Thursday, March 18, 2010

Judgement on the Open Road

Whitefish sits on the Northwest side of a large valley
whose population idles somewhere around eighty-
thousand people at any given moment. The climate
never dips below ten degrees Fahrenheit but when
it does, the snow politely asks where to go
before settling like the artificial kind dropped
from two stories on a movie shoot in New
York City in the month of August.

Front seat question: where are we going?
The door was shut, then opened,
so I closed it again. Wondering
when you would notice, I made
another whiskey diet.

Please excuse the consonants it is trying speak;
the ice goes on about power points
and statistics, earnings reports
and right wing politics. In a few
minutes           it will be quiet,
sit back down and watch the sun
set as it considers the speed in
which we are approaching it.

The churches in these small
towns have tall steeples
that can be seen from anywhere in
a three mile radius. Sometimes
they have clocks, as if time
were given to us from a god
and not science.

The cities back East
have buildings that were first made
of splintered trees sanded down to
look neat. After that, stone grew
fashionable when the cities ran
the risk of burning down to ash.
The glass skyscraper next, like
brick and battlements, wasn’t
built as a testaments of faith;
it was erected for esteem and
prowess. The attitude of
“look what I’ve done, you
can’t top this” but then,
someone always does.

Back seat answer: We’re almost
there, hun. Nails grow faster
than grass so don’t expect a
lot from where we’re going.

The 20th century shrank after the
industrialized countries began
to communicate on a global
level. There was competition
through violence, Tulip, but
offerings of peace always
begin as innocent as the
gesture of the sacrament:
a bead clutched in the
palm of a shadow in an
empty alleyway.

At night Spokane, Washington sleeps
differently than other cities. At least
that is what I think waiting for this
car to leave at one-twenty in the
morning. It is dark and I have
little evidence to support how
dark it actually seems. I’ll
smoke a few cigarettes by
the light           of a myriad
constellations     with
different names
than the ones      I am
familiar with.
I ask which       direction
the reservation        is
until someone    replies,

You‘re in it

Sunday, March 14, 2010


A wet bottle of beer on the edge of the bathtub,
my hand holds it as well as I can and all
the lights are on and the fan hums quietly.
Hairs stick to the plastic wall and I think
I loved them at the party when they talked
so loud. And they all went home, left me
to talk to myself and the cat—I must seem arrogant
rambling on like this, loneliness
is an unlikely character assassin.

I don’t talk now. My hands are sinking
to my thighs, but my penis floats and I laugh.
The laugh moves through my ribcage
and ripples into the water, I laugh again
when I see my belly fat shake.
There will be time to look my best—
now I’m talking to myself again.
Loneliness isn’t much different
than contentment after the party.

My eyes drift, arm knocks the bottle
down into the bathwater, the clear and
lint and dinge mixes with golden brown, it floats
sideways like a message from a wayward friend.
Fumbling to stand it upright,
I set it again onto the ledge
(looks the same), grab hold tighter and
tip it towards my face (tastes the same)—
loneliness is a shrug at a cat lapping bathwater.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


The first gun I owned was an over-under
twelve gauge with a Russian barrel and Chinese
stock. It was a product of communism
but was not made for hunting humans: deep down
shotguns are defensive instruments. It was
given to me before I knew how to tie
shoelaces. The idea of firearms is
inherited: one never has to learn to
shoot if born from a womb lined with buckshot.

The pellet gun on the porch was for scaring
Canadian Geese off the back lawn. I had
trouble with the hand pump and never used it
much. I would watch my brother put it to his
shoulder and breathe: his face looked how a birthday
felt. I don’t recall what happened after that.

My grandfather was a good man. In the late
thirties he was arrested for shining the
headlights of his car at animals. Each night
he struggled to hoist the length of his rifle
on an open truck door, he thought about the
meat he’d share with his community and the
beer he’d drink on the drive to the border. His
brother-in-law, a man I don’t know by name,
turned him in to the police. He stopped driving
home altogether after serving his time.
Friends said he still drank but slept in the backseat.

When the bus drove past my parent’s home, I saw
my father down by the lake with a garbage
bag, his mouth fixed as a plump of geese looked on.
I thought he was weeding the beach, forgetting
it was too early in the season for weeds
and retreated to the woods so I would not
have to help him. As he got closer to the
house, I noticed two more things in his left hand:
the pellet gun and a red shovel. I never
remember the sunset that day or the light’s
descent into night but the bag he held shivered
under a phantom weight and was a kind of
sable I’ve seen since, in an eclipse.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

Maturity (Drinking Age)

Exciting new pain
In the soul
Like a safety-pin
Through a gentle black velvet
A dark unending gravity
Now open
A thread pulled
Undoing my clothing
Consider this array of bruises
Pick your favorite color from among them
Name it and take ownership
Getting closer
Beneath my blue-jeans
For 50$
Take everything you can fit
In two hands
And walk away
Of the parts you want the most
Insouciant blankness of the manuscript:
The revised edition

Listen to the same song
Again, again, again
Getting righteous
With the epic power ballad
The river beat
In an extended dance
You make eye-contact
With the high-powered lye
Of my body, and my face
Getting blinded
Please let me fade
From your imaginative vision
I want to ruin me, for me
Like a sacred bath
Common law with a ritual
Of repetitive mistakes
I represent this with a ring
From my mother’s first marriage
An abstract swan, a silver band
It would be an honor

To fuck your shit up.