Monday, March 31, 2008

The Culture

When the days start to haze into one another
Start to unravel into only one giant stretch
You can turn to self-medication for some grip
You can sniff down hordes of white powder
And meet sons
Who killed their fathers with television sets
Thrown down onto their faces
While you are still trying to choke down the metallic
In your mouth
You put your finger up your nose and then put it
In your mouth
You don’t care about this burnt out son-of-a-bitch
Who says he’d rather be in jail just to get his bitch-of-a-mother
A little more money and that little more money is just what you need too
To hang with the consuming nature to keep fixing things on your own
There are words that just don’t stop when they should
Thoughts that just get spilled onto barstools and best friends’ couches
Thinking about being another blip in the culture
The stagnants who mistake all change as progress
There are best friends then users
Then one ends up needing a titanium plate in his face
To keep his eye in place and his nose attached
He’s telling you this
While you are sniffing sharp dust up your own
And blowing out blood

I just don’t want to be sad anymore
And with this medication the singular moment is bearable
The moving pictures on the TV sets etch themselves into the wall
You could just fall into them and never be alone again
You could just get high and watch three cats
Eat and fight and eat and eat and eat and eat

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

happy birthday MIoF

Monday, March 24, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008


My dearest friend,
I'm so excited to have a reason to accompany you again. An excuse to spend a day or two talking, where I'll be wishing I could solve the problem you're faced with. Seeing you hurt makes me hurt, it always has, because from the first time I met you, you were a glowing presence in my life; always with some naiive hope. The kind of hope that I'd like to hang on to, and I'm always trying to bring back into my life. Listening to your words was both beautiful, and painful. I've said it a million times. You deserve a better chance at the happiness you've been yearning for.
I wish I had the answers, and to quite an extent, I hope that you've no idea that you are you, if you read this. It's frustrating, because I've always avoided calling you (for fear of the wrong kind of thing coming out), and always missed receiving your calls. If I could, I'd tear his heart from his still beating chest to show you how small it must have been in the first place, to pass up his one and only chance of a lifetime.

I hope that your days better, and that You can be the glowing aura I very much so admire again. Sometimes I say these sorts of things to god, which is ironic, because I don't believe in him (notice how god isn't capitalized?!) Perhaps saying it to friends may yeild a better feeling in my stomach about my "prayers."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Yellow Heat in Yellow Eyes

I saw lonesome it was the sun thrown
A single coin into a wishing well
Then at once I knew how to be alone
Knew how mightily majesty could swell
And deflate to leave behind only crust
A crude reminder that glory can dim
And if we remain for too long we rust
The coin spun round stood upright on the rim
I saw companionship it was my cat
Taking a large bite from an ear of mine
Then at once he gazed up took back and sat
I learned so much love from the stark feline
I will not throw my coin into the black
But watch the sun with my cat resting back

Friday, March 14, 2008

are we or aren't we?

Conversations rooted in deep thoughts. That's what we all talk about when we're really talking. You know, really talking? Not about the weather or about wanting to fuck one of your DJs or kitty cat stories. Really talking about the kind of stuff you have to tug and uproot from the depths of your heart. Stuff you wouldn't just say to anyone but only to those who you think share those thoughts -- or at least only to those who you think will actually understand.

Are we the only ones who talk about that shit? Are we really on another level? Do the Steves and Stephanies talk about them, too? Are we ever having the same conversation as someone else in North Dakota? Are we really that full of ourselves or are we just really delusional to anyone else but us?

We were walking back from our favorite smoke-infested bar and money came up. He said he laughed at himself the week before because he got up at 7:30 a.m. just to get his paycheck. He said he realized then that he, too, is a capitalist. That's when I admitted that sometimes I go on online shopping sprees at 12:30 a.m. on Friday nights as soon as my direct deposit hits. I mean, I'm one, too. We're both sorry.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

When he dreams it must be of
Fucking dead things.
The closest his imagination
Can get, while pretending to live,
Is fucking his mother,
Is crawling back into her womb.

He writes about it
With such ecstasy and beauty,
That it becomes his sexual fantasy.
To really write, he had to feel each line.
I guess he needs material to get off to later.
I don’t need anymore detail about it.
That’s not why I write or what I’m into.

Maybe it helps him get the right words.
He has a hard time writing poetry
Because he has a hard time
Recognizing his feelings.
He’s emotionally illiterate.

I wonder if he dreams at all.
Or cares for talking. Or cares for beauty.
Or cares for the words people write.
Or the people who write them.
If so, why does he write so much?

I mean besides all those pictures.
Perhaps he loves himself most of all.
It’s sensitive, though he would deny that.
In that way, he is half-human.

So, this is worse than any metaphor
I could write. Or a story I could tell.
That’s why it's upsetting.

