Monday, November 30, 2020

 


 —LATELY IT SEEMS YOU’VE BEEN MAKING DECISIONS WITHOUT US

 

 

Shadowboxing

 

Midday, but the beach stood nearly deserted. Midday, the sun shooting skeins of light, though the air seemed leaden to Marco, weighing him down the way the sickness had crushed everyone all year. His mother first to go, his father next, his abuela somehow still holding on, in their tin shanty, worlds away from the tourist zone.

 

He trudged through sand, a wooden staff behind his neck, stretched across his shoulders, necklaces of every length and thickness draped down like shiny salamanders, some clattering as Marco approached the grand hotel that faced the ocean.

 

If security was out, Marco would have to keep walking, but there were none now and so Marco moved in closer.

 

Poolside, the waiters looked like hospital workers, dressed in cream pants and shirts, all wearing cream face-coverings. The pool itself was flush with tourists, none wearing masks, all stripped down to bathing suits, seemingly unconcerned about the plague that had ravaged the entire world. Marco tried to kill the feeling rising up in his chest, a sensation far stronger than love, something Marco’s father had branded a disgusting sin… Envy. So often, it shadowboxed him into contempt and dust.

 

A lounging blond girl, with gleaming skin, waved. Marco looked over both his shoulders before realizing she meant him.

 

When he waved back, she curled her finger in a Come-here motion. He didn’t know what to do with that, so he copied her gesture, Come-here, and to his horror and delight, she did.

 

Friday, November 27, 2020

 

 

–I’VE RUN THROUGH EVERY OUTCOME AND IN EVERYONE I’M HURT

 

 

…I spent yesterday morning sending heartfelt thanks to those people in my life that I’m most grateful for, and so I thought I’d do the same with you.

Thanks for being a faithful reader. It’s a joy for me to know that so many of you tune in each M, W, Friday.

 

…I’m sure you spent the holiday being reflective and thankful. I’m hoping you are doing everything possible to be safe.

One of the groomsmen in my wedding had his father in-law test positive for COVID on Wednesday, then he passed away five hours later.

Please be careful.

 

…As was likely the case for most of us in 2020, Thanksgiving was a strange day in many ways.

I had a lot of bottled-up emotions upon waking (it probably didn’t help that I watched two episodes of “This Is Us” the night prior, or that we watched “Perks of Being a Wallflower,” which is incredible, but very intense in parts).

I’m hopeful that people will be vigilant in their stance against the virus and that sometime during 2021 the light will shine on all of us again.

 

…These are some things I like for the weekend…

 

 

 “Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles.” H. G. Wells

 

"I have never been a millionaire, but I have enjoyed a great meal, a crackling fire, a glorious sunset, a walk with a friend, a hug from a child, a cup of soup, a kiss behind the ear. There are plenty of life's tiny delights for all of us."  Jack Anthony

 

"Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives, and remembering what one receives." Dumas The Younger

 

"Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." H. Jackson Brown Jr.

 

"For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you'll never walk alone." Audrey Hepburn

 

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle." Chris Watson 

 

"The most that we can do is to hope for the best till we know the worst. Of course, we shall make the best of the worse when it comes."  William Dean Howells

 

"You have to learn the science of your craft. Someone will say, ‘Yeah, I used to read music, but I forgot.’ Bullshit. That's not the way it works. You've got to love it enough to work for it, you know, and get your tools." Quincy Jones

 

"My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is within you. Success is being praised by others. That is nice but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success." Helen Hayes 

 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

 


—OH, I HATE SURPRISES. BUT YOU SURPRISE ME

 

 

  December

     (after Merle Haggard)

 

if we make it

through December

I’ll rest my head

in your lap

when you let me

look up at the underside

of your pointed chin

pull your thighs and cheeks

tight to my cheek

revel in the warmth of us

that’s survived

another apocalypse

I might even

lift my lips to that

point in your neck

which juts out

just barely

like a flint

or kneecap

needing attention

I’ve never loved

a bone so much

seems a lot like me

out of place and

out of touch

lonely as fuck

lean down a little

won’t you

it’s time we both

learned how to

save us  

one touch at a time

because December’s

taking root

and Spring’s not

far away

 

Monday, November 23, 2020


 

—I’M NOT SAYING I’M WRONG, BUT YOU MAY BE RIGHT

 

 

The Thin Place

 

I’m reckoning with the ending

   retying the tatters

breaking into a vault that’s coal dark

   if we let it circle back

we might have absolution

 

At some point the river bends

   royal blue waves distort the view

revealing both the pawn and fool

   buried in seclusion

 

In another life angels conspire

   like starlings on a wire

there’s nothing any higher

   maybe if spirits were fair

we’d repay all our debts

 

I’m sitting in the thin place

   looking backward at the wary space

trying to recognize my forged face

   turning down all the future bets

 

Finally realized my knees are cold

   that my shirt’s been sold

this is no time for being bold

   best to just expire

 

Realized I’m not magnificent

   can’t be significant

or indifferent

   when I’m staring at a liar

 

 

Friday, November 20, 2020


  —ALL I DO, IS GET OVER YOU, AND I’M STILL SO BAD AT IT  

                                                            

                                                                   Skin

 

            She wanted to be skin, to be empty, wise, satisfied and sanitized, purged.  However, she took it too far and became bones instead. 

