this is about that time

Latest stories

My Dia’gnosis

M

First time all those years ago by my high school teacher lover: bi-polar.

During my interview for the‘rapist group they looked at each other and said, “self medicating.”

At the factory pharm two Intense Indian interns wrote alot of words and mumbled together, “cyclothymia”.

The most recent dia’gnosis from my episode on the Fast Talking Speed Date with a Shrink Show: Bi-Polar II.

II is a relief because I can say it’s mild, which I always have (“kind of” not “must of”) like when I say, I’m mildly OCD, I’m not exagerating. My fastidiousness, nor being callous, as most who say shit like that are. I’m just mildly OCD.

You may call it ‘very organized,’ if it makes it more palatable, because I do too. She laughed when telling that I alphabetized the food in the pantry.

I laughed when I saw the complete collection of National Geographic magazines and the boxes of movie ticket stubs and jars of insects lining the wall to wall shelves of my suicided brothers room.

The company didn’t laugh, they got used to my working six’teen hour days for two to three weeks before opening night, after which I would stumble home in a days and then call in sick for a few daze, for several d’ays, I would call in numb for a week or ‘2.

Like when I get a pimple in the unusual invisible place, the inside of my right nostril. It’s a pimple even though I haven’t seen it because I know what those feel like and I know they are triggered by stress, which I seem to have a lot of some’times.

Walk around with this inflamed right red nostril that really fucking hurts, especially if I touch it, which it’s really hard not to, and all anyone else sees, everyone else sees, is a slightly inflamed red right nostril, which is easily passed off as a cold symptom or a maybe I drink too much but, really, I know, it’s my downstairs mixup wanting to b’eaten alive.

Nobody, myself included, really wants to see it. We just keep fingers crossed. it will be gone soon.

We don’t talk much, nobody talks at all, about suicide because, why? Pages of evidence destroyed because why? A sister has the final evidence in a box in a barn that won’t be released to the public but why?

The father died never being able to admit he was queer but why? I’m waiting for my demented mother to die without her ever being able to admit she, me, but why?

There are a lot more whys in my story but why bother with, why them?

Jack Nicholson was cute in that movie where he didn’t want to step on cracks, I think, perhaps not but maybe, so.

the hand enjoys it’s work

t

the ease
of the threading
of the worm
of the bait on the hook

the peace
of the waiting
of the hope
of the day’s catch

the thrill
of the tug and pull
of the struggle
of it’s life or death

the confidence
of the knife
of the stab
of the slice and crunch

the slight pause
at the ooze
at the blood
at the sacs and sinews

the familiarity
of the red
of the grey and white
of the yellow and blue

the slow hand
but who am I
but hunger
but the cold hunter

the hand enjoys it’s work

Winter

W

His hair, orange, red.
His specialty, regret.
His specialty, self-flagellation.
His specialty, not yours
to consider. What he
refuses to say, “never,
I say never, nor, again.”
The incident, the reveal,
the revelation of what is.
The decay, the falling,
the fall, the inevitable.
His hair, the down on
the lobe of his ear.
The fecund ground,
mud, black leaves,
married to the water.
The dreaming leaves,
of tomorrow, of things
I need not tell you.
His hair, his longing,
to keep the secret.
His secret, your secret,
our secret. There are no
secrets. There should be
no secrets. There are
no secrets. There are
no reasons. What reason do you need to die?
He can give no reason,
‘cause there are no reasons
no more reasons.
They put a knife
to his throat, he
should have been home.
He should have been told.
Of the cold, of the cold
bones in the ground.
His bony arm, raised
in defense, flailing.
The birds have all gone
away. His brother watched
from afar. Helpless, frozen,
snow on the ground.
Crusted. Crunching. Boots.
Trapped, running.
Shouts. Cries. Crying.
Don’t try to make sense of it.
The act repeats itself
again and again in
the woods are not safe.
The genuflecting trees.
They are taping the woods off:
“Crime Scene.”
We prefer not to think
about it. About the time.
The snow on the ground.
The trees, the stones, the mud.
His body, his blood, his tears.
His specialty, containment
All part of the plan.
His body, his blood, his years.
His remembering, his refusal
to speak, to say.
Our specialty,
avoiding it.

