“A Photograph in Los Angeles, 1987″
When poets and prostitutes speak of the glory and freedom of the road, my heart explodes in summer showers of fiery passion. The dancing dream of leather and rubber grinding the gravel sends songs to my soundbox and bakes my beating breast piping hot.
But the parents’ eyes cut a black hole in the world, raging with forgotten dreams and ancient aspirations, every hopeless hope endowed on their children, whose spines already creak from months sleeping in a twisted heap in the back seat. The father’s arms clutch desperately around his bride’s worn, pale shoulders as his gaze pleads for shelter.
I stand here on the ledge, gazing down as a god. The portal remains closed, and, giving up, I turn to run. My palm across my face, I try vainly to remove the skin of a war-torn infant. The gravel itches my feet. Bleeding blisters slither against one another, as they did that night we lost our car, gambled away by my father’s monstrous beard, a universe to parasites.
And all at once I stutter and stop, silent, still, like stepping on the moon for the first time. And I see myself. I am my own, I swear, because tombstones gasp from the soil, waiting on names much like mine. I am my own, I swear, because my old back seat companion fucks a stranger, and a fountain springs out of her riches. I am my own, I swear, because the pale, worn shoulder hides in the mud, and it slowly ceases. Because I am still brave, and I am still compassionate, and I am still a man, I think.
The has been “Nile in the Snow” and “A Photograph in Los Angeles, 1987″ by Jack Caswell.
Jack Caswell is a playwright, screenwriter, and photographer living in Brooklyn, New York.