January 3, 2020

Amplified Discomforts

Whenever you should be experiencing something is when it’s the absolute worst time to experience it. I’m somewhere I ought to be relaxing in an even more specific place I ought to be writing in and it is the most excruciatingly uncomfortable place precisely because it is not at all meant to be.

It’s a curse to require such a specific environment to create. Anywhere but that refuge, writing feels like bloodletting. Language is meant to transport you to the mind of the writer or wherever they’re able to conjure, but I can assure you you do not want to be here with me. I’m slouched in a chair with crumbs and crippling music and non-music making sour sound stew, auditory shrapnel shooting pins into head cotton.

Nothing is worse than a quote and the wall across is built by them. Brittle word bricks.

How does it feel to be a Whitman in a realm rendered by all things poets’ words were written to hide us from? When the mundane to the grotesque become celebrated cerebral text, the real world is left to prove it’s capable of overcoming the protection of the mind. And that leaves us in leaves of ass. Woodland waste tissue. Biodegradable biomass, biologically abominable bile. Unpleasant.

What’s fit to publish

I’m embarrassed to promulgate the publication of a mind’s every whim. It’s 80% ugly. But, quizzically, the rest is trash. I myself am tired of what’s touted as readable these days. There must be some balance between what’s worthy of your time and what’s inseminated with the truth that makes you question the time spent on anything you’ve just exchanged it for.

Anything you think you want to read is because it’s easy. Because you and I are lazy. But that’s nothing new. Nothing is.

In defense of zero structure whatsoever. Anyone who calls themself a writer is a dick. Me included. The pen is a phallic extension of the mind.

I’m a lazy writer. I don’t make so much effort to understand parts of speech or narrative structure or anything that makes written communication coherent. When I do I feel foolish.

So you end up struggling through essays like these, trying to understand what message I’m trying to impart, in part because you believe in meaning. I’m elated to let you know, dearest you, that I cannot provide any assurance that anything created by anyone meant any more than that which was created for the sake of its creation. And I’m elated because now you understand that I am just as lost as you. It’s just that at some point I decided to snip off a squiggle and at some other point you decided to reel in the eel. Let’s meet up again when we can both make a little more sense.

Tom

January 2, 2020

Rusty Rooster

Aka. Rusty Cock. An unforeseen floorboard upturned tempts the toe of my shoe. I foresee it. It sneers at me. I spit on it and kick it. It hurts my toe because it is a floorboard and I am a human bean. I just haven’t been boiled. Hard boy.

Man at the counter is a mustache. He has a grease stain below his belt to the right. The belt’s too tight and it squeezes the blood to his balloon top like a tomato paste tube. I can’t smell his ash tray breath across the counter because two actual ash trays come up to meet my clogged nostrils from next to the cash register, flanking a gilded wavy-cat. I finger the cat’s paw between thumb and index. Its small mechanism sputters epileptic in my small grip. Mustache hasn’t noticed me yet—he’s chewing a receipt and rubbing his lubber.

I’ll take a Rusty Cock,” I say, loudly.

Mustache’s mustache slides down his pocked chin and moldy olive eyes meet mine.

The fuck is that?” Says mustache.

I’m at the Rusty Cock, I’d like a Rusty Cock.”

You’re out your mind, we don’t have no such thing.”

Make it up, you’re a smart man.”

He clearly wasn’t a smart man. His chin dripped something sticky and a rat’s tail riled in his apron pocket. I sat at a tiny table in the back. Really, sincerely tiny. My minuscule buttocks had not a chance. I keep mixing up my tenses, which is fine, because I have a porter in my stomach. And soon I’ll have a fantastical titular cocktail, whatever that may be.

I’m in the back on my microscopic chair when the door at the front of the establishment becomes disestablished. By that I mean the door just leaps up, rolls its eyes back, turns three shades of purple and disintegrates. A woman walks in, of course, and all 30-some somebitches in the Rusty Cock reel backwards to reveal her to themselves. She’s normal. More girl than woman, her eyelashes rustle like wheat and pupils dart around at the clientele like a doe’s in winter wind. She reaches for her pocket and then realizes she has none because she’s wearing a dress, then glides across the room to the WC for a nervous hand washing.

