The week in limbo (a poem in free verse)

Strange old concrete
horizons bereft
now of cars,
an off-season, a summer
sizzling past with light
soft summer rain.

People to miss— trudge on—
unfamiliar faces,
refugees absconding
like lost loves lost and
never regained.

Congealed in amber: seven days,
last call
to arms, to none,
‘twixt Xmas & hereafter—
Father Time looks back, sees sorrow, rethinks
& ultimately forfeits his game.


Cindy does Annie Hall

“I can’t believe the nerve, walking along like that in broad daylight,” Cindy says angrily with a wave of her arms as we pass by this guy she used to date, purely by chance, and he’s with some girl now but they never notice us.
“Yeah I know, in broad daylight right in the middle of the evening,” I reply as we struggle to catch up with Dennis and Roseanne a few steps before us, driving a wedge with our elbows through the thronging mob of late-Sunday evening Christmas shoppers, towards the Japanese restaurant for dinner.
“And he was holding her hand! Like a couple! How dare he!” she rants and raves, refusing to accept the whole situation.
“Yeah I know, walking hand-in-hand with his fiancée, that’s more than absurd, it’s… it’s outrageous! Preposterous!”
“I just can’t understand it,” she reasons, trying to make her point, “She’s fat and she’s got bad hair.”
“You have straight long blond hair Cindy and blue eyes— you look like a… like a Panzer division pin-up model. You’re practically cover-girl material for the Lebensborn— next to you the entire world’s got bad hair, that’s not even an argument!”
“Hehhh hehe” Dennis chuckles from the middle of the crowd, “C’mon you guys, if we’re not fast enough we’ll have to wait ages for a table!”
“Cindy’s got issues, Dee. I think she needs therapy.”
“What I need right now is a drink” she says, vents, but when she looks over her shoulder I’m already signaling Dennis with my thumb sticking out to my lips, meaning booze.


All the girls of December

We’re all at this bar for some year-end party and I think Maddie’s coming on to me you know all whispering close to my ear and the touching too— especially the touching but the power’s out because of a fallen light pole or something— the power’s out on the entire goddamn grid and the bar’s dark and the free drinks amount to nothing and she ends up brushing me off even though it’s not even what, eight or nine in the evening and I think I’m drunk already. So then I leave— I really do.

But before that I was sort of saying this whole amount of crap not to Maddie but to the tall brunette with the implants but we were just laughing it off but this is De-cem-ber for chrissakes and I’m supposed to have lots of great sex in December but December, 2010 sort of carries the same bad vibe as the rest of the year and this just sucks man. So I get nothing at all— and just leave.

I walk home the whole hour-and-a-half— thinking all kinds of trash even though I’m quite prone to text-messaging Dennis and begging him to take me to a nightclub, any nightclub really as long as there’s enough champagne and loud music but I don’t.

I don’t because all of a sudden I’m walking by that same burger joint I once went with you and Paola and Paola’s boyfriend like a decade ago and Paola’s boy-toy was named after Italian food even though she was two-timing him with Luke, good old Luke with the sideburns and the attitude and all the pot he kept stashed in his refrigerator I think for moisture and whatever befell that crazy old kid anyhow?— It was in the same night I met your brother, then 12 and it was the fist time I ever heard of Harry Potter because he was reading it and it made such a big impression on me because he was only 12 and reading it in a foreign language, and after that your mother told me I had a firm handshake. We made out on the couch at your grandma’s then went over to Paola’s where we made out on her mother’s couch too. But that was ten years ago and memory blurs, fact becomes fiction becomes fact.

Also right in front of the burger joint— you wouldn’t believe the coincidence— else Jung’s synchronicity — lies Helga’s loft, one of those cool, expensive two-story apartments entirely in off-white and Helga is this tall, blue-eyed girl from Norway— from honest-to-god Norway where trolls live whom I met walking down the street a December some three years ago and we went out for a short while then she started with madcap ideas about moving in together and I simply disappeared, man.

Then a few days ago...

