Tag Archives: story

Dad, Have You Seen My Scooter?

Life at times can unrelentingly kick your ass
without ever offering an explanation for it and
then brutally punish you for being desperate
until the world flips over gravity undoes itself and all of
the universe unravels in your lap

and this all occurs when you are
unfocused or not paying attention
like day-dreaming behind the wheel
missing where you were supposed to turn
and ending up in a ravine
or it occurs while performing a simple task
such as, let’s say
unpacking a box of used tools.

This was just after the divorce
it was rather messy
the entrails of our marriage
was still a burning trash heap of
screaming unsettled emotions
wailing sirens and tears

and so there was the new (but somebody’s old) house
seems like somebody left in a hurry
it was messy neglected and needed some care
but that would all be done

It was old but large and on a corner lot
not far from the school
not that far from work

Sometimes in bed
I would hear things at night
but you just had to get used to
how the house settled

And what a deal it was
when I had so little to put down
instead of asking questions I
counted my blessings

whatever was wrong with it I could fix
the only thing that mattered now was
that I had custody of Brian
as long as I had that and
we had a place to live and to call home
then it would all be okay
eventually

This was a fresh start
a new coat of paint over everything
and I was just starting to embrace it
on a overcast Saturday afternoon
in our long open basement
aimlessly sorting through a box of tools
when gliding into the room like a newborn superhero
came my son draped head to toe in last year’s
black hooded reaper Halloween costume upon his silver
adjustable kid’s pro stunt scooter

I smiled a little remembering his face
when he opened it last Christmas
until I realized that he was going too fast
and was sure to speed right into the
darkened backroom that was little more than a
closet that housed the water heater

He paid no attention to where he was going being
too busy looking at me bending down on his knees
swinging himself around and
off to the side showing off
laughing like he was super high on chocolate
having the time of his life

only when he was
halfway across the long room
did I realize how unsettling
his way-past giddy laughter was
and how strange his movements were

As I opened my mouth to say something to
the little rock star like ‘calm down!’
the body beneath the black reaper robe
swung down like a pendulum
so low that it was almost even with the leg board
much further then could be possible
having a spine or bones or even skin but as quickly
it stood back up to become the form of Brian again

nothing came out of my mouth
it was rather dry
my mind was busy trying to piece together
a logical explanation but
was not doing a very good job

The laughter continued –louder and higher
the scooter passed right in front of me now
closer to the darkness of the doorway

The cloak swooped down again
now inches from the ground
rippling like a water serpent then
viciously whipping about as though it were caught in the
maw of an over-excited alligator

the laughter came faster and faster
-a tea kettle pitching higher
and higher until ‘POP!’

the robe suddenly swooshed up and away
into mid-air floating dreamily before falling flat
revealing that there was nothing
but the scooter underneath which then
riding solo
sped up straight into the back room
where I heard it crash into the concrete wall

I cannot express enough that, as a parent
it is probably the most terrifying thing
to watch as your child suddenly loses
all of their bones and turns into a
a gelatinous pile of goo
or a rippling flag of black that disappears altogether
in complete daylight

There was something stuck in my throat
pretty sure that it was a scream
and it would not come out because there
was no air there was nothing but the
dropping of my stomach as my mind raced
to try and find something that would
make sense out of what I had just seen

after a full minute of not breathing
I finally managed to gasp
as my son rushed into the room
red-faced flushed from running

“Dad, have you seen my scooter?”

The Laughing

I must have been twelve
the first time I heard it
deep in the woods
-the laughing.

Sometimes it was a woman’s laughter
sometimes it was a man’s
sometimes an old voice
and sometimes young

but there was something about
the laughing
unlike anything you’ve
heard before.

Deep in your bones
you knew that it was not
like you or me
or the forest or the
cars on the street
grown or made by man
or in any way
natural.

Nobody knew what it really was
why it was there or
how it came to be.

Nobody talked about it
but everybody knew.

When you heard it from your room
late at night you knew
that harrowing echo
wasn’t a teenager by the bonfire
a drunk in an alley
a coyote or another night
animal
this was different
there was something about
the laughing
that made you want to
crawl deep inside your bed
and stay there.

When it came
even the animals appeared
from the trees out
onto the streets
startled
eyes wide in terror.

You would wonder what it might
look like
but you never wanted to find out

of course,
unless you were a kid
on a dare.

