Friday, June 28, 2013

3 minutes. Go!

The moonlight feels wet and slick on your skin. You shiver and try to wipe the goosebumps away. The taste is still strong in your mouth. A three dimensional taste. Nothing like you imagined. Now, the world begins to pull away from you.

Your eyes are ineffectual decorations. You feel the skin begin to burn now. You picture a man sitting on a tall wooden stool. You don't recognize him. You try to breathe, but the smell of sulphur chokes you. Sickens you. You spill your stomach onto the sidewalk. Oh, Jesus, make it stop. There has to be a way. A way back. You should have dropped pebbles. Maybe if you follow the cigarette butts.

You wake up cold and alone in a park you don't recognize. You shake your hands to get the circulation going. You slap your thighs and start walking.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lego Man

In his pocket, there was a lego man. He turned it over and over in his small, sweaty hand. He could close his eyes and picture it perfectly, detail provided by memory and tactile exploration. He knew she was about to hit him, but he didn't know why. He never knew why. And that was the part that woke him up, sometimes, scream lodged in his throat. He closed his eyes, but he could still smell the sweat and cheap perfume.

Every kid in the neighborhood caught a whuppin' sometimes. It wasn't that he thought it was unfair, he could just never find a connection. When Bobby had stolen the stop sign by the school, he'd gotten a whuppin' everyone heard, but he shouldn't have stolen the stop sign. When Agnes lied and told her dad that someone took her bike - lock still wrapped around the seat post - she'd come the school the next day and sat fidgeting. Everyone knew it hurt to sit.

When Jimmy's mom whupped on him...he pretended to be the lego man, plastic and mindless. Stiff. Face frozen.

Sometimes there was a reason, but rarely. Jimmy tread carefully. She was like a crazy person. Her moods switched on and off like the streetlight no one could ever hit with a big enough rock. One minute she'd be huggin' on him, smiling, telling him he was getting so big. Then, her whole face would change. She'd hit him. Sometimes it was a swat or two. Sometimes it was...more. And he never knew why. And by the time he'd stopped crying and come out of his room, it would be like it never happened. It was doing something to him. He always lost when the boys played 'flinch' now. He was never hungry. He had wet the bed the other night. That hadn't happened in years. That whuppin' had been bad, but he'd had it coming. That's what he told himself while he watched the sheets, giant white flags, flitting in the breeze.

Friday, June 21, 2013

3 Minutes. Go!

Man, if only I could be one of those people who does everything perfectly. Bleach white teeth to frosted Christmas wreath. Unless you're a Jew. That would be unseemly. I'm part Jewish. I don't know what part though.

So, I careen through the world fucking up everything in my wake? Fair enough. That doesn't mean it is intentional. That doesn't make me an asshole.

Green and red birds alight on the window ledge and I'm like 'what the fuck?' We don't have a window ledge. We don't have a microwave. Ain't got no TV. Got me a Nokia that don't take pictures. Every child that passes has a nicer phone than me. But I have wisdom. Right? I know the score? If that's really the whole score I'll drop a staccato assault and steal an iPhone.

Friday, June 14, 2013

3 minutes. Go!

You thrash at sleep. Careful, you will frighten it. Sleep is delicate. Except when it is not. When the back of the drain-dredge brings specters and memories of things you think happened to you. Then you wrap yourself in bulletproof blankets and hold on. Stare at the ceiling. If you stare at just the one spot, there is no way the memories can find you. You must be still. They sense movement. And weakness. And avarice.

The darkness is almost wet, the room is so black. But you can see a crack of streetlight and you wonder at the need for a brightened cone of disrespect. Disrespect to the night and the blackness and the memories which trail after you like a faithful dog, or one who has been struck and doesn't aim to let it happen twice.

Friday, June 7, 2013

3 minutes. Go!

Drive-thru living and scattered memories. I can see her face. She is scared, but there is something that gives her hope. You can see it in the searching eyes. You can taste it in the sweat that touches your lips. Above you both, there is an expanse of blue that threatens to ruin you for Spring days forever. She is telling you about the time that you both went to the ocean. How you swam and body-surfed. You don't remember it, but you don't think about it. Either you can't remember or it was someone else and you don't want to know either way. Life is like that. Slippery and ready to bite you when you're not looking. A predator lurking in the shadows of your imperfect reflection. Soak it in, embrace it, this is the rest of your life. Wondering. It may kill you. It may not. Something will. Does it really matter?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Breaking Dawn

Dawn dropped her eyes and let them wander until they came to rest on a carpet smudge. Some old paint or mud or dog shit. She was trying not to blink because she did not want the tears to leave her eyes. She picked deftly at her left cuticle. It was wet, and she knew she had made it bleed. She shoved her hand in her pocket, but the movement was too sudden. It broke the monologue that had been going strong for 45 minutes. She looked up at her mother's face, twisted with a sick, red sheen.

"Take your hand out of your pocket, Dawn."

The girl reluctantly presented her hand, waiting for the slap. It didn't come. Dawn took this as a very bad sign.

"Why do you do this shit, Dawn? How am I supposed to explain it?"

"Lots of kids bite their nails."

"That's true. But you don't bite your nails. You tear your cuticles off until they bleed. You're doing it right now! What am I supposed to tell the other mothers? And not just about your fingers. You pull your hair out. You can't walk through a room without touching all the green things. YOU CAN'T GO TO SLEEP IF IT'S AN ODD NUMBERED DAY! That's odd. That's fucking odd!"

"I don't mean to do it."

"Nonsense. That is all utter nonsense. You do this for attention. You do it to embarrass me. You do it so the other mothers can talk about us. Do you see the other girls? The pretty girls? The girls who will get asked to prom because they aren't crazy drama queens that cut themselves..."


"Don't fucking lie to me. I know you do it and I know why. You want to hurt me that badly? You want to embarrass us more? After all I've done for you. You drove my husband away because he didn't want to be around you."

"Mom, Dad didn't leave because..."

The slap was sharp and reverberated in the small apartment, but neither of them acknowledged it.

"Am I going to have to send you away? Is that what you want? It is, isn't it? Your precious fucking father left and now you pretend to be crazy so I'll make you leave..."


This time the slap had a bit more menace to it, but Dawn didn't care.

"How dare you raise your voice to me! Go to your room. Immediately."

Dawn ran up the stairs with her heart pounding. She wasn't sure that she would be able to wait. She picked at her cuticle and scratched her arm until it bled. Finally, she heard her mother in the bathroom and then the apartment was silent. Dawn texted Jimmy. One word: "NOW". Dawn grabbed the backpack she had stowed in the back of her closet. She met Jimmy at the end of the block where the engine of his truck was quietly idling.

"You sure you want to do this?"

"Drive. She called me crazy. I'm not crazy."

"No, you're not crazy."

"We're going to be happy in Reno, right Jimmy?"

"Well, she won't be there."

Dawn slid to the middle of the bench seat and rested her head on Jimmy's strong shoulder. She fell asleep while letting Jimmy's words wash over her. She won't be there. She won't be there. She won't be there. She won't...