Category Archives: The Brain… It Bleeds!

On Listening to Some Poetry

I was looking at a mountain and listening to the low hum of traffic and hearing the thin and scratchy voice of a poet reading his poem

Maybe it was about bees and maybe it was about soldiers and maybe it was about me listening to that poem in that moment, where flowers and green things and something papillated, probably kiwi fruit

There are some clouds in the sky and that ever present flag and water and the trees and constantly moving cars and bikers and walkers and nothing’s static at all, not even that mountain, probably

A stork? yes, somehow a stork flew by, it’s curvular gullet so strange and elegant and out of place here where I live

The poem’s been over for a while now I’ve just been thinking about rewinding

Or maybe not

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Dramatis Personae

Gorilla Jones smoked a pipe. That’s about all that could be said about Gorilla Jones.

Daisy “The Axe” Gorges regularly rides on the wing of a biplane. She’s only fallen twice.

Billifold Montclair reminds everyone of that one guy whose name you can never remember. Oddly, everyone remembers BM’s name.

Patches O’Glary once rode a donkey on the autobahn. It did not go well.

Chrysanthemum Starcrasher needs $17.33. It’s for a good cause.

Bordles “Who Needs a Nickname?” Doon could dance the macarena. And that’s it.

Nellie “Nelladabracadabra” Smith once lost two bottles of whiskey, a Smith & Wesson six-shooter, and three Persian cats in a poker game. She wasn’t too torn up about it.

Bellinda Kratzenbreureker (AKA Count Formos von Sickleback AKA Douglas Bonebreak McGillicutty AKA Dave) was known by many names, not all of them known.

Steuben Fox once broke his eyeglasses by looking at them too hard. Otherwise, he was not intimidating.

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I Yam What I Yam

Unearthly yams pelted down from the heavens. That’s why they were unearthly. They didn’t come from round here. They weren’t yams exactly, but that’s mostly what they were shaped like and the color was about right, apart from the glowing. And I guess they were a bit larger than regular yams, if I’m being honest. They dented up my ’73 volky pretty good. And Bob’s gazebo was torn up pretty bad. We were all pretty torn up about that too. Many of us on the block liked drinking our morning coffee under there, which Bob permitted all friendly neighborly like. Alfredo, well, he tried to eat one of them “yams”. It was in the nature of a dare. I don’t think he would’ve come by it on his own, but he never could stand down from a dare, that Alfredo. Those of us who witnessed it just shook our heads at Boggins, who shoulda known better. I mean, none of us wanted nothing bad to happen to Alfredo, cuz he makes a mean potato salad whenever we had a potluck or a block party or even just a BBQ. Everyone made sure to invite Alfredo. He put chopped up pickles in his salad or something. Maybe that was it. Still, even though he ate one of those yams, no harm seemed to come to him, that we could see. Still, we made sure to snub Boggins after that, for a couple weeks at least. He always brought these deviled eggs. They just weren’t as good as Alfredo’s salad. Nancy, she probably wouldn’t let it go for months. But that was Nancy for you. Bringing everyone on the block handmade doughnuts (crullers and bear claws) except for Boggins. I don’t think Boggins noticed though. That’s just how he is. Mostly we just tried to ignore the yams, but eventually we all got together and cleaned em up, tossed em in the garbage can. We didn’t want to use those glowing yams in any kinda composting type situation. Who knows what’d grow out of that? Anyway, we’re all looking forward to Dave’s yearly garden party. We sure do hope Alfredo brings his salad!

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The Cat Where You Expect It

Señor Velasquez Dos de los Tressos stared at the cat lingering motionless on the windowsill, its long curved tail draping down below. The cat’s round unblinking eyes stared at de los Tressos and, with a flushing face, he averted his eyes away, deftly mopping his brow with his florid, scarlet handkerchief and quickly twirling one of his thin, outjutting mustachios. When de los Tressos looked back, the cat was gone! Vanished! The curtain drifted gently back and forth even though the window was closed. He looked frantically about the room. Ottoman, no! Scattered blankets on the chaise longue, not this time! The sideboard with the deliciously concealed sherry and amarillo, never! de los Tressos felt subtle pressure on the back of his left calf and stumbled backwards, crashing into a small round table, holding a cactus and several decks of cards, which scattered all about, jacks and queens and aces fluttering through the air.

Señor Velasquez Dos de los Tressos lay on the floor and groaned. The cat leapt onto his chest and settled there, purring, shoving its paws gently into his chest.

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What’s Been Said

They said
–the ones who carried all the things on their back, their shriveled backs, with tangled up knapsacks, scarves and other paraphernalia, their lives wrapped up in pouches and zippers and strings–
there’s no room for you here.
And so we left.

They said
–the ones who’ve carved meaning into their foreheads and shouted at the sun until it bleeds and whistled some dying moon down from the pool of cool brown water up above, while some foxes yelp in the creaking forest swaying–
there’s no space for you here.
And so we left.

They said
–the ones who crouch in dust and ashes and call it feasting and cackle madly over shreds and patches, while pointing (see! see!) at the piles and heaps of sodden rotting masses of all that wasn’t eaten–
there’s no room, no space, no home for you here.
And so we left.

