one year

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my mother’s death. I plan to take my dad to a bar where we can drown ourselves in cheap whiskey all day. I will not be online. I will not be. Whatever, I guess. Anyway, assuming I come out the other side, I will check back in with everyone on a better day


The Day of Bitter Retreat

The day of bitter retreat

Something about blood dimmed tide and rough hands
the sound of nattering insects and bone against bone
wet and thrush splatter as entrails fall free from open cavities
and and and and and and and and and and and and and and
more insistent rising, tides and undertow broken
like glass on a sandstone floor littered with sawdust and ash
the last of her lost in moaning wind and heat lightning
exquisite and rare against a cooling horizon that rushes
up at escape velocity to devour whatever shred of
memory remains. Is it bitter, the thing asks as the blood
runs like a naked river down its face and into the sand.

I See Imaginary Children

I get these obsessions. They overtake my writing, work their way in and force me. For a while it was Quetzalcoatl (to be specific, my own weird idea of what Quetzalcoatl should be like). That snake bird god thing showed up constantly in the things that I wrote. I’d star a story about a failing relationship and out of nowhere the beast would show up. Almost f his own volition.

Then it was crows. I thought about crows all the time, and everything I wrote somehow involved crows. It took me months to write that out. I had to expel the crows through the writing.

And alligators.

Now I am obsessed, controlled by alligators. Not a specific alligator. Not a real alligator. Rather this is the alligator; my conception of the perfect, god alligator. An imaginary alligator. It haunts my dreams. Even when I dream about something unrelated to alligators, the thing creeps in as an allusion.

Now, I know that we all (I guess) obsess about sex and death and that sex and death have a big role to play in writing, but my question is: does this happen to every writer? Do you all get weird ideas and obsessions that creep into your writing? If so, is this a good thing? How do you deal with it?


Unidentified dead animals

There is a great new poem by Howie Good up at Slingshot. Read it.

I walked a mile this morning. I guess my lungs do still work.


Will you hug me while I am engulfed in flame?

My dog at something that used to be a living animal, but I could not determine what it had been. I would not let her inside with it.

I think God is bleeding on me

“Estella in Hell”

1. She took the young boy’s soul, carefully folded it into a small, asymmetrical package and neatly slipped it into her pocket next to the meaning of life. As the boy slumped dreadfully forward she moved out past the vivisected trees and beneath the soft, slow thrum of the arc sodium lights where the red green glow of neon pulsed against her slick flesh, and caused her ragged eyes to itch deeply as if abraded by some irritant. Each awful step brought her closer to the edge of oblivion, and she did not care. Somewhere in the middle distance behind her the boy was dissolving into the jagged cobblestone street. His body melted.

2. On the morning that she was supposed to be married, she slipped into the bathroom and wiped the steam from the mirror. She flinched at the sight of her image in the glass. When she tried to pour the blue pills from the brown bottle into her hand she spilled them in the sink. A few of them rolled around in slowly decreasing circles. She thought about gathering them up and taking them any way. Then she thought better of it. Instead she changed into sweat pants and a T-shirt and walked away from the whole damn thing.

3. She didn’t expect her parents to forgive her.

4. Her body described an arc, a curved line delineating the place that was not quite ocean, and not quite sand. The air, heavy with salt and cool as it rushed up from the sea, washed over her bare flesh leaving goose bumps in its wake. She knew that if she lay here long enough the waves would lap over her, and pull her down into the ocean. Oblivion. As the water reached that point where it was about to consume her, she lifted herself up, moved further up the beach, found her clothes and covered her too white skin. Behind her was an indention in the wet sand, which had been formed by the weight of her body. Walking back to her car she picked bits of sand out of her long red hair. Maybe tomorrow, she thought.

5. Driving down the highway along the coast she had rolled the windows down and closed her eyes. The wind whipped her hair around, and drowned out the hum of the engine. When she realized that she hadn’t slid off the road, she opened her eyes and turned on the radio. She found an oldies station, and turned the volume way up. Otis Redding was moaning about lost love, and she was thinking of a man who was almost certainly mourning her.

6. When she was seven the neighbor boy, Harold, had offered to show her his, if she would show him hers. She had agreed to the deal, but demanded that he go first. Then she had chickened out. Ran away. That had been the model for all of her relationships thereafter.

7. On the day that she admitted to her parents that she had been using a wide variety of illicit and illegal drugs her father had broken into incredible rage and shouted words like “whore”, “bitch”, and “cunt”; her mother had merely sunken into a deep and resonant silence. After that they hadn’t spoken much. Estella didn’t really mind. She didn’t have much to say to them anyway. Like the man said: to thine own self be true.

8. She made a list of the things she felt like. They were: Cancer; rotten fruit; A fish twisting on a hook; . Radio static in the space between AM stations with lousy reception on a long drive across the darkened highways of the rain splattered upper Midwest on the cusp of a new century; One of those pigeons that can’t fly, but only flips over backwards and crashes into the ground when it tries; A rusty carburetor in a world of sleek fuel injection systems and computerized starters. A 1976 Chevy Impala that has been junked, stripped for scrap and piled or filed away behind the high fence that marks the edge of some back country road where a city will never grow; the number nine; death. She decided not to make anymore lists.

9. She thought about calling him, trying to explain why she had jilted him. She never got around to it.

& She thought about finding a new man. Or, failing that, sinking into a warm bath and opening her veins. The blood would flow out and mix with the water. By the time they found her it would be too late.

10. She pulled her car onto the freeway and headed east.

What would you change, if you could?

Take some time and really consider that question. It could do you some good.

Wanna have fun?

Fuck with this person on twitter

An asshat