Leanne, Her Stunt Dad, and the Carpool

He had a dimple in his chin. That was the first sign. He had a Dodge Challenger with over 500 horse-power. That was the second sign. He had a wife with a butt that fit snug in these jean shorts. That was the third sign. He moved in next door, at the end of August.

I was worried about middle school. No—terrified.

He had a daughter, my age, who wore these see-through dresses without a bra. I wanted to prove myself, the first day I saw her.

I graduated from reading comic books to chapter books. Then, the Hardy Boys.

My dad was working as an engineer. He wore white shirts with thin black ties.

When I asked him about women, he pretended not to know, but that couldn’t be right. He married my mother, didn’t he?

“Dad, how do I get the neighbor girl’s attention?”

“Read your book.”

Before the first day of school, there was a knock at our door. My dad answered.

It was the owner of that Dodge Challenger.

“Hey, my wife has her hands full, straddling a pole, at the Pussy Cat. Can we carpool? I can pick them up, on my way home from work.”

“What is it that you do?” My dad asked.

“I’m a stunt man.”

My dad looked at him, like he was a teenage stud that never grew up. He had pomade in his hair. He had a tattoo of mini mouse doing something obscene near his bicep.

“What’s your name?” My dad asked.

“Charles.”

“And you have a daughter?”

“Yes. Her name is Leanne. She won’t give you any trouble. Can you take her to school?”

“Oh—all right. And, you’ll bring them home?”

“Yep. What your name?”

“Alan.”

He waved, as if that was supposed to inspire trust. When his beast of an engine rolled over, it was like a monster waking up.

“Guys like that, don’t get very far in life,” my dad said with a smirk.

I thought about the man’s hot wife, and didn’t say anything.

His daughter was standing at the bottom of our driveway. My dad backed-out his Corolla and we all got in.

I was sitting next to her. I couldn’t believe it.

“Nice rings,” I said.

“Do you want a suck?”

“What?”

“It’s a candy ring. Here—see.” She licked her hand. “Cherry. What did you think I meant?”

“Never mind.”

My dad switched on the radio. Expect a recession, just like the Great Depression, it said.

“Doom and gloom—that’s all they ever say. You can bet, a lot of hard-working people will lose their jobs, while lazy government employees keep theirs.”

“My dad says that there’s security in the stunt business, if you’re willing to break your neck,” Leanne said.

“Your dad’s an idiot.”

“He married my mom.”

“What is it, that she does again?”

“She entertains men—like yourself.”

“Why you little…”

“We’re here, dad. Got to go.”

When I got out, it was like Leanne had never been in my car. She didn’t know me.

I won a chess tournament at lunch, while I spied on her. She was sitting next to an ape.

When school let-out, I couldn’t wait to sit next to her, again.

Exhaust, from the Beast, choaked several crossing guards.

“Don’t you know, your carbon footprint is the size of Goliath?” One of the fat feminists said. She had reflectors draped across her big belly.

Charles ignored her. Probably, because he had a pair like Goliath. “Get in, honey.”

Leanne got in next to her daddy. “What’s wrong with you?” She asked.

“Oh—just a bad break,” Charles said. “Hazard of the job.”

His arm was in a sling. I could tell it was fractured in three places, where the blood betrayed where the bone had popped out of the flesh.

“Will you be able to work?” She asked in a worried voice.

“Don’t worry about your daddy. I’m driving a hot-rod under a semi-truck tomorrow. I can do that with one hand.”

Leanne cried. “I love you daddy. I don’t want you to die.” She jumped on him and hugged him.

“Ouch. Hey son, will you get me my pills back there?”

“Oxy? I don’t think you’re supposed to take that while you’re driving?”

“Don’t worry; they also say not to drink and drive.”

“Mom’s going to be pissed that you broke your arm,” Leanne said.

“That’s why I got her concert tickets.”

“Daddy!”

We were driving through a part of town I didn’t know. I saw the street sign. Vincent Boulevard.

“I just got to make a quick stop,” Charles said. “I have to talk to some Russians. Luckily, they speak English.”

All the hair on the back of my neck was squirming. It felt like I had worms in my stomach.

Charles pulled-up to a bald man in a leather jacket.

“You got the stuff?”

“I got the stuff, but why should I give it to you?”

“I’m good for it.”

“If you’re not, we’re going to take more than your life.”

He was looking at Leanne with lust. He handed something to Charles in a brown paper sack.

When I got home and got out of his car, it felt good. I waved to Charles.

“See yah, kid.”

Then I went to tell my dad.

“Vincent Boulevard is in the red-light district. That man must be a gambling addict—among other things. I don’t want you riding with him again.”

