Taco Truck Woes and Secrets

There was a fire on the taco truck I work on today and John, the boss, the man, the rock, didn’t blink, he just sat there sweating, feeling his feet pulse and hurt beneath him and the weight of all his tacos, double boat tacos you’d finish with a fork n’ shovel tacos, early mornings and late night tacos, slow cooked beans (porkbeefchicken), too hard, too soft, too salty, too few, five stars and then one and then two and then John will sleep, but only for a moment, only until dusk wakes him with sour burn in his eyes (everyday at the glowing thread of dawn) as he stirs to rub them with the full length of his finger (he will be careless with his treatment) everyday, every morning, before the sun and after, every 3pm on a Sunday and now the grill is on fire.

But this is what happens when you cook cows and pigs and chickens, full weights of them over the months, so much dripping out and gathering (you didn’t think you got rid of them so easily), it taking so much to make it all and it all goes somewhere all the trash, the vinyl gloves and empty sour cream containers all the salt and cheese the guacamole gone bad, the brisket dried up all of it that had built up and now there is a fire, we notice as the steak, flame kissed, begins to burn and sizzle wet and hot buried in it’s orange flame (it is hard) and John (the boss, the man, the rock) hardly notices as he stirs the beans (too salty, too soft). The fire, cathartic and visceral by its nature releases its hot energy as we bake there in our work, this long dark breath slowly cooking (it grew so slowly), so much pain burning so slowly, so much neglect, so many must do’s (cooking in the blinding smoke). He has totaled two cars this month, the grind stone splitting in two as I thought the fire would consume us and the whole truck would explode like his kids gone back to Texas because their landlord has kicked them out of their Fort Collins home and John works 14 hour days and looks for another house and now sleeps on a couch a thousand miles away, like his wife’s supportive text messages like being his own boss shouting the wind down. He does his hair in the morning too, but not his laundry cause he hasn’t the time or place. The fire is so hot now, its gotten bigger but Jon hasn’t moved, he’s just standing there in his CSU Rams shirt, his formless jeans and unmarked black shoes, knife in hand watching the grease bubble and fizz and burn and growl. Foreheads sweat endlessly drowning almost (for real), I am dripping, the truck is small and I am beginning to worry, when will we leave? When will we move (there is so little space to move)? The fire is filling the full length of the grill now, and it has spread to a space underneath it (where is the gas?), it is between us and the door, I try cutting chicken and my fingers burn wrapped in their thin vinyl gloves sticking to my sweaty hands (the gloves will drip when I take them off) and they forget their work as my eyes finally stick on the flames and the smoke is stinging but John just stands there breathing watching it bloom up around him, straight but with his shoulder slouched as if unhinged, the fan fights its own losing battle. The crowded burnt air shimmies a dancing chaos through the cracks of our unopened vending window concealing our suffering, our food truck woes and secrets.

I want air and make a move to the door but have to scoot around John (who hasn’t moved by the way) as he stands there stoic as a statue, like David on his marble pedestal and John has ten orders but David will never be forgotten, the people outside aren’t thinking (do not forget, there is so much not to forget) between their pitchers of beer, dizzy with them, the decadence of our time and place but it’s his calling he is calling your order, your name (tracy, carnitas for phil, dan, kaitlin, chicken fajita for jose, bethany, red shirt blue shoes head band sunglasses, the distinguishing feature, the one with the eyes, the one with the lips, the one with the baby, the one with the booty). John stands at his station, in his tank, the shining armor that it is, even when it burns, even when it sinks, even when it’s greasy and the gas doesn’t work or the water isn’t hot enough or the cheese has melted or the sodas aren’t cold, at five in the morning and eleven o’clock at night with the generator growling behind him.

I wrap a bandanna around my face and go back to cutting chicken.

He finally reaches for the fire extinguisher and holds it a long while looking at it, wondering how we can stay open, how he can finish the day and he’s had 3 16 hr days in a row, in debt (he hardly knows it) and to poison the grill before him seems simple self-mutilation, nails on this food truck cross and chalkboard, this is Jon ripping his proverbial hair. He takes a breath (I see it) and unloads the substance with spraying short bursts, examining the extinguishers effect which is that I can feel it’s gut stuff explode into the air as the fire retreats with each spray birthing plumes of what feels like toxic smoke, the burn lung deep, and my lungs burn with it behind my bandanna and I feel for a moment like I might pass out or vomit or both.

