Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mr. Green Jeans

 Mr. Green Jeans
 I could get down to one cigarette a day. Tar relief I'll call it.
I've been quitting enough. As executor of all major affairs and in an
effort to preserve the shell, I'm calling for immediate tar relief.  I
have maintained an unhealthy working relationship with this body for
longer than most marriages last. In fact, if my body could use
language instead of aches and pains to talk, we may have had some
interesting dialogue. We may have spoke of the difference between
physical and all other pains. It may have told me that when shit hits
the fan, painkillers only numb you while the real pain settles into
the crevices of your soul. It would have mentioned that those were the
wrong kind of painkillers. It may have told me that the dialogue we
were having could kill the pain. Dialogue. Kills. Pain. I wonder what
it thought when I sent an army of painkillers down there to kill
things that didn't exist-on the regular. I would open the chute and
wash them down. I can see the yellow army. They arrive as one unit.
They arrive in a vessel-a yellow vessel shaped like a football. The
flying saucer does not explode on impact. It is a highly developed
species. The army is the vessel. The vessel is the army. The unit
breaks apart slowly. It dissolves into individual soldiers. Trained
professionals. A special force designed to numb me from the aches of
life. My body may have said, in the early days, "Dude, ummm...there’s
nothing that really hurts that bad down here."
   There is a very good possibility that I would have dodged these
accusations. That I would have heeded no warning from my body. That I
would have continued to furiously attack it regardless of his
preaching. It is only recently, generally speaking, that I have put
this hypothetical dialogue to the test. Maybe it is using language
now. Maybe it isn't hypothetical at all. Maybe it is age. Maybe age is
taming me, opening the door for dialogue with various non-tangible
entities. Maybe I'm fuckin nuts. Maybe. I would deny insanity.
    When I think about insanity-the term, the idea, as an adjective,
or simply as a state of being-I drift to my childhood. A good drift. A
perfect drift. One that will catch a nice trout. I swing my rod
overhead and flick the tip upstream, mend, mend, recover, and drift…
fish. The memory takes me downstream and the water sweeps my feet from
underneath me. I allow it to bring me to the place. The place where
insanity was undefined. It was an abstract term that meant you hung
dead chickens from your fence like ole’ Poppy did on the corner. It
meant that you wore a red bandana like Willie Nelson, cutoff green
jorts and sleeveless T’s. It meant that you hated the sight and sound
of children playing.  I curve around into an eddying pool of water
where I regain my balance and give the fish a tug. I’m in control
    The curb rounding out his front yard abuts second base in our
baseball diamond. Poppy’s house-deep center. The Gallagher’s were in
deep right. The Dougherty’s- deep left. The cemetery loomed in the
right-center gap. Left-center was the Kelly’s and the O’Toole’s who
were the neighbor’s of insanity.  Pitcher’s hand. That meant that if
the ball was in the pitcher’s hand before you got to first-you were
out. If you were on any other base you could not advance as long as
the pitcher had the rock. Somebody’s’ sweatshirt, that their mom made
them wear in order to leave the house in the early days of spring,
would be first base. An empty pop can for second. Third was usually
one of the offensive team’s gloves. Home plate was the sewer cap out
in front of Ms. Faulkner’s. The games never lasted long but they were
all day. It would only take one play to ruin the game. A bad call at
the plate. A schedule conflict with family dinner. An echoing sound
from down the block as familiar as the block itself which was my
father’s voice beckoning me. To call my name meant I was to return
home immediately. In fear of retribution, I’d comply. I can see him
standing on the two-step porch at the front door just beyond the
driveway and to the right of the garage. He would put both hands at
the sides of his mouth as to make a horn out of his voice. His hands
would project the sound into the sky as to carry to the baseball
diamond. Down the street the sound would travel. Bouncing from one
Georgian to another, until it arrived for all our senses to feel. A
simultaneous sigh drowns my father’s call and some throw their gloves
to the dirt that was concrete and cry bullshit. You can’t leave now.
Its bottom five of six. Call one more minute. Oneeeeeee Moreeeeeeee
Minutttteeeeeee, I would call back imitating the call my father would
make from the steps, for without out my hands to trumpet my voice down
the block, my Dad would never hear. One more minute could mean an
eternity. It could mean another inning and a third. It could mean that
I’m leisurely strolling home. It most often meant that whatever was
left to eat would be cold by the time I arrived. I’m reeling but not
too aggressively. I don’t want to lose this fish. It feels like a
    I lodge the toe of my boot underneath a submerged log as to brace
myself for another run. It’s trying to get away from me. I hold my rod
high and behind me with my left arm and keep my right hand on the
reel. My body twists to make the position possible. I’m adding line as
fast as the fish rips it off. It’s a battle. It takes considerable
thought to feel the baseball diamond the way it felt then. I
vacillate. I’m there. I cannot smell the smells. I see the place. Hear
the sounds. I can feel the loose pieces of gravel stuck in the bottom
of my velcro Kangaroos. But the smells allude me. I can see the skid
marks on my knees where the gnats would tickle my scars. It was all so
normal, except for Mr. Green Jeans. Poppy was a sneak peek at the
possibilities. He represented everything that I was never taught. I’m
bringing him afoot. The line is tight but loosening. As the fish lays
down, I pull him softly toward my free hand. In an instant, before I
could grab him and at exactly the moment our eyes meet, he gives one
last fit of terror and snaps free of the fly. Goodbye Mr. Green

No comments:

Post a Comment