(for Father Luke)
So there are times
When I think of you
And the sly grin
“I figured you out in 30 seconds
And I know you’re just as lost
And full of shit
As anybody else
But you’re OK just the same”
And we talk about some things
And I hope and pretend to understand
And I wonder
After all you’ve said
If there’s anyone
Whom you truly treasure
Maybe it’s some of them
Maybe it’s all of them
Maybe I’m one of them
And then again
But I’d like to think
If for no other reason than
You taught me something
Whether you know it
Fan mail, from Hayle Sayton.
Cool to have people love you. . .
whether you know it or not.
I watched the greatest
The Hotel where I live
has a bunch of old folks,
retards, and destitute people
living in it. I’d qualify for all three.
The building is six stories,
and has about twenty rooms on each floor.
I call the place The Pigeon Coop.
The first of the month
most everybody here gets paid a Government
check, and then they try and stretch that meager
amount of money thirty days.
The people get pretty creative.
If you’ve never lived on two hundred dollars
for thirty days drop on by, we’ll teach you how.
Down in the lobby
there are two benches.
The lobby leads into a Mexican food restaurant,
and then the other ways opens onto the street.
That’s where the benches sit. On the street side of
the lobby, looking out onto Pacific Avenue.
People that live here can’t afford to eat at
the Mexican food restaurant, but they will sit on
the benches in the lobby all day, and watch the people.
Yesterday. . .
. . .no. Wait. . .
. . .the day before yesterday.
Yeah. The day before yesterday, I got
locked out. Bob and Jim were sitting
on the benches down in the lobby.
“hey, man, can you use your key and let me up the elevator?”
They just sat there laughing.
These guys are my friends.
So I finally got up to my room. No help from them.
I never lock my door,
but you need a key to get upstairs.
Well, today is the first of the month.
I sat down on the bench where Jim had just been
sitting. I watched him walk outside and light a smoke.
Across from me, Bob was sitting on the bench, counting money.
A woman sat down next to Bob.
“Here’s twenty,” Bob said to her. He handed her two tens.
She handed him four fives.
Bob went back to counting his money.
She shuffled some bills around in her wallet.
Then Bob said, “Do you have five. Please.”
She handed him a twenty, and he handed her fifteen.
“How’re you set up for singles,” he said.
She handed him five ones.
To me, it looked like they exchanged
the same amount of money
like a merry-go-round.
Then I looked down, and I saw a five
on my bench. “you lose this,” I yelled across to Bob.
“Nope,” said Bob. “Maybe JIm.”
I picked up the five, and sat grinning at it.
I put it into my wallet and folded the wallet back into
my front pocket.
Later on I saw Jim, and I gave him his five back.
1.) I cry a lot.
2.) I hate my job.
3.) I love my home by the sea in Santa Cruz, California.
4.) All I want to do is write.
5.) I wanted to have lots of kids. I have none.
6.) I miss my mom.
7.) I don’t eat beef. Not anymore.
8.) I have dry skin.
9.) I wanted to be either a comedian or a priest when I grew up. I’ve been both. Now I am a truck driver who wishes he was a writer.
10.) I don’t know how to back up my truck.
11.) I like butts more than boobs.
12.) I’m alone most of the time, and I hate it.
13.) I don’t drink anymore.
14.) I don’t smoke. But I had smoked up to five packs a day.
15.) I can’t tell a joke. Not even to save my life.
16.) I drink decaf coffee only, not the caffeinated kind.
17.) I have RLS or restless leg syndrome.
18.) Best way to get rid of me is to ignore me. I’ll go away fast.
19.) I’m broke.
20.) I think I’m much more like Harvey Pekar than Charles Bukowski, but I enjoy reading Bukowski more than I enjoy reading Harvey.
21.) I am very shy.
22.) I am a very private person.
23.) I enjoy anonymity more than fame.
24.) I studied Court Reporting and I got up to 180 words per minute on the stenograph machine.
