Sunday, September 29, 2013

alibis in the night

            “That’s how you don’t do it: with a check-swing temperament and roadblock courage. Anyway, what color are they dyeing the American dream these days?”
            “Dove gray and bubblegum.”
            “Play Scuttle with me.”
            “Return ticket’s lost in my mailbox. Sorry. I try not to worship in this aura.”
            “Add me to your enemies group.”
            “Will not do.”
            “Tell me to stop bothering myself.”
            “Really, in the bowery depths of civilian life we instill it best, this hard-up courtshipping, with candy-happy apples.”  
            “Lay it off me, girly.”
            “For that matter, occupational hazards aside, I am Radio Man; hear me advertise.”
            “Like that’d be worse, or better if not, for the ratings.”

            We were doing some serious sorrow drowning down by the piers. The weather wasn’t good enough for us. Nothing matched. So take this here blue herring and paint it red. It doesn’t cost little to be down. And we were.
            The bottles kept getting empty. The lights got dimmed. In the monumental graveness of silence we passed what was left of our time.
            “Lord knows, and doesn’t.”
            “To the ransacked. To the harborers of minced words. To cheat-dwindled byproducts of sour moods. To Tuesdays.”  
             We had a cackle or three in the chancy harmony of that blue-laced chugging of regret that had us caught up. It was a long sentence. But we grew used to it.
            “Who’s this we?”
            “Shadows that don’t dance.”
            “Wait until I care. Go right on ahead. Keep waiting.”
            “And then what? Try to market the shrubbery, the lopped-off greenery of yourself? That stuff?”
            “Sure, and then some.”
            “Well, remember. You’ve got to get out early or there’s really nothing left.”
            “Say goodbye. Reminisce without me. The hollering’s taking up too much space here.”
            “Pounce and pour. Juke and defend. Borrow and shape. Sure. Sure. It’s another something. One more something.”
            “Push your chair in, jerk. Push back or away. See what I care, or don’t.”
            “Like writing: Dear ______, is there anyway to stop constantly seeking the approval of others?”
            “Something akin to it.”
            “And, of course, we’ve still got All Those Follies Girls.”
            “In the sure lust of luck, in the sweetest roll and drool, we camp in the light of the spots. You should’ve been a silent movie star. Let the dresses wear you. The ad campaign has been surgically removed to make room for drowsiness and cheek. The pool hall in your stomach is touched up with chalk. Too late to run. Staged or not. Holy and then some. Pick the ruled-out to be bent for the likes of. I only miss you every night. Tarnation. To the spirits of the bathwater.”
            “Bravo, motherfucker. Bravo.”
            The characters cast as us had worn the hardiest smiles. The stakes were callously manipulated by cast-iron scalpers of hugs. Being at a dim juncture in tessellation’s cure, we hid behind Victorian nudes and laughed at our past weeping. A cover of ebon carved out a ditch for us to lie in, and we took our licks, shy of the world beyond the one we’d crafted out of trenches and waking up alone. We thought of more appellations for poison.     

