Sunday, December 7, 2014

Really who is still 25?

 ‘The fuck is Appalachia Roma-s?

Do you want to breed?


Concrete in this malaise. I bite. You bite. This whole thing bites. Wheaties and bails have little or nothing to do with a morning. I mean, well I’m talking about a perfect day, so rule it out.

6 one morning on a saturday I woke up. I paced back and forth. My best friend was sleeping. My other best friend was sleeping closer to me. There was floor between us. I walked to Victoria and back, geeeezzz, i walked to 25 and back... fuck, 21-19. If I walked any further you’d never notice. It showed me why I don’t go to hospital. There’s more breathing room fucked up. Life is pejorative. Its boring. I walked from the couch to the bathroom ten times. I looked out the window. No one was there, or their lights were off.

I was looking for my pants. My penis was next to the next thing I tried to saran wrap. I was trying to frame myself. Thats what you do. I’m not asking. I don’t ask anymore. I assert. You cant be success anymore because grandiose is superfluous in everyones experience. But life is long. Its like sand covers the beach.

Is this even a story?

Does duration imply a story? Or waking? I was awake. I walked back and forth and back and forth. I looked my  best friends face in the eyes. They were closed. I had no mind. I had no pants. No fly. No cuff. The room hurt. Door locked in an attrition afflicted building; destiny presently subject to me. Such is architecture. Straight forward, plum and square. There to obstruct airs curves.

There were no pants. I could not have them. I had them, but they were not there. So I paced one leg at a time. Ive never believed that i was a man or that I was a person. I was at gonzo beach and the sand got everywhere. I can’t be serious. Did all my best friends rape me?

I waited for my girlfriend.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


         Alan's eyes are close together. Strict, morning-after salt and pepper beards usually affect men with soft voices.
"Ask where it needs to go, it’s a 350 right?", is the note Alan slips under the windshield of my camper.
The well witcher and the ewe were due on the same day: a lamb and water. Alan had been here for the ewe’s term. And he was instrumental in figuring out the water situation. He understood days; within each of them, the fifty-acre parcel.

I arrived earlier this week carried by the Fast Food Wheeler. As a young errant youth my stakes were on McDoubles. Certain had been my reliance on patties, sliced re-pickled pickles, onion sauce and the take it or leave it value specials, but certain also was my wander. A day many years ago was worth only what I would spend on fast food. Now its what I earn from the Fast Food Wheeler. Though, If I were to say I understand my life better this way ‘round, I’d be wrong.

My mother was elbow grease deep with my wits end.
On the evening of the vernal equinox of ‘99, I was riding a bicycle around the reservoir. Everywhere has a reservoir. I knew only that the reservoir occurred somewhere inside me on restless nights and that the equinox occurred sometime within the seasonal change, but I did not know that it was this very day until years later. It was past curfew for me, however I had managed to escape punishment all my life and so the wheels rolled on and spring’s breeze gave me mountainous freedom. As I rolled on along the civic pathway, I noticed Red Birds. Not birds, but the matches; trusted waterproof matches. Each one was on the yellow median that endlessly divided the bike path, dead center, succinct and half burnt. The singed end pointed in the direction I was headed.
Though the surface of the sky was the compulsion for this spring bike ride, my eyes were consumed with these match ends. I stopped. One was perpendicular. Its burnt end still burning and pointing to the thicket that gave way to the water. Cornered but compelled like American cheese, I bush wacked my way through. It was the kind of late/early that always made clear that you had made your bed or you hadn’t. The cold serrated edges of the leaves were a reverse gate on my arms. I heard the shore. I heard a fire. I stopped. I heard the ground moving. I thought surely there could not be so many mice in the world let alone in this grove to be churning this much sound out of their highways of winter’s dead leaves. The world was renovating it’s nesting. I stepped forth toward the fire on the shore. My mother was sat upon a round of poplar, watching the lake lick the shore, flames reflected on her cheek. This was the first time I had ever experienced panic. It was a moment after she noticed me. I knew not how to treat her. A cashier would have been a welcome relief at that moment.
“If ah raised you it awl, I dint raise ya t’be tarty” were her words.
I screamed. I’ve never screamed before. And she’d never been south of Toronto. I hated this woman. Not now, just always.
“Shh, shh, shh. Now, I’monna have you set down right here, and we’ll see whatever kind of mitzvah or whatever I can have done for yeh.”
My stomach emptied as if it had not already been empty; I had no choice.
“That’s a good son. Now, I know why ahm here. But why’r you ridin’ yer silly cycle al’round in the shivers?”
I leveled with her; “Saturn’s in retrograde” I burst.
“Son. You’re wrong.”

