Dreams can come true.
[PS-I love you Leon!]
Dreams can come true.
[PS-I love you Leon!]
Posted in Fiction, Musings, tagged addiction, Beauty, betrayal, Broken Spirit, Darkness, fear, heartache, heartbreak, Hope, Horror, Love, Passion, Personal Journey, predator, redemption, Secrets, shadows, Sorrow, terror, Waiting on May 16, 2011 | 2 Comments »
You see now. I didn’t know it would be like this. Who in their right mind would have ever taken it on had they known?
I didn’t know the thing would follow me here. I thought I was safe from its nose, always sniffing the wind and watching for movement, any movement. I hid in plain sight and moved slowly, so as not to call attention. After awhile, it had been so long I assumed I was forgotten. Wouldn’t you have? Years went by and the signs all pointed to the same thing-I was safe. No longer a hunted thing, of no particular interest to the one who watched.
What would you have done? I couldn’t stop living forever.
Man, was I wrong. Of course I was wrong. These things don’t forget, they never just quit. That would be like losing and one thing’s for sure, winning is everything. I’d given up the idea of that long ago, had settled for survival, but then I’d gotten tired of that and reached for something more.
I guess I forgot myself and who I’d been. I bought into the idea that freedom was my birthright, once I’d had a good taste of it myself. And you know, it is. But dance with the Devil just once, and you might have a hard time ever convincing him and his ilk that you are your own, ever again. They wait.
I’d danced to that darkness once, alone I thought, but of course I was not alone when my eyes opened in that dark. The thing was right there beside me, his hand sliding up my dress. It reminds me now of the one time I fell asleep at the wheel and eyes open, drove clear off the road. I guess I’d have to say I wasn’t really asleep, but in a kind of hypnosis. Leaving the road, I willed myself back at the last moment, but found it hard to resist the sweet slide to oblivion. Like the overwhelming urge to sleep, the drift insisted that I just let go.
The dance was the same-a demand to let go and just drift where it took me. Kind of hard to explain now, but if you know what I mean then there’s no need anyway. Once you’ve felt it you need no description. The only sane reaction is to jerk yourself away before being swallowed by a tree or embankment or the devastation of a car wreck. Sometimes there’s no going back fast enough, and it’s too late. Me, I’d just get the willies whenever I thought about how close I’d come.
Ah, but enough of my mixed up analogies. The point is, I got away with my life and after the heart-pounding stopped I was really careful for a while. A long while, in fact. Eventually I got braver and took some risks. I wasn’t such a secret. I let the world in. I bought a business and one day had a business card and then I was on TV and everybody knew my name. Well, I know it wasn’t everyone, so what could the harm be? No one was watching anymore, right?
Besides, the name wasn’t quite the same name then, and who watched the local news channel but local people?
It started with the one I called Cowboy. He materialized beside me in the quiet part of the day, and left me the sound of spurs though he wore no boots. Afterwards, I went about my business, focused on the work, and tried not to think about it too much.
A month or so later, when I’d nearly forgotten, I found myself in conversation with a young man who wore mirrored shades like that other. A different guy altogether, so I’d thought. At some point I realized he’d just stopped talking altogether and was staring deep into my eyes. I felt a lurch in my stomach and a chill when I knew I’d stared right back. Not out of any kind of man-woman thing on my part, but like a rabbit stays still when finally cornered, staring at certain death. The young man breathed in time with me, then smiled wide and showed a pointed tooth. I almost fell backward and wanted to run but could not.
“You have a nice day now, Ma’am” was all he said then, not breaking eye contact, and slowly backed up before turning away and showing me that he walked on hooves.
Was I imagining this? Had my mind finally broken? I most certainly had done some damage to myself somewhere, what with the life I’d once led. Maybe I’d finally lost my grasp on reality.
But I knew it wasn’t true. Things were insane, this was insane, but it was real. I was going to have to deal with it; somehow I was going to have to find a way to not go crazy.
I did what I did the first time. I went back to work. I smiled, made money, looked like I was supposed to look. I looked good. At least good enough to look like I belonged where I was.
