Sunday, February 27, 2011

emergency meeting

we have an emergency staff meeting today. the boss texted all of us twice about it. once yesterday afternoon and once this morning. i guess she wanted to make sure we got the message. i have to work today anyway, so its not as if i would have missed it. but its not as if i want to go to it either.

i know what its about, shes going out of town for a few weeks and is nervous about leaving the bar in our hands. fair enough. we are a competent group but we all let things get a little casual every so often. so she will have to go over the things we are and we arent to be doing.

we shouldnt be giving away liquor. this is obvious, but in our environment sometimes the lines are blurred. its easy to just give away a beer from the tap, or a drink from the well. its a courtesy, but sometimes it gets out of hand. i know there have been times where a friend or a pretty girl has sat at the bar, gotten shit faced drunk, and ive only charged them for a few things. of course, this leads to the fact that we are drinking as well [or at least i am], and the sense of judgement gets scrambled, and the job goes second behind having a good time. obviously, when shes gone, this cant happen. we cant be getting drunk and we cant be getting people drunk for free. this should go without saying, yet it needs to be said. ive actually learned how to not buy too many drinks for people. there is a way around it, while still taking care of the customer. its mostly going to be a matter of me not drinking as much, which i shouldnt be doing anyway.

we have to be aware of the health department, and make sure all our bases are covered in terms of keeping the bar clean. this is really important because we are due for an inspection soon. a few bars in the neighborhood have been hit recently, one of them receiving a low grade, which they have to prominently display on their front window. thats not, as we say, "a good look." so the water in the sink should be hot and the fruit should be free of any signs of flies. the bar should not be sticky and the towels should not be covered in grime. we must make sure the bottles are all capped so no bugs crawl in looking for the sugar. the thermometers in the fridge should be at state assigned temps. no spoiled milk. no spoiled juices.

the regulars need to be checked so that there are no shenanigans. no getting to rowdy or making a scene. no heated conversations that may scare of the other customers. voices at a reasonable level. no invasive behavior. hands to themselves.

and as for me, i need to find the focus to make sure it all runs smoothly. at least on my watch.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

greater good

laying down on the cold surface with your shirt off and your pants off and wearing a paper gown with no back to it. waiting. listening to the whirr of the machine as it grinds itself into power. the ticka tacka ticka tacka of it working, of it studying you, looking inside, at your bones. searching for the poisons that are eating away at your blood and muscles and infecting your organs. you are surrounded by the machine and the noise is loud and miserable. ticka tacka ticka tacka. it is like a panic exploding in your head. you try to be patient but cant wait for it to be over. even if it is for the greater good.


you take her to the vet to get blood work and the secretary says they will call you in a couple days when the results are back. you coddle her in your arms instead of putting her in a cage. the air is cold and her fur is thin and matted but still feels warm on your cheek. you whisper in her ear that it will be ok. everything will be ok. when you get home you place her on the bed and go to the kitchen to get her food. after pouring it in the bowl you go back to your bedroom, where she still lies. hushed and unmoving. her eyes blinking slowly. she wont eat. she hasnt eaten in days. this is the end. you know it. before the vet calls back you call the vet and make an appointment. you have to put her down. you have to put her out of her misery.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011


everyone calls him Hungry. at least those that know him do. i dont call him anything really, save maybe generic titles of recognition when i have to tell him to get out from in front of the bar. its not good to have him in front of the bar, and its especially bad to have him in it. so when he comes around i keep an eye out so that he doesnt start to linger too long. its just bad for business.

i used to always see him on eastern parkway, near grand army plaza, waiting at the corner for traffic to stop so that he could approach the car windows and solicit for money. i usually dont pay this much attention but i noticed he always wore a different set of clothes, he didnt much look like a homeless person. he looked like a guy that took showers, had a roof, and housed a wardrobe of decent threads. i couldnt tell if he made enough begging for change to do all this, or if he just did it for the hell of it. i didnt think to hard about it though. i would just walk by and look curiously.

then i started seeing him on his bicycle a lot. he would be riding around the neighborhood, saying whats up to people while going or coming. this is how i found out his name was hungry. a friend told me that he grew up in the neighborhood, that he was addicted to drugs, that he lived with his mother. it made sense.

