Monday, August 31, 2009


it was the night of my 32nd birthday. the jesus year. there was cynthia, the step mom staring at me with her hideous yellow teeth. little sticks of butter lined up tight against one another trying to keep stink of breath and tongue at bay but unable to survive against the heat. god bless them. there was patton, my brother, laying on the couch with his bare feet resting against one of the throw pillows. then there was harley, my father, suit and tied resting in the rocking chair where i had rocked my young son to sleep so many nights during his infancy.
there were no presents, they had only come to consume.
samantha was busy making dinner or putting the finshing touches on the cake or just trying not to have a nervous break down as they slithered about the house. family has to touch everything rub their smell possess it while i sat on the floor a wounded man.
my son is busy discussing the economy with his stuffed pooh bear. my wife busies herself in the kitchen and i alone am left with these animals. smiling, their teeth bared getting comfortable but always ready to attack.
it was my father who moved first.
'you don't like almond rocha?'
i could see my brother stir and step mother twist (from admiring family photos on the wall) towards me.
'i just love it,' hissed patton.
'well i never, does it give you gas?' said the replacement.
'it's true. i just think it tastes like old people's breath.'
'why he doesn't even put sauerkraut on his hot dog, but maybe now that your a man you'll try it.'
'yeah i love a man with hair on his chest, and sauerkraut puts hair on your chest.' said what's her name while licking her ruby lipstick until it smeared.
i tried for the cable but the signal is out. i try for a record but everything is mp3. i make an attempt to clear my voice and get ready to rise when patton places a foot on my shoulder.
'i hear yah think it tastes like feet.' bringing the foot dangerously close to me mouth, 'does it?'
i reflect on the fate of my mother and sister, both lost one by bicycle and the other to embarrassment.
my sister had been applying herself to bike dancing. she was already an acclaimed break dancer when a negro friend of hers had recommended that she get into it. he was a splendid bike dancer, put on duran duran and do pogo one leg leaners the wall stand craby crawl forwards and the double decker.
it was during an attempt to fashion her own move, the star 'sploder that where the rider would leap do a flip and land on the bike as it is still doing a wheelie that she met her fate. i arrived home from school to find the paramedics leading out a half human half bicycle white sheet and only later understood that while trying for the star 'sploder she got caught in the garage door chain. her head lodged and feet dangling she could have made it if not for the baby sitter hitting the garage door opener. the chain moved towards the motor and the gears severed her head. according to legend her body fell atop the still moving wheelie bicycle finishing the 'splosion.
my mother was into water aerobics. she would lead classes challenging the women to leap, bend and move their hips. she got them sweating in the water cheered as their weight would melt away. my mother was not just a drill sergeant, she was also a heart of gold. when a particular fatso came into her pool and could not afford the classes she would let her participate for free.
'i believe that when in position one's true gift is giving.' she would say.
well this fatso not only couldn't pay but was up to no good. cheryl the fatso was also the town lesbian the first woman to come out of the closet and though she had never made any time with any woman, for no other woman had come out, she knew she was 'gayer than manilow'. well it seems that cheryl the fatso dike had taken this act of kindness and retarded it so that it was an act of affection.
she would coo when my mother would try to help her big flabby arms slap the water in rhythm to dancing on the ceiling. her lips would pucker as my mom would stand before her thrusting her knees in the air 'to the sky to the sky!' she would call out. 'ooh ooh' would be the fatso's response.
it was a chilly autumn day, in the pool they were really pushing it hard to get ready for the holidays, when cheryl took her chance. while my mother was underwater helping her enormous thighs together that fatso dike wrapped them about my mother's head.
though she was my stronger than her attacker, it is said that my mother never fought back, that she knew her whole life was over. the whispers would start about how she lead the lesbian on, because in fact she was a lesbian. then the woman would stop coming to her class, they wouldn't let their children play with us. this all flashed before her eyes and she succumbed. her last gasp of breath to disgusting to ever imagine.
cheryl the fatso lesbian added another title, murderer, and now here we are.
my father met cynthia at a arm wrestling tournament. to get over the fact that his wife and daughter had been killed within three days of each other he took up weight lifting. though it seems that when one begins the regiment required to increase one's muscle mass one's muscles beg to be put to use. at first he began lifting things. he would roll a quarter under the fridge and say 'lemme get that' lifting with one hand, or he might run out of gas a few miles from the nearest station (all uphill) so that he could push that machine to the pump. i once found him putting neosporian on a vicious gash across his arm while there at his feet lay a grizzly bear. i inspected the body and found no gun holes, no that bear had been choked to death.
he would have stopped at grizzly wrestling but state park rangers complained that all bears were either missing or to severly beaten to be of any tourists use. so with the law against him, he turned towards arm wrestling.
cynthia was the champs girl, at the time, she was an oiler. it was her job to grease the champs forearm and bicep so that it glistened like a star during the main event. it was also in the oiler description that the oiler must go to the victor. the champ was steel arm stevenson with a record of 201-0.
my father was an inch from being pinned, another career over, when i called out 'give him the 'splosion!' a nick name for a wrist move he had been working on. it use to be called the grizzly paw on account of that is who he would wrestle but we thought this was a nice way to pay homage to my sister.
after the 'splosion the champ was through and cynthia came into our life.
it was during the time of the great mourning that my brother gave up shoes. he use to have such a fine array of them that we would call him emilda but he did not care. each tuesday my mother would take him to volume shoe source and allow him to pick out one pair. what he did not know, though it does not detract from the kindness of the work, was that particular store always had a in store discount called 'bogo' going on. my mother would buy herself a pair and my brother's would be half off. doing good while giving yourself a little attention.
when she died he wore only the shoes she had bought, they either fell to ruin or were out grown and never replaced. he know goes barefoot through town and even though most restaurants have a no shirt no shoes policy they let him slide.
so it is here waiting for the cake with my family in full all around me when there is a buzzing noise that grows and grows until it overwhelms us. the house is covered in a shady darkness. no one is ever prepared for a plane to fall on their head.
i wake up from my coma, get out of the hospital exactly one year later. it is my birthday today, thirty three years old, and i am an orphan. all my family is gone. my stomach rumbles for a little cake, a bird whistles in a tree against a blue sky, my wife is cooking, my son is playing, life is good.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


