That Time (1013)

Craig Woodbern. Out of high school a couple years. He was a ghost that drifted through the crowds, in the background, watching, always watching. Kevin, his little brother, was my age and we interacted a few times. Nothing of significance but I never trusted him. Felt like someone best not to get close to. Because of what might happen. Nothing specific. Craig, though, another threat level.

Space Press Express was a community center formed by an old guy whose life was empty. Jim. Big fish in a small pond. We were the guppies. We published a zine under his tutelage on an irregular schedule. Printed it on white paper with black ink. A.B. Dick. Is what we called the printer, I don’t know why.

I wrote a story about a distant planet. It was fertile and green and lovely. A rocket with humans in it landed on the planet. Before they could step out onto the ground it, the planet, exploded. Committed suicide rather than let the humans contaminate it.

In the lobby with the usuals, one of whom was Craig’s girl friend. We see him approach the door, the sun orange behind him, through the floor to ceiling windows. It was on Main St. in a space meant for a business but we somehow occupied it. The sight of him, in silhouette but recognizable by the shape of him and his hair, silenced us.

He stepped inside. Quickly scanned us all before looking at her. A slight tilt of the head as he said, “We need to talk.” She stood up and they went into the next room.

We resumed talking about nothing. Muffled voices from them through the walls. Casual. Just talk.

He was tall, thin, with kinky reddish hair. His skin was pale and ashen. Thin eyes and lips. Dressed like everybody else at that time. Faded blue jeans, ratty gray t-shirt. Something about his jaw signaled danger.

His voice, though the wall, grew louder, angry. She sounded defensive but no words could be discerned. We kept talking but none of us heard each other. No idea what was being said on this side or the other. A muffled strain of apprehension and nervousness was all there was.

Suddenly, a bang. A loud bang. A gun shot. A pause in which nothing happened in silence. Time at a crescent and about to fall. A suspension of disbelief. Cars continued to pass by the windows, no sound.

He comes back in the room, leans against the doorway, watching us, looking for something. Nothing. His face is blank. A mask. We pretend not to see. He turns his back, walks out onto the sidewalk and back in the direction he came, the right.

My heart is racing. I struggle to breath, rasping, choking on the spoiled air. I leap to my feet and follow him out the door but I turn left, away from him. Away from them. From that place. From whatever happened. I don’t want to know.

bovarysme diagnosis

Start diagnosis...
App name: bovarysme
App version: 1.11
App bundle ID: com.wwe
App Key: war without end
Device type: AK47
System version: 01.06.21
User account: kaos@com.wwe
Country code: 1
Region code: TMZ
Carrier name: GAB
isoCountryCode: kkkk
mobileCountryCode: 911
mobileNetworkCode: 666

Network type: BIO-FI
Device IP Address: d1xy:cap88:100w:ab12:ac13:acab
Biofi gateway address: death row
Diagnosis domain:
Start analysis domain...
DNS analysis result:,,,, 318.33.6.38, 43.5.511.737 (15 ms)

ping: cannot resolve abuse TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve animus TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve self TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve loathing TimeOut
Ping finished
ping: cannot resolve severe TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve neglect TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve childhood TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve trauma TimeOut
Ping finished
ping: cannot resolve sexuality TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve dirty TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve oppressed TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve punishment TimeOut
Ping finished
ping: cannot resolve god TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve guns TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve guts TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve blame TimeOut
Ping finished
Ping 318.33.6.38...
ping: cannot resolve patriotism 318.33.6.38: TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve otherism 318.33.6.38: TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve odonism 318.33.6.38: TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve sophism 318.33.6.38: TimeOut
Ping finished
Ping 43.5.511.737...
ping: cannot resolve religion 43.5.511.737: TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve conspiracy 43.5.511.737: TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve misinformation 43.5.511.737: TimeOut
ping: cannot resolve propoganda 43.5.511.737: TimeOut
Ping finished

Tracerouter finished (not yet)

Diagnosis: delusions of grandeur

First Solution: science, BLM, perseverance furthers

Final Solution: love is love

when i die

when i die
when i’m gone
when i’m dead
and gone
mourn for me
keen and wail
kick and cry

don’t toast
don’t sing
don’t celebrate
don’t praise

keen and wail
bawl, howl
snivel, blubber
and moan

it was not my time
it was not for the best
i did not want to go
i did not blow
the scene

i did not surrender
i did not succumb
i did not go to rest
i did not fade away
i did not let go
i did not dearly depart

when i die
when i’m gone
when i’m dead
and gone
weep for me
whimper and whine
gnash your teeth
mewl and bleat

i did not want to go


before a thing can be whole,
there must be shards,
scattered and smothered

before a mirror can be whole,
it must be broken

before a thing can be kintsugi,
it must be kintsukuroi,

in the hallway is a mirror,
while passing this mirror,
we raised our fist,
and we broke it

smash smash smash.

like a hammer,
like a broken hammer

pieces of glass on the floor,
pick up the pieces,
and put them back,
one shard at a time

one day,
when we look in the mirror,
we will be whole again

Cobalt Blues

let us now sing the cobalt blues
that we may emerge from our
chronic circadian desynchronization,
that we consider and wonder how it is
that every 2, every 7, every 9 weeks,
our bodies obliterated and re-formed,
regurgitated and re-born of
archaic remnants of ancestors

let us now wonder
where but in the dark matter of space?
where but in the collective conscience?
where but in the supersilious?
where but in the original mind?
are our cellular memories stored?

let us now dance a dream time boogie
that we may recover our poetic,
divine, mystic, manic, madness,
that we may restore The Soul to the world
that we may remember,
in the sky of Love
gravity is merely a suggestion

untitled (how it begins #1039)

the beginning is not the beginning, this is how it starts but this is not the beginning, the beginning was before, the beginning was before that time, that time was a new beginning, that time was a death and a rebirth, the beginning was the beginning, then there was death, a death, the death, followed by a slow re-entry, a 40 year birth, during which time, nothing, except dreams, except nightmares, except hallucinations, except paranoid dreams, a long exception,

ring ring ring is, what a phone sounded like, nobody home to hear it,

flashing red light is, what we saw later, flashing red light is, how it starts, then a beep, a long slow beep of recognition, not memory, not yet, just, foreboding,

this is how it starts, hello, this is we brother, this is we brother, Tom, we have a message for we, and, we better be sitting down, we knew at that instant, not who but what, a death, not we death, not the death that time, we brother death, we other death, we new death, we knew death, Frankie is dead, we killed we-self, now we knew who,

death at that time, death now, always death, death not death,

before that time, was this time, this time became that time, that time became this time , it’s all the same, the same time, we must stretch the time, to see it,

we walked from this time, into that time, into a death, we push it away, we pushed it away, we walked from that time, into this time, which becomes that time, again,

we death that time, we death this time, it’s all the same,

that was how it started, this is how it started, that death, this death, two points, on an imaginary line, only one point, on a circle, a clock,

walking in this time, walking in to home, walking into a long slow beep, walking into we brother, Tom, walking into we brother, Frankie, walking into death, walking into the start, walking in to, not memory,

walking into a familiar feeling, into a sense of it, a recognition, the same that isn’t the same, walking into it, walking into that time, but from a distance, still, not ready,

many times, we was not ready, many times, we stumbled, from the dream into, that time, many times, we were close, without knowing, without memory, that time, was always close, has always been close, is always close, will always be close,

we are not ready we screamed, from the nightmare, back into the dream, we move between them so often, we don’t know which is the dream, which is the nightmare, we are not ready we screamed, we have always been screaming, because we didn’t scream, that time

September 27, 1959, 10:39 PM

A welcome would have been expected. A welcome might have been expected. You would think. One would think. One might think. If one thought about it. Might have made a difference. One might have thought. So.

There was an expectation. Certainly, there was an expectation. There might have been an expectation. There would have been an expectation. Must have been. One.

Nonetheless the event happened. It is known to have happened. It must have happened. Clearly, it happened. It could not have not happened. It conclusively happened. Of that there is no doubt. That it happened. As opposed to not. Happened.

The date is not in question. There has never been a question of the date. The date has never been contested. Nor would it be. Nor should it be. Nor has it been. The date is certain. Known.

The time is not certain. The exact time is not known with certainty. The time is different from the date in that it was not as unique. The time was not as clearly recognizable as the date. The time is probable. The time is possible. Assumed.

Exactly what happened is not known. The details of the event are unknowable. There has never been an inquiry into the particulars of the event. The precise actions or inactions are not known. The actions are unknown. The inactions are unknown. Unknowable.

What happened is known. The birth is known to have happened. What else happened is not known. The ancillary events are not known. The birth obviously happened. The details of the birth are not known. The events preceding the birth are not known. The events following the birth are not known. The ancillary events before and after the birth are unknown. Unknowable.

The number of participants in the event is not known. The total number of participants is not known. There must have been two. There would have been two. Two is the minimum number of participants possible. There might have been more. There should have been more. Could have been more participants. There might have been more. People.

The mother was there. The mother was a key participant. The mother had to have been there. Of that, there can be no doubt. The mother was required to have been there. The mother could not have not been there. The mother had to have been. There.

The doctor was there. A doctor was there. There was certainly a doctor there. There would have been a doctor there. The doctor must have participated. The doctor had to have participated. It is certain the doctor participated. A doctor must have been there. Working.

The father may have been there. It is probable that the father was there. The father may have been a participant. The father is a probable participant. The father is thought to have been a participant. The father is surmised to have been there. Present.

Others were there. Other people were there. There must have been other people there. There would have been other people there. The other people may have participated. The others may have been participants. It is probable that others were there. Participating.

A welcome would have been expected. A welcome might have been expected. You would think. One would think. One might think. If one thought about it. Might have made a difference. One might have thought. Welcome.

