Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Sleep Cycles of Green Tea

The circadian rhythm of my body is off.

Watch the tea bag dangle and twirl about itself,
winter washed fingers twist the thin white thread.
Puddles circle outwards as the bag hits the water;
they hit the barrier reef.
Can it sense this joy?
A short lived half hour depending on the sips.
Like dipping your lower half into a
continuously draining jacuzzi.

My eyes droop,
I cant remember thoughts anymore.
My muscles feel weak,
I can’t support my own weight anymore.
Should I sleep?
Or dangle this tea
above the yellow water
and know it craves a bath.

It won’t submerge, for fear of getting its hair wet.
What’s so bad about the bottom of a cup?

Awfully cowardly for something that’s attached to a string.
How many times has it ever drowned?

A bag without a string, that I can understand.
I’d be more apprehensive about soaks if I didn’t have arms.

And the worst part? The ever-draining cup.
Just where does the water go when the mug tilts?

They come packaged, sealed tight.
They live in water, boiling hot.
They’re left alone, just soggy leaves when the water drains.
Like fall.
Then it’s warm for just one second.
Warmth like pissing oneself which then turns into

What then of the short life of a bag of tea?
One bath and then a moist cold eternity of uselessness.
I rather stay in the warmth of the womb then.
Keep me in my packaging if that’s what life holds.

At least then I can sleep,
and dream,
and safely bathe without a string,
gently bobbing around with potential.
And when I’m ready,
perhaps I’ll grace you.
Or continue to bob around untested,
never leaving the warmth and security of
a tin of tea.


Monday, October 25, 2010

The Childish Endeavors of Emily Sue

Little Emily Sue was only but two,
when off with her finger she decided to do.
It hung from her hand, vein and tendon unleashed,
after cauterizing the wound, the bleeding it ceased.

She looked at her palm happy pinky was gone,
with the pain dying out it was time to move on.
She sharpened her knife with childish glee,
after placing pinky on mantle for all to see.

Emily Sue with crayon and paper in hand,
sat down by candlelight and mapped out her plan.
With ease and great pleasure and taking good measure,
she walked up to her mother and eyed her next treasure.

The innocent child handed over her art,
it went up on the fridge, the parenting part.
“Can I help you with baking,” she asked of her mother,
“I'll be quick with my hands and won't be a bother."

Emily watched as her mom chopped an apple,
she giggled and laughed at the thought of the grapple.
She took a small knife and slid from the counter,
and down with her fell her mothers right pointer.

Her mother stood shocked and let out a scream,
with red leaking out and polluting whipped cream.
Emily looked pleased and grabbed at the finger,
off to the mantle with treasure don’t linger.

A devious smile spread from right to left ear,
as she went to the shed before father could hear.
Her father he worked alone in their shack,
tinkering at cars to get his youth back.

She slid up to poppa and said with a grin,
“Daddy may I watch, you won’t hear a pin?”
Her father agreed and grabbed at a wrench,
she looked at his hand and hopped on the bench.

He tightened a nut and worked at a screw,
the timing was right and Emily knew.
He reached for his cup for a sip of his drink,
and lost his ring finger before he could think.

He let out a yip and she ran from the scene,
back to the mantle she had cut it off clean.
Her mother and father so tense with fear,
shouted for Emily “Where the hell are you my dear?”

They stumbled about mad, like lumbering giants,
rags covering their wounds inflicted by the defiant.
Emily Sue went and hid with the job almost done,
not realizing the trouble, only reveling in fun.

She crept up the stairs as shouts echoed below,
tiptoed to her brothers room and up to young Joe.
She looked at his face peaceful and small,
then down at his fingers she wanted them all.

That isn't the plan, now lets not be greedy,
only take the one, save the rest for the needy.
She slid out her knife and hummed a light tune,
sharp blade through his finger and out of the room.

The blood it did spurt but only for a minute.
his little body was tough and able to fend it.
She held his middle finger and skipped down the stairs,
right into open arms and her wildest fears.

Her mother and father with knife in hand,
held her down hard and took a stand.
With a dull pocketknife they stabbed at their daughter,
not realizing how or what this taught her.

When she awoke on a red mound of carpet,
she felt a great pain and started to vomit.
She looked at her palms and saw they were round,
her fingers were amputated, the stubs whittled down.

She looked at the mantle and started to smile,
there sat 13 jars, they’d been there a while.
She examined them closely and hummed a light song
all their fingers there floating, her plan hadn’t gone wrong.

She went into the kitchen and sat down to dinner,
her family welcomed her in with smiles and vigor.
She looked at their wounds and looked at their faces,
no hard feelings revealed from the day; no traces.

She looked to the fridge and at the scribbles of crayon,
she had etched all the fingers, this had always been her plan.
As she got older she never missed these thirteen,
for they were on the mantle and always meant to be seen.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Victor and the Drain of Possibilities

Victor squeezes a handful of Barbasol into his open palm, he rubs his thick calloused hands together and runs them over his clean bald head with precision, like icing a beige cake. He looks into the mirror staring past into the dark invading green surrounding his dilated pupils. He gets lost in the circular forest searching for answers as if the next step in his routine task has somehow deceived him. He glances at the taut skin covering his cheeks and nose, admiring how very few blemishes and imperfections he has at nearly 50 years old, and quickly wonders if in another life he could have been a model. Nothing extraordinary really, just magazines or a commercial or two, but could it have happened? Are we as in control of destiny as the self-help books collecting dust by his bedside let on?

