Here Lies an American Dreamer

stories, truths, and poems by P. H. Madore third edition December, 2010

2008—2010

Introduction (3) I Found Kurt Vonnegut Under a Greyhound's Seat (4) The Shackles Are Feathers Today (31) The Saddest Break of Day (32) A Platform From Which To Scream This (39) Ran Out Of Coffee Grains (42) Several Minutes of Death and Taxes (45) Journal Vol. III, Book 3, Entry 79 (48) The West Spake Beckoning (54) Silent Come Morning (55) Submission to An Internet Asshole (58) Untitled #999,931 (63) Gum Print (65) Dedication (68) About the Author (69)

contents

introduction
This is the third time I have put this book together. Much of this work feels like the product of a much younger me, but I have love for this book all the same. It’s the reason I founded nonpress, and without nonpress I’m not sure how happy I’d be with disproductions as a whole. Please enjoy the work herein and please don’t avoid checking out the other nonpress titles.

26 November 2010

Yours, phm

(original)
I put this book together for friends and family near the end of 2008. I had no desire to submit it anywhere for publication because I see the downturn in publishing as a positive thing, and so self­publishing a collection for friends and family made perfect sense; it's almost the future of the “industry” or lack thereof. Though I may not always be underground, I will always believe in the do­ it­yourself spirit and the limitless power of community. So much have such principles accomplished just in my short lifetime that I feel these will be the principles the new society is founded on. This is the cream of my crop from the last four years roughly, published and unpublished. If you are holding this in your hands that probably means we know each other or that you have an interest in me, and for that reason if no other (a lack of confidence in my abilities keeps me able to improve on a daily basis) I know you will enjoy this little collection. I've put it up for sale in case you need another

copy and can't get in touch with me, the cost is sure to be as low as it can be, while still letting me get a couple dimes for my collections hat. I'm always starting from scratch. I don't know what I'm doing anymore. But I love you. Thanks, Paul 1 December 2008

I Found Kurt Vonnegut Under A Greyhound’s Bus Seat

first draft: 9 March 2006 heavily edited version published in Flagpole Magazine 3/22/06 & 3/29/06

“And she said: / 'Look, I've never had a dream in my life / Because a dream is what you wanna do, but still haven't pursued / I knew what I wanted and did it 'till it was done / So I've been the dream that I wanted to be since day one!'” ­Aesop Rock, “No Regrets” Life Lesson Number One: if there are any life lessons, they aren't taught anywhere because life is a busted, spastic cartwheel

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steamrolling our years into something pliable and plausible—something we can look back on with watering eyes and nostalgia­ridden minds. There come times in life when we find our wheels spinning, our minds rotting. When we are going nowhere fast and going fast is getting us nowhere. Arguably, these times are stretched over the course of our lives and spread among the entirety—some find themselves “trapped” and “without escape” and decide to let things pan out as societal and situational elements supposedly decide they must; accept defeat without receipt. I'd gone home to rural Maine with a few basic intentions. I would take a job and slowly amass whatever sort of wealth was possible. The waste which was to come had no place in the plan. I would work on my writing, get back in touch with friends of the past. I would make a full recovery from the city life of disregard and no­tomorrow, wherein lives are always at stake and things are forever changing too fast. This isn't a confessional, an autobiography, so it'll be left there. Those who've interest are free to draw their own fruitless assumptions about me, to make their own conclusions based on what they can find of me. I really don't mind. And indeed I

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did write, a lot. In the first few weeks of woodsy peace, feverish, inspired, and fueled by caffeine, I finished writing the first draft of my most recent novel. Soon there would come parties at the house after my father left (sorry, Dad) and all that goes with such events. Life seemed alright for a solid month. I had my application into the local employer. I say “the local employer” because as in many towns through rural America, it is necessary to get employed in that little town to have a connection or two. That or work for the local employer, one of the last remaining vestiges of manufacturing in all of New England. What they tell you when you apply there, what everyone will tell you, is that you should call every day. Apparently this is a means of keeping your application on top of the stack, of keeping yourself fresh in their mind. I'd never before heard of such a thing, but I did it regardless. In July, at first, I would call once a day. By the time August came I was calling every other day, was finished with my novel, and was already considering other possible options. Finally one day they called me back, left a message on my father's answering machine, and believe it or don't, by the time I returned their call later that day the job was gone to another man or woman hungry for money, as all we

working­class citizens in this great country are. It is no secret why such a job market as rural mid­Maine would be so tight and competitive: NAFTA has been pounding coffin nails into the heart of this nation's economy since G. W.'s father signed off on the brilliant folly in the early 1990s. I can see why the reader might think I'm criss­crossing topics, but the purpose is solely to enlighten those from less heavily­impacted sectors of the country as to why a job might be gone so quick. No matter if the market is wide­ open for international wounding, the internal dynamics and mechanics work the same, so why would they hold the job for me—an inexperienced, then­underages, next­town­over person with a slim work history? I still believe that my letter of recommendation from the restaurant in Massachusetts I'd worked in was the only reason they called in the first place. But there was still supposed hope, and I took the time to fill out applications at all the other establishments locally which would take them. I wasn't giving up just yet. Sometime during this period, Hurricane Katrina hit and my father was re­married. I remember sitting on his porch the day of or the day before his wedding, smoking a cigarette and staring into the peaceful woods. It hit me in the gut that few are so fortunate as to sit in such a

9

comfortable position. It occurred to me that there were wars going on, there was a hurricane at hand—people were dying. People are always dying, don't get me wrong. Americans even are always dying. Though my emotions initially ran high—in my gut I cursed G. W. B. for ever having been born—my reaction soon hardened into something more tangible: a sense of duty. What would I want the people of New Orleans to do if such a tragedy struck New England? Wouldn't I want them to come and do things to help, donate money to organizations which were doing the same, etc? I knew if what goes around comes around, I had but one choice: carry the golden rule to its logical extreme; join the Red Cross, go to New Orleans, put my writing and related projects on hold, gain new experience in life. My father came onto the porch and did his usual thing, asked me what was I thinking. I told him, and he did something rare: showed undeniable pride in me. I wasn't as proud as I was excited and nervous and ready and happy that at least I'd be doing something which didn't at its heart involve my various and scattered creative pursuits. The first foreseeable problem with joining the Red Cross was the obvious: I was seventeen, but my birthday would be in less than a month; the first question I asked when I called them was

whether my father could sign a waiver or something; the first man I spoke to said this would be very possible. When nobody called me back for a day, I spoke to another person who informed me that there was no such existing procedure, but that I could still go to the training regardless of my age, which made the plan to go to said training as soon as possible, and get to New Orleans right after that. The next training was scheduled for the third week of September. My father soon left—he visited his property where I was living every month or few weeks or so—and so went my one most reliable means of transportation. For the first day of the training—on which I mostly learned of the magnitude and internal glorification of the bureaucracy of the Red Cross—I managed to talk a neighbor into giving me a ride, and we got lost, and we were late, but the most important thing was to get there, and so I had. The training was in Bangor, about fifty miles away from where I lived, and I no longer had any money with which to compensate my neighbor for the considerable amount of gas. However, I did meet a man at the training who didn't live far from me, and he not only gave me a ride home but promised to pick me up the next morning, for the second day of training.

