Wednesday, October 15, 2014


incensed is not the word. the word is charged.

Ty sees Dry die in front of him on a dark Halloween night with a convenient streetlamp busted so as to cover who shot and where the shot came from. a figure clouded in a white ghost robe is by Dry's body. Dry's hulking body on the alone cold street is the sign of death. Ty recognizes for the first time the time for firsts is now. he walks up to the secret man, who is obviously Lofton.

Ty: look at me, take that ridiculous costume off and look me in the eyes for the first time! man!

Lofton does not obey.

Lofton: blood, you don't order me. now i'll let that slide cos this is traumatic. i didn't shoot this poor thug. the guy who did it is getting away. he went that way, hurry!

Ty: i won't let that one slide, you didn't know this man. this man was named Dry Dream, he was the only person i ever called friend. do you know what a friend is? or is your heart as fake as your laugh?

Lofton: hughhughhugh. blood, i don't believe i've seen you in my town before. now that i see your face in the pale moonlight, i still can't believe you look this way. where do you live? i know everyone. you shouldn't be out here, it's not safe on Halloween, tonight is when all the perverts come out to play and roam and lurch and linger. don't worry, leave it to us experts, we keep my city safe. no lurching now, no loitering, no lingering, hughhughhugh.

Ty: i am an orphan of the streets, and this man, Dry Dream, is the first person to know my name. i cannot say "was" yet, i continue to say "is". he lives in me, do you know what that means? do you know what humanity is? courage? living against hope? do you know what these things are? only when you are low do you contemplate and experience such things. you've never known these things, you are always high. i don't know what Dry did to incur your wrath, to you he is another statistic to take back to your police buddies, but he is a real person, real flesh and bone, blood, not your blood, my blood, his blood runs in me, IN ME!!! and i am still alive, i live for both of us, and that, my brother, BROTHA, is your nightmare.

Lofton quickly removes his ghost costume, crumbles up the white sheet, and scrunches it forcefully into his pocket. his pants have a ridiculous bulge.

Lofton: the night casts things in a strange light. i don't know who you take me for, but i assure you, i am not that man. i am a man.

Ty: of course it was you! who else would it be? a rogue agent? a subordinate who didn't follow orders? they are only following orders after all. you are the head of the snake. plausible deniability is such a fucked-up oil. uh-oh, i see your brow tensing, you're dealing with a smart nigga here, one who doesn't toe the line, who is slightly askew, who doesn't buy into your civil patter because i am not really from here, i am more from me. i think independently, i walk in curves, i don't vote, i don't care, but when i care, i care until the end.

Lofton: it's not that you outmatch me in words, it's that i need to see the bigger picture here. i don't have time to verbally jab with you, i live in a world where the jabs are real, they hit the face, they pound flesh, and they kill. if you won't call an ambulance to pick this poor man up, i will. i'm busy. i've got things to do.

Ty: scurry into the night as always. i hear the red lights storming. hide before your own police force does any real investigating for the first time. don't lay claim to Dry Dream's life just because you claimed his life.

Lofton is gone into the night. Tudey opens the front door after a minute.

Tudey: i heard everything from a safe distance...

Ty: you didn't hear everything. neither did i. there is no safe distance. i'm still in shock. i'm shaking, give me your hand, Tudey.

the two embrace and cannot quell the shakes.

Ty: you haven't had time to cry, but we will. i swear to you, in a short time you are my family. it is not the length of time but the force of time. you are my blood, i have none. all my blood has been drained filling the top of my head, constantly bathing my brain, keeping it active trying to figure out the impossible. making sense of things which are doomed to death. wondering what life is.

Tudey: how am i gonna go on? how'm i gonna live without my big bro?

Ty: i loved big brother. you look at me, our eyes meet because we are people of good stock, of truth, we don't cast askance like Lofton. we don't put on airs in the name of power, we are not air, we breathe air, and there is an accounting of such things. tragedy is not the word, balance is. when you destroy a life, you destroy all the lives associated with it, and the black tip of the candle wick is forever singed until water is doused on it, a water pure with the intentions of justice. such bad things cannot stand alone and left out in the rain. i was alone, but i am understanding this. i was a bystander for so long, reading the numbers in the papers like everyone else, but the numbers are us, i am a number, you are a number, and yet we live, we are nimble numbers, numbers that move and think and avenge. the bystander effect will not affect us. i bemoaned the condition of my city and hid in plain sight at the bus stops for years, never talking, never walking, never stirring. i have come to learn that change requires action. and there is no action other than your own action. perception is reality, your perception is all that exists. i love you, Tudey, but i can never love you, i only know my own mind, bathed in excess blood, pumping so hard to understand.