John still hasn’t moved. Everything he has done he has done standing there. He has yet to reveal thought or feeling. He opens the vending window to air out the truck. The man is tired. We are all tired but nobody is tired like John. We hear a call from outside the window. It’s a customer asking if we are still open. I look at John but he does not look at me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Story

In the beginning there was the lady and the lady made candles and they were like no other. Few people in the land of Lock had met the old hurricane and those that did knew her not, the lady, because at first glance it could not be denied she appeared a man and did not speak. Her features were cracked and coarse of course, she had lived a long life she had picked her scabs and given birth to men in other towns, acts that had given her strength, had taught her what her body could endure. The lady also had a beard, so there was that to suggest that she was a man. But her eyes were soft like an old dogs and she wore capes and strange hats about town no one quite understood. There was little in fact to suggest she was a woman, her features were largely hidden, caring only that her clothing covered her. She didn’t bother bathing or doing the dishes she did not have time for such things, she was a traveler, her body a vessel, a way to make her transcendence mobile, she practically floated, her body was not important. She was not a clean woman by the standards of the time. She smelled funny. Not bad funny, but funny like something that’s not supposed to be in the oven funny. The way gasoline smells funny, or one’s own fart, the smells that fill the air with something comforting if not dissonant. but something hinted deep inside a clearness behind the woman’s stench, light behind it all, like a rain storm on the horizon, behind the crud and crust and salt stains and hair, oh the hair everywhere, she was so hairy, how hairy this woman was deep down, beneath all her layers. But the essence was still all rainwater, it was all glacial lakes, all cooling asphalt, all the world she wore and wept. Like a rainy day next to a fire made of puzzle pieces and gasoline.
But we are getting besides the point here; the woman had a beard and what a beard it was. It was long and thick but not so wiry, it had its curls of course but it was luscious at its core, it just about glowed in its thick black glory and when her beard had grown properly oiled and dusty from the days labor, and sometimes this would take weeks, months, years she would watch it all gather, all the mess, the salt and dirt, oil and blood that the sun shines on. But when it had grown long enough and thick enough, when the oils were just right and the dust gave it weight just so, she would roll her black beard between her hands, sneezing into them constantly as she did because she had allergies. You never saw hands move so fast, the air and space melting between them, a cloud of warm dust hugged her tight, smooth and dry. Her beard would begin to dred into rows of perfectly plump little hair sausages. So satisfying they were to see. They would become hard, solid little things, and using her sharpened thumb nail which she had turned into an absolute razor, short and efficient, she would pluck the dreds from her face to handle them gently, examining each one as the new born it was, paying attention to make each one true cylinders. The black hair glistening in her palm like a hairy night sky the moon shown back. Then with her eyes closed she’d make her lips wet licking each one slowly and then rubbing them together, back and forth, as a young teen might apply a bubble gum lip glos. She would put her thumb and forefinger almost entirely into her mouth and suck. And with her moistened digits she would with tenderness tweeze the very tips of each and every shiny little hair turd candle. After she had collected enough of them she would venture out of her swamp to spend her evenings strolling the streets and in front of each house in the town of Lock she would place one of her candles with care. Once the candle stood on its own, she would snap her fingers and the little hair sneeze candle would spark and grow slowly into the calmest flame that was ever seen, ever stillness was its name and the town lit up with such a glow that the kids could catch fire flies and beat the rabid dogs at night without wilt or worry or woe. This was a magical place, and the people in the land of Lock loved the lights and they became known as the Lock Lights. The candles burned softly and on still nights they seemed to float there buried in the moss and rocks of the little town of Lock. The smoked danced a veil around the place floating effortless in the atmosphere, its rich scent, full of the sweets and sours of life, drying the wet air. The Lock Lights were regarded as the loveliest in the land. Then one day my dad came flying into the town of Lock and said lady this is absolutely disgusting you can’t make candles out of beard hair that’s gross go take a shower you filthy woman disgusting. My god.

It’s All Here

 Have you ever had things you wanted to say? said the girl who had trouble sleeping. When she did sleep, she dreamed of boldness, of big things, New York City and swing dancing but most days she just hid behind her smile without consequence, you see. It was such a beautiful smile.  Those who saw it drowned drunkenly in it and nobody thought to complain for how could you? It was right where it should be. Right there, shining on her face like the waning moon, bright despite how slight it seems.  All that’s deep and sweet about lips and teeth. But the girl, she did not think it so pretty. Only when she was drunk did she find our enthusiasm for it (no body found enthusiasm for it like I did).

A little bit of liquor and a little bit of throttle will get you in a lot of trouble,” said the boy with the mowhawk as he smiled and thought of his mistakes. He sat like some sort of de-throned king, his knees as far apart as they could be, his arms resting effortlessly on the unoccupied chairs beside him. He welcomed the air onto his lap and took his shirt off, for no other reason than to be closer to the breeze. He seemed to be waiting for the wind to get confident, stick her tongue in his ear, nibble warm and wet, and then whisper something dirty. Tattoos littered his body and if you asked, he had nothing to say about them, “Original Rude Boy” scrawled on his ribs. Smoke danced a veil around him, and he danced too, hidden, in his sea of open doors.

