naked pictures of ex-girlfriends

if i were trying to impress you i'd start with a strong, declarative sentence;

braking for bunnies
and pounding for birds
all on the same dirt road.
i knew SHE was really gone
when SHE came
by for "coffee" and wouldn't take the few things SHE'd left;
SHE wasn't wearing the antique silver bracelet
i'd bought
last summer
even though it'd match better with HER outfit than the one SHE had on did.

whiskey tastes best
and to the buyer.

one of the last attempts was
one of my best
but that didn't aid my intentions.
yes, i've learned from the rest
about what the road to hell is paved with.
chance chimed in
the thunder intrigued her
convinced her to stay a little longer
talking books and poems and high-lighted lines
drunkenly spewed by weary dead guys.
the hard-to-get was fun, i'd felt like i'd earned it
after years of wondering
and, honestly, it was better than i thought it'd be.
the tongue is the strongest
muscle in the human body
per capita
per se
though the heart does a hell of a job
of raising hell
years after the last words have been mouthed.
that being said, i gladly offered my services
and felt like a man again
three times
but i still had to sleep diagonally on those ruffled sheets
and woke with a sore jaw
a hangover
and one less mystery
and haven't really seen her since.
a confidant applauded
my resistance to revert to the Conqueror of the past
in hopes of watching more unfold
but maybe i should have
since there have been plenty of thunderstorms since
and no answered phone calls.
it was akin to hitting a scratch-off ticket and wishing
it was more than a mediocre five-hundred.

maybe it was the shadow my of shoulders
SHE was afraid of--
yet another failure for which to thank my father.

there've been other more costly endeavors
which shall not be spoken of
or now
though i'd exchange money
before blood
and Time
any day
or night
in back rooms of shady shelters from the nine-to-
where pre-gaming is now mandatory.

bumping into walls in the dark now
after turning off lights the roommate left on
and beer tastes better when it's bought for you
because it leaves too soon
so to speak
and it's best not to get attached
to the Ones you never had.

then there was another who fell
for the pensive brown eyes and generous tab
at the bar
and then on a friend's couch
and finally at home field.
the skill was offered
and the name was given back
during the consummation of another
nothing nothing nothing.
the next mournings superceded
and the boyfriend was remembered
and i became another regret
and the same thing i'd always hated--
a distraction from what's real
that lasts just long enough to ruin
the illusion of reality.
this one's called me a couple times since
but only intoxicated
and apologized the next day
for the mistakes inflicted upon her

plastic wine glasses make good house-warming gifts.
they're more forgiving when fools trip over them
in dim bedrooms
en route to the toilet.
we used to drink straight from the bottle
after the first glass
and SHE'd accuse me of sucking harder
right before HER more serious claims
brought about the brawls.
what a mean left hook, and a biter.

an old vacuum started phoning me again
and i her
late at night and early in the morning
and our inabilities to drive
brought about by our intoxication
prevented a lot of potentially detrimental encounters
but not all.
the first time she brought a bottle of red from her job
and we killed most of it together before "getting down to business,"
as she put it
and she left me the rest afterwards.
with her it's always been different, easy.
she's more of a giver than receiver
and i'm not one to argue
in person.
the second time she brought white
and was not as impressed with herself
for knowing the name of a variety
i'd never bothered to learn before.
she talked too much, bored me with stories about her job
as i tried not to doze off
and felt legitimately tired when she whiped an unintentional tear from my cheek.
she kept putting her foot in her big mouth
and she was not slick enough in cutting herself off
when she asked why there was a pair of pantyhose in the corner next to my desk--
she already knew SHE used to stay here most nights
so i skipped that verse and repeated the "i've been too busy to clean" chorus/lie
and had to get rid of a lot of things
though we both knew i wouldn't
just in case
i'm wrong.
i passed on the wine the second and last time.
she had two-and-a-half glasses
before disrobing and doing what she'd come for
what we came for
why we came
several times
she must have realized between the first and second times
that i'm washed up
and broken
by, amongst others,
the Owner of the Stockings,
and not worth a token of false gratitude
because she took the rest of the wine with her last time;
no matter, white reminds me of HER.
she opted for consistency
by not attempting a goodbye kiss at my front door
and i sighed in relief at not having had to lie
to a two-dollar scratch-off
not worth the paper it's printed on.
not that i'm a prize to her
or HER
or anyone
but at least i know that now
and knowing is ha-
lf the battle.

that night
like the rest to follow
i discovered a valuable trick.
i always made fun of HER
for liking that song about the poor bastard
who slept with the body pillow
and the irony doesn't hit me until i wake
with one between my knees and elbows
every mourning
and promise myself that...
(at times like this
keeping the rhythm
should come before
meaning that's best
to YOU.)


the brown recluse ain't just a spider.

there's a cat trying to sleep on my floor in spite of the murder by death playing on the stereo my last roommate gave me when he moved out, and i don't totally hate it; the cat, i mean. he belongs to my new roommate, another female, and his name is tito. he's much friendlier than my other roommate's cat, othello (though my friends and i affectionately refer to him as "ihaychu"), and i'm pretty sure i'm going to miss him when he leaves. this new girl is only here until the middle of august because she's working at the landlord's horse farm for the summer. she seems pretty cool so far and i'm looking forward to being forced to get to know someone new. it's a good habit to get into for a hermit like me who could easily be content with a book and a bed every day of the week. for now i'll enjoy their company and the fact that an over-enthusiastic feline greets me every morning in the kitchen with an affectionate head-rub on my shin as i storm towards the front door for my work commute every morning.