Tudey: there are a couple of folk i want you to spit at, tomorrow when things have calmed down. we are cool cats sick and tired of being sick and tired. i've always wanted to be a community organizer, now it's not a game, i live my dream out of necessity, and everything i do from this point is for my brother. i'll set up the time and place, at Akira Hall.

Ty: i will not rest until i prove it was Lofton who killed Dry Dream. nay, the proof is in the pudding. what is justice? a long wait to futility. there is justice that is felt and justice that is read about in the papers. i prefer feelings, my feelings now. i love to feel, i've never felt before, always held it in to think, now i let loose and never think. Dry is dead, so the afterlife is here, the after-lives of me and you, Tudey. nothing matters anymore, there is no life, not in this unjust world. an author doesn't write to feel passively accepted by his critics holding paperbacks of his works years after the initial hoopla, to become a dream, he writes in the here and now to push a sword through the prevailing wisdom of the times. that sword is his strength, his power, for what is power but finality? the jury doesn't hurt, i hurt, and thus i quell my hurt by making the one who hurt hurt. for how else can those who own the world be slowed down other than to end their time in this, their world? they have fixed their philosophies, they look inward and justify their lofty goals of domination, how is the weak and powerless underling to respond? how does one live waking up to a world that doesn't recognize his existence? is he to live in the shadows, every breath he takes, every move he makes, unwatched? when will he step into the light of a streetlamp and light a Halloween firecracker that charges up into the sky and explodes, explodes because of him, forcing the head of the elite, the government, the king, to turn in shocked acknowledgment and see it? i must make him feel, myself, not wait for the slow hand of faulty evidence and loopholes and pay-offs and celebrity justice. feelings are feelings, they have nothing to do with thoughts, they are fed with blood. freedom is scary. freedom works both ways. i am not a number.

Tudey grabs Ty by the arm as the horrible cacophony of police sirens and swirling reds add to the confusing visual displays of mechanical mummy noises, vampire bites, pumpkin moans and fake blood littering the city tonight. Lofton's glorious gang, the city police, screechily brake onto the scene, the house that isn't Ty's home anymore, onto the body left as a piece of rotting meat, a lug of weight whose words held so much weight, on the ground where we all dwell. in this town, the police always arrive first, the ambulance comes later.

Ty and Tudey, the two fugitives from life, have an impromptu Halloween adventure racing to the cemetery after one quick pit stop. there is no need for artificial scares, real life has intruded. no need for daring the other to enter the haunted house, the murder has transformed their lovely home into a haunted house. through the gas, the wisps of nothing in the air, the night sky so so black, everything the world so so black, the two make it to a quiet spot at the graveyard. white ghosts fly all around the city, but in this one place, black smoke collects and blankets. Ty searches for a plot of land way on the other side of the field, not close to any other souls, any other tombstones, any pristinely-bought shiny headstones carved immaculately with names and titles, at the edge of the property gate. Ty is ceremony-conductor.

Ty: Lord, we thank you for this moment of peace to fit in our prayer. God, i do not believe, but i believe in evil, i see it with mine own eyes tonight jesus.

Tudey huddles on her knees by the empty square of brown dirt, holding in her sobs by cupping her mouth.

Ty: lord it is not raining right now. these are tears. i cry and Tudey cries, and we cry because we've lived, we've lived long enough to care, but when you care, oh jesus when you care, your blood can't help but to boil, it's been activated, and the blood needs to go somewhere. to my nigga Dry, real name withheld, not able to be known, that's how the city saw him, unknown name, unknown statistic, may you be treated somewhere else that's not here, may you know realness. may you know love. my brother, this affects us deep down, you we heart, our heart is slain, forever crumbling, we cry forever, tattoo tears 4eva, you out, you outta da game, but we never out. i'm fucking fed up. but i am fed with blood. things change now, but they change because i am the agent of change. there is no future, for


with that, Ty takes a pause. then he tears the brown-paper bag holding a carafe of milk and pours the milk onto the unmarked grave with no head.



Jules said...

I am a nimble number..

Love the paragraph that starts with "an author doesn't write to feel passively accepted by his critics....."

Phoenix, if I die then I want it to be you that does the reading at my funeral. You're the only person that makes sense out of no sense. If you can't get here by flying car then YouTube is fine.

Your mind is a cavern of delight. *)

the late phoenix said...

thank you so much, my sweet Juli, i always love your take on my serious writing. yes, i will, accompanied by the only funeral song that matters, Nine Inch Nails "Leaving Hope" *)