Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Apartment By: Marvin Gonzalez

In the course of our lives there come moments that,                     
Though seemingly innocuous in real-time,
Forever alter the fabric of our being,
One such moment occurred to me by chance some months ago
Outside Wing Lei’s Chinese Bistro of all places
On account of a mixed-up order of Spicy Kung Pao Chicken,
As I stepped out onto West Street,
Greeted by the insufferable screeching of motor-carriages,
A gust of wind nearly took off my hat,
Causing me to prop it down with one hand,
A clumsy reaction, which caused me to almost drop my take-out,
The gust subsided, but the half-open plastic bag
Bearing a dragon emblem whipped at the sky
Like a half-mast flag engaged in a solemn, moribund dance,
And, I caught a whiff of what was without doubt
A beef with broccoli stir fry,
I promptly turned around to return the mixed up take out
When I ran square into a smartly attired gentleman whom I quickly
Identified as Nathaniel Nyelander, a High School chum,
Now fully grown, a perfectly parted head in a tailored suit,
We greeted each other, gave each other an uncomfortable embrace,
And then proceeded to engage in the obligatory
Inquiry that people who know each other from
Past lives are often subject:
How have you been?
What do you do for work?
Any kids?
Oh, that’s too bad, I’ve got two small ones myself.
But, then he asked me a question that only later shocked me
As I stood in the dead center of my living room
And surveyed the broken furnishings
And scant wall-mounted framed pictures
That comprised my apartment,
Perhaps, it was shock induced by
Crisis of Existence,
Or, perhaps it was the potent, repugnant odor
Of my roommate’s cat’s piling, Tower of Babel, litter box
That filled my apartment like a gas leak,
But I felt an ab-piercing nausea, which caused me to double-over
And vomit in the artisan clay pot that housed
A pathetic and withering Aloe Vera plant on our coffee table,
While that simple and innocent question reverberated in my mind:
So, how’s your living situation?
God, how could such a simple question so ruffle the feathers
Of what had been up until then a cozy existence?
I suppose it had never occurred to me that these objects,
If one can call them so,
Were extensions of my being;
Were direct analogs to the quality of my life,
Goddamnit! What did the crusted pile of dirty dishes
Permanently taking residence in my kitchen sink
Say about my spiritual well-being?
Wasn’t it true that if I were in fact a dignified human being
I would choose to treat myself with dignity,
And, therefore, not allow piles of fallen whiskers
And soap scum to marry and forge
Over many months only to petrify as miniature stalagmite
Around the sink in my bathroom
Like a pathetically Lilliputian Stone Hedge?
And, what of this Godforsaken bathroom?
Which was so small it was more like a compartment than an actual room,
Shouldn’t a grown ass man afford himself the relief to stretch out
When he relieves himself?
Instead my toilet was so close to my bathtub that
I was constantly forced to turn my knees toward the door,
Invariably causing my left quadriceps to cramp,
At which point I have to clumsily lift and thrust
My slumbering, torpid leg uncomfortably over the porcelain tub,
Draining the blood from my leg strait
Into my left buttock,
Which swells and pulsates so violently
I have to pull my cold, rigor mortis leg out of the tub,
But because it is stiff and hyper-extended
It sends me flying off of the toilet
Only to end up face down in the tub
With my pants embarrassingly pulled around my knees
Leaving my bare ass exposed to the harsh elements
Of this cruel, sick world,
This was no way for a grown ass man to live!
Wasn’t this horrible shifting of position in an enclosed area
Merely a twisted metaphor for the sorry emotional state of my life?
Was I not wading in the emotional dregs of misery?
Was not this apartment the cauldron
From which a menacing witch
Mixed apathy, despair and existential agony
Only to rule the actions of my life with her cruel alchemy?
It was then I clearly, lucidly, candidly saw the road before me,
How could I have been so blind?
I quickly emptied the Apartment,
Leaving my roommate’s belongings,
As well as his fat, asthmatic cat sitting upon her own droppings
In the liter box as if though she expected little furry brown
Chicks to spring forth from them,
In the hallway outside,
I took my own things and threw them out the window,
Leaving socks and ties and pages of Deepak Chopra
To decorate the trees outside,
Bums lined my building holding out there arms
Like a fireman catching a kitty thrown from
The burning second floor of a mid-century home,
