there are dishes piled as high as my head on the floor spilling over the sink, i’m sweating like a pig trying to keep up with this insanity, sweating out the hangover me and my filthy rags, everyone’s screaming the orders are piling up i’m thinkin’ there’s absolutely no way i’m going to make it, then the old man’s voice, TONY WE NEED YOU FOR PIZZAS!, that italian accent pissing me off like it always has, so i run to the pizza table, the old man’s wife is right beside me, an angry filipino woman telling me to hurry like the sadness of the world isn’t enough, and it’s not enough cuz there’s always more, i start piling the toppings, pepperoni, anchovies green peppers the whole time peeking over at the dishpit seeing the pots and pans rising like bile knowing i’m the one who’s stuck with them, the restaurant is full, the food orders are madness, the old man screamin’ but happy cuz the more orders the thicker his wallet, i ain’t groovin’ with this shit, i’m not really here, i’m somewhere else there’s the waitress coming from the restaurant to the kitchen, that child-face, that golden bitterness, that’s where i am ‘tween her legs somewhere crazy and pure, tainted and holy-like, i concentrate on this ambition, i suddenly feel i’m in love, in love, in love with failure and rejection, yeah that’s me i say, kathy is her name and i love not knowing her and never having her, the old man howls so does the wife i’m dying let it happen i say, right here and now, kill me with love or hate, with black olives and anchovies.
on corydon avenue. there are beautiful people everywhere it bothers me, not cuz i’m not beautiful (which i’m not) cuz i prefer to see things burn. they sip on coffee and the mere gesture smothers me, they drink beer and the holy crusade comes to a halt, they talk to me cuz the world knows who i am, i’m polite and i hate myself for it but i remember we are all one thing and one thing only….so the pretty girls are easy to take even though the trendy clothes are offensive to the psyche i’m thinkin’ those clothes would look better in a heap on my bedroom floor and keep dreaming i say cuz they’ll never be there so i’m gone through corydon i reach confusion corner, the sun is down, the lights are up i feel my prick move and i don’t like it, i’m a dying animal with an unquenchable thirst for inactivity and liquor, what is this? i sometimes think like nothing is real, abstract thoughts for the weary i reach the zoo, the cement moves beneath me, i know why, i’m important somehow and a small killing is in order.
the zoo is a bar, always a bar, it can be nothing else i’m inside with a drink in hand and with the drink i immediately feel better, a small triumph in the face of the winners of the world it’s not about you, it’s not about your cars and your european cosmopolitans, metropolitans, neapolitans, i write lousy and flea-ridden and i would be a lucky man to keep the courage, the courage to remain a secret, but the world recognizes me and i’m essential and so are you. naked chicks on stage…this is what it means to burn i think too much so crucify me and let’s get on with it, there’s the waitress, long black hair, a country girl i conclude, yes i’ll have a scotch, thank you, no i don’t believe in tips, sorry, but, she’s rude and i don’t blame her because i wish i could be too. i want to hold her, nothing else, i want her to sit on my chest for hours, i want her to ignore me, to adore me, to squeeze my head ‘tween her thighs until i profess my love, to tell me she cannot live without me. it doesn’t happen of course. it’s her loss of course.
i’m drunk. with that comes clarity, it’s a knowledge full of doubt and wisdom cuz without doubt there ain’t no wisdom, not trying to bore you with philosophy just hooking you into the dirty injustice of living, it’s a beautiful thing, really, just like that woman over there, the blond with the big tits, or the redhead with the acne scarred face, or the fat one with the glorious smile, anyway, this woman i know from somewhere sits beside me and says, “i always wanted to have big hair and big tits, big thighs too”. “and you’ve reached your goal” i say. she laughs like the zoo was built just for her and for all i know it was. “want a beer?” i say. “sure, why not”. “i like you” i say. “that’s not so interesting” she replies. “well what the….” i would love to make love with this woman or at least have her wrestle me to the ground but instead she says, “i used to be a hooker in toronto. thought i caught the clap”. “how about another beer?” “i’m 45 years old, and yes”. “what a very strange life” i say thinkin’ of washing dishes minimum wage my old man and the philippines and pizzas and italy (i was born there) but i don’t really think of italy, i think of the zoo dreaming of a cool tall black woman from new orleans, what a dream it could be, what an accomplishment, jung would be proud, spiderman too, and my balls on her chin would be cool, i’m not a sexist, just a heterosexual with a polite mouth, cruel mind, meaning no harm to anyone, no one but the entire world, the world without flame and glory, no god no money for beer, no nothing. perfect.
