Some years ago, I found a room in my house I had never known existed. I’ll spend many years in that room, sick, sweaty and alone, imagining a key I’d laid just outside for me to find.
— you’re making a mistake.
— relax. I do that all the time.
he told me this is the best way to break up with a somewhat serious girlfriend: he says to take her to mcdonalds or something similar where there’s people and french fries. he says to stand up from the table and get a refill of coke or something. he says to tell her after you get the refill and before you sit down because standing next to the table will make you look more definite but it will make you look more like a coward in her eyes which is better for her because she’ll get to say things like “that fucking coward” to her friends or to herself. he says to say the things people say in movies or television during successful break up scenes because this is the easiest way to clearly communicate to people like us about what is happening and she’ll have social cues on how to react triggered by those familiar words which will prevent her from freezing up or stuttering or just breaking down. he says to have a list of your own faults and her faults and the relationships faults and to slide that list over to her across the table. he says this is important because the break up can be a growing opportunity for everyone and that list of faults could be a good start to a better you, her, the world. he says to tell her that you’re sorry and if her eyes look like they’re getting all moody post-rock, he says to tell her that she can punch you in the stomach if she’d like. he says you might get punched but its a real solid way to end a relationship. be careful not to spill the soda, he added.
Wednesday. Rattle of palm trees in the shade. I am barbequing shrimp on skewers for dinner. There will be guests, none allergic to shellfish. We will dine outside as the wood of the patio cools enough that the neighbor’s cat will come to sit in her favorite spot perched on side of the planters of baby cactus. There will be wines and beers from Trader Joe’s. There will be more drinks brought by guests. Someone will say at about ten o’clock, You guys really live it up here. Everyone will giggle or laugh. My mother will joke that we’ve not even started. The neighbor’s cat will meow in agreement. My best friend will sit across from me and she will stare at me too often from behind her bangs. Her sister and her parents won’t notice because of the excellent shrimp, the avocado, mango, raspberry salad, the pilaf and the glasses of wine. My best friend will excuse herself from her barely touched plate and casually trail a hand across the back of my chair before entering the house. I will excuse myself too after a minute or so has passed. I will go to my old room and there she will be sitting at the edge of my bed. She’ll be hurried and she’ll pull out a thumb sized porcelain case from behind a pack of cigarettes in her bag. She’ll open it above my book with panels of Spanish Paintings. I will take a bottle of vodka down from the top of a bookcase, lock my door, and sit down on the carpeted floor. Rituals and Repetition. But right now I am just barbequing shrimp on skewers for dinner. I’m looking around at the roofs of all our neighbors and see a crow here and a pigeon there. It is hot in Orange County. I hear sprinklers and think that we spend too much on lawns that we do not walk on or lie above. There are too many pools that light up at night for no one at all. The Pacific Ocean is fifteen minutes away. The shrimps are from the Gulf of Mexico. There is a drop of sweat above my left eyebrow. I flip the skewers of shrimp when I hear laughter in a distant yard. I am not sad, I say again.
Back at my parent’s place in my old room in my old bed staring at all the old pictures I’ve stuck to the walls while listening to all the cds I’d bought or burned in high school. I’m going to see my old high school friend and we are going to smoke a bowl and share a beer in her parents garage like we used to. In between smokes and sips, I’m going to spill my guts out about all the horrible things of the last month so that I won’t feel compelled to talk directly about those things ever again with anyone.
After this I am going to crash and grab some desperately needed sleep for the next three days and then wake up as something that resembles a human being so I can go do all the things I’d promised but deferred.
This is a solid plan.
comely, Sara is a knife and after she after kissed
her first boyfriend she lied in my bed
and showed me exactly what it was like, even put her hand
on my stomach just like he did and said,
This is how he breathed,
and pressed her nose into my hair and warmed it hot.
God, I promised, if I could love her in ways like no other,
forever, until I am old when she’ll show me how she dies
by putting her white fingers on my eyelids and she’ll say,
Remember how he kissed me?
then lies down in my old bed with me and she’ll ask,
Remember how I kissed you?
and begs me to consider the difference — comely,
Sara is a knife and there is no first or end without her.
Twice I’ve been called “two-faced.” First time was in jest in seventh grade when a girl called me so because I wouldn’t flirt with her in front of my friends. “You’re so two-faced,” she said as we sat around a large brick planter that held a Callery Pear tree. (The Callery Pear blooms white petaled flowers in the spring which sheds and blankets the floor but leaves a light chlorinous scent filling the air. Most of the guys that sat around this planter for lunch or for snack joked at least once that it smelled like cum.) I shrugged and to this she responded by pinching my thigh. She got up and left smiling with some of her friends. My buddies around me snickered and laughed and I felt as if my gym shorts got shorter.