My stomach was empty and I went for food.  The tires of my bicycle didn’t know what I had just heard from my mother, but they spoke to me like a firm yet fair surrogate father. I gave chase away. My resolution was to never see her again. The wheels were my resolve infinitum. I needed something to calm me. My mother was right. I was running in circles. This bicycle is bullshit. The moon isn’t always round. Inertia won’t let my empty stomach turn a corner.

That bus won’t stop in time and I’ve made a mistake by getting worked up. Adrenaline has fucked me. This is going to hurt really fucking bad.
Luckily I had eaten one burger before the incident. I’m sure the sugar spike is what pinned me to life.
And in that moment of revival I replied to my mother.

My business started quickly and became very successful. Where else could you have your cravings so instantly vetoed holistically, and your resulting over the counter resolve actually allow you to arrive in a different place? My bus company. Fast food, Internet and tinted windows rolling on down the road.
The one and only time I went to Los Angeles, there was her figure throwing lit matches at me from across the street. I had travelled two years straight on an empty stomach. I conducted the bus business starving on my food bus. There she was in Tuscon repeating my same order in the line next to me as the bus pulled out of the depot. I ate food, but I never felt full. I rode the Fast Food Wheeler around the entire country. The engine’s whine always made me long for the bicycle. She offered me the equivalent of a quarter in change to pay for a truck stop pickle in exact change: Wichita. This business was god forsaken. Born of an ire godless dependence. Born of that eve, and of my mother’s secret pagan sacraments of which she must have used to put me in harms way. She appeared still in Wisconsin broke down next to a lake on a still night. Maine when police questioned me for staggering and clutching my empty stomach. Also Florida, Texas, and Colorado. She would show only in the evening. And her scorn shown like halogen described by the Gregorian calendars highlights.
 I was unsuccessful in my resolution to never see her again despite my best efforts.

I was sick of the bus. I was irate with the wheels. I was livid with my malaise toward maps of interstates. All things were all ways and again all ways. It should have sooner been a windfall, but fast food was no longer the comfort I sought and I needed a new recipe. So I stopped. There was a warming. A front moved to nestle Alabama’s spring in February.
On the farm in Alabama, work fell well into my hands. The purpose of my palms was firm and open. The materials did what I asked of them. And in return I received the fruits of the farm and the life.
Alan was peculiar. Fifty acre’s to wander in while in my down time of regretting my mother and my giant fast food bus company, and he would appear within shouting distance without fail. He would approach with nonchalance. Earth was simple to him. His truck ran on vegetable oil. He was kind, and had all the cheeks in the world to turn.
I was in charge of overseeing the birth of the lamb, or at least tending to the ewe. I had told them I knew animals. And a wish should make itself so if anything is so. So, from the beckon of an early season Billy and Alan set out to their daily goals. Billy was determined in all things. I could see why he had been award steward of this blessing. Alan chose tasks that need not be precise. But he went to them with the precision of the smarts he had. He asked me constantly about the truck I had bought. How much storage (in cubic feet)? What chevy doesn’t need to be rebuilt? “I never want to unload the idea of responsibility upon myself. What a tailgate”.