this is not funny. on the table i have placed two bottles of low quality vodka, one prescription bottle of pain killers, an empty liter sized water bottle that stinks of gasoline and one lighter. there is a tape recorder on the floor recording what i am saying, who knows what i would recall in ten minutes, two hours, three days after the decision has been made. my head is soaked with the gasoline from the bottle and in my hand is the potato sack i have been wearing for the majority of my life. this is not funny. tomorrow night is my big break, late night television, after my set maybe a call over to the couch. tomorrow night the big reveal, the liar exposed. this is not funny at all.
i started late, in the back room of portland clubs. there are only two places for comedy in this town, one with a traveling improve group 'smilin' and the other at 'harry's' where you aspire to open for national road acts...
--i grew up in idaho, where men were men and women looked like them. boise, idaho the state capital, the center of where nobody wanted to be. seriously how did we come to settle there? exhaustion? did parents get into a fight, 'oh yeah, well if you don't like it you can stay here, how about that?' or was it the donner party. once you learn that you might have to eat somebody just to get over the mountains...yeah i think i would stay. the other thing you always read is the danger of indians. i always thought about that, how some tough indian braves are creeping through the snowy bushes, they got their knives drawn and are just about to scalp rick donner or whatever his name is, only to pop out and see him eating his wife. do you kill that guy? i think i walk away. if a guy can eat his best friend, his best friend's family and his own family? you can't fight him, well you could fight him, but he isn't going to lose. you kill him he thinks, 'i probably deserved that', you don't kill him your going to be eaten. it's one thing to fight have a fair fight to the death and your body left to the animals but another when you know you lose your getting eaten. damn, that's gangster.
somebody walks in on you, an your eating your family...first off how is this guy so important that he gets to eat everybody and second you know death is terrible when you would rather eat your kids and wife instead of dying.
so somebody walks in what do you say? what can you say? i think i keep eating, either that or offer them some, i mean your pretty much committed at that point.
my ancestors did not have the guts to eat each other so we ended up in idaho. well they ended up in denmark, north carolina and kansas, my parents met in medford and decided on boise, i have never asked why. there is this great american theory that anyone from any city in any state us could grow up and become anything. that's a great idea but we can knock a few states off from the list. i wanted to be president but the only debate, the town felt, worth having was whether the weather would stay 'god damned hot all summer' or 'so god damned cold until march'. these are not the weighty topics of heads of state.
when the internet came around, i thought this could be the great unifier of the nation, but one visit to a chat room dampened that notion. though there was not a great conversation about health care or poverty it did spawn the question of why are fighting so hard in iraq. from what i gathered, going to chat rooms, all the iraqis want to do is masturbate on camera and ask any one with a non-gender specific name if they want to watch...
but we are getting off course here, now where were we going?

2-a small child with hopes dreams and one bad leg.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


so is health care reform buried in arlington national cemetery?
on a lighter note, though i am too sleepy now, i am going to write a story about a guy who goes to garage sales. he will wait for the coast to clear or the sale is over and some leftover articles are put for free at the curb and then piss on them. he is a man in full with a handlebar mustache and a pocket full of disposable income.
on another light note cheese is delicious. i took a few slices of mozzarella placed them atop some froze bean burritos and viola delicious, my side dish was cheeze nips and i washed it all down with soda water mixed with lemonade. why is my stomach making such terrible noises?
i had thought of an idea about a guy who shows up on that show date in the dark and during the show and tell meeting his female counter part brings a photo for him to feel of her dad who has just passed from a heart attack. she cries he consoles and then gives her what he brought...the heart of an al qaeda soldier. at first she recoils in terror but after hearing how he saved a village how he was doing his patriotic duty she begins to soften. she takes the heart again and turns it over and over as they sing god bless america.
my son is sick so i will be up again in three hours! hooray!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


