The last thing that I can do is to say that I am a failure. I can acknowledge my mistakes and misdeeds. But I cannot allow myself to not believe that tomorrow I can turn it all around. If I do I am dead. I am my families final chapter. They live within me. I am their history. Their entire lifetime all within me. Does it matter to the world? It matters not. They meant something, their lives and the dreams they instilled within me. I am their future as well as their past and I have gone fallow, Deep down within under the rubble of a life collapsed is the same little boy that would run to the comfort of his daddy’s arms to feel the love that was too quickly extinguished by the rueful circumstances of unstable life. In the end, I found much to our mutual regret that I had not cared as much for him as he did for me. At least not till he was past caring taken away by the inevitable natural cycle of birth and finally death. To late, my heart poured forth once again what it dare not admit while he was alive. Such was the great degree of my latent fear within. A fear that my sense of being in love would no longer be welcomed as an adult. A fear that I would have to surrender to the crushing mark of being a failed son. The one and only that could not outgrow his father long and ever widening shadow. In that I felt that I had truly failed. How could I not? He was a much greater man than ever I could have imagined. Than I found that I ever could be. Great because despite all the bad hands that he was dealt in life, he continued to persevere despite insurmountable odds. Angry sometimes? Sure! But never despairing always heading forward despite sheltering both my mother and I despite his own meandering inner flaws. No monument in my estimation could ever be built high enough to match his humble stature. A man who lived in the shadow of that larger than life personality that he himself created. Someone that despite how brash and brusque his unrefined manner appeared to me at the time would much later elicit posthumous comments of how that same demeanor would be sorely missed. Someone that many from all walks of life felt that they could call friend. This was the pattern that defines the direction of the weave of the cloth from which I am cut. My father. Someone that I so often regret the loss of and harbor that desire to be beside as I once was before. Just to reach up and find his warm hand holding my own yet again.
The small truck came to a halt three streets over just within the field of vision allowed by the canopy of trees that lined the streets far below some ten stories below. The most notable part of it being the yellow flashing lights that had caught his attention. Most of the horizon having been sequestered in Summer green. This was his day to play the role of exhausted past all reasonable possibility of useful activity. The cushion of gray that seemed to despoil the day before noon was barely a memory now. Hazy blue emptiness surmounted all by the faint hint of an airbrushed horizon. It was a different day completely. He was clueless now how to occupy his time as no occupation seemed fit to engage in. All occupations being essentially worthless to change his essential situation. He was old growing older every minute. The notion of attaining success was a topic clouded over by cynicism. A cynicism that was not without a certain degree of factual support. Three different careers had come and gone. The fourth was merely a hint of several vain hopes wrangled together from experiences long past. A sort of archive of topics checked off on a paper list. One that had not turned yellow enough with age to be illegible. The youth within him refused to be evicted. It lived in the here and there like a squatter ever ready to plan its umpteenth takeover of all things downtrodden and depressed. Yet fortune seemed ever elusive not allowing it to take a a foothold. Where was the world of lurking possibility as he had once known it. Now it was simply a bunch of empties littering the street.
While he was amidst his chat the emptiness of the sky just outside his window had birthed some small white clouds that as he caught him with the corner of his eyes were sailing just overhead out of sight. Was his brain boiling up the temperature just above him? It was not an obscure notion that could be discounted that one’s mood was ever the oarsman of one’s fate. No doubt this present tense could not be seen as anything else but being becalmed. The hermitage of this small apartment sequestered format he street a refuge from reality far below. A woman’s nightmare of inflexible orderliness and massing dust balls. The kitchen floor had not received a good scrub in nearly ten years. Carpets stained and worn like the ragged hems of the threadbare black jeans that hung clean upon closet hangers. Smelly old black socks hung out like guest towels.Time had stopped in the last decade. This had become a waiting room for passage to the great beyond. He was just another face keeping busy till his number was called. The previous night after the exhaustion and two refrigerated beers had stopped off the hard shell of his habitual indifference he lay in bed under the cool sheets naked. What did humans really have to look forward to that was not simply a sensation driven experience confused with something vaguely animal. Desire? Love? Companionship? All seemed established and nourished based mainly on the expectation of physical sensations? Desire involved touching or being unexpectedly touched in a manner that one had long repressed. Love was the embodiment of a reliable embrace provided at all costs in any situation. Companionship maybe two hands clasped on into the other? but certainly the calming of anxieties wrought from animal vulnerability to the unknown. Or the paucity of the other two aspects of a closer more intimate relationship. His concept briefly explored his mental focus snapped into itself like the sound of a lady’s compact snapping shut.