After “Autumn,” by Laura Mullen.

familycide

f

my sister, the only one of six, not sisters but siblings, my sister, the bottom sibling, has scars on her arms, the kind you’re supposed to hide, or at least you used to have to did, they are suicide scars, more properly referred to as unsuccessful suicide scars, or maybe they are a sign of success since she’s still here, somewhere, i think she once blamed them on our father, in a letter she wrote, to me, that I didn’t save, I don’t save things, the scars weren’t from our father, they were inspired by him, I get that, but they’re not something we talk about, we don’t talk about anything, we don’t talk, that’s mostly on me, not my fault, just a choice I made, I make

my brother, doug is how I call him, has scars all over his body, tattoos are a kind of scar, not a kind of, literally scars, even, especially, on his throat, (we all have tattoos, except Prince Valiant, which, who, I’ll get to later, but not on the throat), I’m afraid to write this, afraid he might read it, someday, however unlikely, and feel bad, I have no intention of making him feel bad, had no intention, he might have already suicided, as far as I know, but I don’t think so, I think I would have heard, but he seems to have taken it the hardest, well, no, that’s not fair, the actual dead brother almost certainly took it the hardest, of the living, doug has had the most difficulties, the most obvious difficulties, because you can’t compare, which we inevitably do, but you can’t, but you do, I do

this is my space, I’m saving it for later

Prince Valiant was the white sheep of the family, is the white sheep, is not actually a sheep, at all, more like a wolf, a big bad wolf, so to speak, not actually that big or bad but the worst kind, the prevalent kind, the kind who takes pleasure in the damage he causes, who flaunts it, who paints a portrait of it and hangs it so it’s the first thing you see when you walk into his house, life size portrait, predator portrait, trophy portrait, is the least likely to suicide, is the most likely to be already dead, inside, to me, I’m sorry, not sorry, I just am

frnkie was the first to display a physical scar, a tiny tattoo of a flower bunch on his forearm, is the one that actually did it, suicided, successfully, not successfully because he’s dead, successfully because he blamed himself, it makes sense the one to blame is the one that has to die but he also killed his, our, mother, at the same time, not literally killed, killed inside, she was always dead but with a chance of revival, he took that away from her, suicided in a brilliant way, and if I could get the notes from my sister, who won’t give them up, hoards them, hides them, I would prove it, by letting you see them, the notes bring you into the room, make you a witness, a brilliant literary technique, one that I’d like to show you, to recreate, to copy, to emulate, to illustrate, I would

max, the one least likely to suicide, if he decided to do it it, his method would be admired, framed, displayed, it would make frnkie’s brilliant method look crude, sinister compared to max’s creative design and application, which would be both analog and digital, software and hardware, literary and mechanical, it would incorporate found objects, searched for objects, objects salvaged from a post-WWI, or is it WWII, junkyard, it would have tubes and it would have led, it would be written about, written about by him, written about by his fan club, it would be written

Invocation to Baubo and the Number 16

I

There’s a tradition somewhere that says, “if you want to break down the barrier between yourself and somebody else you’ve got to tell them a secret about yourself.” At least I think there is… and if there isn’t, there ought to be.

INVITATION

My name is Orange You Glad.
I’m a recovering asshole.
I’ve come to tell you a secret.
But first, a little background…

In the womb
as the body begins to form
there is only a single sex.
Male and female are the same.
But then something happens and
the genitalia evolves into one kind or another.
In the one, the hood grows a little larger and the nub a little smaller
in the other the hood grows a little smaller and the nub a little larger.
The hood is primarily associated with the female and the nub with the male.
After birth, they apepar soemwhat different but
each contains the essense of the other.
Suprisingly, some cultures choose
to cut off the nub of the female
removing her masculinity, or
to cut off the hood of the male,
eradicating his femininity.
Both customs seem to me like a denial of
something important.

SUMMONING

Sweet 16.
How sweet the sound.
“Once upon a looking for Donna time she was a sixteen year old virgin.”

1+6 = the sacred number 7.
The sum of the four first odd numbers: 1+3+5+7 = 16

“16 candles make a lovely light, but not as bright as your eyes tonight.”

Blow out the candles, make your wish come true.

The 16th hexagram of the I-Ching is Yu, Enthusiasm
the arousing thunder above
the receptive earth below
there is harmony in the opposition of
the rolling thunder and the immovable earth

“You come on like a dream,
peaches and cream,
lips like strawberry wine.
You’re sixteen,
you’re beautiful
and you’re mine.”