Summer came. I’d always liked summer best. Everything’s more relaxed and I’m not cold all the time. I like driving, and I like to put the window down. I didn’t miss the bad weather. I’d been out looking for treasures and trying to keep cool, and my guard was down, like before.
He wasn’t there when I pulled into that gas station. And I know the sound of a Harley Davidson as well as I know anything. But then he was there, astride the big hog, across the drive from me. He was next to the gas pump, though I knew he wouldn’t get any gas. And he was grinning.
His voice came across silky smooth and honeyed in my ear, while he still sat grinning across from me without saying a word.
“Yes” I smiled. Why was I smiling? I knew it was wrong, but I was scared so I smiled. Girls are dumb that way.
“Why don’t you get out of that truck and come have a seat? We’ll go for a ride.” The warmth dripped off him in waves.
“No thank you” I whispered. The sound of his voice filled my head. His lips hadn’t moved but for the smile. I looked towards the highway and stared, cold all over though it was at least 100 degrees. Maybe I could just drive away and not get stopped for taking the gas nozzle with me. It was taking forever.
Now he was in my face, still on the silent bike. His face was in my window. How had he gotten so close?
“Just get on.” Grinning. A tiny fleck of saliva at the corner of his smile.
I don’t know if I said no, if I whispered it, screamed it, or only thought it. It didn’t matter; he could hear me and he could smell my fear. Still his smile could melt butter.
This time I’d said it aloud and I wasn’t smiling; I’d said it strong.
He tilted his head like a beguiling child might, all charm and wistfulness, even looked a little hurt, and said “Well Honey, you don’t know what you’re missing.”
“Yeah, I do” my mind spoke. And like that, he was in my ear again, only this time it hurt, each word like a blow; “Get. On. The fucking bike.” I turned towards the right, the passenger side, the side my ear was hurting on, and he said there from the seat, “Last chance.”
I didn’t know what it meant, what last chance I drove away from, but I watched him ride off away from me too, heard the bike’s roar, at the same time he spoke from the passenger seat. A tail brushed the gearshift and I flailed at it in terror, a live snaking thing that didn’t belong there. And then there was nothing there at all, no one beside me now. And no one was watching and no one had seen a thing. I could hear the bike circling the block and wondered if he would come back for me. I knew no one would think a thing if he came back and cornered me, not in this neighborhood. But I also knew he didn’t have the need; he’d made his point. He’d find me.
So, you see. I would never have started this had I known it would come. I really did believe I was safe. I’d survived the dance and got really strong but I never guessed at what didn’t get undone. And I knew I had to stop waiting, it was crazy to keep waiting when that shit had all stopped for so long. It was time to start living again. What I didn’t know was that IT waits, and can outwait me.
I’m sorry I dragged you into this. I really wish I could pretend it wasn’t happening, but I’d be lying. Maybe if we stood together I’d have a chance, but I wouldn’t blame you if you split. Knowing what I know, I would.
Then again, you haven’t left me yet. Maybe it’ll get tired of chasing me after all. And maybe, just maybe, Ill be stronger than I think.
Posted in Fiction, tagged Apparition, Beauty, Cowboys, Darkness, Devil, Green Manalishi, Love, Personal Journey, Peter Green, predator, Scars, shadows, Soul, Spook, Temptation, Trickery on May 28, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
Afterwards I was never quite sure how he got in.
I mean, I know how he got in, but I never saw him enter. I was alone, and then suddenly I was not, and he there at my elbow. Too close, too swiftly, like an spook. He seemed to change location without need of walking. Not there, then there. Close and almost overlapping, but strangely at a distance.
He had a definite physique, in fact I noticed because it seemed made of hard sinew, and that was clear despite the long sleeves and collar buttoned up tight. But I had a strange sensation of water or vapor as he stood near, and something else I couldn’t put my finger on; something that fogged my mind and called to mind a Peter Green song, Green Manalishi. Absurd. This guy was a cowboy.