Victor turns on the hot water and his gaze fixes as it goes from an erratic drip to a steady stream. Steam permeates from the tiny waterfall as droplets bounce off the silver plug exploding like little crystal meteors landing in a nearly invisible Pollock on the unpolluted porcelain. The drain is a wormhole, an expansive stretch in time he wishes he could jump down. As a child he remembers reading Alice In Wonderland and wishing there was a pill that could shrink him down much like the fictional girl allowing him to dance in and out of peoples lives unnoticed. As a young adult he went in search of such a pill but what he found never shrank his physical being, only his perception. As a man he’s given up hope that such an escape exists, yet whenever the water is on he takes out the drain and stares into the darkness. He still wonders if it holds possibilities. He thinks of his regrets. He wishes he had studied Physics in college, he wishes he had gone to college. He wonders if it’s too late to live a life much like Einstein, is there an age when the creative and mental possibilities cease? If he wrote a letter to Stephen Hawking, would he find a way to respond? Perhaps he’d send a well thought out Podcast through the mail.

He opens up the sterile medicine cabinet leaving an oily thumbprint on the bottom left corner of the mirror. Without looking at its contents his fingers navigate towards a shimmering silver straight razor resting on the bottom shelf. He grabs the razor by its sharpest edge with ease, and closes the cabinet. This is part of the routine. While setting the razor down on the perfect glossed white sink he notices the thumbprint, a dried disease on the pristine glass. The razor pokes his pointer finger as he reaches for a tissue to clean the smudge. He doesn’t wince or let out a noise, you could hear a pin made out of feathers drop on the carpeted floor of every room in his home. Never leave a trail- that rules been ingrained, nothing he needed to institute in his own home but an obsessive intricacy from work he’s somehow taken with him after hours like homework.

Staring at the small red bead rushing to the surface of his finger he watches as the blood spreads, now the size of a ladybug. He wants to tell this little lady to flutter her wings and fly away as fast as she can, if she knew what was good for her she’d leave and take solace underneath a flower petal in the park. He’s afraid she will wait too long and dry up, she’ll be stuck to him, stuck with him; its happened before. After all his hands were guilty of everything, they told the stories of a past he’d like to lose down the drain of possibilities. Their complexity reminded him of his own wrongdoings as well as the wrongdoings of an entire culture. He would often sit for hours staring at them, wondering if he’d miss them if tragedy struck in the form of a rusty machete. He’d seen TLC specials on phantom limbs, would he still try and clench a can of Coke even though his fingers were long severed and forgotten? Victor watches as the blood breaks from it’s perfect circle and follows the detailed patterns and life lines on his pointer; much like veins taking blood away from a failing heart, like ants following trails in a cheap plastic ant farm, like painting with watercolors on a sheet of brail. Victor concentrates on his finger too long. The blood dries up, and he looks uncomfortable like a man at a funeral for someone he’s pretending he didn’t know.

Victor recounts a tiny dark room; it’s long been abandoned. The only light illuminating the sparse dwelling is moonlight tearing through the roofs of two buildings across the way. He thinks it could be a room in a motel down the street from his childhood home, but he knows that isn’t true at all. There is a small twin bed in the far corner and a dusty Admiral turntable sitting on the nightstand separating the bed and the lone window. The record player is on but the needle loops around the outer rim continuously like it’s stuck in an unsolvable labyrinth. Victor wishes Johnny Cash was playing, he can almost hear Willy Nelson crooning something about Laredo but he doesn’t, it’s silent. He looks to the floor and sees his dark leather boots shuffling across the uneven rotting wooden floorboards. He gets down on the ground and sniffs an off-colored board. What is that? Victor recounts his face and sees a much younger man, still handsome, but twenty years more spry. He sniffs the spot again; his nose grazes the discoloration and takes away a sticky souvenir. He touches his nose and rubs the war paint, it’s not an unfamiliar color and texture. He knows this part of the memory; he’s been here before. The sparkle of something metallic catches his eye underneath the lone unkempt bed. Vic crawls closer as the dark red from the floor stains his torn blue jeans. His eyes start to tear up as he crawls closer and closer to a dark mass under the bed. He is on the battlefield of a great world war crawling towards screams and confusion, he’s waking from a dream where he’s fallen from a building and paramedics have scraped his lifeless body from shattered concrete. He remembered reading once if you died in your dream you’d never wake in life, yet he still sees something shimmer in the corner of his conscious eye. Victor starts to bang the floorboards and scream. The sparkling object is a shiny old watch attached to a limp wrist, attached to the body of a man: a dead man. Blood leaks from the back of the man's head like milk from a smashed coconut, it follows the grooves in the wood. Victor looks down at his hands with guilt, he doesn't remember picking up or firing the sticky dark pistol . He pulls the fragile man out from underneath the bed. His white t-shirt is stained with the rich innards of a wasted life. Victor performs CPR, he smacks the lifeless body around, his tears fall into the dead mans open mouth. If this was a fairy tale his salty tears of life would revitalize the body long expired. Victor would wake this Frankenstein and laugh about the inciting incident; but this is no fairy tale. He looks into the mans open mouth, where there was once possibilities there are now none. He wants to crawl into the hole and disappear, how can he make himself that small?

Victor buries this dark memory. He blinks uncontrollably in the mirror observing the speed of his reflexes. His breath is heavy and fast. He focuses on his blinking and his breathing. Blink twice, breathe once, blink twice, breath once; he is prone to these panic attacks and the key is to focus on something that demands your full attention. He counts down slowly from ten and erases the now distant yet detailed memory. He takes his hands off the sink and stands upright. Beads of sweat wander around his now pale skin. It's difficult to stand and his eyes deceive him focusing on blotches of light that don't exist. He begins to run the razor through the mass of shaving cream on his baldpate. The little silver lawn mower cuts through snow covered grass. He continues to focus on his breathing and his expressionless face in the mirror. After all the Barbasol has been cleaned from his dome, he bangs the razor on the sink dirtying the etch-a-sketch. He takes a towel, runs it under hot water and cleans the dried remnants of cream from his scalp. He still continues to focus on his breathing. He takes his now scabbed pointer finger and traces a large tattoo invading the skin over his heart. It is apparent Victor has done this many times before and this nervous tic relaxes him. He continues to trace the shape of the Swastika with his pointer and unplugs the drain with his free hand. He stares into the endless void. He continues to trace the big blue ink. He reaches for the straight razor with his free hand and looks at the haunting rhythmic movement of the other. He breathes. He stares into the dark hole of possibilities. Where have they gone?


