The Greatest Writer Alive

THORNS

At the freeway off ramp
a man offers me roses for five dollars.
Clipped to his collar
he has a chili pepper pin
which lights up and plays music.
It is three dollars.

It seems we’ve invented
a better, cheaper rose.

Dallas Clayton

The Greatest Writer Alive

REVOLUTION

As it turns out
when most people tell you they want to change things
what they really mean to say
is they want to change
the size and color
of the room
in which things take place.

Dallas Clayton

The Greatest Writer Alive

NOTES

The next time someone
parks their car
in a way
that annoys you so much
that you feel the need to leave them a note
telling them about it,
you should instead
just write them a note that says-
“Dear Jeff, now I know where to find you.
Don’t think I forgot about what you did to my little girl.
I’ll be watching you…”
Then draw a picture of a knife at the bottom.

This way, if they are not named Jeff
they will certainly reconsider parking
in or around this area so as not to be mistaken for Jeff
and if by chance they are named Jeff… well,
victory is yours.

Dallas Clayton

The Greatest Writer Alive

MAKING IT

In Hollywood
there is a zoo
that only celebrities get to go to
and take their children to
with magic animals
you can’t find anywhere else.

The children can ride the animals there.
And all the animals can talk.
One of the talking animals is a friendly griffin.
It is named Dulcimer.
It can juggle.
Sometimes it juggles knives.

Once Michael Jordan came
to the celebrity zoo
and he played Dulcimer the Griffin
in a game of one on one.

Dulcimer won of course.
Because he can fly.
And because Michael Jordan is 45 years old.
But it was a real close game.

If you move away from your loving family
and come to Hollywood
and get a job on TV playing a
popular dead outlaw
who killed innocent people
in the old west,
the Chamber of Commerce
might just tell you where this zoo is.

And then you can meet a
real life werewolf.
And take a picture with it
and send that picture
to all the people
in your life
who ever called you fat.

Dallas Clayton

The Greatest Writer Alive

ARCHITECT

Unfortunately
for most
who don’t regularly practice religion
the feeling of visiting a church
is most closely related
with seeing friends marry
and seeing friends dead.

Thus, to the spectator,
the place becomes
a selective devourer
teetering back and forth
from innocuous
cobblestone building
to gobbling wonderhouse.

A corner shop
whose insides forever change you
from what you were when you entered
to something completely different when you left.

Like going to the mall
in the middle of winter
to watch a baby delivered in the coin fountain
then five years later
back to the mall
to see it drowned.

Dallas Clayton

 

The Greatest Writer Alive

DON’T PRACTICE

I urge you think less
about the words you choose for your songs.
It is taking too much time.
Time you could be spending
high up on a bridge
late at night
with your legs slung over the side
writing bad graffiti
unknowingly risking your life
to tell people something
that most of them can’t even read
and even fewer can understand.

Dallas Clayton

The Greatest Writer Alive

BRONX

Before opening up a street lamp
and splicing together wires
to run power to extension cords
to allow the bands to play for free
for all the kids who care

it’s best not to worry about whether
you like the music enough
to risk being electrocuted
simply to provide it.

Otherwise there will be no revolution

Dallas Clayton

 

The Greatest Writer Alive

FIXED

I hope all my stolen bicycles
got ridden fast
and passed around often
had their best parts swapped out
and traded for drugs
that were used to write good songs
and have good young fun
like stealing bigger things
and crashing them into walls
and getting arrested on accident
and getting ratted out by a guy
who only days earlier
let you burn him with a cigarette lighter
because he said you were brothers for life.

I hope they found new homes
in abandoned warehouses
and darkened alleys
and were taken in by older men
who could no longer hold a license,
were running from something,
weren’t supposed to be here at all.

I hope those men took off on them
as far as they could get
before their old knees and old hearts gave in
and stranded them
some place they’d never been
and never thought they’d be
and they met someone there
at a store
on a dark road
who reminded them of a daughter
they hadn’t spoken to in some time
and they tried to call her
but the line was dead.

I hope the remains
were salvaged for scrap
by industrious someones
good with their hands
who saw promise in those old beasts
and roped them to a roof
and drove them through the rain
and into a converted garage
where they were stripped with gasoline
and fit with different pieces
from orphaned others
and made strangely better
spray painted a young child’s favorite color
and given as a gifts
from one person to another
the first gift they would ever get
that would teach them the value
of falling down
and getting back up again.

Dallas Clayton

 

The Greatest Writer Alive

NAME CALLING

There was a point in my early teens
where I looked like a girl
and my girlfriend looked like a boy
and we would make out
on the bench in front of Taco Bell
inside the mall
on Friday nights
because there was no where else to make out
and this seemed natural then
like it does now
to dim the lights
and slip into comfortable shorts.

Most people
thought we were gay
and burned us with side glances
as they strolled to and from JCPenny’s.

Depending on the angles
and the shadows of the mall lighting
sometimes we were boy on boy
and sometimes girl on girl.

But split down the middle
we were out and out offensive
and well-worthy of under-the-breath cursing.

It is liberating
in a very natural way
to be accidentally damned to hell
in the minds of old southern strangers
just for being young and ugly.

Dallas Clayton

 

The Greatest Writer Alive

CIVILIZATION

The leaves have grown thick
atop the monuments
erected in memory
of horrible men
who amassed by horrible means
all of the wealth needed
to cement their legacies
as heroes.

Dallas Clayton

 

Sound Advice 99: Dallas Clayton


 
We are pleased to present our 99th installment of Sound Advice featuring Dallas Clayton. Dallas is based in Los Angeles and is the creator of many cool things including two Awesome Books.

As much as I wanted my playlist to include a bunch of obscure punk, metal, offensive rap, and power violence I decided to settle on a playlist of songs that never fail to make me feel good while I am drawing kids books. Enjoy! –Dallas
 
Sound Advice 99
 
01. Whatever Never by Drug Cabin
02. Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes by Paul Simon
03. What’s in it For by Avi Buffalo
04. This Will Be Our Year by Zombies
05. Sunny by Bobby Hebb
06. Israelites by Desmond Dekker
07. Cherry by J.J. Cale
08. Dear Mister Fantasy by Traffic
09. Jump into the Fire by Harry Nilsson
10. Germ Free Adolescence by X Ray Spex
11. The Killing Moon by Echo and the Bunnymen
12. Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers
13. You Don’t Mess Around With Jim by Jim Croce
14. For Once in my Life by Stevie Wonder
15. Second Hand News by Fleetwood Mac
16. The Best Ever Death Metal Band out of Denton by Mountain Goats

BONUS TRACK to get you up and moving and remind you that music doesn’t always have to be pretty to be pretty

17. Homewrecker by Converge
 

 

The Greatest Writer Alive

TECHNIQUE

A friend told me
that a powerful exercise
is counting the steps as you walk (on a long journey)
and inhaling every twelve steps
then exhaling every twelve steps.

You are supposed to repeat this cycle twenty four times
and then (he says) things will become very clear.

I have tried this two days in a row
but have lost count each time
and started thinking about things like
“where can I get a good sandwhich” and “how come
that guy is pounding on the side of that bus.”

Dallas Clayton

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