Tuesday, December 29, 2009


The process of unclenching a jaw so long clenched is tedious - an act which requires conscious thought. Straining to clench is a habit almost like smoking. Something done so often it is no longer a thing you do. It is something you are. I am a smoker. I am a clencher. It is like breathing....like thinking. I think; therefore, I am. I clench; therefore, I am. A person who clenches their jaw is akin to one who wears shoes that create blisters. They continue to wear their shoes because they were expensive or because they look good; because it's what they should do. They paid that much for their shoes; they should wear them. One clenches their jaw because it is what has always been. It is a constant in a world of change. It is familiar. It is what should be.

Once aware of the clenching, though, one wonders, "how long have I clenched my jaw? For how many years did I cause myself undue pain? How many headaches have I created that could have been avoided?" Once this clenching is known, it is abruptly stopped. Then one must constantly be reminded to NOT clench. Don't do that. Don't feel that. Don't bear down. Awareness is the first step in fixing a problem. You must be aware that you have one. The next step is to act in a positive way to fix the problem. But in fixing a clenched jaw, all one can do is hope to remember to stop. Hope to remember that release is so much better. Hope to be constantly aware that one never deserves that pain and one is only causing it herself.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Shakespeare Quoted/Emotional Neglect

Emotions run deep.
They pull you this way and that.
Sometimes you are where you are because you felt it.

But often, emotions are never felt fully.
Names are placed on them.
They are stocked and shelved somewhere in the abyss of your brain.
And when called upon, they take over.
Tears well up. Your heart pounds. You shake.

Here is sadness.
You need him now.

But how is the same sadness felt at the loss of a beloved goldfish and at the loss of a child?
But still, "I am sad," you say.

Is it sadness you are feeling? There is no anger? No alarm? No disdain?
To place a name on an emotion is to take away any other feeling you might have.
Your emotion is immediately made lesser.
You are sad and nothing else.

Shakespeare knew words were useless when expressing emotion. He gave names to thousands of things, and yet, he knew they weren't enough. That night, on the balcony, where Romeo and Juliet fall in love, Juliet says simply,
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Staying up all night on Christmas Eve is a true testament to disillusionment. Christmas Eve was the one night that I couldn’t wait to be over as a kid. Perhaps other nights I was a bear to put to bed, but Christmas morning was the apex of joy, I can still remember lying in bed and shutting my eyes so hard, just hoping that I’d fall asleep faster and Christmas morning would be here even sooner.

Now on the sacred night of Christmas Eve I take off out of the house as soon as familial traditions cease to get stoned with my friends and forget about how special these days used to be.

The drugs are always just a lubricant to get to how we really feel, to get to just the tip of that feeling – then completely reject it consciously, from there things just kind of fall into place. Then the age old question, did I take drugs because I was numb or am I numb because I started taking drugs? It’s a bull shit question with no answer at all, really. Or at least a question that doesn’t god damn deserve one. Debating it would be a complete exercise in futility because whichever is the case I’m still here at square one. I’m still awake, on Christmas morning, unable to feel a god damn thing. I must be a real cold hearted bastard to feel like this on Christmas.

I just don’t feel like I used to. The years blow by whether we are capable of grasping a hold of each day or not. It just seems more appealing to let them all slip away, these days. Hazy nights and groggy mornings, despite those clinging hangovers, do just feel better. I don’t know what we’ve talked about on those late nights, but I know each word was deeply important. All this nonsense fills my head this bitter and icy Christmas morning. It fills my head up with rage and anger, confusion and pride. Perhaps I’m not as numb as I thought.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review of katebush by Primitive Bush.

(Hey Marty, sorry I didn't have time to edit it, dude. I'm like falling asleep. I think you get the basic gist. Work your usual magic. And yes, I do cross maybe a few boundaries, but I'm pretty sure they'll be fine. Take whatever liberties you must, though - I understand. Tell Tori and the girls I said hi or whatever. Merry Christmas also. - D.)

