online literature since 2007

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Redemptionist

The church was large and modern so there wasn’t much wood besides the pews.  All of the windows were right under the roof’s edge, at the base of it’s massive pyramid shape, and a large cross, made of yards of white cloth, ribbons, really, when you considered their height, hung under the peak.  Locals of the town who did not attend service called it the Jesus Mall and visitors craned their necks in admiration when they drove by.  The church was non-denominational and larger than most college basketball arenas.

Once a year, two thousand people filled the church to see the Redemptionist, an event the AM station 1300 The Bread advertised as the day of the year to witness miracles that renew faith.  Many drove from all over the area to come and the side streets and surrounding neighborhoods filled with lines of parked cars once the lot filled.  You never really saw people walking into the church or gathered in the lobby.  You just imagined the church filled completely otherwise it would not be as big as it was.  The event, with all the cars, would also appear to locals and passerby’s to be the church’s most important day of the year even though nothing stirred outside the massive building.

A crowd filled every pew and folding chair in the aisles and many stood in the back of the church waiting on this day.  A sibilant reverence went about the heads of the people and the rich green walls.  The colors grey, dark green, and maple made up the colors of the interior.  The people wore suits and dresses.  Someone placed a white sheet over the altar table and a single mic stand stood in the center of the altar at the top of the three long steps.  This made the one think the pulpit would not be used at all.

Twelve men in grey and black suits came out first.  They walked in a single file line slowly to the front of the altar.  The short men puffed their chests out and the taller ones hunched their shoulders in their pointy suit jackets.  All of the men with blond hair had short cuts that soaked up the sun coming in from the windows.  The men with brown hair combed the top over into a part.  Everyone in the pews watched them carefully and waited.

A short, plump man came out of a door on the left side of the church.  He wore a pink tie with a matching fluted pocket square.  He also wore a small lilac pinned to his lapel.  The man walked in quick, sturdy steps and swung his arms freely with closed fists as he climbed the steps up to the altar.  He grew taller and taller like he had been crouched and his walk forward straightened his back.  His shoes shown a brilliant black, polished like the finish of a piano, and he continued up the steps.  The first platform step was large and many strides were taken to reach the second.  He kept his chin up and the thick eyebrows matched deep lines in his face, like tributaries running from the pools under his eyes, and the powder make-up made his forward unnaturally diffuse the light filtering in through the windows under the edge of the roof.  His socks showed when he lifted his knees to step.  Each step became shorter in distance.  He was one of the men with dark parted hair but strands of silver could be seen in streaks starting at the widow’s peak.  He took the last step and stood before the mic. He was tall, straight and he scanned what was before him with great admiration.

Many of the people in the audience shook their heads in some kind of agreement, perhaps at his presence, and waited for him to speak.  The swollen church stared at the man and the air grew thin like hot sea air and the walls stretched.