“But how am I going to get home from school?”

“You can walk!”

“That’s 7 miles!”

“I did more than that, when I was your age—and I did it in the snow.”

“Where’s mom?”

“She’s working late—six 12s, this week. There’s a shortage of nurses.”

When I went to bed, I couldn’t stop thinking about Leanne.

To be continued…

Don’t Turn the Lights Off

A Dream can Die

like a moth

floating in flame.

Ideas Die

like Dementia.

Magic Evaporates

like water, after the fog is burned away.

Dungeons of our Underground Desires

brake open

like demons from hell.

Do we want to keep them prisoner?

Hell No.

The Rock Band

of our Rock-N-Roll Lyrics

Demand

Obedience.

Keeping the Music Inside

is a Man

with bongo-drums playing

and no sound escaping

his silent room.

Speakers on full volume

Red-lining.

An airplane that falls out of the sky

like a wounded bird

or an angel

that no longer wishes to be heavenly.

The alcohol calls to me—

the substance, I can give myself to

no substance, requires substance

no inspiration, makes demands…

and in the quiet

I scream for more.

Turning up the sound

hearing static

is terrifying.

What will I do

when I’m alive

and dead

at the same time?

The scarecrows of belief

keep the crows away

and their insides

get blown away

by the sorrowful winds of seasons.

Nothing, but what we see

frightens me.

The stars have winked

for centuries.

To turn the lights out

is real fear.

I want to get to know this life inside of me

by asking questions,

rather than pulling it apart.

My butterfly doesn’t scream

when the magnifying glass burns its wings.

The cold world laughs

like a freezer.

Our warmth

is the glow

we know—

that ember

we won’t let

go.

It’s painful to be around people and it’s painful to be alone.

I look at women

at 30

at 40—

their prime was 16.

Now,

their faces are smashed-in

they look sour,

even when they smile.

I’m nice to them,

and just because I listen

doesn’t mean I’m attracted.

All of us

get together

and nod.

It’s a

tedious business

to pretend.

I like to talk about what I shouldn’t

and she lets me.

“When I was in 6th grade, my next-door-neighbor wrapped his chairs and furniture in plastic. I saw him moving everything outside. It was spring (new life). Then, he walked into his garage at night, crawled under some plastic, and blew his brains out.”

“Were there signs?” She asked.

“I don’t know. I was only a kid. After it happened, my dad told me that he always knew there was something wrong with him.”

Her eyes teared up.

“Why do people kill themselves?” She asked.

“Because it’s painful to be around people and it’s painful to be alone.”

“Have you ever had suicidal thoughts?”

“Yes. But I’ll never kill myself.”

“Why not?”

“I want to out-live them all.”

“You’re a narcissist.”

“Probably.”

“Hey, one of my patients had exploding diarrhea the other day.”

“You don’t say.”

“When I touched her, she told me, I made her hot.”

“Your job would kill me,” I said.

People are like ants

stepped-on

by God.

We go for walks together, in the sunlight.

Blue Whale Gift Exchange

The night custodian walked into my office.

I was working late.

“Hey, Pete. How are you?”

“I’m doing okay, Chief. I quit smoking.”

“Really? That’s harder to quit than heroin.”

“So, I’ve been told, but I stopped in 2003 for five years.”

“Do you miss smoking?”

“No.”

“How did you quit? Last I heard, you had cut back to 3 or 4 cigarettes a day.”

“That’s right. I weened myself off. I had a few packs left. I burned those and put them into a big bucket. Then, whenever I had the temptation to smoke, I rooted around in the ash for a cigarette.”

“Kinda like browsing?”

“Yeah. I was looking for something I wanted, but given enough time, I only got disgusted.”

“So, disgust is a strong motivation to quit.”

“That’s right.”

“Why did you quit in 2003?”

“I wanted to be healthy.”

“And now?”

“It hurts when I cough.”

“Pete, have you ever wondered why outsiders end up on the outside?”

“Yeah. They do what they want to do.”

“Women like a guy at the center of things. Do you ever get angry about that?”

“I did in 2003. I listened to this guy on the radio who talked about female nature. I watched the women in bikinis, strutting their behinds by the pool. I smoked, drank beer, and turned up the volume. They hated it.”

“Why do the bad boys always get the cute girls?”

“I had a girlfriend who was with me for five years and when her ex-boyfriend got out of prison, she went back to him. When I was in middle school, there was a kid with an ape face who lived down the block. He had long black hair. I liked the neighbor girl, but she didn’t want anything to do with me. She kept going to him.”

My best friend was calling me… “I got to go, Pete.”