I remember in grad school I had this roommate named John. I'll say nothing in print about his character, but I will tell you of one of his habit's, possibly his most irksome to me. He would sneak into my room while I was gone. (I'm getting chills just thinking about it.) And he would touch my love. He would pick her up, play her with his awful dirty hands, knocking her all out of tune, and he would write songs, these godawful, drunk-prick-at-the-campfire ballads. "Hey dude, real quick: just check this song out," he'd say when I'd come home, catching him in the act. (Though, on the occasions that I didn't return home and he was afforded the opportunity to cover his tracks, he did as such, but his methods were mind-boggling, totally preposterous. You don't throw an orgy to cover up lipstick on your collar. You don't turn over my desk to put the pick back. I'd mention it in passing - as he passed me to "bum" something of mine in the refrigerator while I did the dishes - and he'd say: "I don't know, dude. You ask the cats?") But I'd listen to the songs. I don't know why - morbid curiosity? Admittedly, I still get "If You Were a Dude" stuck in my head, but for the most part his songs were some of the worst I'd ever heard; often I wondered how a grown man could be so out of touch with reality, so oblivious to everything. Yet he was. And that brings me to my point: so is this band, Primitive Bush.

When Marty asked me if I wanted to do a last-minute album review - "just a quick eight hundred worder" - before the Christmas issue went out, I said "sure" and figured I'd just stay at home some night and get paid to jam a record, drink a little tea, and kill that bottle of black label I bought myself to celebrate my son's first year alive on this terrible planet. "Great!" Marty said, "I'll drop the tape off later. You gonna be home?" Tape? As in cassette? Are you kids serious? If you wanna be retro, put it on wax. Cassettes were a digression in the evolutionary journey of sound, the stumble between analog and digital. However, I am a professional music listener and I do have the means to listen to a cassette tape - though I have almost zero understanding of how they work. So - you know - my girl left to go see The Blind Side or something, and I stayed home and got drunk with my son (he wasn't drinking, I promise that's just a dangling modifier) and jammed katebush, the debut album by Austin's Primitive Bush. As I put in the tape, I said to myself: If this band sucks then so does this album title; but if they rule then so does this album title.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing could've prepared me for what I heard when the tape came on. It was John, the ass I lived with back in Pittsburgh for almost three years, and some girl, some - I don't know? - girl. But it was John! It was sneak-into-my-room-and-molest-my-stuff John! Apparently he had met a girl, founded a band (possibly these first two could be switched, I'm not sure; I know I usually do my homework on this stuff, but I couldn't bring myself to this time, whatever) , named it Primitive Bush, (somehow) got a record deal and cut a ten song album since I'd last spoken with him about two years ago. Last I heard he was possibly doing time for possession. Had me fled and started a band? I flipped through the liner notes - John's unmistakable nasally baritone bellowing the opening track "Long-haired Alleycat" in the background -but found nothing. Really? Had John finally learned the simple art of discretion? Was this some kind of Chestertonian joke providence was playing on me? I was certain the idiot playing guitar and singing in a flat maudlin affectation was John, but I had no proof. Usually labels or bands give you these things we in the biz call "one sheets." The purpose of the one sheet is to provide useful information to the reviewer, DJ, label executive, etc., information such as the biography and the history of the band/artist, influences of the band/artist, current record sales, countries thus visited/rocked, plans for the immediate and distant future ( but not beyond the myopic vision of the fanbase), and sometimes interviews from zines are included, and the listener is given a peak at psyche of the band/artist. Primitive Bush had a one sheet. At least I got a one sheet. Whether or not anyone else who reviewed or promoted this album got a one sheet, I am not sure, for my one sheet was a custom one sheet. It was addressed directly to me, signed John Prince. It ran: "Told you."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

He thought it lovely to die in the snow, on a Sunday, with his Grandfather,
in the woods.
Hunting season, a foot or two, and rising still. Bright orange on white. A little brown and a little green peeking through.
A heart attack is how it happened, everything still and quiet.
I knew I would go this way, in the snow.
Grandson took his rifle, took himself, and they both lied on their backs
looking up, rosy cheeked, snow falling softly on their open eyes.

And what was the reason?

Do you really need a reason?

