Mondays suck. Unless you’re an unemployed, and unemployable, alcoholic. For us, it’s prolly the best day of the week.


I woke in the same hangover fog as always. Hangovers really only suck if you drink once a week or so. When you drink all the time, they just become a part of life, like that old football injury that’s always nagging on you.


It took me a bit to acclimate myself. It was all starting to come back to me. The little bar on the side of highway 101. The skanky chick in the booth. We started on gin shots and worked our way to bourbon. She kept calling me Jack. It’s my name, not my drink.


Sitting on this foreign bed made me think I had to be at her house. The purse in the corner looked familiar. I rifled through it. A couple tampons, a condom, three Bic pens, and two dollars. Her life sucked more than mine, but I took the two dollars anyway. I found my pants and navigated my way into them. My head hurt. The room smelled like piss and fucking.


I found my old T-shirt. Put it on backward. Pulled both arms in and rotated it around my body. Then poked my head under the bed hoping to find my shoes. There was one shoe and a weird little box. Made of a heavy wood, this little box had piqued my curiosity, so I looked over my shoulder and removed it from its spot.


I heard a kid talking. Then the familiar sound of the lady’s voice. Still couldn’t remember her name. Probably never asked. Didn’t matter anyway. I wasn’t planning on hanging around here at all.


My attention turned back to the box. Its carved lid looked like something from an old movie. Each groove seemed to convey a different time when people crafted works instead of outsourcing to China or India. The wood was hard and clearly old. It didn’t look as though a single nail or screw had been used. The corners of the box came together in a dovetail joint, and even the wooden hinges spoke to craftsmanship.


When I opened the box, there was a little resistance that comes with the changing of the seasons, but it finally popped open, and I sat looking at its contents for about a minute before I felt sick enough to close it. I was planning on sneaking out anyway. Now, though, I wanted to get out and get out soon.


From the next room, I heard the woman’s voice, “Daddy’s home.” This could get worse. A strange man in the nuptial bedroom that smells like piss and fucking. There was no way this was going anywhere good.


“Not again, mommy. I don’t want to.” I heard the kid outside the room. Then the woman told him he had to.


“You know the rules. Now, let’s do this.”


The door opened. I sat behind the bed with the box in my hand. From their perspective, they probably only saw my startled face poking over the sheets.


The boy held a 12 gauge shotgun. He was a mere 10 feet away, so even if he missed, I was fucked. He held it shaking and crying, and his mom put her hand on his shoulder.


“Take care of daddy now, Danny.”


I saw a flash. The sheets and pillows spit forward and exploded a plume of feathery down. I heard and felt a simultaneous crack. The sound of bone shattering. It felt hot and angry. The sharpest pain that didn’t hurt. Then it all went black.


All the sounds
come together in cacophony.
Strident. Grating. Vexing.
And I sit.
I watch it all float by.
The pandemonium,
resonates through
my body.
And I sit.

The next wave.
An emotional strike.
Mind moves,
and body resonates,
and I separate the two
threads and watch
as they unwind,
and lie impotent
before me.
And I sit.

Then hunger.
Each attacking
in waves.
Sometimes I engage
but I realize
I have engaged,
And I sit.

I sit goal-less
and directionless.
I sit through pride
and envy.
I simply sit.

Then the bell rings,
and I stand up
and move.

I stare at my feet,
enveloped in my
own thoughts.
It’s dark in here.
So very dark.
Can you hear me?
A blizzard,
tender and violent.
A tragedy of pink flurries
whorls about me,
as I sit in the eye of the storm.
The House of Gentle Rain—A Travel Essay


The brown-green blades of the Gramagrass undulate in the dry breeze, and the only sound is the distant soughing of the trees. Before me stands a house—antebellum and Southern, but the breeze and the dry, scarce air tell me I’m not in the South—far from. I’m somewhere old, unfamiliar, desiccated. A door creaks and the wind lightly blows against an unseen gate. It gently knocks against the post to which it would normally fasten, and at a picnic table, two women sit debating but refusing to raise their voices and disrupt the sacred air. They talk softly, their gestures subdued, but I sense the anger they repress, jaws tightened, mouths contorted; they don’t seem to notice me.