My vigil over the laboring ewe was in solitude. I disregarded and hid as much as I could. I walked to and fro keeping my eyes busy. I looked at the truck. The issues I noticed resulted in a laboring Alan. As the morning’s tasks either gave way to more loose ends or the tying of them, he found the time to tinker in the truck. Certainly my messing with that was out of place.
“454 isn’t as efficient” I remember Alan saying to me that day, reassuring me that my old truck camper was accomplished with its 350 GMC V8. I bought this truck camper to live in since Billy lived in the house and did not give space. Alan lived in a truck camper of his own.
“It’s funny with old trucks you know. Sometimes you jus’gotta whisper to’em to get’m to… to uh… to gooo. What’s more is maken a home on’em. A home needs a tenant, but it don’t need a mailbox …you know? …A …addressss.” His words end in a whisper and a grin. “I always relied on a vehicle t’tell me how faast it… heh, it likes to go, when they’s thinkin’ ‘bout dying, hell, whether’r’not they like how the moon sounds on the windshield, you know what I mean? Oh yeah! The witcher won’t make it. He’s a chicken man and the hasty warming of the season’s spooked’m birds so he’ gotta cool’em so they keep layin’. It’s funny. Huh.”
The evening was coming down and my patience for talking of the truck and not finishing talking about anything was giving me an empty stomach. I had to get out of there. I went back to check on the ewe.
“I’ll come with...” He went on. “Y’know one time I was runnin’ the everglades in a canoe fer four weeks. Never thought I’d see anyone, never been more crowded in my release.” His soft voice was like a fog suffocated by vagueness and his intonation indicated a pleasantness to be so. My duty became to give him no indication that I was in cahoots with his pseudonym of air that he regarded as ideas, or the pseudo physics he gifted all life with. “You know they oughtn’t give birth before we’ve established proper guideline’s for’em. But there’s really no figurin’ it. I mean we’ve domesticated them but wild or domestic, it’s usually… heh, heh” he slowed his speech and took the opportunity to really annunciate. Slowly trying to communicate a straight up mystery, “… its u-su-ally the … Equinox that will deliver a lamb.” A solution to a riddle was in his eyes and I wasn’t sure if I cared. I just thought about my mother and her, or I suppose my inexplicable bullshit. He might have a field day with it, and so I was sure to keep it from them both. We looked over the ewe a minute before he addressed me. “Well… a watched pot never –.” He stopped when his eyes met back at the ewe. The riddle was present again.
            “Son, Ah tell you sum’n right now. There wadn’t no twinkle in the ram’s eye, and an equinox ain’t gonna deliver a pizza let alone a lamb. It ain’t what you were lookin for, but it just ain’t a supernatural maze. Runnin’ ‘round like a damn pair-a microscopes…” she walked off muttering. It was my mother, for the last time.     

Alan’s term was over. His note that night, slipped under the windshield wiper of my camper: “Ask where it needs to go, it’s a 350 right?”
It was a 1979 GMC truck that was a unique gem that gave me the nuance of a quilt of my unique provinces history due to an uncanny likeness in the sportsman’s nature of this southern county. I subtly appreciated it everyday for that.
It didn’t matter that he already knew it was a 350, or that spring in Alabama surfaces early every year. And I knew he didn’t really care about this engine, knowing it inside and out, or whatever they told him about themselves. And it didn’t matter that he always used a lighter. These were not the source of my wrong way one-way blood running. Michael’s post-it message had been singed into it with matches.
A night some a week or so later I saw the lamb born, and saw the water well from the witcher’s eyes. His flock had spoke in dry speak. A touch of sulfur was on the sweet, warm air. It was indeed on the cusp of the equinox and everywhere’ reservoir drew from a well. I left the farm on bicycle. Time inflicts upon me every day a curiosity whether or not I relinquish.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


“-are you?”
“Fine. How are you?”
“We thought you belonged to the storm, you know? Your dog said we were wrong… Smart dog.”

I felt Gravy sink into my opened wounds of arms. He says, “I thought you belonged to the truck.”

“I’ve come apart some, eh?”
“Yeah. Well, some of you. We’ll talk about it.” A perfectly placed heavy sigh that had come before and would come again, I was sure. “Except for Gravy I suppose.”
“Well it must be my missing parts that are so tired. I’m going back to sleep.” I hear them bringing in Gravy but I’m out. In my dreams I’m driving a snowplow. It feels like I’m upside down. The snow is covering the windshield and the side windows. I lay into the gas, the engine revs but the snow doesn’t move. “God damn it’s warm in here.” I go to roll down the window and snow covers my face.

