DESCRIPTIONS

(2009 - 2015)

 

 

 

PROSE, part I

 

 

 

Billy Quiet

 

Billy Quiet decided to change his career one more time. In 2016 when alternative sound channels became available to public for watching any TV program, he proclaimed himself “an exceptional sport event commentator” and got his license the next day after multiple-channel regulation was finalized. His comments were always very sparse, probably because he would comment on the sports he would not even know rules for and, let's face it - he did not care. Almost immediately he drew a large body of audience that seemed to appreciate him not saying predictable phrases and clichés. His most famous line, at the height of his career, was "I think the score just got changed. Please, refer to the electronic board for more details." Then there would be no comment for another 10 minutes, even if the score changed again.

 

In three years he had no competition whatsoever for he was able to keep his mouth shut so elegantly, consistently and, needless to say, financially successfully. People started talking about his "big one", which would refer to the game during which he'd made no comment at all, not a single one. He, more than anyone else, realized that such game would indicate the end of his spectacularly quiet career. 

 

Billy was not married and he did not have a girlfriend. In his early flurries, he had only one acquaintance - a Chinese chef who lived next door. His name was Chan. Mr. Chan. 

Mr. Chan did not care about sports and he had no idea what Billy did for living. It seemed to be fine with both of them. Billy liked Mr. Chan very much because Mr. Chan was not talkative; he was a quiet kind, but quiet in a different way. Mr. Chan's only known expression was "Seattle is big on teriyaki. It's not good, it's just big."

 

Since nobody really knew how Billy looked, he'd take advantage of loud bars where people would drink a lot and watch the game on huge TV screens. He'd try to find the place inside with a spot (or two, hopefully) available right next to him and pretend that he was watching the game attentively. When a newcomer would appear and take a place next to him and ask in the friendliest way “what's the score?” Billy would answer very quickly, without any hesitation: "5:2", just spitting out random numbers that would not even be applicable to the game.

 

Billy tried to understand why he kept doing that but was unable to find the answer – this unexplainable behavior, just like his successful career, was a complete mystery for him. “One day I should talk to Mr. Chan about this,” he’d say to himself from time to time but somehow this ‘one day’ never came.

 

 

Predictable Spontaneity 

Martha turned back to Douglas at the street light and asked calmly from her driving seat, “So there are two of us in the car and you decide to ride in the back. Is this a statement of some sort?”
“Oh, no,” Douglas replied readily. “It's just an attempt to change my life by applying spontaneous actions to pretty much everything I do.”
“Even at work?”
“Especially at work!” he exclaimed not without pride. “And even more so, on my way to and from work.”
“What do you mean exactly?”
“Well, I try taking different routes, even if it takes longer. In fact, it always takes longer now. Last week I went across Bay Bridge all the way to Oakland and got stuck in traffic for 2 and a half hours.”
“So what good did it do, really?” she asked with a hint of slight irritation. 
“You would not believe it but I found myself close to the place where my old friend lives. I - spontaneously, mind you, drove by and saw him through the front window. I did not even have to call, just waved at him, he let me in and we had a great conversation about life. It's been a while, you know.” 
“Hmmm, that's very nice. What happened then?”
“Nothing really, I did not go to work that day, spontaneously.”
Martha looked at him in the rear view mirror, obviously concerned. “Anything else happened that day?” she asked.
Douglas hesitated for a moment. 
“Well,” he started slowly, “I meant to talk to you about this.”
Martha looked even more concerned, she started to become nervous and felt an uncomfortable itching on her back. “The thing is,” he continued, “I missed an important meeting that day, a big one. So big and so important that a lot of damage had been done, a lot of money lost. To cut a long story short - they fired me. I no longer have a job.”
Martha slammed on the brakes, almost getting hit by the car behind. “You know what?” she said angrily, turning back to him. “I have a spontaneous decision right now. Get the fuck out of my car.”
Douglas realized, she was not joking. He nodded twice, opened the door and got out. Martha drove away as fast as she possibly could. "Spontaneous asshole," she said aloud. That made her feel better. She stopped the car and backed slowly to the place where Douglas was left. He still was standing there, smiling, thinking that she returned to pick him up.

"Spontaneous asshole!" she yelled at him to his face through the open window, and drove away, this time for good.  

 

 

Suicide Classes

 

Things have not been going well for George. At 54, he was looking back at his life as a chain of uncolorful events, relations and transitions from phase X to phase X+1, where the difference between the phases would be only a hopeless number. From time to time he tried to look into the future but saw nothing.  Lack of intelligence, education and the intangible quality, for which there is no definite term, have not allowed him to live in the present and simply be happy. Something big and important was permanently missing in his life.

 

It was no surprise when one fine Saturday morning, in spite of sunny warm spring paradise blooming outside, he started thinking about “getting it over with”. But how? He was not afraid to die, he was afraid to continue living this way. The old way. Sipping his regular ok-tasting coffee and paging through his regular newspaper, he noticed something highly unusual - the title of one ad resonated with him right away, he even raised his left brow a little. "Suicide Classes", the ad read. He started reading and felt as if two or three ants were climbing up his spine, all the way up to the neck.

"Can't take it any longer? Want to get it over with? Come to our classes, it won't take long. 100% satisfaction guaranteed!"  At the end there was an e-mail address for response and a link for downloading and filling the form to sign for the classes. That was it.

 

George put his coffee mug on the table, closed the paper and went to the kitchen to get glass of water. Then he returned to his lonely room, slowly took the paper from the table and re-read the ad. George happened to be computer-illiterate, to be more precise - computer-stupid, but clicking on enclosed file to open and read the form turned out to be easier than he thought. Still, he knew that filling and sending it was beyond his physical ability. However, he noticed a little addition at the bottom of the form, which read: "If computers are too confusing for you, do not get discouraged - just click this blue arrow and we'll deliver the form to you, free of charge".  George hesitated for a second and then said aloud to himself: "What's the worst can happen?" and clicked the link.

 

"Sent" computer said.  "Wait," he thought, "how do they know my address?" He finished his coffee and came to the most obvious conclusion: "Whatever. It's all nonsense anyway."

 

This Saturday promised to be as un-eventful as the last one and the one before so George mechanically paged through the rest of the morning paper - nothing new, nothing interesting. "Nothing ever changes, nothing ever moves..." popped out in his head. "Where was that from?" he thought, "I don't remember now."  

 

Suddenly, the doorbell rang. He was not expecting anybody for there was no one to expect. He opened the door and saw a young courier on roller skates, carrying a delivery bag across his shoulder.

“George?” the delivery guy asked.

“Yes.”

“You ordered the forms, sir. These are for you.” He handed a large yellow envelope, turned around and disappeared in the hallway before George had a chance to open his mouth to say anything.

In the envelope there was a Suicide Classes entry form and a stamped envelope for returning it. There was nothing much else to do so George took the pen and put the form on the table - he was ready.

 

The first thing that struck him was the fact the there was no field for his last name. His first name was already printed at the top of the form.

"OK," that was all George could say to himself at the moment.

Then things started getting more and more interesting. It was a very unusual form with many questions, most of which surprised and even bewildered him, but he found it very easy to answer all of them. The questions seemed to be random and they were as unpredictable as they were surprising, even shocking at times.

 

“If you knew that you'd get away with it, or even rewarded for doing so, which contemporary pop-singer would you kill and how?”

Followed by:

“What is your favorite color?”

Or

“Which women are more attractive to you - blonde or brunette?”

 Followed by:

“What is your least favorite car brand?”

 

Another peculiar thing about the form was that it had fairly large fields to fill with answers. Not too large, not too small but quite nice and easy to put the answers in. After finishing the first page George said to himself: "This is the most convenient form I ever had to fill in my entire life."

By the end of second page George realized that he was actually enjoying filling the form.

 

“What are you more afraid of - heights or deep water?”

Followed by:

“If there was a war and you were drafted, would you choose to serve:

- in the infantry

- in the navy

- on a submarine 

- as a bomber pilot

- in a hospital

- in an office

- in a kitchen

- as a prison guard

- as a MP”

 

By the end of page five George was so involved that he caught himself wishing that this form had 100 pages. Unfortunately, it had only 21. It was as if he was writing a book about himself without any effort.  When he was about to finish filling the last page he had to turn his table lamp on.

As soon as he did, he realized that it was the end of the day, almost dinner time. "Wait," he thought. "How is that possible? It's just a form."

 

When he sealed envelope with completed form, it was dark outside.  George decided to mail it right away, even though next day was supposed to be Sunday and the mail would not be picked up. It was warm and quiet on the street. He went to the nearest mail box, dropped the envelope in and looked at the sky. Suddenly, a forgotten feeling re-visited him, something that he had not experienced for a very long while.

"It' a nice evening," he thought.

 

***

 

The Suicide Classes office was not big, but not small either. There was not much light inside but the rooms did not feel dark. The secretary with a friendly smile and unusually short skirt met George in the doorway, as if she had been standing there and expecting him for some time. Right away he felt the difference in... what was it? In everything. From the very first moment, George felt attracted to this girl, who did not seem to have any particularly outstanding features but somehow he felt that they had known each other for a long time. "That happens when you meet your soulmate," he thought, knowing that she was not his soulmate, he just could not help feeling the way he did.

 

After short and somewhat formal introduction, he finally asked, “What is this music? A harp?” 

“A harp.”

They stood there and listened to a quietly playing tune through the invisible audio system. A moment or two later she said, “Let me show you the room, you appointment will start shortly.”

 

The appointment room had a table in the middle, two chairs and an enormous machine by the window, taking almost a third of the space. George sat in the comfortable armchair, pondering what this apparatus was supposed to do, when he realized that the secretary was still in the room. She was looking at him with the expression of an experienced nurse dealing with mental patients.

Just when their eyes met she said, “Would you like some coffee?”

“Yes, please, I'd love some,” George responded readily.

She approached the machine by the window and started making coffee. George kept silent, he just observed the work of the master, admiring her every move, every curve, every sound, every second, catching himself wishing that this coffee-making process would last for 3 hours.  Unfortunately, it lasted only 3 minutes, after which a medium size coffee cup was put on the table in front of him.

“Enjoy,” she said in half-whispering voice and gracefully left the room.

 

George took a first sip. The coffee was perfect. No, it was not perfect - it was beyond what he had expected to be “perfect”. He had no idea what type of a drink it was, how it was made and "...Wait," he said to himself. "I did not even ask for anything specific, besides..."

 

The door opened and a tall man entered the room.  He was wearing black suit and black shirt with... well, he was dressed in black. He was very skinny and his face was unusually pale.

“Hello, George. I am Anton.”

“Hello.”

They shook hands.

