Outcast – Jed


There is something that I know now but didn’t know most my whole life. You’ve got to control, to some degree, where you let your mind go. I remember the time when we were living in San Francisco and Moxy kicked me out of the house until I got clean. I was using so hard I wasn’t even thinking about what it was doing to Moxy.  I just stood there and it seemed like right out of the blue Moxy is mad at me in a way that was really important I recognize. I’d gone on and off of heroin and other hard drugs since I was fifteen years old. We’d been a band for almost two years by this time. She wasn’t no angel. She did a lot of coke on the road, but she always knew how to say no. What got her this time was the way I was handling myself around the women on the tour. I swore a thousand times to her that I would never cheat on her, but one time after a show there were these two girls. I didn’t know they were only sixteen. They looked about 26. We’re at the party afterward and these girls are hanging all over me the way they do when one of them, I guess it was a dare by the other one, rips off her shirt and pushes her tits right into my mouth. That’s a strange predicament to be in. When a man has got a nice pair of tits actually pushed into his mouth there is a big moment there for contemplation. A tit tastes good no matter whose chest they’re connnected to. I can’t say that I wasn’t pleasantly surprised, but I was just as much irritated because what if Moxy was looking. She wouldn’t understand. Which she didn’t. That girl just kept pressing her tits in my face and then tried to roll on top of me. I was like a rag doll. I didn’t know how to stop it. My first thought was that this wasn’t necessarily something that needed to be stopped because, like I said, it was quite nice.  But I got to my senses after a second or two. Maybe it was more like fifteen. I don’t think that I licked them at all, although I can’t be quite sure. Anyway, Moxy did see it all and I found out about it in the limo back to the hotel. She didn’t say a word to me until we got back to the hotel. She took a shower and got ready for bed. Then I did the same and was about to get into bed when she threw the pillow at me and just told me to go, that she didn’t want to see my tit-sucking face. Then she threw the alarm clock at me, but it was connected to the wall so it just fell to the ground. Next, since she wasn’t going to allow herself to fall victim to the same mistake again, she jumped out of bed and unplugged the lamp and chucked it at me. It would have hit me in the head had I not deflected it with my arm. She says “Go do your smack. Go suck some more titties. I don’t want to see you anymore.” I tried to reason with her, but it was impossible.

Everybody must have gone through that empty feeling when you think that you have blown the best thing of your life. It’s like the only feeling you’ve got, the only blood you’ve got in your body is just about an ounce and it’s sitting down there at the pit of your stomach.  I kept thinking “what did I do? What did I do?” I kept thinking that over and over again, going over and over what happened with that little slutty girl backstage. But it was too late. I was released. Cut free.  When I walked out of that hotel room I was in shock. Bewildered. I sat in the lobby waiting for a car rental for a half hour.  When I got it, a blue Mercury Topaz, I just started driving. It was two a.m. It was just me and the California coast and that’s the way it was for the next two weeks. Just me, my heroin, and later, an acoustic guitar bought in Santa Cruz.

This little trip was different than the second time that Moxy kicked me out of the house, many years later when we lived in the Village.  These two weeks were spent in a despair that I realize now went deeper than just Moxy kicking me out for an accident. I knew in my heart of hearts that she would come to understand the nature of my sexual accident if that’s what you can call it.  Whereas the second time I knew that the bullshit was over, that I’d gone too far in my insanity and my unbelief that Moxy would ever really leave me. That time she really did. To her core she did. This California trek was the journey of a man who didn’t know what hit him, a man in shock who believed that the end was at hand with the only girl he really ever loved. Yet, it was too unbelievable that these years would be negated by such a cause. But it seemed to be the case. For two weeks I wrestled with whether or not it was truly the case. When I believed it I would sink down into the recesses of my mind.  I sought refuge in the stupidest things. I let myself go crazy. I followed every thread of thought and allowed it to be the truth when in fact it was the wriggly nerve endings of a mind too fucked up over many years to know that a mind has its fair amount of peripheral bullshit.

I lost my cool. I built fantasies out of the stuff of my life. I freaked on colors. I had musical epiphanies. I spent three days outside of Santa Barbara singing into a long tunnel that went under the freeway.  There was not a single minute where I was not stoned. I went into bars with good music.  I’d sit there and look at the band and the girls, but they may as well have been elephants. The thought of a woman other than Moxy made me sadder than I already was. It was really just a shit time.

But the original point is that all of those whacked out thoughts along the coast pointed more to hell than heaven. If I hadn’t allowed hell into me through the needle I’m sure that I could have rested out Moxy’s anger at a Holiday Inn somewhere.  Instead, I let my fantasies take me down. I let it. I realized you’ve got to control your mind.

It’s just that when the only girl you love leaves you you feel like you are dead. The eyes don’t work. They see, but they do not care about anything that they see. It’s the same with your breath. You breathe, but it seems like bullshit too. Eating sucks too. The only thing that matters is flying away on those dreams which ultimately all point down. Ronnie James Dio was right.  When a woman becomes a witch you must hail her.  Moxy’s wrath was that of a woman with great strength, the darker side of Moxy’s persona that is hinted at, but never fully exposed.  Ultimately, her power is in leaving you knowing that she is the reason for everything good in your life. She becomes the embodiment of the good aspect that the witch inside of her now controls.  You have been banished. You may never, never, ever go home. The only way is down. Yeah, Dio was right.

