two hoosiers…

They’d sit ’round and watch re-runs of old television shows…Mutual Of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom…Johnny Carson…The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast…Barnaby Jones…all hours of the night and into early mornin’…passin’ a joint back and forth with swigs of whisky inbetween…occasional trips to the fridge for ice cream…week old pizza…frozen burritos they cooked in the microwave…chewin’ on pieces of American cheese…

And this went on for weeks…sleepin’ durin’ the day…wakin’ and bakin’…walkin’ ’round an old dusty house out on a gravel road by the railroad tracks just laughin’ their fool heads off…at the least little things…passages from, Zen And The Art Of Motorcylce Maintenance…cicadas hummin’ along in the evenin’ hours…sometimes gettin’ interspective with Pink Floyd’s, Dark side Of The Moon album…old records played on a turntable…they’d stand over it and watch ’em spin…

But…they loved each other…used to get stoned under the bleechers at high school football games…go out to the lake and make out for hours back then in an old Ford Fairmont…her long straight blonde hair would get caught in the seatbelt while he fumbled ’round with her bra strap…radio turned on…Art Bell talkin’ crazy talk conspiracies…for some reason they liked doin’ it to the voice of Art Bell…they’d hear that man talkin’ and immediately jump in the back seat…it really didn’t take much…

Now they were together forever…just getin’ stoned and watchin’ tv…pretty much the life they chose…never aspired for greatness…just two hoosiers livin’ life one day at a time…

holes…

The queen sized bottom sheet had a tear in it…blue threads dangled at the bottom of the bed…as nights went on the hole got bigger and bigger til it ran up to the middle…the heart of the bed which was damaged from the weight of two bodies there at one time…now only one lay there at night…creating a dip…he could feel springs coming up into his sides…always had…just a little when the couple first moved-into the rented sleeping room on Broadway down by the liquor store and Danny’s Bar and Grill…it was home for two lovers for the time being…kept ’em off the streets…

And the blanket had holes in it too…a quilt made by his great aunt who lived down in Texas long long time ago…the family was from Dallas and migrated north to the Midwest taking job after job to make ends meet…seemed like they just barely made enough to survive…like father like son…

So…he took some silver Duck tape and stretched it across the sheet and the cover…for some reason he couldn’t just go to the thrift store and buy more…he wanted to keep ’em…she laid on this bed…these holes were created by them…kinda like their children or somethin’…she’d left him with holes…

One night he had a dream ’bout her…she was there in the room with him…watching him sleep…like a spirit or a spook…but she was comforting…kissing him on the forehead as he lay there…the blonde haired banshee stroked his forehead and whispered…, I’m sorry honey…sorry…,then she magically ran her right hand over the bed…she kissed his lips and took off into the night…

He woke up startled…the holes were gone…

Normal…

He’d look at his watch every fifteen minutes as he waited on the bus to take him ‘cross town…cold and rainy…cars splashin’ him as they drove by on State Street…some seemed as though they hit the puddles on purpose…just to watch his displeasure in the rear view mirror as they sped through yellow lights…

On the corner he stood there with the rest of the crazies…people mumbling to themselves ’bout the Lord Jesus Christ comin’ back to town…guys smoking cigarette butts picked out of trash cans…on sidewalks and kept in a old package marked Viceroy…fat ladies with thick ankles staring into space…all waiting on the second coming of the bus…

And a young black kid with headphones on was spouting off lyrics to some rap song…talkin ’bout bitches and hoes…bitches and hoes…can’t trust bitches and hoes…he looked at his watch again…time was not moving fast…

All of this going on around him in front of the mental health clinic…making him wonder if he was truly a part of this community…he spoke to himself…had suicidal thoughts…took his meds that didn’t work…couldn’t hold down a job…he looked at his watch again…

He looked normal…as normal as a crazy person can…maybe that was the most frustrating thing of all…to look like something you’re not…normal…

Then again…what was normal anyway…

Two Husbands…

Hello…I’m good…what…I can’t hear you…I said I’m good…the truth is…I wanted to talk…Hello…you keep coming in and out…you sound like you’re in a cave…some cave all the way at the end of it…what…she’s OK…I guess…we don’t talk much anymore…some kind of silent agreement we have…yes…right…after twenty-five years there’s not much to say…hold on…somebody’s screaming outside…cussing…now I hear you…we’ve been going down this road a long time…started after the kids left home…actually it started way before then…everything just became so routine…we don’t even say good morning…still makes my lunch…we go to church on Sundays…just left blank…just this blank feeling inside…hollow…hold on…hold on a minute…had to step outside…don’t smoke inside the house…figured I can do that much…I’m not miserable…I’m good…this is just a natural path…happens to everybody whose married a long stretch of time…OK…I will…talk to you soon…give my best to Betty…sure I mean it…I’ll give your best to Nancy…I will…I can do that…she won’t ask…never does…OK…night…

