Blanketing my heart
I was there. That day. We stared each other down across the lines. A decade later I wondered where he was, although I could still see the bright green clarity of his eyes. The lucidity of fear. We were the same, and yet we would kill each other in an instant, without an exhale.
Regret comes later.
I learned courage there. I learned of death as I watched them burn. Death choked me as I watched others drown in the sea, later-- and far away, covered by NBC.
I imagined myself shooting... killing. For patriotism...?...for "my country"...?
Yet I still see his eyes, envisage his brown skin, warm. We are the same, but I will kill him without an exhale. Without an exhale. Without an inhale. And I find, these decades later, that I cannot complete that inhale or exhale. It is shortened -- sliced to quarters.
Shallow, so shallow, just like my life is now.
For everything, now, in the present, is thin and transparent. This present life does not seem to exist; ghostly, people move through each other and through me, I see them through the surface--they are always far away and muddled in their proximity. I remain underwater, looking up through the blurred ripples; cold, untouchable, knowing.
That "patriotism" formed a monster of desire in me -- a desire to bleed. I welcomed all enemies, for I would mow them down with my "patriotism". I became both omnipotent and ignorant in my allegiance, as my friends died beside me for The Cause.
Those Green Eyes follow me today
... to date...
and I sing your song of farewell and youth.
Not much later, many miles away in the safety of warm relations, frying bacon, outdated carpet, and brightly-lit Christmas trees, I watched others of our kind burn and drown, a world away. I read of deaths and struggle and justified rebellion in black-and-white print.
The pictures were in color, though.
I still wonder why the print was set black on a striated-creamy white background of newsprint, while death was splattered in color. I can taste the saltwater of the drowned.
The painful winter before, we regaled each other in that plaza with songs and guitar of the Eagles and Scorpions:
"Welcome to the Hotel California.. such a lovely place..." and, "Is there really no chance to start once again? I'm still loving you..."
In that circle of warm welcome, I learned to embrace other songs, foreign to my tongue.
A season later, I watched you all burn.
I watched others drown.
I became drenched in my own rage and sputtered in helplessness.
I still suffocate 3 decades later.
Yet I seek out your green eyes.
And I thank you for that one bright memory among the Horrors.
The day we met
Was one year from The Day he died.
We met in this same space.
This non-unique coffee cafe where everyone meets
In the guise of intimacy;
I see them, their laughter, as though it is original.
But you were the one, Original
That Certain One.
Then, we met under That Tree
One year later.
Did I meet Him or You?
Because we met in the same way, on the Same Day
And now I feel confused.
I saw you, yet I looked for him,
Then I looked for him in You,
And we planned A Future under That Tree.
But then later, I asked him to Free Me under That Tree.
And still, I ask.
A foul-tasting wind blew though the street, burning her eyes. She knew she was alone; she finally accepted that fact. No pseudo-family could blackmail allegiance anymore. Those that wore the grey-dinged armbands of DNA no longer had a hold on her life. She was free. It took a decade in the trenches to realize this. The enemy that surged forth was her very own bloodline; the ones that crushed her were her kin. The one who slapped her fair skin until redness dawned was Brother. He that mocked her pain and continued the torture was Father. And the one who offered a white flag and then shot her point blank was Mother.
As the acrid sting passed, there was clearer air. She gulped it in. For the first time, it did not sting. The decaying city-state still surrounded her, but she dragged herself upright, quickened by the release from bondage. Sunlight. No more guilt, no more loyalty. For what? To be slapped again? She had remarked in the suffocating cell below that she had no family. The unfeeling reply of "Make your own" made her choke on her own vulnerability.
She was done. Why waste the effort on the dead? Why waste the effort on the hateful living? She left them unburied, for they had already built their own tombs. The Drunkard, who sliced opened hearts with words. The Narcissist, who thought only of himself and used others for gain. The Closed-Heart, who was unable to extend even a hand. A family of Vampires who were only capable of drawing blood and leaving death behind. Sans remorse.
Now, the lack of remorse was hers to gather and gird upon herself. The city around her would slip further into grey stillness. It was time to depart. Never look back.
Would you say you are happy?
He asked, under the arch of his brow, and the arch of brooding moonlight.
Like that crescent, a strap of hair hung over one eye, obscuring it, though not able to hide equally the look that pierced me with the same forthrightness of his question.
Contrasting the noise of the busy cafe, I was silent.
I never sleep...
My soft reply, deeply whispered, rustled ripples on my cappuccino foam.
For then, it was late evening, or early nighttime, depending on perspective. I remained forever awake with each setting sun, slipping easily into dreamless repose a few hours before each dawn.
Recently, I remained forever awake. Day after day.
I've forgotten that word. It holds no meaning for me anymore. I...
The colloquialism "stress will kill you" is true:
I can feel it ravaging my soul and my physical body.
One's heart, one's ribcage, shouldn't feel like this.
How long, do you think, until it takes Its Toll and makes Its Call.
I feel Anxiety sucking the breath from my lungs;
What else can constrict my chest so?
My heart aches both physically and soulfully--
I know what squeezes.
I pound my breast,
I gulp deeply to expand my lungs.
No change results: tightness remains.
How long am I expected--oh--
To live as such...
Trial after Trial After Trial.
After Trial After Trial After Trial.
You demand that I exist and continue.
To ease your own fear and pain?
At the expense of my Own Life?
Yes, you do, don't do.
But I'm fucking tired.
I weary of fights and struggles and of
Just getting By.
Survival is for our ancestors,
And wild deer and insects.
Greedily, I want more.
If that's wrong, then let me,
Please, for any gods' sake,
Go the way of the wild deer, the insect, the ant
Crushed thoughtlessly beneath your sandal.
For I am not interested in this kind of living.
I am not interested in
From one emergency to the next.
What is the fucking point?
I awoke with the mind-vision of my truck rolling and rolling along the concrete of I-35.
Rolling as in CRASHING SOMERSAULTING METAL SCREECHING CLANGING GLASS SHATTERING type of rolling.
Not the other kind of easy rolling, rock-n-rolling, roly-poly bug rolling.
A deep intake of breath brought that vision to further clarity, and from there, I breathed no longer. Here in the "real world", I held my breath as the physical sensations of being crushed by my car crushed my ability to breath.
It was too real.
In the dream world, I was flung, unseatbelted, up and down, side to side, slashed with the glass and crushed with the metal. I could see the world upside down as vividly as if it were so. Was I in an action movie? It felt as 3-D as one of those horror scenes.
Then I realized I did not want to die like this. I do not mind dying, but as my torso was crushed, and thus my capacity to take in air ended, panic set in. I did not want to die a tortuous death of suffocation.
Then I awoke fully and sat up.
I pushed this grim vision from my mind as best I could, though the apparition visited me throughout the day, against my will.
I don't think I'll drive that highway anytime soon.
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