Bo Burnham Apr 2015

I want to kiss you all day.
I want to start at dawn.
I want our mouths to dry out by breakfast.
I want our jaws to start cramping by noon.
I want us to question our decision to kiss all day by hour five.
I want to have sex really quickly then seriously stop all this kissing bullshit because you need your personal space, apparently.

jennifer ann Jan 2015

"i'm watching you, stupid bitch." Madison pointed at pyper as the girls made there way out of the dining room. "thats enough madison." Cordelia scolded. Nan followed pyper up the stairs  into her bedroom. "why are you following me?" pyper asked, looking at nan in disgust. rolling her eyes and shaking her head. "you have madisons money." nan crossed her arms and smiled. "excuse me??" pyper replied as if she were offended by Nans accusation. "mhm, and you have zoeys sunglasses.., cassies ipod, and 25 dollars you stole from emilys purse. along with her art pencils." nan replied. "wow, you're A cleptomaniac." Nan laughed. "okay, how do you know all of this???" Pyper asked, her cheeks red from embarissment, and her head lowered in shame. "i'm psychic. i can read minds." nan explained. suddenly cassie walked past pypers room in search of her stolen ipod. "has anyone seen my pink ipod???" Cassie questioned, it was sitting on my bed, and now i can't find it anywhere. " she looked around hopelessly. "well then look in your room cassie. give me 5 minutes and i'll help you look." pyper shouted. "wow, you're a real piece of work arent you?" nan rolled her eyes and chuckled. "what is your angle, nan?" Pyper questioned, rolling her eyes aswell. saying names name as if she were mocking the whole idea of her. "my angle, PYPER. is this, you give everyone there shit back or i'm telling cordelia and you're out of here." Nan smerked. "you're not going to tell on me anyway?" pyper asked sadly. "no, not onless you do it again." nan sighed, "we stick together here, we're a family, we don't steele eachother down thats not what we're about." nan explained sympatheticly. "wow, thats funny because that's all my real family ever did." pyper replied with big sad puppy dog eyes. nan nodded, "i'm not here to listen to your bullshit excuses or your sob stories. if saying that you've had a hard life, and never had anything given to you. and the world owes you.  helps you get to sleep at night then fine, cool beans. but i'm not buying that shit.  and these girls don't owe you anything. now, i expect everyone to have there shit back by the morning, or i will tell cordelia." nan sighed and rolled her eyes. "okay." pyper nodded with a wounded look upon her face. Cassie stood outside of the door, still listening. her eyebrows raised in anger. and then made her way up the stairs and into madisons room. "what are you doing here pipsquick. im NOT in the mood." Madison sobbed. "oh i think you're in the mood for this, i know who took your money." Cassie smiled.

Mitchell Duran Nov 2013

It was 98'.
No, it was 99'.
That was the year.
Yeah, that was the year.

I had just landed abroad and knew no one.
Well, I was there with my girlfriend, Page.

I knew her.

We had to get out of the states.
There was nothing for us there.
We were drowning in that nothingness - that lacking future.

Cookie cutters everywhere.

Everything I saw was like an outline of something that had already happened.
I couldn't sleep.
I couldn't fuck.
I could barely call my parents to let them know what I was doing.

Nothing really.

Floating downward like a leaf broken from its stem.
I was scared.
I'll admit it.
I was terrified of the next four years.
Twenty-five seemed so far away and so close, all at the same time.

We had a found an apartment to live in while in the U.S.
We were lucky because people we met later on said it was hell trying to find a place after arriving.
I was never too good at that stuff anyway.
I always felt like people were trying to cheat me or something.

It was small.
You would have said you loved it, but secretly hated it.
One could barely stand in the shower.
Want to spread your arms wide?

Forget about it.

There was a balcony though and you could watch the street traffic from above.
People look so small when your high up.
Down the street, there was a large theatre where they filmed movies.
I rarely saw them shooting, but I could tell it was a good place to.
It was beautiful at night when the lampposts would flicker on, orange spilling on the street.
Everything was damp in the Fall when we first arrived.

"What do you want to do today?" I asked her. She was laying face down on the bed.
Whenever she was hungover, she would do that.
All the covers and pillows over her face, blocking out the world and its light.
I did the same thing, so I couldn't really say much.
We were hungover a lot those first couple months.
Then came the jobs and everything changed...mostly.

She moaned something that I couldn't understand.
I was standing by the window, staring at the pigeons and crows perched on the roof across from us.
They had made a little nest under one of the shingles.
Clever little fucker's.

"Look at those things," I said.
The coffee I was drinking was bitter and made from crystals.
It gave me a headache, but it was cheap and we were broke.
I stepped back to get a better look at their nest and knocked an empty beer bottle around.

She moaned again and rose up from bed, kind of like a stretching kitten or a cat.
Her back was arched like a crescent moon and she stunk of vodka and Sprite.
The blankets were twisted and crumpled and she was tangled in them like a fly in a spiders web.
I went into the kitchen and poured out my coffee, thinking of what to do with the day.

"Breakfast?" she asked me from bed.
My back was to her, but I knew she wanted me to make it.
I put the electric stove on and opened the refrigerator.

"No eggs," I said back to her, "I'll be right back."

She moaned and slithered back into bed.
I threw my jacket and slippers on and made my way downstairs.

"Dobry den," I said to the cashier.
He was a tiny vietnamese man with a extremely high pitched voice.
I struggled to stifle a laugh every time I came in.

"Dobry den," he said back, sounding like air escaping from a balloon.

"Dear God," I thought, "How does his voice box do it?"

I went straight to the eggs, pretending to cough.
All around me were packaged sweets and rotten vegetables and fruit.
There were half loaves of brown, stale bread wrapped lazily in thin plastic.
Canned beans, noodle packets, and cardboard infused orange juice lined the shelves.
Where were the goddamn eggs?
We needed milk too.
Trying to drink that crystalized coffee without it was torture.
I don't even know how I did it earlier.
"I must be getting used to the taste..." I thought.

I opened the single refrigerator they had in the place.
It was stocked with loosely packaged cheese, milk, beer, and soda.
There they were, those goddamn eggs, right next to the yogurt.
I looked at the expiration date of a small carton of chocolate milk and winced.
"Someone could die here if they weren't careful," I whispered to myself.

"Everyding O.K.?" I heard the cashier squeak behind me.
I turned and nodded and showed him the eggs.
He was suspicious I was stealing something.
It was ironic.
I put the eggs on the counter and handed over what the cash register told me.

"There you go," I said and handed him the 58 crown in exact change.

"Děkuji," he peeped.

His voice sounded like a stuffed animal.
I nodded, smiled, and quickly got the hell out of there.

"You know the guy that works at the shop across the street?" I asked the body still in bed.
Well, she was up now, back up against the wall with her laptop on her lap.
"You mean the guy that has the voice of a little girl?"
"Exactly. I was just in there - getting these eggs - and I nearly laughed in his face."
"That's mean," she frowned, staring at her laptop.
Many of our conversations were with some kind of electronic device in between us.
We needed to work on that.
"I didn't laugh at him directly."
She smiled and nodded and moved down the bed a little more.
Only her head was resting on the pillow.
I cracked two eggs and let them sizzle there in the butter and the salt.

"So, what do you want to do today?" I asked Page, "It's not too cold out. We could go on a walk."
"Where?"
"I don't know. Over the bridge and maybe down by the water."
"It's going to be so cold," she shivered.
"I was just out there in slippers and a t-shirt and I was fine."
"That's because you're so big. I'm tiny. I don't get as much blood flow."

I flipped the two eggs and looked down at them.
Golden and burnt slightly around the edges.
Fucking perfect.
Now, just gotta wait a little on the other side and make sure to not let the yolk harden.
I hated that more than anything in the world.
Well, that and hearing piss poor excuses like it being too cold.
It was nice out.
She'd be fine.

"Come on," I sighed. I did that a lot. "It'll be fun."
She looked up at me from her computer with a dead look in her eye.
"What?" I asked her.
"You're such a...nerd," she said.
"No I'm not."
"You're so weird. Some of the things you say sometimes..."
"Like what?"
"Let's go on a walk."
She exaggerated the word walk.
I laughed and knew I was being a little too excited about a walk.
"Yeah. So? What are you doing? You're just laying there doing nothing."
"It's my day off," she scoffed, jokingly.

We were unemployed.
Everyday was a day off.
This was not something to bring up.
It was touchy subject.
One had to go about it...delicately.

"We need to find jobs," I stated, "And we can probably ask around or look for signs in windows."

"Oh JESUS," she gagged, coughing and diving back under the covers.

"I'm just thinking ahead so we can stay here. There's got to be something out there we can do."

"Like what?" she asked, her voice muffled by blankets.

"I don't know...something," I mumbled, trailing off as I flipped one of the eggs, "Perfect."

After breakfast, Page finally got out of bed and took a shower.
I tried to sneak in there with her, but, like I said before, one could barely fit themselves in there.
We compromised to have sex on the bed, though I did miss doing it in the shower.
As Page got dressed, I watched her slip those thin black stockings on, half reading a magazine.
I had gotten a subscription to The Review because I was trying to become a writer.
I thought, maybe if I read the stuff getting published - even the bad shit - it'll help.
Later, I realized, this was a terrible idea, but I enjoyed the magazine all the same.
Page finished getting dressed.
I jumped into whatever clothes were on the floor and didn't stink.
Then, we were out the door on Anna Letenske street, looking at the tram, downhill.


"I can see my breath," Page said, "It's cold..."

"Alright," I said as both of us ran across the street, "It's a little cold."

"But it's ok because I'm glad were out of the house."

"If we would have festered there any longer, we would have stayed in there all day."

"And missed this beautiful day," she said mocking me, putting both of her arms in the air.

The sky was gray and overcast and a single black crow flew over us, roof to roof.
No one was out, really.
It was Sunday and no one ever really came out on Sundays.
From the few czech friends I had, they explained to me this was the day to get drunk and cook.

"Far different then what people think in the States to do," I remember telling him.
"What do you do, my friend?" he had asked. He always called me my friend.
It was a nice thing to do since we had only known each other a couple weeks.
"Well," I explained to him, "Some people go to church to pray to God."
He laughed when I said this and said, "HA! God? How many people believe in God there?"
I had heard through the news and some Wikipedia research Prague was mostly atheist.
"A good amount, I'm pretty sure."
"That's silly," he scoffed, "Silly is word, right?"
"Yep. A word as any other."
"I like that word. What else do they do on Sunday?"
"A lot of people watch football. Not like soccer but with..."
"I know what you talk about," he said, cutting me off, "With the ball shaped like egg?"
I nodded, "Yes, the one with the egg shaped ball. It's popular in the Fall on Sundays."
"And what is Fall?" he asked.
You can see our relationship was really based on questions and answers.
He was a good guy, though I could never pronounce his name right.
There was a specific z in there somewhere where one had to dig their tongue under their teeth.
Lots of breath and vibration that Americans were never asked or trained to do.
Every czech I met said our language was a high contradiction.
Extremely complex in grammar and spelling, but spoken with such sloth.
I don't know if they used the word sloth.
I just like the word.

As we waited for the tram, I noticed the burnt orange and red blood leaves on the ground.
"Where had they come from?" I wondered. There were no trees on the street.
Must be from the park down the block, the one with the big church and the square.
There were lines of trees there used as leaning posts for the bums and junkies as they waited.
What they were waiting for, I never knew.
They just looked to be waiting for something.
I kicked a leaf into the street from the small island platform for the tram.
It swept up into the air a couple inches, and then instantly, was swept away by a passing car.
I watched as it wavered in the air, settling down the block in the middle of the road.

"Where's this trammm," Page complained.
Whenever it was cold out, her complaining level multiplied by a million.
"Should be coming soon. Check the schedule."
"Too cold," she said, "Need to keep my hands in my pockets."
I shook my head and looked at the schedule. It said it would be there at 11:35.
"11:35," I told her, still looking at the schedule. There was a strange cross over the day of Sunday.
"You mad?"
"No," I said turning to her, "I just want to have a nice day and its hard when you're upset."
"I'm not upset," she said, her teeth chattering behind her lips.
"Complaining I mean. We can go back home if it's really too cold. It's right there."
"No," she looked down, "Let's go out for a bit. I just don't know how long I'll last."
"Ok," I shrugged.
I looked up the street and saw our tram coming; number 11.
"There it is," I said.
"Thank God," Page exhaled, "I feel like I'm about to die."

Even the tram was sparse with people.
An empty handle of cheap liquor rattled in the back somewhere.
I heard it rock back and forth against the legs of a metal seat.
"Someone had a night last night," I thought, "Hope that's not mine."
We had gone to some dark bar with a lot of stairs going down - all I really recall.
Beer was so damn cheap there and there was always so much of it, one got very drunk easily.
I couldn't even really remember who we met or why we went there.
When everything's a blur in the morning you have two choices:
Feel guilty about how much you drank, lie around, and do nothing or,
Leave it be, try not to think about it, and try and find your passport and cell phone.

We made our transfer at the 22 and rode downhill.
Page looked like she was going to be sick.
Her sunglasses were solid black and I couldn't see her eyes, but her face was flushed and green.
"You alright?" I asked her.
"I'm fine," she said, "Just need to get off of this tram. Feel like I'm going to be sick."
"You look it."
"Really?" she asked.
"Yeah, a little bit."
"Let's get off at the park with the fountain. I don't want to puke here."
"Ok," I said, smiling, "We'll get off after this stop."

We sat down on one of the benches that circled around the fountain.
It was empty and Page was confused why.
"Maybe to save money?" I suggested.
"What? It's just water."
"Well, you gotta' pump the water up there and then filter it back out. Costs money."
"Costs crown," she corrected me.
"Same thing," I said, putting my arm around her, "There's no one here today."
"I know why," she stated, flatly.
"Why?"
"Because it's collllllllld and it's Sunday and only foreigner's would go out on a day like this."
I scanned the park and noticed that most of the faces there were probably not Czech.
"Shit," I muttered, "You may be right."
"I know I am," she said, wiggling her chin down into her jacket, "We're...crzzzy."
"We're what?" I asked. I couldn't hear her through her jacket.
She just shook her head back and forth and looked forward, not wanting to move from the warmth.
Dogs were scattered around the brown green grass with their owners.
Some were playing catch with sticks or balls, but others were just following behind their owner's.
I watched as one took a crap in the center of the walkway near the street.
Its owner was typing something on their phone, ignoring what was happening in front of him.
After the dog finished, the owner looked down at the crap, looked around, then slunk off.