The world was to be viewed and the chaos that lurked around its edges respected. Yet no longer indulged in. The sky above him would vary at the whim of fate but there was very little remaining that had not already been charted out long ago. He sat in his easy chair waiting to be proved wrong and confident that behind all the barriers that were long tested that this was not ever going to be a possibility. This was not to say that he had not abandoned the notion of the opposite sex in his mind. The mind is the great builder of proper fantasies that while they may involved drama yet would always end in an expected happy conclusion. Yet this would inevitably evaporate by the next day no matter the positive level of confidence in one’s calming self assurance the night before. This gerbil was firmly locked in a cage of his own design. Such mechanisms ever proving to be impenetrable. Even if one knows where the keys are hidden.
Mediocrity has its own charms. Certainly it’s own following! Though not too many would take a step forward in public to advance that proposition. Old threadbare notions that are hard to release one’s grip from. The old car that needs some fixing. The job of painting the soffits of a house has gone over long. A job that won’t get one anywhere but that provides the confidence that it will still provide a ready location to go to the very next morning at 7:00 AM. A local store in the neighborhood where one can find some form of the basics of life at a cheap price. Even the upkeep of one’s own physical form in the form of some aches and pains that slowly seem to be becoming more acute. The safe harbor of little or no expectation for change has many phantoms hulks anchored anonymously residing within.
The need for food put off Jimmy decided on the spur of the moment that he was hungry. The Carter-Williams department store was an nicely location to admit to this condition as any sustenance that they could offer was merely a superficial accommodation. A traveling carnival setting up town to town having more substantial nourishment to offer. Worse yet closing time of five o’clock was fast approaching! The solitary clerk lingering about her department obviously had more pressing issues of her own flooding through her consciousness. Yet she took Jimmy’s order for the store’s house specialty with aplomb. In point of fact Jimmy had absolutely no idea of what he was ordering from the small flyer that he had picked up from beside the register. He figured like many that it bearing the name of “Carter’s Favorite Snack” it should be fast and reasonably satisfying to any palate. His own stomach was grumbling right now from inattention as the clerk walked off. Supposedly to pick up his order he surmised. “Service is our business!“, proclaimed a sign hung overhead of the store’s back exit. A reasonable proposition yet a curious one that one would be afforded the convenience of ordering food from any location in the store? He paced back and forth through the aisles nervously eyeing rows of lackluster items most of which struck him as particularly useless to his own conception of necessity.
Boredom dissatisfied, he decided to range farther afield opening a door to a patio and what appeared to be a lumber and lawn care wing. The light of the Summer Sun bore down with brutal efficiency convincing one that it was mid-afternoon when in truth it was closer to five hours past. Jimmy strolled down the lanes stocked full of potted plants, tall racks of two by four’s and quite literally found himself clueless as to how to mount a return journey. The light of the day was finally waning and Jimmy’s stomach had finally relented in its painful protest having rolled over and gone back to sleep. He really wasn’t interested in eating here at all. Besides it made more sense to just return home and rustle something up that wouldn’t cost him anything. Not being a regular customer he figured he could find a small exist far from his initial point of entry and slip away without causing much fuss. It was just past closing time and he formed a vision in his mind that the clerk had purposely forgotten anyhow. “So much for service!“, he mentally grunted ungraciously. He slipped out an open gate just before another store employee, equally hasty to close it, let him pass. The dusk was falling now as he walked alone across the mostly emptied parking lot. Here and there individual vehicles loudly exhaling that initial burst of exhaust after sitting silent since morning until by the time Jimmy had made the curb of the main intersection they had all flown off like a clock of crows.
