With her side-ways glance,
She sees the patina of my fear.
Smirking, placid expression.
I hear her inaudible laugh,
her nuanced condescension.
A lacerating look,
My heart leaps.
Her oblique manner digs into me.
A dizzy roar of dysfunctional,
ephemeral bliss washes over me.
Soon the hangover.
Why do I do this to myself?
Jasper Kerkau (9/9/16)
I’m not depressed, just bored. I really want to go to Vegas. Maybe I can get one of those packages, airfare and three nights with free buffets and a complimentary show. I will eat steak and lobster and get followed around high-end shops by menacing looking security guards with thin mustaches. Sit on the blackjack table hitting seventeen every time, much to the chagrin of everyone at the table, which leads to me getting into an argument with the pit boss over my table etiquette and the nature of reality. Eventually, hiding in restroom from undercover satanists masquerading as cocktail waitresses. I will try to sneak to my room and somebody will slip microfilm with classified information in my pocket leaving me to be pursued by Russian spies with thick necks. I will have to hot-wire a car and drive to Los Angeles and deliver the sensitive document to a beautiful Norwegian who is obsessed with bossa nova and Isabel Allende. Without fail, I fall in love and sneak out the bathroom door after an argument over the television remote. Ending up working in a bookstore in Encino before I am informed Interpol wants to talk to me about a situation at the French embassy in Morocco. I will start wearing a disguise, become a Scientologist, take up the trumpet and start an improvisational jazz quartet. Until, of course, I discover the Great Secret and yearn for the quietude of dogs sleeping and laundry, watching the big game before taking a nap and dreaming of something more. So for now, I will fight this traffic and resign myself to monotonous labor and my simple life, but I really want to go to Vegas.
Jasper Kerkau (9/21/16)
Finally got some space between me and the world, rolled away and tucked in silence, walking down hall in socks, peaking out window–cat in street massaging her paws with her tongue. It is so easy, so soft, this elegant quiet, tinkering with laundry, listening the hum of air conditioner and candles that flicker to jazz, unencumbered by the cacophony of static outside my door, which is trying to drown out my meditative melody that I alone hear. Ah…the silence of Saturday night.
Jasper Kerkau (November 13, 2016)
Devoured, I dip parchment in blood and furiously scribble incoherent texts in invisible ink. Stains everywhere. April was folly. Gave birth to half-life, sickness, and inevitably death. Each humidity drench day was an exercise in funeral preparations for a life that was nothing more than fantastic mirage. Inverted crosses and sacrificed infants give birth to dark demons that pursue me in my dreams, clutter mind, and poison perceptions. I never realized that it would be this hard. The sound of the football games pours over backyard and in-between houses and beckons September which holds the promise of something on the horizon. Cool air blowing in from exotic northern locales, breathing life back into me as I am close to destroyed by divorce, fear, and, of course, failure. I awaken slowly from a passive-aggressive coma. Then comes more silence. It’s the silence that is the killer. Thankfully September peaks its head out slowly, stretching its long arms and embracing my battered body. It can only be better.
I saw her across a busy parking lot. I acknowledged her with a second glance but didn’t wave. There was a thousand years standing between us. Lives that were led since those years put back the pieces together. The past was ancient history, buried in dreams, half-real, lost in the normal hustle and bustle of adult life, raising children, paying bills; it is like it never happened, but I was there–I know it was real. We both lost everything, well, almost everything. And now it doesn’t matter. It is a second-glance in a parking lot full of strangers who don’t matter. I move forward, cast off the ghosts and go about my day. It was a long time ago, but for a while, I can’t help but think about that world lost so long ago.
The rain happens suddenly, bringing dark air and wet streets. I feel mist on my face standing under patio, absorbing the dense wind, sensing the future out there among the drops slowly burrowing back into the earth. Tomorrows that once seemed obscure become real again as I watch the thick moisture glisten on everything, lathering my landscape with a slick film. There is life in the wet night, and I am a part of a world that swirls and wobbles forward in time, out of nonsense, into something incomprehensible and magnificent. I watch it all silently. Listening. There is a song in the storm.
It was eighty degrees in Houston for Christmas. Something sinister about sticky December air; sacrilege would be apropos. It disgusts me. I paid someone one hundred dollars to hang Christmas lights; they were half-hung, the boxes discarded in my bushes–I never got around to turning them on. The kids didn’t mind, they greeted me with open arms after being at their mothers for five days. Everything is just off. Nothing feels right. Someone scolds me that it is the new normal, my new reality, telling me I need to “learn to live with it.” I can’t help but think about the weather, hoping for another cold wind, something that will blow away all the residue of the past, a hard freeze to sanitize my life, leave me trembling on back porch stamping out cigarettes with rigid fingers. It is safe to say that it wasn’t a good year. Everything kind of fell apart, but in the process I discovered something under the surface, a different person, alive but out of place even amongst friends. The process of shedding my skin is a work in progress. Every day I find new ways to read tea leaves and construct cave paintings articulating my failure as I ache and twist into something newer, different, shell-shocked and disappointed. I yearn to find a cooler place, among those who know my secrets, can decipher my riddles, always prodding, pushing me into new places. Ah…but I wait, reading the forecast, waiting for a change in the weather, waiting for the words to fall from the sky, sitting listening to the air conditioner churning its strange song. Next week it will be colder–everything will be better.
Jasper Kerkau (Sudden Denouement Literary Collective)
[Photo: Ian Curtis]