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Brandon Webb Aug 2013
I take my wallet out of my pocket
as I get ready to pull the blanket over me and go to sleep
I take my wallet out of my pocket so that in my sleep
the razor blade I keep inside
for convenience
doesn't slip out and cut me up
more than I would like to be.

I let that little bit of leather rest in my hand
and stare at it in the light from the worn lamp with chipping black paint
that silently stands over my computer monitor
lighting this small corner of the living room
that I live in.

My wallet is lighter
and there is a bulge missing
the bulge that I always kept at the front
in the same slot as my razor
after the string unfurled and my neck started to ache.

Yes, that coin is gone
that little Moroccan good luck charm that you insisted was special
even though there was another handful of identical coins in your cupholder.

It's gone and so are you:
it is no longer rubbing against my thigh as I walk
or hitting that hollow spot in my breast bone every time I take a step
and the line of blisters that formed around it when I got sunburnt while wearing it is gone.

And your words are no longer ringing in my ears
my fingers are no longer aching to tap my thoughts into my phone to you,
I have no tears in my eyes as I set my wallet on the little makeshift table
that my computer monitor rests on,
that your phone would rest on.

I only smile as I look at the string curled around the feet of the clock that you found
on the other side of those boxes
last time you were here.

I smile at the string that once held that coin
that I was considering putting the little plastic coin
painted the color of your car
and carved with the words "Washington's Lottery"
to prove to myself that I am a winner
that I do not lose at every aspect of my life.

But I realized the other day I didn't need to
I didn't need that memory of my success
because I can flip off any car even remotely similar to yours and feel no shame
I can walk down the road and watch you turn around in a parking lot fifty feet in front of me
just to avoid me
and know that I have won freedom
from all the pain you caused me
because these nights I don't have tears frozen  in my eyes
and my legs don't bleed.

I let my wallet rest there in the lamplight
and turn off the lamp.
I pull the comforter over me and wrap myself in that fuzzy blue blanket
that I once said I preferred over you to keep me warm
laughing as the words rolled off my tongue
because we both knew it was a joke.

But it isn't a joke anymore
the prefer the slight warmth that gives me
over the artificial warmth of your skin
since what's hidden because pumps ice through your veins.

I curl up under that blanket in the darkness
on that couch we almost went all the way on
and would have if my aunt hadn't been twenty feet away.
I curl up under that blanket alone
and feel for my now-flat wallet
smiling as my palm rests on the leather
and I remember the bulge that is now on a chain in my sister's bedroom in Sequim.

You have left me
and I'm happy for that.
I bring my arm back to me
and tuck it under my body
smiling because I'm alone
and smiling because being away from you
being rid of you
makes me smile.
Brandon Webb Aug 2013
You keep your right hand on the monster can
and steer with your left
down that rainy, bumpy gravel road in the middle of nowhere.
I pull out the baggy and count
I sit there and breath
as you grab your sword umbrella off the backseat.
There will no gasping, glaring mothers here.
we pass the rock,
the large spraypainted rock at the end of that long, dark, gravel road
and you decide the umbrella is no use on the trail,
turn around,
realize you locked the car
and panic slightly trying to find your keys.

Thirty seconds later we make it past the rock and beat our way through the underbrush
at the opening to the trail.
We talk, as we always do
as we make our way through,
this midsummer rain coating our bare arms slightly.
I keep my fist clenched.
at the end, we take a left and go around the trees
instead of under them
and stand there.

It feels like I'm on the top of the world as I stand here with you
and in a matter of speaking, I am.
The ground, the beach, is 500 feet below, down there
and fog covers everything more than 1,000 feet away.
I stand there, just stand there
and you nod at me
so I throw the first one
the first razor blade
into the ivy below.
I try to see the rain forming on the second
and try to land the third in the water
the forth sticks to the fifth and I almost accidentally slit the end of end of my *******
an action that, along with 30 years of smoking two bowls and two packs a day
would make me my own fathers twin.
I throw it farther than the rest, remembering him.
I don't watch the last one
just throw it and turn to you.
you smile and we walk away
and talk about our past habits
how stupid and dangerous it is to give either of us blades
about where we've thrown ours in the past,
who we've given em to
keeping their past purposes a joke
because those people always seem to be the ones who cause it.
But really, we're the ones who cause it
ain't we?