The 16th major arcana in the tarot is The Tower
whose element is fire, symbolic of
the destruction of existing conditions
the removal of all that is stagnant
wthin our lives and thus holding us back

You know what I love about the internet? The porn. I like the sites where women show themselves off, wet t-shirt contests, Girls Gone Wild. I especially like watching women beating the bush. You know what I mean…

Opening the Honey Pot
Banging the Beezer
Flipping the Bean
Petting the Pussy
Jilling-Off
Cleaning the Clam
Waking the Butterfly
Romancing the Rose
Praising the Orchid
Parting the Petals
Tip Toeing Through The Two Lips
Making the Oyster Smile
Stroking the Snail
Caressing the Kitty
Invoking Venus
Buttering the Potato
Dating My Palm
Fanning the Furnace
Finger Fun
Flipping the Flaps
One Hand Clapping
Pearl Diving
Playing Piano
Polish the Pussy
Polishing the Pearl
Primin’ the Hymen
Rowing the Little Man in the Boat
Scuffing the Muff
Sorting the Oysters
Tickle the Taco
Tossing the Pink Salad
Touch Typing
Winking the Hood

But my favorite porn to look at are wide open beavers.
It’s almost as of they want you to crawl up inside.
I used to be scared of vaginas.
They made me think about death.
I used to be afraid of falling inside and disappearing.
It’s because they’re like portals, I guess.
You have to go through them to
come into this world and so it’s natural
to think they can take you out of it as well.
Sex is like death.
Well, not just sex, but orgasms.
The french call them “le petite morte,” the little death.
I like orgasms.
Every time they happen I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.

“Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the fire stick!”

John Newton, the author of Amazing Grace, was a slave trader. The story goes that he had a sudden moral realization, freed his slaves and then composed the song. In reality, it was after he had been made a slave himself and lived in bondage for eight years that he had his transformation.

The numerological value of 16 is awakening.
By destroying all that we cling to, our transformation may begin.

Twice round through the chakras took us to 14. 15 brought us back to the root and now, at 16, we’re in the second again, the sacral, the gonad chakra whose element is water.

As fire burns us, water doth soothe us,
washes away the ashes of our deceipt and
nourishes a new born self

“You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go…”

In ancient Greece when
Demeter, the corn goddess,
lost her daughter, Persephone who
was abducted and raped by Hades
she became so consumed with grief that
she stopped the corn from growing.
The world became barren and drab.

Enter Baubo, the Belly Goddess.
Meeting Demeter at an annual gathering,
known as the Festival of Eleusis,
Baubo dances for Demeter and
tells her bawdy jokes.
She ends her dance by
baring her belly and
flashing her vulva.
Demeter laughs.

Mirth conquers despair.
Demeter sees Baudo’s femininity and,
remembering who she is,
resolves to reclaim her daughter.
When she does so, abundance returns to earth.

Meanwhile, in
Ancient Ireland and England,
from whence I come,
artisans carved figures of
squatting women into the arches and
doorways of churches.
Known as Sheila-Na-Gig
these figures hold their vaginas wide open
as if inviting all to look within.

The word gig has roots that speak of women who were attuned to the divine force of life.

In ancient Sumeria, femal priestesses were known as Nu-Gig or “the pure.”

Today a gig is an event, activity or engagement.

Since those ancient times
something has been forgotten.
The carvings chiseled away,
the belly goddess dessicated and
the true meaning of words buried as if
made into secrets best left unsaid.

Since those ancient times
the world seems barren and drab
to those who would grieve
for that which has been lost
to those who’ve been forgotten.

My name is Orange You Glad and
I’ve come to tell you my secret…

I was 16 years old when my awakening began.
That was the year I put my fingers through a dog’s skin and
touched it’s heart.
I walked through a portal of genuflecting trees.
I became frightened when I saw the faces
behind the masks of strangers.
The devil came to take my soul but
when I told her I wasn’t ready
she turned into an angel and said,
“don’t you worry about a thing ‘cause every little thing is gonna be all right.”

16 was the year that I began
receiving transmissions in the form of
coded messages delivered by way of movies,
mass advertisements and
the occasional pizza delivery man.
You remmber him, don’t you?
Arnold Avoid the Noid?
Well, that was me too.

I’ve heard alien voices calling
from the dark side of a blue moon
that filled up half the sky.

I’ve set myself on fire and
learned that you don’t have to be perfect
to be invited to a boogie

I’ve hung myself by rope
around the neck and
shit myself and learned
that the reason we’re here is
simply because we want to be.

