Wednesday/Thursday, March 20-21, 2019 I started writing this digital magazine by myself back in September of last year. Since then, I’ve been traveling around the world. At the end of October, I left my apartment of three years in South Philly. There was a hole in the ceiling in the kitchen. Just before I left, it had caved in from years of water dripping in from the roof, on and off, for pretty much the entire duration of my tenancy. My landlord, that fucker, didn’t give two shits about fixing any problems. All he cared about was money. And that is one of the lasting effects of American supremacy that seems to be wilting the entire planet into extinction. For example, earlier today I nearly got into a fistfight with a Vietnamese street vendor who was serving my girlfriend some durian (fruit) when we were heading to the beach. The man wanted triple the price what my girlfriend originally thought the durian would cost. He weighed it out and of course, he included the skin of the fruit. They like to raise prices, here, the Vietnamese people who make a living off of selling things to tourists. They wait for any little instance to screw you over. Sometimes, hookers even reach into your wallet when you’re drunk. But that’s a whole other story. When he wouldn’t take no for an answer, he started following my girlfriend and I. And when I turned my back, he grabbed her arm. She nearly screamed. There were groups of people watching and a man had even been filming the entire scene. A woman had come over, as well, to try and arbitrate the proceedings. As my girlfriend walked away, I placed my helmet, wallet, and keys onto the ground and then I came back to him. What transpired then is my own business, but I will say this. He changed his tune. And I think I frightened about 18 people in the process. Extinction is weird. Human beings seem to have become so callous, all throughout the world—I’ve noticed in my travels these last few months—that it shows in their demeanor and how they deal with other human beings. When I pulled out the money to help my girlfriend out of a bad situation that was instigated from miscommunication, I thought how pointless it all seemed. Why not toilet paper? Why not rocks or stones or empty beer bottles? What did it really matter to be in possession of so many bills with dudes’ faces on it if a simple transaction could end up in a fist fight that went viral on hundreds of thousands of Asians’ timelines? I picked her up on the bike after we cooled down from a potentially ugly fight. I didn’t want that! She cried. I relented. We went to the beach, finally. Elsewhere. And talked about it. A few hours later, we had a great meal together.
An hour or so after that, we had the best sex we’d ever had together.
THE END OF THE WORLD IS FINE WITH ME I was drinking lagers. Pilsners. Pale ales. IPAs. And listening to lots of classical music. I was painting too—at night. Nobody was around. What I mean by that is, no women. I’d grown up in New Jersey. So I was used to talking bullshit with my friends. We got together on the weekends after years of partying. Somewhere along the line … yikes … that sounds a little cliche. Sometime throughout our years of hanging out together, we started bullshitting about politics. Though I never got involved. I didn’t want to talk about that sort of thing. I didn’t know what the hell I wanted. So merely, I listened. It was one night, after a concert I guess. In the middle of summer. We were in our twenties. No, now that I think about it. It was a night when there was nothing going on. We had nothing better to do. We loaded my friend’s truck full of beer and we headed out to the woods. “When do you think this galaxy is going to explode?” “What?” My friend was drawing in a deep breath and exhaling a large cloud of pot smoke. “What the fuck made you want to ask me something like that?” He looked at me with a grin on his face. I felt stupid. “Nothing. I guess it’s the weed.” I took another hit. We were on one of those New Jersey roads. You know the kind, one that was sure to be flooded eventually and there would never be anything anybody could do about it. Ever. “What do you think is going to happen to our hometown after we’re gone?” “What do you mean?” “I mean, what do you think is going to happen?” “What I think is going to happen is I’m going to get to Brody’s house and we’re going to pack this bowl.” My friend laughed at his own joke. I looked out the window and wondered. The trees whirling by the window. Everything was dark, serene and peaceful. “Did you hear about those floods?” “Where?” “Everywhere.” “Yeah. So what?” “Right down from the Mississippi River.” “We’re far away from there.” “And floods in Mozambique. Madagascar.” “Dude.” “And I think there were floods in the Philippines too.”