It is possible to tell many things about a man after a first hand shake: confident, not confident, strong, not so strong, weak, polite, impolite, formal, informal, indifferent, friendly, patient, inpatient... George did not feel anything. He just stood there, hands down, and stared at Anton, who was staring back at George, without moving a single muscle on his face. They stood like this, staring at each other, face-to-face, for at least five minutes, maybe longer. Somehow George did not feel any discomfort even though the situation seemed to be highly irregular. "Is he alive?" George's thoughts were linear and clear, as never before. "What and Who is he?"

 

“Please, sit down,” finally said Anton, pointing to the arm-chair where George was sitting before.  

“Our first session will be very short,” he continued. “There will be three more sessions, all involve other people, 9 participants in the group. I will be conducting all the sessions and asking some simple questions but most of the talking will be done by our clients, like yourself. Our success rate is 100%, after the third session we are done. That is all for now, I'll see you the day after tomorrow at 9am.”

 

Anton stood up very quickly, shook Gorge’s hand and left the room before George had a chance to open his mouth. George looked at the table and saw his unfinished coffee. He looked at the coffee machine by the window, then at his cup again, stood up and left the room.

 

***

 

George was so overwhelmed by the recent events, that suicidal thoughts simply did not have room in his head any longer. After what happened, he did not know what to expect, so when he entered a larger room for the first group meeting, he thought he was ready for anything. Little did he know that he was completely un-prepared for what was to come.

 

There were five men and four women in the group. Anton pointed to every each of them where to sit in the circle of nine armchairs, while he himself was outside the circle, walking slowly to and fro. The session, in a strange way, was similar to filling the 21-page form: Anton was asking simple and direct questions, pointing to a person for an answer. Sometimes he would ask the same question again, pointing at another person. The questions-answers chain seemed to be so well connected between all nine participants, that everybody seemed to be engaged at every moment, every second.  

 

The session ended very abruptly, Anton left the room quickly and everyone realized that it was the end of the day, it was almost dark outside.  George was not tired or hungry and somehow he did not feel like talking to anyone in the group. He quickly glanced around and saw that everyone felt the same way. They parted silently, without saying good night to earth other, or going through any other usual formalities. 

***

 

“OK, pal! It's time to come clean!” the man in a gray suit said in an unusually loud voice.

Anton stood up from his desk, “Gentlemen?”

“I am inspector Gloom,” the man in a gray suit continued, “and this is my partner, inspector Polansky.” He casually pointed at a man by his side, who barely touched to edge of his hat, not uttering a word or taking his hat off.

“How can I help you?” asked Anton, looking straight in inspector's eye.

“You can help us by providing all paper work concerning your enterprise here.  Judge Fergusson is extremely interested in your endeavors!” the inspector threw a sheet of paper on the table and looked around, theatrically showing that he was examining every corner. Anton knew exactly what the document on the table was.

“All right,” he responded. “Give me a minute.  Would you like some coffee?”

“No, thanks.”

“Suit yourself,” Anton turned and reached for the folder on his desk.

 

Fifteen minutes later, utterly confused, inspector Gloom finally said:

“Sir, according to this, not a single employee of your office ever had a vacation, just a few days off over several years! How is that possible?”

“We are dedicated to our work. Is this illegal?”

“Oh no, of course not! One more question,” he kept raising his deep loud voice, almost screaming at the end of each sentence. “According to your tax records, all your customers have been reimbursed, these are phone numbers to reach all of them, and there has been no income from your activity whatsoever!  What kind of business is this?! What the hell do you do here, sir?”

“We are saving lives, inspector.” Anton replied quietly and smiled with his eyes without moving a single muscle on his very pale face. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHORTIES

 

Junk

 

She’s like, “Dude!”

And I’m like, “Huh?”

And she’s like, “Whatever.”

 

Edward Dimmer Jr., D. D. S.

 

The lights in his dental office are never too bright. He has a staff of three: a quiet Japanese cleaning guy and an African-American assistant who has nothing subtle in her work. Mr. Dimmer is no subtle dentist either, he just makes sure his work is done properly. Teeth don't speak to each other. His assistant was not bright at all, which was fine with Mr. Dimmer. Her skin was so dark, that on it you almost could see reflections from the Royal Palace Endeavor Hotel neon sign across the street.

 

Mountain Tam

 

We are going to Mountain Tam today. "Tam" in Russian means "over there". So does this mean that once we get there we still will be 'tam' and because of the darn term, we'll never be “here” while we are there? In short, we'll be here only after returning from Mountain Tam. 

 

International agreements

 

"It's all good," said Mahmud.

"It's OK," said McKay.

 

Timing

 

Timing is everything. Sometimes. 

 

How to Get Your Head Back

 

Lay down, close your eyes and pretend you are not you.  If you can maintain this for 20 minutes you'll have your head back.

 

Teacher's Name

 

My teacher's name in the first grade at school was Nicholas Babysitter. He was never married. 

 

Words Behind the Bush

 

- Mr. President, it was a wrong button!!!

- Oops, sorry about that, folks - my bad. Can we undo this?

- No, sir. Mongolia is gone.

 

Notes

 

Note to my employer:

In my sea of misfortunes this year your $200 bonus check seemed like a drop in the ocean.

 

Note to myself:

“Take Girard St. when you dober.”

 

Attachment

 

I'm not attached.  I'm not attached.  I'm not attached...  Now I'm attached to the notion of not being attached. 

 

Pacific Place

 

At the peak of boardomness and irritation by the situation in his apartment building he programmed a hologram in the only elevator this building had, which would appear suddenly out of the blue (or should I say 'out of the dark'):

 

"Dear neighbors,

I pick up your trash in the hallways and staircases all the time. It's not cool. If you are unable to respect yourself, respect your neighbors. 

Sincerely,

Your neighbor." 

 

Each person living on the building got to see the message. 

He was pleased with his programming efforts and he was sure that his message would make an impact on the community.

 

It did not. Nothing changed. 

 

 

 

CLOUDS OF POETRY

 

 

 

Birthday, 45

 

I don't feel very social today

Sunny and warm

Only outside

I don't feel very social today

 

Groups of people gathered together

Divided by mutual interests

Joyless laughter well-rehearsed and protected

I don't feel very social today

 

“Why didn't you join us?” they asked

“I don't feel very social today,” my eyes answered

Then I heard my own voice:

“I'm used to being alone on my 45th Birthday.”

 

 

Gutten Morgen Blues

 

Woke up in a cold, dark, very clean room one morning

Didn't remember much. In fact, didn't remember anything at all

Couldn't find the exit or entrance, could not find the door

Touched a metal plate, read the label with my fingers: THE MORGUE

 

Gutten Morgen

Gutten tak

 

How can this be? It is not fair! Why me?!

Someone must know what happened, what's going on

Wrapped my body in the clean white sheet - that's all you got (for now).

Breathing in and out

Morning morgue air.

 

Gutten Morgen

Gutten tak

 

Empty hallway, lonely nurse, table lamp

"Excuse me, can I make a call?  It's very important."

Approving nod, emotionless

"Good morning, Mother!

It's me, I'm all right, I'm here!

...Mom?... Mom?! Mom?!!!... Hello?”

 

Gutten Morgen

Gutten tak

 

 

In My Dungeon

 

In my dungeon again

Protected fortress

(protected from what?)

With a closed door

Closed but never locked

 

Every morning

Smell of coffee

Smell of another perfectly wasted day

Officially approved by society free of burdens like

Morality

Fear of God

Unconditional Love

 

There are useless items in the utility room always available

Somehow whatever you are looking for is not there

Do you dare to ask why?

 

It is not difficult to be alone in a big city

It’s easy to get lost

Anywhere

Any time

Even if you are not alone

 

Noises of coffee shops calm you down temporarily

Then everything returns to where it has always been

To safe insecure dungeon

With a closed, unlocked door

 

Intoxication

 

In-toxication…

De-toxication…

The smells unexpected

Reactions inadequate

Spinning

Rolling

Spiraling over

and over

​                                    and over…

 

Awaken by the self-sleep

Frightened by a variety of invisible variables

Sometimes it takes time

To take time

 

“Take your time,” she said,

“And don’t forget to exhale

After breathing in too much

Of your own life”

 

 

Rain in Chicago

 

Rain in Chicago.  

Sunday is hiding in between holidays, slow, unromantically dreamy.

Visiting unknown places has advantages that reveal themselves unexpectedly, one-by-one, as time goes by. Pseudo-​comforting sounds from the TV set in the next room create pseudo-sensation of stability and peace. I don't have a TV.

 

Wherever I go there is noise, a stream of never-ending sounds from various sources - hopeless noise pollution penetrating humans over and over. The vast majority do not even know that they are being bombarded every minute, every second, and there is no protection, no cure.  I wish there was an anti-sonic shower, which would clear off all audio dirt from my memory.

 

 

The Fall

 

Things fall down

Leaves

Water

Hail

​Hair

Some stay where landed

Some dry out

Some disappear

Without a trace

 

Face

In the mirror

Ever-changing sameness

Same immediate reaction

Adjusting muscles as soon as looking

Straight into reflection

 

Connection with oneself established

Self-protecting instinct

Pretending that you like what you see

 

The sea

Of items

Fallen from above

Added to the archive

Of forgotten memories

 

 

PROSE, part II

 

MRI

 

The operator pulled me out of the tube.  Surprised, I looked at him and asked:

“What happened?”

“Nothing, we’re done.”

“I need to get back there.”

“Pardon me?”

“I said I want to get back there now!”

“But sir, we are finished.”

“I understand that, but I need to get back in the tube.”

He looked at his shoes, then at me, then at his shoes again and asked very slowly without raising his head:

“And why in the world do you want to do that?”

“I have my reasons… Listen, I can pay you.”

“How much?"

“How much do you think it’s worth?”

He shrugged:

“75?”

“40.”

“60.”

“50.”

“Deal.  I have another patient coming in ten minutes but I can find time for you tonight. How does 9:45pm sound – can you make it?”

“Absolutely!”

I smiled and shook his feeble hand.

 

 

Laugh Collector

 

I was going through my old typed notes one day and the first ones I found stated:

"Note to myself: take Girard St. when you dober"

 

So, I followed the note’s advice. It’s 8:45, I am on Girard Street, walking slowly. After passing the window with a sign “Double Whammy Weight & Memory Loss Services”, I saw what looked like a bar or a club. The name of the band immediately attracted my attention, it almost jumped at me from the poster, unevenly placed on a brick wall: Laugh Collector. I opened the unpainted heavy squeaky door and entered the club.

 

The band was about to start playing but I had enough time to find little table in the back corner and order a glass of Shiraz. It was a small quiet place, no background music, no ambient noise. The room was quite full but not overcrowded. I noticed, there was no area designated for crowd in front of the stage. Almost everything about this place was unusual but not in an obvious way. I casually looked at the small menu with just a few items. On the top of the menu there was a name of the place – “Karmic Obligation”. My left eyebrow went up involuntarily.