The persona of this benevolent ingrate 11

solidified my decision to get the hell out. I feared it could be true in this man's case that we are the product of our circumstances, not the inverse, and I wondered if it was possible for me to end up the same as he'd seemed to end up. This nameless know­it­all/know­ nothing, go­nowhere/see­nothing man didn't show up the next morning, and the next training wouldn't take place for another month—far longer than I was willing to spend in Nowhere, where nothing was happening, where I'd written my novel, where “Plan A” simply had not panned out as it was meant to; because when you spend too much unoccupied time alone, away from civilization, with nothing to grab hold of, you begin to spin out—your brain seems to slide in and out of the atmosphere, and once you've run out money, all the friends you thought had time for you disappear, and at some point you reach the realization that you don't much want them around anyway. You find yourself spinning out of control, completely losing track of days, weeks, of time itself. When your only company seems to speak just for the sake of hearing her own voice, you will, if you're of a certain mind and personality as I am, do what's necessary and, as I once explained to a friend in a nutshell:

“fear of failure will drive you to bust a crazy move and get the fuck out.”

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“Despite circumstance, you've got a chance.” ­Bad Religion, “You've Got A Chance”
Life Lesson Number Two: success takes not just time and patience, not just grit and steel­ willed determination, not just smarts and social survival skills—but also a touch of dashing self­ confident insanity. “Plan B.” was fluid, like liquid concrete, for a time. At first I thought to go back to southern New England, where things were familiar, the women are beautiful, accents are similar, and attitudes are predictable; where I knew people. It was still September, my birthday was just shy of a month away—technically my father still had rights and control over me. Rather than leave just to see what he would do about it, I decided to spend the weeks leading up to my eighteenth in preparation for the life ahead of me—the life I now lead. Angry at Bush for not doing enough about Katrina, angry at myself for the same reason, I put forth the idea of a rebellious special first issue to the staff at my online magazine, DISPATCH. We decided to hold nothing back and subtitled the issue “BUSH MUST GO!”­­ further decided we would put it to press, pay the contributors a percentage with half the proceeds, and give the remainder to the Red Cross. The

idea was that people could get something while giving something; a win/win situation. All five of us worked feverishly hard on the issue in question. It was numbered Zero­Point­Five and can be had at http://litdispatch.net/05 for a good price considering the good it will do. We'll be re­releasing it in April with new clothes, new material. Bush hasn't gone anywhere; why should we? That done, almost satisfied that I'd done something, I looked south. My first thought was of Charleston. I of course didn't know anyone there, and my overall wealth amounted to around two­hundred dollars at that moment, but I figured a city by the sea shared with Hootie would be just plain cool. Then my poetry editor, M. Blair Spiva, told me I was wise to go south; said she liked it down here; then she suggested I come to Athens. I told her that my primary goal was to become employed, quick, and she said that Athens was always hiring. I took her word for it and my mother bought me a one­way Greyhound tick to Athens as my birthday gift. She tried to make it a round­trip ticket, but I insisted that a safety net would be the death of me. The day I chose to leave was exactly one week after my birthday, on October 20th, and I felt wise going to a southern city where I at least had one acquaintance (we've since become much

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better friends, and Blair is one of the greatest people alive, in my world anyway). For this reason alone Athens topped the rest of the south—it would be that much easier to get started. She then informed me that I was picking a horrible weekend to come down. She said that UGA was having a huge game and that I'd better make my reservations as far ahead of time as possible. I did so with America's Best Inn out on Atlanta Highway. All that was left was to pack. I packed first my writing. Then a box of poetry for DIS­PRESS (the original Lifshin manuscripts, which will come to fruit on 4/21 as Coal About To Ignite.) I realized I needed more space; commandeered a suitcase which once belonged to my grandfather and made do. Had nearly three­hundred dollars, a desire to make shit happen, three full sets of clothing, some books and literary journals I've since read, plus extra socks, two empty tablets, three pens, and a reserve stash of collected change which would be spent just days later. I convinced the same neighbor who gave me a ride to the Red Cross to drive me to the bus depot in Bangor, and she got me there five minutes after the bus left, so my next ride left three hours later and no matter what I would be laid­over somewhere for about twelve hours. You can just imagine how happy

this made me, but I'm not one to dwell, strongly believe in that whole darkness­before­dawn cliché, and figured that even if most would take this for a bad omen, what it really was was a damn good one. Or it had to be, because things do turn when they must. I sat indirectly across from a girl who caught my eye. A guy a few years older sat in the seat ahead of me, directly across from her, and I don't think this guy shut up all the way to Portland, where he was apparently getting on a plane headed back to California. Just the same I was exhausted—I'd spent the night previous nervously smoking cigarettes and preparing myself mentally for the trip ahead. The extended time on my feet waiting for the bus to get there had further tired me; the initial stress and ensuing argument between the neighbor and I certainly didn't help; I fell asleep and when I awoke, the guy was laying back on my knees, creating much discomfort. I said something but he was so engrossed talking at the girl that he didn't hear me, or appeared not to. I knew his type. Who was he messing with? I punched the headrest of his seat and then tapped him on the back of the head in one rapid motion. He was about to say something. I said, “'Ey you fuckin' guy yer sittin' my lap—how'd you like that, prick?”

