Monday, October 27, 2014

A thought on memoirs...

"Families are webs. Impossible to touch one part of it without setting the rest vibrating. Impossible to understand one part without having a sense of the whole."

Diane Sutterfiled, "The Thirteenth Tale"

Saturday, October 25, 2014


My father once wrote a fiction novel. Though being fiction, having read the bulk of the 500 plus page work, I can attest that it is deeply autobiographical. It had been considered for publication, yet he was a stubborn man, plagued with perfectionism. He never turned over the work, its apparent inferiority on the literary landscape only something he saw. He would rather the words remain locked away than to face the alternative that should he publish, he may always look upon the effort and pine for just one more chance at revision. The self-loathing would have tortured him. I personally believe that he would have had none of an editor's input either, which goes hand-in-hand with publishing. He lived his life in much the same fashion-locking himself away from the world, knowing that he was far from perfect, toiling over revisions and never satisfied. 

He closed the final chapter in his life having challenged countless rewrites of this novel, and fortunately I have them all. I will, however, refer to the submitted version of the book in this excerpt. The story is called "Sweet, Baby Girl." It is a tale redemption, revenge, death and re-birth-of a villain and a heroine, of two lovers and one dream against every odd. 

My father's name was J.W. Burroughs, Burroughs also being my birth name. I will likely post more of this work, as it does deserve its place in the halls of literary fiction, despite the reality that he would surely stop me from doing so if he was here. I can see him now, angrily jamming his cigarette into the ashtray and flying over to the monitor, crying "Jesus, Jay, get that off of there!" while he seizes the mouse and deletes one more copy for perfectionism's sake, in much the same way that he deleted excerpts from his own life, time after time. 

This piece is from a chapter aptly titled   "Daisy"   (abridged)

It was that hushed, enchantingly serene time of late afternoon when all creation pauses as if to catch its breath before pressing onward into the clamour and urgency of early evening.

In the far corner of the patient sitting room, Daisy, like a ragged, wind-swept leaf was settled serenely in a generously proportioned, overstuffed wing chair adrift in shadowy yet cherished reveries-a charming diversion she pursued with ever increasing frequency. Long, hazy shafts of fading sunlight sliced through the narrow, elevated casement just behind her chair and spilled across the polished maple floorboards at her feet.

Her face, weathered paper fringed by careless wisps of silver, revealed a profound fatigue as though each breath was a frantic crusade whose sole mission was to prevail for yet one more. Clouded, vacant blue-grey eyes peered out from behind heavy lids and contemplated nothing. She lingered there, an amorphous assemblage of dishevelled blue terry-cloth, sagging stockings and worn, shapeless slippers.

And so, yet again, with an impertinence forged by more than seven decades of melancholy and disillusion, she had quit the field, abandoned the mundane cares of the ward and retreated quietly to this place. This was the sanctuary where she would ignore the vulgar mandates of the day. Here, she could once more visit the silent dusty rooms of long neglected, crumbling mansions and contemplate the sad distortions of yesteryear. It was her time to sing old, sad songs and whisper wistful tales of what might have been. It was her time to brush away the ominous ashes of days past and mark again the hymns of more promising times.

For so long she had journeyed through this veil like some sad gypsy, armed only with timid ambition and petrified dreams. The only child of humble, Irish immigrant labourers, she had been denied many of the trivial pleasures of youth and inculcated with the unforgiving sterile doctrines of perseverance and unwavering accountability. And so, two days following her sixteenth birthday, with a vigour born of quiet desperation, she had renounced all familial connections and ventured forth into a world she was ill-prepared to confront. Like a resolute, solemn child, she wove her way through a torturous succession of abusive and mercifully, barren relationships. It was a demoralizing epoch of incredible turmoil-of frenzied lust, alcohol and ten thousand screaming nights. Filled with righteous contempt she slogged through angry, blaring deserts and came to know the absolute anguish of her own mortality. And ultimately, as though to deny the awful misery of her own existence, she quietly retreated into herself and like some clever conjuror, fashioned a world filled with rainbows and faded paper flowers.

She populated the empty, blustery chasms of her life with icons of her own comprehension until, by her fifty-fifth birthday, she lay broken and confused, incapable any longer of tending her weedy gardens. Consequently she was given over to the caretakers and like a timid, startled bird, spent her days cowering in antiseptic corridors. Rationality had been usurped by schizophrenia, and soothing, sensible voices hushed the furious babble of yesterday. 
She had been set free-free to step out onto the high plane of imposed tranquility and to cavort with harmless mirages. Passion and vigilance had been transcended and reality had surrendered to illusion.

