so I hope I'm pronouncing this right & other poems: Stories by Tyler Barton
Table of Contents ______________________________ Page 2 and 3 : Life Hacks Page 4 and 5: Haikus Page 6 and 7: (Excerpts from) "Top Ten Place to Throw Your Friends' Belongings Out The Window In North America" Page 8 and 9 and 10: Story-poems Page 11 and 12 and 13 and 14: Creative Non-fiction Page 15 and 16 and 17: Short fiction Page 18 and 19 and 20: Found poetry
Thanks ____________ Thanks anyone who supports me creatively, especially Erin Dorney. Others, for example, are: Thanks Mom and Thanks Dad, Thanks dogs in my life I've written about, Thanks friends, Thanks anyone who has ever liked one of my Facebook statuses or favorited a tweet, as I have learned, with help, that it's all literature. Also some examples of places I would like to thank for supporting my creativity are: The Shiloh Family Restaurant, The Lyndon Diner in York, The Friendship Community Church in Dover, The Dover Economy Store, The JCC in York, 118 N. Mary St. Apartment #2, Blowhouse. The many buildings at Millersville University, any room in which I've ever watched The Fall or The Big Lebowski, any room in which my friends and I have been naked, the maroon Honda Sienna we drove to New Orleans in, Kansas, and Salamander City. Triangle Publishing 2013 thetrianglepa.com
Peep my oeuvre-you don't need to like all of it.
Life hack: Be nice to people
Life hack: Don't send naked pictures of yourself
hahahahaha hahahahahahaha hahaha shut up
hahahahaha hahahahahahaha hahaha wake up
Excerpts from: The Top 10 Places To Throw Your Friend's Belongings Out Of The Window In North America
1. Merriweather Post Pavilion, Leaving Warped Tour 2009. We bought scalped tickets from a man in the grass “parking lot” who was also offering weed. Justin somehow got his ticket cheaper: 1st reason I have it out for him. 2nd is: he had more room to stand and move and dance during the Set Your Goals show. We’re driving away and he is excited to an inappropriate and annoying degree over a CD that a band gave him for free outside the gates. The band means nothing to me because they did not actually play Warped Tour; they stood outside Warped Tour and played in a parking lot. Probably they paid to play in a parking lot made of grass and hand out free CD-Rs to kids leaving. He wants me to put it in the CD player. He wants to hear the band. He wants to love a band no one knows, I think. At least that would be my reason for being excited over a CD-R because I am selfish and 17 and I am sure that everyone is like me. When he hands it to me I immediately frisbee it out my station wagon’s driver’s side window. Kolby and I laugh until our abs hurt from the exercise. At least this is why I stopped. Justin is inappropriately upset as we drive through northern Maryland, driving in circles around Baltimore because 695 keeps changing cardinal direction and 83 seems to have disappeared or sunken into the earth.
2. Route 76 West in the Mountainous Region Between Somerset and Jones Mills, PA, 3.75 Hours to Pittsburgh to Pick Justin Up for his Winter Break. Jarrad, Derek, Nick, and I are in the Jeep. 19 degrees outside at 10pm so the windows stay all the way up and the heat from our talking/breathing/arguing/sighing fogs the windows. Defrost does little so I bend forward over the steering wheel to see through the small melt. I drive like this for over an hour squinting with my body in the shape of a < symbol. The windshield wipers beat at the fastest, loudest setting because the only point at which snow has not been blurring our view of the mountains is when we are in tunnels, in which we try to hold our breath for the length. Derek is good. Jarrad is cheating, Iâ€™m sure, because he is good at everything and no he cannot be good at this too. I give up halfway each time because I am decidedly not a good swimmer. I don't think Nick is playing. It is the sixtieth or seventieth time my rearview mirror has fallen off of my windshield during the drive. The glue is no match for the cold. I tell Nick, in the passenger seat, to just throw it out the fucking window. He laughs and reattaches it to the glass, holding it there a little longer, pushing a little harder this time. I half hope he breaks the glass entirely. Moments later it falls again and bangs loudly against the plastic cups in the console and I take it and I throw it out my driverâ€™s side window into the snow. While the window is open for those few moments the air wakes us all up and we laugh we laugh we laugh at the cold.
At Auction You are only slightly annoyed by two things: 1) The grass is that just-too-long grass that was recently trimmed by the rusted and beaten blade of a tractor or (God forbid) a weed-wacker. It is coarse, firm grass, cut at jagged angles that 30% tickle and 70% scratch the bone at your ankle as you walk on your sandaled feet. and 2) That it is only 71Ëš but you are sweating. You walk slowly and your Dad walks ten paces ahead, like a child in Toys 'R Us leads his cartpushing parents. As happy as he is to be here, and as happy as he is that you are here with him, he hopes that you have not come simply to snicker and smile or to patronize. Don't let him think you came for the novelty, or (God forbid) for poem fodder. He wants you to need an auction with him. Thing you see: A broken grandfather clock (great condition, despite) Box full of bows Rabbits hopping around Knife collection (rusted) Man and woman wearing overalls and holding hands Nazi regalia Mud all around Dunkin Donuts collectible cups Mortar and pestle At some point in your wandering and meandering and sifting and laughing and thinking of poems you may trip and fall.
