Tuesday, October 18, 2011


It's been just over a week now since my cousin floated down the stemmed aisle of the local Unitarian church clad in an ivory shock of matrimonial light, the venison-rich skin of her father, my uncle Larry, who after a dashed decade of spilled calendar squares once pressed the hand of my father into his chest informing us that his staggering cancer-accompanied pulse was no longer bleating out whole notes in this kaleidoscopic vortex of reality, escorting his daughter, his left arm christened like a tourniquet stiffly fastened in euclidean right angles, waltzing through the arterial center of the autumnally adorned house of worship as guests and relatives alighted their pews as if on thespian cue turning in militant unison, facing the sight of a father walking in tandem tempo with his second-born progeny basked in a heavenly heralding tempest-like fugue of baroque music flagellating currents into the front of the building before answering a simple-sentence query presented from a gruff and jovial-countenanced Lutheran minister ( whom when I would ask him at the reception later that night, soulfully shitfaced and two classical music sheets to the wind, what his favorite harvest Lutheran hymn was and to which he replied THY STRONG WORD, to which I drunkenly volleyed back in chirped retort (sounding somewhat like Juno) 'No way dude, NOW THANK WE ALL OUR GOD or COME THOU FOUNT OF EVERY BLESSING!!!') The limbs of my uncle failing limp as he back-steps, kissing his daughter on the cheekbone before conversely drifting in a stunted half-shuffle ball-chain into his seat. The bride hovering free like a dove into the altar of whatever God there is, released, standing next to the coiffed haired-lad who has been standing with his palms clasped in the center of his torso, sentinel-stationed like a defender in a soccer match trying to thwart the cleated advancement of a corner kick, yet standing and smiling, before accepting the lithe arms of the woman in white, smiling like he is touching the creature of his every waking-wet dream. My cousin. An angel named Shawnee-wanee.

 It was an idyllic autumnal wedding, the crisp zinfandel flavored light of an early October near dusk squinted like a periscope through the century old stain glass of the church in a Keatsian wink, an autumnal bouquet thanksgiving dinner bucolic centerpiece. There was the bride and there was the groom and there was my uncle and there was family. The baritone bullfrog-yawp of Grandpa Salm strutting dignified with sly plywood smile and pinned tie into the cathedral. My aunt Chris looking ravishing, like an opera singer, dressed in her red gown flapping down her back. A bevy of bridesmaids chicly attired in pear-nuanced gowns. My refulgent sister Beth amongst them ferrying a lilac, leading the procession. A flower girl the size of a good year tire tossing leafy harvested remnants in confetti like fashion. There was family, my cousin Matthew (now Rev'd ) and his benevolent spouse Robin and their adorable daughter Lara Ruby prancing between them wild eyed and curious because at a year and a half the world is a bubble of overhead warbling sounds fraught with knee-high wonder. My beautiful sister Jenn flying in with her husband from New York looking striking in a dripping lavender gown, like an orchid pinned south in dyslexic homecoming boutonni√®re fashion saluting her violin, a tangible treble clef note extended from her chin. The classy peripatetic photographer randomly squatting like human checkers across the contours of the building, clicking the snout of her Nikkon, looking at me as if I just graduated from a gradeschool BOOKIT!! variation of GOOSE BUMPS when I tell her I'm a writer later on that night at the reception. My mother and myself cleaning up the church post-ceremony while outside an encouraging chorus of kazoos (in lieu of sprinkled rice) chauffeurs the newly christened nuptial duet to the reception hall in petite high-pitched puffs, plastic nasal sneezes of joy.

And this is family.

Waylaying my sister/brother-in-law, arriving formidably late to the reception at the Contemporary Art Guild b/c I insist on showing them the contours of my cool writer's apartment exactly one block from the living room where our late father used to read to us every night after dinner (even doing the voices, no one did a better crunchy-andm,unchy riddled gurgi from Taran Wanderer), my thespian brother-in-law informing me that the commodious linoleum panelings of my bathroom alone would run what I'm paying for the unit in its entirety in New York, before surprising my sibling Jenn with a visit with Shannon Moore, who was bartending at the neon-clover that is Champs West, one of my favorite local west-side watering hovels (Can't beat Pam's six dollar daily lunches) arriving at the reception, optically splattering into the lens of the past like a mosquito on an interstate windshield-- wading in a parched pond of visages familiar from a collected childhood of Sunday mornings—The Bremers. The Lelms, My old Lutheran geography teacher Mr. Teske (climate is what you do to a mountain) informing me that after 20 years my eighth grade record in the mile had finally been shattered at the Lutheran school where I once attended (sniff!!!) My cool fifth grade teacher Mrs. Reinhardt. Mr and Mrs. Best. Sue and Reggie Lee. The Button's arriving from Colorado the way they used to every Christmas when we were kids. Candy Schudde. Carolyn Koch who, at something like 95, still clangs away into the keyboard of the organ in liturgic fashion every Sunday. There was family and there was booze (of course) cause when our family congregates we always pray first before stolidly imbibing with an earnest amen. The keg of Sam Adams Harvest ale which, when poured, looks like a carbonated autumnal leaf, not even lasting through the Avanti's catered dinner as we listened to my elegant cousin Amanda alight her chalice while imparting a dulcet wedding toast about her nearest sibling. A keg of Coors light quickly consumed to tapped hisses and wedding-at- Canaan like suds. And wine. Crates of high-caliber ambrosia catered from California stacked on top of each other if in an offertory of succulence, awaiting to be comfortably quaffed as the Jazz trio (led by Bradley Prof. Tim Kelly) chimed in the background and dancing periodically ensued.

And there was family.

Hanging out with my cool brother-in-law Dr. Dan O'Brien (who I always boast that mom won the son-in-law lottery when Beth snagged him) drinking beer and laughing in a convivial tilt while talking about the latest Ken Burns documentary, talking with Kevin (who named both of his dogs after a dual titled JD Salinger novel) and Hannah and Rachel and Kristen. Uncle Albert who always looks like a Scottish dignitary, toasting a beer like a scepter while toting a smile across his raspberry countenance. My aunt Linn, the mother of the bride, who taught us all piano when we were young. Hanging out with cool Todd (a bad-ass marine with a cool Harley Davidson-slash- PBR fetish) and his wife, my favorite cousin and fellow biblical black sheep of the family Brianna in which the following conversation duly transpired:

DVB to his favorite cousin Brianna (trying not to overtly ogle her pronounced cleavage): Did you get a boob job??

Cousin Bri to DVB: No, I just had a kid.

DVB to favorite cousin Brianna: Oh, so you must be lactating then.... (note: I accidentally called Little Gracie May L'il Reba inadvertently by mistake...a very homeresque Simpson like “D'oh!!”)
There was other highlights of course, chief amongst them the bride herself brandishing a translucent electric guitar in lieu of a bouquet, looking like a blindingly white keyhole, a luminous metaphysical socket to the locked door of heaven as she stood in front of the audience and caroled forth a song she composed herself to her life-partner, her heart, somehow, reverberating through her lips with every solitary strum (Us damn Von Behern's can't do anything without writing a song, or a play or a poem—the day I meet a female who writes me a song or a poem is the day I get hitched). A wedding cake where the perfunctory caricatured bride and groom saluting the top were configured out of enlarged leggos (it was cool. Trust me). My dearest Mom handing me a rubber band to wound back the stem of my feral long-haired recently dyed tresses, so damn crimson it looked like I just bobbed for apples in a vat of menstruating-seasoned cranberry juice endorsed by Pippi Longstocking. My beautiful cousin Jayma pummeling me in front of the sexy bartender, her fist the size of a human heart or four month old gestating embryo who has just sloughed his fins, pelting me three times in a row in the face after I made a flippant comment regarding her former inamorata (you know I love Evan). And then somehow it happened. All at once. As if swathed in stuttered slow motion applause. It was that moment when somehow it all happened, all at once, time collapsing in on itself like a pyramid of self-wrought poker cards. Somehow, in that moment, it happened. The bride dancing, delicately pinching the front of her wedding gown as if harnessing the reins to some unknown carriage destined for propitious coastlines of greatness. The family skirting across the dance floor buffeted by an electric breeze in a jostle of limbs and calculated movements. My sister Beth making lasso like movements with her arm leading the bevy of kin while Rev'd Matthew contorts his facial muscles in jest every time someone tells him to smile as the author grappled a filched bottle of vino by the glassy esophagus of its neck, taking intermittent swigs as his recently dyed hair bats against his cheekbones, suddenly, realizing in a state of almost cathartic-like awakening that suddenly, this corsage of cousins, a gaggle of Lovable Lutheran nerds who all wore thick glasses and were shuffled into a church pew as if in the back of Grandma Bev's old Buick, this blood nest of cousins who all ran track and played in marching bands/orchestras and performed pantomimes and (insufferable) plays for the adults every thanksgiving and donned dated acolyte gowns and sang in youth choir; this group of cousins whose television was books and who were rendered in drafty houses with parent's harboring open bibles and who budgeted yet devoutly tithed bowing the stems of their necks and prayed in devotional deference before every meal, somehow in that moment, under the variegated-stutter of the dance floor, there was family and we were one and there was an interior awakening that the purloined incubation period that is adolescence and we had hatched into identities we were somehow destined to become. Not that we were quote “adults” (ick) but that, together, our family, the phuckin' Von Behren clan, had finally become what we were supposed to simply , as individuals, to be and will invariably continue to stretch, unfold and somehow become.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Down by the riverfront, or so it’s been chanted
Lies a building where the ninth month of the year has been duly supplanted
Replaced by a vector of little bohemia
by artists and musicians and poets who speak in alteration and onomatopoeia
congregating en masse where art adorns the wall
in the month playing host to the equinox that is fall
all sharing their works in a bouquet of leafy foliage
Orchestrated by a simple painter, and the name of the month he decided to pillage
They gathered agog in this aesthetic den, artistic lair
So join us know as we reminisce over each calendar square.

