He’s got his life planned out. He’s got a plan. At least a little one. Me I just like looking at vague blurry pictures on Tumblr. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not mad about that, it’s just a fact. A terrifying one. He speaks well and is still going to school and I’ve been out for a year and a half now and I don’t talk nearly as smart as he does. I need to work on my vocabulary, I tell myself. I need better words.
I tell my young friend that it seems to always be like this. We talk about graduating from high school. She’s younger than my little brother by a year and a half but I like him and I still like her. I tell her all my wisdom, all that I’ve stored up and learned. Life’s like this, I say. You don’t know what you’re doing. You never do. That’s how it is. Wise stuff like that.
I look at this picture of birds flying all scattered about. It’s like that, I think. That’s exactly what it’s like.
I read terrible poems by young Bukowski and shake my head at them. I look at pictures of my grandma’s grandma and shake my head at them. No one knew what they were doing. Maybe they figured it out eventually, maybe they didn’t. Maybe there’s nothing to figure out. We’re a pack of birds or a flock of them, and here we are, all together and winging and scrambling anywhere and everywhere. Making plans and worrying and crying and reading bad poetry and trying to learn something before we take off for the real world or winter vacation or before our parents die and leave us alone here, inheritors of this.
The old men in the old country
die with unannounced poison in their bones
cheeks turning red to black,
far past rosy vodka friendliness
whispered slurs of slipping away
wrapped in the same white sheets they were born on
surrounded by ancient grandmother pillars of pillows
soon to be buried next to all previous generations
under neon-colored plastic flowers
and broken china cups of rain water to eternally sip
worn out weary legs bent under hay-making shoulders
rheumy watery eyes and lotion-less skin
big belly gut heaving from the lung stress
sitting splayed on the one one person-sized mattress
thinking of his father
thinking of me
thinking of nothing
semi-encircled by the entire village family
throwing arms in the air clutching vodka swallows;
nothing much is different on this his last day.
It’s Monday! Today we’re going to do something different. Today I’m going to make you a mix-tape. Cool, right?
Oh, yeah. Maybe I should have mentioned that I call this “the mix-tape of sadness”. Sorry about that. But we all have those songs that we use to listen to over and over again and we loved them, and now when we listen to those songs it just isn’t the same! Maybe you heard the words too many times, or you thought of a certain person when you listened to a song, or you decided one Thursday that you had to stop listening to so much swing music. Whatever it is, however it happens, it happens. So, here’s my mix-tape of sadness. Tell me yours!
Automechanic – Jenny O.
Maybe – Josiah Leming
Opportunity – Pete Murray
Rewind – Paolo Nutini
Came Out of a Lady – Rubblebucket
Big Jet Plane – Angus and Julia Stone