Zipper Writes

JuliaI found her behind a dumpster, six months after the world ended. She had a dirty old dishrag clutched between her tiny fists, her eyes like cloudless sky. She danced, spasmed, flailed away from me, pushed herself against the cool green metal of the dumpster, but didn’t make a sound.  I half expected a scream to escape from her finger tips, for her to burst forth in sonic hunger, expel and expunge every awful thing that surely she had seen.  Instead she shook, shook, shook, and bit into the dishrag so hard that I could hear her teeth grinding.  I crouched, my bare feet and legs caked with dirt, a golem of despair.  I did my best to smile, showed her my hands.  “I’m not going to hurt you,” I said.Her name was Julia, according to her ID, which I found tucked into the sole of her shoe.  She was 20 years old.  My age.  It was only three days past her birthday.  We slept in the kitchen of a local Thai restaurant, and she still didn’t say a word.  The next day we started walking.  Around midday she said ‘water,’ to which I wordlessly complied.  I already loved her, in a way.  The next time she spoke it was a string of nonsense, words that I knew, but not strung together in any sort of coherent way.  Mashed potatoes with Ranch dressing, carrots dipped in gravy.  The ingredients were there, but… “When the rain comes, dad says going over to daisy is best.  Elevator music, you know?  Sometimes dogs and mice understand, but most of the time it’s all just cellos.  I can see it freely, for only ten bones.  You understand?”I nodded.Two weeks of travel later, we sat on the roof of a 7-11, eating peas out of a can.  We only had one spoon so we took turns.“I need to study for my exam,” she said.  “I need to go study for my exam.”“I think the exam’s been cancelled, Jules.”“If I don’t pass, I’ll never amount to anything.  Mother says there’s beauty, but I’m yet to see it.  If you love it, let it show.  Let it go.  Let it know.  I could swim with the dolphins.  Thank you for this.  I’ll write your name in blood on the walls of my heart.  I can hear the beating of the earth, and it sounds like weeping.  It’s so nice just to hold something in your hands.”“Thank you,” I said, not sure what else there was to say.  Our spoon scraped the bottom of the can.  “I’ll be sure to remember that.”“I need to go study for my exam.”The next morning she was gone. 
Sep 7

Julia

I found her behind a dumpster, six months after the world ended. She had a dirty old dishrag clutched between her tiny fists, her eyes like cloudless sky. She danced, spasmed, flailed away from me, pushed herself against the cool green metal of the dumpster, but didn’t make a sound.  I half expected a scream to escape from her finger tips, for her to burst forth in sonic hunger, expel and expunge every awful thing that surely she had seen.  Instead she shook, shook, shook, and bit into the dishrag so hard that I could hear her teeth grinding.  I crouched, my bare feet and legs caked with dirt, a golem of despair.  I did my best to smile, showed her my hands.  “I’m not going to hurt you,” I said.

Her name was Julia, according to her ID, which I found tucked into the sole of her shoe.  She was 20 years old.  My age.  It was only three days past her birthday.  We slept in the kitchen of a local Thai restaurant, and she still didn’t say a word.  

The next day we started walking.  Around midday she said ‘water,’ to which I wordlessly complied.  I already loved her, in a way.  

The next time she spoke it was a string of nonsense, words that I knew, but not strung together in any sort of coherent way.  Mashed potatoes with Ranch dressing, carrots dipped in gravy.  The ingredients were there, but…

“When the rain comes, dad says going over to daisy is best.  Elevator music, you know?  Sometimes dogs and mice understand, but most of the time it’s all just cellos.  I can see it freely, for only ten bones.  You understand?”

I nodded.

Two weeks of travel later, we sat on the roof of a 7-11, eating peas out of a can.  We only had one spoon so we took turns.

“I need to study for my exam,” she said.  “I need to go study for my exam.”

“I think the exam’s been cancelled, Jules.”

“If I don’t pass, I’ll never amount to anything.  Mother says there’s beauty, but I’m yet to see it.  If you love it, let it show.  Let it go.  Let it know.  I could swim with the dolphins.  Thank you for this.  I’ll write your name in blood on the walls of my heart.  I can hear the beating of the earth, and it sounds like weeping.  It’s so nice just to hold something in your hands.”

“Thank you,” I said, not sure what else there was to say.  Our spoon scraped the bottom of the can.  “I’ll be sure to remember that.”

