Monday, December 27, 2010

that guy - part 5

You think you’ve seen it all; every kind, every side, every vantage, every lousy everything and all the beauty there is to behold; and then one day you see Babe.
You don’t melt for Babe, you don’t go blind over her, you can’t even see her at first, there on the southbound A train, there in the Dirty Bubble Laundromat, there on a swing in the park halfway swung this way or maybe halfway back, but always all by herself looking as ordinary as miracle can look. You don’t know what it means, what it feels like to be mesmerized by Babe, because it feels like the middle of all the things you ever felt - that is to say, barely felt, but felt so often it’s what makes up most of your being, most of what you need to survive.
Babe is the better after your sick, the nothing after the pain, the dark empty space between your nose and the ceiling after a nightmare. Babe is what you love but take for granted.
You should never take Babe for granted.
Gus had Babe by the wrist. Instructions, threats, flirtations, that order. If you’d asked her, standing right there, how many times she’d been manhandled like that she couldn’t have told you. If she ever thought about why she became everything to everyone she ever met, she never let on about it.  You knew her, you know her, she’s there next to you, somewhere along the line: Absent-aged thirty-three, brown-haired, rusty, black-dyed-blond with every rough change in between just over full shoulders, full face, delicate nose, big sleepy eyes, worn around the edges and just this tall, right about here – strong legs, sexy as hell from behind if you ever thought to look back but never would until you did, by accident and wondering how you missed that…
Babe pressed herself against him, a plush thigh, full breast, the hips on her shifting just the right way, just enough to put a small lightning-bolt through any working nervous system. Gus mistook the action for affection. His hand let loose immediately.
“Just play it and keep your mouth shut,” he hissed. “And keep yourself decent!”
But he didn’t know why he felt it, the jealousy, the attraction, the pain in his chest every time he stood near her. Didn’t know why, didn’t care, just knew it pissed him off, whatever it was.
Babe wiped the tears from her eyes and checked the door, that guy’s door, watched the dark, vertical slit appear, felt his eyes on her, knew what he was thinking, something similar to what Gus was thinking.
Jesus Christ, these fucking men, she was getting tired of them all, finally: and this - all this, without Babe uttering a single word, a single piece of her own mind. Not a one. Just fucking typical.

end of part 5

Sunday, December 26, 2010

that guy - part 4

Gus lay nearly flattened in the old recliner, feet up, and he peeled the peanut butter-side from the jelly-side making a V of the sandwich, sighted it up with the matching V of his filthy, white-sock-footed feet and squawked at Crawly (whose given name was, by surprising coincidence, Crawford, and then jokingly, as children will do, Crawdad - cause he was a small boy, prone to shuffling, and he wrinkled his face too often for any child to get away with - and, and finally Crawly - so yes - Crawly was in fact Crawly. No joke.), squawked and spit at Crawly, “Damn it to hell, put the lid back on the coffin, I’m trying to eat for Chrise-sakes!”
“Shit on you!”
“Put the god-damned lid back on, I can’t stand the stink of him!”
Cause Creepy didn’t say it but the rot gave him the jitters. The corpse was what, five weeks? Six weeks? And even with the makeshift embalming job they’d given him, lousy mess that was! The bastard was just falling apart in the box.
“If you don’t like it, why we got’im here in the firs’place? We could’a just as well cut’m up, slop’m off down the chute, send’m out double-poly - and fuck you yourself shit-stain!”
Gus flung the jelly-side at Crawly, hit him in the big-hair side of his teenage grunge head. “You don’t speak to your father like that. Put the lid back on, stop asking questions! Who’s telling you to ask questions? You got a place to sleep, food on the plate – and by the look of it, half the side of your head! Ha-Ha! Plus, this,” he waved a limp peanut butter-side at the coffin, “A lesson in poetry.”
“Crap, and anyhow, how much longer? I got two tickets for what-fuck-its'is, for Babe’n me.”
“Soon. I saw him last night. He had the door open. I went to see if Babe heard anything and there he was, like a mouse, nose out, tail straight. Soon.”

