May 22, 2004

This is no scam brother, it’s always a sellers market for real estate in hell

The ghetto’s yelling tonight.

Yelling new shouts of loud witty flirtations and old screams of stop hurting her and a crying beer bellow of I love you by my heart, make up you’re mind, I’ll throw your things out this window you can’t go on cheating and lying and do you think the drugs are better to you than I am?

Yelling sounding like the sizzling whistling shriek before the bang of the fireworks the neighbors throw after midnight, after the last commuter train’s gone home, after the Soul Saving Station down the street has stopped the preaching we can hear in a mumbling shout of a rhythm when the wind’s right, after the township police have stopped marking abandoned vehicles and all the drugs-for-sex offers have been made and the VFW’s last barbeque-sauce smeared plate has been cleaned and the swings across the street have been abandoned to the ghosts who want to feel like children again.

I can’t remember which Johnny Cash song this is, I can only hear the worn out voice imperfect cracking and maybe that was a prisoner whooping a song for a life sentence soon to be served on the installment plan.

I haven’t cried since Johnny Cash died.

Forgive them father forgive them father forgive them father there is no salvation. Everyone’s going to hell and we never had a chance.

After the revolution everything will be the same and I listen to my neighbor trying not to cry and swearing he loves her, another wild women in a list that has kept him paying child support and hiding income so he won’t pay child support until last year when his oldest was 40. And I listen nodding and nodding while he hasn’t gone to church for a few weeks because he can’t hear the deacon tell him over the air conditioning one more time about living in sin. I’d marry her, he says, I’d marry her, he says, but she’s been through too bad marriages and he loves her but there’s the drugs and they’ve been fighting the last few days because he’s got no money for her habits until he gets paid. He’s knows that was the other man’s car, she just said out with friends but he knows, he knows and I refuse the fifth beer, and again the sixth beer, as the only grace I have to offer.

Souls, says the sign, lost and found. If you’ve found them then we’ve lost them here, yelling in the ghetto, and if you’ve lost them we’ve found them to lose them yet again.

Lord have mercy I say, if once then 40 times, but black, white, jew, greek and egyptian, from heaven number seven to Satan’s ass, no one will be saved.