We passed flames in a parked Ford Taurus in the parking lot of the Berkley apartment complex in Tuskegee, Alabama. We left our lives in a parked Ford Taurus in the parking lot of the Berkley apartment complex in Tuskegee, Alabama. The world began to change and shift and warp and transcend all reality had to offer, in the blink of an eye. My own eyes, heavy, tired, reddened cameras, caught a glimpse of everything to my right, and everything to my left.
To my left I caught a glimpse of the scowl, a permanent fixture on the faces of the young and the restless. On the faces of narcoleptic hippies, sleeping for “peace.” Finding that their dreams only bring them more chaos and heartache with heart attacks that end the lives of prolific doctors who study the blood, the brain, and the best of us. Beaten and berated for a quick buck and a quick fuck. Which cause us to pack our bags and head for home, where the hatred is.
On the faces of new wage hipsters, spending their common sense on cheap heritage bracelets and the labor of their forefathers and mothers. Searching for another hit of the lips of their loved ones, to lower them into a haze, never to be heard from again, unless it’s during the passing between phases. Slowly, but surely, passing away.
On the faces of young men, gazing atop the tobacco stalks. Barely making out the crowns of their fathers. Parting their lips and opening their mouths in an effort to call out and bring them back. But ancient angels fly out of reach too soon. Leaving little ones alone in the desert of their fears. Drying and withering away to dust like the empty tears that left the desert barren in the first place.
On the faces of buzzards of kin, circling overhead. Eyeing their newly fallen prey like the comrade he once was. He does not make a sound, as he has died, but his spirit is disgusted with his offsprings. As they search through his belongings for justification of their evils.
On the faces of writers, sending letters to the president and the like. Asking him to announce his heritage and bloodline in an American effort to un-American-ize the American, who was American, is American, and will be America. Giving liberty and justice for the few whose skin is light enough.
On the faces of past, present, and future lovers. Calling their exes to understand their downfall. Falling, falling, falling in and out of love as they eye their old future wives from afar. So far, so far, so far away, but still so close as her current boyfriend mows over pot-holes and speed-bumps. Listening, but trying his best to ignore the past, but becoming a depression victim of her regrets. Like the hairs that grow on his chin: in his face.
On the faces of the young, old souls. Who look to the voices, words, and opinions, the strokes, colors, and expressions of Bradbury, Clarke, Dali, Faulkner. Of Magritte, Morrison, Orwell, Pollock. Of Salinger, Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Warhol. And one day, Hemingway.
On the faces of actors on our television screens. Playing romantic doctors in desperate need of heart transplants, because they cannot love themselves. Playing young girls whose souls are in the middle of vampire sibling rivalries, because blood-sucking boys will be boys. Playing government agents who police the inner workings of the military, because American terrorists are people too. Playing masterminded masterminds, who mastermind the masterminding criminal masterminds, because someone has to.
On the faces of those who cashed their blanked checks in an effort to cover the cost of loss, and the cost of living after loss. Socially secured enough to hear the end result of a lifetime of hard work amounts to exactly: two-hundred fourteen dollars and thirty-seven cents (before a small widow’s bonus is applied for you and yours during this tough time).
On the faces of the chemical junkies. Swearing their lost loves return to them in the form of purple ghosts and cartoon beauties. Closing their eyes and ushering in sleep. The cousin of death and all her friends.
On the faces of the corrupted dreamers and schemers as they watch as their paradises darken and turn into storm clouds. Signaling the coming of rain, thunder, hail, sleet, snow, wind, tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, and the black feathers of one-hundred fifty-five million birds. All crows.
On the faces of the mental images of her, next to me, with words like barbed wires. Consuming me with flames, until I can no longer breath in the smoke of my feelings as she bombards me with her smile, her laugh, and the sickening thought that she cannot have me.