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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Unraveling

He callously dismisses her childish desires
And nods condescendingly at her pain
A self-serving, self-absorbed scab
So Penelope weaves

Then he sees what she's afraid to share
A paradox of frailty and resolve
Touching her until she shudders
And Penelope unravels

But he's already drunk when she arrives
She begins to talk, he unbuttons her blouse
Cursory and rehearsed rather than intimate
So Penelope weaves

Then she reads his shrouded verse
An odyssey of perdition and piety
Of weakness and charity
And Penelope unravels

He scorns her infrequent attempts to discover
Retreats when she feels his breath
Never quite satisfying her hunger
So Penelope weaves

She labors to solve the wrong riddle
Faithfully and vainly trying new keys
Too timid to ask the obvious
Why bother to unravel if he's never coming home?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My Own Medicine

It was really just pure chance that I was close enough to stumble over to your house
I was at that hotel bar a few blocks away and must have lost track of my drinking
Didn't even realize how far gone I was until I stood up to try to leave
Yeah, I know there are bars that are a lot closer, walking distance even, to my house
But I wasn't even thinking about that when I headed out the door. Swear.

I was just going to walk for awhile because I accidentally drank my cab money
But then a car drove by and that "Anything For You" song was playing on the radio
You know, the one that you dedicated to me on K105 after I broke up with you?
I thought it was pretty cheesy back then, funny even, but it kinda struck me as I walked
It made me feel guilty for not returning all the voicemails you left that week

So that song reminded me of you then I remembered your house was close by
I knew you wouldn't be home yet. You're still on second shift at the hospital, right?
That's why I didn't even knock on the door & just headed on back to your porch swing
Maybe to sleep for a while until I sober up enough to drive on back home
I probably should have bought a coffee when I passed that convenience store

I didn't even hear your car pull into the garage, I was sleeping so hard
Only knew you were home when you closed the door and went inside
Right then I figured I should just go because you were probably to tired to deal
I was going to wait until the lights went out, but I guess you heard me swinging
Don't know why you weren't scared at first, but who else would it have been but me?

It was real cool of you to invite me in to sleep on your pullout couch
You really really didn't have to do that. But I know you're that kind of person
I promise I'll get up and before your new boyfriend comes over tomorrow
That might be hard to explain. What's that? Oh yeah, I know were just friends now.
And again, I'm really sorry for causing so much trouble. And for that stuff before

Do you have like a trash can or something that I can keep here next to me?
I should be ok, but 'member that time we rented that beachhouse with Mike & Laura?
I got so plastered and couldn't stop throwing up. I might've had the flu then too
But I felt better the next day because you made me drink fluids and take Tylenol before bed
That was a pretty good weekend, you think? Oh yeah, probably not as much fun for you

Just go to bed, ok? I'll be fine out here. Besides, you look tired. You should try to get more sleep
I worry about you sometimes thinking about you here all alone without someone to care for you
I really hope you find someone to make you happy. What? He proposed? That's .... good for you
Ummm I'm really happy, but you know what? I feel better now so I'm just gonna go
I'll be alright once I get back to my car. The roads should be pretty clear by now

One more thing before I leave....... thanks.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Happy Valentines Day

I was watching my dog watch her
Of course at that point I didn't know what he was watching
I woke up with my eyes oriented in his direction
He must have wandered back into my bedroom after... well, just after.
He was skeptical of her, but was playing it cautious
Laying in his bed in the corner
but ready to leap into action if the situation required it
I looked at him for another minute or so
before turning my gaze to her
She was still naked, running her fingers across my valet case
now just becoming aware of the layout of my bedroom
Becoming less confident than she was the night before
Going drink for drink with me, a complete stranger
an extra button undone on her blouse when I returned from the Men's
But she's was more girl than woman this morning
legitimately caught off guard when she saw me awake
quickly smiling and grabbing the pillow under my head
hugging it longwise against her chest
All of a sudden demure, shy, and reticent
"What's in here?" she asked, gesturing to the mahogany box
"Watches, cufflinks, stuff like that", I replied.
She carefully lifted the lid, curious to confirm.
Slowly thumbing through each compartment
Holding up a random item to examine, before returning it to it's place
"What are these?" now holding a small leather box
"Brass collar stays", I smile. "I despise rolly collars".
She opens the box and withdraws a mismatched pair
One slightly shorter than the other
She grows younger now, looking almost..well.... virginal

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Bildungsroman

Full disclaimer - I'm thinking that this post is going to ramble a bit. May get a little lengthy so I can't guarantee I'm even going to finish it. I mean, I'm reasonably sure I know the point in the story that I'm going to start writing and I know the point where I plan on stopping (which implies, rightfully, that it has some prologue and some epilogue that I'm not going to get into right now), but I may lose focus at some point and just post whatever I have written at that point in time.
But here it goes.........

Whenever anybody asks about where I was on December 31st, 1999, I tell them that I rented a cabin in Amish country. No phones. No electricity. No comforts of modern life in anticipation of the impending apocalyptic effects of Y2K. Ok, not that many people ask. Just when it comes up in conversation.
Which is not often.
But I wasn't there.

I was fully aware that it was going to seem totally cliche to do it on December 28th. Exactly one year after (that's prologue, pay no attention to that). But that wasn't the only reason for picking that day. Sure, it was a big part of it but it wasn't just that. It just seemed liked the last few months had been leading to that horizon. That sunset.
I put a lot of thought into how I was going to do it. Well, not so much HOW but more about WHERE. Specifically, I was worried about who would find me. I didn't want to put any of my friends or family through that, seeing my bloated and/or bloody and/or rotting corpse. So I thought about just chaining barbells to my ankles and steeping off a boat in the middle of the ocean. Or shooting myself in the middle of the woods (assuming the critters would take care of the rest). But then I just thought that mightbe worse. Essentially just disappearing and everyone living the rest of their lives not knowing.
So I came to the conclusion that I'd have to do it in a hospital. Sure, it would suck for the unlucky doctor, nurse or orderly who found me, but its not like that wouldn't have seen a dead body before. But the flipside to that? It's a hospital. Filled with people trained to save the lives of people who did stupid stuff to themselves. Even if I walked into the emergency room and popped a cap in my dome, there would be a trauma surgeon 15 feet away just waiting to resuscitate me even before my body hit the ground. So I spent literally almost every waking hour from Thanksgiving to mid-December trying to figure out a way around these obstacles.
This is why I shouldn't be left alone with too much free time on my hands. I think too much.
But I figured it out.
I called a doctor friend and told her I had a sinus infection. She called me in a prescription for omoxicillin. I called he back a couple days later and asked her to switch the prescription over to penicillin because the omoxicillin was freaking me out (this becomes important later). Then I tossed my stationary bike in that back of my truck and drove (I didn't want to go to a local hospital - I know a lot of healthcare professionals and didn't want to run into one inadvertantly).
So I drive 2 entire states away. Find some not-quite-rural-not-quite-suburban town, pull into a convenience store, ate a microwaved burrito, thumb through the phone book, find the nearest hospital, drive over there, and park at the edge of the lot near a clump of trees (it's just about getting dark.
I drag the bike out of the back of the truck, plant it in the middle of the trees, then just start pedalling away at max resistance. 10 minutes. 30 minutes. 45 minutes, the lactic acid burning in my calves, sweat rolling off my brow. I made it an hour and 15 minutes before stumbling back into my car and driving over to the emergency room entrance.
I walk in clammy and clutching the lower right part of my abdomen.
So by the time they take my temperature and draw a blood sample, I'm running a decent fever and my white blood count is elevated (but not off the charts). They ask me to rate my pain. I say "7, sometimes 8". It didn't take House to diagnose acute appendicitis. It would definitely have to come out. But since it was getting late and the pain was manageable (and I had recently eaten), it could wait until the morning. So they admitted me and administered 500mg of omoxicillin.
They put me in a double room. That was bad. I really hadn't considered that possibility. With an older guy, mayble late 60's or early 70's, who had just broken his hip. It was close to 11:30PM by then. But he seemed pretty medicated and was 3/4th's asleep most of the time. So I just read The Heart of Darkness in my head to pass the time.
The nurse walked in about 1:30AM to change his IV and check on mine. I waited about 20 minutes after she left to get up, get my boots, trenchcoat and pants out of the plastic bag the ED nurse had packed them in, and pulled my IV into the bathroom. I sat on the toilet, unlaced my boots and withdrew the belts from my pants and coat. This is the only part I hadn't fully planned out because there was no way of knowing what the configuration of the room was going to be. I just assumed that I could loop one end of my McGyver'ed noose over the bathroom door onto the room-side doorknob, then tightened to other end around my neck. Then it would just be a matter of stepping off a stool. Badabing badaboom, problem solved. But the room-side doorknob was actually handle-shaped. When I quietly looped one end of my "noose" over it (careful as to not wake my roommate), re-closed the door, and gave the belt/shoelace/belt a little test tug, it slipped right off. That was a problem.
So I had to improvise. The bathroom-side doorknob was actually a doorknob-shaped doorknob. The only way I could make it work would be to open the door fully against the bathroom wall, loop the noose on the knob-side and hang myself in the bathroom with the door wide open. So I checked to make sure my roommate was still asleep, carried the stool over from the shower, tightened each end of my makeshift rope, and stepped up on the stool.
But it didn't seem high enough.
There was no way just "stepping off" was going to do the trick.
So I jumped up as high as I could.
It hurt like a son of a bitch.
Like a lightning bolt from the top of my head all the way down to my tailbone.
But my momentum pulled the door away from the wall and it was now only halfway open. So now I'm staring straight ahead directly at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, head askew and turning reddish-blue (or just purple, I guess). I also feel my toes barely touching the floor as my "rope" slowly stretches.
This isn't good.
But it gets worse.
Apparently my attempted leap to death has caused a bit of a ruckus. Enough of a ruckus, in fact, to wake my roommate from his painkiller-induced slumber. I look over just in time to see hime come to, gradually lift his head... and lock eyes with my own now-bulging eyes.
Needless to say, he freaks the fuck out.
So now I'M freaking out. I start to kick my legs up and down like a toddler throwing a tantrum trying to snap my vertabrae before he can push the call button to get a nurse to come a'running.
So to my left I have an old geezer frantically screaming and reaching for the alarm, and directly in front of me I have my own flailing reflection which, by now, I can barely make out because the capillaries in my eyes were beginning to burst.
It would have been hilarious if I had taken the time to fully appreciate the insanity of the moment.
But I didn't have the chance because I was busy slipping into unconsciousness.
I woke up several hours later in a different room (without a door) with a nurse or doctor checking in on me every 15 minutes and giving me looks of alternating pity and disgust. I just pretending to be confused and kept asking why I was there.
Dod you know that omoxicillin can, in rare circumstances, cause hallucinations? It's true. And since I had a recent (and spectacularly convenient) history of omoxicillin-induced psychotic episodes (confirmed by my doctor back home), I was able to convince the hospital psychatrist that the suicide attempt was a result of those hallucinations rather than my rather depressing prologue.
Unfortunately for me, the hospital (or maybe it was the entire state, I'm not sure) had a policy that you have to be held under observation for 72 hours after a suicide attempt. So I spent the day of New Years Eve 1999 playing euchre in the psych ward with a 19 year old bipolar girl and 2 generally mentally-disturbed middle-aged men (I was asleep at midnight because the hospital was pretty fascist about their "lights out at 10pm" policy - hardly seemed fair).
Good times. Good times.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quote of the Day

