Alibi

I’ve been something close to radio silent
clinging onto hope beyond hope
That I’d find something akin to words
Or posture
that would breathe life into the space
that pretends to be my face,
my tongue,
my voice;
But I’ve found nothing
but a sticky SHIFT button
and a wall full of excuses
akin to nothing but my own in-ability
to be nakedly honest
about what my fingers want to type,
my heart wants to scream,
and my shoulders are willing to bear;

I play with my kids,
watch some TV,
make love to my wife,
clean, eat, shit, smile
cough, boo, cook,
read, apologize
alibi;

I drink (sometimes too much)
walk the dog; act surprised,
re-arrange books on the shelf,
chase mice,
build invisible boxes around my gut
watch the clock,
listen to music,
wish for a future better,
love the world just at much,
as I hate its guts;

I hunt fictional animals
in an app
that lets me socialize
and exercise
at the same time,
because my liver is tired,
but my feet crave a hike;

But the truth is,
when the children are asleep,
the wife is asleep,
the world is asleep,
and all I have is the darkness,
the night,
the still and the keyboard,
I’ve got nothing left to share,
but alibis–

And now, at this moment,
I find that I’m fresh out of those, too.

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Prescribing Joy: Wild Is The Wind (2)

My wife asked me to pen something for her guest series, Prescribing Joy; she wanted me to write an essay, thoughts, or a poem based around those so-called guilty pleasures that bring us joy and in which we find deep wells of happiness.

It took me a while.

I finally found some words to cobble together approaching thought.  Sadly, I found them at 2am on a Friday morning.  I emailed them to her, fell asleep, suffered through the next day by mainlining coffee and napping while wrapping myself around my 2 year old son while he watched YouTube videos.

My wife posted it on Friday, 5am, as is her custom; she prefaced it with sweet, honest words and not much other preamble.  She thought they were good enough to share, so I’ll do the same.

Roll over to Prescribing Joy: Wild Is The Wind (2) for a read.  Tell me what you think, there, here.  Then click through the series.  You should.  It’s a good prescription for finding joy.

Desireless (2)

[Read this out loud, if you can.  All the way through.  Don’t read the brackets out loud; just do what it says]

He crosses the floor, looks into the old shoe box and pulls out an old 45 record from his modest, but meaningful collection.  He slips it from its paper sheath, and smiles to himself as someone who has such a thing in a time when few people still have such things.

He calls over his shoulder to the sleeping figure on the couch, and he stands.  “You awake?”  He is only answered with a soft snore and the shifting of a body on the couch.

He pauses for a moment, flipping the black single over in his hands–ever vigilant and careful to not put his fingers anywhere but on the very edge.  He smiles to himself, takes two breaths and then steps to the record player.

Holding the record carefully in one hand, he lifts the lid of the player with the other, switches it on, and sighs.  He puts the album on the turntable, drops the needle on the record and then strides into the kitchen. [Open this in a separate window and press play now and continue reading]

It plays the first scratchy sounds of nothingness before the rhythmic tapping begins, and a few moments later, the song starts in earnest.  Robert Smith.  The Cure.

He opens the cabinet, pulls out a glass, puts it on the counter with a soft click; reaches for the freezer door, gets a couple of ice cubes, deposits them in his glass and absent minded, puts the half full tray on the counter.  He reaches up into the cabinet, pulls down a bottle of whiskey, pours three fingers of the stuff and puts the cap back on.

He sips it, feels the hot dragon blood of the liquid set fire to his mouth, his tongue, that one sensitive tooth in back and then his throat.  He swallows hard, holds his breath for a few moments (tick tick tick tick) and then lets it out slowly, evenly.

There is little other noise in the house, other than a few soft snores from the couch, the constant hum of a fan, and the click of ice cubes as he drinks (drip drip drip drip drip).  The music is the center of it all, driving, heavy, repetitive.

He finishes the drink, sip by sip by gulp.  Repeats the process of filling it: Ice cubes, whiskey, sip, burn, sigh swallow.

He walks back to the living room, moves her feet to one side, sits down, and then places them, gently on his his lap, closes his eyes and listens.  He listens, sips, listens, and attempts to clear his mind of thought, or for that matter, of care.

It’s all about something, he thinks to himself.  It’s all about something.

