Jeja

Bed covers don’t cover much besides
cold toes and a window sill.
No heat or warmth in this dire night
and bed pillows wrinkled like
my grandmother’s hands when
she showed me how to play Casino
before she died that September.

Sixth, a Thursday. One hump off
of meaning something to somebody.
But the world turned just the same
a dog shit on my porch
and the deli man smiled
as he handed me a bacon egg and cheese.
A great woman has died
as far as I’m concerned
but to him I’m just another customer
in a long line of
Can I Get Uhhhhhhhhhh.

Her backscratcher on my nightstand
bent and silent as a reminder
that she is no longer there,
to whisper secrets of the 60’s when
she still had hips and Aunt Nina was pretty
but a bit of a slut.

Only the echos of what she was ripple,
and I’m left searching for stones.

Advertisements

My Body Is A Temple (from the waist down) aka I Liked You Wayyyy More When You Didn’t Like Me

A kiss couldn’t contain me, I can’t be made still when my world is always rotating. Spinning on a spindle far as the bar can see, high as the stars orbiting Neptune on a lunar eclipse. Can’t call tonight quits so I’m proof-reading draft text messages I meant to send, trying to draw that fine line of flirting while running perfect circles around the moon.

“you don’t like Skylers mom”
“Am I that obvious?”
“no, but I can tell”
“What gave me away?”

He has honest eyes- two black marbles and red strings marinating in a pool of milk; soft and terrifying. Sometimes when he smiles his gaze will wince and flash the hot secret of what he really thinks; open windows that reveal a cold and sensitive man behind the blinds of polite social interractions. A long forehead full of forethought, with a strange canoo shaped scar bobbing down the river of his beard. He had a quality I couldn’t place but softly identified. A secret in his faded Caesar I had to unearth.

“im rlly good at reading people”

“Like a mystic? Forget Skylers mom, tell me the future, specifically in terms of lotto numbers.”

“venus is in mars and he’s not too crazy about pegging. your lucky number is 69”

“You kiss your mother with that mouth?”

“no but i do kiss yours”

“I’ve always wanted a step-momdad.”

You cant stop the earth from shaking, no matter how hard you hold onto it. Your best bet is to grab a friend and ride the tremors, hope he isn’t going to make the night any more than the natural disaster I was meant to be. A social inventory insist that I am something of a catch- a little jaded, maybe, but more like blood diamonds than single mothers at 45. Twenty something erucater reprobate, “waist hip proportionate” (whatever the fuck that means,) that doesn’t mind a night full of fancy clothes and jazz bars or McFlurrys in a beat up Ford Escape around midnight. I’m down to clown or play sophisticated, depending on where my mood is. So long as I don’t have to justify why I think everyone should recycle and wearing denim jeans with dress shoes is a sin.

“I can’t think of what to say so I’m going with a very hopeful and loaded ‘wyd’.”
“laundry, little brother baby sitting”
“How old is he? And what’s his favorite color?”

I should be home with a book or jaw so cut it leaves dimples along my waist and pillows. Where I lay my head is home, and lately I like resting to the thought of him. I wonder what kind of lover he would be, in the romantic sense. Classical maybe, holding open doors and keeping between myself and traffic. Like I were a pet or songbird to protect. Or is he rather renaissance, regarding me with an equality and respect of a fellow human being. Dutch dinners and gender neutral nuances, bland sweet talk that means well but borders on boring, lacking that playful sentimentality of a baby-please.

“Hey.”
“hi”
“I miss you.”
“i know”

But that’s all I ever think about. Even in my raunchiest dreamy recluse I can never get to the actual sex part. My fantasies are underwhelming as the movies are- I only care about everything leading up to the moment before my mind fades to black and I’m suddenly out of breath or boredly staring at the ceiling from my pillow.

“Saturday, you and me and a dinner. You can talk about your baby brother and that stupid movie with Kate Blanched that you like. I’ll wear the shirt you said doesn’t make me look so ugly and you’ll make my face say something my mouth wasn’t ready to. It’ll be fun! Or not, and awkward. But whatever it is, I need it to be something more than what we are.”

