The garage has been cleared for spring, hosed down and washed, bicycles on the front lawn flipped onto their handlebars and drying, rivers of lather down the concrete driveway and snaking through the tire treads of all the vehicles planted on its surface. The cars sit satisfied in the sunlight, waxed, shining, silver, black and red. The motorcycles lean casually on their kickstands, dusty and waiting. In July our grass will be brown, saturated and scratchy. In May the sunlight is still something it’s missed since autumn and it drinks it in accordingly, appreciative, and greener for it. The crabapple trees near the street have started to bloom. They will for two weeks, first peppered with white blossoms and then covered entirely until the leaves are lost behind them. Then they’ll fall, only some days later, all of the flowers lilting down and laying over the grass. The breeze will take them early, sometimes, so that the blossoms fall before being a part of the tree’s summer coat, and it brings them over the driveway. One flower falls while I’m watching and drifts over, circling me at the top of the driveway where the garage meets it at its open door, adjusting and polishing steel-toe boots made for an eleven-year-old’s foot.
After a second it moves to the bulging headlamps of the yellow Ferrari Dino, to the top of its smooth and earnest eyes, landing just above the wheel-well on the front left side. It lingers for another second or two. It’s taken again by the breeze, taken in by the motorcycles, surveying the group, and then it moves again, slowly, to my father at the edge of the driveway near the street, cranking the throttle of a small, white dirt bike and trying to keep it running.
The blossom catches the exhaust pushed from the tiny bike’s tail pipe and darts away, high up and over the house to the backyard.
I blink, watching my father waving and telling me to come over while he’s got it running. My gaze shifts back to the boots, never used, my hand still running a cloth over their surface again and again, finding spots on a pair of boots that’d never seen dirt.
“The boots are fine, Alex! Let’s give this a try.” He said.
It was a Christmas present. I’d wanted it. I’d asked for it. And now I have it. At the back of the garage it’d looked almost meek, shy and reserved behind all those bicycles propped up against it. Sitting there it looked tame, friendly, like it might bring us both somewhere interesting. But it’s something frightening, I realize, unused for too long. An anxious child. I sympathize.
To Charles Bukowski
"I haven't shat or pissed in seven years," she tells him, negotiating each word around the Marlboro.
Because he doesn't know what else to say, Isaiah asks, "Haven't you seen a doctor about that?"
"Of course." Her words fall out white clouds against an off-white carpet and light cream plaster walls. The air is a stinking thick haze of tobacco smoke. There are only a handful of boxes next to them; they sit on the only pieces of furniture he can see, two metal folding chairs. The room is bare.
"If you don't shit or piss for a week the body poisons itself -- drowns in its own filth," she says. "The doctors said there was nothing wrong with me. One or two actually went as far as to say I was lying. But I haven't defecated or urinated for about the last quarter of my life."
"That must be uncomfortable," Isaiah says, his desire to fuck her quickly subsiding with this new bit of information, thus he had no reason to stay. He'd made his delivery -- the last that evening -- a thirty-six pack of downy toilet paper, to one Beatrice Smith who, despite his usual gamut of old ladies and stay-at-home moms, turned out to be an attractive young woman, shorts tight enough to count her change at a glance and a tight white T-shirt thin enough to see the absence of a bra. Her hair was tied back in a red bandana. When she turned to get him the money and a drink he decided she had the best ass he'd seen in months. So they sat down for drinks, he a beer and she a Long Island iced tea. Then she told him she hadn't shat in seven years.
Kill the beer and go, he thinks. Bitch is crazy. Still. "So, why order the largest and most expensive package of toilet paper?" he asks indicating the behemoth sitting next to him.
She shrugs. "Entertaining guests. I've made a rule, you see. Once I've run through three of these I move. That usually takes about a year of entertaining guests, boyfriends and whoever else walks in."
"So," Isaiah says, "you have a certain threshold of shit you take before you move."
The wind blows, the apartment groans and the rain slaps the window at the termination of freezing, forming a sliding layer of ice on the glass. It looks like the whole world is melting.
"Want another drink?" Beatrice asks.
"Yeah," Isaiah says before he realizes he's handing her his empty. He calls to her after she disappears into the kitchen. "So, how long have you been doing the one-year-and-then-move thing?"
"Since your problems started?"
"Since my problems started?" she says and it sounds like she's telling the punchline of a dirty joke. "My problems started a long time before that."
She reemerges from the kitchen, hands him his beer, sits down and gets to work on a martini. "
10/14/11SO there was this girl… This girl that we used to be friends right We was like good friends the kind that goes over each othas houses and spenda night and tell each otha our secrets and thangs…well… she told me ha secrets…I aint much tell her mine’(hmmph) I got sense. But anyway, this girl this girl she just always seemed jealous, I mean always seem jealous- so jealous- so jealous… I never really trust her cause her eyes is like snakes but I befriended her anyway cause she was beneficial and she kinda grew on me. Then she grew off me. *shrugs* whadaya gonna do? What’n my fault and I guess it really wan’t her fault either, just a change of the times you know? You live you grow… you learn new thangs, meet new people, forget old friends, aint that life? Right? Well… Tell me why I saw her the other, you know overthere in that market on green an fif? I spoke and said HEY GIRL!!! LONG TIME NO SEE… You know that heffa had the nerve to smack and huff at me? SMACK AND HUFF? WHODA*&$%&YOUSMACKINGANDHUFFINAT? Hmmph, shoulda bust her in ha face, that’s what I shoulda did, shoulda bust ha in ha face that’s what I woulda did but I realize, shoulda bust ha in ha face that’s what I COULDA DONE…. But I didn’t… I mean I coulda wrote I did hell y’all wouldna know the difference so gimme some respect fa telling the troof damn. Anyway, yea she got smart and her snake &*^ got slick but I let it slide cause… it aint me she mad with… its ha as she stood there with babies dangling off of ha… still in the same city, same state, same hood… even with the same niggas, same *&&^….*laughs* - Hatin Undastood. MORAL: FORGIVE THE HATAS, IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S THEIR OWN LIVES THEY MAD AT.
