Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010, can I get a refund?

This is the time of year when we think back and say "Damn, that was pretty stupid," or maybe "I really rocked it this time."

Either way, we can all agree that we lived through it, and things were done, some for good, and some for awesome. Mistakes may have been made.

This time last year, I was fully ensnared in active drug addiction, buying, selling, using. I don't even remember New Year's eve. It was a day like any other. I woke up, bought a bunch of drugs, sold some, used some, and went to sleep.

When I say I don't remember it, I'm not saying that I went to a party and got so fucked up I blacked out. I'm saying I literally have no idea, what so ever, what the fuck I did for New Year's. I don't know where I was or who I was with.

All I can say for certain is that drugs and strippers were most definitely involved in a major capacity.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nobody Likes Me

For Christmas, I want 1000 views on this here video right here.

Can you help me?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

#mooreandme and me

This past few days, I've been caught up in the frenzy surrounding Micheal Moore's statements concerning the rape charges being brought against Julian Assange.

I used the opportunity of so many impassioned feminists paying attention to one spot to get a better understanding of what they're about and how they do what they do.

I'm not anti-feminist, but sometimes the extremes to which they go to get their point across scares me. The invented vocabulary and rhetorical tricks used to advance their cause is no different than any other cult mentality.

Which isn't to say that feminism is a cult. Just that I believe that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Sometimes, that seems difficult for feminists to accomplish. It attempts to be THE ANSWER, and when we have the answer, we stop asking questions or thinking for ourselves, instead taking the easy way out and parroting what we've been told.

The result is that people that could be united in bringing actual change to the world and helping victims of rape and domestic violence instead begin fighting with each other on points of dogma.

A recent blog post pulled some of my tweets out of context and used them to "bust straw men" which they were never used to construct. I've posted my response below.

When it comes to rhetoric, these feminists are guilty of every tactic they've falsely accused me of, and many more. In contrast, some were very open to discussion, and I learned a lot from the exchanges. This likely won't be the last conversation on the subject.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Treat Yourself To A Free Book This Christmas

With all the pressure to reach in your pocket and "BUY BUY BUY! YOUR LOVE FOR YOUR CHILDREN IS BASED ON HOW MUCH DEBT YOU RACK UP FOR THE NEW YEAR!" these days, I think you all need a well-deserved break from the machine's insistent need to be fed.

About twenty years ago, I had my first consensual sexual experience, it was traumatic and life-changing. I also participated in an act of brutal savagery motivated by insecurity, which affected me just as strongly.

A few years back, I took some time and wrote these experiences down in the form of a thirteen thousand word narrative called "Guacamole Baseball".

Names have been changed and characters compressed to protect the innocent, and guilty.

Now, for the holidays, I'm making this story available as a free ebook download. It' a PDF, you do have the software to read it, regardless of your computing platform or web browser.

All you have to do to claim your copy is sign up to receive email updates from my blog. You can see that I post a few times a week, and do my best to keep the level of thought-provoking and entertaining content high.

You can sign up, confirm, and then unsubscribe if you like, but the point is for me to increase the connection between me, the author, and you, my potential audience.

I will not collect or resell your information. I won't even look at it. The mailing list is managed by http://list-manage.com, a well-respected company in the online newsletter community.

So it's a no-risk situation for you. Worst case, you don't like the book or the blog, delete it, and unsubscribe, but I hope you will stick around. I'm sure you will find both of them an entertaining, and perhaps moving read.

To sign up for the mailing list, just put your email address in the form to the top right, or click here.

If you'd like more information about Guacamole Baseball, or want to buy a hard copy for your shelf. Look here. I've made a sizable excerpt available on this blog.

I thank each and every one of you who do read the blog on a regular basis and welcome any comments or concerns, criticism or worry, here, on twitter, facebook, or wherever else we may cross paths.

If nobody told you today that they love you, then I'm telling you now, I do.

-Jason (Tao Joannes)

Friday, December 17, 2010

What religion do you follow?

That's a good question.

I don't subscribe fully to any religious philosophy. Religions always have too much dogma built in to reinforce and protect the power structure.

The closest I get to church is in Native American sweat lodges, which I usually attend once a week, sometimes missing a week depending on the lodge schedule.

Prayer is a daily practice, and if I remember before bedtime, I get it in there, too.

I usually describe myself as a Gnostic Christian. It isn't necessary to have an intermediary facilitate the connection between the individual and God. God is beyond the understanding of any individual. There is only one God, and in different cultures, God is given different names.

