Here's the cover of my new book Razor Wire Kiss. This will most likely be my final release. It's a lighthearted romp about The Notorious Banana Shenanigans of 1974. It will be available in a fortnight. The X-ray on the back cover is really me. It was taken after I broke my shoulder.
Friday, November 3, 2017
Saturday, October 7, 2017
My urine looks like root beer. That’s a good bad sign, I think. It ain’t from eating rhubarb. My doctor once told me, “Your organs are not happy...” and I rushed straight home and put away a quart of whiskey. I already have hepatitis. The whites of my eyes are yellow. I was putting a brave strain on my liver and kidneys and (probably) pancreas. My pee was now brown. The end was near, thank Manson. I’m feeding the champion within with beer and bourbon. My abdomen is swollen. My face is decorated with ruptured blood vessels, little Braille scabs that describe my disordered life. I look like a Wolverton cartoon.
I don’t sit at my kitchen table anymore. Sitting there makes me feel like a sack of puppies about to be drowned. I don’t need that. I patiently await my hemorrhage on the loveseat. The cushions are pocked with little burn holes. I can’t afford to smoke anymore. Cigarettes have become too expensive. Lung cancer was taking too long anyway. I used to cough like a helicopter. There was this girl named Colleen. An anorexic albino, she looked like a vaporous, woeful ghost. Pale and spooky and willowy. We only had sex once. She said intercourse with me was like fucking a fishing rod.
I used to know a coke-dealer named Ivan, a big Russian with a mustache and a laugh like galloping horses. I once bought a gram from him and gave him too much money. Those were the days. Ivan noticed the error and gave me the extra twenty back. He said, “Honesty is the best policy,” in his deep dark forest of an accent. I thanked him and returned home to find that the coke had been cut to within an inch of its life. Colleen laughed about it for hours. That was the start of her nervous breakdown.
I haven’t had company since Colleen left. They were all her friends. I didn’t like any of them but at least they drank. We used to stand around the kitchen table, filling our livers. I felt a reluctant kinship. I felt like a character in the AA book. One night three people had to race to the bathroom to puke. We were drinking bubblegum vodka. The smell got to be obnoxious.
Why are all these sour memories crowding in on me? I pour another shot of bourbon. I don’t know why I don’t just drink straight from the bottle, hobo style. Etiquette? I’m only an obscene animal with a thirst like a plummet. I urge my liver to fail. The next time I piss I want it to be inkjet black. I want to drown in my own blood like Kerouac and W.C. Fields.
They’re dead and much happier than I am.
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Thursday, September 7, 2017
|Photo by H.K.|
“You are a mess, my dear,” she said in her Russian accent.
“Your organs are not happy.”
I had nothing to say to that. The tests had come back.
“You’ve been drinking today,” she said.
I nodded, embarrassed.
“Do you know how I know that?”
I shrugged my shoulders.
“Because I can smell the alcohol.”
She sighed and said, “If you keep this up, you will be dead in one to three years.”
I nodded. “Okay.”
She shook her head. For the first time since I’d been going to her, she looked sad. Usually, she was all business; firm, implacable. My doctor.
“It’s too bad,” she said.
When I left her office, I thanked her.
On my way out, I grabbed a lollipop from the front desk. Grape.
I walked straight to the liquor store. I bought a twelve-pack and then raced back to my building.
In the hall, I passed the woman who lived across from me.
Boy, I wanted to fuck her. What was her name again? Erin? Sara? I was pretty sure it was one of the two.
Hi was the only thing we’d ever said to each other.
I went into my apartment – beer cans on the floor, rotting food on the stove.
I threw off my jacket, carried the twelve-pack to the couch and turned on the TV. It was one o’clock and Gunsmoke was on. I cracked a beer and the show started. It was a good one. An outlaw comes back to Dodge and visits the wife who’d thought he was dead. She’d been a grieving widow for years and now he was back.
By the second commercial-break, I’d opened another beer.
I thought about eating. It had been a while.
But I didn’t feel like moving. The pain in my side bothered me too much.
When Gunsmoke was over (the ending was satisfactory), I went into the kitchen. The kitchen floor was gross: crumbs, stains, muddy boot prints, cigarette butts, what looked like blood...
I opened the refrigerator but everything inside had gone bad, either crawling with mold or way past the expiration date. The milk looked like cottage cheese. I checked the freezer but everything looked awful to me. When did I buy frozen tacos? Jesus.
