Friday, November 15, 2013

When it was

            A thousand years ago, or maybe just a few less than that, I was sick in Minnesota. I had gone to visit a friend up at her college and I came down with a vicious flu. I didn’t let it stop me though. There were parties and drinks to be had. The one that sticks out most in mind however is a party at another nameless place in some nameless time. It’s not that they didn’t have names; I just can’t remember what they were. It was a thousand years ago after all.

             In those days I had a pretty specific dress code, black Doc Marten boots, black Khaki pants, a white button down short sleeve collared shirt, a tattered cardigan sweater, a heavy black cashmere overcoat and a dark grey fedora. I was the picture of 1960’s in the 1990’s. I was adorable. Or at least I thought so. I remember sitting in a wooden chair at one of these many parties in that very outfit.

             I remember this party, sitting in that chair, in that outfit, shivering with fever as I tried to drink a beer and have a good time with the people I’d come so far from Chicago to see. The one saving grace of this party was the fireplace, with a roaring fire in it. I pulled my chair up as close as I could to it and bathed myself in the warmth. All around me the party swirled with the revelry of youth as I sat, trying not to feel death’s creeping fingers crawling over my shoulders.

             I remember people coming up to me, attractive women, asking me what was wrong and I’d have to explain to them that I had caught a flu or something. The sympathy was wonderful, but it didn’t stop anyone from keeping me mildly intoxicated. I think I took the alcohol advice of hot totties and whiskey as a cure all for what ailed me too seriously. So in my fevered and drunken mind I became quite the center of attention. I wasn’t an ass though. I was strangely insightful, thoughtful, philosophical even.

             I started then to wonder if maybe I could do this college thing. If I can fool these college people with drunken, flu like ramblings, imagine what I could do with a sober and healthy mind.  Although those thoughts soon were dispelled once I realized how incredibly drunk or high everybody at the party was. I could have told them that I was the new messiah, come to forgive them of their sins and cure them of the diseases of their past. I think they might have believed me. I might have even gotten laid.

             Over the last few days, since Tuesday night, I’ve been sick. Feverish like I was that long ago party night in Minnesota. My mind was reeling in the fever, imagining things that never were or I thought might be, I thought the world was ending at the end of the month and the Mayans were only a little off in their calculations and maybe I should find myself someone to close out the world with. I’d wake from those thoughts and get back to reality.

             The reality of pajama pants, and not shaving for three days. The reality of the crowding walls of my apartment, the fact that I haven’t been outside in two days. The reality of cold medicines that make me loopy. I would know that at one point, a thousand years ago, I was at a party in Minnesota with the flu, being the person I thought I was, with a future unwritten. Sick with flu instead of sick with knowledge of reality.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Some, we only get once,
maybe twice.

Three times at the most.

Some are squandered,
like a kiss in in a car
when further passion was
needed but the signs
weren’t right, or there.

 Lips pressed together
unexpectedly because
you thought she
didn’t like you
…. that “way”.

So it’s blown,
and out you jump
from the car, hoping
for another one later.

Some are lost,
like success, because
a drink was more
important than it.

Some circle the drain,
swirling for a long time,
just out of reach.

Some are taken,
misused and abandoned,
left for the wolves.

Some are a flip of the
Some are baffling,

Some is left with
that open mouth, heart
punched feeling as the
result of
chances ultimately

pissed away


Friday, November 8, 2013

Delicately Erotic

I woke this morning
with thoughts of silky
softness. There’s some
satiny, smoothness
that my brain is

A gentle caress,
a caring touch,
with warm breath,
on baited, nervous

The warmth of two
bodies, held together,
in a long embrace,
as hands move over
the curves and valleys.

The electricity of
touching lips together,
breathing together,
feeling each heartbeat
as the pace quickens.

A trembling confidence
of interlocked hands,
deep and bright eyes,
staring into each other

Pawing, needing,
wanting, ready.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


            The sound of dripping water echoed through the cavernous stone jail. A single oil lamp flickered and cast black shadows down the dim corridor. A few muffled cries and moans drifted through the darkness. Erin pulled at the shackle and chain around her leg. The chain links rattled against the stone floor of her cell. She blinked; trying to focus her eyes in the dark, but wasn’t able to get any clarity of her surroundings.

