Saturday, December 22, 2012

From Timbuktu To Kalamazoo

            Jerry wasn’t a servant of the lord. He was a bowler, damn it.
            The world came to an end last night. I was watching old reruns of The Lawrence Welk Show on TV. The rain came and went. I remained calm. There were butterflies trapped in the chimney-- a costly mistake for beauty’s telltale heart. I don’t have a clock anymore. There are ticks in the hamper. There are no bombs. The knives of winter are dull. Last night. Last night the world came to an end. I am still here.
            Last night the world came to an end. Roiled to imperfection, the seas charged interest on the land’s distress call. “Play nice with the rough stuff,” I told myself. The TV glowed in the old darkness, the new one not taking hold, as dark is dark. I am called crashing. I am colored pester-lettered. Rising without sun. 

(something for beginners)

            Curtis’s energy wasn’t good for Sally, and then there was Merle, whose energy was unmistakably vegetative, and who was exclusively dating the small, light and hard-to-look-at Mick “Spuds” Larson. Spuds’ energy was as common as any denominator around. The energy emanating from Curtis was a veritable running mate for tiptop and spiffy, while Sally’s was cud-chewing and belly soft. There were no apples in the trees around her chop shop, as it were. This made for a rough patch that was perennially being suffered through by both disgruntled parties, and, for some inane reason that nobody ever bothered or wanted to bother contemplating, made Merle jealous-- though of what and/or who she had no idea. This jealousy (being sensed by the oversensitive crybaby Spuds) tortured Merle’s lover to no end, and the fact that Merle would never even deign to contemplate said jealousy and the reasons why it was in constant rearing of its ugly head became the raison d'être for Spuds lowly, sad existence in the bonds of Merle. Now, Curtis hated Spuds’ guts. That was a sure thing. It was certain. Even the pants that Spuds wore made Curtis clench his fists in rage and spit. It just so happened that Curtis was in love with Merle. He thought to himself, “How’d I ever fall in love with somebody named Merle? I never thought I’d ever fall in love with somebody named Merle.” It made him inconsolably sad. Curtis was reconciled to it: being sad and forever unable to fall in love properly with the right person. He stopped doing his dishes and ran the tap until the sink became filled with scummy, yellow water. 
            Sally kept running into Merle at the mall. She’d be strolling around the food court, or just wistfully sitting on a bench enjoying an Orange Julius, when Merle would either saunter or sidle up to her and say something like, “Boo!” It was disconcerting for Sally. Merle’s energy always made Sally cringe. Merle was unaware of this. To Merle there was more wonderful energy in her every gesture than in all of heaven. To Merle, Merle was God’s gift to the lowly and downtrodden, of which she counted Sally as a lifetime member. She must, perforce and ergo, persuade Sally to accept her wondrous energy in a munificent exchange in which Merle had little hope of ever recompensing, or needing to recompense, anything from Sally, except perhaps a shattered compact mirror.       

(something that is not a poem at all (see below))

The landlord stalks these halls with ordinary feet, telling us what it takes to keep us all living here. As if she knew what it meant to be alive, here. We are ordinary, too. It’s just not in the same way. My friend Spuds has got me smoking Camel Reds. And it’s bliss while the music plays. The landlord knows what money it’ll take to make us stay. We know otherwise. We are all armed with cheap whisky and bad cigarettes. There’s no other out that’ll matter. The moon’s flipping us all off. And the sun will never come up again. That’s enough. We’ve been through worse. Hell, my girl left me for a coffee distributor just last spring. I’ve got my own ways of seeing that’ll kill whatever you’ve got left in the bottle. I’m no expert, but I know what I know. Write messages to me in the shower steam on the bathroom mirror. Superficiality is my calling card.

(sure it is)

            Then the x-mas music came on, and I sat there staring at my dewy beer, raising my cigarette to the gods, masking my hatred in sadness. It was some sort of postprandial-like routine I’d been staving off as long as I could-- waiting for my mood to fit the music just right; it was something to look forward to in all the muck and rind shavings of existence.  With the idiots in control of the jukebox these moments were becoming rarer all the time. Maybe the world was only idiots with horrible taste in music. Is this what things had come to while I’d been away? Perhaps I was just becoming righteous and sentimental in my curmudgeonly older age. Kids these days. Shit. Then one of them plops down next to me with his 80-dollar sweater and faux-ripped jeans, and starts yapping at my ear. I finally look at him after about an eon of his blabber. He’s too pretty for words. I hate him immensely.   
            “Gee whiz, kiddo. I’m just trying to be nice. If it’s not appreciated then, well…” 
            “No. No. It’s appreciated. I swear. I appreciate it.”
            “Then shut it, won’t you? Just for a minute here while I smoke and listen to this song. I’m busy numbing my pain. I really can’t be bothered with this ordinary crap.”
            “Sure. Sure.”
            The kid finally shut it, and I took long pull of beer and had a drag of my Camel Red and felt significantly better about being in my surroundings. I even tilted back on my barstool some. I was having quite a time of it.
            The sappy x-mas song ended, and I glanced over to where the yapping pretty boy was, and he was no longer there. It was a good, small thing, and I started really feeling great about things for the first time all week. I thought, ‘It’s elevens all around, and I’m making eyes at someone else’s wife.’ It felt good to be thinking such things. I’m tired of being nice. Also, enough with the truth already. I want to be lied to from here on out.
(false start)

            I looked up the hill. The sidewalk was crooked. But the day was alright, with some sun and no wind yet, and I liked the way the street was gleaming in the post-pluvial bliss.
            (No. That’s no good. Again.)
            I looked up the street and all I saw was rain. It was strange. Not a cloud in the sky. I was drinking hot whisky and maple syrup from a Clubber Lang mug. The rain seemed all there was. I looked and looked, and the rain was all I saw.
            The rain was all I saw. And there were hospitals in other states to think about. And there the moon’s frozen. No often’s maybe to ponder over. When any’s more is none. A looker who can’t see anything except the rain.
            The rain ticked away the seconds like hours. A respite from expensive emotions. Sun clinging to dusty clouds, and the rain pounds and pours and creeks and whistles and moans. Radio my ten-cent body bag to an adventurer. I’m all out of experiences. The rain’s got it all over me.