Yesterday was a disaster. The last weekend of summer, at least summer as I visualize it. It was supposed to rain. It didn’t. I was supposed to turn the corner, transform my life. This summer I would pick up the debris of the storms that I had weathered and find myself in a new place with laughter, scores of new people, new loves, new passions, yet all I got was a kitchen devoured and heaps of trash on patio. Nothing happened the way it was supposed to. It never does. As I sit and wait for a cool breeze, my thoughts turn to the future. Never give up.
I realized that everything is different than it was in the spring. My kids are gone half the time. My wife is now my ex-wife. I pace around constantly, chain smoke most of the time and find myself struggling to make connections in a world of texts, email, and social media. Thankfully, the future is wide open. Soon, I can start thinking about kids squealing with excitement getting into Halloween costumes, sitting outside with a blanket smelling the first cold front, the giddy preparation of Santa letters, and, lastly, a new year sitting on the horizon, which can only bring better things.
Jasper Kerkau (9/5/16)
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.
It’s in the blood. I have a million secret illnesses. My skin turns red and the sun is blacked out in a Plaquenil-induced nightmares. Rheumatoidish delusions and joints cracking, spewing forth organisms of poisoned thoughts spreading throughout the body, metastasizing in the brain. Blank stares and awkward silence yield disappointing looks and self-doubt. Quietly I devour hours on computer referencing secret medical journals and find masturbatory language and nuances of encouragement for marijuana sandwiches and internet porn. Psychological plague. No proof. The autoimmune fever is my word against theirs, as is the lymphatic swelling and fickle feet that manufactures fear of heart exploding. I am older now than my uncle who did everything right and had brain aneurysm that left him obtuse and slow, shadowed by death. Caffeine headache yields fear as clock ticks. I feel my brain expanding, capillaries and blood fight a battle that is going to end in staring upward, prostrate, helpless. I think of my father dying young, heart liquefied, never had the luxury of cocaine fits and Benzo-inspired breakdowns that beset my past life. The answer is in the blood? It’s always the blood. The blood in the toilet, coughed into paper towel and discarded serendipitous in toilet paper like tampon. The answer is in the blood.
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]
i burn from inside – jasper kerkau
charred embers of my desire
hands pressed against the flesh of your stomach
seared and consumed by taste of your lips
twisted and spun into one–
the soft moist longing,
devoured by the fragrance of your
i starve in your presence–
sick with desire
yearning for your soft, naked center.
crucified and resurrected with one touch
buried in bosom,
gasping for the taste
sweet nectar of
fire pressed against fire–
Nov 21 2016