Thursday, November 11, 2010

There She Stood with Defiance Written in Her Eyes

If I slit my wrists , whiskey would surely flow out like a sticky amber river and an exhaust of smoke would likely plume and draft through this wall-papered room. But I'm way too selfish for that sort of nonsense. It's merely a thought. Is there anything more unsettling than waking next to a flaccid blob paler than paper with a mouth yearning for you to prop it open and fall into, desperately? Is there?! What burns my skin is that she was once a ripe little peach, curved and taut. Full of the juice that churns and bleeds into your heart and pumps your organs alive. So willing to be ravaged. Oh, how time stole that spring in her, that elasticity, and dropped her ass nearly a foot. Those cumbersome breasts , at least another foot. Her gut gives like a squishy pillow and I lay there sometimes and let her stroke my thinning roan-colored hair as we fade into another muggy night, where all is taken and none given. She often pleads for me to climb her rear, that waking mound, and stab with ploy. I give in to her rarely. Most of the time her ass rolls back on me in waves and I eventually puke on her back. She doesn't mind much though. A real marriage.
Sixteen years, I'm forty-one, she's fifty and looks older, and I'm still sharing a roof with this aging lady, with her hoary, short hair like a silver flame caught fire to a haggard and carved face. Abrupt lips scarcely hide her yellowing teeth but she smiles often, proud that she still owns her actual teeth. Through our bedroom window an orange sun slips in and it's Monday morning, 7:16 AM. She's up already and on her second Camel sipping her black coffee with a slight sucking noise, airy and annoying. For the life of me I can't figure why, but she sleeps nude and her heavy body looks sloppy posted up there against the headboard with her knees drawn up, squeezing herself into a mushy, pasty ball. I yawn and rise and head to the bathroom where life seems a little more pleasant. Even though the bright bulbs poke at my sleepy eyes. Even though the ice-like tile floor stings my feet. Even though. I turn the shower on and the plumbing creaks and moans itself awake from a long slumbering sleep within the walls, and below the alluvial earth. I feel a little guilty for bothering them, the pipes, at such a time, but the stench of last nights sex and sleep is crawling over me like insects.
Life seen through fresh eyes is more promising. The shower inspired me a little so I shaved and dressed in the cleanest jeans and T Shirt I could find. A little loose and a little tight in all the wrong places. The broke can't sift through trash and find gold. It's not feasible. I understood that, so I was slightly freer than most.
"Your eggs are on the table"
"Thanks, Dear." I shouted as I vacated the bedroom.
She was always good like that. The cooking, and the fucking, unfortunately. If there was food to be made she would have it ready for me, magically, without me ever seeing her in the act of cooking. A phantom chef. I wonder if she hummed to herself or pressed one bare and gnarled foot on top of the other while patting the beat of a song on her puffy hip..Did she also cook in the nude? So much I didn't know about this familiar stranger.
I peeled off a scab from my elbow and staunched the flow of blood with a napkin as I dragged on a fierce Camel in between bites of fried egg. Cross-legged at the table, with my morning alone to think and talk myself out of things I know I should do, I was in reverie. The newspaper spewed with the usual bullshit it seems to print these days, but the day still held promise. If only to give me a couple more breaths in my own drab company, or a couple more bites of these delicious eggs, or a sip of whiskey in the backyard under a melting sun. These small things pushed me through an existence of mostly uphill climbs and downhill tumbles. But who was I to complain? I had a real marriage. And good eggs to eat. I couldn't help but picture Charlene, that's my wife, in our bedroom, still naked and smoking. Maybe crying because she could feel how much I didn't need or want her. I began to feel cruel and and selfish and thought that maybe I could re-learn to love her. Love is a disease and it spreads like a fever. It catches hold like a lie. A very sickening burden. Maybe I'd take her out to dinner tonight and let her hang on to my arm, and not be ashamed at all, or walk through the park and kiss like lovebirds, or see a movie like we used to before she filled out so much and ballooned into a flab of flesh. I could promise her I wouldn't act like we weren't together. That I'd be all over her , mauling her with the love that she wanted. I felt better. Knowing that I was working towards something. Not nothing.
