Pale pink sadness
The smell of pennies filled the tiled floors and fluorescent lights with a thick, wet urgency that seeped from the cracks in the pale pink walls and weighed heavily on her broken wings. Blind heat shone through her fractured ribs and quarts of quarters billowed out between her lips. With her hands slick with metal and eyes tired with lead she began to slip; falling into comforting cool darkness that reminded her of the feeling of your temple pressed to a glass on the road to nowhere on a subway train or a car filled with people you've known all your life but have never really known. Her heart flew out of chest and reached up her throat. She could almost make out her own voice catching on the air as she gasped for redemption.
Crescendo Crescendo Crescendo.
Grey Clouds & Bleak Haunts
I've spent my life,
Not dreaming of grandeur or wondrous splendor;
But a world in which those around me are happy and fulfilled.
A horse heart,
In a room full of blades,
I'm left without success,
Each laceration another echo of failure and sadness,
Oozing into reality from within.
Each sunny and jovial hullo,
Stomped mercilessly into the dirt,
Ground down teeth set upon the scraps,
Masticating into oblivion.
This is the world,
Where we live,
With a smile,
Forced and misleading,
Those of us who truly do care.
The Knife and The Mirror
That reflection. That utterly abhorrent reflection, always staring back. Piercing deep within my eyes, falling further within the blackness of my pupil, crawling into my mind with nervous apprehension. The outline of this physical existence breaking light from between the mirror and the wall, warping this reality. I watch the blood pumping from the common through the external, then finding a bifurcated place to hide within. The pulse is slow and steady, yet my hands tremble. The tip of the blade is clearly seen from the mirrors edge, welcoming and cold.
I shut my eyes, and see the blade's edge kiss my flesh, severing it from itself, releasing my crimson soul. I see my soul splash upon floor and sink, showing utter disregard for it's destination. My eyes open again, and at once I am transported back, standing in front of this reflection. The sharpened features, the scarred and discolored flesh, an absolute abomination in every way. The peppering of grey among the jet black mane, the stress made into physical markers.
I shut my eyes, and see the blade's edge bless my flesh, from shoulder to chest, exposing my heart and lungs. Such paltry flesh, such tender morsels, clutched together like frightened birds in a cage, spasming out of sheer terror of the light emanating from the outside world, too bright to allow any understanding. My eyes slowly open, and I stand in front of this reflection once again, and now it's smiling. Smiling at the thought of watching the soul seep from this mortal vessel, unto the ground and returned to mother earths warm embrace. Those murky brown eyes squinted ever so slightly in devilish thought.
What could he possibly see that I cannot? What could he possibly understand that I do not? How could he ever believe that we are not equal in our endeavor?
His hand reaches out towards mine, and I see that they are battered and worn, as are his arms, cut and torn from years of fighting. His shoulders, rubbed raw from carrying the burden of a thousand lives and lies. Every inch of his flesh discolored and dry, seeming to almost flake away at the weight of my eyes upon it. A sudden rush of adrenaline causes our eyes to meet again, and I see where his hand has gone. It was never meant to reach out to mine, but to reach toward the blade upon the sill. I look deep into his eyes and see his true intention, to bless that which is so beautiful, to destroy the beauty of this gift, to see this soul drained from its clay warrior. He flashes a smile, and somehow it floods me with a serene feeling of release. The burdens slide from his shoulders, his skin clears and becomes almost fluid. The grey disappears amidst the jet black of his mane, his smile drifts from his mouth. His eyes lose their fire, and he staggers ever so slightly, gripping the porcelain edges of the sink feverishly. His lips part just long enough to pantomime a scream, yet no sound ever enters my ears.
He drifts to the floor, eyes darting wildly in terror, the soul pouring from his neck and chest, cursed by gravity to ever fall towards the earth, the very same earth that created every molecule of his being. The light bends less and less as he falls from sight.
My eyes lose focus and he falls from my vantage point, and a swirling feeling overcomes me. I lose my vision for just a moment as the universe engulfs my every atom.
As I return, I look up to see another standing there. This individual is vastly different than the one before. Our eyes meet, and they extend a kind aura to me. They comfort my every ache and pain and anxious thought. Their hands caress every inch of tattered flesh, bringing life to it once again. The voice is soft and distant, yet somewhat greater in every second that passes...
It's becoming deafening, and quickly becoming intelligible.
My eyes slowly open, and see where the blade's edge has torn my flesh. The mirror seems a million miles above. The sink a rosy pink with accents of the original white skirting every streak and spot, the ceiling still pure as driven snow. The light bends around her frame, the very physical frame that carries her soul, the frame that bends the light and stops it from reaching the ceiling. Her eyes leaking anger and relief, her hands holding the open edges of the lacerated flesh, staving off the crimson stream.
I lie there, in my own blood, and all I can see is the hurt in her eyes as I attempted to fool that terrible and arrogant bastard in the mirror. The next fucking time I'll show him what I truly meant to do.
