June 7, 2015 by Wayne.
From my upcoming collection Very Serious Poetry. Originally written for the first MaPoWriMo challenge. This is the unedited version, written on the first day of May 2015
Also, hello, sorry for not posting for so long
(highways all look the same at night:
feeding, festering, bleeding curves of light)
you awaken by the side of a highway.
proceed to ONE if a twinge has started at the corner of your bloodshot eye
proceed to TWO if there’s stormy weather down the middle of the lane
The turn of the screw is the smell of dying lifetimes,
the copper tint and gasps for help,
thoughts trickle upwards and outwards,
you refer to evernote as the life drains clear,
and proceed to THREE, feet heavy and heart swollen on dread
The important thing is to keep your feet dry
soaked feet are the leading cause of death in this district
you run quickly away, the ziplocked phone and camera thumping erractically against neoprene backing.
A half-dead hut breaks into the foreground, and you proceed to FOUR hurriedly.
It’s so hard to live this way, when everyone is a vastly inferior
intellectual insect, or, sometimes, an unburied giant
a captain of mental-industry and theories of justice.
Oh, existing is easy enough,
it deserves all the non-plaudits it gets.
But living – just living, which is commonly defined by the inward preoccupation with life as an activity to be carried out through full exertion and not merely limply executed, well, living’s pretty difficult.
You stumble upon a shanty shack, thatched roof curving back inwards,
dropping into the absorbent blackness of its innards. You proceed to FOUR, crying as you go.
Inside, there is much merriment.
Crickets scuttle around with tiny glasses of bourbon
and drunkenly roar obscene chants,
the beargeese flick their eyes around nervously but keep playing,
their bassoons and curved hornbows whiplashing and jazzing,
that sort of stuff is hard to describe for an untrained mind,
there are men too, nipples and rippled torsos bared,
by the furthest corner, one of them is straddling a nymph
with pitch red hair to her loins
you stare around uncertainly. What do you do?
To approach the coupling with a sexual offer, proceed to SEVEN.
To order a drink at the bar, proceed to SIX.
Fucking crickets, you think. Can’t get a straight goddamn answer with them.
You walk back over to the bar, and the skeleton at the counter says “This way” and you follow him through the gap under his ribcage.
When you’re twenty-three, you say “If I’m rich and famous, why am I still drunk” and he shrugs.
When you’re twenty, he turns a bend and leads you up the stoned path to The Green Barber.
“Knives,” he says.
“Yeah, but not this kind,” you say.
You walk in anyway, and inside there’s a large sign saying TEN.
“Excuse me,” you say.
The emaciated man at the counter stares at you.
His eyes grow backwards into his skull, peeling back from his peeling skin,
his lips are stretched to the slightest of lines.
“What do you have on tap,” you ask.
“I will fuck you like a trussed duck,” he says.
“Can I get some whiskey then,” you ask.
“I will tie you to a chair with browning barbed wire and slice lines in your eyelids and rub rock salt into them,” he says.
“Jesus, the fucking service here,” you say.
You head over to the crickets, who nod at you and make room.
You think about Rachel. You wonder if you should hit on her sister. You wonder what will happen if you marry her sister, who says the funniest things on the internet and not in real life or she might in real life too but you’ve never met her.
“Hey, guys,” you say out loud, “what should I do?”
The crickets nod at you and one of them creeks forward. She has whispery blonde hair and she waves at you to come closer.
She says, “Go to FIVE to buy some knives,
go to EIGHT to feed your hate.”
You walk over and watch them from a slight distance.
The man is a few heads taller than you and his chest is matted with a coarse overgrowth of brown hair. He nods at you. You try to ignore his gaze. He has tiny pupils. You look down at the nymph, who’s wrapped around his dick.
Her eyes are shut and her hair brushes against the inside of his thighs each time she bobs forward.
You think maybe she looks a bit like Rachel on the second time you met her at Publika. You wonder if you should hit on her sister who you technically met first anyway.
The man is still staring at you and his mouth is hung open in a dazed oval.
“Oh fuck,” he says. You try to ignore his gaze. You watch the drops of sweat trickle off his sunglazed arms. You feel yourself getting hard.
“It’s hard to live this way,” you say.
She finally looks at you, as the strands of off-white dribble down her throat.
“Hi,” she says.
To kiss her, head to EIGHT.
To run away back out into the highway, head to NINE.
You grab her by the roots of her hair
and jerk her head backwards.
You kiss her.
She comes up for air
her breath is sharp and short and erratic.
Your fingers run through her hair and back down into her heat.
You slide in and feel the nubs and bumps clenching,
and she’s wet and warm.
“If there’s no choking involved, is it really sex at all,” she says.
“Bullshit touches us in special ways,” you say.
She says “Go to TEN, you fucking idiot.”
Back on the road, you can’t quite remember which way you came from. You walk over to TEN.
You try to say something, but there is a sudden explosion of glass and you are thrown backwards. You hear Rachel thrown out of the car, and a sickening crunch as she hits the tarmac.
You are spinning and reach for your face slowly and it’s wet and warm,
the next rotation is taking quite a bit longer than usual
and you think: highways all look the same at night
feeding, festering, bleeding curves of light.
Before you black out, you see Rachel’s mouth hung open in a dazed oval and her eyes are blank. Perhaps you should move on to TENTY ONE.
You awake by the side of a highway.
Proceed to ONE or proceed to TWO or proceed to have some decency and bleed to death by your dying wife.