25.) I started court reporting because I thought I was going to be a reporter for the newspaper in court rooms.
26.) I really am that dumb.
27.) I have always wanted to be a writer.
28.) I enjoy Hemingway more than I enjoy Faulkner.
29.) I never learned how to write from schools. I just read.
30.) Once I write it, I never go back and read it. It always seems dumb when I do.
32.) I am Serbian. I have been a Serbian Orthodox Priest.
33.) I turn away more women than anyone I know. Sometimes masturbation is just so much simpler.
34.) I don’t eat sugar.
35.) I don’t have a bed at home. I sleep on a couch. I like it.
36.) I used to rob people for a living.
37.) 37 is Cool Hand Luke’s number in jail and it’s my favorite number.
38.) I’ve done every drug but ecstasy, and DMT. Maybe one or two others, but I’ve done a lot of drugs. Oh yeah. Not done Crystal Meth either.
39.) I started driving when I was 7. It was a Willy’s Jeep on the farm I grew up on.
40.) I had my first sexual experience at nine years old. It was with a baby sitter. She lived in the house.
41.) I’ve been stalked.
42.) I have tattoos.
43.) I have PTSD from a childhood of beatings.
44.) I won’t fight, but I will scream and yell when I’m losing that which I love.
45.) I get scared quicker than I get angry.
46.) I’m enjoying growing old.
47.) I’ve been beaten up by a gang.
48.) I lived on the street for 27 years.
49.) In my entire life I have only earned about 120 thousand dollars. $120,000.
50.) I like to see people doing good, and being happy more than I like to watch anyone suffer.
51.) I know right from wrong.
52.) I believe I never should have moved to Arizona.
53.) I lost everything I owned three times in one year.
54.) I have seen my family’s life destroyed by a fire.
55.) I have nearly drowned on five different occasions.
56.) I am afraid of spiders, and heights.
57.) I attribute anything I have learned about writing to a woman who calls herself gekko, a man calling himself Dr Zen, and a dubious character who goes by the name of Sour Grapes.
58.) I think I am attractive, but who knows for sure. I mean really.
59.) I can live on ten dollars for a month.
60.) I have a really bad back.
61.) I walk pigeon-toed.
62.) I was a fat kid. Now I seem to be too thin.
63.) I am good on the computer.
64.) All I want to do is stay home in Santa Cruz. I may never return.
65.) I pay $520 rent each month.
66.) I drive a 2005 Blue Kenworth W9 long nose.
67.) I have
four five brothers, and no sisters.
68.) I am hungry most days.
69.) I have real small fingernails. Everything else is proportionate. A Palm reader told me that the small nails indicated I would never realize my full potential.
70.) I have longevity in my genes. I will, regretably, probably live a long life.
71.) If you are my friend there is virtually nothing I won’t do for you. If you are my enemy, I’ve forgotten you already.
72.) I make 22 cents per mile that I drive, 22¢.
73.) This is both harder, and more fun that I thought it would be.
74.) I respect the police. Funny, but I do.
75.) I am circumcised.
76.) My foot size is approximately thirteen. I am about six foot three inches tall.
77.) I enjoy Alt.Americana type music: Lucinda Williams, Uncle Tupelo, KPIG, Robert Earl Keen, and so forth.
78.) I don’t like that people betray one another.
79.) I am very sensitive, and get my feelings hurt often.
80.) I have very bad teeth. They hurt a lot.
81.) I like marinara sauce on spaghetti.
82.) I like sushi.
83.) I like the San Francisco Giants. They will disappoint me each year in some new, and exciting way.
84.) I sold stuff over the phone for 26 years.
85.) I had a pony named Queenie given to me when I was young. I didn’t know how to care for it, and I watched it suffer and die. It still makes me cry to think about that.
86.) I saw my first dead person before I was five years old.
87.) I shot a gun before I was six.
88.) By the time I was twenty four my liver was nearly gone from drinking.
89.) I have more people that think highly of me than I feel I deserve.
