Monthly Archives: September 2011

Trees Shiver Leaves

A bowl of oatmeal,
A wet golden retriever,

They all shake it off,
Toughen up
In time,

Close, coats zip,
Red leaves hang-glide,

The day and night,
In equal parts:

junior high

Once you are thirteen

What to do with your brown hands?

You haven’t hips yet.

If I Were a Gay

If I were a Gay
I’d work out every day
to get rid of this flab
and my body’d look fab

If I were a Gay
I would sashay by soldiers
chasse elevé
dancing shoulder to shoulder

If I were a Gay
I would ask and I’d tell
every pistol and shell
if they’re going my way

If I were a Gay
I would lie deep in sod
as my family pray
that my soul reaches God

If I were a Gay
I can honestly say
that the boys would cry
I was a hell of a guy

I Kill Dead People

Here’s how it happens:

I invent the first time machine. Or, Future Thom invents the first machine, then travels back in time, and gives Present Thom the schematics, so that I — that is to say, Present Me — can in turn invent the first time machine for Future Thom to deliver back to me.

Once I — that is to say, Future Thom — has completed this first leg of the journey, he/I will then go back further in time to August 1, 2002, in the city of Los Angeles, whereupon I — that is to say, Future Thom — will track down one M. Night Shyamalan, on the eve of the theatrical release of his film Signs, and I — that is to say, Future Thom — will explain this to him (that is to say, Past M. Night Shyamalan):

“I am going to kill you,” Future Thom will say, as he pulls a six-shooter from a holster hanging from his hip white Urban Outfitters belt. “I have come from the future to save you, and I will do whatever I can to save you, so I will kill you.”

Past M. Night Shyamalan will put his hands up over his head and try to defuse the situation. He’ll ask Future Thom why, what are you doing, are you mad, this can’t be happening. But it will be happening. And Future Thom will explain.

“After Signs, your career pretty much becomes a big joke of pretentious self-importance and cheesy ‘twists’ in lieu of any actual plot or purpose. Even Signs was only mediocre — honestly, you should never have shown the aliens at all, it would made the whole thing a lot better.”

“But they looked so cool…!” he’ll protest. He’ll be wrong, and he’ll know it.

Future Thom will pull back the hammer on the six-shooter and raise it to his chest. “If I kill you now, you’ll be forever remembered as a visionary young filmmaker, stolen away from the world before his time in some mysterious, unsolved murder. Your name, your legacy will never be sullied by such crap as Lady in the Water or The Happening. You will become the legend you have always aspired to be, and you will have me to thank for this.”

“Okay,” he will say with forced bravado. “Do it.” He won’t actually believe me, but when a mad man claiming to be from the future holds a gun to your chest, sometimes it’s best to just accept it.

“It’s for your own good,” Future Thom will say. “Killing Baby Hitler raises too many questions. But killing you will save us all.”

Future Thom will pull the trigger. You will never read this story, because I will never have invented a time machine to go back in time to kill M. Night Shyamalan, because M. Night Shyamalan was mysteriously killed the night before the theatrical release of Signs, and the inexplicable and perplexing story of his death will be remembered for generations to come.


The churros are three-fifty each,
and the wait’s an hour plus
for a 30 second ride.  Imagineers
design from exit to gift shop, hiding
painful prices on Made-in-China goods.
The newer rides are built on land
dear Disney stole from farmers, but I don’t care
if it’s a corporate brothel of manufactured joy;
it’s my childhood.
At least, it’s the parts I want
to remember.  It’s where
my family never fights.
It’s where the illusion is okay.
It’s a place that hurts my bank account,
but it’s worth the brief escape.  I know
Tinkerbell’s hanging from a wire,
but just let her light the castle.
Let some kid wish
on a firework star
while he’s still a kid.

Entering The Club (an excerpt from “Chat”)

(The first of perhaps many excerpts from my novel-interminably-in-progress.)

The strip club parking lot had cars scattered throughout it, none parked in a space immediately adjacent to another. Everyone seemed to have followed the rules of men’s room urinals. Shutting his driver’s side door with a slam that echoed off the back of the one story bunker, Ethan flashed the car lock with one hand and slid his wallet into his front jeans pocket with the other. He didn’t know what to expect in an establishment like this in Fuckall, Texas — better to keep things safe.

Four thick lines of neon light ringed the roof of the stout structure. He figured the designers intended for this to give the building a seductive hue, an enticing red-and-purple beacon to lure eager patrons in. Instead, the light seemed harsh and insistent, like the first dull throbs of a looming migraine. The only sound he could hear besides its agitated hum was the crackle of his shoes on the dust-gravel of the parking lot. Realizing that his feet were moving way too quickly and that he had craned his body as if hearing a new secret, he forced himself to slow to an amble. He wanted to look purposeful but not fixated. He got himself to stop thinking about the possibility that Delia might be inside by focusing on how much he wasn’t thinking about it.

Rounding the corner to the front, he spotted a group of three guys huddled together by the door, muttering to each other. They stopped what conversation they were having to look at him. The short one ran his thumb around the top of a rusted Zippo. The tallest one hid his stockier bulk under a crinkled black leather jacket with torn epaulettes. The third guy had a bushy, steel-wool mustache and wore a gray suit jacket with black pants that were clearly from a different suit. They held their eyes on Ethan. He looked at them, then towards the closed doors of the club, and back at them. He nodded. He wanted the nod to say, “Hey, fellas. Just here to see tits, same as you. A bunch of cool guys, gathered together on a Saturday night. For tits.” He doubted all this came across.

After a few seconds, Steel Wool peeled off and walked towards the door. He pulled it open and, while propping it with his rattlesnake boot-ed foot, held a hand out towards Ethan. “Humph,” he grunted. Ethan complied, digging his license out to hand to him. The man eyed the foreign California license as if seeing an alpaca for the first time. His mouth opened as he examined the document, a prominent chipped tooth emerged from the underbrush of his upper lip. Apparently deciding that a man clearly in his late thirties with temples that were both graying and receding probably wasn’t carrying a fake ID, he gave another grunt. Ethan took his license back, nodded again, and walked into the club.

Rush Hour

We hurry, we bustle, we are ever focused on where we need to be,
huffing at the people in front of us, the people who stand still

on the left side of the elevator like they’re doing it on purpose,
just to annoy us, the ones who have to be somewhere, always, on time.

We rustle, we juggle, the coffee sloshes from the unsecured lid and
slops down our sleeves, just missing the smart phone, the Charlie

card, and we lament the spoilage of yesterday’s dry cleaning only
long enough until we remember something else to worry about, something

half-buried somewhere between last night’s first drink and this
morning’s half-assed goodbye kiss. How could we have forgotten?