Friday, October 30, 2009


we suffer from?
old man with needle
behind ear
like cigarette
or pen
calls from beat winnebago door
'hey mail man,
you got anything for 2345?
i'll put a box soon.'
he is dressed
always slicked and suited
save for the worn slippers
on his feet
he makes his way with
elder son
with obese grand daughter
tumbling forward
no matter the morning
to the local corner market
the poor buy in ones
one cigarette
one tall can of beer
it's pay day
my deposit
my check
didn't arrive
and i marvel how close
i am to the edge.
poverty drives my dad
to mexico
poverty drives my
back to the restaurant kitchen
poverty drives me
to the streets
in circles
day after day after

Monday, October 26, 2009

10/26- back from vacation

harold williams was a stout man, who preferred open collars to the tie. he was an excellent business man who, over his life, had acquired enough wealth to never worry about cost. in fact it was well known that mr. williams would become extremely angry if anyone even inferred that there was a price and he was interested in it.
as wealthy as he was, his wife cindy was his equal in beauty. she of the long brown hair, lean legs that ran straight and tall as pine. her blue eyes staring out above perfect pouting lips and a catalog of magazine covers completed picture.
cindy williams, who graced the swimsuit edition of a sports magazine, sat straight and tall in creaking wooden chair. she is across from harold as her divorce lawyer discussed the division of assets. he takes the bulk of harolds sweat, the history of his working life and begins to crack it apart.
'it is one thing to give and quite another to have to give away,' thought harold as he sat collar askew hair unkempt watching papers move back and forth. his lawyer discussed as a man who has given in. he did not spit or bite, did not take the papers from the other and tear them in half storming out. no, this man stared at the paper lean into harold and said, 'this is fine.'
the motto of the divorce lawyer, leave enough to pay the bill. the motto of the divorce lawyer, get enough to pay the bill.
harold felt a heat growing in his stomach. there was a anger that moved from the pit of his stomach as he watched these two banter over his things. he tapped his thigh as he watched his ex wife stare at the glare of the light off the diamond bracelet he had purchased her.
as these three moved on, oblivious to his existence, he began to think of all the things he had bought her. there was the dog, a small nervous ball that soiled the floor whenever a loud noise went off. there was the shopping spree's for clothes, not at the stores but the designers coming to their house. there was the house, a sprawling coastal mansion that had to be torn down and rebuilt as the doorway was not grand enough. there was the three story apartment downtown where they spent the majority of their time. there was the donations to her associates art shows and fund raisers. there was the operations, the collagen injects, the facial scrubs and tightening, there was the breast lifts and tummy tucks.
all of these expenses began to tick off in his head until one stumble forward, out of his mouth and into the ear of his lawyer.
the lawyer leaned in to listen then grew pale. he turned to look at harold, with eyes that seemed to ask, 'are you serious?', to which harold williams nodded.
my client would like to inform your client, mrs. williams that she can have whatever she wishes. that mr. williams would only like for her happiness. that if she felt the same way, that if she would want mr. williams to be happy, too that she would consider his offer. no, his trade. for mrs. williams can have whatever assets she wishes, without fight, if she is willing to give mr. williams her vagina.'
here mrs. williams stood up indigent. her lawyer thrust his hands in the air turning towards the other lawyer, 'unprofessional,' he says.
harold williams remembers the cameras. he remembers cindy when she said she had some work done. that she had, 'done it for you, as a present for you. my gift to you,' she said.
he had never asked for the vaginoplasty. it was his birthday and she had presented it to him. he remembers quite well, the study, they have camera there. he remembers her telling him, screaming to him that it was his. that he owned it. those tapes could be presented.
he whispers to his lawyer. the lawyer writes a number down on a yellow legal sheet and passes said number to mrs. williams representative.
mrs. williams lawyer looks down and passes the paper down. mrs. williams stares at the number the blood slowly draining from her face as she twirls nervously the diamond bracelet.
'there will be ground rules of course,' she said.
mr. williams nodded.
'health and dignity will be provided at every meeting,' she said.
so began a second round of negotiations. these moved rather rapidly and ended with both lawyers turning to their respective clients and shaking hands.
the ex-mrs. willams was reclined in the limousine when the telephone rang. she pushed the button allowing the drivers voice to fill the carriage.
'one stop on the way, misses. we have to pick up the security.'
'one must do what, one must.' she said.
the limousine slowed before a two story brown stone. the driver moved from behind the wheel to open the rear passenger door. there he allowed a man in his mid-thirties to enter. this man was breathtaking. his form as if chisled from stone. his dirty blonde hair cascading down the side of his face, three day stubble erupting along cheek and chin. he would have been perfect if not for the open collar.
the ex-mrs. williams caught her breath, she sighed as he climbed in, having had enough of the open collar for one life time.
'excuse me,' she said extending her hand.
'darren,' he said giving her a firm handshake.
'yes, darren, i see. well, darren, i have had enough of the open collar for one lifetime. so i hope you would be good enough to button your shirt.'
'no problem,' he said, 'the customer is always right.'
the limousine was silent as they made the rest of their way to the estate of the former mrs. williams.
it was later, while watching the evening news, that her phone rang. she answered, listened for a moment whispered 'okay' and hung the receiver up. 'it seems you have a date tonight,' she seemed to say to no one in particular as the room was empty. in fact she was not talking to anyone in particular but to one thing in particular.
harold williams past the security gate that he once owned. harold williams walked up the blue stone steps that he once owned into the house where he once lived. inside the foyer he was met by cindi williams, they did not exchange pleasantries. cindi led him down the hall where their wedding photos once hung. she led him past his old office, now sitting room through the old game room now reading lounge and into the dining room.
the dinner was set out and they seated, he on the north end, she on the south separated by feet of oak a bottle of wine two candels and steam from the foot.
'so how was your day,' he said.
'a day is a day,' she responded.
the returned in silence, her in her tight black cocktail dress and him in a loose collared maroon shirt, black jacket and slacks.
'well i will drink to that,' he said after a moment.
'yes, lets.'
so they drank, each glass warming their blood and softening their tongues.
'you look good, are you still in those classes?' he asked.
'well you have to keep yourself fit, you know. well you wouldn't,' she said.
they both shared a small laugh causing the candle flame to dance and the house to warm, soften and come alive.
it was after desert, it was after coffee when the clock was nearing midnight that she led him up stairs where she disrobed.
'oh how i missed you,' he said.
it did not respond, but could have been suggested to smile, the small patch of hair on top short and very modern.
cindi williams put headphones over her ears and closed her eyes, while he made small talk, while he kissed it, held her buttocks to push it close.
'darling, has that witch mistreated you? how i wish you would come home with me. how i wish for the old days when we were together all the time. one must be strong, love conquers all, love conquers all.'
he caressed and loved the vagina until all his energies and passions had been exhausted. harold williams lay beside his love his tears staining the sheets and dampening it's furry top as sleep over took him.
'time to go,' she whispered.
harold rubbed his eyes and got dressed. he blew a farewell kiss as he made his way out the door, down the stairs through the hall out the door into his car and on his way home. while driving he received a call. he answered not to a voice, but to the throws of passion. he smiled as he listened, someone had accidentally rolled over their phone and dialed him.
'by god, he is a real master,' he thought as he listened to her moan approval.
'ahh!,' she screamed and the recognition of the voice caused his vision to blur and him to pull over.
'aghh!' she screamed in pleasure as harold williams wept, beating his hand against the steering wheel.
'errgh!' cried the man and harold knew he had been cheated.
'what to do?' he thought, biting his lip. the tears had caused his eyes to swell and the fury had caused his face to redden so that he looked as if he had been in a heavyweight boxing match. the air in the car had become thin, the space too tight, harold opened the door stood in the night with both arms rasied crying out, 'vagina!'
'what to do?' thought harold williams.
the answer was attack. harold called his lawyer, who called the private detective, called the collection agency and replaced darren. for cindy williams the pressure was enormous, too much to bear. she awoke to an empty bank account, she awoke to the power off the hot water off, telephone off save her cell phone which was full of messages from collection agencies trying to recover the money she had been paid per her and harold's contract.
cindy called her lawyer, she lay on the bed staring at the roof wonder what to do. outside the bedroom their paced samantha, darren's replacement. samantha was a husky, squat bodied lesbian that cursed and sighed as she leaned against the wall.
darren sat at the edge of her bed shaking his hehad as cindy muttered, 'it's all over,' again and again.
'damn, i am sorry,' he said.
'it's all over,' she replied.
'if i knew, i mean i would never have...'
'it doesn't matter,' she said.
the sat in silence for a few moments before darren spoke.
'if it's not you, but it that he wants, why not hold it hostage?' he said.
'what are you talking about,' she said.
'kidnap it, tell him the danger it faces if he does not relent.'
'interesting, but i am not sure it will...'
he cut her off, 'what do you have to lose?'
cindy williams walked towards the wall and flicked a light that would not work. she opened the window and stared out at the forested acreage, watched the deer leap playfully about. turning towards darren, cindy spoke, 'what do you have in idea?'
darren took out his swiss army knife.
as harold williams stare out across the miles of free way watching the traffic slow and back up his secretary knocked.
'come in,' he said.
'this was dropped off for you sir,' she said.
harold took the envelope and opened it. as he pulled the content a tuft of hair fell to the desk top, harold opened the letter and immediately paled. holding the paper against his chest he opened his cell phone and made a call.
'yeah it's harold let's back off and let it cool. do it now. goodbye.'
harold placed the phone back into his pocket, sat in his chair behind his vast mahogany desk and stared at the paper.
written in blood was 'call of your dogs or it gets it', he read the phrase twisted the hair in two fingers beneath his nose.
as he smelled the perfumed hair he took the phone out of his pocket, 'yeah, it's me, let's locate the violet hatchet.'
5 the violet hatchet the unknown mexican girl the end?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


