Your phone is not ringing. It’s me, not calling to remind you to pick up steaks and mushrooms. The bottle of whiskey is not waiting on the table, nowhere near a glass vase filled with translucent red pebbles and a single white rose. No songs are playing no words are whispered so warm and thrilling in lonely ear. Meanwhile nothing is shattered and everything is safe and the rocks that are not thrown will not turn to cakes.
It was not a storybook she was walking into it was a rented room but there were candles, lit. Such warmth is always a surprise. No television. Refreshing. Drapes drawn and something on the stereo, a song she had not heard a thousand weary times before. But the song was old, older than her grandfather. She was feeling Mississippi in her veins. The whiskey helped. His hands were in her hair. Tiger feeling. Jungles and moon and Jupiter storms. No one knows the dance until the toes are tingling with it. The triangle glimmers question marks. Anything can be cheapened, crumpled into a ball and tossed into the receptacle that is never full. But she is a special angel without guard, all intuition and doo wop intent, treasuring trash well into her fifth decade of life in the hottest reddest most snarling state.
There is no sense in evacuation. It catches up to every living thing fudge slow then cancer fast and there are not enough axes or guns or places to hide. Chained doors torched. Ceilings drip blood. This is like “The Shining” but all at once and not contained but spread and much scarier than menacing animals made of hedges. Once telephones rang hollow and no one was home and the smell was buttered popcorn to rainbow disco sound. Screams were staged candy. Felt like pink and orange giggling with tickle. I do not know what to call this as it creeps bone precision across my attic floor. Apocalypse weighs too metal in my mouth.
When I grow up I want to join Cult of Honey Badger. I just don’t want to give a fuck. I just want to run backwards in slo mo. I do not want to fear angry bees and hissing striking cobras. I will be member of that commune. I will enjoy cock chow jesus juice communion. Also: Honey Badger Bad Ass Lager. Smooth. Thick. Fucking hell. All the bells are ringing. It is xmas again. Starring me.
There were too many children in the apartment and none of them belonged to her. She had too much hair. The strangers were banished. This was serious business, this staying alive. In some drawer there was a pair of scissors but she would keep the hair that gave her so much trouble and she would stay alive, mocking the dead who had better ideas.
It was time to see the doctor. An appointment had been made. This was the grandfather who died when she was sixteen. She never knew him. She knew a few things about him. She saw him smoking in the dark kitchen of the trailer house when she was four or five. He must have been Satan. He liked sunny smiling eggs, black coffee, biscuits and gravy, sausage and bacon for breakfast. His favorite song was “Crying My Heart Out Over You.” His daddy was full-blooded Cherokee. The dead grandfather was back and he was alive and he was telling her about the appointment, reminding her that it had been made. He would take her. His eyes belonged to a snake of some kind. An expression was a cloud across his face and she was reminded of his son, her father. She cried and told him the truth but he could not comprehend, this stranger dead so many years, this blood relation. Everyone had been banished but he was still there, heavier and more relevant than them all.
Dimples. Sunsets, Flowers. Puppies.
Balloons melting in stagnant water.
Bullets blood splatter ballet.
Cantaloupe ripe with salmonella.
The homeless guy reeking of shit, crumbs in his beard.
The whore on the corner, cigarette mumble, sun splotch cleavage.
That American strip mall aesthetic. Rows of ugly smug. Yellow letters. OPEN.
Cancer, spreading. The usual toxins. The usual boxes.
Too close for comfort.
Jesus on the cross.
Buddha on the mantel.
Rape on the stereo.
Endless pissing contests.
Hello the echo. Hello the reply. Hello all you dead. Hello haunted. Hello from Texas. Hello from darkest. Hello universe sparkle. Hello shopping mall. Hello inside zombie. Hello between stones. Hello and never and disconnect and ashes and pools of blood and bones to the sky. Hello rat gnaw hello cockroach scuttle hello packed smelly bus from Kerrville to Los Angeles. Hello dream empty upon opening. Hello hollow handed condemnation. Hello grandmother gone since 2004. Hello the road from Houston to Albuquerque. Hello and this is why I stay and this is where I do not go.