Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dying is Not Like Sleeping

I was in their bed watching the Greatest American Hero when I heard my mother's car pull into the garage. I turned the television off and deliberately spread my maths homework across the sheets. But she took longer than usual to come inside that night and when she did she was noticeably different. Nervous. Tired. Not crying, but sad and her voice was soft. She seemed younger somehow. "He's gone," she whispered.

We slept together and in the morning we ate our breakfast on the veranda. "Dying is not like sleeping," my mother said. "Nor is living so simple as being awake."

Saturday, November 26, 2011


"It's a Bukowski poem," she says, referring to the words etched across the skin of her arm. It's 1990 and I don't know about Bukowski or poetry or girls with ink yet. "Did it hurt?" I ask.

"It always hurts," she answers with her now familiar deadpan drawl. Looking back I can see the truth in that. It does always fucking hurt.

"I'm taking the fIREHOSE," she says. It's today now and she's leaving and she's taking the music and the books with her. Our memories. I want to beg her to stay but I can't even swallow my own spit.


She's waiting for me to defend myself, to come up with any kind of halfway logical reason why she should stay.

It's two weeks earlier now and it's morning and I'm standing naked and half wet just out of the shower. I look at myself in the mirror.

"I'm disgusting," I say.

"I'm a terrible person."


And now it's today again, but later, and she's gone. It's quiet and I'm already lonely. I want to write about it because that's what we do. What I do, I guess. I write poetry. "Love poems," I think to myself and I laugh so long and hard that it turns into a cough and now I'm trying not to vomit.

"You shouldn't smoke so much," she says. This is about six months ago and I'm thinking "God damn it I won't quit smoking because what else do I have?" And then she kisses me halfway through a drag and I can't swallow so I share it with her; I let the smoke waft out of my nose and mouth as if my face was a just-fired gun and she draws it deep into her throat before passing it back to me.

It's today and I'm reading her Facebook page.

"He's an asshole."

"You deserve better."

"Good riddance."

"He's a fat piece of shit asshole fuck face garbage can."

I go back to 1990 and wonder what she sees in me. "I want to be a fighter pilot," I say. I'm drunk and I don't know how to talk to girls and obviously this is not how you do it because she is laughing and calling her friends over and now they're singing that song from Top Gun and I feel like shit because I'm going to be alone forever. But it's later and I'm still there with her and her friends and she says "you want to see something funny?"

And of course I do and so she slips her shoe off and peels her stocking down and right there on her ankle is another tattoo.

"Take me to bed or lose me forever"

It's 3a.m. now and I know I'm going to have to sleep at some point. But this has got to come out of me first. Words and cigarettes. That's what this has come to. But the only words on the screen are "I AM A FUCKING ASSHOLE" and they are in all caps and they are in 62 point font and I'm starting to realize that's about the sum of it.

I'm a fucking asshole.

It's six months later and she's here in our coffee shop. She's happy and she's with some guy and he seems nice enough and she's read the first draft of my novel. "It's great," she says and I know she means it because she always means it.

"But what does that say?" she asks, pointing to the ink scrawled across the back of my neck.

"It's a poem," I say. "I wrote it the night you left."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Our Eyes Will Never Change

Drinking Doctor Pepper
in Joan Jett leather

Sweaty legs
ice cream line

God damn
I want you


In 1986
holding hands
first kiss
fingering your grandmother's crucifix on the wrong side of Mack
take me


Come on
let me touch you
hug you
slide my hands
inbetween you
like that night down Woodward in your daddy's car

We haven't gone too far

Sit with me
and reminisce
I miss days like this
Belle Isle
playing guitar under the stars

I don't care what happened in the snow
the things you did
I've let it go
the things I said
when we were cold
nothing can ever be the same
I know
but our eyes will never change
and the sun will shine again

Thursday, August 04, 2011


This story is now featured in Up ... check it out.

She's biting his lip a little bit, sucking it, and now her tongue is entwined with his. Hers is long and thick and strong like a python or a cock and it is bullying his to the side and to the top and to the bottom. There are only tongues in his mouth, chunks of flesh thrusting, thrashing, lashing, licking, teasing, tasting; no room for air or words. Just when others might rest their mouths or breathe or stretch their cheeks or clutch desperately for other parts of the body, she breaks her own jaw and swallows him whole. She is an animal, a stray dog eating raw sausages and she cannot be satiated. Her love, her lust is physical and ferocious; her lips are swollen and bleeding and yet she continues to indulge in him for seconds and for hours and they are both fully clothed and drenched with sweat and happiness. When the sun is gone they are finished and they are spent and with his last breath before sleep he will ask if they may kiss again tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Charles is awake now, though it is dark in the room and in his mind. He is under the blanket and under his pillow and under the influence of the pills his mother powders with her fingers three times every day. The voices are back and he listens to them until the sun creeps through the slats of his blinds. He wants to sleep and to die and to be normal but the voices are chanting in unison and the only time they do that is when there is a warning.



