Suborrhea Manuscript in its entirety....
i wrote all this when i was 19 & 20 & i guess a lot of it is juvenile in a way, but maybe that's part of what i like about it.  when i converted it from microsoft word it lost the paragraph spacings, hopefully it still all makes sense.  a couple of the pieces are also in other appropriate places on the website....


You exist to absorb me. To take the pieces of me I throw into the air & pull them into yourself so you can be more like me. Don't move, you might miss something. You might let me go on existing into another or go on existing endlessly by myself. I don't want that. Consume me. Make me exist through you. Kill me. Don't let me exist at all.


Neither one of us knows which is superior. It's intriguing as we each believe ourself to be better than humans. We feed off of each other. Each of us takes everything in about the other in hopes of understanding each other & ourselves. We give everything, with nothing to lose except our individuality & our humanity. Our time together doesn't grow predictable, but safe. Our minds seem indistinguishable, having molded each other to purer images. Our bodies are the only difference we have. He tries to poison & corrupt mine to prevent competition for deification. My pain & desire for survival make me self-involved & isolated. I try to hide from him & everyone he knows. If he thinks I don't exist; I'll be safe. As long as I look human, I won't be suspicious. I cocoon myself & hide & hope for strength. Which of us is the superior clone?


I do not have any orifices anymore & nothing can enter me. I'm peaceful & content with the dead air & ideas trapped inside that don't need to be shared anymore. I feel frozen in the present because I cannot absorb it & turn it into my past. My eyes are getting dusty & I'm being mistaken for dead. I want to tear a new mouth so I can tell them to leave me alone, but the skin is too smooth & is disturbing to touch. They are surrounding me & their lips are moving. Their touches hurt me, it feels like nails on a chalkboard & I'm screaming on the inside. The tallest one has a scalpel & is leaning his forearm against my face. His skin looks smoother & shinier than mine. He has no fingernails. He's cutting me a new mouth & fresh air & blood are sucked into my lungs that were nearly a vacuum. I'm coughing blood everywhere & it's getting on everything, including his beautiful skin. It glows brightly on him as it burns off. I am drowning in myself; I am alone. inure There's a light shining in my room & it seems to be getting brighter. I'm praying to god that I'll be taken away & I hear a noise like a train whistle getting closer & then moving inside my body. I stand up & the light begins to fade. I want to be jammed with needles & have my body torn apart & put back together. All the impurities will fall out of me. They could make me an angel. They will not save me.

my previous life

I'm lying on top of the monkey bars of an old jungle gym like they use to make in the sixties, but deemed unsafe & took apart a generation later. They've surrounded the area so I can't escape & they're armed with torches as if they think I'm Frankenstein's monster. Some of them seem to be dressed as ghosts covered in white , while others are as devils with pitchforks. They don't seem to want to come closer, as if even in such a large group I am still a threat to their strength. They're pouring cans of gasoline all over the sand around the jungle gym & throwing the empty cans at me from twenty feet away. They light the sand on fire & I stand so they can still see me. I could still change things & make one of them personally responsible or dead. I just wish I wasn't alone. I always am.


I'm sucking on her breast lying on my back, stretching my neck to reach since she's sitting up on the bed. I have my eyes closed & her nipple feels good in my mouth. Someone's opening the door, but I'm not going to stop what I'm doing because I'm not ashamed of it. Suddenly, my head's being pushed away & I look to the doorway to see the girl whose breast I thought I was sucking. I roll my head to see whose lap I'm lying on & it's a fair skinned boy with his shirt unbuttoned. I look back to the door & she's glaring at me saying, "I'm so disappointed in you." I don't think she'll believe I thought it was her.


I like to wear green because it reminds me that I'm a clone. It reminds me that my two brothers & I came out of a factory born full grown & indistinguishable except for the colors we wore: red, blue, & green. We are nothing special. Fully developed without pasts, we are self-doubting & lost for meaning. Red & Blue search for the something we're missing, while I work to support us. I grow to hate them & their self-pity & I turn to self-abuse & drug addiction for my own meaning of life. I can't afford to support them & my narcissism, so I kill them & bury them in the unfinished room in the basement.
Her biggest fault is that she wants to experience multiple realities. She attempts to do this by concerning herself with youths who remind her of herself. She gives them guidance & then keeps in touch with them to see what would happen to her with different choices made. Sometimes she ends up dead or typical & boring. That she's in love with herself is her real motive. She wants to make a more interesting version of herself to fall in love with. To follow instead of lead. She is strong, but still too fragile to exist alone. 

Aliens Birth at 5

I'm in the cafeteria for breakfast. Most of the kids don't get up for breakfast, so it's almost empty. I'm eating my waffle & she sits down in front of me with her coffee & cigarette. She looks too old to be in college. She's probably forty-five & she colors her hair & she has a few wrinkles, but at least she's not fat. She's not trim either, but that kind of skinny speed freaks are & she has that same dead look in her eyes. I've never seen one her age before. "It's that damn clinic," she says pulling her cigarette out of her mouth & knocking half the ashes off into her coffee as she grabs the cup. "What?" She drinks some of her coffee & points a jittery finger to one of the windows. "The divorce clinic." I actually know what she's talking about. One of the churches in town has a movement towards marriage being about love; consequently, they're encouraging divorce where there isn't love. "Oh." "Do you know what they're trying to do?" Her breath smells sweet beneath the smoke & coffee; her body must be digesting itself. "No." I'm kind of scared of her. Not really scared, I just don't want her to touch me & give me her madness. "Have you ever noticed the little pyramid on top of the roof?" "Yeah, it's shiny." "That's right. It's not just new age crap. It's not satanic either, but you know what it is? Dangerous. They have big plans. They're like fire. It's exciting, so you just get into it & don't pay attention to what you're doing & bang, you lost part of your nervous system." Somebody walks in the cafeteria; it's just a typical frat brat. "Oh, crap." I'm not sure what she's reacting to, but she puts her coffee on my tray & leaves by the back door. I finish my waffle & put my tray on the conveyor belt & leave. It's Saturday, so I go to the record stare to see if they have anything I want used. There's nothing good there & I leave without the clerk ever saying anything. I hate over-friendly over-helpful clerks. I can take care of my-fucking-self & if I need help I'll ask for it. I hate people who want to be waited on even more. Scumbags who've probably never had to do an honest day's work in their lives & think they're so fucking special & important & spectacular. I just don't like people. I'm kind of near the church the woman was talking about, so I walk the extra block to it. I go around the back to the part the little metal pyramid is directly over. I look in a window & there's a woman standing there amongst the desks & chairs. She has a lit match in her left hand & an egg in her right. Somehow she balances the egg on the tip of the flame & it bursts open into a full size chicken & it's lit on fire. The chicken's screaming & flapping its wings, but its feet are trapped to the top of the match flame. I'm stooping down hiding & praying to god even though I don't believe in him. Eventually (I'm not sure how long I'm praying, trying to piece together the bits I remember from Sunday school), the woman leaves the building & I get back up & look in the window. There's a blackboard (actually it's green like the ones used in trailer classrooms) & written on it in medium large letters is "Aliens birth at 5pm." I just leave & go back to campus. There are a bunch of my friends out on the mall, sitting on the edge of the sidewalk, talking & looking straight ahead at nothing. I sit down in the line up. "Heh, ace, what's going on?" "Nothing." Neither me nor Mike turn to acknowledge each other, just looking out of the corners of our eyes, heads not turning, like when you're driving a car. "You wanna go somewhere?" "Yeah, sure, where?" "I don't know, let's go." We're standing up & leaving the other kids & go to the post office parking lot & get in Mike's truck. It's black & shiny & the inside still has the new car smell. He starts it & it's playing this nice weird trippy trance song. He starts driving all wild & random & sporadic, trying to scare kids on their bikes or walking. He keeps saying things that don't seem coherent because I can't really make them out over the music. "What's the matter?" he asks, turning down the radio. "Nothing, what time is it?" He points to the car's clock & says, "Four-forty-two." "Oh, crap. I wanted to be somewhere at five." "Where?" "That weird divorce church." "We can make it," he says & pushes down on the gas even though there's a lot of traffic. He's swerving from lane to lane & I'm holding on to the door's armrest to keep myself steady. All of a sudden, the left lane is empty & the right lane is clogged. There's a car with its hazards blinking two hundred feet in front of us. "Mike, I think it's stopped." "Ah, it'll move." I'm really fucking scared that Mike's going to kill me & he swerves out into the oncoming traffic lane, which is empty; but he does it a little too late because he hits the parked car & the truck starts spinning. My eyes are closed because I've been in accidents like this before & I don't want to see another one. All of a sudden the tires are squealing & we're only moving forward again. I open my eyes & look at Mike. "Sorry, didn't mean to cut it that close." "That's all right." My left hand's quivering & my right hand's holding on to the armrest so tight I can't feel it in my hand anymore. "Weird-ass church, everybody out." The car's screeching to a halt & the seatbelt holds me in. I'm trying to go to the divorce clinic, when this tall skinny woman in a red dress with curly brown hair gets in my way. "Look what you've done!" She's pointing at a pasta strainer with a dent in it. "How could I possibly meet anybody with something like this!?!" She sounds like a really bad actress from a high budget film, or maybe a foiled villainess from a sixty's Disney movie. Her fingernails are exactly the same color as her lipstick which is exactly the same color as her dress. She's holding the strainer to her face with her left hand & scratching at me blindly with her right & I just walk around her to the window I was looking in earlier. Mike pops his head up next to mine. "What's up?" "Don't know." The typical classroom style furniture is gone & the blackboard doesn't say anything anymore. "What time is it?" "Five-oh-two." "Fuck."
figure in dress 

The most interesting thing about her is that she's not from america; the most uninteresting thing about her is she's dressed like a hippie. She has this false concern about people's happiness (example given: mine) because she wants people to be concerned about hers. I'm not even sure if she's aware of her motivation. I want to tell her that the reason I'm not smiling is because she's suffering on the inside & I don't believe in facades. I want to take away the happiness & replace it with hope. I don't want her to lie to anyone, especially herself. 


She has long black curly hair & olive skin & I am the President of the United States of America. We're in a bathroom that can't be a public restroom because it has a bathtub shower with one of those opaque sliding doors. The ceiling is made from sheets of plexi-glass to disperse & soften the fluorescent lights behind it. The wall paper has thin green vertical stripes & small blue & white daisies the size of your thumbnail in chains. She's taken her clothes off & now she's taking off mine. She slides the shower door open & steps back into it & pulls me after her. She slides the door shut & embraces me face to face. She loses her balance & we're falling, her beneath me, & her head hits the bath tub faucet & then the ceramic tub. She just smiles & kisses me like nothing happened. When I start to get up, she wraps her legs & arms around me & pulls me down into her. She's fucking me & I can't even feel it. It's like she's fucking someone else & it doesn't particularly concern me or she's masturbating herself with my hand while I'm sleeping. Why do I always do this? It's always the same, absolutely nothing.

mint green

mint green socks reminescent of the taste inside of the beautiful girl's mouth all those years ago, when I was young (or at least younger) & full of life (or at least closer to full of life).


She's calling me again. As if she wants to be a part of my life again (or maybe she just wants me to be a part of hers). But I don't think I need assurance or approval from anyone anymore, so she has nothing to offer me. She keeps talking & I keep not paying attention & being silent. I want to tell her I have plans to be alone every Saturday night for the next three & a half years, but I also want to be polite. I still want her to be happy; I just don't waste any more of my life on anyone as dumb as she is. "So do you think that'd be okay?" "What?" "If I came over, silly." "Yeah, sure, whatever you want." I just destroyed myself. I really hate hurting anything; I should have been more hostile, it would make things easier. "See you soon." She hangs up quickly, so I don't have a chance to change my mind.

Family Reunion

The instructions say the game can make wishes true, so I take it down to the rec room in the basement where the other cousins are. I'm telling everyone what it says & they're patronizing me. Jessica's whispering to Angela & I can hear her saying, "Maybe he's the local thief & is going to return our missing stuff." Eric spins the dial first & moves his piece & then it happens. Eric is turned into Greg from the Brady Bunch & he's wearing a boxer shorts style swimsuit. Across from him, his sister Jessica has turned into Marsha & she's wearing a creme & brown checkered double-knit bikini. A corner of the room is built into the fakest looking beach set I've seen & has a big plastic palm tree. Eric takes Jessica's hand & leads her to the beach. He flexes his muscles & she puts her hands on his chest. He lets his arms down & puts his arms down & puts his hands to her hips slipping his thumbs into the sides of the swimsuit. I look back to the game & the dial's spinning again & when I look up to Jeff, he's mutated into Danny from the Partridge family in his heroin addiction years. He's dressed all in black & has a needle he's sticking in his left arm. I grab the game announcing, "This is evil," & run upstairs. Donna's sitting on a couch in the living room reading a book. "What's going on, mister ?" She's three years older than me & for some reason I'm confusing age with maturity. "This game makes wishes true." "Oh, that's a problem," she says taking it as I hand it over willingly to her open arms. All the cousins rush up & somebody says, "Let's play outside." I'm flooded outside with the other twenty cousins. There's a fire in a grill for a light source on the porch & when I go to it I see it's made from my personal letters & I'm burning my hands trying to save one or two & I hear the dial spinning. I look to the horizon & there's a tornado shaped like a staircase that spans my whole field of vision. Jeff/Danny is standing nest to me leaning on a white wooden railing. "Look," he says, "nothing's wrong. Everything is normal. You can tell by the hair on my arms." I look at the hair on his arms & it's standing perpendicular to his flesh. His hands are holding on to the rail so tight he's denting the wood. "I guess it is kind of exciting all the same." "In front of me the grass is now about knee high & there are these tan & white rabbits coming this way who are jumping about three feet high. One of the cousins (presumably, though I don't recognize his current body) goes off of the porch onto what was the front lawn to defend us with a hoe. He's swinging it randomly into the grass & eventually he hits one & I hear its high pitched scream. I guess it scares him, because he lets go of the hoe. The hoe starts flipping around through the grass & air presumably by the bunnies' manipulation. The hoe smacks him in the back of the head & he falls. I go out to help him in case he isn't dead but the body's being drug away & is out of sight by the time I get to where he fell. I grab the hoe & run back to the porch. Someone grabs me & is pulling me & saying, "It's your turn." I'm sitting in front of the game with my hand on the dial.


I wake up & it's too cold to be sleeping in a car without covers. I want to hold on to the girl in the bucket seat next to mine & suck off some of her warmth, but I'm not sure what my relationship to her is. I'm in some weird position where my right leg is stretched over the gap between our seats & held under her left leg limiting my movement without waking her. I pick up the camera from its little home beside the parking brake & slide the switch opening the lens cap. I roll over; sliding my right leg out from under her & landing my left knee on the edge of the seat, leaning a little on her right leg, & I'm kneeling over her holding the camera up to my face like it's a mask. She's opening her eyes & lifting her head slightly as I push the button to take the picture. She punches me in the chest with her left fist, sending me back into a crouching/sitting position & making me bump my head on the windshield; but it's somehow reassuring to me, because it makes it seem my being so close isn't an invasion or she would've pushed me back to my seat. "How could you take a picture of me before I put my make-up on?!" "I didn't even know you ever wore make-up. Besides, you're always beautiful." She has this look like she not only doesn't believe my compliment, but doesn't believe I said it. She props herself up on her elbows, but then goes back to lying down (I assume because of the cold air). "It's your honesty. All honest people always look beautiful to me." I'm wiping some of the stray black hairs across her face behind her ears where the others are pulled back to & she's breathing in deeply with her eyes closed & I can see her eyes moving beneath the lids. I'm bending down to kiss her when I realize I still don't remember who she is (or I am for that matter) or what our relationship is. She reaches up, not ever opening her eyes, & pulls my body against hers & holds me tight against her so my only motion is a rhythmic rising & falling with her breath. I feel bad because some of my hair's in her face & probably in her mouth (I wish I'd get it cut, but I've had the same haircut for thirteen years & it feels very safe to me). I'm looking at the things on the floor behind the driver's seat & there's a bunch of opened envelopes of various sizes & colors, then I see one of those amber colored prescription bottles. The woman beneath me seems asleep again by the consistency & depth of her breath. I reach for the pills & the label's been pulled off so I don't know what they are. I open the bottle with one hand (despite the child proofing, a trick so much easier than it should be) & they don't smell horrible to me, but just familiar; so I know I must be addicted to them. I hold my head up a little & have my mouth open to try to build up some saliva so I can take my pill. I'm eating the pill, which I'm sure is supposed to taste much worse than it does to me, & it goes down very easily for its size & chalky consistency. I'm looking at her ear & I notice she's not breathing as precisely anymore & must be awake. "Who are we?" I'm asking & starting to pull myself up to look at her face as she talks. She pulls me back towards her & my hands slip off the seat & my body bangs against hers. She's rubbing her left hand down along my spine & her right hand's against the back of my neck. "It's all going to be okay. I'll be ready to go & start driving soon." I bite on her a little, where her neck joins to the left side of her body, & she tastes like cake. I know who she is & love her more than I can ever remember loving anything (though I am intoxicated). I pull myself harder against her & whisper, "Thank you," as I notice I'm starting to cry.


