Thursday, December 10, 2009

Center Path

I thought I'd try walking the Center Path, but discovered I'd already stepped off the curb. A swim in traffic before a breath confirming the assistance of the benign intersection signal, my foot jumped ahead of my brain. Angry cabs, old-time horse-drawn carriages, fixed-gear bicycle messengers whistling the theme from Breaking Away and the CTA eco-bus all skim the back of my coat. Surely the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse shall ride fixed-gear bicycles. Hopefully, the eco-bus runs on the fresh remains of messengers or cabbies. One must never stop dreaming. However, one who is not ready may wish to stay on the sidewalk. The Center Path is not going anywhere. Besides, Thursdays are street cleaning days. If the odds of one being assaulted by a city street cleaning vehicle are high, one might consider staying home to watch the View. It won't relax you, but you will have fulfilled the obligatory terms of your social contract with big media – at least for the next two weeks.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


If I had the urge to set aside
About you
Far far away from you or your world of
Cheap crooks
Thought-fuck derelicts
To myself
As a puppet
Gas-mask brigade in tow
Full-forgotten in
Wet, falling back upon itself
Curled out around our faces
Closer than
Your ass
All without mention the moment when
I laid
A revolution
Your belly
Dressed as
a Teddy bear

pull me around beat me by the ears all the blood returns to

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Verge

A chrysalis or a catacomb
Either way time spins darkness
Like a child traces their hand
With chalk

In a room that smells like the memory
Of whiskey
Slow hopeful gasps for rebirth
Fight the urge to sleep
Long drawn out puffs of air and dust
Coat the lead glass of the floor

There is no time left
For the dream of water
No space besides

There is no laughter
But my own, echoing
Back at myself

A chrysalis or a catacomb
Either way darkness spins time
As my feet trace a path

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ink and Water

The answer was printed
As answers often are
On the inside brim
Of a paper hat
Long since overturned
In the desert sand
Collecting rain

Some things are just like that
For the right thirst
The right boot
To fall against
Some deceptions hide that way
Reaching silently
For a small moment
Of attention
To pass by

The cure is still a ruse
The ink and water shall still
Run down our arms
Away from revelation
It's just woven with a bit more
Than you or I
Have set aside

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I have been holding my breath
Behind my teeth
Looking for a simple corner
Of undiscovered openness
I may as well
Blow it back into my hand
Get to work
Move on

This street is narrow
Nothing to be found in potholes
Save the dried saliva of wolves
Or blood
Either one of little use to me
Being anything but
A magician
An aerialist
Or anchorman

I crack my neck
And stumble ahead.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Yesterday was "that" day.

I look down at the phone. "Long and hard" would be a shit description and a lie. A glance is enough. Photographs of other people's lives. Children littered around their feet or crammed upon their laps. "Happy Father's Day!" Again...again...and again. I am not disturbed, disgusted or envious. In fact, I am pleased some of the "breeders" out there are my friends...people I have a genuine respect and affection for. I am, however, detached. Full up in this moment with a bewildering nothingness. I have stopped wishing others a happy Father's (Fathers'?) Day. I make an exception for my Father-in-law and actually look forward to calling each time this Sunday rolls around. He has earned it. I do not spend time doubting others' worthiness, but I do wonder if I have earned it.

My father died when I was two years old in my Mother's arms. If asked, she would tell you she was grateful for having that last moment. That's not an extraordinary sentiment for a widow...just something I am grateful I was too young to remember. I am told I stood day after day by the front door waiting for him to return from delivering the mail.

I'll pause here to keep this from being overly sentimental. See, this "memory" has yet to belong to me. I doubt it ever will. It is a fabrication woven from snippets and crumbs I have gathered over the years. The child by the door is nothing more that a Norman Rockwell creation with a skinned knee and a red wagon. Most days, I keep that issue lying face-down on the table.

Perhaps he would have taught me how to avoid getting beaned while playing T-ball. There’s trauma for you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Voluntary Benefits Market History: A PowerPoint Presentation in More Slides than I Care to Count

I showed up late.
Ten minutes, to be exact.
The suit sucking wind by the microphone
may just be what Mary Shelley
was warning us about,
though I suspect this guy also frightens
A goatee in place of scars…
Hair plugs in place of neck bolts…
The Men’s Warehouse in place of fur and rags…
circle (BLAH BLAH)
triangle (BLAH)
the word “benefits” in magical friendly font
(Comic Sans?)