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Clearly he wanted me to move away. This was the first trial of the trip for me. He started to say something about the extra seats all around us and I asked the obvious question, “So?” He'd no answer, of course, and the girl therefore lost interest in both of us, which worked for me. At the next pit­stop, Augusta, this 20­something bump­about changed seats and began talking at someone else. Before nodding out again, I studied the girl whose name I can't remember, and I saw that she was reading a brand­new copy of Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. She was throwing out tons of signals. Coming over the bridge to Boston, I put in my Dropkick Murphys disk and listened to them sing “For Boston.” I'll spend my last days in that beautiful city. I felt refreshed enough to speak with her, and I found out that she was headed for Houston to visit family, that she was just a few months older than me. I thought we'd get to know each other at least on the bus to New York, and considered skipping the first bus—the buses from Boston to New York run constantly—getting her to skip with me and show her Boston for a little bit. I was already delayed enough with my reservation looming, however, so I decided it would be enough to have a fellow Mainer to speak with on our way

south. We wouldn't part ways until Atlanta—hundreds of miles away. I let her ahead of me in the line and we talked until we came to the door. Then, she was the last passenger on the current New York bus. Sometimes life is as strange as fiction—usually it tends to be stranger. I was the first on the next New York bus out of South Station, and I sat in the back because it was spacious as opposed to the typical bus seat. A college couple headed for Manhattan sat next to me and we all hit it off. I told them my story, they told me theirs. When darkness fell and we were nearing the City and her boyfriend fell asleep, the girl and I whispered and did the best we could with the time we had, neither of which was very much. Soon the driver announced that we were nearing Port Authority, and her boyfriend was waking up, and we were passing Central Park, and she acted as if nothing had happened—New England women are smart like that; neither of us was trying to kid anyone about our lives or circumstances; I was a kid on the move and she was a well­suited college girl with few worries. Lives can cross paths and paths can take turns, but unless we're stupid we will always choose the best route, to be unromantic and honest. Central Park is no big deal, never has

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been. And I hate New York City, and it's a city I'm not entirely unfamiliar with. We three parted ways and I would catch her gazing at me as she descended with her boyfriend and their mutual Manhattan friends down an escalator. Green eyes I won't soon forget, which I still see in my dreams occasionally; when I sleep and have restful dreams. The bus marked “Atlanta” would leave in forty­five minutes, just enough time to check out the Porty Authority (again). I bought a pack of Marlboro Menthols for seven dollars and ten cents from an Indian man who studied my I. D. (SSN, etc.) just a little too long. It was the first time I'd ever bought a pack of cigarettes, although I've been smoking nearly six years now. Knowing my location well enough, and having grown up in a region different in few ways, I said, “You gonna gimme my fuckin' change'r'm I gonna go somewhere else, guy?” He didn't say anything, handed me back my I. D., my cigarettes, and nearly made me feel guilty. He wasn't fooling me anymore than anyone else is, though, and I'd probably end up doing the same thing if the same situation were repeated today. I went outside and smoked a cigarette surveying Times Square. I sort of wanted to stay, but my Yankee blood told me not to a second

longer than necessary—there was something wrong with that place, plus it didn't matter, wasn't part of the plan, had nothing to do with my goal or destination. I spoke a few minutes to a beautiful New Yorker, gave her a cigarette ignoring her bullshit about not usually asking for them, and soon boarded the next bus. New England was behind me and life was before me. Since that morning when my neighbor had asked if I was excited and I had told this wasn't my way, to be excited, that it typically messed things up, I'd been choking back excitement like stale smoke. Now I decided to let it roll over me and my eyes were wide and I realized that I had forgotten the coffee I'd purchased inside Port Authority on top of a coke machine. So much wasted money in such a short space of time—my karma was sure to increase. Near the front of the bus I sat and once the bus was smoothly in motion I decided to do some writing. I had in a manic fury finished all the open writing projects two nights before. It was all quite rough, to be sure, but at least it was all quite finished. Wrote some very strange flash fiction pieces. Most of the things I wrote between that October evening and the middle of the next month I ended up incorporating into a lengthy short story or publishing online.

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When we came to Baltimore I was hungry. I bought some grub at the station's KFC and was called a cracker; was in the process of starting a fight with the staff when one of my co­ passengers informed me shouting that there was no time because the bus was rolling out again. Coming down from an adrenaline high, I fell asleep until we reached Raleigh and had to change buses. It was early morning and I'd be in Georgia soon. The NC bus stopped at a gas station and everything was quite cheap. I bought a pack of Marlboros and they didn't even card me. I gave them three dollars and got change back! The south and I were going to get along very well. I had a copy of the Paris Review and there was no one worth talking to, so I read again the short story “On Foot In Lesotho” and I was struck very hard by one line particular: “go bravely to extremes and everything will be provided.” I committed it to memory and underlined it. It was something I felt and understood at this point, something I hoped could be true so badly that I could feel it in my chest, had to pause for a moment or five. At the Charlotte stop, in the late afternoon, there was approximately a two­hour wait before the bus to Greenville, South Carolina was to leave. I sat off to the side outside near

some other passengers. There was a respectable old man of color sitting there, and he started our conversation by saying that the weather was beautiful, he was so glad to be out of New York, where he'd been visiting family. I told him New York was an ugly hell­hole, and he picked up my accent and asked where I was from. Then the inevitable questions leading up to why I came south. I told him the digested version of what I'm telling you, and he called me insane, as you no doubt have by now. I told him that insanity was part of what it takes; I'd be just fine. He said if I kept that attitude, then I would be. Gave me a bucket­load of extremely useful advice, specifically that I could go to the labor pools until I got on my feet, and got a job, that they didn't pay well but they'd sure help. Said to try like there was no tomorrow. Asked how long it had been since I'd had a decent meal—I think he could tell I was hungry from the way I smoked so furiously, but I had to keep all the money I could. I was looking forward to the promised feast at Blair's. I told him I couldn't remember; I wasn't counting the KFC biscuit with wings or countless cans of beans I'd eaten in Maine (beans are very cheap, in case you didn't know). He gave me an apple pie from McDonald's—the most American gesture possible—told me to always vote democratic in spite of now living in a

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red state, and for my own sake to never give up. I wouldn't see him again until we all got off the bus in Atlanta, where he wished me good luck for good measure. Between Greenville and Atlanta I switched seats three times. I was antsy and overly excited about how I was coming into Georgia, finally nearing my new home for real. When I sat in the third seat I stepped on something in the darkness—it would still be almost three hours until I reached Atlanta and it was already around 9 P. M. as far as I could tell. I reached down and fished it up, turned on the light to see what it was: a water­damaged copy of Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. It looked like it had only been recently damaged by water, probably some spillage on the bus. I like to believe, and still do, that it was the same copy the girl from Bangor had. I stuffed it into my backpack and pondered memory for awhile before I spent twelve hours in Atlanta. It had been a somewhat rough trip. Shortly after getting off the bus, a man fresh from prison asked me for a cigarette and I gave him two, and he gave me a piece of advice: “Don't leave this fuckin' station; you will get beat up and robbed.” Managed to get robbed for twenty bucks trying to buy a lottery ticket at the convenience/liquor store across the street, and