i got hard breath.
beatbeatbeat goes the heart but faster so they overlap. can you imagine?
painPAINpain, comes and goes across my chest down my legs, up out my fingers through my mouth until it's not air but sick and blood.
crycry goes wifey in the corner on a couch of a dark room wondering why.
prior condition went the insurance company and gone gone goes private coverage, gone gone goes insurance at all and the vultures circle steely scalpels aimed for the lumps aimed for the curve of my spin aimed at the great expanse of skin and skull created by baldness.
i can not carry the mail anymore so byebye goes the payroll hello comes poverty. it is quick, where everything you undervalued is now out of reach. the bank moves the house gone the credit moves and the car gone the stomach moves and savings gone.
crycry goes the wife.
hawaii for next summer is gone, it is now half the cost of an x-ray. i spend my time idle in bed enveloped in painPAIN. physical to mental and crumblecrumble goes wife. her skin ashen her eyes bagged, she works she cleans she mothers the baby and the other almost here. so fast it all fell apart.
it's the eyes of my son, always wet, he doesn't understand he knows health goes dad goes everything turns to black. the picture won't come in anymore as they came to shut the cable.
i can hear here through the makeshift walls of this place.
wino's and hookers call out to angels of some other heaven for 'tin dolla fr cab riiiide' or 'justa little to get to the morning sir.'
i try not to eat. i try not to use the toilet. i try to die.
doctors who work on credit, they come, they call they never ask about the bill. nurses they clean they slip us samples they never ask about the bill. receptionists they wave, they smile they never ask the bill but the phone rings and a voice unknown to a body unseen asks only about the bill.
i am weak.
ways i have tried to kill myself
suffocation with pillow/plastic bag
swallowing all my samples
stabbing my chest and stomach
i tried to fall out the window but the screen could not be broken.
each time i am woken, each time their faces smile back, concern back white long coats and clean hospital gown.
cry cry goes wife.
cry cry goes son.
life life goes the hospital
finished finished goes me.
my father never calls or visits. my brother came once but kept his wallet shut. i received a call from my sister but there was no donation and my mother is here for moral support.
charge charge calls the doctor
pay pay the disembodied voice.
i take to screaming and cursing. i hurl whatever my bony hands will collect and i hurl it at her. i make moves to slap her face, i strike out with ashen legs and arms, when she comes for a kiss i hiss and try to bite her lips off. i will force her out.
most nights:
enter wife to corner chair.
enter son to corner chair.
lay me wheezing, hacking, embarrassed at this sick and death.
i curse and rattle the frame. i demand they go to her parents house...
they wait out my fury, they let my withered body rage for they know it soon will burn out. i lay just barely able to move me eyes, my mouth heavy, limbs impossible to move to grasp to hurt to get away.
goGOGOGOGOGOGO! blink eye
never never stares her.
when able i use the phone to charge sex calls. as the women seduce, moan and call for more of my 'good stuff' i fade, placing the phone against the floor turn my back and fall to sleep.
rage rage goes wife with the phone stack in the air.
go go GO! scream i.
cry cry goes son.
'lemme see you home safe now,' says outside.
if i spend it all the rent come due, if i spend it all the rent come past due, if i spend it all eviction and off they go home free to inlaws an off i go to the gutter to the park to somewhere close i can't walk far off i go to die...think i.
she defends she protects we suffer on.
where once her lips matched her toes, where once she met for red robins with friends where once we took our son to omsi where once life flow now the cold the reaper the End.
blue cross blue shield, i always paid on time. the only thing i ever went for was my physical. the only medicine i was ever prescribed was for depression, only once no refills. i was good. the checks cashed.
then this the cough the pain the sick the time the diagnosis the prescribed care the wait for approval the letters from insurance the letters from the lawyers the calls from doctor the strength withering.
i bled from most everywhere now.
i get sick and need to be changed now.
there is no get up now.
the samples stopped the medicine stopped now.
the lights are off.
there is no lunch there is no dinner now.
she just sits. our son to inlaws most days now most nights now.
we would have gotten here anyways think i.
love love LOVE, blink i.
love love LOVE, says she.
it is tender when she strips me. it is heart aching when she, almost ashamedly, turns sideways to strip herself. naked we lay, her head against my chest she listens to my heart beat beat beat...
an then i fade.

Monday, August 24, 2009

8/24 nite

my wife is gone and it's quiet. why, in the silence, instead of heady philosophical topics or current events does my head turn towards cheese? i could take a small break from this, how would you know dear reader? go microwave a block of cheese on a tortilla. what goes great with cheese? a regular shasta! this is an interesting side bar, but the thought that brought me to the blog tonight was the story my sister told me, at our brother's wedding. as i am not sure what this blog will end up being it is my blog and thus i am allowed to skip around in time. so wave good bye to boise and childhood as we move into the future!
well the past but the future from where we were in the wild hill country of idaho.
faster than sunda could chase us down we arrive.
helena lives in LA and works in the movie industry. she has a black american express card, drives the bmw something that use to be called land shark but the newest version and lives in a expansive loft overlooking a very famous road. all this i know, because she told me while sifting through her 5,000 dollar bag looking for her telephone so she could record a video of my upcoming arm wrestling match with my brother's best man.
'i was totally surprised boo and when i say it was ugly i mean it was u g l y ugly....
the morning broke, as it breaks every day in LA, perfectly. helena rose from her 2500 dollar comforter and placed her feet into some gold YSL pumps before heading onto the sun porch where her writer boyfriend was drinking french pressed coffee.
'how about you and me get away,' he said.
'boo, are you serious i have like a million things to work out.'
'life is too short to waste on the warner brother lot. lets us go to santa barbara i know a cozy b and b that serves the most delicious waffles. we can walk the ocean all day and at night...' he said arching his eye brows and making cat noises.
'waffles are delicious boo, but i have to be on set...'
'shh, i already called theodore and asked if it would completely ruin your name if i swept you away to the ocean for a romantic proposal.'
'like what, you have a movie idea?'
'not that kind of proposal...oh, nevermind you will find out soon enough. anyway, teddy said 'O M G you totally can get her out of this town, that bitch needs to recharge her batt uh ries!' you know how he talks. so we are clear, clean groovy, let's us make like the skinny jean and get out of here, only to return a short time later. L O L'
'what about buster? my bags, you know if i don't have the right outfit it will get ugly, boo.'
'already taken care of, the car is loaded, turn around see buster with his leash on. we need to scoot if we're going to beat traffic.'
from their perfect view on this perfect day helena rose went inside. she showered thoughts, like the water, ran across her skin causing the colors of her tattoos to come alive. 'ahh, maybe this is just what we need.' she thought.
soon enough, as it is with time, enough had passed to put them through traffic across the threshold of (she thought) a charming cozy b and b (she thought) god i hope there is no paparazzi here and into the room.
buster, a pug, found his way before the fire place snorting then collapsing into a nap.
'O M G did i not tell you this was just purr fect?' he said pulling the curtains back throwing open the window to allow the sound of the ocean into the room. like a friendly local it made itself across the carpet across her lips kissing them with her nose with the scent of salt. a peace that can only be made by the b and b fell upon her causing stress she did not know she had to melt away.
the sand on the beach was warm across her toes covering the red tail of the koy that swam forever across her feet. the sky was filled with blue and the only sound the surf and occasional song of the seagull.
the day was passed this way, hand in hand or his arm across her back his nose to her ear whispering how wonderful this life was, with her. he was a kind man, late thirties with dark rimmed glasses and a fedora covering semi curled auburn locks. this man, ethan took care of himself, nails trim waist line slim and polo collar turned up.
helena bathed in it all, remembering how she came so far. to the east her idaho roots, from the farmlands and back water trails, to the east the pennsylvania mountain ranges where she thought she had lost it all. so many times she was trapped, but god finds a way always moving you towards the goal, home. if you listen, if you risk, act and believe you can achieve anything. the goal, the west coast the movies! so far she had come from her collages. the language is always according to region but the mind and the spirit her own.
for dinner they drank champagne, ate fresh sushi. ethan's wit was crackling that night, his eyes burning with a passion she had almost forgotten. time can soften a man, time can soften a relationship they say the campfire can not always burn strong but helena would retort 'damn you get more wood, i'm worth it' and tonight ethan had.
if she could sum it all up so far it would be perfect. ethan had been right, this was just what they need.
'i love you darling.' he said
'oh, i love you too, boo' helena responded.
he took her hand and amongst the other diners rang his wine glass then fell to a knee.
'oh helena, make an honest man of me,' he said removing his fedora and pulling a ring box from it's belly.
'ethan, you rotten no good, i love you.' she said smiling as the other diners applauded.
'then marry me...' the silence hung in the air. it took thirty seconds for helena to weigh the ring in her hand and check it's clarity. when all had passed inspection she turned back to her love who was still on one knee eyes slightly damp with tears.
with the air still pregnant with the word, ethan swooped her into his arms and carried her to the room.
oh the passion he had took her breath away, and while he slept, she further inspected the ring using instruments instead of just the naked eye and recalled the love making.
with her forehead still damp there came a rattle at the door then a thud and then it came crashing open.
'oh my god intruder!' she screamed
but before she could reach her butterfly knife a voice called out.
'fraud, phony fake!' helena knew that voice but how could it be?
stepping forward from the darkness was her ethan. he was frail, skin pale from lack of sun. his arm extended and one pale bony finger pointed towards the bed. when helena turned her head swam and she almost blacked out.
oh if only she could have blacked out, if only she could have woke up at home then it would have been, could have been passed off as just a night mare. alas, it would not be, for there laying by her side, in the place that had been ethan was...phillip seymour hoffman.
'finally i can exhale.' he said grabbing a pack of cigarettes, his six pack turning back into a plump belly, his dirty blond hair covering one eye.
'i will kill you!' cried ethan.
but before he could reach him, hoffman leapt from the bed fully clothed and jumped out the window to a waiting helicopter ladder. 'i was doing research for a part!' was his final words before a villainous laughter pierced the water front.
ethan collapsed.
helena moved to hold his head close to her body, 'well it is the business we chose.' she said.
'the ring is a stage prop phony,' was ethan's response.
'damn you phillip seymour hoffman!' was helena's.
'i haven't talked to ethan in three days. oh what to do, boo, what to do?' my sister asked.
i, a still a little shell shocked could not come up with one good idea.


