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Joey Buzz:


you know when you’re washing the dishes

and you find a tall glass

and it’s got a milk spot encrusted right down in the very bottom of it

and in the very center of it

and it’s there and it’s impossibly stubborn

because you’ve neglected your dish washing duties for the last four days

even though you generally don’t mind doing the dishes

it being a meditative task with the water running and all

usually while listening to My Bloody Valentine

or something equally as transcendent as Mingus

and smoking a nice bowl of Purple Nurple

and drinking a tallboy of cheap cold domestic beer while you’re doing the dishes

just to give an extra semblance of significance

and something perhaps bordering on semi-fun

to the utter banality of things

to the existential banality of repetitive patternistic things

not giving it any more significance than God would give it

for God’s sake

but still, an extra semblance of significance

to consider this mundane practice worthy in this very moment in time

this exact moment in time never to be again in the history of the planet

and you can’t quite reach this awkward spot of dry rotten milk

because your hand is too large and it’s a very tall slender glass

and you know, it’s like you know, it’s like a highball glass, you know

like something that Ava Gardner would have drunk a Sea Breeze out of

and so you’re forced to become ingenious about it all

and you, being a tool-using human and all of that

thusly pull a dirty knife up to the fore

and push the sponge down into the glass

and stab at it with the butter knife

and push the tip of the knife down

into the bubbly center of this murky universe

and you scrape it around down in there

round and round in jerky little circles

with the Brillo side of the sponge doing a lot of the work

you being temporarily happy that the Brillo texture was created

for a job just such as this one

for the abrasiveness needed in a situation just like this one

and you pull the sponge out, figuring you got it all out

with your forced agitation and your fading punk rock ethics

and you rinse the glass to still find

to your giant dismay

a miniature Antarctica

still down in the center of this glass

and so you take a hit of your tall boy and you really hunker down

to get this very insignificant yet crucially important task accomplished

and you fuck the sponge this time and just go right at it

with the sharp point of the knife in the bottom of this tall glass

and you have a go at tipping the glass up

and you look at it in the light

and scrape scrape scrape in mappy little lines

where strange formations continue to hold down in the bottom of this unusually tall glass

formations of an almost human nature

and you feel like you’re holding an upside-down bell

and you’re ringing with the ringer like a monk or a priest

and you mumble under your breath of quickly dying breaths

the consciousness of the Never-again, the consciousness of the Ever-again

and the snow star palm tree perspires with the impassioned tears of California Jesus

and the workers are going home, the workers are going home

and  you feel like you’re almost hip to the salt and pepper of things

and to the lion and the gazelle of things

and you can actually hear stars falling gently into a glass ballerina box

and it reminds you of getting the last bit of mayonnaise

down in the very bottom part of the jar when making a sandwich late at night

and it’s that sound, that sound, I tell you old sock

that fucking distinctive tinkling sound of stainless steel on glass sound

and so you’re very thorough and thoughtful with the ringing of this bell

because you wouldn’t want to crack it

like that bell in Philadelphia

or God forbid, have to rinse the soap off of it once again

like if there was a spot being missed, like missing a spot, like an errant spot

that wasn’t being tended to properly

like all of your other neglected personal duties

like all of the dust bunnies underneath your bed

and your unpaid student loan tickets

and the remiss phone calls to your schizophrenic mother

and the forgotten spiritual obligations in your terribly non-obstructive life

however you feel confident that something positive could now be happening

something positive, something illuminating, something absolutely worthy of living

but the joy, the joy, the Non-Ultra Joy

creates the perilous threat of a slippery glass

and one careless move

would make this whole mission completely moot and senseless

and so you pump up the H knob with the scalding water of Los Angeles

jettisoned with an added force straight down into the center

the center of a blown glass bottom being laced and concentrated

with the power and the diligence of clear hot hydrogen bubbles

and you raise the chalice up, up, up toward the light

and you finally gaze upon only clarity and purity

and the right side of cleanliness and godliness

and you finally give the glass its rightful dripping rest

onto the Swedish wooden dish rack

and you take a hit of your tallboy

and you feel good for following through on the small stuff

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 at 8:36 pm and is filed under Nihilism, Poetry, Transcendence. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your


If Mom were a superhero, she would be The Piddler.

When she needs to wash her hands, she’ll look through coupons first. If she needs to pick up the dry cleaning, she’ll stop at the antique store on the way. And when she needs to go to work, she’ll watch a rerun of Ab Fab, then show up half an hour late claiming, “Traffic was just awful today,” which, turns out, is every day.

