7.24.14

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The alarm never rang…he was a hundred 50 miles down the road by the time she woke..she had convinced herself…he’d be back by noon…then 3…then surely by six for supper…maybe he’d stopped by to see Dale…sure that was it…she’d find him on the couch tomorrow morning…she combed her hair out…washed her face…smiled at her reflection and knew….it was just another day in Pair O Dice…

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7.19.14

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There was a large sliver of a broken cup on the yellow checkered linoleum floor…his front tooth was lying there next to a few drops of his blood…she’d been singing”C’mon boots…start walking”…that was Nancy Sinatra he said out loud…she didn’t answer

7.24.13

We called it a lake…but only because when the one summer torrential rain that would last 8 minutes…would fill the large uneven dip in the grass …did the water stay for an afternoon….and they would lie in the cool grass…beach towels and loud music…glasses that clinked with ice…and white bikinis…it seemed like stale bread to me…to young to know what I needed to know…and too old to play dumb…she insisted on being called Katherine…and spoke with a British accent…I always stared at her white bikini crouch…wondering more than listening…thinking more than answering….I guess it was a circus down there…or at least that’s what the older boys Kenny named the ‘Dreamers’ would call it…they smelled of rose oil and pomade…had the patchy Clearasil skin…with the few whiskers my father called frost on piles of horse shit…and they drank that white hearse vodka…behind the truck stop there at the interstate….and them hookers would wink on their way to business…say things like…”When you’re not a cherry”…I’d blush…I still called them ma’ma…looked down there…towards my feet a good bit…thinking maybe the right words would somehow show up there in the red dirt parking lot…but I guess it didn’t matter…but everything seemed to then…

I was there…in the back of the Rambler with one of three old men driving across the bridge at Zaragosa…for a weekly haircut…really it was a quick look at the fat woman’s tits that shaved their faces…and trimmed their bald heads….he’d always grab me by the shoulder…press his fingers hard to my bone….”Not a word goddammit…no a single fucking word…got it”….I nodded…smirked in a round about safe…way and tugged…from his grip…looking at my newly shined wingtips…pearl pink white skin of my freshly shaved head…we’d eat some tacos down the street…from a lady who cooked outside under a torn striped canopy with big black pans on the stove…she wore a cowboy hat…was missing two fingers on her spooning hand…wore the same checkered apron every time I saw her…young Mexican boys would. “bark”… “meow” everytime gringos would order…food

clouds always gathered in the part of the desert that time of year…it was a symphony…in a quiet…sort of slower way…maybe more like a drip on the cement…one right after another…make it smooth like glass and one day…I’d come back…thinking of Jim Livingston…that long smooth fat scare from belly button to neck…a road map of what things were going to be…sometime later on…he wasn’t a quiet boy…nor was he a good boy…his mother was a “stripper”…she only dated soldiers from the base…with their same haircut…checkered PX shirts and few twenties with nothing much to do…and maybe they were from West Virginia this week…or Conroe Texas the next month…but none were ever gonna be…Jimmy’s daddy…they were going off to Vietnam…not a whole lot mattered…especially not a red headed boy with a wheelbarrow full of things…brewing…He was 16…we were young…not real talkers….

I missed her…walking from a cool room to 105 degree day….engulfed…encompassed…completely…the barb far past my fleshy lip…dug bone deep…tasting brass…there was here…here was right now…this second…better live it large…he said… “Them Cajuns…well they wear they hats like that tipped down in front and tipped in back…so when they drink too much they fall on they hat not they head”……I was wondering about falling…”Discard an Axiom”… “Discard an Axiom” was the flashing message….better late than never I guess is what the bait was saying…while I was waiting…I imagine…to bite…and as far as I knew it was 7:30 pm or am…the time was the standstill…it was all of the stuff that happened in that dead zone…that had me hearing those faint echo sounds…music that was far away over the wavy lined sand dunes…they said he’d killed the whole family…then hung himself up there on that beam…I followed his finger end straight to the point in the wood that was worn..smooth like and old baseball glove…heard some of the clicks….felt the small grip high between my legs…and prayed…everything I knew was a lie…except for maybe Jesus….and I suppose…if he were real and not a lie…then satan had to be too…so I was right back where I started…sour milk or buttermilk…sick is sick…

