Breadcrumb #442


I didn't wanna live anymore but also didn't care much about the fuss and muss of putting an end to it all, like explaining my purchase of rat poison to the clerk in the Ace, nor could i bring myself to contemplate rolling around in pain for an hour or more until my heart gave out. You know. Taking the elevator to the roof, weathering the storm of distant past memories welling up inside you up there on the parapet. Sorting through regrets while your legs spasm and refuse to jump. Many's the romantic that assumes it's easy to just fling yourself off a parapet  or to pull the trigger on a gun pointed at your own head. it aint. If there was just a switch you could throw and be done, i'd have done it. But no. I just lingered on and on glumly, and totally disinterested in life. What a drag. Seeing Dr. Caldwiller's ad in the back of an old Aegis magazine i found (on a park bench outside the Tenement Museum on Broome St) gave me the least little glimmer of hope. I happened to be on my way to the post office, so i said what the heck, and sent in a money order for the requested $15.99. I had forgot all about it 10 business days later when the package arrived, tastefully wrapped in plain brown paper with no return address. Could have been a bomb for all i knew, but given the basically null state of my emotional life at that point the possibility frankly caused me no hesitation whatsoever. I ripped it open. Everybody likes a surprise packet don't they? Well curiousity killed the cat, as the saying goes. Though in this case that's imminently debatable. i liked that the instructions appeared to be handwritten, even though i knew it was just a handwriting font like you can get made of your handwriting for a few bucks on the internet. It lent a homey personal touch. And the graphic of the GREEN FIRE on the box itself once i'd uncovered it was inticing and kinda sexy. Plus i had all the materials on hand, wooden stick matches, a pinch of salt, some hairs of a cat, and by great good fortune i also had the requisite page ripped from the Bible handy. How likely is that? i don't put much store in co-incidences but sometimes there is just no other explanation. In no time at all the silent GREEN FIRE was ablaze in my humble bed/dining room area and surprise surprise it really was cool to the touch just like the ad says. So i walked right into it, with nary a backwards glance. And now here we are the two of us, not best friends by any means but neither of us depressed or suicidal (hallelujah). One thing they do not tell you about is the smell, which is god-awful and clings to everything. We will probably have to get new furniture which is okay cuz all we had was just basically trash taken in off the street and all, but for someone with nice furniture you should be aware of this, and maybe do it outside or cover your stuff with plastic.

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Breadcrumb #34


The heat here is worse than the heat I remember every summer before. Driving in my brother’s car as we stuck our hands out the window, swimming our fingers through the thick air, pretending badly that leaving the windows down was keeping us any cooler. My legs sticking to wherever they landed — the seat, a bench, each other — and pulling away with deep red marks, striped bands, announcing to the world exactly where I’d been before.

     The heat here is dry. I wake up in the mornings with my throat scratching for water, hardly able to take one fine morning breath. I kick off the sheets as I sleep, but it’s not like in New York — humid in July, welcome rain, river nights, cold forties from the corner deli. Here the sweat comes purely from you, teeming from every pore you never knew existed. Your skin produces it constantly, nonstop, and when it hits the air it seems to evaporate immediately, coaxing more sweat out. Come cool me down.

Come cool me down.

      The heat here makes me daydream about my first nights, dancing salsa at a club and then into the street, half carried home. Spinning me around and around and around, he in a white shirt, me in that silk dress with the polka dots. A cool gold glow to the city as its inhabitants ate drank danced slept fucked smoked cheated. We cheated. The heat made me think that maybe I didn’t, but we did.

      The heat here has me talking in my sleep. Has me dreaming impossibilities, you and he and she and me, all in the same room, all taking the same train, all doing the same normal thing and getting along. I wake up unaware of what’s true, what’s happened, what hasn’t.

     The heat here has my hand smearing ink in my notebook, leaving thumbprints on new book pages, crisp no more.

     The heat here makes cloudy smog, egg cream yellow evenings, consuming the sky while the sun takes it sweet time setting.

     The heat here makes the day last until 10.

     The heat here tires me out.

     I turn on the fan and lay myself down on my bed, starfish my limbs so that nothing is touching. I hum to its hum, dream of the January air hitting my face with a shock as I left the airport, a final greeting, smack, punctuating the fact that she was finally gone. Think of the icicles that consumed my city, hovering, threatening instant death. The cold windowed buildings, reflecting alternate dimensions. My vulnerable neck in February when I’d forget to bring a scarf. The lady singing soleás downstairs at the club, the men calling “dale.” The man across the street who stares out of his window every day without fail at 4 p.m., watching passersby, leaning on his elbows in his white wifebeater. Tourists in shorts in bars, invitándote to tequila shots. Seeing double. Sweating. 

     This heat is impossible.

     It consumes you, inch by inch, until it swallows you whole. 

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Breadcrumb #32


To start at the climax seems appropriate here. Our stomachs are swollen with breakfast and we are lost in a forest somewhere in Mamaroneck, the bleached crown of your hair safe against the crook of my shoulder blade. Silence took us, and the first sun of summer, and the skywriters in their frivolous grace. What a stillness there, in that fresh grass, pressed against the blade of all things, I as your bed frame and you as mine, just mine, for a stunning, stolen moment.

     There aren't words for the way you left. I woke up sweating for months, reaching for your long-gone hair, the warm and missing weight of your body against mine in sleep. A year has passed and still, nothing has eclipsed you. This neatness infuriates me, this stability: worthless without feeling. I have come untethered from the earth, I swear it. What a stunning production it all was, though. What a horrific accident.

     Do you remember the first night? You in your bound breasts, your painted beard, your propositions? You girlfriend and her good hips and the loud cluck of her tongue? The push and pull and mess of the three of us. And the rest of the lovers. Your roommates. Your brother. The whole world, watching the bomb of us tick. I have never felt such untrammeled motion. If the revolution was ever on its way it started in your living room the night Kevin inked matching freckles to the insides of our hips. Remember the hollow needles and how this was all your idea? That was the first time you ever reached for my hand. Your fingers were thin and coffee colored and I fell in love with you instantly. I can still feel your unbroken grip on my square palm.

I can still feel your unbroken grip on my square palm.

     I can still feel you leaving: the slow melancholy pull, the horror, the departure. Me left to sleep in the bed we laid in, a mausoleum of memory. Remember the eclipse and the pots clinking on the stove and me, up to my elbows in your dishwater, and you, with your hands on my hips?

     The whole of the stunning thing we were leaning toward?

     I still have the bent nail I pulled from your doorframe. Nothing else, though. Nothing else.

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