It is rainy & black. He is walking barefoot & without a shirt even though it shows off the ugly scars on his back. Broken glass is shoving into his feet as he walks through the tunnel, an involuntary whimper at each step. After he's through the tunnel, he climbs over the three foot wall & coils in the grass. Two girls are walking by talking to each other when one says, "Isn't that Brian John Mitchell?" He moves his head slightly because he's trained to answer to his name like an animal. They come over the wall about to ask him what's wrong when they see his feet & bend closer to them. "I'm not supposed to be this famous," he says, still crying. "It'll be alright," the shorter one with nicer hair says as they begin to pull the glass from his feet. The one who spoke pulls the pieces out with a twisting motion that hurts at first but feels better in the end. The other one is saying they need to go to her boyfriend's apartment & waves good-bye & starts walking away. The one with the nicer hair bends down in front of his face & he barely recognizes her as someone he used to know. She's biting her lip & smearing some lipstick on her teeth. "Thank you." "'I really do love you,' she never did say that did she?" She's taking an old blanket out of her book bag as she speaks. "I don't think so." He's shivering & she's putting a blanket around him. "Come on! We've got to go!" the other girl's calling from the other side of the tunnel. "In a minute!... well, maybe I'll see you later." She kisses him above the left eye & walks away. It's still raining & getting colder & his blood is staining the blanket. Tears mix with rain as he shivers.

once bright son

I feel so out of time, so out of mind, so whacked & stacked & packed into a place too small & tight for my mind to turn the corner sharply without flipping over & out like the once bright son who didn't exercise the right parts for a little too long. He was a lot like the smiling goldfish who had too many dreams come true; only he didn't see his own absurdity, so he failed to start questing or questioning. He did only what was asked of him; always a little bit better, but not faster, than expected. & so it went & so he died a little better, but not faster, than expected. Once that's happened it's a little late to change the future & a little early to change the past. So where do you go, what can you do? Shoot up more lies & pretend they're true until they always have been, until they always will be. So many solutions to choose from, so few needles to fill. Good thing none of them are more right or more wrong so the decision is arbitrarily correct & unfollowed options arbitrarily incorrect.

My first wife will save my soul

Her naked body's lying face up on top of me. My hands are in her crotch & she's leaking her juice out on top of me. The fingers of my left hand are together like a fin & I'm running it across the length of her slit. She's moving some, like she's having trouble keeping her balance on top of me, & she's making these little whimpering noises like she feels good, but not quite comfortable. Her slit is growing & it's up to her belly now & I keep wiping it dry so she needs to make more of her fluid. It's still growing & both of my hands fit easily inside her void & it feels like she's going to pull me inside her to rot in her womb. I want to check inside her for the skeletons of those before me, the ones she says don't exist, but I'm too fascinated with the fluids that keep coming out of her to search deeper inside. The skin keeps giving way & splitting farther up as I play with the top of her opening & she stops moving & is silent on top of me. Her liquid's not running out of her like it was, so I put my hand inside & pull something out. It's a fetus that looks like me & it snarls & scares me so I drop it. It runs up to my face still attached to its mother by its cord & androgynous & uses its tiny thumbs to gouge my eyes.

Dressed Well (Appropriately)

The bar handle to the door sticks out too far, so I'm able to sit on it & use the door as a chair. There are six of us in the area. It's a place where two large hallways cross, one of them leading outside, & stairs lead down from above. A bell rings & the area's flooded with people swarming to get out & they seem mad that I'm blocking one of their six doors out. One of them uses my door anyway & it's open & I'm holding on tight to keep from falling out of my seat & looking foolish as random people push against me. After a few minutes, all the random people are gone & it's just the six of us again staring at each other & then I realize it's actually only five of us. Someone's missing from the confrontation. Suddenly one of the others takes off running down one of the hallways & the rest of us chase him. I'm the last following because it takes me a moment to unwedge myself from the door, but I catch up to the other three soon. Kelly's the one closest to the runner. I think she's sexy because you can see a hundred little red veins in her eyes. She also dresses well in that non-descript way where I never notice anything except that there is always some black, so she must be dark around the heart like me. My left pant leg unravels & I have to stop & I want to yell at Kelly & see if she wants to go out on a date before she gets too far away, but feel it would be inappropriate. My pants are this weird shimmery yellow polyester, like the interior lining of a child's coat, & they're way too long for me. They have an elastic cuff at the bottom that I had around the middle of my calves & then the pants are supposed to be doubled down to my ankles. I'm down on my right knee fixing the left one & wishing I'd dressed appropriately. When I stand back up, I can't see any of the others anymore.

When she re-invents herself every ten years, she changes her face & name as well as her ideology. Her re-birth is closer to pure & less inhibited this way. She has no personal responsibilities from before her death after her birth. She never forgets anything, she just pretends to. Her past knowledge she calls intuition. The youth experiences lose their shine soon & she sits still & hating as long as she can. All her faiths are failures. Lives based on moments of enamoration. She goes on hoping, distorting herself into dreams. Nothing is real enough, nothing is pure enough, nothing is true enough to believe in. 


I'm not sure what I'm doing in this rural of an area & something about it scares me. A place where hitchhikers get picked up to be tortured & raped & murdered & buried in basements or some strange monsters are able to live & hide in these fields beside the highway. Jason's here walking beside me, but it doesn't comfort me; in fact, it just makes me feel I'll somehow be responsible for two deaths instead of just one. In front of us, on our same side of the road, there's a girl in a full length black dress sitting on the edge of the asphalt facing toward the green field instead of the road. She has black hair & is wearing black combat boots; she looks like she's based on the girl from The Breakfast Club. The dress has short sleeves & as we get closer I can see a scar on her right arm at the sleeve, half-hidden, that seems familiar. When she turns to face us, I recognize her. First I see her sister in her, then I see her for herself. "Hello," she says; there's a little bit of sweat on her forehead & she simply has her eyes closed to the sun rather than showing a weakness by using her hand as a visor. "Hello, Justin." She looks like she must be very hot wearing black in summer. Her skin's still very white & I want to ask her how she keeps it so pale this time of year, but I feel it would be too vain. "This is Jason. Jason, this is Justin, more famous to you as Katherine's sister." "Hi." Jason's voice really annoys me sometimes; he sounds like a tv host, always so happy & chipper. He puts his hand towards her to shake; but her eyes are still closed & she can't see it, so he tries to play it off by bringing his hand up & scratching the back of his head. I'm looking ahead at the road that just keeps going & the power lines beside it that drop out of the sky to meet the earth on the horizon. I look at the ground beneath me & it's orange with lots of little rocks & I'm surprised that there can be so much corn (or whatever the hell it is) twenty feet away on the other side of barbed wire. I stoop in front of Justin & take her hands off her knees & help her up, then she bends down & picks up her purse which looks like a dead teddy bear made from a plastic trash bag "Thanks," she says brushing herself off. The three of us start walking side by side; Jason closest to the road & I'm farthest, amongst the weeds a few inches before they get so thick you can't see the ground. I want to ask Justin what she's doing here, but I'm afraid she'd ask me back & I wouldn't have an answer. "Where are you headed?" I decide is more appropriate. "I don't know, maybe Salt Lake." She's not as happy or talkative as I remember her, but she was sixteen then & I guess I don't really resemble myself at sixteen (thank god). A six wheeled truck stops for us fifty feet ahead & we're really not walking fast enough to be polite. Jason goes to the passenger door window & does the talking. I don't pay attention to what's being said; I'm looking for patterns & interesting images in the trucks rust. We all get in the empty wooden flatbed & I lie down as the truck picks up speed even though it makes me bang my head constantly (this must be what a seizure feels like) as the truck moves. I'm trying to go to sleep. Jason's pulling me up & we're getting out of the truck at some highway intersection. Justin's thanking the driver & batting her eyelashes at him & then he's gone. We're all walking again, this time just on the road. Justin's pulling something red out of her dead teddy bear bag. It's a ribbed shirt with sparkles enmeshed in it. She puts it on over her dress, never breaking her stride. She fluffs her shoulder length hair out from under the shirt & her body starts to rise. Her movement into the air seems very slow & controlled & the individual parts of her body are very still. At a level a few feet above the power lines she stops rising. She stretches her arms out like she's going to be nailed to a cross. She slowly brings her arms together in front of her, her right hand formed like a gun & her left hand holding it to keep it steady. Her thumb & gun hammer goes down & twenty feet away from her, on the other side of the power lines, is her mirror image. Her mirror image is much more used to & agile in the air than Justin. It does a back flip & then flies under the power lines in a Superman stance & hits Justin in the shoulders with both extended arms. Justin's red shirt shatters & she's falling toward the asphalt & I run to catch her. I manage to hook my arms around hers, but her speed pushes me down on my knees & her legs hit the road full force. Her legs are in this position like she's running. I bend to her mouth to see if she's breathing & she says, "Lay me down for a second to rest." I slide myself out from under her & holding her up with my hands & lay her down leaving my hands under her head so she can't bang it on the street. She turns her head to the left & is coughing on the road; I can't tell if there's blood coming out of her mouth or not. "Do you think you're going to be okay?" I wish I hadn't said that, but I don't know what else there is to say. I'm looking around & I don't see Jason anywhere, so I guess her image must have stolen him. I take her left hand & put it under her head & get up to look at her. She looks dead; but I guess she always does, that's her style. I pull her dress up some to look at her legs & there aren't any bones poking out or even broken skin on the upside. She winces when I turn them into what should be a more comfortable position & I see the left sides of her legs, while not cut up, are already changing color from bruises. "Do you think you can get up?" She lifts her head up a little & looks straight into my eyes. "No." She sounds like she just woke up & wants to go back to sleep. "Okay." I pick her up with her knees over my right arm & her shoulders across my left & I'm a little surprised I can do it, because she's definitely the one who's taller & with broader shoulders. She should be at least 100% tougher than me. "My hero," she says in a flighty cheerleader voice putting her arms around me, then leaving her right hand on my left shoulder for balance. "Shut up." I start walking & the limp in my right leg seems more noticeable than it's been in years & I wish it was dark so I'd have an excuse to fall asleep, but I keep walking with Justin in my arms.


I'm addicted to strychnine & people think it's the filthiest habit in the world. It doesn't even get you high. It has no euphoria, just nasty side effects. It kills me a little bit each time & there's always this little hope/fear that I'm going to die as I peak on it. It gives me these really great & beautiful apocalyptic visions. They're always at ground zero, like watching a lover scream & bleed from some incurable plague; or, sometimes, they're just really violent strings of trains crashing & knives going in skin & stuff. It makes my back hurt as if some demon is trying to be born & use my spine for its womb. I can feel it building up & making my spinal fluid chunky; but, heh, the one who dies with the cloudiest spinal fluid wins.
curly hair, no eyes 

He will always hate women because of his mother. She is sexually promiscuous & a liar & shows out everything evil, even though he knows her so well that he wants to say she's good & somehow justified. The best are exactly like her in that they're justified, while the others are just vicious. They just want to distract him & make him dead in the soul. They will hurt him; not emotionally & weakly, but physically. Break his body & then the rest of him into a shell. Reform him into a subservient master.


I'm not sure why I'm calling. I haven't heard from him or even about him in years. There's no reason why the number should still be right. "Hello." "Hello, is David there?" "Speaking." I forgot that both he & his father have the same name. "No, little Dave, younger Dave, smaller Dave." I think he might piece together I'm not sober. "Oh, you didn't hear." His voice isn't deep & strong & typical macho male anymore, it's weak & cracking & sounds like he might be crying. "He's in jail. He killed his wife." "What?" I'm trying to maneuver the phone so I can hear & decipher better. Maybe I should shove the thing right in my skull so I can get a direct signal. One of my ears doesn't work right from when a girl was kicking me in the head when I was younger, but I can never figure out which one it is. "Yeah, it was in the news & stuff." He's crying. "He shot her in the head. People are saying it was because he thought she was involved in him getting busted two years back." I feel really shitty for making him drag out a skeleton & explain how it functions. "Maybe he did think that. You know, just for a second, when he was up for six days on crank." He used to be one of my best friends & I knew he was on the edge & that's why I stopped spending time with him. I'm not sure if it's more shocking that he killed his wife or that somebody actually married him. The old man's still talking, but the way I was holding the phone hurt so I dropped it & it's just sitting on the floor next to me. I stand up & fall down & crawl to bed to sleep.


I'm in a silver jump suit in a parade. I'm on top of some float twenty feet above the crowd & it seems that they're deifying me (even though at this distance they couldn't really tell me from someone significantly similar & I wonder if they're trying to worship me or someone else & then I remember I don't care about the masses; I only care about myself & the few I interact with who expect me to be emotionally attached. I let the expectations of those ten or eleven people shape me into everything I am, was, will be.). I'm sitting in my little chair in a little five by five room where the walls end three feet high & smiling & waving. I look to my right & there's this girl (probably in her mid-twenties) with brown wavy hair with a lot of mouse in it & she's wearing a tight dark red ribbed dress. She's on her knees with her left hand slipped between my back & the chair & she's unzipping the bottom zipper of my jump suit with her right. I don't know what to do, so I ignore her.


"You always get exactly what you want, don't you?" We're at dinner in a fairly nice restaurant & I'm intoxicated & not at all sure of what's happening. I'm not sure of who the girl is or even what my relationship to her is. "Everything you want always happens & to hell with everybody else." "Everything anybody really wants always happens, doesn't it?" "No." "Sure it does. Just most people never bother to make up their minds on what they want & never really want anything." "Fuck you." She gets up & walks a few steps & then turns back to me. "It doesn't always happen exactly how you want it." She leaves & I start eating.


My brother is sitting on the floor a few feet away from me in his flannel pajamas. We're watching television & somehow I got the chair; so he's sitting on the floor, his back leaning against the antique settee we're not allowed to sit on. For some reason, the television's black & white; I'm not sure if it's broken or the program. When I look to my brother, I can see thick brown fur starting to come out of his pores. It's growing so ferociously it's destroying his shirt. He isn't even reacting to it. I turn to the television & it's showing a thunderstorm from inside woods somewhere, as if it's the view of a serial killer on the hunt. When I look at my brother again, he looks like Michael Landon as a werewolf. He turns to me & says, "What are you looking at?" All I can see is teeth. I run away scared. Only now do I realize I'm not where I think I am. This isn't my house; it feels like an abandoned one from television. Everything seems huge & endless in the darkness. I'm crouching in a ball hiding & hoping when something walks by that's seven feet tall, twice my height, slowly & steadily ? confident but aware of limitations. The skin is gray, the shoes are black, the pants are purple with silver pinstripes, & I'm not sure I want to see more. I think I will be safe if I can wait for the sun. Beside me; not in clothing, but wrapped in a piece of black fabric; I see him. His pale hairless head seems to glow. As he speaks, his eyes change colors from yellow to blue. "I was one." There's no accent I can make out, but he seems frail & scared. He's brushing his scalp with his bony hand, the veins are easy to see & it looks brittle. "Don't let them know who helps or hurts you. A change is coming if you need it." His eyes glaze back to yellow. I go to the attic at the top of the house because the dead come out of the ground. There's a boy there, staring at me as confidently as if I am his reflection. I try to say something, but my voice sounds like crickets. "You are not forever," he replies in my voice.
picture frame

I'm more enamored by her body than anything else about her. She'd be perfect if she didn't have a mind. All she is is her parents' daughter inside. She's perfectly good & safe & wholesome & typical & boring. She could stay in the box her parents made her & be perfectly happy. I want to destroy her innocence so she can be caustic & bitter like me. I cannot justify it, so I'll never be able to love her. I can only dream of her & her perfect body & her hawk nose & her glowing blond hair. I wish she was more real so I could love her. 

Stars & Hearts

The pond is almost a swamp. It has no definitive bank & the ground gets soft as you approach the water. I'm swimming in it & a lot of it's thick like mud or at least feels thick since it's not visibly distinguishable. For some reason, something is reminding me of Scott Baio & the tv show "Joanie Loves Cha-Chi" & I start laughing & coughing. I get to an edge & as I'm getting out, my clothes & I are completely dry as if the liquid might be mercury or something instead of water. Near the edge There's one of those little red candy vending machines & it's filled with pink hearts & yellow stars about a half inch big. I want to know what they taste like, but I don't have a quarter.


