ellipse

1.

All my life

i’ve wanted

to feel something…

be something.

2.

Truth told

i feel strange

in my own skin,

a suit which does not seem cut for me.

i cannot get comfortable inside it.

3.

Given

the option

of oblivion,

yes,

i would surrender…

as if by the soft closing

of my eyes i might

erupt into a plume

of flames,

a pleasurable, exploding

flower of my own invention,

my own bright spark.

4.

Desire, of course,

is not a path,

but a given power,

circling within us…

…an arc,

a dreamwire,

a looping

spark,

repeating

its orbital path,

scouring the night

with thickening

layers of laser lines,

sharpwires

cutting the

booming darkness

with their high trajectory,

carving from

fathoms of the

upward void

the lines of

a brilliant,

dizzying vault,

resounding with

the echoes

of our cries.

5.

Who, or where, am i,

if not dwarfed, standing

at the bottom of myself?

6.

What do i feel

but vertigo,

looking upward

into nothing?

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rated x, part three

…the moment when I am with you…and we lose track of time and space; we rotate and tumble; we become each other; we are sweat and skin; we are liquid; we are ether…

until again we materialize…propel ourselves deeper into the dark, whirling corridors of eyes…

…so that when we sit on the cement grit of my stoop on the other side of that reality…when we drink our coffee, and smoke our cigarettes, me in my jeans and you in fresh cotton…(when the “morning is cold, and bright, like we need it”…)

…when we look up into the sky and watch a skiff of gray cloud…and shiver in the air that sweeps our skin before light rain sprinkles the fabric of our sleeves…

…we know we’ve been somewhere.

(Back Door:  Enter rated x, part two into the search bar.)

(Please note: the quote above is from the music of David Eugene Edwards and Woven Hand,  whose lyrics can be heard in the Wim Vandeykeybus/Ultima Vez dance film entitled Blush.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve seen shit burn

I’ve seen shit burn. When I was 7, the church across the street from my parents’ house burned down to the bricks in the dead of winter.  It was one o’clock in the morning when the bell tower went up in a giant fireball, a ferocious blossom of flame and light that illuminated treetops a block away. My brother and I sat on his bed and watched through the window. That thing exploded, bright as day, and the leftover structure toppled down through the collapsing roof. A mud-colored after-tower of smoke and shingles rocketed up through the hole just before the entire roof caved, a falling grid of fire, everything coming apart. We stared at the building as it turned into a yawning chasm of yellow flames.

On a frosty morning before school we dragged organ pipes out of the charred remains of the church, their alloy edges scraping loud-as-shit over the parking lot, then across the street to one of the side yards where we joined up with the neighbor kids. We made noise on those pipes with coins, nails, and screws, ting-ting-ing and tang-tang-ing away.  We even blew across the tops of the pipes, trying to make a tone, the fog of our breath filling the air.

That spring, a basement apartment two doors down got burned out. I remember two kids from the neighborhood who ducked under the yellow tape and looted the place for two big gallon jars of peaches, home-canned. One of the kids lost a jar; it slipped from its precarious balance point on the handle bars of his BMX, dropped right onto the sidewalk in front of my parents’ house.  I was throwing an old bowie knife at a chunk of particle board with my brother and a friend of ours.  The wet, hollow shattering sound of the jar landing on the sidewalk made us look over at them.  These two kids were shouting at each other about if and how they were going to clean up the mess of jar-glass and dirty peaches strewn across the sidewalk.  Peach syrup was melding with the crud in the pavement.  Time was passing too slowly.  They got scared and scrammed.

They were a couple of scrappy, smudge-faced kids, but they had honor…enough to fight over wiping out their tracks…so my brother and I couldn’t beef with them.  They were stealing so they could fucking eat.  Besides, it seemed like there was always a random day around the corner when the cops crawled over that neighborhood like flies on shit…who knew when it was coming? 