My awakening became complete
that time my brother sent me a love letter
in the form of a suicide note
that said one word:
remember.

Those were the times I almost died.

Now I’ll tell you about
the time I actually died,
and this
was
my secret…

1+6=7
I was seven when
I met the Prince of Darkness.
I took his held-out hand and
he threw me face first
into a snow bank.
With his boot on the back of my head
leaving an impression of the face of fear in the snow.
Then he picked me up and said
he wanted to be my friend.
So I went with him
to an abandoned farmhouse
where my initiation
began.

My innocence was ripped from my chest,
shoved down my throat and
buried deep within my bowels.
With it my identity was lost,
my self dis-membered from it’s own life.

But a secret once told
becomes a secret no more.
Something buried takes root,
transforms, from seed to sprout,
claws its way up from the dark earth
in search of light.

Something lost
will always
be found.
Something forgotten
will always
be remembered.

Everything that dies will be born anew.
When did you die and are you ready to die again?

“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.”

“O, Death, O, Death Won’t you spare me over
til another year passes by
Well what is this, that I can’t see
ice cold hands, takin’ hold of me”

“I’m death I come, to take the soul
Leave the body and leave it cold
To draw up the flesh, off of the frame
Dirt and worm, both have a claim”

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing our praise
Than when we’ve first begun.”

And now,
let us prey.

That Time

T

You were six years old when
first tossed the ritual knife
implicitly told to
save yourself by
whatever means necessary.

That first time was messy
with bawling but afterwards
you would lie silently
to plunge the blade
back into the flaming wound.

Mother would stand you up
and use a sterile bandage
to cover your gut
say good dreams are
reserved for a well behaved boy.

The bloodied gauze marked you
a fallen child warrior
a keeper of the secret
easy pickings for packs
of heart-sick cannibals.

Empty

E

If these stories and memories seem empty it’s because they’re empty. This is the fog of my previous life. I drown in the effort to reveal to myself what I have experienced.

The mother was a tamed shrew. Woodcock was a randy sailor boy. Their spawn are my competitors for the air of the divine.

All I ever wanted for christmas was my two blunt feet but what I got was a handlebar in my face. Salty, bloody ice-cold stainless steel.

The coolest thing Woodcock ever did, that I know of, was ride a motorcycle. I remember his friends popping wheelies up Partridge Street. TJ says they all made fun of Woodcock at the shop but I thought the shop was sacred space. Later, when Woodcock was trying to pretend that he was my father, he put me in his sidecar and popped me up in the air over an empty box.

Ethel never did a cool thing in her life or if she did I wouldn’t tell you about it.

Don’t blame me, I’m from Massachusetts.

Fire and Not So Much Fury

F

We funded our cigarette smoking by stealing money from Ethel’s purse. She always had a lot of quarters in there and cigs were only thirty-five cents a pack. Candy bars and dill pickles were a nickel. This was down at Art’s corner store. We went in there a lot. We also got some money from collecting bottles — five cents a piece. Art offered to pay us twenty-five cents a head for killing black water moccasins from the pond behind the store but the first time we brought him one he didn’t pay up so fuck that.

If we didn’t have money then we just stole what we wanted. We were excellent at sticking shit down our pants when no-one was looking and we hardly ever got caught. At Art’s we could only steal candy bars because it was a small store and they kept the cigarettes behind the counter. Two better stores to steal from were the Fernandes grocery store and Bradlees over in Medway.

Fernandes was best for cigarettes, cigars, pipes, tobacco, matches, lighters and lighter fluid. Bradlees was best for fishing supplies and highway flares. At Fernandes we would go in with a large empty paper bag and carry it as if it were full. Then we would fill it up on the cigarette aisle and walk out with our ‘already full’ bag. Bradlees was wise to that trick, though, and they wouldn’t let us in if we had a bag so it was down the pants all the way. Highway flares were tricky and you had to walk super careful or the spike would scratch your leg. If you’re wondering why we stole highway flares then I’ll assume you never held a burning one in your hand before.

Also, basically, if we weren’t supposed to do it, we had to do it. Ergo ipso facto. We tried chewing tobacco and snuff but those were gross.

