060.4: The Tuscaloosa Issue:: Pinho & Thomas & Ross 060

The Tuscaloosa Issue:: Wednesday: We feature writing by Kirk Pinho, Danilo Thomas, and Laurence Ross.

This week, The Offending Adam pauses our usual publication schedule for a specific and important purpose: focusing our attention on the tragedy that just befell the American South, and in particular the state of Alabama. Each day this week, we will present writers who have a connection with Alabama writing on Alabama. Those of us at TOA and the writers participating in this week's issue encourage you to help and support the victims of the tornado by donating to the American Red Cross and to other aid organizations. Tuscaloosa may be broken and Tuscaloosa may be bruised, but Tuscaloosa will recover. And it will recover with our help. The Offending Adam

Boomers

by Kirk Pinho

Very few things are illegal when you’re in love,
so with evening still in its bratty infancy, we smuggled
the bottle rocket stash from her bedroom
to her backyard, near the cord of pulp logs

covered with damp powderpost beetle larvae.
Wicks alit, how we made them homesick for the stars.
How they yowled, prows hacking through the troposphere,
raked against the greening sky like fishhooks in trout cheeks.

Sure, those neighbor dogs yelped in octaves.
Yeah, the wood thrushes & chipping sparrows scattered
like dice to preen elsewhere & went beak-first
into the sunroom window teasing them
with silk trees. All those brains blooming
into pinkish rosettes. All their baby birdies
orphaned. Still, success, we thought. No snitches,
no sirens, our little bug hearts reeved together.
Ham-fisted, the two cigarettes we filched from

her dad burned slow like a pilot
light, which was a bigger deal than it seems.
Fire, & gravity, & light have always been
a big deal, I guess, the moon being those 1.2 seconds
older than we know it & all.



The Practice Funeral

by Kirk Pinho

It’s never mentioned in the Book of Exodus
that, in my house, she sees me in herself,
still in those beige FUCK ME espadrilles.

In the kitchen, she pirouettes
in her antebellum dress, runny tar makeup,
toeing the holy linoleum, rolling her tongue
like a double helix. Methadone sweat oozes
down her cheek & skitters as crickets do.

Looking out the window at the files of birch trees,
God makes a brief appearance. Days later,
when her asps slither away, we butterfly
a four-pound chicken, plump & wet,
into a meaty notebook & etch our names
into its pages. Potatoes boil. Starch cakes
on the pot’s ring. Lettuce leafs crunch
together in a bag like a mass grave.

Where our voices go when they‘re gone
remains to be seen. Where our bodies S
together like shrimp on a skewer,
we think of highways, ribbons
across rickety towns far from here.

As she sleeps, she dreams of taxidermy, how
the chickens on her father’s mantle looked,
the veins in their throats like hammers.
               

Egan’s

by Danilo Thomas

Thick smoke and loud music. Jagermeister machine; a certain woman that always sits in the corner. She wears eye shadow. Cobalt. Partially deaf. She walks with a limp and her dresses are consistently considered to be festive. The pool table is for more than just billiards. Wooden cover. Inexpensive seating. Ripped red linoleum benches. Accidental cubism. Bathroom spray-painted nightly. The integrity of the establishment will not be lowered with trying to poop and only farting. Broken hearts. Soiled denim. We ask ourselves, what makes a home? Familiarity. A jerk of a thumb from a viking bouncer as he tells you to get your ass in here. Open arms in a damp South. We don’t need that ID. I remember you. Two dollar Busch tall cans and that case of Delirium Tremens, the only one ever bought by the establishment that is still sitting at the back of the mini fridge. Blue foil shimmering in the light of a burning matchbook, because, yes, “We’re still open, dammit.” And you’ll miss us when you’re gone.
               

Escapism On The Rocks With A Dash Of

Laurence Ross

Dead bird hoodie in the Tuscaloosa street holy shit you scared me would you like to come inside for a drink. Egan’s is closed so this must be serious this must be something like the end. I have not showered my roommate smells like sex where is the lavender. We are having a picnic in the sun what is going on I do not know I do not want to know I just want to wash my clothes I have been wearing different pairs of dirty socks for days. There is one candle and this one candle is supposed to be The Most Powerful Helping Hand with its stencil of fingers and saints. I know I have not been much of a helping hand but please forgive me give me more candles more light more news no not so much the last part I will figure out what I need to know just sitting here in the dark, just pissing here in the dark. Do not touch the refrigerator unless you are getting a drink. I hear the President is coming I hear men are hauling trees on their shoulders I hear chainsaws everywhere and that there are people with chainsaws everywhere I hear my phone ring until it dies. You loot we shoot. Aloe vera backrub Xanax Xanax backrub aloe vera. Do not watch us do not watch the pot so it will boil our compromised water source would you like a case of water for thirty-six dollars would you like to find your passport would you like to find your final grade would you like a piece of melon I bought it on Tuesday and it still tastes good. Come to the cookout where we will cook everything we can cook before it spoils this is like a party where some people are sad you think pot lucks are always sort of sad lettuce wilting because who wants vegetables when all we want is comfort. What is the right attitude for us what is the best action for us what is the most appropriate sense of humor for us what is the proper spirit for us to have please dear God please dear God let that spirit be gin.