Monday, April 23, 2012

You Will Not Surely Die

An abandoned building.
A forgotten pastime.
It called out in the wilderness.
Wallets, livers and good decisions were checked at the door.
Over and over.
Again and again.
They licked, swallowed and sucked.
Salt… Tequila… Lime… Glory!
They watched as their glasses were filled to overflowing.
My cup runneth over.
The stage was filled musicians.
Praise. Worship. Exaltation.
Guitars were provocatively strummed.
Passion was heard in the violin.
Trumpets serenaded.
Accordions squeezed in and out.
Drums echoed in the hills.
The voice of Satanás rang through the night air.
Fingers and mouths rapidly moved bringing pleasure.
Dancing ensued.
Front to back. Side to side. Body to body.
Arms raised. Eyes closed. Hands trembling.
Pores perspired.
Anointing oil. The new balm of Gilead.
After 6 rounds they spoke in tongues.
Everyone else spoke Spanish.
God sent his son.
His son sent his spirit.
His spirit brought the fire.
That fire was bottled. Distilled. Unleashed.
It was served chilled with salt and lime.
God’s footstool. The temple in Jerusalem.
It has been rebuilt in Mexico, but not for God.
The new Day of Pentecost, Día de los Muertos.
The Day of the Dead.
El Diablo’s Cantina.
Jesús Malverde poured the Spirit.
Santa Muerte Blanca checked ID’s at the door.
Forgiveness cannot be asked.
Redemption is not required.
Original sin is expected.
It should never be vanquished, but the foundation.
The cornerstone of disbelief.
They craved more of the spirit.
The new sustenance.
The spirit flowed freely.
The Promised Land had been entered.
Don’t drink the water.
There is no need.
They offered up their bodies as a sacrifice.
Their souls followed suit.
Uninhibited admiration for their provider.
Hours passed. Minutes were seconds. Seconds were null and void.
The moon was full for three days.
The sun did not rise with the dawn.
No one noticed.
Glory was in the night.
Última llamada.
Last Call.
Another round was ordered.
Salt and Lime had been abandoned.
They consumed.
The Spirit filled them.
Silence. They were speechless.
The moon descended out of sight.
The music stopped.
Dancing ceased.
Eyes opened. Arms lowered. Hands at their sides.
Bottles were dry.
Empty seats lined the bar.
Wallets and stomachs turned inside out.
They made their exit.
And left with nothing.
Empty, soulless and craving more.
Truth was an illusion.
A mirage in the desert.
Fulfillment is fleeting.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Write Club: Rich vs. Poor

I was given the opportunity to do a reading last night that was actually a competition. Unfortunately, I lost, but in hindsight I still like my story. Rich vs. Poor were our prompts. Here's what I had to say about being poor.


A Product of the 80's or Why I'm Really Good At Monopoly

Who didn't love the 80's. Fast talk, fast cars and fast women. I took full advantage of all of the perks that were at my disposal. Unfortunately, when I realized what was going on around me in 1987. I was only 6 years old. The end of the decade was fast approaching and I needed to let my presence be known. Leave my mark so to speak.

My father being the conservative Right-wing Republican that he was,would read the newspaper out loud each morning from the kitchen table in our 3 story mansion that sat on a corner lot overlooking the ocean in Ft. Myers, Florida. From what I gathered from my father’s narration of the paper, Ronald Reagan was the manifestation of the second coming of Christ. Rich, successful, a movie star and not just the President of the United States, but the leader of the free-world. Our fucking saviour. The Great White Hope.

Our young family hadn’t alway seen such prosperous times though. My brother was born in a trailer in Kentucky and my parents were renting a house when I was concieved a few years later. With a little hard work and some elbow grease, as my Dad would always say, he managed to purchase a small 2 bedroom bungalo, fix it up, rent it out and eventually upgraded to the mansion we were now living in.

When summer vacation arrived that year my brother and I sat around watching movies on HBO that our parents had instructed us not to watch. I’m not sure why though, my dad’s language made the r-rated movies look like Disney films, the man could cuss for 20 minutes without repeating himself.

