Calder Lorenz

fall into it

If I remember it right, and I don’t, we were at a urinal. We were swinging our thoughts and grumbling and finding fancy in some gory mural on that stucco wall. I remember your boyfriend who stood listless in one of the stalls and we chatted about the place and shared stories about where we were once and who we were then and what piece of something we might have belonged to there, in another time and space.

Now, they closed that place. They always close those places. There isn’t a market for that kind of living, well, now, there’s a MARKET for it but there isn’t a collective will for its survival. Maybe deep down we want to be told to stop, to take it fucking easy, to quiet our souls for one damn minute.

But, what I’m telling you, what I feel the need to convey; what is important for you to know, is that you were there. I was there. That bar with the whiskers and the cat face and the numbers on its signage, and, hell, the popcorn, those stale gut churning kernels that were so essential to washing down a good proper lethal dose of booze and ice. It was there.

What a thirst we held!

And now, now what, we find another hole or we lament the loss over tea or what: we fight back?

But that was never the point was it. To be fighting for that kind of place. It was where we knew we were safe from that type of rubbish. We fought all day. Feeding folks and listening and watching them die out there.

It was our clinic on the way home. We were its clients. It was our rest stop on the way back to a raw mattress and another day to do something decent and good and overextending. And so we went there when we needed to live like the proud occupiers who really lived there, on those stools, in those stalls.

It wasn’t home, home. We didn’t go back there. That wasn’t us.

But now I’m telling you that I’ve got something worse than rage or spitting on the street. I’ve got this thought that they will keep some of it around. Keep us around. Our dingy, dirty signposts as the bait. The shapers delighted to build upon its ruin. The money men dancing their dance for the happy hordes. All those good times now held behind glass and locked away in our civic trophy case.

We’ve heard the shouts to reseal those weathered signs. To charge a little more.

Our righteousness used to say that that was then and this is what we’ve got now.

The lot of us singing our songs, whittling what we can and waiting, waiting around for the earth to shift. Hoping that we’re swallowed together. All of us standing there watching as we finally fall into the ground.

And maybe you’ll say, ‘let’s go,’ and, maybe you’ll say, ‘let’s stick around and see,’ but I’d say that the crumbling of it all might truly be the only healthy, natural way to settle this thing. 

Calder G. Lorenz is the author of One Way Down (Or Another), his debut novel from Civil Coping Mechanisms. His fiction & non-fiction can be found in sPARKLE & bLINK 2.4, Switchback, Curly Red Stories, FictionDaily, Two Dollar Radio's Noise, Literary Orphans, Crack the Spine, Black Heart Magazine, Litro Magazine, The Forge Literary, The Birds Piled Loosely, New Pop Lit, Devil's Lake, and gravel.

JD Thornton