I wake up again to Gravy smothering my hands. It’s not the comfortable kind of wet and warm. I didn’t know he was allowed in a hospital. He just sits licking my hand looking up at me, the barrel of my forearm through the sights of my eyes. He’s laying into all the missing parts that he can see. I foresee saliva soaked, and then dried bandages, being peeled and replaced.
“I signed for something. A prescription? A release? I don’t know.” He says.
“I would have signed a release.”
“Perhaps. Not this time.”

I was nearly drained of blood. I woke to the hospital’s white walls.
“I’ve never seen a man’s teeth bleed before.”
“Well doctor, they’ve been going downhill.”
“Well I’d see someone about that.”
“I think I’ve had my fill of doctors for a bit.”
“You’re going to have to do something with your dog.”
“Why? He isn’t hurt, is he? Seemed fine the other day when he was in here.”
“No, it’s because of the blood thing. They think he’s got a taste for it I guess.”
“Of me?”
“Didn’t I lose all this to the truck?” I motion to and squirm my missing appendages.
“Not says the vet.”
“Had to be the truck. Wasn’t it real messy? I think I remember being all kinds of backwards.”
“Do you remember a Louise Arden?”
“She was in the truck with you?”
In a surprising turn of events, I had burst his bubble and he sighed a long sigh.

“I don’t know what to tell you. I thought the truck owned you and now it was dead.”
“Spit out my knobby fingers right now… so they can sign to you who owns what… with an alphabet you can understand!” I choked a little on my anger and I spat out a drop of blood in my saliva onto my chin. I could see only his icy grey irises. Gravy’s moonlit black head tweaked clockwise, his ears at noon and three. It’s just for a moment that he fixates on the blood but rests his head back straight upon his neck.
“I’m sorry.” He says.
“How are you even still alive? Doctor gown there says you ate that girl too. Well I hope she’d been face down for a while.” I turn to my chest to avoid his gaze, “Ex-spe-cie-eh. Pound puppy.”
His upper lip quivered and revealed his canines. “’Pound puppy’ has nothing to do with me! You think it was some pleasure of letting a carnal ancestor blindside my reason? My mind and body, mind you, ached with the act. I was hurt in this incident too. Her nature was a duty to honor! You weren’t going to-”
“Just sit!” He sits. “Lay down!” he pushes his fore-paws before him until his chin meets the pale hospital tile. “I don’t even know her but-“
“You ought to! You ought to have-” Raising his head up.
“You’re fixin’ for a time out!”
“Time what?”
“Just mind your manners!”
He lowers it again. I heard him sigh one time before I fell asleep.

I woke to him sniffing at a medical jar containing packets of ointment on a counter out of sight, then a regular jar of peanut butter at the other end. He followed his sense along the floor to the garbage pale. He put his head all the way in, sneezed and let his nose lead him to the point of the light up microscope they put in your ear. He stepped up on a nearby stool to get closer. He takes a lick. “Hey!” I muster. He jumped. He didn’t know I was awake. He abruptly trots across the floor tail wagging, eyebrows sorry and shoulders attentive. “You might try and be on your best behavior. I don’t think they think very good of you right now.”
“I told them I was sorry.”
“Oh yeah? How’d they take it?”
“They know.”
“What words did you use?”
“They know!”
“I don’t think so Gravy. Why do you think we’re both locked in here?”
“Well it’s well recognized that pets assist their masters in these circumstances. They bring a peace, and the emotional bond speeds up the healing process.”
“You think that’s what’s happening right now?” His eyebrows got sad and his ears fell. “I’m sorry. I just heard them talking. I don’t think it sounds good buddy.”
“Why don’t YOU tell them?” I looked down at my left foot. Gone, and a bandage over the stitches closing my calf. Gnawed. “Just say you’ll keep me inside, ask for another chance.”
“Don’t beg.” I said.
“You wanted to die! You wouldn’t care if you were dead now! You didn’t even care she was dead! I wouldn’t have if you’d told me not to!”
“What about honoring her nature or whatever?”
He paused first, “It’s not fair. They must know.”
“I don’t know Gravy.”

