LE CASSETTE ARE UNSTOPPABLE!!
Left to Our Own Devices by Le Cassette
by Rom Rom
The car revs. The nightline opens up to me. The streetlamps dotting the highway fall away one after the other. All I can think about is her. I like the way the pedal feels under my foot. I like the dying purples and violets and cracks of blood orange cutting the sky open.
I am not ready.
The asphalt in the city is slick and black and hopelessly clean. The neon never lets up. Deals are made on fat cell phones. Attitudes are girded with steel. Certainties are born of cocaine confidence and bottle blonde hair. Everyone wears skinny, square-bottomed ties. Whether it's Parliaments or Marlboros, the cloud is dense and makes our skin slick and thick.
The sleeves of my blazer are scrunched up around my elbows and I'm trapped in this haircut. Newspapers whistle around in the ocean breeze coating the club. My back is propped up by the gray wall and I exhale.
This scene is done. Vampires take everything. Their constant hunger saps all the sound out of my pretense. I feel silenced by their darkness; imposed. I dress the way the smartest magazines tell me and I still wonder why this is my soundtrack. Every hollow, rending moment stuck in between notes, I'm reminded why she left me. She says it all the time; in my ear.
What does it even mean to be “connected?” I did everything right. Everything. So why can't I own you too? Is my turquoise shirt not enough for you? Bitch, I'm rad. Your square shoulders are too; were too.
Oh, fuck this feeling. Really, any feeling at all. All I need is a good montage and I'll be right again. I will be a winner of every race. All I need are quarters for the arcade. All I need is a sensei in my dojo. I need clay pots to kick. I need struggle but without the patience for what it bares best. I need to hold the fast-forward button or I'll eject.
There must be something more than thinking.
Arms of Mine
The cherry glows at the tip. The paper of it burns under my $600 umbrella. Tropical rain splashes on top of it and my flat black roof. The city stretches its concrete fist up into the sky and belches out a haze of lead and acid that cracks the sunlight. The colors fan and spatter like the calloused place in me where she used to live. I look down at my wristwatch.
It's only been fifteen minutes. That's lame. These books and articles are worthless. All that matters is how I can get back to being cool. My shoes are going to be ruined. I like that I can afford not to care. I could kick a puddle on the uneven tar. I'm not going to. That's kid stuff.
Why is her voice still here? What am I turning into?
It's happening. Feelings.
The tentacles of memories wrap around the outside of everything I burden to keep up. I feel the squeeze of it like that boa constrictor we saw at the Miami MetroZoo. I became obsessed with them. I saw every nature show about them. There was something my insides were trying to tell me. All I could see and feel and think was the twisting of the snake around its quarry. I loved it. I hated it. I liked the eyes of the dying thing and the smooth skin of yellow and white, mottled for my pleasure.
This is All We Know
And when it dies, it dies hard. Life just evaporates. Another vampire of a moment; of a hope. The bones snap and pop under the strength of it. Blood rushes sweetly into the world as my cool hits the eject button.
And now all that's left is the maw; unhinged and swallowing. Now I go into the dark and transform into the snake-shit of love-lost.
Ha. Love. What does that even mean? I'm only now getting to it as the sax plays. It lets me know that there's more music; that there's more poison.
Here I Am
Logan, I am your tears. Streaming down your face. Your new electric razor is collecting dust. Work is calling you. Where are you, Logan?
All I can be is clear. All I can know is you. I am of you. I am from you.
That's it. That's right. Wake up, Logan. Shave. Smell good. Wear blazers. Let the Devil win all over again. Sharpen your teeth. Kill the me inside of you. Fill your hunger with more hunger. Know you are the best. Learn nothing. Be nothing. Let harm flow through you. Be the fucking snake, motherfucker.
Call work on that fat cell phone. Wear that square-bottom tie. Spritz yourself. Light another smoke.
You Are You Are
Time to dance in slow motion. Time to go to another club because I was always right. Do another line of coke. Live up to every message in your high school senior yearbook. Stay crazy. Stay cool.
Look at this one for example. What is she trying to pull off? Madonna? That's a lot of black. But it's time to dance in slow motion. It's time to unhinge my jaw.
The dance floor is just a bedroom full of people fucking with their clothes on. This one is mine. I want her to be a furry rodent.
Under the strobing lights, her black chiffon and sequin curiosity slithered close to me. Her dark lipstick winked at me through that smile. Cigarettes in my right right hand and her left; creating a symmetry of something new. She was going to be just another notch. Another nothing, just like me.
But her eyes. Her snake eyes.
They looked like mine.
The dawn was killing the last bits of blue. The satin was smooth between us. Just kissing. I hated it.
This isn't what I needed to do. I've just traded one master for another.
Oh fuck it.
She's an electric fire I can't put out. This night turns into every night. And it's impossible. And I hate it.
But I hate it a little less. Every time the night robs me of another day, I feel it becomes okay. She's not like April. Or maybe she is.
Or maybe thinking about feeling is best left to the vampires and snakes of the world.
I'm holding her hand. I'm not so cool anymore.
We walk passed an arcade -- the one that needed the quarters. It was dark and brilliant. Like a black cave full of blinking neon and sharp sounds.
People winning and losing. Fighting and dying. Improving and giving up. And all of the plays of life swirled before my eyes through the windows. Hallways made of machines. Glowing tracks leading to high scores. This was a place of struggle; a place of nature.
I needed to go in. She saw that in me. She loved that.
Pinballs zapped. Dreams were shot to pieces, pixels were prizes and commerce was afoot. All the clanks and clangles, zips and zaps, and throbbing lights made magic. I looked at Layla and her eyes said, “Go on, try it.”
I was lost in focus; in my own personal montage. Layla stood there, proud somehow; like a sensei. I kept improving myself with every quarter drop. I knew this would become my secret. This would be my safe place.
I Will Show You
Every Wednesday night we went. We shared all the booms and pows. We were feeling the same things at the same time. We got to know the regulars. And all the smart magazines I had read seemed stupid now.
T-shirts were fine. Jeans were okay. When it rained, I didn't even think of my shoes, I just kicked the puddles.
Layla is always under my umbrella. But so is April and everyone else. There's room for everyone. They are all a part of me. All on my dancefloor. We are bound to the sound, even if it's silence.
This is what it means to be connected.
This is what happened when I was left to my own devices.