Growing Up, Moving On

“I can’t afford another cup of coffee”, I tell myself. Conversations out loud only make sense in the silence of your own home, or car- maybe even the alcove at a church as you pep talk yourself into a marriage that may not make sense at that brief moment. I remember that scene quite vividly, and the eventual fallout, divorce and stretch of time that seemed to move in painful slow-mo. So, crackling the morning air with a few open retorts doesn’t seem crazy at all—Hell, talking to yourself in a busy grocery store doesn’t sound so baleful in comparison to the ending of a union that you perceived as ‘forever’. Another cup of my free coffee here sounds great- no barista, just Tim and his 3 year old French press, desperately fighting to cling to rust and scuffs that its $29.99 frame yields. I splash in more creamer and non-nutritive sugar substitute- you know the one that causes the least amount of brain neuropathy so I can spell werdz…wordz… W-O-R-D-S. The first taste is bitter, reminding me nothing of the lush hills of Costa Rica, but ahhhh, that second and third gulp, as the temperature settles to ‘just above warm’ creates a smooth palette where pressed beans slope down as a skier would arch for the final run. I can rationalize anything. All I really want is the caffeine.

I’m an addict, an alcoholic to be specific, but you can arbitrarily plunk anything in the place of alcohol. $$ toys (things), girls/sex/porn (people) or driving to that park where my high school sweetheart and I frequented (places) are all formidable addictions; and not ready to retire—it’s all there in front of me… or behind me, if I just could let go. The rear view of my mirror works just fine. I should bring my old Wayne Gretzky Titan stick out of retirement and ‘accidentally’ lop off that mirror with a backhander. Anger- that’s another impulse worth letting go.

There was a time as a youth carousing on my basement floor- my childhood home coveting a horrid looking (and feeling) blood red carpet where my Lego’s could play freely without being lost under the dark mass of fiber. When being a kid was my job, one that I would still take for granted today, if someone would employ me for having an even worse haircut and wardrobe than today. My Lego’s were complicit and not salaried either—and they weren’t the cool Star Wars or Lord of the Rings ones that are available in 2014. They were simply colored squares and rectangles and the occasional plastic window to build a house for my imaginary Lego family. No Jango Fett teaching young Boba the rewards of a good bounty- no Gandalf imposing his will on a group of feckless Hobbits. There wasn’t any void to fill from a fatherless home, because these little figures went under the moniker of pilot or soldier or construction worker, and no kid minds when their dad is a hero- even a recognized, everyday ‘hero’. My father was around, he just was working, and working and working- I guess I should have paid attention more to his work ethic; his austere desire to fulfill what was necessary, dull, and completely unimaginative. He was in the Navy after all, and that’s pretty cool. I’ve never been on an Aircraft Carrier.

Playing independently at that age was an ideal. I didn’t have the attention span or life experience to suffer my thoughts all day long. Building, playing, articulating the basics was enough—and I never became addicted to Lego’s. I can see the lure of risqué things and it is hard to imagine a child’s toy serrating my pleasure zone. I need stimulus- an escape, something just to get myself out of my head. Caffeine, boobies, music with a fast tempo—or somebody to focus on who isn’t me.

It takes a lot to get moving in the morning, especially Mondays… to feel inspired, as if writing this all of a sudden adds insight that the morning hours can’t. Coffee, just the habit of consuming the black liquid sits directly in my pleasure zone- it awakens every impulsive nerve to excess and asks for nothing in return, save for a few extra bathroom breaks. The same stimulus is peaked by my fiancé, who isn’t available on this particular morning. Regardless of her physical absence, her apparition, her after-image lingers long after she leaves- long enough to dwell inside these walls. Not to haunt but to taunt- to sustain me until her next visit, and until our bodies can collide reminding me I’m alive. If only she was here now, present and ready to take me away from me, that guy who seems to be there no matter where I go, no matter where I am and no matter what hole needs filled.

My mood would drift inescapably into bliss. How easy it would be to put all of my focus on her, all my misgivings. I could rummage through my sons toys instead, find their Lego’s. Me and Boba Fett and the Ninjago dudes could all share the sediment left over in my French Press, and we could all think out loud—I could even talk for them, in their own voices and we could battle until lunch time. Then maybe I could forget about here, let go of the vice grip on Gretzky’s stick—release my high school sweetheart and the park where my addictions were born.