before day broke a group of Army chumps flaunted money and gave me a pack of cigarettes for nothing, and I'd bought a coat for four dollars. A cheap Ralph Lauren thing. But being in Atlanta in late October over night, it was much colder than I'd expected, and the man selling the coat just wanted to get high, and actually thanked me. I still have and use it; you might see me wearing it. A couple hours before the Athens bus came, I met a homeless hustler from Charleston whose name I don't remember. He wanted to play three­card monty. I told him up front that he would lose; he said he'd bet my five to his twenty. I told him I wouldn't play for money—it'd be unfair to him. I beat him once, twice, six times before he realized I wasn't joking. I didn't mind playing, it passed time, and winning them is truly the only way to gain the respect of such men. “Well you awful good,” he agreed when I said I was bored with winning. “They don't call me Slick Henry for nothin',” I lied. “Name's Henry?” I nodded. “Well it was nice meetin' ya. I gotta find me a sucka 'fore lunch time, but I 'ppreciate you not playin' fo' money.” “We're in this shit together, men like me

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and you,” I told him as he walked away.

“I like to play in the sand / what's mine is ours—if it doesn't remind me of anything.” —Audioslave, “Doesn't Remind Me.”
Life Lesson Number Three: you have the day, this one anyway, and they can never take it away. My first home in Athens was America's Best Inn. The price originally quoted to me over the phone was $75, but when I showed up a day late due to my Bangor ride, I ended up paying $110 for a single night. After that it was only $40, because I switched out of the expensive suite which was the only room open before that, and as you're probably thinking given all I've already told you, paying the fee was quite a struggle. I was tired that Saturday night, but wired on caffeine at the same time. Blair had planned and was about to execute a party in honor of my arrival. While waiting for someone to pick me up, I wrote a journal entry, and in hindsight I realize that I often rob my future children of real detail when it comes to living my life—there is not a single valid quote to share in Entry 56 or 57. My ride came and picked me up, a friend of Blair's from Southeast Alabama. One of the two people in the car gave me a hint as to getting

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a job—DialAmerica. Later the female counterpart would drive me to fill out the application which would end up being my first Athenian employment. It was the Monday after my arrival, after I'd called my father for a loan in desperation and he'd made it so much easier for me to catch some sleep. I remember saying to him when he asked why I was so tired that I could hardly talk, “ain't easy t' sleep when yer tryin' to solve a problem's big as you ah.” He saved my life via Western Union and I soon moved into a room on Odd Street for $110 a week. Living in a southern ghetto was an interesting experience. Lots of things I won't talk or write about—boring played­out things mostly—happened while I was there. I worked for Labor Ready on Baxter Street as often as they would send me out and I could get up early enough to get some work until finally DialAmerica called Blair's house and I was soon working there. On one of my earlier nights I met a guy who was rather kind to me, invited me to hang out one night while giving me a ride to my room. We've come to be friends, as much as that term is a fallible one. Against all odds I managed to gain full­ time employment at Dial in my third week and on the same day a one­bedroom apartment on

Baxter Street. Then in February I was fired from DialAmerica without a penny to my name. Getting my things sent to me was a costly endeavor, and many of them still are in Maine. The reasons for my getting fired were unclear for the most part, and silly piddling bullshit when they were clear; I recently received a notice that said, “misconduct/improper behavior.”. I always did my absolute best, I'm confident of that, and it doesn't hurt my feelings that some waste­of­ life with a vengeance had it out for me because I can tend on the cocky side when I feel I'm under attack. Trust me, reader, if you'd seen all that I've seen, done all that I've done, you might be a bit proud too. Not that you shouldn't have pride anyway, and for all their talk of pride, it is the last thing the DialAmerican establishment wants of their employees. I'm unafraid to say so, because I am only telling the reader the absolute truth. I can also say with honesty that I made as many or more sales as were required of me, and when they weren't obviously personal issues, I did try to improve my performance based on the rational critique I occasionally received. Most of the time it was irrational or wrapped in “because­I­said­so” tones. The Dial is a company which knows very little about true professionalism, about setting personal issues

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aside for the greater good, as far as my experience is concerned, and I don't miss working there—c'est la vie; I only regret that I was fired before I quit, before I was prepared to be unemployed. Which brings me to my present situation. A step further on this path than when I started, far more publications than when I got to Athens, two steps from the street and none from reality, with just two issues of my magazine behind me. Unless you've got a job to fill, though, don't worry for me. I'll be alright. The world is the same as it's always been, things are the same as they've always been, and I truly believe my life is in my own hands, and unless you're crazy, dear reader, do believe me when I tell you that I will forever act accordingly.

The Shackles Are Feathers Today
On this day stomach butterflies are zesty with life, crowded & raucous The shackles are feathers today & society takes its trends from the earth it's built on making revolutionary rounds On this day the abandoned eyes of drones are reflective & humanity mixes toxin w/ oxygen

first draft: 24 February 2007 published in Silenced Press

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The Saddest Break of Day

first draft: 28 October 2005 published in Thirst For Fire

Massachusetts was dry, as were Providence and Newport. This was a pain because I’d been relying on a redneck named Cob in Newport during dry season for about two years—an eternity in our culture. But I knew a guy who knew a shady Asian in New Jersey named Yao. I paid the guy a hundred­fifty bucks to put me in touch with Yao. “This is the Pumish one,” I told him on demand. “I have what you need.” “Ten­pack, twenty­pack, what?” “Fifty, no less.” I was stunned. I’d never picked up fifty pounds before, never nearly that much from a new connect. “How much?” “Thirty­five per Z,” he said. He must have thought I could do that kind of math on the spot. I said, “I’ll call you back.” After a mad search for my calculator, I did

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the math: thirty grand. I talked it over with Corey and he brought up the obvious: it would be crazy for us to go to New Jersey with that kind of cash. According to him neither of us had ever been there; he didn’t know about the time I went to Newark to drop off three white kilos and had a bullet graze my neck in the process. He was right; New Jersey definitely wasn’t safe for guys like us. And this is basically what I said to Yao, adding that the price was truly unbeatable. But before I’d even finished my sentence, he said, “We will bring. Two days. You wait for call.” Then he hung up. I couldn’t even calculate the profit. It being dry season we could sell skimpy bags for higher prices. We wouldn’t lose a single customer. I figured the first eight pounds would be gone in a couple days. I contemplated cocaine to stay awake; contemplated hiring help—but where was I going to go for that, the classifieds? Rats were everywhere, and there were days when I even wondered about Corey. If given the chance and the right conditions, would he roll on me? I wasn’t stupid enough to ask—all I could do was watch. “This is fuckin’ nuts,” I said to him later that day. We were waiting on some girls, finishing off a bottle of Vodka. “Yeah this Absolut hits pretty hard.” He was looking out the window, not paying me any

