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05/01 Direct Link
John was drinking water with powdered fiber mixed in. Every morning he popped a vitamin pill. Around noon he blended a protein shake with frozen berries and fortified yogurt. An hour after the fiber he would take a huge shit then go to the gym and work three circuits. This was his life. He worked in an office, a job arranged by his father, and hoped some day to meet a nice guy tat he could share his life with. In the meanwhile, making his body his own was his greatest pleasure. Chemical inducements, factory controls, his own machinery organically.
05/02 Direct Link
This kid is watching movies on computer and drinking soda. She’s curled her hair with a hot iron and she layered on foundation and blush. She isn’t leaving the house though. It’s the webcam. Except I expressly forbid her using it for two weeks because she was talking to an older man. Sometimes I suspect she’s making money through one of those webcam sites. I’ve also wondered if she sells her underpants online. I wouldn’t put it past her. I don’t know where she gets these ideas. I never would have thought of selling my underwear when I was her age.
05/03 Direct Link
My mother used to tell me I’d be spanked to death if I didn’t obey. I don’t remember once being spanked. Except the time my mother raised a wooden spoon over my rear and landed it softly after several minutes describing the pain due to me for being rowdy. She often invoked the power of my father, a man who lifted weights to take his mind off of her, and would show me his razor strop. The strop was my grandfathers, perhaps even my great-grandfather’s. Things like that stay in my family. So do the memories, and kind, gentle natures.
05/04 Direct Link
There was a day when she locked herself in the bathroom. We all knew it was trouble. I could hear her crying. She made no attempt to hide it. I can’t remember why we had a bottle of the stuff in the house. Probably from a time when she’d swallowed too many pills. Dad didn’t want to call the police. It was a small bottle, squared with a dark brown dropper cap. The liquid was clear, if I remember right. She’d shown it to me before, told me what it did, preparing me for the drama. She drank it all.
05/05 Direct Link
We’d been in Amsterdam for a few hours, long enough to pass customs, giggle excitedly, flag a taxi and get to the hotel. He said the hotel wasn’t far from the exciting part of town, near museums. Turned out nothing was far from the exciting part of town. I walked the circumference of the city in a day. We were jangling our keys and trying to be casual about our first meal. We had no clue where we were outside of generalities. Some cyclist rang his bell. A skater whizzed by. We ate Cambodian … and I puked in the park.
05/06 Direct Link
It’s odd getting old. You think there should be no difference. They look the same. They talk about the same things too. It’s shameful, really. Someone should give them crib notes so they can catch up. History does repeat itself. There I am, or a younger version of me, running projectors and sullenly participating in conversation. There’s a replica of Joe, cracking jokes and spouting indie movie trivia. At the other theater they are older, more comfortable, settled, less to prove. I find myself relaxing, wanting to hang out, learn. The young ones are set on edge, make me lean.
05/07 Direct Link
It was that dream again. The one that woke him with a start, his fingers stretching to grab her shirt before she slipped. It was always that. He saw her slip. But he knew she fell. The look on her face as she turned away, the clear light in her eyes, wind wrapping hair around her neck, her shirt billowing as the draft whipped from below. He could smell the lilacs. It was the same. His room was stuffy, dark and his blanket kicked to the floor. His arm ached and he sat up, flexing his fingers, thinking of her.
05/08 Direct Link
The last time I talked to him I told him he should never recognize me. I told him if he approached me I would call the police. I told him the paperwork was ready for a restraining order. I made sure he understood that everyone I knew was aware of his transgressions. He once told me if I wrote about him he’d kill me. He said I could never use him as a character. I wonder if he’d ever know. There’s no way he could prove it besides. There are plenty of assholes in the world already, plenty besides him.
05/09 Direct Link
Jimbo pulled open the door and dropped his bag by the coat rack. “God, what a day,” he said and shrugged off his blazer. He sat on a chair by the hearth and kicked off his leather shoes, placing each underneath. Alone again, another night of chips, hummus and beer. His Yorkie sniffed at his black socks. “Hey, boy,” Jimbo said, scruffing the dog’s long hair. The dog barked and ran to the kitchen, Jimbo followed and cracked open the fridge. He wished someone would shop for him. He wished someone would reach around his shoulder and embrace him, laugh.
05/10 Direct Link
What the fuck are you doing here? Why do you keep coming around? How many times have I told you I don’t want to see you again? My friends all think the restraining order is enough. They stare at me disbelieving when I tell them you were by again. No one understands your problem. What is the fixation? I told you flat out that you are a piece of shit. I said it several times in a row to make sure you heard me. I made you repeat back to me that we should never see each other again. Craptabulous.
05/11 Direct Link
You make me feel fabulous. God damn, I’m glad you’re in my life. Everything I could say about you is like a greeting card, some trite nonsense-sounding surplus language. You amaze me. Generous, gentle, translucent, solid, convex, astute, goofy, serious, swinging, modular, irascible, reconcilable, basic, fluid, sharp, sticky, blazing, lifted, shaped, critical, alluring, delicate, strong, prickly, shaggy, squared off and sautéed. Your jaw is firm, eyes flecked, and when you let me believe my opinion matters. What more could I ask for? Complicated and simple, you enlighten and enliven my life. So for your birthday I didn’t make a cake.