Thursday, September 23, 2010

His Shadowy Side

Let’s just call this an adventure of the third person. Mostly.

You know his exterior. It’s a simple charm most find pleasant. You know his
character, his style, his nice eyes and smile. Oh, what a nice guy.

You don’t know his interior. It’s a complicated web most would find foul. You don’t
know his dark tangled core, a mess of emotions he can’t control anymore. Oh, what a
troubled soul.

The story you’ve heard is of Jekyll and Hyde, but that story is fiction, where this
is true life. You meet him, you know him. You see how he lives. What a life, what a
world, what you wouldn’t give.

In real life real people do real with their lives. He imagines great intentions but it
rarely survives. The black ghost, the black cloud, the black mist, the black shroud,
the black news, the black night the black howl the black spite. It defeats the real, the
good, the light. It’s a dark hidden secret he’s trying to fight.

A ‘how do you do’ while his thoughts of a knife plunge through salutations and take
a life…I’ve felt your blood before meeting you. I’ve seen your fear before eating you.
I’ve seen you dead while greeting you. I’ll tell you all this while I’m treating you…to a
nice dinner at my home. So lovely isn’t it? I’ve got paintings on the wall, records and
candles and knick-knacks and all. You’d trust me…even open your heart…Here, let
me help, I’ll break your sternum and ribs to start.

I like to date, but I’m not into long-term relations. I’d take you, for sure, on a long-
term vacation. Let’s have a drink, a date, a screw. I’m a good guy…when I have my
good eye on you.

C’mon I’m a sweetheart! Allow me to show! I just have a dark side…but, who doesn’t,
you know?


Friday, September 3, 2010

A Letter to Lucious

To my dear, dear, dear Lucious,
(I hope. Your mother and I have yet to settle on a name)

The day you were born was the day I died.

Sorry for the density of that statement but I find in difficult situations it is best to avoid the roundabout. Your mother will tell you that levity was never my strong suit. I would tell you that reticence was never hers. They will both be yours.

The reason for this letter is quite simple; it’s the symbolic changing of guards, the circle that is life, la note finale. It’s your compass in a world that can often be dark. Look to this letter for answers in those tough times that strike us all.

I want to tell you that your life had nothing to do with my death, to really reassure you of this so it never plagues you like I think it may if you’re anything like me. But how do I know for sure? Can anyone that doesn’t know the reason for life be sure of the reason for death? Be consoled in this though, it reveals the uncertainty that is life and guarantees there is no algorithm.

As for my cessation, should you ever feel guilt, take comfort in the fact that if there is a higher power, and we are made in his image, perhaps he was distracted. Do not blame though, to be distracted is the nature of man. Is it possible HE looked away for a second and there was a momentary rift in order? Like a typo in a report you hand in to the head of your company, maybe it was merely overlooked. One letter discounted in a document of words. To the higher power, one life’s tragic demise is that error you omit in a sea of pages expressing a larger thought. Will anybody really miss the letter “A” that should have been in the 11th sentence of the third paragraph on the 13th page?

“There are no findings proving thus, nor do his actions communicate that further visits with a psychologist would be beneficial.”


“There are no findings proving thus, nor do his actions communicate that further visits with psychologist would be beneficial.”

I am sorry to bore you with the example, though it is an example taken from a report of your dearest departed’s, and I use it to prove to you that to err is human. True, it is hard to notice the difference, and as humans we tend to overlook these fine details. Maybe it’s the same for him, just a slip up on a canvas already containing too much color? Yaweh himself could have been watching over us as your mother went into labor, but struck with the curiosity only a creator could have for a “createe,” he got sidetracked. Perhaps two other men on a street in a city far below got into an altercation and used their steel-toed boots to launch their feet into each other’s reproductive organs. “That’s not what they’re for!” He’d surely want to shout. But that is what humanity sometimes is about son- we take for granted the gifts we were given and often feel like we got a raw deal or a kick in the genitals. Heed this warning and learn from it: there are no raw deals only raw men who don’t know how to deal.

Alternatively, maybe the MAN stumbled across a documentary about the human discovery of his only sons bones, and his mind reeled off on a philosophical tangent wondering just whose bones they really found. Am I missing a bone? He’d wonder later, a thought that’d stick with him for days, as he’d rub his ribs. But ultimately he would realize he didn’t have a son and he wasn’t made of bones (spoiler alert). One small glance away from the tiny burdens of love below and the grand scheme turns into anarchic mis-happenings.

You should know I would never blame you or anyone for my demise. And if others read this letter and for some reason these golden truths and theories are misunderstood, I want to be clear. I don’t mean demise in the sense of saying goodbye to the old me. Something like- a soon to be father says farewell to his partying, capricious, selfish ways and hello to the joys and responsibility of fatherhood. No I don’t mean this metaphorical paternal rebirth. I mean demise in the sense of saying goodbye to the only me; the end of physical life. A “swift, cold death” is what the doctors inform me I shall endure. Apparently the hospital where you were born, and where I will die, is not fond of levity either. Never be a doctor, Lucious.

I guess what I want to say is please try not to feel culpable. If there was only room for either you or me in this world then I’m glad for this glorious happening. And in times when you are down and your mother, or your grandparents, or your cousins, or my bowling partner from church tell you stories of me and shed tears that make you regret not knowing me, I want you to really think. If I am gone, and you are here, and there was only room for one of us in this world then surely no mistake was made. Get to know these people. Ted will show you how to throw a hook ball down the lane, and will inevitably admit you bowl like your old man….that is to say not well. You’re grandparents will tell you of my first encounter at the zoo, where I nearly lost my three year old finger up an enraged llama’s viscous nostril. And your mother will surely recount my last words over and over again to you hoping they weigh upon you both as the thought of soon saying them weighs upon me. Laugh with these cherished few; they will love you unconditionally and protect you always.