Then a few days ago I was browsing Leon Vickers’ profile on Facebook and there was this note from sweet little TJ— Leon’s friend from a few years back with whom I went out also in December but she dumped me by phone on Xmas eve and it kind of sucked. There was this particular Sunday in December, 2006 that sweet little TJ and I stayed in bed from dawn to dusk and only stopped fooling around to eat (in bed) and to watch Sid & Nancy on DVD (also in bed) then she finally told me she was up for everything, anything but a few days after that she called me up and told me she was going back to her fiancé. I asked her if that was that and she said it was indeed. Merry Xmas I told her back.
Later on when I was having dinner with Jimmy he asked why the back of my hands were all marked and bruised and I just smiled in return. But there in Leon Vicker’s profile in Facebook a few days ago sweet little TJ looked so old, so miserably old and married and soiled and she was just 19 back then: Maybe it was the make-up but she looked so goddamn old and her smile just seemed to curve at all the wrong angles it just killed me, Lyla. It was so sad my heart just sank.

Then there was December last year when this former girlfriend, Jimmy’s cousin the dead-ringer for the ghost-eyed hot chick from the vampire flicks stood me up on New Year’s Eve at Dennis’ and I think we never really spoke again after that even though there’d been this passionate kiss in the rain the month before when we attempted to reconcile.

Looking back there was also that New Year’s Eve at the turn of the twenty-first century— necking with Gwen in the dark, on a mattress on the ground— at her rich dad’s time-shared apartment at some beach wherever where rich doctors time-share apartments for their daughters to take lost boys and make out on mattresses on the ground just before dawn, with that dope Harvey Apollo snoring on the bunk-bed right next to us but dopey Harvey Apollo never said a word about it during breakfast the next day, whatta pal.

Then of course there were also all the gloomy, dark Decembers wasted away with Franny, with poor doomed Franny whom I guess I might have loved or not either way all those Decembers amounted to nothing at all in the end either.

But it’s December all over again and it’s warm and stuffy and I’m supposed to get laid a lot not sulk. This one’s been such a fucked up lousy year and I can’t even remember the way you look like anymore— I can’t remember the sound of your voice or which movies you liked not even the smell of your sweat— All I wanna do right now is slip on that iPod, Sinéad O’Connor singing The Last Day of Our Acquaintance, pop a couple of pills, turn off the lights, turn on the A/C to make the world of my bedroom so very cool and I want to let go hey Lyla one of these days I’m gonna cash in what little I have and pack my bags and just go, man— disappear— sublimate from this goddamn world else simply slash my wrists, jump off this eleventh floor window, blow my damn head off, because I’m so jaded— so sick of wearing this same old wrongskin, so bored, sick and tired of waiting for the world to end but it never does:

To hell with tomorrow: I need my fix of today right now, tonight, and I don’t even like it in here that much anymore.


Still life, with irony

It’s a warm Thursday night after the rain and I’m sitting on a concrete bench at the park, watching the tall illuminated Christmas tree in the distance from the opposite side of the lake. I’m holding my legs tight against my body, crossed over at the shins, waiting for the sweat to cool off my shirt before going home for dinner.

The bright Christmas lights flicker on and off and shift to a different color following a fixed pattern only to start again at the beginning: It goes from red to white to green, then to a myriad of variant pulsing abstract drawings shadowdancing in white, before going back to red again.

If you want me to be perfectly honest with you it’s pretty lame as far as Christmas trees go but I stay like that indefinitely anyhow and lose track of time altogether. There’s nothing going on in my mind and it just feels like touching something, somewhere else entirely as if plucking a piece off creation and hiding it in a box underneath god’s bed while he sleeps soundly, oblivious of myself: All my past tomorrows melt away into ensuing yesterdays— everything connecting then falling apart then re-connecting, etc— very, very limited in range and scope and wingspan and with this clear end in sight, dreadfully so— it kind of sucks in that aspect but not a lot, not really, no big news here right?— but I just shrug and choose to ignore everything because it’s not really making much sense and all in all that’s one cheap Christmas tree over there anyway.

Then there’s this deep voice booming from out of nowhere asking me if I plan on staying around here much longer. It goes something like this: “Do you plan on staying around here much longer?”
When I turn around I see a figure clad entirely in back— the security guard droning around nearby as far as short-lived metaphors go, telling me it’s well past ten and he needs to lock up the gate, and if I choose to stay I’ll end up having to climb over the fence in order to go home.
I frown for a split-second then tell him I’m pretty sure that gate isn’t usually locked before eleven. He says it’s his first day on the job.
“Hey congrats then, man” I tell him as I stand up and shake the dirt from the bench off my ass with a slap to my shorts, then bid him goodbye and trudge home for a shower and some dinner.

I’m quite positive there’s a message in all of this somewhere, somehow but just look at that tree again, will you? It’s so half-assed it just kills me, perish the thought.