Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jumped In.

He felt the air leave his stomach and crumpled to his knees.  The world began to spin.  A kick to the head...it was like a bucket of ice water.  He could hear distant shouts and wondered what he was doing.  Everything was stop-motion.  He wanted out.  That was all.  He wanted to become weightless...to float above the dingy streets and look down upon the smiling monuments.

He could taste blood.  He curled himself into a ball and absorbed the blows, covering his face with fingers like tide pool tendrils.  It did not hurt anymore.  It was just a mass of confusion.  He felt himself lift.  His body was not a part of him.  His heart was aching.  He knew that he would never be able to forgive this.  And he knew that his inability to forgive would destroy him.  Blacken his soul.

It was not what he had expected.  He could not imagine standing up, arms raised like half-mast flags.  He could not imagine hugs or pats on the back.  He did not want it to end because then it would be real.  He wanted to stay, curled and beaten, unable to question his choice.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Fevered, I wrap myself in lies and absolutions.  I am not what I am, but a sum of the sad cliches that have led me onward.  Truth falls around me, gathering at my feet like a technicolor dream coat.  You lie?  Of course you lie.  I lie?  Sometimes, indeed, I do.  I am made of thatch and rosemary.  I am hidden from your view and lost in a forest of deceit.  I want nothing.  I need nothing.  Shadows morph into phantasms too dire to contemplate.  I tear at my skin.  I am on a quest for destruction.

Green pastures.  I remember them well.  They are memories, crushed now with skyscrapers, ash, and soot. All has been sullied.  Nothing pure remains.  I feel the needle deep in my vein and hold on for one more day.  One more chance to betray myself.  I will take it gladly.

You think I don't remember.  But I do.  In bits.  In drabs and scraps.  I remember summer fields of alfalfa and innocence.  They mock me now.  They disgust me.  I will lie in my room.  I will let the weight of lost abandon press upon my chest.  I will try to breathe and fail and my heart will pound with the sound of defeat.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Free refills.

He sat, unflinchingly, in his hard wooden chair with a lukewarm cup of coffee in front of him, the paper edges turning sewage brown.  In his hands, he held a book.  He was trying to read the book, but could not concentrate.  He was trying to drink the coffee, but did not like coffee.  It was the cheapest thing on the menu.  And there were free refills.  And this happenstance allowed him to sit for hours, trying to read, pretending not to steal glances at the girl making the coffee.

He was young.  That was part of it.  He did not see value in himself.  He felt small and weak, like a freshly hatched chick.  He looked the part, too.  He was thin and birdlike, with soft, thin down upon his head.  She was about his age.  Maybe older.  There was something fierce about her.  If he was a chick, she was a Peregrine Falcon.  She wore vintage clothes that seemed mismatched but weren't.  She had tattoos on her arms.  He did not know what the tattoos were because he could not see them with his averted eyes.

He felt foolish.  All the hours spent in the cafe, pretending to read, drink, live.  He occasionally worked himself into a feverish state...convinced himself that he would just talk to her for god's sake.  It wasn't like she was better than he was.  Or was she?  Was her towering confidence superior to his life inside his mind?  He knew he was not a bad person.  If he was a person.

He sometimes doubted his own existence.  It was like a house of cards.  He got lost in philosophical labyrinths that led to more self-doubt.  More self-loathing.  Then, he would decide that it was all futile anyway.  He was perfectly content to drink tea and read in his apartment.  But if this was true, why the facade?  Why the lukewarm coffee?  He lied to himself and, this too, made him question his existence.

After months and months, he decided it had to end.  He walked to the cafe, his sneakers slapping the sidewalk.  He was going to talk to her.  If it didn't work, so be it.  The stasis was killing him.  He felt strong in his resolve.  He felt the sun on his shoulders.  He felt a kind of pride welling up in him like a storm wave.

He turned the corner and his resolve grew stronger.  He knew exactly what he would say.  And how he would say it.  One part Jimmy Stewart, two parts Bogart.  He might have to start smoking.  When he opened the door, the cafe was the same as always.  With one small difference.  She was gone.  Without asking the man with the goatee behind the counter, he knew that she was gone for good.  He actually laughed out loud.  It was comical.  All that money spent on coffee.  All the emotional turmoil.  At least the refills had been free.

He stepped out of the cafe and into the liquor store next door.  He did not know what brand of cigarettes to buy, so he looked at the man behind the counter, put on his best Stewart/Bogart and said, "Surprise me."