Hoarders

Hoarders and hoards of
other wordly creatures
fill the street corners,
holding tightly,
fingers clinging,
knuckles white,
to anything that makes them feel
u n i q u e
and whole.
Walking around with plastic bags
full of things that they don’t need.
Blindly reaching for some meaning
among all of this meaninglessness.

I walk by them as I enter the bar
and hope that they find it someday.


My debut novel, DEAD RED FISH, is now on Amazon.
Get it here.

On The Balcony

My feet hang between the bars of my brother’s balcony railing. Two kids ride by on their bicycles, laughing about something. I watch them for a minute and then go back to smoking my cigarette. Sweet nicotine. Sweet sweet nicotine. The stars are out. It’s Los Angeles, and the stars are out. Seems funny that the stars are out with how much smog there is in Los Angeles. But I can see them. All of them. The Big Dipper and the Little Dipper and every single constellation in between. I would name them for you if I could, but I can’t. I never studied astrology. But they’re all out. Every single one of them. And here I am, on the second floor balcony of my brother’s apartment building. Just a single person on a single balcony in a single apartment building in a city full of apartment buildings in a country full of cities and a planet full of countries. I might have skipped a few steps in that progression but I’m not that worried about it. I’m nothing in the larger picture, that’s the point. And to a star I am really nothing. I am no star. I am no source of heat or energy or life. I’m hardly a decent, contributing member of society, let alone a star. I drag my cigarette and think about that. Perspective is everything. And from my perspective, on the second floor balcony of my brother’s apartment building, with my feet between the bars of the railing, I see that I’m not really anything. A writer, I call myself sometimes, but that doesn’t make me significant, in the same way that being a plumber or a teacher or a politician isn’t significant either. But we are not dust in the wind. Fuck that phrase. We are not dust in the wind. That’s bullshit. Because dust in the wind makes no impact. And just because we are not stars, just because we do not fuel a planet or a system of planets, or contribute to society, that does not mean that we don’t make an impact. Because even a negative impact is an impact nonetheless. Like a meteor. Like a meteor shattering the skin of the earth. Powerful and destructive and magnificent all at once. So maybe we’re more like meteors. We, each of us, are meteors making craters in the shell of the world. Each of us leaves an impact, but no one impact is significant enough to turn the planet on its axis.

My brother comes out onto the balcony and asks me what I’m doing.

I say that I’m not doing anything.

He says that it looks like I’m deep in thought.

I say that I’m not.

And so he just shrugs and sits down next to me with a cigarette for himself and another one for me and then the two of us just sit there and smoke cigarettes and we don’t really talk about much at all. We just sit there under the Big Dipper and Little Dipper and every other constellation and just play our insignificant roles in life. We play our roles. We play the role of a human. We destroy and we sit dumb under the stars. And that’s fine with me.


DEAD RED FISH now on Amazon

Joe Norman

Feeling lonely,
I walk the streets
and find a homeless man
to talk to.
He just pissed himself
and he’s wearing a
garbage bag as a poncho.
He says that his name is Joe Norman.
He lost his wife and kids
in a car accident
years ago,
and then basically gave up
on everything and started
wandering the streets,
lost, hungry,
and not seeing the point
in doing anything
any differently.
He asks if I have a
dollar to spare.
I give him a dollar.
But when I open my wallet
he sees that I have more money
than just a dollar,
and he asks if I can spare
anything else.
I shrug and give him
a couple more dollars.
He tells me more about
the accident his family was in.
He sheds a tear.
And I give him everything else
that I have.
He says, “God bless.”
I say, “you’re welcome.”
And then I go home
and get in my bed,
and out through my window
I see that fucking guy
get in a car with a woman
and two kids.


DEAD RED FISH

Concert

Haven’t had anything to eat. Drinking drinking drinking. Beer wine wine wine wine margarita beer beer shot of whiskey, beer. I see a guy smoking a dab pen and I ask him for a hit. He gives me a hit. I give him ten dollars because I’m drunk and I’m sure he deserves it. I think he says “thanks” but I turn away because I’m drunk and I don’t know why I’m talking to him. I’m hungry. Need to eat. But I’m drunk and I don’t know how to get to the concession stand. Someone is smoking a cigarette. I smell it. Someone behind me. I turn around and see this big woman smoking a cigarette. I ask her if I can have one. She says “sure” and then gives me one. I say “thanks” and then turn back around. Cigarette hanging from my mouth. People playing music, hanging around on the stage past the cigarette. I ask the guy next to me for another drag of the dab pen. He gives it to me and I take a couple of long pulls and then give it back to him. Then I realize I didn’t pay the woman for my cigarette. I turn around. She’s still just as big as she was when I first turned around and saw her smoking a cigarette. She’s really big. Her shirt is stretched out over these doughy lumps on her sides. So big. I’m staring. Then I remember that I owe her money. I reach into my shorts pocket and find another ten dollars. I’m drunk and I’m pretty sure that I’m a famously rich author. New York Times Bestselling Author, Lou Rasmus. Everyone knows me and everyone knows that I’m rich and I can pay ten dollars for a cigarette if I want to. I’m also drunk. But I give the big woman my money anyway. She says that she doesn’t want it. I say that I’m famous and rich and drunk. She says “ok” and she takes my money. I turn back around and see that the band is still playing. That’s good. Music feels nice right now. That and the buzz. And the little bit of sunlight that hasn’t fallen under the earth yet. I see the cigarette in my mouth again and I feel my pockets for a lighter. Don’t have one. I ask the guy with the dab pen for a lighter but he says that he doesn’t have one. Then he hands me the dab pen and I hit it again. Still haven’t eaten anything. Crushed beer can on the ground next to me. There’s a full one in my back pocket. I forgot about it. Grab it. Then suck on it until it’s halfway gone. I’m gone. I think about asking the big woman for a lighter but I’m drunk and I don’t want to so I put the cigarette in my pocket. I think I’ll save it for later. The show is still going on and I want to watch some of it. Sounds good. Sounds good even though I’m hungry. Sounds good and I’m drunk.


DEAD RED FISH