Monday, January 24, 2011


Once I was walking down the old road that followed the river - the river I loved to skate in the winter. Skate and never stop skating, bend after bend , each one yielding the alluring next one. But it was Spring on this occasion. And it was warmly breezy. And one gust in particular seemed to pick me up. Seemed to literally sweep me off my feet. Of course, it hadn't really. Because I could look down and see myself there, still standing with my hair blowing around. It was only my mind that had gone.

To an old green canvas awning, half-eaten and seemingly burned in places, and tearing easily in my hands and sending up a musty grain that circled my face and then vanished. To a dull car with no tires and a seat of dark stains and stiff places and a hole in the rotting fabric where I tore at the straw within as though crazy and then hung my head out the glassless window. The back of my legs itching and flushed, kneeling there bent to the wheel, idly bouncing up some kind of history that whooshed up cool between my legs and cool upon my belly, and it too, hovered in front of my face , until I sneezed it off, a black stringy mucous.

To a bottle somebody pitched, skipping it empty to a patch of weed, where the rain had played its label loose and slid it fading and chewed and half off the glass as a half-hanging shroud for a half-popped bachelor's button leaning out looking for sun. Where I tipped the bottle and dribbled out greenish last drops onto my hand, and it wouldn't wipe off but left my fingers stinky and bitter tasting. Across the field my feet trailed a broken grass and milkweed line snaking diagonal to the next block.

To a rabbit I chased there with my first fashioned weapon. A long and confident club from a hickory sapling that could beat against fur with a thud and the sound of bones breaking wet shiny and red for coloring the chips I carved into the handle. Whacking through the bushes out west of Chicago. Still, this one got away, hopping madly through industrial obscenities of tortured wires and broken bottles and crumbling skeletal shells of tin cans over time. And shattered shards of plastic as dull as stupor and cracking down the middle. Something dropped and broken in a numb city moment accidentally, something thrown crying at a wall and reduced to multi-colored triangles the earth could not absorb. Things broken and abandoned. And all of them catching my attention and bashed into smaller vulgar fantasies and sifting through the grass to disappear. Bashed once for the rabbit that got away, and twice for the next one that dared to appear.

To the grinning idiot in me sporting dark glasses to best conceal smarting in the face of a woman, or questions of love, or answers to dying that never appeared to negate suicide notions, or give insight out beyond indecision and all that crying. To a woman who happened, whose tongue crossed mine over and over and stranger with a spit I sucked in like a soldier who, dying, still yearns for water. Whose smell left me smelling myself into dreams alone of her floating around inside me, and clutching the first pulse of entry as a relic of what had then vanished and a way of saying goodbye.

To a rabbit that had been mowed down and her nest of babies by the park workers. And I buried the several pieces I found, my hands bloody, sticky, half-drying pasted with small clumps of matted fur. And later, picking a small mat of stained fur from beneath my fingernail, and licking at a dark clot that had dried into blood crumbs between my fingers, stretched wide and clubless and hiding my mouth and my eyes. After that I returned to the old river road. The wind had stopped. It was eerily still. I finished my walk and went home.


  1. WOW Dan!
    i like this one, a lot.
    Yes i like this.


  2. As a kid I lived in Chicago near some railroad tracks and some large fields cluttered with abandoned cars, machinery and trash. I was thinking of those places when I wrote this piece. Glad you liked it.

  3. Very provocative writing . . . conjuring images that are very provocative as well.

  4. Absolutely Absolute