Wednesday, October 10, 2018

War Zone

I watched them from across the street through my tears.

The rabbi-philosopher Abraham Heschel - or at least I think it was him - once wrote about witnessing the sublime in the transcendent experience of children playing. What an overwhelming feeling.

A dozen gunshots rang out, but the children took no notice - they knew innately what was near and what was far as they played with their airplanes fashioned from shrapnel. I, on the other hand, flinched - I was still getting used to the fact that Death had his hand on everyone's shoulder.

After an eternity, I stood up, knees creaking. A small amount of dust and grit fell off my leather jacket and thick khaki pants.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Bangkok Blues

A little drizzle
A quiet park
A smiling face
Under an Umbrella
A second meeting
A moment's spark
A lifted spirit
For this Fella

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Tuk Tuk Goose

Mister! Mister!
Where you from?
You see Big Buddha?
I take you
Forty Baht!
Twenty Baht!
Ten Baht!
You come back.
I stay here.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Sunrise Land

Tired Travelin' Trio
Listing now port
now starboard
A train jolt
eyes spark
no fuel to catch
burnt out
burnt out
Soccer Player Pipsqueak
Standing on my foot
I cannot imagine
How, to him, I look
So we look together
At people falling asleep
I don't mind too much
Him standing on my feet

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Aloha and Mahalo

[no picture because I forgot]

Aloha and Mahalo!
Thank you and Hello!
I need to write a poem
But now it's time to go

LAX lacks sex
HNL ain't hell
KIX plays tricks
DMK ain't BKK

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Raise the Flag

Best as I can recall, this is my first trip to a strip club. I'm sure there's a more P.C. or professional name for these joints, but let's call it what it is: a strip club outside an Army base. It's possible I've been here before with Warner and Wolff, but whether it's our first trip or not is irrelevant. The point is, Dick Lips is in the house and that's all that really matters. Otherwise this is just one more forgettable night lost among beer-hazed memories.

Imagine you have a completely repressed hardcore fundamentalist Republican Mormon churchgoer with zero social skills. Zero. A dude whose ideals were passed on without ever being allowed to critically think or form his own opinion about anything (except Rammstein - he loves those fuckers and I seriously doubt he got that from his parents). A guy who is ardently against everything a strip club has to offer and exposed to all the evils of society. Evils like overpriced drinks and girls who pretend they're actually into you at a rate of $20 per four minute rock song. Just imagine this person. The kind of guy who isn't savvy enough to realize he's wearing his helmet backwards. And don't worry, I'll tell you that story another time. So what happens when you introduce this individual to such a wretched den of iniquity?

Well apparently said individual takes all his fundamentalist ideals and throws them right out the fucking window. Because tits. And ass.

The sign outside says "Deja Vu - Showgirls." Yeah, it's a chain. God bless America. What would hardworking soldiers and airmen stationed around Tacoma do without such a place? Go out and try to actually speak with girls in the wild? And face rejection? Fuck that, it's payday. Friday. "The day the Eagle shits," as our First Sergeant always says.

And that slogan: "100's of beautiful girls - and 3 ugly ones." McDonald's marketing has got nothing on Deja Vu. That billions and billions served bit is old and busted.

I've already had my inaugural lap dance and fallen into the whole trap about buying your dancer a super overpriced non-alcoholic beverage. I don't understand the scam right now, but I've got that feeling that if I don't do it then Moose and Rocko are going to haul my ass out onto the street. I've got cash to burn so I go with the flow for one round. Don't rock the boat. I learned at a young age that's the easiest way to get through any unknown situation. Go with the goddamn flow.

I don't recall which song they just played even as I leave the VIP room. I would have preferred "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails but probably got "All Star" by Smash Mouth. It's already a haze. Anyway, I get roped into the whole buy your dancer a drink routine along with Warner and Wolff. We were very clearly marked as newbies the moment we walked into this place. So they're in the same situation. Three dudes, and three ladies desperately watching the clock so they can skate away from the fake conversation after like three minutes.

Meanwhile, Dick Lips is still sitting there looking awkward and trying to tell us to leave. This isn't the kind of place for people to be. These dancers are someone's daughter. That whole spiel.