after a while he stopped posting up at grand army plaza, id only see him on his bike. i wondered if he had found another place to solicit money, a more profitable corner. winter came and he started to sport a big black coat. i noticed his clothes didnt change as often too.

he'd drop his bike on the ground and walk into the store next door. he'd say hello to everyone, addressing them as Fam'. he even tried to get on my good graces a few times, seeing as we recognized each others from the area. i was steely though, i nodded to him but at the same time my face was impenetrable. i wouldnt allow him to think we were friends, that could just be dangerous.

he started getting jittery. youre not looking so good, Hungry, my friend said to him. he just laughed a wild, unhinged laugh and said, i'm alright fam. his hat was dirty and his clothes were getting dirtier and he started getting a crook in his body, as if he was always bent to the side. his shirts became oversized, even more oversized than the fashion warranted, and his pants grew baggier. they looked like they would fall off.

over the course of a year id seen him decay, but he never completely went under. he still wore a smile and still said hello to everybody. he still rode his bike around the hood. he just got thinner, more brittle, and the dirt upon him grew. his smile, which was always there, got blacker and more crooked, and his eyes became glassier and less aware.

the other day he came into the bar. we were closing but there were still a few people in there. when me and the barback saw him we both groaned and rolled our eyes. he walked to teh corner and plugged in a cell phone that im positive wasnt even on. he danced a bit in place, as if hearing loud music in his head. i stared at him while wiping down the bar. finally he turned to me and with that crooked smile said, lemme get a shot, fam.

no, i said, were closed.

he smiled even wider and said, ok i get it fam. hey, you want to buy a bike?

i looked outside where his bike was leaned up against the wall. i wondered how he would get around without it. it was a nice bike.

no, im good, i said.

a'ight fam, holla at me, he said. then he unplugged his phone and walked out. i looked around to see if he had left anything or taken anything, but there was nothing in that corner. as he left i could hear the swishing of his arms in that big black coat, which engulfed him almost entirely. it was cold outside, maybe 20 degrees in the wind. he got on his bike and rode away.

what was that about? my barback asked.

nothing, i said, guy just wanted a drink.

Monday, February 21, 2011

navigating the chasm

the art of being alone is a delicate one. Americans that practice the craft usually suffer from the inevitable side effects, some more than others, and that can get dangerous. but it is something that is inevitable chosen, no matter how much the lonely try to spin it in a way that blames the rest of the world on their solitude. being alone takes a certain degree of courage, of self hatred, and of focus. probably the only ones that are alone that transcend these petty traits, which are centered around the ego, are monks. they are masters in the medium of loneliness.

monks are, of course, usually not american. i speak of the monks that perch themselves on mountains and let their mind go blank and release their desires into the wind. those are the only monks i really know of; those holier than though individuals who wear long dull robes and shave their head bald. monks who rarely, if ever, speak, and never feel the need to. these monks are beyond the trappings of our society, they have no reason to hate commercials or love popular music or wonder why their pants feel tighter than usual. these monks are never bothered if no one calls them all day, they dont anticipate a response from a text they've sent, they could care less if someone doesnt return the affection they give. to them, it isnt about wanting. wanting is for the weak.

but we are americans, and to want is practically all we know. we are wrapped up in our desires. we want to see that movie or wear that shirt. we want a pay raise and to be respected. we want to look like the people that seem to have everything. we want to be thrown surprise parties where all our friends are there waiting for us in the dark and when the lights turn on we want to actually be surprised and feel the rush of joy and elation and the swelling up of tears because we are so lucky to have friends like this; so lucky to be loved. we want to be left romantic notes from secret admirers. we want to get handmade gifts on our birthdays. we want to be looked at from across a room. we want to be wanted.

when we dont get these things, when it seems we cant get anything we want, we feel as if we are defeated. we feel as if life has cheated us out of a decent existence. as if the universe and all its celestial bodies have conspired against our happiness, and what we are left with is the empty vessel of our bodies. running with blood, filling up with oxygen, feeling only the intellectual pain of abstract misfortune. this, of course, is a privileged sensation. especially when it comes to material items. we dont necessarily deserve all the things we want. in fact, most of the things we want are equal to the meaninglessness of us wanting them. but when it comes to being alone, that is a different story.

