We're sitting at the Northside

Dec 06 2001 Kelly Norton
We're sitting at the Northside Tavern drinking a pitcher of New Castle. I crack what I think is a witty joke, Craig laughs, others just stare. I am immediately subject to their vacuous stares; I look down at my plastic cup of beer, thump the brim and sigh. There is a large man with a caulking gun determined to close all the gaps that make life absurd. He does so abhor my existence. I see him daily when he comes to pump the air conditioning ducts full of dust and close air contaminants. He knows that to move with assurance is to move unchallenged, like the fellow I knew who walked into Universal Studios with a suit and a clipboard. No one questions the faithful. Afterwards, Craig and I were in Waffle House having coffee and bacon. I was explaining that I am not long for the world of Boss Mao, and probably not allowed the world of Poet Mao. He nodded, advised, didn't laugh; it's all a friend can ask. 4am, I walked around the apartment through the fallen leaves, inhaling the lost air, thinking: "In America, wine is laughed at and poetry a joke…Everyone wants to be trapped in a hopeless spacesuit where they cant move." I open the door, and a mosquito flies in from the cold. I am thinking about tomorrow, today.