The Need To Sleep In One’s Own Bed

Everything in the room was a clever balance of blue and white. Everything had to be white, the internationally recognized color of purity, but also sanitation and sterilization. But in a hospital, people don’t want to be reminded of this, so the powers that be within the hospital assign the maintenance men and women to hang blue curtains and fix blue lights here and there, giving off a warm glow to comfort both the patients and their families who sit waiting for eyes to open or tubes to be removed. This is where Alan sits in an uncomfortable wicker chair. He is sitting upright beside the hospital bed, Leah’s hand in his, trying to keep his eyes open during reruns of M*A*S*H and wishing she would open her own. The flowers that originally brightened the room have mostly been taken back to Alan’s apartment to crowd his bookcase and coffee table, no one being around to water them at Leah’s own apartment. The balloons have all deflated and been thrown away by now. Even after they had lost so much helium that they barely hovered off the ground, Alan kept them, stepping around them as he walked around the room of his comatose fiancĂ©e. Now as he sits in the chair that doubles as his bed, Radar and Hawkeye’s voices are matched by the pitch of the steady beeping from behind his chair, a beep that often reminds him of an elevator that is constantly going up, sounding as it passes each floor but never stopping. There is also the sound of coughing from behind the room-dividing curtain. Mr. Baines is coughing in his sleep, his wife having left him to get some rest before his impending hip surgery.
When she was rushed to the hospital, it had only been a month since that January Thursday when she had agreed to marry him, standing on the overlook above the snowy nighttime city. They had taken the incline up, and he surprised her at the top with a ring, though he almost ruined the surprise when he nearly pulled the ring out of his pocket as he reached in to fetch the fare for the ride to the summit.
“I’m ready to do this,” he said from one knee, “if you’ll have me.”
Kneeling to join him, Leah threw her arms around his neck and said yes without a word. They took the next day off of work, allowing them a three-day weekend to celebrate and announce their news to their families. Leah’s mother was overjoyed when she received the news on the phone.
“My baby!” she had said loud enough for Alan to hear, though Leah held the phone, and he watched and listened as she and her mother simultaneously burst into tears. Leah’s mother was on board for the nearly immediate wedding that the couple had decided upon, agreeing with Leah that it was the Lord’s plan for the two to be joined right away. Alan’s father, however, wasn’t so easily convinced.
“The Christian girl?” he asked his son, who was making the call from his own apartment while Leah was out.
“Leah, Dad. Yes,’ he replied, not masking his annoyance.
“Fine. Leah. Hell,” he said, “We’ll be there, ya’ know. I mean I’m happy for ya’, and your Mom’ll be too, but it sure seems rushed. Seeya in March”
They continued to make plans, agreeing that Leah’s older sister, Muriel, would sing at the wedding, at that Alan’s band, Holy Rattlesnakes, could play a short set at the reception. There would still be a DJ, so grandparents and nieces and nephews could dance barefoot to wedding reception standards like “Old Time Rock and Roll.” They had met with photographers and caterers and sampled food and cake. The cake was the last thing they had left to decide when the artery at the top of her spine burst, inundating her head with blood and sending her eyes rolling backwards, as if she were trying to catch a glimpse of what was happening before she hit the carpeted floor outside of her cubicle. Alan had sat with her for the first week before he had to return to work, splitting his time over the next month between the hospital room and his cubicle. Mrs. Baines, whose husband slept on the other side of the room, had started bringing meals for Alan when she brought them for her ailing husband.
“Thank you,” Alan said. “It’s really too much.” He truly appreciated her kindness and didn’t have the heart to tell her that he didn’t eat meat, so he threw away his entrees in private while Mrs. Baines would push her Mr. around the floor in his wheel chair. His plans had obviously been put on hold, but Alan still believed they would get married some day, and he even hoped that Leah would agree to having Mrs. Baines bake the cake for the wedding, having tried several of her desserts during his nights on watch at her side.
On an average day, before the aneurism, he would go to work on the 4th floor of a gray eight-story box. He would nod hello to his coworkers, though he felt no connection to any of them. These people propped up family photos or tacked up newspaper clippings featuring blonde children like cherubs, stumbling over three syllable words, but the scattered gray of his cubicle walls was mostly uninterrupted, save for a few post-it notes here and there; phone numbers or important dates, which came down when they became outdated. When he wasn’t proofreading memos or punching in numbers, he was reading record reviews or looking for free shelving units online. Through headphones, he listened to his favorite records from the 90s, fuzzy indie rock and grunge to drown out the noise of the surrounding cubicles. At first he snuck in his headphones, but after the first few weeks, it became apparent that nobody really cared what went on inside of the cubicles as long as his numbers were punched in. He didn’t even know what most of the other employees did, either for fun or to earn their paychecks.
In the cubicle behind Alan sat Tom, a pudgy man in his 50s, spectacled and pale, and from his square came right-wing talk radio before lunch and sports talk radio after lunch. One day, when Alan had forgotten his headphones, he picked up on a similar right wing agenda from the sports commentators after lunch as they espoused their views on the prospective futures of some local high school basketball players if they failed to impress the scouts from the universities. To Alan’s left was Nancy, and besides the clacking of her keyboard, the only noise he ever heard from her cubicle was bickering and occasional sobbing into the telephone. “Well maybe you should’ve worn a goddamn coat like I told you!” he heard the homely mother yell one day before slamming down her phone and storming towards the elevator. Around the corner to his right sat Leah. He noticed her on his first day. She was kind of plain looking, but he was new, and he was eager to acquaint himself with the only person on the floor younger than himself, but when he passed by her cubicle for the first time, he heard new age gospel music and saw her “Footprints” poster and decided she wasn’t worth the bother.
Alan wasn’t unfriendly, and he would answer questions or talk to his co-workers when necessary, but mostly he kept to himself at work, taking his lunch break later than most, avoiding the lines at the few restaurants in the complex. Occasionally he would bump into Leah if she had postponed her break to finish up some work. On one casual Friday, when Leah had traded in her denim jumper for a bright red sundress, Alan decided to ask if he could sit with her at Subway.
“Leah, hey” he said, setting down his tray and pointing at the empty seat across from her. She covered her mouth with one hand and nodded as Alan pulled out the chair.
“Please,” she said once she finished chewing, and she set her fountain drink on her own tray to accommodate Alan’s. The two made small talk about work. Where Alan was generally indifferent to his work, Leah seemed to be excited about every detail of her projects, though what exactly she did for the cable company was mostly lost on Alan.
“Right now, I’m working directly with Marianne on a new demographic plan,” she said, smiling brightly before pushing a plastic straw through her full lips.
“And Marianne is…?” Alan asked, his index fingers tapping out each syllable on the table top.
Leah started to laugh but held it in when she realized that Alan wasn’t making a joke. “The company president,” she told him in a way that was very matter-of-fact, but not at all condescending.
Alan appreciated Leah’s disposition, in spite of or possibly because of the fact that it was so unlike his own, and he asked her if she wouldn’t like to have lunch with him again. She agreed, and the two began eating together several days a week. This continued for several weeks, over which the two discussed their families and their experiences with college and the work force.
Alan had taken a year off after high school before starting at a community college, whereas Leah had spent the second half of her senior year visiting four-year schools and seeking letters of recommendation wherever she could get them. They had both been raised by their parents, Alan’s being liberal blue-collar folks, encouraging their son’s interest in music and leaving him alone at night to pound on his drums when they worked night shifts at their respective jobs. Leah had been raised in the church, her mother and father active Wesleyans who insisted upon diligence, prudence, and preparation for her future.
At first, Alan was put off by Leah’s religious affiliations. At their second meal together, she chided Alan for eating meat, and he almost wrote her off entirely.
“No, don’t get upset,” she apologized. “I’m not trying to tell you what to do or anything, but maybe just think about it, okay?”
He said that he would, but he didn’t mean it, and that night he made himself a huge cheeseburger, dripping with, topped with crisp bacon and mayonnaise with more bacon on the side. Eventually, though, lunch gave way to dinner, and Alan began to feel more attached to Leah and he became embarrassed about eating meat in front of her, so he stopped ordering meat dishes for their meals together and eventually gave it up all together. Shortly after, dinner gave way to movies, which for Alan would have normally given way to a slew of other things, but Leah’s beliefs stood in the way of that.
“What do you mean, ‘wait’?” he asked one Saturday on the way home from the movie theatre. “We’ve been out almost every night this month.”
“I know, Alan, but I…” He didn’t let her finish.
“What are we doing this for, then? I like you a lot, you know?”
“I know,” she assured him. “But I shouldn’t have to sleep with you to prove I feel the same.”
When he dropped her off at her house, they sat in the car not talking for a few minutes. He wanted to talk her into it, but he didn’t know what to say.
“Well, I guess I’ll see you at work on Monday,” he said, trying to sound indifferent.”
“Don’t be like that,” she replied. “Come to church with me in the morning.”
“Church?” he asked.
“Yeah. Just come, and then we’ll get lunch and spend the day together.”
“We’ll see,” he said. “I’ll call you in the morning.” He leaned across the car and kissed her coldly on the mouth as she fumbled to open the door.
He went home and considered getting drunk. When he opened his fridge, he saw that he had no beer, only juice and vegetables. He had already made a lot of changes for her, but church was pushing it. Before he went to bed, he rifled through the dress pants hanging in his closet. Alan was tired but stayed awake in bed for an hour thinking about what he wanted to do. Frustrated, he reached down beneath the sheets and worked himself to sleep. In the morning, he called Leah.
“Hey, I’ll come,” he said, “but can I wear jeans? I don’t want to feel like I’m going to work.” His father couldn’t believe it when Alan told him he had started going to church.
“You’re outta yer mind for this girl, huh?” he asked.
“Yeah, I like her, dad. It’s not that bad, either. I just sit there for an hour, and then I’m out. We get lunch, and then we fool around for a while,” he lied. “It’s worth it.”
He continued going to church with her occasionally, and since the engagement, he had been there every Sunday. For the past month, though, he hadn’t been. He wondered how Leah could put her faith in a God that would leave her like this, and whether it would be shaken when she came out of her coma. Alan half wished that when she came to, she’d abandon her faith. He was certainly finished with church now, and he thought maybe now they’d be able to spend their Sunday afternoons in bed instead of in wooden pews that defied posture. It was the thought of these afternoons that Alan imagined as he worked himself to sleep again, shutting off the TV mounted above the bed and staring at Leah as he drifted off in the wicker chair.
Inside of my mother's sleeping head I saw an orbit and inside of that orbit was the bed that we share. The bed was large enough for us both to sleep but not large enough for a couple's imagination to explore all of the possible ways to pet, lick, and fuck -- let alone actually find love. This is the same bed my mother lived nothing, felt nothing, and experienced nothing except for the night she liked violence and forced the will of a boy to run his tongue like strings of warm water across her rolling fields of wet grass. His cock packed 45,000,000,000 possible brother's and sister's into my mother's warm cunt oven that slowly cooked a single pig sperm that warped me seventeen years later, stuck inside of an orbit that slept on our bed.

