I Get It

I get it why people get dogs, write break-up songs, I get it all.

I see why we fight, regardless of who’s right- how you feel.

Don’t we just pretend to

care?

Why it was never that simple.

I get that now.

I see the daylight rise while breathing out those we’ve lost.

I get it all.

Where the coffee pursed my lips, the mirage of October waiting in the wings.

And I get why we play dress up, trick or treat, lie to ourselves, lie to our friends.

I mistook our lies for friendship.

How expendable we are.

The beginning never resembles the end.

I almost forget why I came. And I don’t feel the same.

It breaks my heart to know what we left on the table.

Why we gave it away.

I get it, I get it, I get it all now.

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.

Watching the World from a Cafe in Sheetz One Day

I’m plugged in. The ear buds moisten, clicking in my ears, Elton John reaching that exhaustive hiss of “the Bluesssss” just somewhere under falsetto… the Yellow Brick Road looking attainable. Tinnitus in my left ear holds onto the final note long after it’s gone. There is a murkiness outside as humidity claws at the still air.

I wander into the gas station/super mart/trucker stop and witness a world within the one that is jettisoned beyond the doors; and behind my soles. People scurry through cramped aisles with power bars, hydrogenated oils and condoms; Sports Illustrated racked between Guns & Ammo, gleaning breasts and hips and not the current soccer obsession– energy drinks pressing on coolers offering a more honest days work, at least more frenetic.

There is an art to ‘people watching’. Some involvement required, but obstinately it is just clusters– a people mash-up with no involvement and poor judgement: the short Asian woman with disproportionate sized breasts and her flightless toddler- tugging, tugging- tugging away at her spandex tights; a dwarf, commandeering a minuscule scooter, whipping through the complex maze to grab a soda. Workers in unison, in uniform, conforming to the task at hand. Each one smiling, except for the short haired teen, laden with an inordinate amount of homemade needle & ink tats that could easily pass him off as a cellmate. Old men litter the built in cafe and scratch arbitrarily at lottery tickets, shaking their heads– “the next one will be it, the next one…”

I need an energy drink.

There’s so much chatter here. The noise kaleidoscopes in my head, seeking refuge, or a blank tapestry to register something– anything. Noises from the CNN reporter girl with bubbly, over-hued blonde hair spewing in and out the nascent details of GOP and refugees, tornadoes and autopsies; the background to the forefront, backwash and the repetition of tires drone by. Noise trade, stifling the cell phone loyalists– they’re indifferent, and I just watch from a lonely seat in the cafe. Texting in cars, talking in aisles, pumping gas, wondering: ‘why did we have to fight about the mortgage this morning??’, sleepwalking… plagued with levity. No one even notices.

I ‘get’ why people ‘check out’. It’s hard to see until it’s right in front of you– when consciousness checks out and the banality just wrecks your thoughts– the sane ones, anyway. The distance between a useful existence and walking into a desert one day, tattered shoes and a final $222.43 alimony payment on the doorstep– dry land and sun in every direction and only dust and decay, the remnants of your life that was better left to the earth. Suicide is a dense word. It has a singular one-sided opinion, but it carries so much goddamn weight. I don’t understand what lifts someone into those last straggling moments where nothing exists, only breathe. It must be unbelievably terrifying. Staggering those final moments until there is ‘no turning back’. Most people wouldn’t understand. I can’t be indifferent (in my own thoughts) but empathy is a notion, not an actionable endeavor.

Save yourself, turn CNN to Curious George, turn the volume off and order another iced caramel salted pretzel latte with extra whipped cream, because cream is sweet and tastes nothing like death, or sadness. My own coffee; dwindling… room temperature and bitter– resembling the same indifference that haunts the masses, ignored by the few… and me.

The Sports Illustrated beauty eyeballs me from my seat and goads me back into evanescence. She looks too happy to be real.

I Still Don’t Care For Decaf

sigh 006

Disable
Are we back to not being friends?
The cycle that never ends,
and remember the time we
couldn’t breathe a single day without??

Passengers
In & out- left of center, progressed to doubt.
The longest sigh stretched into endless nights
no doubt; there’s no end when second chances are exhausted
into the longest regression you’ve ever endured.
And still, we come back for more.

Refuge
Withholding shelter, the safety of clenched hands
Singularity, now parallel lands-
worlds we couldn’t possible conceive.
Now my everyday view.

Strangers
And these words are for me
All the people that pass by
A life we couldn’t possibly perceive.

Rebirth
I have no control over what you think of me
So don’t look back
Just keep moving
We have a ways to go

Kill the Lights

No coffee, no beer- no more late nights and false idols.
No love, no sex & No family.
No more using my hand for release. No relief
No pain, no regrets, but that’s a lie.
No more lying to myself.

Grease fires and pistol whipped, so sorry that I can’t take it with me.
I put faith in people and things
but they just let me down, and I let me down and now you look at me to share truth.

No more strip clubs, falling off stools- and throwing money at satin skin and broken homes
A life I could never possibly know.
Drown out the hollers for more- we forgive them
And can’t look at ourselves.

No more sleepless nights- you can’t tell them apart
The days bleed out, insomniac, double back & sewage
where the flies circle and circulate
no amount of liquid poured into your stomach allows you to forgive yourself.

No thoughts of death, no more Big Macs,
Pull the stopper on the tub
No more delusions or illusions
No pills for deafening the pain
No allusions that there’s any other way.
No forgiveness, just aftermath
No regrets