How do you feel, beneath all those feelings?” said the poet in his chair, crossing his legs and leaning forward over them to remove a cigarette from his mangled pack. Placing the yellow stained sky scraper between his lips, he sets it ablaze as he had done countless times, far too many for anyone’s mother to bare. The poet learned something from the smoke, so he thought, but ask the doctors, ask the scientists, they’ll call the poet crazy for making such a claim.

And how could three people such as these find themselves on the same porch, sitting as they were? Well that is of course quite a question. Almost so that you have to wonder if this was, in fact, even a porch at all or simply where our answers are hidden in the soft light and dust of the magic hour made real; you only need be here, right now, to know it, but don’t be expecting much because then again…

It’s just a porch.

A house is behind it. The chairs are in no particular order, just where they happen to be. There is just the breeze, just the hardness of their seats, just their fantastic view of a car; these things do not mean much (there are so many damned cars everywhere). There’s also a tree. A really big one. Maybe extraordinarily big, but then again, this is not especially special either. It’s just a tree and trees are everywhere.

The road is just there and it is wide, the grass is green by its side; cars drive by occasionally but not often and there’s a streetlight across the way that bathes the night in amber light giving everything a goddamn golden outline. Everything is soft and kind on our eyes at this time.

Exactly 6 beer cans are on the table, though it’s anyone’s guess which ones are empty and which ones aren’t (in case you’re wondering: the girl had finished hers and had been holding an empty can for a suspicious twelve minutes. The boy with the mowhawk was just now showing his friends how to rip his forth can in two with his teeth. “I’m training to be a vampire,” he said, though no one could be sure what that meant. The poet had opened his, taken one sip, set it down, not to have touched it again).

There’s an unlit candle and an ashtray on the table though most of the ash is on the ground.

It’s just a porch (you know what it looks like).

The sun can’t be contained here and colors have spilled from its spectrum soaking the skies floating walls in every sinful shade. One thing is certain: it is beautiful. The sun pulls her skirt down over her hips (don’t be nervous, I’m not going to hurt you), and she’s soft and deep and full as she lies down. Everyone should just lie down. Things have started to sleep; we are all coming down now. People are sitting, talking, thinking. Come sit and listen closely. You’re not listening. Listen.

There is everything here, on this porch.

There is courage (so much) in the eyes of the girl who woke every morning trying once again to be who she was behind the bars of her body.

Two ways the girl was torn:

To embrace her cage. To climb her tender backbone like she once climbed trees (just like I did), going up, hand over hand, wrapping herself with care around each vertebrae, pulling into the minds cushioned canopy, warm, though painfully alone, to watch the stars in their dark boundless place.

OR she could shake the bars. Scream help with her smile. She could undress her strong and sweaty companion’s like someone who wanted out, like someone searching for something, desperate, begging for it, wondering helplessly who had it (for god’s sake), so that she might walk free of her feelings, free of her fear, to feel the cold dew kiss her heels.

Each morning she had to decide. This or that.

(What would you choose?)

There is ambition in the poet understanding the power in a voice, of his mind divine with reason and freedom. He had spent many restless nights wrestling his reasons in the dark, in the cold, that when he awoke, near death, he was not afraid to call us gods. We were all gods, to him. For what other creatures can create like we can? What other creatures destroy like this? Love this way? Wrestle reasons in their sleep? Are brutal like we are? Tender like we can be? Ask questions like this? Know like they do? Be as bold as they are? Cry like they do? Bleed oceans from their eyes like they do? Are as flawed as they are? Which ones?

(Gods, we all are).

There is confidence in the boy with the mowhawk. Also, horrible short term memory. Watch as he picks up his bottle and pulls strong on it.

“I’m a good boy, I really am,” he says as the bottle comes down. “I just ain’t a good leash dog. You can’t keep me from sniffin’ ass, starting fights, running in front of cars, chasing pussy…”

“We get it, Rat.” Said the poet as rat stops his rant and turns to face west, on his own accord of course and not at the suggestion of anyone, especially not the poet with his sentimental soul, his soft eyes and tired language (aren’t we all not just a little sick of these words, all this talking); in fact, Rat acted as if the poet hadn’t spoken at all. It was as if he hadn’t, actually, for no one had really heard him.

“The spilled spirits of angels, don’t it look like?” Said Rat in his own way, drinking his own spirits and referring to the sunset. He liked the image of angels in salutation around giant bottles of lush colored drink in the sky, knocking over their glasses with their gestures and their thirst, making such a loud, beautiful mess. As the day grows old, angels grow careless, flipping tables and menacing the clouds, forcing them into chariot shapes to be driven with reckless abound. The angels of his mind would sit, arms around one another in the wake of the storms they themselves created, swaying with the wind and singing drunkenly at the fading darkness.

Though we can be clear, Rat was no angel. He was simply a man who’d learned to fly.

