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Jun 30, 2008

June 30th, 2008

"First time marijuana's been smoked in here," Steve says.

His new truck, curbside, outside of the venue. Cars file past methodically, like a large herd, towards the lures of Friday night.

"Damn, had I known that I would've had a ceremony. This is one of the few places in Milwaukee where we can do this."

"Nobody really cares about this neighborhood," Steve replies.

Inhale. Exhale. Light up a smoke, conceal the smoke.

"Guess who contacted me on Monday."

"Nooooooooooooo way. You're kidding."

"Nope," I say.

Smoke rolls out from behind our lips, flattens against the windshield like a cloud of dust. The window button clicks when I press it, unaccompanied by the whir of the motor. No power. Steve inserts the keys into the ignition. A grey-haired man in a white shirt and grey passes by along the sidewalk on the passenger side of the car. The scent triggers an almost imperceptible stall between one step and the next.

"What'd she want?" he asks.

"Me."

"What?!"

"Yep, totally fucking with my head."

"Now what?"

We are stoned.

"Now what nothing," I say. "I spent a year chasing after her and now she comes around? How fucked up is that? And I'm not telling you this because I'm getting back together with her. I just needed to get it off of my chest."

"When did you talk to her?"

"Thursday. I didn't know what to tell her, really. It was the last thing I expected to have happen. She knows about E______."

"Oh, she hears that you're with someone and now she comes back," Steve says.

"Yeah," I say. "She admitted to that much. Says she feels I should know."

A hazy silence. No police cars in sight.

"Fucking women," Steve says, though he doesn't mean it. He knows he doesn't mean it and I know he doesn't mean it. He says it because it's the laziest thing one can say; blame this confusion on a defect that must be encoded into the genetic makeup of their species.

We exit the truck in a veil of smoke.

"Oh my God!" I say. "That felt so good. A huge weight off my back."

I dance my way down the street, back to the club, hooting, hollering, rejoicing in this world which chance has made.


Jun 26, 2008

June 26th, 2008

"You little cockbiter."

Silence of the still evening broken by irregular cracks of skin on skin, hand to forearm, hand to shin, and the occasional curse. I feel that in addition to littering the ground around me with their carcasses, if I insult them they will absorb this lesson with greater ease: That there are many humans beings that if given the time and the means would eradicate the entire mosquito population off the face of the planet.

Then it dawns on me: Only females suck blood, necessary to develop their eggs. Males won't bite. That means I'd only have to kill roughly half of the world's skeeter population to have an effect. This gives a significant boost to my determination.

I kill more. I'm somewhere around three bites, forty kills. The swarm slows. They send in reinforcements, and they begin to work in teams, with coordinated surgical strikes to various parts of my body. One buzzes around my ears, sounds like the first ever recording done on wax. Bloodthirsty motherfuckers know right where I am. At the same time two are going for my arms, and three for my legs. I must be deliberate and swift.

Their crushed little bodies are tangling in my leg hair. Some of them, upon impact, vaporize into a fine black dust that leaves little bruise-like marks on my skin. You little bastard-ettes. Having me under siege like this.

The lady friend pulls in; I'm allowed a glance in her direction before I need to return to the slaughter. She sits and they swarm on her, too. Now, just what was the Creator thinking when deciding to bestow upon this heavenly earth the gift of the mosquito? More prey for the dragonfly? A disease-spreading agent that has killed, and continues to kill, millions upon millions of people? An agent specifically designed to ruin evening escapades in the outdoors? Bang up job, Fool. What say You? What say You?

No response.

"Well this is just unpleasant," I say aloud to no one, to the Fool, to the indifferent world.

We head indoors.

Jun 25, 2008

June 25th, 2008


"Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it."

- F. Dostoevsky


"Notes from the Underground" did a nice little fuckjob to my head. So much so that I must read it again; years ago I was assigned the task, but didn't make it past the first few pages. After cracking the book open a few days ago, I remembered why, and had to literally force myself through Part I of the text.

I'm not exactly sure what I'm trying to say here. It's a beautiful, waning life. Enjoy it.

Jun 24, 2008

June 24th, 2008

Like trying to squeeze blood
from a rock today, so not poetry

How I have tried so before,
wrapping with both hands,
encasing each jagged edge.
With the mind of an addict
I wonder how hope often
trumps what I already know.

Voila.

Hold tight just now. Tighter.
Tighter yet, sordid pleasure,
my propensity for pain.
Warm, wet droplets fall,
scatter the dust, announce
my triumph.

Only then do I see gashes
in my palms, blood on rock
hardening to brown in
mid-morning sun.