So, for my personal practice, I follow the rule that "True Spiritual Principles Are Never In Conflict". I take the complementary parts from many traditions and use the key provided by Jesus Christ as "The Greatest Commandment" "Love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart, all thy mind, and all thy spirit, and Love your neighbor as yourself."

So, mainly, a blend of Western Hermetics, Taoism, and Native American beliefs. With a little Buddhism and Hindi thrown in for good measure.

What's Good?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

my home

my home is in the unwashed, cluttered margins
on the edges of sentences
crammed together with
the other ill-fitting, barely legible notes
in a symphony of discordant tempos
we mark our own time
jointly and separate

bring me your whores and junkies
outcast geeks and innocents
the awkward and ignoble
vain and inferior
filthy and frigid
dwelling in slack
or chasing carrots
there's plenty of room
for everyone
in the back of this bus

we're all pink on the inside
and our money is green
feeding our red meat
to the cold, grey machine

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

American Dreams

Richard Pryor, Ed McCarthy, and Tookie Williams formed an unlikely trifecta of death the weekend I caught a mild case of the bird flu. I didn't see a doctor or anything, I just ate a lot of seeds and curled up in a pile of sawdust and it worked itself out. The night Tookie died I heard gunshots from all four corners of my neighborhood and shadowy hooded gangster kids ran through the streets in packs like wolves.

A black teen in a red sweatshirt rang my doorbell around seven pm while I was waiting for my fiance to get home.

"You gotta call somebody," he said. He looked scared. "They gonna start shooting."

I let him into the hallway that connected our apartment with the one upstairs and asked him if he was okay.

"Yeah," he said.

"Are you really afraid," I asked.

"Yeah," he said.

"Come on inside, then, there's the phone." I opened the door all the way and gestured to the desk.

"Okay, hold up." He put his hands on his knees and caught his breath.

"Okay," he said again. "Thanks."

And then he ran out the front door, back into the crowd of raised voices in front of the library.

The newspaper lay on my couch. The top story told of a seventeen year old Hmong boy who had woken from a two-month long coma the day before. He was bludgeoned to the brink of death by a gang member with a baseball bat for committing the unspeakable crime of borrowing the wrong-colored sweatshirt from his cousin.

I think about the French race riots in the fall of 2005 and feel a chill deeper than the winter winds. I get nervous when my neighbors walk past my car.

We live next to each other, but in completely different planes of existence.

Later that night, while I'm trying to sleep so I can make it to work on time, the crank fiend in the duplex next door is hiding in the shadows of our alleyway. The police storm across our backyard in their squad car to reach the alley as she dives behind a garage. They scan the area with a spotlight while the Mexican family across the street is furiously remodeling their latest home purchase. They own half the block, and I have a negative net worth.

Tell that to the folks claiming the American dream is dead.

These immigrant's children, born here, with no memory of Mexico, are calling for closed borders, and they give their money back to the system one Big Mac and South Pole sweatshirt at a time.

When Papi checks the mailbox twenty years from now, his stingy adult kids won't help cover the cost of his carne asada, and he may regret the trip across the wide river and high fence with the coyote's gun pressing in his back.

And that's how he will know they're American.

The cops give up and drive off in search of less wily prey, and the junkie scuttles through the night back to her own house.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

PSA: Sitting

Dear Ladies,

As a man, I have learned one very important lesson in life that I feel has escaped the curriculum vitae of your existence so far.

Before I put my naked, glistening ass on ANYTHING, I thoroughly examine the area to see if there are any sharp or gooey spots, or if there is a hole where I would expect to find firm purchase.

It is my considered opinion that this may be a helpful policy even during those times when my tender, pink, hairless buttocks are clad in denim and/or cotton, but it is especially recommended when my meat pillows and wedding tackle are exposed to the dark, cruel light of the world.

To assist in the conditioning of this possibly life saving habit, I am available for a nominal fee, enough to cover gas and expenses for the duration of the course, which will last until you "get it", to move into your spare bedroom, garage, attic, couch, or boudoir, as is deemed appropriate and proper, and leave surprises around the house in places your buttocks are likely to come into contact with.

Nickelodeon SLIME on the toilet seat, with the plunger left in the bowl, perhaps.

Or whoopee cushions on your makeup valet, and thumb tacks in your drivers seat.

These would be left, not in a spirit of malice, but simply to accelerate the learning process.

Or you could just learn to look at things before you sit on them.

Sincerely,
TJ

Friday, November 12, 2010

A simple request from formspring.

jo....i've had the biggest crush on you for awhile!  i don't go on here a lot.  but please message me on www.dateanswer.com under the username "wishfulthinker".  please don't get all weird.  =)

Darling wishful, if I had enough time to join a dating website and track down every one of the screaming millions of women yearning to throw their musky, love-covered panties on my "stage" and get so animalistic the police would likely be called and subsequently calmed down by my silver-tongued oratory then... well, to be honest, I do HAVE that kind of time, but you're a fucking spambot.

