On the Boulevardbyendthedream©
He was on the Boulevard again.
It was a beautiful summer night. The air was sweet. The columns of smoke that had been here for days had lifted. There was none of the fever that he had had the night before. His head was remarkably clear. He saw things the way they were. He was newly, last week, nineteen. And he was happy.
He was immensely happy. He had given up so much. He was come to the center of his belief. And in that center, there was what he had been hoping for, for so long. There was nothing he could not do. There was no one in his way. There had been people—for so long. There had been the lunging for so long. As if he were decrepit. AS though he were not to stand here and feel the cool sea breeze in his long hair. He felt as though he had always been back and away. But now he was up front. Now he could settle down sea waves if he had to. He could even gentle the hand of God if he felt like it.
He believed. And for such a one as he, he had to believe, it had become paramount. He had had no supports under him for so long, and he had had no ideas how he would stand it, one more day, but then he had had to, to come to this moment. To come to this expedient that was night, hollow shell, egg white above, and darker below, as though night was cartoon fight with night deeper down and cartoon too. He felt he was floating. As though he were on the Boulevard alone. As though the street lamps were party balloons and he could take his time going from one fete to another.
And they would cheer when he came by theirs. They would cheer and there would be confetti and there would be banners with his name written large on them in huge indigo letters. That would make him think back to New Mexico. To the Sandias Mountains. To the air so clean and crisp and intelligent and alive, that even this far away which was not far at all when you thought about it, it would and could and did reach him. That it signaled to this part of his brain that he was everything.
That he was morning and fresh baked bread, and tomorrow would be even better. Tomorrow would be a savior. And that was the kingship he was heading toward. This progression and this progressing was what he was living for. And the ache was gone. The need for drugs was gone. And he could go a week an hour a day a month a year without a spike in his arm and what he did to get that spike and the potions in the spike to make it work to calm him down to send him spinning. As though there was some reason back then to hide from anything and anyone. He could be up front. He could be top of the heap. He was nothing and no one last week. This week. Though. Now. Tonight.
Right this minute he was everything that counted. He was a world of himself and it felt soothing as smooth silk underneath him when the eyes tired and the mind sighed and he went into his bedroom and he lay down on smooth silk and the night was a friend. And he could put out the light and not be scared of it. Not be scared of being alone. Not have to get out of there in the small black rat box and find people and drink with them and drug with them and pretend that their falling down and their vomiting and their hits and their scores and their stupid wanna be words meant something.
Meant something supreme. Meant something that could matter. When it was all falling apart. When it was all falling into a million puzzle pieces and shattering again and again. He felt directions. In a directionless world, he had directions. And he knew south and north and he walked on the Boulevard. He walked and he captured and his mind was his eyes and his eyes saw the night as dark now and the streetlights of the Boulevard as capturing ghosts he had remembered for some time. But now in highlight, now as though they were really here. Caught and caught. And made to feel not here.
Made to feel the school was right and the principal and his parents and he came forth from them. And he felt the lightness of what he was. The lightness of what life was as though he could float up like a balloon and go as far and as fast as he pleased. As though his angular thin to starvation form, as his off white, pasty colored flesh, as if all that was a key to the morrow and he loved that word. Morrow. It said hope. It said don't give up your dreams. No matter how many people passed you by and no matter how many people picked you up. Because they had this need.
This overpowering need to be nothing like he was and he was not nothing and as he rolled another joint and as he fixed it and lit it, he felt he was safe in the dizzy feel safe in the grotto of himself and that was enough. And when he was in danger, back then, when he was in danger, he could call up this good feeling, this feeling of having slept six hours today in the heat and the little fan blowing on him and the salsa music playing next door and the rumba music playing on the other side of his cardboard wall. There was only the funeral that he did not need to attend, which was his own funeral.
He would not be there. He would be like Accetone in the Italian movie, the gates would be closed with a resounding no as he had followed his retenue and his coffin up the Naples street and then allowed to stand at the gate and allowed to look through and nothing more. He pulled at his silver neck chain. And he was not an animal. And this was not a place that got lower and lower and he dared not look around him at all the ones who were lower and lower than he. There was not salvation. There was past salvation and he was like glass inside. Delicate glass. That bore him up. That bore him into the skies with the friendly ghost clouds. And he remembered kicking the ghosts this afternoon while LA moved around him like a moaning pustule and he was supposed to be a part of it and he saw the highlighted black framed people who put him here.
And he kicked at them and spat at them. And he did it with poetry. He did it without their framers being round and their black eyes spilled ink and their black mouths gouted ink and their collapsed like clothes of ancient vintage on coat hangers as he stuffed them back far in his mind, to safe keeping, to keeping them captive. Instead of the other way around. And he was free as he stretched his mouth open in a huge yawn. There was no need to more go a hiding. There was no need a more to go seeking his own name and finding that name had no consequence.
Finding that name was not him and if he was not his name then who was he? There were no carols and no consequences, as he swung his patched tattered jacket over his naked shoulder and stood there against the side of the building under the brightest dim yellow glow lamp. He would refuse to admit his shoes had contacted gum on the concrete. He would refuse to admit there was concrete. He would refuse to admit that he planned on not seeing the rest of his nineteenth year. Because he had always been a pack rat. He had tried to carry his childhood books and toys and dreams with him when his mom kicked him out of his own room and down the hall and out of his house, I will not have a boy who does such things, get out, get out, like her mouth was not in synch with her words. And then he was gone from there and he was walking and he was gone from life and he was walking. But hanging on still and all cause he was walking and had found this place. This space where he found out how to get higgggggghhhhhhh.