Sometimes people carry to such perfection the mask they have assumed that in due course they actually become the person they seem.
W. Somerset Maugham

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Instead

She dreamed of backpacking Hemingway's path
Pamplona, Key West, Cojimar, School Creek
Reading & writing every mile along the way
She took 8 community college courses Instead

She envisioned skin & sweat & passion
Two bodies intertwined and afire
Nothing existing beyond themselves
She accepted an accountant's proposal Instead

She wanted to save a piece of the world
One sick and deprived soul at a time
Nothing so pure as a woman with a cause
She took a job selling condos instead

She still always kept two books in her purse
On Writing Well and Slaughterhouse Five
Trying to finish a rough outline of her novel
But she got pregnant Instead

Refocused and her life reprioritized
Intent on raising a gentleman & scholar
Museums, culture, sport and charm
She started drinking at noon Instead

She met a man who lived her unlived life
Bitter, jaded, diseased, and unloved
Who longed for the things she had
But she envied him Instead.

Oh, The Places You'll Go (An Very Un-Suessian Tale)

Between dinner & dessert behind Shooters in Orlando
Amtrak lavatory between Pittsburgh & Newark
My cousin's dorm room at CU
The world's nastiest motel room at the world's nastiest Travelodge in DC
An under-construction beach house in Isle of Palms
Parking garage stairwell behind The Quaff in Kansas City
The Bachelors Suite overlooking Lake Michigan at The Drake
Storage closet in the basement of a college rec center
Rental car outside a concert in Tinley Park
Laundromat bathroom in Virginia Beach
Party van coming back from a wedding in Naples
A very cold creek that ran behind my house

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Smerdyakov Pickup

You don't have to be good-looking or funny or smart or obviously wealthy to pick up a woman in a bar. Living proof right here.
Get there about 7. Early enough to find two empty stools at the bar. Sit down in one and place your blazer over the back of the other. It's not necessarily required that you do this while on a business trip, but it's what seems to work for me.
Then order a drink and ask for two menus. Scan the menu, check your watch, fiddle with your shirt buttons (top button unfastened... no, better keep in buttoned), check your phone to see if you missed any calls, glance toward the door every time someone enters.
Things will start to get busy. The bar will start to fill up.
Eventually, someone will ask if the seat next to you is taken. Maybe its a man. Maybe its a woman. Doesn't matter. Just apologize and tell them you're waiting for someone.
Order another drink. Maybe 30-45 minutes have passed by now. Check your watch a little more frequently. Another beer. Then order an appetizer. Look at your phone again. Pretend to leave someone a pathetic voicemail ("Hey, just checking to make sure I heard you right - 7PM at The Charterhouse. Please give me a call when you get this.... oh, and if you're on your way, let me know and I can order for you so you don't have to wait. I was running late anyways, just got here. Ok?"). Another drink.
She'll have started paying attention by now. She will self-select.
She'll probably be with a group of friends. All of them will be sneaking glances and whispering back and forth, but she'll be the one with the look of empathy and concern. Do NOT make eye contact. You're just focusing on who is NOT there rather than who is.
She will ask if the seat next to you is open. Pause before answering. Look towards the door. Check your phone again. Exhale barely audibly, remove your blazer from the stool and say "yeah, I guess it is".
Immediately summon the bartender and order another beer. This is when you stop glancing towards the door and looking at your watch. You will feel her looking at you.
She'll eventually break the ice, saying something like "Maybe she's just running late" or "Don't feel bad. We've all been stood up before" or "She must be an idiot". Flash a quick smile, a little laugh at most.
Say something self-deprecating.
By now, the following thought will have already crossed her mind;
"This will be such a cute story to tell people about how we met - he was stood up by his date, we started talking, hit it off".
Much cuter than "we met in a bar on a Thursday night".
After a few minutes, ask her to save your seat while you go to the men's room. Don't refer it it by anything other than that; the men's room. Not "the little boys room". Not "the head". Not "the bathroom".
The men's room.
Take a couple steps towards the men's room, pause for a second, then turn around to ask her, "hey, if you see a redhead, about 5'8" walk in, can you please tell her I'll be right back?".
Pathetic.
You'll come back. She will have saved your seat. Don't sit down though. Reach for your jacket, thank her, and tell her that you're gonna take off. She'll grab your arm and ask you to stay, maybe just have one more drink. Her treat.
Slowly open up. Share a joke. Let her cheer you up. She'll say something bad about the girl who stood you up. You say,"No, no, no. It's no big deal. I'm over it".
That's it. Yours. Without fail.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Hometown

See that junior high over there?
2nd floor, 3rd classroom from the left?
That's where Mrs. Nax kept me after school
So the social workers could talk to me
voices of concern, pity and uncertainty

And the grocery store down the street?
I used the men's room to clean myself off
on the way to my girlfriend's house
after I visited with Dana Chapman
reeking of sex, Organza and pride

That chinese restaurant used to be a Denny's
halfway between the bars and home
3AM Moons over My Hammy & coffee
before the days we designated a driver
wrecking Barb's car, Barb's leg and Barb

And that little shitbox motel right there?
you'd think it used to be cute & cozy
but its been rundown since the day it was built
I tried to drink myself to death in Room 26
surrounded by bottles, vomit and photographs

That housing development used to be woods
dark, secluded & perfect for two 17 yr old kids
fumbling with belts & zippers & bra straps
unknowingly making a baby, never to be born
costing me $300, a day of school & a friend

She knew she could never live anywhere near here
Addresses all belonging to someone else & me
Not a single place that could be truly ours
She smelled every sin as we drove down South Ave
warm and intrusive, like a strangers breath

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Easter Shenanigans

I have precisely one Easter tradition in my house. Hell, it's probably the only actual holiday tradition I have.
The house I lived in about 14 years ago backed up against a winding creek that formed the border of my little town. The creek made a fairly straight run through my property but then made a sharp right turn as it headed east. So the patch of land between my house and my neighbor's house was a 3/4 acre triangle swatch peppered with oak trees and tiger lillies that had spread from the roadside path. During the summer, the trees were full enough to form an impervious curtain that provided total isolation between the two properties. But starting in late fall and lasting until mid-spring, I could sit on my back deck and see my neighbor sitting on his though the bare trees.
It was on such a early spring Saturday evening when Robyn and I were laying in the chaise on one of the first semi-warm nights of the season. We began to watch as our neighbor, Ron (maybe in his mid-50's then), walking around his backyard in with no discernible pattern or purpose. He'd walk behind a tree, bend over, walk across to the flower garden, bend over, and so on. This went on before we figured out what he was doing - hiding little plastic Easter eggs for his grandkids to search for the next day.
Now for most people, this might seem a precious & tender moment to be enjoyed and savored. After all, I lived In a town seemingly painted by either Norman Rockwell or Thomas Kincade, depending which side of town you were on. But for us, it was an opportunity for some slightly more, well, not-quite-malicious activities.
"Would you like some Peeps?" I asked her as my neighbor headed inside, task completed. She playfully slugged me, but I knew her thinking was along the same lines as mine.
We drank a bottle and a half of Louis Jadot Bourgogne until we saw the lights go out next store. We crept though the woods until simply planning on stealing some Peeps and Cadbury eggs neatly contained in a small plastic egg. But then we found the first egg, it's outer shelled scribes in block letters, "Audrey". The next we found was labeled Ethan. It turns out all were marked with the names of one of his 5 grandkids.
We crouched behind a tree plotting our next course of action. The fair thing to do would be to steal candy equally from each child's egg. The evil thing to do would be to steal all the candy from only one child's eggs, thereby sentencing him/her to a lifetime of low self-esteem and feelings of familial inadequacy and alienation.
But then Robyn asked, "How much cash do you have?".
I pulled out my money clip and she extracted a fifty dollar bill.
"Which name is your favorite?", she asked next.
"Hmmm, let's go with Nora".
She walked over to the bird feeder, picked up an egg labeled "Nora", opened it up, inserted the fifty, re-sealed it, placed it gently where it was, grabbed my hand and led me back home sans chocolate or Peeps.
We woke early the next morning and drank coffee on the dock along the creek where we had a full perspective on the festivities next door.
A "ready....set...GO!". Five kids, toddlers through elementary, scramble through the yard. A 5 year year old girl (presumably Nora) squeals in delight. The four others, seeing her bounty, now dash madly around the property looking for their own $50 egg..... To no avail. Confused parents. Ron in a state of complete disbelief. Kids begin to cry. Nora fiercely protecting her priceless egg. Parents begin to argue.
While Robyn and I drink hazelnut coffee, blissful and contented.
Nora got fifties for the next two years with the same results. The following year Ron tried to head off the holiday disaster by putting one $50 bill in each of the kids' eggs. I replaced Nora's fifty with a $100 bill.
The kids stopped getting eggs when they hit about 14 years old, but the older kids would be replaced with younger ones, one of which would always be selected at random for added cash from me. I think Ron began to suspect I was involved, but abandoned that theory when it continued after I moved away.
So early in the morning every Easter, I sneak into Ron's yard for another round of holiday shenanigans.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mandingo - A Haiku

She never felt so...
Powerful, free, unchained, strong
Than when beneath him

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dumped for Galifianakis

I did my undergrad at Northwestern
finished my Masters at Cornell
Eleven point nine Q on my MCAT
but she dumped me for Galifianakis

Completed a 1/2 triathlon at Sarasota
in a shade under six hours
Starting scrum half for the Oneida FC
she still dumped me for Galifianakis

Junior Achievement, Red Cross, ASPCA
passed out blankets to the homeless
I run a rescue shelter for greyhounds
Got dumped for Galifianakis anyhow

I surprised her on her 25th birthday
flew her sister in from New Zealand
bought her a signed 1st edition Lagerlof
Yeah, dumped for Galifianakis

I live in an 19th century firehouse
restored with my own sweat & two hands
the firepole just where she liked it
The bitch dumped me for Galifianakis

I would keep her going for hours
breathless, bordering on unconscious
regardless of my own carnal needs
but now she's banging Galifianakis

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Uninvited

I heard footsteps walking up the path to my house
But I had sent no invitations
I had made no appointments
No welcome mat in front of my door

Then a delicate knock on unstained oak
and a silhouette against the frosted sidelights
She had no way of knowing anyone was home
No lights, no sound, mailbox overflowing with postcards

Her frailty calmed my unease
What danger could she possibly pose?
I unlatched the deadbolt, removed the chain
Cracked the door and let her inside

She said she's driven by this house for years
always wondering what it was like inside
finally worked up the courage to knock
Grateful to find someone inside

I hadn't wanted/expected company
But still I said nothing
as she walked through the first floor
and began to turn on all the lights

She seemed to know her way around
Removing two mugs from the pine hutch
and brewed coffee for me, tea for her
as we sat on opposite ends of my couch

Obviously incapable of doing any harm
to a calloused, caustic man like me
I didn't thank her for her warmth
But I didn't latch the door when she left

Afterwards, she came and went as she pleased
sometimes I was home, other times not
Though aware of one unspoken rule
Make yourself at home, but respect locked doors

My bedroom, the basement, the garage
All else was hers to explore, to wander
For which she appeared to be content
Even when I wasn't there to police

But then I arrived home, worn & humbled
Things seemed slightly out of place
my nightstand, my wine cellar, my keys
She lied and said it wasn't her

I didn't invite her in my home after that

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Subtle

Its the little things
that let me know she's been here
(when she not supposed to be)

still-warm water droplets in my tub
the scent of a cologne I haven't worn in a while
Diorskin Nude inside the collar of my favorite shirt

My bed a little too well-made
her silhouette barely graces my pillow
my robe hung a little too neatly on the closet door

HF Saint upside down in my bookcase
Damien Rice at the top of my playlist
Prescriptions aligned in the medicine cabinet

My notebooks, dog-earred and well-read
a cigar missing from my humidor
(not one of the good ones though)

Maybe I shouldn't be away from the house for so long
maybe I should keep all the windows locked
but then who would keep me company?

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Pill

Sulphur in her mouth
cursing the physician
so sickened by the treatment
she doesn't even realize
she no longer has the disease

Friday, June 12, 2009

Particle Board

You stood two steps behind him
as he unlocked the door to his 2nd floor apartment
with a partial view of the pool & the highway
Carrington Place or Crane's Landing or The Meadows

He walked in, flipping the light switch
a black halogen pole lamp illuminates the foyer
you step cautiously onto the neutral linoleum
your heels sticking a bit, leather on plastic

He walks four or five steps into the kitchen
opening the cabinet, you know the kind
tan pressed wood that swells when wet
he withdraws a bottle of peppermint schnapps

he rests the bottle on the laminate countertop
youre still wearing your charcoal gray peacoat
as he gestures to Sanyo cd player
and asks you to put on some "mood" music

Flipping through his random collection
The Killers, Creed, the Crue & Chili Peppers
"hey, just push play" he calls over to you
Sex of Fire begins to play from the tinny speakers

He sets down two plastic schnapps-filled glasses
on the black particle board coffee table
that he bought in a box & assembled with an allen wrench
water rings & ciggy burns scattered randomly

he makes room for you on his futon
you remove your coat, draping it on his gamer rocker
he leans over as you sit beside him
his goatee tickles your chin as you kiss

you look around while he squeezes your breast
aluminum, particle board, plastic and polyester
a lack of permanence and perspective
all of it garbage within five years, maybe less

Is that where you really want to be?
hooked up with some random who smells like Axe
while I'm at home on my leather chaise
making out with a waitress from Applebees

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Tuesday at The Corner Bar & Grille

i should have known better
i had no business being there
but she laughed when i hesitated
"as if you could still charm my pants off"
"you know we're not 18 anymore"

she said she could only meet at lunch
she worked evenings at Ballys
spinning class til 5, pilates at 7
she'd be at the Corner after her shower
just to talk & hear about the Alison

i was cautiously cautious at first
we had a past and she had a present
married a decade, 3 kids of her own
one played the piano, 2 danced ballet
she lulled me into apprehensive optimism

the conversation flowed then ebbed
she paused then asked if i was happy
"youve known me since i was 16"
"you ever know me to be happy?"
i noticed her eyes were as weary as my own

right then i hoped we could be friends
and she told me she decided to be happy
right after her dad died last year
it got closer to 7 and she had to go
sometimes her husband brought her lunch

i stepped up to hug her goodbye
as we stood shivering outside the bar
i swear to God i wanted to be friends
but the our lips somehow met
our bodies somehow embraced

"lets go sit a minute in my car"
she said as she took me by my hand
i should have known better
i had no business being there
but it was cold & maybe i could make her happy

she drove a few blocks away, quiet
she was going to be late anyhow
her tiny hands in mine, it began
slowly at first, then with a hunger
then with a longing, i began to drown

she unbuttoned my shirt, 6 buttons down
then my belt as she unzipped her pants
i looked around to make sure we were alone
both of us half-naked under the streetlight
the windows fogged, streaked by fingerprints

i saw the truth as she crawled in the backseat
leopard-print bra and laced black thong
no way she'd wear that just for work
it should have been boy-shorts & jogging bra
she knew we'd be here when she woke this morning

i should have seen this coming
i should have known better
theres no way i should be here right now
but i still crawled back to be with her
next to the child safety seat and bookbag

we couldnt be friends after this
we would be something else entirely
stolen glances as we past in the street
she'd be someone to give me what she wanted
me not man enough to give her what she needs

Thursday, March 13, 2008

She

Shi has always been my closest companion
my confidante, my lover, my judge
touching the lives of the people around me
her hand so close to grazing my own
I can feel the warmth of her fingertips

Shi whispers her name in my ear as I sleep
I'm unsure if it's a tease or a prophecy
uncertain if I want her to lay down beside me
taking me in her willowy arms
embracing me as the candle slowly burns

Shi comes and goes as she pleases
but never quite leaving me alone
reminders of her presence litter my room
a murder of crows, a salt-pepper ram
keep me company until shi returns

Shi promises me comfort & redemption
alluring in her matte black dress and veil
a vision of fate and relentless certainty
her broken watch oddly out of place
but still keeping perfect time

Shi goes days without a single word
then blusters on for weeks on end
"hominem te esse memento" & "memento mori"
repeated until I hear them in my sleep
never knowing if she'll be there when I wake

Friday, February 22, 2008

Schismatist

Even after I stopped doing some serious drinking, I still made a habit of spending a lot of time in bars. It was probably good for me to get out in a social atmosphere, even if I wasn't directly contributing to the fraternization. I suppose that my theory was that I would somehow absorb the ability to mingle via osmosis.
But mostly I just found myself clinically observing other people.
And I spent one night observing one person in particular.
She was drunk even before she walked in. It was a hotel bar, so my first thought was that she may have been a prostitute. But that belief quickly faded away. I knew a hooker when I see one, and she was no hooker. Though she was a little under-dressed for this particular bar. Her clothes a little too tight & cheap and her shoes much too Payless.
Just a drunk whore.
I'm surprised they even served her. She was visibly wobbly and obviously alone - a combination that's usually a prologue to trouble. So I watched her out of the corner of my eye as I nursed my sidecar. It wasn't so much a predatory gaze, but rather how one would look at a car careening out of control on a winding mountain road - something bad was about to happen and I didn't want to miss it.
As my eyes volleyed back and forth between her now slumping figure and my melting ice cubes, I noticed another man in the corner doing the very same thing. But he wasn't merely looking on in grotesque amusement. He was patiently waiting for opportunity.
He was about my age, maybe a little younger, well-dressed and sober enough to know exactly what he was doing. And planning. An unintentional predator salivating at a target of convenience.
He waited 30 seconds or so after she gulped what remained in her glass then stumbled toward the door before he left a twenty on his own table and followed her out. But not before scanning to his left and right to see if he was the only one eyeing the unsuspecting girl.
I watched them both through the picture window facing the street, their bodies now framed between Bass & Guinness neon signs. She was attempting to sort her thoughts, obviously in vain. Maybe trying to figure out how she'd get home, remembering the bus schedule or calculating what the cab fare would be . But much too engrossed in her ephemeral thoughts to notice him approaching.
I saw the whole episode acted out in mime to the jukebox soundtrack of Stevie Ray Vaughn's Tightrope. He was trying to give off the impression of a helpful stranger, offering her a ride home. Or maybe just walk with her a while to make sure she was ok - there were a lot of crazies out in the streets that late, right?
She clutched her purse tight against her ribcage, perhaps sensing that he wasn't as he seemed. She drew back as he reached his hand out to rub her shoulders - just a warm, friendly gesture, right? Her apprehension didn't deter his physicality. To the contrary, he must have liked his women with a little fire in their bellies. He stepped up his tactile offensive by wrapping his arm around her waist.
I'd seen enough. I left money on the bar to cover my tab and strode through the door
"Leave her alone, you piece of shit", I said.
Perturbed at being interrupted, he placed his hand on her breast and told me to mind my own business.
I asked her if she wanted me to call her a taxi. She looked at him before answering in the affirmative. I held out my hand for her to take and led her away from the dirtbag.
And he was pissed. But he didn't move from in front of the building. Just watched us walk halfway down the block to the hotel entrance and to the curb as I hailed a cab.
I opened the back door and made sure she was in safely as I handed the driver 2 twenties and told him to take her home. She looked at me without a 'thank you' as the car pulled away.
I started heading back to finish my "conversation" with the scorned shitbag. Since he clearly wasn't interested in going back in the bar, he must have wanted to have a few words with me. And by now, I couldn't help but notice a few patrons watching us through the window, waiting for the discussion.
But then I heard a car honk from the street as the same taxi pulled back next to me after circling the block. The driver rolled down his window.
"She's too drunk. She won't tell me where she lives. Told me to take her back here. I don't have time for this" he said, frustrated, as he handed me back one twenty.
She opened the door, nearly falling to the pavement face-first, and exited the car.
"Sorry", she apologized. "I don't remember my address. I guess I'll just have to go home with you".
I was suddenly disgusted by her tequila-slurred words and clumsy attention-seeking.
"Look, there's no way you're coming home with me. You better get your ass back in that cab before you do something really stupid or before someone does something real stupid to you", I spat out.
What the hell was the point of helping someone who was pretty much deadset on self-destruction?
"Come on, guy. Just take me home, ok? I just need to sleep a little then I'll feel better in the morning. I swear I'll be good", she pleaded.
The spurned suitor was watching this all in amusement.
"I'll take you home, sweetheart" he offered with a smile, ever the helpful gentleman.
She looked at him then she turned back to me.
"So what's it gonna be, huh? Are you going to make me go home with him?" she asked, almost daring me to take advantage of her.
"You're going to have to find yourself another hero, little girl" I told her as I walked back into the bar for 8 or 9 more drinks.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Does He?

Does he make you smile like I used to do?
whispering a dirty joke in your ear at a funeral
then glaring at you in mock disdain
as your cashmere lips form a resisted grin
Does he?

Does he make you laugh like I used to do?
when you're alone in your car, me miles away
but you titter thinking about the time
I painted happy faces on my nipples
Does he?

Does he make you come like I used to do?
turning you on like a switch
my finger tracing gently on your hip
as my teeth sink into your neck
Does he?

Does he make you feel like I used to do?
hunger, madness, longing and desperation
all before I finish your song
my fingers raw against the steel strings
Does he?

Does he make you scream like I used to do?
as I peel back your scabs
and probe your wounds with my finger
not sure if I'm a healer or a masochist
Does he?

Does he make you cry like I used to do?
wiping your tears before I walk back in the room
pretending everything couldn't be better
as if I never said the things I did
No he doesn't, does he?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Yet

Grown up to be a woman
yet still a little girl inside

Settled for a boy
yet still longing for a man

Found her purpose
yet not the one she hoped it would be

Living with uncompromising honesty
yet still hiding one dark secret

Content to wear jeans and a sweater
yet gazes longingly at the gown in the window

Pleased with her life
yet holding out hope for another

Grasped hard-learned lessons
yet feels like a schoolgirl next to him

Sees the beauty around her
yet dreams of somewhere else

Friday, February 08, 2008

Intoccabile

I exited the lobby of my hotel
temporarily blinded by the reflection
off the glass highrise across the street
I had to quickly jerk myself back
to escape being trampled by commuters

I stood motionless waiting for my chance
to merge with the industrious crowd
not wanting to be absorbed by the bustle
shrinking myself to fend off their touch
practically leaping into an approaching void

I skitted to the right and left
nearly colliding with oncoming traffic
not even wanting to be casually brushed
nor inadvertantly bumped, tapped or rubbed
content to be tactually invisible

Then I noticed a strange phenomenon
just before I would flinch to dodge a passerby
they would move away from me instead
the more I condensed myself
the bigger the buffer they allowed
until I was surrounded by an ethereal halo

It was warmly comforting..... at first
unconcerned with their brutishness
lengthening my stride, slowing my gait
brazenly immune to my environment
my own aura of sanctuary

But as I reached out my open hand
to aid a fallen pedestrian
her purse strewn across the pavement
she suddenly withdrew from me
with a sickening churlishness

And she wasn't alone in her revulsion
a colleague refused my handshake
a grandmother dismissed my embrace
a lover spurned all intimacy
as my sanctuary became a prison

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Égoïste

I used to have a real job. A real boss, 401k, bi-weekly paychecks - the whole 9 yards. And because I wasn't bound by the constraints of family, friends or a social life, I used to work relatively long hours. The only problem with that is, at that time, I lived about an hour commute away from the office. So working until 10-11 o'clock 5-6 nights a week, then driving 40+ miles home, sleeping for 4-5 hours, then getting up and driving another hour back into work got a little old after a while. So I was left with 2 basic options - either sell my house and get a place in the city OR find a cheap little studio downtown to crash after working late.
I opted for door number two.
I found a place about 2 blocks from my office. It was an unfurnished loft in a converted bottle factory (glass, not baby). Nothing extraordinarily special about it - about 600 sq ft of open space with ladder access to a raised sleeping area, but it was perfect for my needs. And it had a lot of good light, which was unfortunate because I didn't think I'd see much of the place during the day.
I signed a 6-month lease with an option for month-to-month after that. I bought a cheap couch, a platform bed and stashed a week's supply of clothes in the closet. It was pretty sweet for a while. Kinda like my own little private hideout, a safehouse that only I knew about.
Until I made the mistake of letting someone else in on the secret.
There was this admin in Finance. We had exchanged pleasantries and innuendo for a few weeks until one night when we were the last two people in the office. I was working late. She was working late. We went for drinks afterwards. We wanted a little privacy.
You get the picture.
This went on for the better part of 2 months. We'd work late, get drunk then go back to my place and have at it. We even took advantage of the close proximity to have a few long "lunches" as well. We'd come back to the office with our hair mussed and clothes wrinkled, but I don't think anyone suspected anything nefarious.
A little background on her - early 20's, graduated from a private catholic college in Texas, tight swimmer's body, dating a 3rd year med student. It would be fair to say that she didn't have a lot of bedroom experience up until that point in her life. And the experience she did have wasn't much more than the drunken-frat-boy "grope'n'poke" variety. Since her boyfriend spent a lot of time at school, they didn't have much of a chance to spend much time together. So she really came of age bedroom-wise while we were together.
So anyway, this goes on a bit longer until she starts feeling guilty about her boyfriend and decides that she needs to spend more time with him. She tells me that she can't do this any longer and breaks it off. She even gave her notice at our company and started working for the census bureau. I was definitely ok with it because I was getting even less sleep than when I was driving all the way home each night. And it wasn't like I had anything invested in her except the physical thing.
So I stopped seeing her...... for about a month.
She developed this habit of hanging out with her friends at a downtown bar and getting too drunk to drive home. So she'd walk over to my loft and knock on the door to see if I was there. This happened once every couple of weeks. I'd let her in, put her to sleep in my bed then I'd go sleep on the couch. Then she'd come over to the couch and start kissing my neck. I'd tell her to knock it off because I had to go into work early. Then she'd start rubbing my chest. So we'd end up making out for a while. Out of a convoluted respect for her relationship with her boyfriend, I wouldn't go any further than that.
A few months of this goes by. It starts getting pretty old for me. I got the place so I could get some sleep after working late, but now I was sleeping way less if at all.
So she comes over late one Friday night. After her engagement party. Smashed as she could be. I tell her that she can sleep on the bed but she better stay there. I lay down on the couch and go to sleep. I wake up about 7am when I feel her on top of me, completely undressed. I tell her to cut it out. She starts doing certain things to me (for the sake of decency, I'll leave it at that). I push her away and tell her to get off me. She starts doing something to me even more provocative.
I'm a man. I have weaknesses.
I roll over on top and enter her. Nothing intimate. Nothing affectionate. Just going through the motions to get it over with.
I look down to see her avoiding eye contact with me as her eyes almost start to tear up. I couldn't freaking believe she was pulling that shit. I roll off her said things that I regret. Pretty much a total prick. Things like "what the hell did you expect me to do?" and "what's your f-ing problem?".
You know, being the sensitive guy I am.
She stopped coming over after that.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Are You Experienced?

Has it ever hurt so bad that you didn't care what happened
90 miles per hour down Suicide Hill
seatbelt unbuckled and The Cure full volume
Not quite deliberate but not quite unplanned
Reckless and surrendering to chance?

Have you ever fallen so hard that you plan your breakdowns
laying a Franklin and a Jackson on the bar
your address scribbled on the twenty
to (maybe) get yourself home
as long as you don't puke in the cab?