He spread his arms and embraced the scene.
“Amen,” he said.  He scanned.
“Amen, Hallelujah! the audience yelled.  Several whooped at the end.
“Amen!” he yelled again.
“Amen!” yelled back the audience and the whoops coupled with chopped hollers and barks.
“AMEN!” he yelled and arched his back with force and snapped back at the mic.  The church erupted uncontrollably and the people rocketed to their feet yelling and shaking their fists, leaning into the backs of one another over the pews.  The twelve men behind the man speaking clapped and nodded their heads up and down or shook them left to right.  “I come here today,” he said, “to show you, each and every one of you, redemption through the Savior Lord Jesus Christ!”  The audience responded to everything the man said with even more violent seizures and louder cries.  “I come here to you, to you today to show you the divine power of Christ!”
            They cried.
            “You come here to witness the terrifying love of God the Father and His Holy Son, Lord Our Shepard, Jesus Christ!”
            They cried louder.
            “I come here,” he yelled, he had begun to sweat, “to make you all witnesses of saving Grace! I come here to show you how God’s saving Grace blesses the good and destroys the wicked!  I come here to show you the sinner saved by a God in tears, by a God with awesome power that strikes the evil dead and sows the seeds of the Good on our scorched earth!”  He shook violently.
            They cried for his words.  He took the mic from the stand.  He walked to the left of the altar with his head down and sharply walked back to the center.  He looked up and said, “Who will be the first to let God cleanse you of the evil that takes over us, the demons that run our lives, the sins we commit and keep in piles around our hearts?  Who will be the first to witness the power of God?”  Hands shot up in the audience.  The man nodded to the line of men in suits. He looked at the ground and scratched his nose with the back of his hand. Three of them left the line and walked directly to a fragile, old black woman in the front row with her hand raised.  She was crying.  Her jaw opened and closed like a fish and the tears ran into her mouth.  She looked like a greasy old bag in a floral dress.  She shook a little when they helped her step away from her chair and she put her hands out in front of her like she was unsure of the footing.  They tugged at her and she made it to the stairs.  She hunched and became more and more hunched as she climbed the steps one raised foot at a time.  The audience behind her cried with praise.
            They placed her before the man with the microphone.  They were both tall now.  He held the mic before her face and she hunched over, as though she fought her purse from pulling her shoulders to the ground.  “What’s your name, child?” he said.
            “Rosemary,” she said with a worn voice softly into the mic.
            “Rosemary, what afflicts you?” he said.  He held the mic to her rheumatic jaw.
            “All my life, I had never seen clear,” she said.  He pulled the mic back to his face. 
            “Rosemary here is afflicted with sins that have caused her eyes to fog!” he yelled.
            They cried.
            “The saving Grace of God will rid her of the sins and out go the demons preventing her from seein’ God’s goodness!” he said. 
            They cried.
            The man handed one of the men in suits the mic.  He turned his back to the crowd and did something with his hands.  He turned back to the woman.  The other two men held Rosemary by the arms and one of them held her head back by the forehead.  Her neck bent violently so that her Adam’s apple stood out further than her chin.  She choked and couldn’t cry.  “Open your eyes, Rosemary, and know God’s Grace!” Another man in a suit, one with blonde hair, used his thumbs to hold her eye lids back.  The man speaking jammed his thumbs into her eyes.  He pressed hard and pressed hard again against the eyeballs.  Rosemary gagged a little and the men let her head free.  She cried and a sincere pain came across her face only for a moment, like a cloud across a slivered moon, but no one saw it.  She blinked rapidly and looked at the man.  “Tell, me Rosemary, what do you see?” said the man and he grabbed her face with his hands.
            “I see your face a' clear!” she said and began crying.
            “I said, tell me what you see!”
            She was choking on her breathes and looked more in pain than in a state of joy.  “I seen God and the clear of His Earth!” she managed and buried her hands in her face.  The man turned to the audience with a red face and said, “I give you God and His Grace!”
            They cried and cried.
            The three men guided the crying woman off the altar to a door to the back left.  Other people in suits stood to receive her.  She was crying uncontrollably.  They closed the door behind her.  Another man opened a door in the room to a small parking lot behind the church.  “Thank you, Rosemary,” said one of them and they shut the door.  The man inside could be heard calling into the mic.
             That night Rosemary went home and counted everything for her family.  She stood ten feet from the fireplace and counted the number of bricks across the mantel.  She counted fifteen peas on her plate at dinner.  At bedtime, she counted the beads of the Rosary without touching them.  She fell asleep and dreamt of many vivid images.  She woke next morning and opened her eyes.  They felt like they had glue in them.  Her eyes were red and when she rubbed them she felt something shift under her eyelids.  The days went on and her eyes hurt more and more.  Eventually the world was as blurred just as bad as it had been before.  No one told her.  She waited for the next year.   
who is more moral?
the one who preaches the moral,
or the one who attempts to live the moral
and fails.

what is more pretty?
a dog licking its own feces,
or a model covered in makeup
walking down an aisle.

when does this end?
when one clock chimes at midnight,
or when i look out over the bridge
above a ravine
and jump.

when will one side claim victory?
the general will stand on a hill
and watch his army decompose,
or the rats will infest my small abode.

talking never solved any problems.
it was just talking about problems
until they weren't problems.

i have anger waiting to tear itself from my skin,
but i laugh instead.
i laugh so loud
that the man in the next apartment knocks
on my door and asks me what is wrong.

remember when you encouraged me to enlist in the army
and later i found out you were fighting for the other side?

remember when i fell asleep and woke up
and you were there and we feel asleep?

i say i do unto others as i would
hope they would do unto me,
but then again i don't know what they would do
unto me.

retrospectively, it is much easier to regret
the choices we made and the reasons why
we made them.

but then it is in retrospect
that we realize that we are
dwelling in a strange period in space and time.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Carbon Leaves (Mind Autumn)

   When spring comes violent from the chimneys
Of winter locker, the maids, honey blonde
Chords of Irish skein, sterilize the sanitariums
Until the chemicals make all blind, I tell—

   The sickly hounds and wolves, from stick and city,
untrimmed filthies and frothing cages of  brittle bone,
Shake in circles from the cold,
                                                and the washing rain
Under the newly sprouted leave fingers of trees—

For the past, the carbon leaves of color die to wind,
                                                vain memories,
Wilt and succumb to the hungry mouth of soil
                                                Or sink in sea.

