The Walkin' Talkin' Hot Morning Piss Blues

by Serge Bielanko

Part of Max is in a box now, fucking ashes in a bag.

I stare at him on a Monday morning sitting there on my ex-wife's kitchen counter and I wonder what the hell he's up to. Used to be that he'd turn up  beside me as soon as he heard me moving around in the early hours of the day. I'd hear his jingling tags coming down the back steps and I'd dump the coffee down into the filter and I'd know what was up. He'd show up a few seconds later, the fresh hot piss in his body slamming up against the walls of his piss sacks, he'd stare a hole in my head just as soon as he spotted me in the same place he always spotted me right there by the coffee maker.

I'd let him out then, out the back door, him and Milo, out into the cool dawn of another day/out to piss a steaming laser onto the grass under the last minute stars/under the planets and the UFOs and the dead looking down at us getting ready to start another simple-minded day, another day running around trying to make money/trying to get people to pay attention to us/trying to get people to agree with us/trying to get laid or trying to stop thinking about getting laid. All the dead people up there peering down off their clouds and looking at me down here wishing I was thinner/moving through some random moment with toxic revenge boiling up in my guts/ the dead looking down on me, me getting the syrup out of the cabinet for the kids' breakfast when they came down.

I never watched the dogs take their pisses. I never cared. It's funny, I only cared about me and my day. And looking back now I'm sure the dead were laughing at me all the time, you know?

I'd change my ways if Max could live again. I seriously would. I'd walk out there with him in the dewy dark and I'd follow him around with snacks and some old sock rag and once he had his piss, you know what I'd do? I'd lean down in there and kiss his fat fucking head and I'd use my hand to move my rag so I could pat his little dog dick dry, soak up any of the tiny pee drops that might still be hanging out down there.

I would, dude.

I would do that shit now.

I would do anything to resurrect that dog and to have the chance to love on him again. But it's stupid and I know it. He's gone. I have no idea where he got to, what he does with his time, with his thick slice of eternity. He probably does the same shit, to be honest. He probably wakes up in some far off galaxy and wanders down out of some far-flung bedroom and starts staring at some other dead dude making coffee in the kitchen.

He needs the guy to let him out to piss.

"Let me out to piss."



Or maybe he's just a beam of energy streaking across the cosmos. Or maybe he's back on the planet, as a bird in China or some bug in the rainforest or as a human even. Maybe Max is alive and well and living inside a woman in Mexico. Maybe he's parked inside Bruce Jenner's soul. I have no idea what happens/where our dog ended up.

I only know that it must have sucked for him to spend the last year of his life with us watching us fall apart and separate and struggle with the jars of acid we poured all over our days each and every day for a long time there.

And I know I miss him bad, man. And that I'd wipe the dripping pisslets off his old man wang if I only could.

That's true love. I know it is.


Monica leaves for Boston with her boss on a work trip. She kisses the kids goodbye and tells them that she'll see them on Tuesday and then she gets in the guy's car and they back out of her driveway and head to the airport.


She didn't kiss me. She didn't kiss me goodbye. That's what I'm thinking with Charlie in my arms as they disappear down the road. I smell Charlie's crap and I know I need to change his damn diaper again, but I'll get to that. He doesn't care, trust me. He's fine. He can hang with a crap in his pants for a good twenty minutes or so before he starts to whiff his own stank.

Right now though, as I watch Violet and Henry pushing one of their local friends on the big rope swing out in my ex-wife's yard, I'm standing there feeling pissy that I didn't get a kiss. Shit, she didn't even really say goodbye to me now that I think of it. Hmph. Maybe I should have kissed her, huh? Maybe I should have been the aggressor, right there in front of her bosss. I could have just wandered over to her in front of him and been a man's man and wrapped my hand around the soft back of her neck, her hair all up in my fingers, Charlie looking at us, Charlie shitting himself in that very moment as I pulled her in and kissed her face like she was going off to war to probably die instead of Boston til Tuesday.

