Had to have been four years ago, Mallory facebook'd me how displeased she was with the way white women were portrayed in Thursday Night, a play I had written and put up at the Varsity Theater. I called her on it, and said "let's get coffee if you're so broken up about it". We did. She weirded me out, I freaked her out. We didn't talk for a solid two years. Met back up and spent the entire summer together terrorizing Minneapolis leaving behind stolen bikes, fake id's, and empty PBR cans. Let's call it the Summer of Mallory, shall we.
Tonight, on a road trip to Wisconsin, we chat over it all. All'a sudden I flash back to the summer we kicked for so long, and the week I completely checked out on her. The week that started with a call from my mother that Joe Sodd III, one of my sister's best friends, had been murdered outside of the Triple Rock. Crazy, I had just had a conversation with the kid last I threw a party in Minneapolis at the old apartment. It was the fact he was gone, it was the fact he was murdered in the neighborhood I was raised in.
I learned to love the West Bank and Riverside Plaza. The worst we got caught up in were fist fights, drug deals, and the occasional vandalism. Later on,, for some peers things got worse. Jail time, on the run, addicted to hard drugs, etc. The community slowly got the best of a few of us. Turned us into the strangers we weren't supposed to talk to as children. Luckily, I had the outlet of a house in South Minneapolis and could, later on, avoid it all... not for the breadth of the group though.
The same shit that caught up with the old crew... spilled onto Joe. Not that Joe was caught up with anything, but the nature of a neglected, low-income, over populated neighborhood had swallowed up an innocent outsider trying to get to his scooter after leaving the Triple Rock. No clue who had the soundless mind to commit such a cowardly act, but they did. Happens every day, and picking notice of it doesn't really strike until it's relatively close to home... unfortunately. People die in the streets everyday. Just heard a story on NPR of Frank Paul from B.C., died in an alley of hypothermia. He had just been picked up by cops in Vancouver for being drunk in public. They took him and and then dropped him off sopping wet in an alley... The cops responsible were suspended for 2 to 3 days.
Question is: what do we do after the tragedy, how do we deal with the tragedy, how do we prevent the tragedy, and more so than anything what do we learn from the tragedy. Wrote this back in the Summer of Mallory, figured it's appropriate for today.
So she’s blackout drunk
With Friday night still caught in the cobwebs of her hair,
and nail polish so chipped
It makes the escape from Shawshank look as easy
as checking out of a hotel.
And she snores…
Like the death of a Ford Truck
it actually wakes her up on every other (snore)
Still half asleep,
whatever lucid dream going on her head at the moment
pulls her eyelids back down
like garage doors crashing shut against the ground.
I just sit there and watch her, to make sure she doesn’t do anything stupid
Because it’s Saturday morning,
less than half the weekend,
And anyone can take a wild guess
the rest isn’t peaches
They don’t sell liquor around here on Sundays,
but it more than likely won’t stop the drinking
Because it’s only been a few days since her best friend was stabbed in the neck
And left in the street bleeding… to die.
Unexpected Death is funny.
It’ like the moment you just realized someone stole your bike.
Y’know the brief moment you step outside and its not there and… Fuck!
It’s one of those things
a decade and a half of school,
twenty some odd years on earth,
and parents can’t prepare you for
or teach. It’s
just one of those things
you deal with…
Her and I have grown up together,
To understand giving two cents doesn’t always make up the difference
And defining what it is and what it isn’t, isn’t as defining as what you give it.
We learned to never trust never
In high school we found that no savior or god
can measure out forever
or reassure any empty feeling or broken heart
will feel better.
And in these past few days,
we learned the city doesn’t have a halo
it has a cloud.
And you never truly have tomorrow
all you got is right now.
So for the moment, she can drink
and cry as much as she wants
Draw an imaginary line
between sad and drunk
Grab the ground by the collar
and smash it back to mud
Curse the world to ash and dust
wanting nothing to do with anything,
and right now that’s not asking much.
smiling through tears
and sporatically laughing
It’s only been a few days since your best friend passed away.
And it’s come down to
The direction we walk
after we crash in flames
What we pursue
when there’s nothing left to drink
What we do
when there’s nothing left to say
Her and I don’t accept death
So, she gets trashed to a fashionable disaster
and I watch after her knowing I don’t have to
But I stick around,
Because Minneapolis is her name.
She showed me death
is just one of those things that happens…
And the rest of us take the risk
I want to tell her it’s just like when someone steals your bike
… but people aren’t bikes.
Although, when they’re stolen from us
we walk the city as if we’ll find them again.