He slept on a mat underneath the only window in the room, just like at the pound. The training had been really difficult. He ran off many times, pretending not to hear me. He bit me many times breaking the skin only once. But he would sit cuddled occupying any free space between us. He smiled and nudged for affection. His nature was a sitcom, or a cute European vacation. Over time he opened up to me. He talked to me about his issues; nipping, trust, subservience as he saw it. He was right and then he was right. I had wanted to die. Sometimes I remember in the days before we spoke to one another, those flaming blue eyes said ‘you ain’t seen nothin’ yet’. I’m sure someone should have talked me out of the adoption. Our relationship became so close. My insecurities began to peak his interest. He knew I hated being an authority figure. He knew it was a front. But the years of driving had in some ways negotiated our terms. Maybe I wanted to die now, he or the wounds weren’t helping. I was scared to get better. He crippled me even when I had all my limbs. He probably knew I was scared to get out of there. He was placating my asinine ego knowing full well home would be his.
A nurse came in with a choke collar, “time for a pee.” She was obviously pensive.
“Be a good boy Gravy.”
“I am.”

A darkened single bedroom: hollowed for only the glow of the hockey game, the sheen of his eyes and darkness. “Would it be okay if I sat with you while you watched the hockey game?” asks Gravy. It’s an honest bewilderment that stalls my answer; I pause. I’m scared, no longer angry. I’m sad to be scared. “May I please sit on the bed with you while you watch hockey?” He reiterates. His eyes stared up from his submissive sit position. The game flickered little. The dim light shown upon two eyes trying to make contact and two more eyes fixated on avoiding.
“It’s a small bed.” He changed his eyebrows. “And I don’t think they want you on my bandages.”
“I won’t lick, just sit the bed’s foot. We’ve been in tight spots before.”
A high-pitched squeak from a gurney wheel pulled his attention toward the crack of the door and the jam. I took this opportunity to watch his tail instinctively wag and my own to cower in a knot of emotions. I remember him resting his chin on my knee, asleep as we drove the vast bi-ways. The squeak and the shuffling feet ached down the hallway, and I had only the game as an alibi for my delay. It went to commercial. My heart speeds up in a succinct act with my panicking thoughts. He stared. I was out of time and resorted to his eyes. “Okay. Up.”
He slunk his upper body over the edge, one paw at a time. His crawl was serpentine. He lay on his stomach on my left side and looked at me with those blue eyes. The sad to be scared feeling welled up a tear. I don’t know how a body with so many open wounds had enough blood to keep going this fast. “What?” I asked. The tear fell.

            Triangles descended encroaching the bed, falling above me.  A heat encouraged my limbs to calm.

            You try and teach’em that the choice isn’t there’s to make, no choice ever. I wonder if he would have stopped if I commanded.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


The front door opens and Frank doesn’t look up.

“It smells like a salmon run in here, what have you been doing?” Ann looks into the sitting room. “How long have you been on that thing?” Frank is slouched over in his chair staring at the computer screen. “Are you still hung over?”

“Fuck this guy” he says to the computer screen. “…still?” he thinks to himself in response to her question.


“This s.o.b. wants me to buy a house.” She walks into the room and looks on the screen. There are two browser windows open. One has a picture of the state of California with all the counties shown, separated by thick black lines. In the other is a realtor’s listings for properties in the county of San Mateo. “His name is, CJ de Heer. C-J-de-He-er.” In the top corner of the screen is picture of a young man with combed hair, grinning like he doesn‘t know that he’s an ivy league wuss grinning, wearing a grey suit with a canary yellow tie.

She says, “what?” again.

“If you had a dog and you wanted it to have a middle name, what name would you pick? Monterey? Ventura? San Bernardino? Santa Barbara?”

From the kitchen there is the obnoxious clang of the garbage can lid hitting the floor. Ann rushes in, “Hey! What are you doing! Bad! Bad!” The little calico makes a b-line across the sitting room and into the bedroom carrying something in her mouth. “What did she have?”

He thinks to himself, “If its eating it I guess its cat food” but says aloud, “two point five million.” How am I supposed to have that money. What a son of a bitch.”

“Did you eat yet? Can you get that from her?” She’s tying up the garbage bag and walking out the door.