That same afternoon my brother, my friend and I hosed down the sidewalk.  I didn’t mind.  Two kids got to eat and no questions were asked.  Not long after that an upper storey apartment on the back side of the block went up, too.  Story was somebody was freebasing and got a little carried away.  Didn’t add up in my head, though.  I figured it was a drunk smoking on his bed.  After they pulled him out a little corner of that building stayed wet and charred for weeks.  You could smell it when you walked by.  A vile, human smell, but burnt, hosed down, like wet dog mixed with old food smoking from the bottom of an oven…  We didn’t want to know what it was, exactly.  Same building where shots were fired in an argument about a cat.  Fucking crackers, shooting each other over a cat that probably went splay-legged and shat diarrhea the moment it heard a gunshot.  House cat, dead from a heart attack.

Later, on a gig in California, I shacked up in an old motel that had been converted to apartments.  I was playing the lone wolf, and the nights I wasn’t with a girl I spent alone with my thoughts.  Maybe I was trying to remember exactly how I ended up there…

Anyway, there was an evening when I gradually became narcotically sleepy while reading on my bed.  The lights seemed to grow dimmer.  I didn’t know what was going on.  Feeling a mild need for fresh air, I opened my door.  As I stepped out onto the balcony, smoke poured from the open doorway and mushroomed up under the eaves.  Holy Fuck!  I had just been in that.  How the fuck…like a frog in a pot.  It was the kid downstairs.  He was a drug dealer, an alpha white boy with long hair, a hook nose, a big adam’s apple, and a booming, throaty baritone.  He had locked himself in.  Smoke seeped through the cracks at the edges of the windows… Charismatic mother fucker was a schizophrenic, clean off his meds.  Smoking drugs and now afraid if he let anyone in the front door his whole life would get blown open. 

A firetruck blasted into the parking lot.  Then the cops came, then another firetruck rolled up.  Cops and firefighters shouted this kid down from outside.  He didn’t come out.  One firefighter hatcheted the door and the other one kicked it in.  They wrestled this kid in that hot, smoky hole of an apartment, and threw him out bodily onto the pavement.  He was a big kid, and I watched him fly.  When he hit pavement, he landed on a concrete parking slab, got the wind knocked out of him.  But it wasn’t wind, it was fucking smoke.  He burped out a cloud of smoke, right there in the parking lot while these firefighters ran into that place with their big hoses and soaked everything in there until the place was a char-hole.  Then they put this kid into a squad car.

There was a huge fucking rainstorm that night.  There’s no such thing as pathetic fallacy; that’s just what happened.  I stood out on my balcony, doors and windows to my place swung wide open, chain-smoking Lucky Strikes, waiting for the smoke to clear from my place.  I flashed on a conversation I’d had with the kid in the parking lot, right around New Year’s.  “Happy New Year!” he’d said.  “Year of the Monkey,” I said, “That means prosperity and chaos.”  No fucking clue about the prosperity part…

And the next morning I woke up late, no work that day, lounging in bed, enjoying the after-cool of the rainstorm, lying there watching the palm trees sway a little in the park across the street, a parking lot and four lanes of traffic away…and I heard a voice from inside that char-hole beneath me, a boy’s voice, virginal, unchanged, like those children who sing in the King’s Choir at Oxford…saying “No, no…I won’t” And then I heard him, the dealer, in his huge, gravelly, booming baritone, “Let me in, goddammit; I’ve gotta get my shit outta there.”  “No, you can’t.  The police said you’re not supposed to do that.”

I put on a pair of shorts and walked out onto the balcony for a cigarette.  As I lit up I could see the sunshine breaking, the first steam rising off the wet parking lot.  It was cool now, but the day was gonna cook.  Then I saw him, the kid, the dealer, out there in the lot, stooped, in the same smoky clothes from the night before, staring at the splintered, busted-in door to the char-hole apartment, with police tape all cockeyed everywhere.  He was shouting now.  And then, thin, lyrical, came this boy’s voice, “No don’t…please…you’ll ruin everything.”  I saw the dealer, stooped over, but still as a statue.  The voice was him. It was fucking him.  He was throwing his voice.  He was loco.  And yet it was so beautiful, so well done, so perfectly performed…like listening to an overture for two lovers play from the inside of a statue.

