not to go up and down
i saw on tv that the starfish were dying in considerable numbers
i was in the sky
i swam to carina and the starfish’s leg swam away
Until the steam beams some part of itself that wants to be the sun
I reach for the past
It wasn’t steam at all but your smoke-rings
It’s true I probably wouldn’t want you now
tags | poem | love | relationships | writing | spilled ink | creative writing | her
i have become the dark swallowing something
i try not to let the light
where did I go just now
The walk out in the snow cushioning my thoughts
Our first winter together we crossed our fingers and wished
Seven thousand years later you are six months gone
i dreamed i was working in algiers
tethered by guilt to the world i said:
your purple light like the thirst i had after being lost all day
i rounded a corner and went back to work
parts of the day she is there in a wide open white space
other times of late she walks away in my mind
and back she floods the whole wide open white with the color
“The world is gradually becoming a place
—John Berryman (via sanityofmine)
Fish Skeleton, Bao, and the Girl of His Dreams
He crossed the road again and set himself down on the trice passed bench. “I’ll talk to her later,” he thought. The colors were not the same today. They were a bit more yellow and green. He felt heavier today, as well. Also the odors of the city were stronger, like they are when one wakes with a severe hangover, but he wasn’t hung-over, he was ready for a drink. The wet gloaming made impressionist paintings in the streets of all the signs, tail-lights, and headlights. He counted Hondas to pass the time. He counted 24 in 11 minutes. A cat circles him twice, and finally he said. “I am one with you.” The cat startled ran and peeked around the corner. “H.I.S.S.,” the kitty said.
“Very funny, little girl, what is your name?
“My name is Fish Skeleton.
“Well, Ms. Fish Skeleton, my name is Bao.
Bao walked back to his squat after his talk with, Fish Skeleton. He was happy to have a squat to himself. The last squat was overrun with dirty needle people with their dirty needles. Waifs pissing in the sinks and sucking on free suckers they give away at the bank.
“Dum Dums,” he thinks aloud.
I hope no one ever finds this place. It was a block house in the midst of a dilapidated industrial park. Nothing had been made in this area for 30 or more years except meth, and even that production seems to have fizzled. The sky matched the area most days, a dirty grey.
One day in this spot W.C. Fields sat alone in a hidden cubby hole in one of these back alleys. He came up with, “I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” He wasn’t drinking wine this day. But sipping gin and then taking a tiny sip of olive juice form a slender jar he pulled from the inside pocket of his tweed jacket. Bao saw something shiny shoved into the crack of a wall. A purple marble, but as he was digging this out he came upon the bottom rim of a jar. He pulled it out. The label read: Hatchet Brand Spanish Olives: Inside it cigar butt. Bao opened the jar and pulled the ancient butt from the jar and lit it with a match. He blew a puff out, coughing and when the smoke drifted along the wall it restored the bricks to their 1940’s patina. He took a big puff and let it out little by little along the wall and the bricks glowed golden. He came to the old back door and smoked it as well. Restored. He entered the building and took a choking toke and let it out into the interior of the moldering, pigeon shit building.
He smoked until the room was restored and sparkling new. It was his new room amidst the ruins. He took out a picture of his girl and blew smoke onto the photo. One that he had taken right after she decided he wasn’t going to be in his life from that moment on. Her forced smile lightened and her dull eyes began shining. Only a few tokes left. He ran back to the ruins and wetted his fingers in one of the floors puddles and carefully put out the cigar.
He stood at a gas station and Fish Skeleton came out from the bushes and rubbed her whiskers on his pant legs.
“That one!” she said.
He jumped into a young woman’s car that was standing at the counter buying cigarettes. He very gently drove out of the parking lot behind the store.
“She is still at the counter don’t worry,” Fish Skeleton said in a purposeful meowy voice.
He looked in the mirror waiting for her image to come running around the store’s corner. No movement. No running. He drove nonstop to Ohio. He hadn’t been there in two years. After she left he renounced everything. He took his last pay check cashed it, went home packed a bag, and drove into the city. The first bum he saw he got out handed him 700 dollars, the title of the car, and its keys. He mumbled something like peace be with you, but he couldn’t remember he was in shock. He strapped on his back pack and walked east. The west was too cliché, and besides he wanted to walk into the sunrise everyday for as long as he could. Years were like a blur, went like a blur, and his memory of them was like a photograph where none of the objects could be made out because of motion blur.
Yesterday someone tossed him a phone.
“It’s prepaid, dude, there’s about two weeks on there. Call someone you love.”
He wondered if her number was still the same one scrawled on the back of her picture. He typed out a text message: How are you, baby Gesicht? He feathered the send button and paced the streets and the steel mill remains. The way trees grew up and out of the windows and how beds of moss and weeds grew atop the concrete and wooden flooring. Places being made new out of their slow disintegration. He pulled up to the store front where she used to work. He felt she must be working there. He looked down and noticed he was in rags and in the mirror he noticed his face had aged a decade in just two years. He didn’t look like a model citizen, and he was seated in a stolen car. He drove three blocks away and parked the car in an abandoned lot, grabbed his cigar in jar, Fish Skeleton, and his phone. He hit send. He ducked into a Taco Bell, no one noticed he had a cat because his bearded face and ragged tweed diverted their attention. The phone beeped its corporate melody.
“It must be you. I had the strangest dream about you last night and when I woke I tried to find you. No one in your family or none of your friends has not heard from you in years. They asked me where you are.”
He lit the cigar and blew it over his clothes and face. He returned to himself. The self of two years ago. His clothes looked so new that they were ridiculous. He wetted his fingers in the sink and put out the butt again. He texted I am coming to see you.
He ran to the storefront and looked into the window there she was waiting for him and she smiled and waved him in. He lit up the cigar ran inside and let out the smoke and watched it fall all around her. She jumped into his arms.
“You can’t smoke in here stupid. What’s with the cigar?”
“It’s magic. Take a puff and see what happens”
She took a deep drag of the cigar butt. The fire was nearly touching her lips. She let out all of her smoke upon him and Bao disappeared.