“Leftover salmon” he says but she can’t hear. He walks over to the cat on the bed who has put a piece of salmon skin on the pillow and is huddled over it half licking and half chewing. Ann closes the front door, “and why are you looking up real estate again?” He takes this question very seriously as he looks up at the cat he’s picked up over his head. He walks into the kitchen staring into the cats eyes that are looking down at him. He flicks the light switch off, on, off, on and so on, turning the cat into a kind of disco ball in his miniature strobe-lit disco. Then he takes the lid off the empty garbage can and tries to put the cat in. Its legs shoot out in all directions but he manages to get it in oblivious to all the scratches he‘s incurred. Ann had stocked the fridge with his favourite beer for his friday yesterday. He cracks one open - PapsssssstT - and sips; the cool beer tastes like carbonation, he smells the aroma of microwaved salmon lingering in the kitchen, the cats meowing, stuck inside the garbage can. “I was just weighing my options” he says.

“Just drink a beer” says Ann from the other room.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I had to move from the highest hill in Idaho, that was not a mountain. Now I live in a small cabin that is just one room in the Washington desert. Everything smells like sage. I have a picture of the smell - It’s of my lawn chair.

I am the son of a Canadian caribou farmer. I am also the son of a remarkably ambidextrous table tennis player. My mother began to play doubles ping pong by herself after my parents bought separate cars. She would play with two paddles, two balls against herself. My parents bought separate cars after my mother revealed her ambidexterity by being able to shake hands with both our neighbour and my father at the same time. My father and the neighbour had always been at odds, but my mother levelled the playing field, in a way, and saw them as equals. My father thought otherwise.

‘Don’t get out your guns till Goose’ is a series of sixteen dramatized images depicting the brutal death of our neighbours dog. It was murdered. Our neighbour made the photos and they were published in a Sunday paper. My father loved property lines and decorated ours with multi-colour 2x4’s spiked at the height that had only 10 percent of the plank visible and the other 90 percent underground.
“Like a photograph?” I asked my father.
“No” he said. “Like your mother.”

My mother Iris, was terrible at playing table tennis against anyone. She was fine with the wall, two paddles, two balls at the same time, but she could never beat anyone in a match.
“Table Tennis kept me out of radiation” she tells me every time I visit her. She also collects vintage lipstick which she thinks looks particularly good under all the neon’s at the table tennis gymnasium. My father told me “the inspiration for all my trouble” comes from my mother. I told that to my grade 5 teacher when she asked, “…and what makes you think you can drop out!”
They called my father who was on a six-week migration of the herd at the time and had to be contacted by smoke signals that rose up from nearly a days ride away. Turns out I couldn’t drop out of school, but I acted like I did thereon. I stayed up every night to watch all the late night talk shows eating canned soup and canned soda gone flat. I slept only about three hours a night worried that my dreams were where my mother would punish me. My father punished me in real life by making me prepare my own supper, (which was the soup) and not taking down all the pictures of my mother with her table tennis ribbons.

One day, I looked too long at one of her pictures. The contrast of her 1971 Macy’s sunset peach lips and the valiant blue of her participants ribbon crossed my eyes. I lost my balance and fell to the floor. As I sat myself back up off the caribou skin carpet. “I should try dropping out of school again” I thought. “Those pin-sitters! If only I could drop out of school!” I looked at the picture again. “That French teachers ugly skirts!” My jaw clenched, “Participant!” I grabbed the picture off the wall, collected a few things and headed for my mother.

During this complicated time of pre-adolescent transience, Canadian rock music came to me in a roundabout sort of way. I in fact am indebted to it for helping me to realize that I was not in fact a wild party, but rather was sinking like a sunset. This is an understanding I will take to the grave. With all nine lives still intact I got dropped off on the highest hill in Idaho that was not a mountain. This place I have only just recently had to move from. Now I spend my time doing mostly honest and mostly boring things like listening to Chopin on repeat and playing Tetris while sitting on a lawn chair in front of my cabin in the deserts of Washington unable to ignore the scent of desert sage.
I guess when you say it like that it’s a pretty ugly picture.

photo by cynthia ann broderick