Saturday, October 24, 2009


He just managed to miss his train. Not because he was late for it--actually he'd stood there as it scratched up and watched the doors open and hold...hold...hold. Then he'd watched them roll shut right before the train screeched away again. He'd missed it because he was confused. The sign on the window had read the place where he'd come from, but after it was too late, he realized that right underneath it the place he was going to was also listed. So now he knew--the top was your past; the bottom, your future. Depressing, but good to know.

Well, to be honest, he didn't know where he was going. The closest he got to it was deciding the direction. Today, it was south.

Another train came, and this time he got on it. The ride rattled and stayed warmly crowded. Six minutes and two stops into it, an elderly gentleman began strumming sweetly and singing in Spanish. The tune was reminiscent of a love tragedy set in ancient Mejico. MysteryGuy had seen the old man perform on this, the 1 train, before--but this time he wasn't carrying any cash or coin. Damn shame, too, because the song was lovely that evening. He couldn't look up when the old dude came tottering by with his hat held waist-high, after the subway patrons' scattered applause had faded. Next time I'll remember to carry cash, he silently promised the anonymous performer.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


With tight shoulders and a broken heart, Carrie sat staring at her blank computer screen, willing the words to write themselves. Outside the merciless window before her, the sun didn't shine as bright as it had yesterday. But secretly, Carrie knew she couldn't blame the sun for its dimness.

Sunny or not, she'd still give her right hand to be out there.

Her coffee tasted too sweet, even while the bitterness beneath the sugar was poorly disguised. Earlier, Carrie had tried drinking it black, like so many of her heroes were keen to do. The result was a scalded tongue, a sense of rejection, and this lingering bitter quality lent to everything else that went into her mouth, including her words. She supposed she should be glad, then, that there was no one here to talk to.

Admittedly, she wasn't mortified when she looked in the mirror. In fact, occasionally she even felt pleased. Nonetheless, walking through the halls at her little closed-in school never failed to leave her self-conscious. And seeing people she knew together, always huddled in small groups, always left her feeling lonely. And the terrible self-pity didn't ebb at all when she realized that she herself either systematically avoided, or else narrowly escaped, each of those groups during their formation several weeks ago.

Something about independence? Off-timing? An impulse to check everyone out before immediately attaching herself to whoever accidentally sat closest to her, during those first, befuddled days of courses? Whatever her reasoning at the time, now any such precautions appeared cowardly, as well as unforgivably arrogant to her loner's eyes. She told herself she needed to learn how to cling, at least a little, to complete strangers if she had any hope of befriending them. That's how it worked, in times of (love and) war.

Returning her ADD-childish mind to the task at hand, she once again cleared her head of pathos and stared blankly at the screen. This time, she readied her fingers in the proper ASDF JKL; positions, just in case inspiration suddenly needed a place to chill. Still waiting, when she glanced up at the window she saw that it was raining.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Work. Grudgingly I trudge off to work, muttering to myself, "Goddamn good for nothing work."

I take a short cut, halving the distance to four blocks, imagining fifty-nine ways to kill my boss.

My thoughts are interrupted by an incessant honking noise to which I plenty loudly reply, "Stop that godforsaken noise! I can walk in the goddamn street when I goddamn feel like it, you lousy bitch!" The rest of the trip, while anti-climactic, was accompanied by Bon Jovi singing "It's My Life" in my head, until I finally arrive at my grunge-metal pumping destination.

Looking up at the building that marks a low point in my life I think to myself, "Time to put on a happy face, time to pretend that life has meaning and that God actually wants a person with a broken soul." I went inside. The lighting was dim enough in the bar that if a person was drunk enough it wouldn't really matter how ugly another one was.

The next eight hours were quite uneventful. I served drinks and socialized like the normal person I am, goddamnit. I decided I would stay a little later so I grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniels and sat in a corner after my shift was over and forgot all my troubles. At 1 am I headed home, deciding that perhaps it might be best to take a taxi, if only because I was lazy from standing all night.