Friday, December 18, 2009

waking up at 5pm doesn't make you interesting... it just means you have to wake everyone else up while you chore at 3am. he knows you're not cool and still likes you for some reason....just go toooooo beeeeddddddd.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I can't stop coughing. I took all the books from the basement and lined them up all along the perimeter of my room. They didn't quite fill the space. I've thrown a lot of my books away over the years, given them away, lost them. I hate losing the most.

I've watched a lot of things not matter to a lot of people. There were ones who grew up, right before my eyes. And right before my eyes, I saw myself lying all the time. I needed a slap in the face. I always want a pat on the back.

I'd remember your hands up against the sky, pressing, try to hold up weight. You left so many things behind that day you didn't show. Where did you go that day? I waited in that one field near the factory forever. I watched the sun go down over the hills. I didn't bring a coat.

I'm so stupid sometimes. I'll keep you forever. If I get bored, I'll find other things to pull out and fuck up, but I will always spin you around in the living room and take the blind fold off your eyes and kiss you just the same.

I wish we would have run that time. Through the woods. In the cold. My own emptiness, and and the vastness of my heart in your lap, you only laughed. And I laughed too. You looked into the distance. We were so quiet then that it makes me want to cry. The wind stung our faces and our ears.

That night we took turns pushing hands over faces, into mouths, through hair, more places still. I can take almost anything. It was warm, with you. So I stayed. And now I can't find myself anymore.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


i don't know if anyone ever saw this, but here it is...

a guy from baltimore made them. it seems like it took him a long time. some of it is pretty funny, some of it's cool, i don't know. i just figured i'd post them here so people would see his work. it really made me feel good when he sent me the links. i don't know if i ever told him that...

it's all from the "two lectures" CD. check it out.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Coming Soon...

Enough to get high
And enough to get by
I kept all the shit my father left behind!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My beating heart

There are moments, breathless and terrifying moments, when I realize that both I am mortal and that nothing I have done thus far matters. I have made no difference. I have made no change. No one will remember me. In these moments, my pulse speeds and I stare, my face flushed, my hands clammy. An anxious feeling swells and tightens in my chest. I must act. I have to. Time is running out. I will do something. Be something. Say something.

And as quickly as this activist feeling peaks, this "nothing-can-stop-me" feeling, this longing-for-change feeling, the moment passes. My pulse slows, the anxiousness loosens and I reside, again, to the lull until there is another wave of mortality that slaps me in the face, wakes me up, and begs me to be anything more than I am. A suggestion inside myself to notice that something is not right; some direction to be better. An order given that I am not sure I will ever follow, lest it stop my beating heart.

An attempt at sketching perfection.

I was down in the basement looking for a human pile of shit to show Tim. Goddamnit! everything of mine that I haven't sold to The Exchange for a quick couple of bucks for a warm meal has been ruined anyway by cat litter or flood. But then I found you. All four of you. Down south in the early summer's sun with blonde hair - ah! I never knew you with such golden features - doing some sort of cheer. In the first frame your forearms mirror your white v-neck shirt as your breasts are pushed together and your countenance seems to say: 'WHA!' in a coquettish, peppy sort of way. The second frame shows a similar position with the arms, but composure is lost somewhat in the countenance: the brow is focused, the face is in a delightful sneer. I struggle to write this now as I am transfixed on the third frame. This was the frame that brought the first tear from my eye. Your teeth are hidden behind your pinched face, but I don't mind because you look so goddamn happy; and the sun is shining brighter in this frame than any of the other three - so much, in fact, that it burns out the focus a little, makes your black capris seem dark grey and lined with light pink lines. I cannot even begin to accurately describe the fourth frame. To look at it hurts. You're radiant. You're perfection. And what is this? Just a quick sketch; a way to get over the little heart break it caused me when I found it among my dusty, old death metal records.

Recently some would say, happy birthday.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A scene from Trash Night as told by a young woman who witnessed the event.

Check label before reading. Scroll down, you'll see what I mean.