it is two different beast, wanting companionship as opposed to wanting a thing. companionship—at least genuine companionship—can not be procured at will. it cant be bought, it cant be borrowed. without a doubt, for some people, even if they have nothing to show, no material items to exhibit, if they have the love of someone else, they can feel content in the world. they can feel fulfilled. some would argue that all you need is love. some would even sing a song about it. but that is where the art lies and the question arises, do you need love? is that really all you need? and to go further, aside from sustenance and protection from the elements, what really do you need?

well, obviously being intellectual primates—especially the american, who lives in a society where those who are most loved are deified by the media, which has been deified by us—being wanted by another is the ultimate goal. and in a culture where this is the oil that runs our network, to feel unwanted is to feel as if there is nothing to live for. and the art is living here, in this space, in this void. of navigating the chasm between nothing and wanting.

for many this will drive them insane. and to the rest, if they are ok with it, they already are insane. we see them as hermits, potential serial killers, social retards and weirdos. the irony of seeing them in this manner, is that is just helps cultivate their loneliness, and as i stated earlier. you must chose to be lonely. because no one has to be.

i am not good at this art. it is not my craft. i realized this long ago, and grew what you can call a talent for meeting people, for being social. but right now i feel lonely. right now i feel unwanted. it is, as i am well aware, a passing feeling, but i wanted to explore it a bit, because if i cant be comfortable being alone i probably will never be comfortable at all. i think that i actually equate loneliness with loss, and to me, the worst thing in the world is a heart filled up with loss. but i know i havent lost anything, deep down i know this. sure, there is a profound desire in me to feel wanted. by the world, by my circle, by certain individuals. but i know that im not that special, that im a regular guy with reasonable good looks, a modest intelligence, and a decent demeanor. so i dont need a bunch of shit, i just need to accept that sometimes, in this life, i am not the most vital cog. that in the mean time, i can just write. that nothing is wrong with that.

oh, i just got a text from a friend who wants to go have some drinks. guess ill write more later.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

i gotta cut down on smoking. its not just for my health, its for my entire being. my health i do care about, but its almost secondary to the fact that i consciously have begun to realize i smoke too much. i do it out of habit. i do it out of addiction. i do it out of boredom. i do it out of anxiety. i find myself smoking cigarette after cigarette even when i dont want a cigarette. my hands just motion to the bag, an almost involuntary act, and without even noticing ill have a freshly rolled cigarette between my lips. the flame ignites the tip. im blowing out smoke again. over and over. too much.

and too much of anything is an inevitable disaster.

my face hasnt gotten leathery, my gums arent black or brown. my lungs, im sure, are a measly beige color, but according to my last check up im in no danger or anything. i do cough a lot, but i attribute that to nerves and drinking. and im sure i am stuffier than id normally be, but i was always a sufferer of congestion, even before the pack took hold.

its not like im totally going to quit, at least not yet, but i need to cut down.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

waiting for the light to change

it was night and the strip grew sparse, much more sparse then i ever thought it could get. i could walk freely on the sidewalk without even taking a small step to the side to avoid anyone oncoming. the sky was dark but the stars were hidden in the luminescent glow of all the signs and advertisements. it was just a deep blackness with no end. i was alone and wanted to be alone and i had decided to keep walking until i was too tired to walk anymore.

it had to be 3am by this point and my head was still buzzing from the events of just a few hours before. my skin still crawled with excitement. i had my hands in my pockets and shivered in the warm wind. the ringing of slot machines lifted out onto the street but here was no longer any romance in their jungle. there was just the cold metallic song and the promises that were never kept. there was just the faces left before them, waiting for the prize.

i walked into a casino and sat down at the bar and ordered a drink. the people around me were no longer tourist. the anxious air of vacationers had dulled into a faint scent. what was left was the simmering desperation of career gamblers and the perfume of hungry prostitutes. there were a few drunken out of towners at the craps table, flanked by hookers in short dresses and thick make up. the dealers stood with wary eyes, no doubt counting the seconds on their internal clock, waiting for the shift to be over.

