File 13

Feeling Discarded

Thrown away, so many people
have thrown me away
most of all you and I’ll
never forget the look
on my face when it happened.
I’ll never forget the strain
on my heart when I found out
And now I sit here alone
writing loner songs and
trying to forget
what the bottom of a dumpster
feels like

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The Fire

He threw his phone to his right and onto his bed with his thumb and forefinger, putting it into a flat spin. His eyes were closed as he bowed his head and ran his left hand through his hair and let his right follow suit. He let them both stop at the base of his skull and clinch his hair tight as he pulled it. He couldn’t believe her. He couldn’t believe she would do this to him after everything he did for her, all the good times and wonderful memories they had together. He could feel the heat of sickening saline streak down his cheek as his arms began to shake from the tension, his grip sending earthquakes up his arms and into his shoulders. His nostrils flared as he tried to control the intake of oxygen into his lungs, but knowing that his respiration rate was increasing with every second along with his heart beat.

She had conjured the ghost of his greater fears and let him go.

The best she could do was a text message. But it didn’t matter. The reaction was the same as he saw her face painted as a portrait in his head on a wall where she had sat for over a year. He tried to keep his grip on her but the picture was slowly taken off its hook and washed down river with the tears he was trying (and failing) to hold back. He remembered every other time this had happened. He remembered what it was like to be replaced, to be put on the podium as second place while someone else held the trophy, his arm around the girl and then both of them disappearing in a cloud of smoke. He felt like he would forever receive the consolation prize.

He started to fume. Smoke started unfurling from his eyes and nostrils. He kept his eyes shut.

She said she knew abandonment. What did she really know? He was never the guy to one-up another person but he always remembered a story his father told him and it sounded like silence, an empty palm and pockets full of nothing. The man who was part in his creation packed his bags and never came back which left only the question, “why?” and therapy bills. She couldn’t match that and could never understand why, when he smelled the signs he panicked and actually blamed him for it despite his best efforts to explain. But all she did was blame him. It was his fault. All his fault and this new guy was going to be the answer to all her problems and they could still be friends…

There were women who wrote a similar story with him with subtle variations and it only served to hone his senses to a finer point. So, his gut saw this coming before he did but the message didn’t make it to his brain before she cut the ties and he was left trying not to rip his hair out from the roots while violent sobs rattled him rating unknown levels on the Richter scale. There was a time when he just let it go and hit his knees, wailing and feeling so pathetic in the process because he thought he was stronger than this, so much stronger than this. But, obviously, there were still things that had the ability to revert him back 12 years old when this wound was first fresh. He pounded his fists into the ground to put the pain somewhere else besides inside where it smoldered.

And then his eyes caught fire and flames shot from his brain and through his muscles. Where there was smoke there was now fire licking the air around him like hands slapping faces and everything around him, for a moment, burned.

He picked up a baseball bat he kept for protection and swung it through the screen of his TV. He ravaged the walls and windows, giving no regard to his own possessions or his security deposit. He just wanted it all to burn. He spat lighter fluid and gasoline on the walls, coating everything that reminded him of her. Then he swept everything that she ever gave him and poured lighter fluid from his tear ducts into a box. With the tip of his finger, he ignited the contents of the box and watched pictures and jewelry and shirts turn brown and then blacken. He hurled her, burning in effigy in the form of now worthless shit in a box, towards the wall and watched it ignite with the sound of a roaring devil’s howl and the flames rolled like great, glowing tidal waves spreading to every surface. Smoke roiled and rolled across the ceiling as the heat intensified.

He felt nothing but this rage rattling his rib cage and spine. A crook of a sick smile eased its way up his face as he created his new world, one of fire and flame. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

“Just like us,” he said to himself.

Suddenly, the fire blew out like it would with a breath at the wick of a candle and the smoke disappeared. Reality set back in and he was alone with his sadness and rage once again. He had nowhere to put it and no one to confide in now since she had become his whole world. The one mistake he knew he had made in that moment because he was now all by himself. He let his hands finally drop from his hair and land at his sides as his head remained pointed down. He breathed in deep once and then wondered what he was going to do with himself now that she was gone.

Was he going to be alright?

The Car

Her moving on was almost immediate. In fact, it was as if she had swapped them out as if she had traded cars.

He was the old car left in the parking lot to possibly be picked up by someone else. It happened so fast he didn’t have the time to react in any other way but to blow his gaskets and pump exhaust from all the pores in his body. He felt tossed away despite all the time he spent loyally working and being there for her, now about to be hauled off to the scrap yard where he’ll be stripped of every mile that they put on the road together, the asphalt and the dusty dirt roads. The rocks were still trapped in his treads which he tried to pick out with a pocket knife with the time he now spent idling.

They were friends first. He knew that was why it hurt like his chest was the inside of a firing cylinder, then an overheating radiator as he spewed steam from his nostrils. The truth was he had a lot of work to be done internally and one of the excuses she gave was she couldn’t fix him and her, tow his weight and hers too.

But wasn’t it her who got mad if he didn’t tell her how he was feeling?

It amazed him the way that time changes people and usually not for the positive and oft, in his life, in the other direction away from him. Those scars he wore like scratches in his paint. He wishes he could heal them completely but his memory would not unhook itself from those memories. It made him want to rip the rearview mirror from the windshield so he could stop looking back when he was trying to move forward and away from everything but he feared the repercussions of changing without it. There was no way for him to win.

The fire died with time, with disuse and distance. But every now and again he would check his mirrors only to find her face closer than it appeared. It took all he had not put the gas through the floor and fly head on into twisted metal oblivion. Fear and sense always kicked in. To stop feeling pissed off every time he saw her at someone else’s wheel was all he really wanted.

He was tired of giving mileage to someone who wasn’t putting gas in the tank.

Texas doesn’t have soil. It has stone. And I hate it.

All my exes live in Texas
at least they all should
because I feel like Texas
is a tough state
tough
like a bullet between gritted teeth
drinking whiskey from dirty glasses
and wearing assless chaps.

I think Texas is a suitable place
for those I’ve loved and those who have left me
and maybe those who eventually will
because I think dealing with me is…
complicated.
Like trying to shoot holes in a polka-dot dress
awash in a sea of polka-dot dresses
and or a bee out of a bonnet
Let me shoot holes in the saloon walls
That’s easy
and when the alcohol all leaks out like
a black hat’s blood at my feet
I’ll weave a lasso rope through the holes
in the shape of a cactus
with big arms and
vaguely in the shape of a hand
giving the finger
And from the lone hole I missed
with my lasso
a bird will emerge and from its
sawdust and gritty songpipes
it will sing the song of Moses
after parting the red sea
except it sounds like Moses’s been
smoking unfiltered, handrolled cigarettes
(and on a sidenote, I want to try that shit.
He says his staff turned into a snake once)
but I digress…
and he drank from too many dirty glasses
because this songbird
has the voice of tracheotomy
as it sings of the egress of my exes

So I connect my heartstrings to the lasso
And pull that wall down
I watch as it salutes me
quite the stoic, stolidly
as it crashes into the dust
with a great Wile E. Coyote….
POOF
With extra plosive on the letter P
like a burst of Acme TNT,
fuse lit and flame-whittled down
to the base of the wick
like just when it appears the stick is a dud
and you want to give up the game
it blows up in your face.
The letter P does that.

But enough of letters. I’ve written enough letters.
If I connected the pieces of paper
On which I spat my inky thoughts
I’d have a scroll that unrolled the entire length
of this one horse town.
Because my scroll is exactly one horse long.
And it’s the one I rode in on
and I stretched it as far as it would go,
used part of him to make glue
as a security device and told him not to let go
while it dried.
So my horse stretches for miles
And everyone else walks.

Everybody walks but nobody wants to go anywhere
Except my exes because I know they’re here
I can sense each and every one of them
with the antennae in my chest
I’m on a hunt for revenge with my six gun
in both hands.
Because I’m not strong enough to dual wield
I tried that once
flinging lead with my reflection,
a mirage in the sand
and I landed flat on my back in my own oasis
staring as the clouds went by
so I rested on my laurels for a while
and watched the sky change moods
until once I saw the sky turn grey and cry
or maybe that was me
forgetting everything I’d ever wanted
for the sake of all I thought
I’d left behind.
And the seasons passed like dust
from my hand to the wind to gravity
it returns to dust again.
And my laurels became doldrums
‘Til my soul could rest no more
and I told myself I’d go to Texas
because Texas was tough
and maybe I could learn.
Then maybe I’d get revenge
on those hoop-skirts that
cat-walked out with their tails up

So, I mustered up what I had left
which wasn’t much
and jumped upon my trusty horse.
Yanked the reigns and dug in my spurs
The horse reared and dug its
soon-to-be-glue hooves into the dust one more time

And you know most of the story
except that I ran through there
shooting in a blaze of cordite scented glory
My spurs jingling like bells
which is how they found me
as I ran for my life from women in hoop skirts,
men in white hats and some of their kids
in tiny white hats.

They chased me out of Texas
I was not tough enough
I guess.

Couldn’t tell you what I was thinking, honestly.
Because I know revenge is a dish best served cold
and lead slugs tend to be hot when they’re fired from a gun.
So that defeats the purpose… doesn’t it?
Is my imagination or is it hot in this desert?
But hey!
I found a phone.
I can call for water… or something…
So I pick up the ear piece and
hold it up to my
eyes
Never know what desert critter could crawl in there.
All clear
So, I put it to my ear and turn the crank a few times.
1
2
3…
“Hello?”