Forgive the long-winded nature of this letter, it’s the only time we have. Forgive the stains of tears that litter it with punctuation that will surely fade to yellow as this letter sets and waits for you to get on in years and interpret and analyze these last thoughts. The running trails of ink let you know I was a man of flesh and blood that felt for you and took the time to give you a piece of me. As I lay here in a hospital bed staring into your tiny squinty eyes, I notice they are a beautiful sea foam green just like my own. Your face tells me you were ready to be born, and your smile reveals a world of happiness and miracles are waiting. But my heart hurts, it hurts for you and it hurts for the physical ailment that will surely end me. As your breathing gets stronger mine gets shallower, as if we are synced in unison. “Stop writing,” the doctors say, “Get on with your final goodbyes.” Again, how crude, how daft, how frigid and uncaring; never be a doctor dear Lucious.

There is more to recount and more to relay, but time is short as is life. I hope these anecdotes, thoughts, and feelings give you a sense of me. I have already seen your future and it is a splendid one. All the clichés in the world could not express my love. On my way out as you’re on your way in, embrace it all.

A life of Love,
Emmet Whitmore


Thursday, September 2, 2010


There was a set of twins once. David and Daniel. David was good and Daniel was bad.

In kindergarten, Daniel and his friends would throw wooden blocks across the room at the other children. When the teacher reprimanded him, David would smirk from the shadows.

Serves him right.

In middle school, Daniel and his friends would sneak into the girls’ locker room and watch them change. When they were caught, David would smirk from the shadows.

Serves him right.

In high school, Daniel would stay out all night with his friends. When his parents would yell at him, David would smirk from the shadows.

Serves him right.

In college, Daniel would get drunk with his buddies. The next day when he suffered from a hangover, David would smirk from the shadows.

Serves him right.

His whole life, whenever he went to the beach, Daniel would refuse to where sunscreen. When he died of skin cancer, David smirked from the shadows.

Serves him right.

Then David was alone. No friends. No Lovers. No Fun. Just cold, pale, and alone.

Serves him right.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Printed Blog

Hey there my little chickadees (can I call you that?),

Whats up my Blue Jays (is that one ok)? In a totally uncharacteristic move by yours truly I'm taking a break from story writing, and thus you from story reading to shed the spotlight on something new I'm getting involved in. Quit your chirping and calm down, more drama and obscurity to come after this brief plug.

Recently I have become aware of the printed blog:

It originally started as an online mag and has now evolved into a weekly print publication. Yea, so what? No, no, no, not so what. So what not? This publication voraciously hunts the internet in search of the best blogs and photography on a weekly basis and prints it up for your perusal. Imagine a "best of" mix cd but for the internet. Yea...it's that good and it even leaves out that track 12 Hall and Oates b-side that makes you think of your ex. The Printed Blog scours the internet for it's treasures like a bald eagle swooping in for carrion, (I'm really into birds this morning) and collects them all in one magazine. It's an unexpected and pleasant gift, like your cat bringing an expensive bottle of wine to your doormat rather then a dead mouse. So the real question is what not, what doesn't the printed blog showcase, what doesn't the printed blog expose? The answer: seemingly nothing. Any and all blogs can be featured. Who wouldn't want the best of the internet printed up in neat little packages to read on the train, the waiting room, during your sisters dance recital? Check out the printed blog and get your finger on the pulse: ThePrintedBlog.Com

Sign up for the publication at the site and check them out on twitter and facebook as well. For more info on exactly how "it all works," check out this awesome blog: info, or see your doctor....depending on what "it" is and why it doesn't work. In a totally related matter, I am trying to get my blog featured in the printed blog so keep checking back here and with the printed blog in heated, heated anticipation.

That's it for now,


oh yea......purple finch

Monday, August 16, 2010

Brief Thoughts on Danger

The smell of danger is peanut butter frozen yogurt,
or chilled orient salad.

It's never dynamite, gun powder, rotting flesh, hospitals,
or sticky blood.

The smell of fear is that horrible twenty year old memory
of Uncle Albert
convulsing into his plate
of homemade spaghetti
in your mothers
freshly cleaned

But also, and be cautious.
While laying at the bottom of your pool,
dare yourself to breathe in through your nose.
Can you smell and taste the chlorine?
Be weary as the bubbles brush and tickle
your nostrils and brain.
You are indeed suffocating your life.

this is also you
signing off
with a belt around your neck
and trousers around your ankles.
what a horrible way
for death
to come.

What does this mean
when our bodies awareness confuses
danger with joy
joy with danger?
Do we trust our senses still?


Monday, August 2, 2010

Finger Guns and Finger Bullets

Thomas made it a habit to stroke Petey’s beard.

Petey would sit there, his old eyes wandering off, perhaps replaying 55 years of would be first dates on the busted projector in his mind, but he would never flinch. At first Thomas stroked it out of curiosity. He had never seen a beard that long, thick, and well manicured. His hands navigated it like blades through a field of wheat; his fingers following the curls left and right like a school child’s maze. In his youth Petey could have been mistaken for Santa Claus’s younger more handsome brother, Hanz, but now the differences were quite obvious. Petey had wasted away, appearing more like a large thin spider shoved into the old saggy skin suit of a man, then the sibling of a cheery, plump, universal hero.

Thomas would leave for school promptly at 8am and walk through the dark living room where Petey sat seemingly melded to his ancient worn recliner. He would stroke the ever-growing beard and whisper into the closest old ear ,“don’t forget.” Thomas would let the smallest peak of light in through the front door as he’d leave and shut it so fast you’d think Petey was Nosferatu. That daily dose of Vitamin D was all Petey got, and it’s all he had seen in the last five years. He had moved so little in that time that the doorframe of light he was exposed to for such a minimal period on a daily basis had formed a sun burn of sorts striping his solemn face. The crack of light had left a narrow pole splitting his static mug in two.

