Satan, save me! Save me! Satan!

This early: a bowl of cereal with Silk, and preparations made to feed Rudra, hoping to God he will be somewhat drowsy, cooperative, not squirming, getting up and going over there, getting up again and again. Thirty minutes to feed your cat while he shakes and splatters liquid tuna all over you and the kitchen floor and who knows where else… It starts testing your patience a little.

Today is for more reading and writing, and also for diving into homework, researching topics for my next formal essay.

. . .

The indoor poetry readings are fun these days. Just when I thought I was going into hibernation, I’ve started having fun. And Cotton, though he shows up and pulls the usual shenanigans, I mostly know what to expect from him, so I don’t allow myself to get pulled in.

The staff of Wertz’s is beautiful—they serve us wine and fill up two big huge pitchers of water. We’re quenched and ready after about thirty minutes of stalling from the 7:30 mark. After a few poets launch, Cotton gets up, and there is sort of a sigh that blows over the entire house. Or was that just me?

“Who here tonight is drinking?” he asks.

A lot of people were drinking wine. Some, like myself, water. “It doesn’t matter what you’re drinking; please stand.” I quickly knocked back my glass so that it was empty and remained seated.

“I’d like to make a toast… to the poets!” he said. And then sat down.

Again, I was glad for not having wasted my time with this kid. What I should’ve done was break out a deck of cards while he was doing all that shit, and played a hand of Solitaire. I should have borrowed somebody’s GameBoy with Donkey Kong, Jr. turned all the way up.

Later, he was gathering salt and pepper shakers from all the tables, but was then interrupted by the next act. When it was over, someone was like, “Cotton, why don’t you finish what you were saying?” and he himself admitted, “Oh, it was nothing. I was just killing time.”

Oh, how I’ve become bitter and jaded! I’m prone to think “performance art” of this nature, belongs down the street somewhere, perhaps out of sight—but definitely not at a poetry reading. If you’re going to come, absorb what other’s have written, draw inspiration, come back next time with something written down or memorized and perform that. Don’t slam us with time suckage. If you really want to make a toast to the poets, heed good advice when it comes!

. . .

“Don’t you think she’s pretty?” she asks. He’s afraid to answer. Trick Question Alert! Trick Question Alert! And when a real problem comes up, he doesn’t even think of confiding in her. When a storm lifts the house off the ground with her in it, he’ll be sorry then.

It isn’t easy sleeping in Iraq, so says the article. War-torn, bombs going off, rising heat, high winds, mosquitos. Hard to relax in the midst of it all. This much I read and think of my own experiences as Pizza Hut/Taco Bell Expresses in comparison. Small time. Gumby and Pokey. But I kind of know. I wake up unable to breathe some nights to which I sort of liken to explosions, explosions a few doors down, wondering what’s going to happen next, unable to think of anything else but the next breath, hoping to ease some of the pain in the chest. Anonymous writes, “I’ve thought of us all dying together. Dying separately, watching my mom die, and having to go on without her, I can’t bear it. Our family all sleeps together in the living room with the big drapes that will hopefully protect us from the shattering glass…”

“Well, I think she’s pretty, if you ask me,” she says. “You’re not going to be in any trouble if you say so yourself. But it’s okay…”

He fell in love with a girl once that did not love him back. “Hurts too much to let it all out,” he thinks. You don’t wanna spill your guts out all over the table when the other person has theirs out. That makes things kind of crowded. He imagines her saying, “A man at your age should give up on love. You’d do well to take up a hobby.” He opens the glove compartment and looks around. Looks around some more.

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