Friday, July 12, 2024

—I’M SHAKING, BUT ONLY INSIDE

  

It feels like a death threat come to fruition when you wake up on the apartment floor, not for the first time, your hair and cheek stuck as if glued there, a tooth or teeth perhaps broken, something sharp as a crystal shard or car key stuck in your throat, a small lake of sticky scarlet-plum circled under your chin and throat, and from this angle you not only see cat legs sash shay, pageant-like, by a haphazard necklace of nearby broken glass, but you remember now that your wife is due to fly back today, if, in fact, it is Thursday and sometime in summer, bringing her We need to talk fodder along, maybe for one final conversation until she splits permanently, and as you carefully twist your rubber face toward detachment, you swat the bloody, crepe-like flap away and tell yourself as you always do to Think positive, that if she leaves you as she should, you’ve got nothing but highways of freedom ahead, legions of bottles you can undress and drink, emptying their dreams into your anemic capillaries with assured deliverance until you are restored, woozily content, a man-made boat bobbing on a sea of bourbon and booze, promises tucked in your socks.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024


—PUB DAY

 

Marriage, childbirth, puppies… Those are the few things I can think of which are better than having a new book out.

 

If you had told me, when I was a boy and desperately wanting nothing other than to be a writer, that I’d publish six books, well, it would have been a great laugh all around.

But here we go, my new book, THINGS I CAN’T EVEN TELL MYSELF is out now, from Ravenna Press.

Your support means the world to me.

Thanks so much, Kathryn Rantala, Editor extraordinaire and one of the kindest people ever.

 

You can get the new collection direct (and right away) from the press here:

 

https://ravennapress.com/books/things-i-cant-even-tell-myself/

 

Or on Amazon here (where you can go ahead and order, but you’ll have a wait a bit until they re-stock):

 

bit.ly/45TKTic

Monday, July 8, 2024


 

—LOVE ME TWO TIMES

 

 

Gigolo

 

You sit ogling the bottle 

as if it is your dead father 

a tombstone priest professor 

Jesus or a naked woman 

her throat un-slit sleek as a swan’s 

her midriff ornately labeled 

yet currently barren

 

You lunch with a cousin bottle 

and its cousins and their cousins

who all take turns throwing 

their fruit yeast and alcohol 

down your throat until 

you are buoyant again

floating stool to stool 

cockeyed dull and confused

like a shipwreck that refuses submersion

Hope tattooed somewhere

under your greedy tongue

 

You take to sleeping with the bottle 

sipping between dreams of anarchy and angst

guzzling after each verifiable nightmare

burping into your pillow with 

the burnt breath of a blowtorch 

replacing one sleep partner after the next 

like the liquid lothario you are 

same as your dad brother sisters 

those soul mates belching at the bar 

glass chinking everywhere like champagne toasts

 

It’s no Ripley’s you lose everything—

love luck money transport Lucy the parakeets

—but the bottle has moxie knows magic 

the perfect incantation to make it 

all not matter if only until refilled 

which is the problem always has been

that performative emptiness neediness

another Monday Father’s Day weekend

or decade to kill 

until the floor falls out and you with it 

a stain the size of a ghost man

a hologram gone burgundy

then parched pale 

then simply gone

Friday, July 5, 2024


 

—I HAVE TO STOP THINKING SO LOUD

 

 

…Dear Jesus, 

    At some point, you need to show up. And by “some point,” I mean right now.

    We’re counting on you.

 

…How was your 4th? Loud? Rambunctious? Obnoxious? Needless?

Yep. Same here.

 

...I spent a lot of time over last weekend talking to myself as if I had something interesting to say.

Silly boy.

Gibberish only means something to the person spewing it.

 

…Any time you get a text that starts with, “Holy crap!” you know it’s going to be worthwhile and maybe even epic.

 

…I just counted 53 geese (really) swirling in the lily pads on the lake outside my window. It’s too bad those birds ae so mean and destructive. 

I know: how about I take the ducks, and you the geese, every one of them?

 

…It’s been close to four years since I’ve read in front of an audience, and I felt every one of those years Saturday morning. But, hey, it was awesome and at least I (somehow) didn’t blow it.

 

…Whatever you do, never watch yourself reading on Zoom.

 

…You can only pluck so many gray eyelashes until you start looking like a Shar-Pei.

 

…If you’re going through hell, keep going, and take me along with you, why don’t you?

 

…Whatcha doin’? 

 

…I’m not really sure who I’m writing to now.

 

…On this morning’s walk, there stood a deer right in my pathway, looking at me askance, unmoving as I spoke to it. I watched it eventually lope up the trail like it was wearing roller skates with butter on the wheels, unsteady as heck, yet beautiful. All I could do was stare and marvel. 

 

…“Hey, hey, crash course correction.”

 

…It’s too bad Gummi Bears aren’t vitamins, otherwise I’d be one healthy human.

 

…I’ve said this before, but I miss most people more than they miss me. 

 

…There’s a lot we could all feel bad about, but why?

 

…What would make life so much less stressful is to adopt my son’s way of thinking and grab onto the notion that the world is ending, and we’ve got no say in the matter.

 

…“The Bunny Hop” feels like a dream that never happened.

 

…“It’s going to be okay,” is the thing you need to say, though the thing we need to hear at certain times, but how can the sayer be so sure? I mean, how do they really know?

