One More for the Revenge Pile

When I said you had eyes as dark as suicide-

icicles, I think you misunderstood me. Imagine
waking up to a couple of razor-blades

being jammed into electrical outlets. Picture
a mouth like a dried up swamp from the

Paleolithic period, ripe and toothless

after the hurricane. When i said
you were a discovery, I didn’t mean a catch;

I meant the curious pool of bacteria

you collect in your mother’s bathroom has something

scientists might one day be interested in. When I said
you smell unique in certain places, it wasn’t ‘impossible

saffron‘ or ‘incredible lavender‘; it was the hand-soap

that I wished you used more of, and that covered up

something far, far worse. When I said
you were incredible, I actually said

inedible. When I said you
made me goofy, I didn’t mean

silly-goofy, I meant you kissed

me all backwards, so all I felt was

smoke and ash. I meant dyslexic.

That kind of goofy. When I say dyslexic,
I mean when we had sex for eight hours and

slept for four, I wished it were the other way around.

I meant that every kiss was a chance to spit in your

mouth, a chance I miss. I mean missed.

I mean, let’s stop this. When you once read

a self-help book that told you
to swallow something you could not love,

I swallowed everything. When you

tried to hold my hand I pretended I had to

touch the left side of my face. When you told me

the book said to keep something terrible inside

of you, collect the ashes of anyone who stares

too long, I left. It was the only time I listened to

anything you said while we made love.

When I said dyslexic, I mean I must’ve read you wrong.

I mean, the telephone lines must’ve been down.

You never called. I mean

You didn’t come back.

The Farce that will Become History

When you live alone,

the delivery boy looks like a

pilgrim trekking to Rome.

Palm trees are sentinels

that keep watch over unsuspecting

barbarians. When you live alone,

the books on the shelf are your

greatest allies. The ink runs out

whenever brilliance comes.

When you live alone,

you develop a real concern about haunting your

own hallways (already relishing how intimate

you’ve become with the cracks in your ceiling).

When you live alone,

Your life becomes a dance somewhere

between a disco-ball and an alarm clock

(a constant dream without an erection).

when you live alone,

the contents of your refrigerator look like a

science project. No matter how long you leave

there will be the kind of

bed that holds too many kinds of empty

to itemize;

when you live alone,

your apartment becomes a womb with keys,

and you marry the darkness.

You dream of funeral songs and a new

demographic for your life’s work;

of mourners and the kinds of skirts

they’d wear, flat as a denial,

too tight for compromise.

when the delivery boy

rings the doorbell, you wonder how he

made it past so many lines of battle. you

stammer an apology for being so sloppy and

wet, you only just got out of the shower.

You say you are sorry you aren’t a

girl or maybe that would interest him.

Also, you are sorry for telling him that.

When he leaves,  you are sorry

you didn’t invite him in for tea

and biscuits, the biscuits

he’s brought in the darkness.

 

When you live alone,

you are sorry a lot of the time

how often each of us forgets to buy new candles.

Schadenfreude*

*noun. German in origin, meaning literally ‘to take pleasure in someone else’s pain’.

 

my friend once told me Ernest Hemingway had hemorrhoids.

my friend is a poet. she tells me all kinds of things.

the other day, for instance, she says she believes all poetry depends on the three Bs.

what are the three Bs, I ask.

the three Bs! she says. bed, bathroom, bar.

the three Bs are where poems are born. it is a well known fact. it’s practically a science.

oh, I say.

you ever hear Hemingway had hemorrhoids? says the poet.

then the poet says, I knew there was some reason he was such a hard-ass.

now there are whole afternoons when i’m lying awake in my hammock, wondering whether or not I will masturbate today or do anything with my life in general, and suddenly only the thought of Hemingway with hemorrhoids makes me happy.

Sometimes Hemingway even visits me in my dreams. he tells me to go find a shotgun or a pair of legs long enough to suck on for a few days. other times he just points at me laying in my hammock, and laughs.

sometimes I wake up in a hammock, and I plunge into the depths of some recent sadness, thinking of something Hemingway has told me in one of my dreams: the more you destroy, he says, the more people will love you.

or else he’ll say something like: if you want to ward off the specter of femininity, get a gun. people who don’t are cowards. or women.

what about women who like guns, I ask. what are they?

but Hemingway is gone already.

there are other times, like when I go to the grocery store, or to the bus station, when I find myself absolutely faking happiness for the sake of strangers.

and then I know that happiness and pure joy are only for people who can dance sober or for children with banana gas.

I know I don’t really like bus stations, because they are depressing and smell like grease.

and I know I don’t like beds, or bars. or bathrooms all that much either.

I know I like to write, lying in my hammock stretching out with a pen like an elastic bend to reach the table. or else, I like to write in my dreams, standing at a type-writer next to Hemingway standing at his own type-writer – not because he’s a hard-ass or because he is a man or whole or hungry.

because he has to.

because he has hemorrhoids.

 

*This is a true story.

The Liar & The Fantasist

Last night I heard children scampering around beneath my window, plotting to raid the local schoolhouse. They agreed Ralphy should go for the chocolate milk, and then someone else, Joey I think, had the bright idea that they should scale the wall of my building to get my hair and use it for a wig. That’s when I knew I was dreaming. Heists don’t require other more complicated heists in order to perform them. Anyway, my hair could never pass for a child’s. No way.

See also: Coveted Hirsutism, Teachable Oneirism, Accidental Jew-fro

*published in forthcoming volume of FrankMatter, September 2013

The History of an Odradek

           after Kafka

There I am standing at the bustop unsure of my footing in this world, in this town, in this life, with not a single thing to say for myself even in the most casual direction, and there is this girl with fine-meshed lace and tendrils on the bench nearby (her hair is in tendrils that dance on her shoulder there); and there I am listening to the trees, not looking at the girl at all, just thinking about the trees, about their private lives and losses, thinking about their nightly whispering and their ancient tremors, all the things that trees might do and complain about, the vandalism and the accidental tattoos that lovers carve into their loving bark, those kinds of things that cover up the greatest of man and man’s ambitions, and so I am standing there, a man apart, a young old man listening stupidly to the trees in their dull dreams, imagining their fear of breaking the silence, a silence of whispers, or of words, a silence that even the trees fail to admit, and so I am standing there picturing all this when the girl sitting on the bench nearby, a girl no older than sixteen years old, she lurches over her side of the bench she’s been sitting on and she rolls onto the concrete there, she rolls and rolls until she vomits all over one side of the bus booth and there I am hearing myself laughing as she vomits right on my shoe there and I just laugh and laugh like a man who doesn’t have any lungs, and so the girl looks at me, the girl sitting there on the asphalt ground, she just looks at me like an abused puppy, and all the while I’m laughing, laughing terribly, laughing like a man without any lungs, right on the spot where the girl has just vomited a moment ago; and so the girl rolls back, she rolls slowly, like her vomit has now been rolling far down into the gutter there, as if her lungs were falling out along with it, collecting a thick mud as robust as tendrils, settling over the bench and covering up the curb and the bus is about to arrive now, and there she is practically rolling down into to the street until the bus is there, and until the girl and me and the trees and everything else comes to a stop.