In between the words
I begin to feel Nauseous.
Sick, in fact.
So much, I wonder, “did he put on too much Brut?
Old Spice?”
Perhaps that tie combined with
my failing eyes
is fatal.

“Open Enrollment”
Is this a last lunge forward?
A deathbed gasp wrapped in A4 paper
and stamped 13 times
Did I actually hear the words “love” and “corporate”
in the same sentence?

Sorry pal.
Today, I’m just here
for a respite.
At most,
3 tri-fold pamphlets
that someone else
will have to clear from my desk
after I am gone.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


"That's the best part of School--
The social events,"
She drones in between
Flips of her skirt.
"Christ!" I think as I
Move just enough to allow
Some blood back into my testicles.
The best part of school for me
Was getting away from
All the dumb-ass yokel twats
I grew up with.
The best part of leaving school...
Getting away from all the dumb-ass
Pretentious fucks that littered
The campus like lice in cotton panties.
I'm not so confident in my escape though.
I still have to deal with the mirror
At least once a day.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Any situation from which you fear for your escape.

red pen

Standing against a wall
Will stiffen your back
Straighten your thoughts
Pressing upon your neck
Will distract your fears
Slow the blood to a trickle
Reaching below the heart
Reveals your lover's spine
You never gave it back
Did you?
Starting with a red pen
Among fools
Usually leads back to the corner
Of the room
One stool... one cap... and time.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shred It All

Shred everything. I mean it. Don't leave anything behind that could be used against you. And I'm not talking about a court of law or the court of public opinion. I am talking about the judge on the other side of the desk. Don't give them an "out", an opportunity to ask why you wrote a three page diatribe extolling the virtues of pissing with your balls out. See, they might not get it. Don't wait for them to ask about the medication you are on or why you fantasize about setting all of the motivational wall art aflame. Don't show them the smirk you have growing inside of you day after day. Don't let them infer how you must feel about their leadership. Never mind the fact they are hardly mentioned in the first place. Odds are they wouldn't recognize themselves as the "twat" mentioned half way down page seven. Try your best not to give up names, aliases, passport photos, or doctor's addresses. Insist on keeping the tales of your last bad trip close to the vest. Protect your identity. Become the wall. Dream of hallways of nothingness painted plaid. And by all means, pick up this notebook, rip out these pages, and drop them in the shred-bin by the freight elevator. Don't be a fucking idiot. Take precautions. Hell, they already paid for it.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Train rumbles past
Neglected signs
Neglected masses
Glowing iNTerPaRk
In the rain
No amount of
Ink-stained tears
Falling from newsprint hats
Brings a boat instead
Only more trips
Around the loop
Another brown
Another green
My ears bounce
As old Bob Johnson
Pours prayers to his
Sweet home
Past my feet
Through steel
Cracked oil and
Watch it
Watch it search out
The closest sewer
Only to be denied
I smile at the
Permanence and
Sheer inertia involved
All things finding
Their path
All things being
Their path
My hand laid flat
Over this page
Changes nothing
Fulfills only distraction
A glance at the
Ink on my pants
A moment to stack
My spine back up
These too, simply
Vinegar laughing face up
In a funnel
I blow Godspeed
Kissed into perfect


I am starting to feel like all of these people around me not only went to different schools than I did, but also took classes I was never told exist. Call it paranoia. Call it class stratification anxiety (is CSA taken?). Of course, I'm too close to the event to know with any illusion or perspective. It doesn't help that these pills work differently than advertised. Does this fall under warranty? Perhaps I should have listened to Tom Cruise after all. I just couldn't afford the dues, and I'm too distracted to earn them. But seem on the path, so...well done, pallie. Are they going to take out those pants so you can fit a pair of stilts under there? An army of assistants and worshipers perhaps? Better get a new belt.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Vacated, 31st Floor

Dead man's plant
Branches, twigs cobbled
Together in the corner
And reaching for their
Own dry death
Westward lit on a
Windowsill, forgotten
For only a month

I can't move
Without feeling watched
Prodded back to the doorway
Again and again
As everything else I'm told
To box and label
Turns translucent
In the 3:00 sun

Books, files, folders
Pressed binding briefs
Rule and law
All bent and insulted
By a missing
Green leather chair
The plastic mat remaining
Is cracked, yellow

