Monday, November 29, 2010

The Ballad of Lula Del Ray - 6



They rolled and rolled
and with every rock in the road, they pitched into the air
and tumbled back down.
To and fro
round and about.
She stopped noticing after a while.
Like the gentle rocking of waves
the prairie lulled her to sleep
bump by bump
tucked tight into Tatu's armadillo crook.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Ballad of Lula Del Ray - 5


Lula Del Ray
maybe twelve years old if anyone had bothered to count
wasn't sure what to do with herself
now that she was properly free
to do
whatever it is
she liked.

You couldn't walk to space.
She knew that much.
Certainly not on her spindly legs and tender feet
grown soft from years aloft, surrounded by tiny-flowered wall paper.
So she did the next best thing
(which is as you know
so often the next thing you think),
she spindled and shimmied all fingers and toes
up the stem of the biggest dish she could find
and sat
dangle-legged right on the lip.

The quiet red nose-lights at the tips blinked dumbly at her
out of synch
and she watched the
tumble weeds tumble.
It wasn't quite what she had imagined
all this.

Rugged, certainly, she had been expecting.
But this was just hardened clay.
Empty dips and valleys,
mountain cracks
twice-warmed with
of lava (she assumed anyway, that lava was at least around the corner).

Just a distinct sense of gotten-up-and-gone.

Nothing to see,
no hot-bellied lizard scramble
nor sugar puff mouse jump.
Nothing to see but.

A big tumbleweed.
An enormous tumbleweed.
A big, enormous, brambly, leather-skinned tumbleball
all covered in wiry hairs
headed straight for her.

it sent the dish spinning wild.
Tossing her up up up





till she saw it.
It was faint, hidden behind some clouds, but she saw it.
She was sure.
All the hidden junk and mess she was after
the waves that had shuffled across her eardrums so many times
the constellations full of noblemen and archers.

But lip-split-quick
she was yanked down back the way she came.
Before she could even remember to be afraid
she was back on earth
floating above the ground
in a nest of bristles and leather and sweat
bathed in something that could only be described as
the sweet, earthy musk of freshly chewed grubs


Bat-eared, rat-eyed, elephant-trunked and turtle-shelled,
other little girls of weaker compositions could be forgiven
for fainting at such a savior,
but not Lula Del Ray.

She had other issues to sort out.

She hopped down out of his arms, scowling
muttering half-curses about
desert sloths
near round knocking kids into the ozone.

The Armadillo tipped back on his tail shaking with laughter.
"I knew I'd catch you."
“You could’ve killed me!”
He laughed harder.
“Relax. I saved your life. It’s no big deal.”
"I'd sooner die than be indebted to an Aardvark."
"What's your name?"
"Mine's Lula."

She explained to him about the tiny house
The New Baden Brothers
and the sad, aimless rotation of their satellite home.

He told her stories of wild adventure
exotic locales
swashbuckling and monkeyshines.

About how he had seen the whole world at least twice over
from the suboceanic volcanoes
to the frigid Andes' peaks.
And in all his time
he had never once noticed
a couple of cowpoke (inauthentic or otherwise)
strumming away
in outer space.

But they both agreed
that didn't mean they weren't real.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Ballad of Lula Del Ray - 4


until all that was left
was a little girl
alone in a little house
with no little fire
no little newspapers
and no little smoke.

All that was left
was to head out yonder
(as the New Baden Brothers might say)
into the noon-hot dust.

The Ballad of Lula Del Ray - 3


No one was around to cut her down.
And she didn't mind it so much, really.
She didn't really have anyplace to go.
No plans. No friends.
She was happy to stay suspended, electric--
shot-through with the words of the world.

She knew all kinds of things thanks to the wires.
Like the capital of Mongolia (Ulaan Bator)
the atomic weight of tungsten (183.84 g·mol−1)
and the number of Emmys won by All In The Family (22).