A Cat Purring Amy felt and actually sounded quite like a cat purring as she stretched and breathed and spoke to herself quietly until she slept. When she awoke she was dead. This is not to say she died when she woke up the next morning but rather she woke in some place that she knew immediately as a dead place. She was not alive here but reacted only by once again stretching, curling, sighing outward audibly, and sleeping again. This she did, knowing finally and fully and without even thinking about it that there was nothing different between sleep and death and life and dreaming. She slept on through her funeral, but her funeral was beautiful. Everyone looked over the casket and oohed and ahhed and a few actually remarked about how she carried herself, so serenely. It was remarkable, the way death carried her.
Bubble Witch Saga I like seeing my Grandma's face, but it's the same one every day popping up on the front of my phone, inviting me to play Facebook games. In her profile picture she's dressed like a cat with a black nose and whiskers. She's in a car, probably on the way to a party. Maybe she was a mouse. I think about her in my cousin's house with my nephews playing basketball in the yard and she's on a computer crushing candy, farming fake animals, being very much in some mafia; she's in all the newest things. I miss her and I should call her. I imagine Zuckerberg in a meeting, "How can we make young people call their Grandmothers more?"
The Fear I never liked to not know where my parents were. Even when I knew, I still got scared if I couldn't look for them and see them. Even when I was thirteen. I'd wake up at night after falling asleep on the couch watching Seinfeld re-runs. I'd look for them and their bedroom door would be closed (and this was when they were still in love) and locked. I'd get nervous. I once opened it, asking, "Mom? Are you in there?", and they were naked. "I'm just giving your father a massage." * I even got scared when my dad went in to Giant quick and I stayed in the Bronco to play my Gameboy. After five minutes it lost my attention and all I could think was that when my dad walked through the parking lot he never went inside. Instead he just kept on walking. Instead of buying me Cheez-Its he walked away and joined a new family. So I climbed out of the Bronco and walked inside to find him. While I was inside desperately searching aisle after aisle, my dad was approaching the truck, looking for my shape in the passenger seat. He didn't see it. He started running around. But when he found me, we were both all panicky and I thought he would understand that the way he felt just now was the way I had felt just then. I had made him pretty mad, but he hugged me hard. And I didn't understand it then but I understand it now. *
And so, I think I deserved this fear, for the fear I caused them. Like when I was littler I remember being at Carpet-World and hiding my sister and I in between the enormous hanging rugs and scaring the shit out of my mom and pissing off my dad. * When shopping at the mall with my mom, we'd walk through Bon-Ton and she'd always stop to look at clothes and usually purses. I'd beg her to let us just leave. "One minute, Ty."
And I'd plead, "But Moooooom." And she'd repeat, "One minute, Honey." So out of boredom and spite I'd go and hide in the center of the clothing racks. I'd duck down. I'd wait for the third or fourth call, which normally had a little desperation in it. Then I would emerge. "Honey don't do that." * So I probably deserved this knot-twisting soreness in my gut each time my mom came home late from work. It was every other night or so. I would lay in bed with my face almost touching my bedroom window. The window looked out to the road and I would watch for her headlights. 9:00. 9:10. Okay, where is she? 9:15. Are those hers? 9:20. Those lights aren't high enough off the ground to be hers. Those are a truck's lights. Maybe she is driving a truck today. Please be in a truck. 9:21. Not her. 9:22. Seriously, I waited until it was her headlights brightening up the undersides of the trees at the end of the road. Those are hers. I sat up and pushed my forehead to the glass. They inched closer and I changed my mind back and forth. 9:23. It's not her. 9:23 still. It is! 9:24. It passed by, whoever's car it was. Whoever's mother it was. 9:40-45. She'd finally pull in. I would lay back in bed and do my best impression of a sleeping eleven-year-old. I would will my heart to beat slower. It never would. I would wait for her to come inside, go up the stairs, turn down the hall, come into my room and kiss me on my head. I'd fake like I was waking up. * Or maybe it was just innate, my anxieties. Like my anxiety about my dad's picking me up from the babysitters late, the possibility of him never picking me up at all. I would have hated to live with that family. She made me eat lima beans. Wouldn't let me get up from the table till they were gone.
When it was 4 o'clock and he wasn't there I'd go outside and bounce a ball in the driveway, hoping the ball would distract me. I would cry there sometimes until he turned in. I would always try very hard to disguise that I had been crying. * Age did little for the fear. My first year of college I came home a lot. Late one night driving down the most familiar road in my hometown, I was directed to take a detour. There had been an accident. I thought nothing of it. That is, until I pulled into my driveway and my mom's car wasn't there. My dad was in bed, unaware that his wife of twenty years might be dead or dying in a ditch or an ambulance. I took a shower but couldn't stop myself from putting it together. I couldn't stop picturing her car turned over on my road. I paced the basement, calling her cell phone every 3 minutes. No answer. I sat down in the bathroom, on the toilet and put my head in my hands. I wasn't crying but my legs were shaking. This is when she walked in and I hugged her and started crying. * The fear is different now, but still alive. I don't live with them anymore, and they don't live with each other. And in my apartment I don't wonder if they're dead. But when I meet my mom for dinner, and she is her trademark twenty minutes late, my foot starts to bounce. Sitting in the waiting area, my leg gets restless and I check my phone, consider calling. At the point when I am most certain she isn't coming, that I will never see her again, she walks in, apologizes for being late, and she hugs me, calls me Honey.
