Crowded At Wartermelon Dawns

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jackwilliam

4 readings

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I can’t stop slouching in this wooden chair
In an empty room
crusty
Just me and the chair
And a rug under my feet
God my toe nails are so long and hard
and Around me there’s no windows
But a TV
A box TV
In the corner, on the floor
With it’s screen cracked open
waves pouring out
sizzling in the air
mmm!

A mattress
yes
And a swamp of clothes
I kick through to get to bed
In the dark

In the light, dust
I cough
When I lay down
Dust
Swimming In my water glass
I take a sip
And I cough
And wrap myself in a bedsheet cocoon
Watching videos on my phone

Laying in my headspace

There’s a big wall between me and the world

I can hear the people!

Just like when I was a kid

I grew up above a club
Did I tell you?
There was a club in the basement of the building I grew up in
I slept in the same room as my parents
My siblings had their own rooms
But I was the youngest
So I had a little bed tucked into the corner
And I’d wake up in the middle of the night

I couldn’t get back to sleep

So I’d watch the lights flash in on the ceiling
Cars would go by on the street and lights would push and pull

And glide

Then I’d hear no cars
Just the whir of my dad’s machine
He had sleep apnea
And the light from outside would be still
above my head
And Then I’d hear the cars again
And the lights would start to move again

And in the background
Always
boots and cats and boots and cats and boots and cats and

Sometimes I’d hear yelling
One time I heard a lot of yelling
Then I heard

JOHNNY, NO, JOHNNY STOP IT PLEASE

RACHEL CAN YOU CALM THE FUCK DOWN, JESUS CHRIST

YEA RACHEL SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH

OH YOU MOTHERFUCKER

JOHNNY, STOP

And then it sounded like meat slapping
And scuffles

And my dad rolled out of bed
Went to the kitchen
My mom was still asleep
And he went to the kitchen
And came back with a thing of eggs
He pushed open the windows and gave me an egg
He said
Toss one out into the crowd and then duck back
Ok
You want me to throw the first one?
Yea
So he leaned out, and I peeked over the ledge
And he dropped an egg
It zoomed down and cracked on someone’s back
We ducked behind and I laughed and he winked and he put his finger to his mouth

Mom was still asleep

They were all yelling now, but not at each other
They were yelling at us
Dad could see I was scared
So he gave me an egg
Don’t even look, he said
Just toss it
So I threw it out

They yelled and we laughed and someone called the cops
Someone inside our building
Because these people were disturbing the peace
And when we heard the sirens, we watched a minute more
Then dad said
Go back to bed

And sometimes I’d have this dream
That we lived in a house somewhere
And we had a garage
And there was a car in the garage
And dad was sitting in the car
And I was standing outside of it Crying
And begging him to stay
Please dad
Please don’t go
Please no, please dad
And he said something good and smiled
So I took a step back
And he started the car
And it went off and away
and flew in the sky and I watched it go up and get smaller
Until it caught on fire and exploded and debris Fell and I stood weeping
And I woke up weeping
and I dried my eyes
I walked over to my parent’s bed and shook my dad awake
He always slept on his back
The machine he was connected to gargled and
He took the mask off and pulled me up into his bed
And held me
His eyes were crust and the mask left an imprint on his face
He turned off his machine
I said I can’t fall asleep
So he held me
And told me to count each breath

So I breathe
Standing in front of the counter
Bacon egg and cheese on a plain bagel with salt pepper ketchup
It’s scripted
I stand and I breathe
Searching for the deli man’s eyes
They glance at things around
But not me
So I shift my feet
And feel stones holding down my gut

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