 

“That’s pretty cool,” I heard a voice, very close to me. “I can do this with my right eyebrow, but not with left one”. The girl at the table next to mine was playing with her right eyebrow, moving it easily up and down. “Can you do your right one?” she quickly asked. I tried and learned that I could not control it. “See,” she exclaimed, smiling. “But,” she continued, “if you raise your left and I raise my right, we’ll have two raised eyebrows and the big picture will be complete!”

I finally answered “…and if we each raise both, we’ll have four eyebrows up, imagine that!” She smirked, “Math was not your favorite subject at school, was it?” A thought came to my mind that this was so far the oddest conversation I ever had in my entire life. I heard myself say “This is the strangest conversation I’ve ever had in my life… so far.” “Oh, it’s nothing,” she shrugged. “You are just fulfilling your karmic obligation”.

 

Absentmindedly, I looked at the menu on the table. The first item was ‘White bears in Tajikistan’, the next one – ‘Six month old Christmas pie’.  Both of my eye brows jumped up. I started losing it: “What kind of place is this, anyway, that serves…” “Hey!!!” she interrupted me, almost screaming. In the corner of my eye I saw a few heads turning our direction. “You want your macaroni and cheese or a burger, go two blocks down to Red Jack! You want lose weight, go next door tomorrow morning, they open at 9. The Universe had been spitting the signs at you left and right today and you still are as stiff as your notes to yourself from last year! Maybe you should come here when you are not dober!!!” she was breathing heavily, almost angrily but I did not sense anger from her. “Wait,” I said after a brief hesitation. “How did you…?” I was interrupted by a calm quiet voice. A man in dark suit was standing close to me, nearly touching my table with his hand, his point finger slightly stretched my way. “Sir, please accept our apologies. Perhaps you can come back the other day, and do not worry about paying for your wine – it’s on the house.”

 

My head was spinning, I don’t remember how I got outside. Even though it was still early evening, when I returned home I went straight to bed.

 

***

 

Next morning, as I woke up, my first thought was “Yes, I am overweight! I probably should do what that girl said yesterday.” That girl… I did not even know her name. What happened to me last night, anyway?

 

“Good morning!” A young man in unusual green uniform smiled at me in a most friendly way. “What can I do for you today?”

“I’d like to lose some weight,” I answered and smiled back at him, rather formally.

“Well, you are in the right place, my friend!” exclaimed the man without changing his facial expression. “Welcome to Double-Whammy! Have you been here before?”

I pondered for a second: “I don’t really remember.”

“Ha! Then you are in the right place indeed!” he started rubbing his hands, which made me very uncomfortable. 

I stopped smiling and said: “Look, what I really want is to understand what kind of place you have here next door and what it’s all about.  Can you help me?”

“Oh, I see,” he did not seem surprised at all. “Tell you what,” he continued. “Why won’t you come tonight, my band is playing! It’ll be fun!”

“What’s you band’s name?” I asked, bewildered.

“Slugs,” he answered, hardly holding back his excitement. Out of nowhere he suddenly produced a large colored poster. On it was a hand-painted creature, the top looked like a mollusk without a shell. The lower half looked like a damaged bullet - a slug, as they call it in movies. I was staring at a poster in a state of complete hopeless stupor. At the bottom there was a line written by hand with a black fading sharpie: “only tonite at Karmic Obligation, it’s OK to be late.” I looked at his face – he was still smiling, as if the smile was glued to him with really strong glue. Crazy Glue.

“I’ll be there,” I said and turned to leave, my head spinning again.

 

***

 

The Slugs’ performance was bad. Apparently, all the musicians in the band knew it but they loved their music and enjoyed being on stage, unsuccessfully trying to recycle someone else's bliss.  A leather-jacketed unshaved male at the bar turned from his Budweiser to me and asked abruptly: “Are you going to stick around longer? My band is playing next.” 

A little surprised, I asked back: “Really? What’s your band's name?”

“Virtual-virtual.”

I smiled involuntarily: “This name is horrible-horrible!”

Then there was darkness.

 

***

 

When I opened my eyes everything was white, including a person next to me. She was a white woman in white clothes, attentively looking at some white papers, motionless.

“Where am I?” I asked.

“In the hospital,” she answered without turning to me, not a hint of emotion. “You seemed to have fallen from a ladder.”

I slightly tilted my head: “A virtual ladder?”

She looked at me and quietly examined my face for a few moments with her cold uncolored eyes and finally said: “You should be glad that your nose is not broken. You may not be so lucky next time.” She turned around and slowly left the ward. 

 

Stories from Texas

 

Free Beer

 

Her name was Allison - friendly, cute, wearing large-frame glasses. 

"Is there anything I can get for you?" she asked, smiling.

"Oh, yes, one of these, please," I pointed at the "Free beer tomorrow" sign on the wall. 

"Mmm, sorry sir, but it's only for tomorrow." 

"I understand, but I was here yesterday, so..."

There was a long awkward pause, no response from Allison. 

Finally, I broke the silence:

"Listen, we are moving to Indiana soon and... are there ANY exceptions here whatsoever?"

She smiled her friendly smile again and said "No, sir. None."

 

Good bye, Houston. 

 

Nameless Road

 

We stood at this stop light forever, it was our first time when we came for a visit.  Later on, after passing through this intersection maybe more than 100 times, I noticed that no cars would ever come out of Nameless Road, or would turn onto it.  And yet, it was the longest red light in Travis County, Texas. After observing this strange phenomenon for many months, I finally asked myself a very direct simple question: "what the f$*^?"

Well, it's been a very long time since all this happened but I still do not have the answer.

 

 

Bootleggers Bar and Grill

 

I stopped by a hidden place on West Road in Houston with a big white paper sign, torn at one corner -  Bootleggers Bar and Grill. Lunch seemed like a good idea so why not here, I thought. It was dark and smoky inside, a big bar, one and only one customer sitting next to the bartender, smoking a cigarette, having his second, perhaps, beer. 
"Do you have food?" I asked. 
"No, sorry," the bartender responded. "We have pretzels! Want some?"

"No, thank you," I said as politely and warmly as I possibly could. But she got upset anyway. After a longish pause I finally asked: "So if you don't have food, how come the place is called 'Bar and Grill'?”

"Oh, we have a grill," she said quickly. "It's just unused."

 

Houston-Austin

 

The sky was high over the Shepherd Creek Bridge. High and big, as always, as everywhere in Texas. Bloody raccoon was sleeping on the side of the road, I barely looked at him, just pressed the accelerator pedal a little harder than usual.

 

“Do you know how fast you were going, sir?”

I kept looking at his uniform, smiling stupidly and admiring the shining of the metal elements on his jacket.

“I asked you a question, sir,” he seemed to start losing his patience.

“Oh, yeah, sorry – I was just… Yes, it was 70 miles per hour,” I finally responded.

“That is correct, exactly 70 miles. So is the speed limit around here.”

 

I looked at my dash board and back at the officer again. His shiny mirror-like impeccably clean sun glasses made me feel uncomfortable, perhaps because I could see myself so well in their reflection.

 

All of a sudden I heard myself say:

“Could you please take your glasses off?”

He raised his head a little and slowly took his glasses off.

“You look tired,” I said.

He took a long pause and said: “You didn’t shave today, did you?” as if he was trying to get back at me for some reason.

“No, I did not,” I replied. “I’m on vacation.”

“I see…”

This conversation clearly was not going anywhere and both of us realized that, from the very beginning. It felt that there was no easy way out, for either of us.

 

“You have Arizona plates,” he said after several long silent seconds. “Where are you coming from?”

“Oh, I’m coming from Houston, it’s just a rental, I guess it has Arizona plates… I have all the papers if you…” he waved interruptingly, clearly indicating that he was not interested in getting into that kind of detail.

 

“Drive safely,” he finally said and put his glasses on, turned around and started walking toward his vehicle. He walked very slowly.

 

“Officer!” I yelled at him through my open window.

He turned around and looked back at me through his impeccably clean shiny mirror-like glasses.

“Have a great day and… thank you.”

“Thank you for what?” he asked back without much of identifiable expression.

I hesitated for a moment and shrugged: “just for doing your job and for the conversation.”

He took his glasses off, looked at me briefly and nodded ever so slightly, then put the glasses back on, got into his car and drove away.

Stories from Indiana

Making up Words

 

Chief editor seemed to be friendly but in a somewhat reserved way. His dark suit was not old but it was not new either. His glasses, hair, gestures, – nothing was particularly special or unique. If he ever committed a crime and a witness was asked to describe him, police would get no description – there was nothing to describe.

 

“We are small publishing company, you see,” he started reluctantly. “And we are definitely interested but I have a few questions for you.”

“Of course,” I answered, not at all surprised.

“In one of your early pieces you wrote ‘Intoxication… Detoxication…’ Well, there is no such word as Detoxication, the proper word is Detoxification. Were you aware of it?”

“Yes, I was,” I said calmly. “But what’s the problem?”

“Well, you cannot just make up words while there are proper terms already in existence.”

“Yes, I can,” I answered a little more firmly. “Detoxification sounds horrible in this context. Besides, it’s absolutely clear what it means. I invent new words all the time.”

“Really?” he seemed genuinely surprised. “Can you make an example?”

“Sure. ‘Your comment sounds muffy and unintelectu-arizing.’”

There was a long pause.  I waited because I really had nothing more to say.

“Muffy, huh?” he finally asked.

“Yes, muffy,” I nodded in doubtless confirmation.

“Well, in this case I don’t think your work and our agency are a good match, but thank you for dropping by.” He stood up, rather abruptly.

“Thank you for your time.”

 

I turned and headed toward the exit. As soon as I touched the door handle, I heard his voice behind: “Wait. On a second thought, you are a young talented author and we might be rejecting something really valuable here. That would not be wise, would it?”

I hesitated. “At this point, I really would not know,” I replied, still holding the door handle. It was cold. “I respectfully decline your generous offer but thank you for your consideration.”

“But why?” he almost screamed.

“Because it would be inappropri-eatable.”

 

 

Carter

(a story from real life, dedicated to Joan and her household)

 

This morning at sharp 8 o'clock I felt the presence. There was no sound, no noise, no movement, just presence. I looked down and I saw a pair of eyes staring at me, right into my recently awakened soul. Carter. 

I closed my eyes, sinfully pretending to still be asleep. A second later I opened my eyes, “who am I kidding? OK, give me a minute."

"Took-tu-doom-tu-doom..." quickly down the stairs I heard - HE was taking me to the morning walk, a magnificent manipulator. 

