Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Got these welts on my chest that itch so bad. So I scratch them and make them bleed, some kinda relief. I'll be at dinner, and I can't help myself, I start scratchin under my shirt, and I can't stop until the pain is greater than the itchin and my nails got a scarlet mess under 'em. It gets worse when I'm drinkin, like I was tonight.

Two bottles of chianti, from the cork to the sediment. And then I get hot, all steamy from within, it comes up through my neck and cheeks and trunk. My temples start pulsin. The heat radiates out, a slow smolderin heat, and I'm thinkin my dining companions are watchin smoke coming out from under my shirt. But that's just my hyperactive imagination. It's all within. So no one sees anything. They all got blinders on. Meanwhile, I'm effin steamin, hot as a pants press, hot as the proverbial tamale. You put a yam in my pocket, you get a baked sweet potato.

Maybe this heat is a sign of ill health, or maybe it means I'm done with my depression and I'm ready to enter the workforce again. Quist used to tell me, "Not for nothin, poot, but if you feel like you're hot, then, dammit, you're hot. Don't try and cool off unless you've done what you came to do."

I'm tight tonight, and smokin to boot, and want to tell someone my troubles. But the world is in flames, and when I lick my lips with my sandy tongue, I come to understand just how effin hot I am. Sere. Burnt out. As bright as a fever blister. A man without a fire extinguisher. Overheated.

I look around the lobby of this cheap motel and spy a shelf full of books -- hardbound Readers Digest collections from the sixties. I can't even open them -- it's too sad, the vanished world. I fall to my knees and wish I was somewhere else. Anywhere but here.

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