End of part 4

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

that guy - part 3

Back in bed, toes sticking out, numb, that guy - that stupid guy - he whined, whispered, even touched himself but lost his nerve when he tried pushing the bleak image of the woman in the hall - the ugliness of that incident - into something less than, other than… what? Awful. Weak. No, wretched. That was it, wretched.
“Why me,” is what that guy said, barely.
Not at all why you imagined he’d said it. No, because in that cold night that guy convinced himself that he had to help that wretched woman, that beautiful wretched woman. He lay there, limp, sweating bile, dreaming up for the very fist time something like nerve to believe that she (that knee, that sad, sexy eye, those tears) needed him, his help, that she – lost shadows, given up, hopelessly cast aside – like he, stood staring at that front door waiting for him to save them both.
“Why would she believe in me?”

End of part 3

Sunday, December 19, 2010

that guy - part 2

That guy, the ache in his breath jammed up the peephole, misery, desire, fear.
In the instant before his fingers fumbled free the paint-heavy chain-lock to mouse the door open he heard the footsteps on the stairs, a ready shuffle, and then a muffled wedge of words, the sound of a tight smack.
"What the fuck with these people?" moaned that guy as he heaped up his shoulders, tightened his toes to the old vinyl tiles and hitched the door open with a twist.
And what he saw through the yellow slit across the hall was the woman once again staring at his door in the company of the tall-haired man from the apartment above, the man who lived with his grown son, the man who dragged coffins around his apartment in the middle of the night - in fact the pair he had just begun to call Creepy and Crawly one month ago, just five weeks after that guy had moved into the apartment on a miraculous rent deal.
Creepy had the woman by her thin, reddened wrist and he too was now staring at that guy's door. Tears streamed down the woman's face.
"Shit, shit, shit!" he hissed to himself, ready to surrender his concealment, give himself up to the filthy yellow light of whatever horror these lunatics had smothered themselves in. But before he could get himself screwed into the scene, Creepy turned toward the woman, mumbled something in a shallow breath, and turned his way up the cold, dark stairwell.

End of part 2

Friday, December 17, 2010

that guy...

     That guy:
     He lay there folding darkness over blunt shadows in his mouth thinking, "what the fuck with these people?" Cause it sounded like a coffin being dragged, maybe shoved, across the floor above, the ceiling vibrating, coarse words draping, dangling heavily over what he figured had to be a corpse the size of a gorilla, and,
     "Really," he said aloud, loudly, to the tip of his nose, above, a threat stuck in the paint above his head, "WHAT the FUCK!" and the bed creaked with the force of his breath.
     The sound stopped, a footfall hung in mid-air - the recognizable silence of recognition.
     They'd heard.
     They'd heard?
     The sweat on that guy, it stank, ran yellow and stained the sheets, nerve-yellow, when they run out, when they turn liquid, when the anger uses them after the adrenaline is shot, if stink could glow, this the stuff.
     The air in the room shifted direction, new attentions pushing silent weights; a door somewhere opening, drafts subtly influencing each other, grey-black whispers, premonitory.
     The sudden silence rang high-pitched in his hears, made that guy more nervous than ever, so nervous he had to get up, get those flattened pancake slippers on his feet, get to the door, and the dirty little peephole rubbed filthy with five-day old beard  - sniffling disgusted by his own remnant living-death grease-spot.
And then the surge of fear that guy felt when his eye found the vision, that woman across the hall, her door cracked open again, and she there with her nose out, one bare knee out and the bottom of a silk nightgown hovering over one bare foot, not a bad foot, not a bad knee - but her eye (not a bad eye) staring at that guy's door, as if she knew he was there, before he was there.

end of part 1

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This here, that there...

"Here monster, monster, monster..."

Every time you laugh so hard your body rushes through with silver stars,
Every night that quietly offers a perfect shadow to stare at the bed,

When one man succeeds by displaying another man's failure,
When joy claims your heart and is stunning,

As all words fail in front of pure understanding,

Where the truth is damp under sleepless dreams and life and death show a landscape in the universe bound by a delicately woven hem of both sides,
Paradise is - that monster there...