Archive for: April, 2007

Split In Two

S.Murakami dived into the hotel pool
Framed perfectly by two palm trees
The exact middle of which
Lightning could be seen through

The symmetry of which
Made her feel as though
She had dived into a machine
For which a switch had been thrown

The water cut her in half like a scissor
It looked that way from above
Like she had been split in two
It looked as though a switch had been thrown

The swimming pool lights
The exact middle of which
She dove down through
Like lightning

Coming out of the water
The world seemed as though
It had been split in two
It felt as though a switch had been thrown

Part of the “Orphan Ascends In Green” series, a collection of poems about three travelers on an island overrun by zombies.

Review, Logo/Illustration: Fire Warning Logo

This is the fire warning sign for the elevators around the office. What I like about it is that the man fleeing the fire looks very casual about his escape. It’s the way he kicks his back leg up, along with the outstretched “holding a margarita” angle of his arm.
“Oh, hello everyone. Sorry I’m so late to the party, I was just racing against my life against a fucking fire.”
They should change the type on the sign to, “DO NOT LET A FIRE ATTEND THE PARTY”. Come to think of it, doesn’t it look like the fire is standing at the top of the stairs, all mad because it can’t stay up late and hang out with the grown ups?
If I could change anything about this sign, I would make it so there were motion lines coming out from behind the man’s silhouette and he’d be clutching a fedora to his head while a Tiki god silhouette stamped it’s feet in frustration in the background.

Review, Food: Kit Kat Blizzard

Every year, for my birthday, I either cajole somebody into buying me an ice cream cake or I buy one myself. Once, I bought one that had a magnificent bass jumping out of a lake.
One birthday as a kid I crawled into the big roomy dog house in the front yard and sat on a pile of cedar chips and an old blanket and read The Lord Of The Rings next to a big slobbery black dog named Natty (by way of Natty Bumpo), the sounds of her breathing and the undulations of her barrel chest stirring lazily in the afternoon.
My aunts came by and I stuck my head out of the doghouse and asked my red headed aunt if she had brought me any money, cedar chips still clinging to my shirt.
My red headed aunt told my mom later on that she thought it was rude for me to do that, but I had just been a kid excited about getting stuff for my birthday, waiting there in the dog house, the smell of books and tar from its roof and big friendly dog hanging in the air.
I did get money that day, along with ice cream cake, and so here I am, more than a decade later, waiting in line for a Kit Kat Blizzard (fucking delicious, by the way), staring at the cakes in the white display case, thinking I could get anything I want written on one of those cakes, for example “Did You Bring Me Any Money?” in icing letters, thinking I could get anything I want drawn on that cake, including a fish, including a book, including a dog.

Review, Restaurant: Krystal

Krystal is a southern chain of restaurants that serve tiny little hamburgers. You can add bacon if you want, but most of the time these miniature square hamburgers are eaten with a pickle and some onions.
On the way to Krystal today, I passed a crazy old woman yelling into a stroller. As I passed her, I thought to myself, “Please be full of cans, please let that lady be yelling into a stroller she was pushing around full of cans. Or better yet, a dog dressed up like a person.” No such luck, an actual toddler was in there, and to his credit, he looked no worse for wear from being shouted at. Then I almost rear-ended a Yukon.
Commercials for Krystal often feature girls of a particular type. White T Shirted denim shorted girls; you might spot one as you walk past the salon in the mall, antiseptic hair gel scent and baby powder faintly in the air.
Sleek purple car driving girls, with the CD visor tucked over the driver’s side mirror, a decal of a frog holding up a peace sign in the corner of the rear view mirror. Blonde tawny skinned southern girls, best friends, sunbathing on a rock as you swim past in a river, her boyfriend scowls at you in the water, keep moving, and you wonder how he even got his truck down there to that part of the river.
And you get out of the water, the river sand won’t come out of your flip flops, and you walk up the grassy hill to your car, and your sweat smells like suntan lotion, and you have nearly forgotten those girls; the reflection of the sun on river water is still swimming behind your eyes, so you blink a moment behind the steering wheel and then you see that a frog on the back of a nearby car is holding up a peace sign.

Review, Logos/Illustration: Off Brand Cereals

off brand cereals

These three off brand cereals were for sale at a pharmacy. I guess, if you really have to have cereal, and can’t wait to get to the inevitable grocery store that chances are is really close to the pharmacy, I mean you’ve got to have cereal right now, no milk, no bowl, just give me the goddamn cereal, then maybe you might find yourself staring down the barrel of these very cheap and shameless cereals.
First off, Cruncheeos- They should include little copyright symbols and lawyer’s briefcases made of grain. Why don’t they just call the CEO of General MIlls and be like, “I’m stealing your shit, man!” Why bother hiding the name? Why not just go ahead and call it Cheerios? I bet there isn’t even cereal in that box. Just an I.O.U. “I owe you one thousand little circles of wheat.”
Secondly, the bird on the box for Fruitti Rings. He’s excited, but not in the way you might think. He’s excited because that no doubt terrible cereal is magically leaving the bowl. See the migrating line of fruity O’s headed northward? That bird looks like he just got his deadbeat cousin off his couch.
Thirdly, the Choco Puffs bear with Hitler’s haircut. He likes to eat Choco Puffs one at a time. From the looks of the snowy mountains in the back, he lives in Colorado, where giant bowls of chocolate cereal occur naturally in the wild.

