Baboons in Credit Recovery – a short story by John Ian Bush

I want to point out that I’m writing this while I’m sitting in a classroom full of a bunch of thuggish baboons who think I’m a chubby fool who blabs about music and my guitar all the time. I’m in credit recovery. If you don’t know what that is, you’re probably not a lazy ass like me. Actually, I’m not all that lazy, I just can’t hardly focus on anything. I’ll pay for it later in life, I know that, but I can’t do a damn thing to change it, and that’s what’s sad about me. Actually, I’m paying for it right now. Some of the baboons are looking back at me and laughing as I write this.

Anyways, credit recovery is for the kids that sit around all day in class and don’t do shit. We’re supposed to make up the work we didn’t do last year, but I’ve never turned in a damn thing. Partly because I lost my binder and a lot of my papers were in there, partly because the damn eye doctor hasn’t called my mom to pick up my glasses and I can’t see shit and partly because from time to time I get the idea to write down what I’m thinking about and when I get like that, I can’t stop or be bothered with anything else, which is what I’m doing now. I can’t explain why I do this. I can’t hardly explain any of the shit I do.

Anyways, nobody does any work in here. The others all just sit around and whisper and pass notes about bitches and weed and who has the best shoes in the class. I should point out that I don’t hate the baboons and they don’t hate me. We’re just different and I can’t respect them as people because they get all their opinions from rap lyrics. The only one I can respect is Darren. Darren’s alright.

Darren got me high yesterday after school and we hung out. He showed me these naked pictures he had on his phone of this girl we go to school with, he got with her the weekend before and she let him take the pictures.

I wish he hadn’t shown me. She was a good looking girl and I always thought she was respectable and nice, but now I saw her nipples and I can’t unseen them. She’s a pair of tits to me now and I wish she wasn’t.

I didn’t look at the pictures too good, though, because I started to think that the damn phone might steal my soul or something if I did and I might become a baboon too. I don’t know why I thought this, but I did. I was high, you have to remember.

I don’t want you to think Darren’s a bad guy or anything. Darren wasn’t showing me the pictures to be mean to her or anything, he just wanted to impress me is all. I could tell that’s what he wanted, but I don’t know why.

We ended up running around down town that afternoon, we were both high and I laughed at everything I saw until it hurt. It was good weed, I guess. I hadn’t smoked but once or twice before yesterday. My brother says pot makes you stupid, but he’s a puss about a lot of things. He won’t even take aspirin.

Anyways, Darren took me up to the top of this rusted fire escape near this big bank. He told me, and I quote, “The town looks real pretty up here. Like Paris or some shit.” He tried to sound all manly and tough, but you can’t sound tough when you say words like “Pretty” and “Paris”. He was always trying to sound tough and manly. That makes me sad for some reason. I don’t know why.

I told Darren about how my amp blew a tube and about how I had to replace it and all because it makes all my songs sound like shit. I knew he didn’t know what a tube was or what the hell I was even talking about, but he still nodded politely and said, “Damn, that’s some shit.”

I told him that I tried hard to start up talks with him and the other guys in credit recovery, but I knew that I didn’t fit in and I knew they knew I didn’t.

He told me I ought to be proud that I don’t fit in with them and I ought to keep it that way. Then he said, “I ought to delete those pictures. That’s sort of fucked up how I showed you them.”

“Yeah,” I said. “It does look nice up here. It looks real pretty. You were right.”



Pawning a Record Player in Bitter December – a short story by John Ian Bush


There’s nothing good about Christmas for me now because I’m fifteen and I’m too damn old to give two shits about all those lights, and I stopped believing in Santa when I was three, and they never give us snow days anymore, so all of winter is a cold bitter waste to me now. I become bitter in November, right after Thanksgiving, and I stay that way until spring.

