Tag Archives: pain

The War Veteran

Johnny had his face in his iPhone.
He didn’t see the crippled old war veteran
lying like litter on the sidewalk
in a beaten parka begging for change.

“Get out of my way, you filthy bum!”
Johnny was disgusted. The city should do a better job
of keeping this scum out of his sight.

As Johnny went to kick the man’s legs
to teach him a lesson
the old man’s hand reached out
and seized Johnny by the ankle
for while this particular veteran had lost everything
along the way he had obtained a very special gift
and today it would be Johnny who was the one
receiving the lesson
of a lifetime.

Everything went dark and quiet but for only a moment.
Johnny opened his eyes but didn’t remember closing them.

He wasn’t downtown anymore.
Instead Johnny was in a rice field and his ankles were all wet
the air was stifling hot with no breeze
large insects buzzed all around him and he could
smell his own sweat along with cow shit
but he didn’t have time to feel disgusted again.

A large boom displaced the air all around him as
further up the way
the entire tree line disappeared beneath
a wall of mushrooming fire
as jets roared past overhead.

Johnny’s eyes widened as the heat hit him and as
dozens of men came running out towards him screaming
all completely covered in crawling flames.

Johnny could smell their skin burning
when the barrage of endless bullets began
whipping right past his head and
cutting down the men Johnny realized
where all around him
scared just like him –men that
he went to basic training with
that he played cards with
men that were like his brothers.

The way that his best friend’s body
twitched as it was riddled with bullets
made him look like a dancing puppet
and it might have been funny as Hell
if it didn’t break Johnny’s heart.

Bombs exploded dirt high into the sky
that came raining back down all around him.
Then another hit…and another
closer and closer each time.

Johnny turned his head to look behind him.
A boy, must have been only seventeen
a new recruit that Johnny knew well
was seated on the ground trying to hold his guts in
screaming for his momma.

Men in straw hats came running out of the forest
fire spouted in rapid succession from the barrels of their guns.
They were all around him coming in fast.
Johnny was paralyzed with fear
his bladder let go inside of his pants when
the sergeant –a large shirtless man wearing a cowboy hat
calmly smoking a cigar
came up to Johnny and slapped him:

“Don’t you dare wet yourself on my field, soldier. You worthless piece of wet chicken shit I’ll hand you over to Charlie myself and you’ll get ass-banged all the way to Goddamn China if you don’t get a grip on your gun and DO WHAT YOU”RE TRAINED TO DO!! We’ve got to take this damned village or we’ll all be sucking bamboo dicks for the next ten years so get your Sally-ass shit together and make yourself GOD-DAMN USEFUL! GET TO KILL’N SOME COMMUNISTS! YOU WANT TO MAKE IT HOME SOME DAY THEN START MOVING! THE ONLY WAY OUT IS FORWARD AND THROUGH THESE SHITBAGS!”

The sergeant was the scariest person Johnny had ever seen
he was obviously completely insane
and made Johnny want to run into the fire just to escape his presence.
Instead the sergeant pushed Johnny forward and at that moment
Johnny somehow knew that he had spent over a year
in this Hell and there was no respite from it
not day or night
it would just continue on and on.

Johnny’s Mom wasn’t going to be able to
bail him out of this there was no one
there was nothing but him and his gun and
he was going to die or go mad in this man-made Hell
where everything was burning and filthy and all covered in
grease and blood and where everyone wanted you dead
and the only thing worse than the insects was the heat
and the constant endless stream of enemies.

This was a reality that he had never had to feel
or know was real and Johnny just couldn’t handle it.
Johnny just wanted to go home and hide under his bed.

Johnny leaned over and vomited
then vomited some more
as the sounds of passing cars and people
laughing returned and Johnny opened his eyes
realizing that he was in the middle of the sidewalk
crying, having wet his pants and now
retching his insides out in front of a
group of Japanese tourists.

Johnny ducked into a nearby alley
and leaned back against the cold brick wall
shivering and still crying.

The last thig he remembered before all this was
the man…the old man…
The war veteran.

The old man climbed up into his wheelchair and
quietly rolled himself down towards the harbor.

He had found some bread to feed the gulls with.

It was getting late and the view of the water
at sunset always made him feel at peace.

When Dreams Become Dried Husks

It’s always time for the rodeo
now that I’ve firmly accepted
the fetal position
as a way of life.

Because when doubt comes barging in
like a mad cocaine pirate
I welcome it on board
with streamers and balloons.

She says that I used to be somebody
while the mirror lies
in the trash
in her yard

and my dreams
have become dried husks
so much that I pray for
monsters
under my bed.

The Demonic Bathroom Tiles Get Me Everytime

It could be in the mirror
behind you
seen just for a second
or spotted in a photograph
-something that doesn’t make natural sense.

It could be you.
It could be me or
it could be something else.

You decide.
I’m tired of trying to
discern ghosts from the blonde next door.

“You have a comfortable bed.” She said.
Though it was the third time she’s used it.
“Thanks.” I muttered best I could
as the toothbrush viciously scoured my bottom row,
me being a fervent believer in oral hygiene and all.

The tube was spent and when I turned to the trash to discard it
that’s when I saw it:
The patterns on a single tile of stained linoleum
appeared to be forming into a visage.
The more I grew fixated on it
the clearer it became
until it sharply resembled the face
of somebody screaming.
The eyes were blank with terror and
the lips stretched back far as they could go.

I would only know such pain
if I were in Hell
and that’s where this face came from
as it was a window directly into the bottom
of God’s boiler.

I began to hear the cries
of a thousand souls
-a million.

I thought of death, war, Walmart, eternal suffering, Cthulhu, diabolic torture, George W. Bush.

It was pulling me in.
It was pulling me in.

“What are you doing, Silly? You’re dripping.”
She smiled in the doorway, laughed, rushed down the stairs.

I looked back to the floor. I could no longer see it
so I spit, rinsed, spit and followed.

It was time for me to cook some eggs
with the Peameal bacon left over from camping.

It was a lovely Sunday morning.

She’s Angry and You Don’t Remember What You’ve Done Because You’re Such a Wasteful Drunk

Boom.
There she was
all up in my face
all over it
everywhere
like saran wrap
but much worse.

Eyes wide wild and crazy.
Teeth gnashing out words
spitting
grinding
pointing
screaming
about something I did wrong
and that it was the last time
the final straw
as I was now in the pisser
the shitter
the doghouse
the dump.

Yes, I was in all kinds of heathen trouble
since the bad news kitty-cat became a Bengal tiger
and now it was flowing
-such harsh words from such hot lips-
as she unleashed a boiling cauldron of fury
right into the lap of my soul.

I tried to follow.
I tried to follow.
I couldn’t follow.

Evac and evade!
Evac and evade!
I couldn’t even get up.

All I could do was look at her
and wonder what it was
that I did wrong
because I was drunk again
and at the point where I usually stumbled
into the great big nothing
that I called sleep.

Finally, she marched off
like she was adequately prepared
to eviscerate the entire housing complex.

I was still wondering what I had done
that was so engagingly disrupting to her
inner calm.

I shrugged.
I had no idea.

I suppose that I would
find out tomorrow and that
my life would be
Hell
for a little while.

The Junkyard Dog Bleeds

My love of words
is large and mean
and my heart
-it’s just a junkyard dog that
growls at nothing
and gnaws at old bones
until they’re dust.

I have become so much better
since I’ve obtained a strong handle
on the absurdity of myself
but still
there’s nothing easier
than picking up a bottle
when you’re heart is bleeding
all over the floor.