Your Mind



Your Mind

Charles does not want to think about the spies but the daylight has revealed a familiar message on the walls. He is naked and soaked in urine and he knows what must be done.

It's twelve years ago now and Charles is staring blankly at Bärbel. 

"You're fucking crazy in your fucking fucked up fucking head," she says.

There are words and pictures scrawled in feces on the bedroom walls. Charles moves to the window and carefully peels the curtains open just enough to look out without being seen. 

"The walls are covered in shit," says Bärbel.

"It is a warning," he says.

"It's a psychotic episode," yells Bärbel. "You've lost your fucking mind."

"There it goes again," he says. "That Oldsmobile has been circling all morning."

"What are you talking about?"

"I don't know how you're doing it," says Charles.

"Doing what?" asks Bärbel.

"Signalling. Communicating," says Charles. "You've told them where I am."

It is five hours later and Charles has bashed Bärbel's head in with a baseball bat. He is dumping her body in the Delaware river and he is cold.

Charles now hears his mother's knock on the door. Tappa tappa tap. Tappa tappa tap. 

He peeks through the blinds. An Oldsmobile.

Tappa tappa tap, he thinks. Tappa tappa tap.

"How would you like your eggs?" his mother asks.

"Scrambled," says Charles.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

One Hour Before You Die

Nono is a model of sorts. A model of socks. Her ankles are slender, not bony; athletic. Her feet wear the socks well: high arches, long toes, slightly narrow body. Nono is charismatic. She is busy and she is popular.

You is a photographer of sorts. A photographer of hands, of feet. He brings a unique aesthetic to his art; the angles, the juxtapositions, the light. He is not happy in his work or in his life, although it does not show in his body or in his manner. In fact, You is known by his friends and colleagues as Mr. Sunshine. You is a professional. He is busy and he is in love with Nono.

"I will take a photo of you," he says to Nono. "One hour before you die."

"I may well die today," says Nono. "Have you a decent camera in your trunk?"

"A new one," says You. "It is a half frame with automatic film advance. And it is very small. It hasn't left my person since it arrived."

You pulls the camera from the inside pocket of his coat. Nono thinks maybe it is a handheld movie camera. It appears to have a telephone dial attached to the front.

"It looks like a miniature time machine," she says.

"It's a Canon Dial 35," says You. My other cameras cannot keep up.

Nono kneels upon a zabuton. She snorts a line of cocaine from a hand mirror that rests on a table in front of her.

"This is Japan," she says. "This is 1964."

"This is Manhattan," You replies as he snaps pictures of Nono. "And these years of yours, they are days for me."

"I cannot sleep," says Nono, unaware that there is now blood smeared across the back of her hand and underneath her nose. "What time is it?"

"You are outside of time," says You.

"I am struggling to understand you," says Nono. "I am very high right now. I have a shoot. My car will be here at 4pm. It is written on my palm."

"You still have 59 minutes left," says You, as he lays his Canon Dial 35 down beside an empty bottle of whiskey. "We should make love."   

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tomorrow is a Love Song

"I'm right now," Mason says to his girlfriend Joey (although he calls her Lawrence on account of she says "Whoa!" a lot).

"Right now you're being a dick," Joey says. "A limp dick with scabs on it. And gross balls."

"Hey, this is me, you know, this is Mason. This is who Mason is. Mr. Right Fucking Now!"

"You're not listening to me," says Joey, looking down at a recently uncrumpled piece of paper.

"Come on, not the list again," says Mason. "If you want to cram bullet points down my earholes why don't you just load up your daddy's gun and blast me dead right here in the Pizza Hut."

"If I thought it would get you to listen I would, trust me. Look, I know you've heard all of these points a hundred and one million times but I'm going to keep reading them to you until they sink in. This is important stuff Mason, excuse me, Mr. Right Fucking Now. This isn't just about you, this is about us."

