I had a happy up-bringing. My mother was/is a manic depressant. I think she’s bi-polar. But at the time I thought she was just being a mother. My dad was thankful to be alive. And very in love with my mother. He didn’t expect either. And then he had two kids that he adored. A house of his own. He was a quiet man. Maybe the happiest person I ever knew. My mother had her own demons. But I am painting too bleak a picture. She was/is fun. Smart. A hard worker. But I know that others have not had such a life as me. This story was told to me by a woman I was involved with. She had some bad dreams. I don’t know if she ever resolved them. Or if she discovered the reason for her nightmares. Many people are like this I think. They deal with the darkness one day at a time.

…………………..

The Wife

 

I was sixteen. He was tall. We went together. In high school. So we’d have company at parties. Taxis for each other. I hated to be alone.

 

He always smelled. Like a damp evening of lilacs. Virgin lips. He spoke. Of dreams. We tested out our hands. Our hopes sank. Deep into each other’s muscles. I felt warm within. The heart of the universe. Kisses like stars reached down through my sadness.

 

He used to tremble. In my arms. Coming. In my hands. Friends said we looked happy. Kicking up snow. Man. Clouds of laughter. Rising. From our mouths. ‘this must be love’. Only. The absence of loneliness.

 

Married. My dress. White as snow. Drizzle. In the afternoon air. My father ate. One cigar after another.

 

Flowers in my palms. Sweating. They began. To take root. Something was….

 

Missing. My mother said. Be patient. Emptiness would soon be replaced.

 

The night before. The church. The reception. The dream again. I am dragging a knife through a belly. My daddy. Is standing in front of me crying. My hands. Are almost inside his stomach. ‘daddy. It was an accident.’

The Last Fix

August 28, 2011

This story is extremely violent. In parts. Its about drug taking. People who don’t do drugs can’t imagine how horrible the experience can be. (It can also have the opposite effect. Its a crap shoot.) You either meet God or the devil. Both can be frightening. I wrote this after several friends of mine came to very sad ends. I was lucky. I got bored with the whole scene. I get bored with a lot of things. Especially myself. Only my wife remains interesting to me. Its her eyes.

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The Last Fix

Robin dropped in. Afternoon Shift. Complained about her feet. When business was good she complained about her back. Wanted to do something. Mainline. I sprinkled holy water on the syringe. Robin went down. On my zipper. Ray promised 3D. No snow. No shadows. No technical interference. No chance of meeting your maker. Grab those rabbit ears. And fly.

Parking lot. Moon humming. In the windshield of a 65 Chrysler. Asphalt. Black as night. Robin and I drifted. Between 2 Pontiacs. The mute tongue dangled. Robin was so full of promises. Louis Armstrong. Robin’s Crest toothpaste ambushing a muscle. Someone watching? Didn’t want to get arrested. For littering. I thought about the rush hour. And the 2nd coming of Bob Dylan. Remembered an article. Popular Mechanics. Avoiding the inevitable.

Memories. 2 angels has appeared at my door that morning. One wore a t-shirt that warned THE END OF THE WORLD WAS YESTERDAY. The second curtsied and introduced herself as Bonaparte. At first I thought they were agents. Of Unemployment Insurance Commission. Investigating my alleged poverty. I had been actively seeking employment. Yesterday I applied for a position. Immortality. I even volunteered for the Graveyard Shift. Turned away because of a lack of experience. And I couldn’t speak Greek.

Angels told me they were looking for a Viking. Named Ray. Said he peddled Coke. And Food Stamps. I told them I didn’t know anything about food stamps. Besides I was just his answering service. Leave a message.

The angels believed in the free market. But they didn’t appreciate getting the sticky end. If its a trade war Ray wanted, he would get his wish. Bonaparte snapped her fingers. Leaving her signature on my nuts. I was on my knees. God. Robin below me. Angels above.

Had to get my mind off the angels. Turned my head. Harry was laughing. At a stop. Waiting for a streetcar. Harry had a 2 day growth of wine on his breath. Taking out a deck of cards, Harry insisted I choose a card. I looked down at my card. 2 lovers in a snow drift. The card melted. Pick another one, Harry insisted. A cop on his beat. Badges nailed to his hands. Blood running. Away. The card ran off in pursuit. Pick another, Harry said. A bride holding a corsage. Shooting flowers into her veins. A perfect life. OD’d. Pick another. Mickey Mouse presenting his thesis. In which he attempts to prove the existence of Walt Disney. Another. A kid crippled in a recent fall from his father’s esteem.