lots of animals lately actually. the rabbit towards the end of the road ran out into the street last night. he usually darts out, i slam on the brakes, he runs away from my car along the edge of the road towards a path carved into the weeds, shoots out of site. he's not one for turning around in the face of danger, he'd rather risk being killed if it means following that familiar trail. last week my foreman and i were riding in his truck after an afternoon sunshower and a turtle was crossing the road. if it had been me driving alone i would've pulled over and moved him to safety like the time we were coming back from camping and we saw one on the side of the road. we both agreed to stop and she ran out and rescued it. this recent turtle had no such luck; by the time my boss and i came back down that road the poor little bastard had been reduced to a pile of shattered shell and some pink matter. i felt ashamed for not speaking up for fear of being called a pussy. what do i care?, i already have tattoos of bugs bunny, a tiger lily, and a fucking snowflake. today's encounter with the wild kingdom was probably the most blatant. im riding to work this morning when a bird flies in front of my windshield and continues to fly in the same direction as me for a second before veering off into the wild blue yonder. i saw it for just long enough to see the pointed blue tips of its wings and tail, the distinguishing lines of a swallow. i never see those around here. the only place i really ever saw them was in tattoo form: her shoulder, my tricep. i turned up the radio's appropriate song, lit another cigarette. it made me think a little more than necessary for six-thirty in the morning. she's really gone. i'm really ok with that. or i will be. soon. not that i spend way too much time finding nonexistent meaning in trivial everyday events like animal sightings or anything.

the two guys i work with both really appreciated the father's day cards i mailed them. neither of them embarrassed me at work by bringing it up, they called me in the evening and spoke to me for half an hour about how much it meant that some smartass puerto rican apprentice kid would take the time to write three paragraphs about how much difference some stupid plumber can make in someone's life. i made sure each card was fittingly humorous according to whom it was for, and that the message was clear: i'm glad to have found a couple father figures in an unlikely place, being that my real dad's a psychotic douchebag who's basically disowned me and my stepfather's a lazy alcoholic. i wont get any more specific here, even though i typed the inscriptions up on my computer and have them saved. i don't believe in sharing words that were sealed and meant for once person, there's some kind of sacred trust that goes into licking the strip of dried glue before folding an envelope shut. thats probably why i think its pretty fucked up to publish the letters of some dead famous person. they probably wouldnt have said some of the things they did if they had known some voyeuristic loser was going to comb through every page years later in search of some profound secret. im not a fan of censorship, but i definitely advocate for the flip side of the coin; theres a very real domain that should not be infringed upon, no matter the academic benefits. what a person chooses to reveal to the general public via written word is one thing. to print private thoughts and feelings that were never meant to be exposed to more than a select person, or no one at all, is as bad as raping that writer's corpse. that being said, i am thoroughly enjoying the journals of sylvia plath. ive found so many passages that correspond to random thoughts ive had over the years. we have a lot in common, only she actually killed herself. the one thing i can say in my defense of reading this one is that it was edited by her husband and he omitted parts that might embarrass her or her family. if anyone would have the heart and the knowledge to do that gracefully itd be a loving spouse who only wants to pay tribute to the private thoughts of a deceased author and friend. cant hate on that.

the paychecks were no good again last week for the millionth time. my buddy and i went to work for my old boss whom i still work for on weekends saturday and today since our checks still hadn't cleared and the union hall hadn't told us to go back to work yet. its great working for this guy, if we wind up at his house towards the end of the day he sends me for an eighteen of bud and the three of us drink pretty hard in that afternoon sun while doing some grunt work. beer muscles helped my friend and i move some fucking boulders that we would not have even attempted to lift sober. a few muscles have been sore since then but getting out the aggression was worth it. his daughter and wife both asked me how the ex is today, i told them both that she's now an ex, their reactions were both the same. sorry, ladies, i respect your husband far too much to go there, even though theyre a pleasant family who've watched me mature from eighteen on (yes, i've grown up some). we sat and shot the shit and i drove home half in the bag after promising my boss and his wife that i was good to drive. between that bad habit, the prescription pain killers i sold at work a couple weeks ago, and the tools and copper that mysteriously disappeared from my union job's trailer over the weekend since the checks were no good again and an aggravation tax was due im really starting to feel like quite the two-bit criminal. the self-fulfilling puerto rican prophesy. christ, i had to get a legitimate job to become a crook. eh, those sins mostly fall into that blurry area of white lies, victimless crimes, and eye-for-an-eye justice i suppose. as long as no one gets hurt. i save those crimes for better venues. anyway, we got the call from the hall tonight to go back to work tomorrow. i called my boss and apologized for not being able to help him again tomorrow, he understood.

which is a feeling im starting to forget the satisfaction of. it seems as though every relationship i have right now is strained in some way and there isnt that closeness that was once there with the people i see regularly. that probably means its my own fault, im not one to assume its everyone else and not me. i know ive been somewhat aloof lately and have been hiding in the comfort of my air-conditioned cell/library, but its the only thing thats made me happy these past few weeks. ive been so lonely, but havent really wanted to be around people since im tired of the constant disappointment. i need to open up to someone, not just this keyboard, but the opportunity hasnt presented itself properly. maybe part of me misses those drunken, miserable nights sharing life's greatest secrets and biggest fears after the beers and bullshit. maybe partying and just trying to stay awake long enough for mcgriddles at three in the morning isnt cutting it. well, obviously it isnt. if i cant have someone to wake up next to id at least like to have someone to be able to call after waking from one of those sweaty nightmares. and in the meantime ill continue to drown it all out by working forty-eight-plus hours a week. at least thats somewhat productive.

which is why im so glad im playing music again, its healthy to create. i need to play a show, it was a year this past valentine's day. i miss that rush, that honest half-hour where youre somehow vindicated for whatever it is that led to those songs. someone make that happen.

a girl who doesn't pay for pens, but doesn't steal her style.
who's well-read, but doesn't let you know until after the party.
who sees right through the bullshit air of mystery you try to convey
and knows that there's nothing more telling than what's behind the eyes.
more importantly, who wants to take the time to work the callouses off the lids and knuckles.
good luck.
good talk.


real slick.

i guess it was my turn to be the butt of the joke, but that's cool with me. there's no sense in wasting time typing out a story that is best told by pictures. the captions may help you fill in the gaps. and no, i didn't actually think it looked good in any sense of the word. now go to www.myspace.com/rationyourammo and view the album titled "like that nightmare where you're naked and in kindergarten again" to see exactly what it is i'm talking about. maybe i really should stop drinking.

