The fortress looms before us. We didn’t die. A boy at the entrance soaks his voice into a walkie. A man with one leg wheels over our feet as we are going in.

I can’t believe this place is still so white trash… which, of course, means that I can’t believe that I’m still white trash, even after all of the poetry I’ve written. I’m a white cis male, conservative and cucked. Jesus has abandoned me. I’m not walking in my body. My soul is in her stomach. She, the one, the monster who ate me. Please let my body off into the sunset. Why can’t it just sink into the desert?

Her family is such cheapskates, especially her mom.

I didn’t get enough sleep for this… They’re throwing argument against the 1.96 “baby on board” suction cup sign that I just threw into the cart, thinking that I’d said 2.96 and that they could get it cheaper on Amazon.

The baby had been kicking all night. Musette had been rubbing it out of our therapy dog.

I’m standing here in the middle of the aisles trying to figure out how to think, speak, and behave like the dog.

In the bathroom, the urinals have little walls between them. Please don’t come in, I think to my father in law. I just want to be alone. This is not a day off for me. It is torture. I just want to go home. Since having sex with his daughter in the basement, I am now stuck with this guy. He must have known that this would happen. He’s wanted a grandchild so bad. This has all been one long con. A trap. He was willing to make the sacrifice. When you boil it down there’s no other way. I’ll learn soon enough, but I don’t have to talk with him, no matter how much the karma’s going to hurt later or how slowly and deliberately he approaches, encroaching into my peripheral. I’ve got to ask myself how it’s possible that he really doesn’t have any idea who I am? The kind of writing that I’m doing? Impossible. He wouldn’t give me the time of day. It could have been my way out. They always say the truth will set you free. I could have just shined the light, and kept my monsters at bay. Now they are inside of me. I am stretched out into another person. All the good my masturbation did. I just had to go and pray for a soul mate…

A fly-away hair pops out from my bun. What difference does it make? I don’t care about most things these days. This baby is taking it all out of me. Look at what my sister’s did to my grandma. She’s a shell of herself. She’s lost her mind. She can’t even hold her bowels. She is in assisted living, which means that she no longer has a full human within her.

Speckles, like chocolate chips, look up at me from the white patch on my dog’s back.

It looks like we’re talking two cars, they say, which means that I’ll be driving.

She doesn’t wear shoes or clothes when she gets home. She’s leaving work at the end of the month. Who knows if she’s going to go back. She has four weeks to decide.

Hopefully I can heal from this. They’re talking about how short a time meconium lasts on the way to Walmart. Her sister is driving her own car in case she poops her pants because she is a party pooper. There’s an accident, and I’m the intersection. Windshield blown out, body on a stretcher, blue mesh shoes. Could have been me. Could have been musette.

Do the hospitals still give out those slip proof socks, asks her mom. If so, then you can cross those off your list.

Musette wakes up in pain. The dog is sitting by the door, wanting to go out. Cozette wants to take us shopping for baby things. I have to drop the American Express back off at my boss’ work. My stepfather is at a mountain somewhere. He’s got his boss’ car, and he’ll meet us at his wife’s house.

I don’t got no reason for the giving of another moment’s worth of time for this same dang thing, I say.

I am gaseous and bloated. I am a walking, rotting corpse.

Give me a five dollar foot long on my five dollar foot schlong. That’s the creamy, dreamy, steamy kind of life.

This headband is the crown of my dominion. I make it so with my belief, knowing that the more matter you put behind your ideas, the better. I’ve got a lot of stuff in my bag. It’s pretty heavy. Babe’s computer, my phone charger, something to read, coffee, the thermos.

I’m totally open to having an epidural, says my wife.

You have to tell them that, says her twin.

We’re at the store together. We’re looking at baby things. Her dad is here with us. The look that he just gave me, with his putrid smile, was so horrendous that I had to shade myself behind Cozette.

You’ve really got to tell them that you don’t want pitocin, says Cozette. This is why you’ve got to have a detailed birth plan.

The actual writing takes place until I need it. It’s like gas in the tank. I’m plugging points into my gps and letting jesus take the wheel. There’s a lot that I’ve got going on during the day, and don’t even get me started on the night.

So, put the computer terminal on the floor. Push the monitor back. Stack some new books around it. Move the shelf of dvds defenestrated. Let the wind blow your speakers over. In the end we’re all crashing up against the brick wall of success. So, come clean this time. We all know that you’re nowhere to be found.