I saw the flash of party lights on the asphalt.  A squad car rolled up, red and blue reflecting off the pools of rainwater in the empty lot.  No sirens, just the sound of wet tires turning on asphalt.  By the time they got to this kid he could barely stand any more.  He looked like some kind of martyr, his Jesus-hair blowing in the wind.  The moment before they pushed his head down to clear the metal of the doorframe, he looked up at me.  Our eyes locked.  Okay; I got it.  We are the same.  Except our different locations in three-dimensional space we are the fucking same.

I finished my cigarette just as my right-side neighbor came out on the balcony with a forty in his hand.  He was an older guy, white-haired, retired, wearing board shorts and flip flops and a tank top over his beastly, hairy, barrel-shaped torso.  Burly.  Almost fat.  White bushes of armpit hair came out from his tank top.

He handed me the forty.  I took a swig; this was the nature of our relationship.  As I handed him back the forty he took one of those little shatter-proof plastic bottles of Christian Brothers out of his back pocket and handed it to me.  “Try that.  Take some a’ that.”

I swallowed.

“That’s a boilermaker,” he said.

I swallowed again.

“Pretty good, huh?” he said.

My mouth formed into a line.

We watched the cop car turn out of the wet parking lot, rolling silent, lights flashing off the wet asphalt, steam rising, the Jesus-haired crazy kid in the back, us just the watchers.

Verse 2, The Oxcart

Our dead and decent god, who was a workman, a casuist, a secular man, who was so sad to make this wood-like, bony cage…could offer up from his humble bench only the crudest form of protection for the heart; he was subject to probability.  And god, being god, and therefore not knowing of himself, was not spared his own provenance, and nature, and died when run over by an ox-cart outside his workshop.  The cart was pulled by a horse so burdened by its inappropriate vehicle, so gripped by its fear of fault in the accident, that it died, too, while being whipped by its furious driver.  The driver, who was confounded by being the murderer of god, was equally confounded to discover god was not only a man, but, by his very nature, a victim.  Shocked and enraged by this calamitous situation, and overcome with the most fearsome form of guilt, the driver of the oxcart murdered his horse, flogging it until it died while lying in the muddy street.  Afterwards the driver went to a brothel, where he refused to even look at a prostitute, and sat in a dark booth where, consumed by guilt and self-loathing, he drank himself to death by downing bottle upon bottle of vodka, until his head fell on his chest and he had a heart attack.  And thus, in this earthly telling, the legacy of our decent god was clear: a ribcage, violence, and guilt.

Vagina Envy

I kept my eyes shut tight.  The rushing grew, and hurt my ears.  Overwhelmed, I sighed…  I felt that I was being fucked, and let my head drift back, as if supported by a cloud…

Now, dear reader, I turn to you to say I know it’s absurd for me to say I changed from man to woman and came until I vanished…

…but all curiosity about sensations in the other gender’s skin…at the height and glory of a sexual act…

…all your womanly desire to have a red-hot phallus tip, and glide it, slippery in, while another woman cries, as if your clitoris thrived and squirmed at the head of an aching pillar, which you buried in her come…

…all desire to have your sex within you…and to have it driven to acutest points, as with the deepest, wettest envies of a man…

…all these desires and curiosities within me were so filled they escaped description, except to say the pleasure was so great as to annihilate the sensate image of one’s utmost erotic wish, causing me to question how I’d ever been a man…for this crying out, this flooding…this pounding, and opening of self…of genitals, and guts, and heart, and brain…this orgasmic splitting of my spine; it was so deep that while my spirit burned blue and and hot enough to melt all else before, and all else after…I came with neither dream nor memory; I  came as neither man nor woman, I came flat-out, as sex itself…

…and at that moment-

…when my skull was changed to liquid into which I was absorbed, and lost myself, my skin, my voice, my breath and bones, which melded, one with air, as ecstasy did express itself from every follicle and pore…

and my head became the sky, and the sky my head, and a lightning storm shot through all and lit the earth, passing through the gap between my legs, which gap in turn shot up my spine…’til my head burst open with pleasurable force, and my crotch did shudder me and shake me into atoms, into air, into purest fucking…

-I was GONE.

Happenstance

Thom Hunt played drums for Happenstance, a punk band which played in rural Southeastern Washington in the mid nineties.

