Like television

The first time I found Jesus he was strung up on a fence post, his arms stretched out and stapled to the rails, belly stuffed full of straw, a scare crow god there to scare off death, monsters, outlaws and the unknown, my rubber turkey deity on a cross to comfort me with the promise that I could take that casket doorway to his place with the other zombies, I just have to be a good person, which is simple because right and wrong is simple. Just do what it says in the book besides this part. Don't overthink it. Just watch television. It'll teach you how the world works, there may be some growing pains when you actually experience it. But I have no regrets.

I promise you mother. I'm so sorry I ran away. I just couldn't live without reminders that you love me. I thought about what mothers did on television, the way they loved their kids, I saw my friends with mothers who would talk to them, and suddenly I wish I knew about my grandparents. All I remember about them is that I grew up going to funerals. On my birthday I always wore the same exact Peter Pan outfit and then lay awake at night wondering if it was really true that one day we all grew old and died.

The second time I found Jesus, she was staring back at me through my captive reflection painted on the iridescent gasoline sheen from a glossy silver 30-gram brick of cannabis hash oil bought from a man in a tinfoil hat to wax the bored look off my face. Lubed up to ride forty days and nights on a desert highway performing the gas-jug asphalt American ceremony of anointed gutter-punk garbage messiah kings raging for a different kind of machine. And as I peaked I noticed not one set of blotter prints behind me but two.

I knew I was different. I can't sit still. I must discover, create, explore, make an impact on this world not to find meaning but to hide myself from the lack of it. I keep trying to hide from mortality by making my life as rich and full of love as possible but it all goes to the same place. Behind me. Each breath in and out of my lungs is its own last one but knowing that fact doesn't help me repeat them. I can't even remember my dreams, how am I supposed to remember this life, this place, all of you, when it's over? I try to keep moving forward but I'm still just out-stretched and holding on to the rails. I still wish things were different. I still need to forgive someone. I still need to apologize for failing to save the world, I could have done something, I was different. I still need to apologize to my mother.

I'm so sorry I forgot my temper. Nerves dripped discomfort, my skin went goosebumps and burnt hot by embers, mouth scowling warning growls. I can't sit still. I bit and snapped until control came back but by then I was bitten and leaking puddles of regret and wondering how could I say that to my mother? I didn't mean to. But the fact is every interaction orbits the weather, or what somebody said the other day. I talk about my dreams and you talk about acting classes. And I realize then that we are from far-away planets. I never feel connected. It's like you're never present, and there's always this tension. I can't go without reminders that I'm held and loved, so I'll settle for forgiveness. I'll set to prove you love me one way or another. I'll force you to choose from the worst side of me and nothing.

The third time I found Jesus, he was strung-out on a cross-fade of drugs, arms stretched out to embrace his dog as he delivered his sermon to the condemned office building giving him shelter while the rain poured buckets. Wrapped in a coincidence blanket, magic crystals hanging from his neck, gnostic symbols tattooed to his face. In his mouth, a cigarette he had pulled off the ground, and he offered me a drag. He called it sacred tobacco to exorcise my demons.

He said the secret was to smile. People like smiles. He said I had two lions, their names good and evil, problem and opportunity, complaint and compliment. Their names are shame and gratefulness, faith and fearfulness, Scar and Mufasa, stories and memories about me that live on in others after I die, and I chose which. But he wasn't finished. He told me the worst side of you is not that evil-looking scar you hide from the world in shame and fear, it's the coward that hides it. Forget dying, that's how you are annihilated. I'm so sorry, my mother, that I never listened. Please tell me about my grandparents. It doesn't have to be like television.



I have to love you through a cage. You are my great white shark. You're beautiful. You're powerful and brave and hard, so hard to love, my shark, so full of teeth and I believed I could dive beneath that water and swim but I'm losing my limbs. My excuses vamoosing to be this stupid. I have to choose different. I have to love you through a cage. My great black bear, your teeth gleam through a glare. They are teeth that could tear off my skin but I see you wearing a grin. I see it shine like the curve of the moon.. And your laugh and your hugs. I love it so much when your arms wrap round my gut. So soft I forgot that those arms come with claws primed to pounce and to maul me if I move too suddenly, and I don't want to run but I'm maxed out on regret for the time I spent playing dead to avoid that claw's edge. Cutting off pieces of me and feeding you them so you would not starve and now I'm something less than I was at the start but even if I'm limping, at least I'm walking. Whatever I have to sacrifice, no matter how hard, I’ll begin a new act in my life, whether written in ink or in spit, I made a promise that I would survive this. And you growl at me, you cry and you plead, asking why all these boundaries through tears in your eyes and I have to hide all the blood that I leak and trick you to think that my heart's not broken so that I can start over. I show you a cold front so maybe you'll give up. I can't be weak to a lion, I must scream. I have to love you through my rage. I have to curl my lips up, my pearl white fangs flexed out. My cactus arms stretched out as if to beckon a hug, but covered in needles and you held me despite them. And you left blood on my quills to write with. And you claim to have wasted the time spent but it’s our life and our time can never be worthless and now I need you to survive this. Love me like a page in your life and turn it.


