Category Archives: published work

here

are the dream pieces at fictionaut

I haven’t updated this blog with new published material in over half a year.  I’ve still been productive, but mostly with Flash pieces about my dreams.  I’m giving this blog a rest because along with writing these pieces I am busy editing Clutching at Straws.

Check out the Fictionaut project if you are interested in my new stuff. ASSuming, of course, that anybody is.

Shawn

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March 8, 2012 · 11:03 am

Her Head Sounserals Away

He screws on his hat until it clicks into place. His child’s head is loose and keeps sliding off the neck pole. He tries seven times to secure her head into place, but as soon as she starts toddling it wobbles for a bit then falls to the carpet and bounces away.

He sees a lot of things that there are no words for. He wonders if, in other languages, they have words for them.

The movement of his child’s plastic head as it sashays/bounces/spirals away, what do you call that? Sounseral. Sounseral! Her head sounserals away, into the dark closet.

Once her head is on for good he carries her onto the balcony, and they are speaking in a tongue he’s never heard. He has no idea what they are saying to each other. But they seem happy enough, lots of smiles.

They sound like two Swedish Chefs, one big and with a deep, comforting voice, the other small and possessing the squeals and honks of a large bird. “Bortste fornert de dort!” he says, bouncing her.

“Bortne! Bortne! Shushort!” she exclaims, shooting her hands over her wobbly head in pleasure, causing it to again pop off. This time, it’s a three story drop from a balcony.

Terrified, he yells “Sneeeeew nuuuu! Oh nee padoooo!”

Her head rolls into the deep grass. The grass is neon yellow, like shredded cheddar. Her detached head makes it’s way, rolling from stalk to stalk, chewing contentedly. He’s never seen her so happy. He hears a muffled “Booboonoo!” from the tall grass, and smiles as her headless body, which he is still holding, gives him two thumbs up.

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Filed under published work, short fiction

Detroit’s Forever Mayor

this is the ass of America
the little dark man says to me
sweeping his hand across the skyline
as if trying to dissipate the city like smoke

the gutter behind us quietly sucks down
last night’s rain, almost loud enough
to drown out the whirring of industry
surrounding us on all sides
like millions of beetles marching across wax paper

this is my domain, my dream
the little dark man whispers

looking down at him I see
a shriveled and surreal Joe Louis
presiding over his city and unable to smile

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Filed under poetry, published work

One More Place To Be

I’m watching the giants
weave through sycamores
like they did three thousand years ago

they stomp around and sing
until they sprout erections
the size of space shuttles

with these erections
they dispose of their enemies
and bellow for the women

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Out

I am not in the position to take a position

I fell asleep in one place and woke up in another
you looked at me with that powerful love but
I could see the fear jiggling your eyes

you could probably see the words creeping across my skin

this is surgery, I said to you
or was, I don’t know
am I right?

fluorescent lights like tornado sirens

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Your Head

Your head a black hole
drawing all things
(credit cards, tulips,
babies and toupees)
to it

your head the end of all things
sucking a haiku reality in
and spitting out trees, lumber,
and bedroom sets

your head white noise
funneling a cosmic rubber band
into a shiny b flat from Miles’ trumpet

your head brushing by a nonsense
channeled into something we agree on
tacitly, unsure

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Catch-539

He liked to imagine that his skin
was made of glass and never to be touched.
He left his subterranean apartment
only for cigarettes and microwavable meals.
He read and re-read a dogeared copy of Catch-22
until all of the pages fell out,
and from those yellowed pages he glued together
a magnificent and confusing mural
on the bathroom wall across from the toilet.
Every time he had a difficult bowel movement
he clutched his knees and screamed “Yossarian!”

He took showers with Windex and published papers
in academic journals about the absurd state
of his precious internal organs:

His liver was composed of cotton candy
his heart, coffee grounds
his lungs, a folded up Twister board
his stomach, a kerosene space heater
his bladder, an expired debit card
his spleen, a roll of faux-wood contact paper
his colon, a blue length of PVC pipe
his brain, a hopping set of wind-up teeth
his eyes, cherry jelly beans

Encased in glass he took inventory
and pushed away his terrible anxiety.

His last vacation was spent climbing the hunchbacked cherry tree
couched up against his apartment building.
He fell and shattered into 539 pieces
like a postmodern pinata.
The neighborhood dogs sniffed
until they discovered the jelly beans,
which they inevitably licked and passed up.

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Subconscious Sexy Sexabation

You rode a bubble up your dream and into bed. The words came out like stray vowels as your legs twitched.

Let’s walk on sweat together like twin Jesus figurines and find a neon place that plays only Mingus. Let’s discover the flavor of the moon.

I need you to bend me backwards, fold me up, stuff me into a French press, and squeeze some inspiration from me. Before you drink me let me have a sip.

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We Are All In Jesus’ Kitchen

all around you there are sinners
loading chemicals and things
up their dry cracks
cramming things
into their mouths
and playing the lottery
in their hopeful minds

yet

there are no such thing as angels

and

Jesus has eyes in your sock drawer
and at night he makes sounds
and you think it’s just
the house settling or
the humming of distant generators

yet it’s him
he’s there
crinkled up in the plastic bags
above the washer and dryer
watching and listening

he’s taking careful notes
regarding your credit score
your budgeting
your sex life
and your treatment of the animals-
even the ones chopped and frozen
in your freezer

you found heaven
in the squishy folds of a ripe
pomegranate
and Jesus saw that too

you almost made him smile

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Filed under poetry, published work

Six Feet Over

turn the skyscrapers
upside down
to poke the earth
like dirty syringes

watch the worms
take to the air

I want my money back:
nobody told me outer space was a bad investment

please strap me loosely into my suit
and let me dig-dug underground for aliens

I want to see
what the beautiful women look like
when their nails are caked with dirt

I’ve paid my dues in this dimension
so show me where the rest of them are

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Filed under poetry, published work