"Did you see that?" I asked Page, pointing to where the owner had left the mess.
"Yeah," she nodded, "So gross. That would never fly in the states."
"You'd get shoulder tackled by some park security guard and thrown in jail."
"And be given a fat ticket," she said, coughing a little, "Let's get out of here."
"Yeah," I agreed, "And watch for any poop on the way out of here."

We made our way out of the park and down the street where the 22 continues on to the center.
"Let's not go into the center. Let's walk along the water's edge and maybe up to the bridge."
"Ok," I said, "That's a good idea." I didn't want to get stuck in that mass of tourists.
I could tell Page didn't either. I think she was afraid she might puke on a huddle of them.
We turned down a side street before the large grocery store and avoided a herd of people.
The cobble stones were wet and slick, glistening from a small sliver of sunlight through the clouds.
Page walked ahead.
Sometimes, when we walked downtown in the older parts of Prague, we would walk alone.
Not because we were fighting or anything like that; it was all very natural.
I would walk ahead because I saw something and she would either come with or not.
She would do the same and we both knew that we wouldn't go too far without the other.
I think we both knew that we would be back after seeing what we had wanted to see.
One could call it trust - one could call it a lot of things - but this was not really spoken about.
We knew we would be back after some time and had seen what we had wanted to.
Thinking about this, I watched her look up at the peeling paint of the old buildings.
Her thick black hair waved back and forth behind her plum colored pea coat.
Page would usually bring a camera and take pictures of these things, but she had forgotten it.
I wished she hadn't.
It was turning out to be such a beautiful day.

We made it to the Vlatva river and leaned over the railing, looking down at the water.
Floating there were empty beer bottles and plastic soda jugs.
The water was brown, murky, and looked like someone had dumped a large bag of dirt in there.
There was nothing very romantic about it, which one would think if you saw it in a picture.
"The water looks disgusting," Page said.
"That it does, but look at the bridge. It looks pretty good right now."
We turned our heads and looked at Charles bridge.
Hundreds of people were walking back and forth, specks shuffling to the both sides.
Every two seconds, a flash would go off from someone's camera.
It looked a little like there were tiny firecrackers going off, but without the sound.
"Look how many people are over there," Page murmured, "Let's not go over there."
"Agreed, "I said, "We can go over the bridge before it. There's never people on that one."
"The one that leads to the rail that takes you up the hill."
"Yeah," I said, walking ahead, "That one, but we don't have to go up there if you don't want to."
"I'll see," she shrugged, catching up to me and putting her arm through mine.
We walked near the railing and both looked over the slow moving river.
On the other side, where the cobble stones stopped and a beige beach was, were many geese.
There were ten or so people feeding them cheap bread and the geese were everywhere.
"We could check that out if Page is up for it," I thought, "We'll just have to see."

As we crossed the bridge, we moved through a large group of italian tourists.
They were taking a large group photo with the bridge behind them and we had to wait.
A tram rumbled past us, startling Page.
"Jesus!" she screamed, "I thought that thing was going to hit us."
I laughed, "You're so damned jumpy."
"No I'm not. I just get scared easily when I'm hungover or tired."
The Italians had finished taking their picture and we walked in front of them.
"I wish you would have brought your camera," I said, looking at the Charles bridge.
"Me too, but the light isn't that good."
"Really?" I asked. I didn't know anything about photography other than to point and shoot.
"Yep. Too dark." Page had done some photography in college for sports and concerts.
I looked up into the sky and saw that the sun was just starting to come out.
It was about 1:30 in the afternoon and I noticed that this was the time the sun would show - if at all.

We went down a flight of steps that lead to where an abandoned green house stood.
There was nothing inside but broken clay pots and trash.
The windows were stained with streaks of dirt, bird shit, and thin vines that crept up to the ceiling.
As we walked in, there was another couple taking pictures of the glass.
There was another group huddled in a corner in a circle drinking beer and smoking.
They were laughing about something and I was hoping it wasn't us.
Other than the clay pots and trash, there was nothing else inside - not even planter's boxes.
From the looks of it, the place had been raided and ransacked a long time ago.
What anyone could get from a few splintered pieces of wood and dead plants, I had no idea.
We walked through the greenhouse in five minutes and to the edge where the path ended.
The ground was wet and muddy. I put out my hand so Page could take it as she walked.
We tip toed to the very edge as the water lapped up against the tips of our shoes.
In front of us, paddle boats floated atop the water, their driver's peddling wearily along.
"We should do that one of these days," I told Page, "It looks fun."
"Look at them," Page laughed, pointing, "Do they look like they're having fun?"
I looked at the paddle boat she had pointed to.
The peddler looked to be exhausted, sweating, and out of breath.
The passenger - who looked to be his girlfriend - had her head tilted back, looking up at the sky.
"Well," I said, "That wouldn't be us. We would take turns."
"Why?" she asked, stepping backward to get out of the mud, "You're stronger than me."
"And that makes me be the slave, paddling you around?"
"No," she said, "That makes you the gentlemen. Chivalry or whatever it's called."
"Sounds like a bunch of a bullshit. Look at that poor guy. He looks like he's about to pass out."
Page laughed loudly and was making her way back to the stairs.
I squinted my eyes and stared at the paddle boat with the couple inside.
"Poor bastard," I thought, "Guy doesn't stand a chance...he'll never make it out alive."

After crossing the bridge, Page stopped to get a bag of potato chips.
Whenever she was hungover or tired or both, she would inhale potato chips.
I would give her a lot of shit for it, but I would have a couple, and she would dish it right back.
The sun was out now, but a wind blew past, reminding us that it was still cold.
I wanted to make it down to the edge of the water where I had seen the geese.
Pages teeth were chattering again and I looked down at both of our shoes, which were wet.
I knew of a cafe on the way to the castle, only a couple blocks away.
One of those places that is never crowded, serves good, cheap hot food, and is all wood inside.
I could never remember the name of it, but I knew they served this stuff called Red Velvet beer.
It wasn't so high in alcohol that you would get very drunk, but you would definitely feel it a little.
I liked to go there when I was hungover to take the edge off or have a drink and not get drunk.
Page had finished her potato chips and jammed the empty bag in her purse.
She could finish a bag of those things in a minute flat. I'm not joking. She loved those things.

"It's 2 o'clock," I said to Page, "Let's get a drink at that place that serves the velvet beer."
"It's so expensive though." To her credit, it was pretty expensive, but I saw no other options.
"Only 60 crown," I told her, "We can afford that."
"You can?" she asked, raising her eyebrows, "How?"
"I borrowed some money from my mom for rent and VISA stuff. She let me have a little extra."
"Really?"
"Yeah. I think she feels bad that we don't have a lot right now and we are traveling."
"That's so nice," she mused, "I always feel so awkward asking for money."
"Let's walk and talk. I'm getting cold from being outside so long."
"Good idea," Page said, walking with me, "I'm freeeeezing."

I put my arm around her and rocked her back and forth, trying to warm her up.
"It's not workiiiiiing," she said, rubbing her hands together.
I sighed and unwrapped my arm around her shoulder, defeated.
"Hey!" she screeched, jokingly, "Put that thing back around me! Why'd you do that?"
"You said it wasn't working, so I took it off," I said flatly.
"I was kidding," she said, "It was working." She took my arm and wrapped it around herself.
Page was so crazy when she was cold. She turned into a different person entirely.
We walked like that for a little while until my arm got tired and I swept it off of her.
As we made our way to the velvet beer, we looked up into the hills.
It was wide and light green, with hundreds of apple trees lined up, one behind the other.
I had heard the hills were once used to grow grapes and that the wine they made was very good.
Mostly whites, with a light and clear taste, and so fresh it felt like you were drinking spring water.
I had only had that kind of once, at a party if I remember right, and I drank the whole bottle.
The wine hadn't got me drunk, just nice and lucid and sharp, like good alcohol does.

I pointed up the hill to show Page where they were still growing grapes.
She stopped and crossed the street and went down an alley to get a better look of the hill.
I followed behind her, watching her move through the tourists and down the alley.
We passed an old antiques glassware shop and a modern thai restaurant that looked to be closed.
The streets were slick and wet from the mist that hung above our heads.
Coming up from the other side of the alley, we got a wider view of it all.
It was very beautiful, the hill, especially with the gray fog hovering behind.
The dark lime green of the hill and the sky clashed in front of us.

"How would anyone ever maintain this place?" Page asked out loud.
"I have no idea. It would take a lot of work, though."
"Going up and down those hills everyday, cutting all that grass."
"And pruning those apple trees, too," I said.
"Those are apple trees?" Page asked, excited.
"I think so, " I said, putting my hand over my eyes, straining to see better, "I see little balls in them."
"Let's go get some!"
"They're probably not even ripe yet and they're all the way up the hill..."
But, she was already gone, running up the steep path to where the trees stood.
"What about the velvet beer!" I shouted at her.
"It'll be there when we get there," she yelled back at me, "It's not going anywhere."
I slowly started walking up the hill, "You have a point," I mumbled.

I had never seen her run so fast for anything.
Page was up the hill in three minutes, where it took me ten to walk up.
When I got to her, she already had ten bright green and red apples in her arms.
I got closer and saw she had about five in her purse.
Her cheeks were flushed and she was smiling like mad as she washed them in the wet grass.
I came up behind her and wrapped my arms around her, nearly making her drop everything.
Page leaned her head back on my shoulder and we both looked up in the sky.

"Your'e so cold," I whispered behind her ear, swaying back and forth.
"My feet are freezing," she chattered. I looked down at her leather boots and they were soaked.
"Well, you ran up that hill like a rabbit in the tall grass. What'd you think was gonna' happen?"
"I just wanted the apples," she said like a child: innocent, guilty, and playful.
"I just wanted the apples," I repeated, mocking her smiling.
She wiggled out of my arms, swung around and looked at me, her eyes wide. She paused.
I started laughing. There was nothing else I could do.
"Don't mock me!" she screamed, "I'm just playing around. You're always so serious."
She had backed away from me a little and I followed her. I felt like she was going to run away.
"I was kidding," I tried to tell her, "I was only poking fun because you sounded like a little kid."
"No, I didn't," she pouted, looking at all of the apples in her arms.
"I'm pretty sure you were." I tip toed towards her, my arms wide open.
She fell into them and nestled into my chest, "You're always so warm. Why are you always warm?"
"Blood flow," I explained, making it up, "That and I drink too much."
She didn't say anything, giving me all her weight.
I took it all and leaned back on my heels and we stood like that for a long time.

As we made our way down the hill, we bought a plastic bag for the apples in a small shop.
Page dropped them all inside and the store clerk laughed when we did it at the counter.
"What are you going to do with all those apples?" I asked her as we walked down the sidewalk.
"Eat them!" she yelled, "These are ripe and ready to eat. I just need to wash them better."
"Why?" I said, "They look fine to me."
"I just washed them in the grass. Look, "She took an apple out of the bag, "This one's got dirt on it."
I looked down at it and there was a dry patch of dirt covering the whole of one side.
"Gross," I grunted, "You'll definitely need to wash all of them again."
"That's what I'm saying." She popped the apple back in the bag as we reached the front of the bar.

We scanned the menu and saw the food was relatively cheap.
French fries or hranolky was only 35 crown and the meals were around 115.
"Are you hungry?" I asked Page, as we walked in.
"I want some hranolky." She was taking her coat off and sliding into the booth.
I slid in behind her and we sat together, shoulder to shoulder, looking over the menu.
No one had greeted us as we walked in. Only the bartender who had nodded and smiled.
I didn't see any server's to order a drink, but knew it was bad custom to order from the bar.
Eventually, the bartender came over to take our order. He told us the waitress was on a break.
"Va velvet pivo, prosim," I told him.
He smiled and walked away, probably thinking my czech was that of a four year old.
An impossible language, especially for an American. So many tiny nuances of the mouth.

"What'd you think of my czech?"
"Pretty good," Page said, "Much better than mine."
"Really?"
"Yeah. Any czech I try to talk to has absolutely no idea what I'm trying to ask them."
"It's so embarrassing," I sighed, putting the menu down, "I wish I was better prepared."
"We just moved here," Page said, trying to comfort me, "You'll get better."
"Do you know what you want?"
"Yep," she said, pointing to the menu, which was glossy and clean, "French fries and veggies."
"Where's that?" I took the menu in my hand, "The veggie part."
"Somewhere in appetizers. It's cheap, like 20 crown or something."
"I'm gonna stick with beer," I said, "Not too hungry."
"No," she moaned, looking at me, "If you don't get anything, you'll eat mine. I won't have it."
"Huh?" I asked, feigning ignorance, "I never do that."
"You always do that," she said, "Every time we eat out you either eat the scraps or eat mine."
"Fine," I said, taking up the menu, "I'll get a sandwich or potatoes or something."
"Good."
"I'll get a chicken sandwich and eat half now, half later. It's only 115 crown."
"Get it!" she shouted, laughing.
There was no other customers in the bar except for us and it was very peaceful and secluded

We sat back against the wooden bench and looked around the velvet bar.
The kitchen was behind a swiveling half-door and a looked to be no bigger than a walk in closet.
I leaned over Page to see who was in there.
Two older woman, both leaning back against the stove, were standing there and chatting.
Short and fat, they stood there like some form of gatekeeper's.
They looked be very bored, yet very content with having nothing to do.
I felt bad we were about to order food and interrupt whatever they were talking about.
Page was gazing out the window, most likely looking for passer by dogs.
She loved dogs and anytime she could get a glance at one, she would scream, "Look at that DOG!"
Ever since we met, she talked about getting one for us, but it was impossible.
No place we ever moved into would ever let us have one. It was kind of sad, if you think about it.

