The apartment burns, melting ice Cubes in record time. A blink of the eye and the Amber light turns clear. My sweat dries in the fan's breath. I rub the glass across my forehead slowly: Momentary Relief.
Isn't that what we all look for? Momentary Relief.
And it's all over. In the blink of an Eye. A flash of a lash. A flick of the ash.
I breath in the smell of Athens tonight. I swallow the taste of Tony's. I ask for help from the Amber Blood of the Irish. I inhale 20 friends of the past, my Prodigal Lovers. Self-medicate. Go with what I know. Push it all down deep inside, never let it see the light of day again because it always rains when I do. I lost my umbrella. Did I ever have one?
I feel like my old Self tonight in the wet heat; I feel like all the bad parts of my old Self. The living parts that lead to death.
Lilly yells at me, telling me I'm doing this all wrong. Get it together. She says I don't know how to love, how to live. "Saigon...Fuck...I'm still in Saigon." I'll be the 35th passenger scrambling for the helicopter that only holds thirty-four. My fingers touch the shell and slide off. My hand outstretched for the Sun behind the Clouds. My eyes reflecting the greyness. I see nothing. Maybe I never wanted to truly leave.
The apartment feels empty. A life force has left, leaving a vacuum. Choking.
The Blue-haired Demons are always gathered outside the Wall. I thought I could hold them off, but that's a lie. Always a couple sneak in the cracks in the Wall. They snicker in the corner of The Cube, holding what I want just out of reach. Their teeth flash in the flame's flicker. My skin turning red; they bath in poison ivy and eat Love.
They know I cannot kill them. I embrace them tonight.
* * *
The Lost Weekend.
Fragments come back to me like shapes moving hunched-over, just out of sight, in a fog. Random shadowy scary alluring mysterious well-known haunting tempting so close disappear re-appear. Everything is out of order tonight.
The Lamp Post.
A beacon in the fog. A lighthouse in a stormy night. A haven in the turmoil. Guinness, Jameson on the Rocks. Smoky. Dim. Wood. Music. Something to look at, two out of 3 times. Traded Confessions. I hear cries for help, but cannot answer as I am screaming myself. We are both treading water in uncharted territory, for the most part.
Can two men drowning save each other?
- "So here's the story..." and Wilco comes on the jukebox. A movie moment. We laugh in gallow's humor so I don't go insane. I'm not crazy, I'm neurotic. It's funny, in an absurd way. I see the beauty and ugliness of Life in a 3 minute second. Another round.
- "Dude, listening to Kid Rock in the shower hungover is traumatic."
- "I don't know what to do." "Neither do I."
- "There's two apartments open here!"
- "Singles was a bad choice...should have put in Apocalypse Now."
- "Did I just smoke a cigarette?"
- So I'm at work. And this Department Head I barely know sees that we're working at the same counter and gives me this big-ass hug out of no where. WTF? And then, The Croatian Gyration Sensation keeps hitting my arm, Amber Chunky Globes keeps touching my arm and calling me "Pookie," and S.W. pushes me so hard, I fall into the stairway wall.
- Freaking out on the corner of Wilson and Lincoln, inhaling a Camel Light. Staring at the bar's entrance. People in pairs. "Mac, don't beat yourself up. Anyone would be nervous in this situation."
- "Die Yuppie Scum?" "No. I said, 'Can I have a piece of gum?'"
- "I am so glad to see you."
- "So, I'm driving home from work tonight. And I'm like, 'what is this weird feeling?' And I realize I am in a great mood."
- "No, man, pain is pain. Don't compare yourself."
- "You kissed her, too?!?!"
- Constantly: "L.C. or L.S.?"
- "Did you two sleep together?" How did...?
- She never learned to ride a bike until Africa. In the sand.
- "Sorry, I thought you said, 'Elmer College.' Like, Elmer Fudd, like it was a hunting rabbits technical community college"
- "Want another drink?" "No, I'm driving."
- "That's amazing how you smile just talking about his sister like that."
- And I'm looking at her chin. It's cute. And she touches my arm, talking about Gambia. Meant nothing, but cool.
- And she's sitting next to me, squished into the booth. She's leaning away from someone else toward me, and our arms touch for 3 minutes?, a half an hour?, a second? and I'm thinking, "this is exactly where I want to be."