But no.

I lame out. I let things go the way they go and then she's gone and I have more kid shit to look at and wipe at and fold up neatly in the size 3 Huggie where it will remain like a body in tomb for God knows how long. I will toss it in a Walmart bag, chuck it in the garbage can out in her garage, and that will be the last I will know about it. The trash dudes will haul the thing away here in a couple of days and for all I know the whole messy affair will end up in the bottom of the ocean or shot out into outer space or buried in the North Jersey ground by the end of the work week we're living through right now.

Lost kisses and baby shits.

Welcome back  into my world, bitches.


Everyday I pick out some place in the sky and I pretend that it's the high-flying opening to Max's fucking sky cave and that he's just sitting there in the entrance to it staring down at my ass. I know he's rooting for me. I know that because I know it. That's how you know stuff in this whacked-out world, in this dream of life. You just know a thing, just decide that you pretty much know it and then you pretty much do.

Max roots for me. He pulls strings for me where he can, tries to cheat the system for me. He tries to throw me a bone, the fucking irony. I sense him when Monica and me are together. When we eat our dinner on her couch or avoid eyes first thing in the morning or talk hard/deep about the directions of our souls or about what to put on the pizza or about Instagram and the strange and curious people who live inside some pin dot galaxy of an app on our iPhones or about how one of our kids is making us laugh these days. I sense him when I look at the sky even though I don't even believe in anything in particular except the notion that he is deader than shit but that I know he is still looking at me all the goddamn time.

Look, man. I pass down through Gladiator fields, my Maximus hand drifting slow across the windswept wheat I'm cutting across and I get it that I don't get it, you dig? I have just a very basic kindergartner's comprehension of that thumping in my chest. I hear the blood blasting behind my face and I think it must be a train tearing back behind the mountain down the road. I see the sun shining in the sky and I think it's a sign for me to make a move, to move in for a kiss maybe. Or to dab piss off the ones I love, I dunno.

No one knows. No one knows what the fuck is happening here, but especially me, especially I don't know. I just make my cups of coffee and talk to my dead dog in the sky and watch my kids move across her yard while she plays with her phone, while she sips a cold Sierra Nevada in the spring twilight.

I am preparing myself for something.

But I have no idea what that thing might be.

I isolate certain sentences to maybe make them seem more important than the other sentences. Because I'm a douchebag, I guess. Whatever.

I make myself fucking laugh.

It feels so good.

It really really does.







by Serge Bielanko

It’s close to 90, I guess. It’s all kinds of hot and muggy. It’s my kind of weather, this is. I roll the window down in the Suzuki and I rip down the valley road with the music loud. I play New Order, some greatest hits I bought off Amazon. I don’t have time for deep album cuts anymore. I need the damn hits. I skip to Track 5, Blue Monday ,and the cold English machine-gun drum machine shoots thrill bullets into my fat face.

I’m on my way to the county courthouse to get the paperwork I need to file for divorce. I’m not supposed to feel good about that, I know, but I feel good anyway. I feel wide-awake and unstoppable.

I feel fucking alive.

Maybe that’s weird, I don’t know. It is what it is.

67 mph wind is blowing all through the car, lifting all the crumpled-up McDonald’s receipts and straw wrappers and pieces of dead grass up off my scuzzy mats and making them dance and I am smoking a cigarette and ashing it out the window. Most of it flies out into the endless cornfields I’m whipping by, but in the back of my mind I know damn well that lot of it is probably turning around and jamming itself right back into the car too. I don’t give a damn/ashes to ashes and all that.

Well, all of this makes me giddy: driving fast all by myself, thumping ashes, moving towards some distant horizon in my personal life, some horizon I never imagined I’d ever see. I’m seeing it now, though. I’m seeing loud and clear, I guess.

