Thursday, November 29, 2007

This was said at dinner . . .

DATE: Why aren’t you using your knife?


DATE: You’re not using your knife. Why aren’t you using it?

DENNIS: What? [Looks down at his plate of fajitas wondering.]

DATE: You made the waitress go get you a knife so you could cut your meat and now you’re not using it. You’re cutting the meat with the side of your fork.

DENNIS: [Agape.] Um. I only used the side of my fork to cut the chicken. It’s softer than the strips of flank steak. I’ve been using my knife to cut the steak. See? [Points to several pieces of cut-up flank steak.]

DATE: Well, it didn’t look like you were using your knife from over here.


Have you been high today? This is hysterical!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ha ha ha ha!

According to the experts . . .

cash advance

Could be worse . . .

Friday, November 23, 2007

See this?
This is how you have
to look at the Universe
Peer at it through the
and the space between.
Otherwise, it’s just too overwhelming.
I also recommend

a good pair of sunglasses.

Sedona Sun on the CowPies trail - 9/25/07

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Just Another Saturday Morning Cartoon

I’m sitting cross-legged three feet from the TV watching cartoons. I’m four. I’m so close to the tube, my baby-fine hair stands away from my head from the static electricity. I can actually feel the picture, dancing on my face, tingling it with static. I’m somewhere else, lost in the make-believe world of Technicolor.

Mom’s in the kitchen feeding my baby brother. He’s one and sitting in the high-chair pushed against the wall. And then I’m aware she’s screaming at the top of her lungs. No words. Nothing discernable. Just that Janet-Leigh-Psycho-high-pitched-he’s-killing-me-with-a-huge-knife-in-the-shower kind of scream. A scream so full of terror, there’s no room for words.

My mother’s scream doesn’t just get my attention, it transports me into her world of terror and suddenly, there are two lives at stake. I’m in the kitchen before she can take another breath. Heart pounding, hands and feet full of the impulse to do something, anything, but I have no idea what’s wrong or what I can do to save us both. I know all the way through to my core that death is close. Nothing else could possibly make that sound. I’m terrified. Frozen. But also too frightened to do nothing.

Strange as this sounds, mom’s screams are coming from up near the ceiling. I look quickly up and to the right and attempt to assemble the puzzle of images into sense. Mom’s rear-end is three feet above the counter and she’s wedged between the wall and cabinet, like a rock climber shimmying between two vertical surfaces. She’s as high as she can go and she’s all crammed up near the ceiling. Had it been in my vocabulary, I’d have said, “What the fuck?” But instead I just breathe in and out very fast, eyes wild and searching. I look around the kitchen quickly. My little brother was eating elbow macaroni off of the high-chair tray, but now he’s crying – that open-mouthed squinty-eyed no-sound-coming-out kind of cry. One elbow macaroni noodle still held between his thumb and forefinger. Holly crap! When was the last time he took a breath?

I look back at my mother but I’m too scared to talk. My eyes are begging her to tell me how to put the world back together. She can’t speak either. And oh my god, that screaming! Terror has her by the throat and it’s squeezing the life out of her. She makes a fist, and with her index finger extended, she punches the air repeatedly pointing towards my baby brother. I steal a quick look at him and he’s still locked in mid-cry, Grouper-mouthed and beet red. Then I hear my mother try to say something over her shrieking. She chokes out “KILL IT!!!!!” still punching the air towards my brother.

I look at my brother again. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t mean him, so I look at mom again having now added a venire of confusion to the look of terror already plastered on my face, which is quickly hardening. Having found her words again, I’m suddenly inundated with a barrage of “KILL IT”s.“

Kill it! Kill it! Kill it! Kill it! Kill it! (punching and pointing – punching and pointing) Killitkillitkillitkillitkillitkillitkillit!!!!!” I take a step towards my brother’s high-chair and my mother’s screaming returns, but with a higher intensity – a greater sense of urgency, if that’s even possible. And then I see the “it” from which she’s making her escape. I don’t really see it as much as I detect a streak of movement, quick – jerky and down close to the floor, not far from the high-chair. My eyes instinctively follow and I finally catch a glimpse of my mother’s nemeses.

