Jim Morrison loves you

I guess you could say I’ve spent a lot of time with the guru on and off.

The summer I met him, I was sitting in my front yard with the sprinklers turned on drinking a beer. He was walking by on the street, and he stopped and stood in the street for a while, smiling at me. He had black teeth.

I got up, and I followed him.

I followed him across town to the beach, where we sat together and watched the waves come in. “The roar,” he said, “Is like the road.”

When I asked him how the roar was like the road, he told me to listen.

I met the philosopher years later.

They stuck the needle into the philosopher’s eye, but not before reminding him it was he, in fact, who had told them to put it there. In a roundabout way he had, they said, when he said the center of the eye is hollow and you can stick a needle right into it because it’s only a hole, after all, and can do no harm.

Now the philosopher is blind, but if you ask him, he’ll say he’s richer now than ever. “Life is suffering, after all, and what good then is a life spent without a good wholesome dose of it?”

“I came here, after all,” he mentioned one night, drunkenly, “So I better just get my money’s worth.” I asked him what money he had paid, but he just groaned and then ignored me.

Every time I hear a train’s song in the distance, I can’t help but think of the blind philosopher who had loved them so much, their songs, which he said were sad. I had to light his cigarettes for him.

I always had a lighter on me, and maybe that’s why I was really his friend.

He died too soon.

I still feel like he’s here.

“Never left,” he would say, exhaling smoke into my face, making my eyes burn; I know it. “It’s like the old song,” he said, never finishing the thought.

As I write, my roommate talks to me from the other side of the back porch table in the dark. The light from the laptop lights my face, and so I know she can see me, but I am blinded from seeing her. I smile to know how the blind one must have felt.

His final words to me so long ago were, “Get me a beer,” and then, “You might as well just job a hole in the bottom of it before you give it to me.”

He died as I was jobbing the hole.

Now I leave beers on his grave, and somewhere I imagine him opening them his damn self.

He once said to me, “You should never trust a philosopher who drinks beer.”

I told the guru I never said I trusted the blind philosopher.

“You are who you associate with,” the guru said, as if it made a flick of difference.

“Give me something I can use, and I will leave,” I told him, sensing I had become something of an annoyance to him.

He proceeded to stare deep into my eyes, and I held his gaze. It was raining, I think, or else the sprinklers had come back on. The stars were out; I remember that.

After a time, a little grin parted the guru’s lips, and his rotten front teeth drew my attention away from his gaze. I wondered what he had on me.

I wondered how such a wise man could let his teeth rot out.

“Jim Morrison loves you,” he said.

I left, and I still wonder how the roar is like the fucking road.

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Strangers

I saw a man this morning in a dead sprint down the highway carrying a baseball bat, and though I wondered about his crusade (it was surely nothing less), I didn’t dare speculate. Maybe he was the leadoff guy for a sour ass fast-pitch team with the 9 am slating and he knew that, without him, they were dead bones by noon.

Maybe his son was the actual leadoff guy, in the shit with the dented TPX (the only other bat in the dugout light enough for him to get around with), and he still thought his father his hero–his dad didn’t want to let him down.

My brother bought a bottle while he was at work today and had to hide it behind a tree because he couldn’t fit it under his motorcycle seat.

Now we’re on our way to retrieve it.

Life is fun sometimes.

It gets so hard sometimes.

I remember a Saturday morning about ten years ago, toting a blanket and a pillow with vomit on it fifteen blocks to a Burger King to get to my car, wondering what all the cars passing by me were thinking.

A lack of self-awareness may be the true beginning of wisdom.

I once saw a man in the Texas panhandle pulled over by a highway patrolman on the side of an on-ramp. A shotgun rested on his hood beside his head while he was being cuffed, with his windshield blown out.

I once came across a guy in the checkout line buying a single rose and twelve long-stem condoms.

Or they guy carrying a dozen roses and a jug of bleach down main street.

You’ve been there; I know you have.

We shake our heads. We speculate.

We keep life spicy, don’t we?

Keep making them wonder.

The highway is just long enough for questions like why, and if I ever meet you someplace with a few minutes to spare, I’d love to hear the story.

Final Things

The look in her eye said something about love, but it said more about longing. It spoke of the weight left over from the loss of true love’s weightlessness. Where she had once been like a feather, she now stood stone-still, weeping against weight of its memory, of separateness, the cool breeze blowing against her wet face and chilling her to her soul.

On the other side of the motel room door at her back was the man her age. They had been in the same class way back in high school. He had looked at her from across the room of the Chemistry class they had shared, all those years ago, across all the pages of numbers and equations and things that made mathematical sense. Her parents were rich and sophisticated; his belonged to the lower middle class, and where her parents drank wine occasionally with their dinners, his father drank beer every night to get drunk.

With tears rolling down his face and neck, he turned and looked through the peephole to catch the parting shot of her now walking away from him forever. The visual would stay with him in his mind: her flowing hair, the clouds in the darkening sky pregnant with rain, the pine trees across the road winding around the bend and shooting off into the rumbling distance…

She had only been in town for two hours; long enough to drop off with him the photo album she had borrowed so long ago. Long enough to share the embrace of a moment of love beneath the summer-weight sheets on the bed which now lay on the floor in a heap. Long enough to grasp back the piece of his soul he felt had finally been returned to him from so long ago: something to remember him by.

He cracked the tab on his final beer, the 16-ounce, the pounder, the Rocky Mountain Piss, the last silver bullet. He didn’t know what he would do next. Maybe he would take the room key back to the sweltering little office and slide it back across the counter, or maybe he would take a bath first. All he knew was that, even though this was the last beer he had, and even though it might well be the last beer he would ever have—even though he may yet weep shameful tears in its memory, he heard his father say to him one final time from across the eternal chasm of years gone by: “Even the last beer is better than no beer at all.”