Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why I Don't Use Ceramic Ashtrays

When I was in high school, I used to try
my hand at sculpting, finding a weird sense
of satisfaction as I pounded the air
bubbles from the lump of clay,
slapping the slab once, twice, thrice
against the wooden table.

I would pump the wheel, finding
solace in the whirl and hum as my
lump of clay because a pot, a cup, a
vase. Something that would hold water
better than my arguments could.

Sitting on the wooden stool, my
ass would lose feeling, and my hands
would grow a new skin of cracked clay,
as the walls of my vessel eventually folded
in on themselves, after too-many reshapings.

And finally, when I reached ceramic perfection,
my glazed master piece would pop and crack
and shatter in the kilm. Because those air bubbles?
I had missed one.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Where do I go from Here

I am the rubber necked ballet slippered
dancer that sits on a wooden stage with arches
like canyons, rubbing tired swollen feet that no
longer fit into cracks in the sidewalk.

I am the tug of war grease stained
sailors knot rope that is slung from the gallows
over sun ripened marshes, the stink
billowing into nostrils, sinking into hair folicles.

I am moon-kiss, wind-slap, sun-cracked
skin thats stretched over cheekbones
resembling wire hangers, each angle sharp
enough to poke your eye out.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why Not

Albert’s mom had left him in the lobby of the Doctor’s office. She was in the office getting some more tests done. Every weekend it was the same thing. His mom would pick Albert up from his Dad’s house and they would go out to breakfast at the town diner. After a meal of the diner’s special, particularly runny eggs, French toast made with wheat bread, and not so fresh squeezed orange juice, Albert’s mom would package him into the car and they would drive to see Dr. Munoz. MD.

The Dr.’s office with its peeling wallpaper that exposed its grimy white walls, was almost like Albert’s second home. Some kids went to the zoo, others to the playground. Albert went to Dr. Munoz’s waiting room. His feet swung high off the ground, banging into the scuffed plastic seats. He picked his nose complacently while listening to the secretary talking to her friend Janice on the phone about her latest male conquest. Albert watched as her pink plastic fingernails drummed out a rhythm on the enameled desktop.

Some of the other children, who were also waiting for their parents, played in the corner of the room with the broken wire contraption loaded with beads and the battered plastic fire truck. Two small boys wrestled over a one-legged fireman, both fanatically pulling at the poor toy by his arms.

Albert calmly surveyed the scene while he reached down to scratch his leg through his best pair of jeans, the ones where the bottom hem was almost intact. He jumped down from the plastic chair and walked over to the magazine stand. After several moments of contemplation he chose the new nickelodeon magazine, detailing how to make slime birthday cake, before skulking back to him plastic seat.

One of the small boys succeeded in ripping off one of the fireman’s arms and fell back onto the beaten carpet. He began to cry in a high-pitched wail, drawing a glare from the secretary. The other boy triumphantly waved the disabled fireman in the air, before throwing it back in the pile with the other toys. Albert merely sat back and attempted to read his magazine, meanwhile dreaming of grander places than Dr. Munoz’s lobby, places where there was no tapping, or wailing, or inattentive mother. His eyes closed while he sleepily considered this magical place, meanwhile returning to picking his nose.

Dime a Dozen

The clock keeps time on the wall. It was one of those fanciful clocks, shaped like a cat, where the cat’s tail marked the passing seconds with each sway. Roger always disliked those types of clocks. To him, they seemed to be a charade, as if the owner was trying to mask the true importance of the clock by parading it in some absurd caricature.
“Stupid clock,” he growled to himself while spearing an onion on his plate. His fork slid off the onion and came scrapping down on the plate instead. Immediately his father slammed down the paper he had been reading, the cover story advertising an undercover liposuction scandal.
“What did I say about making a scene at dinner?” Roger’s father demanded as he glared across the table at his son. The veins in his neck protruded rather obscenely and spit flew from his mouth.
Roger merely ducked his head and went on with his attempts to stab the onion. Finally he succeeded and shoved the onion in his mouth, beginning to chew rapidly. One, two, three…how many times was a person supposed to chew something before they swallowed? Was it ten, twenty, fifteen? And did the number of chews change according to the food? Roger doggedly puzzled over these essential questions, while his father began to change shades until his face was a deep purple.
“Listen to me when I talk to you boy!” his father screamed as he banged a fist down on the table, causing the glasses to shake and the cat clock to fall down from the wall. The clock fell onto the scuffed wooden floor, and the ticking finally stopped as the cat’s tail was severed from its body.
“Is something going on?” a weak voice asked from the nearby bedroom.
“Look at that. Look at what you’ve done now. You’ve gone and woken her up,” Roger’s father hissed at him lividly, although in softer tones. “It’s nothing dear, nothing at all. Go on back to sleep now,” he called sweetly down the hall, before shooting one last glare in Roger’s direction.
Cramming the rest of his food into his mouth Roger pushed back his chair and left the table. He scrapped the remaining gravy from his plate into the trash and proceeded to rinse the plate thoroughly before putting it in the dishwasher. Then, without a word, Roger turned away from his father and went up the stairs to his bedroom. On the way up he wondered just what good a dishwasher was that didn’t actually wash the dishes.

Lynnie Liner

Lynnie Liner sat rigidly, back rim-rod straight against the cold plastic chair. She idly tapped her pencil with her right hand, pausing every now and then to chew on the end. Bite marks were gnawed into almost every square inch of the #2’s service, the yellow paint long since chewed away to expose the wood underneath.
Her scuffed Reeboks were planted firmly on the linoleum floor, now and then trading positions, right foot in back of left, left in back of right. A stretched out sweater hung off one shoulder, spotted with mustard and ketchup stains from last week’s lunch. Lynnie absentmindedly reached up to adjust her hair, which at that moment was struggling out of its messy ponytail and falling to cover one side of her face and the eye that was contained there.
Her eyes squinted doggedly at the page in front of her, nearly taking up the entire surface of the unstable desk. Every now and then she would bring her pencil down to the page, eraser first, and furiously demolish whatever was written there, causing the entire desk to teeter from one side to the other, and Kenny Halken to look up from his own page in front of him and glare.

The Woman Next Door

There's a song that plays from an unknown source
and that merges with the Carnival-esque music
that heralds the next period (one of 12 or 13
in the day).

It bubbles up from the cubicle next to mine
and subtlely winds its way into my cerebellum,
causing me to slump and jerk in my green
upholstered rolling chair.

Sometimes, after I walk and bus and walk
once more and finally settle into my stain-free
sheets I can still hear the prancing tune-as relentless
as a Korean mother, telling you to eat your kimchi.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

You Cost a Nickel

Kiss me and pour all of the penny candy
sweat soaked afternoons into sucker punch
pursed lips
where you cradle saliva drenched promises
pertaining to broken raincoats and forgotten
lunch dates in your teeth.

I will map out routes to India through
your life lines and scattered love lines
and trace the blood stains around your ripped cuticles.
And your fingerprints with hold
bathing houses for all the people you left behind
while forgetting to be scared.