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nighttime was bath time
on the poor side of town
in the courts of Elgin
back in ’87.

I could still hear the sounds
of the bath water running
into the tub as my mother
rinsed the shampoo out
of my coarse hair.

the door flung open
it was my dad
and with him
was a burst of energy
that bolted through the door
as quick as hot bacon grease
out of the frying pan.

we inherited a dog.

a newborn pit bull that
jumped into the bathtub
with me and licked the
bath water off of my
pruned fingers and
soft porous face.

simple happiness and joy
fulfilled my childlike soul
like a maniac running
wild in the streets.

but no matter anyone’s age,
when someone has their head
above water, there’s always
gonna be someone there to
pull your feet back down to
have you drown with them.

too many teeth
were chattering
around the court
of gossip and rumors
about the new addition
to our family

and they had a petition made up
to disband the pit bull from the
neighborhood for the safety of
their precious children.

the gangs were
vandalizing houses
and terrorizing
our streets with violence
but that held no concerned
as they kept their focus
on the dog, dawdling
in fear of the unknown
instead of acting on and
implementing what was known.

the petition was signed and approved,
even though the dog
had never attacked
anyone before

and for a boy
who didn’t fully understand
the cruelty of the world just yet,
the senses and feelings intensified
and hit like a Chicago winter hard wind,
stinging against the reddened face
as my eyes welled up with tears after
they discarded my new found love
from behind my sleeping back.

everything went to ****
after that, my parents split
the children were no longer
allowed to play with me
the gangs continued
the crime increased
and the neighbors
silly busywork had
made no difference
because they trundled
away the court
shortly afterwards,
taking their terrible lives and
making life terrible for others
under different skies
with different people.

you were taken away,
destroyed and disposed of
before you even had a chance
to mend this little boy’s
broken heart
on the poor side of town
in the courts of Elgin
back in ’87.
in the distant future
when I’m old and grey
some kid who isn’t even
swimming in his daddy’s
***** yet will one day
flash those red and blue lights
in my rearview mirror
and pull me over
to the side of the road
to write me a
moving violation
like a ******
with a love letter
because the world
had done him wrong
and I’ll just happen to be there,
vulnerable and pliant
at that precise moment
to help him trounce the
infantile victories
that have bedeviled
his infantile mind.
this typewriter is my bird’s nest
and my fingers, like bird beaks
pecking away at the keys for
supplementary nourishment
and what appears on paper
is just pure regurgitation,
being retched into
the mouths
the ears
and the minds
of the reader.

I wanted my literature to
spread its wingspan and
fanned its radiant feathers.
so I can kick it out of the nest
and let it fly free with the other
nightingales and take my
sorrow away along with it

for I’m the Mother Songbird
and I’ve escaped the fires
of the world that have burned
the nest of my younglings
and left my with the grief
I can not bare and to fly

these words,
these words that burden
my damnation

and yet, I continue to sing
and sing and sing and sing.
while the children
are outside rolling up
boulders for snowmen,
the Halloween decorations
are still hanging from
last month’s festivities
and I am at my desk,
sipping on Red Wagon
listening to the
13th Floor Elevators
under the needle
and going crazy at
the blank paper in the
typewriter and while
I’m producing nothing in here,
the children are accomplishing
so many wondrous things
out there.
all I can do is watch
the snowflakes fall on this
cool crisp November morning
and think of my own childhood;
a little less grim and
little more reckless
as they place a carrot for the nose,
the coal for buttons, eyes
and a crooked smile,
a scarf to keep him warm and
the top hat keeps him prestigious.

could it be
that silence
is the only thing
that speaks to me?
she was apprehensive
towards my behavior
and each night she
kindly asked me
to come to
bed early


and thinking
about it now
as I’m screaming
for an early
I understand
where she was
coming from

but in the grand
scheme of things,
exploding with
unsuitable stability,
brimful and glistening
with insomnia, insanity
intoxication, isolation
in that red light
of the new dawn
were just to beautifully
violent and untimely
to ever slow down.


instant coffee under
fluorescent lighting

looking out over paradise
looking out over the dream
they’re nearly dead already
just repetitive motions
in tedious movements
while redundant music
plays overhead in the
grim atmosphere

instant coffee under
fluorescent lighting

and some say
only the insane
should be institutionalized.
as the night came wailing
in with absenteeism

the shadows of the drink
and the typewriter
were patiently waiting
for the shadow of my
presence to lay down
the next line on the
blank sheet of paper

but I was preoccupied with gamboling
at the resentment of the lethal routine,
murdering the sunlight hours of toil,
dizzy with the habitual gesture of
horrific and dreadful human behavior
and everything I looked at
drove me stark raving mad.

