North Star

She had a date tattooed on her arm. She never told me what happened that day. She had many tattoos. That’s the only one she didn’t talk about. I didn’t talk much either. Words grew more useless as time went on. We lobbed them every now and then but what’s the point when they’re nothing but phantoms masquerading as explanation for the chaotic fracturing this world around us caved into — but that’s probably just the war talking.

We met while the war was one hundred miles away, and the sun shivered in sepia light warning of its coming, coloring all ochre like Yellowstone cliffs. She was picking flowers from my garden and at first she ran away when I approached. Like a scared, stray dog. It’s only when I yelled that there were golden poppies in the back that she stopped. Her footprints molded into the quivering cement for thereafter.

She had no home and I had nobody. Sometimes the unfairness of it all works itself out. They say there are 12 million satellites in the sky. It’s somewhat magical to think one of them is watching you.

When I entered her it was like unlocking two doors with one key.

“I used to be a nurse,” she told me. “Before…”

There are still days where you can’t tell anything has changed. Where we sit on the porch and the breeze still brings with it the smell of the sea. Sometimes I feel like building a boat. Get my hair tossed by the spindrift.

We had nothing but time in common.

“Do you remember that show? The one with all the celebrities dancing?”

She was so crestfallen when I answered her ‘no.’

When things turned for the absolute worst we didn’t bother moving away. We stayed in the bones of those better times. Fending off the cold burning old newspapers. Occasionally a helicopter flew by but none of them ever landed.

I never learned the meaning of that tattoo. She guarded secrets like a bear cave…

“Everything is coming up roses,” she once told me after a rainstorm flooded the basement. She was being funny. I had forgotten about laughing, how sometimes it hurt. There were swimming water snakes circling the staircase. My mind raced. Blood I thought dormant invaded my sense of disaster and returned my manhood to glory. I got so hard it poked through my denim coveralls. It fucking pointed at the North Star.

It was then that I knew everything was destroyed. But I still felt okay.

It was the oblivion I was counting on.

Banana Trees

I had made some comment about buying a house in Costa Rica. The cat was pushing out the door. The sun had just slid under the blankets for the night. We were waiting for Chinese Food to be delivered. I thought it was just maybe something to talk about. Maybe buying a house down there.

“You live in a dream,” she told me. As if it could be any other way, as if we’d want it any other way. I mean, what’s wrong with a forest canopy to keep you protected from the sun? I waited for her to make her point. “You’re… full of words,” she added, salty and pregnant with pause and nothing else.

“I’m just trying to stay on the surfboard, baby,” I told her, although I don’t surf and she knows I don’t surf, so she just looked at me with big disappointed pupils and I could see that her brain was making calculations so I backed off and waited for the receipt.

We’ve been trying, you know? The cycles and tests and everything. Still…

The bell rang and she grabbed the bags of Chinese Food while I pictured a little hammock on a porch and a summer rainstorm filling the air with succulent drafts.

I could hear her mumbling while she plated the food — which I never understood, it already comes in a container — about something with the cars and I wondered if it was really about the cars.

I have to move mine in the morning because it’s behind hers. We get the tickets for the street cleaning although they never come.

“Thanks for getting the food.”

“Uh-huh.”

I found something to watch on Hulu and we didn’t talk for a whole show. Watching time go by on a scrollbar. Measuring your life by the commercial breaks.

When it was over, she threw her napkin on her plate and said, “I’m done.”

I looked at her plate, she had barely touched it. “You didn’t like it?”

“No. I mean I’m done with this,” she said without trumpets or fanfare. She simply went into the kitchen and dumped her orange chicken and chow mein into the trashcan and walked out.

When I lifted the lid it looked like a bunch of gross worms had died in a twisted frenzy. And I kinda thought to myself, that’s kinda cool.

But I didn’t get around to telling her about the banana trees in the back. So that sucked.

The Knock on the Head From Just Above the Sun Apocalypse

We rummage like raccoons in the garbage can night.
Waving our lit cigarettes around for punctuation.
You’re my favorite habit worn like a drunken nun.
See how the embers write this in cancerous light?

I’m a fast fading constellation — make a wish,
before we shoot past the horizon.
Come kiss my gills — half man/half fish.
Come lick my lips — half haunting.

My life raft popped a hole
when you jumped in
in high heels, pole-vaulting
the other women…

Because you said I was a gentleman,
I was totally smitten.

But I was just talking
about the things
that just came out.
The planet and my skin
and backgammon.
Words trundling out
like guest beds
you jumped in
like a carnival ball pit.
We were all in…
running to Vegas
underneath
star-swept
ambition
and the
Zephyr
wind.

When the
pen goes to papyrus
the platypus
goes nuts
we all
collapse
underneath
platitudes of
magnanimous
magnitude.

Have a good day,
take care,
keep in touch,
I love you,
and all that..

Sent a postcard
to my old address,
I turned up and took it in
with a brand new kitten
and a BMW.

Rosy cheeks and ochre umbrage
just another side effect of the
millenium.