90.) Low self-esteem is a step up for me. Do people still say low self-esteem?
91.) I am superstitious.
92.) I don’t think that suicide is wrong.
93.) I don’t believe in an “after-life”.
94.) I want to be cremated when I die. I like what Jim Thompson the writer wrote: ‘Just lean [me] up in the alley and let the dogs piss on me [when I’m dead].
95.) If I have hurt you I am sorry.
96.) If you have hurt me I’ve forgotten about it. But I’ll still be careful around you.
97.) I wear a silver ring on my left middle finger. It was from the only woman I ever wanted to marry.
98.) I can hold my pee all day long. An ex said that she couldn’t believe I only went twice a day. Sometimes I only piss once a day.
99.) I was married once when I was twenty years old. The marriage lasted for one month. I lived with her for 8 years before we ever got married.
100.) I have brown eyes, and I smell like a question.
I am naked, on my back, in bed,
on the fourth floor, at the Pigeon Coop.
I am looking up at the ceiling. I’m
wanting a cold beer, and a cigarette.
She turns to me, and runs her
fingernails lightly across my chest.
She lingers at the ring in my left nipple,
and she gives a little tug.
She says, “You know that joke you told me
about the chocolate chip cookie,
and the glass of milk?”
There’s an old joke.
A new priest is hearing confessions
for the first time. The woman he’s
listening to has confessed to
having anal sex. The priest doesn’t know
what to tell her, and so he asks a
passing alterboy ‘what do you get for
anal sex?’ The alterboy says:
‘2 cookies and a glass of milk.’
I look down into her eyes.
“Sure I remember the joke.”
She says, “Well I have told all my friends.
They love it.”
“Tell them you heard it from a priest,”
I say, “tell them you heard it from a priest
while he took you from behind.”
She scoots her warmth closer to me.
I look up at the ceiling, thinking
about cigarettes, and cold beer.
one year, and ten months ago
I left Santa Cruz, California
I lived in room four oh seven in The El Palomar Inn
on Pacific Ave in downtown Santa Cruz
I call the place “The Pigeon Coop”
Most people never see the building
it is the tallest building downtown
I live there again today
Santa Cruz, California
is home for me
In the last year and ten months:
I’ve been a lot of places
I’ve seen a lot of things
I’ve met a lot of people
I’ll be writining about all that in the
I have left
no one ever knows how long they have
It’s nice to be home.
The train slowed into the station, and stopped.
The conductor walked to the edge of the cab, held the brim of his hat,
and jumped onto the gravel. Then he walked into the station.
Glare from the setting sun reflected back an empty station on the windows of the train.
In the passenger car, Pastor Mc Corkhill sat watching a coin spinning
on a table before him. His forearms rested on his thighs, flattening the crease
of his black pants.
Life moves us, he thought, as he listened to the spin of metal on wood.
Moves us, and moves through us, with little or no matter as to our
preferences. All in all there’s no fairness to it. No fairness at all.
A ride with no choices, and but one final destination.
The silver coin finished its spin, and dropped to one side.
He reached to his shirt cuffs, and gave a little tug. White showed from under black coat sleeves.
He picked the coin up, and gave it another little spin.
Squeezing his eyes narrow against the sun, and letting them relax, his eyes unfocused in the bright light coming in through the window.
The Conductor walked to the train, and grabbed hold a handle,
shiny with constant wear. He pulled himself up, and into the cab.
Looking ahead, up the tracks, he pushed his glasses up to rest on his eyebrows, and rubbed his eyes with his thumb, and finger.
The Conductor let the glasses drop back, and then adjusted their position on his nose, so that the feel was familiarly comfortable. Presently the train began moving again.
It would arrive at its destination soon enough.
Looking in the mirror I see a man with short greying hair, a smirk, and maybe a bit too thin, but with a nice ass.
Hank Williams is crying on the radio in the background that “son - of - a - gun we’re gonna’ have some fun”.
I give a little snort, and I turn away from the mirror to look at the hotel room.