 

…I miss your face.

 

…Anymore, Armageddon is a sure thing, no matter how you slice it.

 

…Whatever you do, NEVER read American Psycho, though I doubt if you could. (I barely made it through, though I’m none too proud.)

 

…I’ve been sober a while now (a long while for me, anyway) and so I’ve been trying to write about alcohol’s pull, how like N or anything you’re obsessed with, it can become your entire essence.

You’ll see a few of those pieces coming up, but don’t worry, I’m still dry as the Sahara.

 

…“We’ve been to hell together.”

 

…Promises don’t mean a thing if you don’t follow through, so why even bother making them?

 

…I think I’d be a good gay friend, a platonic one. It sure seems like that’s what I am, most times, with the women I know.

Just call me George Downes.

 

…NO SLAMMING.

 

…I wonder how many people know what “beer slides” are.

 

…“No! You’re the bad influence!”

 

…“Eye yi yi yi, Freshmen seldom…”

 

…I should probably edit this more.

 

…I like to think my superpower is listening, but, of course, you might not see it the same way.

 

…“Please vote for me,” is something I hope to never have to ask, in any format.

 

…There’s nothing wrong with loneliness so long as you want to be alone. But if you don’t—well, fuck, it’s awful.

 

…It’s always freezing in summer in my office because the control works, not only here, but in other parts of the house, principally where the renter is, so to keep it reasonably cool for her, I end up being a snow cone, which is why I wear sweaters, long pants and slippers while the sun outside beats down on everything.

That cool, crisp air most people crave right now is a flashback I’d rather not have happen.

 

…At this point, aren’t we both wasting time?

 

…You said a lot of things, and I was stupid enough to believe them.

 

…“I’ve scraped too much of nothing from your plastic bag…”

 

…It’s not like you to be so cruel, but then, Who are you again? 

 

…“Always a dreamer, hey, Boog?”

 

…Flashback to the year I lost my mind.

 

…“Why is it so good here?”

 

…I have so much to say, and nothing at all, thank, God.

 

...It’s really strange to see yourself as you actually are—older, somewhat balding, somewhat feeble. But I suppose that’s life shined right back at you. 

 

…“Putting out the fire with gasoline…”

 

…I don’t want anyone regretting anything I was a part of.

 

…If I really like a song, I can play it 2,000 times on repeat and not tire of it. I really can.

 

…Can you find a moment to share something that’s happened to you, anything, however small? I’d be grateful.

 

…Seems like it’s me or you, or who flinches first.

 

…It’s okay to get old. It’s not like you have a choice. But don’t take everything down with you.

 

…When I was at N I used to often joke about my body, pumping up my chest and biceps, until, after one meeting, someone came up to me and asked, “You don’t really think you have a good physique, do you?” I said, “Nah, not at all.” To wit, he said, “Thank God. We all thought you were serious.”

 

…Playing, “Boats Against the Current” is like sitting handcuffed, kneeling and gagged, waiting for something in the back of your skull to detonate.

 

…122 is up there, even for me.

 

…I saw a deer, a mom, and her fawn, on my walk this morning (different time), and I felt like crying. 

 

…Out of the blue, I recently came upon a photo of me, age 17, in a white tux, seated in a chair in the trailer I lived in until senior year, and looking at that kid now, all I could think was, “God, someone please get that kid help soon.”

 

...Not everyone’s going to get it, and I’m perfectly fine with that.

 

...Even if you hate spiders, it’s pretty hard to hate their handiwork.

 

...--Maybe you should pull over.

--I’m not pulling over.

--Why not?

--Because he’s going to kick my ass.

 

...Some poeple are really good in emergencies, but I’m probably not one of them.

 

...Other things I’m definitely not are: techy, handy, mechanical, gun-savvy, Republican and muscled.

 

...It only takes one slip for the stumble to last.

 

...Maybe this’ll be the weekend when everything makes sense.

 

...Maybe this’ll be the weekend I stop asking questions that no one can answer. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2024


 —IT’S OKAY IF YOU DON’T HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT

 

 

 Junk

 

All the answers are rotting under the stairwell. Syringes and pluck. Stray teeth and toenails. We were going to be astronauts or performance artists, lovers who mean it. But we became dust instead, blowing on each other just to know we were there.

 

 

 

Pieces

 

My lover is guileless. She has a mirror face, which means she has mine. She lets it collect dust and dribble, fissures. She shows me all of the different people I can become if I just align the pieces that won’t stop lying.

Monday, July 1, 2024

 

—RABBIT, RABBIT

 

  

Through

 

I missed my connection. You were already in Tangiers, playing Marco Polo in a tub or bobbing for apples beneath the sheets. With your schadenfreude kiss. With a mouth that can fit around anything. Teeth that saw clean through.

  

 

Atlas

 

She calls me Atlas. Drapes doilies over my palms. Puts the whole world in my hands. Shits on top without bothering to wipe. Hops off and hops away. As if that’s all strength will buy you.

Friday, June 28, 2024


 

—NEVER THOUGHT I’D FEEL THIS WAY 

 

 

…It’s officially 12 days until the release of my new collection, (above), but if you’re reading this and are so inclined, you can get the book before anyone else, something that would make me eternally grateful.

Here’s wishing you a very happy weekend, and here’s the link…

 

https://ravennapress.com/books/things-i-cant-even-tell-myself/