            “To the least called-on, the cleverer of the cloudy hearted, and the uppercutters of swung moods. To riled boasters of indifference. To in-the-eyes lookers. To derailment of the senses and chanced horror.”  
            “Resting very unassured, I assure you.”
            “Conmen in the head-high grass murmuring, ‘We slough off what’s real into the mire.’ Or something not like that at all.”
            “Research done while lifting bottles, while gazing swamp-eyed through the veil of smoky dugouts, in reach and in reaction to dustier plights than our own. I’ve been unwell read for quite a spell. All these spider-less webs, and we’re all out of flies.”
             “Got to keep pulsating with that old plucky rhythm. Flutter with that tatterdemalion flag that won’t fly so often on its own. We are roadblocks of boredom and slighted purpose. The detour’s our next round of this slow-acting poison, a rough way to age and not be aware of time having gone by.”
            “Shit. We ain’t going nowhere.”
            “You can’t say that again.”
            “It’s forlorn, and unlike you. Scraped dirty off the gristle. Harassing tendencies besides, and out of turn, you’ve got to believe in nothing to rationalize the just-a-spectator aspect of it all. Still, believing in nothing is still believing something, wrong?”
            “Wrong enough, isn’t it? I’m not making thought-slurry from juxtapositioned ideas, you panjandrum of clodhopping.”
            “Well, I know folks got better things to do than pay attention to me. Still, I’ve got the leanest ways to try trying on swaggering looks of placation and courtesy. Still, I’m me and that’s all. That is all there is to it. Still. Still.”
            “To be old at liver and young at toes.”
            “Paradingly proud of my waddles toward whatever ill-concocted destiny that’s being shoved down my gullet this week. Something adamant is missing from it all-- something untoward and lucky but shot to hell with missing.”   
            “Just puttering and doddering. Nothing but doddering and puttering around.”
            “Except it’s not just accepting who we are not or could never be on multiple fronts of our personality. Because it’s us, the meek and starving, who seem to always only get the penultimate laugh, decadent in our lying around, and not feeling so free.”            
            “Is this plain speak?”
            “Strictly? No. It’s moved to be over, moving and then some. I want to be clearer in my obfuscations o’er the fields and through the damn woods already.”
            “Always through. Never into. Huh. That’s nothing.”
            “The news gets older, and we forget it being necessary to our worldview, to our sense of keeping relations satisfactory between us and the fire-escape bound who pound out there frustrations with the harsh implements of survival. The picture takers get caught with their thumbs busy, with their hearts on airplane mode, with their heads on a commercial break.”
            “Or singing, ‘Esmerelda, my darling, don’t go washing your eyes under the dim red lights in the back room of some dirty bar, beneath a portrait of Bogart, sitting next to a dead Frogger game. With penalty flags flying, a broom for your sighing after what’s only real in your head. Keep on pretending that you’re never ending, and that the moon’s orbit is yours to be glad in.’”
            “And then, ‘Garble, garble, garble,’ said Clark Garble. ‘Row this motherfucking boat to shore already.’ That’s the sort of talk that gets left behind, smashed under the present’s steamroller perhaps. For now, I’m on the lookout for cheating bequeathers and hooligan sneaks.”
            “Mark my territory with a little splash of poison.”
            “That’ll do.”
            We soaked our looks in better things than those that had always mattered. The floorboards held hostage lost names we’d never known. Our thoughts were just the music of car commercials. A phone died. 
            “A sprig of parsley for your thoughts. A dram of turmeric for your dreams.”                        
            “I know not a seam of it, it seems. Mozart compressed into a blurb for later generations to skip over.”
            “Clues that we might really exist don’t abound. I am here and also not there. Spelling it out doesn’t count.”
            “The hammers of war pound out the nails of peace. Listeners click and click but get nothing but a spinning wheel for their tiny, troubled impatience. Too much eye contact’s bad for the moral. Keep thyself hungrier, my foe.”
            “Whilst the world turneth.”
            “Ah, fuck all of that, and this too.”
            “…submitted for your lack of approval.”
            “That doesn’t do it.”
            We spoke tertiary conclusions to TV shows highlighted in TV guides. We ransacked our instincts for bad-joke telling so we could fight inconclusively with radio waves and shallow-gravers in the barroom’s scaly dimness. Everybody around us was falling apart, getting ruined by things they couldn’t even comprehend having a chance at understanding. The walls were no longer concerned with us.  