We're leaving the stadium to our cars; but for some reason there are those plastic yellow police ribbons tying off parts of the parking lot, so it'll be impossible to leave without them knowing. Mark has a Cherokee, so instead of driving through the tape we all just get in his car & he drives on to the grass & down the hill. I'm not really paying much attention, because I feel like I might pass out & there's a girl I think I'm going out with sitting next to me. I think pretty much time is passing, but it's all blurry to me. "We need to get your cars out of there," Mark says. "Why? We're already out." I don't think he can hear me; he can only hear himself. He's turning down this secret greenway path only park rangers are supposed to drive on & even I can tell he's driving too fast for a one lane curvy road. Suddenly, all that's ahead of us is water because the creek's flooded & the car's already in it & sinking. I roll down my window to get out & by the time I do, everybody else is already standing on the bank. I dive down & try to push the car & am surprised by how easily it moves. As I'm coming to the surface I breathe in too soon & start choking. They're pulling the car out & laughing at me.

new & fake & dead

He said there wasn't anything of interest further ahead & was acting militant, so I thought it would be best to crawl & sneak along the rocky river shore. I know I'm beyond sight when I crawl back up to the road, which looks newly paved & painted & never driven on. Everything looks new & fake & dead. It looks safe, but no one's outside like you normally see in any random place. The grass is waving like there's a wind, but I can't feel one. I follow the road walking on the yellow double center line as it turns & winds up a hill. There's a white building on the right that has some kind of bulletin board out, but I can't read it. The symbols that are used aren't like the letters you learn in school; there are a lot more dots & dashes in them. I hear something to my left & there's a sign with the same type of lettering in front of what looks like a park. It's like some strange huge labyrinth playground with a sand ground & incomplete wood & steel walls & ceilings. At points the labyrinth opens up into english garden type scenes where there are these strange statues. The statues are steel & are roughly the same size (half a man) & seem exactly the same surface area as if they were made from identical pieces of metal. Some of the statues are insects & some are dinosaurs & there seems to be no link to the pieces stylistically or content wise except for the size. At my feet I see a broken toy alligator, one of those multi-colored ones a foot long, just parts of the front of it left looking like it was cut or bit off & the rest of it swallowed. I catch some motion out of the corner of my eye & look up to see a slightly overweight black woman in a blue dress with white dots walking across a corridor twenty feet in front of me. I rush to the conjunction & see her walking with a limp in her right leg & clenching a small black leather purse against her body. It is really dark in the direction she's going & I'm scared of it, so I don't follow her or say anything. I go in the direction she came from & it opens into another english garden. There's an old woman in a blue & white floral dress. She's on her hands & knees at a lizard statue smelling it like a dog. There's also a couple in their early twenties with perfect bodies & skin wearing a black suit & a formal yellow dress with matching parasol walking arm in arm. The man smiles & nods to me. I smile & wave back.


It's exciting as we're entering the warehouse. It has a huge ramp we're walking on that has no fence or rail to stop people from dropping the forty feet to the floor as it slopes down to meet it. Every thirty feet it has a black sheet metal wall blocking the ramp with two red sheet metal doors locked together with a chain. Somebody who's talking to us keeps unlocking the doors; I'm not sure who he is. The doors aren't rectangular. The first set were two triangles, the second set looked like an M, & this third set is all trapezoidal & not even flush with the floor. Before we get to the last doors, everyone's just jumping off the side of the ramp, so I don't really see the doors; I just jump off like everybody else. Even though we should be underground there are windows. They're mis-shaped stars & squares & sqiggly circles that look like the not quite right shapes of a really young child. I look in one that looks like a melted rectangle & it's an aquarium with a black light on that has an angel fish swimming & some kind of eel just sulking on the bottom. I go to a broken star & it looks like some kind of museum exhibit where they keep the inside bright so animals don't see humans, but I don't see anything alive or particularly interesting inside. It reminds me of the woods I wasn't allowed to play in behind my yard as a child, except that everything ends suddenly in a ceiling painted as a cloudy sky. "Heh, Brian, how's it going?" "Okay." I'm not sure who he is as I turn. He has brown hair & a full beard & mustache & reminds me of a math teacher from the educational channel. "Oh, that's right, you haven't met me before. I'm Jason." I still have no idea what he's talking to me for or who he is. "Listen, I've got to go do my dj-ing thing; I'll see you later." He's gone & I just sit down on the black floor exactly the same color as the wall so you can hardly see the seam. Other people are wandering around at the windows when I hear Jason start talking over some sound system. "Okay, kids, everything tonight goes out to my friend Brian. He tried to make me big & professional & real, but I'd made too many enemies for him to do it." I see him standing behind a desk with two turn tables on it & a little fluorescent lamp fifty feet away. "Everything is my fault. I destroyed myself." He sounds like a game show host. "It's too late for me," I can see he's starting to cry, "but if you could," a weird dancey techno-dream beat is starting to fade in, "support him & help him out; I'd appreciate it." Some girl & boy couple all in black with face piercings come up to me & I notice I'm standing in the middle of the room. The boy has fire engine red hair & the girl's is yellow & they're pointing at me & whispering at each other when I see I'm casting a halo. I start dancing to the beat as if the music is actually being made by my movements. A crowd of dancers swells until it's like I'm swimming in meat. I am smothering & enjoying myself.

Reminiscent of The Haunting

I don't know why I'm going to the beach with him. I haven't been friends with him for years & don't even feel that intrigued by him. When we get to the beach house it's dark. It's not like others I've been to where it's on a strip or at least well lit; I can't really see anything. Somehow (with what seems to be ease) he unlocks & opens the door. He flips the light switch as he steps in & a broken lamp lying on the floor turns on. The walls are spray painted black & the carpet is dark blue with a lot of stains. The place is a mess & looks like places do on tv after the mob came looking for something. It's a little worse actually because by the walls are cups & bags & wrappers from hundreds of fast food meals. This is the way he lives. On some crime drama I saw, a serial killer's apartment looked like this except it also had words scrawled on the walls. I lie down on my left side (it wears the heart out faster) on a clear spot of carpet & Sam goes off to the kitchen. The refrigerator light seems bright in the distance & when he comes back, he's left the refrigerator door open & the light's still on. He sets an open bottle of tequila in front of me (its scent calling to me) & sits down in a brown lazy boy behind me. The phone rings (actually it's an annoying electronic beep) & he gets up to answer the phone & steps on the lamp's light bulb on the way, shattering it & leaving the refrigerator as the only light source. This feeling strikes me from inside. It reminds me of nausea, something trying to tear out from the inside & reveal itself to the waiting world. I close my eyes for a second to try to sleep (concentrating on my stillness), but I hear Sam talking on the phone. It sounds like he's speaking in latin & it really messes with me, so I get up & leave the house (forgetting to close the door as I walk out). I'm walking on the road & at times falling & crawling. I see this lit up concrete building in the distance & it says, "TUES: MadoNNA." I don't understand it, because it doesn't seem like it could possibly be Madonna Ciccone. Maybe it is the Madonna, or somebody pretending to be her. There's a car that I feel is mine; I crawl inside.

state park

She's driving looking for a place to stop. Not that there's any reason to stop; just if she doesn't now, she'll forget to & never have the chance. She takes the exit for the state park (it says there's camping there). The road seems vaguely familiar (more so than the amount all roads are). When she gets to the park entrance, the gate is closed & a sign on the guard house says, "PARK HOURS 9 A.M. - 9 P.M." She remembers this from before, when she was a child (eighteen actually, which seems so infinitely young to her at thirty-two). She just parks her car on the side of the road & crosses over into the passenger seat to sleep (just as she'd planned to, though paying nine dollars would somehow legitimize it). She closes her eyes & listens to her breath & feels her lips cracking.
a mouth with teeth

She's so self-involved & self-important. Nothing anyone has to do can possibly be as important as her plans. She worships herself & her self-gratification. Even her friends & lovers aren't good enough for her. Everyone else must suffer for her. They must suffer to be in her presence, to amuse her & earn the joy of her. She will take what she wants from them & they will feel privileged she is stealing from them instead of someone else. They will be honored by her presence. To serve her purposes is to mirror small bits of her beauty. To be touched by her is to be touched by God. 


She's rubbing her naked body against me & I want to react; but I took the pills that paralyze me, so I can't. I can't even speak to her & when I try it just sounds like I'm wheezing in my sleep. She's on top of me straddling my right leg pushing against me, her right leg grinding against my crotch. She doesn't know I take pills & I think she's waiting for me to do something, but I can't move & I know from experience if I try too hard I'll vomit. She kisses me & slips her tongue in my mouth, my teeth barely far enough apart for her tongue to fit through & I push against it lightly with my tongue, the most reaction I can give. She pulls off of me & rolls to the right to the edge of the bed by the wall. She takes all the covers for herself & I'm cold now. I can hear her crying; she's biting into a blanket to soften the noise.

Chainsaw (I stole your brain)

I'm in some kind of woodsy area with a ten inch chainsaw cutting a tree into logs. Scott & Darrell are surveying the lot I guess (since they have the stick & gun). They're still working & for some reason I start cutting the logs into inch wide disks. They're yelling at me, "Come on," from the truck, so I go over & Scott yells, "Shut off the damn chainsaw," & I do. I climb in over Scott's lap & squeeze myself through & over the front seats to the back & they both start laughing. Darrell's driving & all of a sudden he asks, "So, do you remember much about what happened last night?" "Nope. I can't remember anything before cutting up the tree." "Did you take any weird drugs last night?" Scott asks emphasizing the word weird. "No, not as far as I know." "Oh, that's right. Last night I stole your brain." He opens the glove compartment & pulls out a 32 oz. jar with a yellow lid with a brain & water inside it & holds it in front of my face. "Thank god, now I don't need to worry about anything."

the second night

I'm in a house I don't belong in. It looks like a museum because everything's old & incredibly clean. Someone in a black suit's coming down the main stairs, so I open the front door & it slams behind me because of the rain & wind. I don't know where I can go, but I know I have to go away. I'm running & the ground's sinking beneath my feet like it wants to pull me inside it. The ground's slipping away & the water's up to my knees, so I can't run anymore; but when I fall to swim my hands keep clawing the ground. My right hand gets caught on something & I pull myself underwater. When I come up coughing, I see a girl on a bicycle trying to ride through the water while holding a younger girl above the water. I go over to help & the younger girl starts screaming. "She's my sister. We just want to go home." It sounds like she's crying, but I'm not sure because of the rain. I don't say anything, but I pull the bike up off the ground & start walking in the direction they were headed. The water gets deeper & I need to lift the bike higher & higher to keep them both above water. I end up having to put the children & the bike in a tree because the water's too deep & all I can say is "I'm sorry." I start swimming again & I'm thinking about drowning myself when the water gets shallow again & I'm crawling out of the water onto asphalt. I lie down for a second & water's flowing into my mouth & I'm coughing it out. It's still raining, but I can't feel it anymore. It feels like I'm waking up from an alcohol coma. I'm walking & there's a car parked in front of a fallen tree. When I get closer see the driver door is open & someone my age is sitting in the seat with his feet on the wet pavement. "What am I supposed to do?" He's saying when I come up, his palms pressed against his eyes. "I don't know." The blue lights start & I follow him to his trunk. He opens it & pulls out his jack. I see a prescription bottle of pills & I take it & put it in my pocket. I turn around & the cops leaning his head out of the side of his jeep. "You two having any problems?" "No, I'm fine," the other guy says & the cop drives off. I walk around the tree & up the road. In front of me the power lines splinter & look like a spiderweb. The glowing is this strange shade of blue & blue's my favorite color, so I feel attracted by it. I get down on my hands & knees to look at it closer where the lines hit the street. The blue is going into the water & up into my hands. The spider won't let go of me.


I think I am dying. There is this hurt deep inside of me so deep I cannot cut it out. It will not stop; I'm crawling instead of walking and I'm trying to vomit the pain out, but it is too deep to move. It is clinging and mad I tried to make it leave and it is forcing me to coil into a ball. I'm hitting my... hitting my head against the floor trying to make myself forget. It is stronger than me and makes my body stretch out and quiver and bruises it and forces water out of my eyes. I am glad everything has been done. It is stronger, my eyes are glazing and I am fading.
a planet with a ring

She thinks she knows my interests & tries to emulate them. She met me doing something I'm vaguely interested in, but she thinks it's my obsession. Her parents scare me. Her mother's fat & seems like she got her sense of humor from watching Andy Griffith re-runs. I can't relate to her, but still have to laugh at her jokes. Her father is scarier. He's a mechanic; it's not his job, but how he defines himself. He's also a racist fascist supericist, who thinks less of me for not sharing his interests & upbringing. I don't know how she's managed to become as interesting as she is living here, in the middle of nowhere, with them. I want to save her. Take her away to someplace where she can be real & uninhibited by the environment & small minded people. I'm not strong enough to rip her away & I'm embarrassed by it. I can never see her again.


I want to have money so I can have my body altered. I want the skin under my arms to be stretched out like a bat & all my bone marrow to be removed along with unimportant organs so I'll be light enough to fly for the three weeks before my body dies. Portions of my feet will be removed to make me lighter & I won't be able to walk like a human & will have to run to keep my balance. I will fly & I will die; my dreams will be real.


I'm at the orthodontist again for the first time in years. I'm trying to keep very still in hopes she won't hurt me more than she feels she needs to. The noise of the metal on my teeth is hurting me & I'd run away if it wasn't such a pretty girl doing it. In front of me there are windows the height of the room allowing the darkness to come in & make the room shadowy. It looks like more than a storm is about to start, maybe a plague. To either side of me there are more chairs & more beautiful girls working on patients like a bizarre factory. She's tightening all the wires in my mouth, sometimes leaning her elbow in my chest to get more leverage. In some moments the pain almost transcends me. She could become the most beautiful girl in the world with all the power she has over me. I bet she has a "j" in her name. She's not making small talk like some of the girls do. She's just enjoying her present purpose. She pulls on something with too much force & I think I'm dying under her.

scar tissue

He needs a place to stay that is warm. He's trying to find a motel, but there is an open door at the warehouse pouring yellow light out. There are a lot of people in the room for its size. Before two minutes pass, two girls are grabbing him saying, "Let's go to Molly's." They leave by a different door & everything is brightened by fluorescent street lights. The girls are talking to each other & smiling & laughing. He doesn't really get their jokes & wonders if they grabbed the wrong boy. They walk up the wooden stairs of a two story white cinder block building. They open the door & go in. It's impossible to tell if Molly's is someone's dirty studio apartment or a local hangout. They sit down on a couch in the corner & put their feet up on a table in front of it. "So, are you newly unprocessed?" He has no idea what she's talking about. "I don't know; I'm just looking for a place to sleep tonight." The two girls look at each other & laugh. "I guess you are new then," the very skinny one says. "Did they scar you when they threw you out? Look at what they did to me." She lifts up her shirt & there is only scar tissue where her breasts should be. His body gives a quick little quiver. "I always forget how people are surprised the first time." The dark haired girl says, "I was lucky; this is all I got." She holds out her hands showing bar-codes tattooed on the palms. She holds up her right hand; "This one says 'discard' & the other says 'defective.' I think it's suppose to be funny; I think it is."


The tile in the bathroom is black & red & covers the walls & floor. Despite how smooth & shiny it is, it prevents the room from ever getting bright like a normal bathroom. Sometimes, when I open my eyes, I'm afraid that blood is seeping out of the red tiles & it will smother me. The light the tiles reflects makes you feel like you're underwater even when you're not. When I bathe, I keep jerking my head suddenly to try to glimpse a monster trying to kill me. They have a greenish gray skin like scummed & tarnished silver. When I close my eyes & am alone in my dark, I can feel them touching me & withdrawing before my eyes slip open. The residue they leave crystalizes if I don't wash it away immediately. Late at night across the hall in the bedroom, I dream of them. They look like angels covered in grey mud. At least two of them are lovers & killers. I'm not sure if I'm more afraid of them of messengers of love or death.


I'm not sure what's wrong with the car; but my parents, grandmother, & I are standing outside along the side of an empty four lane highway. A red car is slowing down & stops fifty feet ahead of us, but then starts again; presumably because either they heard the arguing or saw there wasn't a pretty young girl in the group. I walk away in the direction we came from looking for a phone. My shoes are built for looking good instead of walking, & my heels & ankles are hurting. When I get to the red bleached pink phone, I'm surprised it has buttons & a receiver instead of just an emergency number & an intercom. I'm not sure what seven numbers I push, but a girl picks up. "Hello." "Hi." "Oh, it's you. Listen, I'm sorry about my sister not having the pies ready forty miles ago, but they're ready now." "How can you be so sure? She's so far away." "She's my twin. I know everything."


I'm with my friend Lorean at Wal-Mart & we just met up with some boy who's Lorean's boyfriend or ex-boyfriend or at least really enamored by her. For some reason, I'm not sure if some holiday's coming up (they make too many of them now to control when people are nice & to help track down & destroy love terrorists (like me) who give gifts randomly), they have two aisles of temporary tattoos in one corner of the store & that's where we are. The section is packed & people are slowly going through it in a line. Lorean grabs a tattoo, pulls the plastic off, licks it, & slaps it on her suitor's arm. A second doesn't pass & a security guard (who looks like a villain from Batman) comes forcing his way into the area & grabs both Lorean & the boy. He announces, "We don't take shop lifting lightly, time for trial," & pulls them out of the aisle & out of my sight. All the other customers are gossiping about it & I say, "I was with her. All she did was put on a tattoo." I expect them to be judgmental & start saying she & I are the scum of the earth. "Well, that's ridiculous to treat someone like that over a tattoo," one woman says & everyone's agreeing with her & they all start putting on tattoos. I worm out of the aisle as fast as I can & after I'm out I see security guards in full riot gear (kevlar vests, helmets, shields, gas masks) rush in. I just wander off & am looking at the children's music toys when I see Lorean. I go over to her. "What happened?" "Oh, nothing. I still had the wrapper in my hand & said I was obviously going to pay for it or I would have thrown it away & they apologized." "What happened to the boy?" "Oh, when we were in the back & they were trying to get all tough or whatever, he started sweating. He started sweating a lot & I didn't like the way he smelled. So when he went into the bathroom after they let us go, I ran away." I look over at the tattoo section & there's a cloud of pink smoke coming out of it. "Come on, we gotta go. I think I started a riot."

