Corn Stalks

Early on a Tuesday– they think it must have been after midnight– a good friend followed through on a promise.  A promise I had unfortunately heard often, and with shifting levels of conviction, over the last several years as personal challenges mounted.  But somehow, I always managed to talk her back from that ledge.   This year, though, it was different.     Instead of picking up the fucking phone, she first picked up the bottle– I wonder if she suspected I’d just use clever words to change her mind.  All I know for certain is that she wrote a note filled with regret on cheap motel stationery.  A brief synopsis of a life she felt she lived…wrong.  Nothing but naked regret and echoing apologies ringed in …

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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 …

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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 …

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War

There is no right.  There is usually only the wrong.  There is only the pungent, durable odors of hot metallic blood, burnt cordite, smeared shit, and sweaty bodies unbathed for weeks- because somebody had to hold the line.  Fragile temperament struggling against inhospitable, improvised environments.  Soft flesh against rigid alloys.  Malleable bone against tracked vehicles and hovering drones.   Just meat against metal.  And metal always wins.  Glory holds little meaning when a friend claws at the twitching stump where a healthy limb used to be.  There is nothing glorious in hearing a 22 year old whimper and cry out for the loving embrace of his mama.  Because he knows for certain that he’s about to die, while a chorus of words from friends ringing round him …

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Truck Wash Blues

I accidentally stumbled into a bit of money. It wasn’t a lot– a fraction of what I actually need. And it came to me not for the quality of work performed, but more from a place of pity. Not that the origin mattered. Bruised pride did not keep me from cashing the check. It was enough to stock the pantry of poverty- cheap, processed, convenient portions of sadness to later be microwaved in solitude. But even that was a stretch, given the skyrocketing costs of living. So I cancelled future meals for the sake of more immediate beers. Because it was just that kind of day. It was inevitable that I would find myself drawn to that familiar little hill. The odometer of existence was on …

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I Got Dem Ol’ Bubblegum Machine Blues

I woke up far too late in the day after having had far too many beers late into the night.  The spring sky was grey, threatening rain as I sat getting myself caffeinated, and had it not been for my voracious appetite for tobacco, I most likely would have stayed hidden away safely in the boredom of my little blue house for the day.  But, knowing the half of a pack that I had on hand wasn’t going to be nearly enough to get me through the night that I could already feel barreling my way, there was no choice but to head out into the world.  The local neighborhood market was its usual version of awfulness.  It was more crowded than normal, filled with pinballing …

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Total Ellipsis of the Heart…

It seems the whole of my existence is bound by the rigid principles of punctuation. All these tiny marks punched into thin paper help to anchor me, late into an unseasonably snowy spring night when the muffled blanket of unexpected purity strains to cover this sickly City of Wayne shivering alone in the dark.  Little tangible reminders, peppering the fragility of an entirely different whiteness, deeply regimented and somehow keeping time with the lullaby piano music echoing through an empty blue house teetering on new collapse, stand out to me and I realize just how deeply I am caught in their embrace.  Sometimes, they hit harsh and unforgiving.  Sometimes, like a heated, diasterous love affair tragically crumbling into that inevitable bittersweet nothingness, you simply cannot escape …

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