“…a boy in early adolescence touches something of the Christ nature within himself but touches it too soon. He is unexpectedly wounded by it and drops it immediately for being too hot. But a bit gets into his mouth (psyche) and he can never forget the experience. His first contact with what will be redemption for him later in life is a wounding. The first touch of consciousness in a youth appears as a wound or as suffering. It is regrettable but necessary—if we are not cast out of the Garden of Eden there can be no Heavenly Jerusalem.”
After we slam ten beers between us close to fifteen beers I cache a few PBR's in the holsters of my denim pockets like cap guns and
point towards the castle in the distance. I point towards Western hill.
"Where are we goin'?" Kyle inquires.
I tell Kyle that I ned to get something back; something that was taken from me a long time ago.
I tell Kyle that I feel at home here. I tell Kyle about how I used to walk down Western Avenue to Bogards in the late eighties and buy comic books. I show him the spray-painted frescoes delineating the graffit’d difference between the turf-christening hieroglyphics.of Vice Lords versus Gangsta Disciples.
I publically take a swig from my beer, forgoing the courtesy of having a alcoholic receptacle clad in a brown paper when drinking in public. I let my hair down from the sling of my pony-tail. I feel like I am growing boobs. I feel like I am Demeter. I feel like I am descending into the Underworld in search of something that has been usurped and unfairly abducted from me that once retrieved will restore the seasons back into the narrative sheet music that is my life.
I look around at the over-turned carts in ALDI's parking lot and quote TS ELIOT turning to my friend and stating that he has a vision of the streets which the streets hardly understand.
I am holding beer in paw as I amble down Western Hill. He asks where we are going. I tell him we are going to seedy bars. Bars where there are more tattoos than teeth. Bars with bad plumbing. Bars that look like the exterior sidings have been constructed out of used Brillo pads. Bars where there are always a hitching post of motorcycles neighing in front of the half-lit neon beer signs guzzling in collected snorts.
There are triangular shards of shattered 40 ounces of Malt liquor glistening like iridescent canine feces inconveniently splattered in pyramidal pyres every four steps. Everything smells like cheap weed and sunshine ricocheting off of wet cement. I tell my closest poetic cohort and spiritual brother how I want to go to seedy bars. I tell him how, at the end of traipsing through the Inferno, Dante and Virgil poetically plod through the center of the earth which incidentally is located on Satan’s left testicle and how, midway through the spiritual trudge, due to the centrifugal gravitational shift, they cathartically discern that they are not going down, they are going up.
Twenty years ago when I was emotionally naked and drunk and needed soemone to hold me and had no where to go writing was there for me. Fiction was there for me. Poetry was there me. It made me feel accepted and special and loved at a time when I needed it.
I start quoting poems. I scream out the fourth canto of Whitman's I SING THE BODY ELECTRIC. I reference Shakespeare's Let me not to the marriage of True Minds admit Impediments and that Time of year thou mayest in me behold. Kyle is looking at me with nucelar intenisty. As if choregraphed we begin to quote the footnoe to Ginsberg's Howl. Everything is holy. The name of Peoria is already referenced in the footnote but we start adding writers we admire and people we love stating Holy David Foster Wallace!! Holy George Saunders!! Holy Dave McDonald!!! Holy Roxy Reno!!! Holy Lorie Moore!!! Holy eternity!!! Holy peril of the past. Holy the life everlasting and the promise of the eternal breath of enlightenment, the pangs of the human condition!!! The hurt!!! The loneliness!!! The resilience!!!
They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pavements, trees, radios,
Mother drops me off and asks me what I am going to do.
“I just can’t take it anymore. Everything inside my chest feels like a damp cardboard pieces.
My mom is a spiritual. Ten years ago after my father’s demise we went through a period of two years where maybe I saw her maybe once outside of familial holidays. Our rapport has been the best its ever been. I go out to her house on my one day off and do laundry and mow the lawn.
“You can do this,” My mom says. She tells me that I have made a covenant with myself and that I only have two days left. I spent all day working on a draft for what I thought would be the third segment of Babies in Avocados on day 38. I write the scene where tell Nina that I’m sorry that it just won’t work out between us because, of course, I am scared what would happen if she actually moved in and if we actually decided to give it a shot. I write about my spiraling romantic detumescence. I chisel out the scene where, after Nina finds me griping my side and unable to move (what would later be diagnosed as extreme dehydration and nerves) I visit Dr. Wynn. Dr. Wynn is a cool doctor from the Ivory Coast. He has the whitest smile I have ever seen. I can’t get enough of his British accent. When he gives me the results of my MRI he sits me down in the fashion of a little league coach and a closing pitcher and basically says, look, you're a healthy young man. Your liver and kidneys are fine. If there's something in your past that's causing you to drink all the time you need to deal with it because obviously your prostituting your own talents and gifts simply by feeling the need to drink beer all day.
I have the bulk of day 38 written and all I can think about is how much of a failure i am because I owe everyone money. I find myself the morning of June 6th inside Walgreens on Western avenue, a six pack of Budweiser (because it was chilled) tucked under my arm like a lunch pail, a twelve pack of tepid unchilled thoroughly cost efficient Pride of Peoria PBR dandled beneath the antipodal limb like a scarecrow at the post of a NASCAR affiliated racetrack. I have been clean for almost forty days. I have been in liquor stores almost every day to purchase tobacco and have refrained from buying beer. I have been in bars I love surrounded with human beings I acutely care about and adamantly refrained from a slinging a few cold ones back. I have been in this Walgreen’s nearly every morning to purchase my beloved New York Times and give cool Barb behind the counter a hug never once having it pop into my mind to meander down the ersatz stem of the beer aisle and drool.
I am blasting music. I am feeling less like an artistic fuck up.
"Don't let me catch you drinking milk now out of a paper bag or anything like that."
I don't know what to say.
I go home and call up the Student Loan Phuck. I refrain from making any references to Franz Kafka. After an hour I am able to forgo having my wages garnished.
I take another sip of beer.
Finally this shit is resolved.
Before we arrived at the theatre mom informs me that she was pillaging through some old boxes in the basement and came across a box of my father’s belongings. There was a beige sweater that my father used to teach in and I planted my nose in the musk scented teacher-lounge tweed and inhaled as if I were trying to snort crushed Ritalin. As I did while looking at his glasses and wallet, listening to the money-grubbing soliciting carols of the daffy high-pitched co-ed requesting money, talking about the importance of meat trays in correlation to domestic grieving.
The play got later than I anticipated and I arrived at the gala to celebrate my failed foray into sobriety almost and hour late. When I arrive the Tartan Inn is agog and full of laughter and I am surrounded by people I love. Kyle devalk with glasses sans scruff- brittle beard looks like Harry Potter toddled into Lens Crafters with a prescription for a Nimbus 2000 and came out with a toppling pyramid of BEAT literature. He is reading a book of poems by Bob Kaufman. Poet Megan Canella is seated at the bar a copy of Nathaniel West's MISS LONELYHEARTS next to her beer coaster. Inside the front cover of the book is a poem that was so beautiful I told her I would publish it in my blog: