A Beautiful Thing Part 62

She came floating over to me in an inflatable ring made to look like a doughnut. In her outstretched tattooed hand was a can of Bud Light. The tattoo was of a rose with a skull in the middle. In her mouth was an unlit cigarette. She didn’t smoke tobacco. “I just like the way it looks right now,” she said. She was against smoking, not for health concerns, but because it made her hair smell.

“You’re an American badass,” I told her.

The party was dwindling down. The backyard was quieter now. Most of the people we knew had already left, but we didn’t care. I clung to the edge of her doughnut and drifted with her. I tilted my head back so all I could see was the turquoise Southern Californian sky and a few lazy palm trees leaning in the breeze. I really had nothing on my mind. After a minute of being lost in this bliss of no-thought, I looked at her and she was staring at me, smiling. Her brown eyes like peppercorns in a field of snow. I knew it wasn’t a perfect love, but it was some kind of love, and it felt good. Instead of saying anything to her I let my body drop, submerging under water, then yanked on her leg so she spilled out of the raft and came sinking to the bottom with me.


A Beautiful Thing Part 27

Underneath the stop sign were a pair of mannequin legs with black fishnet stockings, placed there to advertise a yard sale in the morning. Jane walked up and put her arms around them, sort of where the waist should be, and started slow-dancing with them while humming an old love song. The moon strummed a chord above the city, stars poked holes in the velvet sky. I was tipsy, so was Jane. Just when I was about to join her she tripped over a sprinkler, landed on her chin and cut it open. Before I saw the blood staining the sidewalk, I laughed. Because it was funny…

Seat 32 D

The caress of your skin, like an eclipse of the sun, made my eyes tingle and my blood reverberate; everything changed with just that one touch, that one kiss, that one cancelled flight you ended up in my bed, our bed (156$ a night!), after talking in the airport bar for what seemed like a decade, but was really just four hours in St. Louis. You were an angel and I was at my best. And there was a blizzard over Ohio. And we both were drunk.

We live on opposite sides of the coast, but for that one night we pretzled together, wrapped up at the Hilton in starched sheets and the desire to freeze time, blocking out the world with a double set of blinds and our need to be present. It was like the culmination of a quest, a temporary marriage of souls in air conditioned, mini shampoo bliss…

Like a dream, everything fades, becomes mixed up.

“Hi, I’m art,” I said… “I’m Xanadu,” you replied. “Shall we get out of here and find a pool?” “I’d love to.”

We never did swim.

We didn’t even fuck, we just laid in bed and talked all night, sweet meandering conversation that flowed like a lazy river, and drank the one bottle of wine we bought from the sketchy liquor store down the street where a homeless guy tried to sell us a “joke” — I told him I have plenty of those but still gave him 5 dollars anyway, because I support struggling comics — and it wasn’t that good but neither of us were looking for Napa’s best, just a sweet grape that would let us relax and forget about being stranded in Missouri.

I lie… we bought two bottles and drank them both.

Morning came, rough and rugged, like my unshaven face, bristling.

We got on the same plane — finally able to fly after the snowstorm that shut down the East Coast moved on — sitting in different rows for two hours as the plane bounced along turbulence, levitating on a science I don’t comprehend or fully trust, while flight attendants pushed trays of vodkas and stale sandwiches through the narrow aisle. I wanted to run up and grab you and drag you into the bathroom, tear down your clothes and bite your ear, kiss you as hard as my heart pumped, I wanted to send your body into such ecstasy the force of your orgasm would bring down the plane, instead all I did was peer every now and then to see what you were doing, if you were looking back, but not once did you turn your neck to seat 32 D.


