Fill Your Boots, Mary.

We both stand at the jukebox, me with my borrowed money, you with your eyes full of hope and devotion. I play the same old songs and you wonder if any of the songs remind me of you. They don’t. I only play songs that remind me of me. I’m self-centered, you know, and I don’t believe in love so please stop trying to make me believe you love me. I would never say this, of course. I smile at you and pretend I’m playing songs I know you like too. It’s pity. It’s the best I can do.

I know you’re dead. I can almost smell the decay. I try to rescue you, I want there to be a reason you should keep trying, but honestly, I don’t believe there is. Besides, I’m not God. I can’t raise the dead. You’ll have to wait for judgement day if you want resurrection. You’ll have to wait with the rest of us.

I could pretend for you. I could, but I don’t. I tell you little lies, but I don’t ever tell you I will heal you. I don’t say I will wait or stay or that I will forsake all others. I tell you it will get better, someday. I tell you to hang on, the bad will pass, the good will come. I know it won’t but I hope for a minute that you will believe me. I hope for a minute you will forget how bad it hurts. I feel very magnanimous. I am giving away hope today. I am giving away comfort. I’m a real, live Jesus Christ. Except…..

I’m tired of sacrificing. You’ve bled me. I’ve got nothing left.

So, I let you go. You and a gun and an empty room, a phone that never rings, a head full of needs, a head full of brains about to be emptied on a blank wall. For less than a second, your pain will fill the whole world. And it will pass, and no one will remember. You never happened. That’s life.

I regret what I said. I didn’t love you, but I miss you trying to prove that you loved me. I miss your eyes full of stars. I should have stayed, I should have bought a six pack and let you tell me how pretty I am. I should have seen you, but I was blind. Now, I am you.

He’s short. He doesn’t have any goals. He doesn’t try to be sweet or beautiful or brilliant or kind. His skin is warm and smooth, his reach is long, all the way around me….when he’s around. When he kisses me, I close my eyes and there’s nothing wrong with me. But, he doesn’t know me. He doesn’t want to know me and I know it. “When will you stop hurting yourself?” that’s what I asked. You said, “I can’t.”

Neither can I. But, I’m not like you. I’m made of struggle and pain and determination. I’m made of hope. I was built, not born. I am the result of solace seekers dreaming, I am the mahfucking dream. I am what happens when young people want to be grown people, when marriages need to become families, when dicks need holes. I’m so goddamn useful, I make screwdrivers cry. I’m full of purpose.

And you’re a dead man. A corpse. I wish I could dig you up and take one last look. Just to remember who I once was.

Maybe I’ll play a song just for you. Pour libations, tell off color jokes, shave my head. Maybe I’ll make everyday a festival, a carnival, a topless bar drunken dream. Maybe I’ll say fuck all and maybe I’ll fuck all. Maybe I’ll just live my quiet life, go to work, write bad poetry and wish I was brave.

Maybe I’ll fill my boots.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Outlier, The Dreamer

How she longed for dead admirers. How she ached for romance without attachment, no ugly interference from work and family and community obligations. Easy alliances made and broken without regret or painful goodbyes. Moments of absolute solidarity easily forgotten by morning, though wistfully brought to mind in lonely old age.

A whirling madness consumed her. Her thoughts were falling stars, they streaked and died in less than a second and she could barely register them before they had disappeared. Only in dreams did she breath slowly, her mind’s eye focused and observant. To be awake was to be on fire, too much fuel in the world, too much to burn.

There was medicine to dull her desires, to keep her thoughts from flying out of her head. They named her, “Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder” but she rejected this moniker, calling herself, “Bitter” and “Rebellious,” she threw their pills away and made love to her freedom and called it “Cure.”

She met men who had no effect on her heart and pretended to them that she offered love. Few could accept that it was not love, only understanding, that she would willingly give, so she played at love, her mask always in place. “How sad.” she thought. “Do they not realize that understanding is rare? Love is given and taken back so easily, but who is willing and able to understand the strangest, most twisted, darkest corners of their hearts?”

“I.” says she. “I.”

There is no loneliness in isolation unless one despises one’s own company. She sleeps so willingly. She sleeps and dreams. And when she wakes, she burns.
Outlier