Stumblefish

by Nathan Payne

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1.
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14:32
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00:47

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Dedicated to Lou Reed.

credits

released October 31, 2013

ACR027

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all rights reserved
Track Name: Suck on This Town
we suffer so luxuriously
tearing holes
in our beautiful clothes,
smoking weed from a broken clarinet
that plays "Blue Velvet" every time you take a hit

we used to steal cars
from the bottom of the cliff,
200 feet below the highway
where there was a hole in the guardrail—
the keys were always in the ignition—
we would clear the bones
and beercans
out of the frontseat
and head back to town in our new car
with a broken windshield
and license plates from 20 years ago,
scattering cops like pigeons
with the sound of our engines

waking up in our bed is like waking up at a funeral
after everyone has gone home—
so we spend the day in bed
our pillows nailed to the headboard
growing pearls on our tongues
and calling in sick to jobs we never had—
"there's nothing worth stealing in this town that can't be swallowed,"
she used to say
I never knew what she meant by that
until one day she got sick
and coughed up half a dozen wedding rings
into the sink
which she traded for 2 bustickets and a joint as long as my middle finger—

"it looks like we're going to get the hell out of this town after all,"
I said
and we walked around the neighborhood all day,
getting high,
yelling SUCK ON THIS TOWN
into the shadows
but all our enemies were hiding in broad daylight
where we weren't looking for them
so we went back to our room
to drink rum for a thousand years,
defeated





2001
Track Name: Zen as Fuck
“pesos con quesos,
pennies with cheese,
only beggars say thank you
only poor men say please”
      [from the Books of Smog, VI-iii]


I live in a shitty
hotel
in Los Angeles,
where
roaches
crawl out the drain
of the drinking fountain
in the lobby
and the coffee machine
eats
your money
and spits
out an empty cup
with a fake lottery game
printed on the bottom
that you always
lose,
and if you think
your getting any coffee,
then you really are
some new
kind of
idiot…

I live in a shitty
hotel
in L.A.
where right outside the door
you can buy a hit
of crack
for a buck
from the guy
standing
by the 20-cent
payphone,
where it costs 10
bux
to have a friend over,
‘cuz of all the whores
who live here,
and where
you can laugh with the desk guy
at the old black queen
standing
by the vending
machine
in full-on beauty-mask
and grandma
robe,
and where
you can make
jokes
with the janitor
about the girl
who
bribed the desk-guy
with heroin last
Christmas,
so she could
get in
for free
and try to kill you…

where’s my leper-lipped shepherd with the bottomless
brain?

my Army of Afrobots, standing
attention in the bulletproof
rain?

those robots
in rowboats,
who,
according to the prophecies
of the Books of Smog,
come a-rowin’
down the L.A. River
at the end of the world,
wearing
moonboots of menace,
tennis shorts of terror!
hairpins
of despair,
dunce caps
of violence
an’ newspaper hats of vengeance—
exterminating unbelievers,
eradicating doubters,
leaving a trail
of traitors an’ haters
for the culture crows
to dissect,
enlightenin’
the faithful
with their pre-recorded
promises
an’ kung-fu
masturbation techniques…

an’ what if y’ain’t saved,
ya say?

well then,
    that spells mentalpatient curtains for YOU,
                                            my friend…

O Holy Afrobots!

where do you be?

where are the machines
who will de-liver
me
from this go-golden
ashtray,
this barrel of bitches?

this glowing asylum
of filthy-roach
riches?

I’m a full-time escape goat!

my throat does the thinking!

where are those machines?
with their sticky-lick stockings
an’ saviour-breath stinking—

the con is on!

why are you weeping?

the man who invented the Jackalope—
heeznot dead!
heeznot sleeping!

heezin heaven right now,
lobbying
          for more efficient,
                        all-meat tele-
                        phones!

my Afrobot liberators
cummin’
ta crack-RAK
yr
popsicle bones!

so keep yer lickery stickery fingers
OFF’N
mine marble-cake tombstone,
my epitaph of frosting—

peanut butterfly filling,
extra krunchy,
with wings—

lower your ears!

shave off your noses!

why aren’t you weeping?

this ain’t no war protest,
it’s a funeral march for democracy!

