Category Archives: Painting

My Contribution to Saturday Night’s Creative Party Canvas (She’s in My Head)

Such a cool collaboration when you leave a blank canvas out and hand people markers. I love when this happens and am so lucky to be around such talented and creative people.

She’s in my head
like fire
smoke
death.

I love the way
smoke
lingers
on her tongue
as her voice
rides me
like an angel
in my lap.

‘Never’ she says
there are acres of it
never never
everywhere.

Her caress
Her caress
a million fingers
a million deaths.

She is the burn
the sun
on flesh.

She is a piano
playing
in complete darkness.

she's in my head

Self-portrait (before pic)

She's Drunk

After pic.

She is Leaving You (Welcome to Canada)

She is made out of
steel and concrete.

She will snatch away your seeds
and then scratch out your sky.

She will yank out your heart
like a weed from her garden.

She will not come for you
at the airport
or anywhere else.

She will leave you.
She is leaving you.

She is already gone.
She has already brushed you off her shoulders…

and has started over.

She has forgotten about you
before she even had a chance to tell you:

“Welcome to Canada.”

Problem Solved

I had no interest in her at first
because everybody liked her
even the girls
and all I heard about was her..her…HER!
And I was under the mindset that
if everyone all really liked something
than it couldn’t have been very good.

I had recently started working
at a textile factory
watching fabric spin around
all day.
It was great
if you were inept at doing
anything else.

In the break room
late October
when it was just the two of us
and we had not even spoken yet
I really looked at this girl
the one that everyone adored
(when she wasn’t looking)
and for the first time
I could see what all the commotion was about.

I have never seen a woman look so much like a
porcelain doll
in her tattered Ozzy shirt and track pants
in this godforsaken shed out behind the factory
in this godforsaken town
and I thought to myself,
What the Hell are you doing here?

I got lost somewhere in staring at her
when I noticed that she was looking back at me.
So much for stealth or finesse or…(drinks scotch)
“How are you?” She asked.
I tried to compose myself
but found it rather difficult.
“Good?” I returned.
“Is that a question?”
“Um…no?”
She laughed. “I’m Anne.”
“I’m truly honoured.”

At the time I was dating a girl from England
She had a great ass and horrible teeth.
She was rich, spoiled
and acted like it
everywhere we went.

She was so pretentious that she
called me from England after her second day visiting
and spoke to me in an English accent
that she never had before.
I couldn’t believe that she was that stupid
or thought that I was.

During that time
I had gotten to know Anne
and I started singing the same tune as everybody else.
(Anne…Anne…ANNE!)

I went over there with two friends from work
one who in desperation to impress her had brought over a 40 of vodka
that he dropped on her doorstep to smash all over the floor and I almost
didn’t laugh.

There was something different about Anne
when she answered the door
she wore a dress, had on makeup
had put down her hair
and when my friends left
she wanted me to stay.

I stayed.

We sat down.
She started to say something,
then stopped
and then started again…

“I’ve got feelings for you.” She shrugged.

My response was to kiss her
immediately as I did not want to
waste any more time.

Soft, slow, lingering…

“I’ve been wanting to do that since I first looked at you.
I mean, really looked at you.
Inside and out.” I said
as we pulled apart.

It was true.
She was a uniquely beautifully brilliant treasure.

And in response to that
Anne grabbed me and kissed me back.
Oh god! Did she ever!
It was delicious and beautiful and glorious and just perfect until
“Wait,” She said, “we can’t do this. I mean, I can’t do this.
You’re in a relationship and I’m not that kind of girl.”

Really? Because I thought that…well, after you just…but…nevermind.

“Okay, alright…” I said, “I know you’re a good person
and I would not put you in that kind of unfortunate situation
so here is what I’m going to do.
Pass me your phone.”

I called my girlfriend up.
She answered all happy to hear from me.
“Listen,” I said, “I’ve been thinking about our problems lately.”
“What? What problems? What are you talking about?”
“I’m glad to hear that you’ve been doing the same,” I continued,
“because I think it’s time we went our separate ways.”
“What’s going on? I don’t understand.” I could hear anger in her voice.
I bet she would be fuming about this for a spell.
“Yeah, well I’m glad that you understand.
It’s over between us.
Have a good night.” I said softly.