And, once all was gone, I knew what must be done,
I must find The Apartment,
Listen to these words, parse them please,
“The” Apartment;
Not just “A” Apartment, mind you,
For my use of the definite article here should not be overlooked,
I needed to find “The” Apartment that accurately represented me?
“The” Apartment whose granite top counters
Reflected the fortitude and resolve of my character,
Whose radiant stainless steel sinks
Shone as brilliantly as the fire in my heart,
An Apartment with ample fenestration
Allowing sunlight to enter to through its crystalline pathways,
I wanted to be as that Apartment,
Open and inviting,
Structurally sound and well-furnished,
I wanted this Apartment’s Feng Shui to reflect my Chi,
Perhaps, the austere, modern Ikea furnishing
Would reflect the simplicity and utility of my life,
No more emotional clutter,
I needed open space, light, and symmetry,
And, so I hit the pavement in search,
I journeyed the width and breath of my fair city,
But, nothing felt right,
The one bedroom on Morris St.,
Though charmingly tucked into a grove of Aspen,
Nevertheless, bore the intolerable odor of the past tenants,
Not to mention the patch of linoleum,
Uh linoleum!
That was bubbling up in the kitchen,
The studio on Klammath Lane was lovely, I must say,
But, situated right next to the river I’d have to bear the
Insufferable squawking of geese, morning after morning,
Not to mention that their greenish-white turds would litter the front lawn
Like the weathered, rustic tombstones of an old cemetery,
I found a delightful remodeled home first built in the 1920s
On Taylor and Peking Lane,
Which still had the charming archways leading into the kitchen,
The fenestration in the living room had been extended down to the ground
Allowing natural light to flourish and
Wash the room with a soft focus glow that,
Because it simultaneously muddled the walls
And acutely defined the edges,
Made everything seem both more real and imagined,
The bathroom still had the original white and turquoise tile
Though had been augmented to include a beday and cement counter and sink,
Walking through it, I felt I had finally found
A location that could rectify my abominable living situation,
That is, until I stumble upon the bedroom,
It wasn’t so much the bedroom itself
As the residual energy that inhabited it,
I could still feel the screams of winless arguments,
I could hear a young woman with chestnut hair
Whimpering, eyes welling with pain,
Mascara leaking down cheeks
The way a diseased tree lactates
A fluid of indiscernible nature,
A felt a rush of their joy, their sex, their hatred,
Malice, cruelty, laughter, envy, and solitude,
And, I realized that this home belonged to someone beside,
That it would never belong to me,
I was crushed by a squall of emotions,
And went back to my own miserable apartment
With a bottle of wine and a joint the size of my middle finger
To wallow in the decrepitude and spiritual agony
That was my living situation,
I fell myself in the middle of my now empty living room
Popped the wine and examined the ceiling,
A world opened before me,
A portal into a hypothetical future where I saw myself
Quite happy and at peace,
My surroundings changed,
What I understood as home altered with the seasons,
But, yet I remained,
I myself withered and crumbled,
My face fissured and cracked,
But, yet I remained,
I smiled for the first time in months
And as soon as I sparked the joint
I heard a piercing explosion above me,
Suddenly, I was in a vacuum,
It was like I was floating in space though I remained in place,
The weed smoke swirled and vanished,
Swirled and vanished,
Swirled and vanished,
And, then I was alone, though never less lonely,
Flames burst through the ceiling,
And singed the beard from my face,
Smoke swirled and vanished,
The flames madly danced about,
The walls darkened and tarred,
And, I had never seen them look so lovely,
The sprinklers on my ceiling created
A domestic rainstorm,
A summery rainstorm of the kind
I liked to run shirtless through in my youth,
The misery of my apartment manifestly demonstrated
Was beautiful,  
And I felt my own misery must be equally beautiful,
The rain, the fire, the smoke, the charcoal lathered walls,
A perfectly brewed misery,
My living situation:
A glorious work of art,
A pastiche of emotion,
Both flourishing and crumbling,
Where I was both burning and baptized,
Living and dying and reborn,
A singed orphan with half a beard
And less a mind
Left at the doorstep of an indignant God
Atop a doormat that read:
Welcome Home.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Looking for Ms. Write Vol. 1 No. 3 By: Marvin Gonzalez

