from My War

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MATT L. ROAR

 
 

*

I’ve got too many windows open. I’m sorry for parking my car so far from home. I’m sorry I lied.

 

A guy at the park asked me to play S-K-A-T-E. He was wearing running shoes and had methy eyes. Do you even have a skateboard?  He said I’ll come back and play you for money. Then he smoked a cigarette next to the water fountain and started dancing the way metalheads dance.

 

Black bricks. Waxy curb.  A hawk swoops down and plucks a rat from the grass. Everyone runs away screaming.

 

The first time I skated to school these kids in the Safeway parking lot asked if they could see my board. Then they rolled away with it. I would’ve cried if I was allowed. A girl with a red ponytail and holey Nirvana shirt made them give it back. I swallowed my spit.

 

Marisa says Girls are so good. She says Men are terrrible. She says There’s a problem with the way we raise them.

 

I thought skating would be like Thrasher. Punk freedom and gliding down handrails. They don’t show you how your graphics disappear. Baby with a machine gun. Six broken wrists.  Chris’ ankle after he ripped all the tendons from the bone and quit skating rails.

 

The summer air in the subway is metallic like the Desert Yard. These two girls who hopped freights with me and Ted didn’t wear shoes for 3 years. They ran on the ballast rock when we caught out. One stepped on some rebar and gashed her leathery feet.

 

The summer air in the subway is like her mouth in the drainage ditch.  Throwing rocks into the water. I’m sorry if I’m distracting you while you ruin the rest of my entire life.

 

Bleeding into the yellow dust. Dried mud cracking.

 

Our train got stuck in a siding near Portland and the girls left in the night to hitchhike north. They’ll be fine Ted said. They’re tougher than us.

 

At the red curb behind the Mormon church with the pack of guys who always hung out in the parking lot of XLR8.  Boneless off the curb cut. The guy who’d stolen my skateboard 5 years ago banged his tail in approval.

 

Chris and I built a kicker ramp in the culdesac. I went to the woods and when I came home he could fly. Your battery is almost dead. It’s blinking red.

 


*

Something has gone wrong here. Looks like everyone has left.

A fire in the firepit. Dudes dress like dickheads. Waterproof windbreakers.

I dream my van dies forever. Chris said just let it go.

Crashed hard drive. Yellow dust and sharp blue light. All I can do is not cry. Masculinity intact.

The grocery truck says You deserve the best.

I wake up angry. Cereal for dinner and breakfast. Dreams where you fly. Where you take a taxi and don’t worry about the fare.

A not cold night in Brooklyn. I’m sorry for my body. I’m sorry I’m so big.

The top you twist off the plastic Kool-Aid bottle looks like an angel spreading its wings.

When Bud Light says Stay in the game, drink responsibly, they mean don’t die. Don’t kill yourself.

I realize in my dreams that I need a baby pet tortoise. Nothing else. I need to pee but there’s a mountain lion in the tree waiting to eat me when I come outside.

Marisa said you can go to the carnival. Skip the rides but enjoy the lights. I said it’s a nice metaphor. She said it’s not a metaphor, just a thing I like.

Do you ever get that magic-eye feeling? I can never get it to work. That’s the feeling.

 

  

*

I don’t like listening to Dinosaur Jr. because it sounds like Ted singing. I remember his yellow Dinosaur Junior t-shirt and his particular body odor. How vocalists in the 90’s tried to sound southern. The time Ted bought me ramen.

Facebook is bad for death it’s like like like like like like I’m sorry your friend is dead.

I wish Ted was still here. I wish my other friends were dead instead. I wish I was born in the 60’s when you could just surf at Malibu and never listen to anyone.

Sharks are attacking the internet cables in the ocean. The apocalypse is coming but for now we have birds.

The picture downloading one pixel at a time.

The bugs that kill my plants are too small to move. They turn to dust when you touch them. The preacher said Ted’s with us in our hearts and I literally LOL’d.

My high school was the first school in America to have the internet. Al Gore came and cut a ribbon. Our teacher taught us how to find websites for our favorite magazines. Just type in www.thenameofyourfavoritemagazine.com. It worked for Thrasher, but for Slap it went to a porn site. My teacher said What kind of magazines do you read?

The Rancid song I thought was written for me and Chris is on Gilmore Girls. The drummer for Crimpshrine runs a bookstore chain in Brooklyn. Green Day isn’t allowed to play Gilman anymore but Pinhead Gunpowder is. I wish I had gotten the Op-Ivy tattoo. I really do.

My inbox is the pure sadness.

It’s snowing. My friend is dead. Walking outside so I can feel more “real life.” I drop my phone then catch it. Buy myself the best lunch seven dollars can buy.

 

*

I hate the cops so much. They choose to be the oppressor. I hate my teachers. They never listen when you talk. They never even learn your name. They act like they care. Then they give you grades.

In English,  Mrs. Smith cried when she told us her husband died. Then Chris’ grandma died and she hugged him and laughed. Oh sweetie. Dry erase marker on her khakis. Oh sweetie.

Spitting ice cubes up on the black lab table during the dissection video in Science. Go outside and be alone. Chris. Matt. Isn’t that what you want? To be alone together.

Sitting on the cold aluminum bench in the walkway Chris asked Kelly for a hug. We used to talk about her legs and freckles and the little gap in her front teeth. How perfect she was. She was like No thank you. Softball mitt suspended from her bookbag.

The ginko tree on the lawn is a fossil. Chris says it smells like pussy in the fall. Dinosaurs eat the fruit and shit their seeds along the cretaceous earth.

This hispanic cop with pockmarks and a golden badge said he was sorry when he gave us a ticket for skating the banks outside the courthouse. He said They built this place like a skatepark but it’s illegal to skate here anyways, it makes no goddamn sense.

White hydrant. Gravel  and motor oil in the tree pits. The streets  flow  slow. Black rivers. You don’t know which direction. All I feel is you. Growing hot and tall in the summer.

The light was bright reflecting off the windows of the courthouse. Our sweaty faces in the cop’s clip-on sunglasses.