Currently reading:
"The People Look Like Flowers At Last" by Charles Bukowski.


"The world is full of shipping clerks who have read the Harvard Classics." -Buk

this wine is hard to drink, but it's easier from the bottle. it's a variety of red i've never heard of, not that i'm a wine person: tempranillo. it's the house wine where she works, she brought it over a week and a half ago after her shift. the wine she brought and the candles i lit before she got here almost helped us convince each other that we could even pretend to give a damn about one another. it's not like fucking was a new routine, we've had our share of romps in the sack in the past. the difference was that this time the act was there, we almost even kissed a few times. and she stayed the night, which is something that the last few since the big break-up haven't done. it was kind of a stipulation of mine. i miss sleeping next to someone more than i miss being inside of someone. i'm pretty sure i've been used for sexual favors by the handful of girls i've hooked up with since i've been single. that would've been an enthusiastic statement a long time ago; now it just makes me feel cheap and used and like the laundry list of girls i've bedded in my time must've felt. all i want is to feel someone next to me for more than an hour and wake up next to her in the morning. karma's a motherfucker. yeah, this wine ain't so bad from the bottle as long as i pretend it's how he would've done it. but this isn't going to be another typical entry, i promised another funny one.

i'm not finishing my drunk alone for the sake of drinking alone, i just hate not finishing what i start (courtships, college, coitus). we had band practice tonight and i tossed a few back so i figured i'd top the night off instead of coming down from the buzz and then going to sleep. it was a good practice, we made some changes to two of our songs that made a big difference in their sound. i didn't get how much i missed being in a band and playing with guys i love as much as i did until i start doing it again. the one-year band hiatus was a detrimental time wasted with nightly arguments with an insignificant other instead of productive jam sessions. (i say "detrimental and "insignificant," but i still haven't had the heart to get rid of her shit. everyone that comes into my room asks why there are two pairs of panty hose and some pads thrown in the corner behind my desk, i say she used to come here after work and i didn't want to get rid of her stuff in case she wants it. she doesn't. but throwing it all the reminders out is way too final for someone like me.) take another pull of the bottle. remind yourself that this was not going to be another of your typically pensive, generally miserable ones. fuck. yeah.

i just went outside for a smoke and the much-anticipated rain commenced in large, scattered drops. the heat lightning flashed and down towards the butt of my cigarette, timewise, a crack of thunder finally made itself known. the electrical storm caused my power to cut out for a second just now and i retyped the last few sentences from memory, they're probably not as decent as the originals. but really, who's keeping score? who's taking notice of the tulip tree saplings in front of my house, and whether they are fresh from this season or leftovers that made it through the winter? will he hear the songs or will he listen? does she know i want to make that right turn every day after work and tell her all about it, or does she think i hate her as much as i want to pretend i do?, even after she told me she was embarrassed to have gone out with me the last time we spoke. is it wrong to drink cheap beer out of desperation and availability, even if the enemy paid for it? does my mom know i saw her crying in the kitchen last night?, and that it only underscores the fact that it doesn't get better with time? would i be forgiven for doing what i wish i had the balls to do? is anyone reading any of this ever going to do anything about it?

and one time i hooked up with the most beautiful girl i know. beforehand she asked where i came from and pretended to care what my answer was, and afterwards her exact words were "thank you for the cunnilingus." but right, you want to hear the funny part.

here, i'll even hit Enter a bunch of times so the entertaining part is clearly distinguished from the usual morbid bullshit, in case that's all you were expecting.

ya know what, fuck this. i can't pretend to be lighthearted when i'm this hammered and bitter. another broken promise, get used to it if you plan on sticking around in this world.

Crrently reading:
"The Journals of Sylvia Plath," edited by Ted Hughes and Frances McCullough.
"Mockingbird Wish Me Luck" by Charles Bukowski.


a funny one to break the trend.

a lot's been going on lately, it's been a busy time. i've experienced some pretty amusing shit, but haven't had time to get it all down because i've been working so much. my other boss has a lot of work coming up so i'll be working pretty much every saturday for the next two months, along with two or three nights a week. it's gonna suck, but it'll help me get ahead for the impending tone that i know is lurking in the shadows somewhere. you can be sure you'll hear all about it when i find out what it is. hopefully it's something huge so i can rant ad nauseum. that being said, let me prove that i'm not as miserable as i make myself out to be sometimes with a hilarious three-part tale that happened at work recently. most of my friends didn't believe me at first, but there are pictures to corroborate the climax of the tale (or should i say "tail?"...you'll catch the bad pun later.) i may or may not turn this one into a short story and/or screenplay at some point in time, depending on the feedback i get, if any. i swear to god this shit only happens to me.

part one:

as a lowly apprentice, it is my customary duty to see to it that the mechanics working with me are supplied with their coffee and egg sandwiches every morning at nine. the new hannaford grocery store my company is plumbing the shit out of at the intersection of routes 32 and 44-55 in modena has a small cafe called babba louie's across the street from it, so that's where i've been going since the job started a couple months ago. the owner is a twenty-six-year-old guy by the name of lou who probably used to take ritalin and switched to coke after junior high. he's a bit on the high-strung side and a little too friendly. i like making casual conversation with people i see on a daily basis, but there's a line that shouldn't be crossed. lou does not realize this, as you will soon learn.

lou saw my tattoos one day, the picasso "old guitarist" painting in particular, and asked if i i play guitar. i reluctantly said yes and his big, goofy eyes lit up. he asked if i was in a band and i immediately said yes, goes on to inform me that he plays drums and sings and is looking for a band to start or join. i start to feel awkward and come to see that this is not going to be an easy one to get out of. he asks what my band sounds like and i shrug my shoulders and say "rock?" asking how those egg sandwiches are coming along does not give him the hint, he's fucking relentless in his quest to relive his musical youth. i dodge questions left and right to no avail, he tells me to show up at his store early the next morning so he can play his old band's demo tape for me. i try not to grimace as i hear this and walk out the door hoping it'll blow over. it doesn't.

