The Best Years of Our Lives


First Day of School
March 14, 2010, 12:39 am
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February 2, 2010

I am trembling so much that I can’t even hold the books in my hands.
I can’t let them see that.
I am trembling so much that I can’t do anything but smile.
I can’t let them see it.
I am trembling so much that I can’t walk fast enough.
I can’t let them know that.
I am trembling so much that I can’t find my way in.
I can’t let them know it.
I am trembling so much.
I am trembling.
I am trembling so much.
I tremble.
I walk on.

I am hiding so much that I can’t even focus on the words in front of me.
I can’t let them see me.
I am hiding so much that I can’t do anything but laugh.
I can’t let them see it.
I am hiding so much that I can’t relax my throat.
I can’t let them know me.
I am hiding so much that I can’t sit still.
I can’t let them know it.
I am hiding so much.
I am hiding.
I am hiding so much.
I hide.
I fall down.

I remember so much that I can’t tell you what to do you have to find out for yourself.
I can’t let you see me.
I remember so much that I can’t do anything but pray.
I can’t let you see it.
I remember so much that I can’t tell the stories.
I can’t let you know me.
I remember so much that I can’t talk.
I can’t let you know it.
I remember so much.
I remember.
I remember so much.
I hold on.

You will know.
You will.
I am thankful.
For you.
Now go.



He Wants Blood
March 14, 2010, 12:26 am
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February 1, 2010

We’re in the backyard, it’s probably about six thirty and its pretty dark for this time of the year. Del is standing about ten yards behind us, facing us, but with his back to the shed that he does not live in, but spends most of the hour of the days of his life there. He is wearing the stained coveralls that he’s worn every time I’ve ever seen him. Rob and I are facing each other in the front of Del. We’ve been hanging out the whole day and by this point we’ve probably gotten on each other’s nerves. My guess is that we were having such a good time goofing off that we thought it would be cool if I hung out for dinner.

Looking back on it, I was probably an additional mouth to feed seeing as they lived in a three room house and there were three girls, them mom, Del and Rob to feed as it was. Whatever the case, I know that we probably were milking a fun afternoon for all that it was worth and by the time nighttime came we were probably a little sick of each other and we started bickering. Most likely it was over matchbox cars or star wars figures and who got to play with which ones. All I know is that we must have been bothering someone in the house with our rough housing. Rob and I were shoving each other and we pushed each other again. It didn’t take long for Del to stop whatever it was that he was doing in that shed of his and come into the house and literally grab both of us by our ears and drag us outside. He held us by the ears and twisted until we quit our griping. After he let go of our ears he told us that we were going to get this out of our system and we were going to do it like men and not like a couple of sissies. He told us that neither of us was going anywhere until we fought like men and until one of us drew blood. Then and only then would that be the end of it. Then he shoved us toward each other.

At first I couldn’t look at Del or Rob and all I could think about was how much I wanted to go back to my own home where this kind of thing didn’t happen. I was probably being a sissy, but at the time that’s what made perfect sense to me. I figured that Rob was probably used to this sort of thing and expected him to get the first punch in. I looked up and saw Rob’s eyes and instead of the blank stare of resignation or the false sneer of some eleven-year-old rough neck I saw a real fear in his eyes. I saw that he was pausing a bit so I put up my “dukes” as it were and we moved around in some silly circle like we were two prizefighters about to fight for the golden gloves. As we moved around this circle Del reminded us that we had to do this until someone drew blood and that he could stand out here all night and if he had to he would whip the both of us. I looked at Rob again and he had the same bright-eyed expression splashed across it. A look of “what next?” I looked at him and realized that between the two of us this could go on all night. I mean we were two friends staring at each other who had realized that we had way too much fun together to take this any further and that sharing matchbox cars or star wars figures wasn’t really all that big of a deal.

We actually had a détente and were ready to call it a night, go to our homes and hook up later in the week to pick up where we left off. But Del was having none of this. The fight was on and he was getting sick of waiting. I didn’t realize it at the time, but he was not trying to prove to us anything about how to settle our disagreements like men, or even how silly we were being, he simply wanted our fights to be real and not verbal. He didn’t want us to act like sissies and even in that moment our silent understanding was only a further act of “sissiness” in his mind. I didn’t know what to do and Rob didn’t know what to do. In the end, I just decided to punch Rob in the stomach. I realize that this would not draw blood, but I figured we had to get this started and I couldn’t hit my friend in the face. Turns out that I misjudged and what I actually ended up hitting was Rob’s belt buckle and I got the skin between my pinky and my ring finger caught in it and when I pulled back I tore the skin and blood trickled all over my hand and started to drip on the ground. I realized that this was all that Del needed so I turned to him, asked if he was “happy now”? and I walked back into the house. I got Rob’s mom to call my mom and she came and picked me up. I didn’t recount the story to her because I knew that would not allow me to visit Rob any more. Despite what kind of life Rob may be living there, I liked him and I wanted to hang out with him. I’m actually not sure I ever told her the story. I do still have the scar on my right hand between those two fingers.



