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shit house

I’m too drunk to jerk off. I want to; it’s the only thing that gets me to sleep these days, but the room is tilting and twirling with sickening velocity and I can’t find my dick. I think it’s somewhere under the mass of sheets bunched over my left leg. My right leg is on the floor, preventing me from flying off into the cosmos, grounding my body, reminding me that I still belong on this planet. Maybe I don’t, though.

I replay the night’s events in my mind: empty shot glasses stacked up on a sticky black bar, shared cigarettes with crimson lipstick smeared on moist filters, a brief moment of amnesia, eyes leering at lusty tattooed thighs under preposterously short skirts. I think I had fun, but I can’t remember. A girl clutched my beard unceremoniously and asked what it would feel like between her thighs. I think this is the sort of things an unattractive person would say. I made a drunk friend, which is to say I didn’t make a friend at all but instead bonded with a similarly desperate soul seeking to misplace itself in the din of crunching cans of Tecate and whooping, cockeyed faces.

The night turned. I remember suddenly deciding I no longer belonged, that my presence was no longer welcome in a den of revelry. I made a b-line for the door, stumbling over bar stools, upsetting drinks and patrons, mumbled incoherent apologies. I think I had friends there, but I figured if I could drink myself into an Irish stupor I might as well give an Irish goodbye. I burst from the entrance into an assorted posse of disgusted smokers whose conversations had conveniently found their natural lulls. They considered me with disdain, regarding me as if I were a pigeon on the sidewalk munching on discarded chicken skins. A drunk at a bar — the most natural of sights, but eternally disgusting when he can no longer deal. I clearly could no longer deal.

I felt a swelling of emotions then, which is strange because I thought alcohol was meant to numb and that is precisely why I embarked on this self-destructive path, but they persisted in confusing, disjointed spurts nonetheless. Regret that I never told my first grade French teacher to fuck herself. Elated with the knowledge that I am not a Cambodian orphan. Wonder if I could ever have a gay tryst with a HIV-infected man sporting an acid-green mohawk. Sad that I never pursued my love of writing inanity and, thereby, adding in a meta sort of way to the entropy of the universe. Confusion about the meaning of the word meta and how it pertains to the word metabolism. I also became the proud owner of a horrific stomach ache, which I told myself was probably ulcers and that I would die anon, alone, gagging on the stomach acids creeping up out of my throat like some infernal demon from a sinkhole.

I swallowed my stomach acids for the moment and trudged off in what I imagined was the direction of home, suddenly aware of the distance I had to travel to get there. I would have to find a train, find a way to pay for it, find sobriety for long enough to interact with the lucid passengers. I put my headphones in and, not unkindly, Thom Yorke reminded me that I did it to myself, I did. This brought a sad comfort and, like a movie cutting through the dull portion of existence, I found myself at home, in my bed.

But now I lay here and my organs swell in my chest and the room continues to jolt and jitter and I can’t jerk off. I try to pick up a book but the words are nonsensical. “You are permanent, but this life is not,” proclaims some character in a Chuck Palahniuk book that lives forever on my desk. What? What does that mean? The physical is riddled with confusion, what chance do I have with grappling with the metaphysical. Metaphyiscal? Meta? Fuck.

I consider standing up and getting water but the idea nauseates me and I press my right foot more firmly into the ground. I cry for a little bit and think about relationships I have lost and all the ways in which I am an asshole: selfish, lazy, arrogant, judgemental. Conversations from four years ago flit through my mind, snapshots of what I should have said. I drum up responses I probably remember from movies because it strikes me that I’ve never had an original thought. “You’re not wrong, you’re just an asshole,” I say to no one in particular, but intending it for myself.

I must have fallen asleep like this. At night I dream about being crushed by heavy machinery; this thrills me. I awake with my hair and my sheets askew and stalk off to work without making my bed.

Image

Love

Love is a gnashing of teeth,
A wreath hanging on an oaken door,
More: fingers’ twitches, impulses
Taut like cello chords.

