Saturday, January 30, 2010
"She is a nice girl. If you can find a way to be happy with yourself, then you can be happy with anybody."
"Do you really believe that?" His eyes looked deep into hers. He only heard the part of her statement that he wanted to.
She sighed. He thought he was happy, because the simplicity of success and ease of life had never allowed his depth to develop. This was no one's fault but her own. She had provided him with a structured and safe childhood, and chosen a mate that made him physically strong, tall, and powerful. His biggest issue had been whether he took first or second place.
But eventually, life would change that too. Life had a way of taking what you thought you really wanted and giving you exactly what you needed to really grow up. She knew her boy had a thunderstorm in store for him.
"I really love her, and i think I am going to marry this girl, mom." He held the picture in his big hands, and projected his desire upon his idea of her.
All of that could happen with just a picture. The journey a mind can go on while swirling ideas around with glimpses of possible futures.
She put another piece of toast in the old oven. She left the heavy metal door slightly open to keep the kitchen warm. The heat never quite got warm enough in the old house.
It was his first relationship.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Two weeks had past since I left.
I hadn’t called, or written.
I just left Mom and Dad the ashes.
They knew I wasn’t burned up in the fire, small towns are quick on the movement of information.
I had been planning my escape for about 6 months. But i had needed a launching pad. The fire just seemed like the moment of release. Mom would move in with Steve, and Dad would move into the one room above the bar. I didn’t need to see it. I didn’t want to make it any harder on them. Or on me.
It was a movie perfect moment to escape. We could all drift into our different worlds. We would each have our own lives, without the guilt or obligation that comes when several people have difirrent value systems and are not interested in creating a dialog between each other that is relatable.
Bye Mom, By Steve.
I would do what they secretly wanted me to do, which was leave. Then they could save face by playing the victim of my abandonment. But all three of us knew the truth. They had abandoned me a long time ago. We had abandoned in each other.
so it goes.
This was a silent acknowledgement, a release; pact to free us all from the burden of each other.
Billy’s Grandmother sure wasn’t happy to see me get out of his old Chevy without any pants on. No amount of explaining could get her to understand that I slept naked. And then my house burned down in the night. And I had the choice to either burn to death or exit the house naked. I think that her choice would have differed from my choice. She would have burned. Incinerated right there in that old, fucked up house. This made for fun conversation later.
It was a series of unplanned events, culminating in me exiting a pickup truck sans pantalones. Minus pants.
It was a miracle I made it out of the old farm house alive. Also, i was lucky to aquire a new pair of comfy pants, so comfy. Thank you Billy.
I was long gone before daybreak. Before all the questions came out, before the police report on the house fire. I slipped out and walked the 2 miles to the interstate. I saw Billy’s eyes watching me from his temporary bed on the worn spotted couch. I didn’t need to say a thing. He knew. He knew he wasn’t getting his clothes back for a long while. I was taking the flannel. And every thing in its pockets.
I was picked up within 30 minutes by an Avon saleswoman named Beth. She was only going to the next town, but she was concerned about a young girl like me, alone on the freeway at this hour.
I told her I understood her dilemma, and I fully appreciated her sacrifice and decision to carry me to the next town. I told her she was an angel, doing God’s work. She said one word to me, with a look of pain on her powdered, puckered face.
The rest of our drive was in silence.
I had never seen an erect penis. Then I met Frank. He picked me up outside Salt Lake City Utah. He was going to Tulsa. I was hitching the other way, I was headed northwest towards Wyoming.
He told me, when he saw me from the other side of the freeway, doing 70, in his crappy car, he had to turn around at the next off-ramp and take me where I needed to go.
He saw a beautiful golden glow around me. He knew he had to protect and deliver me to wherever I needed to go. Like and Angel....
His car smelled like pickles. His eyes seemed a little too bright.
Frank was an itchy man. His hair was thinning and scraggly, he drove a dark red, unwashed ford sedan. He repeated himself about once a minute. He kept saying,
“I just had to turn around.”
“Frank, you really didn’t have to. Someone would have picked me up.”
“The golden light told me you were special.”
And round and round it would go, every few minutes. Like he was pre-justifying something he was planning on doing. I looked to see if the door handles had been taken off. They were intact, thank God.
