Who were the heroes of the asphalt grind-box life? Was spooky-tooth Bobby huffing paper bags full of false positives? Maybe Darnell, with his slick Cadillac shag carpet smile, smoking menthol saxophone vapor? Frankie the ghost, haunted all of us from childhood on with his stolen faith in nothing. Even, swirly Deidra, with her swaying hip hugging electric fences surrounded her heart beat, had her moments of epic forgetfulness.
As for me?
Fuck, I was the great shadow that others forgot was there, on the wrong side of the sun. My journalist eyes observed all the street crimes and rust bucket blues hammered down on all our families fractured truths. My imaginative scroll was scribbles with hieroglyphs matching the scars I hid from the eyes of god. Inside my heart, thumped the off beat hope of something more.
In the woods we’d grip vines that carried us over garbage filled gullies where older kids made witchcraft into metal songs. Butterfly knife afternoons reflected into an age we’d yet understand. Just an M-80 summer, short fuse fist fight. When the tears met our adolescent anxiety, everything was doomed. Some vanished, into the ether, or another shit town, maybe dead? We didn’t fuck with finding out, every year they vanished.melting memories with each thawing spring. The great gang of dirty little banshees split into nothing more than drunken high school fuck ups. Wasting away on a lost copy of our purpose.
By the last days of 18, I was dead to most. Just an apparition blanketed in religious glitter and depressed into suicidal isolation. No one reaches out when everyone’s arms are tied. That was the lonely walk, when the youth ended with an application, a factory gig or an unplanned pregnancy. The lucky ones ran far away into folklore, the rest wilted. I swallowed whatever numbed me enough. Until I woke in my late twenties, stuck in a Jesus tenement sick with hypocrisy. My faith turned to steam as I lifted sober smelling salted awake, chasing vapor trails of lost years. Alone, with myself the ghost, haunting my own future. It would just get darker ringing out me from everyone’s memory until I cleaned up far to late to matter to the publishing houses and academic dream makers. It’s okay, my run was not worth more than a half hour tv special on insignificance.
But…back to the subject of heroes, the big motion picture studio pitch. It’s true, the world is dying, well people anyway, extinct before the sun times out. My life, insignificant, yet impacted grossly to burning off protective film, exposing us to death. Madness will likely suck me dry in time of my own private Armageddon, complete with rancorous revel rouser toasting the remains of my wasted existence. My savior days are resting on the bedside table of a motel room love story, held down by the Gideon bible used as rolling papers.
The rest, rich and poor, will suffer equally amidst the melting ice and rising tides, sipping terror from newly designed cups too late to prevent the doom. So we will remain trusting the western science, as well as its lifestyle, hoping some miracle swoops down to free our souls from guilty truth. Yet it’s clear, no one is that good, or innocent, we are all trash to burn in the eyes of Mother Nature.
So, who are the heroes? The 9to5ers playing by the rules, as to not mess up the count and carefully recycling into proper receptacles? The rabid activist screaming dry throat echo-chambered Molotov cocktail hour? Maybe the outsider slipping further and further from a terribly eroding reality, slithering back to prehistoric melt? Is it rusty chaffed pioneers rarely exalted but one day discovered dead amongst piles of unprinted genius? Or maybe, it’s the status quo limping toward graves left open to suck them in once the murderous life is concluded? Perhaps they all are? I am not seeing anyone in tights or capes, lifting buildings from babies or whirling around the metropolitan landscape to rescue the unworthy. There is always, I assume, room for heroics, even slightly clandestine nobility holding doors and paying for random coffee.
Still, I don’t believe there are any heroes among us.