Living on sugar, hiding the cream.
Who can either get or give enough?
How Chinese food comes to taste like a transformer exploding in an ice storm, served with a side of unrealized cousin.
Infant brawls with infant cousins. Your little thug life all Winston Lights at seven.
The cardboard square that starts a story. The open window that frames it. The hot water heater and the cold concrete floor.
It is impossible to pass a monogrammed bowling ball through your wood-paneled esophagus. In either direction. That's why you feel this way.
Another kind of crawl space, this one set with dirt and pickled vegetables. Too barren, too packed for spiders. You could still be there.
An expression of misunderstanding or “getting with the drift.” Otherwise, the first and most ambiguous of your siblings.
He’s fish. She’s chicken. They’re fruit and wheat. Where do they live? Together. What do they eat?
Elvis is also dead. I'm taking my football collection and going home: regulation-size, large squishy vinyl, miniature corporate-logoed, beloved decomposing Nerf. They go in the smiling blue toybox with your baby picture. And rhinestones. The situation calls for rhinestones.
One of each day. Synonym for “extol” having the additional sense of standing on a barrier island and feeling one is an active part of the barrier process.
That extended period between birthdays when all you can think of is birthdays.
A pile of shit embedded with a crayon. A crunched and vomited frog. Heck, even a mosquito bite on the tip of the glans. No, really. It was always full of horrid potential.
Uphill from the rose garden, further from root vegetables, a house is a house is a house. And carrots are thorns that stick where they're put. Other things are less obviously pinnately compound.
A perception of heat beyond the reach of thermometers or the precise accounting of echo speed, often coupled with the misconception that bad canning, abandoned, degrades to soil.
See also bugshit, bugnuts, bugged, buggered, bugward, bugwad, bagged-out, etc.
The pace you keep. When you speak, the language you speak. Otherwise, you don't speak, and in that sense, you cant.
The continuing adventures of the villainous refrigerator box.
And one must collect Juice Newton imports. Obsessively. To cover all exits. To make the family complete.
Throwing up strawberries. Don't distract from the beauty by saying "vomit". Sandy and covered in needles, intact in our original syrup, by your side on the side of the road, we beg of you.
The sun on the wall made of earth-tone lines.
In retrospect, there’s a lot of this. Recognition in the past implies ignorance of the present. Future tense implied.
It takes two. Or fake it. (Both positively and in a vulgar sense.)
How can a decorative screw go missing when it wasn't ever even real?
Be ye Barysnikov or Yakov ye be.
The striped bathing suit on your great-grandfather.
To divine from a distance the corpses of murdered priests. You are not required to know what you should do.
Pristine in their original packaging. Collect them all.
The baseball fan who shaves a razor ragged. He is subject to your addictions, innovative and banal. There is nothing in the razor cord but power. There is nothing in the fridge but wine.
You catch it from cereal. By extension, a lifelong habit of predicting the illnesses of relatives.
Your contemporary equivalent newsy cap and hilarious hear ye hear ye.
A renovated tenement run by the Irish that won't accept the Irish.
The sense that the sun rises in the north, that you forever know latitude, longitude, elevation and cardinal points in relation to your first bedroom.
All the busted pinball games your paneled attic can contain.
A close-fitting hat with a visor extending well inward to a more generalized or primitive condition, often as a preliminary to major change.
A family which always drives away its neighbors, but knows where they live from then on and sends them heavy, empty envelopes at Christmas, postage due.
Imagine the chair and the butt descends.
We do not help the frog stuck at lake's edge, one leg swallowed, with pellet after pellet to the snake's head.
The reason a young lady taunts her lover in front of her parents with her allergy to peppermint.
Say it again. Say it again and don’t dare stop.
He stops his kung-fu to make sure you're watching.
What architect planned one of three to shine on joists and insulation?
The payoff for the stair-top shimmy. But nobody can teach you a damn thing. Nobody can prove you're not Spider-Man.
We have lunch boxes and phasers and we are not afraid to use them. Or our telescoping mechanical fingers. This being before laser pointers, we have to close ranks to put out an eye.