He bent forward from his recline to a small tin of pipe tobacco he’d stolen from his father. The tobacco had spilled onto the table hours ago and the mound of brown shavings had been getting smaller but spread more all over the place as the night wore on. He did not have a pipe, but instead rolled the sharp shavings into sloppy cigars that he seemed never to be without.

A couple things about pipe tobacco:

It’s expensive.

It packs dense and lasts long and if you don’t have many outside expenses, you can succeed in killing yourself long before going broke; the smell of caramelized ashes coating your insides. It is a harsh, black and white affair. There are many ways to think of these particular characteristics of pipe tobacco, but Rat didn’t think much of them. He just pinched some of his desire and sprinkled it onto his latter years of decline and coughing, heart disease, cancer. He licked his fingers and took big breaths as the brown veins of the tobacco grew wet, staining his teeth and the tightly wound paper. It all added up to a sweet release as he pulled straight into his lungs. The boy made a strange love with the smoke (it takes someone with serious holes to fill to smoke pipe tobacco like that).

There wasn’t much hope for him, anyway. He already had tattoos on his face. But he could charm like the poet would never be able to in a moment with the poet’s weak eyes, his tired language. The poet new this, and would at times go green for it, being a slave to clarity without ever quite being clear. The girl was afraid of charm like Rat’s, or at least she didn’t understand it and couldn’t bring herself to trust it (she wanted to trust it).

It did not much matter to Rat. He was probably going to die soon. Maybe tomorrow. There was just no telling. This can give a man little care.)

“Well,” said the girl,  “Have you?”

“Have I what, Sweetie?”

She sighed and no one noticed the tragedy (except for me).

“Nevermind…”

The poet cleared his throat taking in wind as if to make important use of it. “Ahem. She said: Have you ever had things that you wanted to say.” with careful precision he said it; the way Alex Trebek might put forth an answer or a juror might extend a verdict. He did not like being the formal one, but knew no other way to ensure he would be understood. Not being understood might be worse than death, the poet thought. Though he couldn’t be sure. He hadn’t yet died.

Never forgetting a good question, he took out a small tattered notebook from his back pocket to write it down with his sloppy left hand. It was the kind of question a poet loves at first, and then quickly envies (though they at times look alike). The question seemed so perfect in fact, almost an answer in itself, that the poet thought for a moment he’d fallen in love with the girl (the moment would pass).

“Mmmm…” He said, long and deep  (deep down a lonely little boy, sweating and trying too hard). He made this sound to better soak in the moment (it was very important that people could tell he was soaking in the moment):

She wore a shirt, a gift from an older brother. The tattered lime green had faded nametags:“I am curious” on the front and “I will listen” on the back. In that moment, the darkness creeping up and down her figure, she looked as though she tasted of root beer milk and oatmeal cookies. If you’ve never had root beer milk, or oatmeal cookies for that matter, I will tell you now…

They are delicious.

But the poet knew not how to tell her his feelings. He just smoked his cigarettes. What he did know how to do was smile at her. He knew how to look at her even after she stopped talking, when she thought no one was looking but her, he was looking as well. Well into the realm of impolite, he looked, past what was appropriate, not bothered with social acceptability; he was clueless, straddling the thin line between affection, and, well…

“Could you stop looking at me like that, please?” she asked, sweet as can be.

It was harmless, anyway. He thought he was in love. We do such silly things when we think we’re in love.

“You don’t like people looking at you?”

“Never did me much good.”

“Alright then. Where would you like me to look?”

“Well, I don’t know. Look at my feet. I have nice feet.” She said, kicking her legs straight out like a child to admire her toes as they wiggled in their green polish.

The poet looked at the girls feet.

“I don’t think I like it as much.”

”Fine.” The girl said.

“Look wherever you’d like.”

He brought his attention back to the girl’s face and she shifted her gaze to the ground to draw a flower in the ash with her pointed big toe. The poet never took his eyes off her.

“Well…” The girl said after some time. “Have you?”

“Doesn’t everybody?”

“Well, wait a second, don’t you know some people who just say things? I know tons of people who do.”

The poet thought for a moment.

“What about you?” he said.

“Oh that’s enough talk about it I think. I’m trying to ignore it, anyway.”

“Working out?”

“It’s working out fine.”

(There was space to breathe as they spoke to one another.)

“Maybe you should try. See what it feels like.” Said the poet.

“I know what it would feel like.”

It would be wonderful, the girl thought but did not speak it.

It was just him and her. To the poet, Rat wasn’t even there. Which was all the same to Rat. He was busy breaking branches off the trees in the front yard.  He said he was collecting firewood and had a point, winters can be damn cold in the Midwest, though collecting firewood in July seemed to anyone watching, well…

Lucky for Rat, no one was.

“So you’re afraid of not getting it right?”