We listened to stories snuck in a few frigid Pabsts
and devoutly supported the cause presented by TAPS
the ghost accompanied the bass in ambient shrills
to the work of Mr. Ankrum which gave me the chills
especially when the reverb resonated oh so lo
before hearing the story of awakening by Jeremy and co.

What a joy it always is to wade in the dulcet imagery
compliments of Miss Jessica Stephenson
John Phillips facebook profile features a quote from Mason and Dixon
and whose prose is reminiscent of a prow from a ship
skidding vowels into an unknown sea
read in a gallery offering caffeinated samples from a company called broken tree
The maverick known as DAZ was on hand to transcribe
and optically chronicle while poets’ imbibe
He details winged guinea pigs in an art sine called Faerie
and how cool it was to have an intellectual discussion with a lass named Cheri

Adam read his narrative straight from the text
and that Krazy long haired poet who always writes about sex
and the human experience which is often lonely and hard
Aaron Strickland always tells it like it is a carefree drunken bard
next to works of art that will leave you still life awe and feeling full inside
while basking to the syncopated chimes of Suit en tie guy
who played along with View from Mothership, Gush in Cloud in thrashing loops
while the audience orbited their torso's in one Miss Lynn's hulahoops
That hillbilly southern song writer whose voice remind me of Lucinda Williams, I reckon'
Derrick sang straight from the last name of his Hart which beckons
acoustic twangs above the art shows heralding neon brow
Check out that cool guitar buy chief journalist Justin Glawe!!!!

There is art that will destroy you and make yer heart tilt
Not to mention the worlds largest polyurethane bag quilt
Artists like Keith Wilson, Wes Duffy, Connie Fauth have been in
KT DID creates art and she doesn't even have a drivers license
Phoebe attacks the canvas in striking agitated blows
her art dances in tandem to the colorings rendered by Kathy Oh.
There is Anthony's Couri's anatomical homage to the late marquis de sade
and a room dedicated to a sexy artist named Raghead
Some of the most alluring paintings that I have ever seen
and man, you just have to experience firsthand the work of eddie the fucking art machine...

….And then in the back perhaps if you squint you shall see him
the artist whom the month was named after in filched appropriation
the gallery's now most conspicuous tenant
interviewed on television by the infamous Joe Benett
You'll see him stroking the canvas with mellifluous intent
wild paint splattering, pent up sperm recently spent
ejaculated across the forehead of the canvas in searing encores!!!
as the audience screams out I WONT BE BROKEN ANYMORE!!!
Akin to Kerouac's roman candles, the Soul at both ends that doth burn
the spirit that ascends while the flesh achingly yearns
for a metaphsyical union while eventually you glean
that art is a reflection, it is your own life that has meaning
..so those times you are lonely and down on your luck
those souls who are there for you and people who fuck
you over and over when you have no where to go
There is a place on Jefferson, It's called the Art Show
with artist that are polite and vivacious and somehow never curt
watch out for numerous sightings of Erich Gilbert
when music and readings take place we will always dim the lamps that are best
paying homage Will's legendary readings held Champs West
and in between acts perhaps with a prayerful chest lull
discern art and poetry is alive and sometimes nocturnal
in this little art gallery Hannah covered on Solitary Journal
ferrying downtown so much sprinkled euphoria
the building David Foster wallace mentions in his novel set in Peoria
A toast of gratitude or apt elegy to be sure
to thank you so much for coronating this month of September
like tonic sans the gin it would be an alchemical-sin
not to thank visiting artist Christopher Robin Keller
and the Curator, the Lovely Miss Gavra Lynn....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My marriage to Kim Kardashian.....

I would ardently like to evince my sincere gratitude to everyone who sent me condolences at the news of my recent divorce from (in)sapid socialite Kim Kardashian, who, even though she tortuously tweeted and texted incessantly during the wedding ceremony itself ( When I volleyed out the plenary ‘I do,’ I swear she verbally retorted in high pitched glittery feminine falsetto, “Mountain Dew, too.” while swiveling her porcelain chin into her lithe shoulder blade like an empty windmill before stating, “I know, right?”) will always be considered the unalloyed love of my life. For all of my dear friends’ in the mid-west unable to attend the wedding ceremony 72 days ago, a brief synopsis follows:
 The beach side Los Angeles wedding convened with the coifed comb over of Justin Bieber who was requested by the bride herself to pay homage to this great plutocratic nation of ours by singing the national anthem in front of a bevy of chicly-attired millionaires in attendance to which he did nothing but blather out the fourth vowel of the alphabet followed by the word “Canada” making me feel like my nuptial nosedive was nothing more than the prelude to a hockey game—a portent which perhaps proved all too apt. Lindsay Lohan served as the flower girl who, in lieu of errantly tossing petals, lost several sallow-flavored teeth en route to the altar and then began making little olfactory cocaine-withdrawal snorting sounds granting her with the unsavory semblance of an emaciated sow awaiting slaughter
The bridesmaid’s were ravishing as they seemingly floated down the aisle adorned in florescent Versace drapes of couture glory with the exception of Lady Gaga who was wearing some sort of outfit that resembled a Christmas tree constructed out of expired slabs of turkey bacon which smelled just like the outside of the White castle where I lost my virginity in the back of a chevette junior year of high school to scarlet haired vocabulary-vixen Melissa Palomino (We were members of the high school thespian society and ironically just finished opening night of YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU) . Maid of honor Paris Hilton was equally as stunning only she forgot to brandish her bridesmaid bouquet which was stylishly supplanted, holding a cell phone in front of her like an unlit candle at an AIDS vigil, looking down into the forehead of her late-80’s gameboy shaped Blackberry snapping pictures of her self in medias stride while tweeting (later I read, via her status update on facebook) “OMG!!! Kant blive Im actualie walking down isle of Dave and Kim’s wedding!!! THEY OUR SEW CUTE!! OMG!!!OMG!!!OMGGGG!!!”
(Smiley face)
Since my best friends from the Midwest John and Mike were too busy drinking beer and watching the Whitesox topple out of playoff contention I employed Ashton Kutcher, Dr. Conrad Murray and Simon Cowell as makeshift groomsmen (Cowell being the only one who overtly objected during the ceremony snidely stating that the jigsaw-configured poultry constituting Lady Gaga’s attire would last formidably last longer in various shrink-wrapped incarnations than this marriage of so called true-minds). Prior to the ceremony the esteemed Dr. Conrad gave me several superficial slaps on the back fare-thee-well bachelorhood jabs informing me that he could prescribe something under the table if-you-know-what-I-mean to help get me through this only the medication might incur several nauseating side effects such as moon-like rendering seizures, solitary glove syndrome associated with new-found tax-bracket Alzheimers and possibly death.
I have to confess that the bride, the love of my life, Kim Kardashian looked like a pillar of angelic light as she floated down the stem of the aisle draped in a 400,000 dollar ivory gown. In fact she looked like everything I had ever wanted in a human being. As I looked at my future spouse encroaching the altar, awaiting for the moment our eyes would somehow slip into each others optical purview like a French kiss, I noticed that she too was holding a cell phone instead of the traditional botanical torch doing something with her thumbs resembling rapid involuntary twiddling.
The ceremony was delicate and svelte although I felt that I was the only one really pay attention to everything the minister (ted Dibiase, former Million Dollar Man wrestler turned preacher) was saying about love being something sacred and eternal and having to do with some sort of metaphysical wished-for fetter, finding the others pulse in every sunset and every smile. I kept looking at Kim tweeting (or twatting, a la Kathy Griffin) only I felt that she wasn’t paying much attention to the gravity of the ceremony. Like she was somehow afraid that something magical might transpire between us as dual viable human beings who have somehow, after 4 billion years of evolution, somehow found each other in this vacuum of time-space-reality and have decided to partake on this bubble of here-and now together as one being, if she would, if only for a second, stop looking into the nylon tint of her phone and float into my eyes.
Like the sight of my eyes could ferry her someplace she had never been before.
Twice, during the ceremony I looked at best man and fellow Midwesterner Ashton Kutcher waiting to see if I was perhaps being punked.
In strict almost occult-like accordance with Hollywood diets the food at the reception consisted entirely of what appeared
to be tofu-nuggets and various vegan platters ( a paparazzi caught me trying to filch a slab of turkey bacon off of Lady Gaga’s top, later disseminating that I couldn’t even wait until after the wedding ceremony was completed to carry on with my philandering) . Since all the beer served boasted things like only having 64 calories on the label, I had ordered a Keg of beamish and a pony keg of MOOSE DROOL (fine Montana russet-streamed ale) only when I poured myself two pints and began double-fisting I was accosted by Candy Finigan of INTERVENTION renown who stated that I had a problem and that I was in denial by employing copious amounts of alcohol to hide from certain hardcore and uncomfortable facets of reality. I look around at all my guests bent over into their cell phone tapping their thumbs and saying things like, “I know, right” as if it were the rosary and then hard-core slam the two quality beverages in front her cardboard-saturated visage before punctuating it with a beatific burp.
In the mens room I saunter into Charlie Sheen with his nose pressed against the parabolic lid of the toilet seat doing some sort of tribal dance while sounding like he is stuffed up. While standing splayed legged over the urinal I am accosted by R &B legend Ray J and some guy dressed in a bad 80’s tux from VIVID entertainment offering me enormous amounts of money if they could video tape the tantric silhouette-shaped contours of the incumbent honeymoon suite. As I give the virile baton constituting my virility an earnest shake and told them that I felt that some experiences I just wanted to share with one person and not promulgate to the bulk of humanity via visual dissemination, I remembered that I wanted to say something important to my new wife in front of all our friends. I rush out of the Mens room, pour myself another vat of Beamish and lift it in the air. I then look at my wife and begin quoting Shakespeare, sonnets about love being forever and eternal. Love not altering when its alterations find. Love being an ever-fixed mark.
As I look around I notice that everyone in the audience is tapping into the front of their phones I somehow recall that the poem by Shakespeare was the same poem I quoted to Melissa Palomino, the girl I lost my virginity to in the back of the chevette behind the White castle . I think about the moment I entered the damp welcoming spring-like southern hemisphere of her body and the sound her lips contorted and made, as if we were leaving the port of reality together, slowly as one, not sure where the future would find us or where we would perhaps ever decide to go only that our limbs would plough into it together taping off into desired nothingness, not being able to imagine what the future must be like, being able to see everything we have ever wanted to see and know everything we have ever wanted to know ensconced in the mitten-paw of our coital-corsage shaped hands and then gone.