What was it about waiting for a bus at night that seemed so lonely and chaotically vulnerable? Jimmy stood looking up at the weather beaten metal ensign of the route number static upon its old galvanized pole. The route numbers of three separate buses and an approximate range of time in small text etched in fluorescent ink. The traffic still seemed inordinately heavy even though ‘Rush Hour’ was officially far past its peak. No one else was in the vicinity beyond the many indifferent souls encased in metal and plastic passing indifferent to the world without. The only thing that Jimmy could summon was a reciprocal feeling of impersonal menace from the notion that none within this see of impatient ‘beetles’ would mind the distraction of running over him if he were so foolish to wish to wade in haphazardly before their paths. The equally taciturn sentinels of the traffic lights hovering high over over the intersection projecting their colored beams with a grimly efficient timing. No sense of a concern for the personal or the variance of individual human experience evident in this transitional wasteland. This was a place that humans might be tolerated to briefly wait but never inhabit. Jimmy looked about behind him at the thicket of bushes and the section of car exhaust inebriated forest behind it. What manner of dangers lurked waiting just yards within he could not fathom. A certain sense of unaccountable nightmarish terror that he did not wish to admit to. But he was very sure that he did not wish to explore. He turned back around to the inconstant sound of a sea of tires rushing endlessly past.
The long hulking oversized bulk of a breadbox congealed from the shadow moving towards him. The Route fifty-three rolled to a halt and bared it’s vertical fissure from two revolving door panels with an abrupt hydraulic hiss. The light brightly illuminating the passengers from within the closest thing thing to palpable civilization that Jimmy could now imagine. He felt instinctively inclined to step forward though the bus he was looking for bore the number fifty-eight. A darkened form trundled down the three steps of the entrance unsteadily onto the curb. The figure’s arms weightily encumbered with a large flat square expanse of what appeared to be a disordered pizza or cake. It was the same clerk from the store who with no hesitation she made her way straight towards Jimmy nearly colliding with him as he mechanically responded by bringing his own arms up to receive that large unstable surface that she was carrying onto his own. “Here’s your order sir!“, she commanded. Whatever this thing was it was not conventional in the sense of any identifiable foodstuff. The woman hopped back on the bus as Jimmy still confused by such an enigmatic encounter tried to take stock of what so precariously was sliding and leaking about. What ever this stuff was, good bad or otherwise it had need of a more robust container than just the soaked through corrugated square that barely kept it from sloughing off onto the ground. There being no place to put it down beyond the sordid junk ridden grass or gravel without incurring a hail of dust from passing tires and trucks. Jimmy was stuck with the dilemma of whether to let it default to destruction by unceremoniously dropping it straight to the ground? Or to continue the unwanted balancing act that the rankled clerk from the store had left him within? The general appearance of it just below his nose was one of an amorphous mass of something unidentifiable. It smelled strange and barely palatable as if its creator had be some store policy tried to produce something that would please everybody. But of course, would never satisfy any!
Jimmy’s stomach gurgled awake like some unfettered animal while his temper became short. The Route Fifty-Eight bus came to a stop across the street traveling the other way. And it suddenly crossed his mind that he was on the wrong side to get back home. The light was threatening to shift green and he hobbled across like some overly preoccupied sleepwalker, arms still fully encumbered. The bus driver seemed to sense the possibility of an unwanted complication heading his way and the rasp of the hydraulic hiss of the doors closing and the shiver of the vehicle as it edged forward had Jimmy in a steeplechase to gain the curb and race around the back of it. The driver’s conscious ridden face now staring back at him from the big mirror by the door reluctantly jamming the bus to a stop and the dragon-like hiss of the entrance yet again greeting Jimmy as he approached with his burden. “I can’t let you bring any un-boxed food on this bus!“, the driver warned with a scowl. Jimmy looked down his chin grazing what seemed to be some festering mess of hastily assembled dubious food products and frowned. It was not worth risking being relinquished any longer to these inconstant ‘moors‘. He nodded at the driver and turning quickly around he swung his arms towards the emptiness of the road’s shoulder leaving his unwanted parcel as an offering to the crow’s. The only evidence of his recent adventure a chin painted clown red with an oily tomato sauce like grease.
