to 5

    on the 5ives




(Long Breaths Provided by The Ghost of Samuel Pink)

Beside whom I weaken--A script to embers

Father and son, backyard suburbia. After furtive glances, they begin, shovels in hand—

premature expiration agreement.

The victor is he who prepares his opponent’s grave the fastest, completed to pre-established dimensions. Rain lubricated shovels, hands throttling the wooden handle, tips bite dirt, hair pinned to forehead, filial burial at hand. The mother/wife watches from the house, rivulets of cloud water tap dance on the window, her breath obscures her vision. Vision of succession.

From her vantage point both resemble the same being, same muscle movement, same hair pattern, matted by the sky. Dirt war paint, the dirt motive.

No further glances, water in eyes unrelenting. Father loses invaluable time to diminished strength but compensates with consistency and pure ardor. Father shovels last load, finishes as he heaves rainwater in and out of his chest, giddy frigidness as he motions to the hole. The father first implants his son, now transplants him. Water and saliva hang from his lower lip, mother watches arms folded, nose gliding along fogged window. Despondent son drops shovel, combs hair back with muddied fingers, a droplet jumps off of his eyebrow into the heart of his eye. He winces one last time before climbing, in accordance with the rules, into his grave, buried alive as the ground is nursed by pallid clouds. Elation as a young man dies where he once played, the incorporation of a former playmate. The father grabs both shovels and hangs them to dry in the garage where ammoniac rain vaporizes.

The things Dead Dad Rabb told me

Dead dad Rabb. Coronary failure as Rabb grows, unaware. Inclination to self-destruction. Rabb drinks life so fast he chokes to live.

One night, we walk in his old neighborhood. He points to a darkened house, opulent, large yard, American Wet Dream. He says he used to live there before his dad stopped breathing. From silk to twine, Rabb sheds no tear that doesn’t dry before its exit.

Hilt to splinters, envious I

The Prologue—

What he enjoyed. The scent on his fingers, the dulled scent released by air and withdrawal. Lines gather at the corners during a smile but what is the origin of the smile? Results are bastards and they palter about their beginnings. This is truth redirected.

The sheet with concentric blood circles. The conflation of rapture and the macabre. Only the sweetest joys concern the basest latency. Only a wretch of a man can strangle without question.

The arrow and its shelter quarrel every day. The former will bend and bow beneath every adversary; the latter will not hesitate when answering. You choose which to anoint with the ashes of a burnt photo album.

The Corporal—

This is where our hero begins, with the troubles of an earth not prepared to share. His feet are too white, smashed on the bottom when the floor is cold, every day. Crumbs accrue on his soles, say hello to the newest archer, the governor of a morning without any reality.

Where we find him is deep within his sister. His hand cupped around her. He wets himself on the couch. She remains motionless, a wet radius. She notices that, if one becomes attentive enough, certain distinguishable patterns arise. The clock ticks every time the thermostat displays the temperature. Synchronicity is the advantage of the desperate.

He is now naked but all he wants is humiliation. The clock ticks the thermostat speaks, she lets her legs drop mechanically, he rubs against the couch, everything becomes a sad red, a penitent red.

The t.v. turns on by itself and the picture is green static that increases in volume and opacity until the room is baptized in glory and everyone is afraid. She clenches her muscles and he feels his pulse inside his finger, the light hums in tune with the t.v., the clock spits with the thermostat exactly when his belt buckle hits the wooden floor just before the water taps dirty dishes.

She is falling asleep, dreaming about milk and days when baby teeth were currency, drops of watery blood on her mom’s hands while the teeth are wrested from the mouth. She winces, little tears eddy out of clenched eyes while the mother removes the tooth entirely, warm snapping. The daughter opens her eyes and blurs to focus, tooth between forefinger and thumb, one more shingle above her head and one more hole in her youth.

She wakes up with the feeling of her tongue investigating the empty socket, supple and cloyingly sweet. Her brother does the same to her, sickeningly sweet he feels, his hands gasp for chilling air, to galvanize the stricken scent onto him and resolve the issue unmentionable. He puts his pants back on, cool and mindful with stains and dampness.

