While on my second or is it fourth glass of wine, I acknowledge the vessel. A mustardy colored cardboard box with thin rusty band denoting the contents of a delineated plastic liver of 2015 Pino Grigio with a black plastic petal shaped spigot wherein rests a sexy red nipple calling to be caressed hard by thumb in order to release its honey toned nectar. The colors are a faux natural as if to refer to nature and along with suggestive stylized decals such as the sun, trees and a couple enjoying such contents in stylized wine glasses to resonate that this wine is not only from the earth but that the makers of this fine affordable beverage are concerned about the well being of the planet and for the imbiber. However as recyclable as the box may be and even still the inner most contents are a remarkable expectorant of natural filtration to be liberated back into the earth, the plastic of the black spigot and liver are troubling. For it can only be down-cycled into a puddle pit of non-biodegradable particles eventually molding the earth and encapsulating all the oxygen until it resembles the inflatable globe that my three year old son thoughtless and perhaps lazily left there in the yard, resting on a throne of lush plantains delicately rocking with each breath of wind. We are all children of the earth no matter our age or background. Compared to how long this molten rock clad in extraordinary beauty and filth has been floating around we are fetuses born generational any and every time we chuck our toys down after we are done and let the ants get at them. We are unnaturally natural; we exist merely to consume oxygen to keep the flame going on until the end- Ours and the worlds.
I drink this brand of wine because of its economical and ecological impact. And because and most importantly it relaxes and replaces such thoughts of world obliteration with desire determined intent to drunk myself in order to forget and forgive our collective daily damage.
Truth be told, I don’t particularly like nor enjoy thinking or entertaining such things and who really does? Why toil on self destruction and other people’s problems. I cannot change the world. The whole of it is immense and I am mere fledgling barely off the ground shaking loose my fur and in full wonder of how I got here and from what branch; tremendously apprehensive of my ability to fly. I will stand my own ground on the only ground I know and not worry about flying but nesting. This is where I will caretake and pick up the countless carelessly discarded McDonald's polystyrene time capsules from the crooks of the road that separate the harmless and healing Jewel-weed from the taunting Poison Ivy, for which I have become personally acquainted to the point of respect and near complete aversion. Shouldn’t it be the goal of every soul to commit to the environment that he or she situates and inhabits and to foster the kind of change they desire? I believe it is that way for everyone from the doll collecting ninny in her eclectic menagerie of diluted loneliness to the train hopping gutter punk in their box car of the same name. I am blissfully aware and bewildered of what happens in my yard. At night I can take in as much breath as I can see the stars yet in the day as the sun beats down on patches of milk weed and wolf’s bane I am nearly strangled by humidity. I am not in control nor have I ever been no matter what I root down or set on foundation, the honeysuckle and bellflower vines will force even one of the strongest poplars to starvation if I am not there to stop or alter their trajectory towards the sun. And. Who is to say that it my place? Except of course if it is my place, my shelter, and my home that this weakened silvery saluteur to the sky intends to fall. For trees never intend to fall unless they do and that doing is completely questionable and nor do we intend to fall unless we do and so doing is also completely questionable.
