Dear San Diego

The world's a strange place. Don't be a stranger. 
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Settled

Dear San Diego,

Fuck. 

Like a thunder clap locked in a prison of words for being too honest. Used in frequency but never understood. 

No one writes letters to try and get fuck out of jail. They just hold useless vigils and then say fuck it.

I was driving Maggie's truck. I was in a suburban neighbourhood. The houses were on fire. Someone banged on the windshield and yelled at me to get out and help. 

I got out, walked into a house, but once inside found a burning ice rink. I made my way up the bleachers, up to the announcers booth, and saw an old typewriter. 

I sat down, the room on fire, and just wrote fuck over and over again. 

I'm a man that was settled for. Long ago, in another place, the tanned confusions of a woman took me. I did pretty much everything right, made mistakes ya, but paid the bills, bought the house, indulged the flights of fancy. 

I got out of the truck and walked into one of the houses. No fire, a recognizable familiarity, the street outside its typical Southern Californian self. 

I was half asleep on the downstairs window bench. It was my birthday. She came in putting on a heel and exclaimed she wasn't wearing a bra because a big deal was going down. Then she left. 

Had I not mentioned it later that afternoon she would have forgotten my birthday entirely. We'd been married six years. 

I sat in the truck and said fuck under my breath. An entire neighbourhood on fire, people trying to use melting garden hoses, fire trucks and ambulances pulling up, kids screaming. 

"Get out and help!"

A hand thumped the windshield, my gaze locked on the flames licking the free air above the roofs, I sat there. 

"Are you gonna go or can I have my truck back?" Maggie said. "What are we going to do about Parker? We can't leave her in the back forever!"

She got home late. I was already asleep. I'd tried to wait up but couldn't. I thought she might wake me up. I thought a lot of things. 

All the palm trees up and down the street looked like burning flowers. Perfectly beautiful, born to burn, like some force beyond it all was conducting them from above. 

I got out and lit a cigarette off a stranger on fire, leaned against the side of the truck, took a drag. 

"Fuck it," I said. 

"Fuck all of it."