One day I called her and she apologized, saying she overreacted. Have you ever had your life handed back to you?


Published in: on May 24, 2019 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

More Lost Words – Albert

I have lacked discipline.
I am 36 years old and have discovered that my life has passed me by.
I don’t really know what to do about this.
I fight the thought that I am a failure, but by all accounting methods that I can think of, I am.
I have written no published novel.
I have spent two years in college, gaining a writing degree, yet have not been able to find a way to make it pay off for me.
For this I am sure that I am truly not bright.
I live at my mom’s house and work at the supermarket.
Anything I have written sits either in a drawer or in shambles waiting for me to edit it, a task which I am hardly up to doing anymore.
What is this slow turning away from responsibilities of life?
It is like I am allowing everything to fall away beside me.
I am turning off the energy, not wanting to create anything anymore, but am simply letting it all fall, waiting for myself to die.
By doing this, by looking and knowing that this peripheral stuff which I thought was so important can and will fall away I feel cheated, like everything I have done has been for ego’s sake.
For this I feel even more lifeless because it presents to me the question of what I could have done instead or what will I do instead.
It seems to me now that everything is vanity.

Modern society pretends to have the answer.
It is a steady flow of excitement just above our heads like some golden ring that if we try hard enough we are sure to snag.
I do not want the ring or the flow.
It seems evil.
If it wasn’t there we wouldn’t be living in such desperation.
I am unfortunate that my family believes that this flow is God.
If I choose to live among my family then I must too believe this.
It is not up to questioning.
I must worship the material and ever strive to translate my inner world into monetary prominence for this is the fruit of the flow.
If not I should move away to another community that does not believe in this.
I feel in my heart that this is what I must do, but for now I must pay allegience to my family, for if they are to die in a wrong minded thinking I must also sacrifice myself, at least to some degree, until I know that they are alright.
But I will not stay forever.
There will come a time when I will despise the sounds of my fingers typing away rationalizations into the night and I will steal away, leaving behind the businesses, the schemes, the chains that ask me to stay until I find a way to a final bed, the proper, fitting place for me in their minds, anyway, since my getting away would mean that there had been an escape and they had never found it.
Should you deny your salvation for your own brother?
Your soul for your family?
Jesus said that he came to destroy families, to tear them apart.
I believe I am almost ready to be torn apart from my family.
I find I rarely have anything to say anymore.
What I do have to say comes out in bursts after days or weeks of churning inside of me.
What poetics I possess come from out of necessity.
There is always a need for poetics when writing of discontent.
Without poetics we would not know why we write.
Poetics allows us the freedom to discover the nuances inside of ourselves. Poetics does not seek the dollar for it’s first prize.
It seeks to uncover, to release, to expel and to relate.
Poetics demands that our words have substance just as our breaths demand that our lungs receive oxygen.
It has no brain to tally scores, to consider fames, to collect money.
Poetics uses just enough words to convince the writer that there is something happening inside of him when all seems lost, when all seems dead or dying.
The disadvantage of poetics is that sometimes we attempt to stretch its purpose. We don’t know when to stop.
We think that if we are in the flow of the words passing on to the page then we will stop some sort of existential predicament, we will transcend our troubles like escapees up into a balloon, only we fully don’t expect the balloon to ever return to the earth.
This is the trouble with poetics.
We write and write and write and it feels good to write so we write and write some more.
Once we are flying we notice how small the troubles seem to have become.
We write some more and relish in the fact.
We write some more and suddenly, we realize, we’re bored.
The balloon starts to come down.
We don’t want it to so we write obvious wisdoms, stupid sentences, philosophy that tilts.
Then we come down, we step out of the balloon.
We are still human.
We are still mortal.
We are still very much disappointed in these facts, and our problems are still there only we have the memory of those few moments when we believed that they were not.
One thing I would like to say is that the English teachers in school rarely talk about what you must sacrifice to be a writer.
This is not to say all writers pay a heavy toll to follow their “vocation.”
But it should not be denied that many of them do.
Modern studies have shown that writers tend to have higher rates of mental illness.
It should be shown to students that writing is often a place where those who need therapy go to in order to heal themselves.
Students should not be given the idea that writing is a vocation like any other. Few people will ever find that they can support a family either financially or emotionally with the temperament of a writing artist.
Storytellers are a different breed as are researchers.
I am talking about those who stay with their words, pain themselves over their creation, their meanings, why they should be putting them down at all.
Students need to know that writers live the inward journey.
This should be a warning.
Unfortunately, this will not scare away the introverts in the crowd.
We only find such warnings exciting, that is, until, like me, they are 36 years old, living at home, without anybody to love them, no real job or prospect of career, only pages and pages of philosophical rantings that will most likely disappear with their own dissolution.
That’s a heavy sentence and a good place to end.

