Now on holidays my father buys me guns.
He wraps the pistol and ammunition separately
and tells me these will be the most important
possessions of my life.
Guns are like paperclips.
They can be used for many different things.
I’ve noticed his apocalyptic
babble increase with age. His
eyes now resemble those of hungry
fish, whose water-enlarged image
decorates the convex globe of bowls.
Sometimes I cry.
This is what he tells me as we eat.
What a thing to hear from your creator
while chewing sourdough lathered in copious fat.
Sometimes I turn the television to an inane channel
like weather or football or one of those political shows
where some cretin apologizes for touching children
or impregnating caretakers
and I just stare until the tears come.
I cry with my eyes open and hope that no one
sees me. I pray to god that every tree I walk
beneath will fall. I overinflate my car tires
so they will burst on the highway.
The issue is salt. This soup is drastically
undersalted and I fear the next words out
of my mouth will be a request for the salt
shaker that is idle near my father’s hand.
Listen. This is important. There is no such thing
as aging with grace. It is a grueling road,
one you must commit to and suffer
until the end, with no impetus, the
dangling carrot at the end of the fucking
stick is that you die and lose all you’d
worked so blindly hard to achieve. So
what I say is this. Pump yourself up
with drugs and hormones and chemicals
and alcohol, all of it, get it all in there, turn
your soul into a cocktail of doom, and enjoy
the ride. Use women. Abandon your friends.
Do it. Do all of it, and don’t for a second
ever ever look behind. Always ahead. Always
at the gleaming light which in fact is not a
light but a drawn-out disintegration and a
painful lonely end.
He tilts back his head a slurps up the remainder
of his soup. He closes his eyes and is someplace
else. What else can be said between us?
What recourse is left?
For what is a man to do but himself retrieve the salt
shaker, if it is the salt shaker that he desires.
Written at 11:04 at night, in my office, in Agoura Hills CA.