(mourners in polka-dot,
gathered in silence)

what suit gave the boot?

to the Rasta-tute
fruit-shooters
wearin’ reckless chain
necklaces
of goldeny
gringo teeth,
blind legless midgets
riding
their burdens
in the bowel-black bellies
of undigested
burrito trucks,
conspiring
to have children
who don’t speak English,
and snorting
lines of dandruff
off-a white pee-stained
pillowcase?

I mean,
this place,
it’s like some belligerent god
took a golden
shit
in the sun
and called it a city—

not like I wanna LEAVE,
or anything like that,
I’m jes’ waitin’
for my army
of robots,
is all,
an’ I gets pissy
when they don’t
return my
pages—

or prayers,
          whatever…


“we sleep best amongst garbage,
surrounded by insects”
[from the Books of Smog, IXX-xiv]


‘sides,
all I want’s
to be a sky trucker like my dad,
like Lila the Leech
from the wrong
end of Long
Beach—
she’s all up an’ gone again,
schmokin’ up schlongs
with her harem
of Bong Boys,
wearin’ her
french fry-dyed
slip-sloppers,
superbanite skin-poppers,
cuuurrrrsing
the bleach-bread
chiiiillldren
of a plaster-white
race,
monster cock roach-suckers
in dookie-top
sneakers,
speakers of darkness
walkin’ um,
‘round,
on podium shoes,
swingin’
their dicks
an’ sticks
an’ machetes
at piñata-row
death mates
strung up
by their
knees
upside
down from the Bible tree…

what's YUR story be?

hangin’ roun’,
no doubt,
in downtoon dune-town
wi’ Drag Queen Mary,
lemme guess,
in her natural gas
tanktop,
lookin’ like some kinda throwback
to the boob-onic
robot plague
of 20-odd-3,
damn,

I LOVE that bitch!

she cracks the pavement
ever’time she spits,
exuding an attitude
of gratuitous gratitude
wherever she
grows…


“he who walks forwards and backwards
at the same time
walks in a circle,
goes nowhere”
          [from the Books of Smog, II-xii]



O happy Confusion prophet!

no more Chinese hills, forced
to stand
solemnly
in the boring rain—

he’s go’n ta California—
to sit in his boxer shorts
and kill roaches
and flies
with books of great
wisdom—

go’n ta California—
to pray to
indifferent 747’s,
and live inside shopping carts
hopped
up on 500mcg
of Orange County Sunshine,
divining revelations
from the sparkly-black
a.    void
b.    pavement
c.    whatevers…

he’z go’n ta California—
ta eat at Spic-Donald’s
an’ sit in the SUN,
extract
gregarious diseases
from pretty young
girl-things,
an’ drink a turban
fulla bourbon
at Club Motherfucker
every night,
in the endless search for universal peace
an’ harmony…

he’s go’n ta California—
ta change his name
to William Flake
(have YOU experienced thuh infanit?)
an’ make time
with the snarlets,
the trash-queens ‘n harlots,
gett’n
squeezy ‘n queasy
with the downbeats
an’ their dirty-squirty
needles,
a dozen red
beetles,
hysterical bloody bouquet…

horny curvy girls
hurling
meatloaf
sandwiches
an’ dead newspapers
at yesterday’s
birds,
legs scratched an’ bloody,
drippin’
from a garter belt of thorns…

O happy Confusion prophet!

he’s a-goin’ ta California!
until he is AT LAST
an’
FINALLY able
to find more wisdom in a comic book
than a holy book,

to see more beauty
in one flower choked and dying on the freeway
than in a million flowers
thriving
in a protected garden,

to find more honesty
in a lie
told from a sad heart
than in a truth
told from a heart that shows no sadness,

heeza go’n ta California
to find the Mongrels of Light—
O happy dogs of heavenly horror
an’ shiny-bright
rage!

