A Luminescent Radiance of Moonlight

She touched me in the waning moonlight, the room a spectral blue hue, as she ran her fingers across the muscles in my back. Her fingertips trailed across my shoulders, and I could feel the lightest touch, as if the wispiest feather blew across my back, dancing in the night’s breeze. My eyes remained shut, but my mind awoke, and a thousand jumbled thoughts ricocheted chaotic, blanketed by the hush of the night. I remained a corpse, a body lying still. No movement, feigning sleep, an unconscious state, all the while afraid to face her thoughts. And then, her voice broke the silence of the iron room, our imagined cell, shattering my sleeping charade.

“I feel empty. Like a part of me is missing. I feel torn, split in two, a fissure running through my heart,” Diana spoke with a hollow voice, all emotion torn from her throat.

I lay there, a hateful, vengeful voice inside my head, screaming at me, maligning her, and I cowered at its domineering nature. I did not say a word, I lay their in the abject silence, which tore a chasm in bed between us.

“John, please, speak to me. Yell at me. Get angry. Be sad, but for god sakes, say something. I didn’t mean to do it. It wasn’t my fault. It’s not like I wanted this. For Christ’s sake, speak to me.”

Her voice cracked as her frustration oozed out. Diana’s pleading became angry yells as she commanded me to talk.

I shrugged off her touch, which had become aggressive, the light feather having blown away on a gale wind, and instead felt like a thorny bush scratching at my back, tugging at flesh and dermis. Standing up, I walked over to the window, and stared out onto the night street. I basked in the cool moonlight as my body became luminescent, a pallid blue nude, like a marble statue, pale, lifeless, cold. I did not care who would see, instead I hoped people would witness us trapped in our prison.

“It’s not your fault, but it is. You knew the consequences of your actions. You can’t ask me to forgive you, when your actions are your own. I did not put that bottle to your mouth. I did not ask you to drink,” I said.

“You don’t know. Don’t accuse me. I am looking for solace, for help. Why won’t you comfort me? I lost just as you did. It was my body, not yours. You don’t know what it feels like, to lose a piece of you.”

Her voice was shaky and accusatory. Rage built up behind her words, a fire building, ready to flashover, and consume us and all of the room in an intense inferno.

“You’re right, I don’t know what that feels like, but I can’t just turn off my emotions. I look at you and see a murderer, a person who took to the bottle, and pulled the trigger. What did you expect would happen?”

“How dare you? We are joined together. You are not allowed to treat me this way. You are supposed to love and support me, to nourish and comfort me, instead you pass condemnation. Your judgement is a death sentence for me.”

“I am not the one who passed the death sentence. I am not the one who could not control themselves, who could not show a little restraint. Only nine months. That’s all you needed, nine months, and you couldn’t even do that. Don’t you see you have a problem. It’s an addiction. The bottle has a hold on you. It comforts you more than I ever can, and controls you, pulling your strings like a puppeteer with a marionette.”

She threw herself out of bed, the covers flying into the statically charged night air, like a fluttering phantom in the pale light. Her body was milky, creamy, ivory in color, and she moved across the room like a poltergeist, angry, vengeful, ready to disturb the room. She floated like a wraith across the floor, moving in between the shadows, her pale body phosphorescent in the moonlight, and then dissolving into the stygian darkness, hidden from all sight as the murkiness swallowed her up. Moving back into the light, she approached me with a face contorted with ire and a hatred that seethed with a coal-fired furnace blazing behind her eyes.

“Who do you think you are? We both suffered this, you do not own all the sadness, all the emotion we have encountered. You don’t get to play judge and jury with me. You think you own this disaster, you think you are perfect, that you don’t make mistakes as well. We all live in this shitty world, a world where we float along in time which we have no knowledge of what is to come. Everyday we try and do what is right, while we navigate the intricacies of of chaos and disaster.”

“The difference is, I did not put the bottle to your lips. I did not force you to come to this conclusion, you came to this all yourself.”

