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Midwestern Charm

December 11, 2015 — Leave a comment

He slathered the glue on my scalp and talked non-stop about Harlem. Electrodes or nodes, I never asked which, would measure something inside my head. I doubt they actually did though, measure anything. I’ve had the pleasure of having wires glued to my skull before and have never once seen results. I’m not buying it.

He, Dallas, had just moved to Milwaukee from the most dangerous – as he put it – borough of New York City for a hospital job. I’m not buying that either. Unless he spun until dizzy and burned a hole into a map on our fine town with a lit cigarette, there’s no way he came to Wisconsin JUST for a hospital job. Right?

But what does an over cynical 30 something with possible brain injuries know about it? Nothing I guess.

Follow up came back normal.

Crossed Out.

October 24, 2015 — Leave a comment

Follow Stan around awhile.

Let him walk you through the rooms, structures, and clouds of his being that reveal junk drawers of “collectibles.”

All the things,


but never

Because he’s taught himself
or learned somewhere
ownership holds a mightier reward than what’s inside.


People. Places. Things.

Burn them all down.
Break them to pieces.

Let them spill onto the floor.
Let them expire,
evaporate back to nothing.


It’ll make no difference.
There’s never been a there, there.

Untied shoes.

A head full of booze and unprovoked memories of a grandparent dead over 15 years.

None of it invited but nonetheless – all present.

Moving fast.

Rushing from one thing to the next.

Rushing through everything thanks to the false hope that what’s next will inevitably be better than whatever is current.

Rushing everything until reason stepped in to put a pin in the unsettling remorse that only Saturdays in April can bring.

What a show.

Stopping for a huge overpriced bottle of water.

Popping in to buy a tire gauge.

Stumbling, drunk, on your way to buy cigarettes with two cops coming in behind you.

You hold the door.


But you never say anything.



Why would you?

Not only would the 7 beer breath incriminate you –

but what’s there to say?

The thoughts swirling around in your head as you drunkenly drove to your destination are too good

to lose.


Days are endless.

Time is laboring.

I’ve started to dream about mice;

and staying home to take care of my cats.

It’s easy to convince yourself that self sufficient animals that only truly need you to pull back a tab and spork their meals into a bowl need you around all day when your thoughts have become so decayed that you feel it’s your true calling.

Sometimes I’m grateful that I don’t remember all of my dreams.


August 13, 2014 — Leave a comment

Stealing time. Always gambling. I used to wake up with wet eyes; remnants of nights and days spent in places I never wanted to leave. I took to insomnia to escape the dreams that reminded me of places I could never return to. Now I sleep here. When I can.

So many times I’ve been kept from crazy,

head and ashtray overflowing,

by the comfortable whine of a train whistle.

it’s not hard to say why I really do like living, breathing, or preferring to rest my head near a train.

Cable cars, subways, and freights –

I always keep a track near.

No matter how stuck or soul sucked I may feel,

there’s always that handsome bell, whistle, or ding to remind me that I am free.

I’m No Swimmer

October 30, 2013 — Leave a comment

Your breath and hair.

My knuckles scraped and bloody.

What a pair.

Lunchtime came and went with little more than hair toss in my direction.

Uninterested, you fumbled with the sunglasses that shield the world form the hurt that you only experience when there’s not enough brandy left in the bottle.

You’re a lifeguard.

I’m no swimmer.

And I only started coming to this pool because of the frozen Charleston Chews.

Quickly bored and out of candy, I went back to being a teenager.


October 29, 2013 — Leave a comment

I circled about six times – mesmerized by the sign that said you needed socks.

Just passing through it said –

As I made my third pass I thought – well, aren’t we all.

You looked cold.


And younger than the wrinkles that engulfed your hands, neck and face.

I managed to make my way to the trunk – mom kept emergency socks there.

Handling them over – the reflector on your sign squinted my eye as a tear rolled from yours.

Careful, now. You’re libel to soak them socks.

Without reason and without conviction, he walked into the garage and decided that Bob Dylan may not be as good of a songwriter as Bernie Taupin.

Digging deep, mentally flipping through the years and songs, he recounted that he had not once but five times (that he could recall) lost his voice screaming the words to Levon. That was three more times than he had lost his voice to Tonight I’ll be Staying Here With You and one of those times, he was sure that hash played a big role. Hash and bug spray.

As he got to the end of the argument that he instigated, from across the fence – the drunken neighbor’s radio played Walk on the Wild Side which immediately brought Lou Reed’s songwriting ability to mind which in turn called up David Bowie’s cover of Waiting for my Man.

The neighbor – passed out, teeth rotting with fruit flies hovering and circling above his head – feeding off the alcohol exiting – made him recall Shane McGowan and Fairy Tale of New York which always reminded him of Tom Waits for one reason or another.

As he continuously devolves, this cycle never ends … But it always begins with Bob Dylan.