Sorrow and remorse had been cloaked in pale beauty and enduring anguished pleas for what might have been vanished in the howling winds of despair.

Slowly she raised her head and studied the room. Soon she would return to the ward and once again she would be tendered to those whose function it was to comfort and soothe and bear her away in a haze of chemical rapture. Breathing deeply, she allowed her head to fall gently to one side. A single tear rolled down her cheek and, with a faint unprotesting gasp, she departed from it all.

To Be Alone

For some, to be alone is to embrace a time of welcome, sustained reflection upon days past, days present and days to come. It is a stopover on the way to a deeper peace and a time when one may not be alone, but only if the company has been worth the journey.

For others, to be alone is to be cornered by one's self and made to confront every fatal flaw as the silence spills out its evidence like a tenacious prosecutor, inflicting fear of days to follow. It is a painful pit-stop that must be undertaken quickly. Such a person will almost always find someone to serve as a distraction-anyone at all will usually do. The two will call it love, but in reality it is usually a form of mutual use...girl meets boy and forgets her broken self. Boy meets girl and finds the approval of a prince in her arms, when he's always felt like a popper. Poor fellow has no idea that he did not in fact qualify to win her heart; he was merely walking past when her shadow closed in on her. Soon his embrace will feel to her like strangulation. In her haste, she had cast away the sacred vision of love in favour of a mirage, that quickly left her dry in desert dust. Soon her soft kisses will land cold and forced. She'll turn from him and he will give chase, so afraid he is of sleeping alone again. She will run without a goodbye, having never grown beyond a mere child who learned about love from a story book and a game in the woods.

Alone once more, they will each seek out another, to begin the charade again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

September's Hope

Sunshine embraces the morning, Mother, as if to apologize for its long absence. Its arrival is announced by a scattered chorus of finches, cardinals and squirrels that wake to greet the day. The approach of autumn lays its evidence with the occasional falling leaf, but still there is promise in the air of more warm days to come. The ancient maple and walnut trees that weave their way through the quiet, aged suburb are bejeweled with the dying summer's gold. Dew decorates the rows of lawns like a million diamonds. I open a large window in the main room and welcome the weather inside. A playful breeze passes through like a dancing kite. The aroma of fresh grass mingles with the subtle, earthy musk of autumn's approach-an agreeable perfume to fill my empty surroundings. The day arrives as a happy surprise, despite my fatigue. I was stirred from another brittle sleep by a pair of cardinals who'd pierced my bedroom window with their back and forth chatter.  

My wife is surely awake now, without me of course. The children run, jump, bark, bite, laugh and live while she spells out mechanical morning orders to pick up toys, clean rooms, comb tangled hair, scrub mucky faces. She likely steals a passing glance through the kitchen window, standing on the tiptoes of her petite frame and takes comfort as the golden warmth greets her. She has a long walk to work.

She hurries to ready herself for the day, finally having stolen five minutes in the bathroom. She drags a brush through soft and slightly curled deep brown hair that frames a beautiful face, draping just above her shoulders. Rich chocolate eyes fix on the mirror and she faces her age, which is noticeable only to her, really. I miss those eyes; they were wide and full of wonder. They were soft and slow to anger. They hungered, they longed, they laughed and loved. They loved me, Mother. But those days are behind us.

She composes herself quickly, needing no makeup mask for supple toned skin. Faint creases forming from the corners of her eyes map her forty year journey. Many of those lines are roads I took her down.  

With one eye on the clock that leads the race as always, she hurries through the house to deal with last minute details-bickering siblings, half-made school lunches and unsigned permission slips. Dirty laundry forms a small mountain on the landing in the stairwell, invisible to her as she sprints the familiar path. Fingerprints map children's journeys along the white-washed walls of the unassuming abode. Life lives freely here. A beautiful scent, a mixture of dirty socks, fried eggs and Kool-Aid hangs in the air. I remember it well. If I could trap and bottle that sweet perfume, I would bathe in it now. She misses nothing in the morning world; the children are safe every second and marching to their orders. Dinner is defrosting. The heap of laundry is shrinking. The after-school babysitter finally answered her phone and has promised to be more timely this time. I am far away but assuredly in my wife's sight. She could not have left every trace of me behind her. I refuse to believe that she made a clean exit, as much as she had tried. 

