In The Now

In a voice reminiscent of Raymond Carver‘s minimalist realism, Charles Bukowski‘s raw journals of life’s underbelly and Alan Ginsberg‘s poet-political essays, Nick Masesso Jr’s fictionalized, short stories, philosophical essays, poetry and prose are funny, insightful and heartrending, describing often in non-linear dreamscape narrative with the liquid lyricism of a poet; the love, loss, joy and angst of the fascinating and often mystifying connections of men and women in the intimacy of their daily lives. His writing style is both Anti-Novel and Imagist; fragmenting and distorting the experiences of characters, forcing the reader to build a reality to the story from a disordered narrative, stressing economy of language; writing free; with precise imagery, clear, sharp language, clarity of expression and meticulous visual images in musical phrase. – Gino Rossi


Harvest Moon 2019

Nick Masesso, Jr.

 “Autumn is the year’s last, loveliest smile.” ― William Cullen Bryant

Surfing ever-deepening grooves carved in this country road by repetitious smoothing from my extremely low-frequency sounding spaceship tires, I zone into my own private symphonic opera. A humongous full moon meets myhigh beams and swallows the horizon. Pitch dark street light free ribbons of black asphalt snake along narrow paths to home and back separating the wild from the man-made world. By their grace I live in this dirt and courage wilderness.

I wave, as is the custom here, to the other spacemen travelers inhabiting our lifeline corridor as we whiz past each other with that all too familiar catatonic stare that monotony turns all commuters faces into; a kind of crazy, irrational drunkard swoon that seems to us all too rational. We are compatible complaints; dutifully fulfilling our social contract and coloring safely inside the lines.

Our axis rotating…

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Football and Gun-Play

Nick Masesso, Jr.

“This is a violent civilization; If civilization’s where I am. Every channel that I stop on, got a different kind of cop on; killing them by the million for Uncle Sam.” Gun – Gil Scott-Heron

Boys, some no older than those sacrificed to the worship of guns, wasted at yet another school shooting this week, like almost all boys, were introduced to their first taste of manhood by throwing a ball around the back yard with Dad. Sport for boys symbolize maturity; we compete and watch admiringly and often worshipful, the professionals; a phenomenon corporate, capitalistic and American as “baseball and apple pie”. Professional sports are the military’s number one recruiting tool.

This weekend the NFL will start every game with jingoistic American flag waving extravaganza’s, with flags the size of the entire field, hoisted by spit-shined troops from all the armed-services strutting like real life G.I. Joe props complete…

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Intimate Strangers

“She’ll change so suddenly; she’s just like mercury – She’s entwined in me, crazy as can be; yeah, but she’s all right with me“ – Mercury – Counting Crows

We met cute. I’d locked myself out of my apartment and if I’d a’ had a cell phone, which I do not, I wouldn’t have had the phone number to call for rescue anyway. So, by virtue of cosmic gamble, I walked east instead of west and knocked on the front door of the apartment two doors down from mine in my heavenly duplex complex. She answered the door cautiously, somewhat hiding at first behind some invisible worn-out wall of flimsy cardboard she’d erected to keep away those I suspect she thought might carry bad vibes. I scaled it in seconds.

She had a kind of dark hazy light around her that summoned something akin to the heroic in me and just as suddenly I felt a mild wave of protectionism surge in my psyche. In an instant it seemed we’d become what I can only describe as intense yet intimate strangers. So, words were exchanged, her phone offered, and the deed done; I split the scene to await my rendezvous with the cavalry. Later that day, out of a sense of panache girded by common courtesy I left a thank you note with my phone number in her mail box offering my services should they ever be needed. The rest as they say is current history.

Now she tells me she loves me every day, delivers hand-made artsy cards and love letters with great frequency and rubs my feet with sweet-smelling potions for hours at a time and I’ve never even asked for it once. Christ; she even cooks; and real good too. I normally can’t spend too much time with women unless it’s centered around sexual magnetic energy and the subsequent mattress gymnastics since they simply do not interest me. But on our first date we shared a gab-fest that lasted seven hours.

She tells me “you make me feel safe” and after the four words every man wants to hear most from his women, “I believe in you”, it’s the best five words any guy can ever hear from his soul mate. She has that perfect mixture of needing me while not being needy. She has her own life and that too ranks high on my woman/partner/lover wish list. She’s smart, sexy, sweet, loving and tilts toward her Mexican ancestral peasant warmth and strength. Her favorite way to make me laugh is her imitation of a Cholo switch blade artist saying, (if any other woman so much as looks at me;) “I’ll cut a bitch.”

She knows how to act like a woman and how to treat a man; a dying art form. She’s also promoting my career while having her own; a modern-day Lee Krasner to my Jackson Pollock. They say opposites attract and given our designer simpatico I guess so. However, and this may well be the best part of it all, my new girlfriend and I could not disagree more. I’ve had girlfriends wherein we were so alike, so precious, I ended up wanting to punch us in the face. If we’re out walking and there’s a split in the path, simultaneously, like a well planned comedy sketch; she says let’s go left while I point right. When she’s cold; I’m hot. If she’s hot; I’m sweating.

She’s got this 80’s goth cum Mestizo Indian style thing going and while she wears it well my contemporary American western style makes us look like we ought to be on opposing sides of the Spanish-American war or members of an savant-guard post punk rockabilly/jazz fusion band. She’s a technology geek perpetually wired in, while I still rely on a land-line for my phone; probably the last guy around without a cell phone or a GPS in my car. She’s into Werner Herzog and Wes Anderson while I favor Scorsese and Coppola. Maybe it’s our generational distance, which god knows she informs me of frequently, that accounts for our many dichotomies. Since she is the better part of two decades younger than me; that may account for some of our differences; but it works just about right for me overall since women my age are way too old for me.