How DARE YOU toy with my emotions like this? I thought we had something special, but all you want is for me to sign up for your stupid website, and then you probably won't even call me anymore.

I can't go on like this, wishful, we had a good run, but all things must end, even, as it seems, our love.

formspring.me

Go ahead, you know you want to ask me shit. http://formspring.me/taojoannes

Thursday, November 11, 2010

bill (a poem)

Bill

he put three cigarette lighters
shaped like pistols
on the coffee table
between a test tube
tweezers
and a flat-tipped jewelers screwdriver
before passing the pipe to the left

he said they made these torches too weak
the smoke like an albatross
around his neck

he lit a cigarette
through three-inch butane jetfire
and drank cheap beer

somebody complained
that Bill would take forever
but nobody meant it
and he wouldn't hit it
until the fire was just right

but it don't matter
the meth high lasts
and he had stories
to fill twenty minutes more

he said he
stole the third lighter from the gook
that ran the quikstop and
talked about
how easy m-16s clean

as he pulled two of those lighters to pieces
laying each part down
side by side in pairs
and he put the third one in his pocket
and he only put one
back together

and i don't know what he did with the pieces
but they were gone
and it was tight
as his nerves on the fourth of july
and shot flames twice as high

and I wanted to ask him
about the stories nobody can finish
unless they're trying to sell you something

because Paint It Black is just a song and
Willem Dafoe is just an actor
and Bill is just a shell
that moves and smiles sometimes
when he's high enough and
shakes most other times

and he's alone not fighting Spiderman
just spiders in his head
sometimes he dances though
to Paint It Black and cries but
now he's focused

and tonight he's smoking glass and
fucking his best friend's wife
and it's all right
I don't want to ruin that
I take the pipe
and try to make him laugh

Monday, November 1, 2010

01.11.10

I had something to write a couple minutes ago, sitting on the toilet with a Bukowski volume open.

Now, I'm just going through the motions, keeping the fingers moving, taking a break from my National Novel Writing Month effort.

I haven't been blogging much lately because, once again, I've had nothing to say. What is there to say? What is there to read?

A lot of stuff, I guess, shallow humor, politics, advice. I don't have any of that available at the moment. There's a lot of experts out there to compete with, I'm not an expert at anything except trying half-assed and starting over again.

So if you wanna learn how to do that, pay attention. Otherwise, you're probably best served going someplace else.

It's November 1st, 2010, which can be a palindrome if you write it right. That's as good a day as any to start the first novel I finish. Any day is a good day for that, but today's the day it happened.

I'm good at starting, and being honest, but in all honesty, I have nothing to say these days.

One good thing about drugs is that they eliminate doubt. Not saying you shouldn't have a healthy amount of doubt in your mind when pontificating on an international platform, especially if you're high, just saying that when I'm using I have no trouble finding subjects to talk about.

But now that I'm not using, what is there to say? That I'm not using drugs anymore? That in another couple weeks it'll be six months since I took a drink, pill, smoke, or fix? That I quit smoking cigarettes a week ago? That I left my girlfriend and now she's running around with some hillbilly trick from the strip club?

This is life as I know it. Everything I've known has changed, and I have to change to keep up.

I can't tell you how I'm doing it, or if it's going to last. The thought of a 9-5 scares the shit out of me, and the pressure for income is growing. If I can't make a living with my writing, then I'm not sure I want to live at all.

But that brings me back to the original problem. What the fuck do I write about?

I've tried guessing what people want to read, and so far, I've been way off the mark. The stuff they have responded to is what I'm most afraid to share, and what I figure is least interesting.

So this is it, the naked Joannes. All pretense of art and authority stripped, a direct connect from my heart to yours. Taste the loneliness, fear, and hope.

Walk with me to the shelves or the grave.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Black House. An excerpt from Guacamole Baseball

More information about Guacamole Baseball

The Black House


We walked to the burned out house in the middle of the avocado grove and smoked Eric's cigar-sized joint. Eric and Mike decided to grab some fallen avocados and a rotten branch and play Guacamole Baseball. It was a simple game, there were no winners, only losers.

One player grabbed the rotten branch, the other player stood near a pile of windfall avocados. The player near the pile threw the avocados at the player with the branch. The player with the branch tried to put it between their body and the incoming avocados.

