Thursday, November 19, 2009

At the People Zoo

So many awkward bodies, each doing their thing. I'm the only watcher amongst all these interesting subjects. A fat and red-faced little bastard annoys his mother as time counts down and the older red-red-headed brother jitters, awaiting the possibility of a sweet escape. Another smiling boy, probably fourteen. Too happy to be anything be at least slightly retarded; he derives endless enjoyment from shaking up his ginger-ale and opening it up again and again over the garbage can until the bubbles have all been bubbled. He is invisible to his father, like I am to all these careless actors. Across from me at gate A1, I see a medium haired brunette who might be beautiful. It's been that up close everyone here is ugly, so I leave her blurry and perfect.

Reading, cell-phoning, French frying as I try to break down lives with little satisfaction. I'm jealous of a plain looking blonde girl/woman who is either meditating or dead. Motionless and serene like a rock that belongs just where it is, regardless of the river.

So many awkward bodies on display before me, each teaching me nothing as I try to form their back-stories. Self-prescribed pessimism extorted my imagination long ago. What's left is a set of squinting eyes stuck on record. A small child, also in gate A1 is looking right at me, amused at how I've been mouthing the words to the songs I've been listening to. He has chocolate ice-cream smeared across his face and sleeve. He is looking right at me. If he wanted to, he could probably pretend the soon-to-come immense stretched mountains of clouds were real instead of just weightless garnish to be quickly dismissed.  

Screen Grabs: How to Draw a Bunny

Sunday, November 15, 2009

An Outdated Experiment

I met up with my old friend Maureen and her friend Kathleen, who I'd met once almost exactly one year earlier. We were having a joint Capricorn birthday celebration, as we all happened to fall into that nonsense category. In an attempt to show up smooth, dry, and loose, I ate a fiver while waiting for the train at the Lindenhurst train station. I tried not to think about anything at all, knowing well that any deep thought might send me in the wrong direction. I smiled to smile and for a while it worked as I walked in casual circles. The platform was nearly desolate and I killed time by cutting my name into the brown plastic garbage bins with my box-cutter from work.

Inside the train I listened to the played-out new songs on my iPod and I tried to remember Kathleen. I let myself feel the darkness and listen to upbeat music. It was imperative that I prison the other me and not allow any tells. This was my chance. The other passengers gave me dirty looks for the overflow of music they could hear coming from my headphones and after a moment I decided that I didn't care.

As I entered the apartment I felt that vague shame I get when all eyes are fixed on me from comfortable seats. I was an intruder within a comfortable old-friends setting. I wasn't dry and smooth. My shoulders were riding too high and I didn't know what to do with my coat. I saw Kathleen with a new haircut, quite beautiful and not at all what I remembered. She was the same as her Myspace pictures. Her voice was the same as it had been on the phone earlier that day; a bit raspy in that subconscious cool and powerful way. Yet, I immediately could tell something wasn’t right. We drank Pinot and watched the new season of Dancing with the Stars. I wandered in circles around the tiny apartment, looking for a book that I had read so I could speak. They all talked about something and I tried to figure out exactly how to sit in a strange bowl-like chair.

The place appeared at first to be a cake shop. In fact, I think that might have been what it was titled, the cake shop. Downstairs was a dark struggling band bar complete with self obsessed struggling bands. Drummers pouting out their lips and spinning their sticks, singers touching their hearts when the lyrics called for it, bass players unsuccessfully trying to stand out. I lied and told Maureen that I thought I'd been there before and I think she could tell it wasn't true. I've always been ashamed of my lack of hip NY knowledge, being a Long Islander. Friends of the bands joined in the chorus and hooted unfunny remarks. While standing at the bar, buying the next round, a brunette sitting next to me slid the three glasses a bit closer to me. I was shocked to find that she was gorgeous and exactly edgy enough. I thanked her and when I looked back a few minutes later she was gone. I should have talked to her.

Outside Kathleen and I smoked cigarettes. I had been quit for nearly two weeks, but it was just the two of us and I genuinely enjoyed talking to her. I loved her voice, although it made me feel a bit like a virgin.

We all decided to bounce to a nearby Mexican restaurant and I ordered the same thing as Kathleen, having no clue what I would get. We ate complimentary chips and slopped up our colorful messes and then Maureen started saying that she wanted to go home. My mind dropped a little into a lower recess of my skull. This could go either way: the sour end to a promising night, or one-on-one time with the potential reason for me to not want to die for lack of escape.

Maureen hopped out of the taxi first and I was already more than a little lumpy. The corners of my mouth hung low. My blinks were in slow motion. Against all better judgment I told Kathleen how badly I wanted a girlfriend and then we had the standard follow up conversation. The pattern of my speech came sporadic and uninspired, with lots of half sentences and abrupt stops. I once again welcomed death as a change. Kathleen and I talked about my life and she offered me the standard advice as if she wasn't only a few days older than I was. I was a child. I no longer wanted to speak. I no longer wanted Kathleen, or anyone else for that matter. What I wanted was a head on collision. To perish in a ragged tear and tumble of brilliant pain. I sunk into the taxis black seats and thought about how easily I could kill myself. The plastic bottle in my jacket could end this rerun of a disappointing pilot. I could die, but of course, I would not. She got out and gave me a kiss on the cheek and said, "Call me" which presented a glimmer and then followed it up with, "I've been through the same thing. Are you okay?” destroying me. As the cabbie and I sat in silence, I sunk in further; having no clue whether or not he was ripping me off with the scenic route, hoping that he was.

All is (was) White

I'm a camera whose iris is opened too far, if that helps. The edges are muffled. Figures bob by, just floating vignettes, not to be bothered. Clarity occurs only within the whitest pieces of the lightness. Light, light, light. Everywhere is lit. Everywhere is white. Shadows have been vaccined. Chased away into an imaginary place for children, like Candyland or Hell. Everything is what it is. No trickery. No veils. I appear as I am. My skin is perforated and craggy, blotched with red in sporadic locations. My eyes are gray and yellow. My teeth are like ancient elephant tusks. We've all adjusted. Everyone is ugly and textured. All is white.

It changed today. A day lost in an endless parking lot of days and days and days.

It walked by me on the street; on the other side of the street. I was shielding my eyes from the ground's reflection when my attention was drawn. Somehow the light was being cancelled. An aura of less-ness hung in the air and moved with absolute grace as it cut through the crowd. A hard blink did nothing. Its teeth gleamed, unashamed. The passers walked by it unfettered. They were busy shielding the light and repeating the day’s tasks in their heads, totally unaware of their brush with an alien. I, apparently, was the only one who noticed. In front of its eyes hung huge tinted fish-tanks.  Its thick hair broke away from the shoulders like a forever-crashing wave. It was driven by an unheard melody. That was just then. My eyes are adjusting. The world is being pulled closer. It's all moving and yet somehow staying in place. Shifting really. The world shifts as it selectively approaches and retreats. I cannot look away. My cells are screaming. Rockets are firing. It is too glorious. It isn't, this isn't, real. All was as it should've been; all was white. This mystic being has infiltrated the blown-out sameness that I lean upon. I'm dead. I must be dead and it's a demon come to get me for the things I did before the light came and washed away my misgivings. The demon smells like a forbidden garden, like a god's stash. Its eyes are as black as a million miles from a candle's flame; so black they're sucking in the world outside. It speaks in a lullaby rhythm that makes my dick hard. My ears lift slightly. It smokes, because it asks me for one. Its name is Jessica and above us the sky is dark.