In the wilderness of insobriety, the landscape was dotted with beer cans. Scattered about a small existence. Standing in miserable chaotic rows. Stacked in columns of twos and threes. A sad, and dark forest. With aluminium foliage of whites, reds, and silver. Here and there a few standing in clearings. Lonely by themselves. Some partially crushed, teetering on edges of tables and desks at odd angles like some Suessian topiary. I would usually be found hiding amid the copse in the corner of the stoop.I would perch there, in the cool shade of numb inebriation, bitterly caw at the world.
Sometimes I just sit there, huddled at the bottom. Leaning forward, my chest pressed against my knees. Listening to the soothing white noise of the droplets crashing against the vinyl curtain. Rubbing the warmth into my head and neck. Trying to massage some semblance of ambition into my body.
If I can just scrub hard enough I might wash away the doubt and fear. I might rinse away the filth of the worry, and shame, and guilt.
I look up and let the water run across my closed eyes.
If I just stay here long enough I might come clean.
Image Credit: Shower by Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)
I woke up this morning without noticing the change. I knew it happened, but it didn’t click.
I arrived in my confident lateness. I went about my routine as if nothing had happened. A cup of coffee, a bit of straightening up. Barely noticing empty spaces on shelves, or the absence of the small red box where her possessions were kept.
When I opened the journal where, as formality dictates, we forecast our days.
There, in the margin, neatly written was a final message to me.
The weight settled as I read it.
“Good luck, I am happy for you.”
Always thought the laundromat would be good for writing. In a dark poetry, seedy underbelly, Tom Waits kind of way.
But, there is scant sad beauty to be had in that one sock left behind at the bottom of the machine.
The dryers aren’t hot enough to burn away your sins. Not at six minutes for a quarter anyway.
It’s been weeks and I have yet to hear any secret, sobering wisdom from the mouths of crazed junkies, if I’m lucky enough to find one.
Shame how life won’t imitate art.
Guess I should be used to disappointment by now.
He dreamt of her last night. Her death, and then attending her funeral. Waking in tears.
He didn’t cry when it happened. Not when his father could see.
The sadness had belonged to the old man then, more than himself. It had been his turn to be strong. To soldier on. For his father. For the other mourners. Maybe a little bit for himself, just to see if he could.
For years after, he had forgotten to grieve. Never really learned how. Never took the time.
This morning he wept, the memory of her face lost except, in that dream.
There’s this one thing
I can’t seem to do,
That’s stop looking down at
Those too white shoes.
They didn’t quite fit
On some other guy’s feet,
And were given to me
‘Cause they’re something I need.
They’re a real brand name
And look strange I suppose,
When worn with my thrift shop
And bargain store clothes.
They’re not really me
And it looks and it feels,
Like someone else’s feet
Have been attached to my heels.
Out of place they may be
But they’ll just have to do,
And I’ll make my way out
In those too white shoes.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, is that a metered transaction?
In exchange for any old photo, should we expect, in return, the appropriate number of words?
Should we count every very and like?
Could I get two selfies and a haiku as change, for a landscape?
Does the value depreciate? If you hear, “Dogs playing poker,” do you have that image in mind? Is there need to detail the placement of the chips, the color of the table. Has familiarity reduced the painting’s value to three words?
Then this notion probably isn’t worth one-tenth of a photograph?
I should probably get
A plant for my desk.
A small piece of greenery
To fill the large brown space,
Between the lamp and the stapler.
Perhaps a Jade
Or maybe a cactus.
Something sturdy that might survive
The inevitable neglect that
I will no doubt heap upon it.
It should have a nice pot,
I think terracotta would compliment,
The tawny wooden surface,
Of this battered old desk.
It could sit next to the books,
That I promise I’ll finish reading.
I’d possibly name it Henry,
And speak quietly to it
While I pretend that I write.
There it’s something appealing,
About this tree,
Though I don’t know what.
Something in its angles,
Leaning back in revulsion,
Away from the road.
Away from the place where,
The trunk forked early in its life.
Where its conjoined twin
Was removed at the base,
So as not to impede traffic.
Bone like arms,
Reach mournfully upward.
Stripped of leaves,
For the winter months.
Leaving only scraps of Spanish moss,
Clinging to its grey nakedness.
Dried seed pod husks
Hanging from long fingers,
Like brown leprous flesh.
I saw it today
Possessing a new beauty,
Unseen when in full bloom.
What a wonderful feeling,
To have woken up late,
on such a bright new day.
To have shrugged off, for just this once,
The unreasonable demands of the clock,
And silence its scream for attention.
Having nowhere particular to be,
And no need to bend to the whims,
Of an all too practical world.
To taste your coffee once,
Then let it just cool a moment,
Before the next lazy sip.
To sit and just simply enjoy,
Even for a short time,
The warmth of wanton idleness.
Oh such glorious mornings,
You will never know
How much you are missed.