by Arian & Dashaman

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released September 5, 2014



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N/A Mountain View, California

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Track Name: Tea
opening my eyes at 5 in the morning
a thorn in my side as I rise a-yawning
I promise my mind that I’m living in the moment
and it’s okay to spend a day off zoning
we go downstairs to the kitchen
shroom tea’s the mission
I grip the knife and make the first incision
it’s dusty
it’s been a while I’m feeling rusty
don’t trust me
the odor of the room is getting musty
and the water is boiling
the knife finishes toiling
we pour it in
and listen to the hissing and uncoiling
of psilocybin
and squeeze some lemon in to heighten
the vibrant
and eliminate the taste of chitin
then we sip the elixir
and say goodbye to the pictures
of the mixture of light
that’s life’s natural fixture
exit to the city let the magma of the sunrise
in a rich district
with lots of parked hyundais
looking like some dumb guys
walking to corona heights
hiking up the beige cliff
entering a zone of light
at the edge of a savannah in front of the land span of san fran a panaroma
chillin on the weekend
on a peak and we’re peaking
my mind is hyperthinking
so no need for the speaking
but homie starts laughing and crying
mad that his shadow is giant
“what does it mean?”
“it’s actually just a matter of science
the sun is low”
“oh, yeah fosho”
skyscrapers and boxes are shimmering there below

breakfast on haight street
dainty French waitress tastes sweet
asks my order
I half ignore her then speak slow
cup of coffee
eggs chorizo
not the english muffin please
I’ll have the wheat toast
she smiles
eyes wild
sepia seeping
sleepy silhouettes of us speaking
with cigarettes in the evening
but in a second she’s leaving
an imprint so we’ll be lovers as long as we’re still dreaming
the food finished we flew to a new image
trying to diminish my misconstrued visage
golden gate park blooms green with eucalyptus
the shroomy eucharist is devoured until the truth eclipses
the noose that was wound by the superstitious and unobservant
I found my love for life the moment I kissed the serpent
but gotta quit the sermon
the sheep are bleating
we journeyed through the park then entered the arboretum
floating orchids of ivory, sapphirey
velvet faces with traces of pain in they past diaries
make me think on my grandma
elegant queen of orchids
watched her petals wither as she leaned out of our orbits
the room is humid carnivorous blooms of omnipotent wombs are looming unassuming carpeted with doom entombing moths and flies then a floating lotus shakes the haze that glossed my eyes

back to the park
on a walk through the grass
sun glistening I’m listening to my past
through objective ears
inspecting peers and correcting fears
tryna glean meaning from out of all the hectic years
I was dissecting tears that I’d shed
not that many of them damn it feel like I’m dead
but the wheel in my head keeps spinning and reminding me
that outside it’s beautiful & my minds confining me
beautiful beauty beautiful booty buoy boy bi
cycle riders pedal by cycles of the letters fly
let the feathers dry at the bank of the pond
a swan with a whole lifetime’s length of a song
“yo wake up”
“wait what?”
“bruh you’re zoning out”
my homie says to me to pull me out my lonely shroud
I look up and see buffalo
imagine I’m ohlone now
part of an ohlone croud
eating abalone trout
but nah, these days I’m American
sipping shroom tea so I can feel like a peregrine
seeing everything
again for the first time
by the end of the song I’m spitting my worst lines
but that’s just how the day go
the light begins to fade slow
shadows cast on plato
and the logos of the legos
and finally the park comes to an end
we lay on the beach
and try to make sense of the blend
just a couple of friends
watching the lava of the sunset
into the ocean
cooled solid in it’s plummet
and when we leave I head home on the train
and buy some earl grey to return to my name
Track Name: Fatima
Mami k buena tu ta
Yo sueño contigo y ya
eres mi amiga Linda
que pena que vivo pallá
que puedo hacer
cuando contigo yo quiero todo
espero saber
lo que tu piensas de lo ignoto
que puedo hacer
para llegar a ti
espero saber
si me ames

she was 30 I was 18
she looked 19 I looked 21
I was flirty she was breaking
up with her man never loved anyone
she floats along upon the dusty road
skin’s got a rusted glow
I must of known she woulda brushed my soul
an orange dress under a floral-patterned parasol
to protect the rollers in her hair with all the aerosol
I couldn’t care at all
I love her golden coffee skin
smooth like avocado
it’s her curves and eyes that locked me in
laugh like velvet whiskey
smooth and silky
with a smoky edge
tenor saxophonic
melodies slip over the ledge
of her beautiful bottom lip
her beauty is bottomless
but I was gone by autumn I went off to my metropolis
left her in the DR,
yeah I said it DR,
2 months volunteering call it American PR
I just wanna see her
I gotta go back
I gotta return for you

