evacuation proceedings – Judson Hamilton
December 5, 2021
You don’t talk much, do you? Answers upon answers all piled up next to questions that’ll never be asked. Gone to bed with too much on my mind again. The next day’s a parasite that just won’t let up. But many’s the time that a tight lip led to a quiet game of slap and tickle. That night at the bar on the 87th and NE Branson with chili cheese fries and those people from the office. You were just temping and I peppered you with queries for the better part of an hour over a pair of pints and a sample of pills from a friend until karaoke interrupted my interrogation. Still you held strong throughout. Not one clear path just a series of side roads leading to dead ends. And you deftly sidestepped the collective singing. I found that charming and tried to lure you in with tales of my time out working platforms on the Gulf, but you were having none of it and darted away back into the crowd. Shoaling with the best of them.
“Some facts elude me while others seem preordained” — at least that’s what I was trying to text a friend when that buck vapored up in front of me, and I suddenly met head on with the solidity of a birch tree. Trying to remember yesterday is pretty difficult with a Górecki symphony rioting cacophonous in your head. Laying here with all these tubes in me I can cast my mind back, but it’s the anxiety of the horn section more than the antlers in my headlights that remain in the hippocampus. Crash is a great film and an underwhelming book. Never thought I’d hear myself say that but after you’ve been at the wheel one minute and in a ditch the next you see things differently. Cronenberg managed to hear the hidden screeches running beneath the text and to draw them up to the surface where they could scream in unison. Still … Spader was pretty good. He does “flat affect” well. My chest was bruised from the impact with the steering wheel and my leg pinned. The paramedics arrived and told me to keep calm. They had to cut me out of the passenger side. Trapped there while they sawed open the door, with blood running down the chrome and Górecki still anguishing away. I thought of Rosanna Arquette’s prosthetics … can’t say it made me horny, though.
The ringing in my ears is a tribe howling in unified remorse. Never thought her death would mean so much to so many. The piercing shrieks and raw howls drown out all else, eradicating all else, leaving nothing else.
They’ve all turned up today: the fornicators and adulterers, the womanizers and abusers, the serial cheats and deadbeat fathers. All of the masks. All have turned up to walk behind her body as it’s laid to rest.
Wipe that pallbearer sweat from your face. False remorse is only a friend in the morning. And dissipates in the afternoon heat and swelter of onlookers.
And the worst part about these broken days — all framed up in ruin — is that they are never to return. That although we didn’t make of them what we should’ve they nevertheless leave us milling about at the opened ground.
Our failures are our own (always our own) and the knife in our hand (the blood on its edge) ours and ours alone.
Lying can seep down into the bones and color the skin. Until every sigh becomes a muffled scream. Before you know it, you’re jaundiced even in the pale light of November.
The interest piles up and bailiffs start pounding on your door with ham fists. Know these houses by the fat running down them. Fingers sliced thinly in places from sifting through a pile of subpoenas. Know these houses by their puddles, shimmering with oily fats and anabolic steroids. Make some calls. Know these houses by the blinding red rage within. Move some assets. Know these houses by the shuttered silence of a stifled mouth. Cancel the villa. Know these houses by the scabs on the brick. The spreadsheet, mortgages, tax accountants, box scores, updates. Know us by the microplastics running through our blood. The perceived inadequacies, the stabbing pain in the chest, the squealing anguish in the stomach. Know us by our perfect teeth. Everything must go.