Friday, September 24, 2010

My Sore Throat

My sore throat would heal
If I could just stop singing
On my way home from work

307 Words

People say
well more often whisper than actually say
that things used to be
(before they got out of hand)
much better than they
as a result of technology and evil things
have become
and that if these evil things
which they could never understand
could be erased from memory
things could possibly
(though many knew it would never happen)
go back to the way they once were
a much simpler life
a much more simple existence
free of the pain of which people have become accustom
free of the influences of living idols who’s views are not welcome
views more like instructions than suggestions
on all aspects of existence
which were ultimately accepted by those too-young
or weak to remember what "once was"
few still exist and even these few have started to forget
giant billboards
too-fast cars
barely clothed teenage girls praised for their false uniqueness by the world
Nutrasweet burning tunnels through their brains
and that coffee-house chain
(you know the one)
that spreads like death before medicine to the edges
cameras watching the people watching the cameras watching the people
plastic cellophane enclosing everything
slowly making our world disposable
the very speed and stupidity at which everything now travels
dulls their minds into a shape resembling all the others
comparable to the inmate
the president
the stripper’s friend
the whistling mailman
or anyone really
except of course for the original
the original being what might have been had life taken it’s course
un-tampered by the steady beat of the invisible Sony speakers
that drone out all thought which was before nonexistent
all thought which engages the steady demise of true life
but these forgotten few
who whisper ever so quietly
will soon too be gone
and all which was once great can be leveled and covered in hot
already hardening

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pigeons on the Street

Soon-to-be-Cops on the Train

The platform is full of police academy kids wearing clean gray uniforms. They carry identical duffel bags. Patches on their shoulders tell everybody what they are.

Inside the train they are in two packs, with each pack holding down the train-car's exits. Just like real cops. The pack closer to you consists of two guys, a blonde haired girl, and a very unflattering short girl; kicking around across the isle but still close enough. The little one looks at you with a kind of muffled suspicion. The boys muse over the blonde one. Trying to act casual. They talk about cases that they read about in the news or overheard at the academy. The guy on the left has blotchy skin, but is a far more skilled conversationalist then the guy on the right, who is always looking down and has thick eyebrows that some girls love and others hate. His face makes him look like he might grow up to be the occasional nice cop. The blonde is a pretty enough girl, with a nice enough body, but it's the hair that makes her stick. She has the hair of an angel. It's her strong-point and of that she is fully aware. She swiftly unties and flips it down, running her fingers through it, letting it soak up the fluorescent light. Eyebrows is mesmerized. He gulps. He does a weird hard blink and takes a step back. The other one, the conversationalist, isn't allowing himself the pleasure of watching her hair, he's waiting. Waiting for his next words, planning for what words she might use. Blondie throws her head back up, still using her fingers to comb. She flips and twists it into a little swoosh and checks her reflection in the dark window.

Eyebrows never looks away.

She sees his backwards face hanging stuck and is pleased.

All the while the short female cadet is just standing there, looking around and waiting for her turn to say something. It's never going to come and she's beginning to see that now. She looks familiar. Her face is soft and round. Her hair is dark and somewhat curly in that frazzled, un-angelic way. You might know her. She's getting sick of their babbling. Sick of watching moths bumping into the light bulb. Some of the others on the train are becoming irritated, having no interest in their stories or their enthusiasm, while others have them zoned out, along with everything else. They don't sleep, these others, their minds just float up and to the left. An internal clock tells them when their stop is coming up.

Riders are rushing on and off the train. A large black man is among the new passengers and Blondie is whisper shouting, "it's him, it's him", to Eyebrows, who doesn't get it. She thinks he's the principal from the television show Boston Public. It does look very much like him, but it's not, he's too young. His voice confirms this when he asks a female passenger across from him what year she graduated. The cadet who doesn't exist is fed up. She makes a noise and walks away from the pack, turning and planting herself onto the closest seat, which is still quite close to them. Eyebrows notices this, and seems to feel something, but the golden hair catches his attention and he realizes that he's lost vital seconds. Blondie still thinks that it's the guy from Boston Public and the resulting jabber forces the little pissed off cadet out of her seat along with another noise and this time she plants down even harder. The passengers are pleased that she made such a definite statement. This is how her life as a cop will be; oppression and fortification. She is going to be a good cop. Eyebrows is regretting not saying something to her. He will say something to her on Monday at the academy, but she will ignore him. That's it! You know her. You went to school with her. She lingers in your memory like someone you recognize from the background of a picture. She might know all about you. What's her name?

Outside the windows is a blur of piping and paint up close. Now the wall is gone; the tall lights make everything look like a zombie movie. An empty playground drifts along, the past and future site of something horrific. As Jamaica station approaches many of the passengers are shifting and gathering. Many are standing and approaching the not-quite-cops. The blonde is saying her goodbyes. The conversationalist hits his mark with a well-paced reply. Eyebrows says, "See you on Friday then", and Blondie says, "Monday" and waves as she steps away. "Oh, yeah Monday". An exiting old woman appears disturbed by one of the advertisements that faces away from you. A wall of people is rushing the boys. Eyebrows yells, "See you later" and then hopes that she didn't hear him. The little cadet rushes by them with her giant duffel bag. The people have finally stopped and Eyebrows looks a little dazed. He does the weird hard blink thing. He says, "Don't you want the express to Babylon?" pointing to another track. The conversationalist says, "I know that. What're you trying to get rid of me?" a bit standoffish. Eyebrows says, “No, I was just saying". They finally sit down across from each other and they think about Blondie for the rest of the trip, not speaking again. The far pack of cadets is gone now. The train is nearly empty and those that are left are mostly those up-and-to-the-left types. When the lights go out it looks like a teenager’s room. All of the emergency signs light up, like those sticky glow-in-the-dark stars. The mood softens and you are allowed a short break before returning to:

Book Covers: The Best Stories of Jack London

Book Covers: The Latent Heterosexual

Monday, September 6, 2010


Laying here I can't help but think of the despicable things I've done. Living with memories that can't be skewed is new to me. I've always done things I regretted, as we all have, but now it's different. My young misdeeds were still derived from a place of positive intentions. A good person's indiscretions. These new things cannot be undone or sorried away with a handmade card or a week's diligent kindness. I've become a person I despise. Having broken all of my own rules and stepped on my downsliding set of values is worse than never having incepted them in the first place. I am a failure at being good and you can dump all the freshcut flowers you want to on that, but it doesn't change the truth. This didn't happen overnight. I shuffled sideways into the dark and now I will forever reek of these foul cigarette-stream acts of selfishness. I can only try from here to reverse course and reach out for the remnants of who I used to be, hoping that what I grasp at doesn't crumble like dust in my hands. The soft sheen of what's left behind is the the needless reminder that I feel between my fingers as my mouth moves, saying things that are, in retrospect, hypocritical. And still there's this urge to say I'm sorry, but as we both know, that is a phrase meant to make the speaker, not the listener, feel better. I have no right to say I'm sorry. In its place I will say I love of you that which makes me hate what I've become and without this love, this desire to head back up the river, I would die right here and now, regardless of how lovely a day it is or that my dogs are watching me write this.