 

As usual, I let him lead the way. This time he went West, toward the big road and then down the pathway around Cambridge Square. Almost right away we saw two rabbits. One of them ran away immediately but the other one, the younger fella, had more curiosity in him and it was probably smarter because it felt that there was not much real danger in the current situation. In fact, this little bunny would not get off the pathway, he'd continue to run ahead of us and, with Carter chasing it, seemed that those two had some kind of chemistry. Finally, the rabbit just stopped. Carter got as close as 2-3 meters to it but the bunny simply stayed there, looking back at us.

Carter had enough of slack on his leash but he would not get any closer. After a moment of awkward silence, Carter said to the rabbit:

"Why are you not running away?"

Rabbit: "why should I?"

Carter: "because I'm a dog, and you are a rabbit."

Rabbit: "so?"

A long pause followed. The rabbit looked away for a moment, then looked back, getting slightly annoyed. Finally, Carter broke the silence and begged with his eyes:

"Can you just run away, for God's sake?"

After a minute of hesitation rabbit said: "hmm, ok". Then he slowly turned and disappeared into the bushes. The dog's dignity was saved! Sort of.

 

When curving around Cambridge Square, I saw two cats by the door of one of gloomy-looking one-story apartment. The cats were very furry, one dark brown, one dark gray, sitting like ancient Sphinx, symmetrically, protecting the house hold from passing-by Russians and dogs. Carter did not notice them so we peacefully went on.

 

Then we met an old lady. She was walking the opposite way with a white fluffy dog, two times smaller than Carter, and while they (dogs) were sniffing each other, the old lady said: "I didn’t know they can walk sideways!"

 

A few steps later we saw four cats by another apartment door. They all were black - Black was their color. All got slightly weary about the dog, naturally.  Carter noticed them and there was a moment of somewhat-intense tension. We were only about ten feet away and cats were ready to attack! I could tell, they were a mean bunch. Carter looked at me without much of identifiable expression. I shrugged: 'let's just move on'. He didn’t object, the cats stayed where they were and we were about to complete our 45-minute exercise of patience, observance and dignity testing. 

 

When I am here, Carter hangs out downstairs with me, sometimes leaning on my lap. I tried taking a picture but... do you know how hard it is to take a picture of a dog while he is sitting on your lap? You should try it one day - I had no success at all. Instead, I decided to write a story about a Sunday morning walk with the best dog in the entire universe. 

 

Carter. 

***

FOUR

 

FOUR is a collection of original lyrics by songwriters of San Francisco – bands and projects I recorded, mixed and played guitar with between 1994 and 2014.

 

Compiled and edited by Konstantine Baranov

                 Bloomington, Indiana

March 23, 2020

 

 

Belinda Blair

The Earthlings, Life Copies Movies

 

 

Blue Paint                                                                            

 

I hear the same jokes everyday

Everything is reassuringly bland

I hear the same complaints everyday

Everything is reassuringly canned

 

I can see the grime on the back of my hands

I read my palms for cues

I could back-pedal in the middle of a void

Or I could read the news

I could make something out of nothing at all

And make up a reason, too

 

Oh, the sky is the ceiling of

Blue paint

The sky is peeling

Blue paint

 

Even the rain clouds are bored to tears

With nowhere to go in a hurry to get there

One ray of hope won't interfere

With a humdrum life in an ongoing nightmare

 

I can hear the noise from the neighbor above

Paper my walls with words

I can feel the rug pulled from under my feet

From something I might have heard

I could make something out of nothing at all

And make that the reason hurts

 

Oh, the sky is the ceiling of

Blue paint

The sky is peeling

Blue paint

 

One ray of hope won't interfere

With a humdrum life in an ongoing nightmare

Even the rain clouds are bored to tears

With nowhere to go in a hurry to get there

 

Oh, the sky is the ceiling of

Blue paint

The sky is peeling

Blue paint

 

 

Life Copies Movies                                                                          

 

You cook steak while the dogs play

I get tan by the poolside

Heard a noise but it’s too late

House explodes, been a long day

Our eyes shoot roving long shots

Pan make-up makes us perfect

Skit-blocking ties us in knots

We’re acting for the Oscars

 

Life Copies Movies

 

I play the girl that I want you to see

After wardrobe and make-up

Say the lines as if they were from me

There’s no reason to wake up

 

Life Copies Movies

 

Monster in My Room                      

                                         

There's a monster in my room on a 10-foot tv screen

It's a mean life-size cartoon from every man's worst dream

She's a girl I'm supposed to play, matching outfits, matching ovaries

But she's from yesterday and I don't fit the part

 

I've won this mighty script from Hollywood's top-talent teams

But their imaginations slipped on a crutch and a glib cliché

Make a girl automaton with perfect cookie-cut responses

You can wave your magic wand and I'll disappear

 

Just as the earth

Opened-up its mouth

I changed my clothes

And then I drove South

 

Monster in my room try to play your dirty game

Monster in my room box me in your tiny frame

 

Telephone's gone dead from all the calls I never made

And the bed has just un-spread from the weight of a guilty sleep

I can try to shut you out but you're on every single channel

How did you get so much clout, I haven't a chance

 

Just as the earth

Opened-up its mouth

I changed my tune

And then I gone South

 

Monster in my room try to play your dirty game

Monster in my room box me in your tiny frame

 

Monster in my room

You can't play your dirty game

 

 

Flowered Past                                                                         

 

An old man sits by the window late at night

There are dirty books in the shopping bags under his sink

He watches his pink lemonade tremble

Inside a moonlit glass, he watches the flowered past

 

Outside the mud-streaked window

Blue stars kick off their shoes

Outside there is a party

Where no one wants to lose

 

A girl and boy waltz around the room

Pieces of night are peeling off the walls

Her lips move, the words float by

His memory fades, he stands and he starts to cry

 

Outside the mud-streaked window

Blue stars kick off their shoes

Outside there is a party

Where no one wants to lose

 

Aliens Came from Outer Space

 

Aliens came from outer space

Underneath the tiles of the public ladies’ rooms

Aliens came from outer space

Their saliva is made of the tears you’ve hidden away

 

Aliens came from outer space

They wear ponchos to hide all their tentacles

Aliens came from outer space

They’re not temperamental and perfectly sane

 

But there’s a black hole in their hearts

They would have never believed

Humans could ever live like this

Humans could live like this

 

Aliens came from outer space

They see miles and miles of a tangled network of nerves

They are waterproof

And almost never breakdown

 

They have a different solar system

They would have never believed

Humans could ever live like this

Humans live like this

 

 

Bride and Groom in Cellophane  

                                               

This bride and groom in cellophane

Wrapped candy white one fateful day

 

Perched upon a ring of sugar and frosting

Supported in a sling of plastic and cake

They’re starring in their honeymoon

Deep inside the month of June

 

Come home to play, she packs a gun

He runs away, you weren’t the only one

Come home again, he needs a drink

He finds her heart in the kitchen sink

 

This bride and groom in cellophane

Wrapped candy white one fateful day

They’re starring in their honeymoon

Deep inside the month of June

 

Android in Polyester                                                                                               

 

He’s an android in polyester

He’s an android, he’s not a digester

He’s a man on his own, he’s got no ancestors

Just an android in polyester

 

He’s a robot walking down the lane

Exhaust flows right through him

He feels no pain

He’s a robot in camouflage

He’s a microchip, wire and metal collage

 

He’s an android, no time for reflection

Everything in its place, no imperfection

Nothing eating him up inside

Nothing to fester

Just an android in polyester

 

Has no baggage or history, he’s got no roots

Gives no moral support, he only computes

Never gets bent out of shape, he keeps his cool

And when he gets bored, he counts molecules

 

He’s an android, he makes no assumptions

Listens perfectly well with no interruptions

He’s an android, no sexual attraction

No burning desire, his heart is in traction

 

He’s an android in polyester

Underwater  

                                                                                               

Spend your time half awake

Spend the rest half dead

When you spent your time being strong

It all went to your head

 

Underwater

Sticks and stones can't break my bones underwater

Underwater

I can keep my fisheye view underwater

 

I heard my alarm clock

Screaming out in pain

I couldn't find myself

So I went to sleep again

 

Floating down

Like a feather

 

Underwater

Sticks and stones can't break my bones underwater

Underwater

I can keep my fisheye view underwater

 

 

Fat Substitute                                                                                  

 

Fat substitutes are raining down

Into your pump-inflatable shoes

Sound bites are spinning in your head

From watching too much tv news

 

They've paved a road right through your head

Fat windshield tourists are born and bred

 

Globular clusters float nearby

In cold black interstellar space

The earth keeps on spinning in the void

But there's no vacancy to trace

 

They've dammed the rivers leading to free thought

Drowned underwater the like that you lead

 

 

Girl Like That                                                                                 

 

Perspiration drips off of her hands

How she moves her hips, where she stands

She has discipline over her clothes

Why she drinks so much no one knows

 

Fingertips her glass, jokes with the boys

She seems to slide right by on social poise

She plays her part quite well to show she’s strong

But there’s a private hell where she belongs

 

With a girl like that

She’ll put on a brand-new face

With every new parade

And a girl like that escapes

Underneath her bed

Just to keep her head

Clear

 

She says she’s serious, she has a plan

But she’s delirious around a man

She loses confidence when she’s alone

She’s on the lookout for the perfect

Chaperone

 

She rushes from her townhouse flat

Never knows when she’s coming back

She looks in the rearview mirror

Hoping she can avoid the terror

 

 

Look of Cool                                                                         

 

Now’s the time I want to reach

Up through my spine a feeling starts to creep

It moves my arms in such a way

Then I pull back

I don’t know how

You might take these arms

 

I’m not sure about my face

What you think it might be saying

I don’t know how you might take these arms

I don’t know how you might take these thoughts

So, I’m gonna keep this

Look of cool

 

I feel tension in my mouth

Just to send out a message

Or let out a sign

The muscles tense, sticks in my throat

The brain works too hard to keep this

Look of cool

 

And you pretend not to notice

Your lack of taking any action

Makes me self-conscious

The eyes don’t know where to look

Sometimes these eyes betray this look of cool

Look of cool

 

 

In My Human Head                                                                         

 

My right hand doesn’t know what my left hand’s doing now

Only soccer ball molecules can keep that kind of secret

Twist my arm, split my hairs over the finger-pointing wrongs

Leave me floating in a vat of unconscious dynamite

 

Ghosts still walk, they shout and holler

Hold the leash, I’ll wear the collar

Thoughts can’t change, words can’t say

All the dirt I’ve kept at bay

 

In my human head

Subliminal dragons are breathing a fire I can’t see

In my human head

I’m climbing a Chinese Wall, it’s bigger than me

 

My train of thought is tumbling down upon a staircase illusion

With a slip of a tongue, I don’t know which way I’ll fall

The rods and cones are clouding up with an involuntary force

Pondering on the ultimate nature of you

 

Take my chance when night snaps shut

Open eyes to who knows what

Talk to me in haunting refrains

Sit me down and drive me insane

 

