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At eleven p.m. the fish tank light turns off and I snap out of it and realize that I am alone in the house. Except for the fish but they are going to bed and I never feel like going to bed. The darkness starts to bother me so I walk around turning on lights until every light is buzzing with electricity. The buzzing starts to bother me, so I go outside and climb to the top of the roof.

I walk up to the edge and I keep walking and I walk off the roof and I keep walking and I walk across the street and I sit on the hood of my car in a kind of half slouch. I watch the house.

In a few minutes it explodes and I am homeless. After the fire is put out the neighbors and firemen and paramedics form a line and come up to me one by one. They all shake my hand and congratulate me and everyone wants to give me five ten and twenty dollar bills. I smile a lot and take the money.

Everything is pretty much the same when I am homeless. In the morning, the neighbors and the birds and the sunshine try to wake me up through the windows of my car but I need to get back to the dream I am having. In the dream a police officer is driving me around and we are both happy and she is telling me that she thinks Snoop Dogg is really cool; I agree because it is true.

My cell phone alarm clock keeps going off and I let it ring and ring and ring.

Eventually I have to pee so badly that I leave the car and walk up to the charred footprint of the house. I take some time to get ready for another excellent day. I sit on the hood of my car and stare at the house for a while. All of the grass and bushes and everything else around the house are stuck on fast-forward. There are already a lot of green things coming up from inside of the basement; the humidity sticks to my skin.

I put on a clean shirt and drive to work. Eight hours later work is over and I hang the mop up in a closet. After work I will eat something from the deli. If it has enough grease, I will wake in the middle of the night. If it has no grease I will need a pop can. These can be purchased in aisle seven, next to the bottles of water. Everything I buy fits in a plastic bag and sits next to me on the drive back. Everything near the house is still stuck on fast-forward. There is already a family of squirrels living in the tree sprouting up where the couch used to be.

There is plenty of grease in the food, but I have a pop anyway. High-fructose corn syrup makes me happy for an hour. Everything is pretty much the same when you are homeless.

I sit and I stare. I have an urge to brush my teeth that will not go away.

When you are homeless you don’t ever brush your teeth. You could, but that’s not the point. Only some of us know that there is a point to being homeless. The point is a kind of slow-motion disintegration. Everything is pretty much the same when you are homeless. The squirrels in the house are stuck on fast-forward. Eventually, I put on a clean shirt and go to work. Some days I am happy for more than an hour. Brushing your teeth is a slow-motion disintegration. Every day I feel more and more alive.

It’d be a lie to put some words to paper,
to say I have a way to express
anything that’s in my head and worth
expressing. I haven’t- the bits of truth
exist, and they are butterfly beautiful,
beyond my clumsy tries to pin them to the page.

I have no wonderful words for you, today.

At the age of 25
I came home after
working 16 hours.

I heated up a pot
of Dinty Moore
from a can, and waited.

It was warm and salty,
with whole grain bread
to help me shit better.

I thought while I ate.
And then some more,
right after, brushing.

I sat on the edge
of my mattress,
I kicked off my shoes.

My feet smelled
like old cheese and
a three-day sweat.

“Well” I thought,
and not much else.
But sleep felt good.

Your rosebush-tangled hair- the kind that gets
me into trouble. It doesn’t know which way
it’s going and you can’t keep it down (your eyes:
blue, laughing; my eyes: brown).

I hit the interstate in a shit-
ass ’94, roll down the windows and shatter
the sound barrier with my off-key singing.

Eyes blue- laughing. You tilt your head
when you look at me, and I think you’re in on it.
My wavy brown bedhead-tangled accomplice.

I don’t need to see them to imagine legs in cut-off
jeans, propped up on the dashboard. Eyes still laughing
their blue conspiracy; but your face is lost on me.

My eyes blind to everything but too-slow traffic and
these dotted white lines. Feeling that absence-
that empty space the wind leaves when it takes my breath
back out the passenger’s side.

My hand in your lap, palm open-
yours wrapped around your seat’s head-cushion.
We can’t ignore the rushing of the wind.

The NRA For the Rest of Us.

Something flowery
about pushing fingertips
against fingertips; melting.

The look on your face
when you forget yourself.

Stop. Only three things matter:

You are here
and I am here-
choosing to stay together.

I want to call and tell you
that I drank a glass of lemon water, with vitamin;
ate rotisserie chicken, watched television, and then ate some more chicken.
Pass along vague feelings-
of unease and boredom and my overwhelming need
to know just what you had for dinner today,
or how many times (exactly) you peed.

Call and share this strange fascination I’m developing
for the tiniest minutiae of our lives apart.

But I have this overwhelming fear
of voicemail, so it goes- and so
instead I watch some great kung-fu, and
masturbate (it’s not so great, at times it feels mechanical).

Living (in the moment) is for suckers,
now’s the time to let the seasons change.

He lifted his head up against the gusting snow, leaned against his shovel, flashed me a shit-eating grin, and said: I’m going to move to Maine and settle down somewhere along the coast, with a pretty girl who appreciates the simple things. We’ll have just enough money to pay the bills and warm the house against the cold. When winter comes we’ll live off canned soup and the mushrooms that will grow in the basement, and we’ll be happy under our layers of blankets and scattered piles of books. She’ll tell me all her dreams when she wakes up, and stand out in the cold looking at constellations, wearing nothing. I’ll wear nothing but flannel; I’ll make a living with just my sweat and these two hands, and goddamn will it feel good to be alive.

He read 70 pages of Richard Yates and made a neutral facial expression. He wanted to be like Eeyore. He wanted to be like Tao Lin, then he remembered that Tao Lin is kind of maybe a pedophile and definitely abusing uppers. That made him want to be like Tao Lin a little less, but did not make him feel especially glad to be himself. He decided that he liked being lonely. He wanted to be depressed, maybe.

He imagined it involved unwarranted feelings of negativity and ennui. Long walks during gray weather and distant looks that passers-by might find strangely alluring. His pocket vibrated a little. No, that was something he had imagined, but his phone was out so he checked the time and contemplated calling each of his ex-girlfriends to apologize.

Then he remembered that none of them had called him to apologize, that this was probably something that normal people didn’t do. Being depressed was kind of pathetic, actually. It was something embarrassing that you were a little proud of, maybe, but couldn’t share with anyone, like a gigantic piece of shit that just will not go down.

Wake up my dear, you oversleep. Fingertips
map the coffee ring of your back, neck and
shoulder. The steam is curling, getting closer.

I break the eggs too gently, once
twice, then again to be sure
until they’re sliding free and
dripping hot against the cracking
spit of oil. Your mouth waters

the strawberries outside my window and
they’re red again, my hands;
twisting oranges for the color of them, twisting

hard inside the yolk; a little something for the toast.

At eleven p.m. the fish tank light turns off
and I am already snoring. Happiness is boring.


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