Our Slots Are Hot
When I left home I was 14 years old. When I was 15 an arrangement was reached whereby my Dad would send 300 dollars of child support that was court ordered to my mom and then, most months, she would send it to me.
I moved into a room up on the eastside of Olympia at 16 after trying to secretly move to British Columbia. My secret mission was publicly foiled by very excited border patrol. The night I came back I hooked up with someone who had also been denied entrance to Canada. It was a special connection.
We immediately moved in together.
The house was in the little armpit that one large road made when it split into two. I paid the rent to that room with 250 of that 300 dollars and the rest bought cigarettes, felt pens and photocopies.
I was an aspiring performance poet. No one liked me too much in the slam circuit because I could not say a poem without screaming and I could not scream without putting the mike so far down my throat that the feedback deafened the audience. However, in venues with no mike it was pretty all right sounding.
I liked the way I sounded.
I liked that even though I had a vagina I did not copy Ani Difrancos cadence. In those days every poet carrying a vagina sounded like Ani and every penis carrying one was Saul Williams. I thought that the only two people I wanted to hear sound like Ani DiFranco and Saul Williams were Ani DiFranco and Saul Williams.
I held up in my little room making collages with words and some with pictures. I spent time staring at the wall and listening to butt rock on a cassette player, pen in hand. I was ready when the moments came to write.
They came often.
I thought the world was ending and for some reason that meant that I could not stop making things.
I was a baby but my drinking was already sloppy enough that some friends were no longer so friendly. The solution, I decided, was that I should be a stoner. My fellow Canadian reject was supportive of this endeavor. I tried for months but it never really took. I just really preferred malt liquor.
Still, I woke up every morning at 7 am and started my day with knife hits and a bagel from the bagel dumpster 1 ½ blocks away. Then I drank coffee and more coffee. We always had a garbage bag of grounds from the trash in Seattle.
One morning I found a baby mouse in the grounds. Her ears were huge, her eyes were bugged out and she was all jittery. She was eating those grounds like they were going out of style. She stared at me and chewed as I scooped grounds for my morning cup from around her. When I shut the bag I left it loose so air could get in but still pulled down good so she would have privacy.
The mice in that house were wild. Sometimes they would do dances in the living room that appeared choreographed. Then, as if on a timer, they would all file back into the wall. I was the only one who ever saw this happen.
Other things would happen there too. Knives would fly at me off of counters occasionally, doors would open and shut, footsteps could be heard up and down empty stairwells and sometimes the pipes would play like someone was hammering out a symphony.
It could have been ghosts.
Everyone said Kurt Cobain used to live there and play shows in the basement. Then again, if you listened to everyone, then we were all related to him and he played and fucked and died in all of our basements.
My roommates were boys who were self-proclaimed feminists. That meant they had me in their Nirvana and Ween cover band to scream and jerk off a dildo. One of them told me point blank that they needed me because more people would come to their shows if a girl was in the band.
Being a feminist also meant that every girl who ever traveled through and stayed at our house always slept with one or all of them. Literally, a lot of people came through and stayed with us and I cannot think of a single exception.
It was the first place I ever lived that had the Internet. We made prank calls over that Internet and we looked up distros for cd’s that we made. We all collected recording equipment like it was trading cards and when we weren’t writing or sitting or drinking; rather while we were writing or sitting or drinking we were recording.
Outside in the yard was a billboard. It was about fifteen feet high and about the same distance from our door. It was a sun-bleached advertisement for the casino that was about twenty minutes north of our house. It had a handful of laughing attractive people all gathered around a pull machine. In giant letters the billboard read, “OUR SLOTS ARE HOT!!!” It had a nice little deck one could sit on and watch the sunset into the roof of the diner across the street.
Behind the billboard were real thick bushes where an older gentleman made his home. We only saw him every once in a while when he came in to use the sink or sit for a while on our couch. I think he mostly did these things when we were not home to bother him with all kinds of “hi” and “how’s it goin”.
I wrote the following poem in this house about this house. Today is this poems twelfth birthday. Today I dedicate it to Allen Ginsberg (who I ripped off in this poem). Allen, you were the least boring out of your group of guy friends and the only one I would not have minded meeting.
Dork Ranch Sutra
Dork Ranch visions care of cut out cottage cheese containers and wine boxes
Beer cap knight takes kings thread spool rook and the wax bishop looks on weeping
She knows what I know!
She knows why our stomachs like fists clenching spoiled milk curdle at the sounds of low flying planes and the boys still cry “Milk, Milk, Lemonade”
And the girls still flee
And the rest of us caught somewhere in between or outside
Dreams we strain to remember but it’s like trying to remember a neighbors’ deepest secret
Food bank cocktails mixed to the sound of an elderly refrigerator clinging to life despite Windermere Jesus miracle
Windermere Nostradamus prophesizes our eviction every 5th of the month like clockwork
And Buddha is on the television screen telling me to lose some weight?
And I’m thinking ‘Damn this is the closest I’m ever gonna come to a mountain top’
As far as being a sage is concerned, Mamas trailer rolled backwards off that mountain years ago
Practical application of astrological plagiarism is a survival skill
Cat’s Cradle dreams sour unnoticed tucked behind last weeks dumpster salad and if I eat one more goddamn box of raisins
I believe I’ll have a reason to kill
That will stand up in court despite empty pockets
Testifying in my defense my best friend Jimmy and his friend Jack and his friend The Beast
Think I’ll jump bail, too many testosterone filled hangovers in this jurisdiction
The sound of nails on flesh constant as the flow of blood to clits
Semi-hard penises fantasize rubbing stiff trousers
And mice are still my most consistent friends
Coming around in good times and bad
Is it our delicious crumbs or delectable beings?
Oh sweet dorks!
When did you forget you were dorks?
When did dork become synonymous with shame?
And when did you forget that the rich will never know the sweetness of a sunset through a hole in the wall