In the time before now when we were not yet who we are today and still not who we would become she asked me to tell her how I could be so certain.
“I am because I know things and that is enough.”
“That isn’t an answer. I like details. You know I like details.”
“Do you want me to tell you what you look like naked or the face you make when you kiss me? I can call your mother and give her details too.”
She told me my laugh was evil and I said she was right.
“Maybe I am not a good man or maybe I am just a man.”
There is picture of my parents on the mantel. It is not unusual for me to talk to dad as I pass by it.
It is usually some sort of snappy remark, “hey old man, say something wise to me. Say something dad like, share some insight about what comes next.”
Dad never responds and sometimes I let it go because it would be kind of weird if he did. Pictures aren’t supposed to respond and as of tonight I haven’t developed the secret powers of Gumby so I can’t just jump into pictures or books.
But you never know what you can do until you are told you can’t.
You Can’t Have It
In an age of misremember and disremember I remember the promises made and the promises broken. I know what I said, what you said and what we said.
I saw a boy fall off the side of a ship, an anchor tied around his ankles and I dove in and swam deep, pumping, kicking and pushing my way down because sometimes you just act.
We lost each other in the darkness, he and I and when I surfaced there was something new.
Broken parts and pieces floated all around me but I didn’t notice because I was bleeding from too many places and spaces.
The water didn’t receive me, it broke my bones and dislocated…things.
There were no heroic measures taken because what was done was required.
Took several years of searching and spelunking to find that boy and more to coax him to come out of hiding.
The devil tried to steal my soul and I growled “you can’t have it” but what I really said was ‘come at me bro.’
Not so long ago a truck cut me off and the driver was offended by my one my hand salute so he followed me to my next stop.
When I parked my car he pulled up behind so I couldn’t leave and threatened to ‘fuck me up.’
“You’re too late.”
“What? Too late for what?”
“I am already fucked up. The best you can hope for is unfucking me. You can’t fuck me up.”
“You’re fucking crazy.”
“Yes I am. Are you sure you don’t want to help me unfuck myself. Take a swing, see what happens.”
“Are you going to hold still?”
“No, I am going to tear off your right arm and barbecue it.”
“You really are crazy.”
“You have no idea, but I am glad to say the slump is over.”
Maybe This Is Where It Begins
Thirty-two year-old man tells me that Grease has songs about rape and that I am too old to appreciate it.
“I know a few girls that might disagree with you.”
“I hope they are not your age, you can’t call them girls.”
“They are my age and I can call them girls because they won’t mind.”
“You are not being respectful.”
“Does that mean I shouldn’t tell them I remember what they look like naked or the faces they make when they kiss me.”
“Dude, you are going to get yourself in trouble.”
“Too late youngster.”
Looked at dad’s picture and told him I am grinding it out, sometimes a minute at a time.
“Don’t know what happened old man, the wheels came off of the car in a hurry and the brakes are failng. Pads are shot and the rotors can’t be machined again.”
Dad doesn’t respond so I don’t say anything else and I listen to the sound my dress shoes make as I walk across the tile and hear the echoes of his shoes in the house I grew up in.
Forty miles and and 37 minutes later I realize I am going to have to make a choice, it is leave the comfort zone and take a risk or drown.
I do so and things happen, but it takes a few hours to begin to realize that what has happened might be the equivalent of catching lightning in a jar.
Is it because of luck, fate or hard work?
I don’t really know and I don’t care because whatever it is feels like the end of the slump and every ballplayer knows not to ask how but to accept it.
The curve, change up and slider come across the plate looking like softballs and the fastball looks like a beach ball.
The rim is so damn big you have to try to intentionally miss it and instead of waiting for the coach to bench you the new rule is to let the team ride you until you haven’t got any more.
So I am almost who I once was in the midst of the evolution to who I might become.
I remember and I act.
Do I still know things?