The top side of leaf sees the sky,
The bottom sees the canines shake—

In the rain,
By the cold,
(when all shake their heads
            In fear disguised for sympathy)
the belly of the leaf sees the
And the sunned topside sees the

   The sanitarium is a church of suckling and
Vivid impulse, prostrate in
Hay, through worn and
Wooden pews
            With thousands kneeling in prayer
            With the wind chiming sins escaping
            from tops of the canines’ heads howling—

   To the confessional with the maids
To the confessional with the priest
To the confessional flooded with rain
And Lilly pads of carbon leaves

   At the confessional door,
With the confessional door opened,
The sanitarium becomes
                                    beautiful and filthy
In the escaping flow of maiden, beast, and
   Many carbon leaf.

Friday, March 26, 2010

off the cuff, after Precious

when your eyelids start to close
i begin to think that
you'd be better off dead.

but probably
that faint smell of roses
that you leave in your wake
is a clear indication
that something stickier
is on the loose,


something runnier
something funnier
something sunnier
something that sins and gins more
something that blings and wins more
something that shiny new things more
something that wines and dines more
something that holds open the door
something that fucks on the floor
something that eats my roar
something that chews my lore
something that sucks my whore
and sucks and sucks until i'm so(a)r(e)

that's what I want.

and THAT is what I'm ready for.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

a haiku poem

two days from right now
a tiger takes a bite out
of the gleaming jungle.

shaking in boots,
alone: the way the willow cries.
it is a long way home .

the underbelly
of the thundercloud is black,
weighted by fire and brimstone.

the roof caves inward,
the room emits a low moan.
a child falls asleep.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Margaret Little (AKA "the golden age when you could smoke inside")

Margaret was twenty-nine years old when she decided she didn't really care for her life anymore. She had given her job (a boring mix of shuffling papers, sitting at a desk, and occasionally walking through hallways) its fair shot. Her boyfriend had offered his hand in marriage, but four years had gone by and she was still working at the office, hating life, and wondering whether she should still be wearing a ring on her finger.

Her birthday didn't really mean much to her anymore. Today was her birthday. She sat at her desk in front of a Macintosh computer with a big Apple logo on the side, a black screen, and text rambling across it as if it were a foreign language. Dust and smudges could be seen on the monitor, while the computer hard drive was rumbling quietly next to her feet.

The clock to her right said 5:20 but she was fairly certain that it was 6:20. The clocks had changed recently, but some of them sat unchanged due to the fact that no one had bothered to walk to her corner of the office to change them. As for her, it didn't really matter whether it was 5:20 or 6:20.

That night she sat at home reading the newspaper in front of the television. Mark was out with friends at a sports bar, watching the Pistons play the Bullets. He had told her that he would make it up to her by taking her out the following weekend, but she probably didn't believe him.

At midnight she went to bed. When she woke up the next morning he was lying next to her, although he was facing away from her. She smoked a cigarette in bed and then she took a shower. She was supposed to meet with an old friend from college for lunch, and she didn't really care if Mark was awake when she left.

She made herself scrambled eggs for breakfast and she also ate half of a cold blueberry muffin that was left over from the previous weekend. As she washed down the muffin with a cup of decaf she realized that it was no longer her birthday. She was no longer twenty-nine. She played around with her hair for a minute and then got up and brushed her teeth.

She got into her car and drove to the nearby commercial area. She filled her car up with gas, which took longer than she had hoped because the first pump she pulled up to wasn't working.

The diner at which she was meeting her friend Jake was situated almost a hundred yards away from the road. It fit nicely in a small shopping complex in between a Friendly's ice cream restaurant and Christian bookstore. She looked at the clock in her car and noticed that she was half an hour early, so she decided to check out the Christian bookstore.

Inside the store there were cassette tapes of lots of contemporary Christian rock groups, but Margaret hardly recognized the names of any of the groups except for U2. She had liked U2 when she was younger, but now she yawned as she looked at their cassette tape. The store also contained several books that she had read as years before, such as the Chronicles of Narnia and Johnny Cash's autobiography Man In Black. There were also lots of different versions of the Bible, all in different colors.

After several minutes of bored browsing, Margaret went outside and smoked a cigarette. She looked inside the diner and saw that Jake wasn't there yet. A toy store was open at the other end of the shopping complex, so she decided to see what was in it.

The store was filled with action figures and toy cars and dolls and doll houses, assorted board games for children and also several of the newer games such as Oregon Trail that people could play on their desktop computers. Margaret went over and played with a puzzle called the Rubik's Cube, which was a cube that contained various smaller cubes of different bright colors that had to be moved around in order to have the same color cubes for each side of the cube. It was a bit mesmerizing but also boring after a while and she put it back on the shelf. She also played around with an Etch-and-Sketch, which produced about the same results for her.

She exited the toy store and made her way back over towards the diner. Her friend Jake could now be seen inside the diner, sitting at a booth and skimming the menu. Margaret opened the door to the diner and made her way over to the booth.