He stuttered trying hard to say… “It’s a new day”…he put “C’s” in the word New….so daddy said he couldn’t be trusted…I mean what the fuck  kinda dimwit retard puts the letter C in New…when that dog lying there…hell he knows there’s no Goddamn C in that word…from then on it was fish fries…and lightening bugs…and sitting on the roof some days when the ozone was high…as the storms crossed the desert a hundred or so miles away…and the armpits of his undershirts were stained yellow in a big moon pie center colored oval shape….he put the kitten in a bag in the trash can…looked over his shoulder… “Stop crying…she’ll have more

it was just air up here…whitey tipped…tijuana smalls…and a good fuck book…a dug out mesquite…some pagan pink…couple huffs from the bag…and we was…gold lipped truebadors…the inhalers….the puto pinche motherfuckers with the power…he’d stopped  pounding his fists against the concrete wall…spit puddled on the shoulderof his gray jacket…his head rested slightly tilted to the left against the wall…he reminded me of the puppets hanging from the tops of the rough wooden carts at the market in downtown Wazoo City…they had wooden feet and hands made from dough…they made a klacking noise like an open screen door…in a breeze…it was a just bone…pearly white almost see through like dried glue….

2.10.13

I was collecting cat whiskers…a few thousand pearly white tusks with small black tips…all overlapped in the wooden two toned box from Australia…with the lacquered lid…and the blue velvet lining…..it had that smooth feel like something soft against the file teeth…like the tongue of a workboot…or what I can remember of her skin there…at her hips…right around the tattoo she had of saturn…I made circles in the tea glass…spinning the sugar…like a dust devil…always made believe I’d be standing there near the center…holding my hat tight to my head and saying words like “Humidor” and “Fossilized”…or maybe even sayings about the wind…things like how it reminded me of something else…that wasn’t really even close to how the sting of the sand felt against my arms…or my cheeks…when they bit hard like a million yellow jacket stings in the same spot….always the same spot….

I always wanted to forgive him…but couldn’t really figure out how the motor started and stopped…it  wasn’t like reading a picture book or holding my hands under the teapot water…it was just a reminder that I was never going to be me…at least not that me I thought I was supposed to be then…I became the hand holder…the acolyte for my own private collection of Jesus’…just never really getting that 3 meant one but 1 never meant 3…and how big rocks didn’t move no matter what I believed….sure…I guess they were okay …white…angelic…made me stand out a bit more than every other uniform clad penguin……accept my sorrow…ate at me like rust…the burnt pith feeling locked hard in a way that the key’s just out reach but the idea of  escape seemed worse than staying…there were alligators in the pond…and Saturday nights were always filled with Mexicans holding checkered bags sitting on the benches waiting for the light green pick up trucks with the plywood side boards and just below the drivers window it read in perfect script…”Servicio Particular” …the young red headed GI’s with their  brown girls for the night…and me holding his hand….it wasn’t paradise any more…all the steps seemed slower…longer…with no noise in the background but hisses and clicks…black stains on the perfect concrete walk…scrolls over the windows in stone and the oily dark furniture…I just couldn’t sit in…not really my purpose…they’d said….

they drove circles in the dirt field….sending large clouds of dust skyward…they were easy to watch…like flocks of birds…or maybe…a couple of pages from the newspaper blowing on the street…it really sounded different coming from  just her lips…I mean with out her face there to say any more than lips could do by moving…so when she talked…I listened…burned….skin and all…because it was the way we did things is what he always told me…and some people just do this…and it’s ok…but he wasn’t there…he couldn’t feeling the sheets of plastic coming off of my skin…and the pop sound I heard way inside my ear…it was not the carnival I was promised…or the scales from the same colored fish…it was all very different from the brochure….and her legs got a little heavier…her voice less smooth sort of nails in a canvas bag…and I guess it took what it did to open the right door…the worn gold handle…against the peeled painted wall of what she called living…with all their fingerprints…like brands….she sighed….