              The ground beneath her bare feet was damp and mossy. She felt across the cold stone floor with her outstretched hands. The smell was of mold and disease. She cringed and swallowed hard. She felt herself gag and she held back from vomiting. This was a place of death.

             Erin squinted to see up around her. She saw a small slit of a window and her eyes adjusted to see the starlight beaming through the night sky. It was nighttime. It was her first sure realization of what happened to her. She craned her neck toward the window slit. She caught the scent of late night juniper and remembered the betrayal of her sister.

             Erin and her sister, Clathia, were in love with the same knight. Roget of Kincade was brave and true and a man of passion and honor. Unfortunately it seemed that Clathia was not and had Erin arrested and tried for witchcraft. Roget did nothing to dispute Clathia’s accusations and now Erin was facing the gallows in the morning. Erin’s eyes welled with tears.

             She felt along the walls and stretched out toward the window. The chain against her leg tightened and kept her from reaching more than a few feet in front of her. She sobbed lightly against the pull of the chain. She turned back toward the wall she was chained to and pulled at the shackle around her ankle. She tried to get some slack but the chain was taut. She sat down on the floor and pulled her knees up against her chest. She pressed her head against her knees.

             The dungeon door creaked open down the corridor. The sound bounced loudly through the chamber. Erin lifted her head as a faint light floated toward her cell. The soft unmistakable footsteps of Clathia filled Erin’s ears. The candle light blinded Erin as Clathia stood at the bars of Erin’s cell.

             “I hope you’re enjoying your accommodations,” said Clathia.
            “I hear laughter in your voice sister,” said Erin.
            “Laughter? No. I’m truly saddened by your demonic deal with the devil,” sneered Clathia.

             Erin stood and moved toward the bars to face Clathia. Clathia stepped back slightly.

             “Why do you move sister,” asked Erin.
            “I do not. I am not afraid of you demon,” said Clathia.
            “The quiver in your breath betrays you.”
            “I am not afraid.”

             A smile curled across Erin’s lips. She no longer feared the hangman’s noose. She felt strong in the face of her betraying sister.

             “You do fear me. And not because of the falsehoods you have created. You fear me because I was the favorite of our father. I was the favorite of the people. I am the true heir of the throne,” said Erin.
            “No sister. I do not fear you. I pity you and your desperate attempts to woo Roget with love potions and spells,” said Clathia.
           Erin started to laugh. Clathia took another step back from Erin’s cell.

             “If you really believe that then you should fear me. I will have my revenge on you sister,” said Erin.
            “You will be hanged, you will be decapitated, burned and buried at sea. You will have no revenge,” said Clathia.

             Erin stepped away from the bars. The silence of the dungeon was only pierced by the subtle drips of water leaking through the stony walls.

             “I will have my revenge. It begins now,” said Erin.

             A rumble reverberated through the stone floors and Clathia gasped. Erin’s eyes began to glow white hot red and she lifted her arms from her sides. The walls began to shake. Clathia dropped the candle and started toward the dungeon doors.

             “No escape sister,” said a voice from Erin.

             The dropped candle was snuffed. The oil lamp flickering on the wall went out.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Feeling Punk Rock

            Some days I feel more punk rock than others. I’m aware to use the term “punk rock” to describe feeling punk rock is awkward but then, I suppose that’s the essence of punk. It’s apt since most punks are and were socially awkward. I am certainly one of the many aging punk fans still dealing with that social and practical life awkwardness. So today, this afternoon, as I sit in my pajama bottoms, tee-shirt and cardigan sweater, I feel punk rock.

            It’s a gray, cloudy, rainy Wednesday in early November and I am filled with resistance; resistance to the responsibilities that a man, an adult, my age should deal with. Somewhere inside me I still just want to throw myself around like a teenager, thrashing my head back and forth, stomping around, filled with the angst of being misunderstood. I want to rage against the shackles of the conformity of daily life. I don’t want to be told what to do. I have to do things. And the very fact that I have to do them makes me not want to do them.

