Friday, May 21, 2021

2 Minutes. Go!

Don't look at me all high and mighty like that. Like you never smoked catnip. Never broke pieces of crack rock off, smoked it on top of cigarette ash in a metal bowl. Like you never drank lighter fluid or tried snorting the painkillers in your parents’ medicine cabinet. 

Like you never barricaded your door and sat with a hunting knife pressed against your throat while your parents screamed at each other. Like you never got raped by some asshole who thought you’d want it even though you were unconscious. 

Like you never got lied about and defamed by bottle-blond self-abusers afeared of the ideas in their little Disney brains. Like you never chewed Oxy. Like you never used a serrated kitchen knife to map your thighs. 

Sure you can smile, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re a compulsive masturbator. That you smoke too much weed just so the snacks will taste better. Don’t act like you never drank two bottles of robitussin to see what would happen. Don’t look at me like you never woke up on the kitchen floor with blue nitrous lips. 

Don’t act like you never paid your employees too little while you tallied up your stock options. Don’t act like you never dropped bombs on dirt-dwelling folks just so you could add another wing to your vacation home. Don’t pretend you wouldn’t eat an endangered animal given the chance. 

Don’t think we’re going to Mars and we ain’t gonna fuck that shit up. Mars will be Florida within five years of our arrival. You ever freebased on Mars? They’re cutting that shit with stardust. 

Don’t act like you never courted genocide, waving American flags like you were trying to put out a fire, not start one. 

Don’t look at me if you’re not looking in the mirror, motherfucker. 

We all got issues. 


  1. Dark, honest, a spotlight on addiction, abuse, and the horrors of power. So many good moments here. I could quote the whole damn thing, but this will suffice. It's startling.

    "Don’t act like you never courted genocide, waving American flags like you were trying to put out a fire, not start one."

    1. Ditto, powerful stuff. How common these experiences are. All the different paths to addiction. Humans are prone. And all our life experiences are often common, shared things.

    2. Damn powerful. I love the drumbeat and raw pain of this, then how it twists. The line David quoted was my choice, as well.

  2. “Heal, heal, little frog’s tail
    If you don’t heal today, you’ll heal tomorrow.”

    These are life’s moments sans frames.

    Uncle Fred loans him his classic convertible for the day. Tyrell revels in the breezes of the city, even if they’re redolent of asphalt and bitumen. He feels his maleness distilled. He imagines a simpler time, a world of clean skies and dirty earth, of bright crowds and dirty, scheming besuited men and acid women leaking betrayal.

    His smile is a midsummer signal.

    When he hears the brief yelp of the siren, the sun at its noonday apex, he’s so honey-sated pollinated and sure he isn’t speeding that his guard is down.

    There’s a shadow at his window ’bout to fall across his whole life.

    “Hello, officer. How can I help you, my dude?”

    “Hands on the fucking wheel! Now!”

    We don't need to see it; we've already seen it. Some mother will see her son’s last moments on someone else’s body camera.


    “They didn’t take his life; they took the rest of his life.”

    “What’s the difference?”

    “I just like accuracy.”


    Through a smeared window, I watched her. She stared in front of her, at a wall. The wall had some old school swirly design in red I couldn’t describe, yet it stayed with me, this moment, this scene, her yellow hair around her architectural shoulders, her still eyes, a room smoky with age and all the mundane moments it had held.

    A choice came to me. Leave now and this would dissipate, or go in and rewire destiny.

    I went in.


    It’s an eye. An eye isn’t a window to anything. It looks out not in. If it offends, pluck it out. Be my guest. Take that razor and slice, my Andalusian dog.

    Let’s get biblical and trade.

    For the sake of the sacred and the profane, please, obliterate the pane.

    “Sana, sana, colita de rana
    Si no sanas hoy, sanaras manana.”

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I'm hoping Tyrell drives home again. The scene is one we've read about in the papers and seen on TV, and happens far too often. All these things that shouldn't be happening. I like the matter-of-fact ending. I like the 'honey-sated pollinated' a lot and the little scene of the guy watching the woman and deciding to change things, shake them up by going in, getting back on the road he maybe should have followed earlier.

    3. So many great images, moments, and WORDS. "Take the razor and slice, my Andalusion dog." Man.

  3. Parched

    The red land lies parched,
    calls forth for a rainstorm,

    clouds brewing on the hills,
    monoliths of black night.

    Cold rises where they hover.
    Cracked, split, drip-dried,

    sutures weave in hard skin,
    this rind sealing the land,

    its dried-up, crooked self
    redrawing lines for Hopscotch,

    where we could skip & jump
    if there was not this thirst.

    We watch the clouds rewind
    for they will not fall today.

    1. I love the pictures you draw. Especially "monoliths of black night" and "We watch the clouds rewind."

    2. I liked the same phrases Laurie quoted, but also, I felt a kind of T.S. Eliot thing going on.

  4. Blue bucket

    I can’t say what we should want;
    the passage is too skinny to see.
    here is a knife and a fork,
    a blue bucket, red spade,
    simple things from simpler times,
    used and reused, a worn habit.