A story for Jay Hulme

Dusk turned to twilight as the city burned. Nothing could be done. Despite my best efforts, every dark word of the old woman's prophecy had come to pass. The blue star had fallen. The rain had turned to fire. The day had turned to night. The white king had risen, and created his army. Every marker had come to pass. Every riddle she spoke was answered, the knots of fate relentless. Fate could not be escaped. And fate said very clearly that no man could defeat him.

No man could defeat him, she said. The line echoed back and forth in my mind as I lay beneath the remains of my gollum to shelter myself from the falling embers and flaming arrows that rained overhead. Was there another line? Maybe a key to what could defeat him, if not a man? These thoughts were all I could do to numb myself from the sounds of the common folk being slaughtered, and the wound bleeding from my chest. My eyes ran over the corpse of the chimera I hired, her expression still caught in the surprise she felt when the White King cut her in half. I was surprised, too. My entire unit was destroyed in seconds. It was like nothing at all, and then so much death all at once. And the worst part, he fucking spared me. I took a wound to the chest in the scuffle, but when it came to landing the finishing blow, he hesitated, looked closer, and then let out a thundering, victorious laugh. For he knew the prophecy, too. He knew there was no one else left to stop him now. It was just me, and I was just a man. He left me to bleed out and went on to claim victory and sit the throne.

And I tried to do just that, give up, bleed out. I almost did, too. But I could see the palace doors in the distance. They were opened, taunting me, and the arrogant bastard didn't even place a guard in front. I could just walk in and show him who can't be defeated by any man. But I shuttered at the thought. What could I do? The prophecy was prophecy. Charging him alone would just be a suicide mission. Still, I couldn't get that laugh out of my head. I felt so humiliated. And it's not like I had any where to retreat to. If everything was futile, I may as well stare doom in the face, right? The more I thought about it, and the longer I listened to the screams of the city folk, the more clearly I knew what I had to do. The prophecy may have been written, but the songs had not, and I wanted them to say I tried. So I rose to my feet, now flooded with newfound bravery, powered by conviction, desperation, and humiliation. Steps began to come, one in front of another, as something in me moved. Not deliberately, not like I desired to be there. But like I was compelled by some unseen current. Compelled by the lack of other options, by a conviction greater than self-preservation. I passed through the door. 

"Hey!" turns out there was a guard, maybe several. It was all a haze at that point. I don't even remember reaching for my blade, but by the time I reached the royal chamber, it was dripping blood.

"You," the white king breathed a sigh of relief when I entered the chamber, as if he thought something else was killing his guards. "You should have run for the hills," he chuckled. "You should have hidden in caves and waited and eon or two, for my reign to end."

"Your reign ends today," I stepped closer. He lashed out, launching me back with the pulse he emitted from the swipe of his palm. I slammed against the stone walls of the palace and felt my hair-tie come undone, my long black hair unfurling on either side like raven's wings as I kicked myself from the wall and stormed forward with a twirling slash. He buckled with the blow but when I came for another strike, he grabbed my sword with a bare hand and squeezed, indenting his grip into the blade and bending the edge. He attempted to pull me in but I let go of my sword. As I leapt back, he reached for my arm, ripping at my bracelet and sending the beads flying. I pulled out my long knife, then tore back into him with one slash and another. He took a cut to the arm from the first, but on my second swing, he blocked my arm and grabbed me. This time, I couldn't get away. He proceeded to slam me against his throne with a grunt. I noticed a trickle of blood from his arm. Did I just make him bleed? He cocked his arm back for a punch, but I kicked him back, then I jumped over the throne and began looking for a weapon. Blood bubbled up my throat pooled around my lips, mixing with my lipstick.

"Don't you get it?!" He snapped my sword in half out of frustration and chucked the pieces at me. "No man can defeat me! Give up and die already!"

"That's the funny thing," I answered. "I always wondered about who I was, why I always wanted to be more than just a man." I picked up my broken sword and began to circle him.

"Oh please," he laughed menacingly. "You think you're not still just a man because you don't dress like them? Don't kid yourself. Deep down you know the truth."

