Image Comic

The Nothing and My Statue

I want to tell you
about the nothing
and how it was on my back
from late 90s to just now.

My first time was
just a six pack
of coca cola I was
12 maybe 13,

and I was up all night
with the caffeine propping up
my stinging eyes like,
twitchy invisible insect germs,
holding up heavy red curtains.

I used it to get more comic books read.
It gave me the strength to watch
entire nights of reruns.

I moved onto vodka pretty
much the next summer.
Because it made me think I was
an extrovert and a revolutionary,
and because Val Kilmer drank
as Jim Morrison and I wanted to
be a rebel like him.

I always sounded more like
the Lizard King after some drinks.
It was like the liquid gave me skill.

First pack of smokes found
in The Beer Store parking lot on
Chopin Street in Preston.
They bought me the prison yard acceptance
of first year high school.

I smoked more green any man ever seen,
we had something called wheelchair pot and
I laughed at the sky.

Our crew donned Value Village polyester and
tie dyes from local hemp shops.
We slunk through corn field grids
like eager pony tailed lab rats,
hunting down the cheese of
some wheat kings secret plants.
Dried them out in our parents rafters,
sold the shit for better stuff.

Drank a bottle of Robitussin
because some raver chick in
funfer pink told me it was like Acid,
which was hard to come by and
always made me feel like Neo,
even before The Matrix came out.

My first line was the last thing I
ever put on my back,
through my nose.

I say first because it’s all
the same line,
one massive one that stretches from
a cramped apartment on St. Andrew’s hill,
winds through the jungle of a hundred
dirty stalls, stripper’s breasts, mirror and
chipped dinner plates.

I earned a twitch in the final years,
when I would go for days at a time,
I can’t quite tell you
for too long about it
without risking the
abyss taking me back
you have to take my word
you have nothing
to lose by gaining better ground
in this war,
you lose only your mind when you
play the game with the Nothing,
the nothing,
the not-knot but
not-rope
that you see hanging
from your neck on trees
the next morning,
you’ll have to take my warning
as it is.

I’m just not far away from the fire yet
to turn back and laugh
without risking a salty
statuette of my good intent.

I’ve earned that much.

And how.

I sip coffee in the morning now
with all the music that
was always there to
bring me into sleep,
it is the drug I will always
lean hardest on.

Seeing Permanent Red

They say us red heads have
tempers like East Coast weather
unpredictable and vicious.

I would argue this point but
it would only send me into
another full blown raging whirl wind.

I turn into a Snickers-less Joe Pesci.
I become Oppenheimer.

Without a moment’s notice.
Even my Jekyll is more like
most people’s Hyde.

Today when I could not find my hat
I felt like I needed it
like some average Junky,
then the more I couldn’t find it,
the more I became Herbert Hunke.

Suddenly I was a barrel short
of 12 angry monkey’s.

I miss a bus and start mumbling
to my room:

“How in the history
of all the holiest fucks
of fucking fuckers
have I lost this goddamn hat
when I have yet to leave the
house today?”

The theories get elaborate, fast.
Some kind of starving, stray
micro-goat-like creature
which normally subsists off odd socks
has not found one lately and has
decided to get brazen.

I must still be wearing it I say,
and pat my red, slowly
sweat-gathering
heavy hair.
Nope.

I check the legs of jeans
startling my bed’s frame
like crusty farmer clothes on
rickety, birch fences.

My inner Shining
declares that
Genes got me here
to begin with.

I go to punch air
and I hit the corner of my door
gashing open my hand,
now I’m bleeding and
cursing and mumbling and
tossing clothes around
like a baglady at the last
Sally Ann sale of the Earth
positive that any second I will
start to shit out everything
I have ever lost
and that’s a lot, a lot, a lot of shit.

By the time I give up and
put my hoody on
I’ve missed another bus
I’ve screamed in italic’s of cuss
I’ve prayed like a desperate Catholic
to a Mexican pick up truck’s Jesus-rust.

Curse this temper of mine.
All it was ever good for
were broken Super Nintendo controllers
dry wall craters covered in NIN posters
and a good post-meltdown chuckle
like the one just now,
while writing this poem.

Maybe that’s enough.

Confusion is a Kiss Best Re-heated

It does not matter that I am not always able to be water.

It does not matter that the woman said “Holyrood” (pronounced Holy-Rude)
and that the old fella heard it “Hollywood” and was at first astounded.
All that matters is me walking past, and sitting back at my desk,

and knowing 12 years ago, some poet wrote about his
apologies being like thorns, hoarded and kept in a mason jar
to solve some unknown “X” immunity, that basically
“the roses didn’t mean shit” in a bizarre dollar store notebook

where someone has written in as large as the letters can fit,
“what’s that shit smell” in bold, obviously meant to convey silent rage, letters.
Or maybe it’s just meant to be a joke, left over from some cranked out night.
Maybe it’s meant to be another of those things that doesn’t count.

But all you know is all I show, and that’s what counts.
So know that safe in heaven, dead, they all have notebooks too.
And keep going. And fill this one, too.

This is obsession. These are the rules.

Comic Book/Stored Antithesis

The soft, off yellow light often
produced in the dim chamber
of your childhood comic shop
and its ability to seem
from the kneeled position
over gargantuan strip boxes
of back issues, back then, in the
middle of your proverbial Sandlot
to act as temporal vortex.

A conversion of worlds,
a threshold.

Campbell was right.
It is all journey.

(This one shop owner in our core
had an eye patch and a limp
and I’m sure he did jail time
for weed. He hired us as helpers
me and my buddy from Sekura)

We had the whole back of the
store to go through, just tons of
back stock and all the new stuff.

It was the greatest thing that had
happened to me since Zelda and
sure, maybe even Shadowrun.
(but that’s entering the debatable)

I found The Maxx and Savage Dragon
as the boys from Image left their own
safe worlds and travelled to unknown
riches

(most of them anyway, Sam Keith
is like me I bet and re-watches Cheers,
missing Coach and Diane and the 80’s

as they go by in a slow tightening of flare
and lessening of hem’s, until culmination in
Rebecca’s premiere a la red leather mini-skirt. )

Reading a superhero like Keith’s Maxx gave
me new dreams as a writer. Aside from Steven King,
no other influence has tainted me so deeply,

as those I found in the downtown comic book
stores (there were three at one time, where now
only one will ever at a time today)

Frederick Philip Grove talks about how he
found this call to adventure in Siberia when
he encountered these Khirgiz herdsmen who
yowled and yawped and sang out the true
beatific essence of life, masked in beard and
riding a slow trail to insignificance.

I don’t regret my influences at all.
The darker the Cave, the brighter the sunshine.