I found this old piece this morning, one that I used to try and get myself into a class taught by the director of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, Lan Samantha Chang. Somehow, this weird little conversational piece got me in, but they split the class in two and I had the other teacher. Best laid plans, I guess. But that's beside the point. I'd encourage anyone to go take a look back at their older writing, as you'd be surprised how much there is to be proud of. If you're just starting out, hold on to what you're doing now and check in on it from time to time as you progress. Always somethin' to learn, even from your weird "Writing to the reader as if they were part of the dialogue" phase. I lost my virginity in a motel about a mile outside Columbus, Ohio. The Stardust Motel, if I remember correctly, which chances are fairly good that I don’t. There’s a lot I can’t remember about that evening, and a lot of things I can, not things, though, people typically remember from that particular experience. The things people remember, though, they say a lot about them as people with priorities. There are girls who tell you how romantic it was, even if you can still see the Honda insignia in their back where the steering wheel was digging in, these girls whose lives have been forever changed by their introduction to the world of sexual activity. There are girls, too, and just as many, that will tell you that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, that it stung for a little while and then it was ok, they guess, but they didn’t really FEEL anything. Then there are girls who the first, I mean the VERY first thing they tell you (whether you’ve ever talked to them extensively or not) is just how big his dick was, how defined his pecs were or what they could’ve fit in the groove on the outside of ass, because, c’mon, you’re a bit curious, even if you have no idea who the other party involved was. So what’s the first thing I tell you? That it was in a motel about a mile outside of Columbus, Ohio and I don’t remember much. Now, I don’t remember much for a lot of reasons, good reasons, none of which involve alcohol if you can believe that. First off, I find myself among the ranks, at least somewhat, of the second type of girl, the nonchalant. I waited 19 years. Have you noticed that’s always what it feels like? Your whole life you’ve been waiting for this one thing to happen, conveniently forgetting the years you didn’t know or didn’t want to know what sex even meant, much less what it was like. 19 fucking years. That’s probably how I would’ve put it, too, if you’d asked me then. I would’ve said, “It’s been 19 fucking years! The hell’s wrong with me, anyways?” That whole si
Some say it is the time of your life. I'm not so sure.
like a wave
end over end over
throat knots and
she/ her/ you know,
nouns and adjectives.
could you believe it
still turns my stomach?
quickens the beat of bitter
and ripens resentment;
it doesn't matter,
Every find something you wrote years ago and you wince at how bad it is? Here's one that I thought was just so clever and witty and now....oh dear lord what have I done?
blue fluxes navy
in effervescent splash dances
complacent with your words,
skin pigment laced pink
stains and tinges grey
while trails of liner treadway
fade with your name
still, my head mimics
dramatic scenery within film strips,
of horroresque cinematics
so sluggishly shaking horizontal
still, after weeks proceeding months
in the near completion of one-hundred-days
strings frayed garrote my heart
in utter asphyxiation
and still, my breath undulates
I tiptoe into plasmic veils
and now my shadow seems less vivid,
always careening to outline behind
I don't need a replica,
I just want a friend
Watch, where you’re going!” you sneer at me and move on with your nose up.
“sorry…” I mumble back, picking up my books
Actually you ran into me. I was standing at my locker, not like you even care.
You see me in the halls every day; I sit in the desk behind you in history, and have a locker down the hall from you.
Do you know I’m homeless?
My dad, brother, sister and I stay in abandoned buildings. Our family didn’t split up when we lost our house, and I think it’s better that way. It still feels a little like home because we somehow manage to have a few rules existing.
The rules are simply: go to school as much as you can and don’t fight or get arrested.
Before we were evicted we were a proper “use-a-napkin and write-your-thank-you-letters” kind of family.
But that was before dad was considered a disposable part of the company. That was before all the bills and their ever-so-pleasant collectors. That was before the power was cut and our tap ran dry, and a nice blue paper was nailed to our door.
Don’t think this all happened overnight, oh no, this was a prolonged suffering. My dad fought every step of the way, “just some more time” he’d say. Oh dad, why would time make an exception for us?
That gave me time to prepare though.
Step 1: Go through the stages of grief and then accept the fact that you’re moving into a new sort of residence (probably a refrigerator box)
Step 2: Practice. To get what you need you are going to have to steal, lie and beg. No need to dance around it. Homeless people tend to acquire sticky fingers. I wasn’t always a thief though, but you reach a certain breaking point. Like when that blanket in the store is so soft and warm and the temperature is dropping outside. 44 degrees… 37… 33… and there’s your breaking point. So people should check their pockets when they walk past me, and pat me down at every store exit, but they don’t.
Still, stores are only good to an extent. Homes are the real bonanza.
Breaking into houses is best during the day when most are at work. Usually it takes a little patience and surveillance. Now contrary to popular belief, we aren’t about to break into your house and rob you blind. That would put you and the police on red alert and it would have been a one-time thing. No. We are subtle. We’ll observe the house: When do the adults leave for work? The kids for school? Are there security codes? A dog? We need to get to know you in order for you to be the “hosting” family. We don’t take everything, just some crackers in the back of your pantry, a blanket from the bottom of the linen closet, and the shirt that you never wear. Nothing big enough to notice, just the stuff you forgot about already. We’ll stay with you for maybe a month or two, and then leave. You’ll never even realize we were there.
Those are the days I miss school.
And although I may have stolen many things, I still have a conscience and I won’t forget those I’ve taken from. I made a list of all the names (taken from IDs)