The God of the Barrels eases your pains
His blessings poured over weary refrains
As he works out the kinks
With each sip of his drinks
He provides respite from life's daily chains
The Goddess of Coffee takes over then
Her scent can wake the most hungover men
With each drop of her light
You'll forget your long night
As she breathes life into you once again
if to-do lists were realistic:
1. get up
2. no, really get up
3. come on, you don’t have time to go back to bed
4. brush your teeth-
5. get dressed-
6. go downstairs, i guess...
8. look for something to eat
9. ...keep looking for something to eat
10. settle for something kinda gross
11. eat it, slowly
12. “i’m leaving in ten minutes, with or without you.”
13. worry about that^^ for about two seconds before going back to eating
14. get dressed-
15. look for something to wear
16. end up wearing the same sweatpants as the last two days
17. brush your teeth-
18. stare off into space??? sure, you totally have time for that
19. contemplate going back to bed
20. brush your teeth, very slowly
21. gather your stuff
22. ignore whatever it is your mom is yelling at you from inside the warmth of her blanket
23. “come on, we’re late.”
24. tie your shoes slowly, just to spite them
25. walk outside
26. wait for them to get something they forgot
27. doze off on the drive
28. go to school, finally
Some days, I awake,
and I am the butterfly.
Others, I awake,
and I'm what remains
of the caterpillar.
I can smell you.
and then you fade.
And yet you remain.
Lapping at my skin.
Wrapped around my body.
Tangled in my hair.
Gay Sky Pirates
I'm not great at privacy settings; it comes mainly from my mental insistence that nobody really f 'in cares about my personal life amongst the billions out there on the Internet. I'm just a blip on a data sheet somewhere unless I screw up and go viral (which I do work really hard at avoiding).
Therefore Google knows all about me. It knows what I read, what I listen to, what I buy, what I watch, etc. I'm not debating the idiocy of this right now, I just need to explain it before I get to my point.
Having built up its own database of my personal habits Google makes recommendations for me. Usually these include ads for a plethora of geeky objects or Kickstarter campaigns, and I admit it does a pretty good job of picking shiny useless items I neither need nor can help being drawn to anyway.
However the most fun times I have are hitting the "autoplay" button on Youtube and just letting the rabbit hole pull me along.
One day I did this and ended up somehow on a mashup of Lady Gaga/Beyonce's "Telephone" and Alestorm's "Magnetic North", lovingly titled "Magnetic Telephone." You probably recognize at least half of this extremely odd duet. The other half I can only succinctly describe as pirate beard folk metal.
I ended up fascinated by the song as well as curious as to how Google had selected it for me. What on earth would possess it to decide I needed a diva-laden ocean shanty?
That's when it hit me.
Google thinks I'm a gay pirate.
And then suddenly everything just felt right. No, I'm not actually a gay pirate by any means; but the phrase conjures up Robert De Niro's character in Stardust and by gods how could you not want Captain Shakespeare as your online spirit guide??
When I started looking at my other recommendations with this new framework it all came together. Absolutely yes - a gay sky pirate (adding "sky" now, in homage to Captain Shakespeare) would need these things in their life!
Things got a bit silly after that. I started thinking before I clicked on links, asking myself, "Would a fabulous gentleman of fortune deem this worthy of their time?" If the answer wasn't a resounding "huzzah!" then nope, I wouldn't proceed.
It's been a few years since this event happened, and I'm not sure whether the AI still feels this is the best summation of my online personality or not.
Either way, I will always hold a place in my heart for this, my true spirit algorithm.
All We Have Left
One hour with you is all I have left. You whispered through beams of hospital lighting, telling me to run. I think because you didn't want me to see you like this. I don’t know why, but I stayed. Rebels aren’t supposed to have a cause, that’s what you always said. But you were mine. Way back when your voice was full of life not dreading sorrow. The blue in your aquamarine eyes faded to dull green, and I don’t know what to do.
You said we would be okay. Held my hand carefully in the back of a taxi, like we were both made of glass, and maybe we were. That was before I held your hand in the back of the ambulance. We pulled leather jackets over white t shirts. I swiped Marilyn Monroe posters from the vintage store across the way, and you tucked red lipstick from Macy’s into your side pocket because I’ve always wanted to look like a movie star. You always preferred pink. Even if we got caught, you promised we’d be alright.
We pretended to be happy and alive, both things neither of us will ever be again.