One taxi goes right freakin' by me and doesn't stop, so I decide to take matters into my own hands and jump in front of the next one up. It comes screeching to a halt and I got in, ignoring the profane-shouting of my sudden driver. When he quits I mutter to him where I wish to go and eventually we make small talk so as to resemble civilized people. We arrive at a place I loosely call home. I get out of the car while he waits for his payment. I kiss him on the cheek and tell him, "All I can offer is a kiss on the cheek in a crowd," then begin to walk away thinking awful good of myself. Apparently this currency doesn't satisfy the greedy man for he climbs out of the vehicle himself, yelling profanities at the universe once more.

I spin around beginning to seethe now, but just before the welcome confrontation Indie runs out and apologizes much too profusely for the likes of this scumbag, and then even pays the freakin' guy, just like many a silly time before. According to her thinking, being drunk makes me 'not in my right mind'. It's a shame people don't seem to understand how goddamn clever I am when shirking sobriety. Their loss.

I found myself standing in a vast desert with a big red sun shining in the background. Apparently I had been involved in a deep conversation with the cloaked man standing in front of me. That's not to say I actually remember what we were talking about, just that I was profoundly saddened and seeking comfort.

He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Don't be so worried, one of these days you'll learn how to die."

Dream ending, alarm clock screaming. I grabbed the alarm clock, pulled it out of its socket and decidedly threw it across the room. As necessary as this action was, I needed to stick to my routing. I ran to the bathroom moaning, "Oh god, I think I'm gonna die!"

After my venture of expelling last night's scanty dinner, Indie suddenly emerged through the doorway with coffee and Advil ready-at-hand. I stood up, brushed my teeth, pulled my hair back, and took the much needed mug from her. I tossed the pills back and gulped down the life-giving Irish coffee. I thanked her kindly and stumbled back in the direction of my bedroom. She was about to go to sleep and she asked, "Where are you going this time?" I replied, "To get dressed. Don't ask." Indie shrugged her shoulders and walked off while I threw on some clothes and left to go keep a promise.

Friday, May 15, 2009


"I'm really surprised to hear soul in here," a customer commented. With that, the guy behind the counter cranked the volume to its impressive limits, and when the song ended, shut off the music abruptly to announce in a loud voice, "I'd like to thank everybody for coming out to SOUL night, tonight and every Wednesday night at the ****! I'd also like to inform you all that this is the last SOUL night EVER! Thanks for joining us." Promptly, the next song began its blaring start from the speakers, and it was most definitely not soul.

Sitting in one of the intentionally eclectic rooms/art galleries of this old-house-turned-coffee-shop, a wide-eyed kid named Beth began to feel the shivering jolt of caffeine start-up its own song in her all-but-shot system. With the coffee's persuasive insistence, her mind formed the thought, "Maybe I should try calling first..." Immediately--or at least before she could think better of it--her cell was against the side of her face, attempting to summon a voice with the shriek of a drrrrring!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The sweet, empty sensations of "traveling" licked the insides of Carrie's thighs. Dissatisfied, but at least spent, she sleepily sucked on the moist tips of her fingers, pretending she tasted her far-gone lover there.

She moved through the days, dazed and sometimes manic with the magnificence of distraction, but most often as a distant witness to her own experiences. The shifting landscapes; the sensory overload of faces and sounds--unrecognizable to her in either expression or language; the summation of this absence of anything familiar, save her own occasional voice accompanied by startled look, returned by a glimpsed-at mirror...these were the things of her life just then. Profound, soul-bending, & ever more silent with every explanation.

As filled with newness as she always meant to be, still she fell asleep with an embodied lack of her love's memory: drifting off to the deserted rhythm of Beth's body breathing beneath her.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Indie felt queasy. She watched Beth and Mitch return walking through the alley across the street and she knew. They looked too far apart out there, and wore focus like masks that stared stiffly straight ahead. He had (finally) told her. So now what? Which choices would be hers? And what the fuck was she going to do?

