Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chapter 2.5

[Don’t get hung up on words. They’ll suck your life out the window and you’ll forget. You’ll just describe air and wind with onomatopoeia nonsense, farces with force behind them.]

A police cruiser waited for the light, when Everett was across the street three forms came shouting and running out of a small doorway by the corner, two had cinderblocks and the other’s front jacket pocket protruded with what looked like a pistol.

Everett ran but was caught off guard by the sound of glass breaking, he looked back and saw the first block go through the passenger window and the second go through the windshield. He turned his head forward and ran while something behind him kaboomed.

When Everett arrived at their apartment Christine was out on the fire escape.

“Baby, come in here.”

She turned, startled, “What’s wrong?” She tossed her cigarette butt into the ashtray and left it smoking. Then she climbed into the apartment from the fire escape and walked toward him.

He hugged her.

She dropped a bomb as though she’d forgotten that he had asked her to come inside.

“Mayor Reynolds is going to be giving a speech tomorrow about everything that’s been happening. He’s….” and she trailed off into scratching the surface features about crime and terror and the war on our minds. When she finished Everett lobbed himself from the daze he was in.

“I don’t think it’s safe to do that anymore.” he stated stately.

“Why not?”

“People are being killed everyday for less than what you’re talking about, for loaves of bread, not idealism. But there will probably be an assassination attempt or even a staged one which would be much worse. And you don’t want to be out there if anything happens. I don’t want you to be out there.”

She looked at him, cold eyes and all. She picked up her pack of cigarettes, her book of matches and she climbed back out onto the fire escape.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chapter 2.4

Unrest in the streets. Taxi drivers wouldn’t pick up people with bags or suitcases or even women with oversize purses. People who wore sunshades in the enveloping skyscraper shadows were watched closely. Gathering was unforgivable and tourists were scarcely the ones to suffer for this.

Where graffiti once went up one night soon to be tagged over, it was now stained with blood whenever the police could catch the artist in the act. Bruised and bandaged people became more and more common, litter prevailed over the street-sweeping trucks. The rainfall puddles reflected terrible things and when you realized those things were your very own self, you shuddered.

Alleys were unsafe again, and more so than they were before. Murder didn’t rise disproportionately because the suicide rate kept it capped. The percents and numbers filtered down until everyone knew that crime was on the rise, even though everyone already knew and those seething politics not running for reelection said “Did you get that? About the crime? It’s on the rise.”

And Everett was awoken by a gunshot. He started back to sleep just before a full bore gun battle took place. Guns and screams polluted the air, there was no such thing as order anymore. Was this precursor to anarchy the answer? Yes? No?

By the morning a half-dozen bodies lined the sidewalks. That sends so many messages, which one besides awfulness do you feel?

Everett paused at a corner waiting on the light, he was making his way back from an organized supermarket. It had been nearly a season since the mugging. The parties became sparser until they almost didn’t exist anymore.

Don’t walk; walk.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Chapter 2.3

Hell on wheels got nothing on my white ass blowing smoke and steam down god’s own highway and fuzz-all cuz I’m a jackrabbit a-going hard to avoid the coyotes and scavenger types that imprint their particular brand of type on my forehead and you can take that to the banks of the river Thebes, put it in a newspaper boat and sail it on the ocean and if you’re timeless in your approach then on my lonely Ithaca, I’ll read the headlines.

Shove off letterhead lumberjacks cracking knuckles so loud the forests shake and quake under their own leaves and needles and evergreen going, going gone, and the forest will speak in some ancient language that we can’t understand cuz we’re so high the swirls spin and their spins spin and the spins of the spins of the spins will whip about in hurricane fashion and I’m left meticulously saving my scruples for a rainy day.

Don’t rain this-a-way no, no, no, don’t you rain this-a-way, Imma sloping my shoulders in a hunchback southern drawl with my thumb out band-aids, warts and all for a last call to make it to awake it and sleep it off son, there exists things that don’t wish to be awakened and you don’t want to be the one to rouse ‘em, so do as I say and just sleep off whatever geek minded ideas you’re using to float that melon, melon-head.

