Andy no longer enjoyed the comforts of cohabitation. The simple softness of the marriage bed hardened like stone beneath his “bad back.” There was a wall of pillows between him and his wife — no touching. She told him where to lay, which way to turn, and how to breathe. She’d hit him in the mouth when he started snoring. “Roll over, you’re breathing my air,” took place of “good night, I love you.” Andy lay still on his back, staring up at the slow whirl of the ceiling fan — afraid to move, wondering why he slept here night after night. He told himself he was happy, comfortable, lucky even. But, some nights he felt more like a scolded child than a man. And, maybe that’s why she treated him like one. “Lights out,” she said. And it was lights out.

The Rough Stuff

He says he likes the rough stuff, and I have no reason to doubt it. That stuff is rough, and there are those that do and those that don’t. Who am I to say what is or isn’t, who does or doesn’t? Do I? No, I do not. Or, at least I did not — that is, until he told me he likes the rough stuff. Then, I did. Then, I liked it a lot.

The Job Hunt



Underemployed and overqualified, ready for the hot trot through your double doors. Steaming up your breakroom, I’m the kind of man that will fill your cubicle. He’s good people, we’re all good people — better, best. Have a seat Mr. Sifter. So glad you could join us. So what, you want it bad? How bad? Bad, bad, Mr. Sifter. Bad, bad, naughty, dirty, bad, Mr. Sifter. Oh, Mr. Sifter, we think you’ll do fine here among us other Sifters. Good, good, better, best, among us better, best, and gifted Sifters.

Location, Location, Location

When There wasn’t there anymore, Here felt right where she should be. All the toing and froing, coming and going, had finally arrived — and they’d felt at a loss for direction. “I just don’t see this going anywhere,” he had said. Here stared aimlessly out the second story window, thinking of all the other places out there — without There. “Yes, but where does that leave me?” She asked. “Oh I’m sure you’ll find someone, somewhere,” he said. After all, anywhere is possible.

Stocking Stuffer

6:37, Christmas morning and I’d already crapped myself — absolutely heart warming. Screams of elation coupled with the shredding of wrapping paper coupled with flashing lights and electrical noise coupled with kids coupled with puppies and presents and pumpkin scented candles make for one hell of a hangover. Yes, why not the Santa hat? Very funny. Everyone together for a picture, and Andy, smile this time. Santa and Frosty and Rudolph and the virgin birth. Baby Jesus crying in a manger because he’s soiled himself — that’s the spirit! Andy, smile for chrissakes! I am smiling, this is me smiling, shifting on the lump of coal in my stocking. Merry Christmas.

Four Foggy Windows

Four foggy windows
Two noses
Four nostrils
Four lips
Two tongues
Four shoulders
Four hands
Maybe more
No
Just four
For the flame
For the burning
Clawing at the burden
Within our two bodies
All limbs and whims
And searching
For an opening
To relieve
To free
Ourselves

Bender

First a nudge, a probe, a prod, a thud — the moment was pressing, fleeting, fading, then gone. Carl wasn’t quite sure where it had went, but he was sure that wherever it was, it wasn’t there anymore. He looked up at the sky, cursed it; down at the ground, cursed it; around at the others in their cars with their fortunes and families and world-views and false gods, cursed them all. Grid-locked, on a Tuesday morning. Carl, molested with white knuckles on the wheel, and some knuckle-head in the rear view opening his car door to assess or apologize or excuse or blame — all furrowed brow and assuredly insured shrugs. Carl took his foot off the brake and rolled on in a slow-crawl-getaway, the rear bumper sags a little more on Wednesdays in Carl’s gas guzzling “kick me” sign with wheels.

Hermit Crab

I could see it in the way you held your shoulders — slightly hunched forward, that you knew what it was like to be ashamed. Ashamed of the eyes on you. Ashamed of the way your body moved. Constantly checking the mirror, trying to make them less obvious. Finding just the right angle to hide inside. I wanted to say something to you, to tell you I knew. To tell you that lately, I’d found myself within moments of confidence; pulling my shoulders back, and walking with my face to the clouds. But looking into the elevator mirror, I saw my own shoulders — slightly hunched, creating a little cave for me to crawl within and peer without. And I watched as the lobby doors opened, and you walked out: shouldering the weight of the elevator and the sunlight and the rest of the world, with me in it.