Reflection

reflection-2

So I guess it’s kind of funny how
I loved you so way back when
You say I wouldn’t know you now
Well I didn’t even know you then

-Avett Brothers “I never knew you”

I buried an old lover last month.

Of course, I didn’t-not actually. We were years ago.

What I did was read her obit and have a few drinks.

That had been an odd year of comings and goings and she’d dug her elbows into the middle of it determined to claim something. As if there was anything to claim. As if there was anything to be had.

She pushed and I pushed back. Territory was won-lost-won again.

Exhausting-

Such relief when she left.

Could never have calmed her.

A friend had seen her a couple of years ago in an upriver joint that we frequented back in the day.

I showed up there a few times at the end of long drives just to….

What exactly?

Could not imagine.

She died with her father’s name.

Evidently, I was not the only one who couldn’t calm her.

Her picture looked as it should have. I would have recognized her on the street or in that bar.

Now she’s gone,

But in a different way that she had been to me for years.

Now she’s a shallow reflection of me-no longer herself.

Actually closer now than ever-joining the chorus of the dead who follow me, laughing when I piss on my shoes or forget to zip my fly.

Big Pete-A Barroom Epitaph


Epitaph

You hear about Big Pete? The old man asked.
No, what?
He’s not doing too good.

When I knew Big Pete, about ten years ago,
He was over 300 pounds. Probably closer to four.
Football was long behind him.
His ankles looked like telephone poles jammed into sneakers
That he never managed to tie.

He mostly sat-sometimes on two chairs side by side;
Getting up was a production and walking-when he finally got started-
Was a bangy herky-jerk that always seemed just shy
Of throwing all four limbs across the room in opposite directions.
This was when Big Pete was in his thirties-
Doin’ good.

It’ll go like that for a time.
Big Pete? Not doin’ too good.
That little phrase-those four words-covering whatever imaginable
Pain and suffering life finally passed his way.

After a time,
Not doin’ too good takes a decided turn.
Big Pete? He’s dyin’ I hear….

Hear about Big Pete?
Dyin?
Dead.
No more updates.
But dead isn’t where it ends for Big Pete.

It ends with-
Did you hear about Big Pete?
Who?

That’s the end.

 

November Rain

 

Neon Rain.

From Tumblr-“Rain” blog

He had gone silent, the way he would, gazing over her shoulder as if absorbed in the shimmering neon reflected on the rain-spattered window. He got this way every time the subject came up. Or rather, every time she shot it down.

She regarded his jawline, his wavy brown hair combed over his ears and ached. She physically ached. Jesus, the guy had it all. Of course the looks had attracted her first-she could admit that. But then the job, the condo, the money…it had seemed perfect for a while. Then, this.

She didn’t know why she couldn’t get past it. Christ knows all her other lines had been drawn in shifting sands-why was this one so hard and set? Just the way it was, she guessed.

Would she have married him had she known about this two years ago? He would have been tough to resist; the security he provided, the doors that he opened for her. But this. Back then, she probably would have ignored it as best she could. Hoped that it was a passing phase. But now, it wasn’t passing. It was settling in and coloring everything. And now she had a say in what they would do and what they wouldn’t.

With an almost untouched beer in front of him he motioned the waitress over. Here we go, she thought.

“A shot of Grandad please.”

She reached out and covered his hand with hers. “Tony-come on…”

“Ah,” he said watching the traffic splash by outside. “November rains always put a chill into me.” Then, calling to the waitress’ retreating back, “Make that a double.”

“Tony”, she said, rubbing his hand. He shifted his gaze making eye-contact for the first time in what seemed like an hour. His eyes were bright and skittery. Frantic-water bugs skimming a pond.

“It’s alright”, he said, “I’m good.”

The waitress put the heavy shot in front of him. Before she even fully turned away, he threw the hot liquor down his throat. Ordinarily, he was a sipper. Liked to savor his whisky over ice. Over time. “Another,” he said holding up the empty glass.

She withdrew her hand from his and focused on the cracked wooden table top. Nothing to do now but hunker down and wait for this storm to pass.