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[audio:https://killauthor.com/audio/issueeighteen/joseph_musso.mp3|titles=Explanatory Notes of a Break Up|artists=Joseph Musso]

Footprints left in California. A long line in the sand. Pacific. The footprints figure it out. They have watched. Learned. Adapted. Evolved.

The footprints pick themselves up and lay themselves down. They walk. Three thousand miles to meet madmen & children.

Post-cards sent from all over the city. He sends her his footprints. San Francisco without time. Without calendar. What is there to keep track of. What is there to mark.

I am liquid. I flow through the streets. Says one card.

The post-cards arrive or don’t arrive. He will not know for sure. She is far away. She has no way of reaching him. Anger is not reasonable here. And yet.

Anger is what separates them.

Children & madmen sing ring around the roses. They hold hands. They dance in circle. They all fall down.

Ritual is what unites them.

The post-cards. Dropped in mailboxes. Market Street. Haight. The Mission. The Castro. Twin Peaks. Sausalito. Berkeley. Chinatown. North Beach. Third Ave.

Does she. Does she receive them & smile. At the child. At the madman. Does she. Does she receive them & rip them up. Does she.

Time he won’t. Dates he never looks. He knows day and he knows night. He knows the sun rises & sets.

I am simple he tells a glass of oil. Wood beneath him. Flat. Wood legs. Around him slabs of skin some of it bloated some of it stretched tight. Eyes inside the bloated or stretched tight slabs of skin. Blood eyes. Narrow, black, slit, dead.

Around him. Assemblages of bones and drapery sit on wood flat and legs. Drinking glasses of oil.

Whiskered. Gray. Blotched and botched lives. One of them, his teeth in his hand cupped. He talks with his tongue.

That rumpled skin like rumpled suit. Where the fabric bunches. Where the skin collects.

Music, whir, static, heavy breath of working men not working. Middle of the day. Backs hunched over. Drinks. Newspaper spread. Two girls from Boston their plane not for an hour. The walls the walls all those license plates, all those different states, road signs, pictures taken in whim free mist. Faded to. Edges curled.

Curl up the years.

Fade.

The old woman bartender. Rebel is my name. Look it’s stitched right here on my left tit.

Rebel another Johnny Black. Rebel that blues band playing tonight.

Yeah & they’re kick ass. I’m ninety years old I seen em all. And fucked half of em.

Heh.

Rebel my dear plant one right here. The younger man his hair and patched up his cheek stuck out.

She kissed him. She grinned. He smiled. He spread his paper, flattened it with hand, pen, crossword.

The post-cards arrive. Avant paintings on the front. Scribble on the back. No love miss I you. But Chinatown bar and the kid killers gangsters slam the dice slam the dice & yell. Sweat pours & heat. Their faces peel off. What’s left is identity. What’s left are the walls soaked in sweat, blood, beer, life, death, closing in.

Does she. Does she care what he does when he is not doing it for her. Does she. Does she know this is the reason. California. One last ideal for her to live through.

Realization.

Dawn.

Loss.