SHE PUTS HER MAKEUP ON THE SHELF
Jonas uses a buy one get one coupon for his mail order brides. They both leave him for the ice-cream man and a promise of extravagant riches. The ice-cream man is a guitar solo. The ice-cream man is laughing. Wife Number One tells Jonas you must cut the tendons carefully, so as not to disturb the rattlesnakes lying just beneath. Wife Number Two tells him I wish you had played music with my eyelashes. Jonas crawls into wet cement. It squishes between his fingers and pores and he can finally sleep. Robins and bluebirds disturb his reverie. They sing about reckless earthworms and cracked windshields. Jonas works on construction projects late at night instead of sleeping. He discovers the finger-skin of a saint and uses it as a blueprint. He makes a bomb shelter and imagines morning conversation with the milkman. Your white picket fence looks like a traffic sign, the milkman says. Jonas drinks Kool-Aid before the sun comes up. On weekends, he drinks mouthwash instead of Kool-Aid. He only thinks about fucking Wife Number Two when he sees the lightening that runs up her legs. If she had a name, he would call her Genius. She reminds him of eating cigarette butts. Some nights, Jonas swears she whispers if you see me painting the wings of a dragonfly, then you know something is wrong.
ONE THOUSAND TIMES IN MY HEAD
Jonas wants to drive to Montana for the quiet power lines. He can't stand the construction site without a lover. The cranes are lonely when it's just me pulling their levers, he thinks. He calls Jack Kerouac's ghost every morning. They talk about unrequited love, moonshine and knuckle tattoos. The mountain pulled up her shirt and her breasts were covered in pine trees, Jack Kerouac's ghost says. Cars can't breathe underwater, they gasp and rust, Jonas replies. They brew hard cider and smoke cigars laced with brick dust. Jack Kerouac's ghost takes Jonas to San Francisco and they jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. They fly through clouds made of ghost milk. They race pigeons and Jonas wins four gold medals. He displays them proudly and does a victory lap around all of California. Jonas and Jack Kerouac's ghost end up in wine country. They make small rodents from cork and throw darts at pictures of the ice-cream man. They get so drunk the sky fills with crows that applaud if Jonas thinks about cracking a smile. Jack Kerouac's ghost winks and says I know a goldmine that desperately wants to be rubbed. Jonas replies the Sami People have hundreds of words for snow and I have hundreds of words for my heart disappearing into a neon fog.
I DON'T CARE WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT US ANYWAY
Jonas behaves inappropriately at the sock hop. He punches a skinhead in the nose and has sex in the bathroom. The skinhead threw his drink on a girl's varsity sweater and Jonas doesn't stand for that kind of behavior. Jonas and the skinhead break chairs over each others' heads. They push staples into each others' knees. Blood is on everything and Jonas uses it to slick back his hair. He thinks my small muscles should be in a Die Hard movie. The fight ends when they fall through an open window into a rosebush. They call it a draw and the skinhead disappears in a wisp of smoke. The girl Jonas protected wipes his face. My name is Carli and would you like to rub my thighs, she says. They fuck in the bathroom and when Jonas comes every toilet overflows. I've been married, Jonas says. I live in a haunted castle, Carli replies. They go to her haunted castle and watch the Mary Tyler Moore show with the volume turned all the way down. They hold a séance and wait for Mary to show up. She never does but Buddy Holly gives them gambling advice. Always raise with pocket queens, he says. Never, never bet on red, he says. Jonas is so pleased to grasp Carli's hips with abandon. He dreams she is floating towards the ceiling, her heart some kind of balloon. They hold each other until they breathe marigolds and daffodils.
LET'S BE FRIENDS AND JUST WALK AWAY
Carli puts Jonas to her ear and he hums waves and sand and a forest of driftwood. He hums the ocean inside a wineglass. When she gets sleepy, he knits her a sweater. Jonas uses another sweater as yarn and a finger bone as the needle. Carli's sweater looks like winter inside an icicle. She pulls the thread out to make a crib. She says this is for our child. We'll feed it apple pie and golden hair. Jonas laughs until his body coughs and trembles. He fucks Carli like if they have sex hard enough, their baby will come out with a cigarette behind its ear. Their bed is a lake of sweat and Jonas is afraid their baby may drown. He goes outside to climb an oak tree and eat lightening bugs. He calls Jack Kerouac's ghost and says I'll teach my kid the right way to parallel park. Jack Kerouac's ghost reminds Jonas to teach his child about moonshine and steam engines. Carli decides she doesn't want a baby and knits Jonas one hundred sweaters. Their castle fills with suits of armor and Jonas dresses up like a knight. His lance is a wooden spoon. He sits in their kitchen, watching for alligators and bandits. He sits in their kitchen, painting the refrigerator green and yellow. Jonas tells Carli he's an inbred dog. He tells her that his toenails are falling off and she scratches his head like rain.
is the author of the chapbook i tried to bear the elephants and lost
2012), as well as the e-chapbook A COLLECTION OF MY GREATEST HITS
which is forthcoming from Panguar Ban Party