I have come to more thoroughly understand
being a man in the context of the great
regret machinations of our time
[a sensation not unlike finishing
the stinking shawarma you left out
that one time then decided to eat
because your fatigue caused a lack of interest
in unwritten expiration date consideration],
and have chosen to fish away my days
in lakes, rivers, ponds and streams, where

you absorb
the skeletons all around you,

to the bluegills
while they inspect your lure

[the sun
grinning at your little boat],

your red
ears naturally aglow.

striders dot the scene,
checking for proper surface tension
(it’s like they don’t know about physics
and the evolution that specifically adapted them
to traveling in a manner that will never not be useful
in our particular iteration of the universe).

For a Larf

Far-flung inferiority freakishness extracts and enhances the divisionary diversions commonly excluded by guys like Al.

We all know a guy like Al, don’t we? He likes to sit there atop the square, never the wiser when those ol’ Mickey Mouse Boys get a posse all riled up. He’ll be the first to tell you that he isn’t a part of the problem, then go about his day as an enthusiast for whatever innocuous pastime he may have deemed appropriate in order to forget the human suffering all around him.

Because then, once the shades have been drawn and the wool pulled from over our eyes, we can then migrate from the prefecture of common thought for just long enough to endure the scrutiny typically reserved for only the most contemporary jazz head–where are we in the world when we can have -$42.00 to our name and still somehow get something to eat at dinner time? The system is broken, too far gone at this point to give it much credence–but we sure can pretend to be ignorant to the cries of others for the sake of not having too much of a bother on our hands at any given time.

One might even remark that the average stress level in your typical human being anywhere in the world is currently so high that the well being of others just naturally becomes secondary; we all shut ourselves out for the sake of preserving whatever sanity we may think we have left in the tank. The joke’s ultimately on us, since any sense of normalcy or sanity would have been wasted on this world anyway.

But as it stands (at least for this narrative), I managed to find a respectable Mexican restaurant chain that cooked pretty decent food–a sit-down place, mind you (with a patio and a full bar, the works). This is your neighborhood family restaurant typically nestled between a couple different places, always open and always fully operational. Sure, there might be a petty squabble or two here and there, like in all restaurants, but by and large, these are some of the folks around these parts who simply get things done as a matter of fact–I suppose we all have that kind of fortitude in our own ways, but something about the perseverance of the human spirit and the persistence of tradition through community really strikes a chord with this here reporter.

And now it’s time for an unwarranted segue! Sure, American white folks may have some kinds of traditions, but they’re all bastardized extrapolations of old-world things that generally center around agrarian superstitions, usually observed for a larf. It’s hard to get around the pungent odor of insincerity and perpetual need to be included in every conversation, especially when it’s so heavy-handed. But wouldn’t you suppose that to be the truest human condition, anyway? We typically have all been born to seek out attention, and not to do so has historically resulted in a high mortality rate.

The loudmouths have the tendency to survive through sheer annoyingness and an unwillingness to accept when their methods have become woefully outmoded by their own refusal to adapt to current conditions.

The quiet ones, unless assertive, need to express what makes them exceptional, so that other people will take notice and provide necessary patronage that will stimulate their pocketbooks and enrich their sense of wonder for the world. That is indeed a primary goal for sensitive wanderers everywhere, very rarely achieved.

Since I seem to have made a habit of engaging in unauthorized segue activity on this fine day in the world, I don’t see why I should unceremoniously buck the trend so quickly. As it may or may not naturally follow depending on the amalgamation of butterfly wing-flapping in the Northern Hemisphere, I’ve found that being confronted with multiple examples of people reading books on public transit has forced me to evaluate my own reading habits and long for the urge to actually read a book for once in my life. It would seem as though my years of sporadic and spontaneous writing (etudes, experiments, meditations, barcarolles, etc.) and connection to a certain layabout lifestyle have resulted in a mind that prefers to acquire new information through more, shall we say, instantly-gratifying measures. The irony of subconsciously refusing to pick up a book is quite at odds with my penchant for jotting down notes (and sometimes actual compositions).

