Wednesday, March 02, 2005

On my way to meet my maker

on my way to meet my maker
I suggested to Death
we stop for a drink
and so we did
and a big burly man named Nick
arms like oaks
covered with seaport tattoos
served us cheap cold draft
in little glasses
and then Death started telling stories
and we were laughing hard
and Death's teeth would rattle
like wooden wind chimes
bouncing around his bony old skull
even Nick was laughing hard
Death was really quite funny

but then I noticed that the floor
was all wet under Death's barstool
a little lake of cheap draft had formed there

skeletons can't hold their booze it seems

I knew Nick would be pissed
if he saw this mess
So I nudged Death's wet black robe
and said we should get going
that we didn't want to make the maker mad
by being late
and Death said Oh let him wait
what's the damn rush?
and I said ok
and Nick kept pouring the little draft glasses
and I kept looking at the beer on the floor
expanding like a biblical flood
and I kept looking at my watch and saying
we should really get going
and Death kept saying
what's the damn rush?

but Finally. . .
finally after what seemed to be an eternity
of little draft glasses
Death said it was time to go
and he stood up in the ocean of cheap draft
and his bony feet slipped
and Death fell down
making a sound like a crashing piano

and that was it

Death started to make noise
like a wooden stick being dragged quickly
across a metal railing
Death was snoring something fierce
and Nick said ahhhhhh Shit!
and came around the bar holding a mop
and asked me to help pick Death up
and bring him to an old soiled cot
Nick had in the back

he does this shit all the time
Nick told me
really? I said
I just couldn't believe it
I just thought it was an aberration
Death's just an old drunk Nick said
as we tossed Death onto the cot

he rolled up in a fetal position
and kept on rattlesnake snoring

well shit I said
I was supposed to meet my maker today

Nick put a giant meaty sand-crab hand
on my shoulder
and told me that it just wasn't my time yet
and I said do you really think so?
and Nick started to mop the floor
and he said if I were you I would get lost
right away
Death just gets mean when he's hungover
real nasty eh

so I left Nick and the bar
and turned right into
a cold night wind
and walked home thinking that
I should really give up smoking
and eat better.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Blue Eels

My friend was dying of cancer
and his father was there
at the hospital
and he asked me
if I wanted to go for a smoke
and I said sure

we took the elevator down
and it was as slow as the dying
trying to get out of bed

we went outside
and then we went inside
his car
which was a station-wagon
which reminded me of a hearse
and he pulled out
a bottle of whisky
and we passed it back
and forth
and talked about Hemingway
and Elmore Leonard
and about the craft of writing
and we just kept smoking
and passing the bottle back
and forth
and the car windows
were rolled up tight
because it was wicked cold
and the blue cigarette smoke
looked like frozen eels
slithering through the air

I didn't know my friend's father
all that well
and it was strange
to be passing a bottle of whiskey back
and forth
in a hospital parking lot
watching the blue eels
while my friend lay dying
six floors up.