I’m bitter writing this. I don’t know why, but when I’m bitter or bored, I like to write. When I’m writing and I’m bitter, I like to write about all the things that I’m bitter over. To start with, I’m bitter because my mom keeps forgetting to pick up my anti-depressants. I’ve been off the damn things a week and I hate everything and everybody, besides a small group which I can count on one hand, practically, and honestly I want to die sometimes. Secondly I’m bitter because when I started for the pawn shop this morning, when I stepped off the porch and on my front lawn, my foot landed right in a pile of dog shit. I was really bitter about the dog shit, let me tell you. I was so bitter, as a matter of fact, that I didn’t want to miss a chance to bitch about it, so I never wiped it off, I just kept on down the street and cussed about it under my breath in my yellow-bellied way.

I was going to the pawn shop to pawn the record player my brother got me for my birthday last year. The thing was as old as dirt, but that’s fine because I love old things. I loved that player to death, but I needed the money.

The reason I needed money was because my niece is turning two next week, her birthday’s two days after mine, and I wanted to buy her her first cozy coupe. They’re a bitch to put together, but it would be worth it. I use to love my cozy coupe, and  I was her age when I got mine.

Anyways, there I was, dog shit caked on my shoe, I was walking in the freezing air, carrying that damn record player; the sky was gray, the clouds were hateful, almost as much as I was, and I hated everyone.

The guy at the pawn shop screwed me.

“Five bucks is the best I can do,” he said. He was as old as the record player.

I took the money, and I’ll hate that guy and I’ll hate that damn pawn shop for the rest of my life for it, I swear to God I will. I loved that record player and all I got was five bucks for it. Five dollars towards a cozy coupe that cost about

forty. I don’t know why I did it, probably because I’m a damn fool. Plus, when I’m around strangers I don’t think.

I’ll tell you something else I did that’ll prove what an idiot I am: after the pawn shop, I walked three miles to the super store the next town over. I don’t know why, I just felt like I had to, and besides, I had nothing else to do and nowhere else to go, so I guess it didn’t matter where I went. But I still hate that I went and I’m bitter about that too.

It was six in the evening when I got to the store, the whole place was packed. I swear to Christ, I wish I hadn’t went and I still don’t know why I did. I hate crowds. I could smell the breath of every son of a bitch there.

I went to the back where the cozy coupes were put out on display, they cost thirty-nine bucks and some odd cents, plus tax. I saw the smiling faces of the kids on the boxes and I started crying and I ran out of that place, I swore to Christ then that I’d never go back there.

I ran out of breath near a church several blocks away from the store and I took a seat on a bench and finished up my crying. I need my anti-depressants.



Sex and After Sex – a poem by John Ian Bush

Part One




Beautiful limbs,



Soaked and wrapped


Lust and

Sweaty, sweaty flesh — soft.

Fingers curled over thighs and hips and the sides of stomachs,

Now sticky.

Man and women alike, now beastly.

Man and woman alike,

Stuck in the passions of horny sexually self,

That has been buried by self denial.

For that brief sweaty moment, we say fuck the self denial!

Be nude,

In bed,

Under blankets and sheets

In the bathroom,

Ass on sink,

Bare back against the mirror,

Toothbrushes hitting the floor!

Moans of honest, beastly pleasure!

Oh, Pleasure!

Oh, Pleasure!




Yes, yes!


Fuck the self denial!



Part Two


After Sex:

Lights on,

Sheets wet,

Thighs wet,

Pillow cover in drool,

The comforters on the floor,

Under her panties,

Under her bra,

Under my underwear and jeans and shirts,

The now used condom.

Nipples and cocks hard and raw.

Her arms hanging over the bed,

Legs pressed together,

covering her body with the wet sheets, embarrassed.

The smell of cherry flavored cough drops hung on her breath,

She’s covering the smell of burning tobacco and cock.





Bleeding – a poem by John Ian Bush

Part One

I looked in mirror,

Eleven o’clock, summertime

Five years old,

I pitied my own sad eyes.

I was wearing Father’s long shirt,

Hung on me like a dress,

I cried,

Space between toes, bleeding.

Mom and Father fighting in kitchen,

Fighting over me.

Father says I need to be a man,

Mom calls him a drunk fuck.

“He’s only little. He’s only little.”

Part Two

Mom puts me to bed.

Still crying,

Toes wrapped in bandage and cotton balls.

“He’ll be leaving tomorrow, baby,” said Mom.

