when the rest
are laid to waste
the time came
the time came
a welcoming place
The collective unconscious
takes Zoloft in the morning
and feels like Novocain all day.
He prays along
with the daily meditational
on the top of the toilet
while he practices the first ritual S
of his morning routine.
He packs a briefcase,
which is always heavy,
and yet, he can’t help but feel
is always missing.
He drops the kids off
at the prep school
and tries to ignore
the three older boys
standing around the corner
He could say something,
but he’s running
late for work again
and he’s got an important job
to do, but he can’t really explain
exactly what the description is,
let’s just say,
he’s a servant
I pegged the akwardness as originating in
concepts first spewed from your mouth like
rank breath bred of misery and decrepit foreboding
Even your thoughts conspire to pollute the mood
and for that I can never forgive you.
So now we war in times
far flung from the moments in a fading past
where we once shared so much.
I’ll meet you in the best of memories
for from there I refuse to part.
Until the future is capable of offering the same,
I will not move on.
same fucking thing
every time i drink absinthe
my right shoe
on my left
fucking my mom
on the dinner table
i yell Jack
Jack get off
Jack it off
Jack get off
my left shoe
on my right
and Betty Davis
riding my dead dog
who has been reanimated
by demons underneath the porch
i can see their eyes
their eyes follow me
those Betty Davis eyes
they follow me
so i search the house for
my dad who has left a trail
of chicken bones and
finger marks on the white
i can hear the chicken caw
i can hear the chicken caw
i can see the chicken scrawl
i can see the chicken scrawl
on the wall
turn back before
it’s to late
jack get off
jack it off
but i somehow end
up in the year 1955
with an iphone that gets
no service but i see it
searching for a signal
charges are going
to fucking break me
The bank sounded its alarms
like clock radios
to murder dreams in the morning
with no warning,
a bright sunrise exploded
like a nuclear bomb
evaporating any chance of the same sun setting,
betting the future on double zero,
the hero will have to learn
what it means to be tragic,
there’s no magic left in the script
so we ripped it to shreds
and acted out an improvisational sketch,
the antithesis of rough onion cuts,
it was hard to shed tears
when the worst of our fears
were captured on camera.
Your pants are off. Your pants are
wrapped around the
gripping your feet together like polka-dotted hands,
uninitiated bones peeling the scars away from your ankle. You are staring at the ceiling, you’ve counted the stains, the mold,
the way they form his face on the deadened yellow plaster that wants to spear the back of your throat with his cross until your top comes off.
This is you and you
wanted it to
Maybe the dream is only this:
get society to pay for the runoff of my subconscious.
Supplant all these bullshit memories, moonlit ads, crocodile tears, nights on the floor, fake raids, crescent epiphanies, toxic logic, sucrose saturated shit music, shit stories, shit poems and shit people I never wanted into brains I never want to meet.
Seems fair. I never really wanted any of this to begin with.
I know me
of any one
It was their dream house,
the way the stucco reflected a light halo
as the sun set daily,
and the big back yard
with the canopy of old pecan trees
was perfect for both the kids’ playtime
and the wife’s desire
to bake the freshest pies.
The driveway was long and hidden
behind a majestic and Gothic cold steel gate
painted black with large sharp points
for a distinguished look
and the coziness which comes from
the illusion of security.
It felt so perfect at first,
which was why they didn’t notice
that if you looked close enough
at the flag flying off the front porch
on a windy enough day,
the colors created this optical illusion
where they’d seem to be running
especially the red
as if it were blood flowing
from a wounded knee,
and the wind blowing through the chime
played music that sounded
like the stuff of nursery rhymes
where all the women and children scream
You see, the realtor never bothered to mention
it was constructed
on an old Indian burial ground,
there were rumors it was haunted,
and it was only a matter of time
before the walls
would run red too.
We’re about to drop the hammer on a select few new chapbooks.
First on the list is a little collection referred to as spilled, refilled by Sarah Lucille Marchant.
We’ll fill in the details in the very near future.
We’ll also let you know when it will become available.
It’ll all be very, very soon.
These days the kids pick
all the flowers they can
and leave them soaking in
plastic cups around the classroom.
I wrote on the chalkboard that
today’s lesson is owning beauty.
You hope the best bits
will float on top of tap water,
but you can never be sure
what will rise to the surface.
The kids won’t understand this
until a few mistakes are made.
It takes a long time to unlearn
twenty years of miseducation.
There is no lesson plan able
to explain the things that matter,
like how to tell when
love has reached its limit,
or what forgetting feels like.
On days like this (the
longest days of the year,
when the nights go by
faster than Sun Ra could kick
your skull in with sound)
I look to the greats
for guidance, proceeding like days
from one to the next,
seeking whatever light or sound
I can take through my roots.