"Hi, Jake," she said.

"Hey Marge!" he said.

He got up and gave her a hug and she sat down and they stared at each other for several seconds with shit-eating, shy grins on their faces.

"Sorry, I was late," she said, "I got her a few minutes ago and you weren't here so I decided to look around the stores."

"Finding anything interesting?" asked Jake.

Margaret was in a brief daze as she surveyed the menu.


"What?" she said, "No, I didn't find anything interesting. This area sucks."

"Yeah," he said, "I generally don't care for suburbs. I prefer either the country or the city."

"Me too. But I live here."

"Me too."

They looked at the menus for several minutes, and Jake made several remarks about dishes that he either found interesting, random, or cliché. Margaret smoked a cigarette and gave brief answers to his comments on the cuisine. After several minutes a waitress walked up to their table. She seemed to be somewhat forcing her smile.

"Hi, my name is Carmella. Do you know what you would like today? Our soups of the day are clam chowder and vegetable, and coffee is only 25 cents a cup until two."

"I will have the half-pound bacon-cheese burger with tomatoes and mayo, and Pepsi to drink," said Jake.

"Would you like chips or fries," asked the waitress.


The waitress wrote this down and then turned to Margaret: "And for you, ma'am?"

"I will have half a panini with ham, salami, cheese, and prosciutto. And a glass of 7up to drink," said Margaret.

"Would you like chips or fries," asked the waitress.

"Fries," said Margaret.

When the waitress returned with their drinks they each took a sip and then Margaret lit a cigarette.

"Hey, do you think I could bum one of those off you?" asked Jake.

"Of course."

She handed him her pack and he took out a cigarette and she lit it for him.

"Did you quit smoking?" asked Margaret.

"Yes, well cigarettes at least. I still smoke a cigar every once in a while with these assholes from my job that I play cards with, but in general I no longer smoke. But I like smoking, but there is just too much anti-smoking information out there these days. My girlfriend would kill me if she knew I was smoking right now."

"Yeah," said Margaret, "who is this girl of yours again?"

"She works for Proctor and Gamble, that is about all I know. She went to Penn State for college, and majored in political science."

Margaret took a couple of drags off her cigarette.

"She is fun to be around though, unlike a lot of people."

"I wish I could say the same about my boyfriend," said Margaret.

"Aren't you engaged to him now?"

"I have been for several years now," said Margaret, "But it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. I don't really know why I am still with him. I don't know what I am doing anymore."

She let out a laugh that rang with sarcasm, and he did the same.

"What are you doing for a job now?" she asked, "You had been working for your father's bank hadn't you?"

"Yeah, but they got bought and I didn't like my new boss so I quit. Now I am working for a publishing company."


"What are you up these days? Besides living with your boyfriend or fiancé or whatever..."

"I work at a marketing information systems office, but I am hoping to get some jobs writing in the future. I can't work in an office for much longer or else I will kill myself."

"Yeah, me neither."

"Do you still talk to Robert or Sandy or Alison much anymore?" asked Margaret.

"I talk to Robert sometimes," said Jake, "He still smokes pot a lot, I think, but he seems to be doing okay. He is working for a small advertising agency that is based somewhere in Ohio."

"Yeah, I talk to Alison sometimes on the phone. She says pretty much the same thing about him."

"What is Alison doing these days?"

"Working as a paralegal at a law office in New York."

"The city?"


Their food arrived and Margaret put out her cigarette in the ashtray. It was the third cigarette she had since she had been sitting there.

The prosciutto on her sandwich was a bit too thick and it made it hard for her to chew it as quickly as she would have liked. Jake had already finished half of his burger before she had even taken three bites of her sandwich.

"What is up with women watching their weight?" she asked Jake.

"I don't know," he said, "I wonder that all the time."


"Aren't you watching your weight right now?" he asked, pointing to her half sandwich.

"I guess so. No, I'm not. I'm just not hungry. I had breakfast before I came her."

"Oh," said Jake.

She looked back down at her sandwich and took a bit and then she washed it down with 7up. They each concentrated on their food for a few minutes.

Jake finished his burger within a couple of minutes. After Margaret had eaten the last bite of her sandwich that she was going to eat (she usually left the crust alone) and gotten a refill on her drink ("Excuse me, can I have some more 7up?"), she lit a cigarette.

Remnants of cooked potatoes and processed meat were sitting patiently on their plates. They each sat back and in the booth, leaning against the leather, adjusting their pants, sighing, and slightly flexing their stomachs.

"I've missed you," said Margaret.

"I've missed you, too," said Jake.

They sat in silence for a few moments. Margaret would stare at her mostly empty plate and then glance quickly at Jake, and she would see that he was doing the same.

"How long are you in town for?" asked Margaret.

