Friday, June 19, 2009

There is a life.

Cold thoughts in the morning, when my shaky hand lights a cigarette, and the sounds of traffic are already swallowing my heart. There is a life where stale verities sustain their hum and drone in the skull of a woman in dressing gown and curlers, and the old man in the back room slurping his soup. The local rapist is moonlighting as a cop. He patrols the neighborhood dreaming of crime, cursing the privileged and ungrateful homeowners who assemble around the TV before emerging into the open air, where any number of insults are possible and some inevitable. A barking dog refutes all my attempts at argument. I shrink inside, divesting the casual talk around the clothesline of its meaning, only hearing the sounds spitting and gurgling. This routine is desolate when most we do not notice the overpowering forces of sun and wind, when we say good morning and goodbye and don’t forget your lunch. On the way to work I pass the wall again where obscure messages are spray painted, hostile to my comfort, speaking of blind realms that I prefer to forget. The Messiah is sure taking his sweet fucking time. There is a life where the same story continues without pause, no hint of doubt or crack in the faultless fa├žade, the mud-streaked glass of the window behind which we watch the world, murmuring in our coffee about great men and wars and kingdoms below the ocean. Members of the local amnesia society are going door to door, offering blank pamphlets, prophecies of the return of memory, when sore bones will shudder and shake and be forced to turn out of bed and show ID. I won’t open the shutters today. Most terrible is the clock with its ticking. The hands point aimlessly at the hour, a radio crackles next door, a stranger lies amidst discarded plastic at the bus station, and someone’s coarse rasping laugh echoes back. I flick the cigarette, please self, please whoever I am, save me from this my self. There is a life raw and blinking in the winter light.

6 comments:

Travis said...

That prose is so poetic. I could feel the rhythm of the poem in the paragraph. It's very dark, but I did enjoy reading it.

Mike Goldman said...

That's beautiful writing. Messiah's been here for awhile, anyhow, put down the cigarette and light a joint.

Mauigirl said...

Awestruck - wonderful writing.

Boudica's Army said...

Chris Dashiell:
I hope the cigarette is a poetic conceit. My favorite part is about those who go door to door offering blank pamplets.
You're one of those I read faithfully during the time Obama was running for president, by the way, considered you essential.
Thanks,
TRICIA BAYMAN

Chris Dashiell said...

Thank you for the kind words. It's heartening to know that, even though I write on this blog a lot less often than I wish I could, I still have appreciative readers.
And yes, Tricia, the cigarette was a poetic conceit.
Chris

Anonymous said...

chris -

i love this writing for many reasons. i would have completely suspected you could write like this... i am so glad to see it in your blog. i will be back for more!! (i want to see an entire BOOK, dude!)

guess who.