(no subject)

maybe not as good as used to be
i will be back tomorrow
moments stalling for my destiny
ready for another remedy
i'm not myself today
making a scene in the pouring rain
doesn't make a difference cause i've had enough
& all the things i need to say
never make it out cause i've had enough
& everything i do today
nothing gets done cause it's not enough
& i've had enough of everything
tried to make it right & i'm wrong again
i'm afraid of everything
everything's out cause i've had enough
& i don't believe in anything
doesn't really matter cause i've had enough
& everything i do today
fades away
going nowhere with your strategy
sit down, relapse, relax you got nowhere to be
i'm running from another
running from another side of me
maybe not as good as it used to be
i'm not myself today

(no subject)

"Someone is getting excited. Somebody somewhere is shaking with excitement because something tremendous is about to happen to this person. This person has dressed for the occasion. This person has hoped and dreamed and now it is really happening and this person can hardly believe it. But believing is not an issue here, the time for faith and fantasy is over, it is really really happening. It involves stepping forward and bowing. Possibly there is some kneeling, such as when one is knighted. One is almost never knighted. But this person may kneel and receive a tap on each shoulder with a sword. Or, more likely, this person will be in a car or a store or under a vinyl canopy when it happens. Or online or on the phone. It could be an e-mail re: your knighthood. Or a long, laughing, rambling phone message in which every person this person has ever known is talking on a speakerphone and they are all saying, You have passed the test, it was all just a test, we were only kidding, real life is so much better than that. This person is laughing out loud with relief and playing the message back to get the address of the place where every person this person has ever known is waiting to hug this person and bring her into the fold of life. It is really exciting, and it's not just a dream, it's real.

They are all waiting by a picnic table in a park this person has driven past many times before. There they are, it's everyone. There are balloons taped to the benches, and the girl this person used to stand next to at the bus stop is waving a streamer. Everyone is smiling. For a moment this person is almost creeped out by the scene, but it would be so like this person to become depressed on the happiest day ever, and so this person bucks up and joins the crowd.

Teachers of subjects that this person wasn't even good at are kissing this person and renouncing the very subjects they taught. Math teachers are saying that math was just a funny way of saying "I love you." But now they are simply saying it, I love you, and the chemistry and PE teachers are also saying it and this person can tell they really mean it. It's totally amazing. Certain jerks and idiots and assholes appear from time to time, and it is as if they have had plastic surgery, their faces are disfigured with love. The handsome assholes are plain and kind, and the ugly jerks are sweet, and they are folding this person's sweater and putting it somewhere where it won't get dirty. Best of all, every person this person has ever loved is there. Even the ones who got away. They hold this person's hand and tell this person how hard it was to pretend to get mad and drive off and never come back. This person almost can't believe it, it seemed so real, this person's heart was broken and has healed and now this person hardly knows what to think. This person is almost mad. But everyone soothes this person. Everyone explains that it was absolutely necessary to know how strong this person was. Oh, look, there's the doctor who prescribed the medicine that made this person temporarily blind. And the man who paid this person two thousand dollars to have sex with him three times when this person was very broke. Both of these men are in attendance, they seem to know each other. They both have little medals that they are pinning on this person; they are badges of great honor and strength. The badges sparkle in the sunlight, and everyone cheers.

This person suddenly feels the need to check her post office box. It is an old habit, and even if everything is going to be terrific from now on, this person still wants mail. This person says she will be right back and everyone this person has ever known says, Fine, take your time. This person gets in her car and drives to the post office and opens the box and there is nothing. Even though it is a Tuesday, which is famously a good day for mail. This person is so disappointed, this person gets back in the car and, having completely forgotten about the picnic, drives home and checks the voice mail and there are no new messages, just the old one about "passing the test" and "life being better." There are no e-mails, either, probably because everyone is at the picnic. This person can't seem to go back to the picnic. This person realizes that staying home means blowing off everyone this person has ever known. But the desire to stay in is very strong. This person wants to run a bath and then read in bed.

In the bathtub this person pushes the bubbles around and listens to the sound of millions of them popping at once. It almost makes one smooth sound instead of many tiny sounds. This person's breasts barely jut out of the water. This person pushes the bubbles onto the breasts and makes weird shapes with the foam. By now everyone must have realized that this person is not coming back to the picnic. Everyone was wrong; this person is not who they thought this person was. This person plunges underwater and moves her hair around like a sea anemone. This person can stay underwater for an impressively long time but only in a bathtub. This person wonders if there will ever be an Olympic contest for holding your breath under bathwater. If there were such a contest, this person would surely win it. An Olympic medal might redeem this person in the eyes of everyone this person has ever known. But no such contest exists, so there will be no redeeming. This person mourns the fact that she has ruined her one chance to be loved by everyone; as this person climbs into bed, the weight of this tragedy seems to bear down upon this person's chest. And it is a comforting weight, almost human in heft. This person sighs. This person's eyes begin to close, this person sleeps."