I'm dwarfed by the large imposing living room that surrounds me with its long high walls and crushing silence. The beagle remains curled into my bed sheets, likely finding little reason to greet the morning, now that the children aren't around to greet him back. Dust and dog hair dance in the sunlight and settle into places where life lives no more. I begin to feel the weight of my memories as they also wake to the new day and assume their place at the front of my thoughts. I retreat to the large brown couch we'd bought as newlyweds. Its faded and torn tweed fabric is worn well beyond its value now, not unlike the world I shared with her. I'll not part with it though. It sits as a rugged witness to the life, laughter and love that once graced its purpose. My memories are all that remain to cast my identity, as much as they dismantle me now. Tears blur my vision again as I gaze upon yesterday. The mountain of sorrow deep within me wants to erupt, but I stop my breath at my throat, not wishing to upset the delicate morning as I wonder of her now. I never intended to send her away, Mother. 

You could argue that point I suppose. I indeed forced a heavy hand into the fate of our love. I did break her heart. I drank my ever replenished liquor elixir like Dr. Jeckyll and out came Mr. Hyde so many times. Rarely though did I let Hyde escape the confines of my thick skull. Yes, disappointed one, I am my father's son, but not in the ways that stole your sleep, split your lips and snuck away into another woman's arms. Hers was often the heartache of simply seeing such a creature peer out from behind my hollow eyes. 

When our matrimonial path began to spiral off course, I ran to liquid relief from the tiring journey. I hid myself away in a safe corner of the confusion and there I remained, stoned and stubborn. I gradually faded into the walls, a pale shadow of a husband, only wandering from my self-imprisonment for sustenance and for bedtime stories with our little angel girl. As my fragile bride waited in tearful silence for me to return to her side, she began to weaken and wither. Autumn settled into her eyes, Mother, dimming the lights that once shone like dazzling jewels. Her lonely days grew into hopeless years. She was long gone before she actually left me-her escape already mapped out, her backup plan in place. If she'd tried to warn me, I didn't hear her through the cold steel walls of my obstinance. Now, I accept without complaint my yoke of repentance, and I shall carry it as long as I have to. Though one question plagues me now-could a truer love have have held fast, Mother, having been so tested? Should I share my burden with her, for her giving up so readily and running away without a goodbye? Four years, oh wounded one, is hardly the twelve you endured, in no less than a combat zone. What exactly is love? Did you ever solve the illusive equation, oh womb of my fruit?

There were mysteries deep within my porcelain bride that I could not easily unearth-missing pieces of complex puzzles. She was a silent and fiercely reserved woman. At one point in time, long before she'd grown on me, I simply would have called her the quiet type. Yet behind her eyes there existed a woman I had not met, and one she didn't want me to meet. 

She could not unlock every door of her heart for me, nor for anyone. A paralysis had spread throughout her being, that often froze her in the path of her best of intentions. She'd weathered wicked storms during the years long before our lives collided. She would only allow decided fragments of herself to be exposed. She faced each new day with a decided escape plan, should life send new storms upon her. These plans lay hidden and tangled in her innermost places. They clumsily overlapped one another as she struggled to keep her secrets in order. She suspected that most would not easily accept her illusive and often devious designs; they often wove themselves through the lives of the innocent. 

Phone calls were frequently contained to careful murmurs. She faithfully erased the browsing history on the family computer. She gave accounts of her day-to-day that often betrayed her as fragments of other stories echoed their objection in my memory. There were wide gaps in our tale of two lonely lovers. I'm convinced now that those gaps could not be closed without crumbling the very foundation of our unionLonging to believe that she was the purest of pure, but knowing that perhaps this sentiment was slightly too demanding of her, I snatched my heart back from her and retreated to the solitude that would seal our doom. 

Early in our days together, I'd reasoned that I could share my existence with her hidden world if I must. Certainly there was a thread of rectitude laced through her peculiar ways. Perhaps they involved innocent male friends, girl-only affairs or family matters. Eventually though, not even vodka could settle me into such a delusion. Over time her trail became too littered. She'd left evidence behind-pieces of her puzzle, in her careless pursuits.

I knew that her heart hungered still. Our eyes rarely met. Our words either collided or they didn't connect at all. We spent our days in different rooms and ended our nights at different hours. Silence soon hung like a dense fog throughout the house. Our love finally seemed but a spark that had shown much promise but failed to ignite a fire. 