Even though honestly, i was too tired to really care what this guy was gonna do.. i just didn't feel afraid. i knew that whatever he did, i could totally punch him in the head. i was good at that. So it was an option.
He kept scratching his upper thighs. And then he would rub his hand over his face, pausing ever so slightly over his nose, sniffing, and then up into his hair, the withered hand stopping at the back of his head and then back to the steering wheel. All while he inhaled. Exhale. Then he repeated the whole weird thing again.
I needed to learn to refuse rides.
About 3 hours into the journey, he pulled into a truck stop. He drove the rattling old sedan to the back of the parking lot, where the orange light had faded from long shadows to dark night.
As we drove towards the back of the lot, the new sign said,
"Please Turn Your Engines off to Save Gas, Unless Needed."
“Well, Frank, thanks for the ride. I really appreciate you going out of your way to bring me this far.” I reached for the door handle, and then I felt his hand over mine.
“Ricci.” I hated the way he said my name. His voice was high pitched, nasily and dull.
“Ricci. You know you are a very special person. You are special to me. The energy between two people is a very powerful thing. It is extremely healing.”
I felt his scaly lips on my cheek, the slight moist of his tongue. I opened the car door. The car door light came on, showing everything. As my right foot hit the ground I looked back over my shoulder and I saw his erect cock in his left hand as his right hand tried to grasp my shirt. I hit the ground running. I could hear his whining voice crying out from the darkness,
“Ricci, Ricci, come back. Your are golden. Ricci!”
Thursday, January 21, 2010
There was not a cloud in the sky. The only sound was the crackling fire as it consumed the house I was born in. Flames were eating the attic. The windows were gaping holes of orange flame. It positively glowed.
The stars were visible thru the still leaves of the walnut grove. Burning points in the distant dark sky. The whole universe was on fire.
The night air was pleasant against my skin. I could feel the moisture in the grass underneath me. My arms were crossed over my knees as I watched the old house burn. Luckily, the one working smoke alarm at the top of the third floor stairs had gone off, giving me just enough time to leap thru my bedroom window onto the rough upper branches of the maple tree.
I just kept thinking, well, there it goes. I had no emotion filling me with rage, tears, or devastation. There goes the old house. There goes my old clothes. At least I know how it ended. All those moments, pictures, stuffed animals, board games, diaries, cereal boxes, television sets, birthdays, fights, lies, pillow talk, plans, up in flames. Gone. I was neither liberated nor devastated. I wasn’t stunned. I did feel a slight tickle of amusement as if it was the perfect ironic ending.
I was naked. On the lawn. In the grass. Staring at the moment when I knew my life would change.
There was no one to call. The phone was burned. Ha! The nearest neighbor was 5 miles up the road. Ha! How about if I walked 5 miles naked and barefoot thru cow fields. Oh yes God, that would give them something to talk about! The nearest planet seemed about as far away. Just a quick dash through through empty space, and hello Mars.
Oh. A very loud crash. Something on the second floor fell thru to the first. I think it was my dresser. Goodbye years of goodwill bargain shopping. I will miss your ill-begotten fragrance. I wonder if my bed wood soon follow suit, or if it was now weightless except for jagged glowing box springs reaching skyward.
I heard the engine rumbling down the potholed road. It sounded loose, and its echoes were swallowed by the field grass, and the density of vegetation, the heaviness of god’s hand. A muffled idling creeping closer. I didn’t turn to look at who it was. I knew that engine. The gravel popped beneath the truck tires as he ground the wheel, coming to a stop with no sense of urgency.
The door slammed. I could hear the whisper of his moccasins as he came nearer.
“Hi Ricci. Your house is burning.”
“I know Billy.”
“Where’s your folks?”
“Dads outta town on a business trip, Moms spending the night at Steve’s.”
“Oh. You want my flannel shirt?”
“That would be nice.”
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
She put her hand in her leather jacket pocket. There was sand inside the worn cloth, and tiny shells from the beach. The beach seemed like lifetimes ago. Another person, another woman, had lived that day. That woman had been carefree and tumbling forward towards something sweet and grand. She had been worried about the wind uncurling her sprayed hair, and the sun ruining her complexion.
She placed one foot in front of the other. It was a long road, thru fields of waving grass. Each blade shuddered as the wind tickled it, whispering in a soft and reedy voice.