I hung up
threw the phone on the other couch
and put my arm back around Anne.

“Problem solved.” I said.

BLOG IMAGE 2

A Letter and a Gun

I fell in love with my first cousin.
Yeah, I know.
But I’m not ashamed of it.
You should have met her
then you might understand.

My last night in Buenos Aires
we got drunk and I
put my hand on her knee.

That was it. I realized what I was
doing and removed it and
she never seemed to notice.
But I was mortified
for so long afterwards
not for what I felt but that I had almost
acted on it.

A year later she had gotten
accepted into medical school
and was leaving her boyfriend
to attend
a few cities away.

That did not sit well with him so
he went to her apartment
and shot her in the head
before turning the gun on himself.

My aunt had discovered the grisly scene
the next morning.

One of the last things my cousin had written
was a letter to me.

I have a safe beneath my bedroom desk.
It contains my birth certificate, passport
and other vital documents
along with copies of each book
I have written
and that letter
right here
at my feet.

I still have not read it.

Some things never truly die.

BLOG IMAGE

After the After-Party

After all the beautiful woman have
fucked your soul
until there is nothing left.

After everywhere you go
all you see are the damned
-the expressionless eyes
hanging lifelessly over vacant grins
-the halfwit producers of the mounds
of consumer waste
piling up at the edges of the earth
for nothing.

After everything you touch
bleeds dry and shatters
leaving you to ruminate
as the days pass
like bottle after bottle
and cigarette after cigarette.

After the perpetual storm
raging inside of you
biting at the back of your mind
with the total abandonment
of a new lover
finally diminishes
into empty space.

After the last of the world’s natural resources
have been squandered for cash.

After the last tree standing has
unceremoniously fallen.

After the overwhelming media machine
has simply swiped sanity from all lands.

After the last virtuous girl
spreads her legs gladly
for any one of the countless, misguided devils
that run our planet.

After the after-party.

After all the wine has been drank.
After all the pills that allow the dead to dream
have been consumed.
After the last junkie has fallen asleep forever
and you are left willing to
shake the heavens
for some angel dust.

After everything
that has come to pass
passes…

Yes,
I will still be here
with this damn pen
trying to pound out a page.

Rest assured.

The Cupboard of the Keeper of the Dead

1) In the Cupboard

        Johnny stood in his kitchen. There was a problem with that one little cupboard that would never open that had extremely unsettled Johnny to the point that there was no returning to his day. The problem: it had opened and there were things inside that had completely changed his perception of reality. Actually they more like obliterated it and then beat on it some more until there was nothing left but a mushy pulp. And then they ate it.
        He decided to call his neighbour.

        “Hi Spencer, it’s me, Johnny from number six. Listen, I just discovered this small cupboard beside the stove and was wondering if you would happen to have a similar cupboard. Or if you could come take a look.”
        “What the fuck?”
        “I know this sounds really odd. The reason I called you is because I always figured you were kind of into some strange shit.”
        “What? Sexually?”
        “No, I didn’t mean…”
        “You coming on to me, Motherfucker?”
        “Wait, now hold on…”
        “You want me to come over and look into your small little cupboard beside the stove and I’m the one that’s into some weird shit?”
        “You know what? Just forget it.”
        Nah, I’m just fucking with you. I’ll be right over.”

        Ten minutes later Spencer was banging impatiently at the door. Johnny let him in. Spencer looked like he’d spent the last few days on a bender and living in a trashcan. Johnny led him to the kitchen as Spencer mumbled on about some bitch stealing his wallet and all of his Canadian Tire money.

        Johnny bent down and opened the cupboard.

        On the upper shelf stood a dozen little men with heads shaped like crap and big, black eyes that were too large for their flat faces. They were all dressed in similar rags. They looked like claymation figures, which made the whole scenario just that much absurd. But they stunk; sweat glistened off their leathery faces and arms and darkened the fronts of their grimy half-torn shirts. They moved, gestured and wandered about like normal albeit horribly disfigured little people. Overall they seemed real enough to scare the shit out of Spencer when he first opened it and the leader at the front started talking, saying exactly what he said now:

        “Greetings! I am Gareth, keeper of the dead, and these are the legion of the dead. We have traveled far to spread the message of death to all living things all across the universe.”
        Behind him the collection of unspeakably morbid creatures began thrusting their fists up in unison while shouting,
        “Death to life! Death to life!”

