with him, but you can’t because people are suspicious. And jail’s not fun.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

2 Minutes. Go!

I saw somebody drowning, underneath my foot
my forefathers wore blackface, it was coal soot
they breathed it in and coughed it out
spat it on sidewalks, the color of money
they tried so hard to beat the odds, 
but it ain't the way the game's played honey

and dirty white boys shoot yellow meth
while their girlfriends smoke themselves to death
no one cares if the jones gets fed
redemption costs, try this shit instead

yeah, it's dumb; yeah, it's chickenshit
but them doctors always gonna write the scrip
they'll climb inside you, but don't enable it
don't let them put a fucking label on it

run like a motherfucker and never stop
tip that bottle to the very last drop
life's a bitch, life's a cop
you dodge one kind, and one?
one will be the mountain you climb
the hill you die on
while toothless men laugh
on the way to the soul mines, rotten

Friday, April 10, 2020

2 Minutes. Go!

My boss’ name was Tina. She was an Asian woman of about forty years? I was twenty at the time, so I have no idea. She was from China, as were two of the waiters, a husband and wife team of about seventy that got their work done and talked to no one. Every morning, I would (probably not) shave, shower, put on the black pants (size 48) that I bought at Goodwill the day I got the job. They were almost twenty sizes too big, but I would fold the front over and, under my black apron that never got washed, you couldn’t tell at all. I did wash my white, short sleeved shirt, but I did not iron it. And I wore their stupid bow tie. Like a monkey.

Every morning, Tina, five feet with the force of ten thousand suns worth of stress, would tell me that I needed to iron my shirt. I would smile and nod and not even think about doing it. I was aware of a few things. First, it was a godawful job. Terrible hours. Horrendous pay. The only upsides were that the old people were cool, the Mexican dudes in the kitchen were cool, and I ignored basically all their rules. Two, I spoke Spanish and English and no one else could do that fluently. And finally, I just honestly didn’t care about anything. Not really. And I was hung over every single time I went to work. And I smoked weed with the Mexican dudes every single day after work before going home to mainline cat cuddles and bourbon.

There were two waiters from the former Czech Republic. They had seen shit. You could tell. I never would have presumed to ask. They were nice. Friendly. They kind of doted on me in a big sisterly way, and I was OK with it because they were both pretty cute and they had awesome accents. One day, the cuter of the two (who used to tell me about how much she missed her husband, oh the humanity) gave me an iron. I took it home and put it on the counter and then started drinking. And I never ironed my shirt. I never even seriously considered it. The more they asked, the less likely I was to do it. And I had the residents in my corner. And the Mexicans. I called them gringos and they called me vato loco.  It was a terrible job and it was also like a big old hug. I played piano for the residents and they were excited I was in college. I was a king.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

2 Minutes. Go!

I feel like I should write a song,
But no one wants to hear it.
It’s long and convoluted, probably lacking spirit

And the melody’s all fucked.
It’s got no catchy breakdowns,
And the chorus is never the same twice.
It ain’t hummable. It sure ain’t nice.
I want to write a battle hymn,
But I’m goddamned tired of fighting.
I’m tired of arguing and lately;
I’m getting sick of writing.
No one’s listening see,
And I know how I feel.
I’d rather be stuck in an echo chamber than a hamster wheel …
Maybe I want to burn the whole fucking thing down.
Maybe I want to cover the world in bubble tape and kiss the babies.
Maybe I want a time machine, but hell, man. Times are rough.
We’re all tired. We’re all scratching itches we don’t want to talk about.
No one wants to hear that song. That story. It’s an old one. And it’s never been good.
I’ll just strum this C chord and pretend I’m understood.