The Neighborhood

Go on, boy.   Bang it out. Then drink it in–irony tastes refreshingly bitter on the leading edge of a fifth decade.  So better to keep drinking while grinding through.  Consuming the madness.  Choking on the chemicalization.  Calculating paths of least resistance across the face of an uncooperative schedule. Because what’s another day of mittened mania, here in the hostile land of QD Donut Munchers? Freaking out in the absence of never fitting in.  Always the weird one.  The one watching from the meadowed periphery of entanglement.  Living out of bags and boxes.  Running scared from a hunting Wolverine wolf pack of rabid mediocrity.  The native predators pushing out the immigrant fox at the expense of his gentle collaboration.  Pressing somehow past self-inflicted boundaries.  Fingers ready on …

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Homecoming

Heading back again across county lines a bitten straggler.  Just a dirty, exhausted Boulevard Boy limping back to where he doesn’t really belong.   Not the homecoming once imagined.  That foolish ideal was born years ago––an unearned right surrendered to the whims of violence.  But in those adrenaline tainted moments of its birth, just the idea of that ideal was enough to help keep me alive.  Because it meant that in some improbable way, I was actually wanted.  And that everything I had sacrificed somehow mattered.   But then came that night when I should have died.  That changed everything.  And afterwards, not much else seemed to really matter.     Including me.   Somewhere between those extremes, I was left an intimate trespasser.  A sweaty nightmare …

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Post-pandemic Saginaw Blues

Half seven on a Mitten Thursday and accidentally whiskey tickled. Not what I expected from the day. But days are seldom what I expect anymore. So no point in demanding something different. I have always been more of a homewrecker word rocker. Because it is more fun. And that leaves the metaphorical boats under the direction of more capable captains, ones not afraid of navigating deeper waters. So I got caught chasing white lines with the White Stripes down West Saginaw. Because things belong with similar things. Otherwise it all breaks down, this illusion of civility. And I needed a spark to trigger me out of a lingering post-pandemic hangover. Because suddenly, we were all going to die. Touching groceries was a gamble. Wash everything; don’t …

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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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