It’s a baby field mouse, no more than two inches long. I squat down, my butt resting on my heals, and look at it. It’s breathing faster than I am and desperately looking for a way to escape my mother’s screaming. I stare at the mouse and think to myself that I have no idea what to do or how to make her stop. I suddenly recall the Tom & Jerry cartoon I was watching and my four-year-old brain makes the necessary connection. Suddenly I realize we need a cat. I look more closely at the mouse and all I want in that very moment is to pick him up and take him away with me – away from the screaming, somewhere we can play together. I want to put him in a box and just watch him eat. In my mind, I’ve already named him.

My mother again finds her words. “KILL IT!!!! KILL IT!!! GET THE BROOM! GET THE BROOM!!! GET THE BROOM!!” She’s holding an imaginary broom and through pantomime, she’s showing me how to jab at the mouse with the bristles. She keeps repeating this exaggerated motion while screaming, “GET THE BROOM!!!” Twenty-five years later, when I tell this story to my therapist, he winces as I stand in front of him stabbing at the wall with my imaginary broom. The empathy on his face makes me cry.

I run through the kitchen, past my mother into the laundry room to get the broom, not because I plan on killing the mouse, and not because I’ve figured out that doing so will save us both from her private hell, but simply because she’s commanded me to do so. As I pass my mom, I notice how she’s managed to climb up between the wall and the cabinet and think to myself that it looks like fun. I make a mental note to myself that when this is over, I’m going to try that.

I come back with the broom and by now, my mother’s emotional state has deteriorated. She’s sobbing uncontrollably and I finally can hear my brother crying out loud as well. I stand over the mouse and suddenly in my mind, everything is quiet. I completely understand what needs to be done. I’m going to kill this mouse and save myself, my mom and my brother. The life of everyone in this room depends on me following through with this. I’m in a world of complete silence. In my mind, I apologize to the mouse. I say, “I’m sorry I’m going to kill you now. I wish we could have played together. But if I don’t kill you, I’m going to die, because my mother is going to die apparently, and I can’t live without her. Do you understand? I’m only four. I need my mom to live. And therefore, you can’t. Your name is Peter.”

The broom feels awkward in my hands. Have I ever held one before? I hold it at a forty-five degree angle, like my mom showed me, and I reluctantly touch the bristles to the side of the mouse – just a tap. These many years later, I think that I was simply wishing the mouse dead – wishing he would die with just the touch of the broom, to spare me the awful task of killing him. I feel his soft body yield under the bristles, ever so slightly. I think it hardly disturbed him. I pull the broom back and see that Peter is in the same place, sniffing for a way back home.

I look over to my mom for reassurance. I don’t want to do this. But my mom makes huge jabbing motions with her hands in an effort to kill vicariously. Her teeth are clenched and here eyes are wild with a hunger for murder. I sense something evil but don’t have the words required to describe what I am experiencing. Her wild movements implicitly urge me – compel me to kill.

Breathing deeply, I take a serious stab at Peter. This time there is no question about my intention. I feel the softness of him give way to my thrust. It is horrible and I remember it still. The squeak that escapes him rings in my ears even now. One short chirp at the highest register of sound. In my mind I hear these words, “I made him make that horrible sound. I’m killing him.” And in that moment something inside of me clicks in an awful way. A switch is thrown and suddenly I am bathed in a new and unfamiliar light. And from somewhere unseen, I fill with hatred. My next thrust at Peter is all business. His squeak is terrible. But I jab at him again, even harder – another squeak. I hate him now for scaring my mom, but mostly for thrusting the responsibility of saving my mother’s life into my four-year-old hands. I hate him for suddenly making me old. And so I jab at him repeatedly. With each thrust, I see my mother mimicking my movements out of the corner of my eye – her actions, somehow comforting her and reassuring herself that the killing business is in full swing.