i am watching my son dance, clap and try to climb on the couch. a man is made by risk and his reaction to them. why without risking he never would have discovered the joy of turning the television on, the dishwasher on or the vast amount of other things he can do.
he loves to dance, and read books.
i am watching this while taking in morning television, which is filled with a collection of preening schmoes and bone thin tarts. even during the worst of news they can maintain a dour face for so long before the smile returns. is there the director in their ear screaming for more effervescence? public option down the toilet as a personal story of health care causing bankruptcy runs they are back smiling, preening and moving on.
from health care to some old geezer's horrible looking face staring dumbly as the show celebrates the person's 100th birthday. i am not getting to 100 i will tell you that. i am certain, at some point life will just get too tiresome.
who wants to lump around in a motor chair wearing a diaper and talking of the 'good old days' or nosing about the new generations life? not i. if i find myself in one of those chairs it will be driven off the first cliff.
i have always been fond of the viking funeral. how glorious to be lit on fire and sent down the columbia as archers shoot arrows. though, more than likely, i will be stuffed in some hole in the ground and as everyone walks away somebody will stub their toe and curse under their breath. that at somebody's house they will all get drunk and slowly the tide turns and the great book of complaints will open up.
'that s o b only thought of himself, maybe i wanted to be on top one time.'
'you couldn't just follow directions, could you? i wrote down super speed bmx and you get a huffy? what kind of monster get's you almost what you want? so you have to smile and dance about though in your heart your screaming at the bastard. you know as a kid you can't return those gifts. how are you going to return the bike? you have to ride it there! though they were the same price and you subtly ask, 'this bike is wonderful, but were they sold out of the super bmx?' to which he would reply, 'no'. never an explanation.'
to which they chime in
'if you asked for whole milk with the yellow front, he would get the whole milk with the green front and say 'that was what was in the fridge', never mind that i have told him a thousand times, if once that i switch the milk every week so that we don't have to spend so much. by god asking him to think about a budget you might as well ask him to land on the moon.'
with the other one saying
'maybe, just once i would have liked to sit on the porch, but no everytime we had a free day we were always moving always going to some place, a museum or garage sale or water front. some days you just need to laze and recharge your batteries. and don't get me started on the idea of school and grades...'
so you can't win.
there is a great joy in family but it comes with the price of living with your judge and jury. every word studied every move watched, charted. nothing goes unnoticed.
we live in a time with cameras. cameras everywhere. every thing is recorded every body is photographed like a movie star and they are their own paparazzi. we have fifteen sites to record how we are feeling or what we are doing and spend so much time recording we have no time to create. but isn't that what this is?
my son dances and laughs and the morning son breaks through fall clouds. there is rain coming, i have a whole in my pocket that is leaking time, talent and energy until all that will be left is grandpa the reflection machine, grandpa the baby bouncer, and it sounds wonderful. as i watch my son laugh and dance and grow i am excited for him. as i watch my daughter coo, cry and woggle i am excited for her. no matter the advances everybody has childhood memories that seem old fashioned when reflected upon.
as our family grows, i hope to find time so that we maybe a tree that feeds instead of a parasite that just eats. i hope when we preen and schmuck about our facebook pages some of it will be dedicated to recording a few charitable acts.
secretly i hope that at my wake, when they complain it will for having been pushed to acts of charity so that when they complain everybody will whisper under their breaths, 'wow what a collection of ungrateful monsters.'
my wife folds, my son watches, my daughter sleeps and i record as time leaks out under the doorway or through the cracks in the floor.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


my name is humberto alvarez. i have a huge mexican stomach, long wiry black mustache and an affinity for skinny jeans. my family relocated from san gabriel to portland in search of work and a better life. i was only two years old.
as a baby i earned the nickname 'el gordo' for my bulbous belly. my father and uncles would take me every where they went. i spent the night watching them salsa dance and drink beers with my mother and her friends. during the day i stayed home, with my mother and watched television while she cooked and cleaned. my father was a heffe for a small residential construction company. he would come home smelling of cement, but would always stoop to kiss my mother's forehead and tussle my hair.
it was in my thirteenth year that i started cock fighting. at first it was a way to raise money, but soon it became my passion. i started a gym in the back yard, for the birds. while others were out cavorting around town i was studying the movements, the attack strategies of the birds. the losers were pushed out of the community while the winners were bred.
it was three months later when the black tornado was hatched. he had blood shot eyes and would move in a violent circle of claws and beak. the black tornado would give a high pitched battle wail as if to warn his fellow combatant of the forth coming onslaught.
soon enough i had moved the black tornado out from the practice gym. he was decimating my fowl population and his violence did not end there. the tornado destroyed everything in his path, from coop to car tires. the tornado had to be graduated. he trained against stray cats, dogs, raccoons anything i could get my hands on.
no matter the size of the foe he would come out on top. the neighbors began to post signs and inquire into if i had seen their lost cat or 'whoever that bastard is that is poking these dogs eyes out and slashing their legs.' to which i would bow my head and say, 'i understand' all the while feeling the cold red stare of the black tornado.
it was during this time that i became aware of the national tournament in los angeles. it seems that portland had been chosen as a qualifying circuit, that the winner would receive gas money and a free hotel room if they won.
the black tornado made quick work of the northwest birds. we accepted our trophy and winnings amidst the back drop of blood stained walls. there had been gasps and fainting during the battle so that now, while accepting the award, the room appeared to have been visited by a chain saw.
the first time i had hear of el diablo was while searching for training tactics. el diablo, it had been told, was the greatest fighting bird of all time. this cock had been known to gut and murder a human adult male. el diablo has never suffered defeat but also he never has brought forth a male heir.
there were rumors about los angeles, rumors that el diablo was coming out of retirement. there were rumors that his owner, javier jiminez believed the fights would cause his testosterone to rise and thus give way to a male heir. we drove all night arriving in los angeles during the predawn traffic jam. the black tornado rode in the passenger seat, proud his elegant black neck and head bobbing out the window watching the scenery crawl by.
when we arrived in the hotel room there was a envelope on the pillow to greet us. inside were the details, we were to meet at sunset, meet at the vacant meat packing building and bring only ourselves our cocks and gambling money.
it was a room full of mexicans. we strutted about the place nodding silently looking under each others arms and inspecting the competition. there was no sign of el diablo and with out that mythical foe the room appeared to be nothing special.
black tornado made quick work of his first toe foes causing the crowd to lean into each other and whisper. while the fights would go on i noticed a man in dark sunglasses, hair slicked back and a gray shirt with only the top button buttoned. this man had a stack of cash in his right hand, the left he used to wave over a bald man to which he whispered and gestured.
the third bird to face the tornado was ballena asesina, this fowl was titanic. from beak to ass it measured more than five feet, with claws as long as steak knives, a beak that glistened as cold steel in the light and eyes of cold black.
as they met in the center of the ring the ballena asesina lay all it's weight on tornado. the tornado fought to break free from underneath such a gigantic stomach. once free the black tornado turned away to catch its breath. this moment caused ballena asesina to strike. using those long claws he caught tornado underneath the right eye. there was a hush in the room. both birds staring at the other, then suddenly there erupted a wail from black tornado who spun a three sixty to land atop the body of ballena asesina to be joined three seconds later by it's now severed head.
the crowd sat in stunned silence then broke, erupting into ovation. tornado strutted about the ring as if asking, 'is there not one who can stand with me?' and right on cue there descended from the ceiling a fire colored bird that hollered and rattled against it's cage. this bird caused the building to shake from it's movements, it caused the skin to crawl from it's blood thirsty call and as the cage landed on the battle room floor it attacked smashing into the gate, smashing through the gate and standing beside the wreckage in all it's glory...el diablo.
there may be grander birds, larger birds, but none that contained such anger and strength. el diablo was a sea of muscle that caused it's feathers to ruffle as it puffed it's chest. when it placed it's foot down the floor shook and the black tornado looked on.
there was a tense stare down before the battle. the black tornado looking ahead, unblinking into the eyes of el diablo. el diablo looking deep into the soul of the black tornado and when each had their fill the moved. there was a fight but one could not have seen it. for the birds moved too fast for the human eye and when it was over there lay both birds. black tornado with it's right leg, one eye and half a wing missing. while el diablo was missing parts of both legs, it's lower beak and three quarters of it's wings.
both birds fighting to the end, both supreme competitors. as they lay bleeding, dying before our eyes myself and the owner of el diablo did what is in cock fighting tradition we made love to them as they passed from this world.
i am a man, but i am man enough to say i cried that day. while we consumated black tornado's life with such a tender display, i cried. i cried for the memories, for the victories, for how far we had come from our oregon home.
two days later, as i held his body at his favorite fighting alley we all said a prayer in remembrance before my girlfriend veena cooked him. that night we partied and i swear i could hear black tornado's victory wail and as i sucked the meat from his breast i knew life was good.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


all new posts are chapters added to 10/2 unless you see a new story.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


yes we can...
unless you want
the olympics
public option
guantanamo closed
the us out of
we've seen the last
dead soliders
an innocents
unemployment check
lying congressmen
and lobbyists
change we can believe in

Friday, October 2, 2009

billy mac- 1st draft finshed 10/27

see when you die you do get to heaven. see the roads are lined with gold. see there are angels honking on their trumpets. see whatever you believe in that is the neighborhood you go to. there is a catch, that when you sleep you dream from the state of your body. if you were buried then you sleep peacefully because your body is resting peacefully. if you were cremated then you have nightmares and pains of being burned alive. if you are like me where your head is in cryogenics then you dream of what is becoming of you.
i hate to sleep. there is my wife, not my earthly wife (til death do you part) but a real dark chocolate model who was originally from brazil. by god the love we make is incredible. she once whispered of her time as an olympic gymnast and i have no reason to not believe. so there she is, sleeping peacefully her dreams of what's to become of our child.
you see think of it exactly as life is on earth. you are born into this as a babe when you die, that is why you don't spend your life weeping over your earthly loves or family because it is all new.
so she sleeps like an angel (which she is literally, i guess.) while i gnash the air and scream obscenities towards the janitors and doctors that wander past the jar my head sits in.
'by all that is good i will leap from this water and eat your jugular!' i scream while my frozen half open lids and dope quarter slung lips pout back.
'i'll trace your blood lines and slap your dead relatives for this!'
meanwhile most amble past on their way to the coffee machine or toilet. it is the late night crew that is the true monsters. it is them that must pay.
while the world sleeps, these animals get drunk on cheap booze and dance through the aisles. these criminals spin there girlfirends or women of the night in their mini skirts and tight tube tops. they proceed to laugh, to roll about the coroner table, they proceed to let in to their lusts as the steely eyes of us in state stare on.
he is a young italian and it is his job to watch the meters. to make sure the fluids are fresh and that we stay at our eternal temperature awaiting the medicine to revive us. it is not his job to take baseball swings at our heads causing them to clunk like a frozen turkey down the hall! it is not his job to put them on his shoulder and pretend to be a two headed monster and it is certainly not his job to quickly switch our face with his in the dark so that his lover kisses our lips and screams in horror.
too many times i scream for revenge as he runs vodka down my nose to take a 'frozen shot'. too many times i have heard 'what are you looking at old man?' only to be farted on. too many times, in a drug infused frenzy, have i seen him pull a knife out and scream 'what are you looking at? you want some of this?' to the row of my compatriots.
now you may say, 'by god why would a person want to be frozen?'
in my time and from my study i have discovered that i was the most famous baseball player of my time. i was the only player to ever hit 400 for an entire season. by god if it wasn't for the time i lost during the war i would have been the greatest to ever play the game.
playing a fool i have gone to the library and watched old film. the hair on my arms stood as the crowd chanted 'billy joe mcentire' or 'billy mac' they would clap their hands and shout 'billy mac bring us back!' i watched in awe as i hit countless game winnners, dove for the most unlikeliest of catches and kissed impossibly beautiful women.
today, up here, i am a mail man. though it is a good job and we have a fine life, i mean, come on who would trade the two?
'why not return to the field?' one may ask.
well, it seems that when you are reborn you are entirely new, save for the soul. so though i am the spirit of billy mac i am not the athlete. my thrity year old body willing but the talent level was not there to make it able.
it was while studying to relieve my bad dreams that i discovered these things. it was a terrible episode over the long weekend of memorial day that caused me to seek revenge.
this young italian man, who had the run of the lab at nights, was whistling as he approached. his red eyes had a fire that betrayed the joyful madness of the drunk. he wobbled to the left and right almost tumbling as his neck swung loose as a dead turkey.
if there was a way to smell through dreams i smelt him, smelt his breath as he leaned in close and spoke, 'i'm going to take a dump on you jimmy mac,' as he lifted his arms and grabbed my jar.
i writhed the sheets screaming towards the dark ceiling, 'your the son of a whore mother! i'm going to find you and tear you apart! you son of a bitch!'
my dead eyes and loose lips could do nothing, nothing to portray my anger nothing to whisper a defense no matter how soft or quiet.
'this is how you played in the series, jimmy mac...' he placed me on the ground as the nauseous sound of belt unbuckled zipper unzipping and fabric his the ground.
'please, oh god save me from this!' i cried.
'bwattt' went his body as a darkness fell across my eyes. past the 'squirsh' of exertion i could hear him calling, 'jimmy mac couldn't bring us back' and then a woman laughing, 'oh anthony catalano you are insane.'
the laughed as i wept through the humiliation.
they laughed and sang 'oh here comes jimmy mac, swinging for the fence he will bring us a trophy, he will play his best and while the mighty yankees were swinging for the trees jimmy mac's defense will bring them to their knees.'
it was here i felt, what must have been an earthquake in the lab as my head began to shake violently translating to my body in heaven. i was mauled by the violence into consciousness where i stared into the eyes of my sweet ana lisa. her auburn eyes burning as she spoke, 'if it is revenge you seek, i know of people who could help with such things.'
'what are you talking about?' i choked out while trying to focus my eyes.

the alleyman has long dreadlocks that drape across his mocha face. he moves like a panther inbetween the street lights, pacing green eyes dancing to the notes written in freckles across his cheeks. a man in filth. he has long fingernails and dirty worn fourth hand clothes. he leaps from the dark to a corner and appears with a rat.
'you can come back but you can't come back all the way,' he says between bits of rat fur, crunch boning with blood down the cheek.
'what's that mean?' i ask.
the wife stands between us two. her hands are tense, ready for action. she turns to me thin frame electric with anticipation while her soft oval face is beautiful as she speaks.
'some men are lost to madness, some men are lost forever when you cross you cross and your mind is cleansed. when you cross you are fueled by only what brought you. when you cross it could be anywhere, it could be anytime. the only truth is you will have the opportunity to complete your mission, if you so choose.'
'how will i come back?' i ask watching the man furrow the darkness looking for additional rat or garbage dessert.
'at the proper time, after the decision you will have the truth and the truth will set you free.' she said.
there is the rush of car there is the sound of children sing song from alley way windows to one another. i can smell pizza, i can hear the click clack of women shoes and the laughter of new love.
'is the risk worth the reward?' she asks.
'is there a reward or a risk?' he says.
'he took a dump on my head,' i say.
the man smiles and i see he has three teeth, the other spaces vacant and there is a terror in the darkness. the moon is full and a fat man curses the stairs to his brownstone.
'a man deficated on a frozen head. a man did nothing to you, your gone. this is like the butterfly defending the empty cocoon.'
'i may be a butterfly, but at night i live the life of the cocooned caterpillar. i can not rest, i can not dream of better things. instead my head is filled with pain with torture with the anger of what is being done and this must be resolved,' i finished shaking with rage.
'at all costs,' he said.
'truly at all costs?' i could see in her eyes.
as the 's' left my lips there was a torrid of dust, jacket and words. it all took three seconds, then he stopped i could see tears on her cheek.
'revenge,' he squealed and slit my throat.
as i lay bleeding out on the alley floor i watched her walkaway. her last words, 'i love you.'
as i bleed out i could feel them atop my skin, as i faded the last image of the full moon blacked out by the dirty ass end of a rat.
then i fade to black.