“I need to go study for my exam.”

The next morning she was gone. 

ParticularsSometimes it feels like you will never free the sand from your hair,like each grain is a tiny little world that keeps on spinning,cars and jobs and cousins and days without end,to wash it would be genocide, would be unthinkable,a thousands worlds spinning down the drain,a shower song of ‘who is your god now?’You are a colossus,an atom bomb of possibility,hurry up and detonate,It’s time for something new.
Sep 6

Particulars

Sometimes it feels like you will never free the sand from your hair,
like each grain is a tiny little world that keeps on spinning,
cars and jobs and cousins and days without end,

to wash it would be genocide, would be unthinkable,
a thousands worlds spinning down the drain,
a shower song of ‘who is your god now?’

You are a colossus,
an atom bomb of possibility,
hurry up and detonate,
It’s time for something
new.

Welcome to Doomtown‘Welcome to Doomtown,’ the sign reads,
'Population: you,'in what I hope to God is red paint.Well, someone here thinks they’re fucking clever.Once I’ve scratched the dust from my skin,plucked the horror from the surfaceof my sun-seared eyeballs,maybe I’ll take a moment to applaud.All that’s left is scavengers,like me with my third-hand eye-glasses,and leftover memories,pulled from photo albums scatteredlike spilled salt across the asphalt,lifted without mercy from powder-blue bedrooms,the spider-man sheets that don’t belong to anyone,not really, not anymore.Take a stick in hand, and drag yourself,step by step, closer and closer to someone else’s impossible dream.There’s nothing left here but empty ketchup packets,buildings with three walls, unlabelled cans of soup.Remember college?  Remember that girl,the one that told you she didn’t have a favorite movie?Remember the way you pulled your arm slowlyacross the back of the couch, drunk,laughing your way across the stars into tomorrow?Yeah, neither do I.Welcome to Doomtown.
Sep 6

Welcome to Doomtown

‘Welcome to Doomtown,’ the sign reads,

'Population: you,'
in what I hope to God is red paint.
Well, someone here thinks they’re fucking clever.
Once I’ve scratched the dust from my skin,
plucked the horror from the surface
of my sun-seared eyeballs,
maybe I’ll take a moment to applaud.
All that’s left is scavengers,
like me with my third-hand eye-glasses,
and leftover memories,
pulled from photo albums scattered
like spilled salt across the asphalt,
lifted without mercy from powder-blue bedrooms,
the spider-man sheets that don’t belong to anyone,
not really, not anymore.
Take a stick in hand, and drag yourself,
step by step, closer and closer to
someone else’s impossible dream.
There’s nothing left here but empty ketchup packets,
buildings with three walls, unlabelled cans of soup.
Remember college?  Remember that girl,
the one that told you she didn’t have a favorite movie?
Remember the way you pulled your arm slowly
across the back of the couch, drunk,
laughing your way across the stars into tomorrow?
Yeah, neither do I.
Welcome to Doomtown.

Heat WaveThis heat plucks the seconds like hairs,plies the minutes into bits,splits and splits, pulls and tears,crashes like waves across your flesh,reminds you each momentswho and where you are,‘you will never get out,not if I have anythingto say about it.’Let’s see what the Ocean thinks,get drenched in the freedomto eat and be eaten,breaststroke your way through the stalks and fronds that grasp you,kick yourself away from cants and donts,feel the salt prick your pores,and laugh yourself to sleepin the belly of this whale
Aug 30

Heat Wave

This heat plucks the seconds like hairs,
plies the minutes into bits,
splits and splits, pulls and tears,
crashes like waves across your flesh,
reminds you each moments
who and where you are,
‘you will never get out,
not if I have anything
to say about it.’