He had the graceful stride and seat of a horseman, and a very slight bowlegged stance. He wasn’t wearing boots, and why would he be? He wasn’t on a horse, just shopping, just looking. I could tell at a glance anyway. The man had it in his blood, not his boots. He would not be scraped off easy, if he had a mind not to be.
In a million years I could not tell you what his face looked like, yet I would know him again, without knowing why. I think I’ve known of him all my life and this moment was just proof of it. He knew me too, although he never admitted it. Just kept playing that tune in my head, and talking, talking, until I wasn’t sure what he was saying.
There was one moment where I was clear, and it only came because I realized that what he’d said was a plea. Words, lists, delivered so matter-of-factly, nonchalantly even, with a Devil May Care tone, which is what waved the red flag.
He was working me! Intoning a code so subtly ingrained on me in another life, one I’d long left behind, but one he had certainly not forgotten. He’d been only waiting, biding time. And the time was now.
I jerked my head back towards his voice and saw a shimmer. The dark glasses had never come off, obscuring information I needed to stay present and in myself. They met his cheekbones and never moved or shifted but seemed part of his face. The longer I looked, the more they seemed the face itself, until I realized there was no face at all. I sucked in my breath, mouthing a scream.
Suddenly the focus snapped and he was just a cowboy again. What had I been thinking? He was talking again, using actual human words, and even laughed once. I shook away the cold I felt, then realized that no, I was actually hot, my skin prickly from the heat. I thought of the desert, and of fire. I saw him lick his lip, curling it. He was so very polite, but I imagined a fang there.
For just a moment he had made me feel sorry for him, had moved me to tears with his litany of woes. He’d almost made me touch him in some blind need to comfort, to ease the agonized hunger, the need he brought. Need that would never be filled, no matter who touched him.
I closed my eyes, telling myself my own name, remembering.
“Goddamn, are you listening?”
“No” I thought, opening them. And he was gone. I never saw him leave. And I know it’s funny, but I heard his spurs across the room.
Posted in Musings, Prose, tagged addiction, Beauty, Broken Spirit, Darkness, Death, Dope, forgiveness, heartache, heartbreak, Hope, Loss, Love, memories, Peace, Sorrow on October 21, 2009 | 10 Comments »
I found some pictures. Pictures of you.
Not the you I once knew. Gone now, the mass of black curls. Gone, the sharp cheekbones women whispered about, the slanted green eyes that pierced so much they frightened people. Gone now the tiny frame of muscle that had lifted me high and twirled with such frenzy as to become blur. Not there, I looked for it; the small, silent cat who walked on padded paws, claws pulled in.
Jess, I remember. Lithe and compact, deceptively strong, the kind they say you should watch out for. He could land on his feet and turn on you faster than you could regroup. That was evidenced to me more than once. It wasn’t rare to see some big dumb oaf try to take him on. Usually it was because of the eyes, and his size, but also because of me. Just because he was with me and some big guy thought it should’ve been him.
Big-guy could have never kept up with me. In fact, I would have left him wondering what had just happened to him. We both knew that.
Now that I think of it, I guess since then I probably gave that guy a try or two. You can probably guess the outcome.
I’m sorry, I was talking about you like you weren’t in the room. But in a way, I guess maybe you’re not, are you? I’m still having a time putting it all together. You are the same guy, after all. And then, you aren’t.
I am not the one you knew either.
It’s been a long time.
I think maybe what’s happened is this simple: You grew up. That makes sense. I guess I did too. Certainly, I’ve come at least as far as you.
It’s not that I myself look much different. No, I really don’t think I do. I might look better, even though I have laugh lines now. But I’ve replaced myself.
I didn’t do it all at once, and it was never intentional. Just eventually, enough of that old me died, and someone new settled in. I never knew it would be that way.
I tried to hang on to who I was and who we were and what we said. What we did. And one day, I just couldn’t find you anymore. I never really knew what happened, or couldn’t remember. More and more, a glass and a needle had made the shape of us into something I couldn’t see. But something I couldn’t leave either.
