She hides behind the hundreds of miles of cables between them. Not in the closet though. Too many skeletons there. But from behind all the cables it is somewhat easier for her to say goodbye.
As cliched as it sounds, it’s not you, it’s me, she says.
Just like this stray cat outside my home, he thinks, one day she is all like pet me and feed me and I will always be yours and the next day she is nowhere to be seen except for a pungent reminder hastily covered in the front yard while she has gone whoring herself on some other street and you are left to wonder what it was all about.
After a long silence she says, say something.
I am going to watch Kubrick tonight, he finally says.
Keep the rewind button warm, she says almost automatically, something he used to tell her for her wont of constantly rewinding to re-watch scenes.
Maybe I will. Just so you know, only reason to watch is because I could use a little less drama in my life right now, he says.
Sorry, she says.
Could be worse. I could be watching Wes Craven, he says.
A sigh from the other end. I just want you to know that …
Gotta go, he interrupts her all of a sudden and just before disconnecting the line he says, I think I hear a cat outside and I am pretty sure she needs me.
I have to grade the pain on a scale of 1 to 10
I want to say maybe 6
To me everything feels like a 10
But 10 is probably a dangerous grade
One from which you are not meant to survive.
If you had not fought with me this morning
I would be home now
Instead of walking out angry
Ankle twisting on the treacherous curb
I’d be home instead of here thinking of a number.
I debate buying you a gift on my way back
Maybe a chic scarf
But would that be smart?
The message I’d be sending to you
Fight with me and I’ll gift you a nice present.
A nurse wraps a brace around my ankle
I picture a scarf
Around her delicate neck
And in my twisted imagination
You are jealous, at least a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10.
My year old nephew eats everything except food. The only way to get him to eat food is probably to scatter it on the floor like dirt.
He’s eating the petals of my orchid! I complain to my sister
Just keep it out of reach, she replies
The worst part is my dog wants to learn from the kid. She now wants to lick scented candles. I tried to find a bright side to it and immediately googled if the soy wax in my candles could be a source of protein, which she is deficient of. No such luck.
My sister subscribes to laissez faire parenting. Remember how mom used to scare us into submission? That was her mantra whenever I told her she should discipline her son.
If you don’t drink your milk then a monster will come to drink it. And you don’t want a monster coming home, do you? our mother would say.
Scared, I would shake my head and drink, worried all night what if the monster still came for the milk that was now in my stomach.
At least our mother didn’t let my sister experiment on me or I would have certainly grown up on a steady diet of bugs. Undoubtedly a good source of protein, that.
Every time she cooks I examine the food carefully, pretending to check the contents.
One time, she says exasperated to the table, One time a beetle crawled into his cereal under my watch. And somehow I become a witch who feeds bugs!
Nah. You are still a sweetheart. But can you please look after your son? He’s chewing through my Wodehouse collection.
I – Pebbles
Splash as I drop them into a still lake
The ripples flow outward in beautiful waves
Dance as I string them together
The smiles spreads across your face in beautiful arcs
Like the ripples die so does the magic of the words
Luckily I enjoy dropping more pebbles into the lake
II – The comet
She is here
Lighting up the night sky
She won’t be back again
Not in my lifetime
But I am glad
At least I get tonight
To spend with her
III – Rye
My throat is parched and lips are dry
Sure, beer, wine, vodka or rum
Can quench my thirst
But only bourbon can satisfy
Are you repelled? Don’t avert your eyes.
Do you see the discoloration? Like bruises on roughly handled fruit. Like mold on peeling wall. A lack of splendor. Well past the sell-by date.
Come closer. Inspect me.
Do you see the infestation? Like maggots on a rotting corpse. Like termites on dilapidated wood. Constantly gnawed at. Constantly being less whole.
Look closer still. At what is inside.
Do you see the attrition? Like mountains eroded by rivers. Like iron corroded by rust. The crevices run deep. Furrowing all the way to the heart.
The morbidity of it all. Succumbing to the only true Arbiters. What? Is that blasphemous?
There is one significant difference. You do notice it, don’t you? The impermanence of the damage? Apparently it all can be healed. And the scars will barely show! If only you could accept and not recoil in revulsion.
Her name is Avaricia.
You have heard about her numerous times.
Although you openly show your contempt for her shamelessly seductive ways there have been times when you have secretly craved her. For she appears to be beautiful in your visions.
But in truth she is ugly. Underneath her mascara and her concealer and her foundation, her skin is wrinkled. Underneath her designer dresses she has torn and dirty undergarments. She is fat and bloated.
Her leather purse bulges with her life’s debris, junk that she will never need but can’t seem to part away. Maybe to compensate for her life that is empty.
