Author reading an excerpt of his personal narrative at the 2014 WALL Literary Journal public reading.
I invented time travel for one purpose and one purpose only: to murder Jackson Pollock.
When that glorified finger-painter hit the scene, he opened the door for every talentless dribbler to proclaim, “I’m an artist, man!” The effects of his work would be long-term and nefarious, indeed: technical skill, diligence, and honing one’s craft would become largely irrelevant as malformed clusterfucks of color gained prominence. It was nothing personal against Jackson, though: how was he to know that his drunken masturbatory experimentation would forever taint art as we know it? No, it was nothing personal; the fucker just needed to be stopped.
I knew I had to get to Pollock before LIFE did that infamous spread, in which some philistine journalist asked the rhetorical question, “Is he the greatest living artist in the United States?” Fucking LIFE, man. I couldn’t allow this to happen: I had to make sure he wasn’t living period. But I didn’t want to deprive the guy of his entire life. I’m not a savage, after all, and I wasn’t about to go back in time and off his pregnant mom or strangle him in his stroller or anything like that. I just needed to get to him before his silly artistic ambitions took hold.
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They say this place is haunted.
I watched the news story,
saw the blue-walled backdrop of my apartment
and the last tenant insistent
about otherworldly persistence.
The ghost is supposedly a child,
a little girl,
which seems logical—
if spectors and spooks
what’s more real
(If you don’t understand
then pat yourself on the back
and hug your mother
congratulations on Daddy loving you.)
I leave a lamp on at night
with two bulbs
(one white one blue)
but not because I’m scared
of spectors and spooks
but because I’m scared of
and my thoughts
in the isolating dark. Read the rest of this entry
Death be not kind
but there can be kindness in Death.
A daily Eucharist for an ailing Catholic
and a recovering Protestant
(Almost grounds enough for a conversion.
But Cancer don’t check religious backgrounds
and that mass in your belly don’t care about five o’ clock Mass.
Is Lourdes open this time of year, I wonder?
Categorical miracles are, naturally, absurd
but an individual one?
In this case, I would take it
and I wouldn’t even bat an atheistic eye at it.
Who’s the sick and who’s the comforter here?
Sometimes it’s difficult to tell, Grandma.
More often than not I feel as if I’m
one disjointed thought away
from a straight jacket fitting
and you’re holding both of us together
with softly sanctimonious composure.
But you do grow weary sometimes
and swear you’ll pray to die soon
and I look at you with deadpan eyes
“Grandma, I tried that for decades and it didn’t work
but then again I’m not as devout as you.
Although you’re too good of a Catholic to phone in an
honest-to-purgatory suicide request.”
And we both laugh and fill your hummingbird feeder
because they need tending to just as much as we do. Read the rest of this entry