Petey had fought in all the great wars; at least that’s what his mind would tell him. In reality he prepared pancakes for the troops in South Korea for three days until the third fateful morning standing too close to the window overlooking the Geum River, he was struck with a piece of shrapnel which promptly pierced through his apron covered belly, lodging itself in his spinal cord and splitting his anterior spinal artery. He stood in shock and listened as his stomach gurgled and unplugged like a cork from a bottle of Shiraz, dripping life all over the waxed floor. Petey wouldn’t walk again. He would barely hobble, and each year he would lose more feeling in the lower half of his body until 1965 when he was forced into the wheelchair that would confine him for the rest of his days.

About this time Petey would roll around the neighborhood on these, (oddly enough Korean) man-made wheels, losing all contact with the earth he once loved. He would sit his children on his numb knees and bounce them around with feeble arms. He would make up stories about his injury, playing up the fable as if he was the owner of a big blue ox. His family loved him but he lost touch with the world. Visits to the grocery store became less frequent; joining his wife in their marital bed became such a daunting feat for Petey he compared it to climbing a flight of never-ending stairs. The chair jailed him from the world he once thought he would rule. His ambitions of running for public office didn’t even succeed in his daydreams any longer. He missed the birth of his first grandchild because he was taught from an early age first impressions are everything. He didn’t want the small new born to see him as the caged monster he felt people perceived him as.

Eventually trips out of the house were avoided all together, and trips to the window became a vacation from the darkness of his chair. Petey would sit by the window for hours watching as the neighborhood children played war, none of them ever ending up as old quadrupeds rotting away. He thought about how glamorous war was to youth, and wondered how many children would have met their early demise if finger guns had finger bullets. Petey would watch the neighbors mow their lawns and he’d imagine a horribly misplaced sprinkler causing a cacophony of sound as an orgy of metal and shards rocket through his window and end his tortured life. These thoughts brought down the blinds and kept Petey away from the window.Finally sometime around 2001 close to the birth of his first great grandchild, Thomas, Petey stopped moving all together.

As Thomas matured he began to look at his great grandfather as one of the porcelain dogs in mid action he’d littler his mantle with. Great grampy was a fixture in the living room much like a plant you’d water and feed. The only thing that grew on Petey was his beard and his longing for a release. Thomas would prop himself up on Gramp’s knees to watch Spongebob. He would laugh and look at his great-grandfather hoping for some response or acknowledgment. How can he keep such a stern face when a talking starfish can’t find his pants Thomas would wonder. But Petey would stair off like some Jedi knight convinced he could make the television explode.

When Thomas would return from school around 3pm each afternoon he would crack the door, (adding to Petey’s obscure tan), and slip into the darkened room. He would slowly walk past his great grandfather and rake his hands through his luscious beard. He would whisper into the oldest and closest ear, “don’t forget, I love you.” Petey would try to smile, he would try and force his facial muscles into a Cheshire cat grin but the most he could muster was a small lip quiver and a groan. He loved his great grandson, and oddly saw some of himself in this young human being. The irony was not lost on Petey when Thomas learned to cook and exhibited an affinity for pancakes. He would never make Easy Mac, or PB &J, or cereal for an after school snack. Instead he would make a short stack, smother it in maple syrup, crack open the blinds a tad and turn on his favorite movie “The Bamboo Prison.” Thomas would sit, obliviously propped on Petey’s knees, ingesting his after school snack, as tears would stream down his great grandfathers face. The irony was not lost on Petey, as he would see the familiar war images on tv and hear the shallow battle calls of 5 year old fallen soldiers in the streets as finger guns brought them to their staged deaths.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ice Cream

I am walking down the street when I see a little boy enjoying an ice cream cone. He is a pleasant looking child, no more than 5 years old. He stands 4 feet 6 inches, with big, blue eyes and sandy colored hair. I find it odd that he is alone, and I smile to myself. Then he looks up at me. A blank expression.

As soon as our eyes meet, I stop walking. I cannot help but feel extremely uncomfortable. I can't pinpoint the feeling. Nausea? No. Nervousness? No. Do I know this kid from somewhere? No... It sort of reminds me of the feeling I got in my balls when I peered over the edge of the Grand Canyon last summer and saw my life flash before my eyes. Not pain. Just discomfort. Suddenly a feeling of sadness washes over me, flooding my body. I am literally staring at this kid. Standing over him and staring into him. Staring through him. I can't look away. Just as I begin weeping the feeling swerves off in another direction. The sadness turns to anger, then to hatred. Then to clarity. An answer. As if he shot the idea out of his eyes, and planted it directly into my forehead. Into my brain. I know what I must do.

I quickly stagger toward the boy and whip him in his stupid, little face with the back of my hand. The ice cream cone falls to the ground and the top scoop rolls off the sideway into a sewer drain. Of course he's crying. What a fucking loser. What has he ever fucking done with his sad, fucking life? Sit around and eat fucking ice cream? Ice Cream? Despicable. A sad excuse for a human being.

Now the sound of his sobbing is overwhelmingly offensive to my ears. Soul crushing. I hit him again. He starts to scream. A jackhammer next to my bed at 6 AM on a Sunday. That's exactly what it fucking sounds like.

I've had enough of this insignificant, little asshole's bull shit. I need to silence this kid.

I push him down and grab his ankles. His soft, little body is weightless. I hold him upside down by his legs, and whip him up behind the back of my head. I don't hesitate another moment. With all of my might, I pull him up and forward, over my head and forcefully slam him down into the sidewalk in front of me. There is a deafening crack when his skull shatters and the screaming stops. I continue to whip... Crack... his body... Crack... against the sidewalk... Crack... until his bones are nothing but dusty shards in the bottom of a human sack of bloody flesh... Thump... Now I'm finished.