Love is self-harm,
Cutting open your wrists,
Spilling out, hoping that another
Will stuff you back in.

Love is a sad song sung
From your Adam’s apple,
Pulsing puzzling melodies
‘Til your life is well wrung.

Love is beset with regret,
Dopish hope of futures past,
Belief that relief is forthcoming.
But none is.

Love is mourning in the morning,
Waking with flitting lashes,
Gashes of tears streaking
Streams over gaunt cheekbones.

Love is loss:
A moss carpeting what was lush
Now mildewed and smoldering:
Nature reclaiming its due.

Love is what imbeciles do
When imaginations mask
Their tribulations
With tragically brief elation.

Love is bleeding calluses
Bursting over frayed guitar strings,
Moist foreheads and furrowed brows,
Plucking in the face of pain.

Love is the darkest of night,
It is the real fright you feel
When the rich black masks
You from yourself.

Love is manic, a panic
Known only to fools
Collecting pools of weeping water;
It is a neglectful father.

Love is jealous.
Love is petty.
It is overzealous ownership
Of another.

Love is a word:
You continue gleaning
Its meaning until you perish.
It is just a word.

Love is a cage

Love is a cage

Overcompensation

People overcompensate for their own shortcomings. This is a known fact. Sometimes this action manifests as a result of a latent, repressed desire with which a person is uncomfortable. Let’s explore a few these, shall we?

What if rappers are secretly raging homosexuals? There is a common theme in that particular genre of music whereby artists will denigrate one another with with slurs, proclaiming “suck my dick, faggot” or “I’m gonna fuck you ’til you love me, bitch.” Maybe, just maybe, this is because, well, this is precisely what they’d like to do. What if, when Method Man threatens to stick a hot coat hanger in your anus, he is really expressing his desire for you to put something else in his? What if gangbangs are simply an excuse for a large group of men to whip out their dicks and jerk off together? What if the girl is there only symbolically? What if she’s not even really participating, sitting in the corner, feeling bored, playing Candy Crush Saga on her phone, while testosterone-laden men stroke their penises with one hand and give high gives with the other? What if their hands linger for an unacknowledged second too long when they touch one another? I don’t know. I’m just throwing it out there.

What if people who are obsessed with love — romantic movies, heart-felt ballads, odes, even the word “love” — what if these people are actually horrible sociopaths. What if they have never felt true affection for another human being even once their lives? What if they are so unware of that particular emotion that they are forced to take all their cues from pop culture, from The Little Mermaid, from the well-publicized relationship between Chris Brown and Rihanna? That’s a frightening thought, isn’t it? Maybe they secretely hate everyone or, worse, are compeltely indifferent. What if they are simply actors playing, poorly, the roles of love-struck idiots? What if I’m a love-struck idiot? Naaaah…

What if anarchists are secretly OCD? What if they try to hide their compulsion to arrange boxes in neat rows by donning Doc Martens and smashing plate glass windows? It’s possible that they are only doing this because particular local businesses do not adhere to their understanding of esthetics and they are simply destroying these abominations of form and order, in the hope that they will be replaced with more neat rows of conforming edifices? Even political anarchists, what if they are fed-up with the disorder and unpredictability of the democratic system? What if they truly pine for a benevolent despot, a Sadam Hussein or a Pol Pot or a wise-whiskered Joseph Stalin to swoop in and bring brutal order to the masses? Not entirely unlikely, I say…

Just food for thought, you guys.

fuck you, heart

Be still my beating heart.
Stop bleeting, sputtering,
Muttering bouts of doubts
Up my tightening aorta.
It’s mighty frightening,
When flighty throbs
Mob my body
With incessant pressure.

One might think this tune
A boon to my organism –
For a gray organist, sits, taps
Degrees of keys, my knees
Shivering, my lips quivering,
Eyelashes dash up,
As sharp breaths crash
Into my lungs.

