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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NEW LOCATION!!!

Hey there, thanks for dropping in.

Pumping Keys has a New Location! http://www.pumpingkeys.us

It's prettier, more convenient, and has some new content up there already, so please hop on over there and thanks for reading!

Friday, January 14, 2011

I'm not Sure What to Make of This (The Wine Bar Known as Sofia)

She came into the bar, a wine bar, called Sofia, upscale with exposed bricks and nice paintings.

The kind of bar whose average check is two hundred dollars

On wine alone.

The kind of bar where the waiters really know their stuff,

The kind of bar you take your girlfriend for an anniversary.

She came in there and lowered her blouse just a little bit,

Just enough to show the waiter her cleavage,

Her upper east side enhanced breasts,

And pouted her big lips

And bent her knees ever so slightly

And ran a finger through her hair

As she asked the waiter to let her daughter sit with her while she drank.

The daughter, long and lanky, clumsy in her body

All of about thirteen years old

With Hunched shoulders, a tension that comes from shoveling ten times her weight in books around in a backpack,

Or inhaling food over the table before skulking away to avoid

Detection.

So confused as she sat there,

Not so much in the present moment, more in the sense of overall confusion-

The kind that breeds long term animosity

The kind I had for my father for a while

Before we learned to talk.

She conformed to her mother with a silk black blouse with rhinestones across the shoulder strap

She rebelled with a Holden Caufield hunters cap

That she wore

While sitting at a slabbed wood table in the wine bar.

I never saw her face.

It was trapped in a sea of pixilated wavelengths

“She hasn’t come up for air,” said Tommy. He’s my friend. He runs the wine bar. We had been watching them for a while.

Absorbed with them as they were absorbed with their toys.

Ten minutes later two more kids came in and sat down at the table;

Another girl, in pajamas, and a boy, blonde, blue eyes, with a white gangsta hat tilted to the side and an Abercrombie shirt.

I was starting to wonder if she had a clown car out there,

With smaller and weirder children yet to come.

“I don’t like kids in here,” Tommy said.

“Shut up,” I said. “This is interesting.”

He agreed.

I looked over there,

And one by one,

I saw them drown

Into cell phones, Nintendos, and blackberries,

The mother only raising her head to ask her pajama daughter to ask the waiter to get her

Another glass of whine,

A feat that was rewarded with a high five.

It was like something out of a prescient work of art,

A science fiction novel,

Neuromancer maybe,

Or a photograph I would have liked to take,

If I had the balls.

Four people sitting at a table,

Jacked in.

Lost in their own virtual worlds,

In their own independent social realities and networks,

Typing, texting, drawing, shooting, liking, tweeting, commenting, planning, gossiping, bitching, building walls around themselves,

And no father.

He was out fucking the babysitter.

She ordered another glass of wine

And left the wine bar

With her robots.

I texted my girlfriend to let her know

I was coming home

And

Laughed.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Put Your Courage to the Sticking Place

was it all for nought:

the desecration of the constitution by our enemy;

the ballot or the bullet;

the second amendment remedies;

the revolution?

if we should fail-

we fail.

the shot was fired.

Lexington and Concord, Arizona.

where is our Olive Branch Petition?

did you think there would be no showdown?

no lines in the sand-

no blood and sand?

"we didn't mean it that way."

"they were surveyor symbols."

"the left does the same thing."

don't retreat, reload!

all the waters of Neptune can't make our hands clean, Lady P.

Put your courage to the sticking place.

your followers are out there in the ocean

Antony's ships, floating without a general.

why are you running away?

put your courage to the sticking place,

and stand behind your crazed dogs,

your statues of liberty,

your Brownings,

your God-fearers,

your 'words of the founding fathers.'

stand behind them and fight and fall,

or I will shoot you in the back with the most powerful weapons:

words,

like the deserters you are.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Text that Made Today a Little Bit Better


He sat, drinking coffee, skim milk, no sugar, at his usual place in the third avenue cafe: on the wooden bench with a clear view of the door and the counter. His white collared shirt had yellow sweat stains made from the homogeneous nature of his wardrobe, and his plain black tie had been pulled slack and hung like a slain duck off the edge of a rifle. He made sure to keep his legs crossed and out of sight to hide his socks, which, being two different shades of blue, extended up past his ankle from his Patton leather shoes, which had long since lost their shine. He had two day gray/brown stubble growing in over his unkempt goatee, which matched the length of his balding hair that he now covered up with an NYPD Yankees baseball cap. He squeezed his temples with his thumb and forefinger and dragged his fingers over his eyes until they met at his sinus, and then scrunched his face. He slowly opened his gaze to take in the table in front of him and his cheap cell phone resting on the table. His gray blazer lay on the bench next to him. His ankles betrayed his otherwise stoic pose that he had set up by placing his chin in his palms.

