Split Ends and Spleens
Product of the 12/10/2023 Prose Writing Zoom Workshop. The prompt was "A study of divergence and convergence". @Schatz, @Shells, @Ledlevee, @putski and @MeeJong each wrote a paragraph in a disorderly fashion until the story was purged from our collective minds.
I used walking as time to think. People asked why don’t I take a bus or catch a ride with a friend but the truth was, I relished the time I walked. I tuned in to the spaces around me and felt the day to day changes in my person. Some days felt light and happy and I practically skipped. Some days felt dark and heavy and I half ran to get to a safer place. But no matter what, the experience of walking the walk helped me feel connected in a way had trouble feeling otherwise.
It was so hard to feel connected when we first split apart. You were my soul mate, my other half. I didn’t know what I’d do without you. Especially with the bus fares going up. It was a time of darkness, split ends, and dread. I hate having split ends.
I watched you walk away. Bags in hand and teary eyed. You'd turned to look at me, a silent goodbye. The Greyhounds lights were blinding.
You told me our paths would converge again. You were so certain. But I felt nothing of that. I felt loss and emptiness and a void where I felt light and love and how does one reconcile that? I needed you like air. Now what would I breathe? Just this stale feeling of loss day after day ad infinitum?
So I turned to drugs and alcohol, downers mainly I scored in Kentucky. From the poor folk. ’Course I felt deep, dark, and lonely. Unconnected with life, disconnected with my self. Split ends ragged I call it. With and nothing left to lose, at least money that’s fer sure, I left Kentucky to sew my life back together.
The interstate was dismal. Dark and bleak and overwhelming. The passing cars hummed a song of broken dreams and broken hearts. Split ends that burned my soul. I wanted the ache inside me to stop, the heaviness inside took over and the exit sign drew me in. I pulled into the liquor Mart, did a line and went inside. The numbness overtook me and I knew I needed to run.
Can you ever outrun numbness? I tried, but the running brought more. Every exit, roadside stop, next hit, everything I tried brought me right back to where I started. Why does everything converge where I just want to split? Why can’t I forget the pain and find new joy? How do you create what you have lost when all you feel is destroyed?
’Least the coke was better than the trash crap I scored in Kentucky. Liquor Mart had a kick ass selection too. Not a bad exit choice really. Hair still looked like hell though, like a Hell Hair Kentucky Train Wreck.
The headlights drilled into my brain, addled with drug and drink. Your eyes were all I could see. The split ends converged into nothingness. The steady beat of Robert Johnson's blues echoed through the night air. I was too high to know the difference between here and there .
My mind has never allowed me real connection. Looking back the loves I thought I had were all forced, or lust disguised as love. And maybe now I’m too old to change that. So I’ll seal off the split ends with weed and broken dreams. With a shattered family and a split life. With glimpses of sex when I can find them. And I’ll fill my time with words and music and kids when I have them. Lost and spinning like a dervish. Barreling towards some unseen oblivion, some shadowy end hiding past the winter horizon.
But maybe a singular perspective is the divergence of reality. What if beginning to understand a more collective mind, to draw one’s own reality from more than just one’s own perspective, is the path to true understanding. What if I am not running away from things but toward a future that’s brighter than I can imagine right now?
So I decided to become a writer, a song writer that is.
This was my Entrez Vous (in A minor):r said he loved me
(Song missing) - there was a song, wasn't there @schatz?
Cocaine eyes and Mama's sordid smile. Roadside motels and haunted dreams. Random Fucks and Mr Walker kept me warm. I was lost out there. Cum stained words and missing parts. Like a ghost you held me. In some suspended sense of time and space and meaning. I fought the urge to call you. Humbled and on my knees. I walked and walked and walked until the clear numbness hit me...I couldn't out run us and the split ends grew longer and longer. Wrapping their tentacles around my heart, my spleen and my cunt.
Sometimes I feel like I’m the ghost. Like I’ve never really been alive. And I’ve faked life with alcohol at times, ecstasy, lsd, and weed. Cocaine and anything else I could get my hands on. Sex and sex and music and more sex. Poetry and words and more all night fucking. Sinking through the night and the morning into places and times no one should ever be. The surreal unrealities at the edges of perception.
At the next exit, the gas ran out. I began walking again. This time far from the city lights, far from the familiar. An old two gallon red plastic jug, with a reversible spout, a handful of change from the change holder, and a pair of worn shoes. That is all I had to continue on. Blow and bourbon and smoke got me to here. Sneakers, change, and hope would get me further. I don't even remember what the sign said near the exit. 2 miles, 5 miles, I can only hope it was the former. I trudged like a wounded warrior hoping for a ride from a Valkyrie. A thumb and gas can my only weapons to fulfill my mission.