“You sanctimonious prick. No, you didn’t put the bottle to my lips. You didn’t force me to drink, but I did. I had a moment of weakness, and as a result, I will have to live with this loss for the rest of my life. But you don’t get to tell me I was wrong. You were there, you knew what I was doing. You are as guilty as I am. Apathy is not an excuse, and does not exonerate you from any guilt. You think I am responsible for this tragedy, fine, I am, in part, but you can take the lion’s share. Your indifference toward me enabled me, and you watched the tragedy occur. It is as if you wanted me to fail. You were happy to watch this tragedy, if only to judge me, to be priggish in your smug demeanor. Well, you get to live with this. So go ahead and judge yourself.”

Walking away into the inky shadows, her luminous body, electric in the moonlight, evanesced into the inky shadows of the room. Diana was quiet, even her breathing seemed to disappear as her body became one with the dark shadows of the room, and I turned back, gazing out the window onto the quiet street.

After a few minutes I heard something behind me, a rattling of sorts, like a diamondback vibrating its tail, preparing to strike. It was a familiar sound, and I was made to hear it, as it broke the drowning silence of the room. The sound came closer to me through the abysmal darkness, as if she stuck strictly to the shadows, avoiding the pale blue beams of light.

Rattle. The sound was right behind me, and its familiarity struck a cord inside me. Ice tinkled inside the glass as she swirled the whisky around the mason jar. Sipping next to my ear, air passed her lips, causing a slurping sound to grate on my soul.

“Ahhh,” she exclaimed, as if this drink was a glass of water after she had marched through a desert.

I felt her nude body rub against mine as she upended the four fingers of whisky. Embracing me, her whisky lips met mine, and I could taste the stringent flavor of Old Grand Dad on my tongue as hers danced with mine. The perspiring mason jar drop to the floor with a hollow thud, and rolled across the wood floor, ice spilling out from its mouth. In the moonlight our two bodies intertwined, and the anger and hatred melted away into lust, bitterness transformed into passion.

As we made our way back to bed through the ethereal moonlight, a whisky soaked ice cube melted on the floor. The puddle stretched out into the cracks in the floor, breaking through our iron prison. Eventually the ice dissolved completely, leaving nothing but a stagnant puddle discoloring the golden strips. In the darkness, lightened by the luminescence, we forgot our transgressions, soaked in a whisky fog of early morning.

 

Dirty Water Tube Meat

There is something inherently disgusting, yet exquisitely divine about a hotdog. As a New Yorker, I feel it is hard to refuse one, as if you by some unseen force, you are attracted to every dirty-water steam cart you pass by on the sidewalk. Pretzels and hot dogs–and when I say pretzels I mean big, kosher salted, soft pretzels, warm enough to almost burn your tongue. I swear, New Yorkers could live on that diet. Don’t forget the Dr Brown’s soda, with the rat feces flecked across the top and lip of the can. It is as if everything about this operation is unsanitary, filthy, and, unhealthy. But that seems to be the draw. For some reason the cart excuses the unknown ingredients of the tube meat–the chemicals which are poured into the casing, the lips and assholes that are ground together to make nirvana in a bun–because of all this, it is ok.

Now, if you were in a restaurant, and you sat down, that would instantly change the appeal. Could you imagine if you took the cart, and expanded it to a restaurant. The same guy serving you the hotdog, out back as the cook or chef, slinging your food around the kitchen, the same fingers handling money, handling your bun and dog, you would walk out demanding a refund. But there is something inherently mystical about street food, something we just can’t live without. It is as if the pulse of an area is measured by how many food trucks, trailers, and carts can ply their cheap food to the public, without some unknown, intestinal illness, striking the population.

