The Nostalgia Tapes #8 – “Released”

 

released

 

 

The Nostalgia Tapes #8 – “Released” // by Jennifer Patino

 

Dreams. Dreams of knives being driven into me. I know the faces of my enemies, who wield my failures in front of me. Who taunt me with old lines I fed them to make them stop. I find myself here, at a bus stop. I have a brown paper grocery bag full of clothes, toiletries, & instructions from the hospital. I’ll throw these away when I finally walk to my destination. I don’t need anyone to tell me how to live my life. It started raining as I ran to the coffee shop. Waiting for the bus would have taken way too long.

I meet a couple in love & a lonely old man outside. I think they think I’m homeless, & I suppose I am, technically, since I’m this odd puzzle piece that can’t seem to fit into any mold shaped for me, but for now there is an awning above me so I am sheltered. The sad widower mentions there will be a storm tonight.

 

***

 

I keep my friend awake too long. She’s kind to let me stay, & she understands that some days I just won’t sleep. Some nights I’ll need stars to calm me down. Some nights I’ll need the same song on repeat. Sometimes I’ll wake up bleeding.

From the knives. I avert my gaze from them every time. They’re too tempting. I live to prove to myself that I am not dangerous. I live to prove to others that I am still very much alive. Those who wish me dead are still out there somewhere. I think too much about whether or not they’re thinking too much about me. I close my eyes. Death in a dream is my destiny.

 

Note: “The Nostalgia Tapes” are a collection of short prose & poetry that I’ve been working on for about three years. Honestly, I don’t know when it will be finished, or how it will be released once I do finish it, but here’s a bit of prose from it. Also, the good folks over at L’ÉPHÉMÈRE REVIEW were kind enough to publish “The Nostalgia Tapes #1 : Joyride” last summer. You can check that out here

 

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This writer is a member of The Literati Mafia.

 

 

Prose Poem – “Blue Book”

 

blue

 

Blue Book // by Jennifer Patino

 

I read your life story. Of course, the book cover was blue. I remembered the old you. Songs of a dying man belted in smoke filled dive bars. Transient chord progressions. Your E minor love period.

I once told you I loved you at one of your shows. I screamed it from the back row. It ended up on the live recording. Your blush didn’t. I knew it was there, though.

You put the song you wrote for me on my birthday mix tape. A bonus hidden track. “Just like you,” you said. “I recorded it in the bathroom. It sounds excellent. Reminds me of escape.”

You once told me there were 38 cracks on your bathroom ceiling. You counted them while you were drunk. The fluorescent light would flicker every 8 ½ minutes, give or take, and you knew there was meaning in that, and in the water stained porcelain sink with its missing chunk. You spent many a sleepless night searching for meaning in seemingly random things. Of all this, you would sing.

I already mourned the old you. Buried the big, blue book. I wouldn’t recognize the new you whispering through the orange groves even if the words sounded achingly familiar. Even if you sported your post-weekend-haze look.

I’m etched onto your vinyl collection somewhere. I’m a photo in an old guitar magazine. You’re gone to me. Vanished in plain sight. Unseen.

My old car ate your mix tape. I kept it in there, handed off the keys, and wondered if the new owner would be looking for some meaning in that, or would even care.

The old haunts honor the ghost of your squandered talent. Patrons sip your brand of beer and talk about you. All your love. All your hate. I nod and count the ceiling cracks. I always stop at 38.