Friday, July 30, 2010

what it do

        “Amazing. Truly amazing. How millions of mindless people can gather here like the living dead, huddled under a little roof, and wait for some big machine to take them somewhere else.”
They had been waiting for a train. The voice came from a hunched-over, dark skinned woman in a black windbreaker and nude stockings. She was homeless, carrying around what was left of her life in a shopping cart.
She felt slightly ashamed for standing there, waiting. Did she really need to go somewhere else, somewhere new, to feel differently? Wouldn’t it all come crashing back, wouldn’t she fall into the same dusty old trap of life? It didn’t matter what sun she was under, hot or cold, she was still the same woman living the same dream.
It was a tragic flaw of hers to over consider the views of others, to fall into their mindsets.  She said nothing to the homeless woman, just smiled politely, and looked back at him. He was looking away, into the distance of the train tracks. His mind was somewhere else.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

somehow, rather

We are stuffed with bones
beneath our blue jeans;
beneath our hairy skin.
And we can't stop breathing
through pills and smoke and lights,
we are all in sync with something else.
We are ages and ages beneath our time,
and many thousands of years old.
We're odd dreamers, we see the unreal
and watch it dissolve, for the better.
And we have earned our mothers' hands;
Rightfully broken, to make something whole.

And maybe it is worth it
to bend down and touch our silly toes,
to converse conversely and gesticulate,
to raise our children articulate,
to meet the parents of our brides-to-be,
to sit up and speak when the world
will turn either way.
To sit and linger, while the ground
will soon be above our heads.
To harmonize our minutes with
a life we'll never want, anyway.
A dog barking, and we want to
be that dog.
A child whistling and we want to
smother him with something
we never got.
He'll never get it, either.

A ranting column, a full breast,
a stomach aching with child,
a pile of money beside
something else green.
What does it come to, tell me,
when you add it all up?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

don't worry.

