i remember when the inhale was pure. ("well i smoked but i didn't inhale," he said long after you and i were through) back when it wasn't so bad for you. back in the 90's the inhale was so pure all the cells of my body would absorb the nicotine,(more) the pot, the whatever. leaning into the rush of calm even before the feeling, knowing the drug would make me feel -- okay -- everything would be okay, now, as i exhale what i don't need.
i like smoke, and fire too. smoking: the closest a man can get to fire without getting burned someone [famous] once said. i like watching it. curling out of a dancing fire in the dark of night. stars and embers share the same bed looking up or down or both. i have watched that same sky and that same bed and thought nothing about you but now
i remember and my cells do too. you, leaning against a tree, exhaling what you didn't need. and i agreed. i remember though, after that smoke, we were all we could do. i remember your breath heavy and sincere. i remember mine sincere too but rough and jagged. i couldn't commit so it was done and we smoked, throwing rocks in the river, temporary ripples. we laid on those rocks, looking at the bed of stars knowing it was done and wishing that it wasn't. i loved you to this day i love you still and i wish for an inhale even now. just a smooth, deep inhale of calm followed by an exhale of what i don't need.
or a good old fashioned fire, embers like stars and the smoke curling up
she came up for air at the deep end of the pool, hearing the laughter more and more clearly as she rose. at the same time her head crashed through the surface the voices crystallized and she knew right away he had arrived.
(more) it was a dark sky but the back yard was lit like a home game at shea stadium. the music known, something five or big head todd, kept good company in the background. it was put up or shut up time.
i took him by his small hand and led him to the empty row of chairs waiting for us. he was six or seven and not too dirty -- a little around the fingernails maybe, and his nose could have used a tissue. his jaw was set but his(more) eyes wide. he was determined, it seemed, to weather what ever came his way. i watched him sideways as we sat down, as he let the unknown wash over him as if he were in charge of something, finally, for once. he narrowed and drew himself in. if nothing else, at least he could manage his reaction. as i began he straightened, stiffened really, and did not turn toward me but i could see he was paying attention.
he had been waiting for something to happen and now it had. and i was the one to tell him in words a little boy could understand. my job was to explain what had happened and where he would be going, and who might help him in the future, both near and far. was i also to steer him out of harms way?
the funniest part about facing something this daunting is you know that, at the very same moment you are fucking up the poor kid's life for the rest of his life, you are also starting to fix it. in the most minuscule way you are ending his pain and giving him the chance for a new life.
its the craziest fucking thing. break it all down until there is nothing left to destroy and no where to go but up, and the little thing crumpled in the empty row of chairs that now waits for someone else's bad news? it impossible, i know, but up is exactly where he goes (less)
its heartbreaking to think about your child growing up. its all such a perfect world, sheltered and innocent here on the edge of childhood being at the beginning of it, before it has really started, before things get good or bad, before he turns the corner into his kindergarten(more) classroom.
that might be the worst -
you never can tell what will happen. at 17, your kid could murder you in your sleep or find the cure for cancer. how do you know, looking at the five year old concentrating on the last few pages of instructions for an atlantis lego creation when puzzlement gives way to understanding and happiness, which way life will go?
so, there are no guarantees - you do your best as a parent and as a person and hope for a little luck for your kid and slowed down when you remember these things are important and wished you believed in god more so you could explain some things and let go others. but that tiny fact is always there in the back of your mind as you and your family grow and change, and you wonder if there is an escape or how to bury it deeper.
he leaned forward, listening hard for actual words to materialize in his ears. between the walls of the old apartment building and the blaring televisions it was nearly impossible to discern her hope from the rest of the garbage, but he could. or he pretended he could. it was(more) so much better than his day in and out at the didimo on the corner to imagine nice things she might say to him instead of not so nice things she actually said to her loser boyfriend. not that he could hear anything clearly, but you get a feeling for things, living so close to people. its like you know them intimately but never talk about it. you see them at the mailboxes in the hall or pass them on the landing and everybody knows you don't get mail or their brother just died or so and so needs money but it hangs in the air on the stairs and everyone brushes by with heads down.
the lights turned off, he couldn't see but he knew they were in bed now. tonight's show's over.
he leaned back and reached for his cola. it was flat and warm like the air outside his open window. he worked hard, he was a good man. maybe tomorrow he would say hello. (less)
whether halloween or my sisters wedding
its all close to the bone.
one is me manifest, the other my sis,
and no one is right or wrong, just proving ourselves
(more) i slink up to the end of the bar
and order my first and only drink of the evening.
thinking: i have been waiting for this all afternoon.
i drink, thinking: she promised he wasn't invited.
i nurse and watch the open bar with its
good will toward man
on the night of her wedding. smiles all around.
i watch you and wait until i know i've been seen
thinking: what was she thinking?
the obvious answer: she doesn't know.