In my human head

Subliminal dragons are breathing a fire I can’t see

In my human head

I’m climbing a Chinese Wall, it’s bigger than me

 

Living in Your TV

                                                                       

I’m not real

But you might feel that I am someone

You would like to be

You’ve seen me living in your tv

Hand me your cash

I’ll sell you entry for a price

With a hand and a shake

Here’s your plastic paradise

 

I’m under your skin

You will buy me again and again

I’m a walking lie

For people who don’t know their minds

 

You’re desperate and blind

I’m a product you mustn’t leave behind

Here’s Mr. Clean

With a super-sonic mentholated dream

 

I’m under your skin

You will buy me again and again and again

 

Living in your tv

Living in your head

 

 

Nothing Is My Friend                                                         

 

Pick myself up off the back of those

Monkey wrenching tears you cried

For all those psycho-drama queens

Parading down the halls

For all the schools you never went to

And all the shopping malls

 

Brown paper bag on my head

Hiding all the obscene thoughts

That keep jumping out of bed

Jet stream air blows at my back

With a mouthful of hair-brained ideas

Get caught in the doorway

 

But nothing can rise to the occasion

Nothing can take off all these spots

Nothing can ever make sense

Nothing is my friend

 

All eyes are on me, trying to pay attention

All eyes are on you, trying to find why

 

Scrape myself off that sunset

That’s taking me down

To the place that I can dream of

It’s taking me down

But somehow I know if I just let go

I might just meet the ground

 

But nothing can rise to the occasion

Nothing can take off all these spots

Nothing can ever make sense again

Nothing is my friend

 

All eyes are on me, trying to pay attention

All eyes are on you, trying to find why

You can see through things

They’ll turn on the blue light

You can see through all of the walls

Trying to find why

 

One Great Love                                                                   

 

Bring a hammer down on my head

For all the self-defeating words I’ve said

Punch a fist deep in my gut

For a lifetime of worrying ‘bout who knows what

 

Kick bruises in both of my shins

For the multitudes of recurring sins

Sink in your teeth and scratch out my eyes

For all the thievery and well-meaning lies

 

Say all the things that I’ll never say

Pack up your things and take them away

Jump up and down and pound on the door

And make me wonder what you’re doing it for

 

Softly stroke my hair for all the times I really cared

Brush a hand across my cheek

For all the good deeds I did this week

Give me a great big kiss

For when I managed to miss you

Miss you

 

There are no answers

There is no hope, no quick fix

There is no sweet place

No lasting cure, no lasting kicks

No one great love

No winning cause

No full embrace

Just push and shove

 

 

Pain Cocktail                                                                       

 

Stuck like a dumb fly with dirt between your toes

In pool of glue sticking to your every move

Floating on more dirt somewhere deep inside

You’re constantly breaking down

A tangled web of lies

 

That’s a pain cocktail

Sounds like a pain cocktail

 

Lean out and kiss the TV set in your lonely room

Where the walls stand there like players

Who’ve forgotten their lines

The radiators groans are louder than the noise on your screen

And you cry for someone to laugh with

But you’re just too hard to please

 

I’ve spent most of my time planning how I’ll live my life

But I won’t believe in anything until I’ve won the lottery

I imagine myself owning a house with a swimming pool

But the drain clogs up with mermaid hair and other people’s loneliness

 

That’s a pain cocktail

Sounds like a pain cocktail

 

The earth didn’t come with an operating manual

So you let your emotional life be lead by some magazine

Education, marriage, then a nervous breakdown

So you mix another stiff one to hold off all the pain

 

That’s a pain cocktail

Sounds like a pain cocktail

You’ve got a pain cocktail

 

 

Queen of Denial                                                                    

 

I’m the girl who plays her part quite well

I’ve got the poise and a look that sells

Discuss the weather say it could get better

Jet set, get set, be a go-go getter

 

I find comfort in a lazy-boy lounge

And I can really blossom when I don’t have to scrounge

I talk though my fingers, does any feeling linger

When I cut-jokes and throw pokes at all the dead ringers

 

My heart can harden and chill overnight

And I can really holler if my skirt is too tight

I’d rather make a drink than take the time to think

I’m a cool hustler, I can make you think

 

I gawk and I listen

Wide-eyed princess

Out of a dungeon

Must learn to do business

Bottles of champagne

Opened up again

Go flat so much faster

Overflowing when he says when

 

 

Smoke an Endless Chain                                       

 

I walk just like Cleopatra

Underneath my wig

I can smoke an endless chain

I'm nervous but I'm big

 

You might be another nightmare nailed upon the ground

You might be another dream small and white and round

You might be another nightmare complete with piped in sound

You might be another dream turn me upside down

 

Tip-toe gently from my room and

Leave me to my sleep

Curtains drawn to veil the gloom

I pray my soul to weep

 

One foot in tomorrow, one foot in yesterday

Today is kicking the hell out of me

Sleep my life away with

Dreams that life could be worth living

Underneath the latest hype

Half-a sleeping pill for worry

Then you're gone in one clean swipe

 

You might be another nightmare nailed upon the ground

You might be another dream small and white and round

You might be another nightmare complete with piped in sound

You might be another dream turn me upside down

 

 

Quicksand                                                                  

 

This man came up to me yesterday, yesterday

Right on the sidewalk, downtown and pulled out a gun

He pulled it from under his coat and then without a word

He went and shot me in the head

 

I was contemplating on the roof just the other day

Admiring the view just over the ledge

Someone came up from behind and with one fatal swoop

Decided to push me over the edge

 

And I'm in quicksand

Walking around in a deep sleep

Quicksand

A labyrinth of personality flaws

 

I was lounging around by the pool just the other day

Blissfully sipping my Maitai under the sun

When I turned my head to watch something overhead

Someone slipped some hemlock in my drink

 

The things you know nothing about

Sooner or later they'll find you out

When it happens I'm clearing out

The things you know nothing about

 

And I'm in quicksand

Walking around in a deep sleep

Quicksand

A labyrinth of personality flaws

 

 

Slide                          

                                                                       

You and I have thumb-shut our eyes

You and I are cut down to size

You and I have just let everything

Slide

 

Even the sun clouds this morning can’t manage

Along with the girl whose heart has been damaged

A kiss can lie

There’s noise I can’t hear and words I can’t say

Along with the thoughts that I’ve kept at bay

A voice can tell that

 

You and I have thumb-shut our eyes

You and I are cut down to size

You and I have just let everything

Slide

 

I feel an emptiness pick up and holler

There’s something wrong with the way we won’t bother

A chance to change

 

I’m inside myself trying to get out

There’s a void that keeps kicking about

I can dress it up

I can take it out

But I can’t avoid

The pain and the doubt

 

You and I have thumb-shut our eyes

You and I are cut down to size

You and I have just let everything

Slide

 

 

Ten Thousand Ages                                                                                    

 

Old men sit on benches, nameplates on their lapels

They try to keep their senses with all they’ve had to sell

You’re safe with the heater, you’re safe with the kitchen clock

Hide quick under the king size, jump in and hide from yourself

 

Some people walk barely aware of their bones

Skirts, lingerie, business suits stalking the streets

These people multiply in clones

 

A blind man’s dance over ten thousand ages

Went in my ear

The golden dreams off of ten thousand pages

Were so sincere

A blind man’s dance over ten thousand ages

Caught my eye

The golden dreams off of ten thousand pages

To do or die

 

Growth can be such a process when you’re going backwards

Give in to all the wrong folks, charmers under every stone

 

Recognize your own backyard and you could be a threat

Anesthetize your aching heart and you might just forget

Decorate your broken will with moveable clichés

Leave them on the windowsill where they might fly away

 

A blind man’s dance over ten thousand ages went in my ear

The golden dreams off of ten thousand pages were so sincere

A blind man’s dance over ten thousand ages caught my eye

The golden dreams off of ten thousand pages to do or die 

 

The Dream Machine                                                                       

 

With a blink of an eye you’re dangling from a thread

With all the make-believe they stuffed inside your head

With a snap of a finger your heart is synthetic

And your reasons for being are purely cosmetic

 

There’s a voice inside your head

And it says to you:

Hey, we can woo with all our schemes

Hey, we can fool you

If you believe in the dream machine

 

With a pat on the back

There’re limousines full of stars and kings

Promising the third world just a piece of string

Suburban zombies hooked on tv-reruns

Hide in their wildest dreams

Armed with plastic popguns

 

There’s a voice inside their heads

And it says to them:

Hey, we can woo with all our schemes

Hey, we can fool you

If you believe in the dream machine

 

 

Secret of the Universe                               

                                   

The last gulp went down his throat in swirling bright spirals

Like a kid in a circus tent he loves everybody

He can't remember their names they're all out of focus

He melts like a Dali watch he needs everybody

 

Everything seemed so simple

Everything seemed so clear

How was he to know he was letting in

The secret of the universe

 

Under her tongue she's dissolving part of her memory

She feels like she's in control but she just keeps laughing

She can't come down to the ground she's found a shortcut

She's full of an emptiness that's seemed so important

 

Everything seemed so simple

Everything seemed so clear

How was he to know he was letting in

The secret of the universe

 

 

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 

Chris Moore-Backman

Atticus Finch

 

 

Angelspeak

 

See the proud men tall and confident

And the crowd that is forming

How the motion bring a gladness to your heart

And the mystery pull you closer

To your fellow man in the lamplight

Let your feet fall in time to the sound of...

