we painted our minds with the poetry of the Heavens, laughing wholeheartedly. fully. laughing as we did when you and i were children. Hell-bent on The Night, we surfed the constellations of neon signs tracing the towns, coursing through the beer-soaked air into taverns and honkey-tonks and gin joints and booze rooms. mirrored walls behind bourbon-lined shelves reflected the bliss in your eyes when that Southern Cross shown across our outstretched arms as we hung in a moment, frozen in our everlasting Youth, before the bass brought the reality of our jungled lives to motion once more, and you spiraled as a fluid Siren of the South into my embrace. i slid my hands across the oceans of your spine and felt, each night, the rhythms of The Universe inside of you.
i never killed you, no matter how many times i tried- and i tried a fucking lot. and i didn’t move on, no matter what i said or did. i never even budged. it hurt less to embrace it, sometimes. most of the time, though, the route of action i took was for the best. i had to at least pretend. i was bringing everyone else down. so, i took a lover. i stopped crying when we fucked, eventually. i still see you sometimes, when the moonlight crosses her face the wrong way. it doesn’t make me cry, though. not always.
i never killed you, no matter how long it took me to realize that. and it wasn’t my fault, despite what i said to myself through crimson lines on snow-laden planes, planes no one else could see. i never got drunk enough to forget your face, not that i expected to. i etched your name across my chest and called it a night. not that i needed to, but it was symbolic at the time, and i needed that. it’s been seven years and i can still see the scars, some days, when the lighting is right. i remember your scars, too, and the tattoo you said you’d get to cover them. no need now. no need for anything now.
i’m sorry i failed you both. you were the ones i never meant to let down.
i’m sorry for who i am, for putting this to pen on a page neither of you will ever read.
you are ghosts, both of you, that have followed me for so long i fear i may have forgotten life before such. your whispers fill my ears, strong above the others, each night as my head rests upon a sweat-stained pillow in the dark. i cannot escape them. i’m not sure i would if it were possible. i’m not sure i would run from them. not anymore.
But, i suppose it’s too late to make decisions like that, whether to run or not.
i’m no mad scientist with hopes at resurrection, just a boy maddened by an absence of possibility at recompense.
i’ve no hope of seeing you again,
so i play with your ghosts, and pretend it’s us three: you, he, and me.
i pretend we’re all together, at our best.
before any of us died.
before any of us were dead.
before we died.
before we died.
Do you remember that? That time and place of bliss?
When each of Us was Alive?
no. no, neither do i.
i awoke on the couch at four in the morning, hands pressed between my knees so tightly that they throbbed as i made my way toward bed, hoping my lover was still asleep there. finding she was not, i lay and thought for a while on the dream i’d just had. my brother was there, my oldest one. i haven’t seen him in seven years, now, and i was attempting to meditate on his features, the details i haven’t been able to take in through the years that have passed without his presence. it was nice. seeing him again. he was still older than me, in the dream. i liked that. i liked how he smiled again at me. as if none of my problems would ever amount to anything more than fleeting worries. as if nothing stayed forever, so there was no need to stress so fervently over passing qualms. i miss that smile some days. most days i pretend i’ve never known it.
i grabbed a cigarette and sat outside for a while, trying in vain to replay the dream to myself. i simply couldn’t. there was an obnoxious bird i thought i loathed until i realized he was the only one singing. he was alone and singing. and that broke my heart.
i returned to bed and realized it was now four twenty a.m., and i had smoked my first cigarette of the day at four twenty p.m. i was sure that meant something.
i sat for a while, deciding whether to roll a joint or make some coffee or try for more sleep. i thought of reading or writing, but none of it seemed appealing. so, i slid into some clothes and grabbed the longboard an old friend had made me. some nights and some mornings, some days even, you just need to push as far away from yourself as you can, as fast as you can, for as long as it takes until you feel calm. i kicked for as long as i felt necessary, coming to rest atop a hill as the sun rose. it was here that i was content, not thinking of the girl i was trying the entire time not to think of. not thinking of the friend from my dream who’d passed seven years before. not thinking of weed or cigarettes or the songs of abandoned birds. i was simply a boy on a board with a Tennessee sun rising over the countryside.
i need to leave.
soon i will.
it’s five a.m. and you’re not here.
i know you’re with someone,
someone that used to be me.
it’s five a.m. and i’m alone with the sun,
rising for a world with nothing to show,
illuminating nothingness forevermore.
i don’t like that the entire world acts as if you aren’t allowed to be angry.
i think the human race has more than reason enough to be impossibly livid a thousand years over.
but still we are held accountable for aggressive thought,
and even moreso for action.
make me so sad.
the entire world kills me.
the whole world.
every single person.
i was sad to see the crowd, mostly.
it wasn’t how it used to be.
some of the old magic still existed,
a lot of it did.
but it was swarmed with the tainted scent of old spice and roofalin.
the bud light crowd was in full bore.
i did sneak in and out with my good friend and weekend spiritual guide consistently,
which was an adventure in itself.
i truly found home in our misadventures and travels, and i’m saddened that i didn’t stress this to him before we left.
but it hardens a heart, i think,
finding for free what all others have payed so much for.
it hardens it, equally so,
knowing the hours of tracking, back tracking, re tracking, back packing, all the while barefoot and baking, when everyone else was free to relax in their campsite at leisure.
the difficulty in our maneuvering, however, was the most rewarding bit.
over forty miles a day with twenty pound bags for each of us, dirty, barefoot and happy by the time we made camp beside the large Comedy tent each night.
i met a boy who told me of india.
and a girl that showed me.
and because of this,
it has become my next destination.