It seems so easy to not comprehend what is so obvious. The world as a whole is not a whole world at all. The glue that binds it is a matter of technical necessity. Survival is a matter of defeating overpopulation of social goods that take one away from their direct creation by making all interdependent and vulnerable to shortages. My exploits of the night stay hidden from me upon awakening. A dual dialogue that disappears conveniently from the mind’s access. Yet it’s presence remains. What seemed normal now is judged completely the otherwise. The sign of the present times taking it all in hand to re-spinning the spinner. I saw the clouds in their ether.
What a shock to find the depository of all one’s keepsakes reduced by unknown hands into a small stack of clear plastic containers housing a paltry amount of nothing in the stall of a leaky bathroom. This sort of mental event might shock one to believe that their own self definition has been grievously injured? Significant objects of status being important in many eyes as to the proposed eventual outcome of someone’s life. What a laughable irony that Dumas has his shadowy hero and Count of a nonexistent but an obscenely well-funded empire obsess and chase after one Mercedes? Can there be such accidents is the marketing of products leavened for public dispensation at premium prices? How easy it is to fall into a realm of narrowly posed obsessions? Does the society resemble you? Are your animal, tribal needs met in a healthy sense of positive inclusion and respect for your heartfelt opinion? Are you considered an irritant or an embarrassment by others within that framework no matter how you try to fit in? So therefore you mentally set yourself up as your own micro-version based upon the worst that society offers you and become critical of others to the point of cynical extremes?
The theater is always exhilarating from the fulcrum from viewpoint of the stage. To be accepted by an audience is always a heady experience. To challenge that same audience is always a dangerous proposition. But those who wish to remain in that sort of venue are ever challenged with that dilemma each night that they perform. That dual species of man and woman is enjoined to congeal itself upon an agreement of a singular viewpoint of perception of self. Something useful to the next industrial generation threatened of a proliferation of all manner of robots to replace and monitor the human species. Just to phrase this thought alone becomes a sort of insane anti-human rhetoric?
The isolation experienced in the public sense a results from the evolution of a social organism that invites one to peek out of their own cubbyhole and then buries them alive with the notion of self. One continues to float upon a Sargasso Sea of mixed up bottle cap notions whose origins and definitions defy logic or grace. The Capitalist paradise of the Socialist worker’s state of perpetual disarmament. A fully monitored prison of mental outlook for those who prefer to believe in globes and distant stars to wish upon, rather than eternally linear distances across an infinitely flattened plane. Pick your poison? The fantasy of ‘down to earth’ gritty reality? Or moonbeams and burning hulks aflame off the planets of Sirius Major? It is faux drama either way! Why are age and caste so damn important as the only thing worth living for? Or, is allowed in the moment?
A world of mobile machinations lived out in cart-bound lanes of slow traffic. Going to and fro to exercise one’s expertise in fulfilling otherwise mundane tasks cannot equate to animal survival. The current era seems like Chapter II of the previous Weimar era where the right response leads to becoming yet another NAZI hellbent upon one’s own survival. One that eventually leads to a final brave but unsung moment in the embrace of final extinction in the most current sense of an expected Gotterdammerung! A boy goes from past to present securing his place in the same old tired cycle. But all to what glorious and eventual conclusive end?
Summer warmth on a sidewalk before the tar beach of a parking lot. Back and forth, incessantly! The local humanity take up their daily habitual patterns of another day. I have only these paltry insubstantial wares to offer from my own precarious vantage point. Who is the ‘Eternal Jew’, now? Susceptible to death by sunburn of here-to-fore common knowledge unrevealed hidden truths.
Nothing. No motivation to speak of. The day was nearing the expected transition. Perhaps the hundred millionth one that he had failed to notice? So much much that was new to him as his eyes traced the fleeting direct illumination of the Sun. The clouds passing slowly like derelict prison hulks spewing fractals of cotton candy. The light streaming now like a puncture wound through rays of evening mist. Magnificence blocking the shadows deepening quickly bringing on drama to the otherwise mundane. He held out his hand extending a forefinger to trace the path of the rapidly departing Sun, its chariot galloping West. Struck like an aging toddler reborn back to the previous wonders of childhood yet again.