“It’s not about that.“ she said, her eyes cloaked in a blanket of silk light and lashes.

“I don’t know how to say it…”

And then she said it:

“I’m not in control. I don’t have the key. And the things I have to say… they’re all locked up. And there’s nothing worse then feeling something and having it all locked up like that.”

 “Well if your worried about it I’ve got a Slim Jim. Fix you up no problem.”

There was a moment for everyone to try and make sense of Rats comment. Jumping from his perch in the tree, Rat brings a branch down with a wicked crack landing on his back, he lays there breathing heavily.

“…Good for you, Rat.”

“Oh yeah, Rat, you going to fix me then with your meat stick?”

Rat looked at the girl, blinking like a liar or someone who’s really, quite confused. Then laughter, big loud guffawing breathes crashing about the place. Closing his eyes now and throwing his head back.

“Shit lady, a Slim Jim’s just a crow bar for getting into cars. I thought you said you lost your keys?”

“Yeah Rat, I lost my keys.”

“Well we’re going to fix you right up. Give me fifteen minutes, I’ll pop that lock quicker then you can say ‘Cut Mustard!’”

“Rat, you don’t have t—“

But he was gone. He wouldn’t be back. That short-term memory makes a man easily distracted.

 

To the matter at hand:

 

The poet had so much he wanted the girl to know. He would have laid down right there next to her, memorizing the curves of her incarnation, trying to find his god in her everything. He would have held her tight, told her all the things she needed to hear, climbing in through the cage bars of her body (for he did not have the key) joining her to watch the stars nod across the sky. The dew on his heels had muddied the dust and he just felt tired of dragging it everywhere, all his past caking his soles, he just wanted to go inside. He was weary and just wanted to lie down (everyone should just lie down now).

And maybe they do. Sleeping bags and sweetpants and the poet’s heart balancing like a glass of water on the girls backbone in the ashes on the floor, no longer watching the stars but instead wrapping themselves in the night sky they shared, trading breathes ever so softly into each others lungs. He kisses her shoulder (trying hard not to be noticed), I’m sure, lying there thinking how lucky he was to be blessed with these moments, and thinking then of all his poetry. He knew what he could give to the girl. They could feel safe (he knew it). They could understand each other (he knew this too). And maybe they do (for nobody “knows” quite like the poets do. They do it with a vengeance).

Then again…

More likely they don’t. Yes, I do indeed recall it quite differently.

Instead, there was just miles of silence between them as the poet looked down at the girl’s feet and could find nothing to say.

(I am the poet and I saw it all).

 

 

Proof of Rock

I feel dirty with the sweat of nightmares.

Sticky and scared but no longer wet as day breaks under this weight

A shell shocked survivor crawling from the flood.

Go up, Wake up,

Something echoes sour, sweet,

Stick to me

Its how I know you’re real.

 

My lids struggle with their impulsive tasks

Slaves to their nature.

Dragging themselves up, then down, then up, then down.

Helpless bastards (though not entirely hopeless).

 

There are no mistakes,

only left right or straight.

 

Well good. Great. Thanks. Just let that sink, they’ll say.

So simple, so easy, jumps off the page and into the mind. It even rhymes. Oh poetry.

But why then am I still shaking, you bastard.

still blinking like a liar, or someone quite confused

Trying to wake, awake and up.

 

Each crack of lightning, thunder.

 

This compulsive motion

Clinical: insane in its repetition

Always with such hope, always that the outcome will be different this time,

(Always each crack of lightning, thunder)

 

Drowning mirrors

 

my mind is this way:

Each time I open,

All I do is drown.

(As all things, opened, must drown)

 

Watching the water swell

I do not take the deep breath belonging to me.

Don’t ask me why, i have nothing to say if you do not know already.

 

Treading concrete,

attempting to abandon gravity and flow up the mountain;

Wake up, wake up,

 

Hold me by my hair or I will drown us both.

 

Maybe I should get an iPhone.

Maybe I should write Emily another letter,

Maybe I should stop saying ‘maybe’.

Maybe i should stop saying ‘should’.

Maybe I don’t have much else to say.

 

And if they tire of Proofrock, they will soon tire of me,

 

I call this a “wha wha” poem.

 

Maybe a cigarette would calm me down.

Maybe it wouldn’t.

 

It certainly shouldn’t.

The Perfect Life

He hugged his sister in the womb and knew he was not alone.

 

She, who was more eager to see what, if anything, was making so much goddamn noise out there, slipped from his weightless embrace and into her beginning, leaving the boy to his thoughts. The boy did not fight this. He, who had so much to think about, sucked his thumb in the warm darkness of the womb discovering the pleasure of his own company (he would not forget this). Being this close to god had its benefits, too, and he had no interest in leaving.

 

“They’re going to have to come in here and get me, those crazy bastards. I see what’s going on out there, don’t think that I don’t see.” He said, to no one in particular (though it felt good to say anyway).