“So what? Are you going to build a bunker now? Put some fucking pickles in a jar.” I laughed. “Where are your cigarettes?” “I stopped smoking, man,” my friend said to me as he pulled out two cigarettes. We lit up and watched the road in front of us. When we got to Brody’s house, the door was open. We walked in and all the lights were off. “BRODY! YO, YOU FUCKING FLYPAPER SACK OF SHIT. WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU? PROBABLY UPSTAIRS IN YOUR ROOM JACKIN’ OFF!” Brody was in the corner of his living room playing two computer games at once. “What the fuck is going on in here?” “I’m playing this game…” Brody spoke absent-mindedly. “Yo,” he said after a few moments, my friend and I had settled onto the couch with the case of beer and we began opening bottles, one after the other, and pouring the contents down our throats. Gulp, gulp. Beer was good. Beer was better than good. Beer was everything. I felt alive. Like spinach to Popeye. Where was my Ursula? Wait, wrong fairy tale. I threw an empty bottle on the floor. “Dude, my floor is not a trash can. Pick that up.” I knew Brody was joking. “Can you pause that shit?” “What?” “Let’s smoke this bowl.” We did that. The lights remained off. The TV was on too. A large flat screen playing some infomercial about pots and pans. And knives. “Dude, look at that knife!” “Yeah.” “Fuck knives.” “What do you mean?” “I think we all need a gun.” “A gun?” “Yes.” “I never even shot a gun.” “It’s probably a good time to get a gun.” Coughing.
“What the fuck are you going to do with a gun?” Brody was nonplussed with my friend’s response. The coughing. It bothered him. “And why don’t you smoke that shit outside? You fucking hippie.” My friend and I laughed. By the way, his name is Chairman Shaw, but you can call him The Weed Man. Or, if it’s easier, Hosanna on High. Just call him Justin, or Jake, or Bob, or Marley. Yeah. There we go. Marley and I went out back. The trees were glistening in the wind. Trying to speak to us. But we were too sober and we didn’t have ancient ways of communicating with other creatures. We smoked and lit up cigarettes. Brody came outside, shutting the door behind him. The case of beer was out there too. Glorious. We started drinking. I let them talk, talk, talk. “So what do you think of Trump?” Marley laughed. “Dude, it’s over.” “What’s over?” “Everything.” “What?” “America’s finished.” Brody laughed. I peeled off the skin of one of the bottles. “What are you talking about, ‘finished’?” “I mean, it’s done.” “So no more soccer or Playboy?” Marley let out a laugh, in spite of himself. “Especially no Playboy!” We all laughed. The moon was hiding behind the clouds. It was springtime, or Autumn, or maybe it was another dimension and our brains were strapped into our chairs and the only movement we could really make was from the porch to the bathroom, back to the beer bottle. Was that heaven or hell? I couldn’t make up my mind about it. “So you think it’s all over? Just, America, democracy, the country, our economy. Everything. It’s done.” “Dude, of course it is. Just look at Algeria.” “What about Algeria?” “And Spain. And France. They’ve been protesting about taxes for over three months now.” “Yeah, so what?” Brody took a big sip of his beer. “And don’t forget about Andalusia,” I chimed in.
“They’re building fortresses underground,” Marley continued, “they have satellites and computer systems interconnected with military bases all across the globe. They’ve got this shit on lockdown. As soon as they’re ready to stabilize their shit, they’re going to strike.” “What the fuck are you talking about, man?” “They’ve got underground missiles, dude!” “I have no idea what that means.” “It means, I’m fucking with you, bro!” “What?” “They’re fucking with us!” We all laughed, uneasily. “Who wants another beer?” I handed them out, all around. “Trump said he’d be pulling outta Syria.” “No, he isn’t.” “More bombs?” “Yes! Dude…” “Now, I’m fucking with YOU.” “I’m serious, bro. They’re setting up the world for this shit.” “What shit?” “For an End of the World scenario.” “Yeah?” Brody scoffed. “And what happens then?” “They got generators,” I said. They both laughed. “I mean, they’re setting up all these oil pipelines. Plus, they got a security grid in place. For dissidents. They got eye scanners, thumb scanners.” “Biometrics,” said I. “Exactly,” Marley responded. “You mean, the shit they use in Afghanistan?” “I mean, the shit they use at restaurants in America. I mean, the shit they use everywhere.” “They?” “Them.” “Us?” “No.” “Then who?” “Whom,” I said. “Actually, it’s…” “Shut up, dude.” Marley grinned at me. “It’s true, bro. Look it up,” he said.
