Colours I’ve Never Seen Before
The Joys of Being a Dog
Eventually you get used to it.
Fighting the routine becomes the routine, and
today my act of rebellion will be to sit
on my couch and do absolutely nothing
today for once.
It’s finding the right line between
an observer and a participant,
and of finding one’s limit.
I’m never sure if I’m the right kind of busy,
if I’m moving too fast or too little and
if I’m just a pussy who likes to sleep too much.
And my how the days whiz by,
At my age, what I do is largely unimportant
but at my age I better damn well pretend it is
and never succumb to the daily work week,
but oh god what if—I might.
There are mountains on my head,
a city surrounded by the Puget Sound and
a lake, with the prettiest water
but far too cold to swim in but something
to baptise your sins away.
It will be all
It’s easy fighting the loneliness
when all one has is a few hours to call their own
with friends a phone call away
and parents who occasionally will buy me groceries
but it will be a completely other animal
to do it all alone, to do it purposefully alone,
the purest kind of water, the purest kind of
solace; take the plane and ascend to heaven—
when I come back down to the city near the
Puget sound my toes will tingle and I’ll see
a few more colours I have never seen before.
Just a Breath
Driving to the gas station,
there are these too beatituful golden labs
fucking on the side of the road and
obviously enjoying it.
Get an iced coffee drink,
a bag of Munchies.
As I approach the counter
I give a peace sign as a way to say
hello to the clerk
and ask for a bottle of Cognac.
She gets two out and rings me up.
Confused but not having the ability to
say no to more alcohol I pay.
As I leave, an old blue-collared man
orders for ten dollars worth of lottery cards
and I leave.
As I drive back
to my band’s practice space
(a warehouse full of relics and junk from
all my old houses powered by two
generators, one with a bad carb
and another with a bad spark plug)
I see the two labs frolicking
in a field, enjoying, without really being able to appreciate
the joys of being a dog.
Anxiously waiting for the sun to rise again
to do the work of a carpenters son,
and plant my feet down like roots
and have my skin boil away from the heat rays
and be frightened by the buzz of all those wasp.
And as I work, my muscles become
flexible wire, all scrunched and mechanical and precise,
as my mind would melt into a puddle.
And on the weekends I’ll be so
fucking far away in the woods, but
only about a mile from the high way.
I’ll try to live with this heat and humidity
every now and then because after all
it’s the only way to ever truly just be.
To feel the air painting your hair in their
little brush like motions,
and to the smell of pine needles
and lake water.
And to feel so uncomfortable
that you are so aware of your body
from your lips to the bottom of your toes.
It’s so wonderful
and puts my mind on a treadmill
and I need to keep it running, because
God sometimes I’ll have
these weeks of me just feeling
so damned bewildered
and I’ll feel my mind just get watery and more weird.
I become a generator without much gasoline
but with a lighter.
Eating the Mississippi
There is no reason
why I should be seeing you
at two am on a bright overcast night,
catching you up on all the bands I have seen,
and driving off in my shit brown 1984 rx-7.
And like you always do,
you keep the conversation short
and retreat inside
and not even in my dreams can
I have more than a minute with you.
Fighting a fever, and fighting a
virus that makes me look like
I had chunks of the southern part of the
Mississippi River for breakfast, sharp
Japanese glyphs and bits of history entangled me
in the night, and when I awoke
it felt like the baptism that I needed.
I visited the beach for spring break
last week, even though ever since
I have abandoned school even weekends
don’t mean anything. It was cold and rainy
and I walked alone in the city with a sort of wandering
lust. I eventually relaxed and dipped
my toes into the cold Pacific Ocean, and
I stripped myself naked, the only thing I wore
(that still only those who knew could see)
was the metal bar inside my chest that prevents
my sternum from crashing into my heart and lungs.
And as I stood in the cold cold water,
expecting the sea to fill me up, all I did
was catch a cold and a fever, and ever
so predictably started dreaming of you,
revisiting April of 1999 because otherwise
I would not have believed any of this has happened.
The Room Built From Boat Parts
The top of the beach house was built out of boat parts.
My room had a fifty pound hatch to the roof
and a vintage bed that was half feathers and half springs.
At night, in the haze, I would attempt to sleep
by trying to figure out who was fucking who
by the sound of their voices (carried through
rice paper thin walls) and it would somehow
relax me, because their never was any
real feelings to it, just good feelings sensations
without the peace of mind.
The next day
I wake up at noon, make myself
some strong French press coffee and
head out the house alone to
explore this beach side city.
I walked in solace for hours
past the parks and the abandoned
hopping on cacti and hopping over
fences to see both the bay and the ocean.
It was windy and I planned to take cover at
Return to the beach house feeling
happy but ever so slightly out of place.
The people in my house are watching
reality tv and playing card games and
it baffles me.
They were rude to waiters
and I out drank and out smoked them
and even under the influence I did
not want to slow down, but at least
I had the vintage bed and the room
built from boat parts.