I never much questioned falling. It was a natural act of gravity and the lack of ground nearby. I simply went with it and fell the best I could. Not even after when I was about ten when I was playing with a my twin brother, Steve and a blond neighborhood girl that I have forgotten the name of and fell quickly and absentmindedly eight feet backwards while attempting to sit down on a brick wall. I landed near a would-have-been death spike the color of a school bus meant to delineate and delegate parking spots. The breath was knocked out of me and I was checked for a concussion. Told not to fall asleep. I did not think of falling but of where I landed-In close proximity to something that if I had landed would have definitely kept me kababobed for all to see but also would have allowed me to fall much deeper than I was ready to go-not ready but willing. The act of falling and the will to fall are not completely different but are disparate. One is intentional and yet a result of inertia. I am not sure if Steve at the time had any idea that I had fallen until he and the blonde nymph dressed in a red cape, I think we were playing He Man and She Ra, noticed me near breathless lying there. I however, many years later knew of my brother’s falling; was inherently aware of his symbiosis with honeysuckle and yet like he when I found him I was with a friend yet she wasn’t blonde nor wearing a red cape and not even a she but I would assume Kyle while dialing 911 was just as shocked at the fact that despite efforts to be in control and somewhat superhuman we all will fall…
‘All of this had always been and he had never seen it; he was never present. Now he was present and belonged to it. Through his eyes he saw light and shadow; through his mind he was aware of moon and stars.’ Herman Hesse from Siddhartha
Mildly hung over on a lazy Sunday on Februrary 9th 2013 I spent the whole day planning digging and setting posts that were to be the foundation and frame ends of my neighbor Carry’s hoop houses for her vegetation to seed with my friend Kyle, who was residing with me and my wife at the time at our modest but secure abode in Cosby, Tn. I could go into details of my Floridian neighbor, Carry, her mild tomboyish abrasive manner, her quirky sense of humor and even theorize why she says “Hell’s Yeah” in that long drawn out smiley way but this isn’t the time or the space or the point. I could also tell you about Kyle, the lonesome libertarian drifter who longs for his own space in the world but is constantly lost in the Puppetry of unseen controllers of the universe, which would be more pertinent to where I am going but for now it’s a misfire target into unnecessary character development. Instead I will focus on the feeling of the day which is on par with my intent not to go into lengthy description with whom I spent company on that fateful February afternoon. My sensors were blocked by drink and indifference. I drank for the same reasons as I mentioned above: to forget and forgive My daily destruction and trespasses. Steve has been M.I. A. for about three days. I have felt and even discussed his intentions to most likely end his life. I have been preparing for it ever since he was called out a week before by our Dad for skipping school, at age 37 he was taking welding classes and doing well, therefore signaling to me that he kicked the wheels off the wagon of sobriety. I didn’t take it too well. His drinking got in the way of us being buds and him being the kind of uncle that my wife wanted him to be. Not that he was abusive or even irresponsible when he was drinking but he was unpredictable and unreliable. At least that was the fear. I asked him to stop on behalf of our friendship and his relation to his nephew. And. He did. For a while. Then I left to visit my wife’s family in England. When I returned I had a feeling that he was drinking again which concurred by his actions and made evident by my friend Kyle’s observations while I was away. For two weeks after my return we barely spoke to each other and I never saw him alive again. I knew he was going to fall because I am his twin and yet I didn’t want to think about it. After going around to visit him on Saturday and he never showing up…well, I guess I decided to get shitty drunk. And the next day he came back to his house and must have set up a plan for it to be his last.
The Monday succeeding I decided that it was enough and I was sober on that gloomy morning, well sober enough to know that something wasn’t right. So I dressed for a funeral although in winter I usually dress for funeral, come to think of it I am dressed in all black now and it is the beginning of June. Anywho. I put my black beanie that conforms to my head, a near tight black sweater and black jacket, black Levi’s and black rubber boots, it had rained the night prior and it looked as if it was going to be buckets. And buckets it was but the rain did not fall from the sky.
As we pulled into the alley where the house my wife and I restored and lived in for two years, a tiny 1940’s cottage perched on a small patch of yard, not even an acre with a massively gorgeous hackberry tree behind it, whose leaves had all fallen revealing a fractal world of stark lightning branches webbed in the doom lit sky, I was half relieved to see Steve’s 90’s model blue grey salt stained Crown Vic in the driveway. Half relieved because it was a sign that he was there. I went up to the door and peered into the glass that happened to be covered by a curtain so there was not much to see, knocked and yelled for him to get his lazy butt up. No answer and the door locked. I kept calling his name and was beginning to think that he wasn’t there after all. There is a carport that I built along with Steve and Kyle’s help attached to left of the house where I then walked and started to peer in windows. The one to his bedroom gave me no detail except for the mystery of a grey curtain. The next window however had no curtain and I could see a light through the room coming from the bathroom. He’s taking a shower, I surmised. So I made my way to the back door that was unsurprisingly not locked because I had failed to fix it so it could. Then I noticed that the sink was running and there were dishes piled and I became more curious and as if slow motion kicked in as I exited the tiny kitchen that led directly to hallway made by the refrigerator and the transverse living room whereupon directly to my left was the bathroom. Where the light was coming from. Where my brother was. Steve. In the tub.