“I can’t tell if you’re being serious or not,” Brody said, finally. We were sitting in silence for a few seconds and you could hear the crickets. You could hear the ice cracking and melting in the background. You could actually hear the screams and cries of the little mosquitoes hurdling around us, buzzing, sucking our blood. “Man, I’m gettin’ bit!” I said. “Yeah, me too.” “I thought the insects were dying out.” Brody and Marley laughed. I felt good. We each had another beer. Marley passed around the piece. “You know they can control the weather too…” “Oh, shut the fuck up, dude.” Brody took the bowl and dragged on it, lighting the top of the weed. I saw a big cloud of smoke forming above his noggin. “This is all fake,” said I, taking the bowl. “This isn’t really happening.” They both looked at me. I took one of my empty beer bottles after smoking the bowl and I heaved the empty bottle at the moon. There was silence. For a few moments. Then, there was a loud crash. “Dude,” Brody said calmly as a mouse, “why did you just hurl an empty beer bottle into my neighbor’s backyard, right at their house?” “Because,” I said, “none of this is real.” “What is this? The fucking Matrix.” A light came on in the yard behind us. The three of us hustled into Brody’s house, taking the beer with us.
life even if the electrical grid collapses under its own weight I will still feel good about the life that I have lived.
self-indulgent yeah, so what? so was Mozart so are these winding steps leading to the first day of spring I hear classical guitar now as a beautiful woman sleeps in a bed a few feet away from me typing late into the night I’m drinking beer and uncorking the bottle with thoughts of how I’ll be able to explain myself to her without feeling like I’m being manipulative this cross-hairs I keep on my own skull numb from the endless discourse of the world getting nowhere just more conversations on a podcast or social media—bullshit like my own! and I enjoy it, every day or at least in this last poem of the night about nothing, really and I can drink the remainder of this bottle at 1 AM slowly listening to the peaceful sounds of her sleeping without me next to her.
she takes pills, the pills take her she’s young and the discourse that surrounds her is boring as a toad’s dick she can’t stand her parents they fight all the time they want her to find some direction, she’s 25 “when are you going to start your life?” they ask her she likes music she wants to fall in love she doesn’t succeed in anything it’s almost like she hates herself and she doesn’t know why—she feels like she’s wasting her life and she kinda is, the narrator says, lifting slightly his thigh to fart on the couch she takes pills to rid herself of the guilt that’s been placed on her shoulders since she was three years old she sees colors traces them with her fingers in the air she’s touching something, she believes it’s like her dream is right there in front of her but she cannot reach it so she swallows more of her own bullshit there’s always an excuse for everything and she falls in line, pill after pill after pill, swallowing them whole, never inducing any self-reflection—it’s just a way of keeping herself calm, that’s what she tells herself and in the morning before getting ready to go to a job she can’t stand she stares at the ceiling above her, everything white “stop looking down at me,” she says then she gets outta bed and tosses some pills into her hand from an orange bottle she keeps next to her at all times, all day long she’s stressed out and it shows in her hair, this static electricity fuzz and she doesn’t care, quite simply—she doesn’t give a fuck, and that’s when she gets into the bathroom, sits on the toilet can’t shit why bother?
she gets into the shower and thinks of a boy I mean, I guess he’s kinda cute he used to tell her things she ignored him fuck what did he know, anyway? she gets out of the shower wet stained divorced cold who the hell ripped her heart out of her? probably some careless bastard who never cared about anything except for himself and that’s how it spreads without reciprocation she swallows a pill and gets nothing out of it but more of the same she thinks about it, though on her way to work how to get back to the person she used to be unique an individual
selfless, full of heart soul color the colors those colors she used to trace with her fingers in the sky where did they go?
