I Came Home

30 Sep

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I Came Home

 

            Fuck.

            I was walking to the Union Square Trader Joe’s winery to pick up three bottles of the not-cheap-but-cheapest pinot grigio for consumption cold during this last twitter (yes, this word existed and was used prior to the advent of 140-character mandates) of hot summer days. You could already feel autumn blowing in the wind like a belletristic ballerina in a forming, spitting daydream.

            I had been sober for a week or so and was struggling to write, so I figured I must have been doing something wrong. I decided that I would run my errands, then drink my wine, and only then would I be capable of concluding my grand opus.

            As soon as I got to my neighborhood I breathed in the scent of near-accomplishment and felt relieved that soon I would have cigarettes, be broke, and prove myself capable of annexing some time for my editorial commitments.

            With $1.27 jangling in my back pocket, I walked past the projects to a deli a few blocks away from my apartment to meet Pico the facilitator. I used 85 cents on a small coffee, counting out all the dimes and nickels with mock solemnity on the counter. Walked over to back to get the milk for the coffee. No sugar. Never sweet. Not anymore, at least. When we cease to be children, we switch up powders: from ones that used to immiserate our teeth and the wallets of our parents who had to pay for the dentistry casualties, to ones that now immiserate our hearts and figurative souls.

            As I sat down in the little seating area and sipped my coffee, wishing it was a beer at noon, I saw Pico – one of Brooklyn’s numbest – walking through the bodega door, and after looking around, taking his nearly-steady path towards me.

            “What up, chico?”

            “Nothin’ much, man – how’s you?”

            “Ahhhhhh… it is how it is… you know – been shitting blood all day, it’s these goddamn hemorrhoids! And then I saw Lady licking the toilet bowl this morning – there ain’t no way I’m letting her lick my face again.”

            I shook my head. Too much viscera for me – but Pico was always that polemical sort of artist with no money for an easel. He knew that words were free. That’s what makes them beautiful and a great investment.

            He handed me a black plastic bag.

            “So, it’s $50 for the monthly Metrocard, $60 for the carton of Malboros, and another $45 for the eighth of purp – give me a $150 for it all.” Then he though for a second and looked me over, “now, I know you said that you’re surgically broke right now, so hit me off in a week when you see me again. I know you’re good for it.” I was. We were friendly, but we both knew that good business is good business – I needed something and he facilitated that shit on the cheap in an expensive city, and we both knew that we needed one another in respect: he needed my money to turn his profit, I needed his product to function in my day to day.

            We shook hands in our colloquial manner and stood up to leave. He walked up while I walked down. As always. But, walking back I looked around at it all, at all of my neighborhood stretched out before me, the black plastic bag dangling from my arm like some unexpected irony, and I though that this must be my Eden. Imperfect and perfect as such.

            A forlorn simplicity in fading paint. An abjection to nothing much. A brief ache that strangles death. A continuation that begs you to believe in something better which might never come.  

            When I got home, I woke Serena up and we made love – because that’s what she called it when it went slow. She was malleable as aging surrealism in absinthe, soft on me and I was grateful. When it was all over and we lay momentarily inanimate in the wet of ephemeral regret that climax brings about, her breathing quickened and then grew dull. She gyrated her form over to mine and nuzzled her chin into my chest and then everything became complete.

            We lay there for some time. And as soon as she went to take a shower, I took out a cigarette and sat down to write.

            I started with four letters and a bit of punctuation:

            Fuck.

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