Dylan went electric about 3.30am. On the broad American streets when I meet this doll, this doll that looks like an actress. The night above like black cider and ice cube vodka stars. Tim Horton’s throbbing to the left and the cabs like fireflies in the commercial night. She hailed one, all style and movie moves. Got to her place. To a smell of laundry, cosmetics, youth and confidence. Shoes and a desk and scattered clothes. Found a swivel chair and sailed across the wood floor. Click go the clack wheels through the bright lights and the alarm clock ticking towards the crazy dawn. Dylan went electric and JFK fell at the hands of Lee Harvey. Martin Luther King sang truth and the cider’s roaring loud.
On the floor. She tasted like lip balm and cigarettes. After more Jack Daniels and coke. We celebrated the silence and the colours of night. Till the sun came up and sang through the watery windows. And In the dawn blue after. Her face was something serene. Dylan went electric and it was time to leave. Something about a landlord. A new place and keys and the squeaky wheels on the clattery train of life. On the street there was combustion and noise and morning and the heavy future. And Oh, Sweet America, all machines and concrete and no soul. Traffic passed. She smoked some more. Striking features and rain drops and grey distant clouds. At the loud junction we attempted a goodbye and I asked her to dance. She said that was cute and I spun her round a couple of times and life was all there as we stole a moment from the rusty fabric of time. Then she really had to go and she gave me her number and said to call but it stole something from the dream and we both knew it so we wished adios and turned away and away some more and some more. But walking home, the rain didn’t feel that bad. Maybe it was the RedBull or the Jack Daniels or both. People waited at the bus stop and there were gardens with families and big cars and elegant houses. And I thought what a world, what a show. Wondered what time the pubs opened in North America. Dylan went electric and JFK fell at the hands of Lee Harvey. This rusty millennium, dodging wet American cracks on Sunday mornings, bloodstream Vodka and shivers like cold, or the coward fear trying to muster a shaking threat. Later at the bar, somewhere on Commercial Drive, drinking cider and flashbacks and abandon and surrender. Her ghost haunting me, hovering, whispering across the back of my neck. And the Cider tastes good, like liquid gold. There’s a guy on his own with a notebook and a blue pen. Oh, You can feel it, kid. The scrape of that ink. The words that’ll make all the difference. The collection of images, the rhyming meter and the crowd of applause and appreciation. You can hear it, can’t ya? That commentator saying how you saw it coming, called the world on social collapse. How bout those notes, maybe we could put ‘em together, send them somewhere. Tap that pen. Tap it loud. Cos the dream is close, sometimes the dream is so close, the shivers rain hard and you can almost touch it, the elusive truth, and then others; the shot rings out and JFK falls at the hands of Lee Harvey and down goes the balloon. Maybe you saw Martin Luther march with solidarity and courage. Saw the Napalm fall across Hanoi, watched the footage of the blood stained Irish Catholics cry. Some men say it’s the whisper of Karl Marx, breathing across history, others say it’s the wrath of God. Some men pay their taxes and watch TV and don’t think it’s anything at all. You find answers in the night, you and your pen and the neon light, you and the burn of the waitresses eyes, and the game called something’s missing, something’s wrong, there’s a vacuum here, a lonely song. Watch those pages accumulate, build a wall, build it against death, build it high before it’s too late. Don’t worry, kid, you got it covered. You and the blanket of dark cider and the ice cube vodka stars. That electric possible sky. Oh, Sweet America, all machines and concrete and no soul. And lip balm and cigarettes and the colours of night.
Published in Urban Pie Vancouver and Cunga magazine, Cong Co. Mayo.
Buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels here.