        Spencer stumbled back. “Shit, I am way too hung-over for this. I’m not sure what to make of it right now…or ever. What are they, rats?”
        “They look pretty organized for rats…and rats don’t talk.”
        “Sure they do. Rats talk to me all the fucking time.”
        Johnny looked at Spencer wondering, ‘Jesus! What the Hell did I let into my apartment…again? Fuck it, why do I bother asking myself that anymore?’

        The leader, Gareth, held up a tiny chest over his warped head and proclaimed:
        “I have in this box every dead soul of everything that has ever lived throughout all of time and when I find the right place I will open it and all the dead will inherit the earth for the rest of eternity as it should be. Once this world has been cleansed of all foul life then will come the great nothing and only in nothingness can there be peace forever after.”
        The group standing behind him agreed by shouting:
        “We want nothing! Death to life!”
        Further fist-pumping ensued.

        “Christ! That doesn’t sound good!” Said Johnny.
        “It’s a scam! Dead things don’t come back to life or talk. Fuck, I learned that in grade seven!”
        “I don’t know, Man, what if he’s legit?”
        “He’s too small to do anything that matters. Look at the size of that tiny box! Whatever.”
        “What should I do then?”
        “Well, do you have to feed them?”
        “No. Um…I don’t think so. I mean, I’m pretty sure they’re dead.”
        “Okay, don’t worry about it then!” Spencer slammed the cupboard door and shrugged. “Just forget about it.”

        They were still chanting inside.

        Johnny sighed and scratched his head. “That’s pretty much how you deal with everything, isn’t it?”
        “Hey! It’s gotten me this far.” Spencer replied. The little that Johnny actually did know about Spencer was that he was thirty-seven and had no job, no car and no bank account. What he did have was a massive drinking problem and a recent string of unplanned pregnancies from the girls who all worked at the McDonald’s down the street.
        “What? You don’t owe them anything. They’re lucky you don’t make them pay rent. Come on, let’s go grab a drink.”
        “It’s noon, Man.”
        “We better hurry then! You’re buying!”

2) Out of the Cupboard

        Johnny had met Carmella while out for drinks with Spencer trying to forget about what, he just wasn’t sure anymore. That was two days ago. Fucking Mescal. Now she was lying across him half-naked talking about who-the-fuck-cared as Johnny was just starting to sober up.
        “I’ve had a lot of guys fuck me around before so I’m really self-conscious about the whole relationship thing. I know we have this thing going on so before we go any further I want to clear the air between us and get a full understanding of what our expectations are.”
        “Sure.”
        “We need to be completely honest with each other, no holds barred. I don’t want anything hidden or any lies or any false pretenses lingering over us. I want us to be able to read each other’s mind and finish each other’s sentences. That’s the kind of relationship I’m looking for and once we can get past that then you will find me a very giving and accepting person.”
        “Sounds good. Let’s fuck.”

        Hours into early morning Carmella was awoken by a stirring on the night table beside her. She opened her eyes and could see enough of the shapes moving about to alarm her into turning on the night table to find a strange gray hamster dressed in rags blinking up at her.
        “Greetings!” It said, “I am Gareth, keeper of the dead, and these are the legion of the dead. We have traveled far to spread the message of death to all living things all across the universe.”
        There was around a dozen other hamsters all pumping their fists in the air and shouting: “Death to life! Death to life!”
         Carmella was startled enough from her slumber to start screaming Spencer’s name while tugging at the blankets.
        “What the fuck?”
        “The hamsters are hungry!”
        “Fuck! I forgot about them.”
        “You neglected your pets?”
        “No! They were already dead.”
        “You killed your hamsters?!”
        “No…Wow! This is going nowhere really fast.”
        “I’m getting out of here. You know, I really thought you were a stand-up guy but now I can plainly see that you can’t even handle taking care of animals much less another person. Don’t call me…ever!”
        “They’re not…I mean…sure, whatever. Try not to fuck a fence post on your way out.”

