Midnight In The Ocean

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I played a song as long as the highway. Which lover are you, Jack Of Diamonds?

“It’s very sunny in here”, he said. “Well”, I replied, “maybe you should put on a hat.” And he grinned at my bright idea.

Hundreds of miles passed me by, until pink jet trails scratched the sky, and minor chords welled up that would not be subdued.

“Your messenger is here”, he said, “watching me from the window.” East Coast Ira was brought up to believe that reptiles were not meant to roam free in the house but on this special occasion he let it slide. Red touches yellow… he thought, hmmm. “Don’t think that because you just now saw it means it wasn’t there the whole time”, I told him, “because after all, no one invented electricity.” He reached out to click off the lamp so we could be alone.

I pressed on until the the black highway met the black sky and Ira sat in a black chair like midnight in the ocean. “It’s dark in here”, he said. “Well”, I replied, “maybe you should take off your hat.” And again he grinned at my bright idea.

“How fast are you moving?”, he wanted to know. “That all depends on your point of reference”, I said, but he had stopped listening.

I sat very still while the stars turned a circle and East Coast Ira began to shudder. Alone in the dark, but still observed, he found it very pleasing.

Just keep driving, I said to no one. Suspended in space and without concern, I considered the puzzles to which I was the missing piece and the various front doors that waited for me to come home.

Coffee With Dean

“Some people credit Abraham Lincoln for freeing the slaves but I blame him.”

Dean looked at me with his most sincere face.

Yeah…, you probably shouldn’t tweet that.”

It’s a long standing tradition; an ongoing contest to see who can say the most offensive shit in the most non-nonchalant manner.

Dean sipped at his coffee and took a thoughtful look out the window.
“There’s a fine line between credit and blame”, he said looking back at me to see if I was following.
I waited for him to meet my gaze and added, “Hashtag, emancipation.”

Dean snorted on his coffee a little bit.

“I had it all planned out for us this morning” he said. “Had the house to myself for, like, four hours. I had visions.”
“Why’d you let your kid stay home from school then?”
We were sitting in a Starbucks because fate was laughing at our plans.
“She says ‘I’m gonna stay home to spend your last day in town with you’, what am I supposed to say to that? No??”
“Yes, you’re supposed to tell her to go get smart, at school, where she belongs.”

“So why haven’t I been hearing from you lately? You don’t call, you don’t write.”

“You’re the one who ran off to Memphis”, I said.

“Yeah, that seems to be the general consensus, that I ran off.  Still doesn’t explain why I haven’t heard from you. Maybe you don’t need me anymore since you spend all your time bangin’ Vince.”

“I told you already that was one time, months ago.”

“In your car”. He always likes to throw that part in.

“I don’t see what the locale has to do with it.”

“So tell me,” Dean leaned forward, eyes sparkling the way they do when he thinks he’s onto something, “at what point did you decide to throw in the towel and become a cougar?”

“I am NOT a cougar! I had a cougar moment, there’s a difference.”

“A cougar moment in your car”, he added again.

“You’re hardly one to talk”, I said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“How old is Kelly?”

“26. So?”

“So Kelly is three years older than Vince but you’re four years older than me which makes you a man cougar plus one.”

I can only imagine that the good people sitting around us were sufficiently horrified and confused all at the same time.

“What?!?! Noooo, men can’t be cougars.”

“They can, and you are.

“So that doesn’t explain why I haven’t heard from you. Who are you bangin’?”

“Technically, no one. So, what did you say to Coleen?”

“Nothing?”  But he knew what I meant.

“Yeah, you did. You were all excited to tell me the big news that you and Coleen were no longer together and I didn’t see how that was news since you’ve been divorced for over a decade, remember?”

“Oh that. I told her that Kelly is my girlfriend now and that I’m with her.”

“Unless you’re in another time zone. It’s not cheating if it’s in another time zone.”

“No, I’m not like that anymore.”

“No? What did you have planned for this morning?”

“Well, that really has no bearing on the situation… Just so we’re clear.”

“Right. Just so we’re clear.”

We were clear.

“So you told Coleen ‘game over’ and she just said ‘ok, tee-hee’?”

“She says she’s ok with it on the phone but then she hangs up and sends me all kinds of mean texts.”

“I can’t imagine why… What did she have to say about Carrie? I mean, you were engaged to her.”