Like my father, the rest of the nation and Hollywood was obsessed with making money during the 80’s. Obviously, Wall Street was my favorite movie and seemed like it was on repeat every time I snuck in to the TV room to try and catch a glimpse of what my mom referred to as “soft core porn”. Little did she know that I was getting a valuable business education from my hero, Gordon Gekko.

My obsession with money not only came from my love of my father loving Ronald Reagan, but also my new found love of women. Yes. I was only 6 years old, but at this very young and impressionable age I was given some very sound advice by my next door neighbor, Sean. He was only a grade above me, but his father had actually passed on to him the secret of life: Have sex with as many women as possible.

My only experience with women thus far was when Sean and I had found his father’s secret porn stash. Well, it wasn’t really secret - because he left the magazines on the coffee table in their living room, but what Sean and I did while flipping through the pages of Playboy and Hustler was a secret.

Being only in grade school we realized that it was going to be quite some time before we ever made contact with any of these busty women with horrendous tan lines committing disgusting acts. So we did what any suitable children who had come into contact with pornography would do.

We licked all of the pages.

In the fall of ‘89 my parents’ marriage was falling apart so they did what any sensible upper-middle class couple with two young children would do. They started attending church. So at age 8 I was forced to go to Sunday School for the first time in my life. Like most kids. I fucking hated it.

About the time I had lost all hope they started teaching us about heaven. I zoned out during the “You’re a sinner and going to hell” part, but zeroed in on the reward. Eternal life, streets of gold and a mansion in heaven?

I could get into that.

As I look back, It wasn’t so much that I accepted Jesus as my Lord and saviour - but more as a business partner. I thought of myself as being a venture capitalist for the kingdom of God. It seemed like a good investment and all I had to do was fork over was my soul.

I was growing up fast and didn’t want to waste a second of my childhood doing the typical crap that kids do. The thought of playing with action figures, joining the schools’ sports team and building treehouses out in the woods for fun seemed ridiculous, but to keep my parents at ease and myself out of therapy I played along.

If my parents ever bought me an action figure I made sure to never open up the packaging to ensure that the item was in mint condition. I sold all of my Star Wars toys on e-bay years later to purchase my first BMW.

I was never athletic, but by joining the basketball team I got a great insider look at how well our team was going to do that season I met my first bookie when I was 13.

And the treehouse? I lost my virginity to Melinda Van Zant 20 feet in the air on a cool summer night. Unfortunately, I was forced to divorce my parents when I was in highschool due to their lack of fiscal responsibility after my father's early retirement.

I blazed through college Doogie Howser style. I didn’t graduate from Princeton in a year, but then again, who would want to?

I voted for George W. Bush my freshman year and I was tricked into thinking the glory days of the Republican party were back, when Bush gave me three hundred dollars for just filing my taxes. Not the I needed the money, but I managed to purchase two eight balls of cocaine to help me stay focused on my day trading during finals week.

Mission Accomplished, I’d say.

As my senior year of college was coming to an end I knew that I needed a master plan, one big rake that would put me ahead for life. Luckily, I went to visit my childhood friend Sean out in San Francisco for Spring Break that year. As fate would have it I ended up banging Steve Jobs personal assistant in a lawn chair at a beach keg party. Naturally, I blackmailed her into giving me company secrets in exchange for a self-imposed “gag order” that I wouldn’t tell her fiance that she had gagged on my cock. Gordon Gekko would be proud!

I look back on the formative years of my professional life and it brings a smile to my face as I envision a Rocky-style montage of striking deals, closing sales, signing under the table contracts and cashing large commission checks, but from time to time I do find myself contemplating my regrets.

Why didn’t I have a three-some with Melinda Van Zant and her twin sister, how did I not convince Ryan Wooten to throw the State High School basketball championship and when did I think it was a good idea to start shaving my head opposed to keeping my awesome Pat Riley style haircut.

When those moments hit I go back to the good book, the Holy Bible, but it brings me no comfort and leaves me feeling confused to read that it’s harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to walk through an eye of a needle.

Thankfully, I have leverage. I signed that contract with Jesus years ago.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Mary O'Hare

This is a piece I did for a reading at a local art gallery called Beep Beep. The reading was titled "CHRONOLOGIES: Ten Readings That May or May Not Relate To Time Travel".