I returned to the couch, my beer. Bonanza was on. The remote control felt like a theoretical object in my hand but I changed the channel anyway.
On one of my many PBS stations, I landed on a documentary on dromedaries that was soothing enough and boring enough to allow me to think and drink.
I dozed off after half an hour. When I woke up I changed the channel again. The Big Valley was on and I thought about writing. I’d started several stories but didn’t have the energy or enthusiasm for any of them: a story about a woman who seduces strange men with her headless, parasitic twin. A story about a snuff filmmaker who feeds children to starving pit-bulls and films the results. A man and the woman he loves drink ice tea together one summer afternoon, and when she leaves his apartment she is hit by a car and dies. When he returns from the hospital, distraught and in shock, he finds that the ice in her glass hasn’t melted yet and he saves the ice in his freezer and becomes obsessed with preserving it.
But I didn’t feel like writing. I drank another beer. And another.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Cocktails & Cancer Part II
It started with the worms, but not really. I’d been drinking relentlessly (religiously) leading up to my Big Psychiatric Appointment and my reflection looked like a scream in a movie theater. I’d switched from Steel Reserve to a cheap boxed wine called White Burble. It was as atrocious as its name. I hadn’t eaten anything more than a few pistachio nuts in five days. I surrendered to morbid fantasies of lynching myself (even going so far as to hang a necktie-noose from my closet clothes rack), or suffocating myself with Glad Wrap or buying a cheap box of helium from iParty and poisoning my lungs with funny Mickey Mouse gas.
I prayed for the cancer to return. No surgery, no chemotherapy this time. I would nurse the little black cells like a protective mother with a gulping child.
My first meeting with the psychiatrist and I was already an emergency.
It was warm when I set out toward Evergreen Mental Health Services. The sky was bright, cloudless and intense. A sky so blue I wanted to shoot holes in it. Assault the environment. My head was filled with a loud, thirsty crowd, screaming, screaming like angry villagers in a Frankenstein movie...
I began my weary, Don Birnam trudge feeling every agonized stride like a new wound. Every footstep carried the threat of imminent death. My liver hurt. Two miles stretched ahead of me like Death Valley. After five minutes of walking I knew I was doomed. I considered turning back and cancelling the appointment but then what? Drink more wine and get sicker? I’d reached the end of another rope. I needed help, stat. My desperation both clung to me and tumbled from me like a parasitic twin with crumpled bones.
Outside the puzzling young woman’s apartment, by the steps there, I noticed a dried out half a mouse (the hindquarters) a spent condom and a bent spoon. More pieces to a savage, enigmatic puzzle.
A sudden sandstorm whirled, blinding and granular, into my mind and I had to stop and close my eyes a few seconds for fear of fainting. My mouth had gone dry. My tongue tasted (probably) like the dead half-mouse at my feet.
I can’t do this.
(All you have to do is get there).
I kept walking, forcing my weakened, burdensome legs forward. Sweat started. I wished for a handkerchief so I could mop my brow like Louis Armstrong after a taxing solo. Instead, I brushed the sweat from my forehead into my (already oily) hair, pasting it back. I wished for a pair of sunglasses. I wished for a hat. The sun was so assaultive I could feel cataracts developing over my eyes like lenses of milk. All of my internal personae are weak and desperate. There’s nothing to hang onto. Clark Kent turns into another Clark Kent. Nothing under the business suit but flabby flesh weakened by kidneystones of green Kryptonite.
And then I had a seizure and fell into the street, right in the path of a huge, lumbering truck...
Monday, August 28, 2017
I always meant to do something like this. Finally got around to it.
Nothing really new here...
He was the Chief Investigator, working on the theory that every sound in the world meant something. From the crackle of Pop Rocks, to the crumple of cellophane, it was all specific and fraught with meaning. He worked tirelessly trying to decode every sound.
He eventually lost his mind listening to trees falling in the forest.
Nothing really new here...
Narcotics Anonymous Part II
I was working on a two-week binge, drinking nothing but Gold Robitussin and Pepto Bismol when my dentist showed up at my door to hold an intervention. He arrived with seven hygienists. My dentist, Dr. Carr, is tough. He has a face like a landscape. He confiscated my Hydrox (the cookie, not the dwarf) and then the hygienists started to do a frenetic Twist. One of the hygienists reminded me of Sam Waterston (her carriage, not her face) and then a hygienist named Bambi approached me. She had meat in her teeth. I was afraid.
He eventually lost his mind listening to trees falling in the forest.