She also knew things she thought maybe she wasn't supposed to.
Not secrets, exactly.
Not exactly.
But fractured half-thoughts
and muddled glimpses at
shapes without sides or curves.
It was a mess
and it made her want to scream.

It flushed through her daily
coating her insides with shine.
Her high-gloss mind was quick enough that eventually
she knew the answers
before she understood what questions to ask.

But if she could be said to LOVE anything
that glowed inside her,
she loved The New Baden Brothers.

Two brothers of dubious relation
bred from the great wave of Germanic immigration to Texas.
Originally from the quaint town of New Baden -- renamed Freedom
during the great early century German Hysteria --
they put on a downright quaint radio program
(as if there were any other kind)
but after a full day of brain-blasting by hot modern beams
she took comfort in their
sweet, corn-silk voices
singing songs that sounded like a made-up time.
Romantic songs about a prairie life she was sure they never knew.
Songs so fake they got real again.
But what she loved.
What she LOVED.
Whether they were singing from the 18th Annual Thistleberry Hoot and Holler
or White Ben Dunwitty's Cracker Barrel
they always signed off the same way:

"That's it for us now.
We're turning in for the night
and so should you.
It's late. Why are you even up?
Do you know how important a good night's rest is?
Shoot. Being awake this late will kill you right at your marrow.
So this is it folks. One last twang
pinging off this satellite of love we got here
floating round about the stratosphere
humming asteroid lullabies
to help warm up all those frozen comet tails out there."

And then they'd sing.

Bed is too small for my tiredness,
give me a hill topped with trees.
Tuck a cloud up under my chin.
Lord blow the moon out, please.
Rock me to sleep in a cradle of trees.
Sing me a lullaby birds.
Tuck a cloud up under my chin.
Lord blow the moon out, pleassse.

Then pop click hiss.
Then silence.

And she thought –
and she thought –
and she thought –
How big could it possibly be?

She imagined their satellite of love spinning button-over-telescope through space.
eternity, if there was such a thing
stretching in all directions and
here they were.
Stuck in our orbit.
Never seeing all the universe has to offer,
no edgeless twists of infinity.
Just circling, trapped by gravity and momentum all at once.

It didn't seem fair.

She thought,
"I'll free them."

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Ballad of Lula Del Ray - 2


Lula was child of wires.
Gumming at them from an early age,
fists twisted in spirals
crawling past off-white clumps
of nodes and tangle.
When they dangled in loops
she stuck her neck right through
bringing the it all crashing down
right on the top of her head.

There were always more wires.
At first it was just the dishes,
their thick gray mass snaked around the house
stapled at off-angles in damp corners,
under floorboards or punched through

They seemed to breed, splitting,
two heads now where there was only
just that one
just last year.

Maybe even
each month: twice as many as the last.

"Until one day"
when she was not much older
"she awoke to find"
she was plugged in where she hadn't been before.
“And as time went on"
she found herself wired to the wall in every direction.
Every cord pulled whip-tight
every socket filled.
Strung up like a cobweb.

Hanging there
in midair.
Just like that
for years.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Ballad of Lula Del Ray


Okay, wait.
Once there was a tiny shack with a tiny chimney
that puffed out a tiny puff of smoke
from a tiny fire
made of tiny logs,
tiny newspaper
and lit with tiny matches
by tiny people who were exactly the same size as you and I.
It sat in the middle of the desert. Not the exact middle, but near there.
About twenty minutes by car.
It sat in the middle of A Very Large Array. A very large array of what, you might ask.
Dishes, ma'am. Dishes.
Big, white government-issued saucers
their slanted bowls stretched on angled necks, craning towards the stars,
stealing vibrations out of the sky.
Network Fuzz.
Cable Fuzz.
Hot Spy Channel Jazz.
Interplanetary Gossip.
Waves of information.
All being broadcast
directly into the corporeal,
flesh and blood being
known as
Lula Del Ray.

