Letting Go, Hanging On, As Long As You’re In The Game

So many talks with the dead, even see their faces in cars, walking on sidewalks, sometimes blatantly in the person in front of me. 

Too many memorials, wakes, midnight phone calls, strangers by one degree telling me in the street some dark news about someone I love, hardening these veins like concrete in my hands. 

Every day, Every year, these bones become more and more invincible.

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Juan Go Out With Me?

Desperate for a date for a funeral. That specific moment where you’re strikingly alone in a room full of humans, it’s like a frightening dagger through the roof of your hand. Standing, seeming foolish yet no one even realizes you’re there in the rain. Hate coming to burials alone, heavy-footed with dark, downward eyes, mouth wishing to be wordless for the rest of the day. Small talk with distant acquaintances torture my soul unless I’ve someone by my side. Whaddya say?

The Bianchi and The Giant

Riley was 22 when he first met Greg. Introduced by a wild blonde named Emma who had great legs and who was an equally great kisser. Greg was older, wiry and lean, dark featured with a sharp beak and narrow teeth covered by a thick mustache. He was a wily street creature, rising from some small town muck with a conniving smile and selfish intent. He was Riley’s first foray into Scotch whisky, homemade videos and crystal methamphetamine, all while inside an apartment on SE 162nd and Stark. Emma, who also frequented the sparse, dark cheaply built flat, had also recently felt the subtle grip of street living and hard drugs on the throat of her youth. They both explored, suffered, learned and though only one of them eventually got out, they both never forgot the sibling-like romance they shared with each other.

The Bianchi was a late ’80’s road bike, simple yet state-of-the-art, and newly painted flat black with a rattle can by Greg behind the apartment complex. The fresh paint was like an alarm, or more accurately, like a disguise. Riley had stayed the night the evening before and had a hundred-dollar bill stolen out of his shoe while he slept (never made that silly mistake of hiding cash in a damn shoe again). He was sure it was Greg but had no evidence and all he heard were the pleas of innocence from the half dozen dope heads and dirty squatters around him. There was an older lady who actually lived there, a fat, spandex wrapped meth queen, middle-aged, strangely sexy like Roseanne Barr but saggy jowled like Jabba the Hut, hauntingly attractive to a boy with no mother but on the surface she was shockingly vile. She may have been not only the culprit but likely one who orchestrated the late night larceny alongside Greg. Riley was quite upset when he woke and found his shoes empty but was too soft of a young man to really do anything about it. Later that afternoon Greg then showed Riley the bicycle hoping to ease the tension.
“Go ahead, take it. It’s yours,” he said slyly.
“Take it? Like, it’s mine? Really?” Riley truly was just a boy, attention spanned stretched thin, barely enough to soak in owning a new bicycle. He was however, experienced enough to know why it smelled like fresh black Krylon spray paint but was awed at how it looked totally bad ass. Flat black on black on black. Riley had that bike for the summer and put hundreds of miles on it. He eventually then broke the rear part of the frame by drunkenly smashing it into a curb one hot September night. Lost a tooth and an important chunk of metal that held the wheel hub in place. Luckily, he had a friend who was handy with a welder, so he still has the bike to this day, stronger than ever, healed with hell of a bead.

Riley also loved mountain bike riding during this time. He loved Powell Butte with its quick, winding single tracks and close proximity to his East side neighborhood. The days he bombed down the hills nestled in the big, grassy watershed, he escaped the relentless loneliness of school and the brutal detachment of his immediate family. Grinding up the hill, breathless, driven and exhausted towards the peak to then be able to rocket down the other side, barely staying on the trail, the front suspension bouncng as he held on for dear life, wide-eyed and loving it. One of the dirtball kids in the neighborhood who rode the butte sold him a silver Giant mountain bike with front end hydraulic forks for $100. It was worth 5 times that and Riley rode that bike as much as the Bianchi but the Giant was cursed. Plagued with the air of being stolen and Riley knew it. It hung over him for the two years he owned it. Riley then outgrew it and while working as a waiter the first big purchase he ever made (paid for with a stack of 5’s, 10’s and 20’s) was a Kona mountain bike. With rad high-end suspension and disc brakes, it rode like how a girl felt and was as fast as any wild animal Riley could ever imagine.

