I longed to see her, yesterday

by dschapman

I longed to see her, all at once, and when I could not see her, I nearly lost myself. I had seen her having sex with the hairy old men – I should have known it would come to this. In the city, in the nightmare legions of the North, I slid on the ice with the rest of the terrible Yankees – city boys, drunks, and gays, them all – on drugs, I quit drugs – came up out of breath with the bends, had to get my stomach pumped – helicopter me in, ambulance me out, wheel my back into the garden; rest in the soil, seven warm mounds, like the hills of Rome, old and holy, and I’m safe and sound again.

Another Valentine’s Day, drug-addled and alone, and keeping myself occupied, wasting time, getting older. I drew a line in the dust in the mirror and pressed my skin into the glass. My oils soaked up the dirt like sawdust and I pulled it away with a smear. It was another dreary day, bought cheaply, shed in tears, on its knees despite my empty promises, my listless demands that it stand.

I collapsed under the sun and woke up as it retreated, fulfilled from a long day, over the far ridge of the valley. It burned purple in an amber sky and I the skies passed low and quickly, with urgency, as though trying to get inside before night fell. I took my neck out of the noose for a moment and thought about what I was about to lose. I thought about the beautiful world I was wasting. Was I not grateful? Had I not prayed and prayed? And things came and I was grateful and now, in my office, alone with my prayers, I have set down my last pencil, lead broken, and laid on my side on the floor and turned off.

Forfeit – it was easy crime. I liked it, I liked easy things. I was lazy and I drank a lot. I read books about drinking and glorified drunks. Now am I a reactionary and I pray at night for those who succumb to the demon of alcohol.

In a church in the woods I succumbed to good will. The wind blew at the paneled glass and rattled the shutters but nothing could enter and harm me. The ice storm passed through the night like a hurricane, cold and vast, but I in my pew kept the time with my eyes closed, shivering, my long cold cock hanging down the inside my thighs, on me knees, where the dog died. I’ve heard it said that dogs don’t die. Of course they die; I’ve killed them.

For some reason, I lost that summer in a daze spent writing a history of the local city. I kept discovering more and more, and my history grew unwieldy. In reality I was suffering a deep existential crisis and could hardly walk. But I kept my head in my feet of history and mythology and wasted six months on a city that doesn’t exist in a valley that exists out of all time and being.

I drank the water of new discord and disliked the taste.

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