The Night I Tried To Pray -------------------------------------------
I listened to a twittering old man
describe his late wife to me.
He said their marriage was like
one of them late night horror movies.
One minute you are taking home an amazing broad
And the next you find a witch, a vampire, a demon or a fucking goblin on top of you, sucking the life from your mouth, from your cock, from your soul!!!!
‘It must have been the saddlebags
and spider veins and whatnot’
‘Or the lipstick on her teeth’
Then came one of my cashiers
tugging on my arm and asking for advice.
She dragged me over to the one hour photo department
and presented me with several negatives of a naked woman
spread eagle on a sofa.
‘Will you develop these? I don’t feel comfortable’
‘Sure…what have we got here?’
Another sniveling hag approached me.
‘YOO ought not run FEEULM with NOOtidy young sir!”
‘I run a drug store mam’ I told her.
‘Not a church’
By then the pictures came out.
And Jesus Christ were they nasty.
The woman was an obese BBW
and unsightly to say the least with her
spider veins and saddle bags in development.
Her vagina looked like an arby’s roast beef sandwich run over
on the freeway.
And in one image she had curled her index finger
That suggested that I ‘Come hither’
I decided to go to church and pray that night.
But the church….was closed….
I didn’t know churches closed…
I sure wish that lady’s legs were closed…
okay I so couldn't comment last night, I was hardly in a concious state && really the only reason I didn't sleep was b/c there were a few things I really didn't feel like having to do today.
this wasn't the absolute best thing I've read from you but I kinda have higher standerds about your writing than most peoples; so it's still really well written, for some reason I don't feel that natural just saying your writing was 'good' really....um...ever.
this 'half serious' tone that you mentioned before...you should know that if it's not annoying in conversation it definatly drives me crazy in writing:P it's not as though it's really a bad thing but there are really conflicting feelings in this write...the person seems really knowing, has a lot of experience and almost smiles bitterly about it....but at the same time is entirely sick of all of it too. I get that impression from a lot of your writing and being completely honest I'm not sure if it says that about YOU or just the characters you provide; but I get the feeling of being disappointed with the way things are, with watching those who are more blissfully ignorant than yourself but knowing they aren't truely (I hate the correct spelling of that) any better off. at the same time its' interesting cause even your writes that seemed laced with rants and diatribes don't come out unoriginal and straight out poignant.
Your very first stanza seemed strategically mundane to me, like you were showing one of those "oh not THIS kind of thing again" feelings. and like there wasn't even apathy with the old man because listening to him seemed a burden. I guess I should mention that the fact that he was talking about his dead wife kinda struck a chord with me...I feel awkward talking about people who have died sometimes, and then I get mad at myself for it and wonder if it's any worse to talk negatively (or even positively in some circumstances) about someone who is dead than it is to talk like that about someone who's still alive? I mean in theory the things you do/say to people while their alive can still effect the memory of them afterwards but when they're still alive in the roles that you expect them to play then they have some chance of defending themselves; or of just choosing to ignore you. The kind of blatent edge you gave the old man interested me too...a lot of people think of older people and imagine either a kind wisdom or a regretful cynacism but this isn't exactly either. and you always make me think about things....connect them to old maxims but make them ten times more interesting. You're writing makes me think of a sort of anti-bible, which is more realistic than the usual preachings anyway. (I'm wiccan so its not like I'm more bitter against christianity than the next person but yeah.) I always wonder if I totally 'get' your writing, like half of the meaning is SO straightforward that I almost overlook it and then obsess as to whether or not there's more alternative meaing accompanying it.
The next stanza sort of surprised me, I guess I can't imagine many other people who would transition that easily from the two instances. [You really do impress me] It made me think you (/the person in the write) were relieved to have a 'polite/acceptable' reason to leave the old man to ponder his memories by himself....but then you were just as unsatisfied with what you had to do after that. It's kind of interesting to me that you made the two male characters OK with the concept of the woman (in the picture and in the man's talk if they're expected to be any different/less or more significant.) and yet the two women...the customer and the cashier were both demoralizing the thought.
