Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ghost of the Lake Wire Motel

It's as if it never happened.
As if your brains were still there, intact in your skull.

How long has it been?  A year and a half?  Two?
I doubt I'd recognize you now.  You'd be a rotted corpse like any other.

I don't think about you much these days
but sometimes I remember our school-yard conversations about classic rock
or the pranks we pulled on that kid in our gym class in high-school
or that Halloween party in college when you went as the Grim Reaper.
         Or was that him standing behind you?

Shooting your self in the head
alone in a filthy motel room
because of some petty robbery gone bad,
well, it was a pretty dark move for a class clown.

Sometimes I'll see some blond haired, blue eyed Adonis
and I'll expect it to be you
and you'll explain the punchline
but I still wont get it.

I doubt anyone ever will.

So I'll drink one to you, Mike.
Hell, maybe a few.
But you're not around to take my keys when I've had too many.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Ghosts of the Old Haberdashery

Wallpaper like the skin of a leper.
The spiraling staircase creaks and moans and laments so many forgotten yesterdays as I ascend to floors displaced in time.
Under a thick blanket of dust a lizard's skeleton rests atop the arm of a broken chair smiling knowingly into the unknown.
Spider's have built cities between the columns of moldy boxes and splintered shelves.
"Welcome home" they whisper
"Stay with us"
But I climb the weary stairs past cracked windows and bored apparitions to a landing where the gray detritus of time lays scattered around my ox-blood shoes.
An age-stained ivory face peeks at me from a pile of mannequin parts.
It wears the same ironic expression as a traveller I once met from an antique land.
Two more pallid models stand destitute in the corner.
I feel like I've interrupted them, like they're waiting for me to leave.
The path before me is lit only by a singe weak ray of light leaking through a rotted hole in the roof.
The ladder across the room calls through the darkness in raspy tones.
It shivers as if it's reddish rungs were exposed nerves
but I climb it's tortuous length and open the hatch.
Daylight sprays me with a shotgun's mist,
it stings my eyes and confounds my senses.
Looking out over the downtown park the homeless look like stray dogs.
The stray dogs look like rats.
I scrape sediment from the reservoir of an ancient cooling unit,
desperately curious about how the sidewalk must taste.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Wearing whiskey like a winter coat
and melting like candle-wax tears down
the face of a crumbling monument.

This isn't the life I chose.  
So why did you give me an option?

Where's the glitz, the glamour,
the sex, bloodshed, and explosions?
Where's the gilded corridors and arabesque spires of pomp and intimidation?
Where's the Devil come to tell me that I'm his son?

In forgotten corners
spiders spin tapestries depicting centuries of treachery
but the flies
have no eye
for craftsmanship.

A leather-sole paints them all in two-dimensions and moves on.
Down cobblestone alleys where the homeless catch flicked cigarette butts in their mouths.
Downtown streets aglow with the red and yellow lights
like eyes to judge pedestrians.

So where are you?
What are you?
Are you drowned in the seas of moonless nights
that ebb and flow in discordant rhythm?

Or did you just forget?

Here I am all dressed up with nowhere to go
and no money for the fare to get there.
My pockets digests a couple of quarters, a broken pen, and a gun
as I walk to the docks with limp I'd never noticed before.

The world is so still that I wonder if it's dead.

Standing neck-deep in the frozen black waters,
I shove lose change under my eyelids
and reflect on my regrets.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


So where do I begin?

Her posture or maybe her eye made apparent her role in this drama and I never questioned it.  My only concern was to find out what kind of sadness made her so attractive to me.

The night was as hazy as our heads and the fire was crackling and full of vigor.  We could have been gypsies by the way we danced, drank, and sang while she stayed seated and somber, her one eye gleaming from the fire and her countenance a study of consternation.

What does she see now?  I wondered as she gazed deep into the pyre, her thick mascara running down her cheek as she cried silently.

"What's wrong?"  I asked.
"Nothing.  Just a memory."

But to know that memory would be more intimate than sex.  She wore her mystery like a cosmetic and had all the appeal of Greek tragedy.

The next morning the wind brought the trees to life and they scratched at the windows as if begging to be taken in.  She was standing by the window.

"Do you want to see the inside of my head?" She asked abruptly, as if forcing the question through her teeth.
I didn't speak.  The most I could do was to nod my head, my eyes still unfocused and my mouth hanging slack and dry.

She lifted the black satin patch slowly, and as timid as if undressing in front of a stranger
and she told me her story.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waiting for the Catalyst

Always on the brink without ever overflowing.
Always waiting for it.

But the catalyst is late and we stagnate
in the present and sometimes the past.

Eating Finger-nails for lunch
and toe-nails for dinner
in anticipation of a meteor
or an epidemic
or an opportunity.

