Tuesday, August 29, 2006

where everybody knows your name...

He slams back a shot of whiskey. And then another. And then another. And then another. In quick succession, in the wink of a hummingbirds eye, he burns through forty dollars worth of booze. He wipes his sleeve with a mischievous grin, looks up at me, "another."

I set down the bottle of Kentucky's finest and ask " And why shouldn't I cut you off? In a civilized world, you'd have been cut off a long time ago."

Without saying a word he whips out a wad of cash - I can only surmise a roll of hundreds - he carefully peals one off and gingerly sets it on the bar next to the half empty bottle and the row of empty shot glasses. He looks me square in the eye and replies: " Because the gravy train has rolled in... and I'm the conductor."

I match his gaze for a split second, feigning thought... feigning internal struggle... but it's for just but a second and it's just for show. I deftly snatch the bill off the counter like a coked-out stripper grabbing a five spot. " O.K, have it your way chief." I pour another shot.

I continue, " So what's your story? You've been sitting at my bar for several hours now pounding drink after drink with no end in sight. Let me guess... assisted suicide?"

He slams the shot of whiskey, pauses, then suddenly coughs... the dry, raspy cough of an unrepentant chain smoker. " Suicide? No." In a hoarse voice. " I died a long time ago. I'm a ghost. A whisper. An afterthought. I'm the cool breeze on the back of your neck. I'm the fading dream you hope to forget."

" Ooh, I love dramatics." I toss my dish-towel under the bar and lean forward, my chin thoughtfully propped up on my fist. " You have a name?"

" Do you have a name?"

I point at my chest. " Says so right here on my tag."

" Marvin? You don't look like no Marvin."

" And you don't look like no ghost."

I pour another shot. His pale eyes widen. " Uh-uh, this one's for me my friend."

Monday, August 21, 2006


There was a time my emotions were turned inside out, when I’d selfishly air my dirty laundry, with an impetuous shake, for the entire world to read with just a few strokes - a litany of triumphs, a host of low notes, and cleverly disguised key players frozen in time, mid-pose, like characters in a Rembrandt. Never me, never mind, but leaving just enough clues hinting at what could be.

Wandering, machete in hand, through the capacious undergrowth of sticky vine - a jungle of unsorted, unfiltered, undiluted memories. Memories. Sweet yet at the same time bitter like a twist of lime and a dash of salt. Salvation comes in many forms. Such as shot after shot of cheap whiskey lined up in a neat little row, or the small mountain of Pabst cans chilling in a rusted tin washtub sweating in the noonday sun, or a syringe full of lethal, blissful, bittersweet junk. Salvation waiting but never appearing, eyeing the horizon, waiting and waning as wave after wave of tumultuous memories slap me across the face... and only turmoil remains. Failure to act. Failure to "see things through" as my daddy used to always say. A handsome young man, impetuous and brash, never realizing what he had until the day he awoke from life.

A dream. As phantasms… no not phantasms but headless voices, wander in and out through a revolving door. Characters in a play appearing as if on cue and then exeunt with a bright flurry or conversely, without speaking a word. I used to interact with these characters speaking in tongues like a Delphic oracle round and round together through the motions. But now I dumbly sit and cradle my arms, my emotions have now shifted outside in. And lately, only numb. Zoloft , Prozac, and Paxil cloud my thoughts like a gray curtain of dense fog.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

tiny shard of kryptonite

Helpless. You are the one who haunts my waking dreams with racking visions of loss and death and regret. I arise in the night and peek over your bars and watch you sleep. I listen to the hypnotic beat of your breathing thump, thump, thump of your new heart. I'll rub your back and cradle your feet and pray you dream of play and fun and everything in between as you jump from star to star in the company of angels from afar. Quiet stolen moments in tranquil stillness just you and me and everyday I'm grateful your mine til the end of time. You and me and boy do I have big plans for us. I love you kid, so much, even when you fuss with kicking feet, pinches, and mouse bites.

" Have you talked to your cousin?"

" No, I haven't."

" Why not? You two were so close?"

" He's changed. Well, naw, not really - I guess I have. You see, once upon a time everything I ever did was for me. Now... well, everything I do is for someone else. Work. Traffic. Life's perpetual bullshit. It's all for someone else. Everything my cousin does is not."

" That's too bad."

" Not really."

Scared. My mind is flooded with "what if's." What if something happened how would I cope? Could I cope? It's a gray morning and I play "Tears in Heaven" over and over and I'm wondering why. I'm really fucking scared something might happen to you and this is really no way to live life continuously dreading what may pass or regretting what has already passed and completely ignoring or failing to pause and relish the "now." Every day you're growing up. I flip though photos really fast like a flip book and watch months pass in a matter of seconds and isn't that what it really is... seconds? The mind, memory, is a master illusionist. Time is a sneaky fucker. And again, more what if's? What if it was all a dream and one day I'll wake up in my bed and you never existed? How would I cope? Could I cope?

My life can be summed up in seconds. Twenty eight years of memories neatly packaged in a can complete with a label. Your life, reads volumes, and I love you for that. Your infinite, quiet, shy wisdom and a dreamy glint in your eye suggesting so much fucking more than this. You are my immortality. You are my totality.

You are my morality.