Christmas 2017

It’s Christmas and nobody was at the Car Wash so I went through quickly and wished “Merry Christmas” through a closed window. It’s the day we get with family and drink alcohol with breakfast. It’s the day the entire country shuts down for a pagan tradition. It’s the day we celebrate when a boy without a father discovered a message from a princess on a droid.

The super-industrial dryer blows the water off my window. It smears into progressively smaller drops until the final one is wiped from existence. I drive out without vacuuming because I don’t want to get out of my car. I drive down La Brea, the only car on the road.

I play the game where I pretend I’m the last human left in the city. Everywhere I go I’m the only one. I wonder what I would do? And if it would matter without anybody else to see me do it? If a tree falls without social media, does it make a sound?

Playing Tennis on an empty court, the balls just pile up against the opposite wall, a yellow ring at the base of a green mesh fence. I’m sure after a few months I wouldn’t even use the free car washes.

I get home and clean up to go out for a Christmas meal. The city is hazy and the news is shitty. Donald Trump is being a Grinch and confrontational, throwing a presidential tantrum on Twitter… such is our world now.

George Clooney gave 14 of his friends a million dollars. I wonder what I would do with a million of George Clooney’s money.

It’s Christmas in Los Angeles. My friend is waiting for me with spiked cider.

I’m so grateful for my friends.



Battle Scar Galaxy

I’m an astronaut on rotting cheese. I’m six feet deep buried to my knees.
The whole whirling world is whorls, earthquakes, hurricanes and whores.
I’m a snail afraid of the razor’s edge with a 21st century laser in my hand…
Shifting through the gigabytes… drenched by dripping fuel from jet planes.
I’m a little like Buck Rogers… but nobody’s heard of Buck Rogers anymore.
I’m not sure I know who Buck Rogers is anymore. I’m an outdated reference.
I’m a little like a velvet Elvis… star of my one-man self-centered crisis center.
This small world of shopping malls, selfish selfies, and soft-served hearts
has me transfixed and entranced — my pants fall down doing a white boy dance.
I’m going to a party of mimes. Everybody’s eyeballs pointed sideways nowadays.
We explain our strange feelings by copy-and-pasting other’s strange feelings.
I’m a crustacean on a Central Coast pier. I’m crawling out of a Cubic Zirconia.
It’s a diamond made of radio waves and gaslight. Carefully curated masks.
Gorging at the News Feed trough, living through a paranoid pretend presidency.
Not sure if I’m the brave puppet or the cave shadow, or if it’s mental telepathy;
I’m paintball splatter… but it don’t matter in this beautiful Battle Scar Galaxy.

Jeff Goldblum

We don’t want to look at ourselves
so we look at our selfies
I want to get drunk, old and wealthy
mail me checks to the Florida keys
be chilling with my cat Monkee
pull his tail he gets spunky
pull my tail I get funky
the crunk be stinking up my teepee
remember me from the Stinky B’s
lyrically little loony cuz’ I got no chills
dude in the back in the espadrilles
pour me a glass I’m gonna spill
run ’round real fast like Benny Hill
motherfucker don’t know I pay my bills
and dues I got dudes in the cruise
and the Earth moves so smooth
it’s like Mikey J doin’ a moonwalk
that cartoon talk don’t fly in the real
like blooms of gold hold onto my pole
baby doll I’m outta control
misfit with a fifth of Titos
and a big fat wad…

It’s Independence Day
Oh My God (3)

Bad Marge

Mary was sick of her name so she started calling herself Margaret because it was the only name she could think of that was worse than Mary. So when people yelled out on the street for Mary she would just spit on a nearby wall, even if it were a window that was there. One time she spat right in some people’s faces that were trying to enjoy their pasta. The woman had a noodle hanging from her mouth as she stared at the long drip of saliva proceeding down the glass.

Margaret wanted to be bad because good was so boring. It’s not even like she had a good cause like a molestation or a broken home, just boredom pushing her to do the delinquency that gave her the name that followed her everywhere: Bad Marge.