The clock beats, thermostat shuts off, water runs above in pipes that click and churn while the warming stove breathes warmth wantonly, everywhere the silent knell lets loose with its chilling timbre, but only before the t.v. dims to a pallid green with static that makes way for a picture of an ideal boy, broken in half and staring dimly at the sky that raised him.

Part One of the Written History of the Modern Man
- The Wings That Make Gears and Use Them Without a Fever-

Minute grains manifold, ushered into the lines of the cabin, forever refused by chance.

Old Man Adam on the porch grinding young dirt with his chair, shuffling and collecting, brow rubbed by calloused hands.

Children of various ages file in from roads of converging myths, sit around him, no acknowledgement in perfunctory manner, men need not patronize each other.

Old Man Adam, stooping low to dust off his boots.

The children nameless, move closer, their breath amalgamates and dizzies Old Man Adam.

He rolls up his sleeve without looking at them, men don’t look at each other. He languidly reaches into his pocket producing his bone knife, found within the bountiful forest he has helped to destroy. Lips clenched tightly. He leans to one side and sighs, men don’t sigh they exhale.

Bone knife examined, sullied by tales and actions of the preceding.

Old Man Adam is the sage of the new male progeny. He puts the tip against his wrist, the skin succumbs obediently and splits, red blood flowing pale skin provider, hurried to a galloping stream, spraying over faces of young males, they scoot closer, expressionless.

A good man is a gilded component. Grains collect on pants, thread and fibers telling their own tales, the children part their lips, tongues extended and painted with Old Man Adam. Grains, blood, tongues and maturity.

Old man Adam becomes wind-carried refuse, drops to the porch, his face falls into a boy’s lap. The children take to their hands and knees, handprints. They kick and swallow.

Old Man Adam propagates. Men don’t reproduce, they propagate.

I present to you the successors and predecessors, generic male invidious, pass on your nebulous culture.
C’era una volta

Sarah built ice skates out of steak knives. Her feet comprised two endeavors. Sarah used honey and water to clean her hair, her head emanated an unmistakable fragrance. One of her eyes was gray, the other was brown, she saw with irregular lenses.

Sarah loved babies. She excused them with coat hangers in her closet while her mom slept. She excused them, imperturbable.

Her shorts were red and beige, she attracted bulls, red shorts, red and beige. Sarah was a lover. Sarah ate to prevent death, she breathed to prevent death.

She got a phone call from Jesus one day to remind her about her physical. Sarah’s dog licked her shorts while she slept.

While she slept. Her babies prayed in her closet, knees to earth, embedded coat hanger, upside-down cross dipped in red redress.

Resounding prayers while she slept, knife skate dreams and a sleepy mother.

The Unhallowed Pledge

Today I found a soul in my backpack (halfway across the unpopulated park near my home.) It rustled listlessly behind me, begging for recognition which I extended begrudgingly. No one knows what a soul looks like, but I do. It is a sound, a backwards explosion waiting behind the branches of the tree in the expanse behind your head, behind your heart, underneath the 11 p.m. moon.

Of the penny-flavored orchestra

Quincy was a good cat. He enjoyed ambling down crowded streets in the city, livid eyes for a cat and a headstrong gait. Quincy was a good cat.

All of the female cats were quite enamored of him. Quincy liked to rape them. Cat rape is different. Quincy was a good cat.

He liked sidewalks a certain shade of gray, almost purple. That’s what he liked.

When he found change in the street, he said prayers inaudibly. That was how he was.

Quincy liked families of four. He likes symmetry and balance. Sometimes he would allow a family of four to adopt him. He liked to watch families of four sleep. They slept the best and Quincy liked that. He was a good cat.

In their sleep he told them stories about god and the devil. Good stories from a good cat. His stories were approved by satan, gilded and approved in the hearts of the needy. Satan was a good cat too.

He would pour tears on the kids while they slept to stave off infection, spiritual infection for careless remnants of Christianity.

But that is in the past.