How circumstance had changed everything.
Her ears were open now, and could hear this subtle chorus. Her soul had been ripped free of its own noise, and now that she was quiet inside, the world was loud and full of meaning.
What answers could I really hope for? Hope was something that other woman had entertained. Now, I just place one foot in front of the other, and listen to the prairie. The flat road crunched under her feet. Mostly she walked on fine dirt, the gravel having long since dissipated from the lack of upkeep. Very few people found themselves on this road. Most just trickled their lives away, trifling distractions leading them away from the finality of a true decision.
She could see the Crossroads ahead. Beyond it was a big storm, rolling low and slow down the prairie. She could smell the moisture, as it mixed with pressure, dust and ozone. The air crackled, the wind panted, slight gusts cutting into the moments of still, low hanging air.
She knew this meant that he was coming. The storm, the pressure, the tension she felt trying to grab hold of her. Her attention fell to the simple sound her body made as it moved forward, this step, then that step.
There is no right answer. Destiny meets free will, and choice spreads out in every direction. Choice meets you at the crossroads. She knew how the crossroads worked. Once you began approaching it, you had better look deep into your heart. There was only this one time to decide, and then life would move forward down its path, enveloping you in the chorus of your new life. But that new life would never hold these choices again.
So she listened to her heart. She let the little girl bubble up, a quick rapture of glee in the face of a cold, hard road. How we become fractured, she thought as she inhaled the heavy air. Different pieces of me, all there, but split apart, light thru a prism.
And then she thought of him. When it was simple, on that beach. It was a gentle laughter she remembered. A simple feeling. There was no choice, just a natural movement forward between them. He laughed, she laughed. And they ate, and drank, and looked forward to a naïve and bright future.
A sigh slipped out. For today was a different day. Time had passed, and things had been unveiled. No more was it simple and natural and obvious. Now life was heavy with decisions, skepticism, doubt, fear, self-loathing and a storm was coming.
She could see his silhouette walking ahead of the gathering storm. Dust devils swirled around him. He was wearing a trench coat, which seemed odd, out of place for some reason. She found herself wondering if this was the same man, or if he had hired someone to take his place.
It was a strange thought, and made no sense. Of course he had to come, himself. That was the way this always worked. Even if he was unaware, and didn’t see the crossroads, he still had to make his own choice.
Her stomach churned, she knew that the decision was his first, and she didn’t like that. She worried that he would make the wrong one, and this chance would slip away, down different paths, different lifetimes. Her choice would come after his.
It wasn’t very far now. The plains were flat, and distance was longer than it seemed, but she could see his shoulders shrugging forward in determination with each swinging stride. The lighting struck out at the clouds, sending fingers of electricity into the looming bellows.
She tried to stop walking, slowing her feet in smaller increments, a sad foreboding stalling her will. Time would not let her stop, and her feet had a momentum of their own. Get it over with, they seemed to say.
“But I feel like that storm, deep in my soul, roiling and tumbling towards oblivion!”
“It won’t be as bad as it seems,” her feet whispered. “At the very least, this will all be over soon.”
These words did not help. The crossroads was a place for dead bodies, it seemed. This was the place they hung people, where you died for your sins. This was not a place of forgiveness, this was a place where life was forever altered, and everything could be lost.
With this thought, she could smell the sweet, sick odor of death. She knew the bodies of the unforgiven lay here, somewhere hidden in the thick prairie grasses. She knew their souls had been ripped from life, and sent down a new road. Bodies left behind.
Many people were nothing but ghosts after coming here. Anyone could become a corpse, leaving this moment separated from all that they were, and all that they had dreamed of being. Forever to wander a hungry ghost lost in this barren prairie.
Choices. Everything came down to that one moment.
Out of the sickness, and the death, the wind, and out of her fear, she stepped into the place where lines of life intersected.
He had arrived before her.
He stood in the crossroads, his trench coat snapping in gusts of air.
The world took a big inhale.
She tasted rust.
“So…?” she said looking into the shadows that were his face.
He looked at her; he seemed to be distilling every ounce of intensity he had into his words.