What does a person think about on the way to get divorce papers? I mean, what are you supposed to be thinking about? That’s what I’m wondering at the moment. That’s meta, I know, but it’s also true. I’m wondering if I should be crying or something. The sadness is still all up in my bones. I’ve been mourning the death of my marriage for months now, trying hard to pretend that it wasn’t happening or that if it was actually happening then it wasn’t a bad thing or that it was meant to be and all of that happy horseshit, but at this point I’m not feeling any of that stuff anymore.

I just want to drive, man. I just want to aim this car of mine at the deep blue afternoon sky and drive a hole right through it. I feel like I’m in a movie and that is one of the better ways to live your life, if you ask me. More and more, I find myself moving through the random scenes of my day as if I am starring in this Sundance Film Festival version of my own existence. With each passing day I think I have begun to pretend that I’m a movie star playing me. Maybe I’m mental. But maybe I’m just awesome.

In another 20 minutes or so I’ll get the paperwork on the other side of the mountains. What will happen is this: after I drive down into the county seat/park/pop two quarters into the meter on the curb/move beneath the big Greek columns of law and justice/waltz through the metal detector/find the office that you find when you are seeking the needle to euthanize sick love/get ‘em/turn around/and go. Nothing will be written in stone today. But hey, things are in motion and I guess I’m in motion, too.

On the way back to my house I wait until I’m way out of town to hit the music again. I wait until I roll the car up to the bottom of the Madisonburg Mountain, until I feel that ancient cool of the Appalachians move across my arm dangling out the window, the long miles of old forest closing in around another cigarette wedged between my fingers out there in the wind, out there in the force of my movement.

And then I hit Track One.


That’s the name of the tune.

It’s my jam/it’s so perfect. And I’d be lying out my ass if I didn’t say I planned it this way. I knew what I was going go to play, people, and I knew exactly where I wanted to be in the world on this certain afternoon when I finally hit the button and let it roll out of my tinny speakers, covering me like beautiful smoke.



Ceremony, indeed.

Not Punching You In the Face is the New Punching You In the Face

by Serge Bielanko


I guess I am either, like, super highly-effective at creating life when even the most towering odds are stacked against me, OR this kid we're about to have is gonna look like this one tattooed burrito slinger down at the Chipotle who my wife thought was kind of hot for a few weeks this past summer before she just dumped the idea of him for a brief fling with my ex-girlfriend in a foreign land who she has never met before settling, somewhat seriously, I might add, for a pile of half-burnt (we had a fire/it doesn't matter) photographs of a bunch of her old high school friends, a few of which seem to have lit some kind of an old-fashioned flame in her that is humongous.


You know how these things go (right?...right?!) Even when in doubt you still love the bundle of joy with all of your heart and soul. You just do. Otherwise you're an asshole. I'm not worried though, I love him more than anything I can string together, as does his mom and his little bro and sister. So, we're good there.

The thing is though right, 2013 was pretty much another year when I slept on my consciousness in the same way that you hear about certain unlucky junkies or drunks sleeping on one of their arms. They wake up 19 hours later, groggy, with camel mouth, and Tah-Dah: the limb is dead. Gone. Not gone gone, but dangling there in the final stages of one final pins-and-needles session.

Lateral moves and the lazy soul that pumps them out will destroy you in the end, I guess. Or at the very least they certainly will mess up your love life like nothing you ever dreamed, I can tell you that much. And this past year I guess I finally just allowed myself to settle into that modern American pattern of lateral moves, one after the other: just making ends meet, just getting by, just creating enough and saying enough and looking into other people's eyes enough to let them all know that, yeah, you're still alive, but not really going overboard to prove it.

I was born with a fucked-up heart.

Its no excuse and I know it, but it's all I've got to go on, really, and I need it now more than ever. Realizing that you and your ways are the source of your own pain and suffering isn't much when you come down to it. But it's a start.

No matter how much you have fought against it, slamming its skull into the cinder block wall of your days, cursing it and trying to make it bleed from its ears, no matter how much you have tried to wrestle it to the parking lot stones while the people in your life stand around and watch you with gaping eyes and raised eyebrows, it's always just a lateral move, man.