The orbit was a large vat that was used to crush grapes for wine. Can you imagine the feeling if you have never done it? It feels like wet hard worlds exploding under your feet that goes right through your clothes. My mother and I drifted into another dream. "When you take them off you'll have juice all over," he told her. He was true, sticky stains all over, and the one who got away. He licked it off. When nothing was left he drenched his hands and smeared it on her face, needs, and belly licking. Sex smells like a warm season. She dreams of swimming in a fast river that was hard to move because of 500,000,000 other dreaming orbits becoming the water molecules down stream. Other orbits all around me was moving too, because smelling an earth on fire felt was like his dirty tongue was inside her dirty cunt. He was sucking her clit like raisins. The raw juice ran down his mouth and into a miniature highway where the trees grew faster, the lightning struck slower and my mother stopped dreaming of Ron.

In the morning we watched Cardinals suck carnations, tress leaking sap, and dandelions pollution the grounds that our brothers and sisters walk on. I could feel the infection filling the dirt as my teeth will never feel the same. My mother and I started digging holes in the front yard of our house to find a place we can call home. Inside of a dream I saw twice as large, heavy, as a fox on the run in fox hunting. I later discovered this is the way my mother and I saw the world. Through a kaleidoscope of broken glass. On that same day I stopped sleeping with my mother forever and bought her a bed large enough to find love -- let alone pet, lick, and fuck.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Nights Here Go On by Jason Kish

As I walked you home,
The clouds in the midnight sky swirled against
The silver, shimmering moon. Together, they ducked low
Behind tall buildings lining empty streets.
There, when the earth was dark, they kissed and fell back to the sky.

I told you if my soul were this dark; yours would be robin’s egg blue.
The color of dreamy winter compared to lively Spring.

Did objects get shorter or taller as we walked? Are they far or near…
It is here, now, that I am perpetually falling apart.
The shadowy trees and city streets are crowded in my room.
Above my journal, the lunar desk-light cuts shadows, glows softly upon ceiling tiles.

Restless, at my desk tonight again.
Awake. Alone -- eyes to the window, the weight of the world against me.
Like previous nights,
The coffee brews at my side, an old friend.
The cedar acoustic snores under tapping feet.
And the darkfire in my heart burns
The words I furiously feed.

A somber tone crept into my voice like a cough I can’t shake.
It rings raw and sounds callous.
Yet, I think it elegant.
There is a new voice clinging to my heart like your perfume on my shirt.
Strong like the God guiding these lines.
This is how I feel tonight; I believe all those old lies.

Dear Readers; Are these moments real? Am I a curious fool?
So be it. The beauty in my eyes is worth a thousand failures -- is larger than myself -- and burns with the power of redemption.
We are young: A silver vision, through the window, dances at the edge of my desk. Can you see it?