I swap my cords from some tight jeans
exchange my shirt for a purple collared
unbuttoned down to the chest hair (limited)
gold chain I’m feeling like a fertile baller
a first-world actor trying to play the third-world suaver
first-world martyr NO
first-world author
returned without a sponsor
I’m my own man now
feel Iran in my blood
I’m my old man now
feel the Jew in my mind
I’m my mother as well
but others can’t tell
from where originated my cell
boiled spaghetti in a tin pot
fifth shot of rum
gets me heavy
when I think thoughts
ink blot clouds a Dominican sky
tinted in dye moon the Caribbean eye
not a city of light but a village of sounds
bachata sways through the streets till its rhythm is drowned
I knock at her door
I see her through the blinds as she crosses the floor
towards me like a jaguar wearing a black dress
pixie cut hair like an American actress
drops of moonlight dot circles on her mattress
the rest of the room is blackness
la luz se fue
but my light has arrived
I grab her by the hand and I look right in her eyes
and then she looks at the ground
and laughs
so I smile
am I a fool or is she down
am I in love
or denial
I don’t know
but we walk to the colmadon
buy some presidente and talk under the overtone
of other conversations, salsa, and motorbikes
my soul delights when she reach and touch my shoulder like
“quieres bailar?”
and I respond with an accent
“vamonos” and she leads me through the moving mass and
the frank reyes rolls out the speakers of the bar
I move my feet slowly to the beat of the guitar
and I hold her close to me and spin her I’m chasing her I wanna be tasting her and later embracing in her in a intimate place with a basement or something
so we can spend the night
and they can only make assumptions
she laughs at my dancing
I laugh back
I know that I’m half-whack
but at least I don’t lack sack
and after the bar closes we track back to our street again
it’s my last night and we probably won’t meet again
I look at my cell phone and see that it’s bout 3am
and in a couple minutes I’ll have to say Auf Wiedersehen
and so I tell her she attracts me
and that she makes me happy
and lastly I can’t return to the valley of cali without a kiss
in the alley where we now be all shrouded in doubtful mist
she laughs
sighs and averts her eyes
I try to desert disguise
but the purpler shirt’s too tight
my Dominican homies told me how to handle their women
“just be manly and romantic like a candle is lit and don’t worry bout being honest that’s not the game here”
so I ever since I came here I could never get a dame here
the women think I’m lame here
sensitive and contrite
but I’m channeling man tonight
so I’m brandishing candlelight
and waxing poetic about her eyes
which I do love but the way that I’m saying it is a lie
and I knew love had always passed Fatima by
so I knew the best thing for me to do was to fly
back home without tainting the image in my mind
of our love but I feel drunk and sloppy tonight
and I want her
and so though I already tried
to kiss her and she moved her whole head to the right
unbothered but also uncomfortable I
can’t tell if I just want a story for my
journal something to bring some glory to life
but then we kissed

her lips were soft
her eyes were sad
I held her jaw
my mind was mad
we kissed again
our eyes were sad
then she said buenas noches and went to bed
Track Name: When You're Wicked (for rapping)
touch yourself to this
then cry your tears into my eyes
run away with me to dominica at high tide
read me your story without skimming any sentences
I don’t give a fuck how long it’s been
read me your story and forget the punctuation
I don’t care if you just want to get it in
I’m haunted by your sin
it jives inside my bones when I’m asleep
I wanted you to win
for you to moan and reach the peak
stoned and at the beach
staring at a starfish
I burn the sand against my skin to tear into the varnish
fish garnished with garlic and parsnips hard dick underneath the tablecloth pardon
turn the cable off take it off garden of eden is this motel room
I’m starting to learn the ways your body wants to be held to
your mouth lied but your soul smelled true
so I felt you feel yourself while I swelled through
the fan’s hum
you told me I was handsome
I told you you were beautiful
you turned to face the bland sun
held my hand for ransom
over your breast
a bouldered soul eroded by a shoulder caress
sheltered from normal duress
by a blessed novel environment
left hobbling wireless
remember how we started off
text message admirers
crestfallen by miles of
flesh between us
stressed teens
harboring nihilist
dreams toppled by vileness
and the scoffs at the childish
now we’re lost on an island
and agnostic to violence
mossed over in myelin
sheathed in a shack
we listen as I breathe on your back
believing in that
we leave it at that
we listen as I breathe on your back
believing in that
we leave it at that
we listen as I breathe on your back
believing in that
we leave it at that

(Now you rap!)
Track Name: Hermes' Sole
so through the marijuana coziness
and marijuana homies to the marijuana loneliness
constrictive fear of phoniness
passive pragmatically justified self-holiness
the moments serotonin-less
judgment phobias
male figures in ads selling deodorants
monetized folksiness
frustrated bonerless
the next big tech startup ownership
coal-invested tesla motorists
beer pong rebuttal showmanship
incestuous and artificially selected dobermans
de-humanized custodians
mopping complexes for napoleons
snapchatted ghostliness
facebook friend page utopias
rotting genetically modified cornucopias
linguistic opiates
friends becoming associates
total disbelief in the harmonious
after-school daylong marathons of nickelodeon

through the neuroscience majoring
kafka fabling
students for justice and emp09athy tabling
the morning after leaving upon awakening
sense that time is hastening
summer spent at a restaurant waitering
and at adobe catering
while global warming gravening
selflessness keeps wavering
conditioned, convenient, blind oppressive labeling
violent porn favoring
hair straightening
teeth straightening
back straightening
mind straightening
all-inclusive resort vacationing
lion tiger bear endangering
nightshift laboring
life spent holepunching and stapling
offshore slave wagering
starving baby cradling
cake layering
xfinity cabling
good fencing good neighboring
never waving or opening so
apathy enabling