Higher than the clouds and the skies and eyes that always looked lower. Eyes that tried to cheat him and think he did not know what they were doing to him and how they had to cheat him in the process. And the things…god…the things…and he was beyond now. He was in a sacred blue wind tunnel and it ruffled him and it made his skin prickle and it made him remember what he had and he opened up his left hand and saw it under the orange sodium light and there was the world in his hand, like in the song, and there was music in his eyes. And he listened to the music in his eyes. Because it was beautiful.
And he had beautiful eyes. Not blood shot. Not ghastly as someone once put it. He was not a bauble and he was not something that decreased in value with every day and minute and hour and he was seldom him, but he was him now. He had angles and a circumference and a way of doing things and a way of being himself because that was the toughest thing to do in his world. And the cars lights smeared oily white on him and his compadres, at least his ostensible ones. Though he never spoke to them because it would make the last two years and five months and three and a third days this midnight real, and he could not take that. But he had survived. He had been taught.
Then he had taught himself. He worked and got nothing but a hot room and a hot bed and a sweat soaked life like breathing through a T-shirt of grime and years. But he was kickin' it now, man, and he was goin' to keep kickin' it as he toked and the shit later tonight, the coke, the dust, all of that, it wasn't there to destroy him. As he had previously thought. But there to build him up. To make him tall and strong like king kong and not a scared thin nervous shaking boy of no age but old and older tomorrow. He had skipped out of life. He had skipped out of everything. Especially himself.
He was not a failure with the sunlight heavy on his head, the sunlight like a tangible weight that pushed him down and made him sick inside and made him move closer and closer inside to his back bone because everyone and everything he had ever known had taken up space In him. This boy man who no one wanted unless he was someone else and he had spent his freakin' life trying to be someone else so this was a perfect job for him, a perfect view for him. Even though he was drowning behind his eyes and no one gave a shit.
And girls at school used to tell him he had the prettiest ice blue eyes and they would stare into them like for hours and he loved them and they loved him and he had been loved by everyone and he had never been in fights and he had never been downgraded and he had never been hooked on anyone or anything all kids did it ask them why do I have to be their sin eaters? If they tell you they don't they're goddam liars. And now the parade. And now the eye parade. And now the scope of nothing but a few moments, an hour at best. And the shame of it was gone from him. Because now he was clean inside and no one could touch him in there. There was a place that enveloped himself alone.
It was not a big space or an important one. But he had dreamed about it this afternoon, with one eye open and then both eyes closed on the particle board that seemed he had been constructed of as of late. And then there was only the lack of fever when he woke and the lack of himself and if the parade of car eyes saw him and stopped then he would take the available one and he would take the shiv that was always in his pocket and he would do a little carving. He would marry blade to flesh and see how they liked it, as they had married their blades to his flesh so often, from the tired housewife who still wanted to be teeny boppers, and pretend that he was David Cassidy or whoever the hell, or the businessmen, or the geeks, or the gigglers, or the gum chewers, or the smokeaholics.
And he was not alone anymore. He was not alone because he did not have Jesus inside, no not that. But because he thought he was nothing at all, and nothing at all can't get hurt, and nothing at all ever had a life and he looked at the cars past the ones slowing down looking at the meat market as if to settle it among their iron tin steel selves and the bodies inside scared and unsure were just their victim to be eaten up in the middle of the night and scream for recompense or salvation when he was with them and it was never him and he had always been jealous of all the people they saw in him and he had tried to fit and he had failed and failed and been a bad, a horrible actor.
He saw their desperation was what they wanted to be him and he had to be nothing but a shell, and his shell left in his dreams this afternoon, he had been sitting in an all night theatre eating peanuts, unshelling them and eating them and then he came to the last one and the last shelling and he smelled in the oily dark of the meeting place with the grinding noises of what was going on in the film that no one watched but which bathed their sickness with a desperation that gave somehow dispensation. And he looked in the dim screen glow and the dim projector light at this last peanut and it had his face and his body on it, was in then his shape, and he unshelled it and ground it beneath his cowboy boot and he crushed it till it was mere pulp and it was hot in the theatre, hot like it was all closing in on him and he could not think, everything roiled.
Everything was mishandled and he woke from his bed and he was not screaming and not filled with snakey shakes and not needing a fix, a joint was enough to hold him through the night, because he was nothing and it felt so good to have it confirmed by himself. To have it confirmed by his brain and heart and body that was ravaged with diseases he dared not think of, and this was the Boulevard and the cars passing by the ones standing still or slowing down like mustard on toast, his favorite childhood snack, the cars passing by were going fast on the Boulevard, and he could see the lights like beads of poetry on a necklace and bright and shiny like the lights of all the movie projectors in the world and he was on that screen they were shining on, beyond all those faces desperate and despairing and no longer young and trying to be in those dark lit nightmares pulled over and slowing down in judgment…
… I want this one there no not that one no you no I've changed my mind…not you the one behind you..over..yes, you come and lets have a look…and behind the windows of those hearses there were the lights of cars of people going home or to work or to movies and he knew how his dream would end and he knew and knew. He didn't have the guts except the dream guts to crush his shell and be free because he was now nothing but a shell.
And hope and promise waited and he could not wait a minute longer so he walked over to one car, bent down to the window and gave the person man or woman or whatever the finger and then ran to the middle of the Boulevard and waited for an especially fast moving SUV to crush him, as he stood right in the center of his lights, like a peanut shell that no longer mattered, and it hit him, that moving huge boot and it ground him into the concrete, and my god he thought last thought out of the box, how very very good it felt. There was noise around him now. He was encased from it. Protected from it.
He was on the Boulevard and the streets and sidewalks were like silk and he would sleep on silk tonight and tomorrow would be the first day of the rest of forever for him, and that made everything that had gone before worthwhile.