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UPDATE: NOW AVAILABLE AS THE 38TH BOOK FROM WEEKLYBOOKS.NET

This book, Insular Truisms by VERNON HOWL, was originally published in a shorter form and it is available for download here (for the time being).

The final form, 50 works of elegant microfiction can be accessed, for free, on Google Docs and also right here:




01 - Gravity                      

Gravity made the drifters take drugs. The drugs were each and every breath. A piece of paper stuck to chewing gum. A flying house for chewing gum to save somebody’s shoes. My sandals. Certain death.

02 - Zoo                          

I went to a zoo on Sunday and it rained. I felt the tin magic dinning of the lavish pings of the droplets from the clouds on the opaque glass ceiling of the gorilla facility.

03 - Carbohydrate                 

Monday stumbled into town on the back of the best player on the basketball team. The team won despite my not having a single carbohydrate in my entire body. The best player was me. After the game, I stole a sign advertising $50 weaves from the lawn of a boarded-up Rite Aid.

04 - Africa                       

The answer to a question I couldn’t recall being asked was trapped inside five 99¢ CDs at the record store. It was a five-part answer to a two-part question. Finding the right CDs wasn’t going to be easy, but who said this was going to be easy? I found a “help wanted” sign inside a jewel case that smelt like burnt pizza because the weather was so nice and I ate three oatmeal-raisin cookies to raise awareness for Africa. The cookies were delicious.

05 - Metal                        

Today I thought about the future of drinking water. I made the ice cubes angry with these thoughts. I ran a few miles in a mild rain. My feet felt like amphibians with a hundred pairs of legs each. I put my wet sneakers on the radiator thinking they would dry faster even though the metal wasn’t hot. Metal wasn’t even on.

06 - Stepbrother                  

The white Christmas lights hung low. I considered the stepbrother as your avatar consumed me. We called the garden on our smartphones and the gardeners said nothing but $12 sausages could grow. Hidden inside each bite of the $12 sausages, the gardener said, was a love we didn’t even know existed.

07 - Boat                         

I didn’t sweat much on the boat. It was a strange mess of overcast thinking but the air was less humid than my human thoughts. Blue and white and smog grey. And lime green turned the lady with the red head swiveling into a scene which we taped with the camcorder functions on our smartphones. Blatantly us. Maybe there was something alive in those hips. Who knows? We couldn’t see.

08 - Smoke                        

Lots of yellow flew down my jugular. Couldn’t stop. We thought about them and they thought the color strange. We wished for turquoise but it hid out in a black girl’s glance and then disappeared like magic smoke before we could find it. I was awake on weed when My Cousin Vinny transposed anxiety and took me for a ride.

09 - Cells                        

Different versions of the same song attacked my cells. My immune system had been planning a strategic defense for weeks but it was not going well. Music has a capacity like nuclear hell. Kindergarteners put staples in their thumbs all the time because they are consumed by music which is like a hard drug.

10 - Camera                       

I stayed home and put my life inside a camera. The future got cloudy with tears. In the vision of the fully shaven sideman, he of the head of all that beauty, and all the wacky narcissism, existed a brave collision. Unawake, repenting. Unworthy of fear.

11 - Sandwich                     

So much sweat. I thought I was broken. I choked at Wendy’s on a crispy chicken sandwich. I really wanted the double stack. You should always get the double stack. No one has ever choked on the double stack. No one who has ever eaten the double stack has suffered through death of any kind. A kinky mortality. Hippies on television make me feel OK and also really bad. I sweat.

12 - Pigs                         

Solemn pigs is us all. When we open photoshop and smoke off-brand drugs and wave from treehouse at cops who collect toy dinosaurs, when we do anything at all, and when we realize that life is a thing that is just limping behind us on the sidewalk, then we will play mental basketball until our eyes fall out.

13 - Blood                        

I ate lunch in public and felt like I had nothing to hide. I forgot and then remembered every dream I’ve ever had. There was blood in my salad. All the pregnant women of the world descended on me. I didn’t ask for this.

14 - Mountain                     

Thinking about things as little animals, even inanimate, each with every whisker, currently sprouting or deceased, however hovering in a breeze. The migration gets a better look when it moves atop a mountain. This why I am a mountain goat, but whenever I get to the bridge my legs give way. I look at the mountain river through steel eyes, fear.

15 - Door                         

People all over the world said Happy Father’s Day to their front door. It always falls on a Sunday. The U.S. Open sprouts a new era of lemon-lipped golf fans each and every year, and the drunk and fatherless among us move around in walk-in freezers in a kind of dance, so scared of having to return home to say goodnight to the door.

16 - Cars                         

The front left tire killed the cat. I can only relate to dead cats. Dead cats killed by cars. I drift off in a strange solitude. When it is my turn to return the library books I make sure that all of the fecal matter has been completely scrubbed off.