     Calvin was a rather sympathetic kid, which is why most people refused to believe that he had actually gotten stuck in the sky.
     Sometime mid-summer he needed a certain medium to do something for him. It was the radio. And somehow, the radio signals forced him to shoot up through the atmosphere of the Earth, right through the sky and right out into space. While in space, suited in nothing more than the street clothes he had been sporting, he met the radio waves of his hated enemy country. The two forces battled, producing electric metal arms that tangled around poor Calvin and he could do nothing. 
     After some time, he felt himself falling back to Earth, going home. He was shooting back out of space and entered again the Earth's atmosphere but he was going very slowly. So, so slowly, in fact, that he did not come back to Earth with enough speed and ended up stuck in a little bubble at the tip of the sky. Well, this was very, very bad, as you can imagine.
     Back down at the place where human beings live, Hobbes was explaining things to people, including Calvin's family, with whom he was on a big dark cruise ship. According to him, that was the way the world had been created, from one little space bubble that popped and everything was created. Another one could be very dangerous; it could ruin everything ever made. Calvin's poor position was the first ever recorded in human history, but no one believed Hobbes. Even Calvin's father told Hobbes, "that is most impossible. He couldn't even make it off the Earth without a space suit and a rocket. Plus it is impossible that he is just stuck somewhere very off in the sky, a place so far away that no one can see him. He is a victim of gravity, just as you and I are."
     But Hobbes was persistent. On the cruise ship, the entertainment director, who had been an English professor in a past life, was holding a poetry contest. The prize for the best, most beautifully moving poem was anything the winner wanted in the whole world. Hobbes thought this was the perfect opportunity to get his best friend back, whom he sensed was growing very afraid up there. Hobbes considered himself a fairly good poet and sat to pen the most emotionally moving piece he could. It wasn't the very best he had ever written, but he believed he had a very good chance. Plus, the dilemma was so incredibly important that he had had had to win. There was no other way about it. He felt confident.
     Finally, all the contestants presented their work. Most of the pieces were satisfactory. Some very good, and others okay. And then a dark-skinned young girl went up to perform. And when I say perform, I mean her piece was more of an extended rap. As if this had been a poetry slam. And everyone was going crazy for her as if she were a celebrity. Her name was up in lights, and Hobbes couldn't tell if he was just imagining that detail or not. Finally, after a loud standing ovation, the girl was done and it was Hobbes' turn. Well, how could he possibly follow her?! He, remembering his mission and his dear friend Calvin, collected himself and found the courage to go up.
     Halfway through his short, but rather profound, poem, the crowd began laughing at him! What was he to do? Well, he finished his reading with as little outward chagrin as possible, and then tried to block the whole thing from his mind. The next day, he received his score back from the judges. A 3 out of 33! What had happened to poor Hobbes? The entertainment directing professor had written some scathing remark on his paper about his volatile garbage of a piece and Hobbes became very sad. He would surely never get his friend back now.
     And then, while the contestants were sitting at tables going over the judge's favorite pieces, Hobbes whispered to the professor, a thin Indian woman sitting directly next to him.
     "Psst," he said, "there is something I must tell you about the contest."
     "Shh!" she said, "it will have to wait!"
     Hobbes was getting desperate. He was sweating through his tiger fur! And suddenly, he began to feel it happen. The room began to shake violently and people began screaming. It was too late! The world was ending, and he could have prevented the whole thing! He would never see Calvin again, or anyone he loved. It was all over.
     Suddenly, he felt a tap on his shoulder. Hobbes turned around, as the vibrations of the Earth were slowly beginning to subside. It was Calvin's father.
     "Relax, Hobbes," he said, "it was just an earthquake! Everything is fine and the world is not ending!"
     "But what about Calvin?!" Hobbes cried. He was so confused. Was his best friend still stuck somewhere deep in the sky?
     "He's right over there!" Calvin's father said, and pointed to the corner of the dark, colorful room, where Calvin was gently floating down from the air and onto the floor.
     "Calvin!" Hobbes screamed at his drifting friend.
     "It's alright, Hobbes," said Calvin. "It was all safe up there, no destruction or death for now. And besides, I don't know who would leave a stuffed tiger in charge of saving the world, anyway."


Okay, you're right. It was all a big dream I had last night.

a heavy rain.

I want to climb into a pastel balloon
where just the right amount of dark comes through
You could come, too.
And we will breathe each other's hot substance
and never touch the rain, just hear it
and we will shrink together
into one another
as we grow down and down
against its rubbery knot.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

summer shots.

another summer read down.

"Whatever evolution this or that popular character has gone through between the book covers, his fate is fixed in our minds, and, similarly, we expect our friends to follow this or that logical and conventional pattern we have fixed for them. Thus X will never compose the immortal music that would clash with the second-rate symphonies he has accustomed us to. Y will never commit murder. Under no circumstances can Z ever betray us. We have it all arranged in our minds, and the less often we see a particular person the more satisfying it is to check how obediently he conforms to our notion of him every time we hear of him. Any deviation in the fates we have ordained would strike us as not only anomalous but unethical. We would prefer not to have known at all our neighbor, the retired hot-dog stand operator, if it turns out he has just produced the greatest book of poetry his age has seen."
-Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

