Sentinel at the Off Ramp

Driving to live with my sister in Arizona after getting hooked on a glass pipe with all the belongings I had left, I spotted his dark figure in the fading light of a May dusk.  The motor of the Red Dodge Intrepid seemed to skip some cylinders, or  perhaps it was my heart that had misfired for one moment.

He had pissed in more roadside rest stop bathrooms than Kerouac, I suspect.

I turned around along the I-40 in Oklahoma to pick him up on the previous exit where he had posted himself, wisely, at the top of the off ramp so he wouldn’t be harassed by the State Patrol. He asked if he could take his boots off and then spent the first three hours of our tour west apologizing for the smell of his feet. Eddy said he was going to Vegas.

In Albuquerque, we had to get off the I-40 and run through part of town. I bought him a six-pack of something cheap but tasty and some snacks for the two of us.  We ended up having to follow Route 66 through New Mex a good part of the way toward Flagstaff.

In northern Arizona, outside Flagstaff, he asked if we could pull over at a scenic overlook, I half expected him to say he would be heading to Vegas from there. We stood and looked over a breathtaking view of the forested mountains, he was sipping one of his beers.

Maybe it was the herds of elk on both sides of the Interstate south of Flagstaff, mating calls coming in waves and echoes through the car as we drove on that kept him from asking for the Vegas shortcut, or maybe he just wanted to make sure I made it safely to the gas station in Central Phoenix where he dropped himself off the path I still had to follow back then.

Two weeks later, I got a money order for $25 in the mail from him with an address in North Las Vegas and like the fool I am, I cashed it.  A regret I’ll likely carry to my grave, if I live long enough.

I still remember his name, still remember his name.  Stiner was a fishy way to spell that last name.


Boot Stomp from the Savoy

Pieced together out of the shredder:

Went in search of the nearest coffee shop location for the Megabus landing and trekked 4 1/2 blocks in the 90 degree heat with a suitcase, a laptop bag, a camera bag and snack bag. 4.4 stars on Google+. Sit down at a table with all my junk. No place to plug in a Droid. Begin eavesdropping on the couple at the table next to me. The guy is talking up the woman about some hardcover book which I assume he wrote and his “celebrity” friend that works behind the counter. Hear her say, “Well, usually, if I don’t like a book by the first chapter, I just set it aside.” Kamikaze planes nosedive into his turret guns and I drag all my stuff outside, coming to the full realization that the city I spent 10 years living in may now be a boast town.

My hippie stank did not sit well with the yuppie smug and I dragged cigarette after cigarette trying to calm my nerves after the bus ride back to hell again and again and again. (That will likely be another story in itself). My Droid is rapidly expiring, while I am texting Little Sis Rescue and Uh Oh Rod (off topic, he and I used to patrol the Savoy Complex nigh 20 years ago, he has a 9 year old son and makes a decent buck shining rich people’s shoes).

Droid battery in the red zone, furious texting action only the likes of a 12 year old has seen between myself and Rod and self and Sis. Who will arrive first, Rod said 3, Sis is in traffic pattern holding and my tanks are empty. I take another sip of Nagasaki Cold Turkey Coffee (4.4 stars, may I remind you and a bargain at 1/3 the price).

I text Rod that I am exhaustipated and that if Sis Rescue arrives first, I’m hitting the Medevac and leaving behind an artifact for my Savoy sidekick, as per our custom back in the day. An OTE CCG “Incredible Opportunist” card with a Peace Dove pinned to it. 20 fucking years since that Character from Brain Dead was distributing his newsie “Transdimensional Times” at the old Luna in the Short North. At least 13 since I’ve seen Rod.

The kamikazed writer type dude with the celebrity coffee server comes out with the ADD one chapter book tossing chick and they briefly hug and they part ways, writer clutching his over-priced hardback. Where the fuck is Rod? Where is Sis-evac? I survey the scene at the NE corner of Gay and High. Oh my, oh my, Goodbye Columbus.

Droid is almost but not quite thoroughly dead and my com-lines are down. I’m staring into every car, hoping to catch sight of Rod before Sis-evac arrives. That dude almost looks like Rod, no, what the fuck did Rod look like anyway and does he still have teeth. I still have some teeth, although the dentist may repossess at any time if I’m late on even one payment and I think he fucked one of my sisters.

Eye gaze left, Shoe Shine Tycoon Rod is sauntering up the sidewalk from his day job, looking like a million bucks, approaches me and says: “Mr. O.T.” (Another story altogether, trust me, I’ve windbagged enough of it to you already).

I stand up and say: “Verify your credentials!”

