Dawn of The Dragons

Invictus

Sonbather

The Snowman

Revenge Of The Nerd

ADRIAN VINO

Pink has always been the perfect color–pastel pink preferably; It is the color of soft cake, the hue of babies breath, the slippers that belong to blonde wives married to mob bosses, the tone swirling in the sink after I cough up a little blood, the tincture of the tramp who truly tells you all the things you want to hear…

 

And I hid this affection, this adoration of said tinge, for fear of the fellows fucking me up at the tender age of thirteen. Enter Tom Bruise on the television screen wearing those wayfarers the only way he could, and I saw the Izod whilst my reflection shook in his shades. Such heights of narcissism were risky business, I thought to myself standing in my tidy-whities and sport socks as the apparatus then known as the VCR struggled to clear a thin stream of static on the screen. What great technology, the neighbor would belt out over his fence admiring his own.

 

I knew then, a baby-pink alligator shirt was my next item of order. But how, oh how, would I, a punk, acquire such a fine garment? I wondered.

 

“We’ve got BUSH, we’ve got BUSH,” blared a character called Booger on the boob tube as I sat watching the women undress in a film called Revenge Of The Turds. I must have watched that thing a hundred times. And not just because of the gratuitous nudity, or the beautiful beaver shots, as I imagined Booger would say. I would count off the pink Polo shirts in every scene: four…five…six…Dug the music and the crude comedy. The golden-haired girls cheerleading for their chumps.

 

Now at the bruised age of forty, I own two handfuls of Lacoste shirts, of many colors and patterns…but my pride and joy hangs in the corner of the closet, ah yes, the pink…the pink polo. And every time I slide into such a bad ass t-shirt, I swear I can hear Bary Numan singing in Metal and I turn around sharply, in nothing but mentioned garb and point with both index fingers at an empty space and expect some young kid watching me…as he sits alone in a room because he’s afraid to go out of it in fear that his Uncle might beat him, his cousin might give him the why-don’t-you-run-away face, the world and all the pretty girls in it will reject him and remind him that he doesn’t belong with those spaghetti legs and crooked teeth…

 

 

Films by the Numaninator now kick in with its heavy bass line and sultry, slithering and colossal synth lead, and Lambda Lambda Lambda register by the wacky wizard of this pleasure principle–and now I know the truth: anything can happen–anything can happen. I was a nerd and still am, and fucking proud of it. I am successful at what I do: I have been tattooing almost fourteen years professionally , I have released a couple of music albums, I have painted for a couple of galleries in Los Angeles, girls get giddy when I garble on, I buy myself whatever my nerdy heart desires from groovy gadgets to radical records. I could keep going, but like a Fax-machine, you get the message.

 

As much as I love to wax on about my favorite decade, I need to stop here and get some sleep since it’s almost three in the morning, gotta be somewhere early. I will jump out of bed and moonwalk over to the crapper and commence the morning due. When I’m enshrouded in Polo and Ray-Baned, I will climb into my car where I feel safest of all.

 

But hear this: Your kids, the pathetic punks at the convenient store, the video-game-nerd of a nephew, the incessant reader at the park, the black-clad demons smoking cigarettes in empty parking lots with a little too much eyeliner…they will one day take over the world–they will bloom into your doom.

 

And I close this with one last thing…my ultimate revenge is: a happy life…without you.

 

 

O Me! O Life!

WALT WHITMAN

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

 

Answer.

That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

 

 

Face To Face

ADRIAN VINO

I stepped into the tub and turned the plastic knobs to somewhere between lukewarm and hot.

 

The splashing mild roar of running water noise pacified my anxiety, and tamed a bit my tension.

 

With eyes closed and face down, I stood with arms outstretched, one hand on the shower door and the other on the opposite wall.