I force the shitty, little bag of bones down the sewer drain. It gurgles and oozes with blood. The sound of flatulence. There is a wet slap when it hits the cement on the bottom of the man made precipice. It probably landed on that vanilla scoop. I laugh. I feel a sense of relief now. I'm going to have a great day. I continue to walk down the street.


Friday, March 19, 2010

We take a story break to share a fully sprouted new spring mix from Gator, please enjoy: BLOOM

The calendar year begins January 1st, but it doesn't really feel like a real new year until March 20th. The first day of spring is like a Boy Scout merit badge. You made it through winter, mostly unscathed, and as a reward you get a nice shiny new sunny day to pin to your belt. All that cold gross winter stuff was so last year. Now you're invigorated. This year will be different This year will have flip-flops and shorts. This year will have flowers and birds. This year will have tons of happy music. The kind of music you need to roll the windows down in the car in order to really appreciate. Music that makes you build a tree house or plant a garden. Music so hopeful it seems to inspire the sun to stay up longer and longer with each passing day. "Bloom" features all new songs that celebrate this new year. Though some of the songs may flirt with summer exuberance, make sure not to look too far ahead. You made it through winter and spring is your victory lap. Take some time to stop and hear the music.

Download Bloom here:


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Brief Dream Thought

A site through a window in
Valley Village.

Dismembered dismal daughter;
English Porter Father;
"Dance Please Gentleman" brother;
Untamed, irritable mother

the dog barks, a mimic of a bigger dogs bark.

They sit down for dinner in their
work clothes.

and you were there.

napkins folded and napped
silverware silvered with ware
plates plattered with Po-tatoes
Pour wine for a heritage twice removed
poor wine, a heritage lost and forgotten.

A silence unparalleled;
we both were there.

How was your day?
Nay (neigh?), your week, your month, your year, your horse?
Your profession, what is it?
A postman, poppa?
The garden, momma; blooming, fresh, fragrant?
Sister, how many years are you now? still leading cheer?

I remember now,
we are all here.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I and Like and You

Love and a mix tape from our newest of contributors:

On last year’s I and Love and You The Avett Brothers mused upon those three words that became hard to say. This mix reflects long before that point, when it’s all unknown and exciting and the three hardest words to say are I and like and you. Luckily, Valentine’s Day comes around every year and Cupid gives those apprehensive ones a gentle push to revealing their true feelings.

Since there have been crushes, there’s been tools out there to report the crush. Flowers, cards, and chocolates have been staples for generations. But, since the birth of cassette tape, there’s been the mix tape and it’s trumped all sweets as the best way to capture one’s heart. Us mortals may not possess the skill set to verbalize eloquently just how far our passions reach, but luckily our favorite artists are our mediums that put into words what we feel. As fun as it is to give a mix to your crush, it’s doubly as exciting to get a mix from your crush. You become instantly transformed in to a crazy haired conspiracy theorist, dissecting each lyric, looking for any sort of sign that this song, this verse, is about you. When you do make that transcendent connection between lyrics, to truth, to you, it’s one of the more visceral musical moments. All of a sudden it’s no longer just a song, it’s a secret between you and your mix maker.

This mix has a bunch of new, sweet, fun and moving love songs (there’s also a lot of covers for some reason). Please send it to whomever your crush is, whether they know you like them or you’re a secret admirer. If there’s no one special in your life don’t fret, just listen to this mix over and over again until your confidence builds so much that when you do find someone, those three words will be easy to say: I and like and you.

Download | V-Day Mixtape | I and Like and You


Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Farmer's Son


The plastic arrowhead water bottle eases back down to the brown stained wooden desk it’s come to marry over the years.

“qwwwa,” “qwaaaaa,”

Yellow and green viscous liquid dribbles down the thin plastic rim to meet its thick brown cousin. The smell of old moldy mint and rich leather fills the air of the tiny dimly lit room. A tarnished green antique lamp sits at the corner of the desk Leonard has so awkwardly deposited himself behind (visual: an elephant shoved into a horses stable). It has been in Leonard’s family for generations and it still serves its purpose well, shedding light on the 1998 IBM holding the Phillip’s fortunes . . .. and, unusually, quite a respectable amount of fetish porn (Animal Husbandry, only literal).

Farming is business and business is farming,” or that was the closest thing to a motto the family abided by. It was carved into most of their doorposts, carved into all four desk legs, and muttered every dinner with prayer; it’s origins really a mystery. Leonard’s brother Jeb even went so far as to get it tattooed on his own hide; infection only lasted 3 days ending in an unexpected addition to the family plot and the farming business in Leo’s lap. Tattoos were out from then on, and like all dynasty’s Leonard was happy to be living his father’s life. Old family hearsay would explain that when this strangest of phrases first was challenged it was cause for a shouting match between Lee’s great great Grampy Ted and his partner at the time Ronald Pillsbury. Words were had, three shots were fired, blood was spilled and two bottles of scotch emptied before the men came to an agreement. The motto would stay and Ronald would try his luck in another occupation; something that put less stress on his small feminine hands and jealous soul, perhaps baking would work for the young food enthusiast.

“Spfft, spffft.”

More brown grainy fluid runs down the easy grip ridges of the sport bottle. Good Ol’ Leo picks the hardened tobacco from out between his thick fingernails and rubs the residue from his calloused hands.

“Alice, we got anymore mint grizzly!?”

“Nah Lee, you been goin’ through that stuff like its free beer day at the Limpton Fair.”

Leo adjusts the chew, feels the good burn and looks up from his computer to the open door.

“Sheeeee-itt, well how bout the Copenhagen Rodney got me for my birthday this year, we had two cases.”

