going through and changing all the proper nouns and so on to lowercase letters is a pain in the ass, but so is being alive in general. hail jesus and also satan. trigger warning for the usual suspects.
im about to go break a bottle of whiskey in the desert somehow, if i still have the energy after i post this. whoever knows what the future holds, anymore.
pied piper, if you can hear this, it’s 2019, and i hope you’re pleased with yourself.
no one watches over us. our parents are missing, in body, mind, or soul; they stare through us, glassy-eyed, seeing not a child but a burden. Jesus hides behind stained-glass windows, where pastors promise us brimstone and hellfire. makes it difficult to have a real conversation. the wages of sin, of shy sapphic touches and mexican ditch-weed passed between shaking, scraped-up, badly painted fingers. Holiness is as aloof as the aurora borealis; we live in the desert. some people are willing to wait their whole lives to see proof of the beautiful rumor with their own two eyes, instead of on a northerner’s instagram. we’re children, but we’re not dumb; we know we’ll never see it ourselves. our elders assure us we’ll never manage to leave the South for good. they seem pretty damn pleased with themselves for being so sure of that.
we go where children aren’t allowed to go, late at night, we walk through dark alleys to avoid patrolling cops enforcing curfew. Nobody watches over us but the moon. we are all silvery pales and deep inky darkness, the night sky reflected on human flesh.
you will never feel this electric again, the way you do the first time you smoke weed beneath the stars, ducked into one of the shadows the streetlamps cast, during the intermission of a garage band concert two blocks away. between the adrenaline from the show and the high and committing a felony within a mile of the police station, you feel not invincible but luminescent. knowing your family members who are known felons would beat the shit out of the kid who’s getting you high only makes it better. years older than a child but held hostage in a high school that never teaches you anything interesting until you’re old enough to be kicked to the curb for not stepping in line, all you can do is take your thrills where you can get ‘em and enjoy the company wherever you can find it. that’s the moment you make your decision, although at the time you think it’s just a realization. living here in west texas is like being in prison or the “disciplinary alternative education program” where my friends used to get high before they went in, and offer me a hit or two before the teachers showed up, and i would turn them down because i didnt need the fucking headache; it’s not so bad, except that they won’t let you leave.
i told my mom that a pedophile had just moved into the neighborhood, and she told me to go ahead and walk to DAEP anyways. she didnt want to wake up in the morning and drive me. she told me not to skateboard there and not to carry a knife. i did what the fuck i wanted to, on the way to and from the place where they let me do my school work and then read all day until it was time to leave. i was never good at skateboarding, but people kept telling me to wear a helmet. to this day, i still go around without a helmet on my head every time i’m on wheels. shocker, i know.
loneliness, anger, fear grow inside us like termites gnawing at rotting wood. the town elders assure us Christ alone can save us. we are living even as we devour ourselves and each other and any chance at salvation, we become empty. when we breathe air whistles through us, stinging the rotting places we can still feel, chilling the empty parts. we listen to the strange melodies of breath entering and exiting us, strange half-alive half-dead harmonicas. our pain molds the music we make the way a guitarist tunes her strings. when the stars align just right, one or two or three of us will sit together as we drink cheap stolen whiskey or smoke cheap weed and cigarettes, and we will tell each other about the strange elation of emptiness and the slow, never-ending grinding of worms and maggots making lunch out of our insides. we will tell each other it actually doesn’t hurt that badly, but it does always hurt. if we’re lucky and move slowly and don’t startle each other, sometimes, we’ll sit together beneath the stars and share stories as we share vices. if all goes well, we learn we are not alone. there are other queers and witches and goddamn hippies and devil-worshiping rockers among us, even here, twenty feet away from our neighbors who love to call the cops on us.
no matter what happens, we sit in some safe place outside of our houses at night, waiting for the Devil to show up and offer us everything under the sun as he tries to get us into his van. so long as we’re together, we just laugh in his face and keep drinking. i guess the town elders were right. aprt of us definitely died there. part of us continues to die there. the town elders continue to kill their grandchildren by insisting we will be buried in the same graveyard as them. i’m starting to remember all the things i thought i would forget forever, and i gotta admit: wherever it is that i die, i’m not gonna regret not attending their funerals. if they wanna be buried in their hometown so badly, that’s their prerogative. i’d rather let you kill me on the streets of a city they all told me i’d never stay in. i’d rather become a ghost that haunts the streets of the city of angels than be buried in the same dirt as my great-grandmother.
pied piper, im 21 now, and i’m still one of the children who look up towards the moon, exhale smoke in his direction, a small quiet prayer with no return address: have mercy on us. don’t judge so harshly. we are still young, after all.
-have you had enough yet? have you collected your fee, or should i keep talking?