Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Adventures of Troy Mouse (in progress)

Troy Mouse and The Deafening Roar

It was a dark and stormy night... and thus the tale unfolds. Or, rather, continues...
Troy Mouse slapped the mess of papers in front of him- a mess that littered the desk beyond any hope of immediate cleansing. This sort of mess would take time to clean. That and ambition; so naturally, the mess, as many messes that we may encounter of our own doing (or not) that interlopes with our lives, stayed unaddressed. When Troy Mouse lifted his hand, a small fruit fly lay squashed on his now late energy bill.
     Troy Mouse rose from his desk, placed in the corner of the living room and made it no further than a muscle twitch in the intended direction of his kitchen when he was knocked to the floor by a deafening roar that was caused by heat and energy from a natural meteorological event that a band called Metallica once encouraged their fans to ‘ride’. The lightning that so bumptiously knocked Mr. Mouse over left before he could yell something rushed and semi-clever in his defense.

     Outside, the firemen bustled about extinguishing the exterior of his single story home. Inside, the fire spread onto the desk and burned the mess of papers up, crawled along the ceiling and wall and made menacing threats to his favorite chair by singing the upholstery before that, too, was extinguished by the bustling firemen.

     “You’re one lucky son-of-a-sailor, son.” Said Fire Chief Bleatty next to the smoldering house.
     “Had that wall not-a been there,” he said to Troy Mouse, “and you were jest a workin’ on your desk out there in the open,” rambled Fire Chief Bleatty, “and that lightning chose to strike right there like it did,” said the long winded fire chief, “why, you’d be one in a million to be struck by lightning.”
     “Wouldn’t be the first time...” said Troy Mouse, grimly.
     “Well I’ll be...” started Fire Chief Bleatty before he was knocked to the ground by a deafening sound that was caused by heat and energy from a natural meteorological event that Troy Mouse had the uncanny ability to incidentally ‘ride’. The lightning that so bumptiously knocked Fire Chief Bleatty over left Mr. Mouse in a smoldering heap on the ground.
     “...damned.” finished the stunned fire chief.

Troy Mouse and The Briefcase

After what was not his first visit to Mercy Hope Hospital for lightning strike, Troy Mouse was once again released to the amazement of all the staff who looked at him like some type of a heroic figure--invincible from death but not destruction as well as a sort of unique regular--like one of a coffee shop--jesting jovially about his reasons for frequent visits and making small talk about his job which truly intrigued them to the point of forgetting what, exactly, it was that he did.    
     He caught a cab to his partially charred bungalow. His lawn was in disarray from the fire engines rolling around on their tires and the firemen tromping around in their boots and the hoses being dragged like prize anacondas slain for money and bragging rights. The rest of his landscaping was in disarray from neglect.
     Inside, Troy Mouse looked at his table, which was covered in black curled ashes and some remnants of papers no more than twenty percent uncharred. Disheartened by the fact that his bills were previously only to be remembered by their late discovery in the mess but were now too burned to ever be found again, Troy Mouse sighed. He brushed some ashes from the table and walked into his kitchen. Through the kitchen he reached a hallway, and traversing this he re-entered his living room and made his way to the stairs leading to his basement.
     The basement, highly juxtaposed from the upstairs, was immaculately clean. This was what Troy Mouse considered to be his actual home and his office of sorts. He walked up to a bookshelf that would look suspicious if it wasn’t in such clean surroundings. Every book was evenly placed and uniformly bound in blue hardcovers. Troy Mouse looked around as if someone may have snuck in or perhaps a fireman crept downstairs to take a nap during the fire and may be awake now, compromising his secret. Satisfied that nobody was around, he pulled one particular book from the shelf.
     Troy Mouse opened the book. Inside was a big red button. Using the book like the giant remote control that it was, he pointed it towards the stairs and pressed the button down. A panel slid away revealing a safe door in the stairwell. He walked over and entered a combination. The safe door opened. Inside was a briefcase, covered in black rubber. He looked at the briefcase and drew a finger across his eyebrows, forgetting about the ash and in turn making a stately unibrow. He took the briefcase by the handle and walked up the stairs after closing the safe door and pressing again the red button, moving the panel back, and replacing the remote control book.