Are you consumed by the past that you risk your future
hiding her painting in the trunk with your old trophies
her first initial and last name in the bottom corner
an excuse already prepared if someone finds it
"Oh, I didn't even know I still had that old thing"?

Have you ever felt so alone, lying next to someone else
just as beautiful, just as passionate, just as kind
holding out your arm to keep her at the right distance
close enough to invite her inside
far enough so that she won't stay?

Ever want the pain to stop so much that you........
still refilling your prescriptions
but no longer taking your pills
full honey-colored bottles with childproof caps
lining the inside of your medicine cabinet?

Because if you haven't felt what I've felt
desperation, anguish, rage, wretched longing
then no amout of caring or desire
will countermand the difference
between my past and our future

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

She Doesn't Deserve Me

I can give her a good five minutes a day
I'll be there for her most of the time
Her birthday is next week, I think
I'll try to get her some flowers
She doesn't deserve me

I kinda have my own thing going on
Things I'm trying to work out
Maybe I'll figure it out this year
She's got time to waste, right?
She doesn't deserve me

I'll always love someone else more
but she's right up there, top 5 at least
She really means something to me though
I say "me too" when she says she loves me
She doesn't deserve me

There's that guy that likes her at work
who brought her soup when she was sick
She ate it as she ironed my shirts
I didn't give her a hard time when she spilled
She doesn't deserve me

I should probably call her tonight
She's seemed kind of down lately
especially when she left this morning
I thought last night was great though
She doesn't deserve me

Friday, December 28, 2007

Venetian Plaster

I was eighty-five miles away
close enough to think about driving home
far enough away to justify staying the night
a ring not quite on my finger
her ring not quite on hers

Reading Freaky Deaky in strip mall B&N
She was doing a Q&A for her book
an anthology of local murders, I think
it wasn't something I'd ask about
I just overheard every other question

She walked by twice, hoping I'd stop her
before she said that Leonard seemed light for me
I asked her what my middle name was
She said "I don't know, I don't know you"
I sneared "And don't you forget it"

Dean Koontz was her brain candy
I couldn't read him after Lightning
but we both liked DeMille
me for Cathedral & her for Charm School
It would be easy to get her home
but hard to get her undressed

I left my car in the parking lot
she drove a Prius or an Insight
I can't tell them apart
to an upscale cookie cutter flat
Minimalism could have been her style
but she was probably just poor

We drank cheap wine out of Riedel Sommelier glasses
She talked about Proust
I pretended to listen
until it was my turn to talk
about Lennon's nigger and The End
She ruined my favorite sweater
I got hard anyhow

She said she needed to change
I waited a half hour
then opened her bedroom door
she slept with a pillow between her legs
in a bra and panties
her alarm set for six ayem
I took 3 Ambiens from her cabinet
and fell asleep against her bathroom door

I woke when the pool opened at noon
her long gone for work, presumably unshowered
I went through her photo albums
the same boy at her prom
and again from just last year
I ripped out all his pictures
then burned them in the sink before I left

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Si Usted Me Necesita...

I won't be easy to find
alcoholico de pueblo
in Salsipuedes
middle of nowhere, Mexico
far enough down the baja
where you run out of beach
and run into rocky inhospitable coast
not even in una casa
more like una choza
wearing a perpetual week-old beard
where the coast looks like...... hmmm
upside-down senos (not to be coarse)
but I'll be around

Well, there or in town
for cervezas and arroz
my dog in the truck
I'll be the one
with Doc Martens & guitar
no phone or address
just ask for the gringo chistoso
they'll know who you mean
and point you down a long dirt road
towards Fin del Mundo
both in name and in purpose
waiting for perdon o muerte
whichever comes first
or maybe both

You'll be expected
an extra cup, an extra plate
but only one cama
just for me
so you can't stay long
probably not even worth the effort
to talk to a broken old young man
no good to anyone anymore anytime
except my dog and my bartender
but if you're in the area
within a hundred miles or so
and you want to say 'hello'
I promise to kiss you goodbye

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Lie - A Scheherazade Project Entry

I told her I was tired and really didn't feel like going out
she seemed ok with it but asked if she could just come over
just for a little while, maybe order Chinese & watch a movie
I felt better knowing she was on her way over

She unlocked the door, key in one hand & groceries in the other
"I felt like cooking. Is that ok?" she asked before kissing my neck
and stroking my back as I sat working at my desk
"Sounds perfect. Let me finish this one thing then I can help"

We maneuvered around each other in my under-construction kitchen
grilling chicken, boiling noodles and slicing tomatoes
like we've done dozens of times before, our tasks unspoken
she gives her "naughty boy" look when my hand lingers on her thigh

She tells me about Mrs. Thaelus at work, matchmaker for her gay son
knowing that I don't care but only talking about it to make me laugh
and it works as I try to hide my smile, but she sees it anyhow and grins
by now wearing only a camisole, her blouse draped over the chair

We eat as she pries out the details of my week, labors unrewarded
knowing that I need to tell them despite my half-hearted reluctance
it feels better getting it all out, but I'm sorry she's bearing the brunt
on her slight wispy shoulders and graceful musician's hands

She leans her back against the arm of the couch as I rest my head in her lap
her fingers interlaced in my hair as we half pay attention to The Guardian
drinking a bottle of wine she brought back from Asheville, saved just for me
she slides down in front of me, facing away, as I wrap her in my arms

I feel her breathe dance on my wrist and her pulse throb in my hand
no more talking as we take pleasure in this fleeting peaceful moment
A moment that I'd rarely allowed myself before her, before this
smelling her hair and perfume as I draw her even closer

The credits roll as she turns to face me, bliss and contentment in her eyes
placing her hand on my face as our lips and bodies come together
"I'm going to stay the night, ok?" she asks as if it was even a question
she takes my hand and leads me down the hall to the bedroom

So why couldn't I stop thinking about you?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Truckee Greyhound Station

For the second time in my life, I woke up on a bench in a bus station. The latest incarnation was a result of a series of very very poor decisions. What started out as a glorified plan rapidly devolved into an ill-conceived scheme over the extended Thanksgiving holiday.
But as I woke, I wasn't thinking of my current circumstances but rather my original walkabout twenty-some years ago.
I was fourteen years old when I stole eighteen hundred dollars out of a secret compartment in my dad's office drawer. I'll give you two guesses as to why he'd hide that much cash in his office. Both guesses are probably right.
By that point in my life, my parents had grown used to me taking off sometimes for a couple days on end. We lived out in the boonies so camping was only a half-mile hike away. I'd walk out the door with my backpack and tell me folks that I'd be back later. They'd nod and mumble something in reply. As long as I didn't miss any school, it was never a big deal. I only went camping about half the time. The other half was spent riding a Greyhound bus no where in particular, usually as far as half of whatever money I had would take me.
But this time I was going to take the train. I had the eighteen hundred plus about three hundred of my own lawn-mowing and babysitting money. I caught the Zephyr just outside of town (it's discomforting how easy it is for a fourteen year old to buy an out-of-state train ticket). I was going to take it to Truckee then hitch to Westville where my grandfather had an old hunting cabin. It was pretty much a shitbox - no electricity or running water but it was isolated and perfect.
It was scheduled to be a 19 hour train trip through some of the least scenic landscapes on planet earth. Not that it mattered much because it got dark a couple hours after we left the station. I passed the time planning the next couple months - buying sundries, a fishing pole and a bunch of toilet paper. I figured the money would last me about six months before I'd have to think of something else.
I estimated that we'd be passing through Elko before anyone would notice that I wasn't where I was supposed to be. Not that they'd start looking or anything. My dad would think that I was with my uncles and my uncles would figure that I was over at some friend's house. I could probably get pretty near my final destination before anyone would start to panic.
But they'd be too busy getting ready for my mom's funeral. When I'd left, my sister was trying to decide what to wear, my dad's secretary was parked down the street after spending the night at our house (a year later she'd be complaing that I refused to call her "mom") and my grandmother had drugged herself catatonic.
The blizzard slowed us down quite a bit and it took nearly three hours to get to Truckee from Reno. I didn't have much luck hitching from there. I-70 had been shut down for about an hour by the time I got there. Semis and station wagons lined the streets with their engines running to keep the occupants warm. This wasn't part of my plan.
It's only four or so blocks from the train station to the Greyhound station so I trudged through the snow dragging my Yankees duffel bag behind me. I figured the bus would give me a better chance to get me close to where I wanted to go. It was close to 10PM by the time I got there and I had 9 hours until the next departure.
I fell asleep on a bench next to the window.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One Of These Nights

One of these nights
I'm going to knock on your window
even if no one else is home
you'll giggle in your pajamas
while I tell you to "get dressed, let's go"
you'll be half-hearted hesitant
just for a second though
before you toss on some jeans
and run a brush through your hair

You'll slide it to ride shotgun
and ask "so where are we going?"
I'll just smile and head south
avoiding highways like we were on the lam
getting warmer the farther we go
top down, stars out, chance of rain
caring less the faster we drive
no responsibilities or concerns
the only souls we're saving are our own

We'll pass a tattoo shop at 3AM
an exchanged glance, an illegal u-turn
you'll get a butterfly on your shoulder
I'll get "Tragedia Hermoso" across my back
we'll make "Dude Sweet" jokes
the rest of the way down
and snicker at the names of the towns we pass
Red Lick, Hardwood and Kleinpeter
like we were fourteen years old

We'll pick our aliases before we get into town
you can be Veronica Lucretia, socialite from Rome
I'll be Roscoe Steele, bronc rider from Waco
ridiculously bad accents and even worse lies
we'll buy you a sequined black cocktail dress
with slightly-more-than-appropriate cleavage
I'll wear a Stetson and ostrich skin boots
and walk pigeon-toed and bow-legged
we'll count how many people point and stare