i still dream
have faith in miracles
if you can move one
you can move them all
it just takes patience
cause you gotta rest in between
take faith
we'll struggle on
i see bums
an crack addicts
almond skin infants
in two day old diapers
an they smile!
you know
there is the gutter
but there is laughter there too
no hard times all the times
christmas comes to everyone
birthdays too
what matter the wrapping
a present a present
they got wives
an grandchildren too
life is the miracle of
an there's joy in it
no matter the pitch of dark

Sunday, August 23, 2009


i can't catch my breath.
rub the space across my chest where i think it is, lives, grows. i won't see them grow, won't meet grandchildren. the consumption machine, hard, gray.
i fade
my hair clings to everything but my head. patchwork, eyes sunken i stare the hills i use to jog.
she is here, all tears and ready to fight on.
she is here all tears talking don't talk like that, this.
she is here with all the past love notes taken pasted over doctor's notes. pasted in between the pages of facts sheet.
so you just got _______
long lists of avoidance.
long lists of no more no more no more!
i try to stand and fall
try to reach out and grab hands with force.
ah, the fucking regrets.
i won't see that wedding.
i should have just ...
vomit and curse and push out silence.
she won't leave me alone. sucks each second dry, stalks looks over my shoulder.
i had to call my mother, goodbye.
pants drop in embarrassing places. too thin.
i get lost in shirts and sometimes catch blood on my hands.
who writes poems anymore.
i'm sorry.
i get tired and lose the night. pull another link from my paper chain.
i get tired and fade.
the autumn light is warm. is a lover's lips across my bony shins, shoulders, cheeks and forehead.
the autumn wind is
cold. violent. slaps my cheeks and bosses the shawl
bruce springsteen
things i'll miss
my son
late night smoochathon's
her breath now, on my shoulder
reading this
things i hope i don't
let heaven open it's glorious gates
let heaven be filled with amnesia
we fall asleep
with the phone in my hand.
i got a check list
who to call when.
there is the alarm clock
there is her breath
her closed eyes
hand on the space we think it lives
even in her sleep
drawing a cross hoping to praying
to cursing it away
always committed

Friday, August 21, 2009


the crowd was vicious, screaming the lobster man down. master chu had just released his finishing move, 'the golden chop' which sent the lobster to davey jones locker. when the ring had been cleared the emcee came to the microphone, 'a tale as old as the bible itself,' he growled, 'brother against brother, we bring you cain and abeeeelllllllllllll.'
there was hissing, beer cans exploding against my cage. originally i was supposed to be lead in by a leash hollering how i was going to destroy abel, but the promoter thought it would add more suspense to be the quiet villian sitting in the center of a cage, to dangerous to allow to walk. beside the cage were my handlers, two fat men with curled mustaches that doubled as parking lot attendants. the handlers pushed onlookers away when they tried to rattle the bars, all the while i did what i was told, sitting in the center of the cage eyes half closed dreamily rubbing my belly.
the music thunder across the elks lodge causing dart trophy's to rattle against bowling pictures inside their glass case, while inside my mind rattled with strategy.
when we arrived at the ring the handlers swung open the door and leaped back as if i was going to bite their fingers. slowly i rose and made my way to the ropes, pulling one up i slid inside and took my corner. here the lights went out and the organist began to play a traditional hymn. here talents were beyond reach and the notes so beautiful as to take the breath and bring on a tear.
through the darkness there came a piercing spot light focused directly on the center of the ring. as the music played and the light blared abel, my brother, glistened while descending from the roof dressed in a white robe. his athletic body shimmered in the light causing women to hoot and men to applaud.
when he arrived on the mat he did not look towards me, but rather, floated towards his corner raising one arm towards the sky and causing a standing ovation. the apple of the town's eye he could do no wrong, while in the other corner my stomach pressed uncomfortably against the lycra of my singlet overalls as a small child threw a soda at my head. through the chaos, anger and uncomfortableness i tried to focus on his movements looking for a weakness.
the bell rang, and when we met i quickly came to the realization that cain would not be besting abel.
his talent consumed me as arms shot, lifted manipulated me until i spun towards the ropes, towards the sky down to the mat and into the pin position. as the crowd cheered and he applied the pressure our overalls making an awkward sound being pressed to close together.
'submit' he whispered.
the rpessure to great, the stomach gave up the fight and before the referee could count to three abel suddenly sprang off and raced towards his corner. the referee arm in mid air fell sideways into unconsciousness followed quickly be the front row.
i lay in the ring crying, holding my hands to my face until king wallop appeared lifting me into his arms and carrying me backstage. it was here that my mother bathed me singing neil diamond's 'forever in blue jeans.
though it is true, i soiled myself, i look back and celebrate the draw, standing toe to toe with boise's greatest athlete and coming up even.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