She stroked my hair,

She kissed my pouting lips.

“I love  you.”

Funeral Home Christmas Tree – a short story by John Ian Bush

It’s funny how people act in the coffee rooms at funeral homes. They’re all sad or they act sad out of respect. They all drink coffee and eat the cookies that they put out on the table, and they talk about how the body looks for a while, then they start talking about politics or the weather or some damn boring thing. It happens at every viewing I’ve ever been to. I even do it. I sat there the other night at my great aunts viewing and I nodded my head when people talked about how natural she looked and all that, and I ate three big cookie, then I looked down at my gut and was disgusted because I’m a damn glutton.

Anyways, two things happened when we all left the funeral home: the first thing was I offered to be a pallbearer. It was my great aunt Margret’s viewing, like I said, and my grandma said that me or my brother ought to be pallbearers. My brother’s real nervous about some things, one of them is being around dead people. He was afraid he’d drop the casket or something, so I offered to do it, but Margret’s niece said no. She told my grandma later that the reason she said no was because I looked like a clown because of my hair. I have long shaggy hair that I dye blood red.

The second thing is that I noticed the damn Christmas tree in the corner near the door in the lobby — it’s getting close to Christmas now. It was tall and green and decorated in bright

white lights and silver tinsel and big red bulbs with the names of all the dead people who were shown there that year written on them with permanent marker. I saw Margret’s name in the center.

I thought it was sort of strange, decorating the tree with the dead. I think that funeral homes are strange altogether. When you die everybody you ever met practically comes and cries and get all sad at the site of your leftover meat.

When I got back home I started over to my friend Darren’s house.

Darren and I have went to school together since fourth grade, but we just started hanging out this year because we’ve always ran with different crowds. His friends are the kind of guys that wear gym shorts all year long and lust after Air Jordans and Beats Headphones and try to punk out everybody so they can feel tough. Plus, we’ve never had any classes together or anything until this year, but Darren’s probably my favorite friend.

The only problem with us hanging out is that he smokes a lot of weed and he’s got me smoking a lot too. Last weekend we blew fifteen bucks on weed, smoked it all and stayed up until four listening to The Beatles.

He’s never listened to much music outside of rap, so I’ve been trying to show him some good stuff. He always acts like he likes it, but he’s probably just entertaining me. He’s probably just telling me he likes it because we’re friends and he’s nice. Darren’s a real nice sensitive guy under all that wanna-be-thug shit he’s always doing. He’s nicer than me in a lot of ways, like when he’s listening to rap and I don’t like it, I tell him and bitch until he turns it off, and when he turns it off, he isn’t even mad about having to doing it because he’s real considerate. I wish I was that considerate.

Anyways, Darren and I ended up going down to the cemetery and smoking a fat joint. I told him about the funeral home Christmas tree and he said that the funeral home was retarded.

“They won’t be putting my name on some damn bulb,” he said. Then he talked about the rapture through the rest of the cemetery. He told me that we weren’t going to have to worry about funerals because we weren’t really going to die because we were going up in the rapture. Darren was always talking about the rapture. He never went to church, but he had all the faith in the world that the rapture was going to happen at any minute and he had all the faith in the world that the two of us were going.

He told me once that I’m the only friend he likes to talk to about the rapture. It was probably because I’m the only one

who will even listen. I don’t believe in the Bible, but I don’t mind talking about Bible stuff if I care about the person doing most of the talking.

If Heaven exists, Darren will go because he’s nice and sensitive. If there’s a Heaven, Margret’s there because she was a real sweet lady. It’s a nice idea, the idea of Heaven, I mean. I guess I’d rather float up to a cloud kingdom than to get old and die and be buried in a boxes.

Anyways, I’m not sure why he thinks I’m going to Heaven.

Once we got out of the cemetery, we saw this old tin can in the middle of the street, and the street was empty because it was about nine at night or later and it was cold and everybody besides the two of us were inside around heater and wrap in blankets, probably. Anyways, we started kicking the can down this alley and we kept falling down and laughing because we were stoned.