I always hook up with the most fucked up chicks,
My shrink tells me that it’s really me
That’s all fucked up,
She said that I am suffering from abandonment issues
Stemming from the fact that my Mother
Was never around when I was a kid,
I told her, “What the fuck does my ex’s heroin addiction
Have to do with the fact that
My Mother worked two jobs
To put clothes on my back
And food on my plate?”
She said that I purposefully choose
Unstable women that I know ahead of time
Will result in complete failures of intimacy,
That way I could use these women as proxies,
And blame them for my feelings of loss and abandonment
And not my mother,
First of all,
How fucking dare she bring my mother into this?
Second of all,
Where does this Vanderbilt hussy come off?
With her fancy diplomas
And her matted Georgia O’ Keefe prints,
Giving me these pointed glares all the time
And scribbling in her steno notebook
In this high-minded, judgmental way,
I got so fucking mad I popped the cap off the
Large blueberry mocha frap that I got before my session
And poured it all over her
Wanna-be Victorian psychiatrist couch,
She screamed out, “My God, that’s an antique!”
To which I quickly retorted, “It’s faux-leather!
And, you know it!”
Then I told her diagnosis was correct,
Yet again I had entered into a relationship
With an unstable louse that was doomed for failure,
“Congratulations,” I said,
“Your keen detection skills have once again
Led you to crack the mother fucking case!”
How dare this woman I pay $80 an hour
Tell me how fucked up I am,
I know I’m all fucked up,
Why do you think I solicited her services in first place?
I tell you, 
It’s hard to keep a right mind in these trying times,
Naturally I was in such a state after
Our prematurely aborted session
That I had to get a drink in me,
And anyway it was Friday and happy hour,
Not that I ever needed that as an excuse to tie on one,
I end up at this out of the way place I like to go to,
Don Carlo’s,
Mainly because, though all the bartenders know me by name,
I won’t run into any of my friends or coworkers,
And I sit at the end of the bar and mind my own
All the while getting more and more cheery
And laughing as I pop
Complimentary peanuts down my throat,
So, anyway,
I am rubbing elbows with the regulars
Like Louie Quintana who has no reservations
Telling me how big a pain in the ass
His old lady had been lately,
Or, Otis Neetleman who’s drowning
In unpaid child support and alimony debt
And has the authorities breathing down his neck,
And, for a minute I relish in the fact that I am
All alone and not tied down
To anyone serious,
Because, let’s face it,
The sweeter the first kiss is
The more bitter the last argument will be,
So what’s the point of getting yourself
Mixed up in tragedy in the first place?
Maybe, I think, the first kiss should be bitter,
That way it can only grow sweeter from there,
But you know how things go?
Once I am about eight deep
And all the old-timers have thrown in the towel,
I am left to my own devices
And my mind wanders to that all too familiar place,
Which is when I spot her sitting at the other end of the bar,
God, where has she been all night?
I have been sitting in the same spot for hours
And I never noticed her walk in,
It’s almost as if she just appeared out of thin air,
But, there she is,
Undeniably present,
This physical anomaly of beauty,
A wondrous, magical flower growing in the middle
Of nuclear fallout,
She’s got flowing red hair that’s pulled up,
And I swear to Christ
She looks just like a pin up doll,
I don’t typically throw around the word “anachronistic”
But, she literally seems out of place in time,
Like a photograph from the 1930’s come to life,
And, there is literally this
Glamorous glow that seems to hover just above her,
Giving her this kind of soft focus
Muddled aura
That seems to evaporate any
Rigidness to her appearance,
I am so enchanted by her presence
That I don’t even notice her approach me with two drinks,
“You’re a Scotch man, right?”