Always nothing.
And back to my cob-web bed under a blanket of dust
in a bunker
I built
from a deck of playing cards.

Back to the static and the arbitrary numbers.
Back to a broken microscope
to follow fractals dance down the rabbit-hole.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Driftwood inn.

How far can their faces hang?
Their jowls rest in fleshy puddles on the bar.
Their eyes have fallen so low
they kick them as they shuffle off to the bathroom.

A travelling salesman sits sipping in silence
worrying about his wife fucking his neighbor
as he buys drinks for girls with syphilis.

The bartendress is the only one smiling.
Flashing lipstick teeth and whiskey breath.
Her smile is like a massacre.

And this bar is an abatoire of dreams.
But outside the wolves wait,
howling towards a red moon.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sharks and Scorched Pavement

Lot-lizards and
Shim-sham wizards
Powder-nosed sharks
wearing cheap neck-ties.

Spewing smoke like dragons
Greasing down their silver tongues
Pavement pounding predators
with 5.7 liter V8 hearts.

Money is a cruel thing.
Money is everything.
"Lets not talk about money,
lets just find the vehicle that best suits you."

Throwing out exclamations like they're going out of style.

Make wild gestures with your hands.
It's all part of the show.
It's all psychology.

It's all -sniff sniff-
and "Buddy, listen..."
It's all too much
to handle.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Juniper for my love

Juniper for my love
I carry it upon my breath
and if I weren't already there
I'd be drunk on your bereft.

Drag you to pawn-shops
where they dip my thumb in ink
I'd barter away our love, my love,
if I hadn't dropped it down our sink.

I want to buy you pretty things
and I wish my words were honey
but I cough between cigarettes
and drink away my money.

Juniper for my love
I keep it in a flask.
You deserve more than I can give
and I pray that you don't ask.

I take your hand to dace with you.
Instead I trip and stumble.
I tell you that my love is true
but I confess it with a mumble.

I wish I were a proper man
bringing you a fresh-cut flower
and I wish I could see a glass half-full
rather than completely sour.

A gin martini for my love.
A kiss of astringent fume.
A liquor-laden love-confession
sure to make you swoon.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Beautiful Bust

Her eyes sparkled like tonic water
as she doubles down
without ever looking at the cards
that lay upon the green felt table
like lovers in the grass
discussing the clouds.

Smoke from an obnoxious man's cigar
mask her beauty.
She wears her hair like a forest fire
and a dress of city smog.
Her lips are the color
of dried blood.

BUST says the dealer like a rusty gear
He lays down a jack.

"Story of my life" she whispers
and walks away
leaving her chips at the table.

Her husbands calls.
ring ring
Her husband calls again.

Leave a message after the beep.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Voses are Red and Riolets are blue...

Freight trains were making love nearby.
It shattered the night like glass.
I was drinking one
for every ghost from my past.

The shadows were dancing high
in their beds of neon,
their rainbow coffins all aglitter
until the cruel morning sun.

Where was I on Valentines day
but in the bosom of a stripper.
"Sorry I don't have cash for a dance
I spent my money on the liquor."

But I wrote a sonnet to you.
It's on the bathroom wall.
And I could still smell your perfume
despite the vomit in the stall.

The girls gave their tired pitch,
tried to get me in the mood.
They'd be wearing sandwich board signs
if they weren't completely nude.

Where was I on Valentine's day?
"I don't know, where were you?"
"Just answer the question." you say.
I say "I'd tell you if I knew."

When I drink you get mad,
Call me a weakling and a coward.
Well I was just taking refuge between the tits
of the lady for the hour.

I wish I could be a better man,
something like a saint or a scholar.
I wish mothers would make sure I was fed
and fathers would trust me with their daughter.

I'm so sick of whiskey talk,
forked tongues, and fake breasts.
You deserve much more than me,
and I deserve far less.

To show I was sorry
I brought you wine and a rose.
"I'd forgive you," you said
"If your gifts weren't as red as your nose."

"Now, where were you on Valentine's day?"
I say "Wishing to be with you."
"You swine, you dog, you horrible man,
you know that isn't true!"

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Just smile and say “Okay”
At what point did I become
My left shoe says yesterday.
My right shoe says it was earlier than that.
I don’t trust them
or I don’t hear them
because there are heavy-set gypsy women
stuck in my ears.
It’s cool.
We’re all waiting for a minute past midnight
when everything goes back to the way it was,
and everyone stops laughin’ their heads off
at something too true to be funny.

Stroll to the Convent  10-5-05
She found her virginity again
After 20 years of separation
She forgot the scent
It forgot to smile

“Life’s a bitch
get it pregnant
stuff it till its belly bursts”
she heard the old man say under his breath
oblivious to her presence

She sees her childhood
Hung up on the pawn shop wall
Run through by hooks on strings
Visual stimuli burned through her brain
And tears evaporate down her cheeks

She trips on a dead man
Still holding on to the string of a white balloon
That reads “Happy 4th Birthday!”
She digs deep in her purse for a pen with which to pop it
But finds nothing.