Troy Mouse Gets Groceries

In a cold and dark room sat an open box of baking soda. The shoddy looking metal shelf that it sat on was nearly empty save for a jar of pickles and That Sandwich From Last Week. An unforgiving light turned on as a vacuum sound sucked out of the cold and dark room holding the baking soda and the pickles and That Sandwich From Last Week.
     Troy Mouse peered inside of his refrigerator. He shuffled the baking soda around. Picked up the pickles, tightened the lid, tightened the lid, tightened the lid and then looked at the jar. He tried the other way and the lid said “Clock!”. He smelled the pickle juice, sloshed around the remaining pickles and resealed the jar, making a vague mental note on which way to twist when opening jars. He made a hesitant move towards That Sandwich From Last Week, one much like the last hesitant move he made towards it and much like the previous hesitant moves. They all ended the same and this was no different.
     Troy Mouse shut the refrigerator and stood there for about seven seconds while something strong stirred and boiled up within him. Filled with a new sense of determination, he opened the refrigerator and grabbed That Sandwich From Last Week. He threw it in the garbage and grabbed his keys from the counter.

     At the grocery store, Troy Mouse hit up the four aisles he always hit up. His hand basket had bread, jelly, two boxes of cereal, some bananas and milk. Satisfied with his plunder, he headed for the cash registers.

     “Mr. Mouse!” said someone who spoke in a way that sounded like his voice was aimed directly at his hard palate.
     “Hello Mr. Mouse!” Said the voice again. Troy Mouse didn’t move his head as he finished paying for his groceries. He looked out of the corner of his eye using his beefy peripheral vision and saw Fire Chief Bleatty a few people back in line to check out at the register he was just leaving. Troy Mouse gathered his change and pretended he didn’t hear a thing, already knowing what kind of a one-way brain numbing conversation he was about to be a part of.
     “Mr. Mouse!” Said Fire Chief Bleatty.

Troy Mouse Gets A Phone Call

Troy Mouse returned to his partially charred bungalow and flicked on the lights. He stepped on the back of his right shoe with his left and slid his heel out. He kicked the shoe toward the wall. He did the same to the other shoe and kicked it in the same general direction. They came to rest at a distance from each other but still close enough to be recognized as a pair. Troy looked at them and thought about his parents. The shoes stay together for one purpose: his feet. If they didn’t have feet to go on would they need to stay together? If his parents didn’t have him as a child would they need to stay together?
     Into the kitchen and onto the table went Troy Mouse’s two plastic grocery bags. He took each item out and laid them side by side on the table, crumpled up the two plastic bags and set them by all the other crumpled plastic bags under the sink. He was going to reuse them someday, you know.

The phone rang.
     “Hello is this Mr. Mouse.” Said a voice with consistent rhythm and inflection.
     “Yes this is.”
     “Good. I have arranged a room for us in Houston. Everyone will be there.”
     “Who will be?”
     “You do know what I’m talking about, Mr. Mouse.” Said the man.
     “Yes I do. Who will be there?”
     “Everyone. Everyone who matters will be there.”
     “Uh-huh.” Said Troy Mouse, placing the bread on the top shelf, all the way to the right in the refrigerator.
     “Arrange a ticket for the twenty-second of this month.”
     “That’s in six days.”
     “Seven. You don’t have to come. But I know you will.”
     “Right, who is this again?”
     “I will see you there Mr. Mouse.” Said the man.
     Troy Mouse heard a click directly after the man finished his sentence. He was shelving his cereal. He closed the cabinet and looked at his phone. He left the rest of his groceries on the counter and headed downstairs to book his flight.

