Monthly Archives: August 2008

“Brilliant Emptiness”–from Difficult People

Brilliant Emptiness



          Man, he really suffered, twisting there in suspension all that summer. My god, he wondered, where are they? Where are my rescuers? As the muggy suffocating damp dropped false pearl by pearl into the bucket of fatherless nonbeing…as emptiness opened up its maw…maelstrom to consume him, the money, food, booze, paper and ink running dry…on the horizon across the bay, that pale green blue meniscus, curved like the arc of a hopeless pilgrim’s trajectory. Oh gods, goddesses, faithful messenger, spirit sprites, fulfill my destiny with the hope of completion…of rescue, of reunion…Will not the funnel and smoke smudge…first noticed by an old salt perched on parapet…oh gods help me to meet the vessel at the dock and remember to offer sacrifices on their altars…oh gods, goddesses…spirits without form…oh teach me to love my fate…this rock white blazing coast on a deep dark sea…this floodgate to a world long lost…here the purgatory of non-being obscurity a blessing far greater than the haunted peregrinations of a court power…will I one day pray for the clear horizon the blessed sleep of the unknown, of the forgotten…here in love with brilliant emptiness.



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“The Happy Silence”–from Difficult People

The Happy Silence



          The happy silence.

          Ricky? Are you there?

          No answer. Like walking in the dark. Skin nervous. Flash of lightning. Brightening pain. Pain.

          The lies made the pain.

          After he was cruel, then it was her turn.

          Don’t hold back. I’ve been a very bad boy.

          Yes. Yes you have.

          The strap came down across the bare flesh of truth. The truth burns. Even more hidden. Smoldering. Sudden renewal, ignition. Bright enough to read by—

          Don’t stop, he must’ve begged, many times.

          She was obliging. His lies were a cruelty. The whole family lined up for the floggings. Lead act—everything else, dinner errands, domestic rituals mere warm up acts.

          Bring on the Bad Boy—father, son and quaking spirit.

          This malformed, secretive fascist.

          This loud-mouthed grosso.

          Hatchet, pistol, whip toting slave driver—

          Strip that shirt off his back, Mama. Daddy needs his Friday night dose of medicine. Purgative of sin, of evil, of corruption.

          The blood flecked floor.

          The stench of sweat and fecal fear.

          Mama’s got some work to do. Stand back now!



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“Cabana Boy”–flash fiction, Difficult People

Cabana Boy



          My God she was beautiful. I never thought about being a love slave. But there I was living as her cabana boy. Talent? Oh, she could act. She could dance and sing, she could swing on a trapeze and somersault. She could cook too and sew; she designed many of her own costumes for her films. Ravishing beauty, sparkling eyes, goddess….all that and more. And believe it or not, trapped by her enchanting ways, I never wanted to escape. Well, I mean, I would sit out by the pool in the garden lushness…birds, such beautiful birds, hummingbirds, butterflies, beautiful iridescent lizards…nature surrounded her white stucco Spanish casa…and there I’d be dreaming by the pool, when she was away, sad, lonely, praying for her return. Oh I dreamed of escape now and then, but I was very young and had not been infected with ambition…life seemed endless, and here in her gardens, sleeping in my clean neat cabana apartment, my food and lodging free, access to her cars to run errands, what thought had I of tomorrow, of the arrow of mortal time, oh no, suspended in her affection, nestled in her arms on gentle evenings, her kisses burning into my young soul…Oh, I was no prisoner of Love, no indeed, I was a loyal servant to the love goddess of the silver screen. Most people don’t remember her now, the world has turned into too many tomorrows, so many destinies, and where she once lived is now an office park under a glaring sun and I am a withered cabana boy on a public bench clinging to my memories.



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“Jewel of the Rockies”–from Difficult People

Jewel of the Rockies



          Best remember, you’ve got a long ride ahead of you. The snow may catch you in the mountains. The boys here at Summer’s Peak…they got the idea last week of a pool, a betting pool, on whether the settlers up at Sunrise Valley made it through that avalanche ol’ Beggar Tompkins run across. Most of the bets are down for no survivors. Ain’t nobody gone up there for fear of the same. I been hitching pretty regular with Jewel L. She’s been a comfort over a long, mean winter. Many a night we’re a paired set under the goose down. She’d make a good wife if we ever get outta the prospecting towns and reached civilization again. Way I look at it, she’s such a pleasure to men’s eyes with that bounteous figure, my god, I’d spend the rest of my born days trying to fight off horny cowboys and roughnecks. She’s got that wild streak in her, tough as a tigress when needs be…and sure can be moody and touchy touchy. Believe me, this hard work up here is wearing me down. It’s mean and it takes down people…sickness, murder…Why more suicides that you can imagine…the great wealth dream exploding like the pistol ‘gainst their heads. Lad, I almost fled to religion this winter…down for three weeks flat o’my back, fevers, shakes, but you know. Who was there for me?

          My Jewel of the Rockies, yes sir!

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Pimp Daddy of Monticello–Difficult People

Pimp Daddy of Monticello



          New England winter weather aside, the rhythmic syncopation of the train wheels, awakens my pen and issue forth progeny of jagged thoughts. Now, about those Founding Fathers. We’ve all heard Father George never met a comely Christian woman or church pew he could refuse.