Everything and nothing has changed in a year
the Lions Den is gone but Irma's still here
Mudbone's still driving his carriage
and the angel still stands in Jackson Square
that record shop is back open on Decatur
we can roll the bones at Harrah's
as you kiss the dice for luck
we'll either go home rich or go home broke
but no regrets and no promises to break

Monday, October 30, 2006

Better

I know it's just the same old wine
a nineteen dollar bottle of Louis Jadot
but it just tastes better on your lips

I know that I've heard it before
two syllables a million times
but my name just sounds better when you say it

I know your sister wears it too
that paralegal from work does too
but Amarige just smells better when you wear it

I know it's just my white dress shirt
sleeves rolled up, collar unbuttoned
but it just looks better when you wear it

I know it's just a spot on the small of my back
I've been around the block a time or two
but it just feels better when you touch it

I know it's just the same old house
been here for eighty-some years
but it just feels better when you're in it

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mon Rêve

In my dream you were walking down the sidewalk
in front of my house wearing a breezy cotton sundress
As you passed my fence, we shared a stranger's smile
a momentary love affair foreshadowing things to come

I waited until you turned the corner to unlatch the gate
on the off-chance that tomorrow you'd let yourself in
I planted tigerlilies around the side of the house
and pulled some thistles that had rooted in the beds

The next morning you came in holding an empty leash
looking for your dog who had worked himself loose
we found him as he leaped into my pond, barking at ducks
we drank espressos in the yard while we waited for him to dry

You walked home without a promise, just a little hope
that maybe tomorrow would bring more of the same
thinking about me as I sat on my couch thinking about you
my hands still shaking and warm from when you touched them

The next morning you didn't need the lost dog charade
just walked over and sat down next to me on my porch
your leg touching mine on the swing as I tried not to stutter
laughing nervously, watching dogs chase deer through the yard

I set the kitchen table after you left, lunch - nothing serious
picked out some non-committal, unpretentious music for ambience
I stayed up all night thinking of things to talk about
that would seem spontaneous and wickedly clever

You seemed at home at my table, comfortable in new surroundings
still there were so many things left unspoken and undone
clumsily dancing on the tips of our tongues and fingers
we bathed in so much uncertainty and premature regret

Still we were left with the cautious promise of another afternoon
I trembled and laid fresh linen sheets across my empty bed
then the next morning I peered through my basement window
and watched you walk away after finding the gate to be locked

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Long Walk Home

If you've ever been down to Church Street Station in Orlando, you'll know what I'm talking about.
Church Street Station is the little entertainment district of downtown Orlando. Every Friday and Saturday night, the OPD cordons off two square blocks and open the streets to drunken tourists and college students. People mosey in and out of Rosie O'Gradys, the Cheyenne Saloon and the Orchid Garden.
But my favorite part?
At about 12:15AM, there's a CSX freight train that pulls directly through the party.
The first time I ever saw it, I was amazed. One minute there's hundreds of people carousing around the track, the next minute the RR crossing signs start flashing and barriers drop signalling the coming train. For several minutes the partying is put on hold while the freight train inches through. Once it's gone again, party on.
I was there with some friends of some friends of some friends. How I got from here to there is another post altogether. But anyways, on Friday night my group had met up with another group. I can't recall exactly if they were TA's from Rollins College or RA's from UCF, but I'm pretty sure it was one of the two.
Out of the new group, I had my eye on two or three women. Back then, my theory was to cast a wide net just in case one or two wiggled their way through the net. But there was one that I hadn't paid much attention to. Our only interaction had been when she finished one of my jokes. So we shared a laugh and little else.
We'd all decided to meet back up there the next night with the intention of getting stupid drunk then go driving go-karts at one of those places off International Drive (if you slip the guy at the gate an extra ten bucks, he'll turn a blind eye to any extracurricular bumping and slamming).
But by the time the next night rolled around, several people from both groups had found something (someone) else to do, so only about a half dozen of us were there on Church Street. Given that we now lacked our designated drivers as well, we thought it best to just hang out there for the evening. Drinking, flirting and general stupidity ensued.
A couple hours passed before we heard the tale-tell DING DING DING and saw the flashing lights. So we stood there drinks in hand as the train crawled through the intersection. But after about 10 or 12 cars, I noticed that many of them were empty and the sliding doors wide open. Now, maybe I'm just weird but when I see a slow-moving train with a bunch of open box cars, only one thought was crossing my mind;
I gotta jump on that bastard.
So I look to my left to see my friends standing there completely oblivious to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity staring them in the face. Then I turned to my right and locked eyes with my joke-sharing compatriot. She had this evil little mischievous smile on her face and, without a word, I could tell that we we thinking the exact same thought.
I raised my eyebrows and tilted my head toward the train. She nodded and we both ducked under the barrier and paced the train until we could hop in through an open door. Howls of laughter and raucous applause could be heard as hurried inside and out of view of any police.
The inside of the car is pretty much what you'd expect - plank wood floors, girded metal walls, some scrap iron littering the deck. I guess it was around then that we first gave thought to a couple of fairly obvious questions - what do we do know, where the hell is this train going and how are we going to get home?
After laughing our asses off for a few minutes in pure idiotic glee, we answered the first question.
As the train finished it's trek through downtown Orlando, it began to gradually build up speed. The resulting rocking motion forced us to sit down against the forward wall. She turned to me and said," So are you going to kiss me or what?"
I guess when you're young and stupidly irresponsible, you haven't learned of many ways to communicate feelings of joy, passion, excitement, etc. If this had happened now that I'm older, I would have told her how amazingly brave and wonderfully crazy (in a good way) she was for jumping on the train with me. We would have spent that time telling jokes and exchanging antecdotes, finding out about who we were, building a foundation for later on.
But I was in fact young and stupidly irresponsible, so I just kissed her.
And she kissed me back.
The trained cruised through Winter Park, Maitland, Altamonte Springs and over the inland waterway before finally slowing down 100 miles later in Palatka. We jumped off a few hundred yards short of the railyard and sprinted behind an old metal shed to make sure we weren't caught. We hadn't planned on riding for so long, but.......
She held my hand as we walked a couple miles or so to a 7-11 for coffees and directions to somewhere we could rent a car. Then we huddled together down in the Enterprise parking lot while we waited a few hours for them to open. She sat to my left with her head on my shoulder and both arms wrapped around my one. I tried to think calming thoughts so she wouldn't feel my heart slamming against my chest.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

First Day of School

If I hadn't paused to scan through CD's to find the right song
I would have made it in front of the bus on my way to work
I had forgotten that this was the first day of school
and I should add ten minutes to my commute

My delay was made worse by parents, camcorders and hugs
wishing kindergarteners love & luck with long goodbyes
Crying kids and tearful moms, clinical separation anxiety
But by next week they'll be glad to see them go

I was barely paying attention by the third stop, a safe distance behind
A woman hand in hand with her raven-haired son
her grip preventing him from racing towards the school bus
I hadn't seen her in almost five... no, six years

I heard that she had moved shortly after her wedding
Married an orthodontist or an oncologist, I can't remember which
I was at home drinking myself unconscious as they exchanged vows
Jim Beam in my right hand and wedding invitation clutched in my left

We'd never even officially broken up, just both knew it couldn't work
she met him sometime as we were fading away from each other
I secretly wished she'd find someone to take my place anyhow
Any excuse to blame my failure, my disease, my weakness on her

I wondered where she was working now, her hair done & mostly dressed
When I knew her, she'd grown weary of nightshifts in the NICU
One too many times coming home to me in blood & tear-stained scrubs
She was barefoot now beneath her tasteful skirt and blouse

They embraced then she checked his backpack - pencils, glue, scissors
He wiped her kiss off his cheek as he darted onto the bus
She waved while he stumbled his way to the empty back seat
Then he turned and looked at me with my eyes, my face, my lips

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Slow Sort Of Bad - Scheherazade Project

