Monday, December 29, 2008

"his blood was fused with turnip juice and sunlight"

thomas edward britton wakes up from a coma and stumbles down the stairs, iv's in tow. "what the mother fuck is this?" he says, dragging rusted pipe and tubing behind him. his legs give in in halfway down the spines of the building and he collapses in on himself like an accordion. "where are my keys. where are my goddamn keys." he exclaims, gripping what remains of his left arm. "you mother fuckers." he spits into a cylinder at the base of the steps and waits for the ping sound of saliva on metal to judge just how far up he really is. thomas edward crawls along the floor, shuffling as best he can, hoping to find someone to scream at. "asshole," he says into reflective tiles. a roar comes from the south end of the building. thomas edward spins around, the force of it tearing needle from arm, a dark liquid cascading down the floor. "what is the time? what is the time?" he spews. once. twice. and slips back into a coma.

my neighbor has a son who sleeps in a drawer

i have a car that runs on shredded wheat
and in the morning i fuel with two percent
to get the wheels moving
i have a toadstool to sit on at night
and i sing "coral. the breadwinner." to put it to bed
in a glossy, yellow glow
i have a neighbor down two houses from me
whose son sleeps in a drawer below socks
to keep warm when moonlight travels far
and i have two hands and eight fingers
but i only really use the five
because it's much easier when i make my mother's cupcakes

caroline stevens

my partner in crime, her name was caroline stevens. she lived next door to me. she was nice. she was pretty. in the 3rd grade when we were on spring break we snuck into mr. mccuphrey's backyard. he didn't know we were there. we just wanted to climb the giant tree in his backyard. we always wished one of us had a tree like that of our own. we wanted to build a treehouse. scott tanner had a treehouse and we were jealous. but he was a dumb kid anyway.

i remember when we went to the drive in theater one month. we stayed in the back of my moms car. she pulled up in reverse so we could lay back and watch the movie and eat snacks. i remember one of the people there got into a fight with another because his car was too big and his kids couldn't see the movie. it was kind of scary. caroline was worried but it turned out okay.

caroline and i, we were good friends, but then one day she went to another school and i didn't hear from her as much. but then we started talking again, but it wasn't the same. i remember that pretty well.

Friday, December 26, 2008

daydream deposit boxes

10:15 - I think my tooth is falling out. I think it’s been falling out for a while. I can feel it in there. Wiggling. Writhing. Forcing its way out. It’s separating from the gum. I can feel it every time I smile. Every time I bite down on a carrot or a piece of meat. This isn’t good. I like steak. I like apples. It’s chipped. That’s a start. Shit. I really don’t want to lose another tooth.

10:57 – Ginger came in. I think she’s on speed. She’s definitely on something. I don’t think her daughters realize their mothers’ problem. They run around the lobby. Ginger talks far too loudly. The other people look around. Look at her. I don’t think she knows what she’s saying.

1:21 – I’m tired. Just flat out drained. I don’t know why. Haven’t slept well. Not in a while but that’s really no surprise. Had a cup of coffee this morning. Need another one. Drink too much coffee now. Never really liked it before but now I can’t operate without it. I need another cup.

1:54 – That’s about five people in a row that have said “Merry Christmas”. It’s nice. Pleasant and depressing at the same time. How many of those people will be this considerate, this caring come January? How much more difficult is it for people to be this happy, this forgiving more than once a year? Yeah, we’ve all heard it before. It’s an unfortunate thing.

2:31 – She breaks down. Shit. Just like that. “Is everything okay?” “I’m so sorry. I’m- I’m sorry.” For what? She mouths. “My husband died.” Oh, man. She cries. That’s why she’s taking all her money out. Heartbreaking. And days before Christmas. Stop apologizing. “I’m sorry.” Don’t be. “Is there anything I can do for you?” “No, no I’m sorry.”Dammit.

Monday, December 22, 2008

the tale of jack

jack lives a good life. he does. honest. his parents had him early on in their lives. so early that instead of drinking champagne at their wedding they drank apple cider. on jack's first birthday, one year after they said they didn't want anything to do with him, jack's grandparents threw him a luau, a spectacular party with hula dancers and drums and a roast pig, and all the family came over and enjoyed themselves and jack parents were grateful for the help.

and on christmas jack's parents bought him a ghostbusters proton pack and ghost trap and jack was the happiest boy in the world. they celebrated and played super mario in his grandma's living room where jack and his family lived for the first few years until jack's parents had another child. jack got a brother.

and so jack and his brother grew up and jack became more of a ham, year after year, trying more and more to stand out from his newborn brother. he loved attention. and he loved ninja turtles.

and a few years passed. jack grew up and so did his brother and the whole family moved to a new house and jack started school and although he was quite outgoing he was, by far, the shyest in the class.

but he grew up. and then one day jack's mom and dad brought him and his brother into their room and told them that things weren't working out. jack was confused and angry and upset and frustrated and jack lashed out and had a hard time. but then things worked out. they always seem to work out for jack.

and then jack jumped forward in time and saw himself growing up and getting hair in places he never had hair and noticing girls when he never noticed girls. but he was still jack.

frankly speaking, jack lives a normal life. the cory matthews life. and it doesn't suffice for jack anymore. jack drinks too often and curses too frequent and smokes on occasion to balance out the buzz. jack hides his secrets like a dog hides his shame and waits and wishes for someone to notice, never revealing outright and getting off on the prospect of everyone knowing. jack is an asshole and a heartbreaker who decided to give up on getting close because the inevitable outcome it too much to handle any more. jack is cold and jealous and loses a little more of himself each time he sees something similar to himself on the television or in a book and jack realizes that his identity, who he truly is, is nothing more than an emulation of some last encounter.

and jack daydreams more and more. he falls into an alternate dimension where actions have no consequence, where he lives out the fantasy of being immune, of a future where it all plays out like some movie script. he has it down. like the part where he plans to leave for a year, plans out everything he'll do before hand: the telling off of some secret nemesis, the confession of affection to some unrequited secret love, the "never look back moment". and then the hour or so in the movie where jack "finds himself" through a series of adventures and spiritual moments. and then the big finale when jack returns home after a year or so and is welcomed warmly ends up getting the girl and everyone lives happily ever after. he's seen it a million times. knows it line for line. plays out in his alternate dimension.

but some things are better left to the dreamers. and, after all, jack really does have a good life.