the next day my fellow apprentice, jd, is working on the roof with his partner. he comes down the ladder at around 8:30 with a confused look on his face, proceeds to tell me that lou's blasting some godawful music and rocking the fuck out to it, air drums and air guitar and "singing." my face drops as i realize that this means that he actually brought his high school band's recording in and is about to force me to listen to it with the hope that i'll be impressed and ask him to try out for the Mile. balls. it gets to be that time and i walk towards the road i have to cross to get to babba louie's. i hear the "music" for myself for the first time and cringe. lou spots me, runs outside, screams "LET'S ROCK, MOTHERFUCKER!", and hurls one of the patio chairs in front of his fine dining establishment a good fifteen feet towards route 32. i stop dead in my tracks for a few seconds and instantly wish i made the other apprentice go for coffee.

lou's music turns out to be as lousy as the food he makes. he's so enthusiastic about the damn songs that he doesn't notice the pained expression on my face. it's not even on cd, it's a fucking cassette tape. after the first torturous track he asks what i think and i tell him it's not really my cup o' tea. he reassures me that i'll like the next song better because he wrote that one. wonderful. i just want my goddamn breakfast order and all this loser wants is a friend. the thing is that he's so persistent about the whole thing that it comes off as obnoxious. do you like fucking a needy person? then why would i want such a desperate person to play in a band with me? lou finally gives me my food. then he asks when he can try out to sing for the band, i tell him "never" and he laughs. i try to keep a straight face so he understands my stance on this one. he laughs again, though a little more uncomfortably, and says he'll be expecting to get directions to the band's practice space soon. i walk out of there and instantly want to call every girl i've drunk-texted at three in the morning and apologize sincerely for coming off as such a pathetic leech; not that i foresee an end to my bad habit of drunk-texting until someone invents a breathalizer that prohibits my phone from working after eight drinks, but that's another story altogether.

part two:

a few tense weeks go by during which lou consistently bugs me about trying out for Eis. Mi. in between taking my order and making it come to fruition via griddle. annoying little verbal exchanges such as "how was the weekend?" "oh, it sucked 'cause i was supposed to try out to sing for this band but it never happened." yeah, keep it up, asshole. i get fed up with his groveling and start alternating the coffee responsibility with my fellow apprentice more often. one day i fail to read my horoscope and mistakenly enter the lion's den unaware that my life is about to change for the worse, though not the worst (see part 3). lou's (fat, tattooed and pierced) wife is ringing me up when she notices that i have a bugs bunny tattoo on my left arm. "oh, lou has one,too! he's gonna love that!" she calls him out of the kitchen and points out my bugs. his eyes light up again like the time when he first learned of my musical endeavor. "dude, i have a bugs bunny tattoo, too!" i glance at his exposed skin and don't notice any ink. "oh yeah? where? on your ass? haha." his face doesn't break into a smile, mine goes from a smile to a fearful frown. "yeah, wanna see it?" i reach for my bag of food as i say "no," but he pulls it away and says i can't have my food until i see it. he's dead fucking serious. all of a sudden he turns around and drops his shorts right in the middle of his diner. out of the corner of my eye i see his hairy ass, and just barely make out the shapes of elmer fudd chasing bugs bunny (no, not into any hole). his charming wife chimes in with "i did it for him, didn't it come out good?" he goes on to say that now i have to let him in the band because of our similar tattoos, and the band should change its name to "Bugs." i'm still speechless at having been forced to see this man's ass at nine in the morning and quietly retreat back to the jobsite.

the four plumbers waiting for me see that i'm three shades whiter and seem a little distant. they ask what happened and i tell them. two of them laugh and two of them are so creeped out that they suggest me not going over there anymore. i decide that maybe that's a good idea. word gets around the construction site that the plumber kid doesn't go for coffee anymore because lou's a pervert and pulls his pants down in public. a few of the laborers are friends with us since they dug our trenches for our sewer lines early on in the job and they see fit to egg on the whole ordeal. they ask lou what the hell he did to me and probably put a few ideas in his head. this is where it gets surreal, like out of a bad teen movie. or anything with ashton kutcher.

part three:

a week or so goes by without lou and i seeing each other. this all changes one tragic wednesday afternoon, though i didn't actually see "him," per se. it's about two in the afternoon and all the guys from all the trades on the job are all working in basically the same vicinity. all us kempton boys are standing near each other gearing up for the next task of the day when all the power tools and lifts on the job go silent, right before a shitstorm of laughter. we turn around to see what the commotion is and are suddenly stunned and horrified at what we see. take a look at the above photograph taken by one of the laborers for an exact representation, i'll try my best to describe it in words here.

you know those fluffy animal suits that one would wear on the side of the road while waving to passing cars in order to attract simple-minded customers to a business? well apparently our boy lou has one of those, a bright blue dog suit to be exact; and he also has some cardboard and a marker, on and with which, respectively, he wrote "I LOVE MIKE" with a heart next to it. then he came over to the building we were working in, walked right up to the side where we were and held up his sign. oh, but it gets better. he detached the dogs tail before coming over and reattached it to the front of the suit, like a penis. naturally, he proceeded to stroke this "penis" in my general direction as he held his heartfelt little sign. my esteemed colleagues and i could do nothing but look at each other hoping to find an answer in each other's eyes at first. were we dreaming? did this guy really have the balls and/or mental disorder that would deem this a good idea? would years of therapy ever even begin to undue the damage done to my fragile mind by this traumatic ("traumatic" is an adjective while "traumatizing" is a present-tense verb, people who can't comprehend that irritate the ever-loving shit out of me!) event? is he naked under that suit? after several seemingly eternal seconds we turned and walked away, still not knowing quite what to say to each other. this time, all four of my fellow plumbers agreed that i might want to lay low for awhile and have the other guy go for coffee. i agreed wholeheartedly, even though all apprentices secretly enjoy the coffee task because it gets us away from actual work for awhile and we can usually get our food for free with the change left over. some things just aren't worth a few minutes in an air-conditioned deli and a free egg sandwich, though.

so there you have it, the latest work-related fiasco worthy of mention in the annals of my life. hope it made you laugh a little, and convinced you that i know how to do the same, even though i tend to piss and moan here a lot. life ain't that bad, it's just nice pretending it is sometimes for some strange reason. and sadly, if i were in lou's shoes and had the big blue dog suit i probably would have done the same.