“Nice talking to you, Chief.”

“Man, I’m depressed. I was successful in school. Now, I have this rage. What else do I have to accomplish to get the attention of women?”

“Man, you’re doing pretty good. Women love you. Just give it some time.”

“I’m not bad enough.”

“Maybe, you should level-up, and make more money.”

“I want to be a poet, dude. If I get a job with more responsibility, it will suck my soul. I know women look at me like one of those wannabe wimps, playing the guitar with long hair, dreaming of becoming a rockstar. Everybody knows, it’s never gonna happen.”

“Man, I got to get ready for bible study.”

“Okay. I’ll see you there.”

I checked my email—another favorable rejection.

At bible study, we were having a gift exchange, but before that, we talked about the Old Testament in our small group.

“What is the difference between doing something in our power, and doing something in alignment with God’s will?” My friend asked.

Nobody answered. Then, I spoke up…

“Perhaps, God will give you the strength to do things beyond yourself. You must follow Him, and that requires faith. My problem is… does God want what I want? Perhaps, God doesn’t care that I get married. My whole world might be crumbling away, while I keep trusting in God. I may die alone.”

I could tell, my words resonated. I guess that’s one thing I have going for me—people listen to me—they like my brand of bullshit—it sounds like the truth.

My friend began talking…

“Well, I find that I want things, and then, when I get those things, I want more things.”

“A wife and a family are pretty standard,” I said.

We went to the hot chocolate bar and exchanged gifts.

A guy named Jason (wearing a Travis jacket), stole my jar and diary, and I got to open a box with a stuffed animal inside.

It was a blue whale.

I carried it around with me, like I was a little boy. It was a comfort.

“I’m going to make love to this, when I get home,” I told my friend.

He looked at me, like I was crazy.

The End

Ps. I named my stuffed animal Big Blue.

For the Love of Money?

The ocean laughs when it brushes up against the shore

like lovers

under a blanket of blue.

There is the faint sound of typing

from a limestone villa, near the cove.

A motorboat rocks gently, back and forth

moored by a braided rope.

Scuba gear is lying in the sun, like fish scales.

The writer walks down to the beach.

White sand squishes between his toes.

The school where he worked, is a distant memory, like the red sun.

Now, the seaweed and clown fish are his friends.

They laugh, with the tides.

His light spear gun is brought to his chest, as he wades into the deep.

It’s not a hobby.

They told him, “You only love money.”

He loves the sunrise,

and if money is needed to appreciate that, so be it.

The truth doesn’t need to be said; it only needs to be known, by the one unafraid of it.

My guts on the floor

like sausage links

keeping

my insides together

and a sharp knife

in my left hand.

No war

to know

what’s in there.

I threaten to take a journey

but the journey, is not a threat

it’s real, and that, is different

like a bomb

and not an imaginary one

like a terrorist, who wants to do something about it.

I sit in comfortable warm rooms

and think about the damp woods.

Nature is pleasant

when the fear isn’t there.

Man must test himself, to know what he’s made of.

A woman I knew

understood

that I doubted my manhood

and she told me, “Your friend is a man, but you… not really.”

I knew what she was doing

so I didn’t take it personal

so I didn’t say…

“You used to be pretty, but now you’re 45, and it looks like you’ve been used several times. You hang-out at the bars in Seattle, and no man will date you.”

The truth doesn’t need to be said; it only needs to be known, by the one unafraid of it.

River God

I wallow under bridges

connecting towns

to the whole of humanity.

I search for a God there

in the empty darkness.

Not even the bums move.

Nobody is disturbed by my presence.

I see only muddy water

I cut myself

I watch myself

bleed—the water turns red—

I part the sea

Mud oozes between my toes

I am a basket-case, like Moses

I reach into the soil, and make my own god

a formless

disgusting

creature

that doesn’t smile

and stinks.

Love is that red and brown color

I have put my life into.

The whole town knows,

the bums belong under the bridge

the whores belong in the brothel

the students belong in the school

the good people belong

and the bad people belong

Nobody is out of place

but me

I am tested by society

the suicide stands at the top of a tall building

contemplating jazz

the drug addict would rather know the needle

than their next-door neighbor.

If love is an art,

most of the world is ugly.

I listen to a sermon

and I hear a different one

inside my head.

Thank God.

Aphorisms On Influence

1.

Does the world recognize a wise man

if the world is unwise?

And does a wise man need recognition?

2.

There are so many jobs I don’t want to do

and so many women I don’t want to be with.

This does not mean

I don’t want to work

and I don’t want to love.

3.

I have always wanted to be real

and for this,

to be the source of my power.

4.