Kick that can down the alley cat’s way and hold yourself and brace yourself and don’t be looking outward but downward cuz this is where everyone scatters needles of some sort and aluminum foil boats, we struck ‘em like matches when you switch on the light they scatter too into darker and darker holes and I’ve no time to help and you’ve no time to help and they don’t want no goddamn help, just a buck or five and they can get on up off of cough syrup just like you did in your grade school daze.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chapter 2.2

Everett woke up in an emergency room, his head ached, a faint smell of urine permeated the pain and a stressed looking woman wearing a uniform came to check on him.

“Doctor Johnston will be by before long, you’ll be able to go soon. We had to check for concussion.”

He nodded a match strike down the center of his spine and flinched. “Where is… my… she… what happened?”

The nurse spoke to someone in the hall. Who was coming to look him straight in the eye? There she was, safe, shaken but safe.

After they left out of the door she hailed a taxi. Everett shook the folds in his brain and he smoked while she went to fill a prescription. When she got back he was seeing spots and took a delicious pill.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chapter 2.1

E and C had to wait for the police to arrive, the yellow tape, lights, crowd and the questioning. They smelled green and wore shades. They ignored the man who checked the pulse being arrested for an outstanding warrant. They left with their dignity and traded silence like horse thieves. When they had gone several blocks and dipped into an alley they used for a shortcut she began to cry, Everett started to comfort her but he was knocked unconscious by a blow to the back of the head, his body crumpled and the assailant straddled him, emptied his wallet and ran away without looking at Christine.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chapter 2.0

New York on an electric night, all of it, silver and lighted and reflecting. There’s no one to satisfy the love and cunning of a woman in the city who can still remember the city virginal.

It won’t forgive you, but unlike your other love, you have everyday to achieve satori with her and within her on your own terms. And then you can look out from the little crevice you’ve carved carefully for yourself and remember that New York is a reason, and a city and she’s an it. And you can give your health to a place where there’s no promised land, no Eden, no Mecca. And that’s a crestfallen bird in your eyes when you peer into every mirror.

Sometimes you’ll see folk aping angels and it’s a little bit insulting and a little bit entertaining. But spare the skyscraper jumper your attention. There is life on these here sidewalks.

She walked beside him, no side-steps, no limps, no invisible crutches. They were the hand holding happy folk that you’ll see wherever people exist. We are jealous of the unknown, all guilty of some envy. We carry our problems out the doors we leave and we stack them on top of our heads and our balancing act is common courtesy because nosy people will attempt to consider before consideration our unsmiling visages an affront of a sort.

But Everett and Christine were those people on that day with smiles and a secret they would never let the world in on. And if you said “goddamn” then you’d have to say it again because a body landed seven-feet six-inches behind them. A splatter and they wheeled on heels not used to turning so fast. The sound was crunchy like god’s hardest snow and squishy without sounding wet.

And in the believing city there was disbelief at the terrible scene. Everett reached for Christine’s waist and she turned ninety degrees into his body, shielding herself from seeing. A man came forward to check the dead body’s pulse, like keeping a vigil. The bloody, serene neck pulse pushing no beat forth, and just like in the movies he took off his jacket and covered the body.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chapter 1.8

Every shade of the rainbow was in the bed when the two awoke, even the colors that get wedged between the other ones. There’s a stripe of a different color in her eyes and a strand of help on his lips.

-I want to go to Ithaca. (pauses) The island.

-Why? (But it wasn’t a question, so), -Why.

-I’ve never been and never heard of anyone who’s been. I want to go somewhere that no one I know has been. And if I meet someone who has, then I’ll find another place where no one has been.

-That’s a lofty goal.

They lay in silence. Seconds passed.

-Why do you think people say that death is everybody’s fault and yet nobody’s fault?

-When I look into your eyes everything is everybody’s fault, but when I see your eyes look into mine, nothing is nobody’s fault. (She said without even cracking a smile, he smiled. As the poet wrote: Ithaca is rough, but it raises good men.)

She smoked cigarettes sadly in their home and shabbily rolled the ashes off. See her life running out in ashtrays, and everything smokers can think of while smoking alone is sad.

Why is it sometimes sad to see someone brilliant smoke cigarettes brilliantly when they’re young? You really hope to hope that cigarettes aren’t what kills them in their old age?