Category Archives: Social Comm

Have you heard of shutting your face?

I went to the local public library as an experiment in trying to get some peace and quiet so I could get some writing done. It failed miserably.

Instead, what I found was a den of inconsideration for the needs of others. I guess that’s no surprise these days. As the running around and wails of children rose higher and higher, I quickly began to question if this was a library or a fucking daycare.

Maybe I’m just a bitter post-middle-aged man who doesn’t care for the free-spirited and clamorous cries of high-octane toddlers in a quiet space intended for reading, writing, and study.

Do I have a stick up my ass? Is it seriously too much to expect a library to be void of noisy and obnoxious distractions?

My god! If your kids want to run around and scream, take them to the park – or a hockey game! Or at least temper their outbursts with some calming discipline or a Flintstones’ chewable valium.

But it’s not just the amped up children causing distractions – full-blown adults are to blame, too. I’m talking about the ones who think the library is the perfect place to carry on a cell phone conversation loud enough for everyone to be a part of. Really? I don’t need to hear about your cousin’s latest bout with explosive diarrhea.

Then there’s the folks who find it perfectly reasonable to yell to each across the entire room.

“Did you find that book yet!”


“Then quit wasting time and come up over here and asks the person at the desk!”


It got to the point I wanted to scream myself. But instead, I shut down my work, packed up my laptop and walked out. I was left defeated and uninspired and unable to accomplish anything I set out to do. Frustration. It seems to haunt me everywhere I go.

Part of the problem is, I’m easily distracted. It’s difficult for me to focus sometimes and so I’m much better off in a quiet environment. I’m nothing like my wife. She could read a book at a death metal concert and comprehend it all with the clarity of an unmuddied lake.

But this isn’t the only incident of unwanted clamor when the situation dictates some level of quiet and respect that I have recently experienced. Just the other day, my wife, myself, and my father-in-law attended my stepson’s senior awards ceremony at his high school.

We were all disappointed to see a lack of attention and respect when speakers were at the podium presenting awards. Granted, some of the lists of award winners were long and tedious and maybe some parts of the program could have been better executed, but that still doesn’t excuse some of the behavior we sadly witnessed.

Many people, students mostly, were talking among themselves as if they were in the lunchroom swapping unwanted sandwiches and stories of weekend sexual conquests. There were several points in the program where we couldn’t even hear the presenter speaking – and they were using a microphone. Many of the students lacked any sort of interest in the accomplishments of their peers and made it quite apparent by meditative and deadpan stares into cell phone screens.

The sad part is, there was only one teacher/administrator who even vaguely addressed the problem – and even then, used only a brief, disgruntled glance toward the crowd. Someone should have stepped up to the microphone and politely demanded attention to the matters at hand. No one really did, and when it came time for my stepson’s awards presentation, we struggled to hear what was even being said.

I felt bad for my wife. This was a big deal for her. It was a proud moment for her that she wanted to treasure. But it was left somewhat tainted by the inconsideration of others. Even so, she was glad to be there and requested a transcript of what was said during her son’s presentation. The written word will always have value.

And I have to wonder if it is all a generational thing – this lack of respect and attention and any consequences for it. My father-in-law let it be known that such behavior back in his days would have never been tolerated – it would have been stopped – abruptly, and with vigor.

What can I say? Maybe I am just becoming a grumpy old man and my tolerance level just isn’t what it used to be. I’m not that old, though. I’m younger than Johnny Depp.

Now you kids get off my lawn!

Have you heard of 15 items or less?

I was wide awake and dreaming in the express lane at the food store.

“That’s 15 items or less mam, can’t you read the sign? It’s all lit up there in green and white in the grocery line.”

She had more like 15 times 15 items in her cart and damn coupons on top of that. I could tell the wild-haired hippie clerkie was getting all screwed up in his mojo by her lack of consideration for the rules and etiquette of grocery shopping.

I could tell the guy ahead of me, the guy with the black plastic basket with just a few things in it, wanted to punch her in the face. I could tell he was a bit peeved with all his heavy sighing and mumblings under his breath which soon became audible to the world over the loudspeaker:

“You dumb bitch!”

So, as I said, I was wide awake and dreaming in the express lane at the food store. My life clock was on hold. I looked around and all I saw was candy bars and flustered clerkies running here and there because they looked all short-handed and stuff and I guess that was because of the wildfire and everyone on fire and dying.

So, the world stopped inside of me whilst it spun like a swarm of horny hornets all around me. I thought about the universe while I looked at chocolate bars. We know the universe is there – but where exactly is THERE. Where IS the universe? Chocolate bars with almonds. Coupon-clipping clods taking up time and space. Why am I so worn out and disheveled?

The beep, beep, beep of the checkout lanes buzzed around in my head. I was there, but I was not there. I was thinking outside of the box, I always think outside of the box, way outside of the box, because I do not like the box. The box is full of narrow-minded doinks easily swayed by false flags and idiot box propaganda. 642 channels and there is nothing on.