Sarah's a Name for a Diary

She's all alone in the cabin. Everybody else went off somewhere & the sun has just finally totally set. She feels edgy; the way you do when you want to hurt somebody, but you're all alone. There's a knock at the door. She pulls it open with the same force she would at home which ends up slamming it open. The girl in the doorway looks familiar; like an amalgam of old friends, a frankenstein monster made from people you haven't seen in years & will probably never see again. "It's cold," she says, "can I come in?" She's wet as if she's been in a storm, but it wasn't one near here. "No, I'm sorry, but this isn't my place...." "Please Sarah, let me in, it's cold." She slams the door on her. There's no reason she should know that name. There's a tv static scratching noise from her nails on the window. Her face is an inch from the glass & her eyes are yellow. "Let me in!" She's screaming, but it isn't very loud & suddenly she can hear the storm catching up with her. "Sarah's only a good name for a diary." Sarah can feel her hair turning black as the girl outside screams as the door gets closer. "Sarah," it comes from four different directions, her face in every window, "let me in...." Her voice is quivering, like she's about to cry. "No, I know what I am."


I am vomiting so hard the blood vessels under my eyes have popped & little red dots of blood are forming that make me look like I have a plague. Sometimes when I look in the mirror I hope for a second that I'm animating a corpse. I don't have any energy & I'd like to collapse to the floor even though the bruises don't heal & I'm left more fragile. I take the pills to paralyze me & as long as I don't try to move I won't get sick or die. I'll just be dead for six hours. For six hours the world keeps moving & everything still exists, but I refuse to react to it. I always wish I was deaf & blind so the world wouldn't seep inside me at all. As the numbness sets in, I feel like my body is being encased in oil that separates me from all things. It is viscid & more alive than me & protects me from harm. It turns me into an angel.


Food doesn't bring me sustenance anymore. I have a burning inside that makes me hungry for something I've never had before. It feels like fish hooks trying to pull my skin into my heart. When I'm hurting myself, I can't feel the pain as much; so I twist my skin & shove a needle in it & let it tear itself apart. I just want time to pass & me not to experience it. I want whatever's holding on to my soul to let go so I don't have to be me. I don't hate myself; I just don't want to hurt & need anymore. I want to be whole like everyone I hate. I want to be plain & normal & dead.

She knows where monsters come from & she can teach me how to meet them. She knows everything that's written & some things that aren't yet. It's like she's me with five years experience. Her eyes are this really strange shade of blue & I wonder if they've always been this way or if she's done something to herself. The monsters that were inside her have already been released & are stalking; so she has to use others now, both to meet new monsters & protect herself.

Bending Walls (3 in a bed)

The doorbell rings & it excites everyone. No one is expecting anyone or anything. Outside the trees seem hazy, but there aren't any cars parked on the street at the bottom of the hill. The mother opens the door & he's wearing a black suit & tie & a white shirt & dead black hair that has oil making the hairs stick together to look like it comes out in quarter inch strips. He looks like Antonin Artaud. "Hello, I was wondering if you'd like to take part in a special survey?" The mother's in the doorway, which is still not totally opened. "No, I'm afraid we wouldn't be interested." She's shutting the door back closed. "It pays a hundred dollars for an hour of your time." He's holding a hundred dollar bill stretched taunt between his thumbs & index fingers in front of his right shoulder as if it's a wondrous new product. "Well, come on in." It's not actually for the money as much as it's intriguing to see what type of survey you'd get paid a hundred dollars for. She opens the door & ushers him in as if she's a servant. She walks him down the hallway to the left & the family is staring at him. He brushes his left hand through his hair, then gives a smile & a wave. "I'm here to conduct a survey." The television turns off as he begins to speak, as if it knows it's lost its audience. The whole family's staring at him as he absorbs the room which is incredibly long & has a machicolated wall four feet tall separating a hallway from the room on the opposite side from where he entered. He takes control of the situation suddenly & completely. He goes over to the couch against the half wall & touches the two boys sitting on it, "I'll need you two first." After his touch, they begin to look like young clones of him & they follow his lead into the half hallway. He helps the older boy up first, his shoulders pressed against the full wall & his feet on a high point of the half wall; then he helps the younger child in a similar position, but with arms & hands against the full wall to make up for the height difference. "Fold over the top," he says as if the commands are obvious, but the boys don't know what to do. "Just concentrate & push with your feet." They do & it happens. The top eight inches, despite the empty gaps, is folding down; bending & stretching over to the other side & springing back with the rhythm of the boys' knees. Even the family relics displayed in the gaps are warping & returning to be intact. He goes back to the room & touches the daughter's shoulder & her hair changes from blonde to black. He selects her boyfriend, who turns into a clone, & the father, whose t-shirt & jeans change to a black suit & tie. He leads the three of them down the hallway, the two boys still flexing the wall. They get to the bedroom at the end of the hall & the bed is half unmade; as if someone decided to go to bed, but then remembered to brush their teeth. The father lies on the right side, his feet under the cover; the girl in the middle covered to the waist; & the boy on the left, on top of the covers. "You will see magnificent things," the surveyor says bending over the boy & kissing the girl on the forehead. Her body starts convulsing & she's crying & cursing under her breath. The father's falling asleep & turns away to face the wall. The boy doesn't know how to react & feels guilty for being sexually excited. Her body stops shaking so violently & she turns to the boy & grabs a fistful of blanket & bites on it so she doesn't make any noise, but she's still crying & quivering. The boy pulls her to him, feeling guilty because the father's on the bed, because he's not sure if she's his sister, because he's not sure if she's himself. She starts kissing him & he feels like stone. They're alone together, not together alone. Her hand rests on his chest, his left hand cradles her head & he hates the father & hates what he'll become & wishes he could be fragile. He rolls over her & turns away facing the father's back. He puts his hands in front of the father's face forming fists with the thumbs level to the eyes. He pulls his arms back, thumbs pressing eyes, while jabbing the back with his knees, creating the leverage to break the spine. The father's body falls to the floor & the boy feels like he's killed himself as he turns back to the girl who embraces him & whispers, "My hero." The surveyor leaves the room & shuts the door. He walks under the boys who are still flexing the wall & sets the hundred dollar bill on the television (which clicks back on) & leaves the house the way he came.

Second String Beauty

I don't like beautiful girls. They're always so sure of themselves & self-worshipping or at least that's my stigma of them. All they can do is hurt me, so they don't even seem beautiful to me anymore. I like girls who look perfect but typical. Someone who doesn't turn heads, but is fun to stare at. The kind of girl who might not destroy me because she might not find someone better. I want a skinny little zombie addict just like the one I see in the mirror before breakfast every day. I want her to kill me.


I hear the bass noises & I run outside & actually see it for the first time against a gray cloud sky. It's glowing like a piece of magnesium; but when I get out of the trees to the parking lot, it has turned into a plane. I chase towards it anyway, but at the end of the field where the trees start again my friend Holly's lying down reading a book. "Where you going?" She has a southern drawl & I hate how she speaks. I point & look up, but nothing's there. "Nowhere." I sit down next to her & she starts reading again. In the parking lot I just ran out of, there's a couple with one of those tricycle strollers with two big back wheels popping wheelies & running in circles. I bet they were blessed.


When I die, I want my eyes removed & saved in a jar. This way when I rise I will be blind & become a prophet. My visions of him won't be skewed by the natural world that oppresses me now, forcing me to be like everyone else. He will show me the way from behind my right eye & I will be purified. The blackness of my soul will be cut away by jagged glass leaving a scar more beautiful than my flesh ever was. I will be burned with his light, making my skin almost translucent. My name will be written as a herald of truth. By his grace I am forever.


I can travel through time. Not just forward through time like everybody else does, but in my past too. When I go back, I'm always in a moral dilemma over whether I should attempt to reveal the great art of the future to the present & claim it to be mine. I never do, though I sometimes find myself doing paintings from my twenties in my teens. I never actually seem to really change my actions, just my motives. I end relationships now so they can be replaced, as I can keep them all going forever since I can keep experiencing them. I can't control how I move through time any more; I wonder vaguely if I'm old & decrepit & suffering from alzheimer's. Each time I slip into my life, it's at a node of dream consciousness where I can't tell reality from imagination. Sometimes I think I'll be stuck living in a straight line & the future isn't real & I fall asleep crying. The tears usually dry my skin years earlier or later. I am too tired & confused & intrigued to destroy myself.

She introduces me to isolation & locking the world away from me. We only need each other, maybe not even that. I can purify myself by locking the masses' evils out of my cell & locking mine in to be self-inflicted. She will help me direct my violence inside. She starts by putting inch long cuts in my chest, to let the others' corruptions out. She sucks their poisons into herself, because she is already immune to them. She makes a four inch cut from just below my ribcage toward my left leg & pulls at it to make it bead faster. She knows everything about me & all the fears she can bring true. She knows she is superior & I have nothing to offer her. I am stuck in her cage now; she is free.


We're on a deck looking out over rocks leading to a river. "Man, you're always thinking," Matt says. "24-7, holidays & weekends," I reply & I vault over the wooden deck rail onto the moss covered rocks. I'm hopping down slowly, rock to rock, staying away from the slick parts where a stream waterfalls & I sit where two of the rocks meet a few feet from the river. I look back up & there's someone coming down the rocks where the waterfall is on a kayak. He loses the paddle & it flies towards me & I duck & close my eyes. When I open my eyes, the kayaker is in the river calling for me to help him. I can't swim. I have a drowning fetish, so I can't let myself go swimming or even take a bath instead of a shower. I want to dive into help him, but all I could do is give him faith in humanity before he dies.


A world of strangers, in which I know no one, especially myself. I find this all vaguely interesting thanks to my mind games. Wondering how long I've wondered, remembering in such detail it takes as long as the experience, altering memories into more enjoyable moments.

christ's feet

We're in a car somewhere in the midwest. We're on some state highway & she's driving. The car interior is burgundy & clashes with the landscape. She turns off the highway on to some wandering road. "I'm pretty sure this is the way," she says as if she's trying to convince herself. I'm sliding down in my seat, my feet supporting my body & my knees against the glove compartment, one eye covered by the seatbelt. I see the first one against a dark grey storm cloud sky. I choke myself for a second on the seatbelt trying to get up for a better look & we've already passed it when I do get up. The clouds are starting to move impossibly fast & are arcing lightning to each other. The land isn't flat anymore. There's only these rolling hills with green grass so perfect it seems like some sort of scale model. There's another house & this time I get a better look. It's only about thirty by forty feet, but at least three stories tall. Supporting the roof of the porch are four columns that look like ivory. There's no driveway or any break in the grass leading to the house. The road curves to the right & the strange houses are all I can see. They all have the ivory columns & at the top of the porches are emblems connecting the two center columns. The emblems in front of the brick scare me. There are lions bound to columns by eagles' wings & snakes embracing & distorted human faces & a hundred other things I can't quite make out. "We're almost to it," she says. Suddenly I see the road ends in front of us on a steep hill. There is a house right in front of it with a little more space to itself than the recent ones have had. She parks the car in front of it & I see its emblem is a giant crucifix with the hands still bleeding. She gets out & walks up the stairs to the porch & turns glaring at me in the car, her head fifteen inches from christ's feet.


Violence is leaking out of me, under my mouth in line with the middle of my left eye. I touch it with my right hand & see there's more than I expected. I smear my hand clean on the wall & keep repeating the ritual. After it's dry, I don't feel cleaner or purer for what I've lost, but dazed. My shoulder & head are leaning against the cold yellow chipped cement walls for support, but I'm not even sure my feet are touching the ground. When I cough, pieces of blackness hit my hand & I smear them in a wavy line across the wall. My feet are not moving anymore; but I'm still moving forward floating four feet over the floor, my eyes squinting as if it will stop me from hitting the ceiling. The girl down the darkened hall to the right scares me when she says, "What are you doing?" & I lose my balance on the wall. I fall to the floor on my hands & knees coughing something not actually black, but a very dark red. I get up as if nothing happened & go to the water fountain to wash the taste away. The girl asks me, "Are you okay?" I'm looking down & slowly raise my eyes ? combat boots, black cotton skirt, a sweater dyed black that probably used to be pink, hair dyed black that looks like it hasn't been brushed since. Her skin is clear & pale. "I'm better." I'm afraid if I touch her, she'll catch the dreadful thing I have. completed When my skin's against hers for any period of time, it hurts to pull away. The result is she's afraid to let me touch her without some coating to protect her. I want to hold onto her flesh & melt into it. I want us to absorb into each other into one hideous being. Ugly & pure & whole. Or maybe I can just be a part of her. Trapped inside flesh I can't control. Worshipping what I'm inside of & consequently am. A completed Narcissus growing like a tape worm in her womb.


I don't really like the band that's playing now. Their songs are too long for how interesting they are; when the song should end, they play the whole thing over again. I walk out the back door & Matt's sitting on the steps to the basement. Matt use to be one of my best friends; lately it's like he's one of my enemies or something. I'm not sure what's happened exactly; everybody seems mad at me lately. They act civil, like I'm not even valuable enough to be thrown away. I sit down next to him on his right. "Heh," he says. "Hi, what's going on?" "Nothing, they bore me." He's throwing rocks at a milk jug at the bottom of the stairs. Throwing might not be the right word; it's listless & effortless, almost like dropping something in the moment you fall asleep. "Yeah, I know. I don't understand how they get so many shows. The only people who like them are their friends." I pick up some rocks & toss one to the jug & it misses. "So what's going on with you?" There's this tone in his voice like he still wants to be my friend & is torn about whether or not he should be. "I don't know. I'm not sure if I'm going to school next year." "Why not?" "I'm just tired of it. It's like I'm wasting my time & I don't have any place to stay." It's kind of true. I only came to school to get friends & now I basically don't have any again & I want to be some place where I can be safe & alone instead of being prodded & butchered by alleged friends. "I thought you were moving in with JuLie." "Things aren't so steady there anymore. Her parents said they won't pay for her to live with me & she just caved in on it. I really haven't talked to her much since." We're still throwing stones the whole time & one of mine hits the jug, bounces against the wall & hits the jug again. "Wow. That was ultra-fucking-swank. You're the master. Twice with one rock." We're just sitting there throwing stones in silence except for the bad music bleeding through the shut door. "Heh, you've hit twelve in a row now." "Yeah." I'm going to get some more stones when I see something red & shiny between us. "What's this?" I'm pointing at it. "Oh, Rebecca broke the christmas ornament in my car on the way here." He picks up a piece of it with his right hand & rolls up his left sleeve & cuts the word "fuck" in his arm. I want to mutilate my body too. I used to when I was younger. I've got scars all over by chest & arms from it. The pain makes you forget things or maybe remember things so reality isn't quite as vicious. I'm not doing it now because I'm afraid JuLie would notice & I'd have to explain it to her & I know she'd never understand. She never seems to understand anything about how I abuse myself & hate myself & want to not exist or maybe just exist without a future or a past. "I don't know about Rebecca." I wanna just say she's a jerk, but I think he has a crush on her. "Every time I talk to her, it's like she's changed who she is & has a completely different past." The door to the club opens & we don't even turn around & then I hear JuLie say, "Hi, guys." "Heh." I really don't know what she sees in me. I treat her like crap. Not that I really try to, but my life's kind of falling apart & I'm letting it all land on her. "Whatcha doing?" Matt's stopped cutting himself & doesn't have his piece of ornament anymore; I guess masochism embarrasses him too. "Nothing. Just throwing rocks at a milk jug." "Oh." She's hanging over the rail that keeps people from falling down onto the stairs, looking down. I throw a rock & it hits. "You wanna try?" I hand her a rock & she throws it & it misses. I throw another one & hit it again. "Wow, two in a row!" She's such a fucking happy person. I hate happy people. I connect happiness with ignorance & stupidity. I'm jealous of them; I wish I was an idiot & happy. We're throwing rocks & she's just watching & then she stands back up & goes back in the club. I pick up a piece of the ornament & am looking at my red reflection. I look like a neanderthal, I wish I was just typical. I wish I looked like one of those people whose portrait comes in a new frame. Not beautiful, but non-descript & safe. I turn to Matt & he's carving in his left shoulder. He stops & puts the piece of ornament over his left eye. "Do you think the girls'd like this?" "Irresistible. James-fucking-Brown suave." "Yeah, but it kind of hurts." He leans his head forward & it falls out on to the stairs. The music has stopped & I get up. "I guess I gotta go help JuLie with her amp." I go back in the bar.

through the beam

They could be my family. Their accents are similar to mine & they look like the right body styles for my parents & aunt & uncle in the shadows, but I can't see their faces & my hearing's distorted from being kicked in the head. We're walking on a concrete bridge that seems entirely too wide & leads to the searchlights scattered on the near side of the mountain. "See, those are the houses we were talking about being so beautiful," one of the women is saying, arm extended & finger pointing. The buildings are red & yellow & have a strip of light in the centers going up to the clouds. The buildings look like planetariums because their tops are domes. They stick up out of the river with no apparent connections to the bridge or each other, only to the sky. "I don't really like them," the other lady is saying as we walk to the side of the bridge for a little better view. I can't believe she's rude or honest enough to say that. "Well, sometimes in the day you can see inside through the beam; that's where the real beauty is." I'm sitting on the ledge of the bridge with my feet hanging off for some reason when the one who might be my father says, "Be careful there." "About what?" I'm saying & turning to face him when my shoulder pushes against the rail & shoves me off of the bridge. He grabs my right forearm with both of his hands & his stomach is resting on the top of the concrete rail. I'm just looking down & my feet look farther away than they should & the water looks like it's rising to consume me. "Stuff like this always happens," I'm saying under my breath as I twist & reach up to grab his right elbow with my left hand. I put my feet against the bridge & start walking up it as he pulls & after a few steps we're both standing eye to eye. He isn't my father. Except for his body size, he really doesn't resemble him at all. I put my hands against the railing & vault over it. "Sorry about that," I'm saying. He's already walking away.


