Can’t Fall Asleep, A Poem

there’s a merry-go-round in my brain

and the speed is set to insane.

the more I try to slow them down,

the faster those horsies go around.

but it’s not the horsies that are in control,

it’s my twisted face  in the mirror that has the role.

are you me? are you sane?

no, I’m just a dead wind in your brain.

The Wall of No Names

The lost man screams at the wall of no names all night long, then at sunrise blends in soundlessly with the anonymous bricks.  Sun brings out the morning wall worshippers, dressed in black robes, to kiss random bricks, while every fourth one drops to their knees and bashes their heads against the wall until the front of their skulls are thoroughly caved in, dropping like charcoal ash figures into the bloody dust then melting into black oily pools. Each morning, for thousands of years, this ritual has played out, losing one out of every four– and it will go on apparently, until there are only four left. With each cycle there is one lost man among millions of acolytes that screams at the wall, then each one fuses with the wall at sunrise.

The lost man, with eyes of iron will, watches the great looming shadows on the horizon, watches them fast progressing across the plain, for what is coming will surely raze this wall of no names, of no known origin, erected well beyond recollected time.  Great clouds of sun-tinged dust, and flaming shadows race across the sun-scorched desolate plain.  The remaining four wall worshippers seem to take no notice, but all have begun to bash heads against their beloved wall, if only now to save them from some more sinister fate. Bits of bloody hairy scalp drop off the wall, clods of macabre mud. As useless now as mud.

The last lost man waits with the dull intensity of brick for the sun’s black purge. Which will surely come.

Go Away

The fog was slow to recede that morning. Denny looked out the window and saw all the big oaks halfway across the backyard, half-visible, submerged in a fallen cloud. That’s how he liked to think of fog– as a fallen cloud, too heavy to stay up in the sky. He was only eight, but he was fanciful like that.

The football lay on a pile of wet leaves, the same spot he left it last night just before dinner, when he had been playing catch by himself. His dad was in London for two months, on business. He loved his mom, but she just couldn’t toss a football worth a damn, even though she had actually tried. On the first attempt the football clunked about ten feet in front of her. She smiled, embarassed, then tried again: this time the ball sailed funkily through the air (his dad slung a perfect spiral) and hit one of the fat oaks, ricocheting at a weird angle and sent their cat, Wilma, running for safety underneath the back porch. “Oh damn, Denny, I think I’ve broken a nail. I’m sorry, I suck at this. Maybe a game of scrabble later? Well, have fun, I’m going to cook dinner. Stay in the yard, honey.”

But she had been too tired for scrabble, on her third glass of burgandy, staring at the telephone as if trying telepathically to get it to ring. Maybe she was missing dad even more than he was…
8 o’clock and still his mother hadn’t come into his room– now, finally, knocking first– to nudge him toward that before school ritual that had been going on for four years now. Too much wine again. Oh well, he’d have to give himself that nudge this morning, although he was really wanting to pretend he was still asleep and when his mother reached down to shake him gently awake, he’d throw off his covers suddenly and yell, “Boo!” But he’d done it a lot lately, so she would probably be expecting it anyway. But this morning, she did not come. When his clock flashed 8:20, he slipped out of bed, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, then wandered downstairs to the kitchen to see if his mother might be there. He didn’t see her there, or smell the fading morning cigarette he usually smelled either.

He looked out onto the patio to see if she was there; she sometimes sat out on the wicker chair in good weather to watch the birds peck at ground, or chat with her senile neighbor Gladys, who on her worst days talked to the crows like they were her errant children, but on her better days, beamed with the dulled sun of age, that weak autumn sun breaking through late fog, if only to scour out one last, happy, bright, before death.

Close Call

A little brown recluse spider came in from the cold. It was resting on the handle of my screendoor and I just caught sight of it before I reached for the handle to go outside. Any other spot and I might of not squashed you in the green-white folds of a discarded snot rag. Any other– but it was like you were waiting for me, right there perched on the only spot that allowed an exit. Out into the cold night. Man, it’s a cold night tonight.