Because, see, what I'm picking up on as the year fades away is that you cannot beat your blues with force or power or the kind of strength that lands perfect proverbial punches on the chins of the ones you have so desperately wanted to love, full stop, for so long. Oh no. You can only ever make things worse doing all that.

The only path up the hill to true love, to peace and harmony, is by holding all that confusion and anger and disappointment in yourself, in your arms like a tiny baby, gently/softly/tenderly, all the while whispering quietly into its ear, "I love you so very, very much you little son of a bitch."

Day in. Day out. Until it finally falls asleep in your arms.



I never say I love you except to my kids and I know someone else who lives like that, and I suspect that it's a source of fire down in the guts, if you know what I mean. There is tremendous lift in telling certain people that on a fairly regular basis, but even then, it's not enough. You have to mean it and show it.

Me, I have just run from it and by doing that I have made myself angrier and sadder than I ever dreamed I was doing. I know I'm not alone either. The divorce rates are through the roof and these days no one is all that surprised when you finally announce in your own little way.

"Hey folks. Well, we're calling it quits. We still love each other a lot and this is all hard for us and these years together have been a real learning experience for each of us and blahddy-blah blah."

People gasp, but not really. They kind of expected this to happen, if not with you than with another couple of friends or relatives or whatever. They know what you're going to say before you even fucking say it because it's the way the game is played now.

"We are still committed to our kids."

There it is they mumble in hushed voices.

"We will always remain friends."

'Sure you will', they say. "Sure you will."

And just like that, the pain and the suffering that you held on to for so long gets a call from the governor, is given a reprieve from death, while the world seems to open and up and swallow you whole, a whirling tornado of limitless possibility and freedom and happiness and temporary apartment digs and maybe, ultimately, new electric sex with a fresh face/a fresh body/a whole new package of heart-shaped hooks for you to hang your old pain on.

For now.


Merry died a couple months ago and her death was a nasty one, the kind you don't ever want or need.

She was legally my step-mom, although to call her that was a hell of a stretch for me since she was the woman who ended up moving in with my dad when I was just 9 or so. She moved into the house where I'd been born while my mom and my brother and me moved around the corner into my pop-pop's little  house.

I don't know too much about what went on in my house after I was dragged away from it. I know that they drank enough booze to create an alternative universe for them to love in for a while. I know that it was a universe where they never heard me ringing the doorbell at 7am on Saturday mornings, standing there with my fishing gear looking at my dad's pick-up parked ten feet away. Even then I understood that I was suffering, that I couldn't believe my dad would promise me he'd be up this time for real and that we would be on the river while the smallmouths were still active, before the sun in the sky turned them off, but that once again, he was letting me down. Sleeping through my arrival at his door until way too much time passed and the neighbors were coming out to grab their papers and seeing me.

There's little Serge, waiting again.

What a fucking idiot I was.

Anyway, Merry died in a wild drawn-out fit of super-charged cancer running through her breasts and her liver and her lungs and her brain and I don't even know what else. She came back into my life maybe 15 years ago when I reconnected with my dad after he got word that I was in a band and that I was going to be on the Conan O'Brien show - after they had simply vanished into thin air over 20 years ago. I didn't have any love for her. I didn't have any love for either of them at first. It was all I could do, I guess.

I'd been hurt by them every day for decades even though I had blocked it out enough to get on with shit. But their return to the stage and hearing their long lost voices and then seeing their vague faces, so much older now, but still them, it had thrown me.

I never did figure it out either. We became estranged again over something I cannot even recall and for the past two years I never heard from them at all. It went from a card and a gift for every one of my kids' birthdays to nothing at all one more time.

Then she got sick and I got word and so I called them because my wife Monica said that I ought to. I'm glad I did, too, but it wasn't enough. My dad is still there, broken hearted, unable to talk about what he witnessed, how cruel and random death can be in the end.

