The Good Word of Sprout

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's not polite

It's not polite, but I stare, mouth open at the unexpected freezing of time. A face in the crowded street can do that, evoke some pristine feeling and paralyze like electricity. I know the zap, the sudden shift in consciousness, the shortness of breath.

This face, though: eyes disproportionately large, speechless lips stained strawberry, a wisp of hair thrashing in the wind, rising from asphalt whiter than the snow. In this face, something of a flower's softness, but between the petals metal glints. The metal is jagged from living among the broken and seeking that familiar brokenness.

And me, am I content to go home and write, intoxicated with the gift of this image, this silly trinket? Do I place it with my other trinkets next to my bean-filled puppy? Next to the plaster cast of my forearm? Is that the cast of my forearm or my...

No, no settling today. If I'm going to stare, I shouldn't miss the point. This face belongs to a person, a young woman on her way home. But maybe first, she has to rouse Pa from his barstool, and in that bar of hardened lonely men, only a child could mistake her face for a gift. And at home there is a child, it's not talked about whose, who at some point during dinner will fling food at the wall. It will be a victory if he misses the pictures of Jesus, and there are many pictures of Jesus. Nothing riles Ma like having to wipe Spaghetti-O's off Our Savior's hands, feet, and side (why is it they always land that way?). And when Ma's riled, it's an unpleasant night for everyone, except for Pa, who would rather pass out than eat.

Later as the child sleeps, I imagine this face gazing down at him in the half-light, sleepy-eyed, without the lipstick, soft with a half-smile.

There, that's a nicer trinket. I'll put this one next to the conch shell.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Problem/Solution/Com- plication

Problem: Unsolicited nudity

Solution: Constantly solicit nudity.

Complication: I don't see one. Did you have it removed?


Saturday, January 10, 2009

In the Right Measure

Ohhh. I can't take another heartache. Though you say you're my friend -- I'm -- at my wits' end! You say your love is bona fide but that don't coincide with the things that you DO. And when I ask you to be nice...

You say, "You've got to be cruel to be kind in the right measure. Cruel to be kind, it's a very good sign. Cruel to be kind means that I love you. Baby, you've got to be cruel. You've got to be cruel to be kind."

Well I do my best to understand, dear. But you still mystify, and I want to know why. I pick myself up off the ground to have you knock me back down again and again, and when I ask you to explain, you say...

"You've got to be cruel to be kind in the right measure. Cruel to be kind -- it's a very good sign. Cruel to be kind means that I love you, baby. You've got to be cruel. You've got to be cruel to be kind."

Oooh! Oooh! Oooh! Oooooh! Oooh! Well I do my best to understand, dear, but you still mystify and I want to know why.

I pick myself up off the ground! To have you knock me back down! Again and again!

And when I ask you to explain, you say, "You've got to be cruel to be kind in the right measure! Cruel to be kind. It's a very good sign! Cruel to be kind -- it means that I love you, baby! You've got to be cruel. You've got to be cruel to be kind."


"Cruel to be kind in the right measure, cruel to be kind -- it's a very very very good sign. Cruel to be kind, it means -- that I love you. Baby, you've got to be to be cruel. To be kind..."

"Cruel to be Kind" lyrics by Nick Lowe/Ian Gomm, originally performed by Nick Lowe

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Thursday, January 08, 2009


Earlier, I went out on my deck in my shearling coat, unbuttoned, and a pair of fireproof socks. Socks because my feet get colder than the rest of me. You see, I felt a brief spark in my heart this afternoon, so in the interest of pseudoscience I thought I might intensify it with some meditation exercises. I didn't think I was in any real danger of combustion, but I'm afraid of burning clothes and skin grafts, and I can shed the coat quickly. There's no reason to take chances, especially with my hefty insurance deductibles.

Once seated on the snow-covered chair, I took a breath and rolled my eyes down, giving my heart a jolt of electricity from my brain, the signal that inhibitions are no longer appropriate. And a whoosh and it's aflame. I close my eyes and turn off my thoughts. Fueled by a good memory or two, my heart burns that slight orange flame, swollen and tender, and I think it might pop like the weasel. I continue concentrating inward, feeling crimson handprints on touched flesh, growing more and more aware that the heat radiating like lust from my gut has invigorated my thighs and my biceps and from there slid down my calves and wrists to the tips of my toes and fingers, tingling everything, and my heart quickens, growing larger and hotter and brighter, and the awareness of the now pounding heat doubles its effect. The tingle now a tremor, and now another, and my eyes might glow red, rolling back into my head in a very lucid dizziness while my body hums and hisses. My hands shake and the chair shakes, and the winter cold is but a distant pleasant dream, and I scream the worst words I know just to relieve the heat and pressure, and they are just squeaks next to the hiss, which is not even from me, but rather snow turned to water turned to steam.

At that moment a burst of white fire consumes me , and I think I'm going to burn alive. I throw my coat off. But wait! It's only that my neighbor has turned on her porch light. I cross my legs. Ouch. Her door opens. Oops.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Winter Fever

My coat has buttons. I can button my coat. It's important to button my coat because otherwise the wind will pass unabated through my shirt to my undershirt and go through my undershirt and grab my nip-nip-nipples. The wind pulls them. Nip-nipples. Wind. Nipples.

"Stop saying that," you might say.

Okay. Nnn...

"Is the wind pulling on your nipples a problem?" you might ask.

Well, no, not compared to the systemic oppression of the poor worldwide by agents of capitalism, the natural result of which is to concentrate wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people, the extent of which is all hidden under a blanket, the blanket on my bed. Under that blanket lie my papers. Papers that will topple the global regime! It's all part of my quest to date a Haitian woman.

"You know," you might say, "spare me the sermon. You, a white American man, are the beneficiary of the capitalist system. If you truly feel that it's oppressive, any wealth you have, send it to Haiti. That should get you a date. Unless you're weird in French too."

I can button my coat. Nip-nipples. Wind. Nipples.

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Saturday, January 03, 2009


It's past midnight, the hour when thoughts get louder than the world. It's cloudy. There's no moon to stare at. Otherwise I could ask the moon what to write.

The moon would say, "Write what makes you happy."

After the initial shock of hearing this booming celestial answer from a glowing ball of rock (and the ensuing battery of psychological tests), I would forgive the moon for suggesting this. The light that makes me happy, the source of my happiness, shines from deep within. Trying to uncover it will unearth slimy wriggling memories that I'm uncomfortable sharing with myself, let alone the general public.

Instead I take a moment and acknowledge that there have been billions just like me and there will be billions more. I'm happy. At heart, I'm a bright beam of happiness, and I'll never figure out what makes it or where it comes from. I'm okay with that.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Golden Rule

I should write something new here every day. I like to read new things every day, and I admire the Golden Rule. I admire the Golden Rule because in my mind it encourages spontaneous sensual massage. As a society, we need to do away with the minimum physical standard for sensual massage enjoyment. Tell me how I could. God, that would make the elevated train rides wonderful for the passengers and less so for those who clean the trains. Mopping skills required.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Holiday Greetings

A delightful New Year to everyone who reads this blog, this manifestation of the mistaken notion that life can be fully explained with words. I appreciate having an audience of people whose talents I respect. Maybe this year I'll add pictures -- and then take them down the next morning before everyone sees my penis.