“She didn’t know.”

What?!?! Are you shitting me? She didn’t know? Where did she think you were sleeping?”

“I told her I was crashing at Mark’s place. Because we would be getting out of the Blue Moon so late, we’d just go to his place after because it was close by.”

“Seriously? And she believed that? You know, I told you when you would say ‘she knows where she stands with me’ that, no, I don’t think she does. Oh my god, I was sooo right!”

I just went out and bought a whole new wardrobe that I kept at her house. I…”

“Oh. My. God!!! You cannot even say anything about me being worse than you! Ever! “

“What?”  He was all smiles and innocent puppy eyes.

“What?!?!   You had a 2nd wardrobe? Oh my god! I’ve never done anything like that.”

The good people around us were getting up and leaving.

“Oh come on now, you would’ve if you had the chance.”

“No”

“You totally would.”
“You can’t convict me of something I would’ve done if I had the chance. This isn’t the Minority Report!”

“Come on…. You know it’s true. You would totally do that if the situation presented itself. I get all my evilness from you. So where are we gonna go? Can we go to your office?”

“I guess, but I only have chairs”

“Or we could use your car. We’ll just park in the driveway and hope Coleen doesn’t come home in the middle of the day.”

“I dunno about that.”

“Why not? You didn’t have a problem with Vince in there.”

“Stop it”

“So what happened? I thought he was all over that shit?”

“Yeah, he was, once, and then he grew a conscious.”

“He had a moment of clarity?”

“Yeah, after the fact. And then he was all ‘Wahhhh, I don’t feel right about this because you’re married‘, and I was like ‘well isn’t that fucking convenient for you?!?!‘”

Dean is laughing so hard he has to set his cup down.

“You are such a man!”

“What?” My turn now to look innocently puzzled.

“Do you hear yourself? You are such. a. man!!!”

“He sleeps around you know, I’m a little worried to be with you now.”

“Stop”

“He is a guitar player and all.”

“Stop it.”

“You know, when you were working at Aztec Lodge, spending all night by the pool tripping on XTC, I never said any shit like that to you. I was never all like “eeee, I don’t know where you’ve been. You might have some fucking cooties!”

“Did you just say ‘fucking cooties’?”

“Yeah, I’m busting out all my words on you.”

“You’re using all your sen-tences.”

We were both laughing too hard to keep talking.

“So where are we gonna go?”

Later, on a chair at my office, I held his face in my hands, “it’s been 20 years, you know.”

“Can we have another 20?”, he asked.

Right Now

Right now there’s seven trucks parked at an intersection a mile from my house, selling despondent teddy bears smothered in cellophane and sad flowers to boys who don’t know any better.

“Oh”, she says, “you shouldn’t have.”

Right now men worry that a heap of pink and red carnival prizes will not adequately convey the landscape of their soul. The great universal principal, sold from a truck on the side of the road and delivered in a heart shaped box for under $5.

Right now an orchestra drowns out the whisper of a lone person’s sorrow. She is not louder than them but she still makes a sound. Right now house plants gather around a light bulb and pretend it is the sun.

Right now women in another tax bracket snatch up a small box with a big price tag and act like it changes something, makes up for something, is something when in fact it is only a thing. “I would rather have your real love”, she says to herself, but it doesn’t stop her from bragging to her friends.

Right now men struggle with inadequacy, am I good enough, and they perform disingenuous feats. Like circus bears dressed in humiliating costumes, ready to perform on demand, not motivated by something they want, only desperate to avoid the cost of disobedience .

Right now the culture of guilt says you will comply or you shall not have love. But this isn’t love.

Right now the anxiety of misunderstanding is profitable for someone.

Right now a million years ago was just another day.

Fervor and Pitch: An Unfolding

She emits a signal. A lone voice in a sea of millions, an anomaly in the chaos. He heard it only faintly at first and didn’t pay it much mind. Something about it though, it stuck in his head and he could not un-hear it.

She glimmers and cascades across the sky, seemingly out of control. She draws him in but he can’t see her clearly. He looks closer.

At first glance she appears to be in distress. She is not herself, but she is not weak. She is hard to see but he hears her calling, distant and relentless. He can’t focus his eyes but he can’t look away.