i can not recall the fury of my infanthood. i can not recall the long hours spent wailing in preschool. as a matter of fact i can not remember much of anything, save for this name 'anthony catalano'. by god these words have been seared in my brain.
if i had spent a night sleepless, moaning from my crib, it was not because of an empty stomach but because of him. i wake, i shake my fists in the night hollering to god for a revenge that i can not remember.
i was born to a mother and father in boise idaho at or around mid day on march 1st 1977. they called me chase but settled on gregory as my father could not see a chase graduating from an ivy league school.
my father was around, but was not available. he was a lumbering ox breathing cigarette smoke and delivering the stone hand of punishment. my mother was not around but available. she would spend her days and sometimes nights running a giant hotel. her weekends were spent designing ad's for some local furniture store while i spent the time drooling in boredom or stuffing my ever growing stomach.
it is true that boise was innocent then. we had no major mall or toy store and by god some of our main roads ended in dirt! there were holiday festivals and hot air races. my mother ran for office and sang opera, my father ran a newspaper or designed and installed windows. it was a glorious time when all the bills were paid and still we could breathe fresh air in our lungs.
i was born into a family of four. my brother and sister took immense pleasure at bossing my about. i was sent into the snow in my under ware so as 'to prepare for any soviet invasion or tornado' i was rolled into a sleeping bag and pushed down the stairs so as 'in case of fire and we need to escape.' i was given food only to be told it had been stepped on, 'in dangerous times one must sustain oneself on even worse,' they sang.
i was born into a family always on the go. my mother to her job, father to his, sister off with her tough neck friends or some smooch it out boy and brother to the basketball fields or some smooch it up girl.
i was abandoned to microwave meals, abandoned to great strategy meetings with he-man. i would pace and day dream while he-man lead his charge. i would walk the stairs and shout hello or sometimes bop down on my butt. i never played with knives, but sometimes would get scared that i heard ghosts rattle their chains and spend afternoons sweating under my blanket.
i was not completely alone, we always had a pet of some kind and beside that i always had a hamster.
in case of a strange noise hammy the hamster would gladly roll his excerball out to investigate. if he returned with a cheery continence i knew the coast was clear. if he returned looking nervous we would wait in the closet for someone to get home.
during the school year, i made all sorts of friends, during the school year i would wander home. i would stop at the local pond and cavort with the ducks. they would quack tales from their southern trips as i pondered the elegance of their formations.
as we performed all our feats, or exertions as we made our way from place to place season to season time did as it always has passed.
for as long as i can remember i dreamed of the same thing. there is a black woman standing vigil in an alley. there is a jar of a head. there is the head and it turns. there is the woman and she turns. there is them both in unison saying 'anthony catalano' while a freckle face green eyed man in dirty clothes leaps and spins about them with a rat hanging from his mouth.
this is the majority of my dreams. yes there are the occasional rocket ship to the moon fighting aliens, or (as i grew) the sexy lady dancing about, but mostly i dreamt of this.
i would wander the idaho roads wondering about such things. i took time in class to watch the shadows pass on the tile floor and wonder about these things.
my old man hovering over his hamburger said, 'you don't ask the television to tell you it's deeper meaning. so before tv, all they had were dreams.'
i would think of that.
there was my brother and sister who said 'maybe it's brain madness from all the diet soda.'
while my mother would say, 'it'll come together soon enough.'
so, convinced, we all have one problem or another i let these images drift in and out as they pleased. while life carried me down stream, to wherever i was destined to go.

