Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 124 in September, 2010.
Bio in his own words:
I am the author of "Like Flies Orbiting An Elephant," a self-published poetry chapbook. I am also guitarist and songwriter for a band, Secret Secretaries. I busk, read comics, watch horror movies and live with Stellar Cassidy in San Francisco, where we plan to marry in the year that the Mayan calender supposedly ends.
“Art is more important now than at any other point in human history. We have become so inundated with digital technology and info overload that we are losing a vital part of ourselves. Anybody and everbody can get their proverbial Warholian 15 minutes of fame now, but that aspect of Millenial culture is actually building a wall of anonymity among us. That's why the Corner, busking, the DIY Mission dirtcore ethos and self-publishing are so dear and important to me. That kind of community, friendship and love—real life—is something you'll never find in cyberia.”
Interviewed by EVAN KARP
The City lights blinked out forever--literally overnight--with a sudden finality that caught even the most nuclear winter prepared, Guns n Ammo reading, Campbell's canned soup and distilled-water stocked, backyard-fallout shelter-owning survivalists completely off guard. Armageddon had always been there, sleeping just beyond the horizon line of our periphery, but awoke fully clothed and ready to go to work that day.
It was a Thursday as ordinary as any other. The MUNI lines were choked, as always, with angry elderly women, white knuckles attatched to plastic shopping bags containing pungent vegetables, recyclables and rotting poultry as if their very lives depended upon the contents of those bags, and the usual gaggle of gibberish mumbling crazies blah blah blahing to themselves--cellphones plugged into skulls.
That day, barristas were five minutes, twenty-three seconds late for work on a City-wide average. Bartenders were making their rent in tips as rowdy soccer fanatics converged on their local faux-Irish pubs to watch the latest "big championship match" between Ireland or Italy and some other country.
But by week's end, the desperate siren blare of emergency vehicles screaming through the streets, the insectile hum of DPT tri-scooters carrying cut-throat, ninja-sneaky meter maids more than ready to make their weekly quotas slipping bogus $55 parking tickets under the windshield wiper of your best friend's barely working mid-90s Mazda (you were just barely borrowing for the night), and the cloud-cutting rotary whine of Channel 5 News traffic report helicopters chopping through the sky...had been silenced. Forever.
As if sensing the absence of gardeners, street sweepers and garbage men, weeds grew out of the streets and sidewalks with the newfound urgency of a wildfire. Leaves swirled through glass and concrete skyscraper canyons, settled, and slowly began piling in mounds as if attempting to fill the spaces once occupied by white knuckled elderly women, blah-blah-blahing cellphone schizophrenics, and rah-rah-rahing soccer fanatics.
Speculation on how the End Of The World would actually occur had always been a theological reference point of religious zealots Hell-bent on giving the Book of Revelations some validity, but had taken on a tone of comical absurdity in the hands of post-Y2K pop culture and disaster movies.
A horde of zombies rising from their shallow graves and feeding on the flesh of small bands of living survivors was one of the more popular, albeit seemingly fantastic apocalyptic theories. Some said aliens--zapping our atoms to smithereens from death-ray motherships--would enslave us. Some thought robots--disconnecting from their motherboard circuitry--would enslave us. While still others baring signs reading THE END DRAWTH NIGH, arms stretched meaninglessly up towards the hollow heavens in the sky above us believed microscopic monsters in test tubes and vials or haloed mushrooms sprouting from fields of flamming gardens would be the most likely form of humanity's demise.
But by the following Thursday, speculation had become a moot point. None of it really mattered at all in the end as the powergrid of the City and then human civilization altogether had been suddenly switched off for the last time by a callous, careless rent-a-god on a bender, leaving the face of the globe devoid of the spiderweb nightglow of terrestrial City lights.
Only the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea were sparred to fill in the blank pages of history that were to follow human(kind)'s fading footprints...
Eons later, when those birds learned to read, those birds would see cryptic symbols inside the shape of a crooked heart jaggedly carved into a tree trunk surrounded by a mote of fallen leaves and newspaper pages blowing through the streets like tumbleweeds.
Eons later, a trickling trail of bleeding hearts would lead back to the worm-chewed remains of a pair of skeletons holding skeleton hands beneath that tree. And that tree would become a monument to the eternal fire of an unwritten four-letter word.