I’m sure somebody has used the title “notes on myself.”
I believe I have seen it somewhere before.
I am almost certain of it.
I woke up again today with a little inward sneeze that is either sleep apnea or some sort of allergy.
All I know is that it has been almost of week of the same thing.
I’m exhausted all of the time.
It’s amazing how hope is.
The nature of hope is that one day you have it, or know about it, and the next day it is gone.
The question about hope is whether or not to believe it when you have it and whether you should act at all when you feel that you don’t.
I am alternatively hopeful and not any given day.
Some days I look at what is on my plate and despair and other days I look at it and am happy that there is so much.
I hate the sound of the keyboard this morning.
It sounds like somebody chewing food, the food sloshing around between their tongue and teeth just before the wet, slurpy gulp.
I had a dream tonight of a librarian who said that the university has some sort of problem simply by virtue of it’s grand reputation worldwide as a learning institution.
Of course, I wondered what she meant, but then the crowd got too big, we were shuffled into it and by that time I’d seen my friend K.K. who had been doing some acting and I told him I was thinking of getting another part.
I was too busy networking, but K.K. didn’t care, didn’t really want to help.
I then got the realization (or I read it) that you should get your bit parts from the “hapless” stars of the production anyway, as if that is their responsibility which I know it isn’t.
A paragraph contains a single idea.
I have a lot of single ideas, but I think I have been rebelling against the paragraph for many years.
This is because I believed on some level that within every idea there are a thousand other ideas and I didn’t want to give the slightest impression that those invisible, unsaid ideas did not exist.
I think I want to use paragraphs correctly again.
If I do then I will be able to get to all of those ideas one by one.
Maybe it’s time for me to give myself a break.
Nobody is getting the inference of my rebellion anyway and by the time they do writing will have changed completely or the entire world will have been operating on the same conception in a different form, most likely technological in nature, for fifty years.
I will wake up an old dinosaur with an idea whose time had come fifty years before and scream “Eureka!”
I think the favored writers are the ones whose philosophy consists of adapting to their environment.
It is a pleasure to read the thoughts and musings of those whose day to day consists of wrestling demons and putting them in their place.
Twain was such a writer.

Published in: on September 30, 2013 at 9:15 am  Leave a Comment  

A short story too sad to finish – Albert

There were a lot of moments, moments that meant nothing to anybody but Sam, the dope eyed loner with nothing to do at any odd moment, seemingly, ever. A 40 year old now, he walked down streets alone, noticing nothing, apparently seeing nothing. There was a time when he was married that things mattered to him, but now it seemed all of the doors had closed. What seemed possible then was impossible now. The world was a self running machine whose fuel was merely money. What good to talk to others now that he knew this? So he didn’t. He walked.

Down Piedmont Street and up Dunbar, round Wayne Avenue then back down Stream to his apartment on Maple, just off the main street within a stones throw of a Baker’s Pharmacy and Subway sandwich shop. There in the yellow light of his room, a simple bulb made yellow through his own painting of it with spray paint, he sat and stared at his ceiling or read a book that he would usually put down after a few pages. Many days he would simply sleep waiting for his disability check to come in. Life floated over his head. Action was for others. There was music, but it only filled space, splayed time momentarily until he would shut it off through boredom and continue only to listen to the drones of empty space in an unwanted corner of the universe. God? A non-issue anymore. Such romantic fantasies lived in the minds of the young and those who had somehow made money off of such spirituality. Even the dreams had stopped. Was it possible to become a stone?
But even though his soul was tired Sam continued to milk himself for promise. He would look at things and relish things such as being cool when it was hot outside or being able to sleep when tired.

Published in: on September 30, 2012 at 1:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Henry Mills Diary

We laid down Anna Belle today for good. Mary cried, but she didn’t do all the things I thought she might. Then we carted her little casket over to the cemetery and placed in a hole. Mary cried a little bit there too, but still she didn’t do nothing drastic. Like I wrote before, Mary had taken immediately to talking strangely about the event, of how Anna Belle walked outside and why. She blamed the Densmore sisters down the hill for causing Mary to leave the house at night since one day Anna Belle walked down the road and ended up in their kitchen. She was only four. That was last year. The sisters brought her right back, but first they cleaned her up a little and put something on a little rash she’d developed from poison oak along the way.

The night before last Mary walked down to the Densmore house and took all her clothes off and started screaming “Witches! Witches! Witches!” The ladies didn’t come out. I heard her when she changed her chant to high pitched screams. I ran as fast as I could to the Densmore place and I tackled my wife and put a gag around her mouth, but she bit it off and started screaming “Witches!” again. I had no choice but to strike my own wife. She went soft like a rag and I carried her home. One of the Densmore sisters came out and asked if there was anything she could do and I said no. The other one was afraid beyond all explanation of fear is what that one sister told me, because she’d dabbled before in the mysteries, that had been the story anyway, and wondered if perhaps she had lain a spell upon our daughter without knowing it. I told her I didn’t think any kind of hocus pocus was strong enough to cause a girl to lose her life like my Anna Belle did, but nobody will ever know if Anna Belle was walking to the sisters house.

