Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Irma’s last stand

            Farley thinks he can keep me happy. But Farley, he don’t know me as well as he should. Dignity is sorely lacking in him; that’s partly what it is. Terrible taste in music. So, there’s that too. Blunders to the surface, it all does anyway. Holy-smoking about it all, all the time, it’s more of a drag to be kept happy for me, most times. Glad about that, though. I’m moody by nature. He knows that, Farley does. Traps himself in a jar of it. Not too ripe to be soft around the edges, at least yet, though it is getting stuffy to be here.
            I don’t get what it’s like to be me anymore. The garbage trucks swing by in the evening, puffing and groaning. So much I don’t understand. So many things in this world are just beyond me. People who don’t listen. Shit, like being married to the wind. Only attention they’ve got is for their own fucking ballpark. Situations that involve only Them Truly, you know? That’s a person who doesn’t do a whole lot but instead just thinks about doing a whole lot. Oh holy shit, well, I wouldn’t trade a clubfoot for a march-of-dimes poster. Let me just put it that way. There’s a couple of skids left in these tires, and I mean to use them,
            On Saturday Farley left for the whole day. He doesn’t leave much behind when he goes. It’s tough money for me, when he sharks out for other less-brown pastures. The place gets a certain quality of stink to it, you know? Mops last about as long as a room-temp head of lettuce around here. It’s brawny of me to think I could mistake coolness for retreat. I don’t fare well in this sort of bandaging. Sometimes I wonder how I last, thinking pretty much every morning about how I can’t stand the person who I was the day before. The full moons, they come and go, and I lie to myself about the past, and, in keeping with what Farley’s hoping will last, write notes to myself in the squares of newspaper crossword puzzles and hang my dreams on the clotheslines.
             This particular Saturday in question, well, I was feeling mulish. The house seemed bigger than empty, and there were no cats around for miles. Questions kept coming to me about the way things kept disappearing. I ignored them though. It was stifling to be arranging the propellers of my thoughts for nobody but this here gal of the house. The vacuum cleaner made its noise. The perfume of being alive stunk less rosy than any place I’ve ever smelled the likes of. Bogged down but not out, I made my move.
            A machine-gun shake in the walls, and then a mirror crashes to the carpet. It’s been a long time since I cared a crab’s shit about politics. This was no different. I took it out of stride. I gulped small.              
            Farley comes home late, you see, and I’m baffled. I’m swinging a broom at hyphens and cardboard Cheshires, and there are no takers as far as that goes. When I see him standing there all clunkered and off task, I somehow get enough wind back in me to haul up some words: “When I left my heart back in St. Joe’s Woods there wasn’t much left of it to take. I got me some clunker out of New Rockford, and I’m just a blunder, a wet spot on the floor.” Farley just stands there. It’s stupid the way Farley thinks he can just stand there and make something happen. Nothing happens. I go back to swinging my broom.
            I’m not happy enough for Farley. Sunday proved that. We were supposed to scare up the neighbors to play Blue Sky Shits, but they were busy resisting arrest. All closed doors sound the same, I guess. And me? I’m not happy, according to Farley. So we go get us some bull testicles, freshly cut, and a jug of Blue Ruin, and we run a few yellow lights on the way. A cop car tails us home, but it doesn’t make a difference. It gets smaller and smaller in the rearview as we go. Farley screams out the window, “Black and white and red all over!” I love stupid jokes; it’s the bad ones I can’t take. I pay the fiddler and keep paying and paying.
            Farley’s on his rocker. “There just ain’t a teaspoon of dignity in you, is there? Goin’ round creating all this hubbub about everything. Shit. I know cream from coffee without being told to look.” He might be talking to a sapling or a misplaced piece of toast. His mug goes bland and out. A lopsided shimmer of a smirk flounders down to a gimcrack frown. He swivels his head, slaps his own cheek, and screams, “You’re really ticking me on!”
            Shushing is a weapon. I use it discriminately. This is one of those times I have to pick. I opt not to. You see, around these pieces the AA meetings are standing room only, and butterflies attack cats and small children. It’s just filling the cracks between necessity with the grout and spackle of who Farley thinks I’m turning out to be. And I do it as little as possible.                
            Farley loves when I sing about the automat days. “Oh, lord, lord. Take me to the automat, lord. Take me to the bowtie factory, lord. Let me speak my own name in vain. Let the ready-made suppers not go unclaimed. Oh, lord. Oh, lord. Take me down, down, down to the automat.” Farley smiles with a wilted joy, and tells me he finds his love in banknotes and voided checks. I’m not sure how to take this, or if it’s even there to be taken. I guess it’s just like how only boring people get bored; being happy is hardwired into you, and if it doesn’t take, well, then put on a good show and get it over with. Me? I’ll keep singing. My dustpan empties itself.
            Doubles, overflowing, these are years done. To what purpose? Got me. Marked approval, different in disappearance, you get hammered to be skilled, type-wise at least, a tidy dram of what's to come, and then it’s over. You don’t always notice what isn’t there. Shaky and tough as a hardened quirt. A game rigged for those who don’t touch. No more cobbles. No more diving Immelmann turns of thought. No more harkened bent shadows of home. No more to just put up with. Just going around looking for a good place to sit and watch the traffic go by from. The arrow’s pointing around near empty. And there’s blood on my shoes. I have my secrets. I have my escape, a place to hide this sickness that’s inside of me for a while.
            Farley, well he ain’t so bad to me. He can be a decent sort to have around. I send my misgivings to the rafters, air my nerve, and sky the holes in my drafty logic. Trust is something that comes and goes, not like being happy, or just happy enough. I believe in what’s washed itself into being happy. I believe this is who I want to be. There’s no place for us. No time. No place. The stations might change but we stay the same. The sky is splattered with an umber bloom, glyphs of sorrow packed and ushered, breves and cedillas of loss hooked in the guts of it like barbwire; and I keep to myself, still, training wheels and all. But one day I will roll on my own, unloosed and savage, and there is no telling what will be left to spare. A person only does what they are capable of. It’s just a matter of finding a way to be that person, the one who creeps up from the bottom of a jar that’s finally empty.
            “What are you…why are you looking at me like that for? Who…Wha…?”
            Only the jackdaws and the rivets, the flop of the crushed sofa and the dust-speckled slices of moonlight straddling the floorboards will know the treasure and finality of my escape.
            I am not happy. Thank God. So blessed am I to not have to be happy anymore. So blessed.