You ask me why I bought them in the first place
and I saw,"eh.."
like I always do when I don't wanna say what I'm thinking
because I'm on the top of the world with you and don't wanna say
'I bought em after you drove by me with some guy, twice.
You think that made me feel good? *****"
And you say,"just did, huh?"
and I say,"yeah."
like I always do when I run out of words
when I don't want to say anymore
when I just want to hear your voice
and not my own.
Brandon Webb Aug 2013
I rip the Moroccan good luck coin off of my neck
bury the coppery metal in the string I have wrapped it in
and throw it beside the empty monster BFC
which sits next to the empty canteen that I filled with now sour blackberries this Sunday
the stack of losing scratch tickets, about $8.00 worth
and all the boxes that I have packed my life into and stuffed underneath that little card table
in front of the couch I live on in my great-aunts living room
which used to be my grandma's living room.

I throw that coin there
remembering just a minute ago seeing the dried tear tracks down my cheeks
which, at this moment, scream her name
my most recent temporarily failed obsession.

In this moment she is just another attempt for me to try to feel loved
being there, continuously, for her
wearing on my joints
on my mind
every last thought turning into paranoia
as I spill my heart out over a text, a ******* text, again
and she doesn't reply
and again
and again.
no reply.
And in those moments, this moment
I thirst for the glint of silver in this lonely, cold lamplight
for the feel of the knife I threw over the cliff and into the cold waters of discovery bay
in my hands.
I thirst for the feel of the tip pressed into my skin
the blade pulled, quickly, but never fast enough
slicing skin and hair and letting her name
(whatever her name is at the name)
spill, a thousand times across me
warm and somehow relaxing
as if telling me I was always right.

I thirst for that feeling warmth as I tell myself
that she doesn't care enough to keep me warm
that nobody does.
That I'm just a lower lip to bite once and forget,
just a sea of words bubbling over and reaching out for those closest
those who have ever even looked in the direction of this endless ocean and smiled,
reaching for them, grabbing them, tearing them to pieces, and drowning them,
or trying to, accidentally.
And then, when they escape, turning into a sea of rage
of warmth
of blood
that consumes itself and stays at low tide for days, weeks, months at a time
the words having no sand, no skin, no mind other than their own to spill out upon.

I throw that coin there
on the carpet
where the TV used to be,
it now sits in my forgotten fathers bedroom
in the house I ran away from.

I throw that coin there
in the shadow of the empty monster BFC
hiding it from the glint of the dying lamplight
that makes my head scream
and my teeth clench
at 1:02am
as I wait for her
as I wait to somehow be remembered
to somehow have someone give a ****
and realize it's never going to happen.

I sit here, at now 1:04am staring at that coin
that she took out of her cars cup holder and gave to me
that I have worn on my neck for four days
leaving a white line through the redness of a sunburn.
that cold metal hitting my breastbone continuously, making a hollow thumping sound
reminding me of the hollowness in my chest
that even that heart,
which is beating faster than the off tempo drummers in the park in Leschi,
wired on 800mg of caffeine,
is hollow;
pumping less and less blood into my body with each disappointment
with each innocent passerby who finds herself buried under the words
that are floating there
close enough to see
close enough to hear on nights like this where they just want to break forth.

I sit here staring at that dull copper in the shadows
and dreaming of silver glinting in the lamplight.
Brandon Webb Jul 2013
I feel the last few spare hairs fall away from the crystallized tower on top of my scalp
as our adopted mother walks by
spitting smoke into the breeze
which is blowing away from us,
letting the words
"I do wish you could just kiss and make up"
spread along the outline of the fading smoke
coming from nowhere obvious
spurred on by nothing.
I hear the voice behind me agree
and I murmur my own agreement
but I see none of that when I look into the eyes of her eldest daughter
I see no chance of me rekindling anything
with the girl inside, cleaning the kitchen alone.
For the first time in three years
I see no love for me in her eyes
and I watch her hands pick up papers and ***** dishes
and realize that they will no longer be in mine
I see words hidden behind her eyes
but realize I will never hear them
as I run through the kitchen on my way to the bathroom
to expell from my bladder my attempt to caffeinate her away,
as I run through her house, my second home
and realize she hasn't even bothered to meet my eye today.
I look in the mirror at my hair
and smile wide, forgetting the tears that have been frozen in my eyes
since I realized that I had lost
the first person to find me
the first person to find out who I was,
so I smile as I look in the mirror and see someone completely different
Brandon Webb Jul 2013
There are ten of us-
Make that eleven-
Barreling down the highway at highway speeds;
two elderly thai women,
a middle aged man
with some sort of mental disability
his eyes hunting, hungrily for someone to listen to him,
three old men in the back
talking about cars, women and building houses
(while riding the bus on their own in old ripped clothing)
and the strange mix from my stop;
two women no older than my mother
that look older than my grandma
from an obvious history of hard drugs,
and elderly grandma-type woman
who could be a therapist,
engaged as she is in reading some sort of case study.