"I will be here for the rest of the week, because my hotel is here. But I will be heading into the city tomorrow and most of the other days in order to meet with clients."

Margaret nodded her head a bit and twisted her lips upward as if to show that she understood this information.

"We should hang out again while I am here though, of course," said Jake.

"Yeah," she said, "Do you want to hit up a bar or something in awhile later?"

"That'd be nice," he said.

The Pink Floyd song "Another Brick on the Wall" was playing softly against the backdrop of the lame buzz of conversations and cooks and waitresses and the cashier shouting inside the diner. Jake scratched his eyes. For some reason, this made Margaret angry, and she felt like slamming his face against the table. She sat back in the booth and massaged the leather seat with her hand.

"Do you know of any good bars around here," asked Jake, "I haven't been here in years, and back then I didn't have enough money to really 'hit up' bars too often."

"There is a nice Irish-themed bar on the other side of town, and there is also a stupid cheap bar right down the street from here," she said.

"Is the Irish bar actually Irish or does it just act Irish?" asked Jake.

"I think it might be actually Irish. Or Irish-American or whatever."

"Okay. Cool."

They told their waitress they did not want dessert and they paid their bill. Outside the clouds were beginning to coalesce into dark gray pillows, and the sun was no longer as bright as it had been that morning. Margaret lit a cigarette and walked over to her car.

"What are you doing now?" asked Jake.

"I think I am going to go home and do my laundry, and then hopefully I will be able to continue reading this book that has been sitting on nightstand for the past couple weeks."

"What book?"

"It is called Women. It is by Bukowski. I don't know if I like it."

"Sounds okay."

"What are you going to do now?" she asked.

"I think I am going to go to my hotel and prepare for a meeting I have tomorrow, but I will give you a call in a few hours or so, okay?"

"Okay. Bye."

"See you later."

The drive back to her house was boring and dramatic. She was happy to see Jake, and it made her realize she needed to leave her fiancé and find something new. But she also was bored, because she had spent several years with Jake when she younger. She had gotten bored eventually of being around him, and she figured that she might get bored again if she spent too much time with him or kept in too close of a contact with him or whatever.

The song "Don't Let's Start" by They Might Be Giants was playing on the radio. She hated that song so she switched the station to NPR but she hated that too so she flipped around at random until she go to the black people station. She didn't know what song was playing, but for some reason it made her think of sex.

When she arrived home she put her laundry in the washer and turned on the television. She watched an infomercial for a few minutes until she realized she was falling asleep. She smoked a cigarette and then she pulled her pants down and began stroking her clit. She inserted several fingers and kept rubbing her vagina until she was sufficiently wet. Then she smoked another cigarette.

Around five she got a call from fiancé Mark saying that he would be home later than expected that evening. He said she could go ahead and eat if she was hungry, or if she wasn't they could make dinner later that night. She said she would make herself something to eat because she was meeting an old friend later at a bar. He didn't seemed to care and she said goodbye and he said goodbye and then she hung up.

She wondered whether he was having an affair and then she realized that she didn't really care.

She made herself a salad and coffee for dinner. For several hours she sat in front of the television; she would turn it off and try to read her book but that wouldn't work and then she would turn it on again and stop reading and then she would turn it off again and try reading again.

At 8:30 or so she got a call from Jake saying that he had just finished dinner and was wondering whether she still wanted to get a drink. She said "yes" and gave him directions on how to get to the Irish-themed (or perhaps actually-Irish) bar. They agreed to meet in half an hour.

On the ride over to the bar she put in a cassette tape of the new album by Sonic Youth. She stroked her hair and looked at herself in the rear-view mirror. When she arrived at the bar there were about a dozen people there, mostly men who had just gotten off work at the port but also several slutty-looking women who were older than here who were either talking in gossip-like conversations or hitting on the men from the port. She sat down in the middle of the bar.

On the television the Detroit Pistons were playing the Chicago Bulls. Margaret didn't know the stake of the game, but she figured it might be the playoffs because it was May and that was usually what happened this time of year (most of the boyfriends she had ever had had been fairly avid basketball fans). She noticed Michael Jordan as he was shown in close-up. He looked intense. Words flashed across the screen before a commercial saying that this was "Game 1". On a television at one end of the bar there was a baseball game playing as well.

When Jake entered the bar several minutes later she finished her drink and said hello. He was wearing a different and nicer shirt then that afternoon and he had on nicer pants. The shirt was flannel and the pants were Levi's or something, but they looked a bit too small or tight on him.

"Sorry to keep you waiting," he said, "I had to call my mom to check in. I hadn't called her since last week."

"How is she doing?" asked Margaret.

Jake raised his eyebrows to himself and let out a small sigh before he said, "She is doing okay. She bitched to me about my dad some and asked me what I was doing here."

