Never Call His Name, Again

that monster

that hides

in a deep dark closet

comes out, to say “hi” to me

time and time, again

he wants to be my friend

but I don’t want to

and

eventually, he keeps to himself

like one of those coats, hanging himself

in a deep dark room

gasping for air—

and I’m the only one who can give him life

but I don’t care

I want him to die.

He whispers to me, across the room, at midnight

“Please, let me be your friend,”

but I pretend

he’s not there.

“Come on, I’ll make you feel good—remember when we used to hang-out?”

I remember…

I wish

I didn’t.

He used to tell me, nobody would be my friend, except him—

that he was good, but with a bad reputation,

and chronically misunderstood.

One day, I realized

he was lying to me

and it was all I could do, to avoid him.

He was like a puppy

who wouldn’t leave me alone,

licking my hands,

and when I didn’t pat his head

he bit me.

I didn’t know, he was a dangerous dog

because I made friends with him, years ago.

It turns out

all he wanted

was my blood.

I called him, yesterday

and he bit me, again.

I kicked that dog

into my deep dark closet

and

I’m

never

calling his name

again.

Stuck

Stuck

with something good, that’s not good enough

the mantra

of the unenlightened capitalist—

the small man, who wants to make it big

life moves pretty fast, and you could miss it

to pause, is fine—

but a life of reflection,

must have something to reflect on

to move beyond oneself.

Mr. Lions has a Flashback

“Hey! What are you kids doing over there!?” Mr. Lions asked. He walked like a man on stilts. He was tall and wiry, so that he looked like a vulture that hadn’t eaten in three weeks. When Mr. Lions looked at us, he was hungry—a landowner who hated kids because they couldn’t pay rent. Aside from collecting, he loved to weed-eat.

“Blow it out your ass, old man,” Brad said.

“In Korea—I killed a couple kids about your age. They could pick-up a gun, and they did, so I had to—and in my old age, I see things… Doctors calls them flashbacks—I might be in Korea.”

“If that’s your idea of a threat, no wonder you lost the War,” Brad said.

Mr. Lions looked ready to kill. He went inside. Then he came out with his rifle.

“Run!”

But my friends were already three steps ahead of me.

CRACK.

“That son-of-a-bitch fired at us!”

“Are you hit?”

“No.”

“What about you Maddie?”

She was lying on the ground with her eyes closed. “I’m okay,” she said.

We were in a grove of willow trees—it reminded me of what my mother tried to do last summer. She was going to church and insisted on taking me. The ladies were covering Proverbs—”Spare the rod and…” My mother took their advice, but instead of a stick, she used a willow branch. I figure it hurt twice as bad. I never liked Sunday school very much.

“You got a light?” Brad asked.

He pulled-out one of those coffin nails and put it between his teeth.

“Sorry bro—I quit.”

“What? Are you afraid of dying?”

“You could say that. What do you think is on the other side?”

“Nothing—absolutely nothing.”

“What do you think Maddie?”

“I don’t think about it. We’re not even in middle school yet.”

She looked at me, like I was a boy and she was a mature woman. Girls could be infuriating.

The sunlight was going down, and the woods were red, like blood, and I thought about that bloodless corpse we found in the ditch.

“We should go home, before it gets dark,” Brad suggested.

“Yeah,” Maddie agreed.

It wasn’t long, before we found the street again, and passed the haunted house. It was empty, ever since the murder-suicide, three summers ago.

Now—a light was on in the living room.

To be continued…

The Missing Posters and a Dead Cat

The neighborhood was like one of those dark streets, where kids don’t go—a haunted block—a terrible shadow, in the sunlight. The Amazon driver dropped his packages at the corner. They were gone, the next morning, as if, somebody stole them, but nobody saw who did it. The people there, were invisible, like ghosts, that didn’t want to be seen. It was a place filled with sex offenders, x-convicts, and prostitutes who still worked the phone lines, but were too old to turn a trick. They were like leppers, who hid from each other. Their character was written on their faces like bad essays. The neighborhood was a graveyard—unkept, with tilted houses, like crypts. The creatures there, were the living dead. Their souls were waiting to leave, and they kept telling their bodies, “Let me go,” but their bodies were too weak to give permission. It was a horrible spot, a stain—a back alley, where drunkards are afraid to piss, but they do, anyway, because the place deserves to get pissed on.

This was the neighborhood where I grew-up, the summer after sixth grade.

There wasn’t much to do there, during the heat-wave, but kick aluminum cans around.

I was hanging, with the only kids close to my age—their dads were in prison—and mine, left my mother years ago.