Troy Mouse Gets Another Phone Call

The basement stairs led directly into the den, with the bookshelf, two black leather couches on either side of a black coffee table on a red rug, a computer on a computer desk, a mini fridge and a flat screen television which was mounted on the wall with poor placement--there was no seating which faced it directly. People on the couches could enjoy a movie by keeping their necks craned at all times at no less than a sixty-degree angle.
     Troy Mouse realized he had to micturate.
     “Not on the rug, man!” He said out loud.
     As he washed his hands he looked up in the mirror. He rarely looked at himself, not because he didn’t want to, but because vanity didn’t interest him all that much. He knew what he looked like for the most part and staring at himself in a mirror every time he had the chance was pointless, he thought.
     He looked at himself for the duration of lathering his hands clean of the germs he had undoubtedly acquired by peeing. His big black square rimmed glasses drew lines across the side of his face and disappeared into his long brown hair which hadn’t been washed in, by his estimation, ‘at least five days or something.’ He kept his hair out of his way by means of a ponytail. He looked at the sparse hairs growing out of his lip. They were stark black and spaced apart. His father came from somewhere overseas, somewhere in Asia, he estimated, and Troy Mouse inherited only a slight skin tint and the inability to grow thick facial hair. The rest of his physical appearance, aside from chromosomal adamancies, came from his mother. She came from somewhere nearby, somewhere in America, he estimated. Her parents and their parents. And her parents’ parents were perhaps European immigrants.
     For lack of remembering to eat, Troy Mouse was a skinny man of average height. His clothes were for the most part too big and lacked fashionable direction, unless he was dressed for a business meeting, like the one implied in the phone call he had just been a part of. He tried to dress nice for those and did alright with the cheap suits he found.
     He flicked the light off in the bathroom and his pocket vibrated for the second time since arriving home. He fished out his phone and looked at the number. Again a number his phone did not recognize, but this time a different one. One with a local area code.
     “Hello, I am looking to speak with Mr. Troy Mouse if he is home.” Said a voice, which flickered vague recognition.
     “This is.”
     “Oh, hello Mr. Troy.” Said the voice. Troy Mouse’s eyes widened a little bit as he realized who it was right before the speaker revealed his name. “This is Fire Chief Bleatty.”
     “I suspected as much.” Said Troy Mouse with a smothered tone of defeat.
     “Uh huh. I’m jest a-callin’ you,” Said Fire Chief Bleatty, “because I saw you at the store there. I was walking up to the checkout to buy my groceries,” said the Fire Chief, “and I was jest standin’ in line waiting and then I thought I saw you!”
     “Oh?” Said Troy Mouse.
     “Yes I suspect that I did. Was that you there, in the grocery store checking out at the register I was waiting to check out at?”
     “Well I was at the store today, it certainly might have been me.”
     “How about that.” Said Fire Chief Bleatty. “That’s not why I’m calling, though.”
     “It’s not?”
     “No sir. I’m callin’ because I did some asking and some digging and it looks like, if the estimates are right, that you have been struck by lightning five times now? That’s what Mercy Hope says.”
     “That’s correct. That last time when we were talking outside of my house was number five.”
     “Uh huh.” The Fire Chief said. “Well I’m looking to offer you some fire advice since I’m a fire chief and it looks like you’re being followed around by the electricity bug.”
     “How kind.” Said an unexcited Troy Mouse.
     “Well you know, I ain’t no hero.” Said Fire Chief Bleatty magnanimously. “I’m jest a-doin’ my job.”
     Troy Mouse said nothing.
     “Well if you’re ever in a storm again the first thing you’re gonna wanna do is have a fire extinguisher at hand. And not only that bu-” A silence overtook Fire Chief Bleatty’s voice before Troy Mouse even realized it was gone. Troy looked at his phone and saw that the call had ended. Dismissing it as an extremely conveniently dropped call, Troy Mouse turned his phone off and put it back in his pocket.
     Somewhere between Troy Mouse and the Fire Chief, a telephone pole was smoking and a few sparks were floating peacefully to the ground after a natural meteorological event caused by heat and energy that seemed to be stalking Troy Mouse had struck it with what Troy Mouse wrote off as God-sent relief. The severed telephone line led back to Fire Chief Bleatty’s mouth where he continued to talk for seven minutes straight into the dead air until he said:
     “Mr. Mouse? Did you catch that last bit?”
     The Fire Chief did not get a response so he tried again.
     “Mr. Mouse!” Said Fire Chief Bleatty.