His phone, wrapped in a five dollar case from Chinatown, chirped a nondescript alert that he had received a message. He reached for it, then thought better and raised his hand with two fingers. The barista, a thirty-five year old Phillipino with the face of a high school boy, broad shouldered and stout, nodded with a smile, rubbed his hands on his apron, and grabbed a bottle of sambruca before making his way over to the table.


“Read that, Donnie,” the man said to the barista, as he poured a generous amount of liquor into his mug.
“It says, ‘Guilty,’ Bill. Congratulations.”
“Oh,” said Bill. He raised his glass and sipped. “It must be a good day.”
“Who was it?”
“Killed his wife and her kid from another marriage.”
“Wow...”
“Yeah. Real scumbag. Didn’t have a lot of evidence. Glad the jury thought it was enough. Had to notify to the woman’s mother; the little girl’s grandmother.” Bill took a gulp. “You shouldn’t have to bury a child...”
“Bill?”
“WHAT?!” He snapped, and then quickly withdrew. “Sorry, Donnie. You can leave the bottle.”
“Congrats again, Detective,” Donnie said curtly, then went back behind the counter to take orders from the line that was starting to form.

“Thanks.”

He left a big tip. The phone rang later that day and it was back to work.

Realizing its worse than you thought

I type in the website of my blog for inspiration on a new story
and it turns out
I haven’t been there in so long!
Almost a month!
The web browser doesn’t even recognize the address,
although...
it is a new set of wings... well, rather new.
I feel like a permanent gray sky has been put over my head,
making me wish for better weather the same way I wish
I had all those days of my life back.
I think of all the days of my life that I didn’t write that I want back.
To be fair, that should start when I started writing.
People don’t live that long.
Writer’s block is a piece of shit from hell
that makes me wish there were a Heaven,
but
there isn’t,
and every day I don’t write is a vice of vines splitting me in two
from the inside
out.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fire Story


It was cold, but everybody in the group got to sit in front of the fire for fifteen minutes. One time, one yokel was clumsy and kicked some dirt on the fire, and that cost the group one whole miracle from the Oracle, so Grazie told the guys to put bars a foot away from the fire, which was a constant source of griping amongst everybody, but they were all too afraid to actually fight for taking the bars off, because if somebody put out the fire by accident again, they would be driven away with torch and pitchfork along with the secondary offender.

It was a grey day; the kind of day meant for minor mischiefs or going slowly insane, and so the kids grabbed the skull caps of the elders and ran around the ruins with them, only to be yelled at sternly by their mothers after the hag ran and told on them. They had to stay in the elders circle. That had about a ten foot diameter, and since there were seven elders now, that wasn’t very much room at all for a living space. Tootsie had to fold his bed and turn it into a chair accommodate the new arrivals. Tootsie threw a big fit about that. Grazie said there was nothing he could do. The prophecy dictated how the elder circle worked and was very specific. An alteration could affect everyone in the group.

“Balls,” said Tootsie. His cracked lips spit forth saliva from his wrinkled face. “Everyone knows you make that damned fire miracle up. My daddy made fire on his own in the years right after the war.”

“That was before the covenant, Torrence,” Grazie said. Everybody else called him Tootsie. He hated the name Torrence. He left his mother in the ashy snow, pleading for him to come back, calling him over and over again, just for giving him the name. Every time she called it, he sprinted five steps. Tootsie curled his neck to show his annoyance. Grazie paused a second to let him get over it.

“Fire made without the sanction of a miracle is not clean. It is against the Oracle’s code... and it doesn’t burn properly.” Tootsie didn’t feel like pointing out the obvious convenience factor of such a decree, too much work and not the point. Then he wondered if it was just purposeful bait, to lure the conversation off the path long enough to run out of time in the appointment. Either way he ignored it.