The bitter chapters fall behind one page at a time.
I am tired and falling still, with energy left just for the
Happy ending I’ve written before, but never felt;
I feel it now: I love you, I love you, I love you…

New, Old America by Jason Kish

Is no longer the Moon or the Sun.
It is empty shadows nestled in light .
It is the agony of religious fervor:
Lightning, trembling bodies,
Soft sounds seeping through locked doors.
It is low music, silent melancholy,
In the hidden places of aging souls,
Grown, earthy and deep, from
The Holy Land of 1950s America.

"It is morning, time for breakfast
For thinking, for black coffee,
For toast and orange juice,
For over-easy eggs,
For Big Bold Headlines
That wrinkled the lines
Of my aging face.

I am thinking about N. always alone,
locked from the outside,
Turned inside-out. Or
Perhaps not, the radio's been
On lately, though he don't talk.

Ah. Nathanial...
So, how do I feel since you've been gone?

Distant... taken over...
Looking over my shoulder constantly
for the view of our old neighborhood.
For the warm summers we left behind.
For your bright eyes and smile.

It is cold this morning, the bare-tiled floors
Shimmer under fluorescent lights hanging
Above the metal sink. The blue countertop
Needs cleaned, the wooden chair
Is the last support. Black like coffee.
Hard like faith.

I am thinking about the ways in which
We choose to live or die,
Am I still beautiful?

I am the town behind the house.
I am the blood of a new generation.
I am the voice in your head.
I am the hole in your heart.
I am the way out.

You see, I left your regrets.
The faces shine up from the kitchen floor.
The ghost in the closet whispering,
'vanity, vanity, vanity...'
Are gone.

Audi or Audrey...
Two faces I wore once for you,
Are thrown to the floor like
Ragged, burnt garments."

From the basement he heard the door.


When you open your mouth...
Whose words fall out?

Optimistic, and dreading it.

For the first time in a while things are coming together,
I can stare through the faces of the sisters and the brothers
and see that beneath all the pain that they're sharing
Are some pointless silly words like masks they've been wearing
they throw them all away on the people they say
that they could love, but love is never gonna show them the way
to a happy neverending thruth that lives inside you,
and when you've broken through,
well then you've broken through.

I don't believe
That words are much of anything
and I'm speakin' for everyone.

So the reason for the change isn't the changing of seasons,
it's a blatant attempt at understanding that reasons
aren't always quite so simple as the obvious outcome,
and the thoughts inside our heads give us a reason to digress some

from who we are,
and everything that we see,
it's all a game,
and i'm playing it blatantly.

Laugh it up, or cry inside, nothing'll change,
the bullets'll stray from the shooting range,
and kill innocents on the sides of th streets,
because laughing and crying don't mean anything,

it's all about,
your own perception,
the darkest blacks,
could be the rainbow part of the act.

17 away.

According to the Department of Defense, 3,983 Americans have been killed in Iraq. Think we'll reach 4,000 before the anniversary?

In a sick way, I hope the headlines read it on the anniversary. Maybe people will shut the fuck up about the New York governor, Hillary Clinton and teens having STDs and remember where their children's tax dollars will be going. And then maybe they'll really start to wonder why.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Foundations by Jason Kish

Foundations by Jason Kish

1. “What are you thinking?”

Let me say, I don’t have a choice.
It feels right. It feels like
Things finally shifted into focus.
Say, this is all right. Everything is all right.

“Have you already forgotten me?”

How could I forget you? Our memory
Glows in my mind – how I
Cooked for you in my apartment.
Laughing and joking,
Everything living and light.
Or, our first kiss…
But, is this me? Am I lying?

It’s a new year, I’m a new person.
Born into light with a hat of weeds and earth.
All old pain has poured from
The holes in my heart, and I am happy.
What more can I say?

I feel poor today, but strong.
I can only give myself.

2. The first time someone made me
Feel it, I was cleaning and fixing
Run-down apartments. Spent all summer
Shoveling those rusted-out lives
Into big, black garbage bags.
I was here, they were gone.
It all seemed so permanent.

– But by the third haul of the big dresser
At the command of new tenants,
By the second time I re-cleared my path,
I finally felt transcendence.

Young American Princesses,
They saw a dirty, ignorant boy, instead of me.
Their dresser wasn’t the right color;
It wasn’t big enough for their big-screen
T.V. – I should bring another,
Their big, manfriends could get it up.

I had no words for them. The drive
To the warehouse felt absurd, but fine.
I loaded the largest dresser and
Almost killed myself on the steps.
I felt out of fashion in painted clothes.

I imagined they would fill the dresser with
Those shirts that said, “College,”
So their boyfriends would know
Who they were fucking –
Our educational systems.

Those memories have been
Breathing in and out because
I’ve spent the morning packing.
I have a sense of humor about it;
I know something they didn’t.
I’m confident. I don’t have to say it.
I hardly think about it.

3. I think about leaving Pennsylvania
For southwestern deserts. I dream of faces:
Angry faces, happy faces, tired faces;
Mostly, I think, apathetic faces, lingering
On these dusty street corners
Of this forgotten mining town.
I won’t leave anyone behind…

Your eyes match your shirt.
You sit quietly alone, very elegant,
No talking, no motion, just a small smile.
You rest your head on my shoulder,
On a stone foundation.

This is permanent.

Were you waiting for me to get here?
You don’t have to say it, do you?
We should marry each other, then,
With the life and earth that
Lingers underneath America.
Maybe we already have.


75th hour of listening to ani difranco.

Into the East by Jason Kish

“Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?”
- William Blake

Waiting for the future to come last week
At the motel I stayed at down the street,
I wrapped my body in a sheet
And followed from Eden into the east.

The flags were red, white, and blue.
I felt dishonor in each breath I drew
And from the way they held them high –
I’ll cringe if they touch the sky.

Upon the top of one pole so gold
Sat a crow, perched there bold;
His shape lingered, framed in sky,
As I stared deep in his deadly eyes.

I heard my voice beg that crow
To eat the body but spit the soul.
I felt like Christ out by the road,
A scarecrow out by the road.

By the visions I’ve had but haven’t owned
During my nights living here alone,
I sang for the fire and all the grease
All the way from Eden into the east.

I sang this hymn for my quiet God;
I sang for humility in dreams of Nod.
I played for what seemed so long;
I sang loudly, but the notes were wrong.

