I guess they saved the worst for last. I am ripe to end my very late last Writober entry on ripe. Ripe is a word that feels yellow to me. I think of mangoes and avocados falling down in yards across Miami from May to August. Extra heapings of raccoon poop in the grass early in the season. I remember one summer when we got heavy rain at my uncle’s house in Hollywood, Florida. We got in his ’71 Suburban and drove around the flooded alleys and streets. He helped people with flooded engines and deployed his sons to retrieve floating avocados and mangoes. I just watched it all from the passenger seat. I’m more of a meat eater.
Knock on the door and when I open it, I’m immediately suspicious of the old man with the clipboard, green shirt from the electric company, and a yellow smile. He’s wearing pink basketball sneakers is what’s weird to me. He adjusts his glasses and does this Goofy guffaw and rolls out a greeting. I’m not interested, I start and he responds but you haven’t heard what I have to say and I start to say that I’m not interested in anything, but HE says but you’re not interested in anything, are ya.
No and have a good night.
He says I know your pain I see the lines under your eyes, not even bags, lines drawing you down into the earth, into the dirt, or a box of ash. I can help.
But there’s a catch, I finish.
You look up from your place on your knees on the bathroom floor. You’ve had a good streak going. Thirty-eight years of not having to be in the hospital. But something inside you hurts and you’re going to need help. You pour yourself down the toilet, ask the bacteria which way to the hospital, and reconstitute yourself in an empty men’s room stall in the hospital. You ignore the looks everyone gives you as you walk through the hospital, dripping wet, squeaking and squishing as you step and you tell the woman in the emergency room, “Something inside me is DRY!”
Things I miss about my ride:
It was low and it looked slow
sometimes it the front end would scrape
on concrete parking space ends
and it was upsetting but also
hey, the car was the right height.
It punched forward, clunked through gears
the rear sliding then grabbing then propelling
smell of rubber
the sound of it, again low, almost underground,
and then still guttural but loud anger at the sky
knowing the neighbors were probably wtf'ing
my son smiling, his face splitting, but his mouth
saying no no no this is bad.
The dead eyed round headlights that somehow search for something to consume.
It must be what riding a rabid demonic lion would feel like
if demons and rabies in lions were real.
I haven't looked those things up.
I'm trying to catch up
in my sterile Ford Edge ST.
What a silly thing to write about, living in Florida. Maybe it works if we talk about paint. My deck needs a new coat of paint. But we might be adding on to the house, which means the deck would be destroyed. That makes me sad because I resurfaced that deck with my friends. Those friends are gone now, not dead, but elsewhere and the thought of the deck going away just cements the loneliness I feel. I was so lucky to have them in my life, keeping me sane, listening to me, inviting me for beer or watching football. Knowing I needed to be pulled out of my head, that I reveled in the vocalizing of my anger and complaints. Now it’s cold and I need a coat.
I expected to go Batman or poetic on this one and when I couldn’t write anything quickly, I pretty much hit the brakes on Writober. It’s November 7th now and I’m writing this while at a conference. I’m wearing a black t shirt, got the black sneakers with the white bottoms on. Jeans. I wanted to wear black shorts, though. I’m in between sessions though I bet money this will be written in several places and times. I’m currently doing this on the phone and it sucks because it’s a bitch to edit. Or I’m doing the laptop at the hotel, which sucks less, but my forearms hurt because of the way the desk and chair are setup. I didn’t make it through Writober the way I wanted to. Dreamed of? It makes me think of how most nights, I can’t make it to the morning without waking up at least once choking for air. Last night I got up and got a glass of water. I don’t know if I should be drinking Orlando water from the tap. And then I went back to bed and it helped some. Reminded me how Manny used to say he always had to get up once a night, even on sleeping pills. He’d get up, drink water, and then go back to sleep and he made peace with it. I’ve caught his and Michael’s nosleep disease over the past few months. This thing happens to me when the lights go dark and work creeps in. I tell myself to shut up and stop thinking about work. I try to think about fucking, going for walks, I design spaceships in my head, start poems, design superheroes, think about my son, my girlfriend, ways to change my behavior, random things like how Fiji water is bullshit, but it came with the hotel pizza, and I breathe in and out each breath a 1 or a 0, and then the thoughts unmath themselves, turn into a puddle that goes everywhere and eventually returns to work, work, work in my brain because people have left and I feel the universe is on my shoulders and at some point, I fall asleep. Only on Friday and Saturday nights does the dark swallow me lovingly and deliver me to some form of daylight without pain and fear.
I just went for a walk
but it's nice near Halloween sometimes
even though it's Florida.
It sucks I always gotta qualify
weather related statements with where I live
but it's important
you glean my bitching
because you probably have seasons
but for me
October in the dark
can taste as sweaty
as sparkly crackly July nights.
I am chewing on ice
because soda is the devil
especially before bed.
Some of this frozen crunch
is from the bottom of the bin in the freezer
is this what old snow tastes like
not that I know
being from Florida.
Today, someone told me that maybe my problem is that I’m trying to get things done in a place where no one gives a shit. I didn’t know if he was talking about the earth or my job. I’m not saying that to be sarcastic or dark or a brooding teenager. I’m saying it because I don’t know what I ate yesterday but my stomach is fucked and I’ve had some nausea and if I move too quick, I can get a little dizzy. This guy, he comes into my office from time to time just to complain. He’s a nice guy. I like him. But sometimes I want to say bro, not today, I ain’t got time for your nonsense, you’re not even my employee. But that’s a dick thing to say, isn’t it? That makes me seem like someone who doesn’t give a shit.
A thing in my left hip will pop sometimes. It seems like the sort of thing that would happen with my old GI Joe toys, when the rubber band inside, the one that kept the hips and the torso and the legs together, would go wonky. And my left knee, it fills up with sadness sometimes. I don’t remember the last time I knelt, not because I don’t believe in gods, but because I feel so ancient. Then there’s the walking, which brings heavy breathing, which I’m trying to take care of by walking more often. I’ve bought bluetooth earbuds. You know. Because maybe that will help me. With the walking. Even though they have nothing to do with feet and health. I’m depressed so I spent the money. I do all this work and god damn it, if I want to buy some earbuds that will sit in their charging case on my dresser with the 3 white blinking lights, then I’ll fucking do it.
Someone from work died over the weekend
He was a good guy
from what I knew of him
though he used to be a cop
and I guess it's mean to say that
though I dealt with a nice enough cop
a couple weeks ago
and when I complimented him
on his excellent customer service skills
he said, "We're in a silent civil war."
So there's that.
But Ray was up front, helpful
and when I last saw him
at the Five Guys Burgers and Fries
he seemed hopeful but realistic
and said I just want to make it
to see my daughter get married.
So I was happy and sad
to hear she married at his bedside
and I thought wow
she just invited a ghost
to her every wedding anniversary.
But I think he'll be a good ghost.