another day, another burrito

There i was holding a puke-bucket in a parking lot and wasn’t sure why.

but i knew is that it looked and sounded the perfect image of gastro-intelligence.

i was so drunk with hunger i felt like a haitian after a hurricane.

it was somewhere around wrankled furor that the representative arrived from Mothers Against Daughters Against Brothers who Try to Sleep with the Kind of Men they Almost Become.

as if reading my mind, milo said ‘you could use a hurricane for your mugwumps and after that take all those satchels of yours and—‘. milo trailed off, traversing vast archaelogical digs inside his caffeinated cortex, along the way ostensibly losing all model trains of thought through the seams of his pants.

‘i’m godamn starving…’ is all he eventually came up with. i had to give it to him. it was true. neither of us had eaten breakfast since yesterday.

It started with poverty.

But I forgot about the junk I wanted when the gut kicked in.

My stomach boiled the color of sheer madness and ‘impossible appetite’.

the worst of it was the two of us had been shacked up here next to the Cafeteria for something like two days now. We had came to get our piles out.

Yet here we were lost and lingered, pinned to the steaming asphalt on a bum steer.

‘meanwhile, time’s vomit dribbled on from a thousand infected needles.’

you say the sweetest things, what a vitalist you are, i mean you-

‘god damn if i’m not starving,’ he said, interrupting himself so i didn’t have to.

then there was that time you stopped speaking in coherent sentences, i said, unwilling to complete the sentence.

okay. i’m starving… he said, and also you’re ugly.

lovely, i said.

not lovely. ugly, he said. your breath smells like mrs. mugwumps had a miscarriage. Like. Inside. Of. Your. Mouth…’

‘well well, aren’t we stricken with genital observation today.’

‘…downright dirty-bout-to-blow a fuse with pondwater fluid from your dozens of dirty little faces – that kind of ugly.

‘holiest of holies.’ i said, absently,

the lost tango lyric to an indifferent tune.

incredible mug-wum sighs now fell between us with such absolute synchronicity i could have sworn for a moment we were the same person.

irony was never intentional. nevertheless, after a too-short pause in an otherwise military silence, milo said, Knife?

jesus, where in the cock is that? i said.

i admit i wanted to slap him just then for hoarding all of the incomprehension pills.

right – i’ll mark you down to be perforated then.

goddamnit! you mugwump wanker, i said. i grabbed milo’s clipboard for rhetorical effect.

‘i didn’t say anything about any perforation. just give me the bloodied knife. and i’ll sign already.’

milo shook his facial hair out like a persian cat in a cloudburst pond in dog-day night. it was when i glimpsed postnasal drip in his face-saddle that i sort’ve knew it was time to quit the junk i’d been on from the Cafeteria complex…so i made a mental note to call heidi and cerebus first thing tomorrow.

i was overdue for an appointment with the great Vagina Dialogues, as they quite possibly called themselves behind my back.

i wondered what in the sheer black magic terror those awful garbageslobs were up to these days.

‘…big bad mugwum voodoo’ milo was saying.

and i was about to lose it, frothing up now in a moment of fury that was totally unforeseen by either of us.

‘3-5 word response: if someone left a severed horse’s head under your pillow this morning, would you probably eat it or probably not?’

‘why not ask those mugwum bastards, palanc and calaco,’ i said,

and by now i was so sober with appetite, i probably looked like abortion evidence.

all of them had me just where they wanted me, i’m sure of it.

milo mumbled terse, unreasonable inanities to no one in particular.

another day, another burrito.

words, words, weapons, words, biscuits-words, words shaped like dollars and barfly-dinosaurs.

imagine dinosaurs filled entirely with words. words. words.

god, i can’t tell you how much i hoped they were among his last.

        ~Translated from The Hammock Hoarder by William Lee (the 3,534th richest man in the world)


Discourse of the Bear

I am the bear in the pipes of the house, I climb through the pipes in the hours of silence, the hot-water pipes, the radiator pipes, the air-conditioning ducts. I go through the pipes from apartment to apartment and I am the bear who goes through the pipes.