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attention. “Not that,” I said. “This deal. “We’re gonna make around seven­ hundred percent, Corey. We could retire after this shit’s gone.” “But we won’t,” he said and smiled. We blinded ourselves with the inherent mental darkness of alcohol. I woke up at about four the next morning. I pulled a book out of my hiding place and picked up where I’d left off two weeks before. It was A Walk On The Wildside by Nelson Algren. “Stranger on a strange­lit stair, you have come to a strange frontier,” I read, and my heart moved. Rarely do things affect me emotionally. I wondered if they’d be the last words I’d think if I got hit in Newark or Hackensack or wherever. I heard Corey stir in the next room; as he flushed the toilet I hid my book again. Spent the next hour oiling an AR­15 I’d never used. At about seven I woke Corey up and directed him to get me high. I knew for a fact he still had some stash of Canadian hash from a queer dealer I wouldn’t go near. Soon we were both overcome with a powerful hunger. In our cabinets there were some Ramen noodles, some stale saltines, and some instant potatoes. “You know what that means,” I said, closing the cabinet. “Munchie run,” Corey said with a chuckle. We meandered through Hi­Lo across the

park for about an hour loading the cart with food we both knew would mostly go to waste: ice cream, fresh deli stuff, pretzels, crackers, various brands of soda, and all of Little Debbie’s big fillers. We sat right on the curb outside the store, grubbing away in the early mist of the September day. When my cellphone rang, the familiar number I’d been anticipating appeared on the caller ID. “Puma here,” I said. “You leave yet?” “For where?” “Bu—“ I started as the line went dead. Corey was looking at me with wide brown eyes. I nodded. We both stood up and he asked, “What about this shit?” I shrugged. Corey hollered, “Hey, you!” He caught a homeless guy’s attention as I started jogging ahead to the apartment, gleeful and ready for action. I heard him say, “You want this?” and then I heard the wheels of the cart bounce across the asphalt. In my room I stuffed three pistols (two for Corey, one for me), the AR, and two fresh bottles of Bacardi into a duffel bag where the cash had been resting for days. I heard Corey outside revving his Thunderbird. I took a last look at our apartment.

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I nodded out as we went south of Boston. When I awoke, it was to Corey’s laughter. I looked at him and said, “What?” “Nothin’.” I already knew. He was drunk, and he was a happy drunk. This must have been why he drank so much. “Pull over,” I said. “I’ll drive .” “You don’t got a license,” he said, suddenly serious. “And you’re drunk.” “We get pulled over we’re completely fucked,” he said. “These plates’r still hot.” “No they ain’t.” He didn’t answer. “What the fuck? I thought you fixed that!” “Then gimme the bottle.” I could smell the rum. That was how we’d met—we were the only two at a crack whore’s party who could drink straight rum. “Na—“ I cocked my heater. “You wouldn’t shoot me.” “You think,” I said, not sure myself of how serious I was. He tossed the bottle into my lap carelessly, rum slopped onto my clothes. I was satisfied with that, even if I wanted to bust the bottle on his skull. I put the safety on, made sure it was a noticeable action. “I will next time, you cunt,” I told him. I couldn’t help but smile.

I turned the radio on to medium volume. I hoped this would fool him, have him thinking I was awake. I leaned back in the seat, relaxed. The sun set. The next time I awoke, we were stopped at a gas station. Corey was inside, all smiles and red cheeks. I noted three cop cars. I was proud—he was becoming as bold as me every day, finally learning. He came out of the store toting four packs of gum. Unlike most drunks, Corey’s cheeks were his only giveaway—he never stumbled or talked too fast. I reached behind the seat and checked on the duffel bag. In my dream I heard a tugboat; I had spent the entire dream somewhere near Booth Bay Harbor. The shatter of glass, however, had to be real. I was launched to consciousness as my body heaved forward. My head smacked the dashboard. I smelled rum and burning rubber and blood. My own blood, I realized. As my head went back my eyes were wide open. Headlights I knew to shine golden were spots of white; tail­lights I knew to radiate red were shades of gray. As the car rolled on its side, just once (miraculously), I reached left for Corey; I wanted to touch his heart, I wanted to see if he had a

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pulse left in him. I touched his neck and was immediately shocked for the first time in years. There was no pulse. There was no head. I pulled my piece and held the barrel to my temple for a time. I thought about cashing in right then. Starting over is a bitch, I knew from experience. Then the music still playing on the radio filtered into my weakened consciousness. Go on, take the money and run, sang Steve Miller. Corey’s favorite drinking song ever since we’d hit some fuck named Chico for our first eight grand. I yanked the hefty duffel bag from the back of my seat and crawled through the open skull of the windshield, dragging the duffel behind me, and walked until dawn. Not only was it the saddest break of day I’ve ever witnessed, in gray scale as it may have been, but it was one of the last. I haven’t seen anything for over two years now.

A Platform From Which To Scream This

Temptation is the primary facet of modern society. I'd find a platform from which to scream this if only I felt it would change a thing today. Everyone has their own solution for the problems of the world. From communists to fascists, they all look in one direction or another simply too far. I'd tell them all that there is good in everything if only I felt it would change their minds today. I've shouted plenty of things in my life, but they have all been too personal. Personality is the nature of the pride of young men. I remain young, but I feel less of a man with each day passing wherein the system remains. I'd love to say that there is something to look forward to but there is not. Armies, civilians. These are the composition of society whether we like it or not. You're either militant or you're not. I'd love to say that there is something here worth shouting, but there is not.

first draft: 14 October 2008 unpublished

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Here I am in the heart of a city in the depths of a society which will one day too be forgotten, and I feel nothing. No one needs us anymore, we're nothing. I've come to a turning point, a last resort of necessity: I'll either enlist or I'll go hungry. A past life would have driven me to choose the latter, and perhaps I'd manage to survive awhile before things got easier, but inevitably they'd get harder again. Sister­fuckers everywhere I turn—a melody I can't remove from my head no matter how many years pass. I am but twenty­one. There is time for me, and plenty of time to be successful, or so they say. So here I sit, broken­hearted, society shit, while I but farted, and there's a war on. They'll take anyone in the effort, and I'll go. I'll go, and I'll be there, and soon there will be new horizons before me, and perhaps within the madness I can find some concentration. Seems to be the best place for me to find it. For tonight my goals are to be much simpler. I can still go home, the lease has not expired. I'll do that. In the corner of that room which has become gradually more empty, there is still a bit of food and water. I'll make use of it. And tomorrow I'll join an Army I've never felt affinity for. And tomorrow I'll break down into something new, a new compound. Once I thought life was an interpretation of art. Now I see otherwise: there are no universals such as that, there is nothing. There are choices, beginning when you're young,

and over time they add up and become what you'll know as your life. I've seen this world for what it can be, and I've seen this world for what it should be, and tonight I see this world for what it is. Someday I'll be something, I swear I will. In the meantime, I'll be a soldier, and pride will be something I keep in shoe boxes, proof of what I can do, proof of what I will do. Life is research for better novels. Life is anything you demand it be.