            “She got hooked on that Heisenberg stuff and ran away with the computer repair guy. So, you guess what, you guess again, and then you go ape because there’s a fruit fly in your daiquiri. Well, wash your feet in it and call it an afternoon. You know, everyone deals with their demons in their own way. The next batch is on me. I get that. I really do. But even in the moochiest and least sublime parts of you, you must know by now what is and is not at stake. Patterns of watching get taken for a flight. Don’t worry though, getting hooked is the least of our here worries here.”   
            “I don’t have time enough, and the world is all fools.” 
              “Countermand me. Go ahead. I don’t give up so hard.”
            “Clefts of try misnomered in the fermentation process of becoming sure things, of looting perfection from a mannequin’s smile. A shoo. A soft caning. Elongated spasms of revelation that bleed momentarily the monetary liquid of class and refraining. Out, out, out and into this trench’s mud that’s made of pie.”
            “Being rusty is easy. I’ll keep on getting unused to thing, if you please.”
            “I will not balance. I will not compute. I won’t be heaven-helped out or wooden on the inside. Never will come the day when they’ll say, ‘Him? He was luckier than most.’ And I do not accept pity in exchange for love. And I do not cry, ever. Georgia O’Keeffe can kiss my ass.”
            “Fomenting caution at all times, here.”
            “A wish to prove. A curtain drawn on the hereafter. Something a little more expensive to sell for less. A stopping over and a cannon’s loose call. And us? We’re here getting shelled and taking it and taking it, and we just keep taking it. It is all that is left to do.”
            “In check, pal. Keep it in check. The concourse is clear of obstructions. It is nearly dear to refrain from worrying over lumps not yet in your throat. Let’s butter our business with the addiction of distraction.”
            “On the aware side, or feigning attacks of concern. It’s of little, or perhaps none, in the end, that gets it done.”
             “All of these elevated exchanges of which I do not understand, these are the beer nuts smashed on the floor.”   
            “People get by on knowing so little. I wouldn’t bother with calibration at this point. Just keep racing that proverbial garage door going down. Pete-Rose slide under it if you must, headfirst at the last moment without a single thought or hesitation. Win at no cost. Just win.”
            “Relegated to this. To. Just. This. What a whoop of smallness, huh?”           
            “So-so levels of infiltration at this general time and/or place.”
            “We are not being recorded. Nobody is listening in to our palaver. Stridently able, as we are, the ohms of us go out requited. Nobody’s got us bugged. Our phones aren’t tapped. This conversation will not live beyond our breath.”
            “Saturated with placation. It is our duty to like and be liked. It is our cause, or mission…or perhaps just an overblown cause célèbre of our wishy-unwashed emotions duking it out on an imaginary stage in the way-way back areas of our heads. I don’t know. I get tired. My mind wanders.”
            “Lowing over bloated circumstances. Stock-market champions fleeing town with IQs lower than the thermometer on a cold winter night. Poor me. Poor you. Poor everyone.”
            “Oh. Yes. And so you could say that we have had the greediest takes on being down and lower than out. Money’s out of the picture. I swear there ain’t a face on it anymore. Only illusions brought on by the absence of purpose. A duality of shifting gears, micromanaged affairs of the heart, exit signs on our backs. The holy things about it is that you’ve just got to take it like you take it, like you’ve always done. Cast on. Motor on through it. But me? Hell, I don’t got enough socks left to make it through the week.”
            “Rat trails of trying give us away every time. I almost mistook my own face for another’s. It was on a cruel, soft summer day, just after some light rain, and I was loping across a street at an unsteady clip, and even the clouds above were passing me by, and the parking meters all looked like grave markers, and the felt like a stranger chasing down these odd ideas about what it was to be me. Such a thin thread of seeing that holds sanity together. And the yield? I ran into a mailbox.”
            “Rats before your eyes. Stand-up eggs telling yolks.”  
            “Would you be nicer to me if I were famous?”
            “I’ve got these dreams, you see? So many clichés, so much time.”
            “I don’t. By the way, looks are everything.”
            “I figured as much. Do good out of season, and then ‘I Love Coca-Cola’ rain downs from the sky, just like rainwater soup for the sinister.”
            “We get made. We break, internally. There is nothing right or wrong. In technology’s flashbulb pop we exist in history’s nanosecond for the briefest of moments before it all explodes, and then back to darkness it all goes. I’m all for giving down and taking up. Let’s collaborate on touchstones of sensitivity, induce hearts to spring, inch past the reaping of mass appeal, and style our mistakes in wonder with liquid crystal eyes and truncated appetites.”
            “Or we could just tie our shoes together and run for it.”
            “This stuff won’t kill us. Let’s try on the moods of others. Let’s make disarray out of complications that probably won’t ever arise. This stuff? This stuff? This stuff. That’s right. That’s all it takes. Envelop yourself with the life of another. Become enmeshed in something outside of you.”
            “Irresponsible conclusions reached under the table, behind the bar, or conniving undertaken with drink in hand. I might be freshly smacked out of my mind, but the worst of it is…the worst of it is how little it matters.”
            “There ain’t a difference twixt sanity and the splotchy crayon-colored light of neon beer signs. The burglar alarms in my head are going off. Intruder! Stop!”
            “Stop it.”
            “There’s plenty less where that didn’t come from. So. So. The corner boys all get drowned, corners cut, and we make balloons for them that’ll never float any of it away. It’s all just so damn…so damn sad.”
            “Start over again, and then stop.”
            “The money keeps us content and just unhappy enough to not try. But who’s holding the tickets to the rainy-day events of my loss and hurt? There are no checks written on resentment that my gut won’t cash. Do the people I miss ever miss me back? Morning light washes it all out, and this is what we’ve got left. This? This? It’s all a damn shame. Hell. I mean, shit. Showering’s for the dogs.”     
            “I’m sold. I’m out.”
            “There you go. Or don’t. I’ve given up caring for the month.”
            “That’s more not like it.”
            “Pointless, all of this. Fill my cup up until it overflows, and then just keep filling it and filling it. There is nothing left to do. There is nothing, and that’s pretty okay by me.”