Let’s see what the Ocean thinks,
get drenched in the freedom
to eat and be eaten,
breaststroke your way through
the stalks and fronds that grasp you,
kick yourself away from cants and donts,
feel the salt prick your pores,
and laugh yourself to sleep
in the belly of this whale

A Most Important Quest
Today your roommate’s cat turned and spoke to you in a human voice, but you can’t remember what it said. It might have been “Hello, pleased to meet you,” or “seek the Stone of Oblivion,” or “have you applied for any jobs yet today?” It rolled onto it’s back, asked with it’s eyes for a tummy rub, and spoke no more. You should have been listening, but who has the time for cats and their quests, and really, don’t you get enough nagging from your mother? You cleaned the apartment today, so who is this furball to make you feel unaccomplished, to imply that you haven’t worked, haven’t struggled? Look at it, pierced by the sun, spread across your table, blissfully oblivious to, well, everything. It has no fear of ex-girlfriends, or guilt over idle afternoons, no aching pressures or deadlines like knives, no desire to hear you bitch about growing up, to listen as you whine about how you wish you could have travelled more while you were young. Here, cat, go chase a laser. I have to make dinner on this panini press, because my stove is broken, must jiggle the handle of my toilet so the water stops running, need to go for a run so I can say that I did.
The cat’s fur reflects the sun, shines it at you intentionally, no doubt. You are half way out the door when it raises it’s head, meets your gaze. “Come here,” it says. You obey. “The fate of the world is in your hands,” it says. “There is much struggle and hardship ahead for you, trials and tribulations that will test you to your very core. The future is in your hands and yours alone.” “I had better hurry,” you say, ticking off checklists in your mind. “Yes,” it says, rolling onto it’s back. “But first, may I please have a tummy rub?”
Jul 3

A Most Important Quest

Today your roommate’s cat turned and spoke to you in a human voice, but you can’t remember what it said. It might have been “Hello, pleased to meet you,” or “seek the Stone of Oblivion,” or “have you applied for any jobs yet today?” It rolled onto it’s back, asked with it’s eyes for a tummy rub, and spoke no more. You should have been listening, but who has the time for cats and their quests, and really, don’t you get enough nagging from your mother? You cleaned the apartment today, so who is this furball to make you feel unaccomplished, to imply that you haven’t worked, haven’t struggled? Look at it, pierced by the sun, spread across your table, blissfully oblivious to, well, everything. It has no fear of ex-girlfriends, or guilt over idle afternoons, no aching pressures or deadlines like knives, no desire to hear you bitch about growing up, to listen as you whine about how you wish you could have travelled more while you were young. Here, cat, go chase a laser. I have to make dinner on this panini press, because my stove is broken, must jiggle the handle of my toilet so the water stops running, need to go for a run so I can say that I did.

The cat’s fur reflects the sun, shines it at you intentionally, no doubt. You are half way out the door when it raises it’s head, meets your gaze. “Come here,” it says. You obey. “The fate of the world is in your hands,” it says. “There is much struggle and hardship ahead for you, trials and tribulations that will test you to your very core. The future is in your hands and yours alone.” “I had better hurry,” you say, ticking off checklists in your mind. “Yes,” it says, rolling onto it’s back. “But first, may I please have a tummy rub?”

The Golden AgeWrinkled pages show men in tightsBAMing and POWing,warding off eachmundane doomsday,SNIKTing their wayto a happy ending,taking our lasers,and turning them back at us.We have allpunched hitler,turned back time,flown the girlof our dreamsto the surface of the moon,the only safe placeto tell her howwe really feel. 
Jun 28

The Golden Age

Wrinkled pages

show men in tights

BAMing and POWing,

warding off each

mundane doomsday,

SNIKTing their way

to a happy ending,

taking our lasers,

and turning them

back at us.

We have all

punched hitler,

turned back time,

flown the girl

of our dreams

to the surface

of the moon,

the only safe place

to tell her how

we really feel. 

ManagementI’m staring at my bruised knuckles,watching as they scab and warp,pool into images of every mistakethat I’ve ever made.  Reds and greens, like bitter christmas,trees through windows,and overturned tables,that crunch you feel,the knowledge of instant regret,the feeling that each time you try to change something,it hardens its shell,pops its claws,becomes more and moreof whatever it already is.Each wall that I put my fist throughbrings the house that much closerto pulling itself downaround my ears.
Jun 28

Management

I’m staring at my bruised knuckles,
watching as they scab and warp,
pool into images of every mistake
that I’ve ever made.  

Reds and greens,
like bitter christmas,
trees through windows,
and overturned tables,

that crunch you feel,
the knowledge of instant regret,
the feeling that each time
you try to change something,

it hardens its shell,
pops its claws,
becomes more and more
of whatever it already is.

Each wall that I put my fist through
brings the house that much closer
to pulling itself down
around my ears.

