Haul Away

Hell to me where the devil sends
No more, no more, no more
I won’t go so dour to my end
No more, no more, no more
Should my friends no matter
Forego who I was
No more, no more, no more
Sing me high as the sun does go
Window sills sans tomorrow
No more, no more, no more

Cassie Episode VI (Stop Googling Your Personality)

“If you embarrass me I’ll just pretend like I don’t know you,” Cassie said, idling red eyes between me and a cigarette.

Dressed in all black like a bad omen, tastefully undressed in shoulders, arms, knees, and other non erogenous zones. Non-conformist and un-plus with a tattoo of Anubis coloring her forearm, eye-liner running at just the right angle to look more punk than it was depressing.

I loved to watch her leave as much as I loved to follow, admiring the fun and dire looks she threw back at me as I took a mental inventory. Another sixty bucks might mean a workweek full of tuna fish and sardines until the next direct deposit graced me. Rents a bitch, but more than anything, those bar tabs will kill ya. Bottom shelf shots are every New York booze hounds salvation, but even those start adding up when you’ve been at it long after twelve.

I should had gone home a while ago, on moral grounds and debit card balance considerations, but I find it so hard to act your wage when I’m in the face of good company.

“I mean it.”

Cassie stood neutral on the sidelines of chaos, and she made it so easy to forget that I should give a fuck about tomorrow. Like that manic pixie girl they make all those movies about, but way more toxic.

On the train ride she stared at a couple passionately trying to swallow each others tongues. And when the six-foot-something big spoon asked if there was a problem, she laughed and casually asked if there was enough room enough for two more. They sucked their teeth and left at the next station, long testosterone glares I half heartedly reciprocated. And when I asked Cassie why she had such a problem with PDA to be so embarrassing, she shrugged and told me Not-At-All. I-Just-Thought-That-Would-Be-Funny.

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” I said, shuffling my internal playlist of wisecrack and dumbass to best match what I thought would be her rhythm. “But one quick question: how do your friends feel about Syria?”

I thought Cassie was burning inside as bright as I was, full of that quiet crazy staring at strangers and waiting to socially erupt. I thought she was as fed up as I was with faux pas pleasantries, nominal living and the circadian rhythm. Ready to yell at pigeons in the park and be an island of revolution. Choosing yourself over this paper thin etiquette and simulated version of honesty. A half-assed mutiny against the workweek, civil disobedience without a reason and more for the fuck of it. Howling on the street and refusing to let our madness be private.

“I’m serious,” She said, stopping with a hand firmly pressing into my chest. “Do not embarrass me,” she repeated, red and wolfish eyes idling between me and the half finished cigarette nearly burning the wool of my jacket.

Thin and bright red letters dimmed against the darkness like an alarm clock ahead of us, neon shadows casting the words ‘The O D E O N’ looming on a marquee. The feint fragrance of shay butter and too much hairspray wafting by. A few seconds ago the click of our shoes against the sidewalk filled the aching creaks of our empty headspaces, but now there was only an odd and busy silence as New York revolved around our feet.

I had half a mind to bring up the problematic train ride that got us there, but her cute face and my aversion to conflict got the better of me. I trust no ones judgement, and my own much less. But when you’re morally bankrupt and already in enough debt to be thrifty on the last sixty dollars you have left in your bank account, it’s easy to overlook a little hypocrisy for a few free drinks with a pretty girl.

But she was waiting for an answer and the moment was so heavy and pregnant with anticipation. She was just so serious and I just didn’t know what to say.

“I’ll be good,” is what I settled on, and lied. She nodded, and we made our way into Odeon and the rest of the night.

Waltzing on drifting heels, those dark and looming neon signs ahead of us, I wondered about the cover charge we all pay for a night outside ourselves.

Please Guide Me Joe Exotic

Life is a series of constant nuisances for the type of person who only likes to do everything once.

The simplest habit, regiment or routine is a repeated agony and practice in self flagellation. A daily masochism where the tools of torture are by means of showers, dress, dinner and breakfast. Relentless punishments in exercise, texting to friends, grooming or washing hands. Having to talk to strangers on the subway is the new solitary confinement, and the very basic comforts of modern living, designed to ease the grim and harsher realities of life, become the guillotine by which the human spirit is executed every day.      

