Hell or Cleveland

Hell or Cleveland

by Eric Evans

OfficialFraction(Quiet) ExpirationA Woman In Three PartsGrace Is DeadSurfer Rosa


I want to be officially cool.
I want the badge, the shirt,
the shoes, the whole uniform.
I want the perks and privileges
of being cool - all of them.
I want to kiss the ass of
cool, I want to paint its toe
nails, brush its hair, do its
dishes and clean its clothes.
I want to stick my tongue down
the throat of cool and pull out
a pearl of wisdom, something
to bring me that much closer
to being official, to being
sanctified by the leather-clad
gods of cool.



I've become a fraction of myself; I've
been split in two. I have to keep
one eye open to watch him breath;
I keep one ear open to hear his cry;
I need to keep one hand free to stop
his fall. Time I took for granted has
been cut in half and cut in half again.

It's more than my time, though, that's
been halved - it's been my traits as
well. I share my life with a scaled
model of myself, someone as bald,
moody and demanding as I am, some
one who'll define who he is by
defining who I am. Someone who's

part German, part Italian, a quarter
this and a hint of that, the sum of
his fractions. He's a mathematical
equation of which I'm just a factor
now. It's his problem to solve.
It's up to him to work the formula,
to do the addition and subtraction.


(Quiet) Expiration

I always find it a little strange
when people die in their sleep and
all anyone can say is how lucky he
was to go that way. At the place
I'm at and the age I am, it sounds
like bullshit to me.

If death showed up at my door today,
I'd go kicking and screaming like a
crack baby, tearing the doors off
their hinges as I was dragged down
the hall. There's no drama in quiet

I know these words are the product
of my youthful arrogance - I just
assume that I'll wake up tomorrow.
but maybe when I'm eighty and the
woman in my life is twenty years
buried, sleep is all that will be
left for me.

Maybe marching in a long, slow parade
past all my dead friends will put
me in a mood to join them. But not
now, not today - there are too many
people to love, too many people to
spite, too much drama to live out.



I swam through a pool of her
smell and it was good - like
a swirl of warm water in the
middle of a freezing lake.

# # #

The sight of her dark eyes and
Full lips bleed into my thoughts
like the steady scream of an
alarm clock kicking its way
into a dream.

# # #

Her curves and angles are
covered in shades of blue and
black and leave a bruise on
my memory, a bruise that goes
straight to the bone.


Grace Is Dead

We live in ugly times, times where
grace is dead and buried next to
civility, times where responsibility
and self-respect are laughable, the
punch lines to jokes that have no
center, no truth.

Times are so ugly, with their casual
cruelty and threadbare thoughts,
that we keep pumping blood into in
visible days, making them seem like
more than what they are - just the
convenient past that was once some
one's bright future.

But the sad thing is that someday
someone will look back at these
ugly times with worried, desperate
eyes and stitch together enough bone
and meat to create the skeleton of
a body that never really lived.


Surfer Rosa

There she is inside of the thick
white borders, Surfer Rosa with her
perfect breasts and full nipples
that pull my eyes like gravity. I
take every chance to steal through
her semi-nakedness in a variety of
light but it's never enough. I
always expect there to be one more
shot, one more angle of the shadows
that fall over her ribcage, one
more reason to finally spend the
$7.99 to take her home with me.