"Va velet piva," the bartender said, placing the two beers down in front of us on coasters.
They were a golden, burgundy color behind the glass and the foam on top was a creamy beige.
"And anything to order for food?" he asked us, switching over to English.
"Chicken sandwich for me," I said.
"Hranolky and..." Page paused, awkwardly reaching for the menu, "Zelenina."
The bartender laughed," The vegetable platter or plate?"
"Which one's cheaper?" I asked, laughing with him.
"The plate is good for two people, unless you are very hungry?"
I looked at Page, who shrugged back at me, "Plate will be fine," I told him.
"Plate of zelenina, hranolky, and kuřecí sandwich," the bartender said back to us.
"Perfect," I said, nodding and handing him the menu's, "Děkuji."
"Prosim," he said, and walked to the kitchen to put in the order.
"That's what the word for chicken is," I said to page after a moment, "Kuřecí."
"Gah, I can barely say that. Kur - jet - see...I know that's wrong."
"We'll get it," I told her, "One of these days we'll say chicken, pig, and vegetables no problem."
Page took off her scarf, which she had wrapped around her neck, and laid it on her lap.
I kept repeating kuřecí under my breath, really trying to get it right.
Eventually, Page made me stop and we sat again in silence, waiting for our food, hand in hand.
The bartender had started the small gas fireplace near the door.
I leaned my elbows on the table and took out a tattered tourists map of Prague.
The corners were ripped and frayed, but only the legend was missing, which I already knew.
Scanning over the length of it, I tried to find a small side street we could get lost in later on.

Page had leaned her head back on the hard wooden bench and closed her eyes.
She tried to get herself comfortable by wiggling and rocking in her seat.
The bench creaked from her movement and I laughed under my breath.
"Why are you laughing?" she asked me, looking over at me with one eye.
"Nothing," I told her, lying.
"You're laughing at something. I can tell."
"You're making the bench creak with all that moving around you're doing."
She sighed and moaned and leaned forward, "I can't get comfortable in these things."
"They're not meant to be comfortable," I told her, "It's that old, gothic, medieval look."
"That's stupid."
"I agree completely. My back is killing me, but we've already ordered and can't go anywhere."
"Maybe I can ask for a cushion..." she said out loud, raising her hand to catch the waiter.
"No! Don't," I hissed, but the waiter had already seen her and was coming over.
"Yes?" he asked. His face was taught and worried that we needed something extra...
Page smiled at him and said, "Do you have a cushion or anything here? The seat is very hard."
I looked away - anywhere - out the window, down to the floor, trying to keep my gaze away.
"Of course," the bartender said, sounding relieved, "Is the seat very hard?"
"Yes," Page laughed, embarrassed, "I just can't seem to get comfortable."
"I'll get you one from behind the bar. Just a moment."
He hurried behind the beer tap, grabbed two cushions, and brought them over.
"Here you go," he grinned, handing Page and I one.
"Děkuji," we said together, both of us blushing.
"Prosím," he smiled and turned to go to the kitchen to check on the food.

I exhaled, laughing a little, and took a drink of my beer.
It tasted warm, crisp and full as the bubbling foam came up and over onto my lips.
"What?" Page asked, innocent, like nothing had happened.
I paused, then asked her, "How's your cushion?"
"How's yours?" she asked, looking forward, the glass of beer in her hand.
"Like a cloud has just floated underneath my butt, to tell you the truth. I'm hovering."
"Me too. I'm glad I asked. What was the big deal?"
"I just don't like to ask too much in these kind of places."
"Why?" She had turned to look at me and was genuinely worried; her eyes were wide and white.
"Because we are obviously not from around here and I don't want to annoy anybody."
"By asking them for cushions?"
"Yeah," I said, "And speaking in English and juggling around what we wanted."
"Is it that bad?" From the look on her face, I could see she was starting to understand.
"Not bad," I put my arm around her shoulder, "I don't want to be a bother to any of the locals."
"I see what you mean," she said, leaning into me, "But I don't think it was really that big a deal."
"It wasn't, really. I just don't like to inconvenience anyone."
"I know what you mean. It is a very awkward feeling."
"Especially when you don't know the language at all," I sighed, "I wished I did."
"Me too," she agreed, "Oh! Here comes the food."
She moved away from me and settled in her cushion, acting like she hadn't seen the food.
We were still the only one's in the place. There was really no way we wouldn't have seen it.

"Zelenina a hranolky," the waiter said, putting the food down, "A kuřecí sendvič."
He was humoring us, but we acted like we knew what he was saying anyway.
I raised my hand for the chicken and Page for everything else.
"Děkuji," we both said again. I felt like that was really the only word we knew.
"Prosím," he nodded, "Anything else?"
I shook my head, my sandwich already in my hands, "Perfect. Everything looks perfect."
He chuckled, "Perfect," he nodded and went back behind the bar.
After a few bites, I put my sandwich down and leaned over where Page was eating.
Not to say anything to her - she was too preoccupied with her food - but to see into the kitchen.
The two, short ladies were still there, but now one was sitting on a large, wooden crate.
It looked to be some kind of meat or vegetable box. The lettering on it, I couldn't understand.
The other was smoking a cigarette and scratching the back of her head where the hairnet tangled.
As I was looked over, the one on the crate caught my eye and quickly looked over her shoulder.
She said something quickly and the other one looked over at me too.
For just a second, the three of us were locked in stare.
Not a one of us knew what the other was thinking.
Page sat there eating away not caring about anything other than the food in front of her.
The second passed and the lady smoking dropped it in the sink and pulled the water on.
The other got up from her seat and began to violently scrub the grill with a metal sponge.
I - unsure why they started to do any of those things on my account - went back to my sandwich.

The bill came and it was less then I thought, which I always love.
"How'd you like the food?" I asked Page. She was putting her coat back on.
"It's freezing in here again. How did that happen?" She hadn't heard me.
"No idea. How'd you like the food, though?" I repeated.
"It was good. They were crispy and greasy, just what I needed."
"Good," I said as I looked over the bill, "What about the veggies?"
"Superb," she exaggerated by kissing her fingers and flaring them out into the air.
"Good, good. Looks like you owe me around 120 crown for everything."
"That's cheap!" she exclaimed, "I thought I was going to have to spend more then 200."
"Me too," I said, taking out my wallet, "I only spent 200 but I got a sandwich and a beer."
"And some of my fries," she mumbled.
"You wanted to eat all of them by yourself?"
She hated it whenever I took any of her food.
"It's just annoying," she explained.
"I'm sorry," I said, licking my fingertips, "I guess I don't think about it."
"It's O.K." She took out her wallet and dropped a 100 crown bill and a 50 crown coin.
"You're tipping?" It was customary that you didn't have to tip the waiters.
"Yeah. He gave us the cushions and looks like they're pretty dead."
"You're right. I should tip. How much do you think?"
"Like 50 for you."
I looked at the bill and tried to figure the percentage out in my head.
"Fuck it," I said and put a 200 crown bill and two 20 crown coins on top of Page's money.
Page brought the bill and money up to the waiter who stood behind the bar as I put on my coat.
My chest felt tight and my hands were cold after being heated up by the food.
I watched as Page tried to say thank you in czech and smiled; she'd get it eventually.
She came up to me, shaking her head, "I gotta' get better at czech."
"Why's that?" I asked her, putting my arm around her shoulder, walking out the door.
A wind hit us as we walked outside and we moved closer to one another.
"It's just so embarrassing when you're trying to say something and you can't."
"I'm sure they get it all the time. Don't worry."

We walked across the street and looked down an alleyway that looked to open up into a park.
"Do you want to walk through there?" I asked Page. Her scarf was wrapped around her mouth.
She nodded and quickly ducked into the alleyway in front of me.
I let her walk in front of me and noticed the cracked, light beige color of the walls on either side.
They looked like they'd never been repainted.
From the roof, water dripped down from various places.
Upon a closer look, I saw a large bird's nest in the gutter rail.
Nothing seemed to be inside. Only the twigs and dead grass sat there.
Further down, I winced as the cream colored wall was interrupted by black and neon green graffiti.
For the first time, I understood why it was illegal.
The act itself seemed so selfish, yet I understood why the art had become popular.
There was a mixture of defiance, rebellion, and the ignorance of youth, as well as danger.
Pondering this, I figured someone would come and paint over it eventually.
Nothing stays the same forever.

At the end of the alley, we walked onto a wide, square lawn.
On the other end, where two benches sat apart, was an old couple, bundled up with a newspaper.
The other bench was empty and Page and I walked toward it.
We turned and sat down, looking out onto the empty green grass.
Page wrapped her arm under mine and gripped both of my hands with her's.
"You're so warm," she shivered, "Why are you always so hot and I'm always so collld."
"I have no idea," I stated, "Maybe because I'm bigger and I drink more then you?"
The logic seemed right.
"And you're Mexican. That's probably why you're always so warm."
"I'm Spanish too," I reminded her.
"You've got that hot blooded temper in you."
"That's true. I do get pretty mad pretty fast."
"Yeah. It's scary."
"Really?" I asked. I looked at Page and could see she wasn't joking.
"Sometimes you get really mad and get a little afraid of you."
"Like I'm going to do something?"
Shame and guilt swept over me like an icy wind.
"I don't know. Nothing like that, but," she paused, "I don't know. It's hard to explain."
"Well, I would never do anything like that. I just get mad sometimes."
"I know you do. So do I. You just get mad more often, that's all."
"I need to get better with that," I said to myself, looking over at the old couple on the other bench.
One looked to be asleep and the other one, who wore a black beanie, was still reading.

"I'll get better," I told myself.
"You will," Page said, getting up, "We both will."
I put out my hand for her to take it.
She did, pulling me up to her.
I jokingly fell into her arms, giving her my full weight.
She barely was able to hold me up.
"Jesus, you're heavy," she said, pushing me up to my feet.
"I'm not that heavy," I said, nodding to the old couple on the bench.
We crossed over a bridge and stopped to watch the fire colored leaves float on the water.
I could see small fishes swimming downstream, but Page couldn't see them.
Trying to point them out, I hoisted her over the banister, and she nearly fell in.
"That would have been awful," she exhaled, "I probably would have died."
"I don't think I would have jumped in to get you."
She stopped and looked at me, her lower lip jutted out, "Are you serious?"
I looked at her and shrugged, "That's a big fall and the water is pretty shallow."
"You wouldn't come get me!?" shouted Page, poking me in the stomach.
I backed away from her, laughing, "Of course I would. Of course I would."
"You'd better. If I die, you have to die with me."
I scoffed and ran my fingers over my face, then through my hair, "Yeesh, that's heavy."
"It's true," said Page simply, "I die, you die."
She walked ahead of me, down another alley to get lost in.

Eventually, after shouldering through tourists and novelty shops, we came to the clock tower.
It was about 4 o'clock, a little past, and we had just missed the show.
I wasn't sure what it was about, something to do with money and death, but I wasn't sure.
The golden symbols on the clock reflected the light of the sun down onto the wet cobble stone.
I turned to look at the crowd behind me; there were hundreds of them, their flashes popping.
Page was closer, looking up and studying the large, rusted hands of the clock.
They looked like they were barely moving, almost as if time had stopped after the show.
I walked toward her, also looking up, and saw various bodies leaning out of the tower skyward.
They were so high up and I couldn't make their faces out; only flailing arms and distant voices.
When I reached Page, a trumpet sounded from the tower and everyone on the street looked up.
"You know what this is about?" I asked Page.
"No idea. I wish I had brought my camera."
"Why?" She rarely brought her camera anywhere and I was confused why she wanted it now.
"Because you're supposed to take pictures of these things," she shot back.
"Why?" I asked again.
"Shhh," she hushed, "I want to hear this."
The trumpet player sounded like duck being strangled and I couldn't stand it.
I whispered into Page's ear that I was going to get a coffee.
"Get me one too, please," she said.
She placed a fifty crown coin in my hand without looking away from the trumpet player.
I kissed her on the cheek, trying to hide my confused frustration, and moved through the crowd.
"For such a serene place," I thought, "It sure attracts a good amount of freaks."

"Hello," I said to barista behind the counter.  
I decided to forfeit speaking czech for the moment.
"Hi," she said. The sides of her face were flushed red and I realized it was freezing inside.
"It's really cold in here," I said, looking around for some kind of heating.
"Prosím?" she asked me, then stuttered and asked again in English, "Sorry...excuse me?"
"Sorry, I don't speak any czech. I said it's very cold in here."
"Yes. Heat is broken." She pointed upward at the ceiling and frowned.
"That's too bad," I said, "They should get on that. It's very cold."
She smiled blankly and stared back at me, unsure what I wanted.
"Oh," I smiled, shaking my head, "I need to order."
She laughed, but didn't say anything and looked at the other barista's. They grinned back at her.
"Uhh...one medium drip coffee and a cafe au lait, please."
"Ok," she mouthed, poking the computer screen in front of her happily, "Anything else?"
"Oh," I started, "Can you make the cafe au lait with soy milk instead of regular."
"Yes," with a swipe and another poke, "Anything else?"
"I think that'll be it." I hand her my czech debit card.
She looked down at it and up and me. Maybe she thought I didn't look like my name.
She paused a moment more, then swiped it and handed it back to me.
"Thank you very much," she said, looking over my shoulder, "Your order will be ready soon."
I was brushed to the side and thrown into a field of other tourists, all rubbing their hands together.

It didn't take very long for me to get the drinks.
That surprised me.
Those czechs know how to make a good, quick cup of coffee.
I smiled at the barista who had helped me, but she didn't see me doing it.
Hate it when that happens.
You always look like some desperate kind of creep, hoping for a scrap of acknowledgement.
She was probably too busy to notice me.
Maybe she did and just wasn't able to smile back.
She was with a customer.
I wouldn't want her to get in trouble, anyways.
We were in the center of the square.
It probably paid pretty well.
I wouldn't want her to lose her job on account of a smile.
That would be terrible.

"Cafe au lait with soy milk for you," I said, handing the drink to Page.
"With soy!" she exclaimed, "That's so nice. Did it cost more?"
"Like ten crowns," I lied, "I know that you like it and I like getting you what you like."
"That's so nice," she gave me a kiss and smiled, "Was it busy in there?"
"Very," I said, "And freezing cold."
"Why?"
"Heating was broken."
"Oh God," Page sighed, "I'm glad I didn't go in there."

