Thursday, September 22, 2016

Our Exquisite Corpse

Lids lifted to reveal darkness inside,

bloodless and blank-eyed, a void where
life once illuminated
a world we’ll never know,
now null, flatlined,
fallow, forgotten. Nothing

left but lips opened for an oh of horror,
gaping where a last spasm
shuddered forth and
screamed silently,
exhaled what thin reed
stood against the banks
of an arid rill, a final
stand undermined as sand slid
where roots once held
with a rotted parchment claw.

Colorless and cold as porcelain,
twisted fingers clutched
as though scratching
lichen from stone, nails
filled with filth gathered from
petroglyphs scrawled into

the face of rocks.

Friday, September 16, 2016

I Miss My Ring

Muted peel, forgotten bell;
the broken seal
of a shotgun shell.

Skin unbound, denuded, free;
a bloodless sound
where your ring would be.

Empty pall, a phantom limb,
where leaves that fall
sing a dirge-like hymn.

Though the sting is fresh and new,
I miss my ring

but I don’t miss you.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

3 Doors, Closed

Door #1

When you smash the pots I made for you,
put the shards tip up in the dirt, so they
look like the sails of small boats or
sharks’ teeth in a ravaging maw.
Arrange them in a way that you’ll never
see the pieces as they originally were,
an assembled whole where roots struck
bottom but pushed stems to air and light.

Door #2

If we’re too stiff to dance,
to move without arms
pinioned to priorities
and everyone on our Friends list,
then what the fuck are we doing with what time we have?

Door #3

In the end, you left me with nothing but
          an unsigned card
                     molding in the drawer,

mawkish tropes, doggerel, words you
         scanned and assumed
                      held weight or meaning

(or at least might mean more to me than you).

As days passed, memory decayed in dirt,
         too late for burial,
                     the card's sentiments

an afterthought with a very short shelf-life.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Mr. Todd's Yard of Charnel Horrors

          We’d buried our Comet in the Square Hole, under rocks, bits of broken concrete and clumps of grass ripped from the surrounding field. We pulled the wheels and Suzie pried off the silver Comet emblem that had managed to survive all the damage we’d done. Billy added a snowglobe to the grave, stashing the others into the sack he’d made from a coat he’d found. Everything else went in the wagon so we could take it all back to our fort. Then we just stood and looked at the mound, silently, as though honoring a fallen comrade. 
           “I wonder if someone will dig that up in a thousand years and ask why it was given a burial? Maybe they’ll think it was some kind of primitive robot that we loved enough to bury in a grave.” I had thought about saying something inspirational, something like what the last person says at the end of those films we watch in school, but all I could think of was how we might be pranking future archaeologists.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Lake Trout and Document 5

Lake Trout

A substantial shadow in the shade of the shore,
a cool place
between stones
that give back the alpine sun’s shining,
its dappled back
like the lights that appear in the shoregrass at night,
going nowhere
and showing nothing.

Waiting. Watching. Wondering
if those eyes admit memories,
if my face is clear
beyond the lake’s spirituel lens,
my intention to cast a line.

My father brought me here, many times,
a legend passed on to him about a hidden tarn,
tucked beneath the cups of two peaks’ cirques, 
a deep pool
shrouded by dense stands of spruce and juniper;

where an antediluvian intelligence ruled waters
as rarified as regal spirits,
striving only for survival,
while accumulating
what wisdom or ways
will the realm toward
an equilibrium in death’s dissolute diet.

A tailfin, larger than my hand, fans sand and silt,
mica and decay,
moving out
to light, taunting,
laughing at me,  
lolling in a languid drift from the flutter of its fins’
feathered fingers,
a dismissive wave.

Document 5

There is nothing in the pantry for her to make
and everything there is beyond her grasp,
anyway; a cup of milk may as well be
an Arabic anagram or
a ton of spoiled meat.

Hunger. For.

Eating, a broken clock, a reckoning of time
manifest in hunger, a gnawing knowledge
that something is missing and things will
be better somewhere, where? Where,
where there is eating, a broken clock,
a reckoning of time manifest in hunger,
where? Where are the rest? Eating?

A broken clock.

A reckoning of time.

is missing.

In between, everything is missing but that
static quintessence of each second, the is where –
where. Where the is is, is an opaque reflection of
clouds on a cream-white opal, an ephemeral flash
of what was but is not is.
Is missing something.

Hunger. For.

Dreaming, a desperate plea, someone needs to be saved
as there’s no time left, what’s left has left her
out, left out, out left, gone, left, out, dreaming is
and out where, where? Where is is? Where is out?
Out where dreaming is the eating and a
reckoning of time manifest in hunger,
eating is, is dreaming is, is is but where?