Monday, July 04, 2011

It takes a tall man to cast a great big shadow, boy ( part aye.)

You arrive home between split shifts in the splattering hard nickel breath of late January just after dusk, the forehead of the planet bowed away from the nearest solar bulb so that everything is draped in a cape of winter ink. The stove is still on as you enter the backdoor, a propane Pentecostal bluish-hiss is heard as you wade inside as if being metaphysically reeled through the linoleum igloo-white of the kitchen, through the dining room where plates have been situated in front of the vacant ribcage of chairs. You see him in the living room where the geometric slate of the television is still on, seated in the pink recliner, his head tilted, body seated in the fashion of a upthroned patriarch at a renaissance fair who has just imbibed too much mead. His glasses are still on. His lips are contorted in a rubbery fashion that looks like a preschool mother’s day corsage craftily configured out of pipe cleaners and twist-ties. You touch the back of his neck. It is still warm the way that herbal tea might be described as being tepid in a caf√© menu. You ask him if he is okay. You shake his body gently at first and by the shoulders as if he were some sort of magic 8-ball at a junior high sleep over. You peel open the hush lid of his eyes. You shake him again, this time with distillated vigor. You clap your hands in front of his face. You tell him to snap out of it. You tell him to quit fucking around. You tell him to quit playing. It is like his body is some sort of limp question mark that has been trampled and pissed on and fortuitously placed at the end of a long run on stream-of-conscious sentence teeming with Joycean proportion, say the fleeting narrative blink that is one’s exhaled shot at the expired breath of existence.

You tell him to quit fucking around again. You shake him again. Your voice clads itself in an authoritative monotone devoid of either a scream or that of a yelp.

You reach for the phone with your thumb stamp out a singular nine and twin-tandem ones and tell them that you just arrived home from work and that you found your roommate unconscious and that his neck is still warm but that you can’t seem to snap a pulse out from his deflated anatomy. The voice on the other end tells you that he is sending an ambulance and then informs you that he is going to need you to implement CPR and that he will dictate instructions to you on how to do so. You tell him that you have already been trained in CPR. At the same exact time the siren across the street from the apartment you will find yourself crashing in come two months time nasally begins to shrill as if it signaling an air raid as you hoist and lift and lug his oversize six-foot four frame off the chair where he is seated. His entire anatomy seems like it is dripping, a saturated curtain of listless flesh. He still feels warm. It is almost like you are endeavoring to ferry a sarcophagus made out of waggling hospital jello as you place him on the Persian carpet below, his head toppling back, listless, smashing into the floor offering the domestic area code of the living room an echoing gavel. A punctuating thud.

You got your CPR certificate renewed just two weeks ago.

Down on one knee as if proposing to death you pinch his nose like a light-switch and flip back his head, leaving his mouth agape the size of a neon-turf hole at an abandoned mini-golf course. In supplicatory fashion you kneel close and inhale and bend down towards the nozzle of his lips. For some reason every time you plosively drill breath into his body you close your eyes. It is like your entire body is scrunched into your purled cheekbones and tense facial muscles and that you are cannonballing into the deep end of a pool during summer free swim for the first time.

The first time your lips crash into the crevice of his mouth you ricochet back in jilted disgust. The welt opening that have become his mouth tastes like sandpaper made out of an overturned car ashtray. You reel back in a sort of stuttering revulsion, a sour expression folded into your face. You spit. You cough. Your shoulders seem to perform a little electrocuted tango. You have never had a taste like that in your mouth before. Tersely you think of the expired grocery list you made when you were all of twenty-five at the kitchen table of all the different females you made out with over the years and how they were just a random assortment of etched integer rungs leading up a ladder leading to nowhere. Mike’s body is still in front of you like some sort of raft sans paddles. You can’t get his taste out of your mouth. You tell yourself to be strong. You tell yerself this needs to be done. You tell yourself you can resuscitate him. His body is still above room temperature in spring.

You tell yourself you can do this.

Sans grooming trepidation of any kind, you plug his northern air passages again, press your lips into his face as if you are making a Xerox copy of the god gene and blow like hell.

You listen into his neck for a pulse. You configure your palms in dyslexic prayers and press down into the center of his chest. An audible crackle is heard the first time you knead the lower vector of your palms into the center of his body signaling that you have broken his ribs. It feels more like you are practicing resuscitation techniques on an abandoned carpet filled with broken Christmas tree bulbs then on a viable human being whose organs are still fresh and transplantable. You try not think how in the renewal for CPR they instructed you to perform the rote chest pumps while blithely humming along to the BeeGees ‘Staying Alive.' You perform the twenty interval rote thrusts and administer two more safety breaths, still inexplicably welding close the shutters of your eyelids every time you plough the oxygen of your being into that of his own body as if trying to bulge air in the plastic nipple of a water-wing. You have nothing against kissing a man but the taste seems to linger in your mouth is what can most aptly be described as noisome. You listen to his neck again as if trying to hear the ocean through a conch in the middle of the contiguous states. You order Mike to stay with you. You order him to work with you. His forehead is the color of a thoroughly used q-tip. Everything about his anatomy seems urine flavored and somewhat sallow.

