Little brown thing with a white stripe down its back, pokes its cute little black nose up at the air from his hole in the ground, frantically glancing back and forth at the sound of that garbage truck. What an impossible concept for that creature to grasp, that there is this big motorized monster that would surely crush him, this power unanswered, there to do a job that it will never comprehend. All he knows is it’s loud, and scary, and vibrating his subterranean domain. It is one of my potential predators he must keep in mind if he wishes to go another day eating little nuts and berries, and whatever other scraps come his way, discarded by any and all creatures within his little ecosystem. Ducking back down into the dirt, his heartbeat trembles with such ferocity, it just sounds like a baby drum roll. He waits for the quiet, and eventually gets it; Until the birds’ song can be heard again, and the rustle of leaves and branches in the breeze. Shooting up like a cannon from below, he scampers across the grass looking for friends now – and finds one. These two dart and encircle each other, happily chipping and chatting away. Their terrain is a strange one, one shared with humans and their large huts and metal rumbles. But today, this backyard can be enough, and so it must be.
Chip and Dale pancake breakfast, Walt Disney World off-site, non-affiliated offshoot. Picture it: Orlando, 1994, 5, or 6. Character Breakfast. Crying child. Scared for the picture. Not excited about it, but feeling like I should be happy for it. Those memories are now stored in the subconscious of this house. In large, plastic Rubbermaid storage bins, scattered and in disarray. Proof of the trip, proof of the breakfast. Proof. Stored near bottles of alcohol, which display their proof both before and after drinking. Imbibing. Inhale the helium and talk like a chipmunk. Alvin too. Simon, Theodore. Timeless cartoons, yet also maybe ancient. Post-modernist cycle traps that spin cycle clockwise. Endless until self-destruction. The rules of the game. The ruler to measure height and pray that it’s right.
Track like I'm going off some roller coaster ride that was not predetermined or predestined to careen off the track and into the air, launched into the stars, past Walt Disney World fireworks in some improvised Isaac Newton avant-garde performance symphony where we all scream to our deaths, a triangle around our spiral and into a big, giant vat of popcorn unbuttered. Track marks on the runner's arms. In his daydream he has won the match, the race. But the drug just blanket-erases reality and time so that he begins to live in a perpetual fantasy that becomes less colorful and more and more lackluster as he comes to. The gutter is not the park. His new Adidas are paper-thin now. Hard to tell their original color due to their dirt and disarray. One is missing laces entirely. And the only sweat that pours itself forth is from withdrawal. Runner's track, acrobatic limbs flailing, flying trapeze of life; My friend's made me do it. Hopeless and helpless stuck in muck eradiated, eradicated. Forest cleared, dungeons howl as wind whips through precious metals and shiver, because that one day could be you - Reincarnated as some lifeless rock. No mouth or eyes or ears. Just dumb stone. Brimstone blonde bombshell moves and sways and waits. She's in the drop-top convertible. She is tying her red and white Keds on the dashboard. There is a doorbell ring in a distant vision, reminiscent of home and how we loved to be there. Young Blood Satterwaite. Band on the hubcap, recalling the '50s. Record storm store smash. Arrivederci. Science sickle, grim reaper of Biology saying, "Pay up" as recessive genes shout to be heard. Am I on the right track? Am I going off it? Gongs ring out in orchestra rehearsals inappropriately as the roller coaster rolls off the music and onto the floor. Now there are whole notes everywhere and we must pick them up and put them back on the page. Splattered with the subdivision of the melismas of the Hallelujah chorus. Signed, sealed, delivered, and Handel'd. Tracked tracker as in GPS location. Stunt double switcheroo, some English dictionary absurdity, some Devil's speak at the shortness of the slang. Misunderstood by a generation that now only knows below-ground scenarios. Scared of rhythms that might make their pulse jump a little faster. I am science cloaked in the night, make its way through paths of truth and certainty. I pray and tread on the threads of cobblestones and old Boston streets, passing through many a-drunk ghost.
Well, Martha’s of course. A place I’ve never been but have some idea of its uppity nature. Something about George Washington and a place where rich people go to vacation. Something about National Treasure and Nicholas Cage and kidnapping a fictional president. Where grapes grow in elaborate gardens. I wonder if I were responsible for tending them, if I would find that Zen or filled with anxiety and worry. Maybe it would depend how much money I had in the game. I wanna go to a wine tasting again. My first and last time was in North Carolina at the Biltmore Estate. And that was a great time.
There are long vines that grow at night, weaving their way down and around, thin, green tendrils stretching out their arms. Pumpkins too are this way. And what a strange and magical way to grow anything. There is a likelihood that Cinderella had a dream, or got drunk, or did acid. Pumpkins aren’t wagons, though I’d be damned if we didn’t try to get on that trip. Tim Burton’s James and the Giant Peach – terrifying, yet captivating. And a movie that was in a steady repetoire for my early childhood.
It’s summer now so I prefer white wines, but have been thinking about making red wine popsicles. I actually forgot to bring it up with my mom the other day, because I don’t know if we have or where we keep popsicle molds. The last time I had red wine I believe was not long ago, when we had lamb – Maybe last week.
