In The Attic At Dawn

August 27, 2010

This is where we live:
Rubbing exposed gaunt ribs on the floor
giving ourselves to cigarettes and drink
watching the tide roll away from us.

There is evil in the world and we can feel it,
I think, as I flick away a spider and
seethe in my worsted wool.
But what I know of evil is mostly
itchy wool and spiders.
And what I’ve seen of evil is mostly
negligence and weak stomachs.
Spinalectomies. Unbalanced idiots
in need of a mother or a father
or a shower, not a babysitter.

Elsewhere there are flames, death,
the dusty dead. Here there are
unlit candles, repressed memories,
boxes of nothing that nobody wants–
but whose loss rips holes in
young mouths.

And what a bare floor we are on.
So many lines, cracks and boards,
aging scuffed wood.
All this disappears in my thought
and rearranges in my hope.
Such functional garbage, such
virile decay.
It creaks and moans at my thought,
it fidgets and whispers in my hope.

What beautiful sounds!
Gasoline explodes. Ridges
in a rubber tube stick
to the ridges in the road
and the night purrs with slick confusion
and the morning gasps its first breath.

And nothing works and we are treated
to such beautiful sounds.
The city awakes as I end my day.
What a lullaby! The wheeze of old activity
returning to its grooves, like rain
in dry river-beds. Such cozy beds.
They rumble and shake the foundations
but fit like tongues and never seem to age or change.
How long has it been since I have heard these groans,
these shrill rhythmic cries at the dying of night?

Each day begins with a funeral–
a wake, really.
A celebration of our lost life
and the dispersal of what’s left:
our waste that is us. Our husks.
The body-shell returning whence it came.
Who would trade this for silence, for crickets?
I wallow in it like a dumb pig this morning.

And quite suddenly sleep comes on
like an unheeded chaperone.
But I want to stay, my child mumbles.
I can make it, she offers,
voice falling.
I have found a battle in this.
It is personal and exists in so few places
that few can find it to win.
But we fight,
more from confusion than valor.
What’s next, the battle hymn.
What now, the march.
Yes but no, the waltz.
And ah, but ah, yes–
sleep has found me.


August 26, 2010

I dreamed I saw my
brother talking to himself
I dreamed I saw Chicago
from a twisting bridge above the sea
I dreamed your amber purple badlands
and a dusty gravel lot
filled with semi-trucks
circled like wagons against a wall of fire
too close to the mountains of up-kicked dust–
were the last things I saw
before I just gave up.

I dreamed of a buck-toothed minstrel
who controlled the world’s machines
I dreamed I saw the congressman spike his own Ovaltine
and the drummer boy science-ing his keys
and the loud man standing next to me
on Elmwood where the second rounds are free
but you pay for things with hope and dignity
and I saw you there, too,
yelling at me for rhyming words.

Please buy this light of mine
and wear it all the time
and share it with your generations
so that I might meet them
Please take these flowers I stole
and pin them to your clothes
and share them with brave people
I’ll never see
‘Cause in the end this job is
all about me

I dreamed of proud men on aging bikes
who became something else as they rode
I dreamed of shepherd-warriors
defined by what they stole
I dreamed dark impressions
made by bluish glares and yells
I dreamed efficiency was called
the straightest path to hell
I dreamed a lot
that will never come to pass
I slept a lot
and I forgot
to say many things I meant

The View From The Porch

August 26, 2010

It’s too cold here.
It’s too gray and cold.
Look at that motherfucker
spit on my front lawn.
Hey fuck you, man.
No one respects anything on
this block– not the laws,
not the homes,
not their friends,
and certainly not themselves.
Fuck these bro’s.
You are parked illegally!
Get back in that goddamn
car and move it into a
legal space, you jackass!
You boy, Eli, you BOY!
Last night I took the dog
out and let him shit on
the front steps. I didn’t
even pick it up. What
the hell is the matter with
me? What kind of life is
this? Why is it so fucking COLD?
Somebody fucked up somewhere
and now I have to LIVE
with this goddamn climate.
God damn it I gotta go
to the store. Fucking wind.
GET A JOB! Go put
out candles in a Mexican
church and make everyone get
scared. Something! Get outta here!
Every day with this fucking
wind. The FOG moves in
this town.
Oh God, now it’s you.
Thank you, person-with-a-nice-car,
for reminding me how poor
I am. Every damn day with
this. I GET IT! Leave me
God, it’s cold.
Was that a snowflake?
God, damn it. It’s snowing.
It’s fucking snowing again.
It’s goddamn April and here
we are with the snowing again.
God, this town sucks. I have
18,000 things to do right now
that I could get done easily
like a regular person if I could
just get on a goddamn train
and go downtown and do them
and be done with it, but as
it is I’m going to spend all
day walking to get to one of
them, maybe, and now I got
snow on my hands.
I’m moving. Seriously. This is it.
This is my last winter in
this goddamn town. Does it
snow in Brooklyn? Who cares;
at least there’s vegan tacos.
Why can’t I get a good taco?
Now I want a taco.
Damn it.

by Matalie Connors & Co.

