Great Expectations

By: Jared Rosen

Well it’s been a few years now and I can’t say I know shit from shat or a fresh-on-the-horizon rainbow, but everybody’s been asking their place in this space. The ‘when should I?’ and the ‘where should I?’ ; the ‘how should I?’ and the ‘why would I?’ ; So I recorded what it is I’ve never known and will never know: a time and place.

 

When the wishing well’s run dry and there’s no water to fill it because the drought’s gone five summers now and spring was a few months back.

 

When your Uncle Harold is drivin you up state to get your root canal done and your Aunt Ellie can’t drive you now because she’s curlin her hair;

And she’s dyin it like Rose in the room down hall;

And Harold’s a-scratchin his head a-wonderin a-how’d I get to doin this?

or

should I have taken that left turn earlier? but he don’t know and how could he because the exit was five years ago.

 

When the wind’s howled its throat dry in the empty night sky. You see it’s a hustling and a bustling world out there and not even wolves can howl at the moon without the crowds chirpin in on em. Not cause they’re too loud or their songs ain’t right but because their throat’s too scratchy and momma said you can’t scream;
yell like that you’ll get your voice all dry and you’ll drink water before bed and you know you can’t do that.  

And who would disrespect their momma? She’s gotten older now and gave you all her limbs, all her trunk, all her voice, and all her stories and all she got now is all her love and you can’t cash that in for a lottery ticket.

 

When light’s poured in from the window and you can’t see nothin except your dust floatin by and the colors of wood in a lightning storm, but no smell; when you’re blinded by the colors of a cruel cruel rainbow that bound mankind and brought His excellence, but ‘dint feel too excellent getting blinded by that light from across the bed.

 

When you lost sight of the light you were chasin for five years because you saw another one to the right. Except it was a mirror and you’ve gone too far left to know straight.   

 

When you get back on the trail again and your leg’s all shackled from what you did last night last year last week;

When your head’s on crooked but your heart’s on straight

Or when your head’s on straight but your heart’s all crooked

Or when you‘re walkin down the line in the flashlight’s bright but the officer says that ain’t straight, boy, but the line was crooked the whole time

 

When your curbside hits your wayside and your left side turns itself over to your right side, sighs, Honey, I been doing this too long now, and rolls back to its other side with its tightening lips, slips on out the door. He don’t turn on the light but you can smell his smoke before he walks out of sight.

 

When you wake up and there’s nothing to do so you lie back down with an everything to do but when you get back up there was nothing at all. When you melt back into a mattress for a new day where red hair might set fires and the clocks don’t turn half as fast.

 

When the paper’s too stale and the ink’s too wet and the books have all gone because you couldn’t say anything that was new; mildew’s grew and the hall’s all astrew ‘cause we left home last night and our phones are all hung up to dry; Aunt Sue was on the line sayin things weren’t like this in my day but this is her day and you don’t know when your day is (or was).  

 

When you’re at your wits end at the road’s end and there’s nowhere left to travel to except the bitter end and she says leave a message after the— but you don’t hear the end cause you’ve got no message left to send.

 

When your head’s all noisy with thoughts you can’t focus on

Or when you get a whatchu thinkin about and starry eyes but you can’t really say you were thinkin on anything at all