year of diminishing returns # i

She was what she was

the year of diminishing


In the year of diminishing returns,

administered (was)…

(to humor your ass)

(my ass)

(our collective behinds)

(our bubble goose cabooses)

our pony-up (when they demanded the triple crown stallion)

Nothing left up to anyone (no one)

(that means all of us, diluted with equal parts tap water)

(not even those who got degreed in creative license…

(those lucky scrapers off the bottom barnacles)


heartache (certain)

heartburn (also certain, it seems)

untold darkness (certain and unexpected)

over non-extant (certainly does not exist)

sky unfold (whats sky? ) (no one knows)

unfurled (untold untoward unsightly wrinkly unkempt)

dilapidated far to one side extremities (a factual account)

Fallen like (mighty) trees felled

told (telled) lies (to keep the truth a mighty distant memory)

(to keep investment in trust at an exact. ie.  precise, all time minimum)

(sounds great like bargain basement prices) (but isn’t great)

to fuck off! (told but only in ways unspoken)

(like a text sms)

(or a brief email)

or a blocked call (every time you call its straight to voicemail, friend)

or a slimy rock uncovering

secondhand news set on fire

and (thrown through your bayless window)

(if youre lucky 2 have a goddamn window)

or parentheses that have taken over

their own use (of) themselves))) ((it so)) (appears)

now you got air to put into it

(your window)

(a terrible joke).

Ah, yes!

a single year (thankless eternity seeming)

that means 365 m.fucker days (!)

of bending over and taking it (see, nothing 4 the imagination really) (just the edge of the mattress)

no matter what class (clown).

grade (grub).

haughty felt sense (ego-toad).

h. sweet h.

We all have our declassified (ie raped)

b. grade  (non-virgin)

hid just under our (potential in most cases) A-grade

(subconscious- relegated)

sub-lemonade (like submarine. aka. damn torpedoes. sunk from our conscious knowing)

deeply entrenched(they call it good 4 survival)

in any shelf (aka earthen crust, water soluble)

of any material

(even the rooted consistency of mamas marmalade)

(laid in the area forbade)

(below the patch of shade whereby sets down roots

(citric) acid touch of jade (still grabs hold like marmalade)

(ma now under scrutiny (turning orange) swears she ain’t made)

in us (this egg no one claims to have laid)

fancy prohibition era grade

(and if you think u dont)

(u will find yours)


legged (h.sweet h. labelled) swill.


You will get yours! (just knock the secret knock)

my dear (ally of the underground rail snail)

im sorry (you can’t go begging for rotgut, afterall it seems)

We are all so (lonesome)

in this year

of dim

inish (ing)

repo (ssessed)







re(setting) of re(sun)

re(inforced) stereotypes (labels)

re(experienced trauma (ptsd)

re(d) eyes burning with fires of re(cent) happenstances elongated

like m(urder) in our m(inds)…

Im sorry (or may say so, just to say in a way that suggests the contrary)

let me start again.

Pity we are all so (lonesome)

in this year

of dim (not bright)

in (certainly in is out)

ish (oh how i wish) (u wish) (wishing-well-wished)

go phish(ed)


re(setting) of re(sun)

re(inforced) stereotypes (labels)

re(experienced trauma (ptsd)

Re(d) eyes burning with fires of

re(cent) happenstances

re(legated) far back


like m(urder)

in our (crossing our) (always crossing our)

m(inds) if not B-fore

then  be(lated) like

e(longated) like another

shadow (carrying over our form)

stretching and pinning us

(like some application to your desktop)

(like some eyes behind the blue heron)

(like some nametag to some name)

(like some car accident to some pavement)

like some beyond the grave


to conclude

the publicity scandal

surrounding you

at your


h. sweet h.

all your possessions

like storage lockers unpaid (for 90 days)

up for grabs


all what came



the year(ya, this one here)

our collective

aching souls

declared (or were declared)

bankrupt (c.)

life so far from spectacular (freewrite> K-styled vernacular)