In the distance behind him she saw scenes of tenderness take shape out of the rolling storm clouds. The dark red-green hue of electrified water vapor formed a gentle caress. Yet, one had the feeling of a goodbye, of something growing distant and small. She felt a coldness begin to settle in her heart, a tightness, as if she was bracing herself. She let this pass, determined to form no resistance to the truth that came out here.
The shadows on his face took a deeper hue, and his eyes flashed, as if he was feeling the very apparition she saw in the turbulent storm front behind him.
“You know I didn’t come here for you to tell me what I am. I came here for you to tell me what is in your heart.” She took a deep inhale, and steadied her gaze on the shifting shadows that his face had become. She noticed the gusts of wind swirling around them, stealing the heat from against her body. Inside she felt a strange numbness, and waves of heat and nausea. Her body was affected by this interaction like a seasick person. She could already feel her spirit loosening and her body welcoming separation like a corpse lost at sea.
She quickened her resolve, and tasted the blood where she was biting her lip.
“We will always be friends. Right now I am overwhelmed with everything.”
When his words found her ears, her mind remembered every light hearted promise, suddenly knowing that hers had been real, and his had been nothing but utterances of passion, beautiful words with no real meaning. It is a pity, she thought, that people think pretty words are poetry. Only a true poet knows, that real poetry is soaked in meaning, sweet bread pudding made from the juicy flavor of sugar and spice. But flowery words cannot unlock the soul, if anything they do nothing but mislead the listener into confusion.
It was a strange thought, that hung in the air around her head, hung in between them like a veil. She noticed his lips were moving, and that he was saying something. She turned her attention to the jargon falling out of his mouth, already realizing the truth without needing to hear the confusion of his language.
She only needed one answer from the lips of this shadowed man. This man that had once been her lover, and her dream, what she thought was her destiny. She could see that he was so lost within his inner worlds of perceived pain, sorrow and distraction. She could not reach him thru his own shadow.
So it is I that must instigate the killing, it is I that must sacrifice this body at the Crossroads. Or he will continue to keep us in the murk of limbo and indecision.
So she drew back the arrow, and felt the string grow taunt in her bruised hands.
“Tell me one thing. Underneath all of your swirling pain and confusion, underneath all the stormy turbulence, the fear, the indecision, underneath all of your humanity, look to your heart, and tell me, are you in love with me?”
His face froze as if in shock, and the shadows drew back as one lone sunbeam landed on both of them. Illuminated, standing in the Crossroads, her hand poised for the execution.
The wind howled, all around them the grass trembled, but right where they stood, the air was still and dead. They were in the eye of the storm.
He looked at her, then his eyes fell to the ground, and he seemed surprised as the words tumbled from his mouth.
She let the arrow fly, and it sunk deep into the chest, stilling the heart's last protest, ripping the veins open. The chest cavity filled with blood, and a corpse was born. A spirit set free.
The sunbeam hovered for just a moment longer, as the final breath was exhausted and a spirit began its ascent to the sky gods.
The two stood there, and looked at the dead body of what could have been. He was shaking slightly, and she realized he hadn’t fully understood what happened here at the Crossroads. She felt calm. Dead calm. Her response had been water running down hill, the natural movement of releasing her hand, and releasing the spirit from what had become a sick body.
He reached out to touch her hand, just as she leaned down to clean up the mess. She grabbed the corpse by the ankles and began dragging it towards the tall prairie grasses. The wind had kicked back up, the eye of the storm had moved on, and rain was beginning to fall. Now she understood why he had come wearing the trench coat. It was made of oilcloth.
The body was surprisingly light, now that it had been released of its burden of life. She easily tossed it into the grass, where it was swallowed up like a penny dropped into a mud puddle. She stood there as she watched it disappear, all her emotions receding. Rain ran down the back of her neck, underneath the collar of her jacket. She could taste the dirt mixing in her mouth with the blood from her lip. It was gritty, and flavored like rust.
“I must be going now. Look behind you.” She gestured to the castles rising up in the distance, great minarets lifting out of the dust and storm.
His attention was immediately pulled away, to the shining castles, to the promise of greatness, acquisition and power that they symbolized. He began walking without even noticing that he had forgotten to say whatever he had meant to say to her.
So it goes.
She watch as his form walked away, the jaunty excited steps moving his shoulders up and down, wrapped in the oilcloth trench coat. She wondered if what he chased was real, or just a mirage that bubbled up out of the dust and confusion of life. For his sake she hoped he found something real.
