Social Norms

It was one of those mornings you wake up and you don’t know if you’re naked or what time it is or even where you are. As I glanced around at my surroundings I found out I was at my place. The clock on the wall told me it was almost quarter after ten. I felt disoriented and closed my eyes to try to sleep again. It didn’t work. I estimated I got an extra twenty minutes though. Twenty minutes at least. My eyelids felt heavy like I’d been in a deep sleep.

Neither the hour hand nor the minute hand had moved an inch. It didn’t feel like I’d gotten enough sleep, but is there ever enough?

Never the less, I rolled out of bed and rubbed my eyes to get the lazy bastards to stay open. My hands ran down my cheeks, over the beard that’d grown from last week’s stubble. I usually didn’t let it get past a five o’clock shadow, and rarely let it graduate from that to stubble; but a beard is useful in New England during winter. Plus, being out of work, I could grow whatever style facial hair I wanted. I treated winter like a bear who drank and took painkillers recreationally.

I ran a bait and tackle shop up the road from a couple big lakes and right at the edge of a pretty wealthy neighborhood. The kind of place where if they didn’t have a bait shop around all the dumb trust fund babies would be putting caviar or kobe beef on their lures.

I took a look at myself in the mirror, focusing on my facial hair. It was more grey than brown. The ways aging sneaks up on us. Getting invited to less house parties and basement shows and more funerals and weddings. Ever since I’d opened the bait shop, I was getting invited to a lot more weddings and funerals. On one hand, I had the only bait shop for about twenty to thirty miles so I did get to see a lot of the same faces, on the other hand, who the fuck invites the guy who owns the local bait shop to significant life events? Yeah, I gave your son a free miniature tackle box key chain, sure I’ll be one of your groomsmen at your wedding. There are some social stratospheres I’ll never understand, like the people who will readily publicly broadcast their private lives to anybody they can. I made a Facebook a couple years ago because of this one ex-girlfriend of mine and regretted it immediately. Within a month, I felt like I could’ve written biographies of over a dozen people I’d graduated high school with – and their kids and pets too. I deleted it and realized social media wasn’t meant for me.

I gingerly walked out to the kitchen and found a note on the kitchen table with my name written real big at the top. I picked it up:

Yo that girl I’ve been talking to that I told you about last night said she was down to hang out and get lunch today

Sorry I didn’t wait til you woke up but I had no clue when you were gonna wake up. 

Thanks again for letting me use your car. Here’s the stuff I said I’d leave for ya for lettin me use the car.                                                                          Be back around like 6 or 7

Ted

Next to the note was a pill and a couple joints. I picked the pill up and my memory reproduced an image of Ted talking to me the night before about wanting to hang out with this girl but not having a car because his was in the shop. I vaguely remembered agreeing to let him take my car after he offered a 30mg Percocet and some bud. Good job, fucked up me, you got a pretty good deal out of this. (At this point I still didn’t remember that the girl lived about 45 minutes away)

Ted was my roommate and friend who I’d met a couple years after high school from hanging out with some of the same people. He was a musician and sang and played guitar in this band Porches and Plains. It was good music and Ted was good with a crowd. He was also a real dick about his band.

The Lazy Life

All night everything

with no instructions anywhere,

At least there's no more disco.

Counting calories, then counting steps,

New diet plan -

THE BEST ONE YET!

Get off the couch,

that's good enough,

Breathe in, breathe out,

that's exercise,

now get back to The Lazy Life.

Your phone knows more than you do,

No one knows more than you do,

Let's get offended,

everyone needs more attention.

More public displays of how they can't deal with rejection,

You have to hate everybody so there's equal tension,

And debunk the whole "common" in common sense myth.

rabbitHole

Rabbit goes back down his hole,
He’ll be down there for awhile,
Long, long, long dark winter
swallows up his soul.
“Too damn cold to leave here,”
“If I leave I’ll get sick,”
“I know I should eat carrots,”
“but I don’t want to move.”
Easter won’t come this year,
Rabbit’s stuck in his hole,
He lost his cotton tail,
all his eggs disappeared.
“Bit off a whole lot more,”
“than I could ever chew,”
“I can beat this hole still,”
“and beat that tortoise too.”
He sits in that hole all day,
and just nods his head,
No one can block his hole off,
he always finds his way.
Finally comes out and up,
Gets a glimpse of the sun,
He was cold and shaking,
and he had grown real thin,
No one could keep him warm,
One day outside of his hole,
that was enough for him.
So Rabbit climbed back in his hole,
all the way down,
It was black as a coal,
no one saw him again.