If you got hit, the pit would sting when it hit your skin and the meat would explode into mush in a million directions and cover you both with green shrapnel. If you hit it, the pit would fly at the pitcher and the meat would explode into mush in a million directions and cover you both with green shrapnel. Either way, you were going to get dirty, just not as much if you managed to hit it.

There were no points, no series, no purpose but the green explosion and the thrill of it. When you saw a head-banger kid coming into class covered in chunky green goop, you knew what they were doing the previous period.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Living Dreams

what's left
after selling your blood for art
when between the pawn shop and the page
you meet the dope man
pop into the corner bar
with the reigning whore of denial
prop your feet up and go to sleep
without dreaming
till the money and luck leave town
turned out with your pockets
searching the mirror for someone to blame
nobody's there
nobody that cares
staring in an old, empty shoe
could have sworn you had another twenty
but your fingers come back empty
reeking of fermented sweat
stinging the cracks
bringing water to tired eyes
you thought made of stone
breath coming slow
heart inured to closure
cold and dry
beating in fits and starts
to spite the devil
moving dust through prolapsed veins
bleeding a new dream
to live by

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Stormy

NOTE: This story makes people cry.

“Where'd you grow up?” people ask me.

I used to never have a good answer for that. How can you tell where you grew up? Growing up doesn't happen all at once like losing your virginity or getting a tattoo. It's a lot of little things, and some big things, that happen over time. Like a mountain, there are earthquakes that slice a big chunk off or push a new peak up; but the wind and rain work their will into you over time. We don't see all the little things, and sometimes when the earthquakes come, we're too close to notice. Sometimes we do notice.

When I was nineteen, I lived in Louisiana. I worked in the oil fields of the Gulf of Mexico. Three weeks each month I spent on a drilling rig, totin' pipes and haulin' mud. The fourth I spent at Steve and Mary's. The rent was cheap and it was a decent place to crash. Whenever Steve was in from the fields, the rest of the crew would party at his place. I was the only one that lived there.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How Not To Ride The Bus

So, part of the wreckage of my past that I gotta deal with is riding the bus everywhere I go.

I don't mind. I get to read, you meet all kinds of interesting people, and lemme tell you, I KNOW how to ride a bus.

I spent 8 years up north in Minneapolis which has, in my opinion, one of the finest public transportation systems I've seen in America.

Here in Cocoa, Florida, there is definitely room for improvement.

I got dropped off going Northbound on US1 near a place I had to do some business. I did my business, went back to where I got dropped off and noticed something peculiar.

There was no stop on the Southbound side of the street.

WTF? This isn't how buses are supposed to run.

I started walking North on the Southbound side of the street, thinking that surely there would be a stop before too long. Note here, please, that I'm headed the opposite direction of where I want to go, I just figured it made more sense for a stop to be in that direction.

I walked a block, no stop, two blocks, no stop. I started to get worried. I pulled out the schedule to check the map, yep, the same bus drives back on this road, southbound, so it would come, sooner or later. I checked the times, since I didn't have a watch I had no idea what time it should be there, but I know that it was set to come back to the original spot once an hour, and I had to have missed the one that came between me getting there and me getting back to the stop.

I started getting kinda pissed off. These people have no idea how to run a bus line. They are obviously idiots, and I needed to write a strongly worded letter to the man in charge and give him a sizable piece of my mind.

At this point, I decided that I was developing a definite resentment against the bus people.

After about a mile or so, I decided that I'd cut over to another street and take a different bus route back to where I wanted to go, and I told a few people when I got there about how fucked up the bus system in this po-dunk little town really was. I mean, honestly, don't they know how to do anything?

Today I'm riding the bus and I shared this story with another rider.

"Oh, that's a flag route," she said.

"A flag route? What the fuck is a flag route," I asked.

"You know, you just flag the bus down when you see it and they pick you up. There aren't any official stops."

"I've never heard of such a thing," I said. "Shit, it would be a good idea to write that sort of thing down, dont'cha think?"

"Check the route schedule."

At which point I pulled out my schedule, the same damn schedule I looked at 50 times the day before while cussing the city planners who designed this piece of crap, and there, in bold type, at the very top of the time tables, was a simple sentence.

This is a FLAG ROUTE, the bus will stop at any safe place along the designated route to pick up passengers.

Son of a bitch.

So what's my point?

I know everything, and I will do things my way.

In this case, that kind of thinking accomplished the following:

1) I got all the information I wanted, but I looked right past the information I needed.

2) I put myself further away from my goal by following my own best thinking.

3) I generated an unnecessary resentment based on the incomplete information I was working with.

4) It took somebody familiar with the way things work to point me back at the text to find the information I refused to find for myself.

