Friday, May 11, 2012

Jesus dreams of Martell's Liquors on 20th & Geary, lottery tickets, and racing forms

My girl, she wears a Stetson hat. And I’m a sucker for accordion music. That explains the gist of it, for mostly intents and some surprising purpose. Tell me I’m barreling it for a tater? Not unless I’m catching Lou Gehrig’s disease or clod hopping o’er fields of mauve. I’m not predisposed to prefer PEZ over Tic Tacs, but don’t leave me alone over it enough and I’ll preach high windy drafts of sustainability. And roosters be damned, I’m almost plucky when it comes to categorizing empty-bus ineptitude. Officially it’s not over. Lord’s wearing blue and gold this winter, and the chic look backwards to move ahead. Well, shit. That’s garbled longing at its finest finesse, if, for instance, you’re a asking for it. Gobstoppers and broken teeth, we’ll shit before we flush from now on, right? Sure. That’s a plain enough plan. Me? Now I got hearts on my wrists instead of razor blade scars. That’ll do. Music that’s surprising. Pictures of photographs. Parking spots that always go empty. So long. Nobody’s as popular as they think. That’ll never be the ticket. So long. Write my epitaph in red felt and glitter. I’m pushing on. I’m throwing my sunglasses into the ocean. Make me a loan to catch a crashed plane. Opt out. I’m lucky in my lurching, enough so that I make wings from smashed glass. Nobody aboard. Kiss off. Leap for it from the emergency entrance. Coats optional. I’m making up for lost haste. The nunneries have all closed for good, but the junk shops are selling pancakes for dinner. We all talk and scram. My girl, she’s got blue-suede eyes and a Roosevelt tattoo. Takes me to Timbuktu and back with a gleam of nickel in her smile. My girl, she cracks beer cans and spills jokes. She finds herself getting lost going home. A bad case of sunstroke wearing Michigan colors in the meadows of fall. Bashful hardhatted grumbling. I’m more likely piping down in the thin of it, just blendered to floor crumbs to feed the mice. Now it’s cover-the-carotid-artery-and-squat-away-from-view time for me. Rascals, stevedores, grooms, fletchers, shoeshine boys, and the mighty few who run the show. A few blondes dancing around in the kitchen to the sound of running water. There just isn’t a map left that’ll lead me where I’ve never been. Sure, maybe there’s a place for us, somewhere, me and my girl. Maybe. But the air’s not giving out any tickets, and the moon’s a death sentence, and we’ve got trades pending, and the soup’s never up. I’m wine-splashed and spluttering. My girl? She’s taking pictures with other guys. She’s wearing somebody else’s ring. And me? I’m late for dinner, again and again, while the snitchers take phone numbers hostage and all the garbage men are tugging on their gloves. But, you know, there’s still some lavender stuck in the buttonhole of my favorite suit’s lapel. And I can still look in my wallet and find her there. And, you see, I’ve got Tuesday’s off. The music’s got its own belly fat. Forlorn alligators sneak peanuts from wish-takers. Safety movies are dangerously lent to weeping gondoliers. Normal doesn’t happen. In ellipses you’ll find me, commas behind me. The clatter of caskets. The clubbing of bugs. Dingy cupolas deteriorating and birthrights swiped like credit cards through the clarified emptiness I call my life. I tell myself certain things. Stay up past moonlight. Get under the bed. Sweat and suffer. Two-face the credits when only a suggestion of a wink will drink you back to life or kiss you back to drinking. Sons of bitches always Goreying up the good stuff. Well, eligible enough when seen through sunglasses, at least while vindictiveness wears a veil. I’m falling for a neurosis or two, something that’ll stay. Staying under the weather on purpose. Meteskying up things real bad. Vermouthing through the olives of gin-wet days. Perspired and out-of-this-world. So I say, stay happy for as long as it lasts. Because one day, it won’t.  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

what good's grief?