05/12 Direct Link
Kathy had to sell her tickets. She wanted to take time off from work but her bank account was overdrawn and her husband glowered whenever she talked of ballet. She loved ballet. Drilled on pointe and turn, she wanted her daughter to dance. But her daughter was chunky, even as a toddler. Kathy knew her daughter would be unhappy. Tights and mirrors only enhance the need to be thin. Time passed. Kathy kept scratching change into ballet tickets, kept petit, watched her daughter grow tall, thick, pregnant, divorced, arthritic, grey. Kathy grew sick, called her daughter, and apologized for assuming.
05/13 Direct Link
I’ll make you a man. I’ll show you the lost art of speech. You will know how to convey with your lips. You will command your peers by voice. Only a few manage to captivate. Only the rare can bring ideas to life. Like Daniel from the lion’s den, your convictions will bend others. Ears reach to hearts, eyes connect to thought; you will be a wonder. Now, stand tall, taller, as tall as you can, and bellow. Keep bellowing loud, louder, and now turn it into words. Words like, “transgression,” or, “freedom,” or, “liberty rejected by a fringe movement.”
05/14 Direct Link
The suited man held a bible beside them, Chester and Petunia couldn’t wait to get unhitched. Petunia wouldn’t release Chester’s hand. Chester was stoned. His buddies fired him up in the lobby, passing a blue glass pipe in circular manner between them. When the ring was given to Chester he tried to put it on the pastor’s hand. Petunia grabbed at it, hurting the pastor, and in her rush slipped it on Chester’s pinky. Chester started laughing, which got his buddies to laughing. Petunia stomped her foot, broke her shoe heel, stumbled backward and landed in her father-in-law’s upholstered lap.
05/15 Direct Link
As he leaned back, he hit the ceramic black panther with the edge of his shoe. He watched it arch off the coffee table, paws over head, it’s tale tucked tight to shin, mouth open to painted tongue with fangs gently bared as though to say he would rather not. But he did. And made contact. Tink. A forepaw disengaged and rotated under the sofa, one ear chipped, white inside exposed. The man gasped and scrambled to reach the paw, palm smacking the wood floor, feeling crumbs and hair. He picked up the panther and positioned it, hoping to hide.
05/16 Direct Link
Put on the old Brian Eno and unlax. Don’t think about your homework, baby. College is stupid. College is for dummies. You’re too smart for that. Just take a hit of this and lean back. You’ll enjoy it.

Lenny spent eight hours grinding his teeth and thinking about his mother. Every two hours the drug would seem to wear off but fifteen minutes later he’d be cramped up and miserable.

Mother. Mother, don’t do it. I need you, Mom. Mommy! She’s gone. Water is whistling on the stove, the dog is barking, Dad won’t be home for hours. Mommy, stop!

05/17 Direct Link
They live a life of luxury, hiring others to clean, cook, drive. We are the hired help. By help, I mean we do everything while they prim the surface of life. We live. Our knuckles ache. Our middles stay trim. Blistered feet and hazy eyes, we love harder and dream longer. The rich may doubt less, but they have less of everything. They eat when they like, as much as they like, and wherever they like but they miss frugality, uncanny combinations, delicacy found in refined treats savored more for the savings spent. It is a joy to be poor.
05/18 Direct Link
I make my driver speed up. The sight of them through the tinted windows is revolting. They live in shabby little homes; crab grass and vinyl siding. How can they stand it? My father told me they like it. Gwendolyn still believes it. What it must be like to share a bathroom. What it must be like to clean … I can hardly combine the words in my mind: clean a toilet. I don’t even know what that looks like. What do they use to clean it? Good thing they only have one! Now I see the logic behind it.
05/19 Direct Link
Every story, every song, every conversation and argument is wrapped up in love. Will she resist? Will he pop the question? They had a falling out. What happens at midnight? What were the reasons? How soft were her lips, with what passion did he kiss? Was her dress cut low? Did he slacken his tie? Should they proceed or will it end up a bungle? Are we tempted to feel or does feeling lead to temptation? When the bow cuts across the strings does it really mean the end is near? When the end is near will they still love?
05/20 Direct Link
Don’t tell me I haven’t any ideas; I’m repeating the same stories. It could be I’m stealing, and I’m okay with that, but repetition! Good lord. America is rife with repetition. Ten songs over-and-again on the radio until the “fan base” stops making money. Repetition to manipulate us. You would never associate with those people if you didn’t work with them and you would never listen to that music if it wasn’t on the radio. Forced into it, coerced. Maybe I’m better off repeating myself. Perhaps that’s the key to success. The Charleston may never be on the radio again.
05/21 Direct Link
These televisions shows, broadcast into space. All time is expressed in the universe; all the radio waves are out there. What they must think of us, if they are out there. Their scionic warfare, Sarnoff never would have known. The brainbomb – a nuclear blast direct to a brain. Reality TV – a staged contextual life-game starring ‘everyday’ people or celebrities. We will spend the best of our lives in the spectacle of progress. They say Computers are the most important thing to learn. Science, nuclear fusion, telemetry, hypnotism, cerebral control is what we should study. Murder by television, graveyard of media.
