Bottle rocket screams up to the top of the sky and bursts, releasing any and all sexual energy it may have accumulated in its rise, in its hope and aspiration to kiss stars. It dies and explodes before it can. How are we any different? Moths attracted to some flame? Standing outside on our rooftops now, watching the night; That breeze that blows through big ol’ branches, it’s a light hiss, a din of peace – To only be interrupted by fireworks all over this town. There are big booms, little hisses and pops, some are singular, some incessant. I will keep my matches in their drawer and not take them out. This is a passive activity for me. If you get close enough to the blast-off launch site, you can smell the sulfur and see the chemical smoke clouds surrounding this barge in the water, or the middle of a field. I recall my teenage self going to the town-wide 4th of July fireworks gathering. Newly drunk, huddled under a towel with friends to block us from the new rain. Despite the overcast, the colors seemed brighter that night. Though we were damp and probably miserable, somehow those things do not seem to matter when in defiant, rebellious teenage moods and those minor trivialities and discomforts we carry around like some “Fuck You” Flag. This is our country, this is our beliefs, and if you can’t feel it or understand it you never will and you need to leave and get out and leave me alone. America as a teenager, in some reverse-dog years in its immature xenophobic attitudes. My heart breaks everyday. This mailbox is full. Too full to open, too full to listen. Cool wind pinpricks my body when summer transitions to fall. When a hot day can become a cool night. I want to wade in the water with you and be baptized again. I am scared but won’t say so. Soul vibrates in holding back. I don’t want to hold back anymore. I want to speak out with confidence for any and all things. Where is Han Solo now? I want to sit on the sofa, lazily, holding your hand. There is so much power in simplicity and simple actions. I feel these fireworks rattle my window and I hope they will be over soon, because I can’t imagine a lifetime spent indoors pissed off watching the dog freak out.
Singular cushion sits alone on a wooden, country chair. It is burnt orange, and worn by the looks of it. Like that cushion has seen a lot of action. A lot of butts have plopped down and sat there, in fact so frequently, that the original “oomph” this cushion once had in its pliant support and cushion-yness, now holds no longer. There is no give. It’s just kind of flat now. This rocking chair, where the cushion sits, is just now lilted by the wind from an unknown prairie; It is inside the enclosed porch, but the wind gets in through the screens – no windows. Nonna’s house had one such porch, just like the one I’m describing. If you were to sit in this chair, the creak would be profound at the start, nevermind the creaking that would ensue if you chose to rock the chair back in forth. I’m talking about the initial seating. The boards and chair would creak so loud you’d wake the house. Talk about a country alarm system. Cushions are not meant to last forever. This one should be thrown away. But if we threw it away, the store is so far to get a new one, how long would that take? How inconvenient, all for a cushion! I can see this homeowner now, taking the long, 40 minute trip to the center of town, to some general store and her being dissatisfied with everything they have, because of course, it’s not 1976 and they don’t make that color anymore. The manager says it’s no longer “in”. But she does not understand that concept because she is wearing Walmart floral chinos and a t-shirt, affirming that she is in fact, “The Best Grandma In The World”. She does not understand because it has been a staple in her home for a number of years and she’s always liked it, always thought it tied her home together. If that cushion was no longer “in”, was that some subconscious dig at how the rest of her house is “out”, out-of-date? Is she out-of-date? Old-fashioned? Waiting to die? Dying breed? Being trampled on my the bootsteps of more modern human beings and Americans and their liberal ideologies? She mulls this over as she considers the indigo-colored cushion. She cannot get behind it. Burnt orange is like the sunrise and sunset, so often blessing this Oklahoma town. Indigo perhaps native to nighttime, yes, but you can’t see an indigo cushion at night. Besides, it makes her tired just looking at it. Like to see it is Nyquil incarnate and suddenly just is going through her bedtime routine her mind. The punchy dialog of the cash register –
I'm seeing a spinning gear inside a grandfather clock. Some Wrinkle In Time-esque cartoon mouse escape route, followed by the clanging of midnight, the hands striking 12, the gong sounding off loudly. Wrenches and all sorts of metallic tools lay strewn across the workbench. A soiled rag, with black oil stains sits abandoned as a nuclear siren sounds. Something about our past catching up with us now. In this basement of four stone walls, I will never be safe enough. I'm counting down the minutes as I sort through dry beans into a bowl, placing the little stones and objects that don't belong to the side. Gizmos and gears on the wall, ticking or just staring, for decoration. Tetris blocks of multi-colors fall in jutted 8-bit fashion as I attempt to flip and fit before it's too late. Logical games of the mind become frustrating when the logic of actions cannot be found. A fleet of ships in the Aegean Sea; The memory shimmers like holographic dust. Mind like a brick in its stubborn determination. Seeing and hearing all evil now. As a treat. This brutal honesty scalawag pirate ship mentality, tastes like the smell of dampness, encasing on this subterranean space. Will there be a flash of light when it's all over? Will there be some step I have forgotten to take, one last line I have forgot to tell somebody? No one wants to die with secret sins on their lips. There needs to be absolvement, absolution. Even if your soul is dirty, isn't the impulse to clean it as best you can if given the choice? Nuclear meltdown, slow down. "These are dangerous days". ADD mindscape, undiagnosed, paranoid germaphobe. No eloquence in this mess. Cold, hard facts. Searching for answers. Down a darkened alley or street, maybe in Boston somewhere, where the light of the streetlamps don't touch the in-between spaces of the city, creating darker shadows. Mr. Fix It - Richard Scarry Fox, old Library computer game I could have played for hours. Lowly the Worm and that protagonist cat. Midnight Rescue and all those Broderbund games. Nostalgia research is in order.
