Another cold, empty winter is fast approaching- I feel it tonight in aging, creaking bones and I can smell it clearly on the winds blowing in hard from the west. Memories of humid summer Indiana afternoons disintegrated under the blanket of an early darkness falling. Thoughts of a hopeful spring rejuvenation, growing lush and green and virginal, are nothing but a distant mark in a rapidly crumbling recollection, bullied away by invasively invisible invaders all out on the hunt.
And the final kill knows no season.
Above me a limp, unimpressive skyline of an increasingly infected and judgemental City of Wayne tries unsuccessfully to hide itself behind the skeletons of trees blown bare from the incessant crawl of an isolated winter’s fatal touch. Too many punctuating lights manage to finger through their voids for my shadowed preference, joining together into an unfocused pandering spotlight of familiar accusations reflecting back off of pale skin left uncovered.
Sitting on a cold stone wall built as high as I want to be in order to protect the neighborhood from the threat of inundation should the flood gods somehow become displeased with my antics, I felt a warmth of familiar hatred for my surroundings surge through numb fingers curling out from shaking hands gripping a comfortingly bright green bottle, rapidly diminishing.
This little flyover town always seems unquestionably smaller and more insignificant under the equalizing veil of night. Its secrets and whispered, empty seductions get tucked away down dark alleys and underneath random bushes, just waiting for the hint of a stranger’s hesitant touch.
For too many nights, and from inside too many bottles, the view has always been the same. Perspectives have occasionally shifted in painfully incremental notches, but the underlying subjects are always the same. The outcomes have always been discouragingly predictable and the sins have always had a tendency to stick.
And once stuck with that preconceived label, no matter how untrue the definition, there is never any way of washing yourself clean again. The only absolution offered is from a bottle. But that is regrettably temporary. And often comes at great cost, paid without reservation or gracious intent.
In my life, I have carried a great many labels. Together they form the inconsistently ill-fitting tapestry of my story, little glimpses into a larger madness residing just below the surface. They are the convenient markers of judgments passed by intimate strangers, often lacking in the diligence of an overdue process. And I never once sought out an appeal, mostly because I have never been a fan of gruesomely precise editing- that shit gets messy and inevitably takes a fatal toll.
Even now, there are words patiently waiting in a little blue house for a more logical realignment. They hover and linger and weigh me down constantly, regardless of their birthright- be it that short story recently submitted that needs a proper polish before reaching final acceptance, or that ill-advised and rambling text message sitting in perpetual DRAFT mode as an uncommitted dirty finger constantly hovers and frets in toxic indecision.
I am apparently far better at making messes than I have ever been at staying clean. Chaos and uncertainty are far more intoxicating to me, stimulating my raging addiction to the ridiculously unpredictable and imprecise. I am forever hooked and strung out on that high of instability, always hungry for that next hit of disaster; I am just another junkie with boundless cravings to just burn it all the fuck down while dancing naked in the flames. Or to indelibly pollute it with my many, weepingly narcissistic infections. Or to churn it red and raw, stripping things bare before pressing hot flesh into unguarded intellectual conversations, just because I can.
The madness runs unchecked and bleeding tonight, staring down that accusatory skyline and just wailing at the night. The bottle is nearly empty and the smoke sucked into greedy, pandemically tainted lungs barely made a dent in the sweet seductive bitterness of the tick-tock measures of an uninhibited self-destruction. The fear is creeping in on the wind rustling the last of the fallen autumn leaves blowing haphazardly at my unsteady, misdirected feet- it is simply a question of time.
I feel brittley cold in the singularity of my pedigree.
I feel exhaustingly misdirected in these compartmentalized caverns of wavering fragility.
I feel alone in this predictably broken city inhabited by incomprehensibly incompatible strangers.
It is undoubtedly going to be another long, festering winter here in the whimpering and suppurating City of Wayne.
And I cannot help but to wonder through another bottle’s muffling haze if I will even get to see the spring….