She says placing a sifter glass
With a shot of Black Label
Swirling around like a caramel version of the cosmos,
And I say, “Damn right about that,”
“That’s good, I like a man that can
Handle a strong drink. 
You know what they say:
Strong drink for a strong man.”
She says grabbing my upper arm
Which I instinctively flex,
She is wearing a long coat which she unbuttons
And I see that she is wearing a black skirt
With a slit that runs down the middle,
And as she adjusts her position in her seat
I see this tiny swathe of exposed upper thigh
And I know it’s all over from there, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We end up moving to a corner booth,
And though I am struggling to stay awake
I let myself be taken by this inexplicably
Extreme weight of fatigue,
And I allow myself to fall vulnerably into her lap,
Meanwhile she is whispering in my ear,
Lulling me gently into a deep sleep,
Slowly, sweetly,
Like a Polaroid patiently coming into focus,
Only, backwards I suppose,
Going from light to dark,
And, back once again into light,
For a moment I taste the sweetness of death,
That golden moment when the pains and heft of life
Are suddenly purged from our bodies,
And our soul sheds our outer shell,
Like a tarantula developing a new exoskeleton
Leaving behind only that physical semblance
Of the man that I truly am,
I float in a dream,
But it is muddled and hazy,
Peaceful and saccharine,
Though slowly I float back into the shell,
And though it’s only been hours
My body struggles to regain its faculties,
Which is why it takes me so long to realize
That I am hanging from a wall
Shackled at my wrists and ankles and gagged,
And, as I make a voiced attempt at protestation,
A muted and mumbled exasperation floats into the air
Then falls flat on the floor
Along with the foamy, rabid saliva
That pathetically drizzles down my chin
Like a grotesque child or enraged canine,
Before I even have time to process or make sense
Of the predicament in which I found myself,
She flicks on a single buzzing light bulb
That hangs down from the ceiling
Like a menacing eyeball dangling from its socket,
She is dressed in only long black vinyl boots
And she brandishes a stiff whip,
Like the kind a jockey uses to goad a racehorse,
Saying nothing verbally,
But, communicating domination with her expression
And ruthless ecstasy with the way she nibbles on her own lips,
She whips me mercilessly,
Exulting emphatically each time the whip
Lacerates my exposed, vulnerable dermis,
And as tears voluminously spring forth from
My Excited lacrimal glands,
She takes a moment to stop and pulls herself in close,
So she can lap up lasciviously like a kitten
The salty manifestations of pain,
Which seems to make her grow stronger
As if though she were sadistically
Regenerated by my misery-impregnated secretions,
And, when she has had her fill,
She flicks off the light and I am left alone in the darkness,
And, so each day progresses in a similar fashion,
As time passes, I can’t even feel the strikes against my body,
She takes out the gag, 
Because i stopped screaming long ago,
And, there is no more misery left within me,
One day as she pulls me close to lick my tears,
She stops when she realizes she is simply licking my cheeks,
She remains hovering just so, with her hand behind my neck,
When like a bolt I am struck with desire
And I muster the energy to turn my neck toward her
Placing a desirous kiss upon her lips
Which does not go unrequited,
And, then what happens in nothing short of amazing,
We lose ourselves in a fit of ecstasy,
All the pain that I’ve endured is converted to pleasure,
There is no more shell,
There is no more man,
There is no desire to run,
To abandon,
No more fear,
Only us,
When at the highest moment of ecstatic release,
My eyes open for the first time in all my life
And I see that all this time I have been
Afraid that a woman would tie me down,
But, this is not true,
What I have really been waiting for
Is for a woman who would tie me up…

