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He turns to her, that angelic soul sitting in the passenger seat of the late model Volkswagen Passat, and stares curiously at the hands applying light blush and mascara. He sighs.

“Doth thou needest more hours to don thy disguise, Jules?”

“Only but a moment my lord,” she replies.

A raised eyebrow allows his disdain to escape unnoticed. Eyes like knives, the thieves of lives, shoot across the foot and a half betwixt the two lovers. She mindlessly paints her face with lab rabbit murder chemicals. After finishing, the two exit the vehicle.

“What is the level of beauty in thine appearance?”

He is speechless. Her incredible image renders him immobile.

“Such splendor has stolen words and heart.”

“Tongue of honey you possess. Like music unto thine ears. Shall we enter?”

“Indeed. Begrudgingly, our quest beginnith.”

The two emerge into the store hand in hand past new families and meatball fanatics. The vast expanse of home décor is intimidating; like a hooker, a la Julia Roberts, before a virgin.

“Romeo, Romeo, where fore art thou scented candles? Deny thy bedding and refuse thy modular furniture.”

“Dost my love seek fragrances available elsewhere? Hath we traveled to distant lands in search of candles?

“To be true.”

“Your gentleman is at a loss of the New England Tennessee match for your actions. The RedZone playeth not in this establishment.”

“Do not guilt the ones thou love.”

“What’s in a name? A Scandinavian furniture company’s candles would be just as sweet by any other title.”

“Candles the draw, the experience the holder.”

“The expectation of thine most profound love for you did not include this.”

“We hath taken our lives to be here together, and you wish you had not?”

She turns to him to look into his eyes. He lets out a heavy, pained breath. A lengthy pause follows.

“I won’t lie to you. Look, that whole suicide thing was just a ploy. And this stupid old English speech was me trying to get into your pants. I thought you was sexy as fuck and I was trying to hit that. This end table and pillow sham shit I ain’t with.”

“Thou hath discouraged love.”

“To be fair, Shakespeare never included the monotony and compromise of long term love. We were fucked from the jump.”

 

 

 

Short and Sweet

I kept trying to tell myself that it was nothing, but a small part of me couldn’t let go. There was one little dagger still left in my brain that encouraged a particular set of thoughts in which I couldn’t quite escape from. And even after many daysweeksmonths passed, that vision and those thoughts tarried to torture me. It was funny that what set me off was a car. A car parked out front of a house. A rolling metal box with windows and wheels and wipers and potential passengers placed precisely in my environment. A stupid ordinary fucking white Cadillac in front of a house that reminded me of everything; and, like the barbed hook in a trout’s mouth, was nearly impossible to rid myself of.

The first time I saw it: I disregarded it.
The second time I saw it: I found it odd.
The third time: it seemed like more than a coincidence.

But what was it exactly?

The last time I saw that white car it was drenched in blood and all I could hear were screeching tires, gunshots, and the perpetual ringing of alarms.  Harsh voices at dangerous volumes were prevalent. All of those feelings came back again when I saw that vehicle. The robbery. The betrayal. The killing. Even if it wasn’t the same one, it still broke the levee that held back the emotions contained by a poorly managed institution when I saw that model of modern transportation.

And the more I thought about it, the more I saw it. At the 7-11. The post office. The Taco Bell drive thru. Everywhere I went there was a white sedan that represented my feelings for a person and an event.

All I could do was forget.

 

The Brush-Off

Oops. Wrong “off”. Well, you know…read on despite the Lil’ Kim and Timbo.

For the most part, I’m very easygoing. I feel that I’m wise enough to understand the presence of things in the world, and choose if they should or should not affect me accordingly. Few things are able to lodge themselves beneath my skin and cause a noticeable irritation. I can roll with the punches like Sugar Ray Leonard on ecstasy. I have become well equipped to acknowledge the purpose and significance of people’s actions and the goings on around me. However, there is one thing that will forever irritate and frustrate me:
The brush-off.

brush-off, n: a quietly curt or disdainful dismissal

The avoidance is worse than the pure, unhindered rejection; similar to calling Christopher Reeves a pussy when he broke his most important of structural systems, it adds insult to injury. Dismissal I can handle, but the lack of any ounce of compassion I cannot. To me, it is perhaps one of the rudest and most careless things one human can do to another. To treat someone as unworthy of a simple explanation, for better or worse, defines true cowardice. Yet, for whatever reason, it seems like a popular tactic amongst our civilization.

In my life, the brush-off has ended relationships, killed the birth of new ones, damaged friendships, and stranded me in the dark regarding employment and education opportunities. It has often left me wondering if the other party had died, or some other such tragic event had occurred, or if I had committed some sort of atrocity. And thus I tended to blame myself because I didn’t know any different.

Then I had an epiphany that all these people I’d come in contact with throughout my life were just shameless poltroons; made useless by fright. Individuals too selfish to determine a finite ending, and too proud to concede to one. Thus, such a mindset ignored me and abandoned me with my thoughts and paltry words which soon festered into an angry and hateful wound in my soul. And this, dear reader, has not been an isolated incident, but one that still continues in many of my personal meetings.

I take it in stride and try not to be that way. That’s really all I can do. Learn and grow, and leave all those worthless self-centered motherfuckers in the dust. I cannot change others minds at this stage of the game, so I ain’t even gonna try. I can only start shooting a little straighter, more from the hip, and be more frank, honest, and direct. Making observations of the pitfalls I’ve noticed, and declaring my avoidance of them, is the only consolation I have at this point. And I will cherish the shit out of that.

