Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Instead of living up the reputation you've got now.
So while I'm never crossing your mind,
I'm hoping we never cross paths.
Everything in this room has a memory,
From my records to my pillows to the pen in my hand.
This is the last time a whore leaves an imprint
Like footprints in the sand.
You will always be your mother's daughter,
No matter how hard you try to deny the facts.
From the arrogance to your ignorance to your lack of a heart.
I bet you never imagined the artillery I had packed.
You're right; you're not/will ever be what I need.
Let's face it: does anyone really need you?
There's more to life than clubs and hook-ups, princess.
There's love in the beauty of the "fuck you," too.
This is for holes punched in walls due to passion.
This is for being given up on like last Fall's fashion.
We are the trees that don't change colors.
We are the sidewalks with initials forever carved.
We are the words at the tip of your tongue.
We are that empty gut feeling that will be forever starved.
We are the future.
(and you guys are fucked.)
Monday, January 18, 2010
“I saw him looking down your shirt.”
“Yea. Every time you bent over to draw, pervert that he is.”
“So? Maybe I was showing off to him.”
“So maybe you were,” he said, raising his voice and taking his eyes off the road to watch her. “I know you danced with him last weekend when I wasn’t there.” He snapped forward when the car started shuddering violently from veering off the road.
“Yea, we danced. So what?” She snapped back.
“So, don’t act like I don’t know what you’re doing right now.”
“Oh yea?” She mocked him.
“Yes.” He barked, straining to keep himself looking straight ahead.
“Well what are you doing David?” She yelled, the strain in her voice wholly uncontained. She put her hand over her mouth to cover a trembling bottom lip. She was, of course, referring to Nicole, David’s girlfriend whom he had gotten pregnant. Grimacing, David pushed his tongue into his cheek and bit down. As the rising tension heated them, Amy turned to roll down the window, and a violent roar poured damp night into the car. It was a prickly fifty-seven degrees out, and even though it was only January, the Florida winter had seemingly already come and gone. Spring was slowly creeping up on the south. Amy leaned back into her seat and closed her eyes. She liked the cold, she thought; it was sobering. Her core was still warm from the alcohol, and as the biting wind whipped around the back of her neck and over her arms, her skin began to erupt into tiny pinheads. She shivered in delight and cocked her head back towards the window. Although David was cold, he knew better then to argue with Amy in her current state, so he cracked open his own window to equalize the pressure that had blown out his ears. They drove in silence while the chill ripped violently through his old Honda.
Considering how much David had to drink that night, he kept the car mostly under control. His vigilant watch over Amy in the passenger seat contributed to most of their weaving in and out of traffic lanes. From the island, the drive home took about an hour, and the alcohol had begun to make him feel heavy, as his body longed for sleep. Suddenly the cold air was a blessing. With Amy not speaking to him, it was the only thing keeping him awake.
“What are you looking at?” He asked loudly as she stared out the window.
“The Universe.” She replied. It was her puerile imagination that he had fallen in love with in the first place.
“Oh yea? He asked. “What about the Universe?”
“Just thinking about places I would like to visit.”
“I think I would go to Saturn if I could visit any place in the Universe.” He said, sneaking another glance at her.
“Oh yea?” She asked, her head still tilted towards her window, the air still blowing in her face. “Why Saturn?”
“Because I would steal that giant ring and put it on your finger.” He reached over the center consol and put his hand on top of hers. “That way everybody in the whole Universe would know that you were my girl.” She looked over at him, a long string of tears streaking across her face.
“Oh Amy, are you crying?” He asked.
“No.” She smiled at him. “It’s just the wind in my eyes.” She took his hand in hers and squeezed. It was his romantic fabrication that she had fallen in love with in the first place. It was this that she was going to miss most about him.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
I went to the library to study Algebra
But forgot my book
So I wrote a story.
It wasn’t very interesting, really.
But I remembered what it was like to listen,
When I talked to a girl who learned how to
Tell jokes with her hands three years ago.
She has four parents, but the ones who love her
Are only five years old.
Then I found out, two hours away,
You could get your middle finger pierced
Right before I bought alcohol.
"You don’t have time,
To be an Artist"?
