Friday, February 19, 2021

2 Minutes. Go!

The notes are sticky, man. They're hanging from the ceiling: fat, purple and swollen. They're gonna drop on your head, drown you. You're going to have to swim for it, and you might beg it to stop, but thin man gonna keep blowin' that horn. Motherfuckers are gonna keep slamming those drumsticks. That fat man with the big ol' bass is gonna rewire your shit, retune your heartbeat. Ain't nothing to do but drink it in, keep swallowing so you don't drown. 

Shit gets hot all over town.

That guitar run went up your spine and played it like a xylophone, son. Sounds like plastic, wasted misery. Sounds like Chicago on a summer night, screams over those flat punches. Get it in the gut; close your eyes so it can't take you over, Buttercup.

Light one up and lean out over the fire escape, shit's just turning up. 

It don't matter if you can understand the words, man, you get the gist. You gotta chew on it like gristle, get the juices out of it. Let 'em run down your throat while the fast women run up and down the dancefloor, collecting heartache. 

It's a long night, and you ain't got but one heart to break. 

So, let 'em bang the drum, the beat, the summer heat. Let the politicians lie and the poor folks suffer. Let folks freeze solid and call it American Perseverance. 

America is going cheap. It's on clearance. 


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    1. Wow. Loving the last line. Sometimes feeling the same thing about here, too. When I started reading the start, I started thinking about Post-It Notes and the writing on the wall - and then it was song notes in my mind. Buttercup made me think of a song lyric. It's a nostalgic piece, and angry, and yeah, things don't seem to change, however much people want it to. Some people do need to rewire their shit!

    2. The imagery in your pieces is always so accessible Dan. Like I'm right in it immediately, always. I love the idea that the music brings home the truth however gruesome or awful. Fave line: Sounds like plastic, wasted misery.

  2. Time drop

    It drops, time. It spreads over, sliding
    waves cascading, blue-grey years,
    tears lost in an unbridled storm.
    It separates and skews in sunlight,
    skies strewn with our own reflections,
    pulled into being when recognised.

    Surf lifts and draws under, piles up over,
    watery mountains rushing to breathe,
    descending into a playground for dolphins,
    arched, deep-diving, waxen curves.
    We lose sight of time. Seek it out anew.
    This ticking loses itself fully submerged.

    A lone swimmer strikes for the horizon,
    faint smoke-line drifting beyond oceans.
    It’s a one-way ticket and he lacks the will
    for the return. A white flagged boat drifts,
    the sailors’ attention rapt, but the dolphins
    riding the torrent swells have long seen him.
    They wait for when his pace slackens,
    a silent warning that his time is running out.

    1. Haunting. Time haunts. So do oceans. You've captured that beautifully and believably here.

  3. There were almost thirty people in the room when she entered it. They were all singing. Singing to her.
    “Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday, dear Charlotte. Happy birthday to you.”
    Jackson stepped forward to greet her first, holding two flutes of bubbling champagne in one hand. He’d already had a glass or two earlier. She could always tell.
    “Here you go, lovely.”
    She took the glass while her eyes scanned the room.
    Hearing the clink of their glasses touching brought her eyes back up to him.
    “Happy Birthday.”
    “You didn’t have to do this Jack.”
    “Oh, but I did.”
    “Everybody,” he said suddenly, turning back to speak to the room. “Everyone, can I have your attention please?”
    Jack had worn the blue suit she gave him today. The one in that new blue. What was it called? Something strange like Yumi. But she’d known it would look great on him. It was a color that commanded attention. And Jack didn’t need the suit for that. But in it he reminded her of a river she’d seen once near their final home together.
    “It was only ten years ago that Charlotte and I lost our parents. Tragically. Unexpectedly.”
    The room was quiet.
    “And with that loss our small company also lost both it’s leader and it’s inspiration. There is only one person I know now, that is as smart or driven to solve problems like my father was. There is only one person I know now… that… who beautiful and savvy as my mother.” Jackson reached down, taking her hand in his. “The kick in the butt for me is they are both the same person. Her name is Charlotte Hardeman and she is my little sister.”
    The round of applause was loud and immediate, but polite. No one called out her name. No hooting like they knew her intimately. The only person in the room who really knew her — who had ever known her — was Jackson.
    “Today is not just her birthday, as you know. It’s the day we take this enterprise public. I can’t think of a more auspicious day for us to do that deed than the same day this incredible woman was born.
    He raised their hands up together in the air.
    He’d said woman. Not girl. Not person. He’d said woman. Because no one knew her better than Jackson.
    “Please help me toast the queen of this ball. To Charlotte.”
    The guests murmured and echoed him, raising their glasses.
    Charlotte could feel the pride simmering underneath the surface of her thoughts.
    “Drink up, little one.” Jackson said. “Before it gets warm.”
    She didn’t need the encouragement. Not this time.


