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Monthly Archives: May 2011

It’s been hard to write lately. Bit of a drought. Sitting in the car listening to an audiobook, pondering an impossibly blue sky.

It’s been twenty years exactly since my last cross-country drive. Phoenix to Peterborough in just under three days. Me in a little white Corolla getting knocked around by passing semis, seeing the snow-capped mountains up north, Meteor Crater (up close it’s no different from any other great hole in the ground), the rounded contours of New Mexico’s sandstone cliffs, Texas Texas Texas.

Oklahoma smelled like cowshit from the Texas border to Missouri. This was all in the days before GPS and Google Maps. I had a AAA triptych, as it was called, and less than $300 to my name–and that was borrowed from Mom to make the trip home.

Home. I spent half my life to that point in New Hampshire, and it never felt like home. I had idealized Phoenix as my long-lost belonging place. Then I moved back there. Like most places made of “developments,” carved out of the earth and pre-washed with strip-mall bonhomie to pretend it was there all along and not simply set up to exchange cash for the fiction we call existence (fuck you, I’m on a roll here), Phoenix is a soulless city. It’s all too new, and too obvious in its pretense of having an identity. Tucson has more soul– more character. Or maybe it’s that the street names don’t stay consistent. It was cobbled together like Boston and New York. Not a rigid plan like Phoenix.

Anyway, it was not home. Neither was Peterborough. Or Tucson. Or maybe they all are, since they each feel like putting on a well-worn pair of sneakers, or an old jacket.

Home like love and self is just an illusion. A state of mind, just like everything else.

I do miss that ride though. Twenty years on, riding into uncertain certainty, starting again, nothing but the endless road ahead. I do miss that ride.

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(This has been hanging around my computer and Zoho Writer for a while, I figure I’d put it out here. If I assemble another book, this will probably fall into it. Let me know what you think please. Love to you all.)

I’m not sure exactly when it was I’d died. Could’ve been any of a half-dozen times. Three I can think of offhand, all attempts to OD. I had a rough few years. What can I tell you?

I always wondered what would happen when I finally kicked. Tunnel, light, heavenly hosts, all that bullshit I think not. The pineal gland in the brain puts out this drug called DMT. Causes shaman spirit-guide Carlos Castaneda kind of trips, so they say. Anyway, a lot of the stories you hear from the Jesustards who claim to have “come back” all read like a dose of this DMT the body just dumps into the bloodstream when the end comes. Too bad their minds were too hidebound to really enjoy the ride eh?

I will tell you exactly what happens when you die. You ready for this? No bullshit.

This morning I woke up before the alarm. Happens. Anyway, it was out of a dead sleep, which starts to make more sense when you think about it.

It was a dreamless sleep, which by itself is kind of odd. The night before, my mind was boiling over with thoughts, emotions, patterns, so many things going on in my life, what with work and the drab bunch of philistines pulling a paycheck alongside me, the sad fact I haven’t had a hand down my pants that wasn’t my own in six months–and don’t think my willie hasn’t noticed. The one thing worse than whiskey dick or coke dick is bored-of-jacking-off dick.

All these thoughts and notions crashing like waves against the craggy rocks, making my attempt to sleep like Scylla and Charybdis. Breathe in, breathe out…in…out…

Pow. Here I am, staring at the ceiling. It’s light out. It’s not Saturday.

I am awake. My head is not foggy, my body is not tired like an overflexed muscle. So I slept. I think.

Usually there is a dream or the remnant of a dream. Some kind of memento from Morpheus of his visit. Even if it’s of the brain assembling the mind again from the porridge. Nope. Nothing. Just me feeling a bit disjointed. Like falling asleep in your clothes and stumbling around the next morning, only I sleep in the buff. Steady ladies, I know it’s a heck of a vision.

So I get up and walk through the apartment, seeing what was what. Sure, it was my place. No one else would have a Kandinsky print in my age group. These idiots couldn’t spell Kandinsky even if they googled a picture of it with their phone camera.

Kitchen still stunk of biomatter, which happens when the dishes sit in rank water for a week. I’ve been busy, alright? A cigarette stubbed out in a shot glass. Hmmm. I haven’t smoked in eons, not since the last time I–

Oh. That.

A flash. Not an image, more an emotion. Then the pictures come. Handful of pills, a whisky chaser, another whisky chaser. And as much heroin as I could stuff up my nose.

It’s a weird sensation. Snort, snort, tilt the head up like you’re in some tacky ’80s nightmare, only instead of the slow rush like coke gives you, heart making a fist in your chest, it’s a slow falling sensation instead. Falling into cotton candy only instead of sweetness in the mouth, it’s a blurry bliss. And instead of that icy taste down the back of your nose, it’s, well, a taste kinda like tar smells. Or the packet from mushroom ramen soup.

I wander back up the hall to the bathroom. I scored the pills from this kid at the bar the night before and this girl helped me get the heroin from these two white guys in a brown Thunderbird. She was cool about it, I set her up and didn’t even ask her for a blowjob so she scored a handful of little baggies of powder for me too. I told her she could stay the night.

But, it appears she had the bad taste to die in my bathroom, the needle still in her arm. She’s motionless in the semi-dark room, her legs akimbo showing off some stubble and a small yellow pool.

I am not surprised though. We fucked the night before. That’s come back, how ’bout that? She smiled at me really sweet, said I was a nice guy, cupping my face in her hands. “This was better than I thought it would be,” she said as she left the room naked and shapely. She was maybe nineteen. Her face now shows a hint of that smile though her lips are blanched.

Why am I not surprised about this? Why am I not pissing myself as well, only with terror at the dead teen hooker in my bathroom?

The same reason I didn’t freak out at what I found laying in my bed. The same reason I wasn’t surprised at who I met in the hall outside my apartment naked as she was the night before.

The same reason I am standing at the front of this building now, still fishbelly naked. No one even giving a second glance except for all the other wandering nudists oblivious to the cold but not to my slowly dawning awareness at what the end really is. They all shake their heads, young and old as they too wander and stand and watch the cars and the world go by.

This is what happens when you die.

I’ll be seeing you.

I’m hard to kill
I know, I’ve tried
Once, twice,
Five times or so,
Not in a row though.

Is it the committment I lack?
Or have I not the weapons to attack
The silly starry-eyed hope
Glowing dully in my core?

This is not me being morose,
Nor a piteous wail to be held close.
This is me trying to decide
Why the end should be suicide
On the installment plan?
Living the lie each new sunrise
With a cliffhanger end each bedtime night.