Dime A Dozen

George put the handle down on the table with less than a quarter of whisky still in it, just enough to coat the bottom of the bottle. The modest watch on his wrist said it was about quarter to eight, or nine. I couldn’t tell if I was reading it right, I just knew it was before ten because by then we’d be on the other side of town meeting up with everybody.

I grabbed the ashtray from the floor and sat it on the table and at the same time someone knocked on the door. George lumbered over to answer while Travis peaked his head in front of the window.

“Just come in,” George yelled to him and walked back to the kitchen table, sitting down with me. George had one of those small, dinky places where you can see every inch of the living room from kitchen and every inch of the bedroom from either other room. There’s nothing wrong with places like that, what you sacrifice in space and privacy you save in price. Too much space, can be a bad thing as often as a good thing – even more often – same goes for privacy. Especially privacy. Privacy begins as a tendency towards keeping personal information secret, goes onto exclusively using cash and never using banks, and ends as becoming a recluse living over a mile away from a neighbor in any direction.

 

Importance of privacy,
Practicality in hiding everything,
Loneliness is a man-made construction,
The sense of belonging,
Phantom vibrations,
Hanging yourself while masturbating,
Not all ideas are good ones.
When the cops find the kids huffing glue
they’re gonna kick the shit out of them,
Put the town’s middle-aged population on Xanax,
see how much they put up a fight against anything.
Check your local newspaper for PTA meetings.

 

Travis came in and his eyes went right to the almost empty bottle on the table. I lit a smoke as he pointed at the handle.

“Goddamn, how trashed are you guys?” He asked.

“We’re good,” I said as I sank into George’s couch. I almost burned myself with my cigarette in the process of sitting down. “Actually, we could probably drink some more.”

“Fuck you guys, I need to be on your level,” Travis whined.

“So knock out the rest of that handle and go to town on this one,” George reached into his freezer and threw another handle at Travis.

“Hey, your wish is my command,” Travis started drinking. My phone rang. It was Cameron, probably primed and ready to tear into us for not being at the bar yet. “Yo, who’s callin’ man?” Travis asked me.

“It’s just Cam, probably bitching about us not being out at the bar yet.” Then Travis reached across his body and mine and grabbed my phone out of my hand. My reaction time was admittedly a little off. Travis wasn’t in hyper speed, but he may as well had been. He and Cam were closer than Cam and I were, though, so I didn’t care. He took my phone into the kitchen and was mostly saying things I already knew.He just got here. George and I were drunk. I stopped paying attention and pulled a joint from my cigarette pack and waved it in George’s direction, waggling my eyebrows while my hand gestured towards the joint. He saw me, gave me the finger gun, and plopped down next to me. Travis disappeared through the front door. With my phone. “Where the hell does he think he’s going with my phone?”

George cackled. “Whoa tough guy, he literally just said he forgot his cigarettes in his car. He said he’ll be right back.”

I shrugged, that must’ve happened around the time I zoned out. I lit the joint and took a long drag. This felt nice. I wasn’t sure of what part was the most enjoyable. The absence of any ordinary concerns was great. Work was the closest to a torture chamber you could get if passive aggressive comments, dick-headed remarks, being surrounded by ass kissers, or mind-numbing boredom were considered methods of torture. Every thought brought me closer to thinking of her. The moment that thought crossed my mind, I was distracted by almost burning my finger on the joint. I took a deep, long hit and held it until I couldn’t hold it any longer without coughing. The smoker’s dance. Another hit, don’t exhale until your brain is all but begging for oxygen, let it out and pass it back down the line. She was already on my mind, I couldn’t fight it. Danielle. That one girl you think is put on this planet specifically for you, well that was Danielle for me. The way horrible things usually start out as some wonderful things that you lose or destroy or dismantle. They really only suck when they stop being your wonderful present and memories and become this marred past of nightmares.

“What’s up?” George asked, handing me the joint.

“Oh, nothin’ dude, just battlin’ the spins.”

