I walked alone until I had eaten all of the bio-luminescent thoughts I could find. At the end of it there was a wall with graffiti in a dead language and marginally living translator clutching a rat in his one good hand. My heart stopped beating for two bars during the crescendo and I caught a cab deep into the Alphabet, so deep even the cops wouldn’t follow without self contained breathing apparatus and pressure suits. No room for pastry means cranky partisans clamoring for the good old days when men were men and sometimes women like the aged Mr Fitzgerald in his off the shoulder and a dashing pair of red pumps.
Jesus was a good fellow and always sold an honest deck, ten bags for eighty dollars and a shrink wrapped spike. Life didn’t get much better than this which would explain my habit and penchant for starting fights in Irish bars on the lower east side. Each punch was like communion and warm summer rain falling lovingly from the clouds that floated from the big stacks. The water burned my skin and gave me hope for a less salient experience, indigenous psychotropics and long legs in spiked heels sitting on bar stools watching the floor show with window washer dreams of clown cars on the Cross Bronx Expressway.
I took the bags and the spike and the shortest of the clowns in case I got hungry. Cannibalism was all the rage during fashion week and cocktail forks were flying out of Tiffany’s causing the block to be cordoned off for all but those the police truly had no heart for. I felt safe under the cover of darkness to find a quiet corner with enough concrete at my back to stop a hammerhead rhinoceros which had been breeding with feverish intensity in Battery Park, always waving to the fleet as they dragged themselves along the mud which had risen to the surface of New York Harbor.
It is said the Egyptians used no slave labor to build the pyramids. I say nothing as I am questioned for three hours in a precinct that has no number by officers who have no faces and identical name tags in silver with black letters and little pop art flower stickers left over from 1971. Their name was Robert Paulson and swore they were no relationship to each other or any other living being so I asked them about the translator and his rat and the room grew silent. The sobbing resonated A440 and their tears burned thru the chains binding me to the genuine Stickley chair bolted to a floor made from broken dreams and promises of sunshine at the beach. Succulent star fish kebabs with ginger beer pleaded to be wrapped in take away containers so they might find better homes in the suburbs rather than the monastic life they were fated to.
I ate my clown and blew my shot certain of the ensuing abscess, hoping that it would develop into an open stoma.
My issues are deep…..
I manage to get myself back under the Hudson in style with only remnants of the book in my pocket. I search the cab frantically for my band but realized that there is no objective truth. There is the latest copy of Mother Jone’s Magazine in the pocket in front of me with a half eaten sunrise. The stewardess is lost inside her tea cart and wishes for love even more than she wishes she still was a size 5. She speaks of deplaning but means come closer but i ate all of my almonds and have no time left as I am in Bloomfield already.
I tip the cabbie but refuse to pay him as he gave me no peace. I am bleeding from my arm and have eight bags left to get me to church before the benediction. The priest looks at me with fire in his eyes regarding the good old days with hot and cold running altar boys but I ignore him as I take my seat among the other sinners. I realize I am alone and that I am not penitent in the least.
I have killed those who needed killing and ordered more than I could ever eat. This life this time this perspective is hard won and I shall never go hungry again. Jesus was a carpenter and a Jew and I never saw him on any job I was on, I only saw his half brother John once when the sheet rockers came from Portugal.
The stars will be dancing tonight so I find my boots in the trunk of a beat up Lincoln that I know had been crushed by friends of mine back in the day when I carried bags and didn’t ask questions. I regret every arm I broke and every son’s father I leaned on but this pearly gate mentality never served me other than the time I that I took that 59 Les Paul custom to cover the spread.
All of them good people. All of them family men unless they were fucking my girlfriend but somehow that is OK too as I never owned a gun and there has always been an endless supply of unfiltered cigarettes at every turn.
I walk into a bar that has been closed for fifteen years and order a drink from a man waving a wooden leg and laugh about the ersatz staining perfectly good pulp with ink and realize that I will never be happy on this side of the ocean.
I don’t even feel the knife enter my rib cage as I get up to go to the men’s and fill myself with the eleven percent of the offal I need to survive this deadly hour. I nod in agreement as it passes thru me and dream of porcelain and flowers I bought in a food store in central Jersey. There were horses until the mania set in and the porch did a star wipe across the last few hours in which I felt safe.
I wadded up some toilet paper and decided that Tennessee and analog recording were not options in the rain forest I was headed toward. The bar tender and I laughed about the way the bourbon is always gone and decided Dome Patrol was a lock in the seventh…..
Willie’s diner is not Willie’s diner anymore. It is filled with people who eat their kibble and fling their poo with unearthly delight at passersby who fail to keep their distance and make direct eye contact. In the next environment to your left are mixed pachyderms with fruit in a violent cubist display grinding their own ivory into fine powders to be sold in the Chinese apothecary to fat balding men who believe their potency can be restored. Nut brown men in white shirts clean the remains of the day and move with piety waiting for the dumpster to fulfill hidden passions on winter nights so removed from tropical realities…..
So I get the eggs with grits and a cup of something they call coffee which at least comes in a cup even though the handle has obviously been glued back in place by uncaring hands. Six more bags and a bad attitude grow large in my pocket along with a very tidy package of misunderstanding. The eggs are overcooked and the grits are runny and I am discontented with all of it and I am bleeding in two places now and suspect a tertiary source to be discovered at any moment. One of the monkey’s children is reciting Wordsworth and the waitress brings her a heaping plate of lyrical wonder with daffodils lacing the edge and a bottle of catsup. I attempt to be glad for the moment and the time I spent at Scouting for Boys and all of the first aid classes which I know will factor heavily before much more of it passes. I pay with my blood which seems to be a renewable resource and the nut brown men sing about my homeland with bowed heads and reverence reserved only for the dying and the dead in their custom…..