5) I did a lot more work than I would have had to, if I weren't so convinced things should run the way I'd make them.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blind Date

I knocked on Maxine's apartment door at 7:30 sharp, as agreed upon in our email exchange.

Arriving too soon might make her think me too eager. If I were late, she might think I didn't care. I felt our relationship important enough to merit the most fastidious attention to detail. I had waited for ten minutes in the lobby of her apartment building. I busied myself with reading the community bulletin board and smiling at neighbors checking their mail and walking their small dogs. They avoided me as if I made them nervous, and I was glad I had this chance to work off some energy. A poorly lettered sign advertised a "PC Deks 4 Sell." At 7:25 I walked up the stairs to apartment 39, arriving at 7:28, and stood as quietly as possible while I waited for the agreed upon time to arrive.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gladiator or Gulag: A Simple Choice

Today I saw someone post a clip of the famous "Faces Of Death" monkey brain scene.

The dramatization shows a group of American tourists at a restaurant in some foreign country waiting at their table.

A waiter brings in a howling, screeching monkey and straps him into a special head lock and cage built into the table.

The menfolk grab mallets, and the camera jumps from their gleeful faces to the horrified expressions of the women, to the sound of screeching monkey and crunching bone.

The film never actually shows the men making contact with the monkey, see.

Cut to the waiter, carving the skull of the now-deceased monkey, scooping the brains out onto plates, and serving.

The scene is staged. No monkeys were harmed in the making of the film, but the reactions of most "civilized" individuals is predictable.

"How barbaric! How cruel! How unlike anything I'd ever consider being a part of!"

Unfortunately, this ritual feast is far less cruel than the torture experienced by most of the animals that wind up in your local supermarket.

I'd even wager that most of the people that think they're offended by such scenes would have no problem picking a lobster out of a tank and telling someone to drop it, live, into a pot of boiling water, then using an array of devices to crack the shell, pluck out the steaming meat, and dip it in some melted butter and lemon.

That may even be enough to convince them to put out on the first date, if you play your cards right.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lesson Learned

It starts like this.

You wake up. Feed the cats. Eat some toast. Kiss the wife and go to work. Eat lunch. Come home. Feed the cats. Eat a steak. Fuck the wife and go to sleep.

The police take you in the night.

The doctor says you're homeless. The woman you call your wife is a bus driver that walks past your box on her way to the depot. Work is collecting aluminum cans. The cats are rats the size of Mastiff Puppies.

You don't want to know what you've been eating.

By the way, you're being charged with rape.

You plea to insanity, remanded to psychiatric eval.

It takes five years to convince you.

To find the right medicine to cure you.

Release you to a productive life. collecting aluminum cans and eating garbage, again.

It ends like this.

You don't feel right taking the meds, so you decide to stop.

Feeling better, you get a job, meet a nice girl with some cats, fall in love, and get married.

Every day is the same.

You wake up. Feed the cats. Eat some toast. Kiss the wife and go to work. Eat lunch. Come home. Feed the cats. Eat a steak. Kiss the wife and go to sleep.

Lesson learned.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Brand X

They said they came from a planet humans couldn't pronounce, in the direction of Betelgeuse, but farther. The news programs called the place "X".

Instead of landing in D.C., they made first contact in Seattle, at the Moonbux Coffee Co. world headquarters.

"We've been expecting you," said CEO Jeremy Schmidt.

Their leader said they liked Moonbux style. The press dubbed him Henry, in honor of Mr. Ford, and recognition of his progressive business sense.

By the time the government got wind of the landing, all the men from X had a work visa, and a squadron of high priced lawyers on retainer. Moonbux ate the initial expense and became the official sponsor of the Brand X invasion. The number of their franchises doubled, then doubled again. Planet X Organic Dark Roast, Fair Trade certified, became the best selling coffee bean in the history of humanity.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cities Die Like People

Most often they die in famine
In dark nights of the civic soul
Cut off from caring Samaritans
In slow putrescence
As resources dwindle.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Mermaid Of Mercy Street Chapter 2 #TeaserTuesday

Sarah became my hobby over the next few weeks of summer, before I got arrested.

I moved my computer desk to the window overlooking her pool, and set the webcam to begin recording whenever it detected movement.

While she played there, I watched her, when she left, I watched the video.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I want to say I love you

branded with lies
broken with promises
choking on your euphemism
like a mouthful of rotten beans

you say I don't know
what love really means

I say it's nothing
without trust and respect
and I can't find either
in you

pour me that honey
you think I want to hear

let my words
fall
straight through your ears

and scream your mind
one piece at a time

Just cut me
til you're spent
and peace
is all you've got left
to purge

before we go there
to prove some kind of point
and you say those things
you really mean

under your breath
just out of earshot
in the next room

too many times
for the echoes to fade away

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Death to Van Gogh's Ear!

