when you’re going mad
losing your mind
things are turning black
The breaking of bottom
with an automatic sledgehammer
all the nights of blacking out
forgetful of all that matters
Buzzing on adrenaline
on speed and whiskey and pills
exchanging one head for another
succumbing to the haunted morning chills
Burning cells it’s really just a game
on the edge of the world, oh
now you’re learning to disconnect
becoming a vampire a zombie a ghost
Walking on a trail of molten bodies
nothing will ever be the same again
the shame of living has increased to
a worried tantric feverish anthem
My brother found me outside the airport. She and I were tucked neatly beside one another, puffing our cigarettes and staring at the taxi traffic and the herds of people rushing around searching for their rides.
Boston, MA. Logan Airport.
He opened the door and said: Are you ready to go? He seemed to be in a rush. He was always in a rush.
I tapped out my cigarette. I stared in her eyes for a moment. I barely noticed my brother’s intrusion. Then she leaned in and gave me a tight, satisfying hug.
And she was off.
To her connecting flight.
To rural California.
To grow and sell marijuana crop.
This was the hippie chick I had met at the airport.
It was a few days before Thanksgiving. My brother had invited me to his house for Thanksgiving dinner.
I had to fly to Boston from Rutland, VT. I got a ride to the airport earlier than I would have liked, because that was the only time I could get a ride; but it’s okay, I like to be early to most places/// It gives me time to collect myself, and I get to work on my writing and I get to catch up on my reading—all alone. Like the way it usually was, for me….
I checked in at the main desk and lugged my bags upstairs. The Rutland airport was small, which meant you had to hold on to all your checked luggage until you passed through airport security, which wouldn’t be till after your plane had unloaded all of its previous passengers.
There was a large sitting area on the second floor, complete with couches and TVs and a bar and a large floor to ceiling, wall to wall, window that looked out on the barren runway. Rutland had only one plane that flew three times a day, to Boston and back, and the runway looked like a sheer wasteland of abandoned machinery and there was a slight fog that festered over the emptiness.
I was the only one there. I had the place to myself. I went and ordered a coffee at the bar. Sat down on a couch. Pulled a book from my bag and began reading it.
Moments later I saw this girl in her early to mid-20s rolling a suitcase passed the bar and finding a seat a little ways down from me.
I don’t know what it was about her, in her flannel shirt and Birkenstock jeans and rugged Timberland boots, with her long, messy blond hair and slightly freckled face. Something about her drew me in. I know what you’re thinking, I used to fall in love with every pretty girl I saw, so this could have just been one of those moments, but nah, she was different, in her own hippy kind of way.
And maybe, just maybe, I could read her a story I wrote…. Nah, she’d think I was crazy. I had an hour and a half before the flight came and so why not? why not take a chance?
I walked over on cautious footing, with all my luggage in tow, a little worried about how she might react. I didn’t like being rejected, even though rejection was as commonplace to me as anything else. So I guess I was used to it. But riding one hour on a tiny jet plane beside a girl to whom I had made an ass of myself would be rather awkward and so maybe I shouldn’t try. I started to turn around when I guess she noticed me. It wasn’t hard. We were the only ones in this large room and I wasn’t heading toward the bar and the bathrooms were downstairs and I stood there gripping my bags, in the dead center of the room, halfway between where I had previously been sitting and where this pretty girl was smiling at me, and—--
I said: Can I read you a story I wrote?
Her smile grew and she nodded and there was a twinkle in her eye that flicked and ebbed and then it was gone.
And she said: Sure.
I walked the rest of the way and sat down beside her. I propped my bags in the seat on the other side of me. Told her my name.
She told me her own///it was Katie.
I told her this was a story I wrote just a few days ago called “An American Beauty.”
When I got to the end she was still smiling and she told me it read like a rap song.
I chuckled. Yeah, I said. I wrote it in a stream of conscious.
We talked for a while. She was on her way to California to grow marijuana. I said cool. I told her I wished I could do something like that. I was just going to my brother’s for Thanksgiving dinner.
She said: It sounds like you’ve had plenty of adventures and I’m sure you’ll have plenty more.
