International Writers Magazine:
On The Shelf
Gordon Ray Bourgon
was a hack and a drunk. He would no doubt bore the crap out of me
with his regalements of booze, guns, and women. Thomas Wolfe, too,
though I admire the man for working while sick and dying. Hed
be interesting but wordy. I need someone who will be a friend and
not want to leech undying admiration off me.
I thought William
Saroyan might be the one. Hes simple, yet profound. His stories
sneak up from behind and give you a great big hug. I think Id
My meds have lost their friendliness. My wife and two children have
stopped coming to see me. My roommate, my only friend for the past six
months, hung himself by the sash of his housecoat tied to the shower
head. My path to recovery has taken a detour, and I dont know
if Ill ever find my way again.
I need my old friends. I was am a writer. I wrote fiction:
novels and shorter things. Thats how I made my living.
There came to be a specific moment in time, like when day becomes night,
or when a tide begins its retreat, when I was no longer alive. I was
disconnected, though I ate, slept - like anyone else. It felt right.
There were voices. Sylvia Plath whispered to me it was alright to explore
the darker side of my thoughts. Salinger suggested I chuck it all and
become a recluse. Fitzgerald thought throwing a party was the only civilized
thing to do under such circumstances. Twain was full of insults, and
showed no capacity for empathy. Dostoyevsky looked on, brooding, and
Bukowski just stared blankly at me.
These were some of my old friends who saved me from lifes little
deaths. Now I need them more than ever.
I am becoming real again. Feeling the cold and evil in the world. I
hear the screams of the tortured and raped. I understand the pain of
the wrongfully imprisoned. I know the fear that comes with waiting for
the next visit from the suicide bomber. I shed tears because the planet
is dying. I am frightened because change is not necessarily an improvement.
The world is coming to me again. I am coming alive. I need to be back
up on the shelf. That is where I belong. Where dreams exist, timeless
Theyre coming for me. I can hear them down the hall. Its
time to climb.
© Gordon Ray
Gordon has recently published short ficition in Pilot Project Pocket
Book #3, in Toronto ('Tender Erosions'), and has published a non-fiction
piece in Southwest Life magazine.
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