Today came and went…it just took 6 years…for me spell all of the right words…watch the bouncing ball a little longer…while praying for something like rain…I could follow every line down the  glass…wonder where they were going…where they’d end up…I mean after all they saved me…thick like the inside of an orange skin…soft like doubled up silk…quiet like death…or maybe sleep… I sometimes wondered what was the difference…I smelled her coat with the cooper enamel pin on the lapel, she smelled like what I always thought…cold should smell…of and she wore a hat…I could hardly let her go…I guess it was the time or maybe that I knew the lights were going to flicker…down to that yellowish dot there on the white island ceiling…those places I floated my way through every night…the troughs…valleys…secret places…the end of the end…it became a… “There, right there on the bottom”…kind of way of seeing things…I imagine ….where up was always up and down just wasn’t a real thing at all…except for the scar down there between my toes where the silver droplets fell that beautiful May morning…the cement numbed my feet for a few seconds…but hey it was summer…and the sprinklers were sprinkling…and I was in love with a girl….her name was Winona….she didn’t know it yet…..

6.7.12

I could only hear her making noise from the bathroom…it was body talk you know…with a little singing that stopped somewhere before the song…really ended…they were all experiments…kind of like tracking dolphins or measuring water…routines…all with limited lyrics…black ink doodles with small bits of crumbs from this mornings toast in the page cracks. I’d left many more times than today…and leaving was like staying only…the light was always a little different…and that depended on the direction I looked…we’d met not far from Gerlach- Empire…kind of a piss stream away from 447 and 48 not that direction ever really mattered in our lives…I took her on the hood of the car…it was a little after 7pm…a faded white 1972 Datsun B210…and the air was dry…like cereal…but sweet…more like the icing on the cellophane…from those cheap jelly filled sweet rolls in the aluminum tray…that made me wish King’s Hawaiian mattered more than it did…these days…I guess it was a hot summer kind of day thinking…close to 11:45 am…barely keep my eyes open from the glare of the sun… walking from the Blue Spruce Lounge and Package….and full of the “Right” answers this time…not those broken sort of curly ones that landed me back where I was always sitting before…

I knew San Jose…just not well…it reminded me of those days as a young boy…pressing myself against those bar girls…wanting to feel that smell they wore…like a thick purple movie curtain at the Plaza Theater…they talked in Spanish about me…and my blue eyes…their big legs pushing hard against the nylon…thinking maybe the kid was going to feel better in a few days…when the money was thicker…greener…He moved the change in his pocket with his fingers…turning each coin a few hundred times a day…between god awful stuttering and long eye closing pauses…when he turned his head slightly to the side…like maybe he was dislodging something in his brain…so the words would come…I knew what he was going to look like when he died…and that’s when those word dreams began…no pictures…just sound…like someone talking through a long cone…right into my ear…making sure I got every word…every T and dotted I…every bit of silence that made me wait longer than I probably should have…he’d tell me it was just noise…use a handkerchief…with some really cold water…and forget all about those really dark days beneath the surface…that’s all it was…being back in a womb…

the short hard pats on the head with his ring turned around so it made the topaz…my least favorite stone…in the treasure chest…sure there were beautiful letters from exotic places and stories of little boys riding a fucking water buffalo…they named…gave it some other life than the one it was really living…kind of a Southeast Asian Future Farmers of America without the blue corduroy jackets…the patches…and that girl Katy that would pretty much do it with anybody…as long as they were a future farmer…”Hey look, he has the stigmata”…the priest with the cloudy smaller eye said…the short guy said something about he was still on the cross…so it must be somebody else…I thought of the word “Qualify”…tried to use it in a few sentences that sounded like maybe I was taller and not from the same place he was hanging on the cross…but hey love was funny then…and whether it was holes in the hands or some…quickie in the broom closet…everybody walked away with some deeper answer than before…even it only lasted a few seconds…

Mrs. Camp was the music teacher…she had a large “Bosom” …as my mother called it…it sounded too much to me like a deep voice or heavy yellow paged books…she was missing a button on her dress…a bright lime green button…She was a tall black woman…her gold tooth did all of the talking…her name tag read…Phyllis…G…I was certain G stood for Gorgeous …