Playing Dress Up
It’s Gonna Be a Long Day
You can never predict it, but
throughout the night our upstairs neighbors
make a plethora of these strange
Maybe at one in the morning
is the time they do jumping jacks,
or maybe they’re two brothers who
love to wrestle or maybe every week
they reaarange the furniture;
I do not know.
The noise doesn’t bother me
so much as the curiosity does.
It will eventually strike a nerve
and if I’m high enough that night
I’ll decide to get out the house
and smoke on the curb.
They say around this age
everyone tries out different personalities.
Well before we’d go to the curb
I might dress up in a leather jacket
from the seventies, looking all brown
from my shaggy hair to my toes,
trying to look like a professional artist.
Or I might put on a army surplus captain hat
that doesn’t fit right but yet fits
just so right on certain occasions,
and I’ll be sure to wear all black
and wear sunglasses at night.
We’d stand there, on the curb,
looking ridiculous and getting away with it
because when you’re twenty
no one can blame you for playing
Working at Hershey’s Ice-cream.
Counting the register, a woman briskly walks in.
I don’t look up immediately, as I try to count
the rest of my quarters and give her some time to
decide what she wants.
Do you have dutch chocolate? She impatiently asks. She’s a skinny
middle aged white woman. The worst.
She made me lose count, dammit. I ask her,
are you talking about dutch chocolate almond
or just normal chocolate? We’ve the latter
but not the former.
She’s angry at me and I can’t
begin to fathom precisely why, you can
tell in her eyes, we’ve
been aware of each others existence
for under a minute and she
already hates me.
She mumbles something about
not knowing what her sister wants
or how she didn’t know and
made it seem like goddammit it’s
my fault for the ambiguity
and actually starts looking at what we have.
I’m still counting my change
when she asks which size is what,
once again ignoring the fucking menu,
asking the obvious questions.
I explain it to her, and say
ma’am if you could please give me a moment
I need to count this register real quick.
She sighs and storms into the bathroom.
An elderly couple walks in. Old and nice,
and they order two scoops of chocolate moose tracks.
as I get their order, the middle aged skinny white woman
came up to me and asks if that’s hers.
Eh, no, I explain, you went to the bathroom and
never gave me your order.
She makes some kind of snarling
noise, maybe the sound of a pissed
off spoiled Chihuahua, and
leaves the store in a hiss
stares at me
It’s gonna be a
long fucking day.
I felt it coming for a long time.
In September I was
and by December my insides began to
bend and contort, making my
very existence nauseating to
In January I was stuck in a ten
while the rest of the world
continued, thank god they did not
Sometimes that month I would
go to class.
I’d bike there with my fiddle
across my back,
feeling the sometimes hot humid air
and sometimes the damp cold air
and fighting the cars on the road.
At night the fear would get to me
I’d fill my lungs with smoke
write about time traveling
make the sounds of the oceans
on my guitar.
In February it happened, I and knew it was coming
and it felt so good and terrifying.
It was a shatter, a sudden drop,
quiet as it gets,
heavy as an anchor; I would have
sunk had it not been for the
hot air balloon in my lungs, it was
a three hundred dollar one way
plane ticket to a place just
three hours shy of Vancouver,
it was mountains and cities
and oceans all within sight.
Now it is March and I am noticing
pain of getting older
and having moths in
my stomach at the thought of growing up.
I feel it right above my liver,
I see the air move and quiver.
I’m doing irresponsible things responsibly.
I don’t know who I am but
I think I know how to get there.
Black Dots and White Crucifixes
Holidays stroll by and
I hardly glance back anymore.
Days like Christmas and Valentines
Mardi Gras and birthdays
used to be the shining days of
my life, the ones that separate
it all into neat little chunks.
I suppose I just feel disenchanted.
Every night as I light a bowl
I become aware of myself and
what I’m doing—and not doing—
And what a sight,
I honestly wouldn’t have
it any other way, me in the
bathroom, just getting
home from camping,
wearing ragged skinny
black jeans and a brown flannel
shirt and my hair smelling of beer
staring at myself in the mirror
as I lose myself to the drugs,
my roommate working on art
blaring lofi bands no one knows
about, I haven’t been twenty
for long but god how I feel
so much older.
The sky was breaking into
little black dots that grew bigger
by the second, dropped by white
crucifixes near the edge of the
When the dots collided with the ground,
collided with the people and
collided with the buildings
a flash appeared and suddenly
those things were not there
I held onto Eureka as
if she was the last person
on Temecula, watching the
city of Seele give in to the
falling black dots and the
flying white crucifixes.
On a cold mountain
half doused in gasoline
and burning, wordless and sunken,
they turned around
and for once I wished
I could time travel
and bend light and manipulate
gravity so there would
be no more flashes and
no more bombs.
We are very much
physical things, material
things, flehsy things with thoughts,
not mind or soul but matter, dirt
and chemicals and water
mixed together making something
And when we break
that’s it—were long gone,
we were just here for a
quick visit, just to say hello,
just to wave goodbye at
the same time.
Leaving the mountain,
leaving this country,
I’m going to die
but I’m not going to die