20 August 2010 § Leave a comment
I hope you’ve got something nice to wear to the funeral. It will be open-casket, against the advice of the priest, the funeral director, and the family themselves, but the big man wanted to make a statement – the kind where you don’t have to actually say anything – and when the big man wants to speak but remain silent, he gets what he wants.
So the enbalmer, who is the funeral director’s nephew, was given the task of cleaning up the body for presentation. He was young and inexperienced in this sort of thing – most of his clients were old people, and it’s easy to make an old person look presentable, especially when they died peacefully – and the man whose memory was the guest of honor at this shindig, he proved to be the young man’s greatest challenge and eventually became the occasional ghost appearing to the lad in times of moral crisis throughout his life.
I really hope you’ve got something to wear. We don’t want to show up last, or first, least classy or most formal. You have to be inconspicuous at funerals like this – big parties tend to center around the loudest dressed, after all, and we don’t want to be pointed out as the audacious assassins, crying and bringing huge numbers of lilies or sunflowers or whatever is more symbolically creepy from the floral shop. We are here to mourn him, and the dollar bills in our pockets because he is dead will be our comforting handkerchief.
9 August 2010 § Leave a comment
so when you mosey along this road,
you will see the cities burn,
the suburban populace growing their own
food and drugs and fear of the man upstairs,
in a great white robe with a great white beard –
the things we loathe, the things we fear –
sharks, snakes, religious wars –
bears, beers, their effect on us:
strength and truth and smiles, amplified
a thousand times, just like what you might find
when you mosey along this road.
9 August 2010 § Leave a comment
there’s music on that hill up there,
can you hear its melody?
Its maker I know well, from long ago –
but our travelling souls went awry.
you want to know about him?
he was a peasant,
made of social anti-matter.
his mind was composed of
flowers you could explode
in the palm of your hand.
he wore a green jacket,
his confidence, with which
he fought against what he found,
spreading peace and decadence –
his lady’s ashes – across the ground.
his logic was a medieval gauntlet
that nobody could understand.
the process of his thought thereafter
was decidedly exhausted
by the captive denizens that were lost to it.
he once said he dreamt of you and I,
when his daughter willed her suicide,
but then he just went back to his book,
whose curtainvelvet pages
echoed questions we’d mistaken
for evidence he’d burned and overlooked.
like the clouds that hide
entire mountains in the time
it takes one of us to steal a breath
and make away like bandits,
he would counteract his presence
with comments that bought the death
of common sense, vesting himself
in the castle’s circuitous defense.
he was silent in his judgment of men,
and intrepid was his glowing glance.
and he could waterproof the earth from rain,
but his love – it was a cliffside devil’s dance.
oh child, leave me be now,
for my ears are want to hearing –
there’s music coming from that hill up there,
why don’t you go and follow it?
2 August 2010 § 1 Comment
Some time ago, while taking apart my car’s center console, I found a business card that I had never seen. It had dropped into the recesses of the cabin, underneath the stereo, which I was playing with presently. The CD player had stopped working. It seemed like an invasion into my world, like someone had planted a window into another that I had no interest in exploring. I had found the green-fonted card right as I was reconstructing the dashboard, and so distracted was I by the discovery that I neglected to replace the antenna jack.
It was past two in the morning, and I left it alone.
Years passed without music in the car. Except for a cross country road trip when a very friendly street preaching couple gave me a little boombox to play CDs from the passenger seat, I got used to listening to the hum of the engine, the sound of the tires on the pavement, the wind patterns I learned to design with the windows on the highway. Much as I enjoyed music, driving was a break from it, an experience in itself, a breakaway from love and work in place of something more pure.
My oldest friend and I sat in his driveway, on one of the only sunny days of the summer, the same dashboard torn apart. We sat in occasional silence. After it was put together, antenna cable back in its rightful place, I hit the power button. A most beloved song from the distant past calmly sifted out of the unused speakers. In the afternoon sun, the dark and mellow melody didn’t fit the mood.
A few weeks ago, his girlfriend sat in a familiar living room, rocking back and forth, crying over the dead body of a young man. She was covered in his blood. He was shot in the head. Something about a drug deal gone bad. His name was Brendan McGee.
My friend and I took the car for a test drive around the town of our earlier years. To the beach where we built bonfires and drank stolen beer. To the woods where we filmed Blair Witch Project spoofs. To the rusted Lincoln on the quad trail where we’d smoke pot at night. To the cemetery, where our best friend, former ringleader, dreamer of dreams and tragedy, was buried after feeling it necessary to film a little suicide movie, dressing up in his most elegant garb, and blowing his brains out in his bathtub (well, into the ceiling above the tub, anyway).
No one had been to the grave in months, obviously. We cleared off the leaves, the rotten roses, the dead grass. Pulled the weeds. Cleaned off the old toys that had been left there – tokens of love, of remembrance. My little brother’s school ID from years before still sat there, broken and faded from winters under snow and ice. There was a note there also, written on folded paper. It had lasted through rains, yes, but not a winter. Eager to snoop into the messages people left for our dead brother, we carefully unfolded the moisturestuck page and after a few readthroughs, we made out what it said.
Wish I had gotten to know you better. Good pool though. Brendan McGee
and on the other side it said
P.S. Is it really just a big nothing?