You call it whatever you wantóyouíre gonna blame me? Why is it thereís gotta be blameÖ MaybeÖ Maybe Iím okay seeing it like thisófigure itís the first time Iíve seen this, itís like exploration; and how many times, reallyóI mean reallyóam I going to have to see it like thisÖ
Figure my leg over there pretty much sets and stops the counter at one. Lonely ainít so bad, you got you some feeling, you got some kind of impetus for the deep reflection. And helps maybe too if youíre the kind of yahoo what carries his little book for his special thoughts with him at all times, so that when he steps out the Last Crawl after what was, at least to him, a pretty glorious afternoon drunk, and gets immediately smashed by a little gray Audi that looks a bit familiar, and that Audi takes his leg and pulls itóturkey drumstick-style, wet rip and snap, no fracture, him now having distinct parts, parts one could prefer, one could ask foróand sets it down across the street by that old telephone poleÖ well, maybe he wonít have much to write, but, Oh fuck, Iím pretty sure Iím gonna die. Iím gonna die now, and how fucking weird is that?
Thatís me there, spilling on the concrete.
What behavior led to this? The guy drove up on the sidewalk, the guy left the bar a minute before I did, the guyís my god damn ride. I didnít walk out with him because I had to go to the bathroom, said Iíd be right there. Him the one next to me at the bar, telling me Iíve got to get my head right, gotta rebootóhis word, making his easy and drunk computer analogy since the three rapid-fire successive shots wouldnít allow anything interestingóor something badís gonna happen. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday. ďYou could get hit by a trainóno, dude, Iím serious. It could happen. Donít fucking laugh. Wonít be so funny when it happens. Youíll see.Ē
Those sirens, theyíre for me. Iíll just keep writing. Nothing to do anyway, Iím not trained in this kind of first aid. I know how to do a tourniquet, but they only work when you got something to tie off. Canít tie off a socket, you know?
I step out, look left, all asquint in the sun, and I think, Holy crap, itís fucking hot. Oven hot, this blast drying me out, one step closer to desiccated and I donít care what the pansies say, this kind of hot is good for a man. Strip him and sear him and it doesnít matter if heís got a soul or not, this hot burns him down till thatís all he is, thin and papery and pure, something he can build a new body upon. I cup my hands to light a smoke and dude drives up on the curb, pins me against this telephone pole, and maybe this isnít the right reaction, but itís the one I had, I look at him and my face says, Dude, what the fuck is this all about? You trying to prove your point? And his face doesnít say, Oh no, I just hit a guyóand definitely does not say I just smashed into the guy Iím supposed to be driving home. No, his face says, Oh fuck, Iím going to jail. Iím pinned so Iím not going anywhere, not even falling over or down. Iíve got time to take it all in. His face knows heís going to jail so his hands and arms pull left, hard, and his foot presses the pedal, and so he does not back away and let go, but dude crushes and rips past me, the bumper right behind my kneeówhich Iím pretty sure is pretty well fuckedóand the leg folds, and I can feel my foot lift off the ground, and then instead of me going with him, itís just my leg. The wet rip and suck and snapómaybe more a pop than a snapóbut weíve all had us one Thanksgiving, so we know the non-breaking snap sound I mean.
I take a few seconds to fall over. Thatís the comedy there. The lightness and cartoon so we all know this isnít really happening. That, and how he doesnít stop, how he doesnít even look back to check my vaudeville, just drives, the fiction carried further by the leg hooked over the nose of the car, letting go across the intersection there, relayed against a pole. You get the right perspectiveósay, you stand in front of the market and line us up, you could take a picture that says Iím all together, just I got one leg shorter than the other.
My question here, I guess, and maybe Iíll ask the paramedicsótheyíre pulling up nowóis if I bleed out before I dry out, do I still get a soul?
Kelly Hellworth remembers a poem involving a little gray Audi. He wrote this by hand. Heís been writing everything by hand this year. He lives in upstate New York, though not quite as upstate as before. Heís creeping toward the City. He and his daughter. Their plan is to lurk on the periphery and comment without participation. He teaches bookbinding and voice.