Friday, June 11, 2021

2 Minutes. Go!

Junkies have priorities, it’s just that they’re fucked, but they’re not as simple as Hollywood leads you to believe. Being a junkie takes motivation, and that drive sometimes leaks into other places. Revenge. Sex. Love. Work. There are all kinds of junkies, and some of them do real well for themselves. 

It’s fucked if you think about it. We hate all addicts except the ones addicted to money or work. What is Jeff Bezos if not a fucking money junkie? Self-respect? What’s that? The opinion of your loved ones? Doesn’t matter. It’s how YOU feel, right? But don’t let that money lust manifest in booze, drugs or sex unless you’re a degenerate. 

Workaholics are heroes. You miss your kid's birthday because you’re a drunk or a gambler? Degenerate. You miss every birthday because business doesn’t take the day off, and it’s your job to provide? That checks as long as you’re a step away from food stamps. When you’re puling down 500K a year and no one would care if you took a Saturday afternoon off, you may feel like a real go-getter, but, to the rest of us, you look like a junkie. 

Hypocrisy is the name of the game. Politicians preach about righteousness while they sell their tongues for corporate kickbacks. 

You run a mega-church? I hope there’s room in mega-hell.

How do you deal with a world like this one? Thug cops on a murder trip. School shootings. Chinese concentration camps everyone pretends not to see. Don’t look where those missiles went, the ones we sold, the ones taking babies out before they get old. 

Tell me what a Billionaire is except a fucking sociopath? The Kardashians may aspire to that, but the rest of us would be a whole lot better off trying to be decent people. Keeping our eyes on our own, individual prizes instead of buying into the money/power worship.

But maybe I’m just a simpleton; I’m sure not powerful. Nor rich. Nor influential. I’m not super talented, and I don’t grind 24/7. I like to fish. I like to spend afternoons reading in the shade of a tree. See, I figured something out. I watched a man defer happiness and die before he got to tap into it. 

Fuck power; I just want this lazy smile pasted to my face. 

You can have the rest of the cards, Slick.

I’ll keep my hidden ace.  


  1. Weirdly, Dylan in his born again phase nailed it: you gotta serve somebody. Change body to thing, and yes, we all gotta serve something. But also, I want to know your ace!

    1. Damn. Love it. "I just want this lazy smile pasted to my face."

  2. There was this time when everyone ignored the springtime gusts and bowed to the prevailing spiel and trailed their pollinated limbs like sugarcoated candy. Honeybees still dream on this.

    Stella is gleaming under a sunset, her oil-spilled skin an extension of her faith, which only believes in money and loveliness and sweat.

    Her wife is nameless and brilliant, lost in a shadow thing, spoiled by beach proximity, shifting from cheap decaying sushi to plastic pails and tiny spades reeking of chemical falsehood. Glitter and attenuated nudity. What, after all, do you dream?

    She tried to remember all the stuff from before, her oldest friend, her first unencumbered love, and yet she stumbled on it, fumbled her surety, and never quite picked it up. This was the ravens’ time.

    Her sister tried to warn us. She squeezed herself into a space by the Mexican place, the lime of her dress translucent in the late afternoon, Frankie Valli joyous on someone’s radio. Locale, locale, O margaritaville, I will love you for your fucking face.

    Kitty corner, my girl was getting off shift.

    “Where is all of this happening?” we heard our mama say.

    “Not entirely sure,” the consensus managed.

    She was right, though, to ask. None of this felt real. Perhaps our stage had been displaced, or endless asphalt suddenly emerged like a new undreamed-of stage, where quiet Canadians might just drive a monster Dodge and jump the curb and grind the bones of the infidel. Blastocysts and freaks. Thermonuclear glow and schism and shear and bellow and bloom, a groan from bellow. A killing ground upon which our raven idol endlessly chides and scolds.

    We’ve been hearing auroras and cicadas wrong all this time. Loneliness is breaking us.

    Sometimes you think I know you love me, but I just jumble all those words.

    I met her out back, and we merged our hands and strolled beside the canal after sunset. Lights in some of the barges orange-cozy hearts. Inns and taverns looming and leaning, a night of sheer, an urgent whisper: be here, stay here, be heard, always heed the night birds.