Big, floppy, straw-colored hats and big, ol’ hangover sunglasses; A woman wearing a white romper with a blue sash comes strolling down the fields. She is a real estate agent and she projects positivity and brilliance, but she is depressed and cynical in her private life. She greets her guest and says, “Charmed!” instead of “Nice to meet you”, like her one semester of study abroad in college really made all the difference. To drink, and cut class, and find yourself involved with an older man who doesn’t give a damn about you. Like she’s still maybe nursing that broken heart, and can’t break old habits despite her trying and best intentions. And so she is stuck repeating bad mistakes, and old behaviors.
Metallic circle makes geometrical sense, I suppose. Especially when it’s the only thing you’ve known for your whole life. Though I have seen other geometric coin shapes in my lifetime, from other countries. Where the marrow of life is a little bit sweeter, different. Flipping coin from the top of thumb to call a side. Vending machine frustration. Maybe a little too close to home for the realities of the American Dream: Sometimes your Cheetos just get…stuck. Sometimes your dollar is no good here. And there’s no customer service, or phone number to call. But even if there is, what is anyone going to do about it that doesn’t severely inconvenience you at that given time? Quarters as always the most valuable. Pennies as annoying, but still savable. It has been months and months and months since an ATM transaction. So account numbers and just account numbers – kaCHING. Racing, ripping through the rule book. Licking thumb and forefinger to flip through pages, panting inwardly, singing the first verse to 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” over and over and over like a loop. Stress mind, clutching to melodies and rhythms that seem familiar. Fabled fiction fantasy, figuring fallacies, finagling filmreel, Newsweek, Time. Where have the published giants of yore gone? Where is the money if we cannot find it? Dark web based transactions, still coming down from my Homeland high. Dolly Madison, sewing in her powder wig. Some never grabbed snapshot of at what was one time modern life. The painting never painted, the words never written. But somehow, I know deep down with absolute certain, that Dolly Madison had a powdered wig, she would have been completely ugly by today’s standards, and she knew a thing or two about a needle and thread. Certainty, like I lived it. That’s my truth. Even though it isn’t true. It’s a logical conclusion based on education whether approved by a school board or not. Don’t you get it? It’s my truth. The kind of self-truth that grabs you by the collar and shakes you into compliance. Bag of nickels, hit on the face. To the CoinStar machine we go. Hunks of metal we have ascribed value to with symbols of our democratic republic. Democracy Enforcement. Notebook value system, College-Ruled. Five-Star folder and Trapper Keeper. School again. Christian-based value system as some topsoil certainty. But don’t you know that under your feet lies the Earth’s core? And don’t know you that it’s not too late to start digging for answers and unEarthing all you know? It is scary and frightening and does not jive with complacency –
A favorite of mine to draw as a child, perhaps at the end of the school year in art class using my free time in this manner: Upside down triangle sugar cone, latticed acutely. A big scoop (or two or three) of ice cream on top and perhaps it begins to drip down the side, melting in the hot summer sun. All main flavors represented, or maybe just pink strawberry because that is the most colorful, though the least accurate flavor as to what I would go to. While I do enjoy strawberry and do not mind it, vanilla and chocolate are my usual mainstays. That is, outside the realm of more niche flavors like mint chocolate chip (which might be my absolute favorite) or chocolate peanut butter or raspberry. There is always a mood at hand, always changing and never quite always exactly the same. Sugar molecules ricochet in my mind, right at the forefront and when they collide with the awareness of temperature, causes a brain freeze and then suddenly, Coach – I must sit this one out a moment. Soccer on the sidelines. Yelling at the ref. I miss the digestive ability to consume Choco Tacos and Drumsticks. I loved eating the end of the chocolate filled cone. Though the size of it never seemed worth the calories. Now I have pledge my allegiance to coconut milk ice cream or rather, “non-dairy frozen dessert”; I guess “ice cream” is trademarked. Banana split sundaes with cherries and whipped cream on top. These are the sweet things in life that we break for and make time for because honestly, what is life without ice cream? And what is ice cream without the pains and joys of life? And in this symbiotic relationship and nature of things is some equilibrium never quite talked about, yet understood. Because ice cream makes it all better somehow, or emotionally grafts over wounds where we sometimes do not even know how deep they go or how they will hang on to us throughout our lives, still a deep crevasse in psyche, holding traumatic ink begging the well to be dried up and home free. But I digress – Sugar cones over wafer cones always, big, fresh, sweet waffle cones when ice cream becomes a replacement meal because that cone can hold a lot. Kitchen sink promises. And Carvel ice cream cake with the chocolate crunchies. Forbidden pleasures, things I can no longer have. BOGO sundaes on Wednesdays at Carvel. So close to school, we had all the time in the world. To talk shit and get wet walnuts and caramel and fudge. Saccharine promises to make Spock drunk. I read it on Twitter yesterday so it must be true. Nails hammered into gingerbread coffin.