Tuesday, October 16, 2007

poetry, oh noetry!

no alcohol
no drugs
included in the wreck

no no wreck
in the drugs

the wreck in
included no no

drugs no
wreck in
the no alcohol

It's a detail oriented job, the publicist said.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Joel saw her again at the office holiday party. The angular blonde had situated herself into the middle of the boy's club. Like a lounge singer in the middle of her act, she sat upon a desk with hips tilted forward and shoulders sagging back. A hand staked her place behind her while the other twirled a cigar. Her hair was down for the first time, swinging in pale ripples down her spine. Her eyelids were heavily lined. She looked like some old movie star. Kim Novak or Tippi Hendren. When he managed to catch her eye, he ducked down into his drink and shotgunned it. She laughed, puff-puffing on that cigar. It was absolutely foul and the conversation was worse.

Later, she was coming out of the bathroom with pink-tinged eyes and a sniffling nose. She hadn't been crying. In a brazen move that was more alcohol fueled than anything else, he caught her in the crook of his arm and thumbed away the streak of cocaine edging her cheek. "Careful," he laughed. "There'll be pictures later."

"Fuck the pictures," she crowed as arms wrapped around his neck. Fingers twirled at the piece curl at the nape of his neck. He needed a haircut, but lacked the ambition to wrestle with a mirror and pair of rusty scissors. She melted against him and he could smell her perfume. It was a strong, spiced scent. Almost a men's aftershave, almost Earl Grey tea. He had an erection. "What's your name?"


"How come I've never seen you before?" She said with a suspicious wrinkle of her face. Corie was older than him, but that didn't seem to bother either as they stayed awkwardly clinging. Her hips ground against his, but there was no music. She sniffed his collar. "You smell good though. How old are you?"

"Twenty-five," he lied. "You?"

"Twenty-nine," she countered, wide eyed.

"Actually, twenty-four."


"Twenty-three. It's a final offer, but I'm very mature for my age."

"Thirty-one. Fuck!"

"I'll drink to that," Joel proposed as she was dragged by a hip to the bar that had been set up.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

It wasn't that she wanted to die. She was just exhausted of this place, the weight of gravity. The thought had first occurred to her when she was at the coffee shop at the corner of the street she lived on. It was a bustling, familiar place. The sort of shop where she could take off her shoes and curl her feet against the cold planks of the floorboards. How many feet had curled here? How many feet would? The building was over two hundred years ago. Fifty years had been spent as Cafe Marie. Her bladder was full, but she couldn't move. She was too busy watching around her. The barista shaking the aluminum milk canisters to check their fullness. The arch of a purple orchid tickling the bowed head of a woman as she worked on the crossword with a friend. To her left, a couple was on their third date. They were familiar in the way that their bodies casually curled in to one another -- they had sex before -- but not familiar enough for silence. Their chatter filled her head and saved her from those thoughts.

I can tell you're in your head a lot, the man said.
Yes, I need to be in contact with my intuitive intelligence. I realize the whole opposites attract thing? She whished loudly, hands separating. Bullshit. Bullshit. You have to have common ground. Astrology, for example. We're Scorpios. The same sign.
The man nods knowingly.

It was time. There was no point in living here anymore. She would miss her beautiful apartment and the slippery scarves that hung off her bed frame. These were not real things anymore. Her true home was fifteen minutes away in a modern district full of beautiful new homes. Her husband had designed the house with his best friend, an architect. Aemilia Handler. She was Aemilia Handler now. She had been married for seven months to Benjamin Handler of Mamaroneck, New York after a whirlwind courtship and elaborate wedding. Ben was in international law. He hated clutter and couldn't understand the brilliance of Edith Piaf. He enjoyed Charles Mingus and played tennis on Saturday morning instead. He wanted to move to Vietnam. They speak French there too, he reminded her as they lay in their uncluttered white bed and laid their head down on simple white pillows. White, white, white. Their house was completely devoid of color save for the spots where she had been. A red scarf. The brilliant turquoise of a hand purse. He was constantly picking up heels in every color of the rainbow.