it was my eighth year and still it persists. anthony catalano would torture my steps. a good ruined as the name would suddenly strike. leaping from mental bushes or splashing my face with a cool breeze. 'who is this monster?' i had taken to ask.
because of the fury i felt, and the recurring dreams i decided to take study. the library held many answers, why there was ramona quiimby teaching me how to get my dad off smoking. there was the lone ranger and tonto teaching me the value of moral fiber and there was james joyce teaching me all about ireland through a wandering dream map among the others i consumed. though when it came to anthony catalano i began in religion. in the christian books there was no mention of such a demon so they were left behind. in the other facest of monotheisim there was no mention of the demon so they were left behind. in the buddhist manuscripts there was the talk of the river, there was the talk of all things just being, i found a value in this as it calmed my nerves as i waited for anthony catalano to reveal itself, if indeed there was something to reveal.
the most fascinating idea was the idea of hinduism. the idea of reincarnation, that maybe i was anthony catalano and maybe i had slept with my best friends wife and the guilt has followed me ever since. maybe i was the character that hawthorne had talked about, save i was a man with the scarlet letter. or maybe anthony catlano was someone who had abused us or talked angerily to my children, maybe kicked me in the shin at the exact right moment to cause me to curse in front of his parents while i was about to take his sister to prom. that his sister would have been the love of my life but now that chance was ruined and i was left with penny baker who was a miserable drunk that wrecked my fancy sports cars i earned from my job at a prestigious law firm.
all these options. if we were both reincarnated then how would i know him? would anthony catalano be anthony catalano here on this world? was he looking for me? was i the monster and the name in my head was to protect me, keep me on the look out. the questons abound, as i sat and became dizzy, my head swimming i knew that i had begun to stumble in the right direction.
to save the chance that i was the monster and someone was coming to redeem themselves, someone was coming for revenge i would follow these manuals to lead a goodly life thus when i asked for forgiveness this fellow or female would look upon my body of work and sigh saying, 'changed man.'
now, taking that route into account i threw myself into the religion of mercy, the religion of piousness the religion that turned the other cheek. i grabbed a copy of the bible and began my slow path to orthodox christianity.
as i peddled i felt a lightness in my heart as if a bridge had been repaired and traffic once again flowed. as i peddled i dreamed of bowing before this creature seeking revenge and saying 'mercy', with a voice so tender, innocent and sweet that they would have no choice but to forgive.
to celebrate my discovery i took the rest of the day for daredevilisim. i ghost rode into garbage cans, would rush towards trees leap to the branch at the last moment causing the bike to crash and women to faint. i spent it on table top rock screaming in pain while launching the bike off the side causing news cameras and crowds to flock. rushing to join the crowd i would paw the dirt with a toe and say, 'sorry it got away from me there,' as they respond with a weary, 'too bad' and head back to business or home.
this day had been a miracle and i would have felt home free if not for the night. for it was during our family movie night that my father chose to show us highlander. highlander is the story of immortals hunting each other down and whacking their heads off.
immediately a cold chill rushed down my spine causing the hair to stand on my arms and my teeth to clatter.
'by god,' i thought, 'what if i am an immortal, that instead of living forever at some predetermined age of a dashing 32 or 45 that we grow and live normal lives. what if we, even, die? though it is only our bodies that die as our souls move from one vessel to another, through the same family line until we discover our mortal enemy and fight to the finish? i could be my great great grandpa or better yet the first of our family line, the first man and anthony catalano is the first man of his line and somewhere during the early times something happened between us. worse yet, nothing happened between us and we are just programmed to kill each other. what a world!'
i studied the scenes with intensity, focusing on the swordsmanship. each clang of steel opening another portal to the past. i could imagine 192- kansas, clang! 1845 new york, clung! 1736 england, bong! so on and so on until the final clang had me standing over the first dawn of the first day of mankind watching others clamber out of whatever primordial ooze that existed.
i studied my name charles sterling, i studied how many times it had been given in our family tree and it seemed to surface every eighty years or so. though this brought on another question, 'which side do i descend from? i mean what if mr. catalano is looking for charles sterling but descended sneakily from my mother's side, while i am the immortal charles sterling on my father's side?
i could not take any chances. if knowing was truly 'half the battle' then i must prepare. so i clambered down the stairs and out the back door to find my father in his usual midnight perch. he leaned into the plastic lawn chair smoking cigarettes and staring up towards the moon, with a look that said what he truly saw was somewhere inbetween.
'dad?' i asked.
'yeah son,' he said stubbing the cigarette and pulling me onto his lap.
'do you think it would be christian to learn swordsman ship?'
he took a moment to again admire the invisible monument inbetween himself and the moon. then relaxing his gaze he rubbed his chin and said, 'why i think the history books have proven out that fact. have you heard of the crusades?'
'no,' i said.
'well i think a man owes it to himself to study the history of the things that fancy him. a man ought to be a man in full when it comes to the topic of his passions.'
'what does that mean?' i asked fingering the material on his shirt and breathing in the smell of old spice and tobacco.
'i think it means we ought to go to the library and give you the chance to research these things.'
he was right. he usually was right about such things. why if it was not for him and his study i would never have heard of super jack the daredevil or how to make a perfect french toast. why if it was not for the opportunity of spelunking such topics i held passion for think of how thin my cultural shell might be. though i had a great joy for doing such research i felt a fire in my heart that burned for the answer, for if i met my match on the way to the library and he would, indeed, not take mercy but instead want my head i must be prepared.
'we will and we shall. but i wonder, just this once, if you could give me a hint.'
'hmm,', he said and shifted his weight slightly, 'does a bear crap in the woods?'
i moved the question about my mouth, tonguing each letter against the back of my teeth.
'why, yes he does.' i said.
'there you go.'
i made my way through fog of smell to kiss him on his dear old grizzly cheek. i leapt from his lap and stood with my hands on my hips.
'by god i am saved!' i said.
the anticipation took hold, my heart raced and flung my body into the yard. it was not an easy search for a limb that had fallen, as my father had turned our back yard into a forest scene landscape and he would not stand for the breaking of limbs by our hand.
'breaking that limb is like that tree coming in and breaking a finger or toe, would you like that?' he would say.
so as i rushed, too excited to hear the hissing, i stumbled over what felt like a limb. too dark for my eyes to focus i reach and grabbed, instead, the furry paw of a raccoon. there arose, above the tree line, shattering the dark a mighty howl as the animal lept to action. i screamed and pulled as far back as i could manage but it was no use. the animal had attached itself to my left hand and would not let go.
the piercing pain of his teeth caused me to pass out.
the grim look on my parents face as i awoke made me wonder if i still had my hand. i wiggled the fingers and winced in a joyous pain.
'what's the matter?' i squeaked.
'your very lucky is whats the matter.' said my mother.
'you'll be fine,' said my father.
'well this would not have happened if it was not for that damned forest, if we could just have a regular damn yard...' said my mother her faced flush red as she faded out and grasped her hand towards her mouth and teary eyes.
'he'll be fine,' said the doctor, 'a few months of tetanus shots and you'll be right as rain.'
'what happened?' i said staring at the grapefruit that had become my hand.
'you rushed out and found a raccoon.' said my dad.
'if you hadn't gotten your hand in the way that thing would surely have gotten to your throat,' said my mother, 'and my god what would have happened.'
my blood suddenly went cold as i reached up, towards my neck and felt the bandage. there was a shrill pain as my forefinger ran over each set of stitches.
'what happened to the raccoon?' i asked.
'your father had to put the animal down.' said my mother.
'the damn thing was so attached that i had to cut it's head off with the head trimmers.' he said.
as i lay in that hospital bed, listening to the be bop of machines and staring back at my parents a joy swept up over me. this animal had truly been after my neck? the thoughts from the movie sweeping over me. this animal lay in wait for me, attacked with a relentless fury trying desperately to remove my head.
'by god,' i thought, 'anthony catalano have been the raccoon?' it did make a lot of sense. why would that movie have been chosen? why would my father tell me about the crusades? why would i have gone searching for a sword to practice? it seems mr. catalano had put together the seemingly perfect plan.
how many years had he been watching, making sure that i truly was the person he was after. how many nights had he lay in wake waiting for the movie to be delivered? the true characteristics of the cold blooded killer.
now all his plans lay in waste, destroyed by the love of a father to protect his son. my father the hero! he would never know what he truly had accomplished...or would he?
was the immortal blood line a family secret? had my father brought home the movie on purpose, he too, lying in wait for anthony catalano to show?
as i began pulling the string the whole plot slowly unwound. two families, generations of secrets, generations of preparation all leading to this moment. the surprise attack thwarted, the sterling family standing tall!
i was kissed by my mother, i was kissed by my father and slowly i fell to sleep, for now, believing that all had been accomplished, that what lay before me a life of joy and ease.
though the enemy had been defeated, his head absconded from his body, i remained loyal to my word. i took to the study of christianity. i followed her history from the staking of their leader through the great schism past the crusades and up to the mega church prayer television of today. what a life they had lead, from the humble poor outcasts, from the bottom they rose to the mega wealthy american ideal of today.
as i studied i began to drift, not forwards towards the singalong lecture hall modern church but backwards to the incense to the prayerful to the icon laden walls of the old church, the first church the orthodox church.
it was here, amongst the original idea of christ and his followers that i took refuge. it was here that i would have led a fulfilled life of denial if only my cherubic american physique could have maintain the schedule.
fast days were lost to extensive bike rides and ice drink laughathons with my pals. though they would bow their heads in reverence as i made the sign of the cross and prayed the lord's prayer before consuming any food we were too consumed with youth to give totally over to the orthodox structure.
it was by chance that i found my calling. while sorting through the recent baseball card shipment at the local convenience store that i over heard some plump girl talking on the pay phone.
'oh, god i hate going too, but at least there is doughnuts.'
she was in her sunday dress, a pink frilly outfit that had to be wrangled together before attempting to pedal. i admired here as my heart leapt, was this the call of the lord sending me home? i felt i had to investigate.
as she placed the receiver back upon the cradle i slid up alongside her.
'i'm sorry, i couldn't help but overhear that you had doughnuts.'
she tilted her head back, taking me in. my green latern shirt worn, my jeans a little dirty and one shoe untied. i must admit that the power to be the first at the baseball card shipment overtook my desire to shower, though i am no animal and took the time to rinse my mouth with mouthwash.
'yeah,' she had made her decision on me, 'my church, it is such a bore. but they give us a doughnuts afterward.'
she turned and began to mount her bike when i took the opportunity to clear my throat. my stomach barking, i made a desperate attempt at the doughnut hall.
'you know,' i said looking down at the pavement in an effort to appear pious, 'the christian thing would be to invite me to the church and maybe save a soul.'
i shot a furtive glance up hoping the arrow of guilt would find it's target.
'ahh, fine,' she said and as she gave me the name of the place the clouds that once hung over the sun broke and a fresh morning ray found my face. i took this as god's approval.
i whistled while i put myself together, though admittedly, hurriedly as the service began soon enough to put a bike ride (even by one as magnificent as i) into doubt. i ironed my only white button shirt, tied my tie threw on my khaki pants and brown shoes and was out the door.
i arrived mid scream about how 'everything is the devil coming to creep upon us, take our soul and lead us to hell's fire.'
sliding into the back row next to an elderly black woman that held her arms aloft and swayed eyes closed like a tree in the forest. as i surveyed the crowd the majority stood waving some screaming in a babble and others stood only to flop on the ground when the preacher slammed the pulpit. as he performed a line began to form.
'this is the line of the army of god, the recruitment line by god one and all if you have not received come now and enlist!' he hollered.
as i watched bodies slowly shuffle, first in line, then up towards the man to get bopped on the head some fell to fits some just walking towards the side a little flushed i felt a tug on my sleeve.
'if you want any doughnuts you gotta join,' she said and pointed towards the line. it was the girl from the store and she looked serious.
i would have protested by she cut me off, 'i invited you to save a soul not feed a heathen.'
so off i went.
as i approached i could feel her on my side, like a hunter showing off his prized deer. there was a trembling in my heart that i could not tell was either fear or excitement. saying the lord's prayer i made my way towards the pulpit.