crushing bottlecaps
between their teeth,
leaving cool
iridescent
drool
slathered on the sidewalk,

O you lucky dogs!

make crooked paths for my feet—
bend my bones
so they can’t be made
straight!

bring me seething with delight
to the Pigs of Enlightenment,
to suck out
the sewer-milk
from greazy-grime breasts,
swollen ol’ swines,
mud-foam
eclectic
shock
baths in the brine…

eyelashes to eyelashes,
                      bust-to-bust—

who will lighten my jizmo
                  in the back-a THIS bus?   
           
who wrote these books of the Ho-Holy Bubble—
eating grapes
of wrath
and gumballs
of trouble?

not the Mongrels of Light!
we were just getting pretty!
preening,
careening
in our cat-eating cars
down
pin-striped
alleys/
circuit-board
streets,
lights
flash & chatter
like pinball machines,
crooozin’ on booze control
in our syrofoam gluestick
triple-piece
peanut
suits,
past the guy
who once offered me
a glow-in-the-dark
handshake
and politely asked
me for a fight
on Sunset Boulevard
and who proceeded
to tear
thousands of new
assholes
into a shopping
cart
when I politely
declined—

o you dogs of delight!
one happy day
I will be like you,
wallowing in sordid joy,
swallowing
death mints by the dozen,
no longer frightened
or repulsed
by the perfume
of my own
filth—


“get stoned now, you stupid pussy”
          [from the Books of Smog, IV-iii]


I’m a-goin’ ta California!
to achieve a state
of mind
never
to be attained
by them
sad
gloopy fucks
sitting on pillows
in Zen China,
a state
where
I will find
that there’s NO REASON
to search for anything
that’s so far removed from my
a.    body
b.    soul
c.    BUG-LORD
that it’s actually necessary to use
the 5 senses
to perceive it,
NO REASON
to fear
any future outbreaks
of the Freedom Flu,
and finally,
and most important of all,
there ain’t
NO REASON
to learn how
to bend
spoons with your mind
if you don’t have
any FUCKING
HEROIN to cook
in them!

like it sez
in the Books of Smog, [L-xv]—
“out here we eat only
                     the most
                     professional huevos…”







March/April 2003
St. Moritz Hotel, Los Angeles
Track Name: Soap Dick/I'm A Rat
polydrug user!
polydrug user!

babes of unexpected sexiness!

your screams of terror
are like coldcuts of sound
rotting
quietly
in tiny carpeted refrigerators
in my ears—

it takes weeks,
even years,
for your clothes
to digest you—

I suggest you go
home now,
you androgynous
rats,
to yr sorrowful
lovenests
yr tall puke-a-lyptus
trees,
sad Cheshire
rut-rats
roach-teeth a-gleaming,
scratching
names
upside-down
in the wet
white cement,
planting
flowers of dissent
on Peroxide Road—

(drink yer bone-bleach
while it’s hot)

snot-eating
burlap-dancers,
locked in the boxcar
lounge,
sporked-tongues
spitting
sparks,
toasting
homeless people
roasting
in Coathanger
Park,
papercuts howling
in pain
in the rubbing alcohol
rain—

broken-down
black guys
wearing
prehistoric shoes,
facial expressions
like charred
looted
storefronts,
ugly-bug sunglasses,
eating
flies with their eyes,
tears of bug-gut
an’ bile
drying on their cheeks—

blackout! 
        blackout!

the sky’s cracked an’ peeling!

rig-ladies
reeling,
hair sweeped back
by hissing
aerosol breeze,
plastic skin
melting,
pinned to the hot gravel floor
by a ruthless
toothless
sun—

a thin stick
bum
with electric
chair
hair
an’ grillmarks on his face,
orange leather arms,
an’ army surplus
lips,
teeth worn to nubs
from years of eating
concrete
carrots,
hamburgers
of stone,
his whole being
like a prehistoric
punching bag
marinated
in zen
filth,
trudges
past the La Brea BBQ
pits
an’ the unfortunate creatures
encased
in the ancient
bubbly black barbeque
sauce,
roasted
in slow motion
for eons an’ eons,
to seal in the flavor
of prehistoric bacteria
specific
to that specimen
of ten-thousand-year-old
mammoth-meat,
known in this newly-fangled
millennium
as the one an’ only
Arco dog—

whaddaya think yer doing!?