We all love this food, and the cart, well it forgives all this. The big yellow umbrella, it just draws us in. I think it is our inner child screaming to relive the fourth of July, or family barbecues when you didn’t have to host them, but instead ran around barefoot in the yard, chasing fireflies and shooting off illegal fireworks much to your neighbors chagrin. Our inner teen remembers the nights at 7-11, where a buck-fifty bought a big bite, with all the toppings you could get–where the hotdog was lost, awash in a sea of chili and radioactive orange cheese, the greenest, most verdant relish known to humankind floating atop this diarrhea inducing delight. So, I say, here, here, to the most dirty of our foods, handled in the most unsanitary ways, in which we all shrug our shoulders at and say, ‘just one more.’

And then, there is food at a fair……

Killing Time

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I am killing time at the bar, waiting to interview a person for my thesis, and I sit down at the high top table with my beer, and eagerly await the tube shaped meat which is abound with lips and assholes–like my father says “everything but the squeal”–that is still being prepared. The three TVs all have extremely different programs broadcasting on their flat dull screens. To my right, Jan Michael Vincent is sitting side by side with Ernest Borgnine, soaring through the sky in AirWolf, while on the tv above the bar plays an early nineties movie with racially stereotyped characters, track suits, Fila, long earnings hanging off the men’s ears, with high and tight haircuts, their denim jackets missing sleeves worn like a vest. Behind me, the television is chock full of cartoons, Garfield cartoons. Unfortunately this is not the good eighties Garfield but the new crappy computer generated cartoon, which it pains me to even call it that. So, here I am, in this bar, waiting for tube meat of circus grade quality, drinking my beer, sitting across from the sequined torso of a dress form, with a finial in place of its head.

Productive Procrastination

So here I sit, at my favorite writing spot, productively procrastinating, writing in this blog. I am entrenched in my thesis work, and articles, papers, and books are strewn across the quarter sawn oak table at which I sit. As I was engrossed in my topic, writing with a speed only reserved for the manic, I had an epiphany, I have to urinate. Washing my hands, I thought about habits, all the strange habits we have, and then my mind drifted back to my writing.

I have a totem. Yes, that is right, a totem. I would not say that I am a superstitious man, but I like to hedge my bets, and if I think something is lucky, well, I will continue that practice. So I have a totem, and when I write, that object goes with me. You ask, well what is it? It is a marble. The smoothest, most perfectly round marble. It is like a beautiful gas giant floating in the universe, the ochre glass swirling around one pole, while at the opposite end of this glass planet, a glob of olive green coats the other. The equator is like white ceramic, pure as fresh driven snow. I don’t recall where or when I found this, but I remember the day I wrote a hundred pages in one sitting, with that marble in the coin pocket of my jeans, and from then on out, it comes with me to write.

Then there are omens, portents, jinxes, and I found mine. Now, I am not sure if this dull Russian ruble is bad luck, or the fact that I had purpose planned for it so long, and have not accomplished this goal, that bad luck has now attached to it. Either way, this coin is damned. I wore it in the same change pocket for weeks on end, not realizing it was there. Weeks of no inspiration, no writing, sitting, staring at a screen, white paper, pen grasped idly in hand, to no avail of any words. Like an idol that must be returned to ward off the demons loosed, I must affix this coin to the bottom of a glass at a bar I frequent–that has been the intended goal for this coin for over a year now. Maybe my mind knows that it is sheer procrastination sitting in my pocket, or maybe it is cursed. But either way the coin will make its way to its final resting place tonight.

Na Zdorovie!

A Feathered Phobia

Katrina frantically ran in front of the car, flailing her arms overhead as if fighting off a hostile swarm of bees. It was as if some unseen force was chasing her, pursuing her with the most malicious intent. Her screams resounded through the windows of my Cherokee, while some invisible, malevolent being assaulted her. I drove toward her through the parking lot, set atop the pink granite outcropping of rocks, which jut out into the tempestuous cold green waters of the Gulf of Maine, and she just ran away from me, down the middle of that old cracked road.

The water churned that day as it roiled against the barnacle covered ledges which stretched into the ocean, like fingers from the pinkest skinned hand. The ocean seemed at odds with the stony terra as if it tried to subdue it, bend it to its will, make it submit to the cold green deep. Frothy water shot from crevices running vertically to the ocean, as the force of waves caused spume to shoot high, like geysers of briny water issuing forth from deep within the granite. A cold breeze blew off the ocean, chilling us as we basked in the early autumn sun, as if all our worries flittered away, bit by bit, in that salted bitter air.