It is what it is.
She chuckled as she remembered the day she had first heard that saying.
One foot in front of the other, she walked down the prairie road. The storm had stayed just ahead of him, and her direction was clear. The grasses were still, yet she could hear their slightest whispers, and it truly sounded like reedy bells ringing hallelujah.
A swallow dove in front of her, lifting her gaze with the arch of its swoop. Overhead was a beautiful rainbow sitting in the last shimmering air-born droplets. Lifted out of life as it is, unfolding out of the storm that was, and lighting her path as she walked alone thru the desolate prairie.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
His short waterproof jacket barely made it past the top of his pants. It was a cold, northern night. He needed money. For the bus. For a new pack of smokes. His hands rested in his jacket pocket as he caressed the near empty Pall-Mall soft pack. He knew he needed to go somewhere, do something; it was an itch on his mind. But first he needed money, and downtown was the best bet for a stranger’s generosity.
He was waiting in the street outside the restaurant. It was beside a pay to park lot, and even though the restaurant would reimburse patrons that used the lot, the one-dollar charge was often not significant enough to mention. It was only change, right?
His breath filled the cold air, like an idea of smoke dancing in front of him. He tried to hide his irritation. Today his scar was aching more than usual. Whenever he leaned to his right, the skin would protest by sending slivers of pain to remind him of the past he would never escape. A seared mass of skin running from his left nipple to just below his belt line, the scar was constantly rubbed by his ever-tighter clothing.
A couple in their mid thirties stepped out of a big white truck. Her high-pitched laughter played off the cement buildings, an echo of their carefree chatter. It was time for him to run his game. A little bit of truth, a little bit of sorrow; he knew just how to roll the dice with these two. He would play on their sympathy, shooting a vacuous aura of guilt in their direction. After all, it was a cold, dark night and they had just stepped out of a heated new truck, and were on their way to a fine dinner. They owed him something. Their simple, happy lives were not burdened with the scar, and all the memories that its constant tearing shook from him. These were memories he could use, could distill into the perfect facial expression at a moment’s need. This was the power the scar gave to him, the power to feel perfectly at ease slicing into someone else’s world. It gave him the skill, and it gave him the feeling of entitlement.
Wasn’t all mankind subject to the rules of altruism? Wasn’t the ultimate ideal to help those in need, to engage in kind self-sacrifice? Didn’t everyone need to feel good about themselves? Humanity needed to keep buying life, to keep buying self-worth, one coin at a time. And here he was, offering up self-satisfaction and goodwill for a small price. My god, he thought, I am just like a minister, and these happy, carefree souls are my flock. Without me to provide them with this small chastisement, this release of guilt for their silly, lucky, little lives, they would have no salvation. And was not everyone in need of a little salvation?
“Excuse me, do you have a toonie for the bus?” He stepped into the light so they could see the down-turned lines of his face, his sad, aching eyes. So they could see the way he carried the burden of the world in the hunch of his shoulders, could see the way the turn of his head told them his story, that of a good, hardworking, blue collar man down on his luck.
He carefully maintained his clothing so that he didn’t look like a drunken street bum. People considered that look a nuisance, and the guilt they felt was too large and ugly for them to offer up coins. Homelessness made people shudder, pull their jackets tight, and scuttle away. Their harsh judgment or fear overriding the warm sentiment of giving. But he knew what worked. He knew that they wanted to help someone like themselves. Good, honest folk who were just a bit down on their luck, just a little short of bus fare, just about to catch up and be on their feet again. That was his look. Everything about him seemed to communicate, ‘I just need a little leg up here, folks, and then I’ll buy you a round of beers next time.’
“I need to run in and get change myself for the parking payment, sir.” The man walked inside briefly, checking his phone for messages. His date stood in the parking lot and looked at him. His scar ached more than usual in response to her open gaze. She didn’t seem to be responding with a look of pity and self-sacrifice, or with contempt or judgment. She just watched him, with a soft, but keen awareness. He knew he had to continue his act.
He dug his hands out of his blue jacket pockets, releasing the warm comfort of the nearly empty cigarette package, and brought his hands into a cup in front of his mouth. He ceremoniously blew his hot, humid breath into the pocket in between his hands, in such a way that the slight steam swelled around him, making a display of hot air meeting the cold appraisal of night.