10.20.11

always one step closer…and how’d that work…knowing tomorrow was maybe there…and maybe not…it was like being on the Pinta…and wanting feet on the Santa Maria…what did one matter more than the other…dog bites…were his greatest fear…kept him awake on those fall afternoon naps…not really awake…just an eye part open…scanning for the unfamiliar sounds….the dragging noises…or something buzzing…behind a piece of furniture…clickity click…clickity click….those amusement park sounds…that made night to day and day to another place…there by the corners where all the whores stood on the Friday pay days…wanting some of something…and that was enough to make sense…so it worked and it worked all around…all the time… ‘so stop asking the questions like that’… she snapped…. ‘momma’s little helper’ came a lot more ways than the little pills that kept the string tight…or the moaning noises from the room next to mine ….and whoever he was…and the water  dripped…everyday…filled the old metal bucket….clear all the way to the bottom…and that’s where my dream went…there at the bottom…still I could see it…but you’d have to know where to look…the prints were in the mud…the scratch marks on the door…Ellen Magellen…tried to whistled every morning in the backyard…she wasn’t scared…she wore Mary Jane shoes…dreamed of being a stewardess…traced  her finger on every crack of…the sidewalk….and everything sounded clear because of the white chalk conversations…while the 102 degree days there on the plains…made it into leather…anyway…he’d gone from holding right in his hands to wearing it like a…too small suit…a cracked pearl button…and Bob Wills played on the radio in that 5 and dime…there next to Casper’s barber shop…where he’d lick his palm and slick back what was left of the…”Raven Blue” as momma had called his hair as a boy…black to blue…oh and sister…sister Ann…fan ban bo ban fe fi fo fan…Ann…she clutched her secret  tight…sort of some weird love affair with the body of Christ…while she clogged the drains with rubbers…Saturday night…you could call them what you wanted….by day…”miss”…”madam”…or even make one of those coughing sounds to get their attention…so it sounded like you did but weren’t really trying to do….they’d love you a long time…just don’t fuck with the hair boy and here’s the menu…10 bucks gets everything in red…got it…tell me you got it…she sprayed right guard up her skirt….there was a ring of lipstick…on a couple of cigarette butts…there in the can by the bed…I was still pretty sweaty….

the road was a thin ribbon line…there a few hundred steps away…from the end…but it was always a day long drive to the other side of nowhere…I’d watch the plastic bags stuck to the fence…like flags…snapping there in the summer wind…and I could only wonder where they’d go…if they could….I heard the whispers all of the time…kind of warmer…warmer…hotter…warmer…sort of thinking…with some Marco Polo thrown in for the uncertainty  I craved…I mean after all…we weren’t just visitors anymore…and that stuff about this is for “Company”….that shit had left close to when she did…and Mayri…she’d talk too loud to me…while she was ringing the necks of chickens…she didn’t think she couldn’t hear…”Bobby Ray…you got to speak your mind a whole lot louder than that”…it was Thanksgiving…then…we’d eat corn bread…with chicken and dumplings…all the pintos you could eat…maybe steal a few cigarettes…from H.A…smoke behind the shed…where I saw the rattlesnake the summer before…I think it was that summer….

you could close your eyes and think anything you wanted…pass the collection plate…take instead of give…just look serious…enough and nobody’d say a single thing…who could figure the money out anyway…it was oil on water…and sure she believed all of it…from the bobber right through to the hook…what was really making sense was the stuff that was out of focus…those blurry black and whites of who ever they were…on some beach…holding up wine glasses or maybe they were 38 specials…couldn’t tell…either way…and just maybe they’d shot each other dead…seconds after the picture…who the hell knew…written in pencil…on the back…”Michael and Olive…Lemon Beach, 1966 , “your stain marks many….love you always….M.G.”

