Etched Out and Disembowled

Her cell phone ring tone was that of six weeping cellos.
We rolled into town on a greyhound with a broken bathroom.
I said, “the only time I want my feet on the ground is if
I’m hanging from the gallows.” She just laughed.

Power lines kept time as we left town again on three wheels.
In our wake was a burned-out cop car and a half-eaten pancake.
All of my photos were crumpled up, you did the crumpling.
You waded them up, then threw the balls into the gutter.

I was smiling in ten percent of them, because I can only fake it
ten percent of the time.

Etched out and disemboweled — my profile picture is smashing,
My blog riveting, the lies I tell myself splendid, the sun is shinning,
wine is pouring, life is moving at just the right pace. Let’s toast
to the ghosts haunting us around every turn. “To death!”

“All I ever wanted to do,” I said, “was love you to the fullest.”
“You, of all people,” she said, “should know that doesn’t matter.”

We crossed the desert in a rickshaw. The driver grinning madly.
Starsprawl coating the sky above. Black holes sucking up matter.
My debit card gnawed into my ass. My wallet screaming in pain.
Business cards dying innocently. Credit cards cheering the blood.

At this point, going forward is easier than going back.
All you have to do is jump.
At this point, letting go is easier than hanging on.
All you have to do is crash.

So lay your foot down on the gas and aim for that wall.

The cellos were wailing, the sun burning, she answered the call.
I pretended not to care, not to listen, while really caring and listening.
“But I’m a new woman now,” she yelled at whomever, “I’m over you!”
I stared at the arid landscape and the back of the driver’s sunbeaten neck.
“Wrong number?” I asked.

The wine has gone bad, but I still drink it.
Friends have come and gone, these walls stay.
My Internet connection wobbles,
I’m like a hermit in the mountains.
We’re now walking through the desert,
The rickshaw broken down, driver dead.
“I’m going to Delaware,” I say. “I’m leaving.”
She doesn’t answer, spits on a cactus instead.

You can’t sign on a dotted line if you haven’t a name to sign.
Next time they ask, tell them I went to Lake Champlain.
You can’t count chickens before they hatch if you ain’t got eggs.
Next time they demand my life, tell them to eat my souffle.

“Does the ice cube in the tray know about the existence
of the ice cube next to it?” I asked.
“Ah, you’re about as sad as a frozen dinner,” she said.
“You might be right. I just can’t catch a break.”

The sun went down, the zephyr wind chilled our bones,
poisonous snakes hissed and rattled. Something in the air
changed. I looked at her to make sure someone was there.
“There’s a town up ahead, with pancakes and cop cars,”
I speculated. “Maybe we can catch a break after all.”

The most merciless thing, in this world of merciless things,
is being at somebody else’s mercy.


5 thoughts on “Etched Out and Disembowled

  1. …At this point, going forward is easier than going back.
    All you have to do is jump.
    At this point, letting go is easier than hanging on.
    All you have to do is crash.

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