Arresting Jesus - May 26, 2009
In the summer
ants lodge in my brain.
exiled by the queen.

I do not hate them
because I’m pretending
to be Jesus,
crucified in the front yard

until concerned neighbors
call the police
and again
I am taken away.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Porcelain Lady

She's the one
who wears the skin of a pretty psycho
and repeats to herself:
"We will be like rabid things
walking circles in the middle of the street."

I'm watching her cautiously
wondering if she is even aware
of the razor blade she grips
in the palm of her hand.

I'm afraid to comfort her
because she trembles
like something ready to explode.

And the foggy window that is her skin
would shatter into a thousand jagged pieces
and I'd see her every tragedy reflected from each
before they embedded themselves in my skin.

Our Lady of Mascara Tears

It ended like all things, with so many bifurcating roots at the ends of which precarious brown leaves mourn the verdant spring, its last vestiges dead and frozen beneath the snow.
It began out of primordial discord and ended with a haughty tone of sophistication.
It ends here, now, with the words that I am writing.

Fire.  That massive fire that seemed to burn through the bitter winter.  When it waned we fed it furniture we bought cheap from a junky fresh from a home invasion.  Shadows slept at our feet and we stepped over them as we danced around.
Someone hidden somewhere in the black strummed a guitar and women swayed in an inebriate trance, gazing into our inferno centerpiece as if divining its secret language.  The sky was held up by columns of smoke and through it they all appeared as phantoms.

Through that smoke, that soap-opera mist, I saw her; that actress from my nightmares.  The one I inevitably fall in love with because of the secrets she hides in her eyes.

She moved gently to the music, drunk, imbecile, yet with all the appeal of Greek tragedy.  I don't recall now who said what or what was said but we began talking and laughing.

When she left I thought I must know what terrible memories seize her mind.

I blink and I find myself, days later, at her birthday party.  She has just turned twenty-two, or so she claims.  We are playing a drinking game in the garage with her friends and when someone suggests we play truth or dare we all say "Hell yeah"

"Dare" said she, our Lady of Mascara Tears.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Jaundiced City Nights

The night was mine once
but the city took it away
and washed it in a phosphorescent orange
that seeps in through the cracks in the blinds
and on the backs of the roaches.

And my silence,
that anthem of my peaceful solitude,
that too belonged to me.
But now we share it
as the sound of the distance and the hatred
that grows between us.

Looking around from the creaky balcony
where I go to escape you
I catch the last moments
of a generation.

The eerie glow of their cellphones
cast green shadows.
I listen, anticipating a ghost story
or some dreamy reflection

but all they do is shrug, sigh,
and mumble "whatever"
as they type their suicide texts

ttyl, cruel world.

I drink to everyone of them.
I raise my glass to every glint
of their dead eyes
grumbling Cheers to each.

And the more I drink
the more this balcony railing resembles
the bars of a penitentiary
and this apartment complex,
a panopticon.

"Lights out!" shouts the Warden who is never seen.
but he can't seem to find the switch.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Time to shave this beard, this mark of unemployment, and get off the floor where I've spent most of the month. Time to put my tongue back in my skull and wake up.
If I still had friends, they'd say "Wow, Lizard, it's good to see you sober.  We're proud of you"
and I'd fail to mention that my vices only ended when I ran out of money.

How much time has passed?  A week?  A year?  And how much more is left?

Fast Loris, my lover, sits in the darkness of our modest apartment staring at me and wishing I were someone else.  I stand in front of the bathroom mirror doing the same.

"Have you heard back from anyone yet?" she asks, masking the bitterness well.

I don't answer.  I haven't spoken in so long that my lips have crusted shut.

Monday, January 9, 2012

White Rat

Pile of trembling
white hair
in the corner of the room.

No one sees you.
No one watches you
chew through your tail
but I.

The people around me
have gone senseless.
Their eyes dart around
too fast for their brains.

Their teeth grind
furiously, mechanically,
as if the factory were not dead at all.
They are killers.

White rat,
it is only by watching you
that I can breath steady
even as you unfurl

and scurry clumsily away
from your mutilated remnant
matted with blood
and filth.

And yet you are still
less repulsive
than the other occupants
in this hell.

And small enough to escape it.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Puppets on her fingers

She only spoke to me
through the finger puppets
that she wore on her hands
like jewelry.

Their tiny faces were bruised
from the keys of her piano,
and none of them seemed in the mood
to chat.

In fact,
they, like a gang
of felt pigmies,
held my head under the dish-water

until I slumped unconscious
to the floor
with wet bits of food
in my beard and hair.