A solitary soul in a land of vague familiarity. So many hostile stares of young strangers taken aback. “Am I still here?“, he silently choked out in awe of their sour expressions. “Why haven’t you hurried up and got down to the business of dying?“, their malicious glares all seemed to say in an impatient unison. Same places remaining. But not how they had formerly had been. The narrative an accurate voice of family re-pagination. Inner peace disturbed by an unwarranted intrusion of the same old crowd of the impatient. “The world is no longer mine?” Something no longer of my own creation. Something no longer my fault. At least I am not living still in the bloom of accomplishments of a faraway long ago precocious youth. The crack int he world of their self-ascribed fantasy is what angers these self-important immortals. Nothing is more motivating than the fiction of eternal perfection remodeled to reveal a reality of unstoppable chaos! When abandoned by electricity the facts of one’s lack to compensate are too overwhelming to bear.
Soap opera bitches proclaiming, “The third successive decade of endless self-empowerment!” Resonating freely upon all the misplaced holiday’s TV network’s across the land. Is it possible to imagine a real friendship with a female in the current era? Better she run off with my assets as is now the custom. The current era won’t tolerate it. No overt fraternization! Their message running out of accompanying ‘bread and circuses’ to sell it before the impending collapse of society becomes too painfully imminent. All that is planned to be left for the male of the species is to joust imaginary dragons on his X-Box. And for all the women to have all the cartoon men of their dreams to mercilessly berate but still find all of them magically submitting themselves to even more abuse. The parental duty of organized defecation. Essentially the scripted version of the genocide of the modern European. Once the most favored demographic holding the most popularized products un-sellable. Now fools with beanies, the brims turned backwards. All the once great heroes now gone waiting for their few admirers to die off.
Were everything replaced with something absolutely brand new, the absence of the old equivalents still weigh one down. Museums spouting ‘heritage’ now simply categorical homages to older forms of consumerism and consumption. Whenever suddenly ‘over-exposed‘, women grabbing the own breasts not out of propriety but in embarrassment of fostering disappointment. Modern imagery no longer prone to accidents. And the possibility of being privy to creativity because of same gone forever. The most perfect of women incapable of procreation like any other damned long extinct species. There should be a billboard on every street corner, “FUCK UTOPIA!” The last thing in this universe a man needs is a, “Strong Independent Woman!” No more than his opposite needs those same dubious qualities from him. Those kings and queens of long lost empires that never existed outside the fancy of a terminally perverted mind. “Nice guys No Longer Wanted!” Just an inexhaustible universe of lamentable evil pricks that no ones care one way or another if they die.
In this prison, they made you eat a really awful combination made of shredded regrown eyeball cells from some off-world creature that of itself was too terrible to look at lest you go made from the inability to ever sleep soundly again. Laying back in my bunk I could recall a time far past when some Hippies arrived at the North Avenue warehouse that a bunch of us had lived in as a loft. Some hippies had a arrived with a flatbed the center of which was neatly battened down with an eclectic combination of all their worldly goods. My neighbor of longstanding had been good friends even further back with the young silky blonde haired waif gone well into her forties. She spun a slow rambling tale the conclusion of which resulted in a hint that held an empty hand holding the proverbial pan out. I did not respond. But my father still alive at that time had dug deep in his own pocket unnecessarily. At least in my opinion. But that was his way after a long hard life as a child of the back alleys of the Depression. They could market their wares I thought. As I have down so many times before. And as I would find myself doing yet again several more times before fate had found me sequestered here.
I was teaching in a school for youngsters of 10 to 12 years in age myself decades past my associates. One young woman in her late twenties caught my interest of all the others. While prim and proper as one was likely to expect in such circumstances. Though it didn’t stop me from one day pulling her close upon my lap and encircling my arms about her. So swift was my play that she fell willingly into my embrace as if to catch herself from a fall. My lips the landing pad as I had intended and with no hesitation the two of us freely sloshing tongue and teeth. The propriety of the situation coming later of course for though there were no stunts in view the cameras scattered at brief intervals catching our hi-jinks. The conclusion of our encounter leaving her a bit flushed in the face. I had heard about those kinds of women whose bodies became fully flushed in passion. And it was to my loss that I did not have the opportunity to sometime shortly later discover more? It was more in line with my own fate that I would become waylaid by a young associate and his wife who generally running across each other’s paths on a fairly frequent daily early morning schedule. He invited me to his home just over on the next block and feeling caught by the duties accompanying good behavior graciously accepted. To my chagrin his wife had not quite risen for the day and I felt my presence was an unwarranted imposition. Young men being somewhat indifferent to the decor of such situations I found the most neutral part of the house to await her changing out of her flimsy nightgown into something less eye-catchingly flimsy.