 

The voices tip-toed in and painted the pretty faces of the women who crossed my path, the weathered countenance of the old man needing one more dollar to buy his Greyhound ticket out of town, a blond-haired girl who cannot be, the grey lioness-eyes of a siren that won’t sing, the forlorn hiding behind a feigning facade, the curious clamor of half-conscious cocksuckers, the blood I spill from men who have nothing left to fight for…

 

 

The endless text messages my cell phone receives remain inside that flat, cold rectangle–tiny monolith with bitten apple–and it tries to be my god. Why can’t I bow down, it wonders.

Some are lengthy from an old acquaintance explaining the new things they’re doing. Others belong to my sister, also endless, divulging information about our unimportant family. Clients who want me to do a particular job, and they wantonly wax on about their needs; the new window-shopping.

I try to keep up with them all.

 

The knobs are hard to find when I go that deep in the rabbit hole, but eventually do. And the water becomes scolding. It helps my tension.

 

 

But I can’t hear their voices.

I can’t see their faces.

 I can’t read their gestures.

No hesitation marks to spot.

No flirting to be flattered by.

I can’t be taken by the way their hair exults their stare.

I cannot be seduced by a tiny chip on her tooth.

I won’t wonder what if when those hips sway by accompanied by a biting lip.

No wonderful perfume to assume or warm vanilla to lead me to my doom.

No soft giggle to decide if to approach and then collide.

With pleasant platitudes and stumbling attitudes

I yearn for the old ways 

of

 

face to face

 

 

You Is Fucking A

ADRIAN VINO

I’m looking out the window of a Greyhound bus and dig the dirty glass, the cursory cacti with its bruising blur, the waving and bending of the summer heat on the hellish horizon of Nowhere, TexasMy holy turquoise converse scarcely shield my gaping toes and wiggle inside the dried and dried again films of sweat accumulated through the past whatever miles of forgotten road behind me. My heroes on small sheets of wooden slabs and neon-green gummy wheels leap down flights of stairs, magically levitate over fire hydrants, over park benches, into swimming pools, off the roofs of houses…and land gracefully, these feline fiends then grunt in glory as their comrades all in unison leap from their seats and wooo and wail–yes, they wear their shoes without socks.

California. That’s where I’m headed. In a film called Smashin’, you get groovy glimpses of blonde and honey-tanned beach bunnies hopping aside a beckoning bike trail near the ocean; the fellas are handsome and charming with a devil-may-care charisma as they elude the authorities, chase skirt, and speed down mountainsides atop their four-wheeled surfboards.

 

I came back to my seat and the cute girl I was talking to got off as I was dropping off the Cosby kids at the pool. How long was I in there? I wonder. Rosy? Rosa? Shit, who knows. Maybe I should just call them, “baby” from now on–save me from trouble. Why not?

 

“Anybody sitting here, young man?” Said an old white man with a beer gut glancing from under a “Life’s a Beach” T-shirt.

“Just me, dude,” I replied with a smile.

“Where your parents, kid?” He asked as he shoved his bags overhead.

“That’s an old song on repeat, man. Who knows and who cares?”

“All right, man, I get it. You moving, huh? New adventures and all that?”

“Sure am. What about yourself?” I said inquisitive and excited for a new conversation.

“Visiting my sister across the country and checking out this You Is Fucking A, kiiid!”

“Sounds like a blast. Hey, seen the desert outside these windows. Just fucking beautiful. This world has me drunk…everyday I behold the sublimity of my ephemeral existence.”

“Huh? Listen, kid, don’t go reading too many books, you hear me? Get some pussy, bud. Contract an STD or two. Get on drugs, steal a Harely and live with two broads. You know, live a little.”

 

“Yeah, live a little–no, I want to live a lot.”

 

“Here we go, little dude. You Is Fucking–”

 

“A!”

 

 

Notable Quotes

PHILIP K. DICK

“There will come a time when it isn’t ‘They’re spying on me through my phone’ anymore. Eventually, it will be ‘My phone is spying on me’.”