Read on 1/18/2018

The Diary of Noel Edwards – 12/4/2017

Something in liquor lets my mental ellipses blur. I like the way alcohol allows for things to come more easily, be it a confession, thought, or company I wasn’t exactly fond of.

There are different calibers of drunks, and out my window I see the worst of them. The dog and hound, jeans held down as he releases himself onto a car or corner (he hopes) nobody can see at three in the morning. But someone always does. An abase acceptance of a more basic state of living- primal. The hungry eat, the thirsty drink, and the desirous find a four letter words to fulfill their wants.

Second is the suppressed or megalomaniac. Two very distinct states of being, but both can only answer in one way to liquid opiates: rage, anger, and violence. Either of the physical or verbal reprobate. One explodes like a grenade from the things he never said before, the other shows his true colors in less tasteful expressions of power.

Probably hundreds more, I think, and mine isn’t any different. During the day I’m cold but when night sinks into a whiskey glass, I get so nonchalant. I can’t commit to what makes me angry but rather list all the ways I love you. You not being anyone particular, because, I guess, deep down I must be a harlot. This love is for everybody. For Amanda who had to be so blunt and withdraw from me for no reason other than nationality. For Sam who likes to lie despite 20 years of friendship. For the stranger that called me a faggot on a church pew when I was only asking for direction.

I drink and I love them, all of them, all of you, all of me. Not despite your faults, but because of them.

I am, deep down, nothing but a glutton for punishment.

The Diary of Noel Edwards 12/17/2017

December 17th, 2017

People tire me, but I am reminded that I am not the first or alone in my resentment, in my endless exhaustion of this assault on the senses. I have hope again- that misguided, miserable human condition. So terribly optimistic in a world that does not compliment it. I have hope again in humanity, and that perhaps people are actually capable of decency.

When I was in Cuba, two men stole a hundred dollars from me. The island was full of so many good-natured, humble, uninvested people, I over-trusted. It was around 5PM when I realized I’d actually run a bit short on money, and needed to exchange dollars for the local currency. The bank I usually exchanged in closed around 2-3PM. Rather than ask the large fancy hotels lining Parque Central, or taking the time to ask the sweet old grandmother who was renting me a room for two weeks, I took to drinking rum and smoking rolled cigarettes in Pachanka.

Worry is an emotion that comes very difficultly to me. I am quick to take all of life’s calamities with calm acceptance. Anxiety provides no assistance, so if I’m faced with not having money, losing a set of keys, or the great fear of unknowing what’s to come from my actions, I can sigh it away easily. Action is a kind of desperation – I’d rather drink and sleep, spend my days dreaming away my troubles and dreary existence. It’s a quality of myself I appreciate, and one my sisters say is irresponsible and my undoing, albeit with a bit of envy.

The bank was closed, and would likely be closed the following morning as well, because it would be Sunday. With my last ten Cuban pesos I decided to buy a box of Hollywood cigarettes, and spend whatever was left on beer and some shots of rum at Pachanka.

Pachanka was a bar in Old Havana, my favorite for so many reasons. The walls were lined with tourist graffiti, names and declarations of love. A giant mural of a ship hung above the bar, painted with pirates and hooligans drinking and looking merry, some hanging drunk off the bow and sails. A band would occasionally play lazy, melodious salsa music, and the staff took a strange liking to me. They had an ashtray I took a liking to, a worn little clay looking oval embroidered with cuban flags, and they were kind enough to give it to me on my last day. I still have it, and as I write this now, I see it on my dresser and it fills me with a warm longing to go back again.

Another reason I loved Pachanka was Dianysia, but she is such a marvel and colossal subject of her own, I’ll leave her to this diary another day.