Dragons are cool.
One time, when I
was a dagron, I got a
jeorb at Denny’s and did
all my laundry. Never did
that as a duck.
I heard that dragons
can fly so high up into
the sky that when you
see shooting stars
it is actually dragons
ejaculating. That’s what
Peter told me.
I have, like, this
little ceramic dagron
that my cousin gave me
that sits on a crystal ball.
I once threw it like a
shot-put and New Orleans
Christian Bale tried to
kill all the dragons
before they took control of the Stock Exchange
I heard that shoes
are Chuck Norris’s only
Dagrons are really smart
and they can speak
all the languages of the
world: all the human languages,
all the animal languages, and
their best friends are squirrels.
They roast their nuts.
Dragons can make toasters
out of coconuts, they
just don’t want to.
The only thing you learn about
construction sites is you have to
wear the right shoes. Dragons.

The Golden Good

August 22, 2010

13 August 2010
Exit 40-ish, NYS Thruway, east-bound.

I fucking love McDonald’s.
I love how there are 65
people that I can see
milling around the counter,
knocking into each other
they’re so full of nothing
to do, and it still takes
the cashier two minutes to
say, “Can I help you?” because
she, like I, is so rapt or
bored with this awesome spectacle
of wasted life and time.

I love how my two
cheeseburgers and small fries
take 30 seconds to come up,
because another thing I
love about Mcdonald’s is
how uniform the burgers
and fries are. My meal
tastes exactly the way it
did when I ate it
while waiting for a haircut
in the Latham Circle Mall,
200 miles away,
over five years ago.

I love how the food here
reminds me of times in
my life that were (by the
debatable logic of memory)
better than my life is
now. I love how happy
the meal is. I love how
sad I will be in a half
hour. I love how I’m
not even done with my
second cheeseburger and I
already have heartburn.

I love the way the
fries make the car
smell, and that in two
days when I go back
into the car to grab
something, it will still
smell that way, and I’ll
go, “Oh yeah…”

I love how the fries
taste like everything. The fries
taste like the fries. The
fries taste like the straw
wrappers. The fries taste like
the plastic tables in the
sit-down corral. They taste
like the inside of my
mouth did before I even
ordered. They taste like I
imagine the middle finger of
the teenage cashier girl does.
They taste like McDonald’s
and everything in it, even me.

I love how inappropriately air-
conditioned it is in McDonald’s.
Like how the temperature hovers
around 40 degrees at the
doorway, then slides up to
an almost unnecessarily comfortable
70 at the counter, and then
back down to a bone-chilling
square of floor space that
invariably appears as the only
reasonable place to stand and
wait for a burger.

I love how little everyone cares. I love how little
eye contact everyone makes. I
love how frustrated I never
am in McDonald’s. I love
that McDonald’s is so
nakedly temporary. I love that
they don’t apologize for it.
It’s as though they are
challenging the bourgeoisie
snobs who hate McDonald’s
with their conscious
knowledge that McDonald’s is
not an institution designed
to remain and/or grow with
the community, and that in
five years or five days if
the numbers don’t work–
or even if they do but there
are too many bitchy post-adolescent
shift managers making
demands about benefits–
corporate will call the
motor pool, they’ll back a
semi up to the loading
doors, grab the fryers, mail
the checks and GHOST.
When you think of McDonald’s,
think of Ladybird Obama in
an argument with a well-dressed
lawyer who never responds
except to remind her
that she is going to die.

Or don’t. No, think of
the burgers. (I told you:
45 minutes later and I’m an
unfocused pile of miserable.)
Think of the fries.
Think of the naps you’ll
take afterwards.
Think of the farmers you
aren’t supporting. Think of
the toys. Think of how difficult
it is to reconcile the food with
any other experience you are
capable of having. Think of
the future. Think of the
parents and kids and the kids
with kids that are
supported and represented by
McDonald’s. Think of the buns.
Think of the ball pit. Think
of the marketing genius,
the successful organism,
the feast. Think of the ease.
Think of the simplicity.
Think of the memories,
the golden good.