The World On Its Axis

rick drives duke w foot

Marin, CA – Somehow part of the package of being a living, thinking being, is you get a Universe inside you. I love that thought, words of the late Terrence McKenna. I started out to say that somehow the world keeps turning on its axis, somehow life keeps going and going much to the chagrin of the conspiracy theorists and the doomsayers in every discipline. But then Terrence entered in. Terrence would like that. I entered in, he would say, like a little fleck of cosmic energy flying off the crown of the mushroom king. Don’t ask me where I am going with this because I just. Don’t. Know.

I do, however, know that I am still alive and well – more well than ever in fact, and living a remarkable existence, and that is more than I ever would have imagined possible a decade ago. This website has been around far longer than Facebook or any of it’s contemporaries. Yes it has. And I am. And you are. If you are reading this, then you are still alive and you are still with me. Or perhaps by some freak accident, you are young and just happened to land here. Welcome.

I’m not the famous author I once imagined I would be. I am just a guy who writes. I am a guy who has had lots of interesting adventures and experiences and written about some of them. I have been lucky in love and been loved by many a woman and a few men. I would write more but I am daily distracted by all the work I have done over the years, all the words written yet little of it published. I would write more but I am lazy, and getting more lazy by the year. Ambition has been leaking out of me, and as I watch it flow down the street like the water of a garden hose full of holes, I have to wonder if ambition isn’t just another word for life essence. Life essence just might be all that drives us, and all our drive might just be the sum total of our life energy.

Oh, forgive me. Waxing poor-etic. Truth be told I have never had a lot of ambition. I realized recently this is because I never really wanted money. Never really cared for the stuff. People who like money go after it with teeth gnashing and claws out and balls out all the way. Not me. Never really cared.

I’ve been trying to understand why it is I write lengthy manuscripts and then toss them into a drawer. Money must be the answer.

Twenty years ago right around this time of the year, I embarked on writing my first novel. A year later I had finished it. But it has yet to be published. And that is a shame. It is a good story, if a bit naive and imperfect and perpetually un-final edited. And in those twenty years, half a dozen other book-length pieces and many short stories. Will they ever be read by an audience greater than a few friends? I have to wonder. If I didn’t care then, I certainly care less now. A lot less.

I’m totally through caring about fame or fortune. I scratch together enough to live on. And now I have a family, a woman and her three children who have welcomed me into their world. I have a roof over my head. I no longer live alone on a boat. I have a car. I drive kids to school, and I fix things. I am needed. I have many friends albeit mostly far away. I enjoy movies and carrot cake and Earl Gray tea. I read constantly and have endless access to books, the old-fashioned kind. I have memories. I have a few goals left.

I just might reach a few of them before this story is over. Tonight then, I begin with these words something new, a new blog within the newly revamped Jigglebox. Imperfect and under construction though it be, I think readers will find their way to these new words.

I have to save the world tomorrow, starting with rising at 530 to make coffee for eighty recovering drunks. But for now it’s time to sleep.


Slingshot Vagina Dream

I go naked in a suit of glass
While all around me
Men in jagged metal hats
Have 16 penny nails where
I have only fingers
Ship’s anchor thighs where
I have frightened and fragile knees.
The women here
Have diamond teeth and
Slingshot vaginas.
My Kansas
Is a narrow gulch in Bisbee, Arizona
Peopled only by characters
That I myself made up
They live in all my stories and
There are no sharp edges in Oz.

© Rick McKinney


Your lips, four
Mine, two
Outnumbered I maneuver
Move into position
Take your flank
And with my teeth render you rigid
The meat of your high left thigh in my mouth
You grunt
Half naked on your belly
In t-shirt, arms outstretched
Jeans and panties yanked down cuff your ankles
Trapping you twice
You let your head fall and with it your hair
Resplendent falls, sweeps thick carpet
You see me behind and beneath you and sigh
Let your eyelids close as my nails rake your back
Clutching your shirt in both hands I pull
Cutting off the air in the soft tissue of your throat
You gasp as my teeth find the meat of your ass and bite down
Without air you weaken
Your arms buckle and you let your torso fall
Surrendering your upper body to the floor

© Rick McKinney December 2006

Save All Life

An idea is a powerful thing.
You have the seed of the idea of being well in you.
Trust that idea to carry you daily.

Going nowhere. Doing nothing. The world is ending.
I challenge you to show me where and how I must interact,
Where must I thrust my sword, parry a thought, carry an idea.

You fill your days with distraction.
I cannot act. I have no traction.
I am up to my armpit in shit all day,
Riding a stupid one speed bike to the hardware store
To buy a tube of plumber’s putty to plug up the shithole
So that when you come over you can shit in my boat.
Home is a safe place to take a shit.
Everywhere else is a locked bathroom,
Fucking inhuman humans.