by Katya, edit


Yeah, some people in your life, some chosen few in my life, some lucky charm girl or boy in our lives, yeah, sometimes we are so fortunate, Jupiter weighing into our house of fortune and fame, all nine moons working our water out and cleansing our path, sweeping the rough parts smooth, providence of angels, yes… this experience, if you had it you understand, if not please let me try and explain! for you have this possibility forever in front of you in whatever current manifestation, whatever currency you represent, well, its thick sweet in a non-romantic but glossy secular kinda shine or sheen,  not unlike the honeys of the world, farmed by the bees of the world. Thick drip of sweet intelligence into your mainline, feels like the superior class of olive oil infused with garlic fresh from Gilroy, California. A city like a town nesting south of San Jose and her central American flavor in the new century, the white population has dwindled comparatively in production and the Mexican sweat and calloused ground low center of gravity, gang-related, family placated, Juarez far far away now and hang out by the home depot on the curb for work in the early mornings of pickup truck transmissions humming on the downshift and pulling over for your reliable honest day labor natural to your central American bloodlines healthy and strong, with or without faith, music or Catholicism churns the energy the spirit the passion needed to kiss senorita and offspring aplenty, wash down the refried beans and avocado soft taco habanero fold, with a bottle of sugar coke in glass, the home the family drives you to move your ass and come home partially drunk off the shared wind down of laborers kicking it with cerveza in hand, yes, coming home with cash dollars for the missus to smile over and convert at the corner store Mexican-run to family sustenance like sunshine payday hitting you awakening you and lightening brightening your countenance, all of you. Dont forget every sunday to place the envelope sealed with cash rolled in paper for your source, your parents grandparents nieces nephews down in Chihuahua or wherever closer to equatorial heat of poverty and life simple and grateful beyond words for your obligatory contribution, still by choice, cause down there we must say with pride and tribute, props to these Americans below the guarde Texan New Mexican borders, well hey, they have a commitment to the greater whole the family the community that is often quite a stretch many lengths beyond what your typical USA brand American can fathom. This kind of love goes a long way in trust and good will and downshift at the curb to stop for the day laborers who never or minimal odds at least, take the kind of advantage a northern American sociopath might, as in take your money, take your wife, take your life, however they qualify and judge you for your insincerity they despise and lash out against in the end. Most pickups wouldn’t stop these days for middle aged white day laborers in these USA capitalist city centers and suburban sprawls, though such a species is rare to see. The whites who need the cream are more likely sitting at home on a satiating disability or workers comp or unemployment paycheck for now. The system not hard to work, if you know how to show up somewhere and act stupid act like yourself and be measured up as someone definitely for sure unfit for work, and probably if a jury weighed in on this type, would be seen through as insincere in the telling of your need for government cash support, and the insincerity aspect would ultimately represent the true need for help of some kind! so put them out to pasture so they dont fuck up whatever workaday world still remains in our credit-sapped country half-sold out like corporate initial public offering shares snatched like a Goldman Sachs or Fidelity decisively showing hand and taking the majority stake and the bigwig seat on the board, and letting the small shareholder sheep fall in line under their clear powerplay reign over the frightening landscape of capitalist one upmanship the old and existing paradigm put roots down so deep not even a Greenspan or Zell or Buffet or Trump could envision a way out, a path toward inevitable change, paradigm shift showing up sprouting from the cold hard unproductive parts of the soil, the tough ones, the occupiers, the Mike Moores, the musicians, the artists, the architects of change, the Aquarians, the social workers, the underpaid and overworked, the minorities, the descendants of American slaves, the queers, the fluids, the bis, the ex-cons washed through Delancy Streets or Salvation Army foot soldiers, under the great tutelage of former sixties revolutionaries, the Vietnam protesters, the ones who loved the poor kids coming home all fucked up in the head, napalmed, spirit firebombed,hooked on Asian dope so pure the cravings show up as multiple personalities coming out of your body and flying back over the Pacific to the Rim and waking them up in coldsweat nightmares and after shocks and PTSD left untreated, body bags struck the consciousness and dragged them blind and wet sweatsoaked bed sheeted with inspection failed at the corners they failed to sharpen and crease by protocol, for goddamn it! crying for help never got so ritualized as then, so the education of the new century youth who have the greater burden of bringing east to west in new paradigm living, community emphasis, leave no trace attitudes and inequality seek and destroy missions, arrested in Snow Park and formerly Frank Ogawa now dubbed Oscar Grant plaza, the criminal record scarlet letters will hurt, believe it, and ushering in this fresh and wonderful way of being will more than likely be accompanied by great loss of life and blood, as the nonviolent wisdom body gets put through the perfect storm of USA police state fear driven cash stocked NRA sponsored, tea party headliners, two-faced rubber bullet swarming system-programmed to protect some one percent faberge nest egg Wall Street incubates, violent response to the alien movement, a war of attrition fought for a rhetorical yet undocumented promised way of life that never existed, does not exist currently, and will have to be stripped down and documented and citizen arrested and media swarmed and exposed for its great lie! A lie that has fueled DC lobbies and capitalist greed eddies, and tragic consumed plastic product, like fisher price junk quality deep discount space-wasters that toxify our environment and leave our people starving without nutrition, HFCS vampires hitting the seven eleven white hen pantries for the arizonas the corn syrups the hormone-swollen dairy products and two for a buck sathers candies all the same HFCS just hidden behind form and leaving us all empty and without much function, just barely getting by with our loose change mostly dedicated to laundromats and weak ass dryers leaving our clothes our second skin our comfort our boundary against all elements moist and stinking, wrinkles of time, unfolded cause you ran out of your HFCS poor battery power like generic double As most people throw in the trash to further toxify our lands our skies our waters ourselves, too tired too burned out too pissed on and pissed off to care to separate it all out and follow the compartmentalization protocol the old paradigm offers in weary car salesman vernacular. Life was never so far from spectacular, dont you know. Infomercials in the middle of your sleepless nights sink to new lows, like poorly made powerpoint presentations suggesting we all require a pill to make our colons flow. Fuck no, fuck no!