Dried entrails
of an earthworm.

Only when I wash my hands
do I see the marks of early
failure.

Jun 23, 2008

June 23rd, 2008


Fat clouds streaking overhead. Warmth of sunshine ebbs and flows, this rust-colored wooden bench a welcomed place to rest our rested bones. Those bones last night naked in the moonlight, sheets covering what our entwined bodies fail to hide, for warmth, not shame.

Slow to wake, even slower to rise. Sunlight on my shoulders, on her shoulders, on the rims of coffee mugs golden. An expanse of soggy, greened land. My greasy brown hair. Last night's clothes saturated with cigarette smoke, scenes saturated with love, and love. To part; to know I'll never have to.

Finger tips like fire, an ageless touch: reign over me. Tear off the mask of fate and beat it into the dust. Triumph in dance amongst the plumes. Collapse under the weighted sky, kill the mockingbird. Rekindled, the world's ablaze. Reign over me.

Jun 19, 2008

June 19th, 2008


Leaning my back against the white, plastic siding of the house. Smoking a cigarette. Six indoors, this one outdoors. Plus it's getting late, my brother will be home soon. Don't wish to leave him with the burden of inhaling cigarette smoke. Much more stale and invasive than the other stuff.

This cloudy night, the moon hides amongst the heavens. Earlier, I'd given thought to cruise out to the lake to witness its inflated rise over the horizon. Earlier, too much cloud cover. There must be standing water just to the south of where I stand. The twang of frogs and crickets dance together under the muted stars like fireflies, a call, a silence, a return, a silence, rinse, repeat, all night.

Faint buzz of a jet engine from the south. Then from the north, the dull roar of a large-bodied farm tractor. They compete at first, then seen to blend into an awful, unnatural cacophony. I imagine these two sounds as the first time I've heard them. I get light headed. Check to see that I'm taking deep breaths. Wondered what would've caused me to stop taking deep breaths. Far as I know, I have been taking deep breaths. Don't want to faint out here on this cement. I widen my stance, separate my knees, kneel.

Jun 18, 2008

June 18th, 2008


Apologies for the dark ferocity contained in yesterday's post. I've been reading a lot of Edward Abbey.

***

Driving home last Sunday after the evening at the lakefront with my lover. Clouds grey like smoke in the sullen blue sky. Asphalt country roads. Sand and stone shoulders even more tender from the recent rains. Ponds accumulated, and remain in places where there once were no ponds. Belly of the earth, filled.

Heading west. Six and a half miles to go. A bright flash in the southwestern horizon. Ball of greenish blue hurtling towards the earth's crust at a forty-five degree angle. Reach forth, turn the black knob, diminishing twang from the speakers. A shield of orange blaze encasing the front of the glowing ball. White dust tail lagging behind, a bright flash, the meteor turns to red and seems to burn out just before eclipsing the tree line.

My mind turns to things I've never seen, fears I'll see enough of it by the time things are over.

***

Find someone safe.

Find somewhere safe, and go there with them.

Quit gazing towards the heavens.

Quit gazing over neighbor's fences.

Make peace, pray that God or chance might bring us back here again.

Jun 16, 2008

June 16th, 2008


Went out on an old ritual of Jenna's yesterday afternoon, with friend/lover at my side: a walk to the fire-engine red lighthouse at the lake front. Breezy and warm. Gulls circle overhead, their barbed cries piercing the calm of dusk. We met a number of people on our way out, heading in for the evening, off to dinner, off to campfires, off to bed.

We reached the end of the pier, sat, then removed our sandals and allowed our feet to dangle over the edge on the side facing the channel where the river joins the lake. We've had nearly ten inches of rain since the start of June, thus the water from the river is brown, murky, runs fierce, and sullies the still blue of the lake. Against the concrete of the pier, underneath our feet, driftwood, tree bark, the occasional milk jug or quart of engine oil. A small piece of foam. A water bottle, capped, nearly full.

A baby snapping turtle. Tossed about on the tips of waves in that seedy water. Not supposed to be out this far, chance of survival slim. Gulls circle over head. We should save him.

I climb down a small ladder built into the side of the pier, onto a six-inch ledge where I wait for the waves to usher the turtle to safety. It drifts away from the pier. I take hold of one of the metal rungs, remove a saturated stick from the waters and lean. I scoop the turtle up and it collapses neatly into the palm of my hand, so small I could close my fist around it and not disturb. Pure exhaustion. For ten minutes we sit there, watching, observing, not knowing how to determine just how close to death it was.