"Sounds like fun," said Margaret.

"What are you drinking?" he asked.

"I just had a vodka-tonic. I was thinking of ordering another one."

Jake got the attention of the bartender and ordered himself a whiskey-soda before also ordering her another vodka-tonic.

"This isn't really too much of an Irish bar," he said, "They have a Notre Dame pennant, that makes sense, and a bunch of Yankees bullshit, that doesn't make sense. I also have no idea who any of the people are in those photos."

"You recognize Jack Nicholson, don't you?" she said, "Or what about Flannery O'Connor?"

"Oh yeah, I see him. But is he Irish? Hold on, where is Flannery O'Connor? " They each laughed. "I guess there is a lot of green and stuff in here, too. Like look at that neon green lamp over there. You don't see that everyday."

"Yeah," said Margaret.

"So did you eat dinner?" he asked.

"Yes, I had a salad or something. I was going to eat with Mark but he had to stay later at work."

"Bummer," said Jake, with a hint of sarcasm.


"Do you have any plans for tonight?" he asked, "It is Saturday night after all..."

"No, I didn't call anybody. I've felt like staying in the past couple of weekends."

"Yeah, sometimes people aren't nice to be around, even if they are nice."

"Yeah," she said.

She was drinking her drink at a fairly fast pace, but so was he. He seemed somewhat interested in the basketball game. He asked her offhand if she cared about the game, and she said "not really."

After they had each finished their drink, they ordered more and Margaret suggested they go sit down at a table.

"I was just tired of both us, mostly you, using the game as a distraction," she said after they were both seated at a table.

"Yeah, televisions shouldn't even be allowed really in public places. People use it as an excuse so that they don't have to interact with other people."

"Exactly," she said.

"What kind of music have you been listening to lately?" he asked.

"Oh, a lot of the same stuff, a lot of older stuff, some new stuff. I guess Sonic Youth is my favorite band, but I have been listening to the Beastie Boys more than I used to also."

"I love that band," said Jake.

"I need to reconnect to music or something," she said, "I think it might help me figure out what I want to do or something."

"Yeah, I can give you some tapes or something," said Jake in an off-hand way.

Margaret lit a cigarette.

"So are you going to...stay with this guy for…how long?" he asked.

"I don't know," she said, "I should probably move out soon and give him an ultimatum or something. Or just leave him."


"He doesn't really seem to care about anything. Actually, I hardly talk to him frequently nowadays. I think he might be cheating on me."

"That's fucked up," said Jake.

"Yeah, I guess so," she said.

"What do you want to do?" he asked.

"I don't know," she said.

"Can I bum another smoke off you?" he asked.

"Of course," she said. She handed him her pack and laid her lighter on the table.

They each finished their drinks.

"What would you like to drink?" he asked.

"Just get me a class of wine, please," she said.

Jake returned to table with her wine and a glass of scotch for himself. She felt uncomfortable about the fact that he had paid for her last two drinks, but she also kind of liked it.

"Remember that time when we bought a couple grams of coke and went bar-hopping all over the city with Robert and Sarah?"

Margaret laughed. "Yeah, I remember that," she said.

"We were wasted. I remember not paying for half the drinks we had that night. I wonder if anyone ever paid for those."

"Probably not," she said, "It was just really strange going into bathrooms and doing lines and then dabbing our cigs in coke and smoking them and being discreet and not being discreet and everything."

"I think Sarah puked that night," said Jake.

"Yeah, probably," said Margaret.

"I remember Robert going up to some guy that was talking shit about us and almost starting a fight."

"Sounds about right," she said.

"Do you want to go drive around this area of town after we finish this drink?" asked Jake.

"Okay, sure," she said.

They walked outside and got into Jake's car. It didn't make sense, because she didn't even ask why they were getting in his car. It was just an old habit, maybe. Or some type of subtle masculine domination. Being around him was somewhat relaxing and good, but it also made her nauseous. She couldn't stop biting her lip and she felt a headache growing, but it was possible that the drinking caused that.

When they got in the car and Jake started the engine, Margaret could hear the motor. It started much easier than in her car. She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. He turned his head slightly. He looked like a sad puppy who didn't know what to do but deep down knew what he wanted. He took his hand around her head and kissed her back on the cheek. He turned on the radio and began driving down the road.

"Where should we go?" he asked.

"I don't know," said Margaret.