Mary O'Hare

In the grand scheme of it all, nothing is linear so it seems. There is no beginning. No end. You can convince yourself otherwise, but time does tell, but typically not the truth... or at least how you remember it.

At one point I was able to keep all of the events that happened in order, a timeline, a feasible account, but now they’re just jumbled together, a hodgepodge of occurrences, encounters and ultimately a discombobulated arrangement of bittersweet memories that I cling to when nothing feels familiar... or when jerking off won’t put me to sleep at night.

A reassembled history book, numbered pages frayed and out of order, some missing, torn out. Lines of text blacked out, along with images faded. All of it lacking any pertinent information.

Clicking through photographs saved on hard drives and websites with timelines and photo albums, most of them deleted, not just from technology, but also my mind. What I do recover seems foreign; distorted.

Unfamiliar faces mixed with friends and family. Vacations and holidays spent with a stranger.

It’s funny how you can talk, kiss, laugh and make love with someone for years and still forget what they look like. Eyes averted to distractions leave us with forgotten faces. I guess it’s really not that funny.

I’ve revisited music, albums and songs cherished, but not by me. I’ve purchased discographies of bands that I loathe to try and reconnect with a feeling that has long past. My record collection is now riddled with embarrassing recording artists that I would prefer to never imagine strumming a stratocaster or their fingers ever pressing down the keys of a Casio. Or for that matter even playing air guitar in highschool when they were alone in their room dreaming of being the next Jimmi Hendrix, Slash, or whoever the kids wanted to be that year.

Turning pages in books that I never wanted to read yields the same results. The appeal of cleverly numbered mystery novels by Janet Evanovich eludes me. I pass on watching the movie. I’d rather fuck a bong than get a rimjob from Kathryn Heigl.

Perusing the children’s section of Barnes and Noble makes me feel like a pedophile. Parents shoot me disapproving looks as I sit down at an under-sized table with their children and attempt to read
Green Eggs & Ham to a toddler who’s too busy ripping out the pages of a Richard Scarry book to give a shit.

I cross the store and find The Time Traveller’s Wife. I think I might be onto something, but I quickly realize that something is off. What adult would want to meet their future significant other out in the woods when they’re a six year old? It’s pretty fucking creepy.

My efforts bring me no comfort by trying to relive something that was probably forgotten for a reason. I’m left nostalgic, but not for what evidence of the past I’ve unearthed.

I close my eyes and focus inward. It’s where all time and space exists.

I am the vessel.

I explore and by doing so I discover something else. An alternative. That which I long for has always been, a parallel timeline, an alternate reality to the only one that I was conscious and aware of. I open my eyes and retrace.

In hastily inspecting photographs I missed the important faces, the blurry ones fade into the background as bystanders, unpaid extras in a scene that they will eventually be cut from.

My eyes carefully study the bookshelf in my office. It’s lined with novels and biographies filled with stories that have led me to where I am. One novel stands out as I realize that my story was already written before I was even born.

Mine does not include a war with soldiers armed with Springfield rifles or the destruction of a beautiful city by bombs falling from the sky, but an inward battle of the mind where the enemy is my own expectations. Hopefully, it won’t end with an abduction by aliens from Tralfamadore.

My legs relax Indian style as I thumb through my record collection skipping the one hit wonders that annoyingly drone on about pouring sweetener on another human being or taking a slow ride... taking it easy.

I lay the needle on an album my father passed down to me. A song plays that I remember him picking on the guitar, to put me to sleep as a child. The recording snaps and pops through the speakers and the lyrics resonate. There’s truth in them and I take the words to heart because now it’s obvious. What I’ve been looking for has always been.

The chorus comes around again and the media proclaimed prophet tells his ex-lover “don’t think twice, it’s alright.”

It occurs to me that my father is nearing the end of his journey, not his life, but the travelling. I’ve realized through conversations, e-mails and even the record he gave to me that he’s been preparing me for this as he’s seen me quickly approaching the need to do so. The need for it to make sense, to be linear, even though it seems impossible.

Along with this revelation there has been a change. The past has been modified; recalibrated, the alternate has become the reality and the timeline. Though it may never be clear, concise or direct I am certain that now and forever it will exceed my own expectations.