November 23

            Weird. Where’ve I gone? I feel like I’ve been busy out of state and out of mind. Destination unknown but why am I awake the night before Thanksgiving?

            Has anybody ever written that? Twas the night before Thanksgiving. 

            My plans. I’m seeing family. 

            What family? 

            I have family I’m seeing. Local in the area. Parents in Wheaton. 

            Really? 

            I think about today and then yesterday and I swear I thought Thanksgiving was a couple of days away. 

            But what did you do today, Nolan? 

            I . . . I don’t know. 

            So, let’s see. 

            I’m in my place. Apartment? And I’m drinking. No surprise. I’m drowsy. From what? What have I been doing? And tomorrow’s Thanksgiving? 

            November 24.

            So what happened on the 21st? And how about the 22nd and the 23rd

            I shake my head as if I’ve been underwater and can’t hear a single thing even though I’m completely dry. 

            Strange. 

            These days so strange. 

            “I get this sudden sinking feeling.”

            The song says how I’m feeling. I’m listening to music and it inspires bits and pieces of memories. I feel the twitch of the tapping and the nervous energy seeping down and sideways and inside and out and feeling like it needs to go somewhere anywhere even though I know I’ll never make it. 

            What do you want, Nolan? 

            I don’t know. Honestly. 

            What’s been going on, Nolan? 

            Shit. I have no idea. 

            “But I stay down with my demons.” 

            I’m seriously needing to start writing things on notes and my skin like the guy from Memento. 

            Director name silly cliché so don’t go there. 

            But it’s true and we’ve been living through a month already where truth is really stranger than fiction.       

            I look around and see fragments of something. A receipt for gas at some station in Michigan. A card from a home builder in . . . Michigan. Another receipt. A steak house expense for $51.          

            Guessing I wasn’t that hungry. 

            Michigan. Where . . . Western Michigan. Jenison. Hudsonville. Grandville. 

            What the hell is happening here? Did I really go there? 

            I check my cell phone and don’t find anything and look elsewhere and there’s nothing and I try to figure out what’s happened with about the last 48 or 72 hours but can’t find anything not a thing at all.

            Nothing equals nothing equals boring equals bye bye, baby. 

            It’s late and probably November 24 and do I need to keep track of all that? 

            Should you change the page big cat Nolan top of the food chain? 

            I don’t know. 

            I think of Bob Costas talking to me and telling me about Gun Lake. 

            I wonder if he’s going to show up and speak  during the Redskins-Cowboys game. 

            You were someone somewhere someplace else. 

            But who and where and why? 

            I need to go to bed. But it feels like I just woke up.  

            If someone was watching this they’d already turn the channel. My life on the page would sound so pretentious and would be so paltry. 

            “Begin again,” the song says. 

            Funny because I don’t believe it. It’s talking about dreams and life and living and breathing and running and believing. 

            I can’t go I can’t stay I can’t move. 

            I think back and remember another time when there was so much left on the table to scrounge up and say. But I can’t sum up a single equation for a late-night stance. 

            Running to stand still. 

            A song title, buddy. 

            Oh, yeah. How about born to run and band on the run and a thousand others? 

            Songs I have but stories I’m struggling a bit with. 

            I find time clenched around my palms like the bloody cloth covering a boxer’s hands. 

            I put on a song not through headphones but on the speakers blasting through the apartment and I hear The National and they remind me and they remind you. 

            Sometimes life can alter between first person and second, but sometimes you wish you could step out and pick a third. 

            I hear and think about someone I don’t know and never thought I knew. Beautiful in the dark and smiling in the white. Still in the afternoon and gliding in the shadows. 

            The music makes me mellow much like the wine but I swear I’ve woken up for some reason. Right? Right? 

            “This is the last time.”

            That’s what I say. That’s what they sing. 

            That’s the song of my soul the song of my last thousand years the song that should seal itself over my ever-exploding soul. 

            They don’t make music like this.     

            And they don’t create heartaches like this. 

            “I have Tylenol and beer.”    

            Cry about it. 

            Cry about it like it’s the last time. 

            Like it’s the last time when I’m wishing I’m asleep and I’m hoping my team won’t lose and my soul won’t lose and I didn’t lose her stepping toward that fire in the middle of somewhere nobody knows. 

            “You feel like a hundred tons yourself.

            But yeah your love is a swamp and life feels like some damn hunt and I’m no longer swallowed and sucked in no longer no more. 

            It’s a bad thing when the wine mixes with The National. The perfect midnight storm. 

            I go and I wander and I find the still deep inside my home. Wandering wondering wishing and weighing all the options. 

            And maybe permit me some more emotions for everything. 

            Still surprised you want to dance with me now. Dancing in the dark. Dancing in my heart. Your smile I remember with yellow jumps in the dark. Your laugh like the best beat on that 80’s drum machine you never forgot. 

            The needle in the dark. 

            I hear you I see you. 

            And you said you’d never leave so where’d you go? 

            The needle in the dark. 

            Shit. 

            Trouble will find me. 

            Trouble always does. 

            The National and their last album and when’s the new one coming? Will I be able to take it? 

            I don’t know. 

            I can’t know. 

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