i sipped my beer and then my whiskey. i didnt want to gamble, im not much of a gambler, but i still took a seat at one of the slot machines and put in a ten dollar bill and lit up a cigarette while i watched the night grow thin. a few young men walked in on rubbery legs and drunken grins and a man in a suit with salt and pepper hair counted a wad of money and then put it down on the table where the most action was.

i finished my beer and walked back out into the street. the whiskey and beer had warmed me up, i could feel it in my blood, moving through my veins, settling into my stomach. i had a light jacket on and the weather had dropped a few degrees. i couldnt tell how long id sat at the slot machine, but i didnt win any money and hadnt expected to. i looked out onto the horizon of the strip and saw where the lights ended and the dark endless desert began. i walked towards it. i wanted to be alone and i was alone and i was going to keep walking until i couldnt anymore.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

mistakes of the young

i remember the first time i thought i was in love. to be honest, i dont even think i knew what being in love was back then, so maybe it was just the first time i ever got physically sick over a girl. where she affected me so profoundly, i felt it in my guts. perhaps this was simply a crush, but i think i had had one or two crushes by then. this was strong though, a memorable one. it left a scar.

it was a girl named Anitra and we were in third grade. she was a thin, light skinned girl with huge brown eyes and a perpetual half smile. she sat in two desk from the front of the class, surrounded by her giggling friends. i was on the opposite end, near the back of the class, next to a tall gangly girl who always raised her hand to answer questions and always got the answer wrong.

i didnt even speak to Anitra much less pay her much attention, but i suppose during a recess or a lunch break she noticed me at some point, because her friend one day approached me in the yard and asked if i had a girlfriend. i said no and she pointed to Anitra who stood nervously near a jungle gym peeking from the side of her eye at us, the girl said -do you want her to be your girlfriend?

i was a very shy kid, and i imagine i blushed a brilliant red before nodding absently. i didnt know who Anitra was but i liked two things about her immediately: that she was pretty and seemed unaware of it, and that she liked me. it would have been impossible for me to say no. never before had a girl been interested in me, at least that i was aware of, and it was obvious to me then, that this was the opportunity of a lifetime. i didnt know what a girlfriend and boyfriend did, but i knew what a couple was. i had seem them on tv.

the girl then went back to Anitra and said something to her and Anitra looked up at me and waved. i waved back. this was our first act as boyfriend/girlfriend. it went successfully. then the bell rang and we went back to class,

like i mentioned, i was a shy kid, so in class i snuck glances at her when she wasnt looking and then when i saw she was, i would pretend i was paying attention to something else. the graffiti on my desk, the blackboard, the teacher, the cursive alphabet that lined the top of the class walls. with every glance i snuck though, she grew more and more alluring. the way her braids were always so tight and perfect, the way the beads made a two color uniformed pattern that dangled at the ends of hair. her unusually long eyelashes and how she seemed to always blink and they would swing up and down like huge wings from her eyelids. her curious half smile and the way she would giggle with her friends. covering her mouth with her skinny hand to hide her amusement from the teacher. there was a confidence about her, a comfort in her skin without it being arrogant. by the end of the first day a full crush had formed in my heart. i couldnt wait to go home and think about her all night in the quiet of my bedroom.

the next day at school we met up in the yard again, this time both of us face to face. we said all of three words to one another and i cant remember what any of them were. i just recall standing and leaning against a wall and looking at the ground and her looking at the ground and us both smiling but not doing much of anything else. we were together. thats what counted. we were showing the world that we were two and not one.

there was another guy in our class named raymond. he had a supreme confidence about him. tall and good looking and housing manly qualities even at out tender age. he also was amazing at sketching things on paper. his most famous piece being a spitting image depiction of michael jackson on the cover to the Human Nature single. everyone liked raymond, even me, though we never spoke. he was one of the most popular kids in our school, even though he was only in third grade. i admired him greatly, and when he began to pay attention to Anitra in our class i was more jealous that she was friends with him than i was that he was talking to her.