"Oh my god! You guys will never believe what just happened at the bar!" a young woman says as she slams the door of her studio apartment shut and throws her purse and then herself onto the bed where two cats - one slender and all black; the other - some kind of Siamese breed - mostly white with a little grey on its chest - are asleep in yin-yang formation. They awake on impact and start crawling all over her and each other, purring and crying with rapt elation. "Frankie, it was perfect! I wish you guys could've been there to see it.

"It was so perfect! My song - 'Twenty-First Century Schizoid Man' - had just started playing on the iBox an like the moment it kicked in the door of the bar like flung open and in walked these two mean lookin' guys, dressed in black suits and wearing sunglasses (despite it being, like, midnight at the time). At first it looked like one of them was carrying this crazy, giant snake, but after looking a little harder, I could see that it was actually just a crazy, giant chain and the flashing hot lights of the bar were making it look like a writhing neon-blooded snake. He said something to Bull the Bouncer as they walked in and Bull the Bouncer stood up and said: 'Hey, what do you two think you're - '; but just then the chain guy did this quick like spinning-swinging move - and seriously, it looked like a firework had gone off in in the air between them with that metal chain whirling around and reflecting all the flashing lights of the bar - and then it wrapped around Bull's neck like three times and the guy jerked his arm toward himself and pulled Bull the Bouncer's stupefied, red face towards his own, like got real close and said, real viciously: 'Didn't I say "don't mind me?" ' Bull just stood there, grabbing at the chain that was asphyxiating him and gasping for air. The guy let the snake uncoil a little from around his wrist and just as Bull was backing away, starting to regain composure and breathe again, the chain guy cocked back and cracked him with his free hand. Ha! I remember Gene used to fall asleep standing up in the shower and I'd come in and he would be just standing there, swaying a little to each side, completely unconscious; and that's exactly how Bull the Bouncer looked (only not naked and hot, more like gross and sweaty and hairy), but just like that: standing on his feet, swaying a little to this way and a little that way, eyes closed, knocked out cold. 'Well, that was certainly demonstrative,' said the other guy - who was a little taller than the chain guy, and up until that moment had not said a single word, had not even moved except to light a cigarette - as he walked past Bull the Bouncer, saying 'pardon me, sir' and brushing up against Bull just enough to knock his massive body off-axis so that it fell with a huge crash that like jingled all the empty glasses and made amber ripples in the others. Which - I should add - was also perfectly timed to my song - the crash happening just as the verse kicks back in after the prog. medley.

"After that everyone was just kind of stunned, but the two mean lookin' guys seemed totally unaffected. They just - what's that, Sake? Oh, yes! that was one of the best parts actually: they were both terribly handsome, and pretty young, too. About my age, I'd say. Well, I'll tell you: they were both wearing sun glasses and black suits, like I said already, with white shirts and black ties and nice, shiny black shoes. The chain guy was pretty tall and he had short dark brown hair and a heavy five o'clock shadow; the other guy - the one who smoked and pronounced demonstrative correctly (which is rare!) - was a few inches taller than him and had a light brown mustache with slicked back light brown hair. He was the one who did most of the talking. I remember he was like standing in the middle of the bar with a cigarette in his mouth, he touched delicately at his hair, and said: 'Allow me to apologize for my friend, Mr. Haymaker. He might still be a little too sober to deal with the public.' Then, turning to Erika, the new girl they've got tending bar down there, he said: 'Miss, please get Mr. Haymaker a double Jack.' And as she was quickly acquiescing, he added: 'And a pack of ice for your bouncer.'

"The chain guy - Haymaker, I guess - was struggling to unwrap his chain from around Bull the Unconscious Bouncer's fat neck when Erika shakingly placed the glass of whiskey on the bar before him. Then he like nodded in gratitude to her and took the entire drink in one gulp and slammed the glass back down onto the bar just as the song ended. 'Feeling better?' the smoking guy asked him, but he didn't answer. He just yanked up the rest of his chain and kicked Bull hard in the ribs after Bull's unconscious body released - what I imagine was an involuntary - groan, or like a sigh of relief after the chain was removed.

