About Me

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New York City, New York, United States
i am taking a writing class in nyc. these are my assignments. although it's fiction & poetry, these stories could be about you. everything comes from somewhere, right?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Steve (cont.)

“Oh, Lord, sweetheart. Lordy, don’t get me started on your mother." I didn't get him started. I had just mentioned that my mother had dropped me off at the airport. "That woman. Man. She would walk into a room and not a single head in there didn’t turn. She was like that.” Steve was telling me, once again, what my mother was like as we sat eating terrible quesadillas and fajitas at the restaurant on top of the mountain. The sun was falling in through the windows, reflecting off the white snow, illuminating my daddy's face, lighting him from the inside out, highlighting his grey hair, deepening wrinkles and red lines of broken capillaries. “I’ll tell you about the first time I saw her.” I already knew about the first time he saw her.
“I was running Cutter Bills. Making a thousand dollars a day, darlin, and that was in the late 70s and I didn't do that whole tax thing. Your mother walked in the door and now, I gotta tell ya, she wasn’t dressed her best. She had on her sweats and that hair of hers was all over the place.” He chuckled, deep from his lungs, laced with a smoker's cough, and kept going. I knew the story well. She walked in his high end Western wear boutique looking like she didn’t have a dollar to her name, looking like she couldn't afford what they were selling. No one would help her. My daddy was busy charming the ladies and the gentlemen at the bar in the store – yes, they had a bar in the store – “Honey, we would give, you know for free, our customers the goddamn best alcohol and let ‘em shop or let ‘em get drunk or let ‘em do both. I don’t understand people these days. I don’t understand what the hell happened to customer service. It's really a shame.”
Now, my mother was looking around and not being helped and my daddy noticed. He noticed her and then he recognized her. She was the wife of a very well-known musician, the drummer from that goddamn band. Before he went to go help her, she had already left.
“Your mother was out the door before I got to her. And I’ll be damned, right on to hell, if I didn’t call a meeting after that and ream the shit out my staff about judging customers on their looks. Goddamn idiots. You never know who someone is, oh Lord, especially these days. These goddamn kids buying garments that are already ripped? Damnnation, I don’t know what that’s about. What's that about?" I stayed quiet because I didn't know what that was about.
"But you know, your mother, she came back." Deep lung chuckle/cough. "Everyone came back to my store. Darlin, a free bar brought everyone back. I liked drinkin but I liked makin money more.” That was true, at least at that time in his life. It wouldn’t be long before he liked drinking more than he liked anything else.
Steve's eyes kept drifting in and out of the present moment, looking past me and then at me and then past me again. They say your eyeballs stay the same size throughout your life. I kept imagining his light blue eyes sitting in the face of a younger man, a different man. A man with only a few fine lines and clear skin free of discoloration and red strokes. A man with cleaner lungs and a vibrant heart. He looked around at no one and nothing in particular, “I’m telling you, people don’t do it right these days. Where’s our water? Where’s our waiter? Damn turd.”
My mother did come back to my daddy’s store and he didn’t miss a step in his cowboy boots this time. Offered her a whiskey, she took a glass of wine and they laughed and laughed as my daddy charmed her wedding ring right off her dainty, lonely finger.
My dad kept telling me his story, their story, undoubtedly, glamorizing his memories. This old man, I had never thought of my daddy as so old before, but in this light, I knew he was old, reliving his past and what was and what might have been. I chugged my ginger ale, stomach getting more nauseous due to the jet lag and dehydration of being 12,000 feet above sea level. I couldn’t stop fixating on the tiny red tributaries sprinkled on his face, breaking off in every which way, connecting ears and chin, eyes and lips. When did my daddy get so old?
He suddenly looked at me, real serious, coughed without a chuckle and very softly said, “You know, I haven’t seen you in some years now. Too many years. And it’s crazy, you look like just like your mother in this light. I mean, just like her, darlin.”
And we sat for a while in the sunlight, not saying anything. My daddy looking old and me looking like my mother when my daddy knew her best.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Assignment 4

First person narrator writing about a moment in their life when they were incredibly happy. Tone is celebratory.

We would just sit round
seeking a pass from
the polished silhouette
of the scorching sun
under wooden beams
seamed together to create a stilted canopy
where we could rest
and squander
the long, globally warmed days.

Dominoes were slammed
onto low, wrought iron tables that were made
for paper plates of smoked brisket and red plastic cups of
sweet tea
and anything else besides tiny pieces of a dying game.

We would drink Shiner from a boundless keg
and some of us would get quieter
and some of us would get louder
and stories would flow tempting
to cross invisible moral lines of
little old ladies who drove big old Cadillac’s
who only pretended
to have invisible moral lines that shouldn’t be crossed.

The dark veils would slope down from the puppeteer in the sky
threatening to cut off our cords to freckled and coffee skin
but the jukebox sputtered on
salted tunes
of a bronchial angel and gently plucked guitar strings.
Johnny Cash they called him.
Ladies would grab their men
and men would be grabbed.
Stiched together
they would glide over
the concrete stage, lightly sprinkled with saw dust.