I wonder how checkbooks got their name because I guess when you're writing this promissory note of cash, this ticket of delivery of monies from one account to another, or from one account to cash, there are really a lot of things that need to be checked. Always in some protective sleeve so that it may be easily spotted, so that the checks themselves are closer to a ledger. But as time has gone on in this cursed information age, we find ourselves straying away from checkbooks and gearing ourselves more toward internet transactions like PayPal and Venmo and CashApp. It's the way of these personal financial waters and how they have flowed, first as a trickle, then as a deluge, until now. Money brings comfort, but also perhaps simultaneous aggravation. We can't take the money with us when we die, we can't take the money with us when we die: Over and over and over in my head like a sleepy mantra. Like I'm in a cave and I can hear it echoing sometimes in times of uncertainty, great anxiety, and discomfort. The margins are wide enough to write it or draw a picture or play MASH. Classroom games before the enhanced capability of cell phones. Smooth paper, rectangularly printed account number, save the date, 2nd rate, coffee stained output. Smeared ink, a check voided out. Proof of payment, certificate of deposit, cash on delivery, cash and carry, pickup only, cash out, pickup, take away, take out. Chinese food and Pizza Hut and other indulgences when our bodies where a little purer of spirit. Sea ocean, heavy waves crest upon my hungover body and it's almost as if I am dragged away into some Neverland Peter Pan distance daydream, hung up on phone lines, past conversations where I have spoken both aloud and to myself and to pages that don't even know what's coming. The deluge of those verbal waves coming at you now. Hurricane season when I run out of ink from pens and break pencil points in my sincerity of getting it all down. When I lose my voice looping through talking points and wondering if you truly think if this is our reality. Reliable way of somehow swinging monkey-like from vine to vine, branch to branch, true God from true God, begotten not made. Look how deep this Catholic upbringing runs through my veins and mind and heart and soul. My mom may be against tattoos but these are soul tattoos, "indelible on the hippocampus". Brainwave, Voyager Doctor, check the clock. Buzzer beater three-point score and I know I have done well. Writing it off on my account. Tax deductible watercress salad. Easily fit into the breast pocket this checkbook. Interior designed Brooks Brothers, that pocket square that costs at least $100. I am not carrying the world on my back, I will not carry the world on my back, I should not carry the world on my back: Say over and over again, like some painstaking mantra. Backpocket slips up, slips out.
To the top of the peak standing in military garb waiting for my ruca. Sunglasses selfie in the snow with the sun shining, streaming so brightly. I am counting stars and wishing on lemondrops. That sweettartness, addictive flavor that I turn away from and come back every time. Too much of a good thing. Yesterday, built to overcast clouds in the sky. Birds soar and have no anxiety, no hesitation, no trepidation. Ice pick, ice fishing, chisel in and chisel out. Making use of the tools and resources this planet has provided for us. Lately I am a window into my own soul. Heart like horse breaking to get out of the gate. Charts on a market graph, nowhere to go but up. Scary nonsensical boardroom meeting dream where I'm in my underwear, underdressed. Sycamore tree that could tell you its full story. Baseline basketball dribble, the squeak and patter of sneakered footsteps on the court. Wasted days, a lullaby whimsy. Star on top of the Christmas tree. It is green, evergreen with lights and garland and glasses of gin being passed around at night, all singing some Christmas Eve carol even if we don't know the words, even if it is one of our own making. Cups of cheer and Santa red rosy cheeks. Deliberate jovial behavior that we shouldn't be spoiled from. Should never take for granted. Marmalade Sunday stretching into toasted-laden Tuesday. Buttered rolls are so comforting at a time like this. It is time to jump off the diving board headfirst and see what the bottom's all about. Pelvis-tuck and barrel roll into night sky. Going up to heaven now. To the top, to the apex. SWMRS and that feeling of what it felt like to be 14. Speaking nicely to my younger self who is a ticking emotional timebomb. Late-night winnebago blackout. Rage like Ghastly or Gengar or any other Pokemon names I can't seem to remember. Second-base storyline. Scattered emotional daydream. Powdered wigs in 2020. You are old and old-fashioned and there are cobwebs hanging from hair and neck. You wrinkles are crevices, cut deep and preserved by morticians who have also gone after your passing. Take note and heed this warning. Miss Havisham and her green wedding cake, stuck inside some crusty non-reality crying to peeling wallpaper.