The hallway was dark but I still saw her pallid moon-face appear, wobbling into the kitchen from the bedroom. Her bad knee being the cause of that shaky strut that bounced her cheeks like jello. She had her old brown leather suitcase stuffed tight in her left hand and a rainbow colored scarf wrapped around her stubby neck. Partly covering her chin. It was already 84 Degrees outside so I was a little puzzled. Who would wear a scarf in this weather? But there she stood with defiance written in her eyes.
"Hey, Darling. What's going on here?" I peeped.
"I'm leaving you Otis. I've met someone else."
That's me. I'm Otis.
"Ok, Darling." I dragged on my cigarette and clapped my hands and held them together. A loud pop echoed in the silent kitchen.
How could I argue with that?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Math's & Path's

I make lists of all the things I want and then figure my budget for the month to make those things happen, or appear. It's all maths. Everything. Each month is equally exciting with its own anticipation. My apartment is littered with half-full, or half-empty notebooks scrawled with my haphazard interests, ideas, and ciphers and dated accordingly very neatly in the top right corner of each page. They peer at me accusingly while I type away on a non-existent novel I believe I'm writing. A bildungsroman. I have nothing to prove but an urgency to do something great is constantly stirring in my underfed belly. A plume of smoke rises and darts and then disappears into the air above my frizzled hair from an exotic cigarillo my girlfriend gifted me for my seemingly forever-looming 30th birthday. It came and went very insignificantly. Unlike the expectations I had for it. I assumed an epiphany would plop into my lap and i'd venture onto a life-adjusting journey where I'd find validity and that fulfillment others shout about when I'm near. Those lurking in the wing with twinkling eyes and flashy wrist watches that they glance at while they babble with the other blithe folk. You know them. Their shoes are shinier than yours and shirts less wrinkled. Their path is righteous. My path, so far, has been unstable and at times it has branched out into smaller paths, in turn leading to a path that will return me to my original path. It's all paths. One amazing circle where small feats are rewarded with a pat on a stooped shoulder. Friendly but ashamed. Yes, my shoes are scuffed and my twills are rumpled, maybe stained, but I've got hope for myself and my heart burns with love. The velocity at which the fire falls from the sky and scorches us does not concern me to any degree. I'm more concerned with minutes, maybe even seconds. How many seconds do I put into a thought thats actually worth a single breath? How many seconds does it take to build a purposeful life? To construct it from nothing. We're measured in seconds it seems. A mere joke of a military career was mine to hold and cherish. A flash of a college life. A blink of existence sliced like an apple and handed over to me all too willingly. My fingers tapped and my glasses held fast to the tip of my aquiline nose as I saw both clear and blurry editions of my manuscript. Eleanore, my girl, refuses to read it. She is not apt to giving positive criticism and she knows I am rather weak and sensitive when it comes to the subject of literature. She is by no means armed and ripe with ruthless adverbs used only to deteriorate my words. She is just not quite so passionate as i for the written declarations I speak of. Books, stacked ceiling high from the floor, surround me like a barricade waiting to flutter open and glance off my brain, or penetrate it. To be of some use. Poor artwork adorns my four walls, cock-eyed and frameless. God bless the soul of Eleanore, but the purple walls she has imprisoned me in shall be her last flourish of color here. Her move-in has been at a pace which appeases us both. Gradual as an ascending sun. If a sun took three years to rise. An axiom we frequently visit is the letting of things happen naturally. It's hideous. I know. But true. Honestly.
I need the lights that flash through my windows and the noises of the city are a welcome lullaby. I need to spy on street walkers and bums and police officers and cab drivers. I need the dregs as I need the sugar. I possess the obligation to be a student of the criminal. The urchin. My quest for the absolute profundity of human kind requires a central placement in a culturally thriving dystopia. You might say I inhabit a neighborhood of likely risks and peril. Sure, the danger is here. But I see the beauty in the poorest of light. For a room lit by candle is definitely more strenuous to the eye but surely is more pure and virtuous than the artificial brightness of a high-watted bulb.