So it doesn’t bother me that I know my baby’s leaving me. She took me to her room where there were mason jars lined along her window sill and dresser, fig leaves and lean stems lovingly decorating each wide glass about the size of a basketball. A closer look and I saw petite cocoons and moths encased in every falsetto museum, sitting still as the hot Summer day. Or maybe they were just still like death. When I asked if it was true that they only lived for a few months she said yes, and suddenly hobbies were the most depressing thing in the world. I got to thinking about my own, how maybe everything was so short and fleeting, stuck in glass jars for the majority of the time and when you’re finally let free it’s all over before you know it. 

What is the difference between a hundred days or years anyway? Perspective, mostly. Mayfly’s are born, grow, mate and die in under forty-eight hours. A full life; bred, sewn, and unmade by Tuesday, before I can even get started on yesterday, or wrap my head around what to do with myself  for all the years yawning ahead of me.

Then I felt better about myself when the inevitable arrived. She said she wasn’t ready for something so serious, and that it wasn’t someone else when I didn’t ask, so I knew it was someone else. And I could tell she thought it through, what to say, because there was something rehearsed in how her tongue massaged the words out so flawlessly.  

I gave her a hug and the No-Hard-Feelings riff. Dropped off the birthday gift I was saving and wished her the best with a smile, and as I walked out the door I could tell she was bothered by how well I took it. It’s selfish, I suppose, to break a persons heart and expect the pieces to still be yours. But I can understand, loving it when people leave but hating to watch them walk away so casually.

And I would probably miss her more down the line, maybe, but at that moment I simply didn’t. The only feeling that I could register was autonomy, freedom. Not having to listen about her dads problems or pretending to be interested in political science ever-a-fucking-gain. No more death by routine, the suicide of increments. It was finally just me and my whims again. 

The prospect of being an individual again felt exciting but a corner of my heart would not succumb, a tiny portion of my soul winced and braced for impact. At the time this felt right, but a part of me knew that I always confuse what feels right with what feels familiar.

Is It Really Ghosting If I Never Answer Your Texts Anyway

Hello. I’m sorry it’s been such a while. Are you eating well? Did you get that thing you really wanted? How’s your job? Have you called your mother lately?

I know I have a habit of isolation and that I don’t reach out as much as I should, and I respect you far too much to make up some sorry excuse that’s more of a social reflex than sincerity. Like saying I-thought-I-hit-send-on-your-last-message or that “Work’s been crazy.”

But lately I’ve had a nagging conscience telling I might be neglecting my little corner of the internet, and while I absolutely hate any feeling of obligation, I’ve grown enough to not be so selfish and know I do at the very least owe you an explanation.

Projects much larger than just myself (and anything I have ever accomplished) are taking shape, in mediums I’ve never been in, with other artist I’ve never worked with.  It’s all very exciting and fulfilling, but time consuming and exhaustive.  I haven’t the time to grow those seeds and remain active, so until they’re complete this website will be under a kind of radio silence.

I hope and promise to share more once I’m able to, and I appreciate those of you who bother frequenting, haunting, or lurking (whats the difference really) this little haven of fiction and poetry I’ve created. I’m thankful for your continued support.

On an unrelated note, e-mail responses will also be put on an indefinite hold. I wish I could respond and I am truly sorry,  it’s just that works been so crazy.

Always,

N.

 

The Idiot (aka Homer’s Beer Run)

Heaven is hell-bent, a misshapen sanctuary
where men make sinners out of love, sibyls from
devils and saints out of the fairer sex. The
less clever pray for deliverance in a cup,
Gods nectar; bitter-sweet ambrosia by the barrel;
His holy bottled excellence, sixteen fluid ounces,
light, stout, pale or pilsner, for nightly immortality.

Dear deacon of the deli, bringer of
my bread and sacrilege. Clandestine
clerk who offers passage to His hazy
river Styx, in brown paper bags and
long side glances that confess
disbelief a 2AM pilgrimage can wait
for the sacrament of home.

Two coins short, and Charon grins,
no ferry waits when his toll goes unpaid.

Forgive me Ahmed, for I am dimmed.
Sweet Gods of Hell and mercy, grant me light,
and credit, that I may learn peace and pass
this dark and grim abyss, to far and pleasant lands
where one dreams and is awake.

Charon nods, Pity, he says, Go-Then,
Take-It, Go-And-Bid-Farewell. But
Heaven has no room for cleverness;
this world is a loan to be repaid,
and I will you see you once again,
with a stone at your back
and Hell at your heels.

Our hero sobers on, a long voyage home safe,
with bags of ambrosia, two pockets full of coins,
and the hidden smile of Sisyphus son.