She ran fast, faster that I would have thought. I remember seeing her run down that road. She moved quick. My mind flashed as to why she would be running away screaming, but she did, and I could do nothing but move toward her. The firs and cedars stood on each side of the road, gnarled and wind-bent, as if they tried to reach out for her and grab her, to stop this manic episode.

We clambered across the rocks that day, leaping over deep and wide fractures in the granite ledge, the deep fissure descending to jagged boulders and cobbles below. Climbing across pink granite, we made our way to a Brobdingnagian boulder that leaned across the cliff face, creating a small cave inside. We entered this darkened hole feeling like explorers, only to come out on the other side seconds later , no danger or risk presented to us. Crossing a scree field which high tide would cover, we jumped across boulders as the water rushed in, tickling our toes, trying to devour our feet with its cold lips and frothy teeth. We made it to the other side dry, and we sat by the edge of the ocean, with our feet dangling over the edge of the sheer cliff, as water exploded below us in divine spectacle.

Seagulls flew by her as she ran, and her arms flailed around in a display of seizure activity. The grand-mal spasms of her arms were chaotic and discordant as she she ran down the road, her screams drifting in the air, seagulls flying around like bits of snow in a souvenir globe, shaken heartily by a five year old on vacation, never letting the white bits settle to the fake ground. I could do nothing but move toward her, my jeep sputtering as I idled the accelerator, barely moving down the road. I was concerned, yet puzzled by this whole event, and like a curious bystander who witnesses an event, I stared at her, my mind locked, only on this moment.

Katrina and I sat all afternoon gazing out upon the heaving ocean. We felt the rays of the sun beat down on our faces, as the chill wind of autumn cut through our clothes we enjoyed this simple pleasure of quietude. Eventually we climbed back over scree field and rock, and ventured back through our cave to the parking lot. We parted ways, as she went to the restroom and I retrieved the car. Moving the jeep to the restrooms, a flock of seagulls walked in front of me, slowly moving like a mass of plankton floating in the sea, only directed by the movement of the ways. They moved en masse and just sat there as I stopped, waiting for Katrina. She walked along the path to me, and stopped abruptly. A blood curdling scream shattered the illusion of beauty, and she ran the opposite way down the road away from me. Confused, I put the car in drive, and edged my way through the hundreds of seagulls sitting there, causing them to fly in the air, a flurry of feathers released during a pillow flight, the sky inundated by them.

She continued to run down the road with a furious speed I could not have sustained myself, and eventually sped up next to her on a straight stretch, pulling up next to her. She was screaming wildly, and babbling incoherent speech. It was as if some spectre, some furious intangible demon was on her heels, but nothing was there, nothing but air and the few seagulls still lingering in the air, hoping to find out the cause of this unreal episode. Stepping out, I calmed her down, and Katrina collapsed into my arms, sobbing and occasionally thrashing at me. She heaved violent cries, while sweat poured down her cheeks and mixed with the salty tears which cascaded down, like a faucet had been turned. She flopped into the passenger seat, and with still no explanation, we made our way down the road.

“Son of a bitch,” she muttered between breaths.

“Who, me?” I said.

“John….”

“What happened?”

“Seagulls. The seagulls. Just drive. Please, just drive.”

We drove in silence for the longest time, and after we were away from that place and she had settled down, I was informed of the problem. Katrina had a phobia, a legitimate phobia of birds. So as I drove to her, I kept pushing the seagulls her way. They swarmed around her like snow around a pine tree rooted in a blizzard, and all I did was corral them toward her, as I pushed them with my jeep. I laughed so hard when she told me this, when I realized what I had inadvertently done, I could not help myself but guffaw.

Needless to say, there were no more dates after that.

 

Happy Zed Day!