The driver keeps an engaged, concentrated look on his face
as we zip through sunlit countryside
that I have never seen this way.
It's only 9 AM
and I'm listening to Counting Crows, Sugar Ray and The Goo Goo Dolls.

The women who are older than they should be
get off at the casino.

The man with the disabilities clenches his seat
as we pass the," entering Sequim," sign.
The Thai women put their purses on their shoulders here
and I take my headphones off,
wrap the cord around them and put them away.

Two of the men in back are still talking,
the third has fallen asleep,
his head against the wall,
mouth pointed toward the ceiling.

The grandmotherly woman gets off at the co-op
the rest of us disembark at the bus station and go our separate ways.
Brandon Webb Jul 2013
He lights another mortar
and the dog runs after it
barking and trying to bite it
he grabs it's back leg as the sky lights up
since he had barely thought to look over
and the words around here don't reach his mind
his ears defective as they are.
He says something with his hands
something foreign to me
but six people watching laugh
and so do I.

His wife sits with her sons
her stomach wide with their third
another boy
she's gotten so used to talking with her hands
that her voice is rusty
and her vocabulary limited
but she's here as much as the rest
sitting and laughing and having a good time.

The owner of the house sits off the side in the nicest lawn chair here
a cup in her hand
we've quit counting how many drinks she's had
but she only drinks a couple days a year
and nobody is giving her any problems
and she seems to be able to be her normal self.
She had been questioning me earlier today
seeing if I was really a good guy
testing whether she'd have to sit at the table with a shotgun
every time I spent any time with her niece.

Her husband is launching his own collection of mortars off
with his brother
while her brother-in-law hands the teens the novelties
I launch off a dozen flowers
and a few spinny things.
She occasionally breaks her fingers away from mine
to launch off a flower, smokebomb or firecracker
and occasionally runs over to poke-chop her uncle
who keeps talking to the fireworks.
She always comes back and we'll wander by her mom and stepdad
(the latter always throws in some sort of comment
so we act careful around him)
and over to her cousins
or toward her aunt and roommate.
Occasionally we'll have to get something from the house
and we sneak three kisses
but we mostly just stay in each others arms
keeping each other warm in the almost warm 4th of July night
our hands both entwined
one of our heads always on the others shoulder
and in all the craziness
all the family drama
everything is perfect and she's smiling so hard her cheeks keep hurting
and she keeps telling me how little sleep she's gonna get
and I tell her I ain't gonna be able to sleep at all
Brandon Webb Jul 2013
I finish scooping a large serving of stir fry onto a styrofoam plate
with the two metal spatulas left on the counter for me.
I sidestep the forty something year old man who is our host
who has opened this house, his families house, to us
his extended family.
I jump over the dog and take a seat in a metal folding chair that has been set by the table
which is meant to seat 4, but is seating 9 tonight.
To my right is an old friend, the estranged stepsister of the sleeping hostess
to my left; the father of another friend who is, himself the best friend of the host
and a regular in this kitchen.
His son sits on the other side of the girl to my right
his girlfriend is across from him
and to his right is the three year old niece of  the hostess.
Her Five year old sister sits across from her.
at the end is the 14 year old daughter of the hostess
and across from me is her sister, the reason I am here.
We eye each other across the table,
trying to say something to each other
trying to reveal the sound our heartbeats make,
but our words are frozen in our throats.
They would be pierced though by flying words
and noodles
and laughs
and forks.
they would be pierced through by the energy here
by the connectedness
by everything.
If we were to say anything
it would be rendered so completely useless so quickly
that we can't.
Or so we tell ourselves
as we sit at this table
with our large, crazy, extended, adopted family
knocking elbows as we try to eat
passing around the Parmesan cheese
listening to the dogs barking at us for accidentally kicking them
as they tried to forage for food scraps under our chairs
not telling us they were there.
There is a happiness here
a buzzing
an energy
this is a family
this is a family

and I belong
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