Archives For 77 Words About Nothing

Shiver, 43

June 20, 2012 — Leave a comment

Shiver, 43 and a terrible drunk, got his name on account of the fact that he would shiver his entire shift at the local lumberyard. Weather wasn’t a factor. Winter, spring, summer, or fall – that smiley lush would shake rattle and quiver the day long no matter the temperature.

Short timer, though. Fired for running into a little kid with a forklift the same week he miraculously stopped shivering. Must’ve been his Old Crow empties under the stairs.

Patio Joe, 55 and constantly smelling of swill, got his name because he sold and stocked patio furniture at the neighborhood Kmart. With his pockets full of dusty rags and crushed Old Golds, he’d daydream about check out girls.

But I suppose you’d have to call them check out women. Lord knows any girl still considered a girl had only used good ole Patio Joe to buy them smokes and fifths of liquor.

He’s useless for anything else.

I dropped $7 on caffeine

and wiped some snot on the veneer on my way out.

Being forced to spend drug money on libations isn’t stoic.

It’s shitty.

And besides,

my conscience allows me peace of mind.

I figure,

I pay $3.50 to wake up and the other half of that

goes to upkeep.

That includes sanitization of overpriced doors and an occasional LA-Z-BOY

wipe down.

Gosh, I hope they’ve wiped it down since my last visit.





I’m hoping to return to normal by


If not by then,

at least by the end of the week.

But, truly,

I’m not too worried about stasis returning during this

breathing cycle.

It’s been on the lam for so long that I don’t think I would recognize


It might be wearing my old clothes

or show up smoking my brand,

but it will still be awash in nothing.

Awash in the nothing that it became.

We tent camped by the river;

Talked to ourselves the entire ride and laughed off the questions

that repeatedly took stabs at if we were alright.

Alright is alright

but alright is a state of mind,


Having spent our last dimes on grape cigars and grape sodas

we skipped setting up the tent and let the trees canopy us from persistent downpours.

The raindrops wapping the wide leaves made the silence enjoyable and the sugar sweeter.

I’m cracked.

Slowed by the dayswimmers

and gravediggers.

Nightcrawlers and court justices.

I sold my ego to pay a parking ticket,

threw my hat into too many rings.


Is it really better to burn out

than to fade away.

I blew up.

And instead of fading away,

I tossed it,

wrapper and all,

into some trash heap gutter.

Dust to dust,

Earth to earth –

Sometimes it feels good to rid yourself of it when you can.

Sunday nights weren’t massive.

They weren’t even nights.

They were Sunday mornings that remained.

Even as the sun would fade,

The slept in clothes remained –

the coffee breath – constantly refreshed –


And the empty feeling of facing the day’s remainder in a steamy one-room

box where the TV antennae was the only non-geometric shape to meet your eye –


The floors stayed clean.

Mirrors weren’t smudged.

The words weren’t spoken.


Sundays weren’t massive.

They weren’t even.

We laughed along the way –

brushing our sleeves against one another’s.

I asked silly questions —

but was only curious –

Did you like flowers?

Did you love me?

It was a crash course

that tangled us in the weeds.

You carved my initials into your inner thigh

with a jagged stem –

not being careful or cautious of your artery,

you shielded me from your actions and

the tears that clung to the corners of your mouth.


I always thought we belonged in some gutter –


Trading punches and clinking bottles.

Shooters, mostly.

Little vessels of strawberry wine. Or maybe something peach flavored.

Something breezy to kill the sting of the harder stuff.

Remember that time the bus driver didn’t let me on?

Said the Greyhound was no place for drunkards.

That was Memphis.

She hated my face, my stale smile.

She said it made her miserable.

More miserable than the smell of the river.

77 Words | 2.21.2012

February 21, 2012 — Leave a comment

We met up with Slow Slim while he was taking the trash down to the curb.

His hair was messed and blood was gushing from the web between his thumb and index finger.

He paused a little to look at us while globs pattered and melted the fresh snow behind his bare feet.

We never talked to Slim.

We’d just walk by to catch glimpses and see if he’d smile.

Give us a toothless grin –

Or maybe wink.