Tag Archives: Creative Writing

The Cloud City of Nashville

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And there I was, raspy as a ghost lost in time, so drunk on the night that I tried to put a pair of glasses on over another pair I was already wearing.

Earlier I had been in the bookstore in the cloud city of Nashville. I saw the metal and glass buildings—squares, oblongs, towers, spires, spheres, all golden blue and silver and the clouds hung heavy in the heat because it was in the June of the year and all was warm and sticky in the world and there was this girl in a pink shirt and sea-blue capris and she was wandering around with her glasses and her cocked head reading titles on the shelves at an angle and she had a fantastic ass and I tried to bump into her but she was rebuff in her intellectually stimulating breasts.

I was too coy and couldn’t do it as she melted into the aisles of made up things by made up beings and all around was the roar of human traffic as they found joy in the pickings there, like air it was for me, to breathe, in that sea of paper and ink and pictures and descriptions and all those heads like I say, cocked at an angle to decipher the spines, and there that girl again making eyes and saying she wanted to be my wife for one thousand years and then some and I couldn’t help but splay forth my guts and heart and say YES! YES! I’ll do it because I love you madly like no other love there ever was and she took my hand, and she took my books, and she took me to the front, and she paid for everything I wanted and then boom we were off through the glass doors and out into the steam heat of the cloud city of Nashville.

And we went forth along the wide lanes and the wild rush of the engines and the people sailing like maniacs because everyone, dear everyone, was rushing mad like wild old time western folk trying to get somewhere that wasn’t even all that important in the end and boom we go, and boom we row, this maiden of love and cornflower eyes, the perfect lips, the perfect kiss, and we went back to the town on the outer edge of this cloud city of Nashville and it was still hot and the engines still roared and we went into a store , a small grocery store and I wandered around like a weirdo looking at meat like someone may look at art and I picked up a spiraled ham and I threw it across the store and it hit the floor somewhere and I just hear someone hollerin’ about loitering and all the world comes rushing in to accuse my abuse and say I am nothing but King Kong wrong and I slam that golden gong like a monk in search of just some god damn peace and quiet! Paradise…

I was just released from the cell of Sith meditation in the Red City called Hell Street, the place of magic cauldrons and bellows and mattress motion from the fornication fry house, spy house, back to it we go…

Earlier still we had been driving on the mad freeways, life and death all churning and burning in a soup of rapidity, insanity, the leopard engines roared like mad, and all signs pointed to my nerves, my hyped-up hypomania, a clockwork chicken fried steak plops onto a plate, and this is life, life like the movies, life like liquid, all the goings on behind steamy windows… The window cleaners dangled above the cloud city of Nashville, their canopy tilted, their boards wilted, and then it was just restless space and reflections, blue glass reflections of life in all directions.

Ravioli River

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He had a wandering image that followed him, something about ravioli in a lonely café somewhere on the other side of the world. Light rays harken down thin alleyways, the sun an orange ball in the sky, the clouds clotted with heat, melting like a sorcerer’s tongue on acid, leopards and leprechauns leaping over the moon, shirt tails caught on the quarter point that hangs down, a broken piece of cheese, a nightlight. “Right, right,” Alex says.

Fright night. The nerves are ticking like wax paper snuffing terminal electrical anxiety lamps. The rain patters against the window, a crazy man in gloves comes for a visit at midnight. The rotten guts of a warlock wreak havoc on a Long Beach bungalow. Crystal quartz hearts conduct energy like a psychotic maestro.

Daybreak den wake. He slithers out of a chair like a pale snake, a voided king at the precipice of gigantic sin. He puts two quarters into the coffee machine and waits for the dark brown dribble to come out of the hole and flow into a red cup. He preps his mind for complicated mathematics, genital schematics. He sits down at his worktable, clicks on a lamp, readies his chisel and hammer, and goes to work carving a notorious-bound puppet.

Once fully formed, the man fills the puppet with fear and anxiety. He stuffs it in like seasoned ricotta into a pasta shell until overflowing. He zippers up his flesh, sets him on the ground and winds him up like a pure machine. He watches as the young and inexperienced toy soldier marches off to war, the battle with life, the battle with God. Explosions abound in his wake.

The man breathes a sigh relief as his new creation disappears beyond the horizon. Now, it is time to rest, to eat some ravioli on the banks of Ravioli River, to drink some wine, to dream of more fiendish things about love and life, to look out upon the street and simply watch the ripple of time pass by.

