"This is a call from _____ at the Men's Central Jail." when they set up Mike's phone account, he missed the 'state your name' part, so it just plays a roar of angry static, a fuzzy cacophony of noises from the jail's call hall. "This is a call from &H*%#}$"5R@!!!" well I won't be accepting calls from that roar anymore, since it is now out & crashing on my couch. Mike is free, sober (at the moment), and under my care.
also, Grandma died last week.
that last point I can't even begin to process at the moment, because as is the pattern of my life, when a tragedy happens it is immediately followed by a crisis that I must address, and the processing gets backburner-ed. part of me fears that at the end of this years-long cycle, there won't be any imminent tragedies or urgent crises to deal with, and I'll look down to see the water has retreated and my toes are bare. and I won't be able to turn around because the wave of everything I'd pushed to tomorrow, all the tears I never let myself cry because I had to DO something, they'll all gather like a tsunami, a wall of force, violently crashing into me at once. but for now, I won't think about the fact I just lost my favorite person on earth (again.) I have to get Mike to agree to go to rehab. with no money. ugh.
cause I drink 'til I'm mad & I love bein' sad... oh my god I'M BECOMING MY DAD - FIDLAR, 'Bad Habits'
my thoughts keep returning to our hometown. that strange little basin at the feet of the mountains, in a valley of To Be Determined.
one friend, after our meeting over coffee, said "good-bye, and, sorry about..." I had explained I was dressed this way because I was off to a funeral. I rushed to cut her off "no it's okay, it's not... weird."
later, in another friend's backyard, discussing things which we've left behind, they asked if I ever go back.
"not really, anymore. just for funerals."
immediately I wished I could pluck the words back out of the air, but they had already heard. "well at least you got out." please don't say that. I looked past their eyes and was suddenly drowning in things I felt I needed to say, my mind rushing for band-aid phrases, but I was frozen, useless, like a war memorial. I could only sigh and half-nod.
it's impossible to speak about what's been left behind. it feels like abandonment. I am a betrayer, traitor, deserter. but not an escapee. things in me are still leashed to those mountains by sorrows and shame. I can still hear coyotes in my sleep.
"I wonder what happened to..."
There was a young boy who had a sweater on, one you had, and my feet followed him around the Vons, until I caught myself creepily staring at him, like a silent La Llorona peeking out from behind the Tostitos stand.
"hey Kate, come outside!"
Sometimes I catch myself smiling almost aggressively at happy families. “Please smile back, add me to this moment.”
"Hey dude, name one positive thing about Tujunga."
"But man-made, not natural."
"Well damn, then there's... nothing to say."
Some nights in the in between
I hear ghost waves of coyotes
Pouring down the hills.
My homes have never been silent
Not in the dark
I wish we would see more coyotes these days
But when we left we loudly proclaimed
How we were
NEVER COMING BACK
to the flypaper Foothill Blvd
Such a strange town
Nestled at the feet of mountains
A town full of cowboy shadows
A town where everyone stopped moving West
Stopped looking just stopped
The kids are addicted to awe
To mushroom trips and the mountain’s cliffs
But not to movement.
Surrounded by FOR LEASE signs
older than them
The stars are as far away here as anywhere
Some nights when i think i hear the coyotes
I wonder if my hometown still has all its teeth
Maybe it’s put on some weight
Is looking pretty good these days
But I’m not visiting
to find out