I grabbed Harry by the shirt collar. Back in my apartment. Robin on her knees. Playing the Peale Street Blues. I tried to scream. My tongue poured out of my mouth. A drug. Just a drug. Remember. That.

Climbing. The sheer cliff. Of my father’s trousers. Bonaparte appeared. Over the top of my father’s knees. She glared down at me. Turned away. Harry threw down the rest of the deck. I fell beneath the avalanche. Women’s faces. Therese, an X-nun. She had an onion between her thighs. Every man who tried to make her happy ended up in tears. Frenchy. Who kept a string of watches along her arm. A petty thief. She tried to swim Lake Ontario. But got lost in the night. Jibs. With her crew cut. Kept herself in her room. At the hotel. You could hear her from down the hall. Crying out, ‘I’m ready’. And many more faces. Of women. Passing by. With their thumbs pointed down.

My eyes. Opening. A parking lot. Looked down. Robin’s lips had turned into a syringe. I was shooting up. My cock. Gasping for air. There was something about REALITY that my lungs just could not grasp. The last fix. I promised myself. Never. Never again. My eyes fastened down. Like shutters. I saw roses being crucified. On crosses. A young girl on a stage. Singing. Through the slit in her throat. A sailor. Drowning in the middle of the ocean. At night. His ship in the distance. My veins were aching. I cried out. ‘Hope takes too much courage’. I looked over at the moon. Staring at me from a Chryslers windshield. I yanked the needle out of my cock & plunged it into the eye. Of Robin. Laying beneath me.

Baker’s Man

August 28, 2011

There are characters in your life that remain lodged in your memories. And you hardly knew them. Nor cared. There was a girl. Lets call her Patty. (That was her name). She looked like my sister. They were often mistaken for each other at school. Mostly by teachers. Victor had a crush on Patty. (He was probably about 12 or 13) By 15 he went out with Patty. And then dumped her. (She was boring.) Or she dumped him. (Same reason). Then Victor went out with my sister. They didn’t hit it off. She couldn’t stop laughing at him. He’s a pretty funny guy. (A combination of Woody Allen and Ringo Starr.)

But because of this complicated story I couldn’t get Patty out of my memories. Remember, I’ve probably never talked with her. I heard that she later dated, married, and divorced a guy who became a doctor and in the meantime a jerk. This story has had no effect on my life. Patty has had no effect. It is of no consequence. To me. And yet there it is. If you put a series of these small stories into a movie it would probably be called ‘art’.

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The End of Romance

August 27, 2011

Looking back. At these stories. (now over 30 years old) I recognized that so much of my dealings with life had to do with sex. I had a lot of trouble of separating it from love. Even now I’m not sure that in some cases that there was any difference. I do recall that sex without affection was very uncomfortable. Unless you played a role. The jokester. Or the drunk. Or the beach bum. Sex with affection was also uncomfortable. Especially if it was one sided. And affection without sex became physically nauseating. And bewildering. I was always afraid to come right out and say what was bothering me. (I need to get laid!)  Instead you made something up. (I need space.) Well the whole thing became a knotted mess. But I guess that’s what being young is all about.

 

……………….

The End of Romance

 

Laughter in crowds. The functioning of glasses. A rock group called PARADISE. Throb. Throb. Throb. The instruments of flesh. Teeth rattling piano keys. Music pumped out of house plants. A Party. Internal bleeding. I held my hand to my ear and listened to the sea.

 

Ray turned to me. ‘She was the kind of chick who made you feel personally responsible for the existence of boredom.’

 

Ray is an orphan. From Greenland. Abandoned on an ice flow. Moses of the Inuit. Ray says some day he will return to the North and part the polar cap.

 

Ray loved to plunder. The dresses of beauty. And rape. The vaults of women’s bank accounts. Ray has a tattoo. It looks like a scar. Divides his left eyebrow. He claims women. Are attracted to men who look battered. Ray winked. A lamb in wolf’s clothing.