Here’s where we find out whether fate is a whore or an angel. Or a combination of the two. A car slowed, eyed me up and down, and sped back up. I wondered whether I would even pick me up at this point. A motorcycle stopped. “Hop on, I’m getting gas anyway.” “Much obliged, Man, much obliged.” He stared at me for a second and then shrugged. I hopped on and wondered about fate.
He didn’t realize it, but he had shrugged at his demise. I jacked his ass and rode off on his cycle. Fucking Kawasaki. Found another exit to my liking, set down roots, and became a hairdresser. Damn sure good one too. Best in the county. No split ends ‘round here, Mama Fucka! Not at Kentucky Girl Crimper’s Coiffure Hair Salon. Redundant, yes, but all mine. An entrepreneur, an AA graduate, an amateur songwriter, and working fewer hours at the strip club, I was feelin’ proud. Proud, but lonely as a wart.
I heard the Devil's prayer for me. An old ass bitch with silver hair. She called my name and settled in. Just a trim and what was left of my soul. I yearned for you as the scissors clip. Split ends falling down to the ground. Like gossamer fields of grey. I saw your eyes in her mind, I gave in and stepped away.
Where was I led, by the gossamer thread? Is this you, possessed, or possessed by you? The touch was familiar, but still through a stranger. Am I pulled to you, to death, to both, or is this simply a pleasure I had forgotten. Simultaneously, I am lost and found. A new foal and old goat, both in competitive cooperation. I moan in unison with the whistle of a passing train.
The surreality of night and drugs envelops me as I am lost in the ecstatic drowning of orgasmic passion. Her eyes are kaleidoscopic mandalas. The ceiling is a purple haze of portals and spinning demons and angels. My mind is lost in the insanity of psychedelic color and explosions of imagination as I try to find my footing on the cliff ledge of eternity.
And then I forget to care about my footing and drop from the cliff like an autumn leaf. The wind blows and my eternity becomes one moment. It blows again and the moment becomes infinity. I unlearn all I knew and relearn all I didn’t. It blows again and I hit the ground.
Southern skies and faded memories. The re-education of my mind. The split ends had disappeared. Running down my spine. Kentucky fried tits and reckless nights. Run together like the gentle breeze of you and I. There is nothing here but infinite nights. I call out to you in the dark. An American Whore battle scared and beaten. Lysergic moments of peace flow in and out like falling leaves.
Should I fight? I have pleasure. I have peace. Even a repeating pattern of this is more than my prior life offered. Your lips, my lips, your pleasure, my pleasure. The infinite sigh of relief. I close my eyes and succumb.
And am flushed through the dark pipes of hell and heaven and reality and imagination. Black and rainbow flash and darkness and falling and tumbling like Alice through the rabbit hole. And then the universe shits me out into the sewer of broken dreams. Everything disappears except the blast crater I’m now stuck inside.
I reach for the outside as I torment my insides. Everything seems just outside of my grasp so I just keep trying to get higher and higher so maybe, someday, I can reach it. It is the answer to my broken heart, to my multitudes of questions, to my unfinished art. It is that thing I see in her, in him, in you, but can’t find in myself, for the life and death of me.
I searched for naught. Like the scene fading to black in a celluloid screen. Crackling and on fire. I think of you. Touch myself to old ass memories of you and me and midnight fucks.
Alone, in the dirt. I sense you close. A single seed, sprouting through me. A convergence of my protection, my nutrition, and your new growth, new spirit. Together we can push upward toward the light. Spreading our wings, together. I will nourish you. You will feed me light. Together, our love reaches out, to the sky, to the Sun.
A mirror breaks and I realize we are one. I am you and you are me. And I fly like a Phoenix with burning wings, an explosion of life into the midnight sky. And I will fly alone, the pieces of myself finally finding themselves together again as a jet stream of red and orange and yellow write my name in words of love over clouds and darkness.
Write, speak, watch, listen.
Did You Know
can taste like
and scraped knees
can look like
the strangest shadow
in a patch of trees
can feel like
and weak knees
can sound like
in thousands of degrees
instead of pedigree
I train my senses
to follow these
Raindrops replaced tears as she traced memories along the window. I lent her my hand while I drove. Her reflection revealed the weight of the past year. Silhouettes camouflaged her face; our daughter’s ghost stained it— a flood damming at the corners of her eyes. She’d been strong until today, the anniversary of Anastasia’s murder. I parked adjacent to a dimly lit warehouse, interrupting her mournful trance.
“Where are we David?”
“You’ll see. I’ve gotta surprise that’ll cheer you up. C’mon.”
We entered through the backdoor. Before us sat our daughter’s killer tied up, a red bow around his neck.
he wakes his love
over lush surface
she feels his insistence
a building deluge
that can no longer be denied
his love unbound
as she achingly pulls
every aqueous droplet offered
into her substratum
for she knows
this is life itself
spent, he deeply inhales
the rising aromatic nectar
of their liaison
upon her landscape