i admit, i played it all wrong, but i was too shy and too nervous to play it any other way. i never let our relationship develop beyond those awkward moments, standing together in the yard. i never spoke much. i never held her hand. i never even attempted to get to know her further than what i already did, which wasnt much at all. at one point, even her friends tried to push us closer together, and typical in my failure with girls, i shyly ran away. evading her and her friends for the entire recess period. i didnt realize it then, but this was my downfall. i expected her to make all the moves, to force the issue a bit, to pull a better boyfriend out of me. it was the beginning of establishing a pattern of passive stances in my relationships. one i should have learned from but didnt. do i ever learn anything?

i should have known that raymond was going to one day spend a recess with her. he, unlike me, openly spoke to her in class. he was hardly shy about it and i couldnt blame him. he had the adoration of most everyone in the school, and could impress her with his sketches and doodles while still being one of the smartest people in class. what put it over the top though, was when he made a sketch of her. it was gorgeous. completely capturing her beauty while still evoking her shy, humble manner. even i, burning with jealousy (now of him and not if her) had to admit it was a remarkable portrait. so that afternoon, when i saw them standing together during recess, it wasnt a shock so much as an expected turn of events.

they stood there, her looking nervous and awkward like she usually did, and him standing next to her, moving his hands in a fluid, animated fashion, telling her something no doubt charming and clever. i was too much of a pussy to even walk over and take my position next to them, next to her, on the wall. i just looked from afar, a sickness building in my stomach, the sadness of loss swelling up in my chest. i spent that recess staring at them while sitting on the stairs fiddling with my food, not eating at all. i knew that the very next day the same scene would occur and again i would be helpless to it. i let myself go to the nature of things. the erosion of our minor affair. the inevitable distance and the silent break.

of course i didnt know how much i felt for her until after she was gone. this is how things go usually. you are left with the emotions you have but never knew were there. the sting of defeat lingers long after the race is over. i didnt want to go home even though i knew i would have to. and i would sit and think of her all night in the quiet of my bedroom.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

i have a nine o'clock science class. thats in the morning, not at night. an ungodly hour for an ungodly class. and its on saturday to boot.

its a requirement for undergrads. part of our core. but everyone in my school is either a liberal arts major or an education major, so no one really cares. even the professor, a nervous old man who dresses as if he shops at a store that sells only the tweediest of jackets and the starchiest white shirts, know thats no one is interested in what hes teaching. none of us plan to be scientist, and the course work is so elementary that if we did, it would be a long and slow road before we were making any headway in the scientific world.

but i have to go, and the only time they offered it was at nine am on saturday [there was a tuesday and even monday class as well, but my schedule wouldnt permit me to enroll in those classes]. the thing is, i have molded my life around a late wake up. the earliest i get up these days is ten am, and thats on the rare occasion i have to be somewhere or there is a meeting i couldnt schedule for noon or after. now i not only have an early class, but i have to BE there at nine, which means i have to get up at eight!

i realize this woe is me attitude deserves no sympathy whatsoever. a great majority of people get up much earlier than that. my schedule, i recognize, is rather luxurious. im just complaining [ive been whining a lot lately, i think my vagina is on the fritz]. but its still hard on me. especially considering its only one day a week, not everyday, which would establish a routine i could get used to.

anyway, i just wanted to get up and write a little. and i had nothing to write about. my class was canceled today because of Lincoln's birthday [yet another thing i can thank Lincoln for] so i decided to get a little writing done before i began my day.

carry on.

Friday, February 11, 2011

another morning

the black cat is lying by my side when i wake, curled up in the fold of my crooked position. he stretches his arms out and unsheathes his claws and pulls at the blanket ever so gently. our eyes lock and he blinks. good morning, says the curse.

good morning.

i put on some coffee and pull on a sweater. my bones feel brittle and my veins filled with dust. i can tell my feelings will be hurt today. i pull on a sweater and head to the store. the curse needs to be fed.

outside the wind is cold and still. the streets are empty and the traffic partial. there is no screaming and no sirens. there are no limping bodies blanketed in dirty coats, eyeing you for change or stumbling from the liquor store. no buses crunching along the month old snow. no young men in dark hoodies standing on the corner. i get the food and a beer and shuffle back to my building. i check my mailbox and there is nothing in it. there are no neighbors smoking in the hallway. no smells of cooking lingering in the air. no voices coming from the doors as i climb the stairs to my apartment.