 

Another rum’n’coke. From the flash he keeps in a drawer below his heart. I was humming Handel’s Messiah. Drinking Gilbey’s Gin. Ray leaned over. ‘Have you ever been in love? Felt the blood burning in your arteries? Your eyes drifting through the day like leaves in the fall? Not me. I’m wondering if love exists. And it exists, why? Tell me Michael, what is the end of romance?’

 

Modestly. Lit up a cigarette. Tried to remember. Something clever. ‘My affair with Monica. I suppose that’s love. The word must have been invented for something.’ I tucked a smile behind an ear. And shrugged.

 

Ray laughed. A cloud of rum. Streamed out of his nose. ‘Love is just a front. To launder our desires. To make our terrible longing palatable. To see cold cream. And life insurance. And a college educate. Love is an enema. Keeps everything moving.’ Ray licked his fingers. Looked at me from beneath his eyebrows. ‘Did you ever see THE THIRD MAN with Orson Welles?’

 

Ray leaned over. A table. Touched a girl by the hair. His ring got snagged. Apologized. ‘It seems our fates have become snagged.’ The girls was from Michigan. A fluorescent smile. A laugh too loud. Too many daiquiris. She said her name was Thetis. She was doing research on the possible nutritional content of seaweed. Then Ray turned to me. Muttered. ‘Do you think she’s beautiful enough?’

 

The far side. Of the room. A Chinese girl. An ultramarine see-through blouse. A mermaid. In a goldfish bowl. I set across the room. To find the mystical east. Fell into the music. With my semi-natural rhythm. A fellow with striped pants. His legs like escalators. Asked if I’d seen the exit. Felt like he’d been lost for weeks. Tapped a girl on the back. She was talking as she turned. Wished she had a dime for every man who had turned her. On. Someone backed into me. I caught a current. Drifted toward the rubber plants. Monica appeared in my arms.

 

Years ran out of her eyes. Streaked her hair with grey. Don’t grow old without me, I wanted to say. She put her hands in my back pockets. I placed each one of her ribs between two of mine. We danced. ‘I’ve got to see you alone.’ I whispered in her ear.

 

Outside the parking lot was filled. With cars. All their doors were open. The moon was yellow. Like a single headlight. The moon multiplied. In each windshield. The night was soft. I reached out for Monica. Monica stepped back. ‘Someone might be watching.’

 

Put my hands. Under her breasts. Nipples pointing through. Her silk blouse. I could feel. Her thoughts slapping me. ‘You’re doing it again.’ I apologized. ‘I’ll have a talk with my hands. Its the Algonquin in my blood. I want you back.’

 

I looked into her eyes. Tried to hold her gaze. This time I was determined. To listen. She bit off my hands. At the wrists. Stuffed them down the front of her jeans. ‘You’re addicted to the idea of love.’ I leaned back against a Studebaker. Lit up a cigarette. Felt like my feelings were being buried. Alive. A cloud passed over the moon. And then she was on me. Thrashing like a captured bird. Beating against my head and shoulders.

 

She began. I wish she hadn’t. ‘You fall apart. Just to make me feel wanted. Call out my name in your sleep. Just to make sure I’m in the directory. Want me to pump out your tears. But my right hand is cramped. Your legendary melancholy is just a trumpet. Your smile is a drum. Your life is a parade. You’re the happiest person I ever met. You don’t need me or anybody else.’

 

Closed my eyes. Concentration. This was like a quarrel between clouds. While the real world busied itself below. There was a reality that all of our melodrama chose to ignore. The bending of the long grass. The rustling of the silverware. The dissolving of automobiles in the melting snow. The movement of eyes. In the head of a pigeon. An abandoned farm house. Moaning like a loon. A hole wrapping its arm around. A snake. A coin passing through the mouth. Of a parking meter. A tape recorder turning. With nothing to record. This reality functions quite well without us. Invaded occasionally by those. About to die. By catastrophes and their survivors. Robinson Crusoes. Weight watchers. Monks who momentarily forget their prayers. Assassins reading People. The pope’s wet dream. God when he’s looking for company.

 

I mention this reality because. I was using it as a bulwark. Against Monica’s voice. Against her despair. Her resignation. I wanted to stop her. To scream out NO. No. No. I could feel something. Black. Gleaming. Coiling and twisting. Around my heart. I wanted to tell Monica about our moments of beauty. Smuggling innocence into each other. Touching each other’s private. Thoughts. I could not hold on.