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I'm tired of smoking cigarettes They add weight to my lungs There's no such thing as a light cigarette I just came back from a writing bender I often sleep fully clothed in my own home & my apartment's a mess & I've been eating too much I figure & I accept less than the best at that & I keep thinking about the world's most beautiful woman So my sleep is short & restless & I'm calling myself a pussy all the time now & I'm delirious maybe, ran out of coffee grains I wish life was easy I wish Georgia wasn't a graveyard I want to write a letter to god but I forgot his address I want a suture for my mind but I'd probably not be inspired then & I keep thinking about the world's most beautiful woman

first draft: 16 June 2006 published in Zygote in my Coffee & In Between Hangovers (UK)

Ran Out Of Coffee Grains

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She gave me a book of poems That are better than this & I've lost internal formality & I read silly things for the sake of short­term happiness & I'm thinking the days aren't so magical anymore Because I wasted Monday sleeping & doing laundry I just came back from a weekend writing bender & I hunch my damn back all the time Which is stupid I think people might be giving up on me I just want to get back to working What I'll plan now to do is read a book of poetry until I sleep My eyes are ready to bleed & my head will feel detached when I really quit cigarettes later on But I'll just read until day breaks night in half again & then I'll go fail or pass a drug test & who knows what will happen after that & I want to write a letter to god because someone once told me or I once wrote or I once told myself or now I have written that he is the dealer of cards & I think I might want a new hand though I figure I haven't played this one so badly But I ran out of coffee grains & that kind of makes me angry Disconnected and discombobulated

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I poured coffee in cereal I want it all at once Everything I want to be famous right now Minus the fame I don't even care about acclaim as much as I do not being poor Every day's a good day I'm just being a pussy & calling myself so all the time now.

Several Minutes of Death and Taxes

Wake up before the blood starts running. Might run away. Wake up before the day starts dying. It'll die anyway. Wake up before the lights go off. And through the glare of bleary eyes: a fist. Never aimed at you. You were a bystander. Sideswiped. Now you are awake and standing. Wondering what the fuck. The fist belongs to the friend. Perhaps answers won't come and never do. More importantly, you're not sure if you can talk. Cold, thirsty, hungry, craving a cigarette though you've not smoked in two months. Begin to mumble things. Singularity at first. Then muffle­screaming. Just like you to go out like a fuckin' pussy. That's what this Mohammad Ali ass clown shouts. Need a seat, a drink. A moment to process things. George Clooney takes charge of this situation, momentarily. Perhaps you've been knocked senseless. What?

first draft: 5 October 2008 published in Thieves Jargon

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Onward. Meat of the day. At home, your picture window's busted. Don't even get pissed. A sudden urge for a crime spree. Pillaging package stores. Instead, leap off the wagon for several minutes of freedom. Shot to the arm, it has healed in sobriety. And you're too blame. Probably things are to get better—you may run out of excuses. On the radio, talk about the leading causes of death. Only in America. You notice yours isn't listed before the Nod. Morning appears again. Wake up fired from best job to date. Hours late. Termination via voice­mail. Know you'll be hired back, but meantime, to hell with it. Life exists. Somewhere. Or such is the premise of your quest. California knows how to party. The liquor store hold­up scheme's more tempting. On this day, you decide, you are going to die. Until now you never ever considered the absolute truth of death and taxes. Soon the lights recede. There will be no surprises. Soiled clothes and tar­stained teeth are subliminal honesty. Zap out as a replacement for a solution. The girlfriend shows her face. Intentionally you leave a lengthy pubic hair on her shoulder. You lie about your reason for the errand and leave her waiting while you score smack. Wondering what a pack of gum costs, you walk into the early afternoon sun. Already

desire is rekindled, you miss her embrace. There is always that. Into forever, rewinding. Step and repeat for an accurate biography.

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Journal Vol. 3, Book III, Entry 79
first draft: 12 January 2008 unpublished

7:20AM
The Army. I am now a soldier in the United States Army. Private Madore, E1, a professional soldier paid $1,300 a month to risk my life for causes to which my support or opposition is wholly not relevant. I must accept that George W. Bush is my commander­in­chief and that fucking Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama may well be his successor as the mood of the civilian population dictates. As always, this is the life I chose. Getting to this point wasn't easy. I had to waste every red cent, go to jail, and all that stuff that happened before I thought of the military. I

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had to be rejected for the crime of honesty by the U. S. Navy and Air Force. The Army is more interested in keeping people interested and getting them enlisted than the others. I had to pass the Armed Services Vocational Assessment Battery. I scored an 85 out of 100 and my “GT” is high enough that later I could become a Second Lieutenant with ease. ASVAB was the first part of getting in. I took it at Portland Military Entrance Processing Center on Thursday. Hotel overnight, having a decent free meal and watching the Republican debates on Fox. Of all the candidates currently running, I would mostly easily accept Mitt Romney, who was my governor in high school, or John McCain, who I believe can most efficiently handle the war and the country's defense. Maybe I'm just in the dark ages right now, and I can't much imagine a ruler other than a republican in office, but this is how I was feeling last night. Next morning we got a wake­up call at 0445. My roommate showered, I showered, then it was off to a buffet breakfast. I ate too much bacon. You'll know why. From there it was three quick cigarettes and onto the bus. Downstairs of MEPS we had to empty our bags so the lady could search for contraband. No smoke breaks,

