Despite the clouds and the rain, if you look straight up you can see the sun reaching down at the earth like a hand clutching a hazy piece of fire. Sitting on a gunmetal bench, head rolled back, Friend stares up through the silver, wiry sheets falling from the thick gray-dappled clouds weaving and coursing through each other like ghosts, and spits.

            He leans forward and unscrews the top of the orange bottle of Celexa and throws a few more into his mouth, tilts his head back and spits them into the sky like the shells of poisonous sunflower seeds. The pills taste like hammers and nails, like the inside of brick walls, like hospitals and disease. He spits hard so they don’t fall back down onto his face. He aims at the flickering sun and imagines hitting it. There is a small tapping sound as they fall back to earth, tiny obscene pink chunks melting into the asphalt around him.

            Friend’s decided to stop taking his antidepressants today. He grips the open bottle like a baseball and throws it hard away at the gutter, its minuscule contents scattering in the street. A gleaming black crow swoops down from the phone line and pecks at the ground before lurching angrily back into the sky in what Friend presumes is disgust.

            He stands and hawks a big, pink clot of bitter chemistry out of his mouth and watches as the collection of tiny pink tablets grudgingly make their way down the street and are washed away, their pink tails disappearing after them. The rain picks up and in a few moments, everything save the orange translucent bottle is gone, wiped from the street and erased from sight.

            Friend walks over and nudges the bottle into the drain with his boot. The sun emerges from behind its veil of clouds, casting an elongated shadow of Friend down the street. The sluice of rain trembles on Friend’s head as he stands there, staring into the gutter.


God & Satan Discussing Evil


Alexander Michael Ziperovich

“How about this,” god and the devil had already signed a treaty some time prior as god was simply too brutal and calculating an opponent, a master in the conduct of war; satan really had no choice but to accept his plush exile and his secondary status in hell (which he felt resembled Vegas in the summer in any case). They were broaching the question of the image and subsequent creation of man again, bickering like children over plastic toys. “How about for every sixty or seventy kilos of meat in every man you create in your image, you let me throw in an ounce or so of my pure, unadulterated evil?” He paused grinning. “I mean you can’t totally handicap me here and make me completely reliant on some unwieldy army of bureaucrat demons to possess people! The overhead alone on that kind of operation would bankrup-” God interrupts, stroking his cottony white beard, “You want me to let you be a part of the image of man?” The reverberations from his soft chuckles creates most of Asia and reality television. “Listen. I have already decided that my being the sole entity from which the image of man should be derived is already going to be an important part of the book I’m going to ghostwrite so that man is righteous and divine and my PR people all completely agree on this.”

Satan sat patiently listening and replied when the rumbling of god’s voice began to dissipate, “Yeah, I know you’re going to create the religion thing and have some book confusing, self-contradictory narrative written so you can see who truly has ‘faith’ and find out who the ‘true believers’ are, despite my thought that it would seem much simpler and far kinder to just show yourself indisputably every once in awhile to prove your existence for the sake of not only man’s sanity but his eternal salvation. Look, I think it’s confusing enough with the whole race joke-” God clears his voice to be heard and the minivan comes into being. “Yes, that should prove delightful entertainment insight into man.” The devil slowly continued, “God, you see, you have all the advantages! Throw me a bone here!” He timed this plea perfectly so that it was uttered at the very moment god was being draped in his brand new custom-tailored 20% cashmere 80% angel tongue robe and he was off guard. “Fine, satan, you can have the smallest bone in every man created to do with it what you will and it will be infinitesimal in size,” God lit up the heavens with a sly smile. “And I know you think big things come in small packages,” The devil sits in his rocking chair, one leg crossed over the other. A smug sophisticate. God continues. “But I said you could have that small part of man for yourself and my word is, well, it is the word of fucking god so the deal is done.” The devil sat dispassionately. “Now. Dear satan, do pass that mirror with that white stuff on it you plan on growing in South America with that rolled up dollar bill please.” 

Alex Reading Prose @ The In on January 26

Alex Ziperovich reads an excerpt from his memoir, titled “Junkie Goes To Hospital”. Enjoy.