Finally, I let someone else do it for me, for us. He slid in like a snake, slithering into the space you left. He struck with something you couldn’t fight, a venom with no antidote. He helped me turn on you, away from you. It didn’t take long for me to see what I had done. What he had done. There was no undoing it, but I had to tell you. And I still don’t think the end came there.
I would’ve died. Without you, I would’ve died. You saved me but you couldn’t stop the seizures.
Before it happened, I remember us being inside. I’m standing in the barred doorway smoking, and someone’s yelling at me to get away from the door. “Don’t get too close to the bars.” Hands are reaching in to grab my lit cigarette. And voices are passing and lingering, calling to me with proposals and curses, insane whispers rustling and fading on, smells, Mota. In the pitch black, a sudden awareness of a body and a pair of eyes so close I can feel heat, see blinking. This time a hand reaching in, offering smoke.
I take another hit of cognac from the singer’s bottle, for courage. I’ll be outside soon. It’s cold. We finally head out together.
At first, it’s just like pins and needles. It starts in my feet and moves upwards, and I stand still looking at myself, trying to see something. You’re hissing at me now to walk, reminding me where we are, but my feet don’t do what I tell them. I look at your face but the picture is in pieces. Triangles and slivers, broken glass.
I know my head explodes. I hear a loud “pop”, when the pins and needles get that far up. When I hear it, the kaleidoscope vision I’ve had just before, vanishes. With that “pop”. And then there’s dark.
I hear screaming, a wailing, that builds and rises. A horrible sound and one I hope I never hear again. Absolute terror and agony in it, a person being skinned alive. I hear it from far away, and I strain to tell it’s source, and I can’t see a thing but blackness.
I’m trying so hard to fight my way out of the black. I can still hear everything, and you’re screaming my name. All my will is given to it, but I can’t help it. Just black. The blackest black I’ve ever known. Where do you think I am? I’m serious, do you know? Because I don’t. I’m gone, but trapped, still here. I am blind and I am dead, but still aware of me. Still hearing you scream at me. Still registering the impact when you start slapping me, but too dead to feel. In truth, it’s a worse pain that any other pain I’ve ever felt—that much I register. Dead, but alive. Afterwards, I will dream for years that I am dead. Dead, but aware. That’s where I am, I can’t come back, I can’t help you. I can’t do anything.
The people that see me when you bring me in think I’m out of it. And I am. By this time I’m not even twitching; I am silent, unresponsive, unfeeling, “unconscious”. I hear them say it. But I hear every word they say, every word you say. All these years later, I will still feel Erin’s hands on my face, over and over stroking, her voice the only peace like a song “It’s going to be all right—It’s going to be all right.” She says my name, over and again, tells me she is right here, right here, right here. The only one who seems to understand—I can still HEAR.
How does she know where I am? She knows. No one else does.
But you save me. You get me to her. You yell my name so many times I don’t fly off with those screams I hear, those screams that are really mine.
Erin knows about this place. She must hear the voices in my head that tell me not to listen, not to listen to her, that try to keep me with them. She never stops saying my name, never stops touching me, never gives up. I know it, know she is holding on, showing me a light I can’t see or really feel, but she keeps the tether of it wrapped around my soul.
God. Erin. I wish she knew. She was the one who saved us both that night.
I can’t tell the rest of the story now. I thought I could. But it turns out I’m not brave enough after all. You have your story, and I have mine, but you don’t know the rest of mine. If I could get through it without crying, without looking for the scar…
Maybe it’s better if I leave it that way. I know I can always fast forward. That’s easier.
I see you in pictures. One, I keep only in my head. No one else can see it.
You’re sitting on a kitchen chair out my back door playing slide on an old Les Paul. Tipping the chair back, rocking it. You’ve just had a haircut—the only one I ever saw you with. Your wild curls look tame. Like they might even stay that way.
We’ve never said a word before, least not that I can remember. But I hear what you’re playing and I can’t help it and I give you that look. And too much passes between us then and I can’t take it back. And you just say “How eloquent you are.” And you are playing slide again. But now it’s only for me.