17 - Whale                        

It was the age of cold and weary. The years took breaths like a highly evolved whale deep into the future, deep in thought. On the surface of the water where the whale spout spurted, something like a prayers, and then on the bottom where the body eventually settles in death, in every breath, mid, middle and moist, the years.

18 - Television                   

Drinking a single beer to forcefully capture all the minor happiness left in the wake of a moderately pleasant television show. All the while with my winking eyeball propped on the mantle, hot by fire, judging. Goodnight.

19 - War                          

The bomb went off in war city and two strangers attached their bodies to the other body in a local bar. Then in another local bar, god passed away from booze. The next day it was decided that question marks would complete all sentences from here on out in every religious text, which did not seem so strange.

20 - Pizza                        

It was the world’s most anti-climactic pizza. The waitress who served it turned into a black speck and was dead before we even took a bite. The beautiful pizza boy who made it had gotten drunk off the eyes of his brother’s best friend, which were large and red, very beautiful eyes indeed.

21 - Flowers                      

A minor blossom then the flowers are sleeping. No blossom, and it’s just leaves and stems and green. The day before ceased to exist. And the day before that was the longest day ever and not disproportionately draining. I have a look about me that is a puzzle. Neither of us spoke. To the flowers. To each other. It’s tomorrow.

22 - Air                          

The heat from the sun got stuck in the air. I sucked it in in a straight line. Humidity of the spine. I could easily eat more air if it meant go on living. No one was there when they found the body.

23 - Dog                          

The dogs in the dog park downtown were demons and the haze of the day was burning off. The sun was a piece of art. The creator of the sun watched a television that had never been switched on. He just looked at his funhouse reflection. He looked like a dog.

24 - Computer                     

We all ate cow for food. After we had fully digested the meat we poured beer on the computer. All the stray cats we had stuffed inside the monitor drowned in a small pool of beer.

25 - Denim                        

The baby born at the movies has the best persona. His or her shirt is always of the finest available denim, always it is tucked into a fine pair of denim jeans. The person will perform one-person plays on the highway median. And we can feel good in our car driving by them as we eat fast food pudding with the hands of deceased primates serving as spoons.

26 - Art                          

The train stopped at a town with no people, only kittens. I got off and put my cock on all of the town’s art as a symbolic gesture of my having hit rock bottom but the kittens didn’t understand my motives at all.

27 - Eggs                         

I wanted to bake a cake but the toy oven I used to store all my brown chicken eggs went missing. In its place, tiny chips of eggshell, each with a tiny face painted upon the surface, snickered at me or appeared to. I swung my head away in sadness before really ever looking. Maybe it was just dust? Hungry for cake and eggs, I slept.

28 - Buffalo                      

The people of Buffalo all fell over in a collective slump. Their clocktower had grown up to be a large digital wreck. And the red glow was too much for the once proud community to stand. I called my cousin but he said it was all a big misunderstanding and that the clock was still analog and the city had still yet to discover the color red.

29 - Ankle                        

He twisted his ankle in the inner hole of his stepdad's pit. So sad. It got lodged in an even smaller crevasse. Inside the crevasse was a nook. The nook doctors fixed his ankle and he can walk now. Hooray.

30 - Formica                      

The sound writer stole away in a flash, high and wicked, bidding against the hot hand of time, to a land of just formica. She sat down on the cool floor and began writing the story of feet on her iPad.

31 - Brown                        

The brown dog sang a wolfish howl. Every speckled and spotted beast in his AP Physics class barked in yaps and beeps and falsetto guffaws. And if that wasn’t enough, he was failing. His dance card forever filled with drowsy, ambiguous emojis. Dog High School? Hardly. More like an ocean of pain.

32 - Camp                         

The dog walker only had five leashes for seven dogs. Oh, what a pickle. She'd forgotten about the twin daschunds with diabetes up the street from the overweight coyote hybrid. So she borrowed two ponytails from a couple of lovely young lady campers at the local camp. Their hair was beautiful and the dogs didn't seem to mind.

33 - Pencil                       

I'd pencil you in but then again we'd all be better off with a little less deadweight. Sink or swim, I say. Don't hold your breath unless you are a fish. Why yes, I've made Employee of the Month four of the last nine.

34 - Canada                       

The Canadian stenographer hated her homeland. A heart filled with dread. Each Christmas she longed to be back home in Tucson, typing out the words of criminals and lawyers alike. But no! Up in Canada with the dumb snowy moose heads and empty thoughts. Bad vibes abound. Bad apples, her family, the whole lot. She thought about writing them new words to come out of their mouth. Words a little less boring or laced with that famous scathing apathy and jealous high notes.

35 - Rent                         

Rent was due and just as ugly as ever. Solemn blemishes on the cracked bay window glass of the rented apartment. Maybe they were fingerprints? Ghost fingerprints. The landlord stabbed a pigeon on the front walk and offered it to you for dinner. You declined and got evicted.

