Desert Plum

Drop it all leaving it

behind

in the back of my mind

racing towards the unseen

edge of an endless

road

to possibility

the spirit of america

calling to me

it’s rasping

rotting in the dry heat

of a setting southwestern sun

I’ve never taken drugs

but I want to

watch the world melt down

around me

feel time speed

slowing to a stop

watch the pale splotchy skin of

my hands

peel and recede

to

expose bones that creak

popping under weight

excess

emotion

I want to cut my wrists

let the blood seep out that open sore

puss

of some untreated infection

douse the unmolested dust

in some undisturbed patch of land in New Mexico

see what

tainted fruit

takes root

I want to pluck the fruit from my tree

bite into it

savor the astringent succulence

a desert plum

born of adversity

Old Wounds Pt. 1

I met her on a dating app, finally reserved to seeking conversation in place of sex. The tedious, critical process of selectively swiping on potential partners reduced to a mindless exercise, apathetically thumbing through profiles while never glancing down at the screen. This had become habitual, more impulse than directed action. Running out of potential matches in my area, I exited the app, setting my phone aside.

I’d been out of the game a long time, honestly. My first true relationship budded when I left home for the military, finding my way to Colorado Springs. Spurred on by my new found confidence, along with the naivete of youth, I fell for the first girl I’d been to bed with.

She was more experienced than me, had been in a lot of relationships, all of them toxic. We’d talk about them into the night; I was never insecure about hearing tales of her past indulgences. She’d tell me all the explicit details, all the tragic turning points, all the moments of weakness and shame. Before she’d dropped out of college to pursue the military she’d been lost in love and his shadow would fall over me.

She was my best friend, but a cold lover.

She’d turn out the lights and engage in the act as if out of some form of obligation. This bothered me, so I would always try to communicate, to discern her personal preferences and desires. I wanted nothing more than to please her, to show her that I cared.

There was no romance, rarely any kissing. I was never granted the illusion of intimacy, yet casual sex was a regularity. Looking back on it, I think it was more of a way for her to kill time. I was safe and available.

She broke up with me for the first time to get with her supervisor, a lanky Senior Airman with a penchant for fresh, doe-eyed, young females new to flight. I’d heard the stories of what they’d do on shift, calling in code, slinking off to seclusion and fucking in the back of one of the patrol vehicles. This was later verified to be true. Back then I truly believed that if you fought to be with someone it would all work out. We got back together within a month.

This went on for two years.

The first time she told me she loved me was after she cheated on me. She’d gone home to Missouri for the first time since leaving, attending a get-together with some of her friends. She’d been drunk and seduced by some guy that had been there. She told me over the phone, from over 615 miles away in Freeman, Missouri.

I went against my better judgement, getting back with her. Things were good for a time. Looking back, I believe she was rewarding me, like you would some blindly loyal pup that you feel bad for. I truly believed that we’d make something of what we had, defy the odds and live that Hollywood romance fantasy. I was stupid in love.

I sensed a rift form between us after some months of bliss. She was becoming distant again, more argumentative. She was finding every reason to create tension. I found out the reason why at a training session one afternoon from a guy I’d rarely talked to. She’d received orders to head to Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. I was the last person to find out.

I brought this up to her, hurt, resulting in a slew of excuses. She started eschewing a list of my faults against me, brandishing them like some jagged blade carved from my own bones. I understood what she wanted; She wanted to feel better about the situation by having me break up with her, so I gave her what she wanted.

Despite the break, things mostly remained the same before she left. We lived together, split costs, had sex. The only difference was titular. Instead of boyfriend and girlfriend, we were now friends with benefits. This carried on til her date arrived.

The night she left was a difficult one. I’d been expecting it so long, but it’s like watching someone be slowly eaten away by some sickness. You wish there was something to do, but when it turns terminal, it’s all but lost. She came into my room as I lie staring at the ceiling. She gave me a necklace, sterling silver and adorned with her patron saint, that her grandmother gave her. She graced me with one final kiss, walking out.

I later learned she replaced that necklace with a replica.

Grit & Edge #1

Hello All,

I just came across a script for a series riffing on Frank Miller, his writing style and characterization. I wrote these a couple years back when I wanted to poke fun at his gritty, edgy approach to the medium, so I decided to portray it through this on-the-nose series. My intention was to make fun of his sexist, racist, psychotic, gratuitous approach by turning a mirror on it.