"The smoking guy turned again to face his still-stunned audience and said: 'My friend and I are looking for someone; and we were told we'd find him in this shithole.' The chain guy hung his weapon on his shoulder and produced a silver cigarette case from his inside breast pocket; and, without interrupting his speech, without even looking back to see that the chain guy had put a cigarette to his mouth, the smoking guy - the taller of the men, I mean - flicked open a lighter - where it came from, I have no idea - and lit his friend's cigarette; and kept right on talking: 'So I'm going to ask this once - and only once - and if I get the right answer, my friend and I will walk right back out that front door and you'll never see us again. But if we don't get the answer we're looking for - and really, folks, all we're looking for is an honest answer, that's all. But if we don't get an honest answer my friend here is going to tie his little pet chain around these door handles and not one of you - I promise - not one of you lousy pieces of shit will get out of here alive.'

"I was so scared, Frankie! I seriously thought they were gonna rob and rape every one of us. But - if I can't tell my cats this, who can I tell? - I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pretty excited by everything, too. The smoking guy just had this towering presence, ya know? It's one thing to control a party or something with dance moves or a nice outfit, but to control a dozen or so lives with just your words . . . That's something. And, yeah, the chain thing helped a lot. I mean, Bull is a huge guy - that's why he's called Bull. But even before the violence they had the entire room's attention. The violence was exactly what the smoking guy had called it: 'demonstrative.'

"I see that now. But at the time I didn't. At the time I did something very stupid: I got out my phone and started to call the cops. Intuitively, the smoking guy saw this or sensed it or something and walked up to me and grabbed my phone out of my hand and hung it up and handed it back to me and said, in a very calm and measured voice: 'Miss, you're very pretty. So pretty in fact, that if, by some miracle, you happen to survive the next five minutes I'd like to take you out some time. However, if you fucking try to call the pigs again, you will not - I swear to you on my grandmother's dead, blue eyes - live to see your sweet cats again.' No, Sake, I am not lying! He said that, I promise! Well, he must've seen the picture I have set as my background. What do you think I did, Frankie? I said I was sorry and he started to soften up a little, acted like maybe he wasn't going to definitely kill me; but the chain guy was like: 'Pretty Boy, what the fuck are you doing? Haven't your philandering ways gotten us into enough trouble already? Don't get distracted by the scent apple pie now; we've still got a rat to kill tonight.' 'You just mind your whiskey, Haymaker,' the smoking guy said over his shoulder, 'I'm taking care of a situation here.' 'I doubt that little Jewess knows where - ' 'She squealed for the pigs, Haymaker,' the smoking guy said, standing up and facing his friend. I'm not sure if Pretty Boy was like his pseudonym or if it was a popular invective Chain Guy used to belittle him. I didn't have much time to dwell on it at the moment as the next thing to come out of the chain guy's mouth was: 'Then fucking kill her and stop wasting my time.' I almost started crying when he said that, but the smoking guy seemed to ignore him - thank god - and went back to addressing the bar: 'My friend - though quite coarse and very rude - is right. I'm wasting his time and I'm wasting your time. So here's what we we would like to know, here's the million dollar question, the one that everything's riding on. Answer this question honestly and go home to your beds tonight. Tell us: Where is Ron Domino?' "

Sunday, December 6, 2009

he rememebered something

My neck hurts. He has forgotten about me already.
I can feel this in the rest of the bones I have left.
I've wrung all of the old cloths dry, and yes, it is my fault.
I will see it Sunday in the Christmas lights on the houses
I will watch it fall down to the ground with the snow. And yes, It does have a sound.
Don't ever tell me again. Please keep all tiny and true noises behind your teeth.

I've fallen open, in the middle of many fields, I spun around in the woods,
trying to, trying to. Wearing dresses I thought you'd like, like a silly woman with
her man's heart lost, and her own entirely out of sight.
Your eyes were on me, and I felt you feeling nothing.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I got it.