before my father became an old man, before he quit smoking he was known as king wallop. king wallop wore black tights with a golden lightening bolt down each leg, a wrist band on each wrist, black boots with gold accents and long flowing blond hair. he was a barnstormer, traveling with the 'thunder on the mountain wrestling federation'. his matches took him from ontario to sun valley where he dueled the vicious inferno, the terrible squidman and the deadly sandman amongst other local villians. my father's signature move was the lightening strike, where he would grasp the opponent into a headlock, spin their body into a pile driver and then drop them into a pin while the lighting man would flicker the house lights. the crowd would gasp and applaud vivaciously children would hold their wristband arms together forming an 'x' then drop them as the referee counted to three.
his legend was surpassed only by that of j.r. simplot the potato man and joe alberston the grocery king. why if the governor felt his popularity slipping he would call upon king wallop to pin higher taxes and lenient crime bills. what should have been the boon time of the bruce family was anything but. you see king wallop the defender of justice was a true and righteous champion while mr. bruce was frought with expensive tastes. when king wallop would have taken his family to mcdonald's mr. bruce would rather take them to red robin. when king wallop would have taken his children to super cut mr. bruce preferred to call the town's best barber over.
mr. bruce drove his cadillac to the tailor to get his t-shirts altered so that they clung to his pectoral muscles would be seen when they danced.
as the crowds grew, as the legend grew king wallop grew ever more reclusive and mr. bruce became omnipresent. mr. bruce was a window man. he was the creator of the skylight frame and sold to over eighty percent of boise residents. sometimes during the install mr. bruce would disappear and king wallop would show up to 'put a choke hold' on high energy costs.
it was during the summer of my fifth year that my father conferred with king wallop and though there was quite a ruckus, the sound of chairs smashing and the signature 'bring down the lightening!' call, out of the room walked mr. bruce holding two leotards shaped as overalls and two pair of wrestling boots outfitted to look like farming boots while atop our heads he placed a straw hat and in our mouth's he placed corn cobb pipes.
'go change' he commanded my brother and i.
off we went.
the uniform clung to my stomach causing my belly button to look like a shocked eyeball through the fabric. i could hear my mother humming a nervous tune, while my sister played her depeche mode records at an extreme volume. meanwhile my main constituent ted e bear frantically jogged in his cage wheel. spinning to face him, ted e bear, let out a nervous shriek.
'whadda think?' said i.
'squeak squeak' he responded.
a cold chill came across my shoulders, as ted e bear was always a source of support and if he was worried, with the wisdom only a hamster possess then something foul was afoot. mr. bruce paced up and down the halls, his smoke creeping underneath the door and from the way he stepped you could tell his pectorals were bouncing to the rhythm.
my brother lead us out the door looking fit athletic and ever the opposite from your hero.
'i present cain and abel' said my father, mr. bruce.
my mother gasped, the cat leaped and clawed the air and still depeche mode played on.
'tomorrow, in nampa, before king wallop defends his title we will unveil a match of biblical proportions. cain vs abel for the inaugural youth title!'
the pressure on my stomach was too great causing the damn to break and my overalls to dampen. my brother said nothing as he stretched and menaced in front of the mirror and i knew that there would be no taking it easy, that i would have to fight for my life against the greatest athlete idaho has ever produced.
if there was a need for a spiral my brother would throw it, a hundred points in a basketball game he could score it, a perfect baseball game he would pitch it, 100mm freestyle victory throw him in the water and his athletic prowess was only equaled by his rugged good looks and quick wit. why mr. bruce has placed cain in a very untenable position. as harold went to the basketball court to practice with the varisty team i retreated to the room as i took my place upon the floor, tears streaming down my face, my legs and arms wailing in the air it was a squeak that saved me.
turning i saw a focused ted e bear front paws against the glass and in his wood chips he had drawn a ring, a few powerful squeaks later when i positioned the he-man characters i began to dream the american dream, the dream of the underdog who can (but faintly) smell the aroma of victory.
with less than three hours to train, ted e bear abandoned any conditioning for strategy. we positioned prince adam against the most powerful man in the universe. they grimaced and sweat as the two titans clashed. mortal man against superman, it should have been a mismatch, but with every for there is their achilles heel and in due time prince adam found it. as he-man lay defeated, two hours and twenty three minutes later, ted e bear squeaked the motto of the underdog 'persist!' why if you do not give up you can not lose. tomorrow in nampa abel would find a cain that refused to lose, no matter the physical cost. tomorrow in nampa cain would be a hunter in pursuit of his brother, of his achilles heel and the sweetest words in the english tongue...victory!
tune in tomorrow:
will cain once again defeat abel?
will mr. bruce maintain his sway over king wallop?
and much much more!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