The number fourteen (I think it was fourteen; I can’t be sure) stood out in white numerals from a piece of green fabric which was duct-taped to the inside of Thom’s bass drum.  After watching Happenstance practice in a grungy basement, I’d asked Thom about the number.

“Oh yeah,” he said, “That was my favorite T-shirt.”

He had overdosed, and a medic had cut his favorite shirt open at the chest.  Unwilling to lose his the shirt entirely, Thom had cut the number and taped it to his drum.

One night I encountered Thom at a party, sitting in a large La-Z-Boy with a case of beer on the floor next to him.

“I’m going to drink this case of beer,” he said.

I didn’t stay long enough to see whether he did, but I sat and talked with him for awhile.  We stumbled onto the subject of smoking.

“I love to smoke,” Thom said.  “You know what?  I think I want a whole fucking carton of cigarettes…  Just for tonight.”  He looked at me quizzically.  “Actually, fuck that.  I want a truckload of cigarettes.”

“That’s a lot of cigarettes,”  I said.

“Yeah…  How many cigarettes would that be?”

I don’t remember how much of the case Thom had actually consumed by this point, but his drunkenness didn’t stop him from going into detailed analysis of how many cigarettes there would be in the back of a delivery truck.  The analysis progressed from cigarettes to a pack, to packs to a carton, to cartons to a case.  Then there was wild speculation about how many cases of cigarettes would actually fill a truck…

An occasional partier would stop as he passed through the living room and offer some random comment or number.

When I finally stood up to go out for a cigarette myself, I left Thom sitting there, drinking his case.

Standing in the backyard, I breathed in the night air.  I lit a cigarette, knowing that inside the house, there was a man who would finish twenty-four beers before he allowed himself to stand for a cigarette.

I was fascinated with smoking, obsessed.  I blew smoke upward into the night sky.

(Back Door:  Enter “Skinny Haley”, “Doggerel Bitch” or “Brain Without a Pigeon” into the search bar.)

Wore Goggles

Two men in contemporary combat gear came up through the trap door.  One of them carried an M-16 and wore goggles.  The other one, in a black cowboy had, carried a pistol and had a mic wire.  He ignored everyone, and began rummaging among the ladders at the back of the room.

The queen froze in her chair, aghast.

Two or three of the policemen, still on their half-hour lunch break, and totally oblivious to the entrance of the two men in combat gear, were puffing on cigarettes, and making movements with their mouths which made them look ever so slightly like goldfish.

It was strange to see these small, old men, in full police uniform, puffing on cigarettes, fascinated, some of them not even seeing past the ends of their own noses, as if they were children, smoking candy cigarettes.

The queen, meanwhile, had both hands propped on the desk.  Her robe was lifted up so that it made a kind of bustle behind her, and the man with the black cowboy hat and the mic wire was copulating with her from the rear.  There was a soft thumping sound as the heels of the queen’s hands took the impact on the desk.

Some of the policemen lit second cigarettes, and blew smoke rings, and brushed crumbs of white sandwich bread from their jackets, and watched.

As the queen was being bumped against the desk, she let one hand come free so that she could resume the application of her make-up.

The soldier with the goggles and the M-16 stood in the middle of the smoking policemen.  Smoke rings floated up around him on all sides.  He reached around to his backpack and removed a gas mask, which he pulled on over his face.

CRACK!

He capped one of the old, flabby-jowled policemen in the head with his M-16.  The policemen tipped over into a pool of his own blood.  His head banged against his lunchbox, and then thudded on the floor.  Smoke rose from the stump of his cigarette, which had gone out in the blood.

Some of the other policemen’s heads turned to observe what was happening, but the heads simply continued to smoke their cigarettes, and blow more smoke rings.  Blood spread across the wooden floor and soaked into the pants legs of some of the smoking policemen who were sitting nearby.

“Bonuses for casualties…hmmm. Bonuses, yes….  We gets bonuses for casualties, yes we does….”  This statement was echoed through the lot of them, and was somewhat intermittent, and irregular, as it had to be coordinated with the blowing of smoke rings.