"Here, let me save you some time," says Mason. "I can summarize that whole sheet of paper into five key action points:

  1. Mason needs to stop getting drunk all of the god damned time and vomiting on carpeted areas of the apartment and people
  2. Mason needs to clean up his vomit within a reasonable time frame of vomiting because by morning the stench is unbearable and the carpet has been ruined
  3. Mason needs to buy Lawrence some flowers once in a while and take her out to a nice restaurant and wear cologne but not Old Spice and seduce her instead of just mashing her tits around whenever he's horny
  4. Mason needs to stop calling Lawrence's friends cunts because if he actually had a conversation with them he would realize they are really smart and funny and cool
  5. Mason needs to completely change his personality to suit the whims of his dumb girlfriend who doesn't understand that he is always, and has always been, right now"

"Whoah!" says Joey.

"You know what Lawrence?" says Mason. "Tomorrow is a love song. And you're buying into that B.S. We, us, you and me, we are right here, inside of today. There is no tomorrow and I will never change for you."

"Whoah!" says Joey again.

"Right now," says Mason.

"That's bullshit," says Joey. "No tomorrow just means no consequences."

"No. No tomorrow means accepting and living what is now."

"Well accept and live this buddy," says Joey as she shoves a slice of pizza down Mason's pants.

"You know, you're not perfect either," says Mason as he fishes the pizza out and eats it.

Joey balls up her piece of paper and shoves it down Mason's throat.

"Eat shit," she says. "I'm going to stay at my folks' place tonight. And when I come back to the apartment tomorrow I want you to be gone."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grown Man Holding a Teddy Bear

There's a painting of a grown man holding a teddy bear. It's hanging in Trevor's local gallery.

"How is this art?" he asks his wife Sophie. "Some dumb asshole has just painted a picture of a grown man holding a teddy bear and some other dumb asshole has declared that it's art. It's bullshit. Oh, nine hundred dollar bullshit by the way."

"Look at his eyes," Sophie says. "Something has happened. In his life I mean. He's sad. And lonely. And angry. God, look at his face. He's angry."

"I'm fucking angry," says Trevor. "Some dick faced dickhead is going to make nine hundred dollars from that. Do you know how many hours I have to work to make nine hundred dollars?"

"About fifteen I guess."

"Yeah, well. It probably took him about five minutes to paint that shit," says Trevor.

"It's haunting. I think his wife has left him and she's taken the kids. Or they're dead. Look at his fists. His hair. Jesus, this is really affecting me."

"Yeah, it's affecting me too," says Trevor. "Makes me want to stab some bullshit artist in the face with a hammer."

Sophie is silent for a few moments. Her eyes are fixed on the painting. She's crying now.

"Here we go," says Trevor.

Sophie turns to her husband. Her hands are shaking.

"I know about her," she says. Her voice is not strong.

"Nothing's going on," says Trevor. "I swear to god."

"I'm not talking about that skank slut Julie, Trevor. I'm talking about the woman in that painting."

"All I see up there is a grown assed man and a teddy bear. Not a woman in sight."

"That's our daughter's teddy bear," Sophie says.

"Our daughter's what?"

"I'm leaving," Sophie says.

"Hold up," says Trevor. "Let me grab my coat."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel

Billy has called the Quilton customer support hotline. He has called this number before and he knows that you can circumnavigate the interactive voice response system by pressing "0".

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Good morning, may I have your first name please?

Billy: Billy Joel

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Thank you Mr. Joel, My name is Veronica. I notice that you gave me your last name in addition to your first name. Would you prefer that I call you Mr. Joel.

Billy: I'm not sure, Billy is kind of childish I suppose, but it may feel more like I am talking to a friend if you call me Billy. But Mr. Joel probably commands more respect. Can you please hold on a moment.

A moment passes.

Billy: I'm back. You can call me Billy.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Thank you Billy. Can I have a contact number just in case we are disconnected during our call?

Billy: Yes. 0488-029-967

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Thank you Billy. May I ask why you are calling today?

Billy: It's regarding your Quilton Gold brand toilet paper.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: So just to confirm, you have a concern relating to the Gold line of toilet tissue.

Billy: Toilet paper.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Yes, here at Quilton we refer to our products as toilet tissue. Our research shows that people, especially those within our key demographic, have a negative association with toilet paper. They tend to find it boorish or uncouth. Vulgar even.

Billy: It is what it is. Can I ask what your key demographic is?

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: I am not permitted to be too specific but I will say that our products tend to appeal to the highly successful career woman.

Billy: I don't know how I feel about that. Is there some kind of user group? I feel like I would like to associate with some highly successful career women.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: There is a guest book on our web site at You can read other people's comments and add some of your own. It is moderated.

Billy: I'm not sure if that is really what I had in mind. I'll check it out though.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: So Billy, what can I do for you today?

Billy: Prior to purchasing the Quilton Gold toilet paper...

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Tissue

Billy: ... yes. I did a lot of research. I like to make informed decisions when making large purchases.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Do you consider toilet tissue to be a major purchase?

Billy: Yes. I buy a lot of toilet paper at one time.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Well, I like a man who knows his toilet tissue Billy.

Billy: Yes, well I read up on it on the Internet, chat rooms, message boards, etc and in Choice magazine and I looked at the information on the packaging and on each company's web site and I did a touch and smell test at the Supermarket and it was quite clear that Quilton Gold was the one for me.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: What did you like most about the Gold line?

Billy: It is everything a toilet paper should be really. Soft, smooth, durable. And the fragrance is appealing but not overpowering in any way.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: So it sounds like you have found the right toilet tissue for you Billy. What's worrying you about this purchase?

Billy: As soon as I started using the Quilton Gold I experienced a small amount of chafing. I applied various creams and balms and salves but over the weeks it has deteriorated to the point where it is very uncomfortable. I can't wear pants. I can't not wear pants. I can't walk or sit or sleep. It is really ruining my life.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: That sounds like a real problem Billy and I will do everything I can to resolve this for you today. Just to make sure I am hearing you correctly, are you saying that you believe the Gold line is causing your bottom to chafe?

Billy: Yes. There is chafing right around my anus and it spreads about a quarter of the way up each cheek. The skin is very irritated.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Are you rough with the tissue Billy?

Billy: Excuse me?

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: When you wipe, do you really dig in and scrub around? Do you apply a lot of pressure to the tissue and grind it all the way into your anus? 

Billy: No, not really. I try to be quite gentle but I do keep going until I get all of the gunk out.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Good, that sounds like you are an average wiper and I think we can rule out abrasive wiping technique as a cause of your problem.

Billy: It's quite red, too. And extremely itchy.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: I'm sure it is. You should try not to scratch, though. It will just make things worse. Have you introduced any other products to your buttock or anal areas in recent weeks? New brand of underpants, lubricating jelly, lotions, or anything similar?

Billy: No, not that I can think of. Oh, I did buy a new leather office chair for my computer.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Do you generally wear pants at your computer? Stop me if I am being too personal Billy.

Billy: Yes, I usually wear pants. Sometimes I, well I feel like my bum is always covered while I am sitting in the chair.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Are you allergic to anything Billy?

Billy: I am allergic to bee stings. My arms and legs swell up and I get itchy all over.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Can you hold for a moment Billy? I'm just going to check our allergen database.

Billy: Okay

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Okay, thanks for holding Billy. We might be onto something here. There is nothing officially documented by our product design or science divisions but it looks like there have been three or four isolated incidences that sound a lot like your chafed bottom. And it says here that all of them have reported bee allergies. It could be a reaction to the fragrance.

Billy: I'm not sure how to feel about that. I did a lot of research. My garage is full of Quilton Gold. I can't even park my car in there.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: What kind of car is it Billy? 

Billy: It's a Honda Odyssey. Minivan.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: That's a big car Billy. Do you have kids?

Billy: Oh, no. I just, you know. You can take the seats out and I buy in bulk a lot, so.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Oh yes, of course.Well Billy, you have been very patient on the phone with me today. I'm going to consult with my manager about our little situation here and we'll find you a Quilton line that does not cause your bottom to chafe.

Billy: I look like a monkey.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: I'm sure that's not true Billy. We'll find the right tissue for you and I'll make sure you get every single roll replaced. We won't be satisfied until your bottom has been returned to its former glory.

Billy: That's very sweet of you Veronica. You are the nicest customer service person I have ever spoken to. Are you married?

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: I'm not married Billy. 

Billy: Do you think maybe you'd like to grab a coffee sometime?

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Billy I might just remind you that this call may be recorded for training purposes. On a side note, as soon as your new shipment of toilet paper is authorised I will call you personally to arrange a delivery time.  

Billy: Yes, thank you Veronica.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: Okay Billy, it has been a pleasure talking with you today. Have I resolved the issue to your complete satisfaction?

Billy: Yes, thank you.

Quilton Customer Resolution Specialist: That's good to hear. Have a great morning Billy. I'll be speaking to you soon.

