I suppose it looks like I should be drowning in the proverbial sea of alcohol and tears but let me tell you Hank had nothing on me a few years ago and in the interim, although it seems as though I'd been saved and pulled aboard a life raft crafted from his very skin, the truth is I had carefully and willfully frozen the surface over and I could see not long ago, the agony that I should feel and I confess to having ordinary human compassion and concern for one I thought was hurting (and admittedly, that was my mistake, but if those things make me a fool, I'll run the risk each time around) but I was able to stand above it all and walk away
And perhaps I should apologize for not reading the guidebook The Modern Middle-Aged Woman's Guide to -- never mind but the truth is, when it's been a life of synapse hating synapse and of fighting every day to keep myself and stay alive, I don't have time for mindless reading I'm so sorry I don't care.
I don't have time to grieve for things that never even were
There's so much grief that's been required of me now
There's no space left to mourn the ending of some fanfic autobio.
And if I reached out for a hand -- not the first and by far not the only -- and let my hedonism rise and shift to something like the taste of coffee on a lazy Sunday morning dark and sweet and lingering forgive me if I choose this over drowning or sitting on the ice and staring down at the shit below the surface while I wished for something more.
It's possible that everything I thought I knew was true was false.
It's more likely, in the interest of objectivity that it's probably a goulash of sorts true, and not, and quite a few things that had had the truth scraped away in order to show the skeletal frame of deception.
It's certain, with very little margin of error that I don't give a shit.
"You can't just turn it off like flipping off a light switch."
But you can, if the bulb's been burnt out anyway and you were only able to keep a hazy field of vision by making light refract from somewhere else.
It's already dark flipping the switch just closes the circuit.
It's possible that I'm a little bit high, taking a pause from responsibilities to let a few words creep into my head and out again --and none of this means anything at all.
That's the one I'd gamble on.
I can look at the clock, now, and predict when the next touch is coming when I'll shift from blurry background prop to something perfectly but not at all sharply focused when I'll connect with this unfiltered life.
I can look at a few simple words scattered across a screen and tell exactly where I'll be when I close my eyes at night.
I can tell myself with prejudice that this is well-deserved.
I can watch the muscles of his forearm jump as he leans forward and know without a doubt that this part is.
It's possible that everything I've said here is a lie
He talks in his sleep now and then, a soft growl low and deep, that wakes me up for half a second like distant thunder that reminds me that the storms are there but miles away.
I'm too old and cold and tired to have time to imagine things like fate and deities and predetermination; karma is a privilege of the good, and the universe is just a mass of angry gas, but I have learned to heed the warnings and I am grateful to have listened when the sirens all went off and I am not ashamed to find myself here sheltered from the rains that weighed me down and nearly made me drown.
Whatever's in the distance has become quite self-contained If it depletes itself or feeds itself and propagates again is of no consequence; there is shelter here and peace within my walls.
There's a mannequin in the window, watching you. What's it thinking?
Not anything. Mannequins don't think. They just stare.
Remember the one thing you said, did you mean it?
Of course I did. I never will. I never have. Did you?
One day they'll drop the bomb on us. I hope you're here with me.
There was never a point, was there? All the pencils, dulled with use and whittled down to eraser stubs, the pink dregs of mistakes huddled in the bent metal grip like refugees, bits of foil in your gums, chewed up by anxiety --
And the papers, long forgotten, formulas and spelling rules burnt up in time's incinerator
(I didn't coin that phrase; look it up)
And there goes my mind, spiraling back again
To the safety of lost album covers and songs they never played on the radio till they were oldies
And the speakers at the gas pumps tear my ears away
Everyone says you can't do that; That aloe is impossible to kill. I can kill damn near anything.
Pert near, my grandma Fox used to say: "Supper's pert near ready."
She was the softest person I've ever known And probably the toughest
I remember the apple tree in her yard.
I wonder how she walked and talked and breathed when her little ones were gone.
I want to make apple butter, sit in the kitchen and watch it cook down to thick, brown Paste
Feel the autumn forcing its brittle way into the heat.
I want to reconstruct the farmhouse Stack it plank by plank, haphazard Crawl back up into its lap, settle deep into the sawdust and woodsmoke and the crumbling edges Of the floorboards and the softened stairs, sagging in the center
Find the places where the ghosts are huddled Whispering to me that the aloe can live pert near anywhere.