36 - Eyeglasses                   

Who wears eyeglasses better than a politician? I reamed out my seven children for being unbelievers in the eyes of the process, the promise. My youngest, a blind boy, scoffed the loudest and for doing so was given the largest, tightest, most expensive muzzle in my arsenal. Little did I know he would grow to be the leader of a great choir and he would destroy me with a song of self that proved my entire philosophy a sham and also untrue. Youth gone wild, indeed.

37 - Frame                        

You should only put pictures in frames. If you try to put a living child or a cucumber in a frame, it's not going to work. You can put a picture of a child or a picture of a cucumber in a frame instead. However, if I see framed pictures of cucumbers, or any other vegetables for that matter, I'm liable to smash up your whole damn house. Fair warning.

38 - Paint                        

You stole a bucket of paint from your neighbor’s garage to paint your daughter’s bedroom blood-red. She hated it. When you were a child, your mother would play awful tricks on you. Sometimes you feel your biggest problem is you don’t stop to smell the roses. You chalk this up to your flower phobia. Your daughter painted sunflowers on the walls of her blood-red bedroom and the whole family had to admit, it was quite the striking contrast.

39 - Rehab                        

He stuck his fingers in the socket, or he tried to. His fingers were not so skinny. Nobody’s are. He had just finished puking his guts out at rehab when he did it. A week later, in painting class, he expressed his pain in a watercolor depiction of the building’s brutal architecture. The facility was all hard angles. He slept soundly between them, in them, and so on.

40 - Shoe                         

I long for a single elfin shoe to wear in total irony on my one lonely foot. Yeah, I lost a leg in war, so what? Come hither, good times, or be gone. I can bounce on my one good foot. Pad is a springboard. If I had the shoe of a jolly elf, I could tell all to fuck off eternal.

41 - Dirt                         

The sun as a growling animal face is all, every last one on earth. I cracked the dirt and stared at the shoebox full of dead life. In life-life, the tiny dog had been happy, seemed happy. Wildflowers grow in different dirt than tame ones. The dirt I needed to remove to bury my pet didn’t have any flowers. Not much grass, either. But I’m just a medicated freak. Ain’t no horticulturist.

42 - Eggs 2                       

How many hundreds of hours have you spent in a car? I’m just an egg in the trunk of a great and powerful truck. My drivers know me by my smell, and my passengers fear the mere sniff of the inkling of the idea of me.

43 - Firehouse                    

Don’t delay. I’m singing Sinatra at the firehouse again. All of the other firemen think I’m one of them, but I am not. I am an intruder. So don’t delay, come and get me. Take me away from here and this Budweiser. Or start a fire, and watch a dozen drunk firemen go up to heaven in that bright orange ball of wonder. Let’s go.

44 - Creek                        

Don’t beat the bees out of the hive. They’ll come out when they’re good and ready to sting. This might have been the advice of a drunk high school football coach. A metaphor for something that didn’t need a metaphor to begin with and also didn’t make a lick of sense. We went down to the creek and saw an old hive that was just like wet cardboard. We threw rocks at it till it fell off the tree and into the water below. Waving bye-bye as it swam away. Its future nothingness just as much our own.

45 - Moss                         

The maid took out the trash at the end of the day and considered the moss on the sidewalk and also the moss growing upwards on the concrete post at the end of the drive. She had bought a used Buick off a satanist, or a man purporting to be a satanist, the weekend before. In actuality, the man was her father and he had stolen the car from his landscaper’s brother-in-law. The maid’s employer took a keen interest in the Buick and told her she could get free carwashes at the carwash he owned downtown.

46 - Date                         

At a future date, the time, well, your perception of time, will change. I’m not talking about daylight savings time, etc. I’m talking about the actuality of how a minute feels in concrete reality. It might be only be a minute. Days and weeks might feel the same. You might feel like a baby each minute and sixty seconds later, you’re a fully formed adult, with all the same shitty problems and then at the end of the day you’re tired just like any other day. It’s not an exact science, however.

47 - Future                       

Me too. An icicle stabbed the center of a sunflower on my back porch. Don't ask how it got there. Let's say we were rushing the future, but still don't ask. Climate change is real and every conceivable moment is the most boring chance to do something average.

48 - Newark                       

The polar bear had lived in South Jersey all his life before the move to Newark. Global warming and all the islands melted. So sad. The mello melted islands of his childhood past, he thought of a frigid Newark future and shivered. The unreal betwixt and made stayed. We shall see a newness in the unnerving birth of every impossible daybreak.

49 - Blood 2                      

The mailman wanted to know what the most relaxing music in the world was. So he slipped a note into the mailboxes of all the people on his route inquiring such. Eventually someone reported him to his mailman boss. Apparently that kind of behavior is frowned upon. He committed suicide some months later by way of the wrist slash. There was so much blood.

50 - Measles                      

The poor man had measles of the soul. He only wanted to make his mother proud. It was on the night of the pro wrestling finale—a tornado swirling outside so fiercely—that he decided it was finally time to stop being poor. So he got out his machete and that was that. He asked his mother to finish watching the event so she could tell him what happened and because pay-per-view is expensive.