sometimes things don’t matter…

He’d grown used to it…every night she had too much to drink…would curl up on the couch in her robe and tell him to fetch her another one…long fingers with painted red tips held out a stemmed wine glass with purple sediment in the bottom…he did as he was asked…

And she never moved from that spot…in the mornin’ when he woke up she was there on the couch…evenin’ time when came home from workin’ all day at the GM plant she’d still be there with a bottle of burgandy by her side…he’d join her for one or two…that’d be it…could never keep up with her…

She’d polish off a glass and then lay her red hair down in his lap as he stroked it…lighting a cigarette…she could barely reach the ash tray on the table…he’d take it from her and put it out…Virginia Slims smoked down to the filter…her mouth tasted of menthol when she would kiss him in a vain attempt to make love…he always knew it wouldn’t go far…

The days of them makin’ love was long over…he’d settle for her layin’ there…watchin’ the television…some guy askin’ a celebrity questions with the sound down low…cars would drive by…he’d look at ’em…just look at ’em…

She’d murmer these incoherent stories…tales of when she was in high school…her first love…first job…first time she got drunk…same stories every night…he’d just nod his head…

He was in love with her…sometimes things don’t matter…,Hey babe…go fill up my glass please…, she’d say…and he would…he always would…

lovers…

I owe that to her…

She doesn’t even remember you…

Still…it’s only twice a month…

Do you have to bring her flowers…

She likes ’em…always did…

Honey…she’s not here anymore…she’s been gone for awhile now…it’s just a body…no spirit…or mind…you need to move on…

We were together for so long…can’t just stop seeing her…I owe that to her…

No…you feel guilty…guilty ’cause of us…that guilt’s gonna eat you up if you don’t watch it…what’re you seekin’ some kind of salvation…what’re are you some Christ figure…let it go…

Just let me be…just let me be…I remember when we got married…I told her til death do we part…I told her that…it was a vow….

You’ve held your vows…what good does it do her to see a stranger every two weeks…that’s what you are…a stranger to her…some kind of ghost maybe…she don’t know you anymore…do you understand that…

Yes…yes…I do…Now I’m gonna start the car and drive up there with her flowers…you gonna be here when I get back…

I don’t know…I don’t know…

caught…

In the beginning there was nothing…not a spark…nor a flame…nothing…not even a flicker of hope…she was to be looked at from afar…I didn’t dare get too close…maybe a few feet away from her on a subway train…a couple of tables across in a restaurant…watched as she walked up 8th Avenue past 24th Street each day…her chocolate skin glistening in sunlight…walking by vagabonds…beggars…business men…thieves of all kind…I was a peasant perched on a stoop looking-on…I’d never seen such beauty…

And one night it happened…she caught me staring at her around 42nd Street…in a crowd of people…she stood out…standing above others her green eyes met my brown eyes…she smiled…I took a drink of coffee and pretended not to notice…it was of no use…couldn’t stop watching her…she had this magic about her…to be trapped under her spell…a lifetime I would give…

We never said hello…no introductions made…I never saw her again after that…she must’ve changed routes…

the gate…

you hear these cars comin’ and goin’…people talkin’ in the alley…that gate outside keeps blowin’ in the wind…creakin’ back and forth…everytime someone leaves they forget to lock that thing…so it keeps moanin’ like there’s no tomorrow…wood slapin’ wood…that metal keeps clickin’ but it won’t hold…won’t latch…reminds me of the back door on my parent’s house when I was a kid…it’d bang in the wind all night long…sometimes real hard and loud while other nights it’d just sing softly…

and that wind keeps howlin’ outside…train wails as it goes through town…everyone’s asleep…last call at the bar was made an hour ago…people eatin’ at Denny’s…pots of coffee served all ’round…and I sit here listenin’ to that gate rattle…it’s gonna fall off it’s hinges soon…that’s what happened to that back door at my parent’s house…it came off one night…woke up in the mornin’ and there was nothin’ there…just a big open space on the back of the house…the door was found a couple of houses down the road…glass on windows was broken…the back deck was split into pieces…dog house was busted up too…

some car blowin it’s horn at three in the mornin’…keeps blowin’ it’s horn…people yellin’ at each other over some deal gone bad…this guy wants money…that guy wants dope…some woman yellin’ ’bout her fair share…and that gate keeps blowin’ in the wind…screechin’ and weepin’…soundin’ like my mom did the night of the big storm that took away that back door…daddy said we never used it anyway…

you hear these cars comin’ and goin’…people talkin’ in the alley…that gate outside keeps blowin’ in the wind…

