(shotgun wealth)

My brain is the last flame on the mast before the ship finally sinks into the shivering sea leaving just the rats and a swirling ash to recount her hollers of glory.

And i'm left with a question.

How do i shake the bones of moral fiber that keep me from the the real decadence that i so readily admire?

The sun is shining on a saturday i met early enough in the morning to earn the black coffee shakes by noon without the desperate headache. i'm five smokes and two cumshots in. and i know that by the time darkness descends i will be drunk and ready to blow the fucking lid off this lifestyle of giving a shit about how my friends fucking sleep at night.

So the ale abates, i guess. strips the man from the gnarling bitch and lets the muscle loose in the back of my head where i keep all my best stories and impotent rage.

Right now i give a damn. right now i want to say that there's one big fucking land in the sand between what i want and what i am willing to do to make it happen. this evening i imagine it different. i imagine wanting to kiss her, knowing that i can't because, really, she doesn't give a shit about anything other than the party. and it will piss me off. i'll want to smash some lovers face and storm off into the sunrise to tear back my skin and break each bit of my skeleton into a powder of inconsequence.

So why am i going?

Because i can.

(masking end)

My brain is a tear in our celluloid skin, marking unsteady alabaster for the days our breath draws thin.

I'm still burying certain words today. feelings i'm still not ready to face. the facts of what matter most to me in the morning before i find the succour of sleep coming down to quell wandering images of the countless people i've been.

I'm just not ready yet.

There's too much to answer to. too much ahead to take the chance of discovering i've squandered one ounce of this gift.


(stockholm sin)

My brain is the form of a better man hidden between my end and the war i've honed as the years cast off in attrition.


(a scratch)

My brain is the young rat around 96. thin, scarred and scared shitless of endings.

Ten years later and i'm much the same.

I just don't know what to say.

My friend is dead.

She was my sage.


(cracking whist)

My brain is the last leg spurned from the derby.

Days later.

Hours on.

And we're here and fucking vibrant as hell despite the shakes. the stunted wondering how the fuck it is that we've come this long and no one dares call it in anymore. not that we ever did (though i might have once or twice). nor that we ever will as our long teeth approach. as our hair grows thin and our pants fall short.

Because this is fucking friendship.

This is fucking kin.

Perfect miscreants stumbling in and out of the shadows screaming something about beer and tits. firestorms. love and controversy.

And i'm better than ever in the thick of it.

Because my titles are dead now. my references are late. and i'm nothing but a dumb kid scraping his way along the pack to mark the right side of the end.


(stint in laps)

My brain is the whisp of chagrin you can read in the kids the first time they fucking realize that their parents love it all as well. the drinking. the fucking. the drugs and regret of running blind as a fucking babe into the world with nothing but the coarsest regard for what the fuck sort of history you'll leave behind so long as you had a good time (at least, a shameless one) making a mockery of the will to survive long enough to see a grandchild.

Or just the tenets of a family to carry on the name you cursed so well when you were younger. the face you've felt kicked in. your father's nose. your mother's eyes. that fucking smile you carry (as you would say, to the fucking grave).

All to keep from the bounds of obscurity.

But its the fringes that mark these days. the forgotten favorites and the ones that never should have seen the same savage rays that mark your monday mornings with the knowledge that even when you did it. when you sent that motherfucker through the wall. there's still so much left to accomplish. so many bastards there to grind you down. so many puppets on the beck and call.

They're the ones. the fucking mainstays. that make the fire worth the fall.


(false counts on the next man in)

My brain is fifteen down and as many years lost to the throes of rock and roll revelry that once led my mother to stand up and riot with a burnt bra hanging around the neck of a johnson effigy as she screamed for justice and peace even as her best friends were soaking up the sun of fresh napalm in the early morning grass of vietnamese prison camp.

Of course, these songs never marked a revolution with anyone but me and the rabble rousers that laid waste to my insurgent head and the stink of death outside this door.

1. Swing kids - warsaw...a cover track off the beat that once forwarded an ex on her first trip to los angeles with a half-junky bunch of miscreants who called themselves an act. justin still leaves me uneasy when he shouts for three one g.

2. Jawbox - savory...one of the few dischord bands to ever shovel out into the mainstream and leave us still scrambling for pieces of our maws to this day, jawbox hit me with a fractured beauty that will never be replayed.

3. Can - you doo right...there's no goddamn reason i should love a twenty minute fuck-off dirge with as few lyrics as i have left hopes in my head, but i do. perhaps its all on something of the account of it coming out of mr. mooney's nervous breakdown during the hours and hours of recording this.

4. Mclusky - mi o mai...a band to be missed more than anything that's made its way through the music scene in the last ten dead years, mclusky tore shit up with unparalleled scottish glee. and, yes, evidently there is such a thing.

5. The casket lottery - what i built last night...emo isn't as emo was but rites of spring still piss me off which as just as well as boys like this once came along to show the passion of the disenfranchised man and his impoverished search for a god.

6. City of caterpillar - a little change could go a long way...the first band to ever leave me completely unaware of who i was or just what the fuck i was seeing in front of the lurching walls of marshall stacks sucking the last bits of power from the walls of abc. epic hardcore the way sonic youth might of intended if they weren't so busy still sucking off glenn branca.

7. Boredoms - molecicco...jap scatting their noise into my life when i was just thirteen the boredoms (when i take the time to stop screaming and just fucking think) were the band that changed everything for me. this was their pop song. think about it.