- "Well, I picked that up from the way you were totally staring at her."
- "What is up with all the people singing in this bar?"
- "That blonde is annoying the Hell out of me"
- "Dude. It's like a 6 to one ratio of women to men in this bar."
- Sitting on the porch at five in the morning. The sun is coming up between the trees at the park. I'm drinking the last half of an Old Style, rubbing my head. Hating myself. Looking at The Thin Line Between. I remember the line from Some Kind Of Wonderful-- "I'd rather not see you, and have you think good thoughts about me, than see you and have you hate me."
- "Where's my wallet?"
- "Oh, keys would be good."
- "Dude, seven fucking years! J.B. and I figured out a two to four plan, but seven fucking years!" "Yeah, that's a long time."
- At work, "I'm hiding in flutes section, you can't see me." S.W., as a joke, "Drunk! Nobody wants to see you!" That whole sticks and stone may break my bones but words will never hurt me is a fucking lie.
- And I'm sitting in the booth at The Grafton. I'm pretending to read the menu knowing I won't eat, nervous, self-conscious. I down a Jameson on the Rocks, yearning a Clonzepam. Smoke a Camel Light, watching the door. Anticipation. Dread. Get the Hell out of the way, you fat bar manager! Squash the smoke, order another drink. Wait and need Mike to return. And she walks in looking radiant in the dim light. A smile. A cool white shirt with a martini glass print and jeans.
- Rehashing memories about 76 N. Congress, Bald Zach with that lipstick swastika on his forehead, 120 N. Congress, 48 Mill, telling about the awkward drunken 3-way in The College Inn, "Her kisses were all teeth, biting my lips and shit, not cool. And the conversations in the bathroom; I just wanted to see the band at The Union. They were so hammered." A.R. loading the bong for a game of "I Never." Leaning on the end of the bar at O'Hooley's while he DJ-ed. "Supposedly she drank blood, but, yeah, she was a great kisser." Gay Politics 101, Ron Hunt. "She dated that Asian lesbian, right?" "Yeah, right after me." "All I remember is drinking Old Milwaukee Tallboys, and she's sitting on my waterbed, you know, before Zulu popped a hole in it, and all of a sudden she stands up and starts making out with me." "What did you do then?" "I think we went to Tony's or a party"
- "You can buy Meigs Gold in Amsterdam." "Fuck off, really?"
- Everyone's been overseas but me.
- "WTF? I got pictures of everyone except who I really wanted pictures of!"
- "I haven't seen you in a long time." "Yeah, that ain't right."
- "Okay, don't make eye contact with that guy. He's drunk and dying for conversation. He'll start talking to us." "Nah, he's won't want to leave his seat, but keep an eye on him."
- "Shit! Our bar tab is $107 dollars!"
- "I'm drunk, boys, give me a cigarette."
- "I'll have the same."
- Staring out my kitchen window at the cop car double parked across the street. Totally enthralled, like a movie. They drive off. Aww, show's over. They just wrote a ticket, and the owner of the car comes out. "Damn, man, they wrote me a ticket!" We can't take our eyes off the scene. And then laugh at ourselves, hard.
- "What's up with this MTV dance party shit music?!?"
- "You've never seen The Wall?!?!?!?!?!?!"
- "Kid's T-shirt said 'Charlie don't surf' on the front, but probably had no idea what it was from."
- "Oh my God! It's 4:35 in the morning!"
- "I never really liked the Hop Leaf either."
- "4 a.m. bar?" "Dude, I'm old."
- Lilly's been under the bed the whole time.
- "That's a blog post right there!"
- "Are you done with the computer?"
- And, like a Budweiser commercial, only with actually substance behind it: "I love you, man."
- "You know how Eskimos have like 40 definitions of snow? Same thing with love."
- "Mac. We're pathetic." Ha ha ha.
- I think I am going to pass out on Cybele's porch. I keep staring at the candles and humming Led Zeppelin songs.
- "You know, the fucker lurks, the least he could do is leave a comment."
- "So the river just disappears?"
- "Put on the red dress, pleeeeease."
- "He called your mom for bail money?!?!?"
And a million more that I can't remember now. But wish I did. Remember Everything. Feel free to add in the comments all y'all involved.