Thirty minutes is all I have left before they turn life support off. The nurse assured me it wouldn’t hurt. Be just like flipping a switch, she explained in her thick Long Island accent that still sounded foreign to my Georgian ears. Easy for her to say, she's not losing her only love, her only friend, only companion in this harsh world. It will hurt me. It won’t hurt you, and that’s all that matters. I think I’ll move back south. Every New Yorkers' eyes is blame thrown in my direction. Call me a coward, maybe I am.
I’m going to bury you in denim. I don’t care what they say. It’s how you would have wanted to go. It feels awful to think about your funeral. I think I’ll wear your jacket. If that’s alright. Even six feet under, I’ll be close to you. Closer than we are now, at least. I mean, how close can two people be when an oxygen mask is covering the other’s face?
I wish I could say goodbye, but that’s too final. I want to spend the next twenty minutes remembering you as you used to be, red hair bright as the stars you studied back in astronomy class before you dropped out, pale skin fresh as fallen snow, blue eyes deep as the Pacific. Your lips that will never move again will haunt me in my sleep, I’m sure.
Ten minutes left, gosh, where did the time go? I’m never going back to our apartment. I’ve made my decision. Nobody will miss me, but I’ll always miss you. Now the nurse is shuffling me out, but I can’t feel anything. The doctor’s glaring at me. Maybe I’m screwing up his schedule or he hates leather. Either way, I glare back just as cold. You were the only thing making me warm and nice, and now that you’re gone, well...
My knees buckle outside. I think I’m done now. I miss you.
we are shattering
the world is ending
all the things
that break us into
shards of glass
This old book that my friend stole from high school. He had a penchant for stealing things; Catcher in the Rye (two copies), a nylon-string guitar, loot from old lockers. It was all fair game, as long as you could get it home unnoticed. But this old book; The Lord of the Flies.
I just spilt some tea on it, a liberal amount. Accidental of course, but probably the best damage that can be done to a book. Darkened marks bordering the pages, still slightly damp, but soon to dry out and harden; soon to resemble a crispen old map. A lucky strike for the book’s next holder.
Some previous reader has neatly highlighted a passage on page 15. Not my friend; the highlighting is far too perfect, and the passage far too insignificant. Likely a notation by a young scholar, in search of critiqueable technique. Perhaps a guidance from their teacher; “Now I shouldn’t be telling you this, but these lines may help for your exam.”
We would clear out old lockers for detentions; cut off the padlocks with rusty tools that made us feel like men. Inside was a mystery, sometimes empty with nothing, sometimes empty with something. Items that are masked with the enchanting allure of discovery, but soon reveal the reasons they were left behind.
That nylon string still plays well. I strum chords inevitably when I wait in my friend’s room, as he puts on his tennis socks and for a few minutes I savour the refreshment of playing a foreign guitar; it always feels nicer than yours.
True Heart Break
we laid down next to eachother on the soft bed
and stared at the ceiling in silence.
i looked over at you and couldn't stop
the smile that sprang from my lips.
my heart beat slowed when you looked at me somberly,
not even the hint of a smile playing in your eyes.
i caressed the ring on your finger
and put it on my own.
your face displayed a pain like i had never seen before;
a pain i imagine only on a dying man.
you looked at me with rivers in your eyes
and said you made a mistake.
Ode to a Repairman’s Voice
I’m a wimp
so I hid in my room.
I only heard his voice
as he repaired the gas in the kitchen.
“How’s it looking?” Dad asked.
The warm tenor of his voice responded:
“It’s looking good.”
He’d been working outside
for the past forty-five minutes
Switching out the old tank
for a shiny new one.
Out the window
I had caught a glimpse:
on a well-toned figure.
I heard the smile in his voice,
as he puttered around
Chatting with Dad,
and a good-natured laugh.
I couldn’t see his face,
but his voice said enough.
The even, cheerful inflections
evoked a reassuring sense.
Maybe it’s in his nature
to avoid a mournful tone.
Or maybe it’s his custom
as a professional serviceman.
Whatever the reason,
he did himself proud.
He gave simple hope
to yet another uncertain home.
After a thorough check
he pronounced the stove good.
He took off again
in his forest green truck.
No doubt in his future plans
was to do it all again--
Bestowing his particular skills
to many a waiting household.
Day after day,
he’d fix pipes, tanks, and stoves
Bringing a positive vibe
in his undulating tone.
Does he love his work
This nameless, tireless saint?
One can’t say for sure
Only that he smiles a lot
and, after all, it is his job.