SOME SORT OF SHINING
I AGREE WITH BUKOWSKI
Definitely one of them disco sucks boys back in the seventies. Too many rules in them bass happy horas for this rock and roller so you'll excuse me for ignoring Donna Summer when my last dance card is punched and I kiss the spirit in the sky.
Though just shy of sixty I dropped in a dive featuring old school rock cover bands and glittering cobwebs figuring I'd lean against the wall with eyes closed and head bopping while swigging from a long neck Budweiser. A goth gal maybe two score my junior pulls me to the dance floor despite my protestations of being too fragile to frolic with bones rattling like broken glass in a box. Kids with cellphones circling like buzzards. By the bridge of "Get out of Denver," my lungs are burning and the lead mullet's measuring me for my burial suit.
But the rush lingered like a lover's perfume. Funny how pushing that envelope with my saint's prayer on a Mass card makes me come alive and now it's fuck the marathon, I'm sprinting to the finish and Saint Peter can bury my bones wherever the hell he wants cause the music in me ain't dying.
When I was a kid, after my mother died, I’d look at the other boys in my class, playing at recess and lunchtime, laughing, and then going home to their families, and I’d think; “They have it so easy. They have no idea what it’s like to really hurt.”
So I showed them.
I’d walk up to one of them while he was playing or eating lunch or sitting quietly reading, and I’d punch him in the face. It didn't matter if he was the biggest kid in school or some weedy runt. I’d keep punching him until some teacher came and pulled me off.
I’d look at their bloody nose or already swelling eyes, and I’d think; “Now you know.”
But it wasn’t just that they were in pain. I knew that would pass. It was that confused look on their face. It was the fact that now they knew they lived in a world where something like that could happen.
The Ghost Sonata
They line up one by one and hold their arms to me. I am the locus their fingers ache for. When I am alone I feel their ghosts and tingle to be held and brought to a room like this one. Finally—their fingers drag—yes— and then Oh, horrible, horrible.
Bring them to me. We are sick from not touching. I am all of their hearts, ready to curl up and yawn in their chests, and they are my bristling armour. Without them I’m nude. They were born with me missing.
Bring them all. Let the days end with my muscles soggy and my skin an ill-fitting robe. Give us that second when we connect, electric, when we are phantom limbs locking into sockets, that sweet empty second before each of our itches return.
Grant them these moments. Bring them forth. None shall go unhealed.
I’m sitting in front of my laptop at the dining room table, but staring out the window without even registering the fact that all the leaves are down, when some sort of shining – a deer! – comes springing out of the woods and cuts across my vision for about half of a teachable moment.
The day was covered in the same cold grayness as the day before, with everything seeming either broken or old, but then five, maybe six men, emboldened by the barbaric roar of their backpack leaf blowers, marched in a loose line across the dull width of a dead space, incautious conjurers inspiring the last ragged remnants of summer to dance.
This isn’t any ordinary day. Anything can happen. Backyard chickens can peck foxes to death, and a drunk traffic cop arrest a drunk driver. No one is safe. People stand in the dust, talking, breathing, wondering at it. They lift their kids up, say, “Look! Remember!”
AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH
that there is nothing worse than being in bed with a woman you no longer want to screw. Been there, done that, and in this one particular instance I kept doing it for months out of fear that I wouldn’t find anyone better and I believe she was thinking the same. Two bodies and two minds trapped in a sad dance that went on until we finally reached the point of no return. We stopped seeing each other completely, and it wasn’t long before she found someone new and I did the same. She wound up marring the guy and is still married to him for many years now. Me, I went through a lot more decent and indecent relationships before I found someone who I also married and am still with after what has been three times the duration of my previously longest relationship. All I can say is that I still think of the woman from the first part of this little story and speak with her on the phone at least once a year, seldom talking about our relationship of almost three years, but mainly encouraging each other in our current endeavors, and I usually tell her what a good person she is and that I’m glad we stay in touch because a lot of the time old friends lose contact forever. . .
Ham on Rye
That’s not a real exercise. Wildly flailing your arms and legs in bed doesn’t actually do anything.
Fuck you. You’re watching Newhart. What the fuck does that do?
Fuck you. Bob Newhart revolutionized television.
Fuck you. Those fucking brothers all have the same name.
Only two of them do.
Fuck you. It’s a real exercise.
The TV commercial confuses me. There are young beautiful people in fluid choreographed motion. Their dancing is perfectly timed, and their eyes always connected with the camera.
While in motion they unzip pockets on themselves and each other. Cooley smiling goofy smiles, flirty smiles, knowing smiles so confident, and like magic personal electronic devices pop from pockets and spin once, then grow on screen. It is unclear to me what these delightful youngsters are selling until a girl with a million dollar smile holds up something rectangular with a screen, and teasingly shouts out, “What’s in your technology pocket?" “Oreos,” I shout back in a splutter of crumbs.