TWO WHEELS (IN THE GUTTER) Low buzz sibilance of voices from distant backyards pulls me to the patio. Dropping to a cane-back chair, I cure the hangover taste of cigars and Busch beer with Cutwater margaritas, microwave tamales. No Zoning in this quadrant, my place overlooks green space squeezed between industrial beige office parks, faltering shops, roach coach regulars. I wouldn’t mind some rain, to slow the beat, the heat, blast-white sun at two. Shades on to cut the driveway glare, I watch neighbor dogs roam, owners wrestle and race after them. Fence sparrows dart, circling the confusion. Green lizards skitter the breaks of storm-scattered branches. I feel like I’m driving with two wheels in the gutter. I’ll shower soon, change from my overnight clothes. There are pinto beans simmering, ready for white rice, buttered rolls subbing for cornbread. Jimmy Reed is low from my cellphone, slow-walking the blues. Yeah man, I bought some insurance. It’s not helping me today. “ALL I HAD WAS GONE” Draped in Union blue I take a 12-month chip, a copy of The Iceman Cometh, cultivate a salesman’s grinning grip. Miles registered in a company car, a Valley trip lies ahead. Spring becoming summer, there’s a ghost in the garden, a feral cat sensuous in the drying grass. I light a Tiparillo, block walk the gentrified greenery: open lawn, fenced lawn, high oaks arcing the boulevard. Black dirt dust from a truck farm town cakes a two-toned Chrysler. The 5-column church is silent this Thursday afternoon. Doors are locked. I tip my hat to the service schedule set and framed in quarry marble. A Hickey-Freeman summer weight coat is thumbed over a shoulder. There is no place left I seem to see. Cigar ash flurries in the wind. Tied with a 4-hand knot, The Countess Mara silk stays tight. An oil derrick figure on tie clip and cufflinks mark ten years service. Down a distant circular drive, a lone boy pushes a bike. He hops the seat, gains the pedals, wings around the median. I’ll bring a survey team to this memory next week.
'Miserable' You cannot lighten my misery nor can you sweeten my bitterness my bones are crumbling away like the sands of time and my faith is not steadfast;it is weakening I long for death from the Devil himself but it does not come, it tarries like every God's promise to me my sighings had become a new tongue but it seems demons understands this language my groaning is like the water and I suffer fear over this deathless penury my soul is troubled and I'm not at ease because trouble ever calls.
RINSED BRUSH We had so few nights together Over those years That it’s almost as if I can remember each one individually And totally. Almost, but I don’t. The nights mix together like paint and flow away, Running down the drain from a rinsed brush. I recall nights when it was raining or snowing And nights when the moon almost burst in Through the window. I can see moments in my mind In three different houses And they all run together in my thoughts. Walking out of a restaurant Or driving from her mother’s place to mine. It’s more about reliving the feelings I felt From moment to moment - As she looked at me from across the table Or how her legs looked in those long socks As she sat there in her t-shirt and panties And I tried to concentrate on what she was saying. My mattress was on the floor. Watching her sleep there is what I remember most. The warmth inside myself of this complete love, This utter certainty That I have not felt before Or since. The false warmth inside myself That told me as long as I stood upright Everything in life would have to work out. I had a dream about her this morning For the first time in a long time. She kept shuttling me from room to room In an almost empty apartment In order to hide me from various visitors. I don’t need a therapist to figure this one out. I wake up and it’s light outside. I go to the mirror and I look so much uglier Than I did when we were together Or maybe I’m just noticing it now. The walls themselves seem to writhe in pain As if they are being burned by the light coming in And I go back to bed, my nice cool bed, Lying on my belly and trying to forget All of the things that I’ve just told you.
Possession. Greys and browns A dark runs through, Crayons that tattooed our childhood A Mischief branches above Running through walls and refrigerator lights Worn out patches Upturned toys that stare away A greyhound's own place Thinking turns into object A touchstone, a nameplate upon us Until they spark away Little faucets , little unnamed flowers. A Housekeeper's vigilant footsteps A multifaceted colour palette At my balcony Early monsoon fall A bright rob of a sunset A magic coup of daily grindings When the last halt comes A finesse of a landfill Familiar migrant birds of coastal sweepings Brown and black heads Turning down A hoosh upon my home Keys, vigil and possession.