“Damn, everthing’s standin’ still. Trust me. Uhh, lemme get ou some water.” And George went to the kitchen. I stayed in my head with the wreckage of my last relationship. Danielle was my white whale that drowned me in every one of my dreams to wake me up and keep my mind racing so that I couldn’t get anymore sleep. It was easiest to just keep it to myself. My friends couldn’t change or fix anything. Nobody really needs more problems than their own to burden them.

 

Every streak starts with one,
One win
or one loss.
It’s win some, lose some,
lose some,
and lose some more.
After long enough, anyone’s ego will get sore.
There’s an importance in keeping things to yourself,
secrets never stay secrets,
your problems are your problems.
You’re an island, never forget.

Instructions For Choking on Your Own Tongue 

With something of nutritional value, or psychological dependency, in one hand,
use the jaw’s muscles to open mouth and use the other hand to keep the mouth open,
take the almond, or pumpkin seed, or small, blue (or white or pink or any other color) pill and place it in the open mouth,
if it’s an almond or pumpkin seed or genetically modified beef or anything else that falls under the category of Food, then chew. chew. chew. mash up into tiny fragments. swallow. (Don’t choke.)
if it’s some sort of prescription pill with someone else’s name on the bottle, swallow. (Don’t choke.)
For Food – let stomach acid digest and do nothing. Nine times out of ten it won’t be food.
For a pill – Wait anywhere from half an hour to an hour and feel high, the chemistry of the human body tells the brain it’s feeling pleasantly altered within (usually). If no fuzzy feeling rushes through the head or spine then: 1. someone got burned, or 2. one pill wasn’t enough. Take more, or, if burned, use violence.
Violence is either always or never the answer.
Open mouth again, high or not, and stick fist into it.
Snap jaw shut. In one scenario, the fist flies out of the mouth fearing for its safety – the tip of the tongue suffers the bite, blood vessels explode, tendons snap – “Fuck.” In another scenario, fist gets bit, bur nerves light up with pain and fist pulls out of mouth before serious damage is done. This time.
Scenario 1 ends like this…
Missing tip of tongue makes speaking next to impossible and so, with this new inability, there were no verbal missteps.
No confrontation,
No misinterpretation,
Safe and stripped of pertinent experiences for better, and for worse.
Lonesome, but free of enemies. Free of friends. Free to use a computer, free to order a black handgun, free to unload when all hope is lost.
A gushing hole in the head.
Scenario 2:
No lesson was learned, the point was completely missed:
“You’ve gotta learn to put your foot in your mouth sometimes,” this line came through the other end of the phone, a half-obsolete cell phone with practically no service, just unclear enough to morph “foot” into “fist.”
Sarcasm and satire are greatly underappreciated
also largely unnoticed.
With no damage to the tongue, speaking continues to go off without a hitch.
A dark bar finds a fist with teeth imprints high off some downer and holding a beer,
The game of pool that had been going for some eternity (picture five minutes painstakingly dragging by) finally ends.
The teeth-imprinted hand grabs a pool stick and tries to talk someone into joining, the charisma of talking, nobody wanted to play, egotistical, masculinity-belittling comment, angry stranger overreacts, he was an ex-con, flash of a pistol, loud blast, ears ring, body abruptly collapses to the ground, the jaw’s clenched so tightly then that the tongue is severed.

 

Bottomless Cup

Caught on to how everything is temporary, 

From conceited narcissist 

to humble and self-deprecating, 

There’s a place where doing nothing 

blends into overcompensation. 

The luxury of being stuck in the middle is

not being stuck at all, 

Getting out is as easy as saying, “Left or Right,”

“Yes or No,”

Giving Up or Deciding to Fight. 

Leaving the top is a painful comedown, 

and leaving the bottom is a challenge,

Dropping from the top is rarely intentional

and climbing from the bottom takes all this time and effort 

So I choose this deep in between

where I can determine on my own what everything means.  

Existential Anxiety

Catch up to get ahead

Lifestyle choices 

Life mislead 

Whatever else still lies ahead

Cow shit problems 

Roadways flooded

The Second Coming never came 

Cars sank into impassable roads 

Like babies dunked in the Holy Lake

I was baptized but I came back up 

I’m 

More than a moron 

Still

Less than a saint 

What’s covered with rust

gets covered with gold paint