We made our way to the main square, away from the clock tower.
The crowd had dispersed and the streets were almost empty again.
When we got into the alley's though, everything seemed narrow and pinched.
On every corner, there were peddlers flapping around opera and ballet flyer's.
I snagged one and looked it over.
"Good God! They want 500 crown for something like this."
"Let me see," Page said, taking it from my hand.
"And all you probably do is sit in an old church and listen to the echo of singing."
"It's a tourist thing," she explained, "What do you expect?"
Page crumpled up the flyer and tossed it in the trash, "I do feel bad for those people."
"Who?"
"The people that have to hand out those flyer's all day. That must be tough."
Page was always thinking about the people with shit jobs.
Whenever we would see a trash guy looting garbage cans or waiter's getting hassled, she'd cringe.
I knew why to: she'd had plenty of shit jobs in the past
Waitress was one. Bar back another. I knew she worked in a hospital at one point. Late hours.
"Maybe that's why she was going with me?" I wondered, "I've had a lot of those."
"Yeah," I replied, "They have it pretty rough, especially when it's so cold out."
"I would die," said Page. Her voice was scared and grateful.

We walked up the hill into the main center of town in the middle walk way near the gardens.
All the plants and flowers were dead now, but there was no trash or anything like that there.
I decided we should walk in the center to avoid the club promoters and heavy foot traffic.
Any more tourists elbowing me or people trying to hand me pamphlets would have done me in.
As we continued up the hill, I stopped and turned around to see the view of the city buildings.
Bright neon signs flashed, mixed with large billboards of chiseled women wearing dead faces.
Store window mannequins stood poised and ready to sell to passerby's in mute.
Because we seemed to be so far up, both sides of the side walks seethed with tiny black dots.
Flashes of cameras and the low hum of everyone talking at once filled the wide square.
And witnessing all of this hysteria, were the original buildings, stoic and ancient behind it all.
I had seen pictures of the square in the 1920's and before, and everything was so perfectly simple.
The walls of the buildings were cracked and worn, but standing with pride and originality.
They had nothing hanging or beeping or demanding people's attention.
A window here or there would display what they sold, but all in modesty and class.
If the two pictures were put together, I don't believe any resemblance could be found.
The only thing one could possibly recognize is the architecture of the buildings and the square.
Stripped and sacrificed, the buildings stood there like dolled up relics, too tired to breathe.

Page and I couldn't walk in the center of the square any longer because it opened up into the street.
We were forced to cross and enter into the surging fray of bodies going up and down.
The metro tunnel shot stale, damp air up and out of the stairwell, smelling of fresh urine.
Page hurried past me and up toward the crosswalk, but I stopped and watched two cops.
They had their doberman pincher sniffing a pair of hobo's leaning against a crooked tree.
The two being sniffed out stood there shaking and wondering what the hell was going on.
I'm sure they had something on them that was illegal, but what it was, I had no idea.
The dog sure did though. He wouldn't let them be and the cops just stood back, staring.
But, after a minute, the dog lost its scent or interest and sauntered back and laid down.
"Too bad," I mused, pensively, "I would have liked to see an arrest in broad day light."
Page had just started to cross the street without me and I ran up to her and took her arm.

"Where you going so fast? You trying to get rid of me?"
She just shook her head and looked ahead. I could see she was so cold she had turned mute.
"Did you see that dog sniffing out those two junkies?" I looked over my shoulder toward them.
Page shook her head back and forth, no.
The both of us walked up a yellow and orange leaf covered hill and down into a tunnel.
To the left of us was a large mural of graffiti and names I would never be able to pronounce.
To the right was a pizza booth, some kind of italian sandwich bistro, and a Russian shop.
We stopped in front of the Russian place and noticed a tiny window with a woman's head inside.
There were glistening pink sausages, pickled neon orange carrots, and bright red peppers.
A single knife hung by a piano string hung behind the woman, swinging back and forth.
Nothing looked like it had been touched.
Nothing looked like it had been sold.
Everything looked like it probably had since they had opened shop 657 years ago to the day.
The old woman said something to Page and pointed to a jar, but she smiled, laughed, and ran off.
"Děkuji," I smiled, embarrassed that I didn't know it in Russian.
I ran up behind Page again, who was up the ramp from the tunnel and on the sidewalk now.

As we walked up into Prague 2 and Vyšehrad, the sun was just beginning to set.
I stopped, Page continuing on, and turned around to see the expanse of the city.
People passed me as I looked at the clock tower and where the Charles Bridge was hiding.
I couldn't see the castle, but I knew it stood there behind the building beside me.
They lit the castle up every night and I wished at that moment Page and I could watch it.
To be within those walls and underneath the ancient cathedral going from darkness to the light.
Turning, I started up the hill, following up behind Page once again.
The 22 tram rambled past us, but we were late to jump on and ride it to our stop.
"We are so close anyway," I comforted Page, "Two blocks."
"So collld," she shivered, "I just want to be in our bed with the covers all around me."
I put my arm around her, "Almost there."
We walked like that, holding in our heat, until we reached the potraviny across from our house.

"We should really get something to eat," said Page, "We aren't going to want to come back out."
"Yes..." I agreed, "But what?"
"Shitty noodles?"
My stomach reacted in both pain and pleasure. I liked them, if I'm being honest.
"Does sound good," I said, weighing other possibilities, "Do we feel like cooking?"
I took out my phone and checked the time.
It was only 5:30 and we would be in the rest of the night.
"We should cook something," I said.
"Like what?" asked Page.
"I know of this cheap potato soup recipe with chives, milk, and salt. It's simple, but good."
She put 60 crowns in my hand," Sounds good to me. I'm going to go upstairs."
"What?" I asked, looking down at the coins.
"It's so cold, I can't stand it. I need to get upstairs where it's warrrm."
She smiled and ran across the street and into our apartment building.
I went inside, grabbed a sack of potatoes, a plastic jug of milk, and some chives and paid.
As I waited for the elevator, I struggled to remember the exact way to cook what I said I could.
Page wouldn't notice the difference either way.
As long as it was warm, didn't taste like cardboard, and had some salt on it, she'd be fine.

The meal was good.
It warmed our stomachs and there were leftovers for tomorrow.
We ate in bed and laid our only two bath towels down where we sat.
For some reason, Page lit two candles and sat them on the window sill.
Across the street, spotted windows were warm from the lights burning inside.
Everyone was tucked away, hiding from the cold and the approaching dawn of the day.
I looked at Page in the candlelight, watching her eat, seeing shadows dance across her cheeks.
Her beauty was as simple as a flower petal, yet complex as a painting.
There are so many other things that I am at a lost to remember, now.
They are somewhere inside of me, hiding, elusive, and wondering when I will find them.
As I took a bite of my potato mush, I warned myself not to get too sentimental.

"You know the one thing we forgot to do today?" I asked Page.
"What's that?"
"We forgot to look for jobs."
"Well," she sighed, "We were just too busy with other things."
"What other things?" I asked.
"Breakfast, the walk, the bridge, the bar, the beer, the park, the clock, and the square."
"We did a lot today."
"Yes," said Page, "Too much. And to add job searching on top of that? Forget about it."
I no longer felt guilty about not even once looking for some kind of job prospect.
"What's that saying?" asked Page.
I noticed her bowl was clean as she placed it on the floor.
"Hm?" I asked.
"There's this saying...there's always tomorrow. Is that a saying?"
"I feel like I've heard it," I struggled, trying to remember, but failing, "Somewhere, some place."
"Well," Page said, turning herself from the towel and laying back, "There's always tomorrow."
I put my bowl on the night stand and laid back with Page.
We kissed and held each other, not caring about tomorrow, only trying to get warm.
Page slowly drifted into sleep and I let her head roll and fall onto my chest.
The two erect flames of the candles stood reflected onto the window overlooking the night sky.
I too laid my head back, closed my eyes, and fell asleep with the weight of Page upon me.

Michael W Noland Sep 2012

[A] is for
An
Archer with
An
Arrow through his
Adams
Apple, very
Applicable, to the
Ample
Amounts of
Amiable
Attitude,
Adorning his heart, in
After
Action
Attributes, that impart, the
Admiration, of
Assholes, in this
Acting out of
Arrogance bit. he is,
Astute, in his
Allure, and
Aloof, in the
Air, of
Aspiration, in which, he was
Alienated in the
Agony, of
Asking
Assassins, the
Aforementioned. lights, camera,
Action. recipe of the
Ancient
Admirals of
Avian
Aliens, that
Attacked, with the
Arms and fists, of
Arachnids, now
Aching to be
Activated in sudden
Allegiance to the
Answers, of the truth.
Accumulating wealth for
Anarchy's of
Abating
Angels in
Atrophied,
Alchemical
Academies of the ever
After life .. . of silence.
Azazel strengthens in these
Accolades of violence, in
Alliance to
Appliances
Appearing in the
Arson of
Apathy, happily, to
Anguish in the
Amputation of my
Abdomen, if it meant i'm a real
American, even, when, only
Ash, remains.
Acclimating in its remains
Attained, the
Articles of my pain, in
Affluent shame, next time ..
Aim... oak
[A]?

[B] is for the
Bah of
Black sheep, and
Big
Bit¢hes, fat cats,
Bombarded in the
Blasted,
Bastion of
Blackened
Benevolent
Blokes,
Berating the
Blasphemous,
Be-seech, of
Brains, to feel
Bad, about the
Blotching of
Binary codes, erroding, the
Blanked out
Books, of
Belittled
Bureaucrats,
Bowling
Back the
Bank rolls of
Betterment, from the
Back of the
Blackened
Bus, as i'm
Busting guts, in the
Bubbling
Butts, of sluts
Benched, but
Beautiful, in the
Battle, in the
Bane, of existence.
Baffled, in the strain of
Belligerence, in
Beating the
Beaming
Butchery into
Billy's
Broken
Brains, in
Bouts, of
Battering
Bobby's for
Bags of
Bullshit
Before, affording to
Build
Bombs, is just
Beyond
Breaking
Beer
Bottles on the
Beastial
Benefactors of
Boulder
Bashing with the
Beaks, of
Birds, with no
Bees. just a
Being, trying to
[B]


[C] is for the
Cunts
Courting the
Choreography, in
Computerized
Curtains,
Circumventing the
Cultured,
Contrivance of
Chromatic
Cellars,
Calibrating, to the
Contours of
Calamities,
Celebrating the
Cyclical,
Cylinders of
Cyphered
Calenders,
Correcting the
Calculations, of
Crooks
Coughing, in
Courageous
Coffins of
Canadians,
Collecting
Cobble stones, from
Catacombs, in the lands of the
Conquered,
Capturing the
Claps of thieves, sneaky
Cats, of greed. its
Comedy. oh
Comely, to my
Cling of
Cleanliness, and for your self
[C]

[D] is for the
Dip shits, as they
Delve
Deeper in the
Deliverance, of
Deviant
Deities,
Dying to
Demand
Dinner
Delivered in the throws of
Death,
Deceiving
Defiance of
Darkened
Dreams,
Demeaning that which
Deems the
Dormant of the
Dominant, to be
Demons of
Deviled
Devilry,
Dooming us for
Destruction.
Deploy the,
Damsels in
Duress.
Defiled and
Distressed,
Detestable and
Dead. in the thump of
Drums,
Dumbing down the
Debts of,
Dire regrets.
Dissect the
Daisies of,
Disillusion, in the current
Days,
Diluting night into
Dawn,
Disconnecting the
Dots of the
Dichotomy, and arming me, in the
Diabolatry, of,
Demonology, as i watch me
Dwindle away, the
[D]

[E] is for
Everything in nothing,
Eating the
Euphoric
Enigmas of
Enlightened
Elitists,
Exceeding in the
Extravagant
Essence of
Esoteric
Euphemisms,
Escaping the
Elegance of the
Elements in the
Eccentricity of
Eclectic
Ecstasy,
Exhaling, the
Exostential blessings, of inner
Entities, and renouncing the
Enemies of my
Ease,
Easily to appease
Extraterestrial
Empires,
Extracting the lost
Embers of
Enlightenment, in
Excited delight, but to later
Entice, the fight, and
Escape, like a thief into the night of
Everywhere,
Entering the
Exits of
Elevators leading no where, to
Elevate, this useless place,
Encased in malware in the
Errant
Errors of
Every man,
Enslaved, of flesh and
Entrails,
Enveloping the core of
Everything, that matters,
Enduring, the chatter, of
Evermore,
Ever present in
Everybody
Ever made to take
[E]

Funk the
Ferocity of
Foolish
Fandangos, with
Fanged
Fanatics,
Fooled in the
Fiasco of
Fumbled
Fantasies,
Falling through the
Farms of
Freely
Found
Fans,
Flying in the
Fame of
Fortune.
Fornicating on the
Fallen
Fears of
Fat
Fish getting their
Fillet of
Fills.
Feel me in the
Frills

Granted with
Generosity.
Giblets of
Gratitude and
Greed,
Greeting the
Goop and
Gobbled
Gore,
Gleaned from the
Glamour of
Ghouls in
Gillie suits,
Getting what they
Got
Going, in the
Gratuitous
Gallows of a
Game
Gaffed by
Giants.

Hello to the
Horizon of
Hellish
Hilarity, in
Hope of
Happy, to
Heave from
Heifers, to
Help the
Hemp
Harshened
Hobos in
Heightened
Horror, to
Honor the
Habitats of
Hapless
Habituals,
Herbalising the work
Horse, named
Have Not, in the
Haughtily
Hardened
Houses of
Happenstance.

Ignore the
Ignorant
Idiots, too
Illiterate to
Indicate the
Indicative
Instances of
Idiom in the
Irrelevant
Inaccuracy of
I,
In the
Intellect of
Idle
Individuals,
Irritated with the
Irate
Illusion of
Idols
Illustrated upon the
Iris,
In the
Illumination of
I.

Jerk off the
Jobless
Jokers, and
Jimmy the
Jerkins from their
Jammie's, in
Justified,
Jousting off the
Jumps, in
Jokes, and
Jukes of
Just
Jailers,
Jesting for
Jammed
Jury's to
Jerk
Judgment from the
Jitter
Juiced
Jeans of
Jesus.

Kill the
Keep of
Khaki-ed
Kool aid men,
Kept in the
Kilometers of
Kits,
Kin-less
Kinetics,
Knifing the
Knights of
Kneeling
Kinsmanship,
Keeling over the
Keys of
Kaine, with the
Karmic
Karate
Kick of a
Kangaroo.