I have lost all pretense while I fix on the corner and stare blankly at a billboard that changes every eight seconds. Most of the local construction has come to a halt or has been completed but the worker’s camps are still there and the men stand about barrels burning their memories to stay warm and sane. I walk over to one of the fires and throw a handful of my own into the flames to show my solidarity and convince myself that there may be some connectedness to the piles of stardust that move about me with such deliberation. I know it is untrue. Once a monkey always a monkey. A cage is a cage unless you are blinded by centuries of unwavering artifacts and five hundred year old pop music. ….
I have little matter with Lazarus being the first zombie while I do have issue with the 29 bus failing to stop and pick me up. I run after it and find myself in Branch Brook Park next to JJ’s hot dog truck but I have eaten already and inquiring about his father I learn of the accident…..
There are no accidents, only events we do not approve of. Little use that energy is so I watch the children play in the bushes near the drainage ditch knowing it will end badly. A man was found near this spot maybe twenty years ago without hands or blood and I sense there to be a connection still. This side of the bridge is Newark and the rest of the world is over there, well removed from the largest stand of ornamental cherry trees in North America and any of those left standing. ….
Existential baked goods do not go well with angst so I try to remember a prayer or a song or something that I can recite like a mantra while the 29 stops now that I am nowhere near a corner or the desire to board or be boarded…..
I get on the goddamned bus anyway and find a seat near the front and the tardy fire extinguisher and remember a prayer I used to say when I was young and innocent…..
Now I lay me down to sleep I pray the lord my soul to keep should I die before I wake but I forget the rest as I never got past the part where my life ended in any prayer…..
The power of it all is lost on me as are my glasses so I can’t read the signs written by little men who lack the wisdom or convention requisite to label and instruct. It is just ink. Just ink. Just ink. Just ink. Just ink. Just ink…..
I find my mantra as my eyes close and pray to the driver my soul to take………
I walk on gilded splinters past the cops in the donut shop and the Asian food store where Anna’s Deli used to be. The Oak Tavern is a sun bleached skeleton half buried in sand and I can see the outline of its sternum where Michael got arrested for threatening the president with drunken words and a sober pistol. The shadow of a noose hangs from the lamp post outside the reach of the mercury vapor and any sign of the fossils that should be here. I had my share of the free buffet and ended that chapter of plastic forks and cellophane muffins in their spandex and big hair. ….
My key does not fit the lock in the seventh house in the brick row so I break the window and push my way in past the divan that I do not know and the dinette set from the catalogue I never opened. Nothing against the Swedes, but this is all becoming free form like a government run experimental jazz project with expectations of finding water on the moon. I know none of the people in the pictures with me on the wall and I swear I never walked this dog. Two more bags and I forget about the gash in my hand and the piece of glass the pieces of glass and the hole in the fabric the rose red and the hardwood accents. ….
Something makes me open the refrigerator and open all of the faux Tupperware and mix it all together and redistribute it all evenly among the nylon polymeric miracles brought to us thru the wonder of late night infomercials. Bela Lugosi in black and white and bourbon in a glass and that dated crate furniture all gone as the last of the cranberry dressing blends easily with the asparagus in sauce béarnaise. Tat ant traps replace the quiet calm of 4AM Sunday morning darkness and the missing shadows on the porch upon which we spent so many hours counting the non-Japanese foreign cars as they came off of the parkway. ….
I go to the bathroom and vomit nostalgically and remember…..
I remember everything and wish I could stop…..
I wish I could stop all of it…..
A family of opossum moved in next door where Jerry and Angela used to live and have done wonders with the window treatments. It is so hard to do smoke and flame without going overboard and I realize I am drowning in ennui and brine from the baby gherkins we had at that last party. The band is gone but the spot is still here and if I don’t get out of the house this building I will burn forever without being consumed like a holy talking bush without the aggressive language or a license to dress hair in the desert. I kick the back door out of its frame even though it is unlocked and am glad that I rearranged the furniture in a much more suitable fashion. We live in a time where it is important to organize our living space so that we will feel better about being so out of control with everything else. ….
I remember everything…..
I remember why I have no furniture and why I have no real home and why I am bleeding and why I have done nothing about anything. Anything. I go under the bridge to the alternate park and see the men playing cricket and I see the dog with blessed fur and hear the children who are grown now and leading productive lives with furniture of their own and unopened catalogues giving them orders. The trees are still here and there and if I could sit I would press myself against them one and all and see if I could still cry for the loss the time the days when innocence had a taste and a palpable feel…..
I decided that crying was useful once upon a mural a mosaic of lives that converged in this series of coordinates and grass and concrete and unwashed automobiles and pristine hearts that I would hold so much more dearly now…..
I consider the last dose the four that remain the 29 bus and 53 Lake Street and the lake long gone and decide it is time to sleep again to rest and dream of all the things I was taught we were taught to dream about. ….
The heat of the shot is extreme but passes like a freight train carrying cattle to the slaughter to the lizard brain that tells me that everything is really OK. ….
That it is OK that my liver is shutting down…..
That it is OK that my breath is growing shallow…..
That it is OK that my bladder and bowel have released all they have left to give…..
That it is OK that my heart is slowing. Slowing. Slowing………