You open the package and it’s not for you.
Your life as a b-grade celebrity team-up cartoon animal.
1) Without question. 2) Naked. 3) Alone.
Redact your cookbook of lard and sugar to oleo and saccharine pills.
I am not familiar with your name. Your wallet. Your passage to another country.
Composed of past and present mice—the house's ribs, the house's fluff.
Don't forget you're at issue.
It speaks French. Unless you speak French, in which case it speaks Russian with a Kazak accent. When you were younger it spoke to you and with you and you pointed stuff out for it to point out, but one day it grew up and turned on you.
He straps on skis to tour the towns that drowned in the Depression.
The dog's bloody bulging eye and how even that explanation manages to be racist.
The scene guides your aim. Amid bloody pluck-buckets and the falling magnetized, grandfather passes, snapping a neck.
Faux Victorian vs. mid-century modern. Bleached sheepskin throws against a tight, patterned weave.
Her father held her hand. She was not one. She was not. She was not one of those.
Standing toothless near the footboard quilt storage in underwear you don't understand.
You're old enough to climb from fence to roof to check behind the chimney but your Frisbee is no longer there.
That time in your life when all of your friends are Franz Kafka. Franz in the driveway, elbows on the car. Franz at the sleepover, rolling dragon dice. You will come to understand that this era really stressed out your parents.
Without water days passed slowly.
It is specifically built, holding flowers, and takes your particular hand in a general his and her.
When your house rules include let's not speak of the dismemberment.
Dark closet behind clean clothes. Behind limbo. Just past a state of uncertainty, just inside a pocket enclosed by uncertainty and solid walls.
A soy meat substitute. A dirt clod fight.
Your great-grandmother loved cats, so she learned to stifle sneezes. Now you get teased and you know how you'll die.
Great-grandmother punches hymns on the Magnus and serves sugared strawberries in consolation. Her organ drones midway between a storm cellar and a shack for curing meat.
Black bile, yellow bile, Paul and Ringo. And us and us 'til we break up break up.
Floating price tags everywhere you look. Tiny invisible Minnie Pearls defying gravity, cracking wise at your expense.
Outside the house another house. Outside its fence another fence. Outside the meadow another meadow path past cow shit and mushrooms to the door leading out of the house.
The apostate wish to end one's days like a foreigner, in a cold sauce with walnuts.
Migratory birds thrown seasons of kibble, clipped to the pond as pets. The sign says no hunting. It's a sign.
A graffito lemon on the back of your billboard, so to speak.
So much investment for just a spectacle.
You think you know the flower in your pot. Then it up and dies on you.
The time you can hide in the gel green light under the floating dock before someone panics, plus or minus thirty seconds.
Well-water. Hide of the gator which once served as atmosphere. Empty rooms as passages, sparks to the basket of fire.
As lonely as your father's single issue of erotica.
All other considerations aside, there's something to be said for one perfect moment.
A sexual perversion where inertia and nurture meet a prefab concrete slab.
He's gone, he's gone, the Mondrian lamp. Our stylish Gaelic mourning could never bring him back.
A firm, paralyzing conviction that everyone knows how to get to your house, where you hid your postcard collection, who threatened to kiss you in the backyard tent, what you've tried to forget, where your sentence ends.
To tear their house apart anew night after night after night leaving just enough country home to mourn among the shanties and the strip malls and the ad hoc boat docks.
In your time of mythical seizures it was the wires in the darkness and the crusty glue circles on your skin and deep in your hair.
Microscopically regional superstitions such as, "Don't praise the chicken before it's fried," or "Never fish where you feed the ducks," or "An arrow to the arm brings luck."
Anything less than hand-packed buckshot insults both your spouse and your tumor.
To frame your anger as a kind of compliment.
That bamboo pagoda made eternal under glass. How folks don't know they come to see it not you.
All the fabric ever woven by your sister's dusty loom.