‘Cause they shot down Kenny. They raped Jane.
They’ve marked her body, they’ve pissed the name.
And from our footsteps grew garlic by rain,
From our footsteps grew garlic by rain.

The moon is filling with deep, red blood.
The night sky is caked with tar and mud.
And their voices, dieing, just roll on.
There’s change coming, coming strong.

The moon is filled with bloody light.
Our hearts are filled with bloody light.
Oh, these colors I see, red on white,
Are blood on the lamb’s coat of light.

The painted tigers defaced the planes,
Snarling down a bulleting rain;
They tore through bodies in the heat.
I cried for the Lambs dead on the street.

A Phone Call by Jason Kish

What kind of man am I?
Just got this phone call, but
I’m driving to a party with a friend.

Just finished a long day;
Won’t be much of a party,
Just souls vomiting liquor
And memories.

We’re both already very tired.

Far off, the storm breathes;
The asphalt curls like smoke.

Don’t want to drive
Anywhere else, especially not the
Hour it takes to get back home.

There’s a girl out in the storm.
Like a movie cliché, but real this night:
A young girl, running from her home.

There is no glory in her misery.

Her mother tried to kill her with coke.
She was an accident.
She was adopted later.
I think she’s still being raped at home.
Her knees will stop working
Because of the drugs, and
She will be in a wheelchair by 30.

Everyone she has met has hurt her.
Everyone she will meet will do the same.

She is still a wonderful person.
She can still feel love.

She can still smile.
She is still human.
She still has hope, religion,

She is quiet and trusts me,
But I don’t deserve it.

I want you to really feel her.
I assure you, she’s real,
Not just some character I’ve penned
Down in poetry.

I assure you, she’s out there waiting.

“Can you please pick me up?”
“How are you even walking?”

She’s tried to kill herself
Because of the wheelchair,
But always pulls back.

Three months ago she called
Asking if I could love her;
Said I’d been nice, that she once loved me.
“I can’t love anyone these days,”
And what I said was true then.

Couldn’t picture her asking me that
After three long years.
I had barely known her.

We went out for coffee a few days later;
I bought her a cup, and she told me her story.
People stared at her leg braces,
While I sat and listened in this
Dark, little coffeehouse
Feeling smaller and smaller and smaller…

Wondered if I’d ever
Feel love like she felt love;

If I could ever be as strong as her.

She’d opened up enough to show me
Something she’d written once;
A very talented writer, I promised
To let her read my poetry sometime.
And on the slow walk home,
I suggested she might like Flannery O’Connor.

This must be real. It must not be a joke.
It must not be a dream.
I know it isn’t because I’m still tired
From a long shift at a shitty job,
Because of distance and time,
Because I am feeling too sober.

Wondering what kind of man I am,
In my friend’s car, moving, but going nowhere.

And when I call her back –
When we’ve decided how to get back –
No one will even answer;
And it just went on like that…
The wait just went on and on.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

"He takes care of us until we die."

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Summer.

"You're gaining a few tires."
Laughter. "Why?"

I thought that's what you wanted.
What does that mean.

"Coffee, coffee, coffee,"
Legs kicking, four years old, and drinking coffee
In my yard with my grandfather, an ex-miner that left
Me a silver dollar, and other things of little worth.

In this town, there are yards, lined squares,
Little fences that keep in my sad looking mutt.
I have a tree house. A tree house in my yard, with
A swing and a rope for climbing. Good for identifying birds:
Red robins, purplish crows, and a vulture -- a vulture! --
Circling vultures all around.

The gold chapel in
The center of town is visible if you swing high.
Higher! Higher! I catch the chapel's glimmer
When I am doing stunts, jumping
From towers to land with bloody, bloody, lips
Tongues, scratches, bruises, that sting like hope.

Long before any real slips and scratches.

I am running through my yard:
Cold? But it's summer?
Snow. Snow.

"Let's pretend it's snowing."

I hear yelling in the afternoon.
Is it Softball? Baseball? Football? Kickball? Yards
Of recess and stretching?

No, he now... does not move.
Walking into a mom: Good news. Bad news.

Good news: He will take me swimming. It is too cold.
Bad news: He is dead, on the porch, he is dead.

Whizzing, whizzing sirens,
Shrieking sirens, whizzing. Like our bikes, bikes, bikes
Riding up and down roads, cops and robbers running up steps.
Steps in the right direction to the dead man!

"Dead man on the ground!"

My naked neighbors hover out windows
Like surgeons dressed as cadavers,
Like helicopters searching for

Movement against the darkness approaching.
At night the dissipating sunshine is gloved by streetlights
And glow-in-the-dark pucks of midnight hockey games.

We are hurried inside, separated from dieing.
Waiting all night, watching television, videogames,
Eating -- cereal with two scoops of vanilla ice-cream on top
And a Cherry 7UP. Cartoons, swinging
Round and round, reclining in chairs,
Talking, laughing, making noise.

The door upstairs slams with the weight
Of my parents grieving bodies.

The sound: A crash. An epitaph.
Never have I forgotten.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

This is the 7th hour of listening to Everclear.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

we all woke up sad.

Why can't I just let myself have a sad day? It was dreary rain from the start this morning, but I did see a seagull. I swear it. I said, "Come here, seagull, let me see if you are one." And it flew right over my house.
The girl next door keeps asking for signs. "I want to see a sign."
I say the music playing in the bathroom right as I walked away from the room he was in was a sign. It was the perfect moment, and he doesn't even know what I have inside here.
So, Jonathan Livingston and his dreams. He was a believer, a believer, you hear that all you scaredy cats? Stand up on your two feet in your dreary days.
All I can do is say thank you. For existing, and for removing attached thoughts which grew from my pain.
And I will stop being so manic. I will try to.
At least a little bit, at least I'll try to not be so mad at myself a little bit. A little bit.

