Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Ink On The Pen Never Dries

I was already half drunk...

...standing on wobbling legs in the middle of Chinatown in the middle of the night with Obsidian. A group of poet friends of ours had shuffled off to a nearby bar, leaving Obsidian and myself to deal with the Amazonian Australian. She was tall, broad and rugged looking with a heavy Aussie accent. The most distinctive thing about her was her long, dark, full tresses. Her hair fell, crashing to her shoulders like a black, heavy curtain...and she was in full crank.

Something about my reading, about my poem that I had read at the Poets On White reading earlier rubbed her the wrong way. She was pissed and argumentative at the moment, turning her heat onto me in abject disapproval. I was already torn in half from a pint of vodka that I had stashed away in my jacket and was really not in the mood for her shit. It always surprises me that someone who does not like my reading or poem would even think to come up to me to vent. What would be the purpose of it? An apology? A retraction? What?

I told her simply that I wrote what I felt and what happened to me personally. There was no need for little else. If she didn't like it, she didn't like it. Life goes on. Have a happy one. She was already a woman on edge. Her attitude no doubt had placed her in her current predicament. We had met her wandering the streets of Chinatown, alone, terrified. When we called out to her, she came to her senses like a woman sleep-walking. Her story was that she was being chased by several irate Asian men and she was in a near panic trying to find a subway out of the town. I wondered what stupid shit had came out of her mouth to land her in trouble with the men of the Asian community. She seemed the type. People seldom take to insensitive comments from strangers. I've lived in New York for years, and been in Chinatown time and time again, and I've never pissed off the locals. Maybe it's an Australian thing to get under people's skin as quickly as possible behind asinine commentary.

Obsidian instructed her in finding a subway and invited her to accompany us to the bar, but she declined. I sighed relief. Not that I didn't want her with us. I just didn't know her, and we were going to be out with friends. There was no need to mix someone unstable, if that's what she was, with old friends. She pounded off and we headed to the bar, mixing it up with the poets. I was on edge. I've been that way for some time now and was out to cut the edge off. At the bar I ordered my patented 'boilermaker'. The drink of champions...idiot champions. Budweiser and Jack Daniels. Or what I lovingly call my entrance into the Brown World.

While bullshitting and drinking with my fellow poets, I down the shot, sip the beer and gratefully take the cigarette that was offered to me, lighting up and puffing away. Something that I hadn't done since I stopped smoking many years ago. I was a freight train on automatic, heading downhill. Soon, the Brown World slipped over my consciousness like a heavy brown bag over my head, causing my world to tilt on a surreal axis. I knew, at this point in time, if I didn't remove myself immediately, things would go south quickly.

I excused myself. I was tired and the evening had already waned to early morning. It was time for bed. I said my good nights, and Obsidian did the same. We headed to the subway, but my rumbling stomach begged for something to eat. I led us to a Chinese restaurant and took a seat, barely aware of the world around me. I ordered a large bowl of pork fried rice but could only put down a few spoonfuls. I grew nauseous. It was time to leave. I paid the bill and skated out into the night with a doggie bag and Obsidian led me to a subway heading uptown. I bid him farewell and went down to the subway platform, waiting for the train to arrive.

Sitting down on a bench, my stomach decided that it didn't want to hold down the pork fried rice, so I bent my head to the side and puked down the side of the bench, missing my clothing. I raised hell, emptying my stomach contents completely. After a few moments, the train roared into the station and I took a seat inside. My head swam, my lights wavering, blinking in and out of consciousness until my stop, where I suddenly rose to my feet and headed outside. I was on the East side of Manhattan and had to then take the 96th street crosstown bus to get to my street. I shambled home, only to find the elevators still not working.

I walked up two flights of stairs, sat down and nodded off until I got my wind back, then walked up another couple of stairs and did the same. I continued this stop and go ascent until I got to my floor and staggered to my door. Once inside, I fell across my bed and closed my eyes. My entire world churned angrily, the bed rocking as if cast adrift on a raging sea.

Fuck it.  I was home.


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