What color is your parachute?

the boss went up to tony
that afternoon
"so, you got this thing dialed in now?"
"there ain't no dialing in this thing, jack,
maybe 20 years ago but not now," tony told him.
it's ok, they get along. jack knows it's a piece of shit.
he looked at the counter and said,
"you got 27,000 off today."
yeah, tony did. 27k sheets on a 104k run.
jack mused how tony could finish the job
in 2 more days, "might take a little ot," he said
as tony washed the thing up for the night.
tony said, "yeah, it's possible," so he would go away.
he did.
all tony wanted to do was get to beer world,
go to the pizza place and get home.

jack's wife walked by
as tony was finishing up.
she gave him the look
last week, he knew that look and he
scowled back at her. she smiled and
walked away, swishing her ass, looking
over her shoulder. yeah, tony was looking anyhow.
one of the things his dead daddy told him
was, "keep your dick out of the cash register."
that and, "don't clip your nose hairs."

now she was talking to him -
"hey tony. you want some vicodin?"
"what?" tony said.
"i seen the the tracks on your arms, man.
they old?"
tony denied any junkie thing, said he had been in the hospital
years ago, that they had sloppy nurses.
"but i would like some vicodin," he said.
"you know what they are?"
"yes. i read a lot."

she smiled and walked away, the same walk
as last week, looking over her sholder again.
yes, tony was an ass man.
what the hell? he thought as he cleaned
off his ink knives, shut off the water system,
hit the main power switches.

jay, the guy that runs another press
on 2nd shift came up to him, started
telling him about his wild weekend;
how he picked up 2 women
on saturday night and they looked
pretty good in the morning too.
tony knows guys like this, you see
them in all these places. even if the stories
are true, it dosn't seem like these guys
are really enjoying it. they just like
telling people about it. and they all have
that walk, that beaten-down walk that somehow
dosen't fit with the talk.

tony blew jay off, clocked out
and walked out into the parking lot.
jack's wife was out there,
leaning against his car.

jack's wife knocked on tony's door
a couple hours later. tony
got up to answer the door in his
underwear with holes in them, skid
marks and holes.
he had been writing poems and stories
again, the things that he thought
might save him from the factory.
tony was filled with delusions like this.
20 years ago, he was going to be
a great rock star and when that fell
apart, he decided he was going to be
a writer. he wrote ridiculous nonesense
and sometimes, quite by accident, wrote
something that had greatness. some people
in the small press fed his delusions
by telling him they really liked his work and he
thought that was funny, how they called it

he opened the door.
"oh, hello karen," he said.
she took a good look and looked away.
"didn't i tell you i was coming over?" she said
to the street.
"oh, hell. i didn't belive you. get yr ass in here bitch,"
tony said.
she came in and tony shut the damn door.
the neighbors were out there, looking. someone
had slipped a note under his door about cutting
his lawn and cleaning up his front yard. the note
had been unsigned. weaklings.

tony went back to his computer and karen stood there
in the middle of his living room, looking around.
"what's all this?" she asked.
"all these paintings, and this stuff on the walls?"
"oh, i used to paint, some of them are old friends stuff,
some of it is xerox copy's of a shirt i liked."
he had a whole wall filled with xerox copys of this
pattern that he had stapeled to it. all in different
color paper. another wall had different colored sheets
and blankets stapled to it, on top of that
was the paintings, mostly masks he had painted
years ago. a freaking fire hazard.

she stood there, looking around.

"look, i've got to post something for donald
and norman, have a seat karen," he told her as he went back
to typing.

"who are they?" she asked.
"some guys i met on the internet. we are slaughtering
all that is thought to be good poetry and writing
for our own amusement."

"have a seat," tony told her and she sat
her ass down on his beat-up couch.

tony was drunk already, and was typing
like a madman; swilling beers, smoking
and typing. he had been into these poems
lately, poems that had all these demons
and blood. he sat back and laughed as karen
wrapped her arms around his sholders.

"i brought the pills," she said.
he looked at her like she was insane.


"i brought the pills," she said and danced
across the room, twirled and fell
on the carpet, laughing.

tony was in a whirlwind of beer,
smokes and b-movie poetics.
donald and norman were sitting
on his oak desk
laughing. all the things he had been
typing out were coming true... karen
was the succubus crawling up his leg,
thomas wolfe and john o'hara were
there as all the other ghosts pushed
his hands across the keyboard, a mad
whirlwind that blew through his fingetips.

things to do with the old
drive-in movies, mostly horror stuff.
kids piled in the trunk. elvira and
his fav, jamie lee screamed.

karen was stripping, doing a dance
on the carpet,
she was loaded on pills.
tony noticed
after a bit
he yelled, and she gave him
4 which he swilled down
with beer.

"get yourself a beer and get me another girl,"
he told her.
she obeyed. gave him the beer and he
went on typing like someone

about yawning gouls crawling out of
graves, whistling gene pitney
in the fog -
get out of the fog!
haha, yes.

tony was pulling a big string of
plastic balls
out of her anus.

one by

she squealed.

Mike Boyle lives and works in Harrisburg, PA. His latest chapbook, "Laundromat
Suite" is 30 pages of poems filled with addiction, guns, murder, floods, laundromats
and attempts at redemption. It's the book your bent uncle never wrote and available
at Rank Stranger Press

2005 Underground Voices