Knock! Knock! Knock! A thudding, high in timbre, beat the door thrice. The thinness of the fingers and knuckles could be heard in the rapping. A certain feminine characteristic. We all have our own tone. I turned the Yale bolt and unlatched the two chains and twisted the brass knob as Eleanore squeezed through the crack before I had the door completely opened. Her slender cheeks were rosy and damp and her abrupt black eyes were wide with emotion. A frantic joy, I discerned. Her feral hair swept in all directions and her clipped bangs fell just short of her theatrical eyebrows. Very European. A gasping rush of heat punched through the chink along with Eleanore and fogged up my glasses. The dark and musty smell of the hallway breached the apartment with alacrity and forced the ancient air-conditioner to wheeze to life as it felt the sudden rise in temperature. The very core of summer attacked us from all angles, never letting up. We will always be slaves to the weather down here. She paced to and fro and threw animated gestures with her hands wildly. Complete abandon of self-consciousness . She was speaking but I could not hear a word she said. It was all a humming drone.
"God, Penn. Did you hear a word I said?"
Her bare shoulders were freckled from the sun and her feet bronzed and wrapped in Roman sandals with unpainted nails that were short and functional. She wore a short black skirt that gripped her rangy legs tightly and a heather gray tank-top hung loose over her unfettered breasts. Also, very European. My girl with the swaying breasts. Her milk white teeth were packed taut in her mouth and encircled by puffy lips chapped from the gusty elements of a southern morning spent running on sidewalks.
"Yes, El. What is it?"
"Amazing. I just gave a strident Faulknerian-like speech and you totally ignored me!?" she pouted, very visually.
"Sorry, babe. Please enlighten me again."
She sat down at the piano and lightly struck the keys while she re-iterated her news. She spoke somewhat in time with what she played, to the unheard beat, so that the words coursed off her tongue like song. A lyrical sweeping that peaked with the more earnest parts of her saga and became less dramatic with the feeble filled fragments of the tragic telling.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Forwards, Not Backwards.

Outfitted with a carton of Pall Malls and his Desert Storm zippo, Ingram was contented to the very marrow of his brittle bones. With accord, he kept company with his dark and brooding thoughts as the drone of pelleting rain drummed the roof of his trailer. The color TV flashed and showed deep rivets in both cheeks. Carved by puberty. Two skinny stick-like legs lay twisted on the gashed coffee table, beset with an array of remotes and ashtrays, almost exhibited; while the ceiling fan whirled and rocked above and lifted the weightless strands of thinning hair off his clammy forehead. A familiar feeling settled on him like a water logged blanket and a lumbersome urge to scour the creeks for rebel trout came like an epiphany. Swift and promising. He rose and snatched his fly rod and slipped into his boots and bursted out the front door as the rain simultaneously yielded to a burning sun aglow with orange tones. Not prone to superstitions, he didn't blink at the coincidence. Shadows from slim trees slanted onto the overgrown lawn.The slimy blades of grass dampened the shins of his jeans with dew like a thousand slobbering tongues lashing out, frog-like.
"Ingram!" came a shout.
He turned slowly and gazed upon his stark-naked wife, Georgene. Her pale thick legs and ass bounced due to the sudden stop she'd made. Ah, the shudder of flaccid skin. A knot of golden curls were piled above her round and vacant face like a nest swirled together by a momma bluejay. She leaned against the doorway, arms crossed below her youthful breasts covering her protruding belly, and waited.
"What woman!"
"Where you goin?' she whined.
"Fishin. I'll be back shortly. Put some clothes on. Your excitin' Joe."
The scrawny dog below the steps jumped up at the sound of his name. Ingram waved and turned. A violet foreground of mountains pierced the wispy clouds and held the giant auburn star between it's peaks. Everyone's on a righteous path, he thought. "As long as it's forwards and not backwards your headin'." he spat, to himself.