NYE, 3:44 P.M. EST

Nails need cutting cuticles need

trimming

the things I’m noticing

standing in line at a joint TJ Maxx/HomeGoods on New Year’s Eve

buying tchotchkes for a holiday party

planned last minute

prizes for trivia questions arrived at

an hour ago

someone is going to end up

with Ed Hardy body spray, a spatula

with a baby chicken on the end

and a Chewbacca

pez dispenser.

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Palm Frights

My facial hair is three to four days long, just beginning to soften after its rough brillo phase. Stray cat hairs and random dust cluster in the velcro hooks puncturing my epidermis like a cheaply constructed lint roller. I keep picking at my face, pulling away nothing, still feeling begrimed. A phantom feeling like a cellphone buzz signaling nothing. I palm my face. If your hand is bigger than your face then you’re going to get cancer. It’s not true, but kids would tell that to each other so when the other one, confused and fearful, attempts to discover if he/she is doomed to be a cancer victim, the other one, waiting for the perfect moment, pushes the kid’s hand full into their face smashing them in the nose, bewildering them. And laughing.

It’s all a big joke. Like unbreakable watches, unbreakable hearts and Unbreakable*, the movie starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson.

*Actually, that one was good.

Owls

I’m sitting on the toilet seat staring at the shower curtain touching my knee.

It’s an intricate pattern that’s almost Greek key, but not,

I see an owl—

two owly eyes and a beak that howls hoot hoot.

The whole curtain is owls.

I wipe and get friendly with my sphincter. At a certain age

you become more in touch with your erogeny.

I don’t know what it means, if it means any-

thing, but the body changes it doesn’t stay

static. It evolves, goes through phases

like the moon

like girls in college

like laser light beams in a space opera (no, that’s phasers).

I’m going through phases. I want to be the person

who sits in a Starbucks reading poetry

gripping a grande

cappuccino or flat white or green tea latte

something slightly bitter with steamed milk—

not too sugary—nothing too

addictive; melt into a wing-back chair,

plush stained cush-

ions, holding my paper cup with pinkie-finger poking out daintily,

a tome of the finest meter and rhyme in my lap

whiling away the day

to the sound of easy listening and holiday favorites,

chasing aristocracy, but belonging in a barn

with the owl, the cock and the tufted tit-

mouse

which isn’t a mouse at all.

Hoooooooooot.

Sunday night musings

A wasted Sunday gets in your brain. You question the point of existence and the imminently liberal use of 2nd person. You recline in your bed with plans to go to sleep early, but you tire yourself awake. You read a paperback, web surf, play with your pubes at length, feeling the coarseness, pulling at tufts like weeds, trying to discern if this one is longer than that one, checking your junk for oddities, taking in pleasure in the meditative act of blind, platonic fondling. No boners (or female equivalents) here. It’s your body, your mind. You lay so long you feel as if your limbs are frozen and movement of any sudden sort, while inevitable, will inevitably cause some tendon to snap. Visions of surgery, traction, sweaty-browed rehab. You remember shaking a leg out hokey-pokey style earlier in the day, wondering whether the unexpected noise that sprouted from the joint was the sound of severe ligament damage or a nearby car crash. You shook it again to be sure, it was seemingly intact, no harm done, but you know that’s false certainty. The damage is done indeed, like listening to music at rock concert levels as a kid, the hidden debilitation is biding its time to go into effect. Like dementia or impotence. You think humans should probably only have a 50-year lifespan, but what about all that’s been achieved by people after age 50. Maybe your best is yet to come. Selfish. Pathetic. Just another excuse to be lazy, waiting for the gravy train. Enough indulging. You move. It hurts, like hell for a long second, but nothing breaks, nothing’s broken. The subtle tears can heal. You’re not done, you’ve got more left in the tank, which reminds you, the car needs gas, and you’re out of eggs, people are dying, Wednesday’s going to be nice, a friend left a random voicemail, you pet a dog’s soft fur, you wipe your ass, you tire yourself asleep. You wake up.

Cremation

I want to lay on my horn

and scream through this bloody machine

spent the last thirty some-odd years

driving the posted speed

content to complete a crossword puzzle

in black ink

constantly evading the earlobe itch to drop the hammer down

without abandon

and brake so hard

so the wheels

squeal, seared rubber scrapes off altogether

leaving dead fragments

on top

of a chasm of spent protoplasm

Mornings are a motherfuc—

prescribed pills have lost their efficacy

the body battles the mind

the mind beats hammers and tongs

questioning whether the microcosm that defines us

confines us

or is it only a snapshot, fading

a capsule, betraying

a fabric falsely woven and set a-blazing

a moth caught in the flame,

immolating.

Eating Habits

I don’t

think my cat likes

it when She’s trying to eat Her dinner

some brown slop

spooned out of a can

onto a porcelain white dish

set a few feet away

from me

while I pee a strong golden stream into my own porcelain dish

She looks at me

upturned whiskers and insulted sensibilities

I don’t desist

because it’s my 2 bed 2 bath apartment

cheaply carpeted with barren walls

couch with unmatched chair

used chest turned coffee table

cat tree beside the wall

where She reclines on high, waiting

for me

to leave

to resume

Her daily feast.

Mis(ter)taken Identity

Calling a credit agency to update errors in your report is a game of chicken that you’re going to lose and you’ll begrudgingly give them all of your vital personal information to verify that you are who you are; fingers, legs and testicles (or ovaries) crossed that they are who they are. I hope the new ‘me’ enjoys those student loans. Ha ha he ha ha ho, it’s funny because of the excessive cost of higher education in this country.

Lunch’s Labour’s Lost

I work from home a lot, wasting away.

Needing sustenance but still stuck, hungry.

My available options are not good.

A bag of broccoli, a raw, red pep-

per, half a cup of lemon yogurt, and

some squares of rich dark chocolate, to taste.

A month ago I ate a tin of fish

sardines by themselves nothing else, the can

was buried in the back of the pantry.

Writing in iambic pentameter

is a real pain in—three more syllables.

Top 10 tips for preparing your Christmas tree

Tip #1: Buy the first tree you see

Tip #2: If you don’t buy the first tree you see, pick your nose and contemplate existence

Tip #3 : Firmly secure your tree to your glove box

Tip #4: Do not string the Christmas lights as if they’re silly string

Tip #5: If you don’t have Christmas lights, spray paint your pet python and staple it to the branches

Tip #6: If you don’t have Christmas lights or a pet python (or if your pet python dies of internal bleeding), stare at a regular light bulb for 5 minutes then look at the tree

Tip #7: Tree mini skirts are now in vogue

Tip #8: If you ask your tree to slow dance, remember to let the tree lead

Tip #9: Ornaments rhymes with pornaments

Tip #10: Always play Christmas in Hollis while preparing your Christmas tree