Suburbia greeted me with pale hands in my late teens.
She was a wasteland in a mini skirt; in its’ own right it could be called a Cave with Plato egregiously driving his brand-new Prius 90 miles an hour saying “this is really living as long as you don’t look back” and all you can do is nod your head vigorously because the twisted weed that had settled surreptitiously in your baby lungs was giving you daylight hallucinations. My endeavors didn’t end there when they should have.
There was something uncanny about the way streetlights gave you the eternal glare. Of creating ordinary neighborhood streets appear like you’ve been there before in a dream, in another body. In a dazed stupor the sounds of a television and a light coming from a garage is forgiving in your misguided attempts to be comfortable in a foreign space. It could almost feel like home when your repressed trauma keeps resurfacing while you’re trying to introduce yourself. Almost.
In these polite badlands with everything uniformed the people I met were always trying to stand out from the serene landscapes. Sitting in plaid couches I was giddy playing the nihilist. Rerun episodes of Portlandia playing but all I remember from that smoky room were brown pants that looked extremely crisp to the touch and I wanted to reach out my hands and see if they would crunch under the paperweight of my heavy palms. I didn’t but I’m sure they would’ve emitted the sound of potato chips being eaten in a frenzy.
When I wasn’t walking through dark rooms feeling through what could have been hallways, a family’s living room or the cool gates of hell I was meandering my way through drowsy parties where boys with the names like Dusty and Slaughter were prevalent. Each with their own bizarre story about how they stole their parents’ money one night and took off spontaneously. Driving all the way to Nevada with nothing but half a tank of gas and one pack of cigarettes. You could almost pinpoint their personalities by the type of cigarettes they smoked. Most of them holding different colored American Spirits. Had I been smarter I would have asked for a light and a smoke. Never mind that I was always deadly afraid that I had some undiagnosed lung disease and that asphyxiation was my biggest fear or that I had a pack of Marlboro black menthols in my purse that were over a year old. I found my corner sitting in a worn outdoors chair. The ones where the armrest comes built in with a cupholder. My beer ice cold sitting awkwardly sideways while I tried to consider why the host of the party was wealthy yet so hostile. My favorite party game was the one where I took hit after hit of joints being passed around until I was crazy glued to my chair and my brain started to feel like a lagoon that continued to melt into a Campbell’s soup I once had as a child. Everyone completely unaware of the horror that the house had become to me. Somewhere in the distance I was acutely aware of who I would go home with, why my ventures into the suburbs had sparked my intrigue in the first place. The only reason why I had endured feeling like a spider watching a smut film and why I had lost my virginity just a day before. I was a displaced specimen thinking about her hymen in a room of 30 people or more.
in astral suburbia
i live far from others
and separated by yards
which might as well be miles
or even parsecs
i do not know the others
though, i do see them
from "great" distances
close but far.
they all look like mannequins
we wink, we wave, we smile;
very cordial to one another.
as i see them
through my neighbor lens
like pleasant stars
across manicured lawns
through fine polished glass,
though, they do not know me,
and just like me, i do not know them.
but i often wonder,
do they see me the same?
they're too busy hiding dead bodies
in the basement, maybe.
in astral suburbia, anything can happen.
(see: john wayne gacy)
Passing through the Amarillo gate,
Abandoned in the Lonestar state.
He could never fathom why God led him this way,
Must be a reason why he treads on dusty plains.
The fiery sunlight has wilted his hopes,
Through these meandering roads, cowboy walks alone.
Rodeo fortune will pay the prize,
And the money earn't will suppress the want for family ties.
The cigar is rolled, as he smokes away his days,
Sun burning his weather beaten face.
A soaring eagle flies over him, the misfit.
As he plays with the thought of free falling from an oil rig.
He strays alongside the vacuous roadside, his eyes encapsulated with dark dejection.
The sky's pastel glow illuminates the desolate wilderness,
Where the purple Scorpion Weed thrives under the suns aggressive rays,
Radiating a rancid odour,
And rabid Coyotes patrol the mountains various nooks and crannies.
Cowboy is hopeless, his soul set in a sorrowful disposition.
Lifeless, like a dead corpse, wasting time, as his numbered days slip away
Like the deserts drifting sand.
The country of freedom is a lie,
A myth that's ruined this cowboys life.
He's treated like an outlaw, though he's not committed a crime,
And his forlorn attitude will remain with him, until the day he dies.
