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.

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.

Happiness Happens In Moments

it tastes like nighttime, like a cocktail whose dark wetness clarifies what you utter to whomever is listening. like the wind or a lover whose whisper washes away all you have fought for to get to this place. it is the sunrise over buildings and the easy morning cigarette, the road trip to strange towns and an ice cream cone on a park bench. these pieces of pleasure compose my universe and as long as there are fields to run in, rooms to kiss in, and streets to rage in, these vices will always be the fuel for fun. whether a warm tea between palms or a bottle dressed with a flaming rag, we all share an explosive connection to everything we desire.

“I love you.” “I know.”

watched a carrie fisher stage show and the next day she had a heart attack.

wished for nothing except freedom from a weak link in the chain mail. a chained ankle. now resolved for the year. 2016 was supposed to be a victory lap around 2015 but instead became a mad, tortuous exercise in containing rage and conquering flaws. overcoming impulse and enjoying what’s present. stripped of what powered my brightness and left a quiet heap of madness to be sorted through. like an old box or a ransacked house.

she was our first real taste of a love slave, a princess an armed goddess, calculating, fighting, driven, beautiful.

12/26/2016

Cigarettes Pt. 1

Long before there were any notches on a beat-down headboard or a depraved selection of stories of how the notches got there, before jobs or deadlines, before past due notices and pleading no contest, there were cigarettes.

The second gateway drug after your friend’s mom and dad’s Kahlua and peppermint schnapps.

The daily dope of yellowing fingernails and raspy morning hacks, the hourly desire to tap the vein and choke the throat with that stinky, sweet tightening of every wonderful inhale…

6th grade. 1985. Metropolitan Learning Center. Northwest Portland, Oregon. Off-campus lunch hour. The Gypsy was a vast, dingy, dark neighborhood lounge where filthy day-drinkers and junkies hoping to escape the light of the afternoon often dwelled. In its doorway stood a cigarette machine that had a picture of a Marlboro cowboy corralling a herd of something while gripping a Full Flavor between his teeth. This was the notorious machine where the schoolkids would sneak into the bar’s entryway and stuff the machine with quarters and pull the knob that delivered those wonderful, brightly colored parcels of contraband.

One day it was Reed’s turn to get the smokes. Never having gone into The Gypsy or even began to fathom what a truly legendary dive bar it was, his introduction to such a venue was monumental. His eyes and mind were forever and beautifully wrecked for seeing such dimly lit debauchery thickly wallowing in a cloud of silent drinking and cigarette smoke.

As to not be spotted by the bartender, this child trembling, pushed what he hoped were enough coins into this towering machine. Frantic with nerves, he quickly saw the camel, that universal desert animal, dirty with gold and dust on its emblem and pulled the plastic, crystal knob that loudly delivered the cigarettes into the dispenser.

Reaching in, he snatched the smokes and booked it out the door, panting, dizzy, victorious.

Reed’s friends, standing across the street at the theater doorway, giggled and ran towards him as he swaggered down 21st Ave, the cock of the cigarette walk. He tossed the pack over his shoulder at the bunch and then watched his delinquent pals groan with disappointment. “C’mon, man, what the hell is this?”
“Whaddya mean,” Reed asked.
“Dude, these are straights.”
“Straights?”
“Yeah. Straights. No filter. Tobacco in your mouth. Lung burn! Short and not sweet, have you ever tried them? How are we supposed to smoke these? Gross. You smoke ’em, they’re all yours,” throwing the pack back at Reed in disgust.

Be ready to sacrifice yourself to the gods of vice should you choose to live such a life of experience, excitement and excess. There will be a day when you’re compelled to ingest chemicals you’re not confident in. A day when you will be expected to finish off the rest of the drugs, a moment when, you alone, will have to reckon with the fact that your partners in crime will abruptly leave you high and dry the minute you think everything is great.

Live, Love, Laugh, Crash

A month laid up and a year gone off.

Here’s the lay of the land. The splayed wide openness of what I understand:

Horrendous separation and even more gruesome motorcycle crash. At least they were both quick in their bite despite being long with their resolution. All in a year’s work. In a year’s fight, a year’s struggle flush with pain and adventure.

Two dozen feet from point of impact to where my body came to a stop. On a sidewalk. Across the street. Two bones broken poking up through the skin like a splintered tree. Pup tent on a pant leg, picked it up and it was like a sack of broken parts, my boot twisted around like hands on a clock. Never lost consciousness, never forgot who I was or what just happened. Never not knew that someone just broke the law right before I broke my leg.

It takes a certain mettle to deter the depression that wallows in these hollows, this haunt of a beautiful apartment becomes a narrow prison if not checked. Injury that limits mobility and independence will always take the form of an angry, rabid animal that eventually wants to break through walls with its head and roar furiously to freedom. Sequestered from voices, vices, severed from the flesh of society, best leash that beast, boy.

This couch, no matter how nice the leather, there’s a blanket over it. Protecting what, I’m unsure of. Commanding this sofa into oblivion, resting, hurting, healing, watching great television.

Anyone who tells you that life is short are wrong. Life is long and full of beauty and madness. Unless you’re a child. That died. That joke was from Louie CK, who, hands down, has the most poignant and tragically beautiful television show in all of pop culture.

The dog knows. She goes slow, watching my legs, is calm and obedient in the face of my broken, wary gait. Waits as I finally sit down until she ambles up, begging for pets and play.

There isn’t any amount of gratitude that is enough for me to have for everyone who has and still is contributing to this certain convalesence.