A broken clock.

A dream. Eating. A dream.

Something is missing.

Friday, August 19, 2016

These Stones Don’t Sing out Here No More

These stones don’t sing out here no more.

Their dead song’s dead,
songs don’t get sung no more
so there’s just nothin’
but a sound that don’t make no sense.

These stones don’t sing out here no more.

The bear, the poem,
the plastic flowers gone
got wind scattered and
torn from the white cross we planted.

These stones don’t sing out here no more.

A broken bike
that fell off someone’s truck,
someone movin’ to
some better place for speaking their names.

These stones don’t sing out here no more.

And so I sing,
for them and all of us,
bones above and below,
a song about the forgotten.

And I sing, sing,
tears like branding irons,
words explode on the wind,
“Rise! Fix this broken bike and ride!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Two Poems


Clouds were scattering west, following the night,
fleeing the scene as if they’d stuck around to see
if anything else might fall and break,
or lay dead in pools
collected along curbs.

Last night, summer skies clashed,
cold and hot air, high pressure and low, everything
exploding, thunder cracking like a lone gunman’s random shots
 ripping through the night, the sky screaming
and, in an instant, bleeding light.

Behind the blinds, it appeared as though
armies battled in the dark, booming guns
pounding enemies hidden without and within,
in the heart of the city,
in the heat of the night,
in the promise of damage and destruction,
in the deaths of things.

Morning emerged, wrapped in a damp towel,
a lambent crimson rim on the horizon
like a gash, a tear where day asserted itself
timorously, taking a tentative step into
where the sky had lashed the land,
where the storm unleashed itself,
where the wind and rain shredded artifice
and laid bare roots to expose corruption,
decay, dirt, things buried beneath the
incremental accumulation of discarded time.

She arose, radiant, chin tilted toward what’s
passed and past, her displeasure betrayed
by the usual ruse of regal indifference.

Dawn shimmers away to fill mirage pools,
leaving the August sun to do the heavy lifting
and hopefully dry things out,
clean up the mess,
carry on with what life remains from before the storm
(if what’s broken can still give grief words),
and believe those scattered clouds will never return.

White Privilege

Mimicking a hummingbird, its wings bombinate with hovering,
making itself welcome to our hydrangea blossoms.
Out of its innate knack for subterfuge and duplicity,
It has been allowed access to our flowers and their nectar,
even though it was never our intention to invite that family.

“It’s not a bird. It’s a moth.”

“I wondered.

It’s ugly. That awful face and fat body.

All brown and black.”

“Shall I kill it?”

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Piss Ants, Part 5

To: G
From: Q

Oh, we’re so stylish. GQ, get it? Cuz someone sure likes to unload their bladder on this real estate. Gawd, this is getting old. What are our options, do we need to move away from this yard? I’m sick as shit of pee. Really, I’m ready to move.

Fix this general. The smell is like 100 times worse this time, as if there’s something in it that is pestilential, almost as bad as lawn mower fuel. Ugh.

To: The Queen
From: The General

I agree, My Liege, that the odor is horrifying. Unfortunately, the story gets worse and whatever was in this last batch of urine has resulted in zombie ants. Allow me to explain.

Following the last assault, we collected dead workers and soldiers from throughout our perimeter. Once the dead began to be consumed, behavioral changes in those eating became almost immediately apparent and they became dangerously psychotic within minutes. Singing, dancing and uncontrollable laughing soon gave way to attacks on one another as well as colony members who had yet to eat. In no time we had a bloody melee on our hands and were forced to kill colony members who had eaten their drowned brethren. At that point, a moratorium was placed on all fresh flesh and so, until we move, we’re a colony of vegetarians at risk of zombie civil war.

In fact, our perimeter is now littered with toxic corpses. The birds refuse to touch the dead, leaving scavenging beetles to run amok after taking a few bites of our fallen. Forward observers have reported that the beetles end up attacking other beetles and, whoever is left after that death match, runs out into the rocks as the sound of hideous beetle screams fade into the distance.

I am thinking that those stones where beetles go to confront their psychic demons could be where we’re safest. Yes, resources are scarcer, we’re more exposed, it’s hotter and the ground is as hard as rock but I see no reason why our pisser would wander out beyond the lawn.

