Monday, September 27, 2021
Sunday, September 26, 2021
Saturday, September 25, 2021
She was still 20, her hair
a fortress, a hairspray halo,
face an endless nosebleed
in the parking lot. The screaming
pile of sweat and men
at her orchestra, at her love,
heavy as her boyfriend’s
forearms, heavy as double
bass through the chest,
as the rattle of beer cans
in a pick-up truck bed.
I am laying down, the same dream,
‘Panama’ echoes off metal,
off the long strings of hot dog vomit
that runs from my mouth,
the night goes cocaine numb.
In the morning, when the veil
falls, a headliner curtain,
the sound of the birds bully
my head, the wretch of attempt
coats my arms, my knees,
fucking up will always have this smell,
my stomach of cool
dry heaving Jack into chipped
blue paint. When I look,
she is there, our Shields Avenue
home a glowing background,
in her stained hands is this moment.
A time I can never grab, but she holds
it as delicately as a new baby brother.
Friday, September 24, 2021
So you don’t like Bukowski —
I get it. He doesn’t speak your language
and is so crude.
You’d never catch him in a Starbucks
and he didn’t even have the grace
to live in a time when Starbucks
was a thing.
I get it.
You don’t like him because he was a man
and wrote like not just any man,
but like himself and only himself. I get it.
Everyone must get with the program
if they are to matter,
and Bukowski threw up on the program
then set it on fire.
He wasn’t woke the way you have decreed
we must all be woke these days.
I get it.
You don’t like Bukowski
because you read a few poems
and decided he didn’t like women.
I get it.
Did you get to the point
where he didn’t like men, either?
Or that he was generally sad
about the shitty world
that finally destroys all of us?
Or that, really, he generally loved humanity
but was too broken to admit it very often?
Or that the butt of most all of his stuff
It was probably too much to ask of you
to read him broadly and deeply.
Who has the time? One must get to the gym
before the popular shows
come on TV.
Starbucks is so good.
I get it.
Someone told you he was bad.
That saved you bunches of time.
Probably they didn’t read him, either.
A poem or two, maybe. A story.
Somebody probably told that person
they weren’t supposed to like him, too.
I get it.
What was your name again?
What is it you’ve done? Not much?
Maybe a YouTube video
or an article
in some respected journal?
Good for you.
I get it.
Do you get it?
Yeah. Sure you do.
Jeff Weddle is a poet and writer living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He won the 2007 Welty Prize for Bohemian New Orleans: The Story of the Outsider and Loujon Press, and has also received honors for his fiction and poetry. Jeff teaches in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama.
Thursday, September 23, 2021
I had met Lawrence at the bar around the corner. It was late at night and we had already had four mugs of beer. He was throwing peeled peanuts into the air and catching them with his mouth open. He was hitting one in five, so in no time there were peanuts all over our table and unto the floor. For my part, I indulged in swallowing cheese cubes and green olives.
"Do you know, Larry," I said in my best alcoholic voice, "what I've been working on for the last twelve months?"
Lawrence, who always endured my frustrated inventor delusions, smiled after scooping up a peanut and looked at me in surprise.
"A new physics project?"
"I didn't know that you were wasting your time again in that mad scientist stuff. I thought you had left all that and dedicated yourself to teaching and nothing else ..."
True, after my failures to build a perpetual motion machine, a homemade plasma fusion reactor and an antigravity generator, I had stopped going to the Institute. However, nothing prevented me from working at home.
"I built a machine to travel through time. A Time Machine. I'm not kidding."
Larry started laughing like crazy. With teary eyes, he drank what was left of his beer and said to me, "I believe you anything, especially after four beers."
"I spent eight months planning it and four months putting it together. A great design. The tricky thing was building it with my teacher's salary. That's why I've worked so much overtime."
Now I had Lawrence captive to my story. I finished my beer, hugged him by the shoulders, and proceeded to my phenomenal announcement.
"That morning was the great moment. I entered the machine at 9 hours, 12 minutes and 11 seconds. I activated the inertial capacitors, turned on the solid propellant phases, and synchronized the borophene electromagnets. Nothing happened. I tried it several times. In the end, I got off at 9 hours, 29 minutes and 23 seconds: in total, I was on the machine 17 minutes and 12 seconds. Somehow, I traveled to the future. Don't I deserve a toast?"
That night we drank all the beer we could until they threw us out.
Marcelo Medone (1961, Buenos Aires, Argentina) is a fiction writer, poet and screenwriter. His works have received numerous awards and have been published in magazines and books, individually or in anthologies, in multiple languages in more than 40 countries all over the world, including the US.
He loves drinking red wine and whiskey, although he prefers a good beer when he eats pizza.
He currently lives in San Fernando, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
It’s where I stopped on my way home
From my second shift security gig. Cars parked
Far from the scrutiny of overhead gas pump lights,
Asphalt like alligator hide, spray painted pay phone relic
Broke and leaning like the shadows entering and leaving.
A girl in a black hoodie,
young enough to have run away from home
sits on a swivel chair in front of the video slot machine
emptying her pockets of an endless supply of quarters.
I walk past the candy-colored glass pipes
to the coolers and grab that night’s sixer of tall cans.
The man behind the counter avoids eye contact
And has one expression, it’s the kind
That says “yeah, I’ve seen it all and more.”
The license plate on his red Jeep Grand Cherokee reads “CACTUS.”
I knew then something had to change,
When I could no long find the romance
In the emptiness of Sunday nights
And Mondays with nowhere I needed to be.
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
from my lips
a Slim-Jim —
raise a glass,
your front teeth,
or a vein.
I only wanted
for these hands,
a hot page
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