You check the temperature of his forehead as if he is body were nothing more than a holiday oven. He is still all of warm.

You repeat drumming into the center of his chest which now somewhat concave. The hi-pitched sneeze of the West Peoria fire siren is beginning to detumesce. You have been performing cardio pulmonary resuscitation on him for a good eight minutes, hammering into his chest for twenty-chartered increments at a time, before blowing into body, listening for the recess bell of his pulse and then repeating.

You still can not get that taste out of your mouth.

It will be more than a week later when you will come to the cathartic acknowledgement that you just had a 10 minute hardcore make out session with an expiring corpse.

A neon thrash of variegated lights reminiscent of bad disco strobes through the living room window. Two officers with short crisp hair erupt into your home without knocking, one of them is carrying a defibrillator under his arms in the fashion of suitcase explosive and bad cable. You tell them you have been performing CPR on him for about the past eight say ten minutes. One officer begins to open the defibrillating stowing briefcase while the other kneels down next to you and says he’ll pump if you continue to blow. Furniture has already been scattered across the room in unlit bonfire fashion and from the stilt-like shadows cast from the overturned lamp the silhouettes respectively cast the treble-clef shapes of the officer and yourself bowing and pressing and blowing resemble nylon colored pistons culled from a nuclear generator or a silky stage backdrop from the thespian production of the titanic the engine room musical.

He continues to press and you continue to blow. The secondary office has completely unbuttoned the front of his shirt and is applying little crop circle like stickers into the center of his chest. The voice on the defibrillator sounds like a female variation of KITT from Knight Rider counts to three before erupting into his anatomy. After the feminine voice administers a third shock with lilting authority you tell the officers that you need to run upstairs and attend to Anthony. You tell Anthony that Mike is having company and that he needs to stay upstairs. He gets money from the state every month because he’s listed as functioning retarded but he’s not dumb. He can intuit from the echoing pinwheel splash of red and blue light that something downstairs rather significant is somehow transpiring. You rush back downstairs and find that an ambulance has pulled up into the cement tongue of your driveway and that paramedics are kneeling nativity-fashion around his splayed body. More furniture is thrashed and overturned. Butch from next door comes over to see what all the fuss is about. You tell him that Anthony is upstairs and he says that he will attend to him. There is something eerily reminiscent of Titian’s image of a limp Christ’s body being dragged off the cross and Mike’s body is hoisted on gurney and led through the front door, almost like they are trying to ford a canoe midstream. You give the officer your cell number and tacitly try to explicate who you are and your relationship to the man on the steel hammock. The Ambulance skids off in staccato-like bleeps down Heading Avenue. You ride with the West Peoria fire chief who has an albino handle-bar moustache who you know from the bars and who last you hung out with three weeks ago watching the flames billow and snap as landmark Haddads grocery sunk into a nesty graze of ash.

You tell him that he’s had heart problems before. You tell him that he’s been spacey over the past month although honestly you’ve seen him much worse. You tell him how, two years ago, when you found yourself moving back in with him, he weighed a hundred pounds more and was always screaming in his sleep and once even fell asleep behind the wheel and skidded his Cadillac off the interstate. You tell him that two months after you moved in, he bounced back, he lost weight, he had more pesky energy than a jouncy excessive sugary-satiated third grader the day after halloween most days. He just didn’t stop.

You arrive at the almost stagecoach entrance to the emergency room and follow the gurney inside the building like a church procession. Mike is ferried into a room with enamel white doors which flaps open. You can hear them hovering over his body, administering shocks. You can hear some sort of bleeping metronome. There’s more shocks. If you look in you can see the shadow of his body undulate and swerve against the dun paneling of the wall.

Your fucking cell phone doesn’t get service in the ER so you use the phone behind the counter. You trying calling your mom and leave a message. You call your best friend Hale and can’t get through. You call several of Mike’s contacts and leave urgent messages for each one you to call. You can’t phucking get a hold of anyone and right now, you are in the hallway and you are all alone.

There is something overly sterile about the interior of ER hallways, as if the arrival of death will somehow be welcomed germ free.

It has been ten minutes. An aged rocker with a braided cigar ash for a beard and a correlating pony tail who has been in a motorcycle accident is wheeled in next to you in the hallway and he is trying to remove his neck brace and the ER nurse with a voice sounding more like squeaky gymnasium tennis-shoes is asking him not to move while addressing him as sir although he is defiant. One by one the paramedics who were moshing inside the interior of your living room all of twenty minute ago push and exit through the flaps and into the whiteness of the hallway, each of them having their heads askance into the blades of their shoulders like they are trying not to look directly into the sun while operating a vehicle. A few of them seem to be exhaling heavily, their vision skirting nowhere near the direction of your face. There is an aura of everything feeling deflated. There is a feeling of pressing the pause button in the metaphysical video game called life before toppling over the playstation precipice variegated cliff and witnessing the GAME OVER sign sink into the center of the screen. For some reason you are certain that he is going to be fine. He was fine this afternoon before you bitched and groused and kicked the side of the wall after writing for five hours telling Mike that you hated every facet of your life and he made you lunch before you left to go to work a double. More medical personal plow through the doors as if leaving the kitchen to wait tables and note one of them stop to look at you though you make it an overt point to offer a gruff and austere chin nods in their directions. The last one out is the doctor who looks at you and perhaps void of any other pertinent explanation asks you simply if you are the son of the old man who just passed away. The old man who is no more.

The old man who just died.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chasing after you with my 8-bit Nintendo sized heart, baby…

Grisly myogenic robot-headed console
shushed in yawn
Replete with DUCK HUNT AND SUPERMARIO BROS. upon purchase
A laser gun two tedious control pads
which look like something Amish women might use three
Days a month as a sanitary napkin

to sop up the spilled blood of the feminine lamb

Reset power-button winking
At you from the opposite corner of the bar
Invitation to grope joystick of the male anatomy
accelerate through the next level
In search of a thumb-print sized

Air-headed princess
who, in reality, would probably
never abandon the money-colored dragon scales
of her suitor for a poor man’s middle-age
Italian plumber like yourself

When first we met that night baby

We fit together
Like Tetris blocks

The geometric shapes of our bodies
Contorting like a parachuting anvil

Learning how to slip
Into the distilled
Gravity of each others flesh
Snapping chasms of whispered silence
Spaces across the windshield nothingness of a Russian plain

Dissipating all together in one townhouse sentence of joy

I chased you across neon bleeps and zaps of fairytale kingdom
Stomping on turtles-with wings oblivious mushroom
Sized creatures resembling beanie baby STD’s
Garnering points that rise and evaporate like steam
Banging the brow of my working-class forehead
Into a QUESTION mark shaped brick of reality
Hoping for a one-up mushroom, an extra life
Cursing like QBERT when I found you downtown
in the arms of another man
Wishing I could ejaculate fireballs at him

That I could battle him

crunch him

defeat him

Watch his body phase
in and out

slowmotion demise

A game over sign

Flaring inside me
Asking me If I would like to press
start back at the first level
in electronic pursuit
just to find you somehow again
Inside my chest
where my heart
Is shaped like the cement bone
8-bit Nintendo System
a dated entertainment
The box we sometimes had to unplug
and bow in front of first
blowing into its rectangular
lips several times
before inserting the cartridge
and pressing play.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rearview reflections and mirrored muses--a remberance of 2010, the year that somehow escaped us still....