I think that they like me because it’s my hair keeps the conduits clean, I run unceasingly through the tubes and nothing pleases me more than slipping through the pipes, running from floor to floor. Once in a while I stick my paw out through a faucet and the girl on the third floor screams that she’s scalded herself, or I growl at oven height on the second, and Wilhelmina the cook complains that the chimney is drawing poorly. At night I go quietly and it’s when I’m moving most quickly that I raise myself to the roof by the chimney to see if the moon is dancing up there, and I let myself slide down like the wind to the boilers in the celler. And in summer I swim at night in the cistern, prickled all over with stars, I wash my face first with one paw then with the other, finally with both together, and that gives me a great joy.

Then I slide back down through the pipes of the house, growling happily, and the married couples stir in their beds and deplore the quality of the installation of the pipes. Some even put on the light and write a note to themselves to be sure to remember to complain when they see the superintendent. I look for the tap that’s always running in some apartment and I stick my nose out and look into the darkness of rooms where those beings who cannot walk through the pipes live, and I’m always a little sorry for them, heavy beings, big ones, to hear how they snore and dream aloud and are so very much alone. When they wash their faces in the morning, I caress their cheeks and lick their noses and then I leave, somewhat sure of having done some good.

The Disenchantress


I was listening to this story about meteors the other night on the radio. Meteors, it turns out, are distinct from asteroids in that they are “seldom any larger than the size of a raisin; and while asteroids are frequently concentrated from the remains of a planet that fell apart, a meteor can originate from the disintegration of a comet instead. Well, I turned off the radio when I heard that, because it reminded me that I don’t much believe in science – mostly because I don’t understand it; or else because I once got a ‘C’ on a test in elementary school for leaving out Pluto among the list of planets in our solar system: Sometime back when science announced that Pluto was no longer a planet is about the time I stopped believing science.

So, like I said, I turned off the radio, and started to read about the French Existentialist Albert Camus instead. Camus, it turns out, believed that our behavior should be dictated exclusively by “those three or four times in your life when your heart opened up” – before a Stranger, say, or else before the “benign indifference of the entire universe.” Well, I don’t much like for people to tell me what to do with my heart. So I closed that book, and started to read a biography of Stendhal instead. Stendhal, it turns out, despised the glorified salons of 19th century Paris, although if he was not able to speak with some very clever people in the evening-times, he felt “utterly asphyxiated to the point of death.” The kind of death, says Stendhal [I’m still basically quoting here] that “one might find in a terrible pillow-fight that has gone radically wrong.” Well, I don’t much care about cleverness all that much, especially not when it’s somebody else’s; and more importantly, I don’t much care for it when writers tell me about their writing processes—which always feels like a cheap and dirty little paradox to me like, say, bombing for the sake of world peace or having sex in support of virginity-awareness.

So I closed that book up also, and I dashed off to the nearest bookshop – of all places – for a breath of fresh air instead. This bookseller, as it turns out, was the kind of person you might meet three or four times in your life if you’re lucky; and she didn’t much believe in the value of cleverness either, probably because she had so much of it, or because she felt that you should not take her for her word because everything out of her mouth was “complete and utter horseshit” (those were, in fact, her words), and that, “if someone were ever to submit [her] thoughts to the eyes of the law, surely [she] would be hanged ten times a day, at least.” Well I’m not one to dance on somebody else’s funeral; I know when to take a hint. So I left the bookshop, and as I walked home I loosened up my collar a little and looked up to the stars—because you remember to do that sort of thing when you can breathe again—I remember thinking how strange and remarkable it is that something the size of a grape can sometimes light up the whole sky.

