urge to call
jobs that don't exist anymore,
(more) with homeless,
our health, security--
you know these things too,
central truths understood
by all religions. it goes,
the world. oceans eat
all over cities, how
we forget, like childbirths,
hardwired to turn pain into
urges to protect, to be mothers,
connected by it. a mushroom trip
of a life, good minutes and special
relativity. the opening of eyes,
constant fear that essential things
beer buzzes, life
of pets, of careers,
good years on oem organs,
limbs, friendships, god
damned love. how
you know me. i can give
reasons, technical reasons
googled to be true,
how memory wears
like grooves on vinyl,
but less predictably--
it is not necessary.
you have seen
entropy, like me,
you know big picture
given sufficient ignorance
or bravery or suprising
lack of failure, this time
saying first goodbye
we kiss as if discovering it,
astonished how even following
(more) aged cheeses and cured meats
still our tongues
seek tongues at bus stops
despite clear disdain on both sides,
we try, and jesus
that's enough. (less)
Margaret had her crank radio with her under the tarp. It was the middle of the day. The sun poked through cracks in the seams; the stitching in the blue semi-translucent material stood out clearly. Margaret lay on her cot and stared at the tarp, avoiding the too-bright su(more)n that was blazing through it. She needed another tarp. This one was half dry rotted, and when it rained it offered little protection with all the holes. Still, it was better than nothing. She didn't know when she might come across something as useful as a tarp anytime soon. She’d had to kill a man for the radio.
Margaret turned the crank on the radio and out came the voices.
"have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water?"
"Well no Jack, I don't believe I have."...
Margaret liked this one. it had funny voices. She'd heard it before. A lot of the words didn't have any meaning, but she liked the way they sounded. The radio only worked when she turned the crank, so she took breaks when the story got boring. Sometimes the radio had stories, and sometimes it was just static.
Margaret used to cry when she was alone at night and all she heard was the sounds of the wind and her fears shouting at her to move away from the quiet dead city. After she got the radio, and she could listen to the stories, she didn’t feel as alone anymore.
The dishwasher comes in later,
his hands will shake and
he'll say that he's not a tweaker, it's
remnants of some disease, he'll say
the pile of dishes will "ravage his soul"
(more) as he pulls on yellow latex gloves.
He moves through the pots and last night's
plates of nachos and browned ramekins of guac because after work there are shots waiting and
at home later, his harder gutterpunk drugs.
The restaurant is full of coke ghosts, wearing
all manner of jort and ink and ascot, drinking
heavy. Tickets play that single note
of staccato dot matrix all the way through,
until a precious lull, then
outside we crouch, filthy, sipping
beers the bartender slipped us, because
she is the most beautiful girl in the world.
After brunch the grease and stink
marks our victory. We discuss
being sexual wizards, the concept
and the reality, as if
our hours lost to benedicts,
lost to bacon grease napalm
demand this camaraderie, because
alcohol in the afternoon can do that.
Someone buys another round of Dead Nazis
and suddenly everyone is my brother
smiling thank you at the world. (less)
I always loved to write, in that precious unproven way where it was mostly about hating myself and occasionally writing the same derivative poem over and over again. This behavior has lasted well into adulthood.
April of 2009 I decided, rather arbitrarily, to try to write every day(more) for a month. I did, and then tried to extend that for the rest of the year. I was in a relationship at the time. Lots of schmatz. I regret nothing.
It's a muscle that needs to be flexed, writing. See -- even now, it's only been a few days and it feels like swimming through syrup.
I'm trying to make a go of it as a freelance writer now, and even though it's still a good way off from being my career, I'm on my way. None of that would have been possible if I hadn't buckled down and made writing something I had to do every day.
Fast forward to today.
Today I was cooking eggs at the restaurant where I still earn most of my living. It was muggy, hot, and everyone was super bitchy. (Myself included.) Then towards the end of my shift I saw on my smartphone that an article I had recently written had just gone live. Suddenly working somewhere I really don't want to be was made more livable by knowing that somewhere else I existed as someone I want to be. Somewhere in the world there was the me that I'd prefer the world thought of when the world thinks of me, which it doesn't, really, but that's kind of its own blessing.
So yeah. Don't fuck around. We're all going to die before blind luck gets the job done. Trust me, I've tried. Doesn't work.
how am i supposed to
forget making a fool of myself
over and over
because when i'm in the midst,
doing the lord's work
and off to the periphery you're
(more) smirking like lucifer.
the blush comes so hot,
my face boils because
you are wearing stockings today
and nothing else. (less)
It's this baller thing
with my coat hangers,
how they are arranged
according to color and type
at three in the morning,
my clothes being irradiated
(more) concurrently elsewhere, and
right now in Chicago
it's a no hitter thrilling us
so we can't sleep, so
it's this again. I know it
same as you, same as wincing
holdovers from yesterday's indignities,
how you mouthed off
to a maybe sorta cop
(you can't tell anymore)
he had a scanner and a club,
so close enough, rolling through
Tukwilla he's the third one
checking the fare for a third time
and twice was god damned enough.
Do we have a problem here?
No problem, no problem.
Throw in a sir
for good measure
and it's over and
I look out the window
craven as a fucking puppy. (less)
that's close enough.
I can see inaccuracies
of teeth and shaving,
bad breath god
almighty, i really
didn't want to hear
(more) scenarios or anecdotes
let's make it
double or nothing
i finish this one
and more to come
or you're paying
and i won't tell you to shut up.
He's listening to a dumbed-down science podcast about lasers. Walking north past the Magnolia bridge on the Elliot Bay trail, he comes to a part where the path goes super narrow and is enclosed with chain-link fences topped with barbe(more)d wire. On one side there are maybe a hundred parked school busses. His kid might ride in one of them. He's around that age. On the other side of the fence there are train tracks, one after the other. He likes this part of the path where it's industrial.
He keeps walking and gets through the chain-link fence bit and it opens up with a few blocks walking alongside the idling locomotives. The noise of them blocks out the voice explaining the history of coherent light, wavelengths, unromantic truths. He takes out the earbuds and takes a few hits of weed walking beside the trains.
Now there are new overtones going on in the train noise. He walks past it and walks along the street towards Ballard. Up ahead he'll get a pork shoulder sandwich at Paseo. With jalapeños. (Gotta have jalapeños.)
Later he listens to a BBC story about impending economic collapse while walking beside the ship canal. There are sailboats queued up waiting for a drawbridge. They are headed out to Puget Sound. There are kayaks and rowboats in the water managing the small wake. Everyone's going for it today, he observes, congratulating himself a little bit. Then his phone rings.
Panic, then resignation. That area code means collection agent. He ignores it, then listens to the message. It's an old woman speaking Korean. Even though he doesn't understand, he likes her tone and listens a couple times before hitting delete. (less)