            I can’t help being canned in wonder when cramming long days into shorter ones. Wispy in the throes of the shoehorned side-saddling of it all, there would I be, a la carte and steadfast enough, attempting to thrust a just into a maybe’s so. If anything else, only some guy sweeping up the dead leaves from his little patch of sidewalk squares. It’s inevitable that we end up needful of certain things.   
            George bills himself as stolen property. It’s not a gag. The cops don’t believe him yet, but it seems likely that two or three of these days they will. You know, angels do disregard their own mischief. That’s one of those things that’ll make you smile if you’re not careful about it. The dangers of a little rat-poison tang on the tongue. Only this guy George knows the sulking way into the lungs of the matter. Well, only he and I.
            There’s some scruffy roly-poly of a guy matching wits with a traffic cop. It’s just around the corner from me, so I go ahead and notice it --more because I feel I’ve got to than anything. I do it an a jiffy and it’s over with. The cop’s showing his badge off; the tubby guy’s bending his piddling life out of shape over it too. It’s a pity. Vying for a tie; that’s about all it is. Up against it? Fatter chances than the thin ones I’ve grown so accustomed to suckering myself to, that’s for sure. And that’s it. No more gawking at the circumstances of dopes who can’t tell a cop from a police officer. I’m moving along. Don’t worry. I didn’t see nothing.
            I meet George at ten or eleven at night. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t have the wherewithal to be somebody else. So, I keep moving. George is whistling about the misery of the world. I can’t change his tune. It’s bad, meaning terrible, and I can’t Heimlich it out of him. Sometimes there is just no stopping misery. The lord just ain’t always on one’s side, it seems. Off-and-on we surely might come to terms with this. We don’t. But, you know, we could.
            There are these girls I know; we’re always getting into fistfights. Not me against them. More like them against each other and me. George likes one of them more than just a “like”-- more of a “like-like” sort of thing. He wants to grouse about it. I offer my condolences as best I’m able. I tell him you can’t go around liking girls who get into fistfights. It’s unconstitutional, or at least not good for his constitution. This doesn’t make sense to him, and, I have to admit, it doesn’t make much to me either. But, well, what else are you going to do? Tell the guy he’s no chick magnet and make a break for the cold Kentucky rain? Not this here hand stamper. I tell you something though, it’d do him some good to hear the truth of it. But, ah, he won’t listen. George’d rather talk.
            So, after this whole ado with Georgie Boy, I fan out and bleach my temperament with a few cold ones at Hank’s. It’s a grimy, dark hole-in-a-hole place, and there are only a few retired cowboys and out-of-work machinists in there, so it’s not too bad of a place to duck away in. For the lovelorn bastard in all of us, I put a few George Jones whiners on the juke and mostly just sit there and take good care of my bottle of beer. I pretend that I’ve got a cat at home who misses me. Nobody there seems to like me. I down my beer to the lees and shove off.
            I’m killing bees when I’m not murdering flies. That’s something to say to strangers. It gets far from the point right away. I find it works well at sewing factories and apple farms. People might not respect you for it, but at least they’ll know you’ve got them covered, in case they are one of those who attract bees or get them stuck in their hair. It’s more of a neighborly thing to say than you’d think-- something full of goodwill and courtesy. Sure, I look the other way too, but that’s meaner, if you think about it.
            I’d almost forgotten about old George when the nails of disaster hammered through to me, and this is way past midnight by this point. This is the shriek of wee-hour death that I’m echoing. Not cool enough for school and up for the count. That’s all. So, old Georgie boy is plummeting, and it catches me off guard, scraping along like a hangnail, rotting, as it were, into my vicinity with a reek that could only be described as Lysoling mildew. He’s scrabbling by, or along, and almost runs smack backfirst into me. Pushing back’s about all I can do, and he goes marshmallow-over-cracker into a stack of orange traffic cones. Being attached to the things of this world comes with a price. That’s what I want to growl at him at least. But I don’t. I just glower at him a bit-- that and stand there and try to look shocked and dismayed. It’s about all I’m good for in these non-trying times. Lack is what I’ve got to grow old with.
            It seems Georgie’s been gulping warm mineral water again. He’s belching i.o.u.’s to the saints. I’m a stickler for details when the moon’s spotlight beams through tree branches and yellows a scabby halo in clouds; and it turns out that maybe we need to hear other people’s stories to remind us that our own story isn’t so grand after all. So, here goes everything:
            “I’m forgetful of my pants. I scour the city’s red-lit stretches, near to never wandering, vainly in pursuance of my pants. The plaids are gone from them, in the later stages of night-- if they ever were there to begin this thing. Perhaps a blueberry striped pair of red slacks with yellow polka dots running from cuffs to waistband. We give up (for the strife of converting singularia tantum to pluralia tantum is not recommended for the faint of heart), and we walk culinary mambos between curious bowling pins. Do I blame fabric? Could I blame those heavy situational directions that the most adipose of sense makes? Fatter chances. That’s what I’d tell you about it. But I can’t relate this. It weighs on me. I am useless when it comes to spreading (even lightly) information and ducking the law.”                    
            “Frog get it, Georgie Boy. You make monk meat out of tattered robes. Ribbit. That’s all.”
            “Been futured to the past for the eons of cockroaches, as a defeatist? Sure. That pleases the littlest of gifts I’ve got. Volumes of misunderstood help cold-plate the present. Remember when the hills were so green? All sorts of green, too. Every single kind you could think of.”                                                          
            “I’m leaving.”
            “Could’ve handled that.”
            “I bet.”
            It turns out the world’s not even close to enough with us. That’s what happened.
            After that? Well, we went our separate and unequal ways, long in the tooth enough to know what the deal was. All the way back to the barracks of sloth, that’s where we were trudging off to. Laughing stocks who don’t contribute to God.
            Another little phrase from the mouth of that Georgie Boy: “Don’t harangue me while the coal’s burning in the basement. It is so ‘sunderful’ out.” That’s Georgie’s need for shade talking, there. I get my mortician’s parasol out. The strolling I do comes unnaturally at long last. It is top notch, almost unlike passing bad checks but not at all like getting away with it. Disorientation comes. Exhilaration goes. All of our inside jokes are for naught.
            The shuck of a bus charging uphill unhinges an updraft of joy. Fire escapes shine egg-white slick. Overall there’s not much trudge left in it for me, this halt to wandering that’s just sort of come upon me out of the grand thin blues. Temper’s no longer an option. I’m flush with pink-petal wonder, and it’s only time, after all, that I’m wasting. Good thing, too. It’s almost raspberry-picking season. A barrel of stems, or just the late fermented juice of elation, and now, curses, I’m back to dragging my torn net through the mulch and paw of still waters. But everything’s in bloom, and there’s plenty of tread left on these here tires, so what’ll pass for salvation gets handpicked for getting by, through or with it, just the same.
            Shelving my instincts for perpetual motion, I distinctly hobble on with a stylish limp, sort of nosing towards away, and the serendipity of changing colors collates my perspective for me. Georgie’s a found cause. I’m lost in procedural stifling, and, p.s.-- no longer seeking adventure. Is there another p.s. left that screams, “I want to go home!”? I am picky about what I hope for, and this seems a longer shot in hope’s array. Sprinkled on the air is that curious waiting-room drone: a buzz that’s not staticky at all. It’s pure brain rot, endless repetition of a singular sound, something so cloying and upsettingly subtle that it cranks your mind in the same direction over and over until nothing is different. Nothing is the same. Pear trees slump through another off season, consumed with jealousy, missed flights, and stunted ambition. I think I’ll just collect myself and mosey on towards the next bottle of scotch.