I take a moment to pour
A styrofoam cup of water
Into the lager plant to the right
Its limbs slumped against the wall
I won't approach the other
I may step through desperate acts
But I bow my head
Before the ridiculous

thanks but no

before you even knock
or open your mouth
a second time
take a breath
step back
and consider trying next door
I'm not here to lead
or dream of gold leaf
porta-quote flip books
curving the spine of some
truck driver
thanks but no

see that guy
washing his dog
in the street
he's missing a hand
and smoking at the
same time
there's a prophet
give him a spin
doesn't even care
he's occupying the local
immigrant auto-repair
look at the grin on that mutt
he knows
he knows man

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


This world
This country
Needs a hand
Upon its brow
More Kelly Clarkson banners
Adorning upward bound
Long turned off
In an attempt disorient
As we lurch forward
Into the $7.99
We need more used CDs
And free newspapers
Something to sleep under
And protect us from the sun
Perhaps the occasional
Left tread on
Mid cross walk
I am simply looking for
A reason
To pull my teeth
From this pen cap
Perhaps tomorrow
Perhaps next week
Either way
Perhaps tonight
We should all
Sit at home
In darkness
Sipping a tall glass of water

My Apologies

I mean you no harm
Other than the space next to you
The touch of your breath
I mean you no grief
Other than your concern
Your occasional loneliness
I mean you no loss
Not of yourself
Or the person you wish to be
I give you nothing
More than my hand

Thursday, April 9, 2009

untitled 20090409

It’s lunch again
more desperate than before
more drawn out than after
with eyes looking around me
eyes looking behind
what if I revealed myself
right now
right here
what if I stepped into the light
the storm
the skin of reflected water
that covers us all
I sometimes imagine
cracking my own chest
letting my heart breath
encircled by ribs reaching
out and up
like thin grey fingers
perhaps I’d hand each child
a stick
to play a song
upon them

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


There is an unusual
Though much needed
Sunshine pouring out
Over the city
Michigan Ave. is mine
For a block or two at least
And for a moment, I feel
A part of it all
As if I were crawling
Up Miss America's skirt
Surprised not to be
Brushed away
By a gloved hand
And a southern squeal
It only takes a moment
To see why
To see the bruises
On her knees
These days, they've substituted
Roll after roll
Of brown kraft paper
For bandages
These days, everyone appears
To be searching for air
Trapped outside and pressed
Behind glass
It doesn’t take long to see
She'd take anyone
For a lover
Even me
And I'm not looking
To begin with

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Later on, I learned
It wasn't even a full moon after all.
Two days late and hopped up
On prescription drugs,
I had almost sprained my neck
Lifting my face to kiss
Its blurred cheek.
Looks like there are goggles for the
Heavens as well.
Time for some new glasses
And a farmer's almanac.


The opposite of actor
is accountant
The opposite of painter
office manager
The opposite of presence
Is a shoebox burning in the sink
And the opposite of this hole in my chest
Was your hand on my cheek
Two days past

Friday, March 27, 2009

All Things

I turn up the music
To drown out the voice
Of the tour guide
But I’m really trying
To wash away
The imprint
Of my own hands,
The guilt left in cement
Two doors down.

I smile
At the strawberry preserves
Innocently placed under
The old reader’s library globe.
Australia seems to be
Craning its neck
For a taste
While casting shadows over
The thighs
On dance journal jackets.

All things where they belong
I suppose.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Late once again
And bathed in sweat
I make sure to walk under
Every laddar
Every black cat
That crosses my path
Salt spills from my pocket
Marks my trail before blowing
Back into the sky
Being absorbed by the slugs
Hot on my heels

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


At what point
Does one arise and
That golden piece
Of sand
That which when moved
Brings and becomes
The flood
Each grain turning
Into itself
And falling
Falling to erase walls
Erase rivers
Erase maps
Erase the pale
Of your cheek
Pressed against
The pillow
From the bathroom
It appears to glow
Like silk
I stop to watch you sleep
And wonder
How long

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I have 3 green plastic soldiers
On my desk.
Two for each end of the hallway
One for intelligence.
This makes things better
Than they were before.
When the lights went dim
And all manner of snake
Crawled from kitchen
To mail room.
Have you ever tried to sleep
Behind an HP Pavillion
Hugging a stack of reports
To keep them dry
From the rain?
Neither have I,
Though I wondered about it
As I was cracking
A beer that evening
On the floor in front of the TV.
I rolled over onto a plastic soldier
Stuck in the shag
In front of the couch.
My first draftee.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Balls Out

Advice to all 3rd, 4th and 5th tier employees:
Always go balls out.

