Tuesday, April 1, 2014

shame / Secret Songs of Sirenum Scopuli 2

Miguel Sanchez is a Californian writer currently studying at The Writers Studio. At age 8 wrote "What's wrong about Hippies" a manifesto, followed by "Shut up Grandma" a rock n roll song that was immediately banned. He worked as a bike messenger, bagel baker, carpenter, art model, aviation electrician, photographer, EMT, roadie, and gaffed porn movies. He has graduated nothing and has no degrees.

He is directly responsible for saving 5 lives, performed CPR twice, survived 2 plane crashes. He has seen ball lightning and the North Pole.And now lives with Parkinson’s.


shame comes as a doll  
special delivery,
to your home, to your office, 
finds you on vacation,
you try to ignore it 
you hope it just goes away
it never does
there is no ignoring 
the life like doll of your father 
in sagging superman 
underwear about to fall 
off except for the suspenders
his mouth open, a glory hole
like he’s the town crier
shouting out my secrets 
maybe perform some 
act publicly and blame me
he’s gonna say
i taught him this 
he’s not inflatable
so i can’t pop him and bunch him 
up into a garbage can
no way to cover him up 
fortunately this time i am alone
and i only stepped in dog shit
it is bad enough when he 
suddenly appears while I’m
drinking laughing being charming
everyone loving me
imagine him in bed with me
difficult to explain
and her 
waiting with the rejection slip
but today i am alone
with him and i carry him
down the street and try not to
look like i am hugging him
or have my hands to close
to his ass
all he has to say 
this time is 
you’re an idiot.

Secret Songs of Sirenum Scopuli 2

I answered an ad in the Berkeley Barb. The ad was for a young Filipina tv head nurse. The price was right for living on ramen. My favorite thing about the hobby is going to their houses and not knowing what you would find. I mean where and how they lived. The anticipation, if they were as advertised.

Out front no easement, a discarded couch tagged by the skinny shade of a palm. This tv was in a grease and garlic, dryer lint smelling apartment complex on the 3rd floor by the elevator.

I gently knocked. I didn’t want to alert the neighbors. There was some quiet rustling of fabric, a forced feminine voice said come in. Usually they come to the door and open it on themselves so they are hidden by the door and in order to see them, its dark inside all the time, you have to walk in. The door closes behind you and they come out from behind it. Now you are committed to being there.

She called from the middle of the room to come in. I wondered if I was being entrapped. Fuck it said my boner and we opened the door.

In a robe, wrapped in a blanket was a person sitting in a wheel chair. This IS interesting, I thought. I should turn around now.

“Her” face was hidden like her body, by long disheveled black hair. A bad wig.

“Hello, hon”.  Hello hon. She said that like a three syllable haiku and those words contained the world. A curtsey-less waltz of desire and rejection. She was shaped like a sad accordion, taped up and boxy and waiting to be squeezed.

My hi said I was still figuring it out. I must of spent more time than most. She said get comfortable and told me to put my clothes on the couch, the one with the cats and papers. I can’t tell you why I did it. I can’t. I started with my shirt and ended with my underwear next to the coat checking cats.

I stood in the middle of the room with my diminished chub. She seems to know everything. Come here she says. Her make up is well done cheap slut with blue eye shadow on brown skin.

I walk up to her. Her mouth is large, lips full, and a strong jaw line. I’m as close as I can get without straddling the chair, my junk pointing right at her face. I am expecting her to reach out and grab it with a handful of press-on nails.

She says, straddle the chair. I do. I say i want to see you and I open her blanketed robe. Bolt-ons as I expected but she had flippers for arms and hands. Thalidomide.

I was thinking about her flippers when she began taking me in. It was like surrendering to death. I was shocked but felt warm and safe as everything I felt about the world seemed to melt. I caressed her head and ran my fingers through her hair. She let out a little moan. She wasn’t wearing a wig.

I began to gently thrust, a mumbled uh huh. Then the sound of bump and grind blues guitar coming from behind a bedroom door. It wasn’t the radio and we weren’t alone.


  1. Unsettling and unabashedly poignant.

  2. Great stuff....glad I fell upon this site. First piece is really funny as well as refreshing, in a way. Rare to find a man writing who isn't trying to work out some major dad issues. Of course, all men carry around their fathers and unlike their brothers thems can be heavy indeed. But in this case the burden is carried with wit and wry resignation to the task. There's also the vivid language which perfectly captures the lumpy, floppy and messy nature of how one carries one's parents around. At least he's still carrying dad. And it doesn't seem all that bad. Just a pasty puffy blow up doll whacking him in the head every once in awhile. (I'm assuming stepping in dogshit is metaphorical...)

    As for the second piece this is where there's some serious stuff getting unleashed. And not for the subject matter...I think we're all familiar with freelance hustling to wheelchair-bound Thalidomide victims. But the immediacy and intensity of the language is a knockout. Not just for the graphic nature, but the way he doesn't have any problem making the reader work...don't know what a head nurse is? Bolt ons? The Berkeley Barb (out of print since 1980)? Sorry, Charlie...figure it out. What about the idea that this is a 'hobby'? Is that the unreliable narrator lying to himself or, even freakier, is it really his hobby? Hard to tell from such a short piece but the attention to the dynamic of the situation (the way they usually hide behind the door, the Press-On nails) inclines one to think that yes, this isn't for the ramen money. Work, you lazy readers. Work!

    This is writing like a porn star performs- writing wise he's endowed with gifts unknown to most, the work is difficult and graphic, and it's obvious nothing is off limits. However, I wonder if it can be continued (or, even, and the terrible pun IS justified here, I think, "kept up") for longer. I would very much enjoy 10,000 words like this...if there was an actual story there. It seems like there is, but it's hard to tell with it being so brief. The poem says yeah, here's a guy who gets it, gets relationships, responsibility, the messiness of (and weirdly, given the context, the warmth of) family (and other) love and the short prose piece says he can slam it on the table and say "get some, you greedy readers." But I'm greedier...I want to see a whole thing put together. A lightning bolt of inspiration resulting in a great vignette like 'Secret Songs' can strike from time to time....but I'd like to see it burn and burn and tell me something I need to know. Too much to ask? Maybe. But here is someone who is asking a lot of the reader and I suspect the subject and the style will be too much for some. However, if we're going to go along with him...and it's more like hitchhiking with a really, really intense stranger than hopping in the car with a friend...let's go somewhere. All that notwithstanding I'm sold. I'm in. Post more. I'll read it.