My hope eroded and finally vanished as time poured out its heavy sand upon our lives. Beyond our front door, my fears became fact. Troubled faces approached me with heavy hearts and reluctant news of my wife's wayward travels. There were other men alas, Mother, with whom I'd shared her bed. 

I know now that her delicate survival had long required its hidden rooms. There were pieces of her puzzle that I was simply forbidden to find from the beginning. She'd never set out to deceive, dear woman. Often times, a soul simply knows no other way to survive. Hers is a heart that beats strong and pure. It simply cannot keep rhythm when her fears begin to choke her. Her willful silence in the shadow of her cracked facade finally told me the story complete. With her swift and sudden departure she erased our history and was on the run again. 

My runaway bride may never brave her way out from her hidden rooms. She may always insist to her guilty secrets that I alone must account for the long empty days and the nights of hands on ourselves. But ours, Mother, was a mutually assured destruction. Another love may wear the blame complete one day, should autumn set into her eyes again.  

I've taken lovers since she left, Mother; moments of desperation produce fools. I fucked every ounce of energy right out of myself, like a loose pistol, pounding every yesterday until I fell exhausted and only wished to remain asleep. There were no more dreams to be dreamt. There was no more love to give or receive. I was spent. 
I scold myself now for thinking I could trick my wounded existence with such a charade. I choose now to sleep alone, to starve my soul rather than feed it that which has no substance. The silent house haunts me. Though I no longer wrestle with secrets and strange tales, I wither and weaken as each cruel night arrives without her. I've abandoned my vodka. I must be more real now. She's taught me well the destruction of lies. I must never dwell in hidden rooms of my own. 

Why, though, had not love found a way? I must face my bride's looming shadow and alas confess that sometimes love, though it is the very breath of the Divine, cannot alone overcome the elements that divide two souls. 

Today however, still holds promise by the very virtue of its infancy. The sunshine has returned to chase away the threat of an early frost. Today is September's hope. She's on the tired path again. The children have set out on another day of dreams. I return to the open window and breathe deep the day's renewal. I ask the steady breeze to guide her along a solid and fruitful path today. May it carry us all, Mother.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Oh Nurse...

The nurses took my shoes and gave me paper slippers after Morpheus had tried to take my marbles at fifteen tender years of age. For reasons that are beyond me, they believed that as crazy as I was to try to dance with death, I wouldn’t try to escape the hospital sans shoes, risking a few stones in my feet running away. They were wrong. Purple LSD was plentiful in the downtown core, and I wasn't missing out. Those were the days before hospital rent-a-cops, plexi-glass barricades and exit alarms. I was always back before they knew I was even gone.

They weren’t allowed to give me dope to slow my motor; I’d taken too much already. Having succeeded in securing my solace on the streets and smuggling it back to the ward, I became quite adept at containing the mind-bending drug doses that wanted to send me screaming down the sterile white-washed hallways hunting down the great mystery of life. Such a blunder would surely see me in shackles. I mastered the art of being still and silent while the acid rocked me to my corrupted core. When one's world begins to burst and break into a million delicious micro-dots before his eyes and his brain leaps out of his skull to escape it all, mastery is a must. As I curled in a lounge chair and held back the beautiful storm within, I would zero in on the magical melting grain patterns of the giant fuax-oak framed television that sat like a king's throne in the middle of the main lounge. That rustic box held court day and night to countless faces, sending forth its electronic decrees unto their broken, wayward minds. One of my cohorts was not so gifted in harnessing the ways of the purple. They harnessed him one day after he'd demolished his room in a futile attempt to hang on to the acid demon death ride I'd urged him to take with me on that lagging afternoon. Demeral would slay the beast within him and keep him down and drooling for days.

West-wing psychiatric was fitted with pink rooms and quite peaceful. For me it was a 30 day vacation, no options for early checkout. We had access to a sickly, stained smoking room, furnished compliments of 1970. The air in that room was a refreshing, hazy retreat from the unnatural odor of sterility that identifies any hospital. There was an old turntable in the smoking lounge, and two albums...Led Zeppelin and Barry Manilow. There weren't many Fanilows in Coconut College. Had they truly thought that they’d covered all grounds in music therapy with these two donated discs? Physical Graffiti will always take me back to that sunless room of smoke and solitude...that room full of empty eyes and drug-stifled screams...that room where tomorrow never arrived for any of us, and most of us didn't want it to.  Is this the best that medical thought has to offer...lock ‘em down and hope that they untangle themselves... throw them some distractions and keep them content while they ponder their plights? 

