Modern Heat

What are these ghosts that hide in our dreams? The smiling beasts that stick in the shadows while we sleep? A bed sopping sweat in August heat, fuse blown, waking up to hangovers in the middle of the night. Reach for the bedside reservoirs of Excedrin. Reach for the bottles of water beneath the mattress, reach for the joint half-spent in the ashtray. Pace the living-room, pace the kitchen. What are you doing here? This city has us in its grinder. What are we doing here? Looking for dimes on the sidewalks, tallying our dollars and paying student debts to the bar. We’ve lost interest in the good life, ferris wheel of office jobs and part-time gigs. Counting days to eviction, reading beatniks by candlelight, fucking ourselves raw flushed with wine and the ache that everything spent is never fully paid for: smiles full of good teeth, bank tellers who don’t post Closed signs when we’re next in line, maybe a home we can have a dog in. The simple things: to forsake the verdant lust of the jungles, the rush of air into the mouths of caves buried for endless ages in the nights of our cities; like every fool to tell ourselves the horizons are forbidden, to enjoy such simple assurances against inevitable death: a blender, a functioning television, prime-time dramas and a car with four tires. Hide me in your bosom: we feel safest naked and wrapped in the sweat of our quickest moments. Liquor bottles in the cabinets, liquor bottles in the freezer. Short memories of verbal abuse in the sweltering third-floor apartment, cancellation notices tacked to the walls. Grab your purse, doll, we’re going to the bar. We’re going to the bar to drink until the earth becomes what it is, fleeting and vague and full of promises we can only keep to our hearts. We’ll see the faces in the stars and the beauty of strange conversations, beauty of transients we meet in the streets. And when we’re done and have had our fill, to sleep heavily and pleasantly in the flea-infested bed we share, soaked with sweat, August heat, and the crushing teeth of this god-damned city of fear.

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