Trains wailed into the night…

Trains wailed into the night…freight trains carryin’ goods throughout the country…some empty cars…the old man stood by the tracks watchin’ as it went by slowly…then picked up speed and then slow again…he was waitin’ for the right opportunity…

All his life he wanted to jump a train…head out into the dark not knowin’ where he was goin’…never sure where he’d wind up…could be the southside of Chicago over by Canaryville where Sandburg told of the old stockyards playin’ host to cattle and pigs comin’ in for slaughter each day….

Maybe out West in San Francisco where Kerouac recited poetry at all hours of night…highly fueled on alcohol and bennies…gettin’ his kicks on jazz played by old black men in bars boppin’ it up while the crowd yells yeah…yeah…yeah…

Could be he’d go down South to the land of Dixie followin’ that ghost of Faulkner into Mississippi with tall oaks and dogwoods coverin’ old dirt roads traveled on day after day… men haulin’ cotton to be processed at the local gin while their women are at home stirrin’ up mysteries for children to live off of for generations to come…

Then there’s New England…dear old New England with words carved out by Melville…travelin’ up and down I95 with Queequeg on lookout as the train slides into New York with traces of Whitman’s words dancin’ from the lips of poets both young and old…callin’ out, I Sing The Body Electric…

But Brooklyn’s not Brooklyn anymore and the prophet Miller has long since gone on to the next life…He danced his way onto the streets with twelve messengers followin’ his every step…a jitterbug…muskrat ramble…the Charleston…a dime a dance…”Once you’ve given up the ghost everything follows with dead certainty,even in the midst of chaos…”

Trains wailed into the night…freight trains carryin’ goods throughout the country…some empty cars…the old man stood by the tracks watchin’ as it went by slowly…then picked up speed and then slow again…He was waitin’ on the right opportunity…

snow storm…

There was a silence that night…an unusual quiet…no dogs barkin’…or guns goin’ off…wasn’t any cars draggin’ mufflers down Creighton Avenue…not even a siren from an ambulance…there was nothin’…

And he sat up in his room lookin’ at banks of frozen snow piled up along alleys…parkin’ lots…streets…it glowed under moonlight…

He wondered what his next move would be…stick out winter in the Midwest…go back East…maybe head down to sunny Florida…Vegas…he’d never been to Vegas…thinkin’ ’bout that desert climate…some place warm…

So he sat and looked at the snow in silence…liked to watch it come down…flakes fallin’…coverin’ the old Dodge up on concrete blocks…sidewalks…rooftops…just an all out quiet white…

Would he miss this…

Wasn’t sure…

Still Kickin’…

The old man would stare at the blank page for hours…next to him was a bottle of Jim Beam…thought ’bout taking a drink for inspiration…thought ’bout it…

He’d written almost everyday…short pieces…fiction based on facts…all good fiction always is…he’d take a knife to a vein and drain it until truth came out…it always hovered right below the skin…

And he sat there thinkin’ ’bout his life and how he got to where he was at…livin’ in a rented sleepin’ room with a twenty to his name…watchin’ snow fall…thinkin’ back to when he was married and there was always plenty of loot to kick around…America’s funny that way…when you got scratch it’s a great place…if you don’t…you really get to know yourself…

He’d spent the last ten years gettin’ to know himself…livin’ under bridges…abandoned cars…sleepin’ in Wahington Square Park on cool green grass in the summertime…readin’ Hesse and Hughes…Hesse and Hughes…

Now he was old…and he welcomed death…wanted it all to be over and move onto the next round…whatever that might be…

You look at life from backward and forward perspectives…you think ’bout what you had and what is gone…consumed with this thought…

It never turns out how you think it will…