            That’s all irrational though. I’m not a teenager. I’m a grown man. (Albeit an unemployed grown man pretending I’m a writer.) It’s just hard to give up the fight. The fight to be something other than what everyone else is trying to be. I don’t want to fit into the mold. I don’t want to be part of the machine. I don’t want to be sucked into the everydayness of what we have to do to survive. I resist it, yet can’t really remember why I am compelled to resist in the first place.

             Maybe I was spoiled. I often think the poor, the worse off, don’t have time to be punk because they just do the things they have to do and shut-up about all the rest. Perhaps I was never really all that punk. Maybe I just liked to say fuck off and drink while listening to crazy music and smoke too many cigarettes in some hard worked for home of a friend’s parents.

             Life is short. Life is hard. Life is often not the star on top of a beautiful Christmas tree. Life is dirty, mean, unfair, illogical, irrational, and at times, boring. Maybe I resist the idea that as experiences get longer, my life is getting shorter.  I’m not simply satisfied with a cubicle job with a 401K and health insurance. The idea of spending the remainder of my life there deserves derision. And yet, I’m no better than the millions that have gone before me, scratching out an existence they hate so those whom come after are better off. But I am the after, and I’m supposed to be better off and yet I don’t feel it.

             My brain then kicks in and tells me that I just have to do the things. I just have to do them. I just have to.  My brain just repeats to me, “Don’t you want a wife, a house, children? Then you have to do the things you hate.” Then my mind says, “Nuh-uh, you can be anything you want and still have those things. Then you wouldn’t be resentful when you’re in your 70’s.”

 The punk in me resents the things I have to do because I worry they’ll ultimately make me feel unhappy, unsettled and discontent. The conservative in me, the neck tie one, knows that I have to put my nose to the grindstone to achieve anything at all. Be it a life of punk rock resentment or cubicle resentment. I still have to work at it.

 Instead, I’m sitting here at my computer, still wearing my pajamas, thinking about lunch, smoking a cigarette, wondering what the hell do I do with this punk rock life I made for myself. Am I too old to start painting, would I be a good painter, what is good; am I a 19th century philosopher trapped in an existential modern hell?

My pizza is ready. I’ll go eat it. Then go back on the internet and continue to look for a job. Then I’ll write some more. I’ll feel pleased for a short while. Then I’ll smoke more cigarettes and wish I had the money to go out for a beer. Maybe I’ll shower. Maybe I’ll shave. Maybe I’ll remember my old ripped up punk cardigan and get too nostalgic for the old days, I’ll say screw it, and stifle myself to the point of immobility.  

 That makes me feel punk today.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Sweating the small stuff.
The Devil in the Details.
The minutia of life effecting the
larger panoply.

Dotting “I’s” and crossing “T’s”.
Life in the atom, smashing.
Fine particles drifting up the nose.
Acids and bases.

A bug bite, a bee sting.
A steady drip, a leak.
Dust in the eye.
Paper cut.

A red light when speed is in need.
Unseen pot holes.
Gas prices.

The closed.

Business hours.
Masters Degrees for minor jobs.
Penny pinching.

Idiots in control.
Indigestible intolerance.
Muddy thought.

Cracks, instability,
worry, doubt, faceless fear.

I get angry. So do you.  
We both should.
And not be afraid of it.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Strange Page

Outside my apartment window,
in the early morning hours,
I see the world, yet fail
to figure it out.

There’s a mild hustle,
a bustle, a light murmur
of activity of which I
don’t want a part.

There’s business types,
laborer types,
children, old people,
buses, cars, trucks, all
doing the things.

I wonder about their
motivations.  Is it for
family, for love, for
passion, for money,
for something to
fill the time before the
worms get them?

Do they have secrets?
Of course they have secrets.
Secret wishes, desires, hopes,
wants, dreams, plans. But
I mostly see their struggles
from my apartment window

How they go about life, why
they do it, it's like breathing
on the moon to me. I don’t
get it. And the more I
watch, the less I’m inclined
to join them.

My coffee’s ready. It’s hot.