Steve relaxed the muscles in his face as he sauntered through the noisy cafeteria. His mouth quivered in search of a comfortable position below his nose, like a dog circling a patch of grass. He held a tray of gravy-smothered mashed potatoes, fried chicken, and steamed broccoli out in front of him with one hand, and raced the intensifying burn in his triceps to an open seat. This was a game he played to challenge himself. It was 105 degrees in Winnakcha and Charlie, the chef, was in a bad mood. Steve’s first couple of days Charlie had responded, “You’re welcome, boss,” when Steve had thanked him for the food, but this time he had just nodded with a scowl, sucking obsessively at some green between his teeth. Steve didn’t blame him. When he’d stepped out of his hotel this morning, he’d drooped like a soft piece of clay, and when he’d swung his Ram out of the parking lot he’d felt so light-headed that he had to pull over and drink a few sips of water from his metal canteen before heading to the drill site.
The cafeteria lay in the heart of the man-camp, engulfed by workers’ trailers. Curses and roars of laughter echoed metallically against the walls of the steel-frame food tent. The sharp scent of chemical disinfectant tinged the musty odor of dirt and gas. Packed tables of friends slapped each other on the back and howled about work, life. Steve headed towards a table that seemed less exclusive, a corner table populated by a well-groomed, sleekly spectacled giant in a sludge-splattered tanktop. A faint curiosity flickered beneath the man’s screen of stoicism.
“Steve,” said Steve.
The man finished chewing a large bite of chicken, wiped a gravy smudge from the corner of his mouth, and extended his hand.
“Mike,” replied Mike. His hands were leathery and his deep voice hummed like a muffled subwoofer.
“Good to meet you, Mike. You working Winnakcha?”
“Very cool,” Steve replied. “Me too.”
“Wouldn’t be in this cafeteria if we weren’t.”
“Touché,” Steve caught himself. “Good point. So, what exactly do you do here?”
“Floorhand,” Mike answered, then pointed his finger at Steve. “Scientist.”
“Indeed,” Steve responded, disappointed he’d been so easy to classify. “How’d you know?”
Mike stared in deep thought at his broccoli. “Your hair’s loose. Roughnecks got shaves and businessmen got gel. You’ve got dirt on you but you aren’t dirty, and when you talk, you talk like you can see yourself talking. You hold your eyes open real wide, like scientists do.”
Steve leaned back uneasily.
“It’s good to be a scientist. Better to be a businessman, but still good to be a scientist. Not too many scientists in Wisconsin,” Mike revealed. “We’re an entrepreneurial kind.”
“So you’re from Wisconsin, eh? Is it true what they say about the cheese?” Steve grinned.
“What do they say?”
“You know, Wisconsin cheese, it’s famous.”
“Yep. What do they say about it?”
A droplet of sweat rolled between Steve’s chest hairs. “I mean, just that it’s good.” He cleared his throat. “That’s all I meant.”
“Yep. Sure is.”
Beige vortexes of dust danced outside the plexiglass windows of the cafeteria. “Do you miss it?”
Mike brought his Styrofoam cup of water to his lips and slowly drank it empty. “The cheese?”
“Yeah, the Wisconsin cheese.”
“Not enough to go back.”
“Why’d you leave?”
“My buddy Ty been telling me for years how much he was raking in over here, how it was the second Gold Rush. Guess that hooked me. I like Westerns.”
“Me too! I love ‘em. You ever seen The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly?”
“Yep,” Mike grunted, picking at a blister on his palm. “You seen The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance?”
“Is that the one with the, uh, the guy,” Steve’s eyes darted around the bustling cafeteria. “Shit, the guy with the,” he looked at Mike expectantly. “Oh shit, I think so, but I can’t remember. I’ve definitely heard of it.”
“It’s the one where John Wayne kills the outlaw and Jimmy Stewart gets the credit.”
“Oh yeah, that’s a wonderful film.”
“My favorite.”
“Very cool,” Steve smiled.
Steve and Mike ate in silence for a while. Mike knew it was his turn.
“What about you?” Mike asked slowly.
“My favorite is The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”
“No, where you from?”
“Oh,” Steve massaged his arm. “I was born and raised in Maine, and went to school in Connecticut. I heard there was good money here. Didn’t wanna be living at home.”
“What school in Connecticut?”
Steve shoved some potatoes into his mouth. “Yale,” he said with an inquisitive inflection, as if asking, “You heard of it?”
“Top school.”
Steve fidgeted with the top button on his shirt. “So, you got a lady in Wisconsin? A Ms. Mike, cheese churner?”
Steve sniggered at his playful remark. A hovering custodian lumbered towards a fallen tray.
“What about here, how are the women of Winnakcha?”
Mike shrugged. “This is man-camp.”
“You’re telling me there’s not one female in this desert?
“There’s a strip club and the Internet.”
“A strip club?”
“I’m going tonight,” Mike replied. He hesitated, fixating on an ant meandering over the ridges in the silver table. “Come if you want.”
“Sure thing, where is it? Or you know what, just tell me what it’s called and I’ll Google Maps it.”
“When should I arrive?”
“It’s not a date. Just come at night, I’ll be there.”
“Right-o, will do.”
They finished their plates and Mike stood up. “Alright, time to go make her come.”
“Pardon? I mean, what?”
“Make her come. Drill her. Plunge deep for her nectar. Back to work.”
Steve laughed. “That’s good, I’ve never heard that before. That’s good,” he said, then slapped his knee.
They shook hands and went back to work. Steve was excited to have made a new friend, especially of a roughneck, and while he navigated the Middle Winnakcha from a computer screen in his air-conditioned geologist trailer, he dreamt of chugging Keystones in a country cabaret with a gaggle of guffawing working men.