Currently reading:
"The Motel Life" by Willy Vlautin.
"Betting On The Muse" by Charles Bukowski.


a road trip, a good cry, a lover of men.

maybe 8:30 is a little late to start drinking on a work night when i have to wake up at six the next day, but to use the retort of an old acquaintance: who's to say? besides, the rubber checks we were issued were still rejected at the bank today so i won't feel too bad about going in to work a little on the shot side, if not still partially drunk. a not-so-esteemed colleague (can fellow plumbers really be deemed "colleagues," or is that strictly a professional term?) of mine phoned the union hall this afternoon after we found out we weren't getting our money again and shit hit the fan. the local's business manager, or president for all intents and purposes, called our boss and threatened him with some pretty serious shit if our checks are still no good by noon tomorrow. he will be pulling all ten or eleven men from the shop and telling them not to return to their jobsites until paid; moreover, the double-time rule will finally be put in effect, which means we will be receiving double our wage an hour for sitting at home until the money is there. this part of the contract has never really been enforced before, at least not in the last fifteen years when times were good and money flowed in the construction business as readily as lube does in the porn industry. it's sort of ridiculous to assume that someone who can't afford one week's payroll can afford to pay his men double-time for sitting at home, though. besides, if we aren't on the job and working the general contractor will get fed up with our absence and fear that the project will be held up, thus leading to another plumbing contractor being hired. this could easily put my boss out of business. great: a wonderful trip to the unemployment line, a journey to the bottom of the list of men waiting to be called out to work, and a separation from the guys i've grown to love over the last nine months. that's what it comes down to really, the bonds formed between the men you sweat and laugh with every day in the name of a dollar for a beer and a roof over your head. it's hard to imagine working with any other group of people at this point, especially after the horror stories i hear about some of the assholes in the local. i've been lucky enough to be taken under the wings of a couple great individuals who truly care about me and look forward to seeing me every day as much as i look forward to seeing them. that makes so much of a difference, i can finally see where the whole "brotherhood" aspect of unions comes into play now, especially since i haven't spoken to my biological father since november. i went through a lot of hard times since then and needed to bounce my thoughts and feelings off sane adults who may or may not have been there before, and i was never made to feel like a pussy. say what you like about construction workers, they're not all as rough around the edges as they're made out to be. some of them just wound up in the trade, like me, which is a relief. don't pour your heart out on coffee break in front of the others unless you want to be ridiculed mercilessly for reasons of machismo and tradition, but get somebody half-way decent alone towards the end of the day in a crawlspace or in the passenger seat of their truck during lunch break and you'd be surprised how honest and helpful they can be. one man comes to mind more than the others i've worked with, my thirty-seven-year-old partner from the last job. i've mentioned him before and won't bore you with details. suffice it to say he got me through a lot just by listening attentively and sharing parts of his own fucked up life with me. the inside jokes we have are priceless and some of his clever phrases, such as "good talk," have even overflowed into my personal life and corrupted my friends' vocabularies. my current foreman (who is probably going to try to marry me off to his fat daughter again since he finally overheard that i've been single for a few months now) is insanely jealous of this other guy and pokes fun at me for having such a good friendship with a guy who's fourteen years older than me. he has me call the other guy about important things (like our checks being no good) since he knows my call won't be forwarded to voicemail like someone else's will. he busts balls, but deep down he understands what it is that my buddy sees in me, even if i don't, and looks out for me just as much in his own way. i tried to explain all of this to my stepdad during our drunken heart-to-heart shop-talk session when i went to the catskill mountains last week and i think he got it. i told him that this year i'll be buying three father's day cards, but none of them will be for my actual father. my stepfather is the obvious recipient, the others being the other mechanics previously mentioned. i won't make it blatant for good reason (extreme criticism without prejudice), i'll get their adresses from the secretary at the union hall. i just want them both to know that they've made my life better in their own ways, and that i appreciate them, and that their kids are lucky. i wish i could have a dad like that. fuck, i wish i could have a dad that could talk to me about something other than jesus for five minutes.

three beers means i earned a cigarette break. it sucks smoking alone now since my best friend moved home, but i suppose i should get used to it. smoking alone, living alone, growing old alone...yeah. the frogs in the pond down the hill made it not quite as lonely, but then the chupacabra crashing through the woods ruined the mood. walking back in wasn't a pleasant experience since there is about two weeks' worth of cat shit in my roommate's cat's litter box and the smell followed me upstairs. not my cat, not my responsibility, not my fault she didn't clean it today like she told me she would, not my fault if and when it magically "escapes" through an open window (just kidding). i'll light a stick of incense and hope the stench goes away. good times. three fresh cans of yuengling sit on my desk next to the keyboard and offer the promise of a brief escape, a short burst of creativity fueled by the honesty-inducing liquid courage. the condensation from the cans is forming a puddle on the wooden desktop, but since when do plumbers believe in coasters? and since when do i consider myself a plumber? what happened? where was i?

father-figure complexes aren't the only type of relationships formed by working with such a unique group of individuals; i've also made a friend in a fellow apprentice. he's eight years older than me, married with three kids, but is still young at heart and likes to drink and have a good time. a few weeks ago he invited me to join him on a trip down to dover, delaware to see the Nascar races. i have no interest in racing or sports or anything like that, but he said it's basically a massive campsite of tailgate parties so i figured what the hell. the tickets for both races, scheduled for this past weekend, cost a total of one hundred fifty dollars a head. i gave him they money last week at the bar and thought it was a wise investment. little did i know that our combined bad luck would multiply exponentially to frank the living shit out of us. it was one disaster after another, which i will try to convey as clearly as possible. beer with me. shit, i mean "bear." freudian slip.

