Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gimme Danger Little Stranger

Yellow Tigers Crouched In Jungles In Her Dark Eyes

Things had shaped up into mostly mud and drudgery by then. I was twenty-two and released from the gates of Camp Pendelton about six months before, still alive (beyond my expectations) and without a plan, money, or any desire to go home. I was trying to do the right thing by someone I loved, in a young idealist's way, who was struggling a little more than I. By the time this night came around, I was working two jobs, breaking freight,  and sleeping an hour or two in my van between shifts.

I paid the bills and she complained. I grew resentful and shut down. She branched out and started making other plans.

Mike Russell, who always slept with a 9mm locked and loaded under his pillow, got in touch with me from out of the past one night. We went out to a rock 'n roll night club in El Cajon. We drank, and I felt pretty good for the first time in a while. I had a shaved head then and wore boots and a Charles Manson t-shirt.

At some point I found myself watching a girl dance. She really wanted to dance but her boyfriend was too cool or too shy, and he wouldn't stay on the floor with her for long. She was Mexican, liked hard rock songs and stood about five feet tall.

When she danced, she flew. I immediately felt like I could see her soul. I mean she danced - let herself go and gave it all.

Anyway, the D.J. played White Room by Cream. I knew it would move her, and she was moving me, so I asked her to dance right in front of her boyfriend with Charlie Manson staring on from my shirt.

Her dark eyes sparkled and dazzled and smiled with the excitement of music and, taking my hand, she led me to the dance floor. Only the two of us danced. We sweat from one end of the floor to the other and back several times and lost ourselves.

I think of that letting go now with great longing. She never spoke to me in words, and I said only thank you.

Fall always spins the wheel of memory and, tonight, it landed here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Is Planning To Fail

Something must have died in the refrigerator,
and sediment from the well has clogged some mechanism
that won't allow the heat to rise or the water to warm,
and you'd best believe it's going to cost you.

You've got to take care of things before they break down.
Say it again.

Now stumble forward into the tilting world,
and try to keep a sense of humor
will you?

The moon tonight in silent silver
lights the brown stalks and weeds in front of the house
and the leaves have thinned
enough to see that I have neighbors.

Winter is stalking me, but this bed feels pretty good, and there's
no second job tonight: no cranky dope fiends, no depressed kids
alone in the world, or young men with their jaws wired shut
with an exit wound on their foreheads waiting for something better,
I hope, than another go.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Columbus Day

The physical therapist is talking
baseball absent mindedly leaving me
unsure about this traction contraption
and whether or not we are doing anything
but going through the motions of healing and billing
while outside the day is shaping up toward perfection
the sky is blue and crisply vivid in that certain way
that makes you believe everything is okay
or makes you worry that a group of death-worshippers
have hijacked a passenger plane filled with children's choirs,
business travelers and family vacationers, depending on your orientation.

The sad mother, estranged, is telling me about her own mother's
ever-blinking eye and the wonders of acupuncture, she speed walks
seeking youth in her face and I go to the gym for the first time in a year
moving slowly but persistently trying to match my heart rate to the
machine's gentle expectations, sweating after in a chair, feeling it roll
down my skin.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Walking From The Parking Lot

Dark and wet today
that autumn smell of leaves and
sweet decay

I half remember
but fall short
of ignition

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