Though I never found an artist to bring the scripts to life, I penned about one volume of the series. This series was all in good fun. The characters are deplorable reflections of the ones they are inspired by. This won’t be for all. It was directly aimed at an audience familiar with the writings of Frank Miller. I look at this as the deformed offspring of All Star Batman and Robin, Sin City, and Holy Terror.

Just a warning: There are depictions of sexual assault and hyper-violence throughout. There are racial terms used by some of the more sordid characters, though they are punished.

If you find any of this interesting and would like to see the remaining scripts, feel free to reach out and let me know. I now present, Grit & Edge #1.

Riding the Rails on the Edge of Night

As night encroaches on lonesome suburbia, I prepare to meet it. Placing all things in order, I head to the cabinet drawing forth a bottle, still half full, of sweet, fragrant cognac to nurse the edge of a passing day. Uncorking the spiced elixir, I pour it into a cheap snifter, returning the bottle to whence it came, raising the glass to eager nostrils, breathing deep. It’s warm, welcoming.

Walking to the condensed space of a whitewashed living room with yellow streaks of unknown origin or substance, I extinguish the lights,unfurling the shades. Taking a seat in one of the nearby chairs, I swivel it, facing it towards the sliding glass frame. I unlock this door, sliding it off towards the left, exposing the screen, taking in the coalesced scent of city and nature.

Plopping in the seat, I close my eyes for a moment, taking that first drink. Smooth liquid body greets tongue, cascades past teeth and gums, rushing to meet the wall of my throat. Wet fire flows into me, a sense of heat and weight at my core. It is delightful. Crickets chirp, singing praise.

I never feel more at ease than in the dark. I suppose I enjoy the anonymity of it all, that foolish sense of invisibility. Daylight brings out the anxiety. All those nameless faces melding into one titanic being of sociability. I’m not myself in these moments, something else entirely, a distortion I loathe and abhor.

It is the insipid mass: the face which indulges pleasantries and small talk, hacking out forced laughter like so much phlegm, an agreeable ponce resisting the urge to rock the boat and shake the foundation. He is meek and uninteresting. I cannot recognize myself in the light, but at night I shine crystal clear, alone with my thoughts, on the edge of dying day.

The chill is on me, yet I embrace it. Smoke wafts from some unseen direction. It stirs within me a sense of longing. Beyond the line of trees, out beyond blocks of houses, a train cries on. It’s somber, lonely tone draws me in. Images of escapist fantasy take root and project themselves.

It wails, a low hum rising high, reverberating across unknown distance. It is restless, desperate in its need to be known, acknowledged in the void. Like some metallic, wild beast, it speeds across tattered tracks at breakneck speed towards its destination. I hear my cry in its cry, see my ambitions mirrored in its pursuit of that singular goal.

Every exhalation released from its massive frame wells within me.

I also want to cry out in the the dark, to follow those tracks towards my destination. To be be a barreling dynamo streaking past the pallid face of the cold moon. Aren’t we all tired of being passengers aboard another’s shuttle?

I imagine turning my back on everything, closing the door on this part of my life. I walk out behind that tree line and follow the cries as they echo out. I arrive at the tracks and can almost feel the heat radiating from a locomotive not far removed. Head shifting from one end of the tracks to the other, I stand in silence for a moment.

I consider what I value, who I am, where I want to be. Breathing deep, I capture cool air in my straining diaphragm. I hold it there, letting the pressure build to a point of discomfort and exhale. I open my eyes, following the tracks. With my destination in mind I head on, not certain of what I will encounter along the way, yet certain I will reach it nonetheless.

Moody

Charles Bukowski. He fills his cup to the brim with cheap wine, downs it in a gulp, then keeps on filling. This sweaty, balding, unkempt, rotund, scoundrel of man glances up from his stained and wrinkled stack of papers. A gleam of satisfaction cuts across his smirking face, pure bliss at wasting his audience’s time. Alternating between drinking and taking long drags on unfiltered cigarettes, he adjusts his glasses every so often. The ritual is well practiced, rehearsed to perfection. He’s yet to begin the reading.

The audience grows restless. Having paid for the show and arriving early, they hoped to make it home by a reasonable hour. He’s aware, but he keeps drinking. He doesn’t want to be there anyway. He gets paid regardless.