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we were informed. Bummer. Later I found out that there will be no smoking at boot camp, either. It will be like jail with a gun and a fitness program. Went through a hearing test. The women in the medical department were bitches. The guy who briefed six of us was an asshole. Had blood taken so they could check for AIDS. If they let me go to boot camp that means I tested negative. Had to piss in a cup but I had to shit so this was not easy. This is no lie: I had to drink nearly sixty cups of water before I was able to piss, after two stage­frightened tries. “Settle For Satin” by Alkaline Trio was in my head all the day long. Had to do some pretty basic physical tests in my boxers. Walk on your heels, and so forth. Was determined that I had to take “the ARMS test” because my weight/body fat ratio disqualified me. This was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Made me re­think the Army overall. There was a platform about two feet off the ground. I had to step on and off for five straight minutes in tune to a stereo cadence and afterward have a heartbeat lower than 180. The guy was only allowed to tell me to speed up

twice, and he did so once, but he was also encouraging. After three minutes my legs began to vehemently protest. I didn't think I was going to make it, but I did. I just kept thinking about what it would be like to go home a failure that day. Then I had three minutes to get my heart­ rate down and go get a drink of water. My legs were funny about walking to the water fountain, not quite bowed but certainly crookedly carrying me there. After that I had to do fifteen push­ups in a minute. Were I not so exhausted from the stepping these would have been much easier. They weren't real push­ups, for sure—I've never fucking done push­ups before! I had to make a couple trips back and forth between the Army liaison and the front desk. Then I was allowed to have lunch, which was free, from Subway. Forgot to mention that I puked my guts out after doing the push­ups. Ate too much bacon that morning. Once the paperwork was all through I was fingerprinted and then sworn in. My contract forbid me to associate with groups that desire to overthrow the government. Eventually the ride back to Bangor came. I slept the whole way. Had to turn my folder over to Sergeant Sproul and then he gave me a ride home. Ate a couple sandwiches for supper and

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called my Dad to surprise him with the good news: the Army took me, I am now enlisted. He was a bit apprehensive, asked a lot of questions, and said he'd be there at my basic training graduation, which I doubted, just because things work out that way, but didn't say so. Fell right to sleep around ten. Of course I still have a responsibility to help around here for the next ten days. Had to get up at seven this morning and left in the middle of this entry. It's now two­something in the afternoon. And soon we're going to Howland. I hate to admit it but I'm tired of him claiming my days for his own, but I know he doesn't have many of his own left, so I don't much mind it, all things told, and probably someday I'll regret feeling this way. But now I don't have much free time left. He has the nerve to get upset about what I eat, too, even though he's not paying for any of it. He's just old and stuck in his ways. I don't say a word out loud against him, he is my grandfather, I just let him be. Someday I'll come to peace with my feelings about him, but right now I definitely feel like I'm constantly getting screwed. Most days I regret coming back to this place, but, after all, I had nowhere else to go, and it's good they just

accepted me as soon as I said I needed to come here. There are people for whom that's not even an option. I'd have been homeless again otherwise, because even my best friends were tired of me getting myself into trouble.

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The West Spake Beckoning
Sell everything, I'm gone & leave my life forgotten I was staring at the night & the West spake beckoning So you covered my ears There were buses on the road & planes in the sky So you covered my eyes You never picked up the phone & the fare was low So you lost me to the wind Sell everything, I'm gone & leave my life forgotten

first draft: 7 November 2007 unpublished

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Silent Come Morning

Paints her nails and cigarette filters the same sanguinary maroon. Loses men with a wink or smile. As she pleases. And knows nothing but the freedom of a breeze on which to burn or carry promises to those she'll tomorrow forget. I know these things. First meeting. I'd like to think we have this much in common. Sans farewell she leaves that night. We've yet to touch. Words forever fail me. Talked mostly of places our wandering souls had led us. Take now my usual inventory of experience—uppers, downers, workweeks, complaints. Swear to a neglected journal: “I'd be better off in a combat zone.” Phone rings hours before dawn. She demands something better. “I'm rarely this bitter. Deliver something new.” Tempted to admit I've had enough self­conscious nonsense. Fail to say a word. “We'll always be silent come morning,” she promises. A relieved click. She's bad with goodbyes. Can't sleep now. Guzzle yesterday's coffee dregs, prepare for the day­

first draft: 16 April 2008 unpublished

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long boredom of work. Mail comes on time. A two­cent postcard from a stranger: “Life's a rough draft a disgruntled deity wrote standing in a closet some Sunday long past. One trick is to never pretend it matters.” Sitting on the hood of my car when I go to it, she says, “We should kiss now.” Nonchalantly boring. Instead of Let's not and say we might have, I say nothing. From the passenger seat she says her name's Natasha. Probably expects a sigh or anything from me. Playing too cool for that. Minimize emotion to maintain sanity: one survival method. Leaves my car when I reach the workplace. Says she'll try again later. “When the sky's dark and the moon's not empty.” Spend the day wondering where the world's tears ever end up. Something superior is her beauty. Lips full. Fuller from chest to hips. Not my first beautiful girl. Don't lock the door that evening. Don't pick up the phone so she's sure I'm home. Musical rum harmony keeps me company until her appearance. In a dress torn unapologetically with the stink of smoke and margaritas. “Admittedly I fucked a slutty woman in a bathroom stall tonight,” she says. As if to tarnish an absent awkward suspense. “I'm not gay. You were thinking so.”

Alcohol spins clockwise. Conversation's random and flirty. All but in my lap now, she speaks of pornography. This much I can tolerate. Her words are interesting and the liquor's not in short supply. “Is nudity acceptable here?” she wants to know. “Mostly in the shower. Plus you smell of whores and tobacco.” Most glorious shower of my life. Water turns cold with time. We're still heated. Bedroom accommodates. Find it boring after our third or fourth go. Says she's got a place with a balcony. I ask if we can go there next day. Responds, “I'll be gone tomorrow. The west beckons. This town's sickening me again.” I drink stronger than before. “Did I wait too long to comfort you?” “You're only my newest memory. I think you knew that. Let us not be lazy now, it's just two blocks.” And so we proceed to the point of our faltering coffee­laden goodbye. Intoxicated, she hails her flight that Saturday breaking no promise. Awake with a new standard for what love might evolve into.

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Submission to An Internet Asshole

first draft: 9 March 2007 published at Head For The Coast

There's a song I love so much I stole Every precious note I took, I sold Now I spit out words, do you see my lungs on the dance floor? —Alkaline Trio Until it happens that I'm fluid and lucid, blank paper. Trying too hard. I've become lazy. A good sentence is a fillet in a sea of fat. This room should be clean. Colder days should not be forgotten because I'm always two steps from more of them. May the music fade to background. Everything should be as free as air and time's more valuable than any currency. I dreamed in detail of a revolution this morning. Consider this hand exercise. Masturbation. Guess that's both. I think I'll

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refine this and send it down a dark internet asshole. Haven't even got the internet at home—I currently operate on a war­torn laptop and at the library. I'm definitely refining this into one of those pieces whose only quality is the allure of the spastic mind, then submitting it to an internet asshole for publication. I maybe should delete that sentence but I won't. I don't think my newfound laziness is the result of things being too easy, I think after a period of continual frustrated failure I began to lower my standards of good until I wound up in this basement room. Pretty sure my jail cell was bigger, and that didn't cost anything. Someday I'll be famous or infamous. Jack Kerouac or David E. Winters or someone, anyone, who didn't fail forever. Motivation is a fleeting flighty whore when you live on the bottom—memories of rich guys who recognized our similarities but never our disparity in starting point sicken me. Had I been born with loot, it stands to reason that by now I'd have stolen more from this society of dedicated slaves. I'd have been successful. Since I was not, it makes sense that I have three two­dollar bills and three one­dollar coins and eight pennies and some food stamps.