Neither her calm gaze or her face flickered in response, no emotion registered, no look of sympathy resolved itself on her face. He knew at this moment he had to win her over. It seemed like she was calling his skill, his one true gift into question. How dare this privileged bitch question him? She didn’t know his burden. She didn’t feel the aching grip of the scar on her world every day. She just stood there, with her perfect simple life, a pretty white girl always taken care of by the white men that wanted to fuck her. How dare she gaze at him and offer him no resolution, no response to his plight?
He accepted the challenge her open eyes gave him. Was she trying to tell him to let it all go, all the gestures, the act, that she saw through his magic show to some hidden truth underneath? Was she trying to make them equals? She could never be his equal. She did not know the weight and pain of his suffering, years upon years of having to be different.
He rubbed his eyes. He thought about asking her if she had any change for the bus. But who knew what the boyfriend would do, and he could walk out any minute.
Couldn’t she feel that his need, pressing against her from ten feet away, was greater than any need she had ever had in her privileged little life? His was the need born of years of begging, in one form or another. The times when he worked, his bosses always screwed him, firing him for their own lack of foresight and skill. His bills were always behind, late charges eating up what little profit he could make. Everyone always taking advantage of his poor position in life to stick him with another expense on top of what they were already owed. A world of bloodsuckers, all of them be damned.
He had found his talent, one hot summer’s night, when he had spent his last toonie on a pint of cheap beer, and had to borrow another one to catch the bus home. This was his gift, and it dawned on him on the long ride home. In the space in between, while he was looking for a way to hold his body so that the jarring of the bus, shock-less and old, wouldn’t shake his scar the wrong way. The ease with which he had been handed that coin, a shared handshake between two brothers helping each other get through one more week in this hard-knock life. What camaraderie, what mirth, what secretive joy had taken seed in his heart. Oh! The ease!! He was reborn that night, with the quiet enthusiasm that a child gets when they peek at their presents weeks before the unwrapping. His scar gifted him all the tools he had ever needed.
He took it to the streets after work, honing his craft, sometimes on the very people he worked with during the day. A free beer here, a lift home there. Change for the bus, borrowed until he cashed his paycheck. Somehow, it never seemed important to pay people back, it was only change anyway, and who was that cheap that they really cared?
His last boss had tried to fire him after the first round of tools had disappeared. But that wasn’t his fault. Someone should have locked the garage door that night. It wasn’t his fault, even though he was last to leave. The supervisor was supposed to check each night that everything was locked down. It wasn’t his fault that the supervisor went home early to celebrate his daughter’s first birthday. Hey, it’s not in my job description. I don’t work security. I’m a mechanic.
But after that the boss had had it in for him. There was no way that old fool could have known he’d been waiting for just that opportunity to make a profit. He worked like a dog all day, and he was taking his bonus. Plus, he was sure tool theft was covered by insurance, and a new set of tools showed up the next day. Although the box they came in had the supervisor’s last name on it. Not his problem, anyway. The supervisor should have followed protocol and done his job.
He got written up three times, twice for being late (but only by 20 minutes, and only cause he missed his bus, not his fault the bus came early on Mondays) and once for forgetting to charge his cousin for the new brakes he had taken all afternoon to install. Hey, she was wearing a low-cut top, and flirted with him the whole time, slowing him down, slurping pop through a straw, and punctuating her short statements with cute little giggles. Not his fault he got distracted, and forgot to get her address or phone number, or even a name on the work order. Not his fault she got in to “try out” the new brakes, and didn’t come back to the shop to pay. He never told his boss that she was his cousin, and lived on Sewell Street, just north of the railroad crossing. Fuck that prick of a boss; he didn’t know what it was like to be nothing in this world but a poor man with a scar and a fucked up story. He needed a little attention from a woman every now and again, even if she was his cousin.
That was how he thought before he discovered his gift. His true power. He could get women now, the same tricks worked on them as on co-workers, friends, and strangers.