The couple next to her were too agreeable with one another. No, she retracted her previous opinion, no they had not had sex yet. They wanted to though. Badly. Aemilia smeared her hands over her thighs and watched the silk of her skirt spread thin over skin. She still couldn't see through it.

Ben was a good husband. He bought her beautiful things and took her on lavish trips. He traveled with her. They went to India, to Moscow, and to Bali. It wasn't the same. In a movie theatre in Berlin, he recoiled when she tried to unzip his trousers.

What are you thinking of, he said one night as they laid in their bed. He looked up over the black frames of his eyeglasses to her. It aged him. He was already ten years older than Aemilia, but looked more like twenty. Was his hair graying around the temples?

Nothing at all, she said. It was a lie. There was plenty on her mind. She was two months late. It was imminent now. Last week, she had snuck into baby shops and touched all the strollers and cots covetously. She had sniffed the powdery collars of coats with peter pan colors. A baby was good. It was time for a baby, she thought. She was almost thirty. It was time. Now, reality sank in. She slept poorly and imagined all sorts of terrible scenarios. She would forget her baby in supermarkets and shivering in its plastic tub. Ben would hire a nanny to watch the infant because his mother could not be trusted. Her mother? She knew nothing about girls and everything she knew about boys was inappropriate. There wasn't a maternal bone in her body. An appointment had been made this afternoon. She would take care of it and he would never know. Ben, oblivious and sweet Ben. Ben, who kindly requested she not smoke in the house and said nothing when he found cigarette butts in the sink or stubbed out on the lip of her tub after a good soak.

Impossible. How can you not think about anything?

Easy. See -- She stared vacantly at him until he laughed and smeared a palm over her delicate features. Fingers skimmed down her neck, her shoulder.

Later that night, he would bury himself atop her and she would watch him as he rocked and rocked. When he came, it was silent and yawning. She stared down the dim glint of his mouth to his molars. For a moment, he was someone else. She sniffed at his neck and saw Holden in the corner of the room. Watching, watching.

She blinked and she was a week forward again, sitting inside the Cafe Marie. Aemilia realized that she had been staring forward and attracted the attention of the man in front of her. He was old enough to be her father and looked like everyone else's with his pale hair flopping over the vee of his receding hairline and ruddy skin lined. Norwegian, she thought as she looked away. A hand cupped her neck and she stared at the floor. Her bladder ached fiercely now, but she couldn't bring herself to go to the bathroom and face the thick cotton pad shoved between her thighs still. The pain was gone. The entire process had been a brief, hazy thing. A twilight scraping. If she had loved her husband or the knot of tissue inside her, she would have been ruined. Instead, Aemilia was inconvenienced.

Never again, she thought as she crossed her legs and squeezed down the muscles of her pelvis.

She debated leaving a note. In a way, she owed some sort of explanation to Ben. It was only fair since she was taking away his wife. Still, what was there to say? She took out a pen and a sheet of paper. It was the sort of thing that one read about in the Reader's Digest. Today, we remember the tragic story of Amelia Handler ( Of course, her name would be spelled incorrectly. Neither the readership nor the editors of Reader's Digest had the imagination or classical background to know her name as anything but a typographical error to correct.) who had been forgotten by society. Show kindness on those around you. You never know who is writing their suicide letters in the fifty year old Cafe Marie on Rue Savoy...


I'm tired. I'm absolutely wiped out, sweetheart. Please water the iris. They're my favorite, after all.

Your wife,

Papa and Dad,

I'm about to do the most fucked up thing I've ever done. I'm not afraid though and I want you to know that there's nothing that you could have done to change this. I'm just exhausted and ready to try a new shell. Let's talk about something we've never talked about before -- The afterlife.

I know I was raised an atheist, but none of us believe that we're just animate worm food. It's just a change of scenery really. I'm not afraid to leave because I know that I'll see you again and soon. I give you full permission to berate me for the next ten years or so's worth of dream-time. I've got the time to spare.