As I spent the afternoon in a cool and medium buzz of beer and company, two locals decided to join me. One thin with a pretty, boyish face and his hair in a pony tail. The other a bit stout with a cab drivers face. It could be hindsight, but I remember that initially that I was wary of them. They were as kind as any other Cuban, but had a habit of over-complimenting and offered insights to things I repeatedly told them I wasn’t in need of. Specifically clubs and women who would love to meet me. But I’m either a fool or my mothers son, loving people I shouldn’t. So I offered them seats beside me and bought each of them a beer.

“There’s another bar down the road we think you’d love. So many girls to talk and dance with. Wouldn’t you like to drink and smoke with a pretty woman at your side?”

“I already am,” I said, and I shot a big smile and nod towards Dianysia behind the bar. She laughed and shook her head, her curly locks falling like curtains around her face, causing my heart to sigh.

Alcohol brings out the worst in me – a kindness to every stranger and the assumption that we are all brothers. The initial hesitance faded, and before long I was laughing with Cab Driver and Pony Tail as if we were old friends. It’s because deep down I have always felt myself alone with humanity, and while I could accept that solitude in somber sobriety, being drunk made me homesick for something I will probably never know: a sense of belonging to somewhere, to something.

The night had settled in and I was feeling giddy and drunk. I stepped outside to smoke and the cars looked smaller than they should be, and the drizzling rain was singing silently to the bands salsa music inside and the old street lights flickering were like morse code reminding me my rent was due and insurance is bullshit because I was going to die one day and should enjoy it but my thoughts kept running away from me like sentences. Old Havana, small as it is, felt so endless. Stretching west and east and in every direction. I looked up and saw the moon and I had that young, fragile urge again to woo at the stars. I thought:

“You have grown old, Noel, and closed your heart to so many possibilities. Anything could happen if you would just let it.”

The joy and wonder erupting in my chest so momentarily,,,I knew it was diminishing. But that made it all the more beautiful, and my wanting to seize it before it vanished again forever.

Cab Driver and Pony Tail joined me, carting behind them a beautiful woman with large, searching eyes and her chest thrown upright. One of their friends from down the road, who I’m sure they called over to sway me.

“You’re the American who didn’t want to come meet me?” She said.
“I’m shy,” I lied, covering my face to exaggerate. And she laughed, falsely, throwing her shoulders back in a sort of exaggeration herself.

“So you’re afraid of women?”

“Only of the very beautiful ones.”

Her large eyes examined me in a way that made me uncomfortable. It wasn’t the way people looked at each other. I felt she was assessing me, weighing the quality of my face and character the way butchers check chickens in the meat market. And I did the same. She was gorgeous, skin like caramel and small framed. A shape that curved in ways pleasing to the eyes and primal urges. My eyes must have betrayed me, because in her glass reflection I saw a spark. Some silent affirmation that decided – “Yes, this one will do.”

Cab Driver and Pony Tail played the master of ceremonies, hyping her qualities and whispering to me in the sidelines of all the dark things I should do. We sang and danced in Pachanka, took breaks from loaded undertones and sexual tensions with relaxed conversations, joked pleasantly about how bad my Spanish was. Every so often she would casually press her side against my body, run a hand along my chest or neck. Staring into my eyes with an odd look of surrender, of offering. As if saying yes to a question I wasn’t asking.

“I could never take you home,” I said to her very frankly at one point.

“So you think I’m ugly,” She replied playfully with a shove.

“The opposite. You are one of the prettiest women I’ve ever seen. If I shared a bed or afternoon with you, it would be like something out of a dream. I’d never stop showing pictures of you to people, saying- ‘Look, see here, isn’t she the loveliest person you’ve ever seen? And can you believe she’s interested in a guy like me?’ But I get the impression you want something. The way look at me, it makes me doubtful. I could never trust your affections, unless you told me what you were after, what you need. I’d gladly give it to you, honestly. If I can. If you would tell me. After that, I would be sure. It would show in your eyes and I would know if you really desired me, then maybe I could desire you as well.”