Why was she just standing there? Shouldn’t she have gone inside with her boyfriend? Why would he have just left her outside with a stranger asking for money? There was something not right with this couple. They were not behaving, not responding in the manner of good, . Didn’t she know you should not stare at bums? Although it wasn’t that she was staring, she just wasn’t looking away. She just wasn’t giving him any kind of real attention either, any acknowledgement for his plight.
He felt like ripping his shirt off, and running over to her and shouting, ‘See? See what I have had to live with, all these years!!! See the way it is red down here from where my pants cut into it? It never heals!!! It forever scratches at my mind, remember me!! Remember me!! I have no peace, because I cannot forget how this scar came and took up residence in my world!! Do you understand what it is like to live this way? The scar makes me fail; I can never be anything, anything but this!! This is my only success!! This scar gives me sanctuary by granting me the power to make you feel pity for me. Why don’t you have some respect for my pain and pity me?’
He took one step toward her, and just then, her boyfriend came out from the restaurant and walked a straight line to the parking payment booth, sweeping her hand into his and carrying her with him.
The man on the pavement put his hands in the pockets of his blue parka, feeling the reassuring warmth of his near empty cigarette pack, turned on his heals and walked off very quickly.
The girl looked at her boyfriend with those same calm, still eyes, and said, “I think I have a toonie in my pocket, but it is dark and I can’t tell the difference between your Canadian coins.
Would you like to give it to that strange man?”
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Another day has just begun,
but I catch it from the nights turn.
I see my love on a jilted hill
He sits and drinks and sings his fill
To the emptied masses.
I saw you in the underworld,
You were wearing a string of pearls, and diamonds in your hair
But alas, the world had stripped me bare
And I had only sand and broken fingers, standing there
And tangles in my hair.
Do you remember that? Do you?
I saw you there.
An angel at the wishing well
You held a bell that sounded hell
And a cigarette from heaven.
You told me it was rock and roll
That all good things rang their toll
And I should just start living.
I felt a heartbeat in my chest,
This subtle yearning in my breast
to rise and swell, ride and crest
And the waves came crashing down.
Who was I to take the devils call?
I thought I was the bride to hell.
I wished it in the wishing well
But you rang your bell….
And the devil took his drag.
And now again I'm washed ashore
With wrinkled hands and clothes all torn
My hair is dirty and my body sags
I only want to escape this sack
The devil took his drag.
A washed up hag.
I saw you at the wishing well
You held a bell that sounded hell
And a cigarette from heaven.
You told me it was rock and roll
Every single kiss you stole
Every scream, every giggle, every innocent wiggle
oh how our life tickled...
But all good things ring their toll,
As all things holy surely know,
a cigarette from heaven.
The devil takes his drag.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
She said over her shoulder, as she tossed another penny into the wishing well.
He shrugged his shoulders, and stood back. Just watching, as she unraveled a few wishes, and prayed that new ones took their place. He was nervous about something, unsettled, and even though she saw it plain as the wrinkles on his face, she knew he didn't really notice. He just held himself back.
"You wear your pain just a short call behind the shadow in your eyes. You may not see this, but I do."
Another one hit the water, sending ripples out, chasing after other ripples until they splashed against the edge of the wishing well.
"What are you wishing for?" He asked her, and his shoulders moved like he was shaking something off, a little shiver.
"That last one? See how it made a little bigger splash than the one before it?"
He leaned in a little closer, but the water was still, and all he saw was his reflection. Two dark eyes peered back at him. He suddenly felt a chill, like he had stepped into a shadow, and the sun was obscured. He stepped back, glaring at her, and not understanding if she was making fun of him or he had missed something.
"There was no penny." His hurt eyes accused her.
She took a step back, as she dug her hands into the pockets of her soft, brown corduroy pants, looking down.
"Well, I guess I have run out of wishes. Do you wish to share yours?"
He sighed, looking down and kicking the little pebbles on the ground around them, and slipping his hands into his pockets.
There they stood, hands in pockets, looking past each other. The wishing well becoming larger as each moment passed.
"You know, none of us were built to last." She looked at him when the words spilled out of her mouth. She was suddenly shy, kicking rocks and kicking dust.
He looked at her, and couldn't remember why he had ever felt hurt before. Even her sharp parts were consumed by the softness of her spirit. He felt her softness reach inside him, and he began to melt.