Thursday, January 14, 2010
All Curtis Gray wanted to do was smoke a cigarette. Wishfully thinking, he drew in a raspy breath and held it, hoping that if he held on long enough he would eventually blow out smoke. But he had no such luck. He still exhaled only carbon dioxide. Picking at the psoriasis scabbing over his fingers to keep himself preoccupied, he looked up to survey the rest of the company he would be keeping on his flight to Florida, everybody around him waiting anxiously to board the plane grounded at gate B18; its current delay time now forty-five minutes. He hated when business brought him to Florida, figuring it was the state’s humidity that attributed to most of his animosity. The Florida Summers were brutal for a man Curtis's size. Armed to the teeth in tropical attire, he was determined to beat the heat this time. He wore a white brimmed panama hat to keep the sun out of his eyes, a red XXL Hawaiian button down with no undershirt; decorated with squawking parrots and tufts of escaping grey chest hair, a pair of thin white khaki shorts so his crotch could breathe and flip-flops instead of closed toe shoes. He looked ridiculous, but felt fantastic.
When the flight was delayed for a second time and picking at his scabs was no longer an adequate means of distraction from his nicotine cravings, Curtis had tried starting a conversation with the woman sitting next to him. She was elderly, probably in her early seventies, he thought, wrinkled to all hell like a grape that had sat out in the sun too long. She passed the time knitting and would occasionally burst into broken hymns. He would listen as she carried on, a range of mild variations to absurd interpretations of the lyrics. She would then dim to a mild hum before re-erupting with the correct words, an endless crescendo of the forgotten and the remembered. Curtis, who had grown tired of her sporadic hymnal misrepresentations, tried to distract her with conversation.
“Remember when you used to be able to smoke in these things?” He nudged her.
“Come again?” She replied, her focus ever vigilant on her cross-hatching.
“Remember when airports used to letchya smoke in ‘em?” He repeated louder, with deliberation.
“Oh no,” She said, eyes still locked on what appeared to be a scarf, which would ultimately prove useless in the summer. “I don’t have a cigarette. You’re not allowed to smoke in airports anymore.” She then proceeded to quietly sing "Danny Boy," replacing "Danny," with "Johnny."
Curtis, upon receiving this information on which he was already well acquainted, surrendered the conversation. “Bitch.” He mumbled.
Waiting with nothing to do, Curtis stared blankly past the terminal walkway as it kept busy with the sounds of hurried feet. The hall echoed with clapping heels, rolling suitcases and the congregation of voices that if listened to with closed eyes, combined to form one dull murmur. By doing this, Curtis was able to pinpoint certain conversations amongst the endless tunnels of marching people and would reopen his eyes when something piqued his interest. He listened to a man's voice describe a sex change operation. When he looked up to see who was talking, he saw a woman with a five o’clock shadow having a conversation on a cell phone - in a man’s voice. As soon as he/she hung up the phone, a voice that was unmistakably female propositioned a short bald man for something that cost twenty dollars in the bathroom. He listened as a drunken man stumbled and slurred, announcing to no one in particular that he had a flight to catch. When Curtis opened his eyes, he saw that the man was a pilot. No sooner after the drunken pilot had been carted away he heard a woman crying, her high heels clicking loudly on the tile as she ran past, sobbing, excuse me, excuse me, as she bumped through the crowd. Curtis looked up just in time to see a fit young man in a thong rushing after her, yelling, wait, wait, I can explain everything, whilst he himself was pursued by a small cluster of manic security guards; all waving stun guns wildly into the air. Curtis smiled at this. Across from him sat a handsome black man. Curtis had sworn he'd seen him in a movie once. If that were true though this man probably would have taken a private jet and not flown commercial, but maybe even a movie star couldn’t afford to fly privately these days. After all, these were troubling economic times. His new boss certainly seemed to think so.
“We can’t afford to keep you employed here if you aren’t going to do the work Mr.Gray.” Richard William Poxley Jr. had said to Curtis, in regards to his refusal to carry out his previous two assignments.
“It went against my better judgment Dick.” Curtis explained looking down, even then picking at his psoriasis to pass the time.