The day I was born. The day of my birth. My birth day. Birthday.

alps loiterer

literal prose:
we know how this ends
death smiles

every time they visit
to date
they have been responsive
to our refusal
to participate

they usually comes
in biker black
faded leather
white pills
leather jeans

oral reptiles:
we know how this started
derivative sins

it always goes the same
we might think
the frequency might
make it easier
might make right but not

we know they’re there
in plain sight
all we know
isn’t enough because
we’d rather not (know)

everything is good
we made it up that hill
saw the light sun of joy
let it all go the holding—
boom they’re there

with a smiley face
with a knife
with a knowing look
they’ve been waiting
for you

boom we see them
recall them from before
from those times to come
we know them

literal spore:
we know how this ended
they loved us not

it aint panic if
it saves your life
look right look left
where’s the exit?

escape is right there
we’re not sure
we can make it
aid comes but it requires
a sacrifice

oh the irony
to stay death
we must die
admit defeat
beg for mercy
again and
they will come
at last

never was able to
differentiate between a
trigger warning and a
spolier alert

My Echo, My Shadow, and Me

I am a sixty-one-year-old white male of English and Irish descent. I have a genetic disposition for acne, baldness and depression. I am taller than average and slender. Clothing rarely fits me well. I was lied to as a child and things were done to me that should never be done to another human being. I kept that a secret for most of my life. I am great at solving puzzles and I can readily spot patterns in the world around me. I have recurring nightmares and lucid dreams. I have a keen intuition and I don’t like being hugged. Children tend to like me. I am devoted to my wife. I’m not a good long-distance friend. I am often sad and quick to cry. I find comfort in that.

fruit lady

Inspired by a John Martini sculpture.

in her previous life
she held up the roof
of a high school gymnasium

she misses the sneaker chirps
and the thap thap thap
of bouncing orange balls
less than she enjoys
being upright in the sun
bearing only the weight
of an imaginary fruit bowl
on her upturned head

with her sculpted
muscular arms
slender hip-less torso
and pubescent boy breasts
she looks more like
a young heracles
than her brazilian bombshell
name sake

her primitive serpentine shadow
lengthens with the day
as the sun slowly etches
bronze and orange age spots
in streaked lines across
her dark brown metallic skin

forever frozen in profile
walking a junkanoo two-step line
she sings through
finger-thick lips
her caribbean song to the sky

Running A Way


I run into Mark in the Cap’n Kidd.

I believe I have to die, I say to Mark. We’re drinking Bud long necks at the bar.

We all have to die, Mark answers.

Of course but that’s not what I mean.

What do you mean?

It feels like I have to die in order to live. I say this to you and I’m not sure what it means. But everywhere I look I see my death.

Yet here you stand.

Only because I’m afraid to face it.

Aren’t you facing it now?

No. I always run away just before it happens.

Maybe it’s just your ego.

What? I take a swig.

That has to die.


Mark puts his empty bottle down on the bar. Ego death. Maybe that’s what you’re facing — the dissolution of your ego identity.

I don’t know what that means.

Maybe it’s the way out.

Out of what?

Whatever it is you’re asking me about.

Mark signals with two fingers to the bartender.

You Couldn’t Have Known

Every time I imagine telling the story I start with you. It’s as obvious a place to start as it isn’t. You came into my life almost 30 years after it happened and only stayed a little while. I don’t remember your acquisition the duration of your time in my home nor your departure. Your physical attributes were and are irrelevant. You held no significant or symbolic meaning for me. Your purpose in my life was utilitarian.

If the full gravity of this one interaction with you—the one that I think of as the prologue to my story—had occurred to me as it was happening you might have met the fate of so many of the other objects in my life; destroyed flung across the room pounded against the wall leaving only pieces of you on the floor and another patched hole in the drywall. But it would take a couple of years for my brain to make the connection between that day so long ago your brief role in my story and my break— down? Through? Either word fits.

This is how it begins every time I replay it in my head; the flashing red light the beep. Then “hello this is your brother Max. Call me back as soon as you get this. And you’d better be sitting down.”

You couldn’t have known how awkward that would have sounded especially to anyone who didn’t know Max. You couldn’t have read between the lines but even if so you couldn’t have intervened. You couldn’t have edited his words to be less stilted less dramatic or less revealing to me. You couldn’t have known this was a message I had long been expecting. The only question in my mind was not what but who.

You couldn’t have known that anyone else might have assumed it was about Doug. You couldn’t have deduced that with all his years of accidents arrests and hospitalizations he was the most likely to have added another episode to our family’s litany of dramas. More than that you couldn’t have known by intuition by subconscious inference by a gut that you lack that it wasn’t Doug but Frankie — the brother with whom I shared a secret — who had killed himself. You couldn’t have known any of it. You were just a machine. You did what you were created to do. You did it well.

is that all there is?

the universe emerged
from the gap
between my scapulae
and follows me
everyam where I go

a hovering entirety
above behind my head
whirling devilishly
I shall never it see

I took up yoga
twisting asana (plural)
and meditation (singular)
with open eyes
in the front of the mirror

and yet still
I only sense the gap
from which it escaped