Wednesday, August 31, 2011


   It's supposed to be the end of all things. It's the mind-shredding fear of being out of my own control; the sensation of helplessness; the desperation of reaching out to steady myself and finding nothing but the smoky air clouding up my dreams. I usually fall facing upward, staring at the ridge where I once stood. Maybe there is somebody there, reaching out for me, calling for my return. Maybe there's an empty universe swirling in on itself, and I'm falling away from it. Maybe I should turn myself over and see if there's anybody below with arms outstretched, awaiting the soft impact of my arrival.
   That's not usually my luck.

   I once dreamed the sonofabitch shoved me so hard that I fell out of the car and off the side of the road. There was no drainage ditch. As it turns out, that ditch is just a mirage. If you care to walk up to it and press your hand firmly against the dirt and the sticks and the rocks, you'll find it ripples for a moment and then dissipates into a mighty nothingness. That's where I fell...into the nothingness.

   It's useless to scream. Nobody can hear me, but that doesn't keep me from doing it. I scream all the sound out and then I'm not falling anymore so much as floating, and now, it's not just me. There are Others. Some are like me, they float and look around in wonderment. Some are plummeting, screaming with abandon as they whoosh past me. There they go, and I stare after them hoping they'll discover the floating thing. The floating is so much more pleasant, but it's not really what I want to be doing. I'd rather be floating up. That's not what we're doing in the nothingness. There seems to be no upward movement.

    Hands grab at me and pull me downward. I'm afraid of this, but I quickly understand that this Other is not pulling me downward, but climbing over me.

   They are me.

   We are all me, and we see this simultaneously, and instantly know that we are the only way out of this. We clasp hands and use one another as purchase to climb back out of the drainage ditch. It is a great effort to climb over my own back and shove myself upward and cheer myself on. I can only think that some other me, somewhere below must have hit the bottom, and now we are all standing on the shoulders of the Me down there.

     We climb out of the nothingness, and he is still there waiting for our return. He grins and fantasizes that he'll be shoving us back into that void again, but we are ready for it this time.

    We have the feeling he'll scream all the way down.


Friday, August 26, 2011

I can't go where you go.

Remember that time we were just two kids sitting on the curb, tossing rocks into the street, talking about the future and where it would take us? Or the time we perched ourselves on top of the railroad car, wondering if we stayed there, where would we end up? On Halloween, we terrorized the town, shooting shaving gel on the windshield of every parked car. It turned cold and windy that night and we sat on your porch swing and shared your jacket.

That bridge we used to cross isn't there anymore. They tore it down and put something more stable further down the way.

That last night the world had frozen over. A thin sheet of ice covered everything from the wooden bridge planks under our feet to the heart barely beating in your chest. We watched the icicles fall one by one. They shattered on the frozen stream below and echoed against the rocky walls of the ravine.

You swung your legs over the railing, turned to face me from the other side and dared me to push you. I told you to fuck off and quit playing around. You were trying to scare me and it worked. You said if I didn't push you, you'd jump anyway. I tried to act nonchalant. I shrugged my shoulder and said whatever. 

I knew you were just crazy enough to do it.

You laughed and called me a wuss.  I tried to distract you with a kiss. You were so cold, but the kiss was so warm, I melted into it. I didn't notice you were pulling me with you until it was too late.

I tried to hold on, I swear I did. I spread my wings to fly, but I wasn't strong enough to carry you. FLY, damn you! I screamed. But you wouldn't spread your wings.

When you hit the stream below, there was no echo against the rocks, no scream of regret, no blackbird's lonely call. There was nothing but the dull thud of hopelessness hitting bottom.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Moving On

We're not that close these days. You ran off to New Mexico, and now you're on the verge of getting married to a girl I've never met, but I'll probably like. Or maybe you're already married. If so, I guess we really have grown apart.

I can't even remember if you called to wish me a happy birthday. You haven't missed one yet since we split up, not even when you were in Fallujah. For some reason, though, you just weren't at the top of the list of people I wanted to hear from.

To dream about you now seems ridiculous. I'm not at a point in my life where I need a friend who really understands me. I'm not missing you lately, and I haven't met anyone who reminds me of you.

But there you were in my dream, smiling, teasing me with your empty promises.

Your mother was there, in the dream, and she was pissed at me. She's been pissed at me for this entire time, I think. She always wanted to be my friend, but I couldn't bring myself to do much more than tolerate her. So into the dream she goes.

My hysterectomy was in the dream, and the kids were there, waving from the side of that crazy cruise ship with the wings flapping. What was that all about?

I stood on the dock, half-way waving goodbye to the kids with one hand, clutching an I.V. stand with the other. I wondered for a second Where are the babies? My grandsons? And then reminded myself they hadn't been born yet. After all, the kids on the ship were only small children themselves.

And then we were back at the resort.

He was waiting for me in the lobby. In the dream I knew he wasn't real, but he could be real, if I could learn to open up, give myself over to him completely. His smile lit me up. His tender touch ignited me in a way you never had. As much as I loved you back then, I never gave myself to you fully. I always kept part of my heart in that safe place, scared you would stomp it to death.

And you would have. I was right to guard my heart from you.

I climbed those stairs to your room and laid on the bed beside you. I watched you snore and wondered where you'd been, what you'd been up to. Why don't I know? Weren't we supposed to still be friends? Isn't that a promise we made to each other?

You opened your eyes and looked right into me, and I knew then, that yes, we'll always be friends.

But you won't always call to wish me a happy birthday.