Penny 4 Your Thoughts#

by Aline Carriere

So I'm spanging near Rockefeller Center and I see this couple with their kid on the opposite side of the sidewalk lookin' like they're gunna kick down. So they hand their daughter something (mind you she's like six or something) and tell her to come over and give it to me. This little six year old girl drops a penny in my jar . . . and of course I don't want her to get the wrong idea of homeless people like her parents do, so I'm real nice and say thank you very much with a big smile! As she walks away I see her parents with this fucked up grin on their faces and just shake my head. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. It's one thing to drop a penny in my jar, it's a whole other world of fucked up to have your little kid do it for you. Come on people!!section breakAfter a day of working it for change, doing the dance, not working for the man, playing the fiddle to pay the piper, only it's not a fiddle, it's an accordion. Goddamn beautiful day to be playing an accordion in Central Park! The guy playing the accordion watches them while his fingers strut their stuff, slide — couple of dirty kids with a pit bull, walking slow while the sun is sinking. He wouldn't have noticed them, but she laughed. He turned, angry and worried that she was laughing at him. But, she wasn't. She was smiling, happy; doing a little vagabond dance in time to the music. God, she's pretty under all that smudge, pretty smile anyway. Guy she's with though looks like fucking Captain Jack, couple of pirates after a day collecting bounty. Grabbing her fellow's hand, she pulls him over to a bench.section breakShe says she wants to listen to the music. Sounds like Zelda. She loves Zelda. He watched her play Zelda every day for an entire month until she beat the game, like she's gunna beat this fucking city.

Another night, another fight living on the streets got that feelin' something ain't gonna end right. Scared to death, scared of death ain't getting' good sleep and losin' my breath. Once my heart stops it's time to go. All these needles and all these drinks can put any man way beneath. State to state I can't run away. Death is all around and there's no escape, there's no leeway, a constant disease from this sickness and pain. Friends are dying day by day and I pray for a better way. Sick of pullin' chains in the gutter. I'm goin' insane. No matter how hard I try it stays the same, another broken soul with a broken name. Another cry for help. No religion or treatment can ease the pain as I'm left for dead. Too scared to live, too scared to die. No one gets it. I feel so alone. I can't go home, just a ghost surrounding my bones. I know the truth. I know this curse. Accepted the fact, it can only get worse. It's getting harder to just go on as it's getting harder to say so long. In my younger years I tried so hard to die, now it's a struggle to just survive. I know what I want, but is it worth the time? I got a loving mom, a wife and that dumb dog of mine. But I can't feel but low as depression starts to show. Nowhere to run, nowhere to go as I'm left for dead, left on the streets, living in fear of what's left beneath.

He gets up. “We got stuff to do,” he says.section breakIt's 1986. I'm in the Jordanian desert. In two years he will be born. He will become my as yet unborn daughter's lover and soul mate. When she is twenty-one (the age I am now) and he is twenty-six; after they've been traveling the country, living on the streets, riding the rails for a year and a half — trying to make a start in California, Phoenix, Atlanta, Vermont — he will die in a McDonald's men's room in Manhattan. I will drive with her seventeen hundred miles in two days from north of Boston to Oklahoma to bury him in South Indian Cemetery. I will write this in a motel room the day after his funeral. This is what will happen. There is nothing I can do to change it. The sun is bearing down.section breakWe were gunna make it out here, u me & Lucy. We were really gunna fucking live. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY WHYWHYWHY WHYYYYY WHATTHEFUCK FUCKFUCKFUCK FUCK I LOVE YOU TOO MUCH BABY MY FIANCE MY FUCKING HUSBAND WE VOWED TO GET MATCHING TATS IN OUR ARMPITS (my left, your right) TO SHOW OUR LOVE & MARRIAGE
I LOVE YOUsection breakYou can't express how you feel because words are invented and this explodes from your heart and is real. It claws and burns, spits fire and hurts you. When you open your mouth, your throat closes from rage and pain, clamps shut. The pain spreads, evicting the love. It collapses the veins where the dreams and wishes and future flowed. All, ripped out like a womb, replaced with nothing so you feel the emptiness. The emptiness is all you feel. The space where love curled now exposed, an open wound, a festering sore. Not even sleep is an escape, but a debt to be paid at each awakening with the realization anew; a gaping hole stabbed again and again.section breakThen we were both sitting on the bed making it sag uncomfortably. We were already late for the service, but time seemed to suspend like I imagine it does if you're in a horrible accident and you see your life, all of it at once. And then my daughter said, “It doesn't seem like such a bad way to go, the way he went.”  It was a bad way, a selfish, horrid way. It was a way that broke her, and was still breaking her. All the sorrow that there has ever been and ever will be was in her voice, a plea for the pain to end. “I want to be with him.” Say something, say something. “He wouldn't want that. It was a mistake. People make mistakes all the time and they don't die. He didn't want to leave you. He would want you to live. You wouldn't be with him, you would just be dead. He knew you loved him and he loved you. I saw it when you were together. I never worried about you when you were with him.” Did I say all of it? Did I say any of it?
section breakStill gunna make it & still gunna make it for both of us (& Moose ♥). You're always on my mind, sometimes I go crazy & almost feel/see your soul sitting next to me, walking next to me. I get so deep in thought remembering moments with you that I can feel, touch & taste them. You will always live on with me. You would always tell me "we are one" & we are. Part of me died with you, but part of you still lives with me, I can feel it, I know it. I will live for us. I miss you, sweet thing.

#with Laura Lannon & Mounir Boucid