“Welcome to Fuckedville” from Avow #22 –Keith Rosson

These are nights that stretch their arms wide and last forever. I cannot stop thinking, cannot find closure for this. It’s a metronome that lessens when I’m among friends but never entirely goes away.

I have begun dry-heaving at bus stops from dehydration and lack of sleep, lack of food, everything spinning to the point where I lean against a utility pole so I don’t fall down. Lawyers have begun calling me regarding debts that I owe. I do not know where next month’s rent will come from. I’ve got the most hilariously, insanely raging case of hemorrhoids I’ve ever had in my life – all drink and no food, right – to the point where it feels like someone’s cheerfully driven and then parallel parked a Honda Civic up my asshole. Due to lack of Federal funding in a particular school district, I no longer have a job. My mother has fallen down at work and broken both of her ankles and one of her wrists and is just now beginning to heal. Her vulnerability, her mortality, weighs on me.

I’ve made the trek from my apartment to the Safeway ten, fifteen blocks away, me and the aching Honda I’m carrying around in my fucking drawers and I just want to get in, buy some groceries and get out. I’ve got my little basket and fully recognize that things are going south, things are slipping away from me hard and fast, that I need to get it together. It is the first day or night I haven’t drank in some time and I put bananas, soup, carrots in the basket. I think, I will come away from this somehow, I will make it through. I will begin treating myself better. It is the first sliver of hope that I’ve felt in some time.

And when I am leaning over the green peppers there in Safeway – fragilely adamant that I will make it through all of this wreckage somehow – my nose just begins to gush blood, like someone twisted a spigot. I drop the basket, my hand over my nose, my head raised, warm copper etching the back of my throat. I walk out of the store, begin stork-walking my way home and after a few blocks it’s stopped. I spit thick wads of blood onto the ground, that electric taste of batteries in the back of my throat, hope dismantled fast.

One of those moments that just carves itself into you and brings you right back to exactly where you are, you know?

Spitting blood, I just kept thinking, How did I wind up here? Was there a specific instant that brought me here? What choices have I made that took me right to this moment: in my early thirties, jobless, heart-busted, spitting blood on the sidewalk and stumbling around like an assfucked penguin because I’ve got Gwar-sized hemorrhoids, which has got to be the uncoolest bodily misfunction short of the Weeping Penis? How did this happen? With no real future and a history that it now seems was not what I thought it was at all? How in the shit did this happen?

And all that came back was my own voice, resigned and oddly jubilant:

Welcome to Fuckedville, man. This is where you live now.

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