ok, so thursday night he calls me up saying his minivan is fucked and his mechanic can't fix it. we pretty much abandon any thought of going since our cars aren't lrage enough to fit us comfortably along with the coolers and camping gear we'd need. plus, if the vehicles we drive to work in broke down five hours away we'd be royally fucked. we showed up to work friday looking pretty down in the dumps and told the foreman and the other mechanic we were just going to eat the one-fifty we each had paid for the tickets and call it a wash. they called us crazy and said we should take one of the company vans down there instead. it was the solution i'd been hoping to hear, but didn't want to mention. little did we know how much better off we would've been if we'd just eaten the fucking buck fifty and found another way to amuse ourselves this weekend. we made a list of all the things we thought we'd need during our lunch break and bid farewell to our coworkers. i was going to go home, get packed, pick up the van from the shop, and drive out to my buddy's house to load the stuff and take off for delaware. we had it allllllll figured out. right.

well, let me tell you, it was not fun driving that silverware drawer with wheels through jersey traffic on a friday during rush hour. the clowns who live in that terrible state can't drive worth shit to begin with, and it didn't make it easier that i was behind the wheel of a van with a blindspot bigger than al sharpton's hard-on at a watermelon convention. (the fifth beer is hitting me now, it's nice. warm fuzzies and "stadium arcadium" by the peps. delicious.) we made it down there in about four-and-a-half hours. the main drag was loaded with drunken redneck buffoons stumbling down sidewalks and riding around in trucks. scantily clad daisy duke lookalikes frollicked through the streets. it was wonderful! or so we thought. we stopped at a beer distributor and stocked up on enough beer for the night and the first half of the next day, filled the coolers with ice. he called his friends whom we were supposed to be staying with at the campsite and we designated a meeting place. the drunk, shirtless representative from that group rolled up on his bike at the specified location and we drove towards the campsite as he clung to the passenger side mirror. as we approached the gate of the campsite he proceeded to inform us that there might be a problem, which the attendants clarified further. this year, for the first time, a site could not be purchased without having an actual camper. this posed a serious dilemma because my mans and i (yeah, beer) rolled up in the big white company van with red lettering, not an RV or pop-up camper. we didn't even have a tent that'd fit two people, i was going to sleep on a mattress we'd thrown in the back of the van. we drove away from the campsite and headed for the walmart parking lot, the only place in town where we wouldn't be towed no matter what. it was shaping up to be a hell of a weekend, the imaginary cock suddenly presented itself in our respective asses. (that is probably the worst possible ending to a paragraph i've ever written, so i'll add this shit in parenthesis.)

paused the music, grabbed my beer, headed downstairs for another smoke. lit up, took a piss off my stairs into the front yard, chugged, jiggled, zipped up. took a few more drags, heard the chupacabra crashing through the woods again, got hit in the neck by a huge bug hovering under the porch light and was too buzzed to give a shit or do anything about it. contemplated the next paragraph, threw the butt in the makeshift ashtray, got three more beers from the fridge on the way to my room, started the music again. for fuck's sake, even the creative process has become predictable.

right, so my friend and i are drinkin' beer in the front seats of the van miserable as hell trying to figure out what to do. we get pissed at the guys we were supposed to be meeting for not telling us sooner than the campground's policy had changed. he considers approaching one of the rednecks in a camper parked at walmart and asking him if we can spend the night in his RV, i tell him to pump the brakes with the beer and start thinking logically. i suggest going to my cousin's house in central jersey since her mom's away and she had invited me there anyway. we could stay there and head down to the races at our leisure if we so desired. i call her up and she agrees that it's a good plan, but sounds a little tipsy. i ask if she is in fact drunk and she explains that she's been drinking at the bowling alley and plans on spending a romantic evening alone with her boyfriend since it's their anniversary. this puts my mans and i in a bit of a predicament because we can't show up at her place until tomorrow since she wants to bang out on the kitchen counter or whatever with her asshole boyfriend. great.

we find the cheapest looking hotel and go inside to ask what the deal is. the clerk at the front desk tells us that there is a two-night minimum and that it's $375 a night. we tell her it's too rich for our blood and i ask to use the bathroom since beer goes through me faster than vanilla ice goes through royalty checks. we leave and decide to head towards my cousin's place in jersey. we figured we can get a cheaper room there since it isn't as close to the races and capitalism won't rape us as badly. after an hour or so of driving we start to crave beer to wash the pain of failure away and start looking for the nearest cheap hotel. "econo lodge" sounds like a good choice. the indian manager, affectionately named "Habib" for our own entertainment, tells us he can give us a room for $110. i throw my credit card under the bulletproof glass divider and bask in the brief glory of being able to drink and sleep in a real bed as opposed to trying to catch some Z's in the front seat of the company van in the walmart parking lot. we walk up to our room and notice several black men in their twenties accompanied by a haggard white crackwhore in her thirties. she sees us cracking beer cans from our cooler and hanging out in front of our door and approaches us. she asks to buy a beer from me, i give one to her for free with the hope that she walks away. she does. we sit and drink on the walkway in front of our door and get close to running out of cigarettes. the negroes and crackwhore get kicked out of the hotel for causing a ruckus, we laugh and spectate from our strategically placed seats. the time comes for us to hike over to the truck stop up the road for more cigarettes and we encounter the darkest man i've ever seen. he makes some humorous conversation with the gas station attendant, whom he obviously knows, for awhile. he tells him he wants a bic lighter, and to find some pussy. we tell him about the crackwhore but he declines. he asks us if we want him to bring "some pussy" back to us after he finds it. we decline. the walk back to the hotel is quiet as we both think about how badly that next brew is needed. we set up shop again in front of our door watching cars pass by on the highway. the hoodlums ejected from our hotel wind up at the hotel across the highway. we watch them from a distance. the crackwhore gets in a cab. it makes a u-turn and stops in the middle of the six-lane highway next to the divider. the cabby ejects her and peels out. we see her crouched in the road for twenty seconds gather her belongings, cars whizzing by and just missing her. part of me wants to go help her, but part of me realizes she's too far away and too far gone. i sit and watch and cringe and she finally gets out of the road, though a mac truck almost mowed her down as she swaggered across the lanes back to the hotel. a state trooper pulls into the parking lot and asks what room we're in from the window of his car. we tell him and he nods and drives around the corner to park. we guess that Habib called the cops on the black dudes/crackwhore. he storms up the stairs and heads right for the room they were in. my friend has the camera ready. twenty minutes later the cop walks out with the last remaining black guy in cuffs, head down. my friend snaps a picture as they walk away. we realize at this point that the camera i bought will not be used to document fun, happy times, but key points in the ridiculous and miserable journey that we had embarked upon. we kept drinking and passed out in comfortable beds and air conditioning around four in the morning. i woke him up at ten thirty so we could check out on time, there was a huge dead bug under his pillow. i was just glad the crackwhore didn't come knocking on our window looking for employment. we left and continued on towards my cousin's place in jersey.