Troy Mouse Receives A Package and Some Voicemails

Noon yawned its way into the shut eyelids of Troy Mouse. He squeezed them tighter to keep the afternoon out, but the afternoon insisted, even through the drawn blinds. He rolled over and pulled the covers with him as his right arm followed suit. He was securely hidden from the common responsibilities that may be connected with daylight since his income did not depend on punching a clock until it reached forty hours. Once properly snuggled inside of his blanket and once again in the dark, Troy Mouse was free from the other remaining responsibility most humans feel when it’s light out, and that is to rise from bed. He gave out a contented sigh. Outside was the sound of singing birds in the distance, which he equated to a lullaby.

And then the doorbell rang. Troy Mouse groaned and said: “Go away!” barely loud enough for anyone in the hallway to hear, let alone the one ringing the doorbell. He scrunched in a little ball and suddenly shot straight. He remembered what was set to arrive in the mail today.
Troy Mouse drew the chain away from the door, and then released the deadbolt. He unlocked the handle as well and opened the door wearing his pajama pants and his robe, open, with no shirt on under. As he opened the door he heard the birds again, and looked straight up before acknowledging the man at the door. He didn’t see anything. He looked straight ahead, peering over the side of the man wearing a uniform, holding a box. There on the street marched a small troupe of flautists, apparently practicing, or perhaps putting on their own parade. Troy Mouse, tired and sloppy, looked like he was nearing death to the package deliveryman as he leaned out of his front door, appearing that at any moment he might fall over. The bemused Troy Mouse snapped out of it with a shake of his head.
“Ouh. Uh.” Troy Mouse cleared his throat. “Hi.”
“This is, uhh, are you Troy Mouse?” Said the deliveryman.
“Delivery for you, sir.”
“Okay thank you” Said Troy Mouse with consistent tone and infliction.
“Sign please.”

Inside, Troy Mouse had already opened and put his package away in a safe place. In his safe, to be exact. He was up in his room dressing for the day in which he had no particular plans when he found his cell phone in the pocket of his pants. It was still off. He flipped it open and hit the red ‘end’ button.
He watched the cell phone come to life. It groggily groped around for service until service was acquired. After a handful of seconds all of the ‘social connectivity’ he missed made its way to his phone in the form of two voice mails and zero text messages.

The first said: “Hello, this message is for Troy Mouse. We regret to inform you that you have been flagged as a flight risk due to the numerous incidences of lightning strike you have experienced. We, however, cannot prove that you purposely cause lightning to strike you and must agree to allow you to fly only if there is a fire marshal present on the flight. We’re sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause, Mr. Mouse. Please contact us within one day before the flight is scheduled to depart if you are able to get a fire marshal on this flight with you. Thank you for your cooperation, Mr. Mouse.

The second said: “Hello, Mr. Mouse. This is Fire Chief Bleatty calling you back because it looks like we got cut off. I tried calling earlier, after we got cut off there, but it appears that a phone line was knocked out somehow somewhere and they had to reroute the phone lines, so I had to wait until they worked again to call you. And now they work, so Hello Mr. Mouse! Uhh I suppose you’re asleep now, seeing as it’s a lot later than it was before, and it sounds like your phone is off, so maybe you’re asleep. I guess I’m only calling now to share a little bit of good news from my end of the world. Sometime after we got cut off I found out that one of our finest has resigned. This is sad news, you see, because he’s really good at his job and we all really like him a lot here at the fire station. But there is a silver lining to this cloud, Troy, er Mr. Mouse. Upon his resignation, effective tomorrow, I will be getting his position! Mr. Mouse, say hello to Fire Marshal Bleatty.