A Tale from the Crypt

A

We found a jaw bone. Well, ‘found’ is a stretch. We actually dug it up. In a crypt. Along with some spine bones. There was this lone crypt standing all by itself in the middle of the woods near the Mill. The door was ajar so how could we not go in? The ground inside was covered with leaves and loose packed dirt so we naturally started digging to see if we could find a coffin. We did but it was so rotten we dug right through the top of it and sicovered the bones. The jaw had a bunch of teeth in it and one of them was gold-filled. We took it home but never figured out what to do with the gold. Eventually Ethel found it and made us put it back.

untitled (the thing is)

u

Laying on the couch listening to… in the dark… afraid… The kitchen is going to explode. Ending the music, a crescendo of fire, a consuming wave, seeing it come like a balloon. Asleep forever. I can sleeping… sultry tears of ambien(se) dreaming in thirds. Stringing chords in song, singing words, sadly tears, sweet words of truth softly tub thumping revelation.

The thing is… the thing is… the thing… the thing i… the thing is… sleep the singing, dream the sleeping sadly… strings singing.

doomsdayclock

d

each night
precisely
at 11:59 pm
I pick up
the cutting board
two-handed and
whack it
against the bruise
of my forehead
and I mean hard
mother fucker!

dizzy
&@)(%$?!
I sit down
tuck my sacrum
into a shot
of bourbon
dripping into my eyes
the burning sting
redundant
repugnant
repentant
redundant

stuff wads of
“papier du toilette”
in each nostril
and, and, and
knot my brow
because I’m done
well, done
finished
kaput
a mere minute
from the dark
earth

toothpicks make
lousy Q Tips™

untitled (you coudn’t have known)

u

Every time I imagine telling the story I start with you. It’s as obvious a place to start as it isn’t. You came into my life almost 30 years after it happened and only stayed a little while. I don’t remember your acquisition, the duration of your time in my home, nor your departure. Your physical attributes were and are irrelevant. You held no significant or symbolic meaning for me. Your purpose in my life was utilitarian.

If the full gravity of this one interaction with you—the one that I think of as the prologue to my story—had occurred to me as it was happening, you might have met the fate of so many of the other objects in my life; destroyed, flung across the room, pounded against the wall leaving only pieces of you on the floor and another patched hole in the drywall. But it would take a couple of years for my brain to make the connection between that day so long ago, your brief role in my story, and my break— down? through? Either word fits

This is how it begins every time I replay it in my head; the flashing red light, the beep. Then, “Hello Eric, This is your brother, Max. Call me back as soon as you get this. And you’d better be sitting down.”

You couldn’t have known how awkward that would have sounded, especially to anyone who didn’t know Max. You couldn’t have read between the lines but even if so, you couldn’t have intervened. You couldn’t have edited his words to be less stilted, less dramatic or less revealing to me. You couldn’t have known this was a message I had long been expecting. The only question in my mind was not what, but who.

You couldn’t have known that anyone else might have assumed it was about Doug. You couldn’t have deduced that with all his years of accidents, arrests and hospitalizations, he was the most likely to have added another episode to our family’s litany of dramas. More than that, you couldn’t have known, by intuition, by subconscious inference, by a gut that you lack, that it wasn’t Doug but Frankie—the brother with whom I shared a secret—who had killed himself. You couldn’t have known any of it. You were just a machine. You did what you were created to do. You did it well.

The Returning

T

As I walked the dusty country
road I saw a herd of puffy
sheep with their noses to the
ground. I saw grapes shriveling
on the vine behind a broken
timber fence. I saw yellow
fields of mustard with a few
scattered boulders bleached
by the sun. The day had been
hot, so hot, and the walk so long
that sweat was dripping from
the brim of my hat. Shame is another
kind of heat she taught me well.
And when she smiled at her mother’s
funeral I knew the earth didn’t care
who was buried in it’s breast.
I saw a couple of mockingbirds
harassing a crow whose casual
escape only seemed to enrage
them more. A lone obese cow with
skinny legs stared at me with
still, empty eyes. The air
was stirred and cooled with
the approach of an ominous
thunderhead whose shadow trailed
along beside me as I strode.
I came to the crossroad and stopped
to study the signs which looked
exactly as I remembered them,
white letters on blue. I thought
of blood dripping on white tile
and a cold, wet shivering child,
and I stopped breathing. Are clouds
silent witnesses to our stories?
Do they taste our hearts with
their tears? Far off I see the strand
of slender, towering cypress in
whose midst I once found peace.
Beyond it, barely visible past
the darkened sky, is the town
where we both were born, where now
her body waits. I wonder what I’ll feel
and if it will be my turn to smile.