i need another bogey. i hate these kinds of entries. i hate feeling like i have to tell a specific story. you won't get it unless you were there, pictures or no pictures. it just doesn't translate. i'd much rather sit here and spew seemingly meaningless references to seemingly meaningful events in my seemingly catastrophic life and make it fucking seem like it's all that bad. i dunno, it's just more fun somehow. this is like homework. but whatever, it's better than telling all of you individually the same story. cigarette, hold on.

that one was slightly less predictable, though still not totally out of character. a picture message, watching the smoke spiral away from me in the thick, humid night air, singing some altered brand new lyrics aloud to myself: "this is the end, i'm fuckin' miserable..." i just want to get through this tedious part so i can rant in the last few paragraphs. beer.

we arrived (i'm switching to past tense permanently now since present was becoming irritating) at my cousin's around one. she greeted us warmly and told us how to get to the beach. we headed to the shore and sprawled out on my cousin's immensely homosexual matching pink beach towels for a few hours. we downed a few beers while staring at the curvaceous (?) scenery and laughing at the guy jogging by in grape smugglers. it was a pleasant twenty degrees cooler due to the ocean breeze and our backs sighed in relief at not being seated in the front of the goddamn van.

"snow" by the chili peppers just came on. it reminds me of that coworker i wrote about in detail before. we used to turn this song up and sing it under our breath as we plumbed the shit out of some houses. funny how some songs instantly bring you back. it's odd to even want to be brought back to something.

my cousin's friend kenny met up with us for dinner and i instantly liked him. great sense of humor, quick-witted and intelligent. kenny and my cousin seemed to have some real chemistry, despite the "friends" title. it was obvious that he had the hots for her, and since he was recently single i made a mental note to vouch for him later on when i got to speak to her alone at the bar. which was a really fun bar. we went to some place called red bank in a ritzy area of the jersey shore and partied it up. i started with a gin and tonic and switched to bacardi and coke. i drink the latter when i'm in a "let me try to break the self-fulfilling prophecy" sort of mood. it's the drink of choice of one of both grandfathers i never met. my dad's old man used to stay up until four in the morning at his tavern drinking bacardi and cokes and then come home to raise hell. even the dog would hide under the bed. my dad was the favorite whipping post, that's why he magically found jesus late in life and abandoned reality. anyway, it's the drink i revert to when i want to take on the challenge of preventing history from repeating itself, if that makes sense. i can handle that puerto rican rum it without being a dick, at least in that sense. right. good talk.

some broads at the bar were checking me out but i wasn't drunk enough to talk to them yet. they kept throwing glances my way and i kept downing cocktails to build up the courage and/or stupidity to talk to them. once i did i was pleasantly surprised; they were from the czech republic and spoke in broken english. i started "spitting game" (not really) and was on the ball for a few minutes when my buddy came to back me up. he helped talk me out of the awkward silences and backed up whatever i said, we played it well, textbook. we found out that they were both nannies (hot) and were about to be deported in a month because their visas were expiring. i mentioned that marrying an american would solve that problem, then asked how their domestic skills were. it was funny. they said they were good cooks. i asked what czech food was like. they said it's heavy and fattening. "that explains the thunder thighs," i told myself. they asked what we do for a living and we told them we were union plumbers. they heard the P-word, spoke to eachother in their dirty european pig latin for the first time, and suddenly had to leave the bar. good talk. (i intentionally ended the last two paragraphs with "good talk," so don't think you caught me.)

and the cigarette break gets more ridiculous. i walked downstairs and turned back towards the pantry to get a cookie so the chocolate goodness would make the cigarette taste better, strode past his drumset and tapped the toms with my fingers. lit up and started torching the monstrous moths with my lighter. they flew in my general direction and attacked me and i flailed around like a retard. i think a small moth flew into my beer but i'm not sure. whatever, more protein. on second thought, let me pour this one into a glass just to be sure. no moth. damn. i'm hallucinating already.

we had a few more drinks and the couple we were hangin' with wanted to try another bar. we walked up the street to this fancy looking club, only to be rejected by the large-style negro in a tux with the security earpiece. my friend and i were dressed in shorts and t-shirts since we packed thinking we'd be going to the races, there was no way we'd be allowed into that club dressed like that. i walked out and was summoned back ten seconds later by my friend. he told me he paid the bouncer twenty bucks and everything was gravy. we walked upstairs towards the way too loud dance music only to feel even more out of place. the guys were all wearing suits, the girls were wearing prom dresses. everyone there seemed to be strung out on designer drugs and i was waiting for wesley snipes to charge in and start shooting vampires. a cocktail cost ten bucks and coronas were six and i got molested by some women dancing near the bar. the nerdiest man i've ever seen was dancing in the whitest fashion ever with five women groping him, probably because he's either rich or a drug dealer. i laughed and walked back to the table where my cohorts were seated. new jersey is gay and last call is at two in the morning. the lights went on so we bought one more round, downed it, and went back to the streets where we belonged.

yeah yeah yeah we were driven back to my cousin's and passed out. we woke up eight hours later and were politely kicked out since she had studying to do and her dad was coming by. we considered going to the beach again but opted not to since it was cloudy and we just wanted to get home after such a random weekend. we found out that sunday's race was cancelled anyway and didn't care. we should've just eaten the one fifty and not gone at all, but we made the best of it and had fun. it just cost us almost $500 instead of $150. whoops. it could've been worse, though, had we tried to stay in delaware. sunday's race was rained out anyway and there was no way we were going to stay until monday when it was rescheduled for. also, a truck in a toll both just next to ours was rear-ended right next to us. if we had chosen that lane the damn work van would have been damaged and we'd have some questions to answer. really, if you think about it, the boss should have paid us two eager apprentices for all the free advertising that the big white billboard with wheels spread throughout three states.

i got back home that night and tried to write some nonesense about it but...