 

I’ll address the reader now, if you don’t mind:

 

You recall the phrase: “I’ve got nothing but time”?

 

Of course you do.

 

The boy had everything but time, didn’t he? He was not yet sick with that particular affliction.

 

Weak arms, though, he had in spades. Big nose, big ears; a strangely proportioned child in the beginning; he was all eyes and unable to support his own head for far longer than was really reasonable or, to speak to closed-door sentiments, acceptable (his parents would worry, the neighbors would gossip, grow cruelly impatient, and he would challenge what was acceptable till his passing). The weight of his reality was heavy, unsteady, and often hard to control. He would learn to carry it but it would take time.

 

The boy did not worry about acceptability or these particular expectations; he had no space inside him for such things. By this time he had learned the correct questions, found answers unattractive and did not ask for them.

 

He knew (the boy was brilliant in this way, and only nine months since his conception, it was just remarkable) that there was going to be a lot of shit to deal with out there. His heart would beat unabashedly with the wild abandon of a child and with the ferocity of an animal with teeth. His mind would pulse and storm at once with a clouded confusion and a lightening-colored clarity (he would dance with Acceptance in the warm rain of this storm on the days he did not fear it), and really, quite tragically he’d suffer too, with the things he did not understand about the darker shades of his humanity (and yours too). His heart would devour, desire, and despair until the day it didn’t, his stomach trying only to keep up the ruthless intake of it all.

 

It would be such a wild, beautiful thing, but ultimately an exhausting experience he just assume put off for some time.  He liked the silence.

 

The birth was painful, as births tend to be.

 

The boy would not forget that. Just as well, he would have reminders of it throughout his life that he would treasure like the places inside him that most resembled god (somewhere inside of you too), knowing that pain was an important thing to feel in this perfect life. He wouldn’t always understand its purpose, but he felt that purpose in his bones and did not fear The Artist. The art never does.

 

As the boy grew he found that he quite liked it out in the air. His lungs had grown strong and took in the wind willingly. He breathed often now and was finally able to keep his head up. Being not so easily shaken since his time in the womb, the boy had learned what he could bare (was constantly learning this).  He knew where his feet were and which way north was, always testing what he could find, whom he could meet, where they could go, and what he could know about them. He worshiped women and pulled the truth out of men as the sun laid its sweet layer down, he knew its kiss and was grateful for it.  Love. It was everywhere. The boy saw it, felt it, breathed it in, let it go, kissed, and on those rare and magic moments when he was kissed in return with the same timbre and tone, music was made in his veins.

                                                                            “Found.” He would say (that was all).

 

This may make him sound cool or calm, he was neither of these things: If anything he was filled with fire. Anguish rolled and folded in the wide-open spaces of his abundance. His questions made him hungry. You could often find him eating himself, biting his fingernails like something was hidden beneath them, like something must be freed (an angel buried in an avalanche, he often envisioned. He was the only one with a shovel, it seemed). He was not smooth, often did not fit, he pushed like a river might abandon gravity and flow up the mountain, had anger to speak of (that was really just sadness), his condition made him tough to know (but it also made him worth knowing). It should be said, though, he felt these things consciously and did not fight them, for they made him who he was. He was not a slave to such feelings, he knew where they came from and worshiped that place.

 

He liked jumping into cold water too and spoke in many languages when he did it:

 

“Be…”, he would say, as he tried not to think of how cold it would be, he knew, it was going to be so damn cold.

 

Now he was running towards the water, his feet pounding the earth, shouting in there own rhythmic tongue:

“Here!” as he jumped.

Then, when he was alone, in the dark, in the cold, in that rush, that rub, that rough water hug, he’d whisper so quietly to himself with his eyes so tightly shut feeling every inch of him awaken.

Now.”

And he smiled then,

His cells singing  (or maybe they were screaming. It was always unclear; no one could be sure).

 

This is where he wanted to be, always and everywhere….

 

 

Then he died.

 

One day, he was here (he always was, everywhere) and it happened, as it was always going to happen, like it will happen to you. What could he have done? There was nothing he could have done. It happened, there is no doubt about it, no way to have avoided or prevented it, none whatsoever, it happened (as it will happen to you). Nothing is more certain.

 

(Woah.)

 

Though, it doesn’t seem important to the poet as to how or as to why

Only that in that moment…

He walked into it.

 

He cried, too, for he had been filled full (no more and no less) in this life. He had known what he had known (and had never presumed to know more), had said what he had said (and had meant every word), had done what he had done (and had done all he could), had felt what he had felt (and had not been afraid), he cried for all the magic he’d seen, all the love that he’d felt, he cried, giving it all up to the warm darkness he remembered. It was tragic. It really was. You would have cried too (I promise you), but he knew in the places he most resembled god (somewhere inside of you too) that things had been as they were meant to be. He was thankful to have played, was grateful to have been granted such a gift (he was tired now), was not afraid; he had opened his heart to all things in this life, he would open his heart to this.