The 389 Works of Remy Dodd The Glenbrook Drive Museum of Modern Art was a tool shed in Alexis Chase's backyard. Her and her brother, Alex, curated the thing. Because you had to jump a chin-high fence to sneak into the yard and because they got a lock and key from their father, no one could have anything in the museum that wasn't formally accepted by the self-righteous siblings themselves. The process for admission into the Glenbrook Drive MOMA was a ridiculously convoluted one. The young artist had to: lug his or her work to the Chase property knock a specific code on the door to the garage ask for a showing display the work on the clean white garage wall leave the garage and "take a walk around the block" come back to receive his or her "feedback note" The last step was to take the submission back home, because no unsolicited piece was ever accepted. And the feedback note? It was always some high-minded quote for artistic direction once offered by a critic or thinker.
"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." --Aristotle "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." --Scott Adams It was annoying. It is said that Mr. Chase suggested to his son one night that he and his sister include some of their mother's pottery in their "little exhibit". Mrs. Chase taught pottery classes at the YMCA and she would often sell her stuff to people in the neighborhood, especially around Christmastime. We had a Mrs. Chase candle holder on our mantle; it was good. Apparently, Alex told his father that his mother's work, "wasn't exactly what they were going for." Glenbrook Drive was the fourth of four streets that made up a little square development surrounded by farms. We all had lots of neighbors, lots of friends; the families were all young. But we were miles out there from anyone else we went to school with. Our bus was full but it only had about three stops. So when a few of us took an interest in something, anything, it sort of spread like fire. I blame Mr. Tuttle who teaches 7th grade art. Alex and Alexis had this class with us even though they were 6th graders. They were little geniuses or something. Anyway, Mr. Tuttle told us one day, "If the artist calls it art, it's art...but that doesn't make it good. It's the people who own the galleries who decide what's good."
So Alexis told Alex that they should start their own gallery. "Better yet," said Chase, "let's make it a museum." They started off with their own work. Alex liked photographs, the easiest art. He took pictures of his sister. That's it, too. I'm pretty sure he strictly took photos of Alexis. There was always one of these photos on display at the GBD MOMA. There was a time when a younger boy from the neighborhood, Remy Dodd, actually tried to steal one of these pictures. He was unsuccessful. And ever since, the attendance at the shed gallery soared. Everyone wanted to see that which was worth stealing. I spent 15 dollars there. I went three times. That's three weekly allowances. But it wasn't just me, the whole neighborhood was into this stuff now. It was like when the Chase children got skateboards for Christmas when they were eleven. By February, every kid in the development had a skateboard. Those two just seemed to make good choices, or it was that they had a knack for making their ordinary choices seem enchanted and important. So everyone was an artist that fall. As I said, I went three times; I looked at the ten or so items on display. I saw the works of my peers: watercolors, collage, clay sculptures, bridges made from balsa wood. I saw whatever black and white photograph of Alexis was currently showing. I never once got a painting in. But this wasn't about me. And it turned out, the culmination of all this art interest on Glenbrook Drive wasn't about Alex or his Black and White Alexis either. It was about Remy Dodd. Remy had apparently spent all his birthday money on admission to the gallery; he was going weekly. He really loved art, we thought. But one night--it was a "Friday Special Exhibit", which featured a specific artist, who, believe it or not, was Alex Chase--Remy paid to go in, and when the gallery was cleared out of other spectators he pushed the shed doors closed from the inside and barred them with an easel. He had locked himself inside. It was just Remy and the pictures of Alexis. When Mr. Chase had finally broken through the barricade with a swift booted kick, he found Remy rising from the floor, zipping his pants. He was immediately ejected from the premises, and his parents were phoned. "Yes, Mrs. Dodd, masturbating. I hope I don't need to explain to you how it works." This act had stained not only a few of the photographs inside, but the museum, the sanctity of the art on Glenbrook, the hierarchy altogether. Everything was tainted. And after that Remy wasn't allowed to leave his house. So he started a new museum, one for new art, for what he called "the art of motion". He christened the Dodd's backyard a gallery by holding an exhibition which was free of cost.
He made fliers that read, "Come See the 389 Works of Remy Dodd". So we did. We showed up one blustery Saturday morning and found a sign on the back gate, welcoming the audience. There were no instructions for us.
Tyler Steven Barton is a writer, unemployed teacher, writing workshop leader, friend, Dolphins fan, and community member, living in Lancaster, PA. He wants to go to a literary event with you. Visit thetrianglepa.com to find an event that looks interesting and email him at Tylerstevenbarton@gmail.com @goftyler www.udontneedtolikeallofit.tumblr.com