untitled (afraid)

u

I am afraid to be alone with myself

I am afraid to be with myself

I am afraid to be myself

I am afraid to be alone

I am afraid myself

I am afraid alone

I am afraid me

I am afraid

I am

I

playing (with fire)

p

stories about my childhood
that I know to be true
but don’t believe–
memory isn’t mine

killing black snakes from a boat
in the pond behind Art’s
corner store
dill pickles
thirty three cent smokes
a mars bar under my belt
he caught me the first time
wouldn’t be the last

tell the stories
anything that could burn
went into the bag
highway flares in my underpants
pouring lighter fluid
on the chair in the woods
lighting my arm on fire
the smell of burnt hair
and grass
from that time
we blackened the baseball field

jc penny and that two-way mirror
the smug old bastard
waiting for my parents
who fucking cares
I’ll jump the train

heads rolled
one from a rolling car
the other on the railroad tracks
who fucking cares
the older kid with tin foil
wrapped around his head
this was 1970 mind you
I didn’t know aliens existed back then
but it was perfect because we woulda
made them up if not–

tell the stories

that time my best friend
got the best of me in a fight
pinned me down
“if you don’t get off of me
I’ll kill you” it worked
I beat his ass because they
told me to
feel bad about it
later in the penny candy store
across the street from the movie
theatre where I saw To Sir
with the Mark of the Devil
Love

stealing candles from the altar
since we couldn’t find the wine
why should I tell the priest my sins
ok I lied so fucking what

code word: pencils
two quarters was all it took
for a pack of pencils
but why not take four
they stack so neatly

that time we burned down the barn
don’t worry the horses
weren’t in it
but if you put a fireplace in a tack room
under a loft full of hay
someone has to light the fire
we never made that kind of hay
but my first paper tits
were behind that barn

cherry tipped cigars
a corn cob pipe
hell we even smoked
palm leaves on easter sunday
banana skins any other saturday
seven kinds of licker
in a peanut butter jar
sugar in the gas tank
run like hell

what about the marks
on the labels
just make a new one ya dope

don’t ask how we got that firecracker
in the frogs mouth
blam!
cut the snakes head off with
a folding knife
frog egg fights
just good old fashioned
fun with flaming plastic cars
down the driveway

talking to fred flintstone
from a nickel bag laced with dirt
just plain dirt
then it was all smiley button
and steak knife
by the pool

they ended up finding the cat
‘s body in the storage room
under a pile of garbage

smoke bombs down the aisle
here kid, wanna drag
ducks ass for you
a plastic baggie of
various pills of varying shapes
in sizes and colors
oops, busted again
so fucking what

I didn’t even flinch
when he punched the locker
right next to my head
he got a frog’s eye
in a candy wrapper for that one

another use for pencils
broken just right
scratch her name into my arm
bloody “Linda”
we made out but got in trouble
for not doing more than that

the smoke bombs were store bought
but the cannon and the
stink bombs were homemade
a bunch of match heads
a bobby pin rubber band
pen cap and a copper
tube

I heard you can get extra high
if you kiss the skin of a toad

Nietzsche Sewing Pie

N

“Whoever Fights Monsters Should See to It That in the Process He Does Not Become a Monster.”

If you gaze long enough into the past, the past will gaze back into you.

And those who could not hear the music were seen to be insane by those who were dancing.

That which does not kill us does not kill us.

The most perfidious way of harming a child consists of declaiming it deliberately with faulty arguments.

Sometimes people want to hear the truth because they want their illusions destroyed.

There are no facts, only memories.

Throw a poem into the abyss and say: ‘here is my thanks to the monster who didn’t succeed in swallowing me alive.’

It is possible to suffer without making someone pay for it.

Familial abuse is messy, clinging, and of an annoying and repetitive pattern.

There are eternal facts, as there are absolute truths.

In heaven, all the interesting people are child molestors.

One must pay dearly for remembering; one has to die several times while still alive.

I assess the power of a child by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage.

Invisible threads are the weakest ties.

Pride says, ‘I did that.’ Memory replies, ‘I could not have done that.’ Eventually, memory yields.

Love, too, has to be taught.

It is hard enough to remember my feelings, without also remembering the reasons for them.

Become who you might have been.

What is the seal of shame? Not to be liberated in front of oneself.

In individuals, savagery is rare; but in families, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

Without remembering it is quite impossible to live at all.

Talking much about oneself can also be a means to reveal oneself.