There are four of them. Each thinks the others are defective clones of himself. They are perfect as long as they are alone. They do not know if they love or hate each other & often have trouble communicating because they do not speak. Each wants to create something that can make it out of his skull & into the others'. There is little material to work with, but each tries to get the most & show the others who the inferior clones are. In the end they all feel like failures creating dust from dust. They blame each other for failure, unable to grasp their own imperfection. They begin to feel envy & hatred as the dust fails to settle. It feels like drowning when things change so fast. The dust is in them & makes them more aware & "intelligent." The struggle is now for power instead of pride. The first movers can now really control the dust & are creating more & more sophisticated items inspiring each other to greatness. No one can be as sure of his perfection now. Fear is evolving into its own solutions. Their creations are all in motion & becoming self-sufficient & self-contained. Teeth are turning into weapons. Skin is trying to harden for battle. Screams of pain are the birth of sound. The first tears burn their eyes. They have infected each other. None are strong enough to survive. Perfection has died as the creations continue to swirl. They all look hideous now & are rotting, their dust sucked into their creations, who gain their self-awareness & pride. The gods do not exist anymore.


We're in some kind of underground tunnel, probably a drainage tunnel. The part we're in is threaded like a giant screw. The threads are seventeen inches wide & each of us are jammed inside a gouge. I am stuck by my shoulders lying on the ceiling. I can barely make out my two friends stuck & lying the same, but on the ground portion. "Jake," I'm speaking in a normal tone, but it seems very loud & deep with the echoes. I struggle & twist & fall. My arms are bound & I land on the metal with my knees & my head against the side of the tunnel. I crawl over three ridges on my chin & knees. There is water seeping through my pants. "Are you all right?" I'm hovering over his face asking. "Yeah, sure. We've never seen this part before, huh? I bet from now on this is we only see this part, since they sealed off the other entrance." He doesn't seem concerned that he's stuck & I'm sure he's wet & cold since he's in the bottom. I'm getting a good look at what's binding his arms & presumably holding me. It looks like the gray insulation that used to be in the attic when I was a kid that was probably asbestos. It looks delicate & brittle & crystalline. When I brush against it with my forehead to try to free him, it cuts me open. He's still talking to me & not making sense. I step over him to talk to Jake two threads over. His skin is pale & his mouth is hanging open. I poke at the cocoon around his chest & arms with my right foot & it collapses. Sam can't see it over the threads, so I keep quiet about it. "I'm gonna go see what I can find out." "Okay, fine, I'll just stay here," he's making beats patting his feet on the wall & whistling along with it. I step over Jake & start walking. After a hundred yards the ridges go away & the tunnel turns to concrete. I lean my shoulder against the side as I walk, hoping to wear the cocoon away. I keep walking & finally there's a break. A domish shaped concrete room with some light shining in from above where there's a circular grating twenty feet above me. I look up & see stars with clouds moving impossibly fast in front of them & I feel like I'm spinning. I sit down & can feel spider webs in my hair; but I'm still trapped in my cocoon, so I can't get them out. My spinning stops & I get up. The tunnel continues, but is four feet in diameter instead of seven feet. I bend down & start walking again & it's completely dark, when I close my eyes it makes no difference. Something bites my leg & I stumble to the ground & scrape my face open. I'm coughing blood & opening my face wider. I can't feel my legs anymore.

She can save me from myself. It is all I need her to do. She, with the strength of her god, can pull me away from the monsters I surround myself with. Alone I am self destructive & vicious, but she tames me. She makes me want to be alive. I am not a toy with her. I am equal with her, which makes me feel inferior. She is naturally good & holy, while I emulate to please her & thereby myself. I'm always on my knees with her, trying to worship her; but she pulls me up to her level. When she holds me & cries, I don't know which of us she's crying for. Would I go to heaven if I died in her arms? Would she still love me if she knew who I was?


I see her as I'm walking down the stairs with my friend & personal savior Pete. She's with some other girl & I don't want to say anything because I'm afraid I'll embarrass her or I'm afraid I'll embarrass myself. I've already walked past her & she's five feet behind me when I hear her say, "Brian?" I try to stop & turn around, but the linoleum floor's wet; so I slip & fall, but manage to catch myself with my left hand & do a little three stooges' walk around & stand to face her. "Hae, Julie." "I wasn't sure if it was you." Her friend's walked up the stairs & Pete's gone on into the cafeteria. "Yeah. I wasn't sure if you'd know who I was." We sit down on the steps together & I'm not sure what to say & I use to be the talkative one in our conversations. I'd hate it; she'd be silent & listening for an hour & I'd have nothing important to say the whole time. It made me feel self-centered & self serving, like I was an ego maniac & it wasn't shocking that she loved hearing about me & was speechless, but it would be shocking if she was my equal. I guess that's the little box her parents made for her; she's inferior because she's a girl. I don't feel like I really know her at all, that I just know a hundred random facts I could've learned from a biography. "So, I guess you survived the past few years?" "Yeah. I kind of wish I didn't sometimes." She's so bleak & beautiful. I always thought she'd be able to help me save my soul, but maybe she'd be able to make me happy too. "Things are just so complicated & hard now & I hate needing to deal with it." "Yeah, me too. I couldn't take it at the last place I was at & I thought I was going to die for sure on the way here." I put my left hand on her right knee & she picks my hand up & then holds it in both of hers. "Every place feels so cold now. Everybody seems so survivalistic & self-serving. It's very disconcerting." She's so honest & pure. I had this idea in my head that if we ever met again, & I never thought we would, that she'd start to be called Julie Kafka & I'd be called Braindead. I don't know why; it doesn't make any sense now & I'm not sure it did at the time. "Maybe you should star calling yourself Julie Kafka." "What's that suppose to mean?" "I don't know. It's just one of those random things I come up with sometimes, I guess." "Oh." "Can I tell you a secret?" "What?" "I think we should start sleeping together. Not sex, just, you know, holding each other & stuff." Her head's hanging down & I can't see her face because her hair's blocking it. "I'm sorry... It's just I really like you a lot & I'm really scared & I want someone to say, 'everything's gonna be all right' & nobody else will. Or maybe they will, but I don't believe them. I just want everything to be better" I'm crying now & I feel like it must look like some sort of gimmick. She lets go of my hand & pulls me over to lie sideways in her lap. She bends her head down to my ear & whispers, "It's going to be okay."

Let Me Embrace You

She's pulling back away from me like I have a plague (sometimes I wish I did & sometimes maybe even I do). I'm reaching towards her & she isn't resisting as much as she might. My right index finger brushes against her shoulder & goes halfway down her arm. "This isn't right," she says. Her voice is much deeper & commanding & more self-confident than I remember it. I don't bother to talk back; it would give her power over me. I just sit down on the bed & take a pill from my bottle in the headboard. I lie down & swallow it, then bring myself back up. She's not facing me; she's staring in a corner like she's punishing herself. I walk to her & take her hand & lead her to sit on the bed. Her face is wet, but her eyes are dry. "Just let me hold you & if you want, you can hold me & maybe everything will be okay." I stretch my arms around her & my hands are clasped at her right shoulder. She doesn't react & I slide down; kneeling on the floor, arms around her waist, shoulder & head resting on the bed. The pill is hitting me like a wall & everything seems perfect & pretty. She's everything I'll ever need.


The room she lives in seems huge. It's forty by sixty feet & I'm use to living in a car. When we talk, it's just jibberish to occupy our time. (As if we can't commit to silence because it's socially unacceptable.) Now she's lying on the top bunk of one of the four bunk beds & I assume it's hers because she's falling asleep on it & telling me her last thoughts before sleep. I worship the visions that come then & I wish more people would give theirs to me. The elevator door opens & a boy walks out & he comes up to her like he doesn't even notice I'm there. "Heh, Julie, our date still on for tonight.?" She sits up suddenly & I'm surprised the bed doesn't shake. She turns to me for a second & then to him & says, "Oh, I forgot all about it; but, yeah, I guess it's still on." I really want to ask her a million questions about this boy who's so typical I forget him while I blink, like why is he worth her time & is she sleeping with him & what are they going to do tonight. He walks over to a window & is sitting on its ledge looking out. Julie leans off of the bed to this shelving thing standing in the middle of the room that should be against a wall & grabs this weird little wooden game. She puts the game down on the corner of the bed I'm standing by & twists so she's lying on her belly. She makes the first move & I don't even know how to play, but I don't want to reveal it because I feel it will make me look weak in front of a competing suitor. The board is a grid of 64 one inch squares with colored blocks on top of the spaces. After my second move she says, "What did you do today to make me love you so much?" I'm not sure what she means & I know it's rhetorical, but I answer anyway. "Well, let's see. I got up, took a shower, & came over here. I guess that's it." "You sure?" She has this strange tone to her voice, like one someone might have before they privately embarrass you. "Oh, I listened to Sonic Youth: Confusion is Sex." "I like them." It's coming from behind me & I turn to see the boy who might be her boyfriend leaning on either a pool or ping pong table. He walks over & sits on the bottom bed beneath Julie's feet. "I don't know.... Anyway, that song 'Confusion is Next' by Michael Gira might be really fitting on Filth or Body to Body, Job to Job but hearing Thurston Moore do it is really uncalled for. He makes it sound juvenile instead of honest." The boy has his mouth hanging open a little, like he can't believe I said something derogatory about Sonic Youth. Julie has this weird little smile & then she closes her eyes the way you do when you're intoxicated & can't handle having all your senses.


He has a simple project to complete on his manila paper; he's supposed to draw a picture of something he is proud of. Everyone's drawing trivial things like favorite toys & watches; he writes the word NOTHING with each letter a different crayon color. Each student presents his/her picture to the class one by one. When his turn comes, most of the children are still engrossed with their own pictures, a few make faces like he's trying to be funny but is just dumb. The teacher starts interrogating him, mentioning things she knows & thinks he should be proud of, like an art project that recently won a prize. He denies each one, almost crying, not sure if he's telling the truth or fighting embarrassment. She finally lets him sit down again. If she wasn't such an idiot, she'd send him to the school counselor. Even if it was just a joke that didn't make anyone laugh, he probably has something really wrong with him. The boy's sulking & beginning to think he might be different & alone. He'll need to create something to hide behind.


Water holds memories. That's why I drink & urinate so much, because I want to purify myself & forget everything that's me; even if I need to know other people's past to do it. I always feel like I'm going to explode when I drink a lot of past, but if I'm lucky I lose it all along with parts of me.

Parts out of bed

Even if I get up, I can't go very far. I'm tied to the wall by the parts of me kept in the brick sized aquariums. They make me omniscient & last forever or at least feel like I last forever. I feel like a toy for god instead of angels. I feel like a marionette left to control himself who consequently does nothing. Sometimes I try to kill myself by knotting my tubes to the walls, but they come in with their pink faceless skin & fix everything. They've already taken all my visions & sharing them makes me feel like a corpse. They don't need me; they keep me alive.


There's a hole in my chest where my heart's supposed to be with a chain running through the center of it. I grab the chain to pull myself up from lying down, but end up raising my whole body like I'm doing a magic trick. I let the chain go & am stuck in mid-air.
back with scars

His name is Andrew. He's an angel or he used to be an angel or he thinks he used to be an angel. He doesn't have any hair that grows below eye level. He has no navel & his body is smooth & free of scars except the two large ones on his back near his shoulders; sometimes fluid still comes out there. He doesn't need to or choose to eat or drink; it keeps him pure. His clothes don't need to be washed often as he doesn't sweat or have a scent. His room is very plain & small & sterile. The walls are bare & yellowing white, there is a twin bed with a dull black metal frame pushed against two walls & a chest of drawers two feet wide & five feet tall opposite it. There is one small window & its paint is peeling. Instead of a real screen, it has 3 layers of chicken wire overlapped to keep birds from hitting the glass. Having essentially no expenses, he hates money & works as little as possible. He spends most of his time sitting on his bed staring out of a window hoping for something beside shadows to change.

eye hooks

I have eye hooks screwed into my shoulders so I can suspend myself in the air. As the piano wires pull me off the ground, the pain pulls me into a reality where I am an angel. I am powerful & all consuming. The world is burning & I can destroy or save. I take all that is profane inside me to deny others pain & I help them to exalt the sacred. Their sins destroy me & I have no savior of my own.


The club is famous or maybe infamous. It's more like going to an art show than just a strip club. It's way too disturbing & interesting to be pornographic. There's a girl right now walking on the runway pumping her arms, spinning them around (she must be double jointed) to the techno beat; but I hardly even notice she's naked because there's this image projected on the smoke around her that makes her look like she has a second right arm. Maybe it is pornographic, because the idea of a girl with three arms really turns me on whether she's naked or not. I really can't tell which of her right arms is real, but as she gets closer to me I get more enthralled by her face. She looks so strong & empowered & deified. She could dominate & destroy anything. She's like a god or at least an angel revealing itself to kill you or at least destroy everything dear to you. Her hair is black & looks like it's made of vinyl. It only comes out above eye level. It's been shaved closer than to the skin because the pores are gone. Maybe she's been electrolyzed. Then she's gone. The next girl comes out on to the main stage, sliding across it effortlessly as if it's teflon. She's wearing these glass shoes to make her taller, but even with the heels & the stage she still gives off the cast of being human. She lifts up her right arm & rising on the stage is the word "Anaaron" (presumably her name). It looks like a cross between comic book onomatopoeia & a neon sign & there are tracers of it to the floor as it rises to be level with her head. The audience applauses & the name fades as she walks onto the stage's tongue. There's nothing spectacular about her. She looks really typical & safe, the kind of girl who was in your english class in high school & never turned your head. She has black shoulder length straight hair with bangs. I think I'm in love. I can't believe it when after the show I actually get up & go to talk to her. She's sitting at a table with the girl who seemed to have three arms earlier, but only has two now. "I liked your shows." "Thanks, we'll be going now," the three armed girl says as she stands up. She's probably a foot taller than me. She puts on her coat & then helps Anaaron with hers. Anaaron isn't wearing her glass shoes now & is comparable to me in height & I think of myself of short & troll-like, but she's more like an elf. I'm wishing I had something more I could say to her to get her to see me as more than just some sexually motivated fan, when my head starts to hurt. It's from the center of my forehead at a slope toward my left ear ending above the center of my left eye. I give a little gasp of air & then touch it with my right hand. I'm holding my hand a couple inches in front of my face & my fingertips have this thick half-coagulated blood on them. I look up for help & the three armed girl is already gone; but Anaaron is staring at me, her jaw slack & her mouth slightly opened. "Help me," I'm whimpering as I cover the wound with a cupped right hand. She takes my clean left hand & leads me through the club, through the backstage, & out a door to a vacant but well-lit alley. It's cold enough to see my breath. "Let me see it," she says in a voice as commanding & gentle as a mother's. I sit down leaning back against the graffitied brick wall & take my hand away. Both my hands are pressed against the asphalt; tensed, trying to send some of my pain into the ground. She's touching the skin around the wound softly & my whole body's going a little tense. "This might hurt a little." She's looking straight in my eyes from three inches away & I want to kiss her. She puts her fingers on the sides of my head with her right thumb above the cut & the left thumb below it. I squint my eyes shut. She's pulling her thumbs apart & I want to scream, really scream; I never have before. I don't scream though, because I don't want to look like less of a man to her than I already do. Then I can see her again through a bloody hazy mess & she has a paper thin fiery halo two inches long wrapped around her head an inch & a half above her eyes. Behind her, presumably from out of her shoulders are these broken wings. The whole wings aren't even there. It looks as if they were cracked & then twisted off at the break to keep them from coming out of the shoulders & make her mistakable for human (leaving something to remind her of what is lost). The feathers are matted together by this pus fluid that looks like it's still leaking out of the ends of her wings. She's holding me still by the shoulder with her right hand & takes some fluid from her right wing with her left hand & smears it over my bleeding third eye. Everything's black again & the pain's gone. I feel her kissing my forehead where my third eye was & I open my eyes to see her neck & hair. She has these two little inch long scars on each side of her neck halfway down from the jawbone. She pulls back away & says, "Sealing it shut." She stands & lowers a hand to help me up. I don't know what to do or say. I'm enamored with her but scared. "From the corner of my eye, you almost look human." I'm not even sure what it means; it's from some song. I'm not sure I'd say she's crying, but water's coming out of her left eye. I pull her against me to hold her, trying not to touch the wings that I'm unsure even exist. "Thank you," she whispers. I'm not sure how long I hold her.