It was not until the sun rose
just as quickly as it had set ,
when our words trudged out harsh and armed
and our eyes began dropping and drooping
and cowering as the Oz in the sky
shot honed twinkles of light,
that we realized it was now gone.
The endless keg was stifled.
Dominoes missing.
Legs drained of steps.
We touched the brims of our hats
and entwined
and resigned
and delighted
as a graze of wind
we had known
whistled on by.


Assignment 3
First Person Narrator - disspasionate & detached narrator describing a passionate subject at a time in his life when he felt altererd.

From September last year, I did nothing else but grieve her death. Oh, I went through the motions of some “regular” life, mimicking past actions but it was all dupery. I would wake in the morning, well, wake is a choice word because I never fully woke, and I would find some clothes, brush my teeth, leave my paper on the doorstep, because who needed news when your wife was dead, and walk to work. I would log into my computer, check my mail on Outlook and stare. I would stare deep into the computer looking for some sort of respite, gazing endlessly. My coworkers smiled small smiles and kept their eyes hooded from seeing me, probably afraid my heartache would find them and they would be unable to escape. I wished to be them, to be able to walk away from me.
My routine was this: I would go to work and I would come home. I lost all sorts of things: my scarf, my phone, my wallet, my other scarf. Nothing was important enough to keep track of. No one expected much of me. Phone calls were returned or they weren’t. I would try and make dinner plans or movie plans with friends but I mostly cancelled last minute. I would go into our fully stocked kitchen at work, searching for nourishment, opening cabinets, closing them, opening the refrigerator, closing it. It all looked bland, tasteless. And then I would just stand, in the middle of our kitchen, and wonder if I would ever be hungry again. Would I ever long for the taste of an apple, a piece of chocolate, some warm spaghetti again? I would order fresh juices off Seamless Web, hoping a drink would be easier to swallow than solid food. Grief filled my throat and traveled to my stomach, blocking any type of entry.
My boss told me to take some more time. They would manage without me just fine. But I attempted to keep going to work because home was worse. Our home was worse. I slept on the couch watching some Christian channel hoping for God Almighty to reach through the screen and hold my broken heart in His large, healing hands but I didn’t believe in God and not because she died, but because I was practical. But I still prayed and prayed, maybe out loud sometimes, to something. All I wanted to do was sleep and go to the only place that could take me away from the truth. But, I couldn’t sleep. I was constantly slipping my hand down my pants, jacking off to some faceless woman with a blurry body. I would come but it was never ecstatic. I would take 1 mg of Klonopin to help ease my mind. That quickly turned to 2 mg and so forth. Whatever.
I started frequenting the pub by my apartment that my wife and I used to call gross. Happy hours (happy in only the title alone) were spent talking with strangers that never delved too deep and kept subjects at a very surface level. I would drink more beers and shots of whiskey than I could count and lose my self-awareness. Several nights I got so drunk that I would wake in my bed. I did not sleep in my bed since my wife had gone. It contained her smell, a faded mix of vanilla and sweat, weaved into the soft sheets. Strands of her hair, fine and dark brown, still lined the pillow she had slept on, holding on tight to the fibers. I would get sick and spend the afternoon wrapped around the toilet, a contraption so disgusting, people hide it away in its own room to not be spoken of. I would weep on the unsympathetic tile floor, legs cramping from sitting awkwardly, bloodshot eyes streaming with water, head thumping like a teacher was hitting me upside the head with a measuring stick, letting the vomit out. Letting the alcohol escape up the hole in which it came, emptying the contents of my stomach, but I was still full of misery.

Love Letter To Meat

Assignment 2 - Write a love letter from the point of view of a crazy person.

Dear Meat (you are the most dear!),

Oh dear. I laugh.
Where were you today?
I laugh
so I don’t cry.
Isn’t that what they say?

It was a terrible, dreadful, 6 course meal.
Meal of gourmet, abysmal, vegan, refuse.
You weren’t there.
Must be out
fucking your steakhouse whores.

That’s OK.
I suppose.
I swallowed
some of the loveliest hazelnut crostinis
drizzled with crimini mushrooms
displayed on the daintiest of china ware
silver spoon stuck down my throat.
Dear God. It was raw, too.
I know that must make you jealous.
You’ll never be safe left raw for your lovers.

Oh my. I can’t stop laughing.
Please forgive me.
Thinking of you.
Your delicious skin satiating my mouth.
To taste you is to know
the insides of your soul.
To taste you is to know
the insides of my soul.
We are indistinguishable. You and me.

I saw you from afar…
Lying limp in front of my brother.
I whispered to you, for only myself to hear:
Let me save you!
Let me take you
to that safe spot
inside of me.
Let me take you
straight to my small intestine
where you can stay awhile.
But I avoided you and I silently suffered
like parted lovers are fated to do.