I had another one; I kept it for years ‘til someone made me throw it away. It was you, again with the Les Paul, but it had nothing to do with me. I just liked the picture. My friends liked it; they thought you were someone I didn’t recognize; a rock star, maybe. They’d always ask who you were, and I’d just shrug. I liked it because I could see blue on you.
There’s more. The last place I knew about without me in it. A box, and my shaking hand on the cover and lifting, before I can say not to. And there it is, all of it. And I know you’re serious, because this is not the outfit of a dabbler. And I know you know I know. And I watch you walk like a ghost out the door for your appointment. I know what we’ve lost is never coming back.
There are several missing pages. I don’t know where those shots went, but I never have seen them anyway. I just leave them blank. The one I find next is someone else again.
And I ask him, “Are you happy?”
Then “Do you love her?” And you are silent for too long.
“ I never want to have again what I had with you. The kind of love that makes you DO what you would never do, under any other circumstances.”
And I know just what you mean.
You are comfortable, you tell me so. And it’s all right if we just sit holding each other all night, and if we cry for who we were because it’s all we’ll ever have of it now.
And then I found these others. Not mine at all, they’re just out there and I saw them.
They really do have not a thing to do with me, just like that other picture. Someone I don’t know; yet I’d know you anywhere.
Age has found us all, if we’ve survived. And you wear the weight of your soul in your eyes, in your flesh. Just as I do. It’s shocking, really, to see the scars. No, they’re not ugly. I know about them, anyway. Like you know about mine. All the same, we forget.
And I ask, “Are you happy?” and I can’t hear an answer. But you look comfortable, and so I tell you so. You reply by holding your guitar, the same as always.
And I ask, “Do you regret anything?” And you are silent again, but I think I see you smile.
It’s good to see you.
Posted in Poetry, tagged addiction, Age, Beauty, Broken Spirit, Darkness, Dope, dreams, heartache, heartbreak, Hope, Loneliness, Love, memories, memory, Mirror, Personal Journey, Pictures, Poem, poems, Poetry, redemption, Reflection, Solace, Sorrow, Soul, Youth on October 17, 2009 | 7 Comments »
I stumbled onto you
A picture, no less
In fact there were three
Grinning in one
Head thrown back
New to me
Black shades the next
Like an arrow
At her heart
But the last
The soul heavy tired eyes
I remember these
For so young
The one thing I never got
When I wrote this
The lines etch now
Just like yours
And I wonder why
I never thought it
The one thing I never wanted
Those lines sketched
Just like my own
I took them with me, you know
When I left
Maps to my life
A mess of dreams
Songs we laid down
You gave to me
We rolled them in our sleeves
Maybe I stole them
If you say so
I’ll believe it
What kind of heart would be mine
If I covered all the soft spots now
With a stronger love
Built of more serviceable
And I could guarantee
It would no longer fail
I tumbled into her
A picture, no less
More than three
I grinned in one
My head thrown back
New even to me
Black shades the next
A needle aimed
Like an arrow
At my heart
But the last
The soul heavy tired eyes
You resemble these
So old then
For so young
So young were we
Posted in Poetry, tagged Animals, Bats, Beauty, Chills, Darkness, Longing, Love, Nature, Nocturnal, poems, Poetry, Reflection, Secrets, shadows, terror, Thoughts, Unseen, Visitors, Wondering on October 8, 2009 | 10 Comments »
I must confess
You give a chill
To flutter by my head
Your inky form
Causes a thrill
Of shudders in my bed
I will admit
You have a way
Of mesmerizing me
With jerky flight
By something I can’t see
I can’t deny
I long to know
What calls you to my side
Your circled flight
Can only show
You find yourself yet shy
Posted in Lyrics, Poetry, tagged Beauty, Broken Spirit, Endings, forgiveness, Grief, heartache, heartbreak, Hope, Journey, Loss, Love, memories, Mountain Songs, Mountains, Personal Journey, poems, Poetry, Ruby Mountains, Secrecy, Secrets, Sorrow, Soul Searching, Winter on August 2, 2009 | 8 Comments »
Lay your mantle on my back
When I’m leaving
Yes I’m leaving
Will you point me down the path
Ruby hold me
Tell me your sorrows
Drop your tears along the road
When I’m leaving
And I’m leaving
Light a candle for us both
Keep your secrets from me still
When I’m leaving
You know I’m leaving
Keep what I have left you with
Posted in Musings, Prose, tagged addiction, Beauty, betrayal, Broken Spirit, Darkness, Desire, Dogs, Driving, forgiveness, Green Eyes, heartache, heartbreak, Longing, Love, memories, memory, Passion, Personal Journey, Pickup Trucks, redemption, Reflection, Secrets, Soul, Thoughts on July 15, 2009 | 4 Comments »
A smoky golden eye. Green flashes sidelong, blazing. Shocks of bright blonde flying forward, and curls of chocolate tumble from under straw. Like clouds under sun. A warning: things are not always just what they seem. Are they?