i open the beer after i finish my coffee and turn on my computer. i check my email but no one has bothered to reach out. just anonymous spammers and invites to events ill never attend. i take a healthy swig from the bottle and an even healthier drag from a cigarette. in the rising smoke of my exhale i see impending doom. the black cat crawls into my lap, this will be my demise, i whisper to him, stroking his fur. he purrs.

i go downstairs and check the mail again. nothing. something breaks inside of me but i cant tell if it is my spirit or my heart. the hallway is quiet and cold. i go back up to my apartment.

inside i open another beer and after the first sip i begin to cough. it happens in a series of huge, racking shudders and for a moment i think that this is it. then it stops and i stand there in the wake of another episode. the black cat comes and rubs his body against my ankles, circling my feet in a figure eight. i can tell my feelings will be hurt today.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

work day

he would come over early, before i was even awake, and be sitting by my bed when my eyes finally opened. it was never startling, for a person like him this was typical behavior. he probably hadnt slept the night before. to be honest, i dont remember how i would get to sleep each night, with all the crystal meth we were doing at the time. i suppose i drank myself to sleep. maybe i took a pill or something. i cant remember. i know i didnt eat though.

id get out of bed and stand and stretch in my underwear and he would be sitting there leafing through my records anxiously. before i could even rub the sleep from my eyes he would point to a cd case where a few rails were already lined up. id take one half up the left nostril, the other half up the right, and snort down the burn and swallow the drip. it was such a familiar sensation, pleasant at the time, that im sure it wasnt just the amphetamines that woke me up, but the excitement of the process that got me going. back then there was no such thing as bad speed, even the most unsavory of or friends could find some proper glass.

i would grab a towel and head for the shower and while in the shower get a good narration going in my head. a fury of words and phrases that sometimes stuck but mainly just rolled by. when i would get back to my room he would be on my decks, the sun just emerging from the early morning fog and the light spilling onto all the ash and dust, letting two records collide into a clever third song. id do another line and get dressed for work. without speaking he'd rail up a few more. fuel for the wicked before the doldrums began.

his car smelled of old beer and perfume. i couldnt smoke in it because he didnt smoke, so when we would stop at a store to grab a few forty ouncers id just give him my money and stand on the corner, sucking down nicotine until he came back. by the time we got to work a reasonable buzz was going we were ready to begin the day.

id sign in and then do some early paperwork. i was the export manager to the warehouse so i had to get all my packages out by two o'clock. at noon we would take a lunch break but we would never eat, we'd go get a couple more forties and then park on a hill overlooking the airport. id sit on the hood of his car taking heavy swigs from the bottle and chain smoking as the planes took off and landed at SFO international. when the hour was almost up we'd do a couple more lines off of a cd on his dashboard and then drive back to the warehouse more buzzed then before.

he would tell me about the old days of clubbing in new york, back when the big clubs were fraught with drugs and the djs took their craft seriously. we both agreed that san francisco was where it was at but that soon new york would reclaim its title as the place to be. i believed every word he said, even the most absurd stories, because i knew he was capable of anything. he was a god damn nut case, consuming every drug in sight and letting the world know he didnt care what it thought. it was surprising that he had such a belly, considering all the drugs we did. i was about ten pounds underweight and no amount of beer would ever gather up to give me pudge. he though, wore a heavy armor of fat on his body and face, it just made him all the more unstoppable.

at the end of the work day we would meet at the parking lot with an armful of stolen records in hand. id smoke a cigarette before i climbed in and then we'd do another line before taking off. when we got back into the city we would get another round of forties but he'd just drop me off and go home to his girlfriend. i forget what i would do. i just know it would all start again the next morning.

Monday, February 07, 2011

baby steps

It is like walking into the ocean. First standing at the shore and letting the water drift up and touch your toes. Looking down at your feet as they sink into the wet sand and watching the waves curl into crashes, finding which one will be the one that reaches you. Taking a step forward and letting the water wash up to your ankles and spreading your toes and letting sand creep between them. Looking back to see if your mother is watching and she sits there eating a salami and cheese sandwich and waves at you and smiles.