    We walk in sunshine sometimes,
    the gold splits the sidewalk open
    and we are free in our own heads
    where we walk, an imagining
    of times past. we outlasted it all
    in the comfort of our own selves.

    We await the arrival of summer
    to restart. The rest plays backwards.

    1. This is lovely. So much happening in so few words.

  5. Since the initial “where you headed?” conversation, neither of them had said a word for the last fifteen miles. She’d tried to calm her nerves by noting the change in scenery, from the dusty stretch where she’d gotten into his beat-to-shit bottle-green Bug, through the rolling farms and exurban tract homes, the tiny “downtowns” that consisted of exactly one intersection and, always, a church that seemed to tower over her in judgment, its stolid cross like a wagging finger—even though she was Jewish. She’d grown up hearing about the perils of hitchhiking, but in her mind she stored those in the same fusty drawer that contained “Reefer Madness” and girdles and “why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?”

    She figured a guy driving a Bug had to be safe—a guy about her age, wearing a Grateful Dead T-shirt, with a guitar in the back. Maybe he’d scraped together enough money from gigs and whatnot to buy it, and, remembering all the rides he’d been lucky to get, vowed to pick up any hitchhiker he saw. So far, he seemed harmless. Long brown hair, an earnest smile, John Lennon glasses. Kind of cute, in that sad puppy way. Occasionally he darted her a nervous glance, but that was to be expected. Tell a guy you need a ride to the free clinic and he’s bound to be a little wary. Damn near every guy who’d stopped for her had had the same reaction. Normally it amused her, made her feel powerful, but that day it was indeed her destination. An appointment with a doctor who was willing to tick the right boxes.

    “It’s, um, not too bad there,” he said finally. “The clinic.”

    She pushed a smile through her nervousness. “Really. You know this from experience?”

    He blushed, his gaze darting back to the road. “No! No. I took a…friend there. A while back.”

    “Oh.” Now she felt bad for all the times she’d used the clinic as a shield.

    “It was clean. They were nice. They didn’t come down all judgmental.”

    She nodded. “Good to know.” Before he could elaborate, she said, “You follow the Dead?”

    His smile was full and bright and he chattered on about the last concert he’d been to, in Sausalito, and how long it had gone on. She was glad for the conversation, one-sided as it was. It kept her from thinking for too long. Kept her from seeing her mother’s deep-set, scolding eyes.

    “These boys you run around with, Judith. They’re hoodlums. All that dirty long hair, the ripped dungarees. I don’t like it. You don’t want to get…in trouble.”

    Too late, Mom.

    Soon, he was pulling into a tiny parking lot behind a row of run-down buildings.

    “You could have just left me off out front, you didn’t have to—”

    He shrugged a shoulder. “I don’t mind.”

    She reached for the door handle, readying her thanks, but something stopped her.

    “Do you have a ride home?” he asked.

    “Sure.” The corner of her mouth turned up. “I’ll call my chauffeur.” She hated herself then for being mean. “Sorry. I’m just not having a real good day, you know?”

    He nodded. “My, uh, friend wasn’t feeling too great. After. You might not want to deal with hitching home.”

    She hadn’t thought about that. Nobody in her life knew about her situation, and she preferred it that way. She pushed open the door with far more force than necessary. “I’ll be fine. Thanks for the ride.”

    He nodded, looking a little hurt. But she couldn’t think about him. She sat in the waiting room a good long while before she was taken back to see the doctor. Through one of the windows in the hall she saw the parking lot.

    The bottle-green Bug was still there.

    1. This is so good. At first I got a kind of road-trip crime story vibe (be still, my heart), but when it merged into something more humane and kindhearted, I wasn't disappointed. Although, Laurie, I'd really love to see you tackle more genre stuff like neo-noir or that crime-road hybrid I mentioned. I think you have an inner Thelma and Louise that could well be awesome!

    2. I just realized why I was disoriented: Ted Bundy drove a VW Bug! I thought it was a trick, but the trick was a double bluff or pivot, and he turned out safe. It's a really good trick.

    3. loving the characterisation. The characters are really alive and well-drawn and the storyline is starting up really well. they're both likeable and he's still there in his little bug. It could go anywhere.

    4. Also like the references to other people's views and the bits about her mother, and seeing things through her mother's eyes.

    5. Thank you, both! David, that sounds like fun. Hmm...

  6. Inspired by a black-and-white photograph of a tram stopped in water.

    On reflection

    On reflection,
    carried in water,
    rich vibrations awash
    disperse, run curvacious
    into tiny streamlets.
    The 28 tram rides its
    echoed cobbled street,
    an upside trip
    between two cities.
    One man boards,
    his other enters too,
    with two tickets to go.
    The road slides out,
    a sleek watery pass,
    tall, tilted buildings
    look up and down,
    create optical illusions
    journeying forward,
    water sloshing wheels.
    Lights spin a haze.

    May 23, 2021


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