Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Clearing

I stood completely still in the moonlight behind silver foliage, staring at the clearing. There was a rustling and a scraping and hisses and whispers and the nymphs dragged another human body to the crack in the ground and then gently nudged him into the abyss. Just like the first time, they laughed and teased each other before disappearing again into the forest. This time though, one of them stopped to inspect a leaf full of nectar that I had left there. When the others were gone she sat on a log and sniffed the nectar, sampling some with her greenish tongue. She appeared to look directly at me before taking the leaf and spinning off into the shadows.

I went to where the crevice had been and the ground was solid under my feet. Packed dirt. I took a long dagger from my boot and dug in the earth but found only more dirt. What are you digging for? The tall silhouette of my mother loomed above me. Get back on the wagon, she said. I clawed at the dirt with my fingers but there was nothing. Then I stood and brushed past my mother, pulling myself up into the covered wagon where my siblings were all fast asleep. I heard my mother’s hoarse whisper through the canvas, We leave in the morning –so get some sleep!

But in ten minutes I was out there again, staring at the clearing from my usual vantage point. The wind got cold and I heard howling. Then I saw them slowly emerge again from the trees all around. This time their flowing nymph silks were replaced by blood-stained, tattered rags and their eyes were black and sunken. Two moved quickly towards me, mouths gaping open with nine-inch fangs dripping blood. When I felt thin fingers with rough skin encircle my throat I couldn’t move. Before long I’d fallen and the grass and dirt and twigs scraped across my face as I was pulled into the clearing like all the others. I could see the crevice again, a widening blackness, and just as I slid into the void I looked back toward the wagon, seeing my brother swaying there in his nightshirt. In a second he was gone and I disappeared into the earth forever.




Dead for Days

You and I used to float for hours, submerged in the barrel of the syringe in the blood and morphine, not needing any air. Then Marvin put his rig into a tight little bundle and back into his grandfather’s medicine bag and swore he’d never touch it again.

I’m back in the room. Someone has a chainsaw going, out on the roof. It must be Walter making his furniture smaller. The dog is lying on the dirty floor, staring at the door.

I started out as the guitarist but now I’m the singer playing bass. Charlie can really play bass we should get him but he’s sick now and I actually think he’s gonna die. He’s not responding. We put Mark on drums. He watches British football and plays Chinese checkers with himself. Or sits running sand through his fingers for hours –when he’s not drumming.

It’s my dog so I have to feed it all the time. That’s why when we don’t get paid I get pissed and fuck shit up. You would too. When are you coming here? I thought you said you and that guy broke up. What was his name –Hiawatha, right? So come on down. I’m actually wondering when/if people ever pay for their sins?

Let’s go outside. Come on. Come on Marvin. Marvin and me walk down to the gas station. We walk down the tracks all the way. Once we saw some serious shit on those tracks. But I’m purposely averting my gaze and honing in on the gas station. I don’t want to see anything today.

Inside the gas station the aisles are at weird angles. I told Marvin but he doesn’t believe me. The shelving looks like it’s about to tip over. Careful! CAFEFUL!!! Marvin is honing in on his purchases and ignores me. A little old man walking his cat on a leash comes in. I can’t even look at him. Come on WHEN are you coming out here? These scrubs are making me crazy! Remember when we built that tree-house in the park? And like lived up there for a week? There aren’t really any parks around here but we could still build something. Come on out and we’ll get some old wood and some nails. Maybe an old door with the paint peeling off and old windows with cracked glass. Build a fucking little shack out by the train tracks! We’d watch the kids go by in the dining car through our busted up old window. We’d watch the ticket-taker watch us as he goes by so fast.

We could have a little box with our food in it. Sleep on a couple of old boards. Play the radio. Write some songs.

I can tell you something else. My old man died. They found him in his kitchen, dead for days. I wrote a song about it. We just played it for Marty. I was jamming and remembering how we’d go down to steal shit from rich people. My Dad used to get so mad. He made me take it all back on Good Friday.

Now I’m waiting outside the gas station. I can’t believe Marvin is still in there. What the fuck, Marvin? You’re keeping me waiting but I gotta get back and get the dog this food. He’s been hungry for days and finally I stole enough for a big full dog meal. I wish that shit could make me happy. I don’t even like food. I don’t like anything really, except music. Music and you, if you’d ever come back, you fucker. Now you’re really pissing me off.

Me and Marvin are back from the gas station trip. I’m sitting here writing a song on Petey’s guitar. It goes something like this: Dad’s dead for days; you ain’t here Purple Haze… That’s all I have so far.





We used to be hardcore. Hardcore in Rosendale. That meant running a series of underground tunnels with the Native American warlocks, keeping giant Smilodon tigers at bay. The whole town used to manufacture cement so there are these mining tunnels in the hills. Some of them you know about. The other ones the warlocks keep actual Cerberuses and sabertooth tigers in, waiting for their moment to pounce. They feed them farm animals to bide their time. I was on the payroll on Wallstreet but I’d drive up the Thruway every weekend to see the girls and the tigers underground. The lower you went the hotter it got and you’d have these three-headed dogs biting your leg and a half-naked dominatrix biting your ear. There was a Shaman who led me down there. Molten lava and sacred Indian rituals. They put some paint on my face and I’d sit there in the glimmering torchlight waiting for the visitation. I paid big money and then all I see is this little puny pink guy with what looks like a tinfoil wand. I remember thinking, He’s not even green. This “alien” told me a few things though.

After that I sold my car and homes and moved out to the desert. I forgot about Rosendale and lived in an Airstream, eating powdered soup every day. I’d been there about six months when Sabra showed up. I was outside under the canopy with my shirt off, smoking a corncob pipe. Red from the sun. I squinted at her as she towered over me. “Take this, brother,” she said, handing me back my old 9mm. I thanked her.

Once I had the gun I politely carjacked my way back to civilization. I found myself back on the train trestle in Rosendale with four dollars and enough pills to keep my conscience at bay for another 40 minutes. During that time I made it to the tunnel entry but was denied entrance. I did not draw my weapon. Instead I headed up the turnpike back to Manhattan and got a slice. Before long I was wearing a suit again, two sizes too small, standing in an elevator listening to the little bells with each floor passing. I reached my old office and the Shaman was there.

Later we were at the deli and still later we got to the airport. I’m glad to be back, I told him as we buckled into 2E and 2F. I couldn’t take another Airstream minute. You’ll like this place, he said as the plane left the ground. It’ll remind you of Rosendale.