When humans wait to age

Mind the field of ice bobbed
with frozen buoys of elephant heads
half-in, half-out,

which reach to arid night sky;
the try to warm at the touch of a star
tamed and at watch
of God's hovered palm--

plate between the try
and the current reality.
Let me show you this cranberry lake
of meat and time

when humans
wait to age.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tailed Cock in a Bubble

After time--
the gin blossom grows
when black cherries are
taken from drink.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

snake in the grass

there is a heat
behind my temples
and it roars hard:
summer sun on concrete.

i can sit still
or writhe
or waking dream
but nothing seems
to calm the fire within.

i'd like to think that goats
or owls or wiley things will
extract me from the wreckage
but it seems that i must
battle neck and neck
with the greyness shackled
to my footsteps.

will be greener
or the submarine
will open up
the blue
let there be light.

but only the rabbit knows--
his warm fur
countering the coldness
in my breast--
his best
defense against
the reappearance
of frost.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I wanted to tell you I smiled today.
This idea made my lips go:
            left corner up,
            right corner up,
Teeth; soul luke warm in eye water—

            The idea:
Is a reality.
Is a reality of a moment behind
the face of the clock.
Is reality encased in matter.
Is reality measured with
            reality’s measuring tools
            that do not exist.

Certain things do not exist!
            Sharp reality.
Is beautifulality
without the romantic…
Really, it is.

Is an immunodeficiency
Is a creator of fear, of taboo,
Of unwarranted glory, reward,
Romanticism created/creates time.
            The to do—
Kill romanticism to
take all of its blood.
Fill writing with ugly, human,
time-laden romantic blood
Produce the timeless, divine, and
Sublime—…a sharp reality,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Look at those feet go swish switch tap snap up goes the cane down goes the cane over the
neck of the bent stereotype

Look at the child carefully hang from pencil washer string the jar makes candy crystal
needle numbs the memory

Look at the when the stigma was made black monster a marvel a culture feeds and flees
Goddamn thumb up its ass

Monday, March 15, 2010

the internet should be free

Pistols and Artifacts

Pistols and Artifacts

There are collections of pistols
racked in cherry,
mahogany, glass cabinets
owned by men of women—

Polished and loaded
between legs
of wine, dinner parties, cabarets
and the sun’s of a bourgeois
season son.

The collectors watch their cabinet
by night, when
lightning charges
the pistols
in uncanny light;
visible then,
steel pistils in religious right.

Others collect, in cabinet,
only the knowledge
of the Indiana Jones artifact,
for women,
from kingdoms overgrown.

When stigma pawnshops
call in the middle of the night,
the collector sleeps happy
from adventures under the sun.

Inside the cabinets,
women see artifacts taken by
pistols and pistols protected as
artifacts and under the sun,
they shrug, comfortably fond of the
understood flower. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

just found this

tao lin article really cool
chilling in parks

sweating in cities

daytime seemed longer when i was younger

i guess it is sometimes

who was that person

my memory gets clogged sometimes

it is 3:37

yesterday we were in the milky way

am i on the right side of history

actually i dont really care

the other day my leftovers grew some mold

good thing they were in the fridge

Saturday, March 13, 2010


sometimes i forget what its like
to be your friend.

you show up with your short skirt
and your red cardigan,
and your complimentary colors.
you take a drag of your cigarette
and you ask me to help you finish
that one project you
just don't
have the time to do.

and i look at you like i recognize you.
and i speak to you like i know who you are.
and i agree to help you
like my car isn't rusting at the edges
like the hedges
don't need a good pruning,
like the wallpaper isn't peeling
like my shadow hasn't felt
like a heavyweight champion lost
at sea, clutching driftwood
staying adrift,
remaining afloat
until land loses its grey fuzz
and with great luck becomes
a sensible, reliable saviour.

you're like the cat around the corner:
always there but never seen.

maybe i'll leave you
a saucer of milk.

maybe i won't.

I Believe We Write God's Mistakes

For years I have watched the rain
run beads down many, many things—
Today I watched one drop

Run so electric
down her chest

I saw
crowd her on the deck—

On the couch,
before the fog,
the lamp left,
rainbowed our light
to the right,


she will come in from her smoke,
and tell me:
time was written like that.

Friday, March 12, 2010

tiger beat


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

american stereotype-what i would think of america if i came from another planet and then learned english and was given a weird 50s/60s education

norman rockwell
aaron copland
dwight eisenhower
johnny carson
walter kronkite
people excited about god or jesus on radio or television
george washington

Two Poems

Holy 3-Dimension

Day in day
The wavelength I ride
Goes up and down like
Carousel saddles in the sun
When it buckles
I see
The many colors that make black
When it binds
I feel
The white from every color
Dyed and threaded through
the Eye of an angel

Wasteland, The

The mare slammed her
Foot into the grass of the
The dew dropped its
Droplets into the mud of the
Spades blossomed, Queens and Kings
Made love and the Jack watched over
Eleven bastard children
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Interview with Mick Jagger, 1970

