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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

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 …

Read More

Living the American Nightmare

It was in the between years when I functioned best.     Those chunks of sticky time that aren’t really story worthy.  Yet still somehow remain stubborn enough to fester in these later years.  They were an unstable foundation of mortgaged mediocrity that I knew was poisoning me.  Killing me slowly in measured servings of bland suburban nothingness.  Because the American dream only really works if you are sleeping.  And everyone surrounding me was dutifully tucked in, on the clock, and snuggled deep in their 401(k)s.    But I almost never sleep.  So I saw it all.  Like a map inside my head.  The pitfalls and overlapping social implications.  The selling out when certain lines intersected.  The consequences of betting bad on desperate odds– it was worth …

Read More

Blueberry Whine

Outside, the face of a sunny Monday has collapsed into darkness.  Inside, blueberry wine is poured into a stained coffee mug.  Because it was her favorite.  But I can’t even do that without somehow soiling it.   It was a long battle.  One she had fought previously on two occasions. And somehow managed to win.  But the third time was not her charm.  Those misguided percentages were just another fucking lie.   Through it all, I cheered for her.  Celebrated her songs.  Learned all the words.  Debated that cross-country trip when I first heard the news.  She helped me to live; I wanted to help her die.  But, I didn’t go.  Because when that idea was proposed, we were still lying to ourselves—everything would be okay. …

Read More

Kissing the Kankakee Goodbye

We pushed west burning out on crushed ephedrine energy, ignoring reflected cautions and riding the empty overnight hard.  Blackness yawned in fields of dead corn—just empty space where headlights punctured conversation.  And that blankness gave our demons more room to play.   Chain-smoking prepackaged intentions.  And drinking preconceived confessions.  Allowing angry bluegrass to help keep the time.  Leaving a window cracked to let the smoke merge with the first hits of an indignant dawn rising behind in a blurry Indiana rear-view mirror.    She sat quietly—a detached passenger, as Starke County disappeared.  I did my best to give chase—in-patient freedom waited, impatiently, just across state lines.  But only if I pushed hard enough.  Because I knew we had to gain the ground before those damn demons …

Read More

Scars

Born into an abundance of melancholy, I somehow survived with a stubborn gratitude for the unpredictability of biology.   I was born a broken child in a broken world; mine was a throwaway first breath.  I grew, terrified.  And then I was loved.  Which confused me.  And taught me to never trust.   I was the wrong kind of sick to sustain empathy.  So I became a destroyer of fragile connection.  An unrepentant killer of ego.  My words the brutally efficient weapon of choice.  Strike first; hit hard.  Be clever; be unclean.  Be willing to cross boundaries designating safe zones to leave no potential left standing.  Just blowing it all the fuck up– before it could ever let me down.   Because the catastrophic hurt of abandonment …

Read More

Fuck You, Karen

A significant co-conspirator sits rigidly on the desk in front of me. To most, it is probably viewed as just a cast-off anachronism left lingering from a by-gone era.  Or maybe a solid footprint of trendy, hipster typewriter nonsense.  But to me, it is the only tool that ever helped me truly unlock the stories of me. It forces me to focus while simultaneously allowing me the freedom to explore, free from electric distractions.  I can break rules without angry suggestions interfering with my flow– because my mind is wired to fix immediate problems.  And the evil red squiggles found glowing on other machines always win the battle for my attentions. It’s a much-abused Sterling– an absolute brute of a writing machine.  Not as pretty as …

Read More