It’s All Theater From Here On Out

flypaper personalities attend the bright parties of paperfly debutantes,
sticking to everyone and everything with unbiased glee,
a killing spree of sticky connotations and sourpusses without opposites,
and where only decisive scissors and letter openers get laid.
Shit happened, but it was the lingering smell that bothered everyone the most.

Shitsong Cycles and Miscreant Chants: One

For your amusement I pluck baobab trees out of my eyeballs, grab 747s out of the baby-blue sky and  blow h-bomb kisses to memory mirages as you pine away on greyhound buses, last stop, last drop, smack your gumdrop, pop rocks, pitstops off the kentucky eye seventy-five seduction zone, last one on, ghost gone alone, piss rivers flow, hopeflowers born drowning in gutters, crybaby lakes and fashion snakes tighten around your gleaming last gasp kiss every asp disaster dream, force-fed ice cream and deep in the dead the dark the cold damage done, the stolen twins plotting a cabal of knots and gnarled wonders all through the barren winter, lovers made of wood petrified and smiling, penis bloodied, a harem of splinters– 

Flies From An Open Neck

I’m obsessed with pez dispensers. You add the little candies to the plastic thing and when it’s full you snatch an individual candy from the top. I have a variety of different styles, with neat cartoonish heads, a rainbow of colors. I love them intensely, perhaps too much. My tongue itches for a candy to suck on from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall into kaleidescopic sleep.

I was given my first pez dispenser by my sadistic and delusional great-grandmother when I was five. I used to visit her on the weekends so my hippie parents could go off to their LSD parties or whatever, and she would always tell me scary stories. One was about a seven foot black man with a stovepipe hat who came a-knocking on unsuspecting women’s doors while they were at home alone waiting for their husbands or whomever to return from those agonizingly long ‘business trips’. For some reason the women could never resist letting the massive black man inside for a late night supper or a cup of rhubarb tea (he always asked for rhubarb tea, a slice of lemon, a pinch of sugar). The woman of course never had a prayer, for the man was an evil spirit and did unspeakable things to her, summarily ending in her demise. My great-grandmother would make a slicing motion across her neck at the decisive moment in the tale. When he left, he would turn into a wild cat and slink off behind the rock outcrop on the edge of the wood, or so the ‘legend’ went. My great-grandmother took enormous amounts of pleasure telling me these stories, all of which were spun from her disturbed imagination, knowing full well they would terrify a five year old– but that was how it went with this woman; she had a screw loose for sure. 

So, it got to the point I became so terrified of her stories I refused to go stay with her. My mother finally gave in to my pleadings and told me it was okay, I never had to go back and stay the night with her crazy grandmother again. One weekend not long after, my parents had a party at our shabby, pot-smoky apartment, and I somehow came across a blotter with daffy duck printed on it and put it into my mouth. 

All I can recall of that night was how I turned into a tiny greenish lizard and scurried across the walls looking for flies to eat, filling up on flies as the night transpired, holding them alive but captive in my belly like little pez candies. My parents quit their partying ways soon after this and got a divorce. My great-grandmother died later that year too, and in her will left me a green pez-dispenser, with a lizard head,and a black top hat (perhaps the very one that had inspired her allegorical yarn). What were the chances? Turned out as well she had nearly a half-million in assets and willed it all to a millinery for the homeless in Brussels. Her surviving family was of course not too happy about this development. She had always said, “No one should go hatless in this world.” Even now, sitting in my room filled with nearly ten thousand pez dispensers, some haphazardly piled to the ceiling, while others are neatly stacked on shelves, or in specially made glass showcases, I tend to agree.

I always eat candy from my lizard head pez dispenser with lightning-quick tongue. I wear that same black hat too when I go visit my girlfriends at night. They always think it’s funny.