The year convened with the billowing hard-Arctic cough of a mid-January wind skidding down from the feral tundra of the north in icy sheets of isolation and hollow blankets of loss banked beneath the chalky outline of petoskey flavored clouds looming overhead in grisly claustrophobic blimp-like fashion, as if gazing into the plateau of the planet through the lidded ceiling of smudged Tupperware, the writer addled and all alone on the cumulus bulb of a seasonally frigid globe trying to find something he had lost so long ago, changing my itinerary at the last second in the snow, boarding an unknown bus in the frost-riddled breath of downtown Chicago, looking at the barbed-wire lassoed ink of my expired decade old handwriting culled from a journal thirteen years earlier like an atlas of youth capitulated and loss, dreams as stale as expired new years eve confetti, finding myself in Milwaukee boarding a second chrome-colored bus heading north for three hours through the chapped snow abutments and abandoned barns breezing through what looks like leftover Leinenkugel country almost swearing that if I stare through the tint in the back of the window in the charter bus long enough I can see my nineteen year old visage staring back at me like an forgotten film negative, a strip of undeveloped light. Arriving in snowy paragraph footprints welcoming the bucolic hamlet that looks like a diminutive Christmas village as one arrives wailing and bleating into the periscopic consciousness of life, feeling like the size of a bushel of fodder corn all alone freshly ferrying carryon luggage lugged over my back like a Neanderthal man and a fresh kill trekking the three miles in the snow to my hotel room, stopping at the library to confirm the digits of her old address, chain-smoking with locomotive intensity as I meandered, stopping beneath an overpass and taking intermittent swigs from a forty, thinking of Chris Mccandless and Jack London tramping out into a glazed lip of unknown ice. The last time I was in this town I was nineteen years old and spontaneously dropped 500 dollars on a plane ticket just to wade in the scent of the sensual-seraph I had been writing letters to all summer (the kind you had to mail with a stamp, undressing the envelope w. the tips of your fingers, giddy with schoolboy elation upon finding the tithed rectangle in the creaky jowls of yer mailbox opening the white shape like trying to unbuckle a bra for the first time before skinny dipping into the sentences of her breath)long just to espy the solar wink of her smile, to hear the carbonated echo of her laughter. To buckle my northern anatomical limbs around her petite frame like a life preserver of hope before reeling her into my torso, splashing my lips against the cinnamon bagel-architecture of her neck. To read her the poems I had written for her. To recite her poems by Rumi and Shakespeare and Whitman and Jack Kerouac. To tell her that I wanted to be a writer.

To tell her that I wanted to be with her.

On a wintry-whim I decided to traipse to her town in the middle-o-bumfuck-nowhere curdled cheese countryside of Wisconsin somehow to find her once again even though she lives two thousand miles away dandling a two year old, the scent of her lover indenting the foamy topography of her mattress every night, following the tracks of my journal entry from over an eclipsed third of my life earlier. Eating breakfast at the same ma and pa restaurant where she testified in front of the empty jury pews of my chest that it just wouldn’t work out between us (note thirteen years earlier we were both furiously chain smoking in the booth when you could still light up in ma and pa restaurants). Ambling past the soporific shingles of her house the next day, thinking that if I squinted I could somehow see through the quantum bridal veil that is the transitory tissue of time, the illusory see through shower curtain of reality, could somehow perceive the inky shadow of the crisp haired nineteen year old lad from all those years ago. Uprooting instead a local nest of writers of light. Meeting Dave at Jim's. The immortal ROXY RENO who writes for a kick-ass indie publication in Green Bay called the SCENE, looks like a KILL 'EM ALL rendition of James Hettfield from Metallica, bounces at Cleo's and reads poetry on an overturned bucket like I read my poems on the pouting emerald lip of a local bar. The classy girl with short black hair batting the rich Caribbean azure of her eyes and who I was too (wait for it...wait for it)tattered-hearted and timid to speak to, handing the bartender a forty as I exited the Jim's on North informing to keep to buy her a bottle of the Merlot she was sipping compliments of the crazy yet shy lad seated at the far end of the bar. The year of the poetry of Kyle Devalk meeting him with both hands hovered and cupped over a beer as if trying to stay warm at a homecoming pep rally wearing a trench coat and beard looking like a 21st century ricocheting Rimbaud fraught with fire and wit, Kyle Devalk, a fellow poet beat aficionado, high alcoholic content microbrew drinker and a true brother indeed who I continued to pound beers with in clinking accelerated tempo before making out with the middle-age married woman at the end of the bar, groping her shaved treble-clef pudendum beneath the penumbra of the counter, not realizing at first that her husband was outside smoking, watching her head loll like an inebriated otter as I endeavored to yank her into he stall of the nearby MENS room, slamming more shots of Jameson before her husband rejoined us for another, the couple driving me back to my hotel room, having her repeat the digits to my room number to me one final time like a rote Sunday school bible verse memorization contest as we embraced, leaving the door to my hotel room slightly hinged open awaiting her breath as I passed out on my mattress anticipating her nocturnal arrival. Waking up five hours later, the sun entering the room like a vodka-screwdriver in translucent tangerine ribbons of flaring orange, myself stapled on the mattress in crucifix fashion, rising into the drunken earth of my flesh, slipping into my jeans like a denim mermaid fishing for her lost fin as I stuffed my bag like a grocery check-out clerk before leaking out of the bedroom sans kissing the snow globe center of her forehead faretheewell.

It was the year of arriving home and finding all of my friends out of work, desolate-eyed and downtrodden. Sad. Arriving back into the financial wound and working class welts of the sleepy river town where I live and finding everyone I love bruised and spiritually bandied, jobs wadded up like corsage-shaped overdue credit card statements of loss. My friends, working in the same tractor plant for over a third of their lives, dripping with emotional distraught, arduously assaying the inside of the classified ads, willing to work any shit-time job just to fleetingly arrive at the existential punctuated stump of another week, burnt out, jaded and alone.

The year where I worked six days a week, third shift, and had no social life whatsoever and felt like a burnt-out exclamatory mark all the time.

The year of falling in love with the domestic happy-hour cyber herald known as the Peoria Bar Review living vicariously through the elusive-shadowy entity known only as the chief (hell if I'm unplucking the feathery headdress of his true identity) vigorously stampeded through the bibulous underbelly of Peoria night life in search of soused stories of working class beer-belly blathered bliss yearning to intellectually imbibe and draught from the perfect pint and then blog the phuck-out about the aftertaste.

The year of "Shouldn't it be Jennifer Smith?? Think about it?" (Bobble-visaged pensive scowlish underwater slow-nod cosigning pendulous deep thought).

The year of obtaining the dilapidated BMW which I'm never going to sell--(it was the same type o' vehicle that was used in the Guns-n-roses Don't Cry video at the end where AXl is limping into the cemetery and sees his own grave)from my cool brother-in-law who simply handed me the keys in the middle of march madness, the day Northern Iowa upset top ranked Kansas and inquired if I could keep it parked in my garage and then inquired if I would be interested in purchasing it for a frivolously low price. The car I always find myself harnessing the steering wheel furiously chain smoking, blasting into the Flannery O'Connerish rye-bread colored country side of Illinois chasing the pastel sentence of a pink sunset through the windex silhouette of my reflection. The vehicle where, the second week after I found it stowed in my driveway, the swivel esophagus of the rear view mirror inexplicably fell apart, shattering into a visor of glassy triangles and rather than fixing it all I could think about was the Frank Lloyd Wright quote about how every time he gets a new car he rips the rearview mirror from the front window so that he "never looks back." To plow through life genuflecting into the direction of one ebbed and fleeting universal narrative and to not phucking look back ever at all.

Not looking back at all.

The year of (sexy) Barbara Antoniazzi...If all english professors were as sexy as you baby the catastrophic epidemic of errantly misplaced commas would be globally assuaged. Barbara who teaches Cormac McCarthy in Berlin and lectures at literary powerhouse Dartmouth in the summer. Barbara who stumbled across a poetic pasture of some of my writing when she was doing academic research on Nathan Englander (I've been a dilettante of his prose since the late-90's and I'm still not sold..."Tell us about yer new book Nathan. I bet you're really gonna be creative with that six-figured advance you garnered and the protagonist for yer new novel is going to be jewish again !!!").... Barbara who has said just gratuitously kind things about my writing and who herself is poetically pissing out a beautiful dissertation that has to do with (well, what else) the liberating feminine vagaries of high-brow prostitution in late-19th century (c)literature. Barbara, who has been a true buddy these last couple o' weeks as I've been emotionally dredging through some arduous times and who, after she uprooted me on line, I began addressing solely as Beatrice, to which our good friend Miss Antoniazzi then sent the following almost haiku-like missive back in return:

Dear Dante,
Beatrice died young and unhappy, you know that.
Moreover, it wasn´t me - although on the whole it sounds like a fun night.
We never met.
I found you.

...thinking only after I read it that sometimes it feels good just to somehow, in the narrative valence that is the rippled continuity of time, be found indeed...

The year Peoria native Marty Womabcher (whose liver must look like an elephant pissed on a cracker-jack box by now) jousted like a clumsy knight clad in alcoholic amour and frequented a different bar everyday for the dainty discourse of an entire calendaric year. Marty Womabcher who constituted and scribed this phenomenal bulletin called P.O.P. (sounds like what my Chicago relatives call my pepsi) back in the day and has been crashing in Manhattan for the past 18 years. Marty punctuating his year-long sozzeled sojourn of alcohol-induced ambrosia inside the kiwi-avocado lime pie flavoring ice-shack sized exterior of one of my favorite neighborhoods taps lodged in my backyard.