angels' still children

She's found them, but everything is blank & still as if she's in a moment that hasn't happened yet. An angel appears in front of her. He has no face. It is smooth with two slight indentations where eyes should be; no nose, no mouth. His wings & the rest of his body are made of the same smooth pink undefined stuff as his face. She tries to get by him, but his three fingered hand blocks her way. "It is not your place to interfere," he's thinking in her skull. She can see them in the next room. The children are sitting very still, angels attending to each one. There's one in particular that she's looking for. He has no relationship to her nor she to him. The only reason the child will be special is because she saves him. She leans up to the angel as if to try to seduce him, but then bites him creating a mouth. He's fallen & something is oozing out of his mouth & he seems to be deflating. The other angels turn to her as she rushes into the room & grabs the left arm of a seven year old with blue jeans, a red shirt, & black hair. The boy's angel tries to stop her as she jerks the boy out of his chair, but his pink skin isn't much firmer than gelatin & she pulls herself out of his grasp. She gets out of the room with the boy in her arms. He slides out of her arms & she's pulling him running behind her. There's a red mist filling the entire floor chasing behind them. She gets to the glass entrance doors & opens one with her left hand & the right side of her face. Across the silent street they stop for breath at a lamp post & she turns towards the building. The red mist begins to leak out & then the entire ground floor disappears & the thirty floors above it are lowered by one, pushing the red mist out. The red mist comes over them like a wave. Her eyes are open & it burns them. It's like her eyes are being ground out by iron rods. As the mist goes inside her she clenches her hand on the pole & falls coughing. She's writhing & slamming her head on the concrete. Her blood is coming out. The boy is still. The mist converges on him & enters him. He is the only one they need.


melted we stand, living & deader than never. too many big kids dressed as angels who know how to hurt me. so i hide in what i fear and wait for the moment of truth to pass without me or the thing I'm really scared of, but they can make me hurt & bleed in the open. I don't like the green or the voices that live in it; but when I look away, the street's windows blind me and the tall shinies crushing hasn't stopped. where is the savior so my fears run away and turn too shiny and scare the angels away. I wish I'd brought him with me instead of my watch. I can't feel the halo's glow anymore and the water's starting to hit the ground instead of burning above them. Only as bright as street lights now, but my fear's getting bigger and I can't respond to it anymore. noises are coming from everywhere. break inertia, big noise & motion. I don't think I'm functioning properly. everything's starting to burn over me. I am becoming alone, but turning into the one loved and things are starting to shimmer and I'm scaring my fears away like my savior use to. I am still and the world is opening, blinding and covered with dead fears too bright to touch. even in disguise he feels like a star, more real & more tormented, trapped in revelation & isolation. unpurified, self-contained.

She is left everywhere. Her scent in soap, her fingerprints on glass, her voice in plaster. There is nothing to replace her. Emptiness is pure. She has left the little she wants the void to be filled with. She has decided what is just. She is the last for me. I will purify myself completely, just as she purifies herself from me. I will suffer for her, so she can be free. She will be stronger if I cry alone.

warmth for the night

The fire place is big, big enough to stand up in actually. We sit in it, one of us in each corner with the fire in the middle. It's warm, very warm & comfortable like a womb. I'm falling asleep & my shoes are catching on fire.


The bass rumblings are calling me to sleep. When I'm unconscious, I'm easier prey for them. They come & gnaw on the ends of my nervous system & it feels like strychnine poisoning. It makes my body shiver & makes my chest feel like a pipe an inch wide is being slowly pushed to my heart. I wake coughing & feel like my body's in restraints. When I open my eyes, there are black shadows sliding off of me & under the television. I put the television in the closet & turn on all the lights & lie naked on the hard wood floor. I touch my face & it feels rubbery & dead. My hair is wet from something & it's making me colder than I would be. I'm breathing through my mouth & my lips are cracking & my breath is spastic because of the cold. I close my eyes; I can feel them coming again. civ I am a beast descending into a flower. When my flesh touches it, it breaks through my skin & comes inside me. As it cuts through my muscle & bone, the pain begins to transcend me to a better place. The flower is growing quickly & violently inside me. It is twisting through & shredding my body, trying to devour the soul I lost years ago. There's no light inside for it to grow towards & feed off of; so it's dying and withering, just like it wanted me to. I am broken & unable to function properly. The blood I taste in my mouth is my own & as I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep & if I should die before I wake, I pray your god my soul will take. I have walked through my valley of death & defeated your evils & I am not whole. What will it take for your lord to cleanse me? What more can I do? I gouge my eyes....

Christian Women

I'm at a thrift store connected to a church. The people working her don't like me. They think I'm a satanist instead of an atheist (actually I'm a solipsist). They're talking crap & annoying me just like most christians do. This woman comes in with an annoying high pitched squawking three year old & starts gossiping to the two clerks behind the counter. I'm looking at the books (which are mainly religious ones) hoping to find some horrible sixties' teen culture book. The child is at the toys playing jacks when I find a copy of Go Ask Alice & start thumbing through it trying to remember if I currently own it. The next thing I know, the child hits against me full force with tiny fists in the backs of my knees & I fall & the left side of my head lands on the jacks & I can feel that I'm bleeding before I put my left hand to my wounds. Somebody comes & grabs my right hand & I'm about to say I don't need any help when she starts dragging my body along the floor towards the door. I get a chance to look at my left hand, which has a lot more blood on it than it should for me to be able to take care of myself when she props the door open. The dragger steps over me & all three women start kicking me until I crawl out of the store.


I'm wrapping my arms in the roots of the trees stuck in the bottom of the river. I'm tired of always breathing & the water feels good & refreshing & purifying all through me. She's pounding on my swollen chest & saying words I don't understand. She starts chanting, "Don't fucking die," & I start coughing & vomiting. I'm cutting my palms on the rocks & glass of the shore as I push myself up. She's patting my back, which makes me feel like my insides are burning, & saying, "Are you all right?" I want to say, "I was for however long I didn't exist," but don't want to hurt her feelings. "Yeah, I'll be fine." I cough the last of the rice out of my mouth & drink from the river to try to wash away the flavor even though the water probably tastes worse. She's crying & has her arms wrapped around me. She pulls me into her lap, my shoulders in the crease of her legs & my head supported by her right hand as she runs the fingers of her left across my face & through my hair. She's whispering, "Brian, Brian, Brian, Brian...." & rocking slightly. She bends down & kisses me on the lips. She sucks the air out of my lungs.


We're all sitting on a deck, or maybe a children's wooden playground. It's night, but there's light coming from somewhere. "Hunger sucks, huh?" "Yeah, I'm tired of it." "Would you like to go to eat at Hardee's?" "I dunno...." Somebody behind me grabs the back of my shirt & pulls me back so they're in front of me. "What are you doing talking to my girl?" He looks like an ogre. He's six two, wide shoulders, almost not fat, greasy hair, receding hair line, open soars on his face, covered with dirt, & smelly. I can't believe he "goes out" with anyone, much less someone I'm attracted to rather than repulsed by. He grabs the front of my shirt with his left hand & lifts me up as if he thinks we're professional wrestlers. When he has me over his head, I lean forward making his arm fall back a few inches behind his head & he loses his balance a little. He quickly snaps his arm forward, slamming me against the wooden ground which shakes under me. My head hurts & breathing is hard. She's giggling & he grabs her arms by the wrists with one fist & leads her away. As they walk over me, I reach up her skirt & touch her left thigh. My hand comes down smelling like cake.


They can't see what is wrong with what he is doing. All the money & energy he's taking from them to use in an alleged nationalistic war. As if the enemy hundreds of miles away is even really real. Their war makes me feel like a failure & when I speak against it I am hit with cold eyes & stones. What we need is contentment, not power. I am speaking to a crowd, dressed in blue, from on top of some type of pedestal turned into a personal stage. They are laughing & sneering, though not attempting to physically hurt me yet. Drifting by, then stopping in the back of the crowd is their fascist leader in red & gold. I'm waiting for confrontation when I see the swelling wall from the corner of my left eye. I turn to face it. The rushing water is a hundred feet tall & its bass rumblings sound beautiful from its mile away. A lot of the people are trying to run for protection & my wife is clinging to my left knee as if I can save her. I turn back to the fascist; he's standing very still, staring straight at me. The water rushes over us & my wife is still holding on to me like a dead weight & I have to kick her in the head with my right leg to get free. When I reach the surface, the fascist is standing on top of it. He bends down to speak to me, "You are always this way." He kisses me & I turn to stone.


We're in a car & she's driving us somewhere. There's a lot of unresolved vague ambiguous crap between us right now & I want to try to straighten it out, but I feel like maybe when she's driving isn't the best time to have her talk about things she doesn't want to think about. I'm looking at her & trying to figure out if I love her more than I love myself & if her growth is important than my happiness (hopefully our happiness, but I can't be sure unless she says it). I don't want to think about it either & I put my left hand at the crease where her right leg meets her body, where her front pocket is. She's eating these little green lime candies & says, "Look at this," & pulls this ball of green the size of a golf ball out of her mouth & then puts it back in & crunches on it. She hits the breaks pretty hard & before I can say anything she says, "What the hell's that?" I'm looking forward & there are three stoplights & two of them are covered by trash bags (like they're not functioning) & the third is red. Traffic is crossing in front of us. "I can't believe someone would let this happen." The light changes & we're moving again. She reaches her left hand over & covers my eyes. "It's like asking people to drive like this & saying, 'Good luck.'" I lay down on her & embrace her at the waist.

Defect (moment of youth at a bitter 23)

She's not supposed to be as important to me as she is. I knew I still "loved" her or whatever, but it feels like I'm still sixteen & unaware that anything besides me exists. I wonder if it's because I heard her voice so much (both in my head & in the air) when I was young & high & susceptible that she re-infects me & flashes me back & intoxicates me when I hear her now. I'm wincing a little bit as she's saying her words I can't quite understand because it feels like someone's shoved their finger in my skull & is playing with my glands & it's like I'm going to die & explode happy. ".... oh fuck." "What is it baby?" I just called her "baby." I hate it when people call their lovers "baby." It's the most annoying hickish typical rammed down your throat cultural term in the world. It makes me feel like a jerk; like I'm saying, "You're typical & boring & I'm typical & boring & we have a typical & boring relationship, so I'm going to do something typical & call you 'baby.'" "He's back; I thought he'd still be flying his huey," she's whispering to herself but into the phone. I remember from some bad movie watched with my brother when I was twelve that "huey" means helicopter. Last time I saw her, she was going out with a boy relatively seriously & felt guilty because she kissed me. I wonder if she has the same memory defect as I do where it's kind of like the past has happened & is still happening & never really stops & gets really blurry with the present & future. I've sat next to her a hundred times when she was on the phone lying about things & I wonder if she's about to lie to the boy who just came in or if she's about to lie to me or if she ever has lied to me. I think I love her. I can't ask now though, because what if she can't speak freely & what if she's back in town for her wedding & I completely complicate things. "Hi, hon, how things go today?" She's talking to the boy I assume is her lover; but "hon" is one of those fast food hick culture words she picked up growing up in the south, so maybe it doesn't mean anything. I vaguely hear a response & I'm trying to make it out when she says, "Well, that's good," & it seems deafeningly loud. "Who you talking to?" He must be closer to her now since I can make him out. "Pamela," she says. I'm glad she's lying to him, because it makes me feel like she's never lied to me. Also, that I'm important enough to keep secret & hide makes me feel powerful; though that she'd bother to lie to him must make him important to her too. "Well, listen Pam, Kevin just got off early from his reserve stuff, so I'll let you go. Call me later, bye." "Bye." She hangs up & I hold on for a second & listen to the silence before I do. I don't have her mother's number anymore. I don't even know where her mother lives or what her current last name might be. I wish she was with me instead of this Kevin jerk (he must be a jerk since he's a human & not me). I want to make her happy. I want to be in bed with her & share my intoxicated visions until I pass out every night. I want to smell if she uses the same kind of soap as when she was in high school. I'm so fragile. I secretly hurt so much inside. She destroys my solitude.


It's very sudden & very shocking. It all happens in exactly one moment, as if God's finally being born or dying. I don't want to survive through it & I feel like if I was pure I'd be taken away now. I'd be saved, but I'm not & the revelation hurts me physically. I want to be dying; the blessed are dying. Life comes to the dead & death comes to life.


It's sometime during the 1800's & I'm not sure what I'm doing here. There are several of us here as guests, nine of us filling the seven second floor bedrooms. I'm awake & it's the middle of the night & I hear something downstairs. I light a candle & go to see what it is. In the hallway, toward the stairs, there's a cast iron clock ticking. You can see the ivory & brass face because there is a gas ring burning around it. It entrances me & stares back with faces of lions cast in the top corners. A moment passes & I go to the stairs & three of the eighteen steps creak as I walk down. There's light coming from the living room, so I go down the short hallway toward it. Inside there is one lit candle sitting on a table, but most of the light is coming from the pale white skin of the fat man sitting on a chair. His hair & mustache seem like black voids that refuse to let the light out; even his suit allows pinholes of light at the seams. On the coffee table in front of the couch on the opposite wall of the man, a dirty old skull is sitting on top of some magazines next to a plant. At dinner the indian was making some sort of magic with the skull to entertain us; it looked like a puppet show where the puppets were underwater, but on fire projected into the air. On the couch by the skull, there's a pile of neatly folded clothes with bones carefully stacked on top, another skull at the pile's summit. "He was like that when I got here," the fat man says, most of his light shooting out of his mouth & eyes as he does & then collecting on the ceiling like water in a shallow pool. I kneel in front of the old skull setting my candle beside it & pick it up with my thumbs in the eye sockets as the indian held it earlier. "I wonder how it works...." "I don't know; it wasn't mine," he has a New York accent. "Bones aren't my specialty." I set the old skull back down, turn around, & pick the new one up. I can feel it inside the right eye socket. There's something a little soft & warm & powerful there. I mash it open & the fluid shoots out & injects itself in my left thumb under the fingernail. I wince & hiss air in. "What's wrong?" It's like the fat man wants to get up to try to help me, but his obesity makes it impossible for him to move of his own volition. "Nothing. I'm okay now." I can't even see for a moment because I'm being bombarded with images in the same style as the evening's puppet show, in most of them the clouds seem to move too fast. There's a creak on the stairs & the fat man's eyes meet mine. I set the skull back as the fat man mouths the word "Go." The four rooms on this floor have no doors connecting them & in fact are like on large room only partially separated, with ten feet of wall missing from the outer edge of each room's interior walls. I pick up my candle & blow it out while walking softly to the parlor & I end up crouching near the piano. I can hear the footsteps on the stairs & see the changing light as the candle gets closer. I hope whoever doesn't come through this way. He walks down the narrow hallway like I did earlier. I can hear the host's voice talking to the fat man like he's an annoying child he has to baby-sit & I sneak across the hallway & stairs to the dining room, where I hide in a corner between a chest of drawers & a china closet. Suddenly I can see & hear the other room clearly. The host looks taller than I remembered & is wearing a black suit. I can't quite see his whole face as it's too bright that close to the ceiling where the fat man's light collected. "You are almost nothing," he says to the fat man. "Yeah, well, whatever," the fat man says almost laughing & seeming more stuck in his chair than ever. The host goes to the couch & pushes the coffee table with his shin slightly, making it spin on the carpet, blowing the candle out, & come to a stop by the window seat moving silently the whole time. He gets down on one knee in front of the bones & puts his thumbs in the eye sockets. He turns to the fat man, a red glow around his eyes as if he's on fire, "What did you do with the indian's souls?" "I don't know what you're talking about," the fat man says as if it's part of some inside joke. The host is glaring down at him. "Sorry, doesn't work on me, big guy. Does kinda tickle though," & the fat man starts laughing at the host. "Where is the Puppeteer?" He lifts his right foot, the tip of the shoe touching the fat man's stomach. "Sorry, can't help you," he's laughing so hard tears are coming out of his eyes. The host pushes in with the tip of his black shoe & light starts flowing out of the fat man & collecting on the ceiling, first from his mouth & eyes & then his skin. The host is pushing his foot further in & the light starts to burst out of the clothes & pull pieces of fabric up to the ceiling with it. The host is staring straight at the fat man's face & so am I. He looks like he's screaming & all of his features are getting less distinguishable. Even his black void hair is getting pulled up to the ceiling. I realize he's only like a normal man now (except he has no hair & his clothes don't fit) & the host puts his foot down. "I can make you like this." The fat man is inspecting his new body, his skin now a pale blue. He's crying & puts his hands to his eyes, "Please, I can't help you... let me be like this...." "I always thought you were disgusting; it's not just the fat." He brings his foot up & stomps on his chest; he explodes into light destroying his suit & is sucked to the ceiling. The host turns his head upward & the light begins to drain into his eyes & open mouth. He takes in everything the ceiling held He picks up both his & the fat man's candles leaving the room dark & goes back up the creaking stairs. I'm scared & still sitting in the corner, now staring at a gas lamp outside the front window. I'm rocking slightly back & forth wishing I had someone's name to chant for help. If I was upstairs in my room, maybe I'd be almost safe; but the steps creak & I'm tired.