He was standing at the top of the stairs smoking a cigarette when I pulled up. Behind him, the house was dark and quiet, but his face was lit up with a triumphant, evil grin; and immediately I knew what had happened. With his head cocked a little to the right, he stood looking down at me as I climbed the stairs towards him; all the while, he was beaming that peculiar smile of his. It was not even a smile per se. With his lips curled downwards, almost as if he was frowning, and his slightly crooked teeth bared, and with that pale incendiary ardor burning behind his eyes, it was a much more complex expression than the word 'smile' can express. Thinking back on it now, I'm reminded of Spike, a cat I had growing up on my parents' farm, and how he would come stalking into my room with his proud, long-grey-legged gait and jump on my chest while I was trying to read and ram my face and chin with his face and chin until I followed him outside to see the little, brownish and white corpses he'd left in a pile at the front stoop. That's what I was reminded of. During my climb, I said nothing, trying my best to seem unimpressed, taking my brother's advice. When I reached the summit the wind picked up and he stepped back a little, taking shelter behind one of three red brick pillars that stand like sentinels on the front porch of his and my brother's house. I stood, arms akimbo, looking at him, my nostrils tingling with the piquant scent of his cigarette.
"Well?" I said, giving him the bait I knew he wanted.
"Well what?" he feigned.
"You know what."
He took a drag, fished through the grey stream for a loose piece of tobacco, and said: "I got it."
"Ha! I knew it!" I couldn't believe it. Yes, I could. Why lie? I knew he would. I knew he couldn't resist that challenge. "I knew that's why you were standin' up here grinnin' like a retarded kid who just got a kiss from the school nurse, or something!"
"Marty," he said, grabbing my right arm and putting his head down in mirthful shame, "you - no offense - don't know shit."
"Then what do you mean: 'You got it.'?" I said, somewhat violently jerking my arm from his genial grip.
"Well . . . I'll give you the ending first, then I'll lay out the story for you. First of all," he stopped to ponder something only he could see hanging in front of his face, "or would it be 'Last of all?" He considered this for a few moments before I reminded him with a shove that he was telling me a story. Coming to he said: "Anyway, I got your tea."
"Yeah," I said, a little agitated, "You told me that on the phone."
"Yeah," he said, "but that's the ending. I told you I was gonna tell you the ending first. The ending is: 'I got your tea.' Now I'm gonna tell you the rest of the story, picking up where I left off, which is the beginning.

"So Elle didn't get out of work 'til like nine thirty, and Tommy was out doing whatever 'til like quarter past, so it was, like, one of those instances when too much shit needs done all at once, and instead of just setting out and doing it, I decided to put the kettle on and do some serious thinking about it first. Like, I knew I had to go get your tea from Tommy before you got here at - what time is it? - ten, but I also had to pick up Elle from work, but she said she wouldn't be done 'til like ten after nine or later possibly, and I needed to make it to the bank in time to get out money for the transaction. (You know ever since that dude tried to rob the ATM with a sledgehammer, my life has been seriously inconvenienced.) So, like I said, I just sat here 'til, like, ten after nine, watching Ren & Stimpy with the cats before realizing: 'Holy shit! I have a lot of shit to do!' Not only was I beyond, I was late. And there was no way I was gonna have the money to get your tea; I just plumb forgot to hit up the bank. Figured I could probably bum some money off Elle, but I've been figurin' on that a lot lately. She doesn't seem to mind, but it sure makes me feel like an asshole. So that's where your money's goin', pal: straight back to my wetnurse."
I broke his oration with a startled, repulsed look at "wetnurse."
"Ha! I get ya with that one? Sorry, brother. Anyway, I picked up Elle and bummed twenty bucks off of her and then broke the news that it was for tea and that we'd have to head out to Tommy's before we could do anything else. Did she want me to drop her at home while I went out there and then swing back around and pick her up on my way back into town? No, she didn't mind going out there. 'Well, are you sure? It's kinda weird. I mean, he's kinda weird.' That was fine, she dealt with weird people all day. 'Maybe a little racist, too.' 'Well, that's kinda fucked up,' she said. What did I mean by "a little racist?", she wanted to know. And she's right: tt's fucked up for sure. I agree completely. You know what it's like, Marty, when he goes on one of his tirades. It's like a huge, belligerent elephant in the room when we watch Steelers games. I confessed this all to her, too. Then, like, lowering her brow and kind of like glowering" - (this word was mispronounced, but I knew what he meant when he said "glow-ring") - "at me she said: 'Do you think it's cool to buy -' 'Hey, babe,' I said to her, kind of, like, putting my hand over her mouth, ya know? I said: 'No, I don't think it's cool necessarily, but it's kind of one of those weird, personal type things, ya know?' And people always get silent when I talk about this, but - well, first let me tell you this: I didn't even encounter racism - honest to god - until I moved to the city. Sure there were no black people back home to be racist against, or whatever, but when we saw them fumble a football or sell something on TV we never used The N Word, or anything like that. I told her all that at one point, too, I think. But she was right, and I told her that, too. I said: 'You know you're right. It's totally fucked up; and I vacillate so much on the issue. But I already told Marty I'd do this for him, so I gotta see it through. If that's a lame excuse, that's fine, I'll take it, but I gotta go.' She just turned in her seat to face the road rather than me, and said: 'Okay, I understand. I know the meaning of the word forbearance.' And then she looked back at me, kind of sideways, but with this little twinkle in her eye.'
"Dude, she did not say that."
"Yes she did, I swear to god!"
"Whatever, get on with your story. This better be leading up to something."
"Don't worry, my friend. You know it is."