Has Rod forgotten the secret handshake we used to practice? I begin demonstrating it and the fog of responsibility lifts slightly from the veil of intervening years. We recount tales, lost friends, not forgotten, maybe just temporarily out of order. I bring up the summer of the Purple Jesus Shred and time stands still. The universe becomes a shade less incomprehensible.

(more later, maybe, maybe not, not sure how I can even tap the keys in my current state of maximum fuck-it-all…)

Warmer ‘neath the Bridge

Warmer neath the Bridge

saint crackhead
stood outside the store
he never asked for much
he helped old ladies with the door
and had cold bread for lunch

he lived in sartorial squalor
underneath my bridge, my view
of privileged chains held tight in place
among us lost
us Few

(sorry, I’ve had to order my 2nd keyboard
for this laptop, i am a sight typer, and even
that ain’t so hot, and half my key faces are gone.)

He warmed His Place with but a Candle
his needs were only Few
He held his Station of the Cross
a Cross that few could handle

and YOU

walk by Him

Every Day

Did you Ever?

turn your Eyes his Way
or stop to consider
The Weightiness of his Stay

a dollar tossed into His Cup
With a look of high Disdain

Your Saint and Savior
saved your Soul

’tis you Who Bear The Shame

I knew such a man, name of TC, in Columbus
Ohio in the 1990s.  My friend Rod says he
stands outside the same grocery, although
the name of the grocery chain has been

23rd Psalm, Gospel of the FSM

The Flying Spaghetti Monster is my Shepherd
I shall not want pasta
He maketh me chow down
in Italian Resauraunts
He filleth my gullet
He leadeth me into the paths of Righteous Penne for His name’s sake
He leadeth me by Italian Restaurants
Yea, though I walk through the Alley of Chinese Food
I will fear no Kung Pao, for Sauce art with me
Thy Noodly Appendages comfort me
Thou preparest a table before me within the presence of Linguine
Thou anointest my Dish with Olive oil
My spaghetti fork runneth over
Surely breadsticks and Chianti shall follow me all the days of my Life
and I will dwell in the house of the Italian Buffet forever

The Precipice


Precipice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Being of


do bequeef my wordy goods to:

The Ethers
This lonely keyboard
This maddening planet I call Home

and when I finish

word will Stand



on its own Dead

deed Ed to All
who have passed through my:


and those left Behind
in the recesses of my memory

for it is


stream and

Eddies may (or may not)
recall a certain (thing)




and so it goes
a Precipice of
Hope or Failure

and Often
a Mix of Both


Jesus and Friend, Down on Front Street

I picked up Jesus on the corner
of Xrosswood Drive and Main
he had no dime to take of His own Sacrament
to rejoin the Flocking
spent on broken glass and and stockings
stuffed with yestern pain

coasting to the Depot
He showed me His wounds once again
pictures of his Children in another State
with Nothing on their P(i)lates

wheels and wheels of fortune mists
and portends, omens, twists and opportunities missed
a Mystery to be wearing Flesh
the Way of Gentle Fists

“Mother is worried about me.”
He confided as I parallel parked on Front Street
“I’ll only be a Minute, you can’t come in.”

with Great difficulty, hobbled by the Weight of Worlds’ Forgotten
Hero hobbling to a side door Sacrament
on Front Street

I think of leaving
Him, fleeing at the site
a fleeting Glimpse of where I’ve been
and seem to Moth around

days of yours and mine,
“Here… take this…”
“Are you sure you want two?”

wheels and wheels of wasted twists
Realities cast aside for Aethers’ Fists, the Gentle Fists,
the numbing wrists and opportunities’ mists

and Jesus wept
as we broke an Orange Pill in half in Sacrament
of helpless Bliss

Come Tomorrow, Try Again

Sun Pillar

Sun Pillar (Photo credit: tomhe)

Notes and vocal tracks for a song I am working on for a friend’s band in Georgia.
There style is jam band and I had started writing this several weeks ago and words
began dropping into my head as I was driving to see Ray & Co. in Huckabuck.

The music for the chorus/verse I had written several weeks ago dropped in yesterday
and today I tweaked it a little bit and then lyrics started to drop into the music
with stories of the band members finding verses in the song.  Shortly after that,
I started putting together a possible bridge or alternate chorus for the song.