          Let’s not get too prudish. There’s a dark earthy side to us all. Beware those who deny their unspoken pacts with Lucifer. Now let us praise Tom Jefferson, pimp daddy supreme of bondage and sado-masochism (BDSM).

          Take a closer look at the dark side of Monticello, the slave plantation, and the founding father who couldn’t let his dark side “go”…pimp daddy, six foot four, red-haired, square jawed, Tom J. This Goethe of the New World, universal genius, and master of all his entire, un-equaled mind might meet. No wonder the little Calvinist scholar John Adams, second president, never warmed to the boundary merging habits of his successor, Thomas Jefferson. Enemies and friends to their final day, July 4, 1826. Adams never knew he outlived Jefferson by several hours, the faint advantage of a life lived in monogamous veracity. John and Abigail, a world complete.

          In truth, Tom however savored the dark flesh of his little kept people. And long after other slaves’ owners gave up the practice, despite the contradictions in his own thinking (all men are created equal…but be sure you pursue your pleasures), he learned to live with the split mind of public virtue and private pleasure. Glorify law, live the life of the needy flesh.

          In Monticello, check out the funky spiral staircases inside the mansion, the dark cellar rooms stashed with his pleasures, the alcoves, dumb waiters, and ingenious tucked away beds hidden behind sashes. Despite the great blast of daylight of 18th century enlightenment, see a simultaneous world of darkness. The hidden. The tortured. Perhaps not the cruelty drawing to death of the most vicious of slave owners. But still on familiar terms of bondage and sadism and masochism. Master and slave. Furtive hurried words in stairwells, little kisses, tender brushes of fingers to breast, face and thigh. Architecture and sado masochism. Note the little slave rooms on The Lawn at his pet project, his Academical Village in Charlottesville. Students as slaves to teaching masters. Herein lies an explosive master’s thesis.

          Dare I let my imagination in the nether worlds run free on this universal genius founding father, this ultimate man of deadly contradiction…?

          “Sally…” he whispered in the twilight purple shadows, “come to me…tonight!”

          “Yes, mastuh,” Sally quickly agrees. “In your bedroom?”

          The great man with his great widower sorrows nodded, the melancholy of genius, the loneliness of the great pretense of this “little mountain” castle. This Faust of the Grand Frontier…sweated out his urge to procreate and fill the land with voracious pioneers. Tell me he didn’t sell a few fleshy acres of his aching soul.



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East of Our Garden–flash fiction, Difficult People

East of Our Garden



          What a very great shame, Purvis. The dear cat hasn’t been seen since. I’m surprised any of our neighbors even bother with us. Wretched thing to do. When you’re out of prison again it is my intention, an effort of unwavering will, to lead you across the lawn to the gazebo overlooking the marsh. There we shall sit in silence for a time, preferably at dusk, preferably in a cool, dry season without the voracious bloodthirsty appetites of female mother mosquitoes, who desperately need to feed their babies…and there in that gazebo, Purvis, I intend to tell you why you must go—forever. Yes, of course, it will be a horrible shock. You’ve grown comfortable with your father and I taking you back. We may argue, you may wish me bodily harm. But know this, the police in the palmettos will come to my aid in an instant. You must leave, Purvis, forever. You are the cruel precipitation of god knows how many generations of planters bred on blood and guilt. But guilt no more. You are evil, inherently vicious, and you lie to torture. All that flimsy prison therapy, all those points for your false good behavior (and early release—wretched concept), all your penitent letters, those evocations of sentiments from the nursery, the tender, vulnerable lapses of childhood, and the heart-rending New Testament cajoling and whining, all the time your insincerity shining through like a bad penny, be forewarned, you will like Cain, killer of Abel, be banished east of our garden, across these marshes forever.



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“To the Shore”–flash fiction, Difficult People

To the Shore



          Buttons. Bells. Pencils. Coins. Matchsticks. Bumptious curmudgeons. Foul weather fiends. Better butter let’s your hair grow long. My god, it’s Tim…and Sally. And their pooch Pal. Down the estuary road, past the lighthouse and the crab carcass we’ll show them later. After dinner. The muttering has begun. Grumpy today. A single cloud makes a compact statement. Harmony is obvious. You can do it, the cloud’s publicist says. There’s plenty of space available in the engine room. By the way, how long ago did you make reservations? We…I stepped on a sharp stone and said, Hello! Good morning, island breakfast…bread & butter, coffee and spring water. Has anyone any idea just how expensive this exercise is? God rest my merry soul, I spy a pirate or two. Plying foreign waters…skull n’ crossbones. Best to bow, wave heartily. Keep your voice low. Don’t prove the point. Order not appreciated. These are the little nuances not worthy of mention…not now! Keep your bait bucket handy. Somersaults on the lawn at dusk. I’m quite sure we’ve met in kinder circumstances. The grip of the wheel. Bye bye birdie…pterodactyls too. He wasn’t the kindest of diner guests. He seems to have suffered mightily. Out of sight, out of pain. Don’t worry about me. I’ve got a foolproof plan. Everyone can see that. Nobody differs with the King. Authority was frankly sad, passé. Has anyone seen my flip-flops? I’m to the shore, alone again at last.



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