Don’t pity her, she preys on weakness.
Avoid her. Judicio would.
The doctors hadn’t given up even though there was very little hope for the boy. Hope was not a word they were used to using. They were used to using words like blood loss and trauma and hematoma.
Had the boy’s little sister been there outside the ER she would not have recognized the screams from her mother. She would have barely recognized her mother’s face, contorted as it were by grief.
The little girl felt a bit guilty. After all it was her kite that got snagged on the power line. Downwind drag. Her brother gallantly volunteered to free it using several iron rods tied end to end. Little did he know about the physics of electricity and conductors.
Two years back, when she was just 3, her father had replaced their dead beagle with a pup beagle. Identical tan and white colors. Father told her Dash had gone to a better place and had now come back as a younger Dash.
Anything is true if you believe in it strongly enough, right? Damn the evidence. Water turns to wine. Dead come back to life. Amen.
There was a loud bang. The boy was thrown several yards from where he had stood with his contraption of rods. It was not the electricity that did him in, although that did leave his fingers burnt to a crisp. It was the rock on which he landed, leaving a concave imprint on his skull.
When her father tucked her in that night she asked him, Did Paul go to a better place? And will he now be back as baby Paul? There was hope in her voice, oblivious to the welling tears in her father’s eyes.
I suffer Every day
Wondering why I talk to
My demons, instead of You till I fall asleep
Leaving me Late at night
All alone to meditate To your thoughts and
Keep me up till dawn To wonder what if
Even though I quit You stayed for
The addiction Just a little while longer
I don’t have anything against this Manolo guy, so it is not personal. Hell, I wouldn’t even know about him if not for my girlfriend shopping for shoes. If I said ugly things about him it is not because of the fact that we wasted a better part of the afternoon shopping shoes either. I would have said the same things comfortably seated on my couch at home with a beer in hand. I mean, any way you slice it, spending a grand on a pair of shoes is ridiculous. All I said was any one who designs these shoes to be sold at that price, Manolo or whoever, is a shameless robber. OK, granted I used stronger language than that. But still, it’s just shoes, albeit super expensive ones.
I don’t know why this makes her mad. It’s not like she knows this Manolo guy either. But I know she is mad even before she says a word. I know she is mad even when she smiles while she says I should stop being jealous. I know she is mad because she looks at me between my eyes. All these little clues you subconsciously learn. If she looks at my ears I know she is lying.
Stop being jealous of his success, she says. Jealous? No. Honest. I would tell it to his face that what he is doing is daylight robbery. Not that he would care for what I have to say. But still, a man’s got to have integrity.
Apparently people can tell if shoes are the genuine thing or cheap imitation. And apparently if I can’t, then I either have no taste in shoes or need my eyes checked. Maybe because my frames are not Cartier, I joke. Not the funniest of jokes to laugh out loud like I do but still, not so crass as for her to call me an ass.
I am not sure why I am even in this store with her. More likely than not we will break up before the end of the month. She’s pretty and smart. Mostly. But still, she shops for shoes made by an unscrupulous robber.
The bright lights are coming back to focus. The yelling of the crowd is getting clearer. I feel hands pulling me back at the waist. I see I am punching someone. There’s blood all over. From his face for sure but also could be from my knuckles. I am not sure. I stop punching and let go of my opponent and he crumples to a heap on the floor. The crowd is cheering me or booing me. Depends on whom they put their money on I guess.
I turn away from the makeshift ring and don’t look back at the body on the floor. That was not me that did that. I was somewhere else. I was a dog, a bull terrier. Bred to fight. Full of rage. Snarling. Ready to tear everything in front of me to shreds. And if I failed to, if I was the one knocked out, my breeders would put me to rest for I would be useless to them.
At least that’s what I convinced myself this night.
Next time I might convince myself that my opponent insulted my family and threatened to kill me. Or maybe that he is a scumbag rapist that deserves justice. Doesn’t matter what. All that matters is I disengage myself from reality long enough to pummel a complete stranger to within a few blows short of death.
It is always a split second that makes the difference. My left jab connects with his jaw but he plows through it. He is fast. Before my right hook can connect and floor him his right elbow has swung over my left arm. I can hear the crunch before I feel anything. My nose is definitely broken and worse is to come. Both his arms are free and swinging. After a flurry of punches he takes a break to catch his breath and to admire the damage. To his shock and to the shock of those who are close enough to see my face I am smiling. If you can call it smiling. My lips are torn but definitely curled up.
The trick is to disengage from reality. And today I am a vehicle. Careening downhill, too fast and out of control. I am going to crash and burn but I am going to lay waste everything in front of me. I spit out blood, take a deep breath and charge.