 

 

Run

ADRIAN VINO

Close your eyes. Can you hear the night outside screaming your name in faint whisper–from somewhere behind a billion exploding stars. Where hidden murmurs tremble the cold still. Planets spin slowly and silently reserved and partially prurient–but not as we are, in their divine arrogance dormant and whirring like massive gears turning and doing an unappreciated job.

 

Inhale deeply. Allow the rust of a million machines to sing to you, O death, and the demise you are. Humming and cymballing like falling pebbles on a brass countenance, an Egyptian sweaty fever dream atop a pyramid while beetles cook far down below in the indignation of an ancient sun. Our creations die without complaint, and it pains the brain to miss the point. Perhaps we have created better versions of ourselves.

 

Now, with a soft exhale, bite into your lower lip…hard…now harder. No–keep biting. Harder still. Break the skin…there. Taste the blood, the river Styx, the iron stream, the scarlet ribbon that ruins the certain skepticism married to any form of sanctity. If a mirror be near you, approach it and smile. Nestled in your teeth, there amid the row of tiny walls, where soldiers squeeze right through and crawl above each other in hope, of their own Helen.

 

 

You see walls around you, in the very spot where albino peacocks stood still, and men murdered muses, soft weapons didn’t see the sun, the zest was yet to be born that rode the zephyr calmly, and babies were bludgeoned for a chance, if a mere one, to be heard by gods created–in wood, in mud, in stone, in crowds or the madness of the alone.

 

Run.  Run.  Run.

 

To home, to turn to stone, to fall within the fault, and crushed by a behemoth pillar of salt, to fuck the angels inside, to let our daughters drain you with drink, to outgrow old clothes, to feel pain from simply waking up…

 

Run.    Run.      Run.

 

 

A Man After My Own Heart

ADRIAN VINO

Light slithered in through the spaces, glaring through like slow shattering glass, swallowing the shadows and severing the stillness. Cavernous echoes conquered the perfect silence, causing a chasm betwixt confusion–correcting errors once despised, reverberating the recalcitrant stares inside the windows of a coffee house sidewinding with snakes; the emptiness expanded as glaring tiny screens pacified the creatures once mistaken for people. Their talons taunted my soft, pink flesh. Small rectangled tables riddled the building and shifted from one wall to the other–seating the reptiles to their rancid feast.

The pungent stench from heavy breathing–salivating and repugnant mouths ajar, filled the spot and sent my eyes searching for the exit whilst , as much as I possible could under a sweaty brow, conceal my terror. The vile vermin snarled and reached for one another, locking tongues lasciviously, shlopping amid scraping sounds of jagged teeth. Boxes and cups fell from the shelf all designed with minimalist ideas of art concocted to appeal to the cockeyed masses. I haven’t tried that brand of coffee, I don’t think, I thought as the empty packages pummeled to the ground.

“Your drink looks tasty,” one of them said with a ten inch tongue dripping across the table in which we sat.

“It is,” I replied with a difficult swallow, “would you like a drink? I don’t need to finish it. Truly, I want you to have it.” The heart, I thought–If I could take a shard of glass and pierce him right in the heart!

“No, that’s quite all right, son. You enjoy, okay.”

“Is it okay if I leave?” I belted after some hesitation.

“Why are you asking me? Are you sure you’re okay? You’re looking a little peeked, now that I’m taking a closer look. Maybe you should call someone to come and pick you up, bud. Got any friends you can call?”

“I thought I had some. Maybe.”

“Well, where are they now?”

“They all turned out to be reptiles. Shit–sorry.”

“Oh, sheesh, we’re not all bad, for crying out loud. Hell, let me buy you another drink…I recommend you get it with steamed blood this time. It’s to die for.”

“Well, I could give that a shot, I think. I should live a little.”

 

“It’s tough at first, I know. Believe me, it gets easier.”

“I hope so, ” I said reclining and wiping the sweat from my brow.

“I promise, I used to be just like you…then I simply gave in. Nobody wants a trouble-maker you know.”

“Yeah, I guess so. I’ll take that drink now–extra hot.”

“Atta boy…man after my own heart.”