Troy Mouse Admits Defeat
Troy Mouse And The Cordial Invitation

Resigned, defeated and worn was Troy Mouse in his failing attempts to avoid Fire Chief Bleatty--Fire Marshal Bleatty, that is, as he lay in a gelatinous heap on his black leather sofa in his basement. He looked suspiciously close to slithering off of his couch right on to his red rug that really tied the room together. However, Troy Mouse felt strongly that raspberry jam did not belong on that rug and in turn, no depressed human pretending to be raspberry jam belonged on it either.
     But, as a man whose income relied solely on his own character, integrity and ability to overcome adversity, Troy Mouse was not deterred for long. He had rather high grade headphones which could keep out any amount of one sided chatter and if his income depended on Fire Marshal Bleatty flying with him to Texas, he would try to make it happen.

Troy Mouse picked up the phone and dialed.

     “Fire Chi--Fire Chie--Excuse me. Fire Chief. Marsh--. Fire--Um sorry just one moment.” The receiver pressed against Troy Mouse’s ear heard a faint muffled voice saying ‘Marshal. Marshal. Fire Marshal.’ or something to that effect.
     “Fire Marshal Bleatty speaking!”
     “Hi Mr. Bleatty, this is Troy.”
     “Troy Mouse?”
     “Perfect!” Said the title-challenged Fire Marshal.
     “Yes, Mr. Mouse. You see, I was just about to call you myself!”
     “You were?”
     “I was.”
     There was a pause.
     “More fire tips?” Grinned Troy Mouse.
     “Ha!” Laughed Fire Marshal Bleatty. “No, no. Not after last time, what with the line going out and me talking to nothing there for a while. Thinking you were on the other line taking notes for fires and that.”
     “I have a proposition for you.”
     “And I have a proposition for you, Mr. Mouse.”
     “Uh oh.”
     “Now, don’t worry. It’s my job to invite people to this. It’s our Annual Booya next week, and I’d like a friendly familiar face there, you know, so I don’t have to feel so awkward at my work event.”
     “Annual what?”
     “The Annual Booya.”
     “Booya?” Winced Troy Mouse. He truly had no idea what Fire Marshal Bleatty was talking about, but he felt the word ‘booya’ belonged somewhere very far away from the English language.
     “Yes, the Booya.”
     “Mr. Bleatty. You realize that we don’t actually know each other very well.”
     “At all.”
     “Yes, well, I do see where you’re coming from there, with that.
     “Right. So with that in mind, I am cordially inviting you to come to Texas with me.”
     “In four days.”
     “In four days.” Repeated Fire Marshal Bleatty.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I Am Not A Poet

I Am Not A Poet

I am not a poet when I type

A garble of rhyme schemes
In a structure that might
Suggest that maybe

I wish to be

But sometimes I just write

Accidental poetry
And incidentally
It may seem that

I wish to be

But I assure you

I do not aspire for that.
And perhaps poetry is something
That wishes aspire me.


I was standing alone with my arms outstretched

that night, dew on the capital lawn. The ghosts
of my past hanging loosely to my fingertips-
trailing just far enough behind

But never gone.

A spire in the distance stabbed high above

the tree line. A silhouette in the night. My future
riding on the tip of my nose- pointing
to the same sky from which these pallid eyes hide.

Myopic in the dim city lights.

Yet that night I felt something that shook me

wide across boundaries
that I never before dared touch
And blindly I grabbed.

I'm ready, I said. I'm ready

To come home.
And I knew what that meant
during that suspended breath.

And as I stretched my arms just a fraction wider

I realized the flaw in my intent.
I can't be taken home
If I never learned what Home meant.