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Find Yourself

I have heard your story,
I have heard you loud & clear
Scars like an abyss
With no visual markings
Trust has withered away
Like a raisin in the sun
What he has done
Is unforgivable
And some days
Seem unlivable

I hear you miss,
I hear you loud and clear
I see the way these boys
Play Russian roulette with
Words like spiked bats
Swinging aimlessly
Using your insecurities like a piƱata
Trying to break you open
Till your warmth, care & love
Hit the ground

More times than not I have been the one
Trying to pick up the pieces
And somehow make it better again.
Sometimes only trying to be a friend
Sometimes trying to be more
Sometimes feeling so distant
Than it would be better to write
Than fight to have you closer.

Your story is like so many others
Ex girlfriends, ex flings,
Mothers, daughters, nieces, cousins
Over these years I have tried to make sense of it.
I have tried to understand.
It is so easy to blame him
So easy to tell the world what a monster he was.
So easy to not look inside yourself
And understand your self worth.

Motherly instincts tell you to nurture
To care for
To put band aids over wounds
And make it all better.

So what if he had no car,
No job,
No direction,
No drive,

SO what if he sold drugs,
Had a criminal record,
And a few go to girls on the side.

He had enough swagger,
Enough confidence,
Enough of that “fuck it” attitude to
Show you that attention you needed. 

How strong are you?
How many dates did you wait
Till legs spread open
Exposing the vulnerability
Of the need to be wanted, embraced?
How many times did you let him use your body,
So he could get his and you could not get yours?
How many times did you let him borrow,
Using your kindness for weakness?
How many nights did text messages go unanswered while
The other side of the bed stayed vacant?
How many times did you feel like you felt before you met him.
How many times did you stand up for yourself and say no!
How many times did you repeat the same steps with the same kind of guys?

There are boys and there are men.
 There are those types that will talk to anything with a pulse
Those who exhaust energy into seeing how much ass they can pull
Those who’s money goes to addictions and escape
Those who never took time to understand their self worth,
Those are the one’s we call boys.

The one you’re looking for might not be as attractive,
Might not have tattoos and piercing & the newest bummy fashion trend.
Might not be spending endless nights at the bars & clubs searching,
Might not be out screaming for attention out in public.

If we are suppose to be reflections of one another
Then you are no better than the one’s you choose to keep company with.
I ask all you girls, young women,
How much is your self worth?
How much do you love yourelf?

I know it’s hard to be alone at times
But to be your own vehicle
Is something we all deserve to be.
Find yourself, before you find another
Because those who are already found
Will never leave you feeling lost. 

-Poem by Iain "Emic" Watson

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Letter from my Cousin Miguel Angelo