She stirs up his instincts. He wants to help, he wants to teach her to swim. He desperately wants to ease her distress because he shares in it. He looks for a starting place but there is no beginning. She is plain but oddly alluring. She causes him tension. He lays in bed at night and tries to make sense of her.

“I am changing”, she tells him, “and you are here for a reason”. “You are here for a reason”, he says back, “and I am changing.”

He wants to help but he wants more. Behind her distress is a doorway to somewhere else. He hears her in the darkness of his room. He wants to be inside her, oh god, he wants to be inside her. He wants to know where she goes in the corridors of her mind.

“What are you doing to me?”, he asks. “What do you mean?”, she replied. She acted only in accordance with her nature.

While he speaks to her, she screams for him and without a thought he leaves his body. She is slender and naked. She is unmasked and even though his gaze never falters, she is still so hard to see. He is in a strange land but she welcomes him.

“You are like me”, he says. “You are like me“, she says back and it meant something he never considered.

He tries to sleep but she overwhelms his senses. He is in his world but cannot clear her from his mind. She visits him like a haunting and he rolls over to face the wall. Something is coiled on the window sill, he can barely make out it’s unblinking eyes in the moonlight. It means me no harm, he thought, before finally drifting off.

The Secret Life Of East Coast Ira

“The many contains the unity of the one without losing the possibilities of the many. Personalities don’t exist, only personifications.” – Carl Jung

Nobody knows East Coast Ira but that’s the beauty of it, nobody knows. 

Ira jingles his keys and drives his kids to school.  He eats sushi and plays board games with his game face.  He calls me from the East River Bridge to tell me about the secrets he keeps in his pocket.  Easily accessible but safely out of sight, or right in plain sight, depending on how you look at it; pockets are cool like that. “Where do you put them at night?”, I asked.

He gazes at the Statue Of Liberty and says that society is governed by rules designed to protect us from our freedom.  It’s a double entendre meaning that he is concerned for the future of business and also that he is transforming. Growing some extra eyes and maybe a wing, must be something in the air.  He is not disloyal, he is dissatisfied. He is not dissatisfied, he is someone else entirely.  He sees something sparkly and interesting and leans in for a better look.

East Coast Ira walks along the bridge overlooking America’s front yard, still trying to bring into focus the voice on the phone and the intricate pattern he sees in his head.  He gets closer but the lines don’t get clearer, they only multiply, and multiply.  The harder he looks, the the less he can see, even with all those eyes.

A cosmic cocktail of dust and magic, he walks a path hundreds of feet above the water, a vantage point from which many possibilities can be seen at once.  People see him walking, talking into his phone like half the world, but they’re not in his world.  He tells me his secrets before he realizes that I am his secret.

From his perch in the sky, Ira weighs his options. Multiplicity is truly a blessing, or it might be a curse.  One foot in front of the other on the straight and narrow. But this is not life. This is not his life.

“I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone like you”, he said.

“No, I don’t imagine that you have.”

East Coast Ira stands on a monument to mankind and wonders what’s next.

Free

devil

And maybe I just don’t see the reason

But in the corner of my heart

your

ignorance is treason

The Racontours

Shelly once told me, “Never underestimate the value of a man who will take you home and fuck you.” See there now, that’s why we’re friends. I’ll one-up her, though. Never underestimate the value of a man who will take you home and fuck you, and not make you feel stupid and used afterwards. Yeah, you know, it’s the 2nd part that trips them up. Silly, dull-witted creatures anyway.

I may be the devil; a lying, cheating, scheming, s’um bitch but I’m not indestructible. Actually, I take that back. My instinct for self-preservation will blow the skin off your face. Adrenaline pulses through my veins and dilates my pupils when the wind smells of bullshit. I’ll put a boot in the ass of anyone who dares to make me feel stupid for caring about them.

There’s a stream that flows past my house and on the bank there’s a sign that reads:

“No swimming. No fishing. For fuck’s sake, don’t drink the water.”

On the other bank is another sign that reads:

“Told you so.”

Coiled happily in the warm sand of the beach is a sleeping coral snake. It doesn’t care because snakes don’t. It doesn’t blink either. It sleeps with it’s eyes open.

The Universe has got my back. Shows me the future like a crystal ball. Shows me the content of your heart. Tells me what your mouth doesn’t say. Turns out the lights when the music’s over.

My love isn’t free.