Maybe you could go to California some time and we’d see each other again.
I kept smiling.
I know, we’ve only known each other for a few minutes but I was smitten with her, and she seemed to dig me too. I gave her my book Derelict America. We sat there and watched our plane land and we went downstairs and crossed through airport security together. We sat in the flimsy seats and I noticed our legs were touching. Our arms too.
When it was time to board the plane I was still smiling and she was dreamily nice to me and there was no awkwardness either; I felt very comfortable around her. I probably stunk of BO and had streams of sweat oozing down the sides of my face, but she didn’t care. We sat in the tiny jet plane, leg to leg, arm to arm, and she rested her head on my shoulder as the plane took off.
We touched down in Boston an hour later and we both really needed a cigarette. My brother was texting me to ask where I was, but I didn’t answer; I was lost in the moment, dancing on impulse, excited but sad because I knew this feeling was fleeting and as soon as I responded to my brother’s text, the moment would be gone and I’d have to go.
We exited the airport and found the smoking spot and we lit cigarettes and stood side by side, smoking, laughing, and watching the crowds.
My brother burst through the door and said: We gotta go now.
I said to him: This is Katie.
He looked at me like he didn’t care.
He said: Really, we gotta go.
I tapped out my cigarette and turned to her. I said bye. Started to walk away.
She grabbed me and embraced me for a few seconds and whispered in my ear: Goodbye.
Who was this angel?
I pulled away from her.
I went in the door and watched through the window as she stood out there finishing her cigarette the whole way until the wall ended and I was going up the escalator and walking to my brother’s car in the parking lot.
I don’t need
to get in
the last word
I can walk
I can leave
I am better
Trust me I don’t have
but I sure wish I did
If I knew the secrets
of why it is
what it is
A friend once asked me
if I could have any superpower
what would it be?
I told him I’d hack
the matrix to discover
the reason for all this shit
What Makes This Life Tick
The Point of Existence
Why Life’s Terms Can Be
So Damn Oppressive
This friend of mine
died at 20 years of age
I’m just a depressed individuals
going through the vapid routines
of any individual on
the face of this wasted sphere
I can’t figure out
the point of any of it
We live and then we die
If heaven is the point
then, well, I’ll still be me
for all eternity
Damned to suffer at the cost
of this human body
Slice my throat and release my soul
Let it wither and die
and never come back because
I don’t wish to exist
in a place as confusing
Thunder & Gloom
I find salvation
inside the panic room
Watch me walk tonight
through the waning lights
When the bullets come raining down
I won’t stop my plight
Thirsty for adventure
Hungry for disaster
Falling bricks are the sounds
of my rotten anthem
Find me in a pit of glory
a place beaming with fury
Find me deep in the depth
succumbing to worries
Everyone has their own truths, their own demons to fight, their own mountains to climb, and their own stories to write/
Events pass us
and soon become
just another memory
to add to our collection
So don’t take
things for granted
or the bad
because before you know it
it’ll be gone
lost to history’s void
I threw the bottle in the air and swirling and spiraling it came straight down crashing on the train tracks and this guy at the scene scolded me for it, saying I can’t do that, and I said: But who? me? He threatened to call the police and me and DP took off to his house, to store the butterfly knife I had just gone and bought him since he was too young to buy one himself. I wore a black hoody with the hood pulled over my head and as we came back out and hit the streets I saw Harry over there standing by the corner next to some other kid a foot taller and I picked up my pace, straight running to meet him but in front of him was a parked cruiser. I stopped just short like a hockey stop if I were on skates and saw him talking to the black cop who I remembered hearing had opened-fire on some young kid’s car, for reasons I don’t know/—or can’t remember———or had forced myself to forget. I stayed in hearing range and ducked off to the side and listened as the cop said: “And Harry, keep your friend out of trouble, will ya?” The cruiser pulled away from the corner and I emerged from the shadows and dropped my hood and for once I knew I could do it again.
six stitches in
an old friend
he hears this song
on the radio
he thinks of me
I’m 36 now
When I was
16, maybe then
it was cool
anymore? even though
now it’s just