Monday, November 8, 2010


There's no such thing as a friendly ghost
of course.
Death never feels fair
Even draped in warm white sheets.

Drifting this way through walls
lacking the chemistry to care
you are the same terror as ever.

The rattling of chains
as you lock your bike.
The crashing of pans
as you wash the dishes.
The low boat-groan that escapes
when you realize you're still here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

300 Character Limit

Why batter your mind or fry your eyes or soak your head or blanch your face or swallow your tongue why blow your nose or simmer your soul why spread your self why shave your nails or why plump your lips why chop your hair why infuse it all why not just dress and pull apart why not get stuffed.

Oh oh Oh oh Oh. We are gonna brunch. We are gonna hot meat and yolk fat on crust with booze. We are gonna syrup and booze and butter and booze and half-awake while we're at it. Drink the sleep out of our luxurious eyes, boy. Sop up hot sauce with vodka and cash. What a party what a party. My BFFs!

The button down and jacket you own in case somebody dies (the tie, too) don't fit your neck. Your fat head on vertical stripes or checks or solids and then those church pants with the stain. Your purple shirt is you. The rest, strangers. All this to go about your business. This is how you go to work.

Hot Contents
Bran scum, lemon poppy beard dust and sweet cheese-ooze glaze the paper cup you call home. Brown froth stains the sides. It makes your teeth look like shit. It makes your breath smell like shit. It makes your shit smell like something else entirely. And now look at you. You're sweating.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Bottom of the Earth

The Toughest Man in Antarctica

Standing at about 6’2

he wasn’t scared.

Some days, he would climb the tallest rock.

Other days just kick holes in the ice.

He had never won a fight

But he never lost one either.

He’d swear and curse just to hear the echo.

He could see his breath so long as he was alive.

He was the toughest man in Antarctica.

It gave him a lot of time to think.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Swimming Pool Poems For Water Wing Times


we both just love carp so much
it was inevitable, really.


Who's boring now, Margot?
Not the guy in the fountain with his suit on.
My briefcase is in here too
wet papers floating around
full of data, probably.
Who cares.
Not me.
Not the guy splashing around in this fountain
in his new Brooks Brothers suit
laughing, dancing
everyone must think I'm so crazy
and maybe I am
just a little ;)
but sometimes it's what you have to do
just jump in a fountain
to feel really alive.
I'm wet and alive and spontaneous and fun and I feel good
I feel good
I feel good about my life
and all of you.
And you, Margot.
How's this for living out on the edge?
I think the cops might have to ask me to leave.
That's how it goes when you're having too much fun
that's how it goes when you're going a little crazy
the man comes in and shuts you down.
That's how it goes
when you're in a fountain
with your suit on.

With this one act
I am absolved of my former life
by your wishes.


Hey guys!
Look over here!

Look at me!
Look at this!
Over here, guys!

I'm splashing!
This is great.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Those Who Can

by Your 10th Grade English Teacher

My wife...
My...fucking wife, she...
She should've gotten into a better law school.
I'm just trying to prepare you for the realities
to face
in college.
They don't take late work there.
There aren't any extensions.
They won't go as easy on you as I did.
As I've been doing. You'll see.
If my wife had--
if my wife had gotten into a better law school
I wouldn’t have to be getting my Masters now

and we’d—

she went to a second tier university

because she didn’t work very hard in high school

and just—

it’s affecting us now.

That’s all I’ll say.

I don’t mean to be too personal.

To give too much information.


You know.
But we would both be somewhere else is what I’m saying.

My wife and I.

She was so smart. Just like you.

She thought she was so fucking smart.

But now.


here we are.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bestiary 2: The Yeti

The Yeti is

the last of his kind.

He has some trust issues,

he's been left behind.



A big furry mess!

Take pity on him

but avoid his caress.