Review, Book: Breakfast of Champions

Blue Monday

When I was a kid, I lived in a wooden lake house with my Mom and my stepfather. My stepfather was a surly guy who worked late nights. He was a pretty good photographer, an excellent mechanic and obsessed with his tractor to the point of threatening physical violence if I ever got on it or left something lying around that could screw up its blades, which were apparently made of motherfucking pure gold that you had to wrestle a genie to get.

One day he gave me a book. He said, “This book has everything I think about life in it.”

I had seen it around. It was a totem in a sprawling pastoral city of totems, another strange symbol along with my stepfather’s poorly concealed naked lady magazines and the snake that lived at the edge of the yard and the faceless neighbor who always seemed to be burning stacks and stacks of trees in his yard across the water. A paperback book has to work pretty hard to get my attention when it is competing with reptiles, nude women and mysterious smoke.

Its cover was missing, revealing the first page underneath, on which was a drawing of a cow with a comic word balloon above his head. Inside the word balloon: “Goodbye, Blue Monday.”

So the title of the book became, to me: “Goodbye, Blue Monday.”

I refused to read it, because my stepdad was such a son of a bitch.

But the cow followed me around. It was always laying around, face up or out, looking out from next to the shelf with my stepfather’s albums or the head of my bed, where I carried it and laid it down without opening it. The image of the Blue Monday cow, like a pair of twins determined to trick me by seeming to appear in two places at once, was everywhere I looked.

I eventually read the book as an adult, a different copy with an actual cover and discovered my stepfather had been right to feel the way he had about the book.
In my life, the cow is no longer a presence, and today the man, who wrote the book, Kurt Vonnegut, has died and himself turned into mysterious smoke, so to speak.

But through his work he was able to do something to my stepfather that his fussing over his expensive BMW and his temper and his overall combative temperament almost made impossible: he humanized and softened my view of him.

Looking back, I have to wonder if the persistence of that torn covered paperback in my life was a sort of omen and insistence, that my stepfather wasn’t such a bad guy, at least he had enough sense to like Vonnegut.

For that I recommend all of Kurt Vonnegut’s books, even Timequake, which some people say they do not like but I feel is worth a read.

The Dead Had Seemed Like A Wall

The dead
Had seemed
Like a wall
Or a border

Or a barrier to cross
To become
A red blooded
Living man or woman

The old man had swung his sword
Whistling through tissue
Bone and cemetery dirt
Just behind the eyelids

S.Murakami fired a gun
She could not look directly at them
But at tree branches
Against the sky instead

The orphan grappled with them
As one would with a bundle of ropes
Or as a baby with the act of being born
Or as a kite that curses the string and loves the wind

One by one the dead lay down
At the feet of the travelers
The silencing of a snake’s rattle
The hush of a grave’s displaced wailing

The sword was put away
The gun was holstered
The orphan’s hands were washed in bottled water
Their weary eyes glimpsed a red fox

In the spiraling delirious green
Of the trees
The fox, like a spot of blood on tree bark
Barked three times, startled

As if to say I am your blood
The beating of your heart
I run under this island
You are living men and women

Part of the “Orphan Ascends In Green” series, a collection of poems about three travelers on an island overrun by zombies.

Review, Album & Activity; Timbaland Presents: Shock Value & Sleeping Near A Lake

When I was younger, I lived beside a lake. Sleeping next to a large body of water to me feels different than sleeping in a city. It’s as though you are suspended between two bodies of water, as though the presence of the lake exists only to mirror our submersion in the unconscious mind. To live next to a lake is to never escape weightlessness or the suspension of the body or mind. Your feet may dig in the dirt or ice may chill its surface but the feeling of suspension in water is always just waiting.
I think maybe that our natural state is to not be tethered, maybe as you sleep next to a lake the unbroken surface of the water is calling you to get out of bed and take your bare-feet and bed-sheets down to its mud lined edges and swim to the center of a murky pocket, to never be bound or caught.
I’ve been listening to Timbaland’s new solo album, Timbaland Presents: Shock Value. I could swear I hear the sound of a looped crow in the background of one of his songs. That has an appeal to me. I like the idea of re-appropriating noises and distorting them for the sake of music. This to me is a form of swimming, or of untying something, or of renaming, all of these things are a type of casting a spell, if you think about it.
But most of this album does not seem like that to me. It sounds like music that is not free. There is nothing to swim around in. This album is kind of boring. It does not call you in the middle of the night. It does not have any murky pockets

Like A Hand Into Gossamer

The old man’s wife
Gave him a sword
In the back room
Of her antiques store.

Under the green curtains
By the round metal fan
That was old even among
Old things.

She had a dream
The night before
Give that sword away
To the man you love.

The fan stirred the curtains
Like a hand into gossamer
Under her hair
Over the back of his fingers

“This sword was made
During the Momoyama period.
It is worn form the belt
With these cords”

She had him stand
Shoulders bowed
The sword hung still and quiet
He whistled once at her

The old man looked
At his wife
At the long grooved blade
At the sherbet curtains

The old man looked
At the backs of his fingers
Old even among
Old things

He wondered how
They could hold
Such a thing
As a sword.

Later that night he would dream
His wife had turned to cloth
And was blown out the window
By a round metal fan

He woke startled
She reached for his hand
She wondered how
She could hold
Such a thing

Part of the “Orphan Ascends In Green” series, a collection of poems about three travelers on an island overrun by zombies.