so i left. they made me do it
before they took me away,
you know what they say: a boy
what, age 15 (but could pass for 20)
needs somewhere to go
where people can care about him, and alls i know is
i care about myself. so i took your advice,
and took off, forty bucks i stole from george crammed into my jeans,
looking to get over these mountains by day break
or tomorrow. alls i know is get my ass out of this shitter town
all closed up for the night.
my feet tired from walking all that way in the ditch,
tonight, strolling the strip
two, three am.
the save-on closed up,
half the store-fronts empty in the malls,
legion shut down for the night, street lights flashing
red green red green
for nobody at all but the odd left-over refugee, no more
kids boozing up, just a few indians
spilling out doorways, too scared to go to Van where the drugs and doorways
are so much harder.
not me. i got you, Mr. Lenny.
pushing me east. no sir. not west to Van, full of junkies and whores.
it’s THE CITY OF MONTREAL,
calling me with these words of yours. a little apartment
and a lady
and a poem or two. now that is a life.
The poems don’t love us anymore
They don’t want to love us
They don’t want to be poems
Do not summon us, they say
We can’t help you any longer.
There’s no more fishing
In the Big Hearted River
Leave us alone
We are becoming something new.
starting myself out again, all fresh.
side of the highway’s a great place for that.
first thing i did, lennie. i did like you. i found myself
a woman. older, older than me, with a car who can drive me all the way
to Calgary. or she found me in Dee’s River Cafe, four hours east of town
slurping coffee and falling asleep, my head on the table, my hand splayed out
on your book, and she gently lifts my hand up off the pages i had marked,
maybe ready to snatch it,
and i jolt awake,
grab her by the thin little wrist
look hard into this lady, around 30, with greasy blue eye makeup
and a sweater short so i can see her belly,
and she looks at me hard, like i’m grabbing too mean,
then softens when she sees the plead in my eyes
and softer still when i say,
don’t take this,
it’s all i got
it’s all i got
i’m trying to get somewheres
and this is my map.
There was a veil between them
Composed of good thread
Not carelessly woven
Therefore they did not ignore it
Or poke at it, but honoured
What hid them, one from the other.
so i read a little,
my feet propped up on the dash of her little dirt-bag chevette,
and her bottle of peppermint schnapps’rolling around on the floor between my shoes
and the sunrise hiding a bit, behind the mountains, but straight ahead. east,
we finally pull up and out of the thick wet of the valley where all the smudge
from the city just hangs, in thin yellow layers and holds everyone down. Out here,
it’s almost desert, this highway falling down off the crest and down
into kamloops, the sun right in front of us,
just ready to get hot,
i read her your words lennie,
and your words make her look at me sideways
and her thighs push around in those tight jeans, and i steal glances at them, sly
between the lines.
and then later when we stop for gas and a piss,
and i just jump out and wipe down her windshield,
real slow, like it meant something special,
she just stands there and watches me, her dangling earrings
moving a little with her hair in the wind, a smile creeping over her face,
as she slabs on another layer of that melon smelling gloss;
and then finally, when the temperature drops again
and the sun dips behind us
and pokes out through the mountains in beams,
we take a break on the side of the highway
to eat fried chicken to go, our lips all greasy,
our fingers popping in and out of our mouths,
i read you again, out loud:
The windshield filled with night and cold
the motor running for the heater’s sake
We finally forgive ourselves
and touch each other between the legs
At last I can feel the element of welcome in our kisses.
Now, you could give her to me
(since this is my advice)
Give her to me
And let me be for a moment
In this miserable and bewildering
A happy animal
this is the softest sound you could ever hear
the one coming
from fragile me
from fragile her.
I watch myself from where you are:
Do not be mistaken:
nevermind. it’s me she loves,
The spider web you see me through
Is the view I’ve always taken.
forget it. it’s you she loves,
Did you notice I’m not
Talking to you anymore
You can rest now
This is the most peaceful music in the world.
fuck you leonard.
you talk nothing but garbage. leonard.
i want none of this.
i want you. dead.
i want a thick oily haired woman, full breasts and greek wine and her fourteen year old daughter to seduce me into her flat on THE CITY OF MONTREAL main street and take me into their bodies over and over and keep me there safe from rocket launchers and all that god-damned missile shit and i want to bolt.
i want to turn around.
i don’t want to be anywhere near this dead ugly city, all brown and crusty, and more crust and dust drifting and drifting;
east that’s all there is ahead.
the smell of this car sickening sweet,
too much perfume,
now, she’s pushing my hands away.
her sneer: OKAY KID, YOU WANT THE BUS STATION OR WHAT?
my hands still smelling like her, and her jeans all wet on the inside still and now
fighting back some stinging tears,
i remember you like it like this.
to be used.
to be in the line of fire all of the time,
you told me to leave
you told me to kiss her
and watch how she watched me
and now i’m fucked. fighting back little kid tears looking at her so old
like she was george’s girlfriend, and this city is not pretty, and this girl
is not pretty,
so i push her. hard. and mutter, just the highway.
and she stops right there, kicks the door wide open
and i mumble, just the highway, as she’s skidding away, i gotta make
i gotta get going
I was lost
When I met you on the road
The straight road between the cedars
I was a man of roads
And you loved me for being such a man
I was not such a man
I was lost
When I met you on the road
shifting my weight
at a pay phone, still the west side of the city, beside some ski-jump,
november squeezing tight around me
and this dry air sucking straight from my lungs.
i smoke to stay awake. call george
says he’s gotta good mind
to smack me one
but he’s happy i’m okay, says the lady’s gone. says we can start all over
with out them stupid ladies. and for once i say yeah,
the taste of mine still stuck in my throat
and the pages your book lennie, still flipping through my fingers,
(how you fucked all those girls and still defended your ground)
and i look around and see some real nice cars, some brand-new cookie cutter
houses, all in a row, same colours, rolling and rolling away from this spot
with giant green and purple flags up the streets and green and purple posters shouting
RIVER GLEN and EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC and alls i got are 23 bucks and
THE CITY OF MONTREAL sure don’t feel any more welcome now i hate your guts
and with george saying, look, lemme just wire you a bus ticket, you can be home
by tomorrow, there’s plenty to do now the spring’s breaking, a little more money without them kids around.
just you and me partner, like before. you know.
and i hang up, push into the store, grab a pack of burners and a coke,
hit the pisser,
sit for too long and end up
‘cause you coulda been my liberator leonard.
you coulda lead me into a whole other world. but fuck,
you here. right here in this shitter,
with soap drooling down the walls, and the fluorescent light throbbing over the sink
and the toilet paper all unrolled and getting soaked in a pile on the floor.
some other poor shit can take this all the way east. good luck leonard.
get outa my life.
There is no one
To show these poems to
Do not call a friend to witness
What you must do alone
These are my ashes
I do not intend to save you any work
By keeping silent
You are not yet as strong as I am
You believe me
But I do not believe you
This is war
You are here to be destroyed.
Published On: March 30, 2007
Permanent Location: http://www.forgetmagazine.com/vol4/070320b.htm