2.28.11

they said breath…I heard breed…and thought of the pictures drawn on the bathroom wall….those weird stare you in the eyes drawings of somebody that lived close by…with a phone number you could call…for a “great time”…when you were just…”passing through”….but he was the colonel…and that’s what he wanted everyone to call him…smoked one lucky right after another…and his blind eye…the one with all the clouds floating across it… was the one that did all of the looking…maybe not the seeing..but sure as hell every single bit of looking…he broke my lip open that Sunday…in the car..said I was a “smart one”…needed to learn to “calm the beast…for the beast calmed me”…”don’t want to end up in prison like your brother”…he always said end with an “I” sound…so the d hung there like the strap on a dress that wasn’t working…for that girl down the street…Vanessa…who tried hard to look pretty…but never could be…and he’ll be there a long time…in them rodeo clothes…waiting for each summer to roll by…and I knew he hated those windy days there on the desert…the ones that made smiling impossible…and every dish on momma’s shelf collected dust…even the broken white ones with the roses…along the edge….

the way they felt was…like one of those Boy Scout moccasin kits…pre-punched….you know…chocolate brown with the padded cushioned inner for some support…sewed them together like a big project…the stuff that made heroes from…the other boys whose armpits smelled like stale washcloths…and their lips chapped…from licking the salt specks…one by one…on the ocean spray days…there just north of  Roller Coaster Beach…or south of anywhere…that was south of there…she thought stacking all of the smooth oval rocks was going to make a difference…for us in the big picture…sort of bring us full circle..back to that place we saw the lights for the very…first time…but we both knew differently…we both had felt the pull…kind of like stripping meat off the bone with your teeth…but it didn’t matter…now…I was here and she was somewhere else called here…but they were both red dots on the map…string could connect them… I suppose even little drops of blood could too…but…why…was what I kept humming…in between whistles…snapping my fingers…and clicking my heels together…thinking…was it…”no place like”…or “there’s no place like”…either way it wasn’t fucking working…so what else was there to do…except….play the warped records…..know when to sing the skips…clap my hands fast…for a few hours…watch the trucks hauling cars go by…smoke a few cigarettes until she…him..them..anyone… got home…then act like everything was perfect…you know…perfect in that way that wasn’t real…but sure had everybody believing…what we had…was what they wanted…just a fence with sharp rusted wire separated us…that was it…maybe boiling water some days…and packs of those crazy dogs left on the desert…but it was just a few things..nothing major…just a few small little minute changes that was going to make it all right again…and we could let our hair down…wear them pale colored corduroy suits with the vests…and pointy black boots like we was another kind of hero…when we went to Sambo’s…on Saturday morning 2am…eating pancakes…with a selection of twelve fruity syrups…a side of patty sausage…and anyone of them cowgirls sitting in that booth by the door…want to go home with me…just say so…I’m right here….

I could listen to the water drip for a lifetime…on each drop we’d move one space forward…me and the black Scotty dog…it only became larger…deeper..harder to swim across…in the dark…and maybe it was oil…or black thin tar…I once heard it was anything I thought it might be….that’s what really made the difference…and the kind of difference…like splitting a fingernail right down the middle …2 equal parts…yet neither one has any value…other than less or maybe a little more discomfort…than the other…one…right?….but it wouldn’t matter…and never had before…so trying to make it anything it wasn’t made good solid sense… driving with the headlights off on the full moon nights…making certain the blindfold was tight enough…pretending who ever it was…was who I wanted it to be…eating healthy so I could live a long prosperous life…sure it made sense…maybe a little more today than it did a few days ago…but I couldn’t tell you about tomorrow or even in the next few minutes what might change…or stay the same…it was all …”water under the bridge”…she’d meant…but it was really water “passing under the bridge”…is what she’d said…it made me question…ask for answers about water…and bridges..and ice…and was the bridge a safe one…because statistically…one in 5 bridges are unsafe…dangerous to pass over…better to pass under…maybe thats what it meant…danger lurks on the bridge…I was getting it…it was sounding like a bad high school play…with all of the drama queers…and the pimple faced kids that had nothing other Shakespeare…or Vonnegut…maybe they read a little Oscar Wilde…because they liked the idea he was in prison for a couple of years…something about kissing a man…and the law…but it wasn’t going to be bread and butter….for long…not many more goddamn days…of this…that was sure…

I was older…my hair was thinning…I was getting fatter…she was trying hard to be what she was then…except her stretch marks showed up too much under the blue lights…it seemed like a great place to end….after all…we’d made decisions…thought about directions…kept the water dripping on those really cold nights…