“Well if you’d read the files ahead of time, like all the other employees seem to have no trouble doing,” Jr. stressed. “We could have saved quite a bit of money on the travel expenses, or at least spent them on somebody who would have actually done the job.”
“And if you had read my file, Dick, you’d know that I don’t look at a file until right before I’m supposed to do the job.”
“And why is that?” Jr. asked, reclining so far back in his chair that he almost disappeared entirely behind the bulk of the mammoth steel desk. His frame did not quite fill it the way his fathers had.
“Makes my job easier I suppose.” Curtis said, staring over the desk and focusing loosely on the blinds closed behind him.
“Funny thing about that Mr. Gray is that you haven’t been doing your job. I’m not trying to be unreasonable here, just economical.”
“Well, gimme someone who deserves to shot and I’ll shoot ‘em, Mr.Dick.” Curtis said, raising his arms dramatically over his head and letting them plop down loudly on the seat of the leather chair he reclined in, refocusing his gaze onto his new and frustrated young boss.
“How did my father never fire you Mr. Gray?” Jr. seemed to plead; leaning forward in hopes that the closer he was to Curtis the deeper his words would sink in.
“He liked my dirty jokes.” Curtis shrugged. Being more than twice Jr.’s age, Curtis found it difficult to feign respect for the young man. Jr. only smirked at this remark and receded back out of Curtis’s line of sight behind the desk. When Richard William Poxley Sr. had employed Curtis, his job had meant something.
Richard William Poxely Sr. had always joked that, if you were going to play the hand of God, you might as well act like you know what you’re doing. There were rules when Sr. was in charge and Curtis like that. There were never any jobs on women, never any jobs on second or third parties and never any jobs on anyone that didn’t seem to deserve it. Most of the marks being brought into the company deserved to be shot. “If Poxley & Co. put a bullet in you, then you probably had it coming,” was the long time running slogan and it made the clients feel better about their decisions to have somebody killed. It even made the employees feel better about having to kill someone. Morale was high and business was good. However, when Sr. had died of a heart attack earlier that spring, Richard William Poxley Jr. (or, Dick as Curtis liked to call him) had taken over the business. The first thing to go when Jr. took over was the moral code of conduct. According to him, they could no longer afford to be selective about the work they received. He simply wiped the slate clean and changed the rates. The new motto might as well have rang, “If Poxley & Co. put a bullet in you, then somebody must have payed us a shit load of money.” Curtis had refused to pull the trigger on his last two jobs because they went against his higher moral standing. The first job was a second party member, (A hit designed to bring grief to the deserving party) and the second, had been a woman. Curtis wasn’t about to kill somebody whose only crime was knowing the person who deserved to be shot and as a gentleman, he would never shoot a lady. Dick had argued that if Curtis had just looked at the file when it was handed to him, he could have saved company money on air travel, room and board, and rifle transport. But as Curtis had explained, (and like it said in his file) he would only look at a profile right before he pulled the trigger. The less he knew about a job the easier it was to do it. When he tried to explain to Dick the importance of his father’s mantra, Dick had simply brushed it off as though he were selling used cars.
“You know Dick,” he explained. “Your father always said, that if you’re going to play the hand of God – ”
“I’m not here to play the hand of God, Mr. Gray.” Dick interrupted. “I’m just here to make some money.”
And so, Richard William Poxley Jr. leaned forward and slid a sealed yellow envelope towards Curtis from his desk, peeling his lips back for a straight white smile. “Mr. Gray,” he seemed to coo in delight. “I am elated to inform you that you will never have to worry about your better moral judgement ever again. Because what I have right here in front of you is your last job.”
“So you’re firing me?” Curtis asked. For the first time ever, Jr. held his attention.
“Think of it as early retirement.” Jr. replied. “You were a friend of my fathers and although you may not seem to think so, I respect that. However, you do not seem to appreciate the direction in which I am taking this company. So, here is what I’m thinking. You carry out this last assignment under my employment and I will let you keep your benefits, your 401(k), your retirement package – the whole shebang really. All you have to do is take our ‘friend’ here,” he said, drilling the envelope twice with his pointer finger so that it made a loud popping sound. “And see that he doesn’t live past the weekend.”
