Monday, May 24, 2010

How to Write a Gospel

As John remembered things
or as he came to understand them
or a little of both
his old friend never answered directly
never off point
always straight to the heart of the question
no detours
which left His audience
searching for connections

he remembered the faces they made
furrowed and scrunched up
muttering under their breath
“what the fuck is He talking about?”
he had seen the same face many times since

he remembered people frustrated
squeezing the teacher for plain answers
answers that made easy sense
baby food, applesauce, yogurt
something that didn’t require chewing
but all they got
all He gave
was poorly cooked steak

John still had bits stuck in his teeth
and they didn’t have floss in those days.

iCarly Episode

The Seattle Times made a mistake when they wrote about the death of Carly’s brother. It was a small mistake. Easily fixed. Carly’s brother was only on vacation. But now his sculptures are actually selling and so he stays dead, or in the back room, when potential buyers come to offer their condolences. Which works well. But now his good looking ex-girlfriend is there, and is broken-up, and is very fetching and after-all he wasn’t actually dead—only in the other room, and he had forgotten how attractive she was and she just can’t believe that he’s actually gone and he’s in a real pickle this time.

When You Wish Upon a Star

Families are like elephants who never forget
even when they want to.

Even when they see a shooting star
every night for a year.

Even when they throw their life savings
into mall fountains.

Even when the have God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost
by the short hairs.

And they make the same wish every time.

. . .

David Attenborough is calm as he narrates
(with a soothing British accent)
a young elephant being separated from it’s herd
with a family of half-starved lions
on it’s back and hanging from it’s ears
their eyes glow into the night vision camera
they saw the same shooting stars too, and after tonight
they won’t be half-starved.


The first time I turned onto a one-way street
I pulled into an alley before anything bad happened:
a head on collision with a single mother pushing a stroller
chipped paint or broken headlight or cracked radiator

This time it’s in cruise control and I’m asleep
who’s going to flinch first?

. . .

I woke up with a yawn
sunshine in my eyes
the birds were out
but they were quiet
and baritones
which was strange
but what’s more important is—
where are my pants?

. . .

The pants were in the laundry
I had soaked them with urine, sweat, and love
When people noticed they were unimpressed
and continued eating their eggs
most people most times will continue eating their eggs
this is what makes the world go round, or at least seem to
some people never get back to their eggs
for these the world stops abruptly—
single mothers pushing strollers
hit by navy blue sedans going much too fast
for example.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Zombie Resurrection

or The Problems With Being Full of Shit

He told me this is how resurrection feels. Lit his cigarette and breathed in. I didn’t quite follow, but I’m slow picking up on things. Especially when they’re supposed to be deep. He looked at me like he wanted to show me something. I’ve seen the same face on my cousin’s kids when they show me their toys. He was going to show me his toy tractor.

I saw this crouch-rocket-riding douche bag two minutes after he was on in an accident. He was laying five feet away from me. Fucked up. Legs going every which way, like some crazy yoga. He was holding some woman’s hand, probably didn’t even know her. When I turned off the radio, I heard him moaning. ‘Oh God’ he’d say, sobbing. ‘Oh God it hurts’. That was the first real prayer I ever heard. That was a conversion moment—you know those alter-calls you religious types are always on about, that was a real one right there.

I just watched him smoke. He liked the attention. I was trying to decide if I thought all this was bullshit. That’s the hard thing with talking to people who are generally full of shit, when they say something that isn’t complete and utter bull shit, it’s difficult to tell. I could tell that he had rehearsed his story. And I think he was right on some level (about the conversion). The nearness of death. The moaning prayer. The life changing moment. I’ve heard sermons and testimonies say about the same thing—but I still thought he was full of shit, and I didn’t feel like nodding or giving him the impression that I was moved by his story. I didn’t want to give him any satisfaction. So I deflected the flow—with my own soliloquy that I had rehearsed as well.

I always pictured resurrection like a zombie movie. All us starchy-church-types digging ourselves up from the grave. Glorified-glowing hands reaching up through cemetery lawns. That’s why I want to be buried shallow and in a cardboard box—so I can be the first one out. And if all this bible stuff is bull, at least if an actual zombie apocalypse happens I’ll have an easier time getting out, and get first dibs on the good brains.

He wasn’t impressed. Looked at me like I was full of shit. And I was.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Stanley Park Par Three

Our hands were clammy. Our rain jackets had raised a white flag, but we finished the round. 18 holes at the par three course felt epic. The raccoons watched under the cover of cedar trees. They listened to muffled curses, and snickered to themselves as t-shots flew into bushes and chips rolled over greens. When the round was finished, our scorecard was used tissue. The scores I was proud of were gray smudges that wouldn’t mean a thing to anyone but me. We were glad to have played, but even gladder to have such an excuse to go for donuts and hot chocolate.