Love the
Levity, in the
Luxurious
Laments of
Loveliness,
Lovingly
Levitating in
Level,
Lucidly.
Living in
Laps, of
Lapses,
Looping, but
Lacking the
Loom of the
Latches
Locked with
Leeches of the
Lonely
Lit
Leering of
Lightly
Limbs, that
Lash at the
Lessers in
Loot of
Lost letters,
Lest we
Learned in the
Lessons of
Liars.

Marooned in
Maniacal
Masterpieces,
Masqueraded as
Malignant
Memorization's of
Motionless
Mantras, but
Merrily
Masking
Mikha'el the
Mundane, who is
Musically
Mused of
Monsters,
Mangling the
Monitor, but
Maybe just a
Moniker of
Marauders.

Never to
Navigate the
Nautical
Nether of
Never
Nears.
Not to
Nit pic the
Naivety of
Nicety.
Notions
Neither take
Note
Nor
Name the
Noise of
Nats in the
Nights of
Neanderthals
Napping in the
Nets of
Ninjas

Ominous in the
Obvious
Omnipotence of
Oblivious
Obligatory
Opulence,
Of
Other
Oddly
Orchards
Of
Offices,
Ordaining
Orifices in
Offers of
Ordinary
Ordinances in
Option-less
Optics,
Optionally an
On-call Oracle, in
Optimal,
Overture.

Perusing the
Pestilent
Pedestals of
Personal,
Parameters,
Pursuing the
Petty
Plumes of
Piety with the
Patience of a
Pharaoh,
Pissing on the
People with the
Penal
Pianos of
Port-less
Portals, in the
Paperless
Points in the
Palpal
Pats of
Pettiness.
Poor, but
Prideful.

Quick to
Qualify the
Quitter for a
Quick
Quill in
Queer
Quivering of
Quickened
Questioning,
Queried in the
Quakiest of
Quandaries.
Quarantined to a
Quadrant, of
Quagmires.
Questing the
Quizzing of
Quotable
Quartets.

Relax in the
Relapse of
Realizations, and
React with
Racks of
Rolling
Rock to
Rate the
Rep of the
Rain-less.
Roar in
Rapturous
Rendering of the
Random
Readiness in the
Ravenous,
Rallying, of the
Retinal
Refracting of
Reality.
Realigning, the
Righteous
Rearing of the
Realm, and
Retrying.

Steer the
Serenity in
Sustainability, and
Slither through the
Seams of
Slumbered
Scenes.
Secrete the
Solo
Sobriety of
Sapped
Sassys,
Salivating upon a
Slew of
Stupidity,
Steadily
Supplied in
Stream,
Suitably
Slain in the
Steam of
Sanity.
Sadly, i
Still
Seem,
Salvagable.

Topple
The
Titans in
Tightened
Terror.
Torn
Territories
Turn
Turbulent in
The
Teething of
Totality.
The
Telemetry of
Time,
Tortured of
Torrent
Theories,
Told in
Turrets of
Transpiring
Terribleness, from
Tumultuous
Tikes unto
Teens,
Trading
Toys for
Tea.
Thrice
Thrusted upon by the
Tyranny of
Tanks.

Unanimous is the
Ugliness in the
Undertones of
Undreamed
Ulteriors
Undergoing the
Unclean in the
Urine of
Utterly
Upset
Users,
Uplifting the
Unfitting
Ushers in
Underwear-less,
Ulcers,
Undergoing the
Ultra of
Uberness.

Venial in
Vindictive
Viciousness of
Vindicated
Venom,
Venomously
Vilifying the
Vials of
Villainy in the
Veins of
Vampires,
Validity of
Valuable
Violence, is
Valiant in the
Vaporous
Vacationing of
Vagrant
Vices.

Why
Whelp in the
Weather
When you can
Wave to the
Whirling
Wisps,
Whipping Where the
Whimsical Were
Way back in the
Wellness of
Whip its,
Wrangling my
World,
With
Waterless
Worms, as
War shouts are
Wasted in the
Wackiest
Walks of
Waking
Wonder.

Xenophobic
Xenogogue, of
Xenomorphic
Xeons, turn
Xyphoid, in the
Xenomenia of my
X, my
Xenolalia of
X, to
XXX. im lost in the
Xenobiotic zen of
Xerces, on a
Xebec to the
X on the map.
Xenogenesis, in the
Xesturgy of my
Xyston
Xd

Yelling
Yearned from
Yelping.
Yard
Yachts
Yielding, to the
Yodel of
Yeah
Yeahs, to the
Yapping of
Yeasty
Yuppie
Yoga
Yanks, over
Yonder.
Yucking it up with the
Yawn of a
Yocal.

Zapped from a
Zone i
Zoomed with
Zeal in the
Zig and
Zag of my
Zapping
Zimming
Zest, upon a
Zombie-less
Zeplin.
Zealot,
Zionist, or
Zoologists,
Zeros or ones, just
Zip your
Zip locked. and
Zzzzz
Zzzz
Zzz
Zz
Z
Zero

this is a work in progress
Zaynub May 2014

i hate how we can’t fucking hang out without people looking at their damn phones
{except i check mine too}
i hate how technology has the audacity to imitate physical presence by this bullshit FaceTiming
{except i wish i had an iPhone}
i hate how relationships take place on the fucking phone
{except if i had a relation, i would do the same}
i hate how we type how we feel instead of just saying it
{except i find it easier to see it in text than to say it in speech}
i hate how we spend time on the computer instead of taking a fucking walk
{except i spend all day on the computer}

i hate this new fucking technologically advanced generation
{except i'm a part of it}

It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity
Dorothy A Oct 2013

Everything faded to black. He had a hard time remembering just what the hell happened. He wasn't sure of downing some random pills from of the medicine cabinet-- his first attempt to end it all. Making sure he would not recover-- if the pills didn't do the job-- he had already devised the set up of the noose in his bedroom. Definitely, he didn't recall anyone cutting the rope, forcing him down to the floor.

Lacie joked with him. "Dude, you've got nine lives! You must really be a damn, fricking cat in disguise! That's why you'll eat those nasty tuna fish sandwiches they serve in the nuthouse! "

Chris grinned at her.  He had to agree. To refer to it as the psych ward at the hospital made it seem like more of a jail term, but calling it "the nuthouse" lightened up the severity of the situation. As grave and nearly tragic as everything  had become, it was kind of laughable to him.  He supposed he had more chances than a cat's fabled life. It all seemed so crazy that it must be funny.

Well, what could he say? He had flirted with death, but unwillingly managed to escape its grip. "Pathetic..."--he commented. "I don't not even know how to die well..."

Chris  eventually realized that he had been rushed to the hospital, but wished it wasn't true. Since then, everything was either a total blur or a bizarre state of mind . Even waking up in his room was like a remotely vague memory, almost like a long ago dream that might not really have happened.

Maybe, he was somewhat aware that his sister was screaming in shock and horror at the sight of him, shouting out downstairs to her boyfriend to help her. But the walls were turning red, a glowing scarlet- red, with an added fiery orange and yellowish-gold-- all joined together in pulsating embers. He was quickly losing consciousness. It was like some, bad acid trip. Not that Chris knew this firsthand, but it sure was like something he saw on TV or at the movies.

And now he was the star of the horror show.

Did he die?  Death was what he planned on, so waking up was not a relief, or a reality back into motion--just the opposite. It was as if being awake was the real nightmare, a delusional time when everything was not true, and was only an scary, offbeat version of the life of Chris Cartier.

The bad acid trip continued. He recalled hospital staff rushing about him, seeming like real people-- sort of. Then they morphed into fish in scrubs. From overhead, an IV was dripping into his arm. Tubes were shoved down his throat. His vital signs were displayed on a screen that made beeps and sounds, increasing the chaos and adding to the mayhem to his mind. Soon, the vital signs machine started talking to him that he was a "very bad boy" and other such scoldings.

He was thoroughly freaked out. If he was still alive, he'd rather be dead.

He wanted to run. One of the fish pushed him back down and muttered out undecipherable utterances-- like underwater gibberish . Then that fish used its slimy fins to inject him with a needle in his arm. The other fish circled around him like fish out of water--with opening and closing mouths-- as if gasping for air.

As they surrounded him as rubber monkeys shot out from the walls and bounced all over the room. On top of all this madness, the florescent lights above were flickering on and off, in sync to the wild music, like the drum beats of a distant jungle. It was one bizarre tangle of events, a freaky, crazy, out-of-control ride in which reality could not be distinguished from the animation and mass confusion. It was one overpowering ride that he would much rather forget.

When Chris got out of critical condition, he found out that he could still not go home. That would take a few weeks more. Dr. What-The-Hell's-His-Name assured him that he needed to start on the path to his psychological healing--just as grave as the physical--right here in a safe place.

It didn't seem so safe to him.

The enemy wasn't what was out there in the world, but the big, bad wolf was actually him. He had to be protected from the true culprit--himself-- and that was a mind-blowing concept. Just what did he get himself into?   

He never had been a patient in a hospital before. In all his twenty-six years, he didn't so much as even have his tonsils out. Feeling now like a prisoner,, he was still scared out of his mind-- as if it was day one all over again. When was he going to get out of here? Chris began to fear that they would never let him out. No professional had a definitive answer, as only time would tell of his improvement.

Man, why couldn't he just be dead?

His parents visited almost everyday, but it was of no reassurance to him. His mother always left in tears, and his father was lost for words. This was nothing new. When it concerned their troubled son, they felt inadequate to help him. The best his dad could say was, "Hey, Chris, we're pullin' for ya". That was of no comfort, whatsoever, like he was some fighter in a boxing ring that his old man had a bet placed on . His mom always clung to him as she said goodbye, like she needed the hug more than he did, saying to Chris through her sobs , "Miss you....love you". Her emotional state just unsettled him to the core, and he was worried for her more than for himself.    

At best, his outlook was grim. But then he met Lacie Weiss, and things started looking up.

Lacie was one of the quietest psych patients in the ward, always sticking to herself. But then he found himself sitting right next to her in group therapy, and they hit it off. He had no idea that she had a fun side. She usually looked apathetic and quietly defiant to society, a nonconformist in the form of a Goth, with edgy, dyed black hair, dark eye make-up and some facial piercings of the eyebrow, tongue and nose. Her look was quite in contrast to his light blue eyes and sandy-brown hair. Chris never was into Gothic, viewing those who were as spooky creeps.  

It was obvious that Chris was scared and confused. Now although trying to seem tough and stoic, Lacie seemed so little, almost fragile, yet obviously trying to hide her broken self together. Petite and somewhat girlish in appearance, she was barely 5 feet tall. Chris was 5 feet 11 and a half inches, close enough to the six foot stature that he wanted to be. Only a half inch less really didn't cut it for him, though, even though his slim build gave the impression of a lankier guy. He would have loved to be as tall as the basketball players he so emulated. But such was life. He was never used to having the advantages.  

At first, Lacie never opened up, not to a single soul. Like Chris, she certainly acted like she didn't need this place, and nobody was going to help her--or be allowed to help her. As stony and impenetrable as she tried to be, group therapy it was hard to disappear in. Everyone was held accountable for opening up, and the leader was going to see to it.  No way, though, did Lacie want to crack or look weak in her turtle shell composure, in her self-preservation mode. So it was agony for her.

She first spoke to him, whispering loudly to him, onc,e in the group circle "This is all bullshit!"

Hanging with Chris was the one salvation that she had in this miserable experience. They both could relate more than he ever realized. They both really liked motorcycles and basketball. He had his own Harley, and it was something he loved to work on and go on long rides with it, his own brand of therapy.  In spite of how she looked, Lacie was also actually close to his age. He was twenty-six. and she was twenty-two.

They first broke the ice with casual introductions. "No, the name is not pronounced like Carter", he corrected her about his last name. "It is like Cart-EE-AY...... It's French".

"Yep", she replied. "Like mine is the same way, but as German as brats and sauerkraut,  Ja dummkopf?"

Chris gave her a weird look. She continued, "My mom's dad was from Germany, and I got my mom's name. Ya don't say it how it looks. You would say Weiss like Vice, but I couldn't give a damn how anybody says it. Nobody gets it right and original, anyhow." Her dark brown eyes flashed at him as she said, " But I think I like Chris Cutie, myself, better than Cartier.....cutie it is for me. Huh, cutie pie? "

Chris laughed hard. She was pretty coy for a die-hard Goth. She batted her eyes playfully at him and winked."You're worth being in here for, ya know", he told her, blushing, still laughing at her silly remarks.

She studied his face in response, all laughing aside. Suddenly, her mood turned solemn.  "I'll bet".

They began hanging out in the commons, walking down the halls for exercise, and swapping stories of their plights. Chris quickly found that she Lacie wasn't so steely and unapproachable as the day he first saw her.  And she discovered that he was more than a pretty boy.

"My parents weren't home when I tried", he told her one time after lunch was done. They were sitting in a corner, trying to be as private as possible. "Twenty-six years old...and I still live with them. Yeah, that's my life. I got a twin brother, and he's moved out and doing alright for himself. My sister's younger, is going to college. Wants to be a doctor".

Lacy didn't have any siblings to compare herself to. "Must be cool to have a twin", Lacie said. "I always wondered how that would be to have two of me running around! Scary, huh, dude?"

Chris shook his head. "No, it's nothing like that. Jake and I aren't identical. We are just a two-for-one deal...I mean  is that my parents got two babies in one, huge-ass pregnancy. Jake and me don't even act like twins. Half the time, I don't want to be around him."

No, it wasn't like his cousins, Adam and Alan, who were identical friends, mirror images, and best of friends. Chris never identified with that kind of brotherly relationship. He and Jake never dressed alike, or knew what the other one was thinking. And Chris felt that his brother always felt superior to him. He was the popular one. He was the ambitious one who landed a great job in computers, as a system analyst.  To add to Chris's feelings of inferiority, his little sister, Kate, had surpassed him, too. She was acing most of her classes, and boarding away at college. She was well on her way to becoming a doctor.    

"So if your mom and dad weren't around...who saved you?" Lacie asked. She stared into his eyes with such a probing stare that Chris almost clammed up. Just thinking about that day was overpowering.