“And if I say no?” Curtis drawled, still registering Jr.’s proposition.
“Mr. Gray you’ve been here long enough to know how this company works,” Jr. said, shifting his weight in his father’s old chair as if trying to physically occupy more space in it. “If you continue to act against the company’s best interest then you will be labeled a liability. And we all know what happens to liabilities within the company.”
“You would really have me knocked off? After thirty eight years on the job?” Curtis stared into Jr. until his gaze broke. Jr. cleared his throat and looked down to readjust his tie.
“Come on now Mr. Gray,” Jr. breathed. “We prefer to use the term terminated. It’s more professional. And it’s nothing personal; just protocol.”
Curtis slid back into his seat facing Richard William Poxley Jr., who so crudely occupied the space behind Richard William Poxley Sr.'s old desk. Curtis didn’t need to think very long about his predicament. One job and he would be granted two and a half years early retirement. The alternative to this was being shot, stabbed, poisoned or blown up. Curtis wasn’t fond of the idea of being blown up. He knew he had to take the assignment. He knew there had to be a catch to Jr.’s ultimatum. He knew that it was going to be listed in the sealed yellow envelope. He knew that all of this was going to go against his better judgment.
“What’s the catch?” Curtis asked, sinking into his seat.
“No catch.” Jr. said softly, looking up. “One more job and I’m out of your hair, you out of mine. I’d say we have a pretty sweet deal, wouldn’t you Mr. Gray?” Jr. intertwined his fingers and propped his elbows on his desk before allowing his chin to rest atop his knuckles. He stared at Curtis with an infantile disposition. Jr. was almost thirty, but had somehow managed to crossover a spoiled, childlike demeanor into adulthood. “You can always take a look at the file now and pick another assignment.” He said, sliding back into his chair and gazing intently into Curtis. "But then my offer is off the table and going forward you will work following our office policies, not your own, 'Moral code of conduct,' if you can call it that." Curtis sat with his hands gripping the armrest, grinding his teeth at Jr.'s proposal.
They sat there staring. Curtis at the file, Jr. at Curtis, each waiting for the other to make a move or make a decision. After what felt like an hour of holding his breath, Curtis exhaled and moved to stand up. Jr. bounced the tips of his fingers off each other and waited for Curtis’s answer.
“Well, what’s it going to be Mr. Gray?” Jr. asked.
Standing up, Curtis towered over the seated Jr., who leaned backwards in his chair behind his father’s desk looking up. He took two shuffling steps forward and placed his hand on the file, grunting in displeasure. “Where’s the job?” he asked.
“Florida.” Jr. said, peeling back another smile.
“Ughh,” Curtis snorted. “I hate Florida.” Turning around to grab his briefcase, he picked it up and placed it on his chair, spinning the numbers under the handle to unlock it. When it opened, he turned around to claim the file and tossed it in, closing it shut and spinning the numbers so it locked again.
“Aren’t you going to look at your file?” Jr. sneered.
“I’ve done this job for thirty-eight years without ever looking at a file early. Why start getting attached now?” Curtis grumbled.
“Wonderful. Your plane leaves in two hours,” Jr. said, leaning over in his desk to open a drawer, retrieving another envelope with Curtis’s plane tickets, different forms of fake identification and traveler’s checks. “Here you go Mr. Gray,” he said, sliding the envelope towards the end of the desk. “Better hurry up and pack. Wouldn’t want you to miss your flight.”
“Two hours?” Curtis asked, reaching out tentatively for the envelope.
“I had a hunch you wouldn’t be able to resist a trip to the sunshine state,” Jr. chuckled.
Curtis grabbed the envelope and shuffled off towards the door. He stopped when he reached out to leave, his hand sticking to the handle as though he didn’t have the strength to turn it. Something didn’t feel right. Something didn’t fit. None of this made any sense.
“Dick,” Curtis asked, suspicious, his hand still frozen on the handle. “How did you know I was going to take the job? I mean really, how did you know I wouldn’t look at the file?”