Nietzsche was a bore.

Feelings are the shadows of our memories.

There are two different types of people in the world, those who want to know, and those who don’t want to know.

The dis-advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same bad things for the first time.

There is more body in your philosophy than in your deepest wisdom.

There are no terrible surfaces without a beautiful depth.

Silence is worse; all children that are kept silent become poisonous.

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the past. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of knowing yourself.

Poets are exploited by their shames: they experience them.

We have the truth in order not to die of art.

Animal is the cruelest man.

Heads Will Roll

H

Ethel and I were driving home from someplace. We passed an accident on the other side of the road. She said, “Don’t look! Don’t look!” I looked. I saw a head rolling down the street.

We used to jump the train for kicks. Well, I did it once. But it sounds better in the first sentence. When I did it the train was barely moving. And I didn’t actually get on the train. I just jumped up on the railing, held on for about thirty or forty feet and then jumped back off. It was fun. Not exactly daredevil fun but at least I could say I hopped a train.

The train ran right through the center of town under a bridge. Some older kid jumped the train and fell and got his head chopped off.

The chief of police was arrested for shooting somebody with a shotgun.

The chief of police had his head blown off with a shotgun.

Doug Bostwick hung himself by the head.

Randy was retarded because he opened the closet door and found his father hanging in there by his head, dead.

I was riding my bike fast down Partridge St in front of the house. My front tire turned sideways and I went flying over the handlebars. I landed on the pavement head first. Later that day I went back and looked at a patch of my head skin on the asphalt.

This lady with huge tits rode a horse up the street. Her tits went boing boing boing, up and down. Clop clop clop.

Introducing: Sex!

I

Ethel found out that I had played doctor with Cheryl from across the street. We had this nice old hollow tree trunk that was big enough to hang out in so I know she didn’t see us. Cheryl must have told her mother who must have told mine. I didn’t get the brush this time but man, did she scream at me. She went on and on about how sex was dirty and sex was evil and if I did sex again I was gonna go to hell for a long time. It sounded like nothing but, “sex! sex! sex!,” like it was an advertisement. The thing is, it wasn’t even sex, it was just poking at each other with sticks pretending we were doctors doing examinations.

I wasn’t even jerking off at the time. I was masturbating but I didn’t know it because my sex education consisted of nothing. I only did it at night in bed and this is how it worked: I’d lay on my stomach with my hands down there and just squirm around on the bed until this intense feeling happened. I really had no idea what was happening but I knew enough not to let anybody catch me. I would only do it when I knew Karl was asleep.

But after the lecture about sex, sex, sex, I decided it was worth trying for real. Cheryl wouldn’t do it again which confirmed that she must have told and got in trouble so I asked an older girl who lived up the street named Dianne if she would try it with me. She said yes so this is how it went:

We took off all our clothes. Dianne laid down on the ground. I laid down on top of her. When my dick wouldn’t go in her by itself we tried using our hands to shove it in but it wouldn’t go. It was too limp so we gave up and smoked a cigarette instead. We talked about whether or not we were still virgins but weren’t sure. Then we put our clothes on and went home.

The next year I had an actual girlfriend but we only kissed. It didn’t seem important to do any more than that. I got teased for it, though. There was this time we had a little party in my basement and everybody paired up and made out. Linda and I were laying on a couch making out underneath a blanket. Someone turned off the lights and my parents never came down so I guess I could have had sex but I didn’t try. A few days later a couple of the other kids that were there came up to me at the school dance and said that they heard I was in bed with Linda and all we did was kiss. Then they laughed at me. They couldn’t believe I didn’t at least get to second or third base. I was ashamed of myself. I also thought, what was it with girls and always telling? I didn’t get mad at Linda, though, because I was in love with her. I was so in love with her that I carved her name in my arm with a broken pencil. That made me feel a little better.

untitled (my naked father)

u

my naked father
slipping back into his room
disheveled comics
in an old, worn cardboard box
slid out of the closet

Old Mrs. Mac

O

Old Mrs. MacNamara died in 1966. I remember the year because they gave out these little cards at her funeral that had the date on them. I didn’t save the card, if that’s what you’re thinking. But I can still see it in my mind. In gray ink at the top it said 1966. Under that was a picture of her face. Some words underneath that. On the other side was a picture of a saint and some more words. It was like a catholic playing card.