There’s a cool cold clammy closed up cloak next to me. It houses a snail. The snail is drunk of its mind and shares company with a fork and a muskrat. That sly fork. It catches me glancing at it and attempts to furrow its brow though it doesn’t have one because it is a fork. The woman emerges from the WC with a face illuminated by candlelight. The candles shy away and her face burrows into shadow.

It’s a tough scene. I’m not sure what will happen, really, and I couldn’t give a hoof. The pistols at one end are at the ends of their liquor and the harlots across them nearing bottom of their tea. Mr. Windles takes the stage. I hadn’t even seen the stage before now. In fact it’s hardly a stage—in fact it isn’t. It’s a table. Mr. Windles took a table as his stage, knocking smooth, silken, salty stocking knees together as he did so. His gills grew wide then wise then soft and supple. Then wide then wise and soft and supple. Wide wise soft supple. It sounded like a sequin in the sunshine pointing some sun glare at a blind man, which is to say no sound at all but the faint recognition of something there.

A turtle in a turtle neck… is he just in a neck? Is he a neck?” Windles nippered.

Silence from the crowd.

A neck, a neck, a neck,” he said, flopping a flipper at his lack of head-shoulders connector.

Fuck you, Windy!” Travelled from the dark.

Windy didn’t fuck off, but flipped off, flipping his floppers off of the table and shuffling his stockings to an empty seat next to no one.

I was bored. Where was my Rusty Cock.

Suddenly, and it had to be suddenly as what else would rile the plot so, a sea cucumber rolled into the room. It was inanimate. Across the room, what felt like 500 meters away, a bomb went off. But wasn’t a bomb. Was Mustache. His footstep. He’d moved after seven weeks of sullen tummy-rubbin’. The man-boy slammed his foot on the ground once again. Everyone swiveled their eye-sockets. Snail sucked into the folds of his coat.

Mustache moved a severed hand across the counter, touching its corroded tips to a control pad. Some switch turned. Music started. The word Anne” whispered lyrically across the floor, wafting into eardrums. I was so giddy, it was great.

The woman moved to the center as if there were one. She produced a herring from her handbag, which offended Mr. Windles, and proceeded to wave it in the air as an anarchal instrument. I was done with the chair that was now lodged into my anus, plucking it out and discarding it to the side. I joined our mysterious miss at the center that wasn’t the center. The woman. Her name?

What’s your name, I must know,” I inquired.

You mustn’t,” she said, staunchly.

At that moment, the man from the counter appeared with my Rusty Cock. Thank fuck. I drank it except for one dram at the bottom. It was decent.

I’m shwizkdlzljfkls…” said the woman, gargling words into the fuzz of the night.

That’s gorgeous,” I said sarcastically. I hadn’t heard what she said. I then dipped her herring in my Rusty Cock by way of raising the Rusty Cock to her herring, thereby wetting it. She wasn’t so started as amused.

Thanks, boy,” she said across the room. Across the room?

I was at the exit. I twirled out. Mustache was waving my credit card the same way he’d waved a fan at his mother dying of horse-crab heat stroke. I faded into the doorway as he tossed the card into the bin and steadfastly resumed rubbing his continental tummy.

I checked my watch. Except I didn’t have a watch. It was whatever o’clock. The night was young. I couldn’t feel my tongue. The Rusty Rooster sign sighed above. Piano fucked me. It felt fine. I waddled down the street to my flat. Some songbirds flicked cigarette butts at my face as I smiled into the cracked mirror moonlight. The night nodded and nodded.

Some green seats need to know how it feels to be felt. When yours regales a fish dressed in fishnets, forget how many men it took to forge a forest fire. Finesse the taste of porter on your tongue. Reignite.


I have just written this in hell itself (Somewhere, Poland), please excuse me. Have a wicked night.

December 31, 2019

The Glass Pocket

In the Carpathian Mountains on December 23rd I walked down an unlit corridor in a lodge hotel with a backpacker’s backpack packed on my back. On the side of that backpacker’s backpack was a stretched mesh pocket with a see-through cylinder of pastel-piss dessert wine pressed against another glass container twist-capped.

