you drive through town, and you pass by the bar. it’s been over a year since you’ve had a drink.
outside the bar, you glimpse men standing and smoking. you imagine it: the dirty, wet snow at your feet, the potential skirmish in the air, the cheesy pate of smokermen skin, and the smell of liquor and fried wires beneath the flesh.
the clack of billiard balls inside. the guitar chords coming from the jukebox. it’s warm inside there, warm in your stomach as you pull in the shot of SoCo and drink your next full-bodied beer. you laugh easy, you swap stories, you play pool, you drink until your heart’s content.
but outside, right there on that slushy sidewalk is where it lays. in the yellowed eyes, in the crisp crackle of coats in the cold, the cigarettes held to whitened lips, the smell of blue smoke and the flat shush of traffic going by on the street. always something looming, always something possible, all very important things to discuss; and then the dips into silence, like riding through a valley in the night, the cold whistling in your ears.
have to be careful now. i can feel the end in your kiss. can see the snake beneath the garden’s undergrowth. my cup runneth over; don’t want the well to run dry. made a home; not ready to fold up the tent. so much more life to live. so much that will have to be given back. that’s what’s left. to give back and to give back. i mince no thought that i bear it as a duty, and as a plea for life.
further strength, greater endruance. the course remains the same.
i want to scrub the sky of all the clouds. i want to chuck everything and start anew. i want to see the burning bits of paper float like large ash. i want to hear the crackle and gunshot of snapping wood. i want to scour myself until my skin is red, and tear my hair back with a horse brush.
i want to rake the trees clean with my finger nails. to comb all the bracken from the forest. so all that is left is dirt, fine and even-grained; a silt that covers all.