the second, those forces were internal.
friend, basements being common gathering spaces for teens in suburbia. Scotty
J. even had a puke hole in the back behind the water heater should the need arise, and it often did.
to my house the night before, and thanked me for getting his car there safely.
… I don’t drive stick; it really wasn’t me.
project. Both he and Scott would spend hours in the driveway with the hood up,
tinkering, fixing, unearthing, lubing, loving, and suping their cars. Scott was
working on a Firebird, the shell of the Trans-Am on blocks in the garage having
donated its engine to the Firebird.
their cars, how dirty their hands were, how much they knew. How sweaty and
excited and jargon-speaking they became when bent over the greasy machine. I
loved how the cars sounded when they started up. I loved the primal growl, the
testosterone surge. I loved that the cars and their owners turned me on.
Camaro was t-boned by a woman blowing a stop sign through an intersection.
Suddenly, the man-boy I had “fallen in love with” deflated. Defeated, broken,
grieving for his totaled “baby,” Joe crawled inside a bottle of Johnnie Walker
really understand or have the perhaps appropriate amount of compassion for his
loss, feeling like he was turning his back on what he did have: me.
back from the stoned, middle-distance stare he’d acquired, he finally did see
me; but this time in outrage and betrayal, and our relationship ended in
high-octane tears, screams, and pleading.
ring of fire, was an artist.
teacher in the pre-school where we taught English. From moment one, I could smell
the pheromones of a tortured soul, and it rang straight into my bones.
soul. It reads like a familiar, I acknowledge you as one of my own; I see where
it is black inside you, where it is a vitriolic, white-hot, tumulting blackness, a yawning
cavern of desperate need and distopian pain. God, it’s electric.
validation and self-flagellation… god, you just want to walk into the center
of it, and be fueled by it. Let me stand in the eye of your self-destruction, in
the blaze of your unrest, and be transformed, be elevated by it.
delight in it all the more. The delicious evil of it. The knowledge that you
are, together, charring a path through hell, is invigorating.
dotted path of yellow paint down the back alley toward his building where one
of his cans had leaked through the bag, and bread-crumbed his trail home.
grease), and his apartment had more than twenty completed canvases leaning on
the floor, against the wall. The typified artist whose greatest work lies stale
and unrealized behind walls, in drawers, in storage.
unrealized potential of him. How he slammed his head against his self-made
cage. I hated how he “did nothing with it,” and as if I had the power to free
him from that bondage, I would look up galleries and places he could show his work. I
would read the poems he wrote to accompany his pieces, and create books in my
head for this next great artist.
like a moth. A sick, misguided, gaping hole of my own, moth.
sleeping with. I would sit on the heated Korean floor with him and drink and
play cards and fuck and drink and intone and fuck some more.
know. I wondered if I could crawl inside him and patch his broken places if he
would love me then. But he was also in love with his tragedy, and you can’t
take a toy from a child.
shades lighter in tragedy. And I have learned enough that you cannot date
potential, or rent love from infatuation, or demand love from one who doesn’t
love themselves. I have also learned enough that I don’t really want to be
ignited by tragedy anymore, but rather by joy, and I pass up the visibly broken
ones for hope of something different.
know that my heartpace quickens recalling tragedy’s twisted pleasures.