        Johnny sat up on the bed and rubbed his eyes. Gareth stood there, still with the tiny box in his tiny hands, gazing up at Spencer with a puzzled expression.
        “What?!” Gareth barked defiantly.
        “That’s it.” Johnny shook his finger at the whole lot as he tried to figure out what to do. “I know. I’m going to flush you fuckers down the toilet.”
        Johnny arose from the bed and began looking around the room for something he could pick them up with while thinking about the last crazy couple of days, Carmella and the apartment.
        No wonder rent was so low.
        Gareth interrupted him by saying, “Well then, I suppose this is as good a place as any.”
        “For what?” Johnny looked back and realized what was about to happen. “No, no , NO!” Johnny shouted. “Don’t do that!”

        Gareth was kneeling with the box before him. He simply shrugged in response, leaned over…

        and opened it.

Fly
Come on then, let’s have it
you’re here for a reason
aren’t you?
or did you just show up
expecting something
hoping for the best
going through the minimal motions
to meet the minimal requirements
and I have met you
everywhere I’ve been
In fact
you are most that I’ve met
and unfortunately
this fire
that makes me crazy
I cannot give to you
I would not give to you
you’re just going to have to come
and fucking take it
and even then
you wouldn’t know what to do with it

-this constant burn
this bottomless surge of
every waking moment

this blatant inability to grasp
that I cannot fly.

You Don’t Say No to the Captain

I tried to stay away from cocaine…or what I like to refer to as ‘Captain Cocaine’ so that it sounds much less serious even to me. Gives it some flavour, you know? Sort of like a freakishly twisted parody of a Saturday morning children’s show:

‘Hey kids, it’s time for (everybody shouts) Caaaptaaaiiin Cocaaaaiiine! Okay, now everybody get out your straws! Not you, Suzy. You’re fucking cut-off.”

But just like the kick-in-the-withering-sack that is life; whenever you decide that you’re done slowly killing yourself and finally make the choice to be a healthier, well-rounded person without the raging substance abuse -that thing that you’re trying to get away from? It has ways of finding out where you are, of creeping up behind you like a musician on your woman and dangling itself out right in front of you, pushing your nose into it, getting your back up against a wall while doing so and making sure that you fully understand:

I haven’t seen you in a while so I thought I would come see what you’re up to…and this avoidance thing isn’t going to work with me. Oh no. Because I know you. I know what a weak little bitch you really are so you come here and you take this and you fucking LIKE it. Yes. Yesssss. That’s better. See how happier you are right now than ten minutes ago? See how groovy everything is with me around? So you can try running away like a little schoolgirl but you’ll always find me waiting there for you, wherever ‘there’ is. So go wake up party-boy, because you know what?

It’s party time.

You even try to reason with it:
“Come on, Man. I don’t want anymore. It’s not who I am. Why can’t you just leave me alone? I’m not hurting anyone. I’m not stealing from people or fucking them around. I’m not being an asshole to anybody. I’m just here minding my own damn business. So why do you have to be such a fucker to me? All I want to do is better myself. All I want to do is remain clear-headed and sober. Why can’t you understand and respect that?”

You shut up! I don’t want to hear your lame excuses. It says as it holds the bag of fine white powder up within reach. Just get it up your nose. All of it. Right now. You don’t say no to the captain!

I wasn’t planning on staying up late. I had a laundry-list of things to do on Saturday. But that evil substance found its way into my home Friday night. I had nothing to do with it. It must have broken into a basement window and slithered up the stairs because there was Captain Cocaine sitting at my kitchen table waiting for me. And I did all of it like a gluttonous sow basking at a free buffet as he cheered me on, “That’s the ticket!”
I totally regretted it the next day.

Saturday productivity = 0.

Saturday night. Take 2. I was ready to go out. So I had a little setback, so what? No problem. On with the show. Everything was just fine until I saw Captain Cocaine outside in the alley, waiting for me, having a cigarette.
‘I’m coming in to party!’ He motioned to where I was going.
“No you’re not.” I replied and brushed past him, up the stairs, down the hall and inside.

When I arrived he was there already, gloating while chatting up my friends. He even had his arms around a couple girls. ‘See? Fucking told you. You can’t get rid of me.’

I managed to ignore him for about twenty minutes. I started the night swigging vodka from the bottle and ended it slamming rails. It seemed like a fine idea at the time but then came 7AM and I had put enough shit up my nose that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep any time soon or ever again.