Ace of Spades
I've helped her more than a few times in the last couple months, stowing groceries into the gigantic trunk of her Ford Galaxy. "Thank you, young man. It gets a little harder every trip to get all these bags up and into the trunk." Mrs. Webbe said jovially. I smiled quietly as she hobbles to the driver door. "If you don't mind me asking, why do you get so many groceries?" She froze for a moment, nearly going unnoticed. Her eyes were closed and she had a somber smile under them. "I spent 68 years making dinner for two with my Herb, and I forget every night that he isn't there in the living room in his chair, waiting for my kiss on his cheek and a steak on the table. There's just some things you can never not do, especially after so long."
The bond between a man and his dog is something that you can almost taste at a distance. An ethereal tendril connects them, pumping love and devotion and loyalty betwixt.
There's a silent knowing in the look they share, every outing a mission in staying alive and together.
Thousands of years of parallel evolution and dependency intertwined with necessity and survival.
No matter the length of time or distance between them, there's a deep, ancient need to be together.
Bones is my dog.
I'm his best friend.
He teaches me patience and nurturing.
I teach him how to survive in the city.
He makes me smile with every wet nose pressed against my forehead in the early morning.
I show him how much I love him by spoiling him with a thousand toys.
There'll be a day when I come home, and he won't be there. I'll smile at the memory of him greeting me at the door like it was the first time, every single time, no matter how long I was gone.
I'm sure I'll drop a tear onto my cheek, the same cheek he would've licked to cheer me up after a bad day. I'm sure there'll be a day he'll be a distant memory.
For now, he's the greatest weapon against the bad things in the world, and I'll be his best friend for his entire life.
I'll love him no matter how ornery he gets or how crazy he is when he's been cooped up for too long.
I'm his steward.
Together, and the time we share will be something worth fighting for, because he will never stop loving me more than himself.
And I'll love him more than I love anything on this Earth.
Parched dirt contrasts to the oily asphalt on the road that I live on. An old rail yard transmogrified into a new suburb installation. The top soil is teeming with life, while the old ground below glows gently with the waste spilled over half a century. The houses pop up overnight, yet it's still a desolate avenue next to an old neighborhood.
The mornings have a hum of slow, boiling work. Radios blaring the chitchat of disk jockeys discussing traffic and sports, while union builders trundle up and down the skeletons of the future strip mall.
There's no view better than from the overpass. One side, the height of luxury, big and expensive houses with expensive cars parked in the driveway. On the other, an industrial road, paneled with companies creating or destroying products. A dilapidated sidewalk, covered in trash and filth, constantly commuted upon by vagrants and the homeless, searching for recyclables and a safe place to rest for the night.
Without a second glance, the wealthy pass by it, never acknowledging the destitution, while they gorge themselves on overpriced instant coffee drinks and non-gmo burritos crafted by college students.
Even I am guilty of overlooking it. I walk through it on my way to work everyday, and never give it a second take. I'm sure you're guilty of doing nothing too.
Big City Nights
…I’m bound by obligation. It’s the same as before, only now more gruesome, though mercifully fleeting. I watch her thick calves. She’s cooking something among the filth, the spilled and dried beans across the counter, the months-old cups and glasses filled with things horribly changed from what they were. Her cat runs over and takes a swipe at my dog. He looks at me with an eyebrow raised. I slam three glasses of wine and open the other bottle. I’m too tired to go anywhere else. I look at her ass wedged into her skirt. In her photos she was much thinner, much thinner. I owe her a fuck, though. I know it, she knows it, and Satan knows it. For the last 18 months we’ve been exchanging naked or near naked phone pictures. She got her taxes back early and sent me money for gas. I drink the wine and notice a pipe packed with weed on the table, next to a dried puddle that could be chocolate milk or beer. I tap it and look at her from my chair. Her broad back turns and she smiles at me, “Of course. I never smoke it, but I get it for some reason.”
I fish a lighter from the wreckage and light the bowl. She turns and keeps cooking. Her giant body is locked into my peripheral view. I think about her photos while I hold the hit. The devil whispers: It’s all in the angles, motherfucker. I nod at the living room and blow a cloud toward it. From the end of the pipe there are busted blinds, hairy carpet stained and uncared for, her belongings scattered across the place. I smell the thick and hot odor of cat shit from the bathroom. I follow it to the door. The litter box is full and spilling over with clumps of saturated grains and piles of feces. I piss, flush, and look at the tub. It’s dirty to the point of disturbing. I lived across the country as a kid, I stayed with junkies and punk rock rejects, I lived in the worst shit holes of New York City, Los Angeles, and the towns and scenes in between, and I have never been so repulsed. A rat crawling across the floor would give the place some dignity. I’ve been here for a total of twenty minutes and I’m already more drunk and high than I’ve been in a year. She sets the plates down. I don’t register what she’s made, but I eat it with her. Under the table, she runs the toe of her pump up my shin, “What are you thinking?”
I think she lives like an animal, but I tell her the food is delicious and I’m really stoned and happy to be out of San Francisco, which is true. I eat, drink, and smoke two more bowls until she’s bargained from her weight.