(how can she not know?!)
then i slip out the side door, carrying my glass
slippers, calling it a night
running through the cool night air
my feet pounding the rough pavement
his impulsiveness gives way to your precision every time - it makes sense now. and yet i am not ready to commit.
(more) somehow, luckily, i don't have to. here you are still giving yourself to me. silent support, it surprises,
you love me.
i think you are the one and then i remember
the other one and am confused.
i was young once and now just
there are two loads of laundry on the guest bed. i am conservative and you, asleep.
who cares now?
it all gets done and we are mostly happy
where we are planted (less)
The 11 o'clock sun shone down as they waited for chiliquiles. John, Mark and Caroline sipped bloody marys. Relaxed and happy, in tousled hair and sunglasses, everyone chatted about the the day, last night; the trip in general.
They were 4 days into a 7 day vacation. Playa de(more)l Carmen, mostly, with a day trip to Cancun. Beach activities so far: snorkeling, sunning, reading. Certified scuba divers, John and Sarah had joined a boat party on day 2. They returned late afternoon spilling over with enviable stories of sea turtles, gorgeous colors and swimming through 50 foot corals, like being in a giant aquarium.
Their nights were warm and carefree - filled with clubs and pubs strung along a beachfront that was a few stumbling blocks from their hotel.
This vacation was just what these friends needed - to get away from "it all": the non-stop concrete of downtown Atlanta, the relentless heat and noise and stress of life. They'd been planning since last November in anticipation of the inevitable burnout that comes with late southern summers, and here they were 10 months later on the payoff.
Sarah was the 'new' friend; the one they hadn't traveled with or known since their days at Loyola. She was a good girl, if a bit reclusive and maybe a smidge too flirty. Already this morning she had secured the rental that would take them inland to Chichen Itza. What no one knew yet was that later, she would save Caroline, attempting to snap a picture, from falling off a crumbling wall. In the nick of time, she would grab Caroline's arm, pulling her to safety, laughingly blaming her juggling skills for her lightening-quick reflexes.
Now, though, the day was getting away. At this rate they wouldn't make it to Valladolid before dark. (less)
Dear Brother (or Everyman),
I was sorry to hear about the divorce. I know that it was years ago, and a long time coming, but breaking up a family, especially one with little kids, has lasting repercussions; ripples of sadness and loss for everyone involved. I can't imagine everyother Christma(more)s and I've seen your pain when we all get together and you don't have your kids. You mask it well but I know you're lonely.
That said, I am sorry to hear about your current relationship. It seems you feel so desperate for a union that you will stay somewhere horrible when you know damn well you should go. The good times really dont make it all right and it doesnt make it any easier to know youre not alone because its still you living in your shit and nobody cleans up after you (which would be worse, I think, because how would you ever build any character?)
I am sorry, too, that I havent been more supportive. I admit, I've judged you and decided you deserve it for staying but truth is we've all had trouble seeing straight when in the thick. Hell, half of us are still right there with you and the other about to join up.
Whats really too bad it that we don't have time to care for one another the way we all deserve. I try, in my corner, to be kind and gentle with those I meet but I fail all the time. too many distractions and reasons to feel slighted.Hhow did that happen? idk. Computerized voices instead of customer service reps maybe. But what I am sorry about most is that you wear that mask. I'll try harder to listen to you, not let myself get in the way.
You were young and
I was invincible so
We smashed windows,
doors with our energy
came down around us;
(more) Problems solved.
And we laughed at the chaos.
Running through graveyards, 2 am
Beth's cafe for steam.
Not knowing a damn thing
About how life worked in the real world.
We drank coffee black in the morning
Wine, red, at night. Or beer or pot or more
To keep it all lucid.
Back then it was the real world
Back before you died and I grew up.