this too will pass i say she’s at my apartment, it’s tiny and ugly and dirty, she doesn’t mind, the world does but she doesn’t. her legs are bare her underwear is black her toenails are painted red and kathy is fucking someone else and this is good and if nothing else this is very good, kill me i think but it ain’t happening, so instead we wrestle, we wrestle, her ass lowers on my face and there it is, it’s right there, god is this what it means to live and die? are you there you hairy bastard, my apologies for not living like i should, should i marry and father children, should i get away from the dishpit, should i move to the south of france and sip on cognac, should i shave my ass and wear an expensive suit, should i drink ‘till the payoff, should i go to puerto rico and climb a volcano, should i embrace a stranger, should i kiss a mountain goat, tell me, tell me, her big hands are around my cock, her bush in my face, she changes position, now she’s on my chest, she’s looking down at me, i like her, i like her weight and her maturity and her false dominance and i think i like her smile, her huge hair, those tits like mount olympian, zues you fuckhead the weight of the world is on me and i like it you hear me, i don’t believe in sell-outs, i don’t believe in love, i don’t believe in anything but the dream, the dream of acceptance and non-belief….so here we go with the licking our skin is hot like depression my fingers are inside her and her tongue is in my ear mine is caressing the sole of her feet first one then the other then i figure it’s all very sad and lonely just like rock and roll, just like winnipeg, we’re sweating and grinding pressed together hard and harder she’s riding me we stink we like it fucking meaningless and i get soft and hard and even that’s okay cuz she’s smiling the whole time she’s wet i’m 11 years younger than her and that’s a personal vendetta as i get real hard move in she moves closer one final grind i’m hoping i’ll live through this and i know i will cuz living is for me as her ass rotates, her juice skims down my leg, i cum on her chest meaning no insult, only beauty and tragedy one more turn of the page, we’re breathing heavy, we’re licking each other up and down, i’m kissing her ass-cheeks, she’s nibbling my cock, we finally stop i’m thinkin’ i could love her and as i think it she gets up to leave, puts her clothes on when she’s most beautiful, i’m laying here exhausted, she comes over stands on my chest for a second, yeah yeah i say, then comes that mushroom cloud, i start thinking of kathy, what a beautiful failure i truly am, what a loser, a celebration, a simple-minded monk, where are you going, i say, she smiles, she waves, she leaves the room. i think i’m happy.
so what happens next? the joint is quiet, my old man snoozin’ downstairs, his wife peeling tomatoes, the sun shaking its tits, we’re freezing down here you old prick, i finally get a pizza order, yeah yeah so what? as i stretch the dough kathy decides it’s time to chat, we got something baby, i know it but you don’t so let’s decide either way, a final beer for the lonely, it could be so sweet, you see, her sweet lips up and down she’s chewing gum i don’t have her and can you see the beauty? it ain’t really like this i think, my old man’s wife is speaking to her sister, their words are making me ill, they’re speaking filipino and they still make me ill, another sister sits quietly by the pizza oven eating pasta e fagioli, these people are full of shit, kathy moves away, everyone is full of shit, even kathy, even me, especially me, there’s a vortex hovering around my head, a horrifying rendition of despair, pink and blue, god i need a beer.
betsy’s on the phone, i’m telling her i can’t get out of here before 10. “i need to see you” she says. “yeah, yeah?” i say, but you know what that means. things die down suddenly i tell the old man i need to go somewhere, somewhere wild and pure, even boring. he’s restraining a laugh and when he does that i see the pain in his eyes my heart breaks once again, for the thousandth time it shatters into a million fragments of crystal methane, shatters, hits the ground, i collect the pieces and with string and scotch tape attempt to make sense out of this fucking mess. the old man flips me a twenty and i’m out of here.
so what of it? betsy is sitting in a pair of cut-offs her thighs are porcelain white and big the moon is out i’m drunk but not as drunk as her. her apartment is immense no cats and for that i’m glad thinkin’ of paul westerburg with his wise-ass rock and roll wisdom and huxley with that big old brain of his, just for a moment i think i’ve got it but then betsy speaks and once again the sky is falling.
we’re in her car and we’re following a black 4 wheel drive on a dirt road, the car is swerving from side to side the ditch feels like a reality, i’m screaming shit at her, she’s crying, she’s giving it back, why do i feel the need to get involved with beautiful women, why do i continue to punish myself? betsy’s hitting the danger zone we swerve to the right, the grave isn’t far behind, she’s hysterical i grab her hair tell her to let me out the car slows before it stops i decide to take a dive, my shoulder hits gravel tires roll by my head then spin, rocks and dirt in my face, i’m sure, i tell you, i’m sure she does this on purpose. then she’s gone. i’m on my back. above me is the world, i don’t like it and it’s for that reason that it decides to haunt me black and full of stars most people would see this as beautiful but i sink, i sink deep into the crevice, the faces of those gone are nibbling at my ears, there is a blackened hand with stinkin’ claws the one on the pinky like a scythe it’s deep inside my guts tearing and shredding, i’m holding the entrails in my hands, my brains are in betsy’s handbag, that’s when the worst realization of all hits…my beer is in betsy’s trunk. i hate, i truly hate.