We were intertwined
like social media marketing
plans.

And I ‘liked’ it all.

20160115_164127

 

Warm Cocoa

My apartment is so dark and cold
there is a penguin smoking in the kitchen
I keep my beers in the mailbox.
There are people moving out for warmer climes.

The wind chimes rattle skeletal bones
I touched with the excitement
of a hummingbird’s heart.

In the polar blur of this cold war
I stitched a scarf made of barb wire
and wore my best Jesus slacks.

And we blessed this terrible mess
and we kissed these horrible lips
and we took pictures of creatures
and posted our monsters online
and I watch in a hipster haze
these questionable days fade.

Come pick out my tie
and let me die in your eyes.

I’m watching the pigeons
wander the fountain
reflecting my own peckish,
unsettled hunger
my own walking on coins
and I smile like a
banker’s embezzlement
at life’s little devilish
developments.

Alliteration avalanche
Ice skating on an ice cream cone.

Come home
I got your warm blanket
and your cocoa on
the stove.

 

Saturday Spindrift

Some people wait for aliens like
pensioners wait for their checks.

I sat in an empty theater and
watched a movie on my phone
I fell asleep while the credits rolled
and woke up and married an usher.

As my fingers wiggle through
grubby couch cushions
searching for change
for the laundry
I realize
life is largely spent
chasing the dirt away.

I gave an interview to the news
to stay away.

And the bees circled my flowerbed.

And I welcomed them.

As the nights lit fire into days
As the Earth oscillated orgasmicly
on a sea of space and semen
As we grew legs and flew into the blue
As little chicks broke through their eggs
a trillion dust particles settled on your skin
And I woke up to this dream of me.

I rode a cosmic caravan through the countryside
but bought into a contemporary city condominium

Some times it’s not the levels of cream, it’s just bad coffee
my 32nd floor office is too brittle for Seattle
I’m thinking of moving to the creek, furnish some moss,
find some tree with some bark to leave my mark.

I’m thinking of joining a cult — as long as theirs
free airfare sign me up. I came down from the
cloudy mountaintop
just to let you
rub my belly.

There’s a slight taste of the dream
in the salty spindrift Saturday serenade,
like cinnamon and honeysuckle television
waves passing over a blanket of time
we were meant to lie under.

I never supposed we all spoke the same
language. This little hut was never supposed
to be permanent. There was fruit rotting
into the jungle floor. And birds trying to mimic
the sound of car alarms. And the sky was
diaphanous and damaged and so was she.

The light you allow through
is the one that will bathe you
in its hue.

Our little words like little birds
landed softly on the arms of our thoughts
and the bough of time reaching over the creek
and over the city buildings dropping leaves
into the ripples we saw our reflections.

I travel far but go nowhere.

Eight Years (Obama and Trump and Ex-Wives and Literary Wassails)

I remember eight years ago. Hope. Change. The Shepherd Fairey poster. I remember wondering where I’d be around this time in eight years. Or maybe I’m making that up. Maybe I was so immersed in the moment I never imagined the election following Barack’s presidency. I just remember feeling like we were on the verge of great things, and I was damn proud of us as a country. I love Obama and I still do. Dude got class.

Barack Obama is my homeboy.

Like Andre the Giant. They’re larger than life. Andre almost literally.

They say Andre could drink a case of beer and still not be drunk. If our hearts weigh a pound and a half (I’m making that up) than I wonder what his weighed. Seventeen pounds?

How could Barack Obama marry that professorial, diplomatic grace with brush-off-your-shoulders swag so well? Genius. With the most bullheaded, narrow-minded opposition ever faced he handled it even-tempered and almost always tonally on point. A fucking political machine and I love him.

Eight years ago I was an inspired idealist, floating on the fresh air that Obama blew in with. Self made. Family-oriented. Fighter for the community. And a sweet three-point shot. God, how things change…

This one-dimensional, monosyllabic overgrown child makes me cringe with my whole body every time I hear the gargling vitriol he calls a stump speech. Just spasms of anger and anathema coursing through every speck and splotch of matter in my flesh.

This potential joke dystopia is not what I pictured for us. This dust cloud of ignorance and hate disguised as an orange human in an unimaginably boring-ass suit may just break the world’s OG democracy.

This is 2016, not a grunt contest. America, freedom, the land of the free and dumb. It’s not the citizens, though, it’s the system.

Well, it’s us too. We feed at the trough. Like fucking Animal Farm. Piggy Trump!

You’re laughing and burping and slapping your back so hard you’re sucking your own dick. You big cartoon buffoon. Fuck you, Donald Trump — you aren’t my homeboy…

… You know who is my homeboy, though? Sam Malone.

That dude was quick with the one-liners. One of the best characters ever written on television. He always had a clear purpose: to be loved. And he was good at it. But he was vulnerable. His alcoholism ruined his career, leaving such a stain he had to live out his days in a den of temptation, serving some kind of penance by steering Cliff and Norm through their barely functioning love of hops. His vanity and need for attention, especially the glorious, genital kind from the females, got the best of him. His belief that he was stupid, always doubting himself and giving in to Diane’s logic, tripped him up.