The Disenchantress

Hyena vs. Wildebeest

I was running late to work the other day–
I don’t have a job exactly, but I felt late
anyway, the way I always feel late
when I accidentally
take a trip through Whole
Foods parking lot and forget
I’m not supposed to
talk to the people with the clip-boards
who always make me feel awful
and dirty
for not having washed my hair lately, or
for not having micro-dermed my skin
with any kind of special exfoliant at all.
So the other day, this woman stopped me
(I was feeling late again),
and she said:

‘Excuse me, sir. Would you care
to save a young girl’s life today’?

The two of us locked eyes
for a moment too long,
me and this eager young
woman with perfect skin,
this eager perfect young woman
smiling with teeth—

‘No thanks’, I said. ‘I already did’.

In that moment, I swear to you
I felt this woman’s soul
being sucked into my body,
her clip-board and all.*
I told myself I no longer needed
that special quinoa cleanse, that
maybe never again would I need
to buy my customary rare-trade
sherpa goat-cheese spread with apricot
that I used to like—

Not even a glass of Kombucha
could have made me feel so perfectly
on time.

*a Hyena will sometimes devour its prey before he has killed it.

*This was a type-writer poem. The requested topic by a stranger was ‘Kombucha’. It is also featured in the opening monologue of Other People Podcast with Brad Listi:

The Gates of Sleep[i]

I saw a man get tasered last night
on Broadway Boulevard;
I was standing at the entrance to the park
underneath the Jacaranda trees,
the ones with the graffiti on their trunks—
all those unwanted tattoos
that I can never make any sense of
so they seem important somehow;
the police got this man
three times in the ribs, although
I think they missed the second time
because the man just
sort of
staggered for a moment,
out of habit almost,
like a performance of staggering—
this was around sunset
so the sky was something terrible
(I sometimes stand on street corners
longer than I probably should);
in any case, after the second tasering,
the man noticed he was unharmed
and he began charging at the police
once more like a crazed bull
and so
for whatever reason
I pulled out my video phone
which I don’t usually have with me but I did this time
(there must have been a reason for that
I later joked to the police)
and I began to film each one of these taserings
with great concentration
so that it looked more and more
through my little screen
like there were these
firecrackers going off
underneath the man’s shirt
or else it looked like
somebody was standing above him
stirring spaghetti with an invisible spoon—
you know the way a noodle of pasta is
sometimes flung at the wall
to see if it’s ready?—
(the man was in fact airborne, at least
after the first and third taserings, at least
until he cracked his head
with a loud thump
on the wall behind him
and his languid body just slid to the ground
where the police took turns
kicking it each time
it tried
to get back on its feet again,
until you could see the marinara,
I mean blood, spilling out
from its hair);

Continue reading

Li Po gets drunk and jumps in the river

Tonight I wanted to write a poem about a young girl who
       chases a kite or a balloon or a scarf off the side of a mountain,
       plummeting to her death.

The poem I was going to write had to do with the way we all,
       at one time or another, have wanted something
       as desperately as this.

Li Po, 61, drunk, jumps from his boat – looking for the reflection of
       the moon or the stars or a fish in the Yangtze River –
       sinking toward an unknown burial.

The fish I was going to write about were going to be as ancient as the moon
       or as old as Li Po, or the girl who was twelve years old
       going on infinite.

I was going to write about the way we all, at one time, have wanted
       something as badly as the girl running after a flag or an umbrella or
       a distant airplane, or toward her own destiny of grief;
       how all of us have at some time been as desperate as this.

Then I glanced at the mountain of books beside my bed, at the laundry
       huddled in the corner of the room like a judgment: all of the
       ordinary signs of a full and crowded life that is branded invisibly
       by dirt and quiet disregard.

I walked outside along the landing, into the darkness
       as old as the stars that weren’t there.

I thought of the mountains, and of the moon reflected in the sea somewhere.
       I thought of the laundry in the bedroom and the books that will be waiting
       tomorrow and the day after
               for someone to bring them to life again.

*this poem is published in Gorrilla Troop Press, summer volume & in the forthcoming edition of FrankMatter, September 2013