Taking pity on this self-important, pompous, college crowd, he addresses them, announcing that the reading will begin shortly. Smoke billows around him. You can smell the pungent, aromatic mixture of cheap liquor, tobacco, and that warm, onion, body odor scent of a large crowd. It’s an acquired sense of beauty.

When he finally begins reading, it’s poetry. This isn’t pristine, cleaned up, whimsical verse. It’s raw, real. He’s telling stories, recounting experience in the most honest way. His words aren’t beautiful, at least most wouldn’t say so. It’s self-loathing and pessimistic, with a dash of sardonic humor. It’s farting, fucking, being an asshole, an alcoholic, the worst kind of deviant. The crowd responds with uproarious laughter at the punchline of each piece as he lulls them back into another tedious intermission. The crowd groans, giving way to heckling. He takes a drink and a drag, laughing to himself, occasionally humoring them with a pointed retort, goading them with a pubescent sense of mischief.

He resumes this ritual to the reading’s eventual end. Slurring through the remaining poems, he invites but a couple of the virile, young collegiate men to try their hand at him.

There’s something commendable in this anarchist display, this contemptuous subversion of expectations. Very few can know such freedom, such uninhibited behavior. Bearing witness to this performance acts as a kind of vicarious liberation. It is the spirit of self-interest, the soul of passive resistance.

Beneath the carapace of jaded descent though, belies the husk of bright-eyed optimism. As aggressive his performance, as vulnerable his naked soul. These, his stories and experiences, present him as despicable pervert, frame him a drunkard and a lout. A lonely man whose best days are behind him and they no better. In this horrid figure of ill repute we catch a glimmer of ourselves, at least if we allow ourselves a moment of brutal self-reflection and honesty.

Most of us, caught in the fine, silken thread of a web of social norms, take refuge in the facade which has been fashioned for us by culture. Haggardly, we rush to preserve the stance that all things are well, all things positive, avoiding critical eyes and condemning those which see the other side of the coin. There is an acquired beauty in this coarse outlook though, a beauty in things as they are, not as we wish them.

That Spark

Another restless night. Bare and uncovered in the darkness I listen to the hum of whirring motors that fill the void with mechanical life. Outside, street lamps give off a dull yellow glow. I picture them, imperfect, tilted in the ground, left by some worker who figured the task completed well enough. My central air has failed me and I make do with open windows and screen doors to manage a more temperate climate. I acknowledge the heat and the beading humidity. In these moments I turn inwards.

I think on virgin days so full of hope, naivety in youth yet to be undone by the ravages of experience. I remember the mistakes I’ve made, regrets that go unspoken, pushed to the furthest recesses of the waking mind. I think on missed opportunities lost to my cowardice. I picture loves now lost and the nights we shared. These thoughts of the past lead me to the present. I reflect.

I am a twenty-six year old non-traditional student, barely scraping by as I seek stable full-time employment. Though I’ve been with my current company almost two years, it has run its course. This employment has been contingent upon my enrollment at my previous university and there is no position available to me at this time.

My vehicle is a mess, though after repairing and replacing the majority of its parts, it’s running smooth. The driver’s seat still leans awkwardly off to the right. I have a modest apartment, a low-rent shanty in a dying Midwestern town. Birds have taken nest above the main door and you can hear the neighbors above fucking every Friday and Saturday evening. It’s quite quaint.

Despite my cynicism I live comfortably. I am able to support myself, though I wonder about the long term. I don’t want to just live comfortably anymore. Comfort is the death of ambition. Fear of discomfort makes us cowards.

There in the dark, lost in reflection, is where I found that spark. In my nakedness I stumbled towards light once more, wrenching myself free from the smothering womb of familiarity and expectations. I realized that I could no longer sustain a life of investing all of myself in efforts which rob me of my passions and drain me of my creativity.

That spark I had once known so well reminded me of who I am. I’m an artist, a poet, a writer, a filmmaker. Up til late I’ve been a comfort-seeking coward. I’m not this bland and lifeless drone that I’ve accepted being for so long. It’s all been a lie. I’ve lied to others and I’ve lied to myself and we all believed it in suit. Wearing so many masks dilutes the face beneath, so I cast them aside.

This blog is but a single step towards reclaiming my identity. I hope that all of you can find that spark which ignites within you the will to just try and do what you love. I hope that you will take that first step and follow it wherever it may lead.