Monday, March 3, 2008



I was recklessly navigating the uncut grass in Nina and Kerry’s backyard, looking for the small orange vial of pills that I thought I heard falling out of my purse when he was kissing me. Victor heard it too, but didn’t want to stop and take the time to look. It always had to be fast with him, even when we had the time to lie around and discuss our doomed future. He never stopped to think about baseball or possibly my potential orgasm. It was more so about him cumming and in record time at that. I hated it, but at the same time, the illustrious thrill of speed had become somewhat addictive at that point.
That’s what was in the container. I had bought them off of Bill’s older brother Albert. He was a townie who lived in a small one-bedroom with his girlfriend Ruth. She was some kind of a crazed Jesus freak, which always made the thought of going over there for a pick-up somewhat unsettling. I would sit uncomfortably in the fluorescent green beanbag chair and try not to focus too much of my attention on all the crucifixes lining the walls. She had a portrait she painted herself of the Virgin Mary. It was beyond abstract, like something an Elephant would have splattered if they gave it just enough tranquilizers to feel a buzz.
At the same time, the picture always stared right at me, like I was the number one sinner in the room or something. I could have had elaborate conversations with just it. Although, I didn’t understand how the highly drugged-out individuals of our dead-end college town could maintain any kind of religious beliefs, especially Albert and Ruth. They would sell coke to frat guys knowing that the shear purpose of the exchange was to hopefully amp up one of the blondes wearing black leather boots and a short skirt enough to get them to fuck after two beers. It was like common practice at that point, part of the guidelines, the unspoken rules between dealer and recipient.
I remember my roommate freshman year, Emily, falling right for the coke pool. She was always looking for future therapy sessions and usually something fucked up enough to want to get her shrink to fuck her. I remember her telling me he finally went there at the end of the spring semester. He taught abnormal Psych., a fact, which made my A. in the class beyond satisfying.
I suppose, in retrospect, I could have done the work and played fair or whatever, but the whole problem with that would have been how much time I would have lost. I never really studied when I was in college. My mother would call while I was stoned or sometimes about to screw around with Victor and I would have to patiently lie and tell her I was catching up on the books. She would always attempt to dwell on her college experiences, only to later have her stories be drowned out by even more narcotics I consumed. I couldn’t handle ever talking to my mother straight. It was just too painful having to think about how exhausted her voice always sounded.
“What are you doing out here Wendy?” I recognized her shrill before I even turned around. Bekah could barely ever fend for herself at social events. It was slowly starting to become less than amusing, having her around, constantly leaching off of my already highly diminished sense of living. I wasn’t sure how it worked, how I was somebody in college with a new best friend every three months or so, but for some reason or another that was what inevitably happened.
Joann got pissed about Victor. She had a thing for him too, and was willing to go there, even though all of us were well aware of the whole Marie problem. I would later hear about how he fucked her a few weeks after I left for my semester abroad. I suppose that’s how feeling left behind works sometimes.
Darleen was too much like every other obnoxious college girl looking for a companion to suck the life out of. I didn’t understand myself really during that period of time. Shit was just getting started with Victor, and yet it was when I was in the position to still get somewhat hurt over the whole Marie thing. Darleen and I would go out to the bar dressed in our sluttiest attire and look for whatever was in the least bit appealing. The one night both of us fucked this guy on the football team.
I think his name was Bruce or something. He was on scholarship meaning the three of us had to drunkenly take advantage of each other in a dorm room single. It got weird somewhere in the middle when he started telling us about how proud his father would be of him at that very moment. Needless to say, Darleen and I kind of went our separate ways after that. I heard she joined the Peace Corps looking for a way out and ended up committing suicide in front of all those starving people. It was strange to think about, as she was always a borderline anorexic anyway.
Bekah was sort of friends with Nina and Kerry, although they usually only invited her over when she had good weed. They had falling-outs all the time, mostly due to the fact that Bekah would try to fuck pretty much anyone they knew, once she thought she was drunk enough at a party. Kerry got pissed when it was her little brother, who was fifteen and just up visiting to see The Nullifiers play The Den. She had to get an abortion about a month or so after that, following some poor planning from the adolescent end of the spectrum. I was the only one around to drive her to the appointment, which meant I once again had a new best friend, regardless of how awkwardly silent the ride back home was afterwards.
I guess I just got used to Bekah after that. We weren’t all that different, although I saw myself eventually screaming at the top of my lungs for her to simply fuck off. At that particular moment, though, as I looked for one of the few seemingly available uppers in my life, her company was almost comforting.
“I lost that speed Albert sold me earlier.”
“Since when do you buy speed?”
“Since it became available to me, Bekah.”
“You’re fucking crazy.”
“Yeah, yeah, look for an orange pill container. It’s gotta be around here somewhere.” She began to attempt to focus on the ground, although I could tell that each drunken step Bekah took would eventually lead to her retreat from the party. She would never last that long, a fact that I sort of took solace in. It was nice to have a fake best friend who hung out long enough to make me look more attractive and then meticulously blew it enough for me to refrain from picking up the pieces every time they fell.
It took her about thirty seconds of looking, before she eventually started to cough, and threw up the double cheeseburger (I watched her eat in my living room two hours earlier) straight into the backyard like it was one of those fifty-cent streamers bought for mediocre surprises and celebrations. It was more than a little revolting, and I was in no mood for being the comforting nurse type at that very moment.
“Awe fuck… I’m sorry. I’m so fucking drunk Wendy,” Bekah said, scraping around the bottom of the barrel for her last few shreds of dignity. I couldn’t necessarily see her finding them that night.
Luckily, I spotted the container right around the same time she laid down in the lawn close enough to her own vomit-ridden remains to make me less than amused with the majority of the human race. She fell asleep fast as I popped two of the white lifesavers, before turning back towards the house.
“You’ll be okay, right?” I asked her out of my lingering sense of morality.
“Yeah, yeah… Just gotta sleep for awhile and then I’ll be cool…” She laid her head back down in the grass. It was almost high enough to hide the substantial red ketchup stains in her hair from the burger. I took one last misguided look at the available train wreck on display and headed back towards the house, the same mindless focus present in the depths of myself. Victor and I hadn’t talked about anything once again. It was always going to be the same.
I stepped in through the backdoor and into the kitchen. Bill was flirting with Nina by the counter, trying to pop the cork off of a cheap bottle of wine. He most likely slipped the rufees Albert gave him as a birthday present in her glass that night, although no one would remember such a minor incident the next morning as we walked down the garbage-ridden streets, past the crowds of believers just letting out of 11:30 mass.
I calmly searched for Victor in the living room, only regrettably finding Marie flirting with some German exchange student. He was tall with blonde hair, an Aryan poster child that she could see herself marrying if things ever fell apart with her number one man. Marie was the biggest naivete I have ever known. She didn’t come to realizations about any of us. Me, Joann, the lead singer of that one all-girl group we thought was a dyke, but ended up proving us wrong after Victor bet her to make-out with him. Marie was the type of girl who was oblivious to everything that was right in front of her dolled-up face.
In that same sense, it was her lack of substantial detective skills that made Victor all the more attracted to her. She was his sweet and innocent suburbanite to which he carefully molded into a fashionable accessory contently at his side at all self-gratifying social events. We all kind of hated her, and yet every one of us was strangely jealous of her affinity to latch on to somebody so unexplainably obscure. He would always talk about fleeing, packing a car full of bare essentials and whisking himself away from everything he once knew, and yet with Victor it was always just words, usually brought on by the ability of his mind to wander into fanatical bliss the first few minutes after he removed the condom and threw it in his plastic green garbage can.