It doesn’t matter much anymore. The doctor gave Mary something and she’s sleeping peacefully now, but I’m not sure what it is that’s going to take place in her head in the next few months. I’m overwhelmed right now and searching for answers from God. Mary told me yesterday that she doesn’t believe in God anymore and I told her she was foolish for thinking that, but deep down I wondered myself and I got me out a bottle of whiskey and sat there by myself and wondered and wondered and wondered. I’m still wondering tonight. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get an answer. I don’t know.
I gotta quit. I hear Mary stirring.

It wasn’t nothing. Mary’s sleeping sound, but I don’t remember where I was going. I know it had to do with Anna Belle and Mary. We might have to quit this mountain. Since the war everything has gone to hell. I still got a little bit of money, but I told the doctor about Mary and what she did and he said it don’t sound good. He said I should keep an eye on her and if it looks like she’s addled that I should call him. Mary’s addled for sure. I know that. You just don’t know what’s going on inside her head anymore. I guess she loved Anna Belle more than even I knew, but love don’t explain why someone would want to go and give up their own life when one life’s been lost already. I guess she depended on Anna Belle. Hell, I did too, but I don’t want to go taking off my clothes and running naked down the road to the Densmore sisters house. That’s not right. If anything at all the only thing that’s changed with me since Anna Belle died was that I drink a little bit more than I used to. It helps take the pain away. I’ve had too much pain. I don’t want any more pain. Pain hurts.
That’s five drinks so far. Gotta a good number more left in this bottle. It’s kind of better to be lost like this than to have to think about my life. I’m sleepy though. Goodnight for now, journal.

Published in: on July 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Joey Kantor Query (letters never sent)- Albert

Dear Editor,

Is Christ dead in America? I don’t mean the regular practice of the Christian religion, but the teachings of Jesus, that of love, giving away all that you own to follow Him, loving your neighbor as yourself, loving your enemy? Ask a Christian this question and you will most likely be set straight real quick that, no, Christ is by no means dead, that He is alive and well. But is He?

If this hypothetical Christian is telling the truth then why is there a large mass of Christians in America adamant about following the Republican Party’s teachings that people should have to take care of themselves without government aid, that handouts are a path to a great evil called Socialism which insists on citizens helping citizens, that health care, the keeper of life itself, should only be given to those who are worthy of it, that is, can afford to pay for it. Also, if the Republican Party is supposedly the moral leader in the country, far ahead of the Democratic Party, then why are the Democrats much more in line with the teachings of the Republican Party’s defacto leader Jesus Christ who never once counted self-preservation over community well-being as an ideal?

I’m interested in all of the contradictions concerning Christianity in today’s Republican party. I would like to write an article and explore this subject. It intrigues me that Americans today who claim to be Republicans and therefore the standard bearers of morality represent some of the most un-Christian notions going around today. You would be hard pressed to find a Republican who would suggest giving everything away and following Him. Yet, at the same time, they will swear that they follow Jesus’ teachings literally. Warren Buffett has suggested to them that it is time to practice this sort of Christianity and was rebuffed by every Republican within hearing distance. It doesn’t add up.

I am a former staff writer for the Paradise Post Newspaper in California. Although unpublished as a novelist, I have written three of them. I am also an award-winning short story writer. My stories have appeared in The Dudley Review, Alchemy on Sunday and 971menu. I also have a blog at fargokantrowitz.com.

On the academic front, I have a Masters in mythological studies with emphasis in depth psychology. I studied spirituality, art and religion from around the world.


The Fargo Kantrowitz’z Literary Campsite

Albert’s Letter to Mr. Kimble, a Neighbor.

Your dog barks all night long. I can’t stand it anymore. I’m going crazy. It barks and barks and barks and fucking barks it never lets up it just barks and barks and fucking barks and barks and barks and fucking barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and fucking barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and fucking barks and barks and barks and fucking barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and fucking barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and fucking barks and barks and barks and fucking barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks and barks. Please put him in the shop at night.

Thanks, a neighbor.

Published in: on May 13, 2012 at 10:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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Anna Belle

I, as if there were an I, view from here to there, as if either were markable, and see with no eyes, feel with no heart, having ascribed the only human possibility for description, the term Soul to my essence. I live. I do. I. The brushing of me against a you proving only being but not existence.
Another way to make real “I” is to compare myself to a breeze. That too cannot be seen. True utterances, all, are unlettered so this arrival to you in letters feels (to you, not I) like an ever tightening vice. You feel, but do not understand that which you feel, that part of you which is me.
Embodiment? No. Never. Except for those places where I cannot help but rest. I am clear breeze. Oxygen. I rest within those who do not know me with their minds, whose bodies lilt into the earth, whose hearts blood fertilizes the ground, who, alone, wait at the doorway of all that I am and all which I am connected to.
I cannot want but what is. I cannot wish for anything, but I do love albeith without possession. I do so here in this place I find that I am. It is this spirit of God (your frail term) that gives these words. I have no words, have never spoken but this once, but more aptly, bathe in places in need of life.
I am not God. I have no face, but I am. You know me, have known me.. Wherever there is need I am. I do not interfere with flesh, although flesh I effect. But not like you comprehend. I am armless, faceless, a manifestation of nothing physical, but am completely relational, uncompromising in my simple, essential ability to be. I cannot explain why I am, although this does not mean there is not an explanation. It is better known than thought.

