1. 3 years ago

    I’m Stuck in the Old West

    I brake and turn for the Shell Station on the cusp

    of town so I can buy rolling papers, a Hundred Grand,

    and pump some gas. The cashier smiles at me with ancient

    elbows and two missing eye-teeth. The spot on her left breast

    for a nametag is bare. The hill out back behind

    the Grub Mart props up an ungrateful Windstar, rusting

    on the too-green grass like a wounded

    animal or a beached whale. A man in a hat opens

    the door, the bell smacking its lips at me, and I hear

    a strain of “God’s gonna cut you down” murmur

    from pump three. I imagine the Windstar

    crumble to a chrome, sparkling dust and sifted through

    the grass and gone, obliterated by the sun until

    the grass remains and waves and

    flowers, stretching toward the air hard and fast like a

    boy escaping the school bell.

    The world begins again, hooves press the carpet

    of the hill, battles cascade the slope in rifle balls and

    bowie knives, husbands and wives recline with terriers

    and kids. I row my boat through the years

    until I boomerang back around. The clock hands

    circuit enough times that the hatted man yanks

    the door and Johnny Cash ushers the first clangs

    of “Green River.” The heat squeezes my neck, and I

    take my change, the cashier’s tongue pressed through

    the holes, back, forth, tick tock.

    Free Write

    Johnny Cash got stuck in my head for some reason

    practice makes perfect

    why do I hate everything as soon as it's written XD

  2. notes

    3 years ago

    El Vaquero

    El Vaquero

    When I woke to find you staring from behind a mountain

    of smoke, framed by the riotous orange wallpaper and

    the delicate bedposts, I knew our story would

    never be told. I knew I could not speak your name

    the right way, curling from my mouth and through

    my arched, frenetic fingers. We would be a story in thirds,

    scattered and incomplete like gunpowder, told in your

    saloon’s shadow and transfigured by high noon, melodious

    footsteps, and a horse. The horse is important.  I’ll

    recall your hand on the flank. I’ll recall

    the three nights’ ride and the foam on your knuckles

    and the sweat clinging to your yellow whiskers.

    Afterward, after the lies—25 years of nothing and

    Our story is nothing—afterward, go back to the

    beginning. Part the smoke like a woman’s hair and smear

    your lips down my braid, my arms still covered and proper.

    No jacking my petticoats with your sand-bitten nails, I say.

    No flicker of your pupils in the fire, no heat in the

    heat. I tell no nights soaking in stars and snake venom.

    Just of three-feet distances between and spitting out grit,

    blood, bits of sky. Above, it stretches

    over and around to beneath you, so long, so old.

    We tread clouds and cornbread, fingers licked, locked

    in saddles.

    Watched True Grit today

    Westerns are Awesome

    First draft

    Free Write

  3. 3 years ago

    Free Write

    They powwowed, all eight teenagers and their mothers and their fathers. A scrap of paper matched the whites of Ronnie’s eyes as he stared down past his scrubby brownish knees, positioned Indian-style in the Leonis’ den. The shag rug itched. “How many times have you smoked pot?” He had imagined a summer unfurling into Aerosmith and Mr. Swanbeck’s hay barn in the country, not that pussy Pat Mulligan squealing louder than an escaped balloon.

    “How many times have you smoked pot?” The nubby golf pencil scraped against his palm as he considered the answers, a roulette wheel in his mind: Never. Once. A few times. I’m stoned right now. James Sr. seized my father by the back of his 1974 auburn mane and said, “Me and Ronnie’re gonna have a real party, folks.” In the basement in Warren, Michigan, the suburban house frozen into the dirt by January, then baked in by July, my father’s eyes remained drier than the Gobi, brown and sparking as I knew them at birth, through life. On stroke twenty-five of The Stick—a three-inch thick, two-feet long section of floor molding used for punishment—my father deployed two tears, to end the beating.

    He lined the siblings up like dolls, oldest to youngest—Melinda, James Jr., Cheryl, Debbie, and they watched with unblinking mannequin gazes as grandpa brandished the clippers like a rapier. “This is what happens to drug users in my house. Aloise, shave his head.” Aloise F. cried like a good mother and he said, “Shave the hair off his goddamn head or I’ll rip it all out with my bare hands.” Grandpa James ruled Machiavellian. My father begged then, “Mom, please, shave my head.” And they watched as each hank of red-brown hair fell dead to the carpet, flies or feathers or leaves shed for that Yankee winter of soul-freezing cold. He wore a wool knit cap for an entire summer and fall, no matter the heat or the setting—the table, school, to sleep. The welts on his thighs allowed no sitting for two weeks. The welts and his naked head allowed no speaking to his father for three years.

    Ron Regier swipes the safety razor over his skull tanned with generous sun and hunger in the outdoors, and I watch, uncomfortable for the first time at age ten that my father will be bald. He snorts at my wide eyes in the mirror, his russet beard and mustache the only evidence of his lopped mop. When he’s through, I rub his shiny scalp all a-wonder at the polished rock feel, and his head tips back, his jaw stretches wide like some wisdom I didn’t understand then, and he laughs long from the belly.

    free write