The odd thing was that their hospitality was extended to include a rather informal display of local marksmanship with shotguns. I myself proposed with an example of same expressly for bird hunting of the 12 gauge variety. I began the feel a bit off kilter when I realized that though the artifact had been transported in two separate pieces, the shells that accompanied it were not for skeet but for more robust two-legged targets. The fact that they were shooting across the street towards another warehouse as opposed to a fully reinforced backstop made me uneasy. Worse yet was ahead when an overhead door was raised and the contestants were invited to shoot into a room stacked with liquor bottles. The idea being to hit the empties stacked in the midst of other rows or new merchandise. It was all the mischief of some foolhardy mind. But then another worry struck me as I had somehow overlooked the 9MM automatic that I was carrying about outside my home without a license. Somehow I knew I was tempting fate? The afternoon concluded with me upon a massive sand pile within a large half-barrel shaped containment structure crawling on my belly to catch site of something far at the back end of same. The day had descended into endless dares and other forms of spontaneous foolishness. Funny how when you have so much time on your hands and you are perpetually confined to a six by none universe what odd recollections arrive as if from nowhere to occupy your thoughts? Tale after tale of nonsensical anecdotes precluding you from obsessing for the hundred-millionth time on that other all too familiar tale that you tried every waking moment of existence to avoid reliving. The story of how you found yourself here to begin with. A tale that I an loath to recall and will not bother to tell if I can help it!
The Anaconda had caught him sleeping alone out in the bush. When he had awakened it had already had its coils tightly around his chest and legs. Whatever fear that had been madly exploding within upon the instant of awakening had subsided with what had let like the bursting of his rib cage and the collapse of all the organs within. The sinews of bone connected pure muscle power ever active after the initial horror. Now something worse was occurring. Four major prongs, two above and two below had impaled his shoulders while the blackness of a gigantic crushing grip had forced his head into a wet saliva ridden channel. He was being swallowed head first. His mind was caught in some slow motion fantasy wondering if this was simply an incredibly demented dream so true to life that he was incapable of waking from it. The function of his brain slowly descending to a strange sense of suppressed calm by virtue of a feeling of all the blood in his system being squeezed downward like a toothpaste tube towards his feet. His consciousness demoted to a twilight realm where he figured that death sat patiently upon the prow of its brace under a stormy sky waiting patiently for the agent of natural chaos to fill up all the seats. Was his own soul now an eternal captive within the universe of this fiendish thing that had caught him unawares. What further torments awaited him as he began to feel the outside of his head shoulders stinging from the internal digestive juices as the peristalsis of the creature’s ring of teeth and rhythmically contracted musculature gripped and pulled his enraptured corpus deeper within. He imagined the absurd sight of the head of the beast distended into an absurd all inclusive gaping smile gasping around the main bulk of his body seemingly choking it. The routine task of its life being the worst imaginable fear accomplished in his own. Was he now to disappear as a sentient entity as he slowly was engulfed and digested he wondered? His own torso was engaged in struggling on its own outside of this control. It was odd he thought how he had never fully reconciled it as something completely synonymous and under his full control in what was now the brevity of his existence. The sensation of a growing dissipation accompanied by a dizzying vertigo was detaching him from being the source of that sensation. The stinging had turned to burning as the local acid of the creatures insides was forcing itself into his eye sockets and ear channels. The white hot headache of human flesh being softened into a mushy solution preeminent beyond his own sense of rapidly diminishing contact and control of his corporal self. “This is it!“, some tiny vaguely familiar voice screamed in impotent anger swirling in an unaccustomed eddy somewhere deep within. He was being pulled down into the oblivion of a universal undertow. His mind at last subsumed within the coverlet of eternal darkness.