the morning broke. i stretched did my morning constitutions and had a rather satisfying conversation with ted e bear hamster and friend. the peace was soon broken by the loud thud of my father fainting.
the family gathered around as his eyes fluttered open and his lips mouthed the words 'the end.'
my mother could not sing, nor explain for she had no voice! through a violent flutter of hand gestures she tried to explain but it was lost.
it was here that the stomach growled causing all to pause and reminding us we have another champion. i strutted about the room in my green lantern underoos raising extending my arm and bringing my hand to my mouth so as to warm up the muscles for the big day ahead. as the crowd turned from my father, slowly rising, to me prancing that the words came 'there is another!' to which the stomach did not growl but roared, causing blinds to tremble and dishes to rattle.
it was an hour of dressing and breakfast. there was little talk of the events to come as we piled into the car and headed towards the fair grounds.
my god it was breath taking. from the rows of hot air balloons to the smell of pork and corn. vendors shouted from every cart and the ferris wheel played it's happy song. i swear men were falling two at a time in front of their lovers to propose. if there is a heaven it must be the fair ground, where clowns juggled balloons and men with ringed faces swallowed swords to flame. it was a place where you could go from cotton candy to watching the lion stalk his iron cage. there was the crack of the whip and the elephant's bellow.
all the people, why all of boise was in attendance to play the games eat the caramel potatoes and listen to my mother's song. as we made our way through the entrance the crowd parted formed to lines and applauded her, shouts of maestro filled the air. we walked the line catching roses as she autographed pictures all the way to the stage where a lone microphone stood before a curtain where the dj would play her instrumentals.
it was my father who spoke, face covered in smoke to hide the red wet eyes and their tears.
'her voice is gone! all hope lost, save our son who will take part in the pie eating contest.'
the crowd gasped, a bird fell from the sky and more than a few small children were overcome with tears. as i stepped forward to acknowledge them, there came the shouts 'he's too young!' 'my god this is torture!' but not everyone was scared. there amongst the throng of the mob was the sweet blue eyes of an angel, jill cast her gaze upon me and mouthed the words 'i believe' while my knees shook from the power of love the arm pulled the mic to my stomach, 'i will fight and i will win!' bellowed out across the crowd.
while i sat in the trailer awaiting the call i took in the competitors, the mountain was consuming a twelve piece from the local chicken joint vendor while hillbilly prefered a whole goat. their steely gaze fixed upon the empty table where we would meet. while they ate i preferred to practice stomach stretching breathing techniques.
outside was a different story. the crowd had gathered and conferred that they would award a monetary prize, equal to the singing prize for the best free throw shooter (it should be noted that my brother still holds the title as idaho's greatest basketball talent).
it came down to the wire, my brother and blind jim. it appeared that my brother was a shoo in until blind jim's daughter, the gorgeous wilma sue, called to our hero and whispered a sweet nothing that ended up changing the event towards blind jim. what happened i cannot say, though my brother told me later it was worth every penny.
next the crowd gathered saying they would have a smoke off, with the winner receiving a prize equal to that of the singing and freethrow prize. my father would have easily won this contest if he had not of reminded himself of a funny joke and was lost to a coughing fit.
after the smoke off there was screaming match. my sister fell to kelly cambell her best friend, but most assuredly a better screamer in pitch and content. she could curse a rainy day blue.
in a final act of desperation the town wanted to award my mother a lifetime achievement award but was turned down because, 'the bruce's earn their pay.'
then there was one. we arrived sat and the bell sounded. now i can not recall any of the competition. when the bell sounded my stomach took over, all power to any non pie eating faculty was shut off. it was recounted to me, later, by jill under the sweet hearts bridge, that there was no hope...for the others! i attacked with a fury unseen outside the piranha family, buzzing through tin after tin. first to fall was the hillbilly and when he did i began to consume not just my pies but his this caused the mountain to scream 'i've seen the devil and he loves the pie!' before falling to the ground in a ball. now, alone i continued ten more minutes of solo pie eating in all three places. i only stopped because my father grabbed me and pulled me from the table. the crowd rose to their feet applauding, screaming hollering 'all hail the king!'
in a spontaneous act of respect for the accomplishment all the vendors served their dishes with a small slice of pie.
the events at that table caused the hillbilly to retire from the fair scene and the mountain to retire to the psychiatric hospital. his hair said to have gone white and the only words to pass his lips 'i seen the devil and he sure likes pie'
for all the joy in the crowd the surest most exuberant person was the loan officer from the bank. it was him who stood in atop the medal stand, him who collected the check and him who cackled 'until next we meet, bruce's' before disappearing into a puff of smoke.
it was under the sweet heart tree, after my victory, that jill told this to me and i know it was true because it was sealed with a kiss.
the birds sang and the belly gurgled and there was no storm clouds in sight.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


