I’ve been writing this piece called Trouble ’99 since late spring of last year. I read it in its entirety a couple weeks ago and found it several shades darker than i expected. Which corresponds to one of my three beta readers’ critique. Writing is not unlike painting. You add layers until you find an image that best represents what you wish to portray. Yet with fiction you wanna let it be its own honest creation, which is often outside what you intended. Mixing conscious and unconscious elements. Let it be what it is. My characters may have fallen into a hopeless situation as they walk through the pages, but there is always hope. I think my work is often threatened by an existential mood. I have wrestled in my heart with this since I was a child, one day in the backyard when the limit on life first struck me. So words naturally come out of me that reflect that disappointment. Implicit in my sadness, is how much i love life and all its intricacies. How badly I wish to live on!
why you were left alone so long only the spinning world would know. by now. you know it hurts looking back. you made friends easy and what friends. a formula for trouble and trouble looks like anything but trouble at first.
There may be hope for me, I thought, rolling the smoke between my fingers. How different everything felt. The box, the stem, the lighter, the cig. I could sense the tobacco leaf inside the paper. Crunchy, resilient, it bounced back when you pressed it. I set fire to it and watched it burn and glow. I felt the smoke hit the lungs and exhaled at the top of my breath, I can breathe. Maybe I will last, after all, I thought, relaxing and getting used to myself again, taking drags. Aden looked worried, huh, I suppose they all did. I wish I could tell him…I still see things that turn me on. The barber shop cylinders have gone dark, the neon lights are lit, the end of the night far away, the dance floor naked and ugly without a dance. I paid the check and smiled.
– Trouble ’99
trouble pushed a curse off the edge of a busted lip. didn’t care. got home after lights out. escaped into comic books when bliss blew up again. was secretly oversensitive and cried himself to sleep. only little sister knew. courage was taking the brown glass, pushing skateboard through alleys to the vacant lot. smashing bottles on the old brick wall. broken feels so good. all was left of home. all the necessary rules lying there in liquid and why not? culture never did nothing. some day with little sister’s help he would write a letter. hitchhike outta here. find a paper route and a giant wave to surf. santa cruz will do.
no matter what kinda life i might have, no matter what hopes or dreams, i find reassurance on a sunday, now and here, laid out on the couch looking up, the stillness and quiet coming over me slowly with the rushing of air
and i realize, in the atmospheric space left by the panic and fear, forty years into what a madness as is, i may never be more blessed than here, than now, for this moment finds true peace in my heart