Cheap Beachside Motel

I.

In my solitude should I be found wanting
Would you say that misery sits alone?
Accustomed to the habitual trading of skin
Grafted hand to cheek, to thigh
Tracing lines around the outer sides of faces
It’s grown tepid, the atmosphere scares
All memory of shared spaces
Chagrined smiles, pulling teeth
Evaporate in body heat
Held to feel the breeze caressed between
Your lungs do the same as mine
Let us share each exhalation

II.

Search to find that it exists on both sides
That tender ache for the interlocking islands of time
Melancholy brought you to a gentle acceptance of a life once known
Remembered with significant nostalgia
Photographs record a faceless exterior
Amongst raging kicks and the onslaught of images
Tired tired
Make amends though limited
Touch hands with severe militance
Afraid to brush lightly for fear of breaking
A kiss grazes the senses and leaves a mark
Of burnt out desires which warm still hearts
Lucky to catch fire with you

III.

A sea of letters, held by the adhesive muse
Holding the heart of a word smith in her lips
Planting gardens of novels in his heart
Many petalled page leaves across his skin
The inks all over him
Her fingers smudging edges
Penciling a sketch of his outline
A spoiled manuscript touched by many hands intertwining
Never to touch
It excites even when she is gone
Provides an outlet for song
A soft body to lean on
Let her hair fall around
Drowning doubts swimming through mouths
Adrift in a sea of sentenced nows
Weigh anchor
Announce a steady resting place amidst an onslaught of images
Frightening hallucinations and premonitions
Peaceful in arms
Her tenement of repair
When washed ashore she recovers the wreckage
Moored and forlorn
Fixed not forgotten
Blessed is the spoken mind traveling backwards through time
To collect scattered moments
Hello today, holy tomorrow, wholly together

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A Ballet

“It’s like, at this time of the night there isn’t as much interference. Other people’s thoughts and minds aren’t clogging up the air space. You know what I mean?”

We’d gotten into the habit of walking home together after work, talking for twenty minutes and finally getting somewhere. We would really be talking, then we’d reach her house.
I’d say goodbye, lingering that few extra seconds I knew she noticed, and wanted her to notice, but neither of us would ever acknowledge.
My house was still another forty-five minutes away, every other night I would catch the bus. Sunday was our day for walking.
I had that forty-five minutes to continue the conversation inside, mumble regrets, and imagine what the night could have become had I hugged her.
In my mind, our conversation flows through the evening. We’d manoeuvre the initial awkwardness and then speak freely.
I imagine it every night after we say goodbye.
It’s no matter, though. I don’t need company. Missing people isn’t a problem. It’s only when I want someone specific.
With her it was specific.

“I’ve always wanted to go see the ballet, but I’ve never had anyone to go with. I don’t really want to go by myself, you know? I’d like to go with a group of friends or something. But, no one will want to go.”
“I’ve always wanted to go, we should go, yea? We could ask Nyla as well. It would be fun, make a night of it. Dress up all fancy-like.”
“Really? That could be good.”

We never went to the ballet. I never bought it up again. We both knew that we wouldn’t go. It was one of those conversations you have to fill time. It’s like talking about what technology will be like in the future, we might never see it, but it fulfills something just to toy with the idea.
I should have asked her again. More regrets.
It could have played out like The Nutcracker, but instead I walked home with the combined sound of Shostakovich’s Eighth Quartet, Schoenberg composing beside me, and Coltrane improvising during his free period.

“Hey, are you walking home tonight?”
“Oh. Yea, no. I’m sorry, I’m meeting somebody for a drink. Next week, we’re back on like normal”
“Ok. See you.”

She smiled when she said that. There was no walk the next week. Or the week after that. Or ever again.
I couldn’t take it. I quit. Working there was a reminder that at 4 am I would be lonely and unable to sleep.
They went to the ballet. Of course they went to the ballet. He asked her. Of course he asked her.
Evolution was at work. Not my evolution, though.

“Hey, long time. You’re looking well.”
“Yea, you too.”
“Hows things? You kind of just disappeared on us, huh?
“Yea. I needed it. A change.”
“That’s cool, I guess. Well, I’ll see you around then?”
“Yea, of course. See you.”

I didn’t see her again. Better said, I never let myself see her again. We passed on the street once, but she was with him, and so I tucked my chin into my chest and pretended to button my shirt cuff. I went to the ballet alone.

Simon

He would smoke and drink from sun up, and continue for the rest of the day. His front teeth were black-yellow nubs, and the rest looked like termites had crawled from the cigarette smoke, through the filters and bored holes in every one of them. The skin on his face was pockmarked, scaly, and came off when he moved his head. His eyes and nails were the colour of jaundice and stale nicotine.
Though, despite this outward appearance, he had a certain charm.
He made you laugh, and he was so self-effacing that it made you feel warm, giddy, and good about your own life in that morbid kind of way you only get when you feel better than somebody else.
“I can do card tricks you know?”
He botched them, every time.
“My father was the only person outside of Africa, to have been kicked in the chest by a zebra. Any higher and it would have killed him. Sent him shooting across the room and broke his glasses.”
Somedays he would lose his mind.
“Your grandfather was a criminal associate of H.G. Wells. A spy in the emerald castle, 1884. Look it up. Ask your parents.”
When I asked him if it was my mother’s, or my father’s side, he couldn’t answer.
“Did you see that? Someone’s just died. I saw it through the T.V screen. An EMP just burst out of it. Someone’s having a bad time, somewhere.”
I asked him why he sat on the street all day. He didn’t know why.
“It’s been, ‘the day of the stingy git’. Are you feeling slightly benevolent this afternoon, by any chance? Do you think you could spot me twenty dollars, so I can get a pack of cigarettes?”
I told him that I couldn’t give him money if I knew I was contributing to his smoking.
“Well, you can be an arrogant, self-righteous prick if you want.”
He was still there at two a.m, when I finished my shift, sitting cross-legged outside the record store, waiting for money to fall into his lap.

12:29

And here I was considering
Myself invincible
Bonding with an empty seat in a cafe
Reading coffee grains
Like tea leaves
Drinking page leaves burning with the
Oil spills of bookshelf dreams
And wishful thinking
And invented identities
These fragmented images
Assuming the character of my youth
My mistress Fate caressing my bones
Destiny the slavedriver
Owner of my soul
Oh rapture
I thought myself invincible