Peter’s third chirp is his last and the only sound after that is the noise the bristles make as they scrape against the baseboard under my brother’s high-chair. Eventually, I stop jabbing at Peter with the broom. It doesn’t feel so big in my hands anymore. When I stab at him the last few times, I don’t feel his body yield. I know I’ve crushed him and it’s time to stop. I don’t know at what point during Peter’s murder I started crying, but I realize now that I am. I stand there with the broom wishing that my mom’s powers would return so that she can make me feel safe again. But she just sits there on the counter, crying – sobbing hysterically, and I feel like I will never be ok again.

I get the dust pan and gently sweep up Peter’s broken body. It takes several tries, and with each attempt, I quietly whisper to him that I am sorry. My tears so abundant, I can hardly see what I am doing. I take Peter outside and hide him behind the air conditioner in the back yard, so I can burry him later. I simply have to – to hide what I’ve done.

When I get back inside, mom’s holding my brother and rocking him – shushing and cooing him quiet. All I can think about is how badly I need a turn in her arms – how desperately alone I feel. And then the reality of the situation settles on me. It stabs me into a dark corner in my own mind and crushes me like the corn-broom must have felt to Peter. Mom can’t keep me safe. In fact, she needs me to keep her safe. It’s almost too much for my four-year-old self to handle. And I’m crying again.

Mom scoops me into her arms and holds me tight against her cheek. Her face is wet with tears and she stinks. I realize terror has a smell. I stop crying and for the first time in my life, I push her away. I ask her if I can go play outside and she asks me if I’m sure I’m ok. “Yes.” I say, and run up to my room to get a Band-Aid box. I dump all the Band-Aids in the drawer and take it outside and gently wrap Peter in tissues. His body is still warm, but his bones move inside of him in a way that even a four-year-old knows they shouldn’t. I imagine the damage I’ve caused. I inspect his little body further, looking for any sign of life – not because I hope he’s alive, but because I’m afraid to burry him if he isn’t completely dead. I look closely into his eyes. I inhale deeply and hold my breath for as long as I can, the whole time watching Peter’s chest for any sign of the tell-tale rise and fall of life. There’s no question that he’s gone. I burry him. And when I’m done, I can’t help but wonder if something has also broken inside of me.

By Dennis Tkon Copyright 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Infinite Season

The infinite season of my life’s story is learned
like a sofa lesson, worn thin as God’s name.
And over there [pointing] my drinking hangs
on the wall like a crooked family portrait
- perpetually in need of straightening.
It’s not in nature’s peace that I find solitude
but in the hell of my prayers. And in their frail
words I hear the sound of his eternal laughing.

And through the curtains of my dark dark room,
comfort calls through sorrowed panes singing hope,
while other seasons more infinite pass without me.
I call out to him again. His name passing through
my lips leaves the bitterest taste on the tip of my tongue.
And somewhere – somewhere else,
some wheel turns the ing of being.

But here, where I catch fire and die in a pyre
of unearthly screams, I curse my flinty heart,
collect my bones and count them. Lay them out
in neat rows by memory, at last giving life some order.
And once I’m straight, I wait with the desert
for the forgiving rains which never amount to more than a taste.

Is that a fever burning? Or has the cool of me simply been
called away? I don’t need answers to these questions.
I simply quench the appetite of my curiosity with proof.
And soon enough, I have a dull awareness that my portrait
is askew. My flinty heart sparks against my chest.
And I wait for tongues of flame to lick me clean.

by dennis tkon Copyright 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Keeping with this week's theme, I'm posting one of my more evocative poems. It's short, but I love the direction this pulls me.

Sapphire clouds
Hypnotic moon
I am mirrored in brilliant reflection
Helpless as I am to the breathless sky

By Dennis Tkon Copyright 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Look what's in the discount rack!

One of my best friends sent me this LINK. After you click on it, you’ll understand why he’s one of my best friends. This is funny as shit! Someone has managed to compile the 10 most insane album covers of all time. The comments below each one are pretty funny too. I noticed my face hurt from smiling when I was done viewing this link. I hope your face hurts too.