Baguette Ragdolls

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Broken wanderers. Space mice. Toe signals. Crap melons. Divided thesaurus. Purple dinosaurs. Egg cabbage. Lettuce wraps. Feet sores. Mice house. Calm attack. Divine moons… Nine moons.

There was:

The Conch moon.

The Devil moon.

The Gun Barrel moon.

The Black Button moon.

The Radial Eye moon.

The Turkish Comet moon.

The Phone Dial moon.

The Blood Smear moon.

The Red Chili moon.

They were all displayed on a window tapestry in a room of all red and gold. It was the place of tomorrow. It was the place of two weeks ago. It was the place of leftover laundry and moans. The world was becoming different out there. He stared at the door many times a day. He would crack it open for just a moment and peer out. The traffic was too much. The noise was too much. He wanted to create a real living being. He wanted a character that would move somebody, a character more than just a slice of cardboard.

He returned to the typewriter table, sat down, and stared at a piece of bleached paper. It was brighter than the sun. An ape came out of the fibers. He was white, too, with red eyes. His name was Grant, and he was reminiscent of Grant Goodeve. Think about it. Eight of them, but nine moons.

He sought a calm device. He sought a miracle drug and blue soda fizz in the window of the dime-store soda pop shop with its white counters with gold flecks and the silver stumps for the stools topped with red vinyl discs that spun like the galaxies.

Everybody AI now, creating with AI, the cheap gauntlet texts unfurled like red ribbons. Gibbons. Another sort of primate. Gate keeper. Toast peeler. Potato roaster. Midnight coaster. Soul tingler. Tiger sauce. Scrambled eggs for brain trains.

Baguette ragdolls pirouette like cold river salmon. Bear claw swipes, a rabid bite. The hurricane of the heart stretches out like pink taffy in the summer sun. The odd roofer carries a hammer and a satchel. He’d rather be walking with a scythe for all the stupidity the world reflects.

Breathe through the pineal. Hope stirs like a West Texas sandstorm, shitstorm, trash cyclone. Fast-food bags skitter across the landscape because people just don’t give a damn. AI hoot owl will clean it all up. Trash the planet, trash the kids. Trash the hearts and souls of men. Sick to the stomach via the most senseless things, those that should be senseless.

Hobbled voodoo at the crack of dawn. There it is. Another day.



Harpooned harlequins cascade like dominoes in the limelight trick of light down on the piccadilly row of southern Santa Monaco and the bow rips and the cow tips and the fringes of a mad mind unfold like warped bric-a-brac on a magic store shelf in Sicily comatose gold rope lassoed by Cowboy Bill and his mad life in the little trailer on the back lot where he does blow off a red wine clown’s nose down in Soho bungalow with the beat dime trap on the boulevard walk, full of chalk, yellow bordered hearts melting under a midday red hot sun eye …


Is there another day of fire in the head and a late night walk to cold bed, fissures in the heartbeat, sizzles in the car seat, dreams unfurled like muskrat love, calliope shit storms down in the Hollyblue burial bomb out shelters, the bookworm’s house in the woods, a tree within a tree, stairways and passageways, piano notes fall like rain and mediaeval Japanese ambient ethereal music plays among the boughs that astrophysical babies of earthquake origin break.

Tick-tock midnight train, blue coconut warbles in the brain, unchecked fantasies of the lame, Thanksgiving stuffing stuffed with ordinary grievances. Yellow pencils, plastic lunchboxes, glossy red jackets, blonde, flippant hair flipping in the wind. King Kong plays with himself at the Brooklyn Zoo. Housewives, hosewives, stovepipes, faint at the wonder of it all. Blouses stained, washed in rain…

A sonic boom in meticulous soul.

Go now and greet Greedo. The credo. Greed is good. Wonder and splendor is bad like sticky rice. Ideas ache. Fleas bake. Cookies in a plastic oven. Love of a lifetime sells for a dime out there beneath the glow of another swamp gas local event. Nine chives and a quick goodbye. Words lack meaning now, like a time bomb ripping through space.

There’s an icy house upside down in winter terrain. The ice is so cold it’s green. The windows are frosted over like foam insulation, the people inside like tumbling dice in their died stance. Too late to save anyone now. What is this freezing ache inside? The fire in my brain at the mercy of a bellows, oxygen in, oxygen out, a fingernail scratch on the cortex in Cortez, Colorado, the western sky and a homemade pie, pine nuts in Paris, coffee huts in Belarus, breast plates for Zeus, juice, something’s loose, in my head.