It seems one woman entrusted the other with a large sum of money that was lost. Exchanging susurrus daggers, they hiss stings back and forth. The woman on the left pulls a purse from under the table and thrusts a couple of bills to her counterpart. They are accepted with soft indignation. I know both of them, but I can’t seem to remember their names, and they still don’t notice me, so I carry on. The veranda, a dry moat encircling the house, is enclosed in a crusty whitish-blue wooden banister left open before the two doors where a staircase lies beckoning me to cross its threshold, and where a rocking chair moves with the gentle wind that billows the curtains behind the open windows.


Making my way up the stairway and across the veranda, I hear the clop of my heavy shoes on the wooden deck; the sound engages me, overtaking the gossamer sibilance of the wind as it blows over the sagebrush, which barely covered a powerful and unnerving silence. Reaching to the doorknob, I move into the house. The foyer is dark and smells of years of emptiness, and when I enter, the door closes behind me, so gently I barely notice. A soft chanting draws me into deeper into the house. The hallway, a dark passage, leads to an even darker room into which I pass. I move forward; my feet as if separate from my mind, until I reach a large hall. No one notices me except one woman. Everyone has their heads down, and they chant in a language I don’t understand—one I’ve never heard. The one woman who looked up from her prayers makes her way to me walking gracefully through a garden of people until she stands just before me; I hear her breathing, slow and soft, calling me to join, and my body feels alive. Electric. Our eyes meet; hers glow green, juxtaposing her dark hair, skin, and eyebrows.


We stand face to face for a moment, and she puts an umbrella in my hands, which I accept with uncertainty. My body knows where I’m supposed to sit, and I let my feet take me to my place, gliding through the people until my body gently kneels itself. I don’t know the language, but I join in the chants as if something or someone behind me was pushing the air through me, and my voice sounds loud, rough, and foreign. Each sound growing from within, passing through my throat, rough and clumsy, and to my mouth where an unknown force moves my lips and jaws—aware and focused but awkward and uncoordinated.


All sound stops—we stop, and I hear rain, and it is moving across the room, toward me, through us, and as it approaches, we open our umbrellas, heads still bowing, sacrosanct, opening our umbrellas one at a time. Each umbrella is black, and unfurling them, unfolding them, and extending them we all kneel silently under a dark canopy in the soft whisper of gentle rain.

gentle and clean,
pressing itself against me.
I drift.
I fall,
and the fiery canopy above
watches over me.
Another gentle gust
ushers me upward
as the others spin by.
A blizzard of golds and browns.











Phfickled. With every step, he became more  aware of the gin oozing from his pores. He had passed that point of fluid peace that alcohol brings when it softens all life’s edges. In his mind, the night had fragmented, and the only words he remembered, “Bill, we’re going to have to ask you to leave.” Fuck them.


Passing cars scored the scene as he pulled himself up to the top of the guardrail to puke into the river. The splash of vomit echoed through the canal. He spoke out loud to himself, “There are worse places to puke.” Then he pressed his face agains the cold steel of the rail for some respite from the discomfort. Soon the nausea crept back up on him, forcing its way into his consciousness. Once again, abdominal muscles spasmed and the taste of bile returned. This time he missed the top of the rail, and vomit came shooting back at him.


He pulled himself to his feet, then somnambulated along the road, propping himself against fencepost and lamppost until he arrived at his front door. It was locked. He banged the door a couple times, then sat with his back against it until sleep finally took him over.



Linked to all other activities
in the universe
the activity called I
moves and breathes,
untangling thought
from feeling,
no longer independent
from all else.


When the particle
called I
finally dislodges
and discovers
its place
in the cosmos,
a wave
and is free
to experience,
and claim
its place
as god.