Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Planner

He said, “This is a story about fire. The kind that chooses.”
Rubbing his fingers together, he spoke of a time when paper meant something.
A time without fifty years of plastic,
Floating in and out of fish.
He said, “Remember this.”
Then he left, appearing on the news later that night.
The headline read “Man Murders Wife of Forty Years”
And when they dragged him away he was screaming my name, saying:
“Remember this.”

Friday, November 16, 2007



With a tongue like a can of mace it jumps, eyes wide and monsterback flexed. Fire from the computer screen blowing out hopes of a failure, beasts at it’s side with paper mouths and corporate clearance. Each tooth is a gun aimed at each other in a standoff drenched in threat and laughing through sugar and caffeine and internal organs bloated with common abuse ignoring the irony of a murderer preaching peace spelled like price.

He crouches for two years on land like a sponge that absorbs but doesn’t give back. His home is set to self-destruct on Christmas Eve, papers on fire mixing with the snow. When the plows come their drivers will be paid extra to sift through the slush, handing in evidence for what may have happened here to cause such a harsh end to a six year love story told in long distances of silence, bruises and uniform smiles.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Miles, Dark Miles

Hold out their hands
Beautiful things, dripping with the sight of the two-thousand
Raging raptures and vanity cuts
Entering into battle with the alarm of the sun

And it comes to the pitiful
And focused wrenching of eyes
Twisting in embers of a family taken by flame
Photographed for politeness sake

The ships will sink
Flying sails meant to welcome the glory of the new air
Salted and salivated and dancing with the blood and seed
Of victim eating victim eating victim
Eating victim

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

the meeting

On a day like every other I met a man who smiled and laughed and talked to me for ten minutes until he mentioned his wife. With a different face than before he said she was

“terminAlly ill”

and the sentence started out strong but ended up _the other.

For months, he said, they’d been dealing with thi s. It’s history in the grooves of his vinyl record v0ice. Now he was here thinking he wanted to start being healthier, and when the door opened and he stopped talk|ng, I realized why.

I met his two daughters, young women w^nting a lon g puppy with little ears but not really excite.d about it. In the way they didn’t seem excited about anyTHing from now on.

He sm+led a little and told t hem he _wasn’t sure if he wanted a dog. But then his voi?ce didn’t sound like .::it::.wanted anyTH\ng an ymo re, except m

aybe o ne thin g:

to %not hav e to exp*la:n to a [d0g]

w((hat his wIFe %used t# be like .

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Speed Shop


A place like this will never give you a story that starts with I was there when.

Nothing happens, not even on Saturdays when the hours are longer.

Larry will just grow his hair longer as his scalp thins and Ed will leaf through catalogs of tuner parts and Louie will quietly watch the chests of girls as his kidneys steadily calcify. On Wednesdays Louie will disappear for an hour to walk across the street to the barber. He’ll sweep up around back and take the garbage out and for that they’ll cut the hair he’s still got. When he walks out he’ll put his hat back on, the one with the pins.

Filters will sit on top of gaskets on top of drivetrains. Water pumps on radiators next to ignition wires. Spark plugs and stems, tire chains, warmers and chargers and jumpers against performance boosters and starters and compressors.

The walls will never change here really, they’ll just fill up with cable ties and lug nuts and oily dust until it gets so bad that Larry takes notice. Then he’ll clear something out or sell something or wipe something to make way for the refill. Everyone will make jokes about it or cut out aerial photos of garbage dumps and write the shop’s name across it in red marker, but no one really wants it to change. It’s an easy joke, and the complaining kills some time.

Ed will have a mustache as people wonder if he works here. Leaning over his round stomach he’ll show them pictures of the car he’s spending a hundred thousand to redo the interior of. Then he’ll say how the property taxes are getting ridiculous around here, goddamn almost nine grand and that’s a lot of money.

If you say hi to Larry he might not answer you, because that puts him in control.

An hour after noon a honk will announce the silver truck with the fold-up sides pulling up with hot dogs and Jamaican patties and potato chips and everyone will walk outside for something. Everything slow. Squinting into the weather that wasn’t how they said it’d be. They’ll all come back inside and eat around the counter in a wet chorus and talk about people in the only ways that matter: how much they weigh, how much they make and what’s wrong with them medically. “How’s the wife?” will always be answered with her latest surgery.

When asked a question, everyone will make a sucking sound against their front teeth and pause for ten seconds before replying. Anything negative ends with another pause and then, But it’s not the end of the world. Anything to abort the emotion of the thing.

And Louie, Louie will look like an ashtray with a scar up it’s neck.

Off to the left, a counter will feature fishing supplies where lures are two for five and the friend who runs it hasn’t poked his head around here in months.

And not everyone knows this but if you walk through the back, into the garage, make a left into the tires and make another left at a machine there will be a tiny bathroom with a crate of porno in the corner, mostly girls but some boys too. A sign over the toilet will talk about bulls with short horns standing close when it means to say don’t piss on the seat.

If you come back in five years, this is still the scene. Maybe missing the chair that broke and wearing different dust. Ed will shift on his stool and tell you what cancer took Louie and that it’s not the end of the world. Then he’ll tell you he doesn’t like anything foreign and it won’t sound limited to cars.

Larry will say You never know.

If you look around, you’ll find the dust is winning.