I became somewhat used to his hypothetical rants, sometimes placing myself in the proper context. The girl he really loved, stationed in the front seat with an unfolded map and no real sense of direction. It was strangely comforting for awhile, up until the point where I realized such frivolous scenarios only existed for his own piece of mind. I could always be replaced by another body, another disfigured mold of where he wanted his life to go.
I walked towards the stairs, once again on the search for conversation hopefully directed toward some kind of mediocre solution, some haphazardous answer to all my temporary feelings of what could be defined as love or possibly a hormonal imbalance. In any case I would need more medication to stifle all the effects of that night and the many after it.
Kerry walked past me on my way up the stairs. She was on her cellphone, most likely having it out again with Peter, the on again off again love of her life. He was almost twenty-seven then, and had been a permanent fixture in her personality since her freshman year, his third senior year. She subscribed to Peter’s particular brand of Antarctic flattery early on; handing in her virginity for what she thought was piece of mind.
Instead it sort of ballooned to a constant abscess on her life, and one to which she couldn’t ever simply remove after a few scheduled appointments. Their half-hearted attempt at a relationship was much more fucked up than Victor’s and mine. Then again weighing out the pros and cons of any collegiate mistake was a strenuous process, full of less than satisfying results.
I found him at the top of the stairs, having just walked out of the bathroom. The speed was gradually kicking in as I had about a million thoughts sputtering off in the back of my head. Things to say and scream, tell him in whispers of sweet nothingness, and write on bathroom stall doors. Victor really wasn’t having any of it, though, as I could instantly tell he was less than pleased with me the second my foot touched the stained brown carpet lining the second floor hallway.
“I was looking all over for you.”
“Oh yeah, I was taking a piss. I gotta get back down to Marie. I think we’re leaving soon.”
“Well, what about earlier?”
“What about it Wendy? It always happens when we’re at parties. We get drunk and make-out. It’s no big deal, ya know?”
“Well what about when you call me later this week and you wanna fuck, what about then?”
“Well, we’ll come to that card later.”
“You can’t keep doing this to me.”
“I thought you didn’t mind. I mean, haven’t we been over this like a thousand fucking times? It is, what it is, ya know? I’m not in the mood to get into any of it right now. I mean, we’re at a fucking party for Christ sakes.” He brushed up against me as he walked past and back down the stairs. I could smell his lack of sympathy as it lingered in the air along with the cigarette smoke and sweat.
I took a breath and leaned against the wall. The ceiling was slowly starting to spin above me. I was fully awake and yet less than thrilled to be alive. Everyone’s diminishing sense of tact had somehow infected me. I was no different from all the others, and although we had our tiny intricate stories of little to no significance, all of them were passing fads pinned to dresses and upturned collars.
I didn’t have much of any motivation to walk back downstairs and look for a minor plot hole to fill. I didn’t necessarily need to fuck anybody that night, and yet as I felt the slow turn of the second pill, I could see myself falling right in with one of the stereotypical intellectuals lining the living room walls. I either needed to substantially calm down or run a few laps around the house. Luckily, the reliability of disappointment managed to peak its head out of one of the nearby bedrooms.
Jim looked fucked up as always. He was likely just stoned, possibly half drunk, as Jim was always one to bide his time before the inevitable downfall of human society. I knew that he hated most aspects of forced social situations, and yet just like everyone else, would flock to them like moths to a flame. I spotted the joint stationed perfectly behind his left ear like it was a television show I couldn’t miss. He looked at me with his familiar bloodshot blue eyes, and gave me yet another A-typical look of my diminishing quality as a person of value.
We had been through all the motions before. Friends at the start of my freshman year, quickly leading to a few offshoots into sexual arousal, and yet I never let any of it stretch past the common make-out session. I wasn’t really that into him. Jim had a certain lack of a spark engraved in his inner most depths. It was almost impossible for him to fall for anybody; myself included, without eventually realizing that all of his pent-up feelings disguising themselves as love were mere temporary offshoots of drugs or a hormonal imbalance; Jim always discussing how he took the high road when masturbation was concerned. Only in the morning, only to stifle the subsequent erections he would pop in class when it was just warm enough outside for skin. It was sad that I knew so many minor facts about his life, and yet he was always one to place them right on the table, at arm’s lengths for all acquaintances to see.
Yet, I suppose, in retrospect one of the main reasons Jim and I didn’t necessarily work out was because I fucked his best friend, Doyle, after his birthday party freshman year. It was an action to which managed to always capture the same look associated with lost feelings of what could have been, every time his eyes met mine. He gave me that look upstairs that night and two weeks later before he attempted to shave his wrists. It didn’t work out, and I avoided the hospital visits, figuring that most people eventually come to and get back on their feet, out of society’s ability to regularly ostracize those who simply enjoy the alone time.
“Hey Jim,” I said, once again trying to find my bearings between the floor and the ceiling.
“Hey, have you seen Kerry?”
“Yeah, she walked downstairs like a minute ago. She was on the phone with Peter, I think.”
“Yes, really.”
“God damnit…”
“What’s the matter?’
“Nothing. Just… Well I thought he was kind out of the picture.”
“He’s never out of the picture. Everyone knows that.”
“Yeah, I guess. I mean, she seemed real into me tonight, though. I mean, we were just about to smoke this joint in her room before she said she forgot something downstairs.”
“Did she say what that something was?”
“Well okay, that means she’s probably not gonna be back up here for awhile.”
“Fuck,” Jim walked completely out of the room, pulling the joint from his ear and lighting it, in quick succession. He then leaned against the wall, exhaling a large cloud of smoke, which surrounded us like a bubble of calm familiarity.
“Are you gonna smoke that whole thing yourself?”
“I’ve been thinking about it.”
“Right in front of me?”
“Another drifting thought.”
“Come on man. I’d really appreciate it.”
“Fine.” He handed me the rolled masterpiece without thinking about all the doubts he was most likely having on the taboo subject of us. It had passed with the ages and was now like a question in an updated version of Trivial Pursuit. Only some members of the team knew the complete right answer.
“So you honestly can’t be into Kerry that much. I mean, especially if you’re as aware as the rest of us about the whole Peter thing.”
“Yeah, I know. I guess I was just trying to forget about all of that shit. I mean, place it in the back of my mind with all that other useless information I try to remind myself not to think about.”
“It doesn’t always work out, though, does it?”
“No, it never really does, which is kind of fucked up when you think about it. I mean, I can’t even get the slightly defective girls to sleep with me, what does that say about my life exactly?”
“You just haven’t hit your stride yet.”
“Right… That would almost be comforting if it was coming from anyone else.”
“Ya know, my life’s not perfect.”
“Yeah, I know. Everyone knows about the whole you and Victor thing, with the exception of Marie, which is like normal at this point, huh?”
“Yeah, I guess. I don’t know. It’s weird to think about any of us or the things we do as normal, ya know?”
“Yeah, I suppose. I mean, I still kind of prescribe to the idea that I’m a good person, although I’ve been having some serious doubts lately.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, it’d be so much easier just to be like the other guys. I mean, Peter manages to make Kerry jump with a phone call, while I stand here stoned by her bedroom door, waiting for some kind of mediocre solace.”
“She could still come through tonight.”
“Yeah, I know. Hell, even if she doesn’t, I don’t see myself being all that hurt by it. I mean, I’ll just go home, smoke a bowl, listen to Pet Sounds, and attempt to forget that tomorrow’s Sunday.”
“Well that sounds like your kind of a plan Jim.”
“Yeah… I know. Like I said, it’s pathetic.”
“Right… So where’s Doyle tonight?”
“Why, are you looking for someone to fuck?”
“No… I was just sort of curious, asshole.”
“He was here earlier, but he ate a cut of mushrooms, so I guess he’s looking for the Emerald City right now or something.”
“Aren’t we all?”
“Nevermind.” I handed Jim his joint and left it at that. Victor and Marie were gone when I walked back downstairs, the majority of the prospects at that party having already booked vacations in more secluded areas. I grabbed my coat and walked out the back kitchen door, without saying any kind of a good-bye to anyone. I would see them all in the subsequent days and weeks that followed, all of us returning to similar locations for get-togethers focusing on dancing around the fact.
Bekah came to faster than I expected, leaving an indented portion of grass and a pile of puke as her last testament to the night’s unlikely turn. She understood that the party no longer offered her any kind of social redemption, a sentiment to which I would casually search for the next few years in-between sips and swallows from various bottles of indifference. It was always a longer walk home all by my lonesome.