 

A town polite receives you

Could bring you to your knees

My sweet

 

Or lift you like a wind to a featherly falling

All the dreams that you clung to as a boy

Held under their canvas wrapped up in a web of twine

Unveil me derail me close me up

 

And I'll wander through the station

Like I used to do with you

And our town tonight will break through

A city for to be

My sweet

 

 

The Waltz

 

One steady step all that I have

Exit shy delicate elegant

Set the earth beneath the sky

And no regrets

 

You know how the chandelier

Give itself entire to the ballroom's dancing

Lately I'm someone

Only in the sight of you

 

I don't know why I try

Why I clench this trembling lie

Of your sudden slip in my arms

The gentle grip of my heart

 

How the mahogany say

Long ago all was slowly different, charming

Made for us

You and me

And alone

 

 

Blood and Burgundy

 

These living room walls with fire painted

To feel as though you were inside the sun

 

And she painted the entryway

Somewhere between blood and burgundy

She turned to him and smiled

The brush still dripping

Hey, she said, we look beautiful in red

 

He dreams this hall chartreuse

Upon a coat of black

Ah darling please she sighs her most playful sigh

What say we negotiate tonight

Between the sheets of this strange domestic life

 

 

The Blasting Days

 

Do they frighten you with talk

They like to talk about a better life 

I reach for the lantern and carry myself from the train 

Or is it their poise

Like the feel of technology 

Hand to the tunnel wall, I feel the truth in the clay

 

We'll look for a shooting star

Through the window they allow me 

Song of the tunnelmen workingmen stomaching heat 

There's a twisting to life

When they treat you post-traumatically 

We built a cross on the morning they brought the machine

It must have surprised you

 

Will we be capable of style and grace anymore

Will it ever be how it was

When we hammered through the blasting days

 

And I can't help wondering

If they'd be so kind 

Moving like sparks set the will of the dynamite free 

So kind as to say hey

To the boys on the line 

Lifting the solid earth sensing the tide underneath 

Wouldn't that surprise you

 

Will we be capable of style and grace anymore

Will it ever be how it was

Like the blasting days back at Big Bend

 

I guess they're hoping

That soon we will tell

That we were there

When the greatest of all hammers

Would fall no more

But they'd never understand how it was

When the future came of a sudden

To the blasting days 

Hand to the tunnel wall come feel the truth in the clay

 

 

Elegy

 

I found the place

It was only by mistake

Where we escaped

When we left the world that day

I still tend the flame

Though what's befallen you of late

Will take you away

 

For the pain

You'll suggest I make a break

But there's still space

In my drawer of dearest things

Should stay the same

 

 

Burning Letters

 

And so she thought about him

Without wanting to

She stumble through

Tasting the playing light of him

“Guilt kills” come the whisper

So she brush that voice from her shoulder

“Guilt kills” come again

Then she tap her forehead gently

With the quill of her dead husband's pen

Saying na na here's the spool

Here's the spool of love

 

Is it cold waiting outside

With the moon and the starlight

 

So fifty years later

He's fifty years better

And brings the oxygen that she moves

To kindle the flames

Setting fire to all of her things

 

All the furniture

The bric-a-brac

And all the vows she made

 

 

In His Family

 

Remember when

Half asleep

Your reach across

The bed

Over me

Slowly

For the light to see

What it means

To be

In his family

Is everything you need

And all she has to say

Setting pictures there before you

Can turn the other way

You see

What it means

Finally

You see

 

 

Where Were You

 

Where were you

And it's sad how all the grown men die a bit

Each gangster film gone by

Like horseshoes I soar through

Watch me topple in the air slowed down

The sunken blue of falling for you

 

Where were you

The moments of hurried housewives replies

And of sewing and remedies

Wash over me

Brush the hair from these boyish eyes

Wasn't it me who pulled your braids

And ran away only to cry

 

Where were you

When the messenger gave warning

Where were you

When my heart was breaking

 

Not fancy, but sweet

Cotton candy, the parades, the palisades

Lightning flashes

This room full of brightness

For the moment

 

 

A Magdalene Love

 

Mine is a Magdalene love

Said the boy to the sea

Will you receive

Spread your legs

These waves

For me

 

To be awakened by the autumn

To feel the anxiousness dissolve

To live alive a frontier soul

To die alive at home

 

 

Too Many Weddings

 

Too many weddings

To live between

Too many weddings

I'm dizzy with deciding

It's the way you look at me

When we receive

The calligraphy

The prophecy

The postman brings

Too many weddings

 

It's the way you look at me

When you choose your earrings

When for your shoulders falls

The shawl of your mending

Too many weddings

 

 

Dreambook

 

A Chagall red

Beneath the word

Atop the sleep

A hurricane

Inside the room

Whispering

Shenaniganed birthwet and wayward

 

She's the one

Who set me down

Set me here

As a pen to her dreambook

Then to the side

 

Simple as forgetting

And brittle as trust

Homesick and fevered

Her healing hands move me

Lift me up

And my lips smear

The ink of her name

On the back of the angel

 

 

December Man

 

Carry cities on your back

Carry stories in your hands

Tell your favorite to yourself now

And the walls of the room

They are waiting there to meet you

He leans slowly now to check the time

In warm car she gently turns the page now

As their child sleeps upon a rhyme 

 

They know you'll be there

You know time and place

The night pale blue and gray

They know you'll be there soon

 

Lean you now to check the clock

Set your feet from bed to earth

Stand you up to embrace the street night

Pack it up throw it all over your shoulder

 

They are waiting there to meet you

She moves toward him leaves her book behind

Their eyes are set to greet you

Hand in hand their hearts entwined 

 

They know you'll be there

You know time and place

The night pale blue and gray

They know you'll be there soon

 

There's an old swing in your glance

Creaky gate and sunflower breeze

Hardwood floor and children's feet

Bread melts between your tongue and teeth

 

 

Climbing in the Rafters

 

They say it can't be saved

Once the curtain is drawn

But still I go climbing in the rafters

Where the play somehow plays on 

 

One day you'll come calling

And I’ll drop what I’m doing

To go to the door unknowing

I'll be shocked but not surprised

 

Like the night you brought the parade home

To tease me how we could march in time

 

And they say it can't be safe

To live this way

But still I go climbing in the rafters

Still I go

 

When they say you’re not for me

I’ll say they say a lot of things

 

 

Until

 

Until the next stop

Until the chosen

Until the whistle

Until the move

Until she's apologized

Until the cows come home

Until the price goes down so I can afford it

Until hell freezes over

Until the doctorate

Until you've eaten all your vegetables

 

Only then will I

Only then can I

Only then could I

Only then may I

Only then

 

 

The Gold and the Gray

 

Don't fault the foreman

Just call the priest

Solace your worries

This too will cease

Hum the lesson

That's bled the years

To trust the engine

And nurse the gears

 

You've been my comfort

You've been my stone

I've been lonely

But not alone  

 

I'd like to weather the crowd again

And throw my smile to the dancing girls

We'd take the 14 downtown

And swallow the city

 

So bring down the lights

Release the night sky

This factory ceiling

From where I lie

 

I'd swear that they sounded the whistle

That we can sigh of quitting time

And all the banter boys beneath their lampposts

To laugh us home again

 

Is it gold or it is gray

Did I ever tell you

Is it gold or it is gray

 

 

Ends and Means

 

The suits flurry past you

And the souls who hide behind

Full stop at Pine and Sansome

Rock heel to toe until you find

This concrete line it only

Clings to the surface of

The land she one day reclaims

Her space again and love

I'll wait here til morning

When they'll all come round again

Stone deaf to every warning

Every saint and child might lend

 

Friend I knew you well

The dust of gallantry

Flung straight into the universe

With all you hoped to be

Settling down what we settled for

The white picket fencing blame

The momentum hollow keeping

A half step ahead of shame

And wait there til morning

When we'll all come round again

Sleepwalking in your story

Daydreamt of a noble man

 

Put away those thoughts were burning

Gotta fill this empty day

Life calls I'll choose a sofa

Matching drapes are on display

But the ends outrun my means more than I guess

I shouldn't complain

No I shouldn’t complain

And wait there til morning

When we'll all come round again

Sleepwalking in your story

Daydreamt of a noble man

 

 

A Wider Sky

 

I fall through the ice again

One day as it is

Stretching for should be

And could we I slip

Down down familiarly

My kingdom of try

A kingdom of ashes

The folly of I

 

Do you ever watch the cars at night

Inching downtown in a broken line

They move you through picturing the lives inside

Have you ever watched the dancing light

Leaf-dappled in the glowing white of your bedroom

And the moment undoes you

 

I lay this down

I lay this down

I lay this down

I lay this down

 

This kingdom of ashes

This hypocrite's jewel

A crown for the glutton

A sword for the fool

This eye for deception

Blind to the cost

No deal for the enemy

No search for the lost

 

Have you ever seen a child's delight

When her mother finally arrives

An everyday homecoming sublime

Did you ever choose instead to climb

Out of nowhere and in spite of time

All for your love of silence beneath a wider sky

 

How long to write to you

How long to write

How long to hide from you

How long to hide

 

Is it ever so completely right

As when you least expect it might be so

You're one

You're one and so you melt away

Did you ever choose instead to rise

Up from nowhere stepping out of time

All for the grace of silence and a wider sky

 

I lay this down

I lay this down

I lay this down

I lay this down

 

 

Closer

 

God bless America

And soon

Those planes are close

And no doubt loaded

Tumbling so

To the ground

I'm seeking cover

From the hounds

And sadnesses

I do go 

 

I do go

Through words of left behind

Did we forget our soonest learning

The feel of closer

 

God bless a sinful love

I swear there's goodness

In here somewhere

Lies my final lie

My undoing

For to guide

This soul

To water 

 

Water

Filling first the low

Where we ought bear the stones of freedom

And the feel of closer

 

Please go

Let the holy fools know

I'm catching pace with their making

And these slow refrains that tear me down

Writ of joy and suffering

 

 

The Shining Hour

 

Watch it go

The shining hour

That wouldn't be

That couldn't be

All his dreaming

And his holy ending

No myth can cage

Nor erase

What's inside this

Broken heart

Is everything

And something more

Too hard to explain

I cannot explain

No matter how and still I try

 

All from one

Photographic image

An image taken bravely

Of a coward shooting wolves from a helicopter

All from one

I don't know why it is he goes

But watch him go

The child you were becomes uncertain now of you 

 

Are you the marksman taking aim

Are you the pilot (steady, steady)

Or is that you beholden beauty

Sprinting the snow

 

 

 

 

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Catherine Conlin

Bedtime Story, WORD, Catherine Conlin

 

 

Moving Mountains

 

Hand me the crow bar,

Roll up your sleeves -

We’ve got a mountain to move

 

Sun in the background

Beats off your head

I can see pearls of…

 

Sometimes the big things

Get in the Way

But they don’t stop me

I know where I’m going

 

 

Eclipse           

           

He was there when I awakened                     

His long fingers woven through mine                        

I couldn't sleep with the warmth of him next to me  

It had been a while since anyone had taken the time

He asked me, "how'd you sleep?"                             

I said, "I had a dream for first time in a very long while"

 

I don't know where this may go, but I don't care

 

There was sun out the window

The night before, an eclipse in the sky

We lay there on the bed, pulled back the curtains and made wishes

I wished that once things disappeared, the essence of them

Remained still behind that curtain of blackness

And all the moonlight in Canada doesn't add up to this

That sliver of sunlight on the floor and his fingers woven through mine

 

I don't know where this may go but I don't care

I don't know where this may go

 

 

Falling Star

 

A star

Falls from the sky

Leaves

A trail on my mind

 

A star

On the ground

Lies broken

Waiting for rescue

I pick it up

In my napkin

And

I bring it home to you

 

You place it

In a jar

On a shelf

By the fire place

 

The star

Sleeps in the jar

I

Sleep in your arms

 

The star

Opens an eye

I hear butterflies

And sunshine

 

 

Baby Girl                  

 

Once, when I was a baby girl,

I got lost in my neighborhood

My daddy came and looked for me

I didn’t even know I was gone

 

Later, when I was a little girl,

I would swing on the swing from the tree next door

I would fly so high in the sky and

No one even in my head ‘cos

I was flying

And I was so high

 

When I was an older girl,

They told me that I couldn’t fly:

“It’s just not that natural,

That’s why we have airplanes.