And that’s when they came in; loud, drunk, all hot and ready. What can I say? It was his room and I was lucky to have a place to crash on the couch beside the bed. And now it was front row.

They got right to it. But this wasn’t normal love-making, pillow talk, sweet-nothings. This was something else entirely. No matter that there was two other people crashed on the floor, although one of them looked like the same Jewish girl from last week so she just might have been dead. No worries at all. It was dirty. It was grimy. It was grisly even. It was real and in my face like a horrible accident happening so slowly.

“Come on, punch me in the Jimmy, kick it! Yeah, YEAH! Kiss the midget, kiss the MIDGET! Yes… ggrrrrrrr ….grrrrrrr ….GRYFFINDOR!”

They were definitely taking shit to some other level. Maybe they were professional love-makers. Ha! More like professional drunken bangers.

I tried to ignore them and return to my gloom. I had laundry to do. I had to go get groceries. Clean out the garage. Vacuum the cats. None of this was going to get done today which meant that I would have to mix it into my work week. Fuck, I hated that. And don’t even ask me if I’m going to be working out tomorrow. Obviously I had no control over myself, was never going to learn and now had to deal with going into another week rough as shit because it took me a couple days to get back to my usual manic self when I did this to my system.

Sunday, Monday, and maybe Tuesday productivity = 0

“You want to do WHAT?! That’s disgusting…but okay!” Yeah, let’s not forget them. Now they were only getting louder to the point that it sounded like someone was choking the shit out of an orangutan as it was giving birth underwater.

“Yeah, Baby.Fuck Ya….OH FUCK YES! Gaaa! GAAAAA! GEICO!”

This was it. I felt it in my bones. This was the Hell that would kick-start my leap into eternity a coke-free soul. I was finally done with this shit. Now all I had to do was let the healing process begin, get back on track and come out the stronger man for it.

But I could see him in my mind: Captain Cocaine, sulking against the wall beside a dumpster all covered in stale booze and piss and shit, snickering to himself all mad, empty and alone. He takes a big swig out of a bottle and smashes it on the ground beside him. He starts cackling as the day breaks on his grimy face. He can hear me just fine and he laughs and laughs and dances around amongst the homeless and the rats.

Hahaha…think you could quit me? Go ahead, think it. You can tell yourself this now, but I’ll see you around the bend. We both know the same people. I’ll pop up at parties, be around when you’re all wasted at the end of the night and the show’s not over. Or how about next time you’re at the back of a club with a hot twenty-year old looking for uppers? We’ll see, my good friend. We’ll see what you say then.

It hurts to see him so assured that I will never quit. Because he is me if I don’t. This is my devil. This is my Hell. This is my open wound. Fuck what other people have done to me, I can deal with that. It’s him that is my worst enemy. It’s him that I am really afraid of. He was the bottle, the secret stash of pills, the lover you were ashamed of, the gambling debt, the slow death and he was God in the lives of the weak. He’s the driver to the asylum, the prison, the back-alley basement where the stink of the diseased and the dead permeate into everything until there is nothing else left, nothing of hopes or dreams, nothing but the empty glaze of a dead soul. It’s the fear that he will take me to that place where life is cruel, hideous and brutally unforgiving. That place that there is no returning from. I’ve seen that point in other men. I’ve seen what it’s done to them. That was some place I never wanted to go. But now, right now, I can see it. I can see that place from here as though it was right in my face staring back.

Now I was so pissed at myself and would just have to suck it up and deal with it. Since I wasn’t right to leave I laid my head back down, closed my eyes and endured my penance as the sun shone hard through the windows, as cars mingled on the cold, cracked streets outside…

“Yeah Yeah…put the corn on the cob…that’s it….UGGA UGGGGAAAA GAK GAK GAK…FEDEX!”

And as they screwed and screwed…

and screwed.

Wondering Where I Went
In pursuit of
the great big
fuck
of it all
that I can’t seem to find
for the life of me.

Maybe it’s under the bed
or in it.

It might be burned away
throughout the years
now hopelessly scattered
between sparse
moments of lucidity.

It’s sad to see
the past
open
so wide.

One day you just
wake up
and wonder where
you went.