Louis sits at the table in his underwear, vintage mustard stains on his white undershirt, fork and knife in hand. He is at a distance from the surface to accommodate his charmingly overwhelming girth. A body ruined by 58 years of late night steaks and early morning cheeseburgers.  A face tired with smoke and booze. His mind only has the capacity of thought for the food being prepared. Louis calls out to her.
“Hey babe, how that comin’ ‘long? Ma belly calling out something fierce.”
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I don’t remember how it began, the impetus, but that’s irrelevant at this stage. I only know that it has occurred, and it will always and forever be a part of me. I find it to be such an interesting way of viewing media consumption, and that is something that I will always experiment with.

So what the fuck am I talking about?

Hold ya goddamn horses, willya? I’m talking about quotations.

I’ve had a longstanding fascination with quotes. And I would say that this would also include short written passages as well. They’ve always seemed like a very nice distillation of a thought into something that would fit well on a t-shirt or bumper sticker. It’s a format of discourse that is direct, frank, and oftentimes more easily digestible and more profound than the finest of lectures. I also find that the voice, the author, the vehicle by which this message is delivered is of equal importance. And how this condensed correspondence is relayed changes the content, or, at the very least, how it is accepted.

I played with it. I started sharing quotations with my friends that were my own words, but ones that I attributed to someone else. “ You know Abraham Lincoln once said…”, and I’d insert my own logic and theory ( and add a motherfucker so you ignant niggas hear me) into the mouth of some famous, oftentimes revered figure. And it seemed like people would pay more attention to the same words if they were attached to someone of some higher quality than I.
This underhanded approach has allowed me to say things I feel without having to deal with the stigma that is attached to it. For example:

“I would have offed myself years ago, but I never got over the idea of not being able to revise my suicide note. I would’ve spent eternity afraid I used too many fucking adverbs.”
-Tom Robbins

Those are not Tom Robbins words. They are my own. But if I share that with people I know, they are quick to inform the authorities that I’m suicidal, and that I’ve lost it. That a straightjacket should be tailor made for me. That I should receive sympathy posts for my time in the mental slammer.

Or:

“If you lean heavily on photographs to preserve your memories, they probably weren’t all that great to begin with.”

-Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Not anything Vonnegut said directly, but all the sudden, more people care about it. They think, ‘well this person whose work I respect said these things, so they must mean something’. Yet if I, an unknown serf, says the same thing, it has little value.

And so I push my philosophy through other more respectable vehicles. Is it deceiving? You bet your sweet ass it is. Is it rude? Probably…but go fuck yourself.

The reason I do it is to play with people’s preconceived notions of what is categorized as valuable thought. I’m challenging the belief that only authors and speakers and prophets can share wise words with the world. I’ma share my wisdom as a lowly boozehound working out of his northwest basement, and maybe I’ll change the world in my own small way.

But if not, at least I hung myself in a loophole.

The beauty of having an artistic outlet is that you can say things in a way that cannot be argued. The existence of the art cannot be challenged.

And for this reason, musicians, writers, painters, poets and the like, love to speak about people in their past.  They can say whatever they like, in whatever tone, and the individuals who were the inspiration or target can do nothing but deal with it.

So get over it.

True to the Title #876

Capote with cat.

Truman Capote and kitty portrait.

Those triple Tanqueray and tonics took their toll, sneaking up quicker than a pack of wild, sugar-crazed children stalking an ice cream truck across the Savannah. She teetered while we ate. The eyes drooped into the lobster bisque under the weight of the gin, and loose disconnected words fell out turning it to alphabet soup. I brushed her hair back and out of the spoon. I removed a crouton with a long strand. When the barkeep told everyone to get the fuck out, I took her hand in mine and we escaped through the crowd and out onto the drunken streets.

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I hadn’t spoken to my sister since the Clinton administration.

Susan was two years my junior, and we grew up together. We were close for many years, sharing a room and each other’s clothes and each other’s secrets about the boys we liked. Many nights were spent talking into the early hours of the morning while we did our nails or gave makeovers. For over two decades we were nearly inseparable. The two of us shared a very tight bond that only sisters could; but ever since our mother’s suicide, I couldn’t find it in my heart to associate with her anymore.

I was 24, and I remember coming home one night when my parents had invited us over for dinner. I pulled in behind the minivan in the driveway, and, as usual, I showed up before Susan, who had always had an issue with punctuality. I checked my hair in the rearview mirror, applied a touch of lipstick, and getting out of the car, I saw my father tinkering with some sort of woodworking project in the garage.

“Hi Daddy. Whatcha working on?”
“Oh hi there Pumpkin. Nothing much, a spice rack. Just something for your mother.”
“One of those old things?”
“Yep. You know how that is… She’s inside, I think dinner should be ready pretty soon. And Susan just called and said she was on her way. Help yourself to some wine if you like.”
“I could murder a glass of wine about now. I’ll let you get back to your spice rack.”
I leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on the slight layer of sawdust on his cheek before going into the house.

Upon entering I was struck with an odd sense, feeling a chill run down my spine like the demonic fingers of a hellish scoliosis examiner. The house was coated in a delightful combination of aromatics: seafood and dill, cornbread, pinot grigio, carrot cake, and enough love to persuade a change in the coldest of cynic’s hearts. Yet something else was mixed in there, something I couldn’t quite decipher, that threw off the whole vibe. It was sickly sweet and made my stomach turn on me faster than a stool pigeon with immunity. I almost wanted to vomit.
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