The checkout line in purgatory stretches for eternity. Therein lies the rub. There isn't an end to it. There is no teenage grocery clerk, spotty with pimples and multicolored hair, to let you pay the toll and move on. You're stuck. Here. Forever.
(more) So, I stepped out of line. I thought "one of those Adirondack chairs would be nice" and lo an behold it appeared. Next thing I knew, a glass of Bourbon popped into my hand, neat, just like the way I liked it. I settled in for the long wait, a smile budding on my sallow face.
You can imagine the glances that I got. The outright stares. The mumblings. But hell, I was happy with my bourbon, with my chair, with the ocean lapping at my toes. For the first time in a really long time (like before I had even died) I was actually happy. Content. And that's when I knew. This whole purgatory B.S. was all in the head. IT was up to you to let go of the baggage and forgive yourself.
One by one, the line stopped being a line to nowhere. We were already here. We were already where we belonged. And Damn, that was some fine Bourbon.
His steps are staggered. For each lunge forward there is a half-step that follows, as if his legs and mind cannot seem to agree on the pace. But, he is moving forward, and sometimes that is what really counts. I’ve watched him from afar, debating whether he is full(more) of drink, drugs, a combination of both, or worse. Perhaps, there is some kind of deformity hidden under his much too large jeans.
He probably smells of old sweat and earth. I bet that his teeth are only half there, gaps making up most of his smile. I wonder where he came from. Was he born an aging man, discarded at his first breathe, left to rot amid the refuse on some forgotten alley? Was he some golden youth, bright future, bright past, fallen low by the quiet depression of time weighing heavily on his shoulders? How far am I away from becoming this man? This tired piece of flesh moving forward because that is all that is left to do?
I sip my coffee, a nice full dark roast. Its bold, bitter flavor massaging my taste buds. He is gone, moved beyond my tiny window, dissolved into the space between a breathe.
I can't even seem to see straight anymore. My eyes want to cross with every breathe, every blink, every goddamn second that ticks by. Internally as well. Not too long ago there was a clear path. The future lay right before me, no mirage, a clear crisp vision that(more) I could hold in my palm and admire. Now...now it's gone. Now, each step I take is one taken blind. I can't see the pitfalls. I can't see the vistas. I'll fall or rise to the moment never knowing what's coming until the moment has already passed. I suppose that is what it feels like to be human. (less)
"We are tied, inexorably," she says with more than a little bit of disdain coating the words. She is right. In every way. We are tied together. We are wrapped, knotted so thoroughly into each others lives it would be nearly impossible to leave. If one, or both of(more) us were to use a razor and slice neatly through the bonds, tendrils of our "togetherness" would flay the dream of separateness. So, bonded we must stay though it pains us each and every minute. Each and every second. We are Siamese twins, our foreheads the point of connection. Our hearts roaming free. (less)
Her eyes swing back and forth in time with the pendulum. Housed in mahogany, inlaid with gold scroll-work, the masterpiece of a grandfather clock stands proudly in the corner of the dimly lit room. When the pendulum swings just right a flash of gold illuminates the face the of the(more) man sitting across from her. His eyes heavy, face sagging, mouth twisted into a grimace. In his hands a strap of leather three inches wide and an eighth of an inch thick. His knuckles are white from gripping it.
"You don't have to do this", she says, hands folded neatly on her lap. "There are other options."
His grip loosens. Blood flows back into his pudgy knuckles. "I know", he says.
"But you are going to do it anyway", she says, a grin beginning to form.
"Yes", he replies, his eyes focused on the strap "Yes".
"Then be done with it."
He tries to stand, but his legs are as weak as his chin. Instead he slumps to the floor, tears streaming, snot bubbling out of his nose. The girl gently glides over to him and removes the strap from his lame grip. She raises it over head and brings it down with such force that it sounds like a clap of thunder when it strikes the mans bald pate.
"Pathetic." Her green eyes gleam in the half light, and she raises the strap again.
She screams because she is angry and frustrated at a system that no longer holds any relevance for her. It is digging its nails deep into her spine, wrenching mobility from her, painfully asserting its dominance when it is least needed. She screams at the expressionless minions enforcing laws(more) that only apply to the few, the spare few that stand up to tyranny, to injustice.