To: General Packer
From: Queen Let’s Go

Start the process, General. I’ve got my girls on getting new workers and soldiers for you to help move the remaining unhatched workers and soldiers. I’m going to miss this place, we were living fat until getting stomped on by a fucking baby. I squeeze out a shit ton of babies and I fucking hate em’. They stink, they’re noisy, and they do stupid shit like this, stomping on people’s homes and then having someone drown them in pee. Trust me, if our colony found a way to plow on without having to rely on making babies, I’d sign right up.
So, let’s bounce, I’m so done with this place. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

15 Best Internet Lists of 2015

I bet you didn’t know there were so many lists on the Internet

This is the time of year when Internet lists get the recognition that has been neglected throughout the rest of the year. Without Internet lists, our connection to the World Wide Web would be like Russia in 2007. Do you remember what happened in Russia back in 2007? Of course you don’t and that’s the point. Internet lists have always been with us (even before the Internet) so, whatever went down in Russia back in 2007 won’t happen, forget it already.

We’ve spent several minutes and scant resources to scour the Internet for lists. Frankly, it wasn’t that difficult: just Google any number more than five followed by any adjective or noun and you’re going to hit gold. The Google has earned every penny you’ve put into it.

Our rules for including lists on this list were simple: If we didn’t like the list, we left it off and if we did like the list, well, that’s why you’re reading this. Oh, and no Buzzfeed lists, those are pointless. Having laid all that out, your 2015 has just been completed with this list and you can safely check off one more accomplishment (that we did for you!) before you die.

15. 15 Reasons to Date a Single Mom

In case you needed a reason to date a single mom, this list has 15 of them. Although we weren’t aware that all single moms had these 15 things in common, this list helped us to realize that single moms are actually better for dating than single non-moms. 

This slot had stiff competition from similar lists such as, 15 Reasons Why Single Moms Are Always Horny, 15 Ways I’m an Improvement Over Your Ex and 15 Tell-tale Signs That My Internet Lists Have Zero Effect on My Social Life

14. 14 Places You are Forbidden From Visiting

Actually, I bet there's more than 14 places since we know there's this enclosure about a mile from here with "Keep Out" and "Danger: High Voltage: signs all over it but when we went there, all we got was a ripped up t-shirt from climbing over the razor wire.

13. 13 Books That You Should Read ASAP

Why the authors of this list think you should read any of these books as soon as possible is never explained in the post, however. From what we could tell, none of the books contain time-sensitive material. Anyway, read them now, there’s 13 of them (we counted), you’re going to need to cancel some things.

12. 12 Unsettling Facts about 'The Metamorphosis'

A list about lists is a bit Kafkaesque, if you think about it.

11. 11 Mistakes Wedding Guests Make

The smart couple planning a wedding would do well to send this list out with their invitations with "FYI" penciled in on the printed copy. 

10. 10 Worst National Anthem Performances Ever

Nothing shows how American you are more than taking off your hat and pretending like you know the words.
9. 9 Things Managers Do That Make Good Employees Quit

This is an important list because in 2014, there were only eight things that managers did to make good employees quit. Since then, managers have added one more thing they do to set you off out the door. And they probably got a bonus for it.

8. 8 Top Products You Need to Try in 2016

Whoa. This is what happens when you're thinking ahead, planning for the future - you get your list on our list. If this list had been for 2017 and had fewer items on it, this might have placed near the top. Better luck next year.

7. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

As it has been with every year, this one comes in at number seven. Highly effective? The following six lists are laughing at you, pal.

6. 6 Terrible Health Tips from Gwyneth Paltrow

Or, 6 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Be Consulting Gwyneth Paltrow for Medical Advice.

5. 5 Best Big Cities

They're the best, the list says so. 

4. The 4 Types of Introvert: Which Are You?

Distinguished for being the first list to start the headline with "The." Also, introverts want to know.

3. AMAs 2015: 9 Best & 3 Worst Moments

For daring to say 3 when there's actually 4.

2. Best 2-in-1s 2015

This was a tough call. Notice how the list's title really tries to slip this into the #1 slot with "2-in-1s" by implying some kind of relative identity. But there can only be one one...

1. This list, obviously.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Piss Ants, Part 4

Restless and reckless add up to bitter mischief, especially after I’ve pounded a few brews. Although there were four beers left in the cooler, I was dreading the walk upstairs to the liquor cabinet. In order to get to it, I’d have to walk through the house and that’s where my wife would be, asking me what I was up to, so I’d have to make up a lie and try to keep moving before she got it in her head that there was something she wanted me to do. Then, if I made it past Checkpoint Charlie, I’d have to make my way through a den that had become the final resting place of various unfinished projects, towering piles of improbably repurposed crap listing like castoffs from an incompetent totem pole carver. At the end of that journey, our august liquor cabinet stood like a tabernacle, imposing and dusty. 