Steven was sixteen
when he went into the forest night
through the trail then off into the woods
after it
following it
looking for it
because we had dared him
egged him on

we did not fear much
then

but that had changed

because we all heard
what it sounded like
when he had found it
or it him.

Even after the search party we never
told what really happened
that night.

We never caved
in fear that they would send us out next.

Even to this day
we don’t even mention it to each other
anymore
like we had forgotten
but none of us had.

Some nights still
the room drops in temperature
the blood stops running in my veins and
I become gripped by an old fear
when I hear it
because it knows
that I know that

thirty years later
what was out there
in the barren darkened wilderness
really wasn’t
young Steven…

laughing.

Facing Yourself Before The Fight (Dweller Chapter 15)

As though on cue, the mechanism beneath the platform I stood upon creaked and whined as it began the ascent into the heart of the World Stadium completely indifferent to whom it carried. It must remember well the emotions of all the past fighters that had stood upon it throughout decades of victories and disappointments. Up and up it went, slow enough to build the moment up appropriately. The far-away lights of the massive arena were starting to fall on me now. Soon I would be bathed in it.
Concentrate. This is it.
I could not. I was as far away from the stadium as an airplane flying above it as all of the things rattling around in my head began to viciously flash through my mind like a stormy window as though I were preparing for my own death. I felt my mother’s arms around me, singing that lovely song as I clung to her neck and played with her hair, having no conception of ever being separated from the warm security of her arms. I felt Bethany’s breath hot against my neck as she cried out with delight and told me that we would always be together. I felt the strain of tired legs as Sophina relentlessly chased me around the house, as I laughed and escaped beneath the couch.
I saw the summer skies drifting like a red desert throughout my mind. I felt the grass beneath me where I lay down as clouds languidly crossed my chest. I smelled the wet, rainy leaves on the days of walking to school late for class. And I could see myself, just a little kid whose hair was messed, jeans too short and shoes too big. All of these visions were chased away by the reality that stood before me like a horizon where nothing was behind. Everything, good or bad, led to this. This was my time. Regardless of the outcome, there was no going back, ever.
I looked up as the edges of the ring were coming down and I could just picture Syrus the Hellman sitting on a ledge, smiling.
“There’s no way you can beat him.” He would taunt. “He’s just too good and I’ve seen him put down a lot better fighters than you, Kid. Trust me, tonight your heart is going to be the last thing to break.”
The roar of the crowd was deafening. I was in full view now and could see little specks of spectator movement all across the stadium that walled my vision. In my mind Hellman still laughed away. He didn’t seem to have a face because he was everyone that I knew, everyone that I had ever met. He was every opponent, every wall -every open pit that I had ever come across. In every place he breathed indifference and pain. He was all of them -the harrowing bullies, the shiny plastic demons, the things that lurked in the night forest, the shadows –and he was here at my final moment before it all came to fists and blood to let me know that he was watching and waiting for me to fall.
I would not be sorry to disappoint him. I bet it happened rarely enough that he might even consider it a pleasure.
I searched the front rows looking for Sophina but I could not find her. My heart began to race at the prospect of her not being here but the idea of it was rather ludicrous considering that she had attended all of my fights and this was the largest and by far most important. Sophina was here. I could feel her if I opened my heart and listened for hers.

The Manufactured Spirit of the Rat Race

Let’s say that you actually have a good idea.
In this era of capitalism you go find yourself
some investors that believe in it
enough to begin laying the groundwork
for a production line.

You have a business model, financial plan
design specs; all the groundwork plus
manufacturing equipment
ready to start pumping out units
and a workforce trained to operate them.

If all things go as forecasted
as they’re planned on paper
you will start to see revenue
within the second quarter.

You take that money
increase capitol
invest in infrastructure
hire more workers
expand your base of operation
now with some finances to throw at marketing
you can eventually launch new sites in other countries
until everyone knows your brand
until you are Sony, Walmart, Mcdonald’s.

But of course as soon as you
publicize your patent by launching product
all of your competition will
reverse-engineer your concept
and build better models at cheaper costs
so unless you have patented air or water
you will have to reinvent the wheel
or launch a new line of features
stick a vacuum in a van
alter the happy meal so that it better reflects the countries
growing concerns about obesity
start a clothing line once you get an album out
jump the gun before the other guy gets his hands on it
keep pushing and growing and expanding into new markets
put out books on how to put out books
get celebrities to endorse your organic farm
pump out more units per hour
in more facilities utilizing cheaper resources
until your bottom line is in top form
and then…what?

