Growing Up, Moving On

“I can’t afford another cup of coffee”, I tell myself. Conversations out loud only make sense in the silence of your own home, or car- maybe even the alcove at a church as you pep talk yourself into a marriage that may not make sense at that brief moment. I remember that scene quite vividly, and the eventual fallout, divorce and stretch of time that seemed to move in painful slow-mo. So, crackling the morning air with a few open retorts doesn’t seem crazy at all—Hell, talking to yourself in a busy grocery store doesn’t sound so baleful in comparison to the ending of a union that you perceived as ‘forever’. Another cup of my free coffee here sounds great- no barista, just Tim and his 3 year old French press, desperately fighting to cling to rust and scuffs that its $29.99 frame yields. I splash in more creamer and non-nutritive sugar substitute- you know the one that causes the least amount of brain neuropathy so I can spell werdz…wordz… W-O-R-D-S. The first taste is bitter, reminding me nothing of the lush hills of Costa Rica, but ahhhh, that second and third gulp, as the temperature settles to ‘just above warm’ creates a smooth palette where pressed beans slope down as a skier would arch for the final run. I can rationalize anything. All I really want is the caffeine.

I’m an addict, an alcoholic to be specific, but you can arbitrarily plunk anything in the place of alcohol. $$ toys (things), girls/sex/porn (people) or driving to that park where my high school sweetheart and I frequented (places) are all formidable addictions; and not ready to retire—it’s all there in front of me… or behind me, if I just could let go. The rear view of my mirror works just fine. I should bring my old Wayne Gretzky Titan stick out of retirement and ‘accidentally’ lop off that mirror with a backhander. Anger- that’s another impulse worth letting go.

There was a time as a youth carousing on my basement floor- my childhood home coveting a horrid looking (and feeling) blood red carpet where my Lego’s could play freely without being lost under the dark mass of fiber. When being a kid was my job, one that I would still take for granted today, if someone would employ me for having an even worse haircut and wardrobe than today. My Lego’s were complicit and not salaried either—and they weren’t the cool Star Wars or Lord of the Rings ones that are available in 2014. They were simply colored squares and rectangles and the occasional plastic window to build a house for my imaginary Lego family. No Jango Fett teaching young Boba the rewards of a good bounty- no Gandalf imposing his will on a group of feckless Hobbits. There wasn’t any void to fill from a fatherless home, because these little figures went under the moniker of pilot or soldier or construction worker, and no kid minds when their dad is a hero- even a recognized, everyday ‘hero’. My father was around, he just was working, and working and working- I guess I should have paid attention more to his work ethic; his austere desire to fulfill what was necessary, dull, and completely unimaginative. He was in the Navy after all, and that’s pretty cool. I’ve never been on an Aircraft Carrier.

Playing independently at that age was an ideal. I didn’t have the attention span or life experience to suffer my thoughts all day long. Building, playing, articulating the basics was enough—and I never became addicted to Lego’s. I can see the lure of risqué things and it is hard to imagine a child’s toy serrating my pleasure zone. I need stimulus- an escape, something just to get myself out of my head. Caffeine, boobies, music with a fast tempo—or somebody to focus on who isn’t me.

It takes a lot to get moving in the morning, especially Mondays… to feel inspired, as if writing this all of a sudden adds insight that the morning hours can’t. Coffee, just the habit of consuming the black liquid sits directly in my pleasure zone- it awakens every impulsive nerve to excess and asks for nothing in return, save for a few extra bathroom breaks. The same stimulus is peaked by my fiancé, who isn’t available on this particular morning. Regardless of her physical absence, her apparition, her after-image lingers long after she leaves- long enough to dwell inside these walls. Not to haunt but to taunt- to sustain me until her next visit, and until our bodies can collide reminding me I’m alive. If only she was here now, present and ready to take me away from me, that guy who seems to be there no matter where I go, no matter where I am and no matter what hole needs filled.

My mood would drift inescapably into bliss. How easy it would be to put all of my focus on her, all my misgivings. I could rummage through my sons toys instead, find their Lego’s. Me and Boba Fett and the Ninjago dudes could all share the sediment left over in my French Press, and we could all think out loud—I could even talk for them, in their own voices and we could battle until lunch time. Then maybe I could forget about here, let go of the vice grip on Gretzky’s stick—release my high school sweetheart and the park where my addictions were born.

Garage Stalemate

Digested and spit out.
Look at what we’ve become.
All the things I’ve done.
You thought we’d come around,
the passing traffic pays no mind
to the hum; streets and pavements
grounded over a lifetime of small favors,
repairs and traction for us to run each other>>>>>
out of our lives.
Who knew this place was sarcophagus-like
and stripped of imagination?
Pulled the vehicle in slowly and let the engine run,
no daylight exhumed and the garage door shut.
I manage to escape the fumes
because nothing can exist in the dark,
smothered by exhaust
deterred by retaliation.

ANTS

Piss on this nonsense,
You can’t make believe
with something in a constant state of sleep,
wakes when you’re not paying attention,
a surprise every time.
Wet dreams, drowning in sweat,
thinking “is this the best it will ever get??”
Can’t conceive of another way to take you on,
but it’s all a joke anyway.
These tattoos won’t dissolve,
when we thought it was a good idea,
and now that’s gone.
Mistakes. Pulled skin.
Tightly absorbed and interweaved.
This feeling almost pulsates, without origin, without a home,
cause you got no cause for alarm,
just the call of infallible silence.
Your head swims in it.

Here among the crowd, the people marching like ants
walking the mall,
a dedication I’ll never understand.
We aren’t alike- that’s cool.
One more tab under the tongue,
fools, everyone of you.
I am nothing like that,
breaking a pattern I never understood.
And it really makes no difference.
We all march sooner than later.

Glamorous

This storybook romance, as a kid who knew little.
A godless world of men/children and seekers of caves to hide,
cavemen, with little room for women inside
purchased on credit, a debt owed for no repentance
Prostitutes or strippers,
no discerning between the two,
sorry lives that hold only resentment.
Cash sale, and how did it fail,
who takes the blame for this execution?
If you only could stay, pardon the world for screwing you this way.
The mirror image, now growing old, way too tired to play along
your mind wanting to forget today
You can’t remember when you came alive
Only to be pronounced dead after such a short time.

Pictures torn from your past, the recluse, the lost years
singe hair and skin, old age spots… the sun no longer your friend

The Giving Up Tree

When the Giving Tree decided to take- it found out there was nothing worth having, the fate of all its past seasons and falling leaves, fell too late.

And you swore I’d get a second chance, but that was overturned 100x’s— all my apologies fake.

Just an endless negative trail of “sorry”– that word is as meaningless as “hello” when despondency leads to dead ends.

 

Hey Jon. do you remember that time we laughed until the sky appeared soft, molded by the brazen captivity of a 9-5?

We always worked until 6 or 7 anyway.

How was I supposed to know that the fleeting hours had constraints? We wouldn’t count on each other forever??

Maybe it was only me that needed you. The need to siphon and spit out exhaust. Feeding the endorphins caught in circulation; awaiting captivity. Anxious for release.

I don’t know what a gift is. I just steal from under the tree,

Regardless of what day, minus holidays and birthdays- no present will fill the void, no ego posed for stroke or accolade.

No stump awaiting me.