J. Michael Niotta

two stories

a lot less like bleakness

“If you don’t learn something new everyday you probably lock yourself in a room & talk to nobody,” she assures me.
“Well…I guess there are some days I don’t learn a thing then,” comes my reply.

We speak on the phone in one of those easy conversations that nudge you a little further off from the sadness & draw you in…easing over into the light that comes with newness. New speech. New thoughts. New face. New legs. & last night in bed she nestled up close…comfortably…not at all cat-like. & in the morning she woke real well…few women that capable. & now on the telephone the evening after I ask if she’s met any guys the year she’s been in town.

“None worth worryin over,” jumps quick enough.

It’s alright to be picky I explain…no harm knowing what you want. & then I even dare, “Somewhere out there, there’s something somewhat like greatness, I suppose.”

She has me saying shit a lot less like bleakness…& I like that.

i’d heard that one too

I ran into a guy I ran into from time to time at the same place. I knew him from somewhere else but I’d seen him here so often I couldn’t remember where we’d first met. He was checking out the over-exaggerated shit on the walls that someone had just hung & the painting just overhead took so much of his attention he failed to notice me.

I gave the weak whistle of someone who either couldn’t whistle or had just had a bad start. Either way it diverted him from the work & we said our hellos.

“You writing?” he asked.
“That’s what I do” came my reply. “Lots lately,” I explained.
“I go in spurts myself,” he confessed, not at all hiding the shame.
“Yeah,” I tried soothing “…sometimes it’s like tryin to piss right after you cum.”

He found that amusing.

“Yeah…I guess it is…but I’ve heard you’re not a writer if you don’t write everyday.”

I’d heard that one too. It rang like something you’d read out of something that published really hokey works like Better Homes & Gardens…or publications gearing themselves at studied-unsuffered-wannabe-writers. & I milled it again. When things are good I usually spend more time living than sitting alone watching other people breathe & function just so I have something to write about. When words come they come in that copious fashion…like porn-stars. There is plenty of time & plenty of ache to stir up on a page when it is just so familiar because the blade is hanging out your back & they haven’t reattached that severed part…& having the ability to function as that shaky-line-of-normalcy tells you, is something you just can’t seem to do.

Hmm. I preferred my definition of a writer better.

“Right,” I offered “…& yer not a child molester unless yer dick deep in little Bobby’s or Susan’s underpants every fuckin day.”

I guess he found my take on it more suiting cause a laugh & a smile escaped him before leaving.

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