 

 

The Mother

The mother had ambition, but had not yet learned to juggle.

She was young, high, and full of her own promises: she would change the world, she would live well and often, and she would raise a child worthy of this earth (these were her promises). She would grow his consciousness like springtime, the way the desert grows color when the sky opens its arms; she would open her arms. She would be his sky. She would raise a paintbrush.

She knew: The baby boy would worship women and pull the truth out of men, he would work hard, love fiercely, aspire to be his father and wind up something so much more. She knew he would, because she was going to teach him.

You see: she worked hard for a living.

One of those nine to five jobs you never come home from. She cooked dinner over her laptop as she breastfed, and then the phone would ring. She was never taught how to juggle, but the young are natural jugglers, they are inclined to throw up more than they can catch. She would challenge her human potential, she was not a human, she was a goddess. A caretaker for all things she threw into the air; for anything on the ground she walked by (her own mother had taught her this, and taught her well).

She was the kind of women who would bring homeless men chocolate on Valentines Day, coffee in the cold, and sandwiches in the summertime. She was a guide, she was a compass, she was the wind and she was the rock. and the baby boy knew how lucky he was to be at home in her bosom for he never woke in tears, never at night, in the dark, never in the cold, because he carried her care in his dreams, it was so plain to see, the boy was destined for beautiful dreams.

But she had never been taught how to juggle, and frequently dropped things: the laundry, stacks of paper, spoons and forks (the things you hold in your hands), the eggs, and most frequently, the phone.

Twice into the toilet.

Though, she never punished herself for it. She never thought to hate her shortcomings, never dwelled in dark places where the things we cannot control go to sulk and smoke cigarettes with the beggars and theives, not at night, in the cold, for she knew somewhere, this, she knew served a purpose. She did not always understand it, but she felt this Purpose in her bones and did not fear The Artist. The art never does. She didn’t fret over cracks in the wall and loved her husband for how much he tried.

The Husband tried with the wild abandon of a child and with the ferocity of an animal with teeth. She loved him for the way he failed; he was always the last to know it. He believed in better and never looked back. She knew they would not be rich, would not be wealthy (as we have come to know it), that the mother would cry sometimes, would be afraid, would think,

What do I do now?

But she knew in the places she most resembled god (somewhere inside of you too) that these were important things to feel. That these feelings would carve the deep throbbing marble she was, chip away at the stone inside her and someday something beautiful (she knew if not something tragic) would be there.

As long as she had her baby boy to hold, as long as her future was but bathing in between her hands, she did not fear The Artist. The art never does.

Though the young woman had never been taught how to juggle; the mother had ambition, she wanted it all, and one day while cooking dinner over her laptop as she breastfed,

                                                           The phone rang.

Now and Always

The room mocked her, really.

It had never been pretty, as he had kept it, the room, I mean.

It had never been treated with any kind of polish or prime, the room was subject to disregard. The past painted on the floor, clutter, the walls dripped with it, there was never a place to sit. The boy was a cloud, clear only between the hours of 2 and 4 am when smoke made mirrors magic and the world seemed beautiful again. The room was scarred, blackened and blued by the mind manifesto of this exploding star.

It had never been pretty.

But it couldn’t be said that the room had not been charming at times, at least for some.

It had a stank, mind you. You could almost taste it. It stuck in the back of your throat and sometimes made it hard to breathe. I mean sometimes you just wanted to vomit, it was so bad, this poor kid, to smell the way he smelled, sometimes, it must have been, just,

Awful.

But it could not be said that the rooms smell did not shout something of life,

did not whisper sweet and sour of love,

did not tug at your breathe with an eagerness (she remembered so many times having the wind pulled out of her in that room).

And of course, as stories of this nature go, it could not be said the smell did not arouse a sense of chaotic despair. Anguish rolling and folding in the wide open spaces of abundance, a wandering in the dark, a search for order and reason and meaning; abandoned. Left to rot like a fallen tree, like a heap of trash, like a slamming door, like the wind had gone, like giving in after giving up so much.

I assure you, the room did smell of that.

Only absence echos in her mind. She could no longer see him

But that was all the same for

It had never been easy with him.

Had at times been soft, but, god, so often was it so damn hard. It had never been easy.

But it could not be said that he did not have a way with you.

That there was not a something inside of him that felt the beginnings and the endings of things. That he rarely talked but daily weighed his worth in this world, and was heavy, so heavy, he carried so much (it would ultimately break him) this can certainly be said. He thought like a blizzard in spring (and this was his curse), but felt like dusk on a day worth remembering (this was his blessing, our blessing), and still he would be lost. He loved first and last and in his own order,

In his own time and way

Always

You couldn’t say that he didn’t fall short with a vengeance. That for all his lasts and loss and lust and all that he had lost, you couldn’t say he did not know which way north was.