"You're right," I responded, circling closer with every strafe. "I've always known the truth, deep down. I just let people like you convince me otherwise."

The white king growled, unleashing a pulse of energy that crumbled the wall behind me. My hair flailed, but this time I took it in stride. I looked at the demolished wall behind me with perplexity as the palace began to creak and cave. His eyes widened. I stepped closer.

"No!" He shrieked. "It can't be! You're a man!" I took another step closer, and his anger turned to fear. He began to plea. "Please. Half my kingdom, please. I will give you half, please. Sir, be reasonable. Sir.”

“It's ma'am,” I corrected, sinking the blade into his heart.


Don't Call Me Brave

Don't call me brave, I wish I were but I wasn't. I didn't charge this field to the crack of a trumpet with faith in the divine truth of my cause, I flunked life, I sunk this ship. I lived out my death wish until I had jack shit to lose and then I transitioned. I flipped out and ripped down this round world my thumb out to peel back the curtains and unseal my sunlight but I was still encased glass. I was see-through and hollow; a monotone robot unable to emote all of these feelings stuck underneath me and nobody was me. I couldn't express me. Not a hat, not a goatee, not a travelling poet fucking hot locals and living off magic tricks. I still felt broken. Like a door in my house sits inviting me to my own unexplored territory. The one thing I had left was everything I wasn't allowed to be in this binary world. So I became her.

I'm not brave. I wasn't prepared. I didn't strut out the closet with fat hips from practicing dancing in front of the mirror. I jumped out a burning building thinking only that falling beat boiling alive. And somehow that trampoline found my feet and I landed free from that agony. I found her there waiting, ribbons in her hair hanging like pieces of forgotten dreams, recalled like songs played in the perfect key to unlock me.

Is a bird brave for flying? A squid for deep diving? I'm not brave I'm just born this way and no bigot alive can take it. Go on, tell me I'm ugly, I find it affirming to my womanhood when you try to tie inherent worthiness to my appearances. Tell me to repent, you see the Bible like fences on a racetrack, I see it like sign posts and landmarks to pull us out of the wilderness. I saw through the old me and didn't know who remained until God told me to be the person they made me, and I couldn't give that to the bigots if I wanted to.


Menstrual Cunnilingus (Blasphemy Remix)

Call me a Vampire but I see nothing wrong with a bloody vagina. All that gleefully nutritious, succulent sweetness goes to waste if you're unwilling to assault the main gates and plaster your snout against the coppery wetness leaking from those happy drapes. Sometimes if they're bleeding I'll go down simply because I'm out of granola bars and don't feel like ramen. I can survive off their pussy for weeks and if I'm careful enough they won't even stain the sheets.

Don't you dare look disgusted. Have you ever tried it? Do you even know what it tastes like? Sure it's pungent and stings the throat and leaves a bloody mess on your chin but there's a rich and sugary undercoat like raspberry mucus over Worcester olives or a syrup of honey and copper and bubbly soda pop--oh you'll love it I swear! It's like salmon brunch or a nice tuna melt. Except covered in vagina blood.

I can't even describe the taste with words and I apologize, but how do you put language to the essence of creation? It's not just the taste, my friends, how can you waste pure, distilled miracle smoothie? Somewhere in that natal ooze there swims a baby cherubic angel still waiting for her knight in shining semen to ride the currents with their mighty tail and cross the bridge between heaven and Earth.

But they ain't coming. Her best chance now is if I gobble the whole thing down and step two find a cum bucket to spit it into. Oh who am I kidding? We don't need step two. I can just swallow the whole thing myself and grow a baby in my tummy like Mother Mary, and they'll have red hair and green eyes, and I'll name them after the stars. Maybe Delphini, or HD 149026. Okay I'm fucking with you, the only miracle my genesis slurpy's bearing is a colossal shit. It's really about the taste.

So come friends and join me! Let us dance all night in vagina blood and play and splash about and wrestle, holding each others faces down in menstrual puddles until somebody calls uncle. And when we're done we'll shower in it and scrub each other thoroughly dirty until we fall asleep and when we awake it will have crusted over night and we'll find little snacks caught in our hair and behind our ears, tasty treats too delicious not to eat. You can snort it off the floor but if you do make sure to mop, you don't want germs in your menstrual snot. You can hoard it in all in jars, you can leave them in a drawer then sneak it into soup and serve it to the poor.

How dare you tell me I'm being improper? I say let them eat caviar! Come friends, won't you have some with your toast? You've heard of a Southwest Omelette, but have tried the Cannibal Coast? I like to add it to my coffee. You can even have it on your sushi if your soy sauce lacks in flavor, or throw it on a hotdog because you're already eating a fucking a hotdog so--Look, don't take my word for it, try it for yourself but heed my warning, you may come to love it. I'm just kidding. You'll probably get sick and throw up.

