dried red wine on the floorboards mistaken for blood the next morning summed up the past ten months. I hastily re-packed my bag and left a signature thank you note on paper towel before taking off into still-too-cool chicago air, even for march. took the blue line one stop west to damen for coffee and sized up my options for the next few days. I kissed all my medals like a catholic.
I got my identity stolen--literally--for a couple uneasy days. I dated a new girl that was older, then an old girl that was not. neither worked out.
walking backwards out of the most significant few years of my life I opened a beer can and mopped dead fleas from between my floorboards. no less than eight dozen bites later I slept on a couch that smells like chemical death in two shirts with my jeans tucked into my socks. more steps backwards. my city has been bleeding as CNN is interviewing my neighbors and asking me directions. st. louis: "all of your smart and shallow ones moved to DC months ago and can't pay their rent." st. louis: "we hope you tear yourself a-fucking-part for brian williams."
airports are equalizers. flew to denver with a change of clothes and some chapstick; promptly rented a car and drove to rural colorado like you do, defenseless. a gin-powered-perpetual-motion-machine rolling west ever the optimist, I sold my soul in double spaces after periods. did not return text messages but I did return hurt feelings. a local brand of hospitality is only sixteen hours of snow and sleet to get from basement apartment to basement apartment.
the last few months have been weird and I'm back into the swing of stranger beds in stranger places but that's okay. odd beds in the county and central illinois and anywhere that's not south st. louis city and home to pack/unpack.
some nights I'd like to go back and look at the things I broke, but that won't happen and can't anyway so you sort of just stumble to the back of the apartment onto a mattress with no sheets and a chorus of "one more X and Y (with Z and AA added to round the drink off and I promise I'm fine)". everything is sex and hurt feelings. I cringe when they tell me that they're 'fixers' because I never thought I was broken and who the hell are you anyway. you were always the problem to begin with but these vices made me real in a way that you can't understand. it's nothing but "oh shit oh shit" and "jesus fucking christ" anyway.
it was a glitch in the system, a mistake that was never supposed to happen made up of 1ís and 0ís and chapped hands caught in the cold for too many months. a peek into what could have been, maybe, or a real hard look at reality at least.
you let me in for a day or two. the war was over for awhile and I climbed under motel sheets in unfamiliar states with booze in my blood again. I slept heavy and woke up in jerks and sputters, uncomfortable in my skin and uncertain what I was doing there. I was intimidated for the first time in years by someone with a real life conscience, too. here, itís always ten oíclock. I felt comfortable on the move.
there was a truck idling outside my window, humming along to the sound of every city Iíve ever seen. this one feels different. Iíll fill my apartment with it and keep it alive. Iíll break it into pieces and hold onto it, put them back together in my head in a thousand different patterns that are all better than the last. Iíll make it home someday.