He used to think that flooding at test depth would be the worst way to go - a massive surge of pressure as the ocean overwhelmed the submarine would cause the men within to essentially implode. An instant yet ultraviolent death.
But waiting to die? This was much worse.
It had been 17 hours since a torpedo hot run had filled the forward compartment with cyanide gas, the faint scent of almonds lingering in the air. The subsequent explosion irreparably damaged the seals on the hatch separating the torpedo tube from the compartment.
It had been 14 hours since the knocking on the airtight door between the forward compartment and engine room had stopped. It had started out as a cacophonous banging but slowly degraded to an almost inaudible tapping as the men on the wrong side of the hatch succumbed. Only one of the remaining 11 crewmembers on the right side of the hatch made any effort to open it, but he was quickly restrained by the others. Opening that door would only slightly extend the life for the few lucky enough to survive the initial blast but would mean certain death for everyone else as the gas and smoke filled the only compartment not yet inundated with them.
So they sat there and listened to the banging turn into knocking turn into tapping turn into silence. None dared make eye contact with anyone else as the waited for their comrades to die.
Alexei dreaded the impending shame he would feel in the event they were rescued. How could he look into the eyes of the wives and children of the men he let die? How could he face his own family, his own father knowing he was a coward? He had been trained to fight fires and combat flooding. He had been drilled on every conceivable casualty scenario. But he had never been trained on how sacrifice other lives so that he may live.
Their initial expectation was that rescue was imminent. They could hear the emergency beacon reverberating of the sides of the hull and transmitting a signal to the other ships in the area. Surely it would be heard.
Hours passed before beacon faded to nothing as the ship's battery weakened, it's output now a trickle as the lights began to slowly dim. This was among other signs that their situation was getting worse rather than better - the aft section rising as the bow filled with water, the periodic bursts as the forward compartments & tanks collapsed under the intense pressure, and the undeniable diminishing of the ever-present hum of machinery and electronics.
The only officer present assigned teams of two to alternate pounding on the hull with wrenches, weighing the importance of signaling their position with the inescapable fact that the more energy they expended, the more oxygen they consumed. The sound would resonate through miles of seawater in hopes of reaching the sonar arrays of rescue ships.
They kept this up for 11 more hours, their efforts sustained only by drinking handfuls of water from the bilges and eating packets of sugar found in one of the lockers.
The monotonous sound of wrenches pounding against the bulkheads began to be interspersed with the sound of grown men weeping - weeping for sons & daughters never to be seen again, weeping for words unspoken to their wives, weeping for wasted years and weeping for their impending doom. Some began to write letters on whatever scraps of paper they could muster. While not knowing how much time they had left, the notes were rushed and absent of any extraneous thought or emotion. One was even a remorseful confession to his wife for infidelities too numerous to mention.
Then it began to happen.
At first it was the overweight diesel mechanic that drifted off to sleep. Then it was the 42-year old electrician. Not a word was spoken but every single one of the remaining men was secretly relieved - more air for them.
But the distress beacon MUST have been heard. Or at least some ship must have heard the rhythmic metallic beating against the hull. It was only a matter of time before they were rescued. They just had to stay awake.
But now gathered in the aft-most bay and surrounded by silent machinery, the men slipped away one by one. Some attempted to only inhale tiny amounts of air at a time, hoping against hope to buy just a few more minutes. Others discreetly took slow deep breathes, consuming more so that others would have less.
But not a single person moved. Not even an inch, fearful that any wasted movement would mean wasted air. But no matter how they tried, they couldn't stop their own hearts from beating faster and faster, racing away in panic and knowledge that rescue efforts would come too late. The more rapid their hearts fluttered, more oxygen was stripped from their lungs.
Then there were just eight left.
Then seven.
Four others went in rapid succession - one moment with tears running down their cheeks and the next moment..... nothing.
Alexei watched as his officer's eyelids began to slide down, pause for just a moment then continue all the way shut.
"I don't want to die. Please God don't let me die", begged his last remaining comrade.
Those were his last words, repeated over and over again until they became a whisper.
Alexei reached over and removed the philanderer's letter from the grip of his lifeless fingers. Pulling out his lighter and fully understanding it's oxygen-burning implications, he lit the note and brushed the ashes into the bilge below. He scribbled "I'll always love you" on a page ripped from his bible and put it in place of the original goodbye.
Then he held his breath and waited - waited for the slow sort of bad that robbed him of tomorrow.

Monday, September 18, 2006

A Hard Truth - Scheherazade Project

It's easier than you might think.
By the time I volunteered to do pro bono counseling at Mansfield Correctional (not to be confused with the Mansfield reformatory, site of Shawshank Redemption, Tango & Cash, etc - it's been closed down for over 15 years) most of the work had already been done. By then I already had a fairly comprehensive list of all the inmates, their crimes and sentences. From there it was only a matter of developing a profile for just the right target. God bless the internet.
You'd also be surprised at how easy it was to get inside. Prisons are so desperate for counselors that the background check consisted of little more than a basic criminal history (I didn't have one - my record has been expunged) and a set of my fingerprints.
Done.
Within two weeks of my initial offer to volunteer, I was counseling inmates in my own non-tape-recorded office. It was pretty much what you'd expect - anxiety over their wives fidelity on the outside, feelings of hopelessness, rough facades replaced by tears, etc. Not that I gave a shit about them or their problems. That wasn't what I was there for.
I started out hoping that one of the prisoners I had targeted would just walk right in, but after a week or so I started to get a little anxious. Thinking that I'd have to settle for less than desireable, I started amending my plans.
But I didn't have to. Because that's when I met 50 Grams. And he was perfect.
He was nicknamed 50 Grams because that's the smallest amount of pure methamphetamine that will trigger the harsher mandatory minimum of no less than 20 years. He was busted after a routine traffic stop turned up the meth in the trunk of his car - boom, first offense. The subsequent search warrant for his apartment turned up another 75 grams - boom, second offense & twenty to life.
Already 51 years old, it was essentially a death sentence and he knew it. He was going to die behind cinder blocks and razor wire.
I meant to work him along slowly, but I was just giddy in anticipation. I turned every session towards his feelings of remorse and regret for not being able to take care of his family. Week after week after week, I fed his inner turmoil until he was ready to explode.
"You have a daughter graduating high school this year, right? Is she planning on going to college" I asked innocently.
He answered that she had done well in school, but there was no money for college. Personally I found it remarkable that she even made it that far. I'd already searched the county records to find that she'd been in and out of foster care as her biological mother fought her own drug demons. The kid certainly deserved a better fate.
"But there are all sorts of scholarships and grants out there for deserving students, especially if there's a financial need. She'll find something". I just egged him on. "As a matter of fact, I give a $5,000 scholarship to children of inmates. I've done it for the last 3 years".
His eyes lit up.
Criminals know another con when they see one. It's just an awareness they have after having lived the Life for so long. And he knew right then that something devious was in the books.
I continued - "She really does sound quite deserving. Plus, it's not like you're some lowlife kiddy rapist. You know, kinda like the one living right down from you on the block - the guy that molested all the pre-schoolers. That guy is a real scumbag and deserves something else entirely."
His shoulders squared to me as he responded.
"So what would think he deserves?", both of us NOT having the same conversation.
"Oh, I don't know. But if it were me, I'd want him to get some of what he'd been giving to those little kids. A taste of his own medicine. Then I'd want him to bleed out as slowly and painfully as possible. Too bad he's locked up here though".
We both walked a little farther across the line.
"Well, things like that have been known to happen here behind bars. Guys like him usually don't make a lot of friends" he said, tacitly agreeing to his half of the deal.
"Frankly I think there's a certain honor in dealing justice like that. It's scary knowing that he's up for parole in 16 months. I don't see how he got 4 years while you got 20. It's just not right. But I'd bet that someone will take care of your family while you're in" I said as I tacitly agreed to my half of the deal.
We did one more session before he stopped coming. I did another month before I told the associate warden that I wouldn't be able to volunteer anymore. It was just becoming too big of a burden on my professional life.

A child molester was buried in scarcely marked grave on the prison grounds a few weeks later. The daughter of a meth junkie started community college four months after that.

And my pain still hasn't gone away.
Not after the molester.
Not after the punk that shot a gas station attendant for 27 bucks.
Not after the babysitter that shook an infant to death.
And not after the drunk driver that killed my fiance.

But maybe after the next one........

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What We Needed - A Scheherazade Project Entry

Disclaimer - I wrote this in the window seat on a red-eye flight to Florida after a long day and a few drinks. I take no responsibility for it's shittiness.

What We Needed

The three of us originally planned to go island-hopping in the Caribbean for 10-12 days to celebrate college graduation. Not that our commencement was in any way praise-worthy. In fact, we’d all cruised through our four years with minimal effort and fanfare. So I suppose the vacation was really just an excuse to drink Red Stripe by the caseload in our best attempts to convince comely exotic beauties to recreate the Lancaster-Kerr beach scene in From Here To Eternity.
But after reviewing my finances, I knew that we would have to scale back our trip if I was going to be able to afford to go. I was a scholarship kid and the money would be coming out of my own savings. The cost wasn’t a factor at all for Travis or Derrin. They were both trust fundies and seemed to have unrestricted access to their fathers’ bank accounts.
So we decided to limit our trip to one island – Puerto Rico. There would be plenty to do and see to keep us busy between the beaches, rain forests, bars, etc. Besides, Derrin had said he had a Puerto Rican housekeeper as a kid and had a thing for that type ever since – soft eyes, raven hair, winsome bodies. I could tell that the opportunity to fulfill some prepubescent wanderlust was very appealing to him.
Our original plan was to spend the first four or five days touring the island and taking in all the tourist sites. But after we missed the tour bus on the first day, inertia kept us at the bars of San Juan pretty much the whole time. The nights were blurs of dance clubs, giggly island girls and empty Cuervo bottles. Mornings were spent stumbling back to our rooms, sometimes alone and sometimes not. The afternoons consisted of each of us filling our ice buckets with a three dollar bottle of Captain Morgans & a two liter of coke and slowly emptying them as we recuperated in lounge chairs by the pool.
It didn’t take us long to figure out that the discos weren’t the safest places to loiter after about 1-2 in the morning. Cash-soaked, liquor-drenched Americanos were prime targets for muggers, pick-pockets and bad characters in general. Fortunately for us, we were able to find a few places we could drink, relax and fraternize in relative safety after hours.
The bordellos.
Now it’s not necessarily what you think. They’re actually very nice establishments with bars downstairs and bedrooms upstairs. The working women chat you up as you drink and, if you’re interested in that sort of thing, lead you upstairs for a little stress relief. But if you just want to sit and drink, there weren’t a lot better places to do it. The Lucky 7, the Hawaiian Hut and the Black Angus were our favorites, the latter in particular.
We had three or four days to go and morose melancholia was beginning to set in. You can only drink so much before you drown in introspection or regretful contrition. Travis & Derrin dealt with it in their way and I dealt with it in mine. They had requisitioned a handful of girls at the Black Angus for a few hours of depraved gluttony. I had requisitioned a bartender to keep my glass filled downstairs.
I watched her descend the stairs through rum-filled eyes. It wasn’t just her natural blond-hair that made her stand out from the rest of the native women working there. It was just a clumsy gracefulness that seemed more than a little out of place. And I couldn’t figure out if she was smiling at me or just in spite of me. It wasn’t even a smile really. More of an upturned lip acknowledging me acknowledging her.
By now, I’m sure that everyone who worked there realized that I was only there to drink, but she sat down next to me anyhow.
“Is it ok if I hang out here while they clean my room?” she asked without regard to what my answer would be. She said it would be about a half hour and ordered a drink on my tab.
“You probably want to hear my story. How I got here, right?”
I’m sure she had a story, well-rehearsed and completely false, that she repeated to different men every night, explaining how she went from rural South Carolina to Puerto Rican whorehouse. Probably filled with larger-than-life characters and tales of rebellious (mis)adventure. I imagined the real story had more to do with a sexually abusive father and parasitic “boyfriends”, but neither of us really cared at that point.
“It depends. Do you want to tell it?”
“Not really” she conceded.
So we talked about personal nothings. She drew on a cigarette, leaned back in her chair to exhale, then leaned back in to draw me nearer. As if affirming some secret only the two of us shared, unspoken. Every few minutes she would take my left arm, pull it towards her and look at my watch, mindful of how much time we had left until she had to go back to work. And every time she did, I was filled with more and more panic that I was about to lose something I’d never had. It never occurred to me how little sense it made.
A khakied Brit walked across the room and placed his hand on her shoulder.
“How bout we go upstairs for a bit, sweetheart?”
I followed her eyes as they went from mine, to his hand, to his face, then back to mine again.
“A little later. I need to finish this conversation first”. Docile yet subtly assertive, he got her point and sulked over to the girl at the next table.
Effortlessly she took me by the hand and walked me over to the bartender.
“How long you gonna be?” he asked.
“The rest of the night” she answered for me as she took my wallet from my pocket, extracted four crisp one-hundred dollar bills and handed them to him.
Placid serenity washed over me as she led me to her room and laid me on her bed. Using the chair in the corner to support herself, Lillian leaned down and slid off her surprisingly casual heels and began to remove her stockings.
“No, that’s not what I want” I protested.
“I know, but I just don’t want to wrinkle my dress” she replied, seemingly amused by my chaste resistance. She turned around and knelt in front of me so that I could unzip her dress. It was only when she pulled it over her head and laid it gently on the chair that I noticed her become nervous, self-conscious. But it passed in a moment and she was herself again.
Now clad only in her bra and panties, she straddled my body and placed her lips next to my ear.
“Trust me” she breathed.
Using her left hand, she deftly unfastened the buttons of my shirt, unbuckled my belt and undressed me. She carefully folded my shirt and pants and placed them next to her clothes before lying down next to me. Her lips pressed against my ear as we wrapped our arms around each other and drifted off to sleep.
I was awoken by Travis the next morning. We were being “asked” to leave by management and the faster the better. I looked around groggily to see she was gone. Not a trace of her remained except for a faint scent of perfume. Travis tossed me my clothes, I got dressed and we left.
Before falling back to sleep in my own hotel room, I found a pink envelope in my jacket pocket that hadn’t been there before. In it were 4 fifty dollar bills and a note scribbled in eyeliner;
“Here’s my half. We both got what we needed – L.”