don’t eat that shit!

take it outside,
an’ wipe it on the sidewalk,
to get out them
germs,
ya gotta use
FORCE—

of
course,
I’ve been
listening me
to sleep every nite
to the juke & drunks
at Raji’s,
so
what the dick
do I know?

who IS that happy asshole?

with the well-adjusted laugh
of a tidy whitebread
madman?

who’s the chiquita mosquita
with the tiny
2-tone
tits?

yea yea yea,
whatevs buddy,
whatever
ya think ya seen y’ain’t seen
shit—
wait’ll ya see my girlfriend Bananas
do a lickety-split
handstand
on a razor-wire fence
wearin’ nothin’ but a tampon—

                    tiny toy coffins
                      bursting into
                           clowns

you maggots have eaten
my hands out
from
under me!

                 drops of water, little
                          spiders
                     crawling down my
                            legs

I’m the clown-prince of darkness!
I usta live on your ceiling!

                pale wrists precipitating
                        snowflakes
                         of blood

just take my teeth
and
EAT ME
a’fore ya gets too
scumfterbull—

spit out yr feet
an’ meet me
up
high on hilly
vista,
fulla bees
an’ trees
an’ thorns,
where the 4am traffic
winds
blindly below us,
coursing like blood
thru brittle broken
veins,
abscessed
subway tunnels
collapsing
on trains,
track-marked
gutters,
an’ infectious-germ
commuters.
cracked concrete
capillaries,
red bloodcell
brakelights
at stoplights coagulating
in carpools
of blood—

dusty
hillsides encrusted
with million-dollar
houses,
standing
on wilted steel
stilts,
giant concrete-glass
parrots,
perilously lurching,
perching
over parties
fulla girls you can EAT!

it’s time for me to meet
the Bikini Meat
elite—

a floating inflatable fleet
of tubes
lubes
an’ boobs,
booze-bunnygoats
bleating
eating
tits-on-a-stick,
swizzle-dicks competing
over fiberglassy
blondes
drinking
wood-varnish martinis
garnished
with nipples,
cartoon girls triple-
stacked
on top-a ornamental
pornstars,
with zippers for eyelids
an’ fire-retardant
pubes—

welcome,
ya greasy green
underlings,
ya floppy-eared
rubes,
to the Upper-Middle Mannequin Class—
where ego-engorgeous
Godzooka-like
zillionaires
meet a fashionably
bored,
top-optional
demise
(severed members only),
floating face-down
all alone-ly,
in bottomless swimming pools,
or leaping off
cliffs
in Olympic-sized
ravines—

(when death to YOUR house
comes ta visit,
which
will YOU find
most exquisite?)

death by TV dinner?
death by family?
death by job?
death by joy?
death by happiness?
death by handpicked admiring-squad?

death by money!
death by fashion!
death by children!
death by mansion!

in the hills,
driving
cars
with constellation headlights—

the skies are unkempt—
the birds fly like stupid bricks!
my heart is descending—
              I need a newer kinda fix!

the parkbenches
are all booked
up
full of broke
starving
henchmen
wearing exoskeleton
trenchcoats,
shit-crust
in their workpants,
shoes from another
era,
peeling prophylactic
socks
off cracked
plastic
feet—

bleary-eyed
bug-fuckers,
junk-sick hicks,
crackerjack truckers
suckin’
on liquor sticks,
pleasantly
foaming,
stray roaches roaming,
climbing
statutory rapevines
growing
in the day-glo grey
cracky
pavement,
fingers trapped
in spiderwebs of chewing
gum—

carrion
chopper-blades,
locust-cops
buzzin’
over
groups of trees
handcuffed
in a grove of streetlights,
bare roots
buried in
boots,
refusing
to cooperate—

mud-angel
nudists
wiping
blood off the fish-tile,
crack-king their teeth
in mouths
fulla tar,
eyes
risin’ constantly,
2 blue bleeding
suns—