The Bathroom was the first room to be fixed when my wife and I moved into the house. The space of the room was very small but could neatly fit a porcelain art nouveau style bath that stopped at the floor and spanned wall to wall, a toilet and a wall mounted sink. There was a window that we were talked into taking out by my Dad because neglect and perhaps bad planning had lead it to rot most of the structure around it so it had to go along with some of its supports, which were eventually replaced. I would have liked to have had replaced the window but was again advised not to because of its proximity to the shower head. Once we had the window out and the walls redone my wife decided that she would like the room to be painted school bus yellow and I accented it all with cedar trim. It pretty much was the coolest and warmest room in the house. Yet on the tenth day of February 2013 it was a garish portrait of wonder loss and intentional decent.
My first reaction never strayed from the purpose of my initial visit which was to see if he was there and in both cases I knew that he wasn’t but I had to be sure that I was going to do all that I could so I ran out to Kyle who was still outside the front of the house and told him to call 911. When I ran back in all I could think was that he didn’t have to and this became my audible chant for nearly the whole span of what seemed both infinitesimal and a blink before the ambulance and police arrived. In that time of existence I scanned the area looking for clues as to why and what and how. There were knives of all sorts neatly lying next to and about him by the wall. Two with delicate handles of ivory inlaid with gold, appearing to be very small steak knives, perhaps for cutting fish for they seemed to be oriental for whatever that means…Even his multi tool as if none of the blades would do…Did he make this decision while doing the dishes?…Fuck knows I’ve thought about it there overwhelmed by all the dirtiness and obligation…One time out of nowhere I crashed a plate down out of derelict frustration and broke one my favorite mugs, yet now I cannot remember what it looked like. His body lay there motionless, of course, naked except for his black underpants, the kind that are not boxers and are not briefs, form fitting and wet. The mote of water surrounding him was the color of rust. His wrists were slit cross ways and not horizontal like most say to do instead, at least, if you are serious. But then I noticed too up where his arms bent that those veins were punctured as well and tiny streams gave their trickling deluge to let me know that he was tapped out. Mostly what I remember are his eyes. Blue grey like mine looking past everything and anything and his tongue half poised as if to speak. There were cigarette butts in the toilet that sat directly by the tub that were smoked right down to the butt. And a blood stain smear that resembled a hand-print on the wall, toilet paper on the floor as if he may have tried to stop the bleeding at one point. Long ago during a painting critique of one of my friends work about the subject of suicide I remember the professor-Longish grey hair pulled tight in a pony tail stating that suicide was an accident. Yes and no. An intentional accident in this case as everything seemed to have a place and made sense like a piece of art or a still life arranged with precision so as when I found him, for I Was meant to find him, it would appear like an achievement of glory which I suppose it was rather than a fall from a brick wall onto a parking pole. Although in both instances the color yellow was involved.
The Police were the ones that found the note on the refrigerator.
Sorry about the mess I’ve left behind.
Live your life. I’ve lived mine”
So I do and I drink wine out of a box and contemplate its return for it will always be a thing terrestrial as my brother’s ashes will be-combined with the earth and I try not to give a good God damn about any troubles of the world, for the one thing that is not of this earth but aerial eternal is the energy that is a mystery to all and who knows where it will rest or where and when we will fall.