Silence as Leo and his wife hold a beat; the most predicament of predicaments for sure. He looks around the office, studies it, as if answers to unasked questions lay within its walls and floors. And what an office it is; straight out of Farmer’s Office monthly. The blinds stained with layers of dust and something that looks like old Campbell’s tomato soup; the floor formerly covered in linoleum but now more closely resembling a human skin rug with a horrifying case of Vitiligo.

“Damn’t Lee, I’m trying to get my dress cleaned up for the meeting, you know this; been planning it for months, try the dresser next to Little Ray’s room, and for god’s sake put on your good overalls.”

Little Ray’s room, little Ray’s room? He couldn’t go near there, how could he approach such a foreboding reminder of the past, not today.

You see, it is true and can be attested to that Ray’s room is off limits; Lee’s wife Randy knew it, Lee knew it, even the dog knew it. It’s been off limits ever since Randy instituted the sanction on the rambunctious 5 year olds room two years ago after his bed was found empty and his window left open. The room was a reminder, a relic of sorts, owed to parental negligence. This room was an after school special hosted by Dean Cain and a trip to 6 months worth of couples therapy. But on second thought maybe today was the day to walk by Ray’s room, to turn on the lights, to dust off his old toys, to change the sheets on his bed and make his favorite meal. . . .a welcome home of sorts. This day shall further forth be deemed “Little Ray Day!!!” . . . . .Let’s not get carried away.

Leonard was a farmer, his father Harry a farmer, his father before that and before that and a century before that; all farmers. Leonard knew his calling; he would take walks with Ray and in a very paternal way explain that all of these acres of natures joy would someday be his own. Ray would listen attentively while sucking blackberries and studying his fathers face. Leo would mimic the Lion King in a very Jeff Foxworthy meets James Earl Jones sort of way claiming “Everything the light touches is our kingdom.” Ray would smile like it was free cotton candy day at the Limpton fair, grabbing his father’s thick stained fingers while imagining himself a young farmer, with a wife, a golden named Sammie, and a fondness for the chew much like his father. Ray’s dreams were Leo’s dreams, were the dreams of a whole line of Phillips; the force was strong in these men. Ray already had responsibilities; he maintained the chicken coop, he brought the slop to the pigs, he rode a John Deer jr. right next to his father as they surveyed their golden corn in the late summer evenings. These were the same chickens that went unnoticed and began to reek of death when Ray disappeared, the pigs that slowly starved and began to decompose like the town’s memory for young Ray, and the little tractor that hadn’t moved an inch except to sink since Ray had gone missing.

The town had mourned, search parties had been sent out, dogs had been rewarded with treats for their hard work, but the trail was cold. Ray had seemingly vanished from the small Kentucky town that he had called home his short five years on earth. Overtime Leonard became complacent; he would lock himself in his office, again searching the walls and floors for answers to whispers of questions. He started to rot away quite literally and figuratively as chew became his diet and his teeth started to pull away from his skull. Randy mourned in a different way; bathing 10 times a day was her way of ignoring her impulses for a sweet final release. She would wash her hands manically and clean every inch of the home; but if her eye should ever spot a bit of filth she would scrub until her hands bled. The deep, sticky, red leading to more "filth," which she would then try to scrub again from her hands and floor only adding to the mess and obsession. Leo’s office was off limits to her and it remained one of the last signifiers of how cruel time had been to the Phillips. The soil, animals, and crops were dead and farming didn’t seem a hell of a lot like Leonard’s business any more.

But today, today is the day the grass starts growing again; today the Phillip’s wake from their dismal two-year slumber. A letter had come in the mail two months ago to the day, the writing was unfamiliar, the address was obscured, but the message was clear. For some reason or another, from some person or another Ray would return. What had been gained, why’d he been taken, where are the answers? None of that clear, but he would return to rule the kingdom and till the land like Phillips before and before. Randy believed; and Leo, well Leo had to believe or else his destruction would truly be complete. So today was a happy, joyous day. It was Randy and Leonard getting ready for church, it was family dinner at Denny’s, for god’s sake it was joyous like the Limpton Fair. It was a day for the best overalls, the best dress, pomade slathered hair, only one shower for Randy, and the promise that Leo would quit the chew that had quite unfortunately burned holes through his gums. This was the rebirth after the apocalypse for the Phillips.

So Leonard tentatively mounts the creaky wooden stairs in search of the Copenhagen; a last fix. One last wad and then spit it out for little Ray’s grand arrival; a trade even: his crutch for his sons loving embrace. With each stair a new weight seemingly falls from his body, with each stair a month of stress shed and a younger man revealed. He makes his way down the haunted hallways towards the room preserved in time and a small humming can be heard, a familiar song, yet not a song Leonard knew. A gust of wind dances down the hall as he gets closer to Ray’s room and the hum become’s audible. Around the corner, an open window, a cold gust of air shocks his senses as the curtains violently jerk about. Little Ray’s drawings and scribbles of short stories blow about the room as if to communicate. It looks like a proud parents refrigerator exploded. Leonard get’s closer to the window confused, did Randy open it up to air out the room? As he approaches he spots something nearly covered by the bookshelf, in the corner kneels a small, dirty, frail thing; the source of the sound. It teeters back and forth slowly with its chin resting on one knee, a switchblade in hand carving something into the old dry wood. With each breath Leonard creeps closer as the little unaware human brushes wood chips away from his messages. Leo sucks in his breath and holds it, approaching this young living definition of suspicion and notices the whole floor has been carved, every board covered in words. Could this be young Ray? After two years could he really be back like Leo and Randy had hoped and prayed? As he gets closer to this child he realizes that not only has he carved something into the wood, he has carved these words into his own skin over and over again. Blood leaks from his body finding its way through the literary maze of scabs covering his frame and culminating at the handle of the knife. As he carves his hand drips visceral cave drawings all over the floor. Leonard gets closer to this mystery child and notices a familiar birthmark on his right forearm. He reads the scratch that can be found virtually everywhere on this small child and within this small room: “Farming is business and business is Farming.”