Brian Wilson, the patron saint of summer,
turned seventy today. I still believe
in him, even when I don’t believe in me,
even after I came to the realization that
everyone who has ever taught,
or thought they had
something important to say,
was once as clueless as I am,
as mindless as anyone has ever been.
Brian lost his head to LSD, of course.
The kids have their flowers.
Teachers of a different sort.
Maybe becoming an adult means
growing uncertain, getting used to
feeling resigned, okay with not knowing.
A professor bought me a drink yesterday
and told me the difference between
the young and old was that
when you are young and you
tell people you don’t care
you really feel it deeply,
but when you get older
you actually stop caring.
I sipped and worried
that I aged too quickly.
I don’t want to forget
anything, ever, but
there simply isn’t enough room.
Not to mention budget cuts.
At the end of the day,
the kids forgot their flowers.
I sat in the bathroom, emptied cups,
and used my finger to push
white petals away from the drain.
- C.N. Rife
You really need at least three for pancakes
so that you may take turns
in the combination of blueberry, syrup, and cool whip
while the other two
carry on conversation
about the day ahead,
about the morning newspaper’s cover story,
about last night’s game,
about how the coffee at this shithole just isn’t strong enough.
You’ll make plans
and convince yourself to stay awake
even though your full stomachs
beckon you like lovers
back to bed,
and you’ll drink another cup
of weak drip
light brown bitter water
to wash away
before going separate directions and remaining one like a trinity in memory,
before your plans become procrastinated empty declarations,
before you were awake enough to remember three’s a crowd,
before work days lead to happy hours that lead to two a.m.’s,
which lead to hung over breakfasts,
which are never tolerable
as a couple.
You really need at least three for pancakes.
The laughter sounded so much like
happily ever after
but quickly cooked to overdone
while floating on an ocean
reflecting the sun.
It used to rain down Vitamin D
like ten year olds
doing cannon balls
into community pools.
When it got to the bottom,
the shipwreck harvest looked like
slaves picking cotton,
gone but not forgotten,
it morphed into a rogue reef,
a P.O.W. camp for marines.
Life marches on to the harsh rhythm
of the gravel crunch in both
the drill sergeant’s dirty limericks
and the sound of boots like ice picks
ticking away the rocks
and gleaning the top soil.
It spoils like shredded meat
left in a refridgerator with no freon.
It’s been eons now,
and only the bacterial cells survived.
The smell was like the release
of bees from a hive.
The honey was sweet, the perfect product
of the birth of photosynthesis,
so green, it couldn’t resist
the stinging swell
of an allergy
The Bride’shead collecting as lines jutting
Red jus petals
Just red enduring.
Soft silk demur singing:
Wide mouth drinking
Fluids from her floor.
the wind is my harness, crushing my waking breath as the sun
whips my back
from the cradle of civilization
a path through the plains
a bridge across the oceans
when we try to rest, torrential rainforests fall across our parched lips
the tires on my imaginary chariot go flat
along the way
when this happens, I trace your
bones onto a light bulb filament
watching your olive skin glow pink
the wheat tickles our feet
the constant braying from donkeys of consumerism
releases a sneeze of dollar bills
green moths, fluttering
along the same constraining breeze
the color of burning clouds
across the lip of the ocean on a merciless evening beach-comb
a trail of tears
through white sands
pulling our feet into dunes
ripping us from the silhouetted palm trees
which wave goodbye
to the half-open eye of the sun
as the trees become steel and the ocean waves are mercury
licking at the silicon sand
leaching iron from our bones
leaving us picked clean along the freeway,
the path between the wheat, the bridges across the ocean
the cliff fortress where we fought the tide of ones and zeros
lying in ruins above the cradle of civilization
the house on
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
anger out blasted
felt once more
no nuke to save the
souls cept maybe
the jails over crowded
the hospitals fill to capacity
the schools empty
inside the bars
the old men and women
drink one last drink
the young me and women
beg for answers
yeah, that fucking house
but nothing was learned.
For the better part of my life
I’ve sat in fluorescent-lit classrooms
in tiny rooms critiquing the hell
out of novels and poems until
the joy was fully seeped from them.
I want to be on the other side of that deal.
I’ll create characters and worlds and go on
adventures with them in my room, while
the rest of the students sit in semi-circles
and write term papers debating
what any of my nonsense means.
- C.N. Rife
(And I try sleeping wide awake sometimes, waiting
on the planes of air to unfold in the mental cage -
breathe in, in, in and then out, out, in,
the midnight rain always waits for the last train
to leave, last train of thoughts hanging over until
the biological clock strikes noon and it’s time again,
again to sleep wide awake until the stars burst into
fiery faces and morph into ashy coughs muffled into echoing
confessions of love, deceit and the rise of a third soul mate.)