-by Chad Verzosa
The Buzzcock’s “I Believe” is right on cue as the light turns yellow. I stick my cigarette outside the window and step on the gas. I watch it combust in the air like cosmic debris piercing through the atmosphere. The sky is pitch black. No sign of rain dying down, but I love the bleakness of the night. It makes the neon lights smeared on the wet pavement look more appealing, like bare skin bathing under the cheerless lights of a strip club— Sinful… Raw… Seductive… Real… Stars are for those still smitten by the promises of fairy tale happy-ever-afters, anyway. Life never fails to find a way to tweak our mindset until beautiful things like stars be- come nothing more than twinkling dots—distant, unattainable, just the way it should be. God am I bored to death. But I’ve got- ten tired of watch- ing TV. I’ve had enough of its lies. Television has betrayed America. It has betrayed me. It has betrayed all of us. I just need to do something else tonight. I look at my pale knuckles as they grip the wheel. Good thing they’re still capable of steering even when the rest of me is out of control. I laugh as I think about it. I find a bookstore and park in front of it. Inside I’m greeted by the smell of coffee, consumed by simple minds reading paperbacks and magazines, living lives which they very well know they deserve to avoid. There’s just way too much to think about: the economy; politics, which a lot of people have the time to say it’s fucked up but never have the time to understand it; the friends whose minds are diluted by all sorts of addiction; the wife who never stops yapping; the children whom you pray will turn out to be the opposite of you; the incompetent. The future… The future… Fuck, I’ve never been this afraid to affix a question mark next to it. “Can I help you?” an employee walks by and asks. “Oh yeah. Uhm… Got Ginsberg’s Howl?” She smiles, “I’m sorry I’m afraid we don’t have it in stock.” It’s such a disgrace they have the entire place for all the books about vampires and wizards while some of the books that shaped America rot in the SALE section or are for- gotten altogether. America… America… America… America is more than just a Beat Poem, you know? I walk outside and look at the sky, still veiled by rain- clouds. I light my last cigarette and think about the day I fell in love with Liberty, when I first saw her on a postcard, and how I feel so estranged from her tonight. XoXo.