But the air is not there,
Oxygen-bereft epoxy glues shut
My airways like newsprint –
My intake restricted,
My insides constricted.
I seek only respite
From this shit.

I beseech you! a leech!
I need that parasite
To feed and paralyze
And quiet my mind.
‘Twould be a kind thing –
Any thing to clear my vision,
To arrest my body’s derision
Of my soul.

Alas, none’s forthcoming,
A tiny devil’s left runinng,
Humming dark melodies
Which lack remedies –
Neither ether nor compulsion
Can alleviate this revulsion:
I press the power button
On my phone, rub my fingers raw.

My New Boots, Part Duh

Remember those boots I had? They were great. I could do anything in them. But their lives were short, not unlike a shooting star streaking across the sky for one brief, wonderous moment. Or a child star streaking across the red carpet in a drug-induced teenage moment of attention-driven rebelliousness and / or perversion. Or a house fly, which only lives for 15 to 30 days, eating shit and procreating at an exciting pace.

At any rate, those boots are gone. They helped me accomplish all of the wonderful things I had previously outlined, and promptly committed suicide by seppuku — synchronized knives thrust through their soles. I laid them to rest with a nondescript black flag draped over them in a local boot-cemetary that doubles as a hobo’s bargain basement. “Taps” played in the background, emanating from nowhere in particular. It was a solemn and dramatic moment. I cried.

But I have new boots now. They are magical. They will last forever. They are American-made, like all great things (see: Paul Newman, chia pets, and economic inequality). Their leather is soft and thick and brown, like the skin of a newborn Malaysian girl. Like the Malaysian girl, they will grow tougher and more beautiful with age, reaching complete indestructibility and incomprehensible beauty at the age of seven. I hope only that I am worthy of donning them.

There is a plot line in many movies and TV shows whereby a protagonist is given the gift of a pair of shoes that endow upon them magical qualities. The character, usually a small down-trodden child — a soot-smeared orphan, if at all possible — goes on to win dance competitions, orate eloquently at debates, run faster than is humanly possible. In the end, it is always revealed that the boots were merely placebos! All the child needed to do was believe in themselves, for the boots never actually helped them. It was them all along! Well, let me dispel that notion with regards to my new boots. It is the boots. I act only as the boots’ trustee. They act of their own accord and in magnificent fashion.

Speaking of fashion, these boots can make the most garish of outfits seem like the newest trend from Milan (that’s where fashion comes from, right? New York? Sheboygan?). I could don a sewage-coloured muumuu, a pair of pink heart-shaped glasses and a pea soup green vinyl belt with a penis-shaped rusted belt buckle, and I would be a trend-setting maverick as long as my new boots adorned my feet. It is generally a bald-faced lie that shoes make the man, but these boots in particular could make Elijah Wood look like a tough, masculine, post-apocalyptic, chain-swinging, hog-riding, mohawk-topped badass. Too bad the boots are mine. Suck my balls Elijah. You are forever relegated to the femininity engendered by your weak cheekbones and baby blue eyes that are always on the verge of sputtering with tears. Deal with it.

These boots could kick anything through. When I’m wearing them (I always wear them), I kick things with impunity. Bank vaults, shot puts, pregnant women — nothing is safe from the kicks of my new kicks. I could stamp out World Hunger with a swift stomp of my new boots. A single thunderous smack of the ground with my dense rubber heel would shake the Earth so completely that minerals would churn up from subterranean layers, soil across the planet would turn to the purest form of mulch. Sheep, cows, and other beasts of burden would shit themselves, further feeding the surface, leaving it lush and nutrient-rich. Trees everywhere would jolt up out of the ground, their roots spreading and grasping at the ground lest they lose their grip. Of course I wouldn’t do this. But I could.