    “How is it we only meet when everything is wrong?” she asked.

    I was quiet. I had no answer.

    “Well?” she tried again.

    Perhaps, I thought, it takes our twisted theory of string to find some unravelled knot and tie a new entire universe atop our flailing premise, but thankfully I never got around to actually voicing such a desperate stillborn thing.

  3. Woman in water

    A woman lies on water
    in suspended animation,
    bubbles of breath blow,
    the sea her bed now.

    In this tranquil repose
    her white clothes stream,
    arms and feet relaxed,
    headrest water’s brow.

    Hair sweeps like seaweed.
    She treads as though
    gravity does not exist,
    fingers caress cool flow.

    She is one in dreaming,
    the forgetting here is slow,
    life on an even keel
    where the trees hum silent.

  4. “So who is this … Lev person?” Jude’s mother said his name like it was something distasteful. Rotten fruit. Garden slug slime trails. Toenail fungus.

    Jude rolled her eyes as she set the third of four homemade placemats at the table. She never should have mentioned him. “He’s not a ‘Lev person,’ Mother. He’s a…” Sweet Judy Brown Eyes, he’d called her. It was sort of goofy, sort of sweet. She shrugged. “Well, he’s just a Lev.” Truth be told, he was hard to peg. Not like the other guys she’d been with—musicians mostly, like Art and his friends. Could she really do it? Get into the van with them after graduation and never look back?

    “A Lev? What’s that, a cult?” Her mother shook her head as she fetched four dinner plates. “I can’t keep up with you kids these days. I heard on the news about those underground weather people. They should all be in jail.”

    Jude blew out a breath, set down the last mat and straightened the first one. Maybe she would miss some things about Long Island. Her mother’s cooking. Her baby sister, who was kind of adorable when she wasn’t being a total brat, like right now, tugging on the leg of her jeans, whimpering “upsies” over and over.

    She plucked up little Francine, lifted her high enough to set her giggling, and sat her on her lap at the head of the table. Daddy’s seat. The girl amused herself with Jude’s long curls and sparkly bead necklace. Jude took a deep inhale of baby shampoo hair, and the scent of pot roast and potatoes drifting from the kitchen. “It’s Weather Underground,” she said. “And Lev, that’s my friend’s name. Lev Aaronson.” She gave her mother a big fake smile. “He’s a nice Jewish boy. You should be happy.”

    She wasn’t happy. “Nice Jewish boys introduce themselves to their girlfriends’ mothers.”

    “I’m not his—” Explanations, Jude realized, were useless. Her mother was from a world of fraternity pins and going steady, waiting around for boys to call. Not her world, of hanging out with friends male and female, protesting the war, getting high, rolling around in each other’s sleeping bags with none of that bourgeoise possessiveness. Lev said he wanted to go to a protest march with her in the city. He didn’t seem like a protest guy. Did he mean it, or was that the sex talking? She grinned, thinking about their stoned fuck in the woods. When he said he had to go—math club—he’d sounded genuinely regretful and she’d been truly disappointed. “We’re not dating,” Jude said.

    “Hmphf.” Her mother crossed her arms over the front of her bib apron. “Well, maybe if you combed your hair and wore something else than that shmata—she gestured to Jude’s handkerchief top and ripped jeans—you would be.”

    “Matta, matta, matta!” Francine said, imitating their mother.

    Jude smiled despite the double scolding and mussed her sister’s cap of curls. “Hey, which side are you on?” And then she began to sing: “Which side are you on, boys, which side are you on? Which side are you on, girls, which side are you on…”
    “Don’t be singing those protest songs to your sister, she’s just a baby!”

    “Oh, heaven forfend she grows up to have a social conscience.”

    “There.” Her mother pointed, voice rising. “That right there, is why you’re not dating that nice Jewish boy. Boys don’t like girls who make trouble!”

    Jude laughed. Maybe she was still a little high, but it seemed truly hilarious. “Hear that, Francine? We’re gonna make trouble. We’re gonna change the world.”

    And for more than a few seconds, she considered, when time came to get into that van, if she could take her sister with her.


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