 

I looked up. Monica glared at me. ‘You’re just like them. You think there is some new found land to be found. Between the thighs of each new woman. The end of romance for you is a tramp moving on. I want something more permanent.’

 

My eyes grazed the ground. A bus ticket. A candy wrapper. An apple core. When I looked up Monica was gone.

 

Cold. In the distance a siren. I walked across the parking lot. Toward the bar. On the way I found Ray. Sitting in a Dodge Desoto. With the back door open. He looked at me with glassy eyes. Stoned. Ray lit up a joint. Handed it to me.

 

Ray began.

 

‘I brought that chick from Michigan out here. She gave me half a tab. She was carrying in her purse. She called it Aspirin. Big joke. Said it was a sex drug. After I undid her blouse. Lifted her dress. I plugged in. At first… same old, same old. Then she changed into Marilyn Monroe. I crawled inside her. In a hospital. She was pregnant with me. Marilyn Monroe was having a child. Me. I could smell the iodine. And fresh paint. I could hear the air conditioners. Sucking off the air. Someone screamed. Marilyn Monroe was having an abortion. Air sucked up through a tube and along a black hose. And then. I was the hose. Alive. Turning and twisting. A house. Burning. Being swallowed by a television camera. A television burning. In a million living rooms. Sending its message into a million brains. Dissolving into death. The end of romance.’

 

‘And when I slipped back into consciousness. I was by myself. In the back seat of this Desoto. My cock in my hand. And when I looked around. I saw you. Standing in the middle of the parking lot. Arguing. With someone. Except you were alone.’

 

 

 

Mad dogs and Englishmen

August 27, 2011

It drives me mad. The myth. That an artist must be mad to create. That mental illness can be attached to every artist. Or most. That if you scratch a Renoir you will find bi-polar. And I can attest that I am not mad. And I am an artist. Just ask my shrink… Seriously. What bothers me is that young artists think that they must have some kind of psychological disability to write a poem. Or that they must be scarred from some family history in order to paint a barn. Of course one could say the same thing about smoking cigars. You must have some form of mental illness to smoke a cigar… Maybe that myth is true.

Mad Dogs And Englishmen

 

I thought I might advertise my other blog called power of h. I’ve been using that little moniker for over 20 years. (Perhaps much longer than that.) And now I find others using it as well. Without even bothering to ask. Well there you go. As long as they don’t find my greatest discovery. The 8th day. Its stuck in the middle of the week. People are so tired that they don’t really recognize it. Of course employers know all about it. But are they going to tell? Get one day of free work out of everyone. I don’t think so. But getting back to my other sight power of h. Well here it goes. We’ll call this a trailer.

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Grande bold…. please

August 26, 2011

I was out for my morning walk. And I passed a sign. Bible Camp. Aug. 22-26. And still later another sign. Outside another church. ‘The idea of creation.’ It made me think that I should take stock of my own spiritual life. I have always seen myself as a deeply religious person. Raised a Roman Catholic, I have lost faith in religious institutions. For many reasons. The idea of God. If I was all powerful and all knowing, would I demand that my creations worship me? Sounds vainglorious. And if I knew everything would I want my creations to gather together in small rooms and… (fill in the blank). It makes God seem petty.

Is God conscious? Couldn’t he be like the law of gravity? Something that makes things act the way they do. But not a personality. Not a sentient being the way we understand it. Making him a complete mystery beyond our ability to understand seems…. once again petty. I think thats the argument people give you when they have no answer. And find your question… uncomfortable.

I’m winded. And sweating. And outside Starbucks. Grande bold… please.

Mel Gibson and Jodi Foster

August 25, 2011

I don’t normally do movie reviews but I just saw The Beaver.

Its a movie about mental health problems. A close friend of mine has suffered from mental health problems for years. He and those who have stuck with him have been through the ringer. The movie creates a kind of surreal world paralleling the ‘normal’ world in which Gibson’s character finds himself. He is drowning. And he’s fighting to not go under. Jodi Foster is a wonderful director. The acting in the film is terrific. And Mel Gibson. Its like you’re looking into the head of a man going through hell. Gibson’s personal and professional life may be a mess but man, the guy can act.

