It’s going to be a great opening! Maybe even GRAND! @lastritesgallery Aug 30 7-11pm bring a friend. #painting #opening #show#gallery #lastritesgallery
From hotel room windows
I see only concrete and steel.
Each level of the parking lot reads
like a band of an ancient tree,
home to countless infidelities
and whispered confessions
carved into leather seats.
When we were teenagers we hitchhiked,
trading blowjobs for drug money,
stealing beer and cigarettes
from so many pick-up trucks.
Somehow the road felt less dangerous then,
though some of us were lost
to the music and highwaymen,
while others just forgotten
in the backseats of cars
mad with lip gloss and fingers
that smelled faintly of gasoline.
Better to hum with the pitchforks and engines
than sit idle in parked cars
alone and dreaming of a life
rich with oil and adventure.
© gibson grand
A small trickle of blood ran down Rachel’s forearm as Kenny pulled the needle from her vein. He wiped it away with his t-shirt and gently laid her back on the sagging sofa. He wiped her long bangs away from her eyes and gently stroked her cheek. She was gone. Usually, she would babble incoherently for a while before nodding out but this shit was strong. Rachel had copped at a new spot, Clinton Bomber. New dope brands were never stronger than they were the first couple of weeks after they hit the street. Word of mouth was everything. Depending on the frequency of his habit, a bag of new dope could keep a junkie straight for two or three days, while he might need a bag a day of an established brand. Once the word spread, however, and a new brand got a following, the dealers would cut it down to increase profits. Kenny wished they could have gotten more.
He fished through Rachel’s pockets until he found the bag of speed. Over the last few days, Kenny had been trying to reduce his dope habit by shooting more and more speed. He grabbed Rachel’s needle and spoon, and walked down the hall to the bathroom. Locking the door behind him, he went to work cleaning Rachel’s works, which were clogged with dried blood. When he finished, he cooked up the bag of speed in the spoon. Usually, he would only do half a bag or mix a speed ball with some dope. Today he just wanted a rush.
He found a vein quickly. He always did. He pulled back on the plunger, drawing a little blood into the chamber, then pushed the speed into his vein. Within seconds his body began to shake violently and his vision started to blur. Kenny had never had a seizure before but he imagined this is what one felt like. He felt like he was being jack-hammered between two worlds. He started to scream as he fell into the bathroom door, convinced he was going to die.
Kenny didn’t die. He awoke some time later to the sound of Rachel banging on the bathroom door. His chin was covered in dried snot and saliva and his head was pounding something fierce. If there had been anything in his stomach at all, he was sure he would puke. He unlocked the door and Rachel stuck her head in.
“Shit, Kenny. What the fuck have you been doing in here?”
“I shot too much speed. I think I just had a seizure.”
Rachel pushed open the door and sat down on the floor beside Kenny. She hugged him close.
“You okay?” she asked.
“I guess so. Didn’t you hear me screaming?”
“Shit, I was out, babe. But Eric’s been home all afternoon.”
Eric was their roommate, who lived in the downstairs bedroom of their duplex. Rachel was right. He would have heard Kenny. Maybe he just imagined he had screamed. Maybe he did scream but no sound could escape his body.
Rachel wadded up some toilet paper and wet it in the sink. She gently washed his face and wiped the dried blood from his forearm. Rachel wasn’t the nurturing type but Kenny enjoyed those rare moments when she mothered him. She got him up to his feet.
“C’mon,” she said. ”Your dad’s downstairs.”
Kenny looked at her incredulously. Rachel shrugged her shoulders.
“He said he needed to talk to you.”
“Come with,” Kenny muttered.
Rachel shook her head. Kenny couldn’t blame her. His family despised her, convinced she had turned him into an addict. The Devil Woman. Of course, this wasn’t true. He had embraced his addiction happily. Indeed, he had rushed to it without hesitation, tossing everything aside that stood in his way—his fiancée, his friends, and his career.
“Is there any speed left?”
Kenny didn’t need to answer. Annoyed, Rachel returned to their bedroom.
Kenny entered the living room to find his dad sitting on the couch. He took a chair on the opposite side of the room, suddenly aware of how expansive it was. He and his roommates never used the living room. His dad was swallowed up by it. Kenny had not seen him in several years. He had put on some weight and his hair had turned grey, except for his moustache, which was stained yellow from nicotine. His dad crossed the room and offered Kenny a Winston. Kenny lit one up. The hot smoke felt good in his lungs. Kenny had switched to Kools months ago. Something about the menthol smoke made it easier to cope with the near constant dope-sickness. It had been a while since he had smoked a real cigarette and he was enjoying the dense flavor of the Winston.