You willl know me through life. You will believe you can see me through the eye of another. I cannot deny that you will see my effect, but you will not see me. I am not, in the way that you might believe. Your eyes, your mind, cannot comprehend the power of the moment in between moments in which I inhabit. Have you ever wondered about the moment when you look away from your path and what feels like what is termed “spirit” is almost dead? This is such a moment of forgetting of oneself. No parents eyes upon you, no blinding light shining saving rays, cloud hidden moonlight, mud, an eyelid slipping downward while the other steels itself toward a hope, a sign not yet given. There I am. I do not need to be there nor want to be. There is no other reason that I am there but that I am.
What reason, what is known then is magical, a galaxy glued, a lion laying with a lamb. What earthly movement present then, of an earthly design, mysterious because unplanned. Creatures know I am there and when I am there they know that I come because what I come for may come with me. I am! I do not want! I do not want a soul to accompany me. I do not not want a soul to accompany. There is no me, but an even higher essence to go to. I am with. When I am with, the world knows my purpose.
So I will explain my place now. I am inside of a creature that has fallen into a river. On it’s right ankle is a five inch cut. (I was inclined to say “my”) On this creature’s side, this creature being a brown mule, there is a long cut three inches deep. Its legs are struggling to get a grip upon a tree in which it is entangled. Water washes over it’s eye which makes the world seem all sky. It sees the tops of trees as it fights to keep its head above the water. It releases the tree and falls back into the water. The stream takes it. I stand above it as it goes. I am in a place of peace and “knowledge.” I am poised to release the momentary bonds of I am in relation to this earthly creature.
Through it I inhabit the earth. I rise and fall, burrow through, deny. I am within the magic, the child’s word for the ultimate workings of my essence within the physical world. Yet I touch nothing. I do nothing. I am with. When eyes close I stand at the portal and ask the final question. The question is silent, never once spoken of, it is simply put when only a single word is used to describe it: love.
Love is the seed, the proof of a pure heart. I will help return to the workings of the magic any speck of it where I discover that I am inside.
As this creature floated down the stream I became the light behind the filmy eye left open, an eye blind to even the notion that any hope yet exists. I am then the magic. It is the most physical that I can become although I am not physical. I release myself to the workings of God and in so doing become the creature, it’s benefactor, it’s voice to the weight of the crushing world. I carry until earth demands flesh. I do not do. I am. One day I smiled. This image of me I believe all will understand.
The creature had a secret friend. It is called a chipmunk. I saw it all. The mule went into the woods of the mountain with the chipmunk, the chipmunk leading the way up the mountain and the mule lumbering slowly behind, although the mule was the creature with the destination, a home, high above the base of his mountain. But the chipmunk was wayward. Unintelligent. It’s foolhardiness in selecting paths caused the wayward mule to lose its footing, ending with the river’s freeze. The mule washed upon a shore. Its nose breathed the mud of the shore. It’s blood reddened the stones of the shore. I was small. Disappearing, but ever looking forward with the mule. I was expanding, reuniting with what can be explained to you as limitless space, knowledge without knowing, feeling without feeling, being with no essence. I was going back when I “smiled” and knew it was not to be.

A hawk sat perched in front of my sight. I could tell what it was and why it was sent. The hawk was brother to the mule, having shared a home in a house at the top of the mountain. The hawk had found the mule and was now simply waiting. The mule struggled furiously to stand. It could not. It lay there breathing heavily into the mud, it’s legs bloodying further in every attempt to rise. Upon the rising of a new sun, the breath of the animal had become calmer. Another sun and then another moon and then another sun and then another moon until the chipmunk arrived and with the utmost care took to finding tiny foods for the mule all in front of the watching eyes of a deadly enemy. The fearless chipmunk placed a kernel upon the lip of the mule and it would inhale. This continued for two more suns and two more moons. The hawk stayed in place, occassionally flying away and returning with a small creature of it’s own on which it fed. It watched.
It was almost a new sun when the mule felt the possibility of my great strength. With a mighty burst of thought it raised itself to its knees and then its legs, its eyes then dependent upon the eyes of the hawk before it. Then, for the first time other than for reasons of self sustenance, the hawk moved away, flew several feet so that the mule turned. It then flew again. The mule’s legs moved very slowly toward the hawk. The chipmunk followed. Three times the chipmunk distracted the mule into believing there was a better path to follow, but the hawk, it’s hunter instincts negated with this particular small animal, swooped down upon it, sending it scurrying away. The chipmunk, keenly aware of the predator, still would not leave the mule, but stayed with it, behind it, beside it, preferring to be within this new journey along the brush and crevices.
I am strongest within the notion of what you can conceive of as the properties inherent within a smile, that term which I used to describe the sudden illumination of hope of sustained love felt by the mule..How brittle the human terms for the essence of Life.
There were twenty-two more moons and twenty-one more suns before the mule arrived home. When it arrived it looked into the eyes of a family, including the eyes of a young one with the same world-sense, love-sense that Anna Belle had. Has.

