Little failures everywhere

Black bulbs the size of pin heads germinate below the translucent layer of skin. Like clockwork, they grow thick, sharp sprouts reaching toward the sun. This coarse overgrowth reminds me how long it’s been since I’ve wielded a razor. No skirt today. Covering the legs is easy. But out in the open, my face conceals nothing. If you stand far enough away–or don’t have your glasses on–my eyebrows resemble an elegant arch. Up close, you see the stragglers, hellbent little strands challenging the formation. Examine my mug for 30 seconds and you’ll find (in addition to the unsightly hairs) age spots, wrinkles, dry patches, melasma, scars. Trousers can’t disguise my face. 

My failures also stack high. Issues pile up. The New Yorker. Nearly every flat surface in my home is a vertical calendar with months and weeks of other people’s writing to read. Maggotbrain. Alta. Piled up. The Sewanee Review. Piled on the coffee table. Outdoor. Piled next to the toilet. Vanity Fair. McSweeney’s Quarterly’s 58. The gangs all there. They are either towering mountain on the right half of my desk or they’re cozying up to the books beside my bed. Like too close talkers, the editions encroach on the Mary Gaitskill’s, Stephen King’s, Mary Karr’s, Chuck Palahniuk’s, Carl Jung’s, Zadie Smith’s, and a Dorothy Parker or a Harry Crews–who are patiently waiting for me too. On Saturday, the piling up breaks me down. I’m crying.  

“A clean house is the sign of a poorly lived life.” Or so goes the cliché. In Shirly, the biodrama about Shirley Jackson, she tells Stanley Edgar Hyman, “a well-kept home is evidence of mental incompetence.” In my apartment, clean dishes overwhelm the metal drying rack. The dirty ones sprawl out like sunbathers in the ceramic sink beach. Laundry accumulates in two hampers. Broken down cardboard slumps in the corner, taunting, “You never take me outside on time!” The compost bin’s top looks like a funny hat set atop an unruly hairdo of kale stems. The shoots, stalks, and skins prevent the lid from fitting right and instead it’s like a floating beret. 

Jackson might compliment my mental competencies. Still others might envy my well-lived life. From where I sit, I see my failures everywhere. 

Published by Mike Zone

Mike Zone is the former Editor in Chief of Dumpster Fire Press and managing editor of Concrete Mist Press. The author of Screaming in the End: Poems and Stories, Fuck You: A Fucking Poetry Chap, Shedding Dark Places (almost), One Hell of a Muse , as well as coauthor of The Grind and Razorville. A frequent contributor to Alien Buddha Press and Mad Swirl. His work has been featured in: A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Black Shamrock Magazine, Horror Sleaze Trash, Better Than Starbucks, Piker Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, and Cult Culture magazine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: