Wednesday, July 27, 2011


in the key of Barth

If he is lucky, at some point the diligent writer finds himself at a crossroads, a great existential chasm like a decision or a doorjamb. One each side lies solid ground and in between yawns the deep known that will destroy him. He will have grown tired of the side on which he resides (else he will have set it ablaze, in an effort to get things going or instill his life with the fictional drama that arouses him). He will pick up the pen or the shotgun to find a way out. Searching the ground around him, he might fling debris into the gap in a vain attempt to fill it (see Midwest poetry ca. 2010). Or he may describe for the average reader the very average madness, about which we never speak. Especially at parties. He will pause to realize that this madness is or could be the abyss to be bridged and the means by which to do it. He decides on the latter and makes it the moving from the middle of the kitchen to the rusting patio furniture handed down by in-laws to purchase more, just as ugly. It the American way to. The writer would be quick to point out that it has nothing to do with the actual movement from inside to out - which is, as it happens, south, that is to imply down, as in Hell - which gives rise to the aforementioned mad. It has everything to do with the exchange which transpires just prior to this exit, which instigates it, galvanizes it, causing it to rise up from the caste of mere displacement from one locale to another, to the physical manifestation of the desire to flee the scene ultimately. Writers need to include a sense of the kinetic, sometimes subtle, sometimes involving helicopters. To flee the scene ultimately, the scene here being city, state, country, and domestic planet. But no protagonist has been established, but merely implied by all this directional garbage. Nonetheless, the aforementioned exchange which led to the exit onto bland patio begins actually ten years ago, pulling the rug from under no less than all of us. It isn't fair. Writers can't just do whatever they. Ten years ago this September and ends 2.5 seconds before the body is turned and marched doorward. Were the reader the researcher type (and some are), it could be conjectured that this act was foretold even further back, before the marriage. The early-to-mid twenties, when longing for both home and away undergoes a certain puberty, hair, stink, and mood and all. Every compound, does it not, allow itself to be broken down into its native constituents? Though here the exchange, we will call it an argument for the sake of it, is exactly that - a compound and heated at that. I would not call it a solution. The native constituents. Hers: the single mother crone who is to be revered, now broken, spoiled, and parading dour before everyone as if by penance. His: the early outcast complex made usable by pressure on all sides along with the discovery of the word in all its nefarious forms. Together, a joined quest for the new and need for the creation of the old within it. And so it happens, and with success, because time is a native constituent, too, and one which must be taken into the equation. We must not behave as amateurs. Time, the constituent with a timer, expending its own pressure with a slowly growing erection toward its death. The rack. Contractions. In imitation of a worthy narrative it builds to a point of change that must be logical and must contain within it a violence for flavor. So it happens five lines from the end. Her need for the security of the nest and his desire not be rendered insane by it. A door, south and east, slams. Vector forces, cut. A baby cries as it imagines a balloon floating off. A god somewhere in the woman turns away, as the man wanders outside, kicks chairs for looking at, wonders why, wonders how long it will take to write about changing places with time.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


The bartender was bleach dirty blonde, and I don't just mean her hair. Late 30's, she was still a player kept healthy by constant movement, gardening, engaging with the children in the back yard and on the other side of the bar. Knee-length, acid-washed shorts, tank top with the kind of rack you direct a buddy to. But with a matronly air, that said you talk with her about other women. Many a bartender can flash a smile for the win, but she was different. It. never. stopped. I watched closely as she restocked the rail, changed channels looking for the game, poured beers and shots. Her smile was the only constant. It was comforting to think she was having a good time, someone who was at the right place at the right time and getting a check to boot. Soon, because I can't leave a good thing alone, I started seeing it as a burden. Something she keeps up because she's being watched. A bad action-thriller plot point. I imagined a look powered by the steady flow of Red Bull, momentum, and a growing stack of damp singles. She called everyone darlin', smiled at the ways of men, and never batted an eye when the word pussy was crumpled and tossed to the floor. I decided she was just solid, the kind to keep her sanity in a routine anything but. The kind of solid that said though it was fun to try, there isn't an orgasm strong enough that could keep her down for long.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

For One Day Michael is a Lonely Meme

Lonely on a Tuesday, and all my metaphors are like similies. I find myself looking for new ways to spell my name, as though the words in themselves have meaning and will bring about some kind of change somewhere. Names are unique only in their definitions. To yourself, to family and loved ones, names are something wholly unique and more inextricably bound to emotion than the rest of the dictionary. On par with entries like rape and Heaven. But to others, to those who do not know you, they are like the names of colors, about which they know nothing, in whose beauty they may never invest themselves.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bukowski Walkthrough

Beginnings are clean, even when it's stink or hate. You laugh when smoke is blown
in your face. Inside you know a clear path has been cut through the socks and books
and condoms, because you're the pussy here and he's the dick.

Stage Two, but you're still on the outside pounding on the door.
It opens and the smell is on you. You stub your toe on a jagged
memory and you're all hair and coins at Billy's, where its all Heart
Magic Man or maybe Barracuda. You're aware of your crotch
for the first time today. And it makes you sad. You're too clean
to be here, but fact's fact and you can't wish away the touch.

It's usually somewhere in the middle, which can be just about
anywhere, depending on how long he is this time.
You start noticing wrinkles you can't smooth away,
the gut that won't suck in. It's the exact subject of the piece
or the slow reflection of it off the narrator, which
you think is the author because otherwise you're
lost. Maybe it's about a gash bleeding love into
the middle of second street. In another, a pause
after the troubled world has finally left him in peace.

And it is that moment which slides you to the end, a climax and denouement
holding hands, where his solitude shoves you out like an unwanted coda, while
his patience for you, Herculean, has brought him some invisible reward.

Standing the hall, you play your part as he plays his Mahler.
You imagine a fifth against his chest sinking into the chair,
only to rise against his own odds somewhere after you've gone,
forgetting you and taking his bow like a good long piss.

Friday, July 1, 2011


What do you do when things stop making sense, when the routine is suddenly spotlit with a broken vibe, an inanity that renders even tender moments devoid of love?

When you are Jack's life, and you are a small plastic box with sentimental value.

When, what, and how? Does you merely drink himself back into neutral once again?

Reset the amnesia?

You are afraid to enter the shadows. Not out of fear of what awaits,
but out of fear they will underwhelm you, subtracting yet another possible excitement.

Is there mystery which never ends, is never exhausted because it posses no center?
Even the bottomless pit eventually empties to some other side.

The secret then -- to maintain orbit and never land, bore through to the core.

There lies mystery in only the approach of the other.

On the other side, you're back to start.