Trainhopping Scumfuckers

To be or not to be:
That is a technicality.
Whether ’tis better to weather
The slings and arrows
Of a thousand sorrys and
You’re unqualifieds
Or say
Screw this
And vacate this whore house
For greener pastures.
To board a freight train
No ticket
No destination in mind
Just away
And away
And forever and always along
Down the tracks
Of whatever and whenever
Eight men
In steel-smelling; rust-smelling
Chambers in wheels
Chicago to Seattle
Empire Builder
Grunge sponge
A suitcase
A big-time story that’s false
But passes time good
As any drop-down TV would have been.
We arrive
Ill-stomached, good-spirited,
McDonald’s coursing fatty
Through our veins
Offer a grimace and a
For your ever-loving shove.

I Loaned My Brain to Science

Many times, in fact. One of the experiences sticks with me.

I remember it in patches.

They stuck me inside a magnetic resonance imaging scanner–MRI for short. It’s like a big sarcophagus made of metal and plastic. You lay on your back in the dark while a loud hammering noise does semi-circles over your head from left to right and back again, over and over like one of those rotary lawn sprinklers: slow in one direction, fast in the other direction. It’s so loud they have to give you over-ear headphones to protect your eardrums; the headphones double as a communication device. They talk to you through that, and a microphone over your mouth allows you to talk back. Essentially, an MRI scanner takes pictures of your brain by surrounding it with a magnetic field and registering the electromagnetic response. If the technicians are nice, they let you look at your brain pictures when it’s all over.

Continue reading I Loaned My Brain to Science

When I Get It Right

It feels like liberating a hairball from the kitchen sink drainpipe.

I root around with a plumbing snake,
A steel rod,
A flashlight.


I get down on my knees,
Crank a collar counterclockwise with a fat wrench:
The P-trap clatters to the clapboards
The smell of rust mists into the room
The whole sink shakes
I shove my fingers up inside the main pipe and voila.

Catching the back of my skull on the edge of the cupboard (“Fuck!”)
I emerge damp, bruised, triumphant:

“There’s your problem right there, ma’am.”
The dripping tangled mass
Springy between my fingers
Mysterious catacombed matter.

It’s not like I can tell you what hair is made of
Or what precise path to follow should you care to attempt a detanglement
Or the scientific names of the asymmetrical creatures you might find
Should you take a microscopic head count.

I just unclog the pipes.
Sometimes they pay me.