So I don't even know how it happens, but of course he breaks down eventually. It takes maybe ten minutes. I'm laughing and high fiving the Super W Brothers when some girl gets ol' Wild Man to break down and leads him by the hand back to a private booth. We did it. We got him to realize he's a normal guy just like everyone else, with a dick and everything. Ok, well maybe not like everyone else. We can do things like tell a joke and remember to tie both shoes before leaving the house. But you get the idea.

Next thing I know Dick Lips is back at our table after the song ends. And I can't believe my fucking eyes. This dude is standing around, out of breath like he just sprinted a half mile. And he's got a raging tentpole. Kinda hard not to miss because we're sitting down and Cap'n Winky is at eye level.

"Jesus Christ, Wild Man! Wolff shouts. "Have a good time in there?"

"Huh?" He looks down. "Oh, yeah."

I've seen a lot of shitty 80s comedies and I thought the lap dance boner trope was just a joke. Nope. Dick Lips has got a rager going.

"Dude, fucking sit down man." He does.

Over the rest of the evening before we leave which is probably about an hour or so until we hit up a bar, two notable things happen. One: a dancer tells me that a bouncer has escorted Warner to an ATM off the premises because his card didn't work at the ATM in here. So we probably shouldn't leave without him. She's a nice girl. Probably pre-med. Law school, maybe. And Two: Dick Lips enthusiastically runs up after his second or fifth lap dance and tells us there's a girl on girl shower scene going on in the VIP lounge.

"Come on guys! It's OK, you can bring your drinks!" He runs off, waving us back to where there is, in fact, a girl on girl shower scene going on. I didn't expect to see two chicks in a kiddie pool when I woke up this morning, but whatever. Roll with it. Wild Man is apparently the guy who knows what's what in this joint.

"What the fuck, it's like he's been going here for years," Wolff says. "This is old hat for him already."

Eventually Warner gets back with sort of an embarrassed look, having been escorted to find his wallet since they wouldn't take an IOU and all. And we have to practically drag Wild Man out so Wolff can drive us to the next bar.

It only takes until Monday afternoon formation before all 80 or so soldiers in Bravo Troop know Dick Lips popped a tentpole in public. This is only the beginning of his legacy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Seriously, seven bibles!

Tacos on street
Dorms, no en suite
Awake in ears only
Marching to
Marching fro
Where the hell
Do I go?
Place of note
Stand in line
Is it just
A waste of time?
Seven Bibles
One dictionary
Two bags
A thousand crumbs

Sunday, September 23, 2018


"I fant to fuck your blood."

"You want to what!?"

"Fuck! Fuck! Flurp. Dwink." The man in the old-fashioned tuxedo pointed toward his extremely long canines. "My teef."

"Oh, sorry."

"It'f juft fo hawd," the man broke down. "No one takef me ferioufly."

The blonde let out a sympathetic coo. "Oh, you poor baby." She moved over and began to stroke the man's arm. "I'm sure it'll work out someday. Have you considered getting them trimmed?"

"Yef." the man stared at the ground. "I'm a fampire. I wegenerate."

The woman sat with him for a minute. "I'm not a virgin you know."


"I'm not a virgin. I thought vampires had some preference for virgins or something."


Saturday, September 22, 2018

to Gabi

A desire we share
From babe to gray haired
Is to be free
And explore where we dare

To wander the land
As long as we can
What cities we'll see
Until we got sand

We'll swim 'round the beach
Whole schools of fish teach
Lessons from the sea
Which we must then preach

We must let others know
How to help the world grow
And how best steward to be
To life high and low

When finished, we'll fly
Soar high in the sky
We'll send word to Gabi
Just to say "Hi!"

Friday, September 21, 2018

Suicide King

I shot myself.

Sometime in March 2006. Not sure of the exact date, but I’m pretty sure it was March. I remember time by relating it to movies. I can remember in startling detail where a saw a movie and who I was with. And in this case I know I had already seen Revenge of the Sith about a year before. And that came out in 2005. So when I tried to kill myself the following year that’s how I know it was 2006.

I used a Glock .40 caliber pistol. Serial number on the barrel was CRF 404. I bought it at a sporting goods store in Tallahassee in the late 90s when I actually feared for my life while delivering shitty pizzas to even shittier neighborhoods.