If God wanted you to fly,

He would have given you

A big jet engine or two,

And a lot of passengers.”

 

When I was a young woman

I mistook myself for seriousness

Oh… all that seriousness

The drudgery of seriousness

When you’re a young woman

Who tries to take yourself seriously,

When all the time you’re scared shitless

‘Cos you’re out there on your own, going:

“How am I gonna navigate this space around me,

And make it look easy?”

‘Cos boys like that -

They like it to look easy

 

When I was an older woman

I could be quiet for long hours

And be happy in my own head

Happy with my dog,

Happy with my husband,

And all inside my head

And not telling anybody anything,

Or even answering the phone if it rings

And not answering the phone if it rings

           

 

Dangerous

 

Don’t let me out of the house tonight

I am dangerous

I cut my hair

My hair…

 

I put it in the bag

And put it on a scale

And I weighed it

Three quarters of an ounce

Of darkness cut from my hair

I wanna dance

I wanna scream!

 

I break things,

I spill things

In my happiness

…and cut my hair

Left it on the floor

 

Life is a vacuum, waiting to be filled

With hair

And dust

        and past

Sometimes when something moves in

Something moves out

 

I am dangerous tonight –

Don’t let me leave

Don’t let me go outside

And drive my car

Don’t let me buy anything

Don’t let me call anyone

I don’t even know who I are

 

 

Footprints in Concrete

 

God hides in the corner

In between the two buildings on Natoma street

 

A woman sits in a wheelchair on the corner

A Chinese man walks by and tells her to move

Mothers comes to pick up their children

The park outside is surrounded by steel

Flowers and caterpillars

Steel

Flowers and caterpillars

Dressed up like security

 

The children cry when she picks them up

Do they want to go home?

Are they sad for being there?

A child's hand in plaster of Paris

Hangs on the wall

The mother never lets go

 

The police walk the beat

Bird prints in concrete

Bird footprints

 

Find beauty in

The fact that the trash never gets picked up from

The fact that you can count on that

The fact that the pile just keeps getting bigger

 

Every day a new element is introduced

Maybe two

Today's addition included Top Ramen

And a carton of orange juice

My dog almost steps on a syringe

I see used tissue on the ground

 

God hides in the corner

Only I can see him

God lets me in to the corner

 

I don't carry water on my head

I don't wash my clothes

In the river where the dead float by

I don't come here ninety miles on a raft

 

God hides in a corner on Natoma street

Right behind the bird feet

 

This could be beautiful to somebody someday

Redefine Heaven!

 

I close my window before I go to sleep,

I shut my blinds

I plug my ears

I cover my eyes

I take a pill...

 

I count the sirens like sheep in the sky

(push your plugs in deeper)

 

God hides in the corner on Natoma street

Behind--between two buildings

 

Only you can see him

 

 

Get Me the Material

 

Find a stick to find water

Get me the material

Find the pipes and find the faucets

Find a tub and find a sink

Find soup to wash my body

Get me the material

 

Material

 

Build me the window so I can look out on the people

Get me the material

Build me a window so I can see the people

Get me the material

Get me the window so I can see the mountain

Sew me the curtains so I can go to sleep

Get me the material

 

Material

 

Find the softest goose and make me a pillow

Get me the material

Find the softest goose and build me a pillow

Get me the material

Find me straw to make me a bed

Get me the material

So I've got a place to...

Get me the material

 

Lay your head down next to mine

Get me the material

Lay your head down next to mine

Get me the material

I want to have your baby

Get the material

I want to have your baby

Get me the material

 

Material

 

Build me an island where I can live

Get me the material

Build me a boat to get away from here

Get me the material

 

Lay me down where my father lies

Get me the material

Spread my ashes in the river going by

Get me the material

 

Material

 

 

Hail Mary

 

I can see the light in the window as I'm driving up the drive
I can see my mother in the kitchen putting the dishes away
I am warm even though, I'm standing outside with snowflakes in my hair
That was so long ago but I still remember it anyway

 

Hail Mary
This is the last pass that I'll throw

This is the last chance I am giving you
Where's the grace you've been hiding for so long?


I can see my sister wearing a dress that's just a little too small
She doesn't seem to mind, it's a hand-me-down but she wears it with grace
I can see my father in the other room smoking a cigarette, holding his head in his hand
Worrying about how he's going to pay for this place

 

Hail Mary
This is the last pass that I'll throw

This is the last chance I am giving you
Where's the grace you've been hiding for so long?

I can hear the baby crying in the other room.
I can feel your lips on the back of my neck as I'm doing my own dishes.
I don't remember the last time I felt so all alone, dreaming these dreams of yesterday

Dreaming of all that is dead and gone
 

Hail Mary
This is the last pass that I'll throw

This is the last chance I am giving you
Where's the grace you've been hiding for so long?

 

 

“I” of the Camera

 

I love you

In the afternoon

The way the light

Hits on your face

 

I love you

In black and white

In the morning

When you wake up

With your eyes all sleepy

 

I love you

In color

I love you

In sepia

In the afternoon

In the morning

From the beginning of time

Till now and tomorrow

Turn the light on

 

The sky changes

Places with me

In the City

 

Every day I walk the streets

Of this gritty city

In the pretty city by the Bay

Cut my way through the filthy rich the stinking poor

The sidewalk cracks and the whores

 

Ride the bus and get AIDS

Come home and wash your hands

Earthquake’s coming ‘round the corner

I can feel bends

If you question my logic

You will understand

There’s no logic here

Down in under land

 

But I can’t get past the filthy rich

The stinking poor

Get AIDS on the bus

Go home and wash your hands

 

Earthquake’s coming, man

I'm afraid for you

There’s a shelter down the street

Someone handing out food

Got emergency water

Got your money in your safe

Got your safe in your head

And you lock yourself inside it

 

A man shoots up in the alley

While a woman gets her nails done

They're closing down the banks

Lock yourself inside your mansion

 

There are gangs, yes there are gangs

Let’s blame it on the gangs

Let’s blame it on the cops

Let’s blame it on the banks

Let’s blame it on the filthy rich and stinking poor

 

In the Age of Aquarius

In the Haight, in the Mission

On the Bart, on the Muni

On the Golden Gate

On the Bay Bridge

It’s a six-dollar toll

How am I supposed to live?

 

But I can’t get past

The filthy rich and stinking poor

Get AIDS on a bus

Go home, wash your hands

 

 

Life Is Right Now

 

Every time I get comfortable

I get complacent

Every time I get complacent

I get comfortable

Don’t get attached to the comfort

Don’t get attached to the outcome

 

Life is right now

 

Pay attention to this moment

It will never happen to you again

See blue flowers

In the spring time

 

Life is right now

It’s not yesterday

Life is right now

What are you waiting for?

 

Pay attention to this moment

It will never happen to you again

The light falls on the pavement

At this time of the day, today

It won’t be the same tomorrow

            at the same time

                        in the same place

Because…

 

Fourteen sailboats in the bay right now

 

The light on your face

The shadow of a flag

 

 

Mood Anthology

 

C-squared urchin

Anemone

Jellyfish

            Sea Urchin

 

Octopus and squid

Amoeba

           Jellyfish

 

He has not met my goldfish

And yet when he opens his hands

Rainbows spill into the pond

 

Things crawling and you can’t even see them

Dolphin

Tidepools

 

This is my mood anthology

 

 

Particles of Dust

 

I see particles of dust

In a swirl of tornadoes

Beautiful leaves and particles

In a swirl on a sidewalk

 

The light hits it perfectly

And I don’t have a camera with me

But I have my memory and the words

Stuck in my throat

Swirling inside me

 

This is one moment now

You will not experience it

And I know in my bones

That I have uniquely been here

On a sidewalk

In the light like a weed

 

Where the cold meets the warm

You’ll find me

 

 

Ride the Wave

 

He grew up without growing up

He raised his children without the tools to become

But they became

She had eyes in the back of her head

But she never looked forward enough

To see the day

 

Some people progress

Some people digress

Some people just stay the same

Some people progress

Some people digress

Some people just stay the same

 

He gave in but he never gave up

He slowed down long enough just to

Listen to the rhythm of the wave

She grew strong but she never grew tough

She found quiet

At the end of the day

 

I want to grow up

I want to become

I want not to repeat the mistakes

That my ancestors made

I want to make peace

I want to make love

I want to be flowers

Where they lay my grave

 

He grew up without growing up

She had eyes in the back of her head

I want to make peace

I want to make love

Flowers…

Miraculous, Fragrant, Beautiful, Organic

Flowers

 

 

Riga’s Fog

 

I hear your voice

In the glass

Swirling in my head

I taste your warm lips

On my cheek

Still stinging, singing

Sweetness…sweetness

 

I feel time in your brain

Swirling like a vortex

Down the drain

The rain on the window

Sings a lullaby

And I can see your reflection in the water

Little beads of convex faces

 

I feel tornadoes of time

Where the cold of the past

Meets the heat of the now

 

We’re not in Kansas anymore

Little doggie, do your dance

I’ll wear my shoes

And dream the dream

And know the know

 

 

Saturn's in Capricorn

 

Saturn's in Capricorn             
You wake with sleep in your eyes

In the middle of the afternoon

As if it was just sunrise

And when the church bell rings and reminds you that you're here, not there
You think of broken cathedrals
Bombed-out walls and windows everywhere
The soothsayer says “today or tomorrow won't be the day”
She says, "stash all you nuts away like a squirrel, it'll be a while”
 

Saturn's in Capricorn

So walk one foot in front of the other
Pour yourself some coffee

Do a load of laundry
Sweep the dust up of the floor
But don't buy a new broom
This old broom has memories of these corners

 

Saturn's in Capricorn

 

There's a girl on the corner and she's wearing her mother's old mink

As she lights up a cigarette, she starts to think

Of the mother she’s never had and the fur that isn't hers

As she steps into the taxi

And disappears

 

Saturn's in Capricorn

 

And I can't wake up

I can't go to sleep, I'm so tired

 

 

Shadow Tattoo

 

The light through the trees

The light through the leaves

I focus my camera into the sun

They tell me not to do this

 

Shadows are an inevitable part of light

Or are they the absence of light?

Or is light the absence of shadow

And shadow, the negative space of light?