Dear Marvin,

I used to get all kinds of mail,
Shit I actually wanted to read
And some that I could give two shits about,
I used to get so fucking annoyed
By Auntie Rita sending me these Christmas cards,
They were family pictures taken in the
Back of some department store
Over a woodland set that looked almost
As phony as their forced, uncomfortable smiles,
Which made them all look more like they
Needed to pinch off a fat loaf
Or they were being held captive by terrorists,
Than they were actually happy to pose as a family,
Still, I found these picture Christmas cards to be mocking,
Like I should feel bad about myself for being
Selfish and juvenile
Because I didn’t a family of my own to corral
Against their will in the back of a Sears
And have them sit still with artificial smiles,
More sterile than a hospital,
And crooked glares like wax sculptures
Housing vapid, emotionless eyes…
But then all I got were bills, bills, fucking bills,
And I longed for those far gone days
When I still had the luxury to be annoyed
By Auntie Rita’s nuclear family’s mocking gestures,
Shit, these days I wish I had a luxury period,
See, it started off like this:
I’d get a bill, then I’d pay it off,
Then I’d get another bill and I’d pay it off,
Then I’d get billed for paying that bill
Over the phone,
Which seemed ridiculous
To get charged thusly,
But then I couldn’t afford to pay my bills
So I filled out one of those too-good-to-be-true
Credit card offers, so that I could pay off my bills
And then I’d get a bill for that,
And soon enough I was inundated with so many fucking bills
That I started hitting the sauce
Pretty regularly to ease the stress,
Then it was impossible to afford my credit card bills no more,
So, then I said, “Fuck it!
I never want to see another fucking bill again in my life!”
So, I set out on the road to lead a wandering lifestyle
Like Kwai Chang Caine from Kung Fu
Or Christ,
But, I ran out of gas before I even got out of town,
So, I parked the mother fucker by the river,
Put it on an easy listening station
And tried to get some shut eye…
Well, when I awoke there’s a fucking ticket
Shoved under my damn windshield wiper
For parking illegally…
God Damn it was I steamed,
I was so fucking pissed I started having these,
Like, ridiculous fantasies of wringing a police man by the neck,
And in a gesture of uncontrollable rage
I pushed my fucking car into the river,
And I tore off all my clothes
Deciding I wanted to possess nothing forevermore,
Nothing but the skin on my bones
And the fire in my heart,
So, I jumped into the river, naked as a jaybird,
Wishing to be cleansed,
To be newly reborn,
Baptized once again
Pledging allegiance to only the God inside,
And for the first time in my whole life I felt replete with joy,
But then just as the sun shone down on me,
And birds seemed to chirp in this symphonic,
Triumphant sort of way,
Suddenly my bastard car begins to actually sink into the river,
And it pulls me down into a spiraling tunnel
Of waves and bubbles,
And I smash my head on a rock as I reach the bottom
And it was lights out…
When I came to I found myself washed ashore,
So, I pulled my creaking bones from off the ground
And realized I had settled right next to the post office,
And then it just hit me:
Not only was it my duty, 
My calling, 
My office,
To rid myself of this virus
Known as the United States Postal Service,
But I was destined to do my world a service
And free it from the bondage of packaged mail,
So, I decided that I was going to hijack
One of those shitty postal trucks
That have the steering wheel on the wrong side,
So, I approached a postman,
And he saw me with my hands out-stretched,
Grumbling and speaking in tongues,
Telling the mother fucker I was going to wring his neck,
And he just looked down at my hands
That were curled up like a s zombie’s,
And then down at my gleaming chest
And my balls and cock that were flapping about
Like a living, breathing game of crochet,
And, he just ran off screaming
While I put the mail truck in gear
And peeled out,
When the petrol had worn out
I found myself in the middle of the desert,
And once I came to a clearing
I unloaded all the mail,
Staring down at the city below,
Watching the silent buzz and crack
Of casino lights at dance,
I could just feel the cries and misery
Of those people down below
Who for far too long had been locked
Inside and invisible prison,
A prison at once self-imposed
And forcibly fed,
So, I decided that I would create my own
Shining example,
My own fortress on the hill,
Thus began my campaign
To rid the city of its mail,
I hijacked mail trucks at the airport,
I held up mail-carriers at gun point
In front of mid-century homes
With white fences, and groomed green lawns,
While ankle-biting dogs bounced up and down
As I forced the mail-carrier to disrobe
So that I could take on the enemy’s dress
And become a vigilante in disguise,
Taking them down from the inside,
I began to walk my own mail routes,
Emptying mailboxes along the way
And replacing car payments,
NV Energy service interruption notices,
And student loan 30 day late notices
With love letters that I had composed myself,
“Ms. Norris, shall I compare thee to a winter’s day?
Thou art more sexy, more violent than a storm…
In my pants!  Boom!”
All stress and headaches became laughter and smiles,
I exchanged catalogues from J Crew
With vegan brownies home-cooked with carob and fresh mint,
And still the love letters flowed:
“Shawanda, lay your sleeping head, my love,
Animal on my faithful charm,
Unzip my pant, don’t shy away,
And sucketh on my third arm!”
Eventually, I had amassed enough useless mail
To begin construction of my palace,
The first floor was built on
Images of Ed McMahon
And mail in forms for personalized checks,
The Second floor was built on student loans
And car payments,
While cleverly utilizing coupons to
Papa John’s and Little Caesar’s as wallpaper,
Of course mortgage payments
And foreclosure notices rounded off the third floor,
But not before I installed an attractive balcony
Using Aunt Rita’s Christmas cards
To stylize the columns,
And so I sit and wait,
Watching down below,
Occasionally I slip down to distribute a poem or two,
But mostly I just wait,
Letting the frustration swell like the tide,
Letting it manifest organically,
But I can feel it coming, so subtly in breeze,
Like a distant howl, or impending storm,
Not quite here,
But I can hear the rumble,
Like a stampede or a drove of drones.

Reno, NV 11/03/2011 7:26 PM