Anyway, in that spring of 2006 in Portland, Oregon, I damn sure left a suicide note for my then best friend and put a round right through my gut. Left side of the abdomen because I was shooting with the right hand. I was going to go for the head but I chickened out at the last second. Metaphor for my own life, right? Turns out I missed the vital organs so after I realized I made the biggest fuck up of my life and called 911 I had a fair chance and didn’t bleed out. I’ll spare you the details, but it was a shitty experience and I spent 2 weeks in the mental health ward. I’m told it was the same hospital where they filmed One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Not sure if I’m supposed to wear that as a badge of honor or not.

While I was there I had a few calls from family members at a pay phone in the ward. My mom telling me I should maybe go live with my dad for a while, and my dad saying maybe I should come down to California. Seems like both of them wanted to pawn me off to the other. My parents’ relationship is probably the number one thing that fucked me up since I was six years old, so who knows what I was supposed to make of this.

My best friend and his wife visited me in the hospital. They were good friends and I was the best man at his wedding. This was one of the last times I saw either of them, and flash forward to years in the future: they don’t talk to me anymore. I don’t blame them. I’m a liability.

The one phone call I remember the most was my sister. She broke down even more than I did and I could tell she was in tears. She said, “I just want you to be happy.” We didn’t grow up together, so it really made it that much more poignant when I realized that my actions had hurt her. Of all the moments in my life I don’t think I’ve ever felt as bad as when I heard her crying on the other end of the phone.

After I got out of the hospital I was homeless for a few weeks. About a month in total as I remember it. I grabbed my most important possessions and abandoned the rest to drive down to my grandparents’ house in Salinas where my dad was still freeloading. I remember him yelling at me because he demanded I go with him to some bar to hang out with his friends, while I didn’t want to. Because I was scared of interacting with people. Also I’d just shot myself and tried to remove myself from this Earth. He stormed out. I told my grandma that it was time for me to leave. I got in my truck and left. It was the last time I ever spoke to either of them. Grandma Hosford passed away shortly after this. My dad died 10 years later in 2016. We never spoke in that 10 year span. I was too furious to reach out and he probably didn’t know how.

Ironically I got the news while watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens with my mom in Philly. I say “ironically” because Star Wars was the one thing my Dad & I bonded over. He took me to see Return of the Jedi on opening day May 25, 1983 and it was arguably the best moment of my childhood. To quote Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam: “Oh how quick the sun can drop away.” I associate Star Wars with my dad, but I remember the first movie I ever saw in theaters was The Empire Strikes Back with my mom. Can you be any more fucked up as an 80s kid in a broken home?

So after the .40 cal event. 10 years later, where am I? I’ve got a great job. I own a house, which is weird because  I was homeless living out of my Ford Ranger for a while until my mom took me back in. I activated the G.I. Bill and Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation, and went to school in Florida at UCF. Eventually I ended up with a degree in accounting and got a great job with the IRS in Philadelphia. I chose that city because my sister lived there. She got engaged while I’d been going back to school and I figured a change of pace would be good for me. And it would be awesome living near a family member who understood the ins and outs of a broken home.

After I moved to Philly my life started to get on track. There was a good 2 years where I didn’t socialize and just adapted to having stability in my life. Eventually I met some folks thanks to the Internet. I have a few good friends to this day dating back to 2013 when I decided to leave the past behind and see what was out there. Guarantee a few of them are reading this story. And to quote my favorite literary character Roland Deschain: Thankee-sai.

One of these friends, a lady... I call her “Bartendress” for the same reason that Charlie in Always Sunny referred to “the Waitress.” She understood my mental health issues. It was the biggest weight off my shoulders knowing that somebody understood. That’s all I needed. Someone to understand. I’ll probably never talk to her again because people go their separate ways and I’m a burden that people would probably prefer to forget. But I will always be grateful that she was an ear when I needed it most.

And although my old friends have lives of their own and we don’t communicate anymore, I do have a few select awesome folks that I met since I moved to Philly. We don’t talk to each other on a daily basis because that’s how it is in adult life. But we’re all there for each other when we need someone to listen.

I consider myself a minor character in everyone else’s story. But since I live my life my song lyrics and love 90s rock, here’s my favorite Alice In Chains chorus that I feel is relevant to this story. If you read this far you’re a champ. Thanks for sticking around.

“You my friend
I will defend
And if we change, well
I’ll love you anyway.”

B.H. Hosford
July 14 1976 - ??