There are wet foot prints on the dark rug; foot powder sprinkled here and there; on an unused bed luggage is neatly packed; and an unmade bed with wrinkled sheets; there is a too small coffee pot with less than a cup of brown left in it.
I sigh. Then I finish getting dressed. Looking through a third floor window outside, Denver Colorado is getting a drizzle of misty rain from a gray sky. I slowly close the curtain against the gloom of another day.
I walk to the door of the room, open it, and reach down to pick up the newspaper. I look at the headlines. Bold type about nothing I can relate to.
I look to the room next to mine. Hanging on the door handle is a privacy notice asking the maids to stay away.
I take it off that door handle and put it on mine. Then I go back into my room, and I shut my door wondering if homeland security will steal the maids away before they get a chance to disturb my neighbor.
Okay for now,
…the land of honey, milk and decaf
In the morning fog of Santa Cruz, California I see tomorrow, and it is coming as fast, and steady as the notes of Foggy Mountain Breakdown by Flatt and Scruggs.
As I write I’m drinking a decaf. It is creamed up, and with honey. I feel cool mist settling on my cheeks like butterfly kisses from a lover’s eyelashes.
I have missed being home. I have been here just under two weeks, and tomorrow I am leaving. I will miss it; I will miss my home.
The sun is begining to dominate the fog now, but the soft wind still chills my face with a sure, steady breeze, and like the taste of a lover’s breath lingering for a brief moment just after a kiss, makes me want this to be something that will last, and last, and last… .
I drink my decaff, and make a try for my best shit eatin’ grin.
Aloha Baby… I love you.
“Mom and Dad made me in Santa Cruz, California on Valentine’s day, 1959,” I told the Dali Llama in a Greyhound Bus Station. The Llama seemed intent on what I was saying to him. “Then I entered this world, in the flesh, on November 7th, 1959 at 6:46 in the evening.”
The Dali Llama smiled at me.
What a lovely smile he has.
He took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose.
“May I buy you a lemonade?” I said. He just shook his head no.
I am on a bus headed for Santa Cruz, California.
My roots. My home.
I bought The Llama some peanut butter crackers, and I bowed deeply before I turned and boarded my bus.
I’m going home.
Well Hello there Governor Schwarzenegger!
Life has certainly been a whirly-gig of change.
This must be what life is like for you during an election year! Who whee!
As you are well aware, Governor, I have graduated from Truck Driving School. I wanted you to know that the school was great. The finest education money could buy. I learned all about trucks, and truck driving, Governor Schwarzenegger. May I call you Governor Schwarzenegger?
Driving a truck has begun making me a wealthy man. Yes, sir! Can you believe it? Truck driving? There is a lot of money in that business.
Hey? You never did get back to me. I must tell you that that kind of hurt. Now that I have money coming out my ass, and I’m laughing my balls off every day, I almost feel like I could ignore you, and not feel too bad about it! But hell, you know I wouldn’t do that. No, Sir !
I’m working out of Texas now, Governor, Sir, where I’ve learned to say “britches” instead of pants, and without laughing all that much about it when I do say it.
Well, Sir, of course a fond hello to your lovely wife. She ain’t hispanic, but hell I’d do her. Furthermore, I’d get that bitch outt’a her britches, and make her dance like a cockroach on a hot skillet, such as a fine woman like her deserves! Yes, Sir!
Whoops! More Texas coming through! I just love it here in Texas!
Okay for now,
A dear friend asked if I was happy or sad.
Sad, I said.
In the last year I had lost family.
I had lost the friendship of some I had allowed to become important to me
I had lost everything I own, over and, over and, over and, over again
I had been betrayed, and betrayal is a wound which cuts deep, precisely, and ever so deeply
What’s left when everything is gone?
It’s all that matters in the end.
A friend once said he gave up drinking by throwing in the towel one thread at a time. Anyone who has ever had to do something new may now smile.
By nature I am a private person. I become even more solitary during the start of the winter season.