"Uh...my sister and her boyfriend were hanging out in the basement. She was home from college, and I didn't know it. My parents were out-of-town. Our dog, Buster, was acting funny. He knew something was up..."

Chris stopped abruptly, but went on. "Kate, my sister, explained to me that she saw me in my room, getting up on a step ladder. She says she yelled at me to stop. I don't remember...but I guess..I guess I was going to do it anyway, and she wouldn't be able to stop me....stop me from...so I hurried up and jumped off before she could stop me."  

Lacie could almost picture it, as if she was there with him. She said, "But she did stop it. She saved you."

"Yeah", he agreed. "Buster started it all...barking, alerting my sister to come upstairs from the basement, and upstairs by my room...." All of a sudden, he felt so weird, like he was having an out-of-body experience.

"Hey, it's OK", Lacie reassured him. "It's over now. You aren't there anymore".

Chris started to cry, but tried not to. "If it weren't for Brian, Kate's boyfriend....she would not of had the strength to hold me up by herself, and cut the rope, too. I must have been like dead weight, and Brian grabbed a kitchen knife and told her to stay cool about it. Yeah, sure, like that could have been possible ! She was trying to keep the rope slack, while trying to save my sorry butt...and she was scared, shitless! "

Lacie opened up, too, relating her tragic past. She had an unbelievable tale, one hell of a ride herself.  It was amazing how detached she was when relating it, though. "Well" actually I got to fess up" "I'm not really an only child....I mean I am...but not really. I know that sounds weird---hey--but I am weird. Oddly unusual is the story of my life-- even before day one. "

Chris had no idea what she was talking about. "What are ya' trying to say?"

She added another surprising bombshell. "Also,  I have a two-year-old boy. His name is Danny. He don't see his dad--ever. The guy's a waste of space. Anyway, my mom has him. She can afford him more, and can do a better job raising him than me. Well, she does OK money-wise. Anyhow, my mom deserves him because she lost everything. And I mean EVERYTHING! Her whole fricking family practically wiped out!"

The shock that Chris had on his face-- his widened, blue eyes and open mouth were expected.   Most people had a hard time believing her.

She explained, calmly, "I mean she nearly died--way before I was born--in a car accident. And her two, little boys were with her in the backseat...and they died that day. "

Chris looked pale. "That is so awful!" he said, hoarsely, barely able to say it.

"Yeah", she continued. "Not a damn thing she could do about it, too. She was like in a million pieces. I know a part of her died right there and then, too. I just know it.  You know, dude, my mom was once really, really coasting along, just doing fine. A typical wife and mother-- a bit older than me now-- life was good. Her little boys were just cute, little toddlers--like Danny. I found out from my grandma that she was  pregnant, too, just a month or two. Nobody could have imagined it coming. She was just driving--doing nothing wrong-- when some idiot broadsided her.  I don't know if it was a guy or a lady, if they were jacked up on booze or drugs, but they were speeding like a demon out of Hell. Her husband was at work and wasn't around."  

The boys were Benjamin and Gerard, but Lacie couldn't remember their names, for her mom could barely mention them without breaking down. It was an unbearable loss.

Chris was so horrified, amazed that Lacie related this like it was someone else's story. She was almost too cavalier about it.

"And they died ?!" he asked.

"Yeah....sucks, don't it? Pure, pure agony. Downright Hell on earth. My mom had to learn to walk again. It took about year, I think."

"Oh, no! What about the baby she was supposed to have?"

"Miscarriage. Worse yet, the damn doctor told her she'd never be able to have kids again. She lost everything, man! Her husband couldn't handle it and left her. Shit on top of shit, on top of more shit, on top of more. If it wasn't for her parents, and her sister's help, she would never have made it.

"But she had given birth to you, right? Or were you adopted?"

"Yeah, she gave birth to me. I was her miracle baby, and she didn't give a rat's rear end if my dad wanted me or not. He'd send her money, once in a while, but he wasn't really into either of us. Who cares though? She didn't give a shit what he thought. I was her baby. Truth is, before I came, she ended up slitting her wrists--just like me. What was the use? At first, there was nothing to live for. But now she has Danny.

"And you!" Chris quickly pointed out.

"Dude, are you kidding me? I have been NOTHING but grief for her, a real pain in her ass!"

Unlike her deceased, half-brothers, Lacie grew up before her mother's eyes, from a shy girl to a hard core rebel. Since the age of twelve, she would sneak drinks from her mom's liqueur cabinet. Eventually, she smoked pot and tried cocaine and heroin. Dropping out of the eleventh grade, she soon away from home, living with friends or boyfriends ever since.  Thankfully, she wasn't doing drugs when she conceived Danny. And her drinking wasn't as prevalent as it was in her teen years of partying and binge drinking. That didn't mean that her drinking problems magically disappeared, or that she was cured. Immediately, though, when she knew she was pregnant, she refused to touch a bottle, but it was just a white knuckle process that was effective momentarily--a band aid on a more serious wound. And going months without a drop of alcohol didn't deaden her urges--quite the opposite--as it only made her crave what she could not have. Often, her fears caught up with her--of especially becoming a mom--but due to the nightmarish thoughts of ruining her baby's life, she fought her alcohol urges and remained dry all throughout the time she was expecting her baby. Eventually, time would prove that the alcohol would win.

No wonder she tried to put up walls . Inside, she had to feel the overwhelming pain, some of it her mother's, some of it her own, and the blurred lines were confusing . Chris noticed the fresh slash wounds around her wrist, and the tattooed angel with a tear down her face, on her upper arm. Was that angel supposed to represent her? A fallen angel?

She was living with her boyfriend, Kyle, when she cut her wrists in the bathroom. Like Chris, she tried to down some pills, popping them one by one, but didn't take too many. Still acutely aware, she was crumpled up on the floor, crying, and she was surrounded by a small pool of her own blood. Luckily, the wounds were pretty superficial.

Working at a dollar store, she was stealing from her boyfriend to buy cocaine and weed. Eleven years older, and running his own tattoo shop, he was threatening to kick her out of his house. Danny innocently saw Lacie's mom as more of a mother to him.

Like her mother, she was losing hope that she could ever have a worthy life. "Yeah, my mom was my age when she lost everything", she repeated. "Shit! How ironic. And here I am feeling the same way....wishing I was dead....like put a fork in me, I think I'm done."

Chris put his arms around her for comfort, and she did not expect that.  Certainly, she did not expect him to give her a brief kiss, although she kissed him back. She better not fall in love with him. Love has always been such a disappointment.
                        _______­______

Lacie got out of the hospital first, and she now, for the first time in years, was going to live with her mother, hoping to mend the fragile relationship that they had. She now had a golden opportunity to be more active in her son's life. She sure  did not want to blow it.

Both she and Chris exchanged cell phone numbers, and promised to call each other as soon as they could  Once released--free at last-- Chris did just that. In his mind, Chris was not able to make that call soon enough, just itching to do it. Once his cell phone was given back to him at the hospital, he called Lacie.  The second thing he did was befriend her on Facebook.

They were fast to becoming good friends. Both needed some space, and being too clingy would have divided them.  A love relationship really wasn't materializing, for too much went on that they needed to recover from.  This was a first for Lacie--meeting a potential boyfriend and not quickly hooking up and into his bed.

Since Lacie wasn't working, she had some quality time with Danny and with Chris. Getting to know Chris better, she looked forward to him taking her for rides on his Harley. Surprisingly, Chris's mom would ask about her welfare, not judging her by what was considered strange appearance. She never questioned her son's choice in his new friendship, happy that he just had a close friend. Lacie's mom was fine with Chris being in her life, too. He didn't seem like the rest--only interested in himself.  

Danny, who was a sweet-natured boy, really enjoyed his company. Danny looked a lot like Lacie, with dark eyes, and a smile that was contagious. Chris would put him on his shoulders and go for a walk with him and Lacie. Danny couldn't wait to do it, the next time.

Chris's twin brother, Jake, on the other hand questioned his brother's logic and choice of Lacie as a friend. "Why would you want to hang around that sick freak? he had wondered. "Forget the crazy chicks from the hospital!"

That did it! Chris would have no mercy on his brother. Soon they got into a shoving match, and then came to blows when Chris threw the first punch. He swung hard, but missed as Jake was quick to duck. It was soon a battle of the brawling twins, and the punches were equally exchanged . Sure, Jake had good muscles, but Chris was taller and more street-smart, quite able to  fight well. Their mom rushed into the living room to break it up.

"Who are you to talk about Lacie like that? You shut your stupid mouth, numb nuts!" Chris warned, his mother still trying to be the referee and peacemaker.

Jake sneered, "Oh, yeah, sure! I'm the stupid one? Like I'm the one who can't get a decent job!." It seemed like that verbal punch had leveled Chris into giving up the fight . Yet in instant, he pushed past his mom, and took one, good swing his brother again. Jake was caught off-guard, completely knocked to the floor.

Exasperated, his mom threatened him. "Stop this right now, or I am calling the police!" Why him and not Jake? His mother's pointed finger at him wounded Chris far deeper than his brother's words or punches.

Chris stormed off and sped away on his Harley.He wanted to see Lacie so badly, but nobody was home. So just sped off again, driving and driving, without any planned destination or any desire to go back home. 

If only he could just leave and never look back.

What was the purpose of his life, anyhow? He sure as hell didn't have a clue. Maybe, now he could really pull off ending his life. It was a mistake to attempt suicide in the house, with the possibility of being caught and stopped. Today, he could race--full force-- into a tree, or a brick wall and nobody could stop him.  

But he realized that he promised Lacie something. He promised to take a college class with her, and he would not go back on his word .

"I now know what I want to do--the first time in my whole, misfit life", Lacie said, her eyes showing excitement. It wasn't Lacie's style to wear her emotions on her sleeve.

"What's that?

"I want to counsel people! I want to counsel drug addicts and alcoholics....like me".

She was serious, yet it was strange. Chris said, "What happened to the girl who thought that psycho babble was BS? Plus, don't you have to finish high school to go to college?"

Lacie laughed, and placed his stubbly face between her hands . "Got that covered, dude! I knew I did not want to work at the dollar store the rest of my life, so I got my GED last year. Best thing I did in a while...other than having Danny. Look, Chris, we made it out alive when he never thought we'd ever go on. We are survivors of the craziness--all that this crazy, insane life has to offer! And we made it, bro! We keep on moving, and we'll keep surviving!"

His expression said to her, *Your little speech is touching, but really? Give me a break!"

"The psych ward--the time at the nut house-- all that hot mess--well, it helped us more than we will admit...at least it did for me", she stated, confidently.

"I don't know", Chris said, doubtingly. "I'm not sure I could stand listening to all those problems--day in and day out. I did think it was interesting, though at the hospital....I don't know...maybe it's worth checking out. It wouldn't hurt to try one class. I'm a college virgin though...not one time did I ever go.Jake has and Kate are miles ahead of me."  

"Screw Jake and Kate! Look!  I never wanted to go to college--but I KNOW I can do it if I really, really, REALLY want to! Don't you wish you had the same chance? Don't you want to prove it? Not to your brother, dude! Prove it to yourself!"

He could not deny that Lacie had wisdom. He admitted, "I thought about it...years ago...but I never knew what I wanted to do. Nothing *still* seems to grab me". He studied Lacie's smirking expression and added, "Sound pretty lame, huh? Like, why I can't figure it out by now".    

"You're not dumb", Lacie insisted. "Give yourself a chance to try".

And so, soon,  they took an introductory class in psychology in a community college. Lacie needed to know if it was really for her. Chris was more of a support for her. Things were going good for him, for he soon found a part- time job delivering furniture at Loring's Furniture Factory. His friend also helped him to get some work at his cousin's car detailing business. Chris was set to work there in the past, before he made his suicide attempt. He now wasn't found with so much time with time on his hands, which was doing nothing for his past situation except increasing his depression.

There was nothing to lose by being busy, the busiest he has ever been. What surprised him was how well he did. He got an A in the introductory class, while Lacie got a B-. And she worked hard, too, putting her heart and soul into the class--and loving it--while Chris wasn't as enthused.

When Lacie and Chris had free time, which wasn't much these days, they would go to local basketball games at his old high school. Other times, they would shoot some hoops together at a recreation center. It was a much appreciated release.They both had a lot on their plates--school and homework for the both of them,  his part-time jobs, and Lacie had her time with Danny, going to counseling, and weekly AA meetings.

It was fun to take on Lacie in basketball. She  might have been small, but she was quick on her feet, and able to handle the ball well. Chris was impressed with her dribbling, and ability to move about the court while dodging his moves on the ball. He showed no mercy on her because of her size and gender. Sometimes, he had the upper hand, but she would amaze him, once making five hoops in a row. They'd laugh as he tried to maneuver the ball away from her--with little luck. He finally gave up exhausted, as Lacie threw up her hands in triumph. Good- natured about it, Chris locked his arms around her waist and picked her up off the ground, spinning her around until they were dizzy.

"Sweet! Good going, Lacie Lou!", he shouted, as he would call her, affectionately.

She laughed like a carefree girl, gazing into his eyes as they both were still catching their breath. He was so beautiful to look at---for a guy--and in that adoring moment she seemed irresistible to him. Chris bent down to kiss her, and she stood up on her toes to reach up closer. He smelled of sweat, but it was attractive. His long, thin fingers surrounded her sides of her head as they embraced in a smooth kiss.

"Not bad", she said, a wicked twinkle in her eye.

"What?"

"The kiss. I liked it...a lot".  

He grinned from ear to ear. "Me, too."

Lacie fanned herself with her hand, and removed her sweatshirt that was over her T-shirt.  In a silly Southern accent she said,  "I declare you are makin' me hot, boy!"

Noticing her angel tattoo with the sad face, again, it finally occurred to Chris to ask her about it. "I like this side of you--the Lacie who lets me see her soft side. You think you're a kick-ass chick, but you aren't so much. That tattoo on your arm doesn't say 'tough' to me. What does it really say, Lacie?"

"Oh, yeah. I am tough--tough as nails", she returned, blowing off the question. She winked at him in her fun, flirtatious way. "And you think you are tougher, Mr. Cutie?"

"No...I don't. You beat me! I'm a wuss.  Isn't it obvious?"

