Riot Heart

by Serge Bielanko


There's always a siren, sending you to shipwreck. - Radiohead song


There's no one here now, no kids crying or leaving toys and sippy cups scattered all across the damn floor like buffalo chips out on the prairie.

I look down at the kitchen island and let out a movie sigh. I know I'm letting it out, it'a not even natural. I let it out because I'm the star of my own movie and the sigh is premeditated, dude. It's not a lovely little sigh.

Fuck that.

This is a big fat fake sigh designed to get people to like me and I'm not even gonna lie because I don't eve give a damn: this sigh could potentially get me laid if I get it right. A sigh can get you laid, of course it can. Anything can get you laid if you look half-decent and exude a little confidence and you're not interrupting people all the time and you listen to the shit that people you might want to make-out with are saying to you. It isn't rocket science unless you pretend it is. But you start pretending that it is rocket science and then you're never gonna feel the feeling again, I know that much.

You have to take whatever it is that you might have within your reach, whatever little weapons of mass horniness that you might have picked up along you trail and you need to polish that shit with your best spit. And if you do that, if you feel as if you are coming across with good and clear messages about your desire to be desired, then you can use a sigh or a laugh or the way you thump your ash off of your burning cigarette at the exact moment that this one is looking at you/ and you can feel it in your bones/ and by the time the ash flakes down to the ground never to be seen or heard from again, you could have the whole thing sealed up like some kind of Frank Sinatra wearing a human skin mask, and it's your face, too. 

But whatever. I'm out of it this afternoon. Out of the game.

I sigh my artificial divorced single dad doing the best he can to make ends meet sigh just at the same time that I look down at the island and see those six or seven lightly faded magic marker lines that ain't ever coming out of the wood and I see my son Henry, the Magic Marker criminal, and I can feel a whoosh of hot air coming out behind me and blowing past me and heading out the front door.

That's my game and it's gone now, you see. I fucked it all up. I wasted one of my sighs when there was no one around. Whatever. You have to practice. You don't just blow people's minds with a sigh or whatever without practicing at home. That never happens, trust me.

The island again and I see what looks like a glump of pancake syrup drying up in this humidity (Violet). I see a note to myself that I wrote to myself to remind myself not to forget to pay somebody else some money I owe them.

I see the purple flowers I gave my daughter when she had her little kindergarten graduation last week. The petals are starting to fall off now, nothing's gonna stop that. The whole gang of them will be dead soon and I'll probably wait a day or two too long before I pull 'em out of the stinky water and chuck 'em in the garbage.

I need a smoke. But I want a little coffee to go with it so I figure I'll make that first.

No one can stop me. No one in the world is here right now but me and that little fact makes me smile for a sec. There's what, 87 billion fucking people jammed up on this planet? And there's only one of them standing inside this house at this exact moment in history and that's me. What are the damn odds? We take it for granted, but what are the odds that we're ever standing there alone in house?

I don't know.

Who gives a shit anyway?


Inside of my heart I think there is a city unfolding. It's been happening for years but I can feel them down there now picking up the pace. I have no idea how I know this, but I'm like ninety-percent certain. At night sometimes I put my hand on my side and right where other people have rib bones and cartilage and muscle, where other folks would look like a nice side of beef if you fileted them up nice with a sharp ass knife, I don't think I have much of that left.

My veins have been replaced with streets. It's a long process obviously and it's still going down, but I can feel it happening. My veins/streets. My heart, replaced with City Hall. It must be a beautiful building too, pink dogwoods all freaking out in the spring, office fuckers eating salads and tuna wraps from plastic deli containers under sparkling 12:40pm skies on a magical May day.

Kids ride bikes where my love used to hang out, right there in the shadow of what used to be my main pump.

Homeless dudes piss in the bushes that used to be this tractor trailer of hope I had parked out there at the loading docks to my soul.

