938221He doesn’t always remember anymore.

He doesn’t always remember a name.

He doesn’t always remember that score.

He doesn’t always remember the song.

He doesn’t always remember those facts.

Sometimes. But, not always.

Not anymore.

But he always remembers the window pane and the emptied dirt road that lined the fallow field.

He always remembers the twilighted living room and the darts of a fluorescent kitchen light that interloped their dark.

He always remembers the yellow and blue kerchief he tied around his neck and the merit badges his mother stitched on his blouse.

He always remembers waiting for his fellow troops.

He always remembers the afraid.

He always remembers the wanting of home.

He always remembers the drowsy.

He always remembers the scratching of a salt-shaded beard.

He always remembers the repetitions and the self-recriminations.

He always remembers all the quitting.

That he remembers.



suffocateUnsighted by surplus, their needed went unseen.

Needed to be included. Needed to be invited. Needed to be considered. Needed to be amongst.

Pandering our utmosts

utmost fear

utmost selfishness

Shame suffocates.

(Photo courtesy of

On The Surface

“Jesus Christ! We’re painting this room grey!”

“Swirling Smoke.” Jack dipped the roller into the pan and traveled the incline until the roller was damp. He lined from baseboard to molding and rapidly smoothed the trek with hurried whisks. He bent to the pan and rewet the roller.


“Swirling Smoke. That’s ass. It’s grey.” Tim lifted his sweatshirt from the waistband and mopped the sweat from his face. He dipped the brush into the can, soaked it with paint, and edged the window. “And I’m stuck doing the goddamned trim!”

Jack methodically moved along the wall: roll, sop, whisk.

Tim set the brush on the drop cloth, grabbed the sweatshirt from the waist, and pulled it over his head. “What the fuck is this heat on?”

Jack turned and saw Tim pinching paint drops from the hairs that descended from his navel. “Quit bitching. We’ve got to get this room finished by the weekend. You bitching is just going to make it worse.”

“I don’t want anyone in here. I use this room. This room is mine. I don’t want anyone in here.”

Jack set the roller on the lip of the pan, pulled the plastic paint gloves off his hands, and walked over to the pack of Camels that balanced on an ashtray that sat on the floor in the corner. He lit a cigarette and took a deep drag. “Listen to me. This is our room. Ours. Just because I don’t use it doesn’t mean it’s not ours.”

“Fine.” Tim snapped. He grabbed the sweatshirt off the floor and used it to wipe the sweat from under his arms. “How long are they staying?” He picked up the brush and returned to the window.

“Just the weekend. Annie and Dave are coming Friday night and Joe is coming Saturday morning.” Jack exhaled and tamped the cigarette in the ashtray.

Tim pitched the brush at the drop cloth. “No fuckin’ way! Joe isn’t staying here! I can’t stand that sonofabitch!”

Jack silently walked out the room; Tim’s volume followed him into the kitchen. He withdrew two beers from the refrigerator and returned to the room. He handed one to Tim. “Yeah, he is.”

“No! He’s not!” Tim twisted the top and took a pull.

“Yeah, he is.” Jack took a long drink. “Now let’s get back to work. I don’t want to spend all day on this.”

“You fucking know I don’t like him. Why the hell did you invite him? You know I can’t stand him! Our house – our invitations. You should have asked me!”

“You want to know who I can’t stand right now? You. And you’re staying here.” Jack slid a smile on the left side of his mouth and then drew his mouth into a line. “Now are you listening Tim? Are you really listening? We’ve been on the brink of a major fight. For about a month. We can have it, or not. It’s up to you. But right now we’re going to paint this room. We can do it and be in love or we can be quiet when we do it or we can fight. You decide. But, we’re painting this room.”

“It’s kinda hard to fight in a grey room.”

“It’s Swirling Smoke.”

“You should have asked me.”

“I should’ve.”

Tim crossed his arms over his chest and leaned into his words, “There’s another option here.”

“Which is …?”

“We could fuck in the room and then paint it.”

Jack laughed. “As tempting as this is, we’ve got to get this room finished!”

Tim walked over to him. “On my side? It’s not a big fight. It’s a lot of little fights. And I don’t think we need to have it.  I think there’s stuff we’ve got to get over.”

“I don’t need to have it. But we’ve got to do a talk.”



Tim kissed him. “Paint then fuck?”

Jack laughed.

Tim bent down and picked up the brush. “Then let’s paint this fucking room!”

Jack laughed as he saturated the roller, drained the excess paint, and turned the corner and resumed his rolls.


(Photo courtesy of



“I don’t know,” he paused and licked his lips. His eyes darted around her living room and settled on her family pictures spinning in a digital frame. “I’m sorry. I can’t remember what I was gonna say.”

She shifted herself in the stiff-backed chair. “It’s okay,” she soothed, “take your time.”

He covered his forehead with his hand. “It’s the goddamned medicine. It causes short term memory loss.” Sweat began to bead under his palm so he dropped his hand onto the arm of the chair. He quickly lifted it off the fabric and wiped his hands on his trousers. “And sweat. It’s like I’m a pig.”

“I’m sorry you’re so sick. Tell me what to do.”

“Nothing you can do.” He tried to bathe the roof of his mouth with his tongue. The medicine caused dry mouth too. “Oh I just remembered. I don’t know why you didn’t come backstage. Or at least stay until I came out. I wanted to know what you thought of it.”

“I was overwhelmed.” She crossed her feet and tucked them under the chair.

“Did you at least th…” his voice cracked, “ink it was good?” He swallowed. “Jesus Christ, I sound like I’m going through puberty.”

“Honey, I didn’t hear the play. I only saw it.”

He squinted his eyes and wiped the sweat from his forehead. “What? I don’t understand.”

“I only saw how sick you were.”

“I can’t believe how sick I was. But I finished.” He began to cry. “I finished.”

“You did.”

“Was it obvious?”

She stood and walked and knelt beside the chair. “Only to me.”

“I don’t think I can do this. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

She took his hand inside hers and pulled him into her embrace. “You’re going to finish.”


(Photo Edvard Munch)

In A Dither

In bed.


The glimmer from my iPad clouds my periphery. Like cigarette smoke did. I push the icons with fingers that tremble and twitch. Spinning a chronicle to people I don’t know.


Bed spins. Jitters. Sweat solid as syrup. A heart heated.  Fairy feet tapping a trail inside my chest.  Runs. Ventricular tachycardia.  The tremors make copy and paste a tricky task.

Jerks & Jitters.

Every day. Every night. 365 cycles.

Caused by Metoprolol? I don’t know. Doesn’t matter. It’s been replaced. Maybe the Amiodarone? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. It’s been swapped. A new substitute: Sotalol.

And still I whirl. And still I bolk. And still I heave the emptied.

Every day. Every night. 365 cycles.

Eyes opened. Eyes closed. Twirls. Jitters. Quivers. Quakes. Tangible creepings. Felt fear.

Heartbeats in my ears, in my hands, in my blinks, in my testicles.

Jerks & Jitters.

For years I yearned for the act to be completed by quakes and quivers.  It was the mission of my bed.

Jerks & Jitters.

Every day. Every night. 365 cycles.

Tomorrow EKG at 930.

Tomorrow 10:40 the scrapes and scratches and punctures and pricks from the ablation must be poked and prodded and approved.

Too many jitters & jerks to rest.


Every day. Every night. 365 cycles.


(Photo courtesy of