andante con moto

Mine meet the painting man’s eyes, “you read too much.” He says. He used to be a jazz musician. I crook a smile, embellish a nod, and refill my right ear with Mendelssohn. He stares agape for a moment–saturnine eyes droop, catch themselves, then fix upright again. He takes a thin brush from robin’s egg-colored water and continues his piece.

Violins drift in quiescence, flute-float and reach a surfeit of colorful bassoons and trumpets before they tumble back to simple notes. The blue-haired girl behind the jazz player has buttons in the back of her shirt. She reads andante con moto and flicks her wrist as she goes. She turns a page and the jazz player looks askance, first at her, then me, then back to his work.

I want to feel something, but the words of this story are so far flat. From the window, a boy wanders in circles as he takes pulls from a cigarette, and I let go a sigh. I shouldn’t be reading this much.

I should be writing.

I should be writing.
I should be writing.

A strong wind knocks the smoking boy and his smoke-line off-balance, the first of the season. The Mendelssohn piece ends. I should read to something else; something lighter. I should write. I watch the jazz player use a toothpick to dot black on his canvas. The blue-haired girl’s wrist twirls and dances to the words of her paperback. I pack my bag and leave.


A Palliative

At this point, I don’t know what it’ll take. Do I need a new computer? Should I give the typewriter another go? Handwriting has its merits, but God knows I don’t have the patience. And then there’s this thing—a netbook. I’m staring deadpan at you right now. The words this thing conjures up are saturnine, they ain’t mine. Not to say I don’t have a certain muted punch to my offerings, just that my own irascible writings are much different from the Sturm und Drang that drip, drip, drip out in these Google documents.

What the fuck are you talking about?

Somebody needs to save me. Chuck this laptop into the river and let my hands roam other white plains for a while. There’s the rub. Self-masturbatory? Definitely. Ugh.

So here’s the deal, right. I didn’t expect what happened to happen, even if I did write about it. Eating those words, looking at empty spaces between my own. I’m my own Nostradamus, and I could kick myself for not seeing things sooner—or listening to myself, or editing even once or…or, shit I don’t know. Eat those words. It all comes full circle.

But she’s gone now. And there ain’t a word in this language, or any other, that’s gonna change a damned thing. Do I want it changed? 

How do I make love stay?

Don’t know. Or I do. Seven years is a long time. A long itch. A stretch. I’ve come out, abruptly, tabula rasa. Except there’s etching everywhere—but that’s how I feel. Empty? New? Can’t put a finger on it, they’re too busy plugging away, desperately looking for a loose word or two. Catch as catch can. Whatever comes, I’ll take it. Except, nothing. The words whiz on by.

Ah shit, I’m sorry for this. I’m working hard on things. For what? I don’t know. My stories are important to me, even if they mean little. Or worse, a whole lot. Too much to bare.

Don’t let this be it, please. I can’t let it be. I’m drunk. It’s a beautiful night. I’ve been listening to more classical music these days: Bach, Debussy, Handel, Schubert, Chopin, Paganini, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky…I’m calling on you dudes. Help a guy out. I can be romantic, too. Read some of my earlier stuff; it’ll resonate, I swear.

More research. That’s the thing. Dive into words, into studies, and hope your own words don’t drown. Feel that pressure? Deep, man, reeeaaallll deep.

What’s happened to me? Who the hell am I? A phoenix? More like its’ ashes.

I’ll figure it out. Always do.

Until next time. Who knows when that’ll be…

Got Nothin’

A girl sits at a table reading a book. I’m too timid to write about women so I look elsewhere. A man is doing the same on the other end of the cafe. He’s wearing a hat. Something there, maybe? No. The guy on line looks like he needs to pee; there might be a story in that. Why not just go to the bathroom? Just get the drink afterwards. His daughter is tugging at his shirt, the side hidden from my view. Son of a bitch. Outside, cars flow down the highway. The other night I saw a guy on a motorcycle hit a curb and fall off his bike, skid across a lane before picking himself up. I pulled over to the side, I was the only one. Every other car just kept right on down the road.

“You alright man?”

“I’m okay! I’m okay!” He had already pulled his bike to the side of the road. He looked shaken up but nothing a few moments by himself couldn’t cure. I drove away. End of story. Nothing there. Maybe a poem? A poem on not being able to write? Looking around the cafe for some kind of inspiration? Been done. Always bad. Maybe I can post this? It’s a stretch, a long one, and I’ve written pretty much about this exact thing before. Again? Really? There’s nothing else to write about other than this god damn cafe? How many times are you gonna write about this?

Is this woman talking to herself? Oh my god she is. Why? What’s going on with that? That’s pretty close to the edge, lady. I’ve been there. Used to talk to myself while folding clothes in retail. Used to have pretty loud conversations with myself in the back when I took in the shipment. Got caught a few times; they would just laugh and call me strange. I was going through some shit then. Didn’t have time to process thoughts, they all just came gliding out, carried by the winds from my mouth around my head and circled back into my own ears. Nobody else to listen. I guess I worked through some stuff. It seems pretty circular now. Know some other people who talk to themselves too. Maybe it’s soothing to hear your own voice. Anybody to hear what you need said. Even if it’s your own self. Oh god damn it … she’s got blue tooth on. How did I not … son of a bitch. I’m going home. I got nothing tonight.