is not the answer.
and earnest wants
add ’em up
the last failure
is a first success.
is not the answer.
and earnest wants
add ’em up
the last failure
is a first success.
A few poems that seem along the same path.
“I wish I had a river, I could skate away on.”
You made me cry,
countless times, steeped
in the rack of a new world order.
weeds trapped in roots–
these logs laid five years ago.
Suffering is not
the eternal end it seemed
when dawn rushed in.
Ice begins, thin
layers building as
higher order stops the rush.
Toe pick makes
the smallest of dents,
chips not enough to spear an ant.
I wish I had a river,
I could skate away on.
“Watch me unravel.”
We are fragmented
in the moonlight
broken things the
Each bit reflecting
pieces of toys the
of their own image.
Superglue in hand
a life’s work waits
scattered on pavement the
Watch me unravel
shreds of skin among
blood stained glass the
to holy shame.
“You turn the screws.”
a turn of the cycle
we are those
we wished to escape–
this is the change that power makes.
a turn of the screw
they have the jobs
they own the news–
this is the grab that power makes.
a turn of the cheek
we could have freedom
we could have peace–
this is the dream that power takes.
“Enjoy the silence.”
enjoy the silence
enjoying the silence
many rivers running blind
many people losing minds
enjoying the silence.
worry wanders far
reaching for a star
fallen many times
fallen into lives
reaching for a star.
scars on my guitars
a scar of what I was
the piece I can’t maintain
a peace that I still blame
a scar of what I was.
We walked home at sunset.
The boardwalk was clear of men in black and we crossed to the shop. You needed to watch out for loud button-down shirts as well. They think it helps them fit in with the tourists. It really makes them look as out of touch as all of them are. I didn’t want to be a part of that world. My mother didn’t want me to be either. She offered to take care of Rickie for me, swore she wouldn’t let them get to her.
Dad made us both safe for a while, but credit never lasts long with loan sharks.
My beautiful son. Life was supposed to be perfect. I was pregnant right out of high school, which is normal enough these days, and I thought Anthony wanted to get away, same as me. We planned it all out our senior year, the price of land in Oregon, the total responsibility we would take for our lives. That all changed when Richie was born.
His fucking father got to him. They showed up to the birth coked up. They named him without my input. They informed me I was marrying Anthony and moving in the Delucci family home.
I tried to take Ritchie and run, but Mom wouldn’t let me. I couldn’t stay there. Anthony betrayed me.
And wants me dead for the money I took on my way out the door.
Home. Gerard and I bound up the steps, two at a time. The street buzzes behind us, clients in and out of the shop, tourists on their way from beach to club, family fun to dinner hell.
I do not miss holidays with my “family”.
Our room beckons, sun setting outside of the small window, bed made. Gerard had fussed around, making things ready before I came home. All traces of our madness were gone, wiped away like the stupid reasons I used to take out my anger on him.
“It was my fault, Ali. I’m sorry. Stupid picture. But I don’t get to do much script work like that, and it looks so good–”
I walk up and wrap my arms around him. The muscles are right beneath his skin, taut and sinewy. “Because you are a great artist.” I lift my head from his chest and kiss his lips, savoring the lingering taste of salt. It tastes different than the crust you get hiking in the desert from water laced with minerals.
We spent awhile in the desert before moving east. For a minute it was magic. Gerard stole a Jeep on our way out of town and it served us well until it ran out of gas. The nights were cold, but we snuggled together and the best of it. Once the Jeep died we had to walk until we found someone we could trust to help us. My lips felt like they were going to fall off before we reached Lake Mead and a fresh buffet of vehicles Gerard could steal. Anthony provided the gas money. I’d originally planned to fly as far away from all of them as I could.
My angel of a taxi driver informed me they would be able to trace me, even if I paid cash, because of the new regulations. And so we stole a Jeep and headed out to the desert. Gerard swore he was looking for adventure. I think he was looking to get in my pants. I was still in the crappy shirt and yoga pants they give you as a recovering mother in the hospital, and so upset all my troubles spilled out of me on the ride. He knew I was easy.
But that doesn’t matter now. Now I am encircled in his arms, safe, home, happy. Hunted. Lost. But happy.
We fall to the bed and he tries to speak but I put my lips to his and eat the words, filling a bit more emptiness inside my heart with the love from his tongue against mine, falling into the nothingness of one bed, one heart, one soul. For now, we are the only people in the world, the sounds of a busy summer evening on the Virginia Beach strip muted by the closed window, the sunset filtered through dirt and scratches, making child’s sketches of light on our bodies. For a moment I think of Anthony despite myself, to wonder at how it never felt like this with him, never felt so connected. We were together such a long time, our fathers determined to have their legacies live on in the way they wanted.
Gerard touches my face and they all fall away, he moves his other hand down my body and I melt, I massage his neck as our kiss goes deeper and he moans in my mouth. We press against each other and restraint dies, hands become frantic and clothes suddenly cease to exist. The evening comes, and the night after it, and we remain in the bed, remain with each other, affirm the life we have created, its goodness, its rightness.
When sleep comes, I am still wrapped in his arms, and the letter stays forgotten in my pocket, somewhere thrown on the floor.
For earlier story see:
Might want to watch with the sound off, I wasn’t the only one this ride made scream like a girl. Not my vid, made by a dude crazy enough to sneak a camera out on there. I thank him. My trip to Six Flags yesterday doesn’t have anything to do with my writing of The Pier, a trip to Virginia Beach with a former friend o’ mine created the genesis for this story long ago. But facing fear and getting on some ridiculous roller coasters did serve the purpose of celebrating my brother’s birthday–because riding all the coasters at an amusement park makes you feel young and old. The trip also got me thinking constructively about Vagabond again, and over the fear of not being perfect enough to finally start serializing The Pier.
I am definitely an isolated sort, on purpose, but getting out makes more of a difference that way. All the memories it brought back of good times with the family seem to be balancing my depression about it all that never really fades, and that’s a good thing.
(wrestling announcer voice)
…and now, the first installment of The Pier:
The waves make small shadows on the beach at night, the sound wrapping around me. It almost replaces the blanket I left at home.
I did not plan on leaving tonight.
Gerard and I live in an apartment above his tattoo studio, right on Main Street. I look down at my wrist. “Free” is still written there, clear as the day I suffered through the needles to get it. The weak orange lights from the street cast a shadow over it like a desert sunset. I miss the wastelands of Nevada. There’s nothing like them out here.
Water crashes and mumbles and I stare into it, trying to open myself to the calm Margie swore it’d provide. She’s a waitress with me at The Salted Fish, and knows the menu better.
If I did, this flight could be permanent. Margie makes twice the tips I do. And has better hair.
The letter came today. It sits on the sand at my side, taking in water. The ink won’t bleed out. Indelible marks, unsatisfied cries.
My mother is dead. My baby is five. I do not know how they found me. I think I know. I can’t be sure. I told him I didn’t like cameras.
He said it was just a picture of my wrist. A small vanity.
The pier shelters me and I lean my head back against the base of the shore, cool sand grinding into my hair, calming the panic, calming the fever of flight. I need to escape, if only to here, if only for one night.
I wish it could be forever.