When she got Bad Marge tattooed on her shoulder her mom had a minor heart attack. Nobody would know until years later that the blockage began back then. Well, this could never be proven, but Mary knew…


Jean liked to paint her lips bright red and go to the Red Tavern on Saturdays and tell people her name was Roxy.

Roxy also wore safety pins through her leather jacket.

Jean gave it all up when she met Pete.

Pete wasn’t a guy she felt like playing with.


I would have written earlier but I didn’t where to send the letter…


Stephanie was from Tunisia. Her skin was the color of cream. She had a laugh full of teeth and we drank wine until the record skipped. She only went by Stephanie, that I know of. We saw each for two seasons and almost through Halloween before she got sick of Denver and decided to move closer to the ocean.

We were supposed to hang out in Tahoe but you know how that goes.


I started calling myself Jacob in my religious phase, when I hung out on Venice Beach too much. I had started a cult, two friends, and my girlfriend’s dog. She wasn’t really my girlfriend, just a girl that hung around a lot that I loved in a sunny 17 year-old way. I was too dumb to know what having a woman meant.

Jacob had a telescope he looked out before going to bed. Every night he had the same thought, there must be some kid on one of those points of light looking back at me. I lost Jacob around the time I started on the methadone.


Lauren told me she thought love was a cheap word people with no imagination threw around. Last I heard, she was married with twins. I wondered if she told them she loved them.

Lauren left one night after tearing down a concert poster. It was college so you know the type of poster.

We were both young and full of too much passion. To this day I don’t remember which band it was, but I remembered I liked the poster more than her.


There is a stretch of highway they named after Patricia. In non-drought years there is a drainage ditch that has frogs in it. If you drive slow with the windows down you can hear them croaking. People say Patricia had that kind of voice. Later on I learned there never was a Patricia.


I got the nickname Captain Telegram because of the way I set up my stories. I had a real obvious way about me, I suppose, a predictability stout enough to earn a nickname. Well, people only called me that when I was drinking. When the spirit is a-hold of me I have a tendency to pontificate and get on with myself. Captain Telegram is always right, even when he’s wrong. He can make something out of nothing.

Women, Captain Telegram might say with a finger pointing to the ceiling, are the embodiment of perfection — except when they’re not. Captain Telegram would act like it was something serious to contemplate. I don’t know where he comes from.


Like I said, I would have written but I didn’t know where to write.


Last I had heard you were a waitress in Portland.

And you went by Mary again.

Future People of America

the carnage is in the varnish
the president’s bullshit polish
spread on Democracy’s carpet
Resist the man-child
put him back in the ball pit
all night — America sleeps in the alt-right’s target
the missiles are locked the farm kids
and city blokes and woke folk need to disarm it
look around, y’all,
the vitriol from the inaugural ball
is being written in the capital halls
and now they talking about building a wall
not just to keep out the Mexicans
but also the press’s eyeballs
so they can’t tell me and you
what these fool’s gonna rob
it’s not just all your cash and stocks
it’s also your hearts
so when the revolution starts
are you on the side of the future people
or the old geezers and farts???

Our time is now, your time is done.
Time to take our county back, son,
take our country back, son — time for some action

the message is the medium
check out the sheep come bleating in
the monster lies leaking from weak men
behind the podium seek to destroy the truth
and the meaning in it the scheming lizards
be telling you it’s sunny when it’s a fucking blizzard
so that you never know when you getting fingered
take a look at the books but he won’t let you linger
because the crooks are on the take and they already took
watch his hotel rooms fill up with ghosts as Trump boasts
and the poles melt and the planet roasts
he’s building a Noah’s arc of oligarchs
on the backs of the working class
Shout! Don’t pass go, just lasso
that asshole put him back in his tower
so we don’t have to listen to his babble…

Rise up! Time for drastic measures before our treasure
is stolen by white nationalists
Rise up! hashtag fascists get their ass kicked
Rise up!