The year of finding myself draped in the pasty pergola of her limbs once again, late February, the woman I had spent the previous autumn making love to under the cosmic constellations doting the skyline of my backyard, floating into eternity beneath the clanging nest of galactic orbs, burrowing our respective loins into the life raft of each other's respective limbs as if entering the palette of the universe in sputtered, pedaling thrusts of aching consciousness, chiseling Egyptian hieroglyphics into the sweaty canvas of each other’s lower neck . The creature who dissipated like quavering coffee house incense mist around thanksgiving who I found once again, looking behind me at a poetry reading, only to see the coy hush of her smile. Misreading her Facebook profile status discerning that she is in love, misintuiting her mantra to mean the solipsistic creature I have been lodged inside of like a miniature windows-arrow-transitioning-time capsule for the entire discourse of my usurped existence, realizing only too late that she was reunited with a former friend plucked from an earlier highlighted chapter in the beautiful narrative of her life and that she is madly in love as the hard snow caking the scalp of the planet began to transition and slosh into weak-tea colored puddles of street gray, somehow the promise of a new found sun reflected in each muddy dinosaur footprint-sized moat.

Somehow the promise of spring.

Spring opening up from inside the fruity womb of the earth the way a woman opens up her body for the fleshy sheath of a man. Spring arriving in fused shocks of lavender and drizzled-lemon petals of iridescent light, the arable turf of the planet jisiming in countless colors of applause. Spring where I moved the writing desk belonging to my late-father out into the woods and wrote (long hand, on parchment) every morning, sipping coffee, sometimes knocking back a few beers after work, almost always doffing my shoes as to feel the pulse of the planet with the peninsula of my bare feet, wildly stamping away as if trying to click into the chorus of a sentence on 10 acres of raw nesty foliage-fretted land, a bulbous-chinned solitary slab of crisp earth galloping above the lavender silhouetted hills behind Cams bar on Farmington rd ejaculating the see-through-washing-machine of swirled oscillating emotions stuck inside the empty socket of my chest waiting for a metaphor to peck itself free from the egg-white freshness of a new page and to somehow hatch.

Spring where we planted Sully, Peoria's premier barkeep, into the used coffee grounds of the earth down the street from my house, dying on Good Friday, the incipience of the season of new life.

The spring where I became truant in paying off my student loans (note--nothing like owing 20,000 dollars to an institution that has your name on the wall in its most prestigious hallways and then who fired you for unfounded remarks).

Echoing in the chorus that is spring with cloudy cackles of laughter on the first fake-candle integer shaped day that is the formidable farce of April. Engendering an outlandish narrative about meeting the love of my life MAE DIFLOWRZ (b/c April 'fulachio' showers bring May (de) flowers) flaring amorous facebook status updates fabricating a fragrant dyslexic-ditzy star-crossed narrative about driving all night into the horizontal lavender slit of a pending Spring sunset down south sans state-required rearview mirror b/c, of course, I don't look back, plowing my carriage into the dusty arteries of back roads to find the girl I lost oh-so long ago, using a usurped photo from the ol'-spring-titled sitcom BLOSSOM b/c when I shear my hair short I look just like this phuck (ie, damn gaunt euclidean-angular nose that looks like a beak-shaped acute right angle from sophomore geometry class...no shit....when I was in great America in '92 all these teenage girls with crimped side-pony tails and tattered SKID ROW t-shirts and training bras kept accosting me for autographs and I played along and told them thanks for watching before scribbling something illegible below their necks and then the same scenario happened later in London that same year) christening a facebook page for my mock muse, employing the author-shot of then little known writer CE MORGAN to serve as my surrogate deflowering spouse, CE MORGAN whose anorexic Ashley-Olson sized novel ALL THE LIVING is the length of a vacation bible school bulletin with glitter and who was lil' known last April and then in June, hit the publishing lottery by being coronated with the NEW YOREKR appellation of TOP TWENTY WRITERS UNDER 40 (phucking richwads, well I have 2 Golden Liver awards for being the soused scribe to immortally imbibe the most 40oz. under the age of 40). The gag, working spilled wonders, garnering backward-hurled rubber chicken bridal bouquets of lapsed levity getting AT LEAST 10 of you (fess up, you know who you are) including one second cousin in Canada who sent me a forty-dollar check and offered congratulations and profusely apologized for missing the ceremony (um, spent the money on a half-keg of Moosehead lager there, eh) and an ex-girlfriend who sent me a scathing valentine stating that I had way too much time on my hands (which I replied, 'You outta see what I have in my other hand,'). By far the best response was from my old buddy Joe Milton who read that I got purportedly nuptially-manacled and then never learned it was all a laudable lark and three months later was in a bar telling a mutual friend that I must be busy with that new wife of mine when he discerned the hoax and sent me a tirade-laced three minute voicemail beginning with the vituperative phrase, "Dave you cock-sucking sonuvabitch motherphucker all this time!!!!!!" As for the author CE MORGAN (ie Mae DiFlowrz) I am certain we shall meet tete-a-tete someday. Writers harbor an incorrigible proclivity to tear into and open each others’ body with frissoned passion the same way they tear into and dog-ear annotate books so undoubtedly our incumbent meeting shall transpire in the same fashionable inflection of Ted Hughes meeting Sylvia Plath with either a mad cocktail-induced make-out session ensuing or simply she will bite me until drawing a pint of blood.

It was the spring where sometimes I just couldn't quit.

The spring where I went through three months where I just couldn't stop watching this movie and couldn't stop drinking beer while watching this movie, commiserating somehow with the life of cowboy drunkenly drifting into a beer-botched sage-brush blur of reality only to be awoken by the lips of a good woman chirping out the scent of her smile in the chords of a song.

Spring where my house got struck by lightening blowing out two televisions, a house alarm, a dvd player (my entire basement erupted in a vesuvius like sneeze) and where I lost everything on my desktop hard drive (always back shit up people).

Spring where, as is tradition, I find myself outside the granite collesium of US CELLULAR field in the southside of Chicago with my brothers Danish and Mike Nelson, drinking beer on the PERFECT opening day. Southside pride, watching with athletic awe (and from the first base sideline) when Mark Buehrle defied the vicissitudes of physics and made, quite simply, the play of the year hiking the stitched planetary orb like a football on fourth and goal into the knuckeled-clutch of a barren-palmed Paulie all the while Lord Nelson was straddled on the porcelain throne (you and yer damn beer shits mike).....

The year where spring sliced into the elongated evening chapters of a summer night and I found myself riding around the back country roads in tandem with my best friend Hale always smoking cheap cigars looking for Podunk-trashy country bars with female bartenders bearing big boobs and bad teeth. Bars with so much white trash you'd run out of twist ties if ever you'd ever try to bag it all up. Bars like McDucks (the Schlitz sign looks like the Atlas Shrugged cover from Van Halen's 5150) and the Goose Pit in Banner. Bars like the Edwards and Manito Blacktop tap and the Blarney castle in Rome Illinois, sitting down, having a few drafts, listening to peoples stories. The Shed in Buzzville on Lake Chautauqua sitting next to the seventy year old denim overall-clad farmer who spontaneously swiveled his bar stool in my direction and said, “Can you b’lieve this shit. My girlfriend gave Chlamydia. Phuck’n Kly-med-dee-uh. And she’s not yer young kids age either phuckin' everything in sight. She’s phuckin fifty. Shit.”

Places that are semi-seedy like Marty’s tap in East Peoria or the Get-a-way in my backyard. Katie McButts which I adore or Whitey's where I drank on my birthday. Larry's in spring bay where the bar is intrinsically an old-fishing shack and in the autumn the colors are achingly stunning or the Hannah city tap where the floor panneling has been kept the same since it was a railroad depot in the late 1800s. Drinking at Whitey's on my birthday the day I turned the same age as Christ b/c that was the last bar Sully drank at before he died. My best friend Hale driving me home in my vehicle, asking me what happened to my rearview mirror.

"I uprooted it out," I told him in a half-truth slovenly drawl, "I don't want to look back. Ever."

The summer of live art, Phoebe and co brandishing the stems of their paint brushes in orchestral conductor like-tandem on the cement hyphen of the riverfront splattering visual cadences of collective human longing with each flagellating stroke as the sun casts lavender ribbons of eternity against the lazy slink of water below. Phoebe who I found for the first time (met)sitting all alone a la ingenue-eyelided Ponette from Les Miserables on Bloomsday inside the sunken emerald glower of Champs West, sidling up to her with a Guinness in paw as if learning how to parallel park for the first time before dipping into the silent semi self-conscious hush of her smile.