Life Cycle of a Morning

Stagnation, roll up your sleeves, no one sees you when you hide.
And I don’t care if you redefine yourself, using crayons to color your outsides.
Smiles and lines, contours smothering air, humid and stank, leaving the room after a night of lust, spread legs and pillow talk, vitriol words that hang,
distilling into sleep or dreams, between sleep apnea and lost sentiment coming apart at the seams.
Nobody sees you but me, the real you and hypothetical me,
flogging the morning hours, a fly circles overhead and the slow drip of coffee.

This beautiful morning needs to be imperfect– we love each other for the same purpose, reminders; sandman- clean out your eyes and kiss me with your morning breath,
my lips are dry and the clamminess of skin leaving out its last sweat.

This perfect morning, piggy-backing the quiet, save for the ‘buzz’ of a fly mother who lost her maggots, coasting past the morning newspaper, poverty, shootings- things you just can’t relate to.
People who live in the skids, broke bank accts. and blistered families, burned out– so wasted.

Oblivion makes it’s case.
Compound eyes shoot a glance my way
There’s nothing left to save but face.
The lifespan of a fly and my own kids close by
as I drift back to a less complicated place.

Wasted (no more)

You can’t have me anymore
and whatever you took before
is no longer yours.

Porcelain, stroking the bathroom floor, looking up to a god I couldn’t love, much easier to ignore,
less respect for me,
only fog, hazy thoughts drug through dead end streets…
As if it could get any worse.
That was my last time, no more bile, sweat and terror from shakes, anxious, that tonight will be the same, and no one to remind-
no one there to save me, a used up life. Hated.
Wasted.

You can’t take my soul, this last stroke of light
Spirits moving in and out of me, but no bottle in sight.
The chance to prove them all right,
Or one last desperate chance, claw up from the bottom,
breaking free of darkness– the endless nights.
Left the the way we found them.

You can’t have me anymore, I picked up what was left,
off the floor, one more shot at this–
and I forgive myself.
Existing inside a new life, second sight
and a chance to be reborn.
Wasted no more…

Both Sides

“What can I do to save my friends from the same things that still try and destroy me?” – Tim

Seeing red, the devil in the details,
so widespread,
and I can see you bleeding from here.
You’re teetering on the fence:
the one side- a sewage drain, blackened stains, sulfuric air,
fallen in, knee deep & stuck,
corralled into the waiting cypher, where no one visits and nobody cares– no one that hasn’t already put up with enough.
On the other side, the grass looks plush,
clover underfoot, green/lush,
a spectacle; the propensity for charm,
the taller stalks of mint, backwashed into the soil.
Fresh scents, crushing the memory of pungent elixir,
weeping into the air,
lost it’s charm long before you ever got there.
Far too late to turn back now,
churns your heavy heart, aching limbs;
towards that insurmountable gape.

We never truly get there, we just keep… walking–
towards the sun, no longer your enemy;
towards the light, into something better than ‘right’,
that place you started and quickly devolved,
the awaiting fallout, pond scum and wet brain…
no family to absorb your sick,
your lonely– your pathetic reach for one more drink.
Knowing well, you chose the side where things don’t go to die.
The devil patiently waiting for his turn… as you turn your back.

Passenger

Places people and things
Don’t mean anything
if you allow it all back in
whenever it can
Talking with no walking,
Words and lip service and derailed again
My mind a sieve, walked on by myself, makes no sense
Somehow I thought I had this licked
Still the pariah, with the wounds and pricks
The past careening into my neck
At break neck speed snapped me back into my seat
Flung me out in the street
Roadkill and rubber neck
Trampled under foot from all those who wished me dead
It was a bitter pill to choke down
I wish there was more of a warning this time
I relied on you and I don’t know why?
All this love to give, my expectation that you would just bandage me up.
Band aids on a twelve inch cut,
Seriously fucked
Bled out, strip search
And I’d say something like “this will be the last time”,
but I’ve learned enough
call my own bullshit and let the past creep
back in…
to take over
yet again.