2 dozen donut-mites,
itchy
an’ bitchy
in pigeon-skin
slums, 
bums are a-scheming,
drinking
drip-drool
an’ dreaming
of anywhere but here!
spilling
junk-blood
an’ beer
on a flea-eaten
mattress,
wearing
beef-jerky jackets,
‘cuz leather
is fer
winners—

ain’t no way to tell him
a flying wig
of paralyzed,
comb-proof
hair
has landed on his head!

no way to conceal
lips of dope
lathering
with soapsuds of madness!

no way to escape
sour
lush-hour winds
blowing
foul
brown breath of death,
orange
smoke-quilts of smog
hanging
over anthills of jewels,
fuel fumes
wincing,
rinsing
soft
plush-white
hands,
upholstered with fat—

Pakistani
sandwich-peddlers,
selling lonely
bologna,
lunatic
tuna
an’
tamales of folly
to   
imaginary gangsters
engaged in
invisible dealings
under sickly orange streetlights,
vomiting
gravel
in the nausea-mud
an’ pouring
rain
on their pancakes—

operator,
    I need a pill!
will you kill me if I cry?

will your oval
envelope me
         softly when I die?

crickets
play contralto
to a cavalcade of sirens,
ambulance-grooves
grindin’
under a glowing brown cloud
of carcinogenic,
omniscient
filth—

tar-paper junkies
lifting
methadone barbells,
eyelids of wool,
taking
powder-showers
with perforated,
reprobated,
underweight-trash
man-hookers,
or alone or maybe
stoned
or with a 40 of Ol’
English,
always on a
nod,
in the unappealing
nude—

hooker-hair
slimy,
like
gluey-glook strands
of blue-black spaghetti,
clogging the drain,
my girl’s been
pavin’
her veins
with tarry black
gloop-paste,
fixing
her shots
with meticulous
haste,
don’t waste yer time,
buddy,
she’s a bitch
in real
life—

the sky is propped
open
by the last rays
of sunlight;
fuzzy gray
cat
w/ overcast
lining
sits
at the head
of a waterfall of blankets
gushing
from the foot
of a beheaded
bed,
my crazy once-girlfriend
lay slovenly sleeping
under a
shelf
of tulips
an’ china dolls,
chipped plastic
beads,
balloons fulla heroin,
little packets
of speed—

what delicacy of mind
arranged miniature
teapots
in such careful-ish
fashion?

gnashing
her teeth
over tiny porcelain
place-settings,
letting
ashtrays
an’ beercans
pile up on the floor—

sweet dreams little venom-fiend!

happy trails little whore!

why-zit
Yucatan
lose at a war
ya ain’t even fighting,
that no matter
whutcha du,
ya never can’t
win?

our OC disorders will never meet again!

I am happy
to sleep
alone
in a corner
on the old wooden
floor
amongst piles
of pliers
an’ parboiled
chicken bones,
clear 80’s telephones,
bent wire
clothes hangers,
abortion-hook soup,
hypodermic pine needles,
slaveyard bikini-strings,
bloody black flowers,
fangs fulla
honey,
damp
rolls of toilet
paper,
toy razorblades from heaven!
patent-leather purses,
pocketknives,
phonebooks,
matchbooks,
magazines,
stereo components,
tubesocks,
toy trains,
tambourines,
porcelain alarm clocks,
Ku-Klux
Kleenex boxes,
boxes
of catshit,
boxes
of valentines,
computer parts,
wine bottles,
fake wood TV
trays,
moldy blue tomatoes,
bags of liquefying
onions—

the day
smooth an’ peaceful—

blankets of smog/
grey
feather pillows
on a hot heatlamp
sun,
keep us from going
crazy,
keep us
lazy,
an’ happy,
hazy,
an’ slappy,
all those tattooey-junk losers,
boozers,
cruisers,
dildos of soap—
they all usta
be friends of mine;
now we’re just sleeping—

weeping creeping keeping
our mouth shut—

what
Angel of Stalin,
descending on my bedsheets
in the middle of the silent/holy/
cracky-trap
night,
is demanding fucky-wucky,
an’ expecting to be
fed?