Today millions of people celebrate Easter. Let’s take some time to reflect back on what this day means, shall we. Today Christian’s celebrate the original zombie. I applaud you for recognizing that zombies deserve their own holiday. In fact, the Catholic church really was a trend setter. Instead of jumping on the current zombie bandwagon, they set the trend. So raise a glass to all zombies, and toast George Romero. Who knows what society would be like without this genius, the man who filmed that low budget, black and white film, so many years ago now.

So, Happy Easter! The day where a zombie bunny rabbit, bit a man named jesus, which raised him from the dead, turning him into a zombie as well. Oh, and just to be clear, Cadbury’s false and misleading adds, for over thirty years, have taught children deceiving information. Bunny rabbits and chickens do not sound the same. I repeat, even though it has been beaten into our heads, bunny rabbits do not sound like chickens. That is all. Breckenridge.

Happy Zed Day!

The Recluse

The man never left his apartment. I swear to you, he never left his apartment. I sat on the stoop that summer, drinking gin and tonics out of a mason jar, the squeezed lime languidly floating in the clear effervescent liquid. The ice rattled as I swirled the perspiring glass around, mixing the drink. The Domino’s pizza man would arrive, and knocking at his door, would flush out my prey, the skittish animal, only to be exposed a second, before scurrying back into his dark hole. It was interesting to watch this man as the heat pounded down on me, the sun circling high above and a listless wind barely twitching a leaf with its frail blow. I sat there, knowing it would be hours before the Chinese food delivery man would arrive, to feed him his nightly meal.

I noticed the first week living in my apartment that the man was a shut in. What first drew my attention to his apartment was the television that was constantly on. Now I don’t make it a habit of peeking into neighbors windows, but it drew my attention. His television was directly in line with the front window of his apartment, and with the blinds not up, but the slats opened, I noticed it was on 24/7 and on ESPN. I found this odd for a few reasons. First of all, have you ever been somewhere and ESPN was on the television, set as a neutral programing for people to watch. I admit it is a good choice. Not offensive, easy background noise, no politics, no debates, no guns or violence, I get it. But, what becomes torturous, what grates on me, is the constant sports update, which is not so much an update, as a 7 minute long repeat the whole day, on every 15 minutes. It is hellish, because hell is repetition. Another odd thing was the television was on, constantly, every day. Now I know it seems like a stretch, but there were many hours that I was up at odd times, and always noticed the electric glow beaming through those open slats. With all that ESPN watching, one must build up an appetite.

After a while I began to notice my neighbor’s eating habits. Always pizza at lunch. Always Chinese at night. Always delivered. I just assumed breakfast was leftovers or the meat from the frozen dead corpses in his basement freezer, I don’t know. All I know is, he ordered take out everyday I was there. It was like clockwork. The kind you could set your watch to. I began to wonder if these two establishments didn’t have standing orders to deliver. I can imagine, at these fast food restaurants, the employee taking his order, again, everyday, again. What must have gone through their minds, as they wrote down his order for the thousandth time? And the delivery driver, what did they think? They never seemed to linger long enough to have a conversation. You would think that constant repetition would build up something of a rapport between them, but money exchanged hands, and they were on their way in opposite directions.

It was as if the sun would kill him. As if the world would snatch him up and devour him whole. I don’t mock him, or pick on him, but curiosity gets the best of me, makes me wonder what kind of life did he lead. You see him, and become used to this. He becomes a regular, a frequent character in your mind, but you know nothing of him, so you begin to fill in the voids. Maybe he is a shut-in with a dramatic and heightened phobia of the world. That if he stepped foot outside he would crumple into a ball of fear and anxiety. Then you wonder, could it be he is in witness protection, and so afraid for his life, that he deems it better alive and inside, then outside and possibly dead. Or, maybe, he is such a sports fanatic, he is a famous sports blogger, who is obsessed with ESPN. So many other options swirl through your mind, but in the end you are left wondering, with no answer to the mystery. But then again, thank god for characters like him, to pass the time on a hot summer day with a gin and tonic in hand.