These Words I Write Have No Right

Alexander Michael Ziperovich

It’s so crucial to be neutral these days, hesitate before I let myself go bleeding away,
decimate the page with my sordid references embedded inside splintered, decayed
sentences, remove myself from it and say it’s abrupt literary fucking, you can’t
stop my blistery wondering, it’s like the stars are on fire directly in front of me,
you can see them up close, unfurling of a rose, a ghost, caught in an inferno
lost in the woods during a forest fire, going to burn down our funeral pyre
die a mortal, a coward and a liar worth nothing, I just think it’s about
time we had this discussion, my brushes with death a few minor
digressions, the point of this is that the points I like make blood
like blades and they cut deep if they have any grace, they’ll
leave gashes in your mind that you can’t wash off or stitch
you piss off momma bear it’s hard calming a violent bitch,
you’ve lost your innocence, your presumptions intimate,
so infinite, our collections filled with what they gave us,
knowing it won’t save us, we just got spat on charity,
bent down, collected their spittle, the generational
learned with their belligerent fiddles, out of tune
ballads of knowledge and philosophical riddles
that don’t end with a lesson but rather they
begin with the same redundant toy titular
thistles meant to scrape your shins and
break your wind until you can’t run
and painful is sin and your mind is
just a piece of the giant lake of hot
burning oil in the desert with the
limbs of soldiers dead in wars
that we adore for hating the
people under the other
stars, like loving afar,
I love you, it’s hard
words weren’t ever
going to kill, maim
you or stab, hurt
or leave scars
I just wanted
to show you
the way I
collect all
our hell
a page like butterflies in clear empty jars

Take Me Away With You Where The Flowers Are Still Pretty

Alex Ziperovich

There’s a famine inside me, sanctions, blockades, they keep me starving, my hunger growing like days spent marching. Everything growling, my bodies contractions, emaciated in my tent in the desert laughing at the scrap metal raining through my mind like scattered assassins.

There’s a war in here and limbs are flying through my smoke and my pollution, burying me alive, already lost without absolution, venomous children collecting man-eating flowers walking at twilight to eat the smoke the funeral pyre is producing.

My head full of gruesome sadness and I can’t shut it off, a shot of heroin coupled with a neat glass of scotch but they do not suffice for my arrogant pain outweighs whatever you know about Christ’s suffering on the cross. Come kill me and make me pay, you’ve already taken the last of my dignity away, I’m slipping away into a void dark as death, marked by three red burning hot splashes of solvent to soften my flesh.

I won’t drink your mother’s milk, it’s tainted, I’ll drink in my own insanity like a mirage waterfall falling into my throat, bloating me until I no longer taste it and when I’m done and the torture is over and I told no secrets to the enemy go ahead and tell everyone I knew in this life I was a weak, pathetic, traitorous soldier, subversive – embracing the enemy, use my image for propaganda – ravish my memory, I shall be fighting a new war against heavenly serenity.

A coward, a sloth, a junkie, a drunk, my self-loathing I carry with me in a thousand pound trunk, dragging along the burning cinders, scraping the streets, my sense of who I am and who I should be slowly evaporating in the heat. Everyone smiling like they know anything, I keep my head down and my brain keeps on boiling.

I can’t run away from myself because whenever I try to go they stop me and tell me to go away, kept back to my four cornered room, I beg and I plead that It’s full of cobwebs and doom that scare me so they put me in a pink room and they lock the metal door and they forget about me because I’m not worth remembering, a beer you drank with a whore or an orphan playing in a mine underneath an abandoned town no one looked for.

Come find me God, please God come find me now and take me away with you somewhere where the flowers are still pretty, I want to see the heavens and the clouds, from your vantage point if it means I have to sever and feed you my kidneys, when I was a kid I was fooled into happiness, Disneyland and trees and animals, enraptured, my eyes glassy enamored, but now those things lay in a tomb that my mind cannot unfasten no matter how hard I pry until I break off my arms and an old woman walks by and whispers a little song and sends me far away- these ugly thoughts are not going away – not with a plethora of various medications, inpatient impatient psychiatric evaluation, not even with electro-schock treatment under a doctor’s observation.

Splash me with acid and rebuild me ground up.

Splash me with my own blood and forgive me. Slash me with me own bayonet and kill me. Flash lightening into my eyes and bill me for the nicest glasses you can buy.