Billy: Good bye.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Nothing's Easy

Elliot Gould's wife died died died did Judge Reinhold have a brother god rest her soul. The doctors the connectors there are connectors in my my what a brain you have that can not not not function keyboard keycard kitty kitty kitty kitty correcters. I am so lone lone the money to be alone forevery bodies there is blood inside things the things the fur my thoughts are back in side in my thinking finking fingers are bleeding and your terrible lick lick purr personality disorderly conductor. Cat a cat a tonic is sick a stick a knife a life is nothing is easy bake a baker on the highway in the microwave oven on without any fire your gun at me headcase briefly briefcase. Organise your papers news papers electrical fires with my life is in trouble and nobody no body can listen to list them how the things to order you can list them but it's not a pen is a penis a knife it is not right to write to left your life without a love a love the love of a left me when I was nine. I mine I might I have killed Elliot Gould is your cat my brother don't judge me please oh please are asking as king to list them with a pen and I cannot listen to the blood is on my shirt and I can yell a yell a yellow is the word the words a colour to stop the red they said to think of yellow and yellow and yellow and yellow it is yellow it is yellow it is working now I can what have I done.

Friday, June 10, 2011


I am not a vegan on account of:

  • I like to eat meat 
  • I am a terrible person
However, I have noticed that a lot of the people in my intersphere practice veganism. This post is for them. I am not trying to mock them. I am trying to support them and make them feel good about their life decisions. 

I am handing them a cup of water at mile thirteen and hugging them as they collapse across the finish line. 

So in honor of the vegans, here are my veganisms. Please feel free to enjoy them and share them amongst yourselves.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

If You Live in an Apartment You are Going to Die

He can see all of her teeth when she laughs. It's disgusting. Her name is Natalie and she is his girlfriend. He wonders if she is a monster. 

He is not a perfect man, of course. His name is Craig and in his life he has fingered a goat. He has just now confessed this shame to Natalie and her response is laughter -- loud, uncontrollable laughter.

Craig's acknowledgement of wrongdoing has taken place in the shower. And now, all of a sudden, he feels vulnerable. He is not comfortable with his body and he strongly believes he is about to be swallowed whole by Natalie's ugly and gigantic fish mouth.

He has lost control of the situation and his bowels.

"You are a beast," he blurts out. "A cunt-mouthed cartilaginous rabbitfish."

Natalie doubles over in pain from all the laughing.

"You've shit yourself," she says, as soon as her voice can crack through her oxygen starved throat and mouth.

Craig's water-thinned faeces now seep between the tiles on the floor of the shower, inching slowly toward the drain. The surface has become slippery and both Craig and Natalie collapse in a heap of wet people.

Craig's leg is twisted under Natalie's torso and the bone has snapped in two places. His screams waft and twist high above the shower as they are sucked into the fan like an upside down tornado. Natalie's laughter continues to pour down upon Craig's now broken body and person. 

Later that weekend, after the clean-up, after the hospital, Craig and Natalie attend an open house. Craig wears beige corduroy jeans and a well-fitted shirt. Natalie has cut the leg of his pants open so as to fit the cast. She wears a flowered summer dress. 

"You look good in yellow," Craig says to Natalie.

"This is the house we will buy and live in," says Natalie. "We will have children and be happy here."

Craig feels warm and with a chuckle he says "let's check out the shower first."

Natalie laughs once more, but this time Craig can only see a reasonable amount of teeth. Her mouth is beautiful and he wonders if she is an angel.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Paradis, C'est les Autres

There are others here
and you, dancing
Pas de chat
Pas de cheval
Pas de poisson
I am forsaken; I am nothing.
That stage was our bedroom
Those eyes, those feet, the sweat 
The floorboards, unfinished, natural
A boombox, plugged into the power point that sometimes did not work
And the trains in the morning;
In the night
There was music though we had no need for it
We could bend to the deepest position; a grand-plié then
Pas de basque
Pas de valse
Pas de deux.

But one evening after the ballet I tore the lids from my eyes. How was I to sleep? Was I to miss your delicate face for even one second?   

And now there are others here
and you, dancing up there in the light
I am a beast alone with a torch
Guiding the crowds to their seats
Nobody speaks.

I am in hell.

Monday, May 02, 2011


There are dust particles floating through the sunlight by the window in your room. You must know, these are not angels or fairies or any other grand imagining. What you see, on this Sunday morning, when it is just warm under a blanket in your grandmother's chair, as you stare and smile and dream of kisses and crosswords while I sleep in your bed, spent, are tiny balls of human skin, animal dander, other people's hair, insect remains, dirt, and bug shit. If only I could sleep forever.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

When NATO Killed the Children

What was Tony Danza doing
when NATO killed our children
with the bombs.
On our knees
over their bodies
we begged and we wept and we did not know their faces.
Our own children who had been born and nothing else.
The skin was gone and we prayed for their souls
and we cursed the planes and the pilots and the kings of the enemies.
But there was nothing of consequence that could be done
until the noon hour when we watched re-runs of Who's the Boss.
Without children, in the rubble, even this now was not the same.
We wondered if Tony Danza could have done more for Danny Pintauro's career.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Love Song of Steve Sanders

