Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oh God / The Aftermath

I have a confession to make . . . I sold you to the state.
The CIA is infiltrating your house as we speak.

I caught a glimpse of the spy satellite as it passed over our heads.
Orbiting every 92 minutes, quietly collecting images for the city's records.

I saw the petrified faces of you and your family on the evening news. Helpless and full of sedatives, shattered in a sea of dialogue and flashbulbs.

I heard about your last words, and I can't say that I'm sorry.
You should've seen my face, I've been so bitter towards you.

Alex was there, as powerless as the rest of them.
(Why now, Alex? I'm less of a man as I depart.)

"Sign my name too, Love. Press hard, there are three copies."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Waiting Room / Flashbacks

We were sitting on a bus full of children.
I was drawing pictures of rocket ships.

I was climbing the powerlines outside your window.
There was a radio playing in the background.

Your father was a fat Southerner with blue overalls and a moustache.
Your mother was a black Georgia soul singer with friends who loved to cook.

I woke up in your house, your mother was whispering to me.
I could just make out your face through the crack in the doorway.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose

"Hey dude, did you . . . see that?"

I am half asleep, idling in my thoughts of self-redemption, when the man next to me utters these words. I open my eyes to find this curious individual staring out his window and into the sky.

"Did you see it?" he repeats. Seeing as I am the only other passenger on this bus, I assume his question is meant for my ears.

"Uh, no. What is it?"

"The sky is filled with pearls."

I am awake now, trying to shuffle off the layers of sleep my mind so desperately craves. Pushing him aside, I take a look outside the window.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Angela (Remain In Twilight)

It's gotten late, and now I want to be alone. The weekend comes, Cedric throws parties, but the girl . . . she doesn't show this time.

I sit on the front porch for what seems like hours, my thoughts lost in the haze of the wine. All of our friends were here, they all have gone home. I remain oblivious to this simple fact until I look up and realize I am alone. The twilight is crushing; the situation is clean. Furthermore, it seems my ride to the party has ditched me for a look at the whores on Second Avenue. Weighing these unfortunate circumstances, I decide to start walking. As I stumble forth into the night, I can't help but wonder . . . "Are you avoiding me, Angela?"

"This was supposed to be the chance I never got . . . to make a move." Instead, I bum another cigarette from one of the ghosts I pass in the streets. "You knew this was going to happen. The taste of failure must greet you sweetly. You still sleep alone."

Guitars and violins paint their melodies so beautifully inside of my head, as fragments of my skull begin to fall like pixie dust from these bruised scalpel skylines. This is the part where I'm supposed to bury my head in my hands and sink into myself. I jump a subway train into the city instead.

"Just what are you so afraid of?" the voice in my head whispers. "You're staring truth in the face, so come on down." I have no intentions of coming back down. "You can't do this night after night after night." I hate the me that I've become, the useless and forgetting one.

My body is lost at sea. I don't even notice, as I mutter this entire conversation out loud to myself. Strange, I haven't spoken in days, and the voice that escapes my lips sounds foreign to my ears. (I'm too engrossed in this revelation to notice that everyone aboard is looking at me.)

Doors slide open and my legs walk out, taking my body with them. There is snow here and for a split second I can't remember where I am or why I am here. Nothing but soft little secrets and failed attempts.

It all comes flooding back to me, once I catch a glimpse of her face.

It is time to make a choice: I can stretch this moment out forever, remain in twilight, content yet not truly satisfied. All I have to do is turn around and walk away. Or I can walk up to her and seal our fate with these words.

Voices now, many of them. "Just turn around and walk away!" (How long has this been going on? Has it always been this way?) "Don't do this, not again!"

The wind carries my words. This girl, Angela - she hears these words. I watch her eyes disconnect from their intended target and turn in my direction. Our eyes meet, holding each other for what seems like an infinite heartbeat. Then slowly, very slowly, I watch the remnants of a smile form at the corners of her mouth, and the look that crosses her face, defeated but cool. Smoothly, she walks up to me and slips her hand into mine. "Let's go inside," she says.