The confession, playful as I meant it, made an impression I did not expect. The spark in her eyes faded, and for a moment was replaced by something bordering on human. A sort of softness settled into the edges of her corneas, as if I tumbled onto a core and center too sentimental for such a jest. And admittedly, in reflection, perhaps my remarks were cruel in their truthful. She laughed at my statement, a sound that came from somewhere much deeper than what she falsetto’d before, and tilted her head at me with a sort of pity.

“Eres noble,” She said, in a tone that may have been a compliment, but rang more of disappointment.

“Noble?” I asked.

“It means you have a good heart.”

She left to go to the bathroom while Cab Driver ordered us more beers, and as I watched her sway into the back rooms of Pachanka, I never saw her again.

A few more hours passed and I decided to bring the play to an end.

“It’s time for me to go home,” I said eventually. Exhausted of strength, and more importantly, my money.

“Let’s get him a cab,” offered Pony Tail.

“No,” I said. And should have left it at that. But I was drunk and made the terrible mistake of the following. “I’m walking, I’ve spent all my money and need to change some in the morning.”

“We know a place,” Cab Driver chimed. “It’s late and not legal, but we can take you now. So you don’t have to walk to your hotel.”

I should have known better, but I didn’t, so you can guess how the remainder goes. We left the bosom girl at Pachanka and went down the road. There was no violence, only an exchange of a hundred dollars and my abandonment on a corner, with a promise of returning shortly as they disappeared into a building. I waited for an hour, foolishly. Smoking my last four cigarettes and sighing at my own stupidity. Slowly, a rage building inside of me.

I wasn’t angry at Pony Tail or Cab Driver. I understood them, little that I knew about them. They were just like everyone else- needing, and doing what they needed to survive. No, my anger had a much larger and disastrous scope. I could feel it congealing, spreading around a cold and calloused heart. People were monsters – the site of blood excites them. Vultures – scavenging for a buck and feeling. My trust and accepting of them, wanting to be their friend and brother, my lack of worry was indeed my undoing.

I thought – if they can not accept me, if people were so unable to love me righteously, I would make myself unlovable. I would let the sober distance between us grow and take refuge on a high mountain of myself. I would stare down at their rotting cities and states of being, laughing. I would drink my rum and smoke my cigarettes, sing my songs and dance with a dark enjoyment of all their misfortunes. And should one of them be dumb enough to climb my barrier against humanity- for help, escape, or friendship, I would throw them off the mountain, or climb another one much higher. A skewed logic, but one I held all the same. Below the Cuban moon I was transforming, becoming something dark and terrible in this silent sidewalk.

In the darkness a man crept by and joined me on the sidewalk. I can’t recall his face, his name, or to be frank, if he were real or a hallucination of my sudden mania. I remember him recommending that I go home, and I responded that I would, once I was ready. He asked what I was doing alone, and I casually told him the story of the evening as best as I could remember it. Politely, but reserved; all the while climbing up my newly decided isolation. He must have sensed this, because he didn’t say anything for some time. But just sat with me and sighed occasionally at the moon.

“You don’t seem to care very much about yourself,” He finally said. “Which is a good thing. I imagine it’s why you find yourself above most people and situations. There is a strength in that. But if you choose to live in such a way, without regard to everything and everyone, you will never know joy. You will never truly know yourself completely.”

“Knowing the depths of your own soul is rare and beautiful, but some reflection must come from the outside. Some battle, some conflict must come to test what you believe yourself to be. How can you be sure you’re brave if you have never braved the world? How can you know you’re good if you do not do good for others? Until you can abandon yourself, in a friend, or a woman, to see life and other people through their eyes, you will never be alive. You will be a child: alone and content, but only from not knowing better.”

“Life was made for the living. To only stand for something is insufficient. A man must decide whether he will be another cog in this chaos of life, the oil which helps it turn, or the hammer that shatters before building anew.”

“So tell me…have you decided?” He asked.

“Decided what?” I responded.

“Will you fight, or will you perish like a dog?”

People tire me, but I am reminded of the necessity in this assault on the senses. I have hope again- that misguided, miserable human condition. I have hope again in humanity, and that perhaps people are actually capable of decency.

I am ready to fight again.