I waited and waited, grasping my shopping cart like a baby carriage, gently rocking the carton of organic milk and bag of donuts into a restful sleep.

I noticed how her inflated flesh was packed tightly into her polyester, frantic pants. She seemed annoyed that the clerkie wasn’t doing his job properly when he slammed her hunk of watermelon down on the counter.

“Please be careful with my watermelon! I want to speak to your supervisor!”

Are you fucking kidding me?

If it wasn’t against the law, I would have pulled up a couch and coffee table and sparked one up right then and there. But then everything is against the law, isn’t it? Slamming someone’s watermelon is a violation of someone’s rights, right? Everything is a violation except for the ones who create the code of violations and place them in our heads and warn us that they are violations.

It’s 2:06 a.m. and I cannot sleep. It’s too hot to sleep. I have words tumbling around in my head that make no sense and I need to just tap them out for right now.

529 words, no make that 531 words, no … 538 words … of blah.

I am looking at the spine of a book on one of my bookshelves: The Day After Roswell.

 Turn to page 137 and the seventh sentence will be your future:

“He told the New York Times in 1955 that the nations of the world will have to unite, for the next war will be an interplanetary war.”

Just what I need, interplanetary war.


Photo by Longxiang Qian on

At 32 you’re not 24 anymore, and at 43 you’re not 31 anymore, so said the Jack-O-Lantern out on the porch, waiting to be bashed and smashed onto Cockleberry Street … and it was the invisible night all breathing out there with a chill, I can feel it through my open window even in November to let the air and the smokestack vibes in, vodka mathematics scrawled out on the wall with some leftover charcoal from art school days. I was going to be an artist, an artist with practical purpose, so they said. I was going to be an architect, I was going to be the next Mike Brady or Art Vandelay, but I took the way of the pen and heart and withdrew from school and moved to Denver to be hip and fresh and I got all beat up and raw in Mile High Land and needed something more and so sailed off to Los Angeles … and there it was, the City of Angels, where I finally felt alive and fine and free and fucked up for nothing but savage and good purposes … and time tilts forward.

I was in Moon River, that beacon place by the water, looking down at the carpet and watching the aliens taking long, romantic walks through the shag of it all. I was all numb form the dumb of it all, out there, on the other side of Peaceful Valley where they all stare off into dead blue space or stare off into their HD telephone screens, slow-motion rolling billiards balls doing tiny, tiny knock knocks inside their brains … baa, baa, baa the sheep strum the perilous strings of a world turned upside down while praying to the idiot gods. 

I watched the road for danger but there was nothing but yellow peace up there in that atmosphere where I tried to dial her love in on the universal radio … static heartbreak, scars of distance, the lake waves lapping at the shore … the watery, rhythmic shewoo, shewoo, shewoo of chilled water against sand, rock, time, darkness, bright lights … Manitowoc, Whitefish Bay, the one way, way up and the chant, rant of the green and trees and ivy and smell and mysteries that swell all along my bones and soul … lonely carpenter ant man outside wood lodge sitting in a plastic chair smoking Marlboro killers and nodding “hello” to the night guests, that swirling mouth of the desk clerk coming out in the chill just to rub my way and talk about addiction and talk about dreams and talk about life everlasting. But at the way we wage war, love doll, there will be nothing left, for we gladly fund killing and the raping of life without a tick, but ignore the wide, starving eyes of the battered and the innocent … and we sit here, and try to call ourselves, humanity??? 

Pink Shirts in Cuckoo Land

it’s laughing about a pink shirt that matters

Pink shirt hanging on a rack in hot land Nashland 

the mannequins greet with greater smiles than the real ones 

corporate propaganda BS blurbs hanging, dangling all around the world 

to coax the penniless to remain penniless, enslaved, inflamed, amazed by the threads sewn by the dead in third-world jungle towns of lumber and dirty sandwiches 

tussled jungle juice at the straw hut bar 

afro shot glasses watching scrambled CNN

machine gun toddies burning flags, slathering the bed bugs with flames

the world all-around a crooked mess

the hate, the slain, the empty and ignorant souls making godless claims of god

it’s all the same

from end to end of Amorika

this global force for greed

brown sewing fingertips

pin-pricked like diabetic blood

so the PR smiles drip on

the glossy lives of commercialized bliss drip on

my wife’s beautiful Sonic Ocean Water eyes drip on

and she is my sanctuary

love is thy sanctuary

family is thy sanctuary

for the world has offered so little

but yet into the world she fell like an angel

all the rest is glittery ash

it’s this bond of love that matters

it’s laughing about a pink shirt that matters

it’s collapsing all the doubts and false dreams like a circus tent, kick out the poles, let the world blow

to give of myself is all I have left

to wrap myself in and all around her 

to furiously love like fire

despite the chill of the Earth