His dad sat down on the coffee table opposite him.
“Your mom told me you’re moving to Texas.”
“Can’t stay here. They’ll put me back in jail.”
His dad nodded appreciatively.
“Did I ever tell you that I was addicted to heroin once?”
As soon as he heard the words, Kenny knew they weren’t true.
“No, dad. You never mentioned that.”
“Yeah, when I was your age…”
He seemed to take a beat for dramatic effect.
“I was worried I might be gay. So I started shooting heroin.”
Kenny had often wondered if his dad was gay but still found the story incredible.
“Yeah,” his dad said as his chest swelled, “I used to shoot it behind my knee, so no one would see my track marks.”
“How did you quit?”
“Cold turkey. With the help of a local priest.”
Kenny tried to imagine his Bronx Jew of a dad, confiding in some priest that he was a gay heroin addict. No. This was pretty weak. Even for his dad.
“And no one in the family knew about it?,” Kenny asked.
“Just your Uncle Herb.”
The thought of Uncle Herb made Kenny smile. He was the family pothead and Kenny used to smoke joints with him when he was a teenager. He only addressed him as “Uncle Herb”—with a silent “H.” His dad took Kenny by the hand.
“When Uncle Herb went to see you in the prison last month, he came to me afterwards and said, ‘I can’t believe it’s happening again.’ You see, I was just like you.”
Kenny thought this was a nice touch. Part of him wanted the story to be true, as if his deterioration could be traced back to some latent family defect. Of course, his dad seemed to be forgetting that Kenny had been adopted.
“I wish you could stay with me but it’s just not possible. Why don’t you stay with your mother? She’ll take you in.”
“What about Rachel?,” Kenny asked.
His dad shrugged his shoulders. Kenny pulled his hand from his father’s grasp and stood up.
“Thanks for coming by, dad.”
Kenny walked out of the room and climbed the stairs. He wondered if Rachel had any dope left.
© gibson grand
This story appears in my collection of short stories and poetry, Leave Your Money on the Dresser, which is available in both print and electronic versions on Amazon.
Your capable beggar on the street does not say ‘please.’ He rips off his spiel in such exact and precise language that he gets your dime without it. You so admire his ‘art’ that you do not miss the ‘please.’ His is an art. He omits the ‘please’ because he knows you do not use it except when you want the mustard.
Jack Black, You Can’t Win (1926)
(That last sentence kills me.)
Kerouac has never been one of my literary heroes, but I confess to some magic here. Time and space—no greater gift exists for a writer, but I believe it’s this specific place. Kerouac’s Underwood typewriter sits on a built-in shelf, his books cram the bookcases. A triptych of him typing in the very same bedroom hangs above the single bed, a close-up by the washing machine. He and Neal Cassady stare down at me from above the living room mantle, the two in front of City Lights. When I work in the study, Jack is always behind my back, another large sketch of him on the wall. In short, it’s impossible to forget whose house I’m in.
I assume you are talking about the upcoming Dirty Boys show, which is definitely a 21 or older event. I will be doing some more traditional reading events next year, so hopefully you will be able to attend one of those. In the interim, assuming you are in your late teens or older, you may want to check out the Trash and Vaudeville or Dirty Boys podcasts on iTunes.
"But are not the dreams of poets and the tales of travelers notoriously false?" - "The Street"
Happy Birthday, H.P. Lovecraft!
"The distance between us is not so great when I dream of your warm breath on my neck and ghostly fingers on my skin. Perhaps the taste of you on my lips is merely a trick of desire and the sound of your laughter in my ears the cruelty of wind, but is love that blossoms in my imagination any less real than the emptiness of this rented room?"
—love letter from Blanche Barrow
(c) gibson grand
(an excerpt from my novel in progress, Bonnie and Me)
#prose #fiction #thinkingofyou
In honor of butt day…
Featuring poems by the authors and photos submitted by such amazing women as: Sable (cover model), Katie West, Faye Daniels, Jacs Fishburne, Cam Damage, Kace Face, Annatomy, Aemilia McMorbid, Andrea, Josepha-Olala, Mary Taylor, Sara, Veronika Von Volkova, and more!
For sale here in both physical and digital formats.
Tons of thanks to Katie West for putting it all together for us and to the amazing women who submitted photos for this project.