[yuengling in a pint glass is perhaps one of the sexiest things ever. the red tinge of the beer, the beautiful head. god, this really is my favorite beer.]

...i got an unexpected text and fell for it. she wanted to meet for coffee. i said i couldn't do it in public, it could end badly if i got upset or if sincere words were exchanged next to some fruitcake drinking a chai tea. she (foolishly) agreed to come over to my place again since he's gone and she was either out with her boyfriend or too oblivious to realize who was there. i wasn't drunk, but i felt like it. i sat in my car and waited to hear that last smashing pumpkins song as i smoked some filter. she pulled up at the perfect time and i imperfectly stumbled my way out of my car. it was on, i was done. i set myself up for failure because i needed to.

[keep in mind that i'm ten beers deep and have to wake up in under six hours and don't give a fuck. whatever happens from here on out is what i subconsciously wanted. maybe.]

she walked into my room like she never left the place, i wished she'd never left the place. i told her my stupid delaware/new jersey story. she counterswung with her albany story. i didn't want to hear, i told her. she told me she didn't do anything, it didn't matter. i thought of her in the bars and in the apartments and in the grasp of guys somehow less worthy than me and felt sick. i made her stop for awhile, but when it came back up i let her go with it. sometimes i like to suffer. it makes for a good memory, at least a more poignant one. bring it on. she didn't, she really didn't do anything warranting vomit on my behalf. at least she didn't tell me. i don't care how much fucked up shit goes down, thinking about someone else touching the person you slept next to for that long will make you want to curl up and die. and i did. into my pillow. one cough-tear at a time. i tried to touch her to make it feel ok again but she wasn't receptive. she shrugged away and left me hangin', she dodged my hand seeking hers, she made it known that she just came to talk about trivial bullshit. i wanted to sleep next to her so bad. i missed having that warm, sleek body there. god, you don't even know what it's like.

[you piss and pour another beer into the pint glass. you drink two-thirds of it and stare into the glass and feel ashamed of being able to finish a beer in three sips. you kick the piss bottle to the side and remember emptying it twice tonight. you glance sideways at the dust ruffler and think of how easy it'd be, how quick, how legendary.]

ah fuck, i'm almost done with twelve and my zipper's down. who put the bright eyes on? balls.

i kissed her back through her shirt, she smelled like her sweet sweat and it killed me. i just wanted to have the privelege of knowing what she felt/tasted/smelled like again. i gave that privelege away though, and pretended like it was for the best. oh lord. you miss her and you know it, though you'll lie and say otherwise to their faces. down your beer, pour the last one. you fucking fuck.

do it. pussy. do it. your zipper's still down. you're too drunk to care. and you just looked across the hall and the room's empty. go fuck yourself. do it. and you sit here staring at your black socks battling the inevitable like a self-made martyr without a cause.

i snapped a few to kill the roll against her will, but missed the best one as she left. i smoked the last marlboro as she pulled out, presumably forever. she told me no good came of us because she is terrified of men now and i am miserable. that's when i had to muffle it with the pillow. i had ruined another great one, even though she denied it and said she's happy. forced to live with another casualty, forced to repeat the same fate over and over. and she never answered that question, if she still does or not, and said it's irrelevant. but it's not, it makes all the difference. i took her silence as consent. i mumbled something along those lines as she shut her car door. she got me good.

this is the time in the show when you'd go [edited to avoid guilt] and [ditto], but you can't anymore so you stack your twelve empty beer cans in columns of three and make the best of it.

i just heard the thunder, or maybe it was them coming for us. go for a smoke and cool out, kid. you're way too high strung right now.

you were way too drunk on your last smoke break. you weren't a participant anymore, just a victim of the elements. the thunder roared and the lightning flashed and the smoke spiraled and the bugs bounced off you like kamikaze pilots and you couldn't do a damn thing about it. you may or may not have heard the chupacabra crashing through the woods again. something about your grandma, that's how you wanted to end it.

yeah yeah. the old lady was cute as usual tonight when i swung by my mom's house. i snuck up on her as she finished folding my clothes. i hid in my old room and stuck my head around the corner. she laughed to herself as she tried to figure out how to fold a sleeveless t-shirt of mine. i snickered quietly and kept watching for a minute. she took such great care in every crease and rubbed every piece of fabric smooth as she stacked them, even the boxers. i walked in and tossed the clothes she'd folded into my basket. she told me to be careful so as not to ruin her folds. she told me it's the one thing she can do to help. i told her i understand. i have one thing i can do to help, too, at least help myself. it's called drunken writing. i'm sorry if it sucked. it was honest. goodnight.

currently reading:
"the days run away like wild horses over the hills" by charles bukowski.

proofreading this twelve hours later was no easy task, especially since the typos and random emotional outbursts increased as the alcohol consumption did. definitely didn't make it to work today. i shut my alarm off and woke up again ten minutes before i had to be there. i was still drunk and it's a half-hour drive and i'd only gotten five hours of sleep. my check was still no good anyway and i figured i could use the day off to run some errands. i'm sure the voicemail message i left revealed my true state, but i don't care. if drinking alone and ranting for five hours late into the night makes it somehow better then that's what i'm going to do. if the problems won't go anywhere, the pipes sure won't.