8. The weakerthans - reconstruction site...singing to her in a half-drunken stupor before we aimed to end anything (if even for a year) the weakerthans still remind me of what sweetness can find you when you forget how hard you were looking.

9. Rocket from the crypt - cut it loose...steal a penny, raise a brew to the last latent guitar hero we hardly knew.

10. Weezer - surf wax america...in rounder days we used to stand outside the great oak doors of dio singing these harmonies, hocking loogies in the air and waiting on our bacon pizza. at the time it almost beat cigarettes.

11. The blood brothers - rescue...certain assurances will always confirm that there's somebody not so fucking far from wringing your scrawny young neck.

12. Velocity girl - copacetic...we loved sarah shannon then. we (heart) sarah shannon now. with her subdued operatics and the swirling geekdom that was my once and future forgotten favorite.

13. The wipers - youth of america...the melvins play it. so do mission of burma. if you need a better pair of cultural references, you can probably eat a dick.

14. Coalesce - you can't kill us all...heavy, man. fucking heavy. like a train crashing into two collapsing buildings to the tune of nero's electric fiddle. when i'm drinking in the wrong crowd, this song always comes out of my mouth.

15. Archers of loaf - might...no single song has seen me through darker times and wild and adolescent heights as might. i can't say that its perfect but, goddamn, if it hasn't done me right every step of my life.

Rock it.


(tap the cold transmission)

My brain is a tear in the safety net, waiting patiently for the next man to come and greet his death.

Why the fuck do i keep on with these things? this understated insomnia? this cashless cow slow killing me? when i know that there comes a certain point in the night when there's just nothing left to see. there's not a goddamn thing to learn and there sure as shit isn't a reason to sit here half-assed and tired looking for a word to fall just right from somewhere long since asleep to these waxy fingertips.

Its just gets too late.

The body yields. the mind goes with. and there's nothing i can face that will change the simple fact that like it or not i am a human being and could use with a little something like rest when there's so much of me at stake in these next thirty fucking days (if that by now).

Its the wandering, i guess.

I don't get enough of it in the real world of sun and days. i have to sit there collecting information that won't mean a damn to the world in the end when i should be buying a nice new pair of shoes and seeing how far i can stumble before i run out of earth and cigarettes.

So i wait until my life abates and every aspect of hope is in bed and i let my head go slack and follow the rat-a-tap-tap-tap until i just can't stand the sight of these keys anymore.

But is that enough to settle that? or do i look forward to another evening of nicoteine stains and the chance that something beautiful will rain out of me and into the right place and time?

I should count on the latter, i imagine.

Fucking fickle thing.


(fall and fair)

My brain is the pulse of her breath.


(in the drum)

My brain is the wax that first gave us wings.

(penny change)

My brain is a life left scattering for a vice marked by soft, magnetic lips and the perils of green eyes.

And i fight myself knowing that, at least, in the end i might win. i stand up and swing. i take one in the chin. i fall down and come up bleeding long and hard along my face from a headwound i can't give a shit about just yet. i clock. i kick. i break a rib and some fucking knees. i wrap my hands around his neck and i just fucking squeeze until there's nothing left to give a damn about anymore.

I raise a drink to what i've done. i light another cigarette and sit back thinking this is the point where i should finish digging the grave but i don't because, despite my waning years, i'm so far from being fucking done yet there's bound to be a phoenix who will rise and set my heart on fire just to root in the miles of ash.

Waiting around for the next bent knuckle punch.

The last glad step in this mistake.


(tether the arch)

My brain is the habit harbored underneath a wayward grin. unbreakable as the day i first kissed you. terrifying as the time my father leaned in smiling, to tell me i had died.

But there all the time stumbling my heart across naked streets towards a tidy suicide.

In the morning there won't be memories. there won't be conversation. just a headache. a pang of regret. a resolution that this life won't keep happening again and again.

Still it does and this will even as i suck an unnecessary nightcap to abate all that's been fucking said already because i'm always so close to being exactly the fucking same.

I'm not, though. i never will be. i may kill a little something more each fucking day but at least i can say i have something worth losing. at least i can say, at the end of a night (no matter what shame but stupor might bring) that i have been fucking alive.


(decorated days)

My brain is the slow cut along the young man's spine between the shivering arms of his nervous tattoo.

Parlor tricks for sunday perils.

Soon the boys are going to be leaving me. no more saturdates. no more sundays stinking long and hard of the weekend's residence on the rusted orange couch i've called my own haven (with the cat, of course) for years now. no more late night singing almost tunelessly to white trash heroes and punk rock girl. no more old reliable loathing on the roof in any season wishing we had more fireworks. no more knowing i could always find a place on washington avenue where there would be cold beer with warm friends and an old spinning scrabble bored i only beat once.


Things really are about to get very fucking different. those boys are some of the best i've ever had (even if sometimes i'd rather wield the business end of a sawed-off their way than listen to one more specious fucking argument on what an asshole i am for allowing myself to still rank among the folks who believe there might be something akin to a diving fucking being pulling the frayed ends of string theory). they helped me through two great heart breaks. countless hangovers and even the odd existential freakout that made me think twice about ever sitting down to write or step out of the house again lest i find myself faced with being alive.

I will miss them.

Fucking terribly.

And at the end of what was, for the most part, a damn near perfect one i can't help but wonder when i'll fully feel that realization. when it will hit me that i have to surrender those fuckers to portland just because.

And i hate that i probably won't cry.