So Angelic

There's a little girl in my room for some reason & it's pissing me off. She's one of those perfect flawless blue eyed blond haired girls that's so beautiful she's hideous to look at. I want to spit on her face & let her know she's not so cute & adorable. I just glare at her, sending my hate out of my eyes into hers & she leaves the room. I'm sitting down on my bed trying to decide if I should take my shoes off when I see why she was here. There's a cat sitting on my green chair sharpening its claws on the arm. I stand up & it runs out & I stomp out of my room after it. I'm in the hallway looking for it & then this scumbag appears. He looks like he was an ambulance chasing lawyer before the moment. He thinks he's tougher & smarter than me because he's taller & older. "What? Do you get kicks out of committing physical violence on those that can't fight back?" "No." He probably thinks I'm going to explain myself; but I don't have anything to explain, especially to a nobody. He hits me on the side of the head with his right hand & it hurts a little because I didn't see it coming at all. He must be the girl's father & she must be a little liar just like her daddy. "I guess we know how you keep your daughter so angelic, Mister Physical Violence." He's clenching his hands into fists. "Why I ought to...." I push with both hands full force against his chest & he falls down on the floor. "Don't bruise the little brat for me." I go back into my room & close the door, not locking it so if he wants to he can come in & I can justifiably kill him. I'm lying on my bed & I have a headache now. I really need to move to a better house. I take two hydrocodone tablets with some stale Evian & pass out.
lightning bolt

She loves me because I don't treat her like a goddess, even though she is one. Compared to me, she's infinitely wise; but I won't let her have control. I keep her in her place as an inferior. She's use to having power & being worshipped & bored. I ignore her & occupy myself, which she finds intriguing. Sometimes she pretends to ignore me, but she has no patience & comes back after several days. I really do miss her when she disappears, as she's my only link to the real world; but I can't let her know or she won't so enamored with me. One time, years ago in a moment of weakness, I told her I loved her. She started crying & I fell on my knees & held her at the waist. She touched my head & I hated the way I was, so I got up & left her to cry alone. I've never said it again & she's never brought it up. It's almost as if it never happened except in my head. She goes to see other men, because I won't give her everything she needs. She comes back; she needs me more than anything else.

Grandfather with Child

I'm not sure if we're really family or just the trauma has brought us this close together. Outside of the house everyone is dead or dying. Inside we're all bitter & alone together. I'm scared. I don't want to be dead; I just don't want to exist. I'm not strong enough to suffer through this. I am fragile & weak & nothing. All six others are stronger. When we eat together, I'm scared they'll kill me in order to keep me from accidentally killing them in a moment of hesitation & fear. June & Nathan are missing from the dinner table when I go in. June is six years old & Nathan is her grandfather. He's old & sick. If he dies & rises with her, he'll eat her alive. They're still not here.


It's cold & we're sitting at opposite ends of the bed, each wrapped in a sheet for warmth. I'm afraid of what might happen or maybe what already has. She's the only person I've bothered to trust for years. She's saying something to me, but I can't hear it; I'm too self-involved right now. Normally we don't speak; we just do whatever together so we don't get annoyed by others & to guilt us out of suicide. There's a television on casting its colored light in the room. I didn't notice it before; it's not really in my field of view. She's still talking & my feet are cold so I stretch my feet out to cover her feet because I figure hers must be cold too. I'm falling asleep a little; my eyes are shut & my mouth's forming the coat it does as I go to sleep, so my tongue won't have sensory stimulation. I'm trying to concentrate on what she's saying, but the words don't make sense together, so I'm following the rhythm of her voice to try to understand what she's saying. She pokes me with her right foot, it startles me & I hit the wall with my head making it ring surreally. I open my eyes & the tv glow is gone & a fluorescent desk lamp casts a light from behind her, like an angel trying to save me from the face of god. As her naked foot is sucked back under the sheet, it seems surprising that it can function. The toes seem very short, as if the middle joints were taken out & the last joints re-attached. It's a strange shade of pink, as if the whole thing were dipped in boiling water & it had only now developed scar tissue strong enough to expose to air. It also seems wrinkled, but that might be a trick of the light. She's smiling at me with a lot of teeth in a way that seems threatening. I'm really cold & want to sit next to her and absorb her warmth, but I'm afraid I could destroy a relationship I really enjoy. Suddenly, to me anyway, I walk/crawl next to her & sit down with my shoulder between her & the headboard. "It's cold," I say as I notice the headboard isn't nearly as comfortable as the wall I was just asleep on. "You haven't heard a thing I've said, have you?" she starts to pull away, but the cold air pushes her further against me. I grab her hand & turn off the desklamp at the same time. "Sure I have, boys are icky," my words are almost slurred, I'm so tired. I think she wants me to continue. "You know what? Girls are too. I wish we were cats." She's looking straight ahead & the streetlight shining through the almost closed curtain let's me see her crying & I can feel the short violent shakes she's trying to hide, but she's not making any noise. "I wish I could do more." I'm falling asleep, maybe we won't have to wake up if it's cold enough.


It's the first time I've seen her since she had her child; it's the first time I've seen her in years. "I can't believe how much of a fascist you've become." She's sitting across the table from me. I don't want to be so brutal, but I've never lied to her & I'm not ready to start. "What are you talking about?" I'm looking down at the reflections on the polished wooden table. "The kid." "What?" "You didn't believe in having children. I knew you for nine years & you always planned to not have kids & never get married, just have some cats." "You're just jealous. You're mad that I picked Chris over you & I had his child over yours." "I'm mad that you'd pick anyone who'd give you an ultimatum." She's starting to cry. "You didn't answer the phone the day I needed you to. He was there for me & gave me a place to stay." "I know. & we're fucking clones of each other, so you don't need both of us & we don't get along. But still, now you're married & the kid & the house...." "Sometimes things change." She's not crying anymore. "It's just the path of least resistance. I settled, just like you. You settled for nothing & I settled for this." Now I'm the one who's crying. "You know, it all started with him because he wanted to use you to hurt me." "You're so paranoid. God, Brian." She's covering her eyes with her left hand. "It's just good thinking when everybody's out to get you," I can't believe I just said something so trite. "Why did he tell you we aren't friends? Why the fuck did you pick him over me?" I can't even close my mouth after saying it. "He never told me the 'reason,' he just pointed out some of your annoying traits... like your simultaneous self-deification & self-hate." I'm not crying now & I snap my head up. "Heh, I think that's one of my best things. It, like, gives you something to study in me, like a polite little war." "Yeah, whatever." She rolls her eyes. "So where is he?" "He's at work." "What does he do now?" "I don't know. It doesn't really concern me much as long as I don't have to work & can spend time with Jenny." "Can I see her?" "Sure." She gets up & leads me out of the kitchen into the hall toward the stairs. She's wearing jeans. One of the most intriguing things about her used to be she didn't own any pants, only skirts. When she needed jeans, she'd borrow them from her sisters. Walking up the stairs I'm realizing how fucking typical the house is. "You know Amy Solomon's mom's house was exactly like this? It might be the same plan." "At least it has privacy. & it's mine, not just some place I'm staying a couple weeks till somebody gets up the courage to ask me to leave" That was more vicious than she's ever been to me, I must've hurt her feelings more than I thought. We walk in the bedroom & the two year-old's asleep in the crib. It's so much more typical than I expected. No black walls or knives or monster toys, just white with yellow trim & some stuffed bunnies. "I used to have this little stuffed rabbit I got for Easter one year that I called Patrick. But then when I lit my bed on fire in the first grade he lost part of his right leg. My mom tried to fix him up, but I couldn't really play with him anymore because it would make me feel guilty about the fire." "She doesn't respond; she's just staring at her child, so I stare at Jenny too. "Any regrets?" I say. "No, not lately," she's fixing Jenny's hair. "Chris is getting home soon, I don't know if you want to leave." "Yeah, I guess I'd better. Listen, thanks for everything & I'm sorry for everything. Good luck with things, you probably don't need it." "Be safe. If you can't be safe, be careful." She stays with Jenny & doesn't look up when I leave.

Katherine's Story

We're underground in a system of tunnels. We live here. The zombies are afraid to come down by themselves because the dragon lives down here too. But there are four of them walking after us & I'm afraid their mumbling moans will wake the dragon up. I hear the writhing of the dragon. The tunnels are really a little small for it. The tunnels are probably only two feet wider in diameter than the dragon is. I can hear the bass rumblings as its snake body hits the side of the tunnel & I'm running as fast as I can even though it makes my bookbag of canned food slam against my back & bruise it. There's a flash of light & I know the dragon must be in our tunnel now. Jason's running in front of me & gets to the giant valve wall first & he's twisting the release to open it when the rusty wheel falls off. I'm pulling at the circular concrete wall that's only opened far enough to put my fingers in, fighting against all the gears that are supposed to make it so easy to open. Jason's gone, presumably to try to find an alternate route, but I know he'll never make it. There's a flash of light again & I'm pulling with my arms & pushing with my feet against the wall instead of the floor. I hear talking & the wall gives a little & people on the other side are pulling me through to the other side & asking "What happened?" & I'm saying "Close the fucking gate." But the wheel won't turn on this side either & there's a burst of light & I can feel the hot air rushing in where they pulled me through. We're grabbing the mud at our feet & trying to fill the gap & we're putting in sticks & pieces of wood & broken bricks & I can feel the tunnel shaking instead of just hearing the dragon's banging. The foot wide concrete is hot & burning the palms of my hands, so I put them in the little bit of mud at my feet. It bangs on the wall which actually makes it slide shut a little more. The two people who helped pull me in are already gone & I grab my bag & run.
eye star

There used to be a doorway here. When I was young & under these influences I could go to a place where time & humans didn't function the same. The monsters won't answer me now, even though I solved the puzzle in my head. I wonder if they're afraid of me now because I'm weaker or stronger than before. I don't have as much to lose & I'm not afraid anymore. I just want to feel the perfect-fit-no-mortar gray stones under my feet again. Last time shards of something were imbedded in my feet & I couldn't bleed. There was a beautiful blue skinned girl there with bones coming out of her back. She doesn't love me. She doesn't know I exist. In her world I don't but I want to. Maybe they need more blood. I want my world to be in order like theirs. I want to be grey & dying forever.


Some friends & I went to this mansion that had been converted into a museum. All of a sudden the four curators disappeared & when they were back there were two missing & the two present were acting strangely, staring alternately at the floor & ceiling. As we were leaving, I knew something was wrong & I locked the door as I left even though the two women were outside with my friends. The women suddenly looked older & not quite human anymore & started screaming in a way that hurt me as the door latched. As they ran to the buildings, we ran to our cars. No one else was with me & I almost hit a car with too many people in it as I was leaving, more of my car on the lawn than the driveway. After a couple of minutes, it seemed like I was further away from the museum than I could be & I stopped at a park to walk around & decipher what had happened. When I was in the woods by the creek, one of the curator women jumped on me from behind & was banging my head against the ground saying things I couldn't understand. Somehow, I managed to get on top of her back & was putting pine straw down her throat. Suddenly someone yelled at me, "No, use the thorns." As I pulled the thorns out of the ground making my hand bleed, she started yelling, "No!" but I shoved it in her mouth. She vomited & stopped writhing. I rolled her over in her muddy blue dress & she was saying she always liked me & it wasn't her fault or idea.


I'm not sure exactly what from, but I know I'm intoxicated. The wall I'm near is made of glass & because it's night it has that translucent mirror effect & I feel like my soul's being torn back & forth to each side of the glass. This girl that seems familiar is walking in/out/through the glass door & she's talking & laughing (presumably to someone, but I don't notice anyone else). She comes to me & she has one of those red & white popcorn boxes you get at school fairs in her left hand & she says, "I've been drinking. Do you want some popcorn?" She stumbles/falls/sits next to me (to my right), her hand & the popcorn resting on my leg. I take some of the popcorn & while I'm eating it, I notice I can't taste it & the chewing's inspired me to start biting on my lips (pulling the flesh in my mouth). A tall thin man, who seems to be getting both taller & thinner as he approaches, comes to me & puts his hand on my shoulder (though he has to stoop to reach it). "It's not the same since alleviation came," he shouts, for he seems to have brought an aura of background noise & music & pieces of old conversations. His long hair falls from its home on his back down to the floor & he pulls it back up too soon for me to be sure, but I think I saw snakes in his hair. He says some other stuff, but I can't really hear it because I'm thinking about snakes, & walks away. Then someone who I know well enough to thoroughly recognize & acknowledge as a friend (though I still can't remember his name) comes over. "You could be a mother, or a mother to be." He has a six foot bar clamp with about ten red "C" clamps of various sizes going on in each possible direction screwed on to it. He's a mounting a two inch "C" clamp at the center & when he finishes, he holds it out to me saying, "What do you think?" I run my hand around part of the cold old beat up metal of the bar clamp & say, "Nice." I close my eyes; it's black inside.


It's my first day here & I'm moved in before my roommate, but most other rooms are already established. Everything I own now is in the wooden chest I made & am dragging behind me. My room is on the second floor & bigger than I expected. It's twenty by twenty-five feet & has built in furniture. I'm surprised the twin beds are separate instead of bunked, but I'm thankful for it & set my chest down at the foot of one. There are no windows, but there are two mirrors & two sinks which is better. There's a knock on the open door & I turn to see Marlene with her ever weeping eyes. "So you made it, huh, fella?" "Yeah, I guess... you?" "Uh-huh. You get a chance to look around yet?" "No, I just got here." "Then come on." She's waving her hand, motioning for me to follow her out of the room & I do, closing the door. The hallway is this creme color with brown & gray checkerboard tiles & occasionally a fluorescent light on the ceiling. The hallway connects to another hallway that's along the outside of the building & has windows & red bricks & gray carpeting. "I think you'll like it here; there's some really bizarre surreal stuff." We keep walking & I'm noticing the hallway has no doors & there isn't anyone else walking around. "Up here's a place that's kind of secret," she sounds like she's mimicking a historic district tour guide. "What is it?" "It's kind of a... a christian church." "What do you mean?" There's a door to the right, the first one since we've been going down the hallway, & she opens it & I follow her in. It's about three times as big as my room & is this really pure white on all six sides & has recessed lighting in the ceiling. There are pews on either side of the center aisle that leads to an altar & behind it a four foot tall crucifix. The stations of the cross are on the two side walls & the entrance has confessionals to the left & to the right there's a fountain & an organ. "Wow." "Yeah, it's kind of surprising," she's whispering as I notice a few people kneeling alone towards the front. The lights seem to get dimmer the closer you get to the altar. I grab her left hand with my right & pull her into a pew. I kneel down, my body erect, elbows propped up on the pew in front of me, hands clasped, head bowed. She pokes me in the ribs & asks, "What are you doing?" I turn to her & she has this shocked look & her mouth's hanging open. "Hoping," I whisper & then get up & we both leave in silence. "Come on, I'll show you the third floor." We turn to the right going the same direction we were & walk under a brick arch to a stairwell. "No one lives on the third floor yet, so it can be really great when you want to be alone." We climb the stairs & the third floor is the top floor. Instead of brick, its hallway walls are gray stone. The carpet is tan instead of gray. It's much quieter on this floor & more disturbing. "So how are most of the people here?" "Oh, I don't know, pretty dull I guess." "Not as great as all the rumors?" "Well, actually, it probably is that good. It's just there are a lot of jerks here." "Pretentious?" "There you go. Here, look at this." To our left there are windows to the inner side of the house. It's the first time I've seen windows except on the outside of the hallway. I put my hand up to the glass & peer in. It's a chinese restaurant with no one in it. "It's been here as long as I have & there's never anyone in there. I guess maybe they served some really bad food a long time ago." "What's up further ahead?" "I don't know, this is as far as I've ever gone." "Why? Are you chicken?" "Bok-bok-bok-audio-book." "Well, let's see what there is to see." "You're the boss," she's smiling, but her eyes are still weeping under her glasses. We keep walking down the same hallway until it dead ends & then we double back to the last door. "Uh-oh," she says. "Decision time," & I open the door. The room is octagonal & has a glass ceiling so you can see the stars. "Pa-shaw...." "Wow, this is nice." It's the first hardwood floor I've seen in the building & the walls are made of stone with intricate stained glass screens in front of them. It feels too pure here for me to be here & I don't let Marlene in & I back out. "It's too much for me now." She pulls up her red jacket sleeve & looks at her watch. "Oh, crap. I've gotta go." She turns & runs without explanation, leaving me to find my own way back to my room. The path back is fairly simple, but on the second floor I evidently take a wrong turn because I end up in some line up of booths selling knick knacks & books & records & cd's. I don't really want any of the things they have. I already have everything I need. Anything else would just complicate me. I finally find my room & my roommate Seth is there with his friend Juan. "I can't believe they did this," he's saying. "I'm gonna have to take it up with someone." "What happened?" I ask, baffled by how much he has in the room or maybe just how poorly organized it is. "There's some rule about only having five people in a room at a time & they wrote me up when some people were helping me get my gear in. I'm here like five minutes & I'm suppose to know all the rules? I'm gonna go eat." "See you later." Seth & Juan leave, but they don't shut the door & I don't feel like going to the trouble of closing it & just go to lie on my bed. I hear a knock on the door, definitive & real, not just cutesy. I look up & he's there. Wearing what he always wears; blue jeans, black t-shirt, & a black baseball cap. It's been years & I'm still mad at him for destroying my life & then trying to steal the last little parts of it away. "Hi." "Heh, can I come in?" It's the same happy voice as when I first met him, as if nothing ever happened. He's still not in my room; as if he's a vampire who needs my permission, or he does remember what happened & thinks I might eat his eyes out. "Yeah, sure." I still have this part of me that likes him; after all we are clones of each other. He comes & sits next to me on my bed in exactly the same position I am. He puts his arm around me like we're brothers or lovers. "I'd heard all these rumors that you killed yourself." "Maybe I should've. I just disappeared & spent a lot of time alone drinking & taking sleeping pills. I told Laurie when she called one day that if anybody asked I was dead." "It made you a little legendary. Me & JuLie & Mike all ended up getting our shit together over it. Made us do stuff today...." "I'm really not that concerned with that life anymore. When you get to be alone enough, things get a lot more trivial. It always kind of pisses me off when I meet people like you who thought they knew me years ago & still think they know me now. I'm almost pure now, then I was just a painted image of my father's son." "Glad to see your honesty; brutal, but shocking," he sounds like he's talking about a painting. Amy, who I haven't thought of in years, comes in with her crimped blond hair. She's wearing a black kimono robe & the belts tied; but it's not closed right, so you can see her breasts which are smaller than I thought they would be. She throws a gray audio cassette onto the bed & it bounces to my left hand as she turns & walks out of the room. I pick up the cassette, but it has no labels on it. "What was that?" "She doesn't really talk to people anymore. She does these monologue things that you're suppose to respond back to. That way she doesn't waste time with chit-chat." "Like we are." "Exactly. I think she's just doing it to try to keep from getting hurt. Ever since Roger died, she's been.... Oh, you don't even know about that...." "If I want to know something about the past, I'll just travel back & check myself. Like I said, that life really doesn't concern me. It's kind of flattering that it does concern the two of you." I'm trying to get emotion out of him; to show him I'm the superior clone now. "Well, you were happy in it for a while. You know that whether you can admit that now or not. That's why I tried to take it over." "Hope you enjoyed it. I guess I should thank you, if it weren't for you I'd be happy & dead with a wife & kids. Actually I guess I kind of do have a wife, maybe, somewhere. I don't see her much, but she's as good as people get." I lie down, my knees still hanging over the edge of the bed. I know he's dying to know what's happened to me & mad I don't care about him or the me he knew & hurt. He stands up & the bed shakes. "Well, I'll see you later." "Bye, could you turn the light out on your way?" I hear the click & my closed eyes feel cooled. I'm tired & feel a thousand years too old to be with these people who probably still belong in grade school. Maybe I belong there too, because I'm getting ready to take a nap.