Simply put, I no longer publicly do December. Forty seven years it has taken me, but I give up; I’m sorry, but after nearly half a decade I’ve given up, one thread at a time.
I shall see you sometime in January where I hope a renewed sense of joy, and wonder may fill our lives.
As I approach my final days in Fresno I want to look back, and say
that I won’t miss the place.
I’ve been here for nearly a year now, from January to late
November, and I shall be leaving in early December.
As I am one who enjoys the pleasures of reclusive anonymity, I have
disappeared nicely among the useless, and desolate of the city’s
homeless. I am not special among those with little hope. I am not
anyone at all, I am just the next in line.
Being homeless, I saw the rain only once this year. It was a light
rain; the weather has been most kind to me.
Approaching that time of year set aside for giving thanks, I’ll soon
pause for a moment, and reflect upon those things I am grateful for
which I may overlook, or miss as I walk the railroad yards, the dead-end alleys, or scuffle up the street to grab a meal at the
Will I miss Fresno? It has been where I have painted a life this year. The painting is finished; the year is nearly over.
On November 7th, 2006, sometime in the evening:
- I turned forty seven years old
- I turned eighteen years sober
- And I became a licensed Truck Driver
The best lie in the world is the truth, and there is nothing more dangerous than an honest man.
Tell me I’m full of shit, and dangerous.
I’ll be flattered. I promise.
Years ago, as I was watching the big kids talk about writing on usenet, I found a guy by the name of Dr. Zen, and I fell in love with his wit, charm, and wisdom from nearly the first word I read by him. I think it was something he’d written about a red-nosed cunt.
I remember watching him take pains to make some point, and then he’d be blasted by some fool wanting to be correct. The pains the Good Dr. took to patiently explain just exactly why the criticism was foolish begat yet another seige of idiot jibberish from someone unwilling, or unable to see, another point of view which offered a fresh, and unique solution.
Recently the Good Doctor offered a writing workshop which I participated in online. It’s still open to anyone interested in participating in the exercise. I suggest if you enjoy writing, that you participate, just as I would suggest you use a parachute if you’ll jump from an airplane.
As I have read Dr. Zen over the years, I have been richly rewarded with not only wisdom, and wit but also with a friend, and a fan. I feel humbled in the presence of anyone who reads me, but to find someone who found me, really rather on his own, and enjoys what I write I have no other words but to say thanks a million times. For what better gift may one offer to a writer than to read what that author has written?
Read Dr Zen. It’s a gift to him,
and a gift to you.
Maybe what the Doctor tells me
isn’t altogether true
but I love every tale he tells me
I don’t know any better ones, do you?
My friend the Doctor says
the world is full of fantasy
and who are you and I to disagree?
-Lyrics: Leslie Bricusse from Doctor Dolittle, 1967
I had a dream last night that I was looking at the cover a book I’d published. It had to be a dream, right? I’m about as interested in publishing as I’d be in sprouting feathers and dancing in the New Year’s Parade.
It was an interesting cover, it gave away the plot of the novel I’d written, so it had to be re-worked just a bit. I woke slowly in the splendid stupor of dream-land fame (the best kind of fame, really, as it requires no picture opportunities), and thinking what a really great novel it was that I’d written. Even though it was only in my dreams, it was a great mystery novel. I worked out a couple of plot twists before fully waking, and then I realized, in no way related to the novel I’d written, how many strong, fully functioning, honest women I have in my life.
Check out my links: http://www.fatherluke.com/links/
I don’t do math, so you work out the percentages, but look: Women.
Mostly women, anyway. Rough bastards all of them, wanting the truth above all else. Sacrificing nothing to be able live lives based in honesty, love, living creative, happy lives in worlds of their own making.
Them men I link are the same: Rough, honest, bastards, and sacrificing nothing, and living large, and writing clear, and hard about what hurts.
Hemingway said that. Write clear and hard about what hurts.
Bless all you magnificent fucks.
I love each one of you.