Stormtroopers marching, rebels barking, a bottle of Jawa juice smashed against the hard edge of the third moon, a crescendo tone, a christening boom, the ship in my head pulls away from the shore and simply drifts on the waters of space.  

The Morbid Mind Correctional Facility (3)

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Magda Balls looked at her two new guests, her back was up against the stove in the kitchen, a cigarette smoke stream trailing from her shapely hand. Rosalina and the Huffing Man were sitting at the table in her lakeside bungalow eating tomato soup and oyster crackers. The man had an iced tea to drink, the girl a milk.

“Did you know MILK in Dutch and Norwegian is MELK,” Magda said, looking at the girl.

Rosalina crinkled her nose. “Huh?”

“MILK is pronounced MELK in both Dutch and Norwegian… I’m studying new languages.”

The Huffing Man wiped his mouth with a paper napkin and looked at her. “I spent some time in Amsterdam, but I never drank any MELK there.” He just as quickly went back to eating his soup and crackers.

“They have naughty peep shows in Amsterdam,” Rosalina said. “And marijuana is legal. Did you get high and look at boobies?”

“No,” the Huffing Man insisted. “I was there on business… Back when my life wasn’t a shattered mess, or was it?” His thoughts trailed off into the air and he watched them bounce away.

Magda laughed at the girl. “How do you know about all that?”

“I know a lot of things. I read, surf the net, watch movies, things like that. I’m very worldly for 10.2 years old.”

“I can tell,” Magda laughed. “If you two don’t mind, I’m going to hit the shower. Make yourselves at home.”

The Huffing Man looked up at Magda and gave her a shy smile. His face, with its sandpaper sheen, was tired and haggard. “Thank you… For the food and for helping me out.”

Magda smiled back. “You’re welcome.”

Rosalina plopped herself down in a comfy couch in the front room and played with a remote control. The Huffing Man joined her. She looked over at him sadly. “Can I ask you something?”

“I suppose you can.”

“Why do you huff gas?”

He sighed. “Well, it’s a long, sad story I’m afraid. I don’t want to trouble a young girl with such adult things.”

“It’s okay. I can handle it. I’m very mature.”

“Well, let’s just say I have a lot of personal problems.”

“Like what?”

The Huffing Man laughed at her innocent inquisitiveness, then sighed. “I feel incredibly invisible to a lot of people in my life. I suppose I don’t feel very loved.”

Rosalina looked down. “I know what you mean. I don’t feel very loved either. That’s why I ran away from my foster parents.”

“Foster parents?”

“My Pee and Em were killed in a hot air balloon crash in Arizona.”

“Pee and Em?”

“My dad and mum. I got the words from A Clockwork Orange. It’s my favorite movie. It’s part of this weird language they speak that’s sort of like Russian slang mixed with Old English. I bet we can find it on Netflix or HBO if you want to watch it with me.”

“I’ve never heard of it.”

“What! Where have you been, living under a rock?”

“Yes, I suppose I have been.”

It’s a brutal and satirical look at the crisis of crime and subsequent punishment in a withering dystopian society… The story revolves around the strange life of a young hoodlum and his gang of droogs. But it goes far beyond that. It’s a mind fuck, really,” Rosalina said. “A total mind fuck.”

“Oh, really? I’m intrigued.”

Rosalina excitedly sat up on the edge of the couch and scanned through channels until she found the movie. “Here it is!”

The Huffing Man gestured with his head toward the sound of the running shower. “Do you think she’ll be okay with it?”

“I don’t think she’ll care. She’s pretty cool.”

“All right then. Fire it up.”

“Doobie doo,” Rosalina said with a giggle.


“Just watch.”

The chilling close-up image of Alex DeLarge in the Korova Milk Bar suddenly appeared on the screen. The gonging synthesized opening soundtrack filled the room.

There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie and Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milk Bar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening. The Korova Milk Bar sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet, or synthemesc, or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence…

Rosalina looked over at the Huffing Man and his eyes were wide with wonder. “Freaky, huh?” she whispered.

“I’d say,” he whispered back.

Magda Balls came into the room with wet hair and fresh summer clothes that clung to her tall, svelte body. “What are you two watching?”