Natasha’s Light

From Natasha’s Light:
        “You are much like a woman, you know that?” Natasha said, picking away at another dandelion.
        “So you’ve been thinking about me.”
        “The only time I’m not with you is when I’m in bed. When I sleep.” She replied quickly, laughing nervously. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean…”
        “Funny, I’ve actually heard that before,” I cut in, saving her from stumbling any further, “about being like a woman. Usually it’s referring to my cleaning habits and my long times in the shower, but how do you mean it?”
        “With my husband…”
        I turned on my side to watch her. She seemed embarrassed again. Her husband was a careful issue. I’ve never met him and didn’t want to, wasn’t interested. This was the first time she had brought him up so I listened.
        “He is very simple. When he is hungry he wants food. When he is mad he becomes impatient. Usually he works all the time so when I do see him he is tired and wants to sleep. What I mean is that it is easy to know what’s going on in his head. But you’re not like that at all. You’re different all the time. You change from one minute to the next.”
        “Sorry about that.” I said, smiling.
        “No. Don’t be. See, a woman will hide things because she doesn’t want others to know what she is feeling. A woman is much more complex than a man and is cautious because of that. Men like to run head-on into things and tackle the problem so they can get on with other tasks. All I am saying is that you have more inside your head than most men. I can look at you, but I don’t know what you’re thinking.”
        “That’s probably a very good thing.” I admitted.
        “I like you.” Natasha stated. The way her eyes fixed on me it seemed like she was trying to look into me instead of at me. “I like the way you feel things. I like the way you notice things, the way you say things. When I am with you everything is so new and exciting, even though we do the same thing every day.”
        Natasha paused, sighed, and rolled unto her stomach, gazing off into the distance.
        “Maybe I say too much.” She said.

 

black winter rose

My Current Writing Project: Cover Design & Packaging

Book Cover Design: TOTNP
Full Book Title: Tale of the Nightmare Princess: An Adult Fantasy Comedy Adventure

I am in the process of prepping a novel for self-publishing on Amazon. I have a couple more books doing nothing and sitting nowhere so now that self-publishing is a valid venue for authors I feel the need to put them out before I start my next one. I currently have two that I am going to most certainly publish and afterwards will assess the quality and readability of the third as to whether it would be something that I want public with my name on it or whether it is worth the time spent in repairing it. I truly hope this is the case because it is by far my most ambitious project but at the time of writing it I was not prepared to indulge in such a venture. This is not the first time this has happened. The last time I had a similar problem I did not finish the book and almost quit after a year of trying to stubbornly produce it. Instead I started this novel (TOTNP) as a joke. By the fifth chapter it wasn’t a joke anymore. At least not to me.

Here are a couple of notes on the process so far as I have found it:

Blog: Because I knew I was going into self-publishing I had started a blog as means to provide myself with short writing exercises and to start a presence online, albeit an insignificantly small one. I also had wanted to use it to network with other writers with the same aspirations as myself. I am sorely lacking in this area due to my current time constraints, however, this is something that I plan to become more involved with as soon as I am able as I fully realize its importance. Overall, there is much needed work to be done here, starting with the header in creating one that does not make me look like a sadistic child-killer. But overall I have found that change does not need to occur all at once and I am picking at it here and there.

Book Title: The original title was just ‘Tale of the Nightmare Princess’ but I have recently added ‘An Adult Fantasy Comedy Adventure’. Why? Because it sounds a little nuts that someone would do so but it does fit the theme nicely. And self-publishers are lucky to sell one book so whatever I can do to give the reader pause or add flavour to the cover or at least make them more curious may just well work for me. Overall I’m not entirely sure but at this stage I am willing to experiment. Besides, there are four good key search-words in there. And Hell, this kind of title is definitely something that I would go for. It sounds totally fucked.

Editing: Because the thought of someone else fucking with the way I say things greatly unsettles me I currently do my own editing. And because I’m not a professional editor each time I pass through my work with a red pen it’s like a net: you’ll catch some of it, most things if you’re proficient –but some mistakes will get through, so you have to do it again and again if need be. I just started the third edit of this title because I found some mistakes that should not have been there in the first chapter, therefore it’s all getting done over. Yes, it’s as much fun as it sounds. Yes, it’s a fucking nightmare. No, I will not put something out that contains mistakes.