The dim sun above just settled in the sky. Taking another step forward into the cold water and your knees knocking and your teeth chattering. Looking out into the sea and there is nothing but the empty grey horizon. The water rushing up past your shins and its ice cold but your feet are ok. They are warm by this time. They are used to it.

Behind you she is smoking a cigarette and staring up into the sky, lost in thought. The crumpled paper bag lay next to her and she has taken off her shoes and dug her feet into the beach. She looks so content and alone that you want to run back to her and throw your arms around her neck and say something, anything, to make her smile again.

The water lifts up to your thighs and you stop and shiver. In the distance, like a speck, is a boat you just noticed. It has no sails and simply sits, floating against the falling sky. You look back so you can point it out to her and she is digging in her purse and doesn’t look at you. She looks so small in the great white bed of sand that you can hardly make out what she has pulled from her bag but then when you see the plume of smoke rising up from her head you realize it was a cigarette. This comforts you.

When it gets to your waist you wonder if you should turn back. Goose pimples cover your arms and chest and the muscles in your stomach tighten. You hold your breath. Your legs are ok, they too, have finally gotten used to it. They aren’t warm but they are no longer freezing. You are in a spot where waves crash behind you and before you but where you stand the water just swirls slowly, pushed too and fro by the great weight of the earth.

She has lain on the towel and is reading a paperback book. The wind is beginning to kick up the edges of the towel. It flaps against her knees but she doesn’t care or at least pretends she doesn’t care. You can no longer see your feet in the dark water. Waves swell up and fold against your chest. You take a deep breath and lift up, drifting with the tide for a moment before feeling your toes touch the soft ground again.

You take one last look to see if she is watching you. Her book is on her breast and it heaves with her breath and you cant tell if she is sleeping or just watching time change in the sky. Waves slowly break at your neck, tickling your chin. The boat throbs on the horizon. There is no turning back. You inhale as much air as you can and dive.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

about to crack

the steps were dark and icy and almost hidden in the nights limited light. i was on the phone and i was talking to a person i dont remember anymore. a person lost in the waters of yesterday. i was taking the steps slow and gingerly. the phone was on my ear and a voice was coming from the receiver. i forget what the voice was saying.

it wasnt that id gotten a new job. one that paid me a comfortable sum monthly, and offered full health benefits. that didnt demand all my time nor bore me with tedium. and that positioned its self in my schedule with humble generosity, only asking that the duties at hand get done, but at my leisure, of course. it wasnt that there was something inspiring about to occur, or that something inspiring had already occurred. there was no new sensations to be explored. no reason to get excited. it wasnt about anything of great significance, if it were i can only beg that id remember.

but as it droned on in my ear i felt my foot give way beneath me. it was so sudden that by the time i realized i was going to fall, i had already fallen half way down. i was behind the universe by a fraction of a second.

it was then i thought about my back. i have a deep concern for my precious spine. you only get one. i envisioned a howl of pain and then the long wait for help, crumpled on the street in the cold stillness of winter. my spine is already fragile, the only refurbished element of my brittle skeleton. with an unfortunate inch in one direction or another, it could come up the loser in battle of collapse. i would have to wear a bag on my leg that collected my involuntary bowel movements. a shitbag. i have no health insurance and there is no way id get paid leave from work. id lose my apartment. id go into a most debilitating debt, with hospital bills on top of normal bills and my now stolen student loan dwindling quickly. my future would be permanently handicapped, as would i.

i twisted, opting to break a rib if breaking anything. i threw my arm out, grasping for the railing. i bent my other arm and broke the fall with my elbow. then i slid down the the stairs on my butt.

i assed my body, my bones, as i sat there. my breath coming out like thick smokey plumes in the air. i was alright. there was minimal damage, if any. i let out a sigh and tried hoisting myself up with one arm while returning to the phone call with the other. i made it. but damn.

my cell phone screen is broken and my assbone hurts like hell.
Creative Commons License
:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at