It could not be said, could it?

He saw the sky as it was.

On the door to his room, there hangs a flag.

Now, the flag is missing stars.

It is checkered with the lost and found of a tired symbols bloody past (the woman had seen him in that room, by the way).

The flag hung, as if clinging with a losing effort to the door from its hinges, abandoned (as it is suited to be).

You could hear (smell and feel) the wind rolling and folding, banging its pots and pans and spicing up the sky with the salt and pepper of the more careless gods, the gods who let the pasta boil over, the gods with loose pockets, empty pockets. It was the stinging spit of the gods who couldn’t fly, the gods with cheating wives, the gods without, this was a night for them, for him, this was a night worth remembering.

You could hear (smell and feel) all of this from where the woman stood outside the door, it could not be said otherwise.

Since the room had been vacated (and it was so suddenly and breathlessly and finally vacated), the women had been inexplicably struck, in her gut, where her soul went to sulk and smoke cigarettes with the beggars and thieves living inside her (and the ones living inside you), she was so strongly and strangely struck (in her gut)

with the urge to open all the windows in the house.

And so she did.

This was big.

She still felt she had things to do, questions to ask the world outside like:

How could he not know love? she loved him.  And worse, if he did know love, how could it not be worth living for? And: If it wasn’t worth living for, what is? And if his answer was really nothing (this boy, who knew everything), and she loved him, what could she do? Where could her broken, buried, lost and lonely love go?

It could certainly be said that a storm was building outside the opened windows of the house. It had been 3 weeks of emptiness inside the house now (and inside the woman too; no matter how she tried to let everything in, nothing came after what he did). A storm was pulsing like so many arteries inside of her. It was a miracle (as yours are too), this heart, this body, to beat that long, day after day, fall after fall, to endure what it must, the cutting and bruising nature of words and rocks and silence, to break and crack like so many storms so many times (especially for some reason always in spring)

Like the sun shown nowhere at this moment.

I can assure you that this was all there was.

This deafening silence. (not without sound, but without noise. I beg you, what I mean is this: nothing can be heard over a storm. The birds and the bugs and any unspent humility all go hush in these moments, for nothing tries to out-speak a storm when she’s trying to say something, you’d be foolish in trying).

This was the kind of storm to drown egos in.

It could certainly be said that the storm existed both inside as well as outside the house making it nearly impossible to know where the storm found its origin. Where its eye was.

I say ‘nearly’ only because I know it to be true,

I know, with certainty.

It was the women who owned the eye.

She kept it in her chest, resting on her riverbed, she left it in the place you feel thunder and lightning when a storm shakes the ground and the blowing and the rolling and the falling and the shocking nature of any ordinary storm was employed here; outside the house, which held the women, that stood like stone outside the door, that guarded the room that had never been pretty.

And the storm began to sweat. To breathe and sweat and cry like a strong man cries (the boy was never strong like a man) and laugh like a strong man laughs (he laughed like a child).

Water fell now, it can certainly be said.

The women waited wearing no signs (she was also, at this very moment, swelling in places she wouldn’t have been able to describe or point to). She asked no questions, knowing only in the places she most resembled god (somewhere inside of you, too), that to know the questions was to know the answers and she had no more questions for anyone.

This seemed to give her nothing to say or do.

So she didn’t.

She ate her nothingness soft and desperate, like what light and love life had left was drowning bitterly (if not beautifully), in her loss, in that room. And as the rain began to fall, she began to weep. The house began to fill. And she knew with certainty that she would drown, she would so quietly drown, as all things that have holes must drown when put to water.

(she wouldn’t *)

This storm was typical. It could not be said that it was extraordinary, storms have occurred in this nature since the beginning of time. Everywhere the wind blows, every time the gods wake up in a roar there is a women with the eye of the storm hidden beneath her chest in the place you feel thunder when a storm shakes the ground.

And the woman went the only place she could have, the only place that would take her at that moment ( she knew he would, he always would). And so she ran to him, she opened the door (though the boy had been dead for weeks) and the storm bubbled over, became super, she stepped through it, and the things that happened at that moment, you wonder?

It births galaxies.

It gives way to Now and Always

It is love and death and dirt and devil and what stinks and what makes you free, and what makes you cry,

and what you can bare,

and having someone to witness this.

All of this.

And care.

And feel that something is gone now that hes not here,

now that shes not with me.

And the woman felt him there, in all of his stank, in all of this storm, all of this wishing and wanting and remembering the past rushing up and down and through her, all that he was and all that he could have been, and them, and all that they could have seen, things were now flying, she was now flying and this…

This is about Now (and here, and him, and her) and Always

And there she was, And it was so.