When do you say that enough is enough?
The reason that I’m asking this is because
we are surrounded by factories and surrounded
by transport trucks
shipping products in and out
people are building more things faster
finding new markets new ways
to get that dollar
and so far nobody
and I mean nobody
has been able to answer that
one simple question.

And yet we just keep going
until it’s all that matters
until our air is filled with smog
and our earth is gutted
as the tree lines diminish
until all of our landscapes
are filled with factories
badly contrived parking lots
and big-box stores
where there is no art or culture anymore
because all that matters is economy and
the manufactured spirit of the rat race
and nobody looks up from their phones
long enough to raise the question
of why.

It is rather funny
how people are so convinced
in the importance of who they are and what they do
when they’re all really doing the same thing.

Ever get the feeling that you’re surrounded by utter fools
who are casually destroying everything
in order to blindly push product?

Because I most certainly do
on the drive to work everyday
wondering why.

Politicians

I wonder why people think
that they need politicians
other than wanting
a face there to tell them
that everything will be okay
that all of the things they
don’t want to think about themselves
would be dealt with
their best interests in mind

because seriously,
what kind of fool would believe that?

They say that
you get what you pay for
but only a real fool
keeps on paying
and then paying some more
for nothing.

World-Wide Unrest

This is the time of night
when the cold wind rustles the dead leaves
when all the flowers wither up into little balls
of dried nothingness
where the radio plays the same song
over and over again
as factories close
and politicians get reelected
the wheel turns and turns
deeper into the mud
the children are made slaves
in order to have a future
and families become separated
over merchandise
while our armies eradicate God
in new lands
and the beasts of burden
perpetually shit on a society
that cannot collectively cry
that instead bleeds random sociopaths
as it rains pestilence
from the products we create
within the systems that fail
under the weight of corruption
and there is word-wide unrest
as thousands protest
against the walls of bureaucracy
while the thugs behind the wheel
laugh all the way to the bank
and all of our principles, virtues and very ideals
are bought and sold
in the institutions they have built.

This is the time of night
that I crack open another beer
turn up the Bach

and am grateful for my cat.

Poetry at Work

I’m on the Clock:
As sure as a running clock or a car running over your dog
people have a bad habit of coming up to my desk at work
everyday
and talking to me about all kinds of
crazy horseshit
because there is a large neon sign positioned directly
above my monitor that reads:
“I have absolutely nothing better to do!”
And I’m the only one that can’t see it.

They complain about their boss:
“You know what he looks like when he walks around like that? A T-rex holding a lunchbox!”
Disgruntled employee #17 always had a fun new way to describe the man in charge.
Yesterday it was ‘Satan’s battleaxe’
and from there he would always launch into the same routine:
“One of these days I’m gonna taser that Megalomaniac Fuck in the back of the neck,
throw him in the trunk of my car
and drive to Niagara Falls.”
It was always Niagara Falls that he would drive to, boss in trunk.
I was never sure why.
Yes, I was.

I said, “Make sure you spit in his face before you close the trunk.”
“Yeah…yeah…spit in his face.”
It was all fun and games but I’m telling you now
I won’t be surprised if that demented fucker
showed up for work one day
wearing a clown suit and sporting a shotgun.

They complain about their wives:
“She’s crazy. She’s a psychotic bitch. I finally killed her and buried her beneath the shed!”
“Well, did you spit in her face first?”

The weather:
“It’s too cold. It’s too hot. It’s too lukewarm.”
“I just want to spit in your face right now.”

Horrible Smelling Women:
My good friend will tell me how much
his date last night stunk
down there.
The aggravating stench that this
woman had was apparently so bad
that he tried to pour vodka into her vagina
when she wasn’t looking
in order to somehow alleviate it
but she was looking:

“What are you doing?” She shouted.
“It looked thirsty!”

Now he was absolutely convinced
that every single woman smelled
down there.
That’s right, they all let themselves go.
It was a Goddamn national conspiracy
that was sure to end up on the evening news
any day now.

He even busted out some charts and graphs
and continued describing every minute detail
to the point where it was no longer a conversation
as I now felt as though I were attending
a workshop on the subject.

Their lunch:
“Hey man, somebody keeps stealing my lunch.
Have you seen anyone taking shit that’s not theirs out the office fridge lately?”
“No man, sorry.” I replied and continued typing away on a blank screen.
He eyed me suspiciously then left.
He was onto me. I might have to lay low for a while.
I’ll decide when I see what he brings in tomorrow.