“Because not only did I read your file, Mr. Gray,” Jr. started. “ But because you’re a stubborn old man.” He rolled his chair back from his desk and stood up, walking over to the first of four sets of blinds drawn over the windows behind his desk. “And like most stubborn old men,” Whhhhippsk! Went the sound of the first set being zipped up, as he pulled down hard on its string. The light flooding through the window had illuminated Jr. so brilliantly that for a moment he existed only as a silhouette, outlined by the dust particles snowing from the shutters. “You’ll always do things your own way.” Whhhhippsk! “Just to prove a point.” Whhhhippsk! “Even if being in your own way gets you killed.” Whhhhippsk! Curtis flinched at the sound of the blinds being pulled, his eyes slow to adjust to the light. He’d hoped that Jr. had not seen him wince, or felt his rising uneasiness. When Jr. turned around to face him, Curtis was unable to make out any discernable features. He was chilled to discover that Jr. had been smiling at him.
“Hey Dick.” Curtis said; hand still stuck to the handle.
“Yes mister Gray?” Jr. asked, crossing his arms.
“How does James Bond like his pussy?”
Jr. forced out a single guttural, “Ha!”
“I don’t know Mr. Gray. How does he like it?”
“Shaven. Not furred.”
Jr. forced a rough chuckle before clearing his throat.“You know what Mr. Gray?” He said. “I have a hard time believing that anybody finds you funny.”
“Oh yea?” Curtis replied. “Well, fuck you.” And this seemed to do the trick. With relative ease Curtis turned the handle and made his exit, leaving Jr. to observe glittering specks of falling dust, alone.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
And I said, "What about Breakfast at Tiffany's?"
But she had already left.
I guess music from the ninties couldn't really express my feelings.
By the looks of it, neither could I.
She must've been an NSync fan, the way she screamed "Bye Bye Bye."
And there I was:
head on the steering wheel, heart on the sleeve.
But how cliche is that?
Here's where I say it was raining, or the radio only played love songs...
But the truth is too hard to handle, and apparently,
So am I.
So if every drop of water on the windshield signified anything that night,
It would be a who's who of mistakes that I've ever made.
But just know if you've ever felt left out,
That I've never been in.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
I’ve just realized you put a hole in my neck. I push my finger into the dimple that you've permanently burned there and feel my skin dip like a crater. Now, no matter where I go, I will always have this wonderfully macabre souvenir from you. While it is wonderful I'm sure, I am yet to be aware of its significance. That was meant to be off color, not jarring in anyway.
“It’s almost sentiment, I suppose,” you say. “I’ve scared you.”
“Scared me?” I ask. “How so?”
“There is literally a scar.”
“Did you perhaps mean to say, scarred me? It isn’t that scary, and scarred has two R’s in it.”
“So sue me,” you reply, at length.
“For what you did to my neck?” I exclaim, in mock surprise, although the sarcasm is lost, at length. “That seems a little dramatic,” I say. “It was an accident; I don’t blame you for that. I’m not mad, by any means. I just thought I was being funny bringing up old times.”
“What?” You say. You seem to be at a loss. “I think you’re overanalyzing the word ‘scar,’” you tell me, putting a drawl on it. I can see it, your pronunciation that is. I think you missed my joke though.
So sue me, you said. Remember?
For the scar? I retorted cleverly. Remember?
Hook, line, and sinker.
Wakka wakka wakka.
“Geeze, it’s been a long day,” you groan, rolling your eyes. I can see it.
“For you?” I ask.
“No, for you . . .”
“Is that sarcasm?”
“Very much so.” You say, and you cross your arms and look away, like when you were a ballerina. I can see it, you crossing your arms that is. I can feel your words in my pockets, filling them to the brim and spilling them over with indifference. I know you want me to stop talking, but I don’t. I can’t.
“So why was your day so long?” I inquire.
BuzzBuzz. More words that I don’t have room for. Don’t interrupt me when I’m trying to have a conversation. Can’t you see I’m trying to have a conversation?
“He better not be on his way over,” my friend demands from my other pocket.
“He is though,” I say. “How did you know?”
BuzzBuzz. Words. More of them, they’re yours this time.
“School I suppose, and I didn’t get home from the airport until two a.m. because of bad weather.”
I don’t know who to listen too.
“I passed him,” my friend intervenes. “He looked like he was sitting on a dick.”