Steve was overdressed. Men in t-shirts and basketball shorts crowded around the entrance of Intimissy, smoking cigarettes and shouting at one another. He cursed himself for thinking khakis and a linen shirt were appropriate, sidled between the large bodies, and entered the club. The darkness reminded him of caves he’d explored on college field expeditions. Dim red and amber light draped the room. 70’s-porno synths warbled over undulating bass. Glossy digital photographs of the dancers hung on the walls in ornate, gold-lacquered frames. Men flocked to the bar like sperm to an egg, surrounding it and hovering at its perimeter. Waitresses in ribbons carried around trays with tissue boxes. The floor was damp; the walls were salt-stained. A woman in a shiny black leather corset mopped underneath the tables.
All of the men in the club were crying. Some sniffled, some bawled, but all cried. A slender woman with silver eyelids arched her back against the center-stage pole like a puma, rolling her shoulder blades against the chrome rod. Steve spotted Mike and a friend at a table topped with several pitchers of beer and maneuvered over, catching glimpses of himself in each mirror he passed.
“Steve,” Mike bellowed, wiping a tear from his eye. “Nice suit.”
Steve sat down and methodically rolled up his sleeves, careful not to acknowledge anyone’s tears, his fingers trembling as he laughed. “Thought I’d clean myself up for the fine ladies. I like your suit as well, what is that Armani?”
Mike brushed off his jeans and tipped his bone-white cowboy hat lower over his eyes. “You got it.” He gulped down a pitcher of beer and gestured to his friend. “Steve, meet Bobby.”
“Howdy,” Bobby sobbed. He was the shortest, most muscular man Steve had ever seen. He looked like a bodybuilding gnome. Sparse strands coiled from his upper lip like budding vines. His hair was spiked up in the front and he had an under-bite; it looked as if he was holding up his coif with a constant upward exhale. He was the oldest and shortest of five sons, and had wet his bed until age fifteen, when, sleeping on the floor with several other boys at a birthday party, he woke the ones next to him with a musty, familiar warmth.
“I swear to God,” he explained to Steve. “After living in man-camp for a year you can smell pussy before you see it, swear to fucking God.”
“Hey sweetheart,” he hissed at a passing dancer. “I want to fuck you.” She strutted by. “I said, I want to fuck you,” he blubbered after her.
Steve downed a few shots and stared at the silver puma. She wasn’t as busty as the other girls. Her body was taut wire and she coiled herself tightly around the pole as if she was strangling it. Wherever she pressed the pole against herself, a red mark would flash on her skin and fade away. Steve pushed his fingers into his arm and watched the marks flash and disappear, flash and disappear. They finished the pitchers of beer.
“Alexa,” Mike called at the puma. “Come down and dance for my friend here. He’s a scientist.”
Alexa released the pole and slinked off the stage towards the men.
“I was never too good at science. I’m more of a people person,” she sang, gripping each of the cool metal arms of Steve’s chair and smiling at him tiredly. He looked like Trevor, her high school boyfriend who had died in a boating accident on Lake St. Clair during her senior year.
Up close, Steve could see the imperfections in her make-up. She smelled like sweat and cherry cough syrup. Two small scars striped the bridge of her nose, and Steve climbed down them from her eyes to her lips, which were thin and tightly bound to her teeth.
“Heya Alexa, I’m Steve.”
“Hi Steve,” she whispered. “Put your hands at your sides, hun.”
Alexa sat on his lap with her chest in his face. He marveled at her rib dimples, her clavicle shadows.
“Are you from Winnakcha?” Steve blurted, unraveling into the music, the leather of the chair, the crimson smoke.
“I’m a Detroit girl.”
“Motor City,” Steve giggled.
“Let’s talk about you, Steve. Do you want to tell me about yourself?” she asked, like a kindergarten teacher.
“My mom’s an accountant, my dad’s a lawyer. The usual. My little brother is studying Econ at UPenn. You know the story. I went to Yale, you know Yale? Typical. Fuck it. What’s your family like?”
Alexa examined the unkempt man sleep-talking in dress clothes. “My mom worked a lot. I was very lonely growing up,” she pouted, her eyes glossy. “Were you lonely?”
Steve brushed her waist with his fingertips. She flexed her ass.
“Was I lonely? Yeah, I guess I was lonely. Watched a lot of television, played a lot of Minecraft. But it didn’t bother me. Man can find peace in solitude,” he mumbled before shaking himself alert. “How’d you end up here? How’d you end up dancing for a bunch of crying rednecks? Excuse me, I don’t mean that. I’m just drunk. I’m, I’m just curious, Ms. Puma, as to how you ended up dancing at this establishment.”
She analyzed the flutter of his eyelashes, the lope of his grin, and softened her gyration. “I always loved dancing,” she explained, flashing a cheery smile before returning to a somber expression. “Are you happy with your life here in Winnakcha?”
“Oil towns,” Steve muttered. “We’re the ones who keep this country going, isn’t that right?” He rubbed his jaw, grazing her breast as he put his hand back down at his side. “We’re all fucked, anyway, huh? Can’t ever predict what’s going to happen with a hundred percent certainty.”
“Mhm,” she assented eagerly, sensing the familiar tension gathering in his chest. “That’s right.”
Steve opened his eyes and stared into hers ardently. “We can never truly know the consequences of our actions, I don’t think. Any conviction about the future is,” he searched her face for the right word. “Is arrogant.”
“Yeah?” she prodded, accelerating her movements. “You think?”
“I know,” he exclaimed, breathing heavily now. His emotions were spiraling into his chest. “The only certainty is uncertainty, right? Like antibiotics, we thought they were saving us but they’re probably going to end up creating a super-disease that kills us all.”
The chords of the music progressed, building and flowing as Steve’s throat tightened, as his muscles clenched and his vision clouded.
“Same goes for oil and gas. We simply don’t know whether any of this is worse than anything else, do we? No, we don’t. Who knows what future science will tell us? Nobody. Who knows?”
The song finished and Steve burst into tears. Alexa nodded, radiating understanding, and untangled herself from his guilt. He paid her, tipping generously, then seeped back into the chair. The water in his eyes made the crystal chandelier glisten over the stage.
“Alright, darling,” Mike beckoned. “Get over here.”
She twirled and bent herself into his lap. Mike’s eyes were buried under a molten glaze. The denim rubbed against her inner thighs. “Long time no see, Mr. Fonda.”
“If I’m Henry, then you’re my darling Clementine.”
“I can do that,” she smiled, waving down a tissue box.
“I’ve got a new one for you,” Mike whispered. His sourdough breath hung between their faces.
“Tell it to me.”
As the music and weeping flowed around them, Mike slowly murmured his newest poem into Alexa’s ear.