The customer was an ammusing personality more because in essence she was originally a distraction but she introduced a consideration. for some reason I almost figured that could be the end, you'd leave the person with your words and let them think about what you might have done next....
ok wow...the pictures being developed; quite the painter huh? that was one hell of a vivid image O.o. That brought me a very abstract thought to mind...about the pictures being developed; hearing the word developed always makes me think of a baby, before it's born and like with abortions and stuff (all you really need to know is I'm against that for myself, if it matters how that came to mind anyway) and the arguement is how developed the baby is and how developed it would have been had it been allowed to live....it made me think about that because looking back right when the cashier asked you to do it instead it was just the start of an idea, you saw no great reason not to and sort of shrugged and agreed....than once you saw them you would have rather not. and when you knew they were pics of a naked woman but hadn't thought about it yet it was sort of a distortion; one you would have preferred to what was actually shown....
and then at the end the church being closed to you was (or could have been) a distortion of your expectations as well....a really solemn deviation of what obviously 'should' have been. it's wrong that the church was closed to you, that you should have been denied something so simple as a chance to do what you might consider 'right'....or just what someone else would have preferred you do. Which almost gives the customer a sort of "I told you so" but we should be allowed to learn things on our own.......
I liked this alot, did I say enough? =P lol so much for a short and easy one but that's kewl, it was definatly worth the read.
haha so i read this earlier today.
well, given that its 2am here i guess i read it earlier yesterday truth be told.
but here i am on "sleep hates me night #2" with nothing to do so i thought id comment on this one as praying seems rather futile just now.
[this comment is gonna have "you" meaning the narrative voice not necessarily you as the writer... just to clarify...]
theres so many things about this piece to like.
its funny. i dont think ive read anything funny in such a long time. well nothing that is ACTUALLY funny rather than trying to be funny and falling short.
its kinda real and confessional, whether its a true story or imagined, the narrative voice is one that seems hushed and personal even though, at the same time, it seems so removed and jaded by life and the anticipation of aging.
its sad. its sad in that the church was closed. the one place where absolution may have occured was locked right when you needed it but i guess thats always the way with such things...
at the moment i am obsessed with songs that tell stories. one of my favourites is Taxi by Harry Chapin in which he is a taxi driver and is taking home his childhood sweetheart only shes married and rich and lonely. though she wanted to be an actress and he wanted to learn how to fly and in the end he realised they both got their childhood dreams... she was acting happy and he was flying in his taxi stoned...
i only tell you all of that because i think if Harry Chapin were to see this piece he would sing it to you and it would be killer...
i appreciate the way this story unfolds. you have done a lot in a short period of time here.
you start off with the sniveling man and its almost like your hardly taking in what he is saying... just listening politely in one of those awkward conversations you could do with not being part of.
its interesting to me that this old man has this attitude... i looked after old ppl for 4 years and i never met one who thought anything along these lines lol. but then... married to the wrong person for a very long time would make life miserable.
what i like about this first stanza is that it seems so vague in some ways. well maybe vague is not what i mean but it seems so... personal and if i hadnt have read this piece i would never believe it could have been linked to any other moment in life.
this old man sounds like the old men in the pub my father drinks at. i havent been down there for a long time now but get a beer or two into them and they are unstoppable.
then you just bring in a whole nother person. just like that. and its almost like the old man means nothing. just file him away in your mind with his notions of marriage just incase you yourself are found in the same situation so his words can mock you and cry i told you so.
perhaps your cashier is a saviour of the moment. listen to a random strangers life like that can be a rather unconfortable encounter. so your cashier comes over and you think "finally! free from this old dude!" only to find that perhaps the new task at hand is just as ghastly and depraved (for want of a better word) as the one before.
having said that you dont sound too surprised to have to process film of a naked woman. sounds a lil too... comon place.
the third stanza kinda ties all your ideas together in this piece even though it is the most underspoken.
it shows your attitude toward ppl... the way they keep bothering you and interupting you and wont just shut up and go away.
telling you how to do your job.
telling you how morally (to them) corrupt such films are and therefore you shouldnt develop them
and you saying dude... i dont run a church here... this is all part of the service here which doesnt indicate whether you are happy that this is how it is but rather just that this is the way it is and there aint nothing you can do to change it unless you want to lose some of your clientele and yet, in saying i dont run a church etc you may well have lost that customer in the process...
the next stanza with the developed photos is well done as it ties back into what the old man was talking about with his late wife. i guess its one of those moments where conversations are reinforced and given more conviction/power/truth as a result. at this stage youre prolly thinking that old man wasnt as snivelling and stupid as you first thought.
the last stanza.
looking for absolution and not finding it.
that kinda intertains me in some ways...
when i was in europe i went into many churches... but all i wanted was to worship in one but they were all tourist attractions and there was no preaching or anything in them anymore...it was quite the disappointment.
and the irony here... the coming round to the snivelling hags point of veiw regarding nudity and it not being in your shop...
if you hadnt have developed the photos you wouldnt be as violated as you are now that the church doors are closed.
you wouldnt even be LOOKING for church doors if you hadnt have seen those photos haha!
i think you have put this piece together in a very seamless (and seemingly effortless) manner. this is really well done. its been a long time since ive read anything of yours but i see youre still right up there