This is a poem by Alan Ginsberg.
I don't know who owns the rights, but Alan is dead, so I guess it won't hurt him if I post it.
There's no money in poetry anyways. I may post more great works of dead folks, just to keep ya'll thinkin about the worthy ones.
This pretty much sums up my view of politics.

"and the governments of Russia and Asia will rise and fall but
Asia and Russia will not fall
The government of America also will fall but how can America fall
I doubt if anyone will ever fall anymore except governments
fortunately all the governments will fall
the only ones which won't fall are the good ones
and the good ones don't yet exist"

Saturday, July 24, 2010

How Not To Get To Bad Durkheim

I'm drinking with Jeff at the Sembach NCO club. It's a quiet night, couldn't tell you what day of the week it is. We drink every night till we pass out. The only difference is that some days we don't have to throw on a uniform and stumble into work the next morning. The beauty of serving on a small base is that everything is within walking distance.

Whatever night it is, it's slow, we're bored. Then Julie gets a bright idea to spice things up a bit.

"Let's go to the Bad Durkheim wine festival, I think it starts tonight," she says.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"The Mermaid of Mercy Street" Chapter 9 for #TeaserTuesday

This is an entire chapter from my Work In Progress, now titled "The Mermaid of Mercy Street" Comments and criticism are very welcome, as it's definitely a work in progress.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Buck Gabriel and The Case Of The Naked Gunman

When I first moved to Cape Beach, I wanted to keep working in nightclub security. It didn’t work out too well. There aren’t that many nightclubs, and there are plenty of musclebound meat-heads to work them. I stand five-feet, nine inches tall, and weigh a lean one-sixty five. They figure I’m too small for the job.

I consider it their loss, but admit nobody needs an operator of my caliber. The local cops didn’t give a damn. If some asshole gets drunk, pisses off a bouncer, and winds up in traction, local sentiment maintains they had it comin. I half suspect they like the fights to help keep things interesting.

With that decided, I next set my eye on personal security, the kind of gig that pays better when you avoid trouble, only to find that the state required extensive licensing and bonding that I couldn’t afford.

So I became a cab driver to save up the money, and that’s how I met Buck Gabriel.

My first night on the job, the dispatcher took me outside, showed me how to run the meter and work the NexTel radio, ran through everything I needed to check and document before driving out of the yard, and handed me the keys.

"Now head down to the Bucket and pick up Mr Gabriel," he said.

"Yes, sir," I said as I opened the cab door.

"Don’t ’Sir’ me, dickface, I’m The Monster." With these words he flicked his right arm down sharply and a collapsible steel baton shot out from his sleeve like a cold, dark, blunt light saber.

At six-four and three-hundred pounds with a face like a boar’s ass and the fashion sense of a wino, it was an apt moniker.

Fear is an emotion that has been beaten, sweated, and trained out of me since I was old enough to walk. Other kids got to stand in a corner for five minutes. When I pissed my dad off I had to hold Qi Gong postures and fighting stances for hours on end. They all thought it was cool to be adopted by a world-famous chinese kung fu master, I can tell you first-hand it sucked giant hairy lu zi qiú.

First on the list of lessons my father beat into my head was politeness and respect for authority. Common sense dictated if Monster decided how much work I got, I should keep him happy.

"Sorry, si-, I mean Monster. Old military habit."

"Well break it quick, or I’m gonna break you."

I understood that he was trying me out, just seeing how much bullshit he could get away with before I lost my nerve, and that there was only one way to ensure his lasting respect and admiration. I closed the cab door and turned to face him.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

At least there's breath

If nothing else take comfort
in the fact you still draw breath
and while you may have tasted it
you still do not know death

pain and hell
your divine inheritance
may be all you see
misery and taxes
are all you're guaranteed

all things good will pass
and all love you know will die
evil demons lurk
behind each human eye

you will lie
you will hate
and offer penance
far too late

you will cheat
and you will steal
the numbness fades
again, you'll feel

a movie ends when credits roll
but life keeps marching on
make a moment justify
the breath that is still drawn
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Revelation (a poem)

I hope I never lose the memory
of what it felt like to hold you complete,
my infant son.

To know my arms
are the only thing
that kept the world from crushing you,
though I can barely save myself.
The fear empowers
and overpowers me.

To save us both
I whisper-sing into your ear
a military marching song
of boys graven in their father's image
grown,
staring,
sobered at a fun-house mirror
as the lights come on
and the D.J. plays the polka
to scare the bacchanalians into
stumbling out the door
blind and vital
alive in Christ
like no seminary alumnus
high on Eucharist
and Jesus juice
could ever hope
to give witness.