Some housekeeping: Take care of my irises. I don't think they'll survive the heat and humidity of Vietnam and honestly, Ben is a lawyer not a botanist. They're the one bit of clutter that I was allowed. As for Ben, he'll take care of himself. He's heartier and very eligible. Concerning my music and any intellectual work, Papa I know this isn't legally binding but try your damndest to get the rights to everything. And? I don't know. Do whatever you want.

Lastly, thank you for the beautiful childhood and life. A girl couldn't be luckier than I was.

See you soon. Let's meet in Versailles. I'll be the one with cake.



I doubt you'll ever read this, but I'm wrapping up loose ends and why the hell not? I don't have face to save anymore. So, here it is: I really wish you would have loved me. It's not as if you would have saved me or anything dramatic. More than likely, I'd still be writing you a letter today had you loved me. Guilt is tiresome, darling. Don't bother with it. Still, just the same. Goddamn, how could you not love me?

You're the one person outside my parents that I feel ever really knew me. It sounds so fucking cliche, but it's true. I haven't had multiple orgasms since the last time we fucked. Congratulations!

Now, honestly. If you get this, then you should know that I bequeath to you certain personal affects that you may either collect or gladly ignore:

1 silver lighter with the initials ABP etched on the front
1 gently used tube of Chanel Red lipstick
1 silk scarf with yellow and red poppies printed across it, circa 1952
1 copy of Henry James Wings of the Dove (1st ed.)

At least take the James novel. It's worth a goodly amount of money.

So right. I think this is a much better good-bye than our last. It's the sort to be satisfied with. Afterall, I had the last word.

I love you. I love you.


She waited until Ben had left for work before drawing herself a bath. Ever since their wedding, she had stopped taking piano tuning jobs. Her work was reduced to eight months -- four in the spring and four in the fall. In the next room, she had placed her worn album of Puccini's La Boheme on. It was tragic and full of great crescendos. Poor Mimi, she thought as her foot dipped into the steaming hot water. She winced at the burn and felt her skin ripple uncomfortably. Poor Mimi.

It took coaxing and some time before she could fully immerse herself into the water. Her cheeks were pink by now and the hollow of her collarbones sweat out heat. A purging, she thought as her hair was pinned high atop her head. Her face was bare save for a defiant streak of red lipstick. Eyeliner and mascara would run, but it wouldn't do to die without a bit of color on. The razor was antiquated in its appearance, but not rusted. It looked like a flat, palm-sized anvil. She touched it to her tongue and let its edge prick the pale pink tip of it. It didn't hurt and her blood was tangy and sweet. She sucked on the wound and hummed along with her opera.

She cut herself without knowing. It was a sharp slashing motion down the line of her forearm done without flinch or thought. She simply had to do it. The wound burned like fire rather than felt like a ripping tear. Curious, she thought as blood pooled quickly up. It was a wondrous rush. Her arm was slick and orange. When she gripped the razor with the wounded arm, it nearly slipped from her fingers. Her palm opened up on its heel as she grimaced and attempted to focus on working the faulty hand. The cut on her left side was weaker, a clumsier and more painful line. She submerged her wounds and felt water breaking through the quick work of her body. The water turned pink, then orange. A sunset that wavered and turned black.

She waited for a light, but it never came.

Aemilia regained consciousness four days later. It was the drugs that had been pumped into her elbow rather than the extensive injuries she had inflicted that kept her subdued and trapped in a gray haze. It felt like an hour had passed, but she knew it was longer from the crackled feel of her lips. Her tongue was like a patch of cotton. When she opened her eyes, it was to the stern stare of her father. Michael Donovan looked like Rasputin with his dirty, magician's stare. He was both furious and frightened. A part of him wanted to smother his daughter as she laid in her helpless state. It felt only right to finish what she had left undone.

Aemilia's eyes took their time focusing, but it was soon clear this was no dream. Her mouth opened and she croaked out an indecipherable sound. She wheezed once and swallowed the dust in her throat before trying again. Oh fuck, she managed finally.