The Salt Mines The salt factory was a really tough gig. That's why I jokingly call it the salt mines. It was 12 hours per day. Six a m. until six p.m. It's one of the hardest jobs, I've ever had. Those bags of salt were heavy. Very heavy. The way that the machines were set up was pure Hell. Sheer sadism. As soon as you'd managed to move one big bag of salt Put it on a pallet, another would drop through the hopper. If you had to sneeze, or cough, you'd be behind, then there'd be two heavy bags of salt to move. When the pallet was full, and you had to move it with a pump truck. Put another pallet in its place. Well, then the whole production line would be filled with big, heavy bags of salt. Until they were stacking up on top of each other. Then some would fall to the floor, there just wasn't enough space. Then you really had to get stuck in. By the time you'd managed to get rid ot the backlog, you would be pouring with sweat, all of your muscles nearly paralysed in pain. Then, the pallet would be full again. And you have to go through the whole thing again. 12 hours of that. I used to regularly fall asleep on the bus home. Either way, I'd get home My wife would have cooked me an amazing meal. I'd soon be falling asleep, face down in my food, whether I'd had a drink, or not. At the weekend, all I could do was sleep. I remember that one time I slept for a full twenty - four hours. That's how tired I was No amount of money can make up for wasting your life like that. I was only on minimum wage, anyway, but sixty hours a week of minimum wage is still quite a bit of cash I lasted as long as the job did. Until Xmas, then I was " let go ", Thank fuck for that.
Plush Safe I want to be so good the government kills me where my phone dings all day healthy and beloved the stars see the error of their ways and dazzle me to sleep each night where echoes of your laughter birth new universes
Interview Questions for a Job Yet to Be Invented Have you ever demanded, received, or paid a ransom? Seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe? Spent a night in the gorilla cage? Bought a human skull on Etsy? Shared an elevator with the eighteen smallest dwarfs in the city? Laughed so hard you dislocated your jaw? Asked Alexa the actual color of the Red Sea? (Intense turquoise.) Been bound and gagged and stuffed in a wheelie bin? Visited a parent in prison? Shrieked like a peacock or impersonated a disreputable poet with a pointy beard and long wool scarf? Dreamt you were dreaming? Put a smiley face at the end of a sentence? Hummed while performing cunnilingus?
Suffering Pleasure I lit candles throughout my Studio apartment not so much as to create a romantic or Gothic ambience, but instead to be able to navigate around my four hundred square foot living space with a small amount of light. Evidently, it seems my memory has been on a bender. Once again it got drunk and forgot to pay the electric bill. The Electric and Power guy pointed out I've used that somewhat creative as well as almost humorous excuse far too often. The novelty has worn off with the consequence being orders to confiscate the Electric Meter and return it to the office. Which meant he couldn't just turn it upside down and push it back in. The company mid-level suits had become sabe to me pulling it out then placing it back into the service restoring my power after the power guy left. I guess I'll be playing pioneer for a couple of days. However, the neighbors are leaving on vacation for a month in two days, so I can jump their power and their Cable. Then I'll try to get my T.V. out of hock or maybe just borrow one of my neighbors TV's. This guy will be living like a suburban scumbag. "This has to stop Santiago. There's no future in what you refer to as a recreational activity." I said out loud. "Ya I know." I answered back with a four a.m. honesty. "When do you think that might happen? Do you envision it as a revelation or an epiphany? Maybe an intervention, or a never-fail cure, incarceration." "It doesn't matter. You've gotta get clean." My voice echoed in the near empty apartment "Ya it'll happen. I just can't say when." I answered back to myself in a sincere tone. I stabbed the syringe deep into my vein. I didn't even have to pull back on the plunger to register. My dark, thick, rich, red, blood billowed into it as a preview of the explosion about to erupt inside my body. Boom!
Immaterial Do you ever feel You haven’t looked At the sky Enough? Not taken in The stars? Or the mountain? Or her face Even though your eyes Find themselves Absorbed constantly Almost like Osmosis Sight loses to feel Like memory Impressionist Brush strokes Coax and tickle Senses With smatterings Of taste And tendrils Mental shards Scatter A reflection of Moments To chew And glue with Saliva And blood A collage of Sand In the shape Of a mountain, A painted sky, Her face Full of our life.
Guns ‘R Us “Your rights end where mine begin” The guns and ammo guy’s t-shirt said. Was selling targets of Obama’s and Biden’s faces with bull’s eyes dead center in their foreheads. Buy in bulk, or spend a yard, and receive, free, targets of #44’s and #46’s extended families, no extra charge. All persons purchasing items are automatically eligible to win a modified-for- maximum-effect AR. Void where prohibited by law.