“A Clockwork Orange,” Rosalina told her, and then she pressed pause on the remote. “But we can’t have disturbances. We need to fully concentrate on the film in order to absorb all its subtle nuances.”

Magda laughed. “Okay. I’ll just go out onto the deck and read then. That okay?”

“Sure,” Rosalina said with a shrug. “It’s your house.”

“That it is,” Magda said, and she smacked her lips, grabbed a book off the coffee table and slipped outside.

Rosalina resumed the film and the Huffing Man relaxed into the couch. He watched the movie as its bizarreness unfolded and even though the pictures on the screen were mesmerizing, he couldn’t help that his mind drifted away to his own inner turmoil. He tried to turn his head and look at the girl beside him, but his neck seemed inoperable, he seemed frozen, felt dead almost. He wondered if he had finally done enough damage with all that gas huffing.

The film was long and when it was over, the Huffing Man got up off the couch and stretched. He glanced out through the glass of the veranda door and saw that Magda had migrated to a short dune on the beach. He looked at Rosalina. “I think I’m going to go take a walk… In the other direction.”

“Okay,” she said, as she skimmed through channels in search of something new to watch.

“Would you like to join me? I mean, you can’t just watch the television all day. Maybe we can find something to eat.”

Rosalina pressed the power button on the remote and looked up at him. “You’re right. And I should come with you… To keep you on the straight and narrow. Because, I hope you weren’t planning on running off to huff some gas.”

“No. But it doesn’t feel good not to huff.”

“I’m sure it sucks, but you’ll feel better,” the girl said. “I’ll help you ride the rough waves out.”

“That’s awful kind of you,” he said with a genuine smile. “Shall we?” He reached out to grasp her hand at the door and she took it.



You, again.

The erratic sidewinder in plaid.

Going apeshit over a loaf of bread.

Have you ever heard of tranquility?

Oh, I see, you reach for it there, you look for it in your…earbuds?

Why do you stop and yawn and pause and breathe and think and question?

The world says go, mind skids, the world says know all you can… The mind knows fear, trepidation, hesitation, latency, blueprints burning in an Oxford fireplace. Plans going up in smoke like Colorado reefer in an apple bong.

The gong in the mountain. The birds gather, flutter at the entrance to the cave. There’s something deep down inside. Get it out. Tell it. Feel it. Peel it from the botchwork in your soul leather this night. Flowers in October. Snowmen in May. Rice soup in August. The clock runs backward, faster, faster, faster… Until you are born again. The priest moves a red velvet curtain aside and walks out of a highly polished mahogany box. He holds the baby aloft in his hands. “He has returned,” he says in three slow breaths.

He passes him to a man dressed like a smokestack. A cloud of thought is spewing from the very tip top of his head. “This,” he begins. “Is an exercise in recreation… And I will swallow all lives whole.”

He drops the baby into the top of the smokestack and there is a minor explosion. Confetti the color of candy suddenly bursts out. The baby has slid down to the furnace. He will work there for another 71 years. “Nobody ever says they want to be a furnace worker,” the man dressed as a smokestack says. “So, we make the decision for you.” He laughs out loud and the priest lumbers over and gives him a high-five—flesh against brick.

“Let’s go back to my place and drink some wine,” the priest says.

The man dressed as a smokestack laughs. “But I’m not a kid!”

A synthetic laugh track laughs mechanically along with him.

The camera zooms in on the priest’s long, scowling face. “Oh, come on!” he says. “We’re not all perverts… And besides, you just swallowed a baby.”

“I did no such thing,” the man dressed as a smokestack says. “I simply set him on his life path.”

“That’s no life,” the priest complains. “That’s hell on Earth.”

“Hell is Earth, you fool. Earth is Hell. How could you have not figured that out by now? Your God play, your religious charade is simply a tool, a coping mechanism. You are a victim of your own game.”

“If this is Hell, then where do we go after we die?” the priest wanted to know. “Hell 2?”

The man dressed as a smokestack laughed his bellowing laugh and his bricks shook. “We come back for another round. I mean, you just demonstrated that very same thing. Are you blind?”

“I am only blinded by the misguided nonsense that is you. Your lack of anything that resembles wisdom is nauseating. It was rebirth. The child found goodness and you suddenly plucked it away from him.”

“You handed him over! That’s what you do. You raise them among sheep and then throw them to the wolves. You have all these pictures of sheep, but why not be honest about it and have some pictures of wolves, snarling wolves with blood dripping from their fangs. Show your dumb bunnies, your people, reality for once.”