I know Highway 12

Like the back of this tired hand
That grips this decrepit wheel
As I sway between
The yellow
and white lines.

As time slips away

and leisure is cadged:
Between these lines I sway.

Where poetry is a safe place

From these minutes strafed
By busyness and haste:

I stay.

For just a moment to sway

Across this black terrain
Mere inches away
And hundreds of miles a day.


As I stood bare feet

The grass up to my knees
I rolled up my sleeves
And pushed my pant legs down.

The sparse cottonwood swirled

And danced as it took
The way of the wind's whim
Toward the woods and the brook.

And all of these little clouds

Meant something to me:
Representing one sin each
Leaving my conscious free.

So small.

So innocent.
Some forgotten.
Some aged.

But suddenly in thousands

They plagued, making turbid
The clear blue sky
Until it became pallid and white.

Then the wind behind me

Blew harder than a whim
And by force they pushed
Blanching the sky as a scrim.

And finally when a lifetime

Of white before me passed
I chased a lagging cottonwood
To see where it would come to rest.

Through bramble and brush it led and

Over cattail and creek I splashed.
When finally in a clearing
I reached the end of my quest.

There an endless sea

Of cottonwood had massed
And out in the distance:
A man wading through the mess.

He spoke to me and said:

It seems your carelessness
Has found its way to my hamlet!
And if you'd like the chance
To rid yourself of these solecisms
I'd gladly take this burden
But you can keep them too,
I guess.

So I dug in my pockets

And reached in the collar
Behind me neck
Looking for any more
That the wind might have missed.

But the sea held them all.

So I smiled

Gave my thanks

And left.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

You Have Not. Sorry.

---For David Benjamin Piery--- 

The child woke up under the radar to the ping! ping! ping! telling them whether the submarine was close to anything. The child recognized the rhythm; they were the only object within several hundred feet.
         He yawned, stretched his tiny bony frame and clawed at his back. Mussed his hair. He got up and ambled into the crew cabin. It was empty.

The child was the son of the captain of a submarine named Lima. It was the only of its class, built in Russia. The purpose was officially unknown but it was ostensibly in use for research on new technology or perhaps special mission support. It is assumed that Lima was unarmed, and it was. On this trip, Lima was used for something else entirely, and this is the account of David, the adopted aforementioned son of Captain Piery, who was not Russian at all, but a portly Italian man.

Guys? called out David. He wandered through the kitchen. Empty. He wandered through any common area the men might be. Nothing. Guys?! David called out again.

David was a child unknown for being notoriously overlooked. In his elementary school every student was to receive the Student of The Week award one time throughout the school year, regardless of merit. David never received this ‘honor’, to no fault of his own. In fact, just two days prior to David waking up alone, he was found wandering around Lima, and a member of the 32 man crew ran up to Captain Piery to tell of the strange boy spotted in this submarine that had been underwater for two weeks. Captain Piery knocked his hat back and his blood pressure jumped considerably as he was escorted to the boy. This is my son, he said in a sigh of relief, just now remembering that he was indeed on the submarine for this mission. The crewman said I didn’t know you had a son.
         The reason for David’s presence on the submarine was not actually known to Captain Piery. In fact, something about this whole mission seemed fishy. They didn’t actually know where they were going or for what. Orders from Above.

David walked into the boiler room. There was a note in a plastic Ziploc taped to a pipe. The note was written in gigantic scrawl with what appeared to be a quill and ink. The note said:

Dear Russia: Everyone on this ship has been found holy and was taken in the rapture. If you are reading this, you have not. Sorry.

Rats! Overlooked again! David put the note, which was half true, in his pocket and manned the navigation controls. He attempted to surface the beast and was doing alright. He didn’t know how to land it, though, and he didn’t know where he was. He wanted to look through the periscope to see if God was anywhere nearby. But it was too dark under water.