Published in: on March 2, 2012 at 4:19 am  Leave a Comment  

The Other Side – Dink

The Fargo Kantrowitz’z Literary Campsite

(An important message.)- the other side

We interrupt this sage. Yes. The other side is ridiculous. There is no other side. I repeat there is no repeat, wait, you can’t do tha…wait. Crunch. We interruput your air space with Albert Jones: People of the novel. The world is false. There is no here and there is no there, so, put down the novel and go outside and turn off the sprinklers. See if you can see that blonde who likes to undress by her swimming pool in plain sight of everybody around and it is everybody, Hank, Johnny, even over there on third street with his binoculars and all. Stan, Gus, Joe, Frank, Sam, Don, Bud, and Ron, Eli over from his roof on fourth street. The entire Clavicord family, whose last name I don’t know, but do know that sometimes he likes to play her when she plays it if you know what I mean. I can’t help it. It’s either never enjoy the stars or miss out on when the Mrs. leaves the shade open for ya. )

Jes kiddin, shit, she’d slap the taste out of your mouth and then you still gotta see her on Sunday. I’ve figgered it were more me to do what I do and that’s play bass. Ain’t got time for that kind of stuff. Leave it for daytime t.v. The world’s just not that bad that you gotta go there like a bunch of sniffy dogs in a neighborhood. My only real dream is to go on the road, go on tour. With somebody. Fuck it. So far we got Albert and…me. Oh well. We’ll get it going. The inner world society is doing pretty well, I guess. I’m getting the internet up since Albert is a moron when it comes to that stuff. Not a moron. No, I guess not, he’s not a moron. I[m more the moron really with me all I wanna do is play bass…

We got the stellar breeze inner world society going now, when stellar can make it into the Magi. He llives up in the hills collecting the milk of goats. They live happily and then one day Stellar will throw this email over to the gang and they’d read one of the mountain goat man’s poems for him since it was too hard for him to come down from the hills. But he would send ‘em and that was the stellar breeze inner world society, that name was Stellar’s, and he had the best poetry reading pretty much anywhere, really, that good. Anyway, Time magazine did a piece on him and then he was like, oh, now they think I think I’m something I’m not blah blah, but Stellar finally made it out of his cage on special occasions and it turned out one of these reasons was where he could see some of his poems performed at Albert’s The Fargo Kantrowitz’z Literary Cajmpsite. That was the best poetry reading ever done, one of the best with Stellar’s bathtub sit poetry reading, pink shower curtain, or the Porn Night! We were supposed to bring out mothers. Fucked up shit like that. Shows that nobody would ever go to, but they were packed. We saved Stellar, who was sort of like a non-lethal bullfighter and maneuvering round most any town since he was gay. Stellar was happy all the time. He was joyous! He had found something in his life and it made him light up almost as bright as Jesus but not quite. That kind of guy. Really can write too. He’s a serious poet, even does academic blah blah, but what I’m saying is this “character” was out there. He was the ken kesey of the east Appalachians, from New York City, of course…

Dink Merrick on living in Millsville 2010


Published in: on February 18, 2012 at 8:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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In The Smokies

You ever wonder what the world would be like if you or mama weren’t ever born? Jed asked his father while they sat up by the campfire.
–“Sure, You wouldn’t be asking me that question.” Tom strums his guitar
I guess not. How come you play guitar, daddy?
“I play guitar because it sounds good.”
That’s all?
“There’s something we got inside each and everyone of us, Jed, and it’s called your soul. You ever heard of the soul?”
“Well, good then. You got it. Your mama has got it. Even your baby brother Albert has got it. Some people even think that the trees got it. Well, in people sometimes it feels good to feel your soul, and I’m able to feel my soul through the playing of my guitar.”
So the soul ain’t real, is it, daddy! It’s invisible!
“Not real? Invisible? God, Jed, I didn’t realize how much you don’t know. The soul is the most real thing in the world. If somebody has no soul then you know it immediately.”
But I thought you said everybody has a soul.
“They do, but sometimes, if you do a bad thing, you can lose your soul. But I don’t think you lose it really. It just sort of goes underground. It goes into hiding. But no matter how far down it goes, with right living, and doing the right thing, you can bring it back up to the open air. That’s called forgiveness. That’s what Jesus talked ’bout, and your mother. No matter what bad you’ve done, if you ask Jesus to forgive you for it your sins will be washed away.”
How Jesus do that? Jed said.