05/22 Direct Link
His abs are painted on but he likes to brag about them anyway. In the movie theater auditorium he lifts up his shirt and makes you put your index finger against his rib. “Feel how hard they are,” he says while angling his chest and clamping down with all his might. At dinner he leans over the table and whispers, “I can feel the food stretching my muscles. I worry that I might gain weight.” In bed he rolls over the middle, luxuriating with his arms above his head, bare-chested and you see the lines sprayed on by the technician.
05/23 Direct Link
Amy was prone on the table, the tube elongated from her rear. Her friends had assured her this was the best thing ever, good for health and revitalizing. She’d be sure to pass her new employment drug test and would feel great too boot. The woman officiating had been a professional dancer. Obsessed with naturopathic living, she found that in giving colonics she was dispensing inner calm as well as health. Amy nervously asked questions, feeling the impact and then panic as the flush began, wildly uncontrolled sensations of release. She looked over her shoulder, the tube was black, coursing.
05/24 Direct Link
Matt told me he wanted to be a writer because he thought it would be easy. “I can write, no sweat,” he said. “There’s a big demand. Blogs, websites, letters, top ten lists … I can totally do that.” I shrugged and said, “Go for it.” He went clubbing, celebrated his life-decision, while I stayed in, reading Sol Stein and thinking about this image of two people arguing when they deeply wanted to dive in bed and make nasty. Matt got home at 4 AM. I was sleeping. He stumbled over me; knee on my hand, beer breath. My design.
05/25 Direct Link
Jett loves cemeteries and when he visits I make sure we spend an afternoon appreciating at least one. He usually calls once a month and we catch up. Things like: kids moving on, job changes, art projects, dreams, curious notions, bafflement. I like it most when we sit on a bench or stand by a mausoleum and talk about hope. It is sentimental to be hopeful in a cemetery. There isn’t much hope to be had, if you think about it. We die. End of story. Except cemeteries prove that we don’t die, we live; in memory, deed, and art.
05/26 Direct Link
Betsy wanted to pick flowers, only trouble was she didn’t have a garden. She lived in an apartment complex on the fifth floor via a clunky gate-activated elevator that sometimes broke and forced her down the dark flights, past her smelly neighbors and their dried fish, pasta primavera, chocolate chip cookies; each floor, its own smell. At the ground level, a box of dirt stood untended. If she planted, would her care be plucked by another? Anyone could walk by and steal her flowers. Betsy bemoaned her fate. She loved the city but nature called to her, roses of imagination.
05/27 Direct Link
For dinner I eat carrots. For breakfast I eat an egg, some cheese and a corn tortilla. Lunch doesn't exist. I exaggerate a little. You get the point. It is hard not to be depressed. My younger co-workers all gripe about money and life. They go drinking. My similar-aged friends work harder, knuckle down and dream big. Many of them are creative-types. They turn their creativity into money. They start small businesses. Some of them get family loans. Some of them save up. Most of them started before the city boom and are now established. I am in the middle.
05/28 Direct Link
Seven years told, apartment living with Mom, our girl drinks out of the carton, braid dangled past her waist and a neighbor boy who says they will marry when they are twenty five if they haven’t found love by then. Like a shade of blue going out of fashion, she agreed knowing his idea would not last. The carton goes back in the fridge, lips open. She sits with TV. Mom out with another man, some redhead that looks at our girl too long; she knows he won’t be around long. She distresses the good ones, only assholes stick around.
05/29 Direct Link
They were across the street when we got off work. The girl shouted, “Hey. Any of you have a car?” One of the guys added, “Yeah, like, we need a ride home. Our car got towed and we don’t have money to get it.” I could smell the stench of my armpits, a long day at work, and my coworkers were both dragging deep on cigarettes. No empathy would be had from us. The girl said, “He’s got four kids waiting for him at home.” A guy added, “We’re only on 184th,” a twenty minute drive out of my way.
05/30 Direct Link
They pleaded, the four of them, “If you have any room in your car, please? Please?” One coworker grinned, smoke curling from his face, “Shouldn’t have parked at the restaurant.” My other coworker shrugged and flicked ash from his smoke. I waved at my coworkers and slunk away, feeling mildly guilty. The street became metaphor. My path to the north, theirs to the east and my coworkers’ slow pace to the bar around the corner. Divided in lifestyle, divided in class, paths forked, their shameless plea, my hunkered speeding away. The way they hunched at the bus stop, feeling denied.
05/31 Direct Link
Tom shipped his dog in advance. Taped it in, knocked out, shot up, the dog is slumped in a corner, asleep. Tom thinks the working class is hopeless. He gives raises in twenty five cent increments. His properties are located on islands where the greater populace lives below government defined poverty levels. Tom doesn’t mind. He believes they made a choice to be poor. He figures if they didn’t like Service, Janitorial, Entertainment, they’d find other employment. Tom’s parents love him. They treat his dog like a grandson. The dog dreams of green, endless fields and wild stands of trees.