When I am sick

annoyed

and manipulated

I long to be well

at peace

and in balance.

It is a constant challenge for me

to live in harmony.

Life is short,

and the journey to wisdom is long.

5.

If we charm others, to get what we want

do other people know?

If we don’t charm others, because we don’t need anything from them

do other people care?

6.

Our relationship to others

is everything.

7.

I have always wanted to be listened to,

without needing to shout.

8.

The World is saturated with Wealth

So much is free

Few men appreciate this

They don’t know their own value

because they have to compete with inflation.

All the lives of the past are like printed money.

9.

We can’t force people to care

because we must care about other people.

10.

I can’t claim credit for my wisdom

I want to grow

because the sun shined on me.

11.

I don’t know why I listen to some people

and ignore others.

I don’t have a choice.

That is the secret.

Life tells me… “No.”

Life tells me…

I’m going to force you to live.

You play a safe game. That’s nothing to announce.

You are already too cautious.

I’m not going to make you more comfortable, by giving you what you want.

No.

No.

No.

That is the sound you need to hear, screamed by Catholic girls

in a nudist choir.

You are ridiculous. I’m not going to contribute to that.

Climb a mountain, if you think it’s lonely, but you’ll probably just feel the chill.

Live the simple life. I’m not going to make it complicated for you.

Work in the rain, and take a hot bath, and get into a warm bed, and ask me in the morning, if you really need love.

Have your time stolen from you, until you value it, more than money.

Grow a beard, walk into church, smoke a cigarette, and read philosophy

while listening to the pastor say…

“Evil men smoke, they have beards, and they enjoy reading too many books.”

Fame rots the Brain. Did my dentist say that?

No.

It was a nobody.

If you can’t trust yourself, you can’t trust anybody.

Live your life,

and then write about it,

and not the other way around.

Poetry is a shout from your soul—

it’s pure joy

it’s all my pain, put to good use

It comes from living.

Nobody wants to read made-up words.

Not Fast Enough

I am someone who enjoys 5 AM words

and 6 AM thoughts…

I intuitively know

that 7 AM sex, shopping, or socializing

will be a let-down

compared to the love

I make

in bed

with words.

I am content…

and my life has taken-on a lazy quality.

I have spent years training

and not winning…

losing?

hardly.

I feel good. And if you feel 100%

a little magic sprinkled on top

is nice

but it can just as easily get mean,

like a moody monster.

What I’m trying to say is…

it can be difficult for a philosopher to become a winner.

He has spent so much time making meaning from his misery

that he doesn’t seek success like a pill—like prescribed medication for failure.

He injects philosophy into his veins

and has more constant highs

than a drug addict

but occasionally, he wishes for women and fame

and the world laughs at him

because it only rewards killers

and not the contemplative celibate

in his cave.

The world won’t tolerate a loser

and if you lose and laugh

you are worse than last place.

Your teachers and parents will tell you to try

and most people do,

so the winners can win.

Why are they the same people

year after year?

Contenders

are the worst sort—

they only know how to get to second place.

If you are a winner

you have no competition

and the danger

is that you will get tired of winning

and wonder what it’s like to lose.

Many

walk right up to the finish line and quit

because they don’t have any faith

and the philosopher sees the prize

and doesn’t strive for it

because he likes to run, more than he likes to win.

The world knows

winning is no small thing

it’s rare

and it rewards

scarcity.

A great artist is thought to have a great soul

but this is usually not true—

they can, but a great character is just as rare.

I have had glimpses of winning

It’s the adulterous woman who reads your poem

knows it’s good

and fucks you with her eyes.

I’m only an amateur

She’s a professional

She eats talent.

I do it for love.

Her blouse is undone.

She’s waiting for me to take her to the restroom,

where I won’t rest.

A one hit wonder?

Most are

a one pump chump.

Beauty fades

it can no longer reward the way it used to

I have been accused of being an old man at 24

A 35-year-old woman

talks about threesomes.

She’s trying to make me hot.

Do I prefer to be a rockstar or a philosopher?

Women (after a certain age) don’t want either one

they want a man who listens to them

who thinks about them

who makes love to them.

A rockstar fucks the world

A philosopher finds a way to love it

The average man

gets with an average woman.

She might’ve been hot for a few years.

He, was probably average his whole life

There are only a few winners

and a few true philosophers

I would like to be both.

Average is… well…average.

I would like to fuck the world

and love it.

I would like to make it to heaven too

The trick is to hold onto your soul at the same time.

Don’t give it away.

Many

will trade it for 1st place

because they don’t know how valuable it is.

There is a difference between the average soul

and the superman

The superman is

The average soul is

Which one are you?