The Purpose-Driven Life

A rock lying on the beach cried out:

“I want to find my purpose in life!

God put me on the shore for a reason.”

A boy on the beach found the rock

Picked it up and threw it in the ocean.


There was a fence along the road

There was a fence along the road

And a thicket that edged toward it

And I climbed the fence over the rail

And the sun spit through the trees on me

As I landed on some rusty tin cans.

I wondered who had been before me

And how many before them there had been

Buried under the thicket there beside me

And where they had run to since then.

But I myself couldn’t stay much longer.

My mother had called me in for dinner

My mother who now is long since buried

While she in my memory stays young.

So when I returned to visit the old house

Years later at the age of thirty-nine

The fence and the thicket were torn down

Making a clearing for a new subdivision

So it is not the same place as it had been

Not to me, not to those before, not anyone.

How to Live

Go out and run around your neighborhood block buck naked.

If anyone, including the police, stops you, tell them you are hot.

Say no to drugs, except for the prescriptions your doctor gives you.

Flush them down the toilet so your doctor has to take them too.

Make sure the NSA is listening when you tell them to fuck themselves.

Then blow up something small, like fireworks, over your sewer line.

Just for one day, don’t make anything. Then do it again tomorrow.

Now you can relax and go to the beach like you always wanted to.

Have sex with as many people as attract you and who say yes to you.

Until you feel the old-time religion the way they sell it at the mall.

Steal what you want. Only buy what you need. Give the rest away.

If anyone asks for money, including charities, punch them in the face.

If anything interesting appears on your TV, run over and turn it off.

Otherwise go outside, cut a limb from a tree, and smash the TV with it.

Learn how to be bored, even if it’s boring. Once you’re bored, stop.

Work your way across the ocean on a freight ship and kill the natives.

Don’t read magazines, self-help books, or the Bible. Stop taking orders.

You are allowed to have fun in this life without being told what to do.

“The Perfect Girl”

Part 2

All I cared about back then was getting The Smiths back together.

I don’t mean all of them. I’m not an idiot. But Morrissey and Johnny Marr both seemed like nice guys. They were both vegans too. Did they even talk anymore? Were they secret Facebook friends? Getting them back together shouldn’t be that hard, but it was.

So what are you doing about it? My dad asked me. He got a perverse kick out of asking me challenging questions like this, even though he didn’t care about the answer. Whatever the answer, if he had another chance to fire an uncomfortable question at me about my lack of success in life so far, he’d make sure to take that chance. He wasn’t risk averse when it came to humiliating me.

I don’t know, Dad.

I wished sometimes we didn’t have dads in this world—or moms either (don’t think I’m singling anybody out with parents). I got that they had to bring us into this world and feed us for a while, but after we learn to feed ourselves what good are they? The best thing to do is move out as fast as possible, because the only thing they know how to do is feed you and letting them feed you for too long is stupid. Letting them act like they can do anything else is maybe worse.

I hadn’t told either of them about Mandy yet. Mom might have liked her for the simple reason she wasn’t black. Dad might have liked her for the simple reason he was a man. But I was afraid to tell either of them about her, because she belonged to me, not either of them. She didn’t belong to anybody of course, not even me, maybe especially not me, but what I mean is that I don’t think I would have met her at all if I had listened to anything my parents said about anything. Also I was worried that if I said too much about her I would put a hex on what we had together. I kind of believed that if you wanted a girl too badly, you’d never get her. Or worse yet, you would get her, which meant you never should have wanted her in the first place. Girls seemed to sense when you wanted them too badly and if you seemed desperate that was a real turn off. I wanted a lot of things badly, either because I didn’t have any of them or because I wanted them so badly. I wanted The Smiths to get back together pretty badly, even though I was enjoying what Morrissey was doing on his own. I just didn’t like to see people alone. I was alone, and I wanted Mandy maybe even more than I cared about The Smiths.

Nameless Collage

I wonder what God would choose for you—

There is a street to cross with your body cut-out

Plastered on the scene of flowing cars with an empty face

Where your mind should be, where you should be

And in the foreground more people are crossing—

What face will you glue on, and where are you going

Once you cross the street, if you cross the street

Because for the moment you are not moving at all—

Where does God want you—right where you are

While the cars careen over you to wherever they’re going

Or down a downhill slope off to fight Indian wars

Or in an endless tunnel chained magnetically to others

I wonder what you might want for yourself—