LET us go to the Peach Pit After Dark then, you and I,
Where Steve Sanders' country club afro makes the girls press up against his thighs
As if etherised by his steel blue yet vacuous eyes;

Let us go, through certain ethnic streets,
The smell of poor people retreats
After restless days at West Beverly High
And the Peach Pit diner with that douchebag Nat:
Streets that follow like a tedious episode about Andrea Zuckerman
Of insipid plot lines
To lead you to an overwhelming question …

Oh, do not ask, “Is Steve Sanders racist?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the show where black people dare not go

The teenage issues that are resolved within a three act story arc,
Oh dang remember that episode when Brenda pretended to be French
it was resolved within a three act story arc
And that time those two hot girls stole Steve's car,
But there were serious things too like drugs and fires and cults,
But that shit only ever happened to Kelly,
And the one cowboy kid who accidentally shot himself
He was no Steve Sanders, that's for sure,
Head blown off once about the house, that kid was boring.

And indeed there will be time
For other teen issues like abortion, alcoholism, and AIDS
Rubbing their backs upon the West Beverly crew
There will be time, there will be time
To sleep with Kelly and Valerie and Brenda and Gina and Clare;
But probably not Donna because she's saving herself for Ray Pruitt,
And time for the Peach Pitt After Dark with all those awesome bands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for Dylan to turn 33 while he's still in high school;
And time yet for an episode about Dylan's dad getting blown up,
And for Brandon to bone up,
Before the taking of Emily Valentine.

In the show where black people dare not go

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “What's up with Steve's hair?” and, “No, really, what's up with Steve's hair?”
Time to push Donna down the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of Dylan's hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
Brandon's morning sports jacket, collar popped, goatee on the chin,
Mullet hair rich and modest, but asserted by pretty sweet sideburns—
[They will say: “But how the plot of this show is thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
To whack one out to thoughts of Kelly's mom, is that perverse?

For I have beaten off to the others already, beaten off to them all:—
Have beaten off in the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my jizz with coffee spoons;
I know nude pictures of Tiffany Amber-Thiesen that I will take to my tomb
Beneath the moon and stars I will place a baby in her womb.
Another hyphen I presume?

And I have known the guys already, known them all
The guys each one I went through a phase,
And when I formulated a mullet, I was Brandon,
When I was Dylan I pinned a girl wriggling on the wall,
Then who should I be?
To spit out all the douchebags of 90210?
And why should I be so annoyed by Joe E. Tata?

And I have known the moms and dads already, known them all—
Parents that are nice or drunk or blown up
[But in the lamplight, I could totally imagine doing Cindy Walsh!]
It is her permed hair
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then beat off?
And how should I imagine doing it to her?

Shall I say, I have watched every single god-damned episode
And watched the stink that rises from the plotlines
Of douchey men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of convertibles?

I shouldn't have been so into it I guess
but it beats the crap out of Melrose or Models, Inc.

And towards the end, like in season 9 or 10 or whatever, they should have ended it all a little earlier, right?
I still watched 'cause of Donna and David,
But … WTF … with Noah and Janet ... malingerers,
Stretching out the story lines, nobody cared about Noah or Janet.
Should I, after after all those awesome seasons (and after my favourite Emily Valentine),
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and wanked, wept and called Steve Sanders an asshole,
Though I have seen Steve Sanders' head [always with that hair] blown up like a fart,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great art;
I have seen the moment of 90210's greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Noah and especially Janet hog the screen, and annoy,
And in short, I was bored.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the Brandons, the Donnas, the Brendas,
Among the important issues, like when Brenda took that call from a date-rape victim,
Would it have been worth while,
To have ended the show after eight seasons,
Or is it okay to have squeezed the show into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I guess I was pretty into Gina towards the end”
If one, beating it into a pillow with his hand,
Should say: “Tiffany Amber-Thiessen had awesome tits but Gina whatsername was still pretty fit.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the Davids and Steves and even the James fucking Eckhouses,
After the coke, after the alcohol, after we finally got rid of Andrea Zuckerman's boring ass—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:

Would it have been worth while,
To have ended the show after eight seasons,
Or is it okay to have squeezed the show into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I guess I was pretty into Gina towards the end”
If one, beating it into a pillow with his hand,
Should say: “Tiffany Amber-Thiessen had awesome tits but Gina whatsername was still pretty fit.”