She sobs when her voice goes unheard. When she spins around and realizes she is the only one there. She sobs for the inevitable doom that is rushing hungrily toward her people. Blind, fat, lazy people that will be extinguished with barely a sigh. She sobs because she can no longer fight all by herself.
Resigned, she strips herself of her Activist uniform. She unties the bandana giving her a sense of anonymity. She rips off her T-shirt, spray painted with a clever slogan declaring her part of a larger movement. She peels off her torn combat trousers, her wool socks, and boots. She stands naked before the merciless, head bowed, surrendering to the onslaught of fire looming on the horizon.
She feels the warmth of a hand slide into her own, left then right. She opens her eyes and sees a crowd gathering behind her, stripped of all but the flesh, the naked truth. Hope bubbles in her heart like the black oily tar that has destroyed so much. (less)
Something that will last. That is the wish of us all. We want to make our mark, stamp our lives on the flowing canvass of time, as if to say to all future generations of life “Hey! I was here. Just now. In this brief moment in time. I(more) was alive. And I mattered.” But that is an archaic way of thinking. Eternity only exists in death. And then it means nothing because one becomes nothing. It is understandable that looking into the deep void we want to be remembered. We want to be, forever. And it is the hardest thing to let go of, because essentially it means to let go of our selves.
He watches himself on the flickering screen. Fast-forwarding through the inane parts. All that time he's spent, wasted, doing much of nothing. Watching himself watch himself on the screen. Surveying the banality of his existence. Sometimes, briefly, he imagines in-between the flickers something exciting has happened. And t(more)hen it passes and he's looking into his own eyes, like the infinite regression of two mirrors facing each other. All he sees is emptiness. (less)
There is an elegance to her wrist
Delicate bones curving just so
Succulent purple veins marking the path
The sweet scent of vanilla and lavender
Curling into my nose
I long to kiss, ever so gently
(more) That heavenly aspect of
Her flesh made divine.
“I don’t understand Doctor. Why is our kid so fat? Look at the both of us,” the man says, gesturing to himself and his anorexic wife, “We are perfectly healthy, not fat at all. I Just don’t understand.”
“Well, what do you feed your child?” the doctor asks.(more)
“Healthy stuff. I dunno, what does he eat Anne?”
“Pasta Roni for most dinners. I don’t have to force him to eat his salad though, he loves Ranch Dressing.”
“You See doc, he gets good food. Healthy food. He’s just plain lazy. I’ve been saying it and Anne doesn’t listen. He needs more exercise. That’s what he needs.”
“You do realize that smothering a salad in Ranch Dressing negates all healthy virtues and eating pasta all the time is clearly not going to be good, as you put it, for him either.”
“Well what the hell should we be feeding him? We don’t have the money to sling around on Organic crap! All you Doctors are the same. On the dime of the big “Green Movement” types. When I was a kid my mom served bacon morning noon and night. She practically fed us sugar and fat, and I was never the size of that boy.”
“Mr. Brooks, not everyone has the same body type or metabolism, but I can assure you that diet plays a huge role in weight and overall health. I’m not just saying that because some Big Coorporation is paying me too-“
“-You see it is a conspiracy! Come on Anne, we’ll just have to get another opinion!”
We have become untucked,
loose edges flapping in the wind
Left to weather storms on our own
Lacking in protection, though we’ve paid
for it all our lives. We’ve fought and died for it
and in that vein we will continue
(more) with lies and apologies our knights
on white horses. Politicians with their
golden tongues. Leading us into the dark.
Their ethereal forms finding no harm
though we lack the same defense.
We are a ticking clock, counting ceaselessly
seconds that have no meaning.
Hoping that one day our hoping will end.
But knowing in our guts that we will just keep
guiding her towards the earth.
Frayed yellow edges dripping,
tears for the loss of another season.
(more) She will never see her children,
they that feed on the richness of her death.
They will never know her beauty,
except what is reflected in their own form.
In an age they will feel the sorrow,
know the weeping mothers mind,
and fall back to their birth,
the cycle never ending.