“Well, he is gay,” I reply. “You should be more tolerant. It’s what he likes. For all you know he was sitting on a dick.”
He was coming over to drink my liquor. He was coming over for his friend's sake. His friend, who was, no doubt, currently sitting slack in the passenger seat going unnoticed by my friend, who was traveling in the vehicle next to theirs staring into the drivers side. He was coming over for her, but she would not be coming. Not tonight anyway, because she was with him. For those of you who are confused, she is not the “You” that I have been speaking too, because “You,” is an entirely different person. She, is also not “my friend,” although she is a friend. You, the reader, are also not her. The “you” that I've been speaking to that is. That would be insane. That wouldn't make any sense. That, would be crazy.
Pay attention here because I am talking about six different people.
Are you paying attention? BuzzBuzz. Not now, I’m telling a story here. Can’t you see that I’m telling a story?
They were all coming over (except for you of course, you live too far away) because we had all spoken on the phone earlier that week, and made plans to have drinks together. But I was expecting everybody hours ago. And It wasn't even everybody's tardiness that pissed me off. It was the fact that he had invited himself over. He, was coming over here, to see her. However, while she had verbally confirmed her attendance, I knew that she was going to end up at his house, letting him fuck her, as she never properly learned how to be alone, like I had. I was also annoyed by his arrival, because he had never been formally invited into my house. Unless I extend an invitation to you myself, then you are not my guest. You are just a person near my bedroom and I do not wish to speak to you.
“You had school today?” I ask you. “How awful, I did too. Did you learn anything new?”
“He’s gay. Of course he’s gay,” my friend says. “I knew that.”
“I learned that countries with the frizziest hair, genetically, are Lithuania and Denmark.” You tell me.
How fancy, I think. I never learned anything in school about people’s hair in other countries. We only learned ugly things about other countries, like currency and corruption and war. Sometimes nice things though, like languages and foods and paintings, but never anything personal, never anything as personal as which countries had the frizziest hair. I don’t even realize I am pacing in my room now and I catch myself looking up at the ceiling. There is a ring of dust on the ceiling right behind the fan. It’s disgusting and I shouldn’t have to clean it. It was there when I got here. I think I'll leave it for the next tenant. God I could use a drink, I think to myself. But you should never drink alone. You have a problem if you drink alone. God I need a drink.
Not now, I'm thinking. Can't you see I'm thinking?
But I do not hear from you for the rest of the night.
He arrives with him. They head straight for my fridge and help themselves to my beer. What a gracious host I am. I should consider myself lucky they don't make a pass at my liquor. He asks me if I have heard from her. I tell him that I haven’t. I say, "I don't think she's coming." I fail to mention to him that at this very moment, she is probably being straddled over a coffee table and He is making her come right now. She doesn't even have the common decency to call, and say that she's not coming, leaving everyone to wonder where she is. Everyone wonders but me, because I know she's a bitch.
My friend finally arrives. As he enters the room he looks at me and rolls his eyes at the other two in the kitchen while they drink my beer and giggle dimly to themselves. They all go into the living room and put on a scary movie. I do not join them because I do not watch scary movies. I have a terrible imagination and it keeps me up most nights. Instead, I decide to read a book in the kitchen on the counter, sitting up against the side of the fridge with my feet up on the toaster. I am doing my best to ignore the screaming coming from the living room. I sit and try to focus on my book about war in other countries. There are no chapters on frizzy hair.
When the movie is over I join everybody in the living room and stare past them while they boast tall stories of bravado and lie about fights they haven't been in. They pontificate loudly about themselves, to themselves, and roar over one other; about nothing in particular. They remind me of great big Silverback gorillas, because I do not understand Silverback gorillas. I want them to leave. When they finally do leave I go into my bedroom, turn off all my lights and try to go to sleep. I cannot sleep though, because the screaming from the living room is still ringing in my head. So are the authors harrowing accounts of currency, corruption, and war. When I get to sleep that night, I dream of skeletons dancing in flames, screaming at me in agony and ecstasy as they beg me to save their frizzy hair.
Not now. I’m trying to sleep. Can’t you see I’m trying to sleep?