When at first it happens I want none of it. I even say no. I discard the plane tickets, the train stamps, the envelopes of money into a safety deposit box some train station off The Embarcadero and just head East. It frightens me, I'm horrified. The potency is developing in my inner organs, I can't cough right, sleep right, I just suffer and complain. Instead of doing things differently, they've made it so you can soak right in. Just strand yourself on the side of the roadway and they've got rules for you too. The sounds are torturous, the rooms are empty, and the men grow complacent and empty. Nothing is as serious as this. Four years ago a car, three years ago a plane, now I just shuffle and complain. I search for a key to my happiness. I look for it in desktop monitors, caramel apple lollipops, new cashmere vanilla candles, consuming six or more bottles of water a day, E-Cigarettes even, even those, I use apple juice, lychee nectar, mango sorbet, and chocolate fudge sundaes. I'm 40 up on the 140 I went down with. All the miles I'd walked in a firm step, a fever, a bag full of cheap wine for a man that works the car park. 43rd between 8th and 9th. Every thing is bright lights and theater nights. More pacing, there is gum stuck to every square of sidewalk, men and women wheel around a block away selling discount drugs in the streets and outside the Subway on 44th, in the Chinese food mart on 7th. They blow blow blow in their little plastic straw tubes and for $12 a drop they ask you to reach your hands inside their pockets, "take what you like and leave the rest. No one remembers it like this, the girls laugh practically upside down, they wear sky-blue light dyed denim overalls, covering all the parts of their shoulders but exposing their ****, they have plastic bags in their boots, and cute bobby bobbing hair cuts like water crest shoots exploding in lime juice. They pace too, but their legs are shorter, their conversations longer, the horns in their heads grow slowly out from midnight. The devil put the hate on them too.
Even the children are bigoted in this bicentennial. The ******'s nook is no longer the sewing shop in the corner of the strip mall up by Deerbrook Mall. I haven't seen a fountain with change in it since the 80's. The newest thing I heard about imaginations are that, "They come out the first and last Wednesday of the month, you gotta check with Game Stop if you want to pre-order the right ones." I think we must be on number 18 by now. There were four of us riding shotgun in the boxcar up to the valley last month, now they don't even run the trains anymore. One third of everything left to go.
I'm growing quiet; if they can't tell it's not my job to teach them. If they can't spell, I ain't gotta word to word combat that's going to come down on 'em. My brain is so uptight I can't sleep before sundown or sunrise. I see legs and oil futures with every blink. I listen to the old phone messages constantly. I make up stories to go with the missed calls. Still I hope everything will work out okay, because nothing is as serious as this. It makes me sick. It makes the guy undo itself with a brass nail, the blood unclogged from the rash from last month, I find out I'm toxic to poisons, and then I'm told that they're a prescription for that too. It wasn't a ******* rumor. The time to back up or move is now. A idle figure in an orange shirt, a tapestry that moves with every hallucination, forty, fifty, sixty hours I've never slept. I may have been years. My stomach is rusting from water with nowhere to go. I feel sick. I feel woozy, but I don't believe in feelings. I sit upright because I'm uptight, I turn my head around and look over my shoulder. But I know that any friend that's worth looking at me wouldn't arouse my spirit at this hour. There is a net that they speak of when everything's gone. It's the madness that transforms nothingness when the devil's around. Whole empires are crashing. Whole bottom drawers of unworn clothing, tagged and abetted stuffed into black crape garbage bags and drove off into the moonlight. I'm sweating and soporific, living half by half two in and two out, if I had the chance I'd try to remember just which way I get out. When I check on the rumors, when I say my goodbye, I know that I'm the only one sitting in this room of cocksure spirit animals and half-plastic book casings, and that no one whispers and no one cries, not even the bereft can produce a lullaby. I am dying to figure out how to move voicemails from iPhones to iTunes, I googled it while sitting down in the city last night. Poor service. 10 months. Not even one blame the famous few.
After tired comes guilty, after guilty the shame, after that apathy, after that I'm awake. I've never been good at being better than me. But those voicemails, I want them somewhere permanently.
Inspired by a Voicemail, Written for Britni West