Unfortunately, this is often overlooked, even though it has been formally recognized as the Ninth Habit by The Greater Hennepin County Jr. Curlers Collective. The swing vote of said adoption coming from the Edina delegate, who only three days earlier swore off lutefisk and a deteriorating relationship with his mother. But I digress. Balls out. It is the only way one should approach or stand at the company urinal. Not simply one sheepishly poking out, but full balls. Belt open and khakis hanging off your ass full balls. Knees apart and eyes on the horizon full balls. Tijuana bachelor party full balls. Balls full out! You never know who may walk up to you after all. You should always hope for your supervisor, manager or boss. But understand... this is not a challenge. This is a service. This is the removal of pretense. All things made clear without a raised voice. But in order to do so, you must set your concerns aside. This is not to be a display of ego. This is an exercise of will beyond the fickle concerns of the ego. Large or small, balls out. Young or old, balls out. Partner or clerk, balls out. Trust me, all structures, pyramids and hierarchies would rearrange. All blocks would fall and reassemble to their natural state. In an ideal world devoid of pants, it would be obvious who is hiding in their BMW. But this is not Utopia, so use the time you have. Balls out, of course.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Fill

I have nothing to say of any particular you or myself. Do you? Speak up at any time. Or cough. Yeah, I thought so. The thing is, this is a fill, a stall, a mild sealant or band aid placed upside down. Bound to pull apart again, bound to seep and bleed. But rather this than licking one's shoe perhaps. Unless of course... But my ability to bend has been somewhat lacking, ergo the noise you see before your eyes. White. Black. Whatever. Just five minutes of noise left to find the drain. Five minutes of noise folded and placed inside the suggestion box. Left to curl and burn next to such gems as "The iPod ban is unfair", "MLK Jr. day should be a jeans day", and "My boss is a dick!" All sympathy and nods to that last one, of course. If only I could crawl in there myself. I'd raise some hell for sure. Eventually at least.


smile harder pal
it's just a little bit more
than a nod
though you may
chip a tooth

smile harder friend
it's just a mirror
they want
to adjust their
toupees in

smile harder kid
it's only from moment
to moment
and you'll forget
before the clock falls

a little bit at least
it makes it easier
to crack the capsule
breath in foam


If I could cover up this world with words
I would sit and type and write and
Upon the floor the walls the
I see in the mirror as well as
Those in the corner

One final absurd blanket for everyone
One final black barbed wall of teeth
One step off the cliff and into the sky

What a day for my hand to cramp
My tongue to knot
My pen to snap
What a day for language to fail
Under the weight of concrete


Someone's been scanning
Our past
Our memories
For profit
For plastic

What looks like a box
Of nostalgia
Like the legs
Of a fly

Roll your windows up tightly
Speak in hushed tones
And by all means
Watch that smile


Your children
Balancing in front of me
Look unsurprisingly like fish
Faces sucking the oxygen
From my last few breaths
Of water

I know it's not their fault
Their design
You just couldn't be bothered
With bringing
Their plastic bags

So glad you chose the
Open-air submarine
With army tank treads


Training will be held at 10:17 sharp this afternoon. Please be prepared to take notes and clean up after your nap. Topics covered will include...

  • Building Team Enthusiasm

  • The Myth of Sisyphus: What Camus Forgot to Mention

  • Synergy - Right in the box all that time?

  • and

  • Covering Topics: How to Craft DyNAMIC and EyE-CaTcHiNg lists BEFORE that meeting Begins.

  • thx


He kept waiting for the explosion
The change
The moment of convergence where all
Windows would open up and spit out
A stream of marching Men's Warehouse
Stepping above our heads
Shoulder to hand
Hand to shoulder

I just wanted my paper
Just wanted my silence
My shield and a coffee
But I could see the fuses hanging out
The corners of his eyes
Begging the opportunity

Sipping my coffee
I went back to waiting as well
Loosening and stretching my hand to better grab
The collar in front of me

One can never be too sure.

pain meds

it's just two more and a half-glass of water
nothing less than the salt
stuck to the damp side of a bucket would do
or the cat who lost outside the window
at 4 o'clock in the morning


I shook the black hand of Darwin
Half-expecting his fingers to go for my throat.
Instead I found us arm-wrestling
For a shot of Jameson's and a ball of lint.