I wanna skin and eat your goat.
You goat fucker, you.
I have resentments.
Vain dis-contentments.
I have a blister on my boiling pride, grist for the mill of me,
For the hill of me, over the hill, wandering stupid pedestrian will.

He turned off the television and expected beauty,
Wisdom to fill the smashed vacuum tube of him.
No words came. No game. All and ever after shame.
Fame flipped him the bird and went sailing.
I hate my life. I love my life.
I write to dump the skull fucking trash.
Take out the trash of you.
Into the vacuum of television
You dumped your trash into my consciousness.
I don’t want it.

I want a new drug. I want a new soul.
I want the world bought and sold.
I want nothing. I want nothing. I want to be left alone.

I hear you found a new leader to rule you demo-cratically.
I hear the Krauts are happy to be rid of Greece.
I hear the feast is on, the fast flight into mad melting night.
I hear the chickens have plucked you gizzard empty man.
I hear the tin can tango telephone bore more bad news to the front.
I hear he takes it in the rear.

The other night with cucumber and fresh grapes I made a fool of myself,
Made a needle prick prick of myself.
I made her wonder why,
Made her question her resolve in..

Leon. Jesus.

I moved tables to get away from the psycho end of the world banter.
I moved tables to escape talk of suicide off the golden gate.
I moved to write.
I moved to try and find something positive to say.

I picked a fight with the woman today
Then hung up on her when she tried to fight back.
I am an asshole.

My mother taught me how.

I feel bad for brushing Leon away.
But I had to.
One can only handle so much psychic hammering.

Don’t bury your head in the sand, he says.

Harriet didn’t look so hot.
She looked mildly unhinged.
She looked unbalanced.
She looked as though she were about to cry.
So when she told me I looked good,
I didn’t immediately respond that she looked good, too.
I had to think about it.
She’s a lovely woman, but tonight she wasn’t glowing.

Jack went away and left a vestige of a woman behind.
Jack went away and left us all behind.
The dumb and the tragic and the snarly fight-picking assholes.

I don’t like being an asshole.
God grant me the serenity to quit being an asshole.  

It occurs to me that Save The Earth is too abstract for people.
If current environmental indicators are to be believed
We gotta find a new way of selling Earth salvation.
How about this:

Save All Life.

© Rick McKinney
July 2, 2012

Rowing Killer Fang Falls

A sample of my full Grand Canyon rafting manuscript

Valentines Day – Killer Fang Falls Rapid, Grand Canyon, USA

Our private group of four boats is pulling over to scout Killer Fang Falls, also known as Mile 232 Rapid. It’s February, it’s cold. We’ve been down in the canyon for weeks rafting icy water, one day in the falling snow. But this is the Grand Canyon, the rafting trip of a lifetime. When you win the raft permit lottery, you go. Our boat is on sweep, which is to say we are the last boat. I’m on the oars, having run the past couple of smaller rapids. Killer Fang is not small, and as the name implies, not to be trifled with.

Despite being the strong rower that Boo has dubbed “The Motor” that he drops-in to get us to shore when he doubts his ability, I am not stern to the shore in time to back ferry. I perform a spin too far midstream, miss the eddy. Suddenly we are quite clearly not going to make the scout.

Immediately I snap into GO! mode having no choice but to power through and take our chances with the unknown white water lurking around the bend. What I know about Killer Fang Falls: it takes its name from a two-pronged jagged shard of schist protruding from the wave train. What I don’t know in that instant is exactly where said fangs are located. Turns out they awaits us at lower river right. I deduce this from information being shouted at us from shore and frantically resounded by Boo and Meredith as we plummet down the tongue and straight into a fast narrow chute.

In the words of 19th century canyon explorer John Wesley Powell, “The waters reel and roll and boil.” Once in a Grand Canyon rapid of any substance, there is no escape but straight on through. There is only river right, middle and river left. Often you must enter right and move left, or visa versa.

Up a wave we go and down the other side only to be met by another of greater size and force. The river bends to the right here, the forward driving force of which gives birth to a series of lateral waves striking inward from the left wall.

Just five seconds ago all my force was dedicated to pulling us left to set the boat up to avoid the fangs. And only two seconds ago I shot down the tongue of the rapid straight on. Now I point my bow thirty degree left and thus at a right angle to the now monstrous laterals.

Then we hit it: the seething maw at the core of the rapid, the largest of the hydraulics midway down the falls. Down into its trough we go and then up, up, up but before we clear the top she breaks across the bow. For a few seconds all in the boat is awash in foam.