It was shaping up to be a much different Saturday evening than he’d imagined.  But that was par for the course, wasn’t it?

He sits and listens until the song plays out, the player arm mechanically, automatically raising and returning to ready position, the turntable slowly spinning to stop.  He rises, puts the song back on, and heads back to the kitchen, pours another.

He sits at the table, sipping fire water, listening to 10:15 Saturday Night and thinks of just what he was expecting of the night.  It’s all about something, right?  It should be about something.

He finishes his drink, sets it down on the dining room table with a soft clunk, stands and walks to the bedroom.  He kicks off his shoes, tears off his socks and flops onto the bed, which is wide, empty and cold.

“You coming to bed?”  He calls out to the dark room beyond.  There is no answer, but the soft stir of a body shifting on the couch, heavy breathing and echoes of a Saturday night.

As his eyes slide close, he drifts into numbness that can only come from the nothing of sleep.

He is stirred from sleep only once, by a distant, mechanical click; if he dreams, he won’t remember them in the morning.

Everything Will Flow

I woke this morning to the sound of rain
buried beneath the sounds of my children’s laughter
mingled with my wife’s chuckles
blended with the pounding of my heart in my head.
I laid there,
half buried beneath the covers
and pretended for a moment that I had
slept enough,
dreamt  enough,
lived enough,
been enough;

I rolled out of bed, made my way into the living room,
looked at my family, sitting amid the debris of our life
our living room
our mess
our time
Our house (cue a likely 80s hit)
and wondered if…if…if…

I’ve sat down to write at this computer a dozen times
in as many days
Unable,
Unwilling,
Unabashedly
Creatively Constipated;
Too tired from working in the Creative Industries
Too tired from being too tired
Too tired from loving disagreements
From too much coffee
From too little sleep
From too little creativity…

I’ve looked inward, and outward,
and forward, and backward,
and un-to-ward;
I’ve broken down in tears
I’ve cursed a thousand rag-ged swears
(and told a hundred people where to go);
I’ve screamed until I was hoarse
I’ve remained silent until I’d forgotten how to speak;

I’ve not heard one damn mermaid singing each to each.

I’ve heard others’ words of their worlds,
seen life on the screen
read words on a page
All belonging to someone else.

So, having given hopefully sufficient love to my kids,
Said enough of the right words to my wife,
Patted upon my dog once or twice
and leaving a hopefully minor stack of dishes in the sink
I’m sitting down to write–
Good, bad, or indifferent…

He walks into the kitchen and pours a glass of Rye for himself and measures the consequences of streaming movies  to his television.

“It’s not a big thing,” he says, “just sit down, pour one in a glass, pour some words out and let the images wash over you, right?”

He bangs some words out on the keyboard, pretending that they mean anything to anyone other than him. 

“What are you looking at?”  He asks. 

“Seriously, just put it down on paper, on the screen.  Bang it out.  They don’t even have to be good…”

My kids are asleep
My wife is asleep
The dog is hungry for a walk outside to the rain soaked ground, and I am fighting sleep to get one
No two, no four, no ten
more words down and out from my too little brain,
to my heart, to my hands, to the keyboard, to the ether;

I find myself drifting off
To the sounds of little snores
to the song playing on the radio
to the tink-tink-tink of melting ice on glass–

I’m going to bed to the click click clack
of my keyboard,
as my own words
fall like a brittle rain
from a brittle Winter’s heart.

Testing 1, 2, 3

*tap tap tap tap*

“Is this thing on? Is this on?”

“Man, what are you doing?”

“Testing to see if this thing is on.”

“Yes, it is, and you’re causing feedback.  Stop talking so damn loud, speak in a normal voice and stop tapping on it.”

“Right, my bad.  Sorry…ahem…right.  Hi.  Howdy.  Greetings.  I’m just testing this thing out, stepping up on this platform–for a moment–only for a moment–to see if I should be up here.  So…yeah…here I am.  Hello.”

“OK, kid.  Get down for now.  How does it feel?”

“Weird.  Familiar.  Different.  Indifferent.”

“That’s normal.  You’ve been on this kind of stage before.  You’ll figure out if you need to stand up there again.  Or at all.”

“Yeah.”

“Take a minute.  A day.  Two, even.  Figure it out.  You’ll know.”

“Yeah.  Thanks.  See you later.”