They said
–the ones who jab themselves with needles in the hot or cool darkness while shadows of light flicker over themselves, all hot and cold in the darkness, wanting the things seen and unseen, and having neither, seeking nothing, having it all brought here–
no room, no room, no room.
And so we left.

Taking our treasures with us. Our holy treasures with us. The treasures they’ll never see or know. The treasures in the sky above or swinging down below, treasures in the gleaming ashes of the night.

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Doing or Not Doing

doing or not doing, endlessly looping around it
well, not endlessly, but you get the idea
trapped in a kind of bubble of time
that’s either one bubble that lasts forever
or a series of identical bubbles practically indistinct

there’s a kind of caterwauling that comes with nothing
a flashing nonsense when the mind spins down
call it a dream, if you like, or a distraction
there’s time enough for nothing
plenty of time for lazing about day after day

there’s a notion that a person should be doing
what? anything just as long as it’s something
why? who knows, maybe it’s our religion
so when someone, my beloved, does nothing
it’s so easy to point fingers and rage

maybe there’s a kind of boldness in saying no
in refusing to buy into the game that we all play
I mean, there’s not much to recommend it
a generic job for a generic people
where’s the wisdom here? sitting under a tree or madly racing after

so, my best beloved, I’ll try to learn the lesson
you’ve spent your whole life teaching me
why should I think this is a one-sided game
with all the direction arrows pointing at you?
maybe it’s me.

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All the City Feels Asleep

but I think you know it’s not
there’s no moon about, it’s already slid past
still, it’s pretty quiet
nowhere but the cold collapse of night
these slow building blocks of sleep
feeling that sleep creep up the cheekbones
toward my eyes
still for some reason
the slow crinkle in the neck
the ache around the corners of the eyes
the cold toes
the distant murmur of rockets
finding this dark quiet so charming, or alarming,
that I can’t quite let it go
not yet

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Had a dream the other night that I’d lost my wallet. I wasn’t too upset about it, because I knew I was dreaming. Still, I went searching for my wallet anyway. For some reason, I went searching for my wallet in the forest. It wasn’t there, so I went home. My home was different than it usually is. I woke up a little later.

My son is obsessed with the idea that he can’t remember his dreams.

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Who Knows More than the Muffin Man?

(No, not that one. The other one. We’re talking huckleberries, not raspberries.)

Stoov Rumpkin thought hard about the choice. It had even gone so far as charts, graphs, and spreadsheets. Not that that had added much clarity to the whole deal, but still, there was something satisfying about filling up little unreal boxes with cold, hard numbers. Not to mention all the delightful stylings that could be applied: borders, colors, angles, arrows, muffins, and crosshatching. Some of those numbers even related to real things! Like how many stuffed weasels lived in Aunt Augustina’s gold filigreed hatbox. Really, a surprising number.

It wasn’t every day that Rumpkin had to make a decision like this. There was a lot riding on it. The whole day might go pear-shaped if he made the wrong decision here.

Suddenly a hobgoblin writing on a scroll and riding a warthog leapt over the ottoman and presented Stoov with a bill for damages. He reluctantly accepted the bill ($4,372 for bent and broken cutlery; $572 for scorched linens; and, $17 to replace a nice set of gardening gloves that, inexplicably, were missing three fingers between them) and the hobgoblin rode off, ululating all the while.

Stoov stewed for a bit. Crumpled up the bill and tossed it on the pile. Of other bills. For damages. To things. So many things.

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All the Fat Faces Need Feeding

(At least that’s what it says on the tin…)

“Poor little match girls bedamned,” Porkulips Troughswallower grunted, shoveling heaps of some kind of meat thing into his grotesque mouth, framed by a cauliflower chin and a potato-y nose, natch. “Never seen ’em do a lick of work, not one minute.” He waved his fat yet tiny hand toward the window, outside of which they’d stacked up the match girls like cordwood, for lack of something else to do with them. “Never worked hard like we’ve worked hard, amirite boys?”

All the boys (they weren’t really boys, but febrile men between the ages of 52 and 93) snickered and guffawed and snorted, messily spilling gravy and port all over their blouses (they really couldn’t fit into regular shirts anymore) and ties (clip ons). It’s fair to say that none of the boys (or “boys”) were much in the way of what one might call a self-reflectin’ type.  Some silent witnesses brought in the 17th course. One might suppose their tongues had been removed, but one would be wrong, thank heavens, they were merely the spies of a foreign power. None of them knew this of the others, but all thanked their lucky stars they’d landed such an easy gig (and on Craigslist, no less!), with secrets rolling out of mouths as easily as the food rolled in.

PT breathed heavily, because he always did, leaning down to try and reach his dropped fork, fallen out of his thick yet teeny fingers, until giving it up for a lost cause and grabbing one from his neighbor.

There wasn’t much talking after that (they weren’t big on words, you see) and the sounds of slurping and chomping echoed on long into the night. Their appetite, it would seem, could never be sated.

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