No! I am not Brandon, nor was meant to be;
Am a bit like David I guess, one that will be a dick sometimes but generally pretty awesome
God I wish I was actually in that show, start a scene or two,
Advise Steve Sanders; no doubt, that he is a racist asshole bastard,
Deferential to the rest, glad to be just in the mix,
Social politics, love triangles, and domestic abuse (Ray Pruitt!);
West Beverly High was but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

But it never grew old … until about season nine I guess …
I still watch the re-runs and the DVDs sometimes.

Shall I perm my hair like Steve Sanders? Do I dare to ride a motorbike?
In my dreams I shall wear white flannel trousers, and work at the Beverly Hills Beach Club.
I have heard the Brenda and Kelly singing, each to each.

But I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them totally hot for old man Dylan
and dozens of other guys
hahaha oh shit I just remembered when Brandon hooked up with that racist girl. He should have passed her on to Steve Sanders.

We have lingered in the lockers of West Beverly
By school-girls dripping with venereal diseases
Till David and Donna got married, and Steve Sanders ended up with boring face Janet. hahaha ahah ahaha hah aha hahfuck you Steve!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

There's Rain and There's Oil

Hey Guys, this story is now featured in the first issue of Up ... check it out!

Sweatpants are sundresses and secret caresses. Yes, I've seen the bruises on the backs of your thighs. Everything now nothing, no loving no laughing; your words are cold and they are blood, the lies are clouding your eyes. Your skin is shedding and your teeth are thin. Your bones are bending from within. You have left tracks in the dirt.

Etched in your back, under your shirt with my hand and my nails, our names inside a line; it was a heart and we cried, drunk from the wine, abandoning everything and time. Now there's a blanket in the boot of our car; two empty glasses and your e-mails are written in French. The stench of the con, the truth of the trick. You are a brick in the water but I cannot let you go.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Our Eyes Were Our Hands

Hey guys, this story is now featured in the first issue of Up. Check it out!

New Year's Eve, popping balloons; our fireworks. No light but the moths were shooting stars that night and the sprinklers were our impromptu sex toys. Then in 1987 I was in love with you, a boy, I was a boy. A little Puff the Magic Dragon in the back of your brother's Datsun 120-Y station wagon but we both knew it wasn't the drugs. We shared a sleeping bag at religion camp, so tight and we bathed naked in the stream and we could see our toes on the rocks; it was cold. The water was clear and when my sneakers melted by the fire you let me wear one of yours and we laughed. Our eyes were our hands and how long we held on I couldn't say but to this day I can draw your face from memory and I do.

Now when we meet at church or at work our hands are our eyes and we shake and we sweat. Things have changed but I will go back in time and you will go back in time and we will be the men we never became.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Dangers of Inhaling Helium from Balloons

My children eat their sandwiches and they adore me. I am a giant here and that's all I have so please don't tell them where the bees sleep.

When the boy is in bed and the girl is not crying I do sudoku puzzles and then I imagine bashing your skull in with a hammer while you touch my wife on her body. You have taken her and that is not okay but it has happened. Now you must be happy with what you have and by that I mean please just leave my children alone. I am a helium balloon floating above their sunny faces and scruffy hair and they are still clutching my string tight in their pudgy little hands.

But dinner time is coming and they will let me go because you are making hot dogs and nothing else and that is what they like. You will be their father and they will look at you with your t-shirt tucked into your jeans and when you say "in the flowers" they will know that I am nothing more than a colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic asshole.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A Million Birds and a Grizzly Bear

A million birds and a grizzly bear. The birds are not magpies or doves, but something in-between. Flight unseen, nobody knows who they are. The grizzly bear? His name is Dave and he hasn't felt the same since he heard JJ Cale cantillate "Cocaine."

"I've never done wrong," he yells up at the birds, "along the way, in this life that I've led. I've never had fun, I've never been bad."

"You've eaten some people," the birds chirp back.

"I'm a grizzly bear," shouts Dave. "I'm programmed to attack. But I've never done the unexpected or veered off track."

"Ursus arctos horribilis," whisper the birds back to Dave. "We think you live up to your name."

"This normalness is driving me insane," grunts Dave to the birds. "I can't very well express myself to you with these words; I'm a bear. But I'm tired of all this truth with none of the dare. I want to down a fifth of scotch and finger a fish and watch pornographic movies online. I want to take something that isn't mine and alter the numbers on a speed limit sign. I want to get a tattoo of Jesus smoking crack on my back and hatch a virus that can infect a Mac. I need to go nutso ballutso just one time before I sign off and decay into the dirt. I'm inert, benign, like porridge that tastes just right."

