Friday, May 28, 2010


HIGHWAY PSALM


I can feel the heat, and the forlorn
wind of miles whipping by, my tongue
a tattooed receipt, still spending past
the point of no sales return. I am
the Optimized Package, I am
the down payment filled with sand.
I am a miser sun-sick with fever,
feeling his palms blister and peel
and thinking that was the greatest
gift ever recieved. I am the snake-eyed
hologram of the Old West, beckoning
people on into the unspooled future,
only to give them an empty package
filled with their past…

Sunday, May 23, 2010



SYSTEM CHECK


When did I know? When did I shrug off the kink in my neck
and it just clicked, “This is it,” and I let the unspooling
reels carry me to their pre-arranged destination? When did
I become a witness, not for the prosecution but to myself,
when did I declare the driver’s seat officially abandoned, a
cinderblock on the gas pedal, and all systems go?

Saturday, May 15, 2010


FOUNDLING


I found an old, faded black & white photo taped to the
bottom of a dresser drawer at my parents’ house, its’

edges cracked and pointing downward like accusing
stalactite fingers, the brown fog of age already encroaching
on the image: a young tyke, barely out of his swaddling,
and damned if that doesn’t look a lot like me at a certain
age, squinting into the sun, and damned if I can’t guess
what was on my mind next…Just how many crimes can a
guy commit in one day?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


CALL ME ISHMAEL


You know why? Because I said so.
If I live long enough to make it to an airport
without losing any oxygen, if I use my mouth
to get me through the front door, sign where
it was dotted, breeze out from whence I came,
I could be a new and wholly invented self-made
man, I could write my own ticket. Yeah, the best
laid plans.

Monday, May 10, 2010


REDUNDANCY


Stories are funny. Some of them start off small,
and some of them end up big, and some times
you’re so in the middle of them, you can’t see the
foregone conclusions for the trees. That’s where I
start. From bust. I was done before the set-up
began. Someone was already laughing by the time
I crossed the punch line. Done before I was
finished. That sounds like me.

Friday, May 7, 2010


REVERSE SALES


My brother was a salesman. He was the best kind. He
could sell death. It’s what he called, “the ice breaker” or
the “starter party.” Follow the wake, he always said.
Headlights at noon. Another funeral. He wasn’t an
ambulance chaser. He preferred a hearse. He said the
clincher was when the dirt hit the coffin, he said it was like
a giant eye winking, when you first realize all that
burnished mahogany is going down with the worms. He said
it’s like automatic reverse psychology. Instead of thinking,
“What’s the use? We’re all going to end up here?” you
wonder, “Who’s gonna give me the good send-off?” And
then he’s there, pamphlet in hand. But sometimes, you
bury the wrong person…

Thursday, May 6, 2010


CHANGELING


I was conceived in one of those dump-your-car-keys-in-a-
bowl 70’s swinger parties that everyone’s too embarrassed
to admit ever took place.

I was conceived on the living room floor, beneath a haze of
secondhand smoke and a few bowls of half-chewed cocktail
peanuts. Bad idea. Lots of awkward silence.

When I was older, I would come downstairs and revel in
the stench of aftermath, of sizzled pleasure, knowing I bore
that cloak like a placenta.

I’ve been waiting for you to find me.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


BEHIND THE BLIND


The metronomic tick-tock
of your high heels on the pavement
makes me draw back my curtain
to search the rain-slicked night street,
but you’re already past
the kingdom of my sight…