The year of spending every other weekend in the air-conditioned brick-kiln like contours of my moms house off Smithville rd and spending HOURS combing through my novels on the marble desk she refurbished in her kitchen, staring out into the sylvan merkin behind her house, espying the swang-song shadows of hobbits and fauns, often nursing a DAVE's Pizza from Bartonville (can't beat their combo) as I continue to pelt and massage my fingers into the keyboard of a fresh doughy page.

The year of DJ Ferg. My cousin, forever the smirky countenance south-side smart aleck eternal rocker who extinguished his own individual demons and vices and now continues to shine.

The summer of witnessing my dear friend and creative cohort in all things passionate and poetic Heather Fowler, small press princess and nuclear incendiary-haired firecracker when it comes to productivity. Congrats on the release of your new book girl!!!Nothin' like the life of a wayfarerin' writer or, in yer case Miss Fowler, the lips of a sensual scribe french kissing the forehead of each fumbling vowel with a voice that is somehow all her own....

The Summer where, after two skipped laps around the sun, my hair finally spooled into the tanned canyon of my shoulders and became pony-tail length again and, for almost inexplicable reasons, I dyed the auburn tresses of my hair a menstruating shade of crimson...Danish asking me outside Comsikey park, "Whadidyoudo, have wet dream about that girl from the Wendy's logo again??? Nothin' like a post coital-frosty in lieu of a french fry eh-there Ronald McDonald?"

The summer where I verbally went off on (emotionally lacerated) the woman who for the last eight years served as my every poetic pulse, my creative compass, the bartered oxygen of my every breath. The woman I met while she was giving a lecture on mysticism and who I have this weird metaphysical bond where she gave me a chunk of copper that looks like a cancerous testicle and everytime I would think of her and grope the copper I would glow. The woman who I wrote a love letter to everyday for over two years even though she got sociologically shoved in a wedding dress when she was young and has been married since before I obtained my drivers license. The woman who when we were together our limbs would buckle around each other's limbs as if we were trying share the same husk of flesh, cloaking ourselves in the sway into the pond of each other's thoughts, wading in the time signature of each others breath and somehow it was gentle and pure and then it was still gentle and pure but it became about something more. The woman the narrative of my whole life revolved around like the earth to the nearest day star for over the past eight years. The classy creation I said things that I knew would hurt her, pissed that I wasn't her disgustingly rich husband, pissed that I felt I was never good enough for her to wake up next to every morning. Heading out after the tirade to my writing stump in the woods and witnessing the slow change of the seaons. The earth cooling off as if after an intense workout before practicing pialates. Crickets emitting sputtered intermittent time-to-change-the-battery-in-the-dildo staccato-like purrs, straddling the seat lodged at my writing desk all alone in late august when the refulgent nod of the sun paints the world through a bottle of Southern Comfort fools- gold yellow,the colors of the planet transitioning the earth into leafy shades of copper, chestnut, nutmeg, continuing to write, thinking about the last eight year using only the crust of the earth as my dashboard, the rearview mirror of reality being superseded by the kaleidoscopic veil of the setting sun as I continue to press my fingers into the keyboard welcoming a new season and a new page.

The year where we lost one of our own. My best friend Hale finding her body swaying like an upside-down metronome, an extension cord knotted into a fitting noose around the petite frame of her neck in lariat-colt like fashion, a CD playing some sort of GOTH song over and over again while her twelve year old progeny caterwauling out of control, spining around like a police siren emitting screams.

Jenny who was a heroin and later a hardcore methodone addict. Jenny who tried to commit suicide the week before by jumping off the Murray Baker bridge, only to be restrained at the last minute by a gaggle of police. Jenny who met her ex-con loser husband in AA and who had a schnauzer-like orange goatee and a skull-sized tattoo of a sick clown etched into the veiny dome of his bald head and who didn’t even show up to the funeral.

Jenny who married one of my oldest friends when she was 17 and he was only twenty (guess the name of the recently turned 21 year old lad who purchased the booze for the reception??)...Jenny who was only married to my friend for six months because he covertly taped her cheating on him. Jenny whose smile made you immediately tilt yer head and smile back at her for some reason and who had just plain disgusting things happen to her courtesey of a hornball freakish stepfather when she was very young. Jenny who is the mother of 12 year old Zac, the coolest kid I have ever known. Zac who b/c of his house situation was crashing with my best friend Hale. Hale who has had one bitch of a year and is out of work and who I have (quote) never heard complain or grouse or bitch even though when he was making bank and employed at CAT he was the bread winner for three families. Zac, irnoically, hanging out with my sister ('aunt bethany') running around the Gatsbyesque house her and her husband purchased on the lip of grandview drive overlooking what looks like eternity, playing with the cats, making "Kiddie-condos" out of cardboard boxes at perhaps the same moment his mother fitted the wiry extension around her head like a tiara of loss, tightened and pulled.

Thinkin' of this song though I hadn't heard it in years. Thinking how Jenny made her mattress only to lie in it. A princess bartering the beauty of the bridal chamber for a bed of syringes, thinking of bassist Kristen Pfaff who died on a heroin overdose shortly after this video was shot.Kristen Pfaff who died on Bloomsday '94. The day my favorite movie Before Sunrise purportedly takes place on, the summer I got my drivers license, always adjusting the rearview and side mirrors before coasting into the stream of traffic ahead.

There are other memories of course. Lifting up the front of Loorie Newmans shirt like the stage curtain to a victoria secret puppet show in the antique center with dave and Matthew and watching as her face transitioned into a blushed shade of burgundy.Flirting with Wendy at Tartann Inn (I wanna be Peter Pan to yer Wendy...Maybe you could help me find my shadow, baby). Reading GATE AT THE STAIRS and having the tang-colored light of a June night casacade all around me and just crying for the last forty pages. Hoisting the sixty-year old denim flanks of my uncle's legs in alighting teeter-tooter like fashion as he did a keg stand at my cousin Brianna's wedding and barking at him in fraternity-laced monotone to chug. Jessica calling me ‘Brawny man” as I shovled her tire free out from the snow. Sauntering with J through the clover aisles of Barnes and Nobles and watching with delight as the most erudite and well read mother fucker this area code has to offer alighted the untattered spines of Vintage contemporaries up to the ceiling as if looking for a watermark and smiled with joy. Coercing the writer Stella Link into a nature hike in Bradley park even though cinderella was clad in stilletos. Stella, adorning my neck with a cool necklace she crafted inside One World on a rainy august afternoon which, after almost six months, like a collar, has not left the shadowy circumference below my jawline and chin. Listening with awe to Jeff, my favorite bartender on the planet, at the Billy Goat tap to his stories of getting drunk with the late Mike Royko and Bill Veck. Painting Shannon’s apartment a pastoral shade of lime with Adrienne on a screeching autumnal night and listening to a radiohead CD which for some reason kept inexplicably skipping back to this song over and over again like a searing industrial chorus of existential loss. Looking at the chandelier overhead blown-fuse of expired stars and drained solar systems in my backyard with Dan Hinckley, talking about chatras and mulling over the metaphysics of all mankind and (oh yes)all the while making references to Morrissey. Sitting next to the 85 year old former editor of the Journal Star John Armstrong at Champs West while smoking cheap cigars, reminsicing in a plume of smoke the size of a sunday comic-strip dialogue bubble about the old writers and hard-drinking journalists from back in the day who just didn't give a phuck, feeling, at the end of the night, that a metaphorical torch of some kind has indeed been passed. Refelcting over Thanksgiving eve, chain smoking clove cigarettes in the rococo-flavored lobby of the Old Madison theatre remembering a time (remembering it well) when our tresses scaled back from the cognizant attics of our respective scalps like Rapunzel patiently awaiting the tug of a wished-for suitor with Charlie Bennet of Freudian Press renown apres his kick-ass reunion set at the Whammy bar. A minstrel. A wizened gen-x troubadour who wields his guitar upsidedown pelting out acoustic locomotive frets of loneliness, whispered epistles of eternity, symphonic folk anthems culled from the leftover childhood magic in the air of a cradled lullaby-- delightful indulgence of a dared afternoon daydream. Charlie and I who talked about Abbie Hoffmann and who is a serious baseball aficianado and who I can't thank enough for the role his music has played in the skipped soundtrack of my yielded youth.

The year of say chop-chop.

Chop-chop who is the size of a fire hydrant and is a vivacious perennial spume of energy.