my father came to visit last night. we were going to chop some branches into firewood but i didn't get home until after 6:30 and when we finished dinner it was about an hour later. so i am borrowing the loppers to cut the branches myself.
it was over dinner that we discussed cooking. my dad (it should be stated as a kudo's to him that he has quit smoking) regaled us of tales from the oven. each week he makes a apple pie from scratch and roasts two chickens. the chickens he eats, the pies are given away.
i was up all night trying to tie the threads together on how to make a black bean brownie when i slowly began to drift, daydream.
the dust settles on the brownie and rising from the ashes is the tale of my stomach. how, no matter the ceaseless ridicule it has taken over the years, it always comes through in the end. how like the marines it comes marching into the toughest of situations to stare down the steeliest eyed of enemies and delivers the one two blow for the home team.
i know my male inlaws are nervous around such a healthy creature, their inferiority complex works itself into a lather whenever my stomach enters the room. beware their wives cooking when it goes head to head with us.
though one might be able to overcome such anxieties and build a tender friendship a familiar bond brothers not in law but of something truer longer lasting brothers in love. alas that ship sank when it came time for my winter beard.
one can look past one advantage and give another man a pat on the back, but when the same man who can have such a robust belly (one that jiggles so joyously as to cause women to swoon) also may grow the thickest most luxurious mustache why that is too giant a mountain to overcome.
so where one could call his brother's in law invite them to dinner or a movie i must take comfort in the company of said belly and on the days when that is not enough i must also invite the mustache.
more on that one day. for now we return:
it is summer in the idaho hills. my mother's singing voice has gone south due to a nose cold and the bills are piling up! my father has taken to pacing pecs leaping through the fog of smoke while my mother reclines on the couch clutching a hot water bag to her nose and drinking tea with lemon.
'by god the mortgage has come due!' was the old man's call.
'if we can't win the fair there will be no hope.' was my mother's gravelly retort.
every year the fair held a singing contest, though there was no true contest but a concert held by my mother. the other contestants bowed out early leaving her plenty of time to practice her five encores.
with one day before the event all hope appeared to be lost. there were only two contests that paid. one was the singing while the other was pie eating.
the stomach grumbled causing the pacing to slow and the sick to lift her hot water bag.
'are you hungry?' she said.
as if possessed my tongue moved on it's own accord.
'hungry for pie!'
the house reverberated with the thunder of my voice.
'don't be silly.' my mom said.
'what is he talking about? desert at two in the afternoon?' said the father.
'i can eat that pie and i can win!' the stomach had taken control, my eyes wide scared they had written a check that could not be cashed.
a electric hush charged us all. through the dark night of hopelessness there came a faint light. it was true that i had become quite a pie afficienado but to overtake hillbilly walterson and the mountain jim crackerson would be considered suicide.
it was whispered that the hillbilly had once eaten a cow into submission. both chose hay and three days later the cow bowed out. while the mountain had consumed a lifesized gingerbread house during the holiday festivities.
'it's a suicide mission.' said my sister
'impossible.' was the brother's response
'both hillbilly and mountain...'whispered the old man
'i can sing, i must sing.' croaked my mother.
'i will not fail.' said the stomach.
at that moment a rooster crowed and the stomach growled as my father rubbed his chin.
'if the voice fails we will place our hopes upon the stomach. tomorrow we go to the fair with our answer.'
with that something began to stir, deep inside me and with a loud belch the stomach had the last word.
---tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion! will our hero defeat the mountain and the hillbilly? will the mother's voice return? can the bruce family pay their mortgage nintey days late?

Monday, August 17, 2009


the weekend was filled with the mystery of life. there were near misses and lots of standing ovations as we watched that magnificent horse 'hildalgo' streak across the saudi desert. american zeal and the democratic heart overcomes all to power towards victory. the heart of a warrior, champion and dare i say...hero hildalgo!
this reminds me of the idaho adventure where i was but a small child on the family horse peanut. peanut was flax colored and we had another black horse called shadow. i am not certain how we or where we purchased these horses or how we ended up with three acres of horse pasture across from the payless/albertson/brass lamp strip mall. all i remember is one day i was playing adventure man (where my brother and sister would taunt me and push me down stairs 'playing' the villian and i as adventure man would endure to their dismay). after hitting the wall at the bottom of the stairs i arose from the sleeping bag shell to the song of my mother singing 'today we gotta have horse rides' it fills the house like the smell of christmas or a relatives hug. then off we went.
my father was an inventor of windows and tall tales, though he always had more than two dollars in his pocket i was universally informed about our poverty. my sister would clutch collages of all the latest fashions cursing poverty and the terrible idaho shopping scene ('why we don't even have the united colors of benetton, international news or for the love of god swatch!') it must be admitted here that i had no idea what a toys r us was until i was ten or so visiting my mother in portland oregon, but that's another story.
harold was my brother, the athlete and friend to all. he never cared much for the shopping scene but was in love with hooded sweat shirts that you could get your name on. it was the fury of our youth and one could say we exhausted it.
gone savage against the trampoline or lost in the forest our father built, him moving like a steam train flurry and smoke red faced at the end of the day not saying do you like it but being let down or chipped away each day my mother didn't stop to admire it. people no matter how great are always excited to show and tell. people, unfortunately, are taught that adults have no time to look or listen. the important man keeps his own company.
the new pasture had a rickety barn, no tools whatsoever and no farmer. we were pilgrims adventuring from the hustle of the city to the virgin farm lands (the eighties movies come to life!).
it must be stated that from the age of six i was on a diet. not successfully but was on a diet or program convicted from the earliest age of being guilty of sweet tooth. i can not deny i enjoyed a sweet or two and my adult size boiler atop my tiny kid frame was an immediate giveaway. how embarrassed must they have been, 'hello carl, here's my family.' 'oh sue i never knew you had a dwarf brother.' uncomfortable silence...'that's my youngest robby.'
it had come to a point where i was put into commercials shamed to the scale and jenny craig meetings....but more another time.
so you could feel the tension amongst the animals as they saw my arrival. watching, with terror, my every move. my brother smooth as a panther slid across peanuts back, my sister atop shadow my mother and father arm to arm smiling with the ease of being right with it all and me trying to avoid eye contact looking towards the road and petting the field cat.
'alright let's go buddy' said my father as he grasped lifted and placed me atop shadow. my brother hugged me about the waist my mother singing 'hold on to the mane'.
once my father stepped away shadow bolted! full gallop towards a low hanging branch, he was going to do something no calorie counter could achieve, stop the stomach. there were screams of terror across the field, my brother wet himself and it was only i who remained calm. it was i the rider and shadows my steed. i called to him through my mind. clung tight to his mane my head against his neck feeling the throbbing of his pulse getting wind whipped wet from the sweat of his neck. ever closer it grew, the branch in full sight it's leaves jagged teeth the knots the dead eyes of a killer, the idaho sun blood red and atop our backs. i promised that day, to shadow, if he spared us, gone would be the diet rites and fudge o's, refused would be the happy meals and second helpings of cake. this would be my second chance, my new life. i promised against the honor of he-man against the badge of the lone ranger. i could feel the tension dad billowing smoke sister crying for shadow's pain the neigh of peanut and my mother singing swing low sweet chariot, and my poor brother faced buried tears streaming screaming 'ooh why did he give me fatso!'
then in one mighty voice i bellowed 'shadow, do we have a deal?' and he slowed and he stopped. the leaf of the branch not jagged teeth but tickle fingers. the knots not death eyes but holes for squirrels to store their winter fare and shadow dropped his head and began to graze.
as we five stood together hugging and sharing our new found second chance there came the hot steam of horse breath upon my neck. turning i came eye to eye with shadow just as my mother sang 'who is up for mcdonalds?' it was into his black pools i replied, 'how about a salad bar?' and with that shadow rose to his hind legs and let out a mighty neigh.
it was at the end, watching hildalgo give his all to save the day, risk it all to save his friend that i thought of shadow, now probably long dead our blood oath broken by his passing that with no guilt i patted my huge stomach and said to my wife 'hey, do we have any more ice cream sandwiches?'