this was a mountain of a black man, and upon the stage he appeared as tall as everest. he screamed and two in front of me dropped and rolled, he screamed and bopped and the one in front of me laughed then lept two feet in the air. when it was my turn he bowed so that his face was close enough his sweat doused my shirt front and his breakfast breath covered my face. he breathed and heaved and sighed snapped his fingers and i was on stage.
'what brings you to my stage?' he asked.
before i could answer the crowd sang, 'we know'
'what briiings you to my stage,' he said and danced across the floor. a old lady ran up and down the aisle arms waving as if on fire.
'we know,' they chanted back.
'at attention,!' he hollered and everyone went stiff arms in the air ready to recieve.
'it's the devil!' he cried and they shouted back.
'fight on!'
'this young soul, he has eyes that see!'
'fight on!' they screamed.
'he has ears that here,' he said.
'fight on!' they screamed.
there was a trembling that started deep in the pit of my stomach causing the tongue to waggle and as he turned towards me, those deep chestnut eyes inches from my face i reached forward filled with a spirit that took control. my hands latched onto the microphone and i spoke.
'it was the devil that brought me, it was the devil in my stomach. the gluttonous need for doughnuts!'
the crowd silent.'
'i came for the devil's food but instead got filled with christ!'
they cheered as the preacher leaned back crossed his hands over his chest and shook his head like 'yes'.
'i am filled with power of the holy trinity, let us pray.'
with that i kneeled down, causing the crowd to shuffle some to kneel and others bowed there head and the pastor using his hands finally got everyone to their knees.
'in the name of the father son and holy spirit...' i began.
thirty minutes later i lay down upon the stage in a heap of sweat. some in the crowd cheering some crying though all moved as the pastor made his way to take the mic and dismiss the crowd with the following.
'today we came to recruit to the lord but instead the lord came and recruited us, hallelujah!'
the clapped and waved while the organ started up.
'now let's go into the dining hall and praise witness to such a gift.'
as the were dismissed he turned to me and said, 'son i don't know who you are or what you're doing but by god you got a gift, now let's go get some of those doughnuts and discuss your future.'
i closed my eyes, exhausted, and would not have moved if not for the waft of chocolate that filled the air.
'there are many things that have come to light, for me, as i grew. as far as i know, santa claus has discovered a way to travel that is beyond measure, the moon is not made of cheese, iraqi warriors is a game with no end and god calls us all to be something. when you think upon yourself you find certain talents, those are the gifts. these are the gifts from the lord, he has whispered into your soul in order for you to achieve those things beyond your wildest dreams.
'imagine, a small child, the same size and approximate age as me. now imagine this child, this innocent babe racing through the dirt tracks of idaho upon his bmx bike. he is akin to the silver bullet whizzing past the ears of other racers, other much older racers. champion banner after champion banner adorn his room. he is the ideal for which the others aspire. now imagine that same champion taking time from his post game celebration to preach the power of jesus christ, hallelujah.
'would those opponents listen? would they open their ears to hear, their eyes to see? in whatever you are involved in, do you not seek out those that have achieved excellence in said arena? do not basketball stars wonder how larry bird has achieved such feats?
'you see excellence in our craft, excellence in the exercising of our god given talents is our way to preach the word of god. now i want you to take this week to sit and ponder. i want you to take time to think about who you truly are moved to be. write down the ambitions of your heart. write down what dreams move you to excitement. then when we meet again next week in coffee hour we will all sit together and share these things. why i bet in this room we have the power to help each and everyone of us pursue those dreams. we have the power to help unleash the excellence of god's treasure in all our souls. we have the power to build a pulpit of accomplishments where we may stand, each in our own field and preach.
'i can see it now, each pew over flowing, the hallways stuffed the church hall lined out the door, i can hear the clamor of the gentiles begging to be allowed in, begging to hear the word of the lord our god christ in heaven halleljuah! let us pray.
'oh father blessed are you who alights the way and though we may fear and though we may stumble and though we may stall blessed are you who does not allow us to stall forever, blessed are you who says 'get up for you may know the voice of the LORD!' keep and protect us in your name we pray father keep us on the right path on the way to victory in your name amen.'
it is here that i step back, my thin white shirt sweat stained, my thin black tie sticking to the front of my shirt while my white sneakers blink with red robot eyes, as the pastor comes forward.
'now come forward and receive your blessings.'
i had begun my training in the baptist church. though my study of christian history had not ceased i focused on the place where i had the most success. it seems the christ of orthodoxy was a severe man, starving more days than not. that the orthodox christ demands our focus, that the whole of the church moves to gain a grace with trinity of father son and holy spirit. that it was this demand that caused the catholics to throw up their hands as if to say, 'come on. who can keep up with god himself, though we will be severe we can't be that severe.'
from the laziness of the catholics begat the laziness of the lutherans, calvins etc etc until here we are today.
after a sermon and some fun rock songs i can go home and play he-man or nintendo. whatever my heart desires. why if i want i can stuff my face with hot dogs on a wedensday or friday. i can eat through lent and not think twice. i had found a home.
it was on this stage that i would garner national attention. 'come see the young firebrand,' they would say showing moments of my crescendo. it was on this stage that i would dream, holler, stomp my feet, tame the snakes and cast the devil out.
with the blessing of the old black pastor that had brought me to the stage for the first time, i had become a sensation. it was under the guise of a summer camp that my parents allowed me to hit the road, going into tent revivals screaming at paraplegics and throwing pillows with crosses at the blind. it was under the tent that they would come, drooling heavy set women screaming about possession to which i screamed 'out of the satan!' and bonked them on the head with a snake.
it was under the tent, it was during the summer that my scars healed but the name would not leave. was he in my blood? was i wrong? was i anthony catalano at war with myself? if i was was this anthony catalano, was this the devil pushing me under these tents and away from the orthodox church?
it was here that i thought of the seperation between he-man and adam. how adam had to come to grips with his power, how he had to maintain the joy of being adam even with the temptation of he-man at his beck and call. i thought, 'could i maintain charles sterling if i had the ability to be something more? who was christ but the embodiment of adam. he was a man filled with the ultimate power that he not only championed, not only kept in check but also lived in the utmost humility. by god what he could have achieved if he had selfish ends. could he not have held all the treasure? could he-man not have held all the universe in his palm? is the easiest path the best way?
the thoughts filled my dreams, was anthony catalano the raccoon or was it just the easiest path? was it a trick so that mr catalano could sneak in the back door while the we watched out the front? it began to make sense, why would i speak as if from another voice? if not because it was another voice.
as the summer past and i grew from a plain sneaker and white shirt with black tie to the more traditional black suit and neck collar my conscience became pregnant with unease. as charles sterling began to fade anthony catalano grew, he grew from the stage to the floor where he sat with the audience afterward in group prayer. from group prayer to visiting homes of the infirm and casting blessings and prayer of healing. from home visits to recorder where he spilled his philosophy, anthony grew.
it was on the outskirts of nashville where i fought back. as anthony was speaking, where he was juggling snakes and knives of the blessed word i struck. i silenced his voice i moved to let the snake and blades hit the ground and listened to the hush of the crowd.
we stood as if in a showdown. snake black eyes to the left, old timer pastor blue eyed on the right, crying baby fresh from the baptismal tub behind and the many moon faced of the crowd in front.
'enough,' i said and stomped my foot. i began to take off all the clothes and shoes until i was standing in my flash t-shirt and slacks bare footed.
'you people need to understand that he-man is only here to fight skeletor. he protects but he does not baby. a true life is one lived by someone who acts as if he isn't going to show up every time trouble arises. if you love he-man and you respect him then by god do something for yourself and give him a break.'
'judas,' they screamed.
'charlatan,' they hollered.
it was only that i cured a boy in a wheelchair and had him dance the jig while casting out a demon that had caused a woman's blindness, that i made it out alive.
i woke up next to a pond not far from the tent church. it was friday, so i fasted as i began to make my way home to boise. the name bouncing around my head for what reason i soon hoped to discover.
a man has to eat. sometimes rummaging through dumpsters outside a truck stop near cheyenne just isn't enough. i have been sitting here, standing here, thumbing the air waiting for someone to help me get closer to home. in order to avoid being picked up and sent to the orphanage i have used soot to draw stubble on my cheeks and chin.
i pray god to deliver me from this, and weep openly while kicking rocks and dreaming of home. it is in this condition that a man in a business suit taps my shoulder.
'hey kid, whatta doing out in the middle of nowhere?' he growled, as behind him a limousine idled.
'i ain't no kid, mister. and maybe i'm just some murderer out here minding my own business. you could take a cue,' i replied spitting in the dirt.
'well, shit you are feisty. i like that. i don't know what you are trying to prove, but i got a proposition for you.'
my stomach growled.
'why don't you come in the limo, we'll get some breakfast and talk it over. whatta think?'
i rubbed my chin, causing the soot to come off on my fingers. though it should be noted that most of the soot had been washed away due to the constant weeping for home i had been doing. the most dangerous part of life is the risk. a child becomes a man shaped by the results of the risks he has taken. i see the limousine and wonder if it is the next adventure or the last.
'you a murderer or pedophile,' i said and gave my best steely gaze.
the man's face turned red as he slammed one giant hand into the other. i could see the muscles bulging underneath the fine cloth of his suit, the large vein pulsing on the side of his neck. he clenched his jaw while the wyoming breeze blew through his close cropped salt and pepper hair.
'i should smack your face for asking me that. you don't know who i am?' he said and stepped back putting his hands on his hips.
i examined him closely but could not place the face. so after a few up and downs i shook my head, 'no'.
'twenty-three million kids watch a week and i find the one who doesn't. shit, well son, i am don greco the president/owner of wrestling stars. we put on arena shows across the country and well i need to find a kid to play a role.'
'you go to boise?' i asked.
'three stops from here, we roll into boise. why?'
'i have to get to boise.' i said and on hearing the word boise the tears began to fall again.
'well it looks like we are in a position to help each other out. you see charlie fire the masked midget champion hurt his back and has to take a couple nights off. usually who cares, but the people love him. all you have to do is wear a wrestling mask, a suit and tie stand on the sidelines and shout like a baptist preacher. otherwise i'm going to have to call up the union, file a worker's comp claim, fly out another of those little bastards, cost me a fortune. c'mon kid, i'll feed you and get you home.'
the sun cast it's ray over my left eye causing my forehead to ruffle as i though it over. while in the middle of weighing the pros and cons of the deal my stomach began to grumble out it's opinion and i came to a conclusion. 'god's will be done,' i said.
with that a bald eagle cried to the wind. don greco explained the character 'charlie fire' and i began my short stint as a wrestling star.
it is night. we are in some college basketball arena, backstage and i see these monsters of flesh and muscle oiling, flexing and running their lines. there is a man with a hammer called thor he hold's it aloft and screams, 'the power of the gods be with me!' then smashes down on a goat horned black man.
the music blares as a crowd screams then one by one these goliaths head towards the curtain and disappear. a thin man in a green lizard costume begins to convulse, he spits and turns gnashing the air then rushes out into the auditorium heading towards the ring.
soon we are down to three. i am to go out second to last, holding the champion belt while king handsome follows, he is dressed in a flowing red kings cape complete with crown. before we are to go out, the third to last is a man named martin but in the ring he is the clobberer. he is dressed as a street thug, complete with black sunglasses and a chain around his neck. he struts towards the ring as the music blares rock and roll and the crowd boos.
when i head through the curtain, the sound knocks me back. there is the regal music, fit for a king and the applause of the audience. twenty three thousand people screaming and stomping, woman waving their undergarments whjle testosterone fueled men and adolescents wave signs and fists.
i recover from the blast walked ten steps down the runway stop and thrust the belt upward. the place almost crumbles under another blast of excitement, as i stare down the clobberer who is grimacing, pacing and sweating. as i stand, belt aloft the crowd begins to stomp and clap in rhythm breaking only when he appears to a trumpet blast. the king, king wallop appears and i am knocked dizzy by the thunder of their voices.
as i make my way to the ring i only stare forward, the clobberer is strolling, primping and playing it cool. he waves the king's prescence away. he strolls towards one corner and leans easily in the turnstyle and buckles. there are hands grasping for me, for the belt and i have to hold steady or else be consumed.
when we arrive at the ring i hold the rope open so that the king can get into the ring. he moves like a panther, one large thigh into the ring at a time. he bends and i can see the vast community of muscles flexing, peaking through skin as he makes his way in. i place the belt around my waist so i may have the free hands to hold the crown and cape. as soon as i have the garments the clobberer attacks.