 

Medusa

August 24, 2011

I remember this drive. That this story is based on.  I had just broken up with a young woman. So I drove my motorcycle up north. I figured I would drive until I got tired. Maybe something would happen to change my mood. Which was sullen. At some point I just go bored and turned around. On the way back it started to rain. I had to slow down. The roads were slippery. I thought my luck couldn’t get any worse. Don’t count on bad luck. Sometimes it can turn to good. My gas pump started to leak. Not a lot. More like a drizzle. To match the rain. The gas was leaking into my crotch. I kept thinking that if a spark of some kind hit me, my crotch would go up like a torch. Luckily for me it was raining. I think that’s what might have saved me. I crawled home. Put my bike away. Showered. I smelled like Ode de Sunoco.

……………………………….

Medusa

 

Out of the city. 500 cc’s. Funneled madness. Tortured grin on my face. A Japanese chariot. Breaking wind.

 

No fixed mailing address. No income tax forms. No telephone. A free spirit. Sliding through life. Bruised bones. Cheeks. Insects pasted like stamps on my grin. Heading for Sudbury where civilization falls off the edge. Of the world. Into wilderness.

 

Only Medusa could challenge her hold on me. God I detest arrogance. In female form. Its always based on a true assessment of the facts. A river of wind. In my pipes. Motorcyle Nightmares. Girls with thighs like vices. Behind.

 

Day was white with silver linings. Hoped it wouldn’t rain. Transport trucks rushing their destinations. To places no one knows. Sucking me up in their draft. The sound of her bare feet. Sticking to the hardwood floor. Dust settling. Around the slippers she’d forgotten. In my room. Silence piling up against my bedroom door. Had to freeze her image. In my memory. So that I could defrost it later. When I had a yen for something Ukrainian.

 

A farmer in a field. Like a stamp in the corner of an envelope.

 

Highway black. Heart of diamonds. Traffic slow. A crowd of grey women. Filling church pews. Flirted with the oncoming traffic. Passing car after car. Thought about death. And being buried under a Volvo.

 

Cop car. On side of road. Radar.

 

We’re gauges the gods measure time by.

 

Lake Simcoe. Dead fish. Floating. Exhausted. Out of breath. Scooped up by fishermen. On dinner plates. Poison on the menus. Of the best restaurants.

 

Hitchhiker. He climbed on back. You can’t talk on a motorcycle. We communicated by banging our helmets. He said he was getting a headache.

 

Coffee and doughnut. Orillia. Syd Eats. Blond waitress. Handlebars. For big hands. ‘where are you going?’ Told her I was headed up to the French River. Dusted off my doughnut for me. Said she envied people. Who could just take off. Sighed. ‘Seems like all I do is meet people passing through.’

 

Hwy. 12. Cracks and pot holes. Cattle in a field. One turned its head toward me. Suggestively. And winked.

 

Waubaushene. Turned north on 59. recalled the trip monica and I made. To Georgian Bay. Secluded beach. Both went skinny dipping. I can’t swim. Monica resuscitated me. Her legs wrapped around my waist. I burned like bacon. Except my cock. Which stayed in the shade.

 

The dead aren’t conscious of time. They’re too busy trying to get comfortable.

 

Parry Sound. 8 o’clock. Place was dead. Outside the town a large crowd of people were gathered in a field. Night baseball. As I passed the parking lot I thought I spotted Howard Cossell. Bent over an old pick-up. Si-phoning gas.

 

Sunlight fainted. Night was a river. A chopper. Appeared beside me. A dude dressed up as a bear. Said his named was Franklin. Looking for the north-west passage. I told him he should have turned west on Highway 7. He shook his head. Sadly. Said maybe he’d turn back. And go see his mom.

 

Ray had said. ‘Monica is afraid of you.’ I couldn’t get that thought out of my head.

 

Each side of the highway darkness. Like thighs. The moon. A rose at the end of the road. Light like snakes. Crawling up the sky. My hand squeezed the throttle. Shoved the bike into overdrive. Back bent. My arms felt like wings. As I turned into stone.

 

 

The God of Six Points

August 24, 2011

The Fergusons came over to the house. The other night. We hadn’t seen them for nigh on 20 years. Well, it seemed like it had just been a long weekend. So we fired up the kettle. And got the old album out. God, they hadn’t changed. At all. Course it was the wrong album.

See it and more at i AM a GALLERY

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