Now past it the boat bobs and weaves in a mad sea of waves breaking every which way. Somewhere deep beneath us a maze of huge boulders and tunnels carved through the millennia churn and froth and swirl and beat the passing river into the frenzy of white water that is a rapid.

Now all my energies go into pulling the bow around to face the approaching fangs on river right. Always careful to plant my oars where and when the powerful hydraulics won’t rip them from my hands, I commence to turn the boat. But the current fights me. I roar and grunt and shout in unconscious accompaniment to my physical fight for every degree of angular advantage.

I see the fangs. They are barely visible today due to the current high water flow but no less treacherous. To hit them at this speed would be at worst to flip, to shred the boat or at the very least eject a passenger and possibly high center.

They are coming up fast. The boat is not stern to river left as needed. Without this angular advantage, I cannot be sure to pull away from the danger in time.

At last I gain the upper hand. With both oars pulling hard in opposite directions, I manage to pull the bow around to face my nemesis. With mighty back-ferrying strokes, I feel the heavy 18-foot craft creeping across the crazed swirling but mostly hard downstream tangent of the water, all 20,000 cubic feet per second.

Through the flying foam and splashing hysteria that is every great Grand Canyon rapid, I can hear Boo and Meredith cheering, “You got it Jester! You got it! Pull! Pull!”

Suddenly though we are not yet past the fangs, I just know I have cleared their dangerous line. I pull once more for safety’s sake and once again out of pure adrenaline, and a whirlpool under-path spins us ever-so such that as we pass we are sideways to the river, bow to the fangs. We laugh as we cheer. We are clear of them. I have done it. I have run my last Grand Canyon rapid spot on, and I did it without even stopping to scout.

© Rick McKinney 2011

The only way out is straight through the middle

The only way out is through the middle


Housewives like to chase me with vacuum cleaners

This time it’s my sister
She doesn’t mean anything by it
Just cleaning because
Cleaning gives life meaning
Which is more than I can say for me
In terms of purpose and sometimes cleanliness

All this cleansing rain
Insane-making by day
Dreamy by night

There was another housewife
(there have been a few)
Who manic, chasing meaning
Drove me from her house
Her vacuum nipping at my heels

She and her husband were once my friends
Swingers who threw erotic dinner parties
Tongues on flesh
Baked garlic on french bread
Red wine and brie

Waking from such nights was always hard for me
I could spend all day in bed
Nursing hangover, dreaming, moving the pen
But for the vacuum

My friends’ house was a faerie tale castle
All minstrel and myth and madness
It was fantastic really, a Shakespearian dream
Maybe the vacuum died
I don’t know

For one night the wife
On hands and knees
Hoovered a hundred Xanax
And the castle
Left unvacuumed
Ate itself

Who could remember
All the vacuums that
Consciously or unconsciously
Have rousted me from sleep (a misdemeanor)
Or writing (a felony)

I do remember well however
The day Anna in full hausfrau mode
(Flipped from previous night’s debauch)
Blasted me out of bed with
Her screaming cleaning machine

Any vacuum salesman would agree
A good vacuum will do far more than sweep debris
A vacuum’s roar will stifle great heaving sobs
Even suck up screams in screeching solidarity

Science tells us
Nature abhors a vacuum
I’m not too fond of them either

But given the chance to go back in time
I wouldn’t run from Anna’s vacuum that day
Instead I’d pull the poor women into bed with me
And with the flick of a switch
Remove the scream of desperation from the air
Change the tone
Make it a moan

Give the woman some small reason to go on
More, I imagine, than a vacuum can

For a little while anyway.

© Rick McKinney Dec 17, 2008

Dog bowls and ash trays

The last time I stayed to eat
over at Bog’s
he grabbed a butt-loaded cup
he’d been using as an ashtray
and washed it out
to serve me coffee with
he’s a one-fork, one knife
one spoon kinda guy
but he likes the company
when occasionally I hang out awhile
and sit on the floor like tonight
in his house without furniture
and shoot the shit
our voices echoing around the place
mine wailing consternation
over women or the cops or whatever
his cackling pirate-like, a laugh
and the shuffle of his feet and tires
as he maneuvers in his wheelchair
with bum legs and hands full of dinner
which tonight comes to me in his dog’s food bowl
for lack of any other dinnerware
“Dog bowls and ashtrays!” I thunder in my Tom Waits voice
”Everything’s comin’ up dog bowls and ashtrays
and sweet Lorelei wants a ride
and it won’t cost you nuthin’
just hear the siren call and
she’ll take you straight into the rocks.”
Bog doesn’t know about Lorelei.
You’re German and you don’t know about Lorelei? I ask
and he says oh yeah, the chick on the Rhein
and I say bingo!

