Aristotle is dead. And so is Plato and his friends. No man even went to war to fire a thousand bullets and come home to write a million more to speak about it. I broke it off with my manager and said, I’m leaving the job. That also meant putting my ass on the line, giving up the on-the-whim sushi and the blow cash. It’s all quiet on the western front, after all. Now the Verdun needs a Somme. That also meant no midnight burgers after smoking grass. I thought I was okay after a couple of weeks of normalcy but then the boat just demands to be rocked. Signing the resignation papers she said, is it the hours? Is it the pay? All the sages are bones face down in the books. The monks hole up at the peaks in Kathmandu counting the rest of their beads. I told her I just needed my balls back. The black kitten that hung around for a weekend is gone.
And that’s how it goes for you. It’s the first time you tie your laces again and go for a run on tuesday nights. You skip the hump day beers. Fight the gut acid and go for that extra cup of joe around six in the evening. You shake on deals. You skip driving around town in a hotbox and sit down to do the work. The dentist says your teeth have been good, and you know since you brush before you hit the sack these days. You run on thursdays too if you pass on the mat class. You learn that a kilo of chicken is two breasts. Dinner is half of one. You bury yourself in the work. You don’t like mushrooms but then throw it in the saute in honor of something new. You close deals. We’re moving on, you tell a stranger over a martini. You’d rather give the olive. But you try and swallow and it still doesn’t work out for you. Saturday morning you’d rather run but you’re home way too late for a Friday again. So you sit on the bed and rub your feet on the carpet. Feels new. Flick a light and burn the tip of a joint and you tell yourself, a day at a time, man. A day at a time. You click on a name and it’s your favorite familiar stranger. It’s sunday morning and you go run an extra loop. Old habits die hard, after all. Maybe that’s how it goes for her too.
My knees cracked as I bent down
To write a letter on my phone.
5% left, ten minutes or so
I dont mind if I miss the ride home.
Ive got all the time to walk to know
We never spoke about it
Maybe you just had a bad day.
Wrote you something (as honest as I try)
But never once, with 5% left,
An urgency, a flush
But man, maybe she aint got any for you, (my friends said)
But I guess shes interested (my other friends said)
Nah – I wont count on it, (i told them all)
But here I am.
A ride away from home,
All but a mind of questions, and
Thanks for giving me this- (though I pulled a Popoy on you a couple of times) a relatively peaceful exit. Unlike the recent one, since I left Door Five with a footed 12k bill. In that final two weeks I had to wake up earlier and fill a gallon of mineral water just to bathe. Though I felt holier than usual, I was fronting that the building’s plumbing was in leaks- when the truth was my pocket was sparse dry. Knew I had to leave soon. Snuck my entire life out of that room on a sunday afternoon. I’m bad with money like I’m bad with words since I shell out too much, you said. I slip the receipt under the gap of your door this time. No knocking, no demands. Two years ago (on the very same date I move out of you) I packed my boxes out of my first apartment unceremoniously so. Can’t say that was enough practice but it will do.
We drive around town in the big gray car and it starts to rain, Hendri says, That’s why we write about cities, he says, eyes on the road. He never wrote about Porto. Or New York. Or Bali, Manila, for that matter, and you don’t think he’ll get to start anywhere but here. We sit in his kitchen and offers me tea, (that’s chinese of you and racist of me) offers to give me a book as a pasalubong from an 8-month trip. Here’s a book about a trash man, an odd job and lots crosshatches and all the dead dreams about writing and drawing. Thanks, Hend, appreciate it and you read it on the bus ride home after Indian.
Sandra had her house on Mango Street, Junot has New Jersey, a mythology. An education with Carver and the whys of short stories- (you figured you were more or less the same). You can’t quit your job, can’t stop doing design work for clients, you trudge through the drudgery (but it aint that bad), since you get beer on the weekends and gin and tonic if you felt fancier in a crisp white shirt.
On sunday nights you read the New Yorker till you run out of free articles (5 per month) that’s the fucking quota, it’s hilarious. You skip reading Amundsen an all the cold-ass stories that start with a train or a station or a below 20 temperature, since the closest you got was the fridge freezer. Or that one particular January where everyone back in college put on their boots, ‘The Fall’ by Rhye, and a girl with the same name as the immediate ex.
You guess it’s a lot warmer here, more passion than the Old World and less explosive than the New World. What are we? What do we sound? You’ve been asking that yourself for years but you’ve found that there are only few who sit on the eggs these cities on the east lay. We’re not too worried about it since it’s always going to be sunny tomorrow. Or maybe the next. Or after the monsoons pass.
Came home to a cockroach on the wall beneath the stairs today. The fat, flying kind. You know one from the way it’s trying to adjust its TV reception on its head.
On the way home mama sent you a message, ‘There’s chicke in the fridge, your favorite’. You thought she was talking about a check or a bunch of money you thought you lost the day before, slip of the eye, (typos) but (you think) you spent it on cabs here and there and a massage. You politely asked the lady if they offer extra service. They didn’t. Massage wasn’t that good.
Anyhow the chicken was cold and wasn’t your favorite. Trying to make good with this dinner at 10 in the evening is ok, and there’s been a lot of these kinds of days lately- you told Wyn at the office earlier today – “Thursday again?” A week just flies. Then it’s the weekend, get drunk, try to have fun, and have peace on Sunday. The sound of it all speeding by is the plastic flutter of roach wings at 10 in the evening.
I wonder if it really goes like this, life. I wonder if I’m doing it right sometimes. If there’s anything, my manager looks like she’s got it figured out. Seems to be in tip-top shape physically and emotionally and has all her markers on one side of the table and her laptop is clean. She reminds me to do things (which is an indicator of a healthy, working mind) that kind of irks me a bit since I like to be left alone, but in your bathroom breaks you tell yourself “This is building your character”. I wonder what she does on the weekends, or if she really is happy, like the other officemates who are older and have families and all. I worry too much for a 22-year-old, some older people say, maybe you should get some sleep. I worry about doing it right. But maybe it isn’t about doing it right, maybe it’s just living it out and being human and all. I was never one for perfect marks and I don’t mind a bit of rough and tumble, so there goes my straight lines.