Cars Passing When You Think You Know Yourself

Scary thoughts---we're afraid to think them. Like the boy who had never been stung by a bee. We were eating pancakes early morning on his mother's front porch. I thought maybe he should, just so he knows how it feels. But instead I said, "it hurts." I didn't meant to discourage him cause it's really not that bad. Then feathers fell and filled the streets. Too many for a flying thing to still be flying, or alive. He said, "See? The world is dead and no one is singing."

The cinnamon muffins guy walks like he's got nowhere to go. I say hello even though I think if anyone in this town were to murder me it would be him. I see him pass on sunny days in cut-off jeans and a black t-shirt. I see him pass on snowy days in cut-off jeans and a black t-shirt. I sit on my front porch and I drink my orange juice and wait for him some days just to see if I'm still afraid.

When they found me I was four years old asleep on a pew on the front porch of a log cabin. Beneath the pew I kept a small pile of green ribbon cut into squares and strawberries picked too soon from the patch outback. They were for the eventual collective. My parents couldn't see what I was working on. In their sleep I told them about the too many pieces still apart and asked if they would help me find the ones that fit and then line the inside of every front door with what we've found.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Someone should make an entry on wikipedia under the "Johnstown" category about what everyone here is doing... at some point.

Just an idea.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

daily cam book release party--yeah!

Rant... if you don't feel like reading baggage, move to the next post.

Life never gets better. It's just always constant turmoil, and you never have the time to sit back and stop worrying about anything. It's driving me fucking crazy, how lonely and pathetic I feel alot of the time. It's like there's no real way to move onto something better right now, I'm just stuck where I am.

I think that the better looking people are, the more compelling their love lives can be. For me, there's always this stigma that any girl I try to talk to could never really love me because of the way that I look, and so I pretend my damndest not to care at all. I want to move forward with creating, but I'm well enough in debt already to not be able to move forward with a clean conscience to even functionally be able to play live; I've tried, and I've still got nothing.

I have songs written, I really do, but I could never get out exactly what I want out of them in the limited time I have playing, and I still feel like my playing's inconsequential... like it doesn't matter if the chords i'm striking are there or not.

I think that the ultimate solution would be to find a way to just leave it, and start a new. I know you can't run from your problems, but i've got this dream right now about working on an organic farm with this girl that lives beneath me. From there, we could learn, and have the qualifications to go work on these farms all around America. Immigrant work... I imagine the hard labor, and shit pay. I imagine myself feeling like I've accomplished a ton more than I previously had, and I sleep really well each night.

If I couldn't do this, I imagine i'll try to go back to my original plan in schooling, although coming home to Johnstown sounds nice too. I was considering picking up the family trade even... it's honest work, and I could find myself happy doing it i'm sure. Plus I need that scene in my soul. For all the baggage that I have with you fuckos... all the times that we've fought, and we've loved, and felt bitter resentment, and felt unique connections... it's the only situation I can think of where I can safely say that the good far outweighed the bad in my life.

I miss you. I miss being 17.

So what I really need...

1. A plan
2. A system to play out of
3. To know that I could really be comfortable with someone, and not have to feel anxiety at every second that it must not be right.
4. Complete and total separation from any family.
5. A Johnstown without any family.