And I remember it
as the most divine rendition.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Another Word For Euphemism

I am burning in a trillion fires.
Skin crawls with solar dustmites,
As busy bees burrow through the sinews.
I refuse to remain at rest.

Romani Ite Domum
Vincit omnia veritas.

"Completion in return
To creation's breath embrace
Recalls protonic dowry"
Says the lizard king.

Romani Ite Domum
Vincit omnia veritas.

From whence strides the lion
Riding copper moons and
Half-caulked clambakes.
Transparecendence ensuing.

Romani Ite Domum
Vincit omnia veritas.

Eating our tails and fathers,
Riding our neighbors daughters,
L'offense ne passera pas
Conflict makes the heart beat stronger.

Romani Ite Domum
Vincit omnia veritas.

Saddle the tiger sideways
And grasp your hat firmly,
It'll get much worse
Before it's better.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

my heart lies

my heart lies
in careful grace
of crafted callouses
in stagnant balance
on the precipice
over treacherous slopes of passion
in vertigo

amor in utero
will surely grow
to grind my meat
upon the rocks
below

so I hide my face
in cakes of mud
carve warning glyphs
into my carapace
with a sharp, pointed stick
and keep it handy
for whoever gets too close

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Whora, The Urban Explora

I ate half an ounce of mushrooms last year at my birthday party and wandered off in search of some answers.

Outside "Bob"'s Karaoke Club and Meet Market I met a cartoon Spanish girl, dressed like a slut.

She jumped out of the shadows like the Spanish Inquisition and screeched at me in a thick latin accent.

"Hola! I'm Whora! And this is my sidekick, Coots!"

"I don't see anybody with you," I said.

"He's very shy around new people! If you tell him your name, he will come out and say... Hola!"

"My name is Jason," I said.

"Coots! Come out and say... Hola! to Jason!" she said.

A large, purple louse emerged from her miniskirt and waved three of its scaly, segmented arms at me.

It said, "Mucho gusto, Jason!" and went back into hiding.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eduardo's Soliloquy

I greet the morning sun with a shout,
And stretch full to let her bask in my glory.

It's my turn;
Today I shine.

I've seen the others,
And tasted them.
Too weak to make the cut,
They'll make the chopping-block instead.

Their watery blood whets my appetite
but lacks substance to sate it.

When the man comes to pick his winner,
"Eduardo"
Will be the name on his lips.
And I will win for him,
And for myself.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A minute or two

People ask what's the point of poetry
and only stop to listen when you shout it
if that's what it takes to get through to them
believe that I'm bout it-bout it

Friday, February 26, 2010

I Was A Teen Aged Cam Whore

FridayFlash ~ From the files of Buck Gabriel comes the shocking tale of a good little girl gone bad under the sinister tutelage of a dirty minded hooligan with nothing left to lose and a penchant for taking whatever he could get his filthy maggot paws on.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Funny

It's funny how it ended,
Over a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich.
And by funny I mean funny like
The guy who lives across the street from the park
And drives a big white van with no windows
Or the taste of milk vomit

When I say funny I mean funny like slamming your face
Into a concrete wall
With a mouth full of thumbtacks
That kind of funny.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Carroll's Road (epic romantic poem with reading)

A large body of epic romantic poetry fills the volumes of the craft.

The romanticization of the Highwayman is a common theme. I felt it was time to expose the darker side of these scoundrels.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

On Your Feet

It was early August when we
Shaved our heads
Sold everything
Bought small arms and camping gear
Got tattoos
And flung ourselves under the wheels of a semi trailer
Going twenty-five
Across the countryside
On the back of a flatbed train car
At midnight
Through a Georgia graveyard.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Poetry: How to write it.

Writing poetry is easy, writing good poetry is damn difficult. Here's how I try to do it.

First off, I'm accepting of differences.

As long as the poem you write gets you off, makes your soul sing, scratches that itch in the back of your heart, it's effective.

Poetry, like sex and food, is mostly a matter of personal taste. It doesn't matter how "good" a poem is on an objective scale, the experience is entirely subjective. 

But, there are some things that can make any poem better.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I-35 (poem)

#I-35
Sunset starts at 4pm
Setting fire to naked birches
Penetrating virgin snow
Dusting forgotten fields of interstate

The hills rise and fall
Like my slow breath

The golden chariot dances
Like a whore
Before the pounding undulation
Of concrete beats
Marking time

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bullshit Burrito

Bullshit Burrito


Ladies and gentlemen step right up.
Come taste the shit you have sown.
Follow me to the kennel to see
How big our little puppies have grown.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Galaxies Colliding (a metaphorical love poem)

Galaxies Colliding


When galaxies collide,
It takes a long time.