weaker than a tweeker,
chewin’
on ‘iz fingers,
poking steam-holes
in ‘iz head,
ugly
lugnut lips a-lisping,
cranium crakd
an’ crisping,
an’ a microwavy
haircut
on top an uninhabitablable
head?

eating
slices of chewy
blue-grey
bread
that look like
lint filters
in industrial
clothes-dryers,
applying
finger-lickin’
wedgies
to herds
of sexy
nerd-girls
wearing
robot-eating
sneakers,
footprints
on their parachute-panties,
tangled up in blissful
briars,
an’ starting trendy
fires—

beating
quaran-teenage
devil dolls
wi’ pockets fulla
foo’l-balls,
Cyanide Chiclets,
malevolent
lentils,
latent
opioid
appetites—

skunkards
an’
ja-runkards
with coal-burning
throats,
cookin’ up
their breakfastes
in spoons
of ruin
an’ recklessness,
singin’
Negro Britney Spirituals
under a pancake makeup
moon—

my wakeup call is wasted!

the cat is spun on crank!

watch out
for the tornadoes of teeth
an’ clouds
of claws,
an’ be very very
wary
of the supernatural
catbox,
now that it has taken
to levitating
mysteriously behind the toilet—

rickety
iron alligators,
impatiently descending,
comin’ down from the ceiling
on lysergic
tornado slides,
South-Side
Chicago blocks,
chillin’
in tha darkness/
bloody darkness/
chungk of pavement/
brainwashed
drone—

the payphones all need pruning!

glood
gates are frozen
shut!

what news?
what urgent business?
could be so possibly important
as to find yourself requiring
ta beat me to tha
meat-punch?
(vodka-licious
meat-stew,
served in crystal-nut
champagne
flutes)
tryna come off
like all yer shit’s together,
like yer carrot
ain’t cooked e-nuf
already—

steady,
Betty,
don’t pass that semi
on the shoulder!

his expletives are explosive!

his wheel-wells are weird!

whom
will groom
the grey-haired vegetables
growing
in my gardenoid
beard?

what expense my common sense?

an’ what price my lucky dice?

what intention all this tension?

not to mention
the pinched, enlightened
faces
of my atavistic
peers
(baby we wuz smokin’
all the way to Ho-Hoboken!)

don’t bother me!

I’m boring!

leave me
alone please I’m imploring
ya
ta keep yer
self
all to yer
self
a’fore
ah gets my
self
in jail
all a-cuz’n
yer gunbelt
panties,
an’
my vanity
case of herpes—

Elvis can you hear me?

are you up there washing
dishes?

do you know Santa Claus
and Jesus?

do you communicate with Memphis?

telepathically
through an old
busted
black & white
TV?

hey buddy! 

Elvis wants for you to give me 50 bucks!

sure I’ll take a check,
an’ if’n
yer not a chicken
yu’ll take a kickin’ in the nuts!

whoo-hoo-hoo!

hee-hee-hee!

I’m ludicrous!

I’m free!

ain’t no one here to tell me
they’re gonna
care for me
forever,
condemning
me to an eternity
of eating
emotional popcorn
in a 30-year-long movie
bereft
of boobs
an’ cool explosions,
a narcoleptic epic
monologue
of preposterous proportions,
of which WE, of all people, are forced to be the
stars!
strapped for the duration
into cold electric
loveseats—

I can blow my head off!

anytime I want!

no one to pretend they wanna stop me,
no one to slow me
down,
or hang me
up,
no one to even push me forward!

I don’t wanna go to school today!

I wanna watch TV!

I’m quaking in my sideburns!

boss, ya see?
I’m shakin’ the tree!
see here boss,
I’m shakin’
the tree—





2003