“Jed, I’m not really sure, to be honest. I’ve always done pretty good at doing the right thing in this life. I’m sure your mother could tell you or if you listen up in church on Sunday they might throw you a hint. It’s a good question though…hmmm, wait, I think I know. That’s a damned good question, Jed. I guess, in some ways, Jesus sends his spirit down to watch over us when we don’t hardly believe we’re worth anything anymore. Maybe that’s what his angels are for. I guess the important thing, if you’re in a predicament of having lost your soul, is being open to those heavenly messengers. Now, they may not look like an angel or they may not seem like Jesus, but maybe they’re something that He does for you in some little way. Maybe he will send you a little bird to sit on your shoulder and tell you what to do. It happens in stories.”
Yeah, but those are stories. Let me play, daddy, Jed said.
“Are you big enough?”
Give me the guitar, dad.
“Here, I’ll teach you. This is how you play…you got your soul? ”
Yeah, daddy, I got my soul. Gimme the guitar…

(He hands Jed the guitar and teaches him how to play.)

Published in: on May 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm  Leave a Comment  


Dink Merrick was always bouncing, even at the tender age of five. He would pound his hands on things. Anything could be a drum. Then he would lose interest and move on, jump on, really, run down the stairs, run up the stairs, find his mother, Rhonda, who was always tired, and tackle her from behind and wrap his arms around her before being shooed and chastised. But nothing would stop him from his ever present need to move. His attention span was zero. Any toy he played with ended up broken, usually thrown against a wall or stomped on. It could be anything, a large truck going by outside of his window, a telephone call from downstairs. His imagination would take hold of any and everything and his body would follow with a totally incomprehensible action, usually destructive, that eventually led Rhonda to take Dink, whose real name was Robert (Dink was given to him by his father) to a doctor who called him hyperactive and put him on little red pills that worked for a little while, but still couldn’t quash his ferocious restlessness. The doctor asked Rhonda if everything was alright at home and she said yes. A lie. Steve Merrick hit Rhonda everywhere except her face.
Dink’s best friend was Richie who lived two doors away. His mother often asked Richie’s mother, Ann, to watch him while she was at work at the little diner on the highway, the first diner on the road that would take you on up into the Smoky Mountains, a favorite vacationing spot for anybody from Millsville, with it’s expansive beauty, rivers, streams and massive hardwood forests. One day he found a dime inside of Richie’s couch. His mother was upstairs at her sewing machine. Richie saw the dime and immediately claimed it for his own since it was in his couch. Dink disagreed vehemently and said “finders keepers losers weepers” and the two tussled for it until Dink broke away, ran out the front door and continued on until he got to his house, the precious dime still in his little palm. He went to his room upstairs and dropped the dime into his little yellow piggy bank. He then shook it back and forth and listened closely for an accurate accounting of his individual wealth. Not too bad, not too good. He placed it back on his shelf and looked around. He wouldn’t talk to Richie for a long while, he figured, now that he knew how unfair and spoiled his former friend really was. He went to his train set on the floor and turned it on, watching the little Union Cargo train with four cars go round and round. He quickly tired of this and then went downstairs and opened the refrigerator. He made himself a bowl of cereal and ate it and looked at the clock. Although he couldn’t tell time he sensed that his mother wouldn’t be home for a long while. On his way home he had first carefully checked, looking through the neighbors bushes, to see if his father was home still working on the truck. Had he been home he would have gone back to Richie’s and given back the dime. The old Ford was in the driveway, its hood open, tools scattered alongside on the old cracking cement, but his father wasn’t there. The little, rickety Datsun that his father hated with gusto and that he shared with his mother was also gone. Freedom.
But now there was nothing left to do but watch television. He missed Richie’s friendship and was lonely there without his mother. Being an adult wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. He turned on the television. He watched old cartoons on the old cartoon station since it wasn’t Saturday and there were no new cartoons to watch. They were funny anyway and at one point he stood up and bounced up and down on the couch as he watched the show. He was in the air when his father walked in and stopped and just stared at him. Jumping on the couch was strictly prohibited. Jumping at all was strictly prohibited anymore. His father said nothing, but just looked at him. There was something in his eye. His mouth was open like he was a stupid man. Dink knew he was in trouble, but there was something more. His father looked at him in such a way that he knew that he would get it good this time. His eyes were hollow, almost dead. His face was twisted around and contorted making him look like a monster that he once saw on t.v before his mother made him turn it off. His first thought was a question. Is he going to kill me? He thought that his father would kill him, not just beat him as he occasionally did when he was bad, not one of those hard hand beatings on his rear and his back and the back of his head hard until he was dizzy or belt beatings that would last it seemed an hour until he was purple and blue under his clothes. Dink, upon looking at his father, believed with all of his heart that the end of his life had finally arrived.