David cracked eggs into a pan. I will make the best out of this, he thought, and breakfast was the best thing that he knew. He had the makings of pancakes set out and he was just about to get started on that when he heard a voice down by the boiler room. Hey David, it said. David. C’mere. So he did.
         He looked in and there was another note. This one said:

Hey David, I was just kidding about the rapture thing. I just wanted to see what you would do. Glad to see you are making the best out of being a leftover of rapture. I mean I knew you would, but I wanted to see you make the best of it. Otherwise you wouldnt have. You know? You know. Anyway, Im sending everyone back.

         And everyone appeared back as soon as he finished reading. The letters were gone, though. As soon as he was spotted walking out of the boiler room one of the crewmen said Oh my God! A boy was stowing away in the boiler room!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Home Run King

I remember the last time I saw my dad. I remember the last thing he said to me:


My brother played for the Zephyrs.

Z-E-P-H-Y-R-S, were the Zephyrs and were the best!

This was when the scores didnt matter because the game was filled with the desire to have fun, not to absolute oneself in the adult inebriant of victory.
I stood by my dad watching from the chain link fence to the left side of home plate. We didnt talk much and we never did but we loved each other. The makings of a father-son relationship that lost custody had put asunder. Awkwardly we reached for normalcy. Because thats the way it should be.
Ryan was up to bat. It was nearing the end of the game. Nearing the time that I would go live with my mom for a weekend; my father regained custody of us just a few years earlier. This was won in adult conversations with my mother, not in court. The pitch drew near as my brother lugged the bat slothfully across the plate. Connection. The ball flew low and hit the grass as soon as it appeared. Right field bobbled it around on the ground and finally scooped it up to throw it to first. Too late, and Ryan was already on his way towards second. The ball fell underthrown and rolled past the first baseman. By the time he picked it up and threw it to second Ryan was almost to third. The boys from his dugout where on their feet jumping and yelling. My fingers clenched through the large holes in the chain link fence and my eyes looked up at my dad and back to my brother. Third base coach was wind milling his arm and pointing towards home and Ryan didnt hesitate a second as he tore around the base. The second baseman stopped himself from throwing to third. He turned and threw the ball hard towards the catcher but it was once again too late. Ryan slid to home with time to spare and was mobbed by a team of screaming young boys. He was picked up and carried back to the dugout, everyone shouted his new moniker tumultuously: The Home Run King!

         Mom pulled up and I couldnt wait to tell her about Ryans triumph over a feat that many kids never can boast. We stood around in a circle talking about it- my brother and I bouncing details back and fourth. Having both perspectives made the story just as exhilarating to relive until it was time to go. I told my dad that I would see him Monday and he just smiled wearily and said:


The car drove out of town. I didnt know that I was about to leave a life that I knew well for so many years. But it wasnt my choice. It left me. Left me to live forever changed in a life thats the same, just missing one piece.


She drove seventy miles already and had about thirty left to go. The car purred softly as she turned cruise control off and pressed down on the accelerator. A billboard on the side of the road said:

get the rest you need at the
exit 46

And that is the exit she was driving to. With every mile she thought of another piece of the town she had long since left. One piece was prominent and it was the purpose of her return.

Janice. said the young woman. My names Janice and sign language is my first language. My brother is deaf, so my parents taught me from birth.

Thats wonderful. said the mother. This happening to Cherie was unexpected, of course. Thank you so much for your help.

Gotta pay for school somehow. smiled the young woman.

She remembered devoting much of her time that year teaching sign language to that worried mother. The mother was raising a deaf child by herself. She often thought she should be doing this for free. She put the money in a jar under a picture of an old building built for young matriculating persons. Saving to become a part of that photographs esoterica. The mother eventually learned well enough to communicate with her baby but would still have to learn more.

She pulled off onto exit 46 and took a right. She didnt know where to start but she did have a last name. She thought that she would start tomorrow. She pulled up to the Sleep Inn and killed the engine. She sat with her hands on the wheel.