These two people…

The whole town talked ’bout ’em…these two…with their idealistic ways…men in bars said he was a dreamer and she was just followin’ along…women at church said she was no good for him…said she’d lead him down a dangerous path…you’d see ’em over at the town square smokin’ and jokin’ with the rest of the vagabonds…crazy Gypsies…stayed out all hours of the night…til the cops would come and tell ‘ em to get movin’ on…it became a ritual…

And so they’d go with their sleepin’ bags under the overpass and curl up in each other’s arms…volunteers from shelters and churches would keep an eye on ’em…bring soup on cold nights…bologna sandwiches in the Summer with small bags of potato chips and toothpaste with toothbrushes…the couple stored their gifts in a book bag along with a copy of the holy Bible…he’d read to her on cool evenin’s down by the river…tellin’ her ’bout gettin’ baptized in the muddy water when he was just a kid…she’d smile and rest her brunette hair on his skinny shoulder…

They had a good life at one time…he’d work at the grocery store to pay rent and take her out on Saturday nights…she washed dogs for a buck or two at the Petco…come home at night covered in hair…smellin’ too…he didn’t care…they’d fix tv dinners and watch episodes of Cops on the local yokel station…her green eyes would close…fallin’ asleep right there on the couch in a spoon position…he’d grab a blanket and cover ’em with it…

But…they’d both become down on life after awhile…tried to have kids and it didn’t work…money became tighter and tighter ‘tween ’em with bills always bein’ tossed to the side and rent never gettin’ paid on time…months would go by without a dime to the landlord…’ventually got kicked out…there was never enough…

So…they became despondent…not carin’ anymore ’bout what people thought…quit their jobs…decided to just be homeless and sell plasma every once in awhile when they needed a little dough…needles stuck in arms withdrawin’ precious fluids…they’d turn their eyes away…couldn’t watch…

They never grew tired of each other…never argued…never fought…they were in it together…this was the life they’d chosen…these two people…these two people…

He closed the door behind him…

It’s funny…,she said…,I never know what you’re up to…,little brunette lit a cigarette…blew out the match…,One day you’re here makin’ love to me and the next you’re gone just like some old dog retreatin’ from a battle field…,the short woman adjusted her bra strap…, Think you could leave a note or somethin’…gimme some kinda warnin’ the night before that you’re gonna take off like that…hell…I didn’t know if you were headin’ out for work…some girl you got ‘cross town…maybe you gotta whole family I don’t know ’bout…,he took a swig of coffee and glanced over the newspaper on the kitchen table…,Hey…you listenin’ to me…, the old man nodded his head…ran his fingers through his black hair…,You just come and go as you please don’t you…maybe you’re some kinda spirit that runs through this house at midnight…disruptin’ my sleep…makin’ me do things like I never done before…

Like what…

Lots of things…carin’ ’bout a man is one of ’em…never cared for any man ‘fore you…now you got my world all turned upside down…and sideways too…,she took a deep drag and blew out smoke like a dragon…,Where do you go when you leave me…never call or text…just show up at my door ready to screw…and I take you in every time…some kinda fool I am…you don’t ever say a word…just give me that look…that wild look…like your heart’s filled with desire just for me…like I’m your only one…am I…am I your only one…,he took a cigarette from her pack…didn’t say a word…didn’t nod or shake his head…just played with the cigarette…packin’ it on the wooden table…,Well…there’s gonna be some changes…,she said…,One night you come by here I might not be here…might not be waitin’ for ya…I can take off too you know…I don’t have to wait ’round here for you every night…a phone call that never comes…I can go off and do things too…like head out west…or drive on the highway and see where it takes me…maybe I got a piece of action ‘cross town you ever think of that…I can go sit in a bar all night long and have drinks bought for me if I choose…,he smiled…,You need to start communicatin’ with me…tellin’ me what’s goin’ on inside that head of your’s…I can’t read minds you know…but I can tell…I know when a man is not bein’ true…or…has other interests…,he got up and kissed her on the forhead…walked towards the door…she stood there in silence…quiet as a church…,You comin’ back tonight…,she whispered…he closed the door behind him…

somethin’ pure…

what is pure…

talkin’ ’bout…

purity…what is pure…

you come up with some crazy questions…askin’ what’s pure…ain’t nothin’ pure…nothin’ on this earth ain’t…

got to be somethin’…

what…water…they done messed that up…the land…they placed enough chemicals in it to make it explode with one cigarette butt bein’ crushed under your foot…

no…somebody’s soul…gotta be a soul out there that hasn’t been compromised…

like a new born…

maybe…

closest thing I can guess to it…Lord Jesus Christ…he ain’t come back yet…but I heard a preacher say that he’d be back here soon…whole world’s fallin’ apart…just a matter of time…

maybe there’s some mystic in the East…someone nobody knows ’bout…he just sits in prayer all day long…fasting for days on end…readin’ all types of religious books…talkin’ to Vishnu in his sleep…

don’t go gettin’ all weird on me now…talkin’ all that foriegn fabricated bullshit…Jesus is as American as it gets…hang your hat on him…

i’m just lookin’ for somethin’ pure…somethin’ to believe in…that’s all…that’s all…