You have no idea, Aemilia. No idea how right you are, Michael said before leaving the room. If it was solitude that she craved, she had it now.

Ben came that evening. Michael must have told him that Aemilia was awake, but sedated. It felt safe to enter the lion's den while she was still more or less strapped to the bed. She was in a psychiatric hospital now. They had transferred her to the private setting the evening after she stabilized.

In contrast to her wild man father, Ben was clean shaven and smelled delicious. His after shave was bergamot and mint. It burned the inside of her nose and made her smile.

Why didn't you just tell me that you were depressed, he said after they had sat together in silence for twenty minutes. He didn't touch her. He could scarce look at her. Instead, he stared at his hands were his cellphone was turned over and over again. They took comfort in their own space and gestures. Aemilia's was more limited with her arms strapped down. She tapped her fingertips against the thin mattress.

I wasn't depressed, she said. I was tired and bored of this body.

Of me?

No, she said. Of me. Well, and maybe a little bit of you but a little bit of everything too.

He looked away and she sighed at his profile. It was strong and handsome. Aemillia fixated on the cleft of his chin as if it was a feature that he had grown overnight. Her forehead wrinkled and brows cinched close together. She hummed, puckering her mouth and wondering how she ever let herself marry a man with a butt chin. I'd like if you left, she said.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Something unfinished, but hanging there. Fiction meets its maker.

She was an average-shaped girl. In this town, that meant she was invisible. Her hair was a muddied streak of red and brown, licks of goldenrod. The roots of it were a fawn-brown. She must have been blonde as a child and he imagined her still slipping and telling everyone that she was naturally blonde. Things had changed though. Beneath the constant rotation of dye, her hair had darkened and turned ash. She'd be gray by forty, but her reliable comfort stayed. Her posture was terrible -- that curve of her spine and slouched shouldered-pose over her book. Stellan watched as she meticulously peeled back the protective plastic layer that covered the thick hardback. His chin buried into the tops of the hands spread out in front of him on the desk. His eyes didn't waver, but when her's did they realized that their eyes were the same watery blue. Back home, fifteen hundred miles away, the girl's mother had a picture that documented this color. It was a sea at storm, all rabid froth and wreckage. The frame was an ugly brown with a black sooty streak in the middle of it. Her mother claimed that she had lit the picture on fire when she was younger, but no recollection past that story exists otherwise. It's an interesting idea though. She likes to think that she is capable of damage. In a way, she is. The color of the paperback lifts as the plastic is shredded away.

"Why do you do that?" He asks finally, but not to her surprise. She shrugs and continues to let a rippling piece of plastic feed up from the book. The cover feels waxy beneath. When she hits the snag, the silence strung between them is broken like a chain. Creak! Creeeak! The girl grimaces and Stellan's head lolls. His knuckles bury into his cheek now. He is most handsome like this. When he is lazy and at rest. He's something from an old neoclassical painting. He is more real than real with his curling hair and sensitive mouth. He has the look of someone who will not live long and must make up for the lack of time with beauty. Unlike her, he begs to be noticed. She resents that. Creak! Still, that would not keep her from fucking him in the book stacks that loom behind them. Creak.

After a moment, "I have to. I started and now I have to finish. I think I'm done but there's always a little piece curling up from the paper."

"Do you start everything you finish," he asks.

"No," she replies in a firm tone. Her mouth is soft though. She's grinning over and shaking her head at him as if they are sharing a private joke. He seems to perk beneath that look. She is not beautiful, but there is a kind and gentle quality to her. Then again, she might just be polite. Stellan props himself back upright, an elbow is anchored into the table and his fist smears up against his ear. He watches the conscious spread of her hands over the book. She resists picking though she wants to. He wonders what else she picks at. Is it a nervous habit?

"What's your name?"

"Kim," she says. Her eyes crease with a polite smile. They look like the moon. Happy and bent at the corners. Her teeth are symmetrical and straight in their pose. She waits for reciprocation.