For though he seems sad

in tone and inflection -

he's drunk and he's thinking

with his dumb Yetirection.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bestiary 1: The Dismal Drunk

The Dismal Drunk,

the worst of his sort

too sober to smile

too bored to cavort,

he listlessly sips

an unhappy cup

wondering why he

can’t ever cheer up.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

On That Ass

"Tangible evidences of prowess--trophies--find a place in men's habits of thought as an essential feature of the paraphernalia of life. Booty, trophies of the chase or of the raid, come to be prized as evidence of preeminent force. Aggression becomes the accredited form of action, and booty serves as prima facie evidence of successful aggression."

Thorstein Veblen

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Life In Tiny Placards

100% Trash (Mixed Media, 2009)
Ryan Fitzgerald and Brendan Hill

Fitting with his stated mission of wanting to "poop in...everyone's...mouth," 100% Trash explores Fitzgerald's varied and lifelong fascination with the insatiable consumer and the inevitable result of his consumption: refuse. "The detritus we shed is more clearly indicative of who we are, socially, morally -- more intellectually honest about the self we inhabit than if we were to compose something with any consideration of style or forethought," frequent collaborator and noted thugonomicist Brendan Hill was quoted as saying in The Schooner Review.

Possibly originally titled An Happy Accident, suggestive of a smiling toddler, sitting proud in the bloated fecundity of his diaper, this pastiche (with materials as diverse as nonsense and falderal) is part of the "lazy and untalented" school that rose to prominence in the early 21st century. Combining a cultivated lack of ambition with the anarchic disinterest more commonly found in the glassy-eyed scrawlings of alcoholic mongoloids, 100% Trash is best understood as a culmination of Fitzgerald's callow period, also noted for works such as the conceptual piece, Playing Grand Theft Auto While Unemployed For Two Months. Unveiled as the centerpiece of the infamous "Saloon des refuses," the artist added to his reputation as a clear leader of the avant-garde by explaining his masterwork only in finger guns and mouth explosions.

While its intricacies continue to provoke debate among critics and scholars alike, the question of why it took more than one person to make this piece of shit is perhaps best left to history.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Strange Knows Strange

That summer he fell in love for the third time, by his own count, and this time it was to be the last. The feel of final love was like grass. Like plain green grass that sat on lawns and needed mowing. It was well regulated and even and never struck him to be portentous in any way whatsoever that he could notice. The penultimate love was something of the same, carrying with it not a hint of what was to come. But he had fallen in love for a third and final time and attended to the duties involved therein with the same motions he had learned from the previous two. Where to place the hands. How to cut with the knife and fork. The thing to say to the mother. Not so much the father, to whom there was never anything really to say that wasn't an apology.

They went to the movies and didn't talk about them afterward, which left him feeling scandalized, that the transition from silent darkness into pavement daylight didn't jostle opinion. She would not participate in his rites in this way. She would grapple with his hands in public, wrenching them away from each other, holding them firmly and sometimes tugging him to follow like a boy in mittens.

When it ended, the only answer was to be dead from it all, as this was his last love and now he knew it all along.

Given to overstatement, he threatened to drink himself into a coma, as if he even knew what that meant or would entail, what kind of slow organ-death that would require. Little things burst bit by bit, spring leaks that empty into the various pits and pails of the main-guts before seeping out into the glommy passageways and getting pushed back into the dense meats until they stopped squishing and contracting. The kind of real damage that can only result from something as misguided as tough self-love.

These are the reasons he didn't kill himself: The mockery to follow. The glib way he talked about dead acquaintances and their contributions to the culture, his culture, his immediate world. The thought that it might be met with indifference, derision, photoshopped pictures of himself with dick in hand, in mouth or worse, no one there to object or delete them. It was only the thought of more shame that pushed him forward, ever. Pressed on by the promise of paranoia, by the thought of suicide at all. It breathed a kind of surreal glow into the otherwise unremarkable life of a stranger, not so strange, but just alive as everyone else. Just as odd awake and unsure of the measurements of sleep.