He pulled out his pouch of tobacco and orated the next chapter while he rolled himself another cigarette. An ambulance sped past, its sirens blaring, just as he started to continue.
"What?" I shouted with freezing hands over my ears.
"What!" he shouted back with his red coarse tongue against the cigarette paper.
"I couldn't hear what you were saying with the ambulance going past," I said at a steadying volume after the siren had faded.
"Oh," he said, "you said: 'what' huh?"
"Well, I'll tell you what: fuckin' pigs, man. Fuckin' pigs on my ass constantly these days. I thought that was a pig scream at first. I was 'bout ready to jump in this house and run out the back door and up through the landslide. Ha ha!" He punched me in the arm; it still fucking hurts.
Not letting him see me even wince, I said: "Did you get pulled over again?"

He was pacing and smoking now . . .
"Say: 'Possessed of inebriated inspiration and dispossessed of all good will and judgement.' Type that dude! Seriously, just keep it. Fuck the fourth wall. Fuck final edits. New chapter."

"I just had this feeling the whole time we were at Tommy's, right? Like, I could just tell that existence was bored and wanted to fuck with me. 'The shadows of things enter our lives before they do.' I think maybe Capote said that. I'm not sure though. But that's what I mean, you know what I mean? I could tell something was coming. Sitting there, with Mollie drooling on my lap, staring at me vacantly, blinking, staring more, panting in short, snotty heaves, growling for my attention, and Elle at my side, nervously fingering one of the belt loops on my jeans and kicking her leg to some frantic cadence only she could hear, and Tommy in one of his light afternoon comas with a cigarette burning away in his limp fingers while the giant high definition television - 'mos def out' according to Tommy - flashed and blared Rock of Love season 3 with absolutely terrifying intervals of barely subliminal - in fact, downright fucking obvious - messaging via McDonald's and Target and SUV and cell phone commercials, I felt awkward as fuck. But not awkward enough to leave. Something was keeping me there. Not the tea either. Though, it probably did stimulate my already frayed apprehension, I will not - especially in hindsight - give much credit to the tea. Seriously, though, it's good shit, and doesn't 'noid you out. If anything it facilitated me divining what I did. But right after I had the premonition I had the realization: there's no getting around it. The hand is dealt. And yeah, that's how I think the universe works. Or at least that's how I see it as working. There's probably more up ahead, maybe millions of years worth, but my headlights only let me see so far ahead into the darkness. They're brighter than most, though. I'll swear that 'til my grave. I knew it was coming. I knew I had to leave at some point, and when I did I'd get pulled over by a pig. I couldn't see what would happen. That'd be like asking me to see leaves on a tree on top a mountain. I just see the green shape the leaves make. I can't see each leaf for itself. Such was this, ya know? I knew I'd get pulled over, but I had no idea how it would turn out. So I spent the last ten minutes we were at Tommy's exploring and digging around in the various nooks and orifices of my outfit and person, in search of the very best spot to conceal your bag of tea. I settled, finally, on this pocket here," - he opened his grey pea coat and removed the bag from the inside breast pocket - "And when the rear view mirror of my car suddenly lit up with red and blue flashes, I gotta say: I was a little worried.