Verily, these boots don’t abide by the laws of physics. They can, and often do, travel faster than the speed of light, which enables them to go back in time and smack Einstein right in his mustache before darting off to kill Hitler and bang Eva Braun with extreme prejudice (no pun). Not only can my new boots travel faster than the speed of light, but they can make light itself travel slower. In fact, photons, shot out of the sun and other stars, reach my new boots and, attracted by their radiant brilliance, set up shop for a few hours and have a picnic on my boots’ smooth leather surface, munching on quarks and the occasional Higgs Boson. They invite their friends over and do tequila shots until I shake them and they shoot off in all directions. It’s quite a thing to behold.

When I’m wearing these boots, not unlike my old boots (God rest their soles), I think I can do anything. I think I can beat Joey Chestnut at a hotdog eating competition simply by ingesting his diminutive Japanese adversary, Takeru Kobayashi, and a couple of extra Polish sausages for good measure with, of course, a kegerator full of thick, stout beer. I think I can have a heated argument with a black person about slavery without sounding like a complete racist. I think I can stealthily replace America’s supply of gold bullion at Fort Knox with gelt, giving out the real gold at Hannukah to small Jewish children, who will try to eat it with their tender baby teeth, much (munch) to my amusement.

I think I can do anything in these boots. I think I can read Moby Dick without being bored by the excessively encyclopedic chapters on fish and sea mammals. I think I can convince Guenevere that King Arthur was actually kind of a pansy and that truly heroic knights can only be found at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. I think I can make her burn with jealousy for an eight year-old child arbitrarily chosen to be the princess at one such dinner. I think I can change the global meaning of the term “twerk” to mean “work twice as hard”. I think I can probably twerk myself. Though I wouldn’t do that. I never have to work again.

… now that I have these new boots.

phono

stop and listen:
the world will shimmer
and glisten in your ears;
that ever present hum
to which we’ve grown numb,
veiled in a dark velvet shroud,
is actually quite loud.

open you head:
remove your headphones;
chime in to wind chimes
twinklig in the dark,
wink back with a stark silence,
hold your violence and your breath.
this is what death feels like.

now widen your mind:
first thirst for the creaks
of old floorboards above,
then love the distant din of laughter,
find the sonic subtlety of streetwise steps,
feel the bustle of rustling oak leaves;
soak in symphony.

focus:
the padding paws of passing possums
are phonetically poetic.
don’t let it slip,
concentrate on the consumate beauty
of rudely spoken words through chipped teeth;
air is indifferent.

now mix senses:
see the violet petals of a tuning fork.
taste the gristle from a bearded baritone.
smell the bitterness of hack saw’s winny.
feel the sheepskin of the whistling wind.
hear the here.

speak into your skull:
feel the roundness of the word round.
close and open your eyes.
note the tear-shaped sound
your lids make when bound
oh so briefly with moisture.
hoist this knowledge up.

daydream of dense auditory decadence:
pittering downpours on tin roofs,
rapping cast iron door knockers,
soot-covered hands rifling through glass bottles,
eratic static on a television.
really: hearing is as good as vision.

markings

our ancestor, the ancient man
with a deep tan, creeping on fours,
beset with at best a few years
on the Earth’s crust
thought only of what he must,
thrashing against the grip
of beasts and other men -
it made sense, then.

the markings on his arms,
maps of the harms
that had come to him
inflicted in the dim
light of dusk:
the scratching fingers of branches,
sharp teeth in foaming mouths
pierced his calloused skin.

he was at times felled,
yelled and writhed as his bones
crunched with a sickening sound
against rocky unforgiving ground,
his body turning violent autumn hues
of violets, reds, and blues,
a moazaic of prozaic bruises:
unspoken lifelines.

but he took them in stride,
and wore them with pride,
others dared not deride
him for his life’s pictogram;
the gashes across his sternum
a stern warning that he would
not be felled by the mere scrapes
with which he was draped.

this man echoes in us all:
his falls, his foes, the throes
of his pains lain somehow
end to end in amino acids
and evinced in our desire
to adorn our own skin in hued
tribute to his rudely
shortened life.

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