I am trying to fall asleep, but I keep hearing something rustling & burrowing under my desk. I turn on the fluorescent lamp on my bed & lean over the edge to stare under the desk until whatever's making the noise stops. It's staring back & quivering. I get off of the bed & lie on the floor to scoop it out from under the desk. It looks like a cat without fur & orange skin. Its body style isn't quite right; the chest is flat & its arms go out to the side & its legs beneath it as if it's bipedal. It's shivering & dying in my arms.


The store doesn't feel quite right. For one thing, the ceiling is shimmery black instead of being made of the white foam stuff they have every place else in the world; it makes it a little darker than other stores because the light doesn't bounce as much. I'm carrying my little blue basket & trying to remember the three items I need (I have the basket so I don't accidentally put stuff in my pockets). I'm wandering through the aisles & I keep needing to grab on to the shelves to keep from spiraling & falling down into the floor. I have my Ritz Crackers & my deodorant that I only use because I like its shade of blue & I'm in the refrigeration aisle. Instead of regular fluorescent lights in the freezers, they seem to have black lights & the loud colors are hurting my eyes & making me a little nauseous. There's this group of four sporty kids in baseball caps & one of them is pushing two carts filled with cases of beer, presumably because he's the only one who's 21 or has an i.d. that says he's 21. I find my frozen lime-aid & put it in my basket & close my eyes & sit down for a second to try to compose myself for the cashier. I get up & go to the line, which is set up like a bank with one line & three clerks. The kids are in front of me & each of the three without beer are buying single candy bars. The one directly in front of me takes his hat off & turns & looks at me, just long enough for me to be sure he's looking at me. I recognize him. I met him five years ago; he's the little brother of an ex-friend. "Hello, Derrick," I say (I'm not sure why, maybe to frighten him a little?) & he turns back toward the clerks & ignores me. I set my basket down & I'm holding my right wrist with my left hand & push the basket with my left foot as I move forward. I'm staring straight ahead outside, where beyond the parking lot everything turns pure black; no clouds, no stars, no light at all. One of the clerks is saying, "I can help you over here, sir." I'm having trouble getting my body to function & when I finally walk over to her I lay my body on her conveyor belt & realize I forgot my basket. I go back & get my basket & my body feels stiff & jittery as if I'm going through rigor mortis. She rings up my stuff & says, "Five-forty-two." I take my wallet out & give her a twenty & she gives me my change. I'm looking at her as she's putting my stuff in a plastic bag & she looks like she's wearing this beautiful facade that's starting to crack & is going to fall away to nothing; she's probably nineteen years old.


We're waiting outside for some place to open. We're either under a huge overhang or a multi-layer parking deck that helps to shield us from something I guess, though I can tell it's not raining & the sun's already down. Ron & Jennette & I walk by some blackened window & then sit with our backs to the wall a few feet from where the pavement & whatever the ceiling is end. Jennette is closest to the edge & I'm the farthest with a foot of space between each of us. Jennette's trying to say something to me, but I can't hear over the thoughts & mumbles of all the other people who are waiting & pacing. "What? Hold on a second." I pull myself & my back pack up & then sit in the space between her & Ron. I barely fit & I'm against both of them giving off an image of freedom & comfort in our relationships. "I said, 'Have you ever noticed the way when people shoot each other it's not just one shot; it's trr-rrr-rrr-rrr-rrr or pow pow pow.'" Ron's leaning forward to look at her as she speaks while I stare straight ahead trying to make the words into something coherent. "Yeah, why is that?" "I'm glad you asked, Ron. Well, say you're only an inch from someone with your gun. They're still human, still intimately the same as you; & though you could be quite certain whether or not they're dead, you couldn't deal with the emotional ramifications." If I didn't know better I'd think her precise speaking was an attempt to belittle me or express her feelings of superiority; I think for Ron that is what she's doing. "But let's say they're further away, like five inches, suddenly maybe they're not like you anymore. Maybe they're not even human anymore, but just some kind of monster in disguise. So the first shot kills them if they're human, but what if they're not" I open the back pocket of my bag & pull out a piece of Cinn-a-burst that I know is at least three years old.. Ron's watching my hands as I unfold the wrapper around the gum & there's a stripe of green mold a quarter of the way down the stick. "Aah?" It frightens me & I shake briefly then crumple it & throw it to the left where it lands somewhat close to a trash can that seems like an island world not under our ceiling. Ron has this weird expression like his eyes are about to fall out & then starts laughing. "What the hell was that?" He's pointing at my empty hands. I'm shaking my head slowly & mouthing, "I have no idea." Jennette's continuing, "So you have to keep shooting, not only because maybe they're not human; but, in fact, to prove they're not human. Because it's a lot easier in your mind to kill the devil or god than yourself since you have survival mechanisms. Plus killing deities helps you to feel superior as opposed to suicide which just makes you feel numb." There's a cop walking by & I'm afraid he's going to yell at me for littering because he's real belligerent & has been hassling people the whole time we've been here. Then somebody throws one of those plastic capsules like you get toys in for a quarter & it hits the trash barrel making a dull metal ring, but lies on the ground afterward so the cop starts hassling him. The street lights decide to come on with their thirty flashes per second & it lights everything gray & it does look like it could rain. "Then again, maybe several shots makes even a human seem like just a target so you get numb to your suicidal numbness." A door must have opened; people are starting to drift away & inside.

Angel in a Skirt

Everytime she sees me, she thinks she can kill me by piercing my heart again with her fingers; that if she does things that are supposed to kill me enough times, I'll stop existing for her. No matter how white & smooth her skin is, her hair is yellowed & crinkled for a reason. She's still better than the rest & has a chance of being superior to me. I wish she'd put on a mask so she didn't have to deal with others as if they were her equals. I want to control who she spends time with, so I can make sure she doesn't get corrupted or distorted. I think she believes I'll corrupt her & others are more pure & honest because they are simpler & less intelligent. To her the physical world is sublime & minds are deviant. I love her & I'm afraid without me she'll be swallowed up into mediocrity. Without her, I'm afraid I'll always be alone.

parents' house

I'm at her parents' house with her & it's really quite frightening to me. It's not the house & it's cleanliness & niceties as much as that I know her family members are paying too much attention to me whether I'm a room away or trying to blend in the same room, like I am with her father right now as he watches television. The phone rings & the father gets up & leaves the room to get it & then after a moment he's shouting (as family members do), "Jennette! Telephone!" "Okay! One second!" She gets up off the couch & leaves the room (by its other opening, the one the father didn't take). I'm alone & I'm tapping my feet trying to emulate the beat of "Warsaw" (by Joy Division). I'm waiting for her father to come back & ask me something appropriately embarrassing. I'm surprised & relieved after a couple of minutes pass & he's not back. I'd heard the rumors of how early her parents went to bed & now I guess I saw them in action. I get up to see what's going on with Jennette & follow her path to the kitchen where she's standing there talking on the phone & twirling the cord on her left index finger. She's talking; just saying, "Uh-huh... uh-huh... yeah, I know what you mean...." I sit down on the wooden floor leaning against a cabinet door that's cleaned to way too much of a shine. "Oh, well, Brian's a real slacker. He doesn't have a job right now. He's unemployed," she's saying it in the tone you tell a secret when you think you're alone. "Heh," my eyes are closed & I'm forgetting where I am & probably speaking a little too loudly so whoever's on the phone can hear. "It's not my fault... &, beside, I've got job-ish stuff lined up for three months. I'm just in a two week vacationny lull right now." Then I hear, "Uh-huh... yeah, he did say 'job-ish'... well, he's going to europe for a little while." I open my eyes & crawl away to the other end of the kitchen, on the other side of the bar, & then stand up & walk back to the room with the television & try to go to sleep sitting on the couch. I'm not sure if I go to sleep or not, but eventually she comes back & is sitting next to me on the couch & I turn to her & say, "I'm thirsty." She's flipping through the channels with the remote & doesn't even turn to acknowledge me. "Then get something out of the fridge." It's not mean or snappy, but along the lines of an honest "Can't you walk twenty feet as easily as me?" I get up & go into the kitchen to the refrigerator & there's a rug in front of it with a girl sleeping on it. I guess she's Jennette's half-sister or step-sister or whatever-type-of-sister it is she has. She's probably only about four or five, the same age our kid would be if we'd had one back in high school. She has one of those neat little haircuts (to me anyway) where her brown hair's totally straight & mid-neck length with bangs just above the eyebrows. She has a little black & orange kitten sleeping in the cove between her stomach & where her legs are brought up towards herself. A gray & white kitten the size of my hand comes running from somewhere on the other side of the work island. I lay down to meet it so I don't seem so big & intimidating & it's mewing its high pitched mew at me & looking in my eyes & I start petting it. I guess some time has passed, because Jennette's stepping on my ankle to get my attention. I push myself up to an erect kneel & say, "Sorry" (even though I'm not & don't know why I should be except that it is the response she wants). "She's such a spoiled brat," she's staring down at the girl. "She always gets anything she asks for & can do anything she wants." She still has me pinned by the ankle & is actually putting more weight on it. She has this look of contempt in her eyes & it seems there's nothing lovable about her; that she's too bitter & mean for me to bother to try to save from anything, much less herself. "'Mommy, can I have a kitty' When I was fourteen & they took me from my mother, she wouldn't let me bring my cat here. 'We're not going to have a cat in this house.' They ended up making me take it to the shelter; she may as well have shot him in the head & served him for dinner. & now, little Miss Perfect wants a cat & she gets two. Fucking whore." She takes her foot of my ankle & is raising it to kick the girl & I grab it around the shin. "She's just a kid. & she's sleeping." She lets me lower her leg & I get up & lead her back to the other room, my right hand in her left. We sit down on the couch (closer than before, our bodies less than an inch apart; a parental taboo almost broken) & this weird version of Vacation seems to be on. Chevy Chase is sitting in a broken down sports car overgrown by ivy facing a bush & the wife comes over to it & says, "Come on, Clark, it's time to go." "I know, it's just sometimes I wish these trips every year weren't with the family. I miss having henry around." "Honey, that was ten years ago now that he died. You have to move on." "I know. It's just... sometimes it's hard." Suddenly Chevy reverts back into the father character I would expect & says, "Okay, hon, now let's tackle this vacation." They're about to leave in their white mint condition 1984 chunky van when the picture pans to a fourteen year old girl who looks like Emily Dickinson gone punk rock sitting on this black suitcase with red trim on the driveway trying to close it so she can latch it shut. The van starts & pulls away fifteen feet, then backs up. Chevy gets out of the van & runs to the back. He opens the back van doors & puts the suitcase in lying down on top of the other luggage & shuts the van back up. "Thanks, Clark." "Please, call me 'dad.'" He's pulling her towards him slightly pushing her left shoulder against his chest & she's rolling her eyes. She goes to the left side & gets in the sliding van door & Chevy gets back in, buckles up, & starts driving. You can see the girl's tongue against the son's face as the music starts & the camera pulls back to a sky view.


He's a second generation zombie. You can't see his skin & he has on gray metallic armor that looks like its design was based on some insect. His eyes look like a bug's too. They're silver & the size of a fist & made up of hundreds of little dots. He's destroying all the regular zombies that just look like dead humans, knocking off their heads. I know he's not going to have any trouble killing me once he's destroyed his competition. He's not slow & clumsy like the others, but agile & precise. He's moved himself in front of them as if he's defending me & I know this is my chance & I pull out my gun & shoot him in the base of the skull. The rest are swarming me now & I'm shooting some in the forehead, but they're not afraid of me like they were of him. I'm drowning in this sea of them.


I'm meeting her for the first time & she seems enamored with me. She thinks I'm going to try to kill myself, so to prevent it she bends my hands back & shoves metal strips into my wrists so if I cut them I'd hit metal instead of drawing blood.

Chick and Kellogg

We go to the outlet mall across the street from the motel for breakfast. The restaurant, for lack of a better word, is called Chick and Kellogg. They have chicken & eggs & Kellogg cereals. The three of us are all eating cereal in a booth. I hate places like this. They make me feel like the uncultured hick scum of the earth & I'm always afraid I'll be raped by some fat trucker who thinks I'm a girl. The clerk is trying to make small talk & I wish she'd see that we don't want to talk to her. She's talking about her daughter & I'm thinking about the Astrozombies song "Scamper." Jason gets up & leaves first, then Eric. I'm eating much slower because I want to fully absorb everything I can from the food because I don't know when I'll eat again. I get up & walk across the street & they're putting the last of our gear in the trunk already. Jason gives me the keys & I'm walking to the driver's door when I see a doll in the gravel parking lot. She's about two feet tall with the proportions of a ten year old. She has dark hair & a black velvet dress with white lace fringe. I'm standing over her now & she has drying blood on her lips. She has two big black nails driven through her. One is through her body where her heart should be & the other goes through her forehead. The way they're angled into the ground makes her back arch slightly. There's blood on the rocks beneath her. I want to help her, but there's nothing I can do. I get in the car & drive us away.

Fabric Writer

She's sitting (body in a ball, hands on knees) on the edge of a cliff (her toes over the edge) mouthing the words of the television. The television is powerless, but emitting all the same. Its color distorts the grey sky & orange ground. She's staring at the lightning bolts in the distance & singing the words to the Cranberries' song that goes over the commercial. She stands & falls down on her back & the tears she was holding in are knocked out. She rolls to her left away from the television & reaches into the front pocket of her soft pale blue jeans & pulls out a small tube of paint & starts writing on the ground. She doesn't know what she's writing & it's not as important as how the physical motion feels & she's writing everything over the top of each other & it's turning into a blurry white mess with only a few phrases decipherable. She's over the writing in a push-up position & white is leaking out of her mouth & nose forming a pool on top of some of the words. She gets up smearing some of the words on to her right leg & then wipes her mouth & nose clean with her left hand. She's walking away from the cliff, up the slope of the mountain that breaks the cliff from the highway. The time it takes to climb doesn't seem to pass & she's on the ridge. She turns back towards the sky & the clouds seem more fluid & violent. They're a black the color of coagulated blood, struggling as if they're trying to tear themselves open to flow out all their angers & poisons. She's descending the mountain & it feels like it could swallow her as she holds on tightly at times when the next step scares her. Then she's walking the fifty feet from the mountain foot to the highway. She's turning to the sky again when she sees her white smeared across the mountain. She gets in the old green Dodge & drives away in the direction it's faced.