A WRITER PASSES GAS
I’m not supposed to decay
in a bachelor’s apartment.
I’m supposed to coil with
Beautiful Women around the world,
heave breathless on beaches beneath island palms,
against Bloody Mary sunsets laced
with opium violet and marigold tequila.
(I’m supposed to live a life
too good to write about, dammit!)
I scrape flaking skin off the soles of my feet,
punch a clock at a transportation job where
gives a fuck about my being a “genius and all”
and I listen to an apartment manager unbound
by a spine ground crooked by gravity;
he tells me what loathsome scum I am
for submitting my rent check on the fourth
instead of the third.
She fits the palms of producers and directors
and flimsy actors using her as a shield against
TMZ and twitter mobs and late-night hives.
She turns her vagina inside-out, so that
men without courage may wrap it ‘round their faces
and call it a beard.
She serves Apple Martinis at Lola’s on Melrose,
accepting invitations to casting sessions on dirty couches
hiding colonies of crushed roaches.
She washes the seed of personal assistants
from her damaged alley, in a grime-colored bathroom
where the light flickers to an unsteady rhythm.
THE RED LINE
Somewhere beneath the Hollywood hills,
I step on the canvas shoes of a stubby stranger
sporting a Dodgers ballcap; he smells like beer,
tells me I look like the fat, hairy gringo who’s
fucking his sister; “She’s pregnant, my friend,”
he says, “You better take care of that shit.”
Somebody once told me,
when the Red Line tunnel blasted
through the Hollywood hills, thousands
of rats swarmed the workers. They were
waiting in the walls, like secrets, ghosts,
lurking between Sunset Boulevard
and Burbank. Maybe Johnny Carson,
Mickey Cohen, or even Fatty Arbuckle.
Sometime in the future, I will
fondle my girlfriend on the Red Line,
while the train is deep underground,
chiseling tracks laid by a thousand rabid men
chewing seasoned pork like someone might
swipe their last meal while it’s
still in their hands.
in single-file past
imposed portraits of
the rotten, lunatic corpse
of banished individuality
peels off its skin,
dips it in alcohol,
sets it on fire,
and inhales it
through the eyes.
like a herd of sheep
in the museum of chaos.
Walls melt, the air wobbles,
a drooping study of a burning idol,
smiling inside the flames,
one hand motioning, ‘come here,’
the other one extended
in a ‘stop’ gesture.
at the tour’s conclusion
they have the freedom
to do as they are told;
They are smarter than that,
but not enough to see:
The signs with ‘poison’
etched in drab strokes
are not lying the way
everyone else is.
Alec Cizak is a writer and filmmaker from Indiana. His books Down on the Street, Breaking Glass, and Lake County Incidentsare available from ABC Group Documentation. ABC will publish his novel Cool It Down in 2021. Cizak is also the chiefeditor of the fiction digest, Pulp Modern.