"It wasn't easy leaving Tommy's either. And, I don't know, maybe I could've avoided it by hanging around for a little bit longer. He'd just gotten a peach blunt and really wanted to enjoy it with some other people. As nervous as I was about my premonition, I knew Elle didn't wanna hang around my gardener's all day, smoking peach blunts and tolerating racism disguised as politically incorrect sarcasm. You know what I mean?"
"Definitely. You're right: that shit is weird."
"Don't I know it. But as I was leaving he was like: 'Well, I got two, so at least take one and try it out,' and tossed a flesh-colored plastic tube across the room. I caught it and laughed, remarking that it looked like a cock, and Elle blushed and rolled her eyes."
"What a prude!" I had to interject. In his defense, I've seen those peach blunt tubes and they do look like male genitalia. Clearly a plastic one, a replica, but the resemblance is obvious. "But how would she know anyway, right?"
"Dude," he said, "she's seen one before. She told me she's had sexual -"
"I know, I know. You've told me this a millions times. I was just kidding anyway. What happened after you got pulled over? I'm still confused how this all adds up. How this has anything to do with how you 'got it' as you so eloquently put it."
"I'm gettin' to that, man. If you'd just let me tell my story, you'll see how it all adds up. Alright? Be patient, man. Anyway, for about a minute, while the pig was running my plate or something, I stared into my rear view mirror, transfixed by the flashing red and blue lights, with this clamorous fugue in my skull. The whole council was in an uproar! One voice was shouting: 'Gun it! You can outrun this pig if you take 'im by surprise! Trust me, you gotta better chance outrunnin' him than you do a shower full of hungry, soapy animals!' Another guy suggested I force Elle to stash it in her purse, and then if it's found there to plead total ignorance. But the most sensible voice of all, which at first seemed the craziest, wasn't really a voice at all. It was more like an echo, but an echo of an image. Like, this one time when I was pretty young, I was helping my mom can some homemade spaghetti sauce. I was rinsing out the Mason jars and handing them to her. I guess the jars were a little wet 'cause she was fumbling around with the lid on one of the jars she'd just filled and it slipped out of her hand. It was bad. You couldn't tell the blood from the spaghetti sauce. For weeks after that, I had this, like, video clip that played over and over again in my head, coming on sporadically, like when I'd close my eyes or something, of my mom looking down at her gashed-open toe, looking up at me, looking back down at her toe, then looking above me and screaming bloody unintentional matricide! It was like that. But the image this time was of that plastic cock floating in slow motion through the air with the heavy toms in that Strauss song from 2001 thundering away: the dawning of an epiphany. But I had to act quickly, casually, and the hardest part wouldn't be quickly and clandestinely concealing your bag of tea inside the plastic cock, but convincing Elle to deflower herself with it in order to preserve my own precious chastity."
"Oh. My. God."
"So when I say: 'I got it,' you - "
"Oh," I said, putting my hand up, "I get it."
The man across the road; arms crossed,
with his mind occupying nothing.
The snow starts. Last evening it was there,
but you were not awake to look out the
front window.

You saw him, though, last year. Waiting.
You thought of your own lost ones,
always lost. It was never there.

You walk to the front door, forgetting your hat and mittens.
It's cold. You walk toward the man, and stop
at your side of the street.

"Hello young man."
"It took you a long time."
"Only a year."
"You forgot."
"I did not."

That's right. You never forgot.
You held yourself at night and kept away.
Cause why would you ever want it blown open?
Cross winds occur nightly now, and the snow
tells you so.
You still don't know which way to go.

You see their smiles in your sleep
and try to dream of other things
but the warming keeps you paralyzed
there is nothing you can do,
you already let it go.

Next winter the man will be there, too. Waiting.