Mick Jagger lifts his cigarette to his mouth and sucks from his bike tube lips.  He flippantly puts his knee up to his chest and then puts it back under the table before he takes a drink of coffee.  I don’t want to start the interview until he finishes his cigarette, he doesn’t look ready to talk about music and I thought he’d rather be 6 inches up a girl than sitting with me.  Fortune gave me this interview with him, getting the interview while he was still in New York only happened because I promised him good coke if he ate eggs with me.  I don’t have any coke but I’m waiting to tell him this until the end.  This diner won’t hold his pompous blow up when he finds out.  It’s raining out and he still has sunglasses on.  This kid doesn’t know left from the bottom of a bottle and he is the swinging sex symbol of America, the accented punk that makes the girls like spring morning grass?  I can’t tell if he’s looking at me but he looks like he wants to tell me something and I doubt it is his opinion of the eggs.
            “I was in the fuckin’ basement when I came to, man,” he said.  I turned on the recorder and tried to look at him like it didn’t matter that I could finally get the check from my editor. 
            “Which city were you in?” I asked.
            “I didn’t know at the time, man, but I know now it was Detroit.  It was after a show.  The basement was pitch black except for some light from a lamp. I was sweating so much I thought it was raining in the basement.  I was, like, where the fuck am I? You know?  No one was there and I was in some basement that had a dirt floor.  I was caked in it.  All I had on were pants, man.”
            “That must have been pretty startling,” I said.
            “It was, man.  There was nothing in this basement but a shovel and a box the size of a freezerbox full of photos.  I was shakin’ and I needed somethin’ to drink, I had dirt all in my mouth.  There weren’t any steps up from the basement.  There was a metal ladder up through a hole in the floor.  I climbed up into the kitchen and still no body was there.  All the windows were boarded up but I looked through a crack in one and saw I was in a neighborhood that scared the shit out of me.  Just empty lots, junk in the yards, and the sky greyer than I had ever seen it.  Listen, man, I’ve done a lot of shit, seen a lot of shit, but never had I been so fuckin’ scared for my life.  I just had a feeling I was a dead man. I had no idea where anybody was, man, I had no idea where I was or what the fuck had happened to me the night before,” he said.  He lit another cigarette and leaned forward on his elbows.  The white t-shirt he had on had a hole in the chest pocket from the corner of his cigarettes.  His fingers nails were long and he had a habit of picking his teeth with his pinky when he wasn’t smoking.
            “So I went to the front door.  There was nothing in this house, man.  The furniture had been burnt and trash was everywhere.  A piano missing the two front legs was in front of the front door but that didn’t even matter because the door was boarded up from the outside.  Every window was boarded up.  All I wanted to do was get out.  Then I heard someone smash a lot of glass up stairs.  I mean it was violent. Crash! And then they started pounding on the walls or something but it scared the shit out of me.  I was so high…”
            “I thought the Rolling Stones made a public statement that they don’t do drugs?” I said.
            “Who the fuck are you?  Smart question.  We don’t use drugs,” he said.  “Anyway, you want to hear the story or not?”
            “Yes, please continue,” I said. 
            “I was freakin’ out, man.  I had never been so scared.  I had no out and I wasn’t about to die in some fuckin’ dump for nobody to find me.”
            “Why were you so afraid your life was at risk?” I asked.
            “Because I was still so high I get, you know, all paranoid like, and you think the worst, man.  So I ran back down the ladder to the basement.  I didn’t know what to do.  I thought I’d dig my way out so I took the shovel and started digging as fast as I fucking could.  I got tired really quick and because I thought someone was coming after me I sat in the half dug foxhole and buried myself as much as I could, man.  I only got my legs buried but I thought that was good and I sat holding the shovel, watching the hole in the floor.  I went into a trance staring at that hole, man.  I thought to myself, I’m a fucking savant.  I’m so far gone that I have brilliance that only one in a million have.  Then my mind just goes, you know?  I start thinking I have a soul unfit for the body and I am everything.  I knew at that point I was an angel and all I wanted to do was paint.  You know you get that urge just to do something?  I just wanted to paint.  I thought I was the only one who could’ve created myself, I knew that I had painted myself alive.  I was going like that until Keith stepped down onto the ladder.  He was naked and holding a shotgun.  He goes, ‘Mick, you down there?  Let’s get the fuck out, we need to get to the plane man!’  Can you believe that?”
            “No, that’s pretty remarkable,” I said and took a sip of my coffee.  This kid thought he just told me the greatest story there ever was.
            “Alright, man, I’m leaving.  Don’t fuck yourself up, Matty,” he said.
            “It’s Malakai,” I said.
            “Right.”  He assaulted the waitress with his gaze and walked out.  I was supposed to make an interview out of that.  I was going to tell my editor I quit and go back to teaching Marx at the community college.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

a new poem

i have nothing to say.