Looking completely at home, she walked through graveyards where jealous ghosts coaxed her into reading them nighttime stories, news clippings with current events.  Around the headstones the needy, greedy crowds elbowed each other for position, stabbing the air with their invisible limbs, one demanding a certain voice inflection, another a military cadence.  It became so pathetic and demoralizing that the girl excused herself to pee and ditched the short-sheeted specters with their reckless lust for life.

Before dawn, she heard a garbage truck shudder and rumble.  She saw it belch greasy black wigs of exhaust into the purple-bruised sky.  The driver of the truck was a beady-eyed raccoon with foam in his beard and the other worker was a mangled possum, his head hanging loose by a jugular cord.

They smelled of whiskey and grilled cheese sandwiches, barrooms and insecticide.

She’d been taught not to take candy from strangers and not to hitchhike but here she was all the way across town and the pair of rodent men seemed dull enough.  One called her “Soup Bones.”  The other called her, “Skinny Minnie.” 

They tried to rape her anyway.

Now that she was a skeleton wrapped in a baggy of epidermis, the girl struggled to resist, but she discovered a can opener among the empty beers on the truck’s floorboard, and she made mince meat, made hay, made a merry mess of her attackers.

The entire enterprise took two minutes.

After her pulse returned, she collected the bloody remains in a giant garbage bag.  She built a fire right there on the side of the road.  She cooked the coon first, then the possum.  They tasted pungently exotic, like homemade deliverance.

She ate until she was full, her belly button taut as in yester years.  Later she laid back and watched the sun come up, hand on stomach as if she was pregnant.  She burped.  She cleaned her teeth with a tooth pick and clicked her tongue, thinking: there’s a difference between being skin and being alive, and now I know.

 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020


  —I’M NOT FALLING APART, I’M NOT HAVING A BREAKDOWN, I’M JUST REALLY, REALLY SAD 

 

 Please Don’t Eat The Fish

Two men set out on a boat.  Trout leap.  Or maybe they’re bass.  They’re fish anyway.  Many fish are ugly, slimy and murky colored.  Their eyes will stare at you forever, astonished, if you should slice off their heads.  Fish bones are harp strings, are pliable toothpicks that can stick and stay stitched in the middle of your throat, forming a foundation, a kind of tree fort.  The fish, the fish.  Please leave the fish alone.

 

                                         Finger Foods

We ate German food because that’s what Mother knew.  Boiled things always pale tan, usually potatoes or bread.  Once we threw a clump of peanut butter on the bubbled loaf and choked it down, sweating.  Once I stuck out my tongue and drizzled golden honey.  It didn’t taste sweet, not at all, but rather fowl, fishy, like my long-gone father.

 

                                              Spearmint

We sit against a curb right outside the store we just stole from.  Bennie blows smoke into the gray coat of dusk.  We’re two months from starting school but we made a pact that we aren’t going.  Benny asks if I’m hungry.  I’ve got a jackknife and a switch blade, two packs of Wrigley’s gum.  Later I’ll want more, but for now, this is plenty.

 

                                                Bus Ride

At one of the last stops in the city, there’s a wino shivering with his winter coat and a skull junkie boring holes into the bench.  My car was stolen last night.  None of my friends could drive me to work.  I considered a taxi but thought this might be an adventure.

Now, door panels part, assaulting us with gushing arctic air.  Just before wino and junkie get close enough to step inside, the driver punches the accelerator.  He chuckles, as so do most of the passengers, their scarves and hats bouncing.

I wipe away a clear cloud from my fogged-up window, but I can’t see them because already we are so much farther than they are.

I sit back, enjoy the rest of the ride, and think about the morning’s first meeting.

 

                                                    Chloe     

She says, “Fuck fuck fuck this planet we’re living on.”  When she tosses her head, her hair heaves like a heavy black salad.  She’s smoking and drawing hard on all that thick tar, the gritty nicotine, and you know what?  I find it all sexy as hell.

 

                                               Phone Booth

They don’t have them anymore, but once I saw a couple doing it in a phone booth.  She had a red bra and military boots, a flea market skirt hitched up.  The glass wobbled and throbbed.  He looked like he meant it.  The glass never broke.  It seemed as if it should have.

 

                                                           Selfish

She says we are both givers and that is why we cannot be lovers.  She tells me we will spend all of our moments arguing over who will give who fellatio.  She says it’s happened to her before.

                                         

     

 

Monday, November 16, 2020

 

—YOU GET KIND OF STUBBORN WHEN YOU’RE WRONG, YOU’RE JUST KIND OF STUBBORN OVER ALL

  


the thin places

 

you’re too

thin again

like a euro

model

or ‘50s

hat rack

hanging on

the hollow side

of the door

a loan

that won’t ever

get re-paid

lips perked

in a question

or suggestion

i swear

i’d laugh if

i wasn’t

already mute

and too stupid

most of the time

remember that time

your brother

tried to divide us

what a ploy

what a clever boy

and god how

you cried

and cried when

he used a

blade for real

though i’m

the dark one

still it’s morning

the sun’s a

stubborn pill

no need to define

what we are / were

/ anything

come here

raggedy anne

give me your

limbs and stuffing

we made it

this far

who knows

what’s next