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This song's rhythm always stimulates pen­to­ paper. I wonder sometimes how many are actually alive. I write long­hand first, even unto stillborn novels. The current dimmer brilliance is about losing friends when losing psychological stability. This town could be worse. If Beth calls, I'm sure I'll leap back on track. Keeping promises and losing weight again. Fat rolls bother me. Eighth draft of a very ridiculous piece of writing, but I have someone in mind for it and at least I'm doing something right now. Eight drafts, though. There are days that I just smoke, get munchies, and stare out various windows. Marijuana should be more abundant or simply eradicated—there's never enough of it. Even though it's murder on the work ethic. My balls itch and my body aches. Money baffles me. I'd rather recycle it for loose­leaf paper—there are madmen who kill over the stuff. Also: dirt and oil. This page is blackened with ink. With the ash of Winston Cigarettes. That was an earlier draft, actually, but here lies an American dreamer. Nonetheless. I've always had faith, even unto the days of squatting and eating from dumpsters: I always believed that war stories could somehow culminate in an end worth the

struggle. Earlier I considered the concept of an ampersand. Bohemians and pseudo­intellectuals are neither attractive nor any better than real intellectuals. Language has its limits; a smack can sometimes do all of the talking. A former room­mate was fond of pissing in bed unto the point that he was kicked out of the damn place. At least this roommate's got the dignity of making it to the steps before letting go. I'm too young for this. Midnight is a full seventeen hour day. Pricks like me need another person to succeed, an outside reason. Otherwise we just bumble along, doing nothing in particular, until someone or something injects person in us; we're good for military service or surviving potato famines, liberating populations or fighting revolutions, and not much else. Shamrocks might be beautiful, but we're retarded. We'll drink ourselves to death over people we never even thought of loving. I hate bending my neck. People with stiff necks tend to bother me. I'm over two hundred pounds right now. It's never been this hard to smile and I've been losing focus for months—the fucking bastard cops really nailed me to the cross this time. Twenty years I've been exposed to money.

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It still makes me laugh—people actually take this green paper more seriously than life itself even though one bill looks like the next and they all burn at roughly the same temperature. Society is such a beautiful museum when you're poor—a life spent munching table crumbs and window shopping for ways out. Schedule: Today—fuck off and pretend I can write; Tuesday—work hard for disgusting­but­ cash wages; Wednesday—crawl out of basement, go to regular job, step and repeat until Monday: my weekly dream of life in California.

Untitled #999,931
I shouted from the other room & my voice went unheard I asked what the point was & my answer never came I drank a gallon of coffee & gained nothing from it I wielded a self­righteous sword & my friends abandoned me I shivered in darkness & was never found I sang a thousand songs in a row & my voice went unheard I asked when the end was & my answer never came

first draft: 12 January 2008 unpublished

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I ran until my lungs collapsed & gained nothing from it I gave everything I had & my friends abandoned me I wandered to a new consciousness & was never found

Gum Print

A Modernist Mouse was chewing through Literature’s shoelaces the morning it awoke to realize its mortality. It scared the Mouse away only to find a Post­Modernist Mouse chewing into the sole of the same shoe, while the Modernist had resorted to chewing Literature’s pantleg draped over the edge of the bed. Literature dove for a closet, produced a can of RevRevReview, and doused the invaders as a sentry with napalm; afterward hiding their corpses in its closet on a shelf next to the RevRevReview. Skipping out of the building, Literature realized it was vulnerable to oncoming rain due holey jeans. Being carefree by nature, Literature ignored the jeans and strolled merrily. At a crosswalk not far from home, a trolley car named Genre barreled out of the street and onto the sidewalk. Literature's right ear was lost. A band of schoolchildren with names like Romance, Horror, and a pair of twins named Fantasy hopped out of the trolley to apologize. Their teacher, Mrs. Grammar, wept crocodile tears at Literature’s side.

first draft: 9 September 2005 unpublished

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Later that week, Literature went into hiding and became a hermit because its bully cousin Idiot Box returned to its once­peaceful, suitable city. Idiot Box and Literature had not gotten along for many years; not since the day Literature’s mother had chosen to pick Idiot Box up from soccer practice instead of taking Literature to Uncle Sam’s house. Uncle Sam had promised Literature its own bicycle that day, had died the next, and Aunt Attention had given the bike to Idiot Box instead. Years later, walking down Beat Street on a rare grocery run, Literature stepped into an amassed plot of used chewing gum on the sidewalk, shrieked, stumbled, floundered, and proceeded to nearly die. The gum, stubborn by nature, stuck all over Literature's shoe sole. And as Literature walked, the gum attracted the very worst of fictive dreams, nightmares, clusterfucks; of poorly written manifestos and lackadaisical heartless prose. Literature stopped finally in front of a shoe store, ogled a fancy pair of boots. Walked into the store, spoke to the clerk, had a change of mind, bumbled out, stood indecisive, and strode confidently back in to acquire the boots it had first desired. In them Literature felt renewed, capable. Felt unafraid of Idiot Box or any of the countless children it’d had since their last encounter. Felt

proud, and laughed at the gum which had ruined its favorite leather shoes. At this point the gum turned clever, vigorous. A wind picked up as Literature dropped the gum's chosen shoe sole and while Literature turned away the gum launched into the air and plastered itself into another plot not far in front of Literature. The gum, after much concealed effort, finagled to attach itself to the sole of Literature's boot, and until present day it gave platform to the worst combinations of letters it could while the fabric of Literature's boots withered away and was relegated to memory.

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This book is dedicated to the memory of Todd Christian Roesing (1987­2005), Wayne Daniel Turcotte (1986­ 2010), imprisoned friends and loved ones, and the rest of the lost.

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i

s the founder of nonpress and disproductions generally. He has been published over 200 times under this and other names. He wishes mostly to command the respect he has earned.

P. H. Madore

phmadore.com

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