I’m a man of leisure…
leisurely avoiding man
in my citadel of seclusion and
the TV never was too good to me
either but the bathtub always was,
soaking in the eucalyptus
and my own filth
while the psychedelic doom
metal of Mars Red Sky
softly generated my psyche
and I struggle with the troubles
of concentrating and focusing
on one thing at a time
so currently I’m shuffling
between 3 interchangeable books:

The Stranger
The Studies in Pessimism
The Fear of Dreaming

now you know
the sources of my inspiration
and the secret
to my success

the secret is
is that I have
no success

so what shall I write about tonight?

it’s probably best
not to know
until I get there

but my bet is leaning towards
alcoholism, drudgery,
misanthropy and

and maybe the painful
disbelief of emptiness
that impales my heart
like the tusks of a boar.

the peaceful night arrived
and detonated all over

as I pour the bottle into the glass

as the fingers took a swan dive
into the little black keys

the last bit of my counteractive
disruption scrapes and dissevers
away slowly and easily
like tender meat.

o’ Chimera, o’ Chimera
don’t you ever let me rise
in the broad daylight again
white tiger-striped
underbelly, 5-3 eyes spitting
hot chiding ectoplasm with
saber-tooth gaping pessimistic dross
in fear-thinking ear lobes mercilessly
and the inescapable 8 inch slit in
between 5 pound bags of translucent fat.
kneeling down in the soot of ruination
with hands tied in the gypsum torso
the heart carved out
like purple pumpkins,
the ****** hair cinched
by the fire of India and
the head twisted and
pulled off like a chicken
by a Mexican rancher,
scratching in the
unchanging dust
and running aimlessly
in all directions with
no ventilation amongst
these strong cement walls.
the druids of dry spirits
coaxing out the dejection
of the toothpaste epitome,
encapsulated and ******,
with emotional charged
derangement on inner tubes
down the burning rivers
of the gullet strait,
only to regurgitate
barges of empathy
upward through the
injured pharynx and
cutting waves of melancholic
to seep through porous skin
and roll off the bitten tongue
like a silver pinball of
pointless blubbering to
any pair of snapdragon ears
that were willing to listen
but as the burning tears roll
down the succulent cheeks like
broken thermometers of poetry,
spittle hung from lip and chin
onto the circling senseless pulpit
and the obsidian curtains of clarity
parted east and west
like Moses untangling
Roman corkscrew ******,
the candlefat burned brightly
in throbbing pink,
the unappetizing laundry room pizza
tasted like hot needles of preeminence
and the x-rayed skeletal lifeforce
fornicated in rustbrown apathy
while the stars shot across
the blue nights like birds of fire
in our desecrated minds.
being famous isn’t celebrities,
red carpets, flashing cameras
or Hollywood gossip.

it’s a 3am phone from a friend
needing bail money

it’s an old girlfriend writing
“****” on the side of your car

it’s your wife doing a well being
check on you when you’re sick

it’s the toughest guy in town
choosing to fight you over
any one else in the bar

it’s your mothers smile when
you make her laugh

it’s your daughters scream when
you take her down the water slide

it’s an act of thoughtfulness
that you exist
that you are known
that someone out there
possibly many others
care for you
and love you.
a name is a name
like a worn down rug
given to us all by
unknown strangers.

thereafter, quiet puddles of
insemination and conception
and incubation and cold birth

thus a christening is born,
a label of identity deeply
sotted in our developing minds
and we bear that name like an
itchy tag on the back of our shirt
throughout time
throughout seasons
throughout our entirety
and down the streets
of hot asphalt
and frozen concrete,
in the burning sun
and in the blanket
of lightly falling snow,
we carry our names
under the rows of
coned shaped lights
shone down
through lampposts.

and we give out our names
without hindrance
like a banana peel
to the garbage can,
whether it’s in front
of kindergarten classes
or in front of a judge at
the next court appearance,
at parties or at the corner
bar or AA meetings or on
social media or at church

signing away our names on
checkbooks and grocery bills
and bar tabs and restaurant tabs
with 20% gratuity and UPS packages
and certified mail and co-signing for
car loans

with our names plastered everywhere
on advertisement and airline tickets
and subpoenas and insurance cards
and drivers license and income tax
forms and a summons for divorce

as we enter the adult world
we are given another name, a
label based on the skills of our craft
and the money we make, a becoming,
an occupation if you will, a doctor,
a lawyer, a pornstar, a fortune teller,
a massage therapist, a cartoonist or
the worse of them all... a poet

and then the day will come when the
crowded grandstands will watch your
bones being flushed away in the dirt,
laying down backside in your cozy
casket facing the sun with your
glitzy name etched upon your glitzy gravestone and he may never know
your history
your secrets
your purpose
but your name
will still be there,
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