There’s a horror in the city
but it’s always Halloween in someone’s basement
in the suburbs the closets are inundated with skeletons
each dressed in friendly attire
but never opening the door
the neighbors always watching through sheer curtains
binoculars at the ready
instead of candy on doorsteps
there’s signs of beware of the maniac with the pistol
locked and loaded watching the 6’oclock news
no apocalypse is breaking into our windows tonight
there’s a hum and it’s making all the locals go mad
they still haven’t figured out it’s the cicadas
not demons in their trees looking for a discount lunch
the desert is a harsh place when the sun is
drawn sloppily on the right hand corner of a page
the houses all uniformed for the drought to come
each manicured lawn is a haunting for the
unemployed drunk in the nearby trailer park
the ghosts of those whose Christmas
doesn’t come in stockings but stalking
and restraining orders
the spookiest part is not the
slasher hotels or the creature feature
shows at the bars and clubs
but the calm, serene and unsettling
manner in which everyone congregates
on Sunday morning to be cleansed
of impurities, each smile stretching farther and farther
until the seconds drip into communion wine
until the hours dissolve in one’s mouth like god’s flesh
reinvented, resuscitated, resurrected
Arise, my brothers
for the pastor is watching
there’s a twinkle in his eyes
and there are boys missing after every ceremony
but no one questions why
This place is numbing. This place is overwhelming.
Rumors say that this is the place dreams o to die.
What happened to the streets paved with gold?
I have to get out. I have to get out!
I can recognize every face I pass on the sidewalk,
And I know that every face recognizes me.
I can't live like that. I can't live like that!
If my face is known, my mistakes are remembered.
But I cannot remember their mistakes because I'm dwelling on my own.
I fear if I remain much longer, I will die if their hatred doesn't kill me first.
From the suburban trap I could never call home,
I speed through the freeway.
I could not possibly be late
for a little rendezvous with a lover —
My lover being the city
With its promises preserved in concrete.
I see the skyline from afar, lined with towers and smog
And I feel alive the way lovers do with one another.
And before I know it, I'm cruising along avenues
Uniform houses of white turn to skyscrapers,
I feel the subway slither beneath, filled with all kinds of stories,
As my heart beats to the footsteps of pedestrians.
And I stop at the main thoroughfare,
What was once the dull light I've always known
Now shines through an urban prism
And muted hues turn to vibrant, living colors.
And I am here in the glorious city,
I am looking at a mirage of light and sound,
In all its color, I hear it speak to me:
You are alive, you are alive.
And I'm here in this little glass house,
On display for the robots next-door --
The last of human life
Trapped in a box with translucent locks
In this paradisiacal paradox.
The suburbs are where dreams go to die.
Look at that cool-guy dad of three
With a car from 1970
Who doesn't get a wink of sleep,
And for dinner he eats batteries.
He wasn't supposed to be like this,
Spending more time with his therapist
Than with his mechanizing kids.
Love is sending them as far away as possible
Before they're condemned to your same tragic fate.
Their precious internal organs are slowly being swapped and traded with engine parts,
So that their chests hum rather than beat --
And wheels are used more often than feet.
Extension cords for intestines
And oil for blood,
Plug them in to sleep at night
So that they may be fully charged and operational tomorrow.
They are constantly being programmed in the greatest form of mass production known to man.
(Well, what's left of him.)
Cookie cutter children with magnetic hands,
Always grabbing and attracting new parts to attach to themselves.
Chewing microchips like bubblegum,
Transferring data as a form of fun.
It's "cool-guy dad 2.0."
He's outdated now,
Useless apart from nurturing the new generation that will ultimately cause his demise.
Oh, what a time to be alive.
To be a human on display in an industrial neighborhood.
(And don't even get me started on the soccer moms.)
are dying right now.
And you want me to make you fucking dinner.
I'll throw tacks in your casserole tonight, so you choke and become one of the dying.
I hope your casket is to your liking at least.
Soccer moms and sander scars
Suburban life is strange.
Play dates and in-line skates
Schedules to re-arrange.
Yoga teachers and lay preachers
And those are not a metaphor.
Costco trips and air-kiss lips
Nobody trusts a bachelor.
Coupon savers in SUVs
Never use turn signals.
Driving while chatting hands-free
Wearing golden rape whistles.
Appointments to make daily
With exercise gurus.
Cocktail luncheons for charity
Toddlers wearing tutus.
Traffic jams of cars and vans
Honking at each other.
Double parking on narrow streets
Calling each other mothers.
Starting out fifteen minutes late
As is the usual way.
Somehow never figuring out how
To have an on-time day.
Screeching home a night in time
To throw together a meal.
Watch television with family
And pretend that is all real.
Put the kids to bed right on time
Try to have quality time.
While the other half is half-asleep
From that second glass of wine.