Cold rain falls in the river, flows down to the sea, gets into the skyline, circles endlessly. Same old rain on the wind, same old pain in my soul.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Possum Squat Birthday

It was a sleepy little town.

Naw, bullshit, this town was fucked.
Mayberry was a sleepy little town. A hick sheriff porch picking his guitar to his old fat Aunt that would never know the clutch of sheets in tightened fist with her legs spread wide. Not even Floyd would touch her and he aint touched nothin but himself in forty years.
I been in Detroit, Gary, Philly. Even lived in New York City, practically.
But those I get.
I know when to swagger and when to hang low. I know the looks, the colours and the code. I know the time and so do they. Our eyes locked narrow in passing say so.
But here, in Possum Squat, Ohio. I don't know anything. Can't figure out their code.
It was my birthday, another one on the road, and it seemed as good a reason as any for legging a saloon. The neon trip ticket I needed punched on this, another bullshit Thursday.
It was early; pre pork chops and mashed potatoes early. The sun wouldn't clear the edge of town for a couple hours and the highway guys were just taking off their orange vests out on the big road.
But I'm not on the big road. I'm walking the edge where ghosts hang and smoke, where there might be a sidewalk but isn't.Where crickets whisper in shame and fear. Just a lumpy stretch of grass along the old factory that now pierces discount nipples and rusty clits behind the red brick framing plywood windows. I look away in trip and stumble to the other side of the road.
A young knucklehead with two arm loads of bad tatoos is sweeping the sidewalk in his stupid as shit cutoffs with no idea why he's doing it. A big ugly dude rolls up on his hog while knuckleheads wife strolls the four little ones to the neighbors porch and fires sharp darts back over her shoulder.

I decide to retreat to the red brick and four times a year grass.
Knucklehead sees my retreat and mutters to the biker wanna be. Mrs. Knucklehead throws her hair defiantly and openly wonders. In this town where grass bristles the tension and the moon looks away in shiver, my cover is already blown and I'm unsure how to recover. But I'm thirsty, so press on I must.
Where am i going? To town, or where a town should be. How do i know where town is? like a turtle to muddy river, I know.
Porch hangin seems to be the big hobby here and they do it well. Wyatt Earp would walk this street unstrapped and sober. Women with too many small children chatter and bitch about how they got em and where the hell is he anyway?
The fucker.
I pretend my phone needs attention. Give it the fondle and shake but really am looking up out of the corner of my eye like Wyatt would.
This goes on for miles it seems as I zig zag dodging dogs and little girls holding torn rag dolls in a head lock.
"Hey, Mister. there's a cat over there."
"Oh, yeah," I spit, all hardened nails. "Is it dead?" Like I hope it is.
The little girl recoils as if I might take a swing at her. A total misread. In New York I'd a been spot on.
This town makes no sense. Octogenarian Buicks and banged rods on blocks. Dope smokers giggling over the fence at neurotic clover pullers. As I pass, the talk dims to hush and I either ignore the small herds or cast don't fuck with me glances depending on my reads.
As finally i draw near where a town once might have been, I find boot hill for rotted two by fours. The places open shouldn't be and the places boarded speak ruin for any that might have known them.
There'll be no drinks; no cozy barstool or sloppy horny bar wench to call me Hon. That's clear. Only escape.
If I just turn around I'll look like a damn tourist lost in shitville and an easy target for whatever it is making me uneasy. So I alter course, take other streets in the general direction of my truck with locking doors and dark curtains.
Ahead of me, nasty dogs, loud mustangs with a handful of misses, a basketballs bounce, and over there, a church full of pretenders, just half a block from the bingo hall where blue haired ladies pray for O 64.

But no bar and secretly I'm glad.
When i get to the dank gas station where my truck is anchored, dark is closing in and I breathe a sigh of relief.
Tonight it will be gas station beer as I sit on the back of my truck and look out over a field of neutral turf and try to remember my worst birthday ever.
I also wonder of this piss hole called Possum Squat and wonder how many escape and how they do it.
Do the others let them or do they have to steal away in the early morning?
I also wonder what makes this town dangerous and tense to me.
Then i decide.
Boredom and restlessness are near kin and here they clearly fucked. Hard. Sweating the balls of July.
And its offspring's first word was shit.
Nobody here cares and there is no plan beyond Mary Janes cherry on Friday night and four-wheelin Miller's pond on Saturday.
I've pissed the streets of murder in Detroit because I knew when and knew how. I swagger and elbow Chicago and Philly cuz I know the mood. When to bluff, when to back down.
I've walked into the seediest bar in Albuquerque and barstooled between the glint of sharpened steel because I measured it all in an instant and knew my place.
But this I don't know. Boredom and hopelessness out of control. Somebody's gonna get hurt because there is no plan and nobody cares. The gangbangers and drug dealers have a plan, a code, a way. And they don't need to fuck with me beyond letting me know they can.
But not in Possum Squat.

In Possum Squat the code is simple; why the fuck not? And that can get you killed.
I wonder. Was this mayberry? once upon a future before the moon shivered just to look down?
In the morning I'll move on. Pull stakes, draw anchor, fill sail and move. And I'll look for the sense a city of busy can offer. The safety of felons with a plan.