“I’m not talking about that. I don’t want to fold my damn bed to make room for the newbs !”
Grazie put his arms behind his head, a bald head, with furry hair on the sides with the strands pointing backwards like they were wings on Hermes’ helmet. He kicked his black military boots, which he found in the ruins one day as a kid, and constantly boasted they had lasted all this time, “Stronger than the man they held,” on top of the table.

“What do you want me to do, Tootsie? It’s not my fault you got old. It happens.”

“See how you like it when you get here,” Tootsie grumbled.

“When I get there I’ll have changed the rule.” The quip was like an arrow to the heart. Tootsie’s hopes were crushed like a grape in the hands of a giant. He sharply looked up from the floor at Grazie, whose eyes were even and steel. Tootsie did not get any sleep that night, but it was only that night. The next day Tootsie was relieved to find out that Melvin had died overnight. He had his suspicions that it wasn’t a natural death, but lost interest in them when Charlie slipped him five vicodin to leave it alone. He didn’t really care anyway. It meant he didn’t have to fold his bed up for another five years until Max reached forty-five. He considered getting Charlie to knock him off early too. Hell, knock everybody off except for them two, but then how would he sleep at night, next to the guy who just knocked off everybody else? He ignored it. Charlie knocking off Melvin got him back to a comfortable level. He just accepted this one as a matter of necessity, and his poor back reaped the benefit of it. All the prayers to the Oracle for pain relief weren’t doing much for him, so he turned to swiping pain killers from private stashes, or acquiring them as bribes from people who knew he craved them to stay sane, to keep the pain in his back from ripping his mind apart.

When that seemed to work better, he started pulling away the veil on who Grazie really was. Seeing his cool eyes, doll’s eyes, like a shark’s eyes, about to roll over white- that pulled the final curtain, and he knew it was hopeless. Grazie would not change the rule. It was hopeless, unless somebody died, something for which Grazie would undoubtedly take credit, and simultaneously insinuate being able to hold over everyone’s head whenever they complained about unfair treatment,

“Remember how I handled that Melvin situation for you?” He would ask, as though you were complicit with him in a deed neither party was an actual partaker. “Be a team player. I do for you, you do for me. I made the problem go away. Don’t ask me how I do it. Your turn. Close the circle a little bit, we have more kids now. Take one for us here and I won’t forget it next time you have a problem,” and that was the only time the Oracle’s prophecies were altered; when it restricted what people could do a little more...

to be continued...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

An enemy of the people



An enemy of the people
would side with a government
to burn the pages of the internet.
you may not see the flames,
but they’re there,
and they’re roaring high now,
a beacon for the pirates to tell them who to attack;

would be loudly ignorant
to the actions of the people
they pay.
the very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society,
and that’s why they killed him;

would say they know;
would shout fire in the crowded world,
to get everyone into the theater
to get everyone to shut up,
to get everyone to get in line,
to get everyone to fear
death;

would inhibit free expression
out of fear
that it may offend some,
the vague some,
the larger whole,
the average citizen,
the some that is themselves -
The supreme act of cowardice
not being able to claim offense for oneself, but for others that you do not know;

would speak for the masses
as though they had access to their brains,
as though they had a hardline to the Kremlin,
as though they were God;
would try to crush you
then ask you for favors;
would ask you to sacrifice
for nothing in return
but goodwill-
what does goodwill get you at the green guillotine?

would only quote anonymous sources;
would call for the head of a journalist
the way he asks you to pass the butter,
like a rattlesnake
who claims he didn’t expect the venom to kill after the bite.
DO YOU TRUST THOSE EYES?

would champion stupidity as though it were a badge of honor,
to be emulated,
to be proud of,
to be average,
to fail upwards with vigor.

would be invested in attempts to conceal
their pregnant shadow-
their tumor-
their baby.

would squeeze the arteries to the heart
as a medicine to the body.

An enemy of the people,
would proclaim they are for the people.

would tell you not to read,
not to learn,
not to think,
not to judge,
not to act,
not to scream,
not to cry,
not to get out of line,
not to take a stand,
not to question,
not to be.

would be you
if you let them.



*Please, do not let free speech and the freedom of information die on this frontier. Boycott Amazon. Boycott Paypal. Boycott Ebay.*