"I'm Stellan."

"Nice to meet you," she says with a nod. It is a response that is familiar and well used in this country. He doesn't know how to respond and smiles dumbly. His head nods as if he agrees. Yes, it is nice.

Nevermind the man behind the curtain -- a term in review.

This blog was initially conceived as my semester-long project for an experimental writing course in ... What else? Blogging. It's been an interesting ride and will continue to (maybe!) be one. Eventually this blog will undoubtably devolve(?) into a filing cabinet for the bits and pieces of things I've been working on.

I'm not one for surveys, but this one struck me as interesting because it combines music and the classic points in story-based entertainment (for lack of a better definition.)

So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...

Opening Credits:
Moving like a Train - Herbert

Waking Up:
Swamp – Talking Heads

First Day of School:
They Never Got You - Spoon

Falling in Love:
We were Sparkling (Haruki) – My Brightest Diamond

First Song:
The Last Time – Gnarls Barkley

Fight Song:
Over and Over (DFA Remix) – Hot Chip

Breaking Up:
Punchup at a Wedding (No no no) - Radiohead

Closer - Travis

Don’t Take My Sunshine away - Sparklehorse

Mental Breakdown:
Children of the Revolution – T.Rex

You Will Always be the Same – Ryan Adams

Whoo! Alright – Yeah.. Uh Huh – The Rapture

Getting Back Together:
Downtown - Peaches

What’s the Frequency Kenneth? - REM

Birth of Child:
Playboy Mommy – Tori Amos

Final Battle:
Freak Out (Gold Chains Panique Mix) – My Brightest Diamond

Death Scene:
Red Rabbits – The Shins

Funeral Song:
Don’t Dream it’s Over – Crowded House

End Credits:
You Can Call me Al – Paul Simon

We Were Lovers – Bloc Party

Monday, May 7, 2007

Saturday Night

I'm sitting around the house and my mom's watching her favorite show on the tube. She's got the volume up too loud again but I don't have the heart to tell her to turn it down. Nobody tells Donna Kid what to do, you know? It's not cos' she's scary and intimidating like some of the girls around here. It's the opposite actually. She's so sweet and nice that once you do you end up feeling like the most rotten creep ever. You see my mom's the greatest girl in the world.

Sometimes I bring kids over and they see my mom sitting on the couch with her knitting and they're like, "Gee Bill, who's that?" I hate it. When people call me "Bill" I have to stop them right there and say, "Look pal, the name's Billy."

Only serial killers and carnival workers are named "Bill" in my opinion and I'm definitely neither. For the record, my name is Billy. I'm none of the following: William, Sweet William, Bill, Billy-boy, Billy-willy or "Hey Retard!" You got that? Okay, so about serial killers -- I've only killed one person and that was totally for a film. Meaning fake. The only reason why there was any real blood involved in my last film is because the broad asked for me to punc hher. I don't know what it is with girls and hitting. Maybe if I had a sister, I would know but I don't. It's just me and my mom Donna. But, I've gotten off track -- So, I'll br bringing someone home and they'll see my mom on the couch and ask who she is. I've just got to look at them all crazy for a moment. "Who the hell do you think it is," I gotta ask. While my mom tells me to watch my language, they just shrug and say they don't. They wouldn't either.

My mom's a real looker. Back in her day, she as a Georgia peach. She got a crown and wore a real nice dress and everything. She still has the wave and smile. I have a picture of her on my dresser from those days. I used to think she looked like Glenda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz. Now that's a real movie. Not like the trash they show nowadays at the Cineplex. Thank you L. Frank Baum and Victor Fleming, too.

Anyway, people don't know what to make of it but as soon as my mom puts on the charm and starts heating up a can of soup or some leftovers, they're sold. Everyone loves my mom. Everyone does and if you say you don't, you're a rotten liar. It's cute how she'll put out bowls of soup for everyone, but me. When she does, everyone's all, "Gosh Billy, aren't you gonna eat?" By then, my mom's already pulled out a Hershey's bar from the icebox and told me not to break my teeth on the chcoolate.

