Friday, March 19, 2010

Just Like Billy Pilgrim's Blues by John Sweet

And so the truth of 22 becomes irrelevant by the time I’m 35. Angel’s dead, but Dylan’s still singing about her. Amy is married, is moved away, is vanished. Debbie, I swear I saw in a porn movie a few years back. It was her face, it was her ass. She wore a black tank top the whole time, so I couldn’t see the rose tattoo on her left tit, and she never spoke.

And I remember I was 18, was washing dishes in a truck stop, and then I was 19 and answering phones for an insurance company. Started the year living with Lisa in a town called Montezuma, then ended it seventy miles away in a trailer with her sister.

Was sitting on the bedroom floor trying to finish a poem, was listening to Donovan, Season of the Witch, when she came in and stood in front of me. Said I’m pregnant, and I reached out past her to turn the volume up, reached out to grab my beer, and my train of thought was gone. I stared at her legs. I said nothing.

Waited for the story to end, and we were through by the time January rolled into February. Were back in bed together at the beginning of April, neither of us working and her boyfriend in a halfway house, sentenced to three months there after she’d had him arrested. After he’d come home strung out, kicked her across the apartment then back again.

And I was at the hospital with my mother when she signed the papers to have the machines turned off, and then three days later she called to tell me that my father was dead.

I spent my 26th birthday with a woman whose name I never knew.

Spent my 27th alone.

Have no idea where I was when I got the news that Reagan had died, but I remember laughing.

Remember getting the email from Michael when he told me he had cancer.

The one from Kristen telling me she’d been raped.

Was only twelve when Lennon was shot, but Jesus. All those fucking teachers in school that day with their pointless goddamn bullshit. With their miserable lives. Nothing to do but act like nothing had happened. Nothing to offer but questions that had answers.

All of that time I wasted starving to death.

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