I could go on; fill another page or two with similar contrasts that keep us loaded with debate material for conceivably the next millennium; but at this point you probably get the point. Yet despite this seemingly incompatibility we couldn’t be more attracted to each other. All our seeming differences pale in insignificance when superseded by the undeniable fact that she has the kind of face I want to fall asleep and wake up to? I can’t recall being more comfortable while at the same time more stimulated by any past love partner.

And so it goes. Just when I thought I’d jettisoned all attachments in an attempt to achieve my own personal brand of enlightenment, sequestered deep in my post recluse period, (now safely inside my new country gentleman period), I suddenly find myself jonesing for one more night wrapped around my loves warm and tender thighs like tinfoil; yearning for one more slow-motion kiss from her soft and yielding watermelon sugar lips.

Birthday Happy

Nick Masesso, Jr.

“It takes the night to clear all this mess away; the obligation, the burden and the light of day. It takes the night to fall between the world I obey, and a world where I hear angels play”. – The Night Inside Me – Jackson Browne

Those coveted magical hours asleep have passed me by now. Even though I’ve been twenty-five thousand five hundred and fifty days alive today, seventy winters, seventy summers; the merciless sunlight will not grant me safe sanctuary from its garish glare. So I acquiesce, leave our cherished dream world and open my eyes; embracing the many-colored beast and wonder. What fresh hell is this?

I woke up in pieces in this cardboard town; conscious and aware for fleeting moments, then disappearing again and again, insentient; struggling to ebb, evaporate, vanish; hanging on to this tender night a while longer. It’s tough to make it in…

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Summer Women

“I knew a girl who was almost a lady; she had a way with all the men in her life; every inch of her blossomed in beauty, she was born on the Fourth of July. She slept in an aluminum house trailer and she worked in a juke box saloon; and she spent all the money I give her, just to see that old man in the moon”. – The Great CompromiseJohn Prine

We met the Fourth of July in a small kitchen in Berkeley that succored the cream of intellectual hippies of the day; the academy kids from Goddard and Yale who were working off their guilt trips by sharing their trust fund purchased educations with the less fortunate but infinitely happier inner city minority kids from neighborhoods that supported their high schools; savants who’d  exemplified themselves enough among their peers to be selected to partake of a summer youth jobs program; all of us funded by the last gasp of Lyndon Johnson’s vision of the Great Society and its corner-stone scheme of revenue sharing.

She burst through the doorway with a personality that arrived ten minutes before her beauty; black eyes, black hair, a coltish twenty and eons younger than my twenty-seven hard scrabble years. She sported a thin patina of bravery that masked a jittery privileged insecurity that along with a smile that made it seem as though she’d swallowed the sun really set the hook in me. Her name was Shakespearean and I was momentarily struck by how our names together formed a kind of ancient love poetry. Sometimes that’s all it takes. I was there as an instructor, a teacher; she was an intern, a student. I pulled on trouble’s braids.

My guardian angel shadow whispered let her be; but when my pal made a move for her I jumped his game and sat her on my lap. I told her some story about how I’d like to come home to her and have dinner waiting; when she bristled at the idea, another thought popped into my brain that she had a bit of poison. But things being what they are with women of this sort and me I pushed the thought out; pushed it clean out. I pulled on trouble’s braids.

We lasted about a year, her and me, lived together, loved the notion of what we thought each other could be and tangled the bed-clothes in ways they can never be undone. She was that box of Godiva chocolates you know you should only eat a few pieces of but down ten instead; powerless because it’s just so good you can’t stop. She was my toy and I couldn’t stop playing with her even though we had that Leo/Scorpio thing going; where together we are empire builders but never could be close; never partners.

It was a real choice love affair, a real stormy romance; the sex was historic, volcanic, heroin-like addictive; big medicine in any mans world and like most men I figured it would be enough. But on this Fourth of July, since we are 1,300 miles apart and she landed just what she wanted; someone ordinary and normal; apparently, it wasn’t.  I pulled on trouble’s braids. I vowed to never do it again.

Now and then I’m reminded what Einstein said, that insanity was doing a thing repeatedly and expecting a different result; and what a very dead friend of mine told me; that genius was nothing more than knowing what to do next. I didn’t listen to the advice of the former and deduced from the latter that I had to journey far before achieving genius-hood.

A couple of months ago I met another girl in this tiny Midwestern town I’d landed in who reminded me of the aforementioned; had the same Willy Shakes moniker and, once again, together our names seemed to me passionately poetic. She had the braids and the bravery covering feminine insecurity, covered too in tattoos she ran a small business covering others with them; an artist. Since my last love had been an artist and that had gone pretty well, until it didn’t, I hit the accelerator; determined to be the exception that proved Albert’s rule.

Again her mystery conjured loving thoughts in a young boy’s heart and when I made my intentions clear she seemed to take the bait; but when I went in confidently for the close she shot me down with a howitzer. I didn’t know what to make of that so naturally I was intrigued; my ID, ego and instincts told me to give it some more gas. Had it not been for that girl who’d swallowed the sun; I would have.

But by now I’d gained the good sense to take Al’s advice and mix what my brain was shouting with what my heart was screaming and not let the little head tell the big head what to do; so having achieved illusive genius, knowing instinctually not to try to push the river, knowing it would not only be ultimately destructive but worse, bad form, coupled with the fact I didn’t want some mean mouthed woman with a cob sideways anyway; I let her go.

Too bad too; I was her fireman, come here to rescue her; set to peel back the layers of bad trips she’d clearly had with past lovers. Had she bought a ticket and taken the ride she’d have been six months just catching her breath. Anyway, I believe in Kismet, today’s the Fourth of July; I kept the vow.