A few months later, Riley rode to the little corner store and slipped in for a six-pack of Fat Tire beer. A straight walk directly to the cooler along the back wall and then back up to the check stand. Not even 60 seconds. Not even 60 seconds for him to come out to no bicycle. Gone. Had he thought he would have been in the store for more than 2 minutes he would have locked it. Holding a six-pack in the doorway of a tiny quiet store, just him and the guy behind the counter and no bicycle. A bunch of beer with a picture of a bicycle on it but no bicycle. He sat down on the curb, opened a beer, and learned to let go of it all.

Weapon Of Choice: Purchasing Power

there is rain on the window sill, a little puddle forming on the inside. the grey has been a weighty slab of flesh dampening the color of these trees and hills, a seemingly unending year of a thick, bland sky. the reluctance to reach out, text or call is indicative of my apathy and it’s only a moment more that will determine whether i leave this house or crawl into bed.

opt to leave, little man.

and bring your checkbook.

Mother’s Day Motorbike

Today in March of 2017 is the first time I rode a motorcycle since I crashed one real good in April of 2016.

Funny how there is no life or death or bliss or pain that can measure the pleasure found on the back of a motorbike. Funny.

My mother’s birthday 20 days before her death day, two weeks after my brother’s suicide left us all in dark dismay. I’ll never leave you broken that way, never leave you unless you want it that way.

Ten grand and I can make you understand and we’ll ride until there’s nothing left of land.

Monday The 13th

Remember when you were the only one to approach me on my first day of 2nd grade?

Remember when we went to see Raiders of the Lost Ark in the theater like, 7 or 8 times?

Remember when your parents got you all the best GI Joe stuff for Christmas?

Remember when Like A Virgin and Stray Cat Strut possessed you?

Remember when you were the closest thing to a sibling I ever knew?

Remember when we stole handfuls of Jolly Ranchers and Bazooka gum from the 7-Eleven and then played Gauntlet in the corner until all of our lunch money was finally dumped into that machine? Karate Champ and Tron also sat inside that store and they both gobbled up nearly all of our filthy lucre.

Remember when we actually had girlfriends in the 6th grade?

Remember when you had your dad’s little mustang then that badass black Honda Prelude then the Mitsubishi Eclipse, and then the Acura? Though my favorite was the 5.0, hands down.

Remember how you would drive like a damn maniac up and down Beaverton Hillsdale Highway?

Remember when we were the best of friends, bound by genealogy and our desire for pure escapism?

Remember when you were tailgating so bad that 2 different drivers turned around to flip you off in the same day? To your incredible disbelief, I might add. I wasn’t surprised in the least. 

Remember when we used to watch X-Files every Sunday night?

Remember our laughter and frustration? How it would either bind us or break us? Burn us or make us?

Remember how you showed me how to inhale Camels behind the convenience store?

Remember how your basement was a den of debauchery and how your older brother would supply us but also torture us with his assholishness?

Remember getting older than teenagers and realizing the world wasn’t just some playground where we could just play through until recess was over?

Remember that one day when someone found your shoe stuck in the brush along the railing of the Vista Avenue Viaduct?

Remember that one day I got a call from my favorite little sister crying into the phone that you were dead?

Remember your wonderful family and life that was apparently staggeringly dark and lonely?

Remember that day when we all became staggeringly dark and lonely because you leapt into the nighttime skyline on your way home from work?

Remember the party I threw at my house for you because your parents didn’t recognize suicide as a reason to celebrate your beauty, laughter and significance?

Remember how confused, guilty and wrecked everyone was while trying to party and lie to ourselves that it was all going to be ok?

I remember it like it was today.

Because it was today.

But today we’ve all soldiered on in both your honor and our regret. We’ve all gotten on with our business while you still linger in our heads, still floating above Jefferson Street and permeating our dreams the day before Valentine’s Day.