By Christopher Kennedy - Nov 25, 2019
When the carnival wind blows the dust in this summer, you can pretend the sound of your own name is beautiful. You can gamble in the casino of stars at night where the moon looks like a pill and God deals you a terrible hand and there are no limits. You, the famous unknown, holding your baby and your syringe, waiting to be discovered by reality. Head full of sky, throat full of spiders. All the 2:00 A.M.ers know: Life is fucking hard. Call around for your anesthesia. Ignore the stack of bills, their envelopes changing colors from month to month. Drop the kid at your mother’s and drive to the house where there are no other houses. Someone unsettling will greet you there and promise it will be alright. Don’t trust them. Get what you came for and leave. Roll down your window on the way home to roll up your sleeve as you drive past the church sign that advertises next week’s revival, radio up loud, Lucinda Williams’ “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” on repeat. That wind in your dust-drowned hair. Convince yourself this year a stranger from out of town will win you something big and soft. You’ll carry it around under your arm all night. Your enemies will think you’re in love.
The Years Like Fast Horses
There’s a bar in my city called Paradise Found, two giant tikis made of fake wood on each side of the entrance with faces that seem mournful and menacing and stare straight ahead at the gas station across the street. Inside Paradise Found, the women take off their clothes, and the men buy them expensive drinks. When I drove by last night, the sky above the bar was lumpy white and opaque, like curdled milk, and the trees behind it were charcoal black. There was a woman, vaping from a glass tube outside the entrance, getting ready for her shift. She was gaunt and pale and wore a silver velvet hoodie and sweat pants, her face brightly rouged, eyes set deep in their sockets. For some reason, I asked myself, “Does anyone love her?” and in that moment I thought of how many times we give birth to ourselves, become different people, though we continue to look the same. The years between like fast horses. I watched the woman walk in the door. Then I drove away, my love for her growing. I gave birth to myself one last time. “This is it,” I said to myself. Then I was the woman, entering the bar. The stage was framed with strings of Christmas ornaments and lit with red spotlights. Blondie’s “Call Me” blared from the speakers. It was my turn. I stepped on to the stage, closed my eyes, and sick with love for myself, proceeded to dance.