My hope, my only hope, some soap
will clean this rope-a-dope; los cambios,
I’m hoping for is close, so I’ve been told
from most folks looking for a toast,
a ghost they wanna hold close
behind moats and fraudulent votes,
banditos and popes; LA to Los Alamos,
I comb, honing in on a new home,
a sea foam to roll in, a swollen, sullen
sudden poem to fold and place under a
pillow, a whisper, a slip on a finger,
a gnome on the lawn, a cheek to plant
a kiss on, everywhere a bone,
a scavenging, meandering, pilfering
zone, we found ourselves in all alone,
abalone and bologna and the pony
you wished for when you were only
six or four, not yet in this rigamarole,
rat race you phoned-in, ordering
room service with tapioca thrown in
in San Antonia or Barcelona jet set
million dollar champagne Moet,
six dollar sandwich in Rome,
I called your name in the rain,
told you I love you, you didn’t
reply the same, now we’re strangers
meeting on the train, just the same
silhouette on the dusty window pane
sliding, shifting, drifting down a one-way
lane in a yellow corvette with a chick
named Bernadette, her middle name

Amethyst Stone

He put the necklace around her neck and rotated it so the small amethyst stone fell flat on top of her chest. He stared at it, unable to formulate thoughts, caught in this timeless place. Her breathing was deep and he felt her heart rise and fall while his fingertips lingered momentarily on her skin. He loved this girl, no, woman, for so many years that having this day finally arrive felt otherworldly, like fiction.

There was a crowd of a hundred waiting in the capacious hall just outside. He looked into her eyes and saw fear, trepidation, yet, also, hope and elation. It reminded him of the raw feelings he concealed on his wedding day, and wanted to express such, but instead he pulled her forehead toward him and placed a tender kiss on it. “You’ll always be my daughter,” he told her, causing her to sigh and laugh at the same time, a exhalation of nervous relief. She told him, “Thanks, dad. I love you.”

The music began playing and they entered the hall in a slow, methodical walk. He couldn’t see her face behind the veil, but through her fingertips he could feel the reverberations of the gentle tear that proceeded down her cheek. Rows of heads turned to watch them approaching the altar and the handsome man waiting there to take her hand from his.

He knew this marriage wouldn’t last. He could see through the kilowatt smile and Bel Air refinement. He knew the true character of this man, a man who never had to work for anything in his life, so he’d probably not work at this, but for today, she was happier than he’d ever seen her since her mother died, and because of this, so was he.

Tuna Underbelly

When in the fjord of your life, swim to the mountaintop.

I’m vain, I’m made of lace and champagne.
I like the finer things. Dancing in the rain.
Shouting your name.

Write me a fan letter, I’ll pin it to my sweater.

Surprisingly fawn and gentle, you sauntered into my life.
Exited like a grizzly trapped in a gas station bathroom.
Now the days are stitched patchwork of bland distraction.
Bottles filling the space where the fights used to go.
Polishing halos with Saudi Arabian petroleum.

Deconstructed delirium.
Grey Goose and Valium.
Designer pandemonium.

Walked into the bar with an Indian headdress,
ordered a scotch and watched the soccer game,
alone, checking my stocks online,
wearing argyle socks and black boxers.
I’m the American Undisturbed.

My heart is a bleeding blister. Come to me
and whisper my name. I’ll write yours
on seven sea shores.

It’s a short drive.
End of the road.
House on the right.
Down the hall.
Door is open.

I am waiting.

Life Raft and the Needle

Go to sleep and dream of origami,
your passport stamped salami.
Come home and brag about Brussels.
Scream at your mom and dad,
‘I’m tired of the American hustle!’

There’s six Canada goose around the pond, honking at the cars.
I’m wandering in bars, looking for a gentle heart that’s fond
of the pedestal I place her on, hope she’ll settle for my mettle,
my stars, and my fawn.

This year I’m not going to count the months.
I’m going to clean out the fridge.
I’m not going to write poems that rhyme.
Not at all; except this time.

I’m a night sailor, blind tailor.
Scooping dirt from the garden
to fill up my coffee pot. Stitching
blankets from Brillo pads.

Your favorite Loteria card
is El Corazon.
Mine’s El Borracho.
We both have dirty dishwater eyes,
we use to see through lies.

Even if I was a watchmaker — I couldn’t make time with you.
If I could play guitar — I’d write a ballad about Jesse James
and the painting on the wall…

Was he lost in its charm? was it crooked?
could he see Robert Ford in the reflection?
did he laugh at his imminent death?

This canyon made of crayon,
painted colorless and dark,
traps me in its meandering palm.
Canyon walls like cannonballs,
exploding, falling,
all around.

Only way out is to take the river.
You’re a life raft and I’m a needle.