Traffic on Park Ave
(to the man who walked away)
When there was space it was better, not by much, but better. We could always see the air, coming in from one of my old man’s jobs up north. Filthy, and dusty, but pretty damn empty. Our house, too. Not great but we ate, and for those few years I remember Mom didn’t have to work. She was in the kitchen a lot then, I remember she liked old country, Patsy Kline and Loretta. She loved to make big casseroles she learned from her grandma back in Kansas. I never met her because of the cancer, but while she cooked Mom would talk to me about her, about the tomatoes they grew, and how she was out in the garden one day when she saw her mother walk out of the house. She never saw her again, but I think that was for the best who the Hell knows.
Now I’m fucking sitting here with a Texan in front of me and some bitch with too much makeup and loud music in the rearview and I’m feeling fucking squeezed. Under the bridge it used to be ugly, really bad – kids and drugs and vets, but it was their place, we knew it, they knew it. There was division. Proper. Now they’re gone I don’t know where and there’s a bunch of buildings blinding my eyes the windows are so bright. It’s crowded, crowded with bullshit and money and people I don’t get, people who live in these buildings and keep making more, ripping out all the stuff that used to be here, that was here forever. Every day the bricks leave, the glass comes in; every day my truck swerves to avoid some kid with an ugly beard or a chic with sunglasses and earbuds, looking at me like I’m a fucking alien, like they own this goddamn place.
Few years back I was really getting shit going. I finally asked Beth to marry me. I loved her, really loved her, I still don’t know how I screwed it, she was the best person I’d ever known. But then one day she was done, she said she needed a change, needed more talk and less anger; later I heard she moved outside of Manitou somewhere and stopped drinking so much. I’m glad I guess, at least one of us kept on the road, I’m glad it was her. She’s a fine person, a fine woman. I remember her hips when we would go out – there was this old bar way out on East Colfax – and she would move in this different sort of way when she was drinking. I loved it, she knew I loved it. Maybe that’s why she left.
It’s not moving. This lane of traffic is dead, there’s a line of cones up ahead. Now there’s always a line of cones, and the same assholes driving right up to it, as if the closer they get the sooner the cones will disappear. Everything is clogged and new and ugly, my head is clogged, and nothing is moving.
Nothing moves. It’s like there’s all this life happening, but it’s behind these new walls, these glass windows that keep the A/C in, the crappy air out. But I still feel strangled, I don’t know why. The air is dead or something. I can’t breathe all this dead used up air.
Maybe I can move. My truck, it’s old and no replacement for the sweet sedan I had with Beth. This truck is as stuck as the rest of this bullshit. But I can move. I’ve heard of jackasses that just do that, or maybe I just saw it in a movie once. But I’m no different. I could just…. move. Fuck it, fuck it all, maybe I’ll come back later. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll call Beth, see how she’s doing. I’ve got my phone, I’ve got my cash,
they can keep the keys – –