Friday, August 14, 2009


i had been thinking about a creme pie. most of my day was watching the clouds tortured by the shape of the banana creme pie. the words plush pippin fell from the frothing teeth bare lips of vicious dogs.
as the mail found it's home from my back to your mail box i dreamt of plush pippin, of our time there amongst the idaho hills. vinyl booths and waitress' with their classy black aprons.
it's strange the things that define you. take the goose, it's majestic long neck, feather so soft body and tender waddle walk you would think a truer friend of mine there has not been made. but in reality it's the cold black eyes, the long neck not for rubbing sweetly against your let but to extend the beak for vicious attacks! why you can keep your pit bull or German Shepherd or even your fighting rooster i would much rather have the goose on my side.
as a child i saw the damage up close. it would be our family tradition, or most likely all of boise's tradition to float the snake river in rafts and inter tubes. great masses and their white Styrofoam coolers gathering near the river's edge tying themselves together. my father looking like an Italian swimmer in his short tight shorts smoking like a chimney as my mother wore the black and white one piece with shorts singing a song.
be damned the charlie horse! was our motto as we would stop at popeye's to consume chicken, mash potatoes and (god forbid it cross my lips) coleslaw.
-things i will not eat...ever
1. almond rocha
2. coleslaw
3. grey poupan
4. horseradish
5. sauerkraut
my dad didn't have a moustache but he would make his pectoral muscles dance independent of one another...but more on that another time.
it was while my brother held our attention doing something...ah maybe jumping onto the inter tube being launched sideways and landing on his feet, as he was the greatest natural athlete idaho has produced. that my sister wander dangerously close to the gang of geese huddled near the river talking union business.
she is five years older than me (though if you looked at us together you would think the opposite, i wrote so please don't punch me) and had a heart that would break for animals. our garage housed alley cats, one eyed dogs snake that had been half run over, birds with broken wings, a small shovel, dried flowers and a bunch of cigar boxes (one truly can not save them all). so as we are applauding his back flips, hand stands, karate moves and mork from ork imitation she had snuck over to give the geese some hidden away biscuits.
the goose is a cool customer, sizing up the opponent luring them in with slow waddle head bops and flapper feet flop slaps against the rock. why when they see the poor fool with their smile and tender eyes they waggle their heads together one lays down as if to say 'hey all friends here' while the others join into a sweet rendition of the geese song 'rainbows on the way'.
first there was the cheer as my brother went from mork to bruce lee to shooting three point rock skip shots into a break dance move then there was a murderous scream and the rattle of geese feet to wet stone.
the union decided and went into action. one pushed her over the others took to each quarter of her body nipping at her driving her into the water where they would have the advantage. all but one were involved as the one stood look out quacking commands quacking warnings to the encroaching male mob.
i was just four and on my way as my hero the lone ranger would have been when a booger in the left nostril side tracked me. dessert!
the geese had almost gotten her halfway into the river and would have been successful if not for a nearby eagle, we would later scream valentine towards, swooped down catching the watch geese and carrying it away, then was the parade of squirrels descending from the trees each with a healed but noticeable limp. some with one eye another with a false front tooth! what a scene now there were five geese fighting the attackers and three driving my sister towards the water. the men were almost upon them when suddenly out of the water appeared a great grey goose, Antonio! he had a metal lower bill and the foot of rubber. Antonio whom my sister had saved from the Chinese restaurant one Christmas eve. Antonio the only goose/man friendship in recorded history. he attacked with a fury, feathers flew quacks of despair echoed on the valley floor.
the water slowly began to calm, the union dispersed to a high hill on the other side of the river where my brother attacked with rocks. my father scooped my teary eyed sister and in her weak voice she said Antonio, he...
my father shushed her and performed the dancing pectoral for Antonio, the one thing that made the goose quack with glee after the Chinese ordeal. he quacked again. the crowd cheered and i made myself a seat on against a rock to enjoy my tasty booger.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


chuck berry an i can't stand the noise apples make. damn these teeth, chew chew take all your mind until you can't get one thought out. i see my son ailways smiling, don't you see the roof pulling up, the empty bank account the fear of the lay off line? the mail industry is a dinosaur. is there fifty years left for me?
we got my fellow whites banging and hollering undercover of health about the fear of a black president. why? it hasn't been about color since there was a upper class an you weren't one of them. credit hummer elegant mall dinners and family mastercardcations are not indications of being made.
all these creaking giant samesions. big square identical giants. well we made it in our lavender trim 2500 box next to the blue trim box but we have the bay windows in the bedroom so don't you see our higher class?
an still they come where did all this luxury come from? what did i miss? not everyone's in management, right?
but he's only fifteen months so what's he got to do but laugh smile and shit himself.
i do the orthodox prayer an fast but without writing i am empty a life masturbated. all vision an no prophecy.
before he soared for nike was jordan tortured by the gift of basketball?
i am tortured by words and tortured by vision and tortured by reality imposed by the lash of the other oarsman.
ah wife wants date night
ah big brother wants my eyeballs
ah stomach wants to grumble
ah beer to be beered
ah son to be taught and led around
listen don't ever give up, you can always get it back but it ain't coming back all the way.
i chew i stare the window through i wait for the work whistle for the bedtime clock for the stomach alarms for the toilet and all this hope for a writing future slips through my fingers like sand.
character story dialogue slip slipped slops to the gutter of my mind washed away replaced by football season.
sleep work chew shit repeat. suffer on!s