Chop-chop who makes la-la Telly Tubby sounds when she cums. Chop-chop who I called drip-dry because she kept on using up all of my god damn toilet paper as in ‘learn to drip-dry, bitch..” (Chop-chop 2 DVB via text: Girls don't drip-dry, David. That's dirty-dirty). Chop-chop who is into antiques. Chop-chop who I get off on thinking about her with her jeans reeled down, lassoed around the ivory piano key-colored caps of her knees.

Chop-chop who tastes like a pop tart and whose freshly-cut cucumber porcelain hued flesh is classically reminiscent of sheet music sans the dripping dollop of imprisoned quarter notes. Chop-chop whose hair is a cidery orchard of autumnal flavored tresses and who looks just plain sexy as phuck in that checkered blue-flannel shirt always inexplicably buttoned to the top.

Chop-chop who for a glorious month last October-slash-November was like my best friend and whose smile does things to the interior of my chest.

Chop-chop who made me wait downstairs for I swear damn near a phucking hour the first night we met almost a year ago and I peed on the potted plant in the lobby of her apartment building at four in the morning and it overflowed like dropping a freshly opened agitated can of beer into a baptismal fount in front of the altar of God in an act of sacrilege.

Chop-chop who I christened with the moniker “chop-chop” after waking up in the stippled impressionistic yawn of early February the morning after having met her and hungover, endeavoring to scissor my way back into my jeans as she adorably shooed me out of her apartment cause her sister was coming over to look at her car, clapping her hands in stuttered applause echoing out the dual-syllable snap like a chorus as a feisty refrain to tell me to get the phuck out. Telling me to hurry up. Telling me to chop-chop.


Chop-chop who I didn’t see for six months and then had an awkward Age of Innocence Newland Archer staring up into the balcony of Countess Olenska in Paris end of the novel encounter and not having the balls to say anything moment when she drove past and I was helping my aunt move and we both kinda looked at each other still-life and poetically petrified and said nothing.

Chop-chop who texted me the next day.

Chop-chop whose facebooks statuses always crack me up and whose smile fueled me with this weird sort of kinetic splashing energy where I was just plain phucking happy all the time in a goofy way and where my chest felt like this helium beer keg of sunshine...an energy I somehow was able to harness and then (shit, phuck) write (sic) for hours on end.

Chop-Chop who would always erupt in a pint-sized carbonation of sprinkled giggles and then flirtatiously slap me with the wing of her left arm after I said something inane and then she would look down into her lap in coy-countenance fashion and then smile again and then point in my direction and tell me to shut up (shut was always one monosyllabic word said with a tilted smile) and then bat me with the lithe foam of her forearm once again.

Chop-chop who everytime she drinks a beer always inexplicably peels the moist label off in medias swig so it looks like she is giving the amber-colored stem of the scepter-shaped bottle a long overdue anniversary handjob.

Chop-chop with whom I commenced volleying long-long tortuous letters back and forth, each letter almost always ending in some Krazy-krazy video clip while devising a private lexicon: (Wait for it…wait for it), oh lord, (seriously) For Chrissakes put some panties on!! The write (sic).You Kill Me!!! The scribing out and delineation each others' dreams which we, for some psychoanalytical reason, both appeared in. The peacock. Talking to Gladys on a bananaphone by using my imagination, burt. Telling her to go queef into a cornet because she is always horny. Her telling me that I am forbidden to have sex on the giant trampoline in the house she wants to buy.

Chop-chop who taught me how to write (sic) the expletive 'fuck' using a ph to make it look more scholarly.

Chop-chop who always called me by my full name, which kinda meant alot.

Chop-chop who when I was havin' a bad day sent me a drippingly adorable picture of herself with a doted red-orb (???)photoshopped and buttoned over her nose which made me laugh.

Chop-chop who got drunk one night and sent me a message overtly ordering me to write her poems that would make her cum (note: I obeyed).

Chop-chop who I informed to refrain from answering her phone after one of our libidinous two-hour text-sex bed-tittering-meandering-messaging-phuck-fests, leaving the scene she shared with me from one of our video-bartering letters, the first clip she ever sent me from a movie I had never seen, stating that this is how she envisioned us initially meeting in a plural universe, me telling her that she plays very well.

Chop-chop: So do you.

The year which ended in the similar fashion in which it began, embankments of tufted snow aligning the chapped sidewalks of the town where I live, everything bone-marrow cold, the color of an expired ice-cube tray lodged and forgotten about for years in the back of a deep freeze. I found the bar I drank at in downtown Peoria the night my father died, doing shots of Jameson with my good friend and mentor folk singer Dave McDonald. Dave was also in Freudian Press back in the day and, like Charlie, is a troubador and a story-teller. He owns the guitar shop downtown next to the antique center and, like the rest of us, like my best friend David Hale like myself two years ago, like ten percent of the working class american pabst blue ribbon swiggin' populace, lost a job he truly cared about earlier this year. Dave and I who used to traipse from Braldey campus down to Jimmy's bar by foot through the frisbee-golf hurling hippies in Bradley park down Farmington rd, not too far from where my writing desk is now and sit in the beer garden and drink Jameson-sevens (tall! you won't find a more potent one in the state) and smoke clove cigarettes and poetically pontificate aout life. Dave whose anthem of lost "Merry Monday Happenstance" I kept on thinking about when my father died. It was noon and Dave and I were almost done with our lunch when he kicked his barstool in my direction and said, "You know what David?" (Dave has a deep trumpeting resonant voice, that sounds kinda like a cherub singing the blues with sandpaper lodged in his larnyx) "A couple of years ago bro I was in Red Rock (colordado music festival) and I was trippin' and I just started thinkin' about this one girl and I hadn't seen in like a decade. There were all these people around and I really strated thinkin' just about this one girl, I mean really thinkin' and then about ten minutes later I turned around and shit, she was there. We both live nowhere near where this festival is happenin' but shit, I thought about her and the next thing I know she appeared."

We both saluted our drug-tested size shots of Jameson, gave a farethewell-fellow-traveler tight squeeze embrace, wished each other a happy new year when Dave turned to me again.

"You know what bro? I think there's just something aout going out and finding a girl. Finding something you once lost. Finding something that once inspired you and meant something to you."

We hugged again. I went to my dilapidated BMW and thought about his mantra.

"Just something about goin' out and finding a girl."

As I drove through the vacuous-chilled eternity of the city where I live, I looked out the canvas of my windshield. I couldn't see the girl who 14 years years ago I gave up everything to be with and who last year I went back to her town once again. I couldn't see the classy artistic (noveau riche) goddess who the last eight years of my life evolved around. I couldn't see the woman I shared my bed with all those cold nights a year ago. If I squinted hard (real hard) I could probably make out chop-chop or at least hear her sprinkled laugh, chop-chop who I was meeting later on that night to celerate our christmas and who left her phucking kermit-the-frog flavored glue drizzled lancome-laced emerald vest under my bed which I had been sniffing the phuck out of like a high school kid trying to show how cool he is by ingesting cocaine at a house-party but truth is, I couldn't see her either.

I don't have a rearview mirror.

I don't look back.

When I arrived back to my house I went out into the woods back to my writing desk. It was maye fifteen degrees outside and too cold to take my laptop out but I still chained smoked and thought about the last year. I wrote a few pages, smiled, and somehow remembered that I still as of yet have a job to do.

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Your body hung like a wet quarter note pinched from
Sheet music so white it matched the pasty color of your forehead
The day before your first born progeny found you
In the bass cleff den of your uplands apartment
Extension cord lassoed around your neck
Swaying in almost pendulum motion
Limp metronome, flaccid and lost

your son

screaming out of control on the bottom of the basement steps

Finding a note pinned to your chest in almost voodoo-doll fashion
An inky receipt culled from the past thirty years
Crumpled into a corsage of destitution
I remember in high school between church services
Hearing about how your father fished his fingers
inside your carebear underwear when
You were all of eleven while

the rest of the family was bowing their
heads in reverence to a faceless diety at the thanksgiving dinner table
And how you moved out the day you got your drivers license
With a pack of Winstons and a Metallica CD
Blaring the chorus of Master of Puppets
As you shifted unknown gears

The first time you shot heroin your
Eyes hushed closed like the lid
To an advent calendar popping in reverse
And you thought your belly button
Was the stub to a broken telephone wire reaching back
Into the conch of whispered time


How you lived your life like a feather shed
From an angel gang raped and battered
Bitched slapped by a bearded god the father
Clad in a white beatie drinking Miller hi-life
Dildo fucked by a flattened brim of her own halo
bleeding bible verses
All rise for the gospel
The victory of our god
cross shaped ladder
sans the assistance of a (wished-for) rung
A swan whose song still has yet to be sung