Capital City Consequence

More miles than meaning.  And, that must mean something.   Even if it’s just words quivering over asphalt.  Chasing empty roads.  Or another fragile dream stumbling down another broken Boulevard.   Consequence.   The dirty offspring of (in)decision.   I tried loving myself once.  I just never did a very good job of loving myself back.  Because it was confusing.  A foreign concept never properly explained in domestic fashion.   So I learned other lessons instead.   How to fight.  First, with words.  Then later, more deadly intentions.   Soldier mode.   A simple switch of humanity flipped off. Not with the heated gesture vigorously displayed towards an endless parade of shitty Michigan drivers.  But the switch inside my head.  That dark space too ugly to …

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Apron Strings

Gather ’round, my darling misfits of memory.   Let us drink like we are old–and wise. Let us feel like we are still young–and pliable. The caress of youth is fleeting–we should enjoy it while still able to absorb sensation before it all turns black.  And in that space, let the fabric of fresh experience unravel to reveal a new tapestry. The one of our destiny. And not our unpredictable definitions. Because those often change. And can’t be trusted.   Everything shifts as it ages.   But, I still remember the smell of my Mother’s apron when I hugged her that warm Indiana afternoon.   And, I still sometimes smart from the sting from when those strings snapped unexpectedly.   Scars are receipts of occurrence; tears are the currency of existence. …

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Deer Prints

Broken trees bend in a familiar meadow. A cloudlessly blue Mitten sky hangs bright. Covering unsteady ground. But not taking any notes.   Because nature keeps her secrets. Right along with mine. Not where the crawdads sing. But, down in the holler. Where foxes play.   Fresh deer prints on the trail; vines stripped from all the pines. The ones pulled free and trimmed, to spark warmth in the chill of a star-filled Clinton County night.   Anticipation hangs. Like frozen exhalations in winter. Impatient for growth; hungry for the spring.   Sounds carry strange, caught in the grip of a Capitol City December. Voices echo harder; vibrations, they linger.   The songs of nature rhyme–strange words for a city boy caught out of his elements …

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Smokestacks

A curious brutality is born whenever hearts combine.    It is often accidental. Seldom intentional. And if it is, that’s a type of abuse better captured by other, more competent, writers. My talents aren’t nearly impartial enough to ever capture that peculiar complexity.    It just sort of happens; no one is really at fault. Feelings and expectations combine as the commonality of mutual experience meld into a comforting pattern of disconnect. One that eventually erupts unexpectedly on some random Clinton County Wednesday morning.     It was a long time in coming, that breakdown of communication. There is only so much compassion one can find after only a few hours of sleep stretched out hard on thinly padded living room patio furniture. And before the strength …

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Black Pack Nights

Out walking whiskey drunk through the hood on a stale Indiana night.  On the hunt for a tobacco strong enough to see me through until the dawn.  Because I know that the sleep just isn’t going to come.    And that makes me nervous.    The air is heavy like an uncomfortable blanket.     Everything feels like it moves in slower motion.    The claustrophobia of humidity covers the darker realms of an ineffectual American Dream.  The part where everything is bought on credit and financial viability remains stubbornly dependent on the next payday that’s always too many fucking days away.    Various smells hang suspended–the unhealthy perfume of poverty.  Greasy foods cooked for greasy patrons at the corner bar.  Unmistakable whiffs of marijuana.  The baked …

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Broken Angel

Hell’s Kitchen lost its very best broken angel today.    Outside the window of a little blue Midwestern house, a gentle summer rain pattered.  It made it feel like the whole world was mourning for her tonight, too.  Suffering the blow collectively.  Taking the hit.  Because sometimes, the universe decides that it’s just going to keep fucking swinging.  And it doesn’t seem to matter just how far down you’ve already been kicked–more blows are coming.    So I poured myself a drink.    Then I broke an earlier promise to not sit stupidly in the rain.    And I put on her favorite song.     The song I used to endlessly tease her about.  Because on that impromptu Big Apple road trip, ill-fated and ridiculous, I …

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It’s Okay

It’s okay.  Go on.  Cry as hard as you can.  No one will see.  Drink a cold beer in a hot shower.  Make a silly face in the mirror.  Eat something.  Let your favorite playlist flow.  Even if you’ve heard the songs a million times.  Breathe.  Remember that chapters are supposed to end.  Stories evolve.  Hearts make mistakes.  It’s okay to be broken.  Forgive yourself.  Learn.  Fill the canvas.  Experiment with color.  Break the rules.  But don’t be a dick about it.  Boundaries are more fun from the other side.  Love fiercely.  Live unapologetically.  Surrender to the ridiculous.  Let experience run wild.  Challenge expectations.  Read everything you get your hands on.  Explore.   Answer every call.  Say yes more than you say no.  Laugh at yourself before …

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Asphalt Dreams and Other Strange Things

It always comes back to roads.  In almost five decades of summers, I’ve run down a lot of roads.  Sprawling interstates.  Back country lanes scratched out of the holler.  Familiar flyover county lines strapped on a grid of rigid Midwestern flatness.  Asphalt and Michigan gravel; concrete and Georgia clay.  Ocean views and cement tunnels that felt like coffins.  Even foreign motorways with their strange signs and nonsensical flow.  Always pushing the posted limits.  Ignoring responsible rest areas for the promises hiding just up ahead, behind that next mile marker.  Stopping only long enough to tank up on gas station chemicals; burning tobacco on an endless loop.  Mashing a path through muddled playlists, struggling to find the most significant copilot to help fill the space between miles. …

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