Jesus Christ by Brand New

Jesus Christ, that’s a pretty face
The kind you’d find on someone that could save
If they don’t put me away
It’ll be a miracle

Do you believe you’re missing out?
That everything good is happening somewhere else
With nobody in your bed
The night is hard to get through

And I will die all alone
And when I arrive I won’t know anyone

Jesus Christ, I’m alone again
So what did you do those three days you were dead?
Because this problem is gonna last
More than the weekend

Jesus Christ I’m not scared to die
But I’m a little bit scared of what comes after
Do I get the gold chariot
Or do I float through the ceiling

Or do I divide and pull apart
Cause my bright is too slight to hold back all my dark
This ship went down in sight of land
And at the gates does Thomas ask to see my hands?

I know you’re coming in the night like a thief
But I’ve had some time, O Lord, to hone my lying technique
I know you think that I’m someone you can trust
But I’m scared I’ll get scared and I swear I’ll try to nail you back up
So do you think that we could work out a sign
So I’ll know it’s you and that it’s over so I won’t even try
I know you’re coming for the people like me
But we all got wood and nails
And we turn out hate in factories
We all got wood and nails
And we turn out hate in factories
We all got wood and nails
And we sleep inside of this machine

Song and Siren

An officer of the law approached me during my nightly walk. I was winding up to toss a cigarette into the streets when I spotted their vehicle and, fortunately, had enough sense to realize the consequences of unintentially discarding an ember through the window sidling abreast of me. I pulled back my hand and took another drag from the mangled nub.

“What are you doing?”

“Hi!” I replied, enthusiastically, my arm in an awkward pose. “I’m taking a walk.”

“Where do you live? What street?”

“Umm, just around the corner.” I paused. Since I couldn’t see with the flashlight in my face, my brain decided it didn’t have to think either. “On ________” (which is not where I live but it was the first street that came to mind and, happily, one that was indeed around the corner).

“So you’re out for a walk?”

“Yup!”

“Don’t stay out too late.”

As quickly as they had come, they vanished back into the darkness, a predator reminiscent of a squat, genetically defunct zebra. I did not turn around to watch the red tailights fade from view. Stumbling about at 1 AM was suspicious enough.

Returning home, I pondered over my brief encounter, in particular, the distress that can overwhelm the average citizen upon such a chance meeting. Why are our verbal responses suddenly stripped of emotion? Do policemen not possess humour and pathos? Perhaps the conversation should have gone as such:

“Hey, what are you doing?”

“Good evening, sirs. I am out catching the night breeze. Not long ago, my brother incensed me greatly and there’s much to sort in my head.” I’d say, with a shadow of glum politeness.

“Shucks, what did he do?”

“Well, nothing serious. I was only reading off a list I had found online of ‘100 things to do before you die‘ and all he could do was ridicule and find fault with each entry. The negative energy was a downer.”

“That’s a darn shame.” He’d say. “I’m glad you’re taking it constructively rather than beating him senseless. Take it from me, there are a lot of wackos out there.”

“People say I’m a nice guy. Sirs, would you mind if I hitched a ride back home. I’ve never sat in a police car before and you know, that’s one on my own list.”

“Certainly. Come on in. So you really were just out for a walk?”

“No, actually, I was looking for a cow to tip but haven’t come across any in these ‘burbs. Maybe we can stop by a supermarket, run in, and knock over a stack of frozen meat patties instead?”

Rocky VI

What is it you said to the kid? The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very rough, mean place… and no matter how tough you think you are, it’ll always bring you to your knees and keep you there, permanently… if you let it. You or nobody ain’t never gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit… it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward… how much you can take, and keep moving forward. If you know what you’re worth, go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit. – Sylverster Stallone (as Rocky) in Rocky Balbo

Best movie I’ve seen this year.

Hunger Strike

It had shrunken. If one could peer through his skin and look at his stomach, it would resemble something like a balloon deflated and on the verge of implosion, every wrinkle creased inwards like a withered paper bag, roiling and grumbling for sustenance. But there was reason to the madness. The emptiness of his body left an emptiness of his mind, filling the vacuum of satiation with clarity. Every noise he was aware of and every thought, though he could hardly suffer to move, came across through crystalline glass filtered of the extraneous static that thought is so often accompanied with. The pain was only slightly excruciating, he reasoned. The slightest of movements shivered delicious spasms up and down his spine, and at what price, he thought? A moment’s worth of meat and mead? There would be enough dining in the grave if one’s penchant were for worms, but then there would be no need at that time either.

This, he exclaimed to no one in particular, was the height of self-awareness; to feel with every breath the air filling the lungs; to touch with every finger the sensation and bumps and edges of boundaries and lines; to know; to understand. And there was much to understand! The reasons for sorrow; the reasons for anger. The reasons for delusion, perhaps his own but also the world’s. He laughed, the hollow noise rustling through the hot afternoon and clinging to the breeze as if a leaf dangling from the highest branch. His voice wavered for a moment but found strength again, and it surprised him that the laughter seemed to have no end; it rolled out, on and on, ringing through the petulant air. In this way, he clung: the merest tug might send him reeling through miles of empty space.

[Original Post Date: 05/12/2004]

Moving On

It’s a strange place
Where sad things go; I had followed them before
To a cavern where blind fish-bats swim with dead-
Eyes opened wide, chasing rainbows in the murk;

What is it that they
Think about in all that darkness, the sallow dialogue
Of yeast and barley, ill-fated wine; in mid-speech,
I thought it (sadness) would come for me, too;

Let me say this
Dear friend, you were wise to have left me there,
And I loving you (or nothing at all) let things go,
Indifference breeds indifference, so it’s been said.

In late January,
We woke one Sunday morning and marveled at
The day after rain; I packed my bags and packed
Your box, and knew something of sadness since.

Purgartory’s Southern Tip

On black pavement, I coughed up a pack of smokes and exhaled skywards in the lot just behind the office, watching the swiveling world teeter: three planes crossing overhead, two crows chasing a hawk, plumes reaching upwards, the last three leaves hanging off an autumn tree. There’s a funny thing with numbers, wondering if they add up to something. They do, they don’t.

I thought about the strange things I’ve seen in July: four men in business suits kicking a hackey sack outside a government building, a homeless bum sharing a two-liter bottle of cola with three compatriots, the melancholy impression of wind and rain, the last edge of a yellow moon. Some days it takes more energy to smile than frown. Other times it is the other way around. Smiling, frowning, smiling.

Then the in-between moments: when all you care for is a pillow, looking up into that unblinking eye.