Silence is a Weapon

Silence is a weapon

Violence can hurt someone once but silence makes a lineup of future victims. Violence will scrape off the skin but silence will pick off the scab and prick you within. Indifference hinges our suffering open with no one to notice so no one can close it and traumatized people never feel safe again. A missile can hit a target one time but silence coats it in depleted uranium. Silence passes birth defects to the next generation. Silence goes after the children.

Silence is a weapon

Violence can steal your dignity but silence will resign you to misery, silence will deny you recovery. Violence can shanghai you to slavery but silence put more slaves here today then any point in human history.

Silence by law enforcement majority shields the handful minority who abuse the defenseless and cause half their misconduct offenses.

Silence sells you the story that you'll still save the princess as soon as you learn which castle she's in. You're only compromising for the interim.

Silence is a weapon

It strikes like an infection, it grows so slow you don't notice your toes go, you say "take my feet, I'll never drop to my knees" and after those leave you beg just to keep your pelvis, you don't deserve this! You're entitled to a sternum! It must say so in the constitution.

But our rights are just privileges so long that we’re silent while those born equal to us are having theirs violated. And the constitution has been toilet paper for as long as the people who use it have been sitting in jail. And our silence keeps them there.

Our silence sinks more ships than loose lips when we watch them leave to never come back here, cross the sea and spill some blood to save our freedom from people who have even less power. Our silence leaves every victim of violence without an answer and still we can't find our voices no matter how clear it becomes that our silence brought down the twin towers.

Silence is a hammer. It slams us in place holding together an engine designed to spread fear and corruption by dividing us and them, and thrusting us into a spiraling race to the bottom. But I choose neither side of this cycle, I choose a third option. Love is a weapon. Love is my message. Love for those who seek refuge. Love for those who fear others. Love them so much your silence burns like tinder. Our love needs to spread faster than wildfire, burn hotter than climate change because we don't have time to out wait an ice age of silence.


The Real Sal Jesus

I like to believe that you haunt my playlist. Sometimes when I'm listening to spotify or pandora and I have my phone in my pocket so I can't see who's playing, and something really good comes on—sometimes, if I've never heard it before, I can imagine maybe the reason I can't recognize it is because it's not even from Earth, but rather some magic grabbed up my phone and queued a song on my playlist that came from beyond, from the celestial, and when I hear that fiddle line, the one I've never heard before, I imagine you wrote it and now you're playing me Goodbye like some phone hacking phantom.

I see you casting strings with the Divine, still smoking cheap cigarettes but bumming your fire right from Prometheus. I see the Buddha bass slapping next to Hari Krishna's Harmony of Flute and Harmonica and Jesus plucking banjo with his nails. Accordions strapped to Orion's belt cut back and forth in a Slalom funk and Thor shredding the guitar like thunder while your strings stir dead stars back to life and claim the souls of saved and damned alike and open the ears of sleeping titans. Justin is there too, directing it all for the music video, getting snapshots for the album cover. And the camera shakes a little when Rigly runs between his legs, his tail wagging like a Logan driver, and you just laugh like it's a punchline—a laugh that makes me wonder if I'll ever meet another person in this world who gets my jokes, a laugh like the only man in town who knows the Emperor is nude, a laugh like the Devil told you something earlier, but it only makes sense after he's cheated you. A laugh I remember like the horn of a missed train—'cause it's fucking gone now.

Sometimes I imagine I'll wake up and I'll hear a new song on the radio and I'll check it this time, I won't be afraid to look at my phone because this time I won't be disappointed, this time I see the artist's name printed in big, capital letters because like you said, “the lower case is for the lower class.” I'll see the name SAL JESUS just where it's supposed to be. Topping charts with the amazing Mama Ghost. I'll tell people how I knew you, as close as Bukowski and Charles Potts, killing bottles of Canadian host. Learning the secret meanings behind songs by the Beatles. All nighters until our fingers were stained in ink and stiff like boards. I might have to embellish, however, the part where I was there for you when you really needed it, when it really made the difference between that waking reality and this horrible dream.

Maybe the reason you were such a brilliant artist is because our ears were blocked and all that pain had to go somewhere. I should have just seen you as a friend who needed help, but I never saw past the bar you raised with the talent you expressed, so I stuck you high on this shelf. Even now I can't think of you just burning into ash, I have to paint a picture, and it's not on canvas but on gauze because I'm using it to mask my wounds until my alarm clock goes off and I get to wake up and call you.