Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Michael Edward Tolle


I wake up and rinse before
I get in my cage and
I drive to my 6 x 4 cubit second home. On the way
I see Bob, who is better than me

He has a nicer prison, with better teeth,
And firmer flesh, more cock and
Better dance moves,
All of this makes me insanely jealous.


What do you know about waking up in a house with a 260 pound kid, fresh out of juvie? Self-admittedly he has thieving habits and shattered a 19 year old's jaw when he was 16. He's still drunk from the night before, there are cans scattered around the room, the television is on at 7 a.m., he's coughing. My roommate just left him there the night before and went to fuck some trick, knowing this kid had no ride, and I have school in the morning.

How about having a new girlfriend and bringing her home to 22 pounds of commercial on the kitchen table with digis and 3 Sonorans in sweat-stained dirty T-shirts: "Is that your Oriental bitch, man?" "She's hot as fuck, bro." "Asians are good in bed." And all you want to say is "shut the fuck up you low class bean-eating, woman mistreating, wanna be Tony Montanya."

How about a kitchen full of trash and fast food bags? A cabinet full of Ziplocks. Floor black, carpet black, with dirt from heavy traffic coming through your home daily to pick up pounds, get pictures and pr's: "A zip or a zone?" "Fire or Fi-re Fi-re?" "Bomb or BC?" Push this quick and I can do better for you next time man."

What about friends who drink 18 packs every night and pop Xani bars and oxycotins, pit bulls in cages full of shit and piss? The howl of dogs in misery, cages under 105 degree Arizona sun, no water anywhere, food dumped on top of shit and dust to be eaten, the stench of urine and shed hair pungent in your nose.

What do you know about the D'evil? D'Benzes? D'Diamonds? D'Clothes? D'Bitches? D'Lifestyle?

And when you're about to go crazy, everyone around you acts like this is normal, no one says a thing, in fact they laugh, they laugh that sick GoodFella's laugh because there is nothing left for them to do but laugh at their own sickness. Their hearts are black from neglect and they call it gangsta.

I mean, what do you know? What do you know about praying for death, asking God to take you, buying a gun, hitting rock bottom, finding your soul, finding God, the real God, not Jesus, or Buddha, or Muhammed, but the real God, the one without a name, the one who sits at the edge of your existence and holds you back from the precipice, the one who is unseen except in time of despair and hardship.

What do you know about finding a reason to live, finding the love your family always had but that you were too young to recognize? Finding a niche, a quiet place to live in contentment, a refuge from your struggles, a place to call your own.

Tell me what you know, I need another story to believe in, another person who can tell me we don't have to go back, we can live away from the past, away from our pain.

Please, just tell me what you know.

©2006 by Michael Edward Tolle

Michael Edward Tolle's work has been published in Persona, Revolt-in-Style, and The Soup. In addition to his writing, he is a DJ, music producer, and a tutor for Korean international students.

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