XIX (So Long)The entity known as‘The Bucket’winds its way out ofour universe.Its form is fluid,shifting,punching and protruding,absorbing.It thinks on humanity,on its merits and flaws,so strange,so interesting.Slowly, surely,it begins to build,to create,to sculpt.Life blossoms, dies, blossoms again,forms and melts,melts and forms,steadier and steadier,better each time.  As it works,the being recallsthe last wordsthe humans spoke,the answer to the mystery,punchline to the joke.They had stepped upon the dias,taken their counterparts hands,brushed the crackle of their fingersover what passed for skin,and whisperedsoft and lowinto their ears:“We don’t know.”
Jun 20

XIX (So Long)

The entity known as
‘The Bucket’
winds its way out of
our universe.

Its form is fluid,
shifting,
punching and protruding,
absorbing.

It thinks on humanity,
on its merits and flaws,
so strange,
so interesting.

Slowly, surely,
it begins to build,
to create,
to sculpt.

Life blossoms,
dies, blossoms again,
forms and melts,
melts and forms,

steadier and steadier,
better each time.  
As it works,
the being recalls

the last words
the humans spoke,
the answer to the mystery,
punchline to the joke.

They had stepped upon the dias,
taken their counterparts hands,
brushed the crackle of their fingers
over what passed for skin,

and whispered
soft and low
into their ears:
“We don’t know.”

XVIII (Cure and Catastrophe)Daniel and Melissa are more than just celebrities, more than just heroes.  Etched into the dreams and thoughts of every man, woman, and child, they are legend.  They are everyone’s closest friends, the couple who survived the Bucket not only intact, but closer than ever before.  The praise, at first, is welcome, and then overwhelming.  They are dragged from place to place, questions hurled at them, cameras thrust in their face.  Their smiles begin to wilt under the flashing lights.Late one night, in a hotel room in Los Angeles, Daniel jumps up from their bed, begins throwing things into a suitcase, whirling, dashing, sliding around the room.  Melissa wakes and sees him.“What are you doing?”“Get up.  Get Dressed.  You’ll see.”She does, despite her confusion.When their things are together, he takes her by the hand and drags her out the front door, into the car.  They drive for hours and hours, but it is okay.  They are very patient, these days.  Time no longer feels to be pulling them, tugging them along, but rather plying them with gentle words, enticing them forward, inch by inch.  They pull into a parking lot, just as the sun is rising.  Melissa yawns awake as Daniel opens her door.  They cross the lot, the great expanse of the Grand Canyon spreading open before them.  It reminds Melissa instantly of the Bucket, that great hole in the dirt, lined with invisible teeth.  At first she stiffens, but Daniel gently coaxes her forward, sits next to her, perched on the edge of the abyss.“This is the part I remember best,” he says. “The Grand Canyon.  We saw everything, the birth and death of a whole Universe, and yet, somehow, this is the part I remember best.  Even with all that had come before, I knew it as soon as we saw it, recognized the contours and the shapes, thought to myself ‘Hey, I’ve been there.’  Watching it get whittled away, seeing the years pass by as flake after flake was shaved down into nothing.  All that life, all that death, all that change.  Even rocks, in the end, are just there to get filed down.  But it’s not always an act of destruction, I don’t think.  Like this Canyon.  It’s not just the absence of something, it IS something, something real and here and breathtaking.  And I just feel as though I know it so damn well.”They stare into it for a time, the hands brushing over each other, their coats rattling in the wind.  She presses her head against his chest.“We know how it all started,” she says.  “And how it all ends.  So where do we go?  What do we do?”  His fingers weave with hers, settling into their place, half expecting themselves to fuse at the skin.  Things are right.  Things are good.  In a few hours they will drive, to who knows where.  They will swim, and laugh, and drink, and fuck, and fight, and run, and eat, and live, and die--together.
Jun 20

XVIII (Cure and Catastrophe)
Daniel and Melissa are more than just celebrities, more than just heroes.  Etched into the dreams and thoughts of every man, woman, and child, they are legend.  They are everyone’s closest friends, the couple who survived the Bucket not only intact, but closer than ever before.  The praise, at first, is welcome, and then overwhelming.  They are dragged from place to place, questions hurled at them, cameras thrust in their face.  Their smiles begin to wilt under the flashing lights.