Lacie became serious, looking down at her black polished nails. "I beg to differ. You defended me to your brother. Just remember, I know about the bruises you got that time, too. I got the truth out of you. You didn't want me to know that he was talking smack about me, that he thought I was a basket case." She paused, looked up, and her eyes glistened. "Defending me was one of the nicest things anyone's ever done for me--ever ".

Chris was modest about it, and waved off her comment. "I'd do it all over again. I wouldn't let him get away with it. Anyway, you got the truth out of me. Now what about you? Why don't you answer me?"

"About what?"

"The tattoo is what!"

Lacie grabbed up the ball and started bouncing it. "Oh, that. It's nothing. That's what."

He wasn't going to let this go. Chris insisted, "If you did it, it wasn't pointless".   

"Okay, so what? I got a tattoo. Big deal!  An FYI--I have a few! Duh? Remember, my ex boyfriend did it for a living! I got one on my back, and one on my left buttock." She was obviously annoyed with him.

"I'm just asking."

"Yeah, and I'm just saying that it could be the story of my life, and that would take an hour or more to explain all that crap standing here. It could mean that I fell from grace, from a kid who was pretty good....to...to now." Impatient with him, she blurted out, "Or--news flash-- it could mean that I was just too high or drunk to know what I was doing! I'm not sure anymore. Move on!"

"You aren't that terrible, rotten person that you want people to believe that you are", Chris stated, firmly, placing his arm upon her shoulders.

Lacy just shrugged it off, and started to walk on. "Let's get something to eat. I'm so damned hungry".
                                                
_­________

The next classes that Chris and Lacie were going to take were English Composition and American History. Psychology may have been their major, but they both needed many of the basics in order to get a degree in counseling. Taking some of these classes at a community college was cheaper, and the credits could be transferred, later, to a university. Lacie was determined to study hard and stay on course. If she could survive one class, she could attempt to double her classes and take two.

They had come so far, a far cry from the desperate and despairing days prior to the hospital. Chris was proud of Lacie, for she was blossoming, enjoying her life, again . He wanted to be on the same page as her.

She and Chris signed up again for the next semester. Chris was uncertain that the load would be too much, but he plodded along. In the  first day, homework was already assigned, and more books had to be bought. College was still intimidating for the unlikely pair of students, but it beat the alternative. It was better than getting high for Lacie. It was better than sleeping too much for Chris and having zero motivation.

On the second day of classes, Lacie was surprised that Chris did not show up, not for either class. That wasn't like him. Maybe he was stuck at work--or in traffic. She didn't want to worry herself too much. There was probably a good explanation. But then she tried to call Chris on his cell phone. He didn't answer or return any of her calls.

Alright, what was going on?

Lacie texted Chris. He still didn't respond. I'm getting worried that I can't get a hold of you. Call me back P-L-E-A-S-E, she texted him.

There was still no response. If something happened to Chris, wouldn't she have heard? Maybe not, but why would he do this to her if he was alright? Chris wasn't like that.  She couldn't reach him on Facebook, either, and there were no recent posts on his wall.  Lacie could hardly concentrate on her reading and homework. Her mom noticed something was wrong, without even knowing. It was hard for Lacie to place Danny as her high priority, too.      

"Just go over there and find out for sure if he's alright", Lacie's mom suggested.

"I'm going to have to, Mom", she responded. "It isn't like Chris at all."

So Lacie went to Chris's house, his parent's place. Nobody was home. Panic almost set in, but Lacie told herself to be calm. What if Chris ended up back in the hospital? Things were going so well--at least she thought they were. What if he really did try to kill himself, again? What if he actually died?

Lacie kept trying to call him. She still got the same results--no answer. This was just too much for her. She didn't sleep at all that night. The next day, as soon as she could, she went over to his house. This time,, his mom was home and answered the door.

"Chris is watching TV in the basement", his mom stated. The woman was clueless about how scared and concerned that Lacie truly was. She didn't know Chris was avoiding her, and Lacie didn't tell his mom that she was trying to get a hold of him, that she was worried sick. So she masked the anger that was rising up within.

When Lacie went downstairs, Chris must have assumed it was his mom. His back was towards her as he slouched down in an old armchair, watching reruns of The Mentalist.

"What the hell!" Lacie yelled out.

Startled, Chris jumped up and faced her. "Lacie!"

She put her hands on her hips, in a show of disgust. "What are ya' doing? Hiding here from me? Do you know how worried I was?!  I CALLED and TEXTED you! You DID NOT show up at school! Why'd you disappear, dude?! Why?!"    

Chris looked about the room like he was searching for an answer. He threw up his hands and finally said, "I don't know why."

Lacie's expression grew from red hot to more cold. "Dude, that's so messed up!  "Hey, if you don't want to be my friend, I think I'll survive," she blurted out, sarcastically. "But don't you disappear on me, making me wonder....thinking the worst. Actually caring about you? Go see a psychiatrist and get some help. I'm so done with you and your crap!"

"Hold on!"

Lacie stopped and slowly turned around. She tried to appear calm--but if looks could kill. "What about you?" Chris asked her.

Her eyes narrowed. "Oh? What about me?!"

"Lacie, you sound like a hypocrite. Calling me out! But you're running just like me! Who are you underneath all that dark eyeliner and all that dyed hair that you hide behind?! Really! Who are you? You don't have it so together, Lace! Don't call me out unless you take a good look at who you are!"

She thought he was crazy. "Because I like this look, I'm hiding?! I like who I am, Dr. Sigmund Freud! That's the lamest thing I ever heard! Losing it, much? "

"No",  Chris responded. He paused as Lacie crossed her arms before her. "I'm not saying you aren't pretty because you always are to me. But you haven't arrived, so DON'T judge me. It's obvious that you still carry a lot of guilt around for being alive. Like a hundred pound stone! What happened before you were born--all that shit--shouldn't define you. You were on the run for so long...from yourself, your mom, your son. It's like you are guilty you survived, when the others didn't."

No matter what he said, Chris felt like a fool. Lacie let him have it. "Leave my son the hell out of this! You're acting like such a dick! Who do you think you are to say...I don't...you're PATHETIC! Oh, I could scream bloody murder!" Her muscles were tensing on her neck, and she was beside herself.

Lacie started pacing. " I'm happy, for once, dude! Look at me now!  I'm going to school! Things are going up, not down! I thought I had you in my life, but I was wrong! Be my guest, and go right ahead! Later--not! I'll gladly not touch you with a ten foot pole! Sounds like you would rather sit in this basement and wallow in your miserable self! So do it !"

"Not miserable....scared."

Lacie made her way up the steps, slamming the door behind her. A minute later, she walked back down, stood before Chris and said, "I'm still listening."

Chris was already sitting back down and watching TV. He  stood up to face her, with a more contrite attitude. "I'm sorry, Lace....Lacie Lou."

"Yeah, OK. So now you owe me some explaining. I was really worried about you. Thought you were in the hospital or something."  

"Lacie...I think I love you. No, really...I don;t think. I know...I do."

Her irritated face softened as she looked into his light blue eyes that were now welled up with tears . She responded, "I do, too. That's why I don't get it. You're the best guy I know. You really mean it, don't' you? If you said you love me, then you have to mean it."

Chris attempted to respond, hemmed and hawed, but was stalling for the right words. Lacie's brow furrowed, again. She said, "You are so messed up! You love me, huh, Chris? Well, you SUCK at it. A funny way of showing it, dude!

"Lacie, shut up!"

There was complete silence in the room as Chris turned off the TV. "I'm not finished", he said to her, as she looked stunned. "I can't be what you want me to be. Well...here it is. College isn't for me. Not like you, it isn't. It's not that I don't want to learn. But a big degree isn't it. I'm getting a refund on those classes. Now I am checking into a trade I can probably get into--maybe heating and cooling. I'm good with my hands, and there's plenty of work I can do with them. Anyway, I was wrong...scaring you by not calling you back. It is so disrespectful that it's ridiculous. Lacie, I was so wrong."

Lacie couldn't help it. Tears ran down her face. "OK. So what the hell? What's with you guys, anyway? What's wrong with you that you can't tell me the truth? What's wrong with me? I'll get over it that we won't be in class. I guess it's really my dream...and I'm too selfish to see the signs that it's not yours."

"Lacie...I..."

She quickly interrupted, wiping away the tears with her hand,  "Please don't think for one minute that I don't want to quit--take another drink, have another snort, that I don't desire to steal from my mom for more booze and drugs. It's hard to not blow my top when my son prefers my mom to me. I struggle...still."

"I get that, Lacie. I really do."

"And it does hurt that I don't have my brothers around, that they died and I'm here. It really hurts so  bad, sometimes, that I don't know how it will stop." Lacie broke into sobs, reaching to Chris for comfort as she buried her face into his chest. Chris wrapped his arms around her, and held her tight.

"I'm not running again, Lacie. That is a promise that you can hold me to " He cried, too, as Lacie looked up at him with red eyes, and smeared make-up.

Neither one could guarantee what the future would bring, or fully be able to shut the door on the past, but they would walk on, together, the best that they could. They were, after all, survivors.

he came to the door one night wet thin beaten and
terrorized
a white cross-eyed tailless cat
I took him in and fed him and he stayed
grew to trust me until a friend drove up the driveway
and ran him over
I took what was left to a vet who said,"not much
chance...give him these pills...his backbone
is crushed, but it was crushed before and somehow
mended, if he lives he'll never walk, look at
these x-rays, he's been shot, look here, the pellets
are still there...also, he once had a tail, somebody
cut it off..."

I took the cat back, it was a hot summer, one of the
hottest in decades, I put him on the bathroom
floor, gave him water and pills, he wouldn't eat, he
wouldn't touch the water, I dipped my finger into it
and wet his mouth and I talked to him, I didn't go any-
where, I put in a lot of bathroom time and talked to
him and gently touched him and he looked back at
me with those pale blue crossed eyes and as the days went
by he made his first move
dragging himself forward by his front legs
(the rear ones wouldn't work)
he made it to the litter box
crawled over and in,
it was like the trumpet of possible victory
blowing in that bathroom and into the city, I
related to that cat-I'd had it bad, not that
bad but bad enough

one morning he got up, stood up, fell back down and
just looked at me.

"you can make it," I said to him.

he kept trying, getting up falling down, finally
he walked a few steps, he was like a drunk, the
rear legs just didn't want to do it and he fell again, rested,
then got up.

you know the rest: now he's better than ever, cross-eyed
almost toothless, but the grace is back, and that look in
his eyes never left...

and now sometimes I'm interviewed, they want to hear about
life and literature and I get drunk and hold up my cross-eyed,
shot, runover de-tailed cat and I say,"look, look
at this!"

but they don't understand, they say something like,"you
say you've been influenced by Celine?"

"no," I hold the cat up,"by what happens, by
things like this, by this, by this!"

I shake the cat, hold him up in
the smoky and drunken light, he's relaxed he knows...

it's then that the interviews end
although I am proud sometimes when I see the pictures
later and there I am and there is the cat and we are photo-
graphed together.

he too knows it's bullshit but that somehow it all helps.

13 Apr 2015

No no no, this isn’t one of those commendable confessional rants of redounded reality.
We all know where that goes and what it leads to.
This rhetoric comprises solely of the faulty intuitive comprehension and the bullshit behaviour people have while under the influence of the poor man’s meth.
That could be mistaken for a typo.

Xeno-meph, would be what aliens are called if they did this too.
Extended warranty of your sinus cavity is a must.
And a mouth guard so you don’t churn away at the capricious calcium that are your teeth.
Smoke and dance till lungs and legs collapse.
Talk like you’re the spokesperson for an oil company that’s pillaging life and land.
Change your personality in a minute and become the douche you always wanted to be.
That smart talking, dick wagging, pussy licking, ass fucking, back stabbing, self serving, worthless piece of shit is now you, but it doesn’t feel like that to you.
Rational bullshit, your only reprieve.
Keep doing the same things over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again hoping the outcome will change.
But you’re cool.
You’ve done this before, it’s solvable.
A break. That’s all there’s to it.
The itch in your nose has stopped. Your jaw doesn’t hurt.
You don’t feel like shit, but you know somehow that something is amiss.
Things are not what they seem. Sense doesn’t make itself.
The dark is your sanctum. Fast is your peace.
That’s not a typo.

The world cannot slow down for you.
You have to speed up. Another gram, another line, another lie.
Control is what you say it is.
Handles are what your stomach has.
Fast forward a few months and you don’t have a handle on anything.
You don’t feel down, you feel fine. Nothing’s wrong
But just another fall, and you’re straight out of line.
Justify! Justify! Justify!
Listen, keep listening… Talk! keep talking!
Everything makes sense. Everything is a sense.
The difference is that I’m faster, quicker, sharper.
I’m handicapped.
Leverage is my mind, broken and blind.
I wish that was a typo.