We kept on kicking the can down the alleys until I had to piss. I went behind this old white shed, unbuttoned my pants and

unzipped and started pissing. There was this Oldsmobile behind me, it was parked on the other side of the alley, I thought it was empty because it was dark and I couldn’t see through the

windows. Well, somebody was in it, and halfway through my piss, whoever it was  beeped the horn and scared me half to death,

and I ended up pissing down my leg. I zipped up my pants and Darren and I got the hell out of the alley as fast as we could. It was funny, though. I didn’t even mind the piss on my leg that much.

Poetry for Joey Mullins – a poem by John Ian Bush

Part One


I met Joey Mullins in third grade,

The lunch line.

He brought his lunch,

A bag of wrinkled grapes.


Joey Mullins:

Tiny eyes,

Face like a lion,

Dressed in a black shirt

Inside out to cover up the ketchup stain,

Two or three sizes too big,

Covered in cigarette burn holes.

Under the shirt was red swim trucks,

On his feet, his grandma’s flip flops.

With him I shared my lunch,

With me he shared his grapes.



Part Two


We Sat in the corner booth on the back of Burger King.

          Now both men.

Joey studied the girl at the counter,

She was a dirty blond with ample breasts that were covered and squeezed by her tight black work shirt.

“Did you see the tits on the girl up there?” he asked, pointing to the counter.



“My mother shouldn’t have breast fed me,” he said, “now I’m obsessed with tits.”

He was eating chicken nuggets,

He dipped each in the pile of barbeque sauce that he poured out onto his flatted bag.

The corners of his lips were coated in crumbs, he looked somewhat child-like.

With me he shared his fries.


“Tom,” he said, “I work forty hours a week and my family calls me a bum.”

“Tom,” he said, “I sleep in the kitchen on a gum stained shitty mattress next to the litter box.”

“Tom,” he said, “I pray,

and pray,

and pray,

I don’t think God is listening.”

“Tom,” he said, “the whole damn house is lousy with bed bugs, I swear to Christ, they’re sucking the blood from my brain.”

“Tom,” he said, “my women hates me.”

“Tom,” he said, “she won’t sleep with me.”

“Tom,” he said, “I have to beg,

and beg,

and beg,

and beg,

and when we finally fuck, it’s sad, and I go to bed lonely and disappointed.”

“Tom,” he said, “I’m lonely and disappointed.”

He offered me his last two nuggets, so I said, “Joey, you beautiful, beautiful generous bastard, if kindness was money, you’d have a palace made of chicken nuggets and a second palace for the bed bugs and litter boxes.”

He laughed and said, “Yeah, sure, but how does that get me laid?”

Lust, Lust, Lust for words – a poem by John Ian Bush

Part One


I head now to the gas station:






I’m staying up all night.

I’ll smoke, smoke, smoke and write until my eyes shut,






I’ll exhaust myself at my writing desk: A labor of Love!

I Lust for Words.

I Lust to smoke all night, then drag my ash cover body, hungry, but satisfied, to bed at eight in the morning, just to wake up an hour later, eat a turkey sandwich, drink a glass of tea and start proof reading.

I Lust to leave the house at noon, aggravated, wrestling words, walk two or three miles, then come back with a poem on my tongue, a short story burning in my brain, almost hurting my soul.

My soul aches for my lust.




I Lust for my Muse.



Part Two





Sexy mess of dysfunctional beauty!


Untamable Gorgeous Monster Of Honesty and filth!

I Love You!

My soul burns for you.

Mind  obsessed with you!





life, you’ve consumed!

Billions and Billions and Billions of words won’t do you justice!








Greater men than I have tried and failed to make something truly perfect and pure and beautifully true, but still we buy cigars and we buy coffee;

Still we stay up all night and write, write, write, write!




The fire that burns in my gut!

Why bother with me? I can’t satisfy you.





Questions on Concept Bricks / Critical Thought Bed Bugs – a poem by John Ian Bush

Part One



Question: is freedom free?

Answer: Hell, no.

The bricks we use to build concepts cost five dollars each. That’s not even counting the cost of labor.

No, no, freedom costs.


Question: what all do these bricks make?

Answer: What don’t they?