Despite his extra-terrestrially-coiffed do’ he was human. Layered, yet somehow simple. We all know a Sam Malone. We have a little bit of him in us.

His polo shirt and chest hair was his armor, because his insides were that of a little boy’s. He was a lover and lovable, yet still villainous in ways.

Norm was just a lazy drunk.

You’re my homeboy.

Whomever you are, you’re my homeboy, or my homegirl. Until you give me reason to believe otherwise, I’ll accept that you’re good and true and you just want your love and your peace and some apple pie and a lazy Sunday night watching fireflies. Or Game of Thrones, or whatever it is. Maybe you’re just watching time pass by the number of Likes on your Instagram.

We were all babies once. Confused and terrified. We’ve all just learned how to put on clothes and delay the horror, or transfer it, or swallow it in drink or sex or french fries, pie-eyed survival tactics of the numb.

Eight years ago I was married to a woman whose face is so blurred by time she’s only a name, a story, whose only pictures I┬ástill have are preserved on Flickr. And in so many ways is untraceable. We lived in the valley. Lived like sensitive roommates. When Barack got elected I knew it was over because she didn’t come home, she watched the news break and the celebrations on the TV and the historic speech with her co-workers, and I left my ring on the bathroom counter when I went to work, ‘cuz I’m dramatic and lust for big statements and if I had control over how any of this was going to crumble, I at least wanted one piece to break off of it.

I flew to London first class and never looked back. I got drunk in pubs and looked at old art. I contemplated what it all meant…. I didn’t conclude a thing.

Eight years ago I was writing stories and poems, the familiar subjects: heartbreak, disconnect, modern isolation… I was daydreaming about a different life. Not even more glamorous or easier, just different. The domestic doldrums detonating every night were so small and silent I never noticed the dynamite underneath the counter.

Eight years ago, I was stepping into the TV business like a child toeing a cold pool, none-awares I’d be dunked backwards baptized-like in a black lake of water snakes and sharks and endless legs and curves like Mullholland Blvd with those shimmering cliffs I drove off, epic movie-endings over and over. I am still standing, staggering forward, arms stretched out, a rickety beautiful tower. A burning man. A modern day hero.

And your homeboy.

Eight years Obama’s hair was less grey. So was mine.

And I was a different man, with a much lighter heart, now it probably weighs close to Andre’s, proverbially. I carry a lot of shit with me, like those shoulders in Vietnam.

Eight years ago I cared deeply about the election, about our future, about the role of politics. For many reasons deserving of an entirely different post, I’ve faded from that person. I’ve become more resigned. Happily decorating my little bubble and ignoring the massive injustice we’ve built into acceptance I treated like art. I guess I grew tired of it all and thought it didn’t matter. I just wanted to buy clothes, travel, and meet new loves. Write about it all in a self-serving prose protecting how raw my insides were.

If anything crazy happened, I trusted Obama not to make it crazier.

But holy shit, eight years ago I didn’t know Donald Trump could somehow slime his way this close to the presidency by yelling into microphones and throwing his hands up in the air. People love to be spit on, I guess…

Let’s hurry up and get this over, send him back to being the angry uncle on the sidelines.

And let’s all imagine where we’ll be in eight years. Let’s imagine a better place. And we’ll look back and laugh at what a comical farce this election has become. That is my hope, dammit.

And also that I meet the one woman who I’ve been writing about all these years. The love that is capitalized and supreme. The one whose eyes, big and brown or green or even a Khaleesi grey-blue, pull me in like a Star Wars tractor beam, closer and closer until there is no escape and I’m in the heart of the beast and a hand is reaching out for my throat.

And please, my love, don’t ever release me.

Photo on 8-7-16 at 4.29 PM

Hollywood Glitter Kitty

I dress like a mannequin, speak like a faucet,
I got three rocks in my pocket, a broken window
in my future, and my tattoos are leaving
for other bodies, other arms, other nights
of sneaking in while your parents are asleep,
dreaming in their sleep, deeply
dreaming of their other lives.

It was an apocalyptic April.

You and I were just crustaceans
mustering the motivation
to grow legs and grow
out of the moat,
and hope
that one day
one of these
dirty legs
learns to hope
for more.

I’m a soaked poet
floating on dope.

I got algae bloom in my dark room.
Taking photos of blank walls and
roses in trash cans. Backwards
backspin on the chalkboard,
I wrote all my poems in glow in the dark.
I followed fleeting phantoms
unscrambled eggs in my Easter basket
I’m just a kid, just a bastard.

Countdown to the last man standing
window fan bowing down to me,
sitting in the heat and humidity,
Hollywood glitter kitty. Slick
Gothic creeping bougainvillea
These bones are the buildings
of this city. This imagery
graffiti on my breastplate
rests on the template
that we’re all just
simple and kind
and we’re all
just looking
for a nice
place to
dine.

Photo on 7-26-16 at 7.39 PM