Losing interest,
I swapped in a door prop
And pocketed the lint.
What do I care from Whiskey?

where my head is

For what reason this is here, only you know. I, my friend am too close to set upon without the gulf of nothingness to shield me. I can only spit, twist my head and feign knowledge of self and presence in this fractured moment. Nothing new, nothing unique at all, save for a regional speech pattern patter of thought that I toss out like mute waves from the last skip of a stone across brown river water. We all have our hop hitch skip of a bad hip like a tongue used to avoiding a cavity. We just have different dental plans, crutches and stale breath. What's worse is the realization one's whole is but a reflection of each half, and we crawl through each day pretending or hoping one is more real than the other, yet secretly aware of the very real chance that each – right AND left – are mist reflections of the left AND right. Laugh, smile, or dismiss this as you will. I have no tangible proof you are nothing more. And defensiveness is unnecessary when standing before one sitting on a bean-bag throne.

Inspirational Thoughts

The beginning of any journey is not one end of a line. It is the center of a circle. The complete center, the absolute center, that which engulfs us like water in the ONE ocean that touches ALL shores. Increasingly, I find myself searching for center inside the handicapped washroom facilities. All shores are painted salmon, and I captain a porcelain raft through dark waters—my face lit courtesy Verizon Wireless. I like to imagine all of us together at 10:37—a Navy of Lost Souls shoulder to shoulder waiting for directions that never come, co-ordinates lost or slid under tile. It's the air-force we are hiding from. I just want a moment away from their buzzing propellers and constant motion. I hear them outside the door, obsessing over the price of fuel. Yeah, this is a start.


That whispering you hear around the corner
Is the sound of a serpent's tongue
Whistling food from between its fangs

It only looks like some secretaries
It only wears those shoes for effect

That laughter you hear behind the door
Is nothing but a group of goats
Folding dollar bills with their noses

They only smell like aftershave
They only look like suits on a broom

The buzzing you hear below your left ear
Is exactly what you think it is

You get a 20 minute break
Make your calls quickly

Eulogy to Fame

I dreamt I was visited by Cary Grant
Randomly checking the state of things
In a charcoal suit that alone proved
The existence of right angles

I sat down and began to show him YouTube
Showed him video after video after
Mashup after Rant after
Crash after explosion after fan film after...

Watching Hussein swing through the floor
He quipped, "Looks like every prick will
Expect a monogrammed bathrobe
And a private locker."

"Studio independence is one thing
But this is a narcissistic orgy
With $5 whores."

"It's Archie from here on out, kid."

I think I heard him repeat
"I like turtles?"
As he faded back through the wall.

Mr. Brown

(Song: Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy". Fades, then lights up on a bald, middle-aged man in a yellow shirt with a zigzag across the midsection.)

Mr. Brown: I have been bald since the age of two. My ex-wife left me to go follow the Indigo Girls around the world with her best friend Marcie. I live by myself in an apartment that I rent from my own dog . . . who just raised the rent by the way. Good grief, is it any wonder I’m a little depressed? I feel like everything I’ve ever touched gets ruined. Or dies. If you attended last year’s Christmas party you’d understand. And before you suggest it, I’ve already tried the therapy thing. I spent my formative years in the hands of a young gifted “hot-shot” psychiatrist. And what do I have to show for it besides a compulsive avoidance of nickels? Nothing. Then there are days I feel like a blockhead for feeling this way in the first place. We all have problems. I’m sure there are things that you can’t even share with your own friends. My best friend was like that. Last year he hung himself from his ceiling fan with a powder blue baby blanket. And I thought he was the most centered person I knew. Maybe I should just accept things and try to learn from my troubles like Lot did. But the fact is I’m not Lot damn it. I am simply a man who comes into work each day and sits in a cube for eight hours seven days a week and feels the weight of his own death like a toothache swimming in lemonade. And for what? Do I ever hear a “thank you” or “nice effort” from Ms. Othmar? No, It’s just “Wmaw mwah whah” this and “mwah mwah mwat” that all freaking day long! Take a look at this. (Holds up a fist-sized rock) My quarterly bonus. Rats! I was supposed to be a big-league pitcher, not the guy who files rejected credit applications all day. I want to scream out loud, but I cannot move my tongue from the roof of my mouth because it is so swollen with presence of absence. And do you know what really eats at me? The nagging feeling that all of my co-workers, the great and the greater are nothing but a sham. Losers like me but worse, because when they look into the mirror each day, they have no problem lying to themselves. Tricking themselves into believing that they are something more than what they really are, each and every one of them…a Charlie Brown just like me.