Pretta, a girl with a weak heart

Pretta had a weak heart and everyone who knew her, knew. They may not have wanted her to know they knew, but she knew just the same. They may not have been old enough to understand what was said to still know. Still they knew. And she knew they knew, whether by speaking or gesturing or glancing away or rolling the eyes or tongues back or around in a circle or simply sucking on a thumb. She could relate to sucking. Her exposure sucked.

She learned to carry herself with grace. Before she even cared to, wanted to, needed to and so did. Her mother taught her with books on crown chakra balanced. Her neck became strong. Long.

She was seven years old, Pretta. Seven when she was able to walk through a small group of girls (not friends she knew but friends to them was she to be.  and do.)  also seven or so, most of whom she had to suffer in pre school times. Seven years old.  She held her head and her dresses high, and left them all with only a breeze trailing her strong jawline she inherited from her father. She would use unsparingly from this moment on.

She would be so generous. She would not spare them her pride. Inherited. She would not spare them it! For her weakness required compensation. Overcompensation to balance. A simple concept she knew, from the books on her crown chakra to ballet she watched the older girls and prayed to some day do, too. Having descended from a murmur descended from a fever: aka Scarlet. Red hood got her namesake by course of coursing blood and blue, turned out to air. Met oxygen with a blush. Stirred the beating heart some.

                 Scarlet. Scarlet sometimes coursing so as to make the tissue flush. Often a cure could come, some said, if you sat bedside and waited out the wailing winds. If you did not rush. Rouge red against the pale blues tripping out in an arc the moist flower bed.  Makes you scream, terrified. Strikes the weak of constitution dead. Or so was said.  No one wanted scarlet fever. That was how effective she knew exhibition of this trait to be. The small group of kids became smaller below her above average height, as she passed through unfazed. No less than two of the girls left the experience,  eyes glazed.

Pretta… she was going to make it. They also knew this, those who poked her and would not let her touch them back for fear of contagion.  She would outlive them all! You did not dare suggest otherwise. Everyone in this majority w.a.s.p country understood. The weak. The earth. The meek. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ya Ya Ya… Her odds had low denominators, La La Ya!  She learned her math by it, her perfect true condition. The one thing that made her stand out  unique. Like the way she felt the day she rode her banana seat bike first through the mission. Approaching # one wholesomeness, they wanted her to think. Organic and good for the spirit.  Now tilt back, nurse said, and drink.

Young Pretta sprouted tall.  To help her get above it. A tall girl, many remarked, a lady still a girl. She would never know why they stopped. Why they stared. What they said. If they cared.  Sometimes she really minded. Most of the times she let them see the back of her head, her long dark straight hair.

Her peers they could not relate to her on many levels. She seemed older sometimes, but not all of the time. She got tougher every year, for sure. But all knew somehow the fears she carried, though some did not know they knew. Their was no lesson in her. She was not a subject to be taught. Still most and especially the boys thirsted to learn from her or learn her or learn to be like her, the girls.

She would not give anything to be any of them. Not one. Though she looked up to quite a few. Even looked up to younger girls she knew. She did not know why she was strong, or why everyone thought her so. But she let her hair grow long like a girl. And she arm wrestled until she was strong like a boy.  And the only thing she must pretend and put on, was that she was somehow tough, boy-tough.

She could and did pretend. She did not have to like it. She did not have to even be it, no. Not a fake. Atleast not pretend to the end. Where the boy would spit, she would hesitate. Then stop. Where the boys would curse, she would not. Where a boy would scream and yell and go manic? She would perform clear and conscious restraint. On a dime. Skirts falling ahead of her young calves and back again. Swing, swung. Swing, swung.

The boys eyes went wide like saucers, then telescoped small when she moved again.

They could not understand how she moved like that? could not predict when? She was a sweet sweet anomaly,  in the class of twenty twenty-two. A shame she would not graduate, Pretta, at least not through and through. She had to do things differently, or wanted to, they say.

She had a weak heart, Pretta. Everyone who knew her, knew.


The truth is confusing, the confusion is disturbing, and reality does not give a damn. My heart holds vacancy for the life of them. and you. Still to attend to the sky in its entirety.                          Sea. The depths grow green to Royal blue. Where all lies over exposeD in a happy residue. Off center in allostasis. From the residual, extract the amplification. Subtract from that all that you already know or believe.  The tattooed kneecap. the hair weave. The eyes tell of suffering behind capri ankles. The wrist-roll up to three quarters a sleeve.                The honesty cannot be found from infusion thereafter. She was left to floats on water boiling. Like a poached egg. Then arises Thick, like crisis in love. Then arises as vapor- Clear

by J Nickel

having it up to here and back down

to the rafters