Ensconced in shiny black, nestled in leather, giving it the gas. A satisfied purring powers down the highway with a soft growl; it knows the way home.
It’s a real hot day. A/C cranked to 60 and fan full blast with every vent pointed straight at a body part; even the back seat ducts angle for an armpit. Feels good, like drinking ice water too fast, for the brainfreeze. Gooseflesh, at 98 deg. outside.
Still, she leaves the windows down and reaches up, opening the sunroof. Yeah, the best of both worlds, and she don’t care if it defeats the purpose.
Noise, wind, scorching sun. Waves of hot and cold air weave together.
The phone rings and she ignores it. A bill collector, or someone complaining about someone…what was there to say?
Life was like this feeling once.
Roaring rushing heat and wind through a fast moving truck; this moment, just this moment she’ll forget there was ever any other. Life is good, and maybe it was always this easy.
Doesn’t matter that she’s almost forgotten, doesn’t even want to remember, days on days of walking with her toes in the sand.
Hot, so hot you willingly run into ice cold water and throw yourself at its mercy. Again and again. Just to walk, lay, play in the scorching sun until driven to enter the sea once more. Crashing, tumbling waves spraying brine and separating hair into snakes, seahorses, braids, all painted and bleached with streaks of summer and salt. Warmed to the core, never really cold at all. It gets in your flesh, that warmth, just like cold does into your bones.
She almost doesn’t remember that it’s so much like being on a bike, one that rattles your pelvis and your soul while it takes you through the wind. A hot day, but wrapped in leather to the bite of that wind. Just you and that wind and that rattle of bones and soul.
She’s almost forgotten the kind of hot and cold this is like, almost another lifetime.
A smoky golden eye. Green flashes sidelong, blazing. Flying hair. A deeper growl, a faster powering on the highway, a chase. Instinctively, reflexively, forgotten yes but still ingrained, the survivor that she is takes the grip. And there is a warrior girl at the wheel with sticks and stones in her mouth and at her feet, and her hands are ready for anything.
A voice calling, yelling, and it is for her. Relief comes when it is no stranger who follows, no random menace. And then that moment comes where the brains eye knows it recognizes before it knows what or who it sees and it brings a smile, a welcome and a nod and an open hand. And before that hand closes to a fist it already knows it’s mistake and that it fell asleep at it’s post, but there’s nothing now to do but maybe stop smiling, or smile anyway. But between the gas and the brake she is kicking herself, one foot kicking the other foot, each one and both at fault because one didn’t use the gas more, the other didn’t stop and turn left. Damn. And after all, there is nothing more to do but just smile, and just drive. She remembers who she used to be, who she isn’t. She remembers the rattle, and the mark on her soul.
Along side, keeping pace, a large brown dog hangs as far as he can from the back of a Jeep, and stares intently at her. What does he know. And why is he staring? And his driver smiles ear to ear and shouts “I saw you.”
She smiles, doesn’t smile, looks forward.
“You’re still beautiful.”
The dog appears to lean further from the Jeep, peer closer at her, as though wanting to say something too. And just before she leaves off the gas to be left behind, the driver throws his voice into the wind;
“I always did love a beautiful girl in a truck.”