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The Misfit caught up with the grandmother on a dirt road in South Georgia.

The only real difference between “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and National Lampoon’s “Vacation” is the illusory theme park ending and maybe Christie Brinkley. The reality is that John Candy killed the Griswolds, killed them all, then drank their blood and curled up for a nap in a rollercoaster car. He gets a life sentence being studied by frauds who pretend his brain is some kind of worm farm so they don’t have to work for a living which turns us round back to the actual reason why the Misfit killed the grandmother in the first place.

She would have been a good woman if it had been someone there to shoot her for Instagram every minute of her life.

Parking Lot

Around the edges toward the back is where divorcees and never-marrieds change diapers on the tailgate while exchanging kids for the week.

Arguments over weekend schedules and car-seat ownership bloom from empty baby wipe packages but the grocery is right there

where it all started. Rushed window fog undressing. Rent-a-cop scooter headlights while sweat dripped on ripped upholstery.

It was the best sex they ever had.

The Disappointed Telecaster

I bought a brown-and-white Telecaster in 1993 while digging
Lindsey Buckingham arpeggios
Keith Richards rock harpsichord
Joe Strummer musical chainsaw
Andy Summers stabby string reggae-rake echo flutter
Albert Collins bent-over blues
Steve the Colonel white soul twelve bar backup
Mark Knopfler twangy clean walking country Brit boogie

Eventually the strings started
pushing back and my rent was late

Doused in envy
with a streak of sulfur
burning brightly
in brown and white
but not as bright
as I thought it would
cash in hand,
on the pawn shop counter

Insomnia

If I gave you chlamydia
Would you give me your heart
Would you do all my laundry
And cook for me sometimes

If it turned out to be syphillis
Could you ever forgive me
Could you still wash my car
And tell your sister I’m sorry

If you give me Corona
Should I ask how you got it
Should I ask where your mask is
And if your stepmom has herpes

An Aging Bachelor Talks To His Latest Aging Conquest Three Weeks In

my whole life I loved brunettes
but now it’s blondes and fake blondes
like you

whoever the other guy or guys are
you will always wonder
best to remain with
whoever pays your way
all the way
to the finish line

double-down on your husband
because nobody ever had it all
all at once

you already hate
my solitude and sleeping alone
and as much as I enjoy
backgammon together
and having you in my bed–
and you only wake-up in my bed
because the sex is good and I
sleep heavy–
you will never
be my all
or my better half
or even more than
a third although it may be a strong third
and maybe even the strongest third
almost as important as my
revenue streams
or fishing trips because
you’re not getting any younger
and your daughters are getting older

you will grow to hate that
you will listen to me
scrub on that black guitar
week after week but
never write a song about you,
hate that I will love you
the way I’ve loved
all of you
constant
at arm’s length
at which length
you may become angry
or cry
or maybe even
try to punch or
stab me someday

Redaction

So
he never liked how she
gave guys rides home from
night classes at the community
college but she was just
“being nice”(TM) and why would
she be so blatantly honest about
it because if anything were
going on she would be
hiding it and anyways
the pre-marital
counselor agreed
that controlling
behavior was
a bad sign,
right?

So
when she told him on
the honeymoon that she
had taken a job in
pharmaceutical sales
that required in-state
travel he was bothered
by the way she made
that decision without
talking to him about
it first but who
was he–her sister
pointed out–to
tell her what
she can and
cannot
do?

So
when she announced that once
their son was born she would be
putting him in daycare as soon as
possible so that she could get
back to her career and he
suggested she stay home to
raise the baby as agreed
before they married she said
it would probably only be
part-time anyway and who
was he to keep from her the
dignity and independence a great
career provided and what
was he trying to do?
Keep her barefoot and
pregnant in the
kitchen and
dependent
upon
him?

So
when she put the baby
in daycare full time and
he questioned her longer
absences she confessed the
truth about the classmates
she gave rides home years
ago and sobbed because
now she was just trying
to make everyone proud
and support their
family and wasn’t
he supposed to
forgive
her?

So
he admitted he wasn’t being
supportive and he forgave her
and quit his job to stay home with
the baby and kept himself happy counseling
others at church and little league
and Sunday School and friends
and family how to have a
great marriage and be
happy together like them
from the beginning,
how it was only possible
when you practice
radical honesty, and
radical forgiveness
out of genuine
love and respect
for each
other.

Hemingway’s Typewriter Guilty as Charged

He wasn’t home.

Only visitors,
empty chair,
empty room,
that
blank page
chambered in
his other weapon
locked and loaded,
in battery and
ready to fire,
with more triggers
than you have teeth
and a trigger press
heavier than a
shotgun trigger,
doing good time
behind bars
all day
all day long.

He wasn’t there.

More people than
birds
more birds than
cats
more cats than
chickens
more hens than
roosters
more roosters here than
people who ever knew they
paid to mingle with
ghosts who look like
cats
that sing like
birds
and groove like
chickens
that dodge sweaty
children
dodging crying
women because yes
he made them cry
but not now.
Now they roam the grounds
asking,
“When was he Vice-President?”
and
“Why did he live so close to a t-shirt store?”

He wasn’t home–
not even his ghost
–just a revenant
a wall decoration
a mis-spelled word
always out of time
fishing and drinking,
smiling and drinking,
fishing and smiling
and drinking
sideways and avuncular,
from here to Havana,
then back in Montana
that other other typewriter:
the single key
so light to press–
so why be here on a
sweaty day in the Keys
if they won’t even let you
swim in his pool?

The Expat-Terrible’s Perpetual Vow

On that day,
on my leaving
I will renew the passport;
I will buy the ticket,
embrace family and friends.
I will cry with my coiffeur
and his second husband, the
Republican. Yes, Republican.
I will buy the beret in that
window on Rodeo,
buy something, anything,
with extra tight pockets
and zippers in all
the wrong places.
I will go vegan to avoid
mayonnaise on french fries.
Finally learn the metric system
and how to love myself again.

Suicide Knob, 1984

1
Gray bondo 442
windows down
loose paper swirling in the back seat night air
honeysuckle and smokestacks
a second skin
2
Thirty minutes away from
her tidy brick ranch with
sagging gutters and cracked roof tiles–
well-lit
well past curfew,
the chainsmoker, hair in curlers
watches the street
3
Slender, glistening cheesecake thighs
peel off black vinyl. She
crushes tight against my shoulder
at fifty-seven miles per hour
like I’m a magnet that will keep her
safe at any speed
Who knows the lost glory,
those wide-open bench seat handjobs
on an open road at night
Van Halen “Eruption” live
glass packs add crazy percussive bass
I listen to the music but not to her
We see each other more clearly than we see ourselves
One sweaty hand high up her thigh,
one on that silver skull, that suicide knob
fingering both
figuring it out
###