There Are Words
March 3, 2010, 11:11 pm
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January 31, 2010

There are words that I will not use. They will be cliché, rudimentary, the obvious. There are words that will pigeon hole and disrupt. There are words that will get a rise. There are words that will level the playing field. There are words that will reveal the aphorisms that I hide. There are words that protect the adages I want to fling. There are words that I simply will not use. And then there are words that I can not use. They will be inflammatory, inappropriate, slanted or biased in one way or the other. There are words that will forever decide, forever divide, undue and then close. There are words that I cannot use no matter how hard I try. I say them, but they come out all wrong. There are words that I cannot use no matter how badly I want to because they are not mine. There are words I cannot say because I do not know what they mean. And that is nobody’s fault but mine.



They Are Closing
March 3, 2010, 11:10 pm
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January 30, 2010

We were there for maybe three months, no four, it was four months that we were there.
The doors opened and the people came and they took what they needed.
Like I said that was about four months ago and now are doors
Are closing.

We had piles of things all sorts of things from door to window aisle by aisle.
When the doors opened a few people came in and rearranged the piles.
I spoke to them in their languages and they mocked me in theirs.
I do not care.

It was for the church that brought me here for that church, the one over there.
They opened their doors to me and gave me this shop and I did a little.
I had two cars out front for sale, but they’re going to be moved.
They don’t run.

It was not to be and I knew as I watched the tables clutter and the rows fade.
The door was locked when it shouldn’t be and open when things moved.
I have nothing else to do but go back to church and maybe well try.
Again.



The Day She Quit
February 26, 2010, 8:54 pm
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January 29, 2010

Everyone could see it coming. It surprised no one, but everyone acted so shocked. She left her office and then went back into her office. She shut her door instantaneously. He left his office and went right into her office and did not shut the door behind him. He told her that it was her fault. Then he asked her what she was doing. He then told her that they had made a deal. Then he recounted everything as he remembered it. He asked her several pointed questions and as she was just beginning to formulate a response he dismissed her by brushing the air with the palm of his hand and by squinting his eyes and moving his body slightly toward the door as if he were about to leave.

They had already discussed this about six weeks ago. Most of us had shrugged it off by now. He watched her leave her office and then go right back into her office. He watched her shut the door. She sits at her desk as her door suddenly opens after the smallest and briefest of knocks. She told him that this was about personality. She told him that she had not signed anything. She told him that this was personal. She told him all that she could before she was dismissed by the breezed caused by the brushing of his hand through the thickening air in her office. The tightening sides of his eyes silenced her as he turned to walk away.



Not No More
February 26, 2010, 8:44 pm
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January 28, 2010

I am standing here. Yeah, I’m standing here, but my feet are shuffling and my hands are quivering and my arms are moving up and down. I’m not cold. Not no more.
I am standing here. That’s right, I’m standing here, but my legs are moving up and down this stretch of grass all strewn with plastic and glass. I’m not cold. Not no more.

I am standing here. You see me, don’t you turn away, uh huh, that’s me in the corner of your eye, all my clothes are the same color as I am and that is the color of dirt.

I’m not cold. Not no more.
I’m not cold. Not no more.
I’m not cold. Not no more.

I am standing here. I am falling down trying to get that key, trying to get that thing, that dollar that was in my hand but flew away. I’m no fool. No I’m not. Not no more.

I am standing here. All over the ground with wet sticky snow all up in my nose and teeth I guess I gotta break the window, break it with my arm. I’m no fool. Not no more.

I am standing here. I’ve got some torn elbow and some torn arm, the blood is warm and slow and I only get a handful of papers that is all tonight. I’m no fool. Not no more.

I’m no fool. Not no more.
I’m no fool. Not no more.
I’m no fool. Not no more.

I am here. I am shaking like a leaf. I am here. I sit I stand I walk up and down this street. I don’t know my name, you want to know my name. No you don’t. You’re no fool. You don’t want from me. I want from you. I will get that thing. I will get that food. I will get that piece. I will get that piece. I will get that piece. I will get that thing that I need.



Things I Do Not Need
February 26, 2010, 8:40 pm
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January 27, 2010

I walked into a small room with one chair facing two chairs
The offered me tea and I accepted a glass of water instead
They looked me straight in the eye
They told me that I did not need the river
I looked at the river
I did not speak

I walked out onto a small porch with a bench and a large window
They offered me sandwiches and I accepted an apple instead
They looked me straight in the eye
They told me that I did not need the mountain
I looked at the mountain
I did not speak

I walked onto a small roof with a step stool and a railing
They offered me metal and I accepted ash instead
They looked me straight in the eye
They told me that I did not need the land
I looked at the land
I did not speak

I walked for many suns and moons and always the same invitations
I saw many rooms, porches and roofs
I drank the water, ate the apple and held the ash
I looked them in the eye
I told them that I did not need the river
I told them that I did not need the mountain
I told them that I did not need the land

I stopped in my steps and watched the sun and the moon
I did not need them
But I liked them
As they were