Snowflakes fall in perfect little circles above our heads. The wolf is at the door, and she's waiting for me to make a move.

Fuck it. "The problem with me . . . is my problem with you . . . you're everything."

Oh, shut the fuck up, you bloody idiot. You did this to yourself. Find us a fucking table. I'm not letting you escape this. You get what you put in. This time, you're getting what you deserve.

"Let's get a bottle and drink alone," Angela offers. I slap a fifty on the counter and ask the bartender for a bottle of his personal favourite. The bartender returns with a chilled bottle of absinthe liqueur in his hands. Satisfied with this offer, Angie thanks the bartender and grabs the bottle. "Keep the change," I mutter as I follow her out.

An abandoned bus stop on the corner sits illuminated beneath the streetlights. Stephen and Angela take a seat as I crack open the bottle and we both take a sip.

Several minutes pass. "My head is spinning, but isn't that the idea?" Angie says aloud, a dazed look in her eyes. "Absolutely," I say. "Whose wants to be sober at their own execution?" She doesn't respond to this musing. She doesn't even smile.

The silence that blossoms between us is murderous. For minutes all we can do is stare at each other, hopeless and debating on how to proceed.

I break the silence first: "Do you want me?"

Angela's eyes break away from mine. With crossed arms and glassy eyes, she clear her throat.

"No."

Her voice is a razorblade to my bare flesh. I watch the tears freeze on her cheek and know full well it is only a reflection of my own face.

"It's not you, it's me. God, Stephen. How can you afford the price of wanting more? Tell me that much. These misunderstandings are killing us."

"I don't know, is this what I get for wanting more? Angela, you are my last request. Don't make me feel so contradicted."

Silence.

"Fine, spell it out for me," I whisper between gritted teeth, eyes closed.

She complies. With a ballpoint pen and a restaurant napkin, I watch each word form with a deadly precision:

1. I don't like you.
2. Yes, there is someone else.
3. Everything was fine until you started working here.
4. But . . . *You* like me.
5. And the guy I want has no interest in Me.
6. So I'm deciding whether or not to Give up and be with You.

I lift my eyes to the sky, watching my time float away. It's all been a blur and none of this will ever change. I was lying. This is my defeat. I lower my eyes to the ground and open my mouth to scream, but my breath carries no shadow.

Angela's expression never changes.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Way Things Used To Be - R.I.P. Sapo

When the crowd parted way for the paramedics and E.M.T.'s it was already apparent that their expertise and equipment were no longer necessary. Sand was flirting with the static-charged desert air and the dusk was beginning to unravel its sinuous black tendrils to engulf the last remaining light. Shadows stretched themselves from the cracks in the pavement, growing longer with each passing moment. A requiem for the permanent midnight waiting to wreck havoc on the living. Somewhere between the sun that gives us light and the ground that puts it out, a dog barked.

The flashing red lights of the ambulance created a blood-soaked halo above the heads of the speechless crowd. Silence had bloomed like a tumor on their lips and not a murmur could be heard. As suddenly as it had appeared the silence was split open by a sound, the sound of razorblades squirming though cuts in a throat. A woman had torn her way through the motionless crowd and had broken rank with those up front. Upon viewing this crimson scene the woman's knees gave way and kissed the ground, drawing blood that in no way rivaled the puddle that surrounded the young man where he lay.

The noise that tore itself from her lips was part-sob, part-scream. The result was a guttural roar, a sound both transfixing and terrifying.

The paramedics were finished strapping the young man into place. The crowd parted like water as the paramedics lifted their still-beating burden from gravity's eternal embrace. Gears were locked and engines started as the ambulance doors slammed shut to the sound of a thousand screaming memories.

One by one bystanders began returning to their cars and commutes, attempting in vain to rationalize what they had witnessed, until eventually there was no one, save for a lone woman on the sidewalk, surrounded by shadows and the echoing of her anguished cries.