Our time is now, your time is done.
Time to take our county back, son,
take our country back, son — time for some action

Be Like Donald

Ever since the election of the “billionaire” Developer/Reality Star Donald J. Trump to president I’ve tried to figure out a way to ignore the reality around me. I mean, ostriches stick their head in the sand for a reason, maybe there was a way I could do that too for the next four years? But every day the feeling that something fundamental and ugly has happened won’t go away.

When the Supreme Court handed the 2000 election to George Bush I was angry. I felt there were shenanigans. I knew the government of the United States would change and policies I didn’t support would be implemented. I worried about the effect those policies would have. Programs and funding would definitely be in danger. The thing that never crossed my mind, though, was that America itself, the character of its people, the common bonds of our shared history and struggle, the essential goodwill of its citizens toward one another, would be in danger.

Donald Trump, though, is a political anomaly. That’s what we keep hearing. That’s what his supporters love. He is an “outsider”, a “man of the people”. An 80’s Gordon Gecko/Patrick Bateman-esque leftover turned fake boss on TV copper-tongued carnival barker, here to heroically rip power from Washington and deliver it on a made-in-the-USA golden platter to the tragically wronged, oppressed white male. Those poor good ol’ boys that never had a break in the world.

I mock because it’s better than crying.

Maybe I am just a snowflake…

Have you seen that word flying around in comment threads and Facebook posts? I wonder what the uptick in use of “snowflake” as an online insult has been since the election. This is what I worry about. When you elevate a bully in position and power, all the little tyrants come out and parrot their idol. Like when everybody started to ‘Be Like Mike.’

People ask what the point of the Women’s March is, and it’s exactly stuff like this. Let’s be honest, when people accuse somebody online of being a snowflake, what they really mean is faggot or pussy. It’s implying a sensitivity that is a weakness. It’s a way to try to emasculate the opponent and dismiss an argument. “What? You think Trump refusing to answer questions from CNN and labeling things fake news has dire consequences for freedom of the press and transparency? Don’t be such a snowflake.”

Because “real men” love Trump, and they aren’t worried about facts or ethics or unity! Real men think women going to the bathroom is disgusting. Real men know it takes a bully in charge to get things done.

Oh, what a vile precedent, what a slimy president.

When you normalize the ugly side of politics it’s hard to clean it up again. This is what got over 3 million people into the streets. This is not normal. We will not get over it.

Trump wages a war of chaos. The more lies, the more insults, the more distractions that he can concoct, the more he can sell this strongman fantasy to his followers. And the more they buy it.

By using Twitter, and now Spicer, as the generator of this shit storm, he becomes the vortex, the source, and therefore, in a twisted way, the only constant throughout the chaos (even as he waffles and bends and retreats and contradicts on position after position). And this is how he manages to seem like the only place for shelter and security to those who can’t see past their own echo chamber. What’s happening, though, is that he’s the goddamn eye of the hurricane, and there’s more destruction to follow, much more. Because the destruction is originating from him. And like any hurricane, it’s only goal is feed itself and grow.

We’re in a deeply divided country. The Left doesn’t just oppose him like we opposed Bush. Those of us in the cities and Blue States and College Towns and yes, even some of us living amid the “carnage” of the Rust Belt, reject him. We will not accept being fooled by somebody posting prop photos and selling lies and manipulating the public in a way reminiscence of authoritarian regimes. We don’t need tin pot dictators obsessed with crowd size. We don’t need demands for total allegiance.

And for the security of our beloved country we can not trust a businessman with bizarre ties to Russia leading our foreign policy, whose shadowy connections could dictate whether our Armed Forces are subjected to mortal danger, or whose lust for military chest beating could ignite worldwide war. America should lead the way toward freedom. Not away from it. The statue of liberty holds her torch high in the air, strong and steady, for all to see; she’s not waving it around, swiping back and forth, chasing back the tired and poor.

This is not normal.

