Tuesday, March 20, 2012

walking russian

I saw a guy carrying a giant seashell down the street. Where was he going with that seashell? Was it for his fish tank? Was he walking all the way to the ocean? This isn’t a suspicious attitude you’re witnessing. This is mesmerized swooping. This is a gainfully understated lurk below the awnings. Admitting what’s virtually lost, a stream of photographed carnival rides. This guy wasn’t running any lights, still warm to the touch after hosing off his memories with a snootful of today’s worst news, he was making it, I guess, in his own way-- or making it up. Probably had too much of dashing off his life, trying to keep the score of things close to tied. ‘The pond’s muddy with regret,’ I can see him thinking. ‘No way out now.’ There are spills up ahead, and maybe they’ll catch him on his guard. And he’s the one leaving behind all of his clothes, the ones he wore when he was with her. And, of course, by x-mas there’ll be somebody else to hold her, as he feels his way down the hall, backache and all. He’s got a giant seashell, so who cares? Me? I get kicked out of bars at 2 pm for being too drunk. Shit. What the hell do I know? I’m not careful, but at least I’m cheerful. That’s about it. I’m following long hauls. I’m gripping the ways I’m scared to be to death. Skipped in and over before I’m out. Very soon there’ll be trees on the horizon. And the beaches will all be drowning. Over here there’s music. We’re closer to it. Consider me admonished. I’m all braved out. In painful recrimination of the bad times I’ve had. It’s sorrow flashflooding the gutters. You mourn the hawked nature of my ways. I get better and a little worse most of the time. Gape. Go on. Discredit my credit. A tiny bit in Milan, we strike while the iron cools. Vultures are getting the best of me. Scrawl along the lines. Scoop the glitter from my eyes. I am a communist. Too damn soft. Scratching for more. Looped and raw. Shaped to ship out. I do not need to wake up to somebody screaming through the wish-thin walls. I do not need to be rumbled awake by horrible music. The schematics, musically speaking, were, like me, used to being unusual, and attempting to be witty and caustic at once.

Us? We were walking Russian down Mission at approximately 12:22 a.m. Kindly, there you get bent out of shape, cigarettes too long between ashing, that stuff. Cruel’s what gets lopped off. Honest and charmless. We whistle against the wind. Sad and in the midst of leveled playing fields, night’s just night. Feigning a flop, yep. Just a block starring in traffic’s latest blockbuster. We get sidled by strange ladies, holy women perhaps, from beyond long legs and eagled sight. Not so noble in the mind anyway, you know? We can’t divide our sorrows, dole ‘em out like puppies. I’m wrong. I’m loaded. Vanity is all there is. Boozy, as it were, we clink glasses and unmake a few wishes. Grabbed to dance? Likely enough. But us? We were just taking a stroll. Running smashed into folks mostly whom I hadn’t seen since a few New Year’s ago. Plump and worried. A not-so-old dog you call mule. An incriminating photograph of a leap-year baby. Us? Yep. Still walking Russian. But we at some point, ah, well, you know, we got to planting ideas in flower vender’s heads. We got to walky-talkying our sentiments to a Bluto-like gentleman with spats and a bowler. I gave up wrong numbers years ago, you see, and ever since I’ve been taking my trash out to the curb just like everyone else. My ribcage being out-of-whack, as it were, at the time, still walking Russian as much as possible, I got to hailing cabs with a hockey stick. It worked about as well as you might imagine. Ta-dah, and we’ll all get back to the Great Mother someday, but not at 12:22 in the a.m. It’ll have to wait. Crawl back up to the crow’s nest and have a quick peek at the blood-red horizon, whisky-happy and lulled to wake. I’m chippy and my kilter is lining up tin cans on a two-by-four, if anybody clucks about it. Walking Russian down towards the Ferry Building. It would be, let’s see, almost one. Good-mouthing and applauding pigeons. The west is lost. Globs of sunshine smash some vanity in the mirror. I keep taking off. Water that’s worth it, we walk along, and Hail Mary our pennies into it. Voluble and then we’re doubting it all too. Clatter that creeps with out a cling. We are stymied by deteriorating boards. Somebody lies, “Let’s shout!” It’s worth a cherub’s piss. Walking Russian for the peasants. Walking Russian for the Czars. More blooms to set aside for next spring or the next or the one before or after that. Walking Russian for the middle class. We have given up cars and motorboats. We have traded in our bank accounts. If it gets past one. If it gets later. Let’s march. Us? We make compensation seem like a bored kid eating soggy cereal. We’re just walking Russian on a pier, out where the water stirs itself. Blankets wailing. A horse that’s lost its voice. Pawed grave, we get better tastes of being that or this, a broomstick serenade, a binged “of course” that walks a little honeysuckle into the room. I get a few ideas about hope, but my stomach contradicts them, adamantly. Wished unfulfilled. We were walking, yep, Russian through the closed gas stations, through the YMCA building, through the theatre and the church. It is all me. We were walking Russian, and nobody is going to care, ever. Got the tug back in your stride? I’m openly pulling up roots of missing things. Grimly grinning at the tacky x-mas lights twisting around a felled tree. Organ music waving us goodbye. We over and over take our time, and it flops away without us. It is no longer just one time or another. Shadows fall longer than this. Couple the breaks it takes to get under it all. Dirt topples us. And us? We walk Russian with whatever’s around and carry seashells all the way back to the ocean.