Monday, December 15, 2008

"effectively speaking on behalf of no one..."

past the pharmacy, past the signs, past the ill-lit dive bars, drunks, and bastards swimming in the gin and neon, semi-coated pink and green, past stretch 313 and the abandoned sullivan house with the cracks and the smells and the cats who chase mice through the stench of a basement buried beneath wrecked lamps and picture frames, into the darkness of the wood where poor peter carson lays upon driftwood singing so quietly, "johnny boy, a will-to-do, oh johnny boy, oh johnny boy. dear johnny boy, oh what-to-do, come creeping through the moonshine," like a hollow, sterile man beneath wretched memories.

"do you see me in the morning as i'm waking up the world? with a pitchfork and a shovel and a heavy shoulder or two."

the writings have stalled, a little more each day, spilling slowly out of a once full head. put a pen to paper and wait for the ink to bleed. put a finger to key and listen for the taps of fresh ideas. but the blood doesn't pump. the mind sits in a stale, sluggish state, with a predilection towards mediocrity.

Friday, December 12, 2008

"My Close Call"

The events herein take place three summers ago on a gorgeous, serene day in July in a lake under a waterfall just outside of Kapa'a, Hawaii. It is wholly factual, down to the fibers, and reprocessed for the first time since its occurrence. It goes as such:

We drove for an hour or so down the only main street on the island. Poipu's beach was as beautiful as any other but we were looking for a new adventure. Something like from a movie. So we drove. Farther and longer until we saw the sign. "Wailua Falls".

"Let's go," she said with excitement. I obliged. After all, how do you turn down a waterfall? Especially if you've never seen one before.

So we turned and drove down the street that would lead us to the falls. We drove for twenty minutes before finally reaching Wailua Falls. Nothing I'd ever witnessed before had come close to being so magical, so peaceful and fierce, all at the same time.

"It's amazing," she said.


I parked the 1992 Toyota truck my grandfather had let us borrow earlier in the day at the lookout point to the falls. We were at least 100 yards away over looking the raging water poor 80 feet into the lake below us.

"There are people down there," she said, a hint of curiosity slipping through the syllables.

"How do you think they got down there? There's no boats or anything," I replied, just as interested.

Below us were about 15 people, all swimming and lounging around the lakeside, taking in the beauty of the falls.

"You want to go down there?" A woman said to us. Why wouldn't we? So she led us away from the lookout point, along a fence line, directly to an opening in the fence.

"Go down there," she said, pointing to the man-made trail that seemed to drop off like the end of the world.

So we did. I mean, it was vacation. Plus there were ropes so what could go wrong.

We navigated our way down the damp, muddy trail like amateur explorers, slipping of a branch or slope ever ten seconds. Rope held in place by branches and makeshift weights kept us from falling of the edge. The sound of rushing water grew with every misstep until we finally reached the base of the trail.

Wailua Falls.

I stood there at the lakeside for a moment, soaking in the size, the sheer magnificence of it all. Something that you never forget. People played near the edges. We could see a few people swimming out in the distance, making a run for the waterfall.

"Let's go," I said, pointing to the waterfall across the lake. It was a good 80 yards or so across the water.

"Okay," she replied without hesitation.

So we did. We took of our clothes, save for the swimsuits we already had on and our shoes because of the rocks, and dove in to the cool, refreshing water.

I recall thinking how awesome it all was. The lake, the waterfall, the island in general. It was all so surreal.

We swam nearly three-fourths of the way to the falls when it happened. I remember feeling scared. Worried, but not yet aware of what was actually happening. So I kept swimming. At least I tried to. I moved my arms, front to back, kicking my legs with every stroke, yet I went no where.

"Katie," I slurred, "Katie, help."

She turned. I remember her turning, coming back, seeing me fight to stay up.

"Kevin," she yelled, panic suffocating her voice. "Kevin."

And I sank. Like dead weight. Like a marble in a cup. I sank. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how badly I struggled, I just kept sinking. She did her best to keep me up, to keep my head above water. She tried so hard. But I kept going under.

I had never been so terrified in my entire life.

Lifetimes past before I felt an arm come under and around my chest. I don't remember it clearly. A man and his son noticed us from the shore. They swam out to help. I remember sitting for a long time afterward, throwing up water, head spinning, trying to comprehend what had just happened, and thanking the two men for being there.

The rest of the day came and went. We went home, returned the truck to my grandfather, and had dinner with the entire family like we'd done every night before.

"Do anything exciting today, CK?" my grandfather asked.

"Not really," I said sheepishly, "just went to the beach."

Monday, December 8, 2008

I speak slower now, to seem more like an old soul

We spent the majority of our weekends hiking the paths along the riverside in Northern California, the frisk autumn weather refreshing us with every new trail. Massive redwood trees rose towards the azure ceiling, lining the tranquil stream, reaching for the nebulas above. The waters effervescence collected where rock met dirt, splashing softly, glistening in the morning sun. Magnificent earthy colors enveloped us as we strode along through Mother Nature’s beauty.