Never Quite Touch The Ground

He lied. The city didn’t kill him; he arrived already dead and staggering through the streets. And those were unhappy streets, unlit, an impossibly long runway on which a plane might roar relentlessly forward but never quite leave the ground. Listen to the clump, clump from where the tarmac grows unevenly. It tells you a story.

The story begins with his arrival, and I was sick of him already, sick of his legends and his vagabond gods. He tells me about the morning and the crow with a woman’s voice screaming from the tree beside his window. He wanted me to believe it was a portent of disaster. That is what he said, there was a woman in the tree.

But whether the woman was real or not is no small matter. So he lay there, the wind pushing through the perforated screen and along with it, the voice that took form and covered his mouth, covered his nose. He said he suffocated finely, he said it took a long time to die on his back, years on his back just trying to breathe.

I thought this city had killed him with its impossibly long and narrow streets that transported one from nowhere to nowhere because he told me, a long time ago, before I grew to loathe him, that it had broken into the one bright sanctuary in his heart and stolen the dear subconscious treasures within it. That is what he said.

How I hated him for showing me the darkness, that terrible corner inside everyone where subconscious treasures go to become sullied, dirtied, rendered unrecognizable. Maybe we all die on our backs eventually, trying to live, just as we all divide into separate hims and Is. He arrived and I departed, carried by one plane.

* * *

Weird.

Another Room

1.

Him, I knew, he fell from above
one autumn night
and the tigers, hungering, rose
from their depths
to follow him into this park

Where he, frightened and wild,
ran for the trees
to hide in this hollowed trunk
never coming out and
thus escaped his persecutors.

2.

So now, jogging alone and along
the rim of the world
I am careful to look behind
for those tigers
but always, I watch for my tree.

Pit

A little more desolate, a little more lonely, I arrived at a motel on the border of Massachusetts and New York. It is a city where one could lose his mind in, stumbling in on a dirty night like this and never finding his way back out, or in passing, the remains of this burnt out nub might become permanently etched onto his heart so that its ashes would be littered everywhere he goes; he will see the same spots on each gray building, the same flat streets wrung by soot and concrete: a specter of dead-ends rattling the bitter chains of failure.

Like home almost, or at least the parts that withered out of neglect. And it is cold here, already, akin to a Californian winter so that we smell the sad and wailing sense of Christmas in the air, those dark eves shivering for a clause, like the week spent on campus during winter break years ago, the world gone beneath your feet, there’s nobody in sight. Is it strange to be comforted by the familiarity of its despair; why, because it evokes a spectacular longing for escape? I want to get out, I need to get out. Tomorrow then, and tomorrow goes.

Slow Show by The National

Standing at the punch table swallowing punch
can’t pay attention to the sound of anyone
a little more stupid, a little more scared
every minute more unprepared

I made a mistake in my life today
everything I love gets lost in drawers
I want to start over, I want to be winning
way out of sync from the beginning

I wanna hurry home to you
put on a slow, dumb show for you
and crack you up
so you can put a blue ribbon on my brain
god I’m very, very frightening
I’ll overdo it

Looking for somewhere to stand and stay
I leaned on the wall and the wall leaned away
Can I get a minute of not being nervous
and not thinking of my dick
My leg is sparkles, my leg is pins
I better get my shit together, better gather my shit in
You could drive a car through my head in five minutes
from one side of it to the other

I wanna hurry home to you
put on a slow, dumb show for you
and crack you up
so you can put a blue ribbon on my brain
god I’m very, very frightening
I’ll overdo it

You know I dreamed about you
for twenty-nine years before I saw you
You know I dreamed about you
I missed you for
for twenty-nine years

You know I dreamed about you
for twenty-nine years before I saw you
You know I dreamed about you
I missed you for
for twenty-nine years

* * *

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