I hated those nurses with my intelligent mind; their attempts at group therapy only agitated me with their simplified, happ-i-fied, feel-good format. I didn’t need windy dissertations on turning my frown upside down and finding rainbows behind the clouds. Then again, if this was the school of life, we were truly just a garden of children. All that those nurses could really offer me were their gifts of beauty and youth for my blurry eyes. I loved them for that. 

My assigned therapist possessed both in ripe abundance. I met her, Mother, in my room each night when the lights were out and the doors were secured. She'd wander in during her usual room-check. Her tiny flashlight would go dark as she fumbled with the buttons on her form-fitting denim girly overalls. Her delicious red hair would fall from its professional pins, a waft of cherry filling my hungry nostrils. She’d climb on top of me with careful, catty moves. She’d take my hand and allow me to help her remove her evil bra. Her breasts would be painfully pointing right at me as she slid out of her clothes and found my full attention. I would not last a mere minute, but she understood. She hadn’t the time to waste anyhow without her absence being noted on some official medical pad. Her pleasure would be found in my relief. She’d be gone just as quickly as I came. I'd rehearsed this moment a million times. I still relive it to this day. I had to time my dreams meticulously in the last-stop ward; bed checks were random. I learned to listen for the doors of other rooms opening and closing. I would watch for the flashlight beam lazily hopping down the hallway through the space under my door. I knew when she was getting closer. I was never caught. I wonder if she knew that I watched her, my gratitude spilling out on starch white sheets. I’m sure that the housekeeping department was well aware of just how sticky sweet some of the nurses could be. This is what I took away from my psychiatric stay, dear woman.  This was true knowledge. Dusty old doctors, it seems to me, do nothing but take notes and look important...pass out pills and head South to bathe in the spoils of sorrow. The world needs more nurses. 
Now a lifetime later, I am a caged animal once more. My estranged wife, crippled by cowardice and spite, grants me no time with my priceless little girl. For reasons that are beyond me, she believes that as crazy as I am for having walked so many tightropes in life, I won’t resist her sudden suffocating constraints. I left her as she had left me...with stinging words and worst wishes. Shame to me, Mother. My heart has its black spots. Now she counters my crass sentiments with blind, raging retribution. I cry out to her, pleading for a cease-fire, yet she hears not a word I say through the noise of battle. She has the system on her side...the system that failed you, Mother, when Dad was dealing his blows. The political pendulum has swung at last, yet only to an equally imbalanced extreme. A man is a beast, and a beast always. A woman is but a delicate bride, capable of no harm, even in the face of the ugliest of evidence to the contrary.

She grips our girl's unclouded innocence like a weapon of war, lacking the courage for one-to-one combat. She will win at any cost; her ego is a famished beast. A new beau, likely as undeserving of her dark world as my baby girl, holds her steady on the battlefield. He knows nothing about me except that I am the enemy, by her decree. He knows nothing about her beyond the dictates of his blinded heart. His eyes will be opened though, as the war rages on. He'll seek cover eventually; they all do. She's learned to keep a few good men waiting in the trenches, ensuring that she's never alone. She'd found her latest love long before we'd parted ways, Mother...long before our bodies stopped sleeping as one. It would take even longer for me to see who she really was behind her dark evasive eyes. I would guess that her new cause knew no more than I about the slight overlap in our paths. Along her reckless trek, she trusted one too many souls with the burden of secrets she so grips and guards. As I lay wounded in her long shadow, I take comfort, Mother...the Almighty will not pervert justice. Truth will win. It will always win.

As her narrow eyes tunnel in on me, she sees not the full scope of the battle; she fights a far more fearsome opponent than me; she wages war with herself. She's tangled and twisted in her nagging fears, her displaced yesterdays, the broken, jagged reflection in her mirror. The woman who looks back at her taunts her and teases her, telling her that she's weak and unworthy of her dreams. I once ripped at her dreams like a razor-clawed hawk as I waged a war of my own. I finally stopped in mid-flight and changed my course. My heart is not the heart of a warrior. Now I pray for her peace. In many ways, Mother, I do not deserve peace myself. All the same, her ruthless offensive is a missile that will ultimately circle round and aim itself toward her. When the war is over, nobody will have won. All that will remain will be ashes and smoke, innocence murdered and old age mocking us. She will stand alone, denying her wounds while she bleeds out onto the black mud, giving back to life, measure for measure, what she took from it. I must protect our little girl. My blind, embittered bride throws her to the front lines of the battlefield to serve as a shield for her fragile front. My wife is you, Mother. I can see your reflection in her vacant, distant glare. I can see your scowl in her tightly pursed lips. I can hear your curses under her breath. The world needs less brides.