i did not pay attention in school
and today i carry the guilt
like a snow globe in my
book bag

missed opportunities and absent declarations
all replaced by construction paper
cut outs
wintergreen paste

if i hadn't thought at the time
she was a giant I might have
reached up from the desk
and plucked out her eyes

moments like this are slipping by us all the time
dragging their feet like tentacles.

Monday, January 5, 2009

It is Here

My friend,
You are not the only one.
You are not the only one looking for trouble
Over your monitor's horizon.
You are not the only one typing gibberish into Microsoft Word
A prayer to Babel in Excel.
You are not the only one moving your mouse in endless circles
And Möbius loops.
You are not the only one secretly sitting
With your shoes off
Knowing full well
When it comes down
You might be the first
Because you tripped on your stockings.
You are not the only one who made a mad dash
From the freezer
Containing your frozen low-cal lunch
Same as the other frozen low-cal lunches
All Chinese gluten and frostbite.
You are not the only one with your heart in an envelope
You sit on
You are not the only one trying not to drool
During your weekly pep-talk, afraid you have forgotten
How to make eye
You are not the only one who dreams of snapping all of
Their necks and skipping across their bodies as they
Spray a fountain of blood. It would only be one popcorn ball
South of the Fair.
You are not the only one who repeats
Repeats it every
With a frozen dissociative smile on your face.
My friend,
This is THE IT come now
Though arriving yesterday.
This is the Zombie Apocalypse
And we have forgotten our Karate.

Broken Toys

Broken toys. The first one is a defining moment. At least the first one you can remember. I mean there is a reason you remember it. Sure, a young child does plenty of damage without consideration, the brain being akin to a conveyor belt in Porky Pig's factory. All dun da dun duh-da duh-da da dun dah. Where’s the stuff come from? Where’s it end up? Who cares? You’re just going along until BOING!!! Diapers, spinach cans and babies spitting out everywhere in every direction. And then you realize, Daffy. Shit…it’s your feathered hand on the lever. It…was…you.

It might have been the front wheel of Evel Knievel’s Chopper, Steve Austin’s right elbow, or Baby Alive’s left leg. Whatever it was, you’ll always remember the sickening snap it made as it came apart in your hands or the dull pop it made before bouncing twice and rolling across the linoleum. Me, I broke one of Mazinga’s plastic missile clips. Third one down the left leg to be exact. Came clean off, and no amount of paste, rubber cement, or super glue seemed to help. I was left with a strange new feeling. It wasn’t a sense of frustrated loss over a toy that I could never again play with. I mean, the clip really didn’t hinder the function of the toy at all. There were five other clips on the right leg, four left on the shoulders, and four remaining on the left leg. The left hand still shot 3 finger missiles with the same life-threatening precision. He was still Mighty Mazinga, Shogun Warrior, standing tall all the way from the bottom of his wheels up to his brain-pod shuttle twenty-four inches above them. Truth be told, I was the one who was broken. For the first time, I felt guilt over an inanimate object, and the sting of consequence. I wanted to crawl into the brain-pod and fly it away from his empty shell. Instead, I popped all of the other missiles off and ran both my hands abruptly up and down the side of each leg. Again and again, snap-crack, until there were no clips left. I sat back for a second, squinted and tried to trick myself into believing Mazinga came that way…that he came right out of the box on Christmas Day that way…that my mother had spent the money she horded every year to buy him exactly as he was. Unfortunately, black plastic leaves grayish-white marks wherever it breaks. The 20 plastic scars overcame my one conscience. I placed Mazinga back in the box, replaced the lid, and put him on the closet shelf next to Raydeen, making certain to face the brightly colored lid to the back of the wall.

Now, you’ll have to humor me the overly sentimental overly romanticized childhood trauma bullshit. You’ll have to give me a pass, man. ‘Cause I just have one question left for you. Where the hell is the box to fit all of this…this shit into? Where? Do they even make one big enough? I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to hop up on the shelf with my nose pressed against the back wall.