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jacob rakovan
jacob rakovan is the editor of the portsmouth free press, a bi-monthly alternative news and entertainment paper in southern ohio. he is also the master of ceremonies for the third thursday open mic at eula's murray st. pub, which is best described as a cross between a vaudeville act and the gong show without the gong. portsmouthfreepress@yahoo.com

Works on this page:
speed in winter in ohio: a monologue
"you can live in the future before it even arrives"
eugene pickelsimer, the accordian kid.
hungover in a five-dollar suit


speed in winter in ohio: a monologue

I want a dead highway at night with the sky a bowl pierced with stars
And arid dry places, not this ineffectual snow that falls and fails to hide
The street I live on
Where the hookers pace, half frozen
And with the baffled eyes of cows
The most pathetic inducement to desire I have ever seen

I want the rush of force that drags you across a continent till you stand blinking
100 miles from your destination at a garish carryout at four in the morning
I am tired of the fetid breath of gas heat
I am tired of dimming bulbs and stops and starts of faulty wiring

I want midnight incandescence
I want the acrid taste of sleeplessness
Endless crumpled packs of cigarettes
I sit here and I feel myself sweat
I smell like a compost heap
Decaying flesh, rancid sweat through clammy clay-like hands
Rotting in this hothouse while the gray snow falls outside

My thoughts flower like obscene orchids
I want to pare away dead wood with a bright knife blade
I want to dismantle this house and city
And build a tower of stones and skulls to reach above
Where the wind bites clean and clear of other menís breath
My head crawls with a rattle of radio signals


"you can live in the future before it even arrives"

-air force recruitment ad

antiseptic white and stainless steel
a paradise of automata
a man with the head of a machine
black glass eyes and coild elephantine
breathing apparatas, all clearly
marked and numbered climbing within
the belly of a great dead bird
with row upon row of silver eggs
impersonally holding fire and death within

you can live in the future
before it even arrives

indeed, and even midwife it
through a screaming labor of
twisted iron and blasted stone
arched earth and bleeding babes
and the ritually necessary purifying fire
the holocaust pleasing to
our mechanical efficient god

you can live in the future
before it even arrives

bring fire from heaven down
on the relics of the past
the men who crouch in wasted land
and hurl hatred and death upward
fueled by a promise given by
gilgamesh to those who would build his walls

you can live in the future
before it even arrives

just close eyes and mind
to the blood-soaked present
and perform your task
ancient codes of vengeance
and the worship of the warrior hero
a legacy from man's first sharpened stick

you can live in the future
before it even arrives

keep your eyes on the future
on the future, on the paradise
of the glorious dead, on the new
jerusalem, the city on the hill
the carrot on the stick, the shadows
on the wall..don't look down

you can live in the future
before it even arrives

"a boot in a human face, forever"
those other neatly uniformed young men called it
with their clinical precision
and dispassionate professionalism
so handsome in their black and silver
serve god and country half so well as they

you can live in the future
before it even arrives


Eugene Pickelsimer, the accordian kid.

born in cleveland
roll out the barrel he digs special
all the time playin out in a sterotypical
'fiftes backyard that never was
with astroturf green lawn and maybe a couple a flamingos
and a barbecue grill always sheathed in a rain slicker
eugenes squeezebox looks like an old chevy
or an archaiac medical device
black and chrome with little knobs and buttons
and eugene himself is a weird ectomorphic little kid
with birth control glasses and starchy white shirts
yer average suburban kid that never was
perfectly at home in the neat rows
of identical houses in hideous pastel shades

but eugene's got a dream
eugene sees himself in his most secret dream
in a a big purple panama hat with a leopardskin band
steppin out of a big shining white cadillac
with a bunch of scrawny whores
in rayon nightclothes and rabbit skin coats
and stilletto heels as shiny black as eugenes accordian

huggybear picklesimer, pimp of olmsted falls

he causes a bit of a fuss
when he does his book report on iceburg slim
and wears his moms mink
and his dads fedora
to career day.
but basically he gets by like everyone else

eugene struggles through a pimple spotted adolescence
graduating with honors in jerking off
and getting his ass kicked
and standin up in front of his graduating class
and says the greatest thing about america
is that you can grow up to be
whatever you want to be
and afterwords back at the house
he plays roll out the barrel for a bunch of his parents friends
sipping martinis on that impossible manicured lawn
and an accountant friend of the family says
"so eugene whattya gonna do now that youíre outta school?
you going to Ohio State? U of C? OU?"
eugene says: "í'm gonna run a stable of hookers on clifton
and shoot smack and fight with razors
I'm gonna play james brown on my accordian
and get my hair in a big ole natural with a pick with a fist on it"
the accountant just laughs
that night eugene packs up his accordian
and his mom's mink coat
and his dad's fedora
and he takes all the money saved from mowing lawns
and a paper route and countless dixie cups
of watery warm lemonade sold on a roadside
for a lifetimes worth of summers
and puts it in a big ole roll
with a single hundred saved from his confirmation
on the outside.
eugene walks to the greyhound station and takes the first bus out


Hung over in a five dollar suit

and my cracked bottom boots
with a spot of polish
to cover the bare leather of the toes

I went

and after, I needed a drink
as much as anyone else
and your silent voice
rang through my head
for the whole trip there, and after
and I think it will
for a long time after

You didn't look the same

you should have had
that cockeyed crazy grin
and the flushed excited red face
you had when you were drunk
and your fists
that held hammers and pens
and bottles and impossible battered
paperbacks dropping pages

your fists that you would shake
at anything were still
and just held a picture
of a little girl that I will never meet
that may not remember you

You always tried to protect us
with those fists
but they didnít move
when the women were crying
and the men had that
pale grave stupid look
that is as close
as we can come to crying

Do you know,
we had mutual friends
and didn't even know it?

I saw one there,
from your wild days
I don't doubt
and we talked a little about you there
over sober Styrofoam cups of coffee
about how people change, drift apart with time

he said he had a family now,
talked too much, and nervously
about kids and wife and job

the stories I could have told you
about our mutual friend
would have made you laugh
stories from my wild days
when I was killing myself
with whiskey and cheap beer
and just about anything really

but you and I didn't get a minute alone
so I could tell you
you had a lot of friends
and they gathered around you

A few days later,
looking for something else
we found a few scraps of you
handwritten pages, almost indecipherable

And it wasn't enough you son of a bitch
they weren't even finished
just half-assed drafts
so close to being good, and complete
just lacking something indefinable

a little clarity,
a little more energy
a little more time


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