Friday, July 23, 2010


    Above me, the clouds were crumpled papers in a heavy sky. Sunlight breathed dully from some distant place and birds scattered above me, frantically flying from something. Another low, deep call hovered over the naked trees. It was more focused, more distinct than the previous one. It seemed to be saying something, something in two syllables, each drawn out in the thickening fog. What was it saying? It continued its call from an indistinguishable place in the sky: “Aaa-eeee...” over and over. I shook away the possibility, the most certain possibility from my mind. But I couldn’t escape that, either. It was calling my name.
“Daaa-nyyy,” shook the trees. No. I wasn’t insane. I wouldn’t let them win this, give in to hallucinations... the ones Molly knew so well. But she didn’t. She was fine. I was fine. I was--
And it came again, stumbling through the fog and pressing loudly against my ears. I covered them hard with my hands, but it was no use.
“Okay!” I screamed. “What is it? What do you want to tell me? There’s no one here now, no one watching me give in to you. What do you have to say?”
The call stopped. In the silence that followed, I laughed to myself. A silly fright. There was no one there. It was just my imagination getting the best of me again.
Through the distant pines, the chilled oaks with their branches pointed to the sky, through the hollowed trunks, the voice returned to me.
“Danny,” it repeated, “it’s your turn now.” And louder, as if right behind me and all around me, it cried, “Go on.”
I jumped, and looked around me. There was no one there. No one for miles. Nothing but a breath of wind, one breath, blowing hard, away from me.
My breath came in quick nightmarish gasps and I was still standing next to the thick lake. Something different, though. I was now facing away from the water, turned around from the confusion of the preceding events.
Before me, stretching on for a good long amount of the dense forest, replacing the many trees that had been extracted for space, were the graves. Many millions of graves, it seemed, large and heavy, unmoving and solemn. This was where she had led me.
“Fuck it, Molly,” I whispered. “Of all the places?”
The sun was slowly making its way through the fog and up to the center of the sky as I made my way in. As I pushed around the bushes and branches, I saw the angry faces of the black birds. I was a stranger; they looked at me and saw the intruder in me. We would have to be friends, I thought. I would be there for a while.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

quoting again.

"All at once we were madly, clumsily, shamelessly, agonizingly in love with each other; hopelessly, I should add, because that frenzy of mutual possession might have been assuaged only by our actually imbibing and assimilating every particle of each other's soul and flesh; but there we were, unable even to mate as slum children would have so easily found an opportunity to do."

"A change of environment is the traditional fallacy upon which doomed loves, and lungs, rely."

-Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

i decided to start reading lolita because everyone seems to love it (you creeps). i'll admit i went into it thinking it was just some love story but it's... definitely different than what i expected. since i love quality insanity, it's definitely a good choice. he's a creep but also a beautiful writer.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

little black saturn.

seventy cigarettes and an ocean away
in the dense new jersey grass
driving up route one north
to the places we frequent
in the little black saturn that's chosen me
a little black saturn
with moving picture screens for windows.

blinking and nodding traffic lights
are an act probably, most certainly
and the road stretches out its palms
in the rear-view
and the glittering posted psalms
on the butts of cruising companions
is it closer than it seems?

soiled sticky cool air shoots in
clumps over itchy skin and heavy eyes
in the little black saturn
that is my little world
as the All Creative One big-banged it
double time, once ago, revved this engine
all the figurine little diner people
the holograms on the moving screen,
the 3-D storybook window
with the captions, my lines
strewn about on the bottom, near the ground

an ear to the radio, some outside world
and the only way to know
if you are alone
is to remove the key
and step outside.


you turn over in the bed the way
a wave rolls over the surface of the sea
back arched, prominent, in line with the sky,
the way the thought dully tumbles through my head
and spirals away from me,
over and over away from this ship
roll over and flatten out
eaten up by the blue surface
rinsing down to the bottom
through the sheets, out of my mouth
into the air
and forgotten by a conscious world

you are.

a black-topped curling come home kind of guy with his hands to the sky celebrating my ability to speak. a red shoed child sniffing tobacco off buildings telling the wold where it can go. under cherry heavy skies the world subsides the kind of guy who kisses reason out of the mind. a scarred middle man smoking out of the womb in a tv room saying stay, stay, will you stay. a nonbeliever an actor-outer a treatymaker wearing brown pants. a curling curving knower loose in fumes wearing her hair around your neck to keep you warm and remind you how it could be. an apathetic amber bottled marked i will rescue you. an orange pen in a pack of ten, a whitman for your long hair. the thing that proves the many sides of a woman, the spontaneity of a woman, the always unsure epic heroine sailing off and itching to come home. a lip curling ash covered maniacal ready to go scheming kind of lover.