“This conversation is going nowhere. I must be off,” the priest said, and he turned and swiftly disappeared to another part of the sanctuary.

The chimes of Saturn clinked like metal jewels tumbling in an out-of-control spaceship. Alternative lemons hung heavy from a tree wet with morning California dew. The man once dressed as a smokestack but now just as an ordinary man, sat on a bench in his garden. The roar of traffic on the wide interstate rose from beyond the grove. A dome of pollution muddied the blue sky giving it a dull yellow tint. He took a deepening breath and her taste still lingered. He turned to look at the house, dark wood, a mass of glass windows, numerous rooms and levels, secret passageways, greenery, a waterfall, an outdoor kitchen, stone walkways, a myriad of verandas, his very own creation.

He knew she was still sprawled in the messy sheets, sleeping, dreaming, aching. He had snuck out early for the ceremony. He wondered if he should tell her about what he had done this time, the one about sending the newly reborn baby to work for the rest of his life in the depths of hell’s furnace. He decided not to, he didn’t want to upset her. She was so easily upset. He picked some lemons and went into the cool house and made a fresh pitcher of lemonade.

The zippity zodiac cigar syndrome ship floated among the stardust near Saturn and its wedding rings. The crew were blasting Bowie and eating Hostess cupcakes. Everyone felt weird because there was some sort of magnetic pull on them, some invisible entity had the ship sandwiched between fingers and palm, the hand of God, they wondered.

“Are we merely all sharing the same dream?” Captain Dogwood asked, but no one was listening. They had all moved closer to the monitor widescreen, space floating by them like a stream, the hand pulsing goblets of gold blood in the pious veins. The captain rose from his seat and watched with them. “Or have we reached our final destination? Is this the web of serenity we’ve been searching for?”

The lumbering priest with the long face who had so recently cast the fate of some newly reborn baby to a life of suffering in the furnace depths of a hell factory stepped through the doorway to the bridge of the SS Cuckoo Clock. “You called for me Captain Dogwood?”

The captain turned and looked at the tall, lean man in black. “Yes, father. We were hoping you could tell us if what’s happening to the ship has anything to do with God.”


“Take a look for yourself, padre. See that hand, out there. It’s got a hold of us and won’t let go. I’d like to know your thoughts.”

The priest stepped forward and studied what was on the monitor screen, it was indeed a hand, a hand still pulsing goblets of gold blood in its pious veins. “I can’t say if it is God, or not God, captain. I just don’t know what it is. But it does appear to have the ship in its grasp. Have you tried blasting your way out?”

Violence interrupts violets. A silver coin calls for Uhtred. Night calls. Sleep calls. Madness calls. Dreams call. Some have the fear of lying down for it may never come to sweet, peaceful fruition. The same ones fear the lying down of death. What will the black mask bring? What will be beyond the veil? What is on the other side of the passage? A bright place in which to finally sit and breathe… Or another rattle of decades in the mines of meaningless.


Brain Fumes

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I built a chair today in my workshop

I made it out of milk skin and aggression

God was my co-pilot but then the plane crashed

I wrestled with tangled earbuds

I woke up at 2 a.m. and ate English muffins with butter and honey

It’s hot outside but I’m cold

I like to play but I’m old

I want to be like everyone else but then again, I really can’t stand most of humanity. Humanity? Insanity in a skin wrap. Like a spring roll from a Chinese food joint. I need some Jade Wok and their orange chicken with a side of fried rice and an orange soda.

This is just an exercise in scrambled egg brains. I’m just tossing thoughts out there. Senseless, whimsical, ancient thoughts like from the time I sat atop the Sphinx and ate a bagel and watched the dip of the Egyptian sun. Then I turned to look at the great pyramidal power station. It’s so much more than a pile of rocks, Indiana Jones.

I wish I would have done so much more. I wanted to get a worthless English degree. I wanted to be a geologist. I wanted to be an architect. There was even a time I thought I wanted to be a priest. Whew! Dodged a bullet there.

I was once going to be an airman, a drag racer, a mountain climber, a boxer, a cartoonist, a photographer, a psychiatrist, a chef, a monk…

And now I’m this. A man who pecks at illuminated letters on a keyboard in concert with the thoughts in my maniac head.

Yes, I’m a sane maniac.

But at least I’m not maniacal about serving up the world’s best fried chicken.