Wednesday, January 27, 2010


It was the New Year by now, Jim imagined.

Time slows down in the cold, and when you lose track and can’t access the $75 a month clock/alarm that makes calls, but you don’t make any, and receives calls, but you don’t get any, time goes a lot slower. His eyes seemingly bugging out of his noggin, tears freezing down his cheek…luckily, a bubble, he remembered, would help him breathe.

He just went out for one more run before finalizing the décor of the party and joining his friends. A quick one, to pick up a little adrenaline he calls his ‘energy drink’. ‘Peace out’ to the pals he shouts and he’s gone. How quickly a wrong turn changes a night. You see, it all fell apart right here.

The type of friends Jim has? They’re great. Love to party. Best dudes. From college they never stopped the party, jumping from one reason to another to destroy what they’ve all saved up since college to call their homes. On rotation this New Year? Jim ‘Beam’ Bauman. As you presumably derived, Jim rocks the whiskey…and its what will save his life that night.

The unfortunate side affect of having friends whose M.O. it is to party (hardy), is that friendship comes second to ice luge, beirut, flip cup and pound the tequila. The last one they made up sophomore year of college. Ingenious really. You see the rules are; Pound the tequila till you throw up, and if you throw up in the bottle, your punishment is to bring the bottle to every party thereafter and take shots from it until the bottle is done. Torture, humiliation, hilarity.

It wasn’t until about 2am into the new year when Tom, the adult(erer) of the group, stumbling around his mouth with his tongue somehow managing to ask “Heyg…you guys…where’s Jims? He’s supposed to come overg right?! Where even is he, right??!

Jim’s legs stopped shaking by this point, the cold coming through his boots has started feeling warm. He thinks this is a good sign. When he breaks it all down, its really not likely anyone is going to come find him, so he waits. Could he access his phone, its not even likely he can tell anyone where he is. Not only has the cold started clouding his vision, but the whiskey he’s been nursing out of his trusty extra large flask has his tongue as stumbly as Tommy back at the top.

Tom the Adulterer, the eldest of the pals, got his name from trying aggressively to sleep with all the guy’s girlfriends throughout their relationships. He had a 46% success rate once the relationships ended, and a 2.33% (repeating, of course) success rate while they were still in full swing. Tom’s an asshole, but they keep him around. Why? He’s great, loves to party, best dude.

Marky, the benevolent drunk, reminds Tom that they are currently IN Jim’s condo, so yah, he was sort of supposed to make an appearance, and finishes his statement with ‘idiot’. They pour, they cheers, they shoot, they repeat. Marky, its important to know, still carries around his slightly discolored bottle of Cuervo gold from 2007. Its like a loan you can’t wait to pay back. Only six more payments! Only six more parties! At least that’s how many Marky thinks it’ll take to finally be through with his ‘pound the tequila’ punishment. Then he’ll retire (no he won’t).

Jim worries now. It feels like days! He’s exaggerating. Wondering if he should piss where he is or hold it till he can find somewhere less gross…which might not be for a while. He pisses. At least its warm. Knowing the type of guys he surrounds himself with, selfish, inconsiderate, unfaithful…he feels a sort of, well, DOOM. In his mind he’s envisioning a wild party back at his condo with one of his friends in their underwear, at least one, maybe two broken lamps, and empties strewn about the bathtub. This ritual, with likeness to the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese, is called the beer pit. Yes, that man in his underwear will end up in the beer pit, and most likely come out with at least one bad cut and will proceed to ruin Jim’s white towels. Jim doesn’t see them noticing he’s gone, which means a search party won’t come, but at least he’s laughing at the events to be. They’re great. Love to party. Best dudes.

Back at the party, Brendo, in his underwear, is about to sit his fat ass in the beer pit. He will slip, glass will break, he will need to go to the hospital, the crowd will eat it up. Marky will ask, “was it worth it” and Brendo passing out from shock will say, “it was worth it”.

Jim hears sirens in the distance. He jams his empty flask into the roof above to break through and give whatever signal he can. “NO WAY, They fucking called a search party for me!” No they didn’t. Brendo is bleeding way too much for all of Jim’s white towels to handle so those are medics, and Jim is still fucked. As the sound fades he shouts, “One last run. One last run before the party and now I am going to die in an igloo. I’m a fucking figurine in a snow globe. Happy 2010…I’m getting new friends!”

As Jim rants, so far, he’s only heard the sound of his own voice echoing off the confined walls of his tomb. His voice trails off as he hears the sound of footsteps. Imaginary or not, his flask disappears revealing a blinding beam of light. Either God finally popped the cork and he’s on his way to heaven (somehow, rather than hell), or that’s the greedy hand of Bub, the freeloading borrower of things never to be returned, trying to skeef Jim’s flask. Bub shouts out, “this is Jim’s flask, but its empty. Greedy fucker leaves a clue, but no reward”.

The guys, after seeing Brendo into an ambulance safely, decided to go out on Jim’s ‘energy drink’ run to see if something might have gone wrong. Equipped with the proper tools and several one million candle power flashlights, they went into the night. Turns out, the flask reflected all one million candles perfectly back into Bubs eyes.

After digging Jim out and laughing at him for smelling like piss and whiskey, they share a round hugs, happy new years’ and shots of wild turkey they took from Jim’s liquor cabinet. As they make their way back to the condo. Tom announces to Jim he’s sorry. He put the moves on Jim’s girlfriend, but not to get mad at her, in her defense she was, and still is passed out in Jim’s bed. If Jim wasn’t so frozen solid, Tom would be joining Brendo in the E.R. In the time it takes to get back, it’ll blow over. Tom’s great, they love to party and together they are the best dudes.

To celebrate, they play a game of pound the tequila. Marky will lose. Poor guy.

- Seven-Butter