Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Silenus (July 2004)

Just which cocktail pickles
a rumpy young satyr into
horrid old goat?
Our cocksman doesn’t
know, but the nagging
suspicion that he crossed
that line too many years
ago is one he tries to
drown harder every day.
The drill is by now
is so ancient as to be almost
rusted out: drive home from
work with the radio playing
contemporary hits he can’t stand,
crack a cold beer in his trailer,
slam a Swanson’s in the microwave,
watch sitcoms on syndication
as Florida in the window
roughs up Lake Fairview
and the semis whoosh
up and down 441 like
basso deacons. Shower,
second shave of the day,
do the thinning hair but
good, slap on the old Aramis
and dress carefully in the
cracked floor-to-ceiling mirror
& trying to ignore the
wrinkles around his eyes
and the flecks of grey
like whitecaps in his hair.
What the hell -- and he’s
out again by 8 to head
to his warm-up bar, knocking
back shots & beers &
bullshitting Gloria the
barmaid who he’s known
for years; he’s never gotten
her to come home with
him, but he still thinks that
some day she’ll come to
her senses and see what’s
she’s been missing all along
--and man, will there ever
be some serious fucking
that night! Only she
better hurry up and
come to, he thinks
for the ten thousandth
time, knocking back a
shot of Old Granddad
and the refocusing on
his image in the mirror
across the bar. Surely
he’ll be outta this
drab circle of losers soon.
He pays, she pours, they
bullshit as they usually do
about nothing in particular
the way old spouses do
and then he’s off again
on his usual commute
to the standard round of
bars, thinking as he
usually does that tonight,
oh tonight will surely
be different: That the
woman he might meet
(for years now a slowly
thinning possibility, so
slowly but surely that
he cannot see the thread’s
long been cut) who might
go home with him who
upon waking might turn
out otherwise than
all the others and they
will give it that try
that works where
the couple others failed
and they’d make it
to Love, Marriage,
Family, The Works.
He sighs. Why does
he bother? He’s 46
and the bottom that he’s
been ravening on
is near impossible
to hide from anyone,
even himself. He’s
partying this night
on a credit card with
barely enough air in
it to float the evening’s
tab -- there’s maybe one
more night in it, if he
doesn’t pay for anyone
else. The ex-wife is
screaming louder for
child support,
some judgement is
in the works. He
drives a ‘93 Camaro,
no babe car anymore,
it lurches epileptically
through its gears and
is still faintly redolent
of the night he shit
his pants in a blackout.
The last women
he’s scored (two in
the past six weeks)
were real jackals,
horrible, bottle-club
closing-time crackhead
drunks, gals he’d had
to wait til they’d
done all their drugs
& passed out before
roughing down their
jeans & turning ‘em
over to fuck ‘em from
behind, almost flaccid
in their neardry cunts
& trying not to think
of that girl from the
Christmas party
who called to say
she’d tested HIV
positive. Awful.
Yet here he is again,
somehow further
on down that ladder
of diminished prinicples
and expectations,
switching the channel
to the oldies station
where they’re playing
Journey’s “Don’t Stop
(Believing)”, and it’s
just the shot of hope
he needs, and he rows
down the his drivers
side window to let
some of the summer
night air in, post-storm,
wild and humid and
rich with ions, and
he feels all of the
possibilities rising
within him just as
pure and unequivocal
as the touched him
when he was fourteen
years old at his first
high school dance,
the band onstage
playing Grand Funk
Railroad’s “Are You
Ready” and all of him
shouting Yes and the
girl in front of him smiling
Yes. Up ahead he can see the
bar is hopping, lotta babes
heading in, all ripe for
the picking, and surely
among them there is just
the one for him, sultry
and salty and ripe for
the plucking, her heart
made of feathers and
blue gin, spread to receive
his eternal thirst
for someone else’s heat
and heart and motion.


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