Trump’s cynical spirit and hateful heart has infected the national ethos. His behavior toward women has been like a (pun intended)  unwanted rubdown. He made pussy-grabber a thing. His energy is airborne. You feel his breath in the wind. You can smell that fecund mix of Tic Tac and bullshit in the air. Historically we’ve always been defined by our leaders. They represent an era in America’s thinking. A feeling more than anything. There’s no denying America has become a lot uglier in the last year, mostly due to the ego of one man and his ability to stir the pot over and over. There is division and strife and vitriol and anger like never before. America has elected the first television drama queen to lead us through the darkness. A man whose only concern for the truth revolves around having enough b-roll and clever editing to pull it off.

We will not get over it.

Obama offered Hope and Change. Unity and togetherness. Yes we can. (Say what you will about the results…) Donald predicts doom and destruction that only he can fend off.

This is frightening propaganda.

Be wary of the man offering you the moon. When you’re looking up, he’s going to kick you in the nuts.

We are under threat. Trump is not here to just build a wall on the southern border, he wants to also build one around the 1%’s ability to exploit and profit off of the American Public. He wants to get rid of regulations that protect the worker, that protect the environment. He aims to muzzle dissent as weak or disloyal to America. Jesus, people, he’s not giving the power back to you, he’s using you to take more power for himself and his billionaire buddies!

Potter’s not selling, he’s buying!

I can’t ignore this. I can’t stick my head in the sand and find a happy place for four years. I can’t stand silent while my country is being gaslit by a crooked pack of liars.

I won’t stop drinking the toilet water.

We must resist. But we also have to remain calm. Don’t chase every tweet, every flying debris. Bend but don’t break.

A hurricane needs hot air to survive.


There Goes The House

The other day an older, bronzed gentlemen came to our door. He looked in and screamed at us that our house was a disaster. He said our father wasn’t from here and so he couldn’t be our father. He told us that although he’d never remodeled a house before, nor even assembled a simple IKEA coffee table before, he was the only capable of fixing our house. He told us our house used to be the best house, it was a great house, but that it’s not anymore.

I didn’t understand what the man was talking about. When we moved in the house was falling apart. Holidays were miserable. I remember when dad accepted cousin Grace after she came out. Grave even brought her girlfriend to Thanksgiving. This new salesman was quite rude to Grace and the white-haired man in his car yelled that Grace was a sinner.

He promised he could build us a wall in the backyard, and not only was he not going to go down to Home Depot to hire Mexicans, he was going to have the Mexicans pay for… somehow. ‘Real’ Americans, he said, were hard working and special and only he understands just how special they are. He winked when he was done and a chill went across my spine.

My sister liked this new guy. So did Grandpa. They were flattered when he complimented them and when he put all the blame on dad, my grandpa ejaculated an epithet so vile about the color of dad’s skin even my sister gasped.

My mother hated him.  She said he leered at her when nobody else was looking and talks over her. The man insulted the women of the house while claiming to have the utmost respect for them. His wife just stood there in a ton of makeup smiling awkwardly. I had no idea what was going on.

The man would not go away. There was this big kerfuffle about who to let take over control of remodeling the house. He kept insisting he was the only man for the job and really insisted on the man part. He said it all had to go.

After a huge debate even though more of us wanted somebody else in charge, somehow he got the job and boy did he grin, ear to ear, coast to coast, you never saw somebody brag that much about succeeding at such bullshit.

Tomorrow he’s going to start demolition. Even though he hasn’t told us, every contractor he’s brought in has not-so-secretly lusted over tearing our house apart. Their whole lives they’ve conspired to knock down certain rooms and do away with the plumbing. I mean, Jesus Christ, where’s all the shit going to go without the pipes? But nobody listened.

Tomorrow our house is going to be flipped by a madman who’s never held a hammer in his life. Sigh. It was a pretty little house while we had it.




2008: Barack Obama wins with 52% of the vote. Republicans claim he’s not a legitimate president because he has a foreign name.
2016: Donald Trump loses by 3 million votes in an election after being helped by Russian hacking in an effort to weaken trust in our democracy. Republicans claim NBD.