This is the present.

Quincy is walking down a purple-gray sidewalk, right alongside the street. He crosses. A careless police car runs him over, ripping him in half and turning his spine into granules on the street where he was walking, alongside the sidewalk that was purplish-gray. With languid eyes, closing slowly, Quincy remembers that he was a good cat. That’s just how he was.

Senses breath blood:

Senses employed before birth

Western Illinois University.

Student dead by own hand, hanging from ceiling in room, neck broken-

A disappearing spot on the face of history remembered.

Cause of death—conventional suicide catalyst-split from girlfriend.

Justified. Lifeless adolescent romance culminating in death, students talk—

“I sat right next to him. Now he’s dead.”

“Right next to him, huh?”

No life without girlfriend, true love must beget death. Melodramatic attention.

I wonder what he used to fashion the noose that snapped him.

Phone cord?

Bed sheet? (the one that hosted awkward love)

Rope? (too cliché)


One day he represents a gossip frenzy, the next he is forgotten.

So long idiot. What’s your girlfriend’s number, I got a death-wish too.


Her new child was born dead. Its emergence from the birth canal was marked by two things. First, as stated earlier, it was dead. Fucking dead. Second, it was already cremated. The offering was life air. Misty life air. The doctor’s hands parted sticky opening, lips that scream life and whisper eternally thereafter. Lips cooling in the sterile room. The doctors hands were filled with ash. Off white particles erupting like a broken hourglass, spilling sandy form into air. The baby tumbles through slits between the doctor’s fingers, some sticks to his hands caked with placenta. The exasperated mother cranes her back one last time, pushes the remaining dust from her body, lays back defeated. Wisps of filthy hair fall randomly, drops of sweat roll under irritated breasts. Her toes curl spasmodically. The doctor furrows his brow in thought before shrugging his shoulders dismissively and dumping the baby into the toilet. The end.

“Let me advance, listen to me breathe, I am an impostor”

They tried to organize me, but I woke up deaf. At best deaf, however, I suspect a more depleted condition. The condition relents, but I woke up deaf. Prayers for my father who woke up black and striped. Treat a prayer like a worry, though never conflate them.

When I woke up today, my hand was black. Rough exterior, painted signs with gold lettering conveying their well wishes. The story precedes the importance every time, don’t forget I owe you.

I cooked my hand today when I woke up, I always wake up. Anyway directly over the iron blue flame provided by my oven, spectrum slides discomfort to stable cold arousal.

Eat your hand off the bone, every time the story wakes up.

“If I am looked at after I wake up, I confuse lung with melancholy, remembrance with the familiar. I have been writing letters and eating them.”

When I look the picture, the face emotes, not a calculated affair, sincerity is the face’s mobility. All the letters have been read, the area below the front door was excavated and studied with passion (passion can never be used without sacrificing genuine mood). Pictures in the basement of Carlos’s house. And begin.

He hands it to me with apparent anxiety. Weathered and sorrowed by handling.

Contents, general excerpts:

“Dear Grandma,
We miss you. We know you are sick. (impalpable kisses interwoven with hairs of paper) etc.”

She’s dead in the picture, keep missing her kids, Los laughs when he hands me the picture but it belies his obviously uneasy essence. Superstition will now play the part of the overseer, let its reign commence.
“Objective immoral, transforms companions to

adversarial presences-- impregnate them from beneath”

Chains sound off, chains have a percussive yet impossibly indistinguishable resonance. The area below the front door at Los’s house, dirt has a sound. They want to leave the crawlspace, they have been incited by callous curiosity. Pull the cover back over me. Let lay between them for security while on the front lawn my entire family has gathered whispering under the sparsely sprinkled tree filtered shadows of Illinois. Chains and empty footprint echoes underneath the front door. Everyone at the house has dispersed and become the sound of chains.

Carlos walks up the stairs and sees his brother’s face captured by the window on the second floor. Then he’s gone. Footprint on the wall.

The Moral: Little bloodstains make moons on my white shirt.




i know our maiden name


the ghost of samuel pink