So I turned a pretty woman down
and when she asked me
why she’d never seen me
arm-n-arm with a woman around town
I answered that women
never give me their phone numbers
until they need something from me
like a ride
like tonight’s note
delicately written in the “dearest” terms
on the back of a Hershey’s wrapper
and left on my driver’s seat.
In all fairness
I will readily admit that
I too have an ulterior motive:
I want to be alone both in my car on the way
and in my luxury hotel room in Phoenix
and besides that, sweet Lorelei,
you don’t know it
but we’ve dated before
your name was different
but your siren-song
it gives me shivers
so familiar
so frighteningly familiar..

So it’s dog bowls
and ashtrays for now
hardly very glamorous
hardly me at all
but the company is good
and things can only get better.

© Rick McKinney 1999

Something you rarely get from women

I’m not using my body right now
so you can play with it if you want to.

i love that.
a line from a song on some crazy mix tape James made
i can just picture the woman speaking
and wish every woman I crave was that kind
and I’m sitting here half in bed at 10 a.m.
been mostly awake since 7
freezing my ass off
in this uninsulated shack
awaiting the warmth of the rising sun
and thinking.
god damn lid-less eyes of the mind
impossible to close
so I’m belly-aching over this invitation
for dinner tonight from this aging closet-case
one Dulton from Del Mar
an emissary from my late teen years
of turning-on every rich queen in soCal
with my accidentally homoerotic lithe Greek body
and my open-minded acceptance of the gay community
or perhaps more succinctly put:
my need of praise
of knowing that I was desirable
something you rarely get from women
until you’ve already laid them
so subtle and guarded are they
so the gay men gave me something I craved
but I never wanted the rest
not even from that Midas-touch geezer
from Rancho Santa Fe with his invitations
to tour the Greek Isles for a damn year
on his damn Titanic yacht
with 40 servants or something
and now Dulton
a voice inside me
(probably from my stomach!)
says “Nice, expensive dinner!
full course meal!”
as I stare woefully at a tin of oatmeal
and three cans of some horrid soup I’ve
been avoiding for weeks
but the other voice is a little clearer
not so subjective as that
an-empty-stomach voice
this other voice is saying:
“Warning! Dull queen!
First boring, then groping.”
and then there’s the plain fact
that the other day I damn near exploded
to Amanda venting outrage and indignation
after sitting through two hours of his bullshit
about this book he wants to write
(has been writing in his head for years)
and how he has an agent, an editor, a publisher
a god damn fluffer for all I know
and all he doesn’t have is THE BOOK.
what an ass
to sit there and tell me all that
knowing well-enough who I am
what I do
and what I lack:
an agent, an editor, a publisher
i hate him
and that about does it
made up my mind
not going
thank you for listening
gee, and you didn’t even get dinner out of it.

© Rick McKinney 1999

Bring it on

I feel old and silly
I feel frail and uneasy
here next to young John
in light of tonight’s open mike
and as I say that
it occurs to me that I have always
felt this way
in waves
in unpredictable waves
of headaches and fear
meaning as long as I can
since high school anyway
and those years when Scott and
I shared a dive apartment
in Carlos Malo
he partying, me cringing
suffering migraine after migraine
and complicating it with Coors, Burgie Beer
a diet of ninety-nine cent pizzas
and then when meth hit town
snorting up, high for awhile
then feeling like death
no health insurance and
my head splitting wide
my parents too occupied with their own
miseries and dogma to help me find me a cure
get a job, get a life, get insurance
you’re a man now
well, I never found a cure
but fought my parents well enough
I refused to be a man
and remained to all appearances a pretty poet boy
inside: a broken thing with a cock-eyed skull
that bit back in regular intervals
screaming at me to be healthy
but who’s healthy
at 20?

So now it’s Bisbee
a thousand thousand years hence
with nothing changed
just me aged
aged but alive
a notch above the dead ones, I guess
like Cobain with his stomach pains
and Michael Hutchins, the pain of fame
shit, half the cast of SNL

yeah, so I’m not perfect
in debt up to my pierced nipples
lost in America
self-exiled from half the fucking west
probably wanted in California
and thoroughly unwanted where it counts most
where it has always counted most for me
on the printed page
but still alive
and still getting it down
like a man bedazzled
like a kid who dreams in color
of a journey to the center of the world.

would that I could train you
take you by the hand and show you
but you are impervious and rightly so
there is no right way
only your way
as it has always been only my way
and some baby boomer house wife
cackles from afar and wants answers
but I will burn brightly baby
when your ass is long forgotten.

All hail the frailty.
All hail the crooked path that broke me
and tossed me out anew
still writhing in the pains of birth
for I am ever reborn.

Bring it on.
Bring it on in spades.

© Rick McKinney 1999