you fucking hypocrite, you liar, you degenerate, you sack of shit he was a war criminal after a few days in office giving the OK for an assault somewhere in the backwaters of Yemen and a little girl was killed as the U.S. military—the best forces the world has ever had to offer, they killed some goats, civilians, people who can’t read and a little girl, maybe three, four or five years old—wasn’t she an American citizen? and then he was off to Saudi Arabia to suck their cheese the CIA and the State Department gave them medals they honor those, of course, who make investments in our weapons, gold, securities, bonds, futures—we need their oil cheap keep the masses enthralled with selfie sticks, Netflix, Amazon, etc. back on the homeland, at Trump towers the Saudis came to lobby the U.S. Congress into looking the other way when it came to 28 pages of a report that would’ve implicated their role in funding the 9/11 hijackers—veterans and active-service military members were there and they didn’t know why they got drunk on a Saudi-funded catering spree “it was funded all by the Saudis,” some liquor-fueled Sergeant or Captain lifted his bottle into the air and let it spew out of him: “we’re covering up their crimes” and at Trump towers, they drank themselves into the night while the Saudis got away with murder and they were in collusion with U.S. criminals who would rather block the justice system from collapsing around them instead of holding themselves accountable for whatever they were doing behind the curtain draped endlessly over the public’s eye a stupid, meaningless song sung by liars, bastards, soulless cocksuckers with nothing on their minds except for a bigger boat, a better quarter with higher profits as Trump golf courses in Ireland and Scotland get big walls built around them to be protected by the rising seas—we know this from Wikileaks the powerful take up two positions: one for the public, one for their private lives where they all work together to protect themselves, their bank accounts
tossing the working sucker out on his ass, into the rain, off the boat weren’t we all American citizens? and it wasn’t long before the Trump Dynasty was taking the reign to control the future, giving no—selling—nuclear secrets to the Saudis getting stuck in-between the hundred years of war the division of Muhammed who was the prophet anyway? Iran and Saudi Arabia two sides we chose the side who invested in our future of permanent war wars for oil oil and water wars for water, and food, and sand blowing up from sub-Saharan Africa China blowing on the coals, Russia scratching its head and balls who is going to get pipelines into Eastern Europe? through Syria, Turkey, and the Caspian Sea? and what about the wars extended by Trump—into Somalia and Niger military bases being set up without the public’s knowledge, no outcry until another soldier is killed in battle against a Forever enemy “both sides!” he cries out “they are playing at both sides” and he won’t be home for Christmas but the President and his Cabinet will be and they will write op-eds about the bravery they ignored to get rich their donors prefer profits over freedom and the legacy of America will be a smoking pit of debt and destruction and nobody
will be satisfied coz they’re all pigs, liars, scum, bastards—it’s like I said before nobody wins when the whole world is at stake so they take up arms to protect their delusions while I wait it out, watching from the sidelines like everybody else I don’t wanna think about it I’m gonna get myself a good lawyer and stand on the top of some skyscraper with a magnifying glass and ten cases of Vietnamese beer, cheap cans and big bottles a typewriter and a calendar with the days stretching out forward in front of me days of sunshine days of rain days of speaking French, Mandarin, Italian, English, Vietnamese days where the Heimlich maneuver is in the back of my mind but my sleepless, dancing steps will fix my mind staring out in every direction writing furiously as the clouds darken and a big, burning American flag goes streaking into the sky—that’s where I’ll always be looking up to the clouds or maybe it’s a cloudless sky and I’m drinking beer after beer on the beach, barefoot, no cell phone, no shirt a little bit of money in my pocket, finally—for once
ignoring the bad news until I get back on my tower writing these stupid words, like the stupid, degenerate liar I really am.
EWATIF #6 - Avoiding fistfights, making love. A short story about the End of the Wold. Some poems, including one about the liar, degenerate,...
Published on Mar 22, 2019
EWATIF #6 - Avoiding fistfights, making love. A short story about the End of the Wold. Some poems, including one about the liar, degenerate,...