He traces lines down the page,
unable to ignore a cerebral connection:
there was a walk he used to take every day,
a paved routine that came daily,
forging his connection with pavement.
The path he walked was smog-clouded,
and when haze crushed out daylight,
he locked eyes with misted cement.
He plodded forward, hood up, postured in his isolation,
pavement becoming his guide.
He walked this way for hours sometimes,
a zigzag shape moulded into gray.
It was a linear venture, and the return served no moral purpose.
Near the end of his walk, the smog always dispersed to expose
his accidental destination:
a shack to shield him from rain.
The shack was a mistake,
tucked away for private failure.
At night, he hunched beside it
in a downpour of blood.
It trickled down his cheeks in softened red,
diluted by raindrops,
pooling in the hollows of his cheekbones.
He inflicted minor pain on himself when he tried
to decipher the gulf between rain and tears.
He educated himself, obsessed with
the definition of “alone.”
He wanted an idea that he
hadn’t found in books and songs.
He wanted to learn something from
wet spots on the rooftop.
He plastered himself against the wall,
one clawed hand leaking crimson between fingers.
Although he never recognised it, the shack joined the path in routine,
shrouded in its own smog and prescribed mystery.
Elsewhere, in a creek below the shack,
he brought friends to gather.
This was the place where suicide conversation took form.
Young eyes squinted behind bangs,
concern trickling between pebbles.
Pupils dilated, then turned nondescript from sunrays.
He made confessions and harmonized with water.
Friendship was bruised;
bikes were strewn across the water
and eventually swallowed by the smog.
The creek’s story was exclusive and quietly sad,
corresponding with illness when he diverged as a young man.
Straying indoors led him to encounter a girl.
She was muffled by ventilation when she
first stripped her wrists for him.
He kissed her gashes and she wore his writing
between layers of clothing.
They dwarfed themselves below stucco and made proclamations while
smothering sex in blank hours.
After they finished, his words clenched her
with the disappointing facts of print.
“I don’t know how to write something for you,” he muttered
into her half-parted lips.
Repression came, so she was invited into his routine:
they walked together down the path.
He sucked smoke out of smoke,
rattling a bent cigarette between fingers,
raving about the bullshit of it all:
“those big words, the ones used by everyone… they’re not metaphors anymore. They’ve become literal. They lost their fucking purpose. They have no function.”
Fate cued smog to envelope her and
she was lowered into the pavement.
He turned away to spit, as if he expected it.
She spread, dulled, and finally evaporated.