She’s on her back. Her legs are massive, pale flanks and they’re spread, bent at the knees. I’m looking down through the moonlight, which is fucking bright enough to beat the dark, and I see her naked, morbidly obese body and the reality hits my cock like tomahawks, but I keep going. The moon shines in the window and it makes a rolling neon marquee in purple, and the marquee spells words like fat, failure, rock bottom and suicide, and I let it roll while I keep going. I ask her to get on all fours. She manages the move and I’m moving in and out of the flanks. Her hair’s short and she’s grunting. My hips propel waves of fat over her back. I think about my father digging a trench. I had a job with him in Arizona on the same crew two years after my mother died. He’d been homeless until a fat woman herself took him in and bought him new teeth and health. He was lifting weights in the backyard during that time, and his body had become servile with bulk muscle and bad labor jobs. I’d moved into their place for a short time and we’d gotten the job together. The weed is strong and I’m looking down at her, pounding away while the devil whispers in my ear again: Look at you now, motherfucker, fucking the flanks of your father. He’s dead now, have some goddamn respect. Shame on you, motherfucker, shame... I have to stop and lay on my back, while she puts her weight on me and shuffles herself forward and back above my hips. Her stomach is anchored upon mine, and I hold strong and look at the window. There has to be more than this. The love I’ve lost because of jail, the traps I’ve sprung on myself because of my hatred for the workforce. All the people who read my work and write reviews and send me letters are in their warm living rooms, two cars in the garage and maybe one in the driveway. Shelves full of permanence embedded in photos, in proud souvenirs of commitment, rooms of furniture and success. It’s bad thinking, the city says to me. You’re a fucking writer, you’re a writer who lives your art, streamlines through the lies with beauty and fists. You suffer nothing you’re unaware of, boy. You alone create your living nightmare. Stand up and shake off the filth, the hot liquid shame that has found you at birth. There is something out there, boy, something in the world is moving in on you, something to find and keep you, to bring you home for good.
She’s wailing now, her head is back and she’s wailing at the ceiling, “HOLY FUCK! I’M COMING! YOU SON OF A BITCH I’M COMING!” She presses her fat palms into my chest, quivers then collapses onto me. I exhale quietly and deeply to support her weight. A big leg finds the floor and she presses off me and walks to the bathroom. I unroll the condom and jack off thinking about the girl who poured my coffee in Medford.
The coffee grounds brown of the floor glistens with an old polish, worn from the feet of weary commuters and early birds. The pungent perfume of fresh arabica beans soak the air, as they are boiled, mashed, steeped, and tossed about.
In the early hours, especially in the wintry weather, the transit of seemingly floating orbs of lights stream by quietly and uniformly, each after the other. As soon as the neon begins to glow, the world is strutting along the avenue, already deep in its quotidian.
Friday night! The little shop is teeming with occupants, each with a softly steaming cup, decorated with cream and sweets, decadently adorned with extra flair. The hushed tones turn to excited and exuberant chatter as the events of the evening are recounted. A happening music venue, a run in with the band, and preferential treatment all abound as the lucky listeners reiterate again and again, to any and all eager ears in shot.
The door is light in my hand, a glass pane with a thin wood frame, yet still more than enough to enclose the shop comfortably. My quiet steps towards the counter are a welcome sound to the staff. Smiles abound, and niceties traded. Ordered and paid for, my coffee comes in a sturdy recycled and plain paper cup, and escorted with utmost care into my possession. A warm welcome to indulge a sweet caffeine tooth.
Death has come calling,
Do not fear,
Elysium awaits you,
Where you can tend your land,
Mend your fences,
Break your horses,
And live with love for all time.
I, for one, shall envy you,
Until my day has come,
We can both talk of those small things again,
And share a drink in the evening light.
The Light and the Lime
There's something not quite right tonight. Looking down at my own hands, they look like they don't belong to me. A surreal aura penetrates deep within me, causing the world as I know it to melt. The lights on the ceiling turn into distant and dim stars, and the floor below me moistens to a shallow seashore. The voices from the people around me break into cacophony of shrill seagulls. The perfume of citrus and roasted almonds waft between my nostrils.
Suddenly, the waters rush high over my shoulders and it all turns to nothingness. I'm lost within my own internal universe, where nothing is real, but a copy of a copy of what I remember. I drift along in the calm waters, letting my new life deep into my pores.
The lights return. I'm in a bed, but there's a feeling of powerlessness. I try to open my mouth, but nothing comes out but a gurgle and a squeak. The nurse looks at me as though I've transformed into a sloth. Her words traipse into my ears and slip down my throat. I cock my head and the room goes dark once again.
This time the calm sea is in a tumult. Writhing and wrenching this way and that, with no reprieve in between. I nearly drown in memories that are slammed together. My first car is my best man at my wedding. My sister is the dean of my college handing me a bowling ball with a paycheck etched on it. It all swallows me up and tears me apart in its splintered maw.
The light comes back, dull and hazy. My wife sits next to the bed, grasping my paw, talking of asphalt and aluminum siding and how it's much more nutritious than the neighbors lawn. My mouth opens for a second time in what seems to be an eon. The legs to the coffee table reserved a flight to my grandmothers den. My wife holds me close and tears burn into the sheet covering my chest.
We'll all be Lakers once you break that credenza.