Everything that happens there is nearly silent and solemn as a church service, the serious business of pouring a drink while keeping the rest of the world in the dark. It just seemed like too much work, with too many potential pitfalls to get to the goodies.

 Bored, I wandered out onto the lawn, a meandering ramble through the backyard despite the desert heat, like a walk on the face of the Sun. A lush start gave out to an area closest to the rear wall where the lawn was reduced to large patches of baked dirt, weeds, dead grass. And now, ants. Their little village appeared to have been washed out, the area where they’d been living and working turned into a slab of adobe, sunbaked mud ripples where piss puddles had dried. The thought that my mighty torrents had killed them off lasted less than a second when suddenly tiny needles of fire exploded on my feet and legs. I showered myself with beer as I went airborne, dancing wildly as I tried to slap the little asswhipes off my skin, spitting, “Fuck! FUCK! FUUUUCK YOU!”

Ant-free and the stings still hurt. In the grass, just beyond the spot where I’d laid down my diluvium, eight fresh holes poked out of the ground. I immediately knew where I’d be coming for my next piss. If I had to chase them around my lawn with my lethal flow, so be it; I had the beer and the urethra of a baby whale.

Back in the shade of the patio my thoughts returned to a buzz supplement since most of my beer had spilt when I did my ant dance. Killing it, I reached into the cooler for a freshie and succored myself with an ice cold gulp. With the heat, I knew my beer wouldn’t last long and I’d be still be standing tall, not staggering into a corner bead. Rummaging in the compartment beneath my grill, I was hoping to find a spare bottle, maybe a liquor I’d used to flame something. On the side of the cabinet not occupied by a large bottle of propane, a pile of grill gear accumulated over the years had been forced into a solid mass of unused barbecuing tools and accoutrements. Beyond the pile was my secret stash, a fuel-fed chafing dish, a small bong and two bottles, Evan Williams (empty) and Captain Morgan’s (Maybe a shot. Maybe.). Pulling out the rum, I considered the sterno attached to the chafing dish. After all, there was a blues song about it, “Woke up this moanin’, canned heat on my mind,” guy must have liked it if it’s his first thought after getting hammered by it the night before. Yeah, he did go on to say it was killing him (that, and the woman who wasn’t having him) but he was drinking it night and day. This was going to be a one-time experiment. What could go wrong?

I fished out a small highball glass and closed the grill back up. Keep things tidy before getting balls out insane. Western-like, I spit into the glass then wiped out dust and dead bugs with the tail of my shirt, then poured in about half the sterno. Expecting an awful, chemical smell, I was surprised at how bland and waxen the bouquet was, a few notes of cherry cough syrup, banana peels, a peppery hint of Toluene. Really, the smell was no worse than the wine we’d served at Thanksgiving, stuff her sister had brought over. Taking about a shot’s worth, it tasted no worse than that wine, no worse than the rum I’d just finished. However, the glow that followed gripped with a weird vibration, one that felt like having a piece of cardboard for a roof while eating beans from a can.

Ants were asking to be pissed on and I was ready. The sun was almost down and I wanted to get a good look at my target, find a safe place to stand. It looked as though the ants were packing it in, calling it a day, fewer scurried through grass that had been busy with ants just a little earlier. The unsuspecting insects began scrambling wildly after catching the first burst from my bladder, tumbling ass-over-elbow in the torrents that rushed down the sides of their little hills. All eight entrances had been obliterated by my stream and I had plenty to spare for just giving the entire patch of their stomping ground a good watering. Zipping up, I returned to the patio with a sense of accomplishment, certain I’d have them whipped out by night’s end.

I celebrated my feat with another stiff shot of sterno chased by a fresh beer. There were only two beers left and a half can of sterno to finish so I revamped the pace I’d set for myself. Although not completely nasty, the sterno was better with a beer chaser.

There’s little I remember, after that. I know I pissed on the ants one more time and then, the next thing I knew, I was in handcuffs, wearing nothing but a blanket, sitting in the back of a police cruiser while my wife was pointing and shouting at a couple of cops who appeared to be looking for reasons to leave. Apparently, I’d taken off my clothes and then climbed a wall to sit in my neighbor’s pool while their family was using it. They said I didn’t do anything perverted but just swam around the pool, claimed I was God and that I’d destroyed the Sodomites, that they’d all turn into pillars of salt if they looked in my backyard. I was charged with trespassing, disturbing the peace, indecent exposure and a bunch of made-up charges that they throw in to make sure the sterno is left alone.