And thru all his growing softness, all the rigid fear began to be replaced by an inner strength. The cold knot in his stomach was becoming a warm glow. He could bend and move inside. There was a freedom.
Little pieces were coming loose. He wondered, Am I broken? What are all these little pieces?
Even though he felt so strange, he also felt he was coming home to something. So he let the little pieces do what they may. He sank down into the warmth in his belly.
All this happened in just one moment.
He reached into his pocket, taking out a bright, shiny, copper-colored penny. It was warm in his hand. He could feel the penny's metal all the way down to his toes. It was an odd sensation. The wish was bubbling up from his belly. One bubble, giggling its way up to his fingertips.
His hand found hers, and he pulled her back to the edge of the Wishing Well, crunching on little pebbles, awakening poofs of dust.
He swung his arm, opening his hand and giving the penny a beautiful arch to soar along.
They both watched as his wish left his hand, shiny and bright, tumbling heads over tails. One little penny floated thru air, hitting the center of that calm, clear water.
Prayer met desire, and he remembered how to wish.
Friday, January 8, 2010
in the midst of it all
A long night of talking
How fast people fall
I cannot help but wishing
I didn't wish at all
I cannot help but feeling
I didn't feel at all
I cannot help but thinking
I never said a thing
And that all of these feelings
Never new where to begin
And I cannot help but dreaming
That when I walked into this room
That within a few footfalls, I would be within your arms
I only wish somehow, you had found a way
To love all of me.
just to love all of me....
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I am not she,
that body is empty,
She was set free.
It cuts like a knife
if you position it right
but the past is dead
you can't give it life.
that torn wedding gown,
on top of the hill
is only a scarecrow
wearing my veil
Please don't look for me there
that woman is dead
give her peace, let her be, let her have her rest.
All that is here for you
is only right now,
Don't look over your shoulder
Don't wonder how.
This one moment
this chance to breath
if you look to the past
it only holds grief.
In this moment, I stand on my own two feet
I'll look to your eyes, and maybe they'll meet.
If not, it's forgotten
just dust in the wind
there is always another day for today
so i sang a song to the night
i was hitchhiking thru Omaha
i wanted to paint pictures with my words, my slippery, tiny voice
instead i howled at a silhouette of the moon
it was really a tear drop that stopped my well poised poetry
it slipped down, down, into another American town
a wet tear on a torn white gown
a silhouette of the moon against another blue jean swoon,
filled with closet junkies, christian flunkies, truck drivers and hussies
flippin their faith at the moon
cause Jesus ain't supposed to be of this world
so you flip him around a lot i notice,
Jesus ends up as the conversation cap on many an indulgent point.
i guess his tears never became sand, like all of ours
you say he never howled at that gypsy moon.
or did he?
i like to think he howled as good as the rest of us at least.
Omaha is flat, like a guitar sounds at 3am, after the dew settled
after the cold soaked past the sunshine that was soaked into the grass
after 200 hundred headlights come round the bend back there
and snaked ahead, daring the next sway of the road
daring life to take you away....
Nebraska is America
tears are America
gypsies are America
but the moon is haunting the earth
and she isn't only America
flashing this land back a smile on a mountain rack
chasing ripples across a midnight lake
its quite a scene to overtake.
well, i had big big American dreams
i tried to build a boat to sail them in
but everyday i wake up, and i see the wood lying there
the shell i built wants to float, to be cast out, it knows what it was built for....
but the water would only come in thru the skeleton
sinking swiftly and soundly to the bottom
without the flesh to keep the wet out
it would be home to the urchins and sea grass
you see, like all artists, my dreams need a body
a body to be on the earth, of the earth,
dreams must have a birth, so they can at least be able to Die properly, please .....
so i can rest with them, instead of being driven across this continent by these haunting voices,
so everyday i wake, and it starts to seem like the same day, replay
my jeans a little more worn, my spirit a little more torn
my hands covered in ash, makeup, hair dye,
white rings where my rings rest round little fingers of unrest
white life where something was supposed to unfold, untold
white noise like dissidence,
in the space where melody was supposed to guide harmony
its lost, again
maybe it is the way the prairie waves wash me clean
clean like the gypsy soul that tramps and rides across Nebraska
Omaha was a passing flame, a stolen kiss before i climbed up high
to ride across the prairie into the white noise night of life.....