I can’t let go of that medium tying me to those great voices of the past, yet I can’t bring myself to avail myself of their actual language. To me, everything in today’s market smacks of capitalizing upon the original idea of “story” by contorting it into whatever genre or gimmick suits them best for disseminating their particular grammar equations to the most consumers possible. Was this also the case before capitalism and the industrial revolution? I could probably read the foremost book or dissertation on the subject, but I’d rather just spin my wheels in a more futile fashion. It’s more fun that way.

Ah, but wasn’t this little ditty about Al in the first place? My, how our minds wander when given the chance. So this Al character is quite something, and the word count of the first draft of this abomination of the English language had reached 714 as of the word “something”, which has at least a modicum of connection to the Babe Ruth home run record, by virtue of that feat being considered “really something” by baseball heads and connoisseurs of Americana everywhere. If he had only been a position player for his entire career, he may have hit another 100+ on top of that, but don’t you think it’s just a tad convenient for him to convert from a pitcher at roughly the same time that those dead balls they’d been kicking around in the mud and piss for years got a serious upgrade. They were no longer smacking around overripe leather tangerines, and either George Herman himself or some brilliant merchandising insider pounced at just the right time. Now, is this some kind of cataclysm in our universe, the fact that this Babe actually existed and played baseball at that exact moment in our timeline? I want to say yes, but everything else I’ve learned from history says that this was no coincidence.

But would you look at me, it appears as though I’m doing my very best Al impression at this very moment. I’m standing by and letting all of this literary carnage come to pass, stubbornly pretending that what I’m doing has even the slightest bit of merit, when we all know that that’s a bunch of hooey. Aren’t we all guilty of the occasional Al impersonation? I would venture to say that we’re all culpable for the mindless perpetuation of the Al paradigm, sitting back and absorbing all of the unnecessary stimuli being heaved in our general directions (because we’re too lazy or stressed out at this point to defend ourselves), failing to take action in one direction or another. It’s our privilege, we say to ourselves, when we fail to act in accordance to the creeds upon which the vast majority of us were raised.

After all, those religion things are really just guidelines, and we don’t actually need to practice their tenets these days. Science has proven it, don’t you know? All we truly need to do is find hobbies that will while away our seemingly innumerable hours (even though they are quite scant) and allow for the absorption of subject-related data grenades on a 24/7 basis.


I left a gorilla in Hamelin’s office tonight with the intention of checking the results on the security camera tomorrow morning (after a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood and well-crafted latté at my favorite local roaster). I don’t have anything against Hamelin, other than the fact that he micromanages me and I feel trapped in a corner wearing a straitjacket half the time. Okay, maybe I do have something against him. But back to the gorilla at hand here. I won’t bore you with the logistics of just how I managed to transplant a 350-pounder into a 27th-story corner office without sustaining so much as a scratch (though I know you’re impressed). I’d rather get down to the nitty gritty of my thought process. As far as I see it, our hirsute cousin will react to Hamelin’s plants that I’ve strategically strewn about as though a silverback counterpart had already been there. Could it possibly think–after coming to–that another gorilla had already taken liberties with the decor? And if so, would our friend (let’s just call it Chip) leave well-enough alone? Or would he want to contribute his own personal flair to what he thinks is a radical statement of primate interior decoration? Would a gorilla even contemplate matters on such an elevated level anyway? It’s doubtful, improbable and impractical to think such a phenomenon could exist, a magical realism that extends past the bounds of human domain and into the advanced psyche of a less-cerebral species. Anyway, you’d better not tell anyone I did this. There’s no way I’m going to be liable for any damages after the way old man Hamelin treated me. I figure I’m due a few grand for my troubles, even if it doesn’t present itself in the way of a manila envelope filled with hold card cash.

Hold card cash? Jesus, I need to get more sleep.


