Time and Space

gravity grants spatial inevitability

right foot dropping the left into bed

with tight skin and the gulping darkness to firm

the curves of my spine like every old else waking

with sour lips and a taste for discomfort at its finest

 

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Heroes

And here’s this kid on my porch

three sheets to the toga’d solo cup

toting a holler so loud and going on

about his hero Walt Disney.

so I said everyone knows Walt Disney

was an anti-semi who feasted on young Cuban boys.

and could you believe it, he tells ME to fuck off.

on my porch. — “Debatable.” — NO BRO.

you see: I pay rent here. and I have been

to the happiest place on Earth.

and it rained.

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My Place

In a field traced with 3 barbed wires, exiling me to a mound of Johnson plots, a brown horse and white goat graze around an abandoned sun-bleached dresser. The procession was long, pulling us over the interstate and into gravel roads with green looming branches – in my backseat I tunneled into a song, muting the bickering in front of me. As the singer’s voice swooned regret over a miscarriage, I thought about the last time I had stood among the country sweat bees and lowered a coffin into its vault.  I gripped my side of the nylon strap, near my Aunt’s head, and took a strong stance along the cliff of her grave. After sealing her fate, cousins wondered around the ridged field, saying hello to relatives whose names I never bothered to learn. All condolences due, and done, I took to myself – as I would again, and will again – and from under the shaded pit I walked to the edge of my Mother’s family name and lit a cigarette. Through my smoky sighs I could hear tear choked laughter – a common occurrence at these funerals: my Aunt’s two daughters and young son are reanimating the sarcastic spirit of a body deteriorated by violent cancer. “She’d get so mad about all the hairspray I’d use,” and “Dad was the one to tell. Mom would give you a verbal beat down.”  The listening kin still gathered around the grave and smiled in admiration for their strong-willed blood.

Guilty that I had known my Aunt, but never fulfilled any nephew’s regiment, I footed over the great burial mound to blur the mourning orphans, careful not to step on any residual memory, to arrive at my current place, along the barbed wire fence. There in the field ahead of me, like now, the dresser stood with its infinitely empty drawers sticking out at different lengths, only there was no white goat or brown horse chewing overgrown grass. There was nothing more than a pale piece of furniture, paint chipped and handles rusted.

I had felt a hollow that day, in my chest, as deep as the dresser drawers were empty and the drought orange field was inhabited. Colder than the soil pressed beneath 650 pounds of my Aunt’s dead weight and afforded tomb.  Closing my eyes I summoned every hope a young man could have at the beginning of summer – but did not pray – for a black horse hidden by optical illusion to prance from behind an empty statue, thus inheriting the dead-guarded dead field as his own. It’s side glaring from the sun, bright like holy wings, that only darken its armored muscle further. Of course, I knew that upon opening eyes there would be only this monument to my inability to join a family in their grief. So I steadied my blind body by cupping the barbed boundaries, gently first, as to keep my balance, then a stiffer grip, prodding into my skin, as the desperation swayed my mind and body into feeling a dark omniscient neigh about the earth. The words of the song tremor my memory: fetal horses gallop in the womb; seeding courses in an empty room.

Today we buried my Aunt’s mother 15 feet from the freshest grave. Everything was back in its place: the canopy, the cousins, the bees, the dresser – the dialogue the same, only from a different generation.  And I, having done the pallbearer things to do, have returned to the post where I tried to paint Golgotha with the blood from my hands. Where I now find the old rugged dresser being gnawed by an empty-eyed goat and my plea for a dark reaper replaced by a stunted horse of the dullest brown shaking flies from its neck. Before I have the time to digest my disappointment I am met with hands coming around my shoulders and stomach. The grandchildren of the deceased are at my side: two women crying, and a very silent man. The man holds his hand out past the fence and motions for the horse to come. The women laugh at the goat, still eating paint chips, and remind each other of the time spent in the old family cabin, and the goats that would get into the trash. The man pulls his arm over the fence – the horse as stubborn as ugly – and says that those damn goats ate a hole right through his front bike tire and he racked himself trying to get a running jump (I picture a just outlaw jumping off the second story of a ghost-town saloon onto his noble white steed). His broken vow of silence rumbles in my throat as the four of us burst with laughter. When the chuckles shrivel back into nasal whimpers, and the man attends to his eager daughter (wanting a tour of the ole place), I am left again with a field and its permanent resident, holding out arms as if to welcome – a place for my shirts and pants. The two animals are lying in the shade of an overgrown mulberry tree. Behind me I hear the jostle of elders climbing into big trucks and the scream of a little girl who has been stung; it is time to leave. Incapable of turning the horse black, I want to make one last attempt to inspire fate. I’ll jaunt over the fence, ignoring the calls of those whose names I do not know, and make a b-line for the dresser, shouldering its dense weight into the goat and horse manure.