The twist-capped container had mineral gas water for the train that evening, but instead it sparkled across the fresh-mopped floor of the unlit corridor in the lodge hotel because there was no slippery sign and no lady with a mop and only soap and darkness and a boy headed for the stairs. I slipped and as slips happen, in an instant, I was on the floor and so was glass. The dessert wine was safe. The lady with a mop showed up out of the dark, back from cleaning some darkness. She brushed me off and held onto the black smudge on rushed blood around my arm, asking if I was okay instead of letting me make myself okay by snatching some okay towels from the bathroom. I tugged away while she continued to talk about mopping darkness and my smudge and how sorry she was but delighted that the dessert wine was okay.

The bathroom had towels and a man by the mirror fixing something else while I fixed my thing I was there to fix and we fixed our things separately before I decided to fix my backpack and left the room. There were two stair options in that unlit Carpathian hotel lodge corridor and I’d chosen the one with the suds. The bus would leave for the train shortly so I shoved a fist in my mesh stretch pocket slowly as one can shove and slithered out slivers of glass thin as whiskers and sharp as a sentence. My fingers glistened with flecks of fresh hemoglobin.

That backpacker’s backpack was supposed to be fit as fuck, trim as a sailor and forged to fight the whips of tree tips and lash of rain bullets. But glass is not of nature and sure cut through that mesh and tore straight cuts cross the one side.

I’d chosen the suds. Gravity set the slip-trajectory. The wine just up and braced itself. I thanked it later for surviving via tummy hug from the inside. It kept me lucid on the Ukrainian train.

December 14, 2019

Siri is my bitch

sensual cylindrical woman
wrapped tight in winterfresh fishnets
you domestic elongated donut
tail twisting tucked and
touching the hot socket
sapping electric life into
boomers and tweeters sliding
electron signal fingers on
copper coils pinching mics that
long for a loving Hey, Siri”


Siri is my bitch

poetry
October 29, 2019

The Off-path

Peeling back mountain’s powdered skin and tossing its infinite molecular extras aside, I, lost in the moment but sure of my path, am nudged gently by a billowy blow of wind just enough to fall into conversation with gravity. I, now lost in my path and so sure of the moment, involuntarily engrave my ass cheeks a meter deep in the silent madness of snow-cover.

The piste panders far above to the stimulus of hard plastics pleasuring it—an alpine love scratch, an exchange of precisely random scrapes. And that’s just how I feel, so precisely, acutely, exactly planted in the serenely chaotic emptiness of the off-path. I am really dug thick into it. Thick into a place not meant to be a place and a place I do not intend to be. A place intended for me. I hoist up and lean forward into nothing, hoping to rejoin with that something of the piste where sure path meets abandon at mountain rim and it doesn’t matter how whatever cascaded cascaded there, to that end.


A brief recollection of swerving off a ski slope in the Austrian Alps. Transcribed from notes taken during a workshop at Writing Retreat Bali.

The Off-path

August 28, 2019

Sunday Secrets

distilled and aged, a pen tip tongue prick kiss claws
crushed dandelion light treads through sallow bourbon glass
a fingerprint tick type taps hollow word through the wall

splinter boards brace worn-out window shades through which I saw
dust breaking sun beams searing ink-blot hymnal wit such mass
distilled and aged, a pen tip tongue prick kiss claws

leather-lick dull scrape taste hit blood stream gall
tree knot stomach pirouette point twist barre class
a fingerprint tick type taps hollow word through the wall

lil fur boy whisker-wackin lip smack cracker crumb in maw
Miss Milly pew-hop pastel red shoe drop clack bump ass
distilled and aged, a pen tip tongue prick kiss claws

sof rat scurry cross hot wood slat sun cut prism light raw
rainbow stain rub cheek ain’t got but a stub beak that lass
a fingerprint tick type taps hollow word through the wall

an I paint smile on Milly bell toll belly roll bird caw
sallow bourbon quick smooch tip toe trickle sweat sass
distilled and aged, a pen tip tongue prick kiss claws
a fingerprint tick type taps hollow word through the wall


A villanelle written c. spring 2018.

poetry