As a somewhat absent-minded explorer of the written word, I developed a taste for writing down ideas in small notebooks that typically resided in my back pocket. I’d filled up several of these, left the rest of them mostly unfilled. I tended to review them all from time to time, never quite sure how to utilize those bits and pieces.

One day I decided to put all these tiny books in a tote bag and carry them around with me, thinking–perhaps foolishly–that traveling with all of them in tow would reveal some sort of grand scheme, and perhaps being in the world would lead to a breakthrough observation that could somehow link up with a scrap of material I’d already scrawled. I thought, somewhat romantically, that my quest for written enlightenment in the form of rifling through broken-in notebooks would draw the attention of a fellow traveler who would strike up a conversation about their passion, a conversation leading to a lifelong friendship, etc. etc.

Then, four days into my routine of meandering with all my potential nuggets, I got distracted on the bus and nearly missed my stop, running from my seat in the back to squeeze out the rear door. Thirty seconds after walking down a side street, I realized my bag was still on the bus. All those ideas that I should have capitalized on… too late for that, for those what-ifs. Honestly, I should have been more upset than I was, but I’ve always been more of a passive individual, especially since having mood stabilizers prescribed to me.

Now, stripped of my safety blanket, I had to start scrambling and starting my collection of creative fragments all over again, going strictly by what I could remember offhand. I thought doing this could serve as a litmus test, to weed out the inconsequential and narrow down the essential.

My favorite ideas were always fabricated scenarios that had nothing to do with my life, likely never to happen in this reality of ours due to some impossibility (a lot of the time involving animals or inanimate objects). I started recovering my potential next-great-American-novels with a simple list, and since I have your attention, here’s the tip of that iceberg for your entertainment, in no particular order:

A gorilla named Esperanto who can use sign language, but only in Spanish.

Three bank robbers who decide to split the money from their last heist to fund their distinct hobbies: spelunking, international espionage and latex glove manufacturing.

A musician who adopts a baby and forms a metal band after the child responds positively to that particular genre of music.

An extraterrestrial–or extrasensory–being who makes its thoughts available to only those whose minds operate on a certain wavelength, for the purpose of slowly assimilating alien thought into human culture.

A frisbee that hasn’t been used for twelve years, lying undisturbed in a storage unit and reflecting on its life while other objects in the unit share similar stories of neglect.

The list goes on and on, and I shocked myself at how well I could recall these (seemingly) trivial tidbits that could eventually lead to major motion pictures down the road. I’m still too lazy to develop any of them, but at least I have them back in my first of what I’m sure will be plenty more tiny notebooks.

Chopping and Carving

I can at least say that I’m trying to understand your situation, can’t I? It’s not like I’m just throwing a life preserver from the edge of the dock and telling you to swim in its general direction. I mean, I’m practically carving a canoe from a tree I just chopped down and hauled to shore.

Oh, by the way, all I could find for chopping and carving was a crappy old serrated kitchen knife. I hope you’re happy. Look how miserable you’ve just made me and tell me that you don’t find any satisfaction in that.

B P I Chronicles 2

B: Where’s the bartender? I need a drink. What’s that you’ve got there?

P: A caramel-infused jalapeño mojito.

B: Oh dear lord that looks awful.

P: You’d be surprised at just how awful this drink is.

B: Then stop drinking it!

P: I paid for it, genius. Plus, it’s not doing too bad a job. How are you, bud?

B: Thirsty. Bartender!

I: Hey, whadd’ya want?

B: AH! Bartender, were you crouching in front of us this whole time?

I: My name’s Frank. Yes. Now what’ll ya have? I ain’t got all day.

B: Yet you can crouch behind the bar and scare customers. I’ll have what he’s having.

I: I said I ain’t got all day. That drink takes 15 minutes to make.

P: He’s right. I was timing him. You don’t want this anyway, trust me.

B: Give me your best single malt scotch then. Leave the bottle.