he leaps and knocks the king to the ground, stomping his head with his thick black tread combat boots. i scream and posture for the ref and somebody rings the bell starting the match. as the clobberer attacks, the crowd screams for the king, they beg him to rise up and take this cheater out.
king wallop takes a mighty collection of kicks and elbow drops and the end seems near. i scream and cry hoping that he is not destroyed. then, as the clobberer goes to make his finishing move, as the king lays hopeless on the ring the clobberer makes his mistake. he doesn't finish him immediately, he taunts the crowd, he waves his hand to his ear as if he can't hear the boos, to which they grew louder. he points his thumbs to his chest and flips his jean jacket collar up. the clobberer does a quick stomp to king wallops back and rakes his eyes. the king rolls around, he is a man about to be defeated, all that is left is the pin.
i can not take the excitement and holler for help, holler for king wallop to defend his crown. we are one, the voice of the crowd and i. i can hear the announcers and they too are begging for mercy. this as the clobberer goes to his finishing move, he leaps to the top rope and goes into a back flip.
while we were watching the villian, our hero rose. king wallop is standing! he catches the clobberer in mid-air! then in the same motion, king wallop uses the motion of his opponent against him, he flips him into the king's crown and bashes him to the ground.
the clobberer does not move until he has been pinned.
the crowd explodes, i explode screaming and dancing on the sideline. i drop from the ring side and dance down the aisle holding the belt aloft. all are joyous and the clobberer lays vanquished in the ring.
i was overwhelmed by the moment and couldn't hear the lizard coming. i was dancing to the curtain until the noise and the auditorium went black. when i woke up i was on a bus heading west, towards montana, heading towards home.
'what happened?' i asked.
'ah, shit man you got overheated, so when i came to do the final act, set up tomorrow's show, i knocked you out. i feel real sorry about that,' said a cherub faced mexican.
'all's fair in showbusiness,' called out the clobberer.
'you did good there, tonight kid, here you go.' said the king as he gave me a hamburger and french fries.
'hey kid, you earned it.' said don greco giving me a envelope filled with cash.
'god is good,' i said inbetween bites watching the dark highway unfold.
the bus deposited me a block from my house, as dawn crested i headed through the door, up the stairs and finally into my bed. i had a held full of memories and a pocket full of my earnings. as the dawn became morning i was awoken by the gentle kiss of my mother to my forehead.
'good morning,' she whispered.
i blinked a few times and smiled.
'how was your camp? i was sure you would be back later this afternoon.'
'it was tremendous fun, but weather caused it to let out early,' i said. it was a little lie but better that than causing her a stroke from the truth. 'in time, as a i get older, i will tell her the story,' i promised god.
my father came in and toussled my hair a bit, 'hey buddy good to have you home.'
i smiled as they both hugged me close. i could hear in the hall my sister and brother mulling about.
'your brother's home,' my mom said, 'you can say hello.'
'welcome home,' they murmured and rubbed their teenage eyes.
when everyone had moved on to their morning routine i opened the bedroom window and breathed in the fresh idaho air. though wrestling had been tremendous fun nothing beat your own bed and your own home town. familiar streets to bike through, familiar faces to meet at the card store...that is when i remembered the knot of money don greco had given me. i pulled them money from my pocket, stared at it then gasped with excitement. the annual idaho card and toy show was going on this afternoon. i would be there. i would be buying.
as my mother filled the air with the smell of breakfast and coffee i dressed, went through the closet grabbed my back pack and thermos.
'mom, can i go,' i asked hurriedly.
'where, i mean why you just got home,' she asked.
'what's the bug up your butt kid,' my dad said from behind the paper.
our seventeis built two story box style home was suddenly rocked by depression electro rock from my sister's bedroom while the other side was rocked by the seventies era arena rock from my brother's room.
'i forgot about the toy and card show. i have to go, have to go, have to go! please,' i said hopping from one foot to the other.
my mother sucked her teeth for a moment looked over my shoulder to my dad and then down on me, 'sure you can go, but after breakfast. tomorrow though you are staying with us we are having a family day.'
i leapt to her arms and gave her a hug then moved to the six seated natural wood table we had our meals at. as my mom put the plates of food in the center of the table my sister and brother came down and took their positions.
we ate, i greedily, while our parents discussed the politics of city, state and nation. they discussed grocery times only to be interrupted by the occasional blurp of social calender needs.
'mom i have a dance on the tenth,' my sister said.
'i have a basketball game tuesday and friday,' my brother said.
i was too young to have a developed social calender and thus would have nothing planned until after that day of school.
'so how is steve?' my dad asked.
'it's harold now,' my sister said.
'oh, what happened to steve?' he asked.
'oh dad, come on.'
'okay, how is harry?'
'harold,' he said.
'fine,' she whispered and went back to breakfast.
as we ate, he took a moment to question each of us about our lives and what was going on. when we had enough my mother would say, 'oh, leave them be. they don't want to tell us old foggies what is going on in their world.'
on the street the cold air refreshed me as i sped through the streets heading towards the holiday plaza. as i rode into the parking lot i could see it was full. i quietly cursed myself for being late. my usual routine was watching the boxes and toys being unloaded, then heading in to watch them set up.
as i walked my breath was taken away from the vastness of it all. there glimmering across rows of tables was he-men in their wrappers, some from china and mexico. i took my time memorizing the lines of 'jujitsu' and 'king hiss' then walked down towards the baseball collections. it was while taking it all in i noticed an italian boy who was following me.
it was over the alphabetical cheap boxes that i spoke.
'i can't help but notice your following me,' i said.
'am not,' he fired back.
his brown hair parted to the side, his brown eyes unblinkingly staring back, he looked real sharp in a suit and tie. i guessed he was here for the same serious business.
'how come i have never seen you before?'
'how come i have never seen you,' he said.
we circled each other asking about what school, what street we lived on, where our favorite places to ride were. his name was joseph, joey and they had just moved in from nampa. in fact this family had just moved into a house one block away from my own. joey was going to start at garfield, in the same classroom this coming school year.
after we had satisfactorily answered each others' questions we began to discuss the show, the quality and rarity of the toys and cards. it turns out we both were into baseball cards, the was more a thundercat man than a he-man but nobody is perfect.
we had each others' back as we negotiated for those things we felt were worth buying. if the price got was too high we would pull the old, 'i saw it here for so and so,' casual walk buy mutter that would cause the dealer to drop the price. all in all it was a success and i left with a back pack half full of my stuff and half full of his.
there was a chill in the afternoon air, but the tears on our cheeks were from laughter. in the fire of negotiation a friendship had been borne.
billy crudup was the bully. billy crudup had a mop of orange hair that covered his too large earlobes and framed his freckled cheeks and blood red eyes. billy crudup was the bully and the first day of school was his time to put new faces into their places.
it was while we were walking home on the outer fringe of the playground that he appeared. billy crudup with his teeth bared clenched, saliva ferociously dripping from his lower lip. arthur and walton where his goons that stood behind him making menacing faces as billy paced between joseph, myself and the gate to our subdivision.
'so i see a new face, charlie introduce your friend,' he said.
before i could finish the sentence billy held joseph in a head lock. while the goons were pumping their fists cheering him on i could hear joseph moan from the pain his face purple from lack of oxygen and his inhaler begging for help from the back pocket. as they twirled, there built up in me a fire of rage that enngulfed my soul, it pushed me past thought into action. i lept on billy prying joseph free, his goons came, i hissed and flung my feet in all directions knocking them to the ground causing them to keep their distance. as joseph choked trying to catch enough breath so to use his inhaler i fought on.
billy wiggled and wormed his body free then grasped me with a terrible strength getting me into a headlock vise grip blocking the air to my lungs. as he wrenched down and the goons began to spit and cheer for their hero panic set in.
with my legs going weak from lack of oxygen i remembered the raccoon and struck. i bit down on his hand while erupting a terrible scream. billy lost his grip but i did not lose mine, i bit until there was blood until he began to weep i bit and growled until the goons rushed off screaming in terror.
as billy wept i pushed him down spitting blood from my mouth, 'never again,' i said as he lay on the grass clenching his blood red hand.
as we walked home joseph turned to me, 'thank you, you really saved me there.'
'friends got to watch each others' back,' i said.
the sky had become overcast and a terrible rumble groaned from the distance as we appeared in his doorway. there above the door hung a sign, 'the catalano's welcome you' and as we crossed the thresh hold i heard a voice call out from upstairs, 'anthony is that you?'
i turned, my skin gone white his voice fading out as he said, 'joseph's my middle name,' while i fainted.
there is an alley, there are rats that leap and holler about me. i am laying on the ground as a beautiful woman holds her hands to her chest. she is crying, while a strange mess of a man is chanting and spinning throwing dirt into the air.
rain coats the city streets and the sound of car tires slush the water against the curb. she is long and beautiful leaning over the top of me. 'peace' she whispers into me ear. i can feel a stirring in my chest. i want to say something to her, want to tell her it will be alright, that i love her. these are grown up ideas that are coming through.
the man is chanting over me, the woman is moves to a kneel and grasps my hand. i want to squeeze but i can not, so she squeezes my hand together. the dancing hobo leans into me, i can feel his breath warm, the scent of trash and it is violent against my nose. 'return', he says and i spring from the coach a note in my hand.
it is early in the evening while my mother is making dinner. i sit up, i hear the noise of a ball game in the next room. as i enter i hear their voices, my father is talking about 'that lousy choking dog billy mac.' while there nodding in agreement is joseph, nee anthony catalano.
a violence welled up in me, sudden and furious i grab one hand in the other and squeeze until the skin goes white. while they talk of the failure of 'billy mac in any damn game that counts' i stomp up and down the hall cursing and making practice swings.
there is a fire that burns, burns the idea of peace, burns the compassion of christian out. the fire burns until all there is left is violence. i grab a broom, swing for the fences, storm into the room.
while my mother sings over her steaming pots.
'new york can not win a world series with this s.o.b on the team.,' said my father.
'you would expect more from the highest paid player,' said anthony.
'prima donna, some players play for the love of the game, others for the damn record books and paychecks. look at him, preening for the camera.'
'judas!' i screamed as i burst into the room.
there was silence as they turned to look at me.
'you rotten jerks, you cheer when you feel, you call out when a player is a free agent. 'oh come to my team, oh how great would it be if they signed. you call for mvp and starting all star games when the player is going good, but when they struggle you forget and turn your back. you say your a fan of a team but then abandon the best player because? because a pitcher throws a great pitch? because somebody makes a great play? we are all damned professional players, we all got talent. you think a great player just stumbles upon the numbers of billy mac? noway, those are earned, the hall of fame is earned. why you know where you would be if it wasn't for this player your cursing and putting down? nowhere that's where. maybe we ought to look into your lives and see if you do anything as well as billy mac, hits the ball. as well as he plays the field. why i bet you don't come close.'
as my cheeks reddened, my nose ran, tears fell and i could see their faces lower in shame.
'by god, he is a father and husband, he is the son of a man. what if this was your boy, what if it was me out there. god forbid somebody said those things about me. if i hit a cold streak would you turn your back on me too? i say the new yorkers can win this thing, they can win on the back of billy mac, but we got to support them, we got to cheer for them so damn it lets start now.'
it just happens that billy mac is up to bat. i pace the room clapping my hands and conjoling him to a hit.
the first pitch fouled deep into the stands. my father and anthony leaned forward rubbing their hands together. it is game seven, it is one man on base the new yorkers are down by one. the pitch whistles through for strike two. i stomp and scream slap my hands together rooting the batter on. then they start, first my dad and then anthony clapping softly saying, 'bring us back billy mac,' as if on cue the stadium begins the same chant.
as the pitch makes it's way to the plate we are all leaning forward silent hopeful. there is the sound of thunder from the bat that is passed immediately into the stands. the ball comes to rest 500 feet from home plate.
we dance, laugh and cry celebrating with the team and the city. outside a car honks it's horn in joy and we, three, embrace.
'you were right, son, i am sorry,' said my father tear in his eye.
'i knew he could...' was all anthony could get out.
a late model datsun 510 hatchback, driven by a ten year old girl came crashing through the front room window. i don't know if anthony felt a thing, i never heard him cry. the front end came down both of us, i turned over to see his crushed body, before looking down at my own. as i faded i could see the face of a black woman and i remembered the note i had received, 'if you want it done, do it yourself.'
the body of the young girl lay across the hood and i found a familiarity in her eyes, now cold and lifeless. i tried to think about what it all means, but when my mother kissed my forehead i just fell asleep.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