Friday, June 23, 2006

Emptiness - Scheherazade Project Entry

She had to stand tiptoed on a dining room chair to even be able to reach the heating vent. Her foggy recollection of a stashed bottle drove her frenetic search. The butter knife bent just a little as she unfastened the two retaining screws holding the cover in place, reaching inside and pulling out a blackdust-covered fifth - mere ounces left. The amber liquid served as a prism as the light from the chandelier filtered through the rum and danced on her face.
She drank until it was empty.

Ungracefully climbing down from her perch, she continued to the kitchen. Callously knocking over cereal boxes and Tuna Helper, she knew it was there somewhere there amongst the bottles of vinegar and salad dressings. Cooking sherry. Never opened. Bought under the suspicious eye of her husband (there was a new recipe she wanted to try, she told him). Her trembling hands slipped on the foil cover, unable to gain enough grip to twist off the cap. Undeterred, she grabbed the bottle by it's body and broke the neck over the edge of the marble countertop. The shards bloodied her lips as she up-ended the bottle.
She drank until it was empty.

Redness dripped down her chin and neck as she tried to organize her thoughts. The garage. Her gait a little more awkward now, she rambled down the hall and through the door. Unzipping each pocket of her husband's golf bag and probing until she found what she was looking for - his flask, given to him for serving as a best man at his little brother's wedding (the night she hit four mailboxes on the drive home). Past the point of being able to taste the scotch inside, she let every drop fall from the silver vessel.
She drank until it was empty.

With a new-found clarity of purpose, she returned to the kitchen. The refrigerator. The thirty-two ounce bottle of real vanilla bought for fifteen dollars during their vacation to Jamaica (his idea - he wanted to celebrate her six months of sobriety - she ended up unconscious at the bottom of Dunn's River Falls). 35% alcohol. Her apathy morphed into a reluctantant smile as the cool sweetness burned her bloody lips and coated her screamed-raw throat.
She drank until it was empty.

Now that she had drunk enough courage, she walked the mile down the hall and into her bedroom. Leaning up against the headboard, she pulled three things out of the nightstand drawer. The first, a pack of Newports - she slid one out, snapped off the filtered end, lit it and drew the delicious smoke into her lungs. The second, the note her husband had left on the dining room table - she read it one last time, folded it back up and laid it on her lap. The third, the S&W revolver her father had given to her when she turned 22 and moved out on her own - she placed it in her mouth.
She drank until it was empty.
She drank until she was empty.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Serenity

The first time I tried to kill myself
I inched forward towards the lip of the cliff
until I could almost feel myself falling
the perfect sensation of reckless control
Then I remembered this was "our" spot
and how could I be so selfish to taint that
and replace our memories with this one?
so I took a step back

The second time I tried to kill myself
I collected all the old Percocets
that I was supposed to have taken for months
but suffered through and saved for today
Then I looked at the empty spot on the bed next to me
where you used to sleep and cry and laugh
Then it was almost as if you were still there
and I couldn't bear to be numb to that

The next time I tried to kill myself
I could feel the trigger move ever millimeter
the blissful intersection of Certainty & Uncertainty
waiting for the inertia to be shattered
But the lingering touch of your lips replaced the cold steel barrel
on the spot on my head that you used to kiss
when you joked that you didn't love me
I placed the bullet in bottom drawer

The last time I tried to kill myself
I'd never driven that fast with my eyes closed
empty black highway with the bridge up ahead
such a peaceful calm, my heart near still
But I felt you sitting next to me, your hand on my knee
your perfect half-smile and hair dancing in the wind
our drive down to St Simon's we never got to take
I down-shifted and headed south

Tonight I'm going to kill myself
walking into the ocean until the water stings my lungs
feeling it surround my body in its cool embrace
too far from the shoreline to turn back
no memories of us left to rescue me from sleep
hard to believe you're not here beside me
hard to believe you've been gone for so long
Just ten feet of water until we're together again

Monday, June 12, 2006

Not Quite Drunk Enough

Not quite drunk enough
to give her a call
to say her name out loud
to leave my door open
to throw away the key
to tell her I'm sorry
to explain why I'm an asshole
to ask her to come back
to tell her to stay away
to send her the letter
to remember her touch
to forget her voice
to stop picking her scab
to delete her number
to run to her
to make it better
to make it worse
to finish this bottle
to pass out in my chair
to open the childproof cap
to let her know how I feel

Monday, May 08, 2006

Damned

I was damned the moment I let her walk away
from the moment I didn't say a word
I didn't call her back

I was destined for hell the second I sat next to her
the second I let her drive me home
I walked her upstairs

I surrendered my soul when I made her push me away
when I left the door open for her to leave
I left it open for her return

I became lost when I returned her letters unopened
when I pretended I didn't care
I didn't say goodbye

The die was cast when I saw her across the room
when I saw her with someone else
I died a little inside

The tumor became malignant when I laid down with another
when I thought about her when I did
I thought about her when I did

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Hotel Room

Warm champagne spoils in a bucket of water
one lipstick-ringed plastic cup
three broken french manicured nails
black cumberbund draped over the back of a chair

silky petals sleep on the carpet below
Tuxedoed groom slumped unblinking in the corner
his shirt slowly turning from red to brown
scattered envelopes litter the bed

Her never-worn teddy stuffed in the trash
the morning sun peeks through the drawn curtains
both key cards tossed on the dresser
"Do Not Disturb" sign hastily hung on the knob

Overturned lamp next to the still-made bed
neighbors still upset from the newlywed's vigor
two calls to the front desk complaining about the noise
six-inch stiletto dropped thoughtlessly in the sink

Simple yet beautiful wedding dress hung up with care
jeweled heels placed perfectly beneath
a note scribbled on a napkin & pinned to the pillow
unconsummated air grows stagnant in the room

Friday, April 21, 2006

Just In Case

I noticed it only because of the deathly quiet
it's wings moved the air & the air moved the leaves
I looked to see it land in the crimson maple
the night heron's crest stark against the twilight sky

Curious as to how it wandered so far
I froze, not wanting to frighten it away
the bird's head swiveled across my gaze
Not certain if it was in danger or in sanctuary

I silently wondered about my winged guest
why my tree? why my plot of earth?
was it flying towards a safe secluded hideaway
or flying away from winter's wicked wrath?

My heart leaped as it looked to take air again
then leaped higher when it settled in to stay
I slowly crept back into the comfort of my home
but left the window open, just in case

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Without Saying A Word

I walked in my room without turning on the lights
that's why I didn't see her lurking in the corner
it was only when the moonlight silhouetted her profile
that I saw her malicious smile beckon me to her
Without saying a word

When I got close enough, she grabbed hold of my tie
pulled me in towards her so I could not escape
her other hand cupping the back of my neck
her bare leg coiled and wrapped around my own
Without saying a word

Her fingers became fingernails ripping through my hair
her breathe burned my skin, her eyes finally met mine
it was only an illusion that kept her in control
and in a moment, that illusion was gone
Without saying a word

A gentle twist of her arm, now she's face-first to the wall
a gasp, a shudder, an electricity through her veins
exquisite surrender to whatever may come
now finally and precisely where she wanted to be
Without saying a word

Grabbing a handful of hair, my hand around her throat
flesh meets flesh, intensity meets intensity
her last ounce of authority quickly fades away
giving in to the unbridled and the uncontrollable
Without saying a word