I was at my friend’s funeral service the second time I was called “two-faced.” I’d taken a few bars worth of Xanax and I sat in a pew in the back next to my girlfriend and her mother. The drug had a pleasing effect to my body and mind as I started to feel more null and void like the blue in the sky or in the way that good saké has a hallow in its taste. I was sure I was sad but it felt as if my mind no longer had the material to build emotions like grief or loss. I sat in the pew with the most lazed and spaced expression and I whispered to myself, maybe a little too loudly, “I’m such a two-face,” and I closed my eyes like the Tibetan monks do and felt myself become one with the never-ending wood of the pews, the cross, the window frames, the podium, the dark flooring, and the coffin.
how to do cocaine with your best friend on a weekday,
buy whiskey before the bar and sit in the parking lot listening to the go-to-songs and have the car’s windows cracked open just a little bit while he goes chop chop chop slide. don’t forget to make fun of his work shirt and tie because we all look ridiculous trying to be their kind of professional but don’t be too mean when after a few lines he starts to become confessional and he starts to confide. let him know with nods and shared smokes and pulls off the pint bottle that you understand because you really do know him and fuckers like him after years and years of shit like this that no one deserves but is just life. here we are, you should say to him in a russian accent. is life, no?
get him to the fucking bar. lets not be stuck in the car. smile at your favorite bartender and ask her for the same that you always ask. you’re high and there’s no need to be adventurous with new drinks. just take the whiskey and swallow some of it down with a toast in some other language, sláinte, salud, or fucking kampai or what not and slap one slippery, droopy side of your face with the palm of your hand. graze the day’s stubby facial hairs and make the little scratchy bastards make that noise that only you can hear but is loud enough to expect it to fill the room. but look, there’s two girls two seats away at the bar staring towards you guys more wondering and curious than piqued. this is my best friend here, you tell them while putting your hand on his shoulder. he’s going to buy all of us a drink.
at this point, both of you should cock your heads to the side like needy racoons.
sure. im a little backed up on responding to them but email@example.com
yeah. I might have stated it poorly. I meant more in the sense that maybe a mind was super-invested into that dream not really by choice but just by a state of being devoted or already fully given into (willingly or not).
anyways, dreams are fucking great. I don’t remember meeting famous people in my dreams or musicians I listen to (that sounds awesome btw). I might be the opposite of you. most of my dreams cast people around me. my mind is stuck with a very parochial set of characters (I mean just look at the stuff I write. it’s all friends & etc.)
was your childhood best friend grown up in your dreams? or are they like stuck as a child forever which is odd but dreams are odd
no. in one part of the dream, I got to see a lot of faces I hadn’t even thought about in a long time and I got to hang out with them behind a high school. we all shared a cigarette that we bought with a coupon. then there was a submarine.
I woke up with that confused, fuzzy feeling you get when you devote too much emotion and primacy into a dream.
she looked good though.
i just want to state for future reference that I had a dream this morning about the end of the world and the anti-christ and it was my ex-girlfriend.
The taillights of the planes were about the night like sky lanterns drifting away to a great beyond which is anywhere but here with him in this city that he knew well but not well enough to wait for each morning and to look about the cold new light so as to really belong in the empty spaces of the clean sheets of the side that she, they, no longer slept above or breathed above but invited him nonetheless to press his nose against the threads and imagine that time really is relative to the extent that he was as happy as the grass was green, like the poem goes, and that life can be lived in quiet pickings from a shrub of memory that stains his fingers of juniper, blue, and frost from dew sighing in the waking and melting like the first kiss that she, that they, had invented for him and taught to him to repeat again and again at the birth of everyday like a prayer made to god who bites his hair to break him from his life-like fast.
1. Have you read “Antimatter” by Russel Edson? You should. It’s very short and memorable.
2. Thanks. It’s nice to be reminded there’s some love somewhere out there for me.
Andre’s sister just had a baby and we were assembling a new bed. The base was made out of birch wood and the boards were fastened with crude dovetail joints that lock and cross like fingers when you clasp your hands together. The varnish was damaged and her husband was hammering nails across the joints “to further secure.” He said this is going to be a family bed where they will all sleep together, even the kids to come. Andre’s sister was nursing on the patio when she heard and she yelled out, No more babies! I turned to her and noticed her breasts have gotten huge. Seriously.
The baby is small, pink and has no eyebrows. When he opened his eyes the baby looked up at me with wonder as if he just discovered that he pissed himself. His eyes go cross once in a while and the only noise that it makes is crying. He is as heavy as a Three Amigos Special Burrito and just as warm. His mass is poorly distributed and supported so holding him felt like cradling a mixed grocery bag of round fruits.
Do you remember when you were worried you were pregnant? I remember how you waited in the car while I bought the tests because you said the whole situation was practically my fault. I remember how I waited at the McDonald’s parking lot while you said you were doing the test but you really didn’t and you just ended up buying french fries. The bathrooms were too dirty, you said. So we went to your place and instead of doing the test, we had more sex. High school logic was fun.
I think I’m going to go to Mexico next. Andre asked me to fly out with him to Boston (he has an interview at some hospital there) but Andre is really tiring. And I’m also kind of getting tired of all these people so I wanna do some alone thing somewhere alone-ish. I need more time to read and write seriously. Everything seems up in the air and I hope all this freedom doesn’t suffocate me.
Where to? Denno.