i got nothing. i got no education no benefits to cash in my pocket. ah woman the consumption machineburns what i would have owned. there are babies an they cry. there is the old man, the father, great grey dad wounder of hearts (yes i can see mother's tears in the full moon rain) is he the instructor? is he, this abandoning machine, the depression machine, the cheater of marriages the billowing smoke stack of back alley man the leader of me?
there was grandpa the drunk resurrected. maybe our 1/4 danish 1/4 indian 1/2 poor american blood runs best on grain alcohol. my brother the resurrection of success, the only success of this great american brood, runs on whiskey and beer an it has the same effects of rocket fuel. my brother the dad, my brother the inverse, the abandoned, the abused the tender heart always in furious reaction or sighing acceptance of his bruised love is full of cash, is full of excelerance the grand teacher no television he leads his son through the belly of the city through the museums trying to give him an idea of something more.
there is william the bored. always wandering always moaning 'dad dad' always leaning his sweet cheek against me kissing breathing in our time an there is me the work horse. the six days a week mail machine. there is me the failure, the talent burned, the education wasted always take tenacity over talent, always take studiousness over intelligence.
there is me. the poison machine, the baptized the tested. nothing is good enough.
there is me the miles of highway. the long nights of cigarettes booze singing to a guitar player screaming absurd poems with the piano machine as he tugged long beard with lithe nimble alaskan fingers.
we never made it.
there is the finish line.
there is the marriage.
for what a woman sacrifices she ought to be paid.
there is woman, the employee embarrassed by her salary and benefits. there is woman who tries to come to grips between the idea of so many suitors to the reality of her decision.
by god listen to your wallet. marriage is a hot fire that burns what you give it. when you can't feed it dollars, when you can't feed it long shopping trips, elegant sedans can't feed it the exemplar house and furniture when all you can feed it is yourself sooner than later your left with just your bones.
i can hear the night filled with wishes of things.
i can imagine the future of children joining the choir.
everybody wants something. most times they deserve it too.
god blows a heavy gale.
god blows without a map.
god blows this ship through the dark waters.
god blows and though were desperate with fear
god blows and we know land is out there somewhere.
god is good.
the great invisible credit machine.
an if we don't find land well that means were just supposed to be fishes.
either way god is good.
an all we know is forward.
to the future!
heart beating wants as the zombies laugh smile rot in the satisfaction of what they achieved.
you see dear, my family's fortune is in dreams.
brother dreamed to the top of bank feature film production.
sister dreaming to top of make up artist to beverly hills million dollar home.
dad dreamed i can't see them but i think it's to be better.
mom dreamed to love and confidence
all from idaho nothing snake river tubeathons.
an i dreamed of family roots of security and a home dreamed of a place for kids to grow to not move to have life long pals home teams and history.
an i dreaming of a secret that was whispered somewhere along the road. the prophecy recieved one summer day in the fury of youth while listening to the radio.
dream on
dream on!