(no subject)

"i go the usual way, down the long fir-tree lane way & then across the fields to granny's cottage. in the last field there's a narrow path that i follow every day after school, where the earth is trodden flat & the grass doesn't grow. this is a path i've made & it bends three times in the middle like a snake.

at the edge of the filed, to the north of our cottage & not far from the road, there's a doll stuck in a tree & i can't pass it without looking up.

she is wedged tight in the crook of two branches, about ten feet up, & out of reach; she has been there for years, ever since i started at the gorey national school. her dress is faded & some of the skin on her hands & arms is black, as though she has frostbite.

in winter, i turn away from her as soon as i've checked that she's still there, but in summer, when it's not so dark in the afternoon, i feel sorry for her & want to pull her down. some summer evernings, on the way home from school, i promise her that i will climb up the tree & take her down, but, as soon as i've had something to eat & drink, i forget her."

(no subject)

"well, if you had more time. if you were free you'd be able to steam, shower, put on fresh clothes, &, let's see, not too early to go down to, what, the odeon & have a drink & see if anyone's there, any girls. you could have the bartender offer them a drink or simply talk to them yourself, ask if they were doing anything for dinner, if they had any plans. as easy as that. you always liked good teeth. you liked slim arms &, how to put it, great tits, not necessarily big - good-sized, that's all. & long legs. do you still like to tie their hands? you used to like to, it's always exciting to find out if they'll let you do it or not. tell me, chris, did you love me?"

"love you?" he was leaning back in the chair. for the first time she had the impression he might have been drinking a littlre more than usual these days. just the look of his face. "i thought about you every minute of the day," he said. "i loved everything you did. what i liked was that you were absolutely new & everything you said & did was. you were incomparable with you i felt i had everything in life, everything anyone ever dreamed of. i adored you."

"like no other woman?"

"there was no one even close. i could have feasted on you forever. you were the intended."

"& pam? you didn't feast on her?"

"a little. pam is something different."

"in what way?"

"pam doesn't take all that & offer it to someone else. i don't come back from a trip unexpectedly & find an unmade bed where you & some guy have been having a lovely time."

"it wasn't that lovely."

"that's too bad."

"it was far from lovely."

"so, why did you do it, then?"

"i don't know. i just had the foolish impulse to try something different. i didn't know that real happiness lies in having the same thing all the time."

she looked at her hands. he noticed again her long, flexible thumbs.

"isn't that right?" she asked coolly.

"don't be nasty. anyway, what do you know about true happiness."

"oh, i've had it."


"yes," she said. "with you."

he looked at her. she did not return his look, nor was she smiling.

(no subject)

they ate dinner in silence. her husband did not look at her. her face annoyed him, he did not know why. she could be good-looking but there were times when she was not. her face was like a series of photographs, some of which ought to have been thrown away. tonight was like that.

(no subject)

i hung out with renny as much as i could. i'd missed him. the day of the funeral, he had me meet him at four-thirty in the morning. we went out to lavon lake where he'd borrowed a boat so we could go fishing.
"it's pretty out here," i told him in a whisper as we sat in the quiet of half-light, the sunrise just blinking on the horizon.
"pretty?" he chuckled. "sometimes i wonder at pretty."
"what about it?"
"i'm not sure what it means."
i laughed. "it means something nice to look at," i told him.
he nodded slowly. "yeah," he said. "a pretty sky, a pretty day, a pretty girl. do you know what was the prettiest sight i ever saw?"
i shook my head.
"bombing of the free fire zone from a night flight helicopter."
i was taken aback.
"it was so beautiful," he said. "like the biggest fourth of july fireworks you ever saw. we were awed. we were laughing. we were happy. & down below us, people were dying."
he chuckled. "it makes you think about what's really behind all that. is a pretty sky just light reflected through dangerous clouds? is a pretty day just the beginning of a deadly drought? is a pretty girl just a lying, cheating bitch who hasn't gotten caught yet?"
"renny, why do you say things like that?"
he shrugged. "sorry."
"do you think about the war all the time?" i asked.
"no, not anymore," he answered. "it comes to mind sometimes & i still have dreams. but it's more or less behind me."
"you always talk about it."
"only when i'm here," he said. "when i'm here, it's front & center in my thoughts all the time. the whole time i was in vietnam, i was thinking about mckinney. now, i'm in mckinney, i can't help but think about vietnam."
"but you're always so angry," i said. "it's like you're angry at us. tell me why you're like this, you never used to be like this."
"i've grown up, laney," he said. "you'll get here, too. grown-up, cynical & angry at the world, eager to shock."
"is that what you're trying to do?" i asked him. "make me angry at the world."
his expression changed he suddenly looked more like the renny i remembered. "i guess i am," he said.
"why?" i asked him.
he shook his head. "i'm not sure. i missed you. i wanted to come out here & be with you. but, when i am with you..." renny hesitated trying to put his throughts together. "laney, you're so young & sweet, just like you've always been. in some weird way, it sort of pisses me off. i want you to be as angry & cynical as i feel."