“I was eighteen and I didn’t have a plan,
then a pack of Marlboros came and took me from my fam.
I was waving to my brother goin’ to Afghanistan,
holding a pack of Marlboros in his right hand.
I was working at a gas station under my old man,
then a pack of Marlboros came and shook me till I ran.”

His voice cracked. He swallowed feebly and continued.

“I stole a pack of golds from him to sell to a frand,
and that pack of Marlboros went and made me to a man.
My pops had me fired and instead of kicking cans,
I followed that pack of Marlboros to Badland sands.
But oh, how I miss my momma, how I miss that woman’s love.
Oh, how I miss my momma, how I miss that woman’s love.
Now I live in a white cell, cracking the Lord’s dam,
oh that pack of Marlboros went and made me to a man.”

Mike buried his head in the crook of her neck, then sat back with his eyes closed, ruminating. Alexa leaned into him as she unconsciously rolled her hips against his waist. Her silver eyes glimmered like underwater moons. “Beautiful tragedy, Mike. Clear and honest, like you. You’ve got to publish these. Share your art. I do it. I know it’s not always as poetic, but sometimes I am totally free. There are moments of it, moments where everything aligns and no one yells anything for twenty seconds. It’s just me and the music swaying together for a long moment, totally free. Sometimes I make a man cry without even opening my mouth, without even touching him.”
“What you do is beautiful. My things are just little things for your beautiful ears, Lex. And I know they bore you, but you pretend real nice and that’s enough for me.”
“I don’t pretend, Mike. Everyone of them, I’ve loved. And they’re getting better too. More, more, bigger than yourself.”
Mike grabbed a tissue from a passing waitress and wiped his eyes. The song ended. He rubbed Alexa’s sides with his calloused hands, holding on to her for a moment longer, then paid her, watching her strong back as she walked to another weeping patron.

The following day, Steve was penetrating the Middle Winnakcha with the help of a measurement-well driller named Esteban and a directional driller named Étienne when he encountered the Mystery Stone. The drill bit was approximately three kilometers below the surface when the well log presented impossible data to him and his crew. Steve paced around his sterile white trailer.
“Something has got to be wrong,” Steve exclaimed with frustration. “I think we need to make a trip.”
A trip would delay the project by at least two weeks. Costly weeks. Steve reexamined the fantastical green digits on his computer screen, shook his head, left the trailer, and headed to the drill site to bear the bad news.
The sun blinded him as he exited his trailer. Pipes, drills, and assorted machinery glistened in the bright light. A cacophony of metallic clangs, buzzes, and screeches wailed in the dry noon heat. Steve walked briskly towards Mike, who was lumbering across the drill site with iron pipes over his shoulders.
“Mike,” Steve hollered.
Mike reached his destination, unloaded the pipes, and turned around, squinting into the sun. Steve’s white button-up shimmered delicately against the sandy surroundings.
“I’ve got some bad news, Mike,” he stuttered. “We need to make a trip.”
“We need to trip out of the hole? Why the hell do we need to do that?” Mike hollered.
“The well log is malfunctioning. We can’t go any further with a faulty well log. We’ll be drilling blind.”
Mike took a deep breath and chewed the inside of his cheek. “It’s on you to tell the boss.”
The two men walked towards the rig floor, kicking up dust under the towering machinery. As Steve prepared a diplomatic, blameless explanation of the situation for the boss and Mike solemnly distilled Alexas from the distant bluffs and the steel latticework, a small pressurized pipe near the wellhead combusted, bursting into an infernal cloud of rippling flame.
The men were thrown to the ground. Their ears rang numbly. The flames traveled from tank to tank, exploding in spirals around them as the sun shone imperially over their heads. The towering rig stood firmly, erected proudly above the suffering men. The earth shook beneath them, and the hot grains of dirt vibrated around their bodies. A fissure ripped open across the rig floor, and Steve and Mike dug their fingernails into the dirt, trying not to fall in, but the sand was too loose to grip. The two thrashing men tumbled fearfully down the dark gash.

Steve woke up in a cave lit by a soft phosphorescent glow. Translucent pink crystals studded the sloped walls. He had no idea how long he’d been unconscious. Mike lay a few feet away. Steve crawled apprehensively towards his body.
“Hey, Mike, wake up,” he demanded, shaking his body.
Mike shot up and ran his eyes over the crystalline surroundings. “What’s going on? Where the hell are we?” he asked.
Steve glanced around hysterically then stumbled to a corner of the cave and vomited.
“Calm down,” Mike demanded. “Geologize.”
Steve pulled out his iPhone. “No service, god damn it,” he muttered to himself. He turned to Mike. “I don’t know what to tell you, man,” he said frantically. “I don’t exactly have much to work with here.”
Mike put his hand on Steve’s shoulder. “Breathe slow, and let’s figure this out.”
Steve steadied himself. “Okay, so, we’re underground. We’re not dead so we shouldn’t be that far underground. However,” he stated, pointing at the wall. “This isn’t shale. If we were near the surface this would be shale. This looks like dolomite, but it doesn’t make sense that it would be dolomite. Dolomite layers are three kilometers deep in the Winnakcha. We’d have died from that fall. Also, there would be no light down here. It would be absolute blackness. Yet, we can see fine. It doesn’t make sense. My best guess is that we’re, say, thirty feet from the surface, in some random pocket of dolomite, and the light is filtering through some small holes in this cave.”
They ventured down the jagged passage of crystals, following the pink glow to its source. Their boots squeaked against the glassy stone, and each squeak traveled ahead of them, fading down the corridor, then echoed directly behind them seconds later. The hushed sounds of their breathing transformed into whispered mantras, threading listlessly between the jutting gemstones. They walked deeper into the cave, hiking for hours. Steve could feel his bones grinding together with each step. Mike marched ahead, glaring forward immortally. Steve observed Mike’s rhythmic gait and used it to set his own metronome. At the point of collapse, they stumbled upon the light source.
“Oh my,” Steve gasped.
“Lord,” Mike added.
They had entered an immense chamber, the walls of which were swimming with tiny pink phosphorescent organisms. An organic hum filled the cavernous space.
“This must be some sort of extremophilic bacteria,” Steve sputtered in astonishment, craning his neck and spinning around. “But each individual organism is much too large, no, it must be some sort of undiscovered arthropod,” he exclaimed.
As soon as he spoke, the organisms scurried down the walls and heaped on top of one another in the center of the chamber, stacking themselves into a swarming tower. With intricate choreography, the tower began to assume the shape of an old woman, fifty feet tall, crawling with individual energies. She stared down at the two men with forlorn eyes.
Mike dropped to his knees in prayer, and Steve examined her marvelous structure, attempting to comprehend its dynamics. Mike was the first to speak to her, asking her where to go. She said nothing. Steve was the first to touch her, reaching his hand into her foot in an effort to pluck a single organism from her constitution. She yielded no components. Eventually, Mike and Steve sat between her toes, exhausted and awestruck. They felt no thirst or hunger. Steve turned to Mike with a look of humble ecstasy, his hair tousled and sweaty, his head light and hazy. He looked like an entranced child at the edge of a cliff.
“When I was eight years old, I rubbed my dick against my little brother’s back. In our hot tub. Not just his back. His asshole, too. Not in it, but around its edges. I’m not gay or incestuous but I did that when I was a kid and we never talked about it. I’m sure he remembers. That eight-year-old me doesn’t even feel like me, he feels like another character entirely, but nevertheless, he’s a part of me, and we’ve never talked about it,” Steve closed his eyes wistfully.
“Another time, this girl, real interesting and sexy, kinda emo, with this curly black hair and mole above her lip, exactly like those French models, was into me. We were in a musical together. Yeah, I did musicals. Anyway, she liked me, and I really liked her. We used to hold each other in the dark between scenes, pretending to be having an extramarital affair. But when I found out she liked me, I told her I wasn’t interested in her that way. Said, ‘Let’s just be friends.’ Because she had a reputation of being slutty. Whatever slutty means in middle school. People didn’t respect her. Maybe she’d given a blowjob. Shit that was half the reason I was interested in her. Brittney Moore. Wonder what she’s doing now.”
He picked at a hangnail. “Since high school, I’ve measured most of my actions against what I think this water polo player Sam Philips would have done. To this day I make an unbelievable amount of decisions based on this guy I had no more than two conversations with at my high school. How fucked up is that,” he chuckled, shaking his head.
“Pretty fucked up,” Mike answered. He stared up at the gleaming woman’s breasts and sighed peacefully, realizing it was his turn. “I write lyrics. Most of them are about Alexa, you know, Intimissy Alexa. Some of them are about me, about my life. I never showed them to anyone but her.”
He let out a low whistle and continued.
“When I was little, I had this next door neighbor named Porter. We were kids, and we used to pitch a ball to each other and hit it with my plastic bat. We were friends. Then he moved away. Went to a different elementary school. We went to the same middle school though. He was sharkbait, the poor wimp. Everybody gave him shit. I don’t know why, just a stroke of fate, I guess. I was never as mean to him as other kids were, but one time we were playing ball, shooting hoops, and he missed a shot, and I called him a faggot. It was just the instinct in me, didn’t even think about saying it. That’s not the type of language I was raised to use, I don’t know where it came from. Then everybody was cracking up and started chanting it, ‘Porter is a faggot, Porter is a faggot.’ Poor kid looked at me like I’d been his father and told him I wanted to put him up for adoption. But also like he was some sort of angel, and that I had been close to being an angel too, but just then had fallen. He walked away without crying and never came back. Changed schools.”
Mike relaxed his shoulders and studied the old woman’s beaded toe. “Once, it was me and my momma at home, pops was at the station or something, and I was eating a grilled cheese, Wisconsin cheese, watching Looney Tunes or something like that, and I heard the shower turn on. Our water pipes were special, pops would say, because they liked to sing, you could hear ‘em howling in the kitchen walls. So I hear the howling and I put down my grilled cheese and walk outside of the house, I don’t know why, and I go all the way around to the bathroom window and peek in. Only for a flash, I swear to God, I don’t even know why, it wasn’t that I was into her like that or anything, hell no, I just, I guess I just forgot what she looked like.”
The two men exchanged stories like this for a long time, warmed by the glow of the old woman. Over time, the pink light faded and the stone floor softened. The old woman lay down, and the two men, profoundly exhausted, curled into her warm belly and fell asleep, underground and understood.
Track Name: You!
you are good as fuck
type in you and look it up
you’re good as fuck
you put in love
to everything you do
including moving bugs
from in your room
to in the mud
you hooded monk
you hook it up
you put in love
you’re good as fuck
you glow like morning lake
plus your eyes adorn your face
like swollen grapes
you open gates
with coursing grace
your form is space
celebrating itself in a warm embrace
you forest flake
create you glow like morning lake
you have amazing thoughts
your ideas break through knots
erasing blocks
effacing locks
and blazing sparks
and changing hearts
parchment paper parched
to taste your latent art
engaging fox
exchanging amazing thoughts
you always make them smile
sacred child
make them smile
even though it on occasion takes a while
make em smile
you can pace your legs for miles
shake with style
fragrant wild
patient naked guile
you make em smile