All around us, soft fire in the sky. Sun slinking behind westward. Cloud from pink, to orange, yellow, red. The cooler the colors, the cooler the air. The wind slows. Purple now. Blue. Reflection on the water gray. The walk back to the beach. A pond would be ideal release but there are places where rock and sand offer shelter. In intervals I flip the turtle onto it's back, waking it each time. Legs and arms flail, neck extends and in a smooth motion the turtle flips onto its stomach and resumes it's rest. Over and over.

"Well, he's in God's hands now. If God can't do any better than I can, well..."

"SOL," she says.

"Yep."

I don't know whether to rejoice or curse, with all those turtles being swept out to sea.

Jun 12, 2008

June 12th, 2008

I think I've successfully made it through my first mid-life crisis in the lead-up to my twenty-fifth birthday. Poor guys, my band mates. During the ten days or so prior I was a moody lunatic for most of time I was around human beings.

For whatever reason, I had to get past that day. When it hit, I felt like I'd passed a point to which I could never return. But why freak on that? I can't go back to yesterday, and I wouldn't want to.

Twenty-five. This is where I am, and justly where I should be. Still drifting along the shores, along the water, beyond which lies a brand new frontier, evidenced only by distant gulls on the horizon.

So, that all said, I think I had to go just a bit off my rocker to remember how to enjoy this place. Surf's up again. I got me some waves to ride.

Jun 10, 2008

June 10th, 2008 # 2

I walk downstairs, then behind the welcome desk where Marcy sits, to find that the coffee pot is almost empty. I fill my mug a quarter of the way up and momentarily contemplate whether or not to make another pot. Will it be needed? Yes. Didn't I make a pot yesterday at the same time when someone left it empty? Yes.

I decide to make the pot. As I'm putting the grounds into the filter my elbow bumps the light switch on the wall, extinguishing the lights behind Marcy's desk.

"Whooops!" I say.

"Whoops!" she returns. "Oh, that was you. The lights went out and I thought 'uh-oh'."

Marcy is an older lady who will never retire from this job. She's had more than her share of difficulty learning new trades and technologies during the thirty plus years she was here, not to mention the loss of her husband to one of her co-workers mothers. She can be moody. I think back to when I was a student worker here, making coffee, and I thought of Jed, this large, bulky, fine specimen of a football player. The dude was stacked, huge. Every morning when he'd make coffee his elbow would knock out the lights. And I mean every morning. Never did he cease to turn around, give the receptionist a goofy grin, and laugh like a kid. Should I relate that story to Marcy? Nah...but what if it brings some laughter to her day?

"I remember back when Jed used to work here," I begin, "and when he'd fill the coffee he would always hit the switch."

"Oh really?"

I'm wondering if Marcy remembers Jed like I do.

"Yeah, he was so big that he couldn't help but hit it," I say with a laugh.

"Ok......." Marcy says, that 'OK' which really means, 'OK why are you telling me this?'

Silence. Guess it didn't work. I pour in the water for the coffee.

"When you get a chance," Marcy asks, "could you bring down an empty jug of water."

I don't answer right away.

"An empty jug?" I ask.

"Emp-ty," Marcy annunciates.

I think about this concept. An empty jug of water. A jug of water that's empty. Is there a difference?

"Is that ok?" Marcy asks, interrupting my thoughts.

"Yes," I say, "yes it is."

--------

An hour and a half later, I walk downstairs. The jug is still sitting on her desk.

"Guy?" she calls out.

"Yes?"

"Why did you put this empty jug of water on my desk?"

Jesus.

June 10th, 2008

Appropriately, I sat with a guitar in my lap last night when the clock struck midnight. 12:01am it read after I'd finished playing a song. Upon seeing that I couldn't hold the guitar any longer, had no will to play, the lilting in my voice quickly turning into a whisper, my hand growing limp. Tears fill my eyes. I realize I am sad.

Twenty-five years old. It is my birthday, and I am sad.

I get to writing. Why is it that I'm sad? I get to writing.

My mind jumps to this new woman and the comfortable intensity with which things have started, and I've found a wonderful companion once again. I have good friends, and a band that is halfway decent. I have a healthy, loving family. So what is it that drags me under yet? Did last winter burrow deep into my bones, and I now am unable to shake it?

I think the initial feeling of despair comes from the fact that in the greater picture of things, I'm not yet where I want to be. When the clock struck twenty-five years, for me it marked another year passed where I wasn't able to get where I wanted to be. In conclusion though, it's all bittersweet. I also realize that, wherever it is I'm headed to, I'm now closer than ever.