    Stop calling me.
    Can’t you see I’m on my phone.
    It’s my lifeline.
    My byline.
    The through line,
    To my esse.
    And you are a disturbance.
    A disruption in my flow.

    “Golden, I need you baby.”

    Nah, you need my skin
    My touch is your kryptonite
    But what do you do for me, darling?
    I’m only here for titanium swag.
    For celestial palaces in drag.
    For bling, I can fling into a whole new thing
    For me…and you too, IF you can handle that.
    Weren’t you listening to Nipsey?
    It’s the economy, stupid.

    “Seriously Golden, you’re my everything.”

    Tell me something I Do. Not. Know.
    I know about you…
    From those heretic sidepieces you boink
    Who believe they can accelerate your heart
    After two and half Hennies and a joint
    And your little squad with
    Their little minds
    And their little…
    You KNOW I do not have the time,
    For none sense.
    Hasn’t the last year taught you anything?
    No one does. There is no more time.

    “Golden. It sounds like it don’t matter to you,
    if I died in these streets.”

    You already doing that, ain’t you?
    I mean who’s pulling the trigger?
    Them or you?

    “Fuck you, Golden.”

    And here we are at the end of our regularly unscheduled program.
    I wish you could hear yourself
    The way I hear you.
    The way it plays in my news cycle.
    What difference does it make that I’m looking for a way out?
    Especially when you are not looking for anything but the
    occasional ride between my thread count.
    I know what you need.
    I need more.

  5. The hole had swallowed me whole, its limits either as small as an eggshell or as large as an auditorium. I’d played with that idea for a while, shouting out whenever it seemed too small, needing a voice to hear even though it was only my own. I’d given up on listening to music and TV, knowing they were fake, identifying them as the noises others had made, just as I was doing, trying to define themselves. I was limited too, of course. My horizons were closing in on me, tightening in on my brain.

    There had to be somebody else. Someone to show me who I was.

    I’d tried going out, walking the streets. I saw other people there, doing as I did, their faces aiming down, and their eyes closed. Many of them wore masks and many more didn’t, their expressions dulled either way. They were all individual and also the same, characterless clones with nothing to say or do with their time.

    I wondered if I looked the same. If I was an anodyne. If I was a shadow, needing some light to make me feel real again.

    Today, I was washing. I washed every day. I washed myself in the morning and again each night. I knew it had become ingrained in me, this urge, this need to feel clean. I had smelled others who’d given up, their faces sallow and drawn, and resolved never to be like them. I was clean and I was respectable; I was healthy enough to be approached. There was no need for anyone to avoid me or turn away.

    And yet, as I thought, there were other reasons to be clean. I spent hours with myself in the bath sometimes, soaping and caressing and cleaning my skin, obsessing about the glide of my hand. I’d stood for a long time beneath the shower, eyes closed, letting the water paste my hair against my head. There was no limit to what I’d do, just to feel a part of something larger.

    But I refused to let it become anything more. I needed my satisfaction to be unsullied by guilt.

    1. Such loneliness in this piece. And tension. And a weird kind of apathy bordering on creepy. Makes me want to know more;
      to hear more from this point of view. Have a feeling more would be surprising.

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