you’ve got to admit, helen’s a rather odd name for a young girl. and she never quite grew her way out of it. bitter chips follow, knocked cold too at times, just to keep ‘em there, shouldered, festering, lost as hell. well, either way, it seems i’ve got a bit of the old cruel & unusual crawling around in me today. i don’t know, something to do with germanium-crystal skinned spaceships flying close to mercury. or maybe it’s the goddamn rain. goes to show you though, partnering with premium idols is bussing a lost cause to shams of look-at-me withdrawal. i was talking real funny this week. it worked as an allure, part & parcel of my charm, and people kept mistaking me for jack kennedy. i could’ve made a fortune if only i wouldn’t’a been stuck all day in a factory making doll shoes. but my ears hint that there’ll be some remittance coming yet, at least that’s what keeps me chummy through the days’ piled-up hair. plus, i’ve never been outsourced. but i’ll also admit that i’ve never been a structuralist, and when the cars slop and slush through the streets on rainy days, well, i make ashtrays and spindles and motorcarts for the wind-chilled. it’s my lot, and i cringe through it with style. telling myself another whopper as the windows cry with raindrops, as the gray buildings smoke white puffs, as i grow cranky and used to, and by, the things that make up a life. helen cheers and jeers with the sound of my name, and i’ve been patted on the back enough, and spit on, too, for that matter, to know when i’m being taken advantage of, sold out, or pushed into the pool’s deep end, so to speak. there’s a top spot in my heart for failures still. mostly it’s the lacking in the capacity to make a big deal out of one’s self. incurable, am i, in the horror-shop ways of dealing with what’s misconstrued and chucked at my wishy-washy ways. the rain putters and lifts, and bone-strong it comes down pounding again, without wind, and i’m calling sunup a liar, and i’m moody at best, and the hickory smells like cactus today. nothing ever happens. in the frozen-toed here & now that i’m apprehensively taking part in, always fashioning a new way to be late, nobody’s reciprocating. the sunsets have turned to mauve, and the bananas have mushed to brown. my face turns a certain color, too, when i give helen one of my expressions. i have multiple looks to choose from now. it’s another something i’ve been working on, preparing my face to gaze in indirect ways with a directness only i can achieve. carve off a slice of your life and feed it to the graying eagles among us. i’m fooling around with her money now, shortchanging myself, falling down in the crapper at the track, and i’m treasuring the ways of my escape. colder, not quite as wise, bumming time from the lampposts, downshifting through the weeks with the emergency brake on. the weather won’t make up its mind. it’s the buildings, their certain shine at sunset, the fading advertisements melting down their worn-brick sides, the rain-slick facades crumbling peels of paint, plaster of paris antlers over the entryway, smokestacks & water towers & sad graffitied droopy faces & lilts of white pillars, the sag of weather-beaten years plopping the ceiling, gravel pooled thin on the roof. my eyes create their own diversions. sometimes credit gets me by. but then again, well, i’ve gone and lost interest in most things that interest most people. my bookie says maybe i’ll win a prize. in the meanest of times, here, gut-shooting myself might make up for lost time, but i still think of ogling as my occupation, and my condition. helen is grieving over my motivation, or lack thereof, as it’ll be recorded in the annals. and so here i go again living my life in roll-over patterns. no small getaways. no bananas to split. driving with no radio, windshield wipers ripped off too by some cross-eyed kid with a vendetta against buicks. i’m too unkind to even dabble in caring about these things. if i ever could’ve thought a thought all the way out it’d make me sweller to be around, that’s pretty for sure. maybe put me in touch with the lord. maybe. helen apes my blues, coerces a croon from my patchwork of winks & dangerous lip curls & and the swish of my hip swayings, and i give her a tabula rasa to scratch out her black&white dreams on. barely fair, if you ask me, baldly, what i think. but it’s a captious question, if you ask me, and nobody here’s going to go on ruminating about it, or take my picture for the cover of some glossy magazine cover. i’ve built up enough resistance to the sentimentalities of the world to cover my ass. toss me an olifant and blow smoke at the rain. what’s the difference what i do here huddled within my indefatigable smallness? sure, i oboe the line between safe and scared, but the hurt’s what’s keeping sure-enough sweeps of tectonic change from catapulting me into an abysmal crevice, and you tend to stick a bit closer to home once you’ve taught yourself to keep splitting or staying on the run, away in any somewhere that’ll do. you can’t keep throwing under-cooked spaghetti at the wall all the time. as helen is so fond of telling me, listening is now optional. the tonal flush of pinks, lost in a violet spin, check their bags in the wayward cuts of a shadow’s bloom. don’t blame me for the shortcomings of ambition. there’s a whole stew of otherness that calls the kettle a pot, and that should be enough. if we can get the hours to agree with us, and mostly they won’t, helen won’t, by any stretch, get muscled out of the attack position. i’ve been out-of-line for a promotion anyway. more’s gone on behind the scenes for us to ever have anything to say about it anymore. i may dress like a session man but nobody’s going to make this shirt tuck. my bookie calls and tells me he’s on to something, that he’s got a feeling about something, and that it’ll scamper my soul off to the races just to be near his giddy breath. i have my doubts, as per usual. apparently i’m becoming quite the absurdist to him, though that doesn’t keep him from pulling the old waterworks out on me when he really needs some advice, or dough. but it suits him. he’s the sort who’s always dressed like he’s headed to the bank to ask for a loan. i let him go on in his hobbled ramble, digesting nothing except the occasional minty aftertaste, which sunnies my future a tad, and leaves me less enervated than usual, and even, sometimes, pirating my way to a new form of reasonableness. he hangs up on me four out of five times. i prefer it that way. it enables me to feel more victimized, more at risk, and, therefore, more able to cope with the isolated stuffiness that some like to call the comfortable & boring rote of life. i say yes just about as much as i say no. capability? i’m lacking in enough already. so, yes. and as long as i’m considering the sparks-without-gas stove of what needs i’m not “capable” of satisfying yet, well, i might as well curate the trove of my bad-luck cures. i can’t help but injure myself partaking in the most routine of things. pigeons are not cooing for the likes of me. i sleep to the sound of car alarms. blondes come and blonde they go. commercials are my only friends. distinctions? beats the heaven out of me. leaves me drooling on the pillow for another cheap christ substitute to wonder my way towards. hefting crosses is my lot, barely, and if i get tied down to back floating through it all, staring up at a hundred half-dollar moons spotting my skies, depending on blurry & scratched mirrors for my self-esteem, vesting ideas with their share of my head’s refinanced mortgage, well, i want to take something back, something to have, something that would be real in this hopped-up world of imaginary circumstances. when the weather gets this way, dreamy like this, i still get upset. omaha’s off limits, and the playground’s littered with failed heroes. helen’s dancing in the kitchen to the drummings of mice behind the drywall. it’s not that odd. we used to fight about the strangest things. a worried scowl to skip by, or to. and so the heater’s kicked on, and now all i can smell is burning dust. after giving some harmonical advice to the church bells, i flump onto the bed, lie there with the blanket pulled up to my chin, and dream of sheep who count me. the air is plenty and too little. i’m moving to mars.