Late one night, in a hotel room in Los Angeles, Daniel jumps up from their bed, begins throwing things into a suitcase, whirling, dashing, sliding around the room.  Melissa wakes and sees him.

“What are you doing?”
“Get up.  Get Dressed.  You’ll see.”
She does, despite her confusion.

When their things are together, he takes her by the hand and drags her out the front door, into the car.  They drive for hours and hours, but it is okay.  They are very patient, these days.  Time no longer feels to be pulling them, tugging them along, but rather plying them with gentle words, enticing them forward, inch by inch.  

They pull into a parking lot, just as the sun is rising.  Melissa yawns awake as Daniel opens her door.  They cross the lot, the great expanse of the Grand Canyon spreading open before them.  It reminds Melissa instantly of the Bucket, that great hole in the dirt, lined with invisible teeth.  At first she stiffens, but Daniel gently coaxes her forward, sits next to her, perched on the edge of the abyss.

“This is the part I remember best,” he says. “The Grand Canyon.  We saw everything, the birth and death of a whole Universe, and yet, somehow, this is the part I remember best.  Even with all that had come before, I knew it as soon as we saw it, recognized the contours and the shapes, thought to myself ‘Hey, I’ve been there.’  Watching it get whittled away, seeing the years pass by as flake after flake was shaved down into nothing.  All that life, all that death, all that change.  Even rocks, in the end, are just there to get filed down.  But it’s not always an act of destruction, I don’t think.  Like this Canyon.  It’s not just the absence of something, it IS something, something real and here and breathtaking.  And I just feel as though I know it so damn well.”

They stare into it for a time, the hands brushing over each other, their coats rattling in the wind.  She presses her head against his chest.

“We know how it all started,” she says.  “And how it all ends.  So where do we go?  What do we do?”  

His fingers weave with hers, settling into their place, half expecting themselves to fuse at the skin.  

Things are right.  Things are good.  In a few hours they will drive, to who knows where.  They will swim, and laugh, and drink, and fuck, and fight, and run, and eat, and live, and die-

-together.

XVII (Home)The next part is hard to remember,but it is like being shuffled into a deck of cards,like melting into a skillet, getting cheese-grated,a redistribution, a sprinkling, a spreading.Daniel, Melissa, and I awake in a field,a place surely not chosen by accident.At first, we assume this is simply another trick,another reality-game head-trip mind-fuckfrom our friend the Bucket, but we are wrong.The grass beneath us feels realer, truer, greenerthan any we have felt before.  As the cars begin to arrive,we know that we have made it, that we are home.  The Bucket is gone, they tell us.  It has vanished.And yet, rather than reverting,transmuting back to metal,as I thought I would,still am I flesh and blood. A barrage of tests follows.  As far as anyone can tell,I am human, all the way through,flesh and blood and bones.Some time later I am driving past a home,(I learned to drive!) when something clicks.I stop the car, graze past a ‘For Sale’ sign,and press my hands against the front door.This is it, the home I had lived in, the house created for me by the Bucket,complete with adoring wife.Perhaps that life was not invented at all.Perhaps the Bucket had reached into my future,and given me a glimpse,a taste,of themanI ammeanttobe.
Jun 20

XVII (Home)

The next part is hard to remember,
but it is like being shuffled into a deck of cards,
like melting into a skillet, getting cheese-grated,
a redistribution, a sprinkling, a spreading.

Daniel, Melissa, and I awake in a field,
a place surely not chosen by accident.
At first, we assume this is simply another trick,
another reality-game head-trip mind-fuck
from our friend the Bucket, but we are wrong.

The grass beneath us feels realer, truer, greener
than any we have felt before.  As the cars begin to arrive,
we know that we have made it, that we are home.  
The Bucket is gone, they tell us.  
It has vanished.

And yet, rather than reverting,
transmuting back to metal,
as I thought I would,
still am I flesh and blood.

A barrage of tests follows.  
As far as anyone can tell,
I am human, all the way through,
flesh and blood and bones.

Some time later I am driving past a home,
(I learned to drive!) when something clicks.
I stop the car, graze past a ‘For Sale’ sign,
and press my hands against the front door.

This is it, the home I had lived in,
the house created for me by the Bucket,
complete with adoring wife.

Perhaps that life was not invented at all.
Perhaps the Bucket had reached into my future,
and given me a glimpse,
a taste,
of the
man
I am
meant
to
be.