I knew there was a line. Plenty of them-actually. Too fucking many of them. And they always moved, sometimes blurred, but they were there. And why were they scratching at the door so early, the cats? By rights, they were hers and she should have taken them with her. Some bullshit about no room, allergies, carpets, whatever-she just said what came into her mind at the time. So she’s gone, the cats are here. Three years of cooing, baby talk, petting and combing-out the fucking window. So I hadda get up-they wouldn’t stop. I stepped into the hallway dragging my feet so I wouldn’t trip over them-or stomp them-and went downstairs not turning a light on, so they would know somehow that it was the middle of the night and not time to be getting up. With only the streetlight watching I opened the can, split it into two bowls, added warm water and leaned back, listening to them lapping in the dark. I sure as hell wasn’t going to make coffee-had to be too early for that-so I opened the fridge for orange juice. None, of course. But there was a beer. A few actually, left from last night. How long ago could that have been? An hour? Two? It mattered somehow: was it still night, or morning? Quickly tired of waiting for an answer, I popped the top on one and closed the door, slipping back into the shadows. I expected to shiver at the first swallow, but it went down so nice. Nothing had felt that smooth in weeks. My cigarettes were in the jacket pocket over the chair. I grabbed the pack and headed for the door to smoke on the porch but caught myself. My fucking house now. Using a cat’s bowl for an ashtray I sat at the table and drained my first, or one of my last, beers of the day.
Shitty to say, but there was a special joy in hearing that they’d split. That’s small I know, I’ll own that, but they had a good run, time-wise anyway. How am I supposed to feel? She ditched me to marry that dick. Not right away, of course, but within the year. Her kisses were so soft you could be fooled into thinking she had no teeth-just a tongue or two and a couple pair of lips. The first time with her, sliding along the leather back seat of Bull’s Caddy while he got loaded in Frankie’s Blue Note, is still in my top five and probably always will be. I was love sick and gob-smacked when she told me she was going to give it another try with him. That was it; she had only dated he and I and I was an interlude. I went back to fishing in the deep, wide sea and they bred two footballers; hideous little brutes that grew to look just like him. Now they’re split and there’s nothing to be done. I’m entangled like a feral shoat in a discarded bundle of bob wire: squealing and wishing for freedom but completely out of ideas for winning it. Besides, heard she preferred women now. I can see how being married to him would turn her off the sex. Probably surprised it didn’t turn her off the species. But really, she had a killer laugh, a great smile and beautiful teeth. I just never felt them. Not once.
Me, working through a knotty plot issue. Know it’s in there somewhere. Can almost..almost…no. Gone again…
Rainy afternoon coffee on the shitty end of Larimer Street-
The kind of day that always pulled me to brown liquor as a young buck;
Drinking on the boat as we ran the lines-
Slaves to currents and tides then, not weather.
Now, as the rest of the party has repaired elsewhere to
Toast with THC gummies and loaded lollipops,
I sip harsh black coffee less than a mile from
Neal Cassady’s childhood home.
Should I have gotten the cream?
Her question threw me.
Still can, but not sure.
Do I usually take cream?
The surface of the coffee waves and crests with the
Vibrations of my hand; so I clatter it back down,
Again wiping at the new crescent moon between my
Thumb and forefinger.
My first tattoo-still fresh enough to feel foreign.
My dad had an uncle who died on a bar stool.
That meant a lot to him-he told the story often.
He’d also killed five men
But three were in the war so they didn’t count.
The old man never disowned him until his own deathbed;
Far too late.
The fucking stories we choose-
The characters we become.
I’m getting the cream.
It’s right there-just get it.
Maybe the next one.
Might as well,
This rain will not let up.
“…Nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.”
-Jack Kerouac, On The Road
© TDR 2017
“Be interesting someday get a pass through Hancock to see the brewery. Regular world in itself, Vats of porter, wonderful. Rats get in too. Drink themselves bloated as big as a collie floating. Dead drunk on the porter. Drink till they puke again like christians. Imagine drinking that! Rats: vats. Well of course if we knew all the things…”
-James Joyce, Ulysses
Celebrate as you will. Myself, I’ll steer clear of the porter. Did run into a charmer at the pub yesterday though-where we all huddled out of the storm. Extolled the virtues of stouts. Almost had me with the eyes; but I’ll still with the IPA’s because, as we know, bitter is better.
I don’t think I’ll live through this,
He told his friend as they watched the cold rain
Glisten under the oversized fluorescents outside the window.
A car pulled up to the service island dinging the bell.
His friend pulled on gloves and headed for the door.
May there never come a time when you say that with relief
Instead of dread, he said with a wink as he ducked out into the weather.
This is about how I feel after reading through my previous blog posts.