After she put everything away in her room she got back in her car and went somewhere that she was never old enough to patronize while she lived there. Now she was old enough by more than ten years. Poseidons was a makeshift beach club in a southern landlocked town. It had a pool and a mermaid who always swam around looking pretty. It started off as a joke a few years prior but turned into a staple; an attraction to the place.

She sat down at the window facing the pool. There was money taped all over the window and she turned to the guy next to her.

Whats the money all about? said the woman.

Tips. replied the man gruffly. For the mermaid. Watch. He slapped a one dollar bill on the window with some tape. The mermaid held up a sign that said:

Thank You!

Whats this girls deal? said the woman.

Who, Cherie? Shes deaf. She does this mermaid gig every night to make money. Its a good job for someone who cant, you know, talk.

The woman swallowed and looked out the window. She reached in her purse, fished out a business card and wrote: I want to send you to school. on the back. She taped it to the window and the mermaid held up a sign that said:

Thank You!

The Man Who Could Get Any Job

I know a man who could get any job. He was visiting me in Coopersville, and just to prove it, he got a job within thirty seconds at a firm. He had never even been in the state before.

         I, on the other hand, cannot get a job anywhere. On many occasions I would ask my father for a job at his store. Papa, isn't there an extra spot at the register? No, he would say. Sweeping the floors? No. Papa, what about parking attendant? and Papa thought and said Congratulations, son, you're hired! It was my first job and I was twenty-three.
         Papa had to make a special uniform for me because I was the first ever parking attendant at his hardware store, and in fact, any hardware store. When two weeks were up Papa came to me and said Son, there's not a spot for you on payroll. So I got a little wooden sign that said TIPS in white paint nailed to a wooden bucket that Papa had me wear around my neck. Papa collected the tips every few hours and at the end of the week gave me a stipend. My first paycheck was $17.56.

         The man who could get any job moved down to Coopersville to work at the firm. Finally, I asked him what it was that got him all these jobs without even trying. What’s your secret? He just stroked his mustache with his thumb and index finger slowly and evenly, in deep thought. I don't know, he concluded. I asked him what he thought of Coopersville and spied him licking the corner of his mustache. Coopersville? I always thought it was Coppersville! Hahaha! And he laughed and laughed and walked out of the room. I stood bemused and then it dawned on me.

         Papa, Papa! I said breathlessly when I finally found him in his chauffeur uniform from 1986 that he still likes to "wear casually". This means around the house. I know why I can't get a job, I get it! I said in a fit of excitement. He looked at me and wiggled his pencil thin mustache resting on his wise upper lip and said, Why's that, son? I pointed right at him and said That!
         Zoom in on this mans face. My father, my Papa, in his chauffeur uniform, until your vision rests exclusively on his upper lip. The bristles protrude proudly and dance out of his glistening lip, which then smiles and shows only slightly his upper teeth. Still zoomed in, his mouth says I’ve been wondering how long it would take, son. I’m sorry I didn't tell you earlier but you’re simply unable to do this on your own. It's okay, son, I’ve been keeping the other 63% of the tips that you’ve made for this occasion. We have enough to get you fixed right up.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Recent Cognitions


How fitting it was to see
The fallen trees, decaying
In the woods near the cemetery,
And a quarter mile down the trail
To the place where I knew
That everything
to You.


I crawl
And sneak
Tightly against this wall

Searching for something:


But it's already set:

Wait for it...

This room feels safe.
Comfort in the lack of change.

(Wait for it)

I inch forward

(Wait for it)

One foot on
And the other
Soon to follow

Wait for it...
Wait for it...
(Wait for it)



I have no idea
What I do
To you
When I rest
In the complacency
Of action and

You become the
On my fingers
As I
The nicotine
I get what I need
and then
I flick your
And trampled
You find your end.

I never knew.
I just drew, drug and strew.


A tendon

Until it's torn
And split open
Under the pressure of
Becoming more
Than someone

Oh, The weakness
Of strong desire!