"I only eat candy."

When I say that everyone nods like they understand. Nobody understands though. I can tell. It's why people get real uptight when I'm like, "Hey, want to spend the night?" and they're like, "I dunno. Want to come to my place instead?" I don't get it. I mean, we've got a real nice apartment in a good part of town. Usually I get mad and tell them to forget it. You've got a problem with my ma, and you've got a problem with me. It really ruins the mood. I have to excuse myself out of to the fire escape to smoke a cigarette or something.

Gosh, I really wish my mom would turn down the television. It's making such a racket and I can hardly hear myself think at all. I'm working on a scrip to my very own film. Sure, I like working for Fred or Joe or Nancy, but I've got a lot of potential I think. I mean, I've got all these ideas and Ma's already said to me that if I want a camera I should really just got out there and buy one. I told her I'd let her have a part in my first film. I'm writing her this really great part about a faded beauty queen with lots of ex-husbands. I think she'll like it. She's got a swell speaking voice. It's just like all those old movie-star girls in the films she likes to watch. I like Hitchcock myself -- especially all those blondes and close-ups of their trembling, waxy faces and big liquid eyes during the scary parts. It's so sick. If a bird was gonna come and peck at my eyes, I sure wouldn't be standing at the window like Tippi Hedren did. After that birds movie, I started wearing sunglasses a lot more.

People tell me I'm real handsome in them. Sometimes I think that beauty's a lot like the chocolate bars that Ma freezes. Everybody talks a lot, but they don't really know for sure what they think.

The television set's really got to be turned down. I throw my pen at it and my mom looks up from her knitting and shakes her head. She's got that look on her face that says I better straighten up. I love that phrase: straighten up. Good luck lady. All I can do is smile and lean over to kiss her cheek like a gentleman.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Now for something completely different...

Reflections of a Thirty-five year old Character Actor (a found poem)

I think, even though it's so awful
My first crush was probably on Hot Lips.
But do you want to know,
Seriously --
What was my porn?
Barnum and Bailey's Circus program.

A creepy lady.
And I --
six years old.

She was all sequined,
total camel toe,
some retarded hat,
a whip.

I remember looking at her
literally bossing around poodles --
rainbow-colored poodles.

"That's incredible."

It was an awakening moment
when I was a kid.

Hot Lips, in short order from there.

(thanks to JT, MLP, and Bust)


To e.s.

They said you were doing so well.
You showed up once, a few months before.

The same as you ever were
Shy-smiling with your hair in your eyes
Wearing that poor-fitting white suit.
White -- or more like cream?
It was an ancient, pitiful suit;
worn in the pants and knees

Jen bet Charlie that you'd split a seam
the way you sat hunched over your guitar
on the ratty carpet of Dan's apartment.

They said you were depressed,
as clinical as it sounds.
You didn't leave your apartment for a week.
When you did something else lingered in the air
amidst the cigarette dust.

Sara suggested we start checking all the familiar spots
between your fingers and toes;
like a criminal.

You put away your white suit and funny checkered tie;
the Converse stayed until the very end.
It was the last sight of you:
those knotted laces and the canvas fray.

That was the day that music died
There are no levees in Texas.
At least not where I live.
There as cheap wine though
Crumpled cigarettes, and a couple of your tapes, too.

No one spoke when you started playing again.
We tried to find a meaning in the lines;
some grand farewell or fuck you to the world.
We tried to find signs of life with all its meaning
to try and make sense of our own, existing confusion.

The next day, your mom came over to say hello.
Tucked over her arm was that white suit in a plastic bag.
I tried not to see the similarities between it
and you in the morning after
the EMTs wheeled you down the stairs.

She told me you had always been a good boy, a smart boy.
That it wasn't your fault, some failing of her own.

After she left we thought back to that night --
No one could have ever guessed that the stitches split would be yours.

Two stab wounds in the chest:
because it's one for the money,
two for the show.