"You're doing fine," hum the birds as they fly out of sight. 

"Shit," says Dave to nobody as he stumbles back to the stream. "Winter's coming and I need to eat me some salmon."

Monday, January 31, 2011

Your Dog is So Lonely

There was a movie about McDonald's about the food and a man who ate a cheeseburger vomited so you should know that it is not good for you. Your floor is covered with trash and all that partially digested meat is sitting with bent legs in your stomach. It spits acid into your sphincter and you are going to die. You are so fat and greasy.

You are spending too many hours killing army people on your Xbox Three Hundred and Sixty Degrees and your dog is so lonely. Buy him a tennis ball and pat him on the head. Do something with your life. All your friends are boys and I think you are masturbating into your socks. Open the curtains it is so dark in here.

Are you a different person in the mirror? I don't like what I am seeing. Look at me I am talking to you. You need to wash your hair and I think you are drinking too much. I see the cans outside. You are not so sneaky as you think you are.

And your bean bag chair is leaking beans all over the place. Is this what makes you happy?

Good Night, Irene

Oh, hey, my poem Good Night, Irene is now up at Ana C's New Wave Vomit.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Kissing Women in the Mouth

He waits for her to open the door before backing out. All she can see is headlights. She waves, he's nice. Cute in the face but she's sad. Inside now, she cries and driving home he wonders why the prostitutes refuse to kiss him in the mouth. He offers them more money and they take it but the lips, a kiss, the intimacy cannot be paid for. He wonders if he should have asked her for a kiss. He hugged her and he shook her hand and it was awkward and embarrassing.

She is a woman who he has met recently in a normal social situation. She is attractive, not a prostitute and another day he calls her on the phone from work and they chat about things and laugh about their respective uniforms.

"I will take mine off when I get home," he says. "And I will sleep okay."

"Be truthful," she says. "About the little things. It means a lot to me."

He is honest now and he tells her that he does not sleep well in the night. He eats alone and he wears his uniform until it is time for bed. He is ashamed.

"I am happy about the things you tell me," she says. "In a way that transcends your particular circumstances. You are a good person and you deserve to sleep and sleep in your sheets and on your pillow."

"I am not a good person," he says. "I have paid girls for sex with my own money and I don't know how old they are."

She is surprised by his honesty and relieved. "I have given my boss a blow job in his car," she says. "He is not an attractive man."

"I will ask you a question," he says, "and you do not have to answer it. Have you kissed your boss before or after you have sucked his dick in his car?"

She laughs and she says that she has not kissed her boss before or after sucking his dick in the car. She can't imagine it.

"I think about kissing women in the night," he says. "You or prostitutes or any woman in the world. What it feels like, how it tastes to kiss a person in the mouth with clothes on or at the movies or under the covers or in the snow. And to wake up in the morning and to kiss them again. I don't know this kind of kiss and I crave it."

"I will kiss you," she says. "I will hold your hand and you will touch my face and we will kiss in the mouth and on the lips. You will know and you will understand and we will take off our uniforms and I will be a woman and you will be a man and nothing else. We will be together."

"I won't sleep tonight," he says and he doesn't.

In the morning it is Saturday and she waits for him in the park. It has been a long time and she is drinking coffee and he isn't going to come. She is happy now, later in years and in months. But she sometimes wonders about this man who was so honest and broken and ready to walk through the door to everything. She wants to know if this man is kissing a woman in his bed and sleeping at night. He is nice but all she can see are headlights as he backs out of the driveway in her mind.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Wide Open Road

In her bed she stopped and said "it's a wide open road" and you knew just what she meant. It's a wonderful feeling, being over, in the beginning, the third instar of a fly. Sixteen days until you die and now you have come alive. Throw off the covers, punch her in the face. The window, the door, get the fuck out of this place. Get in your car or hop on a bus, go fast, stop, go, there's blood on your knuckles but you can't feel any pain. You didn't really punch her in the face but who she is or was or wasn't has been erased from your brain except it hasn't for the memories of vision, hearing, balance, taste, and smell remain. She's okay and it's okay to wink at your heart and high five your mind when you think about that first day on the train and that dress and her breasts and how she caught you peeking at her nipple.

But you are an excitable cell with action potential. Take off your shirt, turn right, there's nothing left in her of you. It doesn't matter who you're with or if you're not or if you read the paper. All paths have now converged at this critical point.

Yet nothing is critical or important or dependent on anything. Your phase velocity has been irrevocably altered and you are leaving the glass at a most peculiar and intoxicating angle. Good bye little boy, it is time to eat the frog and spit on the toad, for this is your wide open road.
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