Cops walk across my old spine. It's a sidewalk now. It's covered in old gum and dog shit smears and the dirt from a million kicks walking all over it.

I'd pay money to have a day and a night to explore the place, I swear to God. Who wouldn't? You'd have to be a real jackass to know that they're building an honest, upstart city down inside your body and not be curious about seeing it.

I'd ride the subway right through my old piss pipe. That'd be cool. I'd grab a slice or two downtown where I used to kick up a lot of hot jizz, wherever that is. I'm not even sure. I'm being serious. I guess my balls? Whatever. It doesn't matter. I'd hop in a taxi and act like I know where I'm going by talking real quick and with authority like all the other fake city people do.


Sheep pastures and Golden Gate Bridges and skyscrapers and brownstones with sad pathetic secrets smeared all over their guts and leafy streets that lead out into grand boulevards and wine bars and designer boutiques and murder alleys and suicide stains and Vietnamese joints open all night and bands playing everywhere you listen and horses pulling tourists in carriages for money and trains and buses and long-haired young hipster school dudes walking to get an ice cream with their dad's new girlfriend and sirens blowing your fucking head off and straight-shot mid-town winds blowing your fucking head off and hordes of muggers with .38s lowering themselves down off of shadowy West Side Story rooftops just to step out of the darkness and blow your fucking head off, I've got all that going up and going down inside my body where I used to just be manufacturing the standard shit, the same old fluids and dreams and whatever that every other mortal bastard is sloshing around down in there.

"Hand's up, motherfucker! Don't move or I will shoot you in your face THREE TIMES, bitch! Give me everything you got. All of it. Don't hold nothing back from me because that just ain't right, you know."

That's you, by the way. I'm sorry but it is. That's you walking around acting all urbane and cultured and bullshitting yourself after a couple of overpriced microbrews in a local's only place in the cool hood.

You're an idiot, do you know that?

You know it now, don't you? Walking around down where my ribs used to be, trying to find a 'cool bar with bands' at 1 in the morning.

Guess what.


He shot you.

I'm so sorry.

You just got wasted under the gaze of a hundred tired pigeons shitting Purple Rain down where I used to dream of owning my own home and sharing our lives and blah blah blah.

Christ, man.

You are bleeding blackberry water ice syrup from inside your face all over my brand new sidewalks.

None of us saw this coming. But I've got a city inside me now, dude. A living breathing city. And these things are gonna happen. It ain't all art museums and glitzy galas, you know.

This is so whack/I'm really sorry.

Just close your eyes and remember the good times.

Just try and have a little dignity here if that's at all possible, alright?

Jesus. Be cool for once.


I keep imagining that somehow somebody's gonna find a way to replace my all my asshole blues with something grandiose and awesome. I want all my sadness replaced with a hubcap rolling off some Saturday night car movie-screeching 'round some ghetto corner.

Sometimes I feel like I want to die, you know. Don't patronize me. We all feel that way sometimes. If you've never ever felt that way I don't ever even want to meet you. I really don't. I don't even ever wanna walk past you on the sidewalk. We walk through separate galaxies. We're alien enemies and that never leads to anything good.

I'm the kind that has thought dark stuff. Like there can't be a way out of what seems so unforgiving and brutal right now. You close your eyes and you just picture stuff, picture the world without you, you know?

But I don't dare. I can't die. I'm too lazy to die. I'm too cool to die. I like living enough to keep things rolling. Hell, I've got these kids, bills piling up, 4th of July in two weeks. I got this sigh I'm perfecting. I've having my insides replaced with a major metropolitan city, whatever that means. I'm unkillable. I'm underneath every stupid shitty stone sleeping in the big park dirt.

I've got a Riot Heart.

I've got a Riot Heart.

I've got a Riot Heart.

Now move along. There's nothing here to see, people.

Go back to your hotels.

Go back to where you came from.

He's not dead, he's sighing.

It's just a guy sighing, people.

Everything will be okay.

Now go.