He ran for his life, darted up the stairs, directly into the hall closet where he closed the door behind him, opened the clothes hamper lid in the pitch black, forgetting about the light bulb on the string, and climbed in. He felt himself shaking, shivering at the thought of the look in the eye of his father. Never had he seen such a look. He began to put the few clothes and towels in the hamper over him in case his father searched it and relaxed his body so that he would sink as far down as he could possibly go. There was suddenly a crash downstairs. Then another. His father was kicking things over again searching for him. Then there was a thud and a scream. Then another thud and then another scream. He was punching the wall. Then another thud and then another scream until his father let out a high, piercing wail that sent a sharp shiver down Dink’s spine which made the lower part of his back physically hurt. He listened intently inside of the silence after the wail. Where was he? Dink couldn’t tell. Then he heard the footsteps. His father was walking up the stairs. Then silence again until he heard the door of his mother and father’s room open. The door did not close and he heard some drawers opening and then closing as though his father thought he was in the drawers inside the sliding closet. Then silence again. Nothing. He remained inside of the clothes hamper, shivering, his teeth chattering together. But still there was no more noise from his father. He hadn’t even left his room. Dink was too scared to cry.
Dink stayed in the hamper. How long he did not know. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. He had no idea, but he knew that he wasn’t ready to make a break. His fear of the dark was gone. The dark was the last thing that he had to be afraid of anymore. The dark was now his only friend. The phone rang inside of his father’s room. His father answered it. He couldn’t hear what his father was saying, but he could hear his voice. He was talking to somebody in a grown up manner. His voice was low and steady. He seemed calm now, as though the earlier destruction was for fun and now he was bored again. His father stopped talking and once again there was total silence in the house. After a couple of minutes, the phone rang again. His father answered it and once more there was that voice, a new, calm voice that spoke once again in a grown up manner. Far in the distance Dink could hear the blare of sirens. There was a fire somewhere. Had his father set the house on fire? Was he going to burn to a crisp? He smelled no smoke, but he wondered. The sirens got louder and louder and then suddenly stopped. He then heard the sound of feet on the carpet downstairs. He thought he heard a window break as well. Then another. They were fighting the fire downstairs. He had to go. He heard voices and movement up the stairs. His father still talked on the phone in that same calm voice. There were other people in his house, but none of them spoke. His father’s voice was the only voice when suddenly he heard another man’s voice.
“It’s okay, Steve. Don’t bother with it, old friend. C’mon, there, pal. Let’s just end this thing, okay?”
End what thing? Who was this man? He was not the only one in the house this was for sure. He heard the fireman radios static and electric downstairs, the serious sound of people doing serious things. The man spoke again.
“John, let’s do this my way now. Give me a little bit of time. I know Steve. Right, old buddy? We got you covered, right? We’re going to be alright. They’re going to step away for a bit.”
He heard footsteps moving away from his father’s doorway, but they did not move back down the stairs. How many firemen were in the house he couldn’t tell, but he could sense the buzzing. He could sense the danger and it made him sink lower into the hamper, even if the house was on fire he was not going to move. He was undiscovered.
The silence returned. He could hear the man and his father talk as though they were having a conversation, but he could not make out what they were saying. After awhile the fear subsided somewhat. His heart stopped beating a million miles an hour. He was tired, so tired and he felt his eyes close. Just a moment after he felt this weariness he fell asleep. It was a hazy sleep, a soft sleep, the kind that children were supposed to sleep. He awoke with a start thirty minutes later after remembering that his father was in trouble and he needed to help him. He had not burned to a crisp. His father was in trouble. Something had happened to his father. Although he did not know how long he had been asleep and because of the silence in the house he climbed out of the clothes hamper and pulled the string on the light bulb. The light hurt his eyes, but it allowed him to find the doorknob which he turned slowly and silently before peering into the hallway through the tiny crack of the door that he had opened like a spy. Nobody was in the hallway. His father’s door was open, but there were no more voices. He opened it further and searched the hallway to the end. There was nobody at the top of the stairway. Everybody must have left. He opened the door just enough to get through it and slowly made his way to his father’s door. When he was fully in the door frame he saw his father sitting on the floor, his back against a dresser. His legs were spread out in front of him and his head was resting upon a shotgun, the barrel keeping his head up like a crutch. His finger was on the trigger and a police officer crouched next to him. His father then moved his eyes slowly towards Dink and the sadness in the look immediately made Dink cry.
“Oh, God,” his father said, and the police officer said. “It’s okay, Steve. It’s okay.” But then Dink briefly lost consciousness, just for a split second, for he had suddenly accelerated at an unreal speed. He flew forward and hit his head on the wall as someone ran past him, pushing him over as though he were a rag doll. He turned over and saw that an older boy had run him over and was now beating his father mercilessly. He curled over on his side, closed his eyes and plugged his ears to drown out the horrible screams, like a girls, that were coming out of his father’s mouth as the room filled with police officers trying to get the boy off of his father who could do nothing to protect himself from the viciousness of this other child. After a moment they were able to pull the boy off of his father and held him like he was a dangerous full-grown man. He was breathing hard. He wore no shirt or shoes and had shampoo in his hair. This boy’s eyes were like the eyes of a scary monster too and they would not leave the form of his father who was now in the hands of two police officers. Another police office hurriedly removed the shotgun from the room. His father’s body wilted in the prison of the two police officer’s firm grips and he watched his father cry too, just like him, as if they were agreed that the world had finally come to an end.

Published in: on April 16, 2011 at 6:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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