before and after Chi
the oyster was in your hand, the tickets in mine, the wind blew sideways – trying to tell us something? steaming coffee and the desire to go, go, go, the grand ol’ cliché, burning out like something out of the sky, the same sky that turns overcast or becomes a whiteout, depending on where you stand, but always above like some sloppy foreshadowing before we get down to business.
after a while, there weren’t many more left. mostly those who had nowhere to go, really, except for maybe an all-night diner, a bridge somewhere crossing over to elsewhere, leading up to that high lookout point, where it all looks perfect, like it always does from far away in that quiet stillness before it all rushes down into your center. a center you had no idea pulsated at night when you slept and gave out when the sun finally came up.
there were others, of course, as there always are, out and about. the smokers, the shooters, the sniffers, the swiggers, the lookers, the undecided, the puppies that follow you everywhere… they are all there when you wake up, with things sticking out from where they shouldn’t, from where they were supposed to remain hidden, out of sight. next thing you know gravity has been lording over us all for some time now, pulling us down, further down, where we never know what we’ll run into. It doesn’t matter how low we go, there always seems to be lower still to go. but naturally, at that point, the crowd has thinned out completely. then it’s only you, looking up at nothing you can actually grasp or understand. and that’s when you realize you’ve run out of cigarettes.
everything has a certain crisp to its edges, a brightness that must come from somewhere. after so many dreams, so many visions, and so many dives into our own ocean of unfathomable depths, well, there’s a light, isn’t it there? all bright and shit, as if morning took everyone by surprise. the beer’s too warm, the coffee’s cold – not nice, like iced coffee, more like tap coffee – and we are all sticky from whatever took place the night before; either no one remembers or they just rather not talk about it.
but there’s no need to look back, it’s always better to walk with your back to the sun. and a walker is what I’ve become, after so many sleepless roads, so many ruffled wants, and after so many times caught under your rain, the wind of your movements – your being plural, your being the night atop a glass tower in Chicago, resting against the cold glass overlooking everything but us, your being that horrible taxi becoming smaller and smaller, your being your middle finger, slowly unfolded in front of that devastating smile, your being that sunset, or this sunrise, or those shooting stars blazing unanimously in our night, your being all those porches, balconies, fire escapes, strange artists’ loft, wide open rooftops, the missing salt from our common coast…
so I traded your memories for this endless tripping over each other, failed pleasantries, and unexpected blackouts. it is not us who age, it’s our livers. and no matter where you end up, there’s always a hungry cat sitting by the food bowl, clocking you like a spurned lover before slamming the door. isn’t it odd how that cat can stare right through to you and sniff around in your deepest, darkest memory? so I’ve traded those neverending city treks for the scant solace of my own basement, my own hole in the ground. there are occasional transgressions, I admit, but nothing like you all saw back on that other land, the one behind, the one that defies the myth of the eternal return. there’s no real sense now of finding any of it out, only intuition of what it would be like.