Packaging (Interior): This is my next part and final part. I have chosen ‘garamond’ as my font but other than that will not be sure how this will fly until I actually start the process. If anyone has any suggestions I’m all eyes. But I will go through this as painstakingly as I do everything else. This book is a big deal to me, and it is not going out until I am completely satisfied with both its content and appearance. And I am one meticulous OCD Motherfucker when it comes down to it, you should see how clean my kitchen is.

Cover Design: I went old-school with this simply because I had to learn photoshop because I wanted to do everything myself and now, beyond the extreme frustration at times, I am glad to have done so. First off, the back cover is redundant because this is only going to be an e-book. This is my folly because I like to come out swinging with both fists before even reading the damn instructions. But hey, I needed the photoshop experience. Secondly, I wanted to utilize my paintings where I could IF it suited the theme and aesthetic of the book. This does, I believe. If you think it’ shit definitely let me know so I can tell you to go fuck yourself. Just kidding. I’m all open arms to all suggestions, comments, and considerations.

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And I Thought I Knew What Tough Was

I picked up a job at Medicote. Night shift. Minimum wage: $8.65 an hour. I processed bus bumpers, moving them from the paint line to the drying line, from a horizontal rack to a vertical rack. They weighed about a hundred pounds each.

My trainer was Petey. Nice little guy. He was five-foot-three and about a hundred and thirty pounds. And he could move them like they were nothing. After the first hour I could not keep my quota. Not even close. I was six-two and one-eighty at that time. I thought I was strong but I had really learned something that day: I wasn’t. I was so far from strong that it wasn’t even a blip on my radar. And this little guy so calm in demeanor to the point of achieving Buddhist Zen could throw me around the factory floor while eating his lunch and texting his girlfriend. Now here he was doing double the workload because of me.

I really needed a boost at that point, something to put me back on my feet at least in perspective as things were not generally going so well. And this wasn’t it.

Petey must have seen something in my face at that moment. He’s seen it before, and he explained to me the nights where temps would leave halfway through the shift yelling, “Fuck this!” Or after the first hour. Or after trying their hand at a couple then staring at Petey with disbelief and fright at the ease in which he handled those heavy fuckers and scrambling away from him when he went to shake their hand goodbye.

Petey placed a hand on my shoulder. “Don’t worry, Man. It’ll get better.” I’m glad he didn’t squeeze or I probably wouldn’t have a shoulder left. Arm-wrestling was definitely out of the question.

I looked up at him then I looked around the metallic Hell of the factory floor that surrounded me at 3AM –sparks flying out from the arc welders, tow motors frantically speeding skids every which way, the maintenance crew all gathered around another broken machine scratching their heads.

I asked bitterly. “How the fuck would you know?”
He smiled. It was entirely without malice because all he had was patience and understanding because he was just so much better than me in every way.

I stayed until the end of my shift. Not once was there a time that I thought I could manage another night, another week or a month. Not once.

Six months later I was a data-entry filing clerk at a health firm along the Grand river. It wasn’t developing business applications but it wasn’t slinging bus bumpers either. It was an easy and aesthetic place where I got to dress well and eat lunch on a grassy knoll right beside the river. After the first week a wonderful brunette took fancy to me and began spending her lunch hours at my side. The first time she did I remember so well her asking me if she could join me as I looked up at her tall, glowing, statuesque frame.

Good God, really? For me?

So what if I wasn’t the hardest motherfucker to ever walk the face of the earth? It was alright. At that moment it was very much okay with me as I made room for her to sit down.

Petey was right, things did get better. And at that point I imagined he was still moving bus bumpers from horizontal to vertical drying rack throughout the night at Meticoke; as strong, patient and naturally content as any human being could be. Some things hit you hard in the gut and this was one of them. I still could not fully piece together why. But I do know one thing: I still wouldn’t fuck with him.

And I still can’t look away from him either.


Not Without a Fight

You’re not going to get much of anywhere
these days
without a fight.

You have to want it
bad enough
to keep going for it
with the understanding
that you may never have it.

It may break your back.
It may wreck your mind.
But you have got to keep
chipping away
even if it doesn’t
amount to anything in the end.

And if that doesn’t work for you,
than might I suggest
that you move out of the way
for someone
that will.


You Go Live Your Own Will

I’ve seen people
build empires
out of nothing
but their own will
so don’t you sit there
and tell me
that I can’t do anything
based on yours.