How do your help someone who is dying? Do you help them to find a more express path to their final destination? Do you comfort them that time enough remains to get their house in order to answer all those lingering unanswered questions? The few words remaining on the page clearly state was is expected. Yet after every attempt at solving the puzzle, one is forced to go back to the beginning to read them once again before exhausting all the possibilities of what’s new. When one’s aspirations die out a reality finally strikes that we are all spending too much energy on a past that was exclusively devoted to a past ‘now’ of those recently deceased. Perhaps the present is forsaken by some in favor of this convenient coverlet? Something familiar to draw over the head like a coffin lid to shut out the realization that nothing is left and that all that is remaining is silence? All my icons are dead and have mentally gone to rust. Ubiquitous. No longer used or useful. A collection of memories oblivious to the discussion to the point of neglect of important communication. Useless utensils no longer employed left to the great grinder of tireless chaos without.
The bar was dark and he sat inside it’s dun because all the tables outside save one had been occupied. There was a new waitress. A young Mexican whose longstanding sister in arms held court behind the bar. As she padded away, he turned to look at her and could still see the same backpack that had been worn across the border manifested in her step. Its weight upon her shoulders still lightly carried through the energy of youth. He could not help staring dead on at his own face in the mirror behind the bottles dead ahead before him. One side in shadow and the remaining side illuminated by the Sun’s wild spill through the establishment’s front windows. His own visage had been diminished from the vitality of youth into a melting mask folded upon itself with the experience of life bearing down bone white and hard in a multiplicity of unattractive wrinkles. The apparition refused to be dispelled its persistence pulling him down into the drink. The impart of the realization a good Irish sweater following its alternate task of sending his waterlogged corpse efficiently to the bottom of the the drink. There was not doubt about it that he was scheduled for an early departure.
A glance up at the TV’s and the changing iconography verified that the Hebrews had finally made their move from the limelight into the inheritors of the power over the culture with unashamed publicly televised displays that insinuated their kind of cultural perspective as supreme. Gone were the old days and old myths of anyone and the sky not standing in the way of possibility for all the rest. The glass bottomed boat now had a roof fashioned from same. A toddler somewhere behind immediately broke into an uncustomary wavering loud lament. His persistent cyclical vocalization penetrating the entire barroom. The terror belied within the infant recalling his own worst moment of childhood when vexed by a variety of pox leading to ceaseless unbearable itching and a day or two on the brink of pre-adolescent insanity. He looked back ahead catching his father’s face hounding him in the fact of his own reflection. The family curse of genes had increased in share, his own uneasy identity subsumed by the wealth of detail that had formerly been ;loudly hinted at with the application of an unwanted subset of “Jr.” by self-seeking goatherds. His own sense of hopes and dreams were derailed by the old man’s visage setting up shop within. Death had come to the meadow. The myth of an illusory ‘perfect one’ falling into the fog of self-dissipation. The vacuous house jukebox broke into a rendition of, “When the Saints Come Marching In“, arriving in this very last moment.
A single old woman was sat alone at a chair before the smallest of tables that had been his original destination before coming inside. Her solitary loneliness brilliantly illuminated by the Sun overhead leaving a stark impression to any who would look for more than a moment at its stage. She sat stabbing at her hamburger with her knife its blade pointed down under an angry fist probing for the heart of some bygone lover that had brought her nothing but disappointment. No longer a viable article to attract anything beyond the financial avarice of an empty nursing home bed the burger absorbing the momentary fury of the life to be lived alone. It’s vigorous harmony in counterpoint with her other hand’s forefinger salaciously massaging the screen of a Smartphone as if urging the buzz of some form of possible outside communication via text or email. Occasional glances towards it telling the tale that none were forthcoming.
His passive observance conducted through the intervening glass door of the bar as if he was clinically preoccupied with an experiment within a laboratory as opposed to slouched before a Bloody Mary within a drinking establishment. The knife now missing, her hand was now mopping up catsup with long snaking tendrils of French Fries, her phone hand persistently tapping Morse on the unit’s face unconsciously attempting to illicit a response. The fall of her pride inescapable to any or all that had more than a simple glance to spare. A crown of thorns signifying ‘Spinster‘ roughly pushed into the crown of her brow. “So what does happen to a woman when the beauty finally fades?“, he spoke to himself out loud. The illusions of attaining power and fame were the persistent illusions that broke through the tangled path of rapidly advancing age for the male. But what did a childless woman have to look forward to beyond the recognition of her beauty which when it fully faded condemned her to a living death of its opposite. The most legendary figures were ever fated to one day fail, tits sagging downward to the ground and asses descending to flaccid jelly. What was attractive enough to command animal embrace if no one significant left around? Those who had son’s and daughters found anchorage in the safe harbor of the continuance of their past. That ready life raft of a ritual call on Sunday from afar and the power of the pen upon a check to be sent to extend their motherly love from afar.
The woman at the table squeezed the plastic catsup bottle hard trying to dislodge its corn syrupy contents onto her plate to stand in for the sweetness that was obviously lacking in her regular existence. Her drink of choice was cola. A sugary embrace of the senses preferential to the heavier stuff being drained periodically into the man at the bar distantly observing her. He called forth on his other side for ice water from its ‘tender‘ to help buffer the effects of the second drink. But found the Mexican waitress instead. Alcohol would later mete out pain for the price of his extended muse of external introspection. Miffed by the inattention of his regular muse, he found her betwixt the rest of the assemblage serving out dishwater fantasies to the other old men that were only somewhat grayer than himself. Something seemed morally wrong to him about her so freely massaging drinks on that side of the bar as opposed to the tread of the customary runway behind it. The sudden rhythm of acapella beat of jazz instruments diverting his attention from either side conducting his down to the useless vantage point of a heavy alcoholic fog no longer supporting judgement. He lowered his sensibilities upon its soft cot slumping elbows upon the bar into cathartic muscular ticks in sympathy with the music’s tempo. Immune now to the inevitability that all their would have to one day share by themselves completely alone. Existence descending like sediments below the ice into the glass’ bottom. He beat out the rhythm with his own free hand. A life lived without interwoven shadows was after all no life at all.