I’d like to say that old age is responsible for this poking trait, but Mom’s always been a world class stoner without the weed.

When I was a Sid-and-Marty-Kroft kid, we’d always roll into church during the second hymn. I can still recall Birdie Cullen’s glass eye popping over to sneer at us as we inched down the red carpet to an open pew in the front (always in the front!) while the congregation sang “Holy, Holy, Holy” completely off key.

[Church was where I first realized that God hated me, but we’ll get to that later.]

My sister, clever mother of five beautiful children whom she manages with aplomb via color coated folders and spreadsheets, often gives my mom the incorrect time for family functions so that mom is sure to arrive on time.

“I gave her an extra hour,” my sister huffs as she opens the door for Mom who is now thirty minutes late for the event (an hour and a half if you go by the time she was told to be there.)

My brother, a staunch Libertarian who spends most of his Saturdays cooking tenderloin on his Smith and Hawken grill while wearing his sherpa-lined Crocs, bellows to his Belarusian wife, “Expecting her to be on time is like expecting Bill Maher not to cuss. Ain’t gonna fucking happen. Have a radish, monkey?”

“Thank you, Puffin,” she coos before turning to adjust a place setting, most likely from Williams-Sonoma.

They make me sick with their love.

But I’m happy for him.


One time, The Piddler made us late for a funeral.

Somebody’s uncle had died, and we never missed a funeral. They served bar-b-q beenie weenies afterwards, usually with cellophane toothpicks.

On this occasion, we made our way down the red carpet to a pew near the front (of course), right behind the weeping mistress who outed herself that day.

She was the widow’s best friend.

There was a slapping fight in the lobby afterwards. The wife lost her wig. The mistress lost her dignity. I permanently lost my appetite for beanie weenies.

[Why do friends fuck each other’s husbands?]

[Why do Protestant churches all seem to have red carpet? Isn’t red the color of Satan? And whores? And fire? I contend there is evil envy in the church, but we’ll get to that later, too.]

(So many questions, so few acid trips.)

Once again we had to pass Birdie Cullen, always a fixture at any church function, which included funerals, weddings, baptisms and bingo.

Birdie’s face never moved whenever we passed her. She would be transfixed on the pulpit, seemingly entrenched in the pastor’s words, but then that glass eye would whip around to find us, like the Weirding Way fighter training module in David Lynch’s Dune; and boy, could that eye shoot daggers faster than a pissed off carnie.

It was just a matter of time before Birdie’s eye started killing. Of this I was sure.

“Don’t stare,” The Piddler reprimanded, then waved to the church organist, Randy Butterman, the first closeted gay man I ever met.

(Mom and Dad were professional dancers, so I only knew the braggart kind.)

Incidentally, we were late for the funeral because The Piddler wanted to deadhead her geraniums.

Another time, The Piddler made me late for a concert I was supposed to play in high school. I was fourteen, an especially sensitive age.

We arrived at the auditorium fifteen minutes late (in retrospect, not too bad for The Piddler) because Mom wanted to make a quick stop at the drug store to get a new pair of pantyhose since the ones she had on had a run. Unfortunately, it was Sunday and The Blue Law forbade her from buying pantyhose on Sunday.

[You were also forbidden from buying washing machines or frying pans, which I found ironic since most religions like to keep their women cooking and cleaning, preferably barefoot where I’m from. The Blue Law seemed counterproductive. But life is full of these wonderful paradoxes.]

Though Mom was a practicing Presbyterian, she didn’t conform to a lot of religious hoopla, especially if it meant she had to go anywhere with a run in her stockings. After a meaningless but heated conversation with the pimple-faced clerk, she left without a new pair of nylons but did manage to procure a new romance novel, which she read at all the stoplights on the way to the concert, much to the chagrin of neighboring drivers.

When we finally arrived at the concert hall, the orchestra was already deep into the Summermovement of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and I had to creep through the violas during the simulated thunderstorm.

To add fuel to the fire, The Piddler kept snapping my picture as Sammy Black, my super duper badass crush, watched me stumble with my cello through a maze of moving elbows. Flash after flare, The Piddler seemed to capture every nanosecond of this bright red moment. At least the flash was in time with the music, and it did add to the stormy atmosphere of the movement.

When I finally arrived at my chair, my nemesis, Sandy Ween, grumbled, “Figures.”

I jabbed her in the head with my bow.

The Piddler snapped a picture.

Later that evening, I asked The Piddler, “When will you develop the film?” I wanted to relive my magnum opus with Sandy Ween over again.

“You know what’s funny?”

“What?” I replied.

“I completely forgot to put film in the camera.”