SoundCloud of my vocal notes —>  <click here>


So-ometimes good ain’t good eno-ough
So-ometimes should’s just should have been
So-ometimes love ain’t ordinary
Co-ome tomorrow, try again

Sean vocal verse:

I got a Jes I want to marry
Ti-imes are hard, you understand
We fuss and fight, it causes troubles
Co-ome tomorrow, (I’ll) take your hand

Jeff vocal verse:

I got a Jes, we got two children
We’re workin’ (or tryin’) hard to make a home
I work all day, it causes troubles (or sorrows)
Co-ome tomorrow, ain’t gonna roam

Alt Chorus/Possible Bridge:

Co-ome tomorrow, Sun is shinin’
Co-ome tomorrow, I’m goin’ home
Co-ome tomorrow, Sun keep shinin’
Co-ome tomorrow, ain’t gonna roam

New Alt Chorus/Possible Alt Bridge (not recorded)

Co-ome tomorrow, Sun is shinin’
C0-ome tomorrow, you’ll understand
Co-ome tomorrow, Sun keep shinin’
Co-ome tomorrow, (I’ll) take your hand

Fulminate of Mercury (in retrograde)

Mercury And Spot

Mercury And Spot (Photo credit: makelessnoise)

Mercury in Retrograde just before I go on a Surprise Honeymoon.  Voter apathy
among sheeple with an appetite for clicking reward buttons.  Wach auf, Leute, wach auf!

Le Monde ne cesset pas, le monde de mon, n’est-ce pas?

A mighty big “IF” you are awake:


Fulminate of Mercury

a flourish
a rise
a pause

celebratory gum fire on a cold, cold November Day
the sheeple ever sleepeth

the Steeple too steep to climb
Alms budsmen sprinkle lawns with seeds of Hope

a yawn
a whimper
a few lonely howls left

by the waking dread

That homeless guy you see hanging around your grocery store has a name. Do you know it?


Candles (Photo credit: magnuscanis)


My friend, Rod Lehman, who shines shoes for a living told me that
T.C. is still hanging around the same grocery store south of the OSU
campus . We would see him hanging around the Big Bear near the
apartment complex we lived in during the early 90’s and if we had
any extra money, we’d give him a few dollars.

One time, T.C. asked me to come visit his home under the overpass
across from our apartment complex. He had constructed a nice cozy
spot there and heated the whole thing with a candle. Soon after that
I attended a baptism or christening, I don’t remember which. It was
at the Macedonian Orthodox Church in East Columbus. I spotted all
those half-burnt blessing candles sitting in the sand tray by the
altar. Seemed such a waste to leave them there when T.C. could heat
his home with them. I asked the Priest if I could gather a few
blessing candles from the altar for T.C. and he told me I could.

That may have been in the year 1995. Dates are fuzzy in my brain
these days. The Big Bear is now a Giant Eagle grocery store.


Spare Some Change

Drunk PIrate

Drunk PIrate (Photo credit: OpenThreads)




This is a poem I wrote at the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011.


To listen to my first reading on SoundCloud—->  <click here>




spare some change

wish i had a drink right now…

seems like a good spot,
30,000 people crowded into a small square,
they got tents and heaters and oh God! all that food.

i get my plastic cup and sign out of my shopping cart
(i di’n’t steal it, a friend gave it to me, yeah)

it’s cold out here and i wish i had a drink right now…

“can you spare some change?” i say to the empty suit
trying so hard not to look my way,
you never know, once one of these empty suits
dropped a twenty in my cup.

i remember back before i lived under the overpass,
a long time ago, or so it seems,
on some goddamned desert, tanks burning in the sun,
we took a grenade and i shit my pants.

i’d shit my pants right now for a drink…

lots of signs being carried round this place,
will anybody see mine?
a bottle of wine is only $3.68 with tax
and i have a $1.42
but the Lord will provide.

that long-haired man has a five in his hand,
don’t look him in the eye,
don’t look him in the eye.

he doesn’t see me and walks past.

a couple quarters from some sweet young thing!
i didn’t even see her,
don’t look her in the eye,
don’t look her in the eye.

“thank you!” i mumble.

i’ll just push my cart to where the food is,
maybe somebody will see my sign,

God, i need a drink…

some young dude leaves a sandwich at my feet,
i knew it, the Lord does provide.

in high school, i was voted class optimist,
it serves me well right now, just about right now.

some odd change and a couple ones from a kind soul.

“buy yourself something to eat” they say.

don’t look them in the eye,
don’t look them in the eye.

“thanks!” (“don’t tell me how to spend my money!” i think to myself)

there’s a liquor store near the overpass,
i can go back home to my warm spot with my bottle
(if the cops haven’t taken down my boxes)
things don’t change much under the overpass.

i push my little world on up the street.
the Lord will provide, it’s a good day to be alive.

Agnew T. Pickens
URR 11.15.20..11


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