talk a lot about the articles you read
and the particles of weed
and the chronicles that barnacle the nautical you lead
caustically across this Baltic sea haltingly
forever on the crest of a wave
meditating bout the best of your days
probably like uh 7th grade
when hearts were easier to penetrate
at nights you used to walk a mile to a meadowed gate
to suck the finger of a silver siren
unskilled desire consummated in an unfrilled environment
couldn’t unbuild your wiring
so you chilled your fire and
your friends are cool
friends are dope
one of them about to elope with a program he wrote
the sultan of hope
plays you a slow jam
and makes your hands sweat on her hips
we belong together on a feather just a speck in the mist
you’re just inspecting the mist
for forms that seem honest
filled out four forms to inform your employers that on paper you seem flawless
now that you see you could be sawless
you saw off your nostalgia and seek solace
in all this god is dead lawlessness college kid broad acknowledgement of small business and politics

you you you you make me feel
you you you shake me still
you break these steel walls
you make reveal all
take me heal me crazy real baby we’ll still be fluttering together when the flood comes
drunk dancing and wondering where the blood runs
Track Name: Google
biggest thing out of mountain view since google
a frugal jew who’ll fool around with his noodle
in public places
I’m all about the nudity
birdwatching naked off my balcony aint new to me
it’s known to my community
the ladies wanna neuter me
jealous of my family jewelry
I’m holding my binoculars staring at cedar waxwings
suburb life is taxing taxi meter maxing out masking pouts
asking doubters to vouch for the powder to act without mouthing out
devout chillers
sleeping with the trout killers
sleeping with the fishermen
knocking over red solos when we belligerent
chiefing eating pizza till we fat like the michelin
man the unvigilant
picturing bitches scissoring
waiting till we hard to make the measurement
hoping that we’re talented at pleasuring
weathering sunshine
clever and dumb minds combine with green to unwind it seems
it’s no longer interesting to be a communist
one line can turn people off to the whole song you spit
i ask these kids in middle school “what are those scars on your wrists?”
welcome to numbness anonymous
honestly I’m tired of defecating and perusing the economist
all hail the media monolith
praise to the Washington obelisk
that’s massaging the solipsists
we’ll acknowledge the polished shit but won’t try to demolish it
admonish the politics but the words are emptier than my pipe now
pipe down lemme rustle up some ripe lou
functional stoners with dysfunctional bonas
who can only get off to some moana
lisa is a pornstar
jesus jobs is stardust
legions of programmers are reaching for the next startup
a python with rubies for eyes moving smoothly through skies
and we’re sitting sipping java
so we can’t c +
we’re a little fogged up by the PHP
the me hates we
it’s cali so you gotta love the THC
shots of vodka with the v8 and free AC
on the starbucks wifi
fuck art why try
fuck rap why try
you can’t buy time
so let your “I” die
cleansed with iodine
math killed love
where’s the kind guy
where’s the camaraderie
living life on an altar like pottery
so we get altered and sloppily
fall off of the top of the metropoly
now how we finna change the world
government spies, drones, and castrated girls
black prisons, loans, and the petroleum pearl
we earth killers
you can look it up on google
we racist you can read it up on google
we murderers you can check it out on google
or yahoo or youtube or or the daily beast or the new york times ten free articles a month or maybe
even bing

