Literary Bad Boy

She was a beautiful mess in a pretty sundress. Bright floral print and provocatively translucent. Short enough to tease urges from lingering winter hibernation. And just long enough to project modesty.   Freckled skin smelled of girly things. Hair spray and perfume; make-up and lotions. All those mysterious concoctions that boys just don’t understand. But to which they find themselves inexplicably drawn. Like horny moths to the gleaming heat of a summer porch light.   Her imperfect beauty clashed with his ramshackle presence. A worn t-shirt advertising his favorite fictional band. Sneakers more holes than tread. Sunglasses hiding eyes that went to sleep smoking. And woke up on fire.     She smelled of flowers; he smelled like the streets. That odd mixture of cigarette smoke, sweat, …

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The Dirty Boulevard

I fought my way through hell. But, I was lucky enough to have kissed an angel. I felt the scaring prick of abuse. But, then I blushed hard against the curve of alabaster skin.  And delighted in her freckles counted there.  I wanted to give each a name.  And celebrate the imprint of their uniqueness. Forever. Instead, rough fingers traced the smoother edges of a dream right before the wake-up call of another scheduled good-bye. A clean dream.  One in which healthier avenues would eventually prevail.  And claim gentle victory over the forces of narcissistic intent. But being born to wander the dirty Boulevard leaves little room for acclimation.  Or even acceptance.  Not when legalities constantly threaten.  And commitment teeters under the influence of abusive memory.  …

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Capital City Consequence

More miles than meaning.  And, that must mean something.   Even if it’s just words quivering over asphalt.  Chasing empty roads.  Or another fragile dream stumbling down another broken Boulevard.   Consequence.   The dirty offspring of (in)decision.   I tried loving myself once.  I just never did a very good job of loving myself back.  Because it was confusing.  A foreign concept never properly explained in domestic fashion.   So I learned other lessons instead.   How to fight.  First, with words.  Then later, more deadly intentions.   Soldier mode.   A simple switch of humanity flipped off. Not with the heated gesture vigorously displayed towards an endless parade of shitty Michigan drivers.  But the switch inside my head.  That dark space too ugly to …

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Deer Prints

Broken trees bend in a familiar meadow. A cloudlessly blue Mitten sky hangs bright. Covering unsteady ground. But not taking any notes.   Because nature keeps her secrets. Right along with mine. Not where the crawdads sing. But, down in the holler. Where foxes play.   Fresh deer prints on the trail; vines stripped from all the pines. The ones pulled free and trimmed, to spark warmth in the chill of a star-filled Clinton County night.   Anticipation hangs. Like frozen exhalations in winter. Impatient for growth; hungry for the spring.   Sounds carry strange, caught in the grip of a Capitol City December. Voices echo harder; vibrations, they linger.   The songs of nature rhyme–strange words for a city boy caught out of his elements …

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Smokestacks

A curious brutality is born whenever hearts combine.    It is often accidental. Seldom intentional. And if it is, that’s a type of abuse better captured by other, more competent, writers. My talents aren’t nearly impartial enough to ever capture that peculiar complexity.    It just sort of happens; no one is really at fault. Feelings and expectations combine as the commonality of mutual experience meld into a comforting pattern of disconnect. One that eventually erupts unexpectedly on some random Clinton County Wednesday morning.     It was a long time in coming, that breakdown of communication. There is only so much compassion one can find after only a few hours of sleep stretched out hard on thinly padded living room patio furniture. And before the strength …

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Harvest Moon

Michigan hardens tonight, leaving me to starve under a harvest moon.    The corn is ripe and ready for the reaping.  Bounty fills these flyover fields still strange to me, though at first glance, they were eerily familiar.  The new land of plenty and promise; opportunity and advancement.  Flourishing and thriving in the nurturing warmth of sharp Spartan sunshine.    But things are always different at night.    When the streets are deserted.  Save for the pinball shuffling of urban zombies caught juggling their burdens.  Be it addiction.  Or homelessness.  Or even mental illness.    I hand out smokes like a malignant Johnny Rotten Appleseed.  And I’m happy to help keep the cravings of strangers away.  Because I know what it is to do without.  Or …

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Black Pack Nights

Out walking whiskey drunk through the hood on a stale Indiana night.  On the hunt for a tobacco strong enough to see me through until the dawn.  Because I know that the sleep just isn’t going to come.    And that makes me nervous.    The air is heavy like an uncomfortable blanket.     Everything feels like it moves in slower motion.    The claustrophobia of humidity covers the darker realms of an ineffectual American Dream.  The part where everything is bought on credit and financial viability remains stubbornly dependent on the next payday that’s always too many fucking days away.    Various smells hang suspended–the unhealthy perfume of poverty.  Greasy foods cooked for greasy patrons at the corner bar.  Unmistakable whiffs of marijuana.  The baked …

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It’s Okay

It’s okay.  Go on.  Cry as hard as you can.  No one will see.  Drink a cold beer in a hot shower.  Make a silly face in the mirror.  Eat something.  Let your favorite playlist flow.  Even if you’ve heard the songs a million times.  Breathe.  Remember that chapters are supposed to end.  Stories evolve.  Hearts make mistakes.  It’s okay to be broken.  Forgive yourself.  Learn.  Fill the canvas.  Experiment with color.  Break the rules.  But don’t be a dick about it.  Boundaries are more fun from the other side.  Love fiercely.  Live unapologetically.  Surrender to the ridiculous.  Let experience run wild.  Challenge expectations.  Read everything you get your hands on.  Explore.   Answer every call.  Say yes more than you say no.  Laugh at yourself before …

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