“Talent can take you places but it is skill that keeps you there.”
~ my friend Torrey, on writing
Eyes burning, mottled, massive sleep deprivation, caffeine OD, and words, words, mocking me. Read aloud, think, type, backspace, delete, retype, fuck! Where is the arrow? Type again, fix, beat, bitch, bury my fucking head in the sand, and sink.
I had a stroke of genius — it happens — and thought about waking the doctor up at 2 a.m. and tell him I have that dry eye syndrome I saw on television and I need a script.
The conversation goes like this:
“Hey Doc, it’s me. I have that, uh, dry eye syndrome. Yes, my eyes hurt. No, I have not been drinking too much coffee again. What? I need a script? Yeah, whatever, just call it in and uh, while you’re at it, can ya pick me up a pack of smokes on your way to the OR?”
Life should be that comical.
I wouldn’t mind the side effects of the prescription anyhow: heart palpitations, kidney disease, possible stroke, urinary retention, migraines, constipation, stomach pain, blurred vision (oxymoron), short term memory loss, confusion, dementia, risk of diabetic coma, and eventually… death.
I can risk that to get rid of a dry eye or two.
I sat in the mall today. I despise the mall. Forced to go, I step inside, heart beating fast, instant chest pain (great) and onset of perpetual migraine, so I grab a cappuccino. Walking, walking, and thinking if one more motherfucker nudges into me, that is it. I am tearing into the next toy store I pass to grab a lethal child’s toy.
One by one, take ’em out, like a nut-job in a bell tower. Sit in the middle of this excuse for a living room where we can socialize and hide behind a plastic palm tree. Wait for a bratty piss-pot to come running by, stick my foot out and watch the parents halfheartedly console the spoiled replica of themselves they spawned.
If there is a hell, it is the mall, so please, don’t even think of telling me to go there.
Figured I should probably eat, my legs hurt, wandering around, wondering what the fuck I was doing in this place and how much I would rather be in a bookstore or at home watching Tony Montana shove his face into a pile of snow.
Instead, I took a seat in the Garden Cafe and looked around. Felt I was the only one without pennies on my eyes.
Lil’ girls with G-strings pokin’ out of their low-cut sad excuse wanna-be-somebody they never will be showing off to boys who only wanna get in their pants.
As if that would be a difficult task.
Cell phones, iPads, iPods, tablets, Nooks, Kindles, everything portable imaginable, and I thought I was cool when I had the Bionic Woman, and her arm opened up and you saw wires and shit in there.
Saw a woman sitting alone in a booth with a laptop on the table. I thought, Man, you should be at a cafe. What in the fuck are you doing in a mall? I felt like walking up to her, handing over a tattered book of poetry like a Get Out of Jail Free card, but I didn’t.
The mall is a denial from the misery felt by those who still think that the world is flat.
There was an angel there today. Was just a man — olive-skinned, radiating supernovas swirling like sunspots. I watched him there smiling. Brown leather sandals, a nylon cord sneaking inside his shirt, and I wondered what was on the other end of it. I saw hieroglyphic tattoos poking out of the edges of his shirtsleeves.
Curls of carbon silk reflected light shining from his retinas, cerulean, and I looked around and felt like screaming, “Am I the only one seeing this shit?”
Nobody stirred, people kept right on stuffing their faces with eventual heart attacks, talking and yapping with fake smiles, lipstick-stained-teeth grinning skeletons already dead to themselves.
This man though, the angel, he sat on a hill, and I was a child. My chin upturned listening as he told stories to droves of people. He was cotton-robed, his raiment. The whole scene, transparent. Lucid dreams and waves. Sketches of memories past.
He was one word ---> Imagine.
Compelled to talk to him, every bit of strength I had — which wasn’t much, trust me — kept me from doing just that. Pisses me off now. I saw him there and knew it. He looked right into my eyes and said:
I heard that inside my skull.
Then he looked away from me and continued talking to the ghosts seated next to him.
The cursor blinked. I stared at it. Maybe it wasn’t my eyes after all. An hour had passed and I had not written a single paragraph. I stared though… at this one sentence:
There are plenty of talented nobodies in the world who are too lazy to do jack shit with their lives.
I held my palms to my cheeks, cracked my knuckles, put on some tunes and began to write.