whenever me and betsy get drunk we strip to our underwear, or i should say she orders me to strip then follows suit. there’s no sex, not in the conventional sense but maybe, just maybe, this is the greatest sex of all cuz she’s as beautiful as tropic of cancer, insane, terrifying, i ask her to wrestle she says no, i laugh pour a scotch she starts talking. “we used to fight so much…violent arguments about fuck-all, i didn’t understand it then, i understand it even less now…and i stayed with him for 5 years, 5 years of pain and misery…you know, tony, life isn’t about love, that’s the mistake everyone makes, they focus on love, they search for it, and they don’t know what it is, people have no idea what love is, we can never have it because we don’t understand it, it doesn’t exist except for in our imagination, we invented this fucking concept, animals don’t love, stars don’t love, the universe doesn’t give a shit about me or you, love is a human ideal and the funny thing is that we come up with this fucking idea and then it runs away from us, the creation outgrowing the creator, like we did with god, you see?” “i need a drink”. “pour me one too” she says. i bring her the drink as i hand it to her i kiss her lightly on the back of the neck, she smiles rubs my chest then it’s over. something about this relationship keeps me alive and coming back. “i know we’re being watched, as we speak we are being watched” she says. “yeah?” “kiss my feet”. i do, i go down there start doing it softly, i reach the calf, the knee, i find the thigh she stops me, i comply cuz i’m a gentleman, it makes me sick how kind and gentle i can be but never fight who you are, i’ve learnt that through one painful experience after the other, so we’re slow dancing in her luxurious apartment on roslyn road i feel her breasts rubbing against me my hand is on her back and this is very sad but who the hell said it was going to be easy? i find myself thinking about hitting the road but then i get thirsty i figure i need a drink, always a drink, this will kill me one day she’s got a record of james bond songs on, goldfinger, live and let die, my best friend barney is travelling the world while i subject myself to this ambiguous brand of living. travel can be a good thing, but it’s a good thing i’ve resisted, the sun is coming up, betsy’s in bed, i’m beside her, we have a bottle of scotch between us and we’re laughing and we’re sad and that’s alright.
somehow i find it tragic to see the sun early in the morning, the pink and blue streaking across the horizon, it’s like staring into the face of god and i don’t like it. i feel if i spend enough time alone i stand a good chance at figuring it all out so i call betsy and her answering machine clicks in i leave a message, “hey darling, did i do something wrong?” it’s the third message in as many weeks i’m thinkin’ she got tired of my way of living, my tired repetition who can blame her, being around me is a tragicomedy and i think of my good friend liza telling me women like arrogance and power, and that if they can’t change you they won’t stay with you, the horror of all this is too much to take in, blood and guts don’t leave me the wind in my face the clouds in the sky and i couldn’t have it if i tried. ragged jeans, i make my way down the residential streets not a soul in sight that absence gratifies me. ah fuck i say as a car approaches, they park and get out, a couple of hippies i pass quickly, i approach osborne and the festival, there are people everywhere, music, lights, the street is blocked to traffic.
a sudden gust of wind reminds me of a woman i once knew, young and foreign, erotic, you’ll never keep that moment, getting fucked doesn’t help, becoming a hermit doesn’t help, getting drunk simply delays it. the sadness never leaves, it’s the only thing that never leaves you as you order a drink and twist and shout. i’m dizzy with recollections, it makes me feel like telling memory and void to fuck itself cuz this is all arbitrary and if you tell me different them fighting words. i’m on the curb. where this will take me i have no clue, a drink in hand seems good enough but is that the right way to look at the world?
from one side to the other it’s all the same, even the smiles are deafening. but i know i’m not a real recluse and i know this is sometimes necessary, i’m tempted to drop by betsy’s but even as i think it i know i won’t do it, where is kathy, in the arms of her lover most likely, i picture him to be a perfect asshole cuz all men are, i find it hard to believe a woman can live without me yet i can’t imagine one staying with me for any long period of time, i’m thinkin’ i deserve some small praise for this thing but like betsy said, the universe doesn’t give a shit. so there are old friends everywhere and i talk, talk, talk like they’ve never heard it before, and of course they have, but they listen like i’m saying something important it’s one of my powers to engage people, always has been, they’re buying me drinks like it’s highschool, a highschool nightmare one guy’s wearing a tie and another a fedora another’s an artist another’s a school teacher and i’m a dishpig, “i make pizzas too”, then betsy shows up out of the dream. these guys are jealous of her beauty cuz suddenly i’m not just a dishpig, i’m a dishpig with a beautiful young woman, that’s all it takes to turn the minds of people, some outside symbol of your success, a nice car, a bank account, cool pants, nice hair, an elegant lover, loud and clear, the louder the better, the more obvious the more class you have, like my thoughts and my presence aren’t enough i say goodbye to this idea, concentrate on betsy.
she’s wearing a red dress, yellow blouse. her sandals are red. i see the sun in her eyes, we could burn together cuz she’s a little girl in a woman’s body. i put my hand on her ass. her perfume is all around me.
[Notes: The above excerpt comprises the first ten-pages of the author’s self-published novel of the same title. dishpig is now available at www.xlibris.com.]