You’re not Lynchian, says Jake. Lynch wanted to be a painter. You’re always filling the screen with your own sense of humor. I don’t get it, and a lot of people who do don’t like it. You’re a little more like John Waters, whom I’m not a fan of other than for his finding that one drag queen, Devo.

In other words, your great job idea is a piece of shit.

There’s no yanking back and forth anymore. That was where the schmig came in. I’m glad to be done with that. My niece went to the zoo with us, and I wouldn’t want her getting mixed up with it.

It was Jazz appreciation day. There was a player signing autographs at the entrance for half an hour. He might be a playoff hero someday, but none of us had ever heard of him.

We got on the train. The conductor was tooting his own horn, making jokes about bibles coming back to life, losing control, and waddling down the hill.

You don’t have to justify your morning to me, he says to a bunch of no-show gorillas. Musette tells me that her favorite is the monkey with a big belly. She sees herself in it.

The monkey turns away and lies its head on some wood.

They need TVs, I say, and one-way glass. Then it wouldn’t be any different from our lives.

The new zebra’s name is Poppy, says the conductor; and the elephants are putting on a show.

They’re more wrinkly than I imagined, says Musette.

They look like my velvety ball sack. It’s supposed to be our baby’s spirit animal.

My niece wore a bow beneath her sunhat. She was basically born that way, so I wouldn’t be against you saying that the bow is her spirit animal. Gigantic robot bugs are scattered around the zoo. Musette is terrified of them, which means that one of them could be hers. She always says that it’s a raccoon, but I don’t even remember when the last time we saw one of those was. For that matter, I don’t know when the last time I saw a skunk was, but you can smell ‘em, and the smell of weed billowing through the halls is often mistaken for it.

I hop on a wolf and ride the merry-go-round. Musette is on a sea lion. Two pups are nestled under its saddle. Her dad is on a penguin. My niece is behind us on a tiger. My sister is holding her on top of it.

Everybody that you’re seeing is somehow stuck in time, she says, and I have to change my undies because sweat is pouring out of my asshole. I’m not laughing. I’m crying all of the time. My footwork is very shaky. My hallway smells like cigarettes. There isn’t a bad bone in my body. My sacred heart is in my head. The world’s got its grip on my vision. I’m doing everything I can to pierce it with the needle nose pupils of a whipping wind that is working to rip our dreams down. Don’t worry, I say, you’ve got the upper hand in that you are a dreamer, and this is the eternal night.

What do you think boy? He’s got his head leaning over the arm of the couch, his face facing the door. Musette bought a lot of breakfast food yesterday, so we don’t have to make a Dunkin run. She’s got a sack full that she leaves on the counter, and I’m the one who has to go back and get it, even though she made the mistake, because she’s pregnant and can’t be expected to trudge back and forth up and down the stairs.

Umm, it can be a little tough going. Why is it so discouraging, I ask Manwell, and he tells me that he wants me to x-factor over all of ‘them’, and then he has me define ‘them’, which I won’t do here, because I know that some of ‘them’ might be reading.

I don’t want to give myself too much credit. I’ve got a grip on the numbers. I’m not delusional. I know where I stand. Circling 420, most of them not liking anything I post. That’s a little harder for me to wrap my brain around, but I’m just not really all that liked.

The ones who like me are also disliked by others. We relate to each other. We’re taking the dirt that ‘they’re’ trying to bury us under and making mountains out of mole hills. With the needle point of my pen, I’m trying to dig out the fear that they have of us. My meager and eager audience is right here with me. We’re on the same page, dedicated to the same demise.

Can’t stand most of what I see online, there’s no question about that. There are a bunch of micro versions of myself out there spewing the parts of me they like and think might be able to make something of. Cut my arms off to have them operated by others, that’s what it’s come to. I’ve got some left overs that I can get the little bit of writing worth doing done with. Let go the thing that they’re holding up so that they can hold you, lift that breast to check the spots. Put a nipple in your baby’s mouth. Put your baby’s nipple in your mouth. Show me your dick in your wife’s pussy. Let it be seen for yourself going down. There are spells we can cast to portray ourselves better than the narrowmindendess you are forcefully defending.

I pray to the neighbors. I’ve got to believe in life. Nobody has five shits to give me. I don’t know what gold even looks like. All I do is practice. There’s nothing wrong with the process. I’ve melted my pen and paper into a stream of ink. Am I not better for it? Can you not with me now sleep with greater ease? Can you not now fall into our night together?

I have no doubt that one day you could be good. Right now though, you’re bad. Why? Because you’re obnoxious. I don’t hang with obnoxious people, and I don’t read people that I don’t want to hang around.