The few times I spoke with Merry she sounded tired but optimistic. She laughed her old lady cigarette laugh once or twice and then handed the phone off to my dad. I think she knew that she was dying. I think she knew that she was going to die soon.

Now, man, it breaks my fucking heart and makes me so goddamn furious inside that I really think she knew that our chance to love each other, even in some tough bruised way, had slipped through our fingers and was gone.

And no, I don't think that's what killed her or anything.

But just like everything else I did in 2013, just like every stupid roadblock I have erected and every cheek I have turned in the name of pain and fear and resentment and revenge and misguided/damaged love this past year, someone else is gone, forever.

Which is killing me, I do believe.


I like blogging and I could care less if you don't. If it makes you uncomfortable or weirded out when someone you barely know, or even worse: someone you do know is writing personal shit on the internet where anyone in the world can see it if they stumble around a particular corner...that's on you, not me. I love the immediacy of writing. I love seeing what comes out of me. It's been, pathetically, the only honest part of me for a long long time and without it I think I may have just laid down in a field one cold afternoon years ago and closed my eyes and waited for something to come along and eat me or run me over or whatever.

I've been wanting to write a book; I have started it, actually, a while ago. There are lots of pieces, lots of bits and all, but I let it go for a spell because it wasn't fast enough for me. I recognize that among my very fuckedupness is this insatiable need to thrust my writing out into the world as rapidly as possible. I don't sit on stuff. I suck at that. I did it for years with music and making records and I detested it.  Always, waiting around, months/even years, until a song you recorded was sailed out into the world. By then, the songs often felt odd to me, like reconnecting with someone on Facebook who you last saw in  Middle School.

Ummm, hey. Please go away.

I'm not a very good blogger though. Don't write enough interesting shit, I guess.

Mostly I get in here and try and write about love and how much I love it and how much I suck at it except with my children who kind of started saving me from myself five years ago in one important way. Violet, my daughter, looked up at me in the first moments of her birth and I understood that my pain was all meltable, in an instant.

So, I put all of my eggs in her basket. And then my son Henry's. And I tried to write about it all, as raw as I could get it. But at the same time, I neglected everything else, everyone else. I didn't man up, I fathered up.

I'm so furious with myself about that now.

I'm reading a book by a Vietnamese Buddhist monk. He's brilliant. But I need to get him on the horn, and that ain't happening.


Fuck you, 2013.

Except Charlie and Violet and Henry and Monica and Max and Milo and everyone else.


Are you good at love?

Have you ever lost someone you loved so much because they just stopped loving you at some point?

It's all so strange and confusing; love, I mean; and yet, if you can stop punching yourself in the face for a while, maybe it isn't. I've never been any good at giving up on it and that has led me to some sad places, I'll tell you that much.

A phone booth in London, on Kensington High Street. Surprise, I'm here. Please love me. I will be better. I can do better.

A bakery in suburban Philly. I'm sorry. I'm such an idiot. I can do better.

Emails in Philly. She tells me I put a sledgehammer into her chest. I cry like a baby bitch. I don't write back. I move on.

Blood. Romance. Friendship. I have never done any better yet. I have simply wrapped myself up in my cloak of pain and wandered down the road.

And yet, I know it's in me. Magnificence. Magnificence at love is in me as sure as hot thrusting blood runs through my veins and I want it now more than ever. I want to saddle up the hurt I have known, the suffering and the sadness and the pain and the words that echo through my mind, and I want to ride them off of a mile high cliff, down into a canyon.

Then, I want to watch the thing quivering and dying underneath my boot as I lightly press down on the throat of yesterday until it's stupid fucking eyeballs go all grey/glazed.

Then I want to piss hot streams of piss down on it with real honest-to-God love in my heart.

And then, I want to blog about it and maybe even write a book about it, living the rest of my life in a dazzling sunset of some kind of warmth and radiance I created all by my goddamn beautiful self.

Oh yeah. And I want to lose 30 lbs.


Wish me luck.