Monday, April 30, 2007

a long life, a balanced diet

on a rainy day i saw
disquieting mountaintops grumbling something
to my stomach about mortality.
"if i was going to live forever
i wouldn't smoke cigarettes,"
you explained, sick in bed
with strep throat and oatmeal. it
reminded me of my mother who
had taught me strict definitions
of nutrition, though i think
those definitions have changed. maybe
the food pyramid is 3-dimensional now,
a 2-dimensional pyramid can
only say so much, like photographs of
the countryside which are very nice but
after a while fall flat.
I met a man with a flat liver,
"i wish i wasn't an alcoholic. i used to
think i'd live forever," he said but
he only drank a glass of
red wine a day so i didn't
believe him. i once decided
to try nature photography, i
was going to hike up a mountain but
it had been raining and i thought of
erosion, wondering if the mountain would be
flat one day but the trail was
steep, slippery and wet so i went home. You were
feeling better and you
bummed me a cigarette.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Will I Forget Who I am.

Does your mouth taste like alcohol?

Make a drink.

Problem solved.

Monday, April 9, 2007

the language barrier

once i saw
a japanese businessman
speaking frustrated painful japanese
to an american girl working the lobby
of a fine chicago hotel
they were both talking rapidly
and neither understood a damn word
the other said
it was no surprise
considering all the literate,
english-speaking folks in the same hotel
who have just as much trouble as that japanese man
understanding the girl when she says
"please, calm down."

Thursday, April 5, 2007

You're Just In Time

All day, sounds from the White City’s streets litter spring scenes
like gum stains stuck to sidewalks during black paved dreams.
Never to be wakened.

Never to be disturbed unless on the off chance that their concrete roots are relieved
of their imprisonment and molded back into the safe molten surface
from whence they initially came.

Trains billow by the street like a jet’s sonic boom circa 1948.
Nuclear weapon drills mean kids under seats.
“Duck and cover” translates to the image of “dust all over.”

Because that’s all there is going to be.
Nice new sneakers?
Dust all over.

Nice Christmas sweater?
Dust all over.
Picture postcard from across the sea?

Duck and cover.
Phone message from a loved one in a dire time of need,
dust all over.

Garbage trucks and sixteen wheelers are 21st century tombs.
Embalmed in filth by means of crisply baked bones.
Contents speckled white,

left to sparkle like a diamond setting foot
on an ancient Cambodian clay-
more mines.

Discontent, Winter 2005

With every comfort
you re-evaluate what
you deserve and what
you're paid and with this pay
you buy what
you want and leave what
you need to everyone who owes

Sideways glances,
you're so calm and unimpressed.
I'd like every sarcastic fuck
and every unflattering sunset back
and I want you on the next train out of this town
so I don't have to tell you I've lied all along
and you don't have to tell me what more you want
and how hard your life is without it.

This middle-ground,
it's littered with misunderstanding
and all I need right now
is to be sure of something.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


charm is
a dangerous thing,
my friend

because although
it has its benefits
although it grants you the ability
to make as
meaningful of friends
as you'll ever have

you must be cautious
for there are all sorts of
poor fellows out there
just waiting for someone to
give a second look
with a concerned word
to spill all over themselves
and gouge out their own soul as
an offering, as if to say
please, you caring
son of a bitch
see what you can do with it
i can't seem to fix it

and you'll catch yourself
sputtering and choking
and regretting every
sympathetic gesture
because you know
that you would fall over
the same way
for someone
a little more charming
than yourself
and you know
that you're far too broken
to do a damn thing
to help

Monday, April 2, 2007

We don't know the difference between right and wrong

if we did
we wouldn't use eachother
or kill our chances of productivity
with sex
and selflessness.

Alcohol isn't an anti-depressant
it's an over the counter

Percocet, Vicodin, alcohol, and weed. Let's be honest, who still needs "cutting" to feel complete?

There was a cutter on the TV. Some lonely kid looking for attention. His feelings bled thin in small red lines. Or sometimes curves, or zigzags, or in the form of perfectly shaped crosses that would make a vampire rile in his wooden staked coffin.

"He should just man up and stop cutting himself."

Her and I, we've got stories for every scar spanning the full length of our bodies. The television makes us begin to exchange their origins and like people, scars love to talk about where they came from...

"I almost cut off my thumb."
"I think you told me that, check out these bruises. They’re from last night in the street, when I tripped and fell…. By the way, my right foot is starting to swell."
"Bummer, check out those red veins."
"That's just a scratch."
"Oh, sorry. I initially mistook it for eczema anyways."
"I've got cuts up and down my right arm. They’re kind of hard to see.”
"That’s weird, your skin feels flawless.'"
"Yeah, but don’t touch, just look real close…"
"I still don't se... er, um?"

Scars. And lots of them.

I stay positive and try not to ask about the crusted ridges strewn like dirty socks across her skin. Instead, I light a cigarette and sit back to watch Chris Angel’s, Mindfreak. After five minutes of professional brain numbing slight-of-hand, she silently stands up, almost on cue with a commercial, and cries a solemn, “be right back!”

Twenty minutes and two cellular phone calls later, she returns to the couch and hides under a comforter. Her right hand is glowing. It’s been totally polished clean; pale-pink on top of cadaver white. Throughout the duration of a half-hour show, her hand’s become marble that looks like it’s been scrubbed too hard with gritty public restroom soap.

Beneath the gleam were red trails and brown rusted segments. They flowed between lifelines turned peach, resembling streams seen from an airplane flying over Rocky Mountain ravines. Even from just a few feet, her hand looked like a lava flow of sunset dusk; red scavenging the depths of dry skin cracks.

With a deep breath I realized that while I had been watching a man break free from a straight jacket in a shark infested tank, she'd been downstairs in the dark, humming quietly and cutting herself over a sink.

In a poor attempt to ignore what I had seen, I tried to stay positive, and asked...

"So, how come you always wear sleeves?"