You’re Too Happy So You Must Die:
And of course there is always the one person
who was just way too happy and chipper to be sane.
It was almost like they were throwing their rampant insanity in your face
and it pissed me off
but if that’s not the case than that would mean
that they had a rarely blessed life
and that would piss me off even more because
if you’re here then you should have to
suffer just like the rest of us

I’m Here All Week (Fuck Off):
I’m not even scratching the surface
of what people are like in the workplace
I could go on and on
as to what a twisted zoo of lost souls it really is.

In fact, I probably will
just not today
because obviously I’m up to my ears
in their crazy bullshit
and it’s really aggravating
because they’re doing it right now
and I haven’t been able to get anything done
for an hour.

I mean,
Jesus, people!
Can’t you leave me in peace?
Can’t you see that I’m trying to
write this poem
about you?

We are Economic Cows

Every year they
alter the system
a little more in their favour
and a little less in yours
tightening the hold
that they already have on you.
Taxes will increase
insurance and interest rates will steadily rise
bank fees become slightly adjusted to lessen your wallet
gas prices sky-rocket
then fall back down to a slightly higher level
then before
and will remain there
until the next elevation
and the newspaper will print
some bullshit story as to why
while hydro escalates delivery fees
and sometimes they might even
tell you about it
now your two percent cost of living increase
just won’t cut it anymore
there are too many hands in your pockets
and government cuts on your paycheck
and they keep taking a little more
and then a little more
until you have nothing left for yourself
after you have given it all to them
so you borrow from the banks
that have put you there in the first place
so that you could have the same things
that your parents had:
The house, the car, maybe a boat
the large screen televisions and
backyard barbecues
and you plunge yourself further and further
into debt
so much that you can’t even afford
the interest payments
and that’s when they really nail you
with penalties
because not being able to make your payments
isn’t bad enough
and you go to work everyday
you stand in line at the punch-clock
working to make the rich richer
and after that it’s to the grocery store or the local walmart
spending money to make the rich richer
thinking that this is all normal
when in reality
they are milking us
day in day out
we are economic cows
just dollar signs coming in
a percentage of increase in profit for that quarter
and they keep taking
and taking and
increasing their take
until one day
only the rich will be able to survive
and we will all be left to
fight each other for their scraps
while we dig their trenches and
build and maintain their paradise
as slaves
wondering how we got there.

Well, let me tell you
that it wasn’t overnight.
Oh no.
It was a long, drawn out process
penny by penny
decade after decade
squeezing us a little tighter
then a little more
putting new systems in place
fabricating their necessity
selling our own demise to us
keeping us in line
under the illusion of freedom
all the way
to the chains.

If you don’t believe me, fine.
But it’s in your face everyday
so go out and take a look around you

and open your eyes.

Good Ol’ Tommy

I saw an old college buddy at the grocery store.
I haven’t seen him in years so I waved at him excitedly with both hands
with all the subtlety of the Kool-aid Man crashing through a wall.
Oh Yeah!

“Hey Fucker!” I shouted gleefully across
the frozen produce section.

I waited for him to register who I was.
That’s right. Take your time…Dipshit.

Finally, “Oh, hey man!” He returned.
“Hey!” I repeated, came up to him and looked him over.
“Christ, you’re fat!” I said.
“I’m married.” He shrugged.
“Yeah, I can see that it’s done wonders for you.”
“Are you married?” He asked.
“Now don’t you start with that crazy talk!”

I saw him signal something to a woman
lumbering around the organics section
scaring children and
sensuously eying the cucumbers.

She almost sucked up an avocado just by breathing.

“Is that your wife over there?” I asked.
“Yes.” His eyes glowed so they must be newlyweds because
he didn’t absolutely despise or fear her yet.

“Good God! What happened to you?” I inquired,
“You used to be so slick
always picking girls off the club floor
like apples from a tree
now you’re perusing the tomatoes
you look like an eggplant
and your wife’s Godzilla!”

“Would you like to meet her?”

“Whatever, I gotta run.
Just looking at you two makes me
want to buy a steak
(I gave him a look)
before they’re all gone.
Cheers.”

I turned away and wheeled my cart
over to the next aisle
chuckling to myself.

Good ol’ Tommy.
Such a nice guy,
therefore we all rode him
like a cheap virgin hooker
on a Saturday night
all the way through college.

And something’s never change.