Yes, I am a caged animal once more. I hate that I scream from these pages, knowing that my words only fall like a million firecrackers, burned out and forgotten. It’s been a colorful display, but will it be worth the cleanup? I hate that my 20s have given way to my 40s, that my generous silken mane and flawless face have morphed into a barren wrinkled dome, that my eyes have sunk, my back has slunk, my brows fall out. The talons of time grip me and pull me to the earth. I cling to Led Zeppelin now...two dinosaurs taking solace in one another amidst the unwelcome evolution of things. My dreams are tarnished now. As much as I scrub and sweat, they never seem to shine like they once did. But I have a few more fireworks yet to ignite. I learned long ago to always keep a match or two in my back pocket; all is not lost! The world needs more dreamers.

I often wonder, as my capacities seem to fade, where the answers lie. Or do answers even exist for people like us, Mother? I knew the moment I woke from death so long ago that I would grow to be a shadow among my peers, a weed among the flowers, a ghost among the living. I will always be a square in a room full of circles, like the old Sesame Street sing-along: One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong. Should I call Bert and Ernie? I'll bet that they know more than one hundred years of stiff white-coat research into the hopeless human condition that fills meaningless volumes and keeps pharmaceuticals high on the stock market. 

"Hey Bert, grab us a beer. Today’s episode has been brought to you by the letters “Fuck it” and the number “0"."

I suspect that my condition of completed sorrow has simply been tossed onto the pile of some collective hunch, where Prozac has the final word. It seems to me that all I do is take notes and try to look important, like some literary snob, passing down poisonous prose and heading South to bathe in the spoils of sorrow.

Oh Nurse...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Tell Me Love...

Tell me love, of your softest place. Show me where life rests soundly on the quilt of your patchwork of dreams, where even the sharpest blow is absorbed and silenced, where unseasonal warmth swallows all that is cold. Show me the heart that breathes new life into frozen soil like a first spring sun that draws new roots onward and upward to outstanding heights, to bring life upon life upon life-a twig borrowed from a branch for a baby bird, a seed that falls and rises again. 

Oh shame to me, I've only seen the reflection of such a place in your eyes as I passed you in the hallway on my way to better things each morning, wearing my heart like a knight's armour, certain of a new battle just beyond our front door. I would come home and cry that the day was so long and unkind, walking clean past your open arms on my way to dreamless TV and flat warm beer.

Let us go far away from here.

Let us take an autumn day and throw dying leaves like party candy for fearless children.

Let us conceive a new love on an old beach, though the unnumbered grains scratch and burn at copper skin. Let us erect a flag on the sandbar, for the tide to steal and rank us among the eternal waters.

Let us make a pact on a broken hill, a future from a burning house, let us polish our style in a dusty room.

Let us...wait a minute; strike all of that. Put your clothes look like a fool. And I am a clown who lays beside balding skull shoving hair out the sides like a defective Chia Pet...cha-cha-cha-chia. My smile is painted on. My limp neglected manhood bows to you like a scolded beagle, shivering in the February air, apologizing for being less than triumphant. I should never have invited you back. Your lies are too heavy, my rage burns too hot. Your memory is too long for the sins I've forgot. Love has failed us both, for Love has not guarded this sacred altar that has rusted and decayed from a million tears. Love has not guarded us from ourselves. Your splendorous September dress is yellowing now. The rented tux I wore surely found a man better suited for the job. I hope he didn't catch a curse before he took it off on that first magical eve, to lay with his new eternity. The fabric wedding bouquet is scattered all over Kerr Ave. I did it some justice with two steel toes and six cold ones. Love has failed. Love has failed. You have failed. I have failed. Call a cab...and grab a pizza if you want...go to Franco's; he'll fill you up for cheap. I'll give you the money, whatever it costs. Whatever it costs. Please just get lost.

Tell me love, when you've landed in town. Have the child ready; I'll be around.

2013  SLM