A failure aging into oblivion, a poet blind to his own magnificence, a sailor caught in a storm fucking his woman ignoring the sea and his boat keeps tilting, thrashing until he climaxes and the captain uses his biblical sapling becoming its massive tree to calm the savage sea and the power of a woman ingesting some forbidden fruit one more time for this man in one more eternity.

I Will Walk Straight Into The Cold Ocean If I Sense You Don’t Adore This

Alex Ziperovich

Needs all connected ineffable, all fees uncollected not collectable, travails of another person borne to settle like dust from a savage storm inside yourself to make you feel your love re-reflected until you’ve had enough, but it’s not enough it never would be you keep staring back into the darkness until a light relaxes into your eyes and your pupils dilate increasing in size and your heart explodes in the good way into a million hearts and you feel something, anything, probably something better, probably something you could write about in a letter to someone important or someone that knows your soul bounces and flails about like an unfettered feather, although who needs fettered feathers when feathers fly and feathers flounce askance and feathers go anywhere they want anytime they want to dance?

For us our blessing, two hearts too thin and our blood an ocean opera rearing back for a massive wind and the wave that will carry us into the sun and perhaps to a happy place where, beyond it, we can see all our misery and pain and we can gather it all up, and they’ll wait for us with sturdy steel locks built for our fate, for us to bury our shame into a small steel box – it’s all smiles as we hear the click of the locks and we release all the fucking hate and we relearn how to walk because in the gardens bathed in perfect light streaming down from the canopy sometimes you bounce and sometimes you find you’re exactly happy and free

A tear slowly rolling – a rivulet shining inside the sun, the sun shining so hard it kills the numb, the sun is slowing rolling down your cheek, effervescent as it runs, bless it when you care to, never mess with it like a perfect hairdo and be proper and always make sure you tuck in your halo and the wings that carry you

Flowers upon flowers upon pedals upon pedals, metallic dream factory lollipop creation machine, we keep the floors gleaming serene watch the magic pop out like bubble fun from a child’s mouth, no more ouch, get a bandaid, I have several, here is one you might just need to use to bandage up your mental, or maybe it’s a blanket you can curl up into it and sleep one perfect dream after another in the perfect dream blanket, it’s basically up to you, let this poem represent your happiness and if I did it wrong I’m sorry I’m unaccustomed to writing things that are about happy shit – but I think it works, in fact I’ll make that a declarative because I said it did and god damn if happiness is anything but a poet writing poetry trying to give it away, trying to let love live…

At The Banquet

Alex Ziperovich

Crushed grapes and you try to feel what you need to feel but you’re left blind and feeling what you tried to escape, beg for mercy but there’s only hate, beg for mercy but there’s only fate

Syringes filled with ghosts filled with lies you are the host, become part of the collective, become part of something that sparks like a match when you scrape it on the hard part of you and the hard part is a hoax built for black balloons exploding in the atmosphere, how clear and how dear and how near you came before you were sent back in tears

Full of fear like all of us always are, the hope that one day we won’t be what we are, the tragedy of finding yourself in the proverbial mirror and all you see is fear and dinner, voracious eaters around a crystal ball, panting and praying and preying on Gods

Collapsing everywhere everything forest fire and napalm art galleries for no salary except pain and bondage and freedom from reality

Gravity fills us but it refuses to carry us like an insolent soldier, impotent mortars we fire with no orders just disorder and chaos within ourselves cracked broken skeletons and our personal heart shaped box of hell

We grasp onto anything we see because we’re lonely and nothing is easy and nothing is free and we know so much more than we’re given credit for, we’re given headaches that shoot pain into our eyes and all we have to show for our war is a credit score and judgment from the people that said they love us more than to judge us for the things we did that made us poor, the things that we did that made us whores

We climb and we fall to our death, we stand on mountains and scream our mortality at the wind and the wind reverberates with our sin, merciless with no end but we make sure we’re there to witness everything and then we take our heads and lay them low and we remember we’re nothing but the product of our vision being stolen from our eyes by hungry crows

But there’s hope in our knowledge of self and we might indulge in our solace, our lack of wealth, I’ll go to the jungle and find water and air and breathe in the health but I’ll die in that jungle not from hunger but from a lack of your eyes and in that circle I will find my slumber

And we become dumber
And number
And we drink the fruits of the crushed up angels in a crystal tumbler

To become angels and devils
Our paths beset by trembling and serration, we are facing our faces and weep in elation

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