The strange events of that summer began when I started to spot lost pet signs stapled to telephone poles.

One or two missing cats, is normal, but it was like the city pet population vanished overnight—every pole within three blocks was covered with missing pet signs.

“Our cats are gone, again” Maddie said.

“What do you think happened to them?” I asked.

“I don’t know—maybe they got hit by a car.”

“Both of them?”

“You know what it is…” Brad said. “Some psychopath preparing to kill us all. First, he tortures cats—then…” Brad was looking at Maddie.

“Stop trying to scare me,” Maddie said.

We were walking down the street, when I spotted a swarm of flies.

“Is that a dead body?” Brad asked.

“Smells like one.”

“Smells different than death—but not far off…”

“Smells like science class,” I said. “Fermali…”

“Formaldehyde,” Maddie corrected.

“That’s what it smells like. Smells like when we dissected cats.”

“Don’t tell me somebody is trying to preserve neighborhood pets for a profit, and sell them to high schools around the country.”

The cat corpse was nothing but skin, bones, and flies.

“What happened to the blood?” Maddie asked.

“It’s been drained.”

“There’s two puncture holes next to the neck. Do you see it? Just like a snake bite.”

To be continued…

Fathers and Sons

“Are you angry?” My mother asked me.

“No,” I said.

“Well—your writing comes-off as angry.”

“That could be,” I said. “Most of the time, I’m at peace with myself.”

“What about other people?”

“I don’t think about them.”

“You are judgmental.”

“Maybe…”

“Why don’t you write like Timothy Egan?”

“Bukowski is my hero.”

“He’s a drunk—womanizer—gambler—and you are none of those things.”

“Thanks mom, but avoiding sin, doesn’t make me moral.”

“What does?”

“Being authentic.”

“Who are you?”

“I don’t know.”

I went to the golf course with my dad.

“Your mother is getting into your business again,” he said.

“I know.”

“I told her not to—you’re a man, for crying out loud.”

“Thanks dad.”

“Don’t mention it.”

He teed-off, and hit four houses. “Damn. Where’s that cart girl, when you need her?”

“You want beer?”

“Yeah—what did you think? —I want to get laid?”

I shook my head and we went to the next hole. He hooked his shot into the woods. “Damn. My game gets worse, the more I play.”

“I hear that,” I said. I struck my ball up the fairway.

“You need to get some goals,” my dad said.

“I prefer to be spontaneous.”

We caught up to the next group. It was a father and son. I immediately realized how odd it was, that I was playing with my dad and he was playing with his dad, and both our fathers sucked at golf.

They were black and we were white, but it didn’t matter.

Charles swung, and knocked his ball into the lake. “Damn. This driver is new. You spend the money and get crap quality.”

“Dad, I told you to adjust your grip,” James said.

“I know son, but I’m the one who is supposed to be telling you what to do.”

My dad gets nervous around strangers—especially people of a different race. It’s not that he’s a racist, it’s just that, he doesn’t know what to expect from someone who looks different, talks different, and acts different. He’s afraid to go to Walmart—but truthfully, he would fit right in.

After two uncomfortable holes, Charles asked us if we were playing golf to get away from our wives.

“I’m not married, but when I get married, that’s a good idea,” I said.

“What’s the matter? —you like the fellas?”

“Naw—he’s just worried about making major life decisions with a woman,” my dad said.

“I hear that—”

The End,

but the conversation kept going…

Eating Her Opinions

He wears a casual blazer

with a school shirt

underneath.

He is smiling and saying “hi”

all of the time,

in the company

of people he can use.

When he passes someone independent in the hallway

he doesn’t look at them.

He

like the sad ladybug, whose face is turning blue

attracts the worst

in humanity.

The status game

causes them to fall

and for others

to hope they do.

She

has an opinion

about what needs to be done

because the arbitrary good

confirms

she is right.

She

attacks the validity

of

everything

because

she puts stake in her opinion

but nobody wants to eat it.

They watch

as she fills her dirty mouth

with meat.

At meetings,

she licks her lips

and says, “delicious.”

Aphorisms on Me Being Me

1.

People need a reason

for what they do

and if not a reason

they must do

what others do.

2.

I don’t need a reason

for what I do

and I don’t do

what others do.

3.

If I follow

what makes me feel good

and I avoid

what makes me feel bad

I am usually right.

4.

We ignore how we feel

to consider the feelings of others

This is a false empathy

A comforting lie is worse than a harmful truth.

5.

I find myself telling stories that get old

I can’t wait for them to die.

6.

People like what they can control

and what they can’t control, they stop doing

This is why most people stop living,

and they hate their lives.

7.

I care less and less

what people think about me

It’s a process

When people have less influence over me

they care less and less

about me.

8.

A co-worker asked me what I was going to do this weekend

and I told him, “I’m going to go on a bike-ride and read some books.”

He frowned

I could tell, he didn’t believe me.

Last month, he asked me the same question

and I told him the same thing.

There is no mystery

in me

I have discovered what makes me happy

all the rest, is nonsense

no scandal

just me,

enjoying me.

Chapter 2 Bachelor Bureaucracy

 Gregson took a seat next to the window.

The wilderness was peaceful, from 40,000 feet—but he knew it wasn’t wonderland.

Fire was a man’s best friend, in the elements, and his sharp mind to fashion a spear.

“Whiskey,” Gregson said to the stewardess.

“What? Do you think this is Dodge City?”

“I need to dull my mind, while I can.” Gregson drank the samples.

Langley was the last place he wanted to visit. Gregson was done with bureaucracies. There is a social stratum in society, made that way, by people who go along, with other people who go along. It’s a world of white-washed walls and dead souls. Envy, is the weapon of the office, and it’s a knife that stabs in the back.

The security check, was a man who spent all day in a five-by-five box. He got his authority by scrutinizing everything, down to a man’s zipper. There was a gun in there, but it wasn’t lethal, unless it hadn’t been fired in years. Then it might go off, at any moment.

“You’re clear.”

Gregson didn’t look at him. He drove his red rent-a-car to the C-Building. The buildings were labeled with letters because a bureaucracy is similar to an elementary school. The boys are measuring their penises in the bathroom and the girls are learning their ABCs.

Gregson walked to the front desk, where a lady with gray hair had it looped into a tower on her head. She looked like she had sat there since the 1950s. Her yellow nicotine nails were painted pink. They were long and deformed, from typing.

“Can I help you, sir?”

“I’m here to see Murphy.”

“Can you be more specific?”

“He’s the director of violent crimes.”

“Oh—a compact sort of man—dresses well.” She eyed Gregson, disapprovingly. He was wearing khaki pants with a loose-fitting polo shirt.

Gregson got onto the elevator, and went up. When he got off, he noticed two women going down with a man. The female agents were wearing straight black skirts. The man wore a power suit. Women love the power.

The hallway was full of ringing phones.

In the cubicles, pictures of mutilated bodies hung on the walls like modern art.

The workplace reminded Gregson of angry bees in their hive. An alpha boss passed him in the hallway, followed by his beta monkeys in white shirts. They were going to have a meeting in the board room, where everybody would be bored. He droned on… about mission statements, while his underlings paid him lip-service by taking copious notes.

“Hell runs on a time-clock,” Gregson said. “Am I dead?”

“Not yet, but this case, could be your coffin,” Murphy said.

Gregson turned around.

Aphorisms on Sex and Success

1.

Long-term goals, are seldom met, by accomplishing them

they’re like that girl, you want to know

because,

she’s a mystery.

2.

Arguably,

peace, is desirable

but too much peace, is undesirable

This is why people get into relationships.

3.

Depression, is anger turned inward

I have always been an angry person

and I am seldom depressed

I use anger to accomplish my goals.

4.

How can I know that I like someone

if I don’t know them?

People don’t know me

and choose not to like me.

5.

I am unfair in my assessments of others

I pay attention to criticism

ignore neutrality

and swoon with positivity.

6.

I can’t win with people

because their opinions rise and fall

with their emotions

They control the game.

7.

It’s impossible to seduce someone

when I’m focused on myself

This is why,

I am unsuccessful.

8.

Love, can be worthwhile, if you are a lover

Peace, can be worthwhile, if you can live without ego

Excellence, can be worthwhile, if you are driven by success

Sex and Success are Similar.

The Story Lady Smiles at Me

I have a fear of getting lost.

It’s an unfounded fear.

If I start walking

I can leave the city, the job, and the past

behind.

We get lost in places that change.

I think about my problems, until my problems think about themselves

under the rainbow,

rocketing into, the gray and blue sky.

It’s raining there, but the rain, doesn’t fall on me

the sun shines through, like magic

and sets

somewhere, I don’t know.

A coyote stares

and I say

“Here boy.”

but he doesn’t come.

Then I check-into the restaurant

ordering

a hamburger and fries.

She wants my attention

and retired women gather around.

We’re all getting old

and soon, we’ll live

where old folks

are found.

I finish 18,

and the story lady walks on by

She smiles at me

and I’m

dumb-found-ed.