Friday, December 28, 2012

pieces of fabric

I am back to tearing off labels of beer bottles. I rip them into small pieces and roll them into balls. They sit inside the front pocket on the shirt I wear when I go out. It used to have snaps, now it is held together by buttons. There is a hole on the left arm, half way up from the wrist to the elbow. I press my finger into it and feel the skin of my arm. Sometimes I pull on the hairs that stick out until one lets loose and I put that in the pocket too. The guy next to me sits on his stool like an egg and rests his shins against the red vinyl. He spins his bottle on his right knee and some formerly attractive woman rest her hand on the other. There is lipstick on her teeth and the butt of her cigarette. She laughs at a show on the television. There is no sound, just her laughing. The man keeps starting a story and stopping. Her laughs make him drop his head and spin his bottle more. The woman puts on more lipstick; I order another drink.

Friday, September 28, 2012

shallow water

I had a dream you had died. Some piece of conversation between two strangers I overheard. A couple of months had passed, from what I could gather. That happens sometimes. When I woke up I called an old friend to see if it was true. He said he hadn't heard from you lately but felt pretty confident you were alive. And that made me sad. Not that you deserve to die, or that you should die. But that I thought you could be but weren't. I guess people can't always be what you want them to be.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

But me, I'm...

The spots on my right arm that I pick, you can see them. It is not covered in ink like the other. You can see the blood and the scabs and the puss. I stop mid-sentence to scratch and pick and bleed and dream. Every minute or so I dab at the wound to clear the things that drain out. My fingers run through my hair and blood bursts from my lip; my teeth have split it again.

The locks were changed at the other apartment when I was moving out the last of my things. There is a box and leather jacket I never recovered. I went back a few nights ago with crowbar that helped me back in. The jacket and box and new resident were gone. So I left the crowbar and took a bottle of wine and walked to that park where the maids smoke pot after work. No one was there so I opened the bottle and called Leslie to pick me up.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

From the heart, my heart

We laid on a couch, in that old house, and cried. We listened to Paul Baribeau and cried. The two of us went to that old bar with Bill and drank grandpa's drink because grandpa had been dead for weeks and no one told us.

We sat on the curb in front of the other old house and smoked cigarettes the best we could. We sucked too hard, or not enough. We called Tony and tears ran down our face and ash covered our hands and we thought this is how you feel, when something dies; when something goes away. But we went to bed alone and didn't know what to do.

We sat in a garage today, thinking about where you had gone. We played the songs that had meant everything; and the new ones that helped us pull your skin back and see you.

And we knew you were gone. And you were never coming back.

We replayed the conversations from your porch; to find our missteps.

We scanned photographs in our head to see where the cracks started.

We didn't find them.

We opened boxes we threw away three addresses ago. We retold stories to bring us closer. We put things in our skin that were supposed to bring us together, keep us together; they just remind me we are all gone.

So we will steal a smoke from our sleeping love. And we will send thoughts or prayers or whatever your way. And know we will never speak; but hope we are wrong.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Yellow and White Balloons

My car wasn't starting. So I cancelled everything. I was glad to be rid of all those plans. I walked east on Glen, past the car dealership and the church bell that had been being replaced the last two days. I picked out the cheapest schnapps at Sam's to tied me over till I got to Jesse's. I stopped at the park for a smoke in some shade. I hadn't broke a sweat in three or four weeks. The other Jesse was laying in a patch of dandelions. She always looked up at the sky. And she would use her hand as a visor over her eyes. She bit her bottom lip too. We used to share some friends. I lost all their numbers. I'm confident to say they lost mine too. They had all left and I thought Jesse had too. She wanted to know if I had a knife; she was going to go pop all the balloons down the street but left hers at home. I gave her the pocket knife I found camping five or six years ago. That day comes back to me every few months. But I don't miss Jesse. And I don't miss my knife. Or the park. Or Sam's. Or that car. But I miss those balloons. The car dealership never replaced them. It closed down two months later. I stopped carrying knives. And drinking schnapps. And day dreaming about old friends. I just want to see all those yellow and white balloons float away again.

Monday, April 02, 2012


Some paint had splattered onto my face. It must have been three days old. Some had fallen off in bed, wrapped up in five sheets to make up for the missing comforter. The box with all the other bedding was in the other truck. Which was with the new roommate crossing one of the Dakotas. I deleted the message before the details were processed. The gist stayed on my shoulders for weeks.

I've painted the mailbox three times already. In third grade I heard an Indian girl talk about how the color of your mailbox related to the type of mail you would receive. Past due notices and invitations to salvation piled up. I changed the color and they kept coming. But Yellow brought a garden catalog. And Blue a book about map collecting. I left the notices to pile on the ground and stacked the invitations on the wiper of my cars windshield. After the garden was planted, and the pictures of maps used to label the flowers and vegetables I painted the mailbox gold.