I saw them protesting you the other day.
I screamed with the rioters.
But I screamed for you!
“Meat! Meat! Meat!”
I had to leave quickly, fearing what I might do.
Fearing what I might do for you.
The water from a high rise apartment air conditioner
slowly onto my pining tongue.
I stood for an hour,
or two,
swallowing the dirty liquid,
imagining it was you.

I found you.
I smelled you first.
Your siren song
takes me,
makes me,
its seductive lyrics.
You! All harbored in your paper bag
next to the dumpster.
Even the dirty, hungry man on the street
passed you by.
Fool. FOOL!

Now I pause to sigh.

Unabashedly, my mouth,
having been lonely for so long,
let out tiny drops of drool
as I reached for you.
I attempted to pleasure you slowly
grazing your once juicy body.
You were so dry, shriveled.
Aged beyond your years.
I put you in my mouth
when the sharpest
and sweetest
dagger of my life
entered into me.
I succumbed, letting you abuse me with your maggot corpse.

I hear they found me
passed out on the street
clutching an empty paper bag
that I would not let go
“That’s my missing love!
I will not retreat to your forces!”
And that is why they put me in here, where
cheap imitations of you clutter the steel trays, where
I cry and I do not laugh.

I suffer for you
In this imprudent, congested place
where others claim they’ve had you,
where others tell me how you taste,
but I close my ears
and I know,
you belong to me, to me and me alone.


Assignment 1 -
Narrator: Think of my world. How can I write about by focusing on a character who represents it without being too pedantic.

“Goddammit,” he yelled. Steve’s voice was on permanent caps lock due to a horse accident that happened 40 years ago in which he fell off - excuse me - was bucked off (he yelled at me last time I said fell off – made him sound like he was a pussy) a prize horse they had on the farm. The accident left him deaf in one ear and over time, his good ear had pretty much gone to shit too. His accent was thick hick, backwoods. “Son of a bitch,” he howled. “Woman just hung up on me.” He deeply inhaled his Marlboro Red, as if sucking it for the oxygen it was taking. “These mother fuckers right here, these are healthy. They have a filter, darlin.” He would retort when I complained about his smoking. He was still holding his phone to his ear, lingering like his cigarette, one of the only modern tools he had somewhat accepted in his life. “Oh, shit. Hahaha. Honey, I was only kiddin. You ain’t a bitch. Haha. Darlin, I was just playin! I knew you were still on the phone.” He stayed outside yelling with his wife while we went in to eat at the restaurant. I don’t know if they were fighting or if he was just yelling, like he always does with his lack of hearing. He eventually came and met us at the hard, wooden booth, ready to eat like a man that had just killed his prey after a long game.
One night we were driving through the mountains when we came upon a doe that had been hit by a car but was still alive. The doe was twitching like a drug addict that was missing his fix. Steve stopped the car to check out the scene while I put my tired face in my hands, hiding like a child that thinks if he can’t see you, you can’t see him. Steve came back to the car, very calm, grabbed a hammer he had in the trunk. I closed my eyes even tighter and put my fingers in my ears and hummed as loud as I could, a pain rushing through my body. In no time at all, Steve had gotten back in the car. He sat in the driver’s seat, lit a Marlboro, his round belly all the way to the wheel, and looked straight ahead. Straining for breath, he quietly exhaled, “Darlin, I just got us dinner.”
Steve was a giant man with a giant voice and a giant temper. Once, after very nearly colliding with an oncoming truck in a severe snow storm, Steve yelled to me, “My goddamn taxes pay for the WHOLE road, sweetheart, and I’m gonna use it.” He literally lived in the fast lane. Well, hell, he lived in all the lanes. He’d tell you about the time he rode in the limo with John Travolta to the premier of Urban Cowboy, whom he had outfitted, doing lines and lines of coke off the heel of his thousand dollar boots. Or the times he would go to the back, back rooms of Vegas with Amarillo Slim, fucking women, fucking the casino, fucking it all. Rumors swirled throughout my life that he had been involved in some sort of “Cowboy Mafia” in Texas and I remember when his boss, the “Don”, a man more like a father to Steve, was sentenced to life in prison. During the same time period, Steve’s alcoholic step-dad went crazy and shot Steve’s mom, sister and niece and then himself. Nothing was the same after that. Drugs and alcohol became the only way he could exist rather than a fun, fucking time. Once, years later, his AA sponsor told him, “You know, Steve, one sign that’ll tell if you have an alcohol/drug problem is if you’ve ever blacked out. Have you ever blacked out?” Steve quickly responded, “Oh shit yeah, man. 1980, 1981 and 1982.”
He had no filter, except the one he later got on his cigarettes after a “small” heart attack. He didn’t think much of the “Goddamn government” or any other authority for that matter but I did see him weep at the altar of many churches growing up. Repenting for something. Repenting for many somethings. I just hope he never repented for killing that baby dear. Because it took a real man to put that doe out of its misery. It took a pussy to leave it there on the road, leaving it there to suffer and die. And my daddy was no pussy.