I’m overdosing on these drugs that cant kill me
but its okay
I never felt like I would ever live without you
but its okay
I thought I had it mapped out but
now I have doubts I ever knew
at all

sharing some sierra Nevadas
with bay area homies
sharing imperial data
on our way to the top
staring down from aerial ladders
digesting hip-hop music off of stereo platters
let the scenario shatter
into ethereal matter
cuz every year we go faster
until they bury our batter
tryna know all the ingredients
that be feeding the greediness
emotions at the medians
because of all the weediness
smoking green until we’re chloroplastered
in a sorrel pasture
laurel trees over our floral laughter
we’re masterless
carrying existence like some masochists
the only thing that ever walk on water is a basilisk
the pastor is an actor is disastrous
but without religion my life has felt like a vast abyss
but that was in the past of this
so no need for the Lazarus
I found my faith in life
so need for me to slash a wrist
pass the fifth, pass the fifth
my fellow cali activist
my faith is in my love for you
I chose to love this magic hiss
this staticness stasis absurd like platypus faces
wish I could foresee what the next chapter in space is
Track Name: Montevista
we met in the mist amidst the sleeping mister missuses
and slid along a telephone wire until it finishes
declining to a dandelion field
a nylon sealed adolescent zion kneeling groups of ironic friends drugging and dragging themselves between the grasses
picking poppy petals and popping them til they massless
a plastic castle cast a shadow on the static
standing tall amongst the crumbling addicts
humbling magic
we climbed the steps and fumbled up to the attic
and noticed gleaming on the windowsill a bubbling chalice
we took
two sips
and when you parted your two lips i saw opening tulips
and hues of nude newness
then you drew the story of your uncle who passed
a sleek smooth jungley cat
and we mourned and celebrated all the wonderful laughs
that we’d never hear again
and felt indescribably more than merely American
weirdly inexperienced I tried hard to be serious
you laughed out delirious and shook off your weariness
and suddenly a path of light appeared out of the window
hovering yellow over the weeping willows and gingko
and sleeping kiddos on pillows fertilized widows in vitro middleclass minnows tossing and turning in midnight calypso
and as we stood to go,
the doves that had collected in your lashes flew away in the night
you good to go?
I asked you as you passed me by and led me straight to the light
and took your toe
and placed it on the wavering bright
and we tiptoe tangoed slow along the tight stitch
that arced out of the town and down into darkness
blind we stumbled into some kind of a dark nest
hearts pressed together we lay upon a blanketed space
and became entangled in lace
suspended blind in an anchorless dangling place
our bodies burning as I reached to touch your handkerchiefed face
your dangerous waist
I stay put and prayed for the taste
but we were wasted so the moment was later erased
when we woke up in mountain view with eggs on our plates

your force erodes the clothes thrown over souls of overdosed clones droning slow through the tar-coated roads of each day
your force is a freeway that weaves through trees straying far from the freeslave greedhaze endorphins
your force is porcelain palmed and iron fisted a fire misted by ocean fog you broke the laws of public school
your love is cool, easy poolside joints breezes spooled divine points of elegance
your force is pelican soaring delicate over morning tides bored exploring construction site skeletons

blazing trees under blazing trees
we swayed and seized
hazily walking through a town that was makebelieve
a maze of leaves we navigated greys and greens
changing scenes to a saturated daydream
we smoked weed and went to school and snuck out and smoked weed
and drove cars and went to school and lucked out and hoped it lead to some route with ocean breeze and love vows and open peace
we made jokes and went to school and cut class to slowly breathe
watching eternal sunshine and holding hands
I told you I liked you you shone like a golden strand
in the darkness you said you felt the same then we ran to the fire
danced while the plans we had made slanted and gyred
the parks lit fireworks at the touch of our shoes
explosions of green over sleeping entrepreneurs
stumbling over sweetgum stones
exploring steep unknowns
monarchs opening their wings to read us dream dust poems
I thought: her hair curls around her ears like a grapevine – her earlobes are as surely as sweet as loquats
I am to love you on scaffolding
I am to share in your lustrous laugh
I am to drive through the pines with you
I am to lay with you in sunlit grass