You’ve a different potion now. Hold out your hand. You’ve a different potion now. Hold out your hand. Hold out your hand.
To learn of a Walking Horse and deduce a breed that flies.
What system can compete with the clarity and grace of my TI PC clone's single font?
He lied about the contents of his house.
Endless Andy Griffith. A bottomless strawberry Seagram's wine cooler. And a crawfish hole, once you break off the stubbled mud cap and drop twine.
Don’t forget you’re at issue.
When you are far less terrifying hovering over the sleepers in a rented bunny suit.
Larger than before, our apartment seemed two apartments joined. We could’ve doubted everything, but chose only the one incident, which sounded like a psychotic episode.
Transitive and intransitive. Temp to perm.
Look at your toe hanging sideways all like that.
I know you. No, I mean it: I really know you.
When you laugh at the belt, you no longer get the belt. What's
Clothing doesn’t save you. Knots and buckles turning rope to uncles as old rags to armed guards.
Touch and it dies starving.
You know how Scooby and the gang run away from the ghost into the haunted mine then they fall into a mine cart and zoom away but the ghost pops up in the same mine cart, zoinks? That's me.
A house erupts with dirt you can hurl then rises and settles and seals you out.
The small pen with the doghouse persists long past the days of the dog.
Your Scots-Irish grandparents were secretly Japanese. Witness their cutlery and Danish Modern lines.
Only fascists think it's anything but funny.
I'd walk a lonely mile for a yoga joke.
All three vectors betray embarrassment to those who watch from the fourth dimension.
A friend's good mother lasts forever.
Myths dispensed to explain the mundane: I broke my hand on someone's face; I punched a brick playing pinners; I can play piano but I cannot make a fist.
Licking your ear they mark the time.
So few can honestly say they had a relative squashed by a safe.
The top of the rocket still unlocked, where the rust is worst.
In temper, she kicks a hole in the wall. Not supposedly, but with some strength.
Just because you're popular doesn’t mean you're going to be happy.
Next door, someone collected aluminum cans, naming each one for a holiday. Christmas, sigh, crush. Easter. New Year’s.
To sample for money cookies rendered chemically soft, this being less abhorrent than enlisting one's offspring in the effort. By degrees. Always by degrees.
That giggle in the corner where the bookcase hides the wall.
Your most mysterious playground impresses itself upon your sense of sexuality — fallen logs, silence, and a prickling dead carpet — and not, as you'd think, the other way around.
A series of frogs disappearing into a defined, straight length of PVC pipe, both openings visible and kid-watched.
There comes a point once you’ve made your point when it’s just plain rude to continue.
Where through a microscope footprints.
Erma Bombeck undercover, kicking ass and solving crimes in her well-stocked, groovy bookmobile.
You kick the earthquake machine. While lightning bugs blink in witness you kick it like the fucked-up world just gave you its shins.
An unmoored hatred of men in uniforms. Your kill shelter rescue mutt nervous system.
The quiet pride of the designated cricket squisher.
Tying all the bras in knots.
To use every part of the sarcastic buffalo.
“Railway schedules, baseball scores, and abnormal psychology.” Word by word like the names of the dead.
Just so you know, I am capable of a multiple-year boundary-setting exercise.
A surprise flash of sympathy for the agreed-upon villain. You extend your hand and Jackie Gleason drawls, “nice lady.”
The museum of outmoded rearing tactics, all requisite corners and striking planes.
When the plow rolls over you, you stand up and make babies. Then you slice them into pieces like some younger, less forgiving plow.
The drive-in embarrassment film festival admits only Buicks. Huge, beige, convertible Buicks with plenty of room for fat young legs.
A soup you can make yourself. A pocket soup.
Martinis and cigarettes in opposition, in combat, throat to throat, as if it was about anything but beauteous glassware, as if there was anything left to win.
To study the vocabulary of casings yet refrain from dropping the wad, dropping the shot, crimping the shell.
One minute you're addressing the foundation. The next, you've embarrassed your folks at the rally with an inappropriate reference to your foe's balls. In your shiny jacket you peel away like a slug awash in beer. It's always like this. This is how you will always go.