The Berlin wall was made of these bricks.

Ronald Reagan’s presidency was made of these bricks.

And President Bush was of these bricks.

And his son was of these bricks.

And Bill Clinton was of these bricks.

And Barrack Obama is of these bricks.

In fact all presidents, all politician’s, all campaigns were and are of these bricks.

Nazi Germany was built from these bricks.

And the Nazis  built their death camps from them.

And  their ovens.

And their ghettoes.

People have died and suffered, imprisoned in structures made of these bricks.

Children have marched in sand and jungles, carrying guns, fighting wars against and for the concepts man has built from these bricks. They have bled and they have seen the bleeding of others, they have made others bleed, and they have then came home to their family, watched television and cried.

The governments of all the nations were made of these bricks.

Churches are made of these bricks.

The most powerful armies are of these bricks.

All the most wondrous art are from these bricks.

All things subjective are made from these bricks.

All thing of beauty are of these bricks.


Question: Where do these bricks come from?

Answer: these bricks are cooked in factories of the mind.

You are a factory.

The children are all factories.

Even I am a factory.


Question: What is freedom?

Answer: it’s critical thought!



Part Two



There is a problem, my dearest factories.


It has infested our homes like bed bugs.

And like the bed bugs, it is sucking us dry.

Not of our blood. No. No. Our blood is safe.

These bed bugs are draining us, the factories, of critical thought.


Question: Why?

Answer: they do this so we’ll make the bricks the way they like them to be made.

I write this morally anxious,

Spiritually empty,

Intellectually anemic,

mentally disturbed

and physically sound.

This is my attempt at picking the bed bugs from my flesh.




They’re All Ants – a short story by John Ian Bush

Part One


I’m watching them all from my parents’ bed room window, I think they’re all so sad. They’re all ants. They’re all ants besides Patches and me.

Patches is my dog. She about eighteen years old, her tits hang and drag on the ground, her face is eaten up by flees, but she’s still got enough in her to bark and chase every car that drives by our house. She’s a survivor, that’s why she isn’t an ant like everyone else.

I love Patches above everybody else because she’s the only one that recognizes my greatness.

I have a secret, I wish I was God.

I wish I could cast judgment over all the ants from a throne of sovereignty and holiness.

I wish all the people at school, all the sluts and big jockey pricks would have to look up at me on Judgment Day, after I lit the whole world ablaze, and beg me not to throw them into the pit. I’d throw them in anyways, though.

The only people who’d be safe is Patches and me, maybe my friends too, but they’d be my court jesters at best.

It’s no secret I have trouble in school, but that’s because the teachers are all fools and don’t understand me, and the ants they have me peered with are beneath me; I know they are, and one day they’ll all know it too, and when they do, Patches and I will laugh.



Part Two


It’s after school now, I’m standing in the crowd in front of the school waiting for my mom to pick me up. My jesters are standing around me with their foolish, unintelligent-looking faces, they’re blowing unintelligent words from their drool covered mouths. I don’t know why humans think they’re any less primitive than other animals. These people are nothing but knuckle dragging, dull-eyed, brain dead apes to me. Patches is much smarter than any of these idiots.

They don’t see my greatness. Fools.

I’m surrounded by foolish apes and filthy sluts. Every girl my age is either horribly unattractive or whores. Even the good looking girls that don’t seem like whores are whores secretly. Underneath their modest clothes and the shy bull shit masks they wear, they’re all whores, and they won’t even fuck me because they know I’m on to them.

Those sluts aren’t real women, they’re meat bags shaped like women.

I wish I didn’t have a sex drive, sex is ugly and beneath me.



Part Three


I’m walking Patches now on top of the levee. The sun’s going down and I’m happy watching her run.

I’m looking now over the river, and I’m facing it, I’m spreading my arms out as if I’m presenting the sunlight that’s reflecting off the water to the world: my gift to the ants.

Again, I wish I was God.

I wish I was God, and I wish an Atom bomb would drop over all of the world and leave only Patches and I to roam the leftover wasteland without the whores and big jockey pricks, and even without my jester friends.

I wish I was God and I wish it was only Patches and me.