Sometimes one gets trapped in the other's enormity,
And can never pull away again.

Sometimes neither one survives.

Sometimes gravity knocks planets around;
Down black rabbit holes like cosmic billiards,
Splashing through nebulae,
And smearing dark matter
On the walls of a chuckling God's clean living room.

Sometimes suns swap systems,
Asteroids tear through atmospheres
And vaporize crusts into colossal acne pocks
For future life to live within and puzzle over.

But most times,
When galaxies collide
Nothing inside of either one
Ever gets close enough to touch.

Image courtesy of Tom Brown of Baltimore

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ask A Cat (poem)

Ask A Cat


Whispers fade swiftly.
To catch the cloak of a muse,
you've got to be quick as the dream.

A cat can't say,
"Oh look,
there is a mouse.

I will get it
when I am
done
with this...

nap."

Kitty knows the options
are giving chase or giving up,
and moves
while he still has the legs.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

I Wanna Dance Like Gene Kelley (poem with reading)

This poem was published in the print copy of Remark Poetry a couple years back, and was selected as the first poem in the "best of" roundup at the end of the year.



I wanna dance like Gene Kelly,
I said,
I wanna dance, and
When I dance,
I’m gonna dance like Gene Kelly.

Feet flickering like cavalry banners in a Minnesota monsoon,
Toes carving frescoes of artistic epiphany into polished, hard, wood floors,
In rhythm with spiraling symphonies of big band be-bop fantasies,
With brass and strings.
While re-fined ladies, lounging in their diamonds,
Look on from stage-side tables,
And let their itchy fingers wander,
Like neglected wayward children,
To tender flesh,
Between heaving breasts,
To feel flittering echoes of their fluttering hearts
Pounding through tightly necklaced sapphires,
When I start to sing,

And when I sing,
I’m gonna sing like Frank Sinatra.

Flowing molten silver and honey-wine,
Pouring from velvet-covered golden chalices,
Into their parched and hungry ears that runneth over.
Replenishing dim and ashy skin,
Blinding moon-struck doe eyes.
Mascara flash like migrating butterflies,
Cheeks flushing red.
Under the artificial flavoring of powdery rouge.
Like trees falling dead,
Behind closed curtains in concert halls
When I crescendo,
And no dry eye or lap is left in the house
As blouses billow in the gusty wind the applause causes,
When I slide across the floor
On my knees,
Singing,
Arms akimbo,
To stop.
On a fifteen-cent piece by your stiletto,
And looking down at me you know that I’m gonna love you tonight.

And when I love you,
I’m gonna love you like Rudolph Valentino.

My five horse-power camel beating staccato thunder,
Across starlit deserts, I ride,
Hooves pounding sand into glass,
Carrying you astride my lap,
Back to silk-lined walls of a palatial tent.
To lay you on satin and goose down,
In your dressing gown of ibis and ivory,
As my arms encircle your universe,
I will whisper to you secrets of your own heart.
And filtered through the rosy orb of glass our passion creates around us,
The world becomes as fleeting shadows stretched thin.
And we collapse together.
And dream.
And when we dream,
We’re gonna dream like the dream’s the only thing we’ve ever got to lose.

Because it is

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Huntin' & Gatherin'


Punch that clown in the face
till freedom fries fall from his nose,
and tell me that ain't some sweetness
with a hot apple pie on the side,

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Name Is Not


My Name Is Not

My name is not Toby,
Boy,
Nigger,
or Chicken George.

The steel
inside my spirit's
tempered
in a hotter forge

than the sting of the lash
or the glare of the sun
than the rage
behind my teeth.

Torture my skin
and keep me bound
it's just my body
beneath your feet.

The name, intact,
spoken
from my father's lips.

The body, finite
grown
within my mother's hips.

Before the flesh
was the world
before the world
was the word

and my word,
my name
is not your thing
to take.

Beat this mortal vessel
from dawn till the end of the day
I knows who I is, I AM.
My name is Kunta Kinte.

Author's Note: There was a day last year when Lavar Burton invited everyone on twitter to be Kunta Kinte for a day, so that's where this came from.

Shortly after posting it, I changed "nigger" to "picker" to be more sensitive, but in light of the recent Huckleberry Finn censorship discussion, I reversed that decision, and restored the original wording.

the burden (poem)

the burden

pain in the ass
piece of shit

you are a curse
put on me by my mother
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