Set down even amongst the yokels, who with you want barbarians lost forever without elevated, shining, compass-point Rome.
You can sit in dignity at the family table, holiday over your head, turkey carcass demanding respect. But you're still an inveterate smart-ass.
There, under the textured yellow spray paint. You were playing doctor. I can smell it.
My son keeps her letters. I forget to write. This
Indefinable and omnipresent. Everything which settles and soothes. Float on it.
"At some point you have to move past her neck," says the rent-a-cop.
He held her dress responsible. Holding her, he dressed responsibly. Responsibly, he held her dress. She undressed in response to his hold on her. He undressed, withholding. She dressed and held on.
Your dying father's probing infant tongue.
Roman decadence in the form of home-canned tomato juice. It's like a mason jar would melt before we'd prove our cut crystal, Lit a Turque, tiki bar, telephone table, sheepskin rugs and chifforobes are all in good taste.
Zombie drive-in theaters show zombie matinees.
A nightmare Tennessee incarnate in the heat, all fetlocks and cock, compressing children for the climbing roses.
The brakes catch your continuing fall.
What it teaches about ambition. The old-fashioned kind, not modern contraptions to ensure you get every drop of so much less.
Too many wells to be a barren land. Too many fat camels digesting mysterious breakfasts.
A basement shaped like your dim understanding of divorce. An attic blocks away likewise. It's darker there, and unmonitored. You can get away with anything.
There will be a half-trailer. There will be a double-wide. There will be hyphenates for everyone: half-remembered ho-hum hanky-panky; half-mast fact-finding get-togethers; hush-hush passer-by check-ins; ex-officio bel-accoyles; self-service follow-ups; far-ranging life-size in-depth mind-blowing hard-core pell-mell adjustable-pitch all-weather fare-thee-wells.
Not the dankest citizens of your best friend's crawl space. Still, there can be worse repercussions than a lifelong obsession with the greased-up lady in the fireman's hat.
These days nearly everybody gets to keep their real teeth.
I knew the thing to do was slice fillets for my friends. But when I held him in my arms and knew I had to smother him or break his neck, I couldn’t do it. I looked around for mother.
Scientific; psychological. You are to me not nearly enough so.
These jagged edges were in fashion once.
Sometimes, just sitting around, I smell rubber friction-burned on ice.
He passes through. He comes to join the association.
Our house lies flat, walls fallen, roof blown away. From the cracks scamper guinea pigs and poodles shaking off dirt and mold. Our station wagon’s been packed and waiting for over 20 years.
To hover unanchored over the drowned town in your five-room rented houseboat.
To bequeath to your heirs the demitasse spoons of a great and defeated evil.
Still and ever champion of the neighborhood asphyxiation game.
Our green hill leads to a forest. Or runs under. Or our green forest turns brown over the hill. This forest fallen with trees where the hill meets its tall green guts. Where and how should we build our house? Our green hill runs under our forest.
Expressed as age-at-incident to parent-age-at-incident over individual obsessive degree. It is irrational. It is endlessly specific.
Forty years weeping, good buddy. Forty years striving. Forty years afraid you're rubber duck minus one on the lingo.
Simply, your point of view. Reflexive and derivative, scientific where it is mechanical, Middle Welsh where it is not Louisiana French, biblical and talmudic where it is not augmentative and unapologetically lowbrow.
You chip soup. You bark sherbet. You hack not carve what your host proffers.
Really, anything I could say would be sexist. Or at best fraternal. Have you two met?
The big wheel best serves those who've grown too strong, scrunched between the cracked seat and the hollow eponymous skidding doodad.
Objectively, a silvered substrate, sodium oxide and sand. Everything else is up for discussion, but mostly it's just...
Sun, positive, genitals, spare tires, church keys, pocket knives. Anything that will do in a pinch. Anything you might happen to find in your pants.
Great grandmother's pills on the quilt, intermingled and uncountable. Great baby fistfuls.