But what then, as I am standing over its wreckage, do I make of the field? It is empty: empty drawers, empty animals, – empty because I am outside with my hands gripping barbs. It is not the dreamt gallop of a winged reaper that paralyzes me in fear, it is the voices of those, whose names I do not know, calling my name, my color, as if to welcome me – a path for my life; a place for my body.

 

 

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The Pessimist and the Beauty and the Beast and the Optimist

And that is how the drummer from Def Leppard REALLY lost his arm.

Here is something that I’ve written:

Falling Through

“It is because of Satan that I am invincible,” is said, staring into the winter frame.  Something passes. Now sitting in the front yard. The street floods with electric shiver and the echo of your mother, or mine, saying,  “Son, it’s a cold state, cover your ears,” or, “It is too bright here, we need heavier curtains.”

“You’ll be sick,” I say to your sunken shadow, a seamless head nodding at my feet. Validating thread of connection: us.  Over shoulders long johns are taut under callused heels. Dark wet fabric, shamed with sin and the orange streetlight. A white drift of canvas is stippled red.

“Is that Blood?” I ask, lighting a cigarette.

“I’m sure it’s nothing.”  My hands fumble the smoke between.

“I don’t believe in god anymore,” my voice an unfamiliar low. You, like me, are an indifferent blur to passing cars: No time, temperature, or confession’s foamy vomit of fathered fear and chunk mother despair.

No response.

I wonder why we are still outside, wipe the cold from under my eyes with a stranger’s purple-red hand, then use the hand again, as habit like my fathers, to attach my lips and faith to anything warm. Inhale.

My mind wonders more with a phantom shadow of body (or yours): through a glass tunnel of thought, panning left then right midnight billboards where dim moths shadow “to eat,” “to sleep,” “to lust.”  I pass them like weeks uncertain, dreary motion fueled by the exhaust of dying cells until I am awake in a hypothermic dream, paralysis numbing forehead and nostrils.

The joints in my knees cry like an old doorknob as my torso tilts back and I enter the abandoned pool of your melt and mistakes. My clothes, a heavy slop of iceberg green, wash into the shallow deep. And over my failing flesh, into more failing nerves, a sensation of being pulled by the waist into Hell.  As my pupils retreat behind the fight, I can make out your silhouette framed against the static blue of the living room.  Light from the street burns in the glass’s reflection over your chest.

It is because of Satan that you are invincible.

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In other news, something to the effect of this:

sewing needle in the eye

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BASS IS MY TRUE LOVE

After college; after Indiana; after kids or no kids or wife or what; Bass

JACO CIRCA 76

Jaco Pastorius is arguably the bassist EVAR, and one of my biggest influences when it comes to note progression.

BUTLER GEEZER

Seeing this man with Sabbath at the 2001 Ozzfest actually made me choose the bass as my school instrument.

My view from the lawn was actually way worse than this less-than quality recording. But I could still see his fingers flailing.

Metal.

I fucking love TAL WILKENFIELD –  w/ Jeff Beck

OMG, A 21st Centenary  woman WITH soul. – ha. One word people: ELOPE

VICTOR WOOTEN

Obviously, THE MAN.

CHARLES MINGUS

JAZZ. and more of it. I’ve been listening to Mingus Ah Um a lot lately.  It works wonders on the nerves.

THE BASS PLAYER

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DANG, FRIENDS!

DO THE CLICK

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I go outside to stop breathing

The worst of news is the revival of my father’s faith.  Lutheran. With a food pantry to supply

addicts another chance, poor –  non perishables, and to the black hearse – divine old.

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I AM THE NOTHING

summer I am haunted by a phantom fly

fat black buzz waves cilia into static eyes

I am the nothing, it says to me, I follow

autumn I am blinded by a crystal spirit refracting sun

the windows  will be wrapped to darken the cave

I am the nothing, it says to me, I stalk

winter I am hooked and returned into the white river

grass carp trace my suspended body in evening blue

I am the nothing, they sob, here all along

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