Posted on January 30, 2015

For
              Carl Solomon

                   I

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
      madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
      looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly
      connection to the starry dynamo in the machin-
      ery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat
      up smoking in the supernatural darkness of
      cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities
      contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and
      saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tene-
      ment roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes
      hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy
      among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy &
      publishing obscene odes on the windows of the
      skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burn-
      ing their money in wastebaskets and listening
      to the Terror through the wall,
who got busted in their pubic beards returning through
      Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in
      Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their
      torsos night after night
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, al-
      cohol and cock and endless balls,
incomparable blind; streets of shuddering cloud and
      lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of
      Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the mo-
      tionless world of Time between,
Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery
      dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops,
      storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon
      blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree
      vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brook-
      lyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind,
who chained themselves to subways for the endless
      ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine
      until the noise of wheels and children brought
      them down shuddering mouth-wracked and
      battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance
      in the drear light of Zoo,
who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford's
      floated out and sat through the stale beer after
      noon in desolate Fugazzi's, listening to the crack
      of doom on the hydrogen jukebox,
who talked continuously seventy hours from park to
      pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brook-
      lyn Bridge,
lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping
      down the stoops off fire escapes off windowsills
      off Empire State out of the moon,
yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts
      and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks
      and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars,
whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days
      and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the
      Synagogue cast on the pavement,
who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a
      trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic
      City Hall,
suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grind-
      ings and migraines of China under junk-with-
      drawal in Newark's bleak furnished room,
who wandered around and around at midnight in the
      railroad yard wondering where to go, and went,
      leaving no broken hearts,
who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing
      through snow toward lonesome farms in grand-
      father night,
who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telep-
      athy and bop kabbalah because the cosmos in-
      stinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas,
who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking vis-
      ionary indian angels who were visionary indian
      angels,
who thought they were only mad when Baltimore
      gleamed in supernatural ecstasy,
who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Okla-
      homa on the impulse of winter midnight street
      light smalltown rain,
who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston
      seeking jazz or sex or soup, and followed the
      brilliant Spaniard to converse about America
      and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship
      to Africa,
who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving
      behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees
      and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in fire
      place Chicago,
who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the
      F.B.I. in beards and shorts with big pacifist
      eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out incom-
      prehensible leaflets,
who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting
      the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism,
who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union
      Square weeping and undressing while the sirens
      of Los Alamos wailed them down, and wailed
      down Wall, and the Staten Island ferry also
      wailed,
who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked
      and trembling before the machinery of other
      skeletons,
who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight
      in policecars for committing no crime but their
      own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication,
who howled on their knees in the subway and were
      dragged off the roof waving genitals and manu-
      scripts,
who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly
      motorcyclists, and screamed with joy,
who blew and were blown by those human seraphim,
      the sailors, caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean
      love,
who balled in the morning in the evenings in rose
      gardens and the grass of public parks and
      cemeteries scattering their semen freely to
      whomever come who may,
who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up
      with a sob behind a partition in a Turkish Bath
      when the blond & naked angel came to pierce
      them with a sword,
who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate
      the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar
      the one eyed shrew that winks out of the womb
      and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but
      sit on her ass and snip the intellectual golden
      threads of the craftsman's loom,
who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of
      beer a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a can-
      dle and fell off the bed, and continued along
      the floor and down the hall and ended fainting
      on the wall with a vision of ultimate cunt and
      come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness,
who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling
      in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning
      but prepared to sweeten the snatch of the sun
      rise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked
      in the lake,
who went out whoring through Colorado in myriad
      stolen night-cars, N.C., secret hero of these
      poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver--joy
      to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls
      in empty lots & diner backyards, moviehouses'
      rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or with
      gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely pet-
      ticoat upliftings & especially secret gas-station
      solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys too,
who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in
      dreams, woke on a sudden Manhattan, and
      picked themselves up out of basements hung
      over with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third
      Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemploy-
      ment offices,
who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on
      the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the
      East River to open to a room full of steamheat
      and opium,
who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment
      cliff-banks of the Hudson under the wartime
      blue floodlight of the moon & their heads shall
      be crowned with laurel in oblivion,
who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested
      the crab at the muddy bottom of the rivers of
      Bowery,
who wept at the romance of the streets with their
      pushcarts full of onions and bad music,
who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the
      bridge, and rose up to build harpsichords in
      their lofts,
who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned
      with flame under the tubercular sky surrounded
      by orange crates of theology,
who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty
      incantations which in the yellow morning were
      stanzas of gibberish,
who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht
      & tortillas dreaming of the pure vegetable
      kingdom,
who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for
      an egg,
who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot
      for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks
      fell on their heads every day for the next decade,
who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccess-
      fully, gave up and were forced to open antique
      stores where they thought they were growing
      old and cried,
who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits
      on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse
      & the tanked-up clatter of the iron regiments
      of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the
      fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of sinis-
      ter intelligent editors, or were run down by the
      drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality,
who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually hap-
      pened and walked away unknown and forgotten
      into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alley
      ways & firetrucks, not even one free beer,
who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of
      the subway window, jumped in the filthy Pas-
      saic, leaped on negroes, cried all over the street,
      danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed
      phonograph records of nostalgic European
      1930s German jazz finished the whiskey and
      threw up groaning into the bloody toilet, moans
      in their ears and the blast of colossal steam
      whistles,
who barreled down the highways of the past journeying
      to each other's hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude
      watch or Birmingham jazz incarnation,
who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out
      if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had
      a vision to find out Eternity,
who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who
      came back to Denver & waited in vain, who
      watched over Denver & brooded & loned in
      Denver and finally went away to find out the
      Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes,
who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying
      for each other's salvation and light and breasts,
      until the soul illuminated its hair for a second,
who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for
      impossible criminals with golden heads and the
      charm of reality in their hearts who sang sweet
      blues to Alcatraz,
who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky
      Mount to tender Buddha or Tangiers to boys
      or Southern Pacific to the black locomotive or
      Harvard to Narcissus to Woodlawn to the
      daisychain or grave,
who demanded sanity trials accusing the radio of hyp
      notism & were left with their insanity & their
      hands & a hung jury,
who threw potato salad at CCNY lecturers on Dadaism
      and subsequently presented themselves on the
      granite steps of the madhouse with shaven heads
      and harlequin speech of suicide, demanding in-
      stantaneous lobotomy,
and who were given instead the concrete void of insulin
      Metrazol electricity hydrotherapy psycho-
      therapy occupational therapy pingpong &
      amnesia,
who in humorless protest overturned only one symbolic
      pingpong table, resting briefly in catatonia,
returning years later truly bald except for a wig of
      blood, and tears and fingers, to the visible mad
      man doom of the wards of the madtowns of the
      East,
Pilgrim State's Rockland's and Greystone's foetid
      halls, bickering with the echoes of the soul, rock-
      ing and rolling in the midnight solitude-bench
      dolmen-realms of love, dream of life a night-
      mare, bodies turned to stone as heavy as the
      moon,
with mother finally **, and the last fantastic book
      flung out of the tenement window, and the last
      door closed at 4. A.M. and the last telephone
      slammed at the wall in reply and the last fur-
      nished room emptied down to the last piece of
      mental furniture, a yellow paper rose twisted
      on a wire hanger in the closet, and even that
      imaginary, nothing but a hopeful little bit of
      hallucination--
ah, Carl, while you are not safe I am not safe, and
      now you're really in the total animal soup of
      time--
and who therefore ran through the icy streets obsessed
      with a sudden flash of the alchemy of the use
      of the ellipse the catalog the meter & the vibrat-
      ing plane,
who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space
      through images juxtaposed, and trapped the
      archangel of the soul between 2 visual images
      and joined the elemental verbs and set the noun
      and dash of consciousness together jumping
      with sensation of Pater Omnipotens Aeterna
      Deus
to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human
      prose and stand before you speechless and intel-
      ligent and shaking with shame, rejected yet con-
      fessing out the soul to conform to the rhythm
      of thought in his naked and endless head,
the madman bum and angel beat in Time, unknown,
      yet putting down here what might be left to say
      in time come after death,
and rose reincarnate in the ghostly clothes of jazz in
      the goldhorn shadow of the band and blew the
      suffering of America's naked mind for love into
      an eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani saxophone
      cry that shivered the cities down to the last radio
with the absolute heart of the poem of life butchered
      out of their own bodies good to eat a thousand
      years.

                   II

What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open
      their skulls and ate up their brains and imagi-
      nation?
Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unob
      tainable dollars! Children screaming under the
      stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men
      weeping in the parks!
Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the
      loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy
      judger of men!
Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the
      crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of
      sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgment!
      Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stun-
      ned governments!
Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose
      blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers
      are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a canni-
      bal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking
      tomb!
Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows!
      Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long
      streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose fac-
      tories dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose
      smokestacks and antennae crown the cities!
Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch
      whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch
      whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch
      whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen!
      Moloch whose name is the Mind!
Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream
      Angels! Crazy in Moloch! Cocksucker in
      Moloch! Lacklove and manless in Moloch!
Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom
      I am a consciousness without a body! Moloch
      who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy!
      Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in Moloch!
      Light streaming out of the sky!
Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs!
      skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic
      industries! spectral nations! invincible mad
      houses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs!
They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pave-
      ments, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to
      Heaven which exists and is everywhere about
      us!
Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies!
      gone down the American river!
Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole
      boatload of sensitive bullshit!
Breakthroughs! over the river! flips and crucifixions!
      gone down the flood! Highs! Epiphanies! De-
      spairs! Ten years' animal screams and suicides!
      Minds! New loves! Mad generation! down on
      the rocks of Time!
Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all! the
      wild eyes! the holy yells! They bade farewell!
      They jumped off the roof! to solitude! waving!
      carrying flowers! Down to the river! into the
      street!

                   III

Carl Solomon! I'm with you in Rockland
      where you're madder than I am
I'm with you in Rockland
      where you must feel very strange
I'm with you in Rockland
      where you imitate the shade of my mother
I'm with you in Rockland
      where you've murdered your twelve secretaries
I'm with you in Rockland
      where you laugh at this invisible humor
I'm with you in Rockland
      where we are great writers on the same dreadful
      typewriter
I'm with you in Rockland
      where your condition has become serious and
      is reported on the radio
I'm with you in Rockland
      where the faculties of the skull no longer admit
      the worms of the senses
I'm with you in Rockland
      where you drink the tea of the breasts of the
      spinsters of Utica
I'm with you in Rockland
      where you pun on the bodies of your nurses the
      harpies of the Bronx
I'm with you in Rockland
      where you scream in a straightjacket that you're
      losing the game of the actual pingpong of the
      abyss
I'm with you in Rockland
      where you bang on the catatonic piano the soul
      is innocent and immortal it should never die
      ungodly in an armed madhouse
I'm with you in Rockland
      where fifty more shocks will never return your
      soul to its body again from its pilgrimage to a
      cross in the void
I'm with you in Rockland
      where you accuse your doctors of insanity and
      plot the Hebrew socialist revolution against the
      fascist national Golgotha
I'm with you in Rockland
      where you will split the heavens of Long Island
      and resurrect your living human Jesus from the
      superhuman tomb
I'm with you in Rockland
      where there are twenty-five-thousand mad com-
      rades all together singing the final stanzas of the Internationale
I'm with you in Rockland
      where we hug and kiss the United States under
      our bedsheets the United States that coughs all
      night and won't let us sleep
I'm with you in Rockland
      where we wake up electrified out of the coma
      by our own souls' airplanes roaring over the
      roof they've come to drop angelic bombs the
      hospital illuminates itself  imaginary walls col-
      lapse   O skinny legions run outside  O starry
      spangled shock of mercy the eternal war is
      here   O victory forget your underwear we're
      free
I'm with you in Rockland
      in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-
      journey on the highway across America in tears
      to the door of my cottage in the Western night

                                        San Francisco 1955-56

acidpoetry Dec 2014

Color has filled the world since we claimed it ours 
To use as we please with no control of the powers 
It's gone on far enough, this senseless killing has to stop 
Before martial law takes over and we're thrown off the top 
This isn't the world that needs to ever exist
Where hate is loved and the government resists
Oh how weak they are, giving mercy to a white man
But that's their nature and how they hate the ones that ran
I've lost hope for peace for those up north
As this war keeps on going back and forth
The chaos and bloodshed is unnecessary and wrong
As our youth are cut from singing their sad song
What do they think is good from letting a murderer walk?
Do they think it's okay because he let his lawyers talk?
No, this is bullshit and absolutely outrageous 
Imagine it backwards and you see it in the pages:
Black officer shoots a white, unarmed boy
He gets sentenced today, they treat him like a toy
But a white officer kills a black boy and nobody bats an eye
As they let him free to be part of another drive-by
It's disgusting how injustice has taken full control
In a land of the "free" filled with those that lost their soul
It's all fucked up and straight up morally and politically wrong 
But nobody listens to the minority's song

Welcome to America. 

-n.d.g.

I wrote this a week ago and forgot to post it but here you all go, just my thoughts.
unknown May 2014

Bullshit sprinkled with diamonds
That's life in seven syllables
Can we find the diamonds
They're so minimal
I find them in my shoes when I step on shit
and I always feel like it's not shit
But I suppose I'll keep them in my pocket until I slip off the edge into hell

My friend had a blessing and cursing sort of situation and I replied with "Life is bullshit sprinkled with diamonds" and decided I should actually write it down and came up with this.
Ron Gavalik May 2015

In the mid-1990s I worked as a bartender
on the second floor of a local hotdog joint
near the University of Pittsburgh.
I poured beers and mixed simple drinks
for working class drunks.
The felons always had a game or a magic trick
they’d use to milk rubes for a free gin and tonic.
College students mostly stayed away,
but the ones who stumbled in ordered drafts,
paid for by daddy’s allowance
or the petty drug rackets they ran on campus.
In the summer, the best sluts came around,
tits pushed out of their tops,
ass cheeks crept below their skirts.
They knew how to find action
every single night.

Except one overweight girl named Susie
from the all girl’s school down the road.
She’d come to the bar alone,
her lips caked with dark red lipstick.
Like many students, Susie wanted to be older.
She’d order vodka martinis,
drink quietly, and she’d patiently wait
for one of the older drunks to make a move.
It never happened.

Sometimes Susie complained to me
about other girls at her college,
that they were aggressive lesbians.
All of them wanted to eat her snatch.
‘Those bitches are as bad as the men,’ she’d say.
But then she’d laugh it off.
‘I really love cock,’ she told me.
‘I think about cock and cum all the time.’

One night Susie owed the bar $27.50.
She always tried to flirt her way past the tab.
I never let her get away with it.
‘Do you like me?’ she said.
I laid down my trademark response,
‘You’re the best.’
‘No, do you really like me?’
I figured she deserved a real compliment.
‘You have the sexiest lips here.’

She climbed off the barstool
and walked to the backdoor, the fire escape.
She then curled her finger at me to join her.
Outside on the small rusted iron landing,
above the roach-filled dumpster,
Susie crouched between my legs.
Both of us worked to unbuckle my belt.
A swarm of hands pulled down my jeans.
I looked up at the few stars between buildings
as those red lips and soft tongue became my drug,
a back alley escape from a bullshit life.
When I unloaded, she refused to let go.
She swallowed it all. $27.50 paid in full,
plus tip.

That’s how we went for a while.
I gave Susie small escapes from lesbians.
Susie gave me small escapes from life.
Eventually, she stopped coming around.
I figured she graduated.
Perhaps her classmates finally got their wish.
Either way, I never saw her again.

To be included in my next collection, Slag River Sins.
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