 

I wear a shadow tattoo on my ankle

It moves when I dance around

It leaves the party when I leave the party

And so does the light

And so does the shadow

 

He was inclined to see the molecular structure of things

In an innovative way

Two atoms of oxygen

Wrapped around my perspective

My perspective

Disguises itself as

Shadow

 

 

The Horse You Rode In On

 

When I was a child

To pass the time

I’d tell endless stories

Without reason or rhyme

And my cousins would listen

As if something would happen

They kept waiting for

The horse

 

...and the horse you rode in on

 

I don’t know where this is going

It doesn’t matter

It feels so good

To have my hands in the batter

So eat the cookie

Or eat the dough

Right from your finger

Your stomach won’t know

 

…and the horse you rode in on

 

Cop or villain

Gangster or hero

You add it all up

The sum equals zero

Stetson or hoodie

It’s all on your head

You can’t take it with you

Your weapon to bed

 

…and the horse you rode in on

Welcome to the Planet

 

Welcome to the planet

Leave your shoes in the ozone

Have a drink of the Milky Way

From a ladle made of stars

 

You can't sit down, you don't know gravity

Your voice just echoes in my skull

You are the star in the sky

In the sky of my eye

 

Welcome to my brain

Go spelunking in the labyrinth

Turn the gray into gold

With the alchemy of your vision

 

A double helix on your finger

Reminds you of what you left behind

 

But, you are the star in the sky

In the sky of my eye

Welcome to the planet

Make yourself at home among the stars

 

 

You Tell the Truth

 

She tells a lie and you know she’s lying to you

Can you take it? Can you swallow the truth?

In your throat is equilibrium

There is balance now.

The grudges that you hold, so the guilt you bear

So why don’t you just let it go?

            and you lie… and you lie…

            and she lies

 

You know the story

It’s all a misunderstanding

You thought that she thought

That you though that she thought

It’s all confusing, but you like it that way

You like your chaos one more day

            and you lie… and she lies…

 

You like your lies

Like you like your coffee

Straight out of the pot

No sugar

No cream

No artificial sweetener, baby

 

 

When It Happened

 

My mother was ironing in the living room

When it happened

At three, I remember the world stopping

On its axis

When it happened

Stopping…

 

Martinis

Manhattans

Cocktail dresses

Tom Collins

Empire waste 

Teased hear

Stopping…

When it happened

 

Or maybe I remember

What they tell me happen

Happened

 

A ballerina

My mother was ironing in the living room

We didn’t play doctor

We had a damask, tufted

We played bar

Sofa in the living room

Retro furniture

Ivory on ivory

And two big wingback chairs

 

And we had a turntable

And a stereo and

Convertible

In a burnt orange color

When it happened

Convertible

 

I had already run away once

When I was 2

Stopping…

In my underwear

Racetracks

Standup bass

We were in the new house

Ping-Pong table

And high ceilings in the entry way

Pool table

Sliding glass doors

Gordon Onslow Ford textures

Orbits

    Orbits

Orbits of thought

 

On the moon…

People going to the moon

On the moon…

For the first time

 

We had woods

I was afraid of the basement

Next to our house

And it spanned about four acres

If I had to go down there for something

I would run upstairs

Trees were very small

There were maples and ash

Maples grew up before we did

Ash was slower

 

I still don’t trust basements

 

And the cottonwoods towered over us

Snowed everywhere

In the middle of the summer

 

I was 3 when he had his head blown off

                             She was so dignified

 

Things aren’t so innocent any more

 

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 

Boe Gatiss

Inflato

 

 

Almost Supernatural

 

I dig

Dig deep

In some desolate soil

To bury one condition

Too big

To keep

In the scheme of small things

What’s done is done

I slip back into the acceptable place

Where there are no insects

Just rumors of fossilized remains

You say one word

It’s almost supernatural

 

I force my belief with no skeleton

Toward the jellyfished soul

It’s not worth going down with a conditionless ship

You extend your hand

It’s almost supernatural

That you can stir up this much emotion

It’s almost supernatural

You say one word, one hand

 

 

Bean Box

 

Maelstrom

Pompeii

Crack the lid

Squeeze the box

And out popped

Dodos

Panjandrums

A history deep

 

I’ll try to round them up again

I’ll try to stand them up on end

But they mostly get away

 

I say

Drop one

Wrap them round

A naked spool

See what

It becomes

A length of rope

A stretch of snake

 

I’ll try to wind it up again

I’ll try to stand it up on end

Like a charmer

 

Hold the vapor

Serpentine

Hold

And tell me what this means

Tell me what this means

I’ll find out what you mean

 

Maelstrom

Pompeii

Crack the lid

Squeeze the box

And out popped

Dodos

Panjandrums

A history deep

 

 

Bruce Wagner’s Garden

 

She’s ten years in a teepee

He’s poncho’d on the roof

Convergence is their mercury

It scatters like the proof

Of both of their experience

As they hammer at the truth

 

 

Flexion

 

Now that the light’s on

The count to one and back again

And the stratus hum

Makes the fire cool

Flexion

Rises up in front of me

 

The hand of Lazarus

The threat of losing touch with you

Shot out of the static like a prophet derelict

High above all the shimmering

Howling toward the sea

 

Now that the light’s on

What’s making sense is brevity

And this atmosphere’s indifference

Flexion

I see myself growing numb

Feel the plexus slow

Fuck this rotten impetus

Coming at the pathos like a lapsing oxygen

High above all that shimmers

< >

Despite the air being thinner

It’s much easier to breathe

 

Flexion rises up in front of me

 

 

Four

 

Cup my hands to catch the drop

There’s no water left here

It seems the weather stopped

Rampant thirst and appetite

I’ve only got one drop left

But a stronger thirst for you

Juggernaut

 

We trace the satellites

Our nerves are stuck in space

Given the energy

We’d chase the satellites

We eat the juggernauts

Kindly predictable

Guess at their potency

Pretend they’re astronauts

 

I stare into my face

What’s to see?

What’s to feel?

I stare into your face

What’s to see?

What’s to feel?

What to do?

 

We eat the monuments

Try stomaching their bones

Digest the best we can

Absorb the monuments

You can see from high up

The well-lit geography

But when you’re stuck inside

You rarely see satellites

 

I reach into my space

What’s to touch

What’s to feel?

I reach into your space

What’s to touch?

What’s to feel?

What’s to lose?

What’s to touch?

 

 

Kabuki

 

I took my modern seat

This is the psyche seam

Bodies pushing fabric

This is the modern scene

What’s real in here drifts free

Laced with a luminous smoke

The more we see

The better the joke

 

Hey!

What a fine twist of fate

Dropped into this hip show

What’s behind that machine?

Hey!

What a fine twist of fate

Dropped into this hip stream

Swallowed by the kabuki

 

We venture like the itched

After the soft lights dim

Watch the flying monkeys

That’s where the Pooh-Bahs come in

We’ll create god soon

Paint him nostalgic blue

Then the organs play

And the voices boom

 

Hey!

What a fine twist of fate

Dropped into this hip dream

What’s behind that machine?

Hey!

What a fine twist of fate

Dropped into this hip stream

Swallowed by the kabuki

 

All these pleasant ways of absorbing things

The organismed smoke spinning off the wings

All the pleasant haze of absorbant things

The machine has got its ways

 

 

Majoropo

 

You’re a little bit of every nasty thing

Eventually one watches out for

And I’m a little bit of all your synapses

Everything I do, you’ve probably thought of

Push on

 

We share a stride but not the style of shoe

And we walk upright, and we’re prepared to

And we stop at the shop of the plastered buddha

Like it’s the thing to do

And his smile’s one up on us

 

All I wanna do is be somebody

All I wanna do is elevate

All I wanna do is no hoi polloi

All I wanna do is deviate

All I wanna do is be somebody

All I wanna do exceeds the skin

All I wanna do is evolute and

Crawl out of the soup we’re in

 

It’s tricky how the fumbling entertains itself

Apparently it’s a ride we’re along for

I see your self and your self sees me

And that polished Pooh-Bah

And his smile’s a 90% smile

 

All I wanna do is be somebody

All I wanna do is elevate

All I wanna do is no hoi polloi

All I wanna do is deviate

All I wanna do is be somebody

All I wanna do exceeds the skin

All I wanna do is evolute and

Crawl out of the swamp we’re in

 

You’re a little bit of a nasty thing, push on, push on

And I’m a little bit of your firings, gone, gone

Come on

Come on

 

 

Metropolis

 

They say the notion of a big bang shakes up

The things you see inside a big spoon upside down

 

I say let’s go to where the world is shrunken

 

Stretching

They say … junky

I say let’s turn to face the suction

 

There’s so much light

There’s so much day left

And so much to play with

There’s so much scene

Spinning like a gyroscope

So much light

Don’t know what to do here

 

Trip on appeal

No need for balance here

Strictly

 

Filamental atmosphere

Suck like a sponge

Eat of the fruit my dear

The metropolis, it’s got a half life.

 

There’s so much light

There’s so much to play with

There’s so much light

And <> to stick with

And all this urge

The magnetism

So much light

I don’t want to leave here

 

There’s so much light

There’s so much to play with

There’s so much height

And rumors to stick with

And all this sheen

Brimmin’ the atmosphere

This light

You cannot deny here

 

 

Speak

 

So this is what

Succumbing to

The natural course of things is like

Milgram shocks, Mobius strips

Wandering round leashed to my appetite

Speak into the horn, please

 

Stretch your hands out

And you can feel loud noise

Makes you think it’s coursing through the conch

If you can hold noise

You can throw the switch

Convince yourself that there’s no end to this

 

Power surge, Mobius trip

Watering mouth and spiraled satellites

 

Speak into the horn, please

Speak

Into the horn

Please

 

Speak!

Speak

Into

The horn

Please

Speak

Into

The horn

Please

Speak

Into

The horn

Please

 

 

Stretching

 

I stretch

Into the carnivaled plastic years

I stretch

Across the trampolining ears

I stretch

Out like those Technicolored fumes

I stretch

To reach around my tiny room

 

I stretch

Into the bottom of up and down

I stretch

My tongue to taste in the liquid ground

I stretch

Into my little telling piece of room

 

I stretch into the latitude next to mine

I stretch across particular broken lines

I stretch

Out until I’m big enough shallow

To see through

 

Little sense trickling down my backbone

Makes its way

There’s nothing to decide

Little shocks and the fixed things go elastic

Reach from here, reach to there,

Tentacles, flubber, and the funny air

 

I stretch, I stretch

Into the little world

Up and down

I stretch, I stretch

 

 

West

 

I chanted the mantras

I scattered the dust

I’ve lost my possessions

What’s next?

 

I looked past the troubles

Eyes behind lids

I know where I’m going

 

I look past the <charms>, and you weren’t in the coals

 

And these walls were supposed to collapse

And the wheel, it’s supposed to give in

And this state, it intends to roll on

And this state, it rolls on

 

I know where I’m going

It’s my last confidence

You’ve done what you could do to shatter the rest  

I’ll know you’ll come back

 

And these walls were supposed to collapse

And the wheel, it’s supposed to give in

And this state, it intends to roll on

And this state, it rolls on

 

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>