Tracking their approach with her imagination more than her eyes, she sat behind the big lacquered pulpit of a counter with her face sunk into an unknown & oversized book. She anticipated the little silver-ring bell sounding only a few instant-beats before it actually did, and then waited until the very last straw of etiquette before raising her head slowly/reluctantly. The expression she thought she held in check blankly/frankly glowed her relief to see it was only one of them that entered--her one.

"Hey," she told him with an unexpected warm half-smile, come from force of a formerly good habit.

"Hey." His eyes wandered, distracted as was his own habit. Who was she to call it good or bad, now?

She stood up when he neared and he finally looked at her dead-on, seeming startled when he did so. Though she partly expected him to lean in and gently kiss her cheek--one of his dearest talents, (gentleness)--she knew she couldn't allow the gesture were it offered. But this time it wasn't.

She looked at him hard & soft(ly), as she always had. Hard as in closely, and determined to see whatever (was/) he held there; and soft with inexplicable affection, which afflicted her in his presence even now. Regardless of her efforts to neutralize/dilute the reaction/response with well-justified resentment, the latter just wouldn't stick, so far as she could tell. Not that it mattered--her mind was made up despite her self-traitorous body or soul (embodied soul?).

"Where'd she run off to?" Indie asked Mitch with light curiosity.

"She said she still had ten minutes of break time left--told me to tell you she'd be back in a bit." He looked slightly dazzled, or at a loss for words. "How've you been?," he questoned at last.

Indie had no idea what to do with him--her man, of ?? years, standing before her with his shoulders drawn up, knowing his betrayal of her, & knowing too that she knew, that he'd been playing a liar. Except he was just the same! He hated the part of her that refused to change, and yet she loved that part of him that just couldn't, regardless of every method he'd tried as instant remedy. She loved the timid/shy/sheepish blue that his eyes stayed (shaped) and showed; she loved his heavy, pointless heart, and his fruitless efforts to do some nameless SOMETHING that he could be proud of (at last); his fantastical standards for love, romance, & an ideal of life, even if these where the very things that doomed them (her) to failure (with/for him).

And so/thus/of course he hated that steel in her, could never condone its duplicity/unwillingness or disvaluing of sacrifice, which meant that simply by having decided so she would never again allow him to touch her face or hand, despite the fact of all her remaining love--for him, yes, but also for all the things that he couldn't live with, within himself.

So then, what? His face tilted down the incline of his three extra inches. She refrained from reaching up to stroke his chin, in careless-lover fashion. She glanced down instead, and watched/saw her hands do a brief drumming motion/movement against her thighs before looking up again. "Fine. How's goes it with you?" she asked non-committally.

"Okay. How's your day going?"

"Not bad," she shrugged off his lack of (sexual) tension and ridiculously irritating politeness.

They hadn't seen each other for four days, since he'd moved out of her/their apartment last week. They "weren't making a thing of it" however, which turned out to translate into "kept it a secret from their friends."

Well, most of their friends--she supposed Beth now knew. Of course, Beth was mostly more his friend anyway--working together nearly daily hadn't bridged up the gaping hole in communication that she and Beth had in common. Or more accurately, didn't have in common. They liked each other well enough, though. And who knew? After all, it suddenly looked like they had something more in common than they'd realized. Or rather, someone.

The scene short came its ending, & drizzle-stop ran the static that next fell.

Friday, April 17, 2009


We drove through the silence together, and out of it again when the beach came into view. The waves roared & licked the shore like a pride of lionesses.

"I feel like I'm starting all over again," she told me in a low voice. I felt like I was starting new; we felt the same then, but reacted to the feelings in different ways. "I can't seem to focus wholeheartedly on anything anymore."

"Maybe you don't need to now--maybe you're not supposed to," I told her with an undetectable edge of desperation to my words. I wished I could lend her my acceptance of the way things are--however they happen to be.

She pulled the lumbering beast of a vehicle over, killing the engine the moment the back wheels hit the gravel of the shoulder. The headlights extinguished themselves under her demanding hand even before we glided to a stop, and we immediately began to drown together, submerged in the wake of the heavy darkness dimming the cab.