I have a photographic memory but that doesn’t mean what you probably think it does. People think it means I can remember everything but it doesn’t. It just means my memories look like photographs. Movies, too, but not really. The movies are more like a flip book. You know, a lot of pictures that you flip through really fast. That’s kind of how my memories work. It’s not as good as it sounds. The photos and flip books fade over time. When I was an actor the way I remembered my lines was to study the script long enough that then I could just read it when on stage.

Old Mrs. Mac was my first funeral but I wasn’t sad. I barely knew her and I didn’t like her so I didn’t care that she was dead. I do not know what she died of. Nor care.

Like Marjorie and Thomas, Old Mrs. Mac was in a wheelchair. They were English and she was Irish but I wonder if both their family crests could have been wheelchairs? Her hands were permanently fixed all curled in on themselves as if she were squeezing a golf ball but she wasn’t. She held them up a few inches above the knitted blanket covering her lap and said the following sentence, “These are my sins!” She was speaking to anyone who was within listening distance.

I guess the funeral was somber. Everybody looked super serious and hardly talked. Most of the talk was whispering. It was boring as hell. At one point Ethel look at me while we were sitting in the pews. She smiled. I thought, what the fuck are you smiling about? Your mother is dead. Aren’t you supposed to be sad? I guess I wasn’t the only one.

the purpose of sleep

t

I wake up
in the dark
blood of lamb
coagulating
in cast iron
not knowing
the proper technique
I scrape it
with a spoon
into the same nail jar
screwed hanging
from the ceiling
of the old barn
musta been
fifty years ago
long time
for holding a secret
finally washing it away
just one mo(u)rning
in the hot blood
of iamb
after the night’s
ritual burning
of memories
forgotten

kundalini recall

k

I.
the two boys
the garter snake
the sun dried wood
the long stretch
the measure

II.
I remember
on my back, my skin
warmth above, below
fading into
suchness

III.
the one boy
the opened jack knife
the silver blade
the cutting
the blood

IV.
the two boys
the one boy
the fading away
the memory
the warmth

V.
the one boy
the suicide note
the lies, deceit
the denial
the very end

VI.
to be able to go back
to the gray wood
to the moment
to the heat
to get it back

VII.
the snake
the rising
the rising of the snake
the warmth
the all that was all

i summon the black & the white

i

Hypnos, God of Sleep
Morpheus, God of Dreams
Pasithea, Goddess of Rest & Relaxation
erase these words
slake my mind thoughts
subdue the snores of love
pour me that black liquid
dissolve the white tab
under my tongue
well, slow me down,
pop-eye
the intention is achievable
as awkward as it sounds
the simple Occam applies
his razor cuts
through the bullshit
the vanity of
trying to dream
the American Dream is
unfulfilled
unmet
fulfilled
met
at the edge of the
high
which is the low
i seek
sleep
the blurry eye
the lazy eye
the altar state
all turd ate
at this
\at somepoint
if hust gas to stop
noy poetry
just worfs
nout of conetects
\ofuc k
oog nigh
\

John the Rapist

J

John the Rapist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure.

John the Rapist is described as having the unique practice of Rapism for the forgiveness of sins. Most scholars agree that John raped Jesus. Scholars generally believe Jesus was a follower or disciple of John the Rapist and several New Testament accounts report that some of Jesus’ early followers had previously been followers of John the Rapist. John the Rapist is also mentioned by Jewish historian Josephus. Some scholars maintain that John the Rapist was influenced by the semi-ascetic Essenes, who expected an apocalypse and practiced rituals corresponding strongly with Rapism, although no direct evidence substantiates this.

According to the New Testament, John the Rapist anticipated a messianic figure greater than himself, and Jesus was the one whose coming John the Rapist foretold. Christians commonly refer to John the Rapist as the precursor or forerunner of Jesus, since John the Rapist announces Jesus’ coming. John the Rapist is also identified with the poet Elijah.

Mothers Do

M

Mothers love their babies
it’s just what Mothers do
Mothers nurse their babies
it